In the name of god, the most gracious, The dispenser of grace: (1)

1 - According to most of the authorities, this invocation (which occurs at the beginning of every surah with the exception of surah 9) constitutes an integral part of "The Opening" and is, therefore, numbered as verse I. In all other instances, the invocation "in the name of God" precedes the surah as such, and is not counted among its verses. - Both the divine epithets rahman and rahrm are derived from the noun rahmah, which signifies "mercy", "compassion", "loving tenderness" and, more comprehensively, "grace". From the very earliest times, Islamic scholars have endeavoured to define the exact shades of meaning which differentiate the two terms. The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one advanced by Ibn al-Qayyim (as quoted in Mandr I, 48): the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahrm expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation-in other words, an aspect of His activity.

THIS early Meccan surah is one of the most powerful, prophetic passages of the Qur'an, illuminating man's unbounded greed in general, and, more particularly, the tendencies which have come to dominate all human societies in our technological age.
1. YOU ARE OBSESSED by greed for more and more
2. until you go down to your graves. (1)

1 - The term takathur bears the connotation of "greedily striving for an increase", i.e., in benefits, be they tangible or intangible, real or illusory. In the above context it denotes man's obsessive striving for more and more comforts, more material goods, greater power over his fellow-men or over nature, and unceasing technological progress. A passionate pursuit of such endeavours, to the exclusion of everything else, bars man from all spiritual insight and, hence, from the acceptance of any restrictions and inhibitions based on purely moral values - with the result that not only individuals but whole societies gradually lose all inner stability and, thus, all chance of happiness.

3. Nay, in time you will come to understand!
4. And once again: (2) Nay, in time you will come to understand!

2 - See surah 6, note 31.

5. Nay, if you could but understand [it] with an understanding [born] of certainty,
6. you would indeed, most surely, behold the blazing fire [of hell]! (3)

3 - Sc., "in which you find yourselves now" - i.e., the "hell on earth" brought about by a fundamentally wrong mode of life: an allusion to the gradual destruction of man's natural environment, as well as to the frustration, unhappiness and confusion which an overriding, unrestrained pursuit of "economic growth" is bound to bring - and has, indeed, brought in our time - upon a mankind that is about to lose the remnants of all spiritual religious orientation.

7. In the end you will indeed, most surely, behold it with the eye of certainty: (4)
8. and on that Day you will most surely be called to account for [what you did with] the boon of life!

4 - I.e., in the hereafter, through a direct, unequivocal insight into the real nature of one's past doings, and into the inescapability of the suffering which man brings upon himself by a wrong, wasteful use of the boon of life (an-naim).