Quran English Translation & Commentary

Surah Al Qariyah

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious,Most Merciful

Introduction and Summary

This Makkan Surah describes the Judgment Day as the Day of Clamour, when men will be distracted and the landmarks of this world will be lost, but every deed will be weighed in a just balance, and find its real value and setting.

C.281 The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose)

How will the senses of man stand the Noise

And Clamour of the great Day of Account,

Whereon this life's old landmarks will vanish,

And men will be helpless like scattered moths?

Nay, but a Balance of Justice will weigh

And appraise all Deeds: and those whose good

Will show substance and weight will achieve a Life

Of good pleasure and satisfaction, while those

Whose good will be light will find themselves,

Alas, in a blazing Pit of Punishment.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿١﴾

The (Day) of Noise and Clamor:

C6251. The Day of Noise and Clamour is the Day of Judgment, when the whole of the present order of things will be overthrown with a tremendous convulsion.

Cf. n. 6235 to 99:1, and n. 6096 to 88:1.

All our present landmarks will be lost. It will be a stunning experience to begin with, but it will inaugurate a new world of true and permanent values, in which every human deed will have its true and just consequences, as if weighed in the balance.

See verses 6-11 below.


مَا الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿٢﴾

What is the (Day) of Noise and Clamor?


وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿٣﴾

And what will explain to thee what the (Day) of Noise and Clamor is?


يَوْمَ يَكُونُ النَّاسُ كَالْفَرَاشِ الْمَبْثُوثِ ﴿٤﴾

(It is) a Day whereon Men will be like moths Scattered about,

C6252. Moths are frail light things. To see them scattered about in a violent storm gives some idea of the confusion, distress, and helplessness in which men will be at first overwhelmed on the Day of Account.

Old memories will be like a book almost blotted out. New hopes will be vague in a new world just rising on the horizon. But it will be a perfectly just world, and no good action will be lost and no evil one but will have its compensating value estimated.


وَتَكُونُ الْجِبَالُ كَالْعِهْنِ الْمَنفُوشِ ﴿٥﴾

And the mountains will be like carded wool.

C6253. Cf. n. 5682 to 70:9.

The mountains are solid things, which seem as if nothing could move them. But in that tremendous cataclysm they will be scattered about like flakes of leased or carded wool.

This is a metaphor to show that what we consider very substantial in this life will be as an airy nothing in the next world.


فَأَمَّا مَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ﴿٦﴾

Then, he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) heavy,

C6254. The Good Deeds will be weighed and appraised. This appraisement will be of the nicest and justest kind: for it will take into account motives, temptations, provocations, surrounding conditions, antecedents, subsequent amends, and all possible connected circumstances.

Against them, presumably, will be deeds of the opposite kind, appraised in the same way.

If the good predominates, the judgment will be in the man's favour, and he will be ushered into a fife of good pleasure and satisfaction. This will of course be on another plane. (R).


فَهُوَ فِي عِيشَةٍ رَّاضِيَةٍ ﴿٧﴾

Will be in a life of good pleasure and satisfaction.

C6255. Cf. 98:8, and n. 6233, but perhaps the Bliss is not of the same grade for all men.

In every case it is bliss, but bliss suited to the particular nature of the individual concerned.


وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ﴿٨﴾

But he whose balance (of good deeds) will be (found) light --


فَأُمُّهُ هَاوِيَةٌ ﴿٩﴾

Will have his home in a (bottomless) pit.


C6256. Just as grades of bliss are indicated for the righteous, so apparently we are to understand grades of punishment suited to the sins of the individual sinners concerned.


وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا هِيَهْ ﴿١٠﴾

And what will explain to thee what this is?


نَارٌ حَامِيَةٌ ﴿١١﴾

(It is) a Fire Blazing fiercely!


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