by Shaykh 'Abdur-Rahmân ibn Nâsir as-Sa'dî (d. 1383 AH / n/a CE)
Translated by Abû Rumaysah
The Seventy-Eighth Chapter The News
1) Concerning what are they asking each other? 2) Concerning the momentous News, 3) about which they are in disagreement. 4) Nay, but they will soon know! 5) Nay, again, but they will soon know!
“Concerning what are they asking each other?” about what are those who deny the Signs of Allāh asking each other? The answer is then clarified in His saying“Concerning the momentous News, about which they are in disagreement” about which they had lengthy debate and the discord of which had spread far and wide, this by way of denial and declaring the news to be highly unlikely. However this news is not something that is open to uncertainty and does not allow doubt to enter it. Therefore the reality is that those who deny the meeting with their Lord will never believe, even if every Sign comes to them, until they themselves see the Painful Punishment. “Nay, but they will soon know! Nay, again, but they will soon know!” they will soon know what they used to deny when the punishments descends upon them, that time when they are“flung (disdainfully) into the Fire of Hell”; it will be said to them,“This is the Fire which you were wont to deny!”
6) Have We not made the earth a leveled carpet, 7) and the mountains as pegs, 8) and We have created you in pairs, 9) and have appointed your sleep as a cessation,[*] 10) and have appointed the night as a cloak, 11) and have appointed the day for earning a livelihood, 12) and We have built above you seven mighty ones, 13) and placed (therein) a dazzling lamp, 14) and have sent down from the rain-laden clouds[**] abundant water; 15) that We may bring forth thereby grain and plant; 16) and gardens of luxurious growth?
* Another interpretation is, “as a means of stretching/distending.” [Qurţubi]
** Another interpretation is “and have sent down, resulting from wind (driving the clouds), abundant water.” [Abū Ĥayyān]
Then Allāh, Transcendent is He!, mentions His blessings and the evidences pointing to the truth of His Messengers. He says, “Have We not made the earth a leveled carpet,”have we not granted you magnificent blessings such as leveling the earth and making it subservient to you? Have we not subjected it to you that you may extract benefit from it of crops, residence, and roadways? “And the mountains as pegs,” making firm the earth so that it does not shake and sway under you. “And We have created you in pairs,” male and female, of the same type, that one may find rest with the other, that love and mercy may ensue as a result of which offspring are given birth; the pleasure in the act of marital relations being yet another blessing. “And have appointed your sleep as a cessation,”of your activities and a rest for you. “And have appointed the night as a cloak,”were man’s activity perpetual and unceasing, it would harm him, so Allāh appointed the night and sleep as a means to cover him such that his movement, which would end up harming him, may find stillness and that he may find respite. “And have appointed the day for earning a livelihood, and We have built above you seven mighty ones,”i.e. seven heavens, mighty, firm, unshakable. Allāh holds them up via His power, making them as a roof for the earth. They contain many benefits, amongst which is the sun: “and placed (therein) a dazzling lamp,”referring to it as “dazzling” to highlight its quality of light which is necessary for the existence of man and as “a lamp” to highlight its heat which is also beneficial for man. “And have sent down from the rain-laden clouds abundant water; that We may bring forth thereby grain”such as wheat, barley, rice, and other such edible produce, “and plant;” all types of plants which Allāh has made fodder for their animals. “And gardens of luxurious growth?”intertwined growth containing every type of delicious fruit.
The One who has granted these magnificent blessings, the extent of which none can hope to estimate let alone count… how can you disbelieve in Him? How can you deny what He informs you of with regards the Resurrection? How can you use His blessings to disobey Him and be ingrates?
17) Lo! the Day of Decision is fixed, 18) the Day when the trumpet is blown and you come in droves, 19) and the heaven is opened and becomes doorways, 20) and the mountains are set in motion and become as a mirage.
Allāh, Exalted is He, proceeds to mention what will occur on the Day of Judgment about which the deniers are asking each other and the obstinate deniers are rejecting. It is a momentous Day, “Lo! the Day of Decision is fixed,”for the creation. “The Day when the trumpet is blown and you come in droves, and the heaven is opened and becomes doorways, and the mountains are set in motion and become as a mirage,” during this Day such violent and terrifying events are set in motion as would turn white the hair of a babe and render hearts into utter confusion and dismay. Mountains will be shaken until they become “scattered dust”; and the heaven will be rent asunder such that it “becomes doorways”. On that Day will Allāh judge between the creations with His judgment that cannot be wrong or unjust, and the Fire of Hell which Allāh has made a place of ambush and a homecoming for the transgressors will be kindled to a blaze.
21) Truly Hell is a place of ambush, 22) for the transgressors, a homecoming: 23) abiding therein for (countless) ages, 24) they taste not therein coolness[*] nor (any) drink 25) save boiling water and a scalding pus[‡]: 26) a fitting recompense. 27) Lo! They expected not a reckoning; 28) and they roundly denied Our revelations. 29) Everything have We recorded in a Book. 30) So taste! No increase do We give you save of torment.
