رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوۡبَنَا بَعۡدَ اِذۡ ہَدَیۡتَنَا وَ ہَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ لَّدُنۡکَ رَحۡمَۃً ۚ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡوَہَّابُ ﴿۹﴾
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوبَنَا بَعۡدَ إِذۡ هَدَيۡتَنَا وَهَبۡ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحۡمَةًۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡوَهَّابُ
374. The right knowledge of the Qur’an is vouchsafed only to those who are pure of heart (56:80). (close)
300. Important Words:
الوھاب (Bestower) is derived from وھب i.e. he gave or he bestowed. وھب له مالا means, he gave or bestowed property on him. ھبة which is the noun-infinitive from وھب means: (1) the act of giving a person something without receiving anything in return; (2) the thing so given. الوھاب which is the intensive form of واھب (giver) means, one who gives greatly and extensively (Aqrab). The word is used about God because He gives to each and every one of His creatures according to his deserts and none is overlooked (Mufradat).
The verse, which comprises a very important prayer, comes as a fitting sequel to the preceding verse. It points out the great truth that not unoften a people receive a favour or blessing from God, which sometimes later proves a means of stumbling for them. They abuse the favour of God or misinterpret divine guidance and thus bring about their ruin. This is what happened to the Christians; and Muslims are warned to be watchful against this source of error and ever to pray to God to protect them against it. See also 1:7.
The verse also hints that dissension and straying away from the truth would be the lot of Muslims if they subordinated decisive verses to those ambiguous, and fundamentals to matters of secondary importance. This is why the Holy Prophetsaused to recite this prayer constantly, which fact implied an instruction to his followers to do the same. Indeed, there could be no greater tragedy than, having once found the right path, to go astray, and, having once received Divine favour, to become the object of His anger.
The verse also draws attention to the fact that the error of interpreting متشابھات in a manner which is at variance with محکمات (see preceding verse) can only be avoided through the purification of the heart and through prayer. The right knowledge of the Quran is vouchsafed only to those who are pure of heart. In this connection see also 56:80. (close)
رَبَّنَاۤ اِنَّکَ جَامِعُ النَّاسِ لِیَوۡمٍ لَّا رَیۡبَ فِیۡہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یُخۡلِفُ الۡمِیۡعَادَ ﴿۱۰﴾٪
رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ جَامِعُ ٱلنَّاسِ لِيَوۡمٖ لَّا رَيۡبَ فِيهِۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُخۡلِفُ ٱلۡمِيعَادَ
a. 3:26; 4:88; 45:27. (close)
a. 3:26; 4:88; 45:27. (close)
301. Important Words:
جامع (wilt assemble) is derived from جمع i.e. he collected or he assembled. جمع الشیء means, he assembled and arranged the thing. God is called جامع because He will bring together all men on the Day of Judgement and will give them their reward or punishment as they deserve. The central mosque of a town is also called جامع because people gather there for Prayers, particularly for Friday Prayer from the entire neighbourhood. جمعة (Friday) is also so called because on that day people assemble for the weekly worship (Taj & Aqrab).
المیعاد (promise) is derived from وعد i.e. he promised. Generally وعد means, he promised a good thing; and اوعد means, he threatened with something evil. میعاد means, time or place of promise or appointment (Aqrab). It also means, promise (Lane).
The prayer contained in the preceding verse becomes all the more essential because man has to give an account of his actions before God on the Day of Reckoning when He will bring together men of all ages and all lands. An examination is a very hard thing but it becomes harder still if held in the presence of a gathering comprising the whole of mankind. (close)
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَنۡ تُغۡنِیَ عَنۡہُمۡ اَمۡوَالُہُمۡ وَ لَاۤ اَوۡلَادُہُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ شَیۡئًا ؕ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمۡ وَقُوۡدُ النَّارِ ﴿ۙ۱۱﴾
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَن تُغۡنِيَ عَنۡهُمۡ أَمۡوَٰلُهُمۡ وَلَآ أَوۡلَٰدُهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ شَيۡـٔٗاۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ هُمۡ وَقُودُ ٱلنَّارِ
375. As all these verses have particular reference to Christians the word "disbelievers" occurring in the verse under comment may apply to them. (close)
b. 3:117; 58:18; 92:12; 111:3. (close)
a. 3:117; 58:18; 92:12; 111:3. (close)
302. Important Words:
لن تغنی (shall not avail) is derived from غنی i.e. he became free from want; or he was in a state of competence or sufficiency; or he became rich. اغناہ means, he made him free from want; or put him in a state of sufficiency or competence; or he made him rich. ما یغنی عنك ھذا means, this shall not suffice or satisfy thee; or shall not stand thee in good stead; or shall not avail or profit thee (Taj).
