Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(On the day when ye behold it) when you see it upon the first blowing of the Trumpet, (every nursing mother will forget) will be preoccupied from (her nursling and every pregnant one will be delivered of her burden) of pregnancy, (and thou (Muhammad) wilt see mankind) standing and (drunken, yet they will not be drunken) from intoxicants, (but the Doom of Allah will be strong (upon them)) this is why they were dazzled as if they were drunk.
On the day when you behold it, every, actually, nursing female, on account of this [tremendous day], will neglect her suckling, that is, she will forget it; and every pregnant female will deliver her burden, and you will see mankind [as though] drunk, because of the severity of [their] fear, yet they will not be drunk, because of any drink; but God’s chastisement is severe, and so they will be terrified of it.
(Do you know what Day that is) They said, "Allah and His Messenger know best.'' (He said: That is the Day on which Allah will say to Adam, "Send forth (those of your progeny) who are to be sent to the Fire.'' He will say, "O Lord, how many are to be sent to the Fire'' He will say, "From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine will be in the Fire and one will be in Paradise.'') The Muslims started to weep, then the Messenger of Allah said:
(Be close in your rank and be straight forward, for there was never any Prophet but there was a time of ignorance just before his advent, so the number will be taken from that time of ignorance, and if that is not enough, it will be made up from the hypocrites. A parable of yours in comparison to the other nations is that, you are like a mark on the foreleg of an animal, or a mole on the flank of a camel.) Then he said,
(I hope that you will be half of the people of Paradise.) They said, "Allahu Akbar!'' Then he the narrator said, "I do not know if he said two-thirds or not.'' This was also recorded by Imam Ahmad. Then At-Tirmidhi also said, "This is a Hasan Sahih Hadith.'' In his Tafsir, under this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id said, "The Prophet said:
(On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will say: "O Adam.'' He will say, "At Your service, O Lord.'' Then a voice will call out: "Allah commands you to send forth from your progeny those who are destined for the Fire.'' He will say, "O Lord, who is destined for the Fire'' He will say, "From every thousand'' -- I think he said -- "nine hundred and ninety-nine.'' At that time every pregnant female will drop her load and children will turn grey. (and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but Allah's torment is severe.)) That will be so difficult for mankind to bear that their faces will change. The Prophet said:
(Nine hundred and ninety-nine from Ya'juj and Ma'juj, and one from you. Among mankind you are like a black hair on the side of a white bull, or a white hair on the side of a black bull. I hope that you will be one quarter of the people of Paradise.) We said "Allahu Akbar!'' Then he said, (A third of the people of Paradise.) We said, "Allahu Akbar!'' Then he said, (One half of the people of Paradise.) We said: `Allahu Akbar!'' Al-Bukhari also recorded this elsewhere. It was also recorded by Muslim, and An-Nasa'i in his Tafsir. The Hadiths and reports about the terrors of the Day of Resurrection are very many, and this is not the place to quote them all.
إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَىْءٌ عَظِيمٌ
(Verily, the earthquake of the Hour is a terrible thing.) means, a serious matter, a terrifying crisis, a horrendous event. This earthquake is what will happen to people when they are filled with terror, as Allah says:
(The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling,) means, she will be distracted by the horror of what she is seeing, which will make her forget the one who is the dearest of all to her and to whom she shows the most compassion. Her shock will make her neglect her infant at the very moment of breastfeeding, Allah says,
(every nursing mother), and He did not say a mother who has an infant of breastfeeding age.
(her nursling) means, her nursing infant that has not yet been weaned.
وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا
(and every pregnant one will drop her load,) means, before the pre- gnancy has reached full term, because of the intensity of the horror.
وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَـرَى
(and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state,) means, because of the severity of their situa- tion, when they will lose their minds, so that whoever sees them, will think, that they are drunk,
(yet they will not be drunken, but Allah's torment is severe.)
Maududi - 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.