Ayat no. 45-52
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
And when it is said to them: Spend out of what Allah has given you, those who disbelieve say to those who believe: Shall we feed him whom, if Allah please, He could feed? You are in naught but clear error. And they say: When will this threat come to pass, if you are truthful? They wait not for aught but a single cry which will overtake them while they yet contend with one another. So they shall not be able to make a bequest, nor shall they return to their families. And the trumpet shall be blown, when lo! from their graves they shall hasten on to their Lord. They shall say: O woe to us! who has raised us up from our sleeping-place? This is what the Beneficent God promised and the apostles told the truth. (36:45-52)
When these deniers are told, “Come and take benefit from this wealth which Allah has given to you and feed the hungry and the weak from what God has provided you,” they say, “If feeing them was a good deed, God would have fed them and would have given them food.” This, in fact is fatalism. Sometimes, even some religious people are heard saying that whatever is good and nice is from Him or a similar cause.
Others ascribe to God everything that is harmful or fatal. When riches arrive, they do not see God’s hand in it. But when they are taken away they say that God has snatched it away. In other words, income is a substitute bounty. It turns into a forced bounty while it is taken away.
When money comes they say it is the result of their own labor and art or craft, not from God. Then when the same wealth is lost or stolen, they say this has happened according to God’s will. How is it that at the time of receiving it they did not see the Hand of God?
As I have said, both richness and poverty are Divine bounties. For the rich, it is by spending in the path of God, which reduces his miserliness and he turns generous. For the poor it is a test and if he is forbearing, he is rewarded for the same and his ranks are raised in the Hereafter.
And they say: When will this threat come to pass, if you are truthful? (36:48)
This verse is about the Hereafter wherein they ask, “When would this promise of Qiyamat be fulfilled if you are truthful?” The promise of Resurrection along with its rewards and punishments has always been given by all the messengers of God. All of them drew the attention of people towards resurrection. People imagined it to be impossible and they asked, “When would this world of rewards and chastisement come up?”
In response Allah says,
They wait not for aught but a single cry which will overtake them while they yet contend with one another.
The first step to the Hereafter is death. It is the vanguard of the world of Barzakh (grave and Resurrection).
They wait not for aught but a single cry…
Meaning, that they are not waiting for anything except the shriek. The first scream mentioned in this verse is the scream of death, the killing shout. The next scream is the enlivening one that will make all the dead alive again.
Only one shriek is sufficient for taking away the life of this mankind. It would be a terrifying shriek by an angel, the Angel of Death. It is enough for the purpose and for which the angel has not to take any extra trouble.
In narrations relating to Meraj (Prophet’s ascension) it is mentioned that, in the fourth sky, the Holy Prophet (‘s) saw an angel with a serious face. He had formerly seen every angel having a happy disposition. In explanation, Jibraeel said, “This is the Angel of Death.” The Holy Prophet (‘s) then asked, “What is this tablet in front of him?” Jibraeel replied, “Names of all living ones are mentioned therein.”
The angel himself told the Prophet (‘s), “When the time of death for anyone arrives, his name gets erased from this list. Then I, at once, take away his or her life; the entire world is like a table spread for me. Just as a man can easily and quickly pick up anything of one’s choice from the table-spread, I also can take up the life of anyone who is destined to die, very easily.
…a single cry which will overtake them while they yet contend with one another.
The shriek of death comes when they are disputing and quarrelling among themselves. It is mentioned that when the killer shriek comes, people would be busy in markets, buying and selling. The buyer has yet to take possession of the purchased thing and the cry is heard and none is able to do anything anymore.
So they shall not be able to make a bequest, nor shall they return to their families.
That is they are unable even to make a will and to return home. Though everyone wishes to return home, meet the family members and make a will.
A few days ago, a healthy person died right in the bazar of Shiraz, suddenly before noon. He had no ailment whatsoever. Now does anyone else in Shiraz think it is quite possible that he also may not be able to return home? I should think of myself.
The wolf of death takes away a sheep from this flock suddenly and yet you can see how carelessly all these sheep are grazing! (Persian Couplets)
Also the cry of death comes when these people are in the midst of arguments and quarrelling. I had once seen that they became dumb while quarrelling. Blood pressure rose up and made them lifeless. Woe unto the unlucky fellow who died while sinning.
Had he faith at that moment or not? Truly, you must fear that moment when the satans are, more than normally, intent to take away even if one has a particle of faith. They intensify their attack at the time of death. Of course, if there is faith in one’s heart, the devil is unable to snatch it. God has promised:
…and Allah was not going to make your faith to be fruitless… (2:143)
That is He would not destroy your faith. However if faith is only on your tongue, the matter is different.
