THIS SPLENDID chapter of 40 very early Meccan verses was revealed after The Stunning [Blow] 101 and before The Gossipmonger 104. It tells us how we should read the Quran (i) and describes man's stages as he is reproduced or created (ii), just as his spiritual stages are suggested at the very beginning (i). The last section moves very graphically.
(i) * I do swear by Resurrection Day,
* as I swear by the rebuking soul,
* does man reckon We shall never
gather his bones together [again]?
* Of course We are Capable of reshaping even his fingertips. ** Yet man wants to carouse right out in the open. * He asks: "When will Resurrection Day be ?"
* Of course there will be no sanctuary; * recourse will be only with your Lord on that day. * Man will be notified that day about anything he has sent on ahead or else held back. * Indeed man holds evidence even against himself ** although he may proffer his excuses.
How to Read the Quran
* Do not try to hurry it up with your tongue; * it is up to Us to collect it, as well as [to know how] to recite it. * So whenever We do read it, follow in its reading; * it is then We Who must explain it!
** Indeed how you (all) love the fleeting present * while you neglect the Hereafter! * Some faces will be radiant on that day, * looking toward their Lord; * while other faces will be scowling on that day, ** thinking that some impoverishing blow will be dealt them. * Indeed when it reaches as high as one's collarbone * and someone says: "Who is such a wizard?", * he will suppose that it means leave-taking * while one shin will twist around the other shin [to keep it from moving]; ** towards your Lord will the Drive be on that day!
(ii) * He was not trusting and did not pray,
* but said: "No!" and turned away.
* Then he stalked off haughtily
to his family, * [though] closer to you
and even closer! ** Then closer
to you [fies your doom]
and still closer!
* Does man reckon
he'll be left forlorn?
* Was he not once a drop
of ejected semen? * Then he became
a clot, so [God]
created and fashioned [him]
* and made him into two sexes,
male and female. ** Is such a Being
not Able to revive the dead?
Published with authorization from Dr.T.B.Irving .