Aal-Imran · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

O You Who Believe Do Not Consume Interest (Riba)

Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 130 – 136

In the previous ayaat, we studied the reasons behind the defeat in the Battle of Uhud and learned that the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala comes with patience and Allah-consciousness. In the present ayaat, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala talks about another major sin that we should stay away from. It is the temptation of money. If we are patient over what little we have and do not adopt impermissible means to increase our wealth or raise our financial status, the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will definitely come.

It was the love for material wealth that made the archers leave their position and Muslims lost a winning battle. Sabr and Taqwa are not only required to face calamities in life but to stay away from Riba as well.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala prohibits His believing servants from dealing in Riba and from charging interest on their capital. This was a practice of the time of Jahiliyyah [pre-Islamic days of ignorance] and should not be practiced by true Muslims.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands His servants to have Taqwa of Him so that they may achieve success in this life and the Hereafter. He threatens them with the Fire and warns them against it by saying,

وَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِي أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِينَ – وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers. And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.”

The disbelievers in the ayah do not mean the non-Muslims, but those so-called Muslims who claim to be Muslims yet defy His Ayaat. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from nurturing any such desires in our hearts that provoke us to disobey Him, ameen.

In the above ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us that if we seek His mercy then we must obey Him and His Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The Encouragement to Do Good

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala encourages His servants to perform righteous deeds and to rush to accomplish the acts of obedience.

While in the previous ayaat (130-132), we read that the Fire has been prepared for those who defy the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, in this ayah, we learn of the rewards that have been prepared for the righteous.

They will have, “a garden as wide as the heavens and the earth.” Ibn Katheer comments that the statement draws the attention to the spaciousness of Paradise.

Talking about the Paradise, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

إِذَا سَأَلْتُمُ اللهَ الْجَنَّـةَ فَاسْأَلُوهُ الْفِرْدَوْسَ، فَإِنَّهُ أَعْلَى الْجَنَّـةِ، وَأَوْسَطُ الْجَنَّةِ، وَمِنْهُ تَفَجَّرُ أَنْهَارُ الْجَنَّةِ، وَسَقْفُهَا عَرْشُ الرَّحْمَن

“When you ask Allah for Paradise, ask Him for Al-Firdaws which is the highest and best part of Paradise. From it originate the rivers of Paradise, and above it is the Throne of the Most Beneficent (Allah).”

Who are the righteous for whom this garden has been prepared?

They are those who:

  1. Spend in the way of Allah during ease and hardship

  2. Restrain their anger

  3. Pardon the people

They spend in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala when they have a lot and when their provision is restricted, when they are healthy and when they are ill, in daytime and at night. These believers are not distracted from obeying Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, spending on what pleases Him, being kind to His servants and their relatives, and other acts of righteousness.

[Praise for those who spend in Charity]

They control their anger and forgive those who hurt them. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

لَيْسَ الشَّدِيدُ بِالصُّرَعَةِ، وَلكِنَّ الشَّدِيدَ الَّذِي يَمْلِكُ نَفْسَهُ عِنْدَ الْغَضَب

“The strong person is not he who is able to physically overcome people. The strong person is he who overcomes his rage when he is angry.”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

 مَنْ أَنْظَرَ مُعْسِرًا أَوْ وَضَعَ لَهُ، وَقَاهُ اللهُ مِنْ فَيْحِ جَهَنَّمَ، أَلَا إِنَّ عَمَلَ الْجَنَّـةِ حَزْنٌ بِرَبْوَةٍ ثَلَاثًا أَلَا إِنَّ عَمَلَ النَّارِ سَهْلٌ بِسَهْوَةٍ. وَالسَّعِيدُ مَنْ وُقِيَ الْفِتَنَ، وَمَا مِنْ جَرْعَةٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللهِ مِنْ جَرْعَةِ غَيْظٍ يَكْظِمُهَا عَبْدٌ، مَا كَظَمَهَا عَبْدٌ للهِ إِلَّا مَلَأَ جَوْفَهُ إِيمَانًا

“He who gives time to a debtor or forgives him, then Allah will save him from the heat of Jahannam (Hell-fire). Behold! The deeds of Paradise are difficult to reach, for they are on top of a hill, while the deeds of the Fire are easy to find in the lowlands. The happy person is he who is saved from the tests. Verily, there is no dose of anything better to Allah than a dose of rage that the servant controls, and whenever the servant of Allah controls it, he will be internally filled with faith.”

