This short, new surah entitled “Smoke” gives us more of the same. 

The Qur’an, written in Arabic so that all of Muhammad’s audience can understand it (44:58), has given a clear warning.  Still, people dismissed the revelation and Muhammad as a mad man (44:14).  Because of his mercy, God has always given warnings before punishment comes (44:3, 5).  Pharaoh received warning before he and his armies drowned in the Sea (44:17-33).  The kings of Tubba` did as well (44:37).  There is a Day coming where the skies will be filled with smoke (44:10) — hence the name of the surah — and judgment will come (44:40).  Sure, people will come to believe then, but it will be too late (44:12-13). 

Here are a few points that came out as I read that I found interesting:

  • The Qur’an was first sent at night (44:3)
  • Literally, the phraseology in 44:9 says “in doubt [of judgment] they [unbelievers] play.”  What a perfect but sad way to describe the distractions unbelievers must put into their lives to bring meaning or at least to cope with the meaninglessness of a god-less life.
  • The drowning of Pharoah and the Egyptian army at the Sea is depicted like a set-up: “Leave the sea behind you parted and their army will be drowned” (44:24). 
  • The anti-Tree of Life — the tree of Zaqqum — appears again with its fruit like “molten metal” that “boils in their bellies” (44:43-46).
  • The “maidens” promised to those who make it to the Garden of Paradise are mentioned again, with their “beautiful eyes” (44:54).