97 - AL-QADR
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.

OPENING with a reference to the revelation of the first five verses of the preceding surah - that is, to the beginning of Muhammad's prophetic mission - Al-Qadr undoubtedly belongs to a very early part of the Mecca period.
1. BEHOLD, from on high have We bestowed this [divine writ] on Night of Destiny. (1)

1 - Or: "of Almightiness" or "of Majesty" - thus describing the night on which the Prophet received his first revelation (see introductory note to the preceding surah). On the basis of several Traditions it may be assumed that it was one of the last ten nights - probably the twenty-seventh - of the month of Ramadan, thirteen years before the Prophet's emigration to Medina.

2. And what could make thee conceive what it is, that Night of Destiny?
3. The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months: (2)

2 - Sc., "in which there was no similar night" (Razi).

4. in hosts descend in it the angels, (3) bearing divine inspiration (4) by their Sustainer's leave; from all [evil] that may happen

3 - The grammatical form tanazzalu implies repetition, frequency or multitude; hence - as suggested by Ibn Kathir - "descending in hosts".

4 - Lit., "and [divine] inspiration". For this rendering of ruh, see first sentence of 16:2 and the corresponding note 2. The present instance is undoubtedly the earliest example of the Qur'anic use of this term in the sense of "divine inspiration".

5. does it make secure, (5) until the rise of dawn.

5 - Lit., "it is salvation (salam, see surah 5, note 29) - i.e., it makes the believer secure from all spiritual evil: thus Mujahid (as quoted by Ibn Kathir), evidently implying that a conscious realization of the sanctity of this night acts as a shield against unworthy thoughts and inclinations.