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The Virtues of Surat At-Tariq

An-Nasa'i recorded that Jabir said, "Mu`adh lead the Maghrib prayer and he recited Al-Baqarah and An-Nisa'. So the Prophet said,

« أَفَتَّانٌ أَنْتَ يَا مُعَاذُ، مَا كَانَ يَكْفِيكَ أَنْ تَقْرَأَ بِالسَّمَاءِ وَالطَّارِقِ وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا وَنَحْوِهَا؟ »

(Are you putting the people to trial O Mu`adh! Was it not sufficient for you to recite As-Sama'i wat-Tariq, and Ash-Shamsi wa Duhaha, and something like them)

﴿ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

﴿ وَٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلطَّارِقِ وَمَآ أَدۡرَٮٰكَ مَا ٱلطَّارِقُ ٱلنَّجۡمُ ٱلثَّاقِبُ إِن كُلُّ نَفۡسٍ۬ لَّمَّا عَلَيۡہَا حَافِظٌ۬ فَلۡيَنظُرِ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ خُلِقَ مِن مَّآءٍ۬ دَافِقٍ۬ يَخۡرُجُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ ٱلصُّلۡبِ وَٱلتَّرَآٮِٕبِ إِنَّهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ رَجۡعِهِۦ لَقَادِرٌ۬ يَوۡمَ تُبۡلَى ٱلسَّرَآٮِٕرُ فَمَا لَهُ ۥ مِن قُوَّةٍ۬ وَلَا نَاصِرٍ۬

(1. By the heaven, and At-Tariq;) (2. And what will make you to know what At-Tariq is) (3. The star, Ath-Thaqib.) (4. There is no human being but has a protector over him.) (5. So, let man see from what he is created!) (6. He is created from a water gushing forth,) (7. Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs.) (8. Verily, He is Able to bring him back!) (9. The Day when all the secrets will be examined.) (10. Then he will have no power, nor any helper.)

Swearing by the Existence of Humanity surrounded by the Organized System of Allah

Allah swears by the heaven and what He has placed in it of radiant stars. Thus, He says,

﴿ وَٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلطَّارِقِ

(By the heaven, and At-Tariq;) Then He says,

﴿ وَمَآ أَدۡرَٮٰكَ مَا ٱلطَّارِقُ

(And what will make you to know what At-Tariq is) Then He explains it by His saying,

﴿ ٱلنَّجۡمُ ٱلثَّاقِبُ

(The star of Ath-Thaqib.) Qatadah and others have said, "The star has been named Tariq because it is only seen at night and it is hidden during the day.'' His view is supported by what has been mentioned in the authentic Hadith that prohibits a man to come to his family Taruq. This means that he comes to them unexpectedly at nighttime. Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ ٱلثَّاقِبُ

(Ath-Thaqib.) Ibn `Abbas said, "The illuminating.'' `Ikrimah said, "It is illuminating and it burns the Shaytan'' Then Allah says,

﴿ إِن كُلُّ نَفۡسٍ۬ لَّمَّا عَلَيۡہَا حَافِظٌ۬

(There is no human being but has a protector over him.) meaning, every soul has a guardian over it from Allah that protects it from the calamities. This is as Allah says,

﴿ لَهُ ۥ مُعَقِّبَـٰتٌ۬ مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡهِ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِۦ يَحۡفَظُونَهُ ۥ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ

(For Him, there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the command of Allah.) (13:11)

How Man is created is a Proof of Allah's Ability to Return Him to Him

Allah says,

﴿ فَلۡيَنظُرِ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ

(So, let man see from what he is created!) This is alerting man to the weakness of his origin from which he was created. The intent of it is to guide man to accept (the reality of) the Hereafter, because whoever is able to begin the creation then he is also able to repeat it in the same way. This is as Allah says,

﴿ وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى يَبۡدَؤُاْ ٱلۡخَلۡقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۥ وَهُوَ أَهۡوَنُ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ

(And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him.) (30:27) Then Allah says,

﴿ خُلِقَ مِن مَّآءٍ۬ دَافِقٍ۬

(He is created from a water gushing forth.) meaning, the sexual fluid that comes out bursting forth from the man and the woman. Thus, the child is produced from both of them by the permission of Allah. Due to this Allah says,

﴿ يَخۡرُجُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ ٱلصُّلۡبِ وَٱلتَّرَآٮِٕبِ

(Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs.) meaning, the backbone (or loins) of the man and the ribs of the woman, which is referring to her chest. Shabib bin Bishr reported from `Ikrimah who narrated from Ibn `Abbas that he said,

﴿ يَخۡرُجُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ ٱلصُّلۡبِ وَٱلتَّرَآٮِٕبِ

(Proceeding from between the backbone and the ribs.) "The backbone of the man and the ribs of the woman. It (the fluid) is yellow and fine in texture. The child will not be born except from both of them (i.e., their sexual fluids).'' Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ رَجۡعِهِۦ لَقَادِرٌ۬

(Verily, He is Able to bring him back (to life)!) This means that He is able to return this man that is created from fluid gushed forth. In other words, He is able to repeat his creation and resurrect him to the final abode. This is clearly possible, because whoever is able to begin the creation then he surely is able to repeat it. Indeed Allah has mentioned this proof in more than one place in the Qur'an.

