The Bright Forenoon

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

{By the forenoon * and by the night when it covers * your Lord has not abandoned you, nor does He hate you * and the last will be better for you than the first * and your Lord will give you until you are pleased}

Shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari (may Allah be pleased with him and please him) said:

This Sura descended in Mecca upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). There is an occasion for its revelation, which is that revelation had stopped from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) for 15 days, so the disbelievers started saying: “his Companion has abandoned him and hated him.” It is the habit of the envious that he lies; he makes things up out of his great bitterness and speaks about the one he hates and envies. They envied the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) for what Allah blessed him with, but the Prophet did not respond to them- he used to always remain quiet until Allah spoke. Then the Qur’an came down, responding to their speech. It was a response combining gentleness and a rebuke; gentleness with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) and a rebuke for the antagonists.

{By the forenoon) He made an oath by the forenoon, and by the the night as it becomes still. Allah is making an oath, so it means: “I swear by the forenoon that your Lord has not abandoned you nor does He hate you.”

Why is it fitting to make an oath by these things?

The forenoon (duha) is the elevation of the sun after it has risen. The forenoon is a time preceded by by the sunrise and followed by noon; it is therefore a light between two lights.
In it is an allusion to the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) is protected from misguidance (ma’sum) before Prophecy, during the age of Prophecy, and after Prophecy, because he is between two lights; no darkness came before or after. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) is protected in the beginning and in the end.

This Sura is called “The Sura of the Prophet” and the Sura that comes before it is called “The Sura of al-Siddiq.”

{By the night} which is darkness {when it covers} when its darkness covers all things. The darkness of disbelief had covered over the realities of Tawhid and the lighthouse of justice among nations, and disbelief became like the night. Then the forenoon came and removed this night, and it became day: {We made the night and day two signs. We blotted out the sign of the night and made the sign of the day a time for seeing} {We made the day for earning a living}. Because of the darkness of the night, no one can do anything in it. He made your sleep a type of death and a cutting off from the rest of creation. Then Allah erases the night with the day for the benefits to appear.

He wanted to erase disbelief with this Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family), and to make Tawhid appear after disbelief, and justice appear after injustice, and knowledge appear after ignorance, and collaboration appear after the absence of collaboration; so the Prophet came to remove with his day the darkness and the night.

O disbelievers, do you say that his Companion has left him and hated him? Do you not understand? This Prophet is like the day, here to remove the darkness of disbelief. Have you ever heard of the Sun appearing and then ceasing to appear after that? This is the wisdom.

Why then did He make an oath by the forenoon? It is a hint for the people of insight. What are you (disbelievers) saying? He is the forenoon! He is the light! He is the Sun who will remove injustice, polytheism, and disbelief from the universe.

Have you heard of the forenoon going back? He will also never go back from his call, nor will revelation be cut off from him. The revelation must be completed.

The sun has no shadow. The moon has no shadow. Light has no shadow. Shadows are for trees, for example; shadows are for dense objects. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family), if he stood in the sunlight, no shadow would appear for him. If he stood in the moonlight, no shadow appears for him. It is as if his state is saying: O sun, I am a sun like you! O moon, I am a moon like you! But I am not like you both! I have no shadow. You are light, and I am light, but I am greater than you both! You remove darkness from the universe, but disbelief also has a darkness, and injustice has a darkness, and ignorance has a darkness; can you two remove the darkness of disbelief?

As for me, my companions see me as a light. I illuminate physical objects.

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: I was sewing in the time before dawn and my needle dropped to the floor. I tried to find it but I couldn’t. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) entered, I could see the needle because of the light of his face. I said this to him, so he said: “Oh my little red one! Woe, woe, woe to the one who is denied from looking at my face!”

All the believers will see my light on the Day of Rising, but the miserly will be denied my light.

Who is the miserly, O Messenger of Allah? He (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said: “The one who, if I am mentioned in his presence, does not send blessings upon me.” Narrated by Ahmad, al-Nasa’i, and al-Tirmidhi.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) has a physical light, and another light that cannot be seen by the eyes, but can be seen by the hearts. His light makes hearts grow toward perfection.

O Sun! My light, my speech, my love, and my blessings will make the heart of the believer increase toward perfection!

