This chapter was revealed in Mecca; and all Meccan chapters discuss or describe the fundamentals of faith. Its title comes from verse 28 in which the kneeling of all people on the Day of Judgment is described. This 37 verses chapter address some of the arguments put forward by those who are skeptical about the truthfulness of the Quran. Emphasis is placed on God’s signs in the universe and on the painful punishment that will be the fate of those who refuse to believe. The arrogance of the disbelievers is compared to the Greatness of God.
Chapters 40 to 46 of the Quran begin with the Arabic letters Ha and Mim. The use of these Arabic letters at the beginning of a chapter is a narrative device used in a total of 28 chapters of the Quran. The reason for this is the subject of much scholarly debate, however, the precise answer is known only to God. Following these letters, something about the Quran is usually revealed. In this chapter, we are told that this book, the Quran, is revealed by God.
Those who believe, see the signs that point to this in the heavens and on the earth. The creation of the human being and all other creatures is also a sign of God Almighty’s power for those with certain faith. The alternation of day and night, the rain that falls at God’s command reviving a previously dry barren earth, and winds blowing at God’s discretion are signs for those who can use their power of reasoning. These are the true verses from God recited to Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. If they do not believe in these revelations what will they believe in?
God promises anguish to the lying, sinful people who hear His words recited yet persist in arrogance as if they did not hear anything. These people ridicule God’s verses, and for doing so, they will receive a humiliating punishment. Hell is before them, and what they did of good in this world will not help them at all, nor will the things they set up as partners with God. Their punishment will be great. This Quran, this revelation, is guidance, and those who reject will face nothing but a painful torment.
It is God who controls the seas, and your ships sail on them by His command, in order that you can seek His bounty and give Him thanks. Everything in the heavens and the earth is at your disposal; they are for humankind’s benefit—it is a gift from God. Should you not be grateful? This too is a sign for those who think and reflect.
Prophet Muhammad, tell the believers that they should forgive those who do not believe or expect God’s days of retribution. God Himself will recompense them for how they behaved in the world, according to what they earned. Whoever behaves well does so for his own benefit, and whoever does evil harms only himself. And then, all will be returned to Him.
The Children of Israel were given scripture, wisdom, and prophethood. They were provided with all kinds of good things; God even preferred them over others. They were given clear proof about matters of religion. After knowledge came to them, they differed amongst themselves and became rivals. On the Day of Judgement, God will judge between them.
Prophet Muhammad is told that he has been set on a clear path. He must follow it and not be distracted by those who have no knowledge, and they cannot help him in any way. The wrongdoers have only each other, the believers however, are under God’s protection. This revelation is insight for many, and it is a source of guidance and mercy for the believers.
Do those who commit evil really think that God will deal with them in the same way that He deals with the righteous? Do they imagine that their living and dying will be the same? It is evil to assume this. God created the heavens and the earth for a purpose; to reward each person according to their deeds. Have you seen the person who takes his own desires as a god? God allows him to stray even when he is surrounded by knowledge. His ears and heart are sealed, and his eyes are covered. Where could he find guidance after God has done this? What more do you need to take heed?
They say that there is nothing but the life in this world, but how do they know that? It is only a guess they have no real knowledge. When God’s revelations are recited to them, they ask for their forefathers to be returned to them. Prophet Muhammad should answer their request by saying that it is God who gives life and causes death. He will then gather everyone on the Day of Judgment. That is a day of which there is no doubt, but most people do not understand this.
Control of everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to God, and when the fateful Hour comes, those who follow falsehood will lose. Every community will be seen kneeling (before God), and every community will be summoned and handed their record, because everything has been recorded. Those who believed and were righteous will be admitted into God’s Mercy. This is a clear triumph.
Those who disbelieved will be asked why they ignored the revelations. They are reminded that when God’s promise was explained to them, they replied that they knew nothing of the Hour and considered it conjecture. The evil of those actions will then become apparent to them when the punishment they mocked engulfs them. God will ignore them on that Day just as they ignored Him. Because they ridiculed God’s revelations, the Fire will become their home. They will never leave, and making amends is not an option.
Praise be to God, the true Lord of the heavens, the earth, and all the worlds. All Greatness belongs to Him, and He alone is All-Mighty and All-Wise.
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