After-Life: Quran 56:92-94

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Background

These verses were revealed in Makkah:

“According to the chronological order that Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas has given of the Surahs, first Surah Ta Ha was sent down, then Al-Waqi’ah and then Ash-Shu`ara'(Suyuti: Al-Itqan). The same sequence has been reported from Ikrimah (Baihaqi: Dala’il an Nubuwwat). This is supported also by the story that Ibn Hisham has related from Ibn Ishaq about the affirmation of the Faith by Hadrat Umar. It says that when Hadarat Umar entered his sister’s house, Surah Ta Ha was being recited. Hearing his voice the people of the house hid the pages of the Qur’an. Hadrat Umar first seized his brother-in-law and then his sister rose in defense of her husband, he hit her also and wounded her on the head. When Umar saw blood on his sister, he was sorry for what he had done, and said to her: “Show me the manuscript that you have concealed so that I may see what it contains.” The sister said: “You are unclean because of your polytheism: wa anna-hu la yamassu-ha ill-at-tahir: “Only a clean person can touch it.” So, Hadrat Umar rose and washed himself, and then took up the manuscript to read it. This shows that Sarah Al-Waqi’ah had been sent down by that time for it contains the verse: La yamassu hu ill al mutahharun; and it had been established historically that Hadrat Umar embraced Islam after the first migration to Habash, in the fifth year of the Prophethood.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an – Online source)

Analysing Verses

56:88 And if the deceased was of those brought near to God,

56:89 Then [for him is] rest and bounty and a garden of pleasure.

56:90 And if he was of the companions of the right,

56:91 Then [the angels will say], “Peace for you; [you are] from the companions of the right.”

56:92 But if he was of the deniers [who were] astray,

56:93 Then [for him is] accommodation of scalding water

56:94 And burning in Hellfire

When the verses are read in their context, it speaks about the hereafter. The afterlife.

Commentary

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:

“The Condition of People at the Time of Their Death
These are the three types of conditions that people face upon their death. Either they are among the near believers or those below their rank on the right, or those who denied the truth, were led astray from the guidance and were ignorant about Allah. Allah said, (Then if he), in reference to the dying person, (be of the Muqarrabun) who fulfilled the obligations and the recommended acts of worship and avoided the forbidden and disliked matters and even some of the allowed, (then for him Rawh, Rayhan and a Garden of Delights.) Theirs will be Rawh and Rayhan; and the glad tidings of these traits will be conveyed to them by the angels at the time of death. We mentioned before the Prophet’s Hadith narrated from Al-Bara’ in which the angels of mercy say (to a dying, believing person) … (Rawh and Rayhan) means: “Paradise and delights.” Qatadah said that Rawh means mercy. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Sa`id bin Jubayr said that Rayhan means provisions. All of these explanations are correct and similar in meaning. The near believers who die will earn all of these; mercy, rest, provision, joy, happiness and good delights, (and a Garden of Delights.) Abu Al-`Aliyah said, “None of the near believers will depart (this life) until after he is brought a branch of the Rayhan of Paradise and his soul is captured in it.” Muhammad bin Ka`b said, “Every person who dies will know upon his death if he is among the people of Paradise or the people of the Fire.” In the Sahih, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said, (The souls of the martyrs live in the bodies of green birds flying wherever they wish in the Gardens of Paradise, and then rest to their nests in chandeliers hung from the Throne of the Almighty….) Imam Ahmad recorded that `Ata’ bin As-Sa’ib said, “The first day I saw `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Layla, I saw an old man whose hair had become white on his head and beard. He was riding his donkey and following a funeral. I heard him say, `So-and-so narrated to me that he heard the Messenger of Allah say, (He who likes to meet Allah, Allah likes to meet him, and he who hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him.) The people around him started weeping, and he asked them why they wept. They said, `All of us hate death.’ He said, (It does not mean that. When one dies: (Then, if he be of the near believers, then for him are Rawh, Rayhan, and a Garden of Delights.)( and when this good news is conveyed to him, he likes to meet Allah the Exalted and Most Honored and Allah the Exalted and Most Honored likes, even more, to meet him, (But if he be of the denying, the erring, then for him is an entertainment with Hamim. And entry in Hellfire.) (and when this news is conveyed to him, he hates to meet Allah and Allah hates, even more, to meet him.)” This is the narration that Imam Ahmad collected; and in the Sahih, there is a Hadith with this meaning collected from `A’ishah. Allah’s statement, (And if he be of those on the right,) means, if he, the dying person, is among those on the right, (Then Salam (peace) to you from those on the right) meaning, the angels will deliver the good news to them by saying, “Peace be upon you,” i.e., be calm, you will be led to safety, you are among those on the right, as `Ikrimah said, “The angels will greet him with the Salam and convey to him the news that he is among those on the right. ” This is a good explanation, and it conforms with Allah’s statement, (Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah.” and then they stand firm, on them the angles will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised! We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your souls desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask. An entertainment from the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”) (41:30-32). Allah’s statement, (But if he be of the denying, the erring, then for him is an entertainment with Hamim (boiling water) and entry in Hellfire.) meaning, if the dying person is one of those who denied the truth, who were led astray from guidance, (then for him is an entertainment,) meaning, as a guest (with Hamim) that dissolves his intestines and skin, (And entry in Hellfire.) he will reside in Hellfire, which will engulf him from every direction. Allah the Exalted said, next…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Surah 56:88- 96 – online source)

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