78 - An Naba (The tidings)

4 Tafsir(s) related to verse 78.1

Al-Jalalayn

About what, about what thing, are they, the people of Quraysh, questioning one another?

Ibn Al Kathir

Refutation against the Idolators' Denial of the Occurrence of the Day of Judgement

In rejection of the idolators' questioning about the Day of Judgement, due to their denial of its occurrence, Allah says,

عَمَّ يَتَسَآءَلُونَ - عَنِ النَّبَإِ الْعَظِيمِ

(What are they asking about About the great news,) meaning, what are they asking about They are asking about the matter of the Day of Judgement, and it is the great news. Meaning the dreadful, horrifying, overwhelming information.

الَّذِى هُمْ فِيهِ مُخْتَلِفُونَ

(About which they are in disagreement.) meaning, the people are divided into two ideas about it. There are those who believe in it and those who disbelieve in it. Then Allah threatens those who deny the Day of Judgement by saying,

كَلاَّ سَيَعْلَمُونَ - ثُمَّ كَلاَّ سَيَعْلَمُونَ

(Nay, they will come to know! Nay, again, they will come to know!) This is a severe threat and a direct warning.

Mentioning Allah's Power, and the Proof of His Ability to resurrect the Dead

Then, Allah begins to explain His great ability to create strange things and amazing matters. He brings this as a proof of His ability to do whatever He wishes concerning the matter of the Hereafter and other matters as well. He says,

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الاٌّرْضَ مِهَـداً

(Have We not made the earth as a bed,) meaning, an established, firm and peaceful resting place that is subservient to them.

وَالْجِبَالَ أَوْتَاداً

(And the mountains as pegs) meaning, He made them as pegs for the earth to hold it in place, make it stable and firm. This is so that it may be suitable for dwelling and not quake with those who are in it. Then Allah says,

وَخَلَقْنَـكُمْ أَزْوَجاً

(And We have created you in pairs.) meaning, male and female, both of them enjoying each other, and by this means procreation is achieved. This is similar to Allah's statement,

وَمِنْ ءايَـتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَجاً لِّتَسْكُنُواْ إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً

(And among His signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy.) (30:21)

وَجَعَلْنَا نَوْمَكُمْ سُبَاتاً

(And We have made your sleep as a thing for rest.) meaning, a cessation of movement in order to attain rest from the frequent repetition and going about in search of livelihood during the day. A similar Ayah has been mentioned previously in Surat Al-Furqan.

وَجَعَلْنَا الَّيْلَ لِبَاساً

(And We have made the night as a covering,) meaning, its shade and darkness covers the people. This is as Allah says,

وَالَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَـهَا

(By the night as it conceals it.) (91:4) Qatadah commented;

وَجَعَلْنَا الَّيْلَ لِبَاساً

(And We have made the night as a covering,) meaning, a tranquil residence. Concerning Allah's statement,

وَجَعَلْنَا النَّهَارَ مَعَاشاً

(And We have made the day for livelihood.) meaning, `We made it radiant, luminous, and shining so that the people would be able to move about in it.' By it they are able to come and go for their livelihood, earning, business dealings and other than that as well. In reference to Allah's statement,

وَبَنَيْنَا فَوْقَكُمْ سَبْعاً شِدَاداً

(And We have built above you seven strong,) meaning, the seven heavens in their vastness, loftiness, perfection, precision, and adornment with both stable and moving stars. Thus, Allah says,

وَجَعَلْنَا سِرَاجاً وَهَّاجاً

(And We have made (therein) a shining lamp.) meaning, the radiant sun that gives light to all of the world. Its light glows for all of the people of the earth. Allah then says,

وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْمُعْصِرَاتِ مَآءً ثَجَّاجاً

(And We have sent down from the Mu`sirat water Thajjaj.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "From the Mu`sirat means from the clouds.'' This was also stated by `Ikrimah, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Ath-Thawri, and it is preferred by Ibn Jarir. Al-Farra' said, "They are the clouds that are filled with rain, but they do not bring rain. This is like the woman being called Mu`sir when (the time of) her menstrual cycle approaches, yet she does not menstruate.'' This is as Allah says,

اللَّهُ الَّذِى يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَـحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَاباً فَيَبْسُطُهُ فِى السَّمَآءِ كَيْفَ يَشَآءُ وَيَجْعَلُهُ كِسَفاً فَتَرَى الْوَدْقَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلاَلِهِ

(Allah is He Who sends the winds, so that they raise clouds, and spread them along the sky as He wills, and then break them into fragments, until you see rain drops come forth from their midst!) (30:48) meaning, from its midst. Concerning Allah's statement,

مَآءً ثَجَّاجاً

(water Thajjaj) Mujahid, Qatadah, and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas all said, "Thajjaj means poured out.'' At-Thawri said, "Continuous.'' Ibn Zayd said, "Abundant.'' In the Hadith of the woman with prolonged menstrual bleeding, when the Messenger of Allah said to her,

«أَنْعَتُ لَكِ الْكُرْسُف»

(I suggest you to make an absorbent cloth for yourself.)'' Meaning, `dress the area with cotton.' The woman replied, "O Messenger of Allah! It (the bleeding) is too much for that. Verily, it flows in profusely (Thajja).'' This contains an evidence for using the word Thajj to mean abundant, continuous and flowing. And Allah knows best. Allah said,

لِّنُخْرِجَ بِهِ حَبّاً وَنَبَاتاً - وَجَنَّـتٍ أَلْفَافاً

(That We may produce therewith corn and vegetation, and gardens that are Alfaf.) meaning, `so that We may bring out great abundance, goodness, benefit, and blessing through this water.'