The believer’s soul will shake, because the believing soul cannot remain quiet when it hears mention of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). When the soul hears the name of a prince or sultan, it doesn’t shake, but it shakes when it hears the name of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family).

The lion is the king of the beasts- all the beasts shake from it, by inspiration from Allah. Likewise the soul possesses a divine secret: It only shakes at mention of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). The soul is like a human sitting hungry, thirsty and naked. They say to it: Do you know so-and-so? He says: Yes… He can remove my hunger, thirst, etc.

So when it hears his name, it shakes, and recognizes that it is the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family).

So the light of the Prophet is more beneficial than the light of the sun and the moon, and his light removed the darkness of disbelief.

The sun sets, and the moon disappears, but this light neither sets nor disappears, and this light is from Allah. The sun and moon are in the sky, but this light is in the seven heavens and the seven earths, and in the heart of every believing man and woman. The light of the sun and moon is in the sky of this earth only, but this light illuminated the heavens, the earths, and the hearts. O sun, be ashamed, O moon, be ashamed before this great light!

The sun of the day sets at night

but the Sun of the Hearts never sets

He (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“I was sent with the pure and tolerant religion.”

{We have determined phases for the moon} for decrease and increase, {until it} decreased and {returned to being like an old date-stalk}. As for you, O Prophet, no!

{and an illuminating lamp} always, without decrease, but only increase.

Allah made an oath by the forenoon, alluding to his protection from misguidance, peace and blessings be upon him and his family.

Does the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) need anyone to say that he is protected before and after Prophecy? He (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said, “I was a Prophet when Adam was neither soul nor body.”

His Prophecy was before the creation of Adam, so he is protected since before the creation of all the worlds, and known before the creation of all the worlds. Since he was a Prophet before the creation of all the worlds, lights appeared, and miracles happened, when his mother gave birth to him.

Now his soul wasn’t split open (by the angels) because it is the best of Allah’s creations, and the most knowledgeable of Allah’s creation, but the body was split open. The soul is light, and the body is light… the body is light. But the body, when it appeared in its physical form, it was opened up and washed. So its urine is pure (tahir), and its wind is pure, and if any food entered it, the food would be pure and musk. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would do the ritual ablutions as an act of worship only, for he was the pure one, made pure by Allah (al-tayyib al-mutayyab, al-tahir al-mutahhar). He eats food like us, but what comes out of him is healing and musk.

* Matters of Jurisprudence

* Extra devotional prayers (nawafil) at the time of sunrise are not allowed according to the four imams, except for those who have debts to fulfill, meaning: prayers to make up, so they can pray their obligatory prayers.

* The forenoon prayer is the Salaat al-Awwabeen, the prayer of those who repent often and ask Allah’s forgiveness often. He (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said: “Only an awwab (someone always returning to Allah) would be constant in his forenoon prayer.” He said: “It is the Salaat al-Awwabeen.”

* Prayer existed from the time of our father Adam (peace be upon him) until the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). {My Lord! Make me and my descendants people who establish the Prayer}. {Mary, be devout to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow}.

* Allah made an oath by the forenoon and by the night, but the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said: “Whoever wants to swear, let them swear by Allah or remain quiet.” So how could Allah swear by that which is other than Allah?

The scholars, may Allah have mercy on them, said: The oath is by Allah, because the object of the oath is left out. The intended meaning of “By the forenoon” is “By the Lord of the forenoon.”

Another opinion: Does Allah have to follow the Sharia? Halal and Haram are for you, not for Allah! {Your Lord creates and chooses whatever He wills}

The oath: to swear by something. What is the wisdom behind it?

The wisdom is the glorification of the object that you are making an oath by.

Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said: “Allah forbids you to swear by your fathers. Whoever wants to swear, let him swear by Allah or remain silent.”

This hadith shows that swearing by fathers is forbidden, meaning: it is haram, but it is not disbelief (kufr). The Prophet did not say to our master Umar: renew your faith!

Hadith: “Whoever swears by that which is other than Allah has disbelieved or ascribed partners to Allah.”

The scholars said: This hadith refers to swearing by idols and pagan gods. As for he who swears by his father, he is not a disbeliever, but the one who swears by an idol is a disbeliever, because he has glorified something that is worshiped beside Allah, and that is disbelief and polytheism.  This hadith is also explained by another hadith: “Whoever amongst you swears and says ‘by al-Lat and al-‘Uzza’, let him then say, ‘La ilaha illa Allah’.”

