QXP - TRANSLATION BY SHABBIR AHMED, M.D.
Surah 74. Al-Muddaththir – Founder of the Benevolent Order
[Author’s Note] This is the 74th Surah of the Qur’an. It has 56 verses. Like the previous Surah, Al-Muddaththir is usually given a very feeble meaning unbecoming of the exalted Prophet - that Al-Muddaththir is the man who cloaks himself in hiding. In fact, it is a title of great honor.
Muddaththir signifies a man who sets things in order beyond regional and spatial boundaries. It also indicates a man of impeccable character. In addition, it refers to a fearless rider who jumps upon a moving horse. Keeping all these meanings in mind Al-Muddaththir is the title of Muhammad (S) - A man of flawless character who has been entrusted with setting the house of humanity to order. And He will do it fast (jumping on the moving horse). The matchless personality of the exalted Prophet was entrusted with establishing a most Benevolent Social Order in the world. He achieved the results with lightening speed and the entire humanity since then has been consciously or unconsciously moving along with the Qur’anic Principles.
This Surah has the characteristic of embracing almost all the basic tenets of Islam, giving us a glimpse of the Big Picture of the Qur’an.
With the Glorious Name of God, the Instant and Sustaining Source of all Mercy and Kindness
74:1 O You founder of the most Benevolent Order!
74:2 Rise up to the occasion and post danger signs on the highway of Life.
74:3 Establish the greatness of your Sustainer on earth!
74:4 Keep a spotless character! [Literally but erroneously here, purify your garments]
74:5 Leave alone the opponents. And leave alone friends who are unable to stand up straight in one motion. (‘Rujz’ = A neurological disease in the cattle and camels that prevents them from rising from a sitting position to standing in one smooth, quick and sharp movement).
74:6 Seek not rivalry in material gains. [30:39, 76:9]
74:7 And be steadfast for the Mission of your Sustainer.
74:8 For when the Trumpet is sounded,
74:9 That will be the Day – A Day of hardship,
74:10 Not of ease, for all who deny the truth.
74:11 Leave it to Me (My law) alone to decide about him whom I alone have created. [This is another verse forbidding worldly punishment for deniers of the truth or ‘apostates’]
74:12 And then granted him abundant wealth and resources. [73:11]
74:13 And children and party abiding in his presence.
74:14 And made life comfortable for him like a cradle.
74:15 But he keeps increasing in greed, desiring more and more.
74:16 Nay, he has been a stubborn opponent of Our revelations.
74:17 I will cause him to walk an exhausting uphill climb.
74:18 He thought and he determined.
74:19 Woe to him! How he determined.
74:20 Woe to him again! How he determined.
74:21 And then he looked around.
74:22 Then he frowned and glared.
74:23 And then he turned away in pride.
74:24 And said, "All this is a remnant of ancient magic.
74:25 This is nothing but the speech of a human.”
74:26 I shall soon cast him into Saqar.
74:27 Ah, what will convey to you what Saqar is!
74:28 A fire that lets not live and lets not die. [Fire of Regret, Remorse, Anguish]
74:29 Visibly written on the tablet of an individual’s life,
74:30 Over which are nineteen.
[On the tablet of human life are inscribed nineteen (several) patterns of behavior that lead to the fire. They could be the telltale signs written on the tablet of an individual’s life. The intelligent reader may reflect on those patterns and reach one’s own conclusions. According to my humble understanding, some patterns of behavior that lead to the Hellfire could be: SHIRK = Associating others with God. Accepting human authorities parallel to Divine revelation. Sectarianism. Idol worship in any form. Being content with manmade systems. Worshiping graves, saints, ancestors or one's own desires. Blind following or accepting religious information without discernment. Failing to use the Divine Word as the Criterion. ITHM = Actions that deplete individual and collective potential. Destroying human lives. Lewd behavior. Discouraging productive work. Causing fear or grief by any means. Indulgence in pursuit of material pleasure. 3. ‘UDWAN = Creating wedges of discord between people. Causing dissension. Spreading disorder and corruption. Promoting racial, sectarian and nationalistic hatred. ISRAAF = Wasting resources or one’s own ‘self’. Crossing limits. Moving away from moderation. Committing excesses in any aspect of life including Religion. Defying Moral Values given in the Qur’an. Using intoxicants that waste the human ‘self’. M’ASIAH = Disobedience of Divine Commands as given in the Qur’an. Rebelling against God and the rightly guided Central Authority. SAYYEH = Destabilizing the lives of others. Failing to fulfill the rights of others. Injustice. Inequity. Deceiving in business or other dealings. Falling short in discharging duties. Nepotism. ZULM = Relegating the truth or displacing anything from its rightful place. Oppressing people. Violating human rights. Hurting others or one’s own ‘self’. Doing wrong to God's creatures and environment. Enslaving bodies and minds. IFK = Backbiting. Evil scheming. Defaming. Undue criticism. Fault finding. Slandering. Presenting the 'heard' as 'seen'. Alarmist behavior. ZANN = False assumptions about people. Condemnation without investigation. Falling for superstitions. Belittling the truth. Following conjecture. Staying out of touch with reality. JURM = Stealing the fruit of others’ labor. Violating human rights. Living subhuman life. Witnessing for falsehood. Depriving others from their rights. Devouring others' possessions. Not giving share where it is due. TAKABBUR = False