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Surah 56 Al-Waaqi'ah

In The Name Of Allah
The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

Verses 1-3
The title of this Surah finds mention in the first Ayah. Al-Waqi'ah - The Event - speaks of the inevitability of that which has been preordained. The second Ayah makes it obvious that when the Event takes place there will be no possibility of denying it. The effects of this Occurance will be immediate, some will be elevated and others abased on account of it.

These Ayaat introduce references to the opening up of the ultimate reality, wherein the three groups of people referred to in Verse 7 are shown their destination and their respective states.

1) Those on the Right Hand - As-haab Al-Maymanah. They shall be happy and joyful. Verse 8

2) Those on the Left Hand - As-haab Al-Mash'amah. They are the unfortunate ones, those who are alluded to in Verse 3 - the abased. Verse 9

3) The Foremost Ones - As-Saabiqun. Their rewards are enumerated as well as their happy condition in the best of abodes. Verse 10

The Foremost Ones are designated as Al-Muqarrabun, those who shall be brought near - to Allah SWT. That is the greatest and most excellent of gifts.

Verses 15-23 describe their exalted state and too the blessings which they shall be the happy recipients of. As always, Allah SWT provides an explanation - very often consisting of no more than a few select words - as to the reason for these great rewards -

Verse 24
A recompense for what they have been doing

In other words, whatever be the attitude and actions in this life will have definite repercussions in the next. This introduces the concept of cause and effect in Al-Waqi'ah. Whilst the impact of human conduct may be felt immediately in this world, its effects are lasting. No deed is too small or too great but it must needs meet its consequence - herein lies the balance - Al-Mizaan - which Allah SWT has set up in all parts of HIS creation, and which on the Day of Judgment will be restored after having been disrupted and disturbed by human (mis)behaviour.

The falsehoods with which believers are confronted and frequently have to battle against, as well as all trivial, frivolous, wasteful discourse will find no place in the abode of the blessed. They will not hear any "vain or sinful talk" Rather, they will be met with the beautiful greetings of "Salaam! Salaam!" - Peace is that which humans strive after and work for. Those who sought it through the prescribed methods during their lifetimes will find it awaiting them in their next lives. Verses 25-26

Verses 27-38 enumerate the gifts which those on the Right Hand shall recieve. In such Ayaat, there are frequent references to fruit - sustenance - garments - clothes, attire - mansions - homes, shelter - and spouses - companionship, love. This reveals that the needs and requirements of human beings shall remain intact in the hereafter - but only the blessed shall have them fulfilled, with immeasurable intensification. Whilst the pleasures in this world are of a transitory nature, in the hereafter they shall be lasting. Thus, the level of being or of living shall not only attain a higher degree, its experiences will correspondingly be of a far greater order.

As-haab Ash-Shimaal - People on the Left - are designated the worst of abodes and shall descend to the worst of states. For these unfortunates, their existence shall be marked out by pain and suffering. Verses 41-44

Again, explanations are proffered as to the causes which bring about these hapless conditions for the People on the Left, a term which actually means evil-doers.

Verses 45-48
Indeed, before that they indulged in luxury.
And they had been persisting in heinous offences.
And they used to say: When we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we indeed be raised?
We and our fathers of old?

The people thus referred to are those who, whilst being in wealthy and influential positions, nevertheless employed these blessings in perverse ways. They not only committed offences but they persisted in these acts. Their actions were based upon conscious intent - they knew what they were doing and why. The underlying reason for their ignoble conduct is revealed: they denied any validity to eternal truths and rejected the notion of retribution for their deeds. The people who indulged themselves believed they were immune from the consequences of their acts. It suited their modes of life-style and thought to not only question the reality of resurrection but to deny it altogether. Thus did they plant the seeds of their own destruction.

The following Verses - 49-55 - constitute the answer to and rebuttal of the denial as expressed in the preceding Ayaat. In addition, the type of sustenance with which the deniers of the truth shall be provided with is described - it as well as their existence shall be vile. This is in stark contrast to the beauties reserved for the other two groups of people.

