51. Adh-Dhariyat (The Scatterers)
Revealed in Makkah when the Quraysh’s persecutions of the believers began, this sūrah of 60 verses derives its name from the word Adh-Dhariyat or Adh-Dhaariyaat (The Scatterers, Those That Scatter or The Wind That Scatter) in the first verse. It concentrates on the afterlife and God’s Oneness, and warns the unbelievers, reminding them what happened to many previous peoples who had obstinately persisted in unbelief and wrongdoing.
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
1. By those that (like winds) scatter far and wide;
2. And those that (like clouds) bear heavy burdens;
3. And those (like ships) that run with gentle ease;
4. And those (angels) who distribute by command (of God, His provision of rain and innumerable other blessings):1
5. What you are promised is most certainly true—a
6. The Last Judgment is bound to take place.
7. By the heaven full of braided pathways for the movement of angels and celestial objects, for the sending down of God’s commands, and for the ascent of the diverse supplications of conscious beings by speech or act or need):
8. Surely you are in contradicting views (about the Qur’ān and how to describe it).
9. Whoever has been deluded from it (the Qur’ān) is (first) self-deluded (turning away from the right way in thought, belief, and action).2
10. Be away from God’s mercy the liars building on conjecture,
11. Who are quite heedless (of truth) in an abyss of ignorance.
12. They ask: “When is the Day of Judgment?”
13. The Day when they will be tormented over the Fire.
14. “Taste your torment (that you have brought upon yourselves). This is what you (in mockery) would ask to be hastened!”
15. As for the God-revering, pious: they will be in Gardens and springs,
16. Taking whatever their Lord grants them. For they were, before that, devoted to doing God’s commands, aware that God was seeing them.
17. They used to sleep but little by night (almost never missing the Tahajjud Prayer).
18. And in the hour of early dawn, they would implore God’s forgiveness.
19. And in their wealth, the poor (who had to beg) and the destitute (who did not beg out of shame) had due share (a right they gladly honored).
20. On the earth there are (clear) signs (of God’s Oneness as Lord and Sovereign) for those who seek certainty;
21. And also in your own selves. Will you then not see (the truth)?
22. And in the heaven there is your provision, and what you are promised.3
23. Then, by the Lord of the heaven and the earth, this (promise) is as much (a fact conveyed to you) as that you speak.
24. Has there come to you report of Abraham’s honored guests?
25. They presented themselves before him and bade him peace. He said (in returning their greeting) “Peace!” (and thought:) A people unknown.
26. He withdrew to his household and brought a (roast of) fatted calf.
27. He placed it before them, and said: “Will you not eat?”
28. (When he saw that they did not eat) he became apprehensive of them.4 They said: “Do not be apprehensive!” They gave him the glad tidings of (the birth of) a son to be endowed with profound knowledge.
29. Then his wife came forward, groaning, and struck her forehead, saying: “How shall I bear a child, (being) a barren old woman?”
30. They said: “Thus has your Lord decreed. Surely He is the All-Wise, the All-Knowing.”
31. He (Abraham) said: “Then (after that), what is your concern, O you (heavenly) envoys?”
32. They said: “Indeed, we have been sent to a people who are all criminals,
33. “So that We may send upon them stones of baked clay,
34. “Marked out in your Lord’s Presence for (the destruction of) the people wasteful (of their God-given faculties and) committing excesses.”
35. We brought out (from the land) those in it who were believers;
36. But We did not find there any but a single house of Muslims (those wholly submitted to God).
37. We left there a clear sign (of the truth of God’s Messages) for those who fear the painful punishment.”5
38. And in (the exemplary experience of) Moses too, (there is a clear sign): We sent him as Messenger to the Pharaoh with an evident authority.
39. But the Pharaoh turned away (from Our Message), together with his hosts, and said: “(Moses is either) a sorcerer or a madman.”
40. So We seized him and his hosts, and hurled them into the sea. And he was self-accused, remorseful (too late, when he was drowning).
41. And also in (the exemplary history of the tribe of) ‘Ād (there is a clear sign), when We sent upon them the devastating wind:
42. It spared nothing that it reached, but made it like ashes.
43. And also in (the exemplary history of the tribe of) Thamūd (there is a clear sign), when they (were given respite and) it was said to them: “Enjoy life for a little while!”
44. But they rebelled against their Lord’s decree, so the thunderbolt (along with the blast) seized them, even while they were looking on.
45. They were not able to rise up (still less escape the punishment), nor were able to receive help.
46. (And We had destroyed) the people of Noah before. They were a people transgressing (God’s bounds).
47. And the heaven,6 We have constructed it mightily; and it is surely We Who have vast power, and keep expanding it.7
48. And the earth, We have spread it out like a couch; and how excellent We are in spreading it out.
49. And all things We have created in pairs, so that you may reflect and be mindful.
50. “So, flee to (refuge in) God. I am surely from Him to you a plain warner.
