Assalamualaikum.

Surah Muzzammil (Arabic: المزمل‎) is the 73rd Surah of the Quran. It is classified as a Meccan Surah meaning it’s revelation was before the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) migrated from Mecca to Medina. It is composed of 20 ayat and English title is “The Enshrouded One” or “Enfolded”.

The Surah emphasizes the importance of establishing prayers and the reading Qur’an. It encourages those who believe to gain strength from the word of Allah. The greatest rewards are those that spend your wealth in the path of Allah.

One of the goals of the My Islam site is to make it easy to read and understand the Quran. Below every ayat in Arabic text we’ve provided transliteration to help with pronunciation and Sahih International English translation to help with the understand. For those looking to learn in detail we’ve included various Tafseer at the end.

Notable Quote:

 “Establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward.”
Surah Muzzammil Ayat 20

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Read Surah MuzzamMil with English Translation and Transliteration

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ

Ya aiyuhal muzzammil
1. O you who wraps himself [in clothing],

قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

Qumil laila illaa qaleelaa
2. Arise [to pray] the night, except for a little –

نِصْفَهُ أَوِ انْقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلً

Nisfahooo awinqus minhu qaleelaa
3. Half of it – or subtract from it a little

أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلً

Aw zid ‘alaihi wa rattilil Qur’aana tarteela
4. Or add to it, and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation.

إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلً

Innaa sanulqee ‘alaika qawalan saqeelaa
5. Indeed, We will cast upon you a heavy word.

إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئًا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلًا

Inn naashi’atal laili hiya ashadddu wat anw wa aqwamu qeelaa
6. Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words.

إِنَّ لَكَ فِي النَّهَارِ سَبْحًا طَوِيلً

Inna laka fin nahaari sabhan taweelaa
7. Indeed, for you by day is prolonged occupation.

وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلً

Wazkuris ma rabbika wa tabattal ilaihi tabteelaa
8. And remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with [complete] devotion.

رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلًا

Rabbul mashriqi wal maghriibi laaa ilaaha illaa Huwa fattakhizhu wakeelaa
9. [He is] the Lord of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs.

وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلًا

Wasbir ‘alaa maa yaqoo loona wahjurhum hajran jameelaa
10. And be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance.

وَذَرْنِي وَالْمُكَذِّبِينَ أُولِي النَّعْمَةِ وَمَهِّلْهُمْ قَلِيلً

Wa zarnee walmukaz zibeena ulin na’mati wa mahhilhum qaleelaa
11. And leave Me with [the matter of] the deniers, those of ease [in life], and allow them respite a little.

إِنَّ لَدَيْنَا أَنْكَالًا وَجَحِيمًا

Inna ladainaaa ankaalanw wa jaheemaa
12. Indeed, with Us [for them] are shackles and burning fire

وَطَعَامًا ذَا غُصَّةٍ وَعَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

Wa ta’aaman zaa ghussa tinw wa’azaaban aleemaa
13. And food that chokes and a painful punishment –

يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الْأَرْضُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَكَانَتِ الْجِبَالُ كَثِيبًا مَهِيلًا

Yawma tarjuful ardu waljibaalu wa kaanatil jibaalu kaseebam maheelaa
14. On the Day the earth and the mountains will convulse and the mountains will become a heap of sand pouring down.

إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولًا شَاهِدًا عَلَيْكُمْ كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ رَسُولً

Innaa arsalnaaa ilaikum rasoolan shahidan ‘alikum kamaaa arsalnaaa ilaa Fir’awna Rasoolan
15. Indeed, We have sent to you a Messenger as a witness upon you just as We sent to Pharaoh a messenger.

فَعَصَىٰ فِرْعَوْنُ الرَّسُولَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُ أَخْذًا وَبِيلً

Fa’asaa Fir’awnur Rasoola fa akhaznaahu akhzanw wabeelaa
16. But Pharaoh disobeyed the messenger, so We seized him with a ruinous seizure.

فَكَيْفَ تَتَّقُونَ إِن كَفَرْتُمْ يَوْمًا يَجْعَلُ الْوِلْدَانَ شِيبًا

Fakaifa tattaqoona in kafartum yawmany yaj’alul wildaana sheeba
17. Then how can you fear, if you disbelieve, a Day that will make the children white- haired?

السَّمَاءُ مُنفَطِرٌ بِهِ ۚ كَانَ وَعْدُهُ مَفْعُولًا

Assamaaa’u munfatirum bih; kaana wa’duhoo maf’oola
18. The heaven will break apart therefrom; ever is His promise fulfilled.

إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِ تَذْكِرَةٌ ۖ فَمَن شَاءَ اتَّخَذَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِ سَبِيلًا

Inna haazihee tazkiratun fa man shaaa’at takhaza ilaa Rabbihee sabeelaa
19. Indeed, this is a reminder, so whoever wills may take to his Lord a way.

۞ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ثُلُثَيِ اللَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ وَثُلُثَهُ وَطَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ مَعَكَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُقَدِّرُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ ۚ عَلِمَ أَن لَّن تُحْصُوهُ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ ۚ عَلِمَ أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُم مَّرْضَىٰ ۙ وَآخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ ۙ وَآخَرُونَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ ۚ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَقْرِضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا ۚ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُوَ خَيْرًا وَأَعْظَمَ أَجْرًا ۚ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Inna Rabbaka ya’lamu annaka taqoomu adnaa min sulusa yil laili wa nisfahoo wa sulusahoo wa taaa’ifatum minal lazeena ma’ak; wal laahu yuqaddirul laila wanna haar; ‘alima al lan tuhsoohu fataaba ‘alaikum faqra’oo maa tayassara minal quraan; ‘alima an sa yakoonu minkum mardaa wa aakharoona yadriboona fil ardi yabtaghoona min fadlil laahi wa aakharoona yuqaatiloona fee sabeelil laahi faqra’oo ma tayassara minhu wa aqeemus salaata wa aatuz zakaata wa aqridul laaha qardan hasanaa; wa maa tuqadimoo li anfusikum min khairin tajidoohu ‘indal laahi huwa khayranw wa a’zama ajraa; wastaghfirul laahaa innal laaha ghafoorur raheem.
20. Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur’an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah . So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Tafseer of Surah Muddaththir

In Hadith of Sunan Ibn Majah number 3779, it tells us those who find it difficult to read the Quran will receive twice the reward for their effort.

We should continue to read the Qur’an daily. But let’s try to remember the Quran was a revelation to provide clear evidence that Islam is the one true religion and to serve as a book of guidance. We should not only read the Quran but make it a study.

There’s no one right way to do this, each person learns differently. We can listen to khutbah or lectures or an alternative is we can read the various tafseer. We personally believe the tafseer provides a more structured format and is more dense then a formal talk. You can branch off easily and explore different ayat of different Surahs as needed. We’ve included three different sources below, if you have any recommendations you can send an email to our team.

Tafsir of Surah Muzzammil

Which was revealed in Makkah

 

﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴾

 

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

The Command to stand at Night (in Prayer)

 

Allah commands His Messenger to cease being wrapped up, and this means to be covered during the night. He commands him to get up and stand in prayer to His Lord. This is as Allah says,

﴿تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفاً وَطَمَعاً وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ﴾

 

(Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend out of what We have bestowed on them.) (32:16) Thus, the Prophet did as Allah ordered him, by standing for prayer at night. This was obligatory upon him alone, as Allah said,

﴿وَمِنَ الَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَّحْمُودًا ﴾

 

(And in some parts of the night offer the Salah with it (the Qur’an), as an additional prayer for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) (17:79) Here Allah explains how much prayer he should perform. Allah says,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ – قُمِ الَّيْلَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً ﴾

 

(O you wrapped up! Stand all night, except a little.) Ibn `Abbas, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi all said,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ ﴾

 

(O you wrapped up!) “This means, O you who are asleep.” Qatadah said, “The one who is wrapped up in his garments.” Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿نِّصْفَهُ﴾

 

(Half of it) means, instead of the whole night.

﴿أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلاًأَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ﴾

 

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

 

The Way of reciting the Qur’an

Concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْءَانَ تَرْتِيلاً﴾

 

(And Rattil the Qur’an Tartil.) meaning, recite it slowly, for that will help in understanding the Qur’an and contemplating it. This is how the Prophet used to recite. `A’ishah said, “He (the Prophet) used to recite the chapter slowly, so much so that it would be longer than chapters that were actually longer than it.” In Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded from Anas that he was asked about the recitation of the Messenger of Allah , so he replied, “He used to elongate the letters.” Then he (Anas) recited,

﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴾

 

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.) (1:1) and he elongated “In the Name of Allah,” and he elongated “The Most Gracious,” and he elongated “The Most Merciful.” Ibn Jurayj reported from Ibn Abi Mulaykah, who narrated from Umm Salamah that she was asked about the recitation of the Messenger of Allah , so she said, “He used to pause in his recitation, verse by verse.

﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ – الْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ – الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ – مَـلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ ﴾

 

(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is Allah’s, the Lord of all that exists. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. The Only Owner of the Day of Recompense.) (1:1-4) This was recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi. We have already mentioned the Hadiths which prove the recommendation of slow rhythmic recitation and beautification of the voice while reciting at the beginning of this Tafsir. For example, the Hadith which states,

«زَيِّنُوا الْقُرْآنَ بِأَصْوَاتِكُم»

 

(Beautify the Qur’an with your voices.) and the Hadith,

«لَيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ لَمْ يَتَغَنَّ بِالْقُرْآن»

 

(He is not of us who does not chant nicely with the recitation of the Qur’an.) and the Hadith,

«لَقَدْ أُوتِيَ هَذَا مِزْمَارًا مِنْ مَزَامِيرِ آلِ دَاوُد»

 

(Verily, he has been given this windpipe from the windpipes of the family of Dawud.) Referring to Abu Musa. Abu Musa replied, “If I knew that you had been listening to my recitation, I would have truly beautified it for you.” It has been narrated from Ibn Mas`ud that he said, “Do not scatter the (recitation of) Qur’an out like the scattering of sand, and do not rush through it like the hasty recitation of poetry. Stop at its amazing parts and make your heart move with it. None of you should let his concern be to reach the end of the chapter.” This has been recorded by Al-Baghawi. Al-Bukhari recorded from Abi Wa’il that he said, “A man came to Ibn Mas`ud and said, `I read the Mufassal chapters (from Qaf to An-Nas) last night in one unit of prayer.’ Ibn Mas`ud said, `This is rushing like the haste of reciting poetry. the Most Merciful. The Only Owner of the Day of Recompense.) (1:1-4) This was recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi. We have already mentioned the Hadiths which prove the recommendation of slow rhythmic recitation and beautification of the voice while reciting at the beginning of this Tafsir. For example, the Hadith which states,

«زَيِّنُوا الْقُرْآنَ بِأَصْوَاتِكُم»

 

(Beautify the Qur’an with your voices.) and the Hadith,

«لَيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ لَمْ يَتَغَنَّ بِالْقُرْآن»

 

(He is not of us who does not chant nicely with the recitation of the Qur’an.) and the Hadith,

«لَقَدْ أُوتِيَ هَذَا مِزْمَارًا مِنْ مَزَامِيرِ آلِ دَاوُد»

 

(Verily, he has been given this windpipe from the windpipes of the family of Dawud.) Referring to Abu Musa. Abu Musa replied, “If I knew that you had been listening to my recitation, I would have truly beautified it for you.” It has been narrated from Ibn Mas`ud that he said, “Do not scatter the (recitation of) Qur’an out like the scattering of sand, and do not rush through it like the hasty recitation of poetry. Stop at its amazing parts and make your heart move with it. None of you should let his concern be to reach the end of the chapter.” This has been recorded by Al-Baghawi. Al-Bukhari recorded from Abi Wa’il that he said, “A man came to Ibn Mas`ud and said, `I read the Mufassal chapters (from Qaf to An-Nas) last night in one unit of prayer.’ Ibn Mas`ud said, `This is rushing like the haste of reciting poetry.

 

The Magnificence of the Qur’an

Allah then said,

﴿إِنَّا سَنُلْقِى عَلَيْكَ قَوْلاً ثَقِيلاً ﴾

 

(Verily, We shall send down to you a Word Thaqil.) Al-Hasan and Qatadah both said, “The actions with it.” It has also been said that it means it will be heavy at the time of its revelation due to its magnificence. This is similar to what Zayd bin Thabit said. He said, “The Messenger of Allah received some revelation while his thigh was on top of my thigh, and my thigh was almost crushed due to it.” Imam Ahmad recorded from `Abdullah bin `Amr that he said, “I asked the Prophet , `O Messenger of Allah! Do you feel anything when revelation comes (to you)’ The Messenger of Allah replied,

«أَسْمَعُ صَلَاصِلَ ثُمَّ أَسْكُتُ عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ، فَمَا مِنْ مَرَّةٍ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ إِلَّا ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّ نَفْسِي تُقْبَض»

 

(I hear a ringing and then I remain quiet when that occurs. There has not been a single time that revelation has come to me except that I thought that my soul was about to be taken (death).)” Ahmad was alone in narrating this. In the beginning of Sahih Al-Bukhari, it is recorded from `A’ishah that Al-Harith bin Hisham asked the Messenger of Allah , “How does the revelation come to you” The Prophet replied,

«أَحْيَانًا يَأْتِي فِي مِثْلِ صَلْصَلَةِ الْجَرَسِ وَهُوَ أَشَدُّهُ عَلَيَّ، فَيُفْصَمُ عَنِّي وَقَدْ وَعَيْتُ عَنْهُ مَا قَالَ، وَأَحْيَانًا يَتَمَثَّلُ لِي الْمَلَكُ رَجُلًا فَيُكَلِّمُنِي فَأَعِي مَا يَقُول»

 

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

 

The Virtue of standing at Night for Prayer

Allah says,

﴿إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ الَّيْلِ هِىَ أَشَدُّ وَطْأً وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلاً ﴾

 

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

﴿هِىَ أَشَدُّ وَطْأً وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلاً﴾

 

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

﴿وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلاً﴾

 

(more suitable for speech).’ So Anas said to him, `Most correct (Aswab), most suitable (Aqwam), the best for preparation (Ahya’) and similar words are all the same (in meaning).”’ Thus, Allah continues saying,

﴿إِنَّ لَكَ فِى النَّهَارِ سَبْحَاً طَوِيلاً ﴾

 

(Verily, for you in the day is lengthy Sabh.) Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah and “Ata’ bin Abi Muslim, all said, “Leisure time and sleep.” Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Sufyan Ath-Thawri, all said, “A long amount of leisure time.” Qatadah said, “Leisure, aspirations and activities.” `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said concerning the statement,

﴿إِنَّ لَكَ فِى النَّهَارِ سَبْحَاً طَوِيلاً ﴾

 

(Verily, for you in the day is lengthy Sabh.) “This means for your needs. Therefore, leave the night open for your religious devotion. Allah said this when the (voluntary) night prayer was obligatory. Then, Allah blessed His servants, lightened the matter and removed its obligation.” Then he recited,

﴿قُمِ الَّيْلَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً ﴾

 

(Stand (to pray) all night, except a little.) to the end of the Ayah, then he recited,

﴿إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَى مِن ثُلُثَىِ الَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ﴾

 

(Verily, your Lord knows that you do stand less than two- thirds of the night, or half of it.) (73:20) until he reached,

﴿مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُواْ﴾

 

(So recite of it what is easy.) (73:20) and Allah says,

﴿وَمِنَ الَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَّحْمُودًا ﴾

 

(And Tahajjud in some parts of the night (also offer the Salah with it), as an additional prayer for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) (17:79) In fact, this is as true as what he (`Abdur-Rahman) said, The proof for this view is what Imam Ahmad recorded in his Musnad, that Sa`id bin Hisham divorced his wife and then traveled to Al-Madinah in order to sell some property he had with her. He intended to use its money to buy an animal and a weapon and then go for Jihad against the Romans until he died. In the process of this he met a group of his people and they informed him that a group of six men from his people had intended that in the time of the Messenger of Allah , upon which he said,

«أَلَيْسَ لَكُمْ فِيَّ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ؟»

 

(Is there not for you all an excellent example in me) So he forbade them from that and made them testify that they would take their wives back. Then he (Sa`id) returned to us and informed us that he went to Ibn `Abbas and asked him about the Witr (prayer). Ibn `Abbas said, “Shall I not inform you of the person who is the most knowledgeable person on the earth about the Witr prayer of the Messenger of Allah ” He said, “Yes.” Ibn `Abbas then said, “Go to `A’ishah and ask her, then return to me and inform me of what she tells you.” He said, “Then I went to Hakim bin Aflah and requested him to go with me to her. But he said, `I do not want to be near her. Verily, I forbade her from saying anything concerning these two parties (the parties of `Ali and Mu`awiyah), but she refused and continued being involved with them (in their conflict).’ So I adjured him by Allah, so he came with me and we entered upon her (in her house).” So she said, “Is this the Hakim that I know” He (Hakim) said, “Yes.” Then she said, “Who is this that is with you” He said, “Sa`id bin Hisham.” She said, “Who is Hisham” He said, “He is Ibn `Amir.” She then asked Allah to have mercy upon him (`Amir). Then she said, “Yes, `Amir was a true man.” Then I (Sa`id) said, “O Mother of the believers! Inform me about the character of the Messenger of Allah .” She replied, “Have you not read the Qur’an” I said, “Of course.” Then she said, “Verily, the character of the Messenger of Allah was the Qur’an.” I was about to stand and leave, but then I remembered to ask about the night prayer of the Messenger of Allah . I said, “O Mother of the believers! Inform me about the night prayer of the Messenger of Allah .” She said, “Have you not read the Surah,

﴿يأَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ ﴾

 

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

﴿يأَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ ﴾

 

(O you wrapped.) (73:1) was revealed, the people stood in night prayer for an entire year until their feet and shins swelled. This continued until Allah revealed,

﴿مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُواْ﴾

 

(So recite of it what is easy.) (73:20) Then the people relaxed.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri and As-Suddi both said the same. `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said concerning Allah’s statement,

﴿قُمِ الَّيْلَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً – نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلاً ﴾

 

(Stand (to pray) all night, except a little. Half of it or less than that, a little.) (73:2,3) “This became difficult on the believers. Then Allah lightened the matter for them and had mercy on them when He revealed after this,

﴿أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُمْ مَّرْضَى وَءَاخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَءَاخَرُونَ﴾

 

(He knows that there will be some among you sick, others traveling through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty.) until Allah says,

﴿مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُواْ﴾

 

(So, recite you of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you.) (73:20) So Allah made the matter easy – and unto Him is due all praise – and he did not make matters difficult.” Then Allah says,

﴿وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلاً ﴾

 

(And remember the Name of your Lord and (Tabattal) devote yourself to Him with complete devotion.) meaning, make much remembrance (Dhikr) of Him, devote yourself to Him and spend your time worshipping Him when you have completed your occupations and what you need from the affairs of your worldly matters. This is as Allah says,

﴿فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانصَبْ ﴾

 

(So when you have finished (your occupation), devote yourself for Allah’s worship.) (94:7) meaning, when you have completed your tasks and occupations, then busy yourself in His obedience and His worship so that you will have free time for leisure. The meaning of this was said by Ibn Zayd, or close to its meaning. Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Salih, `Atiyah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi, all said,

﴿وَتَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلاً﴾

 

(And (Tabattal) devote yourself to Him with complete devotion.) “This means, make your worship solely for Him alone.” Al-Hasan said, “Strive and devote yourself to Him.” Ibn Jarir said, “A devout worshipper is called Mutabattil. An example of this is the reported Hadith that he (the Prophet ) forbade At-Tabattul, which means total devotion to worship while avoiding getting married.” Allah said,

﴿رَّبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلاً ﴾

 

(Lord of the east and the west; La ilaha illa Huwa. So take Him a trustee.) meaning, He is the Owner and Controller of affairs in the eastern regions and the western regions. He is the One except whom there is no deity worthy of worship. Just as you single Him out for worship, you should also single Him out for reliance. Therefore, take Him as a guardian and trustee. This is as Allah says in another Ayah,

﴿فَاعْبُدْهُ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَيْهِ﴾

 

(So worship Him and rely upon him.) (11:123) It is also similar to His statement,

﴿إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ ﴾

 

(You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone) we ask for help.) (1:5) The Ayat with this meaning are numerous. They contain the command to make worship and acts of obedience exclusively for Allah, and to rely solely upon Him.

