Assalamualaikum.

Surah Infitar (Arabic: سورة الانفطار) is the 82nd Surah of the Quran titled “The Cleaving” or “The Splitting Apart”. It is a Meccan Surah meaning it’s revelation was before Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) migrated from Mecca to Medina. It is composed of 19 ayat (verses).

The main subject of Surah Infitar is it provides the Ummah with a description about the day of judgement and how the sky will be split open on the that (i.e. “the cleaving”). You can also read Surah At-Takwir and Surah Al-Inshiqaq for more details on of the day of judgement.

One of the goals of the My Islam site is to make it easy to read and understand the Quran. Below every ayat in Arabic we’ve provided transliteration to help with pronunciation and Sahih International English translation to help with the understanding. At the end of the Surah we’ve included four different Tafseers for those looking to learn more in-depth history, benefits, and interpretations of this Surah.

Skip To Tafseer

Notable Quote:

And when the [contents of] graves are scattered, A soul will [then] know what it has put forth and kept back.
Surah Infitar Ayat 4-5

Read Surah Infitar Translation and Transliteration

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

إِذَا السَّمَاءُ انْفَطَرَتْ

Izas samaaa’un fatarat
1. When the sky breaks apart

 وَإِذَا الْكَوَاكِبُ انْتَثَرَتْ

Wa izal kawaakibun tasarat
2. And when the stars fall, scattering,

 وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ فُجِّرَتْ

Wa izal bihaaru fujjirat
3. And when the seas are erupted

 وَإِذَا الْقُبُورُ بُعْثِرَتْ

Wa izal qubooru bu’sirat
4. And when the [contents of] graves are scattered,

 عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَتْ

‘Alimat nafsum maa qaddamat wa akhkharat
5. A soul will [then] know what it has put forth and kept back.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنْسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ

Yaaa ayyuhal insaaanu maa gharraka bi Rabbikal kareem
6. O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous,

 الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ

Allazee khalaqaka fasaw waaka fa’adalak
7. Who created you, proportioned you, and balanced you?

 فِي أَيِّ صُورَةٍ مَا شَاءَ رَكَّبَكَ

Feee ayye sooratim maa shaaa’a rakkabak
8. In whatever form He willed has He assembled you.

 كَلَّا بَلْ تُكَذِّبُونَ بِالدِّينِ

Kalla bal tukazziboona bid deen
9. No! But you deny the Recompense.

 وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ

Wa inna ‘alaikum lahaa fizeen
10. And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers,

 كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ

Kiraaman kaatibeen
11. Noble and recording;

 يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Ya’lamoona ma taf’aloon
12. They know whatever you do.

 إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ

Innal abraara lafee na’eem
13. Indeed, the righteous will be in pleasure,

 وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ

Wa innal fujjaara lafee jaheem
14. And indeed, the wicked will be in Hellfire.

 يَصْلَوْنَهَا يَوْمَ الدِّينِ

Yaslawnahaa Yawmad Deen
15. They will [enter to] burn therein on the Day of Recompense,

  وَمَا هُمْ عَنْهَا بِغَائِبِينَ

Wa maa hum ‘anhaa bighaaa ‘ibeen
16. And never therefrom will they be absent.

 وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ

Wa maaa adraaka maa Yawmud Deen
17. And what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense?

 ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ

Summa maaa adraaka maa Yawmud Deen
18. Then, what can make you know what is the Day of Recompense?

 يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا ۖ وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّ

Yawma laa tamliku nafsul linafsin shai’anw walamru yawma’izil lillaah
19. It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah.

Quran Surah Infitar Tafseer

For those looking to expand their knowledge on the teachings of the Quran we turn to the Tafseer of the scholars and read their interpretation. By reading the commentary on Surah Infitiar we benefit by making connections we previously would not have considered. It can be a very insightful experience and is definitely a recommended act.

Tafsir ibn Kathir Surah Infitar

Which was revealed in Makkah
The Virtues of Surat Al-Infitar

An-Nasa’i recorded from Jabir that Mu`adh stood and lead the people in the Night prayer, and he made the recitation of his prayer long. So the Prophet said,

«أَفَتَّانٌ أَنْتَ يَا مُعَاذُ؟ أَيْنَ كُنْتَ عَنْ

 

﴿سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الاّعْلَى ﴾

 

﴿وَالضُّحَى ﴾

 

وَ

 

﴿إِذَا السَّمَآءُ انفَطَرَتْ ﴾»

 

(Are you putting the people to trial O Mu`adh Why don’t you recite (Glorify the Name of your Lord the Most High) (87), (By the forenoon) (93), and (When the heaven is cleft asunder) (82))” The basis of this Hadith is found in the Two Sahihs, however the mentioning of

﴿إِذَا السَّمَآءُ انفَطَرَتْ ﴾

 

(When the heaven is cleft asunder.) has only been mentioned by An-Nasa’i. It has been previously mentioned in a narration from `Abdullah bin `Umar that the Prophet said,

«مَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يَنْظُرَ إِلَى الْقِيَامَةِ رَأْيَ عَيْنٍ فَلْيَقْرَأْ:

 

﴿إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ ﴾

 

و

﴿إِذَا السَّمَآءُ انفَطَرَتْ ﴾

 

و

 

﴿إِذَا السَّمَآءُ انشَقَّتْ ﴾»

 

(Whoever would be pleased to look at the Day of Resurrection with his own eyes, then let him recite, (When the sun is Kuwwirat.) (81) and; (When the heaven is cleft asunder) (82) and; (When the heaven is split asunder) (84).)

﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

 

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

﴿إِذَا السَّمَآءُ انفَطَرَتْ ﴾

 

(When the heaven is cleft asunder (Infatarat).) meaning, it splits. This is as Allah says,

﴿السَّمَآءُ مُنفَطِرٌ بِهِ﴾

 

(Whereon the heaven will be cleft asunder (Munfatir)) (73:18) Then Allah says,

﴿وَإِذَا الْكَوَاكِبُ انتَثَرَتْ ﴾

 

(And when the stars Intatharat.) meaning, fallen.

