Monday 25 July 2022

Do not boastfully claim yourselves to be purified - Allah knows those that are truly Godfearing

In out previous post, we talked of judging people by their character. Wonder why? Character is that hidden quality of man which only surfaces when man is put to test or when one start to dealing with others. Yet despite all microscopic analysis, men evade some of their hidden bad spots of their character. But can we hide ourselves from Allah, the All Knowing, Who knows what is under the bosom of a man.

No man, less the prophets of Allah, can boast of living a sin less life. The machinations of Evil are so strong that one way or the other one gets lured into his trap. However, those who are men of faith and are true believers when confronted with such an ugly situation, immediately repent and ask for forgiveness of Allah. But despite repenting, one may commit sins unknowingly and think himself of being above all lewdness and wrongdoing. Such people sometime tend to boast of their purity, but only Allah knows the truth. So one should stay as much away from sins and be aware of consequences of a boastful personality.

We share today the 32nd verse of Surah 53 An Najm, which points towards sins committed by men, yet they boast to be purified and upright. For such people Allah warns them by saying:  Allah knows those that are truly Godfearing.

اَلَّذِيۡنَ يَجۡتَنِبُوۡنَ كَبٰٓـئِرَ الۡاِثۡمِ وَالۡفوَاحِشَ اِلَّا اللَّمَمَ​ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الۡمَغۡفِرَةِ​ؕ هُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِكُمۡ اِذۡ اَنۡشَاَكُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَاِذۡ اَنۡتُمۡ اَجِنَّةٌ فِىۡ بُطُوۡنِ اُمَّهٰتِكُمۡ​ۚ فَلَا تُزَكُّوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَكُمۡ​ ؕ هُوَ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقٰى
(53:32) on those who avoid grave sins and shameful deeds,31 even if they may sometimes stumble into lesser offences. Surely your Lord is abounding in His Forgiveness. Very well is He aware of you since He produced you from the earth, and while you were still in your mothers' wombs and not yet born. So do not boastfully claim yourselves to be purified. He fully knows those that are truly Godfearing.

on those who avoid grave sins ) The sins are best explained in the 31st verse of Surah. 4An-Nisa. "(4:31) But if you avoid the major sins which you have been forbidden, We shall remit your (trivial) offences,53 and cause you to enter an honourable abode." (Read explanation of this verse from the Exegesis/Tafsir of Sura An Nisa/Part I)

