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Surat Al-Muzzammil - The Enshrouded One

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    surah al-an¢a- m gives a concise and accurate description of the life and mission of Muhammad. It says: “Say, ‘My prayers and my devotions, my life and my death, are all for God, Lord of all crea- tion: He has no partners. Thus I am commanded, and I am the first of those who submit to His will’” (al-An¢¥m: 162–163). Muhammad’s life, unlike any other, was wholly devoted to the service of God and His message. His task was not limited to the confines of Arabia, but to raising a community that would change the direction of humanity altogether, for all time to come. His nation was to carry the banner of truth in the face of all odds. His sixty years on this earth were not devoted to reform merely one gen- eration but to establish the tenets of taw^Ïd all over the globe, for ever, and to raise the men and women that would carry it forward for posterity. In the early days of his mission, Muhammad was urged to: “Spend most of the night in prayer; half of it, a little less or a little more, and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured, rhythmic tones” (2–4). There was going to be no more time for comfort or relaxation because: “We are about to pass on to you words of enormous gravity” (5). The Qur’anic revelations Muhammad was about to receive would charge him with great responsibility and demand of him dili- gence and hard work. He would spend most of the night in prayer and by day he had to proclaim the message and confront his detrac- tors. He had only God Almighty to depend on, and so he had to surah 73 • Al-Muzzammil devote time to His praise and glorification in order to draw of His power and strength and be able to face his enemies. God reassures Muhammad, saying: “We have in store for them heavy fetters and a blazing fire, and food that chokes and a harrow- ing torment” (12–13). This would be their fate “on the Day that the earth and the mountains shake violently, and the mountains crumble into heaps of shifting sand” (14). The surah thus depicts a frightening and awesome scene that should incite people to think and reflect on their life and their future after death. Muhammad is a paradigm for men who fear God and are con- scious of their accountability to Him. His Companions emulated his example and learnt from him how to combat falsehood and confront evil. But God, in His infinite mercy, relieved the rest of the Muslims of the obligation to pray for most of the night and urged them to attend to their daily duties and responsibilities. The surah says: And God knows precisely the length of night and day, and He knows that you cannot spend the night in prayer, and so He was merciful towards you. Now recite of the Qur’an as much as is easy for you to recite. (20) This concession is not without conditions. It is, in fact, a reward for other duties required of the believers. The surah elaborates: “God knows that there are among you some who are sick and others who travel far and wide seeking God’s bounty, and yet others fighting for the cause of God” (20). The Muslim nation needs people who build as much as it needs those who protect and defend, because there are predators constant- ly looking to strike at the first sign of weakness or neglect. When the Muslim nation is attacked or subdued, the truth is in danger of being undermined or destroyed altogether.

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    يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ

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    قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلً

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    نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلً

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    أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا

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    إِنَّا سَنُلْقِي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلًا ثَقِيلًا

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    إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئًا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلًا

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    إِنَّ لَكَ فِي النَّهَارِ سَبْحًا طَوِيلً

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    وَاذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَتَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلً

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    رَّبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَاتَّخِذْهُ وَكِيلًا

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