Qur’an 82: 1-19 page 587

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

Yusuf Ali’s explanation of this Chapter.

Muhammad Asad’s explanation of this Chapter..

Laleh Bakhtiar’s explanation of this Chapter.


سورة الانفطار

‘The Opening (i)/ Cleaving Asunder


From Introduction of Yusuf Ali:

“In subject matter this Surah is cognate to the last, though the best authorities consider it a good deal later in chronology in the early Makkan Period.

Its argument is subject to the threefold mentioned in n. 5982 to 81:13viz, as referring:

1. to the final Day of Judgment.

2. to the lesser Judgement, on an individual’s death, and

3. to the  awakening of the Inner Light in the Soul at any time, that being considered as Death to the Falsities of this life and a Rebirth to the true  Spiritual Reality.”

From Introduction of Muhammad Asad:

“ALTHOUGH some authorities assign this surah to the early part of the Mecca period, others regard it as more probable that it belongs to the last group of Meccan revelations.”



Although this Chapter takes its name from a powerful natural phenomena taking place at the end of ‘time,’ its subject-matter is Human Accountability towards Self, each other, and our Lord Creator. As it highlights this important topic, this chapter helps us DEFINE the word ‘Deen/ Accountability,’ as it takes us to that decisive Day/ Time of Accountability.

THE LINK between this Chapter and another chapter with a title ALSO derived from the root-verb ‘faTara’ (Ch. 35, ‘FaaTir’) is VERY INTERESTING, as we shall see.

PAGE 587 ArabicQur’an

1.   Verses 1- 4 tell us of FOUR events unfolding at the end of life on earth; when the Exalted Expanse/ Sky shall ‘open/ initiate’ (another beginning), and the planets shall scatter (ii), and the oceans shall be made to burst out, and the graves shall be upheaved/ strewn about (iii)… When these four events take place:

The Self shall know what itivhad advanced, and what it had postponed.

STOP. The Qur’an is assuring us, that each of us shall come to know what we had advanced for ourselves, as well as what we had postponed….?

I am looking at this verse as if I’d never seen it before!

We always knew that we’d be responsible for what we’d ‘advanced’ of our deeds, or ‘sent forth, or ‘committed’.. and when we found out in the previous chapter that this includes the ripple-effects of our deeds, we felt anxious with regard to any negativity we may have caused without knowing. But now, right here…. we uncover an even greater challenge!

Dear Reader: I say this tearfully, knowing how lacking I have been… and hoping that this Qur’an project continues to help us both, and many others after we are gone. Listen to what we are told:

We are told that we are responsible for what we had advanced AND WHAT WE HAD POSTPONED.

This is about our list of PRIORITIES… our mental ‘to do’ list.

What was on the list?

What did we place low on that list, which should have been on top?

What did we procrastinate about, which should have been taken care of?

WE are responsible for what had we fretted about and spent our time advancing, and what had we placed lower on our list of priorities and postponed.

Perhaps now we can better understand why the Qur’an spoke SO highly of those who advanced even among others to become THE ‘Foremost/ al sabiqoon. Remember the call for us to ‘RACE towards Forgiveness from our Lord…’ HQ 57: 21…?

Time is everything.

Time is Life.

Time is the difference between success and failure.

I love Al-Basri’s words of wisdom which say:

“O Son of Adam: You are nothing but days.

When your day is past,

a part of you has already passed away.”

What is the interesting ‘link’ we found between this Chapter ‘Al InfiTaar’ and the Chapter of ‘FaaTir’ (other than that both titles share same root-verb, one referring to ‘cosmic’ Beginnings, and the other to The Initiator Himself)?

The earlier-revealed Chapter (this one) shows us the importance of organizing and accomplishing our ‘to do’ list (HQ 82:5).

The later-revealed Chapter shows us the result, the assessment of how we turn out (HQ 35: 32) even AFTER having received guidance:

There we learn that people end up in one of these three groups:

- Self-Wrongers’ (who attempted to, and did actually wrong themselves/others).

- Frugal persons’ (who made no attempt to either wrong or benefit themselves/ others… or those whose good and bad deeds balanced each other out).

- Foremost in Goodness, by God’s leave’ (those whose efforts towards Good were unmatched by the general public), which is considered the High Blessing.

(May we be counted among the third group. Amen)

  1. Then Verses 6- 8 speak directly to the Cognizant Human, in the second person ‘you,’ asking each of us bluntly:

    “O Cognizant Human: What deluded you

    in (not recognizing) your Eminent Lord?”

    Remember that the Qur’an gets its response, even in the silence of its listeners.

    It reminds us that;

    We are Cognizant Beings.

    God is our Lord Creator and Sustainer.

