If you’re ever in need of an iman boost, Surah Waqiah and Surah Al-Haaqah are two of the most powerful surahs you should read. Three instructors presented a basic tafseer of Surah Waq’iah at ICNA 2010, alhumdulillah I was able to catch the recording at 8 am on Sunday :) Here are some of my notes:
(1)إِذَا وَقَعَتِ الْوَاقِعَةُ
‘Idha’–When. The surah begins with a ‘when/then’ statement, not an ‘if/then’ statement. This entire Surah talks about three types of people and their journey to the akhirah and their final recompense. The ‘idha’ shows that there is no room for denial when it comes to matters of the hereafter. Surah Ar-Rahman preceded Surah Waqiah. Again and again, Allah asked, “Which of the Favors of your Lord will you deny?” In the second ayah, Allah says: لَيْسَ لِوَقْعَتِهَا كَاذِبَةٌ–Then, no soul will stand to deny the akhirah and ة at the end is used to hyperbolize the statement.
Allah says: And the foremost will the foremost. What this is referring to is that the foremost in accepting the religion in dunya, will the be the foremost in the hereafter. The first part of this surah discusses three groups of people. 1. The foremost 2. Those on the right 3. Those on the left.
(14)ثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْأَوَّلِينَ(13) وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنَ الْآخِرِينَ
Then Allah says that this group (foremost) will be made up of a large number from the previous generations and a small amount from the later generations. These ayaat are actually talking about proportions, not numbers of people so there is definitely a possibility that many from later generations will be among the foremost. In comparison to the earlier generations however, the proportion is less. May Allah make us from among them. Say Ameen.
(17)يَطُوفُ عَلَيْهِمْ وِلْدَانٌ مُّخَلَّدُونَ
One of the blessings of Jannah for the first group of believers is that there will be young boys who will run back and forth to take care of their needs. This is something people often question, why young boys? If someone ever asks you this, answer them with a question: “Have you ever been served by a 75 year old man at a fast food restaurant?” Most likely the answer is no. Young people are energetic and fast. In Jannah, these boys are created to serve the inhabitants of Jannah and Allah says that they will not reach old age so they will remain energetic forever. An older man on the other hand, may fall ill or have a heart attack or something while on the job. *da’wah technique*
(19)لَا يُصَدَّعُونَ عَنْهَا وَلَا يُنزِفُونَ
They will not be overwhelmed by the sharaab in Jannah. Non-Muslims often ask, well, what’s the point of drinking if you can’t get drunk. Why do people drink in dunya? To escape reality. Allah has given the believers such an awesome reality in Jannah–who would want to escape that!
(24) جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
After mentioning so many blessings for this special group of believers, Allah says that this is just some of the compensation they will receive. Looking at the parallels Allah makes, after mentioning the horrible treatment the disbelievers will receive, He again says هَذَا نُزُلُهُمْ يَوْمَ الدِّينِ–this is just the beginning for them. Nuzl–refers to an appetizer, a beginning.
(28)فِي سِدْرٍ مَّخْضُودٍ
Then Allah talks about the rewards for the second group–those on the right. In this ayah, Allah says that they will be in lush gardens. The previous group was served whereas this group will have to get fruits themselves. Notice the differences between the two groups.
After mentioning all the luxuries of Paradise–elevated beds, abundant fruit, pure drinks, and lush gardens, Allah talks about the mates in Jannah. You can’t enjoy luxury alone so Allah created beautiful, unmarried mates who will not increase in age. Their beauty won’t whiter away. In dunya, you have to work for these things and constantly put effort into a marriage but in Jannah, all this is going to be automated. Also, this isn’t something we should feel the need to be politically correct about, if it’s in the Qur’an, it’s haqq and we (both men and women) need to be mature about.