51. “And do not set up another deity besides God. I am surely a plain warner from Him to you.”
52. Similarly, no Messenger came to the peoples who lived before them but they said of him (in like manner): “A sorcerer or a madman.”
53. Have they bequeathed this to one another (by way of response)? They were indeed a rebellious people.
54. So, turn away from disputing with them, and you are not to be blamed (for doing so).
55. But remind and warn, for reminding and warning are of benefit to the believers.8
56. I have not created the jinn and humankind but to (know and) worship Me (exclusively).9
57. I demand of them no provision, nor do I demand that they should feed Me.
58. Surely God – it is He Who is the All-Providing, Lord of all might, and the All-Forceful.
59. So surely those who commit the greatest wrong (namely, not believing in and worshipping God, or associating partners with Him in worship), will have their share (of the punishment), like the share of their fellows (of old who were destroyed). Then, let them not ask Me to hasten it.
60. Then, woe to those who disbelieve because of their Day with which they are threatened.
1. In these verses, God Almighty draws our attention to all the material causes and/or forces He employs in carrying out His orders on the earth, in the air, and in the sea (i.e., throughout the universe), and, therefore, swears by the angels responsible for them. As explained in sūrah 2, note 31, whatever takes place in the universe takes place through the angels that are responsible for that action. The angels are of different classes or ranks. They receive God’s commands, and by His command, they distribute God’s provision and other blessings.
2. There is a unity in the multiplicity in creation. As all other things and beings differ, so do human beings differ from one another in many ways. All other things and beings, despite their infinite multiplicity, obey the One and Single God, Lord, and Sovereign, and this is why there is a magnificent accord in the universe. So the beings (humankind and jinn) endowed with free will and responsible for their choices must believe in, and obey, the same One and Single God if they desire accord in their individual and social lives. This does not mean that they must be uniform and standardized in their opinions. There are many fields in which a difference of views and choices is necessary, but there are some other fields in which they must be unified. For example, they must believe in One God and must be united in belief in the other essentials of faith; and they must worship the same One and Single God, obeying His laws in ordering their lives. Some of these laws are essential to human life, regardless of time and place, and are, therefore, immutable, while others are changeable according to time, place, and conditions.
3. That is, whatever we have as provision is God’s favor, and because of its sublimity and worth, the Qur’ān states that it has descended from the heaven. In addition, since the earth is revived with rain after its death and everything we obtain from the earth needs rain, the Qur’ān sometimes uses rain to mean provision. As for what is meant by what you are promised, it is everything that God will grant as a reward for the good deeds of His servants, including, in particular, Paradise. Since these rewards are also purely God’s favors, they are sublime and, therefore, have their source in the heaven; or since heaven suggests sublimity, the Qur’ān tells us that their source is heaven.
4. If a guest held back from eating the food offered to him, it meant that he had an evil intention.
5. For further explanations, see 11: 69–83; 15: 51–77 and the corresponding notes.
6. After the accounts of some past, exemplary events, this verse is a continuation of verse 22.
7. The expansion of the universe, of which the Qur’ān informed us centuries ago, is the most imposing discovery of modern science. Today it is a firmly established concept and the only debate centers around the way in which this is taking place.
8. Dispute is of no use in communicating the Message. What is important and should be done is to communicate and preach the truth in the proper style. The other thing that should be pointed out here is that in preaching the truth or the Divine Message, the believers should not be neglected, thinking that they already believe, and their needs should be taken into consideration. Everyone needs reminding.
9. This verse expresses the Divine purpose for creation. While all other beings and things worship and obey God willy-nilly, only the jinn and humankind, endowed with free will, have the capacity to worship and obey or not to worship and obey Him. Yet, as it is God Who creates and maintains, He alone deserves worship. It is also He Who will ask conscious beings to account for their lives, and this is why God alone must be worshipped. Worshipping and obeying the One God will also secure justice and accord in the lives of the jinn and humankind. Worshipping God entails knowledge and love of Him. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi writes:
Belief in God is creation’s highest aim and most sublime result, and humanity’s most exalted rank is knowledge of Him that is contained in this belief. The most radiant happiness and sweetest bounty for the jinn and humanity is love of God contained within knowledge of God. The purest joy of the human spirit and the sheerest delight of the human heart is spiritual ecstasy contained within the love of God. All true happiness, pure joy, sweet bounties, and unclouded pleasures are contained within knowledge and love of God. Those who truly know and love God can receive infinite happiness, bounties, enlightenment, and understand infinite mysteries. Those who do not are afflicted with infinite spiritual and material misery, pain, and fear. If any person were allowed to rule this world, despite his or her being powerless, miserable, and unprotected amid other purposeless people in this world, what would the true worth of this be?
People who do not recognize their Owner and discover their Master are miserable and bewildered. But those who do, taking refuge in His Mercy and relying on His Power, see this desolate world transformed into a place of rest and felicity, a place of exchange for the Hereafter. (The Letters, “The 20th Letter,” 2: 2)