Showing posts with label Chaper 4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chaper 4. Show all posts

Saturday 13 August 2022

Who are believers being ordained ( in Qur'an ) to be good with

Islam by its very meaning means peace - to be good, helping and loving to others irrespective of caste and creed, colour or race, rich or poor, gifted or ungifted. Qur'an is replete with Divine Commandments that urge the believers to be good with others. We have published many posts on this basic theme of Islam.
The essence of Islam is to serve Allah and do good to your fellow-creatures. This is wider and more comprehensive than "Love God and love your neighbour". For it includes duties to animals as our fellow-creatures, and emphasises practical service rather than sentiment.
Today we share the 36th verse / Ayat of Surah 4. An Nisa (The Women) which  has three parts:
  • Believers are cautioned to serve none other than One True God, Who has no partner to Him. This is the basic pillar of Islam and unless a believer wholeheartedly believe in the Oneness of Allah, he can never proclaim himself as Muslim.
  • The second portion lists down a number of people a believer should always be on the lookout to help and being good with them, and
  • A believer should never be arrogant and looked down upon others for Allah does not like the arrogant and the boastful.
وَاعۡبُدُوا اللّٰهَ وَلَا تُشۡرِكُوۡا بِهٖ شَيۡـئًـا​ ؕ وَّبِالۡوَالِدَيۡنِ اِحۡسَانًا وَّبِذِى الۡقُرۡبٰى وَالۡيَتٰمٰى وَ الۡمَسٰكِيۡنِ وَالۡجَـارِ ذِى الۡقُرۡبٰى وَالۡجَـارِ الۡجُـنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالۡجَـنۡۢبِ وَابۡنِ السَّبِيۡلِ ۙ وَمَا مَلَـكَتۡ اَيۡمَانُكُمۡ​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَنۡ كَانَ مُخۡتَالًا فَخُوۡرَا ۙ‏ 
(4:36) Serve Allah and ascribe no partner to Him. Do good to your parents, to near of kin, to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbour who is of kin and to the neighbour who is a stranger, and to the companion by your side, and to the wayfarer, and to those whom your right hands possess. Allah does not love the arrogant and the boastful,

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
Allah orders that He be worshipped Alone without partners, because He Alone is the Creator and Sustainer Who sends His favors and bounties on His creation in all situations and instances. Therefore He deserves to be singled out, without associating anything or anyone from His creation with Him in worship. 
Indeed, the Prophet said to Mu`adh, (Do you know what Allah's right on His servants is) Mu`adh replied, "Allah and His Messenger know better.'' He said, (That they should worship Him and should not worship any others with Him.) 
The Prophet then said, (Do you know what the right of the servants on Allah is if they do this He should not punish them.) Allah then commands the servants to be dutiful to their parents, for Allah made parents the reason for the servants to come to existence, after they did not exist. Allah joins the order to worship Him with being dutiful to parents in many places. 
For example, He said, (give thanks to Me and to your parents), and, (And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents). 
After Allah ordained being dutiful to parents, He ordained kind treatment of relatives, males and females. 
A Hadith states, (Charity given to the poor is Sadaqah, while charity given to relatives is both Sadaqah and Silah (keeping the relations).) 
Allah then said, (orphans), because they lost their caretakers who would spend on them. So Allah commands that the orphans be treated with kindness and compassion. 

Allah then said, (Al-Masakin (the poor)) who have various needs and cannot find what sustains these needs. Therefore, Allah commands they should be helped in acquiring their needs in a sufficient manner that will end their inadequacy. We will further elaborate on the matter of the destitute and the poor in Surah Bara'h (9:60).

The Right of the Neighbor: Allah said, (the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger) 
`Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said that, (the neighbor who is near of kin) means, "The neighbor who is also a relative'', while, (The neighbor who is a stranger) means, "Who is not a relative.'' It was also reported that `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Maymun bin Mihran, Ad-Dahhak, Zayd bin Aslam, Muqatil bin Hayyan and Qatadah said similarly. 
Mujahid was also reported to have said that Allah's statement, (the neighbor who is a stranger) means, "The companion during travel.'' There are many Hadiths that command kind treatment to the neighbors, and we will mention some of them here with Allah's help. 
The First Hadith Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said, (Jibril kept reminding of the neighbor's right, until I thought that he was going to give him a share of the inheritance.) The Two Sahihs recorded this Hadith. 
The Second Hadith Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr said that the Messenger of Allah said, (Jibril kept reminding me of the neighbor's right, until I thought he was going to appoint a share of the inheritance for him.) Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith, which At-Tirmidhi said was "Hasan Gharib through this route.'' 
The Third Hadith Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As said that the Prophet said, (The best companions according to Allah are those who are the best with their friends, and the best neighbors according to Allah are the best with their neighbors.) At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith and said, "Hasan Gharib''. 
The Fourth Hadith Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad said that the Messenger of Allah asked his Companions, (What do you say about adultery) They said, "It is prohibited, for Allah and His Messenger have prohibited it. So it is forbidden until the Day of Resurrection.'' 
The Messenger of Allah said, (For a man to commit adultery with his neighbor's wife is worse than if he commits adultery with ten women.) 

