Showing posts with label Sūrah Al Muzzammil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sūrah Al Muzzammil. Show all posts

Saturday 16 January 2021

Surah Al Muzzammil - The Enshrouded One: Exegesis 73rd Chapter / Sūrah of Quran

Sūrah al-Muzzammil " المزمل‎ "- The Enshrouded One is the seventy-third chapter (sūrah) of the Qur'an, containing 20 verses (āyāt) and two ruku, part of the 29th Juz'. The Sūrah has been so designated after the word al-muzzammil occurring in the very first verse. This is only a name and not a title of its subject matter.
This is one of the earliest surahs to have been revealed. The first was S. xcvi, 1-5 (Iqraa), in the fortieth year of the Prophet's life, say about 12 years before the Hijra. Then there was an interruption (Fatra), of which the duration cannot be exactly ascertained, as there was no external history connected with it. The usual estimate puts it at about six months, but it may have been a year or two years. The years were then counted by the luni-solar calendar: see Appendix No. 6. The second Surah in chronological order was probably a great portion of S. lxviii, (Al-Qalam), which came after the Fatra was over. About the same time came this Surah (say third) and S. lxxiv., which follows (say fourth), and the remainder of xcvi. We may roughly put the date of this Surah at about 11 to 10 years before the Hijra. The subject-matter is the significance of Prayer and Humility in spiritual life and the terrible fate of those who reject Faith and Revelation.
The two sections / Ruku of this Surah were revealed in two separate periods. The First Section (Verses 1-19) is unanimously a Makki Revelation, and this is supported both by its subject matter and by the traditions of the Hadith. As for the question, in which specific period of the life at Makkah it was revealed, it is not answered by the tradition, but the internal evidence of the subject matter of this section helps to determine the period of its revelation.
  • First, in it the Holy Prophet ﷺ has been instructed to the effect: "Arise during the night and worship Allah so that you may develop the capability to shoulder the heavy burden of Prophethood and to discharge its responsibilities." This shows that this Command must have been given in the earliest period of the Prophethood when training was being imparted to the Holy prophet by Allah for this office.
  • Secondly, a Command has been given in it that the Qur'an be recited in, the Tahajjud Prayer for half the night, or thereabout. This Command by itself points out that by that time at least so much of the Qur'an had been revealed as could be recited for that long.
  • Thirdly, in this section the Holy Prophet ﷺ has been exhorted to have patience at the excesses being committed by his opponents, and the disbelievers of Makkah have been threatened with the torment. This shows that this section was revealed at a time when the Holy Prophet ﷺ had openly started preaching Islam and the opposition to him at Makkah had grown active and strong.
About the Second Section (Verse 20) although many of the commentators have expressed the opinion that this too was sent down at Makkah, yet some other commentators regard it as a Madani Revelation, and this same opinion is confirmed by the subject matter of this section. For it mentions fighting in the way of Allah, and obviously, there could be no question of it at Makkah; it also contains the Command to pay the obligatory zakat, and it is fully confirmed that the zakat at a specific rate and with an exemption limit (nisab) was enjoined at Madinah.

We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. 

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
Ruku One Verses 1-19
In the first seven verses the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been commanded to the effect: "Prepare yourself to shoulder the responsibilities of the great Mission that has been entrusted to you; its practical form is that you should rise during the hours of night and stand up in Prayer for half the night, or for a little more or less of it."

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الۡمُزَّمِّلُۙ‏ 
( 1 )   O you who wraps himself [in clothing],
To address the Prophet (peace be upon him) with these words and then to command him to rise and keep standing in the Prayer at night, shows that at the time he either lay asleep, or had wrapped himself up in a sheet in order to go to sleep. Here, to address him with: O you who sleeps wrapped up instead of with: O Prophet, or O Messenger, is a fine way of address, which by itself gives the meaning: Gone is the time when you used to enjoy peaceful sleep at will; now you lie under the burden of a great mission, whose demands and duties are different as well as onerous.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The Command to stand at Night (in Prayer) - Allah commands His Messenger to cease being wrapped up, and this means to be covered during the night. He commands him to get up and stand in prayer to His Lord. This is as Allah says,
(Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.) (32:16) 
Thus, the Prophet did as Allah ordered him, by standing for prayer at night. This was obligatory upon him alone, as Allah said,
(And in some parts of the night offer the Salah with it (the Qur'an), as an additional prayer for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) (17:79) 
Here Allah explains how much prayer he should perform. Allah says, (O you wrapped up! Stand all night, except a little.) 

Ibn `Abbas, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi all said, (O you wrapped up!) "This means, O you who are asleep.'' Qatadah said, "The one who is wrapped up in his garments.'' 

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Muzzammil: Some Commentators understand by this, "properly dressed for prayer", or "folded in a sheet, as one renouncing the vanities of this world. Muzzammil is one of the titles of our holy Prophet. But there is a deeper meaning in this and the address "Thou wrapped up" of the next Surah. Human nature requires warm garments and wrappings to protect the body from cold or heat or rain. But in the spiritual world these wrappings are useless: the soul must stand bare and open before Allah, in the silence of the night, but not too austerely, as the following verses show.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: The expression Muzzammil has a meaning similar to that of Muddaththir, which occurs at the beginning of the next surah: namely, "one who is covered [with anything]", "enwrapped" or "enfolded [in anything]"; and, like that other expression, it may be understood in a concrete, literal sense - i.e., "wrapped up in a cloak" or "blanket" - as well as metaphorically, i.e., "wrapped up in sleep" or even "wrapped up in oneself". Hence, the commentators differ widely in their interpretations of the above apostrophe, some of them preferring the literal connotation, others the metaphorical; but there is no doubt that irrespective of the linguistic sense in which the address "O thou enwrapped one" is understood, it implies a call to heightened consciousness and deeper spiritual awareness on the part of the Prophet.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual word is: مُزَّمِّل. It is actually مُتَزَمِّل and the letter ت has been assimilated into ز. Similar, is the case with the word مُدَّثِّر of the next surah. This picture of the Prophet (sws) vividly portrays his state after he received a cold response from his people. In such a situation, a person quite naturally relishes seclusion and in this state of solitude, his shawl is his greatest refuge to which he retreats to detach himself from the rest of the world. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: Such generally is the situation of a person who is worried because of the circumstances he is facing and is also disgruntled with the people around him. The Prophet (sws) was warning people of the punishment which was looming over them; however, these people were so indifferent and averse to this message that they would pounce on the Prophet (sws) and regard his sympathy and anxiety to be mere madness, what to speak of listening to this message. In such circumstances, it was but natural for the Prophet (sws) to remain worried and thoughtful, and in this state of anxiety, a person’s greatest sympathizer is his shawl, as indicated earlier. He can just wrap himself in it whenever he wants and dissociate from his fellow brethren and associate more closely with his Creator. It also needs to be kept in consideration that a shawl was an essential part of the Arabian dress of those times, and the Prophet (sws) would also keep a shawl with him. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 22)

قُمِ الَّيۡلَ اِلَّا قَلِيۡلًا ۙ‏ 
( 2 )   Arise [to pray] the night, except for a little
This can have two meanings:(1) Pass the night standing up in the Prayer and spend only a little of it in sleep, (2) There is no demand from you to pass the whole night in the Prayer, but have rest as well and spend a little part of the night in worship too.

But in view of the theme that follows the first meaning seems to be more relevant, and the same is supported by (Surah Ad-Dahr, Ayat 26), in which it has been said: Prostrate yourself before Him in the night and glorify Him during the long hours of night.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The Prophet was prone to austerities in the cave of Hiraa, both before and after he received his mission, spending days and nights in prayer and contemplation. Midnight and after-midnight prayers have technically received the name of Tahajjud. See also verse 20 below; also xvii. 79.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Night here refers to its last half in which a person gets up after sleeping for sometime. The Qur’an has explained this in the succeeding verses. Getting up at that time is a difficult proposition. One can also be late in this; for this reason the time for this has been extended. However, it is evident that standing for the whole of the last half is the most rewarding of all.