The important point to bear in mind here is that rejecting the notion of Resurrection and the Day of Judgment combined with evil actions are the primary causes of suffering in the hereafter. In other words, the one often leads to the other. Human action which is intentional and deliberate is distinct from that which is accidental and involuntary - Allah SWT Judges based upon HIS Absolute Knowledge and All-Encompassing Wisdom.

Verses 57-74 remind humankind of the blessings which flow from The Creator in unceasing abundance. Further, in these Ayaat Allah SWT asks a series of challenging questions of HIS most superior creature and provides the answers to them. This form of discourse is to be found in Kitaab-Allah very often, wherein Allah SWT calls upon human beings to reflect upon and consider all that they see, partake of, as well as the materials available to them - the means by which they are sustained. These questions from Allah SWT also constitute reminders - for humans are, if anything, notoriously forgetful and ungrateful. Verses 62, 70, 73. As opposed to the life-giving elements of food and water, there is also reference to the inevitability of death. In other words, sustenance in this world is not endless nor is life - both cease upon death. Thus is the warning issued -

Verse 60-61
..It is WE Who have decreed death to you all and WE are not to be outstripped.
In that WE may transform you and create you in (forms) that you know not.

The constant creativity of Al-Khaaliq is not only mentioned but emphasized - this represents a rejection of the idea that humans are self-sufficient and able to produce or create on their own. Whatever people make is an outcome of pre-existing elements and materials.

Allah SWT issues a powerful oath in order to draw attention to the origin, truth and exalted position of HIS Book, Al-Qur'an -

Verses 75-82
I Swear by the setting of the stars.
And that is a mighty oath, if you but knew,
That it is an Honoured Recitation - La-Quraanun Kareem.
In the Book Well-Guarded - Kitaabin Maknun
Which none may touch except the purified.
It is a Revelation from the Lord of the worlds.
Is this the Discourse - Al-Hadeeth - that you hold so lightly?
And make it your provision to deny it?

Such questions as are put to those who reject the veracity and validity of Al-Qur'an, are for the purposes of inviting them to contemplate upon that which they employ as fodder for their denial. This denial is composed of rejection of Kalaam-Allah as well as of HIS Signs, which are evident in and around them.

The succeeding Verses - 83-87 - again draw attention to the inevitability of death. Once again questions are asked of those who deny resurrection - if they are able why do they not restore life to the dying? Al-Qur'an is as compellingly true and necessary as is life and death.

Verses 88-93 return to the theme which introduced this Surah, namely the three categories of people - the ones drawn nearest to Allah SWT, those who are excellent, and the wretched whose lives were composed of waste and denial. A brief description and reminder of their respective states in the Hereafter is given.

The last two Ayaat - 95-96 - confirms Al-Qur'an as being the Truth Absolute - Haqq-Ul-Yaqeen - proceeding from The Almighty.

This Surah is a powerful reminder that human life has meaning, comprehending the purpose of existence leads one to the truth. If the truth about The Creator, Revelation, Resurrection, the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter is denied - then the question must be asked: what is truth?

A point to note here: all references to Al-Ghayb - the Realm beyond human perception - ought not to be interpreted or understood literally. That which is known and familiar, those things which are pleasurable and beautiful as well as those which are vile and dreadful from the world, are employed to convey an idea of the rewards and punishments in the Hereafter. Thus, The Seen is used as a device to give insight into the Unseen.

(It is also perhaps worth mentioning that the word Hur - to be found in Verse 22 - does not refer specifically to the female gender as is popularly supposed. Rather, it refers to both male and female, and is the plural of Ahwar and Hawra, the masculine and feminine forms respectively of Hawar. Please see "The Message Of The Qur'an" by Muhammad Asad, pg 831, note 8)



Allahu 'Alam


Translations from "The Glorious Qur'an" by Abdul Maajid Daryaabaadi and
"The Message Of The Qur'an" by Muhammad Asad.


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