56. Waaqia

Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Quran


The Sura takes its name from the word al-waqi'ah of the very first verse.

Period of Revelation

According to the chronological order that Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas has given of the Suras first Sura TaHawas sent down then Al-Waqi'ah and then Ash-Shuara. The same sequence has been reported from Ikrimah. This is supported also by the story that Ibn Hisham has related from Ibn Ishaq about the affirmation of the Faith by Hadrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). It say's that when Hadarat Umar entered his sister's house Sura TaHawas being recited. Hearing his voice the people of the house hid the pages of the Qur'an. Hadrat Umar first seized his brother-in-law and then his sister rose in defence of her husband he hit her also and wounded her on the head. When Umar saw blood on his sister he was sorry for what he had done and said to her: "Show me the manuscript that you have concealed so that I may see what it contains." The sister said: "You are unclean because of your polytheism: "Only a clean person can touch it." So Hadrat Umar rose and washed himself and then took up the manuscript to read it. This shows that Sarah Al-Waqi'ah had been sent down by that time for it contains the verse: La yamassu hu ill al mutahharun; and it had been established historically that Hadrat Umar embraced Islam after the first migration to Habash in the fifth year of the Prophethood. Theme and Subject Matter Its theme is the Hereafter Tauhidand refutation of the Makkan disbelievers' suspicions about the Qur'an. What they regarded as utterly incredible was that Resurrection would ever take place then the entire system of the earth and heavens would be upset and when all the dead would be resurrected and called to account after which the righteous would be admitted to Paradise and the wicked cast into Hell. They regarded all this as imaginary which could not possibly happen in actual fact. In answer to this it was said: "Wben tha inevitable event will take place there will be none to belie its happening nor will anyone have the Power to avert it nor prove it to be an unreal happening. At that time all peoples will be divided into three classes: (1) The foremost in rank and position; (2) the common righteous people and (3) those who denied the Hereafter and persisted in disbelief and polytheism and major sins till the last." How these three classes of the people will be rewarded and punished has been described in detail in vv. 7-56. Then in vv. 57-74 arguments have been given one after the other to prove the truth of the two basic doctrines of Islam which the disbelievers were refusing to accept viz. the doctrines of Tauhidand the Hereafter. In these arguments apart from every thing else that exists in the earth and heavens man's attention has been drawn to his own body and to the food that he eats and to the water that he drinks and to the fire on which he cooks his food and he has been invited to ponder the question : What right do you have to behave independently of or serve any other than the God Whose creative power has brought you into being and Whose provisions sustain you And how can you entertain the idea that after having once brought you into existence He has become so helpless and powerless that He cannot recreate you once again even if he wills to? Then in vv. 75-82 their suspicions in respect of the Qur'an have been refuted and they have been made to realize how fortunate they are that instead of deriving any benefit from the great blessing that the Qur'an is they are treating it with scant attention and have set only this share of theirs in it that they deny it. If one seriously considers this matchless argument that has been presented in two brief sentences about the truth of the Qur'an one will find in it the same kind of firm and stable system as exists among the stars and planets of the Universe and the same is the proof of the fact that its Author is the same Being Who has created the Universe. Then the disbelievers have been told that this Book is inscribed in that Writ of Destiny which is