Surah Zalzala [99] – the EarthQuake

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Introduction:


There were 3 doubts the deniers had;

1 - How can the world end after having been existant for so long?
2 – How can everything that we do in life be written and recorded in the minutest of details?
3 - Even if a judgement did occur, we have intercessors (angels, saints etc) to hide behind between us and Allah?

This is the psychology of Shirk (associating partners [with Allah]) because a person may do whatever he wants of disobedience to Allah, but then he wants to hide behind someone close to Allah to protect him from Allah’s anger. This person will even try to please and overpraise that intercessor, so that the intercessor will intercede in favour of his case in the court of Allah. Little do these people know that Allah will forgive who He wills on that Day, and this is the sin that Allah does not forgive (of shirk).

This surah removes those doubts, as we will see inshaa’ Allah [God willing].

The Surah is short (only 8 aayaat/verses long).

The first part of the surah explains how the world will come to an end;

Ayah 1:


إِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ الْأَرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا

 

- Zalzala is repeated twice in the first ayah/verse.

Zalzala is a 4 root lettered word. Some scholars (ie. Raghib al Isfahani) say 4 letter words come from a 3 root lettered word, in this case Zalzala comes from Zal-la [(زل&#1604 - za,lam,lam], but it has 4 letters for emphasis.

Zal-la (زلل) means – to slip (ie. if you walk, and you slip).

When zal-la (زلل) is repeated (taqrar lafdhi), it becomes Zalzala, so its repetition means (taqrar ma’nawi) ‘repeated slipping‘.

So yes, Zalzala = Earthquake in arabic language, but its effects are continuous falling and slipping of objects due to instability.

So when Allah says; Idhaa zulzilatil arddu... It implies that the earth will become heavily shaken, becoming unstable for humans and anything on it (the earth) on that day (Judgment Day).

Similarly Allah says in surah Hajj;

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ

 

Ya ayuhal naas ittaqoo rabakum, ina zalzat-ass-saa’ati shay’un ‘azeem (oh mankind, protect yourselves/fear [itaqoo] your Master (rabakum), surely the violent shaking/instability [zalzalah] of the hour is a great thing.

وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَىٰ وَمَا هُم بِسُكَارَىٰ

Wa taran-naasa sukaaraa wa maa hum bi sukaaraa.
The day when you will see people drunk (intoxicated/high), but they will not be drunk.

A person will trip over himself, unable to keep balance, shakey, in a daze when drunk, and also do the same when an earthquake is happening. In both situations, the human is out of their mind, almost insane.

إِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ الْأَرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا

Idhaa zulzilatil arddu zilzaalaha.
When the earth shakes violently (as it should), a terrible shakening.

Earthquakes described in the Quran can be of many different types;

Raj-ja (or Tarjeej): violent jerk/sudden and unexpectedly.

Rajaf – this is used to describe something which changes the state of something normal. Ie. if you throw a stone in water, and ripples are caused. Or if you hold a sheet of cloth from one side and shake it, waves are caused so the original state is changed. Allah uses this word to describe the hypocrites.

(الْمُرْجِفُونَ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ al murjifoona fil madinah [Ahzab 33:60] – because they caused disturbance in the peace of the Muslims in Madinah).

إِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ الْأَرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا

Idhaa zulzilatil arddu zilzaalaha.
When the earth shakes violently (as it should), a terrible shakening.

The Beginning of Surah Zalzala

The beginning of Surah Zalzala is commenting on the beginning of the ending (ie. of the end of the world and Judgement). In the ending of the previous surah (Bayyinah) it was talking about the end of the end (final destinations of the believers and disbelievers i.e. hell and paradise).

Al Bica’i says: the word Idhaa/izaa )(إِذَا) [When] – is used to remind people of something important that will without a doubt happen (in the future) which people continuously forget.

[past tense for 'when' is Idh/iz (إِذَ), and idhaa (إِذَا) is future tense.]

By saying idhaa (إِذَا), Allah has made Judgement Day a reality because He is saying ‘When it happens (for sure in the future)’.

Zulzilat زُلْزِلَتِ – passive form, ie. when the earth is shaken.

He didn’t mention Himself shaking the earth. WhenPassive tense is used in arabic, it implies that its easy to do that without much effort from the doer.

“it will get done” implies its easy to do. Wheras “i will do it” implies ‘it will take me some effort’.

