REFLECTIONS ON THE CHAPTER OF THE SMALL KINDNESSES [107]

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REFLECTIONS ON THE CHAPTER OF THE SMALL KINDNESSES


In the Name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.


أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ

 

 

“Have you seen him who denies the Final Judgement?” [107:1]


فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ

 

 

Then such is the man who repulses the orphan (with harshness),” [107:2]


وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ

 

 

“And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.” [107:3]


فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ

 

“So woe to those praying ones,” [107:4]


الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ

 

“Who are careless of their prayers,” [107:5]


الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ

 

“Those who (want but) to be seen (of men),” [107:6]


وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ

 

“But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs.” [107:7]


Contents of the Surah


This Surah is the 17th Surah of the chronological order of the Holy Qur’an and the 107th Surah of the Traditional order of the Holy Qur’an.

 

Many commentators believe that this chapter was revealed at Mecca. The tone of the verses, which are short and awakening about the Hereafter, and the deeds of the deniers of the Judgement Day, attests to this idea.

 

Overall, the deeds and characteristics of the deniers of the Hereafter are stated in five references. Consequently, they deny the Final Judgement, repulse giving charity on the path of God, or helping the orphan and the indigent. They are heedless of their prayers, by saying them only hypocritically, and refuse to supply even neighbourly needs.


Occasion of the Revelation


On the chapter’s revelation, some have said that it was revealed about Abu-Sufyan who used to slaughter two big camels every day from which he and his men ate. But one day it happened that an orphan came to his door and asked for some help. Abu-Sufyan beat him with his stick and repulsed him.

Some others have said that the verse was revealed about Walid Ibn Muqhirah or ‘As-Ibn Wa’il.


The Virtue of Studying the Chapter


On the virtue of the recitation of the Surah, a tradition narrated from Imam Al-Baqir (as) says:

“He who recites it (Surah Ma’un) in his obligatory and optional [1]prayers, God accepts his prayers and his fasting, and does not count the (evil) acts he committed in this world.” [2]


Surah Ma’un, Verses 1-7


In the Name of God, The Most Beneficent The Merciful


1.“Have you seen him who denies the Final Judgement?”
2.“Then such is the man who repulses the orphan (with harshness),”
3. “And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.”
4. “So, woe to those praying ones,”
5. “Who are careless of their prayers,”
6. “Those who (want but) to be seen (of men),”
7. “But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs.”


The Harmful Fruit of the Denial of the Hereafter


In this chapter, at first, the Holy Prophet (S) is addressed and some unfortunate reflections of the denial of the Hereafter, in the deeds of the rejectors, are expressed.

 

“Have you seen him who denies the Final Judgement?” “Then such is the man who repulses the orphan (with harshness),” “And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.”

 

The purpose of using the term “Deen” (دين), in this verse, is for the Day of the Final Judgement; its denial as well as the Great Court, therein, which has a very bad effect on the acts of the rejectors of it. In this chapter, five effects out of these effects, such as, repulsing the orphan with harshness, and the lack of encouraging others to the feeding of the indigent, are referred to.

Some have said that “Deen” (دين) , here may mean the Qur’an or the religion, Islam, but the first meaning seems more appropriate.


Similar to this sense is seen in Surah Infitar, No. 82, verse 9: “Nay, but you disbelieve in the (day of) reckoning,”

 

and also, in Surah Tin, No. 95 verse 7: “What then makes you reject thereafter the last Judgement?”

 

that, taking into consideration other verses of these Suras, the purpose of using the word “Deen” (دين), is for ‘the Day of Judgement’.


The term “Yadu” (يَدُعُّ) is based on “Da’a” (دع) with the meaning of ‘to push, drive away with violence’;

 

and the term “Yahudhu” (يَحُضُّ) is derived from “hadha” (حض) which means ‘to urge, prompt’.

 

 Raqib cites in his book, Mufradat, that “hatha” (حث) is an urging in movement and travelling, but “hadha” (حض) is not so’.

 

At any rate, since these two terms are used in the future tense, the case indicates the continuity of their action, in regard to the orphan and the indigent.


Again, the substantial point, here is that when we are dealing with the orphan, affection and humane treatment is more significant than food, because an orphan must tolerate the lack of affection and spiritual feeding rather than the bodily food which is in the secondary stage.

