Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Establish worship) perform the prayer, O Muhammad, (at the going down of the sun) after noon: the prayers of Zuhr and 'Asr (until the dark of night) and after the advent of the night: the prayers of Maghrib and 'Isha', (and (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn) the prayer of the morning. (Lo! (the recital of) the Qur'an at dawn) the prayer of the morning (is ever witnessed) is witnessed by the angels of the night and the angels of the day.
Establish prayer from the sun’s decline, that is, from after midday, until the dark of night, [until] its darkness has fallen, in other words, [perform prayers] at noon, in the afternoon, at sunset and at night, and the recital [of the Qur’ān] at dawn, the morning prayer. Verily the dawn recital is ever witnessed, it is witnessed by the angels of the night and the angels of the day.
Establish prayer from the sun's decline. Know that prayer is of five types: the prayer of intimate connection and tender talk at the station of hiddenness, the prayer of presention vision at the station of the spirit, the prayer of intimate communion at the station of secret, the prayer of presence at the station of the heart and the prayer of obedience and yielding at the station of the soul. Thus the sun's decline is the indication of the setting of the sun of unity from its even presiding upon the existence of the servant by means of pure annihilation. For there is no [obligation of] prayer in the state of this presiding [of the sun of unity], as prayer is a deed that requires existence and in this case the servant has no existence until he engages in prayer, as is mentioned in the interpretation of His words and worship your Lord until Certainty comes to you [Q. 15:99]. Do you not see that the lawgiver [Muḥammad], peace be upon him, forbade prayer during the time of [the sun's] even presiding [in the sky]. But at the point of [the sun's] decline, if there falls a shadow of the servant's existence, whether it be upon his becoming veiled by creation at the point of separation after the union or upon subsistence at the point of separation after union, then prayer becomes obligatory, until the dark, of the night of the soul, and the recital [of the QurÌān], at the dawn of the heart. Thus the first prayer and the most subtle is the prayer of intimate connection and tender talk, and the most excellent one is the prayer of presential vision of the spirit, the one alluded to by [the words] 'the afternoon prayer', as is understood from 'the middle prayer', meaning the most excellent prayer, where He says, exalted be He: Maintain the prayers and the middle prayer [Q. 2:238]. The most revelatory and the lightest is the secret prayer through intimate communion at the first moment of being veiled by means of the manifestation of the heart, [and that is] because of the speed with which the moment for it passes. That is why it is preferred that one lightens the recitation [of QurÌānic passages] during the sunset prayer and others, since it is an indication of that [veilingḍ].
The prayer that is most repelling of Satan and the one that is most illuminating for a human's inner being is the prayer of the presence of the heart, the one suggested by [the phrase] 'the recital [of the QurÌān] at dawn', since it takes place during the moment of the self-disclosures of the lights of the [divine] attributes and the of the coming down of the [divine] unveilings. That is why it is preferable that the congregation for the morning prayer be a substantial one and the preference for this prayer to be performed in congregation has been emphasised specifically as well as the lengthening of [QurÌānic] recitation [during it]. God, exalted be He, says: Verily the dawn recital is ever witnessed, that is, it enjoys a presence, the presence of the angels of the night and those of the day, an allusion to the coming down of the attributes of the heart and their lights and the flight of the attributes of the soul and their disappearance. The [prayer that is the] strongest in making the soul stand firm and become obedient is the prayer of the soul for reassurance and steadfastness, which is why it is recommended practice (sunna) according to what has been understood as a sign for that in terms of the [late] evening prayer that one enters into silence thereafter until [the time for] sleep, except if it is to remember God. If there should be the possibility that Satan might cast his evil whispers, it is recommended that one recite aloud, as in the prayer of the soul, that of the heart and of the secret in order to drive [him] away; but at the station of the spirit and hiddenness, he has no way in, which is why one is commanded to recite inaudibly.
The Command to offer the Prayers at their appointed Times
Allah says, commanding His Messenger to offer the prescribed prayers at the appointed times:
أَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ
(Perform the Salat from midday.) Hushaym narrated from Mughirah from Ash-Sha`bi from Ibn `Abbas: "Midday means when the sun is at its zenith.'' This was also reported by Nafi` from Ibn `Umar, and by Malik in his Tafsir from Az-Zuhri from Ibn `Umar. This was the opinion of Abu Barzah Al-Aslami and Mujahid, and of Al-Hasan, Ad-Dahhak, Abu Ja`far Al-Baqir and Qatadah. It is also understood to generally refer to the times of the five prayers. Allah said;
لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ الَّيْلِ
(from midday till the darkness of the night,) meaning darkness, or it was said, sunset. This was understood to mean Zuhr `Asr, Maghrib and `Isha'.
