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Analysis of Sūrah Ma‘ārij
Qur'anic Exegesis
Amin Ahsan Islahi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

The surah can be divided into the following four sections.

Section I (1-7)

People who had been irritating the Prophet (sws) by asking him to bring the torment and punishment he was threatening them with are reprimanded for their behaviour. They have been informed that this torment shall certainly come upon the disbelievers and no one will be able to stop it. They must not measure the time-frame of Allah with their own. Exalted is His abode; the angels and the arch angel Gabriel need a day which is equal to fifty thousand years of this world in duration to reach His abode. The Prophet (sws) is urged to be patient and is assured that what these narrow minded people are regarding as far fetched is very near.

Section II (8-18)

A portrayal of the Day of Judgement wherein the sky will be like molten oil and the mountains will be like carded wool. Powerful factions and groups shall no longer be. No person will be able to ask another of his state and condition. On that Day, every person would like to redeem himself from punishment by offering his near ones, relatives, family and tribe as ransom if this could deliver him. The flames of hell shall tear and burn his skin. It shall pull into itself all those who evaded the Divine Call and spent their time in amassing riches and counting them.

Section III (19-35)

A reference to the fact that people become frustrated and start complaining if the Almighty punishes them a little for their deeds. If they are given respite, they become proud instead of being grateful and greedily guard the riches they have gathered. Only those people are an exception to this rule who have the taufeeq of worshipping Allah, ie proved themselves worthy of being guided towards this blessed habit. In their wealth, the deprived and the needy have a share. They fear the Day of Judgement and know that the punishment of the Almighty cannot be ignored. They are those who guard their chastity, protect their trusts and fulfil their covenants. They stand firm in their testimonies and also guard their prayers. It is these people who will be honoured in the gardens of bliss in the Hereafter.

Section IV (36-44)

Wonder is expressed at the attitude of the people who madly rush at the Prophet (sws) when they hear from him about the punishment of this world and of the next. A reference is made to their false claim that they would receive more favours and blessings in the next world than they have in this--- if at all the new world comes. On the basis of this claim, whenever the promised doom is mentioned to them, they get irritated. They should remember their creation and not consider their being created a second time a far off thing; neither should they start praising themselves through their own tongues. Allah, the Lord of the east and the west can more easily create them a second time. Finally, the Prophet (sws) is urged to let these people indulge in vain talk; not far is the promised Day when they will emerge from their graves---when their eyes will be lowered in dejection and ignominy will be covering them. 

(Translated from Islahi's "Tadabbur-i-Quran")  --- Shehzad Saleem

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