As these verses have particular reference to Christians, the word "disbelievers" occurring in this verse may apply to them. Thus the verse contains a great prophecy; for though at the time of its revelation Christians were not strong or numerous, yet the time was to come when they were destined to be so. Indeed, they became the wealthiest people in the whole world and their progeny has spread over entire continents. But that cannot protect them from God’s punishment. Their very wealth and number have become the cause of their destruction and, as predicted in the verse, they are now being punished with fire in the form of shots, shells and incendiary bombs. The verse may also refer to the Day of Judgement, spoken of in the preceding verse, when nothing shall avail the Christian nations against the punishment of God.
The verse may also apply to the infidels of Mecca, all of whose efforts against the Holy Prophet came to naught, whose wealth fell into Muslim hands and whose children joined the fold of Islam in large numbers. In this case "fire" would mean either the fire of Hell or the fire of war which they themselves had kindled against Islam but which finally proved their own ruin. (close)
کَدَاۡبِ اٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ ۙ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ ؕ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا ۚ فَاَخَذَہُمُ اللّٰہُ بِذُنُوۡبِہِمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ شَدِیۡدُ الۡعِقَابِ ﴿۱۲﴾
كَدَأۡبِ ءَالِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡۚ كَذَّبُواْ بِـَٔايَٰتِنَا فَأَخَذَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِذُنُوبِهِمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ
c. 8:53, 55. (close)
376. Da’b means, habit, custom or manner; case, affair or condition (Aqrab). (close)
a. 8:53, 55. (close)
303. Important Words:
دأب (case) is the noun-infinitive from دأب. They say دأب فی العمل i.e. (1) he laboured and strove hard and exerted and wearied himself in the work; (2) he remained constant in it. دأب means, working hard and constantly; habit, custom or manner; case, affair or condition (Aqrab).
In the previous verse disbelievers were warned that their wealth and their numbers would prove of no avail against God’s punishment. The present verse points to the fact that this warning was no idle threat. Disbelievers in the past had met with a similar fate. Just as the efforts of Pharaoh and his people against Moses proved futile and their wealth, numbers and power could not save them from destruction, so would the endeavours of those who rejected the Holy Prophet not only fail to retard the progress of Islam but would pave the way for their own ruin. (close)
قُلۡ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا سَتُغۡلَبُوۡنَ وَ تُحۡشَرُوۡنَ اِلٰی جَہَنَّمَ ؕ وَ بِئۡسَ الۡمِہَادُ ﴿۱۳﴾
قُل لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ سَتُغۡلَبُونَ وَتُحۡشَرُونَ إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡمِهَادُ
d. 8:37; 54:46. (close)
b. 8:37; 54:46. (close)
304. Important Words:
تحشرون (gathered) is derived from حشر i.e. he gathered. حشر الناس means, he gathered together the people; he forced them to migrate, i.e. he banished them. حشر الجمع means, he drove the gathering from one place to another. حشرت الوحوش means, the animals were gathered and made to depart; they died or perished. یوم الحشر means, the Day of Congregation, i.e. of Resurrection (Aqrab).
مھاد (place of rest) is derived from مھد. They say مھد الفراش i.e. he spread and made even, (i.e. prepared) the bedding. مھادmeans, bed; bedding; a low-lying piece of land (Aqrab).