﴿وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ فُجِّرَتْ ﴾

 

(And when the seas Fujjirat.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “Allah will cause some of it to burst forth over other parts of it.” Al-Hasan said, “Allah will cause some parts of it to burst forth over other parts of it, and its water will go away.” Qatadah said, “Its fresh water will mix with its salt water.”

﴿وَإِذَا الْقُبُورُ بُعْثِرَتْ ﴾

 

(And when the graves Bu`thirat.) Ibn `Abbas said, “searched.” As-Suddi said, “Tub`athiru means that they will be moved and those who are in them will come out.”

﴿عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَتْ ﴾

 

(A person will know what he has sent forward and left behind.) meaning, when this happens then this will occur. Mankind should not forget about Allah Allah says,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الإِنسَـنُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ ﴾

 

(O man! What has made you careless about your Lord, the Most Generous) This is a threat. It is not an attempt to get a reply as some people mistakenly think. They consider it as if the Most Generous is asking them so that they will say, “His honor deceived him (or made him careless of his Lord).” rather the meaning of this Ayah is, “O Son of Adam! What has deceived you from your Lord, the Most Generous — meaning the Most Great — so that you went forth disobeying Him, and you met Him with that which was unbefitting.” This is similar to what has been reported in the Hadith,

«يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ: يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ مَا غَرَّكَ بِي؟ يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ مَاذَا أَجَبْتَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ؟»

 

(Allah will say on the Day of Judgement: “O Son of Adam! What has deceived you concerning Me O Son of Adam What was your response to the Messengers”) Al-Baghawi mentioned that Al-Kalbi and Muqatil said, “This Ayah was revealed about Al-Aswad bin Shariq who struck the Prophet and he was not punished in retaliation. So Allah revealed,

﴿مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ﴾

 

(What has made you careless about your Lord, the Most Generous)” Then Allah said,

﴿الَّذِى خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ ﴾

 

(Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion.) meaning, `what has deceived you concerning the Most Generous Lord’

﴿الَّذِى خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ ﴾

 

(Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion.) meaning, `He made you complete, straight, and perfectly balanced and proportioned in stature. He fashioned you in the best of forms and shapes.’ Imam Ahmad recorded from Busr bin Jahhash Al-Qurashi that one day the Messenger of Allah spat in his palm and placed his finger on it. Then he said,

«قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ أَنْى تُعْجِزُنِي وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِنْ مِثْلِ هذِهِ؟ حَتْى إِذَا سَوَّيْتُكَ وَعَدَلْتُكَ مَشَيْتَ بَيْنَ بُرْدَيْنِ، وَلِلْأَرْضِ مِنْكَ وَئِيدٌ، فَجَمَعْتَ وَمَنَعْتَ حَتْى إِذَا بَلَغَتِ التَّرَاقِيَ قُلْتَ: أَتَصَدَّقُ وَأَنَّى أَوَانُ الصَّدَقَةِ؟»

 

(Allah the Mighty and Sublime says: “O Son of Adam! How can you escape Me when I created you from something similar to this (spit) Then I fashioned you and made your creation balanced so that you walked between the two outer garments. And the earth has a burial place for you. So you gathered (wealth) and withheld it until your soul reached your collarbone (i.e., death comes). Then, at that time you say, `I will give charity now.’ But how will there be time for charity”) This Hadith has also been recorded by Ibn Majah . Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿فِى أَىِّ صُورَةٍ مَّا شَآءَ رَكَّبَكَ ﴾

 

(In whatever form He willed, He put you together.) Mujahid said, “In which resemblance: the father, the mother, the paternal uncle, or the maternal uncle.” In the Two Sahihs it is recorded from Abu Hurayrah that a man said, “O Messenger of Allah! Verily, my wife has given birth to a black boy.” The Prophet said,

«هَلْ لَكَ مِنْ إِبِلٍ؟»

 

(Do you have any camels) The man said, “Yes.” The Prophet then said,

«فَمَا أَلْوَانُهَا»

 

(What color are they) The man said, “Red.” The Prophet said,

«فَهَلْ فِيهَا مِنْ أَوْرَق»

 

(Do any of them have patches of gray) The man said, “Yes.” The Prophet asked him,

«فَأَنْى أَتَاهَا ذلِك»

 

(How did this happen to them) The man replied, “It is probably an inherited genetical strain.” The Prophet then said,

«وَهَذَا عَسَى أَنْ يَكُونَ نَزَعَهُ عِرْق»

 

(Likewise, this (with your son) is probably an inherited genetical strain.) The Cause of Deception and alerting to the Fact that Angels record the Deeds of the Children of Adam Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿كَلاَّ بَلْ تُكَذِّبُونَ بِالدِّينِ ﴾

 

(Nay! But you deny (the Day of) Ad-Din.) meaning, `you are only compelled to oppose the Most Generous and meet Him with disobedience, by your rejection in your hearts of the Hereafter, the recompense and the reckoning.’ Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَـفِظِينَ – كِرَاماً كَـتِبِينَ – يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ ﴾

 

(But verily, over you to watch you (are) Kiraman Katibin, they know all that you do.) (82:10-12) meaning, `indeed there are noble guardian angels over you, so do not meet them with evil deeds, because they write down all that you do.’

 

The Reward of the Righteous &the Sinners Allah informs of what the righteous will receive of delight

 

They are those who obeyed Allah and did not meet Him with disobedience (sins). Then He mentions that the evildoers will be in Hell and eternal torment. Due to this He says,

﴿يَصْلَوْنَهَا يَوْمَ الدِّينِ ﴾

 

(Therein they will enter, and taste its burning flame on the Day of Recompense,) meaning, the Day of Reckoning, Recompense, and Judgement.

