In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 197 (Part 2)
After proclaiming basic ihraam prohibitions, the sentence, “And whatever good you do – Allah knows it,” instructs that abstaining from sins and the contravention of the ihraam during the blessed days of Hajj and at sacred places is not enough. Taking a step further, one should consider this occasion to be something that comes once in a lifetime, therefore, it is necessary that one should make an effort to stay devoted to ‘ibadah, thikr [remembrance of Allah], and good deeds. The assurance given is that every act of virtue and every demonstration of goodness from a servant is in the knowledge of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He will reward the doers of good with the best awards on the Day of Resurrection.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us doers of good and bless us with sincerity, aameen.
When doing a good deed do not seek attention or compliments from the people. If you have performed the deed for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then seek appreciation only from Him. Whether people see it or not, know that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows it all. No good deed done for His sake ever goes unrewarded. He is the Most Appreciative [Ash-Shakoor].
This instruction also reminds us that Hajj is a journey of worship. It is not a vacation. Therefore, instead of engaging in arguments and futile things make the best out of your Hajj journey. What could be better than increasing your good deeds? The scholars suggest that the best way to make our Hajj productive is to engage in the Qur’an and thikr of Allah. You have enough time to complete the entire Qur’an many times. Being occupied with the Qur’an helps from daydreaming or engaging in others’ personal matters and Al-Laghw.
This also tells us to be conscious of our time. Do not simply pass time but make it productive. What are the ways in which you can increase your good deeds and scales in the Hereafter? Moreover, if we do not train ourselves “right now”, we will not be able to make our Hajj journey productive. We must start getting rid of the Laghw from our lives.
Taqwa is the Best Provision
The sentence that follows immediately: “take provisions,” aims to correct those who leave their homes for Hajj and ‘Umrah without adequate preparation claiming that they do so because they have trust in Allah. While one should trust Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala one should not leave out preparation. Allah’s help does not come if one does not help one’s self.
Al-Bukhari and Abu Daw’oud reported that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “The people of Yemen used to go to Hajj without taking enough supplies with them. They used to say, ‘We are those who have tawakkul [reliance on Allah].’” Then this ayah was revealed to correct people’s beliefs.
[Hajj Step by Step by Brother Omar Suleiman (Video lecture)]
The word watazawwadu [وَتَزَوَّدُوا] is from the root zay-wau-dal and it means provision.
Hence, the instruction has been given that provisions needed for the proposed Hajj trip should be taken along. This is not against tawakkul [trust in Allah]; it is rather, the essence of tawakkul, which conveys the sense that one should first acquire and collect the means and resources provided by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to the best of one’s capability and, then, place his trust [tawakkul] in Allah. Forsaking all efforts to acquire means of subsistence [tark al-asbab] and calling it tawakkul is sheer ignorance.
One should go well-prepared for the Hajj journey and avoid begging from the people. While we can ask people for help (in times of need), we should not “depend” on them. Moreover, we should not blame the people for not helping us because it is our responsibility to plan and prepare, and then rely on Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Some people go for Hajj and look for others who can help them with accommodation, food or supplies of personal use. Everyone is carrying a limited amount to sustain himself and his family. Be considerate of their personal needs. Do not beg, steal or eye someone else’s provision.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then tells us that the best provision to take is Taqwa. It is because nothing can stop us from obscenity, disobedience or dispute if our hearts are not conscious of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This is a reminder that we have received after almost every command. This tells us that he who has taqwa in his heart will not find it challenging to stay away from prohibitions and perform good deeds.
Ibn Katheer writes Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentioned the material covering and then He mentioned the spiritual covering, which includes humbleness, obedience, and taqwa. He also stated that the latter provision is better and more beneficial than the former.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends the ayah saying, “And fear Me, O you of understanding!” It means: Fear My torment, punishment, and affliction for those who defy Me and do not adhere to My commands, O people of reason and understanding.
Those who abide by the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala have been called Ulul Albab – people of understanding. This means in order to act on the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala we will first have to increase our ilm [knowledge]. When the ilm increases, it strengthens our emaan [faith].
When one reviews the Qur’an, he notices a constant reminder to become people of understanding and intellect. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala encourages us to reflect on our surroundings and seek knowledge.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala bless us with taqwa, beneficial knowledge and deeds that are accepted. May He invite all of us to His House for Hajj Mabroor, aameen.
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