Friday, October 2, 2020

Surah Ad Duha - The Morning Light: Exegesis 93rd Chapter of Quran

Sūrah Aḍ-Ḍuḥā " الضحى " is the 93rd sürah with 11 ayahs, part of the 30th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'ān. The sūrah takes its name Ad-Duha " الضُّحَ "  from the very first word. The sūrah is considered to have been revealed in the earliest period of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ at Makkah. 

This sūrah is close to date in sūrahs lxxxix and xcii, and the imagery drawn from the contrast of Night and Day is common to al three. In this sūrah, the vicissitude of human life are referred to, and a message of hope and consolation is given to man's soul from Allah's past mercies, and he is bidden to pursue the path of goodness and proclaim the bounties of Allah. This is the general meaning. 

In particular, the sūrah seems to have been revealed in a difficult period in outer life of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, when a man of less resolute will might have been discouraged. But the Prophet ﷺ is told to hold the present of less account than the glorious Hereafter which awaited him like the glorious morning after the night of stillness and gloom. The Hereafter was, not only in the Future Life, but in his later life on this earth, full of victory and satisfaction.

The Sūrah begins with Oaths. It then asks to reflect and prepares the reader for the ultimate lesson that is about to come. And then The Ultimate lesson in this Sūrah is; Allah gives favours to His Messenger i.e. Duha, Al-Inshirah, and Al-Kawthar. To conclude – Allah will tell what the Messenger of Allah should do to show gratefulness for all the favours and how his followers can follow his example of gratefulness.

We have already given a overview / summary of the Sūrah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen to its tafseer by eminent scholar, exegete and linguist Nouman Ali Khan at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

( 1 )   By the morning brightness

Here, the word duha " ضُّحَ " has been used in contrast to the night; therefore, it implies the bright hours of the day. A precedent of it are(verses 97-98 of Surah Al-Aaraf), which say: Do the people of the settlements now feel secure that Our punishment will not come to them all of a sudden at night, while they might be fast asleep? Or, do they feel secure that Our punishment will not smite them all of a sudden during the day while they might be engaged in pastimes?" In these verses also since the word duha has been used in contrast to the night, it implies the day and not just forenoon.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Imam Ahmad recorded from Jundub that he said, "The Prophet became ill, so he did not stand for prayer for a night or two. Then a woman came and said, `O Muhammad! I think that your devil has finally left you.' So Allah revealed: (By the forenoon. By the night when it darkens. Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor hates you.)'' 

Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir, all recorded this Hadith. This Jundub (who narrated it) is Ibn `Abdullah Al-Bajali Al-`Alaqi. In a narration from Al-Aswad bin Qays, he said that he heard Jundub say that Jibril was slow in coming to the Messenger of Allah . So the idolators said, "Muhammad's Lord has abandoned him.'' So Allah revealed these verses.

Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "When the Qur'an was revealed to the Messenger of Allah , Jibril was delayed from coming to him for a number of days (on one occasion). Therefore, the Messenger of Allah was affected by this. Then the idolators began to say, `His Lord has abandoned him and hates him.' So Allah revealed: (Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor hates you.)'' In this, Allah is swearing by the forenoon and the light that He has placed in it.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The full morning light of the sun, when his splendour shines forth in contrast with the night which has passed. Cf. xci. 1. The growing hours of morning light, from sunrise to noon, are the true type of the growth of spiritual life and work, while the stillness of the night is, to those who know, only a preparation for it. We are not to imagine that the stillness or quiescence of the night is wasted, or means stagnation in our spiritual life. The stillness may seem lonely, but we are not alone, nor forsaken by Allah. Nor is such preparation, without immediate visible results, a sign of Allah's displeasure.

 وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَ 
( 2 )   And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,

The word sajaسَجَ in the original does not only signify the spreading of darkness but it also contains the meaning of stillness and peace that prevails at night. This quality of night deeply relates to the theme that follows.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The expression "bright morning hours" apparently symbolizes the few and widely-spaced periods of happiness in human life, as contrasted with the much greater length of "the night when it grows still and dark", i.e., the extended periods of sorrow or suffering that, as a rule, overshadow man's existence in this world (cf. 90:4). The further implication is that, as sure as morning follows night, God's mercy is bound to lighten every suffering, either in this world or in the life to come - for God has "willed upon Himself the law of grace and mercy" (6:12 and {54}).

