Chapter 9     Chapter 11

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Peoples of all religions expect the advent of a "day" of very special significance. That "day" has been given many names in the Qur'an, including:
The Great Day (Al-'Azim) [e.g. 7: 57, 10: 16]
The Day of Resurrection (Al-Qiyama) [e.g. 2: 85, 2:174]
The Day of Decision (Al-Fasl) [e.g. 44: 40, 77:13]
The Day when the Hour (As-Sad'ah) [e.g. 30:13, 30:54] shall come to pass
The Day of Judgment (Al-Din) [51:12]
The Day of Disillusion (Al-Taghabun) [64:9]
The Day of Reckoning (Al-Hisab) [e.g. 38 :16, 26, 53]

The event that will take place on that day has also been referred to as:
The event that must inevitably come to pass (Al-Waqi'a) [69:15]
The stunning calamity (Al-Qari'a) [101:1-3]
Hellfire guarded by 19 Angel Guardians (Saqar) [74:26-30]
The overwhelming event (Al-Ghashiya) [88:1]

What is to happen on that Day? Common expectations concerning the events to take place include, but are not limited to, belief that the heavens and the earth shall be destroyed and the stars shall fall, the moon shall not shine and the sun shall cease to give light, resulting in complete darkness, and that those living shall die. It is anticipated that God will sit on His throne, surrounded by the Apostles, Prophets and angels. The balance shall be set up and all shall rise from their graves to pass through a process of judgment. The "good" shall be sent to paradise as an eternal reward and the "evil" ones shall go to hell as eternal punishment. Just as the Christians believe that only the followers of Christ will be given the chance of

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going to heaven, the Muslims believe that only those professing Islam can hope for a place in paradise. This is the common expectation concerning the sequence of events to occur on the Day of Resurrection, which has been further embroidered by many thinkers. Incompatible with the knowledge and sciences of today and therefore lacking in logic to the modern mind, such literal interpretations are reflective of a primitive, if imaginative, comprehension of spiritual verities.1 Before going into more detail on the subject of the Day of Resurrection, it may be appropriate to refer here to two verses in the Qur'an that deal very specifically with the question of who will enter paradise.
And they say, "None but Jews or Christians shall enter Paradise: "This is their wish. Say: Give your proofs if ye speak the truth.
But they who set their faces with resignation Godward, and do what is right, their reward is with their Lord; no fear shall come on them, neither shall they be grieved
(Surih II, "The Cow", vv. 105-6)

  1. The Baha'i student of the Qur'an will note the repeated and descriptive imagery of paradise, hell and the Day of Resurrection used in the Book, from which such expectations were derived. It might be noted, in this connection, that in a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha published in Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 15, p. 16, it is written: "Relative to the Paradise explained by Muhammad in the Koran, such utterances are spiritual and are cast into the mold of words and figures of speech, for at that time people did not possess the capacity of comprehending spiritual significances. It is similar to that reference to His Highness Christ who, addressing His disciples said, 'I shall not partake of the fruit of the vine any more until I reach the Kingdom of My Father.' Now it is evident... Christ did not mean material grapes, but it was a spiritual condition and a heavenly state which He interpreted as this fruit Now whatever is revealed in the Koran has the same import. "

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The idea that entry into paradise would be limited, as taught to the people by religious leaders, is contrary to the Qur'anic verses indicating that such a reward is dependent on one being resigned to God's will and being adorned with good deeds. The original Arabic of the word rendered "resignation" in the above verse is "aslama", a derivative of the word "Islam". The Hour2 God refers to the Day of Resurrection in the Qur'an as a day both of blessing and of calamity. "The Hour", the Qur'an explains, is fixed and known only to God.3
They will ask thee of the Hour for what time is its coming fixed? Say: The knowledge of it is only with my Lord:4 none shall manifest it in its time but He: it is the burden of the Heavens and of the Earth: not otherwise than on a sudden will it come on you.

