By Muhammad Yuns, New Age Islam
28 January 2021
(co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009.)
The Surah encapsulates many of the fundamental tenets of the Qur’an - Goodness, sharing of what one owns, moral uprightness (Taqwa) and selflessness (Zakah).
These tenets are universal and designed to bring peace and happiness at personal, family, community, national and global levels.
The Sura does not list them in any structured or tabulated manner as such a listing could hardly stir the emotions or penetrate the intellect of its audience.
As mark of its uniqueness, and its indelible signature, the Qur’an places them in a mystical frame, beginning with a terse universal proclamation or divine oath:
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَىٰ ﴿١﴾ وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّىٰ ﴿٢﴾ وَمَا خَلَقَ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَىٰ ﴿٣﴾ إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّىٰ ﴿٤﴾
“By the Night as it falls (92:1)!
By the Day as it shines in glory
By the One who created the male and the female
Your striving is towards different ends! (92:4)
These short verses are meditative. Understandably they are meant to stimulate the thoughts of the reader and draw his attention to the greatness and almightiness of God.
The reader is then confronted with the following hard facts:
One who shares (what he has) and is morally upright (given to taqwa*) (92:5)
And affirms goodness (husna)
God will ease him to what is easy .
But one who is miserly and feels secure (by keeping to himself what he owns)
And denies goodness
God will ease him unto hardship
And his wealth will not save him from ruin (92:11).
The Divine voice then goes on to warn
إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا لَلْـهُدَىٰ ﴿١٢﴾ وَإِنَّ لَنَا لَلْآخِرَةَ وَالْأُولَىٰ ﴿١٣﴾ فَأَنذَرْتُكُمْ نَارًا تَلَظَّىٰ ﴿١٤﴾ لَا يَصْلَاهَا إِلَّا الْأَشْقَى ﴿١٥﴾ الَّذِي كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ ﴿١٦﴾ وَسَيُجَنَّبُهَا الْأَتْقَى ﴿١٧﴾ الَّذِي يُؤْتِي مَالَهُ يَتَزَكَّىٰ ﴿١٨﴾ وَمَا لِأَحَدٍ عِندَهُ مِن نِّعْمَةٍ تُجْزَىٰ ﴿١٩﴾ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِ الْأَعْلَىٰ ﴿٢٠﴾ وَلَسَوْفَ يَرْضَىٰ ﴿٢١﴾
It is for Us to give guidance (92:12)
And to Us belongs the End and the Beginning.
And so I warn you of a Blazing Fire
None will roast in it except the wicked,
who denies and turns away.
We will spare from this (fire) the morally upright (one who is given to taqwa)
who shares what he owns to attain spiritual purity (selflessness)
And not with anyone to whom a favour is due,
Except to seek the Grace of God the Exalted
And soon he will have peace of mind (92:21)**.
This flat translation - like any other translation can hardly capture the beauty and grandeur of the original Arabic. However, all effort is made to extract the essence of its guidance that stands out without much ambiguity. Therefore the present day reader can also benefit from this reflection and put it in practice in his day to day life- without having to read a great deal of supporting materials which are plentiful in text books, the Internet, libraries and archives.
Muhammad Yuns, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Aznar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khalid about El Fad of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
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