Name of Chapter and Reason for its Name
The name of this chapter is Surah Al-Layl and its name has been taken from its first verse.
Surah al-Layl is the 92nd chapter of the Holy Quran.
Number of Verses
Place of Revelation
Surah al-Layl is a Makki chapter.     However, some have propounded that this chapter is a Madani one because of its context and its objective to warn the people by pointing to the differences in their efforts which leads to eternal life accompanied by everlasting happiness or adversity. 
Important Concepts in this Surah
People and orientation in work. In these verses Allah swears by the night that conceals the light, and then the return of the day. In the same way that He created people in the form of women and men, the actions of human beings are different to one another, and their efforts have different outcomes. That is, some actions lead to happiness while others result in adversity.    . It has been said that the intended meaning of male and female in verse 3 is Adam and Hawwa.  
The result of mankind’s affirmation and denial in their actions is distinctive.
If a person pays the dues on his wealth and affirms good, then they will be placed on the path of ease, but if they resent this and become disbelievers, then they will be placed on an arduous path on which their wealth will not give them any salvation. The word Husna (best) here means a promised reward as opposed to charity, or the intended meaning of good affirmation is affirmation of the Prophetic mission and faith in it, and this is necessary for faith in the Oneness of Allah in terms of Divinity, Lordship and faith in the Prophetic mission which is the way to achieve this promised reward.  It has also been said that the intended meaning of good affirmation is the affirmation of ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ or it is the affirmation of the Divine blessings and prayer, charity, fasting and fitra. 
Explanation of the results of mankind’s attitudes when it comes to charity and lack thereof, and affirmation and excommunication.
While explaining that guidance is obligatory upon Allah, He points to the fate of His servants, and the absolute meaning of guidance which includes: Tashrii and Takweeni,  and warns mankind with regards to the punishment in the afterlife, and promises heaven for those who purify their wealth. An important point in these verses is reference to Allah’s ownership in regards to the hereafter and this world – and this is referenced in verse 13. 
Verse 12 – “Truly, We take upon Ourselves to guide” – means the explanation of permissible and impermissible is all taught to us from Allah. 
Controversial Verses in this Chapter
“And (in all sincerity) testifies to the best.”
وَصَدَّقَ بِٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰ ٦
Husna (best) has come up in various Tafaseer (Quranic exegeses), and interpretations and affirmation of Husna means the assertion of La ilaha illa Allah or the confirmation of the Divine blessings, prayers, charity, fasting and fitra.  Some commentators have understood Husna to mean the Prophetic mission, and faith in it which is necessary for faith in the Oneness of Allah in Divinity and Lordship and faith in the Prophetic mission which is the way to achieving the promised reward.  Some have interpreted Husna to be the character of Husna - meaning faith, and the nation of Husna which means the nation of Islam, and the recompense of Husna is Paradise. 
“Verily We take upon Ourselves to guide.”
إِنَّ عَلَيۡنَا لَلۡهُدَىٰ ١٢
Some commentators have understood guidance to include Takweeni Haqeeqi, and Tashrii Itibaari,  while another group believe that guidance means the explanation of the halaal (permissible) and the haraam (impermissible) - which in reality is known as Tashrii guidance. 
Discussions on this Chapter
According to the Sunni Traditions
Benefits of Reciting this Surah
عن رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه و سلم: من قرأ سورة و الليل، أعطاه اللّه حتى يرضى، و عافاه من العسر و يسر له اليسر
It has been narrated from the Prophet of Allah that; “Whoever recites Surah al-Layl, Allah will give him sustenance until he is satisfied. He will cure that person of hardship and will make affluence easy for him.” 
Verse 6: “And (in all sincerity) testifies to the best.”
وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَى٦ عن أبي بن كعب قال: سألت رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و سلّم عن الحسنى قال: «الحسنى: الجنة»
It has been narrated from Ubay ibn Kab who said, “I asked the Prophet about ‘the best promise’ and he said that ‘the best promise’ is in the verse, ‘and confirms the best promise’ (which is in this verse of Surah al-Layl), and it means heaven.” 
عن طلحة بن عبد اللّه بن عبد الرّحمن بن أبي بكر الصديق عن أبيه قال: سمعت أبي يذكر أن أباه سمع أبا بكر و هو يقول: قلت لرسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و سلّم: يا رسول اللّه أ نعمل على ما فرغ منه أو على أمر مؤتنف؟ قال «بل على أمر قد فرغ منه» قال: ففيم العمل يا رسول اللّه؟ قال: «كل ميسر لما خلق له».
