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The Punishment of the Idolators and the Reward of the sincere Believers

Allah says, addressing the people:

﴿ إِنَّكُمۡ لَذَآٮِٕقُواْ ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡأَلِيمِ وَمَا تُجۡزَوۡنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ

(Verily, you are going to taste the painful torment; and you will be requited nothing except for what you used to do.) Then He makes an exception in the case of His sincerely believing servants. This is like the Ayat:

﴿ وَٱلۡعَصۡرِ إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِى خُسۡرٍ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ

(By the Time. Verily, man is in loss, Except those who believe and do righteous deeds...) (103:1-3),

﴿ لَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ فِىٓ أَحۡسَنِ تَقۡوِيمٍ۬ ثُمَّ رَدَدۡنَـٰهُ أَسۡفَلَ سَـٰفِلِينَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ

(Verily, We created man in the best stature. Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low. Save those who believe and do righteous deeds) (95:4-6).

﴿ وَإِن مِّنكُمۡ إِلَّا وَارِدُهَا‌ۚ كَانَ عَلَىٰ رَبِّكَ حَتۡمً۬ا مَّقۡضِيًّ۬ا ثُمَّ نُنَجِّى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَواْ وَّنَذَرُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ فِيہَا جِثِيًّ۬ا

(There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell); this is with your Lord, a decree which must be accomplished. Then We shall save those who have Taqwa. And We shall leave the wrongdoers therein to their knees.) (19:71-72); and

﴿ كُلُّ نَفۡسِۭ بِمَا كَسَبَتۡ رَهِينَةٌ إِلَّآ أَصۡحَـٰبَ ٱلۡيَمِينِ

g(Every person is a pledge for what he has earned, except those on the right) (74:38-39). Allah says here:

﴿ إِلَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

(Save the chosen servants of Allah.) meaning, they will not taste the painful torment nor will they be brought to account. Their evil acts, if there are any, will be overlooked, and each good deed will be rewarded in multiples of between ten and seven hundred, or as much as Allah wills.

﴿ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ لَهُمۡ رِزۡقٌ۬ مَّعۡلُومٌ۬

(For them there will be a known provision,) Qatadah and As-Suddi said, "This means Paradise.'' It is explained further in the next Ayah:

﴿ فَوَٲكِهُ‌ۖ

(Fruits) meaning, of different kinds.

﴿ وَهُم مُّكۡرَمُونَ

(and they shall be honored,) means, they will be served and will live a life of luxury.

﴿ فِى جَنَّـٰتِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ عَلَىٰ سُرُرٍ۬ مُّتَقَـٰبِلِينَ

(In the Gardens of Delight, facing one another on thrones.) Mujahid said, "One of them will not look at one another's backs.''

﴿ يُطَافُ عَلَيۡہِم بِكَأۡسٍ۬ مِّن مَّعِينِۭ بَيۡضَآءَ لَذَّةٍ۬ لِّلشَّـٰرِبِينَ لَا فِيہَا غَوۡلٌ۬ وَلَا هُمۡ عَنۡہَا يُنزَفُونَ

(Round them will be passed a cup of pure wine -- white, delicious to the drinkers. Neither will they have Ghawl from that nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom.) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ يَطُوفُ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وِلۡدَٲنٌ۬ مُّخَلَّدُونَ بِأَكۡوَابٍ۬ وَأَبَارِيقَ وَكَأۡسٍ۬ مِّن مَّعِينٍ۬ لَّا يُصَدَّعُونَ عَنۡہَا وَلَا يُنزِفُونَ

(Immortal boys will go around them (serving), with cups, and jugs, and a glass of flowing wine, from which they will get neither any aching of the head nor any intoxication.)(56:17-19). Allah refined the wine of Paradise from the bad effects of the wine of this world, which causes headaches and stomach aches -- which is the meaning of Ghawl -- causing people to lose their minds completely. So He says here:

﴿ يُطَافُ عَلَيۡہِم بِكَأۡسٍ۬ مِّن مَّعِينِۭ

(Round them will be passed a cup of pure wine) meaning, wine from a flowing stream which they do not fear will ever be cut off or cease. Malik narrated that Zayd bin Aslam said, "White flowing wine,'' meaning, with a bright, shining color, unlike the wine of this earth with its ugly, repulsive colors of red, black, yellow and turbid shades, and other features which are repugnant to anyone of a sound nature.

