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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 56 (Al-Waqi‘ah- The Event) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 40)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 40]: Three classes of men:
Chapter 56: (Al-Waqi‘ah: The Event)
(Revealed at Makkah: 3 sections; 96 verses)

1. Introduction:

The Event referred to, from which the title of this chapter is taken, is the time of the meting out of reward and punishment to the faithful and the opponents respectively. This chapter speaks of three classes of men, the foremost among the faithful being indicated as a separate class, while the other two are the believers and their opponents. The first section, after stating that men will be divided into three classes, speaks of the two classes of the faithful; the second refers to the guilty opponents, while the third states that judgment is inevitable and the three classes will receive what they deserve.

It is an early Makkan revelation.

2. Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 When the Event comes to passa

2 There is no belying its coming to pass —

3 Abasing (some), exalting (others) —

4 When the earth is shaken with a (severe) shaking,

5 And the mountains are crumbled to pieces,a

6 So they are as scattered dust,

7 And you are three sorts.

8 So those on the right-hand; how (happy) are those on the right-hand!

9 And those on the left; how (wretched) are those on the left!

10 And the foremost are the foremosta

11 These are drawn nigh (to Allah).

12 In Gardens of bliss.

13 A multitude from among the first,

14 And a few from among those of later times,a

15 On thrones inwrought,

16 Reclining on them, facing each other.

17 Round about them will go youths never altering in age,a

18 With goblets and ewers, and a cup of pure drink —

19 They are not affected with headache thereby, nor are they intoxicated,

20 And fruits that they choose,

21 And flesh of fowl that they desire,

22 And pure, beautiful ones,

23 Like hidden pearls.

24 A reward for what they did.

25 They hear therein no vain or sinful talk —

26 But only the saying, Peace! Peace!a

27 And those on the right hand; how (happy) are those on the right hand!

28 Amid thornless lote-trees,

29 And clustered banana-trees,

30 And extensive shade,

31 And water gushing,

32 And abundant fruit,

33 Neither intercepted, nor forbidden,

34 And exalted couches.

35 Surely We have created them a (new) creation,

36 So We have made them virgins,

37 Loving, equals in age,

38 For those on the right hand.a

39 A multitude from among the first,

40 And a multitude from among those of later times.a

3. Commentary:

1a. Note that the Holy Qur’an speaks of the Hour or the Event not only as signifying the Resurrection, but also very frequently as signifying the doom of its opponents. That doom was, in fact, a foretaste of what they would suffer in the life after death; this is made clear in v. 3. [Back to verse 1]

5a. The crumbling of the mountains signifies the fall of great opponents; see 20:105a. [Back to verse 5]

10a. Those foremost in doing good are foremost in reaping their reward. [Back to verse 10]

14a. Those who accepted the Holy Prophet in the earlier stages of his mission, and had to make greater sacrifices, had a greater reward; but there were others who waited until Islam was established in the land and made no sacrifices. Compare 57:10; 57:10a. [Back to verse 14]

17a. Khallada means he remained or continued forever, and mukhalladun signifies that never become decrepit, or never altering in age, because there is no decay in the life after death. [Back to verse 17]

26a. This description of the paradise in early revelation does not differ from that of later revelation. After various blessings are enumerated, their true nature is depicted in one word, Peace. Peace in this world, and Peace in the Hereafter, such is the message of Islam. [Back to verse 26]

38a. It is noteworthy that the blessings granted to the righteous are first spoken of as shades, water, fruits and resting-places; and then, as it were to dispel all doubts as to what these blessings of the next life are, it is said in v. 35, We have created them a new creation. These words settle conclusively that, whatever these blessings are, whether shades or trees or water or fruits, they are all the fruits of deeds, which have been made to grow into a new growth. The words that follow this statement are no doubt primarily applicable to women, but, as shown in 52:20a, it is only because womanhood stands as a symbol of purity and beauty. Thus abkar, plural of bikr, means a virgin, and also an action that has not been preceded by its like (LL). Similarly, atrab, or equals in age, as already shown in 38:52a, signifies that the growth of those blessings begins with the growth of spiritual life in man. ‘Urub ("loving") is plural of both ‘urub and ‘arib, the former signifying a woman that manifests love to her husband. [Back to verse 38]

40a. Note that these verses do not contradict vv. 13 and 14, as imagined by some Christian critics, for the latter speak only of those who were foremost in accepting the Holy Prophet. [Back to verse 40]



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Section 2: The guilty

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Chapter 55: Al-Rahman (The Beneficent)

Chapter 57: Al-Hadid (Iron)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 56 (Al-Waqi‘ah- The Event) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 40)

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