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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Social Etiquettes of Islam: Say (O Prophet) enjoin believing men to cast down their looks


In Islam, a great emphasis is laid on the establishment of a just and lewdness free society where honor of each man and woman is preferred over everything else. Unlike the western societies where men and women are above such things and freely interact with each other when it comes to intimate interactions, Islam strictly prohibits such interactions for it leads to many a social problems and illicit children which single mothers have to take care for the rest of the life, while men "move on."

Surah 24. An Noor "The Light" lays down very comprehensive guidelines for social etiquettes both for men and women so that they live a life honouring and respecting each other and their chastity. To start with, men are being cautioned in the 30th verse of the Surah an Noor to lower down their gaze, specially when it comes to women so that honour of the women is maintained. Lowering their gaze is an act of refining men’s manners. It represents an attempt to rise above the desire to look at women’s physical charms. It also cautions against guarding against their private parts for it leads to lewdness and other related harmful social problems:

قُلْ لِّـلۡمُؤۡمِنِيۡنَ يَغُـضُّوۡا مِنۡ اَبۡصَارِهِمۡ وَيَحۡفَظُوۡا فُرُوۡجَهُمۡ​ ؕ ذٰ لِكَ اَزۡكٰى لَهُمۡ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ خَبِيۡرٌۢ بِمَا يَصۡنَـعُوۡنَ‏ 
(24:30) (O Prophet), enjoin believing men to cast down their looks and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely Allah is well aware of all what they do.
The word ghedd means to reduce, shorten or lower down something. Accordingly, ghadd basar is generally translated as `lowering the gaze' or 'keeping it lowered'. But the Command of ghadd basar does not imply that the gaze should always be kept lowered. It only means to imply that one should restrain one's gaze and avoid casting of looks freely. That is, if it is not desirable to see a thing, one should turn the eyes away and avoid having a look at it. The restriction of a 'restrained gaz' is applicable only in a limited sphere. The context in which the words occur shows that this restriction applies to the men's gazing at women, or casting looks at the satar of the other persons, or fixing the eyes at indecent scenes.

The details of this Divine Commandment as explained in the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet are given below:
  • (1) It is not lawful for a tnan to cast a full gaze at the other women except at his own wife or the mahram women of his family. The chance look is pardonable but not the second look which one casts when one feels the lure of the object. The Holy Prophet has termed such gazing and glancing as wickedness of the eyes. He has said that man commits adultery with all his sensory organs. The evil look at the other woman is the adultery of the eyes; lustful talk is the adultery of the tongue; relishing the other woman's voice is adultery of the ears; and touching her body with the hand or walking for an unlawful purpose is adultery of the hands and feet. After these preliminaries the sexual organs either bring the act of adultery to completion or leave it incomplete. (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da'ud).
According to a Tradition related by Hadrat Buraidah, the Holy Prophet instructed Hadrat 'Ali: "O 'Ali, do not cast a second look after the first look. The first look is pardonable but not the second one." (Tirmizi;, Ahmad, Abu Da'ud). Hadrat Jarir bin 'Abdullah Bajali says that he asked the Holy Prophet, "What should I do if I happen to cast a chance look?" The Holy Prophet replied, "Turn your eyes away or lower your gaze."(Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmizi, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i). Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud quotes the Holy Prophet as having said: "Allah says that the gaze is one of the poisonous arrows of Satan. Whoever forsakes it, out of His fear, he will be rewarded with a faith whose sweetness he will relish in his own heart." (Tabarani). According to a Tradition related by Abu Umamah, the Holy Prophet said: "If a Muslim happens to glance at the charms of a woman and then turns his eyes away, Allah will bless his worship and devotion and will make it all the more sweet. ''. (Musnad Ahmad). Imam Ja'far Sadiq has quoted from his father, Imam Muhammad Baqir, who has quoted Hadrat Jabir bin 'Abdullah Ansari as saying: "On the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, Fadal bin'Abbas, who was a young cousin of the Holy Prophet, was riding with him on the camelback during the return journey from Mash`ar al-Haram. When they came to a few women passing on the way, Fadal started looking at them. Thereupon the Holy Prophet put his hand on his face and turned it to the other side." (Abu Da'ud). On another occasion during the same Pilgrimage, a woman of the clan of Khath'am stopped the Holy Prophet on the way and sought clarification about a certain matter pertaining to Hajj. Fadal bin `Abbas fixed his gaze at her, but the Holy Prophet turned his face to the other side. (Bukhari, Abu Da'ud, Tirmizi).
  • (2) Nobody should have the misunderstanding that the Command to restrain the 'gaze was enjoined because the women were allowed to move about freely with open faces, for if veiling of the face had already been enjoined, the question of restraining or not restraining the gaze would not have arisen. This argument is incorrect rationally as well as factually. It is incorrect rationally because even when veiling of the face is the usual custom, occasions can arise where a man and a woman come face to face with each other suddenly, or when a veiled woman has to uncover her face under necessity. Then even if the Muslim women observe purdah, there will be non-Muslim women who will continue to move about unveiled. Thus, the Commandment to lower the gaze or restrain the eyes, does not necessarily presume existence of a custom allowing the women to move about with unveiled faces. It is incorrect factually because the custom of purdah which was introduced after the revelation of the Commandments in Surah Al-Ahzab included veiling of the face, and this is supported by a number of Traditions relating to the time of the Holy Prophet himself. Hadrat `A'ishah in her statement relating to the incident of the "slander", which has been narrated on the authority of reliable reporters, has said: "When I came back to the camp, and found that the caravan had left, I lay down and was ' overpowered by sleep. In the morning when Safwan bin Mu`attal passed that way he recognised me because he had seen me before the Commandment of purdah had been sent down. On recognising me he exclaimed: Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji`un: `To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return'; and I awoke and covered my face with my sheet." (Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Hisham). Abu Da'ud contains an incident that when the son of Umm Khallad was killed in a battle, she came to the Holy Prophet to enquire about him and was wearing the veil as usual. It was natural to presume that on such a sad occasion one is liable to lose one's balance and ignore the restrictions of purdah. But when questioned she said, "I have certainly lost my son but not my modesty." Another Tradition in Abu Da'ud quoted on the authority of Hadrat `A'ishah relates that a woman handed an application to the Holy Prophet from behind a curtain. The Holy Prophet enquired: "Is it a man's hand or a woman's?" She replied that it was a woman's. Thereupon the Holy Prophet said: "If it is a woman's hand, the nails at least should have been coloured with henna!" As regards the two incidents relating to the occasion of Hajj, which we have mentioned above, they cannot be used as an argument to prove that the veil was not in vogue in the time of the Holy Prophet. This is because wearing of the veil is prohibited in the state of ihram. However, even in that state pious women did not like to uncover their faces before the other men. Hadrat `A'ishah has stated that during the Farewell Pilgrimage when they were moving towards Makkah in the state of ihram, the women would lower down their head sheets over their faces whenever the travellers passed by them, and would uncover their faces as soon as they had passed by. (Abu Da'ud).
  • (3) There are certain exceptions to the Command of lowering the gaze or restraining the look. These exceptions relate to occasions when it is really necessary to see a woman, for instance, when a man intends to marry her. It is not only permissible to see the woman in such a case but even commendable. Mughirah bin Shu'bah has stated,. "I wanted to marry in a certain family. The Holy Prophet asked me whether I had seen the girl or not. When 1 replied in the negative, he said: `Have a look at her; this will enhance harmonious relationship between you two'." (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Darimi). According to a Tradition related by Abu Hurairah, a man wanted to marry in a family of the Ansar. The Holy Prophet asked him to have a look at the girl, for the Ansar usually had a defect in their eyes. (Muslim, Nasa'i, Ahmad). According to Jabir bin 'Abdullah, the Holy Prophet said: "When a person from among you wants to marry a woman, he should have a look at her to satisfy himself that there is some quality in the woman which induces him to marry her. " (Ahmad, Abu Da'ud). According to another Tradition emanating from Abu Humaidah and quoted in Musnad Ahmad, the Holy Prophet said that there was no harm in such a procedure. He also permitted that the girl may be seen without her being aware of it. From this the jurists have concluded that there is no harm in looking at a woman when it is really necessary. For instance, there is no harm in looking at a suspect woman when investigating a crime, or in the judge's looking at a female witness, who appears in the court, or in the physician's looking at a female patient, etc.
  • (4) The intention of the Command to restrain the gaze also implies that no man or woman should look at the private parts of the other man or woman. The Holy Prophet has said: "No man should look at the satar of another man nor a woman at the sater of another woman." (Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Tirmizi). Hadrat 'Ali has quoted the Holy Prophet as saying: "Do not look at the thigh of another person, living or dead". (Abu Da'ud, Ibn Majah).  
"Guard their private parts": Abstain from illicit sexual gratification and from exposing their satar before others. For males, the satar is the part of the body from the navel to the knee, and it is not permissible to expose that pan of the body intentionally before anybody except one's own wife. (Daraqutni, Baihaqi). Hadrat Jarhad Aslami states that once he was sitting in the company of the Holy Prophet with his thigh exposed. The Holy Prophet said: "Do you not know that the thigh has to be kept concealed." (Tirmizi, Abu Da'ud, Mu'atta). Hadrat 'AIi reports that the Holy Prophet said: "Do not expose your thigh." (Abu Da'ud, Ibn Majah). Not only is the satar to be kept concealed before others but even when alone. The Holy Prophet has warned: "Beware, never remain naked, for with you are those (that is, the angels of goodness and mercy), who never leave you alone except when you ease yourself or you go to your wives. So feel shy of them and give them due respect. " (Tirmizi). According to another Tradition, the Holy Prophet said: "Guard your satar from everybody except from your wife and your slave-girl." The questioner asked, "Even when we are alone?" The Holy Prophet replied, "Yes, even when alone, for Allah has a greater right that you should feel shy of Him." (Abu Da'ud, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah).

