Indeed, your Lord knows, [O Muhammad], that you stand [in prayer] almost two thirds of the night or half of it or a third of it, and [so do] a group of those with you. And Allah determines [the extent of] the night and the day. He has known that you [Muslims] will not be able to do it and has turned to you in forgiveness, so recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur’an. He has known that there will be among you those who are ill and others traveling throughout the land seeking [something] of the bounty of Allah and others fighting for the cause of Allah . So recite what is easy from it and establish prayer and give zakah and loan Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Chapter 73 Al-Muzzammil : Verse 20
Abrogation of the Obligation to offer the Night Prayer and a Mention of its Valid Excuses
(Verily, your Lord knows that you do stand a little less than two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and also a party of those with you.) meaning, sometimes like this and sometimes like that, and all of these are done unintentionally. However, you all are not able to be consistent with the night prayer Allah has commanded you, because it is difficult for you. Thus, Allah says,
(And Allah measures the night and the day.) meaning, sometimes the night and day are equal, and sometimes one of them will be longer or shorter than the other.
(He knows that you are unable to pray the whole night,) meaning, the obligation which He prescribed for you.
(So, recite you of the Qur’an as much as may be easy.) meaning, without specification of any set time. This means, stand and pray during the night as much as is easy (for you). Allah uses the term recitation (Qira’ah) to mean prayer (Salah). This is as Allah says in Surah Subhan (Al-Isra’),
(And offer your Salah neither aloud) (17:110) meaning, your recitation.
(Nor in low voice.) (17:110) Then Allah says,
(He knows that there will be some among you sick, others traveling through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty, yet others fighting in Allah’s cause.) meaning, He knows that there will be people of this nation who will have excuses for not praying the (voluntary) night prayer. They are those who are ill and therefore they are not able to perform it, and those who are traveling in the land seeking the bounty of Allah in business and trade, and others who will be busy with that which is more important to them. An example of this is going on expeditions to fight in the way of Allah. This Ayah, rather, this entire Surah was revealed in Makkah even though fighting was not legislated until after it was revealed. Thus, it is among the greatest of the signs of prophethood, because it informs about unseen matters of the future. Thus, Allah says,
(So recite as much of the Qur’an as may be easy,) meaning, stand and pray at night whatever is easy for you to do of it. Allah said;
(and perform Salah and give Zakah,) meaning, establish your obligatory prayers and pay your obligatory Zakah. This is a proof for those who say that Zakah was made obligatory in Makkah, but the various amounts of Nisab and how much was to be given was clarified in Al-Madinah. And Allah knows best. Ibn `Abbas, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and others from the Salaf have said,
“Verily, this Ayah abrogated the standing for prayer at night that Allah previously made obligatory for the Muslims.” It has been confirmed in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said to a man,
(Five obligatory prayers during a day and a night (are obligatory).)” The man said, “Is there anything other than this (of prayer) that is obligatory upon me” The Messenger of Allah replied,
(No, except what you may do voluntarily.)
The Command to give Charity and do Good Deeds
(and lend to Allah a handsome loan.) meaning, from charitable donations. For verily, Allah will reward for this the best and most abundant of rewards. This is as Allah says,
(Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it to him many times) (2:245) Then Allah says,
(And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward.) meaning, for all that you send before yourselves, you will get it (back) and it will be better than what you kept for yourselves in the worldly life. Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la Al-Mawsili reported from Al-Harith bin Suwayd, from `Abdullah that Messenger of Allah said,
(Which of you hold his wealth to be more beloved to him than the wealth of his heir) rThey said, “O Messenger of Allah! There is not a single one of us who does not hold his wealth to be more beloved to him than the wealth of his heir.” The Messenger of Allah then said,
(Know what you are saying!) They replied, “What do we know other than this, O Messenger of Allah” He then said,
(The wealth of one of you is only that which he sends forth, and the wealth of his heir is that which he leaves behind.) Al-Bukhari also recorded this Hadith. Then Allah says,
(And seek forgiveness of Allah. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.) meaning, remember Him and seek forgiveness from Him often for all of your matters. For verily, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful to whoever seeks His forgiveness.