English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 88: Al-Ghashiyah — The Overwhelming Event (Revealed at Makkah: 26 verses)

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Introduction:

The Overwhelming Event, whose mention in the first verse supplies the name of this chapter, is the doom of the opponents in this life and their punishment in the Hereafter. The date of revelation is placed about the fourth year of the Holy Prophet’s mission.

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Translation:

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

88:1 Has the news come to you of the Overwhelming Event?1
88:2 Faces on that day will be downcast,
88:3 labouring, toiling,
88:4 entering burning Fire,
88:5 made to drink from a boiling spring.
88:6 They will have no food but of thorns,
88:7 neither nourishing nor satisfying hunger.
88:8 Faces on that day will be happy,
88:9 glad for their striving,
88:10 in a lofty Garden,
88:11 in which you will hear no vain talk.
88:12 In it there is a fountain flowing.
88:13 In it there are thrones raised high,
88:14 and drinking-cups ready placed,
88:15 and cushions set in rows,
88:16 and carpets spread out.
88:17 Do they not see the clouds,2 how they are created?
88:18 And the heaven, how it is raised high?
88:19 And the mountains, how they are fixed?
88:20 And the earth, how it is spread out?
88:21 So remind. You are one to remind only.
88:22 You are not a warder over them —
88:23 but whoever turns back and disbelieves,
88:24 Allah will punish him with the greatest punishment.
88:25 Surely to Us is their return.
88:26 Then it is for Us to call them to account.

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Commentary:

  1. The Overwhelming Event is no doubt the Resurrection, but the over­whelm­ing event of this life is the doom of the opponents of Truth. The description of the two parties that follows applies to an utterly discomfited and disappointed enemy and to the faithful in the hour of their triumph.
  2. Ibil also means clouds that bear the water for rain. This signifi­cance suits the context better than the usual rendering, the camels. The mention of the clouds along with the heavens, where they exist, and with mountains, which cool the vapours so that they pour down water, and the earth, which benefits by that water, is in accordance with what is said in many other places.

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