Here you can read Surah Al Qariah (Arabic: القارعة) which is the 101st Surah of the Qur’an. The English meaning is the calamity, the striking, or the catastrophe.
It is classified as a Meccan Surah and consists of 11 ayat (verses).
The theme or lesson behind this Surah is to warn people of the day of judgement. The first 5 ayats paints a picture of the dangers of Jahannam (hell). The next four ayats says those who have heavier weight of good deeds will be protected. The one’s who’s deeds are lighter will perish in jahannam.
One of the goals of the My Islam site it to make it easy to read and understand the Qur’an. So, for those who have difficulty reading Arabic you can follow along with the transliteration and also come to understand the Surah with the Sahih International translation. At the end of the Surah we’ve also provided the Tafsir.
Surah 102 – Al Qariah
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
1. The Striking Calamity –
2. What is the Striking Calamity?
Wama adraka mal qariah
3. And what can make you know what is the Striking Calamity?
Yauma ya koonun naasu kal farashil mabthooth
4. It is the Day when people will be like moths, dispersed,
Wa ta koonul jibalu kal ‘ihnil manfoosh
5. And the mountains will be like wool, fluffed up.
Fa-amma man thaqulat mawa zeenuh
6. Then as for one whose scales are heavy [with good deeds],
Fahuwa fee ‘ishatir raadiyah
7. He will be in a pleasant life.
Wa amma man khaffat mawa zeenuh
8. But as for one whose scales are light,
9. His refuge will be an abyss.
Wa maa adraaka maa hiyah
10. And what can make you know what that is?
11. It is a Fire, intensely hot.
Tafsir of Surah Qariah
To gain a deeper understanding of Surah Al-Qariah it helps to understand the purpose of revelation, the historical context, and the connection to other passages of the Qur’an. To receive this kind of insight we need to make it a study and read the Tafsir of Quran commentators so we can develop a more comprehensive view. Below you can read interpretation from four different tafseers.
Ibn Kathir Tafsir of Surah Qariah
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Then Allah intensifies concern and fright for it by saying,
(And what will make you know what Al-Qari`ah is) Then He explains this by saying,
(It is a Day whereon mankind will be like moths scattered about.) meaning, in their scattering, their dividing, their coming and their going, all due to being bewildered at what is happening to them, they will be like scattered moths. This is like Allah’s statement,
(As if they were locusts spread abroad.) (54:7) Allah said,
(And the mountains will be like wool, carded.) meaning, they will become like carded wool that has began to wear out (fade away) and be torn apart. Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, `Ata’ Al-Khurasani, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi have all said,
(like wool (`Ihn). ) “Woolen.” Then Allah informs about the results received by those who performed the deeds, and the honor and disgrace they will experience based upon their deeds. He says,
(Then as for him whose Balance will be heavy.) meaning, his good deeds are more than his bad deeds.
(He will live a pleasant life.) meaning, in Paradise.
(But as for him whose Balance will be light.) meaning, his bad deeds are more than his good deeds. Then Allah says,
(His mother will be Hawiyah.) It has been said that this means he will be falling and tumbling headfirst into the fire of Hell, and the expression `his mother’ has been used to refer to his brain (as it is the mother of his head). A statement similar to this has been reported from Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Abu Salih and Qatadah. Qatadah said, “He will fall into the Hellfire on his head.” Abu Salih made a similar statement when he said, “They will fall into the Fire on their heads.” It has also been said that it means his mother that he will return to and end up with in the Hereafter will be Hawiyah, which is one of the names of the Hellfire. Ibn Jarir said, “Al-Hawiyah is only called his mother because he will have no other abode except for it.” Ibn Zayd said, “Al-Hawiyah is the Fire, and it will be his mother and his abode to which he will return, and where he will be settled.” Then he recited the Ayah,
(Their abode will be the Fire.) (3:151) Ibn Abi Hatim said that it has been narrated from Qatadah that he said, “It is the Fire, and it is their abode.” Thus, Allah says in explaining the meaning of Al-Hawiyah,
(And what will make you know what it is). Allah’s statement
(A fire Hamiyah!) meaning, extreme heat. It is a heat that is accompanied by a strong flame and fire. It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,
(The fire of the Children of Adam that you all kindle is one part of the seventy parts of the fire of Hell.) They (the Companions) said, “O Messenger of Allah! Isn’t it sufficient” He replied,
(It is more than it by sixty-nine times.) This has been recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. In some of the wordings he stated,
(It is more than it by sixty-nine times, each of them is like the heat of it.) It has been narrated in a Hadith that Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,
(Verily, the person who will receive the lightest torment of the people of the Hellfire will be a man who will have two sandals that will cause his brain to boil. )” It has been confirmed in the
(The Hellfire complained to its Lord and said, “O Lord! Some parts of me devour other parts of me.” So He (Allah) permitted it to take two breaths: one breath in the winter and one breath in the summer. Thus, the most severe cold that you experience in the winter is from its cold, and the most severe heat that you experience in the summer is from its heat. ) In the Two Sahihs it is recorded that he said,
(When the heat becomes intense pray the prayer when it cools down, for indeed the intense heat is from the breath of Hell.)