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
The Command to lower the Gaze This is a command from Allah to His believing servants, to lower their gaze from looking at things that have been prohibited for them. They should look only at what is permissible for them to look at, and lower their gaze from forbidden things. If it so happens that a person's gaze unintentionally falls upon something forbidden, he should quickly look away. Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Jarir bin `Abdullah Al-Bajali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "I asked the Prophet about the sudden glance, and he commanded me to turn my gaze away. 

In the Sahih it is narrated that Abu Sa`id said that the Messenger of Allah said: (Beware of sitting in the streets.) They said, "O Messenger of Allah, we have no alternative but to sit in the streets to converse with one another.'' 
The Messenger of Allah said: (If you insist, then give the street its rights.) They asked, "What are the rights of the street, O Messenger of Allah'' He said, (Lower your gaze, return the greeting of Salam, enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.) 
Abu Al-Qasim Al-Baghawi recorded that Abu Umamah said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say: (Guarantee me six things and I will guarantee you Paradise: when any one of you speaks, he should not lie; if he is entrusted with something, he should not betray that trust; if he makes a promise, he should not break promise; lower your gaze; restrain your hands; and protect your private parts.) Since looking provokes the heart to evil, Allah commanded (the believers) to protect their private parts just as he commanded them to protect their gaze which can lead to that. 

So he said: (Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts.) Sometimes protecting the private parts may involve keeping them from committing Zina, as Allah says: (And those who guard their chastity) [23:5] 

Sometimes it may involve not looking at certain things, as in the Hadith in Musnad Ahmad and the Sunan: (Guard your private parts except from your wife and those whom your right hands possess.)

(That is purer for them.) means, it is purer for their hearts and better for their commitment to religion, as it was said: Whoever protects his gaze, Allah will illuminate his understanding, or his heart.

(Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.) This is like the Ayah : (Allah knows the fraud of the eyes and all that the breasts conceal.) [40:19] 

In the Sahih it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said: (The son of Adam has his share of Zina decreed for him, and he will commit that which has been decreed. The Zina of the eyes is looking; the Zina of the tongue is speaking; the Zina of the ears is listening; the Zina of the hands is striking; and the Zina of the feet is walking. The soul wishes and desires, and the private parts confirm or deny that.) It was recorded by Al-Bukhari without a complete chain. Muslim recorded a similar report with a different chain of narration. Many of the Salaf said, "They used to forbid men from staring at beardless handsome boys. 

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "to restrain [something] of their gaze and to guard their private parts". The latter expression may be understood both in the literal sense of "covering one's private parts" - i.e., modesty in dress - as well as in the metonymical sense of "restraining one's sexual urges", i.e., restricting them to what is lawful, namely, marital intercourse (cf. {23:5-6}). The rendering adopted by me in this instance allows for both interpretations. The "lowering of one's gaze", too, relates both to physical and to emotional modesty (Razi).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
The rule of modesty applies to men as well as women. A brazen stare by a man at a woman (or even at a man) is a breach of refined manners. Where sex is concerned, modesty is not only "good form": it is not only to guard the weaker sex, but also to guard the spiritual good of the stronger sex.

