73:1-2 O enwrapped in thy robe, stand at night save for a little.
“O prophet made pure! O master most pure! O greatest messenger! O emulated by mortal man! O luminous moon in the tower of majesty! O most manifest pearl in the jewel box of messenger hood! O you whose name is the title of the book of majesty! O you whose decrees are the embroidery on the robe of messenger hood, whose speech is the capital of the religion, whose announcements are the ornament of the Shariah! O arranger of the collar of prophethood! O disseminator of the announcement of messenger hood! O confirmer of the pillars of guidance! O unveiler of the secrets of friendship! O founder of the path of the Shariah! O raiser of the miʿrāj of the Haqiqah!
“Stand at night: Get up and do the night prayer. Be awake some of the night, interceding for the community; and sleep some of the night, giving ease to your soul. O master, if you sleep all night, your community will be neglected, and if you stay awake all night, you will suffer, but I do not want your suffering. When you stay awake I will forgive some of the disobedient because of your wakefulness so as to confirm the truth of intercession. While you sleep I will forgive the rest to realize mercy. O master, when you found the robe of My proximity, you found it in sleep. So also at night be in My service. Just as you found the robe at night, so also give thanks for that robe by serving at night.”
O chevalier! The servant is shown no greater generosity than when he rises furtively from his warm bed on a dark night and enters into whispered prayer at God’s threshold with weeping and pleading, lifting up the story of his own pain to Him. He says in the tongue of need before the Presence of Mystery, “O God, give me access so I may lift up the story of my pain to You. I weep before Your threshold and I am joyful in hope mixed with fear. O God, receive me so that I may turn myself over to You. Gaze at me once so that I may throw the two worlds into the ocean.”
My dear, be awake and aware at night, for the night is the scented garden of the friends and the springtime of the recognizers. The night is the meadow of the lovers and the light of the truthful. The night is the joy of the yearners and the ease of the spirits of the obedient.
73:4 And recite the Qur’an with measured recitation.
“O Muḥammad, at night recite the Qur’an in order and with measure. In the night prayer recite the Qur’an aloud so that My friends may nurture their spirits in the playing fields of holiness to the tune of intimacy in the pleasure of listening to My speech and the comfort of My message so that they may perfume and refresh their secret cores. O Muḥammad, say to My friends, ‘When you want to whisper secretly with Me, turn your faces to the kiblah of the Shariah and step into the presence of the prayer.”
“The praying person is whispering with his Lord.” The prayer is to tell secrets and knock at the door of hope. The prayer is the cause of salvation and whispering with the Friend. The prayer is the utmost limit of struggle and the beginning of contemplation. The prayer is to snatch oneself away from the hand of the soul, to strive in servanthood, and to praise the Friend. Through the prayer friends appear differently from enemies and familiars are separated from strangers. “Between the servant and unbelief stand abandoning the prayer.”
The person of faith saying the prayer is like a rosebush. Recognition in him is like the scent, and the prayer is like the roses. Anyone can pick the rose from the bush and tear apart its petals, but no one can reduce its scent and take away its fragrance. In the same way, Satan can whisper in the outward prayer so as to snatch something away from it, but he cannot take away recognition from the inwardness.
73:8 And remember the name of thy Lord and devote thyself to Him devoutly.
Devotion is one of the states of the travelers, those who, in their states of encounter and unveilings, have reached the point that paradise with all its trees and streams does not enter into the beauty of their imagination; hell, with all its fetters and shackles, trembles in fear at the burning in their breasts. The viper of this world’s avarice cannot put its fangs into the days of their delight, thorns from the thickets of envy and pride fail to catch in their skirts, dust from the desert of the commanding soul does not sit on the robe of their submission, smoke from the abyss of caprice never reaches their eyes. They look at people with the eye of heedfulness, they speak with the tongue of tenderness, they become familiar with the heart of mercy. They are kings in attribute and beggars in form, sultans of the road in the garment of the indigent, travelers who have nothing of distance, fliers without the causality of wings and feathers, alive with the life of proximity.
73:9 Lord of the east and the west, there is no god but He, so take Him as a trustee.
Since you know that He is the God of the world and the world’s folk, that He is their keeper, nurturer, work-knower, and guardian, consider Him your trustee and caretaker, for He is more sufficient than all caretakers. Come totally outside your rushing and running, your preoccupations, and entrust yourself totally to Him. Turn away from all and lean on His assurance. Lift your heart away from creatures and put aside self-governance. Put all of yourself in the hands of His predetermination so that the road of seeking may become clear to you. He is one Lord, and He wants a servant who is one in aspiration and one in seeking. These words will be not set in place by a man of every door and every place.
73:10 And be patient with what they say, and keep apart from them beautifully.
We indeed know that thy breast is straitened by what they say [15:97]. And be patient with beautiful patience [70:5]. So be patient, as the possessors of resoluteness among the messengers were patient [46:35]. Be patient with thy Lord’s decree, for surely thou art in Our eyes [52:48]. In several places in the Qur’an that paragon of the world is commanded to have patience, for patience is the antidote to the poison of trial. The mark of the folk of love and friendship is patience. Patience in tribulation is no great work, for it is indeed people’s habit. The manly man is he who is patient in blessings and keeps his feet on the road of servanthood. He does not step outside of the blessings written for himself. Nimrod, Korah, Pharaoh, Haman, and their likes were drowned in the ocean of destruction only as a result of impatience.
In blessings, the Adamites have ungratefulness and ingratitude. Their feet do not remain in the blessings; rather, they pass beyond their limit and bring forth impudence and exultation. This is why the Exalted Lord says, “No indeed; surely man is rebellious because he sees himself without needs” [96:6-7]. Hence the final end of their work in this world is this: “How many a city We destroyed who exulted in their delightful life” [28:58]; and in the afterworld, what the Lord of the Worlds says in this Surah: “Surely with Us there are shackles and hellfire, choking food and a painful chastisement” [73:12-13].