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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 69 (Al-Haqqah- The Sure Truth) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 37)


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Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 37]: The doom:
Chapter 69: (Al-Haqqah: The Sure Truth)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 sections; 52 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter is clearly later in revelation than its predecessor, because it deals with the later allegations of the disbelievers that the Prophet was a poet, or a diviner, and last of all that he was an impostor (vv. 41 – 44), the last chapter dealing with their first allegation that he was mad. Al-Haqqah or The Sure Truth spoken of in the very first verse, which gives its name to this chapter, is the hour of the triumph of Truth and the doom of the opponents. The warning is followed by a reference to the fate of the earlier nations. The latter half of the first section states that al-haqqah is the time of the reward of the faithful and of the punishment of the evildoers. The second section deals with the allegations of the opponents that the Prophet was a poet, or a diviner, or an impostor.

2. Translation:

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

1 The sure Truth!

2 What is the sure Truth?

3 And what would make thee realise what the sure Truth is?a

4 Thamud and ‘Ad called the calamity a lie.a

5 Then as for Thamud, they were destroyed by the severe punishment.a

6 And as for ‘Ad, they were destroyed by a roaring, violent wind,

7 Which He made to prevail against them for seven nights and eight days continuously, so that thou mightest have seen the people therein prostrate as if they were trunks of hollow palm-trees.

8 So canst thou see a remnant of them?

9 And Pharaoh and those before him and the overthrown cities wrought evil.a

10 And they disobeyed the messenger of their Lord, so He punished them with a vehement punishment.

11 Surely We carried you in the ship,a when the water rose high,

12 That We might make it a reminder for you, and that the retaining ear might retain it.

13 So when the trumpet is blown with a single blast,

14 And the earth and the mountains are borne away and crushed with one crash —

15 On that day will the Event come to pass,a

16 And the heaven will be cleft asunder; so that day it will be frail,

17 And the angels will be on its sides. And above them eight will bear that day thy Lord’s Throne of Power.a

18 On that day you will be exposed to view — no secret of yours will remain hidden.a

19 Then as for him who is given his book in his right hand, he will say: Lo! Read my book.

20 Surely I knew that I should meet my account.

21 So he will be in a life of bliss,

22 In a lofty Garden,

23 Its fruits are near.a

24 Eat and drink pleasantly for that which you sent on before in bygone days.

25 And as for him who is given his book in his left hand — he will say: O would that my book had not been given to me!

26 And I had not known what my account was!

27 O would that (death) had made an end (of me)!a

28 My wealth has not availed me.

29 My authority has gone from me.

30 Seize him, then fetter him,

31 Then cast him into the burning Fire,

32 Then insert him in a chain the length of which is seventy cubits.a

33 Surely he believed not in Allah, the Great,

34 Nor did he urge the feeding of the poor.

35 Therefore he has not here this day a true friend,

36 Nor any food except refuse,a

37 Which none but the wrongdoers eat.

3. Commentary:

3a. Al-haqqah is derived from the root haqq, meaning truth, and is interpreted in several ways, in all of which the sense of the root word is present. It is synonymous with haqiqat, meaning truth or reality (T), or signifies a severe calamity the happening of which is fixed or established (LL). According to Az, al-haqqah is the hour in which the truth will be triumphant, the reason given being that it is so called because it will overcome everyone who contends falsely in the matter of the religion of Allah. The instances given about ‘Ad and Thamud, and Pharaoh, and the Sodomites, all show that this is the real significance. There is no doubt that a fuller manifestation of the Truth, and of the requital of those who reject it, will take place in the Hereafter, and thus it also means the Resurrection. [Back to verse 3]

4a. Al-qari‘ah is derived from qar‘, which signifies the striking of one thing over another (R); hence al-qari‘ah is the striking calamity or calamity that strikes terror into the hearts of the people (Rz), and here it signifies the calamity of which ‘Ad and Thamud were warned, but which they called a lie. [Back to verse 4]

5a. See 7:78a which deals fully with the nature of the punishment by which Thamud was destroyed. As shown there it was an earthquake. Al-taghiyah is derived from the root tagha, meaning he exceeded the limit (LL), and means an excessively severe punishment. [Back to verse 5]

9a. The overthrown cities are the cities of Lot; see 11:82, 82a. [Back to verse 9]

11a. The reference is to Noah. [Back to verse 11]

15a. The consequences of this Event are described in 56:3; see 56:1a, where it is shown that the Event, al-Waqi‘ah, signifies the doom of the opponents in this life, with a full manifestation in the life after death. The passing away of the earth and the mountains and their being crushed, signifies the fall of the small and great men in connection with that doom. [Back to verse 15]

