Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
Yusuf Ali’s explanation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s explanation of this Chapter.
Laleh Bakhtiar’s explanation of this Chapter.
From Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
“This was one of the first Surahs to be revealed---within the first ten; and may be placed close to Surah 89 and Surah 93. Note that in all these three Surahs the mystery and the contrast as between Night and Day are appealed to for the consolation of in his spiritual yearning. Here we are told to strive our utmost towards Allah, and He will give us every help and satisfaction.”
From Introduction of Muhammad Asad:
“UNANIMOUSLY regarded as one of the very early revelations - most probably the ninth in the chronological order - the surah derives its name from the mention of "the night" in the first verse.”
This Chapter shows us the divergent paths we weave through as we strive in life towards Destination.
Here we see that our deeds not only define us, but they literally pave the paths ahead of us.
PAGE 595 Arabic Qur’an
1. This Chapter begins with THREE vows.
By the Night as it envelops, and by the Daylight as it reveals itself, and by 'What created the male and female,' then comes the all-important object of the oath which is that indeed, 'your' striving is divergent!
These verses are similar to HQ 53: 39-49 which also mention the creation of male and female and the striving (in life). However, our verses today are briefer and more general than those of Chapter 53.
2. Verses 5-11 speak of the behaviors which cause people to 'diverge' towards the opposite ends of 'Ease/ Yussraa/يسرى' versus 'Hardship/ Ussraa/عسرى'. These behaviors are about generosity and awareness/ heedfulness, versus stinginess and heedlessness/ negligence, and we see how wealth is of no avail to its hoarder. The first combination is propelled by having faith in Goodness itself, while the second combination is a result of the lack of such faith (we were told in HQ 18:88 of the natural recompense of 'Yussraa' for those Who have Faith and do Goodness).
3. In Verses 12-13, God places the 'responsibility' of Guidance upon Himself and asserts that both the first (life) and last (life) is His. This not only absolves the Messenger of such responsibility (as we saw in the Qur'an, the Messenger was often told that his duty was only to 'warn'), but also places his delivery of the Message in perspective.
4. In concluding these short facts and reminders, we have both Dissuasion and Persuasion represented by how two opposing figures are received in the Hereafter:
In Verses 14 -16 we hear of the blazing Fire which the most Wretched person, who had belied and turned away, shall be conjoined with.
5. In Verses 17- 21 it is asserted that the most Aware person shall be steered away from it (the Fire). This is a person who used to approach his wealth in 'zaka;' making it grow by cultivating it/ sharing it with others. And he owed no one the return of any favors... other than his seeking the Direction of his Lord the Most High... and then comes the tear-jerking response to his quest:
And indeed, he shall be well-pleased.
In English, it doesn't have the same effect it has in Arabic. Listen to it. Two words marking the end of a life-long journey of striving, after one has constantly attempted to remain on the path to 'yussraa/ Ease' in both faith and behavior, we shall be well-pleased by our Lord. This promise appears twice in singular, and four times in plural.
Dear Reader: May we all be among those about whom God says the two words: