We’ve had some gusty winds around here lately. As I walked around campus and nearly flew away, I was reminded of Surah Mursalat (surah 77). Some tafseer (explanation) notes from Ust. Nouman’s lectures and Maariful Qur’an:
“By those [winds] sent forth in gusts”
Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) swears by the winds that are sent one after another. What’s interesting is that the root of the word ‘urf has many different meanings and derivatives. One of them is the mane of a horse. Allah ‘azzawajal is comparing winds to wild horses that have no saddles and can only be stopped if their ‘urf/mane is held. Similarly, the winds are so powerful in their natural state to the extent that they are held back, and controlled by Allah ‘azzawajal.
“And by the winds that blow violently”
These – both winds and horses, destroy everything in their path. The word ‘asifaat is derived from the word ‘asf, which literally means winds that blow violently and vehemently. Tornados, hurricanes, natural disasters occur when Allah lets go of the ‘urf and lets them out in their natural state. So naturally, winds are destruction but they are held back by the mercy of Allah. The next time you feel the cool, merciful breeze, say Alhumdulillah (all praise and thanks are for Allah alone) from the bottom of your heart.
“And by the winds that scatter clouds and rain”
Nashirat here refers to winds that cause clouds to disperse after the rain stops. SubhanAllah, look at the shift in dicussion and tone. The same winds that can be a means of such great destruction, are also a form of mercy. How refreshing is it to see the clouds lighten in color and weight after a storm.. And beyond this, winds are a delivery mechanism by which life is maintained. Think about how every single grain and leaf that is transported by the wind is precisely calculated by Allah subhanahu wata’ala. Think about how everything you and I consume is accounted for and provided for by Allah alone.
“And by the Verses (of the Quran) that separate the right from the wrong.”
The word Fariqat is an attribute of the angels being mentioned here. The angels are the ones who descend with Allah’s command to the Messengers (‘alayhis salaam) and this noble revelation separates between 1. Truth and falsehood 2. Guidance and misguidance 3. Lawful and forbidden. This revelation also contains exemption or absolvement for the creation of Allah and severe warning for them of Allah’s torment if they oppose His command.
“And by the angels that bring the revelations to the Messengers”
If on the Day of Judgement, a person makes excuses and says no one told me about Allah. Allah can say, “Did you feel the wind?” Didn’t Allah give you a mind to think with? Anyone who claims to have intelligence, must have noticed the countless signs of Allah. Of course, there are many ahadith that highlight Allah’s mercy upon mankind on the Day of Judgement, but this should only make us more concerned about our actions and the attention we give to the reminders and ayaat around us. Why? Because Allah’s promise of reward, punishment, and pure justice are Haqq (true).
عُذْرًا أَوْ نُذْرًا
“Excusing or warning”
This ayah tells us the advice we have received serves two purposes. In the case of the believers, it persuades them to seek forgiveness from Allah for their shortcomings, and make tawbah. In the case of the disbelievers, it contains a warning of Allah’s overwhelming punishment if they oppose His command. So know that the winds are enough of a message for you. Take the reminder.
إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَوَاقِعٌ
This means, what we have been promised concerning the establishment of the Hour (Judgement Day), the blowing of the horn, the resurrection of the bodies, the gathering of those of old and those of latter times on one common ground and the rewarding of every doer of a deed based upon his deed will come to pass. If he did good, then his reward will be good, and if he did evil, then his reward will be evil. All of this will occur, meaning it will come to pass and there is no avoiding it. Allah does not need to do anything but let go of the reigns/mane/’urf of the winds to destroy whatever He wills. Many nations before us have been destroyed this way. Whatever we have been promised by Allah all along is bound to occur, and the proof of that is wind.
Allah then describes some of the events that will occur on the Day of Judgement. The stars will be extinguished, which could mean that they will be completely destroyed, or they will exist, but their lights will be lost. In this way the entire world will be plunged in absolute darkness. The second event to occur is the splitting of the sky. The third event to occur is that the mountains will be blown away as dust. The fourth event is described in the following verse of the surah.
InshaAllah, take it upon yourself to go through the remaining explanation of this Surah, or any surah for that matter. I’ve noticed that learning deeply about the ayaat referring to the natural world around us makes you much more introspective and connected with Allah’s creation. You walk differently, you see things in a new light, you focus on matters far beyond those that occupy others’ thoughts. After I thoroughly learned the explanation of Surah an-Naba, it was as if I stepped into a different existence, completely transfixed on visions of the the Last Day. I walked slower, knowing that the earth beneath my feet would split on that Day. I would look up at the flawless clouds pass above me, realizing that doors would would cause the sky above me to crack open on that Day. I found myself feeling far more grateful for the cool breezes in Spring, reflecting on the utter destruction these same winds could cause if Allah had willed. Understanding tafsir really changes your perspective on things. Even if it’s just a few verses a week, make a habit of connecting with the words of Allah on a deeper level by means of the various (authentic) tafaseer available at our disposal. We have time read every subject imaginable, even if it’s a bunch of nonsense. So why not make time for the Book of Allah..