1. The various oaths mentioned in
the Qur'an are meant to present an evidence which substantiates
a claim. The muqsim bihi (object of oath) serves as an evidence
for the point made in the muqsim alaih (complement of oath), which
sometimes is stated just after the muqsim bihi and at other times
is suppressed when it is too obvious to be expressed. In this particular
surah, the objects of oath are the two opposing phenomena of nature presented
in their ultimate form in the first two verses. The complement of oath
is the succeeding verse: `Your Lord has not abandoned you nor is he displeased
with you'. In other words, the bright day and the dark night substantiate
the claim stated in this verse.
2. It is evident that the whole material
world as well as all the life forms in it are indebted to day and night
for their existence and sustenance. This universe, as a whole, somehow
or the other needs the bright day and dark night for all its potentials
to materialize. Just as these opposing phenomena are beneficial to the
material world, the opposing states of grief and joy are beneficial to
the spiritual world. They help in the development of human character and
inculcate in him the qualities of patience, endurance, and self-discipline.
If the Prophet (sws) is facing difficulties in his mission, it does not
mean that the Almighty has forsaken him or is unhappy with him. It is only
a test period meant to develop and perfect his capabilities. The Prophet's
personality, it must be kept in consideration, had three dimensions. One
of these dimensions is that he was a human being in whom moral attributes
reached their culmination; in this capacity, he was to set a moral example
for his followers. Consequently, he had to undergo a period of training
and education which could help him in achieving this object. This test
period was also to serve another purpose necessary for his mission: to
bring to light his true followers.
3. It must be realized that the Prophet
(sws) in this phase of his mission was facing tremendous hostility and
resistance from the people of the Quraysh. Since a great many of
them were continuing to persist with their pagan beliefs, it was but natural
for him to conclude that perhaps there was some fault in his own strategy
that the required results were not being achieved. This fault, he reckoned,
had invited the displeasure of the Almighty. It is on this state of mind
that the Prophet (sws) has been consoled and comforted and asked to dispel
4. A further note of assurance is
sounded to the Prophet (sws) by giving him glad tidings of success in the
near future. It is a historical fact that it was not long before all Arabia,
from the southern coasts to the Syrian frontiers of the Byzantine empire
and the Iraqi frontiers of the Persian empires in the north, and from the
Persian Gulf in the east to the Red sea in the west came under the control
of the newly founded Islamic state.
5. Evidence is presented from the
life of the Prophet (sws) on what has been said in the words: `the days
to come [O Prophet!] shall be a lot better for you than these initial ones'.
The first thing mentioned is how the Almighty took care of him as an orphan.
To be an orphan, no doubt, is a state of great affliction but in a degenerated
society, like the one the Prophet (sws) had encountered in his early youth,
the life of orphans is even more miserable. However, in these circumstances,
the Prophet's grandfather and uncle brought him up with great love and
affection. The mere existence of these emotions in one's relatives in such
an evil society can only be a special favour of the Almighty. As such,
the verse also upbraids this wicked attitude of the Quraish, and brings
out the sharp contrast between the Almighty's benevolence and their callousness.
6. After mentioning the material
favour bestowed upon the Prophet (sws) by the Almighty, a mention is now
made of the greatest spiritual reward given to him: Divine Guidance. It
must be kept in consideration that all the Prophets of Allah before their
Prophethood believe in the universal truths inherent in human nature and
lead immaculate moral lives. However, they are unaware of the requirements
and details of Divine Guidance. In spite of believing in God, they are
in need to know the attributes of the Almighty and what these attributes
require of them. They do not know the rights of the Almighty on His servants
and the way to fulfil them. They are also unfamiliar with the details of
how to please the Almighty in the minutest of spheres. Unless these questions
are answered, no strong relationship with the Almighty can be established.
The Prophet (sws) also had faced these questions in his early life. It
was a mere blessing of the Almighty that he was bestowed with Divine Guidance.
7. The enrichment implied here is
spiritual not material. If a person has a lot of wealth but his heart is
devoid of faith he is, in fact, a needy and a deprived person. True wealth
is the wealth of guidance which leads to the cognizance of the Almighty.
