Both these surahs form a pair with regard to the subject
discussed in them. In the first surah, the attitude on which
the leadership of the Quraysh has been warned is condemned in
the wake of an event in the second surah in such an extremely
severe tone that anger seems to exude from every verse.
In the second surah, though the Prophet (sws) is also
seemingly addressed, a little deliberation shows that both
surahs are directed at the arrogant leadership of the Quraysh,
and it is evident from their content that, like the previous
surahs, they were also revealed in Makkah in the phase of
indhar-i ‘am of the Prophet’s mission (sws).
In the first surah, arguments on the actual theme are
presented from various signs in the world around man and from
In the second surah, along with evidence from the world
around man, the testimony of the various signs of God’s power
and mercy found in the creation of man is also presented.
The themes of both surahs substantiate the Day of Judgment,
warn the Quraysh with reference to it and admonish them on
their behaviour towards it.
In the second surah however, this admonishment has taken
the form of a severe reprimand.
وَالنَّازِعَاتِ غَرْقًا وَالنَّاشِطَاتِ
نَشْطًا وَالسَّابِحَاتِ سَبْحًا فَالسَّابِقَاتِ سَبْقًا
فَالْمُدَبِّرَاتِ أَمْرًا (١-٥)
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful.
These winds which tear out from the roots,
and these winds which blow very gently bear witness.
And these clouds which drift and dash [in the air],
then outrun each other in this dash, then conduct orders
[that what you are being promised with is bound to happen.
تَرْجُفُ الرَّاجِفَةُ تَتْبَعُهَا الرَّادِفَةُ قُلُوبٌ
يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاجِفَةٌ أَبْصَارُهَا خَاشِعَةٌ (٦-٩)
The day when a shudder will
take place, followed by another;
on that day many a heart will be trembling [with fear], their
يَقُولُونَ أَئِنَّا لَمَرْدُودُونَ فِي
الْحَافِرَةِ أَئِذَا كُنَّا عِظَامًا نَّخِرَةً قَالُوا تِلْكَ
إِذًا كَرَّةٌ [خَاسِرَةٌ (١٠-١٢)
They ask: “Shall we be really restored to
life like this [after death]?
What! When we become decayed out bones?
They said: “Then this return would be a return of great loss!”
فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ فَإِذَا
هُم بِالسَّاهِرَةِ (13-14)
[So, if they make fun, then should listen
up:] It will be just a single shout; then all of a sudden,
they will be standing in a field. (13-14)
هَلْ أتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَى إِذْ نَادَاهُ
رَبُّهُ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى اذْهَبْ إِلَى
فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَى فَقُلْ هَل لَّكَ إِلَى أَن تَزَكَّى
وَأَهْدِيَكَ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَتَخْشَى فَأَرَاهُ الْآيَةَ
الْكُبْرَى فَكَذَّبَ وَعَصَى ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ يَسْعَى
فَحَشَرَ فَنَادَى فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَى
فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الْآخِرَةِ وَالْأُولَى إِنَّ فِي
ذَلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَى (١٥-٢٦)
Has the account of Moses reached you? When his Lord called out
to him in the sacred valley of Tuwa: “Go you to the Pharaoh;
he has transgressed all bounds.
And ask him: ‘Do you desire to purify yourself?
Shall I show you the way to your Lord that you may become
fearful of Him?’”
Then he [went to the Pharaoh and] showed him the great sign
but he denied it and did not accept it. Then he turned back to
his activities and gathered people and proclaimed. He said:
“It is Me who is your supreme Lord.”
Then at last God seized him in the chastisement of the both
the Herein and the Hereafter. [People!] There is surely a
great lesson in this [account] for those who fear.
أَأَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَمِ السَّمَاء
بَنَاهَا رَفَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا وَأَغْطَشَ لَيْلَهَا
وَأَخْرَجَ ضُحَاهَا وَالْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ دَحَاهَا
أَخْرَجَ مِنْهَا مَاءهَا وَمَرْعَاهَا وَالْجِبَالَ
أَرْسَاهَا مَتَاعًا لَّكُمْ وَلِأَنْعَامِكُمْ (٢٧-٣٣)
[If you do not
believe, then speak up:] “Are you more difficult to create or
the sky?” God has made it, raised high its dome, then
perfected it, and covered its night [which was spread over it]
and has uncovered its day. After that, He spread the earth,brought
forth from it its water and its fodder, and set firm its
mountains [over it]. As a means of sustenance for you and for
فَإِذَا جَاءتِ الطَّامَّةُ الْكُبْرَى
يَوْمَ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ مَا سَعَى وَبُرِّزَتِ
الْجَحِيمُ لِمَن يَرَى فَأَمَّا مَن طَغَى وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ
الدُّنْيَا فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى وَأَمَّا مَنْ
خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى فَإِنَّ
الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى (٣٤-٤١)
Thus [this is a fact that] when that
great upheaval takes place [all of this will be annihilated].
