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In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 101

In the Shade of the Qur'an - Surah # 101
Syed Qutb
 Sura  101
                                 The Striker
                                 al  Qari'ah

            In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful!

  The striker! What is the striker? Would that you knew what the striker
  is! The day when men shall be scaterred moths, and the mountains like
  carded wool. Then he whose scales are heavy, shall enjoy a life of
  satisfaction. But he whose scales are light, shall have the abyss for
  his home. WOuld that you knew what this is like. It is a raging fire.

                         In the Shade of the Qur'an

  "Al-Qaari'a' or the Striker is the resurrection named in other places in
  the Qur'an as the Overwhelming One, the Deafening Shout, the Stunning
  Blast and the Enveloper. The term al-Qaari'a also connotes hitting and
  knocking hard. It hits the hearts with its engulfing horrors.

  The surah as a whole deals with the Striker, its essence, what takes place
  in it and what it leads to in the end. Thus the surah portrays one of the
  scenes of the resurrection.
  The scene portrayed here is one of horror directly affecting man and
  mountains. In this scene men look dwarfish in spite of their great number.
  For they are "like scattered moths"; they fly here and there having no
  power or weight, experiencing the dilemma and perplexity of moths which
  rush to destruction, having no aim or purpose.
  Besides, mountains which used to be firm and solidly based seem to be
  like carded wool carried away by winds, and even by a light breeze. Thus,
  it is in harmony with this image that the Day of Resurrection is described
  as the one that strikes or knocks out. The connotations of the expressions
  used and the rhythm are in consonance with the effects of the Striker on
  both men and mountains. The surah spreads an air of awe and expectation
  of the outcome of the reckoning.

  "The Striker! What is the Striker! Would that you knew what the Striker
  is!" This surah starts with the single word "Al-Qaari'a" which stands for
  "the Striker". It is thrown alone like a shot without any further
  information or any predicate or adjective. As such it creates through
  its sound and connotations a feeling of resounding awe. The word is
  immediately followed by a question suggesting something alarming: "What
  is the Striker?" It is that dreadful and formidable thing which arouses
  curiosity and questioning. Then comes the answer in the form of a cryptic
  exclamation, giving no clear indication: "Would that you knew what the
  Striker is!!" It is too great to be comprehended or imagined. Then follows
  the answer which states what takes place in it but refrains from stating
  its exact nature: "The day when men shall be like scattered moths and the
  mountains like carded wool"

  This is the first scene of the Striker, a scene that leaves the hearts in
  panic and makes the limbs tremble with fear. The listener feels that
  everything he clings to in this world is flying all around him like dust.
  Then comes the end of all mankind. "Then he whose scales are heavy shall
  enjoy a life of satisfaction. But he whose scales are light shall have the
  abyss for his home. Would that you knew what this is like! It is a raging
  fire". It is useful for us to consider the "scales" and their being heavy
  or light. This means that there are standards which Allah credits with
  being valuable and others that are valueless. This is the general meaning
  of the statement which Allah wants to convey. He, however, knows best the
  exact nature of these "scales". To indulge in a sophisticated, logical and
  linguistic dispute about the meaning of this term is in itself a departure
  from the Qur'anic spirit and indicates that the reader is not interested
  in the Qur'an and in Islam.

  "He whose scales are heavy" according to Allah's measures and His
  evaluation, "shall enjoy a life of satisfaction". Allah makes this
  statement general without any detailed information. Thus, the statement
  imparts to man's feelings the connotations of content and satisfaction
  or, indeed, pure happiness. "But he whose scales are light", according
  to the same measures of Allah and His evaluation, "shall have the abyss
  for his home" The Arabic text uses the term "mother" for what is rendered
  here as "home". It is to his mother that a child turns for help and
  protection as he seeks shelter and security at home. But such people
  with light scales can turn and resort only to the abyss! The expression
  is a fine one, beautifully ordered. It has also a shade of obscurity
  preparing the way for subsequent clarification which adds to the depth
  of the intended effect: " Would that you knew what this is like!" It is
  again the cryptic exclamation used often in the Qur'an which emphasises
  that it is beyond comprehension and vision. Then comes the answer in the
  closing note: "It is a raging fire". So this is the mother of the one
  whose scales are light. This is his mother to whom he turns for help and
  protection and for security and comfort. But what does he find with such
  a mother? - The abyss and the raging fire. It is a sudden shock rendered
  by the expression to represent the hard reality.





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