78. Surah An-Naba

1. 'Amma Yatasaa-aloon

عَمَّ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ

Concerning what are they disputing?
Full Transliteration
1. 'Amma Yatasaa-aloon
2. 'Anin-nabaa-il 'azeem
3. Allazi hum feehi mukh talifoon
4. Kallaa sa y'alamoon
5. Thumma kallaa sa y'alamoon
6. Alam naj'alil arda mihaa da
7. Wal jibaala au taada
8. Wa khalaq naakum azwaaja
9. Waja'alna naumakum subata
10. Waja'alnal laila libasa
11. Waja'alnan nahara ma 'aasha
12. Wa banaina fauqakum sab 'an shi daada
13. Waja'alna siraajaw wah haaja
14. Wa anzalna minal m'usiraati maa-an thaj-jaaja
15. Linukh rija bihee habbaw wana baata
16. Wa jan naatin alfafa
17. Inna yaumal-fasli kana meeqaata
18. Yauma yun fakhu fis-soori fataa' toona afwaaja
19. Wa futiha tis samaa-u fakaanat abwaaba
20. Wa suyyi raatil jibaalu fa kaanat saraaba
21. Inna jahan nama kaanat mirsaada
22. Lit taa gheena ma aaba
23. Laa bitheena feehaa ahqaaba
24. Laa ya zooqoona feeha bar daw walaa sharaaba
25. Illa hamee maw-wa ghas saaqa
26. Jazaa-aw wi faaqa
27. Innahum kaanu laa yarjoona hisaaba
28. Wa kazzabu bi aayaa tina kizzaba
29. Wa kulla shai-in ahsai naahu kitaa ba
30. Fa zooqoo falan-nazee dakum ill-laa azaaba (section 1)
31. Inna lil mutta qeena mafaaza
32. Hadaa-iqa wa a'anaa ba
33. Wa kaawa 'iba at raaba
34. Wa ka'san di haaqa
35. Laa yasma'oona fiha lagh waw walaa kizzaba
36. Jazaa-am mir-rabbika ataa-an hisaaba
37. Rabbis samaa waati wal ardi wa maa baina humar rahmaani laa yam likoona minhu khitaaba
38. Yauma yaqoo mur roohu wal malaa-ikatu saf-fal laa yatakallamoona ill-laa man azina lahur rahmaanu wa qaala sawaaba
39. Zaalikal yaumul haqqu faman shaa-at ta khaaza ill-laa rabbihi ma-aaba
40. In naa anzar naakum azaaban qareebaiy-yauma yan zurul marr-u maa qaddamat yadaahu wa ya qoolul-kaafiru yaa lai tanee kuntu turaaba (section 2)
Audio: English
Audio: Arabic & English

Recitation by Mishary Al-Alfasy


By Abul A'la Maududi
The great news: the news of the Resurrection and Hereafter, which the people of Makkah heard with amazement, then raised questions and doubts about it in their assemblies. When they met each other they would ask: Did you ever hear that the dead will be resurrected to life? Is it credible that life will be infused once again into the bones which have decayed and become rotten? Does it stand to reason that the former and the latter generations will rise up and gather together at one place? Is it possible that these huge mountains which are so firmly set in the earth will fly about like flakes of wool? Can it so happen that the sun and the moon and the stars should be extinguished and the order and system of the world be overturned and upset? What has happened to him who was until yesterday a sane and wise man among us? Today he is giving us strange, impossible news. Where were this Hell and Heaven of which we had never heard from him before? Wherefrom have they appeared suddenly so that he has started depicting them so vividly before us?

Another meaning of fi-hi mukhtalifun also can be: As these people themselves have not agreed on any one view about the end of the world, they hold varying views about it. Some one has been influenced by the Christian belief and believes in the life after death but thinks that the second life would not be a physical but only a spiritual life. Another does not deny the Hereafter absolutely but doubts whether it was possible or not. The Quran relates the view of these very people when it says: We do only guess: we are not certain. (Surah Al-Jathiyah, Ayat 32). And another plainly said: There is no other life than this present life, and we shall never be raised back to life after our death. (Surah Al- Anaam, Ayat 29). Then, there were some atheists, who said: Life is only this worldly life of ours. Here we shall die and live and nothing but the change of time destroys us. (Surah Al-Jathiyah, Ayat 24). There were some others who were not atheistic but they regarded the second life as impossible. According to them it was beyond the power of God to raise the dead back to life. They said: Who will give life to these bones when they are rotten. (Surah YaSeen, Ayat 78). Their different views by themselves were a proof that they had no knowledge in this regard; they were only conjecturing and guessing. Had they any knowledge, they would have agreed on one view. (For further explanation, see E.N. 6 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat).

That is, whatever they say about the Hereafter is false, and all their concepts about it are wrong.

That is, the time is not far off when the same thing about which they are expressing all sorts of meaningless doubts and misgivings, will appear before them as a reality. Then they will realize that what the Messenger (peace be upon him) had foretold was absolutely true and what they were saying on the basis of conjecture and speculation had no truth in it.

Enough light has been thrown at several places in the meaning of the Quran on the supreme wisdom and power of Allah that underlies His making the earth a carpet, i.e. an abode of perfect peace and rest. For explanation, see E.Ns 73, 74, 81 of Surah An-Naml; E.N. 29 of Surah YaSeen; E.Ns 90, 91 of Surah Al-Momin; E.N. 7 of Surah Az-Zukhruf; E.N. 7 of Surah Al-Jathiyah; E.N. 18 of Surah Qaaf.

5. For the wisdom of creating mountains on the earth, see E.N. 12 of Surah An-Nahl; E.N. 74 of Surah An-Naml; E.N. 15 of Surah Al-Mursalat.

For explanation of the supreme wisdom that underlies the creation of men and women into pairs, see E.N. 69 of Surah Al-Furqan; E. Ns 28 to 30 of Surah Ar-Room, E.N. 31 of Surah YaSeen; E.N. 77 of Surah Ash-Shura; E N. 12 of Surah Az-Zukhruf; E.N. 25 of Surah Al-Qiyamah.

The explanation of the wisdom for which Allah Almighty has placed a desire for sleep in man’s nature in order to make him fit for work in the world, and which impels him to a few hours’ sleep after every few hours of work, has been given in E.N. 33 of Surah Ar-Room.

That is, the night has been made dark so that protected from light, you could enjoy a peaceful sleep more easily and made the day bright for the reason that you could work for your livelihood with greater ease and facility. Reference has been made to only one benefit out of countless benefits of the continuous alternation of night and day regularly on the earth to tell that all this is not happening without a purpose or accidentally, but there is supreme wisdom underlying it, which has a deep connection with your own immediate interests. The darkness that was needed for the peace and rest of your body in view of its structure has been provided in the night and the light that was needed for earning livelihood has been provided in the day. This arrangement that has been made precisely in accordance with your needs by itself testifies that it could not be possible without the wisdom of a Wise Being. (For further explanation, see E.N. 65 of Surah Younus; E.N. 32 of Surah YaSeen; E.N. 85 of Suarh Al-Momin; E.N. 4 of Surah Az- Zukhruf).

9. Strong, in the sense that their boundaries are so strongly fortified that no change whatever occurs in them, nor does any of the countless stars and planets in the heavens, violating these boundaries, collide with the other, nor falls down to the earth. (For further explanation, see E.N. 34 of Suarh Al-Baqarah; E.N. 2 of Suarh Ar-Raad; E.Ns 8, 12 of Surah Al-Hijr; E.N. 15 of Surah Al-Mominoon; E.N. 13 of Surah Luqman; E.N. 37 of Suarah YaSeen; E.Ns 5, 6 of Surah As-Saaffat; E.N. 90 of Surah Al-Momin; E.Ns 7, 8 of Surah Qaaf).

A bright, blazing lamp: the sun. The word wahhaj used for the sun means both intensely hot and intensely bright. Hence our rendering. In this brief sentence, allusion has been made to a most wonderful and glorious sign of Allah Almighty’s power and wisdom which the sun is. Its diameter is 109 times that of the earth’s and its size more than 333,000 times that of the earth’s. Its temperature is 14,000,000°C. In spite of shining 93,000,000 miles away from the earth, its light and brightness is dazzling, and man can look at it with the naked eye only at the risk of losing his eye-sight. As for its heat, temperature in some parts of the earth reaches 140°F because of its radiation. It is only Allah Who by His wisdom has placed the earth at the right distance from it, neither it is too hot for being close to it, nor too cold for being very far away from it. For this very reason life of man, animal and vegetable became possible on it. Measureless treasures of energy from it are reaching the earth and sustaining life. It helps ripen our crops to provide sustenance to every creature; its heat causes vapors to rise from the seas, which spread to different parts of the earth by means of the winds and fall as rain. In the sun Allah has kindled such a mighty furnace that has been constantly radiating light, heat and different kinds of rays throughout the entire solar system since millions and millions of years.

For the details of the wonderful manifestations of Allah Almighty’s power and wisdom in making arrangements for the rain and the growth of vegetation thereby, see E.N. 53 (a) of Surah An-Nahl; E.N. 17 of Surah Al-Mominoon; E.N. 5 of Surah Ash-Shuara; E.N. 35 of Surah Ar-Room; E.N. 19 of Surah Fatir; E.N. 29 of Surah YaSeen; E.N. 20 of Al- Momin; E.Ns 10, 11 of Surah Az-Zukhruf; E.Ns 28 to 30 of Surah Al-Waqiah.

