To Him you shall return,1
that is, He will bring you back to life from your graves, take you to the plain of resurrection, and judge you in His majestic presence.
Now these verses prepare the mind and make ready the heart to accept the reality of resurrection, for they have demonstrated parallels to resurrection in worldly processes. Sometimes it also happens that He mentions the deeds He will perform in the hereafter in such a way as to draw attention to their worldly parallels, so that no room should be left for doubt and denial. Examples are the Suras introduced by these verses:
When the sun is rolled up,2
When the heavens are torn asunder.3
In these Suras, God Almighty mentions resurrection and the vast revolutions and dominical deeds that shall take place at that time, in such a fashion that man thinks of their worldly parallels that he has seen in autumn and spring, and then, with awe in his heart, easily accepts what the intellect would otherwise refuse. Even to indicate the general meaning of the three suras just mentioned would take very long. Let us, then, take simply one word as a specimen of the whole. With the words,
When the pages are spread out,4
God Almighty expresses the following: “Upon resurrection, everyone’s deeds will be revealed on a written page. This appears to be very strange, and totally beyond the reach of reason. But as the Sura indicates, just as the resurrection of the spring is a parallel to other matters, so too the ‘spreading out of pages’ has a very clear parallel. Every fruit-bearing tree, every flowering plant has its deeds, actions and functions. It performs a certain kind of worship, depending on the fashion in which it glorifies God through the manifestations of His Names. Now all of its deeds and the record of its life are inscribed in all the seeds that are to emerge next spring in another plot of soil. With the tongue of shape and form, the seeds make eloquent mention of the origins of those deeds, and spread out the page of deeds together with branch, twig, leaf, flower and fruit. He Who says: “When the pages are spread out” is the same Being That performs, before our eyes, these wise, preserving, nurturing and subtle acts.
Compare other matters with this by analogy, and deduce the truth if you have the capacity. Let us aid you with the following. The verse, When the sun is folded up, refers to a brilliant similitude and hints at its parallel:
First: God Almighty has cast aside the curtains of non-being, the ether