Path towards Enlightenment (947)
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).
As you know, last week we completed explanation of Surah Fat’h, and from this Friday onwards we embark on explanation of the next Surah, that is, “Surah Hujuraat”, which is 49th in the serial order of compilation of the holy Qur’an. It has 18 Ayahs and was revealed in Medina. This Surah which takes its name from the word “hujuraat” which is Arabic for apartments or chambers, criticizes as ill-mannered and uncouth those who would stand behind the apartments of the Prophet’s wives and call him forth for discourse with raised voices. The Surah guides the believers on how to behave with proper respect towards their Leader as is clear in the opening Ayah, and with mutual respect and trust towards each other, as stressed in Ayah 9. It emphasizes the unity of mankind and God’s intention that people should live together in harmony. It criticizes the desert Arabs for their presumptuous attitude to their faith and towards God. In short, the goal of this Surah is to elucidate upon a series of life-giving commandments of Akhlaq, which means ethics and morality, as well as social interaction which, if put into practice, would lead an ideal civilization. These in turn could create and cultivate a pure society that is far removed from all sorts of blameworthy moral traits.
Here we present you the first Ayah of this Surah, which reads:
“In the Name of God the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful; O you who have faith, do not venture ahead of Allah and His Prophet, and be wary of Allah! Indeed Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”
This Ayah addresses the believers and censures them for being presumptuous, since faith requires submission to the Almighty Creator and the instructions of the Prophet. This implies that no irreverence should be shown to either Allah or His Prophet in any matter. In other words, the believers must be mannerly, decorous, and showing reverence in the presence of Prophet Muhammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). It is not allowed to give advice in any matter before the Prophet asks a believer to do so, if he pleases. Judgement or verdict is given by Allah in all matters through His messenger, so the believers should obey the Prophet as the Appointee of God Almighty.
This Ayah was revealed when some ill-mannered Muslims showed disrespect to the Prophet by their behaviour, thereby weakening the authority of the Leader of the Islamic community.
From this Ayah we learn that:
- Disobedience of God and the Prophet includes indulgence in forbidden things and forbidding those things allowed by the religion.
- The laws of the Islamic society should be based on God’s Revelation, the holy Qur’an, and the Prophet’s Sunnah wa Seerah, that is behaviour and practice.
- Any law that is against the letter and spirit of the holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, is deemed un-Islamic, and therefore null and void.
- Those who involved their personal choices in matters pertaining to the governance of the Islamic society, have indeed distanced from faith and Godwariness.
Now we listen to Ayahs 2 and 3 of Surah Hujuraat:
“O you who have faith! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak loud to him as you shout to one another, lest your works should fail without your being aware.
“Indeed those who lower their voices in the presence of the Prophet of Allah- they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for Godwariness. For them will be forgiveness and a great reward.”
Here God commands the believers not to raise their voices or speak loudly in the presence of Prophet Muhammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). Those who do not observe social conduct in the presence of the Prophet will not get any benefit from their good deeds. One is not supposed to show such indecency before one’s parents and teachers either.
The next Ayah makes a reference to the pious whose characteristics includes speaking softly in the presence of the Prophet and never raising their voices above that of the Prophet. It means the Prophet’s exalted state and grandeur of his Immaculate personality have penetrated their hearts. Divine Reward and forgiveness are in store for such people.
These Ayahs teach us the following:
- We should be careful of our way of speaking, since good and evil deeds have consequences even though we do not know.
- There are some hypocrites who appear humble in their outward behaviour, while they are haughty inwardly.
- The true believers are full of reverence towards the Prophet and never show any disrespect to him.
- A true believer is generous to his/her fault and on becoming aware of such flaws, repents and seeks forgiveness.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 4 and 5 of this Surah:
“(O Prophet) Indeed those who call you from behind the apartments, most of them do not apply reason.”
“Had they been patient till you came out for them, if would have been better for them, and Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.”
Here God says that when the Prophet was at home, some of the uncultured Arabs would not be patient until he came out, and would call him loudly, near to the apartments or private quarters that he had allotted to his wives. Thus, God Almighty defines social decorum as an important aspect of Islam.
These Ayahs teach us that:
- Islam attaches high status to social codes of conduct to the extent that impoliteness is considered as a sign of lack of reasoning.
- The house and family are considered a sanctuary; hence no one has the right to disturb their peace with loud voices.
- Social responsibilities should not prevent Muslims from their family affairs.