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Cf. xcii. 1-2. There Night is mentioned first, and Day second, to enforce the lesson of contrasts: the veil of the night naturally comes first before the splendour of daylight is revealed. Here the argument is different: the growing hours of morning light are the main things and are mentioned first; while the hours of preparation and quiescence, which are subordinate, come second.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual words are: وَ الضُّحٰی وَ الَّیۡلِ اِذَا سَجٰی. The word الضُّحٰی denotes the time of mid-morning. The expression اِذَا سَجٰی occurs in contrast to it; hence, the corresponding time of night is implied in deference to the time of day denoted by الضُّحٰی. Ie., just as for material existence, the light and heat of the day and the darkness and quietness of the night are needed, similarly for the instruction and training of man’s spiritual and moral being, both grief and joy are essential. The Prophet (sws) is addressed and told that if the difficulties encountered in his preaching mission, the abundance of his opposition and the unexpected response of his people is breaking his back, it is for the reason just stated. In divine revelation too such beneficial reasons are kept in consideration. It is an essential requirement for his and for his companions’ training and instruction. He is rest assured that this is an established practice of God in this regard.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, it settles, darkens meaning, it settles, darkens and overcomes them. This was said by Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ibn Zayd and others. This is a clear proof of the power of the Creator of this (light) and that (darkness). 

Allah also says:
"فَالِقُ الإِصْبَاحِ وَجَعَلَ الَّيْلَ سَكَناً وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ حُسْبَاناً ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ "
((He is the) Cleaver of the daybreak. He has appointed the night for resting, and the sun and the moon for reckoning. Such is the measuring of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.) (6:96) Allah then says,

 مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَىٰ 
( 3 )   Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].

Traditions show that revelations to the Prophet (peace be upon him) had remained suspended for some period of time. Different traditions have mentioned different durations of this period. Ibn Juraij has mentioned it to be 12 days, Kalbi 15 days, Ibn Abbas 25 days, and Suddi and Muqatil have stated that it extended to 40 days. In any case the period was so long that it made the Prophet (peace be upon him) sorrowful, and the opponents also had the opportunity to taunt him. For whenever a new Surah came down, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would recite it before the people. Therefore, when he did not recite any new revelation to them for quite some days, the opponents thought that the fountainhead from where the revelation came, had dried up. 
Jundub bin Abdullah al-Bajali has related that when Angel Gabriel stopped coming, the pagans started saying that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had been forsaken by his Lord. (Ibn Jarir, Tabarani, Abd bin Humaid, Saeed bin Mansur, Ibn Marduyah). Other traditions show that Umm Jamil, wife of Abu Lahab, who was an aunt of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and whose house adjoined his, said to him: It appears your satan has forsaken you. Aufi and Ibn Jarir have related, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, that when Gabriel did not visit him for several days, the Prophet (peace be upon him) became anxious and distressed, and the pagans began to say that his Lord had become angry with him and had forsaken him. In the mursal traditions of Qatadah and Dahhak almost the same theme has been expressed.
The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) extreme grief and anguish in this condition has also been referred to in several traditions. And this was natural. The apparent indifference on the part of the beloved, the apparent deprivation of the contact with the source of power, which was his chief support, in the soul-destroying conflict between belief and unbelief, and above all, the taunts and jeers of the enemy, when all these things combined they must have caused great anguish to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and he must be thinking that because of some error that he might have committed, his Lord had become displeased with him and had forsaken and left him to fight the battle between truth and falsehood alone.

