Explanation of Surah an Naziat by Ustad Nouman Ali Khan
This is a Makki surah.
The conclusion of surah Naba’ related to the beginning of this surah;
يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الرُّوحُ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ صَفًّا ۖ لَّا يَتَكَلَّمُونَ إِلَّا مَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَقَالَ صَوَابًا
the Day the Rooh [Angel Jibreel] and the angels will stand in rows. None will speak except who the Most Merciful (Allah) gives permission to, and he will (only) speak what is right.
So Allah ends the previous surah with the mention of Judgment Day, and starts this surah with the mention of the Last (Judgment) Day.
In the beginning of this Surah, Allah does Oaths (Aqsaam). But why are Oaths used?
Amongst the early generations, including the students (Tabi’oon) of the companions of Allah’s Messenger, many had the opinion that
an Oath is used for something;
– Awe inspiring.
I.e. Allah swears by the; sun, moon, day, time, etc.
Ibn al Qayyim says in his book:
al Mu’een fee al Aqsaam al Qur’an (the Meanings in the Oaths of the Qur’an), that when Allah swears an Oath – it has some relation to the surah’s message.
It is a powerful means of introducing a subject in the surah.
i.e. In surah Qiyamah, Allah says;
Laa Uqsimu bi Yawm il-Qiyamah, wa Laa Uqsimu bin-Nafsin Lawwaamah.
(No, I swear by the Day of Ressurection, and I swear by the blameworthy soul/nafs/conscience).
Then the rest of that surah talks specifically about them subjects in detail.
Oaths in speech are used;
1 – When the audience don’t believe what you are saying. (i.e. I swear by Allah that I was there).
2 – It shows Anger by the one doing the Oath. So the one who is angry will swear an oath. (i.e. I swear, if you don’t do this, I will stop talking to you).
3 – To make your Words be taken Seriously:
When people heard the Qur’an, they would ignore it, thinking that Allah’s Messenger is making his own religion.
By Allah using Oaths’ – He is making the message heavy, making the people realise that this is serious speech which contains Oaths’.
4 – The Oath as a consistent component of the Qur’an is a necessary introduction, or a precursor to what is going to come in the surah.
By those [angels] who extract with violence
Naz’ – to pull out forcefully.
Gharqa – dive in. (maf’ool mutlaq min ghayri lafdhihi – a verb has been mentioned [in this case Gharqa] without repeating Naz’ twice (as; Wan-Nazi’ati Naz’a))
So what has been depicted?
It is the image of someone diving into something and pulling it out by force.
The majority of commentators say that these are the Angels, based on the opinion of Abdullah ibn Abbas (a companion and cousin of Allah’s Messenger).
al Baghawi mentions: Ibn Abbas had the view that; Nazi’at and Nashitaat, Sabihaat, Sabiqaat and Mudabiraat – Are the Angels.
Other opinions, i,.e, Hasan al Basri say these are the stars i.e. comets when they have been pulled out of the sky.
Remember that Allah does have ambiguous terms which the scholars might not unanimously agree to, but if the scholars of the 1st Islamic century have differing views – this is a proof that this verse is ambiguous, it is not absolute [mutlaq] – so to have differing views is not kufr (disbelief).
So many Muffassiroon (scholars of Qur’an explanation) in history study the different views and see the proofs to come to a conclusion as to which is the correct opinion.
One such opinion is that Nazi’at refers to the Winds.
This is because the suffix (end of a word) which is ____AAT has referred to winds before i.e. Mursalaat, Dhariyyaat, Jaariyaat.
So that is strong linguistic evidence.
But the most popular opinion is the angels.
al Islaahi: has the opinion that it is winds. So why does he have this view?
He argues; An-Nazi’aat is feminine plural ___AAT [alif, and Ta at the end] (jam’ mu’annaf salim).
But Allah speaks against attributing femininity to Angels.
أَفَأَصْفَاكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِالْبَنِينَ وَاتَّخَذَ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنَاثًا ۚ إِنَّكُمْ لَتَقُولُونَ قَوْلًا عَظِيمًا
(has your Lord taken from the angels daughters/females?) – Isra’ 17.40.
So Allah criticizes this.
And when Allah does speak about angels in the Qur’an – He speaks consistently about them as; Munzaleen, musawwimeen, murdafeen (masculine plurals – jam’ mudhakkar salim).
Even when Allah does speak about the Angels in the feminine plural i.e.
“qaalaT al malaa’ikah” (said the angels), this is because they are broken plurals [jam’ at-takseer]. And broken plurals in arabic – you use the feminine singular for them.
However, when this is switched i.e. al Malaa’ikatu QaalOO (the angels said) – we see it is masculine plural again.
This is his literary criticism of why he believes it cannot be angels.
2 – Another view why scholars say it is not angels because this ayah describes something diving into something else and pulling it out.
But according to the ahadith – the soul is pulled out from the toe.
So the imaging of the ahadith on death show that the soul is pulled out of the body, and that the angels do not enter into it. Allah knows best.
So he argues this, and says that there is no other explicit mention of angels diving into bodies to remove the soul.
We have two types of opinions, one which is a majority, and another which is strong.
This shows the comprehensive nature of the Qur’an. Remember that when these Makki (Makkah revealed) surahs’ are recited, they are heard by a predominantly group of disbelivers audience. When they hear it – they’re not going to ask Allah’s Messenger the explanation of these aayaat (out of their false pride.) They hear this, it stays in their memory (because they had extremely good memories after just hearing it once) and they would walk away.
So when Makkan surahs’ were revealed, the disbelievers’ would understand (even if at a basic understanding) – some part of the Qur’an. The believers would however – get a deeper spiritualistic understanding because they could ask Allah’s Messenger what an ayah meant.
لِسَانٌ عَرَبِيٌّ مُّبِينٌ
lisaanin ‘arabiyyun mubeen – (the Qur’an is) in clear arabic speech. – [Nahl 16:103.]
يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا ۚ وَهُوَ الرَّحِيمُ الْغَفُورُ
– He (Allah) knows what enters into the earth, and what comes out of it. – [Saba’ 34:2]
The disbeliever thinks this quoted ayah is referring Rain and Seeds enter into the Earth and Plants come out of it.
But the believer has a deeper and spiritual understanding – knowing that this ayah also refers to humans dying and entering into the earth, and then coming back out of it on Judgment Day.
It is the same statement, but with different depths of understanding.
Islahi: This is how – the Polytheist – probably thought that these aayaat were referring to the Winds.
Although the interpretations of the Angels is still valid and the majority view.
Some scholars further support the opinion that this ayah is referring to winds, based on the ayah;
إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحًا صَرْصَرًا فِي يَوْمِ نَحْسٍ مُّسْتَمِرٍّ
– Verily, We sent against them a furious wind of harsh voice on a day of evil omen and continuous calamity. – Qamar 54:19.
To snatch and pull out (Naz’) has been used for Reeh – Wind, in the Qur’an.
So if it was;
Winds: Allah is swearing by hurricane and tornado winds which pull and force out roots of trees, or buildings out of their foundations etc.
Angels: Allah is swearing by angels which enter into the body of the disbeliever and pull out their souls – which does not want to come out – forcefully.
And [by] those who remove with ease
Nasht – undoing a knot without any effort.
Nashata – A loose knot on a rope which gets undone easily when the animal wriggles/moves.
So this ayah can imply the following, depending on the scholarly opinion;
Angels: When the angels smoothly enter the body and smoothly take out the soul (of the believers).