It has been narrated from Talha ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Abu Bakr al-Sadiq from his father who said, “I heard my father mention that his father heard Abu Bakr saying, ‘I said to the Prophet, ‘O Prophet of Allah, do we act according to what has already been decided, or is the matter just beginning (i.e., still undecided)?’’ He replied, ‘Indeed it is according to what has already been decided.’ Then Abu Bakr said, ‘Then what (good) are deeds, O Messenger of Allah?’ He replied, ‘Everyone will find it easy to do such deeds that will lead him to what he was created for.’” 
عن علي بن أبي طالب رضي اللّه عنه قال: كنا في جنازة في بقيع الغرقد فأتى رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و سلّم، فقعد و قعدنا حوله و معه مخصرة فنكس، فجعل ينكت بمخصرته ثم قال: «ما منكم من أحد- أو ما من نفس منفوسة - إلا كتب مكانها من الجنة و النار و إلا قد كتبت شقية أو سعيدة» فقال رجل:يا رسول اللّه أفلا نتكل على كتابنا و ندع العمل؟ فمن كان منا من أهل السعادة فسيصير إلى أهل السعادة، و من كان منا من أهل الشقاء فسيصير إلى أهل الشقاء؟ فقال: «أما أهل السعادة فييسرون لعمل أهل السعادة، و أما أهل الشقاء فيسيرون إلى عمل أهل الشقاء، ثم قرأ فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطى وَ اتَّقى وَ صَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنى فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرى وَ أَمَّا مَنْ بَخِلَ وَ اسْتَغْنى وَ كَذَّبَ بِالْحُسْنى فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْعُسْرى.
It has been narrated from Ali ibn Abi Talib that he said: “We were at a funeral in the cemetery of Baqi al-Gharqad when the Messenger of Allah came and sat down. So we came and sat around him and he had a stick with him. Then he bowed his head and began to scratch the ground with his stick. He then said: ‘There is not anyone among you - nor is there a single soul (that has been created), except that his place has been written in Paradise or in the Fire, and it has been written that he will be miserable or happy.’ A man asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Should we just depend on what has been written for us and give up performing deeds? For whoever of us is among the people of happiness will be from the people of happiness, and whoever of us is among the people of misery will be from the people of misery.’ The Prophet replied, ‘Those people who are the people of happiness will have the deeds of the people of happiness made easy for them; and those people who are the people of misery will have the deeds of the people of misery made easy for them.’ Then he recited the verses from Surah al-Layl, verses 5-10: ‘As for him who gives and is Allah wary and confirms the best promise, We shall surely ease him into facility. But as for him who is stingy and self-complacent, and denies the best promise, We shall surely ease him into hardship.’” 
Verse 14: “Therefore do I warn you of a fire blazing fiercely.”
فَأَنْذَرْتُكُمْ نَارًا تَلَظَّى١٤ سمعت النعمان بن بشير يخطب يقول: سمعت رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و سلّم يخطب يقول: «أنذرتكم النار» حتى لو أن رجلا كان بالسوق لسمعه من مقامي هذا، قال: حتى وقعت خميصة كانت على عاتقه عند رجليه.
I heard Numaan ibn Basheer say that: “I heard the Prophet of Allah say: ‘I have warned you about the Fire.’ He said it in such a voice that if a man was in the marketplace, he could hear it from where I am standing now; and he said it with such force that the garment that was on his shoulder fell down to his feet.’” 
سمعت النعمان بن بشير يخطب و يقول: سمعت رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و سلّم يقول: «إن أهون أهل النار عذابا يوم. القيامة رجل توضع في أخمص قدميه جمرتان يغلي منهما دماغه».
I heard Numaan ibn Basheer say that: “I heard the Prophet of Allah say: ‘Verily, the person who will be punished in the lightest way among the people of the Fire on the Day of Judgement will be a man who will have two coals placed on the soles of his feet, that will cause his brain to boil.’” 
عن النعمان بن بشير قال: قال رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه و سلّم: «إن أهون أهل النار عذابا من له نعلان و شراكان من نار يغلي منهما دماغه كما يغلي المرجل، ما يرى أن أحدا أشد منه عذابا و إنه لأهونهم عذابا».
