Section 1: The Awful Day of Judgment
يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ
يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّآ أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَي النَّاسَ سُكَارَي وَمَاهُم بِسُكَارَي وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ
1. “O Mankind! Be in awe of your Lord! Verily the earthquake of the Hour (of doom) is a grievous thing.”
2. “On the Day you shall behold it, every suckling mother shall forsake her suckling babe, and every pregnant woman shall lay down her burden, and you shall see the people (as) intoxicated, yet they are not intoxicated, but the chastisement of Allah is severe.”
This Surah begins with two shaking and exciting verses concerning Resurrection and its preparations. These are verses that may take the reader involuntarily out from this material fleeting life and make him mindful of the dreadful future which he waits for.
At first, the Holy Qur’an addresses the whole human beings, with no exception, and says:
The Qur’anic phrase /ya ’ayyuhannas/ (O mankind) is a clear evidence upon this fact that there is no exception and difference in this idea from the point of: races, languages, nations, tribes, ages, places, and geographical regions, whether they are believers, disbelievers, young, old, man and woman. All of them, who live at the present time and in the future, are addressed totally.
This verse has illustrated some examples of the great terror of the Day of Resurrection in a few sentences.
It implies that, on that Day, you will observe, by your own eyes, that every suckling mother shall forget her little child and every pregnant woman, who attends in that scene, shall face with abortion, because, as a result of the earthquake of the Resurrection, horror and fear will encompass all people thoroughly.
The verse says:
The third illustration of the verses, which is visualized, is the circumstances that people shall be in it on That Day.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّبِعُ كُلَّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّرِيدٍ
3. “And among people there are such as dispute about Allah without knowledge, and follow every rebellious Satan.”
Since, in the former verse, there was an illustration of the general fear of people which will occur at the time of the earthquake of the Resurrection, this verse speaks about the circumstances of some unaware group of people who are neglectful of such a great event, the Resurrection.
The verse in this regard says:
Sometimes there are some people who dispute against the principle of monotheism, the Oneness of the Truth, and about the subject of polytheism, and sometimes they dispute about the Power of Allah in giving life to the dead and making them alive again for the Resurrection. In any case, they have no proof for their sayings.
Then, the verse adds that such people, who follow no logic and knowledge, obey every rebellious and disobedient Satan.
They follow not only one Satan, but also they follow all Satans whether they are human or jinn, each of which have a different plan, program, plot, and device by itself.
كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ مَن تَوَلاَّهُ فَاَنَّهُ يُضِلُّهُ وَيَهْدِيهِ إِلَي عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ
4. “About whom (Satan) it is decreed that whosoever takes him for friend, then verily he will mislead him and will guide him unto the torment of the burning Fire.”
The Arabic word /sa‘ir/ is derived from /sa‘ara/ which means ‘flaming of fire’, and here it refers to the Hell Fire which is more blazing than any fire.
Qur’anic term /hada/ has been used here in the sense of ‘leading,’ that is, Allah leads the servants to Paradise, happiness, and prosperity by means of sending down Books, messengers, and legitimate creeds so that they may have good deeds, admirable moral qualities, and proper faith, while the Satans, from among human and jinn, lead man to Hell and the Divine punishment by means of following the low desires, lust appetites, vicious qualities, and sinful deeds.
Thus, the noble Qur’an, in this verse, indicates that it has been considered and necessitated in ‘the book of fate’ that whoever loves Satan and chooses him as his leader, Satan will mislead him and will lead him to the punishment of Hell Fire.