Like a very loose knot which can be opened without effort or force.
Winds: a Smooth breeze of wind.
(In comparison to the forceful wind of Naz’.)
Winds – a mean of comfort and relaxation.
And [by] those who glide [as if] swimming
Sabh = to swim quickly and smoothly float. (ie. without splashes, or gliding smoothly etc.)
Angels: when they swim into the body smoothly and effortlessly.
Wind: Clouds that are floating/swimming in the air smoothly.
By means of the breezes of wind that are pushing them.
And by those that press forward as in a race (i.e. the angels or stars or the horses, etc.).
Fa – then (this Fa connects ayah 3′s meaning with ayah 4.)
Sabq – to Race – when one thing is ahead of another (in the race).
Angels: When the Angels;
– [Smoothly slide into the body (to get the soul) – ayah 3]
– [Race back to Allah with the soul they have taken – ayah 4.]
Winds: When the winds;
– [Smoothly push the clouds – ayah 3]
– [and the clouds Race other clouds – some going ahead of others.]
fal mudabbiraat amran
And by those angels who arrange to do the Commands of their Lord,
Mudabiraat [ism fa’il] – Tadbeer – Thorough, detailed Planning/organising/complete execution of a command.
Similar to the word; (thumma Adbara yas’a [Nazi’at 79:22] Which will be explained later in the tafseer of this surah insha’ Allah.)
Fa – ‘Then’ – a continuation from ayah 4.
al Mudabiraati ‘amra
Angels: the angels who execute Allah’s commands.
Winds: in surah Mursalaat, wan-naashiraati nashra, fal faariqaati farqa.
The wind distributes cloud in different directions, dust, pollen, rain etc.
All Life is sustained by winds due to them distributing rain, pollen etc.
Some places get rain, others do not, some places are flooded, others gain enough rain and pollen to turn into lush gardens.
Both these meanings can be captured by these Oaths.
There are other words for Planning in the Qur’an;
– Tadbeer (mentioned now in this surah) = Detailed planning.
– Kayd – a Plan of Secrecy.
(fa in kaana lakum kaydun fa keedoon – so if they plan against you secretly, then you also plan against them secretly – quran) (wa kadhalikna kidna li yusuf – and like that, We planned secretly for Yusuf – surah Yusuf)
– Makr – a plan of retaliation against an enemy. Whenever Allah ascribes this word to Himself, it only occurs after the oppressors have oppressed Allah’s believing slaves (wa makaroo wa makarAllah, wa Allahu khayrun maakireen – and they planned, and Allah also planned, and Allah is the best planner.)
– Heela – a clever plan to maximise your benefit, and minimize your harm, by trying to manipulate the rules/laws.
وَالْوِلْدَانِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ حِيلَةً وَلَا يَهْتَدُونَ سَبِيلًا
– wal wildaan laa yastatee’oona heelatan – Except for the oppressed among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan nor are they directed to a way – [Nisa’ 4:98]
i.e. Sadly, some people in our Islamic history would give the money they owed in Zakat (obligatory charity – for purification) to their wife as a gift at the time of Zakat collection. When the time for collection was over, their wife would give them their gift of money back.
This way, they did not pay Zakah/zakat, and they used this method of Heela.
So Allah used the word;
Muddabir – from Tadbeer – taking a step back (Dubr) before making an action. And when they have made their decision – they walk forward after a detailed decision has been made.
Now that Allah has taken an Oath by these things. He moves to a new subject.
The first few Oaths rhyme when discussing one subject matter, and now that a new topic is about to be discussed – a new rhyme scheme has begun.
But after all these Oaths’ – there was supposed to be a Response (Jawab) to the Oaths. (i.e. I swear[=Oath].. I will do this.[=Response])
But no Response is mentioned to the Oaths’ in this surah. [This is called Hazf].
This removal of a Response is because this surah is part of a series of other surahs’ which do provide a Response.
i.e. there are many Oaths in surah Mursalaat, and the Response to them is finally given in Ayah [77:]7 – surely what you have been promised (of Judgment Day) will for sure occur.
The benefit of removing the Response is;
– So you research other surahs’ in the Qur’an to find the answer [ommitted Response].
– You attention remains on the rest of the surah to find out why Allah said these Oaths’ in the beginning.
So Allah now begins to describe the Day of Ressurection.
In surah Naba’ – Allah describes the skeptic first (ayah 1 – 3: what are they asking each other, about the Great news, about that which they are in dispute).
Then later describes the hereafter (inna yawm al fassli kaana meeqaata – surely the Day of Decision will be established – ayah 17).
In this surah Nazi’at – Allah describes the Ressurection first (ayah 6 onwards), and then the skeptic later. (ayah 10)
This in Arabic is a mechanism called; Al Laf wan-Nash ‘alal Aks. (i.e. You fold something up, and then unfold it in its reflective/symmetrical form.
This surah will be a symmetrical (similar yet opposite) ordering of the previous surah Naba’.
يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الرَّاجِفَةُ
Yawma taRjufu ar-Rajifah
The Day – that which is meant to Rattle, when it will rattle/Shake.
Rajf – rattling, shaking.
-Zalzala – zalla – when ones feet slip. Zalzala is a repetition – someones feet keep on slipping and tripping up. And this occurs in an Earthquake.
-Rajj – a sudden jerk. This is the first stage of an Earthquake. The sudden jerk on the Earth when the Earth first quakes for an Earthquake.
-Maara – When you are riding a horse, or when a large animal runs past you, and you feel like the Earth is shaking beneath your feet. (i.e. Simulated Earthquake)
يَوْمَ تَمُورُ السَّمَاءُ مَوْرًا
– Yawma taMooru as-samaa’u Mawra – when the Skies shake a heavy shaking) – Tur 52:9.
Allah also says;
يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الْأَرْضُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَكَانَتِ الْجِبَالُ كَثِيبًا مَّهِيلًا
The Day the earth and mountains will Rattle, and the mountains will be as though they were sand dunes (i.e. when sand is easily blown off sand dunes – the mountains will have its material blown off just as easily.) [Muzzammil 73:14]
i.e. If you cannot imagine that – then Imagine a salt shaker, and when it shakes – the salt easily comes out.
This is how the mountains will be on that Day.
ar-Raajifah = that [noun/ism] which is meant to shake. So the final destiny of the Earth is that it will shake.
Rajf – it’s a highly uncomfortable motion. It depicts the feelings of the person being effected by the rattling – discomfort and disarray (no control) over ones self because you are also being shaken along with the Earth because you are in the Earth.
The second blowing of the Trumpet follows it (and everybody will be raised up),
Radifah – Radf: When your riding a camel, horse, driving a car etc – and someone is sitting behind you – they follow you wherever you go.
So the Rattling is (Tatba’a) Followed by a (Radif) Following rattling.
One is successively following of the other.
The scholars say the first Rattling of the Earth is the blowing of the Trumpet/Soor for the end of the Earth.
Then the second Trumpet/Soor is for the beginning of Judgment Day.
This was mentioned in surah Naba’ – yawma yanfakhu fis-soori fa ta/toona afwaajan.. (The Day the trumpet will be blown, then you will come out in multitudes..) [Naba’ 78:18]
Radaf literally implies: to sit behind something else and to follow where it goes.
When words are really close to each other in spelling in the arabic language, they are called mutaRaDiFaat.
Other words similar to Radf but their slight differences in meaning;
-Khalfa – follow something Chronologically. I.e. Someone came, and after them another (khalf) came to succeed him.