It has been narrated from Numaan ibn Basheer quoting the Prophet of Allah who said, “Verily, the lightest punishment received by the people of the Hell fire will be a man who will have two sandals whose straps will be made of fire that will cause his brain to boil, just like a cauldron boils. Yet he will not think that anyone is receiving a torment more severe than him, even though he will be receiving the slightest of the punishments.” 
According to the Shia Traditions
Benefits of Reciting this Surah
أُبَيُّ بْن كَعْبٍ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ص قَالَ مَنْ قَرَأَهَا أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ حَتَّى يَرْضَى وَ عَافَاهُ مِنَ الْعُسْرِ وَ يَسَّرَ لَهُ الْيُسْرَ.
Ubay ibn Kab narrated from the Prophet who said, “Whosoever recites Surah al-Layl, Allah will give him sustenance until he becomes satisfied, and he will safeguard him from hardships, and make affluence easy for him.”  Verse 1: “By the night when it envelops (the light).”
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى١ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ مُسْلِمٍ قَالَ : قُلْتُ لِأَبِي جَعْفَرٍ : قَوْلُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ - « وَ اللَّيْلِ إِذا يَغْشى » « وَ النَّجْمِ إِذا هَوى » وَ مَا أَشْبَهَ ذَلِكَ ؟ فَقَالَ : إِنَّ لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ أَنْ يُقْسِمَ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ بِمَا شَاءَ ، وَ لَيْسَ لِخَلْقِهِ أَنْ يُقْسِمُوا إِلَّا بِهِ .
It has been narrated from Muhammad ibn Muslim who said that he said to Abu Jafar, “Allah, the Glorious and Great has said - ‘By the night when it envelops’, ‘By the star when it sets (Surah al-Najm, verse 1)’ - what is similar to these?” The Imam replied: “Indeed it is upon Allah, the Glorious and Great, to divide His creations howsoever He wills, and His creations do not have the capacity to become divided except by Allah’s power.” 
Verse 6: “And (in all sincerity) testifies to the best.”
وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَى٦ عَنِ الْبَزَنْطِيِّ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ الرِّضَا ع يَقُولُ فِي تَفْسِيرِ وَ اللَّيْلِ إِذا يَغْشى قَالَ إِنَّ رَجُلًا مِنَ الْأَنْصَارِ كَانَ لِرَجُلٍ فِي حَائِطِهِ نَخْلَةٌ وَ كَانَ يُضِرُّ بِهِ فَشَكَا ذَلِكَ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ص فَدَعَاهُ فَقَالَ أَعْطِنِي نَخْلَتَكَ بِنَخْلَةٍ فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَأَبَى فَبَلَغَ ذَلِكَ رَجُلًا مِنَ الْأَنْصَارِ يُكَنَّى أَبَا الدَّحْدَاحِ جَاءَ إِلَى صَاحِبِ النَّخْلَةِ فَقَالَ بِعْنِي نَخْلَتَكَ بِحَائِطِي فَبَاعَهُ فَجَاءَ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ص فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَدِ اشْتَرَيْتُ نَخْلَةَ فُلَانٍ بِحَائِطِي قَالَ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص فَلَكَ بَدَلَهَا نَخْلَةٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى عَلَى نَبِيِّهِ ص وَ ما خَلَقَ الذَّكَرَ وَ الْأُنْثى إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّى فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطى يَعْنِي النَّخْلَةَ وَ اتَّقى وَ صَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنى بِوَعْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ص فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرى.. وَ ما يُغْنِي عَنْهُ مالُهُ إِذا تَرَدَّى إِنَّ عَلَيْنا لَلْهُدى.
It has been narrated from al-Bazanti who said that he heard al-Ridha say about the interpretation of the verse, “By the night when it envelops (Surah al-Layl, verse 1)”, that “There was a man who had a date tree that invaded the space of a man from the Ansaar. The man from the Ansaar complained about this to the Prophet, and as such the Prophet called upon the other man and offered him the opportunity to exchange his date palm for a date palm in heaven, but that man refused. This news reached another man from among the Ansaar, who was known as Abu al-Dahdah. He went to the man and said, ‘Sell me your date palm for my wall.’ The man sold him the date palm, and then Abu al-Dahdah went to the Prophet and said, ‘I have bought the date palm of that man in exchange for my wall.’ Upon hearing this the Prophet said, ‘In return for that, you will have a date palm in heaven.’ Thus Allah revealed the following verses upon his Prophet, ‘By Him who created the male and the female; verily (the ends) that you strive for are diverse. . As for him who gives (in charity, example the date palm) and is Allah wary; and confirms the best promise (example the promise of the Prophet of Allah), We shall surely ease him into facility (Surah al-Layl, verses 3-7)’ …and ‘His wealth shall not avail him when he perishes, Indeed with Us rests the guidance (Surah al-Layl, verses 1-12).’” 
