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Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 74 (Al-Maddaththir- The One Wrapping Himself Up) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 31)



Section/Ruku 1 [Verses 1 to 31]: The Prophet is enjoined to warn:
Chapter 74: (Al-Maddaththir: The One Wrapping Himself Up)
(Revealed at Makkah: 2 section; 56 verses)

1. Introduction:

This chapter is by general consent admitted to be the second in the order of revelation. A period probably of six months had elapsed since the first revelation before the second was received, and this period is known as the fatrah or intermission. This period of fatrah pressed heavily on the Holy Prophet, and he was greatly grieved on account of this intermission. Once more, however, after the fatrah had passed away, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, and the Prophet sought to wrap himself up in clothes, hence the title. He is told not to seek seclusion but to arise and warn a people sunk low in vice and immorality. Thus, while the previous chapter tells the Prophet how to attain to perfection through prayer to God, here he is told to make others perfect by warning them of the evil consequences of their evil deeds.

2. Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1 O thou who wrappest thyself up,a

2 Arise and warn,a

3 And thy Lord do magnify,

4 And thy garments do purify,a

5 And uncleanness do shun,

6 And do no favour seeking gain,a

7 And for the sake of thy Lord, be patient.

8 For when the trumpet is sounded,

9 That will be — that day — a difficult day,

10 For the disbelievers, anything but easy.

11 Leave Me alone with him whom I created,

12 And gave him vast riches,

13 And sons dwelling in his presence,

14 And made matters easy for him,

15 And yet he desires that I should give more!a

16 By no means! Surely he is inimical to Our messages.

17 I will make a distressing punishment overtake him.a

18 Surely he reflected and determined,

19 But may he be destroyed how he determined!

20 Again, may he be destroyed how he determined!

21 Then he looked,

22 Then frowned and scowled,

23 Then turned back and was big with pride,

24 Then said: This is naught but magic from of old!

25 This is naught but the word of a mortal!

26 I will cast him into hell.

27 And what will make thee realise what hell is?

28 It leaves naught, and spares naught.

29 It scorches the mortal.

30 Over it are nineteen.a

31 And We have made none but angels wardens of the Fire, and We have not made their number but as a trial for those who disbelieve, that those who have been given the Book may be certain and those who believe may increase in faith, and those who have been given the Book and the believers may not doubt; and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the disbelievers may say: What does Allah mean by this parable? Thus Allah leaves in error whom He pleases, and guides whom He pleases. And none knows the hosts of thy Lord but He. And this is naught but a Reminder to mortals.

3. Commentary:

1a. Muddaththir is originally mutadaththir, meaning one wearing a dithar, i.e., anyone wrapping himself up in a dithar or a garment (LL). Some take the word metaphorically, the meaning being one clad in the garments of prophethood or one obscure. [Back to verse 1]

2a. Compare with the address contained in the last chapter. There the Prophet is commanded to engage himself in devotion so that he should attain to perfection; here he is commanded to convey the message and to warn, to make others perfect. [Back to verse 2]

4a. Purification of the garments does not relate only to the outward act of purification, but also to the purification of the heart, as is shown in the next verse, which contains a command to shun every kind of uncleanness. [Back to verse 4]

6a. The reference is in particular to the great favour which the Prophet did to others by warning them and guiding them to the right way. But the words are general; even when conferring a worldly benefit on another, there should be no intention to receive any return for it. [Back to verse 6]

15a. This description is general, but the case of Walid ibn Mughirah is specially noted by almost all commentators. Rz gives details of an occurrence in which Walid was specially concerned. Abu Jahl and other leaders in the persecution of the Holy Prophet assembled together to ponder what name to give to the Prophet. Somebody suggested that he was a poet, but Walid said that his word was not like that of a poet. Another suggested that he was a soothsayer, but Walid rejected this, too, on the ground that Muhammad never spoke a lie, whereas the soothsayers often proved liars. A third suggestion was that he was a madman, but this too was found inconsistent with the circumstances of the Holy Prophet’s life. Then Walid left the company, his comrades thinking that he was going over to Islam. Abu Jahl followed him to question him about the matter, and was told that, after pondering deeply on the question, he had come to the conclusion that the Prophet was a sahir, i.e., an enchanter, because, he said, "It is the enchanter who separates the father from the son, the brother from the brother, and the husband from the wife". Thereupon a proclamation was made in the streets of Makkah that the Prophet was a sahir. [Back to verse 15]

17a. Three of Walid’s sons became converts to Islam, and the rest perished, his wealth began to diminish, and ultimately he himself died in disgrace and poverty. [Back to verse 17]

30a. It should be noted that this is called a parable in the next verse: what does Allah mean by this parable? All that the Qur’an says is that over it are nineteen. The commentators think that nineteen angels, or nineteen classes, or nineteen ranks may be meant. The particular number is considered to be due to the misuse of nineteen faculties which are enumerated by the commentators (Rz). [Back to verse 30]



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Section 2: The warning

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Chapter 73: Al-Muzzammil (The One Covering Himself Up)

Chapter 75: Al-Qiyammah (The Resurrection)

Holy Quran Section > English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Table of Contents) > Chapter 74 (Al-Maddaththir- The One Wrapping Himself Up) > Section 1 (Verses 1 to 31)

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