Showing posts with label Surah Al Hujaraat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Surah Al Hujaraat. Show all posts

Sunday 6 March 2022

Difference between Believing and Submitting to Allah

Today we share a very important verse from Qur'an which is about believing in Allah or submitting to Allah. Although this verse was revealed specifically to some Bedouin tribes of the time of advent of Islam, yet it is as relevant today for many Muslims and we must understand the implications by understanding the Qur'an better.

This verse is the 14th verse of Surah 49. Al Hujaraat (The Private Apartments) given herein under:

قَالَتِ الۡاَعۡرَابُ اٰمَنَّا​ ؕ قُلْ لَّمۡ تُؤۡمِنُوۡا وَلٰـكِنۡ قُوۡلُوۡۤا اَسۡلَمۡنَا وَلَمَّا يَدۡخُلِ الۡاِيۡمَانُ فِىۡ قُلُوۡبِكُمۡ​ ۚ وَاِنۡ تُطِيۡعُوا اللّٰهَ وَرَسُوۡلَهٗ لَا يَلِتۡكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَعۡمَالِكُمۡ شَيۡـئًـا​ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ‏ 
(49:14) The Bedouins say: “We believe.”(O Prophet), say to them: “You do not believe; you should rather say: 'We have submitted'”;31 for belief has not yet entered your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish anything from the reward of any of your deeds. Surely Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate.
This does not imply all the desert Arabs but only a few particular groups of the Bedouins who had become Muslims, seeing the increasing power of Islam, thinking that they would not only remain safe from any attack by the Muslims but would also gain materially from the Islamic conquests. These people had not embraced Islam sincerely but had professed faith only verbally in order to be counted among the Muslims, and their this inner state became exposed whenever they would come before the Holy Prophet with different sorts of demands and would enumerate and mention their rights as if they had done him a great favor by accepting Islam. Traditions mention several of such tribal groups, e.g. Muzainah, Juhainah, Aslam, Ashja', Ghifar, etc. About the Bani Asad bin Khuzaimah in particular, Ibn 'Abbas and Said bin Jubair have stated that once during a drought they came to Madinah and making a demand for financial help they said to the Holy Prophet again and again: "We became Muslims without any conflict: we did not fight against you as have such and such other tribes fought." By this they clearly meant to point out that their refraining from fighting against the Messenger of Allah and their accepting Islam was a favour for which they must be rewarded by the Messenger and the Muslims. It was this same attitude and conduct of the Bedouin group living around Madinah, which has been commented upon in these verses. One can understand this appraisal better if one reads it together with vv. 90-110 of At-Taubah and vv. 11-17 of AI-Fat-h. 

Another translation of the words qulu aslamna can be; "Say: we have become Muslims. " From these words some people have concluded that in the language of the Qur'an, "Mu 'min" and "Muslim" are two opposite terms. A "Mu'min" is he who has believed sincerely and a "Muslim" he who might have accepted Islam only verbally without true faith. But, in fact, this is an absolutely wrong idea. No doubt the word iman here has been used for sincere affirmation by the heart and the word Islam for only outward and external submission but to understand them as two independent and mutually contradictory terms of the Qur'an is not correct. A study of the Qur'anic verses in which the words Islam and Muslim have been used, shows that in the Qur'anic terminology "Islam " is the name of the the Faith, which Allah has sent down for mankind; it comprehends the faith and obedience both, and a ¦MuslIm " is he who believes with a sincere heart and obeys the Commands practically. This is borne out by the following verses:

"Indeed, Islam is the only right way of life in the sight of Allah." (Al 'Imran: 19)

"And whoever adopts any other than this way of submission (Islam), that way shall not be accepted from him," (Al-'Imran: 85)

And I have approved Islam as the way of life for you." (Al-Ma'idah: 3)

`Whomever Allah wills to guide aright, He makes his breast wide open to Islam." (Al-An'am: 125)

Obviously, in these verses Islam " does not imply obedience without the Faith. Here are some other verses:

'Say (O Prophet): I have been enjoined to be the first one to affirm (faith in) Islam. "(AI-An'am: 14) '

"If they have surrendered (to Islam), they are rightly guided." (AI-'Imran: 20)

All the Prophets, who were Muslims, judged the cases according to the Torah." (AI-Ma'idah: 44)