* Another interpretation has “sleep/rest” in place of “coolness.” [Abū Ĥayyān]
‡ Another interpretation is, “paralysing cold” [al-Qurţubi]
“Truly Hell is a place of ambush, for the transgressors, a homecoming: abiding therein for (countless) ages,” meaning many many ages, and the meaning of “age (ĥaqb)” here, in the view of many exegetes, is eighty years. When they enter it, “they taste not therein coolness nor (any) drink,” receiving not that which would cool their skins nor quench their thirst. “Save boiling water” that would scald their faces and rip apart their stomachs “and a scalding pus:” the pus of the denizens of Hell: a truly vile liquid with a foul taste. This atrocious punishment is “a fitting recompense” for what they worked. Allāh will not wrong them in the slightest; rather it was they who wronged themselves. This is why Allāh proceeds to mention their deeds which made them deserving of this recompense, “Lo! They expected not a reckoning;” they did not believe in the Resurrection, or in the fact that Allāh would recompense the creation for the good and bad that they worked. For this reason they neglected to work for the Hereafter, “And they roundly denied Our revelations,” they clearly denied them, leaving no shadow of doubt that would indicate otherwise. The clear proofs came to them but they obstinately denied them. “Everything”small and large, insignificant and significant, good and evil, “have We recorded in a Book,” i.e. We have recorded it in the Preserved Tablet. Therefore let not the sinners think that We have punished them for sins they did not commit, neither let them think that any of their deeds will be lost or forgotten – not even an atoms weight!“And the Book is placed, and you will see the guilty fearful of that which is therein, and they say, ‘What kind of a Book is this that leaves not a small thing nor a great thing but takes account thereof!’ And they find all that they did confronting them, and your Lord wrongs no-one.” “So taste!” O deniers, this painful punishment and perpetual anguish. “No increase do We give you save of torment,” each period of time brings with it an increase in punishment. This verse is one of the most severest verses depicting the punishment of the Fire, may Allāh save us from it.
31) Lo! for those who ward off (evil) is triumph – 32) Gardens enclosed and vineyards, 33) and nubile maidens of equal age, 34) and an overflowing cup. 35) They hear not therein vain discourse, nor falsehood – 36) a recompense from your Lord; a gift, (amply) sufficient. 37) Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, the All-Merciful; with Whom they have no ability to converse.
After having mentioned the state of the sinners, Allāh mentions the end of those with taqwā, “Lo! for those who ward off (evil) is triumph,“i.e. those who ward off the displeasure of their Lord by adhering firmly to His obedience and avoid disobeying Him, for them is success and victory, and distance from the Fire. Amongst this victory is, “Gardens enclosed,” containing all types of luscious vegetation giving forth fruit, “and vineyards,” with rivers sprouting from them. Grapes have been specifically mentioned because of their excellence and because they are present in plenitude in those Gardens. “And nubile maidens,”full breasted women whose bosom never loses its firmness, eternally youthful and beautiful “of equal age,” i.e. of one age. The norm for people who are “atrāb” is that they be sociable and companionable, their age is thirty-three and this age is the peak of youth. “And an overflowing cup,” with the choicest wine,“delicious to the drinkers”.[5 ] “They hear not therein vain discourse,” words that contain no benefit, “nor falsehood” words calling to sin. Allāh says,“There hear they no vain speaking or sinful discourse.”[6 ]
Allāh gave them this magnificent reward out of His beneficence and grace, “A recompense from your Lord; a gift, (amply) sufficient,” by reason of their deeds which Allāh guided them to and made to be a cause leading to His grace. He is their Lord, “Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them,” Who created them and regulated them, “the All-Merciful;” whose mercy extends to everything. Hence He nurtured them and extended His mercy to them until they attained this state of felicity. Then He mentioned His greatness and His Kingship on the Day of Judgment, “with Whom they have no ability to converse,” except “for whom the All-Merciful allows and who speaks right.” Therefore none will be able to speak unless he meets these two pre-requisites: Allāh grants him leave to speak and he speaks right. This is because “That is the True Day,” the day when falsehood cannot be circulated and lying is of no benefit.
38) That Day when the Spirit and the angels will stand arrayed. They speak not, save him whom the All-Merciful allows and who speaks right. 39) That is the True Day. So whoever wills should seek a way back unto his Lord. 40) Lo! We have warned you of a punishment at hand, a Day whereon a man will look to that which his own hands have sent before him, and the disbeliever will cry, “Would that I were dust!”
“That Day when the Spirit,” Jibrīl, the best of the angels “and the angels will stand arrayed,” submissively before Allāh. “They speak not, save him whom the All-Merciful allows and who speaks right.”After having encouraged, and discouraged, and given glad-tidings, and warned, He says, “That is the True Day. So whoever wills should seek a way back unto his Lord,”with deeds and a truthful footing to which he can recourse on the Day of Judgment. “Lo! We have warned you of a punishment at hand,”because it is approaching and everything that is approaching is at hand. “A Day whereon a man will look to that which his own hands have sent before him,” being concerned with it and being terrified of it. So look in this abode to what you are preparing for the Eternal Abode!“O you who believe! Observe your duty to Allāh and let every soul look to that which it sends on before for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allāh, Lo! Allāh is well-informed of what you do.” Then, whoever finds good, let him praise Allāh, and whoever finds other than that, he has none to blame but himself. It is for this reason that the disbelievers will wish for death by reason of their extreme sorrow and anguish, “and the disbeliever will cry, ‘Would that I were dust!’”
We ask Allāh that He deliver us from disbelief and all evil. He is the Bestower of Good, the Kind.