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Surah Al-Muzzammil

Ayat/pg: 5 | 10 | 15 | 20 | All

Maududi's Commentry (Tafseer) on Surah Al-Muzzammil

Mecca Mecca (3)
20Total Ayat: 20
2Total Ruku: 2


The Surah has been so designated after the word al-muzzammil occurringin the very first verse. This is only a name and not a title of itssubject matter.

Period of Revelation

The two sections of this Surah were revealed in two separate periods.

The first section (vv. 1-19) is unanimously a Makki Revelation, andthis is supported both by its subject matter and by the traditions ofthe Hadith. As for the question, in which specific period of the lifeat Makkah it was revealed, it is not answered by the tradition, butthe internal evidence of the subject matter of this section helps todetermine the period of its revelation.

First, in it the Holy Prophet(upon whom be peace) has been instructed to the effect: "Arise duringthe night and worship Allah so that you may develop the capability toshoulder the heavy burden of Prophethood and to discharge itsresponsibilities." This shows that this Command must have been givenin the earliest period of the Prophethood' when training was beingimparted to the Holy prophet by Allah for this office.

Secondly, aCommand has been given in it that the Qur'an be recited in, theTahajjud Prayer for half the night, or thereabout. This Command byitself points out that by that time at least so much of the Qur'an hadbeen revealed as could be recited for that long.

Thirdly, in thissection the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) has been exhorted tohave patience at the excesses being committed by his opponents, andthe disbelievers of Makkah have been threatened with the torment. Thisshows that this section was revealed at a time when the Holy Prophet(upon whom be peace) had openly started preaching Islam and theopposition to him at Makkah had grown active and strong.

About thesecond section (v. 20) although many of the commentators haveexpressed the opinion that this too was sent down at Makkah, yet someother commentators regard it as a Madani Revelation, and this sameopinion is confirmed by the subject matter of this section. For itmentions fighting in the way of Allah, and obviously, there could beno question of it at Makkah; it also contains the Command to pay theobligatory zakat, and it is fully confirmed that the zakat at aspecific rate and with an exemption limit (nisab) was enjoined atMadinah.

Theme and Subject Matter

In the first seven verses the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) hasbeen commanded to the effect: "Prepare yourself to shoulder theresponsibilities of the great Mission that has been entrusted to you;its practical form is that you should rise during the hours of nightand stand up in Prayer for half the night, or for a little more orless of it."

In vv. 8-14, he has been exhorted to the effect: "Devoteyourself exclusively to that God Who is the Owner of the wholeuniverse. intrust all your affairs to Him with full satisfaction ofthe heart. Bear with patience whatever your opponents may utteragainst you. Do not be intimate with them. Leave their affair to God:He Himself will deal with them."

Then, in vv. 15-19, those of thepeople of Makkah, who were opposing the Holy Prophet (upon whom bepeace) have been warned, so as to say: "We have sent a Messenger toyou just as We sent a Messenger to the Pharaoh. Just consider whatfate the Pharaoh met when he did not accept the invitation of theMessenger of Allah. Supposing that you are not punished by a tormentin this world, how will you save yourselves from the punishment fordisbelief on the Day of Resurrection."

This is the subject matter ofthe first section. The second section, according to a tradition fromHadrat Sa'id bin Jubair, was sent down ten years later, and in it theinitial Command given in connection with the Tahajjud Prayer, in thebeginning of the first section, was curtailed. The new Commandenjoined, "Offer as much of the Tahajjud Prayer as you easily can, butwhat the Muslims should particularly mind and attend to is the fivetimes obligatory Prayer a day:, they should establish it regularly andpunctually; they should discharge their zakat dues accurately; and theyshould spend their wealth with sincere intentions for the sake ofAllah. In conclusion, the Muslims have been exhorted, saying:"Whatever good works you do in the world, will not go waste, but theyare like the provision which a traveler sends up in advance to hispermanent place of residence. Whatever good you send up from the world,you will find it with Allah, and the provision thus sent up is muchbetter than what you will have to leave behind in the world, and withAllah you will also get a much better and richer reward than what youhave actually sent up before."

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