Showing posts with label Verse 14-15. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Verse 14-15. Show all posts

Friday 29 September 2023

Who has been promised Prosperity as mentioned in Qur'an

Today we share a very short, yet very meaningful verse from Qur'an. It is about prosperity and has a pre-clause to achieve it. Before we share the 14th verse of Surah Al Ala (The Most High), let us first know what prosperity is:
Wikipedia defines prosperity as flourishing, thriving, good fortune and successful social status. Prosperity often produces profuse wealth including other factors which can be profusely wealthy in all degrees, such as happiness and health.
It can be seen that in a wider spectrum, prosperity means an enhancement of any facet of life. We call a person prosperous if he has achieved a high post or honour in any field or for some a wealthy person is prosperous too. This is a pure worldly approach to define prosperity. But when we define prosperity in Islam and what leads to it, the brush strokes on the canvas change altogether. Let us see how by reading the selected verse for this post and by explaining its true perspective:

قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ مَنۡ تَزَكّٰىۙ‏ 
(87:14) He who purified himself shall prosper
The simple verse says that whosever "PURIFIES" himself will PROSPER. Simple yet very meaningful verse and its explanation.

This to my reckoning, to be a true believer, one has to cleanse and purify his inner self when accepting Islam. That is, one has to wash away every bit of knowledge, cultural and ancestorial heritage to start afresh with a clean slate. That is HARD formatting one's hard disk so that not a trace of information of the bygone days remains on it.

As one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi put it: One who affirms the faith giving up disbelief and polytheism, adopts good morals giving up evil morals, and aligning oneself to good deeds giving up evil deeds. Success does not imply worldly prosperity, but true and real success whether worldly prosperity accompanies it or not. 

The concept of prosperity is explained in more details in other Surahs of Qur'an as under: 

فَمَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنِ افۡتَـرٰى عَلَى اللّٰهِ كَذِبًا اَوۡ كَذَّبَ بِاٰيٰتِهٖ ؕ اِنَّهٗ لَا يُفۡلِحُ الۡمُجۡرِمُوۡنَ‏ 
(Surah Yunus 10:17) Who, then, is a greater wrong-doer than he who forges a lie against Allah or rejects His signs as false? Surely the guilty shall not prosper.
Some foolish people draw wrong and misleading conclusions from this verse, by fallacious reasoning. They confine the meanings of falah to long life or worldly prosperity or worldly success and argue like this: This verse declares categorically that criminals can never attain success. The converse of this proposition, that is, anyone who is successful cannot be a criminal, must also be true. Hence, if a claimant should live a long life after his claim to Prophethood or prosper in the world or his claim receives a good response in the world from the people, he should be acknowledged as a true prophet. For they argue, if he had been a false prophet, he could not have prospered, but would have been killed or starved to death or rendered unsuccessful in his mission, as soon as he had claimed to be a prophet. But even a little thinking will show that this argument is fallacious on the face of it. 
  • Firstly, the converse of every proposition is not always true. 
  • Secondly, the Quran does not use the word falah in this limited sense. 
  • Thirdly, Allah deals with the criminals according to His divine law of respite.
Now let us consider the matter in detail. The words “Indeed, the criminals will not be successful”, have not been used, in the context they occur, to prescribe a criterion for judging a true Prophet from a false one, so that if a claimant is successful, he should be accepted, and if he is not, he should be rejected. As a matter of fact, these words have been put in the mouth of the Messenger to make a declaration like this: I know for certain that the criminals cannot attain (true) success: therefore, I cannot commit the crime of making a false claim to Prophethood. But as regards you, I am absolutely sure that you cannot attain true success because you are guilty of falsely claiming me to be a true Prophet of Allah.

The other thing is that the word falah is not used in the limited sense of worldly success, but it has been used to denote the permanent success which never suffers any loss whatsoever irrespective of the fact whether the claimant gains or does not gain any worldly success in the initial stage. Nay, it is just possible that a false claimant who invites people to misguidance should attain great worldly success and his misguidance might also prosper. This is, however, not success in the terminology of the Quran, but this would be an utter failure. On the other hand, it is also possible that the inviter to the truth should suffer untold afflictions or fall a prey to the persecutions of the transgressors, and leave this world without winning over anyone to the side of the truth, but this will be, in the terminology of the Quran, true success and not a failure.