He then said, (What do you say about theft) They said, "It is prohibited, for Allah and His Messenger prohibited it.'' He said, (If a man steals from his neighbor, it is worse for him than stealing from ten homes.)
The Fifth Hadith Imam Ahmad recorded that `A'ishah asked the Messenger of Allah, "I have two neighbors, so whom among them should I give my gift'' He said, (The neighbor whose door is the closest to you.) Al-Bukhari narrated this Hadith We will elaborate on this subject in the Tafsir of Surah Bara'h, Allah willing and upon Him we depend.
Being Kind to Slaves and Servants: Allah said, (and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess,) this is an order to be kind to them because they are weak, being held as captives by others. 

An authentic Hadith records that during the illness that preceded his death, the Messenger of Allah continued advising his Ummah: ((Protect) the prayer, (protect) the prayer, and (those slaves) whom your hands possess.) He was repeating it until his tongue was still.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Miqdam bin Ma`dykarib said that the Messenger of Allah said, (What you feed yourself is a Sadaqah (charity) for you, what you feed your children is Sadaqah for you, what you feed your wife is Sadaqah for you and what you feed your servant is Sadaqah for you.) An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith which has an authentic chain of narration, all the thanks are due to Allah. 
`Abdullah bin `Amr said to a caretaker of his, "Did you give the slaves their food yet'' He said, "No.'' Ibn `Amr said, "Go and give it to them, for the Messenger of Allah said, (It is enough sin for someone to prevent whomever he is responsible for from getting their food. )'' Muslim recorded this Hadith. 
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said, (The slave has the right to have food, clothing and to only be required to perform what he can bear of work.) Muslim also recorded this Hadith. 
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said, (When your servant brings meals to one of you, if he does not let him sit and share the meal, then he should at least give him a mouthful or two mouthfuls of that meal or a meal or two, for he has prepared it.) This is the wording collected by Al-Bukhari.
Allah Does Not Like the Arrogant: Allah said, (Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.) meaning, one who is proud and arrogant, insolent and boasts to others. He thinks that he is better than other people, thus thinking high of himself, even though he is insignificant to Allah and hated by people. 
Mujahid said that Allah's statement, (Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud) means arrogant, while, (boastful فَخُوراً ) means boasting about what he has, while he does not thank Allah. This Ayah indicates that such a person boasts with people about the bounty that Allah has given him, but he is actually ungrateful to Allah for this bounty. Ibn Jarir recorded that `Abdullah bin Waqid Abu Raja' Al-Harawi said, "You will find that those who are mean are also proud and boasting. 
He then recited, (and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess,) You will find that he who is undutiful (to parents) is also arrogant, and deprived. He then recited, (And dutiful to my mother, and made me not arrogant, deprived.) 
Once a man asked the Prophet, "O Messenger of Allah, advise me.' The Prophet said, (Avoid lengthening the dress (below the ankles), for this practice is from arrogance. Verily, Allah does not like arrogance.)''

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
( And all of you worship God and associate none with Him.) This is a mention of good and bad morals. Like some other places in the Qur’ān, this too begins with a mention of the directive of worshipping the Almighty. Worshipping Him is His right and since He is the Creator, Master and Lord of this universe, hence His right is the greatest. The essence of worship is humility and servility and its foremost manifestation is devotion to Him. Then, because a person also possesses a physical entity, this devotion becomes inclusive of obedience. The manifestations of the first case are tasbīḥ (glorifying God), taḥmīd (thanking God), du‘ā (supplicating before God), rukū‘ u sujūd (kneeling and prostrating before God), nadhr niyādh (making vows to God), qurbānī (animal sacrifice) and i‘tikāf (secluding one’s self in the mosque in the month of Ramaḍān). In the second case, a person regarding someone an independent law-giver, submits to him and acknowledges his authority to declare things ḥalāl or ḥarām and give directives to do something or to abstain from some other thing. It is the verdict of the God of this universe that none of these things can be from anyone besides Him. Thus it is simultaneously said that no one should be associated in worshipping Him. This is the right of God only. If someone else is associated with Him in worship, then the latter is rendered baseless. 