17a. The bearing of the Throne of Power on that day by eight is a point attended with some difficulty. In the first place, above them means above the angels spoken of in the previous words (Rz). From this we may conclude that the eight bearers of the Throne of Power either represent something above the angels, or particular angels above the ordinary angels. It is noteworthy that the word thamaniyah, or eight, is not followed by any word showing who or what these eight are. The commentators generally suppose them to be angels, but the more cautious among them refrain from even specifying the number. Some say the meaning may be eight thousand, others say eight ranks (Kf). Kf adds: "And maybe these eight are from among the spirit or some other creation". Now the one thing that should be borne in mind in interpreting such allegorical words is that the Divine Being Himself is al-Qayyum, or the Self-Subsisting by Whom all things subsist (2:255). This being taken as the basis, it is clear that other things are not a support for the Divine Being, but all created things, whether angels or any beings above angels, subsist by God. Another consideration which helps us in understanding what is meant by these bearers is a saying of the Holy Prophet, reported by all commentators, that at present such bearers are four (Rz, Kf, Bd). Now there are four attributes of the Divine Being which are specially connected with the maintenance of the world. The opening chapter of the Holy Qur’an is, as shown in the preliminary note to that chapter, the essence of the whole of the Qur’an, and that chapter speaks of four attributes of the Divine Being in connection with the maintenance of al-‘alamin, i.e., the whole of the creation. These attributes are mentioned in the names Rabb, Rahman, Rahim, and Malik, and a reference to the notes on these four words in the opening chapter will show that these four attributes, providence, beneficence, mercy and requital, are really the chief attributes which bring the creation to perfection and from which all other attributes may be inferred. These four are thus the Personal attributes of the Divine Being which precede all, encompass all, make all to attain to their goal of perfection and remain after all. Hence these are the four hamalat al-‘arsh, or the bearers of the Throne of Power, so far as this world is concerned.

Why are they eight on the day of Resurrection? The other world is a complete, but at the same time a new, manifestation of the spiritual realities of this life. Hence, there is a new manifestation of the four attributes of the Divine Being by which the world subsists, and thus these four attributes become eight on the day of Resurrection. To clear up any misunderstanding I may add that, as Divine attributes are brought into action through the agency of angels, the four or eight attributes that are considered the bearers of the Throne of Power would also be manifested through angels, and in this sense we may look upon the bearers of the ‘Arsh as being four or eight angels. [Back to verse 17]

18a. This verse speaks clearly of the manifestation of the hidden realities on the day of Resurrection, referred to in the above note. [Back to verse 18]

23a. These fruits are the manifestation of the fruits of righteous deeds. They are here spoken of as being near so that they are available in this life too. [Back to verse 23]

27a. He would wish that death had made an end of him, it referring to death. Or the meaning may be that this state had been my death, or that the life of the world had never come to pass. [Back to verse 27]

32a. It should be noted that in these verses the spiritual torture of this world is represented as a physical punishment in the next. The chain to be put upon the neck, for instance, represents the desires of this world, which keep a man with his head bent upon the earth, and it is these desires that will assume the shape of a chain. Similarly, the entanglements of this world shall be seen as chains on the feet. The heart-burnings of this world will likewise be clearly seen as flames of burning fire. The wicked one has, in fact, in this very world within himself a hell of the passions and inextinguishable desires of this world, and feels the burning of that hell in the failures he encounters. When, therefore, he is cast farther off from his temporal desires and sees an everlasting despair before him, his heart-burnings and bitter sighs for his dear desires assume the shape of burning Fire.

The casting into a chain of the length of seventy cubits is significant. Man’s limit of age may as a general rule be fixed at seventy, and a wicked person may live up to that age in his wickedness. He may sometimes even enjoy seventy years, excluding the periods of childhood and decrepitude. These seventy years during which he could work with honesty, wisdom and zeal are wasted away only in the entanglements of the world, and in following sensual passions. He does not try to free himself from the chain of desires, and therefore in the next world the desires which he indulged in for seventy years will be embodied into a chain of seventy cubits length, every cubit representing, as it were, a year. [Back to verse 32]

36a. Literally ghislin signifies that which is washed off, to which the commentators add from the bodies of the disbelievers. It may be rendered as refuse or filth. [Back to verse 36]

 

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Chapter 68: Al-Qalam (The Pen)

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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 69 (Al-Haqqah- The Sure Truth) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 37)


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