الْأَرْضُ al Ard = the Earth.

So by Allah saying Zulzilat, Allah is implying how easy it is for Him to shake the earth for the final Judgement Day without effort.

Aloosi says: (Commenting on Zulzilat); Its a violent, continuous and repetitive earthquake.

This conclusion is based on the rule of Maf’ul Mutlaq: ie. Darabtahu Darban is a phrase meaning “i hit him”, literally it would be translated as “i hit him with a hit” = I hit him really really hard. This is maf’ul mutlaq.

This is the technique used in this verse; Idhaa zulzilatil ‘ardu zilzalaha [When the earth shakes with its heavy shaking].

An INCREDIBLE Earthquake (more than a normal one).

More examples:

Nasarahu nasran [he aided with a great aid].
And Qatalahutaqteelan [he slaughtered with the most powerful slaughter]. Etc.

 

إِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ الْأَرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا

Idha zulzilatil ‘ardu zilzalaha [When the earth shakes with its terrible, heavy shaking].

An INCREDIBLE Earthquake (more than a normal one).

Zilzalan would usually be used in maf’ul mutlaq, not Zilzalaha. Why is ‘ha’ [zilzalaHA] placed at the end instead?

The’ha’ (هَا) at the end of zilzalaha [meaning 'her'] refers the whole issue back to the Earth which we find our safety and refuge in.

Idha zulzilatil ‘ardu zilzalaha [When the earth shakes with her heavy shaking].

Why is zilzalaHA more effective than zilzalaN?

Aloosi says: Its an earthquake which is so powerful that no earthquake can be compared to it. So by referring to the earthquake as a specific one that shakes her violently [the earth], its uncomparable to any other earthquake ever before it.

This is such a unique earthquake that its unimaginable (the whole Earth is violently shaking in comparison to the past when only some parts would shake).

The ‘ha’ could also imply the Promise. Which promise?

Her heavy violent shaking is a promise she had made to Allah, a role which she had to fulfill at the end times to fulfill her destiny when mankinds and jinns world would end.

Idhaa zulzilatil ‘ardu zilzalaha [When the earth shakes with her [promised] heavy shaking].

Zamakshari says in al Kashaf: the‘ha’ (her) implies that this Earth was made with that exact job in mind, for the purpose of; shaking violently when Allah gave it permission to do so in preparation for a Judgment Day.

It’s the end of the journey that matters the most, since that is the purpose of the traveller – to reach his destination and fulfill his final role. It may be that Allah isimplying that the purpose of the Earth from the beginning was to shake violently, to lead to the destination of Judgment Day.

The ‘ha’ [pronoun- iddafa] implies this is an earthquake which is so intense, that an earthquake could not be any more violent before or after it, ever. It has been shaken to its maximum limit by Allah. It is the Earth’s heaviest shaking, it is the zulzilatil ‘ardu zilzal. It implies that EVERY single part (every inch!) of her [the earth] will violently shake.

Ash-Shanqiti said: the Earth will shake, pause and shake again repetitively, this will continuously happen – The same way the root (huroof) letters are repeated and paused, ie. ZuLZiLatil ‘ardu ZiLZaLaha.

(This is also based on the rule of 4 letter words in the arabic language with repeated syllables, which signify the repetition of something. Ie. WaSWaSa is whisperings from satan which are repeatedly used to try to harm (and cause confusion and doubt) amongst people, especially believers. So satan will whisper, go away and approach again to whisper evil again, repeatedly.)

The silence between each syllable signifies a stop, some form of relief, but suddenly it begins again [with the repeat again of the next syllable].

إِذَا رُجَّتِ الْأَرْضُ رَجًّا

. Idha rujatil ardu raja wa busatil jibalu bassa. [Waqi'ah 56:4] – When the earth is shaken with a violent shock..

يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الرَّاجِفَةُ . تَتْبَعُهَا الرَّادِفَةُ

Yawma tarjufu ar-rajifah. Tatba’u ar radifah [Naazi'aat 79: 6-7] – the day when the Tremor quakes, Followed by the subsequent (commotion)…

Ayah 2:


وَأَخْرَجَتِ الْأَرْضُ أَثْقَالَهَا

Wa akhrajatil ardu athqalaha.

And the Earth will extract her burden.

Wa وَ = and

Akhraja (أَخْرَج&#1614= to take something out. Also used in the Quran to describe someone being expelled ie. from a city etc. This is the most generally used word for ‘extract’ or take something out of something else.