We learn that if we desire the love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then we should spend generously in charity, control our anger and forgive the people. It means we do not hold any ill feelings about anyone in our hearts.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,  

اللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

 “Allah loves the doers of good.”

Ibn Katheer writes this good conduct is a type of ehsaan [excellence] in the religion. A hadeeth reads,

ثَلَاثٌ أُقْسِمُ عَلَيْهِنَّ: مَا نَقَصَ مَالٌ مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ، وَمَا زَادَ اللهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلَّا عِزًّا، وَمَنْ تَوَاضَعَ للهِ رَفَعَهُ الله

“I swear regarding three matters: no charity shall ever decrease the wealth; whenever one forgives people, then Allah will magnify his honor; and he who is humble for Allah, then Allah will raise his rank.”

If we desire the love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then this is what we are supposed to do.

After mentioning the rewards that the righteous servants will get, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ –

“And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? And [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.”

It is a reminder for us to not despair of the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If we have erred, then we must repent and not persist in our wrong.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Huraira radhiAllahu said that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, 

“A man once committed an error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant committed an error and knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the error. I have forgiven My servant.’ The man committed another error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the sin. I have forgiven My servant.’ The man committed another error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the error. I have forgiven my servant.’ He then committed another error and said, ‘O Lord! I committed an error, so forgive me.’ Allah said, ‘My servant knew that he has a Lord Who forgives or punishes for the error. Bear witness that I have forgiven My servant, so let him do whatever he likes.’”

A similar narration was collected in the Saheeh.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds us that no one can forgive our sins except Him, therefore, in Islam, there is no concept of confessing your sins to another person. If you have done wrong then cry before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala only and ask for His forgiveness. There is no need for you to reveal your sins to another person.

We are humans so we will err. As long as a person continues to repent and return to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala before the time of his death and does not insist on error, then it is hoped that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will forgive him.

Next, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala narrates to us the rewards for such people,

أُولَٰئِكَ جَزَاؤُهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَجَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ

“Those – their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in Paradise], wherein they will abide eternally; and excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers.”

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala enable us to do much good deeds and include us among those whom He loves, deserve His forgiveness and will be the residents of Jannat-ul-Firdaus, ameen.

Lessons:

  • We are reminded of the prohibition of falling into Riba-based transactions. There is no barakah [blessing] in such a wealth. Live within your means, earn Halal, give sadaqah [charity] generously and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to put barakah in whatever you own. Do not beg people or go for loans.

  • If someone borrows money from you, do not charge interest on it. The more time you give them, without asking anything additional in return, the more sadaqah will be recorded for you. Even when giving pantry items to your neighbors do not ask them to return with extra. For example, your neighbor comes to borrow flour or sugar and you tell them, “I am giving you one cup of flour or sugar, when you return it, I want you to give me more.” It is not okay.

  • These ayaat were revealed after the Battle of Uhud. What’s the logic behind this sequence? It is said that when a person is hurt or they have encountered a loss, they are more receptive to advice. SubhanAllah!

  • We learn that if a person indulges in the haram (for example haram business, haram relationships) then there will be no blessing in it. When people go through a calamity in their life, they blame Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (we seek refuge in Allah from such an attitude) or leave the good deeds that they have been doing. Instead of blaming Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or leaving the good deeds, one should reflect on his conduct. Where did he go wrong that he has been deprived of the blessings?

  • In the world, we have fire extinguishers and fire drills to protect ourselves from fire incidents. In the Hereafter, there will be no fire extinguishers. We have to prepare today! We take precautions to protect our skin against wrinkles and to protect our bodies from cold or heat, but why is it that we do not pay as much attention to protection against the Fire that will be eternal?

  • Instead of running towards Dunya, we should be rushing towards forgiveness of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We compete with people in worldly matters, but how enthusiastic about getting ahead in Deen? We look at those who are excelling in Deen but do not take a step to become that person.

  • Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is so Merciful towards His servants that no matter what sins we might have committed, He is always willing to forgive us if we rush to Him and we are sincere in our repentance meaning we do not persist in the sin.

  • We need to learn to repress our anger and remain calm even when people are yelling at us or accusing us of what we have not done. When you are angry, leave the situation, do something else and distract yourself.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 130 – 136

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”
[Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

 

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