Chapter Scripts

Surah An-Nazi’at 79:11-20

79:11 Even though we may have become [a heap of] crumbling bones?”


Lit., “in the first [life]”. See the last sentence of 7:137 – “We utterly destroyed all that Pharaoh and his people had wrought and all that they had built” – and the corresponding note 100.

79:12 [And] they add, “That, then, would be a return with loss!”


Lit., “or the heaven. . . “, etc. The “heaven” is here, as in many other places in the Qur’an, a metonym for the “cosmic system” (cf. note 20 on 2:29). The above verse is an echo of an earlier, more explicit passage – namely, 40:56-57, which should be read together with the corresponding notes 40 and 41.  Both these passages refute the “man-centered” view of the universe by pointing out man’s insignificance as compared with the vastness and complexity of the whole God-created universe.

79:13 [But] then, that [Last Hour] will be [upon them of a sudden, as if it were] but a single accusing cry. 


See 87:2, which is the earliest instance, in the chronology of Qur’anic revelation, of the use of the verb sawwa in the above sense.

79:14 And then, lo, they will be fully awakened [to the truth]!


The term “pasture” (mar’a) connotes here, metonymically, all herbal product suitable for consumption by man or animal (Razi).

79:15 Has the story of Moses ever come within thy ken.


Implying (as in 80:24-32) that man ought to be grateful to God, and should always be conscious of His being the Provider: hence the subsequent return of the discourse to the theme of resurrection and ultimate judgment.

79:16 Lo! His Sustainer called out to him in the twice-hallowed valley.


Cf. 26:91 – “will be laid open before those who had been lost in grievous error”: thus reminding man that suffering in the hereafter (“hell”) is the inevitable consequence of spiritual self-destruction through deliberate wrongdoing.

79:17 Go unto Pharaoh – for, Verily, he has transgressed all bounds of what is right.


Lit., “wherein [or “whereon”] art thou with regard to stating it (min dhikraha)?”

79:18 And say [unto him], ‘Art thou desirous of attaining to purity?


Lit., “its utmost limit”, i.e., the beginning and the end of all that can be known about it.
Cf. 7:187 and the corresponding note 153.

79:19 [If so] then I shall guide thee towards [a cognition of] thy Sustainer, so that [henceforth] thou wilt stand in awe [of Him].


As in many other places in the Qur’an (e.g., in 2:259, 17:52, 18:19, 20:103-104, 23:112-113, 30:55 etc.), this is a subtle indication of the illusory, earthbound nature of man’s concept of “time” – a concept which, we are told, will lose all its meaning in the context of the ultimate reality comprised in the term “hereafter” (al-akhirah).

79:20 And thereupon he [went to Pharaoh and] made him aware of the great wonder [of God’s Grace].


The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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