108

CHAPTER LVI.

ENTITLED SURAT AL WAQIA (THE INEVITABLE).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


THIS chapter forms a single discourse. The first three verses may be regarded as giving the subject of the discourse. In the following verses we have described (1) the terrors which shall suddenly befall the human race at the judgment-day ; (2) the rewards of the righteous to which they shall then be admitted ; (3) the punishment then to be inflicted upon the wicked, because they had refused to believe in the warnings of the Quran ; and, finally, arguments to prove the possibility of the resurrection of the dead.

Some writers, however, maintain that a new part of this chapter begins with ver. 74; but since the termination of both parts are alike ver. 87 seq. refer to what is said ill the first part, it is only reasonable to regard the chapter as forming a whole.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

A few writers have held this chapter to be Madinic, or that at least vers. 74-81 are so, or ver. 81 only, which they suppose to refer to the hypocrites of Madina; or vers. 91-96 for the same reason; or, finally, vers. 1-3, which they suppose to allude to the battle of Badr. The style and matter of the chapter are, however, too clearly in favour of a Makkan origin to admit of any doubt.

As to the date of the revelations, NoŽldeke places this chapter immediately after chap. lii. Muir makes it to follow chap. lv., which, considering the similarity of the description of the sensual delights of Paradise and the torments of hell, is the better arrangement.


109

Principal Subjects.

The coming of the judgment-day inevitable . . . 1, 2
Its terrors described . . . . 3-7
Its coming shall separate men unto three classes .. . 8-11
Joys of the Muslim heaven described. . . . 12-39
The punishment of the wicked in hell depicted ... 40-56
Arguments for the resurrection of the dead drawn from God's work in creation and providence . . . 57-73
Oath by the stars that the Quran is divinely inspired .. . 74-81
Men should believe in God since they cannot save the dying from death ...82-96

IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/14.

(1) When the inevitable day of judgment shall suddenly come, (2) no soul shall charge the prediction of its coming with falsehood: (3) it will abase some and exalt others. (4) When the earth shall be shaken with a violent shock, (5) and the mountains shall be dashed in pieces, (6) and shall become as dust scattered abroad; (7) and ye shall be separated into three distinct classes: (8) the companions of the right hand (how happy shall the companions of the right hand be!), (9) and the companions of the left hand (how miserable shall the companions of the left hand be!); (10) and those who have preceded others in

(1) The inevitable. "The original word, the force whereof cannot well be expressed by a single word, signifies a calamitous accident, which falls surely and with sudden violence, and is therefore made use of here to design the day of judgment."-Sale.

(8, 9) Companions of the right . . . and left hand. "That is, the blessed and the damned ; who may be thus distinguished here, because the books wherein their actions are registered will be delivered unto the right hands of the former and into the left hands of the latter, though the words translated right hand and left hand do also signify happiness and misery."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaluddin.

(10) Those who have preceded, &c. " Either the first converts to Muhammadism, or the prophets, who were the respective leaders of their people, or any persons who have been eminent examples of piety and virtue, maybe here intended. The original words literally rendered are, The leaders, the leaders: which repetition, as some sup-


110

the faith shall precede them to Paradise. (11) These are they who shall approach near unto God: (12) they shall dwell in gardens of delight. (13) (There shall be many of the former religions, (14) and few of the last.) (15) Reposing on couches adorned with gold and precious stones, (16) sitting opposite to one another thereon. (17) Youths which shall continue in their bloom for ever, shall go round about to attend them, (18) with goblets, and beakers, and a cup of flowing wine: (19) their heads shall not ache by drinking the same, neither shall their reason be disturbed: (20) and with fruits of the sorts which they shall choose, (21) and the flesh of birds of the kind which they shall desire. (22) And there shall accompany them fair damsels having large black eyes; resembling pearls hidden in their shells: (23) as a reward for that which they shall have wrought. (24) They shall not hear therein any vain discourse, or any charge of sin; (25) but only the salutation, Peace! Peace! (26) And the companions of the right hand (how happy shall be companions of the right hand be!) (27) shall have their abode among lote-trees free from thorns, (28) and trees of mauz loaded regularly with their produce from top to bottom ; (29) under an extended shade, (30) near a flowing water, (31) and amidst

pose, was designed to express the dignity of these persons and the certainty of their future glory and happiness."- Sale, Baidhawi, &c.

