Tuesday 30 August 2022

Two contrasting characters of men - One Liked and one disliked by God

Man is never perfect. He has to live a life like a match of tug of war. On one end the force of evil pulls him with all the force backed by invitations, lewdness and deceit - a life, though manifest a weak character,  that is often preferred by the most. On the other end is the force of strong character - a force that though is over shadowed by the evil pulls, but ultimate;y wins. This is the life of eternity and blessings.

Part of 276th and complete 277th verses of Surah 2 Al Ba1arah (Thew Cow) manifest these two chaacter traits of men and spell out which one is liked by God and which one is disliked.

يَمۡحَقُ اللّٰهُ الرِّبٰوا وَيُرۡبِى الصَّدَقٰتِ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ اَثِيۡمٍ
(2:276) Allah deprives interest of all blessing, whereas He blesses charity with growth. Allah loves none who is ungrateful and persists in sin.

اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَاَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوةَ وَاٰتَوُا الزَّكٰوةَ لَهُمۡ اَجۡرُهُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّهِمۡ​ۚ وَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُوۡنَ‏ 
(2:277) Truly the reward of those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish Prayer and pay Zakah is with their Lord; they have no reason to entertain any fear or grief.

Coming over the first category of men who are ungratfeul to God and indulge in a life of sin and evil. Naturally, the one who is ungrateful to one's Creator, Who has blessed him tons of blessings and many creations for his sutenance. Yet if one is ungrateful to God, he is most likely to fall into the trap of the evil who looks out for such people and drag them into abyss of sins. (We will deal with the subject of interest and charity separetly for it in itself is another shubject)

On the contrary, there are men of strong character, who repel evil and do righteous deeds and establish Prayer and pay Zakah , for these are the acts most liked by God and it is for them God has promised great rewards both in this world and the hereafter.

Now let us see how scholars ahve interpretted these two verses:

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi:
In this passage Allah has presented two characters for contrast. One is the selfish worshipper of wealth, the Shylock, who, unmindful of Allah and His creatures, is engaged day and night in amassing and hoarding wealth. The other is the worshipper of Allah, the generous and sympathetic person who observes the rights of Allah and His creatures; who earns wealth and spends it on his ownself and on others and in doing good works. Allah disapproves of the first type of people because they cannot build any good and stable society : nay, they even make themselves and others miserable in this world, and they shall meet with grief, sorrow and affliction in the Hereafter. In contrast to this, Allah approves of the second type of people for they help build a good and stable society and achieve real success. They have also peace of mind in this world and will be blessed with all kinds of heavenly pleasures in the Hereafter.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: 
( وَاللَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ ) (And Allah likes not the disbelievers, sinners) indicates that Allah does not like he who has a disbelieving heart, who is a sinner in tongue and action. There is a connection between the beginning of the Ayah on Riba and what Allah ended it with. Those who consume Riba are not satisfied with the permissible and pure resources that Allah provided them. Instead, they try to illegally acquire people's money by relying on evil methods. This demonstrates their lack of appreciation for the bounty that Allah provides.

Praising Those Who Thank Allah: Allah praised those who believe in His Lordship, obey His commands, thank Him and appreciate Him. They are those who are kind to His creation, establish prayer and give charity due on their money. Allah informed them of the honor that He has prepared for them and that they will be safe from the repercussions of the Day of Resurrection. 

Allah said, (Truly, those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and perform the Salah and give Zakah, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.)

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
In contrast to the preceding example of disbelief and wrongdoing, the Sūrah presents the case of faith and righteousness, highlighting the essential attributes of the community of believers and the basis of the economic system which disavows usury and has the firm foundation of the important institution of Zakāt. The main element in this verse is that of Zakāt which denotes giving willingly, expecting nothing from any human being in return. The verse also introduces a feature of the community of believers and one of its important pillars, before it goes on to describe the total reassurance, tranquility and happiness such a community enjoys.

The institution of Zakāt represents the foundation of a caring, sympathetic and supportive society, which has no cause to resort to usury in any aspect of its life. The image of Zakāt has faded somewhat in the minds of those unfortunate generations of Muslims who have had no experience of life under Islam. They have not seen Islamic laws, ethics and principles shaping the daily lives of people, and creating a healthy, virtuous, decent society. They have had no experience of how Zakāt works in practical terms to bring about economic growth and prosperity as a reward for individual diligence and honest cooperation.

These generations have become accustomed to the odious effects of the materialist usurious system, which promotes greed, unashamed self- interest and social antagonism. They have come to accept that economic and commercial life cannot be run without usury, although under this system, the transfer of wealth is often accompanied by exploitation, while people who have no money have no security in life, and industry and commerce become hostages to the moneylenders.

To contemporary eyes, Zakāt appears as an outdated form of charity that does not fit into modern economic or financial systems. Yet Zakāt is paid out by people educated by Islam to implement Islamic laws and regulations, and to establish a system that can hardly be imagined by those who have never experienced it. Zakāt is levied by Muslim authorities at the yearly rate of 2.5 per cent on liquid money (or 5-10 per cent on crops, and 20 per cent on mineral resources), as an incumbent duty rather than optional charity. The authorities then distribute the proceeds among those in need in the community as widely as possible, in order for the beneficiaries to meet their basic necessities and alleviate their hardships. Debtors who are insolvent are helped with Zakāt money to settle their debts, whether these are personal or commercial. Poor people are helped to find appropriate work that makes them self-sufficient.

The form in which such a system operates is of secondary importance: what is important is the spirit in which the system and society come together and function as a whole to bring about genuine care and effective social welfare.

God promises those who conduct themselves according to the ethics and principles of faith, in submission to the divine will and in a spirit of cooperation, that they “shall have their reward with their Lord. They shall have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.” 

On the other hand, God threatens the advocates of usury that theft will live in fear, confusion, and insecurity, and that their society were to disintegrate. History has witnessed the benefits of the Islamic, non-usury system and its results in human society. It is today witnessing the disastrous and oppressive effects of the usury-based system that forms the core of contemporary civilization. We Muslims only wish we could make others see the force of our argument against the evils of usury, but all we can do is present the facts and hope that people will listen and heed our warnings and advice.

Please listen to explanation of the Ayat 277 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

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
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • 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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