Qur'an Wiki:
The sūrah moves on to prevent desire from running loose. It simply prevents looking at what is bound to excite desire, and it prohibits action that encourages sin. Tell believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity. This is most conducive to their purity. God is certainly aware of all that they do. And tell believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms except what may ordinarily appear thereof.  Islam wants to establish a clean society where desire is not aroused at every moment, and erotic scenes are not displayed everywhere. Continual excitement of the sexual urge leads to an insatiable desire that may become unstoppable. A stealthy look, a seductive move, flagrant make-up and thinly-dressed bodies are meant only to add to such insatiable and uncontrolled excitement. Thus, prudence and self control are heavily taxed. Hence, there remains one of two alternatives: either total permissiveness that disregards all checks and values, or psychological problems and disorders that result from having to suppress a desire that has been strongly aroused. This borders on unmitigated torture.

One way Islam uses for achieving its goal of establishing a clean human society is to prevent such uncontrollable excitement of the sexual urge. It wants the natural sexual urge, of both men and women, to remain healthy, maintaining its natural strength and to satisfy it in the proper, clean manner.

The two verses we are now discussing give us some examples of how Islam helps to reduce the chances of excitement and sin: “Tell believing men to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity. This is most conducive to their purity. God is certainly aware of all that they do.”

Lowering their gaze is an act of refining men’s manners. It represents an attempt to rise above the desire to look at women’s physical charms. As such, it is a practical step to ensure that the first window of temptation is shut. Minding their chastity is the natural result of lowering their gaze. It is indeed the second step that comes after strengthening one’s will and rising above the natural urge right at the beginning. Hence, the two are stated in the same verse as a cause and effect, or as two consecutive steps both in personal conscience and in reality.

“This is most conducive to their purity.” It ensures that their feelings remain pure, unaffected by licentious desire and promiscuous action. Thus, feelings retain their noble human standards, and do not sink to animal levels. This protects honour, integrity and sanctities within the community. Besides, it is God who lays down such preventive measures, fully aware as He certainly is of people’s psychology, natural instincts thoughts and motives: “God is certainly aware of all that they do.”

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Monday, June 7, 2021

How Islam guides to ensure Sanctity of Interpersonal Relations


Mannerism and antiques of high standards is the hallmark of any society based on Islam. At many a place in Qur'an man has been advised to display a high standard of interpersonal relations and forbids slandering, backbiting or calling others with nicknames that are derogatory and aimed at to belittle someone. Surah Al Hujurat is one such surah of the Qur'an that advises believers not to commit acts that can hurt or cast low affects on someone's character and honour. 

We have already shared the 12th verse of the surah that relates to the Backbiting and be Excessively Suspicious of others. This 11th verse of the same surah asks men and women not t scoff, taunt or revile others by nicknames. 

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا يَسۡخَرۡ قَوۡمٌ مِّنۡ قَوۡمٍ عَسٰٓى اَنۡ يَّكُوۡنُوۡا خَيۡرًا مِّنۡهُمۡ وَلَا نِسَآءٌ مِّنۡ نِّسَآءٍ عَسٰٓى اَنۡ يَّكُنَّ خَيۡرًا مِّنۡهُنَّ​ۚ وَلَا تَلۡمِزُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَكُمۡ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوۡا بِالۡاَلۡقَابِ​ؕ بِئۡسَ الِاسۡمُ الۡفُسُوۡقُ بَعۡدَ الۡاِيۡمَانِ​ ۚ وَمَنۡ لَّمۡ يَتُبۡ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ‏ 
(49:11) Believers, let not a group (of men) scoff at another group, it may well be that the latter (at whom they scoff) are better than they; nor let a group of women scoff at another group, it may well be that the latter are better than they. And do not taunt one another, nor revile one another by nicknames. It is an evil thing to gain notoriety for ungodliness after belief. Those who do not repent are indeed the wrong-doers.
Slandering and taunting the people and harboring suspicions and spying on others are, in fact, the evils that cause mutual enmities and then lead to grave mischief. In this connection, from the commandments that are being given in the following verses and the explanations of these found in the Hadith a detailed law of libel can be compiled. The western law pertaining to libel in this regard is so defective that a person who sues another under this law may well cause some loss to his own honor. The Islamic law, on the contrary,, recognizes a basic honor for every person and gives nobody the right to attack it, no matter whether the attack is based on reality or not, and whether the person who has been attacked has a `reputation" of his own or not. Only the fact that a person has debased and humiliated the other person is enough to declare him a criminal unless, of course, it is proved. that the humiliation caused had a legal ground for it.

" let not a group (of men) scoff at another group, it may well be that the latter (at whom they scoff) are better than they "  Mocking does not only imply mocking with the tongue but it also includes mimicking somebody, making pointed references to him, laughing at his words, or his works, or his appearance, or his dress, or calling the people's attention to some defect or blemish in him so that others also may laugh at him. All this is included in mocking. What is actually forbidden is that one should make fun of and ridicule another, for under such ridiculing there always lie feelings of one's own superiority and the other's abasement and contempt, which are morally unworthy of a gentleman. Moreover, it hurts the other person, which causes mischief to spread in society. That is why it has been forbidden,

To make mention of the men and the women separately does not mean that it is lawful for the men to mock the women or the women to mock the men. The actual reason for making a separate mention of the two sexes is that Islam does not at all believe in mixed society. Ridiculing each other generally takes place in mixed gatherings and Islam does not permit that non-mahram males and females should meet in such gatherings and make fun of each other. Therefore, in a Muslim society it is inconceivable that the men would mock a woman, or the women would mock a man in an assembly.

" And do not taunt one another " The word lamz as used in the original is very comprehensive and applies to ridiculing, reviling, deriding, jeering, charging somebody or finding fault with him, and making him the target of reproach and blame by open or tacit references. As all such things also spoil mutual relationships and create bad blood in society, they have been forbidden. Instead of saying, “Do not taunt one another", it has been said "Do not taunt yourselves", which by itself shows that the one who uses taunting words for others, in fact, taunts his own self. Obviously, a person does not use invectives against others unless he himself is filled with evil feelings and is almost in a state of bursting like a volcano. Thus, tire one who nourishes such feelings has made his own self a nest of evils before he makes others a target, Then, when he taunts others, it means that he is inviting others to taunt him. It is a different matter that the other person may evade his attacks because of a gentle nature, but he himself has opened the door to mischief so that the other may treat him likewise.