﴿ لَذَّةٍ۬ لِّلشَّـٰرِبِينَ

(delicious to the drinkers.) means, its taste will be as good as its color, and a good taste indicates that it has a good smell, unlike the wine of this world.

﴿ لَا فِيہَا غَوۡلٌ۬

(Neither will they have Ghawl from that) means, it will not have any effects on them such as causing stomach aches. This was the view of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Mujahid, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd. This is unlike the wine of this world, which causes colic and so on, because it is too watery.

﴿ وَلَا هُمۡ عَنۡہَا يُنزَفُونَ

(nor will they suffer intoxication therefrom.) Mujahid said, "It will not cause them to lose their minds.'' This was also the view of Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Al-Hasan. `Ata' bin Abi Muslim Al-Khurasani, As-Suddi and others. Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn Abbas said, "Wine causes four things: intoxication, headache, vomiting and urine.'' So, when Allah mentions the wine of Paradise, He states that it is free of these characteristics, as mentioned in Surat As-Saffat.

﴿ وَعِندَهُمۡ قَـٰصِرَٲتُ ٱلطَّرۡفِ

(And beside them will be Qasirat At-Tarf) means, chaste females, who will not look at anyone other than their husbands, as Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Zayd bin Aslam, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others said.

﴿ عِينٌ۬

(with (wide and beautiful) eyes) means, with beautiful eyes. It was also said that it means with wide eyes, which is connected to the first meaning. They are wide-eyed and beautiful, and their eyes are described as being beautiful and chaste. Allah says:

﴿ وَعِندَهُمۡ قَـٰصِرَٲتُ ٱلطَّرۡفِ عِينٌ۬

(And beside them will be Qasirat At-Tarf, with (wide and beautiful) eyes.)

﴿ كَأَنَّہُنَّ بَيۡضٌ۬ مَّكۡنُونٌ۬

(as if they were Bayd Maknun.) Their bodies are described as having the most perfect color. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him:

﴿ كَأَنَّہُنَّ بَيۡضٌ۬ مَّكۡنُونٌ۬

(as if they were Bayd Maknun.) means, as if they were hidden pearls. Al-Hasan said:

﴿ كَأَنَّہُنَّ بَيۡضٌ۬ مَّكۡنُونٌ۬

(as if they were Bayd Maknun. ) means, protected, never touched by any hands. As-Suddi said, "The well preserved egg in its nest.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr said:

﴿ كَأَنَّہُنَّ بَيۡضٌ۬ مَّكۡنُونٌ۬

(as if they were Bayd Maknun.) means, "The inside of the egg.'' `Ata' Al-Khurasani said, "It is the membrane which is between its outer shell and its inner contents.'' As-Suddi said:

﴿ كَأَنَّہُنَّ بَيۡضٌ۬ مَّكۡنُونٌ۬

(as if they were Bayd Maknun.) means, "The white of the egg when its shell is removed.'' Ibn Jarir's view concerning the meaning of Maknun (well preserved) is that the outer shell is touched by the wing of the bird and the nest, and by people's hands, unlike the interior of the egg. And Allah knows best.

﴿ فَأَقۡبَلَ بَعۡضُہُمۡ عَلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ يَتَسَآءَلُونَ قَالَ قَآٮِٕلٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ إِنِّى كَانَ لِى قَرِينٌ۬ يَقُولُ أَءِنَّكَ لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُصَدِّقِينَ أَءِذَا مِتۡنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابً۬ا وَعِظَـٰمًا أَءِنَّا لَمَدِينُونَ قَالَ هَلۡ أَنتُم مُّطَّلِعُونَ فَٱطَّلَعَ فَرَءَاهُ فِى سَوَآءِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ قَالَ تَٱللَّهِ إِن كِدتَّ لَتُرۡدِينِ وَلَوۡلَا نِعۡمَةُ رَبِّى لَكُنتُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡضَرِينَ أَفَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمَيِّتِينَ إِلَّا مَوۡتَتَنَا ٱلۡأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ لِمِثۡلِ هَـٰذَا فَلۡيَعۡمَلِ ٱلۡعَـٰمِلُونَ

(50. Then they will turn to one another, mutually questioning.) (51. A speaker of them will say: "Verily, I had a companion (in the world),'') (52. "Who used to say: `Are you among those who believe.) (53. (That) when we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed be indebted (Madinun)''') (54. (The speaker) said: "Will you look down'') (55. So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire.) (56. He said: "By Allah! You have nearly ruined me.'') (57. "Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).'') (58. "Are we then not to die (any more)'') (59. "Except our first death, and we shall not be punished'') (60. Truly, this is the supreme success!) (61. For the like of this let the workers work.)