نِّصۡفَهٗۤ اَوِ انْقُصۡ مِنۡهُ قَلِيۡلًا ۙ‏
( 3 )   Half of it - or subtract from it a little

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Concerning Allah's statement, (Half of it) means, instead of the whole night. (A little less than that, or a little more.) meaning, `We have commanded you to stand in prayer for half of the night, either a little more than it or a little less. There is no hardship on you concerning that (slight increase or decrease).

اَوۡ زِدۡ عَلَيۡهِ وَرَتِّلِ الۡقُرۡاٰنَ تَرۡتِيۡلًا ؕ‏ 
( 4 )   Or add to it, and recite the Qur'an with measured recitation.
This is an explanation of the duration of time commanded to be spent in worship. In it the Prophet (peace be upon him) was given the option to spend half of the night in the Prayer, or a little less than that, or a little more than that. But the style shows that half the night has been regarded as preferable, for the measure is the same, which may be decreased or increased, as the people may like and choose.

Recite the Quran: Do not recite it quickly and in haste, but slowly and distinctly: pause at every verse so that the mind understands the meaning and purport of divine revelation well and takes effect from it. if it contains the mention of Allah’s Being and Attributes, it may awe-inspire the heart with His glory and majesty. If it expresses His mercy, the heart may be filled with feelings of gratitude to Him. If it mentions His wrath and His punishment, the heart may be overwhelmed by fear of Him. If it enjoins something or forbids something, one may understand what has been enjoined and what has been forbidden. In short, the recital does not only consist in uttering the words with the tongue, but it should involve thoughtful consideration of the meaning. When Anas was asked about the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) method of reciting the Quran, he replied: The Messenger (peace be upon him) stretched the words when reciting them. For example, when he recited Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim, he would stretch and prolong the sound of Allah, Rahman and Rahim (Bukhari). When Umm Salamah was asked the same question, she replied that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited every verse separately and distinctly and observed a pause at the end of every verse. For instance, he recited Al-hamdu-lillahi Rabbil-alamin, and paused, then recited ar-Rahmanir- Rahim, and paused, and then recited Maliki-yaumid-din. (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi). In another tradition, Umm Salamah has stated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited each word distinctly and clearly. (Tirmidhi, Nasai). Hudhaifah bin Yaman says: Once I stood beside the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the night Prayer to see how he recited the Quran. I noticed that he glorified Allah where He should be glorified, invoked and supplicated Allah where He should be invoked and supplicated, and sought refuge of Allah where His refuge should be sought. (Muslim, Nasai). Abu Dharr has stated that once during the night Prayer when the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to the sentence: in-to-adhdhib-hum ... (If You punish them, then they are Your servants; and if You forgive them, then You are Almighty, All-Wise), he went on repeating it over and over again until it became dawn. (Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, `We have commanded you to stand in prayer for half of the night, either a little more than it or a little less. There is no hardship on you concerning that (slight increase or decrease).

The Way of reciting the Qur'an - Concerning Allah's statement, (And Rattil the Qur'an Tartil.) meaning, recite it slowly, for that will help in understanding the Qur'an and contemplating it. This is how the Prophet used to recite. `A'ishah said, "He (the Prophet) used to recite the chapter slowly, so much so that it would be longer than chapters that were actually longer than it.'' 

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This, I believe, is the closest possible rendering of the phrase rattil al-qur'ana tartilan. The term tarts primarily denotes "the putting [of something] together distinctly, in a well-arranged manner, and without any haste" (Jawhari, Baydawi; also Lisan al-'Arab, Qamus). When applied to the recitation of a text, it signifies a calm, measured utterance with thoughtful consideration of the meaning to be brought out. A somewhat different significance attaches to a variant of this phrase in 25:32 , applying to the manner in which the Qur'an was revealed.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: At this time there was only S. xcvi., S. lxviii, and possibly S. lxxiv, and the opening Sura (Al-Hamd). For us, now, with the whole of the Qur-an before us, the injuction is specially necessary. The words of the Qur-an must not be read hastily, merely to get through so much reading. They must be studied, and their deep meaning pondered over. They are themselves so beautiful that they must be lovingly pronounced in rhythmic tones.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The details of this recital mentioned in various narratives show that the Prophet (sws) used to recite the Qur’an slowly and distinctly in a melodic voice. He would pause at the end of the verses to respond to their message: at verses which expressed the wrath of God, he would seek his refuge and at verses which expressed God’s mercy and providence, he would express his gratitude. At verses which directed him to bow down before the Almighty, he would prostrate himself before Him.

اِنَّا سَنُلۡقِىۡ عَلَيۡكَ قَوۡلًا ثَقِيۡلًا‏ 
( 5 )   Indeed, We will cast upon you a heavy word.
That is, you are being commanded to stand up in the night Prayer because We are going to send down on you a weighty word, to bear the burden of which you must develop necessary power in yourself, and you can develop this power only by abandoning your ease and comfort of the night and by standing up in the Prayer and passing half the night or thereabout in the worship of your Lord. The Quran has also been called a weighty word for the reason that acting on its commands, demonstrating its teaching practically, extending its invitation in the face of the whole world, and bringing about a revolution in the entire system of belief and thought, morals and manners, civilization and social life, according to it, is indeed the weightiest task any human being ever has been charged with. It has also been called a weighty word because bearing the burden of its revelation was a difficult and heavy duty. Zaid bin Thabit says: Once revelation came down upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a state when he was resting his head upon my knee. I felt such a pressure of the weight on my knee that I thought it would break. Aishah says: I have seen the state of the Prophet’s receiving revelation during intense cold, drops of perspiration started falling from his forehead. (Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, Tirmidhi, Nasai). In another tradition Aishah has stated: Whenever revelation came down on the Prophet (peace be upon him) while he was riding on his she-camel, the she-camel would be forced to rest her chest on the ground and could not move until the revelation was over. (Musnad Ahmad, Hakim, Ibn Jarir).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (The Magnificence of the Qur'an). Allah Siad: (Verily, We shall send down to you a Word Thaqil.) Al-Hasan and Qatadah both said, "The actions with it.'' It has also been said that it means it will be heavy at the time of its revelation due to its magnificence. This is similar to what Zayd bin Thabit said. He said, "The Messenger of Allah received some revelation while his thigh was on top of my thigh, and my thigh was almost crushed due to it.'' 

Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr that he said, "I asked the Prophet , `O Messenger of Allah! Do you feel anything when revelation comes (to you)' The Messenger of Allah replied, (I hear a ringing and then I remain quiet when that occurs. There has not been a single time that revelation has come to me except that I thought that my soul was about to be taken (death).)'' Ahmad was alone in narrating this. 

In the beginning of Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded from `A'ishah that Al-Harith bin Hisham asked the Messenger of Allah , "How does the revelation come to you'' The Prophet replied, (Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell, and it is most severe upon me. Then this state passes away from me after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the angel comes to me in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says.) `A'ishah added, "Verily, I saw him receiving revelation and I noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead on a very cold day as the revelation ended.'' This is the wording recorded by Al-Bukhari. Imam Ahmad recorded from `A'ishah that she said, "If the Messenger of Allah received any revelation while he was on his riding animal, it would begin moving its Jiran intensely.'' The Jiran is the bottom of the neck. Ibn Jarir chose the interpretation that it (the revelation) is heavy in both ways simultaneously. This is as `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, "Just as it is heavy in this world, it will also be heavy on the Day of Judgement in the Scales.''

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The burden refers to the second phase of his mission (indhar-i ‘am: the phase of open warning) in Makkah. It is called a heavy word because from this open warning sprouted the later phases of migration and acquittal as well as armed conflict of this mission. The intensity of these phases is known to every student of the Prophet’s (sws) history and of those of his companions.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The Qur'an as completed by degrees, after the Fatra (see Introduction to this Sura).

اِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ الَّيۡلِ هِىَ اَشَدُّ وَطۡـاً وَّاَقۡوَمُ قِيۡلًا ؕ‏ 
( 6 )   Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words.
About the meaning of the word nashiat allail " نَاشِئَةَ الَّيۡلِ ", as used in the original, the commentators and lexicographers have expressed four different viewpoints:

(1) That nashiat implies the person himself who rises at night.

