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Surah An-Naziat (Verses 79:1-5)


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Author Topic: Surah An-Naziat (Verses 79:1-5)  (Read 1198 times)
Ruhi_Rose
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« on: January 31, 2013, 07:57:29 pm »

 BismEm


Translations of the first 5 verses of Surah An-Naziat by different translations sound quite different from each other.   I compared the translations of Pickthall, Haleem, Yusuf Ali and Shakir.  Pickthall and Haleem seem to express a similar meaning.  Yusuf Ali and Shakir sound similar to each other.  Thus, Pickthall and Haleem on one side and Yusuf Ali and Shakir on the other, differ vastly.  The following are the different translations:

Pickthall translation:
By those who drag forth to destruction,
By the meteors rushing,
By the lone stars floating,
By the angels hastening,
And those who govern the event,  (79:1-5).


Abdel Haleem translation:
By the forceful chargers
raring to go,
sweeping ahead at full stretch,
overtaking swiftly
to bring the matter to an end,  (79:1-5).


Yusuf Ali translation:
By the (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence;
By those who gently draw out (the souls of the blessed);
And by those who glide along (on errands of mercy),
Then press forward as in a race,
Then arrange to do (the Commands of their Lord),  (79:1-5).


Shakir translation:
I swear by the angels who violently pull out the souls of the wicked,
And by those who gently draw out the souls of the blessed,
And by those who float in space,
Then those who are foremost going ahead,
Then those who regulate the affair.(79:1-5).


The question is, which one is closest to the original?   Your feedback please.
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 08:24:00 pm »



Hummm, good observation sis.  You're right.   Pickthall and Haleem can be grouped together while the other two are different and similar to each other.  I feel pretty sure Pickthall and Haleem are the ones closest to the original.  Shakir's translation of the first two verses is almost identical to Yusuf Ali.  But Shakir's translation of the third Verse expresses a similar sense to Pickthall or Haleem.  So Shakir seems to be copying a bit from here and little from there.  I feel quite sure I know the reason why Yusuf Ali and Shakir have translated the first two verses as follows :

"By the (angels) who tear out (the souls of the wicked) with violence;
By those who gently draw out (the souls of the blessed); "  (79:1-2)


It's the issue of Hadith that again dominates Yusuf and Shakir's translations.

In Hadith collections there are chapters on nafs and the ruh along with experiences during death that aren't the same as elucidated in the Quran.  This topic of Hadith talks about many things that will happen at the event of death for believers and disbelievers. 

The Quran does not say that angels will "tear" out the souls of disbelievers.  Rather the Quran says that the angels will sternly tell the disbelievers at the time of death to deliver up their souls with a warning that on that day they will be awarded a degrading punishment.  This could either be a reference to Resurrection because the time between death and Resurrection will seem very short when awoken on Judgment Day, OR it could mean the commencement of punishment from the time of death which will also happen with some as defined in the Quran e.g. to Pharaoh and his followers. 

"If thou could see, when the wrong-doers reach the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out (saying): Deliver up your souls. This day ye are awarded doom of degradation for that you spake concerning Allah other than the truth, and used to scorn His portents."  (6:93)  Al-Anam.

Even though the above Verse is very clear, Shaykh Abu Jafar al-Qurtubi has given the following tafsir which I don't know from where he got.

"Here it is stated that death is painful for the disbelievers. Although they are ordered to surrender their souls to the angels, they are unwilling; therefore, the soul must be forced out as it does not wish to meet its punishment."   (Tafsir by Qurtubi).   The underlined portion is not in the Quran.  That's Qurtubi's own idea. 

The website SunnahOnline comes up with a still more exaggerated and apparently imaginary description, obviously from some other Hadith because such notions are totally absent in the Quran.  Quoting SunnahOnline: 'According to hadith, the Angel of Death ... says, "O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord." The soul inside the disbeliever's body is overcome by terrible fear [and does not want to deliver itself up], whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool - tearing with the arteries and nerves." '

Indeed I'm sure the soul of the disbeliever at this time will be overcome by extreme fear.  But the Quran doesn't say that the disbeliever will refuse to hand over their soul to the Angel of Death.  At this moment the disbeliever will be well aware that the time of leave has arrived and there is nothing they can do to postpone it.

Furthermore, I have read another Hadith, not sure if it's narrated by Umm Salamah or Abu Huraira which says that the "Angel of Death comes to the dying believer, sits at his head and says, 'O you good soul, come out and receive your Lord's forgiveness and pleasure.' Then the soul flows out effortlessly just as water flows from the mouth of a waterskin."