-Radf: behind something, and literally moving along with it.
-Talaa – follow something repeatedly. I.e. This is the word used for the moon when it comes after the sun.
قُلُوبٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاجِفَةٌ
Quloobun yawma idhin wajifah
(Some) Hearts – especially on that Day – will shake with Fear.
By not placing AL (the) before Quloob, signifies that some hearts will shake with fear. So there are other hearts which will not shake with such a fear on that Day (as will be explained later insha’ Allah).
wajaf – the Arabs would slap (wajf) their horse and it would get scared.
So the fear Allah described the disbelievers heart with is the fear animals had (an insult to the disbeliever).
Since this person fears the calamities on this Day, just like the animals.
Khawf – afraid of Physical danger
Khashya – afraid of the magnitude of something. [a Percieved danger i.e. losing your job etc.]
Khushoo’ – an overwhelming feeling of fear which is shown on your face, and limbs and face. We should have this in our Salah/namaz/prayers.
Taqwa – fear which makes you guard yourself.
Khawf is a perceived danger and a fear of something that is physical. Khawf is the type of fear you’d feel if a dog began to chase you.
Allah ta’ala says:
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
“But as for him who feared (khawf) standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts.” (79:40)
The Believer has a fear of something that is manifest and real, which is captured in this ayah by the use of khawf. Allah azza wa jal did not say in this ayah that the person fears their Lord, but fears the standing before his Lord, and as a result of this fear, he protected himself from lusts and desires.
On the other hand, Allah says about the disbelievers:
لَّا يَخَافُونَ الْآخِرَةَ
“They do not fear (khawf) the hereafter.” (74:53)
In another ayah, Allah describes His blessings upon the Quraysh:
الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُم مِّنْ خَوْفٍ
“(He) Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear (khawf).” (106:4)
While most of tribes of Arabia worried about being invaded or of a war, Allah ta’ala protected the Quraysh from this danger and granted them safety in Makkah.
Khashyah is a fear as a result of knowledge and leads to action. It is when you know the greatness and magnitude of what you fear, and as a result, have an awe and reverence of it.
Allah ta’ala tells the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam:
إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الذِّكْرَ وَخَشِيَ الرَّحْمَـٰنَ بِالْغَيْبِ
You can only warn him who follows the Reminder, and fears (khashyah) the Most Merciful unseen.(36:11)
Allah ta’ala describes the one who will benefit from the Qur’an: he has khashyah of Ar-Rahmaan. By using the Name of Allah, Ar-Rahmaan, it shows the level of their khashyah. We fear Al Jabbaar (The Compellor) and Al Azeez (The All Mighty), but to fear Ar-Rahmaan, The Most Merciful, is the height of true fear of Allah. These people have khashyah of Allah bil ghayb, in the unseen can be interpreted two ways: they fear Allah and have an awe of Him when they are alone and they fear Allah and have an awe of Him even though they do not see Him azza wa jal.
In the famous ayah that most of us know, Allah ta’ala says:
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.” (35:28)
Imam ibn Katheer rahimahullah states with regards to this ayah, “only those who have knowledge truly fear Him as He should be feared, because the more they know about the Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Knowing Who has the most perfect Attributes and is described with the most beautiful Names, the more they will fear Him.”
Khushoo’ is a fear that is manifested not only in your heart but it is shown on your face and limbs. Khushoo’ literally means to bend down and to become still. Khushoo’ is used for the submissiveness of the heart which is reflected on the limbs.
Allah ta’ala states,
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
“Successful indeed are the believers,” (23:1)
And the first quality of these successful believers:
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
“Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (23:2)
This is the kind of fear that we should have in salah; this fear should be present on our faces and not just in our hearts. If the heart has khushoo’, the body will have khushoo’. So khushoo’ is not just a state of the heart, it is a state of the heart which is visible on a person’s actions, in their posture, and in their movements.
In this dunya, the believers have this khushoo’, but in the aakhirah Allah states about the Disbelievers:
“Their eyes will be downcast.” (79:9)
These eyes that did not humble themselves to Allah in the dunya, will have fear in the aakhirah. This fear will be apparent on their faces; faces that are full of shame, humiliation and abasement.
Taqwa is the most common word used for fear. It comes from the root wiqaayah which means to protect and is used for a shield.Taqwa is to protect yourself from the consequences of your own actions. It is to protect yourself in two ways: to abandon sinning and adorn yourself with good deeds because you fear the punishment of Allah.
Allah ta’ala says in the ayaat of Hajj,
وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ
“And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa” (2:197)
This ayah is beautiful because Allah ta’ala commands us to take provisions during Hajj, that is true reliance upon Allah, but He also advises us to take the provision of the hereafter which is taqwa.
During Hajj, you are tested with many things and you must also keep away from certain actions that are otherwise halaal for you to do. The only way one can restrain themselves and be patient during Hajj is to have taqwa of Allah.
Hadthr is to escape something out of fear and cautiousness because you are in proximity of it. Allah azza wa jal uses this type of fear to describe the hypocrites in many ayaat. He says:
يَحْذَرُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ أَن تُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُورَةٌ تُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ
“The hypocrites fear (hadthr) lest a Surah should be revealed about them, showing them what is in their hearts.” (9:64)
Rau’ is to startle someone, or to show up out of nowhere and so the person becomes alarmed. It is also defined as to respect combined with fear. This word only appears once in the Qur’an to describe the panic that Ibrahim alayhi salaam felt panic when the Angels refused the food that he offered them:
فَلَمَّا ذَهَبَ عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الرَّوْعُ وَجَاءَتْهُ الْبُشْرَىٰ يُجَادِلُنَا فِي قَوْمِ لُوطٍ
Then when the fear (rau’) had gone away from Ibrahim, and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us (Our messengers) for the people of Lut.” (11:74)
Wajas is a fear when you hear news that scared you. It also means to hide your fear within you so that you don’t let the person or thing scaring you know that you are scared.
Ibrahim was scared of the angels but he did not let them see his fear:
فَلَمَّا رَأَىٰ أَيْدِيَهُمْ لَا تَصِلُ إِلَيْهِ نَكِرَهُمْ وَأَوْجَسَ مِنْهُمْ خِيفَةً
“But when he saw their hands went not towards it (the meal), he mistrusted them, and conceived a fear (wajas) of them.” (11:70)
Musa alayhi salaam also felt this hidden fear after he saw what the magicians could do with their staffs:
فَأَوْجَسَ فِي نَفْسِهِ خِيفَةً مُّوسَىٰ
So Musa conceived fear (wajas) in himself. (20:67)
Wajl is to have a fear that penetrates deep in your heart. It is a fear in which a person trembles and shivers. The word “mawjil”, from the same root, is a depressed ground for a large deep hole. When you come upon a huge hole in the ground out of nowhere, you are immediately shaken with fear.
This is how Allah ta’ala describes the hearts of the believers; they are immediately awe-struck and the fear of Him penetrates deep into their hearts:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ
“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear (wajl) in their hearts.” (8:2)
Rahb is that kind of a fear that makes you very alert, very careful and does not let you relax. This is the type of fear that students feel during exam time: restless, careful, and concern for passing. It is also fear that you are afraid that you will disappoint the one you love.
Allah azza wa jal commands us to have this fear of Him:
إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖفَإِيَّايَ فَارْهَبُونِ
Verily, He is (the) only One Deity. Then, fear Me much. (16:51)
The believers call upon Allah while fearing (rahbah) Him, and hoping (raghbah) in Him. Who knows which duaa these two words are mentioned from the sunnah? Post in the comments inshaAllah if you know!
