1وَالنّازِعاتِ غَرقًاMuhammad AsadTHIS late Meccan surah, revealed shortly after the preceding one, takes its name from the word an-nazi'at in the first verse.CONSIDER those [stars] that rise only to set,1For my rendering of the adjurative particle wa as "Consider", see first half of note 23 on 74:32. - The early commentators differ widely in their explanations of verses 1-5 of this surah. The most popular interpretation is based on the view that the descriptive participles an-nazi'at, an-nashitat, as-sabihat, as-sabiqat and al-mudabbirat refer to angels and their activities with regard to the souls of the dying: an interpretation categorically rejected by Abu Muslim al-Isfahani, who - as mentioned by Razi - points out that the angels are never referred to in the Qur'an in the female gender, as is the case in the above five participles, and that the present passage cannot be an exception. Almost equally unconvincing - because somewhat laboured - are the explanations which link those five participles to the souls of the dying, or to warriors engaged in holy war, or to war-mounts, and so forth. The clearest and simplest interpretation is that advanced by Qatadah (as quoted by Tabari and Baghawi) and Al-Hasan al-Basri (quoted by Baghawi and Razi), who maintain that what is meant in this passage are the stars - including the sun and the moon - and their movements in space: and this interpretation is fully in tune with many other passages in the Qur'an in which the harmony of those celestial bodies in their multiform orbits and graded speeds is cited as an evidence of God's planning and creativeness. In accordance with this interpretation, the participle an-nazi'at occurring in the first verse denotes the daily "ascending" or "rising" of the stars, while their subsequent "setting" is indicated by the expression gharqan, which comprises the two concepts of "drowning" (i.e., disappearing) and, tropically, of the "completeness" of this daily phenomenon (Zamakhshari).