Surah At-Tawbah (contd.)
Don’t Be Stingy When it Comes to Zakat
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [Allah’s blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing,” [9: 103].
This command is about the obligatory charity that is zakat.
Zakat is a means for purification of one’s wealth and an increase in it. Therefore, do not be stingy with your zakat. How can we protect ourselves from the Fitnah of stinginess?
By knowing that the wealth that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given us is not ours to keep. He gave us this wealth so that we could spend it in His cause, helping the needy and the poor. Note that in the ayah the Prophet ﷺ has been instructed to make du’a after collecting the zakat. What does this teach us? It teaches us that when one is collecting donations or charity amount he should make du’a for the donor. The Prophet ﷺ prayed in the following words:
بَارَكَ اللهُ لَكَ فِيمَا أَمْسَكْتَ وَفِيمَا أَعْطَيْت
“May Allah bless you for what you kept and what you gave away.” [Ibn Katheer, Tafseer Surah an-Anfal: 79]
Such a statement will act as a reassurance for the donor and encourage them to contribute in the future as well, in sha Allah.
Levels of Believers
Next, we learn about the levels of believers, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment,” [9: 100].
Look at their honor!
We need to be really careful regarding what we say about the Companions radhiAllahu’anhum and the righteous slaves of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We must ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to bless us the company of His righteous servants so that we can aspire to raise our status in the Hereafter, in sha Allah.
Be With the Truthful
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true,” [9: 119].
One is known by the company they keep. Good company promises goodness. An evil company only increases us in evilness. Reflect on your social circle. Are they bringing you closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or only distancing you further? If it’s the latter, do not be shy to break away from them or at least maintain minimal contact. Your emaan and Hereafter is more important than anything of this fleeting world.
Everyone Plays A Specific Role
Then we learn about the diversity in Ummah,
“And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious,” [9: 122].
Some people will go out to fight. Some will stay back to teach Qur’an and matters of religion. This is a great encouragement, especially for the women. Women sometimes feel their task is limited to raising children and managing the house. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has honored you greatly with these responsibilities. Your little momins, in sha Allah, will be tomorrow’s scholars and soldiers of Islam. By staying at home, you can focus on your association with the Qur’an, learn it, live by it and teach it to others. In Islam, no one’s role is insignificant. We make it trivial only by our thoughts. Change your thinking and reflect on your skills: how can I contribute in Allah’s way.
May He open up our hearts and minds to give Him our very best, ameen.
We Will Be Tested
We have been talking about the certainty of tests in one’s life; in Surah Tawbah too Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives us reminders of afflictions. He says,
“Do they not see that they are tried every year once or twice but then they do not repent nor do they remember?” [9: 126]
What is the purpose of these tests? That a person draws himself closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. There is nothing more that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala appreciates than a servant being engaged in istaghfar. Astaghfar does not mean that you are a sinful person. The Prophet ﷺ, the best to ever live, used to seek Allah’s forgiveness 70 – 100 times a day.
Prophet Muhammad – A Role Model
As we are talking about Muhammad ﷺ, let’s see how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes him,
“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among you. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful,” [9: 128].
Here we need to ask ourselves three questions:
- Are we kind and merciful to one another?
- Do we grieve over the sufferings of one another?
- Are we concerned about one another?
[Check our Seerah series]
Sufficient for You is Allah
Again we are reminded of good conduct. If others do not reciprocate kindness then say,
“hasbiya Allahula ilaha illa huwa alayhi tawakkaltu wa huwa rabbu al-arshi al-atheem
(Sufficient for me is Allah; there is no deity except Him. On Him, I have relied, and He is the Lord of the Great Throne).”
Surah at-Tawbah ends at this du’a. These words should be part of our daily remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Before we begin the Surah let’s read why it is important to study the Qur’an, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the chests and guidance and mercy for the believers,” [10: 57].
Qur’an is shifa (cure) for diseased hearts, a guidance and mercy for the believers. This is the power of the Word of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It cleanses the spiritual ailments.
Don’t Revert to Your Old State When the Test is Over
Go back a few lines and re-read what we shared about the tests. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tests us so that we can turn to Him. It so happens once the calamity is gone we revert to our old ways. The One Who brought us relief is all capable of snatching our peace away and much more than that. Why play with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala?
“And when affliction touches man, he calls upon Us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but when We remove from him his affliction, he continues [in disobedience] as if he had never called upon Us to [remove] an affliction that touched him,” [10: 12].
Wouldn’t you want to become one of the friends of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Who wouldn’t? We would run for the opportunity. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Unquestionably, [for] the allies of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. Those who believed and were fearing Allah, for them are good tidings in the worldly life and in the Hereafter,” [10: 62-64].
To become a friend of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, one needs to be a believer and have taqwa (consciousness of Allah). One is a believer if he believes in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, associates no partners with Him, and follows the path of Muhammad ﷺ in every matter of life. Taqwa can be attained by honoring Allah’s commands and staying away from prohibitions.
Allah Takes Care of His Friends
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala takes care of His friends as we see in the stories of the prophets ‘alayhim salaam.
When the messengers called people to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and they refused to follow, there came a time when the messengers were compelled to invoke Allah’s wrath against transgressors.
“And Musa said, ‘Our Lord, indeed You have given Pharaoh and his establishment splendor and wealth in the worldly life, our Lord, that they may lead [men] astray from Your way. Our Lord, obliterate their wealth and harden their hearts so that they will not believe until they see the painful punishment,’” [10: 88].
What did Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala say in reply? He said, “Your supplication has been answered,” [10: 89]. Sometimes we lack peace in our life because we harmed someone and perhaps he invoked Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala against us. Abstain from mocking, hurting, or causing discomfort to anyone. Perhaps, they are friends of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)