Showing posts with label The Night. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Night. Show all posts

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Sūrah Al Layl - The Night: Exegesis 92nd Chapter of Quran

Sürah Al-Layl " الليل‎ " is the ninety second  sürah with 21 āyāts, part of the 30th Juzʼ of the Holy Qur'ān. The Sürah takes its name from the word wal-lail " وَالَّيۡلِ " with which it opens.

This sūrah is one of the first ten to be revealed in Makkah (Mecca). According to Yusuf Ali, Sürah Al-Layl may be placed in the dating period close to Sürahs 89. Al-Fajr and Ad-Dhuha (93). It is similar in subject matter to the chapter preceding it, Sürah Ash-Shams (91). It contrasts two types of people, the charitable and the miserly, and describes each of their characteristics.

We have already presented the overview / summary of the sürah. Let us now read the verse by verse translation and exegesis / tafseer in English. You may also listen the tafsir / exegesis of the surah by eminent Muslim scholar and exegete Nouman Ali Khan at the end of the post:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَىٰ 
( 1 )   By the night when it covers

Verses 1-3 contain three oaths: By the night when it descends and covers everything with darkness, and by the appearance of the bright and radiant day, and by He who created both the male and the female.  Allah begins this chapter with a series of three oaths.  Allah swears by both the day and the night and describes them eloquently.  The night falls and conceals everything but then the day, in its brightness uncovers and reveals everything.

Two contrasting visions of the cyclical nature of creation are followed quickly by the contrast between male and female.  Allah created the universe and He defines its purpose.  And it is Allah that is responsible for the creation of male and female.  They were not created in vain and they were not created to lead a life without purpose.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The evidence of three things is invoked, viz., Night, Day, and Sex, and the conclusion is stated in verse 4, that men's aims are diverse. But similarly there are contrasts in nature. What contrast can be greater than between Night and Day? When the Night spreads her veil, the sun's light is hidden, but not lost. The sun is in his place all the time, and will come forth in all his glory again in his own good time. Cf. xci. 3, 4, and n. 6149. Man pursuing diverse aims may find, owing to his own position, Allah's light obscured from him for a time, but he must strive hard to put himself in a position to reach it in all its glory.

Nouman Ali Khan Explanation:
Allah does not mention what it covers up. A strong   theme in this surah will also be that Objects are NOT mentioned in this surah[as if they are covered] .You are expected to find the missing words through your knowledge of previous surahs' of Qur'an. Allah forces you to think.

yaghsha " يَغْشَىٰ ": ash-Shawkani: it covers with its darkness everything it covers of the Earth. It also refers to the darkness of Kufr (disbelief). And when Allah mentions the Day - He is implying the Light of the Day (Revelation) which brightens the darkness (of disbelief) which covered everything before.

 وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّىٰ 
( 2 )   And [by] the day when it appears

Nouman Ali Khan Explanation:
The removal of darkness is sudden when the Daylight comes, in comparison to the night which approaches and covers gradually. Even a bit of light in the morning suddenly removes the darkness. Whereas darkness approaches gradually (from 'Asr time till Maghrib [sunset], and even after that).The same way the Revelation of guidance quickly removes the darkness of misguidance. Whereas the darkness of misguidance gradually occurs through sins, innovations, and gradually acts of oppression and disbelief. The nation of the Arabs were in polytheism for many hundreds of years. Then within 23years, the Arabs as a nation had converted to Islam as a whole. And 23 years is nothing in the history of a nation. So we see that the light of guidance removed the darkness of polytheism within an extremely short period of time.

 وَمَا خَلَقَ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَىٰ 
( 3 )   And [by] He who created the male and female,

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "Consider that which has created [or "creates"] the male and the female", i.e., the elements which are responsible for the differentiation between male and female. This, together with the symbolism of night and day, darkness and light, is an allusion - similar to the first ten verses of the preceding surah - to the polarity evident in all nature and, hence, to the dichotomy (spoken of in the next verse) which characterizes man's aims and motives.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The wonder of the sexes runs through all life. There is attraction between opposite; each performs its own functions, having special characters, primary and secondary, within limited spheres, and yet both have common characteristics in many other spheres. Each is indispensable to the other. Love in its noblest sense is the type of heavenly love and the highest good; in its debasement it leads to the lowest sins and the worst crimes. Here, then, striving is necessary for the highest good.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Only two things exist in this world: soul and matter. From among the manifestations of the first, the male and female species and from among the manifestations of the second, night and day are presented to substantiate the Day of Judgement. This substantiation is on account of the relationship between the counterparts of a pair in that they are complements of one another and as such together form a pair. Moreover, these two counterparts complete one another if the general expediency of the universe is kept in consideration. Similarly, if one is accepted then the other cannot be rejected. The Hereafter forms a pair with the Herein in this very manner. Only after affirming the Hereafter can all the circumstances and scenarios of this world be cogently interpreted. Thus if this world exists, the next one is bound to exist. Negating one and accepting the other would have no basis except if man considers this world to be a place of entertainment of various deities and God to be a being devoid of knowledge and wisdom Who amuses Himself by His creation without calling them to account for their deeds.

 إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّىٰ 
( 4 )   Indeed, your efforts are diverse.

This is that for which an oath has been sworn by the night and the day, and the creation of the male and the female. It means to say: Just as the night and the day, and the male and the female, are different from each other, and their effects and results are mutually contradictory, so are the aims and objects for which men are endeavoring and struggling; different in their nature and contradictory with regard to their results. In the following verses, it has been told that all these divided endeavors are divided into two main kinds.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
There are wide contrasts in the nature and aims of men. These may be broadly divided into two classes, good and evil. As night replaces day on account of certain relative position, but does not annihilate it, so evil may for a time obscure good but cannot blot it out. Again, night in certain circumstances (e.g. for rest) is a blessing; so certain things, which may seem evils to us, may be really blessings in disguise. Whatever our aims or positions, we must seek the highest truth from the light of Allah. Considering these contrasts, do not be surprised or depressed. Men's immediate aims may be different. The duty of all is to seek the one true light.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This is the consequence for the which the Day of Judgement will be brought about. The actual words are: اِنَّ سَعۡیَکُمۡ لَشَتّٰی. The word سَعۡی is to connote its consequence. Its use in the Arabic language in this meaning is common. The word شَتّٰی is the plural of شَتِيْت and refers to what is different and separate from one another.

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: "The implication is that it is an obvious requirement of human nature and intellect that the consequences of the سَعۡی of the righteous and the wrongdoers be different: those who have done virtuous deeds be rewarded and those who have done evil deeds will face its consequences. In other words, the claim that a Day of Judgement must come has been presented here on the basis of the real need for the advent of such a day: it is essential that such a day come because without it this world is nothing but a place of merrymaking where one may go scot-free for all of one’s misdeeds." (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 402)

فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ 
( 5 )   As for he who gives and fears Allah

 وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ 
( 6 )   And believes in the best [reward],

This is the first kind of endeavors, which includes three things, and a little consideration shows that they comprehend all virtues:

(1) That man should refrain from wealth-worship, but should spend whatever Allah has given him generously in rendering Allah’s and His servants’ rights, for good works and for helping others.

(2) That he should fear Allah and refrain from things which cause His displeasure in his moral, social, economic and other dealings with the people.

(3) That he should believe in goodness. Goodness is a comprehensive word, which includes goodness of belief, morals and acts. Goodness of belief means that one should give up polytheism, atheism, and disbelief, and affirm faith in Tauhid, the Hereafter and Prophethood. Affirming belief in goodness of morals and acts is that one should not be doing good and right merely unconsciously, outside a definite system, but one should acknowledge as right and sound the system of goodness which God has sent, which combines every kind of goodness in all its forms and aspects into a system comprehensively called the divine shariah.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
I.e., in moral values independent of time and social circumstance and, hence, in the absolute validity of what may be described as "the moral imperative".

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The good are distinguished here by three signs: (1) large-hearted sacrifices for Allah and men: (2) fear of Allah, which shows itself in righteous conduct for Taqwa, (see n. 26 to ii. 2) includes just action as well as a mental state: and (3) truth and sincerity in recognizing and supporting all that is morally beautiful, for Husn is the good as well as the beautiful.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Verses 6-7: The actual words are: حُسۡنٰی ,عُسۡرٰی and یُسۡرٰی. These are attributes and the nouns they qualify are suppressed. The implied expressions are: الْعَاقِبَةُ الحُسْنٰي and اليُسْرٰى و العُسْرٰى الْعَاقِبَةُ. The word تيسير with يُسْرٰى signifies easiness of effort and with عُسْرٰى signifies respite. This explains the established practice of God regarding those who adopt the path of virtue and vice.

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes: At many places in the Qur’an, the practice of the Almighty has been mentioned that people who do not have the courage to adopt the path of virtue are left by the Almighty at the mercy of their base desires. They encounter no opposition from these base desires with them and for this reason they think that they are smoothly going on in life. While becoming a prey to these base desires, they reach the end of their lives. After this comes the phase to which the Qur’an has referred by the words: سَاُرۡہِقُہٗ صَعُوۡدًا (17:74) (soon I will make him climb a mounting slope, (74:17)). In these verses, under discussion, it is this phase which is alluded to.

Diametrically opposite are the lives of people who muster courage to tread the path of faith and do righteous deeds. At every step, they have to fight their base desires and it is through this assault that they gradually gain the strength needed to fight the hardships of this path. Finally they reach their destination mentioned thus in the Qur’an: وَ ادۡخُلِیۡ جَنَّتِیۡ (89:29-30) فَادۡخُلِیۡ فِیۡ عِبٰدِیۡ ([Return] and enter among My servants and enter My Paradise, (89:29-30)). (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 9, 404)

 فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ 
( 7 )   We will ease him toward ease.

