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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 84: (Al-Inshiqaq: The Bursting Asunder)



Chapter 84: (Al-Inshiqaq: The Bursting Asunder)
(Revealed at Makkah: 1 section; 25 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter receives its title from the statement made in the opening verse as to the bursting asunder of the cloud. The subject-matter is similar to that of the previous chapter. It is one of the earliest revelations

2. Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 When the heaven bursts asunder,a

2 And listens to its Lord and is made fit;a

3 And when the earth is stretched,a

4 And casts forth what is in it and becomes empty,

5 And listens to its Lord and is made fit.

6 O man, thou must strive a hard striving (to attain) to thy Lord, until thou meet Him.a

7 Then as to him who is given his book in his right hand,

8 His account will be taken by an easy reckoning,

9 And he will go back to his people rejoicing.

10 And as to him who is given his book behind his back,

11 He will call for perdition.

12 And enter into burning Fire.

13 Surely he was (erstwhile) joyful among his people.

14 Surely he thought that he would never return (to Allah) —

15 Yea, surely his Lord is ever Seer of him.

16 But nay, I call to witness the sunset redness,

17 And the night and that which it drives on,

18 And the moon when it grows full,a

19 That you shall certainly ascend to one state after another.a

20 But what is the matter with them that they believe not?

21 And, when the Qur’an is recited to them, they adore (Him) not?a


22 Nay, those who disbelieve give the lie —

23 And Allah knows best what they hide.

24 So announce to them a painful chastisement,

25 Except those who believe and do good — for them is a reward that shall never be cut off.

3. Commentary:

1a. The first five verses of this chapter speak of an ordinary phenomenon of nature, viz., the coming down of rain and the growth of vegetation, as a reference to the transformation which was to be brought about by the Divine revelation. The bursting asunder of heaven here stands for the coming down of rain; compare 25:25: “And on the day when the heaven bursts asunder with clouds”. [Back to verse 1]

2a. ‘Adhina la-hu signifies he listened to him (LL). By the cloud or heaven listening to its Lord here, and the earth listening to its Lord in v. 5, is meant their obedience to His commandment. To both phrases is added the word huqqat, signifying that they are made suitable or fit for listening to and obeying the Divine commandments, i.e., it is their very nature to be entirely submissive to the Divine commandments. [Back to verse 2]

3a. Madda-hu signifies he pulled it, strained it, extended it by drawing or pulling, stretched it, extended it (LL). The stretching of the earth signifies the same as its stirring and swelling in 22:5 and 41:39. "And of His signs is this, that thou seest the earth still, but when We send down water thereon, it stirs and swells" (41:39); see 41:39a, where the meaning is explained to be the producing of herbage, the expression here, as there, signifying metaphorically that Divine revelation gives spiritual life to man. The meaning of the earth being stretched is explained in the next verse: it casts forth what is in it and becomes empty, i.e., the treasures of life latent within it are brought to light by the coming down of rain. [Back to verse 3]

6a. This is the conclusion to which a consideration of the first five verses leads. Man must strive hard to attain to his Lord. Those who do this are ultimately joyful (v. 9), but those who give themselves up to the pleasures of this life (v. 13) shall afterwards be in a sad plight (v. 11). [Back to verse 6]

18a. Verses 16 –18 draw attention to another phenomenon of nature, thereby indicating the departure of the power of the opponents of Truth. The shafaq, or the sunset redness, stands here for the disappearing sun of the power of the opponents, the night of adversity, which was now to overtake them, driving before it what vestige of light had remained. But they were not to remain submerged in darkness forever, for the moon (the Holy Prophet) had already made its appearance and would soon grow full, when the Arab nation was to march forth to conquer the world, the moon being a symbol of the power of the Arabs. For an alternative significance, see next note. [Back to verse 18]

19a. According to I‘Ab, this verse speaks of the advancement of the cause of the Prophet (B. 65: lxxxiv, 2). The people addressed here are thus the Muslims, who are told that they will go on making progress in the world, but it will be a gradual progress, and there may be set-backs. But the ultimate state would be one of triumph. In this case the night spoken of in the previous verse would mean the adversities which Islam itself will have to face, and the full moon would indicate its final triumph. The commentators also explain this verse as being a prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam (Rz). [Back to verse 19]

21a. An actual prostration follows the recital of this verse; see 7:206a. [Back to verse 21]



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Chapter 83: Al-Tatfif (Default of Duty)

Chapter 85: Al-Buruj (The Stars)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 84: (Al-Inshiqaq: The Bursting Asunder)


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