Surah Ad Duha (Arabic: الضحى) is the 93rd Surah of the Qur’an and meaning of this surah is “The Morning Hours”. Duha is a Meccan Surah and the 93rd chatper of the Quran. It consisting of a total of 11 ayat (verses).
In this Surah, Allah is directly communicating with the Prophet (ﷺ). This was an early Meccan Surah so it was in the early stages of Prophethood where Muhammad (ﷺ) was under a lot of stress and anxiety. He experienced mockery and ridicule from his personal friends, clansmen, and neighbors because they were not receptive to his message. During this time he also felt that Allah had abandoned him. Allah knew better and was giving him a break since if he “had continuously been exposed to the intensely bright light of Revelation (Wahy) [his] nerves could not have endured it. Therefore, an interval was given in order to afford [him] peace and tranquility.” Allah sent down this Surah to comfort him and let him know he had not forgotten him.
Below you can read Surah Duha in its entirety. With every ayah we’ve provided the transliteration and Sahih International translation to help you better read and understand the Qur’an. At the end of the Surah you will also find four different tafseers to read a more detailed explanation of this Surah and it’s signifcance.
Read Surah Ad Duha with Translation and Transliteration
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
1. By the morning brightness
Wallayli itha saja
2. And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,
Ma wad da’aka rabbuka wa ma qalaa
3. Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].
Walal-aakhiratu khairul laka minal-oola
4. And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].
Wa la sawfa y’uteeka rabbuka fatarda
5. And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.
Alam yajidka yateeman faawa
6. Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?
Wawajadaka dallan fahada
7. And He found you lost and guided [you],
Wa wa jadaka ‘aa-ilan fa aghnaa
8. And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.
Fa am mal yateema fala taqhar
9. So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him].
Wa am mas saa-ila fala tanhar
10. And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him].
Wa amma bi ni’mati rabbika fahad dith
11. But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].
Surah Duha Tafseer
Here you can read from four different tafseers including the tafseer of Ibn Kathir. We recommend on-top of reading the Qur’an to spend time studying it. The word by word translation is useful in understanding the Qur’an but to learn the historical context, hadith, benefits, and impact of the revelation we need to read Qur’an commentaries.
Surah Duha Tafseer by Ibn Kathir
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1. By the forenoon.) (2. By the night when it darkens.) (3. Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor hates you.) (4. And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present.) (5. And verily, your Lord will give you so that you shall be well-pleased.) (6. Did He not find you an orphan and gave you a refuge) (7. And He found you unaware and guided you) (8. And He found you poor and made you rich) (9. Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression.) (10. And repulse not the one who asks.) (11. And proclaim the grace of your Lord.)
Imam Ahmad recorded from Jundub that he said, “The Prophet became ill, so he did not stand for prayer for a night or two. Then a woman came and said, `O Muhammad! I think that your devil has finally left you.’ So Allah revealed,
(By the forenoon. By the night when it darkens. Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor hates you.)” Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir, all recorded this Hadith. This Jundub (who narrated it) is Ibn `Abdullah Al-Bajali Al-`Alaqi. In a narration from Al-Aswad bin Qays, he said that he heard Jundub say that Jibril was slow in coming to the Messenger of Allah. So the idolaters said, “Muhammad’s Lord has abandoned him.” So Allah revealed,
(By the forenoon. By the night when it darkens. Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor hates you.)
(By the forenoon. By the night when it darkens.) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, “When the Qur’an was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, Jibril was delayed from coming to him for a number of days (on one occasion). Therefore, the Messenger of Allah was affected by this. Then the idolaters began to say, `His Lord has abandoned him and hates him.’ So Allah revealed,
(Your Lord has neither forsaken you nor hates you.)” In this, Allah is swearing by the forenoon and the light that He has placed in it.
(By the night when it darkens (Saja).) meaning, it settles, darkens meaning, it settles, darkens and overcomes them. This was said by Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Ibn Zayd and others. This is a clear proof of the power of the Creator of this (light) and that (darkness). This is as Allah says,
(By the night as it envelops. By the Day as it appears.) (92:1-2) Allah also says,
((He is the) Cleaver of the daybreak. He has appointed the night for resting, and the sun and the moon for reckoning. Such is the measuring of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.) (6:96) Allah then says,
(Your Lord has neither forsaken you) meaning, `He has not abandoned you.’
(nor hates (Qala) you.) meaning, `He does not hate you.’
The Hereafter is Better Than This First Life
(And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present.) meaning, the abode of the Hereafter is better for you than this current abode. For this reason the Messenger of Allah used to be the most abstinent of the people concerning the worldly things, and he was the greatest of them in his disregard for worldly matters. This is well known by necessity from his biography. When the Prophet was given the choice at the end of his life between remaining in this life forever and then going to Paradise, or moving on to the company of Allah, he chose that which is with Allah over this lowly world. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, “The Messenger of Allah was lying down on a straw mat and it left marks on his side. Then when he woke up he began to rub his side. So I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Will you allow us to spread something soft over this straw mat’ He replied,
(I have nothing to do with this world. The parable of me and this world is like a rider who rests in the shade of a tree, then he passes on and leaves it.)” At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah both recorded this Hadith by way of Al-Mas`udi. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.”