 

Of course, feeding the needy, mentioned in these verses, is one of the most important good actions, so that, if we cannot feed a needy one, we must encourage others to do so.

 

Those who lack Faith in the Resurrection and the Reckoning in that Great Court and receiving reward and punishment dare to commit sin and therefore, all kinds of vice can be seen in their behaviour.


“So woe to those praying ones, Who are careless of their prayers.”

 

They neither consider any value for their prescribed daily canonical prayers, nor lay stress on its proper time, nor observe its conditions and rites.

 

The term “sahun” (سَاهُونَ) is derived from “sahw” (سهو) which originally means ‘a mistake which is done unintentionally or neglectfully’ whether one is guilty in its preparation or not. In the first case, one is not excused, but in the second case one is. here the purpose is negligence with guilt.

 

We should note that it does not say ‘they make mistakes unintentionally in their prayer’ which happens, in any case, for everyone, but it says that they are careless of their essential prayers, totally.

 

It is clear that if it happens once or occasionally, it may be of negligence, but he who always forgets his prayers and lets it be forgotten, it is obvious that he does not take it seriously or he has no fear of people, or the like.

 

In addition to what was said, there are some other commentaries cited on the purpose of “sahun” (سَاهُونَ) mentioned in this verse. Among them are regarding those who do not offer the daily prayers punctually, and let the exact time for the prayers elapse, to pass their time away in idleness or in worldly business and enjoyments.

 

Or those who pray to show their prayerfulness and would-be piety to the public, but, do not do it when they are alone. (This idea is mentioned in the next verse).

 

Of course, all these meanings can be combined whereas, the first commentary seems more fitting.

 

These verses can also be taken to indicate those who fail to perform their prayers at the proper time or who do not complete the required bows and prostrations or interpreted as applying to those who perform all of the prayers properly, but fail to do so with humility, contemplation, and remembrance of God.


“Those who (want but) to be seen (of men),But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs”.

 

It is certain that one of the headsprings of pretence and hypocrisy is the lack of Faith in the Day of Judgement and disbelief in the divine recompense, otherwise, how can a person leave the rewards of God and pay attention to the mere pleasure of people?

 

The term “ma’un” (الْمَاعُونَ) is based on “ma’n” (معن) with the meaning of ‘a little thing’. Many commentators believe that the purpose of it, here is for things of insignificant price that people, especially neighbours, take from each other; things like salt, water, matches for fire, dishes, and the like, which are the necessities of life.

 

It is self-evident that a person who withholds giving such insignificant things to others is a very miserly, faithless one. These things do not cost too much, but they are sometimes very helpful, so when they refuse to give them this produces some notable difficulties in the lives of people.

 

Some believe that the purpose of “ma’un” (الْمَاعُونَ) is poor-rate, alms, because alms, in comparison with total wealth, is often a little.

 

The occurrence of these two things (hypocrisy and refusing to supply neighbourly needs), being cited together, refers to the idea that whatever is for God, they do to show people, and whatever is for people, they refuse to give them, and thus, they pay no right to its owner.


We conclude this subject with a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) who is reported to have said:

 

“The person who refuses to supply his neighbourly needs, on the Day of judgement God will refuse to give him His goodness and leaves him to himself, and what a bad case it is for the one whom He leaves to himself”. [3]


Explanation: Subjects Discussed in this Surah


A collection of low qualities is under discussion, in this short Surah, which are the signs of infidelity and meanness in anyone who possesses them. It is interesting that all of them are subdivisions to the rejection of the Hereafter; that is, the Recompense or the Day of Retribution.

 

The qualities of despising the orphan, refusing to feed the needy, being heedless of the prescribed prayers, hypocrisy, not being cooperative with people even in giving them insignificant materials, form this collection.

 

Thus, it illustrates the miserly, self-conceit and showy persons who have neither connection with people nor join with the Creator. They carry no light of Faith and responsibility in their entity. They neither think of the Divine rewards nor are they in fear of His punishment.


A Great Social Pest; Pretense and Hypocrisy


The value of any action depends upon the motive of that action. In other words, from the viewpoint of Islam, the basis of every action is formed by intention; ‘pure’ intention, of course.

