Revealed in Makkah, this sūrah of 49 verses derives its name from the word at-Tūr (the Mount) in the first verse. It deals with the confused reactions of the Makkan polytheists to the revelation of the Qur’ān and how they made them look ridiculous. It emphasizes the truth of Judgment Day in that the unbelievers will be punished while the believers will be rewarded with Paradise. It also draws attention to the destruction that may come upon those who obstinately resist the truth.
- By the Mount (Sinai),
- And by a Book inscribed,
- In parchments outstretched,
- And by Bayt al-Ma‘mur (the House continuously frequented),
- And by the canopy (of heaven) raised high,
- And by the sea kept filled (and ready to overflow),
- The punishment of your Lord will certainly take place!1
- The Qur’ān draws attention to many important phenomena in the universe, human life, and history in order to emphasize the inevitable advent of the Last Day. In the same way as the creation of the universe, the changes and convulsions it has experienced, and the changes of the days, months, seasons, years, and centuries all bear witness to the coming of the Last Day, so, too, do the revealed Books throughout human history inform us of its decisive occurrence. Science also testifies to this (See Ali Ünal, The Resurrection and the Afterlife, 70–86). Therefore, by the Mount, the Qur’ān refers to both Mount Sinai, where the Prophet Moses, upon him be peace, received the Torah, and another mount, Mount an-Nūr, where Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, began to receive the Qur’ān. By the Books inscribed, it refers to the revealed Books of God, like the Torah and the Qur’ān. The Books inscribed may also signify the records of deeds where the deeds of human beings are recorded and which will be unrolled on Judgment Day. Bayt al-Ma’mūr refers both to the Ka’bah, which has continuously been visited by human beings and angels, and also its counterpart in the heavenly realm that is continuously visited and circumambu- lated by angels. It also refers to the revelation of the Qur’ān, in that according to some, the Qur’ān was first sent down on it in its entirety (See sūrah 44, note 1). The heaven will be rent asunder on the Last Day and all the seas or the mass of water on the earth will be made to boil over. So, all the phenomena referred to in these six verses allude to the Last Day; and because of this, the oaths sworn in them conclude with the declaration of its inevitable
and already destined advent.
- There is none that can avert it.
- On that Day the heaven will be convulsed violently;
- And the mountains will move away with an awesome movement.
- Woe, then, on that Day to those who deny (God’s Message and the Mes- sengers) –
- Those who are habitually playing, absorbed (in vanities):
- On that Day they will be forcefully thrust into the fire of Hell.
- “This is the Fire which you used to deny.
- “Is this sorcery (for you used to deride the Revelation as sorcery), or is it that you do not see (so that, for you, it is something illusory)?
- “Suffer the heat of it now! Bear it patiently, or do not bear it patiently, it is all the same to you. You are only being recompensed for all that you used to do (in the world).”
- The God-revering, pious ones will surely be in Gardens and bliss,
- enjoying all that their Lord will grant them (by His grace and in recompense for their good deeds); and their Lord has protected them from the punishment of the Blazing Flame.
- “eat and drink to your hearts’ content for all that you used to do (in the world).”
- They will recline on thrones arranged; and We have assigned for them maid- ens pure, beautiful of eye.
- Those who have believed and their offspring have followed them in faith, We will unite them with their offspring (even though the faith of the latter may not be of the same degree as that of the former), and We will not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything (because of their being united with their off- spring). every person will enjoy according to what he has earned.2
2. God will unite the parents with their believing offspring in Paradise, even though the faith and deeds of their offspring may not be of the same rank as them. This will be another blessing for the believers. However, everyone will not enjoy Paradise to the same degree, even though they will be together in the same place. each person will enjoy it according to the degree of their own faith and deeds.
The verse also hints that, as pointed out in 56: 10–14, particularly at the beginning of a new movement of faith, those who attain the faith first are generally more valued in God’s sight and will be the foremost in enjoying Paradise. They have outstripped others in believing and supported God’s cause at a time when supporting it was the most difficult, without considering any worldly advantage, and, therefore, suffered greater hardships than those who followed.
