وَقَالُوا أَإِذَا ضَلَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَإِنَّا لَفِي خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ ۚ بَلْ
هُمْ بِلِقَاءِ رَبِّهِمْ كَافِرُونَ
10. And they say: “When we are (dead and become) lost in the earth, shall we indeed be recreated anew?” Nay, but they deny the Meeting with their Lord!
This was the statement of the unbelievers of Makka who denied the resurrection after death. On one occasion they came to the Prophet (S.A) and derisively remarked, ‘When we have been destroyed, and our bones and flesh have been mixed with the dirt of the earth until it has vanished and no distinction can be made, would we be created in a new creation and returned to life for a second time?’
On account of this statement and question, Allah informed the Prophet (S.A) about their beliefs and said, ‘Nay, but they deny the meeting with their Lord’.
Regarding this statement, the commentators have stated, ‘Here, the verse shows that they are not denying Allah’s power and ability to re-create. Instead, they are denying their return to Allah. They believed that there was no reckoning and accounting to Allah, and that they would not meet Allah’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.85, Maktaba Rasheediya, Queta, Pakistan)
In response to their denial, Allah ordered the Prophet (S.A) to say to them:
قُلْ يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ مَلَكُ الْمَوْتِ الَّذِي وُكِّلَ بِكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ
11. Say: “The angel of death, who is set over you, will take your souls, and then you shall be brought to your Lord.”
Here, they are told that the resurrection is real, and the returning will take place. One day, the angel of death will take their souls, and then they would return to Allah for judgment, reckoning and compensation.
While commenting on this verse, Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes, ‘It is apparent from this verse, that the Angel of death is one specific being from among the angels. In some traditions, he is named Izra’eel and this is famous. It is recorded in a hadith that the Angel of death has helpers. At the time of death (of an individual), the helpers extract the soul from the entire body and when it reaches to the throat, the Angel of death takes it’. (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Vol.3, Pg. 457, 458, Amjad Academy, Lahore, Pakistan)
It is also narrated that the great exegete of the Holy Quran, Qatada (A.R) said, ‘It is the Angel of death who takes the life (soul) and with him are helpers from among the angels’. (Tafseer At Tabari, Vol.21, Pg.112, Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi).
While speaking of the ease which has been given to the Angel of death in taking lives, Mujahid (A.R) said, ‘The earth has been gathered for the Angel of death. It has been made like a tray for him. He takes from it from wherever he wishes’. (Tafseer At Tabari, Vol.21, Pg.112, Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi)
Having mentioned about the angel of death and that he is deputed to take the souls of men, Sura As Sajdah goes further in verse 12 to describe the state of the wrongdoers on the Day of Judgment. The verse states:
وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الْمُجْرِمُونَ نَاكِسُو رُءُوسِهِمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ رَبَّنَا أَبْصَرْنَا وَسَمِعْنَا فَارْجِعْنَا نَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا إِنَّا
12. And if you only could see when the Mujrimûn (criminals, disbelievers, sinners, etc.) shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back (to the world), we will do righteous good deeds. Verily! We now believe with certainty.”
Here, Allah tells man that if he could only see the state of the transgressors and wrongdoers in front of their Lord on the Day of Judgment, then he will be totally saddened and startled at the nature of their disgrace and humiliation, and will be terrified and frightened at this sight. (Safwatut Tafseer, Vol.12, Pg.38, Darul Quran Al Kareem, Beirut).
The heads of these wrongdoers shall be hanging in shame, and they shall cry unto their Lord, begging for a chance to come back to the world.
Some scholars have mentioned that in the above verse, the address is given to the Prophet (S.A) saying that if he could only see the state of the disbelievers in front of their Lord on the Day of Judgement, then he will surely witness their woeful plight. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg. 87, Maktab Rasheedya / Tafseer At Tabari, Vol.21, Pg.113, Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi)
Some scholars have also stated that in the verse, the Prophet (S.A) has been commanded to tell the unbelievers that if they could only see how they (the unbelievers) will be hanging their heads in disgrace in front of their Lord on the Day of Judgement, then they will be ashamed of what they are presently doing by committing kufr and shirk. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg. 87, Maktab Rasheedya)
On the Day of Judgment, and in front of Allah, the unbelievers will be bending and lowering their heads on account of regret, disgrace, grief, humiliation and sorrow. In this state, they will call on Allah and say, ‘O Our Lord! We have now seen the truth which we used to deny. We have now heard that which we used to reject. We now believe in your promise, and we now accept your Messengers. So please send us back to the world so that we may do good deeds. For certainly, we now believe with firmness, and we have certainty that your promise is the truth’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.88, Maktab Rasheedya)