The Numerous Bounties of the Hereafter are waiting for the Messenger of Allah
Then Allah says,
(And verily, your Lord will give you so that you shall be well-pleased.) meaning, in the final abode Allah will give him until He pleases him concerning his followers, and in that which He has prepared for him from His generosity. From this will be the River of Al-Kawthar, which will have domes of hollowed pearls on its banks, and the mud on its banks will be the strongest fragrance of musk, as will be mentioned. Imam Abu `Amr Al-Awza`i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah was shown that which his Ummah would be blessed with after him, treasure upon treasure. So he was pleased with that. Then Allah revealed,
(And verily, your Lord will give you so that you shall be well-pleased.) So, Allah will give him in Paradise one million palaces, and each palace will contain whatever he wishes of wives and servants.” This was recorded by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim from his route of transmission. This chain of narration is authentic to Ibn `Abbas, and statements like this can only be said from that which is Tawqif.
A Mention of some of Allah’s Favors upon the Messenger Enumerating His favors upon His Messenger, Muhammad
(Did He not find you an orphan and gave you a refuge) This refers to the fact that his father died while his mother was still pregnant with him, and his mother, Aminah bint Wahb died when he was only six years old. After this he was under the guardianship of his grandfather, `Abdul-Muttalib, until he died when Muhammad was eight years old. Then his uncle, Abu Talib took responsibility for him and continued to protect him, assist him, elevate his status, honor him, and even restrain his people from harming him when he was forty years of age and Allah commissioned him with the prophethood. Even with this, Abu Talib continued to follow the religion of his people, worshipping idols. All of this took place by the divine decree of Allah and His decree is most excellent. Until Abu Talib died a short time before the Hijrah. After this (Abu Talib’s death) the foolish and ignorant people of the Quraysh began to attack him, so Allah chose for him to migrate away from them to the city of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj among those who helped him (in Al-Madinah). Allah caused his Sunnah to be spread in the most perfect and complete manner. Then, when he arrived at their city, they gave him shelter, supported him, defended him and fought before him (against the enemies of Islam) (may Allah be pleased with all of them). All of this was from Allah’s protection for him, guarding over him and caring for him. Then Allah says,
(He found you unaware and guided you) This is similar to Allah’s saying,
(And thus We have sent to you a Ruh from Our command. you knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith. But We have made it a light wherewith We guide whosoever of our servants We will…) (42:52) Allah says,
(And He found you poor and made you rich) meaning, `you were poor having dependents, so Allah made you wealthy and independent of all others besides Him.’ Thus, Allah combined for him the two positions: the one who is poor and patient, and the one who is wealthy and thankful. In the Two Sahihs it has been recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Wealth is not determined by abundance of possessions, but wealth is the richness of the soul.) In Sahih Muslim, it is recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever accepts Islam, is provided with his basic needs, and Allah makes him content with what He has given him, then he will be successful.)
How should this Bounty be responded to
Then Allah says,
(Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression.) meaning, `just as you were an orphan and Allah sheltered you, then do not oppress the orphan.’ In other words, `do not humiliate him, scorn him or despise him. Rather, you should be kind and gentle to him.’ Qatadah said, “Be like a merciful father to the orphan.”
(And repulse not the one who asks.) meaning, `just as you were astray and Allah guided you, then do not scorn the one who asks for knowledge seeking to be guided.’ Ibn Ishaq said,
(And repulse not the one who asks.) “This means do not be oppressive, arrogant, wicked, or mean to the weak among Allah’s servants.” Qatadah said, “This means respond to the poor with mercy and gentleness.”
(And proclaim the grace of your Lord.) meaning, `just as you were poor and needy, and Allah made you wealthy, then tell about Allah’s favor upon you.’ Abu Dawud recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said,
(Whoever is not thankful to the people, then he is not thankful to Allah.) At-Tirmidhi also recorded this Hadith and he said, “Sahih”. Abu Dawud recorded from Jabir that the Prophet said,
(Whoever overcomes some test (i.e., calamity) and mentions it (to others), then he is indeed thankful. And whoever conceals it, then indeed he was ungrateful.) Abu Dawud was alone in recording this Hadith. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Ad-Duha, and unto Allah is due all praise and thanks.
Occasion of Revelation
Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi have narrated from Sayyidna Jundub ؓ that once a finger of the Holy Prophet ﷺ was wounded and started bleeding, he said: ان انت الّا اصبع دمیت وفی سبیل اللہ ما لقیت ‘You are merely a finger that is bleeding; [what does it matter] if you are hurt: it all happened in Allah’s cause.
