Al-Muddathir is the 74th surah (chapter) of Al-Qur’an. It consists of 56 ayat (verses) that were all revealed in Mecca.
AFTER the Prophet’s earliest revelation—consisting of the first five verses of Surah Al-‘Alaq  (“The Germ-Cell”)—a period elapsed during which he received no revelation at all. The length of this break in revelation (fatrat al-wahy) cannot be established with certainty; it may have been as little as six months or as much as three years. It was a time of deepest distress for the Prophet: the absence of revelation almost led him to believe that his earlier experience in the cave of Mount Hira (see introductory note to Surah Al-‘Alaq ) was an illusion; and it was only due to the moral support of his wife Khadijah and her undaunted faith in his prophetic mission that he did not entirely lose his courage and hope. At the end of this intermission the Prophet had a vision of the Angel Gabriel, “sitting between heaven and earth”. Almost immediately afterwards, the present surah was revealed; and from then on, in Muhammad’s own words, “revelation became intense and continuous” (Bukhari, Bad’ al-Wahy and Kitab at-Tafsir; also Muslim). Although some verses of this surah may have been revealed at a slightly later time, there is no doubt that all of it belongs to the earliest part of the Mecca period, that is, to the very beginning of Muhammad’s mission.
But in spite of its early origin and its brevity, the surah outlines almost all the fundamental concepts to which the Qur’an as a whole is devoted:
- the oneness and uniqueness of God,
- resurrection and ultimate judgment;
- life after death and the allegorical nature of all descriptions relating to it;
- man’s weakness and utter dependence on God, his proneness to false pride, greed and selfishness;
- each human being’s responsibility for his own behaviour and doings;
- “paradise” and “hell” as natural consequences of one’s earthly life, and not as arbitrary rewards or punishments;
- the principle of the historical continuity of all true religious experience;
- and various other ideas and concepts which were to be more fully developed in later revelations.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيم
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 1
يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُ
Yaaa ayyuhal muddassir
1. O THOU [in thy solitude] enfolded!1
1 The expression muddaththir (an abbreviated form of mutadaththir) signifies “one who is covered [with something]” or “enfolded [in something]”; and all philologists point out that the verb dathara, from which the above participial noun is derived, may equally well have a concrete or abstract connotation. Most of the commentators understand the phrase “O thou enfolded one” in its literal, concrete sense, and assume that it refers to the Prophet’s habit of covering himself with a cloak or blanket when he felt that a revelation was about to begin. Razi, however, notes that this apostrophe may well have been used metaphorically, as an allusion to Muhammad’s intense desire for solitude before the beginning of his prophetic mission (cf. introductory note to surah 96): and this, according to Razi, would explain his being thus addressed in connection with the subsequent call, “Arise and warn”—i.e., “Give now up thy solitude, and stand up before all the world as a preacher and warner.”
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 2
Qum fa anzir
2. Arise and warn!
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 3
Wa rabbaka fakabbir
3. And thy Sustainer’s greatness glorify!
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 4
Wa siyaabaka fatahhir
4. And thine inner self purify!2
2 Lit., “thy garments (thiyab) purify”: but almost all the classical commentators point out that the noun thawb and its plural thiyab is often metonymically applied to that which a garment encloses, i.e., a person’s “body” or, in a wider sense, his “self’ or his “heart”, or even his “spiritual state” or “conduct” (Taj al-‘Arus). Thus, commenting on the above verse, Zamakhshari draws the reader’s attention to the well-known idiomatic phrases tahir ath-thiyab (lit., “one who is clean in his garments”) and danis ath-thiyab (“one who is filthy in his garments”), and stresses their tropical significance of “free from faults and vices” and “vicious and perfidious”, respectively. Razi states with approval that “according to most of the [earlier] commentators, the meaning [of this verse] is, ‘purify thy heart of all that is blameworthy’ “.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 5
