al-Takathur · Juz 30 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah at-Takathur [Ayah 5 – 8]

Ayah 5: Knowing with Conviction

In Ayah 5, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states

كَلاَّ لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ

“Nay! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty.” 

The word عِلْمَ ‘ilm’ has the same root word as ‘talamoon’ therefore it means science, knowledge, information, awareness, etc.

The word يَقِينِ ‘yaqeen’ means solid conviction. It is the kind of knowledge which is more than just knowing something. Yaqeen is even stronger than emaan. It is something you are absolutely convinced about or you are fully sure about it.

There are three types of Yaqeen:

1. Ilm al Yaqeen – yaqeen based on knowledge. For example, seeing smoke signifies fire even if we can’t see the fire. Similarly wet grass early in the morning indicates dew while we can’t see it ourselves.
2. Ayn al Yaqeen – yaqeen based on seeing i.e. we know something is burning when we actually see the fire.
3. Haq al Yaqeen – yaqeen based on feeling. We will be convinced there is fire when we feel its burning or warmth.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has bestowed us with two yaqeens in this world, ilm al yaqeen and haq al yaqeen. The Qur’an is ilm al yaqeen, we have no doubt about it whereas the disbelievers desire Ayn al Yaqeen, they want to see everything with their eyes before they can accept and believe in it.

Ayah 6 – 8

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala begins this Surah talking about the people who hoard wealth and are lost in worldly pleasures and comforts. The blessings given to them in dunya should be utilized as a source of getting closer to Him; to submit in gratitude. However, distracted by the pomp and glitter of this world people have diverted from their real purpose. They will wake up to the reality only when they reach their graves. It is then when the truth will dawn up them.
In Ayah 6, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَ

“Surely, you all shall see the hellfire.”

The word ‘La’ is used to respond to an oath. It is a ‘qasam’ for certainty. It has been place to add emphasis on what is being said.

‘Jaheem’ is a noun having root word, Jim – Ha – Meem that means to kindle a fire, make to burn, burn brightly or fiercely near to destroying or killing, burn with vehemence. For example, if a lion appears before us walking slowly in our direction ready to pounce at any moment, we will be so petrified that we will stand there frozen, not knowing where to move. Such is the state of the hellfire; people will be horrified when they see it. They will feel as if it can pounce at them any moment.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then says in Ayah 7,

ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ

“Then you shall most certainly see it with certainty of sight.”

This means that when you will see it by your own eyes you will convinced of what you were being warned about in the world. But when you will see it that will be the time when you will be thrown into it. (Allahuma ajirni min’nan naar)

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends this Surah by saying,

ثُمَّ لَتُسْـَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ

“Then surely, you will be asked that day about the pleasures.”

Then in this sentence has been used to give the warning that ‘it is then’ when you will be questioned. Na’eem is a noun having root words Nun -Ayn – Meeem which means to lead an easy life, enjoy the comforts and conveniences of life, be joyful. Therefore, the word ‘naeem’ will mean extra continuous comforts. On the Day Judgment we will be questioned about our continuous state of blessing. What did we do with the luxuries given to us? 

We learn from the ahadith that Rasoolullah sallalahu aalyhi wa sallam informed his Ummah that both the believers and the disbelievers will have to account for the blessings granted by Allah. The people who never displayed ingratitude and spent their lives as grateful servants of Allah will be the successful ones. On the other hand, those who were ungrateful despite having abundant blessings from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, they will emerge as failures.

Abu Hurairah has reported that the Prophet once asked Abu Bakr and `Umar to accompany him to the place of AbulHaitham bin at-Tahan Ansari. Thus, he took them to the oasis of Ibn at-Taihan-The latter brought a bunch of dates and placed it before them. The Holy Prophet said: “Why didn’t you pluck the dates yourself?” He said: “I thought you would yourselves select and eat dates of your choice.” So, they ate the dates and drank cool water. At the end, the Prophet said: “By Him in Whose hand is my life: this is of the blessings about which you will be questioned on the Resurrection Day: the cool shade, the cool dates, the cool water.” (This tradition has been narrated in different ways by Muslim, Ibn Majah, Abu Da’ud, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Ibn Jarir, Abu Ya`la and others, on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurairah, in some of which the name of the Ansari Companion has been mentioned and in some he has been referred to as a person from among the Ansar).

This hadith makes it explicit that not only the disbelievers but the righteous believers too will be questioned. As for the blessings which Allah has bestowed on man, they are unlimited and countless. There are many blessings of which man is not even conscious. The Qur’an says: “If you try to count the blessings of Allah, you will not be able to calculate them.” [Surah Ibraheem : 34].

Blessings do not just include a comfortable house, a well-paying job, table full of food, but it also means the skills that we are born with or acquire over time. Our sense of hearing and sight, our ability to walk and talk, all are blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It was through His favor and excellence that we acquired those skills and abilities.

Man will be inquired about all the blessings regarding how he used them, whether he acknowledged he got them as a gift from Allah and did he express his gratitude towards Him or did he attributed every good thing to his ownself or to some other god.

As Muslims, we should not be competing for worldly gains because anything extra that we have means an additional question on the Day of Judgment. We should say alhumdulillah for what He has given us, fear the hour when we will be questioned and share our ‘rizq’ with others.

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