The gathering of the People of Paradise, and the exchange between One of Them and His Counterpart in Hell, and His Gratitude for the Blessings of Allah

Allah tells us how the people of Paradise will turn to one another, asking one another about their situation, how they were in this world and what they suffered. This is part of their conversation when they get together to converse and drink, sitting on their thrones, servants coming and going, bringing all kinds of good food, drink, clothes and other delights no eye has seen, no ear has heard, never having comprehend the mind of man.

﴿ قَالَ قَآٮِٕلٌ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ إِنِّى كَانَ لِى قَرِينٌ۬

(A speaker of them will say: "Verily, I had a companion...'') Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him said, "This refers to an idolater man who had a companion among the believers in this world.''

﴿ يَقُولُ أَءِنَّكَ لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُصَدِّقِينَ

(Who used to say: "Are you among those who believe...'') means, `do you believe in the resurrection after death, and the Reckoning and reward or punishment' He used to say that by way of astonishment, disbelief and stubbornness.

﴿ أَءِذَا مِتۡنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابً۬ا وَعِظَـٰمًا أَءِنَّا لَمَدِينُونَ

((That) when we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed be indebted (Madinun).) Mujahid and As-Suddi said, "Brought to account.'' Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and Muhammad bin Ka`b Al-Qurazi said, "Rewarded or punished according to our deeds.'' Both views are correct.

﴿ قَالَ هَلۡ أَنتُم مُّطَّلِعُونَ

((The speaker) said: "Will you look down'') meaning, look over. The believer will say this to his companions among the people of Paradise.

﴿ فَٱطَّلَعَ فَرَءَاهُ فِى سَوَآءِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ

(So he looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire.) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Sa`id bin Jubayr, Khulayd Al-`Usari, Qatadah, As-Suddi and `Ata' Al-Khurasani said, "This means, in the middle of Hell.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "In the middle of Hell as if he were a burning star.''

﴿ قَالَ تَٱللَّهِ إِن كِدتَّ لَتُرۡدِينِ

(He said: "By Allah! You have nearly ruined me.'') The believer will say, addressing the disbeliever: `By Allah, you nearly caused me to be doomed, if I had obeyed you.'

﴿ وَلَوۡلَا نِعۡمَةُ رَبِّى لَكُنتُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡضَرِينَ

(Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).) means, `Were it not for the favor of my Lord towards me, I would have been like you in the middle of Hell where you are, brought forth with you for punishment. But He bestowed His grace upon me, had mercy upon me and guided me to faith and to belief in Him Alone.'

﴿ وَمَا كُنَّا لِنَہۡتَدِىَ لَوۡلَآ أَنۡ هَدَٮٰنَا ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ

(and never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us!) (7:43)

﴿ أَفَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمَيِّتِينَ إِلَّا مَوۡتَتَنَا ٱلۡأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ

(Are we then not to die (any more) Except our first death, and we shall not be punished) This is what the believers will say when they feel joy at what Allah has given them, and they realize that they are to remain in Paradise forever with no punishment and no death to come. Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ

(Truly, this is the supreme success!) Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "They know that death brings an end to every delight, so they will say,

﴿ أَفَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمَيِّتِينَ إِلَّا مَوۡتَتَنَا ٱلۡأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ

(Are we then not to die Except our first death, and we shall not be punished) It will be said, "No,

﴿ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ

(Truly, this is the supreme success!).''

﴿ لِمِثۡلِ هَـٰذَا فَلۡيَعۡمَلِ ٱلۡعَـٰمِلُونَ

(For the like of this let the workers work.) Ibn Jarir said, "These are the Words of Allah, and it means: for the like of this pleasure and this success, let the workers work in this world, so that they may attain it in the Hereafter.