They will ask thee as if thou wast privy to it: Say: The knowledge of it is with none but God. But most men know not this.
(Surih VII, "Al Araf", vv. 186-7)

Men will ask thee of "the Hour". Say: The knowledge of it is with God alone: and who can tell thee whether haply the Hour be not nigh at hand
(Surih XXXIII, "The Confederates", v. 63)

  1. References to "the Hour" in the Baha'i Writings are numerous. For further study, see Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 131, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 17, 43, 103, 119, 125, 21 1, 214, and Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 11, 40, 107, and 237.
  2. cf. Matthew 24: 36.
  3. cf. Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 65.

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They will ask thee of "the Hour", when will be its fixed
But what knowledge hast thou of it?
Its period is known only to thy Lord;
And thou art only charged with the
who fear it.
On the day when they shall see it, it shall seem to them
as though they had not tarried in the tomb, longer
than its evening or its morn.
(Surih LXXIX, "Those Who Drag Forth", vv. 42-6)

And we have sent thee to mankind at large, to
announce and to threaten. But most men understand not.
And they say, "When will this threat come to pass? Tell
us, if ye be men of truth. "
Say: Ye are menaced with a day, which not for an hour
warning of those shall retard or hasten on.
(Surih XXXIV; "Saba", vv. 27-29) [34:27-29]

"Never," say the unbelievers, "will the Hour come
upon us!" Say: Yea, by my Lord who knoweth the
unseen, it will surely come upon you! not the
weight of a mote either in the Heavens or in the
Earth escapeth him; nor is there aught less than
this or aught greater, which is not in the clear
(Surih XXXIV, "Saba", v. 3) [34:3]

For what do the infidels wait, but that the Hour come
suddenly on them? Already are its signs come, and
when it hath come on them indeed, how can they
be warned then?
(Surih XLVII, "Muhammad", v. 20) [47:20]

But the Infidels will not cease to doubt concerning it,
until "the Hour" come suddenly upon them, or
until the chastisement of the day of desolation
come upon them.

On that day the Kingdom shall be God's: He shall
judge between them: and they who shall have
believed and done the things that are right, shall
be in gardens of delight.

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But they who were Infidels and treated our signs as lies - these then - theirs a shameful chastisement!
(Surih XXII, "The Pilgrimage", vv. 54-6) [22:54-56]

From the foregoing verses, it is clear that the Hour will come suddenly, at a fixed yet unknown time, and take people by surprise. Its occurrence will hold the fulfilment of a divine promise that would be a blessing to the righteous and a catastrophe to the unbelievers. That the Hour is near can be inferred from the signs that had already appeared at the time of the Prophet Muhammad. The question that must be considered by Muslims is this: Does such a weighty event concern our generation or those to come? What are the signs that have been announced as having appeared, bearing in mind the Qur'anic verse:
... nothing have we passed over in the Book ... 5
(Surih VI, "Cattle", v. 38) [6:38]

If events similar to those depicting the "Hour" had happened before, then going back to them should highlight the signs through which it could be recognised. The Surih of Hud6 is one of a number of surihs which remind Muslims of the hour that was fixed by God with regard to previous Manifestations an hour

  1. cf. Qur'an 12:111 and 16:91.
  2. This surih, the eleventh chapter of the Qur'an and comprised of 123 verses, recounts the successive calls of God's Prophets and Messengers and the consequences befalling those who rejected Them. In this connection and with regard to comprehension of the Sacred Word, Baha'u'llah revealed, "... To them that are possessed of true understanding and insight the Surih of Hud surely sufficeth. Ponder a while those holy words in your heart, and, with utter detachment, strive to grasp their meaning. Examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets, and recall the defamations and denials uttered by the children of negation and falsehood.. " See the Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 5-6. Muhammad reportedly attributed the greying of His hair to the revelation of the Surih of Hud and its sister surihs, "The Inevitable" (LVI) [46] and "The Blow" (CI) [101].

