Friday 29 July 2022

10 Virtues (of Muslim Men and Women) for which Allah promises a mighty reward

Life is defined as any system capable of performing functions such as eating, metabolizing, excreting, breathing, moving, growing, reproducing, and responding to external stimuli. This definition is true for both humans and animals. Refining this statement for humans only, we find a life of men with wisdom, intellect and motivation of varying degrees. Each man is trying to run a marathon but many give away after a few miles due to lack of stamina, motivation and resilience. Or simply put, life  is a tug of war wherein men at both sides push and pull but finally one side gives way. That is success overtakes the meek and weak who settle down with a torturing defeat.

Likewise, when we see life from a Divine point of view, we conclude that life is a test of faith for the believing men and women. Thus a Muslim man's (and women) ultimate life objective is to worship the creator Allah SWT (English: God) by abiding by the Divine guidelines revealed in the Qur'an and the Tradition of the Prophet. 

In Islam, the Earthly life is merely a test, determining one's afterlife, either in Jannah (Paradise) or in Jahannam (Hell). Thus those who will pass the test, a very difficult one with hurdles, trials, difficulties, death of a near and dear one, loss of wealth and position, are the one's who will be declared successful by the Divine yardstick.

We have already published a number of posts on believing men and women who will be rewarded not only in this life but in the life of the hereafter for their true faith, immense belief in Allah and His plan that he set forth for them and finally succeeding. Today we share a very elaborate verse from Surah 33. Al Ahzab (The Clans) which lists down seven categories of believing Muslim men and women whom Allah will forgive and award them a mighty reward. 
In this verse, a number of Muslim virtues are specified here, but the chief stress is laid on the fact that these virtues are as necessary to women as to men. Both sexes have spiritual as well as human rights and duties in an equal degree, and the future "reward" of the Hereafter.
اِنَّ الۡمُسۡلِمِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُسۡلِمٰتِ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتِ وَ الۡقٰنِتِیۡنَ وَ الۡقٰنِتٰتِ وَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ وَ الصّٰدِقٰتِ وَ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ وَ الصّٰبِرٰتِ وَ الۡخٰشِعِیۡنَ وَ الۡخٰشِعٰتِ وَ الۡمُتَصَدِّقِیۡنَ وَ الۡمُتَصَدِّقٰتِ وَ الصَّآئِمِیۡنَ وَ الصّٰٓئِمٰتِ وَ الۡحٰفِظِیۡنَ فُرُوۡجَہُمۡ وَ الۡحٰفِظٰتِ وَ الذّٰکِرِیۡنَ اللّٰہَ کَثِیۡرًا وَّ الذّٰکِرٰتِ ۙ اَعَدَّ اللّٰہُ لَہُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَۃً وَّ اَجۡرًا عَظِیۡمًا
Surely the men who submit (to Allah) and the women who submit (to Allah), the men who have faith and the women who have faith, the men who are obedient and the women who are obedient, the men who are truthful and the women who are truthful; the men who are steadfast and the women who are steadfast, the men who humble themselves (to Allah) and the women who humble themselves (to Allah), the men who give alms and the women who give alms, the men who fast and the women who fast, the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity, the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah much: for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward.

Note: The given verse cannot be understood unless its relevance and background is studied first. In fact from verse 28-35 should be read very carefully as these carry solutions to many asocial issues that Muslims may confront as had been confronted by none other than the Prophet of Allah himself. These verses in fact are addressed to the wives of the Prophet Muhammad and through these verses the Prophet has been asked to convey to them the Divine message for they are not ordinary women. Please read the explanation of verses 28-34 from our earlier post: Exegesis/Tafsir Surah 33. Al Ahzab (The Clans). However, it must be borne in mind that the instructions given above to the Holy Prophet's wives are not exclusively meant for them but the Muslim society as a whole should reform itself in accordance with them. 

Now lets read the explanation / tafsir / exegesis of the 35th verse by various Muslim scholars.

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi:
1. ( the men who submit (to Allah) and the women who submit (to Allah) "Who have surrendered themselves to Allah : Who have accepted Islam as a code of life for themselves, and have decided to follow it in their lives, and who have no wish to resist the Islamic way of life and thought, but have adopted the way of obedience and submission to it. 

