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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 78 (Al-Naba’- The Announcement) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 30)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 30]: The Day of Decision:
Chapter 78: (Al-Naba’: The Announcement)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 section; 40 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter is entitled al-Naba’, or the Message of Importance, and the important message which it gives to humanity is that God will give life to a dead earth through the Prophet. The day of Decision is again spoken of here to show that Truth will ultimately triumph and opposition to it will meet with its doom. Its revelation belongs to the early Makkan period.

2. Translation:

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

1 Of what do they ask one another?

2 Of the tremendous announcementa

3 About which they differ.

4 Nay, they will soon know;

5 Nay, again, they will soon know.

6 Have We not made the earth an expanse

7 And the mountains as pegs?a

8 And We have created you in pairs,

9 And made your sleep for rest,

10 And made the night a covering,

11 And made the day for seeking livelihood.

12 And We have made above you seven strong (bodies),

13 And made a shining lamp,a

14 And We send down from the clouds water pouring forth in abundance,

15 That We may bring forth thereby grain and herbs,

16 And luxuriant gardens.

17 Surely the day of Decision is appointeda

18 The day when the trumpet is blown, so you come forth in hosts,

19 And the heaven is opened so it becomes as doors,

20 And the mountains are moved off, so they remain a semblance.a

21 Surely hell lies in wait,

22 A resort for the inordinate,

23 Living therein for long years.a

24 They taste not therein coolness nor drink,

25 But boiling and intensely cold water,

26 Requital corresponding.a

27 Surely they feared not the reckoning,

28 And rejected Our messages, giving the lie (thereto).

29 And We have recorded everything in a book,

30 So taste, for We shall add to you naught but chastisement.a

3. Commentary:

2a. Naba’ means an announcement of great utility leading to knowledge (R), or a piece of information, news, tidings (LL). The original words are naba’ ‘azim, meaning a tremendous or very great announcement, which also occur in 38:67. Some commentators take it to signify the Holy Qur’an, others the prophethood of Muhammad and still others the day of Resurrection. In fact, all three are included. The Qur’an was revealed as the greatest of the Divine messages hitherto given to humanity, because it was a message for the whole of humanity, compared with the smaller messages to this or that nation. It was, moreover, the most complete message. It gave the great news that the whole of humanity, not this or that nation, would receive life through it. They differed about it not only in the sense that they rejected it, but also because they put in different suggestions, some saying that the Prophet was a madman, others that he was a dreamer, others still that he was a poet or a fabricator, and so on. [Back to verse 2]

 7a. The earth is called mihad or a place made even for walking upon (R). The words here are similar to what is said in 2:22, where the earth is spoken of as being made a firash, i.e., an expanse or resting-place. The mountains are likened to pegs on the surface of the earth. [Back to verse 7]

 13a. The seven strong bodies of the previous verse are apparently the seven major planets of the solar system, the words above you clearly showing that the earth itself belongs to the same class, and the sun, the centre of the solar system, is spoken of in the words a shining lamp. [Back to verse 13]

 17a. That there is a day of Decision in this life, too, which is synonymous with the ultimate triumph of Truth and the doom of opposition to its spread is amply clear from all these early chapters. [Back to verse 17]

 20a. The description contained in vv. 18 –20 is a prophetical description applying to the final triumph of Truth. People will come forth in hosts, afwaj-an, to accept the Truth; see ch. 110 — when the help of Allah and victory comes and thou seest people entering the religion of Allah in hosts, afwaj-an; the heaven is opened and the dead earth receives life, v. 19; the mountains — the great opposing forces — melt away, and all that remains of opposition is a mere semblance. [Back to verse 20]

 23a. Huqub, of which ahqab is a plural, denotes eighty years, or seventy years, or a year or years, or a long time (see LL, which quotes various authorities for each of these meanings). Whatever significance may be adopted, the use of the word leaves no doubt that the punishment of hell is not eternal. The use of a word which signifies a limited period in the case of the punishment of hell, while such words are never used regarding the bliss of heavenly life, is a clear indication that the latter will never come to an end, while the former shall; see 11:107a. [Back to verse 23]

 26a. The punishment of hell is described here as a requital corresponding to the sin. It may have been noted that various names are given to hell itself, and various sorts of punishment are spoken of. Thus every sinner has his own hell, corresponding to his sin. [Back to verse 26]

 30a. As they in their inordinacy added evil to evil, they shall have correspondingly punishment added to punishment. The addition in punishment lasts only until the evil is requited. See also 11:107a where it is shown that hell is not eternal. [Back to verse 30]



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Section 2: The Day of Decision

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Chapter 77: Al-Mursalat (Those Sent Forth)

Chapter 79: Al-Nazi ‘at (Those Who Yearn)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 78 (Al-Naba’- The Announcement) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 30)

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