76:11 And so, God will preserve them from the woes of that Day and will bestow on them brightness and joy.
The term asir denotes anyone who is a “captive” either literally (e.g. a prisoner) or figuratively, i.e., a captive of circumstances which render him helpless; thus, the Prophet said, “Thy debtor is thy captive; be, therefore, truly kind to thy captive” (Zamakhshari, Razi, et al.). The injunction of kindness towards all who are in need of help – and therefore “captive” in one sense or another – applies to believers and non-believers alike (Tabari, Zamakhshari), and apparently also to animals’ dependent on man.
76:12 And will reward them for all their patience in adversity with a garden [of bliss] and with [garments of] silk.
Lit” “we fear our Sustainer”.
76:13 In that [garden] they will on couches recline and will know therein neither [burning] sun nor cold severe.
For this allegory, see the first half of note 41 on 18:31.
76:14 Since its [blissful] shades will come down low over them, and low will hang down its clusters of fruit, most easy to reach.
Regarding the allegorical implication of the term “shades” (zilal), see note 74 on 4:57. It is to be noted that the existence of shade presupposes, the existence of light (Jawhari), which latter is one of the characteristics implicit in the concept of “paradise”.
76:15 And they will be waited upon with vessels of silver and goblets that will [seem to] be crystal.
Lit., “in all humility”.
76:16 Crystal-like, [but] of silver – the measure whereof they alone will determine.
i.e., partaking of as much as they may desire.
76:17 And in that [paradise] they will be given to drink of a cup flavored with ginger.
This is how Ali ibn Abi Talib – as quoted by Zamakhshari and Razi – explains the (obviously compound) word salsabilan, dividing it into its two components, sal sabilan (“ask [or “seek”] the way”): namely, “seek thy way to paradise by means of doing righteous deeds”. Although Zamakhshari does not quite agree with this interpretation, it is, in my opinion, very convincing inasmuch as it contains an allusion to the highly allegorical character of the concept of “paradise” as a spiritual consequence of one’s positive endeavors in this world, That its delights are not of material nature is also evident from their varying descriptions – i.e., “a cup flavored with ginger” in verse 17, and “flavored with the calyx of sweet-smelling flowers” in verse 5; or “they will be waited upon with trays and goblets of gold” in 43:71, and “vessels of silver and goblets that will [seem to] be crystal crystal-like, [but] of silver”, in verses 15-16 of this surah; and so forth.
76:18 [Derived from] a source [to be found] therein, whose name is “Seek Thy Way”.
See note 6 on 56:17-18
76:19 And immortal youths will wait upon them: when thou seest them, thou wouldst deem them to be scattered pearls.
See 18:31 (where “bracelets of gold” are mentioned) and the corresponding note 41.
76:20 And when thou seest [anything that is] their thou wilt see [only] bliss and a realm transcendent.
Implying that God Himself will slake their spiritual thirst by purifying their inner selves “of all envy, and rancor, and malice, and all that leads to harm, and all that is based in man’s nature” (Ibn Kathir, quoting Ali ibn Abi Talib), and by allowing them to “drink” of His Own Light (Razi).