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23. "Surely We, Ourselves, have revealed the Holy Qur'an to you, revealing (it) in stages."
24. "Therefore be patient and constant to the command of your Lord, and obey not from among them a guilty or an ungrateful one."
25. "And remember the name of your Lord morning and evening,"
26. And during the night prostrate thyself to Him; and glorify Him (a) long (part of the) night.
Five Great Instructions for the Fulfillment of Allah's Command
The aforementioned verses of the Sura are about the creation of Man and then about his rebirth at the time of Resurrection Now, the verses are referring to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) , directly, with some emphatical instruction about the guidance of Man and his patience and constancy. In fact, these verses show the way of how to approach the incomparable immense blessings. This task is not possible except
through taking hold of the Qur'an, following the Prophet's leadership and being inspired by his instructions.
At first it says: " Surely We, Ourselves, have revealed the Qur'an to you, revealing (it) in stages."
Some commentators have said that the term /tanzila/ 'revealing in stages', which has appeared as a direct object in this verse, denotes the gradual descent of the Holy Qur'an, whose effect on man's training is clear. Some others believe that it refers to the high position of this Heavenly book and emphasizes the fact that this book was sent down by Allah, in spite of those who accused the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) of being a necromancer, sorcerer, magician and calumniator of Allah.
Then, there are five important instructions given to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) The first is for patience and constancy, and says:
" Therefore be patient and constant to the command of your Lord,..."
Don't be afraid of the difficulties and the problems that occur in your way, the great number of your enemies or their obstinacy. Continue on your way and go forward.
It is noteworthy that, with regard to /f/ in the Arabic term /fasbir/ 'therefore be patient and constant', the instruction for patience is secondary to the revelation of the Qur'an by Allah. That is: since Allah is your supporter then do stay firmly on the way. The term /rabb/ 'Lord, Cherisher' points to the same idea.
And in the second instruction the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is warned not to listen to or obey the unjust. It says: "...and obey not from among them a guilty or an ungrateful one.
In fact, the second instruction is an emphasis on the first instruction, because numerous enemies tried, in different ways, to make the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) adapt to their way of thinking. It is said that 'Atabat-ibn-i-Rabi'ah' and 'walid-ibn-i-Muqayyarah' told the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) to leave his prophecy and they would give him as much wealth and the most beautiful ladies to marry as would satisfy him and other suggestions like this, hut the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) as a true, great leader, was instructed to he patient and constant against the evil temptations or the threats. which were made against him. He should not yield to either the allurements or the threats.
It is true hit the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) never yielded, and this is a sign
for the greatness of his faith; an eternal model for other leaders of the Way.
Although some commentators have said that the term 'sinner' refers to 'Atabat-ibn- i-Rabi'ah' and the term 'ungrateful' refers to 'Walid-ibn-i-Muqayyarah' or 'Abu Jahl; each of whom were among the pagan Arabs, it is clear that the terms have a vast meaning, which encompasses any sinner and unbeliever; but these three were the most vivid evidences of the words.
It is also noteworthy that 'sinner' has a general meaning which includes the ungrateful, too, then 'ungrateful' is a subdivision of 'sinner'.
However, since being patient and constant with many great difficulties is not easy to do and going on such a road needs two certain provisions, so, it says in the next verse: "And remember the name of your Lord morning and evening."
"And during the night prostrate thyself to Him; and glorify Him (a) long (part of the) night".
Under the light of 'remembering the Name of your Lord', and with 'prostration and glorification' you can build the necessary spiritual strength and sufficient support for overcoming the difficulties along the way.
The term /bukrah/ 'beginning of the day' is opposite to the term /asil/ 'evening, sunset', which is followed by praying at night and are mentioned in these two verses to show the necessity of continuous remembrance of Allah both day and night.
Some commentators have applied them to the five daily prayers; morning (Fajr) , noon (Zohr) , afternoon ('Asr) , sunset (Maqrib) and evening ('Isha) prayers, or in addition to the optional prayers after midnight. At any rate, it seems that these prayers are examples for this continuous remembrance of the Lord and glorification and prostration to Him.
The last two terms in the verse, /Laylan tawila/, refer to the glorification of Allah for a long part of the night. It has been narrated that Imam Ali ibn-Musa-ar-Reza (p.b.u.h.) was asked what 'glorify'
meant and he answered that it meant 'optional night prayer'.(1)
It is probable !hat the above commentary is one of the clear evidences of 'glorification' because the optional night prayer is very effective in strengthening ones' faith and self-will for obeying Allah, and refining spirits.
It is worthy to note, here, that though the five instructions are addressed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) , they are, in fact, models for all those who have a role in spiritual and humane guidance of societies.
They should know that, after being sure of their strong belief in their goal and prophetic mission, it is necessary for them to be patient and constant and not to be afraid of mass difficulties in their way; since, guiding populations has always been with great difficulties specially when faced with some unyielding ignorant enemies. And no prophetic mission of theirs will survive unless the leaders are patient.
In the next stage, they must strongly stand against evil temptations of the sinners and the ungrateful; those who try to lead astray leaders with all kinds of deceit and hypocrisy in order to make their prophetic mission fruitless. They should neither be deceived by allurements nor be afraid of threats.
In any case, every morning and evening, they should prostrate themselves before Him to obtain spiritual power, strong will and firm decision, especially when they get help in their supplications and night prayers; victory will surely be their own.
And, if it happens that they have a failure or misfortune at some point, along the way, it is possible to compensate for this under the light of these principles. The Prophet's life and his prophetic mission, throughout his career of inviting people to Islam, are good examples for those who wish to follow the straight path.
(1) Majma'-al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 413.