(40)وَثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْآخِرِينَ(39)ثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْأَوَّلِينَ
Allah says that this group on the right will be made up of a good portion of people from earlier times as well as later times. :)
(46)وَكَانُوا يُصِرُّونَ عَلَى الْحِنثِ الْعَظِيمِ
Then Allah talks about the people of the left, the condemned and the wretched. These people would insist on doing Great sins. hinth-refers to taking an important promise and completely forgetting that it even exists. We have more than enough examples of this from our times. These people make comedy skits out of Paradise and make fun of the Anbiya and Awliya of Allah. A few ayaat earlier, Allah mentioned the cool shade for the people of Jannah. The people of the left also have their shade. It’s a shade made out of black smoke that is neither cool nor gratifying. All it is is anguish and discomfort. In dunya, these people were the elites, and they were beyond all this and were never made to experience any discomfort. All of a sudden, they are subjected to such horrible treatment. Ever seen a homeless person on the street? What does their face look like? Signs of distress, dust all over, no nobility. The people of Jahannum will be completely humiliated. In dunya, we have to be patient and act/speak with hikmah, let them have their fun if they think it’s so hilarious to talk about the deen of Allah as some fascinating thing made for lowly people. The believers will have their “Told ya so” moment so just be patient.
(52)لَآكِلُونَ مِن شَجَرٍ مِّن زَقُّومٍ
Like the people of Jannah, the people of the left will also have a tree. The tree of Zaqqum which is full of thorny branches. Their stomachs will be filled with this. Further, they will be made to drink boiling water and pus and Allah will make them drink like sick camels–swallowing gallons upon gallons and being forced to drink without their thirst ever being quenched. And Allah says that all this is just the nuzl, the beginning/appetizer for what’s to come. May Allah protect all of us. Say Ameen.
(57)نَحْنُ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ فَلَوْلَا تُصَدِّقُونَ
Allah says that He is the one who created you and all that exists, so why don’t you have faith? What is more difficult? Making something from scratch the first time, or recreating it the second time? Obviously, remaking something is much easier but for Allah, both are easy. kun fayakun. Is there anyone in the world who claims that they created the universe and all that’s in it? No. Allah is the only One who made this claim so therefore, logic tells us that the one who makes a claim is true/right until proven otherwise. *da’wah technique*
Allah goes on to give examples of things He has created for our existence. He questions our intellect and makes us ponder upon the things we need everyday to survive.
(75)فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِمَوَاقِعِ النُّجُومِ
(76)وَإِنَّهُ لَقَسَمٌ لَّوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عَظِيمٌ
Allah takes a great oath here by the stars. This shows the significance of the Jawab ul Qasm that follows–“That this is indeed a Qur’an most honorable”.
(87)تَرْجِعُونَهَا إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Now Allah talks about sakarat ul maut–the final moments of death when the human is going in and out of consciousness, losing senses one by one, and his ruh is being extracted from every living cell in his body. Allah tells the one who denies–call back your soul, if your claim is true. Just as they were far astray in their claim that their is no resurrection, they are also completely incapable of bringing back their ruh once the Angel of death comes.
Allah then reminds us that each group of people will de dealt with according to their deeds. The true believers and and the disbelievers will spend time in the barzakh. The difference is that one group, the people of the right, will be in a garden of the gardens of Jannah, and those from the left will be in hole from the holes of Jahannum. May Allah, the Most Merciful give us an easy reckoning and make the best day of our lives, the Day of Judgement. Say Ameen.
فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ (96)
Therefore, glorify the name of your Rabb, Who is the Greatest. These words of glorification are not just to utter thoughtlessly, rather it should be a reminder for us that our actual worth is what Allah thinks of us. Our efforts should be for His sake and according to the limits He has set for us. Let’s all renew our pledge that our worship and our sacrifice; our life and our death; everything is for Allah, Our Khaliq, Our Malik, and Our Mudabbir. May Allah accept our actions and our intentions and may He make us among the inhabitants of Jannatul Firdaus. Say Ameen.
Source: Surah Waq’iah Notes from ICNA 2010.
Note: Surah Waqi’ah should be read everyday after Maghrib Salah. Try to make it a habit inshaAllah.