The Command to be Patient with the Harms of the Disbelievers and a Discussion of what They will rece

Allah commands His Messenger to be patient with what the foolish who reject him among his people say. Allah also commands him to keep away from them in a nice way. This means in a way that is not blameworthy. Then Allah says to him, as a threat and a warning to his people – and He (Allah) is the Most Great, Whose anger nothing can stand before,

﴿وَذَرْنِى وَالْمُكَذِّبِينَ أُوْلِى النَّعْمَةِ﴾

 

(And leave Me alone to deal with the deniers, those who are in possession of good things of life.) meaning, `leave Me to deal with the rich rejectors, who own great wealth.’ For verily, they are more able to obey than others besides them, and they are requested to give the rights (to people) because they have what others do not have.

﴿وَمَهِّلْهُمْ قَلِيلاً﴾

 

(And give them respite for a little.) meaning, for a little while. This is as Allah says,

﴿نُمَتِّعُهُمْ قَلِيلاً ثُمَّ نَضْطَرُّهُمْ إِلَى عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ ﴾

 

(We let them enjoy for a little, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment.) (31:24) Thus, Allah says,

﴿إِنَّ لَدَيْنَآ أَنكَالاً﴾

 

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

﴿وَجَحِيماً﴾

 

(and Jahim.) This is a blazing fire.

﴿وَطَعَاماً ذَا غُصَّةٍ﴾

 

(And a food that chokes,) Ibn `Abbas said, “This means it will get stuck in the throat and it will not enter or come out.”

﴿وَعَذَاباً أَلِيماًيَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الاٌّرْضُ وَالْجِبَالُ﴾

 

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

﴿وَكَانَتِ الْجِبَالُ كَثِيباً مَّهِيلاً﴾

 

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

Your Messenger is like the Messenger to Fir`awn, and You know what happened to Fir`awn

Then addresses the disbelievers of the Quraysh, and along with them the rest of mankind,

﴿إِنَّآ أَرْسَلْنَآ إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولاً شَـهِداً عَلَيْكُمْ﴾

 

(Verily, We have sent to you a Messenger to be a witness over you,) meaning, witnessing your deeds.

﴿إِنَّآ أَرْسَلْنَآ إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولاً شَـهِداً عَلَيْكُمْ كَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَآ إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ رَسُولاً – فَعَصَى فِرْعَوْنُ الرَّسُولَ فَأَخَذْنَـهُ أَخْذاً وَبِيلاً ﴾

 

(as We did send a Messenger to Fir`awn. But Fir`awn disobeyed the Messenger; so We seized him with a severe punishment.)

﴿أَخْذاً وَبِيلاً﴾

 

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

﴿فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الاٌّخِرَةِ وَالاٍّوْلَى ﴾

 

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

 

The Threat of the Day of Judgement

Allah says,

﴿فَكَيْفَ تَتَّقُونَ إِن كَفَرْتُمْ يَوْماً يَجْعَلُ الْوِلْدَنَ شِيباً ﴾

 

(Then how can you proctect yourselves from the punishment, if you disbelieved, on a Day that will make the children gray-headed) Ibn Jarir quoted in the recitation of Ibn Mas`ud: “How can you, O people, fear a Day that makes the children grey-headed, if you disbelieve in Allah and do not testify to Him” So the first interpretation would mean, `how can you attain safety for yourselves from the Day of this great horror if you disbelieve’ It could imply the meaning, `how can you all attain piety if you disbelieve in the Day of Judgement and reject it.’ Both of these meanings are good. However, the first interpretation is closer to the truth. And Allah knows best. The meaning of Allah’s statement,

﴿يَوْماً يَجْعَلُ الْوِلْدَنَ شِيباً﴾

 

(On a Day that will make the children gray-headed) is that this will happen due to the severity of its horrors, its earth- quakes and its distur- bing confusion. This is when Allah will say to Adam, “Send a group to the Fire.” Adam will say, “How many” Allah will then reply, “From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine to the Fire, and one to Paradise.” Then Allah says,

﴿السَّمَآءُ مُنفَطِرٌ بِهِ﴾

 

(Whereon the heaven will be cleft asunder) Al-Hasan and Qatadah both said, “This means, because of it (the Day of Judge- ment), due to its severity and its horror.” Then Allah says,

﴿كَانَ وَعْدُهُ مَفْعُولاً﴾

 

(His promise is certainly to be accomplished.) meaning, the promise of this Day will be fulfilled. This means it will occur and there is no way around it, and it will come to pass and there is no avoiding it.

This is a Surah that Men of Sound Understanding receive Admonition from

 

Allah says,

﴿إِنَّ هَـذِهِ﴾

 

(Verily, this) meaning, this Surah.

﴿تَذْكِرَةٌ﴾

 

(an admonition,) meaning, men of understanding receive admonition from it. Thus, Allah says,

﴿فَمَن شَآءَ اتَّخَذَ إِلَى رَبِّهِ سَبِيلاً﴾

 

(therefore whosoever wills, let him take a path to His Lord.) meaning, from those whom Allah wills that they be guided. This is similar to the stipulation that Allah mentions in another Surah,

﴿وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلاَّ أَن يَشَآءَ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً ﴾

 

(But you cannot will, unless Allah wills. Verily Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Al-Wise.) (76:30)

 

Abrogation of the Obligation to offer the Night Prayer and a Mention of its Valid Excuses

Then Allah says,

﴿إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ تَقُومُ أَدْنَى مِن ثُلُثَىِ الَّيْلِ وَنِصْفَهُ وَثُلُثَهُ وَطَآئِفَةٌ مِّنَ الَّذِينَ مَعَكَ﴾

 

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

﴿وَاللَّهُ يُقَدِّرُ الَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ﴾

 

(And Allah measures the night and the day.) meaning, sometimes the night and day are equal, and sometimes one of them will be longer or shorter than the other.

﴿عَلِمَ أَلَّن تُحْصُوهُ فَتَابَ﴾

 

(He knows that you are unable to pray the whole night,) meaning, the obligation which He prescribed for you.

﴿مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْءَانِ عَلِمَ﴾

 

(So, recite you of the Qur’an as much as may be easy.) meaning, without specification of any set time. This means, stand and pray during the night as much as is easy (for you). Allah uses the term recitation (Qira’ah) to mean prayer (Salah). This is as Allah says in Surah Subhan (Al-Isra’),

﴿وَلاَ تَجْهَرْ بِصَلاتِكَ﴾

 

(And offer your Salah neither aloud) (17:110) meaning, your recitation.

﴿وَلاَ تُخَافِتْ بِهَا﴾

 

(Nor in low voice.) (17:110) Then Allah says,

﴿أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُمْ مَّرْضَى وَءَاخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَءَاخَرُونَ يُقَـتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَاقْرَءُواْ﴾

 

(He knows that there will be some among you sick, others traveling through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty, yet others fighting in Allah’s cause.) meaning, He knows that there will be people of this nation who will have excuses for not praying the (voluntary) night prayer. They are those who are ill and therefore they are not able to perform it, and those who are traveling in the land seeking the bounty of Allah in business and trade, and others who will be busy with that which is more important to them. An example of this is going on expeditions to fight in the way of Allah. This Ayah, rather, this entire Surah was revealed in Makkah even though fighting was not legislated until after it was revealed. Thus, it is among the greatest of the signs of prophethood, because it informs about unseen matters of the future. Thus, Allah says,

﴿مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ وَأَقِيمُواْ﴾

 

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

﴿وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ﴾

 

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

«خَمْسُ صَلَوَاتٍ فِي الْيَوْمِ وَاللَّيْلَة»

 

(Five obligatory prayers during a day and a night (are obligatory).)” The man said, “Is there anything other than this (of prayer) that is obligatory upon me” The Messenger of Allah replied,

«لَا، إِلَّا أَنْ تَطَوَّع»

 

(No, except what you may do voluntarily.)

 

The Command to give Charity and do Good Deeds

Allah says,

﴿اللَّهَ قَرْضاً حَسَناً وَمَا﴾

 

(and lend to Allah a handsome loan.) meaning, from charitable donations. For verily, Allah will reward for this the best and most abundant of rewards. This is as Allah says,

﴿مَّن ذَا الَّذِى يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً﴾

 

(Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it to him many times) (2:245) Then Allah says,

﴿تُقَدِّمُواْ لاًّنفُسِكُمْ مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُوَ خَيْراً وَأَعْظَمَ أَجْراً وَاسْتَغْفِرُواْ﴾

 

(And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward.) meaning, for all that you send before yourselves, you will get it (back) and it will be better than what you kept for yourselves in the worldly life. Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Mawsili reported from Al-Harith bin Suwayd, from `Abdullah that Messenger of Allah said,

«أَيُّكُمْ مَالُهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ مَالِ وَارِثِهِ؟»

 

(Which of you hold his wealth to be more beloved to him than the wealth of his heir) rThey said, “O Messenger of Allah! There is not a single one of us who does not hold his wealth to be more beloved to him than the wealth of his heir.” The Messenger of Allah then said,

«اعْلَمُوا مَا تَقُولُون»

 

(Know what you are saying!) They replied, “What do we know other than this, O Messenger of Allah” He then said,

«إِنَّمَا مَالُ أَحَدِكُمْ مَا قَدَّمَ، وَمَالُ وَارِثِهِ مَا أَخَّر»

 

(The wealth of one of you is only that which he sends forth, and the wealth of his heir is that which he leaves behind.) Al-Bukhari also recorded this Hadith. Then Allah says,

﴿وَاسْتَغْفِرُواْ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾

 

(And seek forgiveness of Allah. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.) meaning, remember Him and seek forgiveness from Him often for all of your matters. For verily, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful to whoever seeks His forgiveness.

***

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Muzzammil, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.