﴿وَمَا هُمَ عَنْهَا بِغَآئِبِينَ ﴾

 

(And they will not be absent therefrom.) meaning, they will not be absent for even one hour from the torment. The torment will not be lightened from them, nor will they be granted the death that they will be requesting, or any rest — not even for a single day. Allah then says,

﴿وَمَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ ﴾

 

(And what will make you know what the Day of Recompense is) This is a magnification of the affair of the Day of Judgement. Then Allah affirms it by saying,

﴿ثُمَّ مَآ أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ ﴾

 

(Again, what will make you know what the Day of Recompense is) Then He explains this by saying,

﴿يَوْمَ لاَ تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِنَفْسٍ شَيْئاً﴾

 

((It will be) the Day when no person shall have power for another, ) meaning, no one will be able to benefit anyone else, or help him out of that which he will be in, unless Allah gives permission to whomever He wishes and is pleased with. We will mention here a Hadith (where the Prophet said),

«يَا بَنِي هَاشِم، أَنْقِذُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ مِنَ النَّارِ لَا أَمْلِكُ لَكُمْ مِنَ اللهِ شَيْئًا»

 

(O children of Hashim! Save yourselves from the Fire, for I have no power to cause you any benefit from Allah.) This has been mentioned previously at the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ash-Shu`ara’ (see 26:214). Thus, Allah says,

﴿وَالاٌّمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ﴾

 

(and the Decision, that Day, will be with Allah.) “By Allah, the Decision is for Allah today (now), but on that Day no one will try to dispute with Him about it.”

***

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Infitar. All praise and blessings are due to Allah, and He is the Giver of success and freedom from error.

[82:1] When the sky will be cleft asunder,

[82:2] and when the stars will disperse,

[82:3] and when the seas will be burst forth,

[82:4] and when the graves will be overturned,

[82:5] then one will know what he sent ahead and what he left behind.

Commentary
عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَ‌تْ (…then one will know what he sent ahead and what he left behind….82:5) In the preceding verses [1-4] of the Surah, Allah depicts the scene of the Day of Judgment that when the sky splits, the stars fall, the seas are poured forth [i.e. the fresh and salt water bodies will merge to form one mass of water] and the graves are overturned [i.e. corpses will emerge from their graves], every soul shall come to know what it had sent ahead and what it had left behind. The phrase ‘what he sent ahead’ means the good or evil act which he has done in his life; and the phrase ‘what he left behind’ means what he failed to do or refrained from doing. It is also possible that ‘what he sent ahead’ refers to the acts he has done himself, and ‘what he left behind’ refers to the acts one has not done himself, but he has laid down a custom in the society. The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: “If anyone establishes a good tradition in Islam, he will have a reward for it and the equivalent of the rewards of those who act upon it after him, without theirs being diminished in any respect; but he who establishes a bad custom in Islam will bear the responsibility of it and the responsibility of those who act upon it after him, without theirs being diminished in any respect.” This subject was dealt with earlier under the following verse: يُنَبَّأُ الْإِنسَانُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِمَا قَدَّمَ وَأَخَّرَ ‘Man will be informed of what he sent ahead and what he left behind. [75:13]


[82:6] 0 man! What has deceived you about your Gracious Lord,

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّ‌كَ (0 man! at has deceived you about your Gracious Lord…82:6) The opening of the Surah mentions the violent events that will take place at the end of this worldly life, and the current set of verses reminds us of the inceptive stages of our creation. The sum total of the verses purport to say that if man had considered carefully, he would have believed in Allah and His Messenger ﷺ ، and he would not have deviated a hair’s breadth from Divine injunctions, but he slumped into heedlessness and forgetfulness. In the present verse, he is reprimanded by a rhetorical question and by means of gentle remonstrance as to what has lured him away from His Gracious Lord, and led him to disobedience, despite he knows his beginning, and he knows his end.

The verse further goes on to remind man of the inceptive stages of his creation. First, it says: خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ (who created you, then perfected you…82:7). The sense is that not only did Allah create man, but He also perfected his creation and proportioned his body, limbs and organs. Every limb and organ is well placed. The body, height, length and breadth of every limb are kept in harmony, symmetry and balance. Any deviation from the symmetrical construction of the human body, the organs will become dysfunctional. Then the verse says: فَعَدَلَكَ (…then brought you in due proportion?…82:7). Man is granted such symmetry, harmony and balance that no other animal in the world is granted to that degree. Along with physical and physiological symmetry and harmony, he has been granted well-balanced disposition, despite the fact that man is made up of opposing humours – blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. Some are hot and others are cold, and yet the perfect wisdom of Allah prepared a well-balanced disposition. Thereafter a third characteristic is mentioned as follows:


[82:7] who created you, then perfected you, then brought you in due proportion?

[82:8] He composed you in whichever form He willed.

فِي أَيِّ صُورَ‌ةٍ مَّا شَاءَ رَ‌كَّبَكَ (He composed you in whichever form He willed….82:8). This is to indicate that since the basic structure of all human beings is the same, it was expected that the zillions of members of the human society would have shared the same shape, size and features, but the perfect mastery and the wonderful acumen of the Supreme Creator has created them so differently that each one of them has its own unique features that make him clearly distinct from all others, and no one is confused with another.

