1 Preface اقتَرَبَتِ السّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ القَمَرُYusuf AliThe Hour (of Judgment)1 is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder.2See paragraph 2 of the Introduction to S. 53. The idea of the judgment being nigh at the beginning of this Sūra connects it with the same idea at the end of the last Sūra (verse 57), though the actual words used in the two cases are different.Three explanations are given in the Mufradat, and perhaps all three apply here: (1) that the moon once appeared cleft asunder in the valley of Mecca within sight of the Prophet, his Companions, and some Unbelievers; (2) that the prophetic past tense indicates the future, the cleaving asunder of the moon being a Sign of the Judgment approaching; and (3) that the phrase is metaphorical, meaning that the matter has become clear as the moon. That the first was noticed by contemporaries, including Unbelievers, is clear from verse 2. The second is an incident of the disruption of the solar system at the New Creation: Cf. 75:8-9. And the third might well be implied as in eastern allegory, based on the other two.