حَبّاً

(grains) This refers to that which is preserved for (the usage) of humans and cattle.

وَنَبَاتاً

(and vegetations) meaning, vegetables that are eaten fresh.

وَجَنَّـتٍ

(And gardens) meaning, gardens of various fruits, differing colors, and a wide variety of tastes and fragrances, even if it is ingathered at one location of the earth. This is why Allah says

وَجَنَّـتٍ أَلْفَافاً

(And gardens that are Alfaf.) Ibn `Abbas and other said, "Alfaf means gathered.'' This is similar to Allah's statement,

وَفِى الاٌّرْضِ قِطَعٌ مُّتَجَـوِرَتٌ وَجَنَّـتٌ مِّنْ أَعْنَـبٍ وَزَرْعٌ وَنَخِيلٌ صِنْوَنٌ وَغَيْرُ صِنْوَنٍ يُسْقَى بِمَآءٍ وَحِدٍ وَنُفَضِّلُ بَعْضَهَا عَلَى بَعْضٍ فِى الاٍّكُلِ إِنَّ فِى ذلِكَ لآيَـتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

(And in the earth are neighboring tracts, and gardens of vines, and green crops, and date palms, growing into two or three from a single stem root, or otherwise, watered with the same water; yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Verily, in these things there are Ayat for the people who understand.) (13:4)

إِنَّ يَوْمَ الْفَصْلِ كَانَ مِيقَـتاً - يَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِى الصُّورِ فَتَأْتُونَ أَفْوَاجاً - وَفُتِحَتِ السَّمَآءُ فَكَانَتْ أَبْوَباً - وَسُيِّرَتِ الْجِبَالُ فَكَانَتْ سَرَاباً - إِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ كَانَتْ مِرْصَاداً - لِّلطَّـغِينَ مَـَاباً - لَّـبِثِينَ فِيهَآ أَحْقَاباً - لاَّ يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا بَرْداً وَلاَ شَرَاباً - إِلاَّ حَمِيماً وَغَسَّاقاً - جَزَآءً وِفَـقاً - إِنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ لاَ يَرْجُونَ حِسَاباً - وَكَذَّبُواْ بِـَايَـتِنَا كِذَّاباً

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an

"The Great News": the news of the Resurrection and Hereafter, which the people of Makkah heard with amazement, then raised questions and doubts about it in their assemblies. When they met each other they would ask: "Did you ever hear that the dead will be resurrected to life? Is it credible that life will be infused once again into the bones which have decayed and become rotten? Does it stand to reason that the former and the latter generations will rise up and gather together at one place? Is it possible that these huge mountains which are so firmly set in the earth will fly about like flakes of wool? Can it so happen that the sun and the moon and the stars should be extinguished and the order and system of the world be overturned and upset? What has happened to him who was until yesterday a sane and wise man among us? Today he is giving us strange, impossible news. Where were this Hell and Heaven of which we had never heard from him before? where from have they appeared suddenly so that he has started depicting them so vividly before us?"

Another meaning of fi-hi mukhtalifun also can be: "As these people themselves are not agreed on any one view about the end of the world, they hold varying views about it." Some one has been influenced by the Christian belief and believes in the life after death but thinks that the second life would not be a physical but only a spiritual life. Another does not deny the Hereafter absolutely but doubts whether it was possible or not. The Qur'an relates the view of these very people when it says: "We do only guess: we are not certain." (Al-Jathiyah: 32). And another plainly said: "There is no other life than this present life, and we shall never be raised back to life after our death." (Al-An`am: 29). Then, there were some atheists, who said: "Life is only this worldly life of ours. Here we shall die and live and nothing but the change of time destroys us." (Al-Jathiyah: 24). There were some others who were not atheistic but they regarded the second life as impossible. According to them it was beyond the power of God to raise the dead back to life. They said, "Who will give life to these bones when they are rotten." (Ya Sin: 78). Their different views by themselves were a proof that they had no knowledge in this regard; they were only conjecturing and guessing. Had they any knowledge they would have agreed on one view. (For further explanation, see E.N. 6 of Surah Adh-Dhariyat).

That is, whatever they say about the Hereafter is false, and all their concepts about it are wrong.

That is, the time is not far off when the same thing about which they are expressing all sorts of meaningless doubts and misgivings, will appear before them as a reality. Then they will realize that what the Messenger had foretold was absolutely true and what they were saying on the basis of conjecture and speculation had no truth in it.

Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs

And from his narration on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said regarding the interpretation of Allah's saying (Whereof do they question one another?): He says: 'what are they-meaning the people of Quraysh-talking about?'