In the name of
Allah, Gracious, Merciful.
1O you folded in garments!1
2Stand by night, but not all night.
3Half of it or a little less.
4Or a little more; and recite the Qur’an in slow measured
5Soon shall We send down to you a weighty message.
6Truly, the rising by night is most potent for governing and most
suitable for the Word.
7True, there is for you by day prolonged occupation with ordinary
8But keep in remembrance the name of the Lord and devote yourself
to Him wholeheartedly.
9Lord of the East and the West: there is no god but He: take Him
therefore for disposer of affairs.
1Ya ayyuhal muzam mil
2Qumil laila illa qalila
3Nishfahu awinqush minhu qalila
4Au zid alaihi wa ratili qurana taitila
5Inna sanulqi alaika qaulan tsaqila
6Inna nasyi atal laili hiya asyad du wath aw aqwamu qila
7Inna finahari sabhan thawi la
8Wazkurisma rabbika wa tabatal ilaihi tabtila
9Rabbul masyriqi wal maghribi la ila ha illa huwa tat takhidz hu
1. This is in reference to Muhammad, after his
first encounter with the spirit/Angel. He came home and asked his wife
Khadijah to cover him up because he was shivering. Sahih Al-Bukhari’s Hadith
9.111, narrated by Aisha:
The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Apostle was in the
form of good righteous (true) dreams in his sleep. He never had a dream but
that it came true like bright day light. He used to go in seclusion to (the
cave of) Hira where he used to worship (Allah Alone) continuously for many
(days) nights. He used to take with him the journey food for that (stay) and
then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again for
another period to stay, till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he
was in the cave of Hira.
The angel came to him in it and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I
do not know how to read.” (The Prophet added), “The angel caught me
(forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He
then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, “I do not know
how to read,” whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till
I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read,
but again I replied, “I do not know how to read (or, what shall I read?).”
Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released
me and said, “Read: In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that
exists). Has created man from a clot. Read and Your Lord is Most
Generous...up to...that which he knew not.” (96.15)
Then Allah’s Apostle returned with the Inspiration, his neck muscles
twitching with terror till he entered upon Khadija and said, “Cover me!
Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and then he said, “O
Khadija, what is wrong with me?” Then he told her everything that had
happened and said, ‘I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija said,
‘Never! But have the glad tidings, for by Allah, Allah will never disgrace
you as you keep good relations with your kith and kin, speak the truth, help
the poor and the destitute, serve your guest generously and assist the
deserving, calamity-afflicted ones.” Khadija then accompanied him to (her
cousin) Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza bin Qusai. Waraqa was
the son of her paternal uncle, i.e., her father’s brother, who during the
Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the Arabic writing
and used to write of the Gospels in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to
write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to him, “O
my cousin! Listen to the story of your nephew.” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew!
What have you seen?” The Prophet described whatever he had seen.
Waraqa said, “This is the same Namus (i.e., Gabriel, the Angel who keeps the
secrets) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up
to the time when your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Apostle asked,
“Will they turn me out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said: “Never
did a man come with something similar to what you have brought but was
treated with hostility. If I should remain alive till the day when you will
be turned out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days
Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while and the
Prophet became so sad as we have heard that he intended several times to
throw himself from the tops of high mountains and every time he went up the
top of a mountain in order to throw himself down, Gabriel would appear
before him and say, “O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Apostle in truth”
whereupon his heart would become quiet and he would calm down and would
return home. And whenever the period of the coming of the inspiration used
to become long, he would do as before, but when he used to reach the top of
a mountain, Gabriel would appear before him and say to him what he had said
Ibn ‘Abbas said
regarding the meaning of: “He it is that Cleaves the daybreak (from the
darkness)” (6.96) that Al-Asbah. means the light of the sun during the day
and the light of the moon at night.
Hadith 4.461 narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah:
...that he heard the Prophet saying, “The Divine Inspiration was delayed for
a short period but suddenly, as I was walking, I heard a voice in the sky,
and when I looked up towards the sky, to my surprise, I saw the angel who
had come to me in the Hira Cave, and he was sitting on a chair in between
the sky and the earth. I was so frightened by him that I fell on the ground
and came to my family and said (to them), ‘Cover me! (with a blanket), cover
me!’ Then Allah sent the Revelation: “O, You wrapped up (In a blanket)!