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Qari`ah, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
This Surah mentions the weighing of human deeds. He whose scales are heavy will be led to Paradise, and he whose scales are light will be led to Hell. Please see Ma’ ariful Qur’an, Vol. 3/ pp 539-547, for a full and complete analysis of the Weighing of human deeds. The analysis also allays the doubts raised against the concept of weighing of deeds.
We have also explained there that it appears from reconciliation of conflicting narrations and Qur’anic verses that the weighing on Plain of Resurrection will take place twice. The first weighing will be to separate the believers from the non-believers. Anyone whose Book of Deeds is put on the scale and contains the belief (‘Iman) will be heavy, and the scale of anyone whose Ledger of Deeds does not contain ‘Iman will be light. At this stage, the believers will be separated from the non-believers. Weighing on the second time will be to distinguish between good and evil deeds of the believers. The reference, in the present Surah, is probably to the first weighing in which the scale of every believer will be heavy regardless of his other deeds, while the scale of an unbeliever will be light, even though he might have performed some good acts.
It is explained in Mazhari that the Holy Qur’an generally contrasts the unbelievers and righteous believers, when speaking of retribution [ reward or punishment ], because the latter are the perfect believers. As for the believers who have performed righteous as well as unrighteous deeds, the Qur’an is generally silent on the issue. However, the principle may be noted that on the Day of Judgment human deeds will not be counted, but weighed. Fewer good deeds with high degree of faith and sincerity, and in accordance with Sunnah will be heavier than many good deeds – prayers, fasting, charity and pilgrimage with lesser degree of faith and sincerity, or not completely in accordance with Sunnah.
The Commentary on
Surah al-Qari’ ah
Al-Qari`ah, or the Striker, means the resurrection. Elsewhere in the Qur’ān it is given names such as the Overwhelming One, the Deafening Shout, the Stunning Blast and the Enveloper. The term al-Qari`ah also connotes hitting and knocking hard. It knocks people’s hearts with its engulfing horror.
The surah as a whole deals with the Striker, its essence, what takes place in it and what it eventually leads to. Thus the surah portrays one of the scenes of the Day of Resurrection.
The scene portrayed here is one of horror directly affecting man and mountains. In this scene people look dwarfish in spite of their great number. For they are like scattered moths. They fly here and there having no power or weight, going through the dilemma of moths which rush to destruction, having no aim or purpose.
On the other hand, the mountains, which used to be firm and solidly based, seem to be like carded wool carried away by winds, and even by a light breeze. Thus, it is in harmony with this image that the Day of Resurrection is described as the one that strikes or knocks out. The connotations used and the rhythm are in consonance with the effects of the Striker on both people and mountains. The surah spreads an air of awe and expectation about the outcome of reckoning.
Determination of People’s Fates
“The Striker! What is the Striker! Would that you knew what the Striker is!” (Verses 1-3) This surah starts with the single word, al-Qari`ah, rendered in English as the Striker. It is thrown like a shot, without any further information, predicate or adjective. As such it creates through its sound and connotations an ambiance of awe and apprehension.
The word is immediately followed by a question suggesting alarm: “What is the Striker?” (Verse 2) It is that dreadful and formidable thing which arouses curiosity and questioning. Then comes the answer in the form of a cryptic exclamation: “Would that you knew what the Striker is!” It is too great to be comprehended or imagined. Then follows the answer which states what takes place in it but refrains from stating its exact nature: “The day when people will be scattered moths, and the mountains like tufts of carded wool.” (Verses 4-5)
This is the first scene of the Striker, a scene that leaves people’s hearts in panic and makes limbs tremble with fear. The listener feels that everything he clings to in this world is flying all around him like dust. Then comes the end of all mankind. “Then he whose weight [of good deeds] is heavy in the balance, shall enjoy a happy life. But he whose weight is light in the balance, shall have the abyss for his home. Would that you knew what this is like! It is a scorching fire.” (Verses 6-11)
It is useful for us to consider the weights, whether heavy or light. This means that there are standards which God credits with being valuable and others that are valueless. This is the general meaning of the statement which the surah wants to convey. However, God knows best the exact nature of the balance determining such weights. To indulge in a sophisticated, logical and linguistic argument about the meaning of the Qur’anic term, mawazin, used here is in itself a departure from the Qur’anic spirit and indicates that the reader is not interested in the Qur’ān or in Islam.
“Then he whose weight [of good deeds] is heavy in the balance”, according to God’s measures and evaluation, “shall enjoy a happy life.” God makes this statement general without any detailed information. Thus, the statement imparts to man the connotations of content and satisfaction or, indeed, pure happiness.
