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Assuredly, what comes after will be better for you than what has gone before. (Ad-Duhā 93:4)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’d-Duhā (The Forenoon)

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وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَّكَ مِنَ الْأُولَىٰ
Assuredly, what comes after will be better for you than what has gone before. (Ad-Duhā 93:4)

Sūratu’d-Duhā was revealed when Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, was having the most distressful days in Makkah. Revelation had ceased to come for a while. Umm Jamīl, the wife of Abū Lahab, had come to the Messenger and say in derision: “I cannot see your owner (Lord). He may have abandoned you.”[1] In such an atmosphere, God consoled His Messenger[2] by revealing this sūrah, in which He says: “Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor has He become displeased with you. Assuredly, what comes after will be better for you than what has gone before” (Ad-Duhā 93:3–4). If this verse is interpreted from the viewpoint of the days when it was revealed, the meaning is: “Your every new day will be better for you than the previous one, and your future will be brighter for you than your present.” In fact, history witnesses that it happened so. For his rising star and the map of his mission shined more brightly every new day than the previous. The verses following this and certain other sūrahs that were revealed after gave this same promise and drew the attention to his bright future. For instance, the Qur’anic chapters al-Inshirāh (The Expansion), which mentions some of God’s favors upon the Messenger of God, beginning with the verse, “Have We not expanded for you your breast” (94:1), and al-‘Ādiyāt (The Chargers) beginning with, “By the charges that run panting; striking sparks of fire” (100:1–2), which points not only to the horses that run panting but also other modern instruments like tanks and various other armored weaponry, became great sources of hope for our master, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. They became so, for even today we picture in our mind and before our eyes a long, glorious history and a brighter future which the shining spirit of Muhammad illuminated and will illuminate, respectively.

In Sūratu’d-Duhā, the dominion of a community in the realm of spirituality which will follow an individual constraint and distress shows itself in grades. There is also music of sorrow in this sūrah. But in Sūratu’l-‘Ādiyāt one can hear the loud, resounding sounds of successes and triumphs in physical realm. The Qur’ān chooses words according to the meaning and content so extraordinarily that those who are aware of this could not help going into raptures.

The style of the chapter ad-Duhā has a unique feature from a psychological perspective as well. For example, God began it with swearing by the forenoon in consoling His Messenger, and then swore by night. Therefore, when we recite ad-Duhā (The Forenoon), we feel the shining lights of the sun illuminating the world and are exhilarated. If we can feel this after fourteen centuries in the net of too much familiarity, we cannot imagine to what great extent the leader of all Prophets, upon him be peace and blessings, felt it. May our souls be sacrificed for both he who felt this and He Who made him feel! Also, with the verse, “Assuredly, what comes after will be better for you than what has gone before,” it is stated to the Messenger that his present state of Prophethood is better than the period of his life prior to his Prophethood, and it is promised to him that his every new moment and day will be better than the previous; the future, in which God will manifest more with His Power and Mercy than with His Wisdom, will be brighter for both the Messenger and his community compared to his present distressful days; and the Madīnan period of his Messengership—God certainly knew beforehand that he would emigrate to Madīnah—will witness the wider acceptance and spread of his Message when compared with the Makkan period. The present, apparently distressful atmosphere surrounding him will change places with the atmosphere of bounties and blessings. All these and many other promises and the promise of a happy end are made primarily to that peerless one of time and space, upon him be peace and blessings, and secondarily to his followers.

Consequently, with the verse, “Assuredly, what comes after will be better for you than what has gone before,” it is also promised to both the Messenger and his community that they will advance from a good state to a better one, from relative good to greater, genuine good, from belief to its practice, from practice to deeper devotion and consciousness of God, from pains to innocent pleasures, from distresses to climes of contentment and exhilaration, and finally from the world to Paradise, eternal happiness, vision of God, and the eternal attainment of His approval and good pleasure.

O God! We ask You for resignation and submission after any of Your judgments about us, the coolness of life after death, the delight of looking toward Your “Face,” and a zeal for returning to and meeting with You, O the Most Compassionate of the compassionate. And may God’s blessings and peace be on our master Muhammad, and on his Family and Companions!

[1] Bukhārī, Tafsīr 93:2; Muslim, Jihād, 114–115.
[2] Bukhārī, Fadāilu’l-Qur’ān, 1.