This was the state when this Surah was sent down to console the Prophet (peace be upon him). In it, swearing an oath by the light of the day and the peacefulness of the night, he has been told: Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor is He displeased with you. The relevance of the oath by these two things to the theme is: Just as brightening up of the day and spreading of the night with darkness and stillness is not for the reason that Allah is pleased with the people during the day and displeased with them during the night but both states are based on supreme wisdom and expedience, so sending down of revelation to you at onetime and suspending it at another time is also based on wisdom and expedience; it has nothing to do with Allah’s being pleased with you when He sends down revelation and his being displeased with you when He suspends it. Besides, another relevance of the oath to the subject is that if man is constantly exposed to the light of days it wearies him; so, it is necessary that night should fall after the day has remained bright for a certain period so that man may have rest and peace in it. Likewise, if you are constantly exposed to the light of revelation, your nerves would not stand it. Therefore, fatrah (break or gap in the revelation) has also been provided by Allah on account of expedience so that the effects of the strain of revelation that you have to bear passes away and complete peace is restored to you. In other words, rising of the sun of revelation is analogous to the bright day and the period of the fatrah to the stillness and peace of the night.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
As usual, there is the particular assurance to the Holy Prophet, and the general assurance to mankind. The early years of the Prophet's ministry might well have seemed blank. After inspiration there were days and periods of waiting. A sense of loneliness might well have weighed on his mind. His own tribe of the Quraish jeered at him, taunted and threatened him, and slandered and persecuted him as well as those who believe in him. But his faith was never shaken, not even to the extent of that cry of agony of Jesus: "My God! why hast Thou forsaken me?": (Mark, xvi. 34). Much less did it enter the Prophet's mind to think that Allah was angry with him, as the taunts of his enemies suggested.

The more general meaning is similar. To the man who prepares for spiritual work and spiritual growth the chief thing is typified by the growing hours of the morning. He should not be discouraged, nor overcome with a sense of loneliness in his early struggles or difficulties. The end will crown his work. Allah's care is always around him. If unsympathetic or hostile critics laugh at him or taunt him with being, "mad" or "old-fashioned" or "ploughing his lonely furrow", his steady faith will uphold him. He will never believe that his earnest and sincere devotion to Allah, whatever be its results in this world, can be anything but pleasing to Allah.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Here that aspect of the purport – for which the testimony of the alternation of day and night – is highlighted which was necessary to relieve the worry of the Prophet (sws). Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… In other words, the Prophet (sws) is assured that if at that time he was facing stiff opposition and had a little following and meagre resources and divine guidance and revelation were also not to his satisfaction, it did not mean that his Lord had abandoned him or was displeased with him: these circumstances were a trial and test to train and instruct him in order to fully prepare him to bear his responsibilities. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 413)
 وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ الْأُولَ 
( 4 )   And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].

This good news was given by Allah to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a state when he had only a handful of Muslims with him, the entire nation was hostile and there was not even a remote chance of success. The candle of Islam was flickering only in Makkah and storms were brewing all around to blow it out. 
At that juncture Allah said to His Prophet (peace be upon him): Do not at all grieve at the hardships of the initial stage, every later period of life will be better for you than the former period. Your power and glory, your honor and prestige will go on enhancing and your influence will go on spreading. 
This promise is not only confined to the world, but it also includes the promise that the rank and position you will be granted in the Hereafter will be far higher and nobler than the rank and position you attain in the world. Tabarani in Awsat and Baihaqi in Ad-Dalail have related on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: All the victories which would be attained by my Ummah after me, were presented before me. This pleased me much. Then, Allah sent down this Word, saying: The Hereafter is far better for you than the world.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, the abode of the Hereafter is better for you than this current abode. For this reason the Messenger of Allah used to be the most abstinent of the people concerning the worldly things, and he was the greatest of them in his disregard for worldly matters. This is well known by necessity from his biography. When the Prophet was given the choice at the end of his life between remaining in this life forever and then going to Paradise, or moving on to the company of Allah, he chose that which is with Allah over this lowly world. 

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "The Messenger of Allah was lying down on a straw mat and it left marks on his side. Then when he woke up he began to rub his side. So I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Will you allow us to spread something soft over this straw mat' He replied: (I have nothing to do with this world. The parable of me and this world is like a rider who rests in the shade of a tree, then he passes on and leaves it.)'' At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah both recorded this Hadith by way of Al-Mas`udi. At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.'' 

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
To the truly devout man, each succeeding moment is better than the one preceding it. In this sense the "hereafter" refers not only to the Future Life after death, but also to "the soul of goodness in things" in this very life. For even though some outward trappings of this shadow-world may be wanting, his soul is filled with more and more satisfaction as he goes on.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual words are الۡاُوۡلٰی and الاٰخِرَۃ. Here they do not refer to the terms “the Herein” and “the Hereafter” respectively. They are general in their connotation ie. the initial and the later periods. The good news given in the verse is a comprehensive one. It includes all victories which were later gained by the Prophet (sws) and as result of which he gained political authority over the whole of the Arabian peninsula. Moreover, the Ka‘bah was given in his custodianship, his enemies were routed and innumerable people entered the folds of Islam.

 وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَ 
( 5 )   And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.

That is, although it will take some time, yet the time is not far when your Lord will bless you with so much that you will be well pleased. This promise was fulfilled during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and all Arabia, from the southern coasts to the Syrian frontiers of the Byzantine empire and the Iraqi frontiers of the Persian empire in the north, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to the Red Sea in the west, came under his control. For the first time in the history of Arabia this land became subject to one law and rule. Whichever power clashed with it was doomed to destruction. The slogan La-ilaha-illallah-u Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah reverberated throughout the land where the polytheists and the followers of the earlier scriptures had tried their utmost to keep their false creeds and slogans aloft till the last. The people not only bowed their heads in obedience, their hearts were also conquered and their beliefs, morals and acts were revolutionized. There is no precedent in human history that nation sunk in paganism might have completely changed in only 23 years. Then the movement started by the Prophet (peace be upon him) gathered such power that it spread over a larger part of Asia, Africa and Europe and its influence reached every nook and corner of the world. This much Allah gave His Messenger (peace be upon him) in the world, the glory and extent of what He will give him in the Hereafter cannot be imagined. 

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
in the final abode Allah will give him until He pleases him concerning his followers, and in that which He has prepared for him from His generosity. From this will be the River of Al-Kawthar, which will have domes of hollowed pearls on its banks, and the mud on its banks will be the strongest fragrance of musk, as will be mentioned. Imam Abu `Amr Al-Awza`i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Messenger of Allah was shown that which his Ummah would be blessed with after him, treasure upon treasure. So he was pleased with that. 

So, Allah will give him in Paradise one million palaces, and each palace will contain whatever he wishes of wives and servants.'' This was recorded by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim from his route of transmission. This chain of narration is authentic to Ibn `Abbas, and statements like this can only be said from that which is Tawqif.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Allah's good pleasure is sure when we serve Him. But we are assured that even our feelings of doubt and suffering will vanish, and we shall have a sense of complete satisfaction, contentment, and active pleasure when our will is identified with the Will of Allah.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Ie., his as well as the desires of his companions would be fulfilled – the desires which they harboured in their hearts regarding the future of Islam. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… Since these triumphs were yet to materialize, the second object of the verb یُعۡطِیۡکَ has been suppressed in this verse; however, the word فَتَرۡضٰی has hinted at the fact that the Almighty will bless him so much in this regard that he will become very happy. This one word comprehensively embraces what a whole book cannot encompass. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 415)
أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ 
( 6 )   Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?

That is, there can be no question of forsaking you and being displeased with you. We have, in fact, been good to you ever since the time you were born as an orphan. The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) father passed away three months before his birth; thus he was an orphan at birth. But Allah did not leave him without support even for a day. Up to six years of age his mother nourished and looked after him. After her death, his grandfather took him and brought him up with great love. He would proudly tell the people: My this son has a great future. When he died, his uncle, Abu Talib, became his guardian and treated him with such rare love that no father could treat his son better. So much so that when after his proclamation to be a Prophet the entire nation turned hostile, Abu Talib alone stood firm as his chief supporter for as long as ten years.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Possibly an allusion to the fact that Muhammad was born a few months after his father's death, and that his mother died when he was only six years old. Apart from this, however, every human being is an "orphan" in one sense or another, inasmuch as everyone is "created in a lonely state" (cf. 6:94), and "will appear before Him on Resurrection Day in a lonely state" ({l9:95}).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
From here onwards, evidence is presented from the life of the Prophet (sws) on what has been said earlier by the words: “the days to come [O Prophet!] shall be a lot better for you than these initial ones.” This is a reference to the respect and honour, affection and support the Prophet (sws) received first from his grandfather and then from his paternal uncle.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Judge the future from the past. Allah has been good to you in your past experience: trust to His goodness in the future also. Again, there is a particular and a general meaning. Three facts are taken from the holy Prophet's outer life by way of illustration. Metaphorically they also apply to us. And further, the outer facts are themselves types for the spiritual life. See notes below.