On the Day of Judgement, Man will have no Power or Assistance

In this regard Allah says,

﴿ يَوۡمَ تُبۡلَى ٱلسَّرَآٮِٕرُ

(The Day when all the secrets will be examined.) meaning, on the Day of Judgement the secrets will be tested. This means that they will be exposed and made manifest. Thus, the secret will be made open and that which is concealed will be well known. It is confirmed in the Two Sahihs on the authority of Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah said,

« يُرْفَعُ لِكُلِّ غَادِرٍ لِوَاءٌ عِنْدَ اسْتِهِ يُقَالُ: هذِهِ غَدْرَةُ فُلَانِ بْنِ فُلَان »

(Every betrayer will have a flag raised for him behind his back, and it will be said, `This is the betrayal of so-and-so, the son of so-and-so.') Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ فَمَا لَهُ ۥ

(Then he will have no) meaning, man on the Day of Judgement.

﴿ مِن قُوَّةٍ۬

(any power) meaning, within himself.

﴿ وَلَا نَاصِرٍ۬

(nor any helper.) meaning, from other than himself. This statement means that he will not be able to save himself from the torment of Allah, and nor will anyone else be able to save him.

﴿ وَٱلسَّمَآءِ ذَاتِ ٱلرَّجۡعِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ ذَاتِ ٱلصَّدۡعِ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَقَوۡلٌ۬ فَصۡلٌ۬ وَمَا هُوَ بِٱلۡهَزۡلِ إِنَّہُمۡ يَكِيدُونَ كَيۡدً۬ا وَأَكِيدُ كَيۡدً۬ا فَمَهِّلِ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ أَمۡهِلۡهُمۡ رُوَيۡدَۢا

(11. By the sky which gives rain, again and again.) (12. And the earth which splits.) (13. Verily, this is the Word that separates.) (14. And it is not a thing for amusement.) (15. Verily, they are but plotting a plot.) (16. And I am planning a plan.) (17. So, give a respite to the disbelievers; deal gently with them for a while.)

Swearing to the Truthfulness of the Qur'an and the Failure of Those Who oppose it

Ibn `Abbas said, "Ar-raj` means rain.'' It has also been narrated from him that he said, "It means the clouds that contain rain.'' He also said,

﴿ وَٱلسَّمَآءِ ذَاتِ ٱلرَّجۡعِ

(By the sky (having rain clouds) which gives rain, again and again.) "This means that it rains and then it rains (again).'' Qatadah said, "It returns the sustenance of the servants (creatures) every year. Were it not for this, they would all be destroyed and so would their cattle.''

﴿ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ ذَاتِ ٱلصَّدۡعِ

(And the earth which splits.) Ibn `Abbas said, "Splitting to bring forth plant growths.'' This was also said by Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi and others. Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَقَوۡلٌ۬ فَصۡلٌ۬

(Verily, this is the Word that separates.) Ibn `Abbas said (Fasl is), "True.'' Qatadah also said the same. Someone else said, "A just ruling.''

﴿ وَمَا هُوَ بِٱلۡهَزۡلِ

(And it is not a thing for amusement.) meaning, rather it is serious and true. Then Allah informs about the disbelievers saying that they reject Him and hinder others from His path. Allah says,

﴿ إِنَّہُمۡ يَكِيدُونَ كَيۡدً۬ا

(Verily, they are but plotting a plot.) meaning, they plot against the people in their calling them to oppose the Qur'an. Then Allah says,

﴿ فَمَهِّلِ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(So, give a respite to the disbelievers;) meaning, wait for them and do not be in haste concerning them.

﴿ أَمۡهِلۡهُمۡ رُوَيۡدَۢا

(deal gently with them for a while.) meaning, a little while. This means that you will see what befalls them of torment, punishment and destruction. This is as Allah says,

﴿ نُمَتِّعُهُمۡ قَلِيلاً۬ ثُمَّ نَضۡطَرُّهُمۡ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ۬

(We let them enjoy for a little while, then in the end We shall oblige them to (enter) a great torment.) (31:24) This is the end of the Tafsir Surat At-Tariq, and unto Allah is all praise and thanks.

