Saturday 11 August 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 86 Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq (The Night Comer / The Night Star)

The 85th chapter of Qur'an, Sūrat al-Burūj commenced with the Divine vow "By the sky containing great stars," and this succeeding Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq also commences with a similar vow by the Allah Almighty: "By the heaven and by the night visitor." Although the word "Samma" is used which means the sky, but it could also mean all the seven layers of the sky upon which throne of Allah rests.

Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq discuses two themes: first that man has to appear before God after death; second, that the Qur'an is a decisive Word which no plan or device of the disbelievers can defeat or frustrate. [1]

First of all, the stars of the heavens have been cited as an evidence that there is nothing in the universe which may continue to exist and survive without guardian over it. Then man has been asked to consider his own self as to how he has been brought into existence from a mere sperm drop and shaped into a living human being. Then it has been said that the God, Who has so brought him into existence, has certainly the power to create him once again, and this resurrection will be for the purpose to subject to scrutiny all the secrets of man which remained hidden in the world. At that time, man will neither be able to escape the consequences of his deeds by his own power, nor will anyone else come to his rescue.

In conclusion, it has been pointed out that just as the falling of rain from the sky and the sprouting of plants and crops from the earth is no child's play but a serious task, so also the truths expressed in the Qur'an are no jest but a firm and unchangeable reality. The disbelievers are involved in the misunderstanding that their plans and devices will defeat the invitation of the Qur'an, but they do not know that Allah too is devising a plan which will bring to naught all their scheming and planning. Than in one sentence the discourse has been summed up, with a word of consolation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and a tacit warning to the disbelievers, saying: "Have patience for a while: let the disbelievers do their worst. Before long they will themselves realize whether they have been able to defeat the Qur'an by their scheming or the Qur'an has dominated them in the very place where they are exerting their utmost to defeat it."

Like the previous Sūrah, Allah takes a solemn pledge of the sky and At Tariq. And then in the second verse asks Do you know what At Tariq is? Naturally man cannot answer something unknown to him, thus Allah replies Himself that At Tariq is in fact A Bright Star:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  • By the sky and the night comer
  • And what can make you know what is the night comer?
  • It is the piercing star
  • There is no soul but that it has over it a protector.
Why Allah has taken a solemn pledge of the sky and a piercing star? Many commentators believe that since most of the travelers in Arabia traveled at night to evade the scorching sun of the desert during the day time, all they had in sight was the starry sky up and some landmark stars, like the North Pole or other constellations, which served as navigation aids to the travelers. So giving an example of something with something that the Arabs were accustomed to, Allah not only shows His glory and greatness for its is He alone who has created such facilities that brighten up the desert at night even in the absence of the moon and bright stars that serve as navigation aids. And then in the fourth verse, Allah tells the man that there is no soul in this world that does not have a protector, and who best other than Allah can be the protector of man who makes it easy for him to obve about even in darkness.

The next three verses are an eye opener for those who claim that the Holy Qur'an is merely a book written by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
  • So let man observe from what he was created
  • He is created from gushing water,
  • Emerging from between the backbone and the ribs.
This is how Allah tells the man how he was born - a knowledge which has only been recently dawned on man in the last two or three centuries and medical science has proved this now when it was told more than fourteen hundred years ago. Although man can attain high status in this world, with wealth, authority and might, he forgets his pathetic beginnings from a dirty fluid that people wash off their clothes. The second and third verse describe that the water is not stale but fresh and gushes out from between the backbone of man and the ribs to impregnate a female. This is tell the man that how he has been created from an otherwise dirty water and forgets about his very humble origin when he attains a status and wealth.

And in verses 8-10, Allah, having told the man how he was created and how he disobeyed His commandments when he became a man of substance, warns that the day shall come soon (The Day of Judgement) when he will be made answerable to his misdeeds and punished, for on that day man would not find any helper or support from what he has left behind in his wordily life:
  • Indeed, Allah, to return him [to life], is Able.
  • The Day when secrets will be put on trial,
  • Then man will have no power or any helper.
In verses 11-17, Allah then takes another oath on the heaven (rain, which brings life to every living thing on earth) and cracks open the earth (to put out shoots), a proof of reality which no one has power to do except Allah alone and that whatever being said here is word of Allah and must be taken very seriously:
  • By the sky which returns [rain]
  • And [by] the earth which cracks open,
  • Indeed, the Qur'an is a decisive statement,
  • And it is not amusement.
  • Indeed, they are planning a plan,
  • But I am planning a plan.
  • So allow time for the disbelievers. Leave them awhile.
In the last three verses of the chapter, Allah says warns that those plotting a scheme against Allah's words and commandments will face a serious setback as Allah has taken upon Himself as how to counter their plans and whatever Allah wills and plans has no counter. So Allah advises the Prophet (s) to be patient with the disbelievers and let them take their time, for when wrath of Allah would befell, all their plans will crumble with a bitter end in waiting. 

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic souses and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. However, those wanting detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to sites the references of which are given above.

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