[73:1] O you wrapped up in clothes,

The Holy Prophet ﷺ is addressed in this verse with reference to a particular style of wrapping himself in his clothes. The first event of this kind occurred when the Holy Prophet received first revelation in the cave of Hira’. Being his first experience, he felt it very hard, and was caught by, a shivery cold, and once he reached home, he asked his blessed wife Khadijah ؓ to wrap him in a blanket which she did. Some narrations have reported another event: When the Holy Prophet was accused, by the pagans of Makkah, of being a magician who separated between friends, he felt aggrieved, and wrapped himself in his clothes out of grief. Addressing him with reference to these events is a loving style _ adopted by Allah Ta’ala to console him. (Muhammad Taqi Usmani)

Commentary
يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ you wrapped up in clothes [73:1]. The word muzzammil literally means ‘one wrapped up in clothes’ and its near-synonym ‘muddaththir’ comes in the next Surah. The Holy Prophet ﷺ is addressed in this verse with reference to a particular style of wrapping himself in his clothes. The first event of this kind occurred when the Holy Prophet received first revelation in the cave of Hira’. Being his first experience, he felt it very hard, and was caught by a shivery cold, and once he reached home, he asked his blessed wife Khadijah ؓ to wrap him in a blanket which she did. A detailed account of this event is reported by Bukhari in the very first chapter of his book. Then the revelation stopped for some time. Speaking of this temporary break in the revelation [termed as fatrat-ul-wahy], Sayyidna Jabir ؓ reports that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said in his narrative:

“Whilst I was walking along, I heard a voice from heaven and I raised up my eyes. Lo! The Angel that had appeared to me in Hira was sitting on a chair between heaven and earth, and I was struck with awe on account of him and returned home and said, Wrap me up, wrap me up [zammiluni, zammiluni]. Then Allah revealed the first five verses of Surah Al-Muddththir (chapter 74).” [Bukhari and Muslim]

According to this narrative, the Holy Prophet ﷺ is affectionately addressed as ‘0 you, enveloped in a mantle,’ whereas in this Surah he is addressed as ‘0 you wrapped up in clothes’. Both forms of address are used affectionately and endearingly to console him. The latter title of address ‘muzzammil’ as it appears in this Surah could probably be connected to another incident (referred to in the footnote) but it, nonetheless, shows deep love and affection for the Holy Prophet ﷺ . [Ruh-ul-Ma` ani]. Having addressed him with this special title, the Holy Prophet ﷺ is told in the following verses that praying to Allah in the stillness of night [salat-ut-tahajjud] will prepare him for the heavy task entrusted to him. Some details of the night-prayer have also been set out.


[73:2] stand at night (for prayer) except a littleInjunctions Pertaining to salat-ut-Tahajjud and its Abrogation

Reading into the titles muzzammil and muddaththir a consensus of scholarly opinion assigns the revelation of this Surah to the earliest period when the five daily prayers had not become obligatory. They were prescribed on the night of Holy Prophet’s ﷺ Ascent to heavens. [mi` raj].

Imam Baghawl (رح) ، says, on the basis of Ahadith reported by Sayyidah ` A’ishah Siddigah ؓ and others, that ‘night-prayer’ was compulsory for the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the entire Muslim community until the five prayers were not prescribed.

This verse not only prescribes the night-prayer but it also prescribes to stand up in prayer from at least one quarter of the night, because the verse under comment basically commanded to stand up all night to pray except a little portion of it.

Imam Baghawi (رح) says, on the basis of narration of Ahadith, that the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the noble Companions ؓ in compliance with this command, spent the major portion of the night in tahajjud, so much so that their feet would swell and this exertion caused hardship and difficulty to them. This situation continued for a year. After that, towards the end of the Surah, the following injunction was revealed:
فَاقْرَ‌ءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ‌ مِنْهُ
‘…Therefore, recite as much of it as is easy_[73:20] ‘

It repealed the obligation of staying up for a long time, and granted them concession and permission to stay up for prayer as much as they could easily manage. This is transmitted by Abu Dawud and Nasa’i on the authority of Sayyidah ` A’ishah ؓ ، Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ says that when the five prescribed prayers became obligatory on the night of mi` raj, the obligatory nature of tahajjud was abrogated. It was, however, retained as sunnah, because the Holy Prophet ﷺ performed it most regularly. Most of the blessed Companions ؓ were regular with their tahajjud as well. [Mazhari] Let us now analyze the wordings of the verses.

قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا ‘stand at night (for prayer) except a little_[73:2] ‘. The word al-lail with the definite article ‘al’ connotes ‘the entire night’, signifying that he should stay up the whole night for prayer except a little portion of it. As the word ‘little’ is indefinite, the verse further clarifies:

نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلًا ‘half of it, or make it a little less, [3] or أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ make it a little more [73:4] ‘. This is explicative of the exception ‘except a little’. A question may be raised here that ‘a little’ cannot be ‘half. The answer is that the earlier portion of the night is spent in the prayer at maghrib and ` isha’. ‘Half then refers to the half of the rest of the night. Its total in relation to the whole night amounts to ‘a little’. The verse permits to reduce it a little less than half and it also permits to add to it a little more than half. Thus it was compulsory to stay up at least for a little over one fourth of a night for prayer.


[73:3] half of it, or make it a little less,

[73:4] or make it a little more; and recite the Qur’an clearly with tartil (in a distinct and measured tone).

وَرَ‌تِّلِ الْقُرْ‌آنَ تَرْ‌تِيلًا ‘…and recite the Qur’an clearly with tartil (in a distinct and measured tone). [73:4] ‘. The word tartil , according to Imam Raghib as explicated in al-Mufradat, originally means ‘to put together and arrange well the component parts of a word and speech and make it distinct’. The purport of the verse is to say that the Qur’an must not be recited in haste, but in a leisurely manner, distinctly, deliberately and in well-measured tone. At the same time, it is necessary to reflect on its meaning and message. [Mazhari]. The clause wa rattil is grammatically conjoined to qumil lail and signifies what is required to be done in tahajjud prayer. Although it comprises many components like tasbih, ruku ‘ (bowing), sujud (prostration) and so on, the verse indicates that the basic component of prayer is recitation of the Qur’an. The authentic Traditions bear testimony to the fact that the tahajjud prayer of the Holy Prophet ﷺ used to be prolonged very much. The noble Companions and their pupils followed the same pattern.Ruling [1]
The verse under comment clarifies that the recitation of the Qur’an is required to be with tartil [distinct recitation in well-measured tone]. The Holy Prophet’s ﷺ recitation fulfilled the requirements of tartil. Some people inquired from Sayyidah ‘Umm Salamah ؓ about the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ recitation of Qur’an in night-prayers. She emulated his recitation in which every single letter was clear and distinct. [Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasal – as quoted by Mazhari].

Ruling [2]
Tartil includes slow rhythmic recitation and beautification of the voice while reciting. Sayyidna Abu Hurairah ؓ narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah does not listen to any recitation as much as he listens to the recitation of a Prophet who recites with a beautiful voice.” [Mazhari].

Sayyidna ` Alqamah ؓ saw a person reciting with a beautiful voice and he exclaimed:
لقد رتّل القراٰن فداہ ابی و اُمِّی
“He has recited the Qur’an with tartil: May my parents be sacrificed to him!” [Quriubi].

In short, tartil basically signifies that the letters and the words must be pronounced clearly and distinctly that will help understanding the Qur’an, and paying due care to its meaning. Hasan al-Basri (رح) reports that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ passed by a person who was reciting a verse of the Qur’an and weeping. He said to the people, ‘Have you heard of the command of Allah’ وَرَ‌تِّلِ الْقُرْ‌آنَ تَرْ‌تِيلًا ‘…and recite the Qur’an clearly with tartil (in a distinct and measured tone). [73:4] ‘? This is tartil which this person is doing. [Qurtubi]


[73:5] Me are going to send down to you a weighty discourse.

إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلًا (‘We are going to send down to you a weighty discourse… 73:5) ‘ The word thagil means ‘heavy’ and the phrase ‘weighty discourse’ refers to the Qur’an, because the Qur’anic teachings of lawful and unlawful are permanently binding and carrying them out is the weightiest task for human nature, except those for whom Allah makes it easier. According to oft-quoted Ahadith, whenever a revelation descended upon the Holy Prophet t, he went into a trance and felt a peculiar sensation, so that even on an extremely cold day drops of sweat fell from his forehead, and he felt his body has become heavier. The Qur’anic revelation being ‘a weighty discourse’, his paroxysm was due to this sensation. If the Holy Prophet ﷺ received revelation while he was on his riding animal, it would begin to move the bottom of its neck intensely. [Bukhari and others].

The verse under comment prescribes tahajjud prayer on man, so that he may become accustomed to the difficulty of waking at night. This is a struggle against excess sleep and comfort of the carnal self. This exercise will make it easier to abide by the injunctions contained in the ‘weighty discourse’, that is, the Holy Qur’an.


[73:6] Truly, rising by night (for prayer of tahajjud) is the most effective way to subdue (one’s self) and to make speech more upright.

إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ (‘Truly, rising by night [for prayer of tahajjud] is the most effective way to subdue (one’s self) and to make speech more upright…. 73:6). The word nashi’ah, on the grammatical measure of ` afiyah, is an infinitive noun which signifies ‘to rise by night for prayer’. Sayyidah ` A’ishah ؓ said that nashi’at-ul-lail means ‘to rise by night for night-prayer after sleeping’. According to this definition, nashi’at-ul-lail refers to tahajjud prayer. Furthermore, the word tahajjud itself, literally, means ‘to sleep at night and then wake up to perform the prayer’. Ibn Kaisan (رح) has said that prayer at the later part of the night is called nashi’at-ul-lail. Ibn Zaid (رح) says that performing prayer at any part of the night is nashi’at-ul-lail. Hasan al-Basri (رح) says that any prayer after the ` Isha’ prayer is nashi’at-ul-lail. Ibn Abi Mulaikah ؓ says that he asked Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas and Ibn Zubair u about the meaning of nashi’at-ul-lail, they replied as follows: الّیل کلّھا ناشٔۃ (The entire night is nashi’ah.” – Mazhari)

There is no conflict in these interpretations. The point is that the terms nashi’ah of the night and qiyam of the night are general, and may refer to any hour of night. Thus the two terms apply equally to
performing night-prayer in any part of the night, especially the one performed after ` Isha’ prayer as explained by Sayyidna Hasan al-Basri (رح) . However, the constant practice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ ، that of the overwhelming majority of the Companions and their pupils, and that of the righteous predecessors of the ‘Ummah was that they performed this prayer in the later part of the night after waking from sleep, and therefore it is more virtuous, more meritorious and attracts more blessings. Performing any nafl [voluntary] prayer after ` Isha’ prayer fulfills the sunnah requirement of nashi’ah of the night and qiyam of the night.

هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئًا (…is the most effective way to subdue (one’s self) and to make speech more upright… 73:6). The word wat’an, with the letter waw carrying fath [=a], is an infinitive which means ‘to subdue’ or ‘to suppress’. Given this meaning, the sense is that this time of night helps one to suppress his evil desires and keep them under, control. This meaning is adopted by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (رح) and the translation of the text is based on this interpretation. In another qira’ah (version), however, the word is pronounced ‘wita’an’. It is an infinitive that means ‘to conform’. On another occasion in the Qur’an, we come across the following verse wherein a verb derived from this root is contained. The word in that verse is used in the same sense, thus:
لِّيُوَاطِئُوا عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّ‌مَ اللَّـهُ
‘…so that they may conform (only) to the number of what Allah has sanctified – [9:37] ‘

Leading authorities on Tafsir, like Ibn Zaid and Ibn ` Abbas ؓ ، have interpreted the word in the same sense here. Ibn Zaid ؓ said that getting up in the night for prayer is the most effective means of making the heart, eye, ear and tongue to mutually correspond and conform. Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said that the phrase means that during this time there is the closest degree of conformity and harmony between the ear and the heart. This is because there is no noise at the time of night when most people are asleep and one will not be disturbed as one is during the daytime. At night time when the tongue recites the Qur’an, the ears will be conducive to listening to the recitation with due concentration, and the heart will be conducive to understanding and considering its meaning and message.

وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلًا (And to make speech more upright – 73:6) The word aqwam means ‘more upright’. The verse signifies that the recitation of the Qur’an is more upright and concentrated, because during the night there are no noises and commotion to distract the heart or the mind.

In sum, the purport of the verse is to put forward the wisdom underlying the injunction of the ‘night-prayer’ for the common people. The preceding verse put forward its wisdom for the Holy Prophet ﷺ :
إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلًا
‘We are going to send down to you a weighty discourse.[73:5] ‘.

The ‘weighty discourse’ was concerned specifically with the Holy Prophet ﷺ as it was revealed to him. But for common people, Night-Prayer has two characteristics: [1] bringing harmony between the heart and the tongue; and [2] peace of mind – making it easier to recite the Qur’an.


[73:7] Surely, in daytime, you have a lengthy work to do.

إِنَّ لَكَ فِي النَّهَارِ‌ سَبْحًا طَوِيلًا (Surely, in daytime, you have a lengthy work to do… 73:7). The word sabhun, literally means, ‘to flow, walk or move about’ from which we also get the sense ‘of swimming in the water’ because when a swimmer swims in the water, he moves about in it freely without any obstruction. Here the word signifies ‘long chain of engagements in the day’ which refers to multifarious duties to be performed with alacrity, such as educating the people, preaching to them, reforming humanity, performing domestic chores, discharging social responsibilities and moving about to many other tasks and obligations.

The current verse explicates the third point of wisdom as to why night-prayer was enjoined. This relates both to the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the general body of the Muslim community. During the day the Holy Prophet ﷺ as well as other people have a long chain of engagements for which they disperse and move about as explained in the foregoing paragraph. As a result, it is difficult for them to concentrate on their worshipping activity. The night should be reserved for this purpose. A person should sleep according to his need and perform his night-prayer as well.A Special Note
Jurists have said that the verse under comment confirms that scholars

[73:8] And remember the name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion.

وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلْ اِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيْلًا
(And remember the name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion… 73:8). The word tabattul, literally, means ‘to cut off oneself from entire creation to focus attention solely on the Creator to detach oneself from worldly things and devote oneself exclusively and sincerely to the service of Allah’ The sentence: وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ (And remember the name of your Lord…73:8) is grammatically conjoined to the sentence: 1 (Stand at night [for prayer]…. 73:2) which enjoins upon the Holy Prophet to perform the night-prayer, and incidentally his attention is drawn in the following verse to special devotional activities in the course of the day: اِنَّ لَكَ فِي النَّهَارِ سَبْحًا طَوِيْلًا
‘Surely, in daytime, you have a lengthy work to do. [73:7] ‘ But the verse 8 enjoins a devotional activity (remembering Allah) that can be performed at any time of day or night. In fact, it can be performed at all times and under all circumstances. Since it is inconceivable that the Holy Prophet would never remember Allah, the purport of enjoining Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) is to emphasise ‘ keeping to it consistently’ in the sense that there should be no laxity in it. [MazharI]. This is possible only if ‘remembering Allah’ is taken in its widest possible sense to include ‘Reciting His name with tongue’, ‘Remembrance by heart’ and also ‘keeping one’s body engaged in complying with the commands of Allah’. A narration of Sayyidah ` A’ishah Siddiqah reports the following: کان یذکر اللہ علی کل حین
“The Holy Prophet used to remember Allah at all times.”
This Hadith is correct in terms of the wider concept of ‘rememberance of Allah’ just explained above. Obviously, the Holy Prophet did not make dhikr by his tongue when answering the call of nature as Ahadith distinctly confirm this, but Dhikr by heart is possible at all times. There are, however, two types of Dhikr by heart: [1] It may be done through ‘imagined words’; [2] by reflecting and pondering on the Divine attributes of perfection. [Shaikh Thanawi].

The next injunction in this verse is: تَبَتَّلْ اِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيْلًا
..and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion. [73:8] ‘.
In other words, the Holy Prophet is to detach himself from worldly things and devote himself exclusively and sincerely to Allah. The general import of the verse imparts the injunction that when worshipping Allah, no partners should be associated with Him and the total worship and devotion should be solely for Him. In all his actions and movements, he should single out Allah for reliance. He should not take any creature as possessing the power of benefit and harm or as possessing the power of granting wishes and solving problems. Sayyidna Ibn Zaid , said that tabattul signifies ‘to abandon the world and what is in it and focus attention on what is with Allah’. [Mazhari]. The tabattul which this verse enjoins is completely different from the concept and practice of monasticism which the Qur’an denounces elsewhere, thus:
وَرَهْبَانِيَّةَۨ ابْتَدَعُوْهَا
‘…As for monasticism, it was invented by them [57:271’ and a Hadith denounces it thus: لارھبانیۃ فی الاسلام
“There is no monasticism in Islam.”

Rahbaniyyah or ‘monasticism’, in the technical language of Shari` ah, signifies ‘to abandon the world and sever all ties which involves the giving up of all pleasures and all lawful and pure things, believing that doing so is ‘worship’ and thinking that without avoiding them one would not be able to attain the good pleasure of Allah. It also means to sever human relationships in such a manner that human rights are not taken care of or they are violated. This verse enjoins a different type of tabattul or severance of relationship. It means that one’s relationship with human beings should not overpower his relationship with Allah – whether in terms of belief or in terms of practice. Such a detachment is not contradictory to any business relations, or social contracts and transactions, like marriage and family ties. In fact, they can be combined. Tabattul, in this sense, is the characteristic of all Prophets especially that of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Their lives bear ample testimony to this type of tabattul which the pious elders alternatively term as Ikhlas (sincerity). [Mazhari]An Important Note
In the matter of ‘Allah’s Remembrance’ and ‘detachment from the world’, the venerable Sufis, whether belonging to the earlier generation or later generation, have always been forward. They said that there are only two steps with which they are exerting their effort to cover the distance and conquer the path day and night. The first step is to detach themselves from the creation and the second step is to reach Allah [i.e. Their destination]. The two steps are inseparable, in that where one is operational the other must operate; and if one does not operate, the other will not operate either. The two steps have been stated as two conjoined sentences, thus: وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلْ اِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيْلًا ‘And remember the name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion. [73:81’. In this context, dhikr Allah refers to constant Remembrance of Allah where there should be no failing, and at no time there should be forgetfulness. This maqam ‘station’ in Sufi terminology is referred to as wusul ila-Allah ‘reaching out to Allah. The first statement states the second step and the second statement states the first step. Thus the statements state the order in reverse probably because in practice tabattul, in the sense given above, is prior to wusul ila-Allah which is achieved after the operation of the former. The main object of a salik (the spiritual traveller) is to achieve the second step, therefore the naturally occurring order has been changed and remembrance of Allah has been mentioned first. This also is meant to show the importance and virtue of remembrance of Allah. How well Shaikh Sa` di (رح) تعالیٰ has versified the two steps:

Worldly relationship is a barrier and brings no (eternal) benefit.
When you abandon these relations, you will be the one who reaches out to Allah.Remembrance of Allah through Repetition of His Personal Name

The verse under comment whilst enjoining dhikrullah (remembrance of Allah) has referred to it as ‘remembrance of the name of Allah by saying: And remember the name of your Lord – وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ [73:8] ‘ and
not ‘d remember your Lord’.

This indicates that the repetition of Allah’s personal name ‘Allah, Allah’ is also desired and required form of dhikr and worship. [Mazhari]. Some scholars say that such repetition of His personal name is an ‘innovation’ (bid’ah), but this opinion is not correct. And Allah knows best!


[73:9] He is the Lord of the East and the West; there is no god but He; so take Him for (your) Guardian.

رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيْلًا (He is the Lord of the East and the West; there is no god but He; so take Him for [your] Guardian…73:9). The word wakil, lexicologically, refers to a ‘person who has been given a task to do’. ‘To take Allah as guardian’ means that all matters and affairs should be entrusted to Allah. Technically, this is called tawakkul ‘trust’.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ is given several injunctions in this Surah. This is the fifth injunction. Imam Ya` qub Karkhi says that from the beginning of the Surah up to this verse there is reference to the maqamat suluk ‘journeying or a methodical travelling along the spiritual path through the various states and stations under the direction of a spiritual master or adept’. The references are as follows: [1] solitude at night to worship Allah; [2] preoccupation with Qur’an; [3] constant Remembrance of Allah; [4] severance of relationship with “everything-other-than-Allah, and [5] total trust in Allah. Preceding the last injunction about trust,
Allah’s attribute is given, thus: رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ ‘He is the Lord of the East and the West__[73:9] ‘. In other words, Allah is the Cherisher and Sustainer of the entire universe. He is responsible to fulfill the needs of all from the beginning to the end. He alone can assist in all matters. Just as He has been singled out for worship, so should He be singled out for reliance, and full trust must be put in Him. Anyone who trusts and relies on Allah will never be deprived of his needs as the Qur’an puts it:

‘…And whoever places his trust in Allah, He is sufficient for him. _[65:3] ‘

The Correct Concept of Tawakkul [Trust]
Trust in Allah does not imply for anyone to avoid the apparent means of acquiring livelihood, or giving up the normal ways of saving oneself from any affliction. The ways and means that Allah has created for a particular purpose should not be abandoned while placing total trust in Allah. On the contrary, in order to achieve our purpose it is necessary for us to utilize the God-given power and causes at our disposal to the fullest extent, but we should not repose blind faith in material causes and means. But having adopted actions of choice, the result should then be left with Allah whose will is the Ultimate Cause of everything.

The Holy Prophet himself has explained tawakkul in this way. Imam Baghawi, in his Sharh-us-Sunnah, and Baihagi, in his Shu` ab-ul-‘Iman, have cited the following Hadith:
ان نفسا لن تموت حتی تستکمل رزقھا، الا فاتقواللہ واجملوا فی الطلب۔

“Jibra’il (علیہ السلام) has inspired me with the thought that no person will ever die until he receives, in full, his sustenance that Allah has decreed for him. Therefore, fear Allah and be moderate in your search.”

In other words, we should not be over-absorbed in quest for our needs so deeply that the attention of the heart is totally focused on the material causes and means. Instead, after adopting the ways and means to fulfill our needs, we should repose our total trust in and reliance upon Allah in the sense that without His will, no cause can bring any effect.

Tirmidhi transmits a Hadith on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari that the Holy Prophet said: “Zuhd (Renunciation of the world) does not mean to turn lawful things into unlawful or squander the wealth Allah has given you. Renunciation of the world means to have more faith in the things that are in Allah’s hands than what are in your hands.” [Mazhari]


[73:10] And bear patiently what they say, and part with them in a beautiful manner.

وَاصْبِرْ عَلٰي مَا يَقُوْلُوْنَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيْلًا
(And bear patiently what they say, and part with them in a beautiful manner…73:10). According to Imam Karkhi (رح) تعالیٰ ، this is the sixth injunction given to the Holy Prophet that he should bear with patience and fortitude the jibes, opposition and persecution of his enemies. Perfect patience is the supreme station of suluk (methodical travelling along the spiritual path). Spiritual reformers expend their entire strength, energy and life in reforming the deviant people. In return, they have to hear vile language, they are persecuted and wronged in many different ways. In return, they exercise sabr (patience) in a beautiful manner. In other words, they do not even entertain the thought of revenge. This is the supreme station, which in Sufi terminology, is attained only after fana’ kamil: ‘complete negation of selfish desires’.

وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيْلًا and part with them in a beautiful manner…73:10). The word hajr, literally, denotes ‘to give up something in a state of grief, anger and temper’. The verse means that rejecters of Truth utter words that hurt. He should not take revenge, but maintain no relations with them either. At the time of severing relations, it is natural for man to utter words of complaint and disgust. Therefore, Allah’s Messenger is told to cut off relations with the rejecters of Truth, but he must maintain his dignity and integrity. Hence, the verse contains the grammatically restricted cognate accusative, hajran jamilan, ‘in a beautiful manner’. The high status and the exalted standard of character require that the Holy Prophet should restrain himself from making any abusive remarks at the deniers of Truth.

Some scholars of Tafsir say that the injunction of this verse is repealed by verses of jihad which were revealed later on. But a careful analysis indicates that the injunction is not repealed. The above verses enjoin patience and steadfastness in the face of what the enemies say and cutting off from them courteously. This is not in conflict with verses that deal with reproof, punishment and armed struggle that were revealed subsequently. The injunction of this verse is applicable at all times and under all circumstances, whereas jihad is reproof and punishment, and is a specific injunction to be applied under specific conditions. Islamic jihad and armed struggle is not a matter of taking revenge or expression of anger, which could be in conflict with patience and fortitude or courteous severance. It is purely acting on the Divine command as is patience and courteous severance under general circumstances. Up to this point the Holy Prophet ﷺ was commanded to be steadfast and to abstain from revenge. The next verse, reprimands the deniers of Truth that instead of being grateful to Allah for “ease and plenty” provided for them, they reject the Divine Message:


[73:11] And leave Me (to deal) with the deniers, the people of luxury, and give them respite for a while.

وَذَرْنِيْ وَالْمُكَذِّبِيْنَ اُولِي النَّعْمَةِ وَمَهِّلْهُمْ قَلِيْلًا (And leave Me [to deal] with the deniers, the people of luxury, and give them respite for a while….73:11). The ‘deniers’ are referred to as ‘the people of luxury’. The word na` mah’, the first letter [n] bearing lath [=a], signifies ‘ease and plenty; abundance of wealth and children’. This indicates that people who live a life of ease, plenty and luxury can only be the ones who deny the Hereafter. These things do often fall to the lot of the believers, but they do not intoxicate them. Therefore, even when they live a life of luxury, their hearts are never, at any time, empty of the thought of the Hereafter. Only the deniers of the Hereafter will live a life of luxury that is neglectful of the Hereafter.


[73:12] Surely with Us are fetters and flaming fire,

اِنَّ لَدَيْنَآ اَنْكَالًا وَّجَحِــيْمًا (Surely with Us are fetters and flaming fire, and food that chokes, and a painful punishment…73:12-13). The terrible punishment of the Hereafter is described in these verses. First, there is the mention of ankal which is the plural of nakal. It denotes ‘fetter, chain, shackle’. Then, there is the mention of ‘flaming fire’. Then, verse [13] describes the ‘choking food’ the inmates of Hell will be given to eat.

The word ghussah literally denotes ‘a thing by which one is choked’. For example, a morsel may block the throat in such a way as it can neither be swallowed nor can it be brought up. The inmates of Hell will be given Bari` and zaqqum (thorny fruits) to eat. These fruits fit the description.

Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas ؓ said: “In it will be thorns of fire that will
choke.” [God save us!].


[73:13] and food that chokes, and a painful punishment,

The verse says in conclusion: وَّعَذَابًا اَلِـــيْمًا (…and a
painful punishment… 73:13).

Having described specific forms of punishment, this description is general – indicating that there will be many more horrible and terrible forms of punishment which man cannot even imagine. [0 Allah, save us from all forms of punishment!]The Righteous Elders’ Fear of the Hereafter
Imam Alhmad, Ibn Abi Dawud, Ibn ` Adiyy and Baihaqi record a narration that a person heard this verse and fell fainted. One day Hasan al-Basri (رح) تعالیٰ was fasting. When the food was brought to him at the time of iftar (ending the fast), this verse occurred in his mind and he could not eat. As a result, he sent it away. The following day he was fasting again. The same thing happened in the evening and he sent the food away. On the third day the same thing happened. So, his sons went to Thabit Bunani, Yazid Dabb, and Yahya Al-Bakka’ and recounted the story. All three personalities went to Hasan and insisted on his eating something. At their insistence, the latter ate a little. [Ruh-u1-Ma’ ani]


[73:14] on the Day when the earth and the mountains will quake, and the mountains will turn into a slipping heap of sand.

يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الْاَرْضُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَكَانَتِ الْجِبَالُ كَثِيْبًا مَّهِيْلًا (on the Day when the earth and the mountains will quake, and the mountains will turn into a slipping heap of sand. [14] We have sent to you a messenger, as a witness over you, just as We sent a messenger to Fir’aun (the Pharaoh). [15] Then, Fir’aun disobeyed the messenger; so We seized him with a severe seizure. [16] So, if you disbelieve, how will you save yourself from a day that will turn the small boys into grey-headed old men…17).

These verses describe the horrors and terrors of the Day of Resurrection. Verse [14] describes that the punishment will take place on the Day when the earth and mountains will shake and the mountains will be reduced to a heap of dust or shifting dunes. Thereafter, reference is made to the story of Musa (علیہ السلام) and Fir’aun in order to threaten the pagans of Makkah. Allah sent a Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ ، to bear witness against the pagans of Makkah just as He sent a Messenger, Musa (علیہ السلام) to Fir’aun. But Fir’aun disobeyed Musa (علیہ السلام) and Allah seized him with terrible severity right in this world. Likewise, if the pagans of Makkah persist stubbornly in their pagan conduct, they too can be seized similarly with terrible severity in this very world. Towards the conclusion, the verse says that if no torment is inflicted in this world, no one can escape the horrors and terrors and length of the Day of Resurrection that will turn the children grey. This could be a metaphor for the most calamitous happenings which bring about disastrous changes. But some scholars say that this is a description of reality, in that the Day of Resurrection will be so long that a little child will grow old. [Qurtubi and Ruh].


[73:15] We have sent to you a messenger, as a witness over you, just as We sent a messenger to Fir’aun (the Pharaoh).

[73:16] Then, Fir’aun disobeyed the messenger; so We seized him with a severe seizure.

[73:17] So, if you disbelieve, how will you save yourself from a day that will turn the small boys into grey-headed old men,

[73:18] whereby the sky will burst apart. His promise has to be fulfilled.

[73:19] Indeed, this is a reminder; so let anyone who so wishes, adopt a way to his Lord.