This is the result of the first kind of endeavoring and struggling. The easy way implies the way which is in accordance with human nature, which is in accordance with the will of the Creator, Who has created man and the whole universe. It is a way in which man has not to fight his conscience, in which he does not have to force his faculties of mind and energies of body into doing works for which they are not given but to do things for which they have actually been given him. It is a way in which man has not to experience war, resistance and conflict on every side, which he has to experience in a life full of sin, but a human society in which at every step he experiences peace and concord, appreciation and honor. Obviously, the person who spends his wealth for public welfare, treats every other person kindly and well, whose life is free from crime, sin and immorality, who is righteous and fair in his dealings, who neither cheats others nor proves false in his promises, from whom no one apprehends dishonesty, injustice and excess, and with whose character no one finds any fault, will in any case be honored and respected in any society, however, corrupt and depraved it may be. Hearts will be attracted towards him in esteem and regard; his own heart and conscience will be satisfied, and he will attain to dignity in society which no immoral person can ever attain. This same thing has been expressed in Surah An-Nahl, thus: Whoever does righteous deeds whether male or female, provided that he is a believer, We will surely grant him to live a pure life in this world (verse 97), and in Surah Maryam, thus: The Merciful will fill with love the hearts of those who believe and do righteous deeds (verse 96). This then is the way in which there is nothing but joy and tranquility for man, for the world till the Hereafter. Its results are not transient and temporary but eternal and everlasting.

Concerning this Allah says: We shall facilitate for him the easy way. It means to say: When after affirming goodness he decides that this way alone suits him, and the evil way does not suit him, and when by making sacrifices and adopting the life of taqva practically he proves that he is true in his affirmation, Allah will make easy for him to walk this way. Then, to commit evil will become difficult for him, and to do good easy. When unlawful wealth comes before him, he will not regard it as a good bargain, but consider it a hot piece of burning coal, which he cannot hold in his hand. When opportunities for sin appear before him, he will not rush to seize them as opportunities for pleasure and enjoyment, but will look upon them as gates to Hell and will flee from them. The Prayer will not be hard for him, but he will have no internal peace until he has performed it at its appointed time. He will not feel hurt when paying the Zakat, but will regard his wealth as impure until he has paid out the Zakat from it. In short, at every step, Allah will favor him with His grace and help him to follow this way; conditions will be made favorable for him and he will be helped out of every difficulty.

Now, the question arises that in Surah 90. Al-Balad, this very way has been called an uphill road, and here it has been described as an easy way. How can the two things be reconciled? The answer is that before a man has adopted this way, it appears to be a steep, uphill road, for ascending which he has to fight his desires, his materialistic members of the family, his relatives, his friends and those with whom he has social and other dealings, and above all Satan, for each one of them obstructs his way, and makes it seem dreadful. But after man has affirmed goodness and resolved to follow this way, and giving away his wealth in the cause of God and adopting the way of taqwa, has practically strengthened his resolve, ascending the steep road becomes easy and slipping into the abyss of moral depravities becomes difficult for him.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
So far from there being any hardship in a good life, the righteous will enjoy their life more and more, and Allah will make their path smoother and smoother until they reach eventual Bliss.

 وَأَمَّا مَن بَخِلَ وَاسْتَغْنَىٰ 
( 8 )   But as for he who withholds and considers himself free of need

 وَكَذَّبَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ 
( 9 )   And denies the best [reward],

This is the second kind of human endeavoring, which in every part of it is different from the corresponding part of the first kind. Niggardliness (bukhl) is not merely the niggardliness because of which people generally regard a person as niggardly if he hoards money: neither spends it on himself nor on his children, but bukhl here implies to refrain from spending in the cause of Allah and public welfare. According to this, niggardly is every person who spends generously, rather squanders money, on his self, for his own ease and comfort, interests and enjoyments, but, as for a good cause, spends nothing, or, if at all, he spends anything, it is for display, or to win a reputation and name, or to have access to officers, or to obtain some benefit and gain. Independence of God implies that one should make worldly, material benefits only the object of all his endeavoring and strivings and being independent of God should least care to see what pleases Him and what displeases Him. As for belying goodness, it is in sharp contrast to believing in goodness in every detail, therefore, it need not be explained here as it has already been explained above.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The evil are distinguished here by three signs: (1) selfish greed and denial of other people's rights; (2) arrogance and self-sufficiency (xcvi. 6-7); and (3) knowingly dishonouring Truth out of spite, or seeing ugliness where there is beauty. Such men's downward progress gathers momentum as they go, and their end can be nothing but Misery. Where will be their boasted wealth and possessions, or their self-confidence?

 فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْعُسْرَىٰ 
( 10 )   We will ease him toward difficulty.

This way has been called the hard way, for although the one who follows it, does so for the sake of material benefits, worldly enjoyments and superficial successes, yet while following it he is always at war with his nature, his conscience, the laws made by the Creator of the universe and the society in which he lives. When he transgresses all moral limits of truth, honesty, nobility, purity and chastity, and endeavors to satisfy his interests and desires in every way, when the people feel harmed by him rather than benefiting from him, and when he encroaches upon the rights of others and violates people’s honor, he feels disgraced in his own eyes and has to clash at every step with the society in which he lives. If he is weak, he has to suffer every kind of punishment on account of his conduct, and if he is wealthy, strong and influential, the world may lie low before him, but no one cherishes any good wishes, any feeling of honor and love for him; so much so that even his associates and companions regard him as a wicked man. And this thing is not only restricted to individuals, even when a strong and powerful nation transgresses the bounds of morality and adopts an immoral conduct, in arrogance of pride and wealth, it earns on the one hand, the enmity of the outside world: on the other, its own society falls a victim to all sorts of crime, prevalence of suicide, intoxication, venereal diseases, destruction of family life, waywardness of the new generation, class conflict and ever-increasing injustice and tyranny. So much so that when it falls from its position of prestige, it leaves nothing behind except curses and condemnation for itself in the history of the world.