The Story of Two Israelites

They mentioned the story of two men among the Children of Israel who were partners and who are included in the meaning of this Ayah. Abu Ja`far bin Jarir recorded that Furat bin Tha`labah Al-Bahrani said concerning the Ayah,

﴿ إِنِّى كَانَ لِى قَرِينٌ۬

(Verily, I had a companion) "There were two men who were partners and had collected eight thousand Dinars. One of them had a craft and the other did not. The one who had a craft said to the other, `You do not have a craft, so I think I will divide the money with you and leave you.' So he left him. Then the man bought a house, belonging to a king who had died, for the price of one thousand Dinars. He called his companion and showed him the house, saying, `What do you think of this house I bought it for one thousand Dinars.' He said, `How beautiful it is.' When he went out he said, `O Allah, this companion of mine has bought this house for one thousand Dinars; I ask You for one of the houses of Paradise -- and he gave one thousand Dinars in charity.' Then as much time passed as Allah willed should pass. The first man married a woman with a dowry of one thousand Dinars, and invited his companion and made food for him. When he came, he said, `I have married this woman with a dowry of one thousand Dinars.' He replied; `How beautiful this is.' And when he left, he said, `O Lord, my companion has married a woman with a dowry of one thousand Dinars; I ask you for a wife from among Al-Hur Al-`Iyn' -- and he gave one thousand Dinars in charity. Then as much time passed as Allah willed should pass. Then the first man bought two gardens for two thousand Dinars, then he called his companion and showed them to him. He said, `I have bought these two gardens for two thousand Dinars.' He replied, `How beautiful this is.' When he came out, he said, `O Lord, my companion has bought two gardens for two thousand Dinars; I ask you for two gardens in Paradise' -- and he gave two thousand Dinars in charity. Then the angel came to them and took their souls in death. He took the one who had given his money in charity and put him in a house that he liked. There, there was a woman who was so beautiful that the ground shinned under her, then he (the angel) took him to two gardens and gave him other things which are known only to Allah. The man said, `This is like a man who has such and such.' The angel said, `That is exactly what it is; this house, these gardens and this wife are all for you.' The man said, `I had a companion who used to say: Are you among those who believe' It was said to him, `He is in Hell.' He said, `Will you look down' So he looked down and saw him in the midst of Hell. At this, he said:

﴿ قَالَ تَٱللَّهِ إِن كِدتَّ لَتُرۡدِينِ وَلَوۡلَا نِعۡمَةُ رَبِّى لَكُنتُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡضَرِينَ

(By Allah! You have nearly ruined me. Had it not been for the grace of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).)''

﴿ أَذَٲلِكَ خَيۡرٌ۬ نُّزُلاً أَمۡ شَجَرَةُ ٱلزَّقُّومِ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰهَا فِتۡنَةً۬ لِّلظَّـٰلِمِينَ إِنَّهَا شَجَرَةٌ۬ تَخۡرُجُ فِىٓ أَصۡلِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ طَلۡعُهَا كَأَنَّهُ ۥ رُءُوسُ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينِ فَإِنَّہُمۡ لَأَكِلُونَ مِنۡہَا فَمَالِـُٔونَ مِنۡہَا ٱلۡبُطُونَ ثُمَّ إِنَّ لَهُمۡ عَلَيۡہَا لَشَوۡبً۬ا مِّنۡ حَمِيمٍ۬ ثُمَّ إِنَّ مَرۡجِعَهُمۡ لَإِلَى ٱلۡجَحِيمِ إِنَّہُمۡ أَلۡفَوۡاْ ءَابَآءَهُمۡ ضَآلِّينَ فَهُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِمۡ يُہۡرَعُونَ

(62. Is that (Paradise) better entertainment or the tree of Zaqqum) (63. Truly, We have made it (as) a trial for the wrongdoers.) (64. Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-fire,) (65. The shoots of its fruit stalks are like the heads of Shayatin.) (66. Truly, they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith.) (67. Then on the top of that they will be given boiling Hamim.) (68. Then thereafter, verily, their return is to the flaming fire of Hell.) (69. Verily, they found their fathers on the wrong path;) (70. So they (too) hastened in their footsteps!)

