English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 82: Al-Infitar — The Tearing Apart (Revealed at Makkah: 19 verses)

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Introduction:

This chapter, which receives its title from the mention in the first verse of the heaven becoming torn apart, is a counterpart of the previous chapter since it refers to the final triumph of Islam in its opening verses. It speaks also of the utter helplessness of the opponents at that time. Its revelation belongs to the very early period at Makkah.

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Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

82:1 When the heaven is torn apart,
82:2 and when the stars become dispersed,
82:3 and when the rivers are made to flow forth,
82:4 and when the graves are laid open1
82:5 every soul will know what it has sent ahead and what it has held back.2
82:6 O man, what entices you away from your Lord, the Gracious?
82:7 Who created you, then made you complete, then made you in a right good state —
82:8 into whatever form He pleases He casts you.
82:9 No, but you call the Judgment a lie,
82:10 and surely there are keepers over you,
82:11 honourable recorders,
82:12 they know what you do.3
82:13 Surely the virtuous are in bliss,
82:14 and the wicked are truly in burning Fire —
82:15 they will enter it on the day of Judgment.
82:16 And will not be absent from it.
82:17 And what will make you realize what the day of Judgment is?
82:18 Again, what will make you realize what the day of Judgment is?
82:19 The day when no soul controls anything for (the benefit of) another soul. And the command on that day is Allah’s.

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Commentary:

  1. Taken metaphorically verses 1–4 tell us how a great spiritual rising would be brought about. The tearing apart of the heaven would mean that the doors of heaven will open and Divine help will come to the Prophet. The disper­s­ing of the stars signifies the spreading abroad of the bearers of the message of Truth, who are likened to stars, as the Prophet said: “My companions are as stars” (Mishkāt, 27:13). The indication is that a time would come when the teachers of Truth would disperse themselves in Arabia, and then throughout the world. The flowing forth of the rivers means that rivers of Divine knowledge would be made to reach the dry lands within and without Arabia. The laying open of the graves signifies the spiritual resurrection which was to be brought about by the Holy Prophet, for the reprobate are clearly spoken of as being in the graves (35:22). Thus all these four verses speak of the great change that was to be brought about in the world by the preaching of the Prophet. Taken literally, these verses speak of the Resurrection.
  2. The knowledge spoken of here will accrue before the day of Resurrection. A greater manifestation of the same will, however, take place in the life after death.
  3. That every action of man is recorded and bears fruit is one of the prin­cipal doctrines of the religion of Islam. Of course, it is not meant that angels are sitting with pens in their hands, at desks, noting down who did a good deed, or who did a bad deed, and at what time. That would be a distortion of the teaching of the Quran. For what that record is, see the next chapter, where both the record of the righteous and the record of the wicked is spoken of. See also 17:13–14.

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