SURA 81. Takwir, or the Folding Up
1. When the sun [with its spacious light] is folded up;
2. When the stars fall, losing their lustre;
3. When the mountains vanish [like a mirage];
4. When the she-camels, ten months with young, are left untended;
5. When the wild beasts are herded together [in the human habitations];
6. When the oceans boil over with a swell;
7. When the souls are sorted out, [being joined, like with like];
8. When the female [infant], buried alive, is questioned –
9. For what crime she was killed;
10. When the scrolls are laid open;
11. When the world on High is unveiled;
12. When the Blazing Fire is kindled to fierce heat;
13. And when the Garden is brought near;-
14. [Then] shall each soul know what it has put forward.
15. So verily I call to witness the planets – that recede,
16. Go straight, or hide;
17. And the Night as it dissipates;
18. And the Dawn as it breathes away the darkness;-
19. Verily this is the word of a most honourable Messenger,
20. Endued with Power, with rank before the Lord of the Throne,
21. With authority there, [and] faithful to his trust.
22. And [O people!] your companion is not one possessed;
23. And without doubt he saw him in the clear horizon.
24. Neither doth he withhold grudgingly a knowledge of the Unseen.
25. Nor is it the word of an evil spirit accursed.
26. When whither go ye?
27. Verily this is no less than a Message to [all] the Worlds:
28. [With profit] to whoever among you wills to go straight:
29. But ye shall not will except as Allah wills,- the Cherisher of the Worlds.
1. The surah then reminds us that it is up to every individual to choose whether to follow the right path or not. Since God has granted everyone his or her free will, then every human being is responsible for himself: “To those of you whose will is to be upright”, (Verse 28) that is to say, to follow God’s guidance. All doubts have been dispelled, all excuses answered by this clear statement of all the relevant facts. The right path has been indicated for everyone who wishes to be upright. Anyone who follows a different path shall, therefore, bear the responsibility for his actions.
2. There are, in the human soul and in the universe at large, numerous signs which beckon every man and woman to follow the path of faith. These are so clearly visible and so powerful in their effect that one needs to make a determined effort to turn one’s back on them, especially when one’s attention is drawn to them in the stirring, persuasive manner of the Qur’ān. It is, therefore, man’s own will which leads him away from God’s guidance. He has no other excuse or justification.
3. The sūrah concludes by stating that the operative will behind everything is the will of God: “You cannot will except by the will of God, Lord of all the worlds.” (Verse 29) We notice that the Qur’ān makes statements of this type whenever the will of human beings or creatures generally is mentioned. The reason for this is that the Qur’ān wants to keep the fundamental concepts of faith absolutely clear. These include the fact that everything in the universe is subject to God’s will. No one has a will which is independent from that of God. That He grants man free will is part of His own divine will, like everything else. The same applies to His granting the angels the ability to show complete and absolute obedience to Him and to carry out all His commandments.
4. This fundamental fact must be clearly understood by believers, so that they have a clear concept of absolute truth. When they acquire this concept they will turn to divine will for guidance and support, and regulate their affairs according to this will.