al-Insaan · Juz 29 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Insaan/ad-Dahr Ayaat 5-12

Ayaat 5-12 – a Tour of Jannah and Attributes of Righteous Servants

After a stern warning to the disbelievers, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes the pleasures that await dwellers of Jannah. He says,

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“Verily, the Abrar, shall drink a cup (of wine) mixed with water from a spring in Paradise called Kafoor,” (76:5), who are the Abrar? The word Abrar is from the root ba-ra-ra and we know that bara means ‘being pious, righteous, virtuous, honest, sinless and obedient.’ These are the qualities that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala requires us to build. Al-Abrar are the people who have done full justice to their Lord’s obedience. They have carried out the duties enjoined by Him and abstained from the things forbidden by Him.

For them will be a cup from the spring of Kafoor (camphor). Kafoor is known for its sedative and cooling properties, and aromatic odor. Since it will be a drink of Paradise we can say its taste will be delicious.

“A spring wherefrom the slaves of Allah will drink,” (76:6), in the Arabic text they have been called ‘ibad Allah (servants of Allah). This is another attribute of the believers. One might wonder how this defines them as the righteous people. It is because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is attributing them to Himself – ‘ibad Allah – the servants of Allah. He does not honor the wicked and wrongdoing people with such a title.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala clarifies that not everybody is ‘entitled’ to it but only His close servants will drink from it to their fill without it being mixed with anything else.

The word tafjeer [تَفْجِير] is from the root fa-jeem-ra. From the same root we have the word ‘fajr’ which is the dawn or sunrise and it means ‘break open, vent, abundantly, amply, or a place from which water flows.’ We notice this word in Surah al-Baqarah ayah 60,

وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَىٰ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ ۖ
فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ

“And (remember) when Musa asked for water for his people, We said: ‘Strike the stone with your stick.’ Then gushed forth there from twelve springs,” (2:60).

Tafjeer means to cause to gush forth or flow out. The al-Abrar or the ‘ibad Allah will have control over the spring. It will be accessible to them without any restriction and they will drink from it however and whenever they wish.

After a brief description of the pleasures of Jannah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala narrates the deeds of the righteous believers that led them to this delight. “They fulfill vows, and they fear a Day whose evil will be wide-spreading,” (76:7) Meaning they are devoted to worshiping Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala using that which He made obligatory upon them from actions of obligatory obedience that is based on Islamic legislation. They also worship Him by fulfilling their vows. Imam Malik reports from ‘Aishah radhiAllahu ‘anha that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

مَنْ نَذَرَ أَنْ يُطِيعَ اللهَ فَلْيُطِعْهُ، وَمَنْ نَذَرَ أَنْ يَعْصِيَ اللهَ فَلَا يَعْصِه

“Whoever makes a vow to obey Allah, then he should obey Him. And whoever makes a vow to disobey Allah, then he should not disobey Him.”

These people also abandon those forbidden things which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has prohibited for them, due to their fear of having an evil reckoning on the Day of Return. They give food while they themselves love it and desire it. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said in Surah Aal-Imran, “By no means shall you attain al-Birr (piety) unless you spend of that which you love,” (3:92). We also learn through a saheeh hadeeth that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The best charity is that which you give while you are healthy, covetous, hoping for wealth and fearing poverty.”  Thus it means that the righteous people give food to others even though they themselves desire it and love it, seeking nothing but the Countenance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They seek no reward or praise from anyone all they desire is the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They do this hoping that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will be merciful and kind towards them on that horrible Day when everyone will be fretting over his fate.

For their honoring their vows and responsibilities and fearing Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, their faces will be radiating in delight. Ibn Katheer writes, “This is because if the heart is happy, then the face will be enlightened.” This is a reward for them for their being patient in the worldly trials. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will accommodate them in Paradise and they will wear silken garments. This means they will be awarded with a house that is spacious for a delicious life and they will wear fine clothing.

Al-Hafiz Ibn ‘Asakir said in his biography of Hisham bin Sulayman Ad-Darani, “Surat al-Insaan was recited to Abu Sulayman Ad-Darani, and when the reciter reached the Ayah where Allah says,

وَجَزَاهُمْ بِمَا صَبَرُواْ جَنَّةً وَحَرِيراً

‘And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient,’ he (Abu Sulayman) said, ‘Because they were patient in leaving off their desires in the world.’”

Our problem is that we are striving for making Jannah in this world which is not possible. Dunya is ‘not’ the abode. It is simply a waiting room where we stay for a while until our flight for the next world is announced. No one builds their dreams on an airport. We must let go of dunya. Another point worth reflecting is giving in charity without being hit by calamity or a need. In such a charity a person only seeks the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. After reading these ayaat we should focus on what good deeds can we do to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala because most of the times our focus is on ‘what can we get from Allah for this world’. Sometimes we are content with doing the faraid (obligatory duties) only and we don’t think about taking the long road. But the fact is, we WILL have to take the steep journey to be of those closest to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The tour of Jannah continues in the next post…

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