Quran Chapter 44 - The Smoke - God Warns Us About the Smoke, The People of Moses, Paradise and Hell
A Meccan sura that takes its title from verse 10, which describes a smoke-filled day, taken by many to refer to the Day of Judgement. The sura highlights the mercy that is the Quran, addresses the obduracy of the powerful and wealthy oppressors, and draws comparisons between the people of Pharaoh, Tubba, and the Meccans. The people of Paradise will enjoy heavenly bliss while those who were mighty in this world will suffer the torments of Hell.
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy
God Warns Us About the Smoke
1 Ha Mim
2 By the Scripture that makes things clear, 3 truly We sent it down on a blessed night––We have always sent warnings–– 4 a night when every matter of wisdom was made distinct 5 at Our command––We have always sent messages to man–– 6 as a mercy [Prophet] from your Lord who sees and knows all, 7 Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything between––if only you people were firm believers–– 8 there is no god but Him: He gives life and death––He is your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers–– 9 yet in [their state of] doubt they take nothing seriously. [a]
10 [Prophet], watch out for the Day [b] when the sky brings forth clouds of smoke for all to see. 11 It will envelop the people. They will cry, ‘This is a terrible torment! 12 Lord relieve us from this torment! We believe!’ 13 How will this [sudden] faith benefit them? When a prophet came to warn them plainly, 14 they turned their backs on him, saying, ‘He is tutored! He is possessed!’ 15 We shall hold the torment back for a while [c] ––you are sure to return [to Us]–– 16 and on the Day We seize [them] mightily We shall exact retribution.
The People of Moses
17 We tested the people of Pharaoh before them: a noble messenger was sent to them, 18 saying, ‘Hand the servants of God over to me! I am a faithful messenger who has been sent to you. 19 Do not consider yourselves to be above God! I come to you with clear authority. 20 I seek refuge in my Lord and yours against your insults! [d] 21 If you do not believe me, just let me be.’
22 [Moses] cried to his Lord, ‘These people are evildoers!’ 23 [God replied], ‘Escape in the night with My servants, for you are sure to be pursued. 24 Leave the sea behind you parted and their army will be drowned.’ 25 Many a garden and spring they left behind, 26 many a cornfield and noble building, 27 many a thing in which they had delighted: 28 We gave these to another people to inherit. 29 Neither heavens nor earth shed a tear for them, nor were they given any time. 30 We saved the Children of Israel from their degrading suffering 31 at the hands of Pharaoh: he was a tyrant who exceeded all bounds. 32 We chose them knowingly above others: 33 We gave them revelations in which there was a clear test.
The People of Tubba
34 These people here [e] assert, 35 ‘There is nothing beyond our one death: we will not be resurrected. 36 Bring back our forefathers, if what you say is true.’ 37 Are they better than the people of Tubba [f] and those who flourished before them? We destroyed them all– they were guilty. 38 We were not playing a pointless game when We created the heavens and earth and everything in between; 39 We created them for a true purpose, but most people do not comprehend.
40 The Day of Decision is the time appointed for all; 41 a Day when no friend can take another’s place. 42 No one will receive any help except for those to whom God shows mercy: He is the Mighty, the Merciful Lord.
Contrasting Paradise and Hell
43 The tree of Zaqqum 44 will be food for the sinners: 45 [hot] as molten metal, it boils in their bellies 46 like seething water. 47 ‘Take him! Thrust him into the depths of Hell! 48 Pour scalding water over his head as punishment!’ 49 ‘Taste this, you powerful, respected man! 50 This is what you doubted.’ 51 But those mindful of God will be in a safe place 52 amid Gardens and springs, 53 clothed in silk and fine brocade, facing one another: 54 so it will be. We shall wed them to maidens with large, dark eyes. 55 Secure and contented, they will call for every kind of fruit. 56 After the one death they will taste death no more. God will guard them from the torment of Hell, 57 a bounty from your Lord. That is the supreme triumph.
58 We have made this Quran easy to understand– in your own language [Prophet]– so that they may take heed. 59 So wait; the disbelievers too are waiting.
a. Literally ‘in doubt they play’.
b. Some interpret this as referring to an actual event that occurred in the lifetime of the Prophet––a drought and famine in Mecca during which hunger caused eyes to mist over when the sufferers looked at the sky––but it seems more likely to refer to the Day of Judgement.
c. If this passage is taken to refer to the Day of Judgement, here the torment is relieved rather than held back, and the people return to disbelief rather than to God.
d. One of the meanings of rajama is ‘abuse’ or ‘cast aspersions’; another is ‘to stone’; another is ‘to expel’.
e. The Meccans.
f. Honorific title of the King of Yemen given to a succession of powerful kings who ruled over southern Arabia in ancient times.
The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
The Qur'an / a new translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem, copyright © 2004 Oxford World's Classics (Oxford University Press). Used by permission. All rights reserved.