Rahb is also defined as a fear that one has in which he is concerned about saving himself. Allah ta’ala described the hypocrites as being more concerned about saving themselves from the Muslims instead of saving themselves from Allah:
لَأَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ رَهْبَةً فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَ*ٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ
“Verily, you are more fearful (rahbah) in their breasts than Allah. That is because they are a people who comprehend not.” (59:13)
Ru’b is to be overwhelmed with fear and terror that makes you lose your reason.
Allah ta’ala placed this fear in the hearts of the mushriks of Makkah during the battle of Badr:
إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۚ سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعْبَ
“(Remember) when your Lord revealed to the angels, “Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror (ru’b) into the hearts of those who have disbelieved.” (8:12)
Ru’b is also used to describe the reaction of a person if they entered upon the Companions of the Cave:
لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَوَلَّيْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِرَارًا وَلَمُلِئْتَ مِنْهُمْ رُعْبًا
Had you looked at them, you would certainly have turned back from them in flight, and would certainly have been filled with awe (ru’b) of them. (18:18)
Allah made the cave so that no person would be able to remain there, such as a passerby, because the atmosphere was made that the person would feel fright so they would not be able to stay, but rather run in terror.
Shafaq has many meanings in its different forms. Ashfaqa is that fear that some harm will come to a person you love, it is a fear that is mixed with love, such as the love of a mother for her children; she is fearful out of love for them.
The Believers will reminisce in Jannah:
قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ
“Saying: “Aforetime, we were afraid (shafaq) in the midst of our families.” (52:26)
This ayah can be interpreted in two ways: Firstly, the believers, even amongst their families, feared Allah and secondly, they had this shafaq for their families, they were afraid for the aakhirah of their families.
While the believers were mushfiqeen in the dunya, the disbelievers will be mushfiqeen in the aakhirah.
تَرَى الظَّالِمِينَ مُشْفِقِينَ مِمَّا كَسَبُوا وَهُوَ وَاقِعٌ بِهِمْ
“You will see thewrong-doers fearful (shafaq) of that which they have earned, and it (the punishment) will surely befall them.” (42:22)
When this word is followed by من, min, such as this ayah, it does not mean love at all but rather a fear in the heart such as apprehension, anxiety, concern and worry.Try and imagine the fear and worry they will feel knowing that Hell-Fire awaits them. Either you are mushfiq now, or will be mushfiq later.
Wajf is a fear mixed with discomfort. It is when your heart pounds and palpitates so hard out of fear. Iti s to be agitated in a disturbed condition. Awjaftul Khayl means ‘I made my horse race forward by making its heart race.’
Allah azza wa jal depicts for us the Day of Judgment:
قُلُوبٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاجِفَةٌ
“hearts that day will be full of terror.” (79:8)
By not putting an “al” (alif-laam, ال) on quloob, it shows that only some hearts will have this fear on that Day. Some hearts that day will be beating out of their chests. Also the sentence structure illustrates that these hearts are not scared at the moment, right now they have peace, but on that Day they will experience wajf. Furthermore in the above ayah, waajifah is an ism faa’il (someone who does an act), so their hearts will be start pounding and it will not come to rest. The terror will not subside.
Their vision [the hearts] in fear (of something greater than themselves).
the visions (of the hearts) because it’s not AbsaruHUM (THEIR visions). It’s absaruHA (her vision [referring to the hearts mentioned in the previos ayah – ayah 8]).
This shows that people see with their hearts.
Absaar – Baseerah – to see something with Insight. So you see something and it has an impact on your heart and understanding.
What you see will be a reminder for you, so when you see the winds and wonders of Allah’s creation – you will reflect and remember Allah.
Those who did not remember Allah in this life with Baseerah (Insight) – their hearts on that Day will be in fear. Their eyes will be Khashi’ah – overwhelmed and in extreme fear.
They did not feel fear now (in this worldly life) – and now they will on this Day.
يَقُولُونَ أَإِنَّا لَمَرْدُودُونَ فِي الْحَافِرَةِ
yaqooloona a innaa lamardoodoona fee al hafirah
They are [presently] saying, “Will we indeed be returned to [our] former state [of life]?
A Transision takes place in this ayah. It is ironic that the disbeliever laughs while the believer fears in this life.
So Allah tells us;
yaQooloon – they say (present-future tense).
Is it really the case that we’re going to return back to where we started (i.e. back to life again?)
MaRdood – Radd – a return where you were not accepted. So you were Sent back.
Hafirah: Return back to where you started.
So the disbelievers are saying – was death not enough for us that we had to be sent back?
This is sarcasm.
Hafirah – Hifr (shovel to dig in the ground). When you dig in the ground, but you’ve dug in the wrong place. So someone tells you to make that land back to normal again i.e. put the soil back to where it originally was = Hafirah.
So the disbelievers are saying, our graves are dug. It doesn’t seem possible that we would be brought once again onto the Earth.
أَإِذَا كُنَّا عِظَامًا نَّخِرَةً
A idha kunnaa idhaaman nakhirah
“Even after we are crumbled bones?”
The disbeliever continues;
Okay, maybe it’s possible we might be brought back to life if we are dead for a few minutes, someone might bring us back to life.
But we will even be brought back to life at the time when our bones will have become decayed? When they have become hollow, and wind can pass through them and a bad smell comes out? You are saying we will be ressurected in that state?
Nakhirah – hollow and crumbled bones [‘Idhaam (‘Adhm = bone)].
قَالُوا تِلْكَ إِذًا كَرَّةٌ خَاسِرَةٌ
Qaaloo tilka idhan karratun khaasirah
They say: “It would in that case, be a return with loss!”
Qaaloo – they say (past tense). This shows that the following statement has been said less often.
[Before it was yaQooloon (they say – present-future tense).]
If something is a one-time thing, Past tense is used.
If something is said or done often – Present-Future tense is used.
I.e. When Allah says about murder;
Accidental: wa man qatala mu’mina khata’an (and whoever killed a believer by mistake)
Intentional: wa man yuQtal mu’mina muta’amillan (and whoever kills a believer in action/deed).
The one on purpose might do it again (continuously – present-future tense), but the one who did it by mistake will not do it again (so past tense is used – he probably won’t do it continuously).
This shows that some of the disbelievers did actually give the idea of Ressurection some thought, so they said;
Then this is going to a return full of terrible loss.
Qarra – Return. This word was used to mean an attack/strike. “Qarra wa Farra (Strike and Flee)” was a technique used by the arabs in battle before Islam.
So they are saying sarcastically; that if we did return, that would be a terrible loss.
Allah ends this discussion with the next ayah;
فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ
Fa innamaa hiya zajratun wahidah
Then, It is only going to take one yelling [from the trumpet].
In surah Naba’ – Allah ended the disputes by saying; kal-laa saya’lamoon – No! They will soon know.
In this surah Nazi’at; Allah ends the dispute by saying; Fa inna ma hiyya zajratun wahidah.
It’s only going to take one yelling.
Zajrah – a loud offensive yelling [Zajr].
كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ فَكَذَّبُوا عَبْدَنَا وَقَالُوا مَجْنُونٌ وَازْدُجِرَ
The people of Noah denied before them, and they denied Our servant and said, “A
madman,” and he was repelled harshly. [Qamar 54:9]
They say he is an insane, and he was yelled at in order to make him run away.
