بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
A Brief Overview
Name: It takes its name after the very first word in the Surah.
Period of Revelation: Makkan
Theme and Subject Matter:
The Surah in its entirety is dedicated to Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In it we see a touch of tenderness, affection and mercy to soothe pain and remove hardship and replace it with joy and tranquility. This is how Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala protects and takes care of His righteous slaves.
Revelation was the Prophet’s only link to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. It provided him solace and strength in the face of intense hostility and rejection. Then came a time when the revelation was suspended. This caused the Prophet severe distress and anxiety. Imam Ahmad recorded from Jundub that, “The Prophet became ill, so he did not stand for prayer for a night or two. Then a woman came and said, ‘O Muhammad! I think that your devil has finally left you.’”
At this stage, this Surah [Ad-Duha] was revealed as an assurance that your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor is He displeased with you. The hardships were not to last long. Every later period of his life has been better than the former one. He was born an orphan, yet one after another from his grandfather to his uncles everyone was specially compassionate and loving towards him. Who made this arrangement? Did it happen on its own? No, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala made it happen! Perhaps, his real parents if they were still alive would not have taken care of him as affectionately as his grandfather and uncles did.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala guarantees him that after this hardship is over he will be blessed abundantly and he will be pleased. This is one of the express prophecies of the Qur’an, which proved literally true, afterwards, whereas when this prophecy was made there seemed not to be the remotest chance that the helpless and powerless man who had come out to wage a war against the ignorance and paganism of the entire nation, would ever achieve such wonderful success.
In conclusion, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala instructs him to treat His creatures with the same love and kindness as was showered upon him when he was young and weak. This was a way of repaying and rendering thanks for the favors that His Lord had bestowed on him.
Tafseer Surah Ad-Duha
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala swears by two calm and inspiring periods of time. During the morning hours and still night one’s reflections flow like a stream, and the human soul is best able to communicate with the universe and its Creator. It feels the universe worshipping its Lord and turning towards Him in praise with joy and happiness. In addition, the night is described as growing still and dark. It is not the dark gloomy night as such but the still, clear and tranquil night, covered with a light cloud of sweet longing and kind reflection. It is a picture similar to that of the orphan’s life. More still, the night is cleared away by the crossing morning and thus the colors of the picture beautifully match those of the framework, making for perfect harmony.
The scene drawn here is one of perfect beauty. Such perfection is divine, unparalleled and inimitable.
This mode of expression is particularly appropriate in this Surah as the feeling of fellowship is stressed here. It is as if the Prophet is being told straightaway that his Lord had already blessed him with the fellowship of the world around him and that he was by no means forsaken or left alone.
Then follows a clear and emphatic assertion: “Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].” He has not left you, nor has He been harsh to you as is alleged by those who want to afflict your heart and soul. For He is your Lord and you belong to Him. He is your Sustainer and Protector. Allah’s favors on you have neither run out nor have they been stopped. You are to get much more and better favors in the hereafter than you are getting in this life.
Surely, “…the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].” Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala is saving for you what will satisfy you in your mission and ease your hard path and bring about the victory of your message, vindicating the truth you advocate. These thoughts were in fact preoccupying the Prophet’s mind as he encountered his people’s adamant rejection, ill-treatment, and malice.
For this reason the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to be the most abstinent of the people concerning the worldly things, and he was the greatest of them in his disregard for worldly matters. This is well known by necessity from his biography. When the Prophet was given the choice at the end of his life between remaining in this life forever and then going to Paradise, or moving on to the company of Allah, he chose that which is with Allah over this lowly world. Imam Ahmad recorded that ‘Abdullah bin Mas`oud radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “The Messenger of Allah was lying down on a straw mat and it left marks on his side. Then when he woke up he began to rub his side. So I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Will you allow us to spread something soft over this straw mat?’ He replied,
مَالِي وَلِلدُّنْيَا، إِنَّمَا مَثَلِي وَمَثَلُ الدُّنْيَا كَرَاكِبٍ ظَلَّ تَحْتَ شَجَرَةٍ ثُمَّ رَاحَ وَتَرَكَهَا
“I have nothing to do with this world. The parable of me and this world is like a rider who rests in the shade of a tree, then he passes on and leaves it.” [At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]
In time, “…your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.”
