92 - AL-LAYL
In the name of god, the most gracious, The dispenser of grace: (1)

1 - According to most of the authorities, this invocation (which occurs at the beginning of every surah with the exception of surah 9) constitutes an integral part of "The Opening" and is, therefore, numbered as verse I. In all other instances, the invocation "in the name of God" precedes the surah as such, and is not counted among its verses. - Both the divine epithets rahman and rahrm are derived from the noun rahmah, which signifies "mercy", "compassion", "loving tenderness" and, more comprehensively, "grace". From the very earliest times, Islamic scholars have endeavoured to define the exact shades of meaning which differentiate the two terms. The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one advanced by Ibn al-Qayyim (as quoted in Mandr I, 48): the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahrm expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation-in other words, an aspect of His activity.

UNANIMOUSLY regarded as one of the very early revelations - most probably the ninth in the chronological order - the surah derives its name from the mention of "the night" in the first verse.
1. CONSIDER the night as it veils [the earth] in darkness,
2. and the day as it rises bright!
3. Consider the creation of the male and the female! (1)

1 - Lit., "Consider that which has created [or "creates"] the male and the female", i.e., the elements which are responsible for the differentiation between male and female. This, together with the symbolism of night and day, darkness and light, is an allusion - similar to the first ten verses of the preceding surah - to the polarity evident in all nature and, hence, to the dichotomy (spoken of in the next verse) which characterizes mans aims and motives.

4. Verily, [O men,] you aim at most divergent ends! (2)

2 - I.e., at good and bad ends (cf. note 6 on 91:8) - sc., "and so the consequences of your doings are, of necessity, divergent".

5. Thus, as for him who gives [to others] and is conscious of God,
6. and believes in the truth of the ultimate good (3)-

3 - I.e., in moral values independent of time and social circumstance and, hence, in the absolute validity of what may be described as "the moral imperative".

7. for him shall We make easy the path towards [ultimate] ease. (4)

4 See note 6 on 87:8.

8. But as for him who is niggardly, and thinks that he is self-sufficient, (5)

5 Cf. 96:6-7.

9. and calls the ultimate good a lie
10. for him shall We make easy the path towards hardship:
11. and what will his wealth avail him when he goes down [to his grave]? (6)

6 - Or (as a statement): "of no avail will be to him his wealth when he. . .", etc.

12. BEHOLD, it is indeed for Us to grace [you] with guidance;
13. and, behold, Ours is [the dominion over] the life to come as well as [over] this earlier part [of your life]: (7)

7 - This statement is meant to stress the fact that man's life in this world and in the hereafter are but two stages of one continuous entity.

14. and so I warn you of the raging fire -
15. [the fire] which none shall have to endure but that most hapless wretch
16. who gives the lie to the truth and turns away [from it].
17. For, distant from it shall remain he who is truly conscious of God:
18. he that spends his possessions [on others] so that he might grow in purity
19. not as payment for favours received, (8)

8 - Lit., "no one having with him any favour to be repaid". In its widest sense, projected towards the future, the phrase implies also the expectation of a reward.

20. but only out of a longing for the countenance of his Sustainer, the All-Highest:
21. and such, indeed, shall in time be well-pleased.