(1) There is the case of the orphan, literally and figuratively. Our holy Prophet was himself an orphan. His father Abdullah died young before the child was born, leaving a little property. The Prophet's mother Amina was in ailing health, and he was chiefly brought up by his nurse Halima. His mother herself died when he was only six years old. His aged grandfather Abdul Muttalib treated him as his own son, but died two years later. Therefore his uncle Abu Talib treated him as his own son. He was thus an orphan in more senses than one, and yet the love he received from each one of these persons was greater than ordinary parental love.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This refers to the fact that his father died while his mother was still pregnant with him, and his mother, Aminah bint Wahb died when he was only six years old. After this he was under the guardianship of his grandfather, `Abdul-Muttalib, until he died when Muhammad was eight years old. Then his uncle, Abu Talib took responsibility for him and continued to protect him, assist him, elavate his status, honor him, and even restrain his people from harming him when he was forty years of age and Allah commissioned him with the prophethood. Even with this, Abu Talib continued to follow the religion of his people, worshipping idols. All of this took place by the divine decree of Allah and His decree is most excellent. Until Abu Talib died a short time before the Hijrah. After this (Abu Talib's death) the foolish and ignorant people of the Quraysh began to attack him, so Allah chose for him to migrate away from them to the city of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj among those who helped him (in Al-Madinah). Allah caused his Sunnah to be spread in the most perfect and complete manner. Then, when he arrived at their city, they gave him shelter, supported him, defended him and fought before him (against the enemies of Islam) -- may Allah be pleased with all of them. All of this was from Allah's protection for him, guarding over him and caring for him. 

Then Allah says:

 وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ 
( 7 )   And He found you lost and guided [you],

The word daallan "  ضَالًّا " as used in the original is derived from dalalat, which has several meanings in Arabic. Its one meaning is to be lost in error and deviation; another, to be unaware of the way and to be bewildered at the crossroads as to which way one should choose; still another meaning is of being lost and astray. The tree also is daallah which stands alone and lonely in the desert; the word dalal is also used for a thing which is wasting in unfavorable and uncongenial condition and climate, and also for heedlessness, of which there is an example in the Quran itself: La yadillu Rabbi wa la yansa, My Lord is neither heedless nor He forgets. (Surah TaHa, Ayat 52). Out of these different meanings. The first meaning does not apply here, for in the historical accounts of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life, from childhood till just before Prophethood, there is no trace that he ever might have been involved in idolatry, polytheism or atheism, or in any of the acts, customs and practices of paganism prevalent among his people. Therefore, inevitably wa-wa-jadaka-daallan cannot mean that Allah had found him erring and astray in respect of creed or deed. The other meanings, however, can be applicable here in one or other aspect, and possibly all are applicable in their own particular aspect. Before Prophethood the Prophet (peace be upon him) was certainly a believer in the existence of Allah and His Unity, and his life was free from sin and reflected excellent morals, yet he was unaware of true faith, its principles and injunctions, as it has been pointed out in the Quran: You did not know at all what was the Book and what was the faith. (Surah Ash-Shura, Ayat 52). This verse may also mean that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was lost in a society, engrossed in ignorance, and his personality as a guide and leader was not in anyway prominent before Prophethood. It may as well mean that in the desert of ignorance, he was standing like a lonely tree, which had the capability to bear fruit and turn the whole desert into a garden, but this capability was not being put to any use before Prophethood. It may also imply that the extraordinary powers, that Allah had blessed him with, were going waste in the unfavorable environment of ignorance. Dalal can also be taken in the meaning of heedlessness, so as to say: You were heedless of the truth and signs of which Allah made you aware after Prophethood. This thing also has been referred to in the Quran itself: Though before this you were utterly unaware of this truth. (Surah Yusuf, Ayat 3). Also see ( Surah Al Baqarah, Ayat 282); ( Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat 20).

