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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 75 (Al-Qiyammah- The Resurrection) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 30)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 30]: Attainment of perfection:
Chapter 75: (Al-Qiyammah: The Resurrection)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 section; 40 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter is entitled The Resurrection from the occurrence of that word in its first verse. The object of an oath, as already pointed out, is to point to an evidence of what is manifest to establish a truth. It is striking that the resurrection is here spoken of as the evidence of the Resurrection. It is really the spiritual resurrection that is evidence of the great Resurrection. The clue to this is contained in v. 2: I swear by the self-accusing spirit. The self-accusing spirit (nafs lawwamah) is the first stage in man’s spiritual resurrection. It is the stage in which the inner self of man asserts itself, when he does evil. The human in man becomes stronger than the animal in him. While the first stage is that of the animal, the ammarah (12:53, 53a), the second may properly be called the human stage. The third stage, that of the growth of the Divine in man, is called the mutma’innah (89:27); see 89:30a. The awakening of the spiritual in man is thus spoken of as being an evidence of the great Resurrection, while the resurrection referred to in v. 1 is the rising to life spiritual of dead humanity brought about through the Prophet. The revelation of this chapter must be placed at a very early date.

2. Translation:

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

1 Nay, I swear by the day of Resurrection!

2 Nay, I swear by the self-accusing spirit!a

3 Does man think that We shall not gather his bones?a

4 Yea, We are Powerful to make complete his whole make.a

5 Nay, man desires to go on doing evil in front of him.

6 He asks: When is the day of Resurrection?

7 So when the sight is confused,a

8 And the moon becomes dark,a

9 And the sun and the moon are brought togethera

10 Man will say on that day: Whither to flee?

11 No! There is no refuge!

12 With thy Lord on that day is the place of rest.

13 Man will that day be informed of what he sent before and what he put off.a

14 Nay, man is evidence against himself,

15 Though he put up excuses.

16 Move not thy tongue therewith to make haste with it.a

17 Surely on Us rests the collecting of it and the reciting of it.a

18 So when We recite it, follow its recitation.

19 Again on Us rests the explaining of it.

20 Nay, but you love the present life,

21 And neglect the Hereafter.

22 (Some) faces that day will be bright,

23 Looking to their Lord.a

24 And (other) faces that day will be gloomy,

25 Knowing that a great disaster will be made to befall them.a

26 Nay, when it comes up to the throat,

27 And it is said: Who will ascend (with it)?a

28 And he is sure that it is the parting,

29 And affliction is combined with afflictiona

30 To thy Lord on that day is the driving.

3. Commentary:

2a. By the resurrection is here meant the spiritual resurrection of the Arabs, to be brought about through the Prophet. The primary significance of qiyamah is only rising: "Al-qiyamah originally signifies the rising of a man all at once" (R). Al-qiyamah is now a term which is synonymous with the great Resurrection, but it has not lost its original significance, and means also the rising to life of those who are spiritually dead. The la (nay) in the beginning of verse 1 and verse 2 carries the same significance as in 4:65. According to Kf, la in such cases is to give emphasis to the oath. For the nafs lawwamah, see introductory note above. [Back to verse 2]

3a. The gathering of the bones stands for a new life. Man wonders as to how he will be raised to life when his flesh is eaten and he has become bones. The answer to this question is given in the next verse. [Back to verse 3]

4a. The word banan primarily means only the fingers, or the ends of the fingers, but is also applicable to all members of the body (LL), and therefore might also be translated as the whole make of his body. But even if the primary significance, fingers, be adopted, the meaning will still be the same, because the superiority of man lies in his hand, and especially in the make of his fingers, without which his advancement would have been impossible. God, Who made a complete man out of nothing, we are here told, has also the power to give life to bones or to raise him a second time. [Back to verse 4]

