The Success is for the believers whose qualities are described here
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
(Successful indeed are the believers) means, they have attained victory and are blessed, for they have succeeded. These are the believers who have the following characteristics:
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِى صَلاَتِهِمْ خَـشِعُونَ
(Those who with their Salah are Khashi`un.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said:
"(Khashi`un) means those with fear and with tranquillity.'' This was also narrated from Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Az-Zuhri. It was reported from `Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, that Khushu` means the Khushu` of the heart. This was also the view of Ibrahim An-Nakha`i. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "Their Khushu` was in their hearts.'' So they lowered their gaze and were humble towards others. Khushu` 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. At that point it becomes a delight and a joy for eyes, as in the Hadith recorded by Imam Ahmad and An-Nasa'i from Anas, who said that the Messenger of Allah said:
(Fragrance and women have been made dear to me, and Salah was made the joy of my eye.)
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُّعْرِضُونَ
(And those who turn away from Al-Laghw.) refers to falsehood, which includes Shirk and sin, and any words or deeds that are of no benefit. As Allah says:
وَإِذَا مَرُّواْ بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّواْ كِراماً
(And if they pass by Al-Laghw, they pass by it with dignity)25:72. Qatadah said: "By Allah, there came to them from Allah that which kept them away from that (evil).''
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَـوةِ فَـعِلُونَ
(And those who pay the 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. The apparent meaning is that the Zakah that was instituted in Al-Madinah is the one based upon the Nusub and the specific amounts, apart from which it seems that the basic principle of Zakah was enjoined in Makkah. As Allah says in Surat Al-An`am, which was also revealed in Makkah:
وَءَاتُواْ حَقَّهُ يَوْمَ حَصَادِهِ
(but pay the due thereof on the day of their harvest, ) 6:141 It could be that what is meant here by Zakah is purification of the soul from Shirk and filth, as in the Ayah:
(Indeed he succeeds who purifies himself (Zakkaha). And indeed he fails who corrupts himself.) 91:9-10 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.
(And those who guard their private parts. Except from their wives and their right hand possessions, for then, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.) means, those who protect their private parts from unlawful actions and do not do that which Allah has forbidden; fornication and homosexuality, and do not approach anyone except the 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. Allah says:
(Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat and to 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. This is not like the hypocrites about whom the Messenger of Allah said:
(The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust.)
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَوَتِهِمْ يُحَـفِظُونَ
(And those who strictly guard their Salawat.) means, they persistently offer their prayers at their appointed times, as Ibn Mas`ud said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah, `O Messenger of Allah, which deed is most beloved to Allah' He said,
«الصَّلَاةُ عَلَى وَقْتِهَا»
(Prayer at the appointed time.) I said, `Then what' He said,
(Kindness to one's parents. ) I said, `Then what' He said,
«الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ الله»
(Jihad in the way of Allah.) It was recorded in the Two Sahihs. Qatadah said: "At the fixed times, with the proper bowing and prostration.'' Allah begins and ends this list of praiseworthy qualities with Salah, which is indicative of its virtue, as the Prophet said:
(Adhere to righteousness, you will never be able encompass it all. Know that the best of your deeds is Salah. None will preserve his Wuddu' except the believer.) Having described them with these praiseworthy characteristics and righteous deeds, Allah then says:
(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.) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said, "The Messenger of Allah said:
(There is not one among you who does not have two homes, a home in Paradise and a home in Hell. If he dies and enters Hell, the people of Paradise will inherit his home, and this is what Allah said: (These are indeed the heirs.) Ibn Jurayj narrated from Layth from Mujahid:
أُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْوَرِثُونَ
(These are indeed the heirs.) "The believers will inherit the homes of the disbelievers because they were created to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate. So when these believers did what was enjoined on them of worship, and the disbelievers neglected to do that which they were commanded to do and for which they had been created, the believers gained the share that they would have been given if they had obeyed their Lord. Indeed, they will be given more than that as well.'' This is what was reported in Sahih Muslim from Abu Burdah, from his father, from the Prophet who said:
(Some of the Muslims will come on the Day of Resurrection with sins like mountains, but Allah will forgive them and put (their burden of sin) on the Jews and Christians.) According to another version: the Messenger of Allah said:
(When the Day of Resurrection comes, Allah will appoint for every Muslim a Jew or Christian, and it will be said, "This is your ransom from the Fire.'') `Umar bin `Abd Al-`Aziz asked Abu Burdah to swear by Allah besides Whom there is no other God, three times, that his father told him that from the Prophet, and he swore that oath. I say: this Ayah is like Allah's saying:
(This is the Paradise which you have been made to inherit because of your deeds which you used to do.) 43:72
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
"Believers", who have attained true success, are those who have accepted the Message of Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him), and have acknowledged him as their guide and followed the way of life taught by him.