As for saying that: So We shall make smooth for him the path of difficulty, it means: We shall facilitate for him the hard ways. He will be deprived of the grace to follow the way of good, gates of evil will be opened up for him, means and resources for the same will be provided for him, doing evil will become easy, and doing good will become toilsome and risky for him. This same theme has been expressed at another place in the Quran, thus: So whomever Allah wills to guide aright, He makes his breast wide open to Islam, and whomever He wills to let go astray, he makes his breast narrow and squeezes it so tightly that (at the very idea of Islam) he begins to feel as though his soul were climbing up towards the sky. (Surah Al-Anaam, Ayat125). At another place it has been said: No doubt, Salat is a hard task but not for the obedient servants. (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 46). And about the hypocrites it has been said: When they come to offer the Salat, they come reluctantly and they spend in the way of Allah with unwilling hearts. (Surah At-Taubah, Ayat 54), and that: There are such among them who regard what they spend in the way of Allah as a penalty. (Surah At-Taubah, Ayat 98).

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:  (فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْعُسْرَىٰ We will make smooth for him the path to evil.) meaning, the path of evil. 
This is as Allah says, (And We shall turn their hearts and their eyes away, as they refused to believe therein for the first time, and We shall leave them in their trespass to wander blindly.) (6:110) 

And there are many Ayat with this meaning, proving that Allah rewards those who intend good with success, while whoever intends evil is abandoned, and all of this is in accordance with a preordained decree. There are also many Hadiths that prove this.

The Narration of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq: 

Imam Ahmad recorded from Abu Bakr that he said to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, "O Messenger of Allah! Do we act according to what has already been decided, or is the matter just beginning (i.e., still undecided)?" He replied, (Indeed it is according to what has already been decided.)

Then Abu Bakr said, "Then what (good) are deeds, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied, (Everyone will find it easy to do such deeds that will lead him to what he was created for.)

The Narration of 'Ali: 

Al-Bukhari recorded from 'Ali bin Abi Talib that they (the Companions) were with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ at the cemetery of Baqi' Al-Gharqad for a funeral, when the Prophet ﷺ said, (There is none among you except that his place has already been written, a seat in Paradise and a seat in the Hellfire.)

They said, "O Messenger of Allah! Should we depend on this?" He replied, (Perform deeds for everyone will have the deeds of what he was created for (Paradise or Hell) made easy for him.) Then he recited the Ayah:
فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ - وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ - فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ
(As for him who gives and has Taqwa, and believes in Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease.)" until the Ayah: لِلْعُسْرَىٰ (the path to evil)

He (Imam Al-Bukhari) also recorded another similar narration from 'Ali bin Abi Talib in which he said, "We were at a funeral in the cemetery of Baqi' Al-Gharqad when the Messenger of Allah ﷺ came and sat down. So we came and sat around him and he had a stick with him. Then he bowed his head and he began to scratch the ground with his stick. 

He then said, (There is not anyone among you – or is not a single soul (that has been created) – except that his place has been written in Paradise or in the Fire, and it has been written that he will be miserable or happy.)

A man said, "O Messenger of Allah! Should we just depend on what has been written for us and give up performing deeds? For whoever of us is of the people of happiness then he will be of the people of happiness, and whoever among us is of the people of misery then he will be of the people of misery." 

The Prophet ﷺ replied, (Those people who are the people of happiness, they will have the deeds of the people of happiness made easy for them. And those people who are the people of misery, they will have the deeds of the people of misery made easy for them.) 

Then he recited the Ayah:
فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ - وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ - فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ - وَأَمَّا مَن بَخِلَ وَاسْتَغْنَىٰ - وَكَذَّبَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ - فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْعُسْرَىٰ
(As for him who gives and has Taqwa, and believes in Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). But he who is greedy and thinks himself self-sufficient, and belies Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path to evil.))

The other compilers of the Group have also recorded this Hadith.

The Narration of 'Abdullah bin 'Umar: Imam Ahmad recorded from Ibn 'Umar that 'Umar said, "O Messenger of Allah! Do you think that the deeds that we do are a matter that is already predetermined or are they something just beginning or new?" 

The Prophet ﷺ replied, (It is something that has already been predetermined. Therefore, work deeds, O son of Al-Khattab! For verily, each person will have things made easy for him. So whoever is from the people of happiness, then he will work deeds for happiness, and whoever is from the people of misery, then he will work deeds for misery.)" 

This Hadith has been recorded by At-Tirmidhi in the Book of Al-Qadar and he said "Hasan Sahih."

Another Hadith Narrated by Jabir: Ibn Jarir recorded from Jabir bin 'Abdullah that he said, "O Messenger of Allah! Are we performing deeds for something that has already been predetermined or is the matter based upon what we are just doing (now)?" The Prophet ﷺ replied, (It is a matter that has been predetermined.)

