“The unbelievers will not cease to be in doubt about it until the Hour suddenly comes upon them, or the chastisement of an ominous day overtakes them. On that Day all sovereignty shall be Allah’s and He will judge between them. Then those who believed and acted righteously shall be in Gardens of Bliss. A humiliating chastisement awaits those who disbelieved and denied our Signs. As for those who migrated in the way of Allah, whereafter they were slain, or died, Allah will certainly grant them a goodly provision. Indeed, Allah is the best of all those who provide. He will surely admit them to a resort which will please them. Most certainly Allah is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.”

(Al-Qur’ān – 22:55-59)

Literally the word ‘aqīm means ‘barren’. Here the word has been employed to characterise a particular day. The implication being that it would be an ominous day when no effort would succeed, when every endeavour on man’s part would end in failure, when every hope would turn into despair. The other meaning of the expression ‘barren day’ is that it is a day destined not to turn into night.

In both senses, the expression signifies that the day on which a nation’s destruction takes place will be a barren one for that nation. For instance, the day the people of Noah witnessed the great flood was a barren day for them. In like manner, the people of ‘Ad, Thamud and Lut, the people of Midian, and several other nations were totally annihilated by God’s scourge.

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