The Tree of Zaqqum and its Companions

Here Allah asks: `Is that which He has mentioned of the delights of Paradise with its food, drink, companions and other joys better entertainment, or

﴿ أَمۡ شَجَرَةُ ٱلزَّقُّومِ

(or the tree of Zaqqum) which is in Hell' The meaning here is a specific kind of tree which is called Zaqqum. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَشَجَرَةً۬ تَخۡرُجُ مِن طُورِ سَيۡنَآءَ تَنۢبُتُ بِٱلدُّهۡنِ وَصِبۡغٍ۬ لِّلۡأَڪِلِينَ

(And a tree that springs forth from Mount Sinai, that grows (produces) oil, and (it is a) relish for the eaters.) (23:20) -- which is the olive tree. This is supported by the Ayah:

﴿ ثُمَّ إِنَّكُمۡ أَيُّہَا ٱلضَّآلُّونَ ٱلۡمُكَذِّبُونَ لَأَكِلُونَ مِن شَجَرٍ۬ مِّن زَقُّومٍ۬

(Then moreover, verily, -- you the erring-ones, the deniers! You, verily, will eat of the trees of Zaqqum.) (56:51-52).

﴿ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰهَا فِتۡنَةً۬ لِّلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(Truly, We have made it (as) a trial for the wrongdoers.) Qatadah said, "The tree of Zaqqum is mentioned as a test for those who are misguided. They said, `Your companion tells you that in the Fire there is a tree, but fire consumes trees.' Then Allah revealed the words:

﴿ إِنَّهَا شَجَرَةٌ۬ تَخۡرُجُ فِىٓ أَصۡلِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ

(Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-fire.) meaning, it is nourished by the fire, for it was created from fire.'' Mujahid said:

﴿ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰهَا فِتۡنَةً۬ لِّلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(Truly, We have made it (as) a trial for the wrongdoers.) Abu Jahl, may Allah curse him, said, "Zaqqum means dates and butter which I eat (Atazaqqamuhu).'' I say that the meaning of the Ayah is, "We have told you, O Muhammad, of the tree of Zaqqum as a trial with which We test the people to see who will believe and who will disbelieve.'' This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَمَا جَعَلۡنَا ٱلرُّءۡيَا ٱلَّتِىٓ أَرَيۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا فِتۡنَةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ وَٱلشَّجَرَةَ ٱلۡمَلۡعُونَةَ فِى ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ‌ۚ وَنُخَوِّفُهُمۡ فَمَا يَزِيدُهُمۡ إِلَّا طُغۡيَـٰنً۬ا كَبِيرً۬ا

(And We made not the vision which we showed you but a trial for mankind, and the accursed tree in the Qur'an. We warn and make them afraid but it only increases them in naught save great disbelief, oppression and disobedience to Allah) (17:60).

﴿ إِنَّهَا شَجَرَةٌ۬ تَخۡرُجُ فِىٓ أَصۡلِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ

(Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-fire.) means, its roots grow at the bottom of Hell.

﴿ طَلۡعُهَا كَأَنَّهُ ۥ رُءُوسُ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينِ

(The shoots of its fruit stalks are like the heads of Shayatin.) this is a description of how ugly and repulsive it is. It is likened to

﴿ رُءُوسُ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينِ

(the heads of Shayatin ), even though they have never seen them, because it is a well-established idea in people's minds that devils are ugly in appearance.

﴿ فَإِنَّہُمۡ لَأَكِلُونَ مِنۡہَا فَمَالِـُٔونَ مِنۡہَا ٱلۡبُطُونَ

(Truly, they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith.) Allah mentions that they will eat of this extremely ugly tree even though its fruit tastes and smells so bad; they will be forced to eat from it because they will not find anything else to eat except this tree and similar things, as Allah says:

﴿ لَّيۡسَ لَهُمۡ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا مِن ضَرِيعٍ۬ لَّا يُسۡمِنُ وَلَا يُغۡنِى مِن جُوعٍ۬

(No food will there be for them but a poisonous thorny plant, Which will neither nourish nor avail against hunger.) (88:6 -7).

