Saturday 19 March 2022

Choice of rewards: In this word or the world to come

Man is always impatient. He is always hurrying up for rewards for which he may even adopt short cuts or ways unbecoming. Such are the men who make wrong choices of their lives and choose to earn rewards in this world, completely forgetting that hardships and righteous deeds will too earn them rewards in the world to come. Now it is up to them to choose worldly rewards that are short lived or the permanent rewards in the world to come earned due to their patience, honesty and believe that Allah never lets go someone's sincerity and honesty.

We often see man selling him and his honour for a few dollars more, thus not only earning a bad name but a harsh and seizing punishment in the hereafter. There are men too who elect to live all their lives in hardships and utter poverty, yet never opt for dirty money for they are men of faith and conviction. 
Man in this life can only see up to the horizon of this life. The highest rewards which his wishes or ambitions can conceive of are conceived in the terms of this life. But Allah can give him not only these but something infinitely higher, the rewards of the Hereafter, which it did not even enter his heart to ask for or his imagination to conceive.
We chosen the 134th verse of Surah 4. An Nisa which gives a choice to earn rewards in the world or the world to come:

مَنۡ كَانَ يُرِيۡدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنۡيَا فَعِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنۡيَا وَالۡاٰخِرَةِ​ ؕ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ سَمِيۡعًاۢ بَصِيۡرًا
(4:134) He who desires the reward of this world, let him know that with Allah is the reward of this world and also of the World to Come. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
In order to urge the Muslims to observe strictly the Commandments concerning justice to women and orphans, Allah has, as usual, in the conclusion (Ivv. 130-134) given a brief but effective address by way of admonition, and has impressed upon the Believers the following things:
  • (1) You should never be under the delusion that you can make or mar the fate of any one, and that if you withdraw or withhold your help and support from anyone, that person will become utterly helpless. As a matter of fact, your own fate and the fate of those whom you support, is entirely in the hands of Allah and you alone are not the only means by which He supports His servants or maid servants. The resources of the Owner of the earth and the heavens are vast and limitless and He is also All-Wise and has full power to adopt means for helping anyone He wills.
  • (2) Allah has enjoined you, as He always enjoined the communities of the former Prophets, to conduct your affairs with fear of God in your hearts. In this lies your own good and not of God. If you do not carry out these instructions, you can do no harm to Allah but you yourselves will go the way of the former disobedient communities. The Sovereign of the Universe has never stood in need of the people. If you will not behave properly, He will remove you from leadership and appoint another community in your place. And your removal will not in the least diminish anything from the greatness of His Kingdom.
  • (3) Allah has in His possession all the benefits and rewards of this world and of the Next World, benefits which are temporary and transitory or permanent and ever-lasting. It is for you to make your choice from among these according to your own capacity and courage. If you are enamored of the temporary good things of this world and are even prepared to sacrifice the permanent blessings of the Hereafter, Allah will bestow upon you the same here and now, but in that case, you will have no portion in the permanent blessings of the Hereafter. You should not forget that owing to your own lack of capability and lack of courage, you have chosen to acquire only a drop out of the ocean of the blessings of God. Therefore it is better for you to adopt that way of obedience and submission which may enable you to acquire the vast benefits of this world and of the Hereafter.
The concluding words of this piece of admonition, "He hears everything and sees everything", have a very deep significance. As Allah is neither deaf nor blind, He makes a fine distinction between the good and the bad in the distribution of His blessings. He is fully aware of what is happening in the universe over which He is ruling and of the capabilities, efforts and intentions of everyone. Therefore, one who is disobedient to Him, should not expect those blessings which He has reserved for those who are obedient to Him.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
The verse means, O those whose ultimate desire is this life, know that Allah owns the rewards of this life and the Hereafter. Therefore, if you ask Allah for both, He will enrich you, award you and suffice for you. 

As Allah said, (But of mankind there are some who say: "Our Lord! Give us in this world!'' and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter. And of them there are some who say: "Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!'' For them there will be allotted a share for what they have earned),
  • (Whosoever desires (by his deeds) the reward of the Hereafter, We give him increase in his reward), and(Whoever desires the quick-passing (transitory enjoyment of this world), We readily grant him what We will for whom We like) until,(See how We prefer one above another (in this world)). So Allah said here,
  • (And Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer.)
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This verse has some suppressions which I have revealed in the translation. ([Because of your vested interests you try to evade the sharī‘ah of God; you should know that] he who wants the reward of this world, it lies with God also; and he who wants the reward of the next world, then with God lies the reward of this world and of the next one as well, and God hears and sees all.)

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī has explained them thus:
… In Arabic, one clause of two contrasting clauses is suppressed because the mentioned bears witness to the unmentioned. In my opinion, if the suppressions of this verse are revealed, the discourse would be something to the effect: مَنۡ كَانَ يُرِيۡدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنۡيَا فَعِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنۡيَا وَ مَنۡ كَانَ يُرِيۡدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنۡيَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَةِ فَعِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنۡيَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَةِ ؕ. In the first part, the clause فَعِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ ثَوَابُ الدُّنۡيَا has been suppressed while in the second part the clause وَ مَنۡ كَانَ يُرِيۡدُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنۡيَا وَ الۡاٰخِرَةِ has been suppressed. The reason for this suppression is the same as I have indicated earlier: the expressed part points to the suppressed part. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 2, 401)
Qur'an Wiki:
These comments are concluded with a reminder to those who are keen on having a share of the riches of this life that God’s grace is far greater and more bounteous than that. He can give rewards in this life and in the life to come. Those who limit their hopes and ambitions to this world only, can look far beyond to a greater reward in the hereafter which may he given in addition to what God grants them in this life: “If anyone desires the rewards of this world, let him remember that with God are the rewards of this world and those of the life to come. God is indeed All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” (Verse 134)

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us to choose the rewards in the world to come and let 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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