On that day,
man will remember whatever he had done, and Hell will be
unveiled for those who will encounter it. Then he who
transgressed all bounds and preferred the life of this world,
Hell shall be his abode, and he who feared the standing before
his Lord and restrained his soul from lowly desires, then for
him Paradise shall be his abode. (34-41)
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ
مُرْسَاهَا فِيمَ أَنتَ مِن ذِكْرَاهَا إِلَى رَبِّكَ
مُنتَهَاهَا إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُنذِرُ مَن يَخْشَاهَا
كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَهَا لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا
عَشِيَّةً أَوْ ضُحَاهَا (٤٢-٤٦)
About this hour of doom, they ask you:
“When will it come to port?
What have you to do with this? Unto your Lord rests its
knowledge. You are but a warner for those who fear it. The day
when they will see it, they will think that they have remained
[in this world] for not more than one evening or one of its
عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّى أَن جَاءهُ الْأَعْمَى
وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّى أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ
فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَى (١-٤)
In the name of
God, the Most Gracious, the Ever-Merciful.
Frowned and turned away because there
came to his gathering that blind man.
What do you know [O Prophet!] that he might have [asked and]
reformed [himself] or might have paid heed to [your] advice
[when you gave it] and might have gained from this advice.
أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَى فَأَنتَ لَهُ
تَصَدَّى وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّى وَأَمَّا مَن جَاءكَ
يَسْعَى وَهُوَ يَخْشَى فَأَنتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّى (٥-١٠)
These who show indifference, you go after
even though you are not responsible if they are not reformed;
and he who comes to you with zeal
and also fears [God],
you neglect him. (5-10)
كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ فَمَن شَاء
ذَكَرَهُ فِي صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ مَّرْفُوعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ
بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ (١١-١٦)
Certainly not! [There is no need to go
after them]. This is but a reminder;
so whoever wishes, can be reminded through it [and whoever
wishes can turn a deaf ear towards it]
– in honoured
pages, exalted and untouched,
in the custody of scribes,
and very faithful.
قُتِلَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ مِنْ
أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ
ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ
ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاء أَنشَرَهُ (١٧-٢٢)
Woe to man!
How ungrateful he is!
[Does he not know from] what God has created him?
From a drop of fluid. He made him and proportioned him. Then
smoothed out for him the path of life.
He then gave him death; then He had him put in a grave.
Then [with no difficulty at all] He will bring him back [to
Life] again whenever He desires.
كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ
فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ إِلَى طَعَامِهِ أَنَّا صَبَبْنَا
الْمَاء صَبًّا ثُمَّ شَقَقْنَا الْأَرْضَ شَقًّا فَأَنبَتْنَا
فِيهَا حَبًّا وَعِنَبًا وَقَضْبًا وَزَيْتُونًا وَنَخْلًا
وَحَدَائِقَ غُلْبًا وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا مَّتَاعًا لَّكُمْ
Certainly not! [He shall never be left
without being held accountable]. He has still not complied
with what his Lord had asked him.
[He needs evidence!] Then he should only see his food: We
poured forth water in abundance, then cleaved the earth
asunder, then produced grain in it, and grapes and vegetables
and olives and dates and luxurious gardens and fruits and
fresh herbage as means of sustenance for you and your cattle.
فَإِذَا جَاءتِ الصَّاخَّةُ يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ
الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ وَصَاحِبَتِهِ
وَبَنِيهِ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ
يُغْنِيهِ وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ مُّسْفِرَةٌ ضَاحِكَةٌ
مُّسْتَبْشِرَةٌ وَوُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَلَيْهَا غَبَرَةٌ
تَرْهَقُهَا قَتَرَةٌ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَفَرَةُ الْفَجَرَةُ
So, when the deafening blast comes [ask
them: Where will they go].
On that day, man will flee from his brother and from his
mother and his father, his wife and his children. On that day,
everyone from among them will be concerned with his own self.
Many a face on that day will be bright, smiling and rejoicing,
and many a face on that day will be gloomy, veiled in
darkness. They will be these very disbelievers, these very
23rd February 2010
(Translated from Al-Bayan by Dr Shehzad