Overview - Surah 56: al-Waqi`ah (The Occurrence)

Naming Convention of the Surah

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This Surah takes its name from the first Ayat, إِذَا وَقَعَتِ الْوَاقِعَةُ "When the Occurrence occurs," (56:1).

There are 96 Ayat in this Surah. 

Overview

Total Ayat96
Total Words379
Root Words149
Unique Root Words6
Makki / MadaniMakki
Chronological Order* 46th (according to Ibn Abbas)
Year of Revelation* 6th year of Prophethood
Events during/before this Surah*
2nd Migration to Abyssinia, Physical beating and torture of some Muslims - 1st Migration of Muslims to Abyssinia, Public Invitation to Islam - Persecution of Muslims; antagonism - ridicule - derision - accusation - abuse and false propaganda., Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam , Revelation begins - Private Invitation to Islam ,
Events during/after still to occur*
Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 1, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 2, Boycott of Banu Hashim Yr 3, Death of Abu Talib - Death of Khadijah - Stoning at Ta'if - al-Isra wal Mi'raj - Night Journey, 1st Pledge of Aqabah, 2nd Pledge of Aqabah, , Migration from Makkah to Madinah - Building of Masjid Nabi in Madinah - Treaty with Jews of Madinah - Marriage of Prophet to Aishah, Change of Qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah - Battle of Badr, Battle of Uhud, , Battle of Ahzab - Expedition of Banu Quraydhah, Treaty of Hudaiybiyah - Letters to Kings and Rulers, , Conquest of Makkah - Battle of Hunain, Hajj led by Abu Bakr - Expedition of Tabuk, Farewell Hajj by Prophet - Death of Prophet - End of Divine Revelation,
Names of Prophets Mentioned
No Prophets names are mentioned in this Surah
Surah Index
Children (in Heaven) , Death, Earth (condition of at the time of resurrection) , Fire, Gold, Heaven (immortal youths in) , Heaven (pure spouses in) , Heaven (virgin mates of modest gaze) , Hell, Hur al-Ayn, Judgement (Day) , Judgement (Day) (severely shaken), Judgement (Day) (shattered), Judgement (Day) (those close to God), Judgement (Day) (those evil), Judgement (Day) (those righteous), Lote tree, Pearls, Qur’an, Resurrection, Resurrection (of humans) , Revelation, Tree (of hell) , Trees, Water, Weather (clouds) , Weather (rain) ,

Central Theme

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Theme 1: Gradation and ranks of people on the Day of Judgement

Its theme is the Hereafter, Monotheism (Tawhid) and refutation of the Makkan disbelievers suspicions about the Qur’an. What they regarded as utterly incredible was that Resurrection would ever take place, then the entire system of the earth and heavens would be upset, and when all the dead would be resurrected and called to account, after which the righteous would be admitted to Paradise and the wicked cast into Hell. They regarded all this as imaginary, which could not possibly happen in actual fact. In answer to this, it was said: “When the inevitable event will take place, there will be none to believe its happening, nor will anyone have the Power to avert it, nor prove it to be an unreal happening. At that time all nations will be divided into three classes:

1.         The foremost in rank and position;
2.         The common righteous people;
3.         Those who denied the Hereafter and persisted in disbelief and polytheism and major sins till the last.

How these three classes of the people will be rewarded and punished has been described in detail in v. 7-56. Then, in v. 57-74 arguments have been given, one after the other, to prove the truth of the two basic doctrines of Islam, which the disbelievers were refusing to accept; the doctrines of Monotheism and the Hereafter. In these arguments, apart from everything else that exists in the earth and heavens, man’s attention has been drawn to his own body and to the food that he eats and to the water that he drinks and to the fire on which he cooks his food, and he has been invited to ponder the question: What right do you have to behave independently of, or serve any other than, the God Whose creative power has brought you into being, and Whose provisions sustain you? And how can you entertain the idea that after having once brought you into existence He has become so helpless and powerless that He cannot recreate you once again even if he wills to?

Then, in v. 75-82 their suspicions in respect of the Qur’an have been refuted and they have been made to realise how fortunate they are that instead of deriving any benefit from the great blessing that the Qur’an is, they are treating it with inadequate attention and have set only this share of theirs in it that they deny it. If one seriously considers this matchless argument that has been presented in two brief sentences about the truth of the Qur’an, one will find in it the same kind of firm and stable system as exists among the stars and planets of the Universe - and the same is the proof of the fact that its Author is the same Being Who has created the Universe. Then the disbelievers have been told that this Book is inscribed in that Writ of Destiny which is beyond the reach of the creatures, as if to say “You think it is brought down by the devils to Muhammad, whereas none but the pure angels has any access to the means by which it reaches Muhammad from the well guarded Tablet.”

In conclusion, man has been warned, as if to say: “You may brag and boast as you like and may shut your eyes to the truths in your arrogance of independence, but death is enough to open your eyes. At death you become helpless: you cannot save your own parents; you cannot save your children; you cannot save your religious guided and beloved leaders. They all die in front of your very eyes while you look on helplessly. If there is no supreme power ruling over you, and this assumption is correct that you are all in all in the world, and there is no God, then why don’t you restore to the dying person his soul? Just as you are helpless in this, so it is also beyond your power to stop God from calling the people to account and measure out rewards and punishments to them. You may or may not believe it, but every dying person will surely see his own end after death. If he belongs to those nearest to God, he will see the good end meant for them if he be from among the righteous, he will see the end prepared for the righteous; and if he be from among the deniers of the truth, he will see the end destined for the criminals.

