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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 77 (Al-Mursalat- Those Sent Forth) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 40)


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Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 40]: Consequences of rejection:
Chapter 77: (Al-Mursalat: Those Sent Forth)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 section; 50 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter is, as it were, a supplement to the one that precedes it, for while it is shown therein how the righteous attain to perfection — being the acceptors of the message — here the fate of the rejecters is made clear. Those sent forth are the Divine messengers, the rejection of whose message brings evil consequences, and that word, occurring in the first verse, gives its name to this chapter.

The fourth year of the call is regarded as the probable date of the revelation of this chapter.

2. Translation:

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

1 By those sent forth to spread goodness!

2 Then those driving off the chaff!

3 And those spreading (goodness), far and wide!

4 Then those making a distinction!

5 Then those offering the Reminder,

6 To clear or to warn! —

7 Surely that which you are promised will come to pass.a

8 So when the stars are made to disappear,

9 And when the heaven is rent asunder,

10 And when the mountains are carried away as dust,a

11 And when the messengers are made to reach their appointed time,

12 To what day is the doom fixed?

13 To the day of Decision.

14 And what will make thee comprehend what the day of Decision is?

15 Woe on that day to the rejecters!

16 Did We not destroy the former generations?

17 Then We followed them up with later ones.

18 Thus do We deal with the guilty.

19 Woe on that day to the rejecters!a

20 Did We not create you from ordinary water?

21 Then We placed it in a secure resting-place,

22 Till an appointed term,

23 So We determined — how well are We at determining!

24 Woe on that day to the rejecters!

25 Have We not made the earth draw to itself

26 The living and the dead,a

27 And made therein lofty mountains, and given you to drink of sweet water?

28 Woe on that day to the rejecters!

29 Walk on to that which you called a lie.

30 Walk on to the shadow, having three branches,a

31 Neither cool, nor availing against the flame.

32 It sends up sparks like palaces,

33 As if they were tawny camels.a

34 Woe on that day to the rejecters!

35 This is the day on which they speak not,

36 Nor are they allowed to offer excuses.

37 Woe on that day to the rejecters!

38 This is the day of Decision; We have gathered you and those of yore.a

39 So if you have a plan, plan against me (now).a

40 Woe on that day to the rejecters!

3. Commentary:

7a. As stated in 37:1a, attention is drawn in what are called oaths to certain indisputable facts, which lead to a conclusion. The conclusion here is that the opponents are doomed (v. 12). The characteristics described in the first six verses apply to prophets whose opponents were destroyed. This is made clear by the mention of the appointed time of the messengers in v. 11, by which, of course, is meant the appointed time of the destruction of the enemies of Truth. They are told to consider how Truth was spread by former prophets. In the first verse they are spoken of as being sent with ‘urf or ma‘ruf, i.e., goodness; in the second, as driving off the chaff of falsehood before them; in the third, as scattering the seed of goodness far and wide or giving life to dead earth; in the fourth, as ultimately bringing about a distinction (farq or furqan) between truth and falsehood, and they give the Reminder that one party may be cleared and the other warned. These considerations about the former prophets should lead the opponents to the certain conclusion that the same Divine law was working in the case of the Holy Prophet, and their doom was also certain. [Back to verse 7]

10a. The disappearance of the stars (v. 8) was a sign for the Arabs of the befalling of a calamity (53:1a); the rending asunder of the heaven (v. 9) indicated the same, because the heaven was considered a protection. Compare 21:32: And We have made the heaven a guarded canopy; see 73:18a. The passing away of the mountains signified the disappearance from among them of their great men, whose protection they sought in time of distress. All these things, as the next verse shows, would be brought about when came the appointed time of the messengers, i.e., the time of the destruction of their opponents. [Back to verse 10]

19a. Note the clear words of this and the three previous verses. The former generations were destroyed because of their wickedness and others were brought up in their place; such will always be the fate of the guilty — the day of their doom is the day of Decision. A complete manifestation of that day is, however, reserved for the Hereafter. [Back to verse 19]

26a. The word kifat carries the significance adopted in the translation, drawing things to itself, referring to the law of gravitation. It further shows that all mortals, living or dead, must remain on earth, and the belief relating to the ascent of Jesus to the fourth heaven is erroneous. But kifat also means hastening on and being swift in running or plying or driving and urging vehemently (LL), the reference being to the motion of earth in space. [Back to verse 26]

30a. According to I‘Ab, the address here is to the people of the Cross (RM), the believers in Trinity, and this may be the reason for calling their punishment dhi thalathi shu‘ab, a shadow having three branches. The word zill used here means properly shade or light of the sun without the rays (LL), but the word is extensively used to carry a number of other significances, such as covering, protection, a plentiful or an easy state of life (T, LL). The three branches of it are the three characteristics thereof stated in the verses that follow; see 33a. [Back to verse 30]

33a. They reject the Truth and seek comfort and ease in material benefits. They are given a shade, but it does not serve the purpose of shade. It is devoid of the coolness of shade — they cannot find solace in it. Nor does it avail them against flames, which stand here for the distresses of life. More than this, what they mistook for ease and plenty is itself a source of distress. Sparks arise therefrom, not the tiny sparks of an ordinary fire but sparks big as palaces. In fact, the very palaces which they make for their comfort turn into sparks, which set .re to all around them. Perhaps there is a deeper reference here to the modern implements of destruction on account of their magnitude and extensive destructive effect. These sparks are further compared to tawny camels, which is true not only as regards their colour but also because of the succession with which these big sparks follow one another, like camels walking one after another in a line. [Back to verse 33]

38a. This gathering together will take place in the Resurrection, but the opponents of Truth, earlier as well as later, are gathered together in punishment in this life, too. [Back to verse 38]

39a. The opponents are even so early challenged to execute their plans against the Holy Prophet. [Back to verse 39]

 

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Section 2: Consequences of rejection


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Chapter 76: Al-Insan (The Man)

Chapter 78: Al-Naba’ (The Announcement)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 77 (Al-Mursalat- Those Sent Forth) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 40)


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