Quran Chapter 74 - Wrapped in His Cloak - The Disbeliever’s Foolish Attitude
After his first encounter with the Angel of Revelation in the Cave of Hira, the Prophet went home trembling and asked his wife to cover him with his cloak. The first verses of this Meccan sura were then revealed (verses 1–7). The sura goes on, in a section from a later period, to remind the obstinate disbelievers of their fate on the Day of Judgement (verses 8–10) and a specific opponent of the Prophet is singled out (verses 11–31). The end of the sura (verses 39–53) exposes the foolishness of the disbelievers’ attitude to the Revelation and the Day of Resurrection.
In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy
1 You, wrapped in your cloak, 2 arise and give warning! 3 Proclaim the greatness of your Lord; 4 cleanse yourself; [a] 5 keep away from all filth; [b] 6 do not be overwhelmed and weaken; [c] 7 be steadfast in your Lord’s cause.
8 When the Trumpet sounds, 9 that will be a Day of anguish for the disbelievers. 10 They will have no ease. 11 [Prophet], leave Me to deal with the one I created helpless, [d] 12then gave vast wealth, 13 and sons by his side, 14 making everything easy for him–– 15 yet he still hopes I will give him more. 16 No! He has been stubbornly hostile to Our revelation: 17 I will inflict a spiraling torment on him. 18 He planned and plotted–– 19 devilishly he plotted! 20 ferociously he plotted!–– 21 and looked 22 and frowned and scowled 23 and turned away and behaved arrogantly 24 and said, ‘This is just old sorcery, 25 just the talk of a mortal!’
26 I will throw him into the scorching Fire. 27 What will explain to you what the scorching Fire is? 28 It spares nothing and leaves nothing; 29 it scorches the flesh of humans; 30 there are nineteen in charge of it–– 31 none other than angels appointed by Us to guard Hellfire– and We have made their number a a test for the disbelievers. So those who have been given the Scripture will be certain and those who believe will have their faith increased: neither those who have been given the Scripture nor the believers will have any doubts, but the sick at heart and the disbelievers will say, ‘What could God mean by this description?’ God leaves whoever He will to stray and guides whoever He will– no one knows your Lord’s forces except Him– this [description] is a warning to mortals.
The Disbeliever’s Foolish Attitude
32 Yes– by the moon! 33 By the departing night! 34 By the shining dawn! 35 It is one of the mightiest things, 36 a warning to all mortals, 37 to those of you who choose to go ahead and those who lag behind.
38 Every soul is held in pledge for its deeds, 39 but the Companions of the Right will stay 40 in Gardens and ask 41 about the guilty. 42 ‘What drove you to the Scorching Fire?’ [they will ask] 43 and they will answer, ‘We did not pray; 44 we did not feed the poor; 45 we indulged with others [in mocking the believers]; 46 we denied the Day of Judgement 47 until the Certain End came upon us.’ 48 No intercessor’s plea will benefit them now.
49 What is the matter with them? Why do they turn away from the warning, 50 like frightened asses 51 fleeing from a lion? 52 Each one of them demands that a scripture be sent down to him and unrolled before his very eyes– 53 No! Truly they have no fear of the life to come– 54 but truly this is a reminder. 55 Let whoever wishes to take heed do so: 56 they will only take heed if God so wishes. He is the Lord who should be heeded, the Lord of forgiveness.
a. Literally ‘clean your garments’ (see Razi for this idiomatic usage of thiyab).
b. Or ‘from all idolatry’.
c. An alternative translation would be ‘do not give, hoping only to receive’. The translation given above is based on Mujahid’s understanding of manna as ‘to weaken’. See Razi for this interpretation, which seems much more appropriate to the context.
d. Al-Walid ibn al-Mughira, one of the Prophet’s obstinate opponents.
e. Some have taken this literally to allude to a special significance of the number 19, but it is much more likely to be 'idda in the meaning of ‘number, group’ (al-Mujam al-Wasit).
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.