Az-Zalzalah · Juz 30 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah Az-Zalzalah Ayah 3 – 5

Man will Ask what is the Matter


Talking about the condition of man, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states man will say, “What is the matter with it?” meaning, he will be baffled by the situation. He had lived on a stable and firm earth so what’s happening to it now, he will wonder. There will come to it inescapable quaking that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala prepared for it. Then it will throw out its dead people – from the first to the last generations. At that time, people will be perplexed by the events and the earth changing into other than the earth, and the heavens as well. They will be so shocked that they will forget all the reminders that they received in dunya about the Day of Judgment.

This is the state that the disbelievers will be in, as they denied this Day altogether. The disbelievers will say, “O woe to us! Who has raised us up from our sleeping place?” It will be said to them, “This is what the Most Merciful had promised and the messengers told the truth.” (Please refer Surah Ya-Seen Ayah 52)

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then says, “That Day it will declare its information,” (99: 4) meaning, it will speak of what the people did upon its surface. Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i all recorded a hadeeth from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu – and in the wording of An-Nasa’i’s version it states that he said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ recited this Ayah then he said, ‘Do you know what is its information?’ They said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘Verily, its information is that it will testify against every male and female servant, about what they did upon its surface. It will say that he did such and such on such and such day. So this is its information.’”

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah al-Kahf Ayah 49,

“And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, ‘Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?’ And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one.”

According to the tafseer of Ibn Mas’ud, on the Day of Judgment the earth will literally speak to Allah and/or to the people, complaining about every action of mankind and jinn.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Because your Lord will inspire it,” (99: 5). The word ‘awh’a is commonly translated as inspiration. It is apparent that the implied meaning here is that He will permit the earth. Shabib bin Bishr narrated from ‘Ikrimah that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “That Day it will declare its information. Its Lord will say to it, ‘Speak.’ So it will speak.” Mujahid commented: Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will command the earth to speak. Al-Qurazi said, “He will command it to separate from them.”

Some scholars have also said that the word ‘inspire’ here means ‘hint’. The earth had always wanted to complain about what the children of Adam have been doing on it, but it was not allowed to speak up. So, on the Day of Judgment Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will give it the permission to spill out all that it has been witnessing.

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