Here, and at scores of other places, acceptance of Islam cannot mean adopting obedience without the faith. Likewise, here are a few verses in which the word "Muslim" has occurred signifying the meaning in which it has been used repeatedly in the Qur'an:
"O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should truly be feared and see that you do not die save as true Muslim. " (AI-`Imran: 102)
`Allah had called you "Muslims" before this and has called you (by the same name) in this Qur'an, too." (AI-Hajj: 78)
"Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a Muslim, sound in the faith." (AI-i-'Imran: 67)
`And remember that when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the walls of this House, they prayed: ... Lord, make us Thy Muslims and also raise from our offspring a community which should be Muslim. " (AI-Baqarah: 128)
(The Prophet Jacob's will for his children:) "O my children, Allah has chosen the same way of life for you Hence remain Muslims up to your last breath. (AI-Baqarah: 132)
After a study of these verses who can say that in these the word "Muslim" implies a person who does not believe sincerely but has accepted Islam only outwardly? Therefore, to make the claim that in the Qur'anic terminology "Islam" implies obedience without the faith and the "Muslim" in the language of the Qur'an is he who accepts Islam only outwardly is absolutely wrong. Likewise, this claim also is wrong that the words iman and mu'min have been used in the Qur'an necessarily in the sense of believing sincerely. No doubt, at most places these words have occurred to express the same meaning, but there are many places where these words have also been used for outward affirmation of the faith, and all those who might have entered the Muslim Community with verbal profession have been addressed with. "O you who have believed", no matter whether they arc the true believers, or people with a weak faith, or mere hypocrites. For a few instances of this, see Al-i-`Imran: 156, An-Nisa' :13t5, AI-Ma'idah: 54, Al-Anfal: 20-27, At-Taubah: 38, Al-Hadid: 28, As-Saff: 2.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
There is a Difference between a Believer and a Muslim - Allah chastises the bedouins who, when they embraced Islam, claimed for themselves the grade of faithful believers. However, Faith had not yet firmly entered their hearts,
This honorable Ayah provides proof that Faith is a higher grade than Islam, according to the scholars of the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. This is also demonstrated in the Hadith of Jibril, peace be upon him, when he questioned the Prophet about Islam, then Iman then Ihsan. Thus moving the general matter to one more specific, then even more specific. 
Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir bin Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, "The Messenger of Allah gave (something to) some men and did not give one of them. Sa`d said, `O Allah's Messenger, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so. However, you gave nothing to so-and-so, even though he is a believer.' 
The Prophet said, (I might give some men and give nothing to others, even though the latter are dearer to me than the former. I do not give them things for fear that they might be thrown on their faces in the Fire.)'' This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs. Therefore, the Prophet made a distinction between the grade of believer and the grade of Muslim, indicating that Iman is a more exclusive grade than Islam. I mentioned this subject in detail supported by evidence, in the beginning of the explanation of the chapter on Iman in Sahih Al-Bukhari, all praise is due to Allah and all the favors are from Him. So this proves that the Bedouins whom the Ayah mentioned were not hypocrites, rather they were Muslims in whose hearts Faith was not yet firmly established. They claimed a higher grade for themselves than the grade that they earned, and they were taught a lesson as a consequence. 
This meaning agrees with the meaning given by Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Qatadah and that preferred by Ibn Jarir. These bedouins were taught a lesson, (Say: "You do not believe, but say `We are Muslims,' for Faith has not yet entered your hearts...'') meaning, `you have not yet achieved the reality of Faith.' Allah the Exalted said, (But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds...) `He will not decrease any of your rewards,' as Allah said; (We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything.) (52:21) Allah said: (Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) for those who repent and return to Him.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
The actual word is: اَسْلَمْنَا. Here it refers to outward obedience. It occurs in the Arabic language in this meaning also. The implication is that it is not befitting for them to lay claim to faith; what they can say is that when they saw that Islam had become a political force, they submitted to its authority. This too is a form of subservience and how can they term it as a favour?
True faith which when enters a person, grasps the mind and heart in such a way that nothing from his thinking and deeds remains unaffected and uninfluenced by it.
Qur'an Wiki:
As the Surah draws to its end, it fittingly explains the truth of faith in reply to those Bedouins who claimed to be believers when they did not even understand the nature of faith. This also serves as a reply to those who tried to press their acceptance of Islam as a favour they thought they did for the Prophet. In essence, they do not appreciate that it is only through God's favour that people believe.

The first of these verses is said to have been revealed in relation to the Bedouins of the Asad tribe who, as soon as they accepted Islam, boasted saying, 'We have attained to faith.' They even counted this as a favour they performed for the Prophet. They said to him: "Messenger of God! We have become Muslims. Other Arabs have fought you, but we have not." God wanted to show them the truth of what was in their hearts when they said this, stating that they only embraced Islam in submission while the truth of faith had not touched their hearts or souls. "Say [to them]: 'Believers you are not. Rather say, "We have submitted ourselves', for true faith has not entered your hearts." (Verse 14)

Nevertheless, God's grace has dictated that they will be rewarded for every good action they do, letting nothing go to waste. Even the outward manifestation of Islam, which has not yet penetrated into people's hearts to become genuine faith, is sufficient to make their good deeds count and be recorded. Thus, their deeds are not wasted like those of unbelievers. No part of their reward is wasted as long as they continue to obey: " If you truly pay heed to God and His Messenger, He will let nothing of your deeds go to waste." (Verse 14) This is because God is quick to grant forgiveness and bestow His mercy. He accepts from His servant the first step and rewards him for submission and obedience while waiting until faith settles in his heart: "God is indeed much-forgiving, merciful." (Verse 14)

Please listen to explanation of the ayat by eminent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan:
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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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.

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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