2. ( the men who have faith and the women who have faith ) "Who are believing": Whose obedience is not merely outward nor unwilling but who sincerely regard the guidance given by Islam as based on the truth whose faith is that the way shown by the Qur'an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) is the only right and straight way in following which alone lies their true success. That which has been declared as wrong by Allah and His Prophet is certainly wrong even according to their judgment and that which has been declared as right by Allah and His Prophet is certainly right even according to their thinking and sense. Psychologically and intellectually also they do not regard as improper any injunction that has been enjoined by the Qur'an and Sunnah, and do not remain on the lookout to change it somehow to suit their own desire or mold it according to the current trends of the world, avoiding at the same time the blame that they have effected a change in the Command given by Allah and His Prophet. The Holy Prophet has described the true state of faith in a Hadith in these words:
"He who reconciled himself to Allah as his Lord and to Islam as his Way of Life and to Muhammad as his Messenger, has the true taste of Faith." (Muslim)
In another Hadith, he has explained it thus: "None of you becomes a believer until the desires of his self become subordinate to what I have brought." (Sharh as-Sunnah) 
3. ( the men who are obedient and the women who are obedient ) That is, "They do not rest content with mere belief but are obedient practically also. They are not the sort of the people who would honestly believe that what Allah and His Messenger have commanded was true but would violate it in practice: that they would sincerely regard what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden as bad but would go on following the same in practical life." 

4. ( the men who are truthful and the women who are truthful ) hat is, "They are truthful in their speech and honest in thou dealings. They do not deal in lies, deceptions, frauds and forgeries. They utter with their tongues only what their conscience approves as true. They practice and perform only what they honestly find to be in accordance with righteousness and truth, and they are honest in all their dealings with others." 

5. ( the men who are steadfast and the women who are steadfast ) That is, "They patiently and steadfastly bear and face all the obstacles, dangers, difficulties and losses that they might have to encounter in following the right way taught by Allah and His Messenger and in establishing Allah's Religion in the world; no fear and no temptation and no lust of the self can succeed in diverting them from the right way."

6. ( the men who humble themselves (to Allah) and the women who humble themselves (to Allah) ) That is, "They are free from pride, vanity and haughtiness: they have full understanding of the reality that they arc servants and they have no other position than that of servitude. Therefore, their hearts as well as their bodies remain bowed before Allah, dominated by fear of Him. They never display the attitude which is the hall-mark of the lives of those who are fearless of God and arc involved in arrogance. " From the sequence it appears that the mention of Khushu' (expression of humility) in particular along with the general attitude of the fear of God implies the Prayer, for the mention of the practice of charity and fast has been made just after it. 

7. ( the men who give alms and the women who give alms, ) This does not only imply payment of the obligatory Zakat, but it also includes general charity. It means to say that they spend their wealth freely in the way of Allah and they are not at all niggardly in the matter of helping the servants of Allah as much as they can. No orphan and no sick or afflicted person, no weak or disabled person, no poor and needy one remains deprived of their support in their dwelling; and if there arises the need for monetary help for promoting the cause of Allah's Religion, they arc never miserly in expending their wealth for that purpose. 

8. ( the men who fast and the women who fast ) This includes both the obligatory and the voluntary fasts. 

9. ( the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity ) This has two meanings: (1) They refrain from adultery; and (2) they avoid nudity. One should also note that nudity does not only mean being naked but it is also nudity to put on a thin dress which shows the body, or is so tight-fitting that it reveals all the outlines of the body. 

