Al-Ghashiyah is the 88th surah (chapter) of The Holy Qur’an. It consists of 26 ayat (verses) that were all revealed in Mecca.
REVEALED most probably about the middle of the Mecca period, this surah derives its title from the participial noun al-ghashiyah in the first verse.
بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 1
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ
Hal ataaka hadeesul ghaashiyah
1. HAS THERE COME unto thee the tiding of the Overshadowing Event?1
1 I.e., the Day of Resurrection.
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 2
وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَاشِعَةٌ
Wujoohuny yawma ‘izin khaashi’ah
2. Some faces will on that Day be downcast,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 3
3. toiling [under burdens of sin], worn out [by fear],
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 4
تَصْلَىٰ نَارًا حَامِيَةً
Taslaa naaran haamiyah
4. about to enter a glowing fire,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 5
تُسْقَىٰ مِنْ عَيْنٍ آنِيَةٍ
Tusqaa min ‘aynin aaniyah
5. given to drink from a boiling spring.
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 6
لَيْسَ لَهُمْ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِنْ ضَرِيعٍ
Laisa lahum ta’aamun illaa min daree’
6. No food for them save the bitterness of dry thorns,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 7
لَا يُسْمِنُ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِنْ جُوعٍ
Laa yusminu wa laa yughnee min joo’
7. which gives no strength and neither stills hunger.2
2 According to Al-Qiffal (as quoted by Razi), this kind of hellish drink and food is a metonym for utter hopelessness and abasement. As regards the noun dari’—which is said to be a bitter, thorny plant in its dried state (Jawhari)—it is to be borne in mind that it is derived from the verb dara’a or dari’a, which signifies “he [or “it”] became abject” or “abased” (ibid.): hence my rendering of this (obviously metaphorical) expression as “the bitterness of dry thorns”. A similarly metaphorical meaning attaches to the expression “a boiling spring” in verse 5, which recalls the term hamim so often mentioned in the Qur’an (see note 62 on the last sentence of Surah Al-An’am : 70).
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 8
وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَاعِمَةٌ
Wujoohuny yawma ‘izin naa’imah
8. [And] some faces will on that Day shine with bliss,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 9
9. well-pleased with [the fruit of] their striving,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 10
فِي جَنَّةٍ عَالِيَةٍ
Fee jannatin ‘aaliyah
10. in a garden sublime,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 11
لَا تَسْمَعُ فِيهَا لَاغِيَةً
Laa tasma’u feehaa laaghiyah
11. wherein thou wilt hear no empty talk.
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 12
فِيهَا عَيْنٌ جَارِيَةٌ
Feehaa ‘aynun jaariyah
12. Countless springs3 will flow therein,
3 Lit., “a spring”—but, as Zamakhshari and lbn Kathir point out, the singular form has here a generic import, implying “a multitude of springs”. This metaphor of the life-giving element is analogous to that of the “running waters” (anhar) frequently mentioned in Qur’anic descriptions of paradise.
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 13
فِيهَا سُرُرٌ مَرْفُوعَةٌ
Feehaa sururum marfoo’ah
13. [and] there will be thrones [of happiness] raised high,4
4 See note 34 on Surah Al-Hijr : 47.
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 14
Wa akwaabum mawzoo’ah
14. and goblets placed ready,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 15
Wa namaariqu masfoofah
15. and cushions ranged,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 16
Wa zaraabiyyu mabsoosah
16. and carpets spread out…
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 17
أَفَلَا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ
Afalaa yanzuroona ilalibili kaifa khuliqat
17. DO, THEN, they [who deny resurrection] never gaze at the clouds pregnant with water, [and observe] how they are created?5
5 Implying that a denial of resurrection and life in the hereafter renders the concept of a conscious Creator utterly meaningless; hence my interpretation of the words “who deny resurrection” in the first part of this verse.
As regards the noun ibil, it denotes, as a rule, “camels”: a generic plural which has no singular form. But one must remember that it also signifies “clouds bearing rain-water” (Lisan al-‘Arab, Qamus, Taj al-‘Arus)—a meaning which is preferable in the present context. If the term were used in the sense of “camels”, the reference to it in the above verse would have been primarily—if not exclusively—addressed to the Arabian contemporaries of the Prophet, to whom the camel was always an object of admiration on account of its outstanding endurance, the many uses to which it could be put (riding, load-bearing, and as a source of milk, flesh and fine wool) and its indispensability to people living amid deserts. But precisely because a reference to “camels” would restrict its significance to people of a particular environment and a particular time (without even the benefit of a historical allusion to past events), it must be ruled out here, for the Qur’anic appeals to observe the wonders of the God-created universe are invariably directed at people of all times and all environments. Hence, there is every reason to assume that the term ibil relates here not to camels but to “clouds pregnant with water”: the more so as such an allusion to the miraculous, cyclic process of the evaporation of water, the skyward ascension of vapour, its condensation and, finally, its precipitation over the earth is definitely more in tune with the subsequent mention (in verses 18-20) of sky, mountains and earth, than would be a reference to “camels”, however admirable and noteworthy these animals may be.
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 18
وَإِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ
Wa ilas samaaa’i kaifa rufi’at
18. And at the sky, how it is raised aloft?
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 19
وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ
Wa ilal jibaali kaifa nusibat
19. And at the mountains, how firmly they are reared?
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 20
وَإِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ
Wa ilal ardi kaifa sutihat
20. And at the earth, how it is spread out?
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 21
فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُذَكِّرٌ
Fazakkir innama anta Muzakkir
21. And so, [O Prophet,] exhort them; thy task is only to exhort:
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 22
لَسْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِمُصَيْطِرٍ
Lasta ‘alaihim bimusaitir
22. thou canst not compel them [to believe].6
6 Lit., “thou hast no power over them”.
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 23
إِلَّا مَنْ تَوَلَّىٰ وَكَفَرَ
Illaa man tawallaa wa kafar
23. However, as for him who turns away, being bent on denying the truth,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 24
فَيُعَذِّبُهُ اللَّهُ الْعَذَابَ الْأَكْبَرَ
Fa yu’azzibuhul laahul ‘azaabal akbar
24. him will God cause to suffer the greatest suffering [in the life to come]:
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 25
إِنَّ إِلَيْنَا إِيَابَهُمْ
Innaa ilainaaa iyaabahum
25. for behold, unto Us will be their return,
Surah Al-Ghashiyah Ayat 26
ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا حِسَابَهُمْ
Summa inna ‘alainaa hisaabahum
26. and verily, It is for Us to call them to account.
Source: The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss)