3 Muharram 1439

Tafseer of the Qur’an (Ep.-7): Surat an-Naba’ (Ch.-78), Verses: 27-30

By uzma
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Jul 7th, 2017
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We have been discussing the punishment that Allah ‘azza wa jall has prepared for the disbelievers and the transgressors. Allah says in Surat an-Naba’, verse 21:

 

إِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ كَانَتْ مِرْصَادًا

“Truly, Hell is a place of ambush,” (21)

 

Hell is a creature that is created by Allah ‘azza wa jall. It is something that has feelings. And it does what Allah tells it to do. The Prophet salla ‘alaihi wa sallam told us that this magnificent yet horrific creature exists today. The whereabouts of it is an issue of dispute among the Scholars. Some say that it is in the middle of the earth. Others say that it is somewhere way down (because we know that Paradise is somewhere way up), but we don’t know where. In an authentic Hadeeth, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam told us that on the Day of Judgment, Hell would have 70 thousand leashes. With each leash, there will be 70 thousand angels dragging it. So, we can imagine how huge this creature is. And it will be an ambush, it will anticipate and wait for those who are ‘thaghoon’, as Allah says in the following verse:

 

لِّلطَّٰغِينَ مَـَٔابًا

“A dwelling place for the Thaghoon (those who transgress the boundary limits set by Allah like the polytheists, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, hypocrites, sinners, criminals),” (22)

 

And who are the ‘Thaghoon’? We have explained this in the previous episode: they are those who transgress, whether they are disbelievers or believers. They will be punished in Hell.

 

لّبِثِينَ فِيهَآ أَحْقَابًا

“They will abide therein for ages,” (23)

 

لَّا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا بَرْدًا وَلَا شَرَابًا

“Nothing cool shall they taste therein, nor any drink.” (24)

 

إِلَّا حَمِيمًا وَغَسَّاقًا

“Except boiling water, and dirty wound discharges.” (25)

 

جَزَآءً وِفَاقًا

“An exact recompense (according to their evil crimes).” (26)

 

And what are their evil crimes that they are being punished for? Allah ‘azza wa jall says:

 

إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا۟ لَا يَرْجُونَ حِسَابًا

“For verily, they used not to look for a reckoning.” (27)

 

وَكَذَّبُوا۟ بِـَٔايَٰتِنَا كِذَّابًا

“But they belied Our Ayaat [proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, and that which Our Prophet (peace be upon him) brought] completely.” (28)

 

These are some of their evil crimes:

1. “…they used not to look for a reckoning.” (27) We have addressed this issue previously. The majority of us, even among the Muslims, fail to acknowledge this point, fail to recognize and realize that there will come a day when they will be held accountable for what they did.

2. Also among their sins that they are being punished for is their falsifying Allah’s signs, whether universal or religious. As we explained before, Allah’s ‘ayaat’, which is the plural of an ‘ayah’, have two meanings: the first is the verses of the Qur’an. These are the religious ‘ayaat’. And the second meaning is the signs, the magnificent and miraculous signs of Allah ‘azza wa jall in the universe like the sun, the moon, the stars, the entire universe and the countless signs in our own bodies that indicate towards the Oneness, Greatness and Magnificence of Allah ‘azza wa jall.

 

Then Allah says:

 

وَكُلَّ شَىْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَٰهُ كِتَٰبًا

“And all things We have recorded in a Book.” (29)

 

So, these transgressors, these ‘Thaghoon’ belied the ayaat of Allah ‘azza wa jall and did not hope for a Day of Reckoning. Moreover, they neglected the fact that everything is recorded in a book. This is the scariest part. We might forget things, but Allah ‘azza wa jall never forgets them. We might be neglectful of what we do, but we will find it recorded on the Day of Judgment. Everything: every glance we took, everything we heard with our ears, every single letter that came out of our mouth – everything is recorded. And not only that, we will be held accountable for it. If it is good, we will be rewarded. And if it is evil, we will be punished, unless Allah forgives us for it. And the weight that things are scaled and weighed by are the good deeds. So, if the good deeds overweigh the bad deeds, we will be in Paradise in sha Allah. If it is the other way around, we might be punished in Hell for a while until we are purified, provided that we die as Muslims. Then Allah ‘azza wa jall says:

 

فَذُوقُوا۟ فَلَن نَّزِيدَكُمْ إِلَّا عَذَابًا

“So taste you (the results of your evil actions); no increase shall We give you, except in torment.” (30)

 

This is one of the scariest verses of the Qur’an. Imagine: you are in a horrible place; it is so dark that you cannot see anything; it is so hot that every part of your body is suffering from the heat and torture. You feel hot and need to find something to cool down with but you won’t find anything. You are so thirsty, you want something to drink, you will be given boiling water and the discharges that come from the wounds of the people of Hellfire and come from all the dirty things that you can think of; this is the only thing that you can drink there. Every time you think that this is it, it cannot get any worse, you will find that there is more to come. When you drink the boiling water, it tears your guts. You drink and drink, but it never takes your thirst away. When your flesh is burnt, Allah restores it once again so that you can feel the pain repeatedly. When you try to look for an escape, you may see an opening and think that this is it, you are going to break out, but once you go there, you find that it was a mirage and that you are still in pain, torment and agony.  When you think that you have reached the max, and there could not be anything worse than this, Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala says:

 

فَذُوقُوا۟ فَلَن نَّزِيدَكُمْ إِلَّا عَذَابًا

“So taste you (the results of your evil actions); no increase shall We give you, except in torment.” (30)

 

And this depresses you more, and it adds insult to injury. There is the physical injury and torment, plus this mental torture. And this will only be fair because we have been warned. Allah ‘azza wa jall has shown us the way. He gave us everything that would help us to be guided. It is the people themselves who refuse it. It came to their door-step. People gave them Da’wah and called them to virtue and righteousness. They were shown the light, yet they preferred darkness. In exchange, this is their punishment in the Hereafter.

 

Now, what are the benefits of these verses that we have seen? First of all, it shows us what would happen to those who transgress, those who go beyond the limits. No one can claim that he is completely free and has free will to do whatever he wants. Even if they try to fool us and tell us that their freedom is protected by their constitution. They claim that they can say and do whatever they want. This is not true. There are boundaries even in the man-made laws, which one cannot cross. And the greatest law of all is the Law of Allah ‘azza wa jall. You are not free to do whatever you want because you are a slave. He created you and put boundaries for you which you cannot cross. And if you do cross the limits, now you know what awaits for the transgressors in Hell. Allah has created you to worship Him, to follow His Revelation and the Sunnah of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. And this is something that only calls people to goodness. If you fail to comply and obey, this is what may happen to you. In the verses, Allah is showing us the punishment of those who belie His signs and ‘ayaat’. Allah ‘azza wa jall is showing us what will happen to those who say that there will be no Day of Judgement; who falsify the fact that there will be a Day of Reckoning. We have heard clear verses from the Qur’an confirming that this Day will come to pass. These verses leave no doubt for anyone who has free will, is free from being biased, is blessed by Allah to be objective and is able to see.

 

Among the points that Allah ‘azza wa jall is explaining in these beautiful verses is that those who do well will be rewarded and those who do evil acts will be punished. Not only that, but everything has been written down, everything is recorded. Nothing is going to be forgotten. And if there are things that are neglected, they are neglected with knowledge. This means that Allah is so Merciful that He does not want to embarrass His servant. In the authentic Hadeeth, the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam told us that Allah ‘azza wa jall will question an individual on the Day of Judgement while covering him from the people so that they do not see him. Allah will tell him about the bad deeds that he did in this life, but He would only begin with the small and minor things. The person acknowledges and admits everything. He cannot deny anything; he confesses to everything. And once he feels that he is about to be doomed, Allah the Almighty, with His Favor, Blessing and Mercy says to him, “My servant, as I have concealed your sins in the Dunya, I will conceal them on the Day of Judgment and I will change them into good deeds.” How Merciful is Allah! And how greedy is the servant! For when the servant recognizes that he is being saved, that he has been spared and that Allah ‘azza wa jall is changing his bad deeds into good deeds, his greed comes. And if you are not greedy with Allah, who will you be greedy with? The servant says, “O Allah, I have so many major sins that I don’t see here.” And Allah the Almighty laughs, because He is so Merciful, Kind, Loving and Caring. The Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam told us this is a sort of a display of the deeds, not holding people accountable. So the display of the deeds means that Allah will forgive and admit the person to Paradise. However, when Allah holds a servant accountable for each and everything, he will be tormented in Hell.