(14) Few of the last, i.e., "there shall be more leaders, who have preceded others in faith and good works, among the followers of the several prophets from Adam down to Muhammad, than of the followers of Muhammad himself."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(16) See note on chap. xv. 47.

(17-25) See notes on chaps. ii. 25, iii. 15, and lv. 46-76.

(28) Trees of mauz. "The original word, Talh, is the name, not only of the mauz (see chap. xxxvii. 146), but also of a very tall and thorny tree, which bears abundance of flowers of an agreeable smell, and seems to be the acacia."-Sale.

Rodwell suggests the banana tree.

(30) Flowing water. "Which shall be conveyed in channels to such places and in such manner as every one shall desire. Al Baidhawi observes that the condition of the few who have preceded others in faith and good works is represented by whatever may render a city life agreeable, and that the condition of the com-


111

fruits in abundance, (32) which shall not fail, nor shall be forbidden to be gathered: (33) and they shall repose themselves on lofty beds. (34) Verily we have created the damsels of Paradise by a peculiar creation: (35) and we have made them virgins, (36) beloved by their husbands, of equal age with them; (37) for the delight of the companions of the right hand. (38) There shall be many of the former religions, (39) and many of the latter.

R 2/15.

(40) And the companions of the left hand (how miserable shall the companions of the left hand be!) (41) shall dwell amidst burning winds and scalding water, (42) under the shade of a black smoke, (43) neither cool nor agreeable (44) For they enjoyed the pleasures of life before this, while on earth; (45) and obstinately persisted in a heinous wickedness: (46) and they said, (47) After we shall have died, and become dust and bones, shall we

panions of the right hand, or the generality of the blessed, is represented by those things which make the principal pleasure of a country life ; and that this is done to show the difference of the two conditions."-Sale.

(33) Lofty beds. " The word translated beds signifies also, by way of metaphor, wives or concubines; and if the latter sense be preferred, the passage may be rendered thus, ' And they shall enjoy damsels raised on lofty couches, whom we have created,' &c."-Sale.

(34) We have created, &c. "Having created them purposely of finer materials than the females of this world, and subject to none of those inconveniences which are natural to the sex. Some understand this passage of the beatified women, who, though they died old and ugly, shall yet be restored to their youth and beauty in Paradise."- Sale.

See also Prelim. Disc., pp. 158-163.

(35) Virgins. " For how often soever their husbands shall go in unto them, they shall always find them virgins."- Sale.

(38, 39) "Father Marracci thinks this to be a manifest contradiction to what is said above (vers. 13,14), 'There shall be many of the former and few of the latter;' but al Baidhawi obviates such an objection by observing that the preceding passage speaks of the leaders only, and those who have preceded others in faith and good works and the passage before us speaks of the righteous of inferior merit and degree; so that though there be many of both sorts, yet there may be few of one sort, comparatively speaking, in respect to the other."-Sale.

(40-56) See chap. xxxvii. 62-65.


112

surely be raised to life? (48) Shall our forefathers also be raised with us? (49) Say, Verily both the first and the last (50) shall surely be gathered together to judgment at the prefixed time of a known day. (51) Then ye, O men who have erred, and denied the resurrection as a falsehood, (52) shall surely eat of the fruit of the tree of at Zaqqum, (53) and shall fill your bellies therewith: (54) and ye shall drink thereon boiling water; (55) and ye shall drink as a thirsty Camel drinketh. (56) This shall be their entertainment on the day of judgment. (57) We have created you: will ye not therefore believe that we can raise you from the dead? (58) What think ye? The seed which ye emit, (59) do ye create the same, or are we the creators thereof? (60) We have decreed death unto you all: and we shall not be prevented. (61) We are able to substitute others like unto you in your stead, and to produce you again in the condition or form which ye know not. (62) Ye know the original production by creation; will ye not therefore consider that we are able to produce you by resuscitation? (63) What think ye? The grain which ye sow, (64) do ye cause the same to spring forth, or do we cause it to spring forth? (65) If we pleased, verily we could render the same dry and fruitless, so that ye would not cease to wonder, (66) saying, Verily we have contracted debts for seed and labour, but we are not permitted to reap the fruit thereof. (67) What think ye? The water which ye drink, (68) do ye send down the same from the clouds, or are we the senders thereof? (69) If we pleased, we could render the same brackish: will ye not therefore give thanks? (70) What think ye. The fire which ye strike, (71) do ye produce

