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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Fulfilling the Rights of Allah and His Slaves as explained in Surah al-Maun

Treating orphans badly, not extending a helping hand to the needy people, showing off and negligence in offering salah are not the ways of a believer

Translation of the Surah:“Have you seen him who denies the Requital (the Day of Judgement)? So, he is the one who pushes away the orphan and does not persuade (others) to feed the needy. So, Woe to those performers of Salah, who are neglectful of their Salah, who (do good only to) show off, and refuse (to lend) small items (of daily use).”

The phrase “Have you seen” apparently addresses the Prophet (PBUH). But the Holy Quran according to its adopted style addresses the entire humanity at such occasions and the point contained in the speech is meant for all human beings till the Day of Judgment. The Arabic word used here for requital is Deen, which simply means ‘religion’. But the context suggests that it has been used in the meaning of reward and punishment on the Day of Judgment. It is therefore translated as requital. The same has been chosen by most of the exegesis scholars based on the statements of the blessed Companions (RA).

This Surah explains some bad habits of the disbelievers and the hypocrites and their repercussions.If these acts are committed by those who believe in the requital on the Day of Judgment, they are although great sins on his part also, but the warning explained in this Surah is not meant for him. That is because he believes in the requital on the Day of Judgment, believes in Allah and His Messenger (PBUH). But this Surah does indicate that such acts do not suit a believer. Therefore, he should always avoid them.

The bad acts mentioned in this Surah are as follows:Treating the orphans badly, not extending a helping hand to the needy people in spite of having capability and not encouraging others for the same, showing off and playing neglectful in regards with salah. Apart from being major sins, these acts in themselves are condemnable. If these acts are committed with denial of faith in the Day of Judgment and reward and punishment on it, they bring perpetual punishment in the Hell. However, the person who believes in Allah and His Messenger will surely, after facing the punishment of these acts, enter the Paradise some day or the other. If a believer makes true repentance from these acts before his death, he will not enter the Hell because of them. Disbelief in Allah and His Messenger of associating any partner with Him in terms of any of His attributes is such a big crime that, according to the sayings of Allah, will not be forgiven after death.

Before pondering over the points contained in the first verse, we need to understand the terminologies used in it. A kafir is a person who does not believe in Allah, His Messenger or in the Day of Judgment. It means the person who denies the apostleship of Muhammad (PBUH) is a Kafir(disbeliever) in the same way as a person who associates any partners with Allah in terms of His Person or Attributes. Mushrik(polytheist) is a person who believes in Allah but also associates any partners with Him in His Person or Attributes.Munafiq(hypocrite) is the person who proclaims his faith in Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) for some worldly benefit but does not actually believe in them by heart. He offers salah and other religious rituals just to show off. In short, thediscrepancy between saying and doing is a sign of hypocrisy. Mumin (believer) is the person who believes in Allah as his true Lord and Muhammad (PBUH) as the Messenger of Allah and lives by his teachings. Fasiq (sinner) is a person who, despite of having faith in Allah and His Messenger, commits major sins.

The Muslim Ummah unanimously agree that major sins like disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy also get omitted, if the man comes to have faith and make true repentance before his death. But in case a person dies with disbelief, polytheism or hypocrisy, he will not be forgiven, as Allah has explained His rule in the Holy Quran. He will live in the Hell forever. Some atheists put objections on this aspect of Islam. But there are many things in this world which we accept, but we do not logically understand them. For example, a person who is born in a poor family generally dies in the same state of poverty. But we do not protest as to what was the fault of the innocent person that he lived in distress throughout his life. In contrast to him, a person who is born in a well off family lives in comfort and luxury. Likewise, why does human being come to this world and why does he die despite of making all efforts to stay alive? Sometimes a healthy young man whose services are needed by the whole nation dies just in a small accident. On the contrary, an old man goes on living with the help of others. There are many such questions which our brain is unable to answer. When we accept thousands of worldly things without logically understanding them or not finding an answer to them, why are we not ready to accept the divine injunctions?

Reward and punishment in the hereafter or entering the Paradise and the Hell: We believe in the light of the Holy Quran and ahadith that this world will perish one day and all the human beings and the jinnswho came to this world from the beginning till the end will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. Allah Almighty will then issue the verdict of Paradise and the Hell for them based on their good or bad actions in this world. Allah Almighty has prepared such means of comfort and luxury in the Paradise that our brain cannot even imagine. A hadith related in Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and other books of hadith reads: Moses asked his Lord: Who amongst the inhabitants of Paradise is the lowest to rank? He (Allah) said: The person who would be admitted into Paradise last of all among those deserving of Paradise. Allah would ask him: Enter Paradise. He would say: O my Lord! How (should I enter) while the people have settled in their apartments and taken the shares (portions)? It would be said to him: Would you be pleased if there be for you like the kingdom of a king amongst the kings of the world? He would say: I am pleased, my Lord. He (Allah) would say: For you is that, and like that, and like that, and like that, and that. He would say at the fifth (point): I am well pleased, my Lord. He (Allah) would say: It is for you and, ten times like it, and for you is what yourself desires and your eye enjoys. He would say: I am well pleased, my Lord. He (Moses) said: (Which is) the highest of their (inhabitants of Paradise) ranks? He (Allah) said: They are those whom I choose. I establish their honour with My own hand and then set a seal over it (and they would be blessed with Bounties) which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human mind has perceived: and this is substantiated by the Book of Allah, Exalted and Great:" So no soul knows what delight of the eye is hidden for them; a reward for what they did". (Sahih Muslim: Chapter: The Status of the Lowest people in paradise) The blazing flame of the Hell is seventy times hotter than the fire of this world.Blood and pus flow in it. May Allah protect us all from the fire of the Hell and decide the Paradise for us! Nearly seven billion people live in this world today, most of whom believe that there is another life after the life in this world. In the next life, the reward or punishment for the acts of this world will be given. This is also evidence that there is life in the hereafter.