Then Suraqah said, "Then what is the purpose of deeds?" The Messenger of Allah ﷺ then said, (Everyone who does deeds will have his deeds made easy for him.) -  Muslim also recorded this Hadith.

Ibn Jarir recorded from 'Amir bin 'Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr that he said, "Abu Bakr used to free servants upon their acceptance of Islam in Makkah. He used to free the elderly and the women when they accepted Islam. So his father said to him, 'O my son! I see that you are freeing people who are weak. But if you freed strong men they could stand with you, defend you and protect you.' Abu Bakr replied, 'O my father! I only want – and I think he said – what is with Allah.' 

Some people of my family have told me this Ayah was revealed about him: (فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ - وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ - فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ - As for him who gives and has Taqwa, and believes in Al-Husna. We will make smooth for him the path of ease.)"

Then Allah says, وَمَا يُغْنِي عَنْهُ مَالُهُ إِذَا تَرَدَّىٰ (And what will his wealth avail him when he goes down?)  Mujahid said, "This means when he dies." Abu Salih and Malik said – narrating from Zayd bin Aslam, "When he goes down into the Fire."

 وَمَا يُغْنِي عَنْهُ مَالُهُ إِذَا تَرَدَّىٰ 
( 11 )   And what will his wealth avail him when he falls?

In other words it means that he has to die one day and leave behind in the world whatever he had amassed for his ease and enjoyment. If he did not earn and send forward something for the Hereafter, what would this wealth avail him? He will not take his palatial residence, his majestic conveyance, his property and wealth into the grave.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Wealth amassed in this world will be of no use at the Day of Final Judgment, nor will any material advantages of this life bring profit by themselves in the Hereafter. What will count will be a life of truth and righteousness, and of goodness to all the creatures of Allah.

إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا لَلْـهُدَىٰ 
( 12 )   Indeed, [incumbent] upon Us is guidance.

That is, Allah as the Creator of man has on the basis of His wisdom, His justice and His mercy, taken on Himself the responsibility not to leave him uninformed in the world, but to tell him what is the right way and what are the wrong ways, what is good and what is evil, what is lawful and what is unlawful, what attitude and conduct will make him an obedient servant and what attitude and conduct will make him a disobedient servant. This same thing has been expressed in Surah An-Nahl, thus: Allah has taken upon Himself to show the right way, when there are also crooked ways. (verse 9 of Surah An-Nahl).

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
A note of warning to the arrogant chiefs of the Quraysh that they cannot achieve anything in this world or the next through their own planning and effort. It is the Almighty to Whom belong both worlds. If any of them has any conceited notion about their wealth and lineage or about their alleged deities, they should remember that none of these things will be of any use to them in the Hereafter.

 وَإِنَّ لَنَا لَلْآخِرَةَ وَالْأُولَىٰ 
( 13 )   And indeed, to Us belongs the Hereafter and the first [life].

This statement has several meanings and all are correct:

(1) That from the world till the Hereafter, you are nowhere beyond Our grasp, for Ours are both this and the next world.

(2) That both this world and the Hereafter are in any case under Our sovereignty, whether you follow the way shown by Us or not. If you adopt error, you will not harm Us but only yourselves; and if you adopt the right way, you will not do any good to Us, but will do good only to yourselves. Your disobedience cannot cause any decrease in Our sovereignty and your obedience cannot cause any increase in it.

(3) That We alone are Master of both the worlds. If you seek the world, We alone can grant it; and if you seek the well being of the Hereafter, We alone have the power to bestow it too.

This very theme has been expressed in Surah Aal-Imran, Ayat 145: Whoso makes effort with the intention of the reward of this world, We will reward him in this world, and whoso makes effort with the intention of the reward of the Hereafter, We shall grant him thereof. And the same has been expressed in Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat 20, thus: Whoever seeks the harvest of the Hereafter, We do increase his harvest; and whoever seeks the harvest of this world, We do give him of it here, but in the Hereafter he will have no share at all.

In Surah Al-Imran) it is said: "The 'reward of this world' signifies the totality of benefits and advantages which a man receives as a consequence of his actions and efforts within the confines of this world. The 'reward of the Other World' denotes the benefits that a man will receive in the lasting World to Come as the fruits of his actions and efforts. From the Islamic point of view, the crucial question bearing upon human morals is whether a man keeps his attention focused on the worldly results of his endeavours or on the results which will accrue to him in the Next World."

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
In the End man will return to Allah, and even from the beginning of man's life Allah's mercies and loving care surround him. In the probationary period of man's life, he has a measure of free-will, and he is expected to use it in such a way as to bring his whole being into harmony with the universal Will and Law. For he will have to answer for the right use of his talents and opportunities. If man's will has any meaning, he has the choice of accepting Allah's guidance or rejecting it, and in the latter case he must take the consequences. Hence the warning of the future "Fire" in the next verse.

 فَأَنذَرْتُكُمْ نَارًا تَلَظَّ
( 14 )   So I have warned you of a Fire which is blazing.

