Baqarah4 (1)

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Baqarah4 (1)

  1. 1. 1 Quran-Tafsir.org Surah Al-Baqarah Part 4 (Ayahs 209-287)
  2. 2. 2 This is the fourth part of Surah Baqarah, Insha Allah please go to Quran-Tafsir.org for the first second, and third parts. 209. O you who believe! Enter into Al-Islam completely and do not follow the footsteps of the Shaitan. Surely he is to you a clear enemy. Allah (swt) begins this ayah by calling out to the believers. Allah (swt) is addressing you and me in this ayah. Our Creator and Sustainer, our Lord and Master is addressing us with that which is most precious and dear to us, and that is our Iman. Before you even read the rest of the ayah, consider who is being addressed, consider the Addressor, and consider with what He (swt) is addressing you. When you consider all of these you will realize how important it is for you to pay complete attention to what Allah (swt) is telling you in this ayah. Allah (swt) says in this ayah “O you who believe! Enter into Al-Islam completely”. To understand what Allah (swt) is telling us to do in this ayah, we first have to understand each word in this ayah. The first word that we must strive to understand is “Al-Islam”. Notice that Allah (swt) uses the definite article to qualify this word. The definite article, which in English is “the” and in Arabic is “al” is used to qualify and specify a word. So Allah (swt) is not referring here to simply any “Islam” but Allah (swt) is referring here to “The Islam”. Which “Islam” is “The Islam” you might ask. “Islam” linguistically means “peace” or “submission” but it is not simply any peace or submission that Allah (swt) is speaking about here. Rather Allah (swt) is referring to the Din that He (swt) revealed to the Prophet (saw) and that He (swt) Himself called “Al Islam”. So it is not simply any peace or surrender, but is the specific way of life that was revealed to the Prophet (saw). That is what Allah (swt) is referring to in this ayah. The next word that we must understand in order to understand the command of Allah (swt) in this ayah is the word “enter”. What does it mean to enter into this Din of Al-Islam? When you enter into your house, when you go from being outdoors into being indoors, your entire surroundings change. You are in a completely different place than you were before. Similar should be the effect when you enter into this Din of Islam.
  3. 3. 3 Your entire life should change. Your entire outlook on this world must change. The purpose of your life must change. Everything that you think, everything that you say, and everything that you do now has a purpose. Entering into this Din of Al-Islam is a complete transformation. Instead of living for yourself, you now live for Allah (swt). Allah (swt) is the purpose of your existence and everything that you do is for Him (swt). The next word that we must understand from this ayah is the word “completely”. This is perhaps the most important word in this ayah, and it is the word that most Muslims today have forgotten. What does Allah (swt) mean when He (swt) says that He (swt) wants us to enter Al- Islam completely? There are actually two meanings here. One meaning is that we ourselves must enter Islam fully. We must enter it with our minds, our hearts and our limbs. This means that our thoughts, our emotions and our actions should be in accordance with Islam and it must be in the service of Islam. Any action that you do, any word that you say, and even any thought that you have must be part of your worship and servitude to Allah (swt). Strive not to even have a thought that is displeasing to Allah (swt). For example when you see a beautiful woman, not only you must not even look at her or talk to her but you must not even think about her. You must fight against the lusts that you have for her, and fill your heart with thoughts of your Rabb instead. Your actions, your words, your emotions and your thoughts must all be for Allah (swt). Al-Islam is a state of total submission to Allah (swt) and to enter into this submission completely is to submit everything that you have to Him (swt). The other meaning of the word “completely” in this ayah is that we must enter into all of Al-Islam and not only the parts that are convenient to us or only the parts that are to our liking. Al- Islam is a complete package; it is a total way of life that covers every component of the life of the individual and the society. Many Muslims today take only parts of this Din and they leave other parts. For example they only follow the rulings and the injunctions related to worship, and they ignore the rulings related to government, economics, social interactions, and even the rulings related to the states of the heart such as the prohibition of jealousy and the obligation of patience and love for fellow Muslims. So Muslims today have forgotten the command of Allah (swt) to enter into Al-Islam completely. They pick and choose which parts of Al-Islam they want to enter into,
  4. 4. 4 they only enter into the parts that they like and they leave the parts that they do not like. How corrupt a people have we become? How is it that we cannot even fulfill this simple command that our Lord has given us? May Allah (swt) forgive us! May Allah (swt) help our Ummah to gain a correct understanding of this Din! May Allah (swt) help us to see what a rich and vast way of life He (swt) has revealed to us! In the second part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says, “do not follow the footsteps of the Shaitan. Surely he is to you a clear enemy”. In the previous part of the ayah, Allah (swt) told us to enter into the Din of Al-Islam completely and in this part of the ayah Allah (swt) tells us not to follow the footsteps of Shaitan. Allah (swt) also reminds us that Shaitan is our clear and open enemy. The implication here is that if we fail to enter into Al-Islam completely then we would be following the footsteps of Shaitan. To follow the footsteps of Shaitan means to follow the way of Shaitan, the way of disobedience to Allah (swt). If you fail to adopt all of Islam and instead you adopt only the parts of it that are to your liking then you are in fact following the footsteps of Shaitan. So anyone who does not believe in the Islamic State is in fact following the devil. They are picking and choosing which parts of this Din they want to follow. That is something that we do not have the right to do. Allah (swt) has sent you as a Message. In that Message Allah (swt) has clearly told you what to do. Then here you are with your pride and arrogance, your evil and rebellion, your insolence against the Lord and Master, to say that “I am going to follow this and that, but I do not like this and that so I am not going to follow it”. Who are you to say that? How dare the slave question the Master! This is only from Shaitan. Since the dawn of time there has been a war between the forces of Allah (swt) and the forces of Shaitan. The forces that call to complete submission to the Creator and Sustainer in all matters of life and the forces that call to associate partners with Him (swt). You have a choice now to obey the command that Allah (swt) gave you and enter into Al-Islam completely. Based on that choice you make you will choose which side that you want to take in this war. There are no shades of gray in this war; there is only the path of Allah (swt) and the path of devils. So you decide now whose side you want to be in. If you want to give up or give in, thus following the footsteps of Shaitan and choosing to be in his camp, then
  5. 5. 5 remember that he is your clear enemy. He will only lead you to misery and suffering in the life of this world, and he will lead you into total destruction and a painful and lasting punishment in the next world. This is because the outcome of this war is that the forces of Allah (swt) will eventually prevail. How can they lose when they have the Lord and Master of the universe on their side? Any victory that the forces of Shaitan may have is only a temporary one in the life of this world. When the Last Day comes, you will know who is the real victor and the real loser. So think now about this conflict, think now about this command that Allah (swt) has given you, and you decide for yourself what you want to do with the rest of your life. Do you want to dedicate it to your Creator and Sustainer, the One and the Irresistible, or do you want to give it to your clear enemy? May Allah (swt) guide us all to make the correct choice! 210. But if you slide back, after the clear proofs have come to you, then know that surely Allah is Al-Aziz and Al-Hakim. In the previous ayah Allah (swt) commanded us to enter into the Din of Al-Islam completely and Allah (swt) warned us against following Shaitan. Allah (swt) reminded us that Shaitan is our clear enemy. Thus any way of life that we choose except Al-Islam is a way of total ruin and destruction. How can there be anything else when it is the path of our enemy? So the choice was clear and you have made the choice to live a life of worship and servitude to Allah (swt). You have chosen Allah (swt) over Shaitan. But Shaitan is always after you; remember that he has made a promise to lead you astray. So even after you have committed to live a life of worship and servitude to Allah (swt), he can still come and try to tempt you astray. In this ayah, Allah (swt) tells you what will happen to you if you do follow the temptations of Shaitan. Allah (swt) tells us what will happen to all of us if we choose to turn away from Him (swt) after He (swt) had made the distinction between His (swt)’s path and the path of our enemy so clear.
  6. 6. 6 Allah (swt) begins this ayah by saying “But if you slide back”. Notice how beautifully Allah (swt) describes going back to the way of Shaitan after you have entered into the Din of Allah (swt). You will be sliding back. Imagine yourself climbing a mountain. At the top of this mountain is the goal of your life and that is the Pleasure of Allah (swt). If you choose to follow the way of Shaitan, you will be sliding back in your path up this mountain. You will be going back to being that despised creature that only follows its lusts and desires. You will be going back to that low state after Allah (swt) had guided you to a much nobler purpose for your existence. This is exactly what you will be doing if you do not dedicate your entire self to Allah (swt). You will be sliding back down towards destruction instead of going closer to your goal. May Allah (swt) save us from that ever happening to us! Then Allah (swt) says “after the clear proofs have come to you”. Why do you believe in this Message? Do you not believe in it because you are absolutely certain that it is the Truth? Why is that you are absolutely certain? It is because Allah (swt) has established clear and undeniable proofs for this Message. This is a Message that calls on us to believe in the Creator and Sustainer of this universe, and every single thing in this universe is an evidence to the Existence, the Oneness and the total Sovereignty of this Creator. What we see in the universe about the Creator and what the Quran tells us is exactly the same. How then could this Quran not be the Truth when it describes the Creator for us so perfectly, matching exactly the perception that we have of Him (swt) when we study the reality around us? Not only does the Quran describe Allah (swt) perfectly, but Allah (swt) also sent the Quran with a Miracle of it’s own. We know that if all of mankind came together, and they all helped each other, they would not be able to produce even one small Surah like the Surahs of the Quran. Fifteen hundred years of history and the Arabic language itself testify to this fact. There are hundreds and hundreds of other proofs that Allah (swt) has given us to verify the Truthfulness of this Message. Everything from the life of the Prophet (saw) to the kind of society this Quran built is an evidence to the Truth of this Message. Insha Allah all of these will help us to arrive in the absolute certainty of this Message. Once you arrive at the certainty, you have to remind yourself that this Message is no joke. It truly is from Allah (swt). Many of us tell ourselves that we believe in this fact, but many of
  7. 7. 7 us fail to realize the consequences of this belief. Our behavior and our emotions in the life of this world is a testament to this fact. What should we do if we choose to turn away from this Message after Allah (swt) has sent it to us with clear proofs? If we choose to do that, if we choose to slide away, then we should “know that surely Allah is Al-Aziz and Al-Hakim”. When we say that Allah (swt) is “Al-Aziz” we are saying that He (swt) is the Mighty and the Powerful. He (swt) is the Defeater Who overcomes all and Who is not defeated by any. The forces of Shaitan may appear strong in the life of this world. They may control all of the wealth and all of the resources of this planet. Their power may seem to be endless and their lure may seem to be irresistible. But you should know that this is only an illusion. The real Might and the real Power is only with Allah (swt) and there is none who can stand against Him (swt). So if you choose to turn away from Allah (swt), then you should know that you will have no one to help you against Him (swt). Allah (swt) is Power itself and so how could there by anyone who can even hope to oppose Him (swt)? Allah (swt) is also “Al-Hakim”. He (swt) is the Most Wise. He (swt) is the manifestation of the perfection of Wisdom. Such Perfect Wisdom can only come from Perfect Knowledge and so the name “Al-Hakim” also gives the meaning that Allah (swt) is All-Knowing. Why would you then ever choose a way of life other than the way of life prescribed by the Most Wise and the All Knowing? When you know this Name of Allah (swt) do you then think that you can come up with a better way of life than He (swt)? If you choose to turn away from this way of life then you are turning away from the way of life prescribed by the All-Knowing and the Most Wise. All of the power and all of the judgment is with Allah (swt), He (swt) can do all things and all things return to Him (swt) for judgment. So why then would you ever want to turn away from Him (swt)? Those who turn away from this Message after it reaches them clearly have no excuse whatsoever in front of Him (swt). May Allah (swt) save us from being among those! May Allah (swt) help us to remember His (swt)’s Names so that we will realize Him (swt) and so that we will not turn away from Him (swt)!
