Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER LXXVI.: ENTITLED SURAT AL INSÁN (MAN). Revealed at Makkah. - The Quran, vol. 4
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CHAPTER LXXVI.: ENTITLED SURAT AL INSÁN (MAN). Revealed at Makkah. - Mohammed, The Quran, vol. 4 
A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran: Comprising Sale’s Translation and preliminary Discourse, with Additional Notes and Emendations (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., 1896). 4 vols.
Part of: The Quran, 4 vols.
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ENTITLED SURAT AL INSÁN (MAN).
In the Arabic copies of the Qurán the title of this chapter is Al Dahr (a space of time).
Beyond the statement that God has created and directed man, this chapter has very little to say of his career in this world. Almost the whole of the revelation is taken up with a description of the joys of Paradise.
The story recorded by Umr Bin Muhammad (Itqán 28, see Noëldeke), and given by Sale in note on ver. 10, as affording the occasion of this revelation, is entirely unworthy of credence. That story would oblige us to regard the chapter, or at least vers. 8-31, as Madínic, whereas the style and language show it to be Makkan.
The purpose of the chapter seems to have been to encourage and comfort the Muslims amidst the opposition of the unbelievers, by setting before them, in contrast with present poverty and suffering, the riches and joy of the believers in Paradise.
Probable Date of the Revelations.
As already observed, this chapter is without doubt of Makkan origin. Some (Itqán 28 and 37) have thought ver. 24 to be Madínic, but for this opinion there is no good reason given. Noëldeke, with whom Muir substantially agrees, fixes the date about the fifth year of the Call.
IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.
∥ (1) Did there not pass over man a long space of time, during which he was a thing not worthy of remembrance? (2) Verily we have created man of the mingled seed of both sexes, that we might prove him: and we have made him to hear and to see. (3) We have surely directed him in the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful. (4) Verily we have prepared for the unbelievers chains, and collars, and burning fire. (5) But the just shall drink of a cup of wine mixed with the water of Káfúr, (6) a fountain whereof the servants of God shall drink; they shall convey the same by channels whithersoever they please. (7) These fulfil their vow, and dread the day, the evil whereof will disperse itself far abroad; (8) and give food unto the poor, and the orphan, and the bondman, for his sake, (9) saying, We feed you for God’s sake only: we desire no recompense from you, nor any thanks: (10) verily we dread from our Lord a dismal and calamitous day. (11) Wherefore God shall deliver them from the evil of that day, and shall cast on them brightness of countenance and joy; (12) and shall reward them for their patient persevering with a garden and silk garments:(13) therein shall they repose themselves on couches; they shall see therein neither sun nor moon; (14) and the shades thereof shall be near, spreading above them; and the fruits thereof shall hang low, so as to be easily gathered. (15) And their attendants shall go round about unto them with vessels of silver and goblets: the bottles shall be bottles of silver shining like glass; (16) they shall determine the measure thereof by their wish.(17) And therein shall they be given to drink of a cup of wine mixed with the water of Zanjabíl, (18) a fountain in Paradise named Silsabíl: (19) and youths, which shall continue for ever in their bloom, shall go round to attend them; when thou seest them, thou shalt think them to be scattered pearls: (20) and when thou lookest, there shalt thou behold delights and a great kingdom. (21) Upon them shall be garments of fine green silk and of brocades, and they shall be adorned with bracelets of silver: and their Lord shall give them to drink of a most pure liquor; (22)and shall say unto them, Verily this is your reward, and your endeavour is gratefully accepted.
∥ (23) Verily we have sent down unto thee the Qurán by a gradual revelation. (24) Wherefore patiently wait the judgment of thy Lord, and obey not any wicked person or unbeliever among them. (25) And commemorate the name of thy Lord in the morning and in the evening; (26) and during some part of the night worship him, and praise him a long part of the night. (27) Verily these men love the transitory life, and leave behind them the heavy day of judgment. (28) We have created them, and have strengthened their joints; and when we please, we will substitute others like unto them in their stead. (29) Verily this is an admonition: and whoso willeth, taketh the way unto his Lord:(30) but ye shall not will, unless God willeth; for God is knowing and wise. (31) He leadeth whom he pleaseth into his mercy; but for the unjust hath he prepared a grievous punishment.
[(1) ]“Some take these words to be spoken of Adam, whose body, according to the Muhammadan tradition, was at first a figure of clay, and was left forty years to dry before God breathed life into it: others understand them of man in general, and of the time he lies in the womb.” See notes on chap. ii. 30.
[(2) ]To hear and to see. “That he might be capable of receiving the rules and directions given by God for his guidance; and of meriting reward or punishment for his observance or neglect of them.”—Sale.
[(5) ]Káfúr. “Is the name of a fountain in Paradise, so called from its resembling camphor (which the word signifies) in odour and whiteness. Some take the word for an appellative, and think the wine of Paradise will be mixed with camphor, because of its agreeable coolness and smell.’—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(10) ]“It is related that Hasan and Husain, Muhammad’s grandchildren, on a certain time being both sick, the Prophet, among others, visited them, and they wished Ali to make some vow to God for the recovery of his sons: whereupon Ali and Fátima, and Fidda, their maid-servant, vowed a fast of three days in case they did well; as it happened they did. This vow was performed with so great strictness, that the first day, having no provisions in the house, Ali was obliged to borrow three measures of barley of one Simeon, a Jew of Ḳhaibar, one measure of which Fátima ground the same day, and baked five cakes of the meal, and they were set before them to break their fast with after sunset: but a poor man coming to them, they gave all their bread to him, and passed the night without tasting anything except water. The next day Fátima made another measure into bread, for the same purpose; but an orphan begging some food, they chose to let him have it, and passed that night as the first; and the third day they likewise gave their whore provision to a famished captive. Upon this occasion Gabriel descended with the chapter before us, and told Muhammad that God congratulated him on the virtues of his family.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(13) ]Neither sun nor moon. “Because they shall not need the light of either (see Rev. xxi. 23). The word Zamharir, here translated moon, properly signifies extreme cold; for which reason some understand the meaning of the passage to be, that in Paradise there shall be felt no excess either of heat or of cold.”—Sale.
[(17) ]Zanjabíl. “The word signifies ginger, which the Arabs delight to mix with the water they drink; and therefore the water of this fountain is supposed to have the taste of that spice.”—Sale, Baidháwi.
[(18) ]Susabíl. “Signifies water which flows gently and pleasantly down the throat.”—Sale.
[(22) ]The passage beginning with ver. 12 and ending here is to be understood literally. See note on chap. iii. 15.
[(23) ]Gradual revelation. See notes on chap. xxv. 34
[(25, 26) ]“Thetimes of prayer are as yet only mentioned generally as morning, evening, and night.”—Muir’s Life of Mahomet, vol. ii. p. 140, note. See also note on chap. lxxiii. 20.
[(29-31) ]Man’s freedom of will does not seem to be recognised here. Man wills to take “the way unto his Lord” only because God wills him to do so. The teaching of the text is that even the will of man is subject to God’s control.