To address the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) with these words and then to command him to rise and keep standing in the Prayer at night, shows that at the tune he either lay asleep, or had wrapped himself up in a sheet in order to go to sleep. Here, to address him with "O you who sleeps covered up" instead of with "O Prophet, or O Messenger", is a fine way of address, which by itself gives the meaning: "Gone is the time when you used to enjoy peaceful sleep at will; now you lie under the burden of a great mission, whose demands and duties are different as well as onerous.
This can have two meanings:
(1) "Pass the night standing up in the Prayer and spend only a little of it in sleep"; and
(2)"there is no demand from you to pass the whole night in the Prayer, but have rest as well and spend a little part of the night in worship too."
But in view of the theme that follows the first meaning seems to be more relevant, and the same is supported by Ad-Dahr: 26, in which it has been said: "Prostrate yourself before Him in the night and glorify Him during the long hours of night."
This is an explanation of the duration of time commanded to be spent in worship. In it the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was given the option to spend half of the night in the Prayer, or a little less than that, or a little more than that. But the style shows that half the night has been regarded as preferable, for the measure is the same, which may be decreased or increased, as the people may like and choose.
"Recite the Qur'an......": Do not recite it quickly and in haste, but slowly and distinctly: pause at every verse so that the mind understands the meaning and purport of Divine Revelation well and takes effect from it. if it contains the mention of Allah's Being and Attributes, it may awe-inspire the heart with His glory and majesty; if it expresses His mercy, the heart may be filled with feelings of gratitude to Him; if it mentions His wrath and His punishment, the heart may be overwhelmed by fear of Him; if it enjoins something or forbids something, one may understand what has been enjoined and what has been forbidden. In short, the recital does not only consist in uttering the words with the tongue, but it should involve thoughtful consideration of the meaning. When Hadrat Anas was asked about the Holy Prophet's method of reciting the Qur'an, he replied: The Holy Messenger stretched the words when reciting them. For example, when he recited Bismillah ir-Rahman it-Rahim he would stretch and prolong the sound of Allah, Rahman and Rahim (Bukhari). When Hadrat Umm Salamah was asked the same question, she replied that the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) recited every verse separately and distinctly and observed a pause at the end of every verse. For instance, he recited AI-hamdu-lillah-i Rabb-il'alamin, and paused, then recited ar-Rahman ir-Rahim, and paused, and then recited Malik-i yaum id-di'n. "(Musnad Ahmad, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi). In another tradition, Hadrat Umm Salamah has stated that the Holy Prophet recited each word distinctly and clearly. (Tirmidhi, Nasa'i). Hadrat Hudhaifah bin Yaman says: "Once I stood beside the Holy Prophet in the Night Prayer to see how he recited the Qur'an. I noticed that he glorified Allah where He should be glorified, invoked and supplicated Allah where He should be invoked and supplicated, and sought refuge of Allah where His refuge should be sought." (Muslim, Nasa'i). Hadrat Abu Dharr has stated that once during the Night Prayer when the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) came to the sentence: In to adhdhib-hmn... (If You punish them, then they are Your servants; and if You forgive them, then You are Almighty, All-Wise), he went on repeating it over and over again until it became dawn." (Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari).
That is, "You are being commanded to stand up in the Night Prayer because We are going to send down on you a weighty word, to bear the burden of which you must develop necessary power in yourself, and you can develop this power only by abandoning your ease and comfort of the night and by standing up in the Prayer and passing half the night or thereabout in the worship of your Lord. "The Qur'an has been called a weighty Word also for the reason that acting on its commands, demonstrating its teaching practically, extending its invitation in the face of the whole world, and bringing about a revolution in the entire system of belief and thought, morals and manners, civilization and social life, according to it, is indeed the weightiest task any human being ever has been charged with: It has been called a weighty Word also because bearing the burden of its revelation was a difficult and heavy duty. Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit says: "Once Revelation came down upon the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) in a state when he was resting his head upon my knee. I felt such a pressure of the weight on my knee that I thought it would break." Hadrat `A`ishah says: "I have seen the state of the Holy Prophet's receiving Revelation during intense cold, drops of perspiration started falling from his forehead." (Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i): In another tradition Hadrat `A`ishah has stated: "Whenever Revelation came down on the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) while he was riding on his she-camel, the she-camel would be forced to rest her chest on the ground and could not move until the Revelation was over." (Musnad Ahmad. Hakim, Ibn Jarir).