    It is He Who created us, duly proportioning us into the ideal ‘balanced’ creature we so admire today, through a lengthy process which our Sciences have uncovered something about, which the Qur’an describes quite precisely as ‘taswiyyah’ (put ‘stew’ and ‘estawaa’ in ‘Search’).

    In whatever state we are, it was by His Leave that each of us was ‘put together/ formed.’

    So, what is it that prevents us from seeing the One, Unique Source and Sustainer of all Existence?

  2. Verse 9 seems to answer that question:

    ‘Nay, but you do indeed ‘bely/ disbelieve’ in the Accountability!’

    ‘Belying’ in the Accountability means to deny the concept of being accountable/ responsible for one’s deeds. It means to ignore our social responsibilities. It means to call this ‘false’… ‘a lie.’

    It also means that one does NOT believe in the concept of ‘God’s Justice.’

    As we know, Qureishdid not believe in resurrection -or the Afterlife- where they would face the consequence of their deeds. They ‘belied’ in the Accountability, and were deluded about God.

    There is another Chapter (107: 1-3) which CLEARLY DEFINES ACCOUNTABILITY for us as a SOCIAL responsibility, showing us that our:

    Lack of Commitment to the needy in our society = Belying Accountability!

    “Do you see the one who belies in Accountability?

    That is the one who pushes away the orphan,

    and does not urge to feeding the destitute!”

    أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿

    ١ فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ ﴿٢

     وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ ﴿٣

    Here’s a chilling thought: When God accuses listeners of belying in ‘Deen,’ wouldn’t that include people who say that ‘Deen’ is something it is not?  Honestly… how many of us see ‘Deen’ as a commitment to others?

    (I ask this question with trepidation, and hope you see the seriousness of this, dear Reader, especially as the verses continue to address this. Notice how we have replaced the concept of ‘Accountability’ with other things.)

  3. Verses 10- 12 then tell listeners directly (second person plural you) that not only are you accountable, but that there are indeed (appointed) upon youCustodians/ Caretakers… Eminent Compilers… observing/ marking out every single deed you do!

    – The verbفعل(fa’ala) is quite specific unlike the general عمل(‘amala)- put words in Search.

    – The preposition ‘ala- على‘ is used here (rather than ‘li-ل‘), pointing to something held against, rather than in favor of someone. And here, dear Reader, we can see how much in trouble we might be for not even acknowledging the SOCIAL essence of this directive.

  4. Verse 13 is persuasive, summing up a blissful scene in an announcement that:

    ‘The ‘Forthcoming/ al Abraar’ are indeed in ‘utmost Pleasure and Well-being/ Na’eem.’

    Beautiful. This reminds us of the importance of our list of priorities, and the fact that we should be seeking constant advancement. Only then, can we be considered ‘forerunners’ to goodness on earth. And our social responsibilities had better be topmost on that list!

    Put ‘abraar’ in ‘Search’ to see other verses which speak of this group.

  5. After Persuasion, comes Dissuasion, as Verses 14- 16 tell us about the ‘Fujjaar/ Destructive’ (persons) who are indeed in ‘the Scalding/ jaHeem.’ Conjoined to it at the ‘Time of Accountability,’ they are not, from it, ever absent/ unseen (v). Terrible! They seem to become one with it; an inseperable part of it!

    Now we get the picture of ‘Yawm al Deen/ the Time/ Day of Accountability, when each person is held accountable both for deeds done, and deeds postponed and left undone. This Chapter then, is not simply about what we do, or don’t do… it is about:

    – The importance of every action taken, and of being forthcoming in good deeds, and not delaying them.

    – Each of our actions is observed by a compiler.

    – Our SOCIAL and personal Accountability in life, to be settled ‘at the Time/ on the Day’ of Account, when we’ll answer for every deed and thereafter find ourselves in Bliss or conjoined to the Blaze.


    There is a difference between the expressions ‘Yawm al Hissaab/يوم الحساب and ‘Yawm al Deen/ يوم الدين‘. The first seems to be about ‘holding score, taking count, tallying,’ etc.. when the doers and their deeds come to light. The second is the ‘payment of dues’ and the actual physical involvement of the doer the consequence of our deeds.

    New Readers: See 25 instances of ‘yaSlaa’ and its variation.

  6. Verses 17- 18 retierate the same rhetoric question/ statement twice (depending on whether ‘maa’ is understood as an interrogative or a negative), addressing the Listener (second person singular ‘you.’ ‘Maa adraaka’ appears 13 times in the Qur’an).

    ‘Maa/What (is it that would allow you) to (pursue to) determine what the Day of Accountability is?

    Maa/Not for you is it to (pursue and) determine what the Day of Accountability is!