Sayyidna Jundub ؓ عنہ narrated this incident and said that revelation of the Qur’an to the Holy Prophet ﷺ came to a halt, and that Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) stopped coming to him for a while. The unbelievers taunted, saying: “Mulhammad’s Lord has forsaken him, and is displeased with him.” Surah Ad-Duha was revealed on this occasion. According to the narration in Bukhari by Sayyidna Jundub ؓ ، the Holy Prophet ﷺ was unable to wake up for a few nights for tahajjud prayer owing to illness. In this narration, there is no mention of ‘delay in revelation’. In Timidhi’s narration, there is mention about the ‘delay in revelation’ but no mention about his inability to wake up for tahajjud prayer. These reports are not conflicting. The narrator might have narrated one incident at one time, and reported another incident at another time. The lady who taunted the Holy Prophet ﷺ was Umm Jamil, the wife of Abu Lahab, as other reports indicate. ‘Delay in revelation’ took place twice. Once in the very early stage of the call. This is known as fatrah al-wahy ‘temporary break in the revelation’. This was the longest period. Another narration states that when the pagans or the Jews asked the Holy Prophet ﷺ about the soul, he promised them that he would give them a reply the next day. However, he forgot to add insha’Allah (if Allah wills). As a result, revelation ceased for a few days. The pagans began to taunt the Holy Messenger ﷺ، saying that Allah had abandoned him, and is displeased with him. It was on this occasion that the Surah was revealed.
[93:2] and by the night when it becomes peaceful,
[93:3] your Lord (0 Holy Prophet,) has neither forsaken you, nor has become displeased.
[93:4] And the Hereafter is much better for you than the present life.
وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ الْأُولَىٰ (And the Hereafter is much better for you than the present life….93:4). The word ‘akhirah may be taken in its popular sense of the ‘Hereafter’ and its opposite ula may be taken in the sense of the present ‘world’. With these words, Allah tells the Holy Prophet not to be disturbed by the taunts of the pagans, because they will see in this world that their assumptions and accusations were absolutely false. In the Hereafter, he will be blessed with Divine favours to his heart’s content – much more than what he will receive in this fleeting world. The word ‘akhirah may also be taken in its primitive sense i.e. ‘the later state or condition’ as opposed to ula ‘the former state or condition’. The verse, in this case, would mean that every succeeding moment of the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ life is better than the preceding one. It includes progress in knowledge and wisdom, as well as in degrees of his nearness to Allah, and it also includes progress in economic and political fields.
[93:5] And of course, your Lord will give you so much that you will be pleased.
وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَىٰ (And of course, your Lord will give you so much that you will be pleased….93:5). Allah does not specify here what he will give him. The statement is open and general. The Holy Prophet ﷺ will be granted everything he desires so much that he will be pleased. Among his desired thing is the progress of Islam; the general spread of Islam in the world; fulfillment of every need of the Ummah; triumph of the Holy Prophet himself over his enemies and raising the word of Allah in the land of the enemy. When this verse was revealed, the Holy Prophet ﷺ said:
اِذا ! لّا اَرضٰی وَ وَاحدُ مِّن اُمَّتِی فِی النَّار
‘If that is the case, then I will not be pleased as long as one [single member] of my Ummah [remains] in Fire. [Qurtubi].
In a narration by Sayyidna Ali ؓ ، the Holy Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah will accept my intercession for my Ummah [ community ]. Allah will ask: رضیتَ یا محمد ‘0 Muhammad, are you pleased?’ He will reply: یا رَبِّ رَضِیتُ “My Lord, I am pleased.” Muslim records from Sayyidna ` Amr Ibn-ul-` As to the effect that the Holy Prophet ﷺ recited a verse concerning the Prophet Ibrahim : (علیہ السلام)
فَمَن تَبِعَنِي فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
‘…So, one who followsme is surely mine, and the one who
disobeys me, then You are Most Forgiving, Very Merciful. [14:36] ‘
Then he recited a verse which contains the words of Sayyidna ` Isa (علیہ السلام)
إِن تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ
‘If You punish them, then, they are Your slaves [5:118] ‘
Then he raised his hands, he wept and prayed: اَللّٰھُمَّ اُمَّتِی اُمَّتِی
‘O Allah, my ummah, my ummah!’
Allah sent Jibra’il علیہ السلام to inquire as to why he was weeping [while Allah knows the reason]. Jibra’il Amin علیہ السلام came and inquired why he was weeping. The Holy Prophet ﷺ replied: “I seek my ummah’s forgiveness.” Allah sent Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) back to inform him that He has pardoned them, and that Allah would please him and would not displease him regarding his ummah.
[93:6] Did He not find you an orphan, and give you shelter?
In response to the unbelievers’ taunts, it was briefly mentioned that the Holy Prophet ﷺ has already been blessed with many Divine favours. The Surah elaborates on three of them in particular.
أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ (Did He not find you an orphan, and give you shelter?…93:6). The Holy Prophet ﷺ was an orphan. His father died before he was born, leaving no wealth or property to look after him. The words ‘and gave you shelter’ signify that the Holy Prophet ﷺ received such deep love and affection from his grand-father, Abd-ul-Muttalib, and after him from his uncle, Abu Talib , who took care of him more than their own children.
وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ (And He found you unaware of the way [the Shari` ah ], then He guided you….93:7). The word dall has two meanings:  stray; and  unaware. Here it stands for the second meaning. The verse signifies that before Muhammad k was commissioned as the Prophet ﷺ ، he was unaware of Divine Shari’ah. He was granted the status of the Prophet ﷺ and thus was guided.
[93:8] and He found you in need, then made you need-free.
وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ (and He found you in need, then made you need-free….93:8). The word ail is derived from ` ailah which means ‘to be in need’. The verse signifies that Allah found him impoverished and enriched him. This happened in the beginning through a business partnership with Sayyidah Khadijah al-Kubra ؓ then once she became his wife and ‘Mother of the Faithful’, her entire wealth was devoted to his service.
After elaborating on the three favours of Allah, three injunctions follow:
فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ (Therefore, as for orphan, do not oppress him,…93:9). The word qahr means ‘to treat people who are less powerful in an unfair and cruel way’. In the present context, the verse means: ‘Since you were a poor orphan, and Allah sheltered you, do not oppress the orphan.’ [In words, ‘do not seize their wealth by force and squander it. Do not scorn them, humiliate them or despise them. Rather, you should be kind and gentle to them.] As a result, the Holy Prophet ﷺ emphasised that the orphan be treated kindly and gently, and has forbidden any hurting attitude towards them. The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said that the best house of a Muslim is the one in which there is an orphan who is treated kindly, and with love and affection. The worst house is the one in which there is an orphan who is treated badly. [This is transmitted by Bukhari in Al-Adab-ul- Mufrad, and by Ibn Majah and Baghawi, as quoted by Mazhari].
وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ (and as for the beggar, do not scold him….93:10). The verb tanhar is derived from nahr which means ‘to scold’. The word sa’il means ‘one who asks’. It includes a person who asks people’s wealth, that is, a beggar, and it also includes the one who asks a question of knowledge, that is, an academic investigator. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has forbidden to berate either of them. The best course of action is to give the beggar something. If one is unable to give a beggar anything, one should at least apologise to him politely [ so as not to give him any further grief ]. Likewise, anyone who is searching knowledge and asks questions, it is forbidden to respond to him harshly and unkindly. The teacher should reply kindly and politely. However, if the investigator is unreasonable in his approach, it is permissible to scold him to the degree that is necessary.
وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ (And about the bounty of your Lord, do talk….93:11). The verb haddith is derived from tahdith which means ‘to talk’ meaning, ‘just as you were poor and needy, and Allah made you wealthy, then talk about Allah’s favours upon you’. Talking about Divine favours to people is one way of thanking Allah. If a person has done something good to another, he should be thanked. Therefore, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said: “Whoever is not thankful to people on their favours is not thankful to Allah.” [This is transmitted by Ahmad. The chain of authorities are reliable – vide Mazhari].
The Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: “Whoever has done good to you, you ought to return the good. If you are unable to return the pecuniary good, then praise him in public, because he who praises people in public fulfils his moral obligation.” [ Al-Baghawi transmitted it from Jabir Ibn ` Abdullah, vide Mazhari].
It is obligatory to offer gratitude to Allah on every favour He has bestowed. (But the way of offering gratitude may be different.) If Allah has granted a person wealth, a part of that wealth may be spent with the sincerity in Allah’s way. If Allah has given a person strong body, his bodily strength may be utilised in fulfilling Divine obligations. If Allah has granted a person Divine knowledge, he should impart it to others. [Mazhari].
It is sunnah to recite takbir at the beginning of every Surah from Surah Duha to the end of the Qur’an. The wordings of the takbir, according to Shaikh Salih al-Misri, are as follows:
لَٓا اَلٰہَ اِلَّا اللہُ وَ اللہُ اَکبَرُ
‘There is no god except Allah and Allah is the greatest’ [Mazhari].
According to Ibn Kathir, the takbir may be recited at the end of every Surah and, according to Baghawi, it may be recited once at the beginning of every Surah. [Mazhari]. Either way the requirement of sunnah will be fulfilled. And Allah knows best!
In most Surahs from Surah Duha to the end of Qur’an, Allah’s special favours upon the Holy Prophet ﷺ and his special virtues and characteristics are mentioned. In a few of the Surahs, the Day of Judgment and its conditions are mentioned. The earlier part of the Qur’an asserts the greatness and authenticity of the Qur’an, while the later part asserts the greatness of the personality to whom the Qur’an was revealed.
The Commentary on
This surah, in subject matter, expression, images, connotations and rhythm provides a touch of tenderness and mercy. It is a message of affection, the touch of a benevolent hand to soothe pain and remove hardship. At the same time, it generates an air of contentment and confident hope.
The surah is dedicated in its entirety to the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is a message from his Lord which touches his heart with pleasure, joy, tranquillity and contentment. All-in-all, it proffers mercy and compassion to his restless soul and suffering heart.
Several accounts mention that the revelation of the Qur’ān to the Prophet came, at one stage, to a halt and that the angel Gabriel stopped coming to him for a while. The unbelievers therefore said, “Muhammad’s Lord has bidden him farewell!” God therefore revealed this surah.