Yusuf Ali Explanation (continuing from verse 6):
(2) The holy Prophet was born in the midst of the idolatry and polytheism of Makkah, in a family which was the custodian of this false worship. He wandered in quest of Unity and found it by the guidance of Allah. There is no implication whatever of sin or error on his part. But we may err and find ourselves wandering in mazes of error, in thought, motive, or understanding: we must pray for Allah's grace ever to give us guidance. The Arabic root dhalla has various shades of meaning. In i. 7, I have translated it by the verb "stray". In liii. 2 the Prophet is defended from the charge of being "astray" or straying in mind. In xii. 9 and xii. 95 Jacob's sons use the word for their aged father, to suggest that he was senile and wandering in mind. In xxxii. 10 it is used of the dead, and I have translated "hidden and lost" (in the earth).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is ضَالّ. It is an expression of the complexities the Prophet (sws) would be engrossed in resolving before he was called to the prophethood. In other words, it means: لم يهتد الي الطريق. For this reason, this word should not be translated as “one who has gone astray.” It should be translated as “one who is searching for the way.” In other words, it refers to a person who is wandering here and there but is not able to find the right way. In Arabia, before the Prophet (sws) was called to prophethood all the followers of the religion of Ḥanifiyyah were in this state. It is mentioned in various historical narratives that they would sit against the walls of the Ka‘bah and would longingly express while addressing God that they did not know how to worship Him, otherwise they would have done it in the prescribed way. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
The prophets of God have an upright nature even before they are given the responsibility of prophethood. Even in the early part of their lives they never deviate from the obvious norms of human nature; however, human nature can only guide a person in broad areas of faith and deeds. It cannot explain all the corollaries and consequences of all articles of faith nor is it capable of defining the exact limits of all deeds and morals. Therefore, even an upright person who lives by the guidance provided by his nature still needs to know the attributes of God and the requirements of faith in the attributes of the God on whose existence his heart bears evidence. He wants to know the obligations which he owes to His Creator and how he should discharge them. He also wants to know how he should lead his life in such a disciplined manner that even the distant aspects of his life are spent in subservience to God. Unless these questions are answered, a person does not receive real satisfaction and neither is he able to establish a relationship with the Almighty on the right footing. These were the questions which bombarded the Prophet (sws) in the phase of his life referred to by the words وَوَجَدَکَ ضَآلًّا. Obviously, this state of his can neither be regarded as of error nor of guidance. In precise words, this state of his reflects his effort to seek the truth. In other words, it is as if a person is standing on a crossroad and is unable to decide the path he should adopt. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 416)
Ibn Kathir Explanation:
This is similar to Allah's saying:
"وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْكَ رُوحاً مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِى مَا الْكِتَـبُ وَلاَ الإِيمَـنُ وَلَـكِن جَعَلْنَـهُ نُوراً نَّهْدِى بِهِ مَن نَّشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا"
(And thus We have sent to you a Ruh from Our command. you knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith. But We have made it a light wherewith We guide whosoever of our servants We will...) (42:52) 

Allah says:

 وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَ 
( 8 )   And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.

The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) father had left only a she-camel and a slave-girl in heritage for him; so he started his life in a state of poverty. Then a time came when the wealthiest lady among the Quraish, Khadijah, first made him her partner in trade, then married him, and he took charge of all her trade and business. Thus, he not only became wealthy but his riches in no way were dependent on the resources of his wife; his own hard work and ability had gone a long way towards promoting her trade and commerce.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
Meaning `you were poor having dependents, so Allah made you wealthy and independent of all others besides Him.' Thus, Allah combined for him the two positions: the one who is poor and patient, and the one who is wealthy and thankful. In the Two Sahihs it has been recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said" (Wealth is not determined by abundance of possessions, but wealth is the richness of the soul.) 

In Sahih Muslim, it is recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr that the Messenger of Allah said: (Whoever accepts Islam, is provided with his basic needs, and Allah makes him content with what He has given him, then he will be successful.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation (Continuing from verse 6-7):
(3) The holy Prophet inherited not much wealth and was poor. The true, pure, and sincere love of Khadija not only raised him above want, but made him independent of worldly needs in his later life, enabling him to devote his whole time to the service of Allah. So do we all find ourselves in some want or another, which, if we work whole-heartedly and sincerely is supplied to us by the grace of Allah. When we have found the Way, it is a laborious task to climb up in our poverty of spiritual equipment: Allah will give us spiritual riches in love and knowledge.

 فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ 
( 9 )   So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him].

That is, as you yourself have been an orphan and Allah graced you with the bounty that he made the best possible arrangements to help you in that state, therefore, in gratitude you should see that no orphan is treated unjustly and harshly.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, `just as you were an orphan and Allah sheltered you, then do not oppress the orphan.' In other words, `do not humiliate him, scorn him or despise him. Rather, you should be kind and gentle to him.' Qatadah said, "Be like a merciful father to the orphan.''

