al-Ma`arij · Juz 29 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah al-Ma’arij Ayaat 19-35

Man is Impatient

In the following ayaat we will study the ideal character that is required of a Muslim. These ayaat are similar to those that appear in Surah Mominoon. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,


Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Verily, man was created very impatient,” (70: 19). He goes on to explain this statement, “Irritable when evil touches him,” (70: 20) whenever any harm touches him he is frightful and worried; completely taken back due to the severity of its terror and hopeless about receiving any goodness after it, “And niggardly when good touches him,” (70: 21). When a little bit of good comes his way, he becomes extremely stingy and holds it away from the people not sharing with them. It is recorded from Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu through a long chain of narrators that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

شَرُّ مَا فِي رَجُلٍ: شُحٌّ هَالِعٌ وَجُبْنٌ خَالِع

“The worst thing that can be in a man is greedy impatience and unrestrained cowardice.”

It is man’s nature to be impatient but when he adopts righteousness and has taqwa he begins to display patience. This means Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is not to be blamed for creating man impatient rather it’s a test. Man has to rise above base desires and feelings and become a model of high moral character.

From ayaat 22 till 35, we will read the attributes that a believer must have to become a person of high moral character i.e. ‘the ideal Muslim’. Anyone who has these characteristics will enter Jannah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us of those too, aameen.

“Except those devoted to prayers,” (70: 22) meaning man is described with blameworthy characteristics except for him who Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protects, helps and guides to good, making it easy for him – and these are those who perform Salah. “Those who remain constant in their prayers,” (70: 23) that is no laziness or love of ease and comfort, no occupation or interest hinders them from being punctual and regular in their prayers. As soon as the prayer time comes, they abandon every occupation and stand up to worship their Lord. A person’s performing of prayer displays his emaan in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It also keeps him on the Right Path. The moment one becomes negligent of his prayers he begins distancing from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from His negligence and make us of those who remember Him constantly during day and night, and those who are punctual in their prayers, aameen.

‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir adds to above that ala salat-i-him daa’imoon means that they perform their prayers with full peace of mind, tranquility and humility. They neither offer it in hurry in order to get over with it nor think irrelevant things during their prayer. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala bless our prayers with khushu, aameen.

“And those in whose wealth there is a known right. For the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth,” (70: 24-25), in their wealth is a determined portion for those who are in need. This does not necessarily imply the obligatory zakat because this is a Makkan Surah and the obligation to pay zakat came in the Madinan period. Here, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala talks about optional sadaqah that we should not spend all our rizq only on ourselves but also share it with others specially those who are the less fortunate. One can help others by their time, money and knowledge. Give sadaqah to your dependents, to the Islamic institutions for da’wah and the Masaajid to call others to goodness. People keep their money and valuables in lockers not spending their provision on their family or the deprived ones. They leave this world hoarding wealth which could benefit someone and become saqadah jaria for them. Keep aside a portion from whatever limited earning you have and donate it regularly. Look out for people who might be in need. Do not wait for a calamity such as floods or earthquake to occur before you will step up and contribute. Give in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Your wealth is a test for you. Make it a means to enter Jannah. Do not hoard it.  

“And those who believe in the Day of Recompense. And those who fear the torment of their Lord,” (70: 26-27), the unbeliever denies the Judgment Day, therefore, sees it afar. A believer, on the other hand, is sure of his Final Return to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Therefore, performs the deeds of one who hopes for the reward and fears the punishment. He is fearful and dreadful of his Lord’s torment as no one is safe from it except by the security of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself.

They keep their private parts away from that which is forbidden that is adultery as well as from nudity. They only fulfill their desires with their wives and female slaves.

If they are given a trust they do not cheat and when they make a covenant, they do not break it. These are the characteristics of the believers which are opposite of the characteristics of the hypocrites. Anas radhiAllahu ‘anhu reports from the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said, “Beware, the one who does not keep his trust has no faith, and one who does not fulfill his pledges, has no religion.” [Baihaqi, Ash-Shu’ab al-Imam]

They guard their testimonies neither adding anything to it nor decreasing anything from it.

“And those who guard their prayers well,” (70: 34) Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala begins the discussion of the believers’ attributes with prayer and He concludes it with the same indicating its importance and high status. Guarding the prayer implies performing it at its right time, taking care of cleanliness both of self and the clothes, performing ablution and washing limbs well, performing the basic elements of the prayer with due care and attention, observing the requisite rites of the prayer carefully, and so on. “Such shall dwell in the Gardens honored,” (70:35) meaning they will be honored with various types of pleasures and delights.

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