Revelation, Gabriel’s visits and the link with God were the Prophet’s whole equipment along his precarious path. They were his only solace in the face of hard rejection and his sole comfort against outright repudiation. They were the source from which he derived his strength to stand steadfast against the unbelievers who were intent on rebuff and refusal, and on directing a wicked, vile attack against the Prophet’s message and the faith he preached.
So when the revelation was withheld, the source of strength for the Prophet was cut off. His life spring was sapped and he longed for his heart’s friend. Alone he was left in the wilderness, without sustenance, water, or the accustomed companionship of his beloved friend. It was a situation which heavily taxed human endurance.
Then this surah was revealed and it came as a river of compassion, mercy, hope, comfort and reassurance. “Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. And, certainly, in time your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased.” (Verses 3-5) Your Lord has never before left you or rejected you, or even denied you His mercy or protection. “Has He not found you an orphan and given you a shelter? And found you in error, and guided you? And found you poor and enriched you?” (Verses 6-8)
Do you not see the proof of all this in your own life? Do you not feel it in your heart? Do you not observe it in your world? Most certainly, “your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you.” (Verse 3) Never was His mercy taken away from you and nor will it be. “Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life.” (Verse 4) And there will be much more: “And, certainly, in time your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased.” (Verse 5)
This statement, is given in the framework of a universal phenomenon: “By the bright morning hours, and the night when it grows still and dark.” (Verses 1-2) The expression spreads an air of affection, kindliness and complete satisfaction. “Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. And, certainly, in time your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased. Has He not found you an orphan and given you a shelter? And found you in error, and guided you? And found you poor and enriched you?” (Verses 3-8) Such tenderness, mercy, satisfaction and solace are all felt in the sweet and soothing words which softly thread along the surah echoing the morning hours and still night, the times most conducive to clarity. During these periods one’s reflections flow like a stream, and the human soul is best able to communicate with the universe and its Creator. It feels the universe worshipping its Lord and turning towards Him in praise with joy and happiness. In addition, the night is described as growing still and dark. It is not the dark gloomy night as such but the still, clear and tranquil night, covered with a light cloud of sweet longing and kind reflection. It is a picture similar to that of the orphan’s life. More still, the night is cleared away by the crossing morning and thus the colours of the picture beautifully match those of the framework, making for perfect harmony.
The scene drawn here is one of perfect beauty. Such perfection is divine, unparalleled and inimitable.
By the bright morning hours, and the night when it grows still and dark, your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. And, certainly, in time your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased. (Verses 1-5)
God vows by these two calm and inspiring periods of time and establishes a relationship between natural phenomena and human feelings. Thus, mutual response is encouraged between human hearts and the universe, which is beautiful, alive and sympathetic to all living beings. Hence, hearts live in peace with the world, relaxed and happy.This mode of expression is particularly appropriate in this surah as the feeling of fellowship is stressed here. It is as if the Prophet is being told straightaway that his Lord had already blessed him with the fellowship of the world around him and that he was by no means forsaken or left alone.
Then follows a clear and emphatic assertion: “Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you.” (Verse 3) He has not left you, nor has He been harsh to you as is alleged by those who want to afflict your heart and soul. For He is your Lord and you belong to Him. He is your sustainer and protector. God’s favours on you have neither run out nor have they been stopped. You, Muhammad, are to get much more and better favours in the hereafter than you are getting in this life. “Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life.” (Verse 4)
God is saving for you, Muhammad, what will satisfy you in your mission and ease your hard path and bring about the victory of your message, vindicating the truth you advocate. These thoughts were in fact preoccupying the Prophet’s mind as he encountered his people’s adamant rejection, ill-treatment, and malice. “In time, your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be well pleased.” (Verse 5)
The surah then goes on to remind the Prophet of his Lord’s attitude towards him from the very beginning of his mission so that he can reflect on how favourably God treats him. This to make him recall the happy memories of divine kindness: “Has He not found you an orphan and given you a shelter? And found you in error, and guided you? And found you poor and enriched you?” (Verses 6-8) Reflect on your present life and on your past. Has He ever forsaken you or hated you even before He charged you with prophethood?
You were born an orphan but God protected you. He made so many people kind to you, especially your uncle Abu Ţālib, though he followed a religion different from yours. You were poor and He made your heart rich with contentment, and made you rich through your business gains and wife’s wealth, so that you would not suffer from poverty or yearn for the riches that abound all around you.
You were also brought up in an ignorant society, full of confused beliefs and concepts, where erring ways and practices abounded. You did not like those beliefs, concepts and practices but you could not find a clear and suitable way out. You could find your way neither in the world of jāhiliyyah, nor with the followers of Moses and Jesus who adulterated their beliefs, distorted their original form and went astray. But God has guided you through His revelations and the way of life He has laid down, establishing a firm bond between Him and you.
This guidance in the wilderness of disbelief and confusion is the greatest favour of them all. The happiness and reassurance it brings about cannot be matched. The Prophet had been greatly perturbed and afflicted because of the cessation of revelation, and the malicious attitude of the unbelievers during the period of its cessation. Hence comes this reminder to put his heart at ease and to reassure him of his Lord’s promise that he will never be abandoned.
