SURA 88. Gashiya, or The Overwhelming Event
1. Has the story reached thee of the overwhelming [Event]?
2. Some faces, that Day, will be humiliated,
3. Labouring [hard], weary,-
4. The while they enter the Blazing Fire,-
5. The while they are given, to drink, of a boiling hot spring,
6. No food will there be for them but a bitter Dhari’
7. Which will neither nourish nor satisfy hunger.
8. [Other] faces that Day will be joyful,
9. Pleased with their striving,-
10. In a Garden on high,
11. Where they shall hear no [word] of vanity:
12. Therein will be a bubbling spring:
13. Therein will be Thrones [of dignity], raised on high,
14. Goblets placed [ready],
15. And cushions set in rows,
16. And rich carpets [all] spread out.
17. Do they not look at the Camels, how they are made?-
18. And at the Sky, how it is raised high?-
19. And at the Mountains, how they are fixed firm?-
20. And at the Earth, how it is spread out?
21. Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish.
22. Thou art not one to manage [men’s] affairs.
23. But if any turn away and reject Allah,-
24. Allah will punish him with a mighty Punishment,
25. For to Us will be their return;
26. Then it will be for Us to call them to account.
1. All these aspects of creation — the sky, earth, mountains and animals — are always in front of man wherever he is. Whatever man’s level of civilization and scientific advancement, they remain within his world and within his sphere of consciousness. When he considers their roles, they suggest to him something of what lies beyond. In each of them there is a miracle of creation. The distinctive, incomparable work of the Creator is clear in them all, and this alone is sufficient to indicate the true faith. Hence the Qur’ān directs to them the attention of every human being.
3. “Let them reflect on the camels, how they were created.” (Verse 17) The camel was the most important animal for the Arab. It was his means of transport which also carried his belongings. It gave him food and drink. From its hair and skin he made his clothes and dwellings. Besides, the camel is unique among all animals. Despite its strength, size and firm build, it is tame: a young boy can manage it. It gives man great service and, at the same time, it is inexpensive to keep and its food is easy to find. Moreover, it is the only animal to endure hunger, thirst, hard work and poor conditions. Its shape has also a special characteristic which is in perfect harmony with the portrait drawn here, and this will be discussed later on.
4. the Qur’ān, asks of its first audience to ponder on how the camel is made. This does not require them to undertake any difficult task or to discover any obscure field of science. “Let them reflect on the camels, how they were created.” (Verse 17) Camels were a part of their world, and they only needed to look and consider how they were made most suitable for their role; how their shape and build fitted perfectly with their environment and function. Man did not create camels, nor did camels create themselves. o, they must have been made by the Supreme Maker whose work reflects His limitless ability and perfect planning, and testifies to His existence.
5. Perhaps we should pause a little to consider the perfection with which this image of the universe is portrayed. The Qur’ān addresses man’s religious conscience in a language of artistic beauty, and both coalesce in the believer’s perception to bring the whole image into full relief. The scene portrayed here includes the elevated heaven and the spread out earth. Across such a boundless horizon stand the mountains. They are not described as firmly-rooted, but rather they are ‘hoisted’. The camels also stand with their upright humps. It is a majestic scene, vast and infinite, with merely two horizontal lines and two vertical ones. This manipulation of graphic description for the expression of ideas is a distinct characteristic of the Qur’ānic style