The Surah then goes on to remind the Prophet of his Lord’s attitude towards him from the very beginning of his mission so that he can reflect on how favorably Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala treats him. This to make him recall the happy memories of divine kindness: “Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge? And He found you lost and guided [you]. And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.” Reflect on your present life and on your past. Has He ever forsaken you or hated you even before He charged you with prophethood?
You were born an orphan but Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala protected you. He made so many people kind towards you, especially your uncle Abu Talib, though he followed a religion different from yours. You were poor and He made your heart rich with contentment, and made you rich through your business gains and wife’s wealth, so that you would not suffer from poverty or yearn for the riches that abound all around you.
You were also brought up in an ignorant society, full of confused beliefs and concepts, where erring ways and practices abounded. You did not like those beliefs, concepts and practices but you could not find a clear and suitable way out. You could find your way neither in the world of jahiliyyah, nor with the followers of Musa and ‘Eesa ‘alayhi salaam who adulterated their beliefs, distorted their original form and went astray. But Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has guided you through His revelations and the way of life He has laid down, establishing a firm bond between Him and you.
This guidance in the wilderness of disbelief and confusion is the greatest favor of them all. The happiness and reassurance it brings about cannot be matched. The Prophet had been greatly perturbed and afflicted because of the cessation of revelation, and the malicious attitude of the unbelievers during the period of its cessation. Hence comes this reminder to put his heart at ease and to reassure him of his Lord’s promise that he will never be abandoned.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala takes the opportunity of mentioning the Prophet’s earlier life in order to instruct him, and all Muslims, to protect every orphan, be charitable to every beggar, and to speak of the great favors Allah has bestowed on them. The first and most important of these is having been guided to Islam.
In the two saheehs it has been recorded from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu that the Messenger of Allah said,
لَيْسَ الْغِنَى عَنْ كَثْرَةِ الْعَرَضِ، وَلَكِنَّ الْغِنَى غِنَى النَّفْس
“Wealth is not determined by abundance of possessions, but wealth is the richness of the soul.”
In saheeh Muslim, it is recorded from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr that the Messenger of Allah said,
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَرُزِقَ كَفَافًا وَقَنَّعَهُ اللهُ بِمَا آتَاه
“Whoever accepts Islam, is provided with his basic needs, and Allah makes him content with what He has given him, then he will be successful.”
“So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him]. And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him]. But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].”
These instructions reflect the needs of the day, in that greedy and materialistic society in which the weak, who could not defend their own rights, were not catered for. Islam came to reform that society with Allah’s laws which establish equity, justice and goodwill. Speaking of Allah’s bounties, especially those of guidance and faith, expresses gratitude to Him who has given us all that we have. It is the recipient’s practical manifestation of thanks.
Abu Dawoud recorded from Jabir that the Prophet said,
مَنْ أُبْلِيَ بَلَاءً فَذَكَرَهُ فَقَدْ شَكَرَهُ، وَمَنْ كَتَمَهُ فَقَدْ كَفَرَه
“Whoever overcomes some test (i.e., calamity) and mentions it (to others), then he is indeed thankful. And whoever conceals it, then indeed he was ungrateful.”
May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala allow us to engage in shukr as much as we busy ourselves with complaints, aameen.
– Sometimes breaks and pauses are necessary to freshen up one’s self and focus better. But this does not mean that one becomes lackadaisical and loses all his enthusiasm to study or worship. There has to be a balance.
– One should have good opinion of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and never think that He has burdened us more than we can handle.
– The life of hereafter is better than the life of this world because in the hereafter (if we do righteous deeds and follow the commands of Allah) we will be blessed with the company of the Prophets and their righteous companions. And most importantly, we will get to meet Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and enjoy His pleasure. [May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala grant us such end, aameen]
– There is reward for every hardship that one patiently bears.
– The people that we meet in our lives, the places that we visit are all provisions from Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala. He planned that all. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala creates all circumstances for us therefore we should not complain.
– If Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has been with us throughout our past then never despair of His mercy. Some people are always anxious about what’s going to happen next. What is decreed for us will come to us. Have tawakkal on Him. The one who depends on Allah will never be depressed.
– Just like Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has been kind towards us, we should be affectionate towards other people and do them good.
– When Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala gifted us with the blessing of knowledge we shouldn’t hide it. We should mention this blessing to others and share it with them.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Surah Ad-Duha tafseer