And among men is he who serves Allah (standing) on the verge, so that if good befalls him he is satisfied therewith, but if a trial afflict him he turns back headlong; he loses this world as well as the hereafter; that is a manifest loss. (22:11)
So one should pray: O God! Give me the Faith, which I may take with me (to grave). A Faith that was always with me, which must have been deeply rooted in my soul.
While explaining the making of wills some commentators have raised a noteworthy point. A man has become so weak and feeble that he is unable to say even a word or to make any will (before death), what to say about other things. So, those who are wise, take precaution, before they are in such a situation, which is sure to come. They themselves satisfy those who have rights over them so that the dispute may not continue to the other world.
Work until you hand is able to do something before you become totally helpless.
These were the vanguards of Qiyamat. These were the Cries of Death and Killing. The second blow (shout) will make all alive again.
And the trumpet shall be blown, when lo! from their graves they shall hasten on to their Lord. (36:51)
We do not know the kind of the enlivening blow. According to a narration about Israfil, the angel in charge of blowing the trumpet, the said trumpet has two horns, one on the upper side and another on the lower. The cry is raised, “O decayed bones! O disintegrated flesh! Get up for accounting, come towards the field of accounting.”
So, when this (second) trumpet is blown, without any delay, all rise up from their graves and run speedily towards their Lord for giving accounts of their deeds during their worldly lives. They say, “Woe unto us. Who made us rise from our graves? This was the same promise of God.” Now either they say so themselves or it is the angels who reply thus that this is the same Divine promise and the messengers had told the truth.
There is a point worth pondering about the grave. The Arabic word ‘Marqad’=grave is a noun of place. It means the place of sleeping, a resting place. On the Day of Judgment, after raising their heads from the graves, they say, “Who has raised us up from our sleeping places”, whereas they were being chastised in the grave.
Haply I may do good in that which I have left. By no means! it is a (mere) word that he speaks; and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised. (23:100)
Everyone who passes away from this world is, in Barzakh, either in reward or in punishment until finally, he or she reaches either Paradise or Hell, in Qiyamat. He is punished in the grave for the sins committed by him during his life. Sometimes he is purified in this way. Here he says that he was in a “sleeping place” whereas, in fact, he was in Barzakh.
The explanation is that the factors before him are according to his strength and weakness. Life in the world, compared to Barzakh, is sleep. In Barzakh there is wakefulness and the stages in Barzakh are stronger than this world. Similarly, in grave, people are in sleep and they become awake in Qiyamat.
Those who have seen true dreams about the dead have attested this statement. In the book Dastanhae Shaguft, there are such examples. In Darus Salam, Haji Noori has also illustrated this.
Qiyamat after barzakh is like waking up after sleep. The main effect is in Qiyamat. Whatever reward or punishment is there in barzakh is the midpoint. Whatever is considered as wakefulness in this world is, when compared with the life after death, a sleep.
So when one will raise his head from the grave he will say, “Who woke me up?” His eye falls on the flames of hell, leaping out in mountain-like tongues. On one side are the harsh guardians of hell. There are ones who are bringing in people towards the field of accounting. On the other he sees frightening black faces.
And (many) faces on that day, on them shall be dust… (80:40)
He sees very strange things, which he had not seen even in Barzakh. This situation is so shaking that all kneel down.
And you shall see every nation kneeling down; (45:28)
All will cry: My life! My life! except Muhammad (‘s) who will say: O God! My people! O Lord! Save and hear my followers. All will tumble down. Pregnant women will, due to fright, abort their unborn fetus. Suckling mothers will become careless about their children. You will think that people are intoxicated but they are not so. Rather the Divine punishment is so severe.
On the day when you shall see it, every woman giving suck shall quit in confusion what she suckled, and every pregnant woman shall lay down her burden, and you shall see men intoxicated, and they shall not be intoxicated but the chastisement of Allah will be severe. (22:2)
One was chastised in the grave (Barzakh) also. But what is the punishment of the grave in comparison to the punishment of Qiyamat? A mosquito bite is nothing compared to the sting of a scorpion. Yes, all this is promised by the Divine Messengers, who saw and told the truth.
They wait not for aught but a single cry…
There will be only one Call. No one can disobey that order just like the call to die was also a single cry.
Imam Ali (‘a) has said, “None among men has, nor will have, internal and outward strength like Sulaiman. He had power over men, jinn, birds and animals. Yet, at the moment of death, he too was absolutely weak and feeble. Who can disobey the Divine Command?”