and shameful deeds
 The word fawahish applies to all those acts whose abominable character is self-evident. In the Qur'an all extra-marital sexual relationships, sodomy, nudity, false accusations of unchastity, and taking as one's wife a woman who had been married to one's father, are specifically reckoned as 'shameful deeds' (fawahish). In Hadith, theft, taking intoxicating drinks and begging have been characterized as fawahish, as have many other brazenly indecent acts. Man is required to abstain from them both openly and in secret.
Allah prohibits three vices which ruin individuals and the society as a whole:
  • (1) The Arabic word fahsha applies to all those things that are immodest, immoral or obscene or nasty or dirty or vulgar, not fit to be seen or heard, because they offend against recognized standards of propriety or good taste, e.g. adultery, fornication, homosexuality, nakedness, nudity, theft, robbery, drinking, gambling, begging, abusive language and the like. Likewise it is indecent to indulge in giving publicity to any of these evils and to spread them, e.g. false propaganda, calumny, publicity of crimes, indecent stories, dramas, films, naked pictures, public appearance of womenfolk with indecent makeup, free mixing of sexes, dancing and the like.
  • (2) Munkar applies to all those evils which have always been universally regarded as evils and have been forbidden by all divine systems of law.
  • (3) Baghy applies to those vices that transgress the proper limits of decency and violate the rights of others, whether those of the Creator or His creation.
even if they may sometimes stumble into lesser offences ) The word lamam as found in the original is used for a small quantity of something, or its slight effect, or its mere closeness, or its existence for a short time. This word is used to express the sense that a person did not commit an act but was very near to committing it.
On the basis of its usages some commentators have taken the word lamam in the meaning of minor sins. Some others have taken it in the meaning that a person should practically reach very near a grave sin but -should desist from actually committing it. Still others take it in the sense of a person's remaining involved in a sin temporarily and then desisting from it. And according to some it implies that a person should think of, or wish, or intend to commit a sin but should rake no practical steps towards it. In this regard, the views of the Companions and their immediate followers are as follows:
Zaid bin Aslam and Ibn Zaid opine, and a saying of Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas also is to the same effect, that it signifies those sins which the people had committed in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance, then alter embracing Islam they refrained from them.'
Another view of Ibn `Abbas is, and the same is also the view of Hadrat Abu Hurairah, Hadrat 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin 'As, Mujahid, Hasan Basri and Abu Salih, that it implies a person's being involved in a grave sin or indecency temporarily, or occasionally, and then giving it up.
Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, Masruq and Sha'bi say, and the same also has been reported from Hadrat Abu Hurairah and Hadrat 'Abdullah bin `Abbas in authentic traditions, that this implies a person's approaching the very point of a grave sin and crossing all its preliminaries but then restraining himself at the final stage, e.g. a person goes out with the intention of stealing but refrains from it in the end, or has close association with other women, but refrains from committing adultery.
Hadrat 'Abdullah bin Zubair, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and Dahhak say that this signifies those minor sins for which no punishment has been prescribed in the world nor any threat of punishment held out in the Hereafter.
Said bin al-Musayyab says that this implies one's thinking of a sin in the mind but restraining oneself from committing it practically .
These arc the different explanations which have been reported in the traditions from the Companions and their immediate followers. The majority of the later commentators and doctors of law and jurists arc of the opinion that this verse and verse 31 of Surah An-Nisa classify sins into two main kinds: the major sins and the minor sins, and these two verses give man the hope that if he abstains from the major sins and open indecencies, Allah will overlook his minor errors. Although some distinguished scholars have also opined that no sin is minor and the disobedience of Allah is by itself a major sin, yet as stated by Imam Ghazali the distinction between the major and the minor sins is something which cannot be denied, for the sources of knowledge of the Shari'ah values and injunctions all point to this.

As for the question, what is the distinction between the major and the minor sins, and what kinds of sins are major and what kinds of them minor? we are satisfied that: "Every such act is a major sin which has been forbidden by a clear ordinance of the Divine Book and the Shari'ah of the Prophet, or for which Allah and His Messenger have prescribed a punishment in the world, or have held out a threat of punishment in the Hereafter, or have cursed the one guilty of committing it, or given the news of infliction of punishment on those guilty of committing it. " Apart from this class of sins all other acts which are disapproved by the Shari'ah, come under the definition of minor sins. Likewise, the mere desire for a major sin, or an intention to commit it, also is not a major sin but a minor sin; so much so that even crossing all the preliminaries of a major sin does not constitute a major sin unless one has actually committed it. However, even a minor sin becomes a major sin in case it is committed with a feeling of contempt for religion and of arrogance against Allah, and the one guilty of it does not consider the Shari`ah that has declared it an evil worthy of any attention and reverence. 

Surely your Lord is abounding in His Forgiveness ) That is, "The forgiveness for the one guilty of minor sins is not for the reason that a minor sin is no sin, but for the reason that Allah Almighty does not treat His servants narrow-mindedly and does not seize them on trifling faults; if the servants adopt piety and abstain from major sins and indecencies, He will not seize them for their minor errors and will forgive them magnanimously on account of His infinite mercy."

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
(As for those who avoid the [truly] grave sins and shameful deeds - even though they may sometimes stumble) Lit., "save for a touch [thereof]": a phrase which may be taken to mean "an occasional stumbling into sin" - i.e., not deliberately-followed by sincere repentance (Baghawi, Razi, Ibn Kathir).

(behold, thy Sustainer is abounding in forgiveness. He is fully aware of you) Sc., "and of your inborn weakness" - an implied echo of the statement that "man has been created weak" ( 4:28 ) and, therefore, liable to stumble into sinning. 