Alternative words which could be used but are not:

Barraza (برز) = take something out and put it infront of someone.
“wa burrizatil jaheemu li man yara”

وَبُرِّزَتِ الْجَحِيمُ لِمَن يَرَىٰ

(and hell will be pulled out for the one to look at.) [Surah Nazi'at 79:36]

Taradda – to push-away/belittle. طرد
=

وَلَا تَطْرُدِ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ

 

Wa la tatrud iladheena yad’oona rabahum:

(and dont expel/drive away those who call upon their Lord) [An'am 6:52] (i.e. Allah commanded His Messenger: Dont belittle (tatrudd illadheena yad’oona rabahum) the believers, no matter what rank in society they are.)

AThQaLa ha (أَثْقَالَهَا ) – Burdens [repeated twice in surah. 2nd time its mentioned is the word miThQaLa later in the surah.

The Earth will pull out her burdens.

ThiQL (ثقل) (plural: Athqal) - the things which are contained within something else - to make it heavy. Ie. Beds, furniture, carpet computer, all things in your home etc. All this makes your house heavy so it is Thiql (the houses burden which it holds).
Thaqeel - heavy.

When you Travel and you carry things = thiql. The Thiql (burden) you carry, you drop and release it after your journey is complete. The Earth is also on a journey, and near its end it will drop and release its burden [iThQaLaha]. This is the burden being mentioned in this surah/chapter.

The Thiql in your homes, the people in the graves, anything hidden in the Earth and in your homes will be expelled and forced out to show its reality on that Day.

Tafsir:

Bica’i says: Athqal refers to: treasures, aswell as the dead (the disbeliever would deny that he, and the dead would return and be brought back to this world). But instead, he after his death would return to this world (on Judgment Day), along with the earths treasures which he had been fighting for and chasing after his whole life, but on this Day, no-one cares for these treasures – when before this, that was his only purpose in life which distracted him from building a relationship with Allah.

On this Day, the Earth will be offering itself to the people, when before people would themselves work day and night in the Earth to seek its ; gold, silver, oil, diamonds etc. But on this Day, mankind will realise the reality of the deception of this world, the worthlesness of this wealth, and submit to the fact that final success can only come from Allah’s pleasure alone on this Day.

Shawkani said; the IThQaL [burden] also includes Reports of all that was done in the different locations of the Earth during the different times. So this earth is like a video recorder everywhere we are, recording all that we do in public and private. So the angels are witnesses, and Allah is too, but they are unseen to us.

However the Earth is a witness and recorder, and so are our bodies. These are apparent to us and are watching and recording us do our good and bad. Now if something is filled up too much, it will gradually build up and finally burst, spilling out all it contained. The Earth will spill out the records of all deeds done on it

وَأَلْقَتْ مَا فِيهَا وَتَخَلَّتْ

And has cast out all that was in it and become empty [khalat].
[Inshiqaq 84.4]

Khalat (خَلَّت&#1618is the word used, and Takhala is the word used to describe a pregnant woman who finally sighs after giving birth [releasing her burden] and her labour pains have come to an end. (the same way the earth finally lets out her burden of the sinful records and sinful people, a final sigh of relief from its pain).

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. [Surah Rum.41]

Where the earth sometimes releases some of its burden through minor earthquakes or other disasters, as punishments for the evil and corruption mankind commit – so they may return to Allah out of humbleness.

Shanqeeti said: The AthQaL [burdens] being referred to is especially the humans and the jinn, based on the verse in surah Rahman;

سَنَفْرُغُ لَكُمْ أَيُّهَ الثَّقَلَانِ

[surah Rahman 55:31]; We will attend to you, We shall turn to reckon with you, O you two heavy ones!, (mankind and jinn.)

ThaQaLaan = humans and jinn are the two real AthQaL [burden upon the Earth].

Doubt 1 has been answered in this surah: Allah is able to destroy the Earth through an Earthquake (Earthquakes are comprehendible to humans and symbolise destruction, so its not unimaginable to believe that Allah will destroy the Earth through this means), and revive mankind, and bring them back to life again as a new creation. The Earth will be re-made, and the men and jinn will be re-made.

Doubt 2:

The Arabs would question; How can everything that we do in life be written and recorded in the minutest of details?

