The Forenoon ad Dhuha
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
By the white forenoon and the brooding night your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. Did certainly your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be satisfied. Did He not find you an orphan and give you a shelter? Did He not find you in error and guide you? Did He not find you poor and enrich you? Therefore do not wrong the orphan, nor chide away the beggar, but proclaim the goodness of your Lord.
This surah, with its subject matter, mode of expression, scenes, connotations and rhythm is a touch of tenderness and mercy. It is a message of affection, it is a benevolent hand which soothes pains and troubles and generates an air of contentment and confident hope.
The surah is dedicated in its entirety to the Prophet (peace be on him). It is a message from his Lord which touches his heart with pleasure, joy, tranquillity and contentment. Altogether it i5 a flow of mercy and compassion to his restless soul, and suffering heart.
Several accounts mention that the revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet came, at one stage, to a halt and that Jibril stopped coming to him for a while. The unbelievers therefore said, "Muhammad's Lord has bidden him farewell!" Allah therefore revealed this surah.
Revelation, Jibril's visits and the link with Allah were the Prophet's whole equipment along his precarious path. They were his only solace in the face of hard rejection and his sole comfort against outright repudiation. They were the source from which he derived his strength to stand steadfast against the unbelievers who were intent on rebuff and refusal, and bent on directing a wicked, vile attack against the Prophet's call, faith and guidance.
So when the Revelation was withheld, the source of strength for the Prophet was cut off. His life spring was sapped and he longed for his heart's friend. Alone he was left in the wilderness, without sustenance, without water, without the accustomed companionship of the beloved friend. It was a situation which taxes human endurance heavily.
Then this surah was revealed and it came as a rich flow of compassion, mercy, hope, comfort and reassurance. "Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. And certainly your Lord will be bounteous to you, and you will be satisfied." Your Lord has never before left you or rejected you, or even denied you His mercy or protection. "Did He not find you an orphan and give you a shelter? Did He not find you in error and guide you? Did He not find you poor and enrich you?
Do you not see the proof of all this in your own life? Do you not feel it in your heart? Do you not observe it in your world? " Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. " Never bad His mercy been taken away from you and it never will be. "Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. " And there will be much more: "And certainly your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be satisfied."
This statement of the fact of the matter, made in excellent style and fine rhythm, is given in the framework of a universal phenomenon: "By the white forenoon and the brooding night." The expression spreads an air of affection, kindliness and complete satisfaction. "Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life. And certainly your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be satisfied. Did He not find you an orphan and give you shelter? Did He nor find you in error and guide you? Did He not find you poor and enrich you? " That tenderness, that mercy, that satisfaction, that solace are all felt in the sweet expressions and the soothing words and phrases which softly thread along the surah with gentle echoes and lively rhythm as they are contained within the frame of the morning hours and the still night which are the times of the day and night most conducive to clarity. During these periods one's reflections flow like a stream, and the soul is best able to communicate with the universe and its Creator, and feels the universe worshipping its Lord and turning towards Him in praise with joy and happiness. In addition, the night is described as "brooding". It is not the dark gloomy night as such but the "brooding" night that is clear, silent and tranquil, covered with a light cloud of sweet longing and kind reflection. It is a picture similar to that of the orphan's life. More still, the night is cleared away by the crossing morning and thus the colours of the picture beautifully match with those of the framework, and harmony is achieved.
The scene drawn here is one of perfect beauty. Such perfection is Divine, unparalleled and inimitable.
"By the white forenoon, and the brooding night: your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. Surely the life to come shall be better for you than this present life. And certainly your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be satisfied."
Allah vows by these two calm and inspiring periods of time and establishes a relationship between natural phenomena and human feelings. Thus, mutual response is encouraged between human hearts and the universe, which is beautiful, alive and sympathetic to all living beings. Hence, hearts live in peace with the world, relaxed and happy .
This mode of expression is particularly appropriate in this surah as the feeling of fellowship is stressed here as if to tell the Prophet right from the beginning of the surah that his Lord had already blessed him with the fellowship of the world around him and that he was by no means forsaken or left alone.
Then follows a straight forward assertion. " Your Lord has neither forsaken you, nor does He hate you. " He has not left you, nor has He been harsh to you as is alleged by those who want to afflict your heart and soul or trouble your feelings. For He is your Lord and you belong to Him. He is your sustainer and protector. Allah's favours on you have neither run out nor have they been stopped. You, Muhammad, are to get much more and better favours in the hereafter than you are getting in this life. "Surely the life to come will be better for you than this present life."
Allah is saving for you, Muhammad, what will satisfy you in your mission and ease your hard path and bring about the victory of your call and the vindication of the truth you advocate. These thoughts were in fact pre occupying the Prophet's mind as he was encountering his people's outright rejection, ill-treatment, and malice. " Your Lord will be bounteous to you and you will be satisfied . "
The surah then goes on to remind the Prophet of his Lord's attitude towards him from the very beginning of his mission so that he may reflect on how favourably Allah has been treating him. This is to make him recall the happy memories of the Divine kindness which is a joy revived by the words, "Did He not find you an orphan and give you a shelter? Did He not find you in error and guide you? Did He not find you poor and enrich you?" Reflect on your present life and on your past. Has He ever forsaken you or hated you even before He charged you with the assignment of prophethood.
You were born an orphan but Allah protected you. He made so many people kind to you, especially your uncle Abu Talib, though he followed a religion different from yours. You were poor and He made your heart rich with contentment, and made you rich through your business gains and the wealth of your wife, Khadeejah, so that you would not suffer from poverty or yearn for the riches that abound all around you.
You were also brought up in an Ignorant society, full of confusion of beliefs and concepts, where erring ways and practices abounded. You did not like those beliefs, concepts and practices but you could not find a clear and suitable way out. You could find your way neither in the Ignorant world nor with the followers of Moses and Jesus, who adulterated their beliefs, distorted their original form and went astray. But Allah has guided you through His revelations and the way of life He has set which establishes a firm bond between Him and you. This "guidance" in the wilderness of disbelief and confusion is the greatest favour of them all. The happiness and reassurance it brings about cannot be matched. The Prophet had been greatly perturbed and afflicted because of the cessation of revelation, and the malicious attitude of the polytheists during the period of its cessation. Hence comes this reminder to put his heart at ease and reassure him of his Lord's promise never to abandon him .
Allah takes the opportunity of mentioning the Prophet's earlier orphanhood, error and poverty in order to instruct the Prophet and all Muslims to protect every orphan, to be charitable to every beggar, and to speak of the great favours they enjoy from Allah, the first of which is guidance to the religion of Islam. "Therefore, do not wrong the orphan nor chide away the beggar, but proclaim the goodness of your Lord.
As we have already mentioned repeatedly, these instructions reflect the needs of the day, in that greedy and materialistic society in which the weak, who could not defend their own rights, were not catered for. Islam came to reform that society with Allah's laws which establish equity, justice and good-will.
Speaking of Allah's bounties, especially those of guidance and faith, is a form of expressing gratitude to Him, the Giver. It is a practical manifestation of thanks on the part of the recipient.