This is post #38 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).
Allah (‘azza wa jal) says in Surah Al-Ghaashiyah:
هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ
Translation: Has there reached you the report of the Overwhelming [event]? [Surah Ghashiya, verse 1]
The surah starts with a question, to make you think. The companions would say: Allahu wa rasuluhu a’lam (know better), out of humbleness, even know they had an answer in mind. So humble yourself and listen.
Al-Ghashiyah is, of course, “The Overwhelming” — one of the names of the Day of Judgment. Have you heard of it? Sure. But listen:
وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَاشِعَةٌ
Translation: [Some] faces, that Day, will be humbled. [Surah Ghashiyah, verse 2]
Khaashiyah is from the same root as khushoo–humility.All these people who never humbled themselves to Allah with khushoo’, on that day, will be humbled with khushoo’.
And the indefinitivity of “wujoohun,” some faces, gives us hope–it won’t be everybody.
But it’s too late for them.
Translation: Working [hard] and exhausted. [Surah Ghaashiyah, verse 3]
This verse is hard to translate; it means you will see, on their faces, tiredness. Have you ever seen someone who didn’t sleep for two days? Or someone working at McDonalds/Popeyes/etc, standing all day?
Or try going to Walmart at 11pm. You see the tiredness in the faces of people. On the Day of Judgment, there will be no respite from tiredness, no “here’s a lunch break, come back for more punishment in 15 minutes.”
Then Allah says:
تَصْلَىٰ نَارًا حَامِيَةً
تُسْقَىٰ مِنْ عَيْنٍ آنِيَةٍ
لَّيْسَ لَهُمْ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِن ضَرِيعٍ
لَّا يُسْمِنُ وَلَا يُغْنِي مِن جُوعٍ
Translation: They will [enter to] burn in an intensely hot Fire. They will be given drink from a boiling spring. For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant (dariy’), which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger. [Surah Ghashiyah, verses 5-8]
“Aynun aaniyah,” a spring of boiling hot water, so hot, that it would kill a person. Nobody would ever think about drinking such a thing normally–but they will be so intensely thirsty, that they will drink anything that they see. Even this.
But they won’t die.
And for food? Dariy’, which was known to the Arabs of that time, is a thorny plant. When it’s soft, camels eat it; but when it ripens, big, long, HUGE thorns erupt out of it–thorns which can choke you. And on top of that, it’s poisonous and can kill. Nobody would ever think about eating such a thing normally–but they will be so intensely hungry, that they will eat anything they see. Even this.
But they won’t die.
And all that eating and drinking, you’d think they’d slack their thirst or hunger; but Allah says, no, it won’t help you anything.
Then Allah says:
وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاعِمَةٌ
Translation: [Other] faces, that Day, will show pleasure. With their effort [they are] satisfied. [Surah Ghaashiyah, verses 9-10]
When you really understand and recite these verses, it’s almost like a breath of fresh air after all the verses of Hellfire. Others on that day, will have brightness, softness–naa’imah. And they will be pleased with the reward that Allah dispenses them.
So what do they get? What is this exclusive reward, for those who avoid Hellfire? Let’s take a quick peek at some of the things waiting for them and us, insha’Allah:
فِي جَنَّةٍ عَالِيَةٍ
لَّا تَسْمَعُ فِيهَا لَاغِيَةً
فِيهَا عَيْنٌ جَارِيَةٌ
فِيهَا سُرُرٌ مَّرْفُوعَةٌ
Translation: In an elevated garden, wherein they will hear no unsuitable speech. Within it is a flowing spring. Within it are couches raised high. And cups put in place. And cushions lined up. And carpets spread around. [Surah Ghashiyah, verses 10-16]
When you read these verses, verse after verse, you get a sense of preparation. An elevated, penthouse suite with a spring in it. High, elevated couches. Cups all set out for drinking, and cushions sitting in a row, and the carpet rolled out.
Because when it comes down to it, it’s either this, or hameem and dariy’. The choice is yours. Choose wisely … because Hellfire is not really a choice at all.
- Touched by an Angel: Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. By Muhammad Alshareef. 2009.