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#286 [Permalink] Posted on 8th January 2012 22:13
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 134-138









"...Those who spend in prosperity and adversity and those who control anger and forgive people. And Allah loves those who do good [134] - and those who, when they happen to commit a shameful act or wrong themselves, remember Allah, then, seek forgiveness for their sins - and who is there to forgive sins except Allah? -and do not persist in what they have done, knowingly. [135] Their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow where they shall live forever. And excellent is the reward of those who work. [136] A number of behaviour patterns have passed before you. So, traverse the land, and see what was the fate of those who belied (the prophets). [137] This is a declaration for mankind, and a guidance, and a lesson for the God-fearing."[138] (3:134-138)

Commentary


God-fearing Muslims can be identified by the traits of their character and the marks of their manner. So many benefits lie hidden behind their example and practice. This is the subject of the present verses.

Allah Almighty has made God-fearing Muslims to live as models for others. For instance, the Holy Qur'an has, at so many places, emphasised the need to seek guidance and benefit from the company of the men of Allah. The verse: (the path of those whom You have blessed - 1:6) from Surah al-Fatihah clearly indicates that the straight and correct path of Faith has to be learnt from these very favoured servants of Allah. Then, there is the exhortation: (be with the truthful - 9:119) which shows how useful the company of such people really is. But there are all sorts of people in the world, including the clever ones who would pose as good and try to impersonate the genuine ones. For this reason, it was necessary to draw a fine line of distinction between the true and the false and to show how the favoured men of Allah can be identified by their special traits of character. Once this is known, people would abstain from wrong leaders and guides and would use the God-given guidance to first become sure of the true ones and then follow them.

By having identified the traits and marks of God-fearing Muslims, and having stated that they are the ones deserving of ultimate success hd of elevated stations in Paradise, the righteous have been given a good news (of receiving the same reward, if they follow them) and. the evil-doers are exhorted and ersuaded to mend themselves and follow the God-fearing.

This is exactly what has been hinted at in (This is a declaration for mankind; and a guidance, and a lesson for the God-fearing - 3:138), appearing towards the end of these verses. While describing the traits and marks of the God-fearing, the qualities relating to human rights and social behaviour have been mentioned first, and the qualities relating to the rights of Allah after them. This is to indicate that the rights of Allah, despite their supreme status above all rights, are not meant to benefit Allah in any way. Allah does not need any of them, nor does he stand to suffer in any way whatsoever, if they are not fulfilled.

His Being is absolutely free of all these concerns. The one who worships Him is the one who gains. Moreover He is Very-Merciful, therefore, whenever a person falls short in the fulfillment of His rights, he may regret any time for what he did, turn to Him and repent genuinely and sincerely, whereby all his sins can be instantly forgiven from that eternal fountain of Mercy and Nobility. Contrary to this, there is the case of the rights of the servants of Allah - man has to fulfil these. In addition to that, if A has rights against B and B does not fulfil those rights, naturally A runs into loss. It is not that easy to forgive and forget loss suffered by one human being at the hands of the other. Therefore, Huququl-'Ibad or the rights of the servants of Allah have particular importance of their own.

Moreover, the correct balance in our universal order and the reformed pattern of our human society hinges on the fulfillment of mutual rights. A slight short-fall in this direction can trigger disorders, fights and wars. Conversely, should high morals be inculcated and practiced, even enemies would turn into friends. Feuds raging through centuries can subside into peace and bliss. This is one more reason why traits and marks relating to human rights have been taken up first.
Verse 134 announces the first of these traits as follows.


The Habit Of Spending In The Way Of Allah In Prosperity And Adversity


The verse reads: (Those who spend in the way of Allah in prosperity and adversity). It means that they are so used to spending for the good pleasure of Allah that they do spend whatever they can under all conditions, be it prosperity or adversity - more from more and less from less. Three points of guidance emerge from this statement:

1. That those poor should not consider themselves to be totally free from the obligation of spending in the way of Allah. By doing so, they may be depriving themselves of the open opportunity to spend in His way, for the status of spending one dollar out of a thousand dollars is the same with Allah Almighty as is the status of spending one penny out of a thousand pennies. For all practical purposes, the way the owner of a thousand dollars does not find it all that difficult to spend one dollar in the way of Allah, very similarly, the owner of a thousand pennies should not really be hurt by spending one penny.

2. On the other hand, the point made here is that those who keep on spending within the limitations of their capacity to spend, specially when their circumstances are straightened, would discover to their delight that, by doing so, the blessed style of giving and the wonderful habit of sharing with others less fortunate has come to stay and that it will not go extinct. May be, the very benedictory quality of such conduct draws mercy from Allah Almighty and He, in His infinite grace, bestows on such a person new openings and new increases in his means of sustenance.

3. Yet another beneficial aspect of this guidance is worthy of serious notice. Think of one who is in the habit of spending what he has on other human beings, making it possible for them to benefit through his efforts, helping the poor, the needy and the deprived. It is obvious that such a person would never even think of usurping the rights of others against their wishes.

So, the core of this quality of character is that true Muslims, the God-fearing and the favoured servants of Allah, are always on the look out for opportunities to pass on benefits to other human beings irrespective of their being rich or poor.

There was an occasion when Sayyidah 'A'ishah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her, gave away one, just one piece of grape in charity because she had absolutely nothing with her at that time. According to another early report, there was a time when she gave one onion in charity. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said:



"Guard yourself against the Fire even if it be by giving a piece of date in charity and do not turn back one who begs empty-handed even if it be by giving a cloven hoof from a goat."

In a hadith reported by Imam al-Razi in his al-Tafsir al-Kabir it is said that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, on a certain day, exhorted people to spend in charity. In response, those who had gold and silver with them lost no time in giving these out in charity. Somebody brought date-flakes because he had nothing else to give away. The date-flakes were accepted and given in charity. Then came another person who said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I have nothing to spend in charity, however, I am known as a man of honour among my people, so I give my sense of honour in charity, after which I shall never be angry with a person in future, no matter how much he insults me.'

The teachings of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and the way they were understood and practiced by the noble Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, make it obvious that spending in the way of Allah is not limited to the well-to-do and the wealthy. This quality of character can also be possessed by the poor and the less fortunate. They too can have that great attribute by spending in the way of Allah a little of whatever they can in proportion to their respective capacities.

See also:


Virtues Of Sadaqah (Charity) - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/883_11-01-2011/virtues-of-sadaqah-%28charity%29.html

Not By Wealth Alone: Other Options Of Spending In The Way Of Allah


It is important to note at this point that the Holy Qur'an uses the word which means that they spend in the way of Allah under all conditions, of prosperity and of adversity. However, it does not determine the 'what' of spending. The generality of the statement here seems to suggest that it includes, not only money, but everything else that can be 'spent'. For example, one who 'spends' his time and labour in the way of Allah, he too shall be credited with the quality of infaq fisabilillah or spending in the way of Allah. The hadith quoted above supports this view.


The Wisdom behind the mention of prosperity and adversity


May be, these are the two conditions of life in which man habitually tends to forget Allah. He will do that when very rich and upto the neck in luxury. He could also do that, fairly often, when worrying about his adversity. So, the verse clearly settles that the favoured servants of Allah are unique in their character who never forget Allah, neither in luxury nor in distress.

How aptly the last Moghul Emperor of Dehli, Bahadur Shah Zafar made this Qur'anic idea the subject of his poetry when he said:



'O Zafar, not much of a man is he,
no matter how wise he be, He who does not remember Allah when wealthy,
he who does not fear Allah when angry.'


From Rage and Revenge to Forgiveness and Favour


This leads us to the next hallmark of a true Muslim. It has been said that they, if hurt by someone, do not flare up in anger and do not lose their self-control. Going a step further, they do not submit to the dictates of their anger and do not go for a revenge. Not only that, they simply surrender their option of taking revenge and actually forgive the wrong-doer from the depths of their heart. Not stopping at this high enough moral achievement, they rise still higher by doing good to the person who had caused pain to them. This one quality of character seems to be a combination of almost three qualities - to subdue anger, to forgive the offender, and then, being good to him. All these three things have been so eloquently identified in the present verse (134):

... and those who subdue anger and forgive people. And Allah loves those who do good...

While explaining this verse, Imam al-Baihaqi rahimahullah has narrated an amazing episode from the life of Hadrat 'Ali (Zainul'abidin) ibn Sayyidna Husain Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him. The report says that his maid was helping him in his wudu (ablution) when, all of a sudden, the water-pitcher slipped out of her hands spilling water all over Hadrat 'Ali (Zainul'abidin) ibn Sayyidna Husain Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him. His clothes got wet. In was natural that he would be angry. The maid sensed the impending danger and lost no time in reciting the following verse of the Qur'an: (...and those who suppress anger and forgive people). Hearing this, the venerated scion of the Prophet's household lost whatever rash of anger he may have felt. He became totally silent. The maid then recited the second sentence of the verse: (And Allah loves those who do good). Since this sentence implicitly instructs people to be good to others and thus be loved by Allah, so Hadrat 'Ali (Zainul'abidin) ibn Sayyidna Husain once he heard it, said: 'All right, go. I give you your freedom.' (Ruh al-Ma'ani with reference to Baihaqi)

Forgiving people their mistakes and short-comings is a quality that ranks very high in human morals. Besides, its merit in the life-to-come is much higher. In hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have said:

"On the Day of Resurrection, a proclamation will go forth from Allah Almighty asking if anyone had any rights due to Him. If so, let him stand. Those who shall rise on that occasion will be the ones who would have forgiven the injustices done to them by people in their life on earth."

In yet another hadeeth, it has been said:



"Anyone who likes to have lofty palaces in Paradise and wishes to have his ranks elevated, should forgive the one who has done injustice to him and present gifts to the one who has never given him anything and join up with the one who has severed relations with him."

At another place in the Holy Qur'an, the text is far more clear when it teaches the great moral of doing good to those who do evil and establishes how enemies turn into friends through this noble method. There it was said:

Repel evil with what is best, then the one, between whom and you there is enmity, shall become as if he was a fast friend. (41:34)

This was the supreme measure of the moral training given to His noble Messenger by Allah Almighty. The guideline given to him was:

Join with him who severs relations with you and forgive him who does injustice to you and do good to him who is bad to you.

The moral grandeur of the Holy Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is unique and eminent. We can only think of the blessing of his teachings which so successfully ingrained even in his servants morals and traits of character similar to his own. Being the distinctive feature of a true Islamic society, there are hundreds and thousands of models visible in the lives of the Companions, their successors and among the venerated elders of the Muslim community.

There is an apt incident in the life of the great Imam Abu Hanifah rahimahullah. Someone accosted him in a busy market place and heaped all sorts of insults and invectives on him. The great Imam controlled his anger and said nothing to him. He went home, took out a considerable quantity of gold and silver coins, put them in a gift-wrapped tray and went out to the home of his confronter. He knocked at his door. When this person came out, he presented this tray full of coins before him saying: 'Today, you did something very good to me. You gave me (something) of your good deeds (that you had done). It is in gratitude of this great favour of yours that I am presenting this gift to you.' The Imam's unusual conduct naturally affected the man. He repented and got rid of his bad habit for ever. After asking for Imam's forgiveness, he entered into his circle as a disciple and finally became a great scholar.

See also:


The Noble Character Of Hadrat 'Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood (رضي الله عنه) - Forgive And Forget - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/427_05-10-2010/abdullah-ibn-mas%27ud-%28ra%29.html

Upto this point, the text describes qualities of character that relate to the fulfillment of human rights. Following this, come qualities that relate to the rights of Allah where it has been said that true Muslims do not disobey Allah. Should they ever fall in sin under the compulsions of human weakness, they immediately turn to Allah, repent, seek His forgiveness and resolve to abstain from that sin in future.

This character of true Muslims appears in the text in the following words:

...and those who, when they happen to commit a shameful act or wrong themselves, remember Allah, then, seek forgiveness for their sins - and who is there to forgive sins except Allah? -- and they do not persist in what they have done, knowingly. (135)

The verse tells us that involvement in sin is caused by one's negligence in remembering Allah. So, the instruction is: If a sin has been committed, one should immediately turn to Allah, renew the zeal to obey Him and start remembering Him as He should be remembered.

Another point of guidance here tells us that forgiveness of sins depends on two things:

1. To regret past sins, seek pardon for these and to pray for forgiveness.

2. To resolve fully not to go near them in future.
May Allah Almighty bestow upon us the good fortune to become possessed with these supreme morals identified by the Holy Qur'an. Amin.

[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#287 [Permalink] Posted on 9th January 2012 08:01
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 139-143








"And do not lose heart and do not grieve, and you are the upper-most if you are believers. [139] If you receive a wound, they have received a similar wound. And such days We rotate among the people, so that Allah may know those who believe and let some of you be martyrs -- and Allah does not like the unjust [140] -- and so that Allah may purify those who believe and eradicate the disbelievers. [141] Do you think that you shall enter Paradise despite that Allah has not yet known those of you who carry out Jihad nor has He known those who are steadfast. [142] And you had been longing for death before you faced it. Now, you have seen it with your open eyes."[143] (3:139-143)

Once again, Muslims are being consoled through these verses about what happened to them at the Battle of Uhud. They are being told that, under the customary practice of Allah, the disbelievers are the ultimate losers; it does not matter if Muslims have not scored a victory at this time because of their strategic mistake, but should they stick to the demands of their Faith, that is, perseverance and fear of Allah, it will be the disbelievers who shall be the ultimate losers.


Commentary


The Battle of Uhud has been fully described earlier in this Surah through which we already know that the initial success of the Muslim army turned into a defeat in this Jihad because of some of their own shortcomings, although they had already scored an earlier victory (at Badr). Seventy noble Companions sacrificed their lives on this occasion. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was hurt. But, inspite of all this, Allah Almighty let the balance of the Battle tilt in favour of Muslims and the enemy retreated.

This temporary defeat and setback came because:

1. The Muslim archers could not abide by the standing orders given to them by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him due to a difference of opinion. Some favoured holding on to the position they already held; others saw no need to stay there and opted for the collection of spoils with everybody else.

2.The news that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been martyred on the battlefield weakened their resolve to fight.

3. The difference came up in something very serious, that is, the explicit command of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, the obedience to which was mandatory.

So, these three mistakes by Muslims resulted in a temporary setback. No doubt, this temporary setback was later on turned into final victory for them, yet Muslim mujahidin were virtually torn apart with wounds. Dead bodies of their most valiant fighters were strewn before their eyes. Even the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was wounded by the merciless enemy. Disappointed, dismayed, they were also terribly shocked over their own mistakes.

