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Commentary of Surat ul-Waqi'a on advent of Zaman - Versese 1-10

1 When the great event comes to pass,

2 There is no belying its coming to pass

3 Abasing (one party), exalting (the other),

"When the great event comes to pass." Waqa'a means to fall, to befall, to happen. The event which concerns man is the prom­ised event of the Resurrection, the yawm ul-qiyama, the day of the beginning of the next phase of man's experience. It is the main point of reference and of the greatest importance. Whatever exists in the next cycle of creation - not being based on the duality in which there is confusion of body and soul - is not subject to time. Whatever exists or can be experienced from the moment of the great event onward, has its reflection in this life. For example, in the Qur'an, the fire that is promised in the next life is referred to as nar ul jahannam (the fire of hell) or nar ul-kubra ( the great fire), implying that what you experience in this life is the small fire in the form of anger, disappointment, agitation and unfulfilled desires. Also the experience of the garden is potentially with man here and now. In the same way, the experience of the event, the day of reckoning, can be echoed and reflected within man here and now.

When a significant event occurs in someone's life it can cause him to begin to witness or to fully awaken. Such an event brings light into the passage of existence. Man is moving in a tunnel propelled by the powers of nature, guided or misguided by habits of the past, circum­stances of the present and projections of the future. He is in a cocoon. If there is a sudden break in it and that crack begins to widen, then for the person who has experienced it there is a major event, there is a waqi'a. But when the great event, the yawm ul-qiyama, occurs, nobody can deny it. Everyone is subject to its power. It lifts up and brings down, blowing up planets, stars or aspects of the cosmos and collapsing other parts. One creation ends and another begins. The cosmic entities are compelled to move in opposite directions. A major uplifting, down-thrusting situation will occur.

It is the time when the hearts that are already enlightened are lifted and stripped of their burdens, and the hearts that have been tarnished and burdened are brought down. The mu min (believer) is elevated and the kafir (denier) or munafiq (hypocrite) is degraded. The day of reckoning is the final sorting out, the yawm ul-fasl (the day of separation into groups). There are no gray areas; your state will be joy or misery, according to what you have directed yourself toward and earned during the short preface of this life. Those who have been uplifting themselves along the path of truth will be fully uplifted in the next life, and those who have been degrading themselves will be completely degraded. The next consciousness is timeless, and will therefore have the stamp of permanency upon it. That is why it is called the final abode, for in it there is no movement.

4 When the earth shall be shaken with a (severe) shaking,

5 And the mountains shall be made to crumble with (an awful) crumbling,

6 So that they shall be as scattered dust,

"When the earth shall be shaken with a (severe) shaking." Ard ( earth) is whatever serves as a foundation, such as land. Rajja is to shake. Everyone wants stability, whether in one's. home, relationships, or in the economy. But those who seek absolute stability find that it only exists when there is trust in Allah. Every, other stability is relative. Even though it may last his lifetime, the seeker knows that the world and the cosmos are on a journey, and that the foundation upon which he has built his relative security may get shaken and pulled out from under him. At the time of the shaking, the flimsy relative foundation, having served its purpose in this creational cycle, is finished. For the man on the path such a calamity is regarded as direct evidence of the love of Reality for him. He therefore looks for some better foundation until he discovers the foundation of all foundations.

The solid mass, which came to equilibrium after the earth cooled down, giving it relative stability, will crumble into dust. The fortunate one who has intellect comes to realize that what he perceives as the solidity of his foundation is only in his mind. Nothing in this world is going to last, whether it be health, wealth or children. Once that is recognized, the awareness, immediacy and urgency of the quest be­come the major preoccupation in his life, and all other aspects become secondary and therefore acceptable because of their transiency. After his foundation has been shaken and destroyed, a new and much firmer foundation is built.

The measurement of worldly things is based upon specific time factors which are very different if there is a turning of the heart, resulting from a turning over of one's situation. It isa matter of attitude. The dislodging of the heart from this world is truly and genuinely a major event. It is a prelude to the experience of after-life. The heart is then totally uprooted and enters a state beyond freedom, for freedom is only meaningful because there are shackles. Man is capable of grasp­ing this state intellectually and experientially, to varying degrees of clarity. For example, the most solid visible realities in this existence are the mountains which anchor the mantle of the earth. If these entities which are considered most solid can be torn free, then consider those things which are as flimsy as one's relationships or thoughts.

"They shall be as scattered dust." When the final event occurs there are definite streams into which everyone is segregated. In this world the streams are not clearly delineated because we perceive things in relative degrees, and that relativity blurs the delineations.

7 And you shall be three sorts.

8 Then (as to) the companions of the right hand; how happy are the companions of the right hand!

Man is sorted out into three types. At the final event there is a filtering process that takes place in much the same way as it occurs in this life. In one group there are those who are in iman (faith, trust), whose trust originates either from intellectual reasoning or through its inheritance from a family that believes in Reality, in Islam. In another are those who are at a loss, who are confused and arrogant. They are the people whose egos are so solid that they totally deny Reality. But these types are not always bound to their groups. There are occasions in which individuals leave the stream of those in loss and confusion to join the stream of those in utter trust, unshakable trust, which is based upon the knowledge of the one and only Reality.

The people of the right are the true people of iman. They believe in Allah and in His divine mercy upon His creation. They believe that the purpose of creation is to recognize the Creator and abandon their will into the will of the Creator. /man begins by outer submission, and ends with the direct recognition that one's will and what is decreed by Allah are one: they emanated from the One, are sustained by the One and will return to the One. At this stage man realizes the source of inner joy, for there is no longer any resistance.

The people of the right hand have acted positively and directly. The right hand in the Arabic culture, as well as in many other cultures, is the hand of willful and knowledgeable transaction, while the left hand is the hand of giving up and throwing away, the hand of negation.

9 And (as to) the companions of the left hand; how wretched are the companions of the left hand!

Mash'ama (the left hand) is from sha'ama and means to perceive a bad omen, to foretell a calamity or to be unlucky. The people of the left are left overs, having cursed themselves by their ignorance and loss. Man cannot question the Creator; he is given a description of Reality, a reference to the yawm ul-qiyama with which he may not interfere. In his life he may feel that he is at a loss, angry, unhappy and confused, yet he must realize that there is still the possi­bility of an awakening that may take him to the people of the right and he must continue striving.

10 And the foremost are the foremost,

Adapted from the book: "The Mercy of Qur'an and the Advent of Zaman" by: "Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri"

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