The Virtues of Surat Al-A`la

This Surah was revealed in Makkah before the migration to Al-Madinah. The proof of this is what Al-Bukhari recorded from Al-Bara' bin `Azib, that he said, "The first people to come to us (in Al-Madinah) from the Companions of the Prophet were Mus`ab bin `Umayr and Ibn Umm Maktum, who taught us the Qur'an; then `Ammar, Bilal and Sa`d came. Then `Umar bin Al-Khattab came with a group of twenty people, after which the Prophet came. I have not seen the people of Al-Madinah happier with anything more than their happiness with his coming (to Al-Madinah). This was reached to such an extent that I saw the children and little ones saying, `This is the Messenger of Allah who has come.' Thus, he came, but he did not come until after I had already recited (i.e., learned how to recite)

﴿ سَبِّحِ ٱسۡمَ رَبِّكَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَى

(Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High.) (87:1) as well as other Surahs similar to it.'' It has been confirmed in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said to Mu`adh,

« هَلَّا صَلَّيْتَ بِــ
﴿ سَبِّحِ ٱسۡمَ رَبِّكَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَى
﴿ وَٱلشَّمۡسِ وَضُحَٮٰهَا
﴿ وَٱلَّيۡلِ إِذَا يَغۡشَىٰ

(Why didn't you recite "Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High,''; "By the sun and its brightness,'' and "By the night when it envelopes.'') Imam Ahmad recorded from An-Nu`man bin Bashir that the Messenger of Allah recited

﴿ سَبِّحِ ٱسۡمَ رَبِّكَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَى
﴿ هَلۡ أَتَٮٰكَ حَدِيثُ ٱلۡغَـٰشِيَةِ

Surat Al-A`la (chapter 87) and Surat Al-Ghashiyh (chapter 88) in the two `Eid prayers. If the `Eid prayer fell on Friday, he would recite them in both prayers (`Eid and Salat Al-Jumu`ah). Muslim also recorded this in his Sahih, as well as Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah. The wording of Muslim and the Sunan compilers says, "He used to recite

﴿ سَبِّحِ ٱسۡمَ رَبِّكَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَى
﴿ هَلۡ أَتَٮٰكَ حَدِيثُ ٱلۡغَـٰشِيَةِ

Surat Al-A`la (chapter 87) and Surat Al-Ghashiyh (chapter 88) for the two `Eids and Jumu`ah. If they occurred on the same day, he would recite them in both of them.'' In his Musnad, Imam Ahmad recorded on the authority of Ubayy bin Ka`b, Abdullah bin `Abbas, `Abdur-Rahman bin Abza, and the Mother of the believers, `A'ishah, that the Messenger of Allah used to recite

﴿ سَبِّحِ ٱسۡمَ رَبِّكَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَى
﴿ قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرُونَ
﴿ قُلۡ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ أَحَدٌ

(Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High.) and (Say: `O you who disbelieve.') and (Say: `He is Allah, the One.') `A'ishah added in her version that he would also recite the Mu`awwidhatayn (Al-Falaq and An-Nas).

﴿ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

﴿ سَبِّحِ ٱسۡمَ رَبِّكَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَى ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ وَٱلَّذِى قَدَّرَ فَهَدَىٰ وَٱلَّذِىٓ أَخۡرَجَ ٱلۡمَرۡعَىٰ فَجَعَلَهُ ۥ غُثَآءً أَحۡوَىٰ سَنُقۡرِئُكَ فَلَا تَنسَىٰٓ إِلَّا مَا شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ يَعۡلَمُ ٱلۡجَهۡرَ وَمَا يَخۡفَىٰ وَنُيَسِّرُكَ لِلۡيُسۡرَىٰ فَذَكِّرۡ إِن نَّفَعَتِ ٱلذِّكۡرَىٰ سَيَذَّكَّرُ مَن يَخۡشَىٰ وَيَتَجَنَّبُہَا ٱلۡأَشۡقَى ٱلَّذِى يَصۡلَى ٱلنَّارَ ٱلۡكُبۡرَىٰ ثُمَّ لَا يَمُوتُ فِيہَا وَلَا يَحۡيَىٰ

(1. Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High.) (2. Who has created, and then proportioned it.) (3. And Who has measured; and then guided.) (4. And Who brings out the pasturage,) (5. And then makes it dark stubble.) (6. We shall make you recite, so you shall not forget,) (7. Except what Allah may will He knows what is apparent and what is hidden.) (8. And We shall make easy for you the easy.) (9. Therefore remind in case the reminder profits.) (10. The reminder will be received by him who fears,) (11. But it will be avoided by the wretched,) (12. Who will enter the great Fire.) (13. There he will neither die nor live.)