SURA 99. Zilzal, or The Convulsion/The Earthquake
1. When the earth is shaken to her [utmost] convulsion,
2. And the earth throws up her burdens [from within],
3. And man cries [distressed]: ‘What is the matter with her?’-
4. On that Day will she declare her tidings
5. For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration.
6. On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds
that they [had done].
7. Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it!
8. And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it.
1. The sūrah makes a violent wake-up call to drowsy hearts; the subject matter, scene drawn and rhythm all contributing to the effect of this jolt. It is a powerful blast that makes the earth and all that is on it quake and tremble. Men hardly recover their senses when they find themselves confronted with the reckoning, weighing and evaluating of actions and deeds.
2. Man has experienced earthquakes and volcanoes which have filled him with awe and ,terror, and have brought
the quake of the Day of Resurrection he will see no similarity between it and the earthquakes and volcanoes of this world. He neither knows its secrets, nor does he remember anything similar to it. It is something dreadful, taking place for the very first time.
3. At this point when man is astonished, puzzled and crying out, and as the rhythm gasps with dread and terror, surprise and wonder, tottering and shuddering, crying out: What is the matter with her? What has happened to her? — at this point he encounters the scene of resurrection, reckoning, weighing and recompense.
4. Encountering one’s own deeds may, sometimes, be far more severe than any other punishment. Man sometimes does things which he avoids even thinking about when he is alone.
5. In a spell of repentance and remorse, man may even turn his face from some of his deeds because they are so ghastly. o, in what condition will he be on that day when he faces his deeds in front of all mankind and in the presence of God Almighty? It is a terrible and frightful punishment, although it is only that they are shown their deeds and have to confront their labours. However, following this confrontation comes the accurate reckoning which does not leave out an atom’s weight of good or evil.
6. But there are some hearts in this world which are unmoved even by mountains of sin and crime. They remain unaffected while suppressing fountains of goodness which are far firmer than mountains. These hearts are conceited on this earth but on the Day of Judgement they are crushed under their own burdens.
source: Sayyid Qutb – In the shade of the Quran