5. And all defilement shun!
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 6
وَلَا تَمْنُنْ تَسْتَكْثِرُ
Wa laa tamnun tastaksir
6. And do not through giving seek thyself to gain,3
3 Lit., “and do not bestow favours to obtain increase”.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 7
Wa li Rabbika fasbir
7. but unto thy Sustainer turn in patience.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 8
فَإِذَا نُقِرَ فِي النَّاقُورِ
Fa izaa nuqira fin naaqoor
8. And [warn all men that] when the trumpet-call [of resurrection] is sounded,
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 9
فَذَٰلِكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوْمٌ عَسِيرٌ
Fazaalika yawma ‘iziny yawmun ‘aseer
9. that very Day shall be a day of anguish,
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 10
عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ غَيْرُ يَسِيرٍ
‘Alal kaafireena ghairu yaseer
10. not of ease, for all who [now] deny the truth!4
4 Since this is the earliest Qur’anic occurrence of the expression kafir (the above surah having been preceded only by the first five verses of surah 96), its use here—and, by implication, in the whole of the Qur’an—is obviously determined by the meaning which it had in the speech of the Arabs before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad: in other words, the term kafir cannot be simply equated, as many Muslim theologians of post-classical times and practically all Western translators of the Qur’an have done, with “unbeliever” or “infidel” in the specific, restricted sense of one who rejects the system of doctrine and law promulgated in the Qur’an and amplified by the teachings of the Prophet—but must have a wider, more general meaning. This meaning is easily grasped when we bear in mind that the root verb of the participial noun kafir (and of the infinitive noun kufr) is kafara, “he [or “it”] covered [a thing]”: thus, in Al-Hadid : 20 the tiller of the soil is called (without any pejorative implication) kafir, “one who covers”, i.e., the sown seed with earth, just as the night is spoken of as having “covered” (kafara) the earth with darkness. In their abstract sense, both the verb and the nouns derived from it have a connotation of “concealing” something that exists or “denying” something that is true. Hence, in the usage of the Qur’an – with the exception of the one instance (in Al-Hadid : 20) where this participial noun signifies a “tiller of the soil”—a kafir is “one who denies [or “refuses to acknowledge”] the truth” in the widest, spiritual sense of this latter term: that is, irrespective of whether it relates to a cognition of the supreme truth—namely, the existence of God—or to a doctrine or ordinance enunciated in the divine writ, or to a self-evident moral proposition, or to an acknowledgment of, and therefore gratitude for, favours received. (Regarding the expression alladhina kafaru, implying conscious intent, see Surah Al-Baqarah , note 6.)
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 11
ذَرْنِي وَمَنْ خَلَقْتُ وَحِيدًا
Zarnee wa man khalaqtu waheedaa
11. LEAVE Me alone [to deal] with him whom I have created alone,5
5 Or: “…whom I alone have created”. The above sentence can be understood in either of these two senses,
depending on whether one relates the expression “alone” (wahid) to God—thus stressing His uniqueness as Creator—or to this particular object of His creation, man, who begins and ends his life in a state of utter loneliness (cf. Al-An’am : 94 and Maryam : 80 and 95). In either case, our attention is drawn to the fact of man’s inescapable dependence on God. Beyond that, the phrase in question carries a further meaning, namely, “Leave it to Me alone to decide what to do with him who forgets that I am his Creator and Sustainer”—thus forbidding any human punishment of “those who deny the truth”.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 12
وَجَعَلْتُ لَهُ مَالًا مَمْدُودًا
Wa ja’altu lahoo maalam mamdoodaa
12. and to whom I have granted resources vast,
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 13
Wa baneena shuhoodaa
13. and children as [love’s] witnesses,
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 14
وَمَهَّدْتُ لَهُ تَمْهِيدًا
Wa mahhattu lahoo tamheeda
14. and to whose life I gave so wide a scope:6
6 Lit., “for whom I have spread [all] out in a [wide] spread” – i.e., “whom I have endowed with potentialities far beyond those open to other living beings”.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 15
ثُمَّ يَطْمَعُ أَنْ أَزِيدَ
Summa yat ma’u an azeed
15. and yet, he greedily desires that I give yet more!
