¡ For mankind, their reckoning draws nigh, while they turn away heedless.
1 The first verse of al-Anbiyāʾ announces that the time of the reckoning approaches (R); cf. 54:1. Reckoning (ḥisāb) is a word used to signify the accounting of the Day of Judgment, which is also called the Day of Reckoning (e.g., 38:16; 40:28). Some theologians have said that the time that has passed since God created the world is greater than the time remaining until the world ends (Q, Z), a chronology based on the fact that the verb used in this verse for draws nigh (iqtaraba) ordinarily signifies that one is closer to one’s destination than to one’s origin (R). Some say that from God’s point of view the reckoning is close—not in a temporal sense, because God knows all moments simultaneously—but rather is close with regard to His Knowledge of the reckoning; human beings, however, think of it as something distant (M); see also 70:6-7, which speaks of the impending punishment (70:1) in these terms: Truly they see it as far off, but We see it as nigh.
In addition to the fact that the Quran points out that the world as such will come to an end, some commentators observe that it should be enough for anyone that one’s own death is certain, regardless of the time of the destruction of the world; this is part of what is signified by their reckoning draws nigh (Q). To be heedless means that people only care about this world (Ṭ) and pay no attention to the matters of the Hereafter (Q). It is said among the Sufis that there are those who are heedless of the Hereafter because they are engrossed in worldly affairs, and there are the righteous believers who are mindful of the Hereafter; but there are also those who are heedless of the Hereafter
because they are so engrossed in the remembrance of God that they give no thought to the Garden or to the Fire (Aj).