10. ( the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah much  ) "Remember Allah much" means that one should mention Allah's name in one way or other at all times in every business of life. Man cannot develop such a state of the mind unless the thought of God becomes deeply embedded in his heart. When this idea has passed beyond his conscious mind and settled deep in his subconscious and unconscious mind, then only he will remember and mention God's name in whatever he does and in whatever he says. He will begin with bismillah when he eats and say al-hamdu lillah when he finishes; he will remember Allah when he goes to bed, and mention Allah's name when he gets up. In his conversation also he will again and again pronounce bismillah, al-hamdu-lillalh, insha-Allah, ma sha Allah, etc. and ask for Allah's help in every matter, and thank Him for every blessing. He will seek His mercy in every affliction, and turn to Him in every trouble. He will fear Him on encountering every evil, and ask for His forgiveness when he happens to have committed an error and will pray to Him for fulfillment of every need. In short, in every state and in every business of life his function will be to remember Allah.
This. In fact, is the essence of the Islamic life. For all other acts of worship there is a prescribed time when they are performed, and one is free when one has performed them. But this is the worship which has no special time; it has to be performed constantly so that it links up the man's life with Allah and His service permanently. The other worships and religious acts themselves also become meaningful only when the heart of man remains inclined to Allah not only at the time when the act is actually being carried out but at all times when the tongue is uttering Allah's name constantly. In such a state as this worship and religious acts develop and flourish in a man's life precisely in the same manner as a plant grows in a congenial climate and environment. Contrary to this, the example of the religious services and worships which are carried out only on special times and occasions in the life which is devoid of this constant remembrance of Allah is of the plant which has been planted in an un-congenial climate, and which is growing only due to the special attention and care of the gardener. This very thing has been explained by the Holy Prophet in a Hadith, thus:
"Mu'adh bin Anas Juhani relates that a person asked the Holy Prophet of Allah. who among those who fight in the way of Allah will get the highest reward? He replied: The one who remembers Allah the most. The man asked: Who among the observers of the fast will get the highest reward? He replied: The one who remembers Allah the most. The man then asked the same question about the offerer of the Prayer, the payer of the Zakat and charities and the performer of Hajj and the Holy Prophet in every case gave the same answer, saying: He who remembers Allah the most." (Musnad Ahmad) 

for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward ) This verse plainly tells what qualities and characteristics are of real worth in the sight of Allah. These are the basic values of Islam which have been compressed into one sentence. As regards these, there is no difference between the man and woman. However, as for their life-activity, the two sexes have separate spheres to function. The males have to function in some particular spheres and the females in some others. But if they possess these qualities and characteristics equally, Allah will raise them to equal ranks and bless them with equal rewards. It will in no way affect their rank and reward if one carried out household chores and the other performed the duties of caliphate and enforced the Shari'ah injunctions; one reared children in the house and the other went to the battlefield and fought for the sake of Allah and His religion.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
In reality, [ men and women who are Muslims,]Ie., those who have accepted Islam as their religion. When this word is mentioned with īmān the way it is here, then it signifies the external form of Islām, ie., the state of consigning one’s self to God which manifests itself in the words, deeds and limbs of a person, and after seeing which everyone knows that that person has adopted the obedience of God and His Messenger and that no sphere of his life is now outside its ambit.

[ true believers] Īmān is the inner facet of religion and here it implies the full faith one has about the promises of God together with His true cognizance. Thus a person who believes in God in such a manner that he submits himself totally to him and is satisfied over His decisions in the utmost manner, is called a mu’min (true believer).

[worshippers] The actual word is: قُنُوْت. It is an inner expression of a person which sets him at the obedience of his Lord with full sincerity and dedication. This is the most prominent manifestation of the relationship between the Lord and His worshippers in the inner-self of a believer. Thus قَانِتِيْنَ are people who always serve God and in no circumstances become rebellious against their Lord. Sorrow, happiness, vivacity, exuberance and moments of bliss or grief do not swerve them from their obedience. Even sexual impulses, strong desires and onslaughts of emotions do not make them stumble before their Lord. Their hearts acknowledge His grandeur and greatness and they consider the sharī‘ah a set of divine directives given by God to them in His very presence and can’t even think of evading what is given in this manner.

[truthful] Ie., there is no contradiction between their intention, words and deeds. The Qur’ān calls the opposite conduct “hypocrisy” and this as “ikhlāṣ.”