So you see, this concept involving physical gestures of snatching or tearing out the souls from the bodies of disbelievers by the angel of death, and being taken away gently from believers is a very Hadith idea.  Yusuf Ali and Shakir have tried to keep Verses 1 and 2 of Surah An-Naziat compatible with that Hadith concept.  I think that approach of theirs is easy to discern.  Not just Yusuf Ali and Shakir, but the institute that has written the Corpus Quran has also not translated the Quranic words correctly by trying to keep them in conformity with the Hadith.  The Quran expresses the fear and agony of disbelievers at the time of death in a very different way as quoted in V.6:93 above.  The Quran also expresses similar information in Verses V.50:19 and V.39:42 which I quote as follows.  You can perceive how different it is from the Hadith notion.

"And the agony of death comes in truth. (And it is said unto him): This is that which you were wont to shun."  (50:19).

"Allah receives (men's) souls at the time of their death, and that (soul) which dies not (yet) in its sleep. He keeps that (soul) for which He hath ordained death and dismisses the rest till an appointed term. Indeed! herein verily are portents for people who take thought."  (39:42).


For further help, the following is Abdel Haleem's tafsir which sounds sensible and tallies better with Pickthall's translation.  The initial Verses of Surah An-Naziat evidently refer to the Day of Resurrection and not to the experiences during death.  Haleem compares them with the first 5 verses of Surah Al-Adiyaat (Chapter 100).  In both Surahs An-Naziat and Al-Adiyaat, the first 5 verses are an oath from Allah on the events of the Day of Judgment, when it happens. 

"There are various interpretations of nazi at. One is that they are angels coming to take the souls at death, which is a fitting oath, as this is a fearful event that cannot be avoided, just as the hour of doom cannot be avoided. Another is that they are horses going out on a military expedition, making the hearts of the enemy tremble. In my opinion this is the most likely (see Sura 100). The suddenness and feeling of alarm in this scene is a symbolic anticipation of the suddenness and shock that will accompany the end of the world."


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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 08:52:23 pm »

Ah!  okay.  I should have suspected the imaginary works of Hadith and how many translators feel duty-bound to keep their translations compatible with those guessworks.  I've also read that Hadith about the waterskin, and yes there's a lot of chattering on experiences during death which are unwarranted in the Quran.  I mean, it's very possible that the experiences during death will be more than what Allah has shared with us in the Quran.  But those unknown experiences are at the moment only known to HIM.  It's impossible that even the Prophet (pbuh) knew the details stated in the Hadith.   As always, Ahadith on this topic too are unacceptable.

Referring to the last paragraph of your post quoting Abdel Haleem's tafsir .. I totally agree with that and your explanation that the initial Verses of Surah An-Naziat are an oath from Allah referring to the Day of Judgment, similar to Surah Al-Aadiyaat.   In both these Surahs the oath is on different aspects as we can read them.

Many thanks for the great clarifications, my sister.
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 09:05:13 pm »

Subhan'Allah.  This is a difficult topic very nicely handled.   I recall sometime back in our discussion group at the community centre a hadithist came up with the same misinterpretation of Surah An-Naziat.  Another guy, though he was also a hadithist, didn't agree with him.  I mentioned to them that these Verses were like an oath or like Allah calling to witness the aspects He has mentioned confirming the truth of the Day of Resurrection.  But neither of them agreed with me.  However, I had a hunch that I was closest to the truth.   Thank Allah, I am not dependent of the hadith for my understanding of the Noble Quran.

I also agree with that point sister Heba mentioned on writers of the Corups Quran.  The more I refer to their translations of Quranic words, the more convinced I get that their bent of mind is clearly toward hadith.  Almost every word they translate, they keep in mind if there is a hadith that interferes with that verse.  If yes, then their translation of that Quranic word (or words) is twisted to suit the hadith which tries to explain that verse.  That's why I've lost my trust on Corpus quite a bit.   
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 09:10:32 pm »

You're very welcomed sister Ruhi.  And yeah br. PT, you were closest to the correct interpretation.  No doubt about that.  I also concur with your opinion that the Corpus cannot be trusted as much as I thought it could, unfortunately Sad   I too have found that the first priority of their word by word translations are to keep them compatible with any Hadiths that might be present concerning those verses.  That's not the right approach, it's a biased or pre-conditioned approach.
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 05:20:17 pm »

Interesting discussion!  Actually Abdel Haleem's translation of Surah An-Naziat (first 5 verses) is very similar to Surah Al-Adiyaat. 

Taking the translation of the first verse of Pickthall and Haleem, respectively:
"By those who drag forth to destruction," and  "By the forceful chargers"

Pickthall's translation sounds like a reference (in the form of an oath) to the wrong doers who will be awoken on the Day of Judgment and who dragged themselves to the destruction that awaits them.    Haleem's translation sounds more like a fast-moving cavalry galloping forth, exactly the same oath as the initial verses of Surah Al-Adiyaat. 

In any case, it's clear from both that there are no references to the time of an individual's death nor individual death experiences.  It's an oath on a scenario that portrays unusual atmosphere of the Last Day. 

May Allah Almighty save all true believers from the burden of that Day.  Ameen ya Rab.
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 08:32:49 pm »



Taking the translation of the first verse of Pickthall and Haleem, respectively:
"By those who drag forth to destruction," and  "By the forceful chargers"

Pickthall's translation sounds like a reference (in the form of an oath) to the wrong doers who will be awoken on the Day of Judgment and who dragged themselves to the destruction that awaits them.    Haleem's translation sounds more like a fast-moving cavalry galloping forth, exactly the same oath as the initial verses of Surah Al-Adiyaat. 

Yes, your point seems right.  As we know, there are many verses in the Quran - allegorical verses or verses with references to other realities - the exact explanation or accurate connotation of which are only known to Allah.  These 2 translators have tried to interpret the concept that's caught their mind upon reading the first verse.  Only Allah would know which one is correct.  What we know quite clearly is that Allah Almighty is describing the awesome realities of the universe as oath confirming the reality of the Day of Judgment. 
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 08:34:48 pm »



Exactly ....
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 07:38:36 pm »

 salamem



 
Mashallah brightview this post benefits me jazak Allah  very good point  Yusuf ali and shakir both are unreliable ,their translations are based on hadith also the selection of words mostly not compatible with Quranic concepts
Okay its clear !!
angels coming to take the souls at death,which is a fitting oath as this is a fearful event that can not be avoided just as the hour of doom can not be avoided..

but this hadith issue bugs me  Undecided  i might be wrong just thinking so My question is regarding the presumed process of punishment at death time by the angel of death ? Of course separation of soul from the physical body could be painful But Allah does not mention in Quran that angels can punish any soul The responsibility of death angel is to take the soul from persons body and brought back to Allah  Simply whether person is sinner (muslim) or disbeliever rather these feeling are knowing the truth ,these fearful and peaceful feelings which are presumed as painful death of sinner/ disbeliever or painless death of pious both feelings depends on whether the person believed in Allah or not before their death and on the deeds they did during their lifetime because somehow  wrongdoer knew that they were wrong and now it's end of earthly life chances and Ultimate truth is about to come and believer feels  calm at the time of death ..
???   Huh.
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Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.9:111
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 05:15:20 pm »

Walaikum salaam, dear sister. 

Here is my view in brief.  Allah has made it clear in the Quran that at the time of the final departure, the angel of death will come to receive our souls (at the order of Allah, of course).  There are verses in the Quran that also convey the concept that that final experience will not be nice for disbelievers because that will be the time when they will realize that their disbelief has beguiled them and now it's too late to repent nor can they return to earth to profess belief.  Since the Quran also clarifies that their are grades of righteousness and unrighteousness, therefore the experience of pleasantness or unpleasantness may also vary depending on the quality of an individual.  Only Allah would know the details.  But I don't know of any Quranic verse where Allah states that the angels will come and forcefully pull out the soul in the case of disbelievers.  Allah has already ordained the day & time of death for everyone.  This means, when the exact moment of death arrives, that individual has no power to fight to keep his or her soul.  At that point the soul has to leave the body and the angel of death simply comes to receive it on the instructions of Allah.  It's certainly possible that the angel of death would appear welcoming to a believer and stern to a disbeliever, the details of which are again known best to Allah only.  But apparently there will be no need for the angel of death to snatch the soul or to remove it forcefully because the person is helpless to retain it any longer against the will of Allah.  But Hadith does not think on these lines because Hadith writers never read the Quran.  For that reason in almost all Hadith narrations we notice that the incorrect ideology of Hadith does not look upon Allah as the Supreme or the Absolute Power by discreetly trying to share the sole authority of Allah with angels and other humans.  Nauzbillah. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 04:30:57 am »

emmm exactly ! i am completely agree with ur view .In fact ur words are perfect expressions, yeah very satisfying reply many thanks my dear sister heba .  Smiley


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Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.9:111

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