Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
Yusuf Ali’s explanation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s explanation of this Chapter.
Laleh Bakhtiar’s explanation of this Chapter.
'The Accumulation/ Proliferation’
From Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
“This probably early Makkan Surah gives a warning against acquisitiveness, i.e. the passion for piling up quantities or numbers, whether in the good things of this world, or in manpower or in other forms of megalomania, which leave no time or opportunity for pursuing the higher things of life.”
From Introduction of Muhammad Asad:
“THIS early Meccan surah is one of the most powerful, prophetic passages of the Qur'an, illuminating man's unbounded greed in general, and, more particularly, the tendencies which have come to dominate all human societies in our technological age.“
The word 'al takaathur' appears twice in the Qur'an, here and in HQ 57:20, where the accumulation/ proliferation is about BOTH material wealth and progeny. These two are considered the main attractions and distractions in life (HQ 63:9). Indeed, progeny is what earlier explanations of the Qur'an emphasize in these verses; 'clan-size' is quite important in most societies.
PAGE 600 Arabic Qur’an
1. The first two Verses state a fact, that 'You (Listeners) had been distracted by the 'Accumulation/ Proliferation/ Increase' (of wealth and progeny), until you visited the graves.'
Indeed.. we know how life is, and how distracting it is to be constantly attempting to increase our wealth and our 'clan,' or to prove to ourselves or others that both are up to par. Indeed, all our distractions are related to either of these interests.
Note that our 'distraction' ends when we die, and that the time we spend in our graves is so short, it is considered a 'visit,' and we shall come to know that!
2. The rest of the Chapter informs and warns us of that, as Verses 3-4 assert that 'Nay, you shall indeed come to know..'
In fact, Verse 5 seems to indicate that, had we possessed the knowledge of Certitude, we would have indeed seen/ envisioned the Scalding/ JaHeem (seen it with our knowledge).
But evidently, we SHALL indeed see it, in time (thumma), with the (actual) eye of Certitude (not the mind's eye).
And in time, we shall indeed be questioned (!) with regard to (all) the pleasures and well-being (of Life: What we'd been given in life, versus what we did with it).
Quite troubling verses, which show us the extent of our responsibility.
Peace unto all!