The Body is a witness;

 

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا مَا جَاءُوهَا شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَارُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

وَقَالُوا لِجُلُودِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ قَالُوا أَنطَقَنَا اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ خَلَقَكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

 

Till, when they reach it (Hell-fire), their hearing (ears) and their eyes, and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.

And they will say to their skins, “Why do you testify against us?” They will say: “Allah has caused us to speak, as He causes all things to speak, and He created you the first time, and to Him you are made to return.”

[Fussilat 41:20-21]

The Earth is a witness; the earth records the deeds (as a burden/Thaql) of mankind through history. So it is a witness. [Based on Surah Zalzala 99:2 (discussed above)]

Allah is a witness: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَا لَكُمْ ya alyuhaladheena aamanoo ma lakum? [Tawba 9:38]. O you who profess belief, what is wrong with you?

Ayah 3:


On this day man will say:

وَقَالَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا لَهَا

Wa qaal al insanu ma laha? (and man will say what is wrong with it [the earth, when it quakes])

Al Bica’i says: Man will be so shocked this day, that he will forget all the reminders he recieved in this life about such a day. So in shock, fear and anxiety, he will be amazed at what the earth is doing, and ask; “what is wrong with her?”

Wa qaal al Insanu ma laha? (and man [insan] will say what is wrong with her)

Insan comes from Nasiya, which means to be forgetful. Thats why Man will be so shocked this day, that he will forget all the reminders he recieved in this life about such a day and still ask what is wrong with her?

Al Naas is used later in the surah = it is a plural and refers to many people.

Insaan = mankind, but in this context it refers to man, when he is alone, although being amongst many people (all of mankind, from Adam to the last person on Earth).

So man/insan is amongst ALL of humanity, but feels entirely alone on that Day.

Zamakshari says: This is what the disbeliever will say after the 2nd trumpet is blown [for the beginning of Judgment Day], when he sees dead bodies being expelled from the Earth and coming to life after their death. This is when he will ask all these questions in shock. (Maa Laha?! [What is (wrong) with her?])

He (the disbeliever) will also say;

قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا مَن بَعَثَنَا مِن مَّرْقَدِنَا

“Woe to us! Who has raised us up from our place of sleep.”

And the believers will say;

هَٰذَا مَا وَعَدَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَصَدَقَ الْمُرْسَلُونَ

“This is what the Most Beneficent (Allah) had promised, and the Messengers spoke truth!”

[Surah Yasin 36:52]

(and man will say what is wrong with it [the earth, when it quakes])…

Ayah 4:


يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا

YawmaIdhin tuhadithu akhbaraha.

(On that Day, [the earth will] dispel her news.)

Yawma idhin – On that Day… Yawma Idhin: this is a phrase used as a warning, showing Allah’s anger at the rejectors.

Yawma idhin tuhadithu akhbaraha. (On that Day, [the earth will] dispel her news.)

tu HaDiThu – from hadatha = to make someone aware of something.

HaDooTh – to make something come into existance which wasnt there before.

HaDaTha/HaDeeTh = to say something new which the people havn’t heard before.

It can also mean to re-say something which the people forgot. Or to say something in full detail with the assumption that the hearer is not aware of such information.

The Earth on this day will tuHaDiThu (inform and also remind the forgetful in full detail) akhbaraha (its news[about the deeds the people did in this life]).

The information it gives us will shock us, as if we are hearing such information for the first time. This is why the word “Hadeeth” is used in preference to other words.
In Surah Kahf;


وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ فَتَرَى الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُشْفِقِينَ مِمَّا فِيهِ وَيَقُولُونَ يَا وَيْلَتَنَا مَالِ هَٰذَا الْكِتَابِ لَا يُغَادِرُ صَغِيرَةً

وَلَا كَبِيرَةً إِلَّا أَحْصَاهَا ۚ وَوَجَدُوا مَا عَمِلُوا حَاضِرًا ۗ وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا

 

 

And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, “Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?” And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one. [al Kahf 18:49]

aKhBaRaha – (from the word) KhaBR = News.

Naba’ also means News. So what’s the difference?

Naba’ = something you could never have known without someone telling you. This is why Allah’s Prophets are called Nabi (plural: Anbiyaa). They tell info. like what will happen on Judgment Day in detail, and we could not know of this information alone.
– Naba’ can be news of either past, present or future.

