¡ By those that wrest violently,
1-5 Regarding the varying interpretations for these verses as referring to different types of angels, different modes of death, or different types and phases of stars and/or other celestial bodies, among other things, al-Ṭabarī says that they can be seen as a reference to all of these, for God is swearing by everything that exhibits the characteristics mentioned in these verses. Al-Rāzī advises that we cannot say any of the interpretations are what is meant by God, but that we can say they are possible. He adds another interpretation in which these verses represent five phases in the return of the heart from what is other than God to God: “Those that wrest (al-nāziʿāt) are the spirits that move toward (tanziʿu ilā) attachment to the most unfailing handhold [2:256;
31:22], or who are being wrested from the love of what is other than God. Those that draw out quickly (al-nāshiṭāt nashṭ) means that, after the return from bodily things, [the spirits] take to striving and assuming the character traits of God with utter zeal (nishāṭ) and great strength. Those that glide serenely is then that, after striving, [the spirits] ‘glide’ in the realm of sovereignty, such that they cross these oceans and swim therein. Those that race to the fore, outstripping is an allusion to the variegation of spirits in the degrees of their journeying unto God, and those that govern affairs is an allusion to the connection between the last levels of humanness and the first degrees of angelhood. So when the human spirits reach their farthest limit, which is the level of outstripping, they connect to the world of the angels, which is what is meant by those that govern affairs. So the first four are what is meant by its oil would well-nigh shine forth [24:35], and the fifth is the fire in His saying, even if no fire had touched it [24:35].”
1 Those that wrest are viewed by most as the angels who wrest the souls of disbelievers from the body (IK, Q, Ṭ, Z). They do so violently because the souls do not want to face the Judgment. Others see those that wrest as an allusion to the stars or to all celestial bodies (Q, Ṭ, Z).