Having stated the creative acumen of the Great Creator, the verse states: يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّ‌كَ بِرَ‌بِّكَ الْكَرِ‌يمِ (0 man! What has deceived you about your Gracious Lord,…82:6). Allah has endowed man with such natural faculties and abilities that every limb and every joint of his body was enough to remind him of His Creator, and to make him obedient. But he is lured away from his gracious Lord, has forgotten Him and disobeyed Him. The question is: How did he forget his Lord, how did he become heedless of Him, and how is he lured away from his Lord? On this occasion, the adjective karim (Gracious) used for the ‘Lord’ points to the answer. The reason for such an ungrateful attitude is that Allah is Gracious and does not punish man immediately after his committing a sin. Rather, his sustenance, welfare and well-being, and worldly comforts [and pleasures] are not curtailed. He misinterprets Allah’s magnanimity, and thus falls into deception. If man were to think rationally, he would adopt a grateful attitude and obedient behaviour, rather than adopting an ungrateful attitude and impudent behaviour. Sayyidna Hasan Al-Basri (رح) says:
کم من مغرور تحت السّتر و ھو لا یشعر
‘How many humans are there whose faults are put [by Allah] under cover, (i.e. He did not disgrace them), yet they do not appreciate (and are deluded by His grace.’


[82:9] Never! (i.e. one should never be heedless towards him.) But you deny the Requital,

[82:10] while (appointed) over you there are watchers,

[82:11] who are noble, writers (of the deeds),

[82:12]] who know whatever you do.

[82:13] Surely the righteous will be in bliss,

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَ‌ارَ‌ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ‌ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ (Surely the righteous will be in bliss, and surely the sinners will be in Hell,…82:13-14). These two statements are connected with verse [5] above: عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَ‌تْ ‘then one will know what he sent ahead and what he left behind. [5] ‘

The verse informs us that each person, on the Day of Reckoning, will know what he has done, and what will be the consequences of his deeds. The present verse says that the righteous will be in perfect bliss, while the sinners will be in a Blazing Fire of Hell.


[82:14] and surely the sinners will be in Hell,

[82:15] in which they will enter on the Day of Requital,

[82:16] and they will not (be able to) keep away from it.

وَمَا هُمْ عَنْهَا بِغَائِبِينَ (and they will not [be able to] keep away from it…82:16) The inmates of Hell will never be able to get away from it, because the torment will be eternal, as the concluding verse of the Surah asserts: لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا (A Day when no one [with his own free will in the Plain of Gathering] will have power to do anything for another! ). This does not negate intercession, because that will not happen with one’s own free will, unless Allah grants permission to someone to intercede on someone’s behalf, and then accepts the intercession. And all matters, on that Day, will belong to Allah (alone). [19]


[82:17] And what may let you know what the Day of Requital is?

[82:18] Again, what may let you know what the Day of Requital is?

[82:19] A Day when no one will have power to do anything for another! And all matters, on that Day, will belong to Allah (alone).

Allah knows best!
Al-hamdulillah
The Commentary on
Surah Al-Infitar
Ends here

Overview

This short surah refers to the great upheaval discussed in the previous surah The Darkening, but gives it a special colour. It has a different rhythm, deep and calm. It adds a touch of expostulation coupled with an implicit threat. Hence, it does not detail the scenes of the great upheaval as in the previous surah, where these scenes predominate. Instead the scenes here are shorter, in order to suit its quieter atmosphere and slower rhythm. At the opening the surah mentions the cleaving of the sky, the scattering of the stars, the bursting of the oceans and the hurling of the graves as simultaneous with every soul’s knowledge of its earlier and later actions, on that momentous day.

The second part starts with a remonstration combined with an implicit threat to man who is the recipient of abundant grace but who shows no gratitude for it. “O man, what has lured you away from your gracious Lord, who created and moulded you and gave you an upright form? He can give you whatever shape He wills.” (Verses 6-8)

The third part provides the reason for man’s ungrateful attitude. Denial of reckoning and judgement, the surah tells us, is the source of every evil. The reality of meting out reward and punishment at the Last Judgement is re-emphasized; “Shun it! But you deny the Last Judgement. Yet there are guardians watching over you, noble recorders, who know all that you do. Surely the righteous shall be in bliss, while the wicked shall be in a blazing fire, which they shall enter on the Day of Judgement, nor shall they ever be absent from it.” (Verses 9-16)

The final part gives an idea of how fearful the Day of Judgement is, how everyone is absolutely helpless and how all power belongs to God: “Would that you knew what the Day of Judgement is! Oh, would that you knew what the Day of Judgement is! It is the day when no soul can be of any help to any other soul; for on that day all sovereignty is God’s alone.” (Verses 17-19) Thus, the surah represents yet another way of portraying the same basic principles stressed in this thirtieth part of the Qur’an in various methods and styles.

The Great Upheaval

When the sky is cleft asunder, when the stars are scattered, when the oceans are made to explode, when the graves are hurled about, each soul shall know its earlier actions and its later ones. (Verses 1-5)

In the commentary on the previous surah we described the feelings generated in people when they visualize the universe undergoing a change so violent that it leaves nothing in its familiar shape and condition. We also said that such feelings tend to pull man away from anything which gives him a sense of security, with the exception of God, the Creator of the universe, the One who lives on after everything has died and withered away. Man’s heart is thus made to turn to the only true being who neither changes nor dies, to seek His support and security in the face of the general upheaval which destroys everything that might once have seemed so permanent. For nothing lives forever except the Creator who is the only one worthy of worship.

The first aspect mentioned here of the universal upheaval is the cleaving or rending of the sky, which is mentioned in other surahs: “When the sky is split asunder and becomes rose red, like freshly tanned leather.” (55:37) “When the sky will be rent asunder, for on that day it is frail and tottering.” (69:16) “When the sky is rent asunder.” (84:1) That the sky will be split or rent asunder on that hectic day is certain. What is meant exactly by such rending, and how the sky will look after it has been rent are difficult to say. All that we are left with is a feeling of violent change which overwhelms the universe, as we see it, and a realization that its perfect system will no longer be in operation.

The violent upheaval in the universe causes the stars to scatter after they have been held together by a system which makes every star stick to its orbit, even though its movement is exceedingly fast. If this system is broken, as will happen when the life of the stars comes to its end, they will just disappear in the wide space, as does a particle of dust running loose.

The explosion of the oceans may refer to their being overfull to the extent that they swallow all dry land and rivers. It may, alternatively, mean an explosion which separates oxygen from hydrogen, the two gases which form water. Thus water returns to its original gas condition. The verse may also be taken to refer to a nuclear explosion of the atoms of the two gases. If this is the case, then the explosion would be so fearful that our nuclear devices of today would seem, in comparison, like child’s toys. The explosion may also take a different form, totally unknown to us. One thing, however, we know for certain is that there will be a horror far greater than any man could ever have experienced.

The hurling about of the graves may be a result of one of the events mentioned above. It may also be a separate event which occurs on that eventful day. As these graves are hurled about people are resurrected so as to face the reckoning and receive their reward or punishment. This is complemented by the verse which follows: “Each soul shall know its earlier actions and its later ones.” (Verse 5) That is, each soul shall come face to face with what it has done and what it has left behind of the consequences of its actions; or, what it has enjoyed in this present life and what it has saved for the hereafter. Such knowledge, however, will accompany these horrific events. It will indeed be part of them, for it terrifies the soul no less than any of the other events.

The Arabic expression used here, `alimat nafsun, may be translated literally as “a soul shall know…” It is, however, in Arabic a neater and more effective denotation of “each soul shall know…” Furthermore, such knowledge by every soul is not the end of the matter. It has consequences which are as violent as the scenes portrayed here of  the great upheaval. These consequences are merely implied, not stated, and this is even more effective.

Grace Without Limits

After this opening which alerts men’s senses and consciences, the surah, by means of gentle remonstrance coupled with an implicit threat, touches the hearts of men who busy themselves with trivialities. It reminds man of God’s very first act of grace towards him, namely, his moulding in such an upright, perfectly proportioned form. God could have easily given him any form He wished. Yet man is ungrateful: “O man, what has lured you away from your gracious Lord, who created and moulded you and gave you an upright form? He can give you whatever shape He wills.” (Verses 6-8) The address appeals to man’s most noble quality, his humanity, which distinguishes him from all other creatures and assigns to him the highest position among them. This quality represents God’s gracious blessing to man and His abundant generosity.

This appeal is immediately followed by a gentle remonstrance: “What has lured you away from your gracious Lord?” (Verse 6) What makes you neglect your duties to your Lord and behave impudently towards Him when He has given you your humanity which raises you above all His creation and provides you with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. A few details of God’s generosity are then added: “man, what has lured you away from your gracious Lord, who created and moulded you and gave you an upright form.” (Verses 6-7) It is an address which appeals straight to man’s heart. He listens to God’s remonstrance as He reminds him of His grace while he continues with his erring ways and impudent behaviour towards Him.

Indeed, man should reflect deeply over his creation, and the fact that he has been given a physically and physiologically perfect constitution. Reflection should prompt him to show his real love, deep respect and genuine gratitude towards God, his gracious Lord, who has blessed him with such constitution: perfect, upright and handsome. The miraculous aspects of man’s constitution are far greater than what he sees all around him and what he can imagine. Perfection and right balance are easily evident in man’s physical, mental and spiritual constitution. Full volumes have been written on the perfection of creation as evidenced by man. It is perhaps useful to include here one or two quotations from such works.

The human body is composed of a number of specialized systems: the skeleton, muscular system, skin, digestive system, blood circulation, respiratory system, procreative system, lymphatic system, nervous system, the urinal system and the senses of taste, smell, hearing and sight. Every one of these systems is miraculous and far more wonderful than any scientific achievement. Yet man tends to overlook the wonders of his own constitution! A contributor to the British Scientific Journal writes:[6]

Man’s hand is one of the most remarkable wonders of nature. It is extremely difficult, indeed impossible, to invent a device which can match the human hand for simplicity, efficiency, ability and instant adaptability. When you read a book you take it in your hand, then you hold it in the position most suitable for your reading. The same hand will automatically correct the position of your book whenever a correction of position is necessary. When you turn a page you place your finger underneath the paper and apply the amount of pressure needed for turning the page. When the page is turned no more pressure is applied. You also use your hand to hold a pen and to write. With your hand you use all the tools you need such as a spoon, a knife or a pen. You use it to open or close the window and to carry anything you wish to carry. Each hand has 27 pieces of bone in addition to 19 groups of muscles.[7]

A part of the human ear is a series of some four thousand minute but complex arches graduated with exquisite regularity in size and shape. These may be said to resemble a musical instrument, and they seem adjusted to catch, and transmit in some manner to the brain, every cadence of sound or noise, from the thunderclap to the whisper of the pines and the exquisite blending of the tones and harmonies of every instrument in the orchestra. If in forming the ear the cells were impelled to evolve strict efficiency only that man might survive, why did they not extend the range and develop a superacutness? Perhaps the power behind these cells’ activities anticipated man’s coming need of intellectual enjoyment, or did they by accident build better than they knew? [8]

The visual functions are carried out mainly by the eye with its 130 million retinal light receptors. The eyelids with the eyelashes at their tips protect the eyes day and night. Their movement, which is involuntary, keeps out dust particles and other alien bodies. The eyelashes throw their shades over the eye to lessen the intensity of light. Furthermore, by their movement the eyelids prevent the eyes from becoming dry. The fluid around the eye, which we call tears, is a highly effective, most powerful disinfectant…

In human beings, the taste function is carried out by the tongue, through groups of the taste cells which are located in the taste buds of the mucosal surface of the tongue. These buds are of different shapes: some are filamentary, some mushroom-shaped and others are lenticular. They are supplied by fine branches of the glosso-pharangeal nerve as well as the nerve which carries the taste sense. When we eat, these fine branches of the taste nerve are stimulated and convey the impulses of the taste sensation to the brain. This system is located at the front of the tongue, so that we may reject what we sense to be harmful. It is this system which helps us sense whether what we eat is bitter or sweet, hot or cold, sour or salty, etc. The tongue contains nine thousand of these fine taste buds, each of which is linked with the brain by more than one nerve. Hence we may wonder: How many nerves have we? What are their sizes? How do they function individually and how do they combine to give the brain their various types of sensation?