    Then Verse 19 closes by showing us that it would be TOO LATE AT THAT TIME TO EVEN ATTEMPT TO HELP OTHERS, telling us bluntly:

    The day when no Self shall possess anything for another Self;

    The command ‘that day/ at that time’ belongs to God.

Peace unto all!



فاطر:يدلُّ على فَتْح شيء وإبرازهِ. من ذلك الفِطْرُ من الصَّوم. يقال: أفْطَرَ إفطاراً. وقومٌ فِطْرٌ أي مُفْطِرُون. ومنه الفَطْر، بفتح الفاء، وهو مصدرُ فطَرْتُ الشاةَ فَطراً، إذا حَلبْتَها. ويقولون: الفَطْر يكون الحلبَ بإصبعَين. والفِطْرَةالخِلْقة.

From an earlier post:

The root-verb ‘FaTtara’ (فطر), is defined by our 1,000 year old Lexicon as to OPEN/ initiate and MAKE PROMINENT. We use this word today to denote the celebrated ‘initiation’ of a period of normalcy after Fasting, and call the 3 days of celebration after Ramadan ‘Eid al FiTtr’… the word ‘fiTtr/ fuTtoor’ also denoting ‘breakfast.’

FiTrah’- refers to ‘initial creation.’

FaaTtir’-refers to ‘The Creator who initiated Creation,’ The Originator/ Initiator.’

* One of the earliest commentators on the Qur’an, Ibn ‘Abbaas ابن عباس, is reported to have said that he did not get the meaning of God being ‘FaaTtir’ of the Heavens and the Earth until two Bedouin Arabs (whose Arabic is most pure) came to him with their dispute over a well, and one of them said: “I was the one who ‘faTtartuha’ – indicating that he was the one who initiated/ exposed/ and actually excavated the well, ‘creating’ a self-replenishing water cistern where it did not exist).

We also touched upon the noun ‘FiTtrah’ (فِطرة) and the verb ‘FaTtara’while discussing HQ30:30, which we translated then as ‘the natural disposition’which God had created in Cognizant Humans فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها.-

There are 19 Verses in the Qur’an which mention this word in its various forms, and as we can see, they are all related to the Initiation of Creation:

·      Mentioned 13 times, relating to Heavens/Earth (both their initial creation for this life, and their ‘opening’ or ‘cleaving asunder’ to initiate another existence.

·      Mentioned 6 times related to us humans (3 in the singular, and 3 in plural).

عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما: ما كنت أدري ما فاطر السمٰوات والأرض، حتى اختصم إليَّ أعرابيان في بئر فقال أحدهما: أنا فطرتها، أي ابتدأتها.*



‘Nathara-نثر‘- only three times mentioned in Qur’an… to scatter, disperse. 

نثر: يدلُّ على إلقاء شيءٍ متفرِّق. ونَثَر الدّراهِمَ وغيرَها. ونَثَرت الشّاةُ: طرحت من أنْفِها الأذَى. وسمِّي الأنْف النَّثْرةَ من هذا، لأنه يَنْثُر ما فيه من الأذى. وجاء في الحديث: “إذا توضَّأْت فانْتَثِرْأو فانْثِرْ، معناه اجعَل الماءَ في نَثْرتك. وطَعَنه فأنْثَرَه: ألقاه على خَيْشُومِه

ويقال: أنثَره: أرْعَفَه الدَّم. والنَّثْرة: الدِّرع، وهذا ممكنٌ أن يكون شاذَّاً من الأصل الذي ذكرنا



Ba’thara-بعثرtwice mentioned in Qur’an… overturn, strew about, lay waste to something.


Since the Self/ Nafs is feminine, the Qur’an says ‘..what SHE had advanced and what SHE had postponed.’



غيب:يدلُّعلىتستُّرالشيءعنالعُيون،ثميقاس. منذلكالغَيْب: ماغَابَ،ممّالايعلمهإلاالله.

ويقال: غابتالشَّمستَغِيبغَيْبَةًوغُيُوباًوغَيْباً. وغابَالرَّجلعنبلده. ووقَعْنافيغَيْبَةٍوغَيَابة،أيهَبْطةمنالأرضيُغابُفيها. قالاللهتعالىفيقصةيُوسُفَعليهالسَّلام: {وَأَلْقُوهُفيغَيَابَةِالجُبِّ}[يوسف10].

والغَابة: الأجَمة،والجمعغاباتٌ وغابٌ. وسمِّيتلأنّهيُغابفيها.

والغِيبة: الوَقيعةفيالنّاسمنهذا،لأنَّهالاتقالإلاّفيغَيْبَة.

Comments are closed.