The English translation of the introduction to chapters of the Holy Quran as given by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh is being presented for the benefit of our readers. Insha-Allah, in the coming issues, we will endeavour to publish the introduction to all chapters of the Holy Quran:
Chapter 71: Surah Nuh
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 29 verses.
At the end of the preceding Surah, it was said [by Allah] that We have the power to create better people than you. In this Surah, Allah says, such was the situation on a smaller scale in the punishment of the people of Noahas that except for a few who took refuge in the ark of Noahas, the entire people were drowned. Then a new and better generation was started with those who accompanied Hazrat Noahas.
Allah’s appointed time is discussed once again in verse number five, where it says that you will not be able to put it off once it comes. This is a repetition of the subject matter of the preceding Surah.
Then follows Hazrat Noah’sas wailing and communication that only conveying of the message is not enough, but a Prophet, as if, has to lay his life in order to communicate that message to the people. He does not spare any means by which elders and sundry may be explained; sometimes by crying, and sometimes in secret lest the arrogant may be embarrassed by accepting the truth before the masses; sometimes by public announcements so that the public receives the message directly from the Prophet. Otherwise, their leaders would pervert the message for them. Further, he allures them by saying that if they believe, they will receive showers of blessings from the heavens. And sometimes he warns them that if they fail to believe, then instead of showers of blessings from the heavens, showers of destruction will descend unto them. And the earth too will not be able to help them aught, rather the springs of destruction will sprout from the earth as well. Finally after bringing proof home [itmam al-hujjah], and this is called bringing proof home, they were annihilated and the foundation of a new people was laid.
The prayer of Hazrat Noahas that may Allah the Almighty leave not any of the disbelievers and destroy them was because Allah Almighty had informed him that if they were left alive, they would beget none but sinners and wicked people. The hope that they will beget believers is lost. Thus, when the Divine communities bring truth home by conclusively communicating it in this way, they deserve to pray for the annihilation of their enemies.
Besides that, this Surah also describes how Hazrat Noahas reminded his people of why they do not accept Allah Almighty as a Great Being. It is He Who developed you to completion stage by stage, and this is what is proven about various levels of altitudes in the heavens. This subject was beyond their ken to some extent. Neither did they have any knowledge about their past as to how stage by stage they were created, nor about their future, nor did they have any knowledge about level-by-level altitudes in the heavens. Probably this is a prophecy that when, some time in the future, a new ‘Noah’s Ark’ will be made, the people of that age will have attained all this knowledge. If they still did not desist from propagating polytheism, and truth had been brought home for them then most surely the prayers وَسَحِّقْھُم تَسْحِيقًا (pound them a goodly pounding) and لَا تَذَرۡ عَلَي الۡاَرۡضِ مِنَ الۡکٰفِرِيۡنَ شريرا (leave not on the land a single wicked of the disbelievers) will be fulfilled against them.
Chapter 72: Surah al-Jinn
This Surah was revealed at Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 29 verses.
One connection of the current Surah with Surah Nuh seems to be that this Surah also contains a glad tidings for the people that they will be showered with abundant water of mercy from the heavens if they accept this message. And if they fail to accept, then they will be afflicted with an ever-increasing chastisement. The Deluge mentioned in Surah Nuh was also a gradually increasing flood.
Now we look at the subject matters of the current Surah wherein some very important issues have been raised with regards to the jinn. Ordinary scholars believe that here the jinn is a reference to some invisible creatures made of fire, whereas authentic ahadith prove that the Holy Prophetsa met with a delegation, who were jinn in the sense that they were influential members of their community, and they did light some fires to cook their food. So, it is not at all a reference to any hypothetical jinn.
In addition to that, one of the important matters they [the jinn] discussed is that some stupid people among them attributed some ignorant things to Allah the Almighty. Further, another belief gained currency among them that now Allah the Almighty would never raise any Prophet. They declared this belief wrong because they themselves had witnessed a great Prophet[sa].
Further, with regard to mosques, Allah says that they are made solely for the sake of Allah. None else deserves to be worshipped therein. Then follows the description of the worship of the Holy Prophetsa that in prayer various kinds of grief and worries would crowd upon him and continue distracting his attention. Despite this, his attention was devoted solely to Allah, in contrast to the man who witnesses every day that his festivities and his sorrows succeed in most cases in distracting his attention from worship.
Once again, it has been repeated here that the punishment that you see to be far off no one can say whether it is near or far. Once punishment is afflicted, even if it is considered to be far, it seems to be close.
The Holy Prophetsa received the news of the unseen exceedingly. He himself was not the knower of the unseen, but Allah the Almighty always grants the news of the unseen only to His Messengers, who do not possess the knowledge of the unseen in their personal capacity, but the knowledge of the unseen shared with them is destined to be fulfilled. Similarly, the angels that bring the revelation of ministry [risalah] parade in front and at the back to protect it lest Satans be able to corrupt it. Thus, after the great Prophets of Allah, there are many who follow them as their subordinates, who are commissioned for the semantic preservation of the revelation.
Chapter 73: Surah al-Muzzammil
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 21 verses.
The detail of the state of worship of the Holy Prophetsa described in the preceding Surah is found in the very beginning of the current Surah, which, in short, is that he would wake up at night and spend most of its part crying before Allah. There is no other better way to trample one’s worldly desires than to wake up at night for worship and crush those desires.
Once again in this Surah the Holy Prophet’ssa resemblance has been shown with Hazrat Mosesas that the Prophetsa also is a law-bearing Prophet and a Prophet of majesty. Thus, the recipients of the message of the Holy Prophetsa are being warned that a prophet greater in majesty than Mosesas has appeared. There will be no other result except for their destruction if they oppose him, as against Mosesas a mighty tyrant dared to reject his message and was destroyed.
Chapter 74: Surah al-Muddaththir
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 57 verses.
In the preceding Surah, the Holy Prophetsa has been declared as Muzzammil, as if one has wrapped himself well in a blanket. The same subject continues in the current Surah. And it has been explained as to what clothes are those that a Prophet clings to his body, and regularly purifies them. Here it is not a reference to superficial clothing, but rather it signifies the Companionsra who lived in the close company of the Holy Prophetsa, and they were purified regularly as a result of his blessed and purified company, and they continued getting rid of uncleanliness, whereas earlier it was impossible for a number of them to keep themselves from uncleanliness.
In addition to that, رُجۡز (uncleanliness) may also signify the polytheists of Mecca, and a complete severing of ties with them is directed.
This Surah describes such nineteen harsh angels who will not show any leniency towards punishing the criminals. The number nineteen here is referring to some such human capabilities, with whose wrong use they may end up in Hell. If all the human organs from head to toe, which Allah Almighty has invested man with, are used for their intended purposes, man can avoid evils and lapses. These organs probably number nineteen. But whatever the number may be, this Surah elaborates that the hosts of Allah are countless, and one must not take the impression from the number nineteen that there are only nineteen angels. The angels of Allah Almighty who are appointed for punishment are also countless. They are appointed to punish men according to the situation.
This Surah also makes a prophecy about a moon that will appear after the sun in its footsteps. This is also a very meaningful discourse. This very subject has been discussed in Surah ash-Shams as well.
Chapter 75: Surah al-Qiyamah
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 41 verses.
In the preceding Surah, the inmates of Hell admitted that they were punished with Hell because they refused to believe in the Hereafter. Countless crimes evolve as a result of the denial of the Hereafter, and the entire world abounds in wickedness. Thus, at the beginning of the current Surah, the Day of Judgement as well as the self that accuses itself again and again have been presented as witnesses. Man can keep himself from thousands of sins if he benefits from this admonition.
The reason for disbelievers’ disbelief in the Judgement Day outlined is that they doubted as to how Allah the Almighty would gather all the limbs once they were dispersed. It was only their lack of understanding because the Holy Quran has openly made it clear that their physical bodies will not be gathered, but their spiritual bodies will be gathered. However, the enemy kept on insisting on it in order to laugh at the Prophet of the time; and so that they could present, in their opinion, a logical reason for their disbelief in the Hereafter.
The points discussed in فَاِذَا بَرِقَ الۡبَصَرُوَ خَسَفَ الۡقَمَرُ وَ جُمِعَ الشَّمۡسُ وَ الۡقَمَرُ (when the eye is dazzled, and the moon is eclipsed, and the sun and the moon are brought together) cannot be applied to Judgement Day. These things are signs of the approaching Judgement Day, not the incidents of Judgement Day, because on Judgement Day the system of the world will collapse entirely; neither there will exist this sun, nor this moon, nor their system of orbiting, nor their eclipses, nor anyone to see them.
The phrase, فَاِذَا بَرِقَ الۡبَصَرُ, i.e., ‘when the eye is dazzled’, signifies that in that age terrible chastisements will descend on earth.