(65) Ye would not cease to wonder. "Or to repent of your time and labour bestowed to little purpose, &c."- Sa1e.

(66) We have contracted debts, or we are undone.

Not permitted to reap, &c., or, "We are unfortunate wretches, who are denied the necessaries of life."- Sale.

(71) See note on chap. xxxvi. 80.


113

the tree whence ye obtain the same, or are we the producers thereof? (72) We have ordained the same for an admonition, and an advantage to those who travel through the deserts. (73) Wherefore praise the name of thy LORD, the great God.

R 3/16.

SULS.

(74) Moreover I swear by the setting of the stars, (75) (and it is surely a great oath, if ye knew it,) (76) that this is the excellent Quran, (77) the original whereof is written in the preserved book: (78) none shall touch the same except those who are clean. (79) It is a revelation from the LORD of all creatures. (80) Will ye, therefore despise this new revelation? (81) And do ye make this return for your food which ye receive from God, that ye deny yourselves to be obliged to him for the same? (82) When the soul of a dying person cometh lip to his throat, (83) and ye at the same time are looking on, (84) (and we are nigher unto him than ye, but ye see not his

(72) An admonition. "To put men in mind of the resurrection (chap. xxxvi. 80), which the production of fire in some sort resembles; or, of the fire of hell."- Sale, Baidhawi.

(74) I swear, &c. "The particle la is generally supposed to be intensive in this place; but if it be taken for a negative, the words must be translated, I will not or do not swear, because what is here asserted is too manifest to need the confirmation of an oath."-Sale.

Palgrave, Rodwell, and Savary adopt the latter reading, but the Persian and Urdu translations agree with Sale.

(78) None shall touch, &c. "Or,' Let none touch the same,' &c. Purity both of body and mind being requisite in him who would use this book with the respect he ought, and hopes to edify by it for which reason these words are usually written on the cover."-Sale. See Prelim. Disc., p. 114 and Muir's Life of Mahomet, introd. p x., note.

(81) Do ye make . . . your food, &c. "By ascribing the rains fertilise your lands to the influence of the stars. (Prelim. Disc., pp. 38-43. "Some copies, instead of rizqakum, i.e., your food; read shukrakum, i.e., your gratitude; and then the passage may be rendered thus, 'And do ye make this return of gratitude for God's revealing the Quran, that ye reject the same as a fiction ? "'-Sale.

All copies of the Quran that I have seen have rizqakum. Rodwell translates thus, "Will ye make it your daily bread to gainsay them?"

(82-86) "The meaning of this obscure passage is, If ye shall not be obliged to give an account of your actions at the last (lay, as by


114

true condition,) (85) would ye not, if ye are not to be rewarded for your action hereafter, (86) cause the same to return into the body, if ye speak the truth? (87) And whether he be of those who shall approach near unto God, (88) his reward shall be rest, and mercy, and a garden of delights: (89) or whether he be of the companions of the right hand, (90) he shall be saluted with the salutation, Peace be unto thee! by the companions of the right hand, his brethren: (91) or whether he be of those who have rejected the true faith (92) and gone astray, (93) his entertainment shall consist of boiling water (94) and the burning of hell-fire. (95) Verily this is a certain truth. (96) Wherefore praise the name of thy LORD, the great God.

your denying the resurrection ye seem to believe, cause the soul of the dying person to return into his body; for ye may as easily do that as avoid the general judgment."- Sale, Baidhawi, Jalaladdin.

(87-94) See above in vers. 8, 9, and 14.


Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page