Tafsir Zone - Surah 77: al-Mursalat (Those Sent Forth)

Tafsir Zone

Surah al-Mursalat 77:16


(Verses 16 - 28)

Three Quick Rounds

The first round taking us to the expected universal upheaval on the Day of Judgement is followed by one going back to the fates suffered by earlier communities that rejected the divine faith. Later communities could follow on their heels:

Did We not destroy those people of old? We shall certainly cause later ones to follow them. Thus do We deal with the guilty. Woe on that day betide those who deny the truth. (Verses 16-18)

One strike to reveal the fates of past communities, numerous as they were and another to reveal what could happen to later ones, numerous as they may be. The scene of destruction stretches as far as anyone can see. Now the warning comes clear, stating the law God set in operation: "Thus do We deal with the guilty." (Verse 18) It is His law that never fails. As those who are guilty expect a fate like earlier communities, the warning of impending doom is repeated: "Woe on that day betide those who deny the truth." (Verse 19)

The next round turns to the living and how they are brought into life, in accordance with elaborate planning:

Have We not created you from a humble fluid placing it in a safe lodging for a pre-determined term? Thus have We determined; excellent indeed is how We determine. Woe on that day betide those who deny the truth. (Verses 20-24)

The long and remarkable journey of an embryo, from the moment of conception, is included here, in a few fine touches, starting with a humble fluid being placed after conception in the uterus that gives it a safe lodging until an appointed time. The whole journey is planned with remarkable accuracy at every stage. A comment is added here to emphasise the infinite wisdom that assigns a fine, accurate measure to everything: "Thus have We determined• excellent indeed is how We determine." (Verse 23) With this planned determination that applies universally, the warning is repeated again: "Woe on that day betide those who deny the truth." (Verse 24)

We then have a round on earth and the life God has determined on it for mankind, giving it the facilities that make such human life easy:

Have We not made the earth an abode for the living and the dead? We have placed on it firm, lofty mountains and provided you with fresh water to drink. Woe on that day betide those who deny the truth. (Verses 25-28)

These verses alert us to what we see on earth, which is made an abode embracing its children in life and death. Lofty mountains are placed on it, making it firm, and over their tops the clouds gather and then clear water runs down via them to the ground. Could all this have come about by anything other than elaborate and wise planning? How can those unbelievers continue to deny the truth they see with their own eyes: "Woe on that day betide those who deny the truth." (Verse 28)