pride. Arrogance. Self-glorification. Holding others in contempt. Refusing to learn and unlearn. Insisting on blind following. Refusing to admit fault. Being forward before the messages of God. Mocking the truth. Deeming to ‘know it all'. Considering material goods higher than moral virtue. GHILL = Harboring malice in the heart. Failing to forgive people. Looking forward to take revenge. Plotting to hurt others. Being hateful. Bearing. GHADHAB = Extreme anger. Letting loose virulent emotions. Succumbing to violent desires. Yelling at others. Intimidating the weak. Losing self-control. Impulsive attitude. TAKZEEB = Belying the Truth. Denying Faith with in practice. BUKHL = Stinginess. Hoarding. Withholding resources from humanity. Apathy toward the needy. Greed. LAGHW = Wasting time. Idle talk. Meaningless assemblies. Conspiring. Senseless play and pastime. SADD = Barring from the path of God. Considering human thoughts superior to Divine revelation. Hindering emigration from the domain of evil. Presenting falsehood as truth. Misleading people with conjecture. Hindering from the Divinely ordained System of Life. JADAL = Disputation = Vain argumentation. Opposing Divine messages. Confounding the truth with falsehood. KUFR = Stubborn denial of the truth. Ingratitude. Concealing the truth. Choosing to live in the darkness of ignorance. Knowingly oppose the truth. Uncritical adherence to ancestral views. Being with the majority without discernment]
74:31 We have appointed none but angelic powers (universal laws) to be the keepers of the fire. And We have made their number a trial for those who are bent upon denying the truth. This allegory should grant certainty to those who received the scripture before while the believers shall increase in faith. The believers and those who have been given the scripture before shall harbor no doubt about this declaration. The hypocrites and the deniers may say, “What does God mean by this parable?” Thus, God lets go astray him who wills to go astray, and guides him who wills to be guided. And no one knows the forces of your Sustainer but He. This (Qur’an) is nothing but a Reminder to humans. [See 2:26, 3:7. Those who love to harbor and spread doubt try to give literal meanings to allegories. With increasing knowledge, we have come to understand many of the allegories in their literal meanings, and more is forthcoming. See 41:53 Soon, shall We show them Our signs in the utmost Horizons and within themselves until it becomes obvious to them that this Qur’an is certainly the Truth. Is it not enough that your Sustainer is Witness to all things (including this proclamation)? [9:31-33, 13:31, 14:48, 18:48, 41:53, 48:28, 51:20-21, 61:9]
74:32 Nay! The Moon stands witness.
74:33 And the Night when it departs.
74:34 And the Dawn as it shines forth.
74:35 This (the fore-going) is one of the greatest allegories (that the revolution is coming in all its splendor).
74:36 This is a fore-warning for every human being.
74:37 To everyone of you, whether he chooses to advance or to lag behind.
74:38 Every person is held in pledge for all that he has done. [52:21]
74:39 But those who will stand on the right hand side. [The righteous ones. Yameen = A metaphor for righteousness and success. They have actualized their own ‘self’ by doing good to others]
74:40 In Gardens they will ask,
74:41 Of those who used to steal the fruit of others' toil.
74:42 “What has led you into Saqar?” [A fire that lets not live and lets not die. Fire of Regret 74:28]
74:43 They will reply, "We were not of the Musalleen.”
[Who are Musalleen? 70:22-35. The Musalleen (from Salaat - are not the so called ritualistic praying ones, but) Those who always follow the Divine System. Those in whose wealth and possessions is a known right. For him who asks for help, and for him who is deprived. Those who have conviction in the Day of Judgment. Those who are fearful of their Sustainer’s requital. (They know that) none can feel secure against their Sustainer’s requital. (Still Musalleen are also) Those men and women who maintain their chastity. They have intimate relations only with their spouses – that is, those who are rightfully theirs through wedlock. For such relationship they are free of blame. But anyone who seeks beyond this, those are the transgressors. (And Musalleen are) Those who guard their trusts and duties assigned to them, and their pledges, as a shepherd guards his flock. Those who are truthful as witness and stand by their testimony. Those who consolidate and protect the Divine System. (Musalleen are the ones who collectively build Paradise on earth and inherit that in the Hereafter.) They will be the honored ones dwelling in the Gardens of bliss]
74:44 “Neither did we feed the hungry, nor did we take part in helping those who had lost their jobs, those whose businesses had stalled, and those whose hard-earned income was insufficient to meet their basic needs.”
74:45 “And we were among those who used to say what they did not do.”
74:46 “And we used to deny the Day of Judgment and that the Divine System will eventually prevail”
74:47 “Till the inevitable truth came to us.”
74:48 Then no mediation of any mediator will help.
74:49 What, then, is the matter with them that they are turning away from a clear Advisory?
74:50 As if they were frightened zebras.
74:51 Fleeing from a lion!
74:52 Nay, each of them wants to be given the scrolls of revelation personally, unfolded.
74:53 They do not fear the Hereafter.
74:54 Nay, this is an Advisory.
74:55 So whoever wills may take it to heart.
74:56 But they will not take it to heart but according to God’s laws (of guidance). He is the Source of righteousness, and the Source of forgiveness. [4:88, 76:30, 81:29]