(2) That it implies the hours of night.

(3) That it means the rising by night.

(4) That it does not only apply to the rising in the night but rising after having had some sleep. (Aishah and Mujahid have adopted this fourth viewpoint.)

The word ashaddu wat-an " اَشَدُّ وَطۡـاً "   as used in the text is so vast in meaning that it cannot be explained in any one sentence. Its one meaning is: As the rising for worship by night and standing up for a long time in the Prayer is against human nature and the self of man seeks ease and comfort at that time, this act is an exercise which is most effective in controlling and disciplining the self. The person who governs himself by this method and gains dominance over his body and mind becomes able to use his power in the way of God, can work more efficiently and firmly to make the message of true faith prevail in the world. The second meaning is: This is a very effective means of producing harmony and concord between the heart and the tongue, for during these hours of the night none else intervenes between the servant and his God, and whatever man utters with his tongue in this state, is the very voice of his heart. The third meaning is: This is a very efficacious means of bringing about conformity between the exterior and the interior of man, for the person who in the solitude of the night would abandon his comfort and ease and arise for worship, would do so only out of sincerity: there can be no tinge of display and hypocrisy in this. The fourth meaning is: As this worship is harder on man than the worship of the daytime, it develops steadfastness in him: he is enabled to walk in the path of God more firmly and can face and endure the hardships of that way with greater constancy and determination.

Literally, Makes the speech most upright and sound. But the purport is to say that at that time man can read the Quran with greater peace of mind, attention and understanding. lbn Abbas has explained it thus: That it is the most suitable time for man to ponder over the Quran well. (Abu Daud).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (The Virtue of standing at Night for Prayer) Allah says, (Verily, rising (Nashi'ah) at night is better for understanding and more suitable for speech (recitation).) `Umar, Ibn `Abbas and Ibn Zubayr, all said, "The entire night is Nashi'ah.'' Mujahid and others said the same. It is said "Nasha'a'' when a person stands at night to pray. In one narration from Mujahid he said, "(It is) after `Isha' (prayer).'' This was also said by Abu Mijlaz, Qatadah, Salim, Abu Hazim and Muhammad bin Al-Munkadir. The point is that Nashi'ah of the night refers to its hours and its times, every hour of it is called Nashi'ah, so it refers to the periods of time. The purpose of this is that standing at night (for prayer) is better for training the heart and the tongue, and more conducive to recitation. 

Thus, Allah says, (is better for understanding and more suitable for speech (recitation).) meaning, more comprehensive for the matter of performing the recitation and better for understanding it than in the recitation of the day. This is because the daytime is the time for people to disperse and move about, to raise voices and be lively. Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Mawsili said, "Ibrahim bin Sa`id Al-Jawhari told us that Abu Usamah told us that Al-A`mash informed us that Anas bin Malik recited this Ayah as: (إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَأَصْوَبُ قِيلًا) (`Verily, rising at night is better for understanding and more correct for the speech.') 

So a man said to him, `We recite it; (more suitable for speech).' So Anas said to him, `Most correct (Aswab), most suitable (Aqwam), the best for preparation (Ahya') and similar words are all the same (in meaning).'''

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The actual words اَشَدُّ وَطۡاً mean strongly grounding the feet. However, it is evident that they refer to the inner state of a person, and have been translated while keeping this in consideration. Imam 

Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: … It is indeed very difficult to get up at this time since one’s sleep is dearest to one at this time; however, if a person is able to overcome this trial, then no time is more favourable for him to remember God and to understand His Book. A person who is blessed by the Almighty with the urge to get up at this blessed time is indeed very fortunate: firstly, he finds in himself the power and strength to overcome his base desires which become instrumental in making him capable of reforming and rehabilitating his soul; secondly, the Almighty Who is the Creator of night and day has reserved this time for sending down His blessings and favours and the doors to these blessings are opened for those who value it and come to the presence of God to ask for His mercy and blessings. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 25)

Yusuf Ali Explanation: For contemplation, prayer, and praise, what time can be so suitable as the night, when calm and silence prevail, the voices of the market-place are still, and the silent stars pour forth their eloquence to the discerning soul.

اِنَّ لَـكَ فِى النَّهَارِ سَبۡحًا طَوِيۡلًا ؕ‏ 
( 7 )   Indeed, for you by day is prolonged occupation.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah and "Ata' bin Abi Muslim, all said, "Leisure time and sleep.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Sufyan Ath-Thawri, all said, "A long amount of leisure time.'' Qatadah said, "Leisure, aspirations and activities.'' `

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said concerning the statement, Verily, for you in the day is lengthy Sabh.) "This means for your needs. Therefore, leave the night open for your religious devotion. Allah said this when the (voluntary) night prayer was obligatory. Then, Allah blessed His servants, lightened the matter and removed its obligation.'' 

Then he recited, " قُمِ الَّيْلَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً  " (Stand (to pray) all night, except a little.) to the end of the Ayah, then he recited, " إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَى مِن ثُلُثَىِ الَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ " (Verily, your Lord knows that you do stand less than two- thirds of the night, or half of it.) (73:20) until he reached, " مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُواْ " (So recite of it what is easy.) (73:20) and Allah says, " وَمِنَ الَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَّحْمُودًا  " (And Tahajjud in some parts of the night (also offer the Salah with it), as an additional prayer for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) (17:79) 

In fact, this is as true as what he (`Abdur-Rahman) said, The proof for this view is what Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad, that Sa`id bin Hisham divorced his wife and then traveled to Al-Madinah in order to sell some property he had with her. He intended to use its money to buy an animal and a weapon and then go for Jihad against the Romans until he died. In the process of this he met a group of his people and they informed him that a group of six men from his people had intended that in the time of the Messenger of Allah , upon which he said, " أَلَيْسَ لَكُمْ فِيَّ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ؟ " (Is there not for you all an excellent example in me) So he forbade them from that and made them testify that they would take their wives back. Then he (Sa`id) returned to us and informed us that he went to Ibn `Abbas and asked him about the Witr (prayer). Ibn `Abbas said, "Shall I not inform you of the person who is the most knowledgeable person on the earth about the Witr prayer of the Messenger of Allah '' He said, "Yes.'' Ibn `Abbas then said, "Go to `A'ishah and ask her, then return to me and inform me of what she tells you.'' He said, "Then I went to Hakim bin Aflah and requested him to go with me to her. But he said, `I do not want to be near her. Verily, I forbade her from saying anything concerning these two parties (the parties of `Ali and Mu`awiyah), but she refused and continued being involved with them (in their conflict).' So I adjured him by Allah, so he came with me and we entered upon her (in her house).'' So she said, "Is this the Hakim that I know'' He (Hakim) said, "Yes.'' Then she said, "Who is this that is with you'' He said, "Sa`id bin Hisham.'' She said, "Who is Hisham'' He said, "He is Ibn `Amir.'' She then asked Allah to have mercy upon him (`Amir). Then she said, "Yes, `Amir was a true man.'' Then I (Sa`id) said, "O Mother of the believers! Inform me about the character of the Messenger of Allah .'' She replied, "Have you not read the Qur'an'' I said, "Of course.'' Then she said, "Verily, the character of the Messenger of Allah was the Qur'an.'' I was about to stand and leave, but then I remembered to ask about the night prayer of the Messenger of Allah . I said, "O Mother of the believers! Inform me about the night prayer of the Messenger of Allah .'' She said, "Have you not read the Surah, " يأَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ "(O you wrapped up.) I said, "Of course.'' 

