These Ayat inform of the beginning of man's creation from a dangling clot, and that out of Allah's generosity He taught man that which he did not know. Thus, Allah exalted him and honored him by giving him knowledge, and it is the dignity that the Father of Humanity, Adam, was distinguished with over the angels. Knowledge sometimes is in the mind, sometimes on the tongue, and sometimes in writing with the fingers. Thus, it may be intellectual, spoken and written. And while the last (written) necessitates the first two (intellectual and spoken), the reverse is not true. For this reason Allah says,
(Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.) There is a narration that states, "Record knowledge by writing.'' There is also a saying which states, "Whoever acts according to what he knows, Allah will make him inherit knowledge that he did not know.''
(6. Nay! Verily, man does transgress.) (7. Because he considers himself self-sufficient.) (8. Surely, unto your Lord is the return.) (9. Have you seen him who prevents) (10. A servant when he prays) (11. Have you seen if he is on the guidance) (12. Or enjoins Taqwa) (13. Have you seen if he denies and turns away) (14. Knows he not that Allah sees) (15. Nay! If he ceases not, We will scorch his forehead) (16. A lying, sinful forehead!) (17. Then let him call upon his council.) (18. We will call out the guards of Hell!) (19. Nay! Do not obey him. Fall prostrate and draw near (to Allah)!)
Allah informs that man is very pleased, most evil, scornful and transgressive when he considers himself self-sufficient and having an abundance of wealth. Then Allah threatens, warns and admonishes him in His saying,
(Surely, unto your Lord is the return.) meaning, `unto Allah is the final destination and return, and He will hold you accountable for your wealth, as to where you obtained it from and how did you spend it.'
Then Allah says,
(Have you seen him who prevents. A servant when he prays) This was revealed about Abu Jahl, may Allah curse him. He threatened the Prophet for performing Salah at the Ka`bah. Thus, Allah firstly admonished him with that which was better by saying,
(Have you seen if he is on the guidance.) meaning, `do you think this man whom you are preventing is upon the straight path in his action, or
(Or enjoins Taqwa) in his statements Yet, you rebuke him and threaten him due to his prayer.' Thus, Allah says,
(Knows he not that Allah sees) meaning, doesn't this person who is preventing this man who is following correct guidance know that Allah sees him and hears his words, and He will compensate him in full for what he has done Then Allah says by way of warning and threatening,
(Nay! If he ceases not,) meaning, if he does not recant from his discord and obstinacy,
(We will scorch his forehead.) meaning, `indeed We will make it extremely black on the Day of Judgment.' Then He says,
(A lying, sinful forehead!) meaning, the forehead of Abu Jahl is lying in its statements and sinful in its actions.
(Then let him call upon his council.) meaning, his people and his tribe. In other words, let him call them in order to seek help from them.
(We will call out the guards of Hell!) `And they are the angels of torment. This is so that he may know who will win -- Our group or his group'. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Abu Jahl said, `If I see Muhammad praying at the Ka`bah, I will stomp on his neck.' So this reached the Prophet, who said,
(If he does, he will be seized by the angels.)'' This Hadith was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i in their Books of Tafsir. Likewise, it has been recorded by Ibn Jarir. Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Jarir, all recorded it from Ibn `Abbas with the following wording: "The Messenger of Allah was praying at the Maqam (prayer station of Ibrahim) when Abu Jahl bin Hisham passed by him and said, `O Muhammad! Haven't I prevented you from this?' He threatened the Prophet and thus, the Messenger of Allah became angry with him and reprimanded him. Then he said, `O Muhammad! What can you threaten me with By Allah, I have the most kinsmen of this valley with me in the large.' Then Allah revealed,
(Then let him call upon his council. We will call out the guards of Hell!)'' Ibn `Abbas then said, "If he had called his people, the angels of torment would have seized him at that very instant.'' At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih.'' Ibn Jarir recorded from Abu Hurayrah that Abu Jahl said, "Does Muhammad cover his face with dust (i.e., from prostration) while he is among you all?'' They (the people) replied, "Yes.'' Then he said, "By Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza, if I see him praying like this, I will stomp on his neck, and I will certainly put his face in the dust.'' So the Messenger of Allah came and he began praying, which made it possible for Abu Jahl to stomp on his neck. Then the people became surprised at him (Abu Jahl) because he began retreating on his heels and covering himself with his hands. Then it was said to him, "What's the matter with you'' He replied, "Verily, between me and him is a ditch of fire, monsters and wings.'' Then the Messenger of Allah said,
(If he had come near me, the angels would have snatched him limb by limb.) The narrator added; "Allah revealed an Ayah, but I do not know whether it is concerning the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah or not:
(Nay! Verily, man does transgress.), to the end of the Surah.'' Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Muslim, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Abi Hatim all recorded this Hadith.
Then Allah says,
(Nay! Do not obey him.) meaning, `O Muhammad! Do not obey him in what he is forbidding from such as steadfastness in worship and performing worship in abundance. Pray wherever you wish and do not worry about him. For indeed Allah will protect you and help you, and He will defend you against the people.'
