22 - Al Hajj (The pilgrimage)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 22.1


O mankind, that is, the inhabitants of Mecca and others: fear your Lord, that is, of His punishment, by being obedient to Him. Surely the earthquake of the Hour [of Doom], that is, the violent quaking of the earth after which the sun will rise from the west, [something] which will be near [the time of] the Hour, is a tremendous thing, in the way it will distress people — this itself being a sort of punishment.

Kashf Al-Asrar

O people, be wary of your Lord-surely the quaking of the Hour is a tremendous thing.

O people is a vocative, and O you have faith is a call of generosity. The vocative is for the common people, and the call of generosity is for the elect. The vocative is for striking fear and warning, and the call of generosity is for bestowing eminence and giving good news.

Be wary of your Lord is two words, one severity, the other gentleness. Be wary is severity, which He drives home with His justice. Your Lord is gentleness, which He shows through His bounty. He keeps the servant between severity and gentleness so that he will live in fear and hope. When he is in fear, he looks at his own activity and weeps. When he is in hope, he looks at God's gentleness and is delighted.

The Pir of the Tariqah said, "O God, when I look at myself, I ask who is more miserable than

I. When I look at You, I ask who is greater than I."

When the servant looks at his own activity, he says with the tongue of contempt and in beaten- ness and brokenness,

"My two eyes full of water, my liver full of fire, my hands full of wind, my head full of dust!"

When he looks at the divine gentleness and the lordly bounty, he says with the tongue of happiness and the blessing of gratitude,

"What does the Throne do that it does not carry my saddlecloth? In my heart I carry the saddlecloth of Your ruling and decree.

The scent of the spirit comes to my lips when I speak of You,

the branch of exaltedness grows from my heart when I suffer Your trial."

Surely the quaking of the Hour is a tremendous thing. The quaking of the resurrection and the harshness of the resurrection-how can this be explained and what mark can be given of it? For the Exalted Lord says it is "a tremendous thing." It is a day, and what a day! It is a work, and what a work! It is a day of the bazaar, and what a day of the bazaar! The pavilion of exaltedness will be raised in the desert of power, the carpet of tremendousness spread, the balance of justice hung, the path of straightness drawn out.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

According to the early commentators, this earthquake will be a prelude to Resurrection. This will probably take place when the earth will begin to rotate in the reverse order, and the sun will rise in the west. In a lengthy Tradition reported by Ibn Jarir, 'Tabarani and Ibn Abi Hatim from Abu Hurairah, the Holy Prophet has stated that when the first Trumpet will be blown, there will be a general confusion; at the second all people will die and at the third they will be brought back to life and presented before Allah. At the first blowing of the Trumpet, the earth will begin to rock like a boat which is beaten about by huge waves, or like a hanging lamp which is moved from side to side by a strong wind.

This condition has been depicted in the Qur'an at several other places. For instance LVI: 6; LXIX: 13-14; LXXIII: 14, 17-18; LXXIX : 6-9 and XCIX: 1-3.

According to other commentators, this earthquake will occur when the dead will be brought back to life and presented before their Lord. Though this is supported by some Traditions, we prefer the first interpretation (in spite of the fact that the Tradition reported by Abu Hurairah is "weak") because that is supported by clear verses of the Qur'an.

This is to show the intensity and honor of the earthquake. At that time there will be so much confusion acid terror that mothers will forsake their dear children at the very time they will be suckling them.

It should be noted that it is not meant to depict here the condition of the Resurrection but to impress upon the people the dreadful torment of the Hour in order to admonish them to mend their ways. This is supported by the subsequent passage.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas who said in explaining Allah's words (O mankind!): '(O mankind!) this expression could be of general applicability ('amm) as it could be of particular applicability (khass); here, it is an expression of general applicability. (Fear your Lord) and obey him. (Lo! the earthquake of the Hour (of Doom)) the advent of the Hour (is a tremendous thing) its horror is horrendous.