Surah al-Haqqah (The Manifest Reality) 69 : 25

وَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِىَ كِتَٰبَهُۥ بِشِمَالِهِۦ فَيَقُولُ يَٰلَيْتَنِى لَمْ أُوتَ كِتَٰبِيَهْ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
But as for he who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, "Oh, I wish I had not been given my record

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

We see this miserable person wishing he had never witnessed this gathering, never been given his record, and knowing nothing of his account. He would have loved for the Striker to have spelt his absolute end, removing him from all existence.

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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This is one of the earliest Surahs to be revealed at Makkah. Its subject matter shows that it was sent down at the time when opposition to the Prophet had started but had not yet become tyrannical. Musnad Ahmad contains a hadith from Umar, saying: “Before embracing Islam one day I came out of my house with a view to causing trouble to the Holy Prophet, but he had entered the Masjid al-Haram before me. When I arrived, I found that he was reciting Surah Al-Haaqqah in the Prayer. I stood behind him and listened. As he recited the Qur’an I wondered at its literary charm and beauty. Then suddenly an idea came to my mind that he must be a poet as the Quraysh alleged. Just at that moment he recited the words: “This is the Word of an honourable Messenger: it is not the word of a poet.” I said to myself: Then, he must be a soothsayer, if not a poet. Thereupon be recited the words: “Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little it is that you reflect. It is a Revelation from the Lord and Sustainer of the worlds. On hearing this Islam entered deep into my heart.” This hadith of Umar shows that this Surah had been sent down long before his acceptance of Islam, for even after this event he did not believe for a long time, and he continued to be influenced in favour of Islam by different incidents from time to time, till at last, in the house of his own sister, he came by the experience that made him surrender and submit to the Faith completely.

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 (Verse 25 - 37)

But he who is given his record in his left hand will say, 'Would that I had never been shown my record and knew nothing of my account! Would that death had been the end of me! Nothing has my wealth availed me. I am now bereft of all my power. "Lay hold of him and shackle him, and burn him in the fire of hell, and then fasten him in a chain seventy cubits long.' He did not believe in God Almighty and he never encouraged feeding the needy So, no friend has he here today nor any food except the filth that none other than the sinners eat. (Verses 25-37)

"But he who is given his record in his left hand," and knows that his bad deeds are reckoned against him realizes that his fate is one of suffering. He stands among this great multitude full of sorrow, broken. He will say: "Would that I had never been shown my record and knew nothing of my account! Would that death had been the end of me! Nothing has my wealth availed me. I am now bereft of all my power." (Verses 25-29)
 
Long is his lamentation, miserable his tone and desperate his words. The surah presents his reaction at length and the listener almost feels his endless lamentation. This is another aspect of the Qur'anic style: some situations are described at length while others are given a quick and short presentation, depending on the effect the Qur'an wants to impart. In this case, the surah wants to bring this image of lamentation alive before us, so that we feel it thoroughly. Therefore, it harps long on its details. We see this miserable person wishing he had never witnessed this gathering, never been given his record, and knowing nothing of his account. He would have loved for the Striker to have spelt his absolute end, removing him from all existence. He bemoans that nothing of what he used to rate highly or treasure appears to be of any use or value: "Nothing has my wealth availed me. I am now bereft of all my power." (Verses 28-29) The ending of these very short verses, with a strongly aspirated preceded by a 'ya' sound that comes after a long adds to the tone of sorrow and grief It is all part of the very clear ambience the surah generates.

This long, sorrowful lamentation is only interrupted by a decisive order given from on high:

Lay hold of him and shackle him, and burn him in the fire of hell and then fasten him in a chain seventy cubits long. (Verses 30-32)    

A command is given by God Almighty, and everyone in the universe moves against this miserable creature. Those to whom the command is issued will move swiftly from all corners. A hadith related by Ibn Abi Hatim states: "When God says, lay hold of him,' seventy thousand angels swiftly take him. Each one of these angels can, in one gesture, cast seventy thousand creatures into hell."

"And shackle him." The first angel to so hold him will immediately put the shackles around him. "And burn him in the fire of hell." (Verse 31) We almost hear the sound of the fire as it burns such people. "And then fasten him in a chain seventy cubits long." (Verse 32) One cubit of this chain is enough, but the impression intended here is one of elongation and the mention of 'seventy cubits' gives us this sense of perpetuity.

Now that the command has been given, its justification is announced for all to know:
 
He did not believe in God Almighty, and he never encouraged feeding the needy. (Verses 33-34)

This is a person whose heart is devoid of faith and compassion. Thus, the only place fit for him is the fire. With a heart that has no trace of faith, he is ruined, like a barren land engulfed in darkness. He is below the level of animals, and indeed below the level of inanimate objects. Everything in the universe believes in God and glorifies Him, and as such they maintain their bond with their source of existence. This person, on the other hand, severed his ties with God, and therefore has no tie with the universe.

Likewise, his heart is devoid of compassion. A needy person is one who desperately needs compassion, but this one does not feel for his fellow humans in need. He does not encourage feeding them, which is a step further than simply providing the needy with food. It is a step that suggests a social duty that requires believers to encourage one another to undertake. It is closely related to faith, mentioned here after faith and given its value in God's measure:

So, no friend has he here today, nor any food except the filth that none other than the sinners eat. (Verses 35-37)

This complements the announcement from on high concerning the fate of such a miserable person. Since he had no faith in God and did not encourage the feeding of the needy, he has no friends, and he is deprived of all favours. His food is the filth that pours out of the people of hell. Such is the food that serves well those hardened hearts that are devoid of all compassion. It is a type of food that "none other than the sinners eat." (Verse 37) He is essentially one of the sinners.

Such are the characteristics of the person that deserves the divine punishment of being cast into hell, tied with a chain seventy cubits long. This is the worst punishment meted out in hell. What will happen, then, to those who actually prevent giving food to the needy and who make women, children and the elderly people starve, hitting hard at those who give them something to eat or a piece of clothing to wear in the cold winter months? Such people do exist from time to time.' So how will God requite them?

Perhaps this terrifying scene was drawn because the Arabian environment was hard and cruel. It needed to have such shocking images to awaken its better feelings. Such environments do occur throughout history. Furthermore, these may exist side by side with softer and more responsive ones. The earth is wide, and on it a great variety of people, depicting a similarly great variety of psychologies, exist. The Qur'an addresses every level and every soul in a way that finds its effect. Today, the population of the earth includes some very hardened, cruel hearts. These can only be influenced when addressed with words of fire, such as the ones used in this surah.
 


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