The verse says:
يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِنَ الْبَعْثِ فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لّـِنُبَيّـِنَ لَكُمْ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الاَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَآءُ إِلَي أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّي ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلاً ثُمَّ لِتَبْلُغُوا أَشُدَّكُمْ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُتَوَفَّي وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَي أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْلاَ يَعْلَمَ مِن بَعْدِ عِلْمٍ شَيْئاً وَتَرَي الاَرْضَ هَامِدَةً فإِذَآ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَآءَ اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنْبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ
5. “O, people! if you are in doubt about the Resurrection, then (consider that) verily We created you from dust, then from sperm, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, partly formed and partly unformed, that We may manifest (Our power) to you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, then We bring you out as babes, then that you may attain your maturity, and some of you are called to die, and some of you are kept back to the worst part of life so that they know nothing after having known (much), and you see the earth dried, dead, but when We send down the water on it, it stirs and swells and brings forth every kind of attractive herbage (in pairs).”
In view of the fact that the discussion in the previous verses was about the doubt of the opponent concerning the origin and the end (Resurrection), in this holy verse, the ‘Resurrection of the body’ has been reasoned and proved by two firm and logical evidence.
One of them is the transformations of embryo during its fetal course, and the other is proved through the way of earth transformations when the plants grow.
At first, the Holly Qur’an addresses all human beings and says:
All these are for the sake that He makes it manifest to you that Allah is powerful over everything.
The verse continues saying:
Allah keeps the embryos that He wishes in the wombs of mothers until a fixed time in order that they pass their evolutionary periods, but He may cause some of them, which he desires, to fall from their circle in the midway. After that, a new revolutionary course begins and He brings it out in the form of a babe from mother’s womb.
The verse says:
Thus, the limited period and dependant course of your life in the mother’s womb naturally ends and you arrive in a vast environment, full of light, serenity, and with much more potentialities.
Yet, the evolutionary wheels of your development do not pause. They ceaselessly continue going forth in this way.
The verse says:
Here, the ignorance changes into wisdom, the weakness into strength, and the dependence into independence.
But this wheel of movement does not stop, though some of you, in this course, may die while some others may live a very long life that they reach the worst stage of life, so that they know nothing of what they knew.
The verse continues saying:
The weakness, disability, and melancholy are the reason for the appearance of the stage of a new transformation. This stage is like the stage that a fruit has when it becomes lose from the branch of the tree and which indicates that it has become ripe enough and must be separated from its position.
Then the Qur’an refers to the second statement, i.e., the life of the plants, where it says:
The Arabic word /hamidah/ is originally called to the fire which has been extinguished and also to the land the plants of which have dried and remained motionless. 1
Some other Islamic commentators have said that /hamidah/ is applied for a state between life and death.2
The Arabic term /’ihtazzat/ is derived from /hazz/ in the sense of ‘moved, aroused’.
The Arabic word /rabat/, here, is derived from /rubuww/ (rhymed with /‘uluww/) in the sense of growth and increase, and the Arabic word /riba/ is also derived from the same root.
The Qur’anic word /bahij/ means: ‘beautiful, attractive, and pleasurable.’
ذَلِكَ بِاَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنَّهُ يُحْيِ الْمَوْتَي وَأَنَّهُ عَلَي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ ءَاتِيَةٌ لاَّ رَيْبَ فِيهَا وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْعَثُ مَن فِي الْقُبُورِ
6. “This is because verily Allah, He is the Truth, and because verily He gives life to the dead, and because verily He is All Powerful over everything.”
7. “And verily the Hour (of Resurrection) is coming: There is no doubt therein and that verily Allah will raise up whoever is within the graves.”
Through these couple of verses, as a general conclusion, the Qur’an explains the purpose of stating these two reasons in the form of five points. 1) At first, it implies that what was said in the previous concerning different stages of the life of man and the world of plants was for the sake that you should know that Allah is the Truth.
The verse says:
And, since He is the Truth, then the system that He has created is the Truth, too. Therefore, it can not be aimless and be in vain, as in another occurrence of the Qur’an He says:
And since this world is not aimless, and, on the other hand, we do not find the main aim inside of it, we will be certain that there is a resurrection in question.
2) This very system, dominating the world of life, tells us that it is He who causes the dead to be quickened.
The holy verse says:
He is the One Who gives life to the dust, changes the worthless life-germ into a complete man, makes the dead lands alive, and gives a new life to the dead. Can we be doubtful yet in the occurrence of Resurrection with this constant program of life giving in this world?
