Note: This is post #10 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.
In Surah Layl, Allah says:
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى
وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّى
وَمَا خَلَقَ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَى
إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّى
Translation: By the night when it covers, and [by] the day when it appears, and [by] He who created the male and female: Indeed, your paths are diverse. [Surah Layl, verses 1-4]
In Arabic (and in English), people talk. And when you want to really draw attention to something, you make an oath. Compare:
Child 1: I didn’t break the cookie jar.
Child 2: I swear by my mother’s grave, that I didn’t break the cookie jar.
Which would you pay more attention to? Obviously, the second child (by the way, don’t swear by other than Allah, it’s shirk).
Now imagine two people talking–your brother or sister, who you’ve known forever, and the President of America. Who would you pay more attention to?
Lillahi mathalu al-‘alaa. This is Allah talking to you. And He’s making an oath–not just one, but three things! We should really pay attention here!
And what does He testify to?
Verse 4–that your paths are different.
The struggle between good and evil will always exist. People say “Why can’t we all just get along and have one world religion, one deen?” Because Allah swears by it–that our paths will be different.
Then Allah proceeds to tell us about these two paths.
In verse 5, Allah says:
أَمَّا مَن أَعْطَى وَاتَّقَى
Translation: As for he who gives and fears Allah …
We learn from this verse two things–that, again, the theme of wealth, which runs so strongly in Juz ‘Amma. And the requirement of giving–that he fears Allah. He can’t just give for humanitarian reasons, or for Jesus, or any other cause; to be accepted, it must be given for Allah alone.
Translation: … and believes in the best [reward], We will ease him toward ease. [Surah Layl, verses 6-7]
Anyone who’s attended fund-raisers and donated, they can testify to this–that when you give for the sake of Allah, the sweetness of it enters your heart, and you want to give more. They might give $20 this year, and $200 the next year, and $2000 the following year.
One scholar said: I struggled with Qiyam Al-Layl for one year (like every day it was a hard test to leave his soft, warm bed and pray in the cold night). After that, I tasted the sweetness for 20 years.
Because Allah eases the easy path.
Then Allah starts talking about other path:
وَأَمَّا مَن بَخِلَ وَاسْتَغْنَى
وَمَا يُغْنِي عَنْهُ مَالُهُ إِذَا تَرَدَّى
Translation: But as for he who withholds and considers himself free of need, and denies the best [reward], We will ease him toward difficulty. And what will his wealth avail him when he falls? [Surah Layl, verses 8-11]
Allah talks about the other path. What about the one who thinks he’s self-sufficient from Allah? The hard path, the path of Hellfire, becomes easy for him.
We see today Muslims who commit zina, or they steal (corporate embezzlement, anyone?), or drink alcohol, or take drugs. How did they come to be that way? If you trace back into their past, there were some salaahs they skipped, and some fundraisers they walked out of.
So Allah made the difficult path, easy for them. And we seek Allah’s refuge from being on this path.
Even if you steal one billion dollars, and get away with it, what will happen? On the Day of Judgment, do you think you can (as some of the Quraysh thought) bribe the guardkeepers of Hell to let you off free? “Here’s $50 guys … I’m going to Paradise!” Think again!
Allah could’ve just said this … and left us. To burn. But He didn’t; in the next ayah, He says:
إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا لَلْهُدَى
Translation: Indeed, [wajib] upon Us is guidance.
And that is a promise from Allah. That’s why He sent the messengers with the books. To guide us, and not just leave us in misguidance and ignorance.
Wallahu ta’ala ‘alam.
There’es an interesting incident related to the last four verses? Allah says:
ذِي يُؤْتِي مَالَهُ يَتَزَكَّى
وَمَا لِأَحَدٍ عِندَهُ مِن نِّعْمَةٍ تُجْزَى
إِلَّا ابْتِغَاء وَجْهِ رَبِّهِ الْأَعْلَى
Translation: [He] who gives [from] his wealth to purify himself, and not [giving] for anyone who has [done him] a favor to be rewarded, but only seeking the countenance of his Lord, Most High. And he is going to be satisfied. [Surah Layl, verses 18-22]
The mufassireen mention an interesting point–in those days, people freed slaves, and if they ever were under attack, or needed help, those slaves would come to support them. Abu Bakr (radiallahu ‘anhu) freed Bilal (radiallahu ‘anhu) and paid quite a lot of money.
So people started to talk–that maybe Abu Bakr did this because Bilal did him some favour in the past.
But Allah denies this–and says he did it, seeking the face of his Lord.
And then Allah says: And he is going to be pleased.
Imagine if this ayah was revealed about you while you’re alive. That you are going to be pleased with what Allah will give you. That you will enter Jannah. Subhanallah, it would be worth more to you than anything in the dunya.
And that is the tafseer of Surah Layl.
Wallahu ta’ala ‘alam.
- Pick up a new good deed. Allah makes the path of ease, easy; so pick something up. Start praying one sunnah you didn’t pray; or learn a new dhikr (such as the one for mornings or evenings). It may be tough in the beginning, but it pays off in the long-term.
- Post the deed. Insha’Allah let’s work together to collect a list of small, easy, but profitable (in an akhirah sense) deeds we can all do.
- Kitab At-Tawheed, by Imam Abdul-Wahhab; explanation by Yasir Qadhi. 2006.
- Touched by an Angel: Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. By Muhammad Alshareef. 2009.