( Show kindness to parents, )  The actual words are: وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ اِحْسَانًا. The letter ب found here shows that the word encompasses the meaning of loyalty. In other words, kindness to parents should be accompanied by fulfilling their rights. All divine scriptures instruct us to do so. The Qur’ān too in this instance and in verse 23 of Sūrah Banī Isrā’īl, in verse 8 of Sūrah al-‘Ankabūt, in verses 14-15 of Sūrah Luqmān and in verse 15 of Sūrah al-Aḥqāf has urged its followers to adopt this. There is no doubt that among human beings, parents have the greatest right. Thus immediately after directing the Muslims to worship God, they are asked to be kind to their parents. The reason for this is that it is a person’s parents who bring him into existence and are the means required for his upbringing. The way this directive is mentioned in Sūrah Luqmān and Sūrah al-Aḥqāf shows that among the parents, the right of the mother is more than that of the father. No doubt, the care and affection of the father is quite a lot, however the hardship a mother encounters in bringing up the child starting from her pregnancy, to childbirth and then breast-feeding the child is unmatched and no child can repay her for this great service. On these grounds, the Prophet (sws) has regarded the right of the mother as three times that of the father. (See: al-Bukhārī, no. 5971; Muslim, no. 6500) 

( and also be kind to relatives, ) It is evident from the verse that after the parents, a person’s foremost obligation is towards other relatives and the kindred. The expression ṣilāh-i raḥmī is used for kind treatment to these people. The basis of a relationship between human beings can be multifarious: people can be class mates, neighbours, friends or companions; they can have common interests or common professions and the basis can even entail being citizens of the same country; however, in all these relationships the greatest relationships are between blood relatives. This is the knot tied by the Almighty and it is not befitting for a human being to untie it. Thus safeguarding the rights of this relationship is a foremost obligation. 

( to orphans, to the destitute, ) After relatives and the kindred, the orphans and the needy are included in the list. It follows from this that they too fall in the category of the kindred; hence every Muslim should regard them to be so and with this motivation patronize them and be of service to them. 

( to neighbours who are your relatives and to neighbours you do not know and to those that keep company with you; similarly, to the traveler and to slave men and women in your possession.)  In spite of the change in society, even today travelers can become needy in some respect or the other; however, slavery no longer exists. The measures adopted by Islam in eradicating it are mentioned in the chapter “The Social Sharī‘ah” of my treatise: Mīzān.

With regard to one’s neighbours, the view of the Qur’ān is unique in the history of religion and morality. It is generally considered that a neighbour is a person who lives next door or nearby; however, the Qur’ān says that a neighbour is of three types:
First, someone who is a neighbour and also a relative. The Qur’ānic words used are الْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبٰي and it is mentioned the foremost. It means that among other neighbours, he is more worthy of kind treatment.
Second, someone who is not a relative, yet he is a neighbour. The words used are الۡجَارِ الۡجُنُبِ (unfamiliar neighbour). This unfamiliarity can be on the basis of relationship or on the basis of having a different religion. After a neighbour who is a relative, is the status of this neighbour.
Third, a person who accompanies us in travel or is in our company at some place. الصَّاحِبِ بِالۡجَنۡبِ are the words used for such a person. Muslims have been directed to treat him kindly too the way they treat other neighbours.
( God does not like the arrogant and the conceited, ) After urging people to discharge their duties to others and to be kind, a mention of the opposite mentality is made. The implication is that those who regard the favours bestowed on them by God a consequence of their own ability and planning instead of becoming grateful and humble end up with an arrogant and conceited mentality.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation
Neighbours who are near: that is, in local situation as well as intimate relationships, just as neighbours who are strangers includes those whom we do not know or who live away from us.

The Companion by your side may be your intimate friends and associates, just as the way-farer you meet may be a casual acquaintance on your travels. This last is much wider than the "stranger within your gate."

Real deeds of service and kindness proceed, not from showing off or from a superior sort of condescension (cf. "White Man's Burden"), but from a frank recognition of our own humility and the real claims, before Allah, of all our fellow-creatures. For in our mutual needs we are equal before Allah, or perhaps the best of us (as the world sees us) may be worse than the worst of us (from the same point of view).