3) Another aim is that we recognize this fact that Allah is powerful of doing everything and there is nothing to be considered for His Power to be impossible.
The verse says:
The One Who is able to alter the lifeless soil into life- germ and causes the worthless sperm to go forth in different stages of life, covers it a new clothing of living every day, and causes the dry, lifeless lands so green and beautiful that the sound of life is heard from it thoroughly. Is such a One not able to return man to a new life after his death?
4) And, again, all of these are for that we know there is no doubt in the existence of the last hour of the life of this world and the beginning of the next world.
The verse says:
5) And all these are as a preparation for the last result, and that fact is that Allah will bring to life all those who are within the graves.
The verse concludes:
These five points, of course, which consist of different nature, are all complementation of each other and all of them end to one point. This factual point is the fact that not only the occurrence of Resurrection and raising of the dead is possible, but also it certainly will happen.
Those who are doubtful about the existence of life after death can observe its similar scene in the lives of men and plants which are always before their eyes and every year and even every day, they occur again and again.
If they are skeptic in the power of Allah, this is the thing that they can see its clear examples by their own eyes.
Was human not created from dust at the beginning? So, how may it be surprising that they raise again from the soil?
Are the dead lands not quickened every year before our eyes? How can it be wonderful that the dead, after many years, become alive and raise from the earth?
And, if they are skeptic in the occurrence of such a thing, they must know that the system governing over the creation of this world shows that there is an aim in it, else all things would be in vain. This fleeting life, which is filled with these masses of miseries and wretchedness, is not something to be worthy to form the final aim of the world of the creation.
Thus, there must be another world existing, a vast and eternal world, which is worthy to be counted as the aim of the creation.
Note the Following Points:
In order to make clear the phenomenon of Resurrection and its possibility of occurrence, the afore-mentioned verses have explained the status of man in course of seven stages. The first stage is the time he was dust.
The purpose of dust mentioned here might be the dust from which man was created. It may also be a hint to this fact that, besides this, all men are from dust, because all the food staff and the nutritious materials, which form the life-germ, are wholly taken from soil.
No doubt, of course, a considerable part of man’s body is formed of water, and a part of it from Oxygen and Carbon which are not taken from soil; but since the main part of the limbs of the body are formed from the materials taken from the earth, this meaning is completely true that man is originally from the earth.
The second stage is the stage of life- germ. Soil, which is apparently a simple and ordinary element, has not any sense, movement, and life, but it can be changed into life germ. Life- germ is formed mainly of some living things which are very little and mysterious.
In men, it is called ‘sperm’ and in women it is called ‘ovule’. These floating tiny creatures are so little that there may exist some millions of sperm in a man’s sperm drop.
It is interesting that, after birth, a babe has usually a slow and gradual development which is mostly in the form of quantitative evolution, while its development in the womb is accompanied with some quick transformations which are qualitative.
The consecutive and amazing transformations of embryo in the womb are so much wonderful that, for example, a simple small pin to be changed into an airplane after a few months.
Today, the branch of embryology has been expanded into a vast science, so that its concerning scholars have succeeded to study embryo in its different stages and to discover many secrets of this mysterious phenomenon of the world of existence and introduce a great deal of wonders about it.
In the third stage, the life germ reaches the state of congealed blood and its cells gather together beside each other in the shape of a berry of mulberry which technically is called ‘mudola’.
After a short time, the division hole appears. This is the beginning of the division of the parts of embryo. The embryo has a particular name in this stage.
In the fourth stage, little by little the embryo gets the form of a lump of flesh to itself without that the different limbs of the body being distinguished in it.
Then, suddenly there appear some changes in the skin of the embryo, and its shape alters appropriate to the action it must do; and the limbs of the body gradually begin to be distinguished. But those embryos, which do not pass this stage and still remain unchanged in their former forms, may be aborted.
The Qur’anic phrase saying:
may refer to this stage of embryo which means: ‘completely formed’ and ‘un completely formed.’
