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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 70 (Al-Ma‘arij- The Ways of Ascent) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 35)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 35]: Certainty of the punishment:
Chapter 70: (Al-Ma‘arij: The Ways of Ascent)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 sections; 44 verses)

1. Introduction:

The title of this chapter is taken from v. 3, where Allah is called the Lord of The Ways of Ascent. While holding out the certainty of the punishment, this chapter points out at first that great ends are achieved in a long period of time. Towards the close of the first section we are told that the ways or means of Ascent are those by which the faithful attain nearness to the Divine Being. The second section speaks very clearly of the disgrace which the opponents shall meet with, a new nation being raised in their place. The revelation of this chapter is considered by all authorities to be not later than the close of the early Makkan period.

2. Translation:

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

1 A questioner asks about the chastisement to befall

2 The disbelievers — there is none to avert ita

3 From Allah, Lord of the ways of Ascent.a

4 To Him ascend the angels and the Spirit in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years.a

5 So be patient with a goodly patience.

6 Surely they see it far off,

7 And We see it nigh.

8 The day when the heaven is as molten brass,

9 And the mountains are as wool;

10 And no friend will ask of friend,

11 (Though) they are made to see them. The guilty one would fain redeem himself from the chastisement of that day by his children,

12 And his wife and his brother,

13 And his kin that gave him shelter,

14 And all that are in the earth — then deliver him —

15 By no means! Surely it is a flaming Fire,

16 Plucking out the extremities —

17 It shall claim him who retreats and turns his back,

18 And hoards then withholds.

19 Surely man is created impatient —

20 Fretful when evil afflicts him,

21 And niggardly when good befalls him —

22 Except those who pray,

23 Who are constant at their prayer,

24 And in whose wealth there is a known right

25 For the beggar and the destitute,

26 And those who accept the truth of the day of Judgment:

27 And those who are fearful of the chastisement of their Lord —

28 Surely the chastisement of their Lord is (a thing) not to be felt secure from —

29 And those who restrain their sexual passions,

30 Except in the presence of their mates or those whom their right hands possessa — for such surely are not to be blamed,

31 But he who seeks to go beyond this, these are the transgressors.

32 And those who are faithful to their trusts and their covenant,

33 And those who are upright in their testimonies,

34 And those who keep a guard on their prayer.

35 These are in Gardens, honoured.

3. Commentary:

2a. No particular questioner need be specified. The last chapter speaks in terms of the highest certainty of the final triumph of truth and of the doom of the opponents, and the question, When will it be? was natural. It is repeated very often: "When will this promise come to pass, if you are truthful?" (36:48; 67:25; & c.). [Back to verse 2]

3a. The Divine Being is here stated to be the Lord of the ways of Ascent as indicating that He grants to the faithful the means of Ascent, or the means of exaltation. Compare 56:3, where the Event is spoken of as abasing, exalting. The means of exaltation of the believers are pointed out further on in vv. 22 –35. [Back to verse 3]

4a. The angels and the Spirit are spoken of here as ascending to God in a day of fifty thousand years. Al-Ruh or the Spirit very often stands for Divine revelation or Gabriel, who brings the revelation to the Prophet. But here it seems to be a collective name for the spirits of the faithful, because it is through Divine revelation that a new spirit is awakened in the faithful; see 78:38a. The angels are mentioned along with the faithful because it is through an angel that spiritual life is breathed into man, and he starts life as a spiritual wayfarer. A day of the spiritual advancement of man is spoken of as being equal to fifty thousand years to show the immense vastness of that advancement. Or, the day of fifty thousand years may be the day of the final triumph of Truth in the world, from the time when revelation was first granted to man. [Back to verse 4]

30a. See 23:5a, 6a. [Back to verse 30]



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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 70 (Al-Ma‘arij- The Ways of Ascent) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 35)

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