SURA 79. Naziat, or Those Who Tear Out
1. By the [angels] who tear out [the souls of the wicked] with violence;
2. By those who gently draw out [the souls of the blessed];
3. And by those who glide along [on errands of mercy],
4. Then press forward as in a race,
5. Then arrange to do [the Commands of their Lord],
6. One Day everything that can be in commotion will be in violent commotion,
7. Followed by oft-repeated [commotions]:
8. Hearts that Day will be in agitation;
9. Cast down will be [their owners’] eyes.
10. They say [now]: “What! shall we indeed be returned to [our] former state?
11. “What! – when we shall have become rotten bones?”
12. They say: “It would, in that case, be a return with loss!”
13. But verily, it will be but a single [Compelling] Cry,
14. When, behold, they will be in the [full] awakening [to Judgment].
15. Has the story of Moses reached thee?
16. Behold, thy Lord did call to him in the sacred valley of Tuwa:-
17. “Go thou to Pharaoh for he has indeed transgressed all bounds:
18. “And say to him, ‘Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified [from sin]?-
19. “‘And that I guide thee to thy Lord, so thou shouldst fear Him?'”
20. Then did [Moses] show him the Great Sign.
21. But [Pharaoh] rejected it and disobeyed [guidance];
22. Further, he turned his back, striving hard [against Allah].
23. Then he collected [his men] and made a proclamation,
24. Saying, “I am your Lord, Most High”.
25. But Allah did punish him, [and made an] example of him, – in the Hereafter,
as in this life.
26. Verily in this is an instructive warning for whosoever feareth [Allah].
27. What! Are ye the more difficult to create or the heaven [above]? [Allah]
hath constructed it:
28. On high hath He raised its canopy, and He hath given it order and
29. Its night doth He endow with darkness, and its splendour doth He bring out
30. And the earth, moreover, hath He extended [to a wide expanse];
31. He draweth out therefrom its moisture and its pasture;
32. And the mountains hath He firmly fixed;-
33. For use and convenience to you and your cattle.
34. Therefore, when there comes the great, overwhelming [Event],-
35. The Day when man shall remember [all] that he strove for,
36. And Hell-Fire shall be placed in full view for [all] to see,-
37. Then, for such as had transgressed all bounds,
38. And had preferred the life of this world,
39. The Abode will be Hell-Fire;
40. And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord’s
[tribunal] and had restrained [their] soul from lower desires,
41. Their abode will be the Garden.
42. They ask thee about the Hour,-‘When will be its appointed time?
43. Wherein art thou [concerned] with the declaration thereof?
44. With thy Lord in the Limit fixed therefor.
45. Thou art but a Warner for such as fear it.
46. The Day they see it, [It will be] as if they had tarried but a single
evening, or [at most till] the following morn
1. ‘Go to Pharaoh: he has transgressed all bounds, and say to him: “Would you like to reform yourself? I will guide you to your Lord, so that you may be in awe of Him.”‘ He showed Pharaoh the mightiest miracle, but Pharaoh cried lies and rebelled. He then turned away hastily. He summoned all his men and made a proclamation to them: “I am your supreme Lord’, he said. God smote him with the scourge of both the life to come and this life. Surely in this there is a lesson for the God-fearing.” (Verses 15-26)
2. The story of Moses is the most frequent and detailed of Qur’ānic historical accounts. Here the historical account is given in quick successive scenes which open with the call Moses receives in the sacred valley and end with the destruction of Pharaoh in this life and perdition in the life to come. Thus, it fits very well with the main theme of the sūrah, namely the hereafter. The part given here of Moses’s history spans a long period, yet it is conveyed by only a few short verses that fit in well with the rhythm and message of the sūrah as whole.
3. The communication between God and Moses is discussed in more detail elsewhere in the Qur’ān. However, with the brevity and rapid rhythm that characterize this sūrah, it is touched upon here only very briefly, before God’s command to Moses is stated:
4. “Go to Pharaoh: he has transgressed all bounds.” (Verse 17) The Arabic term for ‘transgress’, which is ţaghā, also suggests tyranny. Neither tyranny nor transgression should be allowed to take place or be left unchecked. They lead to corruption and to what displeases God.
5. God [limitless is He in His glory] selects one of His noble servants and charges him with the task of trying to put an end to them. The instructions given to this noble servant require him to go to a tyrant in an attempt to turn him away from his erring ways, so that he has no excuse should God decide to exact His retribution.
6. “Go to Pharaoh: he has transgressed all bounds.” God teaches Moses how to address this tyrant in the most persuasive manner: “Say to him: ‘Would you like to reform yourself?” (Verse 18) The first question then is whether or not the tyrant would like to purify himself of the stains of tyranny and abominable disobedience to God. Would he like to know the path of the pious, the blessed?:
7. “I will guide you to your Lord, so that you may be in awe of Him.” (Verse 19) The offer here is for Pharaoh to be shown the way acceptable to God. Once he knows it, he will feel the fear of God in his heart.
8. Man does not transgress and tyrannize unless he loses his way and finds himself taking a road which does not lead to God. His heart hardens as a result, and he rebels and resorts to tyranny.
9. Moses conveys the message with which he has been entrusted in the manner God has taught him. This warm, friendly attitude, however, cannot win over a heart that has been hardened by tyranny and ignorance of the Lord of the universe. So Moses shows him the great miracles of the stick turning into a snake and Moses’s own hand becoming a brilliant white, as they are described in other sūrahs, “but he cried lies and rebelled.” (Verse 21) The scene ends with Pharaoh’s rejection and rebellion against God.
10. Pharaoh’s declaration betrays the fact that he was deceived by his people’s ignorance and their submission to his authority. Nothing deceives tyrants more than the ignorance and abject submission of the masses. A tyrant is in fact an individual who has no real power or authority.
11. The ignorant and the submissive simply bend their backs for him to ride, stretch out their necks for him to harness with reins, hang down their heads to give him a chance to show his conceit, and forego their rights to be respected and honoured. In this way they allow themselves to be tyrannized. The masses do all this because they are deceived and afraid at the same time. Their fear has no real basis except in their imagination.
12. The tyrant, an individual, can never be stronger than thousands or millions, should they attach proper value to their humanity, dignity, self-respect and freedom. Every individual in the nation is a match for the tyrant in terms of power. No one can tyrannize a nation which is sane, or knows its true Lord, believes in Him and refuses to submit to any creature who has no power over its destiny.
13. The scourge that engulfed Pharaoh in this life was fearful and severe, but that of the life to come will be much more so. Pharaoh had power, authority and glory, yet none of this will be of any use to him. One can only imagine what the fate that will be faced by unbelievers who do not have similar power, authority or glory but who still resist God’s message and try to suppress it.