She then said, "Verily, Allah made standing at night (for prayer) obligatory at the beginning of this Surah. So the Messenger of Allah and his Companions stood for an entire year during the night (in prayer) until their feet swelled. Allah held back the revelation of the end of this Surah for twelve months. Then, Allah revealed the lightening of this burden at the end of this Surah. Then, the standing for night prayer became voluntary after it used to be obligatory.'' I was about to leave when I remembered to ask her about the Witr prayer of the Messenger of Allah . So I said, "O Mother of the believers! Inform me about the Witr prayer of the Messenger of Allah .'' She said, "We used to prepare his Siwak (toothstick) for him and his ablution water, and Allah would awaken him whenever He wished to awaken him during the night. Then, he would clean his teeth with the Siwak and perform ablution. Then, he would pray eight (Rak`ahs) units of prayer and he would not sit during them except at the end of the eighth one. At this point he would sit and remember his Lord the Most High, and supplicate to Him. Afterwards he would stand without saying the greeting of peace (Taslim). He would then pray a ninth unit of prayer and then sit. He would remember Allah Alone and then supplicate to Him (during this sitting). Then, he would say the greetings of peace (to conclude the prayer) making it audible to us. Then, he would pray two more units of prayer after this salutation of peace, while he would be sitting. So these are eleven units of prayer, O my son. Then, when he became older and heavier, he would perform Witr prayer with seven units of prayer, and then he would pray two extra units of prayer after them while sitting after the salutation of peace. So these are nine units of prayer, O my son. Whenever the Messenger of Allah used to pray a particular prayer, he liked to remain consistent in its performance. If he would ever be preoccupied from performing the night prayer by oversleeping, pain or illness, he would pray twelve units of supererogatory prayer during the day. I do not know of Allah's Prophet ever reciting the entire Qur'an in one night before morning nor did he fast an entire month other than the month of Ramadan.'' So I went to Ibn `Abbas and told him what she had said. Ibn `Abbas then said, "She has spoken truthfully and if I had went to her house I would have remained until she spoke directly to me and I could see her lips moving.'' This is how Imam Ahmad recorded this narration in its entirety. Muslim also recorded similarly in his Sahih. 

Ibn Jarir recorded from Abu `Abdur-Rahman that he said, "When the Ayah " يأَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ " (O you wrapped.) (73:1) was revealed, the people stood in night prayer for an entire year until their feet and shins swelled. This continued until Allah revealed, " مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُواْ " (So recite of it what is easy.) (73:20) Then the people relaxed.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri and As-Suddi both said the same. 

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said concerning Allah's statement, " قُمِ الَّيْلَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً - نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلاً " (Stand (to pray) all night, except a little. Half of it or less than that, a little.) (73:2,3) "This became difficult on the believers. 

Then Allah lightened the matter for them and had mercy on them when He revealed after this, " أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُمْ مَّرْضَى وَءَاخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَءَاخَرُونَ " (He knows that there will be some among you sick, others traveling through the land, seeking of Allah's bounty.) until Allah says, " مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُواْ " (So, recite you of the Qur'an as much as may be easy for you.) (73:20) So Allah made the matter easy - and unto Him is due all praise - and he did not make matters difficult.'' 

Yusuf Ali Explanation: A prophet of Allah, as a man, a member of a family, or a citizen, has many ordinary duties to perform; and his work may be made difficult and irksome in protecting those who listen to his preaching and are therefore molested and persecuted by the world. But while discharging all his ordinary duties, he should work as in the presence of Allah, and in all matters and at all times retain the sense of Allah's nearness. His work may be on earth, but his heart is in Heaven.

In Verses  8-14, he has been exhorted to the effect: "Devote yourself exclusively to that God Who is the Owner of the whole universe. Entrust all your affairs to Him with full satisfaction of the heart. Bear with patience whatever your opponents may utter against you. Do not be intimate with them. Leave their affair to God: He Himself will deal with them."

وَاذۡكُرِ اسۡمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلۡ اِلَيۡهِ تَبۡتِيۡلًا ؕ‏ 
( 8 )   And remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with [complete] devotion.
After making mention of the occupation of the daytime, the exhortation to remember the name of your Lord by itself gives the meaning: Never be heedless of the remembrance of your Lord even when you are deeply involved in your worldly occupations, and continue to commemorate His name in one way or another at all times. 

Herein under is the part explanation of ayat 35 of Surah 33. Al Ahzab which concerns about men who remember Allah:
Remember Allah much means that one should mention Allah’s name in one way or other at all times in every business of life. Man cannot develop such a state of the mind unless the thought of God becomes deeply embedded in his heart. When this idea has passed beyond his conscious mind and settled deep in his subconscious and unconscious mind, then only he will remember and mention God’s name in whatever he does and in whatever he says. He will begin with bismillah when he eats and say al-hamdu lillah when he finishes. He will remember Allah when he goes to bed, and mention Allah’s name when he gets up. In his conversation also he will again and again pronounce bismillah, al-hamdu-lillalh, insha-Allah, masha Allah, etc. and ask for Allah’s help in every matter, and thank Him for every blessing. He will seek His mercy in every affliction, and turn to Him in every trouble. He will fear Him on encountering every evil, and ask for His forgiveness when he happens to have committed an error and will pray to Him for fulfillment of every need. In short, in every state and in every business of life his function will be to remember Allah.

This, in fact, is the essence of the Islamic life. For all other acts of worship there is a prescribed time when they are performed, and one is free when one has performed them. But this is the worship which has no special time; it has to be performed constantly so that it links up the man’s life with Allah and His service permanently. The other worships and religious acts themselves also become meaningful only when the heart of man remains inclined to Allah not only at the time when the act is actually being carried out but at all times when the tongue is uttering Allah’s name constantly. In such a state as this worship and religious acts develop and flourish in a man’s life precisely in the same manner as a plant grows in a congenial climate and environment. Contrary to this, the example of the religious services and worships which are carried out only on special times and occasions in the life which is devoid of this constant remembrance of Allah is of the plant which has been planted in an un-congenial climate, and which is growing only due to the special attention and care of the gardener. This very thing has been explained by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a Hadith, thus:

Muadh bin Anas Juhani relates that a person asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) of Allah, “Who among those who fight in the way of Allah will get the highest reward?” He replied: “The one who remembers Allah the most.” The man asked: “Who among the observers of the fast will get the highest reward?” He replied: “The one who remembers Allah the most.” The man then asked the same question about the performer of the Prayer, the payer of the Zakat and charities and the performer of Hajj and the Prophet (peace be upon him) in every case gave the same answer, saying: He who remembers Allah the most. (Musnad Ahmad).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:  Then (after verse 7) Allah says, " وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلاً " (And remember the Name of your Lord and (Tabattal) devote yourself to Him with complete devotion.) meaning, make much remembrance (Dhikr) of Him, devote yourself to Him and spend your time worshipping Him when you have completed your occupations and what you need from the affairs of your worldly matters. 

This is as Allah says, " فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانصَبْ " (So when you have finished (your occupation), devote yourself for Allah's worship.) (94:7) meaning, when you have completed your tasks and occupations, then busy yourself in His obedience and His worship so that you will have free time for leisure. The meaning of this was said by Ibn Zayd, or close to its meaning. 

Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Salih, `Atiyah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi, all said, " وَتَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلاً " (And (Tabattal) devote yourself to Him with complete devotion.) "This means, make your worship solely for Him alone.'' Al-Hasan said, "Strive and devote yourself to Him.'' Ibn Jarir said, "A devout worshipper is called Mutabattil. An example of this is the reported Hadith that he (the Prophet ) forbade At-Tabattul, which means total devotion to worship while avoiding getting married.'' 