Verse 14-17 contain a stern warning for those who prefer the worldly life and do not believe in the punishment for the wrong doers in the hereafter. Herein, Allah says, I am warning you about the blazing Fire.  Those most wicked individuals who denied the truth and turned away will enter the raging Fire.  However, the pious, righteous people will be kept well away from it.  Again, a harmonious distinction between the rewards for doing what is right and the punishment for choosing to behave in the wrong way.  The one who does not answer when God beckons him with clear guidance will face the consequences.  These are the most wretched people because there is no wretchedness worse than facing the fires of Hell.   In contrast those who answer when God calls will have a happy reward.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
On this surah ends the surahs of the phase of indhar-i ‘am of the Prophet’s mission. Before the two surahs that sound assurance to the Prophet (sws) and give glad tidings to him, this is the last surah that relates to topic of indhar (warning). If this background is kept in mind, then the true stress of this verse can be understood.

لَا يَصْلَاهَا إِلَّا الْأَشْقَى 
( 15 )   None will [enter to] burn therein except the most wretched one.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The Fire of Punishment will not reach any except those who have deliberately sinned against their conscience and rejected Allah's Truth. The term used for them is "Ashqa" (superlative degree). Cf. lxxxvii. 11. The corresponding idea in Christian theology is expressed in the following sentence. "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men" (Matt. xii. 31).

 الَّذِي كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ 
( 16 )   Who had denied and turned away.

 وَسَيُجَنَّبُهَا الْأَتْقَى 
( 17 )   But the righteous one will avoid it -

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
"Those most devoted to Allah": the Atqa " الْأَتْقَى ", the Allah-fearing men who live lives of purity, and seek only for the "Face of their Lord Most High". See the verses following.

 الَّذِي يُؤْتِي مَالَهُ يَتَزَكَّىٰ 
( 18 )   [He] who gives [from] his wealth to purify himself

This does not mean that no one will enter the fire except the most wretched one, and no one will be saved from it except the most pious one but the object is to describe the extremely contradictory fate of the two extremely contradictory characters. One of them is the person who belies the teachings of Allah and His Messenger and turns away from obedience; the other one is the person, who not only believes but also spends his wealth in the cause of Allah sincerely, without any desire for display and reputation, only in order to be regarded as a pure man in His eyes. Both these types of character were present in the Makkah society of that day. Therefore, without mentioning any name, the people have been told that the man of the first type of character only will burn in the fire of Hell and not the man of the second type of character. The man of the second type of character only will be kept away from it and not the man of the first type of character.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The spending may be for charity, or for good works, such as advancing the cause of knowledge or science, or supporting ideals, etc. "Wealth" must be understood not only for money or material goods, but also for any advantage or opportunity which a man happens to enjoy, and which he can place at the service of others.

The Arabic root word zaka implies both increase and purification, and both meanings may be understood to be implied here. Wealth (understood both literally and metaphorically) is not for selfish enjoyment or idle show. It is held on trust. It may be a trial in itself, from which a man who emerges successfully is a man all the purer in his life; and even if he was a good man before, his proper use of his wealth increases his position and dignity in the moral and spiritual world.

 وَمَا لِأَحَدٍ عِندَهُ مِن نِّعْمَةٍ تُجْزَىٰ 
( 19 )   And not [giving] for anyone who has [done him] a favor to be rewarded

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "no one having with him any favour to be repaid". In its widest sense, projected towards the future, the phrase implies also the expectation of a reward.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The good man does not give in charity or do his good deeds with the motive that he is returning someone else's favour and compensating and rewarding someone for some service done to him or expecting some reward in retum for his own good deed: the sole motive in his mind is that he desires the Countenance or Good Pleasure of Allah Most High. This "Countenance" or "Face" (Arabic, Wajh) implies good pleasure or approval; but it implies something more. It also means the Cause,-either the "final cause" or the "efficient cause" of Aristotelian philosophy. For the Atqa would refer everything, backwards in origin and forwards in destiny, to Allah. Allah is the source of their goodness, as well as its goal or purpose.

 إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِ الْأَعْلَىٰ 
( 20 )   But only seeking the countenance of his Lord, Most High.

This is further explanation of the sincerity of the pious man. He was not indebted in any way to the people on whom he spends his wealth so that he may be doing so in order to repay for favors received, or may be giving gifts and holding banquets to them in order to further benefit from them, but he is helping such people only in order to seek the goodwill of his Lord, the Supreme. He was neither indebted to them before, nor he expects any favors from them in the future. Its best illustration is the act of Abu Bakr Siddiq, he would purchase and set free the poor slaves and slaves-girls who accepted Islam in Makkah and were cruelly treated by their masters on that account. Ibn Jarir and Ibn Asakir have related, on the authority of Amir bin Abdullah bin Zubair, that when Abu Bakr’s father saw him spending money to purchase the freedom of the poor slaves and slave-girls, he said to him: Son, I see that you are getting the weak people free; had you spent this money on the freedom of strong, young men, they would have become your helpers and supporters. Abu Bakr replied: Dear father, I only seek the reward that is with Allah.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
The definition of Righteousness, Charity, or Self-sacrifice, becomes thus highly spiritualised. The Atqa are so completely identified with Allah's Will that everything else is blotted out to them. What would seem to be sacrifice from other points of view, becomes their own highest pleasure and satisfaction. Every virtuous man will have his own bliss, for there are degrees in virtue and bliss. This supreme bliss is the portion-not the prize-of supreme virtue.