So Allah will scold them, or it means that the Trumpet will be blown loudly and harshly so they will be startled and begin to run.
= Zajratun wahidah.
فَإِذَا هُم بِالسَّاهِرَةِ
fa idhaa hum bis-saahirah
And suddenly they will be [alert] upon the earth’s surface.
Fa = So (as a result of the Zajrah).
as-Sahirah – Sahr – literally: your sleep has disappeared.
An open field – where the traveller rests. Then some robber comes and steals his wealth. So when he wakes up – he loses his sleep = Sahirah.
Sahr – open field and being Exposed = losing sleep. Since both are related in the Arab experience.
So now they will be in this place – an open field, and they will lose their sleep.
Sahirah = a Mirage. When you are travelling in an open space i.e. In the desert, you are exhausted, and you need water. If you see signs of water, your sleep dissapears.
Sahirah – pale/crusty ground which is almost white and flat. A field/land where all mankind will be gathered on Judgment Day.
[the Sahara desert is called the Sahra in arabic because it covers all of the above meanings.]
Tafseer al Haqqani: This is like losing your sleep because when you wake up on Judgment Day, you will have lost all your sleep because of the terror of that Day.
Based on Surah Yasin; Qaaloo man ba’athanaa min maRqadinaa – they will say; who raised us from our place of sleep? (see Surah Yaseen 36:52)
Because when Judgment Day begins – there will be no more sleep after that. No more sister of death (sleep) will ever occur after that, neither in Hell, or Paradise.
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَىٰ
hal ataaka hadeethu moosa
Has there come to you the story of Musa (Moses)?
Again the subject changes.
– In the beginning Allah performed Oaths to show His power. I.e. Winds. The closest thing to the unseen in this world is the wind. Allah illustrates His power and mercy through the winds (i.e. Destruction and spreading pollen and rain etc.)
– The second part is about being careful of what you say. You’re not the 1st ones who are skeptics, and you’re not the first ones with quick replies. There were people before you who said the same thing, but their arrogance will humble them and make their body weak with fear.
Hal ataaka hadeethu Moosa?
has the news of Moses reached you (O Muhammad)?
Allah has changed the discussion so it is directly to Allah’s Messenger.
hal ataaKa (has reached You [O Muhammad, sal Allah alayhi wasalam] hadeethu Moosa – the news of Moses.)
This has changed the audience, from everyone, and then directly to Allah’s Messenger, even though everyone else is listening.
hadeeth – used for something manifest and new. Or when you have heard of a news before, then you forgot it and then it is told to you again, and it is like you have heard it for the first time.
So; has the news of Moses already reached you? (do you know of his legacy?)
إِذْ نَادَاهُ رَبُّهُ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى
idh naadaa hu Rabbuhu bi-l waadi-l muqaddas it-tuwa
When his Lord called upon him loudly (nidaa) and forcefully in the Muqaddas Valley of Tuwa.
Muqaddas – taQdees – to speak of Allah in a way that is appropriate of Allah, and to remove from Allah anything that is not appropriate of Him.
Muqaddas = this can be a place specified for declaring the perfection of Allah. I.e. A sanctified holy place.
Allah is reminding His Messenger that He gave him revelation at the Cave of Hira, in comparison to Moses who was called to the Valley of Tuwa for inspiration (wahy).
اذْهَبْ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَىٰ
idh-hab ilaa fir’awna innahu tagha
Go to Fir’aun (Pharaoh), verily, he has transgressed all bounds (in crimes, sins, polytheism, disbelief, etc.).
Go to Pharoah, surely he has rebelled.
iDhhab ilaa – Go to (Pharoah) straightaway.
Similar to other places in the Qur’an when Allah says to Moses;
Fa’tiya فَأْتِيَا – Go and approach (Pharoah). [Taha 20:47]
Just as Moses was sent to Pharoah straightaway, Allah is sending Prophet Muhammad (sal Allah alayhi wasalam) to the Quraysh. Why? Because they have rebelled (taghaa).
Tagha – Tughyan – i.e. If you go past the limit. I.e. When oceans boil over and go past their limits and spill over. When their are limits and they are crossed.
Pharoah rebelled because;
1 – He made himself as a Rabb (Master).
2 – He enslaved the Bani Isra’eel (children of Isra’eel/Prophet Ya’qub/Jacob).
This shows that his problem is that he loves rebelling against Allah. You love to be ‘free’ against what Allah has ordered.
فَقُلْ هَل لَّكَ إِلَىٰ أَن تَزَكَّىٰ
Fa qul hal-laKa
hal-laKa (maylun) – do You have ANY inclination at all, that you want to cleanse yourself (tazzakkaa) of the evil that you are involved in.
Do you have anything in your conscience that tells you to purify yourself?
So there has to be something good inside the person for the guidance of Allah to benefit them. That urge to be pure and to cleanse ones self from rebellion and disobedience.
Do you not see any inclination in yourself to want to cleanse/purify yourself?
Fa – al-Ta’keed (connects 2 things together)
Fa – Sababbiyah (cause and Effect).
Hal-laKa ilaa an- ta-zakkaa – These words don’t imply; do you have any good in you? No. Rather, they imply – Do you have a desire to make yourself a better and purified person?
Because people do have goodness in them (in their Fitrah – natural disposition) – but they might not accept it, or they might be drowning in so much rebellion that they don’t want to incline to goodness and purification.
This is the last resort, you might give someone a call to purification. But if they don’t obey, you need to ask; do you have any desire to purify yourself?
You are your own best judge.
وَأَهْدِيَكَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ فَتَخْشَىٰ
wa ahdi-yaka ilaa Rabbika fa takhsha
And let me guide you to your Lord so you would fear [Him]?’”
The rhyme scheme after ayah 15 is consistent in this surah. Ayah 15 is where the narrative of Moses begins, and from then onwards..
The aayaat after this rhyming scheme will be different to show that a new paragraph (or new discussion has begun).
The Messenger of Allah has been been asked by Allah if the news of Moses has come to him (Ayah 15). The word Hadeeth was used to signify as if it is a New news, or it is a news known already – but it is told in a New way (to the listener; almost as if they heard it for the first time).
In other surahs’ of the Qur’an – Allah spoke about the details of when Moses went to the valley of Tuwa, to Pharoah etc. But in this surah it is a brief mention.
Why is it a brief mention now and not in detail?
Stories are repeated in the Quran to cite the discussion which is already taking place in the surah and what will come later on in the surah. So it is placed perfectly in the context of the surah to strengthen the message of the surah’s disussion itself.
And do you not see any inclination in yourself that I may guide you?
This ayah/statement of Moses – is connected to (the previous ayah) ayah 18 because of the Fat-ha/zabar on the word aHdiyA.
Grammar: Normally aHdiy (marfoo’) would be used, but instead it is now aHdiyA (maNsoob) because of the word AN in the previous ayah (ayah 18). Which shows that these 2 aayaat are one statement together.
aHdiya – Hidaya – guidance.
Il-laa – To.
In surah al Fatihah, we recite; iHdina as-Siraat al mustaqeem – guide us (TO and ALONG) the upright/straight path.
[because there is no Ilaa (to) – it implies the meaning of both ‘to’ and ‘along’.]
So Moses is saying to Pharoah that I can guide you TO (ilaa) the upright path.
But we have to pray to Allah to guide us TO and ALONG that upright/straight/mustaqeem path.
