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Surah Al-Waqi'a

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Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah Al-Waqi'a

Mecca Mecca (46)
96Total Ayat: 96
3Total Ruku: 3


The Surah takes its name from the word al-waqi`ah of the very firstverse.

Period of Revelation

According to the chronological order that Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbashas given of the Surahs, first Surah Ta Ha was sent down, then Al-Waqi'ahand then Ash-Shu`ara'(Suyuti: Al-Itqan). The same sequence has been reported from Ikrimah (Baihaqi: Dala'il an Nubuwwat).

This is supported also by the story that Ibn Hisham has related fromIbn Ishaq about the affirmation of the Faith by Hadrat Umar (may Allahbe pleased with him). It says that when Hadarat Umar entered hissister's house, Surah Ta Ha was being recited. Hearing his voice thepeople of the house hid the pages of the Qur'an. Hadrat Umar firstseized his brother-in-law and then his sister rose in defense of herhusband, he hit her also and wounded her on the head. When Umar sawblood on his sister, he was sorry for what he had done, and said toher: "Show me the manuscript that you have concealed so that I may seewhat it contains." The sister said: "You are unclean because of yourpolytheism: wa anna-hu la yamassu-ha ill-at-tahir: "Only a clean person can touch it." So, Hadrat Umar roseand washed himself, and then took up the manuscript to read it. Thisshows that Sarah Al-Waqi'ah had been sent down by that time for itcontains the verse: La yamassu hu ill al mutahharun; and it had beenestablished historically that Hadrat Umar embraced Islam after thefirst migration to Habash, in the fifth year of the Prophethood.

Theme and Subject Matter

Its theme is the Hereafter, Tauhid and refutation ofthe Makkan disbelievers' suspicions about the Qur'an. What theyregarded as utterly incredible was that Resurrection would ever takeplace, then the entire system of the earth and heavens would be upset,and when all the dead would be resurrected and called to account,after which the righteous would be admitted to Paradise and the wickedcast into Hell. They regarded all this as imaginary, which could notpossibly happen in actual fact. In answer to this, it was said: "Whenthe inevitable event will take place, there will be none to belie itshappening, nor will anyone have the Power to avert it, nor prove it to,be an unreal happening. At that time all peoples will be divided intothree classes: (1) The foremost in rank and position; (2) the commonrighteous people and (3) those who denied the Hereafter and persistedin disbelief and polytheism and major sins till the last." How thesethree classes of the people will be rewarded and punished has beendescribed in detail in vv. 7-56.

Then, in vv. 57-74 arguments havebeen given, one after the other, to prove the truth of the two basicdoctrines of Islam, which the disbelievers were refusing to accept,viz. the doctrines of Tauhid and the Hereafter. In these arguments,apart from every thing else that exists in the earth and heavens,man's attention has been drawn to his own body and to the food that heeats and to the water that he drinks and to the fire on which he cookshis food, and he has been invited to ponder the question : What rightdo you have to behave independently of, or serve any other than, theGod Whose creative power has brought you into being, and Whoseprovisions sustain you And how can you entertain the idea that afterhaving once brought you into existence He has become so helpless andpowerless that He cannot recreate you once again even if he wills to?

Then, in vv. 75-82 their suspicions in respect of the Qur'an have beenrefuted and they have been made to realize how fortunate they are thatinstead of deriving any benefit from the great blessing that theQur'an is, they are treating it with scant attention and have set onlythis share of theirs in it that they deny it. If one seriouslyconsiders this matchless argument that has been presented in two briefsentences about the truth of the Qur'an, one will find in it the samekind of firm and stable system as exists among the stars and planetsof the Universe, and the same is the proof of the fact that its Authoris the same Being Who has created the Universe. Then the disbelievershave been told that this Book is inscribed in that Writ of Destinywhich is beyond the reach of the creatures, as if to say "You think itis brought down by the devils to Muhammad (peace and blessings ofAllah be upon him), whereas none but the pure angels has any access tothe means by which it reaches Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allahbe upon him) from the well guarded Tablet."

In conclusion, man hasbeen warned, as if to say: "You may brad and boast as you like and mayshut your eyes to the truths in your arrogance of independence, butdeath is enough to open your eyes. At death you become helpless: youcannot save your own parents; you cannot save your children; youcannot save your religious guided and beloved leaders. They all die infront of your vary eyes while you look on helplessly. If there is nosupreme power ruling over you, and your this assumption is correctthat you are all in all in the world, and there is no God, then whydon't you restore to the dying person his soul?Just as you arehelpless in this, so it is also beyond your power to stop Allah fromcalling the people to account and mete out rewards and punishments tothem. You may or may not believe it, but every dying person willsurely see his own end after death. If he belongs to those nearest toGod, he will see the good end meant for them if he be from among therighteous, he will see the end prepared for the righteous; and if hebe from among the deniers of the truth, he will see the end destinedfor the criminals.

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1. Al-Fathiha
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55. Ar-Rahman
56. Al-Waqi'a
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58. Al-Mujadila
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60. Al-Mumtahana
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64. At-Tagabun
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69. Al-Haqqa
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90. Al-Balad
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96. Al-Alaq
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102. At-Takathur
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104. Al-Humaza
105. Al-Fil
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108. Al-Kauthar
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111. Al-Lahab
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114. An-Nas
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