Revealed at Makkah.


THE title of this chapter, taken from the first verse, expresses very well the general subject of its contents. The doctrine of the resurrection was rejected by the Quraish of Makkah as incredible, but the preacher declares that he who created every bone of man would have no difficulty in collecting together the scattered bones of the dead on the resurrection-day.

The passage contained in vers. 16-19, which has been inserted probably by the compilers, has no connection with the subject of this chapter. It seems to have been placed here because it could not be placed more appropriately elsewhere. It must therefore be read as a parenthesis.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

All authorities agree in placing this chapter at about the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth year of Muhammad's public ministry.

Principal Subjects.

God is able to raise the dead . . . 1-4
Unbelievers may mock, but they shall be overtaken by the resurrection-day . . .5-11
Man shall be his own accuser on that day . . . 12-15
Muhammad rebuked for anticipating Gabriel in receiving the Quran . . .16-19
Men choose this life, but neglect the life to come. . . 20-21
Various thoughts of the righteous and the wicked on the resurrection-day . . .22-25
Man helpless in the hour of death . . . 26-36
God, who created man, can raise him from the dead .. . 37-40



R 1/17.

(1) Verily I swear by the day of resurrection; (2) and I swear by the soul which accuseth itself: (3) doth man think that we will not gather his bones together? (4) Yea, we are able to put together the smallest bones of his fingers. (5) But man chooseth to be wicked, for the time which is before him. (6) He asketh, When will the day of resurrection be? (7) But when the sight shall be dazzled, (8) and the moon shall be eclipsed, (9) and the sun and the moon shall be in conjunction; (10) on that day man shall say, Where is a place of refuge? (11) By no means: there shall be no place to fly unto. (12) With thy LORD shall be the sure mansion of rest on that day: (13) on that day shall a man be told that which he hath done first and last. (14) Yea, a man shall be an evidence against himself; (15) and though he offer his excuses, they shall not be received. (16) Move not thy tongue, O Muhammad, in repeating the revelations brought thee by Gabriel, before he shall have finished the same, that thou mayest quickly commit them to memory; (17) for the collecting

(1) I swear, or I will not swear. See note on chap. lvi. 74.

(2) The soul that accuseth itself. " Being conscious of having offended, and of failing of perfection, notwithstanding its endeavors to do its duty; or, the pious soul which shall blame others at the last day for having been remiss in their devotions, &c. Some understand the words of the soul of Adam in particular, who is continually blaming himself for having lost Paradise by his disobedience." - Sale, Baidhawi.

(9) Sun and moon. . . in conjunction. "Rising both in the west (Prelim. Disc., pp 131-134); which conjunction is no contradiction to what is mentioned just before, of the moon's being eclipsed; because those words are not to be understood of a regular eclipse, but metaphorically of the moon's losing her light, at the last day, iii a preternatural manner. Some think the meaning rather to be that the sun and the moon shall be joined in the loss of their light." -Sale, Baidhawi.

(13) That which he hath done. "Or the good which he hath done,' and that which he hath left undone."-Sale.

(l6-19) See notes on chap. liii. 6. Rodwell remarks that these words show that Muhammad had in mind the promulgation of a written book from the first. Compare chap. xx. 113.


the Quran in thy mind, and the teaching thee the true reading thereof, are incumbent on us. (18) But when we shall have read the same unto thee by the tongue of the angel, do thou follow the reading thereof; (19) and afterwards it shall be our part to explain it unto thee. (20) By no means shalt thou be thus hasty for the future. But ye love that which hasteneth away, (21) and neglect the life to come. (22) Some countenances on that day shall be bright, (23) looking towards their LORD; (24) and some countenances on that day shall be dismal: (25) they shall think that a crushing calamity shall be brought upon them. (26) Assuredly. When a man's soul shall come up to his throat in his last agony, (27) and the standers-by shall say, Who bringeth a charm to recover him? (28) and shall think it to he his departure out of this world; (29) and one leg shall be joined with the other leg: (30) on that day unto thy LORD shall he be driven.

(19) Our part to explain it. The Quran cannot be understood without the Traditions, which, so far as they relate to the text of the Quran, may be regarded as the words of Muhammad explanatory of his Quran. This mystery of the Quran gives rise to a mass of literature comprised within the writings of the Muslim fathers, and to which Muslims invariably refer when any question of doctrine or practice requires an answer. A ban has been set upon free thought and independent investigation in matters of religion so far as the orthodox are concerned. Gabriel explained everything to Muhammad. Muhammad explained what was necessary to the faithful. The faithful handed this down to the collectors of the six received books of tradition. These form the basis of opinion in the commentaries, and the commentaries are the authorities of the Maulvies aud Mullahs who teach the people. How different this from the simple teaching of the Old and New Testaments current among Christians - at least among those of the Protestant faith.

(20) That which hasteneth away, i.e., "the fleeting pleasures of this life. The words intimate the natural hastinees and impatience of man (chap. xvii. 12), who takes up with a present enjoyment, though short, and bitter in its consequences, rather than wait for real happiness in futurity."-Sale.

(29) One leg, &c., i.e., "when he shall stretch forth his legs together, as is usual with dying persons. The words may also be translated 'and when one affliction shall be joined with another affliction."'- Sale.


R 2/18.

(31) For he believed not, neither did he pray; (32) but be accused God's Apostle of imposture, and turned back from obeying him; (33) then he departed unto his family, walking with a haughty mien. (34) Wherefore, woe be unto thee; woe! (35) And again, woe be unto thee; woe! (36) Doth man think that he shall be left at full liberty, without control? (37) Was he not a drop of seed, was emitted? (38) Afterwards he became a little coagulated blood, and God formed him, and fashioned him with just proportion; (39) and made of him two sexes, the male and the female. (40) Is not he who hath done this able to quicken the dead?

(31) He believed not. "Or, 'He did not give alms;' or, 'He was not a man of veracity.' Some suppose Abu Jahl, and others one Abi Ibn Rabia, to be particularly inveighed against in this chapter." - Sale.

(34, 35) Rodwell translates this passage, "That hour is nearer to thee and nearer. It is ever nearer to thee and nearer still." Palmer agrees with Sale as do also the Persian and Urdu translators.

Table of Contents
Answering Islam Home Page