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Surat Al-`Ādiyāt (The Courser)

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    To flourish and take root, religious faith has to be strongly defended and protected. Without this protection, falsehood would have a free rein. Human history is replete with corrupt and oppres- sive rulers who have dominated millions of people by brute force and trampled over values of justice, honor, and dignity. According to many, might is right, and it is also true to say that for right to be ade- quately safeguarded, might must also be present. In this surah, God swears by certain means usually associated with power and jihad. He says: By the panting steeds as they charge forth, striking fire with their hooves and galloping to assault at dawn, with trails of sand, blazing into the heart of the battlefield; man is ungrateful to his Lord! (1–6) The scene is of knights on horseback, fighting fiercely; horses pant- ing and jostling against each other, with their hooves striking the ground, giving out sparks of fire; and fearless riders bravely thrusting forward. For the unbelievers, defending false and corrupt beliefs, such scenes represent the moment of truth when they shall realize their errors and pay for them with their blood. Jihad is necessary to revive faith in God, to weed out corruption and evil, and to ensure the health and well-being of society. This is as true today as at any time in history, not least because of the preva- lence and dominance of corruption and injustice everywhere, as the surah points out, saying: “Man is ungrateful to his Lord! To this he himself bears witness” (6–7). The materialistic nature of contemporary civilization, its ungodli- ness and the extent of its denial of judgment and accountability in the life to come, must be unprecedented in human history. The surah affirms man’s weakness in his devotion to wealth and warns: Is man not aware that when the dead are raised from their graves, and men’s hidden thoughts are laid open, their Lord shall on that day be fully aware of them? (9–11)

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    وَالْعَادِيَاتِ ضَبْحًا

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    فَالْمُورِيَاتِ قَدْحًا

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    فَالْمُغِيرَاتِ صُبْحًا

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    فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا

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    فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا

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    إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ

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    وَإِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ

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    وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ

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    أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ

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