 وَلَسَوْفَ يَرْضَىٰ
( 21 )   And he is going to be satisfied.
This verse can have two meanings and both are correct: (1) That Allah certainly will be well pleased with him, and (2) That Allah soon will bless this man with so much that he will be happy.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: The Cause of this Revelation and the Virtue of Abu Bakr:

وَلَسَوْفَ يَرْضَىٰ (He, surely, will be pleased.) meaning, indeed those with these characteristics will be pleased.

Many of the scholars of Tafsir have mentioned that these Ayat were revealed about Abu Bakr As-Siddiq. Some of them even mentioned that there is a consensus among the Qur'anic commentators concerning this. There is no doubt that he, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, is included in the meaning of these Ayat, and that he is the most deserving of the Ummah to be described with these characteristics in general, for indeed, the wording of these Ayat is general. As in Allah's saying,

وَسَيُجَنَّبُهَا الْأَتْقَى - الَّذِي يُؤْتِي مَالَهُ يَتَزَكَّىٰ - وَمَا لِأَحَدٍ عِندَهُ مِن نِّعْمَةٍ تُجْزَىٰ

(And those with Taqwa will be far removed from it. He who gives of his wealth for self-purification. And who has (in mind) no favor from anyone to be paid back.) 

However, he (Abu Bakr) was the first and foremost of this Ummah to have all of these characteristics and other praiseworthy characteristics as well. For verily, he was truthful, pious, generous, charitable, and he always spent his wealth in obedience of His Master (Allah) and in aiding the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. How many Dirhams and Dinars did he spend seeking the Face of His Most Noble Lord. And did not consider any of the people as owning him some favor that he needed to get compensation for. Rather, his virtue and kindness was even shown towards leaders and chiefs from all the other tribes as well. This is why 'Urwah bin Mas'ud, who was the chief of the Thaqif tribe, said to him on the day of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, "By Allah, if I did not owe you a debt, which I have not paid you back for, I would have responded to you (i.e., your call to Islam)." Abu Bakr As-Siddiq became angry with him for saying such a thing (i.e., I owe you something). So if this was his position with the chiefs of the Arabs and the heads of the tribes, then what about those other than them. Thus, Allah says,

وَمَا لِأَحَدٍ عِندَهُ مِن نِّعْمَةٍ تُجْزَىٰ - إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِ الْأَعْلَىٰ - وَلَسَوْفَ يَرْضَىٰ

(And who has (in mind) no favor from anyone to be paid back. Except to seek the Face of his Lord, the Most High. He, surely, will be pleased.)

And in the Two Sahihs it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

مَنْ أَنْفَقَ زَوْجَيْنِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ دَعَتْهُ خَزَنَةُ الْجَنَّةِ يَاعَبْدَ اللهِ، هَذَا خَيْرٌ

(Whoever equipped two riding animals in the way of Allah, the Gatekeepers of Paradise will call to him saying, "O servant of Allah! This is good.")

So Abu Bakr said, "O Messenger of Allah! The one who is called from them will not have any need. Will there be anyone who will be called from all of them?" The Prophet ﷺ replied,

نَعَمْ، وَأَرْجُو أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنْهُم  (Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them.) 

The main substance of this Sürah can be summed up as under:

– Shaytan makes us think that following the Deen is really difficult, whereas Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says whoever steps towards the goodness Allah will make it easy for him. It depends on the person whose promise does one believes in. Shaytan is the greatest liar while Allah’s promise is true.
– One should not entirely devote himself to his business, his house and children but rather strive for the cause of Allah as well. Contribute to His cause in any way that you can. Spend your time, money, life in His way. If you know the Qur’an teach it to others. If you have wealth spend it in charity without seeking any reward from mankind. Take from dunya only as much as is required and keep your main focus on the hereafter.
– Don’t turn away from the pillars of Islam by way of your limbs. Don’t be of the deniers.
You may now like to tafsir of Sürah al-Layl " الليل‎ " by prominent Muslim scholar, exegete and teacher Nouman Ali Khan:

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān 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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

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.
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 67 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 |
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: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
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.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on FacebookYou may also refer to our Facebook  Group Islam: The Ultimate Truth for more on Islam and Da'wah.