(when He brings you in to being out of dust,) Lit., "out of the earth"

(and when you are still hidden in your mothers' wombs: do not, then, consider yourselves pure - [for] He knows best as to who is conscious of Him.) I.e., "never boast about your own purity", but remain humble and remember that "it is God who causes whomever He wills to remain pure" ( 4:49 ).

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
Allah's attributes of Mercy and Forgiveness are unlimited. They come into action without our asking, but on our bringing our wills as offerings to Him. Our asking or prayer helps us to bring our minds and wills as offering to Him. That is necessary to frame our own psychological preparedness. it informs Allah of nothing, for He knows all.

As Allah knows our inmost being, it is absurd for us to justify ourselves either by pretending that we are better than we are or by finding excuses for our conduct. We must offer ourselves unreservedly such as we are: it is His Mercy and Grace that will cleanse us. If we try, out of love for Him, to guard against evil, our striving is all that He asks for.

Javed Ahmad Ghamdi Explanation:
good reward shall be given to them because of this attitude of theirs; for this a person’s intercession, exaltedness or superior lineage will be of no avail to anyone. It is essential to abstain from excesses committed against life, wealth and honour and from fornication; these are the major sins. Those who abstain from them are never satisfied on committing minor sins. However, if they stumble into a sin, the Almighty blesses them with the urge to repent and mend their ways and they purify themselves. The actual words used for this are: اِلَّا اللَّمَمَ. 

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī while explaining them writes: The words اِلْمَام and لَمَم mean to stay at place for a short period. The meaning of لَمَم ascribed to Mujāhid and Ibn ‘Abbās (rta) is that a person stumbles into a sin but then soon comes out of this state. What is meant is that it is not required of a person to lead a sinless life. A person may at times while succumbing to emotions and desires commit a sin; however, God requires of him that he should have such a vigilant sense of faith in him that a sin should not embrace his life so much that it becomes difficult for him to give it up; such should be the level of this vigilance that when a person trips into a sin, he reforms himself as soon as he realizes it. God will forgive people who lead such lives; vast is His mercy. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 71)

They should realize who they are and what their status is. A creature first created from water and mud and then from a trivial drop of fluid does not deserve to think of himself as an elevated being and demand any privilege. This is said to them because the addressees were the custodians of the House of God and the progeny of Abraham (sws) and Ishmael (sws) and because of this had false notions the way Muslims of today have such false notions. These Muslims by regarding themselves to be a forgiven nation have forsaken all responsibilities related to their faith and deeds. 

Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī writes: … The matter reached the extent that there were many families among them in which if a person was born he was thought to be guaranteed Paradise and there were many graveyards in which if a person was buried he was regarded to be worthy of the eternal kingdom regardless of his beliefs and deeds. (Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 8, 73)

Explanation Qur'an Wiki:
The surah then defines the ones who do good, earning a reward according to what is best. They are the ones "who avoid grave sins and shameful deeds, apart from casual indulgence." Grave sins are cardinal, and shameful deeds are those sins that represent serious transgression. Scholars differ as to the meaning of the Arabic word lamam, translated here as casual indulgence.

The verse concludes by the statement that God's requital of people's deeds is based on His knowledge of their inner thoughts throughout all stages of their lives: "He is Ally aware of you when He brings you into being out of the earth, and when you are still hidden in your mothers' wombs." His knowledge, then, precedes their own actions, as it is the knowledge of their true nature which they themselves do not even know. It is known only to God, their Creator. This knowledge was present when God originated them from the earth before they were brought into existence, and when they were still in their mothers' wombs, before they were brought into the light. It is the knowledge of their truth before it takes physical shape, and of their nature before it translates into action.

When we think of God's knowledge in this way, we realize that it is pointless, and indeed impudent for a man to tell Him about himself, trying to press his good points: "Do not, then, assert your own goodness. He knows best those who are truly God-fearing." He does not need for you to tell Him about yourselves, or to suggest how your deeds measure up. His knowledge is perfect, His measure accurate, His reward just, His judgement final, and to Him all creatures return.

You may listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah (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 | 5 | 6 |

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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MashaAllah your content is really good. I will share it with my family and friends. You are doing a great job keep it up.

Thank you. May Allah bless and accept your efforts to spread the word of Qur'an

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