In short, Muslims were on the horns of a dilemma. They were pining over the past and there was acute danger that they may become weak in the future and the duty of leading the people of the world entrusted to them may be hampered. In order to cover these two gaps, the Holy Qur'an came up with the declaration:

And do not lose heart and do not grieve, and you are the upper-most if you are believers. (139)

So, the message given to Muslims in the opening verse under comment is: Do not let weakness or inertia come near you in the future and do not pine over what has gone by. Finally, it is you who shall prevail, if you hold on to the path of faith and belief, having total confidence in the promises made by Allah Almighty, never ever turning your backs on obedience to the Prophet and Jihad in the way of Allah.
In other words, the object was to impress upon Muslims that they should not waste their time and energy by feeling sorry for whatever mistakes they have made in the past. Instead, they should devote to ways and means which make things right for them in the future. For success after failure,, strong faith and an unflinching obedience to the Messenger of Allah are certain guarantees of a bright future. If Muslims persist with these qualities, they are bound to be victorious ultimately.

This call of the Qur'an made broken hearts throb again. Sulking bodies were aglow with a fresh spirit. Just imagine how Allah Almighty groomed the men carrying His message and gave Muslims for all times to come a principle and a rule of procedure whereby it was made necessary that Muslims should never shed tears over dead issues. Instead, they should do all they can to get together the means to strength and power. Then, right along with it, it was made very clear that supremacy and glory can be achieved through one, and only one, basic source, which is, having faith and fulfilling its demands. The demands of Faith include among other things, preparations which must be made in view of an impending war. It means that it is necessary to consolidate military power, assemble and make ready all relevant hardware, and harness all other means to that end, of course, in proportion to ability and capacity. The events of the Battle of Uhud, from the beginning to the end, are a testimony to all these considerations.

The second verse that follows gives consolation to Muslims from another angle. It has been said that if Muslims were wounded or hurt in that particular battle, so also were those fighting against them. If seventy Muslim men were martyred with many wounded, is it not that they had condemned an identical number of their enemies to Hell, and wounded many, a year ago? Then, in this very battle, many a men from the enemy ranks were killed and wounded initially. So, when the text says:

If you receive a wound, they have received a similar wound. And such days we rotate among the people ...

it guides us to another important principle and rule of procedure.

In this mortal world, the customary practice of Allah Almighty is to cause the days of hardship and ease, pain and comfort, suffering and peace occur among people by turns. If, for some reason, a falsely-motivated power succeeds in getting a short-lived upper hand, the group motivated by the truth should not lose heart and come to think that from this point onwards, they are always doomed to nothing but defeat. Instead of taking this negative attitude, they should rather go about finding out the causes of that defeat, and once they have discovered those, they should take corrective measures and eliminate all possibilities of repeating those mistakes. In the end, the group motivated by the truth shall emerge as the ultimate victor. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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#288 [Permalink] Posted on 10th January 2012 08:19
Tafseer Of Surah Aal Imraan, Verses 144-145





"And Muhammad is but a messenger, there have been messengers before him. So, if he dies or is killed, would you turn back on your heels? And whoever turns back on. his heels can never harm Allah at all. And Allah shall soon reward the grateful. [144] And it is not the choice of a person to die without the will of Allah, death being a time-bound destiny. And whoever seeks the return in this world, We shall give him out of it, and whoever seeks the return in the Hereafter, We shall give him out of it. And We shall soon reward the grateful."[145] (3:144-145)

Commentary


Related to the battle of Uhud, these verses recount events which have a particular significance of their own for several reasons. As such, the Holy Qur'an devotes four to five sections of the Surah 'Al-'Imran to the sequence of victory and defeat at the battle of Uhud and to the natural points of guidance underlying these.

In the first verse out of those appearing above, the warning which is rather frightening, given to the noble Companions on an act of indiscretion by some of them, actually settles a matter of principle. A little deliberation shows that there was a secret behind the temporary debacle suffered by the Muslims, the wounding of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, the spreading of the news that he had passed away and that some Companions lost heart because of it: that secret, was nothing but that Muslims should come to understand this basic principle and become practically firm when the challenge comes. This principle of Islam was bipolar. First of all it must be fully realized that Islam gives great importance to the unique respect and love given to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, so much so that it has been made an integral part of Faith and the slightest deviation or weakness in this delicate matter has been equated with straight kufr, disbelief or infidelity. Then, at the same time, it was equally important to ensure that Muslims should not fall a prey to the same disease that afflicted the Nazarenes and Christians. They exaggerated the respect and love due to Sayyidna 'Isa (A.S) by taking it to the extremes, invested him with partnership in the divinity of Allah Almighty and started to worship him.

When, at the time of the temporary setback suffered by Muslims at the battle of Uhud, someone started the rumour that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him had passed away, the agony that seized the noble Companions - a very direct, very natural reaction indeed - is something everybody cannot experience or reckon even in its most modest measure. Only he who has the knowledge of and feeling for the supreme love and devotion the noble Companions had for the prophet could come close to guessing the kind of agony and distress faced by them at that time. It really takes the full knowledge and realization of the sacrifices made by these blessed souls who, out of their unflinching devotion and love for their most dear mentor and the messenger of Allah, staked everything they had - money, property, children and their very lives for his sake, considering their sacrifices as the most desirable achievement of this mortal life, and proving it by their deeds.

Just imagine what would have happened to these devotees of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him when this shocking news came to them, specially so when the battle was in full cry, defeat was looming large after the initial victory, Muslims were losing ground and in this heat of the moment, they come to know the passing away of someone who was the very pivot of their struggle and the symbol of all their hopes.

The natural outcome of this situation was that a large group of the noble Companions started retreating from the battlefield in a state of confusion. This retreat from the battlefield was no doubt a result of fleeting confusion and in the least, without any indication of turning away from Islam. The truth of the matter was that Allah Almighty intended to mould into a group the Companions of His Messenger who were pious and angelic and who could become role models for the whole world. It was for this reason that an ordinary mistake by them was considered to be very serious. Therefore they were addressed on their retreating away from the battlefield in a fashion similar to what it would have been, had they deserted the fold of Islam. With this expressing of wrath, warning was given that all obligations of Faith, Worship and Jihad are for Allah who is Living and Eternal. Even if the news that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him had been martyred on the battlefield were to be true, that would have been something which was to come to pass when appointed. Losing heart and abandoning the dictates of Faith were responses that did not behove those in their position. Therefore, it was said:

"And Muhammad is but a messenger, there have been messengers before him. So, if he dies or is killed, would you turn back on your heels? And whoever turns back on his heels can never harm Allah at all. And Allah shall soon reward the grateful."

Here, Muslims are being warned that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is going to leave this mortal world on one or the other day but they have to hold on to the Faith firmly after him as well, in the same measure as they did during his blessed times. From here, we also come to know that the injury caused to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him during that temporary setback and the news of his passing away on the battlefield was concealed divine arrangement through which all that could happen to the noble Companions after him was revealed during his very life-time so that any slip in their conduct of affairs could be corrected in the very words of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, as a result of which it could be ensured that these ardent lovers and devotees of the Messenger of Allah do not lose their coolness under exacting conditions, specially when this event of the passing away of the Messenger of Allah does actually take place. This is exactly what happened later on when the noble Companions, even the greatest among them, were overwhelmed with the severest emotional shock at the time of his passing away. At this juncture, it was Sayyidna Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, who used the authority of Qur'anic verses such as these to explain the situation to them as a result of which all of them were able to accept the truth and control their emotions.

The need to learn that crucial lesson has been taken up in the second verse as well. In order to teach steadfastness under calamities and hardships, it has been said that the death of every human being lies written with Allah Almighty. Fixed is its date, the day and the time. Death cannot come to take one away before that, nor could one continue to live after that. If so, getting scared about a certain death means nothing.

Now, towards the end, there comes an admonition about one of the apparent causes of this incident. As stated earlier, the Companions who were posted by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as guards on the hill in the rear saw that fellow Muslims were busy collecting spoils following the initial victory. Some of them started thinking about the fact of victory following which there was no need for them to stay at their post. If so, they concluded, why should they too not go in there and take part in the collection of spoils? So, they moved away from where they were ordered to be. Thereupon, it was said:

And whoever seeks the return in this world, We shall give him out of it, and whoever seeks the return in the Hereafter, We shall give him out of it. And We shall soon reward the grateful. (145)

Here, it has been hinted that they made a mistake when they abandoned the duty assigned to them by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in order to collect spoils. At this point, let us keep in mind that, in its real sense the collection of spoils is not the same as the unabashed pursuit of the material which has been condemned in the Shari'ah of Islam. On the contrary, collecting spoils, depositing it in safe custody and spending it where it must be spent is all a part of Jihad, and for that matter, an act of worship. So, the Companions who took part in this mission never did it for sheer material gain, for they would have been entitled to receive their due share in the spoils of war even if they had not actively participated in the collection of spoils as guaranteed under the Islamic Law.

Therefore, it cannot be said that these blessed Companions abandoned their post of duty under the temptation of worldly gains. But, as explained earlier under comments on the first verse (144), even minor mistakes made by major people draw more attention. Even an ordinary deviation from their duty is taken to be serious and they are admonished for that. This applies here as well. Granted that their collecting of spoils could be related with the desire to make worldly gains, at the most in some minor way; and equally granted is the possibility that this small connection had not influenced their hearts; yet, it was to take the morals of the noble Companions to the highest possible level that this act of theirs was identified as 'the seeking of return in this world' so that even the tiniest speck of worldly temptation fails to find its way into their hearts.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an, Volume 2)
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#289 [Permalink] Posted on 13th January 2012 08:58
Tafseer Of Surah Aal Imraan, Verses 146-148






"And there has been a number of prophets along with whom have fought many men of Allah, and they did not lose heart for what they suffered in the way of Allah, nor did they become weak, nor did they yield. And Allah loves the steadfast. [146] And they had nothing else to say except that they said: 'Our Lord, forgive us our sins and our excesses in our conduct, make firm our feet and help us against the disbelieving people.' [147] So, Allah gave them the return in this world and also the better rewards in the Hereafter. And Allah loves those who do good."[148] (3:146-148)

Connected with previous verses where Muslims were admonished for some of their shortcomings during the battle of Uhud, the present verses cite examples set by men of Allah from earlier communities showing how steadfast they were on the battlefield, something which should be emulated by the present addressees.


The Explanation Of Some Words


1. Ribbiyun: a derivation from Rabb like Rabbani meaning 'of the Rabb or Lord' which has been rendered as men of Allah in the present translation. According to Ruh al-Ma'ani, here the use of the vowel sound T in place of 'a' is irregular. Some commentators take 'Ribbiyun': to mean 'many groups'. In their view, this is derived from the word, 'Ribbah' which means 'the group'. Now, as to who is meant here by 'Ribbiyun': (men of Allah), it has been reported from Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas and Hasan al-Basri that this refers to 'ulama' (religious scholars) and 'fuqaha' (juri consults). (Ruh al-Ma'ani).

2. 'Istakanu' has been derived from 'istakanah' and means 'to be subdued and rendered weak and immobile' (Baydawi).

3. 'Wahanu' has been derived from 'wahn' and means 'to lose heart under suffering' or 'wilt under pressure.'

Commentary


After citing the example of men of Allah fighting along with previous prophets who remained undeterred and unweakened against heavy odds, the Holy Qur'an mentions another great quality of the men of Allah who, inspite of their own sacrificing conduct, kept praying to Allah Almighty to:

1. Forgive their past sins,

2. Condone any shortcomings that may have crept in during their present Jihad efforts,

3. Enable them to remain steadfast and

4. Make them prevail over enemies.

These prayers carry some important guidelines for Muslims by implication.

Never Be Proud Of A Good Deed


A true Muslim who knows things as they are is not supposed to wax proud of what he accomplishes by way of a good deed. No matter how great the accomplishment or how exacting the struggle in the way of Allah, he just does not have the right to pat himself on his back, for his very accomplishment of a good deed, in all reality, is the direct outcome of nothing but the grace and mercy of Allah Almighty. In fact, no good deed can even issue forth without it. It appears in a hadith:

"Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah, we would have not received guidance in the straight path, nor we would have been able to pay zakah and perform salah."

Seek Forgiveness From Allah Under All Conditions


As for a good deed one gets the ability to perform, the truth lies in realizing that it is not within one's control to perform that deed exactly in accordance with the demands of the supreme magnificence of the One who holds the reins of the Creation and Command in His hands. No matter how hard one tries to do things correctly but falling short is inevitable, specially when it comes to doing things as is the due and right of Allah. Therefore, the seeking of forgiveness is also necessary during the very course of such a deed.

[color=blue]Pray For Steadfastness And Consistency In Good Deeds


It is not possible to predict the continuity of a good deed. Who can say for sure that he will be given the ability to go on doing his good deed in the future also just as he is doing it now? All this is a matter of what is known as Taufiq, the God-given ability to perform what is good. Therefore, we should repent over any shortcomings in what we are doing in the present and pray that Allah makes us steadfast and persistent in the future. For a true Muslim, this prayer should become his second nature.

It should be noted that the prayer for the forgiveness of past sins, appearing first, is a subtle hint to the fact that pain caused or defeat suffered in this mortal life is, more than often, a reflection of one's past sins which can be cured through repentance and seeking of forgiveness.

The last verse promises a good reward for the men of Allah in this world as well as in the other. It means that, right here in this mortal world, Allah Almighty gives them ultimate supremacy over the enemies and grants them success in their mission. Then comes the reward in the Hereafter. That reward is certainly the real one, an ideal state of peace and happiness which will never fade out. This factor has been pointed out by the addition of the word : (husn) beauty) before 'return in the Hereafter' which makes it read:

"And the better reward in the Hereafter." (148)


[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#290 [Permalink] Posted on 16th January 2012 08:06
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 149-150





"O those who believe, if you obey those who disbelieve they will make you turn back on your heels, then you shall turn losers. [149] Instead, Allah is your Lord, and He is the best of all helpers."[150] (3:149-150)

When Muslims faced a temporary setback during the battle of Uhud and rumours went around that the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been martyred, the hypocrites found an occasion for mischief under the shadows of a battle nearly lost. They said to Muslims: 'Now, that the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is no more with us, why should we not go back to our old faith and thus get rid of all conflicts between us?' This shows how ugly the conduct of hypocrites was and how avowed an enemy they were to Muslims.

In the verses appearing above, Muslims have been instructed not to listen to such enemies, nor to make them a party to any consultations among themselves, nor follow any advice given by them.

In the previous verses, it will be recalled, the instruction was to follow the men of Allah; here, the instruction is not to act upon the advice of hypocrites and anti-Islam people. Indeed, the instruction is to continue taking guard against them.

The Qur'anic expression, 'they will make you turn back on your heels', means that the real objective of anti-Islam people is to disengage Muslims from their Faith through engineered suspicion either overtly or covertly, the later method being designed and implemented in a manner which serves to gradually decrease the love and honour of Islam from their hearts resulting in a reversal of their position. Thus, those aiming to push Muslims in a state of loss cannot be their friends, even if they claim to be.