The other thing that refutes the fallacy of these foolish people is that they do not take into consideration the divine law of respite, according to which the mere fact that a false prophet enjoyed a long prosperous life is not a proof that he was a true prophet. The Quran has made it clear at many places that Allah does not expedite the matter of the punishment of the criminals, but gives them respite to mend their ways; nay, He also lets them loose in their deviation if they abuse that respite and become more corrupt. Sometimes He makes them even more prosperous so that they should fully manifest all the evils they had hidden in their hearts and incur full punishment which they really deserve for their evil deeds. The divine law of respite takes its due course in the case of false prophets as it does in the case of other criminals. And there is no reason why they should be an exception to this. Satan, the greatest of all criminals, has been allowed to practice every kind of deception up to the Day of Judgment, and there is no mention of any exception to this effect that he will not be allowed to set up a false prophet.

As a last resort, such perverse interpreters of the Quran turn to (Ayats 44-47 of Surah Al-Haqqah): If Muhammad had fabricated something himself and ascribed that to Us, We would have seized his hand and cut off his heart’s vein. But these cannot serve their purpose, for what they imply is only this: If the true Prophet appointed by Allah were to ascribe any false thing to Allah, he would be seized forthwith. Therefore, it is no more than a fallacy to argue from this to the erroneous conclusion that the impostor who is not seized is a true prophet, for this divine principle applies only to a true Prophet and not to an impostor. In order to grasp this point, let us take the instance of the government servants. It is obvious that the rules and regulations which are prescribed for government servants apply only to those who are actually government servants and not to impostors. Those who pretend to be government servants are dealt with according to the criminal code like other criminals and villains and not according to the code of employment. Besides this, the context in which these verses occur clearly shows that these are not laying down any criterion of judging whether a claimant is a true Prophet or an impostor. Moreover, a true Prophet can easily be distinguished from an impostor by his high character, his noble mission and the unique Message he presents. Hence there was no need to set up such an irrational and unnatural standard of distinguishing a true Prophet from an impostor.

نُسَارِعُ لَهُمۡ فِى الۡخَيۡـرٰتِ​ ؕ بَلْ لَّا يَشۡعُرُوۡنَ‏ 
(Surah Al-Muminun 23:56) We are busy lavishing on them all kinds of good? Nay, they do not perceive the reality of the matter.
This question has been posed as proof of the main theme of the Surah. It is meant to remove their misconception of "success", "welfare" and "prosperity", which the disbelievers had formed to delude themselves. According to them, the one who enjoyed the good things of life and wielded power and influence in society had attained "success". On the other hand, the one who was deprived of these things was a "failure". This misconception had involved " them in another serious misunderstanding. They thought that the one who had attained "success" was in the right, and the beloved of Allah. Otherwise, how could he have attained all the "successes"? On the contrary, the one who was apparently deprived of these things was surely wrong in his creed and erroneous in his deeds, and was under the wrath of God (or gods). As this misconception is one of the greatest deviations of the materialists, the Qur'an has stated it and refuted it in different ways at different places and made the reality plain. For instance, see A1-Baqarah (II): 126, 212, Al-A'araf (VII): 32, At-Taubah (IX): 55, 69, 85, Yunus (X):17, Hud (XI) :3, 27-31, 38-39, Ar-Ra`d (XIII): 26, Al-Kahf (XVIII): 28, 32-43, 103-105, Maryam (XIX):77-80, Ta Ha (XX): 131-132, Al-Anbiya` (XXI) :44 along with the relevant E.N.'s. In order to remove the above-mentioned misconceptions, one should keep in view the following:

(1) "Success" is a far higher thing than the material prosperity and the transitory success of an individual, community or nation

(2) It is absolutely wrong to consider "prosperity" and "success" as a criterion of truth and falsehood.