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laden with both blessing and calamity. The hour had come upon previous nations when a new Apostle appeared among them, sheltering those who listened and believed, while those who refused to believe and turned away perished. Another sign is that the new Apostle may appear and fulfil His mission while the unbelievers look on in doubt; that their punishment foretold by the Apostle is delayed does not lessen their obstinacy, but rather encourages them to dig themselves even deeper into trenches of opposition:

And if we defer their chastisement to some definite time, they will exclaim, "What keepeth it back?" What! will it not come upon them on a day when there shall be none to avert it from them? And that at which they scoffed shall enclose them in on every side.
(Surih XI, "Houd", v. 11)
The Surih of Hud
Elif. Lam. Ra. A book whose verses are established in wisdom and then set forth with clearness from the Wise, the All-informed That ye worship none other than God Verily I come to you from Him charged with warnings, announcements...
(Surih XI, "Houd", vv. 1-2) [11:1-2]

The first twenty-four verses of the Surih of Hud explain what will befall those who do not believe in the Word of God. The Surih provides a warning of how other nations were struck with severe punishment because they had refused the Apostle of God sent to them.

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Noah and His people
We sent Noah of old unto his people: " Verily I come
to you a plain admonisher [warner],
That ye worship none but God. Verily If ear for you the
punishment of a grievous day".
Then said the chiefs of his people who believed not,
"We see in thee a man like ourselves; and we see
not who have followed thee except our meanest
ones of hasty judgment, nor do see we any
excellence in you above ourselves: nay, we deem
you liars."7
(Surih XI, "Houd ", vv. 27-9) [11:27-9]

Thus was it until our sentence came to pass, and the
earth's surface boiled up. We said, "Carry into it
one pair of every kind, and thy family, except him
on whom sentence hath been passed, and those
who have believed." But there believed not with
him except a few.
(Surih XI, "Houd", v. 42) [11:42]

Hud8 and the people of 'Ad

And unto Ad ['Ad] we sent their Brother Houd [Hud].
He said, "O my people, worship God You have no
God beside Him. Ye only devise a lie.
(Surih XI, "Houd", v. 52) [11:52]

They said, "O Houd [Hud], thou hast not brought us
proofs of thy mission: we will not abandon our
gods at thy word, and we believe thee not. "
(Surih XI, "Houd", v. 56) [11:56]

  1. Baha'u'llah refers to this verse in the Kitab-i-Iqan p. 222, and to Noah on pp. 7-8 and 154-5. See also The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, vol. 2, p. 21.
  2. Hud, a descendent of Noah, was one of five Prophets mentioned in the Qur'an as having been sent to the peoples of Arabia. The others are Salih, Abraham, Shoeb and Muhammad. See Revelation of Baha'u'llah, vol. 4, appendix.

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And when our doom came to be inflicted, we rescued Houd and those who had like faith with Him, by our special mercy: we rescued them from the rigorous chastisement.
These men of Ad ['Ad] gainsaid the signs of their Lord, and rebelled against his messengers, and followed the bidding of every proud contumacious person.
Followed therefore were they in this world by a curse; and in the day of the Resurrection it shall be said to them, "What! Did not Ad ['Ad] disbelieve their Lord?" Was not Ad ['Ad], the people of Houd [Hud], cast far away?
(Surih XI, "Houd", vv. 61-3) [11:61-63]

Salih and the people of Thamud
And unto Themoud [Thamud] we sent their Brother Saleh: "O my people! said he, worship God: you have no other god than Him. He hath raised you up out of the earth, and hath given you to dwell therein. Ask pardon of him then, and be turned unto him; for thy Lord is nigh, ready to answer.
They said, "O Saleh! our hopes were fixed on thee till now: forbiddest thou us to worship what our fathers worshipped? Truly we misdoubt the faith to which thou callest us, as suspicious.9
(Surih XI, "Houd", vv. 64-5) [11:64-5]

And when our sentence came to pass, we rescued Saleh and those who had a like faith with him, by our mercy, from ignominy on that day Verily, thy Lord is the Strong, the Mighty!
And a violent tempest overtook the wicked, and they were found in the morning prostrate in their dwellings.
(Surih XI, "Houd", vv. 69-70) [11:69-70]

  1. See Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 9-10, where Baha'u'llah refers to Salih's appearance among the tribe of Thamud, an ancient people of northern Arabia, and their rejection of His teachings.