The statement, '...Allah is your Lord and He is the best of helpers' tells Muslims to place their trust in Allah and rely on His help alone. Even if their antagonists come up with plans of help, Muslims should not go by these against the injunctions of Allah and the Messenger.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#291 [Permalink] Posted on 17th January 2012 08:45
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 151-152





"We shall put awe into the hearts of those who disbelieve, since they have associated with Allah something for which He has not sent any authority. Their ultimate place is the Fire. And evil is the abode of the unjust. [151] And Allah has surely fulfilled His promise to you when you, with His will, were killing them off [These verses refer to the battle of Uhud.] until you showed weakness and disputed in the matter and disobeyed after He had shown you what you liked. Among you there were some who were seeking the mundane and among you there were others who were seeking the Hereafter. After that He reversed your position against them, so that He may test you. And, of course, He has forgiven you. And Allah is All-Gracious to the believers."[152] (3:151-152)

The previous verses referred to Allah Almighty as 'the best of helpers'; recounted here are some incidents of Allah's help.

The word, sultan, rendered here as 'authority' includes all revealed or rational bases of their position. The promise of casting awe and fear into the hearts of the disbelievers in this verse was made in the background of the battle of Uhud when the disbelievers of Arabia marched back to Makkah without any obvious reason and inspite of defeat overtaking Muslims (Baydawl). However, after having covered a certain distance on their way to Makkah, they awoke to their folly.

When they thought of marching back to Madinah, Allah Almighty filled their hearts with such awe and fear that they could not muster the courage to do so. The most they could do was to hire a Madinah-bound villager to go there and tell Muslims that they were coming back. But, this whole deal came into the knowledge of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in Madinah through revelation. He marched to Hamra' al-Asad to apprehend them but they had already run away from there.

This was the background in which the present verse was revealed.

The verses that follow recount, as pointed out earlier, Allah's help and support for Muslims in the battle of Uhud.


Commentary

The High Station of the Noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم)


As obvious, the noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) made an error of judgement during the battle of Uhud which forms the subject of admonition and correction in the previous continuity of verses. But, equally worth noticing here are the graces of Allah Almighty showered on the noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) side by side with the element of warning. To begin with, by saying (so that He may test you) it was made clear that this temporary setback did not come as punishment, rather, it was to test them. Then, comes the statement, , which very clearly proclaims: 'And, of course, We have forgiven you.'

Did The Noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) Tilt Towards The Material?


As stated in the verses, the noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) were split in two groups at that time; some sought the mundane while others sought the Hereafter.

The question is as to what was done by these revered Companions (رضي الله عنهم) which identifies them with the seekers of the mundane. Obviously, it was their intention to go and collect spoils which has been equated with the seeking of the mundane.

Let us now figure out the reality. If they had held on to their assigned post of duty and, as a result, had not taken part in the collection of spoils, would it have made their due share in the spoil any lesser? And, did their participation entitle them to some larger share? The Law of Spoils as authentically proved by the Qur'an and Hadith is common knowledge. They, as the first observers of the operation of the Law, knew it beyond doubt that their due share in the spoils was under no condition subject to being more or less. The fact was that their share in the spoils would have remained the same whether they helped in the collection of spoils or remained on guard at the appointed place of duty.

Keeping this in view, it is obvious that their action cannot be classed as the unqualified pursuit of the material. Instead of that, it is participation in what mujahideen are supposed to do. However, given the workings of human nature, the thought of spoils entering their hearts at that time is not totally unimaginable. But, Allah Almighty has His ways with people; He very much likes to see the hearts of the Companions (رضي الله عنهم) of His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم clean and untouched even by the remotest idea of any tilt towards material possession. So, this very idea of going to possess things of dunya has been equated with 'seeking of the mundane' which explains the element of divine distaste for the action.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)

See Also:

The Sahabah (Companions) (رضي الله عنهم) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/nabi-%28s%29-sahaabah-stories/5863/the-sahaba-%28companions%29-%28radiallaahu-anhum%29.html

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) And Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم) Stories - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/36-nabi-%28s%29-sahaabah-stories/
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#292 [Permalink] Posted on 18th January 2012 08:51
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 153-155






"When you were going away, not even turning to look at anyone, and the Messenger was calling you from behind you. So, He awarded you sorrow for sorrow, so that you should not grieve (in future) on what you lost, nor on what you suffered. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do. [153] Then, after the grief, He sent down tranquility upon you - a drowsiness overtaking a group of you. And another group was worrying about their own selves, cherishing thoughts about Allah which were not true -thoughts of ignorance. They were saying, "Is there anything in our hands?" Say, "The whole thing belongs to Allah." They conceal in their hearts what they do not disclose to you. They say, 'If we had any say in the matter, we would have not been killed here." Say, "If you were in your homes, those destined to be killed would have come out all the way to their (final) lying-places." And (all this was done) so that Allah may test your inner qualities and may purify what is in your hearts. And Allah is All-Aware of what lies in the hearts. [154] Surely, those of you who turned back on the day when the troops faced each other, Satan had but made them slip for some of their deeds. And, of course, Allah has forgiven them. Certainly, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Forbearing."[155] (3:153-155)

These verses form part of the several previous verses relating to the battle of Uhud. The first verse here mentions the sorrows of the sahabah, the noble Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. The long succeeding verse describes the antidote. The third verse reiterates that the form of defeat they faced was no punishment. It was a test to separate the true and sincere Muslims from the hypocrites. Finally comes the repeated proclamation that the mistake made by the noble Companions has been forgiven.

Commentary


In the first verse here, the Holy Qur'an describes the exit of the Companions from the battlefield, their inability to come back even when called by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in person, the consequent grief that afflicted him because of their conduct and, later on, the incidence of the Companions feeling sorry for the sorrow they brought on their master. According to hadith narrations, when Sayyidna Ka'b ibn Malik called out to them, Muslims heard his call and reassembled.

The author of Ruh al-Ma'ani resolves this by saying that the first call came from the Messenger of Allah himself which could not be heard by the Companions and they kept going the way they were going. That was the time when Sayyidna Ka'b ibn Malik called. Everybody heard him and reassembled.

In Bayan al-Qur'an, Maulana Ashraf'Ali Thanavi has said that the real reason for this confusion was the news that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has fallen a martyr on the battlefield. When he called, there was obviously no refutation of the news with the call. Even if his voice can be taken to have reached the retreating Companions, the possibility remains that it was not recognized. Finally, when Sayyidna Ka'b ibn Malik called out, his call included a refutation of this news mentioning the fact that the Messenger of Allah was alive. On hearing this, everybody took a sigh of relief and reassembled. As far as the displeasure of Allah and the sorrow of His Messenger are concerned, these can be explained by saying - if they had stayed unagitated and firm, they could have recognized the calling voice.


The Hardships at Uhud: A Test, not Punishment



The noble Companions as evident from: (154), were actually tested through their sufferings at the battle of Uhud. This was no punishment. The objective was to make true and sincere Muslims distinct from the hypocrites. The mode was a 'test of inner qualities'.

The eloquent Qur'anic expression (He awarded you sorrow), which is suggestive of punishment, can be resolved by saying that the outward form was, no doubt, that of punishment but the real purpose was a sort of affectionate correction, something similar to a well-meaning reprimand from a father to his son or a teacher to his student. In common usage, this can be called a punishment of some sort, but this is, in all reality, a form of training and correction. This is very different from a pure legal punishment.


Why did Muslims suffer at Uhud?


The last part of verse 154 beginning with li-yabtaliya-kum (so that Allah may test) seems to indicate that the cause of hardships faced by Muslims was this wise divine arrangement. But, the statement: in the verse (155) following immediately seems to suggest that some past mistake of theirs is the cause of this Satanic effect.

The answer is that the particular past mistake was the obvious reason which gave Satan the incentive to make them slip once again, an effort in which the Satan incidentally succeeded. But there was much more to it; there were wise arrangements made by the Creator behind this slip and its outcome. These have been covered under the expression li-yabtaliya-kum : 'so that Allah may test'. In Ruh al-Ma'ani, a report from Zajjaj says that the Satan made them recall some of their sins in the presence of which they hesitated to appear before their Lord. So they moved away from Jihad hoping to fight later on following personal correction and thus meet Allah as martyrs in Jihad.

One sin becomes the Cause of another


From the last verse we discover that one sin drags in yet another sin very much like one good deed which pulls in- another good deed. In other words, all deeds - good and bad - have a sort of magnetic pull of their own. When a person accomplishes a good deed, experience shows that other good deeds become easy on him. His very heart starts desiring to do what is good and righteous. Similarly, a person who commits a sin finds that it has cleared the way for other sins. His very heart starts desiring to do what is sinful. Therefore, some elders say: 'the ready reward of a good deed is another good deed which a person is enabled to accomplish and the ready punishment of an evil deed is another evil deed the way to which has been cleared by the first.'

In Masa'ilus-Suluk, Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanavi rahimahullah has said: 'As explained in hadith, sin makes the heart dark and when the heart goes dark, Shaytaan prevails.'

The position of the Noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) in the sight of Allah Almighty


As briefly stated earlier, the mistakes made by some noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) at the battle of Uhud were intrinsically serious. The majority from among the fifty Companions (رضي الله عنهم) who were commanded by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to guard a hill-top strategic point, with clear instruction not to leave their duty-post, no matter what happens at the battle front underneath, moved away from their assigned place. Granted that the reason for their abandonment of the post of duty was an erroneous independent judgement, as they thought their side had won the battle. The order to guard their post, according to their view, had been carried out, therefore, they thought, they could go down and join in with the rest of Muslims. But, in reality, their action was in clear contravention of definite instructions given by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. This mistake of theirs motivated them to leave the battlefield, no matter how this is explained, as reported earlier from Zajjaj. Moreover, this retreat from the battlefield took place while the Messenger of Allah was with them unmoved from the front line and calling them back from behind them. If this situation is viewed without reference to personalities and circumstances that action would certainly be classed as a very serious breach of conduct in a military encounter. In fact, of the many blames imputed to various Companions under the unfortunate genre of Mush ajarat (the mutual quarrels and armed confrontations between the noble Companions which took place after the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him this would be rated as the most serious.

But, something more worthy of consideration is what Allah Almighty has done in their case inspite of all their mistakes. Stated right here in the present verses, is how their grief was physically changed into tranquility through drowsiness. Then, they were told that their suffering was no punishment; it was a matter of test. Then came the clearly worded proclamation of forgiveness for them. It will be recalled that these have appeared earlier, yet they have been reaffirmed here. There is an element of wisdom behind this repetition. The first time it was said, the purpose was to comfort the noble Companions themselves. Incidentally, here is a refutation of what the hypocrites said to Muslims. They chided them for not acting on their advice, as a result of which they (the Muslims) suffered all those hardships.

In short, all these related verses make it very clear that the Companions (رضي الله عنهم) of the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam hold a unique position of affection in His sight inspite of such serious mistakes made by them. Not only that they have been pardoned and forgiven but actually they have been blessed with much more. They have been made special recipients of Allah's grace and mercy. This is what comes from Allah Almighty Himself through the authentic words of the Holy Qur'an. A similar case, as reported in hadith, relating to Sayyidna Hatib ibn Abi Bilta'ah was brought before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. He had written a letter to the mushrikin (disbelievers) of Makkah in which he had passed on information about Muslims living in Madinah. When the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was told about it through a revelation, the letter was intercepted. The noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) were very angry with Sayyidna Hatib ibn Abi Bilta'ah for what he had done. Sayyidna 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, asked for permission to behead that 'hypocrite'. But, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him knew that Hatib was no hypocrite; he was a true, sincere Muslim but he had made a mistake inadvertently. So, he forgave him his mistake and declared that he was was one of the people (veterans) of Badr and, perhaps, Allah Almighty has enforced general pardon for all participants of Badr. (This narration appears in all authentic books of ahadith).


The Noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم): Lesson for Muslims


It is based on this affirmation that the followers of Sunnah and Jama'ah (ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah: Muslims who adhere to the practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and that of his blessed Companions (رضي الله عنهم) find the confirmation of their belief and practice. That is, even though the noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) are not above sin, for sins can be and have been committed by them, but despite this, it is not permissible for the Muslim community to ascribe any evil or defect to them in a derogatory manner. When Almighty and His Messenger Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him forgave such serious slips and errors coming from them and dealt with them generously and mercifully and gave them the great station of : 'may Allah be pleased with them and may they be pleased with Allah,' how can anyone claim to have the right to talk about anyone of them in a derogatory manner?

This is why Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, on hearing somebody satirize Sayyidna 'Uthman al-Ghani and some noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) by saying that they had run away from the battlefield, the reference being to this incidence at Uhud, said, 'Nobody has the right to criticize that which Allah has expressly proclaimed to have been forgiven' (Sahih al-Bukhari).

Therefore, all doctrinal source-books of the ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah unanimously agree that it is wajib or necessary to honour the position of the noble Companions (رضي الله عنهم) and to abstain from criticizing, mocking or speaking ill of them.

It appears in al-'Aqa'id an-Nasfiyah:

It is necessary that one should not talk about the Companions (رضي الله عنهم) except in a good manner.

In Sharh al-Musamarah, Ibn Humam rahimahullah has said:

The belief of the followers of the Sunnah is that all Companions (رضي الله عنهم) were purified and that they be remembered with praise.

This is what appears in Sharh Muwaqif:

It is obligatory to honour the Companions (رضي الله عنهم), all of them; and avoiding satire or criticism against them is equally mandatory.

Abridged below is what Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullahhas said in al-'Aqidatul Wasitiyah:

"It is a cardinal belief of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah that Muslims must refrain from accusing or criticizing any Companion of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in the matter of disagreements or armed conflicts which may have come up among them. There is a reason for this. Most of the narrations imputing drawbacks in them which have creept into history are a pack of lies planted by enemies. They simply have no truth in them. Then, there are others in which the reality has been reversed by additions and alterations.

