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56. The Inevitable

THIS CHAPTER was revealed after Ta-Ha 20 and before Believers 23 and Poets 26. It forms the last of the seven early Meccan chapters to be found in this present grouping. All of its 96 verses date from Mecca, except for vv. 81-82 (in section III) which are from Madina.

An urgent message and strophic form underlies the chapter's rhythm. The poetic vision here suggests that life is a race, and it speaks of future rewards. We meet three groups: first the 'Pioneers"; then "Those on the Right" (I); and finally "Those on the Left" (II). In the last section (III) the Quran itself is discussed.

In the name of God, the Mercy-giving, the Merciful!

The Last Judgement

(I) * When the Inevitable arrives
* no one will deny its happening,
* humbling, exalting!

The Pioneers

* The earth will be rocked with a jolt ** and the mountains crumble to pieces * and become dust that is scattered about. * You will form three groups: * the Companions on the Right (What do the Companions on the Right [mean]?); * the Companions on the Left (What do the Companions on the Unlucky side [mean]?); ** and the Pioneers will be out there leading!


* Those will be the nearest * in gardens of bliss, * a multitude from early men * and a few from later ones ** on couches set close together, * leaning back on them, facing one another. * Immortal youths will stroll around them * with glasses, pitchers, and a cup from a fountain * which will not upset them nor dull their senses; ** and any fruit that they may choose, * and the meat from any fowl they may desire; * and bright-eyed damsels [chaste] just like treasured pearls, * as a reward for what they have been doing. ** They will not hear any idle talk there nor any fault-finding, * merely people saying: "Peace! Peace!"

Those on the Right

* The Companions on the Right- * what about the Companions on the Right? * [They will be] among hawthoms trimmed of their thorns, * and bananas piled bunch on bunch, ** with their shade spread out, * water pouring forth, * and plenty of fruit * which is neither rationed nor forbidden, * and padded furniture raised [off the floor]. ** We have produced special women * and made them (ever) virgins, * easy to get along with and of their same age, * for the Companions on the Right, * a multitude from early men ** as well as a multitude from later ones.

Those on the Left

(II)* The Companions on the Unlucky side, what about the Companions on the Left? * In a scorching wind, scalding water, * and the shade of pitch-black smoke, * which is neither cool nor refreshing. ** They had been luxuriating before that happened * and persisted in awesome blasphemy, * and kept on saying: 'When we have died and become dust and bones, will we be raised up again? * Along with our earliest forefathers?"

* SAY: "The earlier and the later ones will be gathered together for an appointment on a well-known day. Then you mistaken rejectors * will be eating something from the Infernal Tree, * filling (your) bellies with it * and drinking scalding water in addition, ** lapping it up, the way thirsty [camels] drink."

God's Role in Reproduction

* Such will be their fare on the Day for Repayment! * We created you, if you would only acknowledge it. * Have you ever considered what you emit? * Did you create it, or are We its Creators? ** We have ordained death for (all of) you; no one will get ahead to prevent Us * from changing your attributes, and transforming you into something you would never recognize.

* You know about the first transformation, if you will only recall it. * Have you considered what you plant as crops? * Do you farm it or are We the Farmers? ** If We so wished, We would turn it into chaff so you would do nothing but exclaim: * "We are debt-ridden; * in fact, we are destitute!"

* Have you ever considered the water you drink? * Do you pour down from the rainclouds or are, We its Pourers? ** If We so wished, We might make it brackish. If you would only act grateful!

* Have you considered the Fire you kindle? * Are you the ones who grow its trees [for firewood] or are We their Growers? * We have granted it as a Reminder and enjoyment for those living in the wilderness.

* So celebrate your Lord's almighty name!

The Quran

(III) ** Yet I swear by the stars' positions * (it is a serious oath, if you only knew it!) * that it is a Noble Quran * [kept] as a treasured Book * which none but the purified may touch, ** something sent down by the Lord of the Universe.

* Are you (all) trying to dodge this report? * Are you making [the fact] that you reject it into your means of livelihood? * Why not

The Arrogant Challenged

-when [your soul] leaps to your throat [at death] * and you are then observing, ** (We are even Nearer to it than you are, even though you do not notice it)-

* provided you are not under any obligation, * answer back if you are truthful...!

* Thus if he is one of those who are drawn close * [he will have] contentment, fragrance, and a garden of bliss- ** while if he is one of the Companions on the Right: "Peace be on you" [will be the greeting) from the Companions on the Right.

* However if he is one of the mistaken rejectors * a welcome of scalding water * plus a roasting in Hades [will await him]. ** This is the absolute Truth;

* So celebrate our Lord's almighty name!


Published with authorization from Dr.T.B.Irving.