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., the Prophet (sws) must always bear in mind God’s attributes while remembering Him in abundance in his heart and submerging his tongue in celebrating His praises and extolling Him. This is because all the names of God actually signify His attributes. These attributes are the basis of our faith and religion. It is this remembrance of God by him which will protect his faith and determination to meet the demands of his exacting mission. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: … Just as for the material life of man, breathing is essential, for his spiritual life, remembering God is essential. The body dies if breathing stops. Similarly, if a person becomes indifferent to God, his soul becomes lifeless. It is God’s remembrance that keeps it fresh and alive, and the life of the heart is real life. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 27)

رَبُّ الۡمَشۡرِقِ وَالۡمَغۡرِبِ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا هُوَ فَاتَّخِذۡهُ وَكِيۡلًا‏ 

( 9 )   [He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs.
Wakil is a person in whom one has complete faith; so much so that one can entrust all his affairs to him with full satisfaction of the heart. Thus, the verse means: Do not feel distressed at the hardships that you are experiencing at the storm of opposition that has been provoked by your invitation to the faith. Your Lord is He Who is the Owner of the East and the West, (i.e. of the whole universe) besides Whom no one else possesses the powers of Godhead. Entrust your affair to Him and be satisfied that He will fight your case, He will deal with your opponents, and He will look after all your interests well.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: meaning, He is the Owner and Controller of affairs in the eastern regions and the western regions. He is the One except whom there is no deity worthy of worship. Just as you single Him out for worship, you should also single Him out for reliance. Therefore, take Him as a guardian and trustee. 
This is as Allah says in another Ayah, (So worship Him and rely upon him.) (11:123) 
It is also similar to His statement, " إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ "  (You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone) we ask for help.) (1:5) The Ayat with this meaning are numerous. They contain the command to make worship and acts of obedience exclusively for Allah, and to rely solely upon Him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Allah is Lord of all places. He rules the world. Therefore be not discouraged by the plots or enmity of wicked men. Leave all things to Allah; trust Him; He is just and will do justice. Only turn away from the unjust, but in a worthy and noble way; i.e., to show them clearly that you do not fear them, but that you leave all affairs in Allah's hands. If we divide the world into hemispheres from north to south, "East and West" will cover all directions.

وَاصۡبِرۡ عَلٰى مَا يَقُوۡلُوۡنَ وَاهۡجُرۡهُمۡ هَجۡرًا جَمِيۡلًا‏
( 10 )   And be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance.
Depart from them does not mean break off all ties with them and stop preaching to them, but it means: Do not have intimate and friendly relations with them, disregard their foolish behavior and their nonsense. However, you should do so without showing any grief, anger or temper but gracefully like a noble person, who would disregard the abusive remarks of a mean person without minding them at all. This should not create the misunderstanding that the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) conduct was any different from it, therefore, Allah gave him this instruction. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was already following this very mode of conduct. This instruction was given in the Quran so as to tell the disbelievers: It is not due to any weakness on the part of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he is not responding to what you are saying against him, but Allah Himself has taught His Messenger (peace be upon him) to adopt this noble way of conduct in response to your foolish behavior.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: The Command to be Patient with the Harms of the Disbelievers and a Discussion of what They will rece - Allah commands His Messenger to be patient with what the foolish who reject him among his people say. Allah also commands him to keep away from them in a nice way. This means in a way that is not blameworthy. Then Allah says to him, as a threat and a warning to his people - and He (Allah) is the Most Great, Whose anger nothing can stand before.

وَذَرۡنِىۡ وَالۡمُكَذِّبِيۡنَ اُولِى النَّعۡمَةِ وَمَهِّلۡهُمۡ قَلِيۡلًا‏ 
( 11 )   And leave Me with [the matter of] the deniers, those of ease [in life], and allow them respite a little.
These words clearly contain the sense that the people, who were actually denying the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Makkah and were inciting the common people to oppose and resist him by stirring up prejudices and by deceit and fraud, were the well-to-do, prosperous and affluent people, for it was their interests, which were being hit by the reforming message of Islam. The Quran tells us that this was not peculiar only to the Prophet’s case but in every age this very class of the people have been the main obstacle to every movement of reform. For example, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 60, 66, 75, 88); Surah Al-Mominoon, Ayat 33); (Surah Saba, Ayats 34, 35); (Surah Az-Zukhruf, Ayat 23).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: That is `leave Me to deal with the rich rejectors, who own great wealth.' For verily, they are more able to obey than others besides them, and they are requested to give the rights (to people) because they have what others do not have.

" وَمَهِّلْهُمْ قَلِيلاً " (And give them respite for a little.) meaning, for a little while. This is as Allah says, (We let them enjoy for a little, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment.) (31:24) Thus, Allah says:

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Men who enjoy the good things of life have special cause for gratitude to Allah, Who bestowed them. When they are in the ranks of Allah's enemies, none but Allah can adequately deal with them.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: The implication is that the Prophet (sws) should dissociate himself from them and let God deal with these rebellious people by Himself; he will then see the dreadful fate they meet. 

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: Concealed in this verse is also the message that if there is a delay in the destruction of these disbelievers, it is because the Prophet (sws) is still among them. As per a divine practice, as long as a prophet is among his people, they are not punished. If the prophet leaves them, they will be immediately annihilated. It is the misfortune of these oppressive people that they want to harm him, for it is he who is actually shielding them from the wrath of God. If they deprive themselves of this shield, who will save them from torment and affliction? (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 29)

اِنَّ لَدَيۡنَاۤ اَنۡـكَالًا وَّجَحِيۡمًا ۙ‏ 
( 12 )   Indeed, with Us [for them] are shackles and burning fire
Heavy shackles in Hell will not be put on the criminals’ feet to stop them from escape but in order that they are not able to stand up and move; these will not be used to prevent their escape but as an instrument of their torment.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (Verily, with Us are Ankal,) and these are fetters. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Tawus, Muhammad bin Ka`b, `Abdullah bin Buraydah, Abu `Imran Al-Jawni, Abu Mijlaz, Ad-Dahhak, Hammad bin Abi Sulayman, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Ibn Al-Mubarak, Ath-Thawri and others have all said this. (and Jahim.) This is a blazing fire.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Cf. xiii. 5; xxxiv. 33; xi. 71 and lxix. 30-32. Cf. xliv. 47 and lvi. 94.

وَّطَعَامًا ذَا غُصَّةٍ وَّعَذَابًا اَلِيۡمًا
( 13 )   And food that chokes and a painful punishment -

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn `Abbas said, "This means it will get stuck in the throat and it will not enter or come out.''

Muhammad Asad Explanation: Explaining this symbolism of torment in the hereafter, Razi says: "These four conditions may well be understood as denoting the spiritual consequences [of one's doings in life]. As regards the 'heavy fetters', they are a symbol of the soul's remaining shackled to its [erstwhile] physical attachments and bodily pleasures...: and now that their realization has become impossible, those fetters and shackles prevent the [resurrected] human personality (an-nafs) from attaining to the realm of the spirit and of purity. Subsequently, those spiritual shackles generate spiritual 'fires', inasmuch as one's strong inclination towards bodily concerns, together with the impossibility of attaining to them, give rise, spiritually, to [a sensation of] severe burning...: and this is [the meaning of] 'the blazing fire' (al-jahim). Thereupon [the sinner] tries to swallow the choking agony of deprivation and the pain of separation [from the objects of his desire]: and this is the meaning of the words, 'and food that chokes'. And finally, because of these circumstances, he remains deprived of all illumination by the light of God, and of all communion with the blessed ones: and this is the meaning of the words 'and grievous suffering'....But [withal,] know that I do not claim to have exhausted the meaning of these [Qur'an-] verses by what I have stated [above]...."

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Cf. xliv. 43; lvi. 52; lxix. 36-37, and lxxxviii. 6.

In general terms, the Penalty of sin may be described as a Penalty Grievous, an Agony. It may come in this very fife, but that in the Hereafter is certain! See next verse. We can also consider punishments from another aspect. The first object of punishment is to protect the innocent from the depredations of the criminal: we have to bind him. The next object is to produce in his heart the fire of repentance, to consume his evil proclivities and to light his conscience. Where that is not enough, a more drastic punishment for the callous is something which causes him pain in things which ordinarily cause him pleasure, such as food, drink, and the satisfaction of physical needs. People in whom the higher spiritual faculties are dead may perchance be awakened through the lower physical features of their life, which appeal to them. Where this also fails, there is finally the complete agony, a type too terrible to contemplate.

يَوۡمَ تَرۡجُفُ الۡاَرۡضُ وَالۡجِبَالُ وَكَانَتِ الۡجِبَالُ كَثِيۡبًا مَّهِيۡلًا‏ 
( 14 )   On the Day the earth and the mountains will convulse and the mountains will become a heap of sand pouring down.
Since at that time the cohesive force to bind the parts of the mountains together will cease to work, first they will become like crumbling dunes of fine sand, then because of the earthquake which will be shaking the earth; the sand will scatter and shift and the whole earth will turn into an empty level plain. This last state has been described in (Surah TaHa, Ayats 105-107), thus: They ask you, where will the mountains go on that Day. Say: My Lord will reduce them to fine dust and scatter it away. He will turn the earth into an empty level plain, wherein you will neither see any curve no crease.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (and a painful torment. On the Day when the earth and the mountains will (Tarjuf) shake,) meaning, they will quake.