(Fall prostrate and draw near (to Allah)!) This is just like what has been confirmed in the Sahih of Muslim on the authority of Abu Salih who reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The closest that a servant can be to his Lord is when he is in prostration. Therefore, make abundant supplications (i.e., while prostrating).)'' It has also been mentioned previously that the Messenger of Allah used to prostrate when he recited
(When the heaven is split asunder.) (84:1) and
(Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created.) (96:1) This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Iqra' (Surat Al-`Alaq). Unto Allah is due all praise and thanks, and He is the Giver of success and protection against error.
Allah informs that He sent the Qur'an down during the Night of Al-Qadr, and it is a blessed night about which Allah says,
(We sent it down on a blessed night.) (44:3) This is the Night of Al-Qadr and it occurs during the month of Ramadan. This is as Allah says,
(The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an.) (2:185) Ibn `Abbas and others have said, "Allah sent the Qur'an down all at one time from the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz) to the House of Might (Baytul-`Izzah), which is in the heaven of this world. Then it came down in parts to the Messenger of Allah based upon the incidents that occurred over a period of twenty-three years.'' Then Allah magnified the status of the Night of Al-Qadr, which He chose for the revelation of the Mighty Qur'an, by His saying,
(And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr is The Night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah "When Ramadan would come, the Messenger of Allah would say,
(Verily, the month of Ramadan has come to you all. It is a blessed month, which Allah has obligated you all to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are shackled. In it there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good, then he has truly been deprived.)'' An-Nasa'i recorded this same Hadith. Aside from the fact that worship during the Night of Al-Qadr is equivalent to worship performed for a period of one thousand months, it is also confirmed in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever stands (in prayer) during the Night of Al-Qadr with faith and expecting reward (from Allah), he will be forgiven for his previous sins.)
(Therein descend the angels and the Ruh by their Lord's permission with every matter.) meaning, the angels descend in abundance during the Night of Al-Qadr due to its abundant blessings. The angels descend with the descending of blessings and mercy, just as they descend when the Qur'an is recited, they surround the circles of Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and they lower their wings with true respect for the student of knowledge. In reference to Ar-Ruh, it is said that here it means the angel Jibril. Therefore, the wording of the Ayah is a method of adding the name of the distinct object (in this case Jibril) separate from the general group (in this case the angels). Concerning Allah's statement,
(with every matter.) Mujahid said, "Peace concerning every matter.'' Sa`id bin Mansur said, `Isa bin Yunus told us that Al-A`mash narrated to them that Mujahid said concerning Allah's statement,
(There is peace) "It is security in which Shaytan cannot do any evil or any harm.'' Qatadah and others have said, "The matters are determined during it, and the times of death and provisions are measured out (i.e., decided) during it.'' Allah says,
(Therein is decreed every matter of decree.) (44:4) Then Allah says,
(There is peace until the appearance of dawn.) Sa`id bin Mansur said, "Hushaym narrated to us on the authority of Abu Ishaq, who narrated that Ash-Sha`bi said concerning Allah's statement,
(With every matter, there is a peace until the appearance of dawn.) `The angels giving the greetings of peace during the Night of Al-Qadr to the people in the Masjids until the coming of Fajr (dawn).''' Qatadah and Ibn Zayd both said concerning Allah's statement,
(There is peace.) "This means all of it is good and there is no evil in it until the coming of Fajr (dawn).''
This is supported by what Imam Ahmad recorded from `Ubadah bin As-Samit that the Messenger of Allah said,
(The Night of Al-Qadr occurs during the last ten (nights). Whoever stands for them (in prayer) seeking their reward, then indeed Allah will forgive his previous sins and his latter sins. It is an odd night: the ninth, or the seventh, or the fifth, or the third or the last night (of Ramadan).) The Messenger of Allah also said,
(Verily, the sign of the Night of Al-Qadr is that it is pure and glowing as if there were a bright, tranquil, calm moon during it. It is not cold, nor is it hot, and no shooting star is permitted until morning. Its sign is that the sun appears on the morning following it smooth having no rays on it, just like the moon on a full moon night. Shaytan is not allowed to come out with it (the sun) on that day.) This chain of narration is good. In its text there is some oddities and in some of its wordings there are things that are objectionable. Abu Dawud mentioned a section in his Sunan that he titled, "Chapter: Clarification that the Night of Al-Qadr occurs during every Ramadan.'' Then he recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, "The Messenger of Allah was asked about the Night of Al-Qadr while I was listening and he said,
(It occurs during every Ramadan.)'' The men of this chain of narration are all reliable, but Abu Dawud said that Shu`bah and Sufyan both narrated it from Ishaq and they both considered it to be a statement of the Companion (Ibn `Umar, and thus not the statement of the Prophet). It has been reported that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "The Messenger of Allah performed I`tikaf during the first ten nights of Ramadan and we performed I`tikaf with him. Then Jibril came to him and said, `That which you are seeking is in front of you.' So the Prophet performed I`tikaf during the middle ten days of Ramadan and we also performed I`tikaf with him. Then Jibril came to him and said; `That which you are seeking is ahead of you.' So the Prophet stood up and gave a sermon on the morning of the twentieth of Ramadan and he said,
