74. Surah Al-Muddathir (The One Enveloped)
Period of Revelation
It is established by authentic traditions that after the first Revelation (first five verses of Surah Alaq), no Revelations came down to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) for quite some time. Then, when it was resumed, it started with theme verses of Surah Al- Muddaththir.
O thou wrapped up (in the mantle)!Arise and deliver thy warning! And thy Lord do thou magnify! And thy garments keep free from stain! And all abomination shun! Nor expect, in giving, any increase (for thyself) But, for thy Lord’s (Cause), be patient and constant! Finally, when the Trumpet is sounded, That will be- that Day – a Day of Distress,-Far from easy for those without Faith (Quran 74:1-10).
After the break in revelation when Revelation Was resumed, the first seven verses of this Surah Were revealed: In these he Was for the first time commanded to arise and warn the people of the consequences of the way of life they were following and to proclaim the greatness of God in the world where others were being magnified without any right. Along with that he was given this instruction: The demand of the Unique mission that you have to perform, now is that your life should be pure in every respect and you should carry out the duty of reforming your people sincerely irrespective of any worldly gain. Then, in the last sentence, he was exhorted to endure with patience, for the sake of his Lord, all the hardships and troubles that he might have to face while performing his mission.
Lesson Point 1: Give dawah.
Lesson Point 2: Be patient when faced with hardships and troubles
Imam Magid’s Reflections on the Quran
Surah al Muddathir continues the theme of patience by telling the Prophet’s frightening event of witnessing Angel Jibreel in his true form for the first time. Angel Jibreel (may Allah be pleased with him) encompassed the whole horizon on a hanging seat that was between the heaven and earth. This was the time of declaration of the message and was one of the most overwhelming events for the Prophet Muhammad.
Surah Al Muddathir also reminds us of other situations in which the Prophet of Allah required an immense amount of patience. We should reflect on each of these and ask ourselves if we have been tested with the same type of trials, what would be our level of patience? Our beloved Prophet Muhammad had his feet stoned at Taif, his teeth knocked out in Uhud, the insides of animals thrown on his back when he made sujjud (prostration); he was called names, laughed at, mocked, and his family faced serious false accusations. But through all of this, he did not question Allah (swt). He maintained patience and was a source of helping others maintain patience, even when the action was against him. This is a clear emphasis of the importance of not allowing anger and emotion to take us away from the focus being on Allah (swt)
Lesson Point 3: Do not question Allah (swt) during moment of trials.
Leave Me alone, (to deal) with the (creature) whom I created (bare and) alone! To whom I granted resources in abundance, And sons to be by his side! To whom I made (life) smooth and comfortable! Yet is he greedy-that I should add (yet more); By no means! For to Our Signs he has been refractory! Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities! For he thought and he plotted; And woe to him! How he plotted! Yea, Woe to him; How he plotted! Then he looked round; Then he frowned and he scowled. Then he turned back and was haughty; Then said he: “This is nothing but magic, derived from of old; “This is nothing but the word of a mortal!” Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire! And what will explain to thee what Hell-Fire is? Naught doth it permit to endure, and naught doth it leave alone! Darkening and changing the color of man! Over it are Nineteen (Quran 74:11-30).
Story behind the Surah
In the implementation of this Divine Command when the Holy Messenger of Allah began to preach Islam and recite the Qur’anic Surahs revealed successively, the people of Makkah felt alarmed, and it provoked a great storm of opposition and hostility. A few months passed in this state until the Hajj season approached. The people of Makkah feared that if Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) started visiting the caravans of the pilgrims coming from all over Arabia at their halting places and reciting the spell binding and unique Revelations of the Qur’an in their assemblies on the occasion of Hajj, his message would reach every part of Arabia and influence countless people. Therefore, the Quraish chiefs held a conference and settled that they would start a propaganda campaign against the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) among the pilgrims as soon as they arrived.
After they had agreed on this, Walid bin al-Mughirah said to the assembled people: “If you said contradictory things about Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings), we all would lose our trust among the people. Therefore, let us agree upon one opinion, which we should all say without dispute”.
Some people said that they would call Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) a soothsayer. Walid said: “No, by God, be is not a soothsayer. We have seen the soothsayers: what they murmur and what they utter has no remote resemblance with the Qur’an.”
Some other people said: “Then we say he is possessed.” Walid said: He is not a possessed one: we have seen mad and insane people; the way one talks disjointedly and behaves foolishly in that state is known to all: who would believe that what Muhammad (upon whom be peace) presented was the incoherent speech of a madman?”
The people said: “Then we say he is a poet.” Walid said: “No, he is not a poet, for we know poetry in all its forms, and what he presents conforms to no form of it.”
The people said: “Then he is a sorcerer.” Walid said: “He is no sorcerer either: we have seen sorcerers and we also know what methods they adopt for their sorcery. This also does not apply to Muhammad.”
Then he said: “Whichever of these things you said about Muhammad, it would be known to be a false accusation. By God, his speech is sweet, his root is deep and his branches are fruitful.” At this Abu Jahl urging on Walid said: “Your people will never be pleased with you unless you say something about Muhammad.” He said: “Let me think over it awhile.”
Then, after prolonged thought and consideration, he said: “The nearest thing to the truth is that you tell the Arabs that he is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by which he separates a man from his father; and from his brother, and from his wife and children, and from his family.” They all agreed on what Walid had proposed.
Then, according to a scheme the men of Quraish spread among the pilgrims in the Hajj season and they warned everyone they met of the sorcery of Muhammad (upon whom be peace) and of his stirring up divisions in the families by it.” But the result was that by this this plan the Quraish chiefs themselves made the name of the Holy Messenger known throughout Arabia. (Ibn Hisham, pp. 288-289. That Walid had made this proposal on the insistence of Abu Jahl has been related by Ibn Jarir in his Tafsir on the authority of Ikrimah).