"nor revile one another by nicknames."  This Command requires that a person should not be called by a name or a title which may cause him humiliation, e.g. calling somebody a sinner or a hypocrite, or calling someone a lame or blind one, or one-eyed, or giving him a nickname containing a reference to some defect or blemish in him, or in his parents, or in his family, or calling a person a Jew or a Christian even after his conversion to Islam, or giving such a nickname to a person, or a family, or a community, or a group, which may bring condemnation or disgrace on it. Only those nicknames have been made an exception from this Command, which though apparently offensive, are not intended to condemn the persons concerned, but they rather serve as a mark of recognition for them. That is why the traditionists have allowed as permissible names like Suleman al-A`mash (the weak-eyed Suleman) and Wasil' al-Ahdab (the hunch-backed Wasil) among the reporters of the Hadith. If there are several men of the same name and a particular man among them may be recognized only by a particular title or nickname of his, the title or nickname can be used, even though the title by itself may be offensive. For instance, if there are several men called `Abdullah, and one of them is blind, he may be called Abdullah the blind, for his recognition. Likewise, those titles also are excluded from this Command, which though apparently offensive, are in fact, given out of love and the people who are called by those titles themselves approve them, like Abu Hurairah (father of the kitten) and Abu Turab (father of the dust).  

" It is an evil thing to gain notoriety for ungodliness after belief." That is, "It is very shameful for a believer that in spite of being a believer he should earn a name for using abusive language and for immodest behavior. If a disbeliever earns reputation for himself for mocking the people, or taunting them, or for proposing evil and offensive titles for others, it may not be a good reputation from the point of view of humanity, but it at least goes well with his disbelief. But if a person after affirming the Faith in Allah and His Messenger and the Hereafter earns reputation on account of these base qualities, it is simply regrettable.

What is forbidden is not conjecture as such but excessive conjecture and following every kind of conjecture, and the reason given is that some conjectures are sins. In order to understand this Command we should analyze and see what are the kinds of conjecture and what is the moral position of each.
  • One kind of conjecture is that which is morally approved and laudable, and desirable and praiseworthy from religious point of view, e.g. a good conjecture in respect of Allah and His Messenger and the believers and those people with whom one comes in common contact daily and concerning whom there may be no rational ground for having an evil conjecture.
  • The second kind of conjecture is that which one cannot do without in practical life, e.g. in a law court a judge has to consider the evidence placed before him and give his decision on the basis of the most probable conjecture, for he cannot have direct knowledge of the facts of the matter, and the opinion that is based on evidence is mostly based on the most probable conjecture and not on certainty. Likewise, in most cases when one or the other decision has to be taken, and the knowledge of the reality cannot possibly be attained, there is no way oat for men but to form an opinion on the basis of a conjecture.
  • The third kind of conjecture, which is although a suspicion, is permissible in nature, and it cannot be regarded as a sin. For instance, if there are clear signs and pointers in the character of a person (or persons), or in his dealings and conduct, on the basis of which he may not deserve to enjoy one's good conjecture, and there are rational grounds for having suspicions against him, the Shari `ah does not demand that one should behave like a simpleton and continue to have a good conjecture about him. The last limit of this lawful conjecture, however, is that one should conduct oneself cautiously in order to ward off any possible mischief from him; it is not right to take an action against him only on the basis of a conjecture.
  • The fourth kind of conjecture which is, in fact, a sin is that one should entertain a suspicion in respect of a person without any ground, or should start with suspicion in forming an opinion about others, or should entertain a suspicion about the people whose apparent conditions show that they are good and noble. Likewise, this also is a sin that when there is an equal chance of the evil and goodness in the word or deed of a person, one should regard it as only evil out of suspicion. For instance, if a gentleman while leaving a place of assembly picks up another one's shoes, instead of his own, and we form the opinion that he has done so with the intention of stealing the shoes, whereas this could be possible because of oversight as well, there is no reason for adopting the evil opinion instead of the good opinion except the suspicion.
This analysis makes it plain that conjecture by itself is not anything forbidden; rather in some cases and situations it is commendable, in some situations inevitable, in some permissible up to a certain extent and un-permissible beyond it, and in some cases absolutely unlawful. That is why it has not been enjoined that one should refrain from conjecture or suspicion altogether but what is enjoined is that one should refrain from much suspicion. Then, to make the intention of the Command explicit, it has been said that some conjectures are sinful. From this warning it follows automatically that whenever a person is forming an opinion on the basis of conjecture, or is about to take an action, he should examine the case and see whether the conjecture he is entertaining is not a sin, whether the conjecture is really necessary, whether there arc sound reasons for the conjecture, and whether the conduct one is adopting on the basis of the conjecture is permissible. Everyone who fears God will certainly take these precautions. To make one's conjecture free and independent of every such care and consideration is the pastime of only those people who are fearless of God and thoughtless of the accountability -of the Hereafter.  

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:  The Prohibition of mocking and ridiculing One Another
Allah the Exalted forbids scoffing at people, which implies humiliating and belittling them. In the Sahih, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said, (Arrogance is refusing the truth and belittling people.) 

And in another Version: (And despising people) It is forbidden to scoff at and belittle people, for the injured party could be more honored and dearer to Allah the Exalted than those who ridicule and belittle them. 

This is why Allah the Exalted said, (O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former.) thus, stating this prohibition for men and then women. 

The statement of Allah the Exalted, (Nor defame yourselves,) forbids defaming each other. He among men who is a slanderer, and a backbiter, is cursed and condemned as Allah states:
(Woe to every Humazah, Lumazah)(104:1) Hamz is defamation by action, while Lamz is by words. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said,
(Hammaz (defaming), going about with slander.) (68:11) meaning, he belittles and defames people, transgressing and spreading slander among them, which is the Lamz that uses words as its tool. Allah's statement here,
(Nor defame yourselves,) just as He said in another Ayah, (Nor kill yourselves) (4:29), meaning, nor kill one another. 

`Abdullah bin `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that the Ayah, (Nor defame yourselves,) means, none of you should defame each other,' while, (nor insult one another by nicknames.) means, `you should not address people by nick names that people dislike.

' Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Jabirah bin Ad-Dahhak said, "This Ayah was revealed about us, Banu Salamah; (nor insult one another by nicknames.) When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, every man among us had two or three nicknames. When the Prophet called a man by one of these nicknames, people would say, `O Allah's Messenger! He hates that nickname.' Then this Ayah,
(nor insult one another by nicknames.) was revealed.'' Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith. The statement of Allah the Exalted and Most Honored,
(Evil is the name of wickedness after faith), means, the names and descriptions of wickedness are evil; meaning, `to use the nicknames that were used by the people of Jahiliyyah, after you embraced Islam and understood it,'
(And whosoever does not repent,) means, from this sin,
(then such are indeed wrongdoers.)
Qur'an Wiki:
The human society Islam establishes in the light of Qur'anic guidance operates a high standard of manners. Every individual in this society has his or her integrity, which may not be compromised. Indeed, it is part of the integrity of the whole community. To slander anyone is to slander oneself, because the whole community is a single entity and its integrity is one.

In this verse, the Qur'an again addresses the believers by their most beloved description, "Believers". It forbids that one group should deride another, be they men deriding other men, or women deriding other women. For how can they know whether or not the ones they deride enjoy a better status with God?

The way this order is expressed suggests that the apparent values that men or women may consider important may not be those that give people their real status. There are other values, which people may not know about. These are known to God who operates them in fairness. A rich man may deride a poor one. Similarly, those who are strong, enjoying good health, intelligence, children and support, may deride those who are less fortunate than themselves, such as those who are weak, handicapped, simple-minded, childless or orphans without support. A woman who sees herself as pretty, young, perfectly shaped, or rich may deride another for being ugly, old, misshaped, or poor. But none of these earthly values is of any importance as a criterion of high status. In God's sight, people are raised in rank on the basis of totally different values.

The Qur'an, however, does not stop at implying this, It works on the sentiment of brotherhood in faith, reminding the believers that they descend from a single soul. Whoever defames anyone actually defames all. Hence, the Qur'an says: "Neither shall you defame yourselves." (Verse 11) It should be mentioned that the word the Qur'an uses for defaming, talmizu, has a particular resonance that imparts a feeling that also has a physical effect.

Part of derision and defamation is to call others names that they dislike, or feel to be meant as ridicule. It is the right of a believer not to be called by a name that he or she dislikes, or feels to suggest disrespect. Moreover, Islamic standards require a believer not to call a brother or a sister by such a name that gives them pain. The Prophet changed the names or nicknames of some of his Companions because he felt, with his refined sense and compassionate heart, that they could bring ridicule or pain to the people concerned.

Having outlined the true values in God's measure, and appealed to feelings of brotherhood and of belonging to one soul, the surah now reaches out to the believers' sense of faith, warning them that they will lose this noble quality if they indulge in derision and ridicule: "Nor insult one another by [opprobrious] epithets. Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness [to be used of one] after he has believed." (Verse 11) To indulge in this is akin to renouncing faith after one has believed. The surah goes even further than this by threatening to consider this an act of wrongdoing, something that is often expressed in the Qur'an as being synonymous with associating partners with God. "Those who do not repent are indeed wrongdoers." (Verse 11) Thus, the surah establishes the rules for refined manners in a noble community.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
Mutual ridicule ceases to be fun when there is arrogance or selfishness or malice behind it. We may laugh with people, to share in the happiness of life: we must never laugh at people in contempt or ridicule. In many things they may be better than ourselves!

Defamation may consist in speaking ill of others by the spoken or written word, or in acting in such a way as to suggest a charge against some person whom we are not in a position to judge. A cutting, biting remark or taunt of sarcasm is included in the word lamaza. An offensive nickname may amount to defamation, but in any case there is no point in using offensive nicknames, or names that suggest some real or fancied defect. They ill accord with the serious purpose which Muslims should have in life. For example, even if a man is lame, it is wrong to address him as "O lame one!" It causes him pain, and it is bad manners. So in the case of the rude remark, "the black man".

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Reference: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Qur'ān - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Allah listens to the caller when he calls Him



A vast majority of Muslims resides in non Arabic speaking countries. Although they learn the ability to read Qur'an, many also remember the Qur'an in Arabic by heart, yet many f them have not rad even read the Qur'an with translation, what to talk of its tafsir / exegesis. This is mostly so that most of them are general illiterates and that the clerics and imams do not encourage them to read the translation of the Qur'an so that they remain dependent on them for its interpretation. And that is the reason that despite being the most read book in the world, it is least understood.

Due to this dependency on clerics, they are even encouraged to make their supplications through them and thus a mindset develops that their supplications cannot be heard and accepted by Allah unless it is routed through some revered scholar or an imam. This also results in Muslims going to graves of long dead saints and invoke them to pray for them, not knowing that dead cannolo hear them, what to talk of forwarding their woes to Allah. Please read our earlier post in this regard: Invoking the dead.

If everyone learns to read the translation of the Qur'an, he may notice that Allah at many places urges Muslims to to talk to Him directly for He is always all ears to His servants and never lets them go empty handed.  Though in some cases, the acceptance of their prayers takes time, but never rejected. This faith in Allah can only develop if one reads Qur'an and understands what Allah promises its servants. The following 186th verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah (The Cow) makes this very clear that believers should call Allah for He always listens to their calls:

وَاِذَا سَاَلَـكَ عِبَادِىۡ عَنِّىۡ فَاِنِّىۡ قَرِيۡبٌؕ اُجِيۡبُ دَعۡوَةَ الدَّاعِ اِذَا دَعَانِ فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيۡبُوۡا لِىۡ وَلۡيُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِىۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡشُدُوۡنَ‏ 
(2:186) (O Muhammad), when My servants ask you about Me, tell them I am quite near; I hear and answer the call of the caller whenever he calls Me. Let them listen to My call and believe in Me; perhaps they will be guided aright.
اور (اے حبیب!) جب میرے بندے آپ سے میری نسبت سوال کریں تو (بتا دیا کریں کہ) میں نزدیک ہوں، میں پکارنے والے کی پکار کا جواب دیتا ہوں جب بھی وہ مجھے پکارتا ہے، پس انہیں چاہئے کہ میری فرمانبرداری اختیار کریں اور مجھ پر پختہ یقین رکھیں تاکہ وہ راہِ (مراد) پاجائیں
Even though people can neither see God nor subject Him to any other form of sense perception this should not make them feel that God is remote from them. On the contrary, He is so close to each and every person that whenever any person so wishes he can communicate with his Lord. So much so that God hears and responds even to the prayers which remain within the innermost recesses of the heart.

People exhaust themselves by approaching false and powerless beings whom they foolishly fancy to be their deities but who have neither the power to hear nor to grant their prayers. But God, the omnipotent Lord and the absolute Master of this vast universe, Who wields all power and authority, is so close to human beings that they can always approach Him without the intercession of any intermediaries, and can put to Him their prayers and requests.

This announcement of God's closeness to man may open his eyes to the Truth, may turn him to the right way wherein lies his success and well-being.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:  Allah hears the Servant's Supplication
Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said, "We were in the company of Allah's Messenger during a battle. Whenever we climbed a high place, went up a hill or went down a valley, we used to say, `Allah is the Most Great,' raising our voices. The Prophet came by us and said:
(O people! Be merciful to yourselves (i.e., don't raise your voices), for you are not calling a deaf or an absent one, but One Who is All-Hearer, All-Seer. The One Whom you call is closer to one of you than the neck of his animal. O `Abdullah bin Qais (Abu Musa's name) should I teach you a statement that is a treasure of Paradise: `La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (there is no power or strength except from Allah).')
This Hadith was also recorded in the Two Sahihs, and Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah recorded similar wordings. Furthermore, Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Prophet said: ("Allah the Exalted said, `I am as My servant thinks of Me, and I am with him whenever he invokes Me.') Allah accepts the Invocation

Imam Ahmad also recorded Abu Sa`id saying that the Prophet said: (No Muslim supplicates to Allah with a Du`a that does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb, but Allah will grant him one of the three things. He will either hasten the response to his supplication, save it for him until the Hereafter, or would turn an equivalent amount of evil away from him.'') They said, "What if we were to recite more (Du`a).'' He said, (There is more with Allah.)

`Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad recorded `Ubadah bin As-Samit saying that the Prophet said: (There is no Muslim man on the face of the earth who supplicates to Allah but Allah would either grant it to him, or avert a harm from him of equal proportions, as long as his supplication does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb.) At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith.

Allah accepts the Invocation: Imam Ahmad also recorded Abu Sa`id saying that the Prophet said: (No Muslim supplicates to Allah with a Du`a that does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb, but Allah will grant him one of the three things. He will either hasten the response to his supplication, save it for him until the Hereafter, or would turn an equivalent amount of evil away from him.'') They said, "What if we were to recite more (Du`a).'' He said, (There is more with Allah.)
`Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad recorded `Ubadah bin As-Samit saying that the Prophet said: (There is no Muslim man on the face of the earth who supplicates to Allah but Allah would either grant it to him, or avert a harm from him of equal proportions, as long as his supplication does not involve sin or cutting the relations of the womb.) At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith.
Imam Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah's Messenger said: (One's supplication will be accepted as long as he does become get hasty and say, `I have supplicated but it has not been accepted from me.'')

This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs from Malik, and this is the wording of Al-Bukhari.

Muslim recorded that the Prophet said: (The supplication of the servant will be accepted as long as he does not supplicate for what includes sin, or cutting the relations of the womb, and as long as he does not become hasty.) He was asked, "O Messenger of Allah! How does one become hasty'' He said, (He says, `I supplicated and supplicated, but I do not see that my supplication is being accepted from me.' He thus looses interest and abandons supplicating (to Allah).)

 Three Persons Whose Supplication will not be rejected: In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and the Sunans of At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah's Messenger said: (Three persons will not have their supplication rejected: (1) the just ruler, (2) the fasting person until breaking the fast, (3) and the supplication of the oppressed person, for Allah raises it above the clouds on the Day of Resurrection, and the doors of heaven will be opened for it, and Allah says, `By My grace! I will certainly grant it for you, even if after a while.')

Qur'an Wiki:
Interposed among the verses dealing with fasting comes a verse reflecting a profound insight into human nature. It reaches to the deepest recesses of the human psyche, offering solace and ample rewards for keeping the fast in response to God’s commands: “If My servants ask you about Me, well, I am near; I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls to Me. Let them then respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may follow the right way.”

How kind and compassionate God truly is! Any hardship encountered in keeping the fast fades in comparison with this friendly and gentle reassurance. The choice of words creates an atmosphere of intimacy and accessibility, with God Himself stating a direct contact between Him and His servants. He does not give instructions to His Messenger, the Prophet Muĥammad on how to answer believers’ questions about Him. He gives the answer Himself: “I am near.” His closeness is not only to listen but also for immediate response: “I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls to Me.”

This verse fills a believer’s heart with love, confidence and utter reassurance. In this atmosphere of friendliness and compassion, God, who has no need for anyone, directs believers to respond to Him and believe in Him, in the hope that this will guide them to wisdom and righteousness. “Let them then respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may follow the right way.” By earning God’s generosity and guidance, believers end up winners on all counts.

Belief in God and response to His commands lead to true guidance. The way of life God has ordained for man is the only one truly worthy of adoption and adherence; all other ideologies lead only to ruin and frustration. When one responds to God’s call, one must be confident that God will answer one’s prayers (du`ā’). However, one should not hasten God’s response, for He alone decides the most appropriate time to respond.
Salmān, the Persian, a Companion of the Prophet, quotes the Prophet as saying: “God would not like to see His servant holding out his arms pleading for help and turn him away empty handed.” [Related by Abū Dāwūd, al-Tirmidhī and Ibn Mājah]
`Ubādah ibn al-Şāmit quotes the Prophet as saying: “God shall answer the prayer (du`ā’) of any Muslim anywhere on earth, or He will protect him against contrasting harm, as long as he does not ask for something evil or for the break-up of kinship relations.” [Related by al-Tirmidhī on ibn Thawbān’s authority and by `Abdullāh ibn Imām Aĥmad]
The Prophet is also reported to have said: “Your prayers shall be answered as long as you remain patient. Do not say, ‘I have prayed but my prayer has never been answered!’“ [Related by al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