(and recite the Qur'an in the early dawn.) meaning Salat Al-Fajr. The details of the timings of the prayers were reported in the Mutawatir Sunnah from the words and deeds of the Prophet, and this is what the people of Islam have followed until the present day, passing it down from generation to generation, century after century, as we have stated in the appropriate place, praise be to Allah.
The Meeting of the Angels at the Times of Fajr and `Asr Prayers
إِنَّ قُرْءَانَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
(Verily the recitation of the Qur'an in the early down is ever witnessed.) Ibn Mas`ud reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet said concerning this Ayah :
(The prayer offered in congregation is twenty-five degrees better than the prayer offered individually, and the angels of the night and the angels of the day meet at Salat Al-Fajr.) Abu Hurayrah said: Recite, if you wish:
(and recite the Qur'an in the early dawn. Verily, the recitation of the Qur'an in the early dawn is ever witnessed.) Imam Ahmad recorded from Ibn Mas`ud and Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said, concerning the Ayah:
(It is witnessed by the angels of the night and the angels of the day.) This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah. At-Tirmidhi said, "It is Hasan Sahih.'' According to the version recorded in the Two Sahihs from Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet said:
(The angels of the night and the angels of the day come amongst you in successive groups (in shifts). They meet at the Morning prayer (Fajr) and at the Mid-afternoon prayer ('Asr). Those who stayed among you at ascend, and their Lord asks them, although He knows best about you, "How did you leave My servants'' They say, "We came to them when they were praying and we left them when they were praying.'') `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said, "The two guards meet at Salat Al-Fajr, and one group ascends while the other stays where it is. '' These were the comments of Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Mujahid, Qatadah and others on the Tafsir of this Ayah.
The Command to pray Tahajjud
وَمِنَ الَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ
(And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salah with it as an additional prayer for you.) Here Allah commands him (the Prophet ) to offer further prayers at night after the prescribed prayers. It was reported in Sahih Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that when the Messenger of Allah was asked which prayer is best after the prescribed prayers, he said,
(The Night prayer) Allah commanded His Messenger to pray the Night prayer after offering the prescribed prayers, and the term Tahajjud refers to prayer that is offered after sleeping. This was the view of `Alqamah, Al-Aswad, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i and others. It is also well-known from the Arabic language itself. A number of Hadiths report that the Messenger of Allah used to pray Tahajjud after he had slept. These include reports from Ibn `Abbas, `A'ishah and other Companions, may Allah be pleased with them. This has been discussed in detail in the appropriate place, praise be to Allah. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "This is what comes after `Isha', or it could mean what comes after sleeping.''
(an additional prayer (Nawafil)) means the Night prayer has been made an extra prayer specifically for the Prophet, because all his previous and future sins had been forgiven. But for other members of his Ummah, offering optional prayers may expiate for whatever sins they may commit. This was the view of Mujahid, and it was reported in Al-Musnad from Abu Umamah Al-Bahili.
عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَّحْمُودًا
(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) meaning, `do that which you are commanded to do, and We will raise you to a station of praise and glory (Maqam Mahmud) on the Day of Resurrection, where all of creation will praise you,' as will their Creator, may He be glorified and exalted. Ibn Jarir said, "Most of the commentators said, `This is the position to which Muhammad will be raised on the Day of Resurrection, to intercede for the people so that their Lord will relieve them of some of the hardships they are facing on that Day.''' It was reported that Hudhayfah said, "Mankind will be gathered in one arena, where they will all hear the call and will all be seen. They will be standing barefoot and naked as they were created, and no person shall speak except by the leave of Allah. He will call out, `O Muhammad,' and he will respond,
(At your service, all goodness is in Your Hands and evil is not to be attributed to You. The one who is guided is the one whom You guide. Your servant is before You, from You, and to You and there is no salvation or refuge from You except with You. May You be blessed and exalted, Glory be to You, Lord of the House (the Ka`bah).) This is the position of praise and honor (Maqam Mahmud) which was mentioned by Allah.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "The position of praise and honor is the position of intercession.'' Ibn Abi Najih reported something similar from Mujahid, and this was also the view of Al-Hasan Al-Basri. Qatadah said, "He is the first one for whom the earth will be opened on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be the first one to intercede.'' So the scholars consider this the position of praise and glory to which Allah referred in the Ayah:
عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَّحْمُودًا
(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.) I, Ibn Kathir, say: the Messenger of Allah will have honors in the Day of Resurrection in which no one else will have a share, honors which will not be matched by anyone else. He is the first one for whom the earth will be opened and he will come forth riding to the gathering place. He will have a banner under which Adam and anyone else will gather, and he will have the Hawd (Lake) to which no one else will have more access than he. He will have the right of the Grand Intercession with Allah when He comes to judge between His creation. This will be after the people ask Adam, then Nuh, then Ibrahim, then Musa, then `Isa to intercede, and each of them will say, "I am not able for that.'' Then they will come to Muhammad, and he will say,
«أَنَا لَهَا أَنَا لَهَا»
(I can do that, I can do that.) We will mention this in more detail shortly, If Allah wills. Part of that will be that he will intercede for some people who had been commanded to be taken to Hell, and they will be brought back. He is the first Prophet whose Ummah will be judged, and the first to take them across the Bridge over the Fire, and the first to intercede in Paradise, as was reported in Sahih Muslim. In the Hadith about the Trumpet, it says that none of the believers will enter Paradise except through his intercession. He will be the first to enter Paradise, and his Ummah will be the first nation to enter. He will intercede for the status to be raised for people whose deeds could not get them there. He is the one who will reach Al-Wasilah, which is the highest position in Paradise, which befits no one but him. When Allah gives permission for intercession on behalf of sinners, the angels, Prophets and believers will intercede, and he will intercede for people whose number is known only to Allah. No one will intercede like him and no one will match him in intercession. This has been explained in comprehensive detail at the end of the Book of Sirah, in the chapter on the specific qualities. Praise be to Allah. Now with the help of Allah we will mention the Hadiths that were reported concerning Al-Maqam Al-Mahmud. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Umar said: "On the Day of Resurrection, the people will be humbled to their knees, each nation following its Prophet and saying, `O so-and-so, intercede,' `O so-and-so, intercede,' until the power of intercession is given to Muhammad, and that will be the day when Allah raises him to a position of praise and glory. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(The sun will come close until the sweat reaches halfway up one's ears. When the people are in that state, they will ask Adam for help, and he will say, "I am not the one to do that.'' Then they will ask Musa, and he will say likewise, then they will ask Muhammad, and he will intercede for the people and will go and take hold of the handle of the gate of Paradise, and that will be the Day when Allah resurrects him to a position of praise and glory.) Al-Bukhari also recorded it in the Book of Zakah, where he added:
(That will be the Day when Allah resurrects him to a position of praise and glory, and all the people will praise him.) Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that `Abdullah said, "Then Allah will give permission for intercession, and Ar-Ruh Al-Quddus, Jibril, will stand up, then Ibrahim, the close Friend of Allah will stand up, then `Isa or Musa will stand up - Abu Az-Za`ra' said, `I do not know which of them, ' -- then your Prophet will stand up and will intercede, and no one after him will intercede as much as he does. This is the position of praise and glory to which Allah referred:
عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَاماً مَّحْمُودًا
(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud.)''
The Hadith of Abu Hurayrah
Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "Some meat was brought to the Messenger of Allah, and he lifted up the arm, which he used to like, and took one bite, then he said:
(I will be the leader of mankind on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know why it will be so Allah will gather the first and the last in one place, and they will hear a voice calling out, and they will all be seen. The sun will come close until their anguish and distress becomes unbearable, and some will say to others, "Do you not see how much you are suffering Why do you not find someone to intercede for you with your Lord'' And some of the people will say to others, "How about Adam'' So they will go to Adam and say, "O Adam, you are the father of mankind, Allah created you with His Hand and breathed into you of His spirit, and commanded the angels to prostrate to you. Intercede for us with your Lord, do you not see the state we are in, how bad it is'' Adam will say, "My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been angry before and He will never be this angry again. He forbade me to approach the Tree and I disobeyed Him. Myself, myself, myself i.e., I am only concerned about myself. Go to someone else. Go to Nuh.'' So they will go to Nuh and say, "O Nuh, you are the first of the Messengers sent to the people of earth, and Allah called you a grateful servant. Intercede for us with your Lord, do you not see the state we are in, how bad it is'' Nuh will say, "My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been angry before and He will never be this angry again. There is a prayer that I prayed against my people. Myself, myself, myself i.e., I am only concerned about myself. Go to someone else. Go to Ibrahim. '' So they will go to Ibrahim and say, "O Ibrahim, you are the Prophet of Allah and His close Friend among the people of earth. Intercede for us with your Lord, do you not see the state we are in, how bad it is'' Ibrahim will say, "My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been angry before and He will never be this angry again.'' And he mentioned some untruths he had told. "Myself, myself, myself i.e., I am only concerned about myself. Go to someone else. Go to Musa.''
So they will go to Musa and say, "O Musa, you are the Messenger of Allah, Allah chose you above others by selecting you to convey His Message and by speaking to you directly. Intercede for us with your Lord, do you not see the state we are in, how bad it is'' Musa will say, "My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been angry before and He will never be this angry again. I killed a soul whom I had not been commanded to kill. Myself, myself, myself i.e., I am only concerned about myself. Go to someone else. Go to `Isa.'' So they will go to `Isa and say, `O `Isa, you are the Messenger of Allah and His Word which He bestowed upon Maryam and a spirit created by Him. You spoke to the people as an infant in the cradle. Intercede for us with your Lord, do you not see the state we are in, how bad it is'' `Isa will say, "My Lord is angry today in a way that He has never been angry before and He will never be this angry again.'' And he will not mention any sin. "Myself, myself, myself i.e., I am only concerned about myself. Go to someone else. Go to Muhammad.'' So they will go to Muhammad and will say, "O Muhammad, you are the Messenger of Allah and the Last of the Prophets, Allah forgave all your past and future sins. Intercede for us with your Lord, do you not see the state we are in, how bad it is'' I will stand up and come before the Throne, and will fall prostrating to my Lord, may He be glorified and exalted. Then Allah will inspire me to speak and I will speak beautiful words of praise such as no one has ever been inspired with before. It will be said, "O Muhammad, raise your head and ask, it will be granted to you. Intercede, and your intercession will be heard.'' So I will raise my head and say, "My Ummah, O Lord, my Ummah, O Lord, my Ummah, O Lord.'' It will be said, "O Muhammad, admit those who will not be brought to account from among your Ummah through the right-hand gate of Paradise. Then the rest of your Ummah will share the other gates with the rest of the people.'') Then he said, ("By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the distance between two of the gateposts of Paradise is like the distance between Makkah and Hajar, or between Makkah and Busra.) It was also reported in the Two Sahihs.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The Muslims have been commanded to establish Salat immediately after the mention of obstacles and adversities. This implies that the perseverance required to face adverse circumstances is obtained by the establishment of Salat.
We have translated the words of the Arabic Text into "the declining of the sun." Though some of the Companions and their followers are of the opinion that it means "the sunset", the majority of them are of the opinion that it means "the declining of the sun from its zenith." Caliph 'Umar, Ibn `Umar, Anas bin Malik, Abu Barza-tal-Aslami, Hasan Basri, Sha'abi, Ata', Mujahid and, according to a Tradition, Ibn `Abbas (Allah be pleased with them all) are of this opinion and Imam Muhammad Baqir and Imam Ja`afar Sadiq also are of the same opinion. Besides this, there are some Traditions from the Holy Prophet to the same effect, though they are not so authentic.
According to some, the original words of the Arabic text mean "complete darkness of the night", while others take it to mean "midnight" If the first opinion is accepted, it will imply the beginning of the time of the 'Isha' Prayer and according to the other it will mean "the last limit of the time of "Isha."
The literal meaning of the word fajr is "dawn", that is, "the beginning of the morning after the darkness of night."
Here the "recital of the Qur'an in the morning" stands for the Morning Prayer. At some places the Quran has used the word Salat for 'Prayer' and at other places a particular part of Salat for Prayer as a whole, e.g., tasbih, hamd, zikr, qayam, ruku', sajud etc. Likewise, here "recital of the Qur'an at dawn" does not mean the mere recital of the Qur'an but its recital during the Prayer. Thus, the Qur'an has also incidentally referred to the different parts of which Salat is composed and these guided the Holy Prophet to prescribe the definite form of Salat in which it is performed by the Muslims to-day.