Lesson Point 4: The current Islamophobia might bring benefits to the Muslims in the West, in the same way the Quraish’s propaganda of the Prophet (SA) helped increase his popularity.
The Remaining Surah
Allah warns the deniers of Truth, that they will see their evil on the day of Resurrection.
In Ayah. 11-26, without naming Walid bin al-Mughirah, Allah mentions how he was fully convinced of the truth of Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) and the Qur’an, but, on the other, he did not want to risk his leadership and position among his people. Therefore, not only did he not believe himself but, after a long-drawn-out conflict with his conscience, he also came out with the proposal that in order to restrain the people from believing, and decided that the Qur’an should be branded as magic. After exposing his evil nature, it has been said in the Quran: “Notwithstanding such evil inclinations and misdeeds, this person desires that he should be further blessed, whereas he has now become worthy of Hell, and never of further blessings.”
Lesson Point 5: For many, accepting the Truth of the Quran, is an internal struggle.
In verses 27-48, the dreadfulness of Hell has been depicted and it has been explained the type of people who really deserve it.
Lesson Point 6: Hell is scary! I will do my best to avoid being an inhabitant of the Hell.
In verses 49-53, the root cause of the disbelievers’ aversion has been pointed out, saying: “Since they are fearless of the Hereafter, and look upon this worldly life as an end in itself, they flee from the Qur’an as though they were wild asses fleeing away from the lion: therefore, they propose unreasonable conditions for believing, whereas even if each and every condition of theirs was fulfilled, they could not advance even an inch on the way of Faith with their denial of the Hereafter.”
Lesson Point 7: Remind yourself of the Hereafter and ponder over the Quran.
1. O you (Muhammad ) enveloped (in garments)!
2. Arise and warn!
3. And your Lord (Allah) magnify!
4. And your garments purify!
5. And keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)!
6. And give not a thing in order to have more (or consider not your deeds of Allah’s obedience as a favour to Allah).
7. And be patient for the sake of your Lord (i.e. perform your duty to Allah)!
8. Then, when the Trumpet is sounded (i.e. its second blowing);
9. Truly, that Day will be a Hard Day.
10. Far from easy for the disbelievers.
11. Leave Me Alone (to deal) with whom I created Alone (without any means, i.e. Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah Al-Makhzumi)!
12. And then granted him resources in abundance.
13. And children to be by his side!
14. And made life smooth and comfortable for him!
15. After all that he desires that I should give more;
16. Nay! Verily, he has been stubborn and opposing Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).
17. I shall oblige him to (climb a slippery mountain in the Hell-fire called As-Sa’ud, or to) face a severe torment!
18. Verily, he thought and plotted;
19. So let him be cursed! How he plotted!
20. And once more let him be cursed, how he plotted!
21. Then he thought;
22. Then he frowned and he looked in a bad tempered way;
23. Then he turned back and was proud;
24. Then he said: “This is nothing but magic from that of old;
25. “This is nothing but the word of a human being!”
26. I will cast him into Hell-fire
27. And what will make you know exactly what Hell-fire is?
28. It spares not (any sinner), nor does it leave (anything unburnt)!
29. Burning the skins!
30. Over it are nineteen (angels as guardians and keepers of Hell).
31. And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Fire, and We have fixed their number (19) only as a trial for the disbelievers, in order that the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) may arrive at a certainty [that this Qur’an is the truth as it agrees with their Books i.e. their number (19) is written in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] and the believers may increase in Faith (as this Qur’an is the truth) and that no doubts may be left for the people of the Scripture and the believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) and the disbelievers may say: “What Allah intends by this (curious) example ?” Thus Allah leads astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And none can know the hosts of your Lord but He. And this (Hell) is nothing else than a (warning) reminder to mankind.
32. Nay, and by the moon,
33. And by the night when it withdraws,
34. And by the dawn when it brightens,
35. Verily, it (Hell, or their denial of the Prophet Muhammad , or the Day of Resurrection) is but one of the greatest calamities.
36. A warning to mankind,
37. To any of you that chooses to go forward (by working righteous deeds), or to remain behind (by commiting sins),
38. Every person is a pledge for what he has earned,
39. Except those on the Right, (i.e. the pious true believers of Islamic Monotheism);
40. In Gardens (Paradise) they will ask one another,
41. About Al-Mujrimun (polytheists, criminals, disbelievers, etc.), (And they will say to them):
42. “What has caused you to enter Hell?”
43. They will say: “We were not of those who used to offer their Salat (prayers)
44. “Nor we used to feed Al-Miskin (the poor);
45. “And we used to talk falsehood (all that which Allah hated) with vain talkers .
46. “And we used to belie the Day of Recompense
47. “Until there came to us (the death) that is certain.”
48. So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them.
49. Then what is wrong with them (i.e. the disbelievers) that they turn away from (receiving) admonition?
50. As if they were frightened (wild) donkeys.
51. Fleeing from a hunter, or a lion, or a beast of prey.
52. Nay, everyone of them desires that he should be given pages spread out (coming from Allah with a writing that Islam is the right religion, and Muhammad has come with the truth from Allah the Lord of the heavens and earth, etc.).
53. Nay! But they fear not the Hereafter (from Allah’s punishment).
54. Nay, verily, this (Qur’an) is an admonition,
55. So whosoever will (let him read it), and receive admonition (from it)!
56. And they will not receive admonition unless Allah wills; He (Allah) is the One, deserving that mankind should be afraid of, and should be dutiful to Him, and should not take any Ilah (God) along with Him, and He is the One Who forgives (sins).
- Personl notes taken from tafsir classes