Allah’s swearing by Different Creatures about the Occurrence of the Hereafter
In these ayaat Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala swears oaths by ‘those that have been sent’. What has been sent? That has not been explicitly mentioned, however, five attributes have been given:
1. “by those that are sent one after the other,” (77:1)
2. “by those that blow violently,” (77:2)
3. “by those that scatter all over,” (77:3)
4. “by those that differentiate (between right and wrong),” (77:4)
5. “by those that bring down the Reminder.” (77:5)
The scholars have interpreted these differently. Some say that these refer to the winds. Others are of the opinion that these refer to the angels. While some others say that these refer to the Messengers. Ibn Katheer is of the opinion that in the first three ayaat Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala swears oaths by various types of winds. In the fourth and the fifth ayaat, He swears oaths by the angels.
According to Ibn Katheer, the ayaat signify ‘(I swear) by those (winds) that are sent one after the other’. The word ‘urfan [عُرْفاً] from ma’roof could signify ‘beneficial and useful’. The winds that bring rain are both beneficial and useful. The word ‘asifat [عَـصِفَـتِ] is derived from ‘asf that literally means ‘winds that blow violently or vehemently’. The word nashirat [نَّـشِرتِ] is from the root noon-sheen-ra and it means “to spread out” and it refers to the winds that spread clouds all over after the rain is over. For example, when a farmer has to feed the birds he does not place each grain in a straight line rather he scatters them all over the place. That is how winds scatter the clouds.
Ayah 4 begins with the word fariqati [فَـرِقَـتِ] which is from the root fa-ra-qaf and it means “to separate, to distinguish, to divide or to split”. Now, the winds cannot distinguish between right and wrong. This is the attribute of the angels as they differentiate between right and wrong by bringing down the Divine revelation. Ayah 5 also refers to the angels. The word dhikr (reminder) refers to the Qur’an or revelation in general. The angels bring down revelation by which truth and falsehood, right and wrong, and the lawful and the forbidden is distinguished.
This dhikr or reminder serves two purposes ‘udh’ran aw nud’ran [عُذْراً أَوْ نُذْراً] meaning to provide excuses or to give warnings. In the case of the believers, it persuades them to seek excuse from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for their shortcomings, and pray for forgiveness; and in the case of disbelievers, it contains a warning for them of Allah’s torment, if they oppose His command.
The purpose of sending this Reminder is that on the Day of Judgment people have no excuse that O Allah we didn’t know. Moreover, it also serves the purpose of warning those who do not pay heed. Some people take the lesson and change their course of action while others ignore them and do not change.
“What you are promised must come to pass,” (77:6). This is the subject of these oaths. It means that the Day of Judgment that is promised by the Prophets will certainly come! Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then describes some of the events that will occur on that Day. The stars will be extinguished and the entire world will be plunged in absolute darkness. The second event to occur is the splitting of the sky. The third event to occur is that the mountains will be blown away as dust. Then the Messengers will be assembled who will then gather their communities so that all matters concerning them may be decided.
The ayaat further describe the Day of Judgment as the great and horrible day. People will ask, “For what Day are these signs postponed?” (77:12) meaning if this testimony had to take place then for why was it delayed, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala responds, “For the Day of sorting out,” (77:13). The word fasl is from the root fa-saad-laam and it means “separated, divided, put apart a thing from another”. Meaning people who are together as family, friends or co-workers will be separated on the Day.
It shall be the Day of Destruction for the deniers and rejecters therefore it was said, “Woe that Day to the deniers,” (77:15). The word wayl means ‘destruction’. How can one save themselves from destruction? By believing in the Hereafter and preparing for it.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us from the successful ones, aameen.