(I begin) in the name of Allah, the Kind, the Merciful.
The sudden calamity!
What is the sudden calamity?
And what will make you understand what the sudden calamity is?
‘Qara’a’ means to knock, beat, scold, clash, to get the better of someone. Al-Qari’ah refers to the final call which will announce the start of the Day of Judgement.
The repetition of the statement wants us to understand the finality of the day of Judgement when all false appearances and values will be destroyed and be replaced by reality.
The day on which mankind will be like thickly scattered moths
The terror of it will make mankind run bewildered in all directions, like moths scattered by a stormy wind. The aya gives an imaginable view of the confusion, distress and helplessness of a human being.
And the mountains will be like ruffled wool (puffed up).
‘Nafasha’ means ‘to puff up’ and ‘to swell out or ruffle’. It will be a day when even the firm and solid mountains will revert to being like unspun wool, since they are not made of anything but the divine command of ‘Be’ (Kun).
Then, as for him/her whose measure of good deeds is heavy,
He/she will live a pleasant life.
On that day nothing will matter but one’s deeds. He/she whose actions, intentions and awareness are heavy in their reality will be in a perfect state of contentment.
And as for him/her whose measure of deeds is light,
His/her abode is the pit.
He/she whose measure is light - whose actions were at a loss in the Hereafter, will be destined to a bottomless pit. ‘Hawiya’ comes from the word ‘hawa’ which means to fall.
And what will you know what it is?
A blazing hot fire.
Just as a human being cannot fully imagine what the Al-Qari’ah will really be like, thus too he/she cannot comprehend the likeness of a bottomless pit - ‘Hawiya’.
We can only experience a small taste of it here- the smallest fire. In ahadith we are told that the fire we see on the earth is only a fraction of the fire of Jahannam e.g.The hot lava from volcanoes which we see that melts rocks.
‘Hamiya’ comes from ‘hama’ which means to ‘become very hot, to flare up and to fly in a rage. It is a description of that fiery state.