" وَكَانَتِ الْجِبَالُ كَثِيباً مَّهِيلاً " (And the mountains will be a heap of sand poured out.) meaning, they will become like hills of sand after they had been firm rocks. Then they will be utterly destroyed and nothing will remain of them. This will occur until the entire earth becomes a flat land and no curvature will be seen in it. Thus, there will be no valleys and no hills. This means that no part of it will be low or elevated.

In Verses 15-19, those of the people of Makkah, who were opposing the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) have been warned, so as to say: "We have sent a Messenger to you just as We sent a Messenger to the Pharaoh. Just consider what fate the Pharaoh met when he did not accept the invitation of the Messenger of Allah. Supposing that you are not punished by a torment in this world, how will you save yourselves from the punishment for disbelief on the Day of Resurrection."

Yusuf Ali Explanation: The Judgment is described as a violent commotion which will change the whole face of nature as we know it. Even the hard rock of mountains will be like loose sand running without any cohesion.

اِنَّاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَاۤ اِلَيۡكُمۡ رَسُوۡلًا ۙ شَاهِدًا عَلَيۡكُمۡ كَمَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَاۤ اِلٰى فِرۡعَوۡنَ رَسُوۡلًا ؕ‏ 
( 15 )   Indeed, We have sent to you a Messenger as a witness upon you just as We sent to Pharaoh a messenger.
The address now turns to the disbelievers of Makkah, who were denying the Prophet (peace be upon him) and persecuting him relentlessly.

Sending the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be a witness over the people also means that he should testify to the truth by his word and deed before them in the world and also that in the Hereafter when Allah’s court is established, he will testify that he had presented the whole truth before the people in the world. (For further explanation, see (verse 143 of Surah 2. Al-Baqarah); verse 41 of Surah 4. An-Nisa; (Surah An-Nahl, Ayats 84, 89); (verse 45 of Surah 33. Al-Azab); (verse 8 of Surah 48. Al-Fath).

Muhammad Asad Explanation: This is probably the oldest Qur'anic reference to the earlier prophets, to the historic continuity in mankind's religious experience, and, by implication, to the fact that the Qur'an does not institute a "new" faith but represents only the final, most comprehensive statement of a religious principle as old as mankind itself: namely, that "in the sight of God, the only [true] religion is [man's] self-surrender unto Him" 3:19 , and that "if one goes in search of a religion other than self-surrender unto God, it will never be accepted from him" 3:85 .

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Our holy Prophet has to warn his age, i.e., the present age, reclaim it from sin, and be a witness for the righteous and against evil, as Moses did his office in his age. For Pharaoh, his arrogance, and his punishment, see x. 75-92.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: Ie., he was sent to bear witness to the truth before them. This is a special term of the Qur’an and refers to conclusive communication of the truth. The purpose is to show that a messenger of God is like the court of God who, once the evidence is established, will issue a verdict between good and evil, just as it did so in the case of Moses (sws) and the Pharaoh.

فَعَصٰى فِرۡعَوۡنُ الرَّسُوۡلَ فَاَخَذۡنٰهُ اَخۡذًا وَّبِيۡلًا‏ 
( 16 )   But Pharaoh disobeyed the messenger, so We seized him with a ruinous seizure.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Your Messenger is like the Messenger to Fir`awn, and You know what happened to Fir`awn - Here Allah  addresses the disbelievers of the Quraysh, and along with them the rest of mankind: (as We did send a Messenger to Fir`awn. But Fir`awn disobeyed the Messenger; so We seized him with a severe punishment.)

" أَخْذاً وَبِيلاً " (severe punishment) Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, As-Suddi, and Ath-Thawri said that this means severe. This means, `you should beware of denying this Messenger, lest you be afflicted by that which befell Fir`awn. Allah seized him with the seizing of One Mighty and Powerful.' 

This is as Allah says, (So Allah seized him with punishment for his last and first transgression.) (79:25) `Therefore, you will be even more deserving of destruction and ruin if you deny your Messenger, because your Messenger is more noble and a greater than Prophet Musa, the son of `Imran.' This has been reported from Ibn `Abbas and Mujahid.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: Pharaoh the earthly king faces Moses the prophet of Allah. In earthly eyes it was Moses who disobeyed Pharaoh. In spiritual relations, it was Pharaoh who disobeyed Moses. Pharaoh represented an ancient and mighty kingdom, with a long history behind it, and a pride in its learning and science, art, organization, and power. Moses led a depressed people, hewers of wood and drawers of water. But the might of Allah was behind him. What became of the wisdom, power, and armies of Pharaoh? They were rent asunder when the day came, and the terror and surprise must have been the same as if the heavens had been rent asunder, and children's hair had turned grey! But formidable revolutions turn children grey-haired in another way. Nations that were as children became wise before they in their turn decayed, and from similar disobedience to the laws of Allah. For Allah's law must stand and be fulfilled when all else is swept away.

فَكَيۡفَ تَتَّقُوۡنَ اِنۡ كَفَرۡتُمۡ يَوۡمًا يَّجۡعَلُ الۡوِلۡدَانَ شِيۡبَا  ۖ‏ 
( 17 )   Then how can you fear, if you disbelieve, a Day that will make the children white- haired?
That is, in the first place, you should be afraid that if you do not accept the invitation of the Messenger (peace be upon him) sent by Us, you will have to meet the same evil end in this world, which the Pharaoh has already met in consequence of this very crime. But even if no torment is sent on you in the world, how will you save yourselves from the punishment of the Day of Resurrection.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Ibn Jarir quoted in the recitation of Ibn Mas`ud: "How can you, O people, fear a Day that makes the children grey-headed, if you disbelieve in Allah and do not testify to Him'' So the first interpretation would mean, `how can you attain safety for yourselves from the Day of this great horror if you disbelieve' It could imply the meaning, `how can you all attain piety if you disbelieve in the Day of Judgement and reject it.' Both of these meanings are good. However, the first interpretation is closer to the truth. And Allah knows best. 

The meaning of Allah's statement, " يَوْماً يَجْعَلُ الْوِلْدَنَيَوْماً يَجْعَلُ الْوِلْدَنَ شِيباً " (On a Day that will make the children gray-headed) is that this will happen due to the severity of its horrors, its earth- quakes and its disturbing confusion. This is when Allah will say to Adam, "Send a group to the Fire.'' Adam will say, "How many'' Allah will then reply, "From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine to the Fire, and one to Paradise.'

Muhammad Asad Explanation: In ancient Arabian usage, a day full of terrifying events was described metaphorically as "a day on which the locks of children turn grey"; hence the use of this phrase in the Qur'an. Its purely metaphorical character is obvious since, according to the teachings of the Qur'an, children are considered sinless - i.e., not accountable for their doings - and will, therefore, remain untouched by the ordeals and terrors of the Day of Judgment (Razi).

Yusuf Ali Explanation: If already you deny and disobey Allah in this life of probation, how can you stand up to the Day of Judgment, the Day of the terrible Reality? That Day is described in two metaphors: (1) It will be a time of such stress that even children will become like hoary-headed men; (2) What we look upon as the eternal sky, ever the same, will be cleft asunder; cf. lxxxii. 1. In other words, the shape of things will be completely altered, both within man and in outer nature, and all true values will be restored. For the Promise of Allah, in this as in all other respects, cannot but be fulfilled.

اۨلسَّمَآءُ مُنۡفَطِرٌ ۢ بِهٖ​ؕ كَانَ وَعۡدُهٗ مَفۡعُوۡلًا‏ 
( 18 )   The heaven will break apart therefrom; ever is His promise fulfilled.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (Whereon the heaven will be cleft asunder) Al-Hasan and Qatadah both said, "This means, because of it (the Day of Judgement), due to its severity and its horror.'' Then Allah says, (His promise is certainly to be accomplished.) meaning, the promise of this Day will be fulfilled. This means it will occur and there is no way around it, and it will come to pass and there is no avoiding it.