The nervous system, which effectively controls the body, is composed of fine neurons which cover every part of the body. The neurons are linked to larger nerves which are, in turn, linked to the central nervous system. Whenever any part of the body feels any sensation, even the slightest change of temperature, the neurons convey this sensation to the peripheral nerves which, in turn, convey it to the brain so that it may order the necessary action. The signals are carried through the nerves at the speed of 100 metres per second.[9] If we think of digestion as a process in a chemical laboratory and of the food that we eat as raw materials, we immediately discover that it is a wonderful process which will digest anything edible except the stomach itself.

First into this laboratory we put a variety of food as a raw material without the slightest regard for the laboratory or how the chemistry of digestion will handle it. We eat steak, cabbage, corn and fried fish, wash it down with any quantity of water, and top it off with alcohol, bread, and beans. We may add sulfur and molasses as spring medicine. Out of this mixture the stomach selects those things which are useful by breaking down into its chemical molecules every item of food, discarding the waste, and reconstructs the residue into new proteins, which become the food of the various cells. The digestive tract selects calcium, sulphur, iodine, iron and any other substances which are necessary, takes care that the essential molecules are not lost, that the hormones can be produced and that all of the valid necessities of life are on hand in regulated quantities, ready to meet every necessity. It stores fat and other reserves to meet such an emergency as starvation and does all this in spite of human thought or reason. We pour this infinite variety of substances into this chemical laboratory with almost total disregard of what we take in, depending on what we consider the automatic process to keep us alive. When these foods have been broken down and are again prepared, they are delivered constantly to each of our billions of cells, a greater number than all the human beings on earth. The delivery to each individual cell must be constant, and only those substances which the particular cell needs to transform them into bones, nails, flesh, hair, eyes, and teeth are taken up by the proper cell. Here is a chemical laboratory producing more substances than any laboratory which human ingenuity has devised. Here is a delivery system greater than any method of transportation or distribution the world has ever known, all being conducted in perfect order. [10]

Man’s Unique Qualities

A lot may be said about every other system of the human body. But wonderful as these systems are, man may have them in common with animals. He, however, is privileged to possess his unique mental and spiritual qualities, regarded in this surah as a special favour from God. After the surah has dealt with man’s humanity, it mentions the perfection of his creation and the right proportioning of his mould: “O man, what has lured you away from your gracious Lord, who created and moulded you and gave you an upright form.” (Verses 6-7)

Let us reflect on our powers of comprehension, the nature of which is unknown to us. The mind is the medium of comprehension but the working of our minds and how they function remain to us incomprehensible. If we suppose that what we grasp is transmitted to the brain through the nerves, where and how does the brain store its information? If we compare the brain to a magnetic recording tape, every man needs in his average lifetime of sixty years [11] a great many billion metres on which to record such a huge multitude of pictures, words, meanings, feelings and responses so that he may, as he actually does, remember them several decades later. Furthermore, how does man sort out individual words, meanings, events and pictures to mould them together in a sort of coherent education? How does he transform information and experiences into knowledge?

Yet this is by no means the most significant of man’s distinctive qualities. There is that wonderful ray of God’s spirit which provides a link between man and the beauty of the universe and its Creator. As this link is established, man can experience at clear, bright moments a sense of communion with the infinite, the absolute, which prepares him for a blissful eternal life in God’s paradise. Yet man has no power to comprehend the nature of his spirit, which is God’s greatest favour to him and which makes him a man. Hence God addresses him by this quality “O man!” He then remonstrates with him directly: “What has lured you away from your gracious Lord?” Thus man is reminded of God’s greatest favour, but he stands impudent, negligent of his duties, unashamed and ungrateful. But man does not need more than to realize the source of this remonstrance and what attitude he adopts when he stands before his Lord to be absolutely overwhelmed by shame: “O man, what has lured you away from your gracious Lord, who created and moulded you and gave you an upright form? He can give you whatever shape He wills.” (Verses 6-8)

The surah moves on to explain the reason for man’s impudence and negligence, namely, denial of the Last Judgement. It emphatically confirms the reality of reckoning, reward and punishment: “Shun it! But you deny the Last Judgement. Yet there are guardians watching over you, noble recorders, who know all that you do. Surely the righteous shall be in bliss, while the wicked shall be in a blazing fire, which they shall enter on the Day of Judgement; nor shall they ever be absent from it.” (Verses 9-16) The English expression, ‘shun it’, is used here to render the meaning of the Arabic word, kalla, which is a command to desist and an indication of a change of subject and style. Hence the following verses are in the form of a statement.

“Shun it! But you deny the Last Judgement.” (Verse 9) You think that reckoning and accountability are falsehoods, and this is precisely the cause of your impudence and negligence of duties. How can any person disbelieve in the judgement and still lead a life based on goodness and right guidance? Some people may achieve a higher degree of faith: they worship God because they love Him, neither out of fear of punishment nor in hope of reward. But these people continue to believe in the Last Judgement. They fear it and look forward to it at the same time, because they hope to be with their beloved Lord. When man, however, flatly rejects the Day of Judgement he will be devoid of politeness and light; his heart and conscience are dead.

You deny the Day of Judgement when you will certainly face it. Everything you do in this life will be counted for or against you. Nothing is lost, nothing forgotten: “Yet there are guardians watching over you, noble recorders, who know all that you do.” (Verses 10-12) These recorders are the angels charged with accompanying people, watching them and recording all what they do and say. We do not know, and are not required to know, how this takes place. God knows that we are neither given the ability to understand it nor are we going to benefit by understanding it because it does not affect the purpose of our existence. Hence it is useless to attempt to explain by our means what God has chosen not to reveal to us of the world of imperceptibles. It is sufficient for us to feel that we do not live in vain and that there are noble recorders who note what we do, in order to be so that we are always alert and  prudent.

