Sunday, September 10, 2017

Surah Al-Ma'un: A Commentary

Chapter 107, Holy Qur'an

1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful 2. Have you seen him who denies the Judgment (to come)? 3. Then such is the one who repulses the orphan (with harshness) 4. And does not encourage the feeding of the indigent/ poor. 5. So woe to those who pray, 6. but are heedless of their prayer; 7. those who are all show (i.e. do their prayers and other good deeds for the eyes of people). 8. And refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs.

This chapter deals with the meaning and real way of praying Allah. We need to have a firm conviction and attention during our prayer; we need to have a practical mind and a sincere will by helping others. It is with an absolute sincerity and not with an arrogant mind as a way to show-off that all Muslims need to demonstrate whenever they are accomplishing their devotions and charities. All devotions/ acts of worship shall be rendered vain if we do not put all our heart, soul and conscience towards their fulfilment. We have to perform our prayer with sincerity, understanding and a spotless (clear) concentration.
Versets 2&3 : Ara aytallazii yukazzibu bid Diin. Fa zaalikallazii yadu-‘ul yatiim - 

Have you seen him who denies the Judgment (to come)? Then such is the one who repulses the orphan (with harshness);

The word “Diin” here means: (1) Judgement Day, taking responsibility in the moral and spiritual worlds, for all deeds which men accomplish, or (2) Faith, religion, the principles of good and evil in spiritual matters which are very often in conflict with egoistic desires and personal preferences (of people).

It is those who reject faith or the subsequent responsibility who treat the weak ones with contempt and it is them who lead their lives with egoism and arrogance. Allah loves us all. Why should we then have contempt for the weak and poor?

Versets 4 : Wa laa yahuzzu ‘alaa ta’aamil miskiin - And does not encourage the feeding of the indigent/ poor.

You need to have a charitable spirit or love for your brethren (humans like yourselves). Charity and love for the others and the selfless action of feeding the others are indeed forms of virtue which are very noble. Those who do not feel this love do not subsequently feel the misery of people or they even go as far as forbidding others from the virtue of charity and goodness.

Verset 5 & 6 : Fa-waylul lil musalliin, Allaziina hum an-salaati-him saahuun, - So woe to those who pray, but are heedless of their prayer;

The mere act of praying is not the only real way of worshipping and serving Allah. One needs to input one's whole heart, mind and conscience in one's prayers. We need to realise the presence of Allah and we need to understand His will and applying it (in our everyday lives).

Verset 7 : Allaziina hum yuraaa’uuna - those who are all show (i.e. do their prayers and other good deeds for the eyes of people).

Let us compare this verse with that of the chapter 4 (Al-Nisa) in the Verse 143 of the Holy Quran: 

“And when they (i.e., the hypocrites) stand up for prayer, they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.”

The gaze and attention of people upon us cannot validate our prayers (i.e. we should never do such acts as show-off); Allah is looking at us, He is listening to us, He hears all; we need to humbly prostrate before Him, and if we remember Him sincerely, He shall also remember us. We are not hypocrites (and should never become hypocrites) who, whenever we do something (a good deed, an act of worship), the mind is elsewhere.

Verset 8 : Wa yamna-‘uunal Maa’uun. - And refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs.

The hypocrites like to show-off a lot; they like to make a display of their acts of goodness, of devotion and charity, but these deeds are indeed empty/ in vain. Whenever they are put to the test, to do such charitable deeds to help their fellow human beings, to do in life acts of politeness and goodness, they fail miserably in these tasks/ trials.

Compare the verses 265 and 266 of Chapter 2 (Al-Baqara) in the Holy Quran.

O you who believe! Do not render your charities vain by reproach and injury, like him who spends his wealth only to be seen of men and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His likeness is as the likeness of a rock whereon is dust of earth and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They have no control of aught of that which they have gained. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. (Al-Baqara 2: 265).

And the example of those who spend their wealth seeking means to please Allah and to strengthen their souls, is like a garden, high and fertile: heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest, yet in case no shower hits it, then a drizzle suffices; and Allah is Ever-Seeing of whatever you do. (Al-Baqara, 2: 266).

Thus, you see how Allah condemns hypocrisy in the field of religion and also in the realm of our everyday life. Good deeds need to be accomplished always with good intention and with the fear of Allah in the heart. If actions are done only for show (to show-off, for the eyes of people), then, these deeds shall not be of any use to that person. On the contrary, all the deeds of that person shall lose its worth before the eyes of Allah (i.e., they shall be in vain).

May Allah help us always to accomplish such good deeds which shall please Him, and also to help our fellow human beings (neighbours, countrymen etc.) and to do such acts of worship (Ibaadat) which shall help us to come closer to Him and to lead mankind to the Tawhid, to the unity of Allah (Almighty God), without any ulterior (and bad) motives except to have a good intention to acquire the pleasure of Allah, so that Allah may be happy with us, be it in this world and the life to come. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

----Friday Sermon of  08 September 2017(16 Dhul-Hijjah 1438 AH) delivered by Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.