Even if, there was some truth about something, that has to be taken as the independent judgement of the Companions in which they have no choice. Going a step further, we can assume a situation where they may not be helpless but be capable of using their choice, then, what works there is the Divine Law that is, good deeds make up for the bad ones. And it is more than obvious that nobody can claim equality with them in the matter of good deeds. The good they did cannot be matched by the good done by anybody else. Similarly, nobody else can be more deserving of the mercy and forgiveness of Allah Almighty as compared to them. Therefore, nobody has the right to sit on judgement against them and call their deeds to account and in that process, criticise or speak ill of them."
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)

See Also:

The Sahabah (Companions) (رضي الله عنهم) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/nabi-%28s%29-sahaabah-stories/5863/the-sahaba-%28companions%29-%28radiallaahu-anhum%29.html

Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) And Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم) Stories - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/36-nabi-%28s%29-sahaabah-stories/
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#293 [Permalink] Posted on 19th January 2012 08:02
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 156-158






"O those who believe, do not be like those who disbelieve and say about their brethren while they travel on the earth or are involved in fighting, "Had they been with us, they would have not died nor would they have been killed." The result is that Allah makes it a remorse resting in their hearts. And Allah gives life and brings death. And of what you do, Allah is watchful. [156] And if you are killed in the way of Allah or die, the forgiveness from Allah, and mercy, is far better than what they accumulate. [157] And if you die or get killed, it is towards Allah that you shall be gathered."[158] (3-156-158)

The saying of the hypocrites in verse 156 here is an extension of what was cited in verse 154 earlier: "If we had any say in the matter, we would have not been killed here." Since there were chances that sincere Muslims may be affected by such doubt-creating devices used by hypocrites, Muslims were asked through these verses to remain unconcerned with such sayings and doings and adhere to the belief that the span of life and the time of death are ordained by Allah alone.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#294 [Permalink] Posted on 20th January 2012 08:29
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, 159




"So, it is through mercy from Allah that you are gentle to them. Had you been rough and hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you. So, pardon them and seek Forgiveness for them. And consult them in the matter, and once you have taken a decision, place your trust in Allah. Surely, Allah loves those who place their trust in Him."[159] (3:159)

Even though, the mistake made by Muslims and the abandonment of the battle front by them had caused grief to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, he did not reproach them for this because of his high morals and his natural way of forgiving and forgetting. He did not even deal with them sternly as may have been in order. But, Allah Almighty willed to see that the Companions of His Messenger are comforted and the sense of shock and shame they had for their mistake is washed away. So, in this verse, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is being asked to deal with them more gently and affectionately and consult with them in matters of concern.

Commentary

The Traits Of A Patron


The Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him loved him far beyond the concerns of their own lives and belongings. When they made a mistake acting against his express instructions, there were two dangers. Firstly, it could further increase their sense of shock and affect their normal emotional-rational response. They could even lose hope of mercy, especially when they realized what mistake they had made and how disobedient they had been to the command of their leader. This danger was already eliminated in the previous verse where 'We awarded you sorrow for sorrow' means that the return of this mistake has already been given right here in this mortal world and the account in the Hereafter lies clean.

Secondly, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was hurt as a result of this mistake, physically. The spiritual discomfort was already there. It was likely that these two factors may contribute to making the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him unhappy with his Companions which, in turn, may become a hinderance in his mission to teach and train them. In order to counter this likelihood, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was asked to forgo their mistake, forgive their shortcoming from the depth of his heart and deal with them gently and affectionately in the future as well.

The subject has been taken up with unusual delicacy of style in the Holy Qur'an which, as a corollary, covers some important points of guidance.

1. The diction used to convey the related command to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is eloquently suggestive of his personal praise, as well as that of his unique human majesty, that is, he has these attributes in him already built in.

2. The addition of (So, it was through mercy from Allah) before the statement is there to affirm that the presence of such attributes of perfection in his person is but through Divine mercy. This is no personal perfection in its own right. Then, by placing the word, 'rahmah' (mercy) in an indefinite form, hint has been made towards the great and extensive spread of Allah's mercy which, in turn, makes it very obvious that this mercy is not restricted to the noble Companions only, but extends in full to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him (himself for Allah has made him identified with such perfect attributes.

3. The third point made here establishes that the presence of the qualities of gentle manners, good morals, forgiveness and generosity in him serve a purpose. Had these been not there in him, the mission of educating human beings with which he is charged would have never been accomplished as desired. Rather than seek to correct and raise the level of their morals in his company, people would have run away from him.


The Etiquette of Da'wah


By combining elements cited above, there emerges a set of distinct qualities necessary for preaching, no matter what form it takes. Anyone who embarks on the mission of inviting people to Allah, explaining His guidance and calling people towards the right conduct in their best interest, must first inculcate these qualities in him. The reason is obvious. When a possible 'rough' or 'hard-hearted' approach, even if it happens to come from the very dear Messenger of Allah Almighty, has not been considered fit, who else can dare to gather people created by Allah around him with hostility and negative morals and still hope to seek a change in their behaviour.

In this verse, Allah Almighty has said: 'Had you been rough and hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you.' This indicates that harshness, in conduct or language, is sheer poison for a da'wah worker or a leader conveying Allah's message to people. This is a sure way to undo what one intends to achieve.
Then, the verse says: 'So pardon them'. This indicates that a da'wah worker or reformer of people should never punish them for their mistakes. Instead, he should forgive and forgo. It is important that he does not get excited or angry when his listeners speak ill of him. The truth is that he should rise higher and treat his tormentors with compassion and leniency.

Soon, after that, the verse says: 'And seek forgiveness for them'. This seeking of forgiveness for them from Allah Almighty points out to an unusual rule of behaviour. Not only that he should remain patient in what is painful, the Messenger is being asked not to forget seeking their good with utmost sincerity. The best that can be wished for them is their salvation in the life-to-come, the good that waits for them in Akhirah. So, the Messenger is being asked to pray for their forgiveness in order that Allah spares them from His punishment.
Finally, it has been said: :'And consult them in the matter' which means that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is to seek their advice in matters of concern so that they are fully satisfied arid emotionally at peace, as the Messenger of Allah, by following this instruction, will be giving an external form to his intention of doing what is good for them. Thus, the act of his asking them to sit in consultations with him will become an act of mollifying grace.

After having asked the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to consult with his Companions, the verse concludes with the instruction on final decision-making. As regards consultation, the Holy Qur'an has given clear injunctions at two places. The first one appears right here in the verse under commentation while the second one appears in a verse of Surah al-Shura (42:38) where one of the qualities of true Muslims has been identified as (Every matter of theirs is settled by mutual consultation). There are places where the instruction to consult appears secondarily, for instance, under injunctions relating to suckling in Surah al-Baqarah (2:233) where it is said: (Now, if they want to wean, by mutual consent, and consultation, there is no sin on them). The matter of consultation involves some important problems and rulings, therefore, it needs to be explained in some detail which follows.


1. The Meaning of 'Matter' and 'Consultation'


The word amr is applied for several shades of meaning in the Arabic language. In common usage, it refers to any saying or doing which is of great importance. It is also used to mean an injunction, order, command, rule or authority, the last one being what is meant in the Qur'anic expression (ulil 'amr). Then, the word is also applied to mean a particular attribute of Allah Almighty which finds mention in several verses of the Holy Qur'an, such as: (Beware, for Him alone is the creation and the command - 7:54); (To Him the whole matter shall be returned - 11:123), (The whole thing belongs to Allah - 3:154) (His matter is upto Allah - 2:275) and according to authentic scholars, the use of the word, amr, in (Say: 'The spirit is by a command of my Lord') (17:85) carries the same meaning as identified in the verses appearing immediately above.

As far as the meaning of the word, amr, in the Qur'anic verses (And consult them in the matter - 3:159) and (And a matter of theirs is (settled) by a consultation between themselves - 42:38) is concerned, it can be said that there is the possibility to assign both the first as well as the second. If it is said that the word has been used here in the first sense while the second meaning is inclusive therein, that would not be something far-fetched since affairs relating to command and authority are all very important. Therefore, the word, amr as used in the verses quoted immediately above means every matter or affair which is particularly important irrespective of whether it belongs to the area of authority or mutual dealings.

The Arabic words, shura (counsel), mashwarah (consultation) and Mushawarat (mutual consultation) mean the soliciting of advice and counsel in something that needs deliberation. Therefore, the expression in the present verse means that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been commanded here to consult with or seek the advice of his noble Companions in matters that need deliberation, which include those of authority and government.

Similarly, the verse from Surah al-Shura cited above - - means that in every important matter (which) needs deliberation, whether it belongs to the field of authority and government or to something important other than these, the customary practice of true Muslims is that they work through mutual consultation.


2. The Status of Consultation in Islamic Law


From the statements of the Holy Qur'an cited above and from related ahadith of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, it becomes clear that mutual consultation in a matter likely to have more than one opinion, whether it be related to the concerns of authority or to an issue other than that, is a sunnah of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and the noble Companions (R.A) and is a source of blessings in the mortal world and in the eternal life of the Hereafter. This view has the support of the Holy Qur'an and the Hadith. As far as matters which relate to people, such as the affairs of authority and government, are concerned seeking consultation in them is obligatory. (Ibn Kathir)

In his Shu'bul-Iman, al-Baihaqi has reported from Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has said: A person who intends to do something, then goes in consultation and comes up with a decision to do or not to do that, he gets from Allah Almighty guidance towards an option which is correct and beneficial.'

It appears in ahadith: 'When your rulers are from the best among you and your rich people are generous and your affairs are decided through mutual consultation, then, to live on the surface of the earth is better for you. And should your rulers be the worst among you and your rich people be close-fisted and your affairs be entrusted to women, then, to be buried under the earth shall be better than your continuing to live.'

It means that, when the worship of desires overpowers you, so much so that you, ignoring all concerns of the good and the bad, the harmful and the beneficial, simply to seek the goodwill of a woman, entrust your affairs in her hands, then, for you, death is better than living through those times. Otherwise, seeking the opinion of a woman as well while making consultations is no taboo, and certainly not prohibited. This is proved by the consistent practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and his blessed Companions. In the verse from Surah al-Baqarah (2:233) cited a little earlier, the Holy Qur'an has said: 'Now, if they want to wean, by mutual consent, and consultation, there is no sin on them.' Since this matter here concerns the woman, therefore, consultation with the woman has been specially made binding on the man.

In a hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have said: : 'The person whose counsel is sought is a trustee. When he counsels, then, he must counsel with what he would propose to his ownself (to do otherwise is a breach of trust)'. This hadith has been reported with good authority from Sayyidna 'Ali by al-Tabarani in al-Mu'jam al-Awsat (see al-Mazhari).

At this point, it is necessary to bear in mind that consultation is an act of Sunnah only in situations where some clear and categorical injunction from the Qur'an or Hadith does not exist. Otherwise, in the presence of a clear and categorical injunction of the Shari'ah, no consultation with anybody is needed. This is not permissible either. For example, if somebody went about consulting in - 'should I make my salah or should I not?' 'Should I pay my zakah or should I not?' or 'Should I perform my Hajj or should I not?' - then, this would be absurd. These are not things you consult about. They are absolutely mandatory under the Shari'ah of Islam. However, the option of making consultation about how to go for Hajj is open and one can seek advice on questions like - should he go this year, or next; should he go by sea, or by air; should he go by land, or by some other method.

The same holds true about zakah. One can consult about where and on whom it has to be spent, for the Shari'ah has left these on the choice of the payer.
In a hadith, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been reported to have explained this himself. Sayyidna 'Ali Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him says that he asked the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him: 'If, after you, we are confronted by a situation the injunction for which has not been explicitly revealed in the Qur'an, and about which we have heard nothing from you as well, what are we supposed to do?' The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, said: 'For a matter like this, get together from among you pious men who are consistently devoted to the worship of their Lord and who have deep and extensive understanding of the Faith (fuqaha') and decide the matter following their mutual counsel. Do not decide on the basis of someone's solitary opinion.'

The first, out of the two things that we learn from this hadith is that consultation is not restricted to worldly affairs. Instead, the fact is that mutual consultation in situations where clear nusus (plural of nass meaning textual authority) from the Qur'an and Hadith in matters governed by the injunctions of Shari'ah do not exist is an act of Sunnah. We can say that mutual consultation will be an act of Sunnah if made in situations where textual authority from the Qur'an and Sunnah is not available. The second rule we learn is that advice should be taken from people who are known for their understanding of the Faith and devotion to their obligations to Allah (Ruh al-Ma'ani) Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, to whom the deduction given above is credited, has reported another hadith from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him which says: (Seek counsel from the wise person and do not act against it, otherwise you will regret.).

By putting the above two ahadith together, we learn that two qualities are necessary for the members of the consultative council. Firstly, they should be wise, perceptive and advice-worthy, and secondly, they should be pious and devoted to 'ibadah. In other words, they should be deserving of giving advice and should be God-fearing in their conduct. If the matter to be discussed involves problems relating to Islamic Law, it is incumbent that they be faqih (juriconsult: expert in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence) as well.


3. Consultation of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him with his Companions


The verse under discussion here orders the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him to consult his Companions (R.A). This raises a certain difficulty here. Is'nt it that he is the Messenger of Allah and the blessed recipient of revelation? Why, then, should he need to consult anyone? Since, everything can come to his knowledge through the medium of revelation from Allah Almighty, some scholars interpret this command to consult by saying that the Messenger of Allah was neither in need to be counselled, nor anything he did depended on such counsel. The command to consult given to him is simply to honour the blessed Companions and mollify their broken hearts. But, Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas rahimahullah does not agree with this view. According to him this is not correct, for being involved in consultation - while knowing that one's counsel will not be acted upon, nor would it affect any proceedings of the agenda - will make the whole thing ineffectual. If so, no heart will be mollified and no honour will be sustained. Instead, the truth of the matter is that a course of action to be taken by the Messenger of Allah is identified through revelation directly by Allah Almighty. This holds good in all general matters. But, there are certain matters which, under the dictates of the wisdom and mercy of Allah Almighty, are left to the opinion and discretion of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. It is in such matters alone where consultation is needed, and these are the kind of matters in which he has been commanded to seek consultation. The history of the consultative sittings of the Messenger of Allah confirms this view.

When the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him consulted with the Companions about the battle of Badr, they said that should he ask them to jump into a river, they would do just that; and if he commanded them to march to a far out place such as Bark al-Ghamad, they will be with him; and they would never act like the companions of Musa (A.S) who said: 'Go, you and your Lord, and fight the disbelievers' - 5:24; on the contrary, we shall fondly submit: 'You lead the way, we shall fight the enemy with you, in front of you and in the rear and the right and the left.'

Similarly, he consulted them about the battle of Uhud asking them if they should defend Madinah by staying inside the city limits or should they go out of the city limits and confront the enemy in the open. The general opinion of the Companions was that they should do the latter and this was what he accepted to do. In the battle of Khandaq, the question of accepting peace under the terms of a particular treaty came up for discussion. Sayyidna Sa'd ibn Mu'adh and Sa'd ibn 'Ubadah (R.A) opposed the proposed treaty on the grounds that it was inappropriate. It was the opinion of these two Companions that he finally accepted. When he went into consultations on a matter pertaining to Hudaybiyyah, the opinion of Sayyidna Abu Bakr Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him was the basis of his final decision. The Companions were also consulted following the incident of Ifk (false imputation against Sayyidah 'A'ishah Radhi-Allahu Anha: Allah be pleased with her but this and all other matters pointed out were those in which no particular position to be taken by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was determined through revelation.

To sum up, being a prophet, a messenger and a recepient of revelation is not a bar against consultation. Moreover, in the case of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him it cannot be said that his seeking of counsel from the Companions was ever designed to please them artificially, or that it was virtually ineffectual in the conduct of affairs. On the contrary, the truth is that there were many occasions when he accepted the opinion of those present during consultation even if it happened to be against his own. In fact, in some situations where a particular line of action had not been determined for the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him through revelation, and in its absence he had worked through consultation, there is great divine wisdom. The objective is that the practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him comes to be established for all future generations of Muslims.