– Something you CAN’T expect. (ie. In Surah Naba’ [78:17-40]; trumpet blown causing total destruction, the skies [sama'] open up like doors, mountains moving, the seeing of hell and paradise etc.)

Khabr = news you could figure out yourself.
– Khabr can only be used for the present or the past, but not the future.
– something you CAN expect. (ie. earthquakes, the records which show details of our own actions and deeds etc.)

So Khabr is more accurate and relevant than Naba’.

The irony is that tuHaDiThu is for something new to us, and khabr is for past/present tense. So humans are being informed about their own past, with a new shocking statement which ironically surprises them (when it really shouldnt since its their own past history!).

Tafsir of this verse:

يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا

(On thatDay, [the earth will]dispelhernews.)

Ibn Mas’ud: the Earth will literally speak to Allah and/or to the people, complaining on Judgment Day, to inform what every person from mankind and Jinn has done on it since the beginning of time till its end. This is a valid view of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah.

Ayah 5:


بِأَنَّ رَبَّكَ أَوْحَىٰ لَهَا

Bi ana Rabaka Awha laha (because your Master has inspired for her.)

Awha [commonly translated as "inspiration" in the religious context] – wahyeeyha = to hint something at someone secretly.

فَخَرَجَ عَلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ مِنَ الْمِحْرَابِ فَأَوْحَىٰ إِلَيْهِمْ أَن سَبِّحُوا بُكْرَةً وَعَشِيًّ

So he [Prophet Zakariyyah] came out to his people from the prayer chamber and signaled to them to exalt [ Allah ] in the morning and afternoon.

[Surah Maryam 19:11]

وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ أَنْ أَرْضِعِيهِ ۖ فَإِذَا خِفْتِ عَلَيْهِ فَأَلْقِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ وَلَا تَخَافِي وَلَا تَحْزَنِي ۖ إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ

إِلَيْكِ وَجَاعِلُوهُ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ

And We inspired to the mother of Moses, “Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.”

[Qasas 28:7]

The hinter and the one being hinted at – both know exactly what is being meant when wahy is being used.

There are Two words used for ‘inspiration’;

Awha (أَوْحَىٰ) – usually refers to wisdom/knowledge which is inspired. (like we see from Maryam 19:11 Qasas 28:7, knowledge is being hinted.)

Ilhaam (أَلْهم) – usually refers to action which is inspired. (i.e. فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا – And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it. [ash-Shams 91:8] (These inspirations [Ilhaam] are of action i.e. guidance in showing the opposing good and bad ways.)

The words above are used for inspiration of any type, whereas 2 words are used only for shayateen’s [devils] inspiration/hints;

Hamazaat: (

وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ

(al Muminun 23:97) qul a’udhubi Rabika min hamazaat ash-shayaateen) – And say: “My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions/incitements) of the Shayatin (devils).

Waswasa: - whisperings which appear, go away, and return again. (Surah al Naas 114:4).

مِن شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ

From the evil of the retreating whisperer.

يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا.بِأَنَّ رَبَّكَ أَوْحَىٰ لَهَا

(On thatDay, [the earth will]dispelhernews, because yourMaster has inspired for her.)

Rabaka Awha laha = YOUR (Prophet Muhammad’s) Master will inspire for her [the earth].

So the Master of Prophet Muhammad will inspire the earth to speak and give the news of what happened on the Earth, to him and the believers. This is in the 2nd person (for Taqreeb – closeness) of Allah to His Messenger, showing that His Messenger is safe on that Day from all these calamities because his Master is the owner of that disastrous day.

Everything in the surah before was 3rd person (tab’eed – a distanced perspective) to show that He is angry with the disbelievers, so He hasnt spoken to them directly.

Awha LA HA [inspired for her.] Not; (Awha ilayha [inspired to her]):

Ila [to] is usually used in the Quran when Awha [inspiration) is used. Ie. Wa awhayna Ila umi moosa (and We inspired TO the mother of Moosa/Moses) [Qasas 28.7].

However ‘Awha LA ha’ (inspired FOR her) is used in this surah/chapter, which signifies that Allah has given the Earth permission to speak FOR herself, because the Earth had always wanted to complain due to the oppression done on it for so long, and now – on this Day – she has been given the permission to do so.

The Earth has always wanted to quake, to speak, to complain, and after such long patience has been given permission from Allah to do so.

