Monday, July 23, 2007

People of Truth

  People of Truth
Banu Salleh

In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh. May blessings and Peace be upon His Messenger.

Ibn Kathir a well known scholar in his Tafsir said Allah states that they [unbelievers and those alike] will suffer a severe, painful torment that those who see them will be amazed at how they could bear the tremendous punishment, torture and pain that they will suffer. We therefore seek refuge with Allah from this evil end and always put us as the People of Truth.

Quran Revealed the Truth

This is what Allah said: “That is because Allah has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) in truth. And verily, those who disputed about the Book are far away in opposition.” (2:176)

It means Allah has revealed Books to His Messenger Muhammad, and the Prophets before him, and these revelations bring about truth and expose falsehood. Yet, they took Allah's signs for mockery. Their Books ordered them to announce the truth and to spread the knowledge, but instead, they defied the knowledge and rejected it. The Final Messenger, Muhammad called them to Allah, commanded them to work righteousness, and forbade them from committing evil. Yet, they rejected, denied and defied him and hid the truth that they knew about him. They, thus, mocked the Ayat that Allah revealed to His Messengers, and this make them deserved the torment and the punishment.

Allah said: “That is because Allah has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) in truth. And verily, those who disputed about the Book are far away in opposition.” (2:176)

Definition of The People of Truth and Muttaqun.

Allah Says:
“It is not Birr [piety, righteousness] that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west; but Birr is the one who believes:
[1] In Allah,
[2] The Last Day,
[3] The Angels,
[4] The Book,
[5] The Prophets and
[6] Gives his wealth [sadaqah], in spite of love for it, to: [a] the kinsfolk, [b] to the orphans, and [c] to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the [d] wayfarer, and [e] to those who ask, and [f] to set servants free,
[7] Performs As-Salah (Iqamat-As-Salah), and gives the
[8] Zakah, and
[9] Who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and
[10] Who are patient in [a] extreme poverty and [b] ailment (disease) and [c] at the time of fighting (during the battles).
Such are the People of the Truth and they are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).”
[Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 177]

This Ayat contains much great wisdom, encompassing rulings and correct beliefs.

Al-Birr (Piety, Righteousness)

As for the explanation of this Ayat, Allah first commanded the believers to face Bayt Al-Maqdis, and then to face the Ka'abah during the prayer. This change was difficult for some of the People of the Book, and even for some Muslims. Then Allah sent revelation, which clarified the wisdom behind this command, that is, obedience to Allah, adhering to His commands, facing wherever He commands facing, and implementing whatever He legislates, that is the objective. This is Birr, Taqwa and complete faith. Facing the east or the west does not necessitate righteousness or obedience, unless it is legislated [commanded] by Allah.

This is why Allah said: “It is not Birr that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Birr is the one who believes in Allah and the Last Day,” [in 2:177]

Similarly, Allah said about the sacrifices: “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is the piety from you that reaches Him.” (22:37)

Abu Al-'Aliyah said, "The Jews used to face the west for their Qiblah, while the Christians used to face the east for their Qiblah.

So Allah said: “It is not Birr that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers)” (in 2:177) meaning, "this is faith, and its essence requires implementation.''

Similar was reported from Al-Hasan and Ar-Rabi' bin Anas. Ath-Thawri recited: “but Birr is the one who believes in Allah,” [in 2:177] and said that what follows are the types of Birr. He has said the truth. Certainly, those who acquire the qualities mentioned in the Ayah will have indeed embraced all aspects of Islam and implemented all types of righteousness; believing in Allah, that He is the only God worthy of worship, and believing in the angels the emissaries between Allah and His Messengers.

The 'Books' are the Divinely revealed Books from Allah to the Prophets, which were finalized by the most honorable Book (the Qur'an). The Qur'an supersedes all previous Books; it mentions all types of righteousness, and the way to happiness in this life and the Hereafter. The Qur'an abrogates all previous Books and testifies to all of Allah's Prophets, from the first Prophet to the Final Prophet, Muhammad, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon them all.

Allah's statement: “...and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it,” [in 2:177] refers to those who give money away while desiring it and loving it.

It is recorded in the Sahihayn that Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said: “The best charity is when you give it away while still healthy and thrifty, that one is hoping to get rich and fearing poverty.”

Allah said: “And they give food, in spite of their love for it, to the Miskin (the poor), the orphan, and [6g] the captive (saying): "We feed you seeking Allah's Face only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you.'' ” [76:8, 9]

and: " By no means shall you attain Birr unless you spend of that which you love." (3:92)

Allah's statement: “...and give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that” (59:9) refers to a higher category and status, as the people mentioned here give away what they need, while those mentioned in the previous Ayat give away what they covet (but not necessarily need).

Allah's statement: “the kinsfolk” [in 2:177] refers to man's relatives, who have more rights than anyone else to one's charity, as the Hadith supports:

“Sadaqah (i. e., charity) given to the poor is a charity, while the Sadaqah given to the relatives is both Sadaqah and Silah (nurturing relations), for they are the most deserving of you and your kindness and charity”

Allah has commanded kindness to the relatives in many places in the Qur'an.

Who deserves the Nafaqah (Spending or Charity?)

“They ask you (O Muhammad) what they should spend. Say: ‘Whatever you spend of good must be for parents and kindred and orphans and Al-Masakin (the poor) and the wayfarer, and whatever you do of good deeds, truly, Allah knows it well.’ ” [2:215]

Muqatil bin Hayyan said that this Ayah was revealed about the voluntary charity. The Ayah means, 'They ask you (O Muhammad) how they should spend,' as Ibn 'Abbas and Mujahid have stated. Therefore, Allah explained it for them, saying:

“Say”: Whatever you spend of good must be for parents and kindred and orphans and Al-Masakin and the wayfarer,” [in 2:215] meaning, spend it on these categories or areas. Similarly, a Hadith states (that those who deserve one's generosity the most, are) :

“Your mother, father, sister, brother, the closest, and then the farthest (relatives).”