The word Ilaa also implies that Prophet Moses can guide Pharoah to his Master, and that guiding would be done through knowledge. (I.e. Guiding someone to the airport would be done through telling them with knowledge where the airport is.)
Ilaa = to
RabbiKa – Your Rabb (Master/Lord/Owner etc).
The word Rabb is used in this ayah – which continues the Theme of Rabb in this surah.
We will see how Pharoah even claims to be a Rabb later in the surah (ayah 24).
The concept of Rabb is the root connection to the Next Life (aakhirah).
Because a caring Master is going to deal with justice, and as mentioned in the Quran many times – that is on Judgment Day.
taKhshaa – Khashyah – fear of something Huge/Great/Powerful than yourself.
So Pharoah is being told by Moses that;
Do you not even have a small feeling of wanting to purify yourself even a little? That I would guide you to your Master, so you would realise how Great He really is, causing you to be in extreme fear of His Majesty? (this would in effect cause Pharoah to humble himself and lose his arrogance).
We learn from this that what Moses would tell of knowledge would lead to true fear of Allah. (so knowledge without fear of Allah is not beneficial).
..aHdiyaka ilaa Rabbika.. (guide you to your Master [with knowledge])
..FA taKhsha. (SO – as a result – you Fear someone greater than yourself.)
Allah tells us that those who truly fear Allah are those who have knowledge (‘ulamaa. [Fatir 35:28]:-
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ
– . It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah. Verily, Allah is AllMighty, OftForgiving.).
Keep in mind that the narrative of Pharoah is being mentioned, but really – this is a parallel to the life of Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh disbelievers, or any caller to Islam and an arrogant tyrant.
فَأَرَاهُ الْآيَةَ الْكُبْرَىٰ
fa araahu al aayat al kubraa
And he showed him the greatest sign,
Then – in order to make him find that goodness inside of him – then he (Moses) showed him the Ultimate (kubra) sign (ayat).
Kubra (Ultimate Great – feminine form) is the feminine of Akbar (Ultimate Great – masculine form).
i.e. Ahsan/Husna. [Perfect – male/female] These are Superlative adjectives – Afdal/Tafdeel. The Ultimate signs.
Prophet Moses showed Pharoah the biggest signs, and phaoroah was scared of all the signs, but the one he feared the most was when his staff/stick turned into a big living snake.
Because when he sent his magicians to compete with Moses’s signs, they did not compete with his hand being a clear bright light, or the locusts coming in huge numbers as a punishment. No, rather – Pharoah sent his magicians to throw ropes (which would look like live snakes) to compete with Prophet Moses’s stick which turned into a real snake.
So Allah says that he showed him the biggest sign.
To Pharoah – the biggest sign was the real snake.
Parallel: To the disbelieving Quraysh polytheists – the biggest sign was this miraculouss Book – the Qur’an.
Yet because there was no sign of Pharoah still wanting to turn good after seeing the biggest miracle, what did he do instead?
fa kadhdhaba wa ‘asaa
But [Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] belied and disobeyed;
kadhdhaba – lied against.
Lied against what? There is no specific mention of what he lied against. This implies that he lied against everything of the message; Allah, Moses, the miracles, his conscience.
So by simply saying Kadhdhaba – Belied – it covers lying against everything of the truth.
He had no reason to lie against the truth – except for the fact that he was arrogant and had no goodness left inside of him.
‘Assaa – ‘isyaan – to disobey. To refuse,
To refuse and disobey even though you know something is good for you.
This is what Pharoah did. And this is what the Quraysh polytheists were doing.
Fisq – to abandon a path which was good to begin with.
Faasiq – someone who disobeys Allah alot.
Fujoor – Fajara – literally: to tear something wide open. I.e. Tearing the sanctuaries of Allah’s limits.
Parallel: The polytheist disbelievers are lying against the Judgment Day, about the belief of being brought back to life once again, lying against the message of this Qur’an.
ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ يَسْعَىٰ
Thumma adbara yasAAa
Then he turned away, pacing
(i.e. Pharoah is in a state of restlessness and wondering what to do next.)
yaS’aa – Sa’ee – to Pace – walk fast, but not run.
The more Pharoah tries to put Moses and his message down – the more the audience is amazed at Moses’s message.
This is why, even Pharoah’s magicians became Muslims whilst the audience watched on.
Pharoah gradually loses his authority and fear-factor when the truth of Allah’s message continues.
taDbeer (plan something deeply with deep thought) – iDbaar – plan something quickly without much thought.
iDbaar is used in this ayah – signifying that Pharoah was planning while not being able to give his plans fuill attention (most probably because of his fear of losing power).
So he is turning back and forth and thinking of what to do next.
We know from other parts of the Qur’an that Pharoah called Prophet Moses/Musa;
1st – Majnoon – a Madman/crazy/insane.
2nd – Saahir – Magician.
يُرِيدُ أَن يُخْرِجَكُم مِّنْ أَرْضِكُمْ
– he wants to expel you from your land. [A’raf 7:110]
When none of these accusation’s worked, his story contradicted itself over and over.
So he said;
قَالَ آمَنتُمْ لَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ آذَنَ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَكَبِيرُكُمُ الَّذِي عَلَّمَكُمُ السِّحْرَ ۖ فَلَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُم مِّنْ خِلَافٍ وَلَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ فِي جُذُوعِ النَّخْلِ وَلَتَعْلَمُنَّ أَيُّنَا أَشَدُّ عَذَابًا وَأَبْقَىٰ
[Pharaoh] said, “You believed him before I gave you permission. Indeed, he is your leader who has taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you on the trunks of palm trees, and you will surely know which of us is more severe in [giving] punishment and more enduring.” [Taha 20:71]
He is running out of ideas and all his claims are sounding more stupid each time. This is exactly what happens when truth hits falsehood.
fa hashara fa naadaa
Then gathered his people and called out aloud..
Hashara – to gather/herd. This is used more for animals.
So Pharoah herded all the people together like animals, forcefully.
Jama’a – to gather.
Qaala – said..
فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَىٰ
ana rabbukum-ul A’la
I am your Supreme Lord.
This was already known by the Egyptians at that time – that they have to accept him as their Master/Rabb – whether they like it or not.
But he had to reaffirm this false belief to reaffirm his authority and to make sure the people still believed in this (since he knew that people might be getting influenced by the call of Moses).
This is why Pharoah said; I am your Lord the Most High (al-A’la).
Parallel: The Quraysh polytheists would make the idol-worship tradition of their forefathers as the supreme Lord. This was their evil.
In another surah in the Qur’an, Pharoah is mentioned;
وَنَادَىٰ فِرْعَوْنُ فِي قَوْمِهِ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَلَيْسَ لِي مُلْكُ مِصْرَ وَهَٰذِهِ الْأَنْهَارُ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِي ۖ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ
(and Pharoah called out aloud amongst his people; O my people, Don’t I have the Kingdom of Egypt, and these are rivers flowing underneath me? Do you not see?)
أَمْ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْ هَٰذَا الَّذِي هُوَ مَهِينٌ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ
(Am I not better than this low class [referring to Moses an Israelite – who were slaves then.] and sometimes he cannot even express himself (Prophet Moses would sometimes stutter).
So this dialogue of Pharoah shows that he is arrogant, but it also shows that he is weak deep down inside. This same Pharoah who would not even talk to the people out of his high rank is being challenged to talk to the people and convince them that he really is their Lord, because many of them are losing fear of him and preferring Allah as their true Rabb/Master.
