Surah Qalam Ayat 42 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 42
The Day the shin will be uncovered and they are invited to prostration but the disbelievers will not be able,
The Day that the shin shall be laid bare, and they shall be summoned to bow in adoration, but they shall not be able,-
On the Day when the dreadful calamity will unfold, when people will be summoned to prostrate themselves, and yet they will not be able to prostrate.
(Remember) the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) and they shall be called to prostrate (to Allah), but they (hypocrites) shall not be able to do so,
On the day when it befalleth in earnest, and they are ordered to prostrate themselves but are not able,
On the Day when the shank will be bared and they will be called to prostrate themselves, yet they are unable to.
On the Day when matters become dire, they will be invited to prostrate themselves but will be prevented from doing so,
Quran 68 Verse 42 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Qalam ayat 42, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(68:42) On the Day when the dreadful calamity will unfold, when people will be summoned to prostrate themselves, and yet they will not be able to prostrate.
24. Literally: The Day the Shin shall be uncovered. A section of the companions and their successors says that these words have been used idiomatically, for according to Arabic idiom, kashf-i-saq implies befalling of an affliction. Abdullah bin Abbas has also given this same meaning of this and has supported it by evidence from Arabic poetry. According to another saying that has been cited from Ibn Abbas and Rabi bin Anas, kashf-i-saq implies uncovering the facts and truths. In view of this interpretation, the meaning would be: The Day when all truths shall be bared and the people’s deeds shall become open and manifest.
42. The Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves, but they shall not be able to do so. 43. Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate themselves, while they were. 44. Then leave Me alone with whoever denies this narration. We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not. 45. And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My plan is strong. 46. Or is it that you ask them a wage, so that they are heavily burdened with debt 47. Or that the Unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down
After Allah mentions that those who have Taqwa, will have Gardens of Delight with their Lord, He explains when this will be, and its actual occurrence. He says,
(The Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate themselves, but they shall not be able to do so.) meaning, the Day of Judgement and the horrors, earthquakes, trials, tests and great matters that will occur during it. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that he heard the Prophet saying,
(Our Lord will reveal His Shin, and every believing male and female will prostrate to Him. The only people who will remain standing are those who prostrated in the worldly life only to be seen and heard (showing off). This type of person will try to prostrate at that time, but his back will made to be one stiff plate (the bone will not bend or flex).)” This Hadith was recorded in the Two Sahihs and other books from different routes of transmission with various wordings. It is a long Hadith that is very popular. Concerning Allah’s statement,
(Their eyes will be cast down and ignominy will cover them;) means, in the final abode, due to their crimes and arrogance in the worldly life. Thus they will be punished with the opposite of what they did. When they were called to prostrate in the worldly life, they refused to do so even though they were healthy and secure. Therefore, they will be punished with the lack of ability to do so in the Hereafter. When the Almighty Lord makes Himself visible (before the believers), then the believers will fall down in prostration to Him, but no one of the disbelievers and hypocrites will be able to prostrate. rather, their backs will become one plate. Everytime one of them attempts to prostrate, he will bow his neck but will not be able to prostrate. This is just like in the life of this world, when these people were in opposition to what the believers were doing.
Then Allah says,
(Then leave Me alone with such as belie this narration.) meaning, the Qur’an. This is a sever threat which means, `leave Me alone with this person; I know about him and how I will gradually punish him and increase him in his falsehood. I am giving him respite for a while, then I will seize him with a mighty and powerful punishment.’ Thus, Allah says,
(We shall punish them gradually from directions they perceive not.) meaning, and they will not even be aware of it. Rather, they will believe that it is a noble blessing from Allah, but really the same matter is actually a form of humiliation (for them). This is similar to Allah’s statement,
(Do they think that in wealth and children with which We expand them, We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, but they perceive not.) (23:55,56) Allah also said,
(So, when they forgot that which they had been reminded, We opened for them the gates of everything, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We punished them, and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrows.) Therefore, Allah says here,
(And I will grant them a respite. Verily, My plan is strong.) meaning, `I will delay them, give them respite and extend their time. Yet, this is My plan, and My plot against them.’ Thus, Allah says,
(Verily, My plan is strong.) meaning, `great against whoever opposes My command, rejects My Messengers and dares to disobey Me.’ In the Two Sahihs it is recorded from the Messenger of Allah that he said,
(Verily Allah the Exalted gives respite to the wrongdoer until He seizes him and he will not be able to escape Him.) Then he recited,
(Such is the punishment of your Lord when He seizes the towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His punishment is painful (and) severe.) (11:102) In reference to Allah’s statement,
(Or is it that you ask them for a wage, so that they are heavily burdened with debt Or that the Unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down) the explanation of these two Ayat prece- ded in Surat At-Tur. The meaning of it is, `you, O Muhammad, call them to Allah without taking any wages from them. rather, you hope for the reward with Allah. Yet, they reject that which you have brought to them simply due to ignorance, disbelief and obstinacy.’
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