69. Al-Haqqah (The Inevitable)

Revealed in the early years of the Qur’ānic Revelation in Makkah, this sūrah of 52 verses takes its name from the word Al-Haqqah (the Sure Reality or The Inevitable) in the first verse, implying the Day of Resurrection and Judgment. It warns the polytheists who were committing sins, reminding them of what befell some early wrongdoing communities, and draws attention to the Day of Resurrection and Judgment. It also establishes the Divine origin of the Qur’ān and the Prophethood of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.

In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.

1. The Sure Reality.

2. What is the Sure Reality?!

3. And what enables you to perceive1 what the Sure Reality is?

4. The (tribes) of Thamūd and ‘Ād denied the Sudden, Mighty Strike.2

5. Now as for the (tribe of) Thamūd – they were destroyed by the overwhelming (catastrophe).

6. And the (tribe of) ‘Ād – they were destroyed with a furious, roaring windstorm,

7. Which God made to prevail against them for seven nights and eight days, uninterruptedly,3 so that you could have seen people lying overthrown in it, as though they were hollow trunks of palm-trees.

8. Now do you see any of them remaining?

9. And there was the Pharaoh, and many other communities before him,4 and the cities overthrown (where Lot’s people lived): all of them indulged in the unpardonable sins.

10. And they rebelled against their Lord’s Messenger (sent to each to warn them), and so He took hold of them with a severe seizing.

11. It was We Who, when the water (of the Flood in the time of Noah) burst beyond limits, carried you (i.e. your believing ancestors) in the on-moving Ark,

12. So that We might make it a reminder for you (to be transmitted from generation to generation), and that heeding ears might take it in and retain it.

13. And when (the Last Hour comes and) the Trumpet is blown5 with a single blast,

14. And the earth, and the mountains (on it) are removed and burst within, and are crushed with a single crushing—

15. It is on that Day that the Event to happen6 will happen:

16. And the sky split asunder, and so, on that Day it will be most frail;

17. And the angels will be at its ends;7 and above them, eight will bear the Throne of your Lord on that Day.8

18. On that Day, you will be arraigned for judgment, and no secret of yours will remain hidden.

19. Then, as for him who is given his Record9 in his right hand, he will say: “Here, take and read my Record!

20. “I surely knew that (one day) I would meet my account.”

21. And so he will be in a state of life pleasing to him,

22. In a lofty Garden,

23. With clusters (of fruit) within easy reach.

24. “Eat and drink to your hearts’ content for all that you sent ahead in advance in days past (in anticipation of this Day).”

25. But as for him whose Record is given in his left hand, he will say: “Ah, would that I had never been given my Record,

26. “And that I had known nothing of my account!

27. “Oh, would that death had been (and nothing thereafter had followed).

28. “My wealth has availed me nothing,

29. “And all my authority (my power over all that I had) has gone from me!”

30. (And the command will come): “Lay hold of him and shackle him (by the neck, the hands, and the feet)!

31. “Then in the Blazing Flame let him to roast.

32. “Then, fasten him with a chain the length of which is seventy cubits.”10

33. For he surely did not believe in God, the Supreme,

34. And did not urge the feeding of the destitute.

35. And so, he will have none to befriend him this Day,

36. Nor any food except foul pus.11

37. None eat it except the sinful (those guilty of denying God, or of associating partners with Him and oppressing people).

38. No indeed! I swear by all that you can see,

39. And all that you cannot see,12

40. It surely is the speech (conveyed to you by) an illustrious, noble Messenger,

41. And not a poet’s speech (composed in a poet’s mind). How little is what you believe! (It is so limited by the poverty of your souls and hearts.)

42. Nor is it a soothsayer’s speech (pretending to foretell events). How little it is that you reflect and be mindful! (It is so limited by the poverty of your minds.)

43. (No indeed!) It is a Revelation being sent down in parts from the Lord of the worlds.

44. If he (the Messenger) had dared to fabricate some false sayings in attribution to Us,

45. We would certainly have seized him with might;

46. Thereafter, We would certainly have cut his life-vein.

47. Then not one from among you could have shielded and saved him from Us.

48. And it is a sure Reminder (bringing hope and guidance) for the God-revering, pious.

49. We are most certainly aware that among you are some who deny (it).

50. It will surely be a bitter regret for the unbelievers.13

51. And this (the whole Qur’ān) is surely certain truth.

52. So glorify the Name of your Lord, the Supreme.14

1. The phrase What enables you to perceive denotes that the thing being asked about is unusual and that it is impossible for anyone to perceive it unless God makes it known.

2. The Sure Reality (which will undoubtedly take place and make every truth perfectly clear) signifies the Day of the Resurrection and Judgment, with all the events that will take place during it. The Sudden, Mighty Strike implies the event of the Last Day or the destruction of the world.

