79. An-Nazi’aat (The Draggers)

Revealed in Makkah, this sūrah of 46 verses takes its name from the word An-Nazi’aat or an-nāzi‘āt (those angels who fly out or The Draggers) in the first verse. It reminds us of death, warns against those who deny the afterlife, and draws attention to the Pharaoh, whose power could not save him from God’s punishment. It also mentions some acts of God in the universe and establishes the truth of the afterlife.

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

1. By those (angels) who immediately fly out and plunge (with God’s command), and plunge (into fulfilling it);

2. By those (angels) who move gently and eagerly (because of the command they have received);

3. By those (angels) who swiftly float (through space to fulfill God’s command),

4. And so hasten along as if in a race,

5. And thus fulfill the commands (in the operation of the universe)—

6. (The Last Hour will have come) on the Day when a blast (of the Trumpet) will convulse (the world),

7. Followed by the succeeding one.

8. Hearts on that Day will be throbbing in distress,

9. Their eyes downcast.

10. Yet, they (the unbelievers) say: “Will we really be restored to our former state (of life)?

11. “Will we when we have become bones rotten and crumbled away?”

12. They say (in derision): “Then, that would be a return with loss!”

13. It will indeed be but a single cry,

14. And then, they will all have been awakened to life on the plain (of Supreme Gathering).

15. Has the report of Moses come to you?

16. When His Lord called out to him in the sacred Valley of Tuwa’:

17. “Go to the Pharaoh, for he has exceedingly rebelled.

18. “And say to him, ‘Would you (do you have intent or inclination to) attain to purity?

19. ‘Then I will guide you to your Lord so you stand in awe of Him (and behave with humility).’ ”

20. He (went to the Pharaoh and) showed him the great sign (the miracle of the Staff).

21. But the Pharaoh denied (his Messengership) and defied (him).

22. Thereafter, he turned away and set out to struggle (with him).

23. Then he gathered (his men and hosts), and made a proclamation,

24. Saying: “I am your Supreme Lord!”

25. And so God seized him and made an example of him, of punishment in the later and the earlier (life).

26. For sure, in this there is certainly a lesson for anyone who has awe of and, therefore, humility before God.1

27. (O humankind!) Are you harder to create or is the heaven? He has built it.2

28. He has raised its vault and put it in an order.

29. And He obscured its night and brought out its light of day.3

30. And after that He has spread out the earth in the egg-shape4 (for habitability).

31. Out of it, He has brought forth its waters and its herbage.

32. And the mountains He has set firm—

33. (All this) as a means of life for you and your animals.

34. But when the great overwhelming event comes—

35. On that Day human will recall (and understand) for what he strove;

36. And the Blazing Flame will come into view for all who see.

37. And so, whoever rebelled (against God),

38. And preferred the life of this world,

39. The Blazing Flame will be his (final) refuge.

40. But as for him who lived in awe of his Lord, being ever conscious of His seeing him and of the standing before Him (in the Hereafter), and held back his carnal soul from lusts and fancies,

41. Surely Paradise will be his (final) refuge.

42. They ask you (O Messenger) about the Last Hour: “When will it come to anchor?”

43. But how could you have knowledge about its exact time?

44. With your Lord alone rests (the exact knowledge) of its term.

45. You are only a warner to those who are in awe of it.

46. It will be, on the Day they see it, as if they had remained (in the world) but for the afternoon (of a day), or its morning.

The Qur'an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English

The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English

1. For the details of Moses’ story, see sūrah 20: 9–79; sūrah 28: 3–42.

2. As noted in 30: 27, note 7; 31: 28, note 6; and 40: 57, note 17, nothing is difficult for God. To put it more properly, difficulty is not an attribute that can be conceived of for God, for everything is absolutely easy for Him in the same degree. So the comparison in the verse is from the perspective of humankind, asking which is more difficult for us to conceive of, rather than for God to do.

3. In the beginning, the heaven was either in darkness, or there was no light-emitting object in it. So after fashioning the heaven, God placed light-emitting objects in it, such as the sun and the other stars, and He removed its darkness. This verse also means that He has made some celestial objects, including the earth, which have both darkness (night) and light (day), alternately.

4. Surely at the time when the Qur’ān was revealed, people had no idea that the earth was an ellipse, nor was it a known fact until fairly recently.