- And We will provide them with fruit and meat, one meal after the other, such as they desire.
- There they will pass among one another a cup wherein is (a drink inciting) no false, foolish talk nor sin.
- And there will go round them boy-servants attending upon them, (so pure) as hidden pearls.
- Some of them will move closer to others, asking (about their affairs in the world and how they were admitted to Paradise).
- They say: “We used to be, when amongst our families, indeed most appre- hensive before (most careful and alert for the guidance and eternal life of our family members).
- “Then God bestowed His favor upon us, and protected us from the punish- ment of the scorching fire penetrating through the skin.
- “We used to worship and invoke Him alone before. Surely He is the All- Benign, the All-compassionate (especially to His believing servants).”
- So (O Messenger, continue to) preach and remind; by God’s grace, you are not a soothsayer, nor a madman.
- Or do they say (of him): “A poet (jinn-possessed). We await for him some calamity ahead”?
- Say: “Wait on, for I am waiting with you (though I hope for a different outcome).”
- Do their minds urge them to such (absurd falsehoods), or are they a people (in the habit of being) rebellious and outrageous?
- Or do they say: “He forges it (and then attributes the Qur’an to God)?” No indeed. Rather, (they make such claims because) they have no will to believe.
- (If they really believe such a Book can be forged) then, let them produce a Discourse like it, if they are truthful (in their claims).
- Or were they created without anything being before them (or out of some- thing different than the basic material of all creation, so that they know things others do not), or are they the creators (of themselves, so that they can maintain themselves and are free in their acts)?
- Or did they create the heavens and the earth (so that their sovereignty be- longs to them)? No indeed. Rather, they have no certain knowledge (about cre- ation, humankind, and the basic facts concerning them).
- Or are the treasures of your Lord at their disposal (so that they provide for creation however they will, and choose whomever they will as Messenger and send down to him whatever Book they will)? Or have they been given author- ity over them (so that they can prevail upon God to send them a Message and Messenger that suits their interests)?
- Or do they have a ladder by which (having climbed to heaven) they overhear (the secrets of heaven, confirming their stand against the Messenger and the Qur’an)? Then let their eavesdropper produce some clear authority (to prove what he claims to have heard).
- Or (do you in your absurdity attribute to Him children, so that) for Him there are daughters (whom you yourselves foolishly disdain), while for you there are sons?
- Or is it that you (O Messenger) ask them for wage (for conveying God’s Religion to them) so that they are crushed under debt?
- Or do they have the knowledge of the Unseen (and the Supreme Preserved Tablet) so that they write down the decrees (determining all events, and stipu- lating a way of life for others to follow)?
- Or do they intend a plot (to entrap you so as to defeat your mission)? Yet it is those who disbelieve who are entrapped (in so plotting, because they deny themselves God’s blessings in both worlds).
- Or do you have a deity other than God (to whom, in vain, you look to sus- tain, and help, and protect you)? All-Glorified is He (in that He is absolutely exalted) above what they associate as partners with Him.
- (So obstinate are they in rejecting the truth that) if they saw a piece of the sky falling down (on them), they would say, “This is (only) a heap of clouds!” (For they cannot conceive that it may be a punishment for their obstinate de- nial).
- So, leave them until they meet their Day when they will be struck dead.
- The Day when their scheming will avail them nothing, nor will they be helped.
- And surely for those who commit the greatest wrong (through unbelief or associating partners with God, and resisting the conveying of His Religion), there is another punishment besides that; but most of them do not know.4
4. The Day mentioned in verse 45 may be referring either to the day when the leaders of unbelief will be struck dead in the world in a war (as the leaders of the Quraysh were killed in the Battle of Badr) or in another catastrophe, or to the overall destruction of the world. So another punishment mentioned in verse 47 is both the kind of punishment they will be made to suffer in the world so that they may repent, and the punishment in the grave that they will suffer until the Day of Resurrection.
- So wait patiently for your Lord’s judgment, for you are under Our eyes (under Our care and protection); and glorify your Lord with His praise when you rise up (to pray);
- And in the night-time also glorify Him, and at the retreat of the stars.