It is Islam that cares for the orphans the most:An orphan is a person whose father passed away before he/ she could attain puberty. The Prophet (PBUH) was also an orphan. His father Abdullah passed away while he was still in the womb of his mother. His mother also passed away when he was only six years old. He had much sympathy for the orphans. Therefore, he used to encourage his companions (RA)to look after the orphans. Once, he said: "I and the one who looks after an orphan will be like this in Paradise," showing his middle and index fingers and separating them. (Sahih Bukhari)

Islam has no match in encouraging people to fulfil the needs of the needy: The Islamic Shariahmost often encourages people to feed the poor and help those in need. The Prophet (PBUH) was asked as to which act is most virtuous in Islam. He replied: Feeding people and greeting everyone, whether you know him or not. (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said: "O people, exchange greetings of peace (i.e., say: As-Salam-o-Alaikum to one another), feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace." (Sunan Tirmidhi) The Prophet (PBUH) also said: “If anyone relieves a Muslim believer from one of the hardships of this worldly life, Allah will relieve him of one of the hardships of the Day of Resurrection. If anyone makes it easy for the one who is indebted to him (while finding it difficult to repay), Allah will make it easy for him in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, and if anyone conceals the faults of a Muslim… Allah helps His slave as long as he helps his brother.” (Sahih Muslim)

The one who shows negligence towards salah will be thrown in the Hell:The entire Muslim community believes in the light of the Holy Quran and Sunnah that the quitting the obligatory salah intentionally is a heinous sin.Quitting the salah is even greater sin in Shariah than committing adultery, stealing and drinkingliquor. I would like to quote only three verses from the Quran regarding punishment for the one who shows negligence in salah: (1) So, Woe to those performers of Salah, who are neglectful of their Salah. (Surah Maun: v. 4, 5) These verses refer to those who either do not offer salah at all or those who used to offer earlier, but later on, they became neglectful. Or even those who offer salah when they feel like doing. All such people come are included in these verses. Therefore, one should avoid all sorts of negligence in regards with salah. (2) Then came after them the successors who neglected Salah and followed (their selfish) desires. So, they will soon face (the outcome of their) deviation. (Surah Maryam: v. 59) Those who do not offer salah will be thrown in the deepest and hottest valley of the hell where blood and pus flow. (3) What has brought you to Saqar? (Hell). They will say, we were not among those who offered Salah, (obligatory prayer) and we did not give food to the needy. (Surah Mudassir: vv. 42, 44) The people residing in the Hell described the first reason for their being the Hell as negligence towards salah. That is because the salah is the most important and fundamental pillar of Islam after belief, which is obligatory for every individual. For more details, reads the famous commentaries of the Quran on these verses.

Show off is thecauseofdestruction of the good deeds: For acceptance of good deeds, sincerity is the most important basic condition. In the first hadith of Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) says: "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.” Thus, theprimary motive of salah must only be attaining the pleasure of Allah, whether it is obligatory of nafl prayer. We must not offer salah just to show peoplebecause it has been described by the Prophet (PBUH) even a greater fitnathanfitna of Dajjal and a major act of polytheism. Abu Saeed Khudri(RA) says: “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came out to us when we were discussing Dajjal (False Christ) and said: ‘Shall I not tell you of that which I fear more for you than Dajjal?’ We said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Hidden polytheism, when a man stands to pray and makes his prayer long because he sees a man looking at him.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah) The Prophet (PBUH) also said: “He who offered salah to show off (to the people) committed an act of shirk.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Those who do not pay zakat will be thrown in the Hell: The entire Muslim community believes in the light of the Holy Quran and sunnah that the person who denies the obligation of zakat is Kafir. But the person who does not pay zakat commits a major sin. He will be severely punished in the hereafter if he did not repent before death. In Surah al-Taubah (v. 34, 35) of the Holy Quran, Allah has given severe warning to those who do not pay zakat from their wealth.

The last word of the Surah is “Maun” which means lending of small or petty things of daily use. The Surah is also named after this word. Maun actually refers to the small things of daily use that we borrow from each other, like vessels. The Maun also refers to everything of petty importance. Some of the Companions (RA) have interpreted this word as zakat because this is also a very small part of a person’s wealth.

Moral of the Surah: We should believe in the reward and punishment of the hereafter along with believing in Allah and His Messenger (PBUH). We should take excessive part in helping the orphans. We should compete with each other in helping the poor and the needy people. In case we are personally unable to help the poor, we should at least take part in the things meant for helping the poor. We should stay mindful of salah willingly. We should also take care of our nafl prayers. We should do every righteous act only for the pleasure of Allah. Show off and seeking fame is just a cause to destroy the good deeds. We should calculate our wealth and pay zakat every years, if it becomes obligatory. If a neighbour or relativeasksto borrow anitem of daily use, we should not deny it. We should not show negligence in fulfilling the rights of human beings along with the rights of Allah. Among the rights of Allah, salah and zakat are the most important acts after belief.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (