Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 176 – 180
Ibn Katheer comments because the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was eager for people’s well-being, he would become sad when the disbelievers would resort to definance, rebellion and stubbornness. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said, “Do not be grieved by those who hasten into disbelief. Indeed, they will never harm Allah at all.” They will have no share from the blessings in the Hereafter because they want to remain lost in the fleeting and deceptive pleasures of this world.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرَوُا الْكُفْرَ بِالْإِيمَانِ لَن يَضُرُّوا اللَّهَ شَيْئًا وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ –
“Indeed, those who purchase disbelief [in exchange] for faith – never will they harm Allah at all, and for them is a painful punishment.”
We seek refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from the punishment in this world and the next, ameen.
We are reminded to not allow ourselves to be deceived by the temporary pleasures of this world. Whatever we have in this world will come to an end – our loved ones will die or be taken away from us, our wealth and property can be lost any moment, we can lose our health and sanity and so on. However, whatever is in the next world is forever – be it punishment or pleasure.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to enable us to see the reality of this world, ameen.
At another place in the Qur’an, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks,
أَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّمَا نُمِدُّهُم بِهِ مِن مَّالٍ وَبَنِينَ – نُسَارِعُ لَهُمْ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ بَل لَّا يَشْعُرُونَ
“Do they think that what We extend to them of wealth and children? Is [because] We hasten for them good things? Rather, they do not perceive.”
وَلَا تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَأَوْلَادُهُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُعَذِّبَهُم بِهَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ
“And let not their wealth and their children impress you. Allah only intends to punish them through them in this world and that their souls should depart [at death] while they are disbelievers.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala comforts us by saying,
مَّا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَذَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَىٰ مَا أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّىٰ يَمِيزَ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ ۗ
“Allah would not leave the believers in that [state] you are in [presently] until He separates the evil from the good.”
It means He allows a calamity to happen, and during this calamity, His friend becomes known and His enemy exposed. The sincere and patient believer is recognized and the sinful hypocrite revealed.
Ibn Katheer commented this ayah refers to Uhud since Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tested the believers in that battle, thus making known the faith, endurance, firmness and obedience to Allah and His Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that the believers had. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala exposed the hypocrites in their defiance, reverting from Jihad and the treachery they committed against Allah and His Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Mujahid commented, “Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala distinguished between them during the day of Uhud.” Qatadah said, “He distinguished between them in Jihad and Hijrah.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُطْلِعَكُمْ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ
“Nor would Allah reveal to you the Unseen.”
It means we do not have access to Allah’s knowledge of His creation so that we can distinguish between the believer and the hypocrite except by the signs of each type that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala uncovers. He chooses of His messengers whom He wills – our responsibility is to believe in Allah and His messengers and adhere to the law that He legislated for us.
The Censure of Selfishness
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
وَلَا يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ بِمَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ هُوَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۖ بَلْ هُوَ شَرٌّ لَّهُمْ ۖ سَيُطَوَّقُونَ مَا بَخِلُوا بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ
“And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection.”
It means that the miser should not think that hoarding money will benefit him. Rather, it will harm him in his religion and worldly affairs. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions the money that the miser collected on the Day of Resurrection, “…their necks will be encircled by what they withheld.”
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
مَنْ آتَاهُ اللهُ مَالًا فَلَمْ يُؤَدِّ زَكَاتَهُ، مُثِّلَ لَهُ شُجَاعًا أَقْرَعَ، لَهُ زَبِيبَتَانِ، يُطَوَّقُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، يَأْخُذُ بِلِهْزِمَتَيْهِ يَعْنِي بِشِدْقَيْهِ يَقُولُ: أَنَا مَالُكَ، أَنَا كَنْزُك
“Whoever Allah makes wealthy and he does not pay the Zakah due on his wealth, then (on the Day of Resurrection) his wealth will be made in the likeness of a bald-headed poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and proclaim, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.’”
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then recited the ayah,
وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ بِمَآ ءَاتَـهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ هُوَ خَيْراً لَّهُمْ بَلْ هُوَ شَرٌّ لَّهُمْ
“And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them…” until the end. Al-Bukhari, but not Muslim, collected this hadeeth using this chain of narration, Ibn Hibban also collected it in his Saheeh.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds us everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. Therefore, since all affairs are under His control then spend from your money so that it will benefit you on the Day of Return. Allah is Well-Acquainted with our intentions – what we reveal and what we conceal in our hearts.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to protect us from miserliness, selfishness and poverty, ameen.
One important lesson that we learn is that we should not feel sad when we look at others’ blessings. While we can see their blessings we have no idea what tests have been hidden for them. Appreciate what you have and work to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala not to compete with other people.
Being blessed or being deprived are tests from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. While the hypocrites were pleased to stay behind and enjoy the pleasures of this world, the Sahabah radhiAllahu ‘anhum endured injuries and martyrdom and gained the eternal pleasures of the Hereafter. Do not let the blessings of this world deceive you. Strive for what is everlasting.
We are reminded to be realistic. We own nothing in this world. Everything that we enjoy from wealth to children is a special favor of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. If we share these blessings with others and use them in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala He will grant us more. But if we are stingy or arrogant, it would not take Him a second to snatch them away or destroy us through them.
We seek refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from a life of boastfulness and delusion, ameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 176 – 180