79 Sura An-Nazi’at (Those who pull out) Mecca
The chapter derives its name from the first and second verses. “By the (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence; By those who gently draw out (the souls of the blessed).” (v 1, 2) The angels are the angels of death they and their assistants roughly pull out the souls of the wicked out of their bodies while they with gentle care draw out the souls of the believers from their bodies. Again the principal subject is that God is all-powerful and will judge unbelievers and believers. Also here, Muhammad once again identifies himself with the former prophets; here Moses (like Muhammad) was rejected but the rejecter, Pharaoh was judged.
The coming day of judgement
“One day everything that can be in commotion will be in violent commotion, Followed by oft-repeated (commotions): Hearts that day will be in agitation; Cast down will be (their owners’) eyes. They say (now): “What! shall we indeed be returned to (our) former state? “What! when we shall have become rotten bones?” They say: “It would, in that case, be a return with loss!” But verily, it will be but a single cry, When, behold, they will be in the awakening” (6-14)
Islam’s teaching on the call of Moses
“Has the story of Moses reached thee? Behold, thy Lord did call to him in the sacred valley of Tuwa: “Go thou to Pharaoh for he has indeed transgressed all bounds” And say to him, ‘Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified (from sin)? “‘And that I guide thee to thy Lord, so thou shouldst fear Him?’” (v 15-19)
Islam’s teaching on Moses’ interview with Pharaoh
“Then did (Moses) show him the great sign. But (Pharaoh) rejected it and disobeyed; Further, he turned his back, striving hard (against Allah). Then he collected (his men) and made a proclamation, Saying, “I am your Lord, Most High”. But Allah did punish him, (and made an) example of him, in the hereafter, as in this life. Verily in this is an instructive warning for whosoever feareth” (v 20-26).
God all-powerful in creation
“What! Are ye the more difficult to create or the heaven (above)? (Allah) hath constructed it: On high hath He raised its canopy, and He hath given it order and perfection. Its night doth He endow with darkness, and its splendour doth He bring out (with light). And the earth, moreover, hath He extended; He draweth out there from its moisture and its pasture; And the mountains hath He firmly fixed; For use and convenience to you and your cattle”(v 27-33).
The rejecters fate will be hell-fire
“Therefore, when there comes the great, overwhelming (event), The day when man shall remember (all) that he strove for, And hell-fire shall be placed in full view for (all) to see, Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds, And had preferred the life of this world, The abode will be hell-fire (v 34-39)
The believers reward the garden
“And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, Their abode will be the garden (v 40-41).
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80 Sura ‘Abasa (He Frowned)
The major subject in this chapter is once again the reward or punishment of those who respond favourably or unfavourably to the Quran, the Creator, and the Resurrection.
“(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, Because there came to him the blind man” (v 1,2).
The chapter commences and owes its title to an incident where Muhammad failed to respond lovingly to a blind man. It is related that while Muhammad was conversing with the dignitaries of the Qurraish, a blind man, Abdullah ibn Umm Maktun, not knowing that Muhammad was in conversation, came and interrupted him by asking a question ‘Recite to me and teach me what God has taught you.’ Muhammad paid him no attention, only saying, “’Those heroes will say that those who follow me are children, slaves and the lowly.” So, he frowned and turned away and attended to those with whom he was conversing. (Tabari) Later God reproved him.
Muhammad reproved for showing favouritism
“As to one who regards Himself as self-sufficient, To him dost thou attend. Though it is no blame to thee if he grow not (in spiritual understanding). But as to him who came to thee striving earnestly, And with fear (in his heart), of him wast thou unmindful” (v 5-10).
The Quran is a message of instruction
“For it is indeed a message of instruction: Therefore let whoso will, keep it in remembrance. (It is) in books held (greatly) in honour, exalted (in dignity), kept pure and holy, (written) by the hands of scribes honourable and pious and just” (v 11-16).
The commentator Zamakhsahri states: ‘Being transcribed from the preserved tablet (Al-Buruj 85:21), kept pure and and uncorrupt from the hands of evil spirits and touched only by the angels.’ Baidawi (Volume 2 page 387) says: ’Angels wrote it, or prophets transcribed it from the preserved table, or by revelation, or the scribes wrote it by the revelation between God and His Prophet.’
“Woe to man! What hath made him reject Allah; From what stuff hath He created him? From a sperm-drop: He hath created him, and then mouldeth him in due proportions; Then doth He make His path smooth for him; Then He causeth him to die, and putteth him in his grave; By no means hath he fulfilled what Allah hath commanded him. Then let man look at his food, (and how We provide it): For that We pour forth water in abundance, And We split the earth in fragments, And produce therein corn, And grapes and nutritious plants, And olives and dates, And enclosed gardens, dense with lofty trees, And fruits and fodder, For use and convenience to you and your cattle” (v 17-32).
“Then, when it is His will, He will raise him up” (v 22).
The judgement of believers and unbelievers
“At length, when there comes the deafening noise, That day shall a man flee from his own brother, And from his mother and his father, And from his wife and his children. Each one of them, that day, will have enough concern (of his own) to make him indifferent to the others. Some faces that day will be beaming, laughing, rejoicing. And other faces that day will be dust-stained, blackness will cover them: such will be the rejecters of Allah, the doers of iniquity” (v 33-42).
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81 Sura At-Takwir (Folded up) Mecca
Nature will be in upheaval and the sun shall be folded up when the judgement day comes: “When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up” (v 1). Muhammad in this sura once again feels the need to tell the unbelieving Arabs that he is not a soothsayer, or practising magic for he claims to have received his message through the medium of an angel.
When the Judgement day comes
“ When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up; When the stars fall, losing their lustre; When the mountains vanish; When the she-camels, ten months with young, are left untended; When the wild beasts are herded together; When the oceans boil over with a swell; When the souls are sorted out” (v 1-7).
When the female child is questioned
“When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned for what crime she was killed?” (8)
It was customary for the ancient Arabs to bury their daughters alive as soon as they were born because they feared that they would become poor by having to provide for them. Muhammad opposed female infanticide.
According to Ibn Hisham (d. A.D. 834) ‘The Life of Muhammad,’ Zaid ibn Amr accepted neither Christianity nor Judaism and is recognised by Muslims as an hanif. He condemned the practice of burying infant daughters alive before the mission of Muhammad had begun for Zaid died when the Prophet was about 35 years old.
When heaven and hell come near
“When the scrolls are laid open; When the world on high is unveiled; When the blazing fire is kindled to fierce heat; and when the garden is brought near” (v 9-13)
Then comes the judgement
“(Then) shall each soul know what it has put forward” (v 14).
Muhammad vindicates himself from the charge of madness and being possessed
“Verily this is the word of a most honourable messenger, Endued with power, with rank before the Lord of the throne, With authority there, (and) faithful to his trust. And (O people) your companion is not one possessed; And without doubt he saw him in the clear horizon. Neither doth he withhold grudgingly knowledge of the unseen. Nor is it the word of an evil spirit accursed. When whither go ye? Verily this is no less than a message to (all) the worlds” (v 19-27)
Muhammad claims that while he was on Mount Hira a supernatural being appeared above him in the sky, he was standing on the horizon with one foot above another. Whichever way Muhammad turned the vision remained before him.
Here is how one tradition describes Muhammad’s ‘supernatural experience.’ Narrated Masruq: I asked Aisha “What about his statement: “Then he (Gabriel) approached and came closer, And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer?” (53 8-9) She replied, “It was Gabriel who used to come to the Prophet in the figure of a man, but on that occasion, he came in his actual and real figure and (he was so huge) that he covered the whole horizon.” (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 458).
Initially Muhammad feared he had been visited by the jinn who had inspired earlier Arab poets to such a degree that they had become mentally unstable and possessed. His wife Khadijah comforted him believing that such a good person as him could not be possessed.
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82 Sura al-Intfitar (The Cleaving) Mecca
No new subject is introduced in this chapter. The continual and repetitive subjects of the signs of a coming judgement day with their rewards and punishments once again pervade the chapter. The title of the chapter is taken from verse one:“When the sky is cleft asunder.”
When the signs of judgement day come
“When the sky is cleft asunder; When the stars are scattered; When the oceans are suffered to burst forth; And when the graves are turned upside down (Then) shall each soul know what it hath sent forward and (what it hath) kept back” (v 1-5).
Man deserving of judgement
“O man! What has seduced thee from thy Lord most beneficent? Him who created thee. Fashioned thee in due proportion, and gave thee a just bias; In whatever form He wills, does He put thee together. Nay! But ye do reject right and judgement!” (v 6-9)
The recording angels of man’s deeds
“But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you, Kind and honourable,Writing down (your deeds): They know (and understand) all that ye do” (v 10-12).
The consequences to man on the judgement day
“As for the righteous, they will be in bliss; And the wicked they will be in the fire, Which they will enter on the day of judgement, And they will not be able to keep away there from. And what will explain to thee what the day of judgement is? Again, what will explain to thee what the day of judgement is? (It will be) the day when no soul shall have power (to do) aught for another: for the command, that day, will be (wholly) with Allah” (v.13-19).
The joy of the believers
A reversal of circumstances for believers
“Those in sin used to laugh at those who believed, And whenever they passed by them, used to wink at each other (in mockery); And when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting; And whenever they saw them, they would say, “Behold! These are the people truly astray!” But they had not been sent as keepers over them! But on this day the believers will laugh at the unbelievers: On thrones they will command (a sight) (of all things). Will not the unbelievers have been paid back for what they did?” (v 29-36)
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