English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 93: Ad-Duha — The Brightness of the Day (Revealed at Makkah: 11 verses)

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Introduction:

This chapter draws attention to the gradual spreading of the light of the sun of Islam, and thus has the title The Brightness of the Day, the word in the first verse. The last two chapters speak of the coming of the Holy Prophet as the rising of the sun. This shows that as sunshine is not fully resplendent immediately after the rising of the sun, so would Truth shine in its full brightness gradually. It is one of the earliest revelations.

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Translation:

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

93:1 By the brightness of the day!
93:2 And the night when it is still! —
93:3 Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased.1
93:4 And surely the later state is better for you than the earlier.
93:5 And soon will your Lord give you so that you will be well pleased.2
93:6 Did He not find you an orphan and give (you) shelter?3
93:7 And find you groping, so He showed the way?4
93:8 And find you in want, so He enriched you?5
93:9 Therefore the orphan, do not oppress.6
93:10 And him who asks, do not rebuke.7
93:11 And the favour of your Lord, do proclaim.8

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Commentary:

  1. These words may be taken as words of solace in a general sense, the significance being that God would never forsake the Holy Prophet. But in the light of what follows, the words are prophetical, the indication being that in its later history Islam would have to face set-backs which might give rise to such doubts. The Prophet and his followers are therefore given an assurance that God will never forsake the cause of Islam. Force is lent to this interpretation by the fact that here it is not the night that is followed by the brightness of the day, which was the case at the appearance of the Prophet, but the brightness of the day is followed by the stillness of the night, which seems to be a reference to the inactivity of the Muslim people after the sun had shone, i.e., in later times.
  2. The words may mean that as time passes, the Prophet’s cause would go on gaining strength, and the later state would always be better for him than the earlier. Or, the reference here is to the second rising of Islam, after what is called the stillness of the night in v. 2, a long pause of inactivity of the Muslims. References to a set-back to the cause of Islam for a long period are very frequent in the Quran; see 32:5 footnote. As a matter of fact, it is true that despite various set-backs at different periods of its history, the cause of Islam has gone on gaining ground.
  3. Abdullah, the Holy Prophet’s father, died about three months before the Prophet was born; his mother, Āminah, died when he was six years old. His grand­father, Abdul Muttalib, who took care of him after his mother, died two years later, and from that time he remained in charge of Abu Talib, his uncle, who was alive when the Holy Prophet received the Divine message for the regenera­tion of mankind.
  4. The word ḍāll (“groping”) here signifies one who is unable to see the way for himself, and not one who is in error. See also 53:2 footnote. Verses 6, 7 and 8 stand in close relation to verses 9, 10 and 11 respectively. Verse 6 tells the Prophet that he was himself an orphan, and v. 9 draws the conclusion that he should therefore not oppress the orphan; similarly, v. 8 speaks of the Divine favour to him in making him free from want, and v. 11 draws the conclusion that he should therefore proclaim the Divine favour to him. The same applies between v. 7 and v. 10. The latter plainly speaks of one who asks to be guided to the Truth. The Holy Prophet was no doubt “one who asks” (sā’il) in this sense. He did not worship idols, but neither could he, without the help of Allah, find out the way for the regeneration of his people, for which his soul yearned so eagerly. The word ḍāll also signifies one who becomes lost, and the meaning may be that the Holy Prophet had so devoted himself to the quest of the right way for the world that he had lost himself in that quest. See also the introductory note to ch. 94.
  5. Finding the Holy Prophet in want, and enriching him, do not refer to his temporal or financial circumstances only, if they refer to them at all, but rather to his spiritual needs and the spiritual wealth with which he was enriched.
  6. Not taking care of the orphans is really their oppression.
  7. The reference is to one who asks about knowledge. This interpretation is corroborated by the incident related in the opening verses of ch. 80.
  8. The favour is no other than revelation, the greatest of all Divine favours, as it is recognized to be throughout the Quran. This was the favour which the Holy Prophet continued to announce throughout his life.

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