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On the same subject of the people of Thamud, the Qur'an indicates that it was an earthquake that seized them:
Then the earthquake surprised them; and in the morning they were found dead on their faces in their dwellings.
(Surih VII, "Al Araf", v. 76) [7:76]

The people of Abraham10
"O Abraham! desist from this; for already hath the command of thy God gone forth; as for them, a punishment not to be averted is coming on them. "
(Surih XI, "Houd ", v. 78) [11:78]

The people of Lot
And when our decree came to be executed we turned those cities upside down, and we rained down upon them blocks of claystone one after another, marked by thy Lord himself. Nor are they far distant from the wicked Meccans.
(Surih XI, "Houd", v. 84) [11:84]

Shoeb and the people of Midian11
And we sent to Madian [Midian] their brother Shoaib. He said, "O my people! worship God: no other God have you than He... They said to him, "O Shoaib! is it thy prayers which enjoin that we should leave what our fathers worshipped, or that we should not do with our substance as pleaseth us? Thou forsooth art the mild, the right director! "
(Surih XI, "Houd", vv. 85-9) [11:85-9]

  1. See Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 10-11 and Some Answered Questions, pp. 12-13, for references to Abraham.
  2. See Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 54.

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They said, "O Shoaib! we understand not much of what thou sayest, and we clearly see that thou art powerless among us: were it not for thy family we would have surely stoned thee, nor couldst thou have prevailed against us. "
(Surih XI, "Houd", v. 93) [11:93]

And when our decree came to pass, we delivered Shoaib and his companions in faith, by our mercy: And a violent tempest overtook the wicked, and in the morning they were found prostrate in their houses.
(Surih XI, "Houd", v. 97) [11:97]

The people of Noah were warned of, and later seized with, the punishment of "a grievous day". Those of 'Ad were "cursed" during their lifetime and held responsible on the day of resurrection. A "violent tempest", an earthquake, seized the people of Thamud. Similarly, an upheaval causing showers of rocks sealed the fate of the people of Lot, and a violent tempest seized the people of Midian. The Qur'an also recounts the story of the Pharaoh, as well as of the rejection of Moses and Jesus Christ by those to whom They appeared. The Inevitable What befell 'Ad and Thamud is also explained in the Surih of the Inevitable (LXIX) [69], where it is written that these nations were destroyed because they disregarded the warning given concerning their future judgment, the stunning calamity that would befall each:
The Inevitable!12

  1. See Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 132, and Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 43, for references to "the Inevitable".

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What is the inevitable?
And who shall make thee comprehend what the Inevitable is?
Themoud [Thamud] and Ad ['Ad] treated the day of Terrors as a lie. So as to Themoud [Thamud], they were destroyed by a roaring and furious blast.
It did the bidding of God against them seven nights and eight days together, during which thou mightest have seen the people laid low, as though they had been the trunks of hollow palms.
(Surih LXIX, " The Inevitable", vv. 1-7) [69:1-7]

In the Surih of the Blow (CI) [101], the Muslims are warned of the coming of a calamity which they should not doubt, lest they meet with the same destiny as Thamud 'Ad:
The Blow! what is the Blow?
Who shall teach thee what the Blow is?
The Day when men shall be like scattered moths,
And the mountains shall be like flocks of carded
(Surih CI, "The Blow", vv. 1-4) [101:1-4]

The images conveyed in these two surihs bear a close resemblance. In the first, the people are described as having been left lying prostrate, while in the second, they are to become like thickly scattered moths. Each image indicates that arrogant unbelievers will not survive.

The Qur'an clearly indicates that certain nations have had their days of judgment when the Apostle sent to them by God called upon them to embrace the new Revelation and only a few people

  1. Baha'u'llah has revealed: "... Will ye not recognize how the mountains have become like flocks of wool, how the people are sore vexed at the awful majesty of the Cause of God?..." See Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 44-5.

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accepted. The Muslim nation has also been warned of its day, a time anticipated by the adherents of all of the world's major religions as one of "the return". That will be the Day of Reckoning:
This people's reckoning hath drawn nigh, yet, sunk in carelessness, they turn aside.14
Every fresh warning that cometh to them from their Lord they only hear to mock it...
(Surih XXI, "The Prophets", vv. 1-2) [21:1-2]

A "warning"15 (Arabic "Dhikr") is a Revelation, as attested by many verses in the Qur'an:
They say: "O thou to whom the warning hath been sent down, thou art surely possessed by a djinn... "
(Surih XV, "Hedjr", v. 6) [15:6]

Verily, We have sent down the warning, and verily, We will be its guardian.16
(Surih XV, "Hedjr", v. 9) [15:9]

The Qur'an, the Evangel and the Torah have been referred to as "warnings" in the Qur'an, signaling to mankind the advent of a new Revelation and of the Day of Reckoning, which is near.
And how many a guilty city have we broken down, and raised up after it other peoples.
(Surih XXI, "The Prophets", v. 11) [21:11]

It is therefore evident that in relating the history of earlier civilizations to those of the present, there is a warning given to the Islamic nation that when the new Revelation comes to them, the Muslims, and indeed the whole world, will face the same situation

  1. See also The Baha'i Proofs, p. 127.
  2. A.J. Arberry has used the word "remembrance" in his translation of the Qur'an, rather than "warning" as used by J.M. Rodwell or "admonition" as used by G. Sale.
  3. Cited in Letters and Essays, p. 29, with regard to corruption of the Texts.

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that previous nations faced. In the Surih of the Bee (XVI) [16], God confirms:
The doom of God cometh to pass. Then hasten it not. Glory be to Him! High let Him be exalted above the gods whom they join with Him! 17
(Surih XVI. "The Bee", v. 1) [16:1]

"Then hasten it not" means not to be in doubt or suspicious about it. The second verse of the same surih explains:
By His own behest will He cause the angels to descend with the Spirit on whom he pleaseth among his servants, bidding them, "Warn that there is no God but me; therefore fear me. "
(Surih XVI, "The Bee", v. 2) [16:2]

The reference to angels descending with the Spirit is identical in meaning with the verse where God addresses the Apostle Muhammad as follows: "the faithful spirit hath come down with it upon thy heart".18 The second verse of the Surih of the Bee is clear in confirming that Apostles shall follow after Muhammad. It should be noted that the verse refers to "His servants" in plural, indicating that there shall be many from among them upon whom the Spirit of God's decree shall be sent. Further, in the same surih a clear warning is given to the Muslims:
And to every people have we sent an apostle saying: Worship God and turn away from Taghout. Some of them there were whom God guided, and there were others decreed to err. But go through the land and see what hath been the end of those who treated my apostles as liars!19
(Surih XVI, "The Bee", v. 38) [16:38]

  1. See also The Baha'i Proofs, p. 127.
  2. Qur'an 26:193-4.
  3. See also Muhammad and the Course of Islam, p. 157, concerning Muhammad's teachings on the succession of the Prophets of God.

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Thus, the attention of the Muslims was directed to the nations that preceded them, that they would avoid the fate of those who refused God's Messengers. The Muslims, like other nations, have been presented with the same requirement. It is the Baha'i perspective that when the anticipated appearance of the Mahdi and the return of Jesus Christ became a reality, the Muslims met with the same tests. Indeed, in a tradition the Prophet Muhammad had further warned the Muslims, where He said: "Verily you shall follow the path of those before you handspan by handspan, and arm length by arm length; even were they to have entered a lizard's hole, you will do the same". And when His Companions asked: "Do you mean the Christians and the Jews, O Apostle of God?", He answered: "Who else!" What, then, is the true meaning of "Resurrection"? What is to happen then? The Qur'an provides different images of this all-important event. The first portrays a horrible destiny for the world on that appointed day:
When the earth shall be shaken with a shock,
And the mountains shall be crumbled with a crumbling,
And shall become scattered dust... 20
(Surih LVI, "The Inevitable", vv. 4-6) [56:4-6]

When the sun shall be folded up,
And when the stars shall fall,
And when the mountains shall be set in motion...21
(Surih LXXXI, "The Folded Up", vv. 1-3) [81:1-3]

  1. cf. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 132 and Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 39 and 196-7.
  2. Cited by Mirza Abu'l-Fadl in The Baha'i Proofs, p. 205, with other verses concerning the coming of the Day of God.

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When the Heaven shall cleave asunder,22
And when the stars shall disperse,
And when the seas shall be commingled..
(Surih LXXXII, "The Cleaving", vv. 1-3) [82:1-3]

When the Heaven shall have split asunder
And duteously obeyed its Lord;
And when the Earth shall have been stretched out as a
And shall have cast forth what was in her and become
(Surih LXXXIV "The Splitting Asunder", vv. 1-4) [86:1-4]

When the Earth with her quaking shall quake
And the Earth shall cast forth her burdens...23
(Surih XCIX, "The Earthquake", vv. 1-2) [99:1-2]

These images portray the upheaval to take place on that Day of violent commotion and distress, when the earth shall be crushed to powder and the heaven shall be like molten brass and shall heave. The Qur'an describes the condition of mankind then:
O Men of Mecca, fear your Lord Verily, the earthquake of the last Hour will be a tremendous thing!
On the day when ye shall behold it, every suckling woman shall forsake her sucking babe and every woman that hath a burden in her womb shall cast her burden and thou shalt see men drunken, yet

  1. cf. Qur'an 77: 9.
  2. For references in Baha'i Texts to the cleaving of the heavens, see Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 132 and 133-4, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 42, 45, 313, 333, Kitab-i-Iqan pp. 44-5 and Prayers and Meditations, p. 24, which include Baha'u'llah's mention of the "heaven of vain imaginings" and the "heaven of every religion" being rent asunder in this Day.
  3. In Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 40, He has revealed: "This is the Day whereon the earth shall tell out her tidings. The workers of iniquity are her burdens..." See also pp. 41, 44 and 226.

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are they not drunken: 24 but it is the mighty
chastisement of God! 25
(Surih XXII, "The Pilgrimage", vv. 1-2)

But when the stunning trumpet-blast shall arrive,
On that day shall a man fly from his brother,
And his mother and his father,
And his wife and his children... 26
(Surih LXXX, "He Frowned", vv. 33-6) [80:33-6]

The second image of that time, however, is
promising and laden with the bounty of meeting with
God and with the appearance of the Apostles and
angels. The earth shall shine with the Light of her

What can such expect but that God should come down
to them overshadowed with clouds, and the angels
also, and their doom be sealed? And to God shall
all things return.28
(Surih II, "The Cow", v. 206) [2:206]

And thy Lord shall come and the angels rank on rank.29
(Surih LXXXIX, "The Daybreak", v. 23) [89:23]

  1. cf. Qur'an 15:15 and Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 41 and 4. Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 45, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 14, and The Dawn-Breakers, p. 567.
  2. cf. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 45, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 14, and Dawn-Breakers, p. 567.
  3. cf. The Dawn-Breakers, p. 567.
  4. cf. Qur'an 39:69. See also Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 244, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 131, The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 2 and 87, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 28, and The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 41 and 45, for study of the contexts in which this verse has been cited.
  5. cf. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 113, Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 75 and 144, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 56.
  6. cf. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 118, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 41 and 45, and The Dawn-Breakers, p. 93.

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On the day whereon the Spirit and the Angels shall be
ranged in order,30 they shall not speak: save he
whom the God of Mercy shall permit, and who
shall say that which is right.
(Surih LXXVIII, "The News", v. 38)

All on the earth shall pass away,
But the face of thy Lord shall abide resplendent
with majesty and glory.
(Surih LV, "The Merciful", vv. 26-7)

And thou shalt see the Angels circling around the
Throne with praises of their Lord: and judgment
shall be pronounced between them with equity:
and it shall be said, "Glory be to God the Lord of
the Worlds."
(Surih XXXIX, "The Troops", v. 75) [39:75]

Of the condition of the chosen ones on that Day, the Qur'an states:
One day thou shalt see the believers, men and women,
with their light running before them, and on their
right hand.
The angels shall say to them, "Good tidings for you
this day of gardens beneath whose shades the
rivers flow, in which ye shall abide for ever!" This
the great bliss!
(Surih LVII, "Iron", v. 12) [57:12]

It is evident from these verses that the events being described are to be understood in symbolic terms. The verse "What can such expect but that God should come down to them..."31 must be reconciled with:
No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in all vision: and He is the Subtile, the All-Informed. (Surih VI, "Cattle", v. 103) [6:103]

  1. cf Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 50.
  2. Baha'u'llah affirms the interpretation of the Imams concerning this verse as being in reference to the Qa'im and His manifestation on p. 144 of Kitab-i-Iqan.

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as well as with the confirmation: And remaineth only the Countenance of Thy Lord the possessor of all Glory and Bounty.32 The coming of God Himself can only be fulfilled by the coming of His Manifestation in the glory of the Creator: Baha'u'llah. Indeed, in some instances, the Qur'an attributes actions by the Apostle Muhammad as having been undertaken by God Himself, intimating to the Muslims possessed of insight the true attributes and powers of the Manifestations of God, as later expounded by Baha'u'llah One of these events occurred when negotiations took place in a locality called Al- Hudaybiyyah when a large group of believers swore allegiance to the Prophet by placing hand on hand, as was the custom, and the hand of the Prophet Himself was on top of the others. The following verse was revealed regarding this event:
In truth, they who plighted fealty to thee, really plighted that fealty to God: the hand of God was over their hands!33 Whoever, therefore, shall break his oath shall only break it to his own hurt; but whoever shall be true to his engagement with God, He will give him a great reward
(Surih XLVIII, "The Victory", v. 10)

"The hand of God" that was over their hands was the hand of Muhammad. A further example of Muhammad's identification with God and His role in the expression

  1. Qur'an 55:27.
  2. cf. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 224, Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 136 and 179.

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of God's might occurred during the battle of Badr.34 Having to fight a battle against serious odds, the Apostle prayed and then took a handful of dust and threw it in the direction of the enemy. The believers won the battle and the following verse was among those subsequently revealed:
So it was not ye who slew them, but God slew them; and those shafts were God's not thine!35 He would make trial of the faithful by a gracious trial from Himself: Verily, God Heareth, Knoweth.
(Surih VIII, "The Spoils", v. 17) [8:17]

A third vantage point that the Qur'an presents concerning the Day of Resurrection and the Hour is a key to a deeper understanding of verses which, while highly descriptive, cannot be understood through literal interpretation.
And many as are the signs in the Heavens and on the Earth, yet they will pass them by, and turn aside from them:
And most of them believe not in God, without also joining other deities with Him.
What! Are they sure that the overwhelming chastisement of God shall not come upon them, or that the Hour shall not come upon them suddenly, while they are unaware?
(Surih XII, "Joseph", vv. 105-7) [12:105-107]

  1. See Muhammad and the Course of Islam, pp.64-71, for an account of this important battle.
  2. Baha'u'llah has revealed in the Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 178-9, the following: "Were any of the all-embracing Manifestations of God to declare: "I am God! He verily speaketh the truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath been repeatedly demonstrated that through their Revelation, their attributes and names, the Revelation of God, His name and His attributes, are made manifest in the world. Thus, He hath revealed: 'Those shafts were God's, not Thine!'.... "

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Warn them of the day of sighing when the decree shall be accomplished, while they are sunk in heedlessness and while they believe not.36
(Surih XIX "Mary", v. 40)

But on the day of resurrection some of you shall deny the others, and some of you shall curse the others; and your abode shall be the fire, and ye shall have
none to help. (Surih XXIX, "The Spider", v. 25) [39:25]

With all the upheaval that is to affect heaven and earth, the stars and the mountains on that Day, and in view of the coming of God, the Lord, the Prophets and the angels, how can anyone be "unaware", "heedless" or "unbelieving"? Where would people, under such circumstances, find time or a state of mind to "deny the others" or "curse the others"? It is certain, therefore, that the events that shall take place on that Day cannot be understood literally and that the conditions set down that pertain to human beings should be understood as ones affecting their souls. The following verses explain very clearly how and why unbelievers will be taken "unaware".

And on that day whereon the Hour shall arrive, the wicked will swear
That not above an hour have they waited: Even so did they utter lies on earth:
But they to whom knowledge and faith have been given will say, "Ye have waited, in accordance with the book of God, till the day of Resurrection: for this
is the day of the Resurrection but ye knew it not. " (Surih XXX, "The Greeks", vv. 54-6) [30:54-56]

  1. cf. Miracles and Metaphors, pp. 86-7.

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The wicked will watch the events of that Day but will not understand their import, while those who were given "knowledge and faith" of the Manifestation of God and faith in Him, will be able to say: "You have understood the Day of Resurrection literally from the Book of God, and have thus misunderstood that 'This is the Day of Resurrection"'.

In the fourth image, the Day of Resurrection is presented as the occasion for the sounding of "two trumpet blasts":
And there shall be a blast on the trumpet,37 and all who are in the Heavens and all who are in the Earth shall expire, save those whom God shall vouchsafe to live. Then shall there be another blast on it, and lo! arising they shall gaze around them:

And the earth shall shine with the light of her Lord,38 and the Book shall be set, and the prophets shall be brought up, and the witnesses; and judgment shall be given between them with equity; and none shall be wronged.
(Surih XXXIX "The Troops", vv. 68-9)

  1. In Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 61, can be found His affirmation "... We have sounded the Trumpet which is none other than My Pen of Glory ....". For further study, see Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 132 and 133, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 40, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 152 and 161, and Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l -Baha, pp. 13-4.
  2. Also in Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 244, He states: "The Blast hath been blown on the Trumpet of the Bayan...This is the Day in which the earth shineth with the effulgent light of thy Lord.... " See also footnote 27 and Some Notes on Baha'i Proofs Based on the Qur'an, p. 16.

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These verses tell of the setting in place of "the Book". This cannot be in reference to the Qur'an or to the Old or New Testaments, since these already existed at the time the verse was mentioned in the Qur'an. Furthermore, the setting in place of "the Book" is foretold as following two trumpet blasts on the Day of Judgment when the "earth will shine with the Light of Her Lord". "The Book", therefore, must refer to another Revelation, for how can there be a promise of a Book that already was in hand? Before closing this chapter it may be useful to consider one more verse pertaining to this picture of that Day:
But those who feared their Lord shall be driven on by troops to paradise, until when they reach it, its gates shall be opened, and its keepers shall say to them, "All hail! virtuous have ye been: enter then in, to abide herein for ever. "
And they shall say, "Praise be to God, who hath made good to us His promise, and hath given to us the earth as our heritage, that we may dwell in Paradise wherever we please!"
(Surih XXXIX, The Troops", vv. 73-4) [39:73-74]

Here, God again promises that on that Day, paradise shall be established on earth. Therefore, the earth and the heavens and the mountains shall not disappear on that Day, as might be understood from a literal interpretation. In fact, it is also explained in the Qur'an that paradise and hell shall remain after that Day, so long as the earth and the heavens continue to exist: Such was thy Lord's grasp when he laid that grasp on the cities that had been wicked Verily his grasp is afflictive, terrible!

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Here in truly is a sign for him who feareth the punishment of the latter day. That shall be a day unto which mankind shall be gathered together; that shall be a day witnessed by all creatures.
Nor do we delay it, but until a tie appointed.
When that day shall come no one shall speak a word but by His leave, and some shall be miserable and others blessed. And as for those who shall be consigned to misery their place the Fire! therein shall they sigh and bemoan them
Therein shall they abide while the Heavens and the Earth shall last, unless thy Lord shall will it otherwise; verily thy Lord cloth what He chooseth.
And as for the blessed ones their place the Garden! therein shall they abide while the Heavens and the Earth endure, with whatever imperishable boon thy Lord may please to add.
(Surih XI, "Houd", vv. 104-110) [9:104-110]

Chapter 9     Chapter 11

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