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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 79 (Al-Nazi ‘at- Those Who Yearn) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 26)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 26]: The Great Commotion:
Chapter 79: (Al-Nazi ‘at: Those Who Yearn)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 section; 46 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter is entitled al-Nazi‘at, which word occurs in the first verse as being a description of the groups or parties of the faithful who were destined to bring about a transformation in the world. Their chief characteristics are mentioned in the first four verses as being those who yearned ardently after God, and who went forth cheerfully braving all opposition, then ran swiftly in the cause of Truth, and went ahead of all such communities who had a similar yearning in the past and regulated affairs; and these verses are followed by predicting the great revolution which would be brought about by their exertions. It is an early Makkan revelation.

2. Translation:

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

1 By those yearning vehemently!

2 And those going forth cheerfully!

3 And those running swiftly!

4 And those that are foremost going ahead!

5 And those regulating the Affair!a

6 The day when the quaking one shall quakea

7 The consequence will follow it.a

8 Hearts that day will palpitate,

9 Their eyes downcast.

10 They say: Shall we indeed be restored to (our) first state?a

11 What! After we are rotten bones?

12 They say: That would then be a return with loss.

13 It is only a single cry,

14 When lo! they will be awakened.a

15 Has not there come to thee the story of Moses,

16 When his Lord called him in the holy valley, Tuwa?

17 Go to Pharaoh, surely he has rebelled.

18 And say: Wilt thou purify thyself?

19 And I will guide thee to thy Lord so that thou fear (Him).

20 So he showed him the mighty sign;

21 But he denied and disobeyed.

22 Then he went back hastily,

23 So he gathered and called out.

24 Then he said: I am your Lord, the most High.

25 So Allah seized him with the punishment of the Hereafter and of this life.a

26 Surely there is in this a lesson for him who fears.

3. Commentary:

5a. Nazi‘at is the plural of nazi‘, which is derived from naza‘a, signifying he yearned for or after a thing, and naza‘a fi-l-qaus means he drew the bow (LL). Gharq means originally sinking in water, but it is sometimes used in the sense of ighraq, and is so used here, meaning, when used in connection with a bow, he drew the bow to the full or vehemently (LL). Nashata signifies he was brisk or lively or pleased or happy or cheerful (LL). The commentators generally think that different kinds of angels are spoken of here, but see 37:1a, where it is shown that this is a description of the believers. The commencement of the early Makkan chapters very often refers prophetically to later Madinan events, the occurrence of which served as a proof of the truth of the statement made. Though the words may also apply to the later wars, I prefer the significance that they give a description of the spiritual characteristics of the faithful. There was undoubtedly a vehement yearning in the hearts of the believers for their Maker (v. 1), and it was this ardent desire that made them go forth in the way of God cheerfully in spite of the severest opposition (v. 2); they ran swiftly (v. 3), so that they traversed eastern and western lands in an incredibly short time; they were thus ahead of all those who ever carried the message of Truth to their fellow-man (v. 4); and lastly, they regulated the affair of the spread of Truth in the world (v. 5), so that the farthest east (China) and farthest west (Morocco and Spain) were lit with the light of Islam within a hundred years. Compare 32:5 where the regulating of the Affair is also spoken of, and see 32:5a. Taking the words in a general sense, we may interpret them as indicating the various stages through which an affair is brought to a successful issue. The first stage is that of an ardent desire or yearning for it; the second is that of going forth cheerfully to accomplish it; the third is that of running swiftly for its accomplishment, or adopting the line of least resistance; the fourth is that of going ahead of others; and the fifth that of regulating it in the best possible way. [Back to verse 5]

6a. Rajafa signifies it was in a state of commotion, agitation, or convulsion (LL).

The quaking of the earth is often spoken of as an indication of a great revolution. The word rajafa in relation to a people — rajafa al-qaumu — signifies that the people prepared themselves for war. What is meant is therefore that the efforts of the faithful spoken of in the first five verses will bring about a great commotion or a great revolution in the world, indicating the transformation which was to be brought about through them. [Back to verse 6]

7a. Al-radifah means literally what must happen afterwards, from radifa, meaning he or it followed or came after it or him (LL). Thus radifah is really the consequence of an affair, a significance given under the word ridf by the lexicologists (LL). The consequence of great commotions is the ultimate triumph of Truth. But the triumph of Truth is also the destruction of the opponents of Truth; hence the mention of palpitating hearts and downcast eyes in the next two verses. [Back to verse 7]

10a. It is the opponents who are referred to in they say. [Back to verse 10]

14a. The spiritual awakening — the great transformation to be brought about by the Prophet — is spoken of here in clear words. This awakening was first to be brought about in Arabia and then in the whole world. [Back to verse 14]

25a. The nature of the punishment in store for the opponents is made clear by citing the example of Pharaoh, whose punishment was the punishment of the Hereafter as well as of this life. Even such was to be the punishment of the Prophet’s opponents, abasement in this life and chastisement in the next. [Back to verse 25]



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Section 2: The Great Calamity

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Chapter 78: Al-Naba’ (The Announcement)

Chapter 80: ‘Abasa (He Frowned)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 79 (Al-Nazi ‘at- Those Who Yearn) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 26)

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