Understanding the Quran Sharif – Surah At-Takaathur – Short Tafseer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Translation

 

  1. Rivalry in worldly increase distracts you.
  2. Until you visit the graves (die).
  3. Nay, you shall come to know!
  4. Nay again, you shall come to know!
  5. Nay, if you knew with a sure knowledge!
  6. Verily, you will see the hell fire.
  7. And again you will behold it with sure vision.
  8. Then, on that day, you will be asked concerning the bounties.

 

Background

 

In this Surah Allah addresses all of humanity : ‘Your arrogance due to your wealth, progeny, lineage and your fascination in the life of this world has distracted you from doing actions which will guarantee you success in the hereafter. You continue roaming blindly in this state until death comes to you. Then you will realise your folly.’

 

Verse 1 – 2

The chase for riches, power and entertainment has made man blind and futile in his objective of life. His blindness he will realise once he comes face to face with death.

The root of the word takaathur is kathrah meaning abundance. Some commentators have taken takaathur to mean boasting and bragging. Ibn Abbaas Radhiallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam once recited Alahaakumut takaathur and explained: “This refers to the accumulation of wealth in an unacceptable way and not to fulfil the divine rights which that wealth brings with it.”

Verse 3 – 4

This verse seeks to correct man’s train of thought: ‘You thought that an abundance of riches, power and influence translated into success but you are in deception.’

Allah uses the word kalla three times to emphasize a grave warning to man:

‘Beware! Don’t let this world distract you from the hereafter.’

Verse 5

If you only know the reality of the questioning and accountability in the hereafter your preparation for this event will take preference over worldly pursuits and attractions.

Verse 6 – 7

In emphasis Allah repeats the fact that man will definitely see the fire of Hell. Ainul yakeen is an expression meaning to see something with one’s own eyes.

Verse 8

On the day of Qiyaamah you will be questioned regarding the bounties you enjoyed in this world: ‘Did you fulfill the rights of these bounties and did you use them in Allah’s prescribed manner?’

The verse is general, according to scholars, meaning that Allah will question man regarding each of his bounties: food, drink, clothing, home, family, authority, etc.

 

Lessons

  1. In the modern world of today man pursues riches and pleasures unscrupulously, ignoring good principles and failing to observe the rights of Allah and fellow man. Man should not lose track of death and accountability in the hereafter. Instead the inevitability of the hereafter should be a reminder for man to live according to the dictates of the Quran and the life of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam.
  2. The bounties of this world are countless and unlimited. The Quran

declares: “If you try to count one bounty of Allah you will not be able to do so.” These bounties are in reality a test and trial regarding which man will be questioned by Allah. Hence, they need to be acquired justly and utilised sensibly.

In a verse of the Quran Allah explains: “The ears, the eyes and the heart will be questioned.” (17:36) In a Hadith the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam mentioned: “On the day of resurrection a person shall not be able to move until he has answered five questions. Firstly, what did he do with all the years of his life? Secondly, how did he spend the strength of his youth? Thirdly, did he accumulate his wealth in a permissible manner or not?

Fourthly, how did he spend his wealth? Fifthly, to what extent did he practice on the knowledge Allah gave to him? (Bukhari)

  1. How accurately does the Quran and Hadith not describe the nature of man?

In two words of the first verse Allah eloquently summarizes man’s base desire to acquire more and more.

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam also accurately described man’s base desire: “If man owns one valley of gold he would love to own a second even though his mouth will only be filled with sand (of the grave). Allah forgives those who repent to him.”