Since the atmosphere of the surah is one of benevolence and nobility, the description of those recorders is that they are “noble”, so that we are shy and polite in their presence. It is only natural for people to exercise extra care not to say or do anything impolite or disgraceful when they are in the presence of people whose character reflects nobility. How careful would they be if they realized they were always in the presence of angels? The surah then arouses the most noble feelings of our upright nature by portraying this fact in such a familiar way.

Different Destinies

We are then told of the destinies of the righteous and the wicked, which are determined by the reckoning based on the recordings of the noble angels: “Surely the righteous shall be in bliss, while the wicked shall be in a blazing fire, which they shall enter on the Day of Judgement; nor shall they ever be absent from it.” (Verses 13-16) The end is certain. That the righteous shall dwell in blissful happiness and the wicked shall end in hell is already determined. A righteous person is the one who consistently does right actions, i.e. good deeds, until doing them becomes his intrinsic quality. The adjective ‘righteous’ has connotations which fit in well with nobility and humanity. The contrasting quality, ‘wickedness’, carries connotations of insolence and impudence as the wicked indulge in sinful actions. Hell is a proper recompense for wickedness. The surah emphasizes the certainty of this punishment: “which they shall enter on the Day of Judgement.” Then it re-emphasizes it: “nor shall they ever be absent from it.” They cannot escape it in the first place, nor will they be allowed to leave it, not even for a short while.

Having stated what happens on the Day of Judgement, the surah emphasizes again the certainty of that day, since it is denied by some. The emphasis provided here is in the form of a rhetorical question which enhances the mystery surrounding the object of the question. The surah then states the complete helplessness of everyone, the absolute impossibility of giving or receiving support and that God is the absolute sovereign on that awesome day: “Would that you knew what the Day of Judgement is! Oh, would that you knew what the Day of Judgement is! It is the day when no soul can be of any help to any other soul; for on that day all sovereignty is God’s alone.” (Verses 17-19)

The form “would that you knew…” is a form of rhetorical question often used in the Qur’an. It suggests that the matter under discussion is far beyond our imagining and understanding. This is stressed here by repetition of the question before details about conditions on the day concerned are given: “It is the day when no soul can be of any help to any other soul.” (Verse 19) It is a state of total helplessness when everyone stands alone, busy with their own problems, unable to think of anyone else, relative or  friend. “For on that day all sovereignty is God’s alone.” (Verse 19) He indeed reigns supreme in this life and the next. This fact, however, becomes so clear on that day that no one can overlook it, as the ignorant and the conceited do in this life.

The surah closes with an air of fear and speechless expectation which contrasts with the opening air of violent horror. In between the two man is addressed with that remonstrance which overwhelms him with shame.

References:

  1. The original passages of this journal could not be traced by the translators, so a re-translation is given to put back into English the two passages quoted here. The author quotes them from `Abd al-Razzāq Nawfal, Allāh wal-`Ilm al-Hadīth, or ‘God and Modern Science’, Cairo, 1957. Nawfal, however, does not specify the name and number of the Journal he quotes from. — Editor’s note.
  2. Ibid.
  3. A.C. Morrison, Man Does Not Stand Alone, London, 1962, pp. 63-64.
  4. A. Nawfal, op. cit.
  5. A.C. Morrison, op. cit., pp. 88-89.
  6. Average life expectancy has considerably risen since the author’s time, but the idea is still correct. If anything the tape required for storing all what human memory stores would today be far greater in length, and its efficiency much more enhanced. — Editor’s note.

 

 

82. Surah Al Infitar (The Cleaving)

Name
It is derived from the word infatarat in the first verse. Infitar is an infinitive which means to cleave or split asunder, thereby implying that it is the Surah in which the splitting asunder of the sky has been mentioned.

Period of Revelation
This Surah and the Surah At-Takwir closely resemble each other in their subject matter. This shows that both were sent down in about the same period.

Theme and Subject Matter
Its theme is the Hereafter. According to a tradition related in Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn al-Mundhir, Tabarani, Hakim and Ibn Marduyah, on the authority of Hadrat Abdullah bin Umar, the Holy Messenger (upon whom be peace) said: “The one who wants that he should see the Resurrection Day as one would see it with one’s eyes, should read Surah At-Takwir, Surah Al-Infitar and Surah Al-Inshiqaq.”

In this Surah first the Resurrection Day has been described and it is said that when it occurs, every person will see whatever he has done in the world. After this, man has been asked to ponder the question: “O man, what has deluded you into thinking that the God, Who brought you into being and by Whose favor and bounty you possess the finest body, limbs and features among all creatures, is only bountiful and not just? His being bountiful and generous does not mean that you should become fearless of His justice.”Then, man has been warned, so as to say: “Do not remain involved in any misunderstanding. Your complete record is being prepared. There are trustworthy writers who are writing down whatever you do.” In conclusion, it has been forcefully stated that the Day of Resurrection will surely take place when the righteous shall enjoy every kind of bliss in Paradise and the wicked shall be punished in Hell. On that day no one shall avail anyone anything. All powers of judgment shall be with Allah.

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


(82:1) When the heaven is split asunder,[1] (82:2) when the stars are scattered, (82:3) when the seas are made to burst forth, (82:4) and when graves are laid open,[2] (82:5) everyone shall know all his deeds, both the earlier and the later.[3] (82:6) O man! What has deceived you about your generous Lord (82:7) Who created you, shaped you, and made you well-proportioned, (82:8) and set you in whatever form He pleased?[4] (82:9) No indeed;[5] (the fact is that) you deny the Reckoning,[6] declaring it a lie; (82:10) you do so the while there are watchers over you; (82:11) noble scribes, (82:12) who know what you do.[7] (82:13) Surely the virtuous shall be in Bliss, (82:14) and the wicked shall be in the Blazing Fire. (82:15) They shall enter it on the Day of Recompense (82:16) and then shall never come out of it. (82:17) What do you know what the Day of Recompense is? (82:18) Again, what do you know what the Day of Recompense is? (82:19) It is the Day when no one shall have the power to do anything for another,8 and all command shall be Allah’s.


