Blowing the Trumpet
Blowing the Trumpet or Nafkh al-Ṣūr (Arabic: نَفْخ الصُور) is an event which will take place at the end of the world and before the beginning of the resurrection. According to hadiths, near the resurrection, Israfil blows his Trumpet (al-Sur) at the command of God, creating a deafening sound with which all beings die, except a few. He then blows the trumpet again, whereby every being comes to life again, and then the resurrection begins.
"Nafkh al-Sur" is a combination of "nafkh" which means to "Blow", and "al-sur" which means "horn" or trumpet. The majority of Qur'anic exegetes believe that in verses concerning Blowing the Trumpet, it is more consistent with their contexts and relevant hadiths, as well as Israfil's mission, to take "sur" to mean a trumpet or horn. However, others believe that "al-sur" is a plural form of "surat" which means form. They interpret the verse as saying that God gives a form to the dead, blows in those forms, and then resurrects them.
In the Qur'an
Blowing the Trumpet is an indication of the beginning of the resurrection, which is mentioned over ten times in the Qur'an. The verse sixty eight of Qur'an 39 makes it explicit that Blowing the Trumpet will occur two times; first at the end of the world, and second at the beginning of the resurrection. According to Qur'anic verses, upon the first Blowing the Trumpet, every being will be terrified and will die except those that God wills to live. With the second Blowing the Trumpet, every being will suddenly rise and wait for the reckoning of their actions.
- "Al-Sayha" (الصَیحة) which means a blast or great sound.
- "Al-Sakha" (الصاخة) which means an intense sound.
- "Al-Rajifa" (الراجِفة) which means vibrating.
- "Al-Radifa" (الرادِفة) which means vibrating.
- "Yunadi l-munad", (یُنادي المُنادي) which means "the caller calls out".
- "Nuqir-a fi l-naqur" (نُقِرَ في الناقور) which means "the trumpet is blown" ("naqur" is a trumpet made of an animal's horn).
According to hadiths, when the resurrection becomes imminent, Israfil descends to Jerusalem al-Quds with a trumpet that has one head and two sides, where the distance between the two sides is that between the sky and the Earth. Israfil stands in the direction of Qibla and blows in his Trumpet, whereby all beings die. Then, Israfil blows the Trumpet for the second time, whereby everyone comes back to life. According to some other hadiths, although the first Blowing the Trumpet is done by Israfil, he dies after that, and then God Blows the Trumpet in the second time.
Number of Blows
According to the widely held view, at the end of the world, the Trumpet will be blown two times, where the first is referred to as "Death Blowing" and the second as "Life Blowing" or "Resurrection Blowing". However, some others take it to occur three or even four times, where the first is the "Terror Blowing", the second is "Death Blowing", the third is "Life Blowing", and the fourth is the "Assembling Blowing". According to the majority of Qur'anic exegetes, the terror referred to in the Qur'an is a prelude to the death of all beings in the world which takes place after the first Blowing or blast, just as the "Assembling Blowing" is continuous with the "Life Blowing", rather than a separate Blowing. Thus, there are only two occurrences of the Blowing.
Interval between the Two Occurrences of the Blowing
The interval between the two cases of Blowing the Trumpet is, according to some hadiths, forty years, and according to others, 400 years. The hadiths are silent over whether the length of these years is the same as that of this worldly years. However, theologians believe that after the end of this world, time will be gone too. Thus, there is no temporal interval between the two cases of Blowing the Trumpet.
Blowing the Trumpet, Literal or Metaphorical?
There are different views concerning whether the Blowing the Trumpet is literal or metaphorical. Some people hold that it is metaphorical for calling people for the evaluation of their actions on the day of resurrection. Others rely on many hadiths in this regard to take it to be literal. Ayatollah Jawadi Amuli appeals to a hadith from the Prophet (s) to take "al-Sur" to be a branch of light in which Israfil blows.
In Other Religions
The story of Blowing the Trumpet appears in other religions as well. In the New Bible, the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, Blowing the Trumpet is referred to as one of the most mysterious indications of the resurrection. Also in Corinthians 15:51 and 52 it is mentioned as a mystery. Moreover, the Gospel of Barnabas implies the multiple occurrences of Blowing the Trumpet.
- And the Trumpet will be blown, and whoever is in the heavens will swoon and whoever is on the earth, except whomever Allah wishes. Then it will be blown a second time, behold, they will rise up, looking on!
- For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Thessalonians 4:15]
- 51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from نفح صور in Farsi WikiShia.