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 16
كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ لِآيَاتِنَا عَنِيدًا
Kallaaa innahoo kaana li Aayaatinaa ‘aneedaa
16. Nay, verily, it is against Our messages that he knowingly, stubbornly sets himself7—
7 Lit., “he is wont (kana) to set himself”. The noun anid, derived from the verb anada, denotes “one who opposes or rejects something that is true, knowing it to be true” (Lisan al-‘Arab). The element of human contrariness and stubbornness is implied in the use of the auxiliary verb kana, which indicates here a permanently recurring phenomenon despite its past-tense formulation. I am, therefore of the opinion that verses 18-25, although ostensibly formulated in the past tense, must also be rendered in the present tense.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 17
Sa urhiquhoo sa’oodaa
17. (17) [and so] I shall constrain him to endure a painful uphill climb!8
8 In combination with the verb urhiquhu (“I shall constrain him to endure”‘) the term sa’ud (lit., “ascent”
or “climb”‘) has the tropical connotation of something extremely difficult, painful or distressing. In the above context, it is an allusion to the loss of all instinctive innocence—and, hence, to the individual and social suffering—which unavoidably follows upon man’s wilful neglect of moral and spiritual truths (“God’s messages”) in this world, and bars his spiritual development in the life to come.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 18
إِنَّهُ فَكَّرَ وَقَدَّرَ
Innahoo fakkara wa qaddar
18. Behold, [when Our messages are conveyed to one who is bent on denying the truth,] he reflects and meditates [as to how to disprove them]—
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 19
فَقُتِلَ كَيْفَ قَدَّرَ
Faqutila kayfa qaddar
19. and thus he destroys himself,9 the way he meditates:
9 The expression qutila reads, literally, “he has been killed” or, as an imprecation, “may he be killed”. Since a literal rendering of this expression—whether conceived as a statement of fact or an imprecation—would be meaningless here, many commentators (Tabari among them) understand it as signifying “he is rejected from God’s grace” (lu’ina), i.e., “killed” spiritually by his own action or attitude; hence my rendering, “he destroys himself”.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 20
ثُمَّ قُتِلَ كَيْفَ قَدَّرَ
Summa qutila kaifa qaddar
20. yea, he destroys himself, the way he meditates!—
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 21
21. and then he looks [around for new arguments],
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 22
ثُمَّ عَبَسَ وَبَسَرَ
Summa ‘abasa wa basar
22. and then he frowns and glares,10
10 I.e., he becomes emotionally involved because he suspects in his heart that his arguments are weak (Razi).
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 23
ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ
Summaa adbara wastakbar
23. and in the end he turns his back [on Our message], and glories in his arrogance,11
11 See Surah Al-‘Alaq : 6-7.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 24
فَقَالَ إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ يُؤْثَرُ
Faqaala in haazaaa illaa sihruny yu’sar
24. and says, “All this is mere spellbinding eloquence handed down [from olden times]!12
12 The term sihr, which usually denotes “sorcery” or “magic”, primarily signifies “the turning of something from its proper [or “natural”] state of being into another state”; hence, it is often applied to the fascination or enchantment caused by exceptional, “spellbinding” eloquence (Taj al-‘Arus). In its pejorative sense—as used by deniers of the truth to describe a divine message—it has also the connotation of wilful deception” or “delusion”.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 25
إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا قَوْلُ الْبَشَرِ
In haazaaa illaa qawlul bashar
25. This is nothing but the word of mortal man!”
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 26
Sa usleehi saqar
26. [Hence,] I shall cause him to endure hell-fire [in the life to come]!13
13 This is unquestionably the earliest instance of the term saqar (“hell-fire”‘), one of the seven metaphorical names given in the Qur’an to the concept of the suffering in the hereafter which man brings upon himself by sinning and deliberately remaining blind and deaf, in this world, to spiritual truths (cf. Surah Al-Hijr , note 33). The allegorical character of this and all other Qur’anic descriptions of man’s condition and destiny in the hereafter is clearly alluded to in the subsequent verse as well as in verses 28 ff.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 27
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا سَقَرُ
Wa maaa adraaka maa saqar
27. And what could make thee conceive what hell-fire is?
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 28
لَا تُبْقِي وَلَا تَذَرُ
Laa tubqee wa laa tazar
28. It does not allow to live, and neither leaves [to die],
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 29
29. making [all truth] visible to mortal man.14
14 Most of the commentators interpret the above elliptic phrase in the sense of “changing the appearance of man” or “scorching the skin of man”. The rendering adopted by me, on the other hand, is based on the primary significance of the verb laha—”it appeared”, “it shone forth” or “it became visible”. Hence, the primary meaning of the intensive participial noun lawwah is “that which makes [something] visible”. In the above context, it relates to the sinner’s belated cognition of the truth, as well as to his distressing insight into his own nature, his past failings and deliberate wrongdoings, and the realization of his own responsibility for the suffering that is now in store for him: a state neither of life nor of death (cf. Al-A’la : 12-13).