 

In Islam, actions, before anything else, are judged by their motives. It is one of the fundamental principles of law in all ages and environments that motives, and intentions are the criterions by which actions of men are judged.

 

So, actions are held to be good or bad, just or unjust, criminal or innocent according to the motives, in order to define them as good or bad, just or unjust, criminal or innocent.

 

If a man gives away something in charity with the intention of seeking the satisfaction of God, he will certainly be rewarded by God; but if he does it to become prominent, in the public eye or hypocritically, for show, he may be able to attain that object, but with no benefit in the Next World which is the goal. in a Muslim’s life. [4]


There is a tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) who is narrated to have said:

 

“Actions are to be judged by intentions. There is surely for man what he intends. So, whosoever fights for God in the Holy War his reward is with God, the Almighty, the Glorious; and whosoever’s fight is for this world which he seeks or even for a hobble rope (of a camel) to gain, he may have only that (and no more)”. [5]


Islamic traditions and narrations on the criticizing of hypocrisy are many; among which are the following:

 

 

A tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) says:

 

 

“There will come a time for people when their inward aspects are filthy, and their outward appearances seem charming. This is because of their greed, in this world, and not in gaining the rewards with God. Their religion will be hypocrisy. They do not have the fear of God, and He will punish them with a grievous chastisement. Then, whenever they call on God, like (the behaviour of) a drowned person, their supplication will never be accepted”. [6]


Another tradition from Imam Sadiq (as) says that he told one of his companions, by the name of Zurarah:

 

“O Zurarah, anyone whose actions are for the sake of people, the reward is for the people (to give it). Every hypocrisy is polytheism”. [7]


The Holy Prophet (S) has been narrated to have said in a tradition:

 

“On the Day of Judgement, the hypocrite will be called by four names: O’ pagan, O’ sinner, O’ treacherous, and O’ loser; your deed was of no avail, and your recompense was cancelled; there is no rescue for you today; ask your recompense from the one for whom you used to act”. [8]


 Reflection #2 : The Power of the intentions


The one who is dirty against the poor, orphans and the weak, is undoubtedly a man who lacks the religion of God in his life. These people who behaved so and continued to be so, especially towards the Prophet’s (S) family, were greatly praised in Sunnism. This is the tragedy of history.

 

God wants us to reflect on the one who conceals the truth of God’s justice. This man’s intentions will be actualized in the form of his actions and see how his intentions will be ejected from his dark heart in the form of his or her actions.


قال رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وآله): نية المؤمن خير من عمله ونية الكافر شر من عمله ; و كل عامل يعمل على نيته

 

Prophet Muhammad (S) said: ” The intention of a believer is better than his deeds, and the intention of a denier is more wicked than his deeds. Everyone acts according to his intention.”

 

[ Al-Kafi, Volume.2, Page 78 ]


There are many who have misunderstood belief and denial in Islam. Especially us Muslims and non-Muslims. We as Muslims are always good at observing what is on the tongue but not at the heart, and here we got the problem.

 

The problem lies in the fact that one who denies the truth deeply, will deny the goodness and the one who denies the goodness, then you should expect everything from this man, whether he looks like a Muslim or not.

 

Let’s take the best example of someone who denies the truth and someone who is an infidel. ISIS is the best and only example we can find of a “Kafir”, the rest of the non-Muslims in the Qur’an are called An-Nas (The People) or Ahlulkitab (The people of the book), and so on, it depends on the different categories of the different traits.

 

You should know that an intention of an IS fighter is worse than his actions. An IS fighter may want to chop off heads, burn people alive and wage war against humanity. But his intentions are worse than his actions, because an IS fighter wants to do more than he or she is doing at the moment.

 

A believer’s intention is better than his actions. A believer is a man who fights for humanity and wants to spread well. A true believer is fighting against ISIS and is fighting such filth that we have in society today. This is a believer who does his duty against those enemies who want to behead all mankind!

 

But there is something more than this, where a true believer wants to do more than he does for humanity. Now I’m not just talking about war. If you have done 100 good things for a society, you plan to do 1000 more.

 

A believer is a man who not only believes in God, but also believes in the goodness that God has granted to humanity and his creatures.


