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Surah Al-Lail

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

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

Mecca Mecca (9)
21Total Ayat: 21
1Total Ruku: 1


The Surah takes its name from the word wal-lail with which it opens.

Period of Revelation

Its subject matter so closely resembles that of Surah Ash-Shams thateach Surah seems to be an explanation of the other. It is one and thesame thing which has been explained in Surah Ash-Shams in one way and inthis Surah in another. This indicates that both these Surahs were sentdown in about the same period.

Theme and Subject Matter

Its theme is to distinguish between the two different ways of life andto explain the contrast between their ultimate ends and results. Inview of the subject matter this Surah consists of two parts, the firstpart consisting of vv. 1-11 and the second of vv. 12-21.

In the firstpart, at the outset it has been pointed out that the strivings anddoings that the individuals, nations and groups of mankind are engagedin in the world, are, in respect of their moral nature, as divergentas the day is from the night, and the male from the female. After this,according to the general style of the brief Surahs of the Quran, threemoral characteristics of one kind and three moral characteristics ofthe other kind have been presented as an illustration from among avast collection of the strivings and activities of man, from whichevery man can judge which style of life is represented by one kind ofthe characteristics and which style of life by the other kind. Boththese styles have been described in such brief, elegant. and pithysentences that they move the heart and go down into memory as soon asone hears them. Characteristics of the first kind are that one shouldspend one's wealth, adopt God- consciousness and piety, andacknowledge the good as good. The second kind of the characteristicsare that one should be miserly, should least care for God's pleasureand His displeasure, and should repudiate what is good and right. Thenit has been stated that these two modes of action which are clearlydivergent, cannot be equal and alike in respect of their results. But,just as they are divergent in their nature, so they are divergent intheir results. The person (or group of persons) who adopts the firstmode of action, Allah will make easy for him the correct way of life,so much so that doing good will become easy for him and doing evildifficult. On the contrary, he who adopts the second mode of life,Allah will make easy for him the difficult and hard way of life, somuch so that doing evil will become easy for him and doing gooddifficult. This passage has been concluded with a most effective andtouching sentence, saying: "This worldly wealth for the sake of whichman is even prepared to risk his life: will not go down with him intothe grave; therefore, what will it avail him after death?"'

In thesecond part also three truths have been stated equally briefly. First,that Allah has not left man uninformed in the examination hall of theworld, but He has taken on Himself the responsibility to tell himwhich one is the straight and right way out of the different ways oflife. Here, there was no need to point out that by sending HisMessenger and His Book He has fulfilled His this responsibility, forboth the Messenger and the Book were present to afford the guidance.Second, that the Master of both the world and the Hereafter is Allahalone. If you seek the world, it is He Who will give it, and if youseek the Hereafter, again it is He Who will give it. Now, it is foryou to decide what you should seek from Him. The third truth that hasbeen stated is that the wretched one who rejects the good, which isbeing presented through the Messenger and the Book, and turns awayfrom it, will have a blazing fire ready for him. As for the Godfearing person who spends his wealth in a good cause, without anyselfish motive, only for the sake of winning his Lord's good pleasure,his Lord will be pleased with him and will bless him with so much thathe will be well pleased with Him.

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