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 30
عَلَيْهَا تِسْعَةَ عَشَرَ
‘Alaihaa tis’ata ‘ashar
30. Over it are nineteen [powers].15
15 Whereas most of the classical commentators are of the opinion that the “nineteen”‘ are the angels that
act as keepers or guardians of hell, Razi advances the view that we may have here a reference to the
physical, intellectual and emotional powers within man himself: powers which raise man potentially far
above any other creature, but which, if used wrongly, bring about a deterioration of his whole personality
and, hence, intense suffering in the life to come. According to Razi, the philosophers (arbab alhikmah)
identify these powers or faculties with, firstly, the seven organic functions of the animal—and therefore
also human-body (gravitation, cohesion, repulsion of noxious foreign matter, absorption of beneficent
external matter, assimilation of nutrients, growth, and reproduction); secondly, the five “external” or physical senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste); thirdly, the five “internal” or intellectual senses, defined by Ibn Sina—on whom Razi apparently relies—as (1) perception of isolated senseimages, (2) conscious apperception of ideas, (3) memory of sense-images, (4) memory of conscious apperceptions, and (5) the ability to correlate sense-images and higher apperceptions; and, lastly, the emotions of desire
or aversion (resp. fear or anger), which have their roots in both the “external” and “internal” sensecategories—thus bringing the total of the powers and faculties which preside over man’s spiritual fate to nineteen. In their aggregate, it is these powers that confer upon man the ability to think conceptually, and place him, in this respect, even above the angels (cf. Al-Baqarah : 30 ff. and the corresponding notes; see also the following note).
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 31
وَمَا جَعَلْنَا أَصْحَابَ النَّارِ إِلَّا مَلَائِكَةً ۙ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا عِدَّتَهُمْ إِلَّا فِتْنَةً لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيَسْتَيْقِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَيَزْدَادَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِيمَانًا ۙ وَلَا يَرْتَابَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۙ وَلِيَقُولَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ وَالْكَافِرُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ جُنُودَ رَبِّكَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَمَا هِيَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْبَشَرِ
Wa maaja’alnaaa As-haaban naari illaa malaaa ‘ikatanw wa maa ja’alnaa ‘iddatahum illaa fitnatal lillazeena kafaroo liyastaiqinal lazeena ootul kitaaba wa yazdaadal lazeena aamanooo eemaananw wa laa yartaabal lazeena ootul kitaaba walmu’minoona wa liyaqoolal lazeena fee quloo bihim maradunw walkaafiroona maazaaa araadal laahu bihaazaa masalaa; kazaalika yudillul laahu mai yashaaa’u wa yahdee mai yashaaa’; wa maa ya’lamu junooda rabbika illaa hoo; wa maa hiya illaa zikraa lil bashar
31. For We have caused none but angelic powers to lord over the fire [of hell];16 and We have not caused their number to be aught but a trial for those who are bent on denying the truth17—to the end that they who have been granted revelation aforetime might be convinced [of the truth of this divine writ];18 and that they who have attained to faith [in it] might grow yet more firm in their faith; and that [both] they who have been granted the earlier revelation and they who believe [in this one] might be freed of all doubt; and that they in whose hearts is disease19 and the who deny the truth outright might ask, “What does [your] God mean by this parable?”20
In this way God lets go astray him that wills [to go astray], and guides aright him that wills [to be guided].21
And none can comprehend thy Sustainers forces save Him alone: and all this22 is but a reminder to mortal man.
16 Since it is by virtue of his powers of conscious perception and conceptual thinking that man can arrive
at a discriminating cognition of good and evil and, thus, rise to great spiritual heights, these powers are described here as “angelic” (lit., “angels”—this being the earliest occurrence of the term malak in the history of Qur’anic revelation). On the other hand, since a neglect or a deliberately wrong use of these angelic powers is at the root of all sinning on the part of man and, therefore, of his suffering in the hereafter, they are spoken of as “the lords (ashab) of the fire [of hell]”, which complements the expression “over it”‘ in the preceding verse.
