AL-QIYAMAH


Makkah Period

This sūrah is concerned with death as the “doom” of every individual, and with events that will take place during the final overall destruction or doom of the world and revival of all the dead. It was revealed in Makkah. It has 40 verses and takes its name from the word al-qiyāmah (Resurrection) in the first verse.


  1. I swear by the Day of Resurrection,
  2. And I swear by the self-accusing human soul.1
    1. For the meaning of the human soul (nafs), see sūrah 3, note 37; sūrah 21, note 5.

Self-training, or the training of the soul, has been accepted as an extremely important ele- ment of the Divine Religion. This training, according to some schools in Islam, has ten stages, and according to others and some Qur’ānic allusions, seven stages:

If the soul lives only a life of ease in the swamp of carnal appetites, it is the evil-command- ing soul (nafs al-ammārah). If it falters time and again while following the way of the Religion to attain piety and righteousness, but each time that it falters it criticizes itself and turns to its Lord, then it is the self-accusing soul (nafs al-lawwāmah). The soul which always resists evil in devotion to God and is favored with certain Divine gifts in proportion to its purity is called the soul receiving inspiration (nafs al-mulhimah). When it reaches the point where it has a relation with its Lord in perfect devotion and sincerity, such that its consciousness is at rest, it is the soul at rest (nafs al-mutmainnah). If it has reached the station where it abandons all its choices and is a representative of Divine will, it is the soul pleased with God (nafs ar-rādiyah). When its greatest aim is acquiring God’s good pleasure and approval, such that it is always acting with this end in consideration of, “I am pleased with You, so be pleased with me” – then it is the soul with which God is pleased (nafs al-mardiyyah). Finally, the soul which has been perfectly purified of all sins and evil mor- als and has the capacity to be completely adorned with the full manifestations of Divine Qualities and Prophetic will-power and resolution is called the soul perfected, or the soul pure (nafs az-zakiyyah or nafs as-sāfiyah).

  1. Does human think that We will never assemble his bones (to resurrect him)?
  2. Yes, indeed, We are able to make whole his very fingertips.2

2. The fingertips are the physical extremities of the body, and it is also important that the identity of a person can be determined through his or her fingerprints. So what this verse is saying is that every human being will be revived in all of his or her particularities, down to the fingertips. Yet the uniqueness of the fingertips of each human being became widely

 

known only centuries after the revelation of the Qur’an.

  1. But human (by willful choice) denies what lies ahead of him (the other life, because he desires to live only as he pleases).
  2. He asks: “When is the Day of Resurrection?”
  3. When the eyesight is confounded (through fear),
  4. And the moon is darkened,
  5. And the sun and the moon are joined together,
  6. On that Day human will say: “Where is the escape?”
  7. By no means! No refuge (to flee to)!
  8. To your Lord the journey’s end will be on that Day.
  9. Human will be made to understand on that Day all (the good and evil) that he forwarded (to his afterlife while in the world), and all (the good and evil) that he s left behind.3

3. On the Day of Resurrection, people will rejoice in the good they did and the evil they did not do while in the world; and they will regret the evil they did and the good that they left undone.

  1. Indeed, human will be an eye-witness (providing evidence) against himself,
  2. even though he puts forth his excuses.4

4. That is, as pointed out in 32: 20 and 36: 65, on the Day of Resurrection, the parts of the human body will testify as to what they saw, heard or experienced.

  1. (O Prophet!) Move not your tongue to hasten it (for safekeeping in your heart).
  2. Surely it is for Us to collect it (in your heart) and enable you to recite it (by heart).
  3. So when We recite it, follow its recitation;
  4. Thereafter, it is for Us to explain it.5

5. The last four verses seem to have no relation with those before or after them. They are concerned with the revelation of the Qur’ān to God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and his manner of receiving it. The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, showed great concern in receiving and committing to heart the Qur’ān during its revela- tion; and, therefore, he tried to repeat and memorize it. He was also very concerned about

 

fully understanding the meaning. These verses, like 20: 114, which is almost of the same import, assure him that God will enable him to memorize it and understand its meaning. As for the reason why these verses exist between the verses concerning the Day of Resur- rection, the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, may have shown special care in memorizing them during their revelation.

  1. Yes indeed! (We are able to make complete his very fingerprints to resurrect him,) but you (people) love and prefer what is before you (the present, worldly life),6

6. This is another passage to follow, Does human think that We will never assemble his bones (to resurrect him)? (verse 3), and so means, ‘Yes indeed, We are able to make com- plete his very fingertips, (reviving him wholly), but you ...’

  1. And abandon that which is to come later (the Hereafter).
  2. Some faces on that Day will be radiant (with contentment),
  3. Looking up toward their Lord.
  4. And some faces on that Day will be despondent,
  5. Knowing that a crushing calamity is about to be inflicted on them.
  6. No indeed! (No doubt remains for the meaning of life) when it (the last breath) comes up to the throat,
  7. And it is said, “Who is the wizard (who can save him)?”
  8. While he (who is dying) is certain that it is the (moment of ) parting.
  9. And (in the agony of death) one leg is intertwined with the other;
  10. To your Lord is, on that Day, the driving.
  11. He did not affirm the truth (of the Divine Message conveyed to him), nor did he do the Prayer;
  12. Rather, he denied and turned away.
  13. Thereafter he went back to his family in gleeful conceit.
  14. So: well have you deserved (this doom), well have you deserved (it).
  15. Again, well have you deserved it and well deserved.
  16. Does human think that he is to be left to himself (to go about as he pleas- es)?
 
  1. Was he not once a mere drop of semen poured forth?
  2. Then he became a clot clinging (to the womb wall), and He created and fashioned (him) in due proportions.
  3. Then He made of him a pair, male and female.
  4. Is not He (Who does that, equally) able to bring the dead back to life?