January 4, 2016 by Verse By Verse Quran Study Circle
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 185 (Part 3)
“Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you,” meaning you were allowed to break the fast while ill, while traveling, and so forth, because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wanted to make matters easy for you. He only commanded you to make up for missed days so that you complete the days of one month.
The word yusor [الْيُسْر] means ease. In the ayah, it is not limited to fasting being easy but rather what it encompasses is that it is “possible” to fast. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala acknowledges that it will be difficult for some people to fast because of their health conditions or the way they were brought up. However, it is not impossible to fast. Let’s understand this by the help of an example: you want to ride a horse but it terrifies you. You fear you might fall and hurt yourself. But the horse trainer assures you that the horse is trained and it has reins to control. It means that the arrangement has been made for you all you now need is some willpower. Likewise, with fasting Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has made it possible for us to fast by making suitable arrangement, all that we need now is willingness to fast. This is similar to ayah 183 where Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala assured us that fasting was something that previous nations did as well. It is not something new or difficult.
Yusor also means Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gave this allowance (of making up for missed fasts later) out of His mercy and to make matters easy.
Imam Ahmad recorded Anas ibn Malik radhiAllahu ‘anhu saying that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
يَسِّرُوا وَلَا تُعَسِّرُوا وَسَكِّنُوا وَلَا تُنَفِّرُوا
“Treat the people with ease and don’t be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don’t fill them with aversion.” [This hadeeth was also collected in the Two Saheehs]
We learn that whenever we hear a command our first respond should not be: I can never do it or it’s so difficult. Rather, we should say, “I can do it,” or “It is possible.” The same should be our attitude toward Salah, reciting the Qur’an or making du’a. Shun the Satanic whispers.
- This teaches us that we should be lenient with people especially the new Muslims and children. Give them time to train their bodies and adjusting to the new lifestyle before burdening them with various obligations.
It also teaches us that we must accept the exemptions where they are provided and not expose ourselves to harm.
Point to Remember: Worship demands consistency. We cannot label ourselves as Ramadan Muslims, Fridays Muslims or Exam Muslims. It means we should worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in all days and not base it on our mood that “Oh today I don’t feel like praying so I will not pray,” or “I prayed Tahajjud the other night so it’s okay if I skip Isha today.” First, an obligatory worship is not replaced by a voluntary deed. Voluntary deeds are only a step in getting closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and making up for the shortcomings in our obligations. But if we are not conscious of our faraid [obligations], then how will the voluntary deeds benefit us?
Therefore, we must ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for consistency and commitment in Deen.
Remembering Allah upon performing the Acts of Worship
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “…you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.”
Why should we magnify Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala after completing our fasts? It is because He gave us with the month of Ramadan in which the reward for deeds increases many times. He blessed us with health and taufeeq [ability] to fast. He revealed the Qur’an in this month and enabled us to recite it, understand it and listen to it in Taraweeh. These are all His blessings and favors. Had He not willed we would not have been able to do all this. Therefore, having completed the month of fasting we must magnify and thank Him. This is a command that is recommended after every good act as we see in the Qur’an:
فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُم مَّنَـسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُواْ اللَّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ ءَابَآءَكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا
“So when you have accomplished your Manasik [rituals], remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with far more remembrance.” [Al-Baqarah 2:200]
فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلَوةُ فَانتَشِرُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَابْتَغُواْ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَاذْكُرُواْ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“…Then when the (Jumu`ah) Salah [prayer] is ended, you may disperse through the land, and seek the bounty of Allah (by working), and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.” [Al-Jumu’ah 62:10]
This is why the day of ‘Eid is a day of Takbeer [saying Allahu Akbar i.e., Allah is the Greatest]. But many times we forget that and make it a day of eating and talking as much as we can.
The Sunnah encouraged Tasbeeh [saying Subhan Allah, i.e., all praise is due to Allah], Tahmeed [saying Al-Humdu Lillah, i.e., all the thanks are due to Allah] and Takbeer after the compulsory prayers. Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “We used to know that Allah’s Messenger has finished the prayer by the Takbeer.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends the ayah by saying,
“…so that you may be grateful to Him,” meaning if you adhere to what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded you, obeying Him by performing the obligations, abandoning the prohibitions and abiding by the set limits, then perhaps you will be among the grateful.
We learn that upon completing an act of worship we should remember Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Our celebrations and festivities should not make us negligent of our prayers and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
- After performing an act of worship our hearts should be humbled. We should avoid riding a high horse because no one has the ability to perform a good deed except he for whom Allah wills. We should keep reminding ourselves to never praise ourselves or consider ourselves better than others. All goodness that we have is because of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, therefore, He deserves praise and not us. We should say:
لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِالله
La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah
“There is no power or strength except from Allah.”
We also learn that there are two purposes of fasting: gaining taqwa [piety or righteousness] and being grateful.
May He allow us to fast the obligatory and voluntary fasts understanding the real purpose behind our acts of worship. And may He not allow us to spoil our fasts by doing actions displeasing to Him, aameen.
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