(Arise and warn! And your Lord magnify And keep pure your garments, And
desert the idols.” (74.1-5).
When God Almighty
sends an angel to bring message to any human being, and the person is
afraid, the angel would normally calm the nerves and then deliver the
message. Luke 1:30, the angel said to Mary, “fear not”, Matthew 1:20, when
the angel came to Joseph in relation to Jesus, the angel said to him, fear
not. Both the Old and the New Testament is full of such stories. God does
not cause us to fear and shiver, but calm and peacefulness accompanies the
call of God in our lives. The fear, in this case, will come when one has
sinned against God and as a result feels guilty. The story of Adam in
Genesis 3 is typical.
10And have patience with what they say and leave them with noble
11And leave Me with those in possession of the good things of
life who deny the truth; and bear with them for a little while.
12With Us are fetters and a fire to burn them.
13And food that chokes and a penalty grievous.
14One day the earth and the mountains will be in violent
commotion and the mountains will be as a heap of sand poured out and flowing
15We have sent to you an apostle, to be a witness concerning you
even as We sent an apostle to Pharaoh.
16But Pharaoh disobeyed the apostle; so We seized him with a
10Washbir ala ma yaquluna wahjur hum hajran jamila
11Wa zami wal mukaz zibina ulin namati wa mah hilhum qalila
12Inna ladaina ankalaw wa jahima
13Wa thaaman za qhush shatiw wa azaban alima
14Yauma tarjuful ardhu wal jibalu wa kanatil jibalu katsibam
15Inna arsalna ilaikum rasulan sya hidan alaikum kama arsalna
16Faasha Firaunur rasula fa akhaz nahu akhzaw wabila
[Commentary continues below.]
17Then how shall you if you deny, guard yourselves against a day
that will make children hoary-headed?
18Whereon the sky will be cleft asunder? His promise must
certainly be accomplished.
19Verily, this is an admonition: Therefore whoso will, let him
take a straight path to his Lord!
17Fakaifa tataquna inkafartum yauma yajalul wildana syiha
18Asama u munfathirun bih kana waduhu mafula
19Inna hazihi tazkiratun faman syaatakhaza ila rabbihi sabila
[Commentary continues below.]
20The Lord does know that you stand forth nigh two-thirds of the
night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and so does a party of
those with you. But Allah does appoint night and day in due measure. He
knows that you are unable to keep count thereof. So He has turned to you:
read therefore of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you. He knows that
there may be some among you in ill health; others traveling through the land
seeking of Allah’s bounty; yet others fighting in Allah’s cause. Read
therefore as much of the Qur’an as may be easy for you; and establish
regular prayer and give regular charity; and loan to Allah a beautiful loan.
And whatever good you send forth for your souls, You shall find it in
Allah’s presence, yea, better and greater in reward. And seek the grace of
Allah: for Allah is often forgiving, most merciful.2
20Inna rabbaka yalamu an naka taqu mu adna min tsulutsayil laili
wa nish fahu wa tsulutsahu wa tha ifatum minal ladzina maak, wallahu yu qad
dirul laila wan nahar alima al lan tuhshuhu fataba alaikum faqra u ma tayas
sara minal quran alima an sayakunu minkum mardha wa a kharuna yadhribuna fil
ardhi yabta qhuna min fadhlil lahi wa akharu na yuqatiluna fi sabilil lah
faqra u ma taya sara minhu wa aqimush shalafa wa atu zakata wa aqridhul laha
qardhan hasana wa ma tuqad dimu li anfusikum min khairin tajiduhu indal lahi
huwa khairin wa azhama ajra wastagfirul lah innallaha ghafuru rahim
[Commentary continues below.]
2. What does Allah say in connection with how
long Muhammad prays? The answer is not certain. If Muhammad cannot keep
count and if Allah is not sure, then how is the record on this matter kept.
In this Muhammad is told to read the Qur’an, but it did not exist in
Muhammad’s lifetime, so what is Allah talking about? Othman, who
commissioned the compilation, became a caliph in 644, Muhammad died in 632.
This does not sound right. It would have been better if Allah had told
Muhammad to read the portions of the recitation or revelation which he had
with him. But because the Qur’an did not exist in his lifetime leaves a lot
to be desired of both Allah and Muhammad.