Saturday 7 January 2023

Hold Allah in awe - And listen and obey, and be charitable, for this is for your own good

We all undertake some sort of job to ensure the sustenance of ourselves and those dependent on us. And we are always on the guard not to annoy our boss for he may terminate us, hold or slash our salary or even humiliate us in front of others for not doing our duties as desired. So we are always on our toes not to annoy our boss and go into minutest details in performance of our duty to earn good name and expect a raise in the salary or promotion. 

If we are so fearful of our boss, shouldn't we be fearful of Allah, our Creator and our Sustainer? If we perform our worldly duties sincerely, shouldn't we be sincere to the Deity that created us and sustains us? In this regard, an Arabic word Taqwa is often used, which simply means Fear of Allah. 
In Arabic literature, a word-phrase Ittaqullah (Arabic: اتقوا الله) is often used to express fear of Allah. The word "Ittaqu" (the command or imperative form of the word taqwa), and "Allah". It is found in several verses in the Quran, It has been translated variously as "fear God", "keep your duty to Allah and fear Him", "guard your duty to Allah", "be careful of (your duty to) Allah", "be pious to Allah", "be aware of Allah", to "love and be faithful to", as well as fear Allah.
Today, we have selected a verse that tells the believers to hold Allah in awe - that is we should fear our Creator for we have been asked to undertake duties in respect of Him and if some duty is not been done or done improperly, we may annoy Him. 

فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ مَا اسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡ وَاسۡمَعُوۡا وَاَطِيۡعُوۡا وَاَنۡفِقُوۡا خَيۡرًا لِّاَنۡفُسِكُمۡ​ؕ وَمَنۡ يُّوۡقَ شُحَّ نَفۡسِهٖ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ‏ 
(64:16) So hold Allah in awe as much as you can, and listen and obey, and be charitable. This is for your own good. And whoever remains safe from his own greediness, it is such that will prosper.
To understand this verse correctly, we may consider a few others verses of Qur'an which will make the meaning of Holding Allah in awe will be better understood.
At another place in the Qur'an, it has been said: "Fear Allah as He should actually be feared." (Al-'Imran: 102). At still another place: “Allah does not burden anyone with a responsibility heavier than he can bear." (Al-Baqarah: 286) And here: "Fear Allah as far as you can." When these three verses are read together it appears that the first verse sets an ideal which every believer should try to attain. The second verse lays down the principle that no one has been required to exert himself. beyond his power and ability, for in Allah's Religion one has been made responsible only for what is within one's power and ability. This verse enjoins every believer to try to attain piety and consciousness of God as far as he can. He should carry out His Commands and avoid His disobedience as best as he possibly can. For if he shows laxity in this regard, he will not be able to escape punishment. However, one will not be held accountable for what was beyond one's power (and Allah alone can decide best what was really beyond a person's power and ability).
Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(فَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ So have Taqwa of Allah as much as you can;) meaning, as much as you are able and can bear or endure. The Two Sahihs recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, (When I command you to do something, do as much as you can of it, and whatever I forbid for you, then avoid it.) 

Allah's statement, (وَاسْمَعُواْ وَأَطِيعُواْ listen and obey,) means, obey what Allah and His Messenger command you to do and do not stray from it to the right or left. Do not utter a statement or make a decision before Allah and His Messenger issue a statement or decision. Do not ignore what you were ordered to do, nor commit what you were forbidden from doing.

Encouraging Charity, Allah the Exalted said, (وَأَنْفِقُواْ خَيْراً لاًّنفُسِكُمْ and spend in charity; that is better for yourselves.) meaning, give from what Allah has granted you to your relatives, the poor, the needy and the weak. Be kind to Allah's creatures, just as Allah was and still is kind with you. This will be better for you in this life and the Hereafter. Otherwise, if you do not do it, it will be worse for you in this life and the Hereafter. 

Allah said; (وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ And whosoever is saved from his own greed, then they are the successful ones.) A similar verse appears at the end of 9th verse of Surah 59. Al Hashr, where we also mentioned the relevant Hadiths (reproduced herein under:
(وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ and whosoever is saved from his own greed, such are they who will be the successful.) indicating that those who are saved from being stingy, then they have earned success and a good achievement. 
Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection. Be on your guard against being stingy, for being stingy is what destroyed those who were before you. It made them shed blood and make lawful what was unlawful for them.) Muslim collected this Hadith. 
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Al-Aswad bin Hilal said that a man said to `Abdullah (bin Mas`ud),"O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! I fear that I have earned destruction for myself.' `Abdullah asked him what the matter was and he said, "I hear Allah's saying:
(And whosoever is saved from his own greed, such are they who will be successful.) and I am somewhat a miser who barely gives away anything.' `Abdullah said, "That is not the greed Allah mentioned in the Qur'an, which pertains to illegally consuming your brother's wealth. What you have is miserliness, and it is an evil thing indeed to be miser.'
Yusuf Ali Explanation
"Fear Allah" combined with "as much as you can" obviously means: "lead lives of self-restraint and righteousness": the usual meaning of Taqwa: see note to to ii. 2 (reproduced herein under for better understanding):
(2:2 This is the Book; in it is guidance sure without doubt to those who fear Allah) Taqwa and the verbs and nouns connected with the root, signify: (1) the fear of God which according to the writer of Proverbs (i.7) in the Old Testament is the beginning of Wisdom; (2) restraint, or guarding one's tongue, hand, and heart from evil; (3) hence righteousness, piety good conduct. All these ideas are implied; in the translation, only one or other of these ideas can be indicated according to the context. See also xivii 17; and ixxiv 56
Charity is meant to help and do good to other people who need it. But it has the highest subjective value for the person who gives it. Like mercy "it blesseth him that gives and him that takes". It purifies the giver's soul: the affection that he pours out is for his own spiritual benefit and progress. Cf. Coleridge: "He prayeth best who loveth best all things both great and small, for the Great God Who loveth us, Who made and loveth all".

Cf. lix. 9. Our worst enemy is within ourselves, -the grasping selfishness which would deprive others of their just rights or seize things which do not properly belong to it. If we can get over this covetous selfishness, we achieve real Prosperity in justice and truth.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki
The believers are admonished to do their best to remain God-fearing and to obey God's orders. Here we see an aspect of God's care as He restricts what is expected of the believers to that which remains within their power and ability. He knows the limit of what they can do in obedience of Him. The Prophet says: "When I give you an order, do it as best you can, and when I prohibit something, refrain from it completely." [Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.]

Limits cannot be set on obeying an order to do something. Therefore, what is within one's ability and power is sufficient. On the other hand, prohibition cannot be divided. It is required in full.

They are also called upon to be generous in what they donate: "And be charitable. That will be best for you."  Normally, they spend their money on their own needs. God instructs them to spend in charity what is good for themselves. Thus, when they are charitable, they are actually spending their money on what is good for themselves. The surah also depicts meanness as a plague, one they must try to get rid of.

Now you may listen to the following short clipped video to explanation of the aforesaid 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' 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 | 2a3 | 3a | 56 | 7 |

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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