Thus, the seeking of consultation as a Sunnah shall become binding on the whole ummah of the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Imagine when he himself has not been left free of the need of consultation who else can claim to be free of such need? For this reason, the method of mutual consultation always continued to be operative during the blessed times of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and his noble Companions (R.A) particularly in matters where there was no clear injunction in the Qur'an and Sunnah. When the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him passed away from this mortal world, the noble Companions continued following his practice. Still later, mutual consultation was resorted to as the modality to deduce rulings of Islamic Law in matters where clear injunction was not found in the Qur'an and Sunnah. This was actually the method taught by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in answer to a question put by Sayyidna 'AliRadhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him.


4. The Status of Consultation in an Islamic State


As stated earlier, the Holy Qur'an has given clear instructions about mashwarah or consultation at two places.

One appears right here in the verse under study; the other one comes up in verse 42:38 of Surah al-Shura where one of the many qualities of true Muslims has been mentioned as which means that their affairs are settled by mutual consultation. At both these places the word, amr (matter) has been mentioned along with mashwarah (consultation). Discussed in detail earlier, the word, amr, signifies any important saying or doing, while at the same time, it is applied to injunction, rule or authority or government. No matter which of the two meanings is taken, consultation in the affairs of the government emerges as invariably necessary, based on these verses. If one elects to take this to mean the affairs of the government, then, the necessity is all the more obvious. In case, the word is taken in its general sense, the affairs of a government being important and far-reaching in effect, would still be considered as affairs in which consultation will be inevitable. Therefore, it is one of the duties of the Muslim Amir, the chief executive of the community, that he should seek the counsel of those responsible for the affairs of the government in matters that are important. The verses of the Qur'an quoted above and the consistent practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, and of the rightly-guided Caliphs is a clear proof of this requirement.

These two verses not only highlight the need for consultation very clearly, they also point out to some basic principles of Islam's system of government, and its constitution. The Islamic government is a government by consultation in which the amir or chief executive is chosen by consultation and definitely not as a matter of family inheritance. It is a barakah of Islamic teachings that this principle is recognized all over the world, in one or the other form, so much so that hereditary monarchies too are moving towards this arrangement, willingly or unwillingly.

But, let us go back 1400 years in history when the super-powers were Cyrus and Ceaser. The common factor between them was that they both headed hereditary empires and the authority of government was vested in their own persons. Thus, one man ruled millions, not on the basis of ability or capacity, but on the strength of the cruel principle of hereditary possession of sovereignty. This form of government, an insult to all human beings, was the way all over the world except Greece where the early teachings of a democratic order of life had yet to translate into principles that would go on to establish a stable government. Instead of that, these ideas relegated into a branch of Aristotelian philosophy. As opposed to this, Islam demolished the unnatural principle of government through heredity and gave the choice of appointing and dismissing the chief executive to the people - a power they could use through their representatives shouldering the responsibilities of the affairs of the state. The world, once stuck in the quagmire of traditional monarchy, came to know bout this natural and just system through Islamic teachings and this happens to be the spirit of a system of government we now know as democracy.

But, modern democracies, since they appeared as a reaction to cruel monarchies, came out with an equal lack of moderation. They went on to give the masses the sense of being the absolute, the ultimate entity, an unbridled sovereign of the system of government and the law of state, to the extent that their minds and hearts became alienated from the very concept of God, the Creator of the earth and the heavens and of all human beings, not to say much about the concept of His real Sovereignty and Rule, which comes as a result of that cardinal belief. Now the situation has reached a stage where their 'democracy' has started taking the restrictions imposed by Allah Almighty on public choice - which in itself was conferred on human beings by Him - as something of a burden, contrary to justice and equity (of their brand).

The way Islamic Law liberated the whole world from Cyruses, Ceasers and other despotic monarchies, it has also shown the way of God to western democracies trying to hide from Him behind secular curtains. Islam's way is no more a secret. Its teachings clearly say that the rulers and the ruled, the governments and their peoples are all subject to the Law given by Allah Almighty. The masses, their representative assemblies, law-making, appointment and removal of officeholders must operate within the parametres set by Allah Almighty. It is their duty to see that full consideration is given to ability and merit, in the choice of the chief executive, holders of offices and responsible positions. In addition to that, their honesty and trustworthiness should be weighed and tested. When it comes to selecting the chief executive of their government, they must select the one who is the best of all in knowledge, fear of Allah, honesty, trustworthiness, ability and political experience. Even this chief executive, elected though he may be, is not totally free, unchecked and despotic. He has to seek counsel from those who are capable of giving such counsel. The Holy Qur'an bears witness to this and so does the constant practice of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and of the great rightly-guided Caliphs, may Allah be pleased with them all. Who else can claim to be more just than them?

Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him has said:

There is no Khilafah (Caliphate) unless it be with consultation. (Kanzul-'ummal vide Ibn Abi Shaybah)

Government by consultation is a basic Islamic requirement so much so that a chief executive or head of the state, if he ever unfetters himself from the need for consultation or takes counsel from those who are not fit to give counsel from the point of view of the Shari'ah of Islam, has to be removed of necessity.

It appears in al-Bahr al-Muhit of Abi Hayyan: Ibn 'Atiyyah Rahmatullahi 'Alayh: Allah have mercy upon him said that Consultation is one of the basic principles of Islamic Law and Faith. He who does not consult with those who know must be removed as a matter of obligation. This is what nobody differs about.

By making consultation mandatory, the blessings that would benefit the Islamic state and its citizens could be measured by what the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said about consultation. Ibn 'Adi and al-Baihaqi have reported from Sayyidna ibn 'Abbas Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him that when this verse was revealed, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Allah and His Messenger do not need this consultation, but Allah Almighty has certainly made it a source of mercy for my community' (Bayan al-Qur'an).

The purport is, if Allah Almighty had so willed, He would have conveyed everything to His Messenger through revelation. It was within His power not to leave any need for consultation in anything. But, it was in the best interest of the Muslim community that Allah Almighty helped establish the practice of consultation through His Messenger. This is why many matters were left without any mention and about which no particular revelation was sent down. About these, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was instructed to seek consultation.


5. Consultation: Decision-Making after a difference of opinion


What happens when opinions differ on a certain matter? Would it be decided on the contemporary parliamentary principle? Would the chief executive be compelled to enforce the decision of the majority? Or, would he have the right to take a course of action on the basis of powerful arguments and obvious welfare of the state, coming from any side, no matter whether in a majority or a minority? From the Holy Qur'an and Hadith and from the constant practice of the noble Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam and his Companions radiallaahu 'anhum ajma'een, it cannot be proved that the amir of Muslims, their head of the state is helplessly bound by the decision of the majority. On the contrary, some hints from the Qur'an and clarifications from the Hadith and the practice of the Companions make it very evident that the Amir can, in the event of a difference of opinion, use his discretion and go by any of the several courses of action, irrespective of the fact that it comes from the majority or the minority. There is no doubt that the Amir will do his best to look into other opinions as well to satisfy himself fully, but should the majority come to agree, on one opinion, this could, at times, become a source of satisfaction to him.

A close look at this verse would show that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, after he has been commanded to seek counsel, is being told: '...and once you have taken a decision, place your trust in Allah'. Here, the word, 'azm in 'azamta meaning a firm decision, one way or the other, has been ascribed to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. The text does not say, 'azamtum, a second person plural, which would have suggested the participation of the Companions in the final making and enforcing of the decision. This hint proves that, once the process of consultation has been completed, the decision and its enforcement is the valid prerogative of the chief executive. There were times when Sayyidna 'Umar ibn al-Khattab would give his decision based on the opinion of Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, if his opinion was weightier argument-wise, something done even when present there would be Companions more senior than Sayyidna ibn 'Abbas in age, learning and seniority. There were many occasions when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has preferred the opinions of the revered Shaykhayn Abu-Bakr and 'Umar (R.A) against the majority of other Companions to the limit that people thought this verse was revealed for consultation with these two only. Hakim reports from Sayyidna ibn 'Abbas in his Mustadrak:

Ibn 'Abbas says, that the pronoun in 'shawirhum' (consult them) refers to Abu Bakr and 'Umar (R.A). (Ibn Kathir)

The narration of Kalbi is clearer than this:

Ibn 'Abbas (RA) says that this verse has been revealed for consulting with Abu Bakr (RA) and 'Umar (RA). These two were special Companions of the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam and his Ministers and the patrons of Muslims. (Ibn Kathir)

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, had once addressed Sayyidna Abu Bakr and 'Umar (R.A) in the following words:

"When you agree on an opinion, I do not decide against you." (Ibn Kathir with reference to the Musnad of Ahmad)


A Doubt And Its Answer


It is not likely that someone objects to this procedure of decision-making saying that all this is against democracy, a model of one-man rule and that this system might hurt the rights of the masses.

The answer is that the Islamic system of government has already taken care of this problem, for it has not given the masses the absolute right to make anyone they wish the amir of an Islamic state. On the contrary, the mandate given to them requires that they must select a person they think is the best of all in knowledge, conduct, functional ability, Godliness and honesty, and then elect him to be the amir. Now a person who has been elected in view of such elegant qualities and attributes should certainly not be subjected to restrictions usually placed on the dishonest, the sinful and the debauch. Doing this would be against reason and justice, an act of discouragement to the genuine servant of people and a hinderance in the promotion of community-oriented action.


6. Do what you can, then place your trust in Allah


At this point, specially at the conclusion of the verse, it is very important to bear in mind that this instruction has been given after having prescribed consultation in all important affairs including those of government. The crucial guideline given here is: Even after having made all preparations, when you finally decide to go ahead and do what has to be done, then that is the time when you do not simply (place your) trust in your reason, opinion, plans or preparedness but, instead of that, you should place your trust in Allah alone, for all these considered plans are in the direct control of the supreme Planner of all affairs and matters. With this in view, the less is said about human beings and their plans is better. Man himself is witness to the futility of his plans in the thousands of events in his life-time.

The statement, 'And once you have taken a decision, place your trust in Allah' also clarifies that placing one's trust in Allah does not mean that the efforts to provide means and make plans should be abandoned. The fact is that placing one's trust in Allah while leaving off means near at hand is contrary to the blessed practice of prophets, and against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an. However, if one sits idle dreaming about distant means and irrelevant concerns, or if one relies solely on means and plans as effective agents and ignores the Prime Causer of means and the Planner-par-Excellence of all affairs and plans, then this would certainly be against tawakkul, the placing of trust in Allah.
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#295 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd January 2012 07:22
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 160-171















"If Allah helps you, there is none to overcome you. And if He abandons you, then, who is there who could help you after that? And in Allah the believers should place their trust. [160] And it is not (conceivable) for a prophet to misappropriate the spoils. And whoever misappropriates, shall bring forth, on Doomsday, what he misappropriated. Then, everybody shall be paid, in full, what he has earned. And they shall not be wronged. [161] How then, could one who submits to the pleasure of Allah be equal to him who returns with displeasure from Allah? And his ultimate place is the Fire. And what an evil end it is. [162] They are of various ranks with Allah. And Allah is watchful of what they do. [163] And Allah has surely conferred favour on the believers when He raised in their midst a messenger from among themselves who recites to them His verses and makes them pure and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, while earlier, they were in open error. [164] And how is it that, when you suffered a hardship the twice of which you had inflicted upon them, you say, "Where did this come from?" Say, "This is from your ownselves. Allah is surely Powerful over everything."[165] And whatever you suffered on the day when the two troops faced each other was with the will of Allah and in order to know the believers [166] and in order to know those who are hypocrites. And it was said to them, 'Come on, fight in the way of Allah, or defend." They said, "Had we known it to be a fight we would have certainly followed you." That day, they were nearer to disbelief than they were to Belief. They utter from their mouths what is not in their hearts. And Allah is the most-knowing of what they conceal. [167] Those who said about their brethren, while themselves sitting, "Had they obeyed us, they would have not been killed." Say, 'Then repel death from yourselves if you are true." [168] And never take those killed in the way of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive, with their Lord, well-provided, [169] happy with what Allah has given them of His grace; and they feel pleased with the good news, about those who, after them, could not join them, that there shall be no fear for them nor shall they grieve. [170] They feel pleased with blessing from Allah, and grace, and with the fact that Allah would not let the reward of the believers be lost."[171] (3:160-171)

In the first verse (160) here, the recurring sense of grief that gripped the noble Companions after what happened at the battle of Uhud is being removed through elegant counsel.

Verses 161-164 declare that the station of Allah's messenger is free of failings, that he exhibits the highest standard of trustworthiness, and that the very presence of his on the face of the earth is a great blessing and a favour shown to the people of the world.

Verses 165-167 explain the reason why Muslims faced hardships at Uhud, while refuting the view of the hypocrites alongwith it in verse 168.
Towards the end, in verses 169-171, it has been said that those who lay down their lives in the way of Allah achieve the ultimate success, real, permanent and full. Details follow.


Commentary


The verse translated as, 'And it is not (conceivable) for a prophet to misappropriate the spoils - 161', has a particular background of its revelation. As a corollary, the problem of 'Ghulul', that is, misappropriation in the spoils, comes into focus.

Misappropriation In The Spoils: A Sin Which Cannot Be Ascribed To Any Prophet By Any Stretch Of Imagination


The background, as narrated by al-Tirmidhi, is that a sheet was found missing from the spoils collected in the battle of Badr. Some people said that the sheet may have been, perhaps, taken by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. If those who said that were hypocrites, the source speaks for itself. May be, this came from a less-initiated Muslim thinking that the Holy ProphetSallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him had the right to do that. Thereupon, this verse was revealed which said that ghulul is a great sin to be punished severely on Doomsday and that the, very thought of linking this sin to a prophet is an ugly audacity, for prophets are free of all sins (ma'soom).

The word, ghulul is also used in the absolute sense for khiyanah, a breach of trust, (misappropriation, pilferage and stealing). This is also applied particularly to misappropriation in the spoils as the crime of stealing from the spoils is far more serious as compared to common thefts and filchings since spoils belong to the whole Muslim army as a matter of right. So, whoever steals from it steals from hundreds and thousands of people. Even if there comes the thought of making amends at some later stage, it would be very difficult to give back to everyone what was due to be given, or seek their forgiveness for the injustice done. This is contrary to other types of thefts where the owner of the stolen property is known.

In this case, there is the chance that one may repent, if Allah gives the ability to do so, and that which was stolen could be returned back to the owner, or one could, at the least, exonerate himself from the blame by seeking forgiveness from him. This is illustrated by what happened at one of the battles fought by Muslims. Someone who had secretly withheld a portion of wool from the spoils thought about it after the distribution of the spoils was over. He brought it before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him hoping to return it. But he, inspite of being 'mercy for the worlds' and far more generous to his community than fathers and mothers could ever dream to be for their children, he returned it back to him saying: How can I distribute it over the whole army now? Now it is you who would present yourself with it on the Day of Doom.

