74. Al Muddaththir (The Cloaked One)


The Sura takes its name from the word al- muddaththir in the first verse. This also is only a name not a title of its subject matter.

Period of Revelation

The first seven verses of this Sura belong to the earliest period at Makkah. Even according to some traditions which have been related in Bukhari Muslim Tirmidhi Musnad Ahmad etc. on the authority of Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah these are the very earliest verses of the Qur’an to be revealed to the Holy Prophet (upon whoa be peace). But the Muslim Ummahalmost unanimously agreed that the earliest Revelation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) consisted of the first five verses of Sura Al-Alaq(XCVI) However what is established by authentic traditions is that after this first Revelation no Revelation came down to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) for quite some time. Then when it was resumed it started with theme verses of Sura Al- Muddaththir. Imam Zuhri has given the following details of it; “Revelation to the Holy Prophet remained suspended for quite some time and it was such a period of deep grief and distress for him that he started going early to the tops of the mountains to throw himself down from them. But whenever he stood on the edge of a peak the Angel Gabriel would appear and tell him that he was Allah’s Prophet. This would console him and restore to him full peace of mind.” (Ibn Jarir). After this Imam Zuhri relates the following tradition on the authority of Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah; “The Ho]y Messenger of Allah describing the period of falrat al-wahi (break in revelation) said: One day when I was passing on the way I suddenly heard a call from heaven. I raised my head and saw that the same Angel who had visited me in the Cave of Hira was sitting on a throne between heaven and earth. This struck terror in my heart and reaching home quickly I said: ‘Cover me up cover me up’. So the people of the house covered me up with a quilt (or blanket). At that time Allah sent down the Revelation: Ya ayyuhal-Muddaththiru… From then on revelation became intense and continuous.” (Bukhari Muslim Musnad Ahmad Ibn Jarir). The rest of the Sura (vv. 8-56) was revealed when the first Hajj season came after public preaching of Islam had begun in Makkah. This has been fully well described in the Sura by Ibn Hishan and we shall cite it below.

Theme and Subject. Matter

As has been explained above the earliest Revelation to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) consisted of the first five verses of Sura Al-Alaq in which it had been Said: “Read (O Prophet) in the name of your Lord Who created: created man from a clot of congealed blood. Read: and your Lord is Most Generous Who taught knowledge by the pen taught man what he did not know.” This was the first experience of Revelation met with suddenly by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace). in this message it was not told what great mission he had been entrusted with and what duties he had to perk form in future. He was only initiated into it and then left alone for a time so that the great strain this experience had caused should pass away and he should mentally become prepared to receive the Revelation and perform the prophetic mission in the future. After this intermission when Revelation Was resumed tbe first seven verses of this Sura Were revealed:In these he Was for the first time commanded to arise and warn the people of the consequences of the way of life they were following and to proclaim the greatness of God in the world where others were being magnified without any right. Along with that he was given this instruction: The demand of the Unique mission that you have to perform now is that your life should be pure in every respect and you should carry out the duty of reforming your people sincerely irrespective of any worldly gain. Then in the last sentence he was exhorted to endure with patience for the sake of his Lord all the hardships and troubles that he might have to face while performing his mission. In the implementation of this Divine Command when the Holy Messenger of Allah began to preach Islam and recite the Qu’anic Suras revealed success sively the people of Makkah felt alarmed and it provoked a great storm of opposition and hostility. A few months passed in this state until the Hajjseason approached. The people of Makkah feared that if Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace) started visiting the caravans of the pilgrims coming from all over Arabia at their halting places and reciting the spell binding and unique Revelations of the Qur’an in their assemblies on the occasion of Hajj his message would reach every part of Arabia and influence countless people. Therefore the Quraishchiefs held a conference and settled that they would start a propaganda campaign against the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) among the pilgrims as soon as they arrived. After they had agreed on this Walid bin al-Mughirah said to the assembled people: “If you said contradictory things about Muhuammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) we all would lose our trust among the people. Therefore let us agree upon one opinion which we should all say without dispute. Some people said that they would call Muhammad (upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings) a soothsayer. Walid said : No by God be is not a soothsayer. We have seen the soothsayers: what they murmur and what they utter has no remote resemblance with the Qur’an. Some other people said: Then we say be is possessed. Walid said: He is not a possessed one: we have seen bad and insane people; the way one talks disjointedly and behaves foolishly in that state is known to all: who would believe that what Muhammad (upon whom be peace) presented was the incoherent speech of a madman?The people said: Then we say he is a poet. Walid said: No he is not a poet for we know poetry in all its forms and what he presents conforms to no form of it. The people said: Then he is a sorcerer. Walid said: He is no sorcerer either: we have Seen sorcerers and we also know what methods they adopt for their sorcery. This also does not apply to Muhammad. Then he said: “Whichever of these things you said about Muhammad it would be known to be a false accusation. By God his speech is sweet his root is deep and his branches are fruitful. At this Abu Jahl urging on Walid said: Your people will

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