One should also know that one cannot walk around and call other human beings; deniers and disbelievers as you wish in your own way and according to your own desires. A denier and a disbeliever is a human who denies God and His goodness, and shows an ungratefulness. This is number one, and now we speak in spiritual dimensions:

 

 

اِنَّا هَدَيۡنٰهُ السَّبِيۡلَ اِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَّاِمَّا كَفُوۡرًا

We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).

[76:3]


So when an IS fighter has now become an ungrateful man and has denied the grace of God, he then he may begin to cultivate evil seeds in the heart, and it begins with a seed of a evilness and a negative intention that becomes worse than his actions, An evil man always wants to cultivate more evil so that he plans to do 1000 evil acts if he has done 100, so that his intentions become worse than his actions themselves.

 

And this spiral shows the opposite of a man entering a path of goodness and a man entering a path of evil. Man becomes what he grows, and if one grows too much goodness, it will flow into life and it will spread like the wind, and if one cultivates evil and evil qualities, then one will always carry much hatred and anger in his heart, even if one has not started with his satanic deeds of wretchedness.

 

That is why I always see a human being, for example, an Evangelist, Zionist and a Salafi as a potential terrorist. These three categories of people and these three ideologies have destroyed humanity, and these three ideologies continue to try destroy humanity, but they will never succeed, as long as The Shia of Muhammed (S) and Imam Ali (A) exist, then these three devils will never reach out with their miserable intentions, and God will always allow the intentions of the believers and their actions to overcome all this evilness, terrorism and wretchedness that exist in all communities, does not matter whether you are Muslim, Christian or a Jew.

 

Don’t forget that the Qur’an has a whole chapter called “The Chapter of the Hypocrites”, and a hypocritical Muslim, is worse than all kinds of evil people together!

 

This was the reality in Arabia and how the Arab polytheist / materialists treated the weak. They let them starve to death and treated them worse than animals. This is Abu Sufyan who is today praised by the world’s Sunni Muslims. Not all though, but many. Even Satan’s army will be called “The Army of Sufyan or the Sufyani Army”. Reflect on this.


Not every human being who “becomes” a Muslim is a Muslim, and not every “Muslim” who calls himself a “Muslim” is a Muslim.

 

– Amir Zabidi


We have an entire chapter in the Holy Qur’an called Surah Al-Munafiqoon: “The Chapter of the Hypocrites.”

 

These people will also not take their connection to God seriously. They will just do it to show off. They will only do it for money, fame and for spreading their evil propaganda.

 

Today we see these Salafi “Scholars” and speakers who are trying to do da’wa to their Satanic religion, and how much they love to show off while their hearts are made of steel and their religion is the religion of Satan. These hypocrites claim to call to Islam while they are allies with Islam’s enemies, such as the United States and Israel, and are constantly trying to hide the crimes of the Saudi royal family.


Reflection #3: How Ahlulbayt (A) vs How Abu Sufyan and his gang treated the orphans, the poor and the needy


God says in the Holy Qur’an :

 

وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا

 

 

إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا

 

 

إِنَّا نَخَافُ مِن رَّبِّنَا يَوْمًا عَبُوسًا قَمْطَرِيرًا

 

 

فَوَقَاهُمُ اللَّهُ شَرَّ ذَٰلِكَ الْيَوْمِ وَلَقَّاهُمْ نَضْرَةً وَسُرُورًا

 

 

and they give food, out of their love for God, to the needy, and the orphan, and the captive. (76:8)

 

 

(Saying),”We feed you for the sake of God alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks. (76:9)

 

 

Indeed, we fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful. (76:10)

 

 

So, God has protected them from the evil of that Day and has granted (Literally: made them receive) them radiance and joy. (76:11)

 

 

(Qur’an 76:8-11)


Surah Ad-Dahr is a surah that is dedicated to the actions of Ahlulbayt (A) towards the needy, and the orphan, and the captive.

 

We can clearly see that Ahlulbayt (A), were tired, exhausted and was about to break their fast, when a poor, an orphan and a captive came to the house of Ahlulbayt (A), one after the other, and asked for food, but they also searched for care and love, because those individuals within the societies around the world today, are derived and ostracized human beings, in all aspects, may it be the social aspect, or the cultural aspect, or the economical aspect, or even the religious aspect. For example, converts in the religion of Islam, are generally deprived and ostracized, and are living as if they are orphans without families.