  8. 8. 8 211. Do they wait except for Allah to come to them in the shadows of clouds and the angels? Then the matter would have been decided. And to Allah to the matters return. In this ayah Allah (swt) asks us a question to make us think and reflect. In the previous ayah, Allah (swt) commanded us to enter into the Din of Al-Islam completely. Allah (swt) reminded us how He (swt) has given us clear signs and undeniable arguments to help us to reach certainty that this Message is indeed the Truth. The only people who would not follow this Message now are those who do not want to follow it. The ones who are looking for an excuse not to follow it. The ones who would rather serve their desires than submit to Allah (swt). These are the people whom Allah (swt) asks us to think about in the question that He (swt) is asking us in this ayah. Remind yourself that in the context of these ayahs Allah (swt) is not speaking only about the disbelievers but He (swt) is also speaking about those Muslims who fail to enter this Din of Islam completely. Now look how Allah (swt) describes these people who refuse to submit to the Truth when they know it, the ones who refuse to enter into Al-Islam completely. The question which Allah (swt) asks in this ayah is “Do they wait except for Allah to come to them in the shadows of clouds and the angels?”. Why are people refusing to enter into the Din of Al-Islam completely? What are they waiting for? Are they waiting for the Day of Judgment that they know will come? The Day of Judgment is a reality that is only waiting to happen. It is only a matter of time. You might think it is a long way away. But remember that your Day of Judgment is your death and death can come at any time. So consider the question that Allah (swt) is asking you in this ayah. If you have failed to enter Islam completely as Allah (swt) has commanded you to, then think about what you will do when the Day of Judgment comes? When you are made to stand before Allah (swt) and He (swt) questions you ask to why you did not follow His (swt)’s command, what then will you say? What excuse will you give? These are the questions that Allah (swt) wants us to ask ourselves in this ayah. When we ask ourselves these questions it should motivate us to fulfill the command of our Rabb and enter into Islam
  9. 9. 9 completely as He (swt) has commanded us to. We should not wait for that tremendous day in which Allah (swt) comes to us in the shadows of the clouds with the angels. May Allah (swt) save us from that day! So this is a day that we must be terrified of. This is a day that should motivate us to enter into Islam completely. This is the general meaning that we can take from this ayah. We must take this meaning and remind ourselves that the exact description that Allah (swt) is giving in this ayah is mutashabiyat. Only Allah (swt) Knows the exact description that He (swt) gives in this ayah. When Allah (swt) says “Allah to come to them in the shadows of clouds”, we cannot think about how this will happen. The meaning of this description is known only to Allah (swt). Because our minds are limited we cannot comprehend how this will happen. We cannot imagine Allah (swt) to be a body that moves through time and space because we know that Allah (swt) is beyond time and space. As for this ayah, we believe in it, we take the general meaning from it, and we leave the true knowledge of how it will happen to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) Knows best! In the second part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “Then the matter would have been decided.” Here Allah (swt) reminds us that when the Day of Judgment comes then the matter of where we will end up would already have been decided. At that moment the test is over, and we longer have the option to choose. For every second of your life now you have a choice. But at that moment when your lifespan finishes, when the sand in your hourglass runs out, the choice that you have now will no longer be there. The matter would be decided, and you will either be told to go the Fire or to go the Garden. You will be told to go and stay forever. Can you even begin to imagine what this means? So now in these precious moments of your life, while you still have a choice, make the correct choice. Make the choice to enter into Islam completely. Submit your body, your words and even your heart completely to Allah (swt). Nothing else matters in this entire universe. In the final part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “And to Allah to the matters return”. Every single matter returns to Allah (swt) for decision. The final decision of where we will end up will be made by Allah (swt) Alone. The matter of judgment for every single person rests with Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) Alone. So do not seek anything from anyone in this world. Remember that the
  10. 10. 10 matter is only with your Lord. No one else can do anything for you. Your whole affair rests with Allah (swt). Allah (swt) is the purpose of our lives and He (swt) is the end of our journey. Every matter returns to Allah (swt) including yours and mine. He (swt) is the only One Who will decide where we will end up. So remember that your life is nothing but a journey to Allah (swt). Do you what you can today to the best of your ability to prepare for the end of your journey. Know with certainty that in the end the matter will return to Him(swt)! 212. Ask the children of Israil how many we gave them of the Clear Signs. And whoever changes the Blessing of Allah after it has come to him, then surely Allah is Severe in Punishment. Let us remind ourselves once again about the context in which these ayahs were revealed. The Islamic State had just been established and Allah (swt) had once again raised a nation of men and women to carry His (swt)’s Message to mankind. Now Allah (swt) was revealing ayahs that were preparing this nation for their important task of carrying this Message to mankind. In the previous ayah, Allah (swt) commanded these Muslims to enter into the Din of Islam completely. How can you carry this Message to others when you yourself do not implement this Message fully in your life? Allah (swt) also reminded us not to wait until the Day of Judgment to enter into this Din completely, because on that Day when the angels come through the clouds, then the matter would already have been decided. After that day you cannot do one more good deed or say one more good word. Allah (swt) also told us of all of the Clear Signs that He (swt) has given us so that we can know that this Message is indeed the Truth. In this ayah Allah (swt) reminds us once again of the nation that came before us, the nation to whom the task of carrying this Message was given before.
  11. 11. 11 Allah (swt) begins this ayah by saying “Ask the children of Israil how many we gave them of the Clear Signs”. We know that the children of Israil were given several Signs to prove to them that this Message is indeed the Truth. They saw the staff of Musa (as) turn into a snake, the saw all of the plagues and the curses that fell upon the people of Firaun, they saw the ocean part in two directly in front of their eyes and they even saw the mountain being raised and placed above them. They knew that it was only Allah (swt) Who could produce such miracles and so they knew that the Message that Musa (as) had been sent with was indeed the Truth. Despite this certain knowledge that they had, they still refused to follow this Message. Even though they were certain that this Din was from Allah (swt), they still refused to enter into it completely as they had been commanded to do. Allah (swt) tells us about them here as an example so that we can avoid being like them. Allah (swt) shows us that it is not simply a matter of being shown signs and miracles, a human being can be shown all of the signs and miracles in the world but unless he has the humbleness and the sincerity within himself to submit to Allah (swt), then he will never accept these signs. So in the case of the children of Israil there is a terrible warning for us, we must not think that just because we have such a powerful Miracle like the Quran, our Iman is then safe. We must still strive to humble ourselves and submit ourselves before the Ultimate and the Magnificent. Otherwise we will not perceive all of the signs that are in front of us. The children of Israil had countless signs and they still turned away from this Message. This was only because of their pride and arrogance. May Allah (swt) save us from ever becoming like them! May Allah (swt) enable us to always turn to Him (swt) and to submit ourselves completely to Him (swt)! May Allah (swt) allow us to see all of the signs and to draw closer to Him (swt) through them! In the second part of the ayah, Allah (swt) says “And whoever changes the Blessing of Allah after it has come to him”. This is exactly what the children of Israil did. Allah (swt) gave them His (swt)’s Blessing by giving them this Message and giving them the honorable task of carrying this Message to mankind. But what did they do with this Blessing that Allah (swt) had given them? They changed it. They made lawful what Allah (swt) had prohibited and they made prohibited what Allah (swt) made lawful. They told their people that they no longer needed to rule by the Law of Allah (swt) and that the people should be content with the laws of man. They also
  12. 12. 12 told their people that it was no longer a duty to carry this Message to mankind, and they even claimed that they are above the rest of mankind and that the rest of mankind does not deserve the blessings of this Message. They also changed the descriptions of the Final Messenger that was in their Book so that their people and their children would not follow the Prophet (saw). This Message of Islam was the Blessing of Allah (swt) for them and they changed it. What then is their repayment for changing the Message of Allah (swt)? Allah (swt) says “then surely Allah is Severe in Punishment”. You know how weak you are and how susceptible your body is to pain. How much discomfort do you feel from the prick of a needle or something hot touching you? So you know how much pain the creatures of this world can inflict upon you. You know how much pain a knife or a disease can cause you. Now think about Allah (swt), how much pain can He (swt) inflict upon you if He (swt) wanted to hurt you? Allah (swt) could inflict pain on you like you had never known before. So when Allah (swt) says that He (swt) is severe in punishment you should realize that this is something that should send chills down your spine. Not even the most frightening horror movie should be as terrifying as this ayah of the Quran. The pain that Allah (swt) can inflict upon those whom Him (swt) is not pleased with is far worse than any pain that any person has suffered in the life of this world. Far, far worse. May Allah (swt) save us! Are you scared now? If you are not then you should realize that Muslims today are doing exactly the same thing that Allah (swt) criticizes the children of Israil for in this ayah. We also have changed the Blessing of Allah (swt) after it has come to us. We have changed Islam from a complete Din that addresses every aspect of life into a few rituals. Even if it is not you or me that has changed it, if we keep silent while the majority of the Ummah still has the perception that Islam is only a few rituals then we are supporting those who have changed this Din by our silence. So we should all make an effort to correct the understanding of this Ummah towards their Din. By us keeping quiet we are acknowledging that Islam is only a few rituals when in reality it is so much more. So we have to teach the Muslims what Islam truly is. We have to show them how it is a complete ideology that gives guidance in every aspect of life. If we do not make the effort to the best of our ability, then we have to fear the threat that Allah (swt) has given us in this ayah.
  13. 13. 13 Such would be what we would deserve for preventing the Mercy and Justice of this Message from reaching the Muslims and from reaching mankind. May Allah (swt) save us from that terrible punishment! May Allah (swt) give us His (swt)’s enabling grace to teach the Muslims what Islam really is! May Allah (swt) give us the enabling grace to guide all the good and sincere people in this world to the Light of this Message! This Message that Allah (swt) has sent is His (swt)’s Blessing and Favor for all mankind. We ask Him (swt) to make this Message a reality in the world once again. When we see all of the suffering and all of the pain that is happening in the world today, we can see how all of humanity is thirsty for it. 213. The life of this world has been made to seem attractive to those who do kufr, and they mock those who believe. But the ones who have Taqwa will be above them on the Day of Standing. And Allah gives to whom He wills without measure. In the previous ayah Allah (swt) told us about the children of Israil. They were the ones who were sent this Message before our Ummah. They were given clear signs and evidences to prove to them that this Message was indeed the Truth. They were sent prophet after prophet and messenger after messenger calling them to return to the worship and servitude of Allah (swt). They were told time and time again to enter into this Din completely. Despite all of this, they still turned away from this Message. What is it that could make a people turn away from a Message that is so clear? What is it that could make a people turn away from Allah (swt) when He (swt) is the Ultimate Reality? How could a people still go astray when they had been given such clear warning? How can a people disbelieve after they had been shown such clear signs? How can a people be so ungrateful when Allah (swt) has been so Kind and Generous to them? Allah (swt) answers these questions for us in this ayah.
  14. 14. 14 Allah (swt) says, “The life of this world has been made to seem attractive to those who do kufr”. It is nothing but the life of this world that turns people astray from the worship and servitude of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) tells us in this ayah that the life of this world has been made beautiful for those who choose to turn away from this Message. They see the world as attractive and beautiful, and they desire it with a strong desire. The Prophet (saw) has told us how this world is a Garden for the one who does kufr. One of the meanings of this hadith is that the one who does kufr is the one who wants to stay in this world for as long as possible and who wants to enjoy himself in this world to the full extent possible. He does not care about anything except his pleasure. All that he cares about is satisfying his lusts and desires. Such is how much the life of this world has been made to seem attractive and alluring to him. But is this world worth so much? The Prophet (saw) has also told us that this world is not even worth the wing of a mosquito to Allah (swt). What then is the real value of the life of this world? What can you do with a wing of a mosquito? The human being is presented with a choice on whether to accept or reject this Message that has come to him from Allah (swt), For those who choose to reject this Message and disbelieve in it, Allah (swt) makes the life of this world seem attractive to them. Even though this world is really worthless, Allah (swt) makes it look so beautiful for them. This is part of their punishment for rejecting this Message when they knew that it was the Truth. This then leads them further astray. So they chase after this world, and they forget Allah (swt) and they forget the Message that He (swt) has sent to them. What then will be their condition when they return to Him (swt)? May Allah (swt) save us from this punishment! May Allah (swt) allow us to see the life of this world for the reality that it truly is! A temporary and fleeting existence that is doomed to destruction. In the second part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “and they mock those who believe”. Those who choose to follow the life of this world cannot understand those who believe. They are so in love with the pleasures of this world that they cannot understand how anyone would give it up. They consider those who give up the life of this world to be fools. So they mock them and ridicule them wherever they see them. This was exactly what many of the enemies of this Message did to the early Muslims at the time of Prophet (saw). Many of the Sahabah in Makkah,
  15. 15. 15 like Bilal (ra), Ammar bin Yasir (ra) and Suhayb ar-Rumi (ra) were ridiculed and mocked by the Quraysh chiefs because of their beliefs. The Quraysh chiefs thought these noble Sahabah to be fools because they had believed in this Message. But in reality the true fools were themselves. Allah (swt) explains why in the next part of the ayah. Allah (swt) says “But the ones who have Taqwa will be above them on the Day of Standing”. The ones who believe are the ones who have Taqwa and they will be above the disbelievers on the Day of Standing. All of mankind will be standing before Allah (swt) on that Day. But on that Day, Allah (swt) will raise in rank some people and He (swt) will bring low others. The true believers who had Taqwa of Allah (swt) like Bilal (ra), Ammar bin Yasir (ra) and Suhayb ar-Rumi (ra) will be raised high in rank. While the Quraysh chiefs who chose the life of this world will be brought low. So as all of mankind stands on a Day that is fifty thousand years long, the Quraysh chiefs will look up and see the noble Sahahbah whom they used to mock. They will see these Sahabah raised high above them. They will see them above them and ready to enter the Garden, while they know that they themselves are doomed for the Fire. Then they will realize the true reality and they will know who were the real fools. Then they will know who it is who deserves to be mocked. They will curse themselves for not following this Message that they knew was the Truth. They will curse themselves for being deceived by the allures of the life of this world. They would wish that they are with the Sahabah whom they see above them. But they know that they had sealed their fate when they chose to reject this Message that had been sent to them by their Creator. They know that they had earned the Wrath of their Creator when they chose to mock His beloved. May Allah (swt) save us from making the same mistake that they did! May Allah (swt) save us from being deceived by this world! In the final part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “And Allah gives to whom He wills without measure”. Many of the early Muslims were mocked and ridiculed because they were poor. They chose to spend all of their time in worship and in gaining knowledge about this Din. They did not go chasing after the life of this world. They also gave away all of their wealth in the cause of Allah (swt). So they were left without much of the wealth and glitter of this world. This was another reason why the Quraysh chiefs used to mock at them. The ones who rejected this
  16. 16. 16 Message for the life of this world could not understand how anyone would ever give up the material things of this world. For them the accumulation of material goods was the purpose of their existence. So they could not understand how anyone would give it up? But the believers gave away much of their material possessions and their wealth. They gave it away only hoping for the reward from Allah (swt) for it. This was because they knew Allah (swt). Allah (swt) is the One Who gives without measure, and for those who give their wealth hoping for reward from Allah (swt), they will be provided for by the One Who gives without measure. Allah (swt) will give them without measure both in this life and the next. In this world, Allah (swt) will give them the sweetness of Iman in their hearts and He (swt) will give them the tranquility and the serenity of Knowing Him (swt). Allah (swt) will also provide for their needs and the needs of their families. Allah (swt) may not give them riches but He (swt) will give them enough to get by. Allah (swt) will give them contentment in whatever they have of this world, and He (swt) will give them the love of mankind. Allah (swt) will also give victory for their nation and success for their cause. All of this is only in the life of this world, but what Allah (swt) will give them in the Hereafter is much more and is far better to what they have been given in this world. What will Allah (swt) give them in the Hereafter? Allah (swt) will allow them to have an easy death, to have peace and tranquility in the grave, to be saved from the terrors of the Last Day, to be given a quick reckoning, to be saved from the Fire, to be admitted into Gardens of Bliss, to have the most delicious foods therein and the sweetest of drinks, to have the touch of companions pure and gentle, but best of all is to the gain the Pleasure of Allah (swt) and the chance to behold Allah (swt). Can anything be better than this? The quantity of such gifts cannot even be measured, and that is why Allah (swt) is the One Who gives without measure to whom He (swt) wills. May we be among those whom Allah (swt) wills to give all of this for! So what is it that made Bilal (ra), Ammar bin Yasir (ra) and Suhayb ar-Rumi (ra) worthy of these great gifts? They received these great gifts because they were not deceived by the life of this world. They chose Allah (swt) instead of the life of this world. They realized the reality of this worldly life and how it pales when compared to the Reality of Allah (swt). They realized how everything that they had was only from Allah (swt) and so they had an obligation to show
  17. 17. 17 gratitude to Him (swt) by serving Him (swt). They realized how Allah (swt) was the Perfect One and so only He (swt) deserved all of the worship and servitude. May Allah (swt) allow us to come this realization as well! May Allah (swt) guide us along their path! May Allah (swt) give us the ability to make the choice that they did! May Allah (swt) save us from the temptations of this world! 214. Mankind was once one nation, so Allah raised among them prophets as bearers of good news and as warners, and He sent down with them the Book with the Truth so that He may judge between mankind wherein they differed. And only the ones who were given it (the Book) differed concerning it, even after the Clear Signs had come to them. So Allah by His Leave guided the ones who believed to the Truth in what they (the disbelievers) had differed. And Allah guides whom He will to the Straight Path. In the previous ayah, Allah (swt) told us how the life of this world had lead many among mankind astray. The only ones who were not tempted away by the life of this world were those few sincere believers whom He (swt) had guided. These were those who chose Allah (swt) over the glitter of the life of this world. Allah (swt) told us how they would be raised above the disbelievers on the Day of Judgment. In the life of this world, the disbelievers used to mock at them but on the Day of Judgment, Allah (swt) will raise the believers above the disbelievers and everyone will know who are the winners and who are the losers. Now a question to ask ourselves
  18. 18. 18 is that is this how mankind always was? Was mankind always divided into this group of believers and disbelievers? In this ayah, Allah (swt) answers this question. In this one ayah, Allah (swt) gives us the history of mankind and He (swt) shows us how we have found ourselves today in this battle between Iman and kufr. Allah (swt) begins this lesson of history by telling us that in the beginning “Mankind was once one nation”. We know that the first human being was Adam (as) and he (as) was a righteous prophet who knew that the purpose of existence was the worship and servitude of Allah (swt). Adam (as) taught his children this purpose of existence, and they remained on the guidance that he (as) gave them for generations. It was at this time that mankind was one nation. Mankind was one family of believers. All of them knew that what that mattered in life was the worship and servitude of Allah (swt) and so they dedicated their lives to this purpose. Instead of chasing after this world, the family of Adam (as) spent their hours in worship and servitude to Allah (swt). Remembering Allah (swt) and glorifying Him (swt) in the hours of the morning and the evening. It was a society that did not see the moral corruption and degradation that we see in the world today. They knew that Allah (swt) was the purpose of their existence and so they abided themselves by the Law of Allah (swt) both inwardly and outwardly. This brought peace and tranquility to each of their individual lives and their collective life as a family and a society. In the next part of the ayah, Allah (swt) says “so Allah raised among them prophets as bearers of good news and as warners”. Now why would Allah (swt) send prophets if mankind was already one nation that had already been guided? This part of the ayah may lead to confusion among some people who have this question. But those who are familiar with the style of the Quran can easily see the meaning here. You see when Allah (swt) narrates history for us, He (swt) does not tell us each and every single event. Rather Allah (swt) focuses on the events that are important and He (swt) leaves out those events that can be derived from context. So we can tell from the context of these ayahs that the reason why Allah (swt) sent these prophets and messengers was because mankind had become divided after they had once been united, and mankind had disbelieved after they had once believed. So even though Allah (swt) does not explicitly tell us that mankind differed and divided after they had once been one nation, we can
  19. 19. 19 derive this fact from the context of the other parts of the ayah. This style is part of the Miracle of the Quran, and it is how Allah (swt) can put so much meaning into only a few words. So far in our history lesson we have learned that mankind was once one community of believers submitting themselves to Allah (swt). But then they began to disbelieve and differ. They disbelieved in the total Oneness and absolute Sovereignty of Allah (swt) and they divided amongst themselves into various sects and nations. Their father Adam (as) had taught them to be united and worship Allah (swt) Alone, but they had allow themselves to be lead astray by Shaitan. So Allah (swt) send prophets and messenger to guide them back to Him (swt). These prophets came with good news for those who would believe in them and they came with warning for those who would choose to disbelieve. The good news is the peace and tranquility, and the Mercy and Justice that comes from this Message when it is implemented in the life of this world, and it is the Garden and Pleasure of Allah (swt) in the next world. The warning is the chaos and the injustice, the misery and the suffering, the confusion and the doubt that comes from turning away from this Message in this world and the Fire and being denied from Allah (swt) in the next world. This was what the prophets came with in order to call the people back to Allah (swt). Then Allah (swt) says “and He sent down with them the Book with the Truth so that He may judge between mankind wherein they differed”. So not only were the prophets and messengers sent as bearers of good news and givers of warning, but they were also sent with the Book. The Book has the Truth in it. The Truth in terms of beliefs where it tells the people which beliefs are true and which are false and the Truth in terms of actions where it tells them which actions are pleasing to Allah (swt) and which are not. The purpose of Allah (swt) sending the Book was so that with it He (swt) may judge between mankind concerning wherein they differ. Human beings naturally have disputes and conflicts. The purpose of a government and the purpose of a system of courts is to resolve these conflicts and to take care of the affairs of the society. So one of the reasons why Allah (swt) has sent down this Book is so that He (swt) may Judge between mankind and so that He (swt) may resolve their disputes and conflicts through His (swt)’s Book. The Quran is just as much a legal book on the basis of which a government and a system of courts can be formed as it is a book of admonition and spirituality. It has detailed rules
  20. 20. 20 on how an economic system is to be formed that can be used to distribute the wealth of a nation. It also has laws on to how a social system can be formed to regulate the interactions of the people in the society. An entire society can be formed based on the principles established in this Book. We did once and we can do it again. How can people know ayahs such as these and still say that Islam is not political in nature? Allah (swt) is clearly telling us here that one of the reasons why He (swt) send down this Book is so that He (swt) may judge and rule mankind. So from this part of the ayah we can see that there were two purposes to Allah (swt) sending down the Book. One reason was to return mankind to the Truth after they had divided and disbelieved, and another reason was so that He (swt) may Judge between the people and resolve all of their conflicts and disputations. So the Quran today can be used to unify our Ummah and it can be the foundation upon which the systems of the Islamic State are formed. If only the Muslims would look at the Quran today in this way. If only the Muslims would look for guidance sincerely from their Creator and not from some saint, or imam, or king. In the next part of the ayah, Allah (swt) says “And only the ones who were given it (the Book) differed concerning it, even after the Clear Signs had come to them”. So Allah (swt) sent the Book with which to guide mankind to Him (swt). The word “Book” here could refer to any of the Books that were given to any of the previous nations. The Message in all of these Books was the same; all of the Books were only calling mankind to return to the worship and servitude of Allah (swt). In this ayah, Allah (swt) tells us that even those who were given the Book began to differ among themselves. Allah (swt) tells us that they differed even after the Clear Signs had already come to them. They knew for certain that this Book was from Allah (swt). But they disbelieved in it and they differed concerning it even after they had been given the Clear Signs. Once again this shows us the evil nature of the human being. He has been a given a Book from Allah (swt) that reminds him of the reason why he was created. He has been shown Clear Signs so that he may know that this Message is indeed the Truth. But still he chooses to turn away from it. This shows us the absolute Love and Mercy of Allah (swt) and the evil and the ingratitude of the human being. May Allah (swt) save us from ever becoming like them! May Allah (swt) remind us how much of a Mercy this Quran is!
  21. 21. 21 Now did everyone who had been given the Book choose to disbelieve in it? No, Allah (swt) tells us in the next part of the ayah how there were some sincere believers in this Message. Allah (swt) says “So Allah by His Leave guided the ones who believed to the Truth in what they (the disbelievers) had differed”. There were some who had chosen to believe in this Message. They chose to be sincere and humble before Allah (swt). They had chose Allah (swt) over the life of this world. Allah (swt) rewarded such people for their choice by giving them guidance. The guidance from Allah (swt) that guides them to the Truth. The Truth about which the rest of mankind had differed and disagreed on. This is the reward that Allah (swt) gives for those who choose to be sincere and those who choose to submit to Him (swt). This is the gift of guidance from Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) make us among the sincere! May Allah (swt) grant us the gift of guidance! In the final part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “And Allah guides whom He will to the Straight Path”. Guidance comes from only Allah (swt). We cannot be true believers only by our choice. The only choice that we have is to seek the guidance from Allah (swt) and beg of Him (swt) to give it to us. We ourselves cannot guide ourselves but we need Allah (swt) to guide us. But we must always believe that if we strive hard to seek His (swt)’s Pleasure, if we strive to dedicate our entire lives to Him (swt), then we have a hope that Allah (swt) will guide us. Although the guidance comes from Allah (swt), remember that you still have a responsibility to seek that guidance from Him (swt) by doing the actions that are pleasing to Him (swt). The more that you sincerely do to seek the Pleasure of Allah (swt), Insha Allah the more that He (swt) will guide you. Remember that at the end of the day, as Allah (swt) tells in this ayah, Allah (swt) will only guide those whom He (swt) pleases. So in order to receive this guidance we must make ourselves among those Allah (swt) is pleased with. Only then will Allah (swt) guide us. We must try our best to be worthy of that guidance, and we beg and plead to Allah (swt) to grant it to us. One lesson that we can take from this ayah is to see how mankind truly is one nation. Even though we are so divided today, this is not how we were meant to be. We were meant to be one nation united under one flag and serving one purpose. This flag is the black and white flag that bears the Kalimah. This purpose is the worship and servitude of Allah (swt). This is how we
  22. 22. 22 once were and this is how we must strive to be once again. May Allah (swt) make it so! May Allah (swt) make the flag of Islam spread to every corner of this world as He (swt) promised it would! May Allah (swt) unite mankind as one nation once again! 215. Or do you think that you will enter the Garden while there has not come to you the like of which came to those before you? They were afflicted with deprivation and hardships and were so shaken until even the Messenger and those who believed with him said “When will the Help of Allah come?” Now, surely the Help of Allah is near. In this ayah Allah (swt) continues to prepare the Muslim Ummah for carrying His (swt)’s Message to mankind. We have seen how in the previous ayahs Allah (swt) reminded the Muslims that the effort to carry this Message to mankind was a struggle and a battle that had gone on seen the beginning of time. On the one hand there were the sincere believers who submitted themselves to Allah (swt). They dedicated themselves to Allah (swt) and to carrying His (swt)’s Message to mankind. These were those whom Allah (swt) had guided to Him (swt). On the other hand were those who had chosen to reject this Message. These were those for whom the life of this world had been made beautiful. So they turned away from Allah (swt) to chase after the material and ephemeral pleasures of this world. This is the conflict for which Allah (swt) was preparing the Muslim Ummah in these ayahs. Now it is true that the sincere believers have Allah (swt) on their side, but does this mean that the battle will be easy for them? Can they expect to spend the entire day in the masjid making Dua to Allah (swt) to give them victory and not make any effort of their own? Allah (swt) answers such questions in this ayah.
