Meal Seç / Sure Seç

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.

TAKING its conventional name from a noun occurring in the first verse, this surah seems to have been revealed towards the end of the third year of Muhammad's prophethood - probably after surah 75 ("Resurrection").
1. WOE unto every slanderer, fault-finder! (1)

1 - I.e., everyone who maliciously tries to uncover real or imaginary faults in others.

2. [Woe unto him (2)] who amasses wealth and counts it a safeguard,

2 - This repetitive interpolation is necessary because the blameworthy attitude spoken of in verses 2-3 obviously belongs to a category entirely different from the two mentioned in verse 1.

3. thinking that his wealth will make him live forever! (3)

3 - This is a metonym for the tendency to attribute an almost "religious" value to the acquisition and possession of material goods and facilities - a tendency which precludes man from giving any real importance to spiritual considerations (cf. note 1 on 102:1). My rendering of addadahu in the preceding verse as "[he] counts it a safeguard" is based on Jawhari's explanation of this term.

4. Nay, but [in the life to come such as] he shall indeed be abandoned to crushing torment! (4)

4 - Al-hutamah - one of several metaphors for the otherworldly suffering comprised within the concept of "hell'" (see note 33 on 15:43-44).

5. And what could make thee conceive what that crushing torment will be?
6. A fire kindled by God,
7. which will rise over the [guilty] hearts: (5)

5 - I.e., originating in their hearts - thus clearly alluding to the spiritual nature of the "fire" in the sinners' belated realization of their guilt.

8. verily, it will close in upon them
9. in endless columns! (6)

6 - Lit., "in extended columns", i.e., overwhelming with despair.