Verse 12: “Indeed with Us rests the guidance.”
إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا لَلْهُدَى١٢ عن أبي الحسن الرضا قال، فَقُلْتُ لَهُ قَوْلُ اللَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى إِنَّ عَلَيْنا لَلْهُدى قَالَ اللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشاءُ وَ يُضِلُّ مَنْ يَشاءُ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ أَصْلَحَكَ اللَّهُ إِنَّ قَوْماً مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّ الْمَعْرِفَةَ مُكْتَسَبَةٌ وَ أَنَّهُمْ إِذَا نَظَرُوا مِنْ وَجْهِ النَّظَرِ أَدْرَكُوا فَأَنْكَرَ ذَلِكَ وَ قَالَ فَمَا لِهَؤُلَاءِ الْقَوْمِ لَا يَكْتَسِبُونَ الْخَيْرَ لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ لَيْسَ أَحَدٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِلَّا وَ هُوَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَكُونَ هُوَ خَيْراً مِمَّنْ هُوَ مِنْهُ هَؤُلَاءِ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ مَوْضِعُهُمْ مَوْضِعُهُمْ وَ قَرَابَتُهُمْ قَرَابَتُهُمْ وَ هُمْ أَحَقُّ بِهَذَا الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ أَ فَتَرَوْنَ أَنَّهُمْ لَا يَنْظُرُونَ لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَ قَدْ عَرَفْتُمْ وَ لَمْ يَعْرِفُوا قَالَ أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ ع لَوِ اسْتَطَاعَ النَّاسُ لَأَحَبُّونَا..
It has been narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr that he said, “I mentioned the verse, ‘Indeed with Us rests the guidance’ to Abu al-Hasan al-Ridha, upon which he said, ‘Allah guides whomsoever He wills and misguides whomsoever He wills.’ I replied to him that, ‘There is a group of people who claim that any sort of knowledge is attainable and anyone who attempts to think correctly will attain knowledge with ease.’ He refuted that and said, ‘If this group is indeed correct then why do they not attain such virtue for themselves? No, it is not as such that anyone who wants can simply attain knowledge. There is not one person from among the people except that he may be better than other people from some perspective, but the others are better than him from other perspectives. One example is that of the Bani Hashim, who hold a position that you know and you know about their closeness to the Prophet. They are deserving of the caliphate, but as such they are prevented from it. Do you think that the household of Muhammad were not thinking about themselves? Can you say that you know the ways of life and they do not?’ At this point Abu Jafar said, ‘If all of the people had the capacity, then they would love us.’” 
- Mahmud Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil (1986), Volume 4, Page 761
- Fadhl ibn Hasan Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1988), Volume 10, Page 757
- Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1971), Volume 20, Page 301
- Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil, incomplete reference
- Ibid, 761
- Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran, Volume 10, Page 757
- Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1971), Volume 20, Page 301
- Ibn Kathir Damishqi, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-Azim (1998), Volume 8, Page 402
- Tabataba’i, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1971), Volume 20, Pages 301-302
- Zamakhshari, al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil (1986), Volume 4, Page 761
- Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur’an (1988), Volume 10, Page 759
- Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1971), Volume 20, Page 302
- Ibn Kathir Damishqi, Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim (1998), Volume 8, Page 402
- Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil (1986), Volume 4, Page 761
- Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1988), Volume 10, Page 759
- Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1971), Volume 20, Page 303
- Ibn Kathir Damishqi, Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim (1998), Volume 8, Page 404
- Ibid, Page 305
- Ibn Kathir Damishqi, Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim (1998), Volume 8, Page 407
- Ibid., Page 404
- Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil (1986), Volume 4, Page 762
- Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1971)-incomplete reference
- Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf an Haqaiq Ghawamid al-Tanzil (1986), Volume 4, Page 765
- Ibid., Page 405
- Ibid., Page 408
- Tabrisi, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1988), Volume 10, Page 757
- Tabatabai, Al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Quran (1971) Volume 20, Page 307
- Ibid., Page 308