اِنَّ هٰذِهٖ تَذۡكِرَةٌ ​ ۚ فَمَنۡ شَآءَ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰى رَبِّهٖ سَبِيۡلًا‏  
( 19 )   Indeed, this is a reminder, so whoever wills may take to his Lord a way.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: (Verily, this) meaning, this Surah. (an admonition,) meaning, men of understanding receive admonition from it. Thus, Allah says, (therefore whosoever wills, let him take a path to His Lord.) meaning, from those whom Allah wills that they be guided. 

This is similar to the stipulation that Allah mentions in another Surah, (But you cannot will, unless Allah wills. Verily Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Al-Wise.) (76:30)

Yusuf Ali Explanation: This is no empty threat. It is an admonition for your good. If you have the will, you can at once come for the Grace and Mercy of Allah, and obtain it. For Repentance and Amendment are the straight Way to the nearness of Allah.

The Second Section / Ruku
According to a tradition from Hadrat Sa'id bin Jubair, was sent down ten years later, and in it the initial Command given in connection with the Tahajjud Prayer, in the beginning of the first section, was curtailed. The new Command enjoined, "Offer as much of the Tahajjud Prayer as you easily can, but what the Muslims should particularly mind and attend to is the five times obligatory Prayer a day:, they should establish it regularly and punctually; they should discharge their zakat dues accurately; and they should spend their wealth with sincere intentions for the sake of Allah. In conclusion, the Muslims have been exhorted, saying: "Whatever good works you do in the world, will not go waste, but they are like the provision which a traveler sends up in advance to his permanent place of residence. Whatever good you send up from the world, you will find it with Allah, and the provision thus sent up is much better than what you will have to leave behind in the world, and with Allah you will also get a much better and richer reward than what you have actually sent up before."

اِنَّ رَبَّکَ یَعۡلَمُ اَنَّکَ تَقُوۡمُ اَدۡنٰی مِنۡ ثُلُثَیِ الَّیۡلِ وَ نِصۡفَہٗ وَ ثُلُثَہٗ وَ طَآئِفَۃٌ مِّنَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَکَ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یُقَدِّرُ الَّیۡلَ وَ النَّہَارَ ؕ عَلِمَ اَنۡ لَّنۡ تُحۡصُوۡہُ فَتَابَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ فَاقۡرَءُوۡا مَا تَیَسَّرَ مِنَ الۡقُرۡاٰنِ ؕ عَلِمَ اَنۡ سَیَکُوۡنُ مِنۡکُمۡ مَّرۡضٰی ۙ وَ اٰخَرُوۡنَ یَضۡرِبُوۡنَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ یَبۡتَغُوۡنَ مِنۡ فَضۡلِ اللّٰہِ ۙ وَ اٰخَرُوۡنَ یُقَاتِلُوۡنَ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ۫ۖ فَاقۡرَءُوۡا مَا تَیَسَّرَ مِنۡہُ ۙ وَ اَقِیۡمُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتُوا الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ اَقۡرِضُوا اللّٰہَ قَرۡضًا حَسَنًا ؕ وَ مَا تُقَدِّمُوۡا لِاَنۡفُسِکُمۡ مِّنۡ خَیۡرٍ تَجِدُوۡہُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ ہُوَ خَیۡرًا وَّ اَعۡظَمَ اَجۡرًا ؕ وَ اسۡتَغۡفِرُوا اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ

( 20 )   Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur'an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah. So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves - you will find it with Allah. It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
About this verse in which reduction has been made in the injunction concerning the tahajjud Prayer, there are different traditions. Musnad Ahmad, Muslim and Abu Daud have related a tradition, on the authority of Aishah, saying that this second command was sent down one year after the first command, and the standing up in the Prayer at night was made voluntary instead of obligatory. Another tradition which Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim have related, again on the authority of Aishah, says that this command came down eight months after the first command, and a third tradition which Ibn Abi Hatim has related again from her, says that it came down sixteen months later. Abu Daud, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim have cited the period of one year from Abdullah bin Abbas. But Saeed bin Jubair has stated that it was sent down ten years later. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim). In our opinion this last view is most sound, for the subject matter of the first section clearly shows that it was sent down in Makkah and that too in the earliest stage when at the most four years might have passed since the advent of Prophethood. Contrary to this, this second section, in view of the express evidence of its subject matter, seems to have been revealed at Al-Madinah when fighting had started with the disbelievers and the zakat also had been enjoined as an obligatory duty. On this basis inevitably the two sections should have been sent down at an interval of at least ten years between them.

Although the initial command to the Prophet (peace be upon him) was to keep standing up in the Prayer for half the night, or thereabout, it was difficult to compute the time precisely in the absorption of the Prayer, especially when there were no watches either to measure time accurately; therefore, sometimes two thirds of the night passed in the prayer and sometimes only one-third of it.

In the initial command only the Prophet (peace be upon him) was addressed and only he was instructed to stand up in the Prayer by night. But since the Muslims at that time were ardently desirous of following him in everything he did and of earning more and more good and virtues, many of the companions also performed this night Prayer regularly.

As the Prayer is prolonged due mainly to a lengthy recital of the Quran, it is said: You may recite as much of the Quran as you easily can in the tahajjud Prayer This would automatically cause the Prayer to be shortened. Although the words here are apparently in the imperative mood, it is agreed by all that tahajjud is not an obligatory but a voluntary Prayer. In the Hadith, it has also been explained that on an enquiry by a person the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: Five times Prayer in the day and night is obligatory on you. He asked: Is anything besides this is also binding on me. The Prophet said: No, unless you may like to offer something of your own accord. (Bukhari, Muslim). This verse also shows another thing. Just as the bowing (ruku) and prostration (sajdah) are obligatory in the Prayer, so is the recital of the Quran. For just as Allah at other places has used the words ruku and sajdah for the prayer, so here He has mentioned recital of the Quran, which implies its recital in the Prayer. If somebody objects to this conclusion, saying: When the tahajjud Prayer itself is voluntary, how can recital of the Quran in it be obligatory? The answer is: Even in case of the voluntary Prayer it is incumbent on one to fulfill all the pre-requisites of the Prayer and to perform all its basic elements and obligatory parts. No one can say that in case of the voluntary Prayer, purity of the garments and body, ablutions and concealment of the satar (minimal part of the body to be covered) are not obligatory, and the standing up and sitting and performance of ruku and sajdah in it are also only voluntary.

Travelling to earn one’s living by lawful and permissible methods has been described in many places in the Quran as the seeking of Allah’s bounty.

Here, the way Allah has made mention of seeking pure livelihood and fighting in the way of Allah together and declared these two, besides the compulsion on account of illness, as reasons for exemption from the tahajjud Prayer, or concession in it, shows how meritorious it is in Islam to earn one’s livelihood by lawful methods. In the Hadith, Abdullah bin Masud has reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The person who came to a city of the Muslims with food grains and sold it at the rate of the day, will attain to a place nearest to Allah, and then the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited this very verse. (lbn Marduyah). Umar once said: Except for fighting in the way of Allah, the state in which I would love to be overtaken by death, is the state when I am overtaken by it while passing through a mountain pass in search of livelihood and then he recited this very verse. (Baihaqi, Shuab al-Iman).

Commentators agree that this implies observance of the obligatory Prayer five times a day and giving away of the obligatory zakat.

Ibn Zaid says this implies spending one’s wealth in the cause of Allah besides the zakat, whether it is in the cause of fighting in the way of Allah, or for helping the needy, or for public utilities, or other good works. The meaning of giving to Allah a good loan has been explained at several places above. See (verse 245 of Surah 2. Al-Baqarah); (verse 12 of Surah 5. Al-Maidah); (verse 11 of Surah 57. Al-Hadid).

