Tafseer of Surah Takaathur

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

اَلْهٰكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ ‎﴿١﴾‏ حَتّٰى زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ ‎﴿٢﴾‏ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُوْنَ ‎﴿٣﴾‏ ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُوْنَ ‎﴿٤﴾‏ كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُوْنَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ ‎﴿٥﴾‏ لَتَرَوُنَّ ٱلْجَحِيمَ ‎﴿٦﴾‏ ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ ٱلْيَقِينِ ‎﴿٧﴾‏ ثُمَّ لَتُسْـَٔلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ ‎﴿٨﴾‏

The mutual rivalry in amassing wealth (and the material things and benefits of this world) has distracted you (from the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala and the Hereafter). (This goes on) until you visit the graves (i.e. until you pass away). No! You will soon come to know (the reality of the things of this world compared to the Hereafter, and the true goals that you should have strove for). Again, you will soon come to know (the reality). No! Had you only known with the knowledge of certainty (then you would not have been behaving like this). Certainly you will see the hell fire. Then you will see it with the eye of certainty. Then you will be asked, on that day (the Day of Qiyaamah), regarding all the favours (which you enjoyed in the world).

اَلْهٰكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ ‎﴿١﴾‏ حَتّٰى زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ ‎﴿٢﴾‏

The mutual rivalry in amassing wealth (and the material things and benefits of this world) has distracted you (from the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala and the Hereafter). (This goes on) until you visit the graves (i.e. until you pass away).

The mutual rivalry in amassing wealth and worldly benefits has diverted man’s attention from his main purpose and goal in life. The main purpose and goal of man’s life is to earn the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala and strive for Jannah. Unfortunately, due to man’s passionate love for wealth and worldly recognition, man is diverted from his main purpose and gets involved in competing with others for worldly gain.

In this verse, Allah Ta‘ala complains about man – that he continues in this competition until the end of his life, until he eventually reaches the grave.

Hazrat Abdullah bin Shikheer (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports, “On one occasion, I visited Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) when he was reciting this surah. After reciting this surah, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The son of Aadam (boastfully) says, ‘My wealth, my wealth.’ However, there is no benefit for you from your wealth except that which you ate and finished, or that which you wore until it became old, or that which you had given in charity and sent ahead (to the Hereafter).””

In the narration of Muslim Shareef, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also mentioned that every other wealth and possession, besides these mentioned in the Hadith above, will be left behind for other people (i.e. his heirs).

It is the nature and tendency of man that he is never content with the wealth he has and therefore continues striving to amass the wealth and increase it. In regard to man’s insatiable desire and quest for wealth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “If the son of Aadam has a valley of gold, he will desire a second valley of gold. And nothing will fill the belly of man except the sand of the grave. And Allah Ta‘ala will accept the repentance of the one who turns to Him in repentance.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6436)

كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُوْنَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ ‎﴿٥﴾‏

No! Had you only known with the knowledge of certainty (then you would not have been unmindful of the Hearafter).

In this verse, Allah Ta‘ala says, “Had you only known with the knowledge of certainty (then you would not have been unmindful of the Hearafter).”

In other words, had you only reflected over the reality of death and pondered over your end, when you will be lying in your grave in total isolation, and the pomp and glory which you used to enjoy has now vanished, then you would not have been unmindful of your obligation to Allah Ta‘ala and you would not have been unmindful of the Hereafter.

لَتَرَوُنَّ ٱلْجَحِيمَ ‎﴿٦﴾‏ ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ ٱلْيَقِينِ ‎﴿٧﴾‏

Certainly you will see the hell fire. Then you will see it with the eye of certainty.

There are two levels of certainty. The first level is the knowledge of certainty which one possesses in one’s mind, and the second level is the knowledge acquired through the eye of certainty, where one sees the reality before his own eyes.

Obviously, seeing the reality of something creates a different level of certainty as compared to merely having the knowledge of it.

For example, a person has knowledge of a snake and the harm it can cause. However, when he comes face-to-face with the snake and encounters its harm, then his certainty and conviction of the snake and its harm reaches a different level.

Hazrat Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) knew about the qudrat of Allah Ta’ala and he knew about serpents and snakes. However, when Allah Ta‘ala commanded him to throw down his staff and it transformed into a snake, then he immediately turned around and began to flee. Thus, being faced with a reality is different to merely having knowledge of the reality.

ثُمَّ لَتُسْـَٔلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ ‎﴿٨﴾‏

Then you will be asked, on that day (the Day of Qiyaamah), regarding all the favours (which you enjoyed in the world).

On the Day of Qiyaamah, a person will be questioned regarding all the favours which he enjoyed in this world. He will be questioned regarding his health, wealth, time, etc. In another verse of the Quraan Shareef, Allah Ta‘ala says:

اِنَّ ألسَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْـٔولًا

Indeed the ear, the eye and the heart (i.e. the mind) – all these (favours) will have to be accounted for (on the Day of Qiyaamah)

From this aayat, we understand that on the Day of Qiyaamah, one will be questioned regarding the faculties of hearing, seeing and understanding, etc. One will be questioned as to whether one used these faculties to engage in sin or he used them to engage in the worship of Allah Ta‘ala. Similarly, a person will be questioned regarding the intention he had at the time of carrying out good deeds and the thoughts he entertained in his mind regarding Allah Ta‘ala or the creation.

In one Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned that on the Day of Qiyaamah, when a man appears on the plains of resurrection, he will not be able to move from his place until he answers five questions. These five questions will be in regard to five special favours of Allah Ta’ala which he enjoyed in the world:

1) How did he earn his wealth?

2) How did he spend his wealth?

3) How did he spend his youth?

4) How did he spend his life?

5) How much did he practice upon the knowledge of deen which he learnt?

Generally, people regard knowledge to be something to boast about. However, it should be borne in mind that the knowledge of deen is a great favour of Allah Ta’ala upon a person, regarding which he will be questioned on the Day of Qiyaamah.

On the day of Qiyaamah, each person will be asked regarding how much he practiced upon the knowledge of deen which he acquired. Hence, if he acquired the knowledge of deen but did not practice upon it, he will be taken to task for not practising on the knowledge of deen.

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