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Surat Ad-Dahr (Al-'Insān) - The Man

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    as two men passed by a graveyard, one of them asked: “Do you know what these graves are saying to us?” “What do they say?” asked the other. “They say: ‘We were once like you, but one day you shall be like us!’” he replied.

    Indeed, ask yourself where were you, and most people in your generation, a hundred years ago? The opening verse in this surah has the answer. It says: “Has there not been upon man a long period of time when it was nothing, not even a thing to be thought of?” (1).

    We were all once nonexistent, but then God brought us to life and gave us hearing and sight. One day we shall be taken away from this world to face our Creator. But in what state shall we be when we return to life again? The surah says:

    For the unbelievers We have prepared chains and manacles and a blazing fire. The righteous will drink from a cup a mixture of cam- phor, a fountain where the servants of God go to drink. (4–6)

    The surah is almost totally devoted to describing the opulence and the splendor of Paradise that await the faithful. It says: “When you behold the scene you will see great opulence and a realm of vast riches” (20). It is a reward to the believers for their faith and devo- tion: “This is your reward, and your endeavor is hereby accepted and recognized” (22).

    The second half of the surah is devoted to extolling the virtues of God’s final message to mankind and its role in shaping individuals

    and societies. The social and moral influences of society on individ- uals cannot be underestimated. Changing society according to the teachings and principles of the Qur’an is liable to bring about a righteous and upright nation. The surah says:

    We have sent down the Qur’an to you [Muhammad] piecemeal; therefore be patient and await the judgment of your Lord, and do not yield to the wicked and the unbelieving. (23–24)

    Remembrance of God must be a continuous vocation, by day and by night. The surah exhorts: “And remember the name of your Lord morning and evening, and at night pray to Him and glorify Him for most of the night” (25–26).

    The surah cites a human trait which is true throughout the ages, that: “The unbelievers love this fleeting life too well, and leave behind them [all thought of] a grief-laden Day” (27). It is a fact that people tend to become occupied with their desires and worldly affairs and forget about death and the hereafter. In today’s world, talking of the hereafter is almost a taboo while people no longer respond to the mention of death.

    This is not a call to morbidity or pessimism but a condemnation of laxity and indifference, and an invitation to overcome our whims and desires. It is important that we know where we have come from and where we are going. The surah says: “This is indeed an admoni- tion, so let him that will take the path that leads to his Lord” (29). God guides those who seek the right path and clears the way for the believers, and He leaves the neglectful to their own devices. The surah ends with: “He takes into His mercy whom He will, but for the wrong-doers He has prepared a grievous punishment” (31).

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    هَلْ أَتَىٰ عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ حِينٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُن شَيْئًا مَّذْكُورًا

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    إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَّبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا

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    إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا

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    إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ سَلَاسِلَ وَأَغْلَالًا وَسَعِيرًا

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    إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ يَشْرَبُونَ مِن كَأْسٍ كَانَ مِزَاجُهَا كَافُورًا

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    عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا عِبَادُ اللَّهِ يُفَجِّرُونَهَا تَفْجِيرًا

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    يُوفُونَ بِالنَّذْرِ وَيَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا كَانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيرًا

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    وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا

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    إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا

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