Understanding the Quran Sharif – Short Tafseer Surah Al-Zilzaal

Surah Al-Zilzaal

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


  1. When the earth is shaken by her earthquake
  2. And the earth throws out her burdens,
  3. And man will say: What is the matter with her?
  4. That day she will relate her information,
  5. Because your Lord will give her inspiration.
  6. That day mankind will proceed in scattered groups so that they may be shown their deeds.
  7. So whosoever has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it,
  8. And whosoever has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.


In this Surah man is reminded about the severity of the day of Qiyamah. Man is also reminded that the earth which he thought as lifeless will testify in detail regarding the time and place where every good and evil deed was committed. Allah will then judge with perfect justice taking into account every good and evil deed.

Verse 1

Allah will cause an earthquake of such ferocity that no building, mountain or tree will remain in place. Everything will be completely flattened.

The earthquake mentioned here has been interpreted differently by the scholars. According to some it refers to the one which will occur before the first blowing of the trumpet. Others feel that it refers to the one which will occur after the second blowing of the trumpet when the dead will be brought back to life.

Verse 2

The treasures of the earth and the deceased corpses are meant by the burdens of the earth. On that day Allah will give the earth the power to spew out these treasures and bodies just like the earth had the power to cause plants and trees to grow out from it’s soil.

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam mentioned regarding the earthquake that the earth would spew out columns of gold. A murderer will see this and remark : “This was the reason I had killed for?” A person who had broken family ties over wealth will remark : ” This was the reason for which I had broken ties?” A thief whose hands had been cut will remark : “This was the reason for which my hand was cut?” Thereafter, nobody would even cast a glance at the gold.

Verse 3

Disbelievers will cry out in fear : “Why is the earth shaking like this and why are all the treasures being exposed?”

There is no mention of believers here. What will they say? In another verse Allah explains that the believers will proclaim : “This is what rahmaan (Allah) promised and the prophets were indeed truthful.”

Verse 4 – 5

A hadith teaches us regarding this verse that on that day the earth will testify to every good and bad deed which was done on it. For example the earth would declare : “Such and such a person performed Salaah on me”, or “Such and such a person stole and lied on me.”

Verse 6

This verse has been interpreted in two ways. Some scholars feel that it refers to the time when the questioning will be over and people will be separated into groups. Those who had been successful in their questioning would be destined for Jannah while the unsuccessful would be headed for Jahannam.

Other scholars feel that it refers to the time when people will emerge from their graves in various groups : peaceful, worried, righteous, sinful, adulterers, thieves, etc.

Verse 7

This verse promises that a Muslim who had done any good in this world will see the reward of it in the Hereafter. If he had done no good at all but had Imaan (faith) in his heart this will also be regarded as good. It is for this reason that this verse has been used as proof to show that a Muslim who had even an atoms equivalent of Imaan in his heart will be removed from the fire of Jahannam eventually.

Good in this verse refers to such good which is accompanied by Imaan. A good deed performed in the state of disbelief will not be rewarded in the Hereafter because the qualifying factor of Imaan is not found.

Verse 8

Evil in this verse refers to such evil which a person had done in the world and not asked forgiveness from Allah regarding it. From other verses and hadith we learn that sins followed by sincere repentance are forgiven completely.

Hazrat Abullah Ibn Masóod said with regard to this verse that it was the most concise verse of the whole Quran.


  1. Muslims need to be thankful to Allah for having given us the gift of Imaan. This same gift will eventually be the decisive factor between eternal success (Jannah) or eternal damnation (Jahannam). As Muslims we have been given Imaan by Allah due to no greatness of our own. Allah in his mercy has chosen us to be Muslim. We need to acknowledge this favour upon us and live up to the commands of Allah.


  1. On the day of Qiyamah man will realize his folly and immaturity in the world fighting, lying, bribing and breaking ties in order to own more wealth. He would regret not doing more good actions and spending his time more fruitfully.


  1. The earth will replay each and every action of man just like a audio recording does in this world.


  1. Man will have to account for every deed he has done, minor and major. Unfortunately, many people nowadays commit minor sins without any conscience whatsoever thinking that Allah will forgive these sins. However, this Surah teaches us that every minute sin will have to be accounted for. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam cautioned Hazrat Aisha Radhi Allahu Anha : “Be careful to abstain from such sins which are regarded as minor because Allah will question one regarding them also.” (Nasaí, Ibn Majah)


Similarly, every minute good deed will be rewarded. The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said : “Do not underestimate any good deed, even if it means offering water from your bucket to one seeking a drink, or meeting your brother with a cheerful face.”