Surah 92: Al-Layl, or The Night

"Al-Anfal (60)" by Mahmoud Helmy is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  1. By the night when it covers,
  2. And the day when it appears,
  3. And That Which created the male and the female,
  4. Indeed, your strivings are surely various.
  5. Then as for whoever gives and fears,
  6. And confirms the best,
  7. And We will ease (the way for) him unto (the state of) ease.
  8. And as for him who is stingy and is (fully) self-sufficient,
  9. And denies the best,
  10. Then We will ease (the way for) him unto hardship,
  11. And his wealth will not suffice him when he falls headlong.
  12. Indeed, upon Us is surely the guidance.
  13. And indeed, for us is the Hereafter and the first,
  14. So I warn you of a flaming Fire.
  15. None will burn in it except the wretched:
  16. He who denied and disassociated (himself).
  17. But the fearing one will be removed from it:
  18. He who gives his wealth to purify himself,
  19. And not (for) any of his favors to be rewarded by anyone,
  20. Except seeking the Face of his Lord, the highest.
  21. And surely, soon he will be pleased.

() indicates things not strictly in the Arabic but needed for translation purposes, because of inexact meaning across languages.

[] indicates things that are not in the text. These added either to make sense when the original Arabic is deficient, or they provide an alternative translation or meaning to something already translated.

2. “Appears” or (better) “reveals,” but reveals is transitive in English, and the Arabic is intransitive.

3. This is an impersonal pronoun–a That, not a Who.

5. Conditional pronoun, so “whoever” is better than “he who.”

6. “Confirms” because this presupposes truth.

9. “Denies” is related semantically to lying.

14. “Hereafter” is literally “last (one),” “other (one),” or “second (one).”

15. “Wretched” is literally “unblessed.”

16. I chose “association” words for this verb because of the meaning of the root, which encompasses turning away or toward, making friends or allies, establishing protectors, and so on.

17. “Fearing” is correct. “Righteous” is not. You can intuit “God-fearing” here, of course, but this is not a different word from other uses.

19. The verb would work much better with the next verse if it was active. But it isn’t. And the “seeking” of the next verse is a noun, so you can’t even make it a nice dependent clause by switching out “except” for “only.”

Note on Chronology

This is linked to the previous surah by the conventional chronology (87) through the repetition of the idea in ayats 7 and 10.


The First Instructions on Charity