[ patient] In Arabic, patience means to restrain oneself from restlessness and anxiety. This is its initial meaning. Then the meaning of showing perseverance and resolve while encountering hardships and hindrances was incorporated into it. Thus the patience which is mentioned in the verse is not something akin to weakness and frailty that a person is forced to adopt when he is helpless and weak; on the contrary, it is the fountainhead of determination and resolve and the pinnacle of human character. It is because of patience that a person becomes internally strong and instead of complaining about the dreadful experiences of life, welcomes them accepting them whole-heartedly and considers them to be from God. Viewed thus, a patient person is one who diligently adheres to his stance while fighting greed and fear and is fully content and happy with the decisions of His Lord.

[ humble before God] The word used for this in verse is: خٰشِعِيْن. The humility and servility which is engendered in a person as a result of comprehending the awe, grandeur and majesty of God is called khushū‘ by the Qur’ān. This is an internal feeling of a person which makes him submit himself to God and also produces in him the feelings of mercy and love for other human beings.

[ charitable] One level of spending in the way of God is that one should pay the obligatory zakāh from his wealth. A higher level is that he considers whatever wealth remains with him after spending on his personal and business needs to be the right of the society and whenever he sees someone in need, he whole-heartedly helps him. The third and highest level in this regard is that he fulfils the needs of others while sacrificing his own needs and ignoring his own desires. The word “charitable” can be used for all these three levels of people. However, when enumerating the qualities of a person, he is called a mutaṣaddiq (as is in the verse under discussion), it would primarily refer to the highest level mentioned above. In other words, this quality in a person means that he is a generous and large-hearted person who is always on the look out to spend in the way of God. This actually is a manifestation of the previously mentioned khushū‘ – this time in relation to human beings. It was for this reason that the prayer and spending in the way of God are generally mentioned adjacently in the Qur’ān.

[ who fast,] It specifically targets disciplining the soul and nurturing patience. The Qur’ān says that its objective is to achieve piety (taqwā). Thus al-ṣā’imīn (those who fast) are people who have such a strong desire to become pious that they often fast to attain it. It follows from this that these people are the ones who abstain from evil, desist from vulgarity and their life is an embodiment of the highest of morals.

[guard their private parts] This is a consequence of disciplining the soul and of piety. This expression which refers to people who refrain from nudity, lewdness and vulgarity also occurs in some other verses of the Qur’ān. The implication is that they guard their chastity and modesty to the utmost. Thus except at instances they are allowed to reveal themselves, they never do so whether in private or in public. They also do not wear clothes which reveal body parts which have sexual attraction in any manner for the opposite gender. It is this extent of abstaining from vulgarity that produces the society in which chastity reigns supreme and men and women instead of trying to reveal their bodies are anxious to conceal them as much as they can.

[and remember God in abundance] When the thought of his Lord takes firm ground in the heart of a person, he does not consider it enough to merely worship his God at the specified times of the day. When he sees a sign of God, his tongue spontaneously utters the words سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ (glory be to Allah). He begins all his tasks and routines by saying بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ (in the name of Allah). When he receives a favour from his Lord, he expresses his gratitude by the words الْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ (gratitude is for Allah). He never expresses his intention for something without uttering the words اِنْ شَاءَ اللّٰه (if Allah wills) and مَا شَاءَ اللّٰه (what Allah wills). He seeks God’s help in all his affairs. He asks Him for His mercy on every calamity that befalls him. He turns to him in every hardship. He remembers God before going to sleep and begins his day by pronouncing His name. In short, at all instances and at all moments, he is constantly in contact with his Lord. Not only this; when he prays, he remembers God; when he fasts, he remembers God; when he recites the Qur’ān, he remembers God, when he spends on the poor, he remembers God; when he abstains from sin, he remembers God; when he falls in sin, he remembers God and becomes anxious to seek forgiveness from Him.

One form of this remembrance is reflection: when we look at the world created by God, we see an astounding variety in the countless creatures He has created; we see the astounding products of human intellect around us; we see stormy seas and flowing rivers, lush green vegetation, abundant rain and the sequence of days and nights. We witness the outcome of winds and clouds. We also see how the heavens and the earth have been made and the astonishing way in which they are built; their benefits and uses for us are also apparent to us; they have a purpose and meaning to them; then we have the signs of God that are found not only in the world around us but also in the world within us; every now and then, these signs appear in new and more enchanting forms. When a believer reflects on these signs of God, his heart and mind are filled with the remembrance of God. Consequently, he spontaneously declares: “God! You have not made this world without a purpose; it is against Your knowledge and stature to do something meaningless and purposeless; I know this world will definitely culminate in a day of judgement in which will be punished those who spent their lives thinking that the world had been created by a merry-maker for merry making; I seek refuge with you from their fate.”