17 This is apparently an allusion to the allegorical character of this passage, which “those who are bent on denying the truth” are unwilling to recognize as such and, hence, fail to grasp its real purport. By speculating on the reasons which allegedly induced Muhammad—whom they regard as the “author” of the Qur’an—to lay stress on one particular number, they tend to take the allegory in a literal sense, thus
missing its point entirely.
18 Namely, by being enabled, through an understanding of the above allegory, to appreciate the rational approach of the Qur’an to all questions of faith. The reference to “those who have been granted revelation aforetime is the earliest statement outlining the principle of continuity in mankind’s religious experience.
19 I.e., in this instance, the half-hearted ones who, despite their ability to discern between right and wrong, incline towards unbelief.
20 Cf. the identical phrase in Al-Baqarah : 26, together with the corresponding note 18. My interpolation, in both these passages, of the word “your” between brackets is necessitated by the fact that it is the unbelievers who ask this question.
21 Or: “God lets go astray whomever He wills, and guides aright whomever He wills” (see Surah Ibrahim , note 4). The stress on the allegorical nature of the above passage, spoken of as a “parable” (mathal), has here the same purpose as in Surah Al-Baqarah : 26—namely, to prevent the followers of the Qur’an from attaching a literal meaning to its eschatological descriptions—a purpose that is unmistakably expressed in the concluding sentence of this passage: “All this is but a reminder to mortal man”. (See also next note.)
22 Lit., “it” or “these”—depending on whether the personal pronoun hiya is taken to denote a singular—in which case it would refer to the feminine noun saqar, “hell-fire” (Tabari, Zamakhshari, Baghawi, Ibn Kathir)— or a plural, referring to what Razi pinpoints as “those [Qur’anic] verses dealing with these allegories (hadhihi ‘l-mutashabihat)”: hence my compromise rendering “all this”.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 32
32. NAY, but consider the moon!23
23 This is the earliest Qur’anic instance of the adjurative particle wa used in the sense of a solemn, oathlike assertion—a calling to witness, as it were—meant (as in the expression “by God!”) to give weight to a subsequently stated truth or evidence of the truth: hence, I am rendering it here and elsewhere as “consider”. In the present case, the truth thus to be stressed is the implied statement that just as the changing phases of the moon and the alternation of night and day are the outcome of Godgiven, natural
laws, so, too, a sinner’s suffering in the hereafter is but a natural outcome of his deliberate wrongdoing in this world. (See also note 7 on Al-Baqarah : 7.)
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 33
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذْ أَدْبَرَ
Wallaili id adbar
33. Consider the night when it departs,
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 34
وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا أَسْفَرَ
Wassub hi izaaa asfar
34. and the morn when it dawns!
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 35
إِنَّهَا لَإِحْدَى الْكُبَرِ
Innahaa la ihdal kubar
35. Verily, that [hell-fire) is Indeed one of the great [forewarnings]—
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 36
36. a warning to mortal man—
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 37
لِمَنْ شَاءَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَتَقَدَّمَ أَوْ يَتَأَخَّرَ
Liman shaaa’a minkum any yataqaddama aw yata akhkhar
37. to everyone of you, whether he chooses to come forward or to hang back!24
24 Lit., “any of you who chooses…”, etc.—i.e., irrespective of whether one has chosen to follow or to disregard the divine call: implying that even true believers may stumble into sinning, and hence need to be warned.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 38
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ رَهِينَةٌ
Kullu nafsim bima kasabat raheenah
38. [On the Day of Judgment,] every human being will be held in pledge for whatever [evil] he has wrought—
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 39
إِلَّا أَصْحَابَ الْيَمِينِ
Illaaa as haabal yameen
39. save those who shall have attained to righteousness:25
25 Lit., “those [or “the people”] on the right hand” (ashab al-yamin), an expression based on the tropical
significance of yamin as “righteous” or “righteousness” and consequently, “blessedness”. The above is
probably the oldest Qur’anic incidence of this expression, which evidently comprises all those whose
conduct in life will have earned them God’s forgiveness of whatever sins they may have committed.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 40
فِي جَنَّاتٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ
Fee jannaatiny yata saaa’aloon
40. [dwelling] In gardens [of paradise], they will inquire
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 41
41. of those who were lost in sin:
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 42
مَا سَلَكَكُمْ فِي سَقَرَ
Maa salakakum fee saqar
42. “What has brought you into hell-fire?”
