Revealed at Makkah.


A STRIKING peculiarity of this chapter, and also of the next one, is that it is addressed throughout to Muhammad himself. The following is a summary of the reasons assigned by Muslim tradition why it was revealed. "It is related," says Sale, "that no revelation having been vouchsafed to Muhammad for several days in answer to some questions put to him by the Quraish, because he had confidently promised to resolve them the next day, without adding the exception, ĎIf it please God' (chap. xviii. 23), or because he had repulsed an importunate beggar, or else because a dead puppy lay under his seat, or for some other reason, his enemies said that God had left him; whereupon this chapter was sent down for his consolation."

The traditions, however, are founded on the attempt to explain or illustrate the text. The most that can be said is that the chapter indicates the mental depression of the Prophet in the early and unsuccessful period of his ministry.

Probable Date of the Revelations.

Both Muir and NoŽldeke assign this chapter to a very early date, the former placing it after chap. xc., and the latter after chap. xciv. in chronological order.

Principal Subjects.

Muhammad comforted by the assurance that God is with him ... 1-3
The life to come to be preferred to the present life ... 4, 5
Muhammad exhorted to care for the orphan and beggar... 6-11



R 1/17.

(1) By the brightness of the morning; (2) and by the night, when it groweth dark: (3) thy LORD hath not forsaken thee, neither doth he hate thee. (4) Verily the life to come shall be better for thee than this present life: (5) and thy LORD shall give thee a reward wherewith thou shalt be well pleased. (6) Did he not find thee an orphan, and hath he not taken care of thee? (7) And did he not find thee wandering in error, and hath he not guided thee into the truth? (8) And did he not find thee needy, and hath he not enriched thee? (9) Wherefore oppress not the orphan: (10) neither repulse the beggar: (11) but declare the goodness of thy LORD.

(1) The brightness. "The original word properly signifies the bright part of the day, when the sun shines full out, three or four hours after it is risen." - Sale.

(7) Wandering in. error. That is, in the idolatry of the Arabs. This passage is conclusive against those Muslims who pretend that Muhammad never sinned. See also notes on chap. iv. 105, ix. 43, xl. 57, and xlvii. 21.

(9, 10) Muhammad seems to have shown kindness to the poor and orphans throughout his life. He ever remembered that he had once been in their condition.
See Rodwell's notes on this chapter.

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