فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا
then inspired it with its [instinct of] evil and piety [91:8]'
Thus in the first instance man receives guidance from his own conscience. This is supported Ey the guidance of the Holy Prophet's (SM) and celestial books that clarify it.
In sum, an ignoramus and heedless person, who denies the power of the Omnipotent, should look into his own being, he would be able to observe His attribute of perfect power and consummate wisdom. He should observe with his two eyes and confess with his tongue. He has been shown the two ways of good and evil; and of right and wrong so that he may choose between the two. Obviously, he should choose the good way. In his make-up, there exists the ability to take either way. All these bounties have not motivated man to attempt the steep course. Then the heedless man is warned that he should reflect on the clear proofs and arguments pertaining to Allah's Omnipotence, pertaining to the Day of Judgement, life after death and Reckoning, and believe in these articles of faith. This faith requires that man should be a source of benefit and comfort to others; he should abstain from hurting them; he should believe in Allah; he should amend his own conduct and think of reforming others also, so that, on the Day of Judgement, he may be among the people of the right hand, the inmates of Paradise, enjoying a happy recompense for what he has done in this life. The unfortunate ones who persistently denied the Truth shall be encircled by the Hell-fire. This theme has been taken up from this point onward to the end of the Surah. Failing to do a few of the good deeds have been [selectively] described in a unique style.
فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ
(Yet he did not make his way through the steep course. And what may let you know what the steep course is? . ..90:11-12)'
The word 'aqabah means 'hill, high place or a steep road'. It also refers to a 'low area of land between two hills or mountains, that is, a valley'. 'Aqabah helps a man in saving himself when pursued by an enemy by ascending the summit of the mountain, or in escaping by descending into the valley. Here the word 'aqabah refers to obedience and devotion. Just as it saves man from an enemy, righteous deeds save man from the punishment of the Hereafter. The righteous deeds are as follows:
فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ ([It is] freeing of the neck of a slave...90:13). This is a great devotional act [and carries a great reward because] it moulds a man's life.
أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ (or giving food in a day of hunger. ..90:14). Although it is an act of great reward to feed any hungry person, it carries even a greater reward to feed certain people, as follows:
يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ
(to an orphan near of kin, or to a needy person lying in dust....90:15-16)
If an orphaned family member is given food to eat, its reward is two fold, for satisfying the hunger of a hungry person and for maintaining family ties and fulfilling his rights.
فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ (in a day of hunger...90:14). It means that feeding him in a day when he is hungry will attract more reward. If an orphan is not a close relative or family member, but he is so poor as to be wallowing in dust, spending on him will yield a greater reward. The poorer the person is, the greater will be the reward for the spender.
ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ (then he did not join those who believe and advise each other to be patient and advise each other to be merciful...90:17). The verse points out that the doing only of good actions mentioned in the foregoing verse is not enough for raising the all round stature of the Muslim community. Good ideals and right principles, combined with continuous and sustained adherence to the path of moral rectitude and teaching of virtues to others, are equally essential for the attainment of the high aim. Thus the verse after 'faith' draws the attention of a believer to his socio-moral obligation to the effect that he ought to teach his other Muslim brothers to be patient and to be merciful. The word sabr signifies 'to withhold oneself from evil deeds and to act upon good deeds'. The word marhamah signifies 'to show mercy to one another or to empathise with others and abstain from hurting them.' This embraces almost all the injunctions of the entire religion.