Next, it says that a disbeliever will not find any place to flee. It shows that the solar and lunar eclipses will appear as a sign of the truthfulness of a promised one of Allah so that the truth may be brought home for the disbelievers.
When will the solar and lunar eclipses take place? Its detail, according to the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa, is that the solar and lunar eclipses will take place on specific dates in a month called Ramadan. According to the saying of the Holy Prophetsa this incident is a sign of the truthfulness of his Mahdi. So this incident has taken place. A similar prophecy was also made by Hazrat Jesusas of Nazareth.
Next follows another miracle of the Holy Prophetsa. Such a big book as the Holy Quran was revealed in 23 years. When the Holy Prophetsa received its revelation, he would quickly move his tongue to memorise it and avoid forgetting it. However, Allah the Almighty assured him that it is He Who revealed it and it is He Who has the power to collect and preserve it. Thus, the Quran that was revealed to an unlettered one over 23 years was collected and preserved securely. The Promised Messiahas declares it a magnificent miracle that during the period of 23 years, the opponents adopted all means to attack the Holy Prophetsa and sought to kill him. If, God forbid, the enemy had succeeded in killing him after the revelation of some part of it, the claim of the Quran to be a perfect book would have become false and utterly meaningless, God forbid.
In the end, after describing the stages of human birth, it states that it continues to make advancements. Thus, how is it possible that man should not present himself finally before Allah the Almighty and not be accountable for his deeds?
Chapter 76: Surah ad-Dahr
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 32 verses.
Reminding man of his beginning, it has been stated in this Surah that there has come upon man a period of time when he was not a thing worth mentioning, whereas, since his creation, man has been the most worth mentioning of the entire creation. Thus, here it is a reference to the early stages of human creation in that they have gone through such an initial and evolutionary period when they were not worth mentioning at all. This seems to be a period when even the birds had not been endowed with the ability to sing, and a complete silence had enshrouded the earth. Man was created from there and then they were made سَمِيۡعًۢا بَصِيۡرًا i.e., hearing as well as seeing. Thus, the God Who endowed clay with the ability to hear and see, He also has the power to create it again and take account of its hearing and seeing.
Next, the distinct merits of the inhabitants of Paradise are described: they do not do good to others so that, as a result, their own wealth may increase. Whenever they do good to anyone, they say that they are doing it to win Allah’s pleasure only. They desire no reward, nor thanks from them for it.
Chapter 77: Surah al-Mursalat
This Surah was revealed at Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 51 verses.
Again, at the very beginning of this Surah, those future incidents have been described that relate to the Latter Days. And scientific advancement of that age has been presented as a witness that the God Who has given the news of such secrets has the power to bring any revolution. Thus, some such flying objects are mentioned that fly at a slower speed in the beginning, and then fly like fast winds. In this age, the fastest planes fly in like manner that they set off slowly and then their speed increases to an extremely fast speed. In a war with the enemy, leaflets are dropped from these planes in large numbers in order to distinguish that we are your helpers if you are with us, otherwise, none will be able to save you from our clutches.
Further, it states that ‘when stars in the sky lose their light, and when man will adopt various means to ascend to the sky.’ The stars’ losing their light seems to be a reference to the point when the period of the Companionsra will also have passed; and the light, that the followers of the Holy Prophetsa used to take from these stars, will also have become dull.
Further, it states that ‘when mountain-like powers are uprooted, and when all the Messengers are made to appear’. The scholars try to create a misconception about this verse by suggesting that this relates to the Judgement Day. However, no mountains will be uprooted on the Judgement Day; and the Messengers are sent in this world, and will not be sent on the Judgement Day. Thus, it certainly means that according to the prophecy of the Holy Quran, as a result of the complete obedience and subordination of the Holy Prophetsa, such a Messenger will be raised, whose coming will be like the coming of all the past Prophets. That is, due to his efforts, the followers of all the past Prophets will join the fold of the Holy Prophetsa.
One sign of the future wars mentioned here is that they will consist of three departments, viz. army, navy, and air force. And flames resembling castles will shower from the sky as if they are tawny-coloured camels. Both of these verses have conclusively proven that this is metaphoric discourse, because in the time of the Holy Prophetsa, there was no concept of a war in which flames showered from the sky. Therefore, most surely this is a prophecy from the All-Knowing and All-Aware Being Who is well aware of future events.