The Malikis said: Swearing by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) is not forbidden, but only disliked, because imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal permitted it, and if it is permitted according to him then it is not forbidden according to us. The evidence for that is the saying of Allah most high: {By your life (O Muhammad)! They were wandering blindly in their drunkenness!} The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) used to swear and say: “By the One in whose Hand is Muhammad’s soul.”

* On the forenoon prayer

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) said,

“Charity is required from every part of your body daily. Every saying of ‘Glory be to Allah’ is charity. Every saying of ‘Praise be to Allah’ is charity. Every saying of ‘There is no god but Allah’ is charity. Every saying of ‘Allah is the Greater’ is charity. Commanding the good is charity, and forbidding the evil is charity. And two prayer cycles (rak’a) that one prays in the forenoon will suffice him for that (i.e. for the charity required for every part of the body).”

* On the desired prayer before the Fajr prayer

It is two cycles before the Fajr prayer. In the first cycle you recite the Fatiha and {Say: O disbelievers}, and in the second cycle you recite the Fatiha and {Say: God is One}. It can also be done with only the Fatiha in each cycle.

{Allah has not abandoned you} He has not left you {nor does He hate you}.

{And the last will be better for you than the first}

Allah (most high and great) is saying: These people do not understand my honoring of you, and what I have prepared for you of virtues. They know nothing. The last is better than you than the first. Tell them: Every day He will give me blessings and Islam.

“And the day that comes next will be better for you than the one that preceded it.”

Today you are in Mecca, and tomorrow in Medina. The whole world will be under your Prophecy and your Message. The Sura of the Forenoon (Surat al-Duha) is an appeasement, out of Allah’s gentleness with His Prophet. It is also a comforting for him, peace and blessings be upon him and his family.

Shaykh al-Bajuri (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“It means: Every coming moment will be better for you than the one that preceded it.”

Another opinion: The Last, meaning Paradise, is better for you than this world.

Al-Busiri said (about the verses of the Qur’an):

Meanings they have like the wide sea’s waves,

their beauty and worth more precious than the ocean’s treasures

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said about His saying {and your Lord will give you until you are pleased}: “Muhammad will not be pleased when a single person from his ummah is in the fire.”

He forgot Paradise and remembered his ummah! What pleases him is that his ummah be with him in Paradise. Allah will give you until you are pleased, in this world and the next.

In this world He gave your people Islam, and they came into the religion of Allah {in droves}. After you al-Siddiq and al-Faruq came, and opened the lands to Islam, and so did Dhul-Nurayn and our master Ali, may Allah be pleased with him and ennoble his face. The minarets are still there, declaring the Call to Prayer, and the Hajj is still there, millions each year, and the people still fast in Ramadan.

The Messenger of Allah, the noble one

of high will and determination

Upon his doors have crowded

the delegations of arabs and non-arabs

[Taken from Dars al-Jumu’ah bi’l-Azhar, vol. 5, pp. 30-41]

{And He found you (O Muhammad), daallan , and so guided you}

The Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him and please him) said:

It means He found you perplexed in your love of your Lord and Creator so He guided you to the best of ways. Joseph’s brothers said to their father, {You are still in your old dalaal}, meaning: your old love of Joseph.

[Taken from al-Fuyudat al-Rabbaniyya bi-Tafsir Ba’d al-Ayaat al-Qur’aaniyya, p. 108, ff. 3]

* Translator’s Note: One of the classical and ancient meanings of “dalaal” is love. Al-Qurtubi in his great Qur’anic commentary quotes the Arab poet Katheer (d. 105 AH) who was famous for his love of a woman called ‘Azza, saying:

هذا الضلالُ أشاب مني المفرِقا

This dalaal has made my head turn white

Likewise shaykh Ibn ‘Ata (d. 309 AH), who was the leader of the Hanbalis of Iraq in his time, said:

“In the Arabic language, he who is daal is he who is in love. The meaning, therefore is: He found you in love of knowledge of Him, so He granted it to you. This is like what was said about Jacob: {You are still in your old dalaal}, meaning: in your old love.”

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