Surah Ghashiya

Surah Ghashiya

Surah Ghashiya is one of the chapters of the 30th juz’ of the Quran . It discusses Qiyamah, one of the principles of Islamic belief and faith.

Facts about Surah Ghashiya

Surah Ghashiya is one of the chapters of the 30th juz’ of the Quran and like many chapters of this part of the Quran, talks of the Day of Judgment. In this chapter the happy and sad, weary and humiliated faces of the good and evil doers according to their deeds, have been spoken about. It also describes some of the blessings and punishments that await them in Heaven and Hell and finally ends with a discussion about the Prophet’s role as a reminder for the people.

88 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

68 Order of revelation

26 No. of verses

92 No. of words

382 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Ghashiya


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, most merciful

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ ﴿1﴾

Did you receive the account of the Enveloper?

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَاشِعَةٌ ﴿2﴾

Some faces on that day will be humbled,

عَامِلَةٌ نَّاصِبَةٌ ﴿3﴾

Wrought-up and weary:

تَصْلَىٰ نَارًا حَامِيَةً ﴿4﴾

They will enter a scorching fire

تُسْقَىٰ مِنْ عَيْنٍ آنِيَةٍ ﴿5﴾

And made to drink from a boiling spring.

لَّيْسَ لَهُمْ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِن ضَرِيعٍ ﴿6﴾

They will have no food except cactus,

لَّا يُسْمِنُ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِن جُوعٍ ﴿7﴾

Neither nourishing, nor of avail against hunger.

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاعِمَةٌ ﴿8﴾

Some faces on that day will be joyous,

لِّسَعْيِهَا رَاضِيَةٌ ﴿9﴾

Pleased with their endeavour,

فِي جَنَّةٍ عَالِيَةٍ ﴿10﴾

In a lofty garden,

لَّا تَسْمَعُ فِيهَا لَاغِيَةً ﴿11﴾

Where they will not hear any vain talk.

فِيهَا عَيْنٌ جَارِيَةٌ ﴿12﴾

In it is a flowing spring

فِيهَا سُرُرٌ مَّرْفُوعَةٌ ﴿13﴾

And raised couches,

وَأَكْوَابٌ مَّوْضُوعَةٌ ﴿14﴾

With goblets set,

وَنَمَارِقُ مَصْفُوفَةٌ ﴿15﴾

And cushions laid out in an array,

وَزَرَابِيُّ مَبْثُوثَةٌ ﴿16﴾

And carpets spread out.

أَفَلَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ ﴿17﴾

Do they not observe the camel, [to see] how it has been created?

وَإِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ ﴿18﴾

And the sky, how it has been raised?

وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ ﴿19﴾

And the mountains, how they have been set?

وَإِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ ﴿20﴾

And the earth, how it has been surfaced?

فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ ﴿21﴾

So admonish—for you are only an admonisher,

لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُصَيْطِرٍ ﴿22﴾

And not a taskmaster over them—

إِلَّا مَن تَوَلَّىٰ وَكَفَرَ ﴿23﴾

Except him who turns back and disbelieves.

فَيُعَذِّبُهُ اللَّـهُ الْعَذَابَ الْأَكْبَرَ ﴿24﴾

Him Allah will punish with the greatest punishment.

إِنَّ إِلَيْنَا إِيَابَهُمْ ﴿25﴾

Indeed to Us will be their return.

ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا حِسَابَهُم ﴿26﴾

Then, indeed, their reckoning will lie with Us. 1

The following are the topic covered in this article:

Benefits of Surah Ghashiya

  1. Easy Reckoning of Deeds on Qiyamah: Prophet Muhammad has said, “Whoever recites surah Ghashiya, Allah will be lenient with him on Qiyamah. 2
  2. Abu Abdullah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad has said: Whoever recites surah Ghashiya in his obligatory or recommended prayers and is persistent in doing it, Allah will shower His blessings on him in this world and the Hereafter and he will be safe from the fire of hell on Qiyamah. 3
  3. Repelling of Harm: If somone recites it to something edible, it will not harm him.

Qiyamah in Surah Ghashiya

The first few verse of Surah Ghashiya speak of the frightful events of that day

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ ﴿1﴾

Did you receive the account of the Enveloper?

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَاشِعَةٌ ﴿2﴾

Some faces on that day will be humbled,

عَامِلَةٌ نَّاصِبَةٌ ﴿3﴾

Wrought-up and weary:

Of the Names of Qiyamah in Surah Ghashiya

One of the names of Qiyamah  mentioned in the Quran is in this chapter and is Ghashiya.

Ghashiya means covering and encompassing 4 and there could be any of the following possible reasons why it is named so:

  • Because it encompasses man from and in every aspect and direction
  • Because it frightening stations and scenes come upon and encompass man suddenly
  • Because on Qiyamah the faces of the disbelievers will be encompassed by punishment. 5

Humbled Faces

On Qiyamah, faces will be humiliated and shamed due to grief and punishment. ‘Khushu‘’ (خشوع), humility, is a state of a person but in this verse of Surah Ghashiya it has been used for the faces of people because the face is the part of the body that reveals the inner humiliation more than any other part. 6

Weariness

In contrast to the inhabitants of Heaven, the inhabitants of Hell will not find rest and comfort from the efforts they put in, in the world as when the inhabitants of Heaven see the rewards and outcome of their actions they will lose their weariness because all of man’s efforts in the world are to achieve salvation and joy and in the Hereafter they would have achieved their goal.

However, the people of Hell will see that all their efforts of the world have been futile and are in the least beneficial to them. Therefore, they have only weariness as the outcome of their actions. 7

The Nutrition of the Inhabitants of Hell according to Surah Ghashiya

تَصْلَىٰ نَارًا حَامِيَةً ﴿4﴾

They will enter a scorching fire

تُسْقَىٰ مِنْ عَيْنٍ آنِيَةٍ ﴿5﴾

And made to drink from a boiling spring.

لَّيْسَ لَهُمْ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِن ضَرِيعٍ ﴿6﴾

They will have no food except cactus,

لَّا يُسْمِنُ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِن جُوعٍ ﴿7﴾

Neither nourishing, nor of avail against hunger.

In these verses, Surah Ghashiya talks of the nutrition of the dwellers of Hell. The drink requires no explanation.

However, for the food, the word ‘dari‘’ (ضریع) has been used; whatever the reality of it may be, it is a food that is useless, does not get converted to flesh, and does not make ones hunger abate; they only eat it in distress and from compulsion.

For the inhabitants of Hell other types of food have been mentioned elsewhere in the Quran. 8

The Happy Faces

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاعِمَةٌ ﴿8﴾

Some faces on that day will be joyous,

لِّسَعْيِهَا رَاضِيَةٌ ﴿9﴾

Pleased with their endeavour,

The word ‘na‘imah’ (ناعمة) in the abovementioned verse of Surah Ghashiya refers to a type of happiness that comes from within man and manifests on the outside and informs every observer of the inner happiness of that person. It could also be derived from another root word to mean blessed and joyous.

The endeavors mentioned here are the worldly activities and good deeds.

The faces of some people are happy on that day because they are pleased with their actions; since they performed good deeds, the best of rewards await them. 9

Describing Heaven in Surah Ghashiya

فِي جَنَّةٍ عَالِيَةٍ ﴿10﴾

In a lofty garden,

لَّا تَسْمَعُ فِيهَا لَاغِيَةً ﴿11﴾

Where they will not hear any vain talk.

فِيهَا عَيْنٌ جَارِيَةٌ ﴿12﴾

In it is a flowing spring

فِيهَا سُرُرٌ مَّرْفُوعَةٌ ﴿13﴾

And raised couches,

وَأَكْوَابٌ مَّوْضُوعَةٌ ﴿14﴾

With goblets set,

وَنَمَارِقُ مَصْفُوفَةٌ ﴿15﴾

And cushions laid out in an array,

وَزَرَابِيُّ مَبْثُوثَةٌ ﴿16﴾

And carpets spread out.

These verses are all describing the blessings that await those doers of goods mentioned in previous verses whose faces are lit with happiness.

Heaven is referred to as lofty and elevated because of its high status, glory, and life of comfort because in Heaven there is a life for which no death follows, pleasures which are not mixed with pain and happiness that is not disturbed with grief; the people of Heaven not only have all that they wish available to them, rather, there are also pleasures for them beyond what they have asked for. 10

Invitation to Observe Divine Planning

أَفَلَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ ﴿17﴾

Do they not observe the camel, [to see] how it has been created?

وَإِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ ﴿18﴾

And the sky, how it has been raised?

وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ ﴿19﴾

And the mountains, how they have been set?

وَإِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ ﴿20﴾

And the earth, how it has been surfaced?

A Proof of the Hereafter in Surah Ghashiya

It seems that here Surah Ghashiya is providing a subtle proof for the Hereafter which has been discussed from the beginning of the chapter; i.e. if we wish to understand Resurrection and Hereafter we should look at the creation of the world and present system.

God, who has created this universe, can also create in a different form and the Hereafter is this very world that will be created in a different form.

This is one of the proofs of Qiyamah: comparing the end of creation to its beginning.

The reason why the example of the camel has been given is because these verses were revealed in Mecca and the people were very familiar with camels. 11

Proof of Lordship in Surah Ghashiya

These verses can also be considered a proof for God’s Lordship.

Those who deny His Lordship are first invited to observe and study creation, the creation of the camel, the earth, sky and mountains. This shows us that general planning and management always and without doubt belongs to God. Therefore, He is the Lord and nurturer of the skies and the earth and all that is between them.

As a result, He is also the Lord of the human world and it is incumbent upon all people to yield and submit to His Lordship, consider Him one and unique in it and worship only Him. It is incumbent upon them due to the Hereafter and reckoning and the consequences of their actions that awaits them. 12

The Prophet’s Role according to Surah Ghashiya

فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ ﴿21﴾

So admonish—for you are only an admonisher,

لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُصَيْطِرٍ ﴿22﴾

And not a taskmaster over them—

These verses and the ones to follow are a conclusion of the previous verses. Now that it is clear that God is their Lord and they have no Lord besides Him and also that Qiyamah and Reckoning awaits them where the believers and disbelievers will be rewarded and punished; the verses indicate what the role of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household) is.

According to these verses of Surah Ghashiya, his role is to remind of them of these realities in the hope that they answer his call and bring faith without and compulsion or aversion. 13

An Exception

إِلَّا مَن تَوَلَّىٰ وَكَفَرَ ﴿23﴾

Except him who turns back and disbelieves.

فَيُعَذِّبُهُ اللَّـهُ الْعَذَابَ الْأَكْبَرَ ﴿24﴾

Him Allah will punish with the greatest punishment.

The Prophet’s responsibility is to remind and guide the people except those who turn away and disbelieve because giving reminders to such people is in vain and pointless.

It is obvious that turning away and disbelief always comes after being given the reminder; therefore, what this exception is refuting is repetitive reminders. So if someone is given reminders and guidance once or twice and still turns away, there is no need to continue to do so. Rather, the Prophet should turn away from them so that God can punish them with a greater punishment. 14

Reckoning in the Light of Narrations

Ali bin Abi Taleb (peace be on him) was asked:

How would God do the accounting of deeds of the creation considering their great number? He replied, just as He provides them their sustenance and despite their great number, He does not forget the sustenance of any living creature. He was then asked, how does he do the accounting of their deeds even though creation does not see Him? He replied, in the same way that He provides their sustenance, even though creation does not see Him.

In another narration, Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) states that the accounting of each nation will be taken care of by the Imam of its time and the Imams know their friends and enemies from their countenance and these are the words of God that state:

And on the Elevations will be certain men who recognize each of them by their mark. 15 16

Summary of Surah Ghashiya

Surah Ghashiya is one of the chapters of the 30th juz’ of the Quran and as with many chapters of this juz’, deals with Qiyamah.

It starts by talking about the states of the people on that Day; some of the faces are happy because of their deeds in the world and some are humililated, abject, weary due to their evil deeds in the world.

It then goes on to describe to describe some of the punishments and rewards that await the doers of good in Hell and Heaven. It also presents proof of Qiyamah and of God’s Lordship and finally indicates the role of the Prophet as a reminder for the people.


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Majma‘ al-Bayan (مجمع البیان), vol. 10, p. 333.
  3. Thawab al-A‘mal (ثواب الاعمال), p. 122.
  4. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of Surah Ghashiya. Verses 1-7
  5. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374 AP). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Qom: Jamiatol Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, p. 456
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid. pp. 456-457
  8. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12, p. 202
  9. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 457-458
  10. Ibid. p. 458
  11. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. pp. 203-204
  12. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. pp. 459 & 460
  13. Ibid. p. 460
  14. Ibid. pp. 460-461
  15. [7: 46]. Qarai translation
    …وَعَلَى الْأَعْرَافِ رِجَالٌ يَعْرِفُونَ كُلًّا بِسِيمَاهُمْ…
  16. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 463

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