Tuesday 13 February 2024

No share in the Hereafter for those who sell away their oaths for a small price

Keeping covenants and taking oaths is one of the most sacred obligation for men of any faith. Whether these oaths are taken as a pledge to Allah for keeping our faith intact as commanded to us in all Divine Scriptures or when making a pledge between two or people, the importance of keeping the oaths respected remains the same. 

Although, the 77th verse of Surah 3. Al-i'Imran is related to the making and breaking of the covenants by Jews that they made with Allah, the importance of keeping covenants and oaths is equally applicable to us in our day to day dealings. We will not go into the historical perspective of this verse as is discussed in the earlier verses, for it is not the subject for sharing this verse today. Instead we  will correlate this verse concerning us as applicable today.

We see oaths and covenants broken every day, specially by the leaders of a country to secure a position of authority and then breaking their oaths to the people, leaving them in the same state as they were since long. This is practically demonstrated when elections in a country are held and prior to it, tall promises are made and yet these not being fulfilled when the former are successful and assume positions of authority. Likewise, we see witnesses taking oaths on holy books, yet selling away their oaths afterwards for a few pennies. 

It is for all those who break their promises, oaths and covenants that the following verse is beige shared as a warning for Allah does not like such dishonest people and promises them no place in the Hereafter, that is Paradise. Instead these people will rot and burn in blazing fire of hell for deceiving others.   

اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ يَشۡتَرُوۡنَ بِعَهۡدِ اللّٰهِ وَاَيۡمَانِهِمۡ ثَمَنًا قَلِيۡلًا اُولٰٓـئِكَ لَا خَلَاقَ لَهُمۡ فِى الۡاٰخِرَةِ وَلَا يُكَلِّمُهُمُ اللّٰهُ وَلَا يَنۡظُرُ اِلَيۡهِمۡ يَوۡمَ الۡقِيٰمَةِ وَلَا يُزَكِّيۡهِمۡ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَ لِيۡمٌ‏ 
(3:77) There shall be no share in the Life to Come for those who sell away the covenant of Allah and their oaths for a trivial gain. On the Day of Resurrection Allah will neither address them, look at them, nor will He purify them. A painful chastisement lies ahead of them.
AS for the explanation of this verse in view of its historical perspective, it is being said: Although they (Jews) were guilty of the blackest sins, yet they had taken it for granted that they would rise as the favourites of God on the Day of Resurrection and they alone would receive His blessings and favours, for they would be rescued from the consequences of the sins they committed in this world by the intercession of their saints in the Next World, but the fact is that they will be dealt with on that Day in quite a different manner. 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: There is No Share in the Hereafter for Those Who Break Allah’s Covenant
Allah states that whoever prefers the small things of this short, soon to end life, instead of fulfilling what they have promised Allah by following Muhammad , announcing his description ﴿from their books﴾ to people and affirming his truth, then, (they shall have no portion in the Hereafter.)

They will not have a share or part in the Hereafter’s rewards, (Neither will Allah speak to them nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection) with His mercy. This Ayah indicates that Allah will not speak words of kindness nor look at them with any mercy, (nor will He purify them) from sins and impurities. Rather, He will order them to the Fire, (and they shall have a painful torment.)

There are several Hadiths on the subject of this Ayah, some of which follow. 

The First Hadith: Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said, “The Messenger of Allah said, (There are three persons whom Allah will not speak to, look at on the Day of Resurrection or purify, and they shall taste a painful torment. I said, `O Messenger of Allah! Who are they, may they gain failure and loss’ He said, repeating this statement thrice, `The Musbil (man whose clothes reach below the ankles), he who swears while lying so as to sell his merchandize and the one who gives charity and reminds people of it).’)” This was also recorded by Muslim, and the collectors of the Sunan. 

Another Hadith: Imam Ahmad recorded that `Adi bin `Amirah Al-Kindi said, “Imru’ Al-Qays bin `Abis, a man from Kindah, disputed with a man from Hadramut in front of the Messenger of Allah concerning a piece of land. The Prophet required the man from Hadramut to present his evidence, but he did not have any. The Prophet required Imru’ Al-Qays to swear to his truthfulness, but the man from Hadramut said, `O Messenger of Allah! If you only require him to swear, then by the Lord of the Ka`bah (Allah), my land is lost.’ The Messenger of Allah said, (Whoever swears while lying to acquire the property of others, will meet Allah while He is angry with him.)” Raja’ one of the narrators of the Hadith, said that the Messenger of Allah then recited, (Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah’s covenant and their oaths…) Imru’ Al-Qays said, `What if one forfeits this dispute, what will he gain, O Messenger of Allah’ The Prophet answered, `Paradise.’ Imru’ Al-Qays said, `Bear witness that I forfeit all the land for him.”’ An-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith.

Note:  You may like to read one of our earlier posts related to the subject being discussed: Grave consequences for those who take false oath to unlawfully take the right of another Muslim, based on a Hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
(On the other hand, those who sell the covenant of God) The covenant referred to here is the one which was taken from the Jews regarding the sharī‘ah of the Almighty and the last prophet of God.

(and their own oaths) This refers to the oaths they had sworn at the time of making a covenant to support and back the prophets of God, in particular the unlettered prophet. In verse 81 ahead, this covenant and these oaths are mentioned.

(for a trivial price have no share in the world to come. And God shall neither speak to them nor look at them with favour, nor purify) The implication is that their crimes are not such that the Almighty may cleanse them after a little punishment; such is the heinous nature of their crimes that their only punishment can be eternal Hell.

(them [from their sins] on the Day of Judgement. In fact, a grievous punishment awaits them there.)  Everyone can have an idea of the extent of hate and disgust for the Jews concealed in the words of the verse. The status they had been invested with by the Almighty and the way He dealt with them thereafter entailed that they be treated thus. Details are mentioned in Sūrah al-Baqarah. A person who is aware of them will not be surprised at this hate and disgust expressed.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
Those who betray their trust and do not honour their pledges are indeed people who “barter away their covenant with God and their oaths for a trifling gain.” In matters of pledges and trust the relationship is between man and God in the first place although the pledges are made to other people. For this reason, people who do not honour their agreements have no share with God in the life to come. The betrayal of their trust and pledges is perpetrated for only a trifling gain, for something which is available in this life. Therefore, as punishment for their disavowal of His covenant, and their pledge to convey His message to other people, God does not care for them.
Here, the Qur’ān employs its familiar method of drawing an image in order to express a certain attitude. God’s neglect of such people and the fact that He withdraws His care from them are described in terms of His not speaking to them, looking at them or cleansing them. These are all familiar symptoms of neglect. The Qur’ān chooses to make use of them in order to draw a vivid image of what happens on the Day of Judgement. In this way, the verses have a much more profound effect on man than a mere statement of fact.

This verse should serve as a stern Divine Warning to all those who do not keep their oaths intact, specially by selling these away for a small price for their worldly gains. We too must take care of our oaths and promises, for breaking away from these may hurt many others to whom these promises and oaths mattered. Let us not invite the Divine wrath, both in this world and in the Hereafter.
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.

You may refer to our reference page: Important DOs and Don'ts from Qur'an to read more directives on the subject.

You may refer to our reference page: Believers!! Beware of the Rules of the Divine Court on the Day of Judgement to read more directives on the subject. 

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

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.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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Ya Allah, save us all (believers) from selling our promises for any price, any price.

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