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The Message of the Quran

Muhammad Asad

 

AL-QARIAH (THE SUDDEN CALAMITY)

THE HUNDRED-FIRST SURAH
Total Verses: 11
MECCA PERIOD

 

Introduction

 

AN early Meccan surah, most probably revealed after surah 95 (At-Tin).

 

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE DISPENSER OF GRACE:

 

 

(1) OH, the sudden calamity! 1

 

(2) How awesome the sudden calamity!

 

(3) And what could make thee conceive what that sudden calamity will be?

 

(4) [It will occur] on the Day when men will be like moths swarming in confusion,

 

(5) and the mountains will be like fluffy tufts of wool. . . .

 

(6) And then, he whose weight [of good deeds] is heavy in the balance

 

(7) shall find himself in a happy' state of life;

 

(8) whereas he whose weight is light in the balance

 

(9) shall be engulfed by an abyss. 2

 

(10) And what could make thee conceive what that [abyss] will be?

 

(11) A fire hotly burning! 3

 

 

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1 1 I.e., the coming of the Last Hour, which will involve a terrifying transformation of the world (see note 63 on 14:48 and note 90 on 20:105-107).

 

2 Lit., "his mother [i.e., goal] will be an abyss", sc., of suffering and despair. The term "mother" (umm) is used idiomatically to denote something that embraces or enfolds.

 

3 Lit., "hot fire", the adjective meant to stress the essential quality of fire. It should be borne in mind that all Qur'anic descriptions of the sinner's suffering in the hereafter are metaphors or allegories relating to situations and conditions which can be understood only by means of comparisons with physical phenomena lying within the range of human experience (see Appendix I).

 

 

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