The verse speaks of the end of the disbelievers. Islam will triumph over them in this world; and in the next Hell will be their abode. (close)
قَدۡ کَانَ لَکُمۡ اٰیَۃٌ فِیۡ فِئَتَیۡنِ الۡتَقَتَا ؕ فِئَۃٌ تُقَاتِلُ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ وَ اُخۡرٰی کَافِرَۃٌ یَّرَوۡنَہُمۡ مِّثۡلَیۡہِمۡ رَاۡیَ الۡعَیۡنِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یُؤَیِّدُ بِنَصۡرِہٖ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ اِنَّ فِیۡ ذٰلِکَ لَعِبۡرَۃً لِّاُولِی الۡاَبۡصَارِ ﴿۱۴﴾
قَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ ءَايَةٞ فِي فِئَتَيۡنِ ٱلۡتَقَتَاۖ فِئَةٞ تُقَٰتِلُ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَأُخۡرَىٰ كَافِرَةٞ يَرَوۡنَهُم مِّثۡلَيۡهِمۡ رَأۡيَ ٱلۡعَيۡنِۚ وَٱللَّهُ يُؤَيِّدُ بِنَصۡرِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبۡرَةٗ لِّأُوْلِي ٱلۡأَبۡصَٰرِ
377. The verse refers to the Battle of Badr in which 313 ill-equipped and ill-armed Muslims inflicted a crushing defeat on a fully equipped and fully armed Meccan force—1000 strong. This fulfilled two prophecies—one contained in an earlier revelation of the Qur’an (54:45-49), and the other in the Bible (Isa. 21:13-17). In accordance with the biblical prophecy, about a year after the hijrah of the Holy Prophet from Mecca, the power of Kedar (the progenitor of the Meccans) was broken at Badr and their glory departed. The defeat of the infidels was as unexpected and complete as was the victory of the Muslims. Truly has the Battle of Badr been reckoned among the greatest battles of history. It virtually decided the fate of Arabia and established Islam on a very firm footing. (close)
e. 8:42, 43. (close)
378. The clause points out that the Meccan army appeared to the Muslims to be less than their actual strength, i.e. only twice instead of thrice the number of the Muslims, as was actually the case. This was quite in harmony with Divine design that the few weak and ill-equipped Muslims, seeing the full strength of the enemy, might not lose heart (8:45). What actually happened was that one-third of the Meccan army was behind a mound and the Muslims could see only two-thirds of them, i.e. 600 or twice as many as their own number. (close)
a. 8:27. (close)
a. 8:42, 43. (close)
b. 8:27. (close)
305. Important Words:
عبرة (lesson) is the noun-infinitive from عبر. They say عبرہ i.e. he crossed it, or he passed over it from one side to the other. اعتبر means, he took warning; he took what he saw as an indication of what was concealed. عبرة therefore means: (1) an admonition or exhortation; (2) an admonition or exhortation by which one takes warning; (3) a thing by the state or condition of which one is admonished, reminded, directed or guided (Aqrab & Lane).
This verse refers to the Battle of Badr in which 313 ill-equipped and ill-armed Muslims inflicted a crushing defeat on a well-equipped and well-armed Meccan force, 1,000 strong. This fulfilled two prophecies—one contained in an earlier revelation of the Quran and the other in the Bible. The Quranic revelation said: Do they say, ‘We are a victorious host?’Nay, the hosts will be routed and will show their backs… The day when they will be dragged into the Fire on their faces (and it will be said to them), ‘taste ye the touch of burning’ (54:45-49). And the Biblical prophecy said: "In the forest of Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail; and the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it" (Isa. 21:13-17).
In accordance with this prophecy, about a year after the flight of the Holy Prophet from Mecca, the power of Kedar (the progenitor of the Meccan tribes) was broken at Badr and their glory departed. The Quranic prophecy was also literally fulfilled; for, after the Meccan host was routed at Badr, the ringleaders of the Quraish who fell in the battle were actually dragged along the ground and cast into a well for burial. It was on this occasion that, addressing their dead bodies the Holy Prophet said, "God has made true the promise He had made to us. Have you also found to be true that which was promised to you?" (Bukhari). The Quran describes the Day of Badr as the day of "Discrimination" (8:42), because on that day a great prophecy, accompanied by great results, was fulfilled in extremely unfavourable circumstances. The defeat of the infidels was as unexpected and complete as was the victory of the Muslims. Truly has the Battle of Badr been reckoned among the greatest battles in history. It virtually decided the fate of the Meccans and of the whole of Arabia. The power of the Quraish was broken forever and the new Faith rose high and powerful in the land; and all this came about exactly as it had been prophesied.
The clause, whom they saw to be twice as many as themselves, points out that the Meccan army appeared to the Muslims to be less than their actual strength, i.e. only twice instead of thrice the number of the Muslims, as was actually the case. This was quite in harmony with Divine will which designed that the encounter should take place and the few weak and ill-equipped Muslims, seeing the full strength of the enemy, should not become discouraged (8:45). What happened was that one-third of the Meccan army was behind a rising piece of land and the Muslims could see only two-thirds of them, i.e. 600 or twice as many as their own number. The Muslims were thus naturally heartened by seeing the Meccan army only twice their own number because they knew that in fulfilment of His promise (8:67-68) God would surely vouchsafe to them victory over an enemy double their number.
The words, actually with their eyes, have been added to point out that it was not in a vision or a dream that the Muslims saw the disbelievers to be less than their actual number but in a state of actual wakefulness, which naturally proved more heartening than would have been the case if they had seen them so only in a dream or vision, which very often has an interpretation other than what actually appears. (close)
زُیِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّہَوٰتِ مِنَ النِّسَآءِ وَ الۡبَنِیۡنَ وَ الۡقَنَاطِیۡرِ الۡمُقَنۡطَرَۃِ مِنَ الذَّہَبِ وَ الۡفِضَّۃِ وَ الۡخَیۡلِ الۡمُسَوَّمَۃِ وَ الۡاَنۡعَامِ وَ الۡحَرۡثِ ؕ ذٰلِکَ مَتَاعُ الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا ۚ وَ اللّٰہُ عِنۡدَہٗ حُسۡنُ الۡمَاٰبِ ﴿۱۵﴾
زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ ٱلشَّهَوَٰتِ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلۡبَنِينَ وَٱلۡقَنَٰطِيرِ ٱلۡمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ ٱلذَّهَبِ وَٱلۡفِضَّةِ وَٱلۡخَيۡلِ ٱلۡمُسَوَّمَةِ وَٱلۡأَنۡعَٰمِ وَٱلۡحَرۡثِۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَاۖ وَٱللَّهُ عِندَهُۥ حُسۡنُ ٱلۡمَـَٔابِ
b. 18:47; 57:21. (close)
c. 3:186; 9:38; 10:71. (close)
379. Islam does not prohibit the use or seeking of the good things of this world; but it certainly condemns those who are wholly engrossed in them and make them the very object of their life. (close)
a. 18:47; 57:21. (close)
b. 3:186; 9:38; 10:71. (close)
306. Important Words:
الشھوات (desired things) is the plural of شھوة being derived from شھا. They say شھاہ i.e. he desired it; he desired it eagerly and intensely; he longed for it. شھوة means: (1) desire, or intense desire or longing for a thing; (2) the thing desired, or the object of desire. Sometimes the word is used in a bad sense indicating a low desire or gratification of venereal lust (Aqrab & Lane).
القناطیر (heaps) & مقنطرة (stored-up) are both derived from قنطر. They say قنطر الرجل i.e. the man possessed, or came into possession of, great wealth. قنطر الشیء means, he tied up the thing, or he vaulted it. قناطیر is the plural of قنطار meaning, heaped-up wealth. It also signifies a measure varying in weight and value at different times and in different countries. مقنطرة when added to قناطیر intensifies the meaning, pointing to the greatness of heaped-up wealth. It also means, collected together or stored-up, giving also the sense of completeness and perfection (Aqrab & Lane).
The verse enumerates some of the things of this world which engross man’s attention and often turn him away from God. These are particularly the things to the acquisition of which men, more specially in Christian countries, have applied their time and energy. As already pointed out, it is the Christians that are chiefly addressed in this Surah. Islam does not prohibit the use, or even the seeking, of the good things of this world; but it certainly condemns the action of those who become engrossed in them and make them the very object of their life. Elsewhere the Quran refers to the Christian people as "those whose efforts are all lost in the life of this world" (18:105).
As to the question, who is the "beautifier" referred to in the clause, beautified for men, it may be noted that though the natural beauty in all things comes from God, yet here the "beautifier" is Satan, for in the present verse the question is not of "simple beauty" but of "engrossing beauty", not simply of the desired things of the world but of the abnormal love for them; and it is certainly Satan who endows the things of this world with engrossing beauty and creates in the hearts of men special love for them. God is only the Beautifier of good deeds and good things, and the Creator, in the heart of man, of dislike for evil ones (49:8, also 16:64). (close)
قُلۡ اَؤُنَبِّئُکُمۡ بِخَیۡرٍ مِّنۡ ذٰلِکُمۡ ؕ لِلَّذِیۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ جَنّٰتٌ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا وَ اَزۡوَاجٌ مُّطَہَّرَۃٌ وَّ رِضۡوَانٌ مِّنَ اللّٰہِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بَصِیۡرٌۢ بِالۡعِبَادِ ﴿ۚ۱۶﴾
۞قُلۡ أَؤُنَبِّئُكُم بِخَيۡرٖ مِّن ذَٰلِكُمۡۖ لِلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوۡاْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ جَنَّـٰتٞ تَجۡرِي مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَٰرُ خَٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا وَأَزۡوَٰجٞ مُّطَهَّرَةٞ وَرِضۡوَٰنٞ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ بَصِيرُۢ بِٱلۡعِبَادِ
a. 8:47; 19:77. (close)
b. See 2:26. (close)
c. 3:163, 175; 5:3; 9:72; 48:30; 59:9. (close)
a. 18:47; 19:77. (close)
307. Important Words:
رضوان (pleasure) is derived from رضی i.e. he was pleased; he was well pleased; he was satisfied or contented; he regarded (him) with good-will or favour. رضوان which is the noun-infinitive from رضی means, the state of being well pleased; satisfaction; good-will (Lane). As رضوان signifies abundant pleasure or satisfaction, the word has come to be used in the Quran in connection with God only (Mufradat). رضوان is also the name of the keeper or guardian angel of Paradise (Lane).
Though Islam does not object to the acquisition of the good things of this world, yet the good things of the life to come are far greater and nobler for man. And greater still is the pleasure or good-will of God which the Quran mentions as the greatest blessing (9:72). For one who succeeds in attaining it, even worldly things become a source of peace of mind. The Companions of the Holy Prophet attained it (9:100) and so they have been rightly called "the best people" (3:111). (close)
اَلَّذِیۡنَ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ رَبَّنَاۤ اِنَّنَاۤ اٰمَنَّا فَاغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوۡبَنَا وَ قِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ﴿ۚ۱۷﴾
ٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّنَآ ءَامَنَّا فَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ
d. 3:194; 7:156; 23:110; 60:6. (close)
380. Dhunub is the plural of Dhanb which means, a fault, a misdeed, an offence, a thing for which one is blameable, if one does it intentionally. It differs from Ithm in that Dhanb may be either intentional or committed through inadvertence, Ithm is peculiarly intentional. Or Dhanb means, such errors and mistakes as bring about a harmful result or make one liable to be called to account. Really, Dhanb signifies such failings or shortcomings as adhere to human nature, Just as Dhanab (tail, or in man, the corresponding part of the body) adheres to the body, i.e. natural failings and shortcomings in man (Lane & Mufradat). (close)
308. Important Words:
