﴿82﴾ وَإِذَا وَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَخْرَجْنَا لَهُمْ دَآبَّةً مِنَ الاَرْضِ تُكَلّـِمُهُمْ أَنَّ النَّاسَ كَانُوا بِاَيَاتِنَا لاَ يُوقِنُونَ
82. “ And when the word is fulfilled against them We shall bring forth for them a moving creature from the earth that shall speak unto them, because people did not believe in Our revelations.”
Some Islamic traditions announce that when human beings suspend the act of enjoining what is right and fulfil none of them, they will obligatory deserve the Divine displeasure, wrath and chastisement, and, at this time, a creature will come out from between Safā and Marwah in order to inform the believer that he is faithful and to inform the disbeliever that he is an infidel. It is then that the duty will be removed and no repentance will be accepted, and this is one of the signs of Hereafter.
However, the words in the former verses were about the pagans who hastened for meeting the Divine punishment or the occurrence of Hereafter and impatiently expected it to happen. They told the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) why those punishments that they were promised did not come to them? Why the Hereafter did not happen? The verse under discussion points to a part of the events that happen at the threshold of Resurrection, and depict the painful fate of these obstinate rejecters. It says:
Majma'-ul-Bayān, Jawāmi'-ul-Jāmi', and Manhaj-us-Sādiqīn. The commentary of the verse.
bring forth for them a moving creature from the earth that
shall speak unto them, because people did not believe in
The objective of the Qur’ānic phrase: “… the word is fulfilled against them …” is Allah’s command which will be issued for the punishment they have been promised, or the occurrence of Resurrection and the manifestation of its sign. These are the signs that by observing them every one will become humble and submissive, and he will be completely certain that the promises of Allah were true and the Hereafter is near. In that circumstance the doors of repentance will be closed, because the faith in that condition will be a constrained belief which is not accepted.
These two meanings are not separate from each other, becauseapproaching the Day of Hereafter is accompanied with the punishment of the wrong doers.
Concerning this earthly creature and that what or who he is, and what program he will have, the Qur’ān has stated ambiguously. It seems that the Qur’ān wanted to speak shortly about it, for sometime the effect of the word is in that the horrible matter should be said in curtain.
The Qur’ān only implies that this is a creature that, at the threshold of Resurrection, Allah will bring it forth from the earth and this creature will speak with people, saying that the people do not believe in the verses of Allah. In other words, his job is to separate the rows from each other and to distinguish between the row of rejecters and hypocrites and the row of believers.
It is evident that, by seeing this scene, the rejecters will become regretful from their own dark past, but they will not have any way to return.
In Islamic narrations, the commentary books, and Shi’ite and Sunnite sources of traditions, there are many matters about the details of the Qur’ānic phrase: /dābbatan min al ’ard/ (a moving creature from the earth) as well as its exact qualities and specifications, a short explanation of which is as follows:
The Arabic word /dābbah/ means ‘a moving creature’, and the word /’ard/ means ‘earth’, and in spite of the belief of some commentators, the word /dābbah/ is not applied only for moving creatures other than humankind, but it has a vast meaning and encompasses human beings, too. We recite in Sura Hūd, No. 11, verse 6: “And there is no moving creature on the earth but its sustenance is on Allah, …”
Sura An-Nahl, No. 16, verse 61 says: “And if Allah were to take people to task for their inequity, He would not leave on it (the earth) a single moving being, …”
Sura Al-’Anfāl, No. 8, verse 22 says: “Verily the worst of animals in the sight of Allah are the deaf, the dumb, who do not understand.”
Concerning the adaptation of this term with its meaning, as it was already said in the above, the Qur’ān has referred to it ambiguously, and the only quality that it has stated for it is that the creature speaks with people and compendiously defines the disbelievers. But there are a lot of discussions in this regard in Islamic narrations and commentaries of the commentators all of which can be referred to in two commentaries:
1- A group of commentators of the Qur’ān believe that it is an extraordinary living and moving creature which is not of the kind of human and has a wonderful shape. They have cited some wonders about it that are similar to the miracles of Divine prophets.
This moving creature will appear on ‘the last day’ and will speak about disbelief and Faith, and, by putting marks on the hypocrites, will make them infamous.
2- Another group, following numerous Islamic narrations recorded in this field, say that this moving creature is a man, an extraordinary man. He is a moving and active man, one of whose main actions is separating the rows of Muslims from hypocrites and putting marks on them. Some narrations even indicate that the Rod of Moses and the Signer of Solomon will be with him; and we know that the Rod of Moses is the secret of power and miracle, and the Signer of Solomon is the secret of Divine government and domination. Thus he is a powerful man who divulges the facts.
