Teachings of the Qur'aan: Al-Ma'aarij - Aayaat 15-35
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B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e m
Teachings of the Qur'aan
Ayub A. Hamid
The intensity of the fire and the kind of people it will claim is the subject matter of the next four verses.
15 By no means! Surely it will be a flaming fire, 16 that will yank the skin off. 17 It will claim everyone who turned his back (on truth) and turned his face away (from Islam), 18 and collected (wealth) and hoarded it.
It should be noted that the good deed emphasized again and again in this group of Soorahs is spending in the way of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala and sharing one's wealth with the poor and needy, instead of saving and hoarding it without attending to the needs of the poor. As explained in the previous Soorah, Al-Haaqqah, according to the Qur-aan, spending in the way of Allaah is the proof of one's faith in Allaah. It is the litmus test that indicates if a person is a believer or not. Without being charitable, one's claim of believing in Allaah is not valid. In other words, a believer cannot be miserly and a miserly person's claim to Islam is not reliable.
Such verses also indicate that it is the love for wealth that is usually the main hurdle which keeps people from believing in Islam. The staunchest enemies of Islam are usually those who love their wealth and power and they consider Islam to be a danger to this wealth and power.
The aforementioned attitude is because of an imbalance in employing human instinctive traits. People have been created with many natural tendencies, inclinations and temptations. They all have a useful role to play in human life. Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala requires us to maintain an effective balance among all human traits to pass the test of living in this world. However, people who become slave to their lusts and desires effectively let their natural human weaknesses govern their behaviour. Only those who submit to Allaah, can maintain the desired balance and keep their natural human weaknesses in check and excel in their behaviour. The next set of verses explains this point. The particular human weakness mentioned here is the natural human tendency to be worrisome, hasty, short-sighted and impatient. During hard times, it is shown by his complaining bitterly, wailing, ranting and raving about how bad the things are, instead of being patient and working steadfastly for a turnaround. During good times, he becomes stingy, niggardly and miserly, worrying about his future and being unable to see the benefit of sharing his wealth with the deprived people of the society. In both cases, the life of this world is his focus, not thinking of, nor preparing for the Hereafter at all. However, the worshippers of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala and the believers in the Hereafter adopt a balanced and constant attitude both in good as well as in bad times. It is they who will be rewarded with honour and pleasure in Jannah.
19 Verily, man is created of a hasty temperament; 20 fretful when evil touches him, 21 and niggardly when good touches him; 22 except the worshippers of Allaah:
§ 23 Who are constant at their worship;
§ 24 In whose wealth there is a known right 25 of the petitioner and the deprived;
§ 26 Who accept the truth of the Day of Recompense;
§ 27 Who are fearful of their Lord's torment, 28 as their Lord's torment is really not something to feel safe from;
§ 29 Who guard their private parts, 30 except from their wives or the slave girls they own, for which they must not be blamed; 31 however, those who seek to go beyond this, then they are the transgressors;
§ 32 Who take care of their trusts and their covenants;
§ 33 Who uprightly stand by their testimonies; and
§ 34 Who keep a guard on their worship;
35 Those shall be in the Gardens, honoured.
As you can see, the very first and the very last attributes of a balanced lifestyle that leads to success have to do with Salaah or Allaah's worship. It indicates that balance, justice, goodness and excellence in one's life are not possible without being particular about Allaah's worship. The first attribute refers to regularity, constancy and steadiness in worship. Whether times are good or bad, regardless of the circumstances and the conditions they face, they persevere in the worship of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala with regularity. They do it with their hearts and minds fully engaged, taking their time and performing it with grace and calmness. They are not like those who worship Allaah with intensity, humility and long supplications when times are tough, but forget about Allaah when times are good. Guarding of Salaah means to perform it on time, following its rules properly, and staying clear of any actions or behaviour that are incongruent with the lifestyles of worshippers of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala.
