Madīnah Period

This sūrah of 11 verses was probably revealed in Madīnah. It gets its name from the word al-ādiyāt (chargers) in the first verse. After it praises the vanguards of Islam, it draws attention to some negative attitudes that exist in human beings, particularly in unbelievers, and it warns that God is fully aware of whatever people do.

  1. By the chargers that run panting,
  2. Striking sparks of fire,
  3. Rushing to make sudden raids at morn,
  4. Raising thereby clouds of dust,
  5. Storming thereby into a host, cleaving it -1
    1. The verses are normally interpreted as being concerned with Muslim warriors on horse- back. According to Ikrimah, a classical commentator who lived in the first century of Islam, the second verse refers to arms of war. So modern commentators, such as Hamdi Yazır, maintain that the verses also imply firearms, especially modern tanks and other armored weaponry.
  6. Surely human is ungrateful to his Lord;2

2. Although the oaths in the initial verses are of positive import, this verse mentions a negative aspect of human nature. This is because the verse condemns those who do not appreciate God’s favor of guidance upon humankind as embodied in Islam. So the initial verses praise the Muslim warriors who respond to the wrongdoing enemy forces who are attacking them for reasons of religious intolerance or in betrayal of their agreements with them.

  1. And to this, he himself is a sure witness;3

3. That is, the uncorrupted consciences of human beings, who cannot but admit God’s favor of guidance that comes in the form of Islam, bear witness to their purposeful in- gratitude and rebellion against God. Moreover, the life, attitudes, and acts of an ungrateful person attest to his or her demonstration of ingratitude to God. Humans themselves, as well as certain parts of their bodies, will bear witness against their ingratitude on the Day of Resurrection.

  1. And most surely he is violent in love of wealth.
  1. Does he think he will not come to know when all that is in the graves is raised and brought out,
  2. And all that is in the breasts is laid open and made out?
  3. Surely their Lord on that Day will be fully aware of them.