Posted in 'Aqidah (Faith), 2. Al Baqarah, Arabic, Shari'ah (Islamic Law), Taqwa

2:3 Traits of Taqwa (1)

2:3 Those who believe in the unseen, establish prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them.

This ayah and the next explain the characteristics of the muttaqin.

This ayah covers spiritual and physical aspects of the religion i.e. the complete way of life. 

Belief in the Unseen is spiritual (belief and faith). Spending is the relationship between man and his society (economy/trade, good attitudes and cooperation). Prayers combined both spiritual and physical aspects of man with himself (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). 

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

This refers to a spiritual trait.

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.

The supernature of one thing depends on the knowledge or assumptions at the 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 lifetime i.e. during the period of test.

On another note, human still dont 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 yuqiiimuuna assolah meaning they develop/establish the solah (prayers).

This refers to a physical trait, in the relationship between individual and Allah.

Those who are God conscious will always long for His attention and love, and this is attained in solah.

This trait is not limited to performing solah (both obligatory and optional) but includes perfecting the purification before performing solah, the lines, the congregation, 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 be beneficial 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 shouldnt be confused with consumerism, as Islam discouraged 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.

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

Wallahualam.

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Posted in 2. Al Baqarah, Correlation, Introduction, Knowing Allah, Kufur, Shari'ah (Islamic Law), Taqwa, Theme

Al Baqarah: Topics and Interconnections

From Tafhimul Quran:

Ayats 120.
These introductory verses declare the Quran to be the Book of guidance: enunciate the articles of the faith (belief) in Allah, prophethood and life-after-death; divide mankind into three main groups with regard to its acceptance or rejection, believers, disbelievers and hypocrites.

Ayats 21-29.
Allah invites mankind to accept the guidance voluntarily and to submit to Him, the Lord and the Creator of the universe, and to believe in the Quran, His guidance, and in the life-after-death.

Ayats 30-39.
The story of the appointment of Adam as Allah’s vicegerent on earth, of his life in the garden, of his falling a prey to the temptations of Satan, of his repentance and its acceptance, has been related to show to mankind (Adam’s offspring) that the only right thing for them is to accept and follow the guidance. This story also shows that the guidance of Islam is the same that was given to Adam and that it is the original religion of mankind.

Ayats 40-120.
In this portion invitation to the guidance has particularly been extended to the children of Israel and their past and present attitude has been criticized to show that the cause of their degradation was their deviation from the guidance.

Ayats 121-141.
The Jews have been exhorted to follow Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who had come with the same guidance and who was a descendant and follower of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) whom they highly honored as their ancestor, and professed to follow as a prophet. The story of building of the Kaabah by him has been mentioned because it was going to be made the qiblah of the Muslim community.

Ayats 142-152.
In this portion, the declaration of the change of qiblah from the Temple (Jerusalem) to the Kaabah (Makkah) has been made as a symbol of the change of leadership from the children of Israel to the Muslim community, which has also been fore-warned to guard against those transgressions against the guidance that had led to the deposition of the Jews.

Ayats 153-251.
In this portion practical measures have been prescribed to enable the Muslims to discharge the heavy responsibilities of the leadership that had been entrusted to them for the promulgation of guidance. Salat, fasting, Zakat, Hajj and Jihad have been prescribed for the moral training of the ummat (Muslim community). The believers have been exhorted to obey authority, to be just, to fulfill pledges, to observe treaties, to spend wealth etc. in the Way of Allah. Laws, rules and regulations have been laid down for their organization, cohesion and conduct of daily life and for the solution of social, economic, political and international problems. On the other hand, drinking, gambling, lending money on interest etc. have been prohibited to keep the ummat safe from disintegration. In between these, the basic articles of the faith have been reiterated at suitable places, for these alone can enable and support one to stick to the guidance.

Ayats 252-260.
These verses serve as an introduction to the prohibition of lending money on interest. The true conception of Allah, revelation, and life-after-death have been emphasized to keep alive the sense of accountability. The stories of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and of the one who woke up after a sleep of hundred years have been related to show that Allah is All-Powerful and is able to raise the dead and call them to account. The believers, therefore, should keep this fact in view and refrain from taking interest on money.

Ayats 261-283.
The earlier theme has been resumed and the believers have been exhorted to spend in the Way of Allah in order to please Him alone. In contrast to this, they have been warned against the evils of lending money on interest. Instructions have also been given for the honest conduct of day-to-day business transactions.

Ayats 284-286.
The basic articles of the faith have been recapitulated here at the end of the Surah, just as they were enunciated at its beginning. Then the Surah ends with a prayer which the Muslim community needed very much at that time when they were encountering untold hardships in the propagation of the guidance.

 

Allah knows best.

Posted in 2. Al Baqarah, Correlation, Introduction, Reason for revelation, Shari'ah (Islamic Law), Taqwa, Theme

Muqaddimah Al Baqarah

The reason for Al Baqarah’s revelation was to teach the mukmin (believers) how to lead mankind after hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah). Among the themes are guidance, taqwa (faith), belief, sacrifices and knowledge.

Guidance/ Covenant

One of the main theme of this chapter is guidance/ covenant.

Whoever accepts the guidance and adhere to the covenant will gain leadership of mankind e.g. Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Dawud (David) etc. This happened to the Muslim after hijrah.

To adhere to the covenant, one must have taqwa, belief in the unseen, etc.

Some people pretended to hold onto it i.e. munafiq (hypocrites). Some prefers chaos and corruptions i.e. fasiq (disobedients, miscreants). Some rejected it ie kuffar (disbelievers).

The instruction to change qiblah (direction in prayers) signifies the change of leadership from Jews to Muslim.

Also included in this surah are the details of muslim covenant (eg jihad, riba, fast etc), parables, etc.


Al
Baqarahs Virtues

House which al Baqarah was recited in it wont be harmed by devils (Hadith from Tirmizi, An Nasaie, Hakim, Ad Darimi, At Tabrani, Ibn Hibban).

Al Baqarah and Ali Imran will intercede for their people during reckoning (Ibn Majah, Muslim, Ahmad).

Contains basic concepts and many rulings. Rasulullah once appointed a younger commander because he remembers and practise Al Baqarah.

Fully madani (revealed after hijrah ie migration), among first to be sent down after hijrah and last revealed ayat. Also said that most are madani, some are makki (revealed before hijrah).

Also the longest surah.

Posted in 1. Al Fatihah, Correlation, Knowing Allah, Shari'ah (Islamic Law), Zikr (remembrance)

1:6 Guide us God

1:6 Guide us the straight path

Guidance is what we really need from Allah and He answers our plea later in surah Al Baqarah: 2.

As SiraTal mustaqim (the straight, uncrooked, undeviating path) can mean sunnah (way of the prophet guided by Allah). It will also be explained later in other chapters.

Allah answers our plea by giving us laws and limits to guide us towards the straight path.

This ayat symbolises a servant’s dependence on His Master. Our inherent helplessness and ignorance long for His might, knowledge and mercy.

It also explains the reality of free will. The qadariya, muktazila and some shi’a believes that our actions and fate are all within the influence of our free will. However, this ayah proves that Allah has the power to guide and misguide as He wills, our free will is not enough.

Allah made this surah a model for all supplications. Half of it comprises His praises and the other half is our needs.

It is best to use Allah’s word for supplication.

O Allah, incline our hearts to the truth.