English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 73: Al-Muzzammil — The One Covering Himself Up (Revealed at Makkah: 2 sections, 20 verses)

Section 1 (Verses 73:1–73:19): The Prophet Enjoined to Pray


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡمُزَّمِّلُ ۙ﴿۱﴾

73:1 O you covering yourself up!1

قُمِ الَّیۡلَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا ۙ﴿۲﴾

73:2 Rise to pray by night except a little,

نِّصۡفَہٗۤ اَوِ انۡقُصۡ مِنۡہُ قَلِیۡلًا ۙ﴿۳﴾

73:3 half of it, or lessen it a little,

اَوۡ زِدۡ عَلَیۡہِ وَ رَتِّلِ الۡقُرۡاٰنَ تَرۡتِیۡلًا ؕ﴿۴﴾

73:4 or add to it, and recite the Quran (distinctly) at a leisurely pace.

اِنَّا سَنُلۡقِیۡ عَلَیۡکَ قَوۡلًا ثَقِیۡلًا ﴿۵﴾

73:5 Surely We shall charge you with a weighty word.2

اِنَّ نَاشِئَۃَ الَّیۡلِ ہِیَ اَشَدُّ وَطۡاً وَّ اَقۡوَمُ قِیۡلًا ؕ﴿۶﴾

73:6 The rising (to pray) by night is surely the firmest way to tread and most effective in speech.3

اِنَّ لَکَ فِی النَّہَارِ سَبۡحًا طَوِیۡلًا ؕ﴿۷﴾

73:7 Truly you have by day prolonged occupation.

وَ اذۡکُرِ اسۡمَ رَبِّکَ وَ تَبَتَّلۡ اِلَیۡہِ تَبۡتِیۡلًا ؕ﴿۸﴾

73:8 And remember the name of your Lord and devote yourself to Him with (complete) devotion.

رَبُّ الۡمَشۡرِقِ وَ الۡمَغۡرِبِ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ فَاتَّخِذۡہُ وَکِیۡلًا ﴿۹﴾

73:9 The Lord of the East and the West — there is no god but He — so take Him for Protector.

وَ اصۡبِرۡ عَلٰی مَا یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ وَ اہۡجُرۡہُمۡ ہَجۡرًا جَمِیۡلًا ﴿۱۰﴾

73:10 And bear patiently what they say and turn away from them with a dignified withdrawal.

وَ ذَرۡنِیۡ وَ الۡمُکَذِّبِیۡنَ اُولِی النَّعۡمَۃِ وَ مَہِّلۡہُمۡ قَلِیۡلًا ﴿۱۱﴾

73:11 And leave Me and the deniers, possessors of plenty, and give them respite for a little while.

اِنَّ لَدَیۡنَاۤ اَنۡکَالًا وَّ جَحِیۡمًا ﴿ۙ۱۲﴾

73:12 Surely with Us are heavy fetters and a flaming Fire,

وَّ طَعَامًا ذَا غُصَّۃٍ وَّ عَذَابًا اَلِیۡمًا ﴿٭۱۳﴾

73:13 and food that chokes and a painful punishment.

یَوۡمَ تَرۡجُفُ الۡاَرۡضُ وَ الۡجِبَالُ وَ کَانَتِ الۡجِبَالُ کَثِیۡبًا مَّہِیۡلًا ﴿۱۴﴾

73:14 On the day when the earth and the mountains quake and the mountains become (as) heaps of sand let loose.4

اِنَّاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکُمۡ رَسُوۡلًا ۬ۙ شَاہِدًا عَلَیۡکُمۡ کَمَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَاۤ اِلٰی فِرۡعَوۡنَ رَسُوۡلًا ﴿ؕ۱۵﴾

73:15 Surely We have sent to you a Messenger, a witness against you, as We sent a messenger to Pharaoh.5

فَعَصٰی فِرۡعَوۡنُ الرَّسُوۡلَ فَاَخَذۡنٰہُ اَخۡذًا وَّبِیۡلًا ﴿۱۶﴾

73:16 But Pharaoh disobeyed the messenger, so We seized him with a violent grip.

فَکَیۡفَ تَتَّقُوۡنَ اِنۡ کَفَرۡتُمۡ یَوۡمًا یَّجۡعَلُ الۡوِلۡدَانَ شِیۡبَۨا ﴿٭ۖ۱۷﴾

73:17 How, then, if you disbelieve, will you guard yourselves on the day which will make children grey-headed,

السَّمَآءُ مُنۡفَطِرٌۢ بِہٖ ؕ کَانَ وَعۡدُہٗ مَفۡعُوۡلًا ﴿۱۸﴾

73:18 the heaven being torn apart thereby? His promise is ever fulfilled.6

اِنَّ ہٰذِہٖ تَذۡکِرَۃٌ ۚ فَمَنۡ شَآءَ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰی رَبِّہٖ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿٪۱۹﴾

73:19 Surely this is a Reminder; so whoever wishes may take a way to his Lord.


  1. The ordinary explanation is that, on receiving the Call, his first revela­tion, the Holy Prophet came back home trembling and said to his wife: Cover me, cover me. But various other explanations are given and some take it as an allusion to his preparation for prayers. The Prophet’s own words, as recorded in Bukhari (1:1), make it clear that the reference here is to his covering himself up on receiving the first revelation. He is in fact told that he should not fear or tremble on account of the tremendous responsibility placed on him of reforming humani­ty, but should seek the help of God, through prayer to Him, the most effective prayer being prayer in the night, when the world is asleep.
  2. Being burdened with the guidance of the whole world was indeed a weighty word, the weightiest word with which any human being has been charged in the whole history of humanity.
  3. The praying at night is here described as being, firstly, the firmest way to tread — to tread the way of life, to tread upon all evil inclinations — and, secondly, the most effective in speech — what one says to other people becomes most effective. The speaker, the inviter to Truth, has his heart strengthened with force Divine through his lengthened devotions in the still of the night, and his word therefore carries the Divine force with it and enters the hearts of those who listen to him. Thus was the Prophet fortified doubly, in his deeds as well as in his words, to carry his message to other people, and thus should his true followers try to get strength from the same Divine source in the dead of night. The Divine light in its full brilliance then illumines the heart of man which reflects that light and illumines the world.
  4. Verses 12–14 speak of the wretched condition in which the present possessors of ease and plenty would find themselves, and how the great obstacles to the spread of truth would be removed before the advance of Truth; see 20:105.
  5. The Holy Prophet’s likeness to Moses is stated in the clearest terms in this, one of the earliest revelations, and thus the Holy Prophet’s claim to be the promised prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18, who is expressly stated to be the “like” of Moses, is as old as his revelation.
  6. The description in verses 17–18 is applicable to both the day of Resurrection and the doom of the opponents in this life. Such phrases as the rolling up of heaven (21:104), the heaven being torn apart (as here and in 82:1), the removing of the covering of heaven (81:11), and other similar phrases, all really speak of the sweeping away of the old order of things to give place to a new, attended by the necessary terrors and disasters, and hence the description applies to the doom of a nation in this world as well as to the entirely new order of things which will be ushered in with the Resurrection.