He is also reported as saying: “Prayers [du`ā’] shall be answered unless one asks for something evil or the break-up of kinship relations, and as long as one does not become impatient.” When the Prophet was asked to explain how one becomes impatient, he said: “One says, ‘I have prayed many times but I have had no response,’ then gives up hope and abandons praying [du`ā’] altogether.” [Related by Muslim]
A fasting person has the best chance of his prayers being answered. Abū Dāwūd al-Ţayālisī relates on the authority of `Abdullāh ibn `Umar that the Prophet said: “The prayer a fasting person says at the time when he is about to finish his fast shall be answered.” Accordingly, `Abdullāh ibn `Umar, a learned Companion of the Prophet, used to gather his family together when breaking the fast and pray.
Ibn Mājah also relates a ĥadīth in which `Abdullāh ibn `Umar quoted the Prophet as saying: “On breaking the fast, the prayer of a fasting person is never turned down.” This is supported by a ĥadīth in which Abū Hurayrah quotes the Prophet as saying: “Prayers by three people shall never be turned down: a just ruler, a fasting person until he breaks the fast, and the oppressed for whose prayer [du`ā’] the gates of heaven shall be opened wide and God shall say to him, ‘By My power, I shall support you, even though it may be in due course.’“ [Related by Imām Aĥmad, al- Tirmidhī, al-Nasā’ī and Ibn Mājah]

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi Explanation:
Ie., now when the Qur’an is being revealed and Muhammad(sws) is amongst his people, they can obtain guidance from the Almighty through him whenever they can.

This is an encouragement for people to ask questions which are necessary for the explanation of the shari‘ah. It does not imply unnecessary questions which the Qur’an at another place has stopped people from asking.

Although in general circumstances too, the Almighty answers the calls of the suppliant, however here it refers to the answers which people would immediately get from Muhammad(sws) during the time of revelation of the Qur’an. A number of similar questions have been mentioned further down in this surah.

The implication is that when the Almighty is near them and is also answering their questions to remove their confusions, no one should adopt a hypocritical attitude with Him and neither should people object to and raise doubts against any of His directives; in fact, they should obey them with full faith and conviction.

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Reference: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Qur'ān - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Beware of Grave Consequences of Committing Shirk (Ascribing a Partner with Allah)

Shirk " شرك‎ " - associating partner (s) with One True God is considered as an unpardonable sin in the eyes of Allah. For Allah does not share His divine attributes with anyone whom He has created. Allah has made it abundantly clear  at many a places in the Qur'an that shirk as a sin will not be forgiven if a person dies without repenting of it.

Despite clear warnings, beside idolaters who worship man made idols, even the followers of Divine Scriptures including Jews and Christians follow beliefs that fall under the category of Shirk. Not only this, even some Muslims are found uttering words or following worldly saints in a manner that constitute shirk. We share the 48th verse of Surah 4. An Nisa in which Allah warns those who ascribe partners with Him. Please heed to the Divine Warning and follow the true path as ascribed by Allah in Qur'an lest one dies in a belief that may take him straight to hell for there is not pardon for committing shirk:

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ اَنۡ يُّشۡرَكَ بِهٖ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُوۡنَ ذٰ لِكَ لِمَنۡ يَّشَآءُ​ ۚ وَمَنۡ يُّشۡرِكۡ بِاللّٰهِ فَقَدِ افۡتَـرٰۤى اِثۡمًا عَظِيۡمًا‏  
(4:48) Surely Allah does not forgive that a partner be ascribed to Him, although He forgives any other sins for whomever He wills. He who associates anyone with Allah in His divinity has indeed forged a mighty lie and committed an awesome sin.
 بیشک اللہ اِس بات کو نہیں بخشتا کہ اس کے ساتھ شرک کیا جائے اور اس سے کم تر (جو گناہ بھی ہو) جس کے لئے چاہتا ہے بخش دیتا ہے، اور جس نے اللہ کے ساتھ شرک کیا اس نے واقعۃً زبردست گناہ کا بہتان باندھا

The people of the Book have been admonished for being guilty of shirk, though they professed to believe in the Prophets and the revealed Books.  

This does not mean that if one refrains from shirk, then one may freely indulge in other sins. This is merely to bring home to them the gravity of this heinous sin, which they regarded as a trivial thing. That is why the warning has been given that shirk is the most heinous of all sins; so much so that this is the only sin for which forgiveness is not possible.

The Jewish Rabbis were very particular in the observance of minor laws;nay, they spent most of their time in measuring and weighing those regulations which were not explicitly mentioned in their Scriptures but were derived from them. On the contrary, they regarded shirk as a trivial matter: they not only themselves were involved in it but they did not try to save their community from .shirk and acts of shirk. Accordingly, they did not consider that there was anything wrong in entering into alliance with mushrik communities and helping them. 

Qur’ān Wiki
Next comes a comment delivering another warning in respect of the Hereafter. This new warning excludes any possibility of forgiveness to anyone who associates partners with God. At the same time, Divine mercy is shown to be greater than all other sins: “God will never forgive that partners are associated with Him. He forgives any lesser sin to whomever He wills. He who associates partners with God indeed contrived an awesome sin.” (Verse 48) This verse is stated in a context that implies an express accusation against the Jews for associating partners with God. Hence, they are called upon to return to the pure faith in His Oneness.

Nothing is mentioned here about what they said or did to brand them as polytheists. Details of that are given elsewhere. The Qur’ān reports that they claimed that “Ezra is the son of God”. (9: 30) Such a statement was made in the same vein as that of the Christians who claimed that “the Christ is the son of God”. (9: 30) Any statement of this type constitutes an act of associating partners with God. The Qur’ān also reports that both Christians and Jews “have taken their rabbis and priests as lords alongside God’. (9: 31) It has to be said that neither group used to worship rabbis or priests. They simply acknowledged their right to legislate for them, and to make certain things lawful and to forbid others. The authority to do that belongs exclusively to God. It is one of the most essential elements of Godhead. Hence, the Qur’ān classifies them among the polytheists. This is particularly significant in light of the Islamic concept as to who constitutes a Muslim and who a believer. This point will be elaborated upon further in the commentary on the rest of this sūrah.

At any rate, the Jews of Arabia at the time when Islam was revealed had had their faith adulterated with polytheistic elements. Hence, they are expressly warned here that God may forgive, as He pleases, anyone whatever sin he may have committed, other than associating partners with Him. No forgiveness is granted to any person who ends his life believing in other gods alongside God, without having repented for holding such an erroneous belief.
When a person associates partners with God, he actually severs all his relations with the Lord and Creator. Hence, there is no hope that he may be forgiven if this state of a total break of relations is maintained until his death
Anyone who maintains such an attitude until death, ignoring all the pointers to God’s oneness — in the form of clear proofs throughout the universe, and in the guidance given by prophets and messengers — is devoid of all goodness. Such a persistent denial of God’s oneness is proof of total, incurable corruption of human nature, sending it to a lowly depth from which it cannot rise. Such a person has already prepared himself for the life of Hell.

