Surah Qariah

Surah Qariah

Surah Qariah is one of the chapters of the 30th part of the Quran and focuses on one of the principles of faith, i.e. Qiyamah and some of the calamities that will take place on that day. It also delves into the weighing of actions that will take place on that day.

Facts about Surah Qariyah

Surah Qariah is one of the chapters of the 30th part of the Quran and focuses – as many chapters of this part of the Quran do – on the Day of Judgment. It begins with one the names of this day and goes on to describe the calamities that will befall people and mountains on that day and speaks of the important subject of the weighing of deeds and which deeds are heavy and light.

101 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

Makki Makki/Madani

30 Order of revelation

11 No. of verses

40 No. of words

160 No. of letters


Arabic Text and Translation of Surah Qariyah


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

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

الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿1﴾

The Catastrophe!

مَا الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿2﴾

What is the Catastrophe?

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿3﴾

What will show you what is the Catastrophe?

يَوْمَ يَكُونُ النَّاسُ كَالْفَرَاشِ الْمَبْثُوثِ ﴿4﴾

[It is] the day when mankind will be like scattered locust 1

وَتَكُونُ الْجِبَالُ كَالْعِهْنِ الْمَنفُوشِ ﴿5﴾

And the mountains like carded wool.

فَأَمَّا مَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ﴿6﴾

As for him, whose deeds weigh heavy in the scales,

فَهُوَ فِي عِيشَةٍ رَّاضِيَةٍ ﴿7﴾

He will have a pleasing life.

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ﴿8﴾

But as for him, whose deeds weigh light in the scales,

فَأُمُّهُ هَاوِيَةٌ ﴿9﴾

His home will be the Abyss.

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا هِيَهْ ﴿10﴾

And what will show you what it is?

نَارٌ حَامِيَةٌ ﴿11﴾

It is a scorching fire! 2

The topics covered in the article are:

Benefits of Reciting Surah Qariah

According to Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household), one who recites Surah Qariah, God will make his scale of good deeds weigh heavy.

In a narration from Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him), one who recites this chapter will “receive security from Allah against the dissension of the anti-Christ, against believing in the latter, and against hell’s stink.”3

One of the Names of Qiyamah in Surah Qariah

الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿1﴾

The Catastrophe!

مَا الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿2﴾

What is the Catastrophe?

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْقَارِعَةُ ﴿3﴾

What will show you what is the Catastrophe?

The word ‘qariah’ (قارعة) used in the verses and which is also the name of the chapter is one of the names of Qiyamah . 4

Linguistically, it means to hit something on another and the reason why Qiyamah is called such is because it will begin with a pounding cry and its punishment is harsh.5

The question asking what Qariah is asked in order show the greatness of Qiyamah and no words can show nor can anyone understand the reality of that day. In fact, the material world does not have the capacity to even introduce that day. In order to emphasize this greatness, once again the next verse asks the question in other words.6

Calamities of Qiyamah in Surah Qariah

The next few verses of Surah Qariah relate the calamities that will befall people and mountains in the Hereafter.

The State of People on Qiyamah

يَوْمَ يَكُونُ النَّاسُ كَالْفَرَاشِ الْمَبْثُوثِ ﴿4﴾

[It is] the day when mankind will be like scattered locust

The word ‘firash’ (فراش) refers to locusts carpeting the earth and the resulting tumult.

According to one of the commentators, the reason why people have been referred to as such on Qiyamah is because when locusts are flying they are not aiming for a specific spot and do not head in any particular direction.

On Qiyamah too, people will be in such a state. When they rise from their graves, they will be so overtaken by fear that they will start going in any direction, without a destination in mind, seeking an abode; this will be either a place of happiness or calamity and distress.7

The State of the Mountains on Qiyamah

وَتَكُونُ الْجِبَالُ كَالْعِهْنِ الْمَنفُوشِ ﴿5﴾

And the mountains like carded wool.

‘Ihn’ (عهن) refers to colored cotton and ‘manfoosh’ (منفوش) means battened. On Qiyamah, the mountains with their different colors will become like battened cotton due to the earthquakes that will shake the earth.

When the mountains in all their majesty will be such a state on that day, then what state will man who is weak and feeble, be in on that day.8

The Scale of Actions according to Surah Qariah

فَأَمَّا مَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ﴿6﴾

As for him, whose deeds weigh heavy in the scales,

فَهُوَ فِي عِيشَةٍ رَّاضِيَةٍ ﴿7﴾

He will have a pleasing life.