Ayah 6:


يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصْدُرُ النَّاسُ أَشْتَاتًا لِّيُرَوْا أَعْمَالَهُمْ

Yawma idhin yasdur un-naas..
(the Day mankind will be split up into groups..)

Yawma idhin – this is repeated again in the surah to show Allah’s anger. – The Day when..

yaSDuR – SiDR [meaning 'chest'] – Saadir = one who moves on i.e. ‘to move onwards’ i.e. someone who left home, got water from a well (ie. did only a little) and moved on to come back home straightaway.

قَالَتَا لَا نَسْقِي حَتَّىٰ يُصْدِرَ الرِّعَاءُ

i.e. in the verse, two women said to Moses that they were waiting to water their animals; until they [the shepherds] have driven their flocks away [yusdira] from the water’) [Surah Qasas 28:23]

yusdira, ‘to drive away’,

Simply; someone who leaves home and soon comes back. Someone who goes from one place to another and soon goes back again. (the same way the Saadir returns back home after his little exit, and the Saadir human leaves the world he did his deeds in – to the temporary grave – returning back to the Earth on Judgment Day once again.]

Yawma idhin yaSDuR al Naas - On the Day mankind will go back and forth:

[Man was born on Earth, did his deeds on it, he died - and then got buried within the Earth. Then he was brought back (yaSDuR) to the Earth on Judgment Day].

Ashtata- shatta = if something is one piece, and it becomes broken into different pieces.

The Previous surah (Surah Bayyinah) mentions the 2 groups (Sharr ul bariyyah شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ [worst of beings], and Khayrul bariyyah خَيْرُ الْبَرِيَّةِ [best of beings]).

In this surah, Allah mentions that on that Day, mankind will be divided into groups [ashtata] – fulfilliling what was mentioned of mankind being split up in this world too, based on your beliefs, aswell as your good etc.

إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّىٰ- Indeed, your efforts are diverse - Ina sa’yakum la shata. (al-Layl 92:4)

On the earth mankind began as one community [from the time of Prophet Adam];

كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ

النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ

Mankind was [of] one religion [before their deviation]; then Allah sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. [Al Baqarah 2:213]

Then mankind gradually deviated, and was mixed into groups; believers and disbelievers, the good doers, and sinners etc. So a believer might live with some disbelieving relatives etc.

But on this Day they are broken (ashtata) into pieces, the believers will stand with believers, and the disbelievers with the disbelievers, the good are separate from the bad, and even these groups – in each category – are split into further groups according to the level of their deeds.

Ta’Alafa is the opposite to Ashtata – to bring things together.

تَحْسَبُهُمْ جَمِيعًا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ شَتَّىٰ

Tahsabahum jamee’an wa qulubuhum shata -
You would think they are united, but their hearts are divided [shata] [Hashr 59:14].

Al Bica’i said: this ashtat will be divided according to their deeds (ie. Al Sabiqoon [the best and Foremost/ahead of the race], As-hab al Yameen [People of the Right hand], as-hab al Shimal [People of the left hand] (mentioned in beginning of Surah al Waqi’ah (56)).

Zamakshari said: People will come out of their graves and enter their MaWQiF [Place of Stop], where they will not be able to move from until their Judgment is over. And the people become apparent, who is successful and who is the loser. This will be show in their faces.

[Some] faces, that Day, will be bright – Laughing, rejoicing at good news. And [other] faces, that Day, will have upon them dust. Blackness will cover them. Those are the disbelievers, the wicked ones. [Surah Abasa 80: 38-42]

And each group will see a path which leads to their Final Destination.

Doubt 3 will now be answered inshaa’ Allah;

The disbelievers argument: Even if a judgement did occur, we have intercessors (angels, saints etc) to hide behind between us and Allah.

لِّيُرَوْا أَعْمَالَهُمْ

Li yuraw a’maala hum – So they see their deeds.

Li = [in this context it implies; So] (hafdh ‘ajl - gives purpose) [But really Li should be translated as 'for'].

YuRaw = Ra – to see, and the Yu and W at the end signify plurality (i.e. they.)

So they see (Li yuraw..)

A’maala hum (their deeds).

Two words for ‘Deeds’ are commonly used in the Qur’an;

Fi’l = an action you do, even without thinking about it. Ie. Breathing. Seeing, hearing, blinking etc.

‘Aml = an action you do with intent/with conscience. Ie. Your intended actions/deeds; Eating, Seeing with focused intent, hearing with focused intent, reading etc.