God takes the opportunity of mentioning the Prophet’s earlier orphanhood, error and poverty in order to instruct him, and all Muslims, to protect every orphan, be charitable to every beggar, and to speak of the great favours God has bestowed on them. The first and most important of these is having been guided to Islam. “Therefore do not wrong the orphan, nor chide away the beggar, but speak of your Lord’s favours.” (Verses 9-11)
As we have frequently mentioned, these instructions reflect the needs of the day, in that greedy and materialistic society in which the weak, who could not defend their own rights, were not catered for. Islam came to reform that society with God’s laws which establish equity, justice and goodwill. Speaking of God’s bounties, especially those of guidance and faith, expresses gratitude to Him who has given us all that we have. It is the recipient’s practical manifestation of thanks.
Surah Ad Duha Tafseer By Abul A’la Maududi
The Surah takes its name Ad-Duha from the very first word.
Period of Revelation
Its subject matter clearly indicates that it belongs to the earliest period at Makkah. Traditions also show that the revelations were suspended for a time, which caused the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah’s peace) to be deeply distressed and grieved. On this account he felt very anxious that perhaps he had committed some error because of which his Lord had become angry with him and had forsaken him. Thereupon he was given the consolation that revelation had not been stopped because of some displeasure but this was necessitated by the same expediency as underlies the peace and stillness of the night after the bright day, as if to say: “If you had continuously been exposed to the intensely bright light of Revelation (Wahi) your nerves could not have endured it. Therefore, an interval was given in order to afford you peace and tranquility.” This state was experienced by the Holy Prophet in the initial stage of the Prophethood when he was not yet accustomed to hear the intensity of Revelation. On this basis, observance of a pause in between was necessary. This we have already explained in the introduction to Surah Al Muddaththir; and in E. N. 5 of Surah Al-Muzzammil also we have explained what great burden of the coming down of Revelation he had to bear. Later, when the Holy Prophet developed the power to bear this burden, there was no longer any need for long gaps.
Theme and Subject Matter
Its theme is to console the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) and its object to remove his anxiety and distress, which he had been caused by the suspension of Revelation. First of all, swearing an oath by the bright morning and the stillness of night, he has been reassured, so as to say: “Your Lord has not at all forsaken you, nor is he displeased with you.” Then, he has been given the good news that the hardships that he was experiencing in the initial stage of his mission, would not last long, for every later period of life for him would be better than the former period, and before long Allah would bless him so abundantly that he would be well pleased. This is one of the express prophecies of the Quran, which proved literally true, afterwards, whereas when this prophecy was made there seemed not to be the remotest chance that the helpless and powerless man who had come out to wage a war against the ignorance and paganism of the entire nation, would ever achieve such wonderful success.
Then, addressing His Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) Allah says:”O My dear Prophet, what has caused you the anxiety and distress that your Lord has forsaken you, and that We are displeased with you? Whereas the fact is that We have been good to you with kindness after kindness ever since the day of your birth. You were born an orphan, We made the best arrangement for your upbringing and care: you were unaware of the Way, We showed you the Way; you were indigent, We made you rich. All this shows that you have been favored by Us from the very beginning and Our grace and bounty has been constantly focused on you.”Here, one should also keep in view vv. 37-42 of Surah Ta Ha, where Allah, while sending the Prophet Moses to confront a tyrant like Pharaoh, encouraged and consoled him, saying: “We have been looking after you with kindness ever since your birth; therefore, you should be satisfied that you will not be left alone in this dreadful mission. Our bounty will constantly be with you.”
In conclusion, Allah has instructed His Prophet (upon whom be peace) telling him how he should treat the creatures of God to repay for the favors He has done him and how he should render thanks for the blessings He has bestowed on him.
Here, the word duha has been used in contrast to the night; therefore, it implies the bright hours of the day. A precedent of it are vv. 97-98 of Surah Al-A’raf, which say: Do the people of the settlements now feel secure that Our punishment will not come to them all of a sudden at night, while they might be fast asleep? Or, do they feel secure that Our punishment will not smite them all of a sudden during the day while they might be engaged in pastimes?” In these verses also since the word duha has been used in contrast to the night, it implies the day and not just forenoon.
2. The word raja in the original does not only signify the spreading of darkness but it also contains the meaning of stillness and peace that prevails at night. This quality of night deeply relates to the theme that follows.