1. In Surah At-Takwir it has been said: When the oceans are set ablaze, and here: When the oceans are torn apart. When the two verses are read together, and this fact is also kept in view that even according to the Quran a terrible earthquake will occur on the Resurrection Day, which will shake up the entire earth all at once, the state of the splitting of the oceans and their being set ablaze, seems to be as follows: first, because of the terrible convulsion, the bottom of the oceans will split asunder and their water will start sinking into the interior of the earth where an intensely hot lava is constantly boiling up. Coming into contact with the lava, water will dissolve into its two constituent parts, oxygen which helps combustion, and hydrogen, which is itself combustible. Thus, in the process of dissolution and combustion, a chain reaction will start, which will set all the oceans of the world ablaze. This is our conjecture, the correct knowledge is only with Allah.

2. In the first three verses, the first stage of the Resurrection has been mentioned and in this verse the second stage is being described. Opening of the graves implies resurrection of the dead.

3. The words ma qaddamat wa akhkharat can have several meanings and all are implied here:

(1) Ma qaddamat is the good or evil act which man has sent forward, and ma akhkharat is what he refrained from doing. Thus, these Arabic words correspond to the acts of commission and omission in one’s life.

(2) Ma qaddamat is what one did earlier and ma akhkharat what one did later; i.e. the whole life-work of man will appear before him date-wise and in proper sequence.

(3) Whatever good and evil deeds a man did in his life is ma qaddamat and whatever effects and influences of his acts he left behind for human society is ma akhkharat.

4. That is, in the first place, the bounty and favor of your Beneficent Sustainer required that you should have acknowledged his bounties and become an obedient servant and should have felt shy of disobeying Him, but you were deluded into thinking that you have become whatever you are by your own effort, and you never thought that you should acknowledge that favor of Him Who gave you life. Secondly, it is your Lord’s bounty and kindness that you can freely do whatever you like in the world and it never so happens that whenever you happen to commit an error, He should punish you with paralysis, or blind your eyes, or cause lightning to strike you. But you took His bountifulness for weakness and were beguiled into thinking that the kingdom of your God was devoid of justice

5. That is, there is no reasonable ground for you to be deluded. Your own physical existence itself tells that you did not come into being by yourself; your parents also did not make you. Man also did not come about as a result of the elements combining together by themselves accidentally; but a Wise and Powerful God has composed you into this perfect human shape and form. There are other kinds of animals in the world compared with which your excellent form and structure and your superior powers and faculties stand out in sharp contrast. Reason demanded that in view of all this you should have submitted gratefully and should never have dared commit disobedience of your beneficent Sustainer. You also know that your Lord and Sustainer is not only Compassionate and Bountiful but Almighty and Omnipotent as well. When an earthquake, cyclone or flood occurs by His command, all your devices and measures fail to be effective. You also know that your Lord and Sustainer is not ignorant and foolish but Wise and Knowing, and the necessary demand of wisdom and knowledge is that whoever is given intellect should also be held responsible for his acts; whoever is given powers should also be held accountable as to how he used those powers; and whoever is given the choice to do good or evil on his own responsibility, should also be rewarded for his good act and punished for his evil act. All these truths are clearly and plainly known to you; therefore, you cannot say that there exists a reasonable ground for you to be deluded concerning your Lord. Your own nature is sufficient evidence that the beneficence of the Master should never cause the servant to be fearless of Him, and be involved in the misunderstanding that he may do whatever he pleases, no one can harm him in any way.

6. That is, you have not been deluded and beguiled by any good reason but by your foolish concept that there is going to be no meting out of rewards and punishments after the life of this world. It is this wrong and baseless concept which has made you heedless of God, fearless of His justice and irresponsible in your moral attitude.

7. That is, whether you deny the meting out of rewards and punishments, belie it, or mock it, the reality cannot change. The reality is: that your Lord has not left you to your self in the world, but has appointed over each one of you honest and upright guardians, who are recording objectively and faithfully all your good and evil acts, and none of your acts is hidden from them, whether you commit it in darkness, or in private, or in far off jungles, or in secret when you are fully satisfied that whatever you have done has remained hidden from human eye. For these guardian angels Allah has used the words kiram-an katibin, i.e. writers who are honorable and noble They are neither attached in personal love with somebody, nor are inimical to anybody, so that they would prepare a fictitious record on the basis of their favoring one man and un-favoring another unduly. They are neither dishonest that without being present on duty they would make wrong entries by themselves; nor are they bribable so that they would take bribes and make false reports in favor of or against somebody. They are far above these moral weaknesses. Therefore, both the good and the bad people should be fully satisfied that each man’s good acts will be recorded without any omission, and no one will have an evil act recorded in his account which he has not done. Then the second quality that has been mentioned of these angels is: They know whatever you do. That is, they are not like the secret, intelligence agencies of the world, from which, despite all their search and scrutiny, many things remain hidden. They are fully aware of everyone’s deeds. They accompany every person, at all places, under all conditions, in such a way that he himself does not know that someone is watching him, and they also know with what intention has somebody done a certain thing. Therefore the record prepared by them is a complete record in which nothing has been left un-recorded. About this very thing it has been said in (Surah Al-Kahf, Ayat 49): Woe to us! What sort of a book it is, it has left nothing unrecorded of our doings, small or great. They will see before them everything, whatever they had done.

8. That is, no one there will have the power to save anyone from suffering the consequences of his deeds; no one there will be so influential, strong, or such a favorite with Allah that he should behave stubbornly in the divine court and say: Such and such a one is a close relative or associate of mine; he will have to be forgiven, no matter what evils He might have committed in the world.