It is interesting that, after mentioning these four stages, the Qur’an has stated the sentence saying that:
indicating that these rapid and wonderful changes in which a little sperm drop develops into a complete man, is a manifest reason to the power of Allah (s.w.t.) over everything.
Then the Qur’an points to the three remaining stages of the embryo which happen after delivery or birth, consisting of the stage of childhood, the stage of puberty, and the stage of senility.
It is also necessary to be mentioned that birth of man originally from dust in the form of a living creature, itself is a great transformation; and the different stages of the embryo are all counted as successive transformations. Also, the birth of man from mother is itself a very important transformation. Thus, the stages of puberty and senility are considered as transformations, too.
The application of ‘raise up’ in the sense of Resurrection, used in the above mentioned verse, seems to be a hint to the concept of this very transformation which will also occur in Hereafter.
This point must also be noted that the explanation of the Qur’an about these different stages of the embryo, specially in those days when neither the science of embryology had come into being nor people had had any notable knowledge about man’s courses of embryo, itself is a living evidence to the fact that this great book has originated from the world of revelation and from the world of beyond nature.
No doubt, whenever the Holy Qur’an has pointed to the resurrection and the return of men, it means the return of the humankind with both the spirit and the body to the next world.
So, those who have limited the occurrence of resurrection to only its spiritual aspect and believe in only the survival of the souls have never verified the whole verses of the Qur’an.
It is clear that, as an instance, they have not kept in mind the verses like the above one, which explicitly speak about the bodily resurrection, else what similarity has the spiritual resurrection to the foetal course and bringing life to the dead lands by the growth of the plants?
The last sentence of the verse under discussion, in particular, as a conclusion proves clearly this matter, where it says:
We know that a grave is the place of the body, not that of the soul.
In principal, the entire astonishment of the disbelievers arises from this very problem that how a man, who has become dust, can return to life again, else, the survival of the soul not only was not a surprising thing, but also had been accepted by the people of ignorance, too.
The Arabic word /’arŏel/ is derived from /raŏl/ in the sense of ‘a low’ and ‘unpleasant’ thing. The objective of the Qur’anic phrase /’arŏal-il-‘umur/ is the most unpleasant period of the man’s lifetime when he reaches to the utmost point of senility, and as the Qur’an says, it is the time when he forgets all he had learnt and becomes just as a child from the point of having knowledge.
From the point of impudence, he is usually like a child, because like a child, he easily becomes worried by a slight thing and or becomes very happy and content by a small and an ordinary affair. He often loses his patience and sometimes his manner is rather childish.
There is a difference, of course, that people do not expect intelligible things from a child, but they usually expect them from him.
Moreover, in respect to the children, there is a hope that, by the growth of the bodies and spirits, all these deficiencies remove, but there is not such a hope in respect to the old and feeble individuals.
There is also another difference that; a child has not had anything to lose, but this aged man has lost all the vital capitals of his life.
Thus, the state of old men, in comparison with children, is much more pitiable and unwholesome.
In some Islamic narrations, the Qur’anic phrase /’arŏal-il-‘umur/ has been rendered into the age of being one hundred years old, or more than that.
This condition may depend on the kind of persons. There are some persons, of course, who reach this stage of weakness and forgetfulness when they are less than one hundred years old, while there exist some people who are more than one hundred years old and are completely intelligent and aware.
In respect to the great scholars and scientists, in particular, who are always busy studying the scientific discussions, this status is rather rarely seen. However, for this part of the lifetime, we must refuge to Allah.
By the way, the remembrance of such years can be a factor to bring us out from pride and negligence and to make us contemplate what we were at the beginning, what we are just now, and what we will be in future.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلاَ هُدًي وَلاَ كِتَابٍ مُنِيرٍ
ثَانِيَ عِطْفِهِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزيٌ وَنُذِيقُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ
ذَلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاكَ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلاَّمٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ
8. “And among the people there is such a one that disputes about Allah without knowledge, without guidance and without any enlightening Book.”