After presenting a number of the signs and testimonies, one after the other, in these verses, the deniers of the Resurrection and Hereafter have been exhorted, so as to say: If you consider the earth and the mountains and your own creation, your sleep and wakefulness, and the system of the day and night intelligently, and consider the well-fortified system of the universe and the shining sun in the heavens, the rain falling from the clouds and the vegetables growing thereby, you will see two things very clearly: first, that all this could neither come into existence without a mighty power, nor continue to exist and function so regularly; second, that in each of these great wisdom is working and nothing that happens here is purposeless. Now, only a foolish person could say that the Being Who by His power has brought these things into existence, does not have the power to destroy them and create them once again in some other form, and this also could be said only by an unreasonable person that the Wise Being Who has not done anything without purpose in this universe, has given to man in His world understanding and intelligence, discrimination between good and evil, freedom to obey or disobey, and powers of appropriation over countless of His creatures, without any purpose and design: whether man uses and employs the things granted by Him in the right way or the wrong way, it does not make any difference; whether man continues to do good throughout life till death, he will end up in the dust, or continues to do evil till death, he will likewise end up in the dust. Neither the virtuous man will receive any reward for the good deeds nor the bad man will be held accountable for his evil deeds. These very arguments for life after death and Resurrection and Hereafter have been given here and there in the Quran, e.g. see E.N. 7 of Surah Ar-Raad; E.N. 9 of Surah Al-Hajj; E.N. 6 of Surah Ar-Room; E.Ns 10, 12 of Surah Saba; E.Ns 8, 9 of Surah As-Saaffat.

This implies the final sounding of the Trumpet at which all dead men will rise back to life forthwith. You implies not only those who were the addressees at that time but all those humans who will have been born from the beginning of creation till Resurrection. (For explanation, see E.N. 57 of Surah Ibrahim; E.N. 1 of Surah Al-Hajj; E.Ns 46, 47 of Surah YaSeen; E.N. 79 of Surah Az-Zumar).

One should bear in mind the fact that here also, as at many other places in the Quran, the different states of Resurrection have been mentioned all together. In the first verse, mention has been made of what will happen at the final sounding of the Trumpet and in the following two verses of the state which will appear at the second sounding of the Trumpet. This we have already explained in E.N. 10 of Surah Al-Haaqqah above. The heavens shall be opened means: All obstacles in the heavens will be removed and every heavenly calamity from every side will befall freely as though all doors for it were open and no door had remained closed to obstruct its happening. The mountains will be set in motion till they become as a mirage means: In no time will the mountains be uprooted from their places and then will be scattered away in particles leaving nothing but vast, empty sand plains behind. This same state has been described in Surah TaHa, thus: They ask you, well, where will the mountains go on that Day? Say to them: My Lord will reduce them to fine dust and scatter it away. He will turn the earth into an empty level plain, wherein you will neither see any curve nor crease. (verses 105-107 and the corresponding E. N . 83).

An ambush: a place contrived to entrap game by surprise. Hell has been described as an ambush, because the rebels of God are fearless of it and are enjoying life thinking that the world is a haven of bliss for them. They do not know that Hell is lying in ambush for them, which will trap them suddenly and keep them trapped.

The word ahqab as used in the original means successive periods of long time appearing continuously one after the other. From this word some people have tried to argue that there will be eternity in the life of Paradise but no eternity in the life of Hell. For however long these ages may be, they will not be endless but will come to an end at some time. But this argument is wrong for two reasons. First, that lexically, the word haqab (sing. of ahqab) itself contains the meaning that one haqab should be closely followed by another haqab; therefore, ahqab will necessarily be used only for such periods of time as continue to appear successively one after the other and there should be no period which is not followed by another period. Second, that as a rule it is wrong to put a meaning on a verse of the Quran pertaining to a particular theme which clashes with other statements of the Quran pertaining to the same theme. At 34 places in the Quran the word khulud (eternity) has been used concerning the dwellers of Hell. At three places not only the word khulud has been used but the word abadan (for ever and ever) also has been added to it; and at one place it has been clearly stated: They will wish to get out of Hell but shall not be able to come out of it and theirs shall be an everlasting torment. (Surah Al-Maidah, Ayat 37). At another place it has been said: Therein they shall abide forever, as long as the earth and the heavens shall last, unless your Lord ordains otherwise. And the same thing has been said about the dwellers of Paradise too: They shall dwell in Paradise forever, as long as the earth and the heavens shall last, unless your Lord wills something else. (Houd, Ayats 107- 108). After these explanations, how can one argue, on the basis of the word ahqab, that the stay of the rebels of God in Hell will not be eternal, but it will come to an end at some stage in time?

The word ghassaq as used in the original applies to pus, blood, pus-blood and all those fluids that flow out from the eyes and skins as a result of a grievous penalty. Besides, this word is also used for a thing which stinks and gives out horrid, offensive smell.

This is the reason for which they will deserve this dreadful penalty of Hell. Firstly, they lived in the world thinking that the time will never come when they will have to appear before God and render an account of their deeds; second, that they utterly refused to accept and acknowledge the revelations that Allah had sent through His Prophets for their instruction and treated them as falsehood.

That is, We were continuously preparing a complete record of their sayings and doings, their movements and occupations, even of their intentions, thoughts and aims in life and nothing was being left un-recorded, whereas the foolish people in their heedlessness thought that they were living in a lawless kingdom where they were free to do whatever they pleased and desired, and there was no power to call them to account.