I’m going to be posting something interesting about the Qur’ān every day during Ramaḍān, the month the Qur’ān was revealed.
Today we will be analyzing Sūrah al-Zalzalah (also known as al-Zilzāl), which is usually understood as referring to a great earthquake on the Day of Judgement, however may also relate to modern economics and politics (and the Arab Spring) as explained below.
The central theme of this chapter is the coming of a ‘zalzalah’ (زلزلة), which in Arabic has a common meaning of ‘earthquake’ but also can mean convulsion, revolution, commotion, or violent agitation.
The first few verses are:
“When the earth is shaken with her violent shaking. And the earth throws up her burdens.” (99:2-3)
The verse may have one of the following interpretations:
1.) The bowels of the earth will be ripped open and it will throw up its treasures of mineral wealth.
2.) There will be a vast release and upsurge of knowledge of all kinds, relating to physical as well as spiritual sciences, especially in the sciences of geology and archaeology.
3.) People will throw off the yoke of oppressive rulers and religious leaders and will revolt against oppression, throwing the yoke of subjection off their shoulders (a possible prophecy of the Arab Spring).
Further on in the same chapter, it says:
“On that day will people come forth in scattered groups that they may be shown the results of their works.” (99:7)
This verse means that a time would come when people would form themselves into parties, companies and groups in order to safeguard their political, social and economic interests. There would be political parties and schools of economics; and powerful guilds, cartels and syndicates would also come into existence.
The words “that they may be shown the results of their works” signify that individuals will pool their resources, and collective effort will take the place of individual effort.