3. Traditions show that Revelations to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had remained suspended. for some period of time. Different traditions have mentioned different durations of this period. Ibn Juraij has mentioned it to be 12 days, Kalbi 15 days, Ibn ‘Abbas 25 days, and Suddi and Muqatil have stated that it extended to 40 days. In any case the period was so long that it made the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) sorrowful, and the opponents also had the opportunity to taunt him. For whenever a new Surah came down, the Holy Prophet would recite it before the people. Therefore, when he did not recite any new Revelation to them for quite some days, the opponents thought that the fountainhead from where the revelation came, had dried up. Jundub bin ‘Abdullah al-Bajali has related that when Gabriel (peace he on him) stopped coming, the pagans started saying that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) had been forsaken by his Lord. (Ibn Jarir, Tabarani, ‘Abd bin Humaid, Sa’id bin Mansur, Ibn Marduyah). Other traditions show that Umm Jamil, wife of Abu Lahab, who was an aunt of the Holy Prophet and whose house adjoined his, said to him: “It appears your satan has forsaken you.” `Aufi and Ibn Jarir have related, on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, that when Gabriel did not visit him for several days, the Holy Prophet became anxious and distressed, and the pagans began to say that his Lord had become angry with him and had forsaken him. In the mursal traditions of Qatadah and Dahhak almost the same theme has been expressed. The Holy Prophet’s extreme grief and anguish in this condition has also been referred to in several traditions. And this was natural. The apparent indifference on the part of the beloved, the apparent deprivation of the contact with the source of power, which was his chief support, in the soul-destroying conflict between belief and unbelief, and above all, the taunts and jeers of the enemy, when all these things combined they must have caused great anguish to the Holy Prophet, and he must be thinking that because of some error that he might have committed his Lord had become displeased with him and had forsaken and left him to fight the battle between truth and falsehood alone.
This was the state when this Surah was sent down to console the Holy Prophet. In it, swearing an oath by the light of the day and the peacefulness of the night, he has been told: “Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor is He displeased with you.” The relevance of the oath by these two things to the theme is: “Just as brightening up of the day and spreading of the night with darkness and stillness is not for the reason that Allah is pleased with the people during the day and displeased with them during the night but both states are based on supreme wisdom and expedience, so sending down of revelation to you at one-time and suspending it at another time, also is based on wisdom and expedience; it has nothing to do with Allah’s being pleased with you when He sends down revelation and his being displeased with you when He suspends it. Besides, another relevance of the oath to the subject is that if man is constantly exposed to the light of days it wearies him; so, it is necessary that night should fall after the day has remained bright for a certain period so that man may have rest and peace in it. Likewise, if you are constantly exposed to the light of revelation, your nerves would not stand it. Therefore, fatrah (break or gap in the revelation) also has been provided by Allah on account of expedience so that the effects of the strain of revelation that you have to bear pass away and complete peace is restored to you. In other words, rising of the sun of -revelation is analogous to the bright day and the period of the fatrah to the stillness and peace of the night. ”
4. This good news was given by Allah to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) in a state when he had only a handful of Muslims with him, the entire nation was hostile and there was no remote chance of success even. The candle of Islam was flickering only in Makkah and storms were brewing all around to blow it out. At that juncture Allah said to His Prophet “Do not at all grieve at the hardships of the initial stage: every later period of life will be better for you than the former period. Your power and glory, your honor and prestige, will go on enhancing and your influence will go on spreading. This promise is not only confined to the world, but it also includes the promise that the rank and. position you will be granted in the Hereafter will be far higher and nobler than the rank and position you attain in the world. ” Tabarani in A wsat and Baihaqi in Ad-dala il have related, on the authority of Ibn `Abbas .that the Holy Prophet said: “All the victories which would be attained by my Ummah after me, were presented before me. This pleased me much. Then, Allah sent down this Word, saying: ‘The Hereafter is fat better for you than the world’.”
5. That is “Although it will take some time, yet the time is not far when your Lord will bless you with so much that you will be well pleased “This promise was fulfilled during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and all Arabia, from the southern coasts to the Syrian frontiers of the Byzantine empire and the Iraqi frontiers of the Persian empire in the north, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to the Red Sea in the west, carne under his control. For the first time in the history of Arabia this land became subject to one law and rule. Whichever power clashed with it was doomed to destruction. The slogan La ilaha ill-allah-u Muhammad ur-Rasul-Allah reverberated throughout the land where the polytheists and the followers of the earlier scriptures had tried their utmost to keep their false creeds and slogans aloft till the last. The people not only bowed their heads in obedience, their hearts also were conquered, and their .beliefs, morals and acts were revolutionized. There is no precedent in human history that nation sunk in paganism might have completely changed in only 33 years. Then the movement started by the Holy Prophet gathered such power that it spread over a large part of Asia, Africa and Europe and its influence reached every nook and corner of the world. This much Allah gave His Messenger in the world, the glory and extent of what he will give him in the Hereafter cannot be imagined.” (Also see E.N. 112 of Surah Ta Ha).
6. That is, “There can be no question of forsaking you and being displeased with you; We have, in fact, been good to you ever since the time you were born an orphan.” The Holy Prophet’s father passed away three months before his birth; thus he was an orphan at birth. But Allah did not leave him without support even for a day. Up to six years of age his mother nourished and looked after him. After her death, his grandfather took him and brought him up with great love. He would proudly tell the people; “My this son has a great future.’ When he also died, his uncle, Abu Talib, became his guardian and treated him with such rare love that one father could treat his son better. So much so that when after his proclamation to be a Prophet the entire nation turned hostile, Abu Talib alone stood firm as his chief supporter for as long as ten years.
7. The word daallan as used in the original is derived from dalalat, which has several meanings in Arabic. Its one meaning is to be lost in error and deviation; another, to be unaware of the way and to be bewildered at the crossroads as to which way one should choose; still another meaning is of being lost and astray. The tree also is daallah which stands alone and lonely in the desert; the word dalal is also used for a thing which is wasting in unfavorable and uncongenial condition and climate, and also for heedlessness, of which there is an example in the Qur’an itself: La yadillu Rabbi wa la yansa:. “My Lord is neither heedless nor He forgets.” (‘Ta Ha: 52). Out of these different meanings. The first meaning does not apply here, for in the historical accounts of the Holy Prophet’s life, from childhood till just before Prophethood, there is no trace that he ever might have been involved in idolatry, polytheism or atheism, or in any of the acts, customs and practices of paganism prevalent among his people. Therefore, inevitably wa wa. jadaka daallan cannot mean that Allah had found him erring and astray in respect of creed or deed. The other meanings, however, can be applicable here in one or other aspect, and possibly all are applicable in their own particular aspect. Before Prophethood the Holy Prophet was certainly a believer in the existence of Allah and His Unity, and his life was free from sin and reflected excellent morals, yet he was unaware of true Faith, its principles and injunctions, as it has been pointed out in the Qur’an: “You did not know at all what was the Book and what was the Faith.” (Ash-Shura: 52). This verse may also mean that the Holy Prophet was lost in a society, engrossed in ignorance, and his personality as a guide and leader was not in anyway prominent before Prophethood. It may as well mean that in the desert of ignorance, he was standing like a lonely tree, which had the capability to bear fruit and turn the whole desert into a garden, but this capability was not being put to any use before Prophethood. It may also imply that the extraordinary powers that Allah had blessed him with, were going waste in the unfavorable environment of ignorance. Dalal can also be taken in the meaning of heedlessness, so as to say: “You were heedless of the truths and sciences of which Allah made you aware after Prophethood.” This thing also has been referred to in the Qur’an itself: “Though before this you were utterly unaware of these truths.” (Yusuf: 3). (Also see AI-Baqarah: 282, Ash-Shu’ara: 20).
8. The Holy Prophet’s father had left only a she-camel and a slave-girl in heritage for him; so he started his life in a state of poverty. Then a time came when the wealthiest lady among the Quraish, Hadrat Khadijah, first made him her partner in trade, then married him, and he took charge of all her trade and business. Thus, he not only became wealthy but his riches in no way were dependent on the resources of his wife; his own hard work and ability had gone a long way towards promoting her trade and commerce.
9. That is, “As you yourself have been an orphan, and Allah graced you with the bounty that he made the best possible arrangements to help you in that state, therefore, in gratitude you should see that no orphan is treated unjustly and harshly.”
10. It has two meanings.
If sa’il is taken in the sense of a needy person, who asks for help, it would mean that if you can,, you should help him; if you cannot you should excuse yourself politely, but should never scold him. In this sense the instruction corresponds to Allah’s this favor: “You were poor, then Allah enriched you. ”
And if sa’il is taken in the sense of the one who inquires, i. e. asks for enlightenment on a religious matter or injunction, it would mean that even if such a person be extremely ignorant and ill-mannered and might put the question, or present his problem, impolitely, you should in any case answer him politely and kindly, and should not turn him away like the rude people proud of their knowledge.
In this meaning, the instruction corresponds to Allah’s this favor: “You were unaware of the Way, then he guided you.” Hadrat Abud-Darda`, Hasan Basri, Sufyan Thauri and some other scholars have preferred this second meaning, for in view of the order and sequence this instruction corresponds to: wa wajadaka daalllan fa hada.
11. The word ni ‘mat . (bounty) is general, which also implies those bounties, which Allah had bestowed on His Messenger until the revelation of this Surah as well as those which He bestowed on him afterwards according to the promise made in this Surah, which He fulfilled completely. Then, it is enjoined:”O Prophet, mention and proclaim every bounty that Allah has favored you with.” Now, obviously, there can be different forms and ways of mentioning and proclaiming the bounties and every bounty in view of its nature, requires a special form or its mention and proclamation. As a whole, the way of proclaiming the bounties is that Allah be thanked with the tongue and the truth be acknowledged that all the bounties received are only due to His grace and favor and none is the result of any personal excellence and merit on his part. The blessing of Prophethood can be proclaimed by preaching and conveying its message in the best way possible. The blessing of the Qur’an can be proclaimed by publicizing it widely and impressing its teachings on the peoples minds as far as one can. The blessing of Allah’s guidance can be proclaimed by showing the right way to the people who are gone astray and by enduring patiently all the bitternesses and hardships of the way. The favor that Allah has done of helping during orphanhood, demands that the orphans be treated well. The favor that Allah did of enriching after poverty requires that Allah’s needy servants be helped and supported. In short, this is a very comprehensive instruction which Allah gave His Messenger (upon whom be His peace) in this brief sentence after having described His bounties and blessings.