This shows that he knew he was losing his authority, fear-factor and power, due to the power of the call of truth.
فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الْآخِرَةِ وَالْأُولَىٰ
fa akhadhaHu Allahu nakaala al aakhirati wal oowla
So Allah seized him in exemplary punishment for the last and the first
Then Allah reminds His Messenger – Prophet Muhammad;
Fa aKhazahu Allah – So (Allah) Took/seized him (pharoah)
Nakaal – An anklet/bracelet which is tied to the foot, and is connected to a chain that is tied up against a wall.
(it is used in old prisons aswell as in maximum security prisons today)
It is also an anklet attached to a chain which is tied to other prisons who also wear anklets. So when the guards tell them to move – they have to move together.
So the Nakaal can either be;
– to prevent someone from escaping, and it can also ;
– force them to move – even if the movement is not your own.
This is a deterrent which places fear into the people so they do not want to disobey the authority. And if someone was about to be executed – they would be placed in these Nakaal.
The irony is that Allah made Pharoah himself an example of this deterrence, of this Nakaal for future and earlier generations not to imitate the ways of Pharoah.
Aakhirah wa-al Oowla has the following implications:
1 – Later and Earlier crimes [of Pharoah].
2 – Punishment of the Afterlife and this Life.
3 – It also has irony because when someone disobeyed Pharoah – he would tell them that he will make an example out of them. I.e. So others don’t disobey him.
So Allah made an example out of Pharoah. (he would cut peoples’ hands and feet from opposite sides and crucify them till they died in the heat of the sun.)
So Allah is warning the Quraysh polytheists that He has made an example out of someone much more powerful and wealthier than them in the past. So they should not joke about the Messenger and Judgment Day.
The Messenger of Allah is being told that you don’t need to worry – that if they persist in this evil – they will face the same fate of Pharoah.
إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَىٰ
inna fee dhalika la ibratan li man yakhsha
Indeed in that is a warning for whoever would fear [ Allah ].
‘Ibra – commonly translated as ‘Lesson/Warning’.
‘Ibra – ‘Uboor – to cross water/a river.
‘abru al-nahr – the dock where the ship goes straight across the water.
‘abrat al-ayn – the tear crossed the line of the eye and came out of the eye.
‘Ibra – ‘Abara – someone is so sad – that they are about to cry tears.
Inna fee dhalika – especially in that account (of Pharoah’s story)
La ‘Ibra – surely [there is a] reason to cry tears.
There is enough of a clue in this story of Pharoah for you to cross the water from disbelief into belief.
All this is summarised in one word – ‘Ibra.
Li man yaKhsha – for he who Fears something larger than themselves. I.e. They fear Allah, they fear a similar fate to Pharoah, fear Judgment Day etc.
This ‘ibra will make them cry and enter into the truth of Islam – if they fear that which is Greater than them.
But remember, if you are too arrogant and think you’re so big, remember the fate of Pharoah and remember (the sky – which Allah also created – is a bigger creation than you – yet that obeys Allah);
أَأَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَمِ السَّمَاءُ ۚ بَنَاهَا
a antum ashaddu khalqan am-issamaa’. banaahaa.
Are you more severe/difficult/intense of [a] creation? Or the sky [He] built?
This is a new passage/paragraph in the surah now.
Passages of this surah:
1 – Oaths (ayah 1 – 5)
2 – Judgment Day (ayah 6 – 14)
3 – the story of Moses (ayah 15 – 26)
4 – Reflection on Creation(ayah 27-33)
5 – Judgment Day (ayah 34-46)
The Rhyming scheme has again changed now that a new topic is being discussed.
Banaa – Binaa – to build – when one part meshes into the other. I.e. When you build, one brick meshes into another so it is one big construction.
This word is used for the sky being Created (Banaa).
Samaa’ – Smw (letters seen, meem, waw) – everything which is above us; sky, space, etc. Allah built all them.
Allah has built them.
رَفَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا
Rafa’a samkaha fa sawwahaa
He evelated it at the highest point and balanced/levelled it.
Samk – the highest. Saamik – the highest part on a camel’s hump.
So Allah is telling us that He heightened the skies highest part.
Allah elevated the roof of the sky to where we cannot even see it with our naked eye.
Rafa’a (elevated) Samkaha (its highest point).
fa (then) Sawwaha – Balanced it out and levelled it to Perfection (taSwiyya covers all these meanings).
هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ
– do you see any gaps in it (the sky)? (surah Mulk 67:3)
وَأَغْطَشَ لَيْلَهَا وَأَخْرَجَ ضُحَاهَا
wa aghtasha laylaha wa akhraja duhaha
Its night He covers with darkness, and its forenoon He brings out (with light).
Allah uses many words for Night in the Qur’an. Alot of them are in Juzz ‘Amma. Some include:
1 – wa al-layli idha ‘Asss-’Asss – and the night when the chokehold of the night takes place (at maghrib/sunset time).
2 – wa al-subhi idha taNaffass – and when the morning Breathes.
3 – Ghasaqa (wa al-layli wa ma Ghasaq) – the dark of the night when the blue of the day sky has gone and it is fully dark.
4 – this word is in this ayah of this surah; iGhtaash – aGhtasha – the darkness of the night when things becoming blurry and you can’t see in the dark.
Allah made the night exceptionally dark where you cannot see anything.
And from the extreme dark (aGhtasha) – He made the clear brightness of the late morning (Duha) when everything is so clear and bright.
This can also be a comparison of life without guidance, and how Allah brings clear light of guidance after a dark period of misguidance and darkness.
وَالْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ دَحَاهَا
wal arddi ba’da dhalika dahaahaa
And thereafter – He made the Earth a smooth surface.
Brother Nouman Ali Khan says about this ayah (35 minutes [Nazi’at part B]);
Daha – Dahwa – the egg of an Ostrich.
Ud-hiyyah – the place where the ostrich lays its egg.
So some have said that because there is an implication of Daha being something similar (like an ostrich’s egg) and Allah has used this word – it is possible that it has this implication in it. And Allah knows best.
In the classical sense;
Daha / yad-hu / dahwun – to smoothen and spreaden.
So Allah is illustrating that after the sky is such a magnificent creation – which shows extreme bright light from extreme darkness – He also makes the Earth and how widely it is spread.
This is also a reminder to the disbeliever because when he sees the expanse of the Earth – he will remember the Day when he will be on the flat plain land of Saahirah – on Judgment Day – waiting to be judged by Allah.
أَخْرَجَ مِنْهَا مَاءَهَا وَمَرْعَاهَا
aKhraja min ha Maa’aha wa mar’aaha
He drew out from it it’s water and it’s pasture,
Maa’ = water.
maR’aa – [dharf makaan – location/place]. Ra’ – pasture and grazing land where produce for your animals and you is grown.
So Allah made the earth wide and smooth and expansive so we could find water in it, and also made areas where we could grow food for ourselves and our animals in different locations and different times.
wal jibaala aRsaahaa
And He drew out the mountains
iRsaa – arsaa – to put an anchor down in a large ship.
So Allah is saying that He put the mountains down like an anchor is thrown – firmly in the ground. So they are firmly there and cannot easily be moved from there location.
Irsaa also means to Peg/pegging.
This word will come on again later in this surah [ayah (79:)42].
مَتَاعًا لَّكُمْ وَلِأَنْعَامِكُمْ
Mataa’an-lakum wa li an’aamikum
Provisions [useage] for you and your cattle.
