English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 92: Al-Lail — The Night (Revealed at Makkah: 21 verses)

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Introduction:

The object of this chapter is to show that The Night of disbelief and ignorance, indicated in the first verse, will give place to the light of the day. It tells us that while people are striving after different ends, those who strive for good and charitable works will have their path eased for them but those who go after evil will find themselves in distress. It is one of the earliest revelations.

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Translation:

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

92:1 By the night when it draws a veil!
92:2 And the day when it shines!
92:3 And the creating of the male and the female! —
92:4 Your striving is surely (for) diverse (ends).1
92:5 Then as for him who gives (charitably) and keeps his duty,
92:6 and accepts what is good —
92:7 We facilitate for him (the way to) ease.
92:8 And as for him who is miserly and considers himself self-sufficient,
92:9 and rejects what is good —
92:10 We facilitate for him (the way to) distress.
92:11 And his wealth will not avail him when he perishes.2
92:12 Surely Ours is it to show the way,
92:13 and surely Ours is the Hereafter and the former.3
92:14 So I warn you of the Fire that flames.
92:15 None will enter it but the most unfortunate,
92:16 who rejects and turns (his) back.
92:17 And away from it shall be kept the most faithful to duty,
92:18 who gives his wealth, purifying himself.
92:19 And none has with him any favour for a reward,
92:20 except the seeking of the pleasure of his Lord, the Most High.4
92:21 And he will soon be well-pleased.

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Commentary:

  1. Evil is here compared with the darkness of the night and good with the light of day. The creation of the male and the female, which stands for the crea­tion of the whole of animate nature, because all living beings are created either male or female, is also a witness to the same truth, for there we find every­one striving for an end, and everyone reaping according to the manner of his striving.
  2. The two examples given in these verses represent those who accept and those who reject the Truth, respectively; the one goes on doing good deeds, finding his way quite easy, until he finds himself in ease, and the other goes on doing evil, the doing of which seems easy to him, until he finds himself in distress.
  3. The wicked one is here told that he will find himself in distress not only in the Hereafter but also in this life, as God has control of both. Or the two words refer to what is coming later, i.e. what is promised, and the present state.
  4. The pleasure of the Lord is the only favour for which a person should hope, and hence this is the goal of a Muslim’s life — his paradise in this as well as the next life. This is in accordance with what is said in 9:72, one of the latest revelations: “And greatest of all is Allah’s goodly pleasure. That is the mighty achievement”.

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