Today this surah ends with a strong eschatological focus.  In fact, the name of the surah — “The Throngs” — comes from the throngs of people who will be led to the Garden (or to Hell) in the Hereafter (39:71, 73).

"The Day of Judgement," late 19th Century painting attributed to Mohammad Modabber

On the Day of Resurrection a trumpet will sound and people will fall down senseless.  Back on their feet again, all eyes will look for what is to happen next (39:68).  God appears as Light, the “Record of Deeds” is laid out, and judgment begins (39:69).  As people go off to reward or punishment, this world will be rolled up like a scroll one has finished reading (39:67).

Those who are sent off to Hell will offer up excuses:

I didn’t think it was important . . . I didn’t get enough guidance from God . . . I just need one more chance. (39:56-58, my paraphrase)

But in the end they will know they were warned by their own and know their punishment is deserved (39:71).  They would give anything — “the earth’s assets twice over” — to ransom themselves from Hell (39:47), but to no avail.

No harm will come to those who did believe (39:61).  Through gates opened wide, they will walk with comfort into the Garden while the “keepers” of the Garden (angels?) will greet them with this exhortation:

Peace be upon you.  You have been good.  Come in: you are here to stay. (39:73)

It is important to note how judgment of destiny is made:

The Record of Deeds will be laid open. (39:69)

Fair judgment will be given between them: they will not be wronged and every soul will be repaid in full for what it has done. He knows best what they do. (39:69-70)

You have been good.  Come in. (39:73)

How excellent is the reward of those who labor! (39:74)

One need not fear that judgment will be unfair. Everyone will get what they deserve, based upon their actions.  Once again we see that a person’s eternal destiny is determined by their own actions.

As a Christian, when I read through today’s section it sounds like the Christian description of Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Well, except for the absence of grace, at least grace in regards to sin.  What I read here is how the Bible would describe it if one’s destiny were determined by one’s own effort.  This is the Heaven of justice, not grace.

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