Nov 12, 2021 11:53 UTC

Welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

We continue from where we left you last week, and here is Ayah 36 of Surah Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny):

“The life of this world is just play and diversion, but if you are faithful and Godwary, He will give you your rewards, and will not ask your wealth [in return] from you.”

If you remember, in our explanation of the preceding Ayah of this Surah last Friday, we said the true believers should never be apprehensive of their small number or shortage of facilities vis-à-vis the enemy; for, God is with the faithful and He will ultimately grant them victory. In other words, faith is not compatible with slackening, laziness and comfort-seeking, which means the faithful should never seek compromise with the enemy – either on the battlefield or at the negotiating table – since this is a sign of weakness and fear, but if the enemy proposes peace on fair conditions, they may accept it after due evaluation, rather than giving all concessions and receiving none, which means bowing to blackmail.

The Ayah that we recited to you is continuation of the warning against frailty and complacency against disbelievers, and refers to the main cause of frailty, that is, attachment to worldly possessions. Many people regard the world as the scene of pastime and pleasure, while the true believers consider it as the scene of Divine Manifestations and a blessing to gain the rewards of afterlife. It could be said that this Ayah encourages Muslims to obey God, fulfill their duties, and do not shun the issue of jihad. It also refers to the vanity of mundane life since worldly attachments serve as a factor hindering people from engagement in jihad.

Among the factors for attachment to the world are quest for wealth and power, and those who acquire wealth rarely spent it in the way of God. Their likeness is that of travelers who forget the destination by being fascinated by the roadside scenarios.  In contrast, the true believers do appreciate the beautiful scenes during the journey, abstain from ugly sights, and tolerate the hardships, but never think of the world as the permanent abode, because the destination is much more enchanting. Naturally, they neither covet wealth nor crave power, because they know that everything is from God and that greed and stinginess impede the swift movement on the road of life. Thus, whatever they have acquired they spent from it generously in the way of God on orphans, the needy, and the like, as well as for jihad, since it is important to defend the country, safeguard independence, maintain peace and security, and develop the infrastructure.

From this Ayah we learn that:

  1. Excessive attachment to the world and its pleasures result in forgetting the Hereafter, while true believers are never distracted by material life.
  2. Though money and property are among the requirements of life, we should enjoy them according to our modest needs, instead of amassing them.
  3. God has promised rewards for good deeds without taking anything in return.

Now let us listen to Ayah 37 of the same Surah:

“Should He ask it from you, and press you, you will be stingy, and He will expose your spite.”

This Ayah indicates the attachment of some persons to worldly possessions to the extent that even if God asks them for anything, they will harbour ill-will because of their stinginess and spite. In fact, this Ayah serves as a reproach to those entrapped in such attachments, while for the Godwary it is a source of encouragement for detachment from the pull of material life. Thus, God Almighty through such reproach awakens the dormant souls in order to free them from the shackles of mundane possessions through sacrifices in the Divine Path, while beseeching Him to bestow faith, piety, and satisfaction.

This Ayah teaches us the following points:

  1. Everything, including wealth, power, and life, is from God and should be spend in His way without any stinginess.
  2. God hasn’t levied any huge taxes, and whatever the holy Qur’an says about Zakaat and Khoms to be paid by the rich, is only a meager percentage of what He has granted them of wealth to test their faith.
  3. Refusal and stinginess in this regard only expose such persons as stingy, spiteful, and thankless.

Now let us listen to Ayah 38, the last one of Surah Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

“Ah! There you are, being invited to spend in the way of Allah; yet among you there are those who are stingy; and whoever is stingy is stingy only to his/ her self. Allah is the All-Sufficient, and you are all-needy, and if you turn away He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you.”

This Ayah calls on Muslims to spend in the Way of Allah by helping others, but they should be free to think and make their choice. Those who are stingy should not think that God is in need of them and their possessions, since it is we who are in need of God the All-Sufficient, because without His Mercy and the relief He has accorded us, we would have perished. In other words, the rich but stingy persons who do not pay the meagre amounts of Zakat and Khoms, as well as those who do not contribute to jihad which guarantees the country’s independence and dignity, or those fleeing from it on fear of losing lives, deprive themselves of the bounties of God and His rewards in the Hereafter.

The last phrase of the Ayah is a warning to the Arab Muslims to appreciate the great Divine Favour of raising the Last and Greatest Prophet amongst them, but if they continue their disobedience and thanklessness, God Almighty will raise another people, far superior to them in terms of sacrificing their life and possessions in the Cause of Allah. According to exegetes of the holy Qur’an, both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, when the companions of the Prophet asked who are the people mentioned in this Ayah, he put his hand on the shoulder of his Iranian companion, Salman Farsi, and said: “This [man] and his people; by the One in Whose Hand is my life, if faith is placed in the Pleiades (the star proverbial for its remoteness), they will acquire it.”

The Prophet’s 6th Infallible Heir, Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS) is reported to have said in this regard: “By God, He has kept His Promise and a far better non-Arab people have replaced them (the Arabs).”

Taking a glance, without any prejudice, at the history of Islam and Islamic sciences, we discover that many non-Arab Muslims, particularly the Iranians, have greatly contributed to jihad against the enemies of faith and humanity, while their achievements in the field of Islamic sciences are evident to all.

This Ayah teaches us the following points:

  1. Stinginess is not in compliance with faith, and everyone should spend in the way of God according to their financial ability, with full knowledge that the Almighty Creator is All-Sufficient.
  2. Those who fulfill their duties are assured of Divine rewards – both in this world and the Hereafter.
  3. The independence of the country, the dignity of its people, and the peace and development of the society are ensured through proper spending of wealth and sacrifices offered by the nation.

Dear listeners, we have reached the end of Surah Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).