Exposition of the Holy Quran – 56 Al-Waaqiah (G A Parwez)
Surah 56: Al-Waaqiah
(The Inevitable Event)
(1-2) When that inevitable revolution occurs and there is absolutely no doubt that it will occur;
(3) The outcome will be that those who today are considered inferior, lowly and weak will become strong and exalted; while those who consider themselves to be strong and powerful will be lowered (in status).
(4) In other words the ordinary people who are being trampled upon by the oppressive forces will rise and become active;
(5) And those in the higher stratum of society will be scattered in utter bewilderment;
(6) Like a furious wind blowing dust all around (20:105, 77:10, 78:20, 81:3).
(7) At that time you will be divided into three groups.
(8) One group will have all the comforts and luxuries. What a wonderful and blissful life they will have (56:27)!
(9) The second group will consist of the most unfortunate ones. What an awful and miserable life they will have (56:70)!
(10) The third group will be of the front runners who were ahead of others in the struggle of life.
(11) They were fully immersed in divine colours (and were in close harmony with the divine laws. Their status will also be the highest).
(12) They will enjoy the janna of comforts, luxuries and pleasures (1:6, 55:63, 57:10).
(13-14) In the third group, most of the people will be those who had joined this mission right from the beginning (before the Hijra); and among the rest a few who joined after the Hijra. (This principle would also apply later when determining status. People who struggle hard for the establishment of the divine order, even during times of adversity and hardship, will achieve a higher position. This is because they had faced hardships while believing in the unseen results of this system – 2:3.)
(15) They will be seated on couches embroidered in gold and precious stones;
(16) Reclining on them, and facing one another (as there would be no discrimination).
(17) Their ever-youthful and well-dressed offspring will play around them. (In this world and in the hereafter this will be for all those who deserve it on account of their noble deeds – 13:23, 52:21, 52:24, 76:19.)
(18) They will be presented goblets, decanters and beakers filled with the finest drinks which will be available for everyone alike.
(19) These drinks will neither cause heavy-headedness or hangovers from intoxication, nor will there be any weariness in their enjoyment (37:47).
(20) And there will be fruits of their choice;
(21) And meat of fowls to eat to their desire.
(22-23) This society will not be confined to men only. Momin females will also be there as their equal partners, pious in character and possessing intellect and wisdom which would not lure them towards deceitful means. Their chastity can best be compared to pearls (which are safely guarded) inside their shells.
(24) All the comfort and luxuries will be the reward for their past deeds.
(25) There will be no frivolous talk or anything which could retard human abilities.
(26) On the contrary the atmosphere will be such that voices of peace and salutations will be heard all around. Everyone would be desirous of each other’s safety as well as the all-encompassing development of their personalities. An ideal atmosphere of peace and tranquility will prevail there.
(27-28) This would be the status and condition of the pioneers of the mission. The other righteous people (53:8) too will enjoy comforts and luxuries of life in the heavenly society. There will be thornless trees full of fruits. (Such comforts would have no negative aspects.)
(29) They will have the finest quality of bananas which will be hanging in bunches, one tier above the other;
(30) And thick widespread shadows of trees; and
(31) Pure clear water gushing forth, which can be collected quite effortlessly. (Such means of nurturing do not require extreme effort – 20:117.)
(32) And there will be an abundance of fruits;
(33) That neither go out of season (14:25) nor out of reach (107:7). Everyone in this society will receive the necessities of life without any hindrance or arduous labour (20:117).
(34) And the women will be of the highest dignity and honour;
(35) Educated and brought up in such a special way that
(36) They shall become entirely different.
(37) (They shall not be dumb like the uneducated females of the pre-Islamic era, unable to even express themselves adequately – 43:18.) They will be confident and eloquent, without any feeling of envy or jealousy. They will be well-matched reflections of each other. There shall be perfect understanding between a husband and wife, both thinking and feeling like one entity, as if they were made for one another from one and the same substance (78:33).
(38-40) This then shall be the society of the companions, enjoying felicitations and prosperity. It shall comprise a good many from amongst the pioneers who worked from the beginning to establish the system. They will have the highest status and so will the similar number who joined later.
(41) Now remains the most unfortunate group, the people on the left hand. Their plight shall be miserable (56:9).
(42-44) For them there shall be scorching wind, boiling water and billows of black smoke. They will have no coolness (comfort) or respite.
(45) Why would they be in such a miserable condition? Thy will be because earlier on they enjoyed themselves on other people’s earnings.
(46) Although they were cautioned time and again, they stubbornly persisted in pursuing a criminal course of life; and they were not prepared to abandon it at any cost.
(47-48) (When they were told that this worldly life is not an end in itself; that it goes on in the hereafter; that comfort and luxury in the life hereafter shall be gained by the person who lives a virtuous life according to the divine laws; in reply) They asked, “What did you say? Did you say that when we are dead and reduced to dust and only our skeletons remain, we as well as our fore-fathers, will be raised again?
(49-50) (We told Our rusul to inform them) Yes of course, the earlier ones as well as the later generations; all indeed shall be raised again and be gathered together on an appointed day and time. (Everyone departing from this world will join the people who are already there.)
(51-52) Then those of you who follow an erroneous path and deny the correct way of life, will surely eat the tree of zaqqoom (a tree of deadly fruit) (37:62, 44:44).
(53-54) You will fill your bellies with it and then drink boiling water on top of that.
(55) You will continue to drink like a camel affected by an insatiable thirst (in that he keeps on drinking but nothing quenches his thirst – 26:225). Such is the state of the mutrafeen (those who are mad about collecting wealth – 102:1-2).
(56) This then will be their “entertainment” on the day of judgment (as their own deeds shall confront them as their punishment).
(57) (O Rasool! Tell them that the fact they will be born again is being told to them by the Almighty Who created them for the first time.) Why don’t you wonder about your first creation? Do you deny it because you believe it cannot happen a second time?
(58-59) Consider the child who is born out of the cohabitation of a male and female. He is born according to Our law of procreation and not yours.
(60-61) Then We raise that child by passing him through various stages. According to this law of procreation and life, We have also laid down measures for death. Therefore, We are not at all helpless in transforming you from this form to another, a new one that you know not at present.
(62) When you are so sure and confident about your present existence and have no doubt whatsoever that you are alive, then why don’t you believe in the second life? (We know why you are frightened of the very thought of that life. We can tell you how to make that life attractive and wonderful so that instead of running away from it you may embrace it. Listen carefully).
(63-64) (In order to understand this just reflect on the system according to which your own growth and nourishment takes place. Does all this happen according to Our laws or your self-made laws? As an example) How much is your contribution to the process through which you grow crops and what part does Our law play? You plough the field and sow the seed in the soil. Now say who causes it to grow as a crop. Is it you who does it or does it happen according to Our law (67:30, 80:25-30)?
(65-67) Then after it starts growing, who provides it the required protection without which a misfortune can befall it? If the crop is totally destroyed in this way you will cry out that you are completely ruined and that profit apart, even your labour and seeds have gone waste.
(68) Thereafter, think of the water on which not only your crops but the existence of your life depends;
(69) Is it you who causes it to come down from the clouds, or does Our Law of Rabubiyya do so?
(70) (The clouds are formed from the sea water that is neither fit for drinking nor for irrigation.) If rain water had been brackish and bitter, then what would you have done? It is really surprising that even after reflecting over it you do not appreciate this phenomenon of nature.
(71-72) Likewise, look at the fire that you kindle and put to so many uses. Now say who is it that conserves this heat energy inside the trees? Is it your doing, or does Our law make it happen?
(73) (Ponder over the system that is involved in producing means of nourishment, and tabulate how much your share in it is and how much you would attribute to divine laws. After reflecting on this you are bound to conclude that your contribution in the entire phenomena is only your labour and that the rest is all done by divine law. Accordingly, you cannot own the whole lot.) All these sources of nourishment, existing as they do, are neither created nor acquired by you. All this is a reminder to you that the Almighty has created these as sources of nourishment for the needy ones (41:10).
(74) (Instead of restricting these means of sustenance or storing them for your own self or groups, keep them open for the nourishment of all humanity.) The correct approach to life is to be active in the establishment of the supreme order of Rabubiyya. (This is the way in which your own self develops, and then your life in the hereafter, which you deny because you are afraid, will become very attractive.)
(75-76) (The Qur’an is a code of this Nizam-e-Rabubiyya in which clear, firm and unchangeable laws are given.) In support of this claim We produce the places and manner in which stars rise and set (53:1-5, 81:15-20). If you can comprehend the secrets of the universe, you will surely realize what a sublime affirmation it is!
(77) The evidence regarding the stars will clarify how very beneficial the glorious Qur’an is and what a comprehensive guarantee it gives for a prosperous and plentiful life.
(78) This code has been preserved in a well-guarded book (85:21-22).
(79) However, only people who are endowed with purity of mind can benefit from its real import. (Purity of thought and intellect is a prerequisite for drawing benefit from it. If a person studies it with a prejudiced mind, then he will not derive any benefit from it. It is therefore important that before a person undertakes its study, he should clear his mind of any preconceived ideas.)
(80) This book has been revealed gradually in stages from that Almighty, Who is the sustainer of the whole of humanity (Its objective is also to nurture and develop mankind.)
(81) Do you dissimulate this code and not present the message in its true spirit, by using sugarcoated language and attributing your own self conceived ideas to it? Do you want people to deviate from the right path?
(82) And you do all this just to earn your sustenance? You want to make your livelihood by calling it a lie. (How mean this attitude is and how low is the purpose for which you do all this! Instead, you should work to establish the Nizam-e-Rabubiyya and you will receive means of sustenance and respect in this world. And your life in the hereafter will also be bright.)
(83-84) (You do not accept the Qur’an owing to your arrogance and haughtiness; and you declare that you would not accept any other law, even if it were from the Almighty. But have you ever considered that you are compelled to obey His laws at every step and that it is impossible to go outside their ambit? For example) It is an everyday observation that when one of you nears death and his last breath rattles in his throat, then you look helplessly at each other.
(85) At that time, Our law which regulates life and death is closer to the dying one than the rest of you. That is, the grip of Our law is firm and strong; and all of you are helpless even though you do not see it.
(86-87) How is it that you do not understand that if you are really independent of the laws of the Almighty, then why can’t you call him back to life? If you are true in your claim then why are you so helpless?
(88) (The physical laws manifest their results visibly and as such no one doubts them. However, the divine Law of Mukafat works invisibly and as such one can doubt it, even though it is as real as the physical laws. As a matter of fact, the physical laws are another form of the Law of Mukafat In it every action has a particular result. The same applies to the Law of Mukafat, according to which human deeds result in their own consequences.) So if the one who is dying is worthy of honour and high status and is near to the Almighty (on account of his deeds),
(89) Then for him there will be happiness, satisfaction, peace and tranquility (56:10-11).
(90) And if he belongs to the second group known as “the people on the right” (56:27);
(91) (He will be told), “O you of the ‘people on the right’, there is peace and tranquility for you too.”
(92) But if he is one of those who is on the erroneous path and has rejected the right path,
(93-94) Then he shall be faced with boiling water and burning fire, which will put a stop to the growth of his human abilities.
(95) All this (that has been narrated in an allegorical form) is in fact bound to happen.
(96) (If this is the truth then) You have no other choice except to actively work to make the programme of your Rabb visible and perceivable. This is the programme for the nourishment of all; and it is worthy of all praise and hamd. In other words enforce it in a manner that the whole world should spontaneously cry out with praise. The One Whose (prescribed) system produces such wondrous, fruitful and excellent results is worthy of all praise (hamd).
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