“But he whose weight is light in the balance,” according to God’s same measure and evaluation, “shall have the abyss for his home.” The Arabic text uses the term, umm, ‘mother’, for what is rendered here as ‘home’. It is to his mother that a child turns for help and protection as he seeks shelter and security at home. But such people with light measure can only turn and resort to the abyss! The expression is a fine one, beautifully ordered. It also has a shade of obscurity preparing the way for subsequent clarification which adds to the depth of the intended effect: “Would that you knew what this is like.” (Verse 10) It is again the cryptic exclamation used often in the Qur’ān which emphasizes that it is beyond comprehension and vision. Then comes the answer in the closing note: “It is a scorching fire.” (Verse 11)
Such is the mother of any person whose weight of good deeds is light. This is his mother to whom he turns for help and protection and for security and comfort. But what does he find with such a mother? He finds nothing but the abyss and a scorching fire. The expression here makes a sudden jolt to represent the hard reality.
Qariah literally means the striking one. Qar is to strike one thing upon another so severely as to produce a noise. In view of this literal meaning, the word qariah is used for a dreadful disaster and a great calamity. At another place in the Quran this word has been used for a great affliction befalling a nation. In Surah Ar-Raad, Ayat 31, it has been said: As for the disbelievers, because of their misdeeds, one affliction or the other does not cease to visit them every now and then.
But, here the word al-Qariah has been for the Resurrection and in Surah Al-Haaqqah too the Resurrection has been described by this very epithet (verse 4). One should remember that here the whole Hereafter, from the first stage of Resurrection to the last stage of judgment and meting out of rewards and punishments is being depicted together.
This will be the first stage of Resurrection, when in consequence of the great disaster the whole of the present order of the world will be overthrown; the people will then be running about in confusion and bewilderment like so many scattered moths around a light; and the mountains will be flying about like carded wool of different colors. The mountains have been compared to wool of different colors because of the existence of a variety of colors in them
From here begins description of the second stage of Resurrection when after having been resurrected men will appear in the court of God.
The word mawazin in the original can be plural of mauzun as well as, of mizan. In the first case, mawazin would imply the deeds which might have some weight in the sight of Allah and be, thus, worthy of appreciation. In the second case, mawazin would imply scales of a balance. In the first case, the meaning of the mawazin’s being heavier or lighter is that the good deeds will be heavy or light as against the evil deeds, for in the sight of Allah only good deeds have any weight and worth. In the second case. the meaning of the mawazin’s being heavy is that the scale of the good deeds will be heavier than the scale of evil deeds, in Allah Almighty’s Balance of Justice, and their being light means that the scale of good deeds will be lighter than the scale of evil deeds. Besides, in Arabic idiom the word mizan is also used for weight (wazan); accordingly, the weight’s being heavy or light implies the good deeds being heavy or light. In any case, whether mawazin is taken in the meaning of mauzun or of mizan, or of wazan, the intention remains the same, which is that the basis of judgment in the divine court will be whether the provision of the deeds that a man has brought is weighty or weightless, or whether his good deeds are heavier than his evil deeds or lighter. This theme has occurred at several places in the Quran which explains the full meaning.
In Surah Al-Aaraf it has been said: On that Day the weight will be identical with the truth: accordingly, those whose scales, will be heavy will alone come out successful; and those whose scales are light will be the ones who will have incurred loss upon themselves. (verses 8-9).
In Surah Al-Kahf, it was said: O Prophet, say to them: Should we tell you who are the most un-successful people and miserable failures in regard to their deeds? They are those whose all endeavors in the worldly life had gone astray from the right way, but they were under the delusion that everything they were doing, was rightly directed. These are the people who rejected the revelations of their Lord and did not believe that they would ever go before Him. Therefore, all their deeds were lost, for We will assign no weight to them on the Day of Resurrection. (verses 103-105).
In Surah Al-Anbiya: On the Day of Resurrection, We will set up just and accurate balances so that no one will be wronged in the least in any way; even if it be an act equal in weight to a grain of mustard seed, We will bring it forth (to be weighed) and We suffice for reckoning. (verse 47). These verses show that kufr and denial of the truth is in itself such a stupendous evil that it will certainly lower the scale of evils, and there will be no good act of the disbelievers, which may have any weight in the scale of good deeds so that its scale of goodness may become heavy. However, in the scales of the believer there will be the weight of faith as well as the weight of the good deeds which he performed in the world. On the other hand, every evil done by him will be placed in the scale of evil deeds and then it will be seen whether his scale of the good deeds is heavier or his scale of the evil deeds.
The words in the original are: ummu hu hawiyah: his mother will be hawiyah. Hawiyah is from hawa, which means to fall from a height to a depth, and hawiyah is the deep pit into which something falls. Hell has been called Hawiyah because it will be very deep and the culprits will be thrown into it from the height. As for the words, his mother will be Hawiyah, they mean: Just as the mother’s lap is the child’s abode, so Hell will be the culprits’ only abode in the Hereafter.
That is, it will not merely be a deep pit but will also be full of raging fire.