﴿ ثُمَّ إِنَّ لَهُمۡ عَلَيۡہَا لَشَوۡبً۬ا مِّنۡ حَمِيمٍ۬

(Then on the top of that they will be boiling Hamim) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "This means they will be given boiling Hamim to drink after they have eaten from Zaqqum.'' According to another report, he said that this means a mixture made from boiling water. Someone else said that it means boiling water will be mixed with pus and offensive discharges that leak from their private parts and eyes. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "When the people of Hell get hungry, they will ask for food from the tree of Zaqqum. They will eat from it, then the skin of their faces will fall off, If someone were to pass by, he would recognize them from their faces. Then thirst will be sent upon them, so they will ask to be given something to drink, and they will be given water like boiling oil that has been heated to the ultimate degree. When it is brought near to their mouths, the flesh of their faces from which the skin has fallen off will be baked by its heat, and whatever is in their stomachs will melt. They will walk with their guts falling out and with their skin falling off, then they will be beaten with hooked rods of iron. Then every part of their bodies will burst into loud lamentations.

﴿ ثُمَّ إِنَّ مَرۡجِعَهُمۡ لَإِلَى ٱلۡجَحِيمِ

(Then thereafter, verily, their return is to the flaming fire of Hell.) means, after that interval, they will be sent back to the burning fire, searing heat and scorching flames, and they will rotate between the one and the other. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ يَطُوفُونَ بَيۡنَہَا وَبَيۡنَ حَمِيمٍ ءَانٍ۬

(They will go between it (Hell) and the fierce boiling water!) (55:44). Qatadah recited this Ayah when discussing this Ayah. This is a good interpretation. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud recited it differently, with the meaning "Their return in the afternoon.'' `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say: "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, midday on the Day of Resurrection will not come until the people of Paradise will be in Paradise and the people of Hell will be in Hell.'' Then he recited:

﴿ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ يَوۡمَٮِٕذٍ خَيۡرٌ۬ مُّسۡتَقَرًّ۬ا وَأَحۡسَنُ مَقِيلاً۬

(The dwellers of Paradise will, on that Day, have the best abode, and have the fairest of places for repose) (25:24). Allah's saying;

﴿ إِنَّہُمۡ أَلۡفَوۡاْ ءَابَآءَهُمۡ ضَآلِّينَ

(Verily, they found their fathers on the wrong path;) means, `We will punish them for that because they found their fathers following misguidance and they followed them with no evidence or proof.' Allah says:

﴿ فَهُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِمۡ يُہۡرَعُونَ

(So they (too) hastened in their footsteps!) Mujahid said, "This is like running.'' Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "They followed ignorance and foolishness.''

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ ضَلَّ قَبۡلَهُمۡ أَڪۡثَرُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا فِيہِم مُّنذِرِينَ فَٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُنذَرِينَ إِلَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

(71. And indeed most of the earlier ones went astray before them;) (72. And indeed We sent among them warners;) (73. Then see what was the end of those who were warned.) (74. Except the chosen servants of Allah.) Allah tells us that most of the previous nations went astray, worshipping other gods alongside Allah. He states that He sent among them warners to alert them to the anger, wrath and vengeance of Allah towards those who disbelieve in Him and worship others besides Him. He tells us that they persisted in their opposition to their Messengers and their disbelief in them, so He destroyed those who disbelieved in Him and saved the believers and caused them to prevail. Allah says:

﴿ فَٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُنذَرِينَ إِلَّا عِبَادَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ

(Then see what was the end of those who were warned. Except the chosen servants of Allah).

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ نَادَٮٰنَا نُوحٌ۬ فَلَنِعۡمَ ٱلۡمُجِيبُونَ وَنَجَّيۡنَـٰهُ وَأَهۡلَهُ ۥ مِنَ ٱلۡكَرۡبِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ وَجَعَلۡنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُ ۥ هُمُ ٱلۡبَاقِينَ وَتَرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرِينَ سَلَـٰمٌ عَلَىٰ نُوحٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ إِنَّا كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ إِنَّهُ ۥ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ ثُمَّ أَغۡرَقۡنَا ٱلۡأَخَرِينَ

(75. And indeed Nuh invoked Us, and We are the best of those who answer.) (76. And We rescued him and his family from the great distress,) (77. And, his progeny, them We made the survivors.) (78. And left for him (a goodly remembrance) among the later generations) (79. "Salam (peace!) be upon Nuh among the all creatures!'') (80. Verily, thus We reward the good doers.) (81. Verily, he (Nuh) was one of Our believing servants.) (82. Then We drowned the others.)