Therefore, the punishment for ghulul or misappropriation is more severe as compared to common thefts. What else could be more severe for the misappropriator when he, before the eyes of the whole creation on the plains of resurrection and retribution, will find himself disgraced with what he had stolen all stacked on his neck? A narration from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah appearing in Al-Bukhari and Muslim reports that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said: 'Watch out, lest I see one of you with a camel loaded round his neck (and the announcement being made that this person had stolen a camel from the spoils). If this person asks me to intercede on his behalf, I shall tell him frankly that I had conveyed what Allah had commanded, now I cannot do anything about it.'

May Allah protect us from this disgrace of the Day we rise again which, according to some narrations, will be so hard on those who face it that they would wish to be sent to the fires of Jahannam in lieu of this terrible disgrace.


Misappropriation in Waqf properties and government Treasuries comes under Ghulul


The same rule applies to mosques, religious schools and institutions, khanqahs and properties of awqaf (endowments) since they represent the contribution of millions of Muslims. If an unfortunate misappropriator was to go about seeking to be forgiven for his evil act, how could he possibly go to each one of those millions. The same rule holds good for public or government treasury (Bayt al-Mal) because all citizens of a country have a right in it. One who steals from it steals from everyone. But, the problem is that these very holdings are such that a single owner does not sit over them. The caretakers become negligent. Avenues of pilferage abound. It is in such moneys and properties that a lot of thefts and misappropriations have become rampant all over the world with most people heedless to the evil end that awaits them. They do not realize that this is a terrible burden to haul onto the plains of Resurrection, not to speak of the punishment of Hell that is bound to come as a result of this crime. Then, last but not the least, comes the sad deprivation from the promised intercession of the Messenger of Allah. Let us all seek refuge from such a fate!

The Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him): a great blessing for the Humanity


Verse 164 speaks of the great favour Allah has shown to the Muslims by sending the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him towards them. The basic functions assigned to him are also mentioned in the same verse. These are the same functions which were attributed to him in the prayer of Sayyidna Ibrahim (A.S) as referred to by the Holy Qur'an in Surah al-Baqarah. The details of these functions have already been discussed in the first volume of this book under the said verse (2:129).

What is new in the present verse is the statement: And Allah has surely conferred favour on the believers'. Two points about this statement are worth mentioning here:

(1) The words 'on the believers' in this verse apparently mean that the advent of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was a favour conferred on the Muslims only while at another place the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been held as: 'the Mercy for all the worlds' which includes both Muslims and non-Muslims. In order to resolve this apparent contradiction one must understand that the particularization of this Quality with 'believers' in the present verse is very much like saying that the Holy Qur'an is 'guidance for the God-fearing' while the fact that the Holy Qur'an is a guidance for the whole humanity is clearly proved by other verses of the Qur'an. However, there are places where this universal status of the Qur'an has been particularized to the God-fearing. There is a common reason operating at both places, that is, the beneficial coming of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is a great blessing and a great favour for the Muslim and the non-Muslim alike, just as the Qur'an is a Book of Guidance for the entire humanity. but the true Muslims and the God-fearing are the only ones who derived the fullest benefit out of these. At some places, therefore, the blessing and the guidance, were particularized with them.

(2) In order to explain the primary statement in the verse which declares that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him is the greatest possible blessing and favour for the believers or for the whole humanity, it can be said that the statement hardly needed any explanation, only if modern man was not all that blind to the spiritual side of life and, at the same time, was sacrificing every good thing for the sake of naked material gains. Had this not been so, every reasonable person would have found out the reality of this great blessing all by himself without anybody having to tell him about it. But, the problem is that modern man has turned out to be no more than the smartest animal among the animals of the world. Tell him about 'favour' and 'blessing' and he would immediately start seeing what fills his stomach and whets his desires. He has practically stopped thinking about the basic reality of his being which is ruh, his spirit. That something good should happen to it and that something can go wrong with it are concerns he pays no heed to, not in the least. Therefore, there is the need to explain that man is not simply a being of bones and flesh. That is certainly not his reality. The reality of man is his ruh, the spirit which is contained within him. So far as this ruh is there in his body, man is what man is. His claims to humanity stand proved. He may be weak or he may be dying, nobody can dare usurp his property or take his rights away from him. But, once this ruh leaves his body, he ceases to be man, no matter how strong and well-built he may be with all parts of his body in their ideal form and shape. His ceasing to be what he was means that he now has no personal right in his own property and possessions.

Prophets come into the world to nurture the human spirit correctly, to make human beings out of men so that actions which issue forth from their bodies turn out to be beneficial to humanity and that they do not go about the world hurting other human beings like beasts and snakes. Instead of that, they should also think about their end and start working for the everlasting life of the Hereafter. Our blessed Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him who leads the way among the great company of prophets Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has a unique majesty when it comes to the mission of making men real human beings. This was exactly what he did during his Makkan life. The men he turned out formed a society of human beings which stands way ahead of even the angels. Never had the earth, nor the heavens, seen such men, each one of them, a living miracle of the Messenger of Allah, may the blessings of Allah be upon him. What happens after them? The answer is that he left behind his own footprints, and theirs, as well as teachings and the methods to institute and promote, which can be followed and acted upon. Those who do so sincerely and honestly can still reach the stations that were reached by the noble Companions. These teachings are there for the entire humanity to benefit from. Therefore, his having graced this world and his being born generous is a great favour shown to the universal kingdom of human beings, though true Muslims are the ones who have reaped the fullest benefit from these blessings.


The Wisdom behind the hardships of the Muslims at Uhud


The subject of verse 165, translated as, 'And how is it that, when you suffered a hardship the twice of which you had inflicted upon them...' has appeared in several previous verses. Here, it comes for the sake of emphasis and further clarification because Muslims were very much disturbed as a result of this incident, so much so that some of them could not resist wondering why should they be suffering in that manner while they were in the company of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him doing Jihad.

In this verse, Muslims are being reminded that the hardship they were facing that day was only half of what they had already inflicted earlier at the battle of Badr, for seventy Muslims were martyred at Uhud while seventy disbelievers were killed at Badr and seventy others from them were taken prisoners by Muslims. The purpose behind this reminder is that Muslims should think positively in their present state of depression in view of the fact that they had already won a battle, inflicting a loss on the enemy twice as much as they had themselves suffered at their hands. Now, a winner like this need not surrender to sorrow and grief in the event defeat comes once, or less.

Secondly, and primarily too, the purpose of saying, 'This is from your ownselves' at the end of this verse, is to tell Muslims that the hardship they have faced is not because the enemy is stronger or his forces overwhelming, but all that has been caused by some of their own shortcomings, that is, they fell short in obeying the command of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him.
Immediately later, in verse 166, the words fa bi idhnillahi: indicate that whatever happened there was with the leave and will of Allah Almighty operating behind which are many wise divine arrangements, some of them having been explained earlier. One such wise arrangement is that Allah will 'see' His true believers, and the hypocrites too, that is, the sincerity of Muslims and the hypocrisy of the hypocrites will become so clear that everybody could see it for himself. Here, the reference to Allah's knowing or seeing means seeing in the perspective of our own sense-experience in the mortal world.

Otherwise, as far as Allah is concerned, He knows and sees everything, all the time. So, the wise arrangement became all the more clear when, at the time of the trial, the hypocrites bowed out of the harm's way while true Muslims stood undaunted in the middle of the battle front. Incidentally, there is another cause of comfort here in the martyrdom of Muslims in the battle, for Allah has conferred such rewards on them so that others should envy them. So, very appropriately, in: , the special merits of martyrs have been taken up in the verse that follows (169).


The special merits and ranks of those who sacrifice their lives in the way of Allah


In addition to this statement of the Holy Qur'an, the merits of the martyrs have been taken up in great detail in sound ahadith. According to Imam Al-Qurtubi, the shuhada' (martyrs) have different ranks and states of being which should be taken into consideration while looking at descriptions in Hadith narrations.

The very first distinction of martyrs mentioned here is that they have not died; rather, they have begun to live eternally. At this point, it is worth noticing that their death and burial in a grave is something physically witnessed and realized by many, yet the Qur'an has, in several verses, clearly instructed that they should not be addressed or taken as dead. What does this mean? If this was supposed to be an interim state of life, after death and before resurrection, referred to as the state of Barzakh in Islamic terminology, that would not take us very far, for that is something commonly experienced by believers and disbelievers both, when the spirit continues to live after physical death and goes through a question-answer situation following which the true and the righteous among Muslims are welcomed to comfort and the disbelievers and the sinners are consigned to the punishment of the grave. This is proved by the Qur'an and Sunnah. Now, that the interim life of Barzakh is established as common to all, what is so special about shuhada' (martyrs)?

The answer is given by this very verse where it is said that the shuhada', i.e., those killed in the way of Allah, are blessed with provisions of Paradise from Him, and it is obvious that 'rizq' (provision or sustenance) is needed by and given to the living. From here we know that sustenance starts reaching the shahid (martyr) immediately after the shahid leaves the frame of his life in the mortal world. In this manner, the shahid enters into a special type of life right away from that point of time, something which has a status distinct from that of 'the dead' of our common experience (Qurtubi).

There are no easy answers to questions such as - what is that distinct status and what is the nature of that life? The only answer is that its reality remains unknown to all except to the Creator of the universe; nobody has the power to know what is it - nor is there, for that matter, any need to know. Nevertheless, there are times when the effect of their special life does show up on their bodies buried in this world, that is, the earth they rest in does not eat them up but leaves them good and intact (Qurtubi). There have been many incidents where this phenomena has been physically witnessed.

So, in summation, their first merit as pointed out in this verse is their distinct perennial life; the second is their being well-provided from Allah and the third is that they shall always be happy with Allah's blessings and grace. The fourth merit is the good news given to them about their relatives and circle of friends they left behind in the mortal world that they too shall deserve the same blessings and ranks with their Lord if they remain good in deeds and are active in Jihad (170-171).

Al-Suddi says that a shahid is informed beforehand when one of his close friend or relative is about to die. The news that a certain person was coming to them makes them as happy as one would usually be when an old friend, long separated by time and distance, comes to meet him.

The background of the revelation of this verse as narrated by Abu Dawud on sound authorities from Sayyidna Ibn 'Abbas is as follows. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said to the noble Companions: 'When your brothers-in-faith fell martyrs at the battle of Uhud, Allah Almighty placed their spirits in the bodies of green birds and set them free. They get their sustenance from the streams and fruit-trees of the Paradise following which they return to special candelabrums held suspending for them underneath the 'throne' ('arsh) of the All-Merciful. When they noticed the luxury of their life there, they said, 'Can anyone tell them (their grieving friends and relatives in the world) about how we live here so that they stop grieving about us and go about striving in Jihad as we did.' Allah Almighty said, 'We shall let them know about this state of yours.' Thereupon, this verse was revealed (Qurtubi).

See also:


The Shortest Path To Jannah - http://muftisays.com/forums/virtues/5397/the-shortest-path-to-jannah-.html

Definition and Ruling on Jihad - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/1154_08-02-2011/definition-and-ruling-of-jihad.html

Jaish e Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/virtues/5415/jaish-e-muhammad-%28saw%29.html

Progression Of Jihad - http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifeddine-M/1047_25-01-2011/progression-of-jihad-.html

Signs of ar-Rahman in Jihad of Afghan - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/books/6509/signs-of-arrahman-in-jihad-of-afghan.html?p=34395
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#296 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd January 2012 08:19
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 172-175







"Those who responded to the call of Allah and the Messenger, even after they had received the wound, for those of them who did good and feared Allah there is a great reward [172] -- those to whom people said, 'The people have gathered against you; so, fear them." It increased them in Faith and they said, "Allah is all-sufficient for us, and the best one to trust in." [173] So, they returned with bounty from Allah, and grace, with no evil having even touched them -- and submitted to the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is the Lord of great bounty. [174] It is none but that Satan who frightens (you) of his friends. So, do not fear them. And fear Me if you are believers."[175] (3:172-175)

Commentary


The subject of the previous verse was the battle of Uhud connected with which is the battle of Hamra' al-Asad which forms the subject of the present verse. Hamra' al-Asad is a place eight miles away from Madinah.

The background of this event, mentioned briefly under introductory remarks about verse 151, is that the disbelievers of Makkah left the battlefield of Uhud, reached a certain distance where they realized that they had made a mistake by retreating. Since they had almost won the battle, they should have gone for the final assault and finished off the Muslim forces. The thought so gripped them that they started getting ready to march back to Madinah. But, Allah Almighty cast such awe and fear in their hearts that they found it more convenient to march back home to Makkah. They still left a message with a passing group of travellers to Madinah asking them to give a warning to Muslims that they were coming back after them with all their awesome strength. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him found this out through a revelation and he reached Hamra' al-Asad in hot pursuit (Ibn Jarir, cited by Ruh al-Ma'ani).

It appears in Tafsir al-Qurtubi that, on the second day of Uhud, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him made an announcement before his mujahidin that they have to pursue the disbelievers but the attacking company will be composed of those who were active participants in yesterday's battle. Two hundred mujahidin rose following this announcement.

A report in Sahih al-Bukhari states that seventy people stood up following the announcement by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as to who was ready to go after the disbelievers. Among those were people who had been severely wounded in the battle a day earlier, some even had to be helped in walking. This blessed company marched to apprehend the disbelievers. When they reached Hamra' al-Asad, they met Nu'aym ibn Mas'ud who told them that Abu Sufyan has assembled together a much larger force once again and he is all set to invade Madinah and eliminate its people. Injury-ridden and much weakened Companions heard this disturbing news yet it was in one voice that they said: 'We do not know him' (Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best caretaker.)

On the one hand there was this news broken to Muslims so they get terrorized, but nothing of this sort happened to them. On the other hand, there was the instance of Ma'bad al-Khuza'i, a man from the tribe of Bani Khuza'ah. He was on his way to Makkah. Though not a Muslim, he was a well-wisher of Muslims - his tribe was an ally of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. So, when he saw Abu Sufyan repenting his retreat from Madinah and all too resolved to go back and fight, he told Abu Sufyan: 'You are making a mistake by thinking that Muslim forces have become weak. I have just passed by a huge army of theirs camped at Hamra' al-Asad. Armed with an array of men and materials, they are about to set out in hot pursuit against you.' This report from him put the awe of Muslim forces in his heart.

This event has been related in three verses (172-174) given above. It has been said in the first verse (172) that despite injuries and hardships from the Battle of Uhud, when Allah and His Messenger called them up for another Jihad, they were ready for that too. Worth noticing at this point is the fact that the Muslims being praised here had two distinguishing features. The first one appears in (even after they had received the wound) which means that those who responded to the call of Allah and His Messenger were people wounded at the Battle of Badr. Seventy of their brave companions had met their martyrdom on the battlefield while they themselves were riddled with injuries all over their bodies, yet when they were called to serve again, they immediately agreed to join the Jihad.