3. For the peoples of ‘Ād and Thamūd, see sūrah 7: 65–79, notes 16–17, sūrah 11: 50–68, and sūrah 26: 123–158. The Qur’ān uses several words for the punishment that struck the Thamūd, such as the awful blast (11: 67), a shocking catastrophe (7: 78), and the lightning-like punishment of humiliation (41: 17). These are aspects of the punishment that the Qur’ān describes, being suited to the subject and style of the sūrah where they are mentioned. In sūrah 29: 40, the Qur’ān sums up the kinds of punishment by which God destroyed many peoples.

4. By many other communities before that of the Pharaoh, the Qur’ān is referring to people of Noah, upon him be peace (see 7: 59–64; 11: 25–48; 23: 23–29; 26: 105–121; 71: 1–28, and the corresponding notes); the people of Shu‘ayb, upon him be peace (7: 85–93; 11: 84–95; 15: 78–79; 26: 176–189, and the corresponding notes); and the companions of ar-Rass (25: 38, note 8). There were, no doubt, other communities not mentioned in the Qur’ān who were also destroyed for their wrongdoings.

5. For the Trumpet and its being blown, see sūrah 2, note 31; sūrah 6: 73, note 14; and sūrah 39: 68, note 22.

6. The Event to happen is a title of a Qur’ānic chapter (56). It also implies what will take place on the Day of Resurrection.

7. This statement may be considered together with verse (25: 25): On that Day the heaven will split asunder with the clouds (covering it), and the angels will be made to descend in a majestic descending.

8. As explained in sūrah 7, note 13, the Supreme Throne of God (‘Arsh), the exact nature of which we cannot know, signifies God’s absolute authority over the universe. Deducing from Bediüzzaman Said Nursi’s description of water as the ‘arsh (throne) of mercy, and earth as the throne of life, we can say that the ‘Arsh (Throne) indicates primarily God’s Attributes of Knowledge, Will, Power, and Providence, and His Names originating in them, such as the All-Knowing, the All-Willing, the All-Powerful, and the All-Providing. As it encompasses the whole universe, it is also composed of God’s Names, the First, the Last, the Outward, and the Inward. These are His most prominent Attributes and Names relating to the creation and the actual rule of the universe. And as pointed out in sūrah 2, note 30, no event in the universe is conceivable without the operative intervention of the angels. The Qur’ān mentions many types of angels (37: 1–3; 77: 1–4, 79: 1–5, 82: 11). So those who bear God’s Throne may be Archangels whom He employs in the rule of the universe for some wise purposes and for the majesty of His rule, particularly those who are endowed with the greatest manifestation of the Attributes of God mentioned. According to some, based on a Prophetic Tradition recorded in ad-Durr al-Manthūr by as-Suyūtī, there are four beings that bear the Throne during the life of the world, and there will be eight on the Resurrection Day. According to Muhyi’d-Dīn ibn al-‘Arabī and Ibn Maysarah al-Jīlī, these are the Prophets Muhammad, Abraham and Adam, upon them all be peace, and the angels Ridwān (the chief guard of Paradise), Mālik (the chief guard of Hell), Gabriel, Mikā’il (Michael), and Isrā’fil (Yazır, 8: 5325–5326).

9. For this Record, see 17: 13–14, note 10.

10. As Hamdi Yazır suggests in interpreting this verse (8: 5334), this chain of seventy cubits may be the result of the sins committed by a sinful unbeliever throughout their seventy years of life. So, in addition to its apparent meaning, the verse may be referring to the average human life-span in the world, or to the years spent (after puberty) in unbelief and sins. Each year will be a link in the chain, in Hellfire.

11. Since both the people of Paradise and the people of Hell prepare their eternal future with their deeds in the world, this foul pus must be the product of their denial of God or association of partners with God, and their oppressing the poor and denying them any help.

12. This oath is very important in that neither the truth nor creation consists in what is observable and perceivable by humanity. Moreover, the basic truth lying behind all that we observe and perceive is unobservable and imperceptible through our senses. It is because of this that the Qur’ān begins praising the believers by saying that they believe in the Unseen. With this oath, the Qur’ān draws attention to this fact and to the fact that the most fundamental and essential truths should not be looked for in the observable realm of creation. The truth of the Resurrection and the Final Judgment, and that of eternal life, both of which are presented in the previous verses, and the truth of the Revelation and its communication by the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, are among such truths.

13. The unbelievers will see that the Qur’ān is the truth from God; they will realize what a future it has prepared for the believers, both in the world and, especially, in the Hereafter, and what a great loss its rejection has brought, and how those who have rejected it will greatly regret doing so.

14. That is, we must declare God as the Lord of supreme authority over creation without any partner. This also refers to the majesty and supremacy of the Qur’ān. This order teaches us how we should thank, praise, exalt, and glorify God, and in what circumstances we should do this.

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