9. “Turning away in pride to lead (men) astray from the path of Allah: for him there is disgrace in this world and We shall make him to be on the Day of Judgment the punishment of the burning (Fire).”
10. “(And unto him it will be said): ‘This is for that which your two hands have sent before, and that (verily) Allah is not unjust to His servants’.”
If disputation is based on knowledge, it does not matter.
The discussion in these verses is upon some people who disputed about the origin and the end without having any fundamental knowledge.
At first, it says:
The first sentence of this verse contains exactly the same meaning which was mentioned in the former verses, and its repetition here shows that the previous verse points to one group while this second one refers to another group.
Some Islamic commentators have considered the difference between these two groups in that former verse states the status of the followers of the unaware misleading group.4
The Qur’anic phrase /liyudilla ‘an sabil-il-lah/ (to lead (men) astray from the path of Allah) shows that the program of this group is to mislead others and this is counted a clear frame of reference upon that difference.
This is exactly like the sentence which was recited in the former verse saying:
It speaks about the following of the Satans and which makes this meaning more clear, too.
In relation to the difference between the meanings of the terms ‘knowledge’, ‘guidance’, and ‘enlightening Book’, the commentators have also offered some discussions, among which the one that seems closer to the mind is: ‘knowledge’ refers to intellectual reasoning, ‘guidance’ refers to the leading and guiding of the Divine leaders, and ‘enlightening Book’ refers to the heavenly Books.
In a simpler style, it reiterates the same three known reasonings, consisting of: ‘Book’, Sunnah (practice), and ‘intellect’; and regarding to the fact that according to the researches of the scholars, consensus returns to ‘practice’, all four evidences are gathered in this phrase.
Some other commentators also believe that ‘guidance’ may refer to the spiritual guidance which can be obtained under the light of self-improvement, virtue, and purification of the carnal soul. (This meaning, of course, can be gathered with what was said in the above.)
In fact, a scientific discussion or disputation can be useful when it is based on one of these reasonings: the reason of intellect, the reason of the Book, or the reason of Sunnah (practice).
Then, in the next verse, the Holly Qur’an refers to one of the causes of the aberration and mislead of the leaders of the misguidance in a short and expressive sentence, where it says:
The Arabic term /ani/ is derived from /anaya/ in the sense of ‘to turn’; and the word /‘itf/ means ‘side’, so, ‘turning the side’ here is an implicit declaration of pride and their heedlessness, that they hinder people from the path of truth.
In any rate, the Qur’an explains their intensive retribution in this world and the Hereafter as follows:
And then he will be told this is the consequence of what his hands have sent before for him.
The verse says:
It is in case that Allah is never unjust to the servants. He neither punishes anyone unduly, nor does He increase the chastisement of anyone unreasonably, and His manner is absolute justice and absolutely just.
This verse is one of the verses that not only negates the school of Fatalist, but also proves the principle of Justice with respect to Allah’s deeds.
1- Imam Amir-ul-Mu’mineen, Ali (as) said:
“Whoever seeks guidance other than the guidance of Allah, goes stray.”6
2- Amir-ul-Mu’mineen, Ali (as) said:
“Whoever obeys his Lord, fears his sin, is guided.”7
3- Imam Ali (as) said:
“The guidance of Allah is the best guidance.”
And he (as) also said:
“He who is in the clothing of religion is guided.”8
- 1. Mufradat-i-Raqib
- 2. Tafsir-i-Fi-Dalal
- 3. Surah Sad, No. 38, Verse 27
- 4. Tafsir-i-Al-Mizan, and Tafsir-i-Kabir by Fakhr-i-Razi, under the verse
- 5. Current Surah, verse 3
- 6. Qurar-ul-Hikam, vol. 1, p. 461, and vol. 4, p. 228
- 7. Qurar-ul-Hikam, vol. 5, p. 193
- 8. Qurar-ul-Hikam, vol. 6, p. 192 Qurar-ul-Hikam, vol. 6, p. 192