Al-Muzzammil

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  Sura 73 of the Quran  
المزمل
Al-Muzzammil
The Enshrouded One

Arabic text · English translation


Classification Meccan
Other names Bundled Up, Cloaked, The Mantled One, The Enwrapped One
Position Juzʼ 29
No. of Rukus 2
No. of verses 20
No. of words 200
No. of letters 854

Sūrat al-Muzzammil (Arabic: سورة المزمل‎‎, “The Enshrouded One”, “Bundled Up”, “Enfolded”) is the seventy-third chapter of the Qur'an. The Sura contains 20 ayat, or verses, which are recognized by Muslims as the word of Allah (s) (God).

Al-Muzzammil takes its name from the reference to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, in his cloak praying at night, in the opening verses of the Sura. Many commentators claim that “The Enfolded One” is a name for Muhammad, used throughout the Qur'an.[1]

In the beginning of this Sura, Allah prepares Muhammad for an important revelation. In preparation for this revelation, Allah loosens the strict regulation on night prayer. Muhammad is then instructed to be patient for the disbelievers will be punished in Hell, as exemplified by a story of Pharaoh’s punishment.

Content[edit]

In the beginning of Sura 73, Allah expounds upon the merits of night prayer in the First Meccan Period. Muhammad, and subsequently the Muslim community, is commanded to “stay up throughout the night, all but a small part of it, half, or a little less, or a little more; recite the Qur’an slowly and distinctly.”[2] During the First Meccan Period, the total Qur'anic revelation was brief enough to recite during the night. As such, it was expected of Muslims to recite the Qur'an in full during the night. The night prayer was of such importance, because the believer’s focus on prayer and separation from any distraction was believed to “make a deeper impression”[3] on the believer.[4]

However, as time passed, the Qur'an continued to grow, and by the time ayat 20 was revealed, the Qur'an was too long to fully recite during the night. Consequently, Allah relaxes his prior command to recite the Qur'an at night. Muhammad is told to pray what is easy for him during the night (“recite as much of the Qur’an is easy for you”[5]), but to continue to pray throughout the day (“keep up the prayer [during the day], pay the prescribed alms, and lend God a good loan[6]).

Meccan vs. Medinan Sura[edit]

Sura 73 is split between Mecca and Medina, with the majority of its ayat being revealed in Mecca (verses 1-19) and its final verse (verse 20) being revealed in Medina. In his famous “Geschichte des korans”, Theodor Nöldeke places this Sura in the First Meccan Period with the exceptions of ayat 10, 11 and 20 which were added at a later time.[7][8]

There are three major textual suggestions that ayat 20 is Medinan and not Meccan. Firstly, there is a clear discrepancy in the length of ayat 1-19 and ayat 20, with the first 19 verses being short and verse 20 being a paragraph in length. This is a trend through the Qur'an; verses revealed in Mecca are shorter, as Muhammad is more focused on spreading the message of Islam, and the verses revealed in Medina are longer as Muhammad attempts to outline the ideal Muslim society. Secondly, there is a change in how Allah is referenced. In the first 19 ayat, Allah refers to himself mostly as “We” and “your Lord.” In ayat 20, there is a change in voice as Allah begins to refer to himself in the third person “He.” This grammatical shift is called an iltifat, and is used for rhetorical purposes to arouse the reader’s attention.[9] Finally, the Arabic verses 1-19 contain an end rhyme. Verse 20 breaks this end rhyme, suggesting that it was revealed at a different time.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Previous sura:
Al-Jinn
Surah 73 Next sura:
Al-Muddathir
Arabic text