This assertion cannot be fully appreciated unless one keeps in view the background in which it was made. On the one hand, there were the well-to-do and prosperous chiefs of Makkah, the opponents of Islam, whose business was thriving and who were enjoying every good thing of life, and on the other hand, there were the followers of Islam majority of whom were either poor from the beginning, or had been reduced to poverty by ruthless antagonism to Islam. Therefore, the assertion, "Most certainly the Believers have attained true success", with which the discourse begins, was meant to tell the disbelievers that the criterion of success and failure that they had in mind was not correct. It was based on misconceptions besides being transitory and limited in nature: it led to failure and not true success. On the contrary, the followers of Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him), whom they regarded as failures, were truly successful, because by accepting the invitation to the Right Guidance given by the Messenger of Allah, they had struck a bargain which would lead them to true success and everlasting bliss in this world as well as in the Hereafter, whereas by rejecting the Message the opponents had incurred loss and would meet with the evil consequences both in this world and in the next.
This is the main theme of the Surah and the whole discourse, from the beginning to the end, is meant to impress the same.
The noble characteristics of the Believers pointed out in vv. 2-9 are the arguments to prove the above assertion. In other words, it has been stated that people with such and such traits and qualities only can attain true success in this world and in the Hereafter.
Khashi`un in the Text is from khushu (to bow down, to express humility) which is a condition of the heart as well as of the body. Khushu' of the heart is to fear and stand in awe of a powerful person, and khushu ` of the body is to bow one's head and lower one's gaze and voice in his presence. In Salat one is required to show khushu ` both of the heart and of the body, and this is the essence of the Prayer. It has been reported that when the Holy Prophet once saw a person offering his Prayer as well as playing with his beard, he remarked: "Had he khushu ` in his heart, his body would have manifested it. "
Though khushu ` is actually a condition of the heart, as stated by the above tradition, it is manifested by the body as a matter of course. The Shari `ah has enjoined certain etiquette which, on the one hand, helps produce khushu ` in the heart, and on the other, helps sustain the physical act of the Prayer in spite of the fluctuating condition of the heart. According to this etiquette, one should neither turn to the right or left, nor raise one's head to look up: one may, however, look around from the corner of the eye, but as far as possible, one must fix the gaze on the place where the forehead would rest in prostration; one is also forbidden to shift about, incline side ways, fold the garments or shake off dust from them. It is also forbidden that while going down for prostration, one should clean the place where one would sit or perform prostration. Similarly it is disrespectful that one should stand stuffy erect, recite the verses of the Qur'an in a loud resounding voice, or sing them, or belch or yawn repeatedly and noisily. It has also not been approved that one should offer the Prayer in a hurry. The injunction is that each article of the Prayer should be performed in perfect peace and tranquility, and unless one article has been completely performed, the next should not be begun. If one feels hurt by something during the Prayer, one may cast it aside by one hand, but moving the hand repeatedly or using both the hands for the purpose is prohibited. with this etiquette of the body, it is also important that one should irrelevant things during the Prayer. If thoughts come to the mind intention, it is a natural human weakness, but one should try one's
Along avoid thinking without one's utmost that the mind and heart are wholly turned towards Allah, and the mind is in full harmony and tune with the tongue, and as soon as one becomes conscious of irrelevant thoughts one should immediately turn the attention to the Prayer.
Literally, laghv is anything nonsensical, meaningless and vain, which is in no way conducive to achieving one's goal and purpose in life. The Believers pay no heed to such useless things and they show no inclination or interest for them. If by chance they see such things being indulged in, they keep away and avoid them scrupulously, or treat them with utmost indifference. This attitude has been described in Al-Furqan (XXV): 72, thus: "... if they have to pass by what is vain, they pass by like dignified people."
This is indeed one of the outstanding characteristics of the Believer. He is a person who feels the burden of responsibility at all times; he regards the world as a place of test, and the life as the limited time allowed for the test. This feeling makes him behave seriously and responsibly throughout life just like the student who is taking an examination paper with his whole mind and body and soul absorbed in it. Just as the student knows and feels that each moment of the limited time at his disposal is important and decisive for his future life, and is not inclined to waste it, so the Believer also spends each moment of his life on works which are useful and productive in their ultimate results. So much so that even in matters of recreation and sport, he makes a choice of only those things which prepare him for higher ends in life and do not result in mere wastage of time. For him time is not something to be killed but used profitably and productively.
