Surah az-Zukhruf (Ornaments) 43 : 66

هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا ٱلسَّاعَةَ أَن تَأْتِيَهُم بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Are they waiting except for the Hour to come upon them suddenly while they perceive not?

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

When the surah refers to wrongdoers, it includes those factions that disputed about Jesus together with the pagan Arabs who argued with the Prophet on the basis of what those factions perpetrated. It draws a long, spectacular scene showing what happens to them on the Day of Judgement and adds an image of what happens to the God-fearing who receive His favours in heaven:

What are they waiting for other than the Last Hour, which will come upon them all of a sudden and take them unawares? On that Day, friends will become enemies to one another, except for the God-fearing. 

You, servants of Mine, no fear need you have today, nor shall you grieve. You, who have believed in Our revelations and surrendered yourselves to Us, enter paradise, you and your spouses, in pure happiness. They will be waited upon with trays and goblets of gold; and there will be found all that the souls may desire and the eyes may delight in. There you shall abide. This is the garden that shall be your own on account of what you used to do. You shall have there fruits in abundance, from which to eat.

The evildoers shall abide in the suffering of hell. It will not be lightened fo them; they will remain in utter despair. We never wronged them; it was they who have they wronged themselves. They will cry, Malik, if only your lord would put an end to us!' He will answer: 'You are here to stay.' (Verse 66-77)

The scene opens with the Last Hour coming upon them all of a sudden, taking them unawares: "What are they waiting for other than the Last Hour, which will come upon them all of a sudden and take them unawares?" (Verse 66)

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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Its period of revelation also could not be determined from any authentic tradition, but the internal evidence of the subject matter shows that this Surah too was sent down in the same period in which Surah 43: az-Zukhruf (Ornaments) and a few other earlier Surahs had been revealed. However, this Surah was sent down somewhat later. Its historical background is this: When the disbelievers of Makkah became more and more antagonistic in their attitude and conduct, the Prophet prayed: O God, help me with a famine like the famine of Joseph. He thought that when the people would be afflicted with a calamity, they would remember God, their hearts would soften and they would accept the admonition. God granted his prayer, and the whole land was overtaken by such a terrible famine that the people were sorely distressed. At last, some of the Quraysh chiefs among whom Abdullah bin Masud has particularly mentioned the name of Abu Sufyan came to the Prophet and requested him to pray to God to deliver his people from the calamity. On this occasion God sent down this Surah.

8. Reasons for Revelation

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9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

Overview (Verses 66 - 80)

Waiting for the Last Hour

When the surah refers to wrongdoers, it includes those factions that disputed about Jesus together with the pagan Arabs who argued with the Prophet on the basis of what those factions perpetrated. It draws a long, spectacular scene showing what happens to them on the Day of Judgement and adds an image of what happens to the God-fearing who receive His favours in heaven:

What are they waiting for other than the Last Hour, which will come upon them all of a sudden and take them unawares? On that Day, friends will become enemies to one another, except for the God-fearing. 

You, servants of Mine, no fear need you have today, nor shall you grieve. You, who have believed in Our revelations and surrendered yourselves to Us, enter paradise, you and your spouses, in pure happiness. They will be waited upon with trays and goblets of gold; and there will be found all that the souls may desire and the eyes may delight in. There you shall abide. This is the garden that shall be your own on account of what you used to do. You shall have there fruits in abundance, from which to eat.

The evildoers shall abide in the suffering of hell. It will not be lightened fo them; they will remain in utter despair. We never wronged them; it was they who have they wronged themselves. They will cry, Malik, if only your lord would put an end to us!' He will answer: 'You are here to stay.' (Verse 66-77)

The scene opens with the Last Hour coming upon them all of a sudden, taking them unawares: "What are they waiting for other than the Last Hour, which will come upon them all of a sudden and take them unawares?" (Verse 66) The fact that they are taken by surprise leads to a strange event that turns upside down all that was familiar to them in this world: "On that day, friends will become enemies to one another, except for the God-fearing." (Verse 67) Enmity between old friends results from the basis of their close relations. In this present life, they were united by evil, with some of them driving others into error. Now they blame each other for their mutual error and exchange accusations. Their old friendship has completely disappeared. Excepted, however, are the God-fearing: their mutual love remains because what united them was true guidance and mutual sincere counselling. Therefore, they are safe.