The second distinctive feature has been mentioned in the words: (for them who did good and feared Allah) which established that these people were not simply some great achievers on the battlefield striving incessantly and staking their lives for a noble cause, but they also imbibed in their person the highest virtues of Ihsan (righteous conduct) and Taqwa (fear of Allah). Thus, this very blessed combination of virtues is the cause of their great reward.


Removing A Doubt


Let there be no doubt about the word: (literally 'of them') used here. It should not be taken to mean that all these people were not armed with the virtues of Ihsan and Taqwa - only some of them were. The simple reason is that the preposition: 'min' (of, some of) used here is not divisive or partitive. It is, rather, doubtlessly narrative which is confirmed by the very opening words of this very verse: (Those who responded to the call). From this, it is clear that such response and submission simply cannot materialize without having the qualities of Ihsan and Taqwa ingrained in one's personality. That is why most commentators have declared that the preposition 'min' (of, some of) has been used here in the narrative sense. In short, the essential meaning of the verse is that all these people had rewards waiting for them.

Striving to Achieve Something Good Even at the Cost of One's Life is Not Enough Unless There is Total Sincerity Behind It


Anyway, this particular mode of address leads us to an essential rule of conduct which is: No matter how good is an effort made and no matter how many sacrifices of wealth and life one makes to achieve that end, it can be reward-worthy in the sight of Allah only when it is simultaneously backed by Ihsan and Taqwa. Therefore, the essence of the observation is that the deed undertaken must be for the good pleasure of Allah alone. Otherwise simple feats of bravery, some of which come even at the cost of one's dear life, are just about no lesser among disbelievers as well.


In its Ultimate Reality, the Command of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم is the Command of Allah سبحانه و تعالى


In this event, it will be recalled that the command to pursue the disbelievers was given by the Holy ProphetSallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. This does not find mention in any verse of the Holy Qur'an. But, in this particular verse, when the obedience of those people is praised, the command was attributed to both Allah and His Messenger as evident from the words of the text: 'Those who responded to the call of Allah and the Messenger. This proves very clearly that the command which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him gives is also the command of Allah even though it has not been mentioned in the Book of Allah.

As for those irreligious deviants who reject Hadith and belittle the status of the Messenger of Allah by restricting it to that of a courier (God forbid), a simple statement, that Allah Almighty has openly-declared the command of the Messenger as His own, should be enough to understand the truth - if understanding is what they seek. This statement, moreover, also makes it clear that the Messenger can. also by himself and at his discretion, set up rules in accordance with expedient considerations, and all such rules have the same status as that enjoyed by the commandments of Allah.


The Definition of Ihsan


Mentioned several times during the comments given above, the word Ihsan generally means the performance of good deeds with the best of effort and discretion. However, the basic definition of Ihsan was given by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him himself as reported in the well-known 'hadith of Jibra'il (alayhis salaam). The actual words are: Worship Allah as if you are seeing Him; and if it is not possible for you to (imagine that you) see Him, then, (imagine that) He sees you anyway.


The Definition of Taqwa


The word, Taqwa, has been interpreted variously but the most comprehensive definition is what was given by the blessed Companion Obayy ibn Ka'b Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him when Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him asked him as to what Taqwa really was. Sayyidna Ubayy ibn Ka'b said: 'O Commander of the Faithful, you may have certainly passed by pathways full of thorns, have you not?' Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him said, 'Several times, of course.' Sayyidna Ubayy ibn Ka'b Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him asked, 'What did you do at that time?' Sayyidna 'Umar Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him said, 'I folded the hang of my dress and walked carefully.' Sayyidna Ubayy ibn Ka'b said, 'Enough. You said it. This is what Taqwa means. This mortal world of ours is a bed of thorns, full of the thorns of sins, therefore, one should live in this world in a way that one does not get entangled in the thorns of sin. The name of this attitude to life is Taqwa, the highest capital gain one can dream of.' The blessed Companion, Sayyidna Abu al-Darda' Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him used to recite the following verse quite often:

"People say, 'my gain' and 'my money' while, really, the fear of Allah (Taqwa) is the best of what is gained."

In the second verse (173), more praises have been showered on the noble Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, who so courageously stepped forward to join this Jihad. The words of the verse are:

--- those to whom people said, "The people have gathered against you; so, fear them." It increased them in Faith ...

That is, blessed are such people who heard the news that the enemy has assembled a big fighting force against them and also the advice that they should fear them and avoid fighting - still, this news further increased the fervour of their faith. The reason is simple: When these blessed people had agreed to obey Allah and His Messenger, they had realized right from day one that the path they have chosen to travel on is full of dangers. There will be difficulties and impediments at every step. Their passage will not be easy. They will be stopped. Even armed efforts will be made to suppress their revolutionary movement. Thus, when these noble people came across such hardships, the power of their Faith increased to levels higher than before and, as a result, they worked harder, more selflessly, more than ever.

As obvious, the Faith of these noble souls was perfect from the very first day they had embraced Islam, therefore, the reference to the increase in Faith in these two verses (172-173) means the increase in the qualitative contents and end-results of Faith. Even this state of the Companions who readily responded to the call of Allah and His Messenger has been specially mentioned at this point by saying that they kept reciting: (173) all along their march to the Jihad mission. The sentence means: Allah is all-sufficient for us and the best one to trust in.

Let us consider an important rule of conduct at this point. It is a fact and we know it too well that no one in this world can claim to have placed his trust in Allah, a degree more pronounced than the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and his noble Companions. But, the form and manner of such trust was different. He would never think of sitting back forsaking all physical means available and end up saying: Allah is all-sufficient for us - He will bless us with victory while we sit out and do nothing! No. This did not work like that.

Instead, he gathered the noble Companions together, infused a new fighting spirit in the hearts of those injured, prepared them for the Jihad, both materially and spiritually before marching out. It means that he collected and used all physical means which were available to him and it was only after that he said: Allah is all-sufficient for us.' This, then, is the most authentic form of Tawakkul (Trust in Allah) taught by the Holy Qur'an, personally practiced by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and this was what he made others around him do. All physical means which we have in the life of this world are blessings from Allah. Rejecting or abandoning them amounts to being ungrateful to Him. Placing trust in Allah after having forsaken available physical means is no Sunnah (established practice) of the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. However, if there be someone comprehensively overwhelmed by his state of being, he could be deemed as excusable while being unable to observe this precept of the Shari'ah. Otherwise, the most sound practice is no more than what has been curtly expressed in a Persian poetic line: Before placing trust, do tie your camel.

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has himself stated the meaning of this very verse: (173) 'Allah is all-sufficient for us, and the best one to trust in,' while deciding a case reported in Hadith:

As reported by Sayyidna 'Awf ibn Malik Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him, a case involving two men came up for hearing before the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. He gave his verdict. The man who lost the case heard the verdict in perfect peace and started walking out with the words: (Allah is all-sufficient for me, and the best one to trust in) on his lips. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him asked: 'Bring this man to me.' He said to him: Allah censures inaction but it is your duty to use means, following which, when you find yourself powerless against odds, then say: 'Allah is all-sufficient for me, and the best one to trust in.'

The third verse (174) recounts the blessings which descended upon these noble Companions for their brave response to the call of Jihad and for saying: (Allah is all-sufficient for us, and the best one to trust in). It was said: So, they returned with bounty from Allah, and grace, with no evil having even touched them -- and submitted to the pleasure of Allah.

Allah Almighty bestowed on them three blessings:

1. Such awe and terror was placed in the hearts of disbelievers that they ran away because of which the Companions remained protected against the rigours of fighting on the battlefield. Allah Almighty has used the very word Ni'mah for what we refer to as blessing.

2. The second blessing conferred on them was the opportunity to engage in trading in the market of Hamra' al-Asad. The benefits yielded by such financial transactions were called 'Fadl' or the bounty from Allah.

3. The third and the highest of the three blessings was the attainment of the pleasure of Allah which these blessed souls received in this Jihad in a special manner.


Hasbunallahu wa ni'mal-wakeel: A Wonderful Prayer For All Of Us


The blessings of this prayer cited by the Holy Qur'an were not limited to the Companions of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in any restrictive sense. The fact is that anyone who recites this prayer devotedly with a genuine sense of faith will share in such blessings.

Muslim scholars and spiritual masters have said that one who recites this verse a thousand times with true faith, and prays, will find that Allah Almighty has not rejected his prayer. Reciting this verse under the stress of frustrations and difficulties is a proven panacea.

The fourth verse (175) tells Muslims that the real agent behind the report that the disbelievers are coming back is Satan himself who would love to see Muslims overawed. In other words, Satan is threatening Muslims with the strength of his friends - his cohorts, the disbelievers. Thus, one of the two objects of the verb : yukhawwifu [frightens (you)] has been left out in the text. The one mentioned is in 'auliya'ahu' (of his friends) while the one understood but not mentioned is 'you' as it would be in : yukhawwifukum. (frightens you).

In the end, the verse exhorts Muslims not to fear such threats. What is necessary is that Muslims must continue fearing Allah, the natural outcome of which will be that a true Muslim will always think twice before embarking on anything that means disobedience to Allah. The truth of the matter is that, with Allah's help and support on ones' side, no harm can come from any side.


The Fear Of Allah: What Does It Mean?


The imperative in the present verse obligates Muslims that they must always keep fearing Allah. In another verse, (They fear their Lord above them-16:50) those who do so have been praised. Some revered elders have explained it by saying that fearing Allah does not mean that one should be scared stiff or sit back in tears. Far from it, a God-fearing person is one who leaves everything which may become a source of Allah's displeasure or punishment.

Abu 'Ali al-Daqqaq, may Allah's mercy be upon him, says that Abu Bakr ibn al-Fuwarrak was sick so he paid him a visit. When Abu Bakr saw him, he was in tears. Abu Ali consoled him by saying that there was nothing to worry about, Allah Almighty will give him health soon enough. Abu Bakr corrected Abu Ali's impression and said that he was certainly not weeping because of any fear of death. What he really worried about was his fate after death lest he may be awarded some punishment then. (Qurtubi)
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#297 [Permalink] Posted on 25th January 2012 08:12
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 176-178






"Those who hasten towards disbelief should not make you grieve. They cannot harm Allah at all. Allah intends not to spare for them any share in the Hereafter. And for them there is a mighty punishment. |176| Certainly, those who bought disbelief in exchange of Belief cannot harm Allah at all. And for them there is a painful punishment. [177] And those who disbelieve should not think that the time We give them is good for them. In fact, We give them time only that they may increase in sin. And for them there is a humiliating punishment."[178] (3:176-178)

Previous verses mentioned the treachery and ill-will of the hypocrites. The present verses comfort the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him, asking him not to grieve over the mischiefs made by the disbelievers for they cannot harm him in any way.

The last verse (178) carries a refutation of the false notion about disbelievers: How can they, while obviously prospering in the present world, be regarded as victims of Allah's wrath and rejection?


Commentary

Material Affluence Of Disbelievers Is, After All, An Extension Of Divine Punishment


Let there be no doubt about the worldly well-being of disbelievers for one may be tempted to believe that since Allah Almighty has given respite, long life, security and comfort to disbelievers so that they go on increasing in their crimes, they should, then, be taken as innocent. Far from it, because the verse means that Muslims should not feel upset about this temporary respite and affluence given to disbelievers as all this worldly wealth and power in their hands - despite their disbelief and disobedience - is nothing but a form of the very punishment destined for them. Today, they do not realize it. But, once they leave the mortal world, they would. They would discover to their dismay that all those articles of comfort they acquired and spent in sin were, in reality, the very embers of Hell. This is corroborated by several other verses of the Qur'an. For instance, in (Allah intends to punish them with it - 9:55) which means that the wealth and power of disbelievers and their vulgarly luxurious consumerism should not be a matter of pride for them for this is nothing but an instalment of that very punishment from Allah which will cause their punishment in the Hereafter to increase. (Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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#298 [Permalink] Posted on 26th January 2012 08:26
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verse 179




"Allah is not to leave the believers in what you are in unless He separates the impure from the pure. And Allah is not to inform you of the unseen. But Allah selects from His messengers whom He wills. So, believe in Allah and His messengers. And if you believe, and fear Allah, then, for you there is a great reward."[179] (3:179)

The previous verse (178) answered the question about disbelievers as to why they, being the detested ones in the sight of Allah, are in possession of all sort of wealth, property and other means of luxurious living?

The present verse (179), in sharp contrast, removes the doubt about true believers as to why they, being the favoured servants of Allah, are tested with all sorts of hardships? Being favoured required that they should have been the ones living in comfort surrounded by its paraphernalia!


Commentary

The Wisdom Of Making A Believer Distinct From A Hypocrite Through Practical Demonstration Rather Than Through A Revelation


It has been said in this verse that Allah Almighty has His way of making a sincere believer distinct from a hypocrite through which He generates such situations of hardship as would expose the hypocrisy of the hypocrites practically. This distinction, though, could also be made by identifying hypocrites by name through a revelation. But, the later course was not taken because it would have not been wise. The whole range of wisdom behind what Allah does is known to Him alone. However, one wise consideration in the present context could be: If Muslims were told about a person being a hypocrite through revelation, they would have had no difficulty in dealing with them carefully, but this would have not provided them with a clearly demonstrated proof necessarily acceptable to the hypocrites - for, they would have still insisted: 'You are wrong. We are true Muslims.'

Contrary to this, the distinction was made practically. The introduction of hardship put the hypocrites to test in which they failed and ran away. Their hypocricy was demonstrated and exposed practically and openly. Now they did not have the cheek to claim that they were true, sincere arid believing Muslims.

The manner in which the hypocrites were exposed yielded yet another benefit for Muslims when their formal relationship was also severed with the hypocrites. Otherwise, maintaining a state of discord in the heart with a veneer of formal social dealing would have been equally harmful ethically.


The Unseen when communicated to anyone is no Knowledge of the Unseen as such


This verse tells us that Allah Almighty does not inform everyone about Unseen matters through the medium of revelation (Wahy). However, He does inform His chosen prophets in this manner. From this, let no one hasten to doubt that prophets too have become sharers in the Knowledge of the Unseen or the knowers of the Unseen! The reason is that the Knowledge of the Unseen which is particularly attributed to the being of Allah Almighty cannot be taken as being shared by any created being. Doing so is Shirk (the crime of ascribing partners to Allah). The particular Knowledge is fortified by two conditions:

1. This should be intrinsic to the being, not given by anyone else.

2. This has to be all-comprehensive, encompassing all universes, the past and the future - a Knowledge that covers even the minutest particle without any possibility of anything remaining hidden from it. As for things of the Unseen the information of which is given to His prophets by Allah Almighty through the medium of revelation (Wahy), they are not. really, the Knowledge of the Unseen as such. They are, rather, news of the Unseen given to prophets, something about which the Holy Qur'an itself has used the expression (news or reports of the Unseen) at several places:

... a part of the news of the Unseen We reveal to you. (11:49)


(Ma'ariful Qur'an)

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#299 [Permalink] Posted on 27th January 2012 09:28
[Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 180-186










"And those who are miserly with what Allah has given them out of His grace should not take it as good for them. Instead, it is bad for them. They shall be forced, on the Doomsday, to put on round their necks the shackles of what they were miserly with. And to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth. And of what you do, Allah is All-Aware. [180]

Allah has surely heard the saying of those who said. "Allah is poor and we are rich." We shall write down what they said, and their killing of the prophets unjustly; and We shall say. 'Taste the punishment of the flaming fire. [181] This is due to what your hands sent ahead and that Allah is not cruel to the slaves." [182]

(There are) those who said, "Surely, Allah directed us that we should not believe in a messenger unless he comes to us with an offering to be eaten up by the fire." Say, "A number of messengers have come to you, before me, with clear signs and with what you have said. So, why did you kill them, if you are true? [183]

Then if they belie you, so messengers have been belied before you. They came with clear signs and the Scriptures and light giving Book. [184]

Every soul has to taste death. And it is on the Doomsday that you shall be paid your rewards in full. So, whoever has been kept away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he has really succeeded. And the wordly life is nothing but an asset, full of illusion. [185]

Of course, you shall be tested in your wealth and yourselves. And, of course, you shall hear much of what hurts, from those who have been given the Book before you and from those who associate (others with Allah). And if you observe patience and fear Allah, then these are among matters of determination."[186]
(3:180-186)

Anomalies in the conduct of Jews were mentioned at the beginning of Surah 'Al-'Imran (21-25). The text now reverts back to the same subject. The verses cited above carry related topics. In between, there are words of comfort for the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him as well as those giving good counsel to Muslims.


Commentary


The first (180) of the seven verses (180-186) appearing here repudiates miserliness and carries a warning for those who practice it.

The Definition of Miserliness and the punishment it brings


In the terminology of the Shari'ah of Islam, miserliness (Bukhl) refers to the act of not spending that which it is obligatory to spend in the way of Allah. Therefore, miserliness is forbidden (baram). Besides, it carries a stern warning of Hell for its practitioners. As for occasions where spending is not obligatory (wajib) but only recommended (mustahabb), then not spending there is not included under the miserliness which is forbidden. However, this too is called miserliness in its general sense. As said earlier, this kind of miserliness is not forbidden (haram) but against the preferred choice (khilafaula) it certainly is.

Appearing in Hadith, there is another word - Shuhh - also used in the sense of Bukhl or miserliness. By definition, it means not spending what it was obligatory to spend - one may go even farther than that by remaining consumed with greed to increase one's wealth. This then, shall be a crime much more severe than ordinary miserliness. Therefore, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him said:

"Miserliness (shuhh) and faith ('Iman) can never coexist in the heart of a Muslim." (Qurtubi)

The punishment for miserliness (Bukhl) mentioned in this verse: 'They shall be forced, on the Doomsday, to put. on round their necks the shackles of what they were miserly with' has been explained by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him in the following words reported by Sayyidna Abu Hurairah Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him:

'Anyone Allah blessed with some wealth and who did not pay the zakah due on it properly will find his or her wealth turn into a deadly snake shackled round the neck chomping at the person's mouth from one to the other end of the lips and saying: 'I am your wealth. I am your capital gain.' Thereafter, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him recited this verse (180). (Al-Nasa'i, from Tafsir al-Qurtubi)

The second verse (18) warns Jews against their grave act of effrontery and mentions its punishment. According to the background of the event, when the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon himpresented the Qur'anic injunctions relating to Zakah and Sadaqat (charities), the arrogant Jews started saying that Allah had surely become poor and needy while they were rich, or else why would He go about asking us to give? We seek refuge with Allah from such effrontery. Obviously, they would have hardly believed in the absurd statement they made but, in all likelihood, they would have said so to prove that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him was, God forbid, false in his statement. Their argument was: If these verses of the Qur'an are true, then, it necessarily follows that Allah be poor and needy! This absurd argument of theirs being false in itself was not worth responding to because the injunction of Allah Almighty was not for His benefit; it was, rather, for the benefit of the owners of wealth themselves in this world and the hereafter.

But, it was termed as giving loan to Allah elsewhere because repayment of a loan is necessary and certain in the sight of every good person. Similar is the case of charity given by someone, the repayment of which Allah Almighty takes upon Himself as if it was the payment of loan taken from someone. Anyone who believes in Allah Almighty as the Creator and Master of everything would never stoop to entertain the kind of doubt from these words of the verse which is there in the saying of the insolent Jews. For this reason, the Qur'an has certainly refrained from answering this doubt. Instead, it has simply restricted itself to announcing that they shall be apprehended and punished for this effrontery of theirs, for having falsified the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and for having made fun of him. It was said that their insolent words will be put on record in 'writing' so that the final evidence goes against them on the Day of Judgment and they are punished for what they did. Otherwise, Allah Almighty needs no writing.

Along with this act of effrontery committed by the Jews, yet another crime of theirs has been mentioned, that is, they not only falsified the prophets and mocked at them, they even went to the limit of killing them! That such people could falsify and flout any prophet or messenger of Allah hardly remains surprising.


Staying emotionally satisfied with disbelief in and disobedience to Allah is also an equally grave sin


Worth noticing at this point fs the fact that those being addressed by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and the Qur'an are the Jews of Madinah while the incident of the killing of prophets belongs to a time much earlier than theirs, that is, to the time of Sayyidna Yahya and Sayyidna Zakariyya, may peace be on them. Now, the question is: How is it that the crime of the killing of the prophets referred to in this verse was attributed to these addressees? The reason is: The Jews of Madinah were quite satisfied with this act committed by their Jewish predecessors, therefore, they too were counted as those who fall under the injunction governing killers of prophets.

Imam al-Qurtubi has said in his Tafsir that 'remaining satisfied with disbelief (kufr) is also included under disbelief and disobedience' which is a major juristic ruling in Islam. A saying of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him explains it further. He said:

'When a sin is committed on Allaah's earth, following which the person who is present on the spot opposes that sin and considers it to be bad, then, such a person shall be deemed as not present there, that is, he is no accomplice in their sin. And, a person who, though not present physically yet is quite satisfied with this act of sinners, then, this person shall be considered, despite his absence (from the scene of sin), an accomplice in their sin.'

In the later part of the present verse (181) and in the third verse (182), the text recounts the punishment to be meted out to such loudmouthed people by saying that they shall be consigned to the Hell to experience the taste of burning in fire which is but the outcome of their own deeds and certainly no injustice from Allah. The fourth verse (183) takes up the case of a false accusation made by these very Jews who came up with an excuse in order to reject the prophethood of the Messenger of Allah. Their contention was that, during the period of past prophets, there used to be a method under which charities and offerings were placed in the centre of an open ground or on top of a hill where heavenly fire came and burnt these to ashes. This used to symbolize that offerings were accepted.

But, to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him and to his community, Allah Almighty had given the unique distinction that charities were not left to be consumed by heavenly fire. They were given to the poor and needy among Muslims. Since the later method was contrary to the former, the disbelievers found an excuse to say: If you were a prophet, you too would have been given the miracle whereby the heavenly fire would have consumed the offerings and charities. They, not resting at that, became audacious enough to fabricate lies against Allah Almighty claiming that 'He has taken pledge from them to the effect that they are not to believe in a person who is unable to cause the miracle of the coming of a heavenly fire which burns the charitable offerings.'

Since this claim of the Jews that Allah had taken a pledge from them was false, there was really no need to counter it. So, to disarm them through their very proven saying, Allah Almighty said: If you are true in saying that Allah has taken such a pledge from you, then, the past prophets who had obliged you by showing the miracle of your choice whereby the heavenly fire consumed the offerings certainly deserved that you should have at least believed in them! But, what actually happened is that you did not spare them either. You still falsified them. In fact, you went to the extreme of transgression by killing them.

Let no one have any doubt here despite the fact that while this claim of the Jews was absolutely false, may be, if this miracle did come to pass at the hand of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him chances were that they would probably have come to believe. Such a doubt is unfounded because Allah Almighty knew that these people were saying such things simply out of hostility and obstinacy. Thus, even if the miracle they demanded came to pass, they would have still not believed.

In the fifth verse (184), the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him has been comforted by saying that he should not grieve at being falsified by his adversaries for this is something faced by all prophets in the past.


Thoughts of the Hereafter heal all sorrows and remove all doubts


The sixth verse (185) puts a sharp focus on the ultimate reality of things in a situation when sometime somewhere disbelievers come to enjoy ascendency one way or the other and they have all the luxury they can think of in this world. Contrary to this, Muslims have to face some hardships, some difficulties and a certain paucity of worldly means. There is nothing surprising about it and certainly no occasion to be grieved, for no follower of a faith or philosophy can ignore the reality of life that sorrow and happiness in this world are both shortlived. No living creature can escape death. As for the comfort and discomfort experienced in this world, they vanish, more than often, right there with relevant changes in circumstances - or, just in case, no change takes place during the life of this world, it is certain that everything will end with the knock of death. Therefore, worrying about this short-lived cycle of comfort and discomfort should not become the chronic concern of a wise person. One should, rather, have concern for what would happen after death.

So, the verse (185) tells us that every living being shall taste death and once in the Hereafter, there shall come the reward and punishment of deeds which will be severe and long drawn as well. This is what a wise person should worry about and prepare for. Given this rule of conduct, one who stays away from Hell and finds entry into the Paradise is really the successful one. May be this happens at the very beginning as would be the case with the most righteous servants of Allah. Or, it may come to pass after having faced some punishment as would be the case with sinning Muslims. But, Muslims - all of them - will finally have their deliverance from Hell and the blessings of Paradise will become theirs for ever.

This will be contrary to what happens to disbelievers - Hell will be their eternal resting place. If they wax proud over their short-lived worldly gains, they are terribly deceived. That is why it was said at the end of the verse: 'And the worldly life is nothing but an asset, full of illusion.' Strange is the anatomy of this deception, for reckless material enjoyments here become the source of great hardships in the Hereafter and conversely, most of the hardships faced here become the treasure of the Hereafter.


People of Falsehood hurting people of Truth is a natural phenomena: Patience (Sabr) and piety (Taqwa) cure everything


The seventh verse (186) was revealed in the background of a particular event which has been briefly referred to a little earlier in verse 181. According to relevant details, when verse 245 of Surah al-Baqarah: (who is the one who would give Allah a good loan) was revealed, it eloquently equated the givings of charities to the giving of loan to Allah thereby indicating that all givings in charity in the life of this world will be recompensed with a certainty like that of someone returning a loan taken. An ignorant or hostile Jew reacted by commenting in the following words: (Allah is poor and we are rich). Sayyidna Abu Bakr Radhi-Allahu Anh: Allah be pleased with him was angry at his effrontery and slapped him. The Jew complained to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him. Thereupon, the verse: (Of course, you shall be tested in your wealth and yourselves) was revealed.

This verse instructs Muslims that they should not show weakness when called to stake their wealth and life in the defence of their Faith or when they are hurt by the vituperations of the disbelievers, the polytheists and the people of the Book. All this is nothing but a trial for them. The best course for them is to observe restraint, be patient and keep to their real objective in life which is the achievement of the perfect state of Taqwa, (a state in which one fears Allah and remains answerable to Him all the time). In such a state Muslims should not worry about replying to the effrontery by antogonists.
[Ma'ariful Qur'an]
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#300 [Permalink] Posted on 29th January 2012 19:42
Tafseer Of Surah Aal 'Imraan, Verses 187-189







"And when Allah took pledge from those who were given the Book: 'You shall make it known to people, and you shall not conceal it." So, they threw it away behind their backs and bought a small price out of it. So, evil is what they buy. [187]

And do not think of those who are delighted with what they did and love to be praised for what they never did - so, do not think of them as being in a position to escape the punishment. And a painful punishment is there for them. [188] And to Allah belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is powerful over everything."[189]
(3:187-189)

In continuation of the description of evils practiced by the Jews mentioned in previous verses, the first of the present two verses (187) takes up yet another evil practice of theirs. This is their habit of going back on solemn pledges and covenants - for Allah Almighty had taken pledge from the people of the Book that they would communicate the commandments of Allah appearing in the Torah freely, openly and universally and that they would not conceal any injunction out of their selfish ends. The people of the Book broke this covenant. They concealed injunctions. Not only that, they were audacious enough to show their pleasure about having acted in this manner and taking this deed of theirs as commendable.


Commentary

Concealing the Knowledge of Faith is forbidden and waiting or manipulating to be praised without practicing it is deplorable


The three verses cited above describe two crimes committed by scholars from the people of the Book along with their subsequent punishment.

As pointed out earlier, they were commanded to tell their people about injunctions revealed in the Book of Allah freely and openly without any effort to curtail or hold back what was in there. Although, they were explicitly instructed not to hide any commandment, yet they elected to ignore the pledge they had made, out of their worldly considerations and personal greed. They did hide a good many commandments from their people.

Secondly, they had the problem of personally staying aloof from acting righteously while, at the same time, they had no qualms of conscience in wishing to be praised without acting the way they were expected to.

As for the incidence of hiding the commandments of the Torah, it has been reported in Sahih al-Bukhari on the authority of Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas. He narrates that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him asked the Jews about something mentioned in the Torah. They concealed the truth and told him something contrary to what was said in the Torah - and they left his company all pleased with their exercise in evil congratulating themselves on their deceit. Thereupon, this verse which carries a warning for them was revealed.

As for the other statement 'they love to be praised for what they never did' - it refers to the hypocrites among the Jews who would make excuses at the time of Jihad, sit home and celebrate how weil they were able to dodge the hardships of Jihad. When the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam: Peace be upon him returned from Jihad, they would go to him, take false oaths, offer excuses and, on top of that, they would demand that this act of theirs be praised. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The Holy Qur'an condemns them for both these attitudes. From here, we know that concealing the knowledge of Faith and the injunctions of Allah and His Messenger is forbidden (Haram). But. this forbiddance applies to the kind of concealment which was practiced by the Jews for they used to conceal Divine injunctions to promote their own worldly interest and, in this process, they made people pay for it. However, if an injunction is not broadcast publicly due to some expedient religious consideration, such an action would not fall under the purview of this ruling. This problem has been taken up by Imam al-Bukhari under a separate subject heading supported by relevant Hadith narrations. According to him, there are occasions when there is the danger that masses would fall prey to misunderstanding and disorder by publicising a certain injunction openly. If an injunction is allowed to remain unpublicised on the basis of such a danger, it does not matter.

The rule about doing a good deed is simple. If anyone does a good deed, then looks forward to be praised for it - or, worse still, takes elaborate steps to make, this happen - then, despite having done what one did, this act will be deemed blameworthy under the Islamic legal-moral norms. And should one elect not to do that good deed at all, that would, then, be taken as far more blameworthy. As for the natural desire to do something good and thereby earn a fair name, it is not included under the purview of this ruling - unless, of course, if one does not make unusual projections to earn that fair name (Bayan al-Qur'an).
(Ma'ariful Qur'an)
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