Mataa’ – provisions to use. In ancient arabic – this word was used for the brush/cloth you use to wash your dishes. It is not enjoyable – but it is useage which we need to move on ahead in life.
Allah is telling us that these things of the world are for our use, to get to the next life.
Tamattu’ – use and enjoy.
The real problem of the one who is attached to this world is that he is attached to the things of this world when they are not fully worth enjoying. They are just a use for us to fulfill our purpose of obedience to Allah, then the true enjoyment (Tamattu’) is in the next world.
فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الطَّامَّةُ الْكُبْرَىٰ
fa idha jaa’ati-Ttaamatu-l-Kubraa
Then when the Grand Complete Calamity comes.
Fa = Then
Idhaa – When [future tense],
Jaa’a – grand Arrival comes.
similar word; ‘Ataa – come (something lesser in heaviness which ‘comes’ [in comparison to Jaa’ which refers to something ‘Grand coming’).
Ttaama – Ttam – for something to be completely full.
Ttam al bi’r – when someone fills up a well with dirt so it becomes full.
Ttaama – calamity which is so overwhelming and full from every side that there is no escape from it.
When that arrives..
يَوْمَ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ مَا سَعَىٰ
yawma yatadhakkar ul-Insanu maa sa’aa
Then – on that day – man will fully remember what he paced for [in this life].
yawma – (this is placed at the beginning of the ayah – signifying Exclusively [ikhtisas] on this Day)
yaTadhakkar ul-Insan – Man will fully/thoroughly remember (unlike ayah 18 where iDgham is used [to show a partial meaning by shortening a word], in this ayah – a full complete word is used to show completeness – thorough remembrance)..
maa Sa’aa – what he paced (i.e. what he used to pace for in this life).
[this is the similar word used for Pharoah in ayah 22 of this surah when he was pacing to plot against Moses.]
We also see that the insults of the disbelievers are because of them wanting to pace to evil and shameful sins. And they will fully remember their evil pacings on that Day.
وَبُرِّزَتِ الْجَحِيمُ لِمَن يَرَىٰ
wa burrizatil jaheemu li man yaraa
And Hell (Jaheem) will be pulled out for the one to see.
Barraza – Tabreez – pull something out of of somewhere and place it infront of you.
Jaheem – Jahama – the stare of a beast when it is about to attack it’s prey.
Similarly a fire which is so intense that it looks as if it is staring at you fiercely and is about to jump on you.
The disbeliever skeptics would say they won’t believe in hell till they see it. So now they will on Judgment Day – but it will be too late then to turn back.
So hell is staring at them with hungry eyes (Jaheem). And they are staring at it (yaRa).
فَأَمَّا مَن طَغَىٰ
fa ammaa man tagha
Then as for the one who (still) rebelled.
Tagha – rebelled. This was the reason why Prophet Moses was sent to Pharoah, because ‘surely he rebelled [tagha]‘ (ayah 19 of this surah).
man = whoever. This word is used to imply that whoever rebels against Allah, then he will see hell and enter it.
وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
wa aathara al hayaat ad-dunya
And gave preference (aathara) to worldly life.
hayaat = life.
Dunya – the closer [aDna] / inferior [dunYa] world.
So this person never rejected the next life. Rather, he gave more preference to this worldly life over the next life, that was his rebellion.
فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
fa innal jaheema hiyya al ma’waa
Then the Jaheem will be his Ma’waa.
al Ma’waa – Eewaa – a place to seek refuge from danger.
How can an intense blazing fire will be a refuge from danger?
Allah is being sarcastic in response to the disbelievers sarcasm (mentioned in ayah 12 of this surah).
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
wa ammaa man khaafa maqaama rabbihee wa nahann-nafsa ‘an-il hawaa
As for the one who feared (Khaaf/khawf) standing before their Lord.
Moses was saying to pharoah that I will lead you with knowledge to fear (khashiyah/takhsha) of Allah who is greater than you. (mentioned in ayah 19 of this surah.)
Khaafa – feared to stand (maQaam) infront of his Lord.
maQaam [Dharf zamaan and makaan – fear – of time and location].
And as a consequence – he fought the Nafs – from vain/pathetic/empty desires.
Hawaa – vain/empty/pathetic desires which may be so strong on the moment, but when the feeling vanishes – it is nothing.
Allah did not say;
Naha NafsaHU – (he) prevented HIS Nafs (self).
Rather, He said; Naha AL Nafs – (he) prevented THE Nafs.
So Allah is telling us that this Nafs is in us, but when it calls us to evil – it is our enemy commanding us to do evil. It is not even associated with us, rather it is a force we are fighting with against evil vain desires.
فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
Fa-inna aljannata hiya alma/wa
Then the Paradise is his finding refuge (Ma’waa).
This surah is not about belief and disbelief of the next life, rather it is about preference of this world over the next. – that is criticized.
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا
yas-aloonaka ‘an as-saa’ati ayyaana mursaaha
They ask you about the hour – when it is going to be pegged.
Now the disbelievers are being sarcastic – since many in that time did not believe the universe would end. So they would wonder when all these events would occur when the Earth is destroyed etc.
So they are saying – when will all this firmly take place. The same word is being used (to ayah 32 of this surah) for the mountains being firmly anchored/pegged.
Allah quotes the disbelievers when they are saying sarcastically – When will this Day be firmly pegged [Mursa/irsa]/anchored/take place?
فِيمَ أَنتَ مِن ذِكْرَاهَا
feema anta min dhikraaha
In what capacity are you to be speaking about it?
From the previous ayah – Allah answers the disbelievers;
The Messenger’s duty is only to convey the message of this Day’s coming, and he does not have knowledge of it’s date, nor does he need to know. He just needs to warn of it’s coming and it’s events.
إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ مُنتَهَاهَا
ilaa rabbika muntahaha
Only to your Lord will the final and complete knowledge of it return.
The ‘only’ is placed there because Rabbika is placed at the beginning of the ayah = exclusivity for Him (ikhtisas).
muNtaha – Intiha – the Conclusion of something.
Only to your Rabb/Lord is the full knowledge of the full beginning of the Akhirah/afterlife, and the conclusion of that Ending.
إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُنذِرُ مَن يَخْشَاهَا
Innamaa anta mindhiru man yakhshahaa
You are nothing more than a Warner for the one who fears.
(this ayah is a response to the disbelievers question in ayah 42 of this surah).
A recurring Theme in this surah is about the reminder benefitting the one who has Khashya/fear of something greater than ones self (i.e. That might be Allah, Judgment Day, Hell etc.)
كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَهَا لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا عَشِيَّةً أَوْ ضُحَاهَا
ka annahum yawma yarawnahaa lam yalbathoo il-laa ‘ashiyyatan aw duhahaa
The Day on which they will see it (the Judgment Day or hell) – they will remember this world and they will say we did not stay in this worldly life except for (the world’s) Ashiyy or Duha.
Ashiyy – when the sun sets till Maghrib time (when it begins to get dark.)
Duha – the late morning till the midnoon/early afternoon).
That’s how much they will remember this worldly life in comparison to the length of Judgment Day. Just a small evening time, or late morning till noon.
What a regret – for preferring such a short life over the hereafter. We ask Allah to make us the people of Paradise, ameen.
In the beginning of the surah – Allah spoke about Judgment Day. (ayah 6 onwards).
In the end – the Judgment Day is again mentioned. (ayah 34 onwards)
To sandwich all the discussion into one main – the Theme of Judgment Day and its main importance.
Source : NAKCollection