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ ﴿8﴾

But as for him, whose deeds weigh light in the scales,

فَأُمُّهُ هَاوِيَةٌ ﴿9﴾

His home will be the Abyss.

‘Mawazin’ (موازین) is the plural of ‘mizan’ (میزان) and refers to an instrument of measure. Man’s actions are not physical and material things to have a material weight and therefore, they cannot be weighed by normal measures. Rather, each category of man’s actions is weighed by criteria of measurement specific to it.9

The Heaviness and Lightness of Actions

The weight of an action is in its rightness and being in accordance with religious law. Any action that is correct, in accordance with religious law, and sincere has weight.

On the other hand, sins and actions that are performed with the intention of showing-off, futile actions and the good deeds of the disbelievers which are not performed with the intention of pleasing God have no weight.

Quranic Verses in Support of this

The following verse indicated the fact that the disbelievers’ actions have no weight:

أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَلِقَائِهِ فَحَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فَلَا نُقِيمُ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَزْنًا ﴿105﴾

They are the ones who deny the signs of their Lord and encounter with Him. So their works have failed. On the Day of Resurrection We will not give them any weight. 10

The heaviness of the scale is a result of belief and accepted actions; while the lightness of the scale is a result of unaccepted actions and this is only in case of the disbelievers as their good and bad actions hold no weight.

Therefore, even if the believers are sinful, they still come under those whose scales will be heavy and this is corroborated by the following verse:

وَمَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ فِي جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدُونَ ﴿103﴾

As for those whose deeds weigh light in the scales—they will be the ones who have ruined their souls, and they will remain in hell [forever]. 11

The sinful believers might go to Hell for sometime if they are not forgiven; however, they will remain in it only for a time and then go to Heaven.12

The Scale of Deeds in Narrations

According to a narration from the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his household), he says to Ali bin Abi Taleb (peace be on him): you are with the truth and the truth is with you and circles about him wherever he may be.13

In another narration from Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) we read:

By Allah, Ali is the straight path and the balance of deeds.

The Prophet, Ali (peace be on them) and the Divine leaders that succeed him are all embodiments of perfection and therefore, all actions can be judged in relation to them they are the criteria and the scale by which to measure actions.

The Prophet, Ali (peace be on them) and the Divine leaders that succeed him are all embodiments of perfection and therefore, all actions can be judged in relation to them they are the criteria and the scale by which to measure actions.14

The Fire of Hell according to Surah Qariah

Those whose scales are light will be sent to ‘Hawiyah’ (هاویة), which is one of the names of Hell and means downfall.

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا هِيَهْ ﴿10﴾

And what will show you what it is?

نَارٌ حَامِيَةٌ ﴿11﴾

It is a scorching fire!

These last two verses of Surah Qariah are a question and answer. The question is to indicate the greatness of the fire of Hell and that one cannot really know in detail the different types of punishments and tortures.

The last verse answers the question and describes that is a fire of intense heat.15

Summary of Surah Qariah

The chapter starts with one of the names of Qiyamah and is also the name of the chapter, i.e. Qariah. The verse describes the state of people and mountains on that day and how the people will run in all directions out of fear and the mountains will be crushed. It also describes the weight of actions of the believers and the disbelievers and finally ends with an indication of the majesty of the fire of Hell and its punishments.


References

  1. Qarai and Tabatabai translation
  2. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin Publications. Vol. 20, p. 595
  3. Qarai translation
  4. Al-Islam
  5. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of Surah Qariah
  6. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid.
  7. Ibid. p. 595-596
  8. Najafi, M. J. (1398 AH). Tafsir Aasan. Islamiyyah Publications. Vol. 18, p. 360
  9. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  10. [18: 105]. Qarai translation
  11. [23: 103] Qarai translation
  12. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12, p. 334
  13. Al-Damishqi al-Shafe’I, Abol Qasim Ali. (1995). Tarikh Madinat al-Damishq wa Zikr Fadlihawa Tasmiyat min Hilliha min al-Amthal. Research by Muhibb al-Din Gharamat al-Amri. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr Publications. Vol. 20, p. 361.
  14. Al-Islam
  15. Tabarsi, F. (1360) Majma‘ al Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran. Transl. by a group of translators. Farahani Publications. Vol. 26, p. 249

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