2:3 Traits of Taqwa (1)

الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ

Allatheena yu’minoona bil ghaybi wayuqeemoona aSSalaata wamimmaa razaqnaahum yunfiqoon

Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them;

-Sura Al-Baqarah, Ayah 3

General

This ayah continues from the previous ayah to explain the signs of those who have taqwa, the prerequisite to be guided through the Quran.

This ayah covers spiritual and physical aspects of taqwa, showing that Islam is the complete way of life. The good example of man is he who is good wholistically.

Linguistic

1. Allatheena yu’minoona bil ghaybi means “those who believe in the unseen”.

Thus the first sign of taqwa is belief in the unseen. The word believe is in imperfect tense meaning those who are and continue to believe in the unseen.

Belief means to trust or to have faith. It is evident through creed, speech and deeds.

2. wayuqeemoona aSSalaata means “and (those who) establish salah“.

The word establish is in imperfect tense meaning those who are and continue to establish solah.

3. wamimmaa razaqnaahum yunfiqoon means “and (those who) spend from what We bestowed upon them”. The word spend is in imperfect tense meaning those who are and continue to spend.

Belief in the Unseen is spiritual. Spending is the physical relationship between man and his society (through economy/ trade, good attitudes and cooperation). Solah combined both spiritual and physical aspects of man with himself (through discipline, self control and focus).

Belief in the unseen

The first trait of muttaqin is believing (muminuna means those who have peace/ have come to terms with) in the unseen/supernatural (ghaybiyyat).

1. The unseen here means everything that the messenger reported which are beyond the scope of human intellect.

2. One way belief in the unseen will increase our taqwa is that we know Allah is always aware and His angels are recording all of our deeds which will all be rewarded or punished later in the Hereafter. Thus the belief will help mankind to adhere to guidance from Allah and abstain from evil either to attain the Garden or to avoid the Hellfire.

3. The supernature of one thing depends on the knowledge or assumptions at that time or by whom it is being referred to.

During the black plague, people referred to it as wrath of God i.e. supernatural. But when human knowledge developed, we know that the plague was caused by microorganisms carried by vectors which spread the symptoms of the disease thus it is no more supernatural. Similar to Allah, angels, the Hereafter etc, all is unseen, but when the Reckoning comes and men can see all of the ghaybiyyat mentioned in the Quran, we can no longer deny them. But faith/ belief after death is not beneficial if we denied them during our lifetime i.e. during the period of test.

On another note, humans still don’t know why and how something happened at a specific place and time, and this is still supernatural. In Islam it is called qadawa qadar (matters preordained by Allah, Allah’s plan and execution) based on His attributes of qudrat wa iradah (able and freewill).

Establish Prayers

The second trait of muttaqin is yuqiimuuna aSSolah meaning they develop/establish the solah (prayers).

This refers to both spiritual and physical trait, in the relationship between individual and Allah. It is the right of Allah from His servants.

Those who are God conscious will always long for His attention and love, and this is attained in solah. In solah, we invoke Him, glorify Him, praise Him, ask from Him and show our dependence only to Him.

This trait is not limited to performing solah (both obligatory and optional) but includes all obligations that accompany it such as perfecting the purification before performing solah, the lines, the congregation, the humility, the facilities for solah and actively urging the community towards performing solah.

Spend in God’s Way

The third trait of muttaqin is that they spend (in Allah’s cause) from what Allah provided them.

This is a physical trait, affecting relationship between individual and his community.

1. Allah stated “from what We provided”.

This is to teach us that all that we have are provided by Him, not from our own efforts. Allah is the one who determined whether our efforts will achieve their worldly objectives or otherwise based on His decreed sunnatullah, i.e. His laws of nature and sciences, and His iradah i.e. His freewill.

Furthermore even when all of our efforts are in line with sunnatullah to be successful, there are so many aspects which are out of our control but lie in the domain of Allah’s control.

2. Infaq means spend

Islam encourages wealth to be circulated. Assets which are left idle are liable for zakah, i.e. compulsory almsgiving, because the assets are supposed to be used for the benefit of all e.g. idle lands, minimum cash balance in bank etc.

Islam prohibits the accumulation of wealth by certain groups. This has caused injustice in society and made the economy susceptible to major downturn caused by small group of people or one industry.

This concept shouldn’t be confused with consumerism, as Islam discourages overspending and lavish lifestyle. Consume what we need, spend the rest in Allah’s way.

This world is only a stopover on our way to the hereafter. Eat when we are hungry and stop before we are full. Those who spent lavishly are siblings of shaytan.

In a smaller scale, we will be rewarded for our deeds in this world. Included is our spending in a good way e.g. to sustain the family, almsgiving, etc.

3. The wealth that we accumulate wont give us any good if we dont spend them because they will be inherited by our offsprings. The portion that we spent in Allah’s cause will be our eternal wealth as these will aid us in attaining salvation.

4. This ayah refers to general acts of charity, such as spending for family members, relatives and the society in general, because the ayah on obligation of zakah (compulsory charity) haven’t been revealed yet.

Other Points

1. Belief is a key aspect of taqwa. Belief is a high form of knowledge where conviction in the knowledge will guide our actions, thinking and emotions.

2. Muttaqun believed the unseen. This means that they are aware that there are more than meet the eyes. They understood that many aspects are uncontrollable by men.

3. Belief in the unseen is the basis of religion. The current trend of positivism and empiricism and has made a lot of people value physical, visible and quantifiable traits more than they should.

Applications of positivism and empiricism should be limited to wordly applied sciences e.g. engineering, manufacturing etc. This is because the knowledge applied in these fields are tentative and experimental. They are subject to reduction, improvement and evolution.

These sciences are very important, especially in attaining the objectives of God’s law. However, they should never be used to reject God’s law itself.

True and final knowledge from Allah should be the basis of our life and guide our actions. Worldly sciences should be exploited to achieve our objectives.

4. Among matters considered unseen is the prophet himself (saw.) especially for those who lived far from Hijaz and those who came after his death.

In several ahadith, he mentioned that those who believed in him and followed the Quran, even without seeing him and the revelations, are better than some of those who saw him and his miracles, because believing in the unseen is harder than believing the obvious.

5. The explanation in taqwa starts with spiritual aspect and followed by physical aspects. This is in line with the sirah (history of the life of the prophet) and the order of quranic revelations. This is the natural order, to start from the inside and it will be evident outside.

6. Solah and zakah/ charity/ infaq, are often mentioned together in the Quran, signifying their importance. The first caliph opined that both are at the same level. If one rejects the obligation of solah, he is a disbeliever because he rejects the Quran. If he rejects the obligation for zakah, he is also a disbeliever because he rejects the Quran.

Wallahualam.

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