What is the explanation of the chapter of ad-Duha and the reason why it was sent down?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"1. By the Glorious Morning Light,

2. And by the Night when it is still,-

3. Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased.

4. And verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present.

5. And soon will thy Guardian-Lord give thee (that wherewith) thou shalt be well-pleased.

6. Did He not find thee an orphan and give thee shelter (and care)?

7. And He found thee wandering, and He gave thee guidance.

8. And He found thee in need, and made thee independent.

9. Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness,

10. Nor repulse the petitioner (unheard);

11. But the bounty of the Lord - rehearse and proclaim!"

Narrations state that the revelation that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) received ceased for a while, that Jibril did not appear in that period and hence some polytheists said, "His Lord has forsaken Muhammad" while others said "His Satan has forsaken him" since they believed that revelation came from Satan. (al-Wahidi, "Asbabun-Nuzul ", Suratu wad-Duha; Bukhari, Kitabut-Tafsir, Suratu wad-Duha)

The Messenger of Allah, who had been reacted by the polytheists since he started to convey the message of Islam, started to be mocked. Naturally, this distressed him and turned the world to a prison for him virtually. However, he was a prophet; he had to fulfill his duty fully at any cost. His greatest help and guard was his Lord. The revelation he received from his Lord informed him about how to act in this troublesome road and gave him strength and peace. Revelation was virtually his food and companion in this long journey. The cease of the revelation deprived him of this food and his friend that consoled him.  

This chapter, which gave peace and security to the Prophet and eliminated his hardship, was sent down at such a time. Therefore, the main theme of the chapter is to console the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and to give him spiritual strength to overcome the difficulties that he could confront in his struggle after that.

The chapter starts as follows:

"By the Glorious Morning Light, And by the Night when it is still,- Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased." (1-3)

Our Lord starts by swearing on the glorious morning light and the night when it is still. Thus, he attracts attention to the importance of those two times. He connects the events of the universe with spiritual feelings. He tells His Messenger implying that He placed friendly beings around him and reminds him the he is not alone. As an answer to the polytheists’ statement "His Lord has forsaken him" uttered by them to make him hopeless and to dissuade him from his cause, Allah states the following:

"Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased." (3)

Unlike what they claim, your Lord never forsakes you. You are His beloved slave and Messenger. How can He forsake you? "And verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present."(4)

Your Lord will give you many things in this world too. However, He has prepared much better and perfect things for you in the hereafter:

"And soon will thy Guardian-Lord give thee (that wherewith) thou shalt be well-pleased." (5)

Your Lord prepared for you everything that you will like. He will make you successful in this world, eliminate the obstacles before you, will make the system that you defend victorious and will make you and your cause superior:

"Did He not find thee an orphan and give thee shelter (and care)? And He found thee wandering, and He gave thee guidance. And He found thee in need, and made thee independent." (6-8)

Yes, Allah Almighty advises His beloved Prophet (pbuh) to view his past. Allah protected him when he was alone, gave him guidance when he was wandering and made him rich without needing anyone with His endless grants. When he was a very young child, Allah Almighty protected His Prophet (pbuh) who lost both his mother and his father and protected him from polytheism though he grew up in an environment of the heretic Era of Jahiliyya. He kept the Prophet (pbuh) away from the impurity of polytheism; He did not allow him to tend to Judaism and Christianity.  

When he carried out the duty of prophethood, Allah Almighty made his uncle Abu Talib help him against the polytheists who wanted to prevent him. Although he was poor materially, Allah Almighty made him the richest person spiritually.

The part of the chapter up to this verse is an answer to the slander of some polytheists "His Lord has been cross with Muhammad; He has forsaken him" and states that revelation comes from Allah only. In addition, He reminds His beloved Messenger the boons He has granted him and wants him to act toward Him as it is necessary to express his gratitude:

"Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness, Nor repulse the petitioner (unheard); But the bounty of the Lord - rehearse and proclaim!" (9-11)

His Lord states that He protected him when was an orphan and gave him guidance when he was hesitant; then, He wants him and his ummah to protect orphans, support the needy and reminds them of Allah’s boons given to them.

He prohibits us from oppressing orphans and orders us to give them food and help without breaking their hearts, despising them and tarnishing their honor.

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