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Verses 9-11 carry on, to a step further, the triple argument of verses 6-8, as explained in the preceding notes. The Prophet treated all orphans with tender affection and respect, setting an example to his contemporaries, who frequently took advantage of the helpless position of orphans, and in any case looked upon them as subordinate creatures to be repressed and kept in their place. Such an attitude is common in all ages. Helpless creatures ought, on the contrary, to be treated as sacred trusts, whether they are orphans, or dependants, or creatures of any kind unable to assert themselves, either through age, sex, social rank, artificial conditions, or any cause whatever.

 وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ 
( 10 )   And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him].

It has two meanings.

If saail " سَّائِلَ "  is taken in the sense of a needy person, who asks for help, it would mean that if you can, you should help him. If you cannot, you should excuse yourself politely, but should never scold him. In this sense the instruction corresponds to Allah’s this favor: You were poor, then Allah enriched you.

And if saail is taken in the sense of the one who inquires, i.e. asks for enlightenment on a religious matter or injunction, it would mean that even if such a person be extremely ignorant and ill-mannered and might put the question, or present his problem, impolitely, you should in any case answer him politely and kindly, and should not turn him away like the rude people proud of their knowledge.

In this meaning, the instruction corresponds to Allah’s this favor: You were unaware of the way, then He guided you. Abu Darda, Hasan Basri, Sufyan Thauri and some other scholars have preferred this second meaning, for in view of the order and sequence this instruction corresponds to: wa-wa-jadaka daalllan fa hada.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, `just as you were astray and Allah guided you, then do not scorn the one who asks for knowledge seeking to be guided.' This means do not be oppressive, arrogant, wicked, or mean to the weak among Allah's servants.'' Qatadah said, "This means respond to the poor with mercy and gentleness.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The term sa'il denotes, literally, "one who asks", which signifies not only a "beggar" but anyone who asks for help in a difficult situation, whether physical or moral, or even for enlightenment.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Then there are the people who come with petitions,-who have to ask for something. They may be genuine beggars asking for financial help, or ignorant people asking for knowledge, or timid people asking for some lead or encouragement. The common attitude is to scorn them or repulse them. The scorn may be shown even when alms or assistance is given to them. Such an attitude is wrong. Charity is of no moral value without sympathy and love. Nor is it charity to give to idle sturdy professional beggars, for show or to get rid of them. They are mere parasites on society. Every petition should be examined and judged on its merits.

 وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ 
( 11 )   and proclaim the bounty of your Lord.

The word nimat (bounty) is general, which also implies those bounties, which Allah had bestowed on His Messenger (peace be upon him) until the revelation of this Surah as well as those which He bestowed on him afterwards according to the promise made in this Surah, which He fulfilled completely. Then, it is enjoined: O Prophet, mention and proclaim every bounty that Allah has favored you with. Now, obviously, there can be different forms and ways of mentioning and proclaiming the bounties and every bounty, in view of its nature, requires a special form of its mention and proclamation. As a whole, the way of proclaiming the bounties is that Allah be thanked with the tongue and the truth be acknowledged that all the bounties received are only due to His grace and favor and none is the result of any personal excellence and merit on his part. The blessing of Prophethood can be proclaimed by preaching and conveying its message in the best way possible. The blessing of the Quran can be proclaimed by publicizing it widely and impressing its teachings on the people’s minds as far as one can. The blessing of Allah’s guidance can be proclaimed by showing the right way to the people who are gone astray and by enduring patiently all the bitterness and hardship of the way. The favor that Allah has done of helping during orphan-hood, demands that the orphans be treated well. The favor that Allah did of enriching after poverty requires that Allah's needy servants be helped and supported. In short, this is a very comprehensive instruction which Allah gave to His Messenger (peace be upon him) in this brief sentence after having described His bounties and blessings.

Ibn Kathir Explanation:
meaning, `just as you were poor and needy, and Allah made you wealthy, then tell about Allah's favor upon you.' Abu Dawud recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: (Whoever is not thankful to the people, then he is not thankful to Allah.) At-Tirmidhi also recorded this Hadith and he said, "Sahih''. 