  23. 23. 23 Allah (swt) answers these questions by asking us a question. Allah (swt) asks us “Or do you think that you will enter the Garden while there has not come to you the like of which came to those before you?”. We as human beings always need to remind ourselves that we are here on this earth as part of a test. This test is the purpose of our existence. Every moment of our lives we are being tested. At every moment of our lives Allah (swt) is recording if we are doing the actions that are pleasing to Him (swt) or if we are doing the actions that are pleasing to our own lower selves. The level of this test is based on the rank of the one being tested. No one is tested more than the messengers of Allah (swt). They are the highest in rank so their test is the most severe. After the prophets and messengers it is those who choose to carry this Message to mankind who are tested the most severely. This is because like the prophets, the dawah carriers are those who the closest to Allah (swt). Because the messengers and the dawah carriers are close to Allah (swt) He (swt) wants to test them more. Because the more that Allah (swt) tests them the more that He (swt) can love them when they strive and show patience for Him (swt). While those who are distant from Allah (swt) are those who have been given easy and comfortable lives. They enjoy their lives and rarely think about their Lord. How can Allah (swt) love such a people? So we see that it is based on our performance on this test that we will gain the Love, the Pleasure and the Mercy of Allah (swt), and it is only with the Mercy of Allah (swt) that we can enter the Garden. If Allah (swt) is pleased with us then He (swt) will give us His (swt)’s Mercy and it is only with His (swt)’s Mercy that any of us can enter the garden. So our good performance on this test does not guarantee us the Garden, rather it only gives us a chance to gain the Mercy of Allah (swt) and only through the Mercy of Allah (swt) can we gain the Garden. No matter how much patience we have, and no matter how much we strive, our actions alone do not even qualify us for a moment in the Garden. So Allah (swt) asks the believers in this ayah if they hope to enter the Garden without going through any kind of test at all. Allah (swt) reminds them that this life is indeed a test, and He (swt) reminds them how severely those who carried this Message in the past were tested. Allah (swt) thus changes their entire outlook towards this life. This life is nothing but a quest for the Pleasure of Allah (swt). The tests are but parts of this quest.
  24. 24. 24 If you have any doubts about the nature of this life you only have to look to those who came before you. Those who carried this Message before the Ummah of the Prophet (saw) were severely tested and Allah (swt) reminds us of this fact in this ayah. Allah (swt) says “They were afflicted with deprivation and hardships”. Although we translated the words that Allah (swt) uses in this ayah to describe the trials that they went through as “deprivation and hardships” in reality the original Arabic words give a far deeper meaning. These words give meanings of misery, extreme poverty, hardships, sufferings, illness, and deprivation. However much a human being can suffer because of physical pain and emotional pain as well being deprived of food, drink, shelter and clothing, that is how much the past nations suffered when they carried this Message to mankind. You cannot even imagine the level of pain that they went through! This is how severely those before us were tested. May Allah (swt) save us from trials that are so great! May Allah (swt) not lay upon us a burden like He (swt) laid on those before us! How great were these trials that the dawah carriers of the past had to go through? How much did they suffer? Up to what limited were they tested? Allah (swt) describes their situation by telling us how they “were so shaken until even the Messenger and those who believed with him said “When will the Help of Allah come?” ”. The trials were so severe that it shook them as if they were being shaken by an earthquake. They were so shaken by these trials that even the Messenger of Allah (swt) and those sincere believers who were with him began to cry for the Help of Allah (swt) to come. This was how severe and how trying these trials were. Can you even imagine how difficult it must have been? Here is a man who is the Messenger of Allah (swt), a man whom Allah (swt) spoke with. But even he was put through such great trials that even he cried out for the Help of Allah (swt) to come. This shows how he and the believers with him were pushed to the limit. But it also shows us that Allah (swt) loves them and that He (swt) has kept a great reward in store for them for their patience. The reason why Allah (swt) gave them such a great trial is because He (swt) wants to reward them greatly. These trials were great indeed. They were so great that even the messenger himself was questioning as to when the Help of Allah would come. But the greatness of the trial also shows the greatness of the reward that awaited them.
  25. 25. 25 In the final part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “Now, surely the Help of Allah is near”. Just when you think when there is no more hope left. Just when you think that the believers have lost and the forces of kufr have won. Just when you think that the Muslims will never gain victory. Just when you think that the suffering and the misery of the Muslims cannot get any worse. Just when you think that this dawah will never be successful and that Islam will never return. Just when you would think that all hope is lost. This is when the Help of Allah (swt) is near. Your Lord will test you to the limit, and if you can have patience for just one moment more, then you will find the Help of Allah (swt). The Help of Allah (swt) is victory. This was the point that the Messenger and the believers whom Allah (swt) had described in the previous ayah were at. This was how desperate their situation had become. That is when Allah (swt) says “Now, surely the Help of Allah is near”. So never give up hope. The Help of Allah (swt) is coming. The nations who were carrying this dawah before you suffered in ways that you cannot even imagine. So whatever difficulty that you are going through now, know that it is nothing like what they went through and remember that it is part of the test that Allah (swt) has prepared for you. This test is only so that Allah (swt) may raise your rank and bring you closer to Him (swt). So always keep your trust and your hope on Allah (swt) and always repeat to yourself this part of the ayah “Now, surely the Help of Allah is near”. May the Help of Allah (swt) come soon! May Allah (swt) give this Ummah victory! Now it is important to remember that this ayah does not give the meaning that the life of the dawah carrier is filled with suffering. Nor does it give the meaning that any of us will have to face trials as those that Allah (swt) is describing in this ayah. We should always pray to our Lord to keep us safe from such trials. The true believer, the dawah carrier, in fact has the most content and the most peaceful of lives. There are many great scholars whom when their students visited them in prison they would find them smiling and in complete peace. This would be so even though these great scholars were being tortured or severely beaten. So this ayah does not give the meaning that the life of the believer is filled with suffering. Rather it only serves to remind us that we are all tested. Some of us more than others. Thus be patient with all that befalls you. Realize that with Allah (swt) you can overcome any trial and His (swt) Help is always near.
  26. 26. 26 216. They ask you what they can spend. Say “Whatever you spend from good, it should be for parents, for near relatives, for orphans, for the Miskeen, and for the travelers. And whatever you do from good, surely Allah Knows it well”. In the previous ayahs, we saw Allah (swt) preparing the Muslim Ummah for carrying this Message to mankind. Allah (swt) reminded them how the effort to carry this Message to mankind was a struggle that had existed since the dawn of time. It was for this purpose that Allah (swt) had sent all of the prophets and messengers. Allah (swt) also reminded the Muslims how they would have be patient and steadfast because the role of carrying this Message required the nation that bears this responsibility to go through severe test and trials. Only those who demonstrate patience have a chance of their actions being accepted by Allah (swt). Only those who show patience have a hope of getting the Help of Allah (swt). Not only is it required to show patience and steadfastness through trials and difficulties, but the mission of carrying this Message also requires sacrifice. One of these sacrifices was that of wealth and resources. So in this ayah, Allah (swt) teaches us how we should be willing to part with our wealth if we are among those who would carry this Message to mankind. At the time of the Prophet (saw), many of the Muslims were ready and willing to sacrifice their wealth to gain the Pleasure of Allah (swt), but they were unsure as to who was the most deserving of their wealth. They wanted to give their money in the way of Allah (swt) but they were not sure who to give it to. Allah (swt) addresses their doubts in this ayah. Allah (swt) begins this ayah by saying “They ask you what they can spend”. Once again we can see how the Quran is not a static book, but it responds to the questions and situations that arose in the lives of the Muslims. This fact that the Quran is dynamic is a further proof of it’s Miracle because not only is at it the height of Arabic but it is Arabic that came in
  27. 27. 27 response to the environment. To compose a Quran like this on the fly, and in response to the questions put forth by the people would be impossible for any human writer to accomplish, let along for someone illiterate like the Prophet (saw). So in this part of the ayah, we see Allah (swt) Himself responds to the questions of the Muslims when they asked what they could spend. Look how beautiful also is the attitude of the early Muslims; they were looking to spend their hard earned wealth. Muslims today grip their wealth and they hold on to it thinking that it is their only savior. While the early Muslims at the time of the Prophet (saw) were asking the Prophet (saw) how to spend their wealth. What will it take to return our thinking and behavior to that of the early Muslims? Allah (swt) responds to the questions of the early Muslims by commanding the Prophet (saw) to “Say “Whatever you spend from good”. Before we look at whom Allah (swt) has commanded us to spend on, notice that Allah (swt) refers to spending from “the good”. Thus the command to spend is from “the good”. So the spending here is not restricted to spending money, but it is anything that you can spend from the “good”. The “good” is what you have that you give up sincerely to seek the Pleasure of Allah (swt). This could be your time, your effort, your food, your home, or your transportation. All that we give up to seek the Pleasure of Allah (swt) is that which is good. Then Allah (swt) lists the groups of people on whom we must spend. Allah (swt) says “it should be for parents, for near relatives, for orphans, for the Miskeen, and for the travelers”. We covered the importance of spending on each of these categories of people in our tafsir of ayah 178 of this Surah. Please refer to that ayah if you would like to be reminded of why it is so important to spend on these groups of people. A question to ask ourselves here is that why does not Allah (swt) tell us to spend on dawah and jihad? If dawah and jihad are so important then why does Allah (swt) not mention them here? Why does Allah (swt) mention these categories of people first? Is not the mission of this Ummah to spread the Message of Allah (swt) to mankind? So should dawah and jihad have priority when it comes to spending for the way of Allah (swt)? We believe the answer to these questions is that it is most important to take care of those need in our own society first. Muslims care for all mankind but we should first make sure
  28. 28. 28 that our own family and our own community is taken care of before we try to help others. So first we should spend on our families, then we should spend on those who are most deprived and most in need in our own community. Once these people have been taken care of then we can spend our wealth on the effort of dawah and jihad in carrying this Message to mankind. As always, Allah (swt) Knows best! In the final part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “And whatever you do from good, surely Allah Knows it well”. Here Allah (swt) once again reiterates that He (swt) Knows well even the smallest of good deeds that we do. So we must never belittle any good deed. Even if all the charity that we can give is to smile in the face of our brother, then that is what we must do. The Knowledge of Allah (swt) when it comes to our deeds is even beyond our comprehension. If we do even the smallest of good deeds, but we keep our intention for Allah (swt) in that deed then we can hope for Allah (swt). We can hope for a reward from Him (swt) for even the smallest of good deeds that we do. As long as your intention was pure, Allah (swt) will reward you for even the smallest of deeds that you did for Him (swt). So spend from everything that you have for your Creator. Do not only spend from your money but also spend from the moments of your life. Spend for your parents, spend for your family, spend for the poor, spend on all that is pleasing to your Lord. Realize that your Lord knows well all that you spend for Him (swt). Realize that this life is nothing but spending more and more of what you have for Him (swt). May Allah (swt) allow us to spend from all that is good like the early Muslims did! May Allah (swt) allow us to do as many good deeds as possible, small and big, to seek His (swt) Pleasure and may we do them realizing that He (swt) Knows about them well!
  29. 29. 29 217. Prescribed for you is fighting although it is disliked by you. But it may be that you hate a thing and it is good for you and that you like a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows while you do not know. We see in this ayah how Allah (swt) continues to prepare the Muslims for their role of carrying His (swt)’s Message to mankind. In the previous ayah, Allah (swt) reminded the Muslims how it was necessary to spend from their wealth. They should spend on their family, and their relatives and those in need. Allah (swt) also reminded them how He (swt) Knows whatever they spend of good and He (swt) Knows every good action that they do. But this task of carrying the Message of Allah (swt) to mankind not only requires the sacrifice of wealth and resources but it also requires fighting and warfare. It is to this aspect of carrying the Message to mankind that Allah (swt) brings our attention to in this ayah. Allah (swt) begins this ayah by saying “Prescribed for you is fighting”. Now that the Islamic State had been established, Allah (swt) obligated fighting for the Muslim community. The fighting that Allah (swt) obligates has only two purposes. Either to defend the Muslims or to remove the obstacles that prevent the Message of Allah (swt) from reaching mankind. These are the only two reasons where it is permissible to fight. Our scholars also maintain that one of the preconditions for the obligation of fighting is the existence of the Islamic State and a Khalifah who rules over it. The Khalifah is the only one who can wage jihad and send the Muslim armies out for war. This was the way of the Prophet (saw) and the early companions. They never fought when the Islamic State was not present. Allah (swt) Knows best. So for us today jihad is an obligation but that obligation necessitates the presence of the Islamic State. So the first obligation is to establish the Islamic State with a Khalifah who rules over it following only the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His (swt)’s Messenger (saw). Where in
  30. 30. 30 the Muslim world today does such a State exist? If you were to study the political structure of the government of those countries today who claim to be “Islamic States” you will see that they do not even come close to what the Islamic State should be. All of them violate the very first principle of the Islamic State in that they give sovereignty to other than Allah (swt). This false god could be a king or a president or a parliament or a “shura” council. None of these are sanctioned in the governmental structure of the Islamic State, instead they are all systems of government that have been borrowed from the West. Thus what we find in the Muslim world are Western and kufr governments that have Islam sprinkled here and there so as to fool the ignorant masses. But in reality there is no Islamic State today. So jihad is still an obligation for the Muslims today, to save our brethren who are oppressed and whose home is occupied by the enemies of this Message, just as it is an obligation to bring down the governments that dare to rule by other than the Law of Allah (swt) and who prevent the Message of Allah (swt) from reaching their people. But to accomplish this obligation we first have to work to restore the Islamic State, and so that is the more pressing obligation. As always Allah (swt) Knows best. Allah (swt) then says “although it is disliked by you”. The vast majority of humans do not like fighting in battle. You have to leave the comfort and safety of your home, you have to part with your family whom you love, you often have to travel and make a journey to an unknown land. You also have to leave your business, your trade or whatever obligation that you may have at home. You also have to make great financial sacrifices. When the Islamic State was first formed, the Muslim soldiers paid for their own weapons, armor and mount. All of this is required only at the beginning, then when you are actually fighting you have to exert a great amount of effort when you are in combat with your enemy. You have to exert effort to gain strength to overpower your enemy just as you must exert effort to gain the courage to face your enemy and to stand your ground while you are in combat. You know that there is a very good possibility of becoming injured in battle, of feeling pain, or losing limbs, of being taken prisoner and being tortured, and even of death. The Muslim soldier who goes out into battle has to deal with all of these. So most humans, including you and me, do not like fighting. Allah (swt) acknowledges this fact in this ayah when He (swt) says about fighting that “it is disliked by you”.
  31. 31. 31 However in the next part of the ayah Allah (swt) says “But it may be that you hate a thing and it is good for you and that you like a thing and it is bad for you”. We as human beings always need to remind ourselves how limited our knowledge is. We only know about the world what we can sense, we do not know anymore beyond that. Take the example of a pen, just by looking at that pen can you tell whether it is a good object or an evil object? You cannot, you only know that it can be used for both good and evil, but you yourself cannot say whether that object is good or evil. All that you really know about that pen is it’s shape and color. The same can be said about anything that we sense in the universe. All that we can sense are the physical qualities of it. We cannot say if it is good or evil. So we as humans should not be the ones to judge and say what is good and what is evil. This is because we cannot sense or perceive the good of something just like we cannot sense or perceive the evil of a thing. All that we can sense are colors and shapes, noises and smells. So how do we know what is good and what is evil? We do not, rather only the Creator of good and evil Knows what is good and Knows what is evil. Good then is what Allah (swt) says is good and evil is what Allah (swt) says is evil. So we should submit ourselves to the fact that good is what Allah (swt) says is good and evil is what Allah (swt) says is evil. This realization is part of our submission to our Creator. Take fighting for example. You probably don’t like fighting, not only for the reasons cited above but also you might think why should we kill other human beings. You do not like the idea of killing another human being. But now suppose that human killed your entire family. Supposing he brutally tortured your father or brother or son and he raped and ravaged your mother or sister or wife or daughter. Would you still be hesitant about killing him after you can see the great evil that he has done? Probably not. This shows how your hesitation to fight is only an emotion that you have. But emotions can change based on the circumstance and the person. So you do not have the right to say whether fighting and killing is good and bad. You cannot sense the good or bad in that action just like you could not sense the good or bad in the pen. Only Allah (swt), the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the All-Knowing Knows what is good and bad. So what Allah (swt) tells us in the Quran and Sunnah as good is what is good and what Allah (swt) tells us in the Quran as bad is what is bad. You should also realize that the ones whom Allah (swt) is asking
  32. 32. 32 you to fight have done a far greater evil than what we described above. They are preventing the Message of Allah (swt) from reaching mankind. Can you even imagine a greater evil than that? You love Allah (swt) the most so you should consider any injustice that is done against Him (swt) to be even worse than any injustice that is done to your own family. These people have done injustice to Allah (swt) by preventing His (swt)’s Message from reaching mankind and by preventing His (swt)’s Law from being implemented in the land. In the final part of this ayah, Allah (swt) says “And Allah Knows while you do not know”. This is only to remind us how limited our knowledge is. The problem is that we as humans have a disease of pride and arrogance. We know so little but we think we know a lot. We pass judgments and have opinions on issues about which we know nothing. When the Creator and Sustainer and the Lord and Master of the universe tells you that fighting is good for you, who are you then to come and say that is not good. How can you come and say that there is no fighting and no jihad in Islam when there are ayahs such as these in the Book of Allah (swt)? For you to say that is the height of arrogance and rebellion against Allah (swt) and we can only advice to have fear of Allah (swt). Remind yourself of the Fire and remind yourself how Allah (swt) will punish those whom He (swt) is displeased with. We seek refuge in Allah (swt) from Him (swt) ever being displeased with us. Allah (swt) tells us clearly in this ayah that our knowledge is nothing and that it is He (swt) Who has all the Knowledge. So we should humbly submit to whatever command Allah (swt) gives us whether it is to our liking or not. We must always remember that it is the human who must submit to the Divine and not the Divine to the human. Think about who you are and think about Who Allah (swt) IS and then you will realize who should be the servant and who should be the Master. Another lesson that we can take from this ayah that we should be satisfied with whatever situation Allah (swt) places us in life. We do not know what is good for us, so Allah (swt) may give us some difficulty or trial in this world or He (swt) may hold something back that we desire. If that happens then we should remember that there might be some good in that for us. We may not see that good or realize that good at that moment but Allah (swt) Knows that good and that is why He (swt) gave us that particular trial or difficulty. Thus we should be patient through all of the
  33. 33. 33 adversities that we face in life. We should remember what Allah (swt) has told us in this ayah and we should submit completely to Him (swt), If we are sincere to Allah (swt) then we must remember that there is good in everything that happens to us. Allah (swt) Knows better than us and we submit completely to Him (swt). 218. They ask you about the Sacred Month and fighting in it, Say “Fighting in it is a great sin, but to block (people) from the Path of Allah and to do kufr to Him, and (to block people) from the Masjid Al-Haram, and to drive out it’s people from it is a greater sin with Allah, and Fitna is worse than killing. And they will not stop fighting against you until they turn you away from your Din. And whoever from you turns away from his Din and then he dies as a disbeliever, these are the ones whose works are ruined in this life and the Hereafter. These are the companions of the Fire and they will abide therein forever. In the previous ayah we saw how Allah (swt) obligated the Muslims to fight in His (swt)’s way. They had to fight to remove the obstacles that were preventing the Message of Allah (swt) from reaching mankind. Allah (swt) told them that they had to fight even though they disliked fighting and Allah (swt) reminded them that He (swt) Knows and they do not know. So as we look back on the history of the Islamic State in these ayahs, we saw first how jihad had become permitted after it was once forbidden and now it had even become an obligation. When these
  34. 34. 34 ayahs were revealed, the armies of Allah (swt) marched forth against the enemies of this Message. Since the Islamic State had been established, fighting had been prescribed by Allah (swt) to remove the obstacles to this Message. Now when this ayah was revealed the worst of enemies for the Islamic State at that period was the powerful tribe of Quraysh. They were the Prophet (saw)’s own tribe and they rejected him (saw) even when they were certain that he (saw) was the Messenger of Allah (swt). They were also the most powerful of tribes in the Arabian peninsula and they were also the tribe that benefited the most from the status quo. So they were the ones who were the most opposed to the Message of Allah (swt) because they knew that it would bring a complete revolution in their land. The Prophet (saw) himself also knew that the Quraysh were the State’s worst enemy and so he (saw) would send out raiding parties to attack their trading caravans. The Prophet (saw) wanted to damage their economic infrastructure so that they could be weakened and thus not pose a threat to the dawah. One of these raiding parties was lead by a Sahabi by the name of Abdullah bin Jash. Now it so happened that Abdullah’s raiding party intercepted one of the trading caravans belonging to Quraysh. They attacked the caravan, killing one of it’s guards and taking the others as prisoners. They returned with the caravan and their prisoners back to Madinah. However what Abdullah and his companions had failed to realize was that the night on which they had attacked the caravan was a night of the Sacred Month of Rajab during which fighting and killing was prohibited. So by mistake the Muslims had initiated a conflict and spilt blood during a month in which fighting and killing was forbidden. These Muslims had accidentally violated the sanctity of the sacred month. Now the enemies of Islam, including the Quraysh and the Jews, used this opportunity to launch a propaganda campaign against the Muslims. They told everyone how the Prophet (saw) and the Muslims had violated the sanctity of the Sacred Months. They ignored the fact that this incident had happened by mistake and that it was only a few Muslims who had actually done it. The ignored the fact that the majority of the Muslims were not involved in this incident and they did not even support what had been done. They ignored the fact that the Prophet (saw) himself was displeased with the actions of Abdullah and that he (saw) refused to take the booty from the caravan that the Abdullah’s raiding party had captured. The enemies of