This verse, according to linguistic considerations, must be understood
in the light of the last verse of the surah as both correspond in nature
and complement one another.
8. This is the right imposed on the
Prophet (sws) by the favour bestowed on him by the Almighty mentioned earlier
in the words: `Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter'.
9. This verse complements verse seven
of the surah: `And found you wandering and guided you'. Consequently, the
person `who asks' mentioned in the verse is not the one who asks for money,
but one who asks for guidance.
10. The Prophet (sws) is urged
to go on with his duty of imparting the truth revealed to him irrespective
of the hostilities of the enemy. The word `hadith' (proclaim) is
not at all suitable for the favour of wealth as most people have interpreted.
The favour of Divine Guidance is implied here.
11. This surah begins after Surah
Dhuhaa without any prior introduction, and the subject raised in the
verse `Did We not find you an orphan and gave you shelter' and in the subsequent
verses of the previous surah has been brought to a completion in this surah.
The surah naturally springs from the previous one and there exists a great
amount of similarity between the two. The only difference it seems, is
that in Surah Dhuhaa the bounties and blessings of the Almighty cited as
a means to comfort and assure the Prophet (sws) belonged to the period
prior to his Prophethood and extending a little after it; whereas, in this
surah the favours which were showered by the gracious Lord on him when
the message of Islam had spread in Mecca have been recounted.
12. In the previous surah, a mention
has been made of the mental worries and anxieties which the Prophet (sws)
faced while he was in quest for the truth. However, once he had been divinely
blessed with the truth, his anxieties were smothered and his apprehensions
were allayed. An indication has been made in this verse of the contentment
and peace of mind the Prophet (sws) found himself in after he started receiving
Divine Guidance. To open someone's heart means to create in him a correct
recognition of the truth, which is the outcome of true faith. This also
is a means to develop in a person trust and faith in God which is the fountainhead
of resolve and determination.
13. This verse alludes to the second
phase of the Prophet's anxieties which began soon after he had started
preaching the truth revealed to him. The whole Arabian society turned against
him and he had to face tremendous opposition at their hands. The way the
Almighty had provided him with Guidance quite naturally induced him to
think that if one soul is able to appreciate and understand it why is it
that others are finding a difficulty in accepting it. Moreover, when he
saw that the more effort he made in calling them towards it, the more they
evaded his calls, he was driven into thinking that probably his efforts
were lacking both in approach and intensity. This led him to double his
efforts, but when the situation did not change his worries increased twofold.
14. It was not long before the
Prophet (sws) won many companions in Mecca, and his once feeble voice became
a reverberating roar.
15. The difficulty of the Prophet
(sws) referred to here is that although the message of Islam had received
acclaim in Mecca, yet the breakthrough needed in this regard was still
to come. It should be borne in mind that the leaders of Quraysh,
who were the first invitees of this religion persisted to oppose it. In
fact, their hostility increased with increase in its followers. However,
during the Haj season, the pilgrims who came to Ka`bah became
a constant source of spreading its teachings in the whereabouts of Mecca,
particularly among the Ansaar of Medinah. The great ease
referred to in the verse, obviously, points to the great success the Islamic
mission subsequently achieved with the conquest of Mecca in the eighth
year of Hijrah.
16. The repetition merely emphasizes
the point made in the previous verse.
17. The core and essence of Islam
is one's relationship with the Almighty. The strength of this relationship
depends on His continuous remembrance in one's routines. The responsibility
of da`wah is a requisite of faith and as such is actually an obligation
which must be fulfilled. The Prophet (sws) is directed in this verse to
labour hard in seeking the Almighty, once his assigned task of da`wah is
finished. In complying with this final directive the Prophet (sws) began
to spend more and more time in worship. Such was the extent of his involvement
that some people even inquired from him that when all his sins had been
forgiven, why was he taking so much pains in worship. The Prophet (sws)
is said to have replied: `Should not I become a grateful servant of my