(Whoever performed I`tikaf with me, let him come back (for I`tikaf again), for verily I saw the Night of Al-Qadr, and I was caused to forget it, and indeed it is during the last ten (nights). It is during an odd night and I saw myself as if I were prostrating in mud and water.) The roof of the Masjid was made of dried palm-tree leaves and we did not see anything (i.e., clouds) in the sky. But then a patch of wind-driven clouds came and it rained. So the Prophet lead us in prayer until we saw the traces of mud and water on the forehead of the Messenger of Allah, which confirmed his dream.'' In one narration it adds that this occurred on the morning of the twenty-first night (meaning the next morning). They both (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) recorded it in the Two Sahihs. Ash-Shafi`i said, "This Hadith is the most authentic of what has been reported.'' It has also been said that it is on the twenty-third night due to a Hadith narrated from `Abdullah bin Unays in Sahih Muslim. It has also been said that it is on the twenty-fifth night due to what Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Seek it in the last ten (nights) of Ramadan. In the ninth it still remains, in the seventh it still remains, in the fifth it still remains.) Many have explained this Hadith to refer to the odd nights, and this is the most apparent and most popular explanation. It has also been said that it occurs on the twenty-seventh night because of what Muslim recorded in his Sahih from Ubay bin Ka`b that the Messenger of Allah mentioned that it was on the twenty-seventh night. Imam Ahmad recorded from Zirr that he asked Ubayy bin Ka`b, "O Abu Al-Mundhir! Verily, your brother Ibn Mas`ud says whoever stands for prayer (at night) the entire year, will catch the Night of Al-Qadr.'' He (Ubayy) said, "May Allah have mercy upon him. Indeed he knows that it is during the month of Ramadan and that it is the twenty-seventh night.'' Then he swore by Allah. Zirr then said, "How do you know that'' Ubayy replied, "By a sign or an indication that he (the Prophet) informed us of. It rises that next day having no rays on it -- meaning the sun.'' Muslim has also recorded it. It has been said that it is the night of the twenty-ninth. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded from `Ubadah bin As-Samit that he asked the Messenger of Allah about the Night of Decree and he replied,
(Seek it in Ramadan in the last ten nights. For verily, it is during the odd nights, the twenty-first, or the twenty-third, or the twenty-fifth, or the twenty-seventh, or the twenty-ninth, or during the last night.) Imam Ahmad also recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said about the Night of Al-Qadr,
(Verily, it is during the twenty-seventh or the twenty-ninth night. And verily, the angels who are on the earth during that night are more numerous than the number of pebbles.) Ahmad was alone in recording this Hadith and there is nothing wrong with its chain of narration. At-Tirmidhi recorded from Abu Qilabah that he said, "The Night of Al-Qadr moves around (i.e., from year to year) throughout the last ten nights.'' This view that At-Tirmidhi mentions from Abu Qilabah has also been recorded by Malik, Ath-Thawri, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ishaq bin Rahuyah, Abu Thawr, Al-Muzani, Abu Bakr bin Khuzaymah and others . It has also been related from Ash-Shafi`i, and Al-Qadi reported it from him, and this is most likely. And Allah knows best.
It is recommended to supplicate often during all times, especially during the month of Ramadan, in the last ten nights, and during the odd nights of it even more so. It is recommended that one say the following supplication a lot: "O Allah! Verily, You are the Of the Pardoning, You love to pardon, so pardon me.'' This is due to what Imam Ahmad recorded from `A'ishah, that she said, "O Messenger of Allah! If I find the Night of Al-Qadr what should I say'' He replied,
(Say: "O Allah! Verily, You are the Of the Pardoning, You love to pardon, so pardon me.'') At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah have all recorded this Hadith. At-Tirmidhi said, "This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.'' Al-Hakim recorded it in his Mustadrak (with a different chain of narration) and he said that it is authentic according to the criteria of the two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). An-Nasa'i also recorded it. This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Laylat Al-Qadr, and all praise and blessings are due to Allah.
Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah said to Ubayy bin Ka`b,
(Verily, Allah has commanded me to recite to you (Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Scripture.)) Ubayy said, "He (Allah) mentioned me by name to you'' The Prophet replied,
(Yes.) So he (Ubayy) cried. Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i all recorded this Hadith from Shu`bah.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1. Those who disbelieve from among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, were not going to leave until there came to them the Bayyinah.) (2. A Messenger from Allah reciting purified pages.) (3. Wherein are upright Books.) (4. And the People of the Scripture differed not until after there came to them the Bayyinah.) (5. And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, making religion purely for Him alone, Hunafa', and that they perform Salah and give Zakah, and that is the right religion.)