Saturday 4 February 2023

Teaching Mannerism to Believers: Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet

In our series of posts on Teaching Mannerism to Believers as mentioned in the Surah 49. Al Hujuraat (The Private Apartments), we share yet a very important manner specially when a believer is in the company of men, special one's elders. It is generally observed that believers disregard the presence of elders while in their company in a group of people, they talk loudly, thus suppressing the voice of the elders who may be addressing everyone or even a few and talking words of wisdom. 

The second verse of Surah Al Hujuraat is about the same aspect. Although, this verse was revealed to teach mannerism to these attending group meetings addressed by the revered prophet of Allah, Muhammad ﷺ. They Bedouins, hailing from a coarse way of life, were in the habit of talking loudly and among themselves completely disregarding the presence of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Prophet of Allah. This act of theirs was tantamount to disrespect and against the basic etiquette of how to sit in a group.

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَرۡفَعُوۡۤا اَصۡوَاتَكُمۡ فَوۡقَ صَوۡتِ النَّبِىِّ وَلَا تَجۡهَرُوۡا لَهٗ بِالۡقَوۡلِ كَجَهۡرِ بَعۡضِكُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ اَنۡ تَحۡبَطَ اَعۡمَالُكُمۡ وَاَنۡـتُمۡ لَا تَشۡعُرُوۡنَ‏
(49:2) Believers, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet and when speaking to him do not speak aloud as you speak aloud to one another, lest all your deeds are reduced to nothing without your even realizing it.
This is the etiquette that was taught to the people who sat among the audience of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ or came to visit him. Its intention was that the believers should treat 'the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ with the highest respect and reverence when visiting him and talking to him. Nobody should raise his voice louder than his: the people should not be unmindful of the fact that they are addressing the Messenger of Allah, and not a common man, or a person of equal rank; therefore, there should be a marked difference between one's tone of conversation with the common people and one's tone of conversation with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and no one should talk to him in a voice louder than his.

Although this etiquette was taught for sitting in the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ 's assembly and its addressees were the people who were living in his time, the people of the later ages also should observe the same respect and reverence on the occasion when the Holy Prophet's name is mentioned, or a command of his is stated, or his sayings are explained. Besides, this verse also points out what attitude the people should adopt when talking to persons of a higher rank and status than themselves. A person's talking before the men of a higher rank in a way as he talks before his friends or the common men, is in fact a sign that he has no respect for them in his heart, and he does not recognize any difference between them and the common people. 

This shows what high position the person of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ occupies in Islam. No one beside the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, whatever his rank and status, has a position that unmannerly behavior towards him should deserve in the sight of Allah the same punishment which is, in fact, the punishment for disbelief. In respect of ordinary people, it is at the most a sort of rudeness, an uncivilized conduct, but in respect of the Holy Prophet a little lack of reverence is such a grave sin as can destroy all the services of one's lifetime. For the reverence of the Holy Prophet is indeed reverence of that God Who has sent him as His Messenger and lack of reverence for him amounts to lack of reverence to God Himself.

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
This has both a literal and a figurative meaning: literal in the case of the Prophet's Companions, and figurative for them as well as for believers of later times - implying that one's personal opinions and predilections must not be allowed to overrule the clear-cut legal ordinances and/or moral stipulations promulgated by the Prophet (cf. 4:65 and the corresponding note [84]).

Yusuf Ali Explanation
It is bad manners to talk loudly before your Leader. Some ill-mannered people so raise their voices as to drown the voice of their Leader, in conversation or in Council.

Such rudeness may even destroy the value of such services as they may otherwise have been able to render, and all this without their even realising the harm they were doing to the Cause.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
If they adopt this attitude, it will show that they have not recognized the status of God’s messenger. In fact, by being overcome with the pride of their own superiority, they have not even understood that they are not addressing some common person or some leader of theirs and that they are in fact addressing God’s messenger and have come to learn something from him and it is not the other way round.

(lest everything you do ends up in vain) Ie., so extra-ordinary is the status of God’s messenger that if he is not given due respect, it is such a grave sin that it can reduce their life-long earning to nothing. They must keep in mind that showing respect to him is in fact showing respect to God Who has actually sent him as His messenger.

( and you are not even aware of it) Ie., they are not even aware of, after accepting Islam and apparently following its teachings, what they have actually lost.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
The second aspect of good manners concerned the Prophet's Companions' own discourse with him and the respect they should feel and show. This was to be observed in how they spoke to him and in the level of their voices. This was how they should manifest their respect for the Prophet as they sat with him. As God drew their attention to this requirement, He addressed them by that quality they loved to have and warned them that violation of His orders might bring grievous consequences in its wake: "Believers! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak loudly to him as you would speak loudly to one another, lest all your deeds should come to nothing without your perceiving it." (Verse 2)

This kindly address coupled with its awesome warning had their profound effect on the Prophet's Companions. Al-Bukhari reports that Abu Mulaykah said: "The two goodly ones, Abu Bakr and 'Umar [may God be pleased with them], were in a perilous situation, as they raised their voices in the presence of the Prophet. When the delegation of the Tamim tribe arrived [in the ninth year of the Islamic calendar] one of them suggested al-Agra' ibn Habis [to be appointed as their chief], while the other suggested another man. [One reporter says that he does not remember the name of this second man, while another reporter mentions that he was al-Qa 'qa ibn Ma 'bad.] Abu Bakr said to Umar: 'You merely want to oppose me.' The other replied: 'I do not wish to oppose you.' They were soon speaking loudly. The verse was revealed saying: 'Believers! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak loudly to him as you would speak loudly to one another, lest all your deeds should come to nothing without your perceiving it.' (Verse 2) Ibn al-Zubayr says that after its revelation `Limar would hardly use an audible voice when he spoke to the Prophet until the Prophet asked him to speak up. It is also reported that when this verse was revealed, Abu Bakr said to the Prophet: 'God's Messenger, I will only speak to you in a whisper.

Now you may listen to the following video for 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: Surah Al Hujuraat: Teaching Mannerism to BelieversSelected 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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