بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Allāh, exalted is He above every imperfection, swore by the time of dawn;
by the first ten nights of [the Hijri month of] Dhul-Ḥijjah and that which has distinguished them;
by everything paired and singular;
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَسْرِ
and by the night when it passes by with its darkness.
هَلْ فِي ذَٰلِكَ قَسَمٌ لِّذِي حِجْرٍ
Is there not, in that which has been mentioned of things sworn by, enough to satisfy one who has intelligence?
أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِعَادٍ
Have you not seen, O Messenger, how your Lord dealt with the People of ʿĀd…
إِرَمَ ذَاتِ الْعِمَادِ
…the tribe of Iram, possessors of might and buildings raised on pillars…
الَّتِي لَمْ يُخْلَقْ مِثْلُهَا فِي الْبِلَادِ
…the like of whom had not been created in the lands in terms of [their] great physical size and strength [in warfare];
وَثَمُودَ الَّذِينَ جَابُوا الصَّخْرَ بِالْوَادِ
and how He dealt with the Thamūd, the People of Ṣāliḥ, who carved the large rocks in the valley and took them as places of dwelling;
وَفِرْعَوْنَ ذِي الْأَوْتَادِ
and how He dealt with Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, possessor of armies that consolidated his kingdom and strengthened his command for him?
الَّذِينَ طَغَوْا فِي الْبِلَادِ
These are the ones who acted tyrannically and with oppression in Allāh’s lands;
فَأَكْثَرُوا فِيهَا الْفَسَادَ
much evil did they do there through their oppression.
فَصَبَّ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّكَ سَوْطَ عَذَابٍ
Then your Lord poured over them severe punishment.
إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَبِالْمِرْصَادِ
Indeed your Lord, O Messenger, is ever on watch [over] one who disobeys Him, granting him a little respite and thereafter taking hold of him with the hold of One Mighty and Overpowering.
فَأَمَّا الْإِنسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ
As for Man, when his Lord tests him with good, enjoyable things, gives him greater provisions, and grants him the best of living conditions, he thinks that is due to his having a position of honor with his Lord, so he says: my Lord has honored me.
وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِ
And as to when He puts him to the test and subsequently restricts his provisions, he thinks that is due to his having become insignificant to Allāh, so he says: my Lord has disgraced me.
كَلَّا ۖ بَل لَّا تُكْرِمُونَ الْيَتِيمَ
The situation is not as this person thinks; rather, honor comes through obedience to Allāh, and disgrace, through disobedience to Him. And you do not treat orphans whose fathers had died while they were young with honor; you do not treat them well…
وَلَا تَحَاضُّونَ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ
…nor do you encourage each other to give food to those in need, who do not have enough to meet their needs;
وَتَأْكُلُونَ التُّرَاثَ أَكْلًا لَّمًّا
and you devour other people’s rights to inheritance, devouring [them] ravenously;
وَتُحِبُّونَ الْمَالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا
and you covet wealth, coveting [it] beyond bounds.
كَلَّا إِذَا دُكَّتِ الْأَرْضُ دَكًّا دَكًّا
This is not how your situation should be. Then when the Earth is sent into convulsions, and parts of it break other parts up into fragments;
وَجَاءَ رَبُّكَ وَالْمَلَكُ صَفًّا صَفًّا
and your Lord comes to decide with justice among His creation; and the angels [come], row after row…
وَجِيءَ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِجَهَنَّمَ ۚ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ وَأَنَّىٰ لَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ
…and the blazing fire of Jahannam is brought on that tremendous day–on that day, the disbeliever will pay heed and repent, [but] how will paying heed and repenting benefit him, his having been negligent of both during his [earlier] life in the world, and the time for [that] having now elapsed?
يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي قَدَّمْتُ لِحَيَاتِي
He says: O if only I had put deeds forward during the [earlier] life of the world, of the kind that would be of benefit to me in my life in the Hereafter.
فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا يُعَذِّبُ عَذَابَهُ أَحَدٌ
Then on that day of intense severity, no one will be able, nor have any power, to inflict punishment as Allāh inflicts [it] upon one who disobeyed Him;
وَلَا يُوثِقُ وَثَاقَهُ أَحَدٌ
no one will be able to bind in shackles as Allāh binds in shackles; no one [can] reach His level in that.
يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ
O soul at rest with remembering Allāh and believing in Him and that which He has prepared of pleasures for the believers…
ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً
…return to your Lord, pleased with Allāh having honored you; Allāh, exalted is He above every imperfection, has indeed become pleased with you.
فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي
Then enter among the righteous slaves of Allāh…
…and enter, with them, My Paradise.
Al-Tafsīr Al-Muyassar. King Fahd Qurʾān Printing Complex. Madīnah: 1434 H.