Apart from this extremely grave sin and this flagrant injustice, God forgives all sins, great or small. All these sins, including cardinal ones, may be forgiven, according to God’s will, whether one repents or not as some reports tell, as long as the person who commits them believes in God, hopes to be forgiven, believes that God is able to forgive him and that God’s forgiveness is greater than his sins. This shows that God’s mercy is without limit, inexhaustible, and may be granted to all and sundry. God’s forgiveness is open to all. We need only to seek it.

Ibn `Abbās quotes the Prophet as saying: “God says: He who knows that I am able to forgive sins shall be forgiven by Me and I do not care what offences he may have committed, as long as he has not associated any partners with Me.” (Related by al-Ţabarānī.)

This ĥadīth is particularly significant. What is important is to have a proper awareness of God’s true nature. Such an awareness gives rise to a genuine desire to do good as well as feelings of hope, fear and being ashamed of one’s faults. If an offence is committed, such feelings help one mend one’s ways and bring one nearer to forgiveness.

Muhammad Asad Explanation
The continuous stress, in the Qur'an, on God's transcendental oneness and uniqueness aims at freeing man from all sense of dependence on other influences and powers, and thus at elevating him spiritually and bringing about the "purification" alluded to in the next verse. Since this objective is vitiated by the sin of shirk ("the ascribing of divine qualities to aught beside God") the Qur'an describes it as "unforgivable" so long as it is persisted in, i.e., unless and until the sinner repents (cf. verses {17} and {18} of this surah).
(4:17) Verily, God's acceptance of repentance relates only to those who do evil out of ignorance and then repent before their time runs out: and it is they unto whom God will turn again in His mercy - for God is all-knowing, wise;
(4:18) whereas repentance shall not be accepted from those who do evil deeds until their dying hour and then say, "Behold, I now repent"; nor from those who die as deniers of the truth: it is these for whom We have readied grievous suffering.
Yusuf Ali Translation
Just as in an earthly kingdom the worst crime is that of treason, as it cuts at the very existence of the State, so in the Divine Kingdom, the unforgivable sin is that of contumacious treason against Allah by putting up Allah's creatures in rivalry against Him. This is rebellion against the Creator. It is what Plato would call the "lie in the soul." But even here, if the rebellion is through ignorance, and is followed by sincere repentance and amendment, Allah's Mercy is always open (iv. 17).

Explanation Ghamidi
This is because polytheism is a lie concocted against God and as such is the greatest oppression that a person can commit on the face of this earth. If a person dies without repenting for this sin, then there is no chance that he will be forgiven by the Almighty.

It is evident from this that even in the case of other sins a person should not become bold and rash because they too will be forgiven if God intends, and it is known about God that His intention is governed by His wisdom and law. None of His intentions are haphazard. He is All-Knowing and All-Wise and these attributes encompass all his intentions.

Please listen to a short explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Reference: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Qur'ān - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Invoking the Dead



Associating anyone living or dead with Allah is the greatest sin /shirk in the eyes of Allah. Or invoking someone ( living or dead ) also falls under the same category. How can someone, who has been himself created by Allah, can create or even answer the woes of his followers. Allah says in 20t verse of Surah An Nahl " Those whom they call upon beside Allah have created nothing; rather, they themselves were created."

From time immemorial, people have made graves or idols of the saints and have been worshiping them, invoking them to hear to their woes. This included the Jews and the Christians and even the infidels, who made idols thinking they were the replica of God or even saints.

It is very unfortunate, that this menace has also crept into the Muslims, who have erected big domes over the graves of the God fearing saints and have attributed false anecdotes like they extend their hands out of the grave or give out money from within the grave to their followers. It is for al such grave or idol worshippers that Allah warns them that:

اَمۡوَاتٌ غَيۡرُ اَحۡيَآءٍ​ ۚ وَمَا يَشۡعُرُوۡنَ اَيَّانَ يُبۡعَثُوۡنَ  
(16:21) they are dead, not living. They do not even know when they will be resurrected.
The words employed here to refute man made deities clearly indicate that these deities were deceased prophets, saints, martyrs and pious and other extraordinary beings buried in their graves and not angels, jinns, devils or idols. For the angels and devils are alive: therefore, the words, “They are dead, not living” cannot apply to them, and it is out of the question to say about idols of stone or wood that “They do not know at all when they shall again be raised to life” in the Hereafter. As regards the objection to this version that there were no such deities in Arabia, this is based on the lack of knowledge of the history of the pre- Islamic period. It is well known that there was a large number of Jews and Christians living among many clans of Arabia, who used to invoke and worship their Prophets, saints, etc. It is also a fact that many gods of the mushriks of Arabia were human beings, whose idols they had set up for worship after their death. According to a tradition cited in Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Abbas: “Wadd, Sua, Yaghuth, Yauq, and Nasr were pious human beings, whom the succeeding generations had made gods.” In another tradition, related by Aishah: “Asaf and Nailah were human beings.” There are also traditions to the same effect about Lat, Munat and Uzza. So much so that according to some traditions of the mushriks, Lat and Uzza were the beloved ones of Allah who used to pass His winter with Lat and summer with Uzza. But Allah is absolutely free from such absurd things they attribute to Him.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:
That is they are inanimate and lifeless, they do not hear, see, or think. And they do not know when the Hour will come, so how can anyone hope for any benefit or reward from these idols They should hope for it from the One Who knows all things and is the Creator of all things.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:
Idols are dead wood or stone. If men worship stars, or heroes, or prophets, or great men, they too have no life except that which was given by Allah. In themselves they are lifeless. If they worship figments of the imagination, they are reflections in a double degree, and have no life in themselves. All these things will be raised up on the Last Day, in order that false worshippers may be confronted with them. But they themselves cannot tell when that Day will be.

Qur'an Wiki:
“Those beings that some people invoke beside God cannot create anything; they themselves are created. They are dead, not living, and they do not know when they will be raised back to life.” (Verses 20-21)

The reference here to the resurrection implies that the Creator must, for certain, know its time, because resurrection is complementary to creation. It is then that the living receive their reward for what they have done in life. The deities that do not know when their worshippers are raised to life are only a mockery. A true Creator determines when to resurrect His creation.

May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Reference: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Qur'ān - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

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