[ God has prepared for them also forgiveness and a great reward.] When a person reaches the pinnacle of morality with regard to his Creator and his fellow human beings, the qualities which emerge in him are these ten stated in this verse. The Qur’ān has not added to this list. They reflect the pinnacle of religion. The Qur’ān urges its followers to try to engender these qualities in themselves. Its return is God’s forgiveness and that great reward which a believer can desire. If there is a level beyond this, then it is that of prophethood and about it, it is well-known that it is not achieved by any effort; it is God-gifted. 

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
These qualities grouped together in this one verse work together to form a Muslim’s character. These are: self surrender to God, faith, devotion, being true to one’s word, patience in adversity, humility before God, being charitable, fasting, being mindful of one’s chastity, and remembering God at all times. Each quality has its own role to play in a Muslim’s life.

The first two qualities are expressed in the two Arabic words islām and īmān, which mean ‘submission’ and ‘belief’ respectively. There is a strong interrelation between the two, or we can say that both are two sides of the same coin. Submission is the outcome of belief and true belief gives rise to submission. ‘Devotion’ means obedience that results from submission and belief, though inner acceptance, not external pressure. ‘Truthfulness’ is the quality essential for every Muslim. Whoever does not possess this quality cannot be within the ranks of the Muslim community. God says in the Qur’ān: “It is only those who do not believe in God’s revelations that invent falsehood.” (16: 105) Thus, a liar is expelled from the ranks of the community which always remains true to its word, the Muslim community.

The next quality is ‘patience in adversity’. In fact a Muslim cannot fulfil the requirements and duties of his faith without this quality. Islam needs patience in adversity at every step. Muslims have to be patient, resisting desire, bearing the harm inflicted by others, overcoming impediments, patiently addressing weaknesses and crookedness in other people, and going through the tests of either an easy life or hardship. Essentially, both are difficult predicaments.

‘Humility before God’ is an inner quality that reflects how we feel God’s majesty deep in our hearts and how truly and willingly we obey and fear Him. ‘Being charitable’ indicates purification from greed and self indulgence. It also reflects care for others and kindness to them, as well as mutual security within the Muslim community. It is an act of gratitude to God for what He gives us and represents our discharging our duty on wealth.

‘Fasting’ is considered a quality because of its regular and consistent nature. It reflects an attitude that rises above the essential needs of life, enhancing man’s willpower and giving supremacy within man’s constitution to human qualities. ‘Being mindful of one’s chastity’ involves not only the element of purity but also the proper control of the most profound and powerful desire in man. In fact, no one can achieve such proper control except one who is a God-fearing believer and who seeks God’s help. This quality also regulates relations between people and aims to elevate the meeting between man and woman to a level that is higher than that of the urge of the flesh. It makes this meeting subject to God’s law and serves the purpose of creating both sexes to populate the earth and build human life on it.

‘Remembering God at all times’ provides the link between all human activity and man’s faith. It makes man mindful of God at every moment.

He thus constantly retains his strong bond with Him. Moreover, his mind and heart beam with happiness and the light of life. Those who reflect all these qualities, essential as they are for the building of Islamic character, are the ones for whom “God has prepared forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward.”

In conclusion we should note how the Sūrah gives an account of the qualities of all Muslims, men and women, after it paid special attention at the beginning of this part to the Prophet’s wives. Women are mentioned side by side with men, as part of the Islamic effort to give women their rightful position in society and establish society’s attitude to women on the right basis. In their bond with God and in the Islamic duties of purification, worship and practical conduct, men and women are seen to be in the same position.

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the  Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others life miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible to make you accept it forcibly, And if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, You will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so  that they are able to discuss issues with Non Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

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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May Allah reward you for the efforts to spread wisdom of the Holy Book.

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