As old friends engage in dispute in dispute and exchange accusations, the whole universe resounds with an address from on high to the God-fearing: "You, servants of Mine, no fear you have today, nor shall you grieve. You, who believed in Our revelations and surrendered yourselves to Us, enter paradise, you and your spouses, in pure happiness." (Verse 68-70) Our imagination is stretched and we see gold trays and cups being moved around, and we see the believers in heaven having all that they desire. However, what comes over and above desire satisfaction is that it is all pleasant to the eye, adding beauty to gratification: "They will be waited upon with trays and goblets of gold; and there will be found all that the souls may desire and the eyes may delight in." (Verse 71) Yet there is more to this blessed enjoyment: there is something greater and far more honourable. They are honoured by an address from on high: "There you shall abide. This is the garden that shall be your own on account of what you used to do. You shall have there fruits in abundance, from which to eat." (Verses 71-73)

What fate awaits the evildoers whom we left a little while ago in dispute, blaming one another? "The evildoers shall abide in the suffering of hell." (Verse 74) It is a permanent, hard and severe suffering that allows no reduction or respite. No ray of hope will ever appear nor any chance of deliverance. They endure it, lost in despair: "It will not be lightened for them; they will remain in utter despair." (Verse 75) This is all their own doing. No one has wronged them: "We never wronged them; it was they who have wronged themselves." (Verse 76)

An outcry is heard from afar. It is an outcry of utter distress, born in despair: "They will cry, 'Malik, if only your Lord would put an end to us!'" (Verse 77) It comes from down below, from behind the closed doors of hell. The evildoers are not appealing for help or salvation; they have already despaired of that. All they are asking for is that they should be allowed to perish, their misery end. That is all that they can hope for. When all that one can hope for is to perish, one must be in extreme distress. This cry certainly comes from long-suffering souls and bodies whose endurance has gone beyond all limits. Hence they cry out: "Malik, if only your Lord would put an end to us!' The answer they are given adds to their despair, caring little for what they feel: "He will answer: 'You are here to stay" (Verse 77) No deliverance, no hope, no death, no end; they are there to stay.

This distressing image is followed by an address to those who hate the truth and turn away from guidance. It portrays to all how singular their attitude is:

We have brought the truth to you, but most of you abhor the truth. If they have resolved on some scheme, We have a scheme of Our own. Or do they think that We do not hear their secret talk and their private counsel? Indeed We do, and Our messengers are with them, recording all. (Verses 78-80)

It is their abhorrence of the truth that prevented them from following it. It is not that they did not realise that it is the truth. Nor did they doubt the honesty and sincerity of the Prophet; they had long known him, acknowledging that he never told a lie. How could he, then, lie to God saying about Him what was False? In most cases, those who oppose the truth are not unaware that it is the truth; they simply hate it because it conflicts with their desires. They are too weak to resist their desires, but they can always attempt to suppress the truth and persecute its advocates. It is from this, their weakness, that they derive the audacity to stand against the truth.

Therefore, the Almighty who knows all their secrets and scheming warns them: "If they have resolved on some scheme, We have a scheme of Our awn. Or do they think that We do not hear their secret talk and their private counsel? Indeed We do, and Our messengers are with them, recording all." (Verses 79-80) Their persistent support of falsehood against the truth is countered by God's clear will to establish and strengthen the truth; and their wicked scheming under the cover of darkness is countered by God's knowledge of all secret whispering. When weak creatures stand against the Almighty, All-Knowing Creator, the outcome is a forgone conclusion.


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