1. The hour (of Judgment) is nigh and the moon is cleft asunder.
5127. See para 2 of the Introduction to S. liii. The idea of the Judgment being nigh at the beginning of this Sura connects it with the same idea at the end of the last Sara (verse 57), though the actual words used in the two cases are different.
5128. 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 Makkah 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. lxxv. 8-9.