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

The Holy Quran (Summary): Chapter 92 Sūrat al-Layl (The Night)

Sūrat al-Layl was revealed in the early days of Islam in Makkah with 21 verses and appears in the 30th part / 'Juz of the Holy Qur'an. In fact it is among the first ten sūrahs that were revealed unto Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Its theme is to distinguish between the two different ways of life and to explain the contrast between their ultimate ends and results. In view of the subject matter this Surah consists of two parts, the first part consisting of vv. 1-11 and the second of vv. 12-21.
In the first part, at the outset it has been pointed out that the strivings and doings that the individuals, nations and groups of mankind are engaged in in the world, are, in respect of their moral nature, as divergent as the day is from the night, and the male from the female. After this, according to the general style of the brief Surahs of the Quran, three moral characteristics of one kind and three moral characteristics of the other kind have been presented as an illustration from among a vast collection of the strivings and activities of man, from which every man can judge which style of life is represented by one kind of the characteristics and which style of life by the other kind. Both these styles have been described in such brief, elegant. and pithy sentences that they move the heart and go down into memory as soon as one hears them. Characteristics of the first kind are that one should spend one's wealth, adopt God-consciousness and piety, and acknowledge the good as good. The second kind of the characteristics are that one should be miserly, should least care for God's pleasure and His displeasure, and should repudiate what is good and right. Then it has been stated that these two modes of action which are clearly divergent, cannot be equal and alike in respect of their results. But, just as they are divergent in their nature, so they are divergent in their results. The person (or group of persons) who adopts the first mode of action, Allah will make easy for him the correct way of life, so much so that doing good will become easy for him and doing evil difficult. On the contrary, he who adopts the second mode of life, Allah will make easy for him the difficult and hard way of life, so much so that doing evil will become easy for him and doing good difficult. This passage has been concluded with a most effective and touching sentence, saying: "This worldly wealth for the sake of which man is even prepared to risk his life will not go down with him into the grave; therefore, what will it avail him after death?"
In the second part also three truths have been stated equally briefly. First, that Allah has not left man uninformed in the examination hall of the world, but He has taken on Himself the responsibility to tell him which one is the straight and right way out of the different ways of life. Here, there was no need to point out that by sending His Messenger and His Book He has fulfilled His this responsibility, for both the Messenger and the Book were present to afford the guidance. Second, that the Master of both the world and the Hereafter is Allah alone. If you seek the world, it is He Who will give it, and if you seek the Hereafter, again it is He Who will give it. Now, it is for you to decide what you should seek from Him. The third truth that has been stated is that the wretched one who rejects the good, which is being presented through the Messenger and the Book, and turns away from it, will have a blazing fire ready for him. As for the God fearing person who spends his wealth in a good cause, without any selfish motive, only for the sake of winning his Lord's good pleasure, his Lord will be pleased with him and will bless him with so much that he will be well pleased with Him.
This is an easy to understand sūrah for its subject being the good and the bad people and their end reward on the day of judgment. Read the translation which shall then be followed by a short commentary.

Herein under is the translation of Sūrat al-Layl:
  • By the night as it envelops;
  • And by the day as it appears in brightness;
  • And by Him Who created male and female;
  • Certainly, your efforts and deeds are diverse (different in aims and purposes);
  • As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him,
  • And believes in the best [reward].
  • We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness).
  • But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient.
  • And denies the best [reward];
  • We will make smooth for him the path for evil;
  • And what will his wealth benefit him when he goes down (in destruction).
  • Truly! Ours it is (to give) guidance,
  • And truly, unto Us (belong) the last (Hereafter) and the first (this world).
  • Therefore I have warned you of a Fire blazing fiercely (Hell);
  • None shall enter it save the most wretched,
  • Who denies and turns away.
  • And the pious and righteous (Al-Muttaqun) will be far removed from it (Hell).
  • He who spends his wealth for increase in self-purification,
  • And have in his mind no favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return,
  • Except only the desire to seek the Countenance of his Lord, the Most High;
  • He surely will be pleased (when he will enter Paradise).
Allah Almighty, like many other sūrahs (Sūrat At Tin for instance) takes vow, a solemn promise, of truths in the shape of many of His bounties like the night, the day and the one who created male and female of all kinds. And then talks about two types of people: The good ones, who seek truth in Allah's given commandments and do good to help others without the lust for any wordily rewards, and the second kind who despite being shown the righteous path follow evil deeds and hurt others, for these wretched people the fire of hell awaits. 

As for the first category of people who spend their wealth in the way of Allah thinking that the wealth has been given to them to help others and not for their pleasures, and thus rise higher in the eyes of Allah and shall be rewarded in the hereafter with unimaginable rewards and bounties.  

The difference between both the categories of people is clear: One who seeks wordily pleasures for him alone will be given in abundance but will be among the worst in the world of the hereafter. But those who are given in abundance, or even less, but still give charities and help others with no reward intended but to please Allah, will be granted paradise where their selfless services will be paid back much beyond trheir imaginations.

It is observed by many a scholar and interpretors of Qur'an that the last four verse are indicative of deeds of Abu Bakr, a trusted companion and friend of the Prophet of Allah who was the first male adult who entered the fold of Islam the moment he heard that Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been chosen as a prophet by Allah. He beside a good human being was also a very wealthy man and when there was need of money in the cause of Allah, Abu Bakr emptied his entire household and brought it to the Prophet. When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) inquired him of what had he left in his house, Abu Bakr replied: Allah's name only.

Abu Bakr was also forthcoming in the freedom of many slave who had accepted Islam and were being tortured by their pagan masters. One such slave was Bilal, the African, whom his master had made him lie flat on the burning sand and placed a heavy stone on his chest. Bilal still called aloud "Ahad (Allah is one." Seeing his plight Abu Bakr paid the money and got Bilal freed.

You many now listen to recitation of the  Sūrat al-Layl  in Arabic with English / Arabic subtitles:

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