In this verse, it has been briefly stated how to establish Salat which was made obligatory on the occasion of Mi `raj at the prescribed timings. It has been ordained that the first Prayer is to be offered before the sunrise and the remaining four after the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night. Afterwards Angel Jibril was sent to the Holy Prophet to define the limits of the timings of each Prayer. According to a Tradition of Abu Da'ud and Tirmizi related by Ibn 'Abbas, the Holy Prophet said, "Jibril led me in the five Prayers twice near the Ka`abah. On the first day, he offered the Dhuhr Prayer just after the declining of the sun, when the shadow of everything was the shortest. Then he offered the 'Asr Prayer when the shadow of each thing was equal to its own length; then the Maghrib Prayer at the time when one breaks one's fast, and the 'Isha' Prayer was offered just at the time when twilight had disappeared, and Faj rPrayer at the time when it becomes unlawful to eat and drink anything for the one who intends to observe a Fast. The next day he offered the Dhuhr Prayer at the time when the shadow of each thing became equal to its own length and the 'Asr Prayer when the shadow had doubled. The Maghrib Prayer was offered as on the previous day and the Isha' Prayer when one-third of the night had passed away, and the Morning Prayer when light had spread all over. After this Jibril turned towards me and said. 'O Muhammad, these are the timings of Salat of the Prophets and the right tunings are between these two extreme limits."
The Qur'an has also pointed to these five times of Salat on different occasions:
(1) "And listen; establish Salat at the two ends of the day and in the early parts of the night..." (IX: 114).
(2) "...And glorify your Lord with His praise before the sunrise (Fajr) and before sunset ('Asr) and then glorify Him during the night (`Isha') and then at the ends of the day (Fajr, Dhuhr and Maghrib)..." (XX: 130).
(3) "So glorify Allah when it is evening for you (Maghrib), and when it is morning (Fajr). praise is only for Him in the heavens and the earth and glorify him in the later part of the afternoon ( 'Asr) and in the afternoon (Dhuhr). "(XXX. 17-18).
There is great wisdom in this system of the timings of Salat. One of these is to avoid the timings of the worship of the sun-worshipers. This is because the sun has always been in every age one of the greatest deities of the mushriks, who worshiped it especially at the time of sunrise and sunset. Therefore, these two times have totally been forbidden for Salat. Besides this, they worshiped the sun at the time of its zenith. That is why Islam has ordained that the Muslims should offer their two Prayers during the day-time after the sun has declined and the Fajr Prayer before the sunrise. The Holy Prophet himself has stated this wisdom of the timings of Prayer in several Traditions. For instance, in the Tradition related by 'Amar bin `Abasah, the Holy Prophet is reported to have replied to a qua"soon to this effect: "Offer your Morning Prayer, but refrain from it when the sun is about to rise until it has risen high. For the sun rises between the horns of Satan and the unbelievers fall prostrate before it at that time.
Then after mentioning the `Asr Prayer, he said:
"After `Asr Prayer, refrain from any Prayer until the sunset, for during that time the sun sets between the horns of Satan and the unbelievers fall prostrate before it."
The rising and the setting of the sun between the horns of Satan is a symbolic expression that has been used in this Tradition. This implies that both these times are used by Satan as temptations for the people. This is, as if to say, that Satan is so pleased with the worship of the unbelievers at the time of sunrise and sunset that he appears to carry the sun on his head as a mark of approval. This interpretation of the Tradition is based on this remark of the Holy Prophet: "The unbelievers fall prostrate before it."
The literal meaning of "Tahajjud" is to rise up by breaking sleep. Therefore, the sentence has been translated into "Offer Tahajjud Prayer", which means "Rise up from sleep after the passing of a part of night and then offer your Prayer."
"Nafl" literally means "something done in addition to an obligatory duty". This shows that the Tahajjud Prayer is in addition to the five prescribed Prayers.
"...may exalt you to a laudable position" = "You may attain such a high position in this world and in the next world that people from everywhere may be full of praise for you, and you may become a praiseworthy personality." This is, as if to say, "Now your opponents are engaged in calling you names and arc trying to defame you throughout the country, and have raised a storm of false accusations against you but that time is not far when the world will ring with the echoes of your praise and in the Hereafter you will become worthy of praise by all creatures. " The exaltation of the Holy Prophet to the high position of intercession on the Day of Resurrection is also a part of that "laudable position."