About the meaning of the word nashi'at al-lail, as used in the original, the commentators and lexicographers have expressed four different viewpoints:
(1) That nashi'at implies the person himself who rises at night;
(2) that it implies the hours of night;
(3) that it means the rising by night; and
(4) that it does not only apply to the rising in the night but rising after having had some sleep,
Hadrat `A`ishah and Mujahid have adopted this fourth viewpoint.
The word ashaddu wat'an as used in the Text is so vast in meaning that it cannot be explained in any one sentence. Its one meaning is: As the rising for worship by night and standing up for a long tithe in the Prayer is against human nature and the self of man seeks ease and comfort at that time. this act is an exercise which is most effective in controlling and disciplining the self. The person who governs himself by this method and gains dominance over his body and mind becomes able to use his power in the way of God, can work more efficiently and firmly to make the message of true Faith prevail in the world. The second meaning is: This is a very effective means of producing harmony and concord between the heart and the tongue, for during these hours of the night none else intervenes between the servant and his God, and whatever man utters with his tongue in this state, is the very voice of his heart. The third meaning is: This is a very efficacious means of bringing about conformity between the exterior and the interior of man,, for the person who in the solitude of the night would abandon his comfort and ease and arise for worship, would do so only out of sincerity: there can be no tinge of display and hypocrisy in this. The fourth meaning is: As this worship is harder on man than the worship of the daytime, it develops steadfastness in him: he is enabled to walk in the path of God more firmly and can face and endure the hardships of that way with greater constancy and determination.
Literally: "Makes the speech most upright and sound." But the purport is to say that at that time man can read the Qur'an with greater peace of mind, attention and understanding. lbn `Abbas has explained it thus: "That it is the most suitable time for man to ponder over the Qur'an well.” (Abu Da'ud).
After making mention of the occupation of the daytime, the exhortation to "remember the name of your Lord" by itself gives the meaning: "Never be heedless of the remembrance of your Lord even when you are deeply involved in your worldly occupations, and continue. to commemorate His name in one way or another at all times." (For explanation, see E.N. 63 of Surah AI-Ahzab).
" Wakil is a person in whom one has complete faith; so much so that one can entrust all one's affairs to him with full satisfaction of the heart. Thus, the verse means: "Do not feel distressed at the hardships that you are experiencing at the storm of opposition that has been provoked by your invitation to we Faith. Your Lord is He Who is the Owner of the East and the West, (i.e. of the whole universe) besides Whom no one else possesses the powers of Godhead. Entrust your affair to Him and be satisfied that He will fight your case, He will deal with your opponents, and He will look after all your interests well. "
"Depart from them" does not mean "Break off all ties with them and stop preaching to them", but it means; "Do not have intimate and friendly relations with them: disregard their foolish behavior and their nonsense." However, you should do so without showing any grief, anger or temper but gracefully like a noble person, who would disregard the abusive remarks of a mean person without minding them at all. This should not create the misunderstanding that the Holy Prophet's conduct was any different from it; therefore, Allah gave him this instruction. As a matter of fact, the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) was already following this very mode of conduct; this instruction was given in the Qur'an so as to tell the disbelievers: "It is not due to any weakness on the part of the Prophet that he is not responding to what you are saying against him, but Allah Himself has taught His Messenger to adopt this noble way of conduct in response to your foolish behavior. "
These words clearly contain the sense that the people who were actually denying the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) in Makkah and were inciting the common people to oppose and resist him by stirring up prejudices and by deceit and fraud were the well-to-do, prosperous and affluent people, for it was their interests, which were being hit by Islam's message of reform. The Qur'an tells us that this was not peculiar only to the Holy Prophet's case but in every age this very class of the people have been the main obstacle to every movement of reform. For example, see Al-A`raf; 60, 6b, 75, 88; Al-Mu'minun: 33; Saba; 34 35; Az-Zukhruf: 23.
Heavy fetters in Hell will not be put on the criminals' feet to stop them from escape but in order that they are not able to stand up and move; these will not be used to prevent their escape but as an instrument of their torment.
Since at that time the cohesive force to bind the parts of the mountains together will cease to work, first they will become like crumbling dunes of fine sand, then because of the earthquake which will be shaking the earth; the sand will scatter and shift and the whole earth will turn into an empty level plain. This last state has been described in Ta Ha: 105-107, thus: "They ask you: where will the mountains go on that Day? Say: My Lord will reduce them to fine dust and scatter it away. He will turn the earth into an empty level plain, wherein you will neither see any curve no crease."