It means: Whatever you have sent forward for the good of your Hereafter is more beneficial for you than what you withheld in the world and did not spend in any good cause for the pleasure of Allah. According to a Hadith reported by Abdullah bin Masud the Prophet (peace be upon him) once asked: Which of you has a greater love for his own wealth than for the wealth of his heir. The people said: There is none among us, O Messenger of Allah, who would not have greater love for his own wealth than for the wealth of his heir. He said: Consider well what you are saying. The people submitted: This indeed is our considered opinion, O Messenger of Allah. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Your own property is only that which you have sent forward (for the good of your Hereafter), and whatever you held back, indeed belongs to the heir. (Bukhari. Nasai, Musnad Abu Yala).

Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Abrogation of the Obligation to offer the Night Prayer and a Mention of its Valid Excuses 

Allah says, (Verily, your Lord knows that you do stand a little less than two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and also a party of those with you.) meaning, sometimes like this and sometimes like that, and all of these are done unintentionally. However, you all are not able to be consistent with the night prayer Allah has commanded you, because it is difficult for you. 

Thus, Allah says, (And Allah measures the night and the day.) meaning, sometimes the night and day are equal, and sometimes one of them will be longer or shorter than the other. (He knows that you are unable to pray the whole night,) meaning, the obligation which He prescribed for you.

(So, recite you of the Qur'an as much as may be easy.) meaning, without specification of any set time. This means, stand and pray during the night as much as is easy (for you). Allah uses the term recitation (Qira'ah) to mean prayer (Salah). 
This is as Allah says in Surah Subhan (Al-Isra'), (And offer your Salah neither aloud) (17:110) meaning, your recitation. (Nor in low voice.) (17:110) 
Then Allah says, (He knows that there will be some among you sick, others traveling through the land, seeking of Allah's bounty, yet others fighting in Allah's cause.) meaning, He knows that there will be people of this nation who will have excuses for not praying the (voluntary) night prayer. They are those who are ill and therefore they are not able to perform it, and those who are traveling in the land seeking the bounty of Allah in business and trade, and others who will be busy with that which is more important to them. An example of this is going on expeditions to fight in the way of Allah. This Ayah, rather, this entire Surah was revealed in Makkah even though fighting was not legislated until after it was revealed. Thus, it is among the greatest of the signs of prophethood, because it informs about unseen matters of the future. 

Thus, Allah says, (So recite as much of the Qur'an as may be easy,) meaning, stand and pray at night whatever is easy for you to do of it. 

Allah said; (and perform Salah and give Zakah,) meaning, establish your obligatory prayers and pay your obligatory Zakah. This is a proof for those who say that Zakah was made obligatory in Makkah, but the various amounts of Nisab and how much was to be given was clarified in Al-Madinah. And Allah knows best. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and others from the Salaf have said, "Verily, this Ayah abrogated the standing for prayer at night that Allah previously made obligatory for the Muslims.'' 

It has been confirmed in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said to a man, (Five obligatory prayers during a day and a night (are obligatory).)'' The man said, "Is there anything other than this (of prayer) that is obligatory upon me'' The Messenger of Allah replied, (No, except what you may do voluntarily.)

The Command to give Charity and do Good Deeds - Allah says, (and lend to Allah a handsome loan.) meaning, from charitable donations. For verily, Allah will reward for this the best and most abundant of rewards. 
This is as Allah says, (Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it to him many times) (2:245) 
Then Allah says, (And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward.) meaning, for all that you send before yourselves, you will get it (back) and it will be better than what you kept for yourselves in the worldly life.

Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Mawsili reported from Al-Harith bin Suwayd, from `Abdullah that Messenger of Allah said, (Know what you are saying!) They replied, "What do we know other than this, O Messenger of Allah'' He then said, (The wealth of one of you is only that which he sends forth, and the wealth of his heir is that which he leaves behind.) Al-Bukhari also recorded this Hadith. 

Then Allah says, (And seek forgiveness of Allah. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.) meaning, remember Him and seek forgiveness from Him often for all of your matters. For verily, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful to whoever seeks His forgiveness. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Muzzammil, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation: (and therefore He turns towards you in His grace. Recite, then, as much of the Qur'an as you may do with ease. He knows that in time there will be among you sick people, and others who will go about the land in search of God's bounty, and others who will fight in God's cause.:) This reference to "fighting in God's cause" has induced many commentators to assume that the whole of verse {20} was revealed at Medina, that is, years after the rest of the surah: for, the principle of "fighting in God's cause" (jihad) was introduced only after the Prophet's hijrah from Mecca to Medina. This assumption must, however, be dismissed as unwarranted. Although there is no doubt that jihad was first sanctioned during the Medina period, the sentence in question is clearly expressed in the future tense: "in time there will be" (sayakun) - and must, therefore, as Ibn Rathir points out, be understood as a prediction of future circumstances. With all this, the above passage stresses the necessity of avoiding all exaggeration even in one's devotions.

Yusuf Ali Explanation: 
Cf., above, lxxiii. 24. The Prophet, and a zealous band of his disciples, were often up, two-thirds of the night, or a half, or a third, rejecting sleep and giving themselves up to Prayer and Praise and the reading of the Qur-an. They are told that this was too severe a tax on them, especially if their health was affected, or they were on a journey, or they were striving, with might and main, in other ways, for the cause of Allah. See die fines following.

The usual meaning taken is that the counting of the exact hours of night and day may not be possible for ordinary people, in order to determine exactly the half, or the third, or the two-thirds of a night. The length of the night and the day varies every day of the solar year, and the precise hour of midnight can only be determined by exact observation in clear skies or by chronometers, which is not possible for everyone. But I understand it in a wider meaning. Allah fixes night and day in due proportions; for rest and work, and according to seasonal variations. For prayer and praise no meticulous observations of that kind are necessary or possible. Allah's service can be done in many ways as detailed below. But we must give some time to devotion, as may be most easy and convenient to us, in various circumstances of health, travel, and the performance of various duties.

The reading of the Qur'an here is a part of Prayer and religious devotion. This is not to be made into an obsession or a burden. Cf. xx. 2: "We have not sent down the Qur'an to thee to be an occasion for thy distress." We must do it whole-mindedly, but not by formal mechanical computations.

This refers to Jihad. The better opinion is that this particular verse was revealed in Madinah, long after the greater part of the Surah. The reference, further on, to canonical Prayers and regular Charity (Zakat), points to the same conclusion.

Cf. ii. 2456, and n. 276, where the meaning of "a Beautiful Loan" is explained. See also lvii. 18. The "Beautiful Loan" should be that of our own souls. We should expect no returns in kind, for that is not possible. But the reward we shall find with Allah will be infinitely greater and nobler. Cf. the biblical phrase, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matt. vi. 20).

Any good that we do raises our own spiritual status and dignity. We must not think that when we speak of Allah's service or Allah's Cause, we are doing anything for His benefit: He is independent of all needs whatsoever.

This emphasizes the need of Allah's Grace. Whatever good we do, our own merits are comparatively small. Allah's Grace must lift us up and blot out our shortcomings. Even in piety there may be an arrogance which may become a sin. We should always seek Allah's Mercy in all humility.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation
This is a reduction in duration and extent in the directive of standing in the tahajjud prayer by night given to the Prophet (sws) in the beginning of the surah and is meant for the believers. It was revealed sometime just before the Prophet’s migration to Madinah and made part of this surah keeping in view its subject. The reason for this reduction being that the common believers in their great zeal to follow the Prophet (sws) had made this prayer mandatory upon themselves. However, the directive of tahajjud was specially meant for the Prophet (sws) and was given to him to acquire patience and steadfastness during his mission of warning his nation of the Hereafter.

Ie., ordains their demands, requirements and effects on human beings.

The actual words are: فَتَابَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ. The word تَابَ means “to turn back.” However, when used with the preposition عَلٰی it assumes the meaning expressed in the translation above.

It is evident from the context that the recital here means recital in the prayer.

Please refer to our Reference Page "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, explanation and exegesis of all other chapters of the Qur'an. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
    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 and explanation 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 (links to Reference Pages given below):  
    • Towards Understanding the Quran
    • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
    • Muhammad Asad Translation
    • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
    • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
    • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
    In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given below. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites:

    References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9 | 10 |

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