Hathīfah narrates a tradition from the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) who, qualifying /dābbat-ul-’Ard/ (a moving creature from the earth), said: “(He is so strong that) no one can reach him nor any one can flee from him. He puts a sign on the forehead of every believer and writes ‘believer’ between his eyes, and puts a sign on the forehead of every disbeliever and also writes ‘disbeliever’ between his eyes; and he has the Rod of Moses and the Signer of Solomon.
Some narrations have adapted it to Amir-ul-Mu’minīn Ali (a.s.). It is recorded in the commentary of Ali-ibn-’Ebrāhīm, narrated from Imam Sādiq (a.s.): “Once a man told ‘Ammār Yāsir that there is a verse in the Qur’ān which has disturbed his mind and caused him to be doubtful. ‘Ammār asked which verse it was and he answered the verse which says: “And when the word is fulfilled against them We shall bring forth for them a moving creature from the earth that shall speak unto them, because people did not believe in Our revelations”, and he added
Majma'-ul-Bayān, and tafsīr-us-Sāfī, the commentary of the verse
which moving creature it was. ‘Ammār said: ‘By Allah! I do not sit on the ground, nor do I eat any food nor drink any water before I show you /dābbat-ul-’ard/. Then he, accompanying with that man, came to Ali (a.s.) while he was having food. When he (a.s.) saw ‘Ammār he told him to come in. ‘Ammār came near, sat down and ate food with Ali (a.s.). That man seriously wondered, while he has watching that scene incredibly, because ’Ammār had promised him and had made an oath that he would not eat any food before fulfilling his promise, as if he had forgotten his promise and his oath!
When ’Ammār stood up and said good by to Ali (a.s.), that man, addressing him, said he made an oath not to eat food nor drink water, nor sit on the ground unless he show the man /dābbat-ul-‘ard/. ‘Ammār answered him: ‘Did I not show it to you if you understood?’”
A tradition similar to this one is narrated from ’Abūthar recorded in the commentary of ‘Ayyāshī.
‘Allamah Majlesī, with a valid document, has cited in Bihar-ul-’Anwār that Ali (a.s.) was asleep in the mosque when the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) came in there. He (p.b.u.h.) roused Ali (a.s.) from sleep and said: “Get up O’ moving creature of Allah!”. One of the companions asked the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h.) whether they are right to call each other by that name, and the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) said: “No. this name is specialized to Ali, and he is /dābbat-ul-’ard/ about whom Allah has said in the Qur’ān: ‘And when the word is fulfilled against them We shall bring forth for them a moving creature from the earth that shall speak unto them, because people did not believe in Our revelations’.” Then he (p.b.u.h.) said: “O’ Ali! On the last day, Allah will restore you to life in the best form
Majma'ul-Bayān, the commentary of the verse
and there will be a means in your hand by which you will mark the enemies.”
According to this tradition, the abovementioned verse is about ‘return to life’, and it adapts to the next verse which is about ‘return to life’.
The Late Abul-Futūh Rāzī records in his commentary book concerning the above verse: “According to the information we received by the way of our Companions, the Qur’ānic phrase /dābbatul ’ard/ is an implicit declaration to Hadrat Mahdī, the Lord of the age (a.s.).”
Keeping this tradition and the above traditions in mind, we can take a more general concept from the holy phrase /dābbat-ul-’ard/ and adapt it to each one of the great leaders who rises in ‘the last day’ and has an extraordinary movement by which he differentiates between right and wrong as well as believer and disbeliever.
This meaning involved in the narrations which indicate that the Rod of Moses and Signer of Solomon, which are the secrets of power, victory and government, will be with him, is a frame of reference that ‘ a moving creature from the earth’ is a very active human.
And also the fact which is mentioned in the narrations that he will mark the believer and disbeliever and separate their rows, adapts to the meaning that the creature is a human.
The quality of ‘speaking with people’ which is mentioned in the text of the Qur’ān is also appropriate to this very meaning.
On the other side, there are some other references in the above verse itself added to many traditions concerning the
Bihār-ul-'Anwār, Vol. 53, P. 52  TheCommentary of Abul-Futūh Rāzī, Vol. 8, P. 423
commentary of the verse, all show that the objective of /dābbat-ul-’ard/ here is a human with the qualities mentioned in the above. He is a very active human being who specifies the right and wrong as well as the believer from unbeliever and hypocrite. It is a human being who will appear at the threshold of Resurrection and himself is one of the signs of the greatness of Allah.