Flames will not be showered from the sky on Judgement Day; therefore, this belief too that it is about Judgement Day is proven false. Here it seems a prophecy of a nuclear war which is also found in Surah ad-Dukhan that on that day sky will shower such radio-active waves on them under whose shade they will be deprived of any kind of peace.
Further, once again a reference has been made to the life after death that according to the Quranic prophecies once these signs appear in the world then rest assured that there is another life after death. If you fail to obey Allah the Almighty in the present world, then in the next world greater chastisement is destined to befall you as punishment.
Chapter 78: Surah an-Naba’
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 41 verses.
Earlier in Surah al-Mursalat a basic question was raised from the disbelievers as to when will the Day of Decision come that will distinguish between good and bad. In reply to this in Surah an-Naba’ (‘The Great News’) the great news is being shared that that Day of Decision has arrived. In this very Surah it was stated that the promise of the Day of Decision was inevitable which was to be fulfilled at its appointed time.
Further, various forms of the Day of Decision have been outlined in this great Surah. First of all the description of Allah the Almighty’s rain system that showers from the sky and produces food from the earth is repeated. Further, it has been reminded that mankind does not benefit from it, and does not think that the real heavenly water is that of spiritual guidance. The calamities that befall them or will befall them as a result of disbelief therein find their mention in this Surah.
A huge warning has been given at the end of the Surah that if man led his life in an ignorant state, finally they will express their heartfelt desire would that they already were mere dust, and would not be raised from dust in human form.
Chapter 79: Surah an-Nazi‘at
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 47 verses.
According to the Quranic style once again in the current Surah worldly punishments and warfare have been mentioned. And very clearly such warfare is mentioned wherein submarines will be used. One meaning of وَالنّٰزِعٰتِ غَرۡقًا is that those warring objects immerse themselves to attack the enemy to drown them and exult on every success of theirs. And thus, the race of warfare is continued in order to endeavour to excel each other; and from both ends, the enemy makes huge strategies against each other.
The words وَّ السّٰبِحٰتِ سَبۡحًا signify those that set sail; whether they set sail being immersed in water or on the surface of the water. And in most cases, submarines surface after their victory.
In short, these wars are so terrifying that hearts tremble because of their terror, and eyes are cast down. After this world destruction, human conscience raises a question if they will be raised from dead whereas their bones will have rotten and dissolved. [Allah] states, definitely it is going to happen as such. A huge warning cry will echo and suddenly they will all find themselves in the open gathering.
Next follows the mention of Hazrat Mosesas because he was sent to Pharaoh who himself was a claimant of Divinity and a staunch disbeliever in the Hereafter. When Hazrat Mosesas delivered him the message, in reply he boasted that he was their Lord, the Most High. So Allah seized him in such a way that he became a lesson for the earlier and the latter ones. The earlier ones witnessed the destruction of him and his forces; and the latter ones witnessed his drowned body, which Allah the Almighty had saved from apparent death in that he survived until an advanced age struggling between life and death and finally died, and his dead body was preserved in the form of a mummy for a lesson for future generations.
Thereafter, the Surah concludes with the question they ask as to when and how Judgement Day will take place. [Allah] says, once it takes place it will become very clear that everything is finally going to return to its Lord. And O Messenger! You are only a warner unto him who fears this terrible time. And the day when they see it, they will feel that their worldly life had not been for more than a few moments.
Chapter 80: Surah ‘Abasa
This Surah was revealed in the early period of Mecca and, including the basmalah, it consists of 43 verses.
The current Surah as well mentions an arrogant disbeliever of the time of the Holy Prophetsa who visited the Prophetsa to ask some questions. Since the Holy Prophetsa earnestly desired that somebody somehow may be guided to the right path, therefore, in spite of his arrogance, he paid heed to him very compassionately, so much so that a visually impaired believer came to the Prophetsa to ask him some questions, but the Prophetsa did not like his interference at that time. However, as a result of this, he expressed his dislike in such a way that the person who was arguing with him could notice but the blind one could not be disheartened because he was unaware of it. Having described this, Allah the Almighty exhorts that he must not be unmindful of him who comes to him with sincerity and devotion, and an arrogant one who visits him for certain queries, even if he be an influential man, should not be given precedence over an underprivileged devout person.
Thereafter starts the description of the great status of the Holy Quran that how this book reveals the secrets of the inception of creation in the universe and also mentions its end and great events that are to take place on Judgement Day.
(Translated from the original introduction of chapters as presented in the Urdu translation of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh. Translated into English by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, missionary in Ghana)