ذنوب (faults) which is the plural of ذنب (fault) is derived from the root ذنب (dhanaba). They say ذنبه (dhanaba-hu), i.e. he followed his tail, not quitting its track; he followed him in any case, never quitting his track, the word ذنب (dhanab) meaning a tail, or, in man, the part of the body corresponding to the tail. ذنب (dhanb) means a fault, a misdeed, an offence, a thing for which one is blameable, if one does it intentionally. It differs from اثم (sin) in that whereas ذنب may be either intentional or committed through inadvertence, اثم is peculiarly intentional (Lane). According to Ar-Raghib, ذنب means, such errors and mistakes as bring about a harmful result or make one liable to be called to account (Mufradat). Really ذنب (dhanb) signifies such failings or shortcomings as adhere to human nature, just as dhanab ذنب (tail, or in man, the corresponding part of the body) adheres to the body, i.e. natural failings and shortcomings in man. (close)
اَلصّٰبِرِیۡنَ وَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ وَ الۡقٰنِتِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُنۡفِقِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُسۡتَغۡفِرِیۡنَ بِالۡاَسۡحَارِ ﴿۱۸﴾
ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ وَٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ وَٱلۡقَٰنِتِينَ وَٱلۡمُنفِقِينَ وَٱلۡمُسۡتَغۡفِرِينَ بِٱلۡأَسۡحَارِ
e. 33:36. (close)
f. 51:18, 19. (close)
381. The special marks of a true believer mentioned in this verse represent four stages of spiritual progress: (1) When a person embraces the true Faith, he generally is subjected to persecution; therefore, the first stage through which he has to pass is that of "patience and steadfastness." (2) When persecution comes to an end and he is free to act as he pleases, he carries into practice the teachings which he was unable fully to act upon before. This second stage relates to "living truthfully," i.e. living up to one’s convictions. (3) When, as a result of faithfully carrying out the commandments of Faith, true believers attain power, even then humility does not take leave of them. They remain as "humble" in spirit as ever. (4) Nay, their sense of service increases all the more. They "spend" whatever Allah has given them for the welfare of fellow men. But, as the concluding words of the verse point out, all this time they continue to pray to God in the stillness of the night to forgive any falling short, on their part, of the high ideal of service to humanity. (close)
a. 33:36. (close)
b. 51:18, 19. (close)
309. Important Words:
الاسحار (latter part of the night) is the plural of السحر i.e. the time before dawn. الاسحار is in the plural number but has been translated as singular for the sake of convenience. السحر also means, the side or end of a thing (Aqrab).
The qualities or attributes of a true believer mentioned in this verse represent four stages of spiritual progress: (1) When a man embraces true Faith, he is very often subjected to persecution; therefore, the first stage through which he has to pass is that of patience and steadfastness; (2) When persecution comes to an end and a believer is free to act as he pleases, he carries into practice the teachings which he was unable fully to act upon before. Thus the second stage relates to "living truthfully", i.e. living up to one’s conviction. (3) When, as a result of faithfully carrying out the commandments of their Faith, true believers attain to power, even then humility does not take leave of them. They remain as "humble" in spirit as ever. (4) Nay, their sense of service still increases. They "spend" whatever Allah has given them for the welfare of humanity. But, as the concluding words of the verse point out, all this time they continue praying to God in the stillness of the night to forgive any falling short, on their part, of the high ideal of the service of humanity.
A true Muslim is expected to display all these qualities. He must show an unflinching patience and steadfastness under the severest trials and must live up to his conviction and carry into actual practice the noble ideals of his religion. Again, he must spend what God has given him of wealth, knowledge, influence, etc., in the service of humanity and must at the same time never be remiss in the discharge of the duties he owes to God. He should not only pray during the fixed hours of the day but should also pass parts of his nights in prayer and worship of the Lord. Special stress is laid in the Quran on the Prayer in the latter part of the night (17:80; 73:3-7). The word الاسحار (lit. latter parts of nights) has been used in the plural number to hint that a true believer should not be satisfied with praying in the latter part of the night only once or twice but should make it a habit to rise regularly for the Tahajjud Prayers. (close)