Abu Dawud recorded from Jabir that the Prophet said: 

(Whoever overcomes some test (i.e., calamity) and mentions it (to others), then he is indeed thankful. And whoever conceals it, then indeed he was ungrateful.) Abu Dawud was alone in recording this Hadith. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ad-Duha, and unto Allah is due all praise and thanks.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Besides the petitioners, who ask for help, there is the case of those who do not ask but are nevertheless poor-poor but contented in worldly goods, or poor in knowledge or resources and not even knowing that they are poor. If you are bountifully endowed by Allah, your duty is to make that Bounty spread far and wide. Proclaim it and share it, as the holy Prophet always did. We all receive Allah's grace and guidance in some degree or other. We all owe it as a duty to our fellow-men to be kind and helpful to those less endowed in any respect than ourselves.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This enrichment is the consequence of the guidance mentioned in the previous verse. A succeeding verse وَ اَمَّا بِنِعۡمَۃِ رَبِّکَ فَحَدِّثۡ states the obligation to this enrichment. It is evident from this that what is primarily implied here by the word enrichment relates to the spiritual realm and not to the material one. Its real connotation is the sharh al-sadr (heart’s contentment) mentioned in the next surah. This is attained as a result of a true comprehension of God and the law and wisdom which is revealed by Him. The greatest needy in this world is one who is wanting in this treasure. Before being called to prophethood, it was this want and need which made the Prophet (sws) anxious. Once he acquired this treasure, he was the richest person on earth.

This is a mention of the obligations which the favours mentioned earlier entail. The sequence corresponds to the stated sequence of the favours. A little deliberation shows that this is a subtle criticism on the arrogant leaders of the Quraysh whose attitude towards the blessings of God has remained in discussion. When they were not ready to reform it, they were ignored and the Prophet (sws) was told that he should leave them alone; he is nevertheless fully aware of what it is to be like an orphan; he has to safeguard their rights; no oppression or injustice should emanate from him regarding them.

This verse complements verse seven of the surah: “And found you wandering and guided you.” Consequently, the person “who asks” mentioned in the verse primarily is the one who asks for divine guidance. Those who ask for their material needs are also subsumed under this and most certainly are worthy of being dealt with with kindness; if one is not able to serve them for their needs, then they should not be scolded and one should excuse oneself in a befitting manner.

This is an obligation towards the favour explained in the verse. وَ وَجَدَکَ عَآئِلًا فَاَغۡنٰی. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:
… One needs to focus one’s attention especially on the word فَحَدِّثۡ. This word is more appropriate for proclaiming the favour of wisdom rather than proclaiming the favour of wealth. The implication is that the Prophet (sws) should declare and proclaim the treasure of wisdom he has been blessed with from the Almighty: just as the Almighty has bestowed it on him free of charge, he too should distribute it to others on a complimentary basis and communicate it to every person who comes to him and declare it before every gathering. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 419)

Some of the lessons that we can learn from this surah sould be:

– Sometimes breaks and pauses are necessary to freshen up one’s self and focus better. But this does not mean that one becomes lackadaisical and loses all his enthusiasm to study or worship. There has to be a balance.

– One should have good opinion of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and never think that He has burdened us more than we can handle.

– The life of hereafter is better than the life of this world because in the hereafter (if we do righteous deeds and follow the commands of Allah) we will be blessed with the company of the Prophets and their righteous companions. And most importantly, we will get to meet Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and enjoy His pleasure. [May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala grant us such end, aameen]

– There is reward for every hardship that one patiently bears.

– The people that we meet in our lives, the places that we visit are all provisions from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. He planned that all. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala creates all circumstances for us therefore we should not complain.

– If Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has been with us throughout our past then never despair of His mercy. Some people are always anxious about what’s going to happen next. What is decreed for us will come to us. Have tawakkal on Him. The one who depends on Allah will never be depressed.

– Just like Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has been kind towards us, we should be affectionate towards other people and do them good.

– When Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala gifted us with the blessing of knowledge we shouldn’t hide it. We should mention this blessing to others and share it with them. 

You may now like to listen to In depth Analysis & Tafseer of Sūrah Aḍ-Ḍuḥā by Nouman Ali Khan:
You may refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of other chapters of the Qur'an.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  [2]
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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