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
The expression shay'an (here rendered as "in any way") makes it clear that shirk ("the ascribing of divinity to anything beside God") is not confined to a worship of other "deities", but implies also the attribution of divine or quasi-divine powers to persons or objects not regarded as deities: in other words, it embraces also saint-worship, etc.

I.e., "whether he belongs to your own or to another community". That the expression "your own people" (dhu 'l-qurba) refers to the community and not to one's actual relatives is obvious from the fact that "the near of kin" have already been mentioned earlier in this sentence. The Prophet often stressed a believer's moral obligation towards his neighbours, whatever their faith; and his attitude has been summed up in his words, "Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him do good unto his neighbour" (Bukhari, Muslim, and other compilations).

According to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, 'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud and other Companions, "the friend by your side" (as-sahib bi'l-janb) is one's wife or husband (Tabari). By "those whom you rightfully possess" (lit., "whom your right hands possess") are meant, in this context, slaves of either sex. Since this verse enjoins the "doing of good" towards all people with whom one is in contact, and since the best that can be done to a slave is to free him, the above passage calls, elliptically, for the freeing of slaves (Manar V, 94). See also surah {2}, note [146], as well as 9:60 , where the freeing of human beings from bondage is explicitly mentioned as one of the objectives to which zakah funds are to be dedicated.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
The passage starts with a clear commandment to worship God alone and a clear prohibition against associating partners with Him. We note that this verse begins with a conjunction which links it with the preceding orders that relate to the family and its affairs. This serves to stress the total unity that pervades all aspects of Islamic faith. Islam is not merely a number of beliefs that our minds accept, nor is it a host of rituals and acts of worship, nor a worldly system divorced from faith and worship. It is a way of life that combines all these aspects and unites them together on the basis of believing in the Oneness of God and deriving all systems and legislation from Him alone. There can be no split between accepting God’s unity and implementing His legislation.

This is followed by an order to extend kind treatment to certain groups of one’s immediate family and of the human family at large. Miserliness, conceit, boastfulness and suppression of God’s favours, of whichever type, are denounced. This is coupled with a warning against following Satan, together with raising the prospect of punishment in the hereafter and all that attends on it of public humiliation. Again, all this is linked to the belief in God’s oneness and to acknowledging that He is the only source of legislation.

Worship God alone and do not associate with Him any partners.” The first commandment is to worship God, which is followed by a prohibition of worshipping anyone other than Him. This is a total and absolute prohibition of all sorts of worship which man has practised in all ages and communities. False gods, be they animate or inanimate objects, angels or devils, have been ascribed as partners to God in one way or another. No claim of this sort is ever allowed in Islam. It is absolutely forbidden for all time.

This is followed by a commandment to extend kindness to parents in particular and relatives in general. Most Divine orders in this particular area tend to emphasize the need to be kind to one’s parents, although they do not overlook the other area of requiring parents to be kind to children. God is more merciful and compassionate to children than their own parents. But it is children who need to be directed more strongly to look after the older generation who stand in need of kindness. In most cases, the younger generation direct their feelings, sympathies and concerns to the generation which will follow them, not the preceding one, simply because in life people tend to look forward without turning back. Hence, these directives from the All-Merciful, the Compassionate, who does not neglect a parent or a child. It is He who has taught His servants how to be kind and compassionate to one another.

We also note in this verse, as in many others, that Divine directives begin by emphasising the need to be kind to one’s relatives before widening their concern to include all those who need to be looked after in society or in humanity at large. This fits in perfectly with human nature. Compassion towards others begins at home, in one’s own immediate family. A person who has not himself been a recipient of compassion in his childhood, within his family, hardly ever feels compassionate towards others. Moreover, man tends to look more favourably towards his relations, extending his kindness to them. There is no harm in this, as long as such compassion is continually enhanced and extended to a wider area so as to benefit more people.

In this particular verse, the directive begins by emphasising the need to be kind to parents, before widening the area to include kinsfolk, and then at a later stage, extending this to orphans and the needy. These are given precedence over one’s neighbours because their need may be more pressing and they must be looked after more immediately. Kindness is then urged towards a neighbour who may be a relation, and so to any other neighbour. Both take precedence over friends, because a neighbour always remains next to us. We meet our friends intermittently. Commentators on the Qur’ān have defined this type of friend as the one with whom we meet socially and whom we may choose as a travelling companion. The next type of person who deserves our kindness is a stranded wayfarer. This is followed by slaves who suffer the hardships of bondage, but with whom we have human ties common to all mankind.

Please listen to explanation of the 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 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 | 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 following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • 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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