  35. 35. 35 this Message did not care about all of this, they were only looking for an excuse to attack Islam. They only wanted to portray Islam in a negative light so that they can drive as many people away from it as they could. So they ignored everything else and they focused only on the fact that the Muslims had violated the sanctity of the sacred month by shedding blood in it. They kept pressing this point and they made sure the whole world heard it. This was a very difficult episode for all of the Muslims; they were the victims of a vicious propaganda campaign that turned all of the Arabs against them. Everyone was talking about how the Muslims had violated the sanctity of the sacred months. That was when Allah (swt) revealed this ayah. Allah (swt) says “They ask you about the Sacred Month and fighting in it”. Many Muslims were unsure what to do in the situation that they had found themselves in it. They did not know how to react to the propaganda and the lies that were coming from the enemies of Islam as a result of this incident. They wondered if what Abdullah bin Jash and his companions had done was as evil as how the enemies of this Message made it out to be. So they came to the Prophet (saw) and they addressed their concerns to him (saw). Then Allah (swt) revealed this ayah in response to their inquires. Allah (swt) commands the Prophet (saw) to “Say “Fighting in it is a great sin”. First Allah (swt) acknowledges that fighting in the Sacred Month is a great sin. It was Allah (swt) Who had made the months sacred, and anyone who violates the Sacred Months violates what Allah (swt) had made sacred. So we see that Allah (swt) does not absolve Abdullah bin Jash and his companions completely. Allah (swt) shows them how what they had done was indeed a wrong action, and Allah (swt) lets them know that they should have been more careful and made sure that it was not the Sacred Month of Rajab before they initiated any fighting. However in the next part of the ayah Allah (swt) exposes the reality of the situation and He (swt) shows us how the evil ones really were. Allah (swt) says “but to block (people) from the Path of Allah and to do kufr to Him, and (to block people) from the Masjid Al-Haram, and to drive out its people from it, is a greater sin with Allah, and Fitna is worse than killing”. This was what the Quraysh chiefs had done. They had done all of this. So how dare they question the Muslims for committing an impious action when they had done the worst of actions?
  36. 36. 36 They had blocked people from the Path of Allah (swt) by preventing this Message from reaching the people. They had made all sorts of lies and fabrications about this Message so that the people thought that this Message was evil without realizing that it was from Allah (swt). They had also made kufr to Allah (swt). Recall how we said that this word means “to cover”. They had covered the Truth of this Message when they knew that it was the Truth. They had also done kufr by covering all of the favors and blessings that Allah (swt) had bestowed on them. They also blocked the Muslims from coming to the Masjid Al-Haram for Hajj and Umrah. How evil are a people who would block the true worshippers of Allah (swt) from even coming to the House of Allah (swt)? They had also driven the Prophet (saw) and the Muhajiroon out of Makkah. They also caused great Fitna by forcing many Muslims to abandon their Din through oppression, torture and persecution. This Fitna was far worse than killing because they were driving people away from Allah (swt), What could be a greater evil than turning people away from Allah (swt)? So even though Abdullah bin Jash and his companions had done wrong by fighting in the sacred months, the Quraysh had done much greater wrong and so they had no right whatsoever to criticize the Muslims in any way. Allah (swt) then says “And they will not stop fighting against you until they turn you away from your Din”. Here Allah (swt) exposes the true nature of the enemies of this Message. Not only have they turned away from this Message themselves, but they want to drive as many people as they can away from it as well. They know that this Message is a threat to their way of life. They have chosen to be a slave of their desires instead of being a slave of Allah (swt). They know that if this Message gains supremacy and the Law of Allah (swt) is established in the land, then they would no longer be able to live a life of serving their desires and exploiting the people. The Islamic State would establish a society in which all of their avenues to satisfy their lusts and desires have been closed off as well as one that establishes fairness and justice for all people. This is what they want to prevent at all costs because they want a society in which they can satisfy all of their lusts without any limits and they can exploit all of the people. They want a society in which they can sleep with their neighbor’s wife and they can take exuberant amounts of interest from the people. The only way of life that will outlaw these evil practices is this Din of
  37. 37. 37 Islam. The enemies of this Message know this reality about the Din of Allah (swt), so they will do everything they can to prevent it from gaining from supremacy. Furthermore they also know that the strength of Islam does not come from the military capabilities of it’s armies or the resources of it’s lands but rather the strength of Islam come from it’s people. So they will stop at nothing to turn Muslims away from their Din. We can see the same scenario playing out in the world today. The enemies of this Message recognize that Islam is the only threat remaining to their way of life. So they are trying every way possible to turn Muslims away from their Din. They are making all kinds of false propaganda about this Message. In addition to feeding this propaganda to the non-Muslims they also feed it to the Muslims through the mass media. They make Muslims think that their Din is one of barbarism and terror. They make Muslims think that their Din is outdated and not compatible with a modern society. A Din that allows slavery, oppresses women and exploits minorities. All of these are fabrications and distortions in order to fool the Muslims who have no knowledge about their Din. In addition to this, they oppress the Muslims and make their lives difficult; they make it hard for the Muslims to practice their Din correctly. How hard is it for a Muslim today to abide by all of the laws of Islam? The society in which he lives makes it very difficult for him to live the life that his Creator requires of him. In addition they attempt to create dissension and disorder among the Muslims by dividing them into various groups and sects. That is why you see the Muslims divided today not only into various nation-states but also into various sects and groups, each one claiming that they are the ones following the Quran and Sunnah. The enemies of Islam do all of this with the objective of making the Muslims leave their Din, and as Allah (swt) tells us in this ayah they will not give up in their efforts. They will not give up until they are able to turn the Muslims away from their Din. So do not expect any abatement in this storm of ideas and situations that are trying to take you away from your Din. They have a mission and they are going to keep trying so do not ever think that they will give up. So can you then even begin to imagine how important it is that we strive to hold on to our Din living in the world that we are living in today? We must try our best to hold on to our Din and we must beg Allah (swt) to keep us on the Straight Path of living our lives to seek His (swt)’s Pleasure.
  38. 38. 38 What will be our fate if we should turn away from our Din? What will be our fate if we give in to the pressure that the enemies of this Message are placing on our community? Allah (swt) tells us in this ayah “And whoever from you turns away from his Din and then he dies as a disbeliever, these are the ones whose works are ruined in this life and the Hereafter”. If we leave our Din and choose kufr over Iman, may Allah (swt) save us from that, then this will be our situation. All of the good deeds that we ever did would be lost. The reward for every single Salah you made, for every Zakat and charity that you gave, for your Hajj and Umrah, every day of fasting, for your kind treatment of others and for your fulfilling your trusts and obligations, all of that would be lost. You would find yourself as a loser both in this life and in the Hereafter. May Allah (swt) save us from that! From this we can also see the importance of doing as many good deeds as possible in the effort to hold on to our Din. The more good deeds that you have done, the more reluctant you would be to leave the folds of Islam because you do not want to miss the reward for all that you have done. This is why it is important especially in today’s day and age to try and do as many good deeds as possible. Perhaps this is all that will save us from the armies of kufr and their plots. May Allah (swt) enable us to do as many actions as possible that are pleasing to Him (swt) before our death comes! Those who turn away from the Din after having been guided to it would be denied the Mercy of Allah (swt) in the Hereafter. There is only one situation possible for a people who have been denied the Mercy of Allah (swt) in the Hereafter, Allah (swt) says, “These are the companions of the Fire and they will abide therein forever”. May Allah (swt) save us from this! You cannot not even begin to imagine the pain and misery that you would feel if you would have the Fire as your companion. May Allah (swt) save us from the torment of the Fire! Once you have left the folds of Islam the only way to save yourself is to come back into the Din once again. The scholars say that if you should come back to Islam after becoming apostate, then you would regain the reward of all your actions which you had lost when you had become apostate. But such is a reality that none of us want to face. How would any of us know if we would ever come back to this Din after having left it? That is why we have to strive and struggle to hold on to our
  39. 39. 39 Din when we have it. We have to do all that we can to protect ourselves from the plots and machinations of our enemies. May Allah (swt) enable us to hold on to our Din through all of the trials that the enemies of this Message put us through! May Allah (swt) always remind us that nothing else matters in this life except worshipping and serving Him (swt)! 218. Surely the ones who believe, and the ones who emigrate, and the ones who strive hard in the Path of Allah, these hope for Allah’s Mercy, and Allah is Forgiving Merciful. In the previous ayah Allah (swt) showed us who the evil party truly was in the episode where Abdullah bin Jash (ra) and the Muslim raiding party had attacked the Quraysh caravan. It was the Quraysh who were to blame for rejecting Allah (swt)’s Message when they knew that it was the Truth, for blocking the Message from reaching the people, for driving the Muslims away from their home and from barring access to the Masjid Al-Haram. If they had accepted this Message when it first came to them, then this whole conflict would not even have started. They are the ones who had rejected this Message when they were certain that it was the Truth. So they are the ones who had started this conflict. We also mentioned how the Prophet (saw) himself was reluctant to take the booty that Abdullah and his raiding party had captured. But then we saw how Allah (swt) revealed the previous ayah and showed the Prophet (saw) and the Muslims who the evil ones were and who were truly deserving of blame. Allah (swt) clearly showed us that it was the Quraysh who were really to blame and not the Muslims. Once Allah (swt) revealed that ayah, the Prophet (saw) then took the booty that Abdullah bin Jash and his party had captured. Now that Allah (swt) had showed us that it was the Quraysh who were to blame, He (swt) now brings our attention to who are the good people are.