 

Ahlulbayt (A) gave them the food, out of love of God, and out of a desire and hunger to eat the food, they were about to break their fast with. That is what we call today “Altruism”, and that is one of the purposes of life, to give back to humanity, without expecting anything back.


Imam Ali (A) said:

 

الإيثارُ أشرَفُ الإحْسانِ

 

Self-sacrifice/Altruism is the noblest benevolence!

 

[Ghurar Al-Hikam, chapter of Self-sacrifice, Hadith #2]


Ihsan, إحسان‎ in Arabic means “Perfection” or “excellence”, and that self-sacrifice in the path of God, is the noblest form of goodness.

 

 

Imam Ali (A) also said:

 

الإيثارُ غايَةُ الإحْسانِ

 

Altruism/self-sacrifice is the purpose of perfection/Ihsan.

 

[Ghurar Al-Hikam, the chapter of self-sacrifice, Hadith #4]


The purpose of life is to live in goodness, because God says in the Holy Qur’an:

 

 

الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ

 

 

He who created death and life that He may try you– which of you is best in deeds; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving.

 

 

[Surah Al-Mulk, verse 2]


Compare this with Abu Sufyan and his gang who pushed around the orphans, weak and the poor of Mecca and beat them with sticks. The tragedy of all tragedies is that those people who treated orphans, weak, poor and Ahlulbayt (A) badly became “the symbols of Islam” while those who fought for the message of God, Islam, the Prophet (S) and Ahlulbayt (A) were cursed on the manabir of the mosques around the “Islamic world”.

 

Those who strive to be seen are the hypocrites, of whom the Quran says, When they perform the prayer, they perform it idly and to be seen of men, and they remember God but little (4:142), which is to say that they do not perform prayer out of worship, but only to increase their reputation, as opposed to those who are constant in their prayers (70:23) and those who are mindful of their prayers (70:34). For the Quranic treatment of hypocrisy and dissimilitude, see 63:1–8.


Supplication


O Lord! Purity in intention is very difficult; help us on this path, Yourself.

 

O Lord! We seek from You such a Faith that will cause us to think that but for Your recompense and punishment on Your Way, the pleasure or hatred of people will be indifferent for us.

 

O Lord! Forgive us whatever sin we have committed on this path.


| Amir Zabidi and Imam Ali Center <3 


Further readings 


  1. Majma’ Al-Bayan By Shaykh At-Tabrasi
  2. Tafsir Namuneh By Ayatollah Naser Makarem As-Shirazi
  3. Tafsir Al-Mizan By At-Tabatabaei
  4. Tafsir Nur Ath-Thaqalayn By Al-Huwayzi
  5. Tafsir As-Safi By Al-Kashaani
  6. Tafsir At-Tibyan By Shaykh At-Tusi 
  7. Tafsir Jami’ Al-Jawami’ By Shaykh At-Tabrasi 
  8. Tafsir Al-Qummi by Shaykh Ali Ibrahim Al-Qummi
  9. Tafsir As-Shibr 
  10. Tafsir Min Wahy Al-Qur’an By Sayyed Muhammed Hussain Fadlallah 
  11. Tafsir Al-Mubin by Sayyed Muhammed Jawad Al-Mughniyah
  12. Tafsir Furat Al-Kufi 
  13. The Study Qur’an by Hossein An-Nasr
  14. Tafsir Al-Kabir by Fakhr Ad-Din Ar-Razi 
  15. Tafsir Al-Kashaaf By Zamakshari

References 


[1] “Supererogatory. has been used for this type of prayer, however, since this word, also, means something depreciative or offensive, ‘optional was preferred as it is optional”

 

[2]  Majma-al-Bayan. vol 10, p. 546.

 

[3] Nur-uth-Thaqalayn. vol. 5. p. 679.

 

[4] see 42:20

 

[5] Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah, vol. 1, p. 35, tradition 10.

 

[6] Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, Chapter ‘Hypocrisy’, tradition 14.

 

[7] Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah, vol. 1, p. 49, tradition 11.

 

[8]  Ibid, p. 51, tradition 16.


| REFLECTIONS ON THE CHAPTER OF THE SMALL KINDNESSES [107]

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