(3) It should be noted well that this world is a place of test and trial and not a place of reward and retribution. It is true that even in this world, sometimes there is some punishment or reward, but it is on a very limited scale, and even in this, there is an aspect of the test. Therefore, it is an utter folly to consider material "success" and "prosperity" to be proof that the recipient is in the right and so the beloved of the Lord, and vice versa. Moreover, the tests and trials of individuals and communities are of many varieties and a seeker after truth must understand at the outset that the worldly "success" or "failure" of the people is not the result of ultimate reward or punishment and cannot be regarded as the criterion for the right or wrong creed, morals and actions and a sign of being the beloved of God or otherwise.'

(4) One must have a firm belief that truth and righteousness will ultimately gain victory over falsehood and wickedness. As regards the criterion of truth and falsehood and right and wrong, one must judge this in the light of Revelations and teachings of the Messengers, because common sense confirms the same, and it is also supported by the general conception which mankind has always had of good and evil.

(5) As a corollary of the above, it would have become clear that according to the Qur'an (and this is confirmed by common sense), the conception of "reward" and "punishment" should also be different from the common one. For instance, if a wicked person or community is enjoying "prosperity", it is not a reward for its evil deeds but a harder test for it, and it is not a blessing but the wrath of Allah. It means that Allah has decided to punish the "prosperous people" with a severe scourge. On the other hand, if the righteous people are suffering from hardships and afflictions, it is not a punishment from Allah but a blessing in disguise to pass them through the "fire" to remove impurity, if any, from pure gold. If this hard trial is a blessing for the righteous people, it is a test for the wicked people to give them a severe punishment for the persecution of the former.

اُولٰٓـئِكَ عَلٰى هُدًى مِّنۡ رَّبِّهِمۡ​ وَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ‏ 
(Surah Luqman 31:5) It is they who are on true guidance from their Lord, and it is they who shall prosper.
At the time when these verses were sent down, the disbelieves of Makkah thought, and said so openly, that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace) and those who accepted his message were wasting and ruining their lives. Therefore, it was rejoined with full force and emphasis: ". these are the ones who will attain true success." That is, 'They will not ruin themselves as you seem to dunk in your ignorance, but they in fact are the ones who alone will attain true success, and the utter failures will be those who have refused to adopt this way."

Here the one who regards 'true success" as confined to the world, in the sense of material prosperity, will be wholly missing the Qur'anic concept of it. To understand the real concept of the true success one should study the following verses of the Qur'an along with the relevant explanations: AI-Baqarah: 2-5, AI-'Imran: 102, 130, 200, AI-Ma'idah: 35, 90, AI-An'am: 21, AI-A'raf; 7, 8, 157, At-Taubah: 88, Yunus: 17, An-Nahl: 116, Al-Hajj: 77, Al-Mu'minun: 117, An-Nur: ,51, Ar-Rum: 38.

Wrapping up the explanation and traits of those who will prosper, let us read the explanation of the selected verse in question:

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
At the other end we find prosperity accompanied with self- purification and a heeding of warnings. Purification is used here in the widest sense of the word: purification of everything filthy or sinful. The person who seeks to purify himself, glorifies his Lord, feels His power and majesty in his inmost soul and prays, [whether praying is taken in its general sense or its specific Islamic sense] will definitely be successful, as God states here. He will achieve success here in this life as he enjoys his relationship with God and the perfect bliss that results from his glorification of God. He will achieve even greater success in the hereafter as he escapes hell and is rewarded with perfect happiness in heaven. How different the two destinies are.

Now in light of the detailed explanation of the term Falal / Prosperity, we now have a clear idea who these promised believers would be who are promised prosperity. Let us cleanse our inner and outer shells and concentrate on the Divine Wisdom that promises us prosperity. Even if the wrongdoers are flourishing and even if the guided ones are living a rag tag life, yet the latter should take comfort that in the end it would be they who would be blessed with ultimate prosperity, if not in this world, but certainly in the life to come, In Sha Allah.
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 read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Al Qur'an guides and helps those who sincerely seek Divine Guidance and Help.

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.

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on social media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Qur'ān - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More