  40. 40. 40 In this ayah, Allah (swt) says “Surely the ones who believe, and the ones who emigrate, and the ones who strive hard in the Path of Allah, these hope for Allah’s Mercy”. This describes Abdullah bin Jash (ra) and the Muslims with him (ra). They are the ones who had believed in the Message that Allah (swt) had sent, they are the ones who had left their home in Makkah seeking the Pleasure of Allah (swt), and they are the ones who had strove hard in the Path of Allah (swt). They did all of this hoping for the Mercy of Allah (swt). In this ayah, Allah (swt) acknowledges their sacrifices and their efforts. Allah (swt) also shows us how they are the good people and not the evil people that the propaganda of the enemies of this Message had made them out to be. They are the ones whom Allah (swt) is pleased with so what else should matter after that? In this ayah Allah (swt) tells us why He (swt) is so pleased with them. Mawdudi tells us in his tafsir of this ayah how the word that Allah (swt) uses here for “striving” includes fighting but it is far more comprehensive that that. It is any kind of struggle or effort that is made to seek the Pleasure of Allah (swt). So anyone who struggles with his tounge, or his pen or his sword to establish the Law of Allah (swt) in the land and to remove the obstacles to the Message of Allah (swt) is a Mujahid, the one who strives in the Path of Allah (swt). Such slaves are the ones who hope for the Mercy of Allah (swt). The Mercy of Allah (swt) is our only hope both in this life and in the Hereafter. The Mercy of Allah (swt) is peace and tranquility in the life of this world and salvation in the Hereafter. So we must never lose hope in the Mercy of Allah (swt), rather we must always strive to attain it like the early Muslims did. May Allah (swt) give us the ability to do that! Notice also how Allah (swt) says that it is the ones who strive for Him (swt) who can hope to attain His (swt)’s Mercy. How can you hope to attain the Mercy of Allah (swt) if you do not make any effort? Only if you strive for Him (swt), only if you try, will He (swt) be pleased with you. Only if He (swt) is pleased with you will He (swt) show you mercy. So we see from this ayah how foolish are those who persist in sin and still hope for the mercy of Allah (swt). The ones who do not make any effort and still hope for the mercy of Allah (swt). How can such people hope to receive mercy? Rather Allah (swt) clearly tells us here the criterion that must be met in order to receive this mercy.
  41. 41. 41 Then Allah (swt) says “and Allah is Forgiving Merciful”. Allah (swt) tells Abdullah bin Jash and the Muslims that He (swt) is Forgiving and Merciful. He (swt) will Forgive them the mistake that they made when they attacked the Quraysh trading caravan in Rajab, and He (swt) will grant them His (swt)’s Mercy in this life and the next. The Mercy of Allah (swt) in this life is the peace and tranquility that comes from knowing Allah (swt). What sorrow and difficulty can trouble any believer when he has certainty in Allah (swt)? They Mercy of Allah (swt) in the Hereafter is happiness and bliss that we cannot even begin to describe with our limited words and intellect. May Allah (swt) make us among those who experience this Mercy! May Allah (swt) forgive us all of our sins and our shortcomings! May Allah (swt) accept our striving in His (swt)’s Path! 219. They ask you about intoxicants and gambling, Say “In them is great sin and some benefit for mankind but the sin of them is far greater than their benefit”. And they ask you what they can spend, say “what is in surplus”. That is how Allah makes clear to you the Signs so that you may reflect. In this ayah Allah (swt) continues to prepare the Muslim community for carrying His (swt)’s Message to mankind. Just as Allah (swt) tells them what are the obligations that they must perform, Allah (swt) also tells them what are the evils and harms that they must avoid. Sayyid Qutb tells us in his tafsir of this ayah that among the favorite pastimes of the Arabs at the time of the Prophet (saw) was drinking and gambling. That was how they spent free their time. Their days and nights were consumed drinking wine and playing games. At the time when this ayah was revealed, Allah (swt) had not yet made drinking intoxicants and gambling unlawful so there were still some Muslims who indulged in them. Now some of the extremely pious Muslims like
  42. 42. 42 Umar (ra) and Muadh ibn Jabal (ra) realized how evil wine and gambling were. They saw how such evils consumed the free time of the Muslims, how they caused Muslims to become intoxicated thus dulling and distorting their minds, how they made Muslims lose their wealth in pursuit of these trivialities. They realized how a nation that was given this most important of tasks in carrying the Message of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe had no time to waste on these trivialities. So these pious Muslims came to the Prophet (saw) and told him (saw) how they noticed this evil in wine and gambling and how they were consuming the time and the wealth of the Muslims. They asked the Prophet (saw) what was the ruling of Allah (swt) on these. They were hoping that Allah (swt) would expose the evil of wine and gambling to the Muslim community. In this ayah, Allah (swt) responds to their inquiry. Allah (swt) commands the Prophet (saw) to say in response to their inquires “Say “In them is great sin and some benefit for mankind but the sin of them is far greater than their benefit” ”. Allah (swt) tells the Muslims in this ayah that while there is some benefit in wine and gambling, the sin in them was far greater than their benefit. This is not the ayah where Allah (swt) had made wine and gambling unlawful, but we can see that Allah (swt) is preparing the Muslims for their prohibition. That prohibition is to come later on in Surah Maidah. But in this ayah, Allah (swt) makes the Muslims realize how the evil in wine and gambling is far greater than their benefit. The benefit in wine comes the profit that can be made from their sale because many Arabs would buy wine for cheap prices in As-Sham and sell them for a higher price in Arabia. Wine also helps in releasing tension and loosening inhibitions. The benefit in gambling is that it can be said that it allows you to obtain something without much hard work. There is also a certain thrill and enjoyment that comes from playing games of chance. So there is some benefit in them that Allah (swt) acknowledges. But Allah (swt) also tells us that the evil in drinking wine and gambling is far greater than whatever little benefit there may be in them. Drinking inhibits the mind, while the mind is how we can remember Allah (swt) and the mind is what controls us from the actions that are displeasing to Allah (swt). So then how evil is a drink that dulls our mind when our mind is the key to our Rabb? Al-Qurtubi tells us in his tafsir of this ayah how even the root word for the word “wine” comes from a word that means “to cover”. It covers the mind and
  43. 43. 43 prevents one from remembering Allah (swt). So why would you ever approach such a drink? Similarly the evil of gambling is that it prevents you from going out in the world and seeking the sustenance of Allah (swt). When you go out in the world, toiling and laboring hard in order to gain your sustenance, this also is part of your worship and servitude to Allah (swt). Muslims who hope to make fast money by gambling miss out on the great reward that they can get by seeking the sustenance from Allah (swt) in a lawful manner. It is only laziness that comes from Shaitan that prevents you from wanting to work. Shaitan knows that it is in good actions where the salvation of the son of Adam lies, so he tries to prevent the son of Adam from working by making him lazy. May Allah (swt) save us from him! Another evil of gambling is that it is time consuming. The Muslim’s time in the life of this world is limited. He has to accumulate as many good deeds as he can before he returns to his Lord. He has to work to establish the Law of Allah (swt) in the land and to carry the Message of Allah (swt) to the people. So where then does this leave him time for such frivolities like gambling? Another evil in both drinking and gambling is that they are both terribly addictive. Anything that is addictive turns your mind away from Allah (swt) and towards it. You only think about your next drink of wine or how you are due for a lucky streak in the next game that you play. These thoughts distract you from Allah (swt) when you were created to remember Him (swt) and to serve Him (swt). May Allah (swt) make us realize how evil both intoxicants and gambling are, and may Allah (swt) turn us and our families away from them! In the second part of the ayah Allah (swt) says “And they ask you what they can spend, say “what is in surplus” ”. In this part of the ayah, Allah (swt) brings our attention to another question that many of the Muslims had. We saw in ayah 216 how Allah (swt) told the Muslims to spend on parents, close relatives, the orphans, the needy and the travelers. So Muslims knew who to spend on, but they did not how much to spend. So in this ayah, Allah (swt) tells them how much they should give in charity. Allah (swt) tells the Muslims that after they have spent on what they are and their families need, after they have discharged their responsibilities on them for whom it is an obligation to spend on, then whatever is remaining in surplus is what should be spent in charity. So our first responsibility is to take care of our families and ourselves. Once we have discharged our responsibility to our families and those whom we are obligated to

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