الْقَارِعَةُ (The striking calamity): One of the names of the Resurrection Day, named so because it strikes the hearts and the hearings with its tremendous horrors.
Allah (swt) talks about another stage of reckoning before recompensating. Hence, the reckoning will be in stages; first, the records will be distributed then everyone will read his deeds, finding that it is fully identical to what he had done in his life. This reckoning does not mean recompensating, rather, it is just a clarification of what has been led to his final destiny. Then, the stage of weighing the deeds, followed by rewarding by Paradise or punishing in Hell.
Allah (swt) repeats (The striking calamity) three times. The first one is obscure and needs clarification, it leads us to ask what is the striking calamity? Then comes the answer: What is the Striking Calamity? As this is an obscure matter that we have to ask about. A question requires an answer, therefore, Allah (swt) says: (And what can make you know what is the Striking Calamity?) As if He (swt) is saying that certainly you do not know the answer, We will tell you; first by obscurity (verse 1) then by intimidation (verse 2), after that by stating the greatness of what is asked about (verse 3). As if Allah (swt) is giving us the difference between the linguistic meaning and the idiomatic meaning. That is, sometimes a word may be used as a metaphor to express another meaning that is different than the linguistic meaning.
For example, the Arabic word (Nahu) means manner and direction, but when the scholars of the Arabic language put down the grammar, they used this word in grammar to refer to the grammatical arrangement of the words, thus, while talking about the grammar in the Arabic language, we only understand this word by its idiomatic new meaning. As such, the Arabic word (Al-Hajj) (pilgrimage), has a linguistic meaning as well as an idiomatic meaning. linguistically it means to head for a sacred place, whereas idiomatically it refers to go to Allah’s sacred House at a known time to perform certain rituals, and so on..
Allah (swt) here is paying our attention to the (striking calamity), to say that it is not a familiar striking , that is to strike a strong material with another to produce a disturbing sound, this is not the meaning, what is meant is the striking that only Allah (swt) knows its true reality. It is the horrible Day, the Resurrection Day, the hidden day that no one but Allah (swt) knows it truly, so that He (swt) says: (And what can make you know what is the Striking Calamity?). However, Allah (swt) gave names to this Day, such as, the Striking Calamity, the Deafening Blast, the Inevitable Reality and the Overwhelming Day. Each of these names has a visible meaning on that Day which is hidden from us now and we should ask about because it is ambiguous. So when we read this verse (And what can make you know what is the Striking Calamity?) we have to understand that what is intended is the idiomatic meaning not the linguistic one.
(And what can make you know what is the Striking Calamity?): It denies the knowledge in the past, but will be known in future.