 

Also, in these verses, we see the establishment again and again of the Aqeedah of resurrection, and of being rewarded or punished for your deeds. Now, remember the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam had spent 13 years in Makkah, calling people to this Aqeedah, for them to know and acknowledge that they will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. And that they will not be left unaccounted for. They will be summoned and held accountable for every single deed that they have done.

 

Also, we learn from these verses that the torment on the Day of Judgment is endless; it is forever, for eternity. Now, let us put it this into perspective: how long do we live on earth? Most of us would be impressed if we reached the age of 80. But if you go to those who are 80-years-old and ask how much longer they think that they are going to live, they will say, “I heard that there are some people up north who have reached 105.” And if you go up north and ask the people who have reached 105 the same question, they will say, “We have heard of Nooh, peace be upon him, and he lived for around 950 years, calling his people to Islam.” It never ends. People might think that they are going to live for eternity but the minute they die, they discover that they have lived for nothing compared to what awaits them of eternity; the real eternity, in Heaven or in Hell. That is why we should be wise. We should not throw away our eternal life in Paradise for a few lousy years on earth. We should utilize our time. We should make the best of it. And doing so will give us goodness in this life as well. Being righteous and pious is not a bad thing. It gives us tranquility, peace of heart and peace of mind. This is what every single person should look for, strive to do and try to attain.

 

Moving on to the final phase of the Surah, Allah ‘azza wa jall talks about what He has prepared for the people of Jannah. And this is the norm in the Qur’an – it is called ‘mathaani’, which means that everything comes in double. If there are verses that speak about Hell, you will find verses speaking about Paradise, as a comparison. If Allah talks about those who do good deeds, the believers and the righteous people; you will find immediately afterwards that Allah talks about the people who do evil deeds. When Allah talks about males, He talks about females. So there is always a comparison between two things in the Qur’an. This shows you that you have to live on earth with this balance in your heart – fearing Allah, and hoping for what Allah has for you. Without this balance, you will not be able to live a righteous and good life. If you fear Allah too much, you fall into despair. You will give up hope in Allah ‘azza wa jall. But, on the other hand, if you wish hopefully in what Allah has, and always consider Allah’s Forgiveness and Mercy rather than His punishment and torment, Shaitan will lead you to overdo it, to become heedless and careless about sins or about doing obligatory deeds. Thus, we should always have a balance between hope and fear. Examples of sects who have too much fear and too much hope are, respectively, the Khawarij and the Murjia. The Khawarij felt that Allah will never forgive them. So, they spent whole night praying and the whole day fasting. Yet their minds diverted from the Straight Path and they ended up killing righteous people and Muslims, and thinking that one sin will make a person enter Hell forever. They lost hope. On the end of the scale, we have the people known as the Murjia. These people say that no matter what sin you do, Allah will always forgive and you don’t have to worry about it. No matter how many obligatory acts you neglect, Allah ‘azza wa jall will still forgive you as long as you don’t associate anything with Allah. And both these cults are not from Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. They are all deviant. You have to have this balance. Hence,  Allah ‘azza wa jall mentions the people of Hell, and immediately afterwards, He mentions the people of Paradise to give you hope, while at the same time, warning you not to be from the people of Hell. From verse 31 onwards, Allah talks about the reward of the people of Paradise. May Allah ‘azza wa jall make you and me among those who are fortunate to enter Paradise.

 

The quotations in English from the Qur’an and Hadeeths in this article are a rough translation of the meanings of the original text!

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