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Sura 74
Aya 1

Chapter 74

Shroudedal-Muddaththir ( المدثر )

56 verses • revealed at Meccan

»The surah that opens by addressing the enwrapped Prophet as the Shrouded Messenger. It takes its name from the word “wrapped in mantle” (muddaththir) in verse 1. The first verses of this surah (verse 1 ff.) were revealed after one of the Prophets first encounter with the Angel of Revelation in the Cave of Ḥirāʾ. The surah goes on, in a section from a later period, to remind the obstinate disbelievers of their fate on the Day of Judgement (verse 8 ff.) and a specific opponent of the Prophet is singled out (verse 11 ff.). The end of the surah (verse 39 ff.) exposes the foolishness of the disbelievers” attitude to the Revelation and the Day of Resurrection.«

The surah is also known as The Cloaked One, The Enfolded, The Enfolded One, The Enveloped, The Man Wearing a Cloak, The Mantled Messenger, Wrapped in his Cloak

بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ

Muhammad Asad: In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace:

يا أَيُّهَا المُدَّثِّرُ

Muhammad Asad

AFTER the Prophet's earliest revelation - consisting of the first five verses of surah 96 ("The Germ-Cell") - a period elapsed during which he received no revelation at all. The length of this break in revelation (fatrat al-wahy) cannot be established with certainty; it may have been as little as six months or as much as three years. It was a time of deepest distress for the Prophet: the absence of revelation almost led him to believe that his earlier experience in the cave of Mount Hira (see introductory note to surah 96) was an illusion; and it was only due to the moral support of his wife Khadijah and her undaunted faith in his prophetic mission that he did not entirely lose his courage and hope. At the end of this intermission the Prophet had a vision of the Angel Gabriel, "sitting between heaven and earth". Almost immediately afterwards, the present surah was revealed; and from then on, in Muhammad's own words, "revelation became intense and continuous" (Bukhari, Bad' al-Wahy and Kitab at-Tafsir; also Muslim). Although some verses of this surah may have been revealed at a slightly later time, there is no doubt that all of it belongs to the earliest part of the Mecca period, that is, to the very beginning of Muhammad's mission. But in spite of its early origin and its brevity, the surah outlines almost all the fundamental concepts to which the Qur'an as a whole is devoted: the oneness and uniqueness of God, resurrection and ultimate judgment; life after death and the allegorical nature of all descriptions relating to it; man's weakness and utter dependence on God, his proneness to false pride, greed and selfishness; each human being's responsibility for his own behaviour and doings; "paradise" and "hell" as natural consequences of one's earthly life, and not as arbitrary rewards or punishments; the principle of the historical continuity of all true religious experience; and various other ideas and concepts which were to be more fully developed in later revelations.
O THOU [in thy solitude] enfolded!1
  • The expression muddaththir (an abbreviated form of mutadaththir) signifies "one who is covered [with something]" or "enfolded [in something]"; and all philologists point out that the verb dathara, from which the above participial noun is derived, may equally well have a concrete or abstract connotation. Most of the commentators understand the phrase "O thou enfolded one" in its literal, concrete sense, and assume that it refers to the Prophet's habit of covering himself with a cloak or blanket when he felt that a revelation was about to begin. Razi, however, notes that this apostrophe may well have been used metaphorically, as an allusion to Muhammad's intense desire for solitude before the beginning of his prophetic mission (cf. introductory note to surah 96): and this, according to Razi, would explain his being thus addressed in connection with the subsequent call, "Arise and warn" - i.e., "Give now up thy solitude, and stand up before all the world as a preacher and warner."