7a. Bariqa means he became confounded and unable to see his right course (LL). Some great calamity is implied which would confound the opponents. Some commentators take these to be the signs of the approach of the death of a person (Rz). [Back to verse 7]

8a. The darkening of the moon may imply either a lunar eclipse, for which see the next note, or it may mean the total darkening of the moon, which may imply the total disruption of the present system. [Back to verse 8]

9a. The bringing together of the sun and the moon implies the disappearance of the light of both. It may be a partial disappearance, as in the case of an eclipse, and in that case the reference may be to what is stated in a report relating to the appearance of the Mahdi, in whose time the sun and the moon will both be eclipsed in the month of Ramadan (Baihaqi). The name of the Messiah and Mahdi being associated with the final triumph of Islam in the world, we are thus told that Islam will not only triumph in Arabia but in the whole of the world at a later period in its history. If the total disappearance of the light of both the sun and the moon is meant, the reference would be to the final disruption of the solar system, and the manifestation of the Greater Resurrection. [Back to verse 9]

13a. What he sent before implies the evil deeds which he did but ought not to have done; what he put off being the good deeds which he failed to do but which he ought to have done. [Back to verse 13]

16a. The preceding verses speak of the distress which must befall those who do not forsake the wrong course. The Prophet naturally desired to make it clear to them, and therefore, he was anxious that the warning should be given immediately in plainer words. So, he is told not to make haste with it. Hence the statement made in the verses that follow, viz., that the recitation and collection of the whole of the Qur’an, together with its effective explanation to the opponents, were matters which Allah had decided to bring about, and the Prophet should have no anxiety on that account. Compare 20:113, 114: "And thus have We sent it down an Arabic Qur’an, and have distinctly set forth therein of threats that they may guard against evil, or that it may be a reminder for them ... And make not haste with the Qur’an before its revelation is made complete to thee, and say: My Lord, increase me in knowledge". [Back to verse 16]

17a. There can be no clearer evidence that the collection of the verses into chapters and of the chapters into one whole is here claimed by the Qur’an to be a matter which, like its revelation, was to be entirely carried out under Divine guidance by the Holy Prophet himself. The Holy Book was thus from the first intended to be arranged and collected into one whole. It is curious to observe that Rodwell, who has paid little regard to the proper and orderly arrangement of the Qur’an, is constrained to remark in a footnote to this verse: "In either case we are led to the conclusion that from the first Muhammad had formed the plan of promulgating a written book". But the words of the Qur’an clearly indicate much more; the collection of the Qur’an was to be accomplished under Divine guidance, and collection includes the arrangement of the parts. In fact, it could not be called a book unless its various portions were arranged into one whole. On the other hand, if the order of revelation were to be followed in the arrangement of its parts, its collection would not have been spoken of as something distinct from its revelation, which is implied in the word recitation. [Back to verse 17]

23a. As that day represents both the day of the breathing of the life spiritual here and the day of the Resurrection, the words looking to their Lord have also a double significance, indicating looking to the Lord for their reward in the former case, and, the highest bliss of all, the sight of the Lord in the Hereafter. It should be noted that the sight of the Lord does not imply that the Lord will have a body; it is not with the material eye that the Lord will be seen, but by the spiritual eye, which the righteous will possess on the day of Resurrection. [Back to verse 23]

25a. Note that this great disaster also befell them in this life, and thus it demonstrated the truth of the Hereafter. [Back to verse 25]

27a. Man raq-in means who will ascend with it? Will the angels of mercy ascend with it or the angels of punishment? (T, R). But raq also means a charmer; also a physician (IJ); the significance being, Where is the charmer or the physician that could avert the doom? [Back to verse 27]

29a. For saq, meaning affliction, see 27:44a [Back to verse 29]



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Section 2: The dead rise

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Chapter 74: Al-Maddaththir (The One Wrapping Himself Up)

Chapter 76: Al-Insan (The Man)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 75 (Al-Qiyammah- The Resurrection) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 30)

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