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 43
قَالُوا لَمْ نَكُ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّينَ
Qaaloo lam naku minal musalleen
43. They will answer: “We were not among those who prayed;26
26 In view of the fact that at the time of the revelation of this very early surah the canonical prayer (salah) had not yet been made obligatory on the followers of the Qur’an, it is reasonable to assume that in the above context this term is used in its widest sense, namely, conscious belief in God.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 44
وَلَمْ نَكُ نُطْعِمُ الْمِسْكِينَ
Wa lam naku nut’imul miskeen
44. and neither did we feed the needy;
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 45
وَكُنَّا نَخُوضُ مَعَ الْخَائِضِينَ
Wa kunnaa nakhoodu ma’al khaaa’ideen
45. and we were wont to indulge in sinning together with all [the others] who indulged in it;
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 46
وَكُنَّا نُكَذِّبُ بِيَوْمِ الدِّينِ
Wa kunnaa nukazzibu bi yawmid Deen
46. and the Day of Judgment we were wont to call a lie—
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 47
حَتَّىٰ أَتَانَا الْيَقِينُ
Hattaaa ataanal yaqeen
47. until certainty came upon us [in death].”
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 48
فَمَا تَنْفَعُهُمْ شَفَاعَةُ الشَّافِعِينَ
Famaa tanfa’uhum shafaa’atush shaafi’een
48. And so, of no benefit to them could be the intercession of any that would intercede for them.27
27 Lit., “the intercession of intercessors”—implying that there would be none to intercede for them with God. As regards the much-misunderstood Islamic concept of “intercession”, see Yunus : 3—”there is none that could intercede with Him unless He grants His leave therefor”—and the corresponding note 7.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 49
فَمَا لَهُمْ عَنِ التَّذْكِرَةِ مُعْرِضِينَ
Famaa lahum ‘anittazkirati mu’rideen
49. WHAT, THEN, is amiss with them28 that they turn away from all admonition
28 I.e., with so many people who refuse to listen to the truth.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 50
كَأَنَّهُمْ حُمُرٌ مُسْتَنْفِرَةٌ
Ka annahum humurum mustanfirah
50. as though they were terrified asses
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 51
فَرَّتْ مِنْ قَسْوَرَةٍ
Farrat min qaswarah
51. fleeing from a lion?
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 52
بَلْ يُرِيدُ كُلُّ امْرِئٍ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يُؤْتَىٰ صُحُفًا مُنَشَّرَةً
Bal yureedu kullum ri’im minhum any yu’taa suhufam munashsharah
52. Yea, everyone of them claims that he [himself] ought to have been given revelations unfolded!29
29 Lit., “everyone of them wants to be given wide-open scriptures”, or “scriptures unfolded” (i.e., open to everyone’s understanding): cf. Al-Baqarah : 118—”Why does not God speak unto us, nor is a message conveyed to us?”—i.e., directly, without the intervention of a prophet. The above is the earliest illustration of the “arrogance” or “false pride” to which the Qur’an so often refers.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 53
كَلَّا ۖ بَلْ لَا يَخَافُونَ الْآخِرَةَ
Kallaa bal laa yakhaafoonal aakhirah
53. Nay, but they do not [believe in and, hence, do not] fear the life to come.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 54
كَلَّا إِنَّهُ تَذْكِرَةٌ
Kallaaa innahoo tazkirah
54. Nay, verily, this is an admonition—
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 55
فَمَنْ شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ
Fa man shaaa’a zakarah
55. and whoever wills may take it to heart.
Surah Al-Muddathir Ayat 56
وَمَا يَذْكُرُونَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ هُوَ أَهْلُ التَّقْوَىٰ وَأَهْلُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ
Wa maa yazkuroona illaaa any yashaaa’al laah; Huwa ahlut taqwaa wa ahlul maghfirah
56. But they [who do not believe in the life to come] will not take it to heart unless God so wills:30 [for] He is the Fount of all God-consciousness, and the Fount of all forgiveness.
30 Namely, unless He bestows His grace on them by making their minds and hearts receptive to the truth, so that they are compelled—from within themselves, as it were—to make the right choice. (See also note 11 on At-Takwir : 28-29, as well as note 4 on Surah Ibrahim : 4.)
Source: The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad