Surah Adiyat takes it name from the First Word ( Al’adiyat). Its objective is to make the people realize how evil man becomes when he denies the Hereafter, or becomes heedless of it, and also to warn them that in the Hereafter not only their visible and apparent deeds but even the secrets hidden in their hearts will be subjected to scrutiny.
For this purpose, the general chaos and confusion prevailing in Arabia, with which the whole country was in turmoil, has been presented as an argument. Bloodshed, loot and plunder raged on every side. Tribes were subjecting other tribes to raids, and no one could have peaceful sleep at night from fear that some enemy tribe might raid his settlement early in the morning.
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Surah Adiyat Tafseer & Translation
[’ By the galloping, panting horses, (1) ]
Allah swears by the horses when they are made to gallop into battle in His path (i.e., Jihad), and thus they run and pant, which is the sound that is heard from the horse when it runs.
[striking sparks of fire ˹with their hoofs˺, (2) ]
Meaning, the striking of their hooves on the rocks, which causes sparks of fire to fly from them.
[launching raids at dawn,, (3) ]
Meaning, the raid that is carried out in the early morning time. This is just as the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to perform raids in the early morning. He would wait to see if he heard the Adhan (call to prayer) from the people. If he heard it he would leave them alone, and if he didn’t hear it he would attack. Then Allah says,
فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا
[stirring up ˹clouds of˺ dust, (4) ]
Meaning, dust at the place of the battle with the horses.
فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا
[and penetrating into the heart of enemy lines! (5) ]
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ
[Surely humankind is ungrateful to their Lord (6) ]
This is the subject what is being sworn about, and it means that he (man) is ungrateful for the favors of His Lord and he rejects them.
Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Ibrahim An-Nakha’i, Abu Al-Jawza’, Abu Al-‘Aliyah, Abu Ad-Duha, Sa’id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Qays, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi’ bin Anas and Ibn Zayd all said, “Al-Kanud means ungrateful.” Al-Hasan said, “Al-Kanud is the one who counts the calamities (that befall him) and he forgets Allah’s favors.”
وَإِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ
[And indeed, he is to that a witness. (7) ]
Qatadah and Sufyan Ath-Thawri both said, “And indeed Allah is a witness to that.” It is also possible that the pronoun (He) could be referring to man. This was said by Muhammad bin Ka’b Al-Qurazi. Thus, its meaning would be that man is a witness himself to the fact that he is ungrateful. This is obvious in his condition, meaning this is apparent from his statements and deeds.
وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ
[And indeed he is, in love of wealth, intense. (8) ]
Meaning, and indeed in his love of the good, which is wealth, he is severe. There are two opinions concerning this. One of them is that it means that he is severe in his love of wealth. The other view is that it means he is covetous and stingy due to the love of wealth. However, both views are correct.
Threat about the Hereafter
Then Allah encourages abstinence from worldly things and striving for the Hereafter, and He informs of what the situation will be after this present condition, and what man will face of horrors. He says,
أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ
[Do they not know that when the contents of the graves will be spilled out, (9) ]
Meaning, the dead that are in it will be brought out.
وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ
[and the secrets of the hearts will be laid bare, (10) ]
“This means what was in their souls would be exposed and made apparent.”
إِنَّ رَبَّهُم بِهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّخَبِيرٌ
[Indeed, their Lord with them, that Day, is [fully] Aware. (11) ]
Meaning, He knows all of that they used to do, and He will compensate them for it with the most deserving reward. He does not do even the slightest amount of injustice.
The Above Tafseer is Taken From “Tafseer Ibn Katheer”.