Living the Quran
Al-Muminun (The Believers)
Chapter 23: Verses 1-11
The Success is for the believers
"The believers must (eventually) win through-, Those who humble themselves in their prayers; Who avoid vain talk; Who are active in deeds of charity; Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame, But those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors;- Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants; And who (strictly) guard their prayers;- These will be the heirs, Who will inherit Paradise: they will dwell therein (for ever)."
In these verses, we are told the qualities of the believers and that they are the ones who will be successful. The success or victory may come in this world, but is certain and lasting in the world to come. The qualities of believers, as stated in these verses are as follows:
1) They humble themselves in their prayers: khushu` (humbleness) in prayer is only attained by the one who has emptied his heart totally, who does not pay attention to anything else besides it, and who prefers it above all else.
2) They avoid vain talk: this refers to falsehood, which includes sin and associating partners with Allah, and any words or deeds that are of no benefit.
3) They are active in deeds of charity (Zakah): Most commentators say that the meaning here is the Zakah that is paid on wealth, even though this Ayah was revealed in Makkah, and Zakah was ordained in Al-Madinah in the year 2 H. It could be that what is meant here by Zakah is purification of the soul from associating partners with Allah and from filth. It could be that both meanings are intended, purification of the soul and of one's wealth, because that is part of the purification of the soul, and the true believer is one who pays attention to both matters. And Allah knows best.
4) They abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess: they protect their private parts from unlawful actions and do not indulge in what Allah has forbidden (fornication and homosexuality). They do not approach anyone except their wives whom Allah has made permissible for them or their right hand possessions from the captives. One who seeks what Allah has made permissible for him is not to be blamed and there is no sin on him.
5) They faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants: when they are entrusted with something, they do not betray that trust, but they fulfill it, and when they make a promise or make a pledge, they are true to their word.
6) They (strictly) guard their prayers: they persistently offer their prayers at their appointed times. Allah begins and ends this list of praiseworthy qualities with Salah, which is indicative of its virtue.
After this, we are told that the believers (who possess these qualities) 'will be the heirs, who will inherit Paradise (Al-Firdaws): they will dwell therein (For ever).' It is recorded in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
"If you ask Allah for Paradise, then ask him for Al-Firdaws, for it is the highest part of Paradise, in the middle of Paradise, and from it spring the rivers of Paradise, and above it is the (Mighty) Throne of the Most Merciful."
Tafsir Ibn Kathir - pp. 628-633
The Holy Quran (Text, Translation and Commentary) - Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Understanding the Prophet's Life
Enhancing the Environment
Jabir ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:
"Any Muslim who plants a seedling, which bears fruit, will be granted the blessing of Sadaqah (almsgiving) for anything, which is eaten from it. If anything is stolen from the plant, he will also be rewarded a Sadaqah. If an animal eats from it, he will be rewarded a Sadaqah. If a bird eats from it, he will be rewarded a Sadaqah. If anyone takes away from the plant, he will be rewarded a Sadaqah." (Muslim)
Recent scientific investigation has revealed that humanity is on the brink of self destruction. Through the misuse of technology, the exploitation of the land for cash crops, the cutting of the ancient rain forests and the pollution of the land and sea, humanity has destroyed much of the natural environmental protections created by Almighty Allah. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, encouraged the planting of trees, the protection of fresh water supplies and wildlife, and the conservation and fair distribution of the natural world. Muslims should strive to lead the environmental movement for a cleaner, safer planet.
"The Forty Ahadeeth on Islamic Revival" - Abdullah Hakim Quick, pp. 54,55
The Cycle of History
Each major civilization during its rise had its corresponding prophetic messages. Abraham and Mesopotamians, Moses and the Egyptians, David and the Israelites, Jesus and the Romans, and countless others. The Quran tells us that the rise and fall of nations was due primarily to their acceptance or rejection of God. When one nation of oppressors would grow too strong, God would allow a stronger nation to conquer them. The Quran says that God gives nations their chance to shine in turns and that He uses some nations to check the influence of others lest tyranny should engulf the whole Earth.
Beginning with the first human tribe to our present-day world, the forces of good and evil have been locked together in a struggle for the soul of humanity. Shaytan incites people to evil while God sends His messages to call them to good. If a people go out of bounds, God sends a disaster upon them or allows them to be taken over by others. Think of the fall of Rome at its most despotic hour or the destruction of the Nazis after they came so close to world domination. The Hand of God moves in the world even as the deceit of Shaytan propels people in the worst direction. The Only people who have any hope of salvation are those who put their faith in God and lead a life based on virtuous values. This is the ultimate lesson of history, according to Islam. Chapter 103 of the Quran expresses it best: "By [the passage of] time, people are surely in a state of loss. All except those who teach each other truth and perseverance.
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam" - Yahya Emerick, p. 103