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Connection of the name of the Surah and its Ayaat

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The Surah is named after one of the names of the Day of Judgement, al-Qiyamah [the standing]. The Surah begins with the scene on the Day of Judgement where humanity will be split into 3 categories.

Connection between the beginning and the ending of the Surah

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  • The three types of people are mentioned in the beginning and at the end:

    وَكُنتُمْ أَزْوَاجًا ثَلَاثَةً ﴿٧﴾ فَأَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ ﴿٨﴾ وَأَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ ﴿٩﴾ وَالسَّابِقُونَ السَّابِقُونَ ﴿١٠﴾ أُولَـٰئِكَ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ ﴿١١﴾ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ ﴿١٢﴾ ثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْأَوَّلِينَ 

    "And you become [of] three kinds: Then the companions of the right - what are the companions of the right? And the companions of the left - what are the companions of the left? And the forerunners, the forerunners - Those are the ones brought near [to Allah]. In the Gardens of Pleasure, A [large] company of the former peoples. And a few of the later peoples," (56:7-14)

    فَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ ﴿٨٨﴾ فَرَوْحٌ وَرَيْحَانٌ وَجَنَّتُ نَعِيمٍ ﴿٨٩﴾ وَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الْيَمِينِ ﴿٩٠﴾ فَسَلَامٌ لَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الْيَمِينِ ﴿٩١﴾ وَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ الضَّالِّينَ ﴿٩٢﴾ فَنُزُلٌ مِّنْ حَمِيمٍ ﴿٩٣﴾ وَتَصْلِيَةُ جَحِيمٍ

    " And if the deceased was of those brought near to Allah, Then [for him is] rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure. And if he was of the companions of the right, Then [the angels will say], "Peace for you; [you are] from the companions of the right." But if he was of the deniers [who were] astray, Then [for him is] accommodation of scalding water. And burning in Hellfire." (56:88-94)

Manuscripts / Inscriptions

Connection of the Surah to the Surah before/after it

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  • Both Surah ar-Rahman and al-Waqiah end with similar Ayat
    تَبَارَكَ اسْمُ رَبِّكَ ذِي الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ "Blessed is the name of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor." (55:78)

    فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ "So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great." (56:96)
     
  • Surah al-Waqiah ends with  فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ "So exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great." (56:96) and Surah al-Hadeed begins with, سَبَّحَ لِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ "Whatever is in the heavens and earth exalts Allah, and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise." (57:1) 

The Virtues of the Surah

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Special Features of the Surah

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Important key and unique words of the Surah

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Total Word Count per Ayat (shows how many words per Ayat)

Unique Root Words to this Surah only


6 unique root words that do not appear in any other Surah

Top 10 Most Frequent Root Words used in this Surah

Root Word Frequency
in Surah
Frequency
in Qur'an
ك و ن 12 1390
ص ح ب 11 97
ي م ن 7 71
ن ش أ 6 28
ج ع ل 5 346
ع ظ م 5 128
أ و ل 5 170
ن ز ل 5 293
ع ل م 5 854
ش ر ب 4 39

Period of Revelation

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According to the chronological order that Abdullah bin Abbas has given of the Surahs, first Surah 20: Ta Ha was sent down, then Surah 56: al-Waqi’ah (The Occurrence) and then Surah 26: ash-Shu’ara’ (The Poets).

Background Reasons for Revelation

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Relevant Hadith

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  • Surah al-Waqiah [56] is one of the Surahs that aged the Prophet due to inensity/pressure/repurcussions of the implications of the words.  

     قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ‏:‏ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ، قَدْ شِبْتَ، قَالَ‏:‏ شَيَّبَتْنِي هُودٌ، وَالْوَاقِعَةُ، وَالْمُرْسَلاتُ، وَعَمَّ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ، وَإِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ

    It has been reported that once Abu Bakr  said to the Prophet, ‘O Messenger of Allah, you have become old.’ The Prophet said, ‘I have become old [due to] [Surah] Hud, al-Waqiah [56], al-Murasalat [77], Amma yatasailoon [an-Naba 78] and Waidha ash-Shamsu kuwirat [at-Takweer 81].” Tirmidhee no. 3297

  •  كان رسولُ اللهِ صلَّى اللهُ عليه وسلم يصلِّي الصلواتِ كنحوٍ من صلاتِكم التي تصلُّونَ اليومَ ولكنه كان يخفِّفُ ، كانت صلاتهُ أخفُّ من صلاتِكم ، وكان يقرأُ في الفجرِ الواقعةَ ونحوَها من السُّوَرِ

    Jabir ibn Samra said, "The Prophet [saw] prayed like [how ] you prayed today but he prayed lighter. He would recite in Fajr, Surah al-Waqiah or similar [sized] Surahs." Musanaf Abdur Razzaq, Hakim - Saheeh.- Musanaf Abdur Razzaq, Hakim

Lessons/Guidance/Major-Issues/Reflections

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  • Scene of the Doomsday when:
  • Some will be abased and some exalted
  • The earth will be shaken up
  • According to the majority of the scholars, it is not permissible to touch the Qur'an except if you are in a state of wudhu [abolution] (56:79)
  • The mountains will be crumbled to scattered dust
  • Mankind will be divided into three groups: the foremost in rank and position, the common righteous people and the disbelievers.
  • Admonition to the disbelievers with the examples of creation.
  • The testimony of Allah about the Qur'an.
  • The Sabiqun [fore-runners] will be few in number, especially during the end times (56:13), (56:14)

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Miscellaneous Issues

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