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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 82: (Al-Infitar: The Cleaving)



Chapter 82: (Al-Infitar: The Cleaving)
(Revealed at Makkah: 1 section; 19 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter, which receives its title from a statement made in its opening verse as to heaven being cleft asunder, is, as it were, a counterpart of the one preceding it; for while that chapter, after mentioning certain signs, draws the conclusion of the final triumph of Islam, this refers to that triumph in its opening verses, and speaks also of the utter helplessness in which the opponents would find themselves as a result of that triumph. Its date of revelation is the same as that of the preceding chapter.

2. Translation:

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

1 When the heaven is cleft asunder,

2 And when the stars become dispersed,

3 And when the rivers are made to flow forth,

4 And when the graves are laid opena

5 Every soul will know what it has sent before and what it has held back.a

6 O man, what beguiles thee from thy Lord, the Gracious?

7 Who created thee, then made thee complete, then made thee in a right good state —

8 Into whatever form He pleases He casts thee.

9 Nay, but you give the lie to the Judgment,

10 And surely there are keepers over you,

11 Honourable recorders,

12 They know what you do.a

13 Surely the righteous are in bliss,

14 And the wicked are truly in burning Fire —

15 They will enter it on the day of Judgment.

16 And will not be absent from it.

17 And what will make thee realise what the day of Judgment is?

18 Again, what will make thee realise what the day of Judgment is?

19 The day when no soul controls aught for another soul. And the command on that day is Allah’s.

3. Commentary:

4a. Taken metaphorically the first four verses tell us how a great spiritual rising would be brought about. The cleaving asunder of the heaven would mean that the doors of heaven will open and Divine help will come to the Prophet. The dispersing of the stars signifies the spreading abroad of the bearers of the message of Truth, who are likened to stars, as the Prophet said: "My companions are as stars" (Msh. 27:13). The indication is that a time would come when the teachers of Truth would disperse themselves in Arabia, and then throughout the world. The flowing forth of the rivers is in accordance with what is stated elsewhere in the Holy Qur’an in a parable: "He sends down water from the clouds, then watercourses flow according to their measure, ... Thus does Allah set forth parables" (13:17). The rivers of Divine knowledge were made to reach the dry lands within and without Arabia. The laying open of the graves signifies the spiritual resurrection which was to be brought about by the Holy Prophet, for the reprobate are clearly spoken of as being in the graves (35:22). Thus all these four verses speak of the great change that was to be brought about in the world by the preaching of the Prophet. According to Farra, the significance of the laying open of graves is their throwing out gold and silver (mineral wealth), which lies buried in them, and the coming out of the dead will be after this, and it is one of the signs of the Hour that the earth should throw out its mineral wealth (LA). Or, what is meant is that the mysteries hidden from the human eye will be revealed (R). Taken literally, the words speak of the Resurrection. [Back to verse 4]

5a. This verse supports what is said in the previous note. Qaffal holds that the knowledge spoken of here will accrue before the day of Resurrection (Rz). A greater manifestation of the same will, however, take place in the life after death. [Back to verse 5]

12a. That every action of man is recorded and bears fruit is one of the principal doctrines of the religion of Islam. Of course, it is not meant that angels are sitting with pens in their hands and inkstands before them, at desks, like copyists, noting down that at such and such a time such a one did such a good or such a bad deed. That would be a distortion of the teaching of the Qur’an. For what that record is, see the next chapter, where both the record of the righteous and the record of the wicked is spoken of. See also 17:13, 14. [Back to verse 12]



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Chapter 81: Al-Takwir (The Folding Up)

Chapter 83: Al-Tatfif (Default of Duty)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 82: (Al-Infitar: The Cleaving)


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