A’maala hum (their intended deeds).

So they see their intended/conscious based deeds…

These deeds will be seen altogether like a Record, how much good was done, how much bad was done, was a deed done based on sincerety? Was there a reward or sin for that deed? The whole list of your lifes intended choices and actions will be seen.

Ayah 7:


فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ

Fa man ya’mal mithqaala dharatin khayran yarah.
(So he who does [an] atoms weight [of] good [shall] see it.)


Fa = So.

i.e. In conclusion.

This will link all that has been mentioned earlier in the surah to the final conclusion of what was intended for mankind on this Day.

Man = Who

Ya’mal [he (who does an) intended action].

Really Ya’malu (marfoo’) is used in such a sentence, however Ya’mal [without dama/peysh] = “IF THEN (he does that..)” – it becomes conditional [jumlah shartiyyah] to the oncoming statement…

So in conclusion – he who – if he was to do that - did (an)atoms weight (of)good, he(shall) seeit(yaRaH)..

Mithqaal – AthQaL (meant burden) (mentioned earlier in the surah).

But what is miThQaL?

It is used to measure something against another. Ie. weights on one side of a scale to measure against other products ie. rice, sugar etc. The weights are miThQaaL, but the word is used to describe the concept of ‘weighing one thing against another’, more than the actual weight itself.

From the Sarf [Linguistic Morphology] point of view, Mithqaal is an Ism Aala [= Physical Tool].
Any word in arabic which starts with a Mi and has a an Alif (an ‘aa‘ sound) within it, it is a physical Tool that people use.

Ie. Mithqaal (measuring weight),Mathaqeel [plural for mithqal].
Miftaah (key).
Meezaan (weighing scale) etc.

‘Aml is repeated again in the surah – an action you do intentionally and consciously, with purpose.

Dharra – smallest thing imaginable. To the arabs, the smallest thing imaginable was the ant’s egg, and they called it dharra. We might describe dharra as an atom or speck in the english language. Dharra – the light dust you see floating in the air when the sun is shining – through the window – on a sunny day. Each of these dust particles is a dharra. This signifies the smallest and most lightest imaginable thing being a dharra of good or evil which will be seen on that Day.

The smaller something is, the lighter it is in weight, and the smallest speck may seem worthless, but on that Day there will be full justice on big and the smallest of matters.

Khayran – good. The weight of a speck of good will be shown.
Khayr in arabic means a good which doesnt even require explanation to attest to its goodness. It is known to be good in of itself without explanation.

yaRaH [he (will) See it] – comes from Ra’a.

Basara – to see with insight.
Nazara - look at in focus and detail.

Ru’ya – something seen literally and figuratively.

RaH is used because a person will see his deeds literally, aswell as figuratively because he will become certain and know what each deed implies ie. what results each deed brings for him (good a’maal [intended actions] bring good reward, bad a’mal [intended actions] bring punishment).

Mankind will see every single deed of theirs during this stage on a Record, even the ones that Allah forgave, although we will not have seen our Final Destination (of Paradise or Hell) yet.

Seeing an atoms weight of good will make the believers appreciate Allah’s Mercy even more, because a sinner believer may see that Allah forgave some of his sins and multiplied a good deed of his worth only a dharra/speck by 700 or even more.

And Allah is the Forgiving [Ghafoor], Merciful [Raheem]. He is Forgiving for our sins and Merciful for our lack of perfection in worship to Him.

We also see our deed records before we see the actual reward or punishment on that Day.

This can be an amazing or terrible experience based on the results we get. We ask Allah to make our record good.

Ayah 8:


وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ

wa man ya’mal mithqala dharatin sharran yarah.

[Refer to Ayah 7 above (Zalzala 99:7)].

Sharran – evil (most universally accepted word used for evil). The weight of a speck of evil will be shown.

Sharran in arabic means an evil which doesnt even require explanation to attest to its evil. It is known to be evil in of itself without explanation, even the criminal will know that he is doing an evil [Sharr] himself without anyone telling him that what he is doing is evil.

Sharr – sharaara = spark of fire – something universally accepted as evil due to its harm.

End Comments:


Relation of the beginning of the Surah to its end;

Allah starts the Surah with something BIG; the Earth. And ends it with the smallest thing imaginable; the Dharrah (speck of dust).

This is the end of the literary tafsir of Surah Zalzala [99], and the praise is for Allah.

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