Maymun bin Mihran once recited this Ayah (2:215) and commented, "These are the areas of spending. Allah did not mention among them the drums, pipe, wooden pictures, or the curtains that cover the walls.''

Next, Allah said: “...and whatever you do of good deeds, truly, Allah knows it well.” meaning, whatever you perform of good works, Allah knows them and He will reward you for them in the best manner, no one will be dealt with unjustly, even the weight of an atom.

“Fighting is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [2:215]

Spending Money on Charity

Allah said: “And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: ‘That which is (spare) beyond your needs.’ ”

Al-Hakam said that Miqsam said that Ibn 'Abbas said that this Ayah means, whatever you can spare above the needs of your family. This is also the opinion of Ibn 'Umar, Mujahid, 'Ata', 'Ikrimah, Sa'id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Ka'ab, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Al-Qasim, Salim, 'Ata' Al-Khurasani and Ar-Rabi' bin Anas.

Ibn Jarir related that Abu Hurayrah said that a man said, "O Messenger of Allah! I have a Dinar (a currency).'' The Prophet said:

“Spend it you on yourself.” He said, "I have another Dinar.'' He said:
“Spend it on your wife.” He said, "I have another Dinar.'' He said:
“Spend it on your offspring.” He said, "I have another Dinar.'' He said:
“You have better knowledge” (meaning how and where to spend it in charity).

Muslim also recorded this Hadith in his Sahih.Muslim also recorded that Jabir said that Allah's Messenger said to a man:

“Start with yourself and grant it some charity. If anything remains, then spend it on your family. If anything remains, then spend it on your relatives. If anything remains, then spend it like this and like that (i.e., on various charitable purposes).”

A Hadith states: “O son of Adam! If you spend whatever you can spare, it would be better for you; but if you keep it, it would be worse for you. You shall not be blamed for whatever is barely sufficient.”

“To the orphans” The orphans are children who have none to look after them, having lost their fathers while they are still young, weak, and unable to find their own sustenance since they have not reached the age of work and adolescence. 'Abdur Razaq reported that 'Ali said that the Prophet said:

“And to Al-Masakin” The Miskin is the person who does not have enough food, clothing, or he has no dwelling. Therefore, the Miskin should be granted the provisions to sustain him enough so that he can acquire his needs.

In the Sahihayn, it is recorded that Abu Hurairah said that Allah's Messenger said: “The Miskin is not the person who roams around, and whose need is met by one or two dates or one or two bites. Rather, the Miskin are he who does not have what is sufficient, and to whom the people do not pay attention and, thus, do not give him from the charity.”

“And to the wayfarer” is the needy traveler who runs out of money and should, thus, be granted whatever amount that helps him to go back to his land. Such is the case with whoever intends to go on a permissible journey; he is given what he needs for his journey and back. The guests are included in this category. 'Ali bin Abu Talhah reported that Ibn 'Abbas said, "Ibn As-Sabil (wayfarer) is the guest who is hosted by Muslims.''

Furthermore, Mujahid, Sa'id bin Jubair, Abu Ja'afar Al-Baqir, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak, Az-Zuhri, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and Muqatil bin Hayyan said similarly.

“And to those who ask” refers to those who beg people and are thus given a part of the Zakah and general charity.

“And to set servants free” These are the servants who seek to free themselves, but cannot find enough money to buy their freedom. Refer these categories and types under the Tafsir of the Ayah on Sadaqah in Surat Bara'ah [Surah 9 in the Qur'an].

Allah's statement: “Performs As-Salah (Iqamat-As-Salah,)” means those who pray on time and give the prayer its due right; the bowing, prostration, and the necessary attention and humbleness required by Allah.

Allah's statement: “And gives the Zakah)” means the required charity (Zakah) due on one's money, as Sa'id bin Jubayr and Muqatil bin Hayyan have stated.

Allah's statement: “And who fulfill their covenant when they make it,” is similar to “Those who fulfill the covenant of Allah and break not the Mithaq (bond, treaty, covenant).” (13:20)

The opposite of this characteristic is hypocrisy. As found in a Hadith: “The signs of a hypocrite are three: if he speaks, he lies; if he promises, he breaks his promise; and if he is entrusted, he breaches the trust.”

In another version: "If he speaks, he lies; if he vows, he breaks his vow; and if he disputes, he is lewd."

Allah's statement: “. And who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles).” means, during the time of meekness and ailment.

“...and at the time of fighting (during the battles).” means on the battlefield while facing the enemy, as Ibn Mas'ud, Ibn 'Abbas, Abu Al-'Aliyah, Murrah Al-Hamdani, Mujahid, Sa'id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi' bin Anas, As-Suddi, Muqatil bin Hayyan, Abu Malik, Ad-Dahhak and others have stated.

In addition, calling them the patient here is a form of praise, because of the importance of patience in these circumstances, and the suffering and difficulties that accompany them. In addition, Allah knows best, it is He Whom help is sought from, and upon Him, we rely.

Allah's statement: “Such are the people of the truth,” means, whoever acquires these qualities, these are truthful in their faith. This is because they have achieved faith in the heart and realized it in deed and upon the tongue. So they are the truthful, “and they are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” because they avoided the prohibitions and performed the acts of obedience.


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