They also maintain a balance in the economic or financial aspect of their life. While fulfilling their own needs, they do not forget the deprived people of the society but dedicate a certain portion or percentage of their income for that purpose, even if they themselves are not well-to-do. In doing so, they take care of both those who muster the courage to seek help when they need it (the petitioners), and those who keep suffering quietly (the deprived). Rather, as soon as they find out that someone around them is in need of help, they help the needy out without them having to ask for it. It should be kept in mind that in this verse, a petitioner does not mean a beggar who has adopted begging as a way of life, but as already mentioned, a needy person who seeks help for his current needs, as compared to the deprived who suffers quietly.
The motive for their charity basically stems from their belief in the Day of Judgment and the life Hereafter. By helping the poor and needy, they only want to please Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala and avoid the punishment of the Hereafter. People may do good things for many reasons, but fear of Allaah is the purest motive of all that is free from boasting or any expectations of worldly benefit. However, their attitude is not limited to charity, rather, their whole lifestyle is based on this fundamental motive.
While they live a careful life geared to goodness and excellence, they still continue to be fearful about the accountability for any mistakes they may make. That is the right attitude because the punishment of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala is not something one can be carefree about.
Human sexuality is an area where people stumble and deviate the most and commit the most excesses. On the one hand, people may adopt a promiscuous and crooked behaviour in this respect; on the other hand religious people may consider even a marital relationship as an act against their so-called concept of spirituality. Allaah's true worshippers maintain a balance in this respect as well. They neither take a vow of celibacy in the name of spirituality, nor do they go beyond the permissions granted by Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala to fulfil their natural desire.
The balance in their dealings and societal interactions shows in the form of justice and fairness in fulfilling their obligations and conducting their dealings. They honour all trusts bestowed upon them by Allaah or by people and they fulfill all promises or commitments made to Allaah or people. All our time (life), our capabilities and our wealth and resources are trusts bestowed by Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala and our promise to Allaah is that they will be spent as He desires. All confidential matters confided to us by our friends, colleagues, employers, clients, etc. and all tools, equipment, assets given in our care or for performance of our duties, are trusts bestowed upon us by people. Similarly, any word we give to people is a promise. Honouring trusts and fulfilling promises are so essential attributes of being a believer that whenever the Prophet sall Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to give a sermon, he would remind Muslims about them, saying, "A person who does not honour trusts has no faith and a person who does not fulfil promises has no Deen."
Standing up to give witness and standing by one's witness is a special kind of honouring and fulfilling of trust because knowledge of a specific situation is a trust that is properly fulfilled when witnessed at the right time and place for establishment of justice. This also covers all kind of witnesses we need to give, ranging from our witness to mankind about the truth of Islam to saying the right thing about people / events when witness is duly sought.
The people who have the above-mentioned qualities will be those who will be honoured in the Hereafter and who will enjoy the pleasures of Jannah forever. This honour will not be bestowed on the basis of what tribe or family one belonged to or how much wealth and power someone amassed. Such statements by the Qur-aan were squarely contradicting the perception that the Makkan chiefs had about themselves. They held that they have been honoured with wealth and power in this world and they will enjoy the same, if there is any life Hereafter. Hearing the Qur-aan's admonitions on the subject annoyed them a lot.
Copyright © 2009 Ayub A. Hamid
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Note: This series is providing the teachings of the Qur'aan, not a literal translation. Instead of literal translation, it gives interpretive meanings of the verses, along with their contextual details. Please remember that any translation of the Holy Qur'aan is in fact only an expression of the translator's understanding of the Word of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala, and hence cannot be equated with the Qur'aan itself. Only the original Arabic text can be called the Holy Qur'aan.
Ustaadz Ayub A. Hamid is a visionary and strategic Islamic thinker residing in Canada for the last 34 years. His recently published books are:
1. Islam - Does It Make Sense?
2. Unveiling the Commands-The Truth about Hijaab, Khimaar and Jilbaab.
3. Finding A Soulmate - A Guide for Parents and Youth.
4. A Book Unlike Any Other.
5. Islam - Adopting Its Paradigms.
6. Exploring the Islamic Beliefs.
The following soowar 'Teachings of the Qur'aan' series by Ustaadz Ayub A. Hamid, are available on request:-
Al Ma`aarij 1-14
K a r i m a
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