In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace.
77:1 Consider these [messages] sent forth in waves.
i.e., one after another: an allusion to the gradual, step-by-step revelation of the Qur’an. By contrast, the next clause (verse 2) obviously relates to the impact of the divine writ as a whole. For my rendering of the adjurative particle wa as “Consider”, see su-rah 74, first half of note 23.
77:2 And then storming on with a tempest’s force!
Lit., “with [all] separation” (farqan). Cf. 8:29 and the corresponding note; also note 38 on 2:53.
77:3 Consider these [messages] that spread [the truth] far and wide.
i.e., showing what leads to freedom from blame – in other words, the principles of right conduct – and what is ethically reprehensible and, therefore, to be avoided.
77:4 Thus separating [right and wrong] with all clarity.
Lit., “that which you are promised”, i.e., resurrection.
77:5 And then giving forth a reminder.
Sc., to bear witness for or against those to whom they conveyed God’s message (cf. 4:41-42,
5:109, 7:6 or 39:69).
77:6 [Promising] freedom from blame or [offering] a warning!
This is chronologically the earliest occurrence of the expression yawm al-fasl, which invariably relates to the Day of Resurrection (cf. 37:21, 44:40, 78:17, as well as verse 38 of the present surah): an allusion to the oft-repeated Qur’anic statement that on resurrection man will gain perfect, unfailing insight into himself and the innermost motivation of his past attitudes and doings (cf. 69:1 and the corresponding note 1).
77:7 Behold, all that you are told to expect4 will surely come to pass.
The use of the conjunction thumma – which in this case has been rendered as “And” – implies that suffering in the hereafter is bound to befall the sinners “of later times” (al-akhirun) even if God, in His unfathomable wisdom, wills to spare them in this world.
77:8 Thus, [it will come to pass] when the stars are effaced.
The process of man’s coming into being (illustrated, for instance, in 23:12-14) clearly point to God’s creative activity and, hence, to His existence. Consequently, lack of gratitude on man’s part amounts to what the Qur’an describes as “giving the lie to the truth”.
77:9 And when the sky is rent asunder.
This refers not merely to the fact that the earth is an abode for living and dead human beings and animals, but is also an allusion to the God-willed, cyclic recurrence of birth, growth, decay, and death in all organic creation – and thus evidence of the existence of the Creator who “brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive (3:27, 6:95, 10:31 and 30:19).
77:10 And when the mountains are scattered like dust.
Parallel with the preceding, this verse refers to God’s creation of inanimate matter, and thus rounds off the statement that He is the Maker of the universe in all its manifestations, both organic and inorganic.