بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Ayah 83 – the Covenant that Allah took from the Children of Israel
In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds the Children of Israel about His commandments, and the covenants that He took from them. They had promised that they will abide by those commands; however, they intentionally and knowingly turned away from all of that.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had commanded them to worship Him and to associate none with Him in worship, just as He has commanded all of His creatures, for this is why Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala created them. This is the highest and most important right, that is, Allah’s right to be worshipped alone without partners.
After that comes the right of the creatures, foremost, the right of the parents. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala usually mentions the rights of the parents along with His rights. For example see Qur’an 17: 23, 31: 14.
The Messenger ﷺ was asked about the best deed. He replied, “Performing the prayer on time.” He was then asked about the next best deed, he replied, “Being kind to one’s parents,” and then striving in the cause of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
After the rights of parents come the rights of the relatives – this includes the rights of the in-laws. A married person should treat his/her parents-in-law as he/she treats his/her own parents. When a person does good to others, he receives goodness in return. It might be that your in-laws do not reciprocate the love and respect that you give them, but have patience and continue doing good. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows and sees all, and He is the Most Appreciative. He will reward you with goodness in this life and the next, in sha Allah.
Next, come the rights of the orphans who have no fathers to fend for them, and the Miskeen (the poor). This includes everyone who is weak and dependent.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala also commanded that do ehsaan to them. Ehsaan includes financial help, mentoring, helpful advice, and any other deeds of goodness.
‘Adl [justice] is replicating what others do; ehsaan is giving someone more than their right.
This is real Deen – the rights of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala + the rights of the people.
“And speak good to people,” means say good words to everyone that you meet and be lenient with them. Hasan Al-Basri commented: speak good means commanding good and forbidding evil, and being patient and forgiving. The ‘good’ also includes every good type of behavior that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is pleased with.
Do ehsaan with those who are closed to you in relation and also the weak and needy, but speak a good word with all the people whether known or unknown.
Imam Ahmad narrated that Abu Dharr radhiAllahi ‘anhu said that the Prophet ﷺ said,
لَا تَحْقِرَنَّ مِنَ الْمَعْرُوفِ شَيْئًا وَإِنْ لَمْ تَجِدْ فَالْقَ أَخَاكَ بِوَجْهٍ مُنْطَلِق
“Do not belittle any form of righteousness, and even if you did not find any good deed except meeting your brother with a smiling face, then do so.” [This hadeeth was also collected by Muslim in his Saheeh and At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Saheeh.]
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands the servants to say good words to people, after He commanded them to be kind to them, thereby mentioning two categories of manners: good speech and good actions. He then emphasized the command to worship Him and the command to do good, ordaining the prayer and the Zakah,
وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلوةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَوةَ
“and perform As-Salah and give Zakah.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala informs us that the People of the Book, except for a few among them, ignored these orders, that is, they knowingly and intentionally abandoned them. We have been given a similar command in Surah An-Nisa’:
وَاعْبُدُواْ اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُواْ بِهِ شَيْئاً وَبِالْوَلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـناً وَبِذِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَـمَى وَالْمَسَـكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِى الْقُرْبَى وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّـحِبِ بِالجَنْبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالاً فَخُوراً
“Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakeen (the poor), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (servants) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (4:36)
Who do we do ehsaan with? Generally, it is someone who has done a favor to us or we are expecting a favor from them. We respect those who have a high status, education or a significant position. How do we treat those who are lesser in financial standing, education or in a position to help us? We are unkind, rude and often inattentive to their needs.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala instructs us to do ehsaan with the orphans and needy. Ehsaan, as we have read earlier is not limited to financial assistance, people need guidance and mentoring. We see that people are weak and poor, but we do not genuinely care about their well-being. We are busy in our lives making it more comfortable and better for ourselves and our children while the poor suffer. We do not realize that the poor do not always need our money, sometimes all they want is a career advice or which path to take in life. Reach out to these people – find the orphans and weak in your circle – and guide them.
Whoever you meet, no matter what his beliefs are or how evil he is talk to him with good speech because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
وَقُولُواْ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا
“…and speak good to people.”
He did not say speak good to only Muslims, or your parents and relatives, or the people that you know. Rather, He said: speak good to people. The word ‘people’ includes everyone known and strangers, Muslims and non-Muslims and rich and poor.
‘A’ishah radhiAllahu ‘anha narrated that a man asked permission to enter upon the Prophet ﷺ. When the Prophet ﷺ saw him, he said, “What an evil brother of his tribe! And what an evil son of his tribe!”
When that man sat down, the Prophet ﷺ behaved with him in a nice and polite manner and was completely at ease with him. When that person had left, ‘A’ishah radhiAllahu ‘anha said (to the Prophet). “O Allah’s Messenger! When you saw that man, you said so-and-so about him, then you showed him a kind and polite behavior, and you enjoyed his company?”
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “O ‘A’ishah! Have you ever seen me speaking a bad and dirty language? (Remember that) the worst people in Allah’s sight on the Day of Resurrection will be those whom the people leave (undisturbed) to be away from their evil (deeds).” [Saheeh Bukhari 6032, Book 78, Hadeeth 62]
Commentary: The Prophet ﷺ informed his family of the true nature of the visitor so that if the man visits the Prophet’s family in his absence, the family is conscious of their dealing with him. The Prophet ﷺ did not forget his manners because the other person was evil. Often we talk to people how they talk to us. If they are kind and polite with us then we too are humble and nice in our speech. But if the other person is foul-mouthed and evil, we show them our evil side.
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