[73:20] Your Lord knows that you stand (in prayer) for nearly two thirds of the night, and (at times) for half of it, and (at times) for one third of it, and (so do) a group of those who are with you. And Allah measures the night and the day. He knows that you cannot do it regularly, therefore He turned to you in mercy. Now, recite as much of the Qur’an as is easy (for you). He knows that some of you may be sick, and others travelling in the land, seeking the grace of Allah, and yet others fighting in Allah’s way. Therefore, recite as much of it as is easy. And establish salah, and pay zakah, and advance to Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you will send ahead for your own selves, you will find it with Allah much better in condition, and much greater in reward. And seek forgiveness from Allah. Indeed Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

The Obligatory Nature of Tahajjud Prayer Abrogated
At the beginning of the Surah, the command ‘stand at night (for prayer) ‘ prescribed the night-prayer for Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as well as for the general body of Muslims. It was also obligatory for the prayer to be long, but they had a choice in its length. They had to pray for half the night or one-third of the night or two-thirds of the night. A group of noble Companions in the performance of this duty mostly followed the ` azimah (preferred original rule of law). As a result, they spent almost two-thirds of the night in prayer. They performed this prayer every night. During the day they would invite people to Islam and preach and attend to their personal needs. Most of the Companions were either labourers or businessmen. The Messenger’s as well as the Companions’ feet would swell on account of the long prayers. Waking at night was extremely difficult, and Allah was fully aware of the entire set-up, but it was pre-decreed in His knowledge that the difficulty is temporary and a passing phase. The purpose of this exercise is riyaclah ‘ascetic discipline’ of the Holy Prophet and his Companions. In the initial stages, they were in a condition of disequilibrium. Therefore, they were required to exert themselves in spiritual struggle and ascetic discipline, thus:

اِنَّا سَنُلْقِيْ عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَـقِيْلًا ‘We are going to send down to you a weighty discourse. [73:5] ‘. The Holy Prophet was going to be handed over the service of the Qur’an which is much more difficult than this ascetic discipline. According to the Pre-eternal knowledge of Allah, when the ascetic discipline was completed and with His grace perfect balance was attained, asceticism was replaced by moderation. As a result, the obligatory nature of night-prayer was repealed. According to Ibn ` Abbas, the above verses merely cancelled the obligatory nature of night-prayer, but the basic tahajjud prayer remained intact as obligatory, When the five daily prayers were prescribed on the night of mi`’ raj, the obligatory nature of tahajjud prayer too was cancelled. And Allah knows best!

Apparently, this obligation was cancelled for Allah’s Messenger as well as for the entire ‘Ummah. However, it is still a supererogatory and laudable deed in the sight of Allah. Furthermore, there is no time or recitation constraint. Every person may perform the prayer according to his own ability in the time available to him and recite the Qur’an as much of it as is easy for him.The Concept of Abrogation in Shari’ah
Legislating laws and abrogating them to proclaim new ones in their place is a routine practice in human governments and institutions. However, abrogation occurs sometimes in a piece of human legislation because the legislators did not fully comprehend the situation at the time of formulating a certain law, and are forced to amend it when they realize that the situation has changed and the law is no longer applicable in the new circumstances. At other times, a law might be proclaimed in the government gazette in keeping with the prevailing circumstances, but the legislators might not have foreseen that the circumstances might change. When that happens, the old law will have to be repealed and a new one J will have to be legislated and promulgated. It is inconceivable that these two forms of repeal will ever apply to Divine injunctions.
A third situation is that when the legislator formulates a law, he e foresees that in time to come conditions will change, as a result the law .it will no longer apply in toto in the changed condition. So, when the conditions alter, as the legislator had foreseen, he legislates a new law and makes it public as he had forethought. This is the only form of Y abrogation that can take place, and has been taking place in Divine e injunctions. It has always been the case that a certain piece of Divine law c was intended, from the very beginning, to remain in force for a limited ie time, but Divine Wisdom chose not to disclose this time limit from the people. Because of the general wordings of the legislation, the general 1Q community of people thought it was an immutable law whereas Allah had is pre-decreed it as a temporary law for a limited period of time. When its of temporary period was over, the law was with withdrawn. People took this y’ as the abrogation of law whereas in reality it merely defined the time oe period. In other words, at that time it is made publicly known to the vs people that the law was not an immutable one, but promulgated for a limited period of time. Thus the period is now over and the law is no ell longer applicable.

There are many verses of the Qur’n that have been repealed, and or the commoners find it difficult to grasp the wisdom underlying the repeal, Holy Prophet. The word nafilah literally denotes ‘additional’, meaning ‘additional obligation’. But according to the overwhelming majority, the correct view is that the obligatory nature of tahajjud prayer has been abrogated for Allah’s Messenger, as well as the general body of Muslims. However, it still remains an act of supererogation for all. The above verse contains the phrase X5, 1 Ali nafilatan lak ‘an additional prayer for you’. The word nafilah is used in its technical sense of nafl ‘supererogatory’. If tahajjud is a nafl prayer for all, then it is not clear why addressing the Holy Prophet the verse adds lak ‘for you’ as if it is a distinctively voluntary act for the Holy Prophet. Please see Ma` ariful Qur’an, Vol. 5/pp533-543 for fuller explanation, especially pp536-537 for whether tahajjud is a mere nafl (voluntary) or sunnah mu’akkadah (the emphasised practice of the Holy Prophet)

The verse that abrogates the obligatory nature of tahajjud prayer starts from – اِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَعْلَمُ ‘Your Lord knows [73:20] ‘ and ends at فَاقْرَءُوْا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ ۙ ‘…Now, recite as much of the Qur’an as is easy (for you) [73:20] ‘ This verse was revealed one year or eight months after the initial verses of this Surah. Thus the obligatory nature of night-prayer was abrogated after a year. Musnad of Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawad, Ibn Majah and Nasa’I record a narration of Sayyidah ` A’ishah who stated that at the commencement of this Surah, Allah had prescribed the night-prayer. The Messenger of Allah and the blessed Companions constantly and consistently carried out the obligation for a year. Allah held back the last part of the Surah in the sky for twelve months. It was revealed after a year which abrogated the obligatory status of night-prayer and made concession – reducing its status to supererogation. [Ruh-ul-Ma’ ani]

عَلِمَ اَنْ لَّنْ تُحْصُوْهُ (…He knows that you cannot do it regularly…73:20). The word ihsa’ literally denotes ‘to count’. Some commentators interpret this verse as follows: Allah had not fixed the exact time for night-prayer. They were given the option of choosing time between one-third of the night to two thirds of it. But when the Companions were preoccupied with the prayer, it was difficult for them to calculate whether they had stayed up half the night, or one-third of the night, or two-thirds of the night, because in those days there were no watches or clocks to measure the time. Even if there were, it was not in keeping with their conditions of involvement in prayers to look at the time repeatedly. They would be absorbed in their prayers, so as to be oblivious to their environment. This is the significance of the phrase lan tuhsuhu. Other scholars say that the word ihsa’ connotes the act of counting’, signifying that Allah knows that you will not be able to keep count of the constant prayers during the lengthy hours and hours of sleep. The word ihsa’ is also used in this sense, as is used in a Hadith in connection with the beautiful names of Allah, thus:
من احصاھا دخل الجنۃ
“He who keeps count of them will enter Paradise” meaning, to act fully according to the attributes and qualities of Allah, as indicated in His beautiful names. For fuller explanation, please see Ma` ariful Qur’an, Vol. 5/pp272-273 under the following verse: وَاِنْ تَعُدُّوْا نِعْمَةَ اللّٰهِ لَا تُحْصُوْهَا
‘…And if you count the bounties of Allah, you cannot count them all. [14:34] ‘

فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ (…therefore He turned to you in mercy…73:20). The word taubah originally means ‘to turn’. Repentance for sins is also called taubah in Arabic, because the sinner turns away from his past sins and crimes. In this context, the word simply means ‘to turn’, that is, Allah took back the obligatory nature of the injunction of night-prayer. Then He says: فَاقْرَءُوْا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْاٰنِ ۭ (…Now, recite as much of the Qur’an as is easy … 73:20). That is, recite in tahajjud prayer which is no longer obligatory. It is supererogatory enjoying the status of sunnah or mustahab. No particular number of verses has been fixed for recitation of the Holy Qur’an in tahajjud prayer. So a worshipper may recite as much of it as is easy for him. This verse answers many legal questions that are available in books of jurisprudence.

وَاَقِيْمُوا الصَّلٰوةَ وَاٰتُوا الزَّكٰوةَ وَاَقْرِضُوا اللّٰهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا ۭ (And establish salah, and pay zakah, and advance to Allah a goodly loan….73:20). According to majority of the commentators, salah in this context refers to the five prescribed prayers that were made obligatory on the Night of Ascent (Mi` raj). This indicates that the night-prayer was obligatory for a year. In the meantime, the nocturnal journey took place, and the five daily prayers were prescribed. After that, the above verses were revealed and the obligatory nature of tahajjud prayer was abrogated. Towards the conclusion of the Surah, where it speaks of establishment of prayer, it refers to the five prescribed prayers. [Ibn Kathir, Qurtubi and Al-Bahr-ul-Muhit].

وَاٰتُوا الزَّكٰوةَ (…and pay zakah….73:20). Zakah refers to the prescribed zakah. However, it is popularly understood that zakah was prescribed two years after migration to Madinah whereas this verse is Makki and, as was said earlier, a consensus of scholarly opinion assigns the revelation of this Surah to the earliest period of the call. In response, some commentators express the view that this particular verse was revealed in Madinah. Ibn Kathir, however, says that zakah was prescribed in the earliest days of Islam, although its details, like exemption limit and the rate, were fixed in the second year of migration at Madinah. Even if the verse is treated as Makki, there should be no problem in taking the word zakah in its technical sense of prescribed zakah as Iruh-ul- Ma` ani explains in detail. Its full analysis will be found in this author’s booklet entitled ‘Nizam-e-Zakat’.

وَاَقْرِضُوا اللّٰهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا ۭ (…and advance to Allah a goodly loan….73:20). In other words, spend in the way of Allah as charitable donations. This would be as if one is advancing a loan to Allah who will multiply it many times and reward him most abundantly. This indicates Divine favour and grace towards him, and it also describes that Allah is the richest of all. The loan will not be lost, but will be richly returned. The command for Zakah has already been mentioned previously, therefore advancing a loan to Allah refers, according to most scholars, to other voluntary charitable donations in the cause of Allah as, for instance, spending on friends and relatives or utilizing for entertainment of guests or investing in the service of scholars and righteous people. Some scholars point out that besides the prescribed Zakah, there are other financial obligations imposed on man, such as maintenance of parents, wife and children. Thus the command to pay zakah in verse 20 covers the injunction of paying out the prescribed Zakah, while other financial obligations are covered by the words: ‘…advance to Allah a goodly loan [20] ‘.

وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوْا لِاَنْفُسِكُمْ مِّنْ خَيْرٍ (…whatever good you will send ahead for your own selves [73:20]. In other words, if man does good in his lifetime, it is better for him than advising someone else to do the good deed at the time of his death. This advice for doing good on behalf of the deceased includes financial worship and voluntary charitable donations. It also includes prescribed prayers, fasts and other prescribed worship or duties that were missed out or neglected, it is better to pay out the fidyah and/or kaffarah with one’s own hands while he is living and be absolved of the responsibility rather than expecting the heirs to discharge it. They may do it or they may neglect to do it.
The Messenger of Allah once asked the blessed Companions: “Which of you holds his wealth to be dearer to himself than the wealth of his heirs?” They replied: “0 Allah’s Messenger, there is not a single one of us who does not hold his wealth to be dearer to himself than the wealth of his heir.” Allah’s Messenger then said: “Consider carefully what you are saying.” They submitted: “This is indeed our considered opinion. We do not know any better.” He then said: “The wealth of one of you is only that which he sends forth, and the wealth of his heir is that which he leaves behind.” [Ibn Kathir from Abu Ya` la a1-Mawsili and said al-Bukhari transmitted it, reporting from Hafs Ibn Ghiyath and so on].

Alhamdulillah
The Commentary on
Surah Al-Muzzammil
Ends here

Tafsir by Abul A’la Maududi

73. Surah Al Muzzammil (The One Who is Covered Up)

Name
The Surah has been so designated after the word al-muzzammil occurring in the very first verse. This is only a name and not a title of its subject matter.

Period of Revelation
The two sections of this Surah were revealed in two separate periods.

The first section (vv. 1-19) is unanimously a Makki Revelation, and this is supported both by its subject matter and by the traditions of the Hadith. As for the question, in which specific period of the life at Makkah it was revealed, it is not answered by the tradition, but the internal evidence of the subject matter of this section helps to determine the period of its revelation.

First, in it the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been instructed to the effect: “Arise during the night and worship Allah so that you may develop the capability to shoulder the heavy burden of Prophethood and to discharge its responsibilities.” This shows that this Command must have been given in the earliest period of the Prophethood when training was being imparted to the Holy prophet by Allah for this office.

Secondly, a Command has been given in it that the Qur’an be recited in, the Tahajjud Prayer for half the night, or thereabout. This Command by itself points out that by that time at least so much of the Qur’an had been revealed as could be recited for that long.

Thirdly, in this section the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been exhorted to have patience at the excesses being committed by his opponents, and the disbelievers of Makkah have been threatened with the torment. This shows that this section was revealed at a time when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had openly started preaching Islam and the opposition to him at Makkah had grown active and strong.

About the second section (v. 20) although many of the commentators have expressed the opinion that this too was sent down at Makkah, yet some other commentators regard it as a Madani Revelation, and this same opinion is confirmed by the subject matter of this section. For it mentions fighting in the way of Allah, and obviously, there could be no question of it at Makkah; it also contains the Command to pay the obligatory zakat, and it is fully confirmed that the zakat at a specific rate and with an exemption limit (nisab) was enjoined at Madinah.

Theme and Subject Matter
In the first seven verses the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been commanded to the effect: “Prepare yourself to shoulder the responsibilities of the great Mission that has been entrusted to you; its practical form is that you should rise during the hours of night and stand up in Prayer for half the night, or for a little more or less of it.”

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

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

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

1-19 Allah ordered the Prophet not to stand in prayer the whole night and Those who oppose the Prophet will be treated with heavy fetters and blazing fire and Al-Quran is a reminder for those who want to find the Right Way


(73:1) O you the (sleeping) enwrapped one!1 (73:2) Stand up in Prayer by night, all but a small part of it;2 (73:3) half of it, or reduce it a little; (73:4) or add to it a little;3 and recite the Qur’an slowly and distinctly.4 (73:5) Behold, We shall cast upon you a Weighty Word.5 (73:6) Surely getting up at night6 is the best means of subduing the self7 and is more suitable for uprightness in speech.8 (73:7) You are indeed much occupied during the day with the affairs of the world. (73:8) So remember the name of your Lord9 and devote yourself to Him with exclusive devotion. (73:9) He is the Lord of the East and the West; there is no god but He. So take Him alone for your Guardian,10 (73:10) And bear patiently the vain things they utter, and gracefully11 forsake them. (73:11) Leave it to Me to deal with the affluent ones who give the lie12 (to the Truth), and bear with them for a while. (73:12) We have heavy fetters13 and a blazing Fire in store for them; (73:13) and a food that chokes, and a grievous chastisement. (73:14) (They will come across all this) on the Day when the earth and the mountains shall tremble violently and the mountains shall crumble into heaps of scattered sand.14 (73:15) Surely15 We have sent to you a Messenger as a witness over you,16 just as We had sent a Messenger to Pharaoh. (73:16) But Pharaoh disobeyed Our Messenger, so We seized him with a terrible seizing. (73:17) If you persist in disbelieving, how will you guard yourself against the (woe of the) Day that will turn children grey-haired,17 (73:18) the Day whose severity shall cause the heaven to split asunder? Allah’s promise is ever bound to be fulfilled. (73:19) Indeed this is nothing but a Good Counsel; so let him who will take a way leading to his Lord.


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

2. This can have two meanings:

(1) Pass the night standing up in the Prayer and spend only a little of it in sleep.

(2) There is no demand from you to pass the whole night in the Prayer, but have rest as well and spend a little part of the night in worship too.

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

3. This is an explanation of the duration of time commanded to be spent in worship. In it the Prophet (peace be upon him) was given the option to spend half of the night in the Prayer, or a little less than that, or a little more than that. But the style shows that half the night has been regarded as preferable, for the measure is the same, which may be decreased or increased, as the people may like and choose.

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

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

6. About the meaning of the word nashiat allail, as used in the original, the commentators and lexicographers have expressed four different viewpoints:

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

(2) That it implies the hours of night.

(3) That it means the rising by night.

(4) That it does not only apply to the rising in the night but rising after having had some sleep.

Aishah and Mujahid have adopted this fourth viewpoint.

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

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

9. After making mention of the occupation of the daytime, the exhortation to remember the name of your Lord by itself gives the meaning: Never be heedless of the remembrance of your Lord even when you are deeply involved in your worldly occupations, and continue to commemorate His name in one way or another at all times. (For explanation, see (E.N. 63 of Surah Al-Ahzab).

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

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

12. These words clearly contain the sense that the people, who were actually denying the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Makkah and were inciting the common people to oppose and resist him by stirring up prejudices and by deceit and fraud, were the well-to-do, prosperous and affluent people, for it was their interests, which were being hit by the reforming message of Islam. The Quran tells us that this was not peculiar only to the Prophet’s case but in every age this very class of the people have been the main obstacle to every movement of reform. For example, see (Surah Al-A’raf, Ayats 60, 66, 75, 88); Surah Al-Mominoon Ayat 33); (Surah Saba, Ayats 34, 35); (Surah Az-Zukhruf Ayat 23).

13. Heavy shackles in Hell will not be put on the criminals’ feet to stop them from escape but in order that they are not able to stand up and move; these will not be used to prevent their escape but as an instrument of their torment.

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

15. The address now turns to the disbelievers of Makkah, who were denying the Prophet (peace be upon him) and persecuting him relentlessly.

16. Sending the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be a witness over the people also means that he should testify to the truth by his word and deed before them in the world and also that in the Hereafter when Allah’s court is established, he will testify that he had presented the whole truth before the people in the world. (For further explanation, see ( E.N. 144 of Surah Al-Baqarah); (E.N. 64 of Surah An-Nisa); (Surah An-Nahl Ayats 84, 89); (E.N. 82 of Surah Al-Ahzab); (E.N. 14 of Surah Al-Fath).

17. That is, in the first place, you should be afraid that if you do not accept the invitation of the Messenger (peace be upon him) sent by Us, you will have to meet the same evil end in this world, which the Pharaoh has already met in consequence of this very crime. But even if no torment is sent on you in the world, how will you save yourselves from the punishment of the Day of Resurrection.

20-20 Read from the Quran as much as you easily can and Whatever you spend in the way of Allah, you will find it in the hereafter


(73:20) (O Prophet),18 your Lord knows that you sometimes stand up in Prayer nearly two-thirds of the night, and sometimes half or one-third of it, 19 and so does a party of those with you;20 Allah measures the night and the day. He knows that you cannot keep an accurate count of it, so He has shown mercy to you. So now recite as much of the Qur’an as you can.21 He knows that there are among you those who are sick and others who are journeying in the land in quest of Allah’s bounty,22 and still others who are fighting in the cause of Allah.23 So recite as much of the Qur’an as you easily can, and establish Prayer, and pay Zakah,24 and give Allah a goodly loan.25 Whatever good you send forth for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah. That is better and its reward is greater.26 And ask for Allah’s forgiveness; surely He is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate.


18. About this verse in which reduction has been made in the injunction concerning the tahajjud Prayer, there are different traditions. Musnad Ahmad, Muslim and Abu Daud have related a tradition, on the authority of Aishah, saying that this second command was sent down one year after the first command, and the standing up in the Prayer at night was made voluntary instead of obligatory. Another tradition which Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim have related, again on the authority of Aishah, says that this command came down eight months after the first command, and a third tradition which Ibn Abi Hatim has related again from her, says that it came down sixteen months later. Abu Daud, Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim have cited the period of one year from Abdullah bin Abbas. But Saeed bin Jubair has stated that it was sent down ten years later. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim). In our opinion this last view is most sound, for the subject matter of the first section clearly shows that it was sent down in Makkah and that too in the earliest stage when at the most four years might have passed since the advent of Prophethood. Contrary to this, this second section, in view of the express evidence of its subject matter, seems to have been revealed at Al-Madinah when fighting had started with the disbelievers and the zakat also had been enjoined as an obligatory duty. On this basis inevitably the two sections should have been sent down at an interval of at least ten years between them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

25. Ibn Zaid says this implies spending one’s wealth in the cause of Allah besides the zakat, whether it is in the cause of fighting in the way of Allah, or for helping the needy, or for public utilities, or other good works. The meaning of giving to Allah a good loan has been explained at several places above. See (E.N. 267 of Surah Al-Baqarah); (E.N. 33 of Surah Al-Maidah); (E.N. 16 of Surah Al-Hadid).

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