Al Ma'arij (The Way of Ascent) (70)- 44

1        A questioner asked about a Penalty to befall

2        The Unbelievers the which there is none to ward off

3>        (A Penalty) from Allah Lord of the Ways of Ascent [Ma'arij].

       #5676        Ma'arij: stair-ways, ways of ascent. In xliii. 33, the word is used in its literal sense: "silver stair-ways on which to go up". Here there is a profound spiritual meaning. Can we reach up to Allah Most High? In His infinite grace He gives that privilege to angels. But the way is not easy, nor can it be travelled in a day. See the next two notes.#

       *** Ma'arij is not an Arabic word but an Ethiopic one meaning Ladders.

       This Surah has very clear associations with Jacob's Ladder and its 'details' in Legends of the Jews***

4>        The angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years:

       #5677        Ruh: "The Spirit". Cf. lxxviii. 38, "the Spirit and the angels"; and xcvii. 4, "the angels and the Spirit". In xvi. 2, we have translated Ruh by "inspiration". Some Commentators understand the angel Gabriel by "the Spirit". But I think a more general meaning is possible, and fits the context better.#

       *** When verses 3 and 4 are put together, they represent a re telling of the story of Jacob's Ladder in

Genesis 12: 10" And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11. And he lighted upon a certain place, and remained there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.12. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.13. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed" ***

5>        Therefore do thou hold Patience a Patience of beautiful (contentment).

6>        They see the (Day) indeed as a far-off (event):

7>        But We see it (quite) near.

8>        The Day that the sky will be like molten brass

9>        And the mountains will be like wool

       *** These descriptions are plagiarized from the traditions of the Jews and are NOT pagan Arabian ideas***

10>        And no friend will ask after a friend

11>        Though they will be put in sight of each other the sinner's desire will be: would that he could redeem himself from the Penalty of that Day by (sacrificing) his children

12>        His wife and his brother

13>        His kindred who sheltered him.

14>        And all all that is on earth so it could deliver him:

15>        By no means! For it would be the Fire of Hell!

16>        Plucking out (his being) right to the skull!

17>        Inviting (all) such as turn their backs and turn away their faces (from the Right)

18>        And collect (wealth) and hide it (from use)!

19>        Truly man was created very impatient

20>        Fretful when evil touches him;

21>        And niggardly when good reaches him

22>        Not so those devoted to Prayer

23>        Those who remain steadfast to their prayer;

24>        And those in whose wealth is a recognized right

25>        For the (needy) who asks and him who is prevented (for some reason from asking);

26>        And those who hold to the truth of the Day of Judgment;

27>        And those who fear the displeasure of their Lord

28>        For their Lord's displeasure is the opposite of Peace and Tranquillity

29>        And those who guard their chastity

30        Except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess for (then) they are not to be blamed

31        But those who trespass beyond this are transgressors

32>        And those who respect their trusts and covenants;

33>        And those who stand firm in their testimonies;

34>        And those who guard (the sacredness) of their worship

35>        Such will be the honored ones in the Gardens of (Bliss).

36        Now what is the matter with the Unbelievers that they rush madly before thee

       #5698        Before thee. The Unbelievers did not believe in a Hereafter. When the Bliss of the Hereafter was described, as in the last verse, they ridiculed it and pretended to be running in for it as in a race. They are here rebuked in the same tone of sarcasm.#

       *** This is a very refreshing change as the interpreter is telling the truth
- for a change - by confirming that the pagan Arabs were obviously ignorant of the Hereafter, Last Days, Judgment Day etc***

37        From the right and from the left in crowds?

38>        Does every man of them long to enter the Garden of Bliss?

39>        By no means! For We have created them out of the (base matter) they know!

40>        Now I do call to witness the Lord of all points in the East and the West that We can certainly

41>        Substitute for them better (men) than they; and We are not to be defeated (in Our Plan).

42>        So leave them to plunge in vain talk and play about until they encounter that Day of theirs which they have been promised!

43>        The Day whereon they will issue from their sepulchers in sudden haste as if they were rushing to a goal-post (fixed for them)
44        > Their eyes lowered in dejection ignominy covering them (all over)! Such is the Day the which they are promised!

       ***  Has the reader HONESTLY understood anything from this Surah?