Friday 18 November 2022

Do not be in haste to pray against yourself

Man is always in haste to take a decision, no matter how faulty it may be, but for the time being it may look good to him. Sometimes, even man prays for his death when confronted with difficult situation or is passing through difficult times and does not see a way out. He takes such decisions since he is unaware of what benefits him and what causes him harm, impulsive, unable to control his reactions even when they bring about evil consequences.

The 11th verse from Surah 17. Al-Israa (The Night Journey) selected today for our series of posts: Selected verses from Qur'an, points towards this hasty attitude of man and cautions him to supplicate good for him, not evil, for that time may be time of acceptance of one's prayers and he harms him for asking something bad for him:

وَيَدۡعُ الۡاِنۡسَانُ بِالشَّرِّ دُعَآءَهٗ بِالۡخَيۡرِ​ ؕ وَكَانَ الۡاِنۡسَانُ عَجُوۡلًا‏ 
(17:11) Man invokes evil instead of goodness for he is very hasty and impatient.
Although this is an answer to the foolish demands of the disbelievers of Makkah who repeatedly demanded from the Holy Prophet to bring about that torment with which he threatened them, it is as applicable to many of us as it was to them. It is closely connected with the preceding verse, as if to say, "O foolish people instead of asking goodness you demand the torment: can't you realize the sufferings of the community which is visited by God's torment?"

It also contains a subtle warning to those Muslims who prayed for punishment for those disbelievers who persecuted them and rejected the Message obdurately; there were still among those disbelievers many such people who afterwards embraced Islam and became its standard bearers in the world. That is wiry Allah says, "Man does so because he is very hasty and impatient; " He prays to Allah for all such things as are the immediate need of the time, though often subsequent experience shows that if Allah had granted his prayer, it would have been very harmful to him.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: (Man's Haste and Prayers against Himself
Allah tells us about man's haste and how he sometimes prays against himself or his children or his wealth, praying for something bad to happen for them, or for them to die or be destroyed, invoking curses, etc. If Allah were to answer his prayer, he would be destroyed because of it, as Allah says:
(And were Allah to hasten for mankind the evil...) [10:11] 

This is how it was interpreted by Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah. We have already discussed the Hadith: (Do not pray against yourselves or your wealth, for that might coincide with a time when Allah answers prayers.) What makes the son of Adam do that is his anxiety and haste. 

Allah says: (And man is ever hasty.) Salman Al-Farisi and Ibn `Abbas mentioned the story of Adam, when he wanted to get up before his soul reached his feet. When his soul was breathed into him, it entered his body from his head downwards. When it reached his brain he sneezed, and said, "Al-Hamdu Lillah'' (praise be to Allah), and Allah said, "May your Lord have mercy on you, O Adam.' When it reached his eyes, he opened them, and when it reached his body and limbs, he started to stare at them in wonder. He wanted to get up before it reached his feet, but he could not. He said, "O Lord, make it happen before night comes.'

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Cf. {Surah 2 Al Baqarah (The Cow):216} - "it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know": in other words, divine guidance is the only objective criterion as to what is good and what is bad.

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Man in his ignorance or haste mistakes evil for good, and desires what he should not have. The wise and instructed soul has patience and does not put its own desires above the wisdom of Allah. He receives with contentment the favours of Allah, and prays to be rightly guided in his desires and petitions.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Since demanding a sign for punishment after hearing the warning of punishment from God is an extremely foolish thing and very destructive for those who demand it, for this reason, in the words of Imām Amīn Aḥsan Iṣlāḥī, these words are expressed with a ring of sorrow and in a general style by turning away from them. (Tadabbur-i Qur’ān, vol. 4, 487)

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
Those who do not follow the guidance of the Qur’ān are left to their own devices. But man is hasty, unaware of what benefits him and what causes him harm, impulsive, unable to control his reactions even when they bring about evil consequences:

“Yet man prays for evil as eagerly as he prays for good. Truly man is ever hasty.” (Verse 11)

He does not know the ultimate results. He may do something that is evil and precipitate its results unaware that these only bring about immense harm to himself; or he may be aware of such results but is unable to control himself. This is a long, long way away from the assured, calm and consistent guidance given in the Qur’ān. The two ways of Qur’ānic guidance and human desire are too widely divergent.

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid Ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
The purpose of sharing selected verses from Qur'an is to provide easy access to our readers verses that may come handy and useful in their day-to-day dealings and life. The above quoted verse should assist us in making the right kind of supplications for their farfetched benefits rather than looking for short term gains or otherwise. Sometimes hasty decisions turn to have disastrous results rather than coming out of a difficult time.
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' lives 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 for making 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 the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, 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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