Saturday 27 August 2022

Who should one side with: The Affluent and Arrogant or Humble Seekers of Countenance of Allah

It has become a general practice to honour the affluent and people holding position in corridors of governemnt or otherwise to  be given respect, no matter how arrogant they may wielding power from their ill gotten money while the poor, no matter how honest or upright, are looked down upon. This practice is not something new. It has been in vogue since the very early days and continues unabated till this day.

The same was the scenario at the advent of Islam. Those who embraced Islam were the poor who were treated severely and bitterly by the rich and powerful chieftains of Makkah who not only mocked the new religion being professed by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ but would also not like the presence of the poor when coming to see the revered Prophet ﷺ.

The 28th verse of Surah 18. Al Kahf (The People of the Cave) clearly describes the mindset of elite of a society which prevailed at its time of revelation and that stands true even today. 

وَاصۡبِرۡ نَـفۡسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ يَدۡعُوۡنَ رَبَّهُمۡ بِالۡغَدٰوةِ وَالۡعَشِىِّ يُرِيۡدُوۡنَ وَجۡهَهٗ​ وَلَا تَعۡدُ عَيۡنٰكَ عَنۡهُمۡ​ ۚ تُرِيۡدُ زِيۡنَةَ الۡحَيٰوةِ الدُّنۡيَا​ ۚ وَ لَا تُطِعۡ مَنۡ اَغۡفَلۡنَا قَلۡبَهٗ عَنۡ ذِكۡرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوٰٮهُ وَكَانَ اَمۡرُهٗ فُرُطًا‏ 
(18:28) Keep yourself content with those who call upon their Lord, morning and evening, seeking His pleasure, and do not let your eyes pass beyond them. Do you seek the pomp and glitter of the world? Do not follow him whose heart We have caused to be heedless of Our remembrance, and who follows his desires, and whose attitude is of excess.
(Do you seek the pomp and glitter of the world?) Though these words have also been addressed to the Holy Prophet, they are really meant for the chiefs of the Quraish. According to a Tradition related by Ibn `Abbas, the chiefs of the Quraish would say to the Holy Prophet that they considered it below their dignity to sit with such people as Bilal, Suhaib, 'Ammar, Khabbab, Ibn-Mas`ud and the like who generally remained in his company: and that if he should send them away, they would be willing to attend his meetings in order to learn about his Message. At this Allah revealed this verse: "And keep yourself whole-heartedly content with those who pray to their Lord morning and evening in order to win His approval and do not turn your attention away from them: (Do you desire to discard these sincere but poor people so that the chiefs of the Quraish, the well-to-do people, should come and sit near you?)" This was meant to warn the chiefs of the Quraish to this effect: "Your wealth, your pomp and show of which you are so proud, has no value at all in the sight of Allah and His Messenger; nay, those poor people are really more worthy in their sight, for they are sincere and always remember Allah." The same was the attitude of the chiefs of Prophet Noah's people, who said, "And we see also that none but the meanest and the most shallow of our people have become your followers. " .... (Noah replied,) "I am not going to drive away those who have believed in me, nor can I say about those whom you disdain, `Allah has not bestowed any good on them' . . . " (XXI: vv. 27, 29, 31)  

( Do not follow him )  That is, "Do not yield to what he says, nor submit to him, nor fulfill his desire, nor follow his bidding." 

( whose heart We have caused to be heedless of Our remembrance, and who follows his desires, and whose attitude is of excess ) The original Arabic text may also mean, "Who discards the truth, breaks all moral limits and rushes on headlong." But in both cases it comes to this: "The one, who is neglectful of Allah and becomes a slave of his lust, inevitably transgresses all limits and becomes a victim of immoderation. Therefore the one, who will submit to him, will also follow the same way and wander about in deviation after him.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
Cf. surah vi. Al An'am verse: 52 (Hence, repulse not [any of] those who at morn and evening invoke their Sustainer, seeking His countenance...). Read its explanation below: 
According to Traditions, this and the next verse were revealed when, several years before the Muslims' exodus to Medina, some of the pagan chieftains at Mecca expressed their willingness to consider accepting Islam on the condition that the Prophet would dissociate himself from the former slaves and other "lowly" persons among his followers - a demand which the Prophet, of course, rejected. This historical reference does not, however, provide a full explanation of the above passage. In accordance with the Qur'anic method, allusions to historical events - whether relating to contemporary occurrences or to earlier times - are always made with a view to expressing ethical teachings of a permanent nature; and the passage under consideration is no exception in this respect. As the wording shows, it relates not to "lowly" followers of Islam but to people who, while not being Muslims in the current sense of this word, believe in God and are always ("at morn and evening") "seeking His countenance" (i.e., His grace and acceptance): and thus, verses {52-53} connect logically with verse {51}. Although primarily addressed to the Prophet, the exhortation voiced in this passage is directed to all followers of the Qur'an: they are enjoined not to repulse anyone who believes in God - even though his beliefs may not fully answer to the demands of the Qur'an - but, on the contrary, to try to help him by means of a patient explanation of the Qur'anic teachings.
The true servants of Allah are those whose hearts are turned to Him morning, noon, and night, and who seek not worldly gain, but Allah's Grace, Allah's own Self, His Presence and nearness. Even if they are poor in this world's goods, their society gives far more inward and spiritual satisfaction than worldly grandeur or worldly attractions.

For those who stray from Allah's path, Allah's Grace is ever anxious: it seeks to reclaim them and bring them back to the path. If such a one resists, and follows his own lusts, a point is reached when his case becomes hopeless. Allah's Grace does not then reach him, and he is abandoned to his pride and insolence. Beware of following the example or advice of such a one or seeking his society, or hankering after his wretched idols.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
 Here by addressing the Prophet (sws), the affluent and arrogant of the Quraysh are warned that God’s messenger does not need their pampering. His cherished companions are the ones and should be the ones who call out to their Lord morning and evening. Thus, the Prophet (sws) too is urged that his responsibility is to convey God’s message faithfully and not the slightest give importance to the wealth, authority and social status of his addressees.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
And contain yourself in patience with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His countenance. Let not your eyes pass beyond them in quest of the beauties of the life of this world. Pay no heed to any whose heart We have left to be negligent of all remembrance of Us because he had always followed his own desires, and whose case has gone beyond all bounds.

Say: ‘The truth [has now come] from your Lord. Let him who wills, believe in it, and let him who wills, reject it.’ (Verses 28-29)

Some reports suggest that these verses were revealed when some of the noblemen of the Quraysh demanded that the Prophet should expel his poor Companions if he were to hope that the chiefs of the Quraysh tribe would ever come to believe in his message. Thus people like Bilāl, `Ammār, Şuhayb, Khabbāb and `Abdullāh ibn Mas`ūd would have to be expelled from his companionship. Or at least the Prophet should make special arrangements, whereby he could meet the masters of the Quraysh on their own, in a place where none of the poor and the deprived were admitted. The rich, they argued, would be irritated if they had to sit in the same place with them, because their clothing smelled of perspiration.

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:

The arrogant affluent are always prone to lust and power. They think that they can dominate any movement with their riches. All the revolutions in human history is due to the poor masses struggle under a Great Leader. And Islamic Revolution which started under the Leadership of Prophet Muhammad PBUH still reverberates in our minds. Minds of common Muslim and not of elites. So Muslim Leaders should assemble poor masses for rebuilding a Muslim society. The Elites will never cooperate as its happening in many ocuntries, specially many Muslim countries, around the world.
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 | 5 |

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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