Besides this, the Believer is a person who possesses a right thinking mind, pure nature and fine taste: he has no inclination to indecent things: he can talk useful and healthy things but cannot indulge in idle talk: he has a fine taste of humor, but is not given to jesting, joking, ridicule, etc. nor can he endure dirty jokes and fun. For him a society in which the ears are never immune from abusive language, back-biting, slander; lying, dirty songs and indecent talk is a source of torture and agony. A characteristic of the promised Paradise is: "therein you will not hear anything vain or useless."
The word Zakat literally means purification and development-to help something grow tip smoothly and develop without obstruction. As an Islamic term, it implies both the portion of wealth taken out for the purpose of purifying the rest of wealth and the act of purification itself. The words of the original Text mean that the Believer constantly practices purification. Thus the meaning is not confined to the paying off of Zakat dues only but it is extended to self-purification which includes purification of morals as well as wealth, property and life in general. Then it does not mean purification of one's own self, but includes the purification of the lives of other people as well. So the verse means: "The Believers are the people who purify themselves as well as others." This thing has been stated at other places in the Qur'an -also, for instance: "Successful is he who practiced -purification and remembered his Lord and prayed." (LXXXVII: 1415), and: "Successful is he who purified himself and failure is he who corrupted it." (XCI: 9-10). But this verse is more comprehensive in meaning because it stresses the purification of both society and one's own person.
They are modest in every sense of the word. They are free from sex abuse and sex perversion. They are so modest that they even conceal those parts of their bodies which the Law forbids to expose before others. For explanation, see E.N.'s 30 and 32 of An-Nur (XXIV).
This is a parenthesis which is meant to remove the common misunderstanding that sex desire is an evil thing in itself and satisfying it even in lawful ways is not desirable, particularly for the righteous and godly people. This misunderstanding would have been strengthened had it been only said that the Believers guard their private parts scrupulously, because it would have implied that they live unmarried lives, away from the world, like monks and hermits. Therefore a parenthesis has been added to say that there is nothing wrong in satisfying the sex desire in lawful ways. What is evil is that one should transgress the prescribed limits for satisfying the sex desire.
Here are briefly a few injunctions which are based on this parenthetical clause:
(1) Two categories of women have been excluded from the general command of guarding the private parts: (a) wives, (b) women who are legally in ode's possession, i.e. slave-girls. Thus the verse clearly lays down the law that one is allowed to have sexual relations with one's slave-girl as with one's wife. the basis being possession and not marriage. If marriage had been the condition, the slave-girl also would have been included among the wives, and there was no need to mention them separately. Some modern commentators, who dispute the permissibility of having sexual relations with the slave-girl, argue from An-Nisa' (IV) : 25 to prove that one can have sexual relations with a slave-girl only after entering wedlock with her, because that verse enjoins that if a person cannot afford to marry a free Muslim woman, he may marry a Muslim slave-girl. But these commentators have a strange characteristic: they accept a part of a verse if it suits them, but conveniently ignore another part of the same verse if it goes against their wish and whim. The law about marrying the slave-girls as enunciated in IV :25 reads: "....you may marry them with the permission of their guardians and give them their fair dowries." Obviously the person under reference here is not the master of the slave girl himself but the person who cannot afford to marry a free Muslim woman, and therefore, wants to marry a slave-girl, who is in the possession of another person. For if the question had been of marrying one's own slave-girl, who would then be the "guardian" whose permission would have to be sought? Then, the interpretation they give of this verse contradicts other verses dealing with the same subject in the Qur'an. A sincere person who wants to understand the Qur'anic law in this regard should study An-Nisa' (IV); 3, 25; AI-Ahzab (XXXIII): S0, 52, and Al-Ma`arij (LXX): 30 together with this verse of Al-Mu'minun. (For further explanation, see E.N. 44 of An-Nisa).
(2) The law prescribed in the parenthesis is only applicable to men as is clear from the Text. A woman in the time of Hadrat `Umar did not understand this fine point of the language and indulged in sexual gratification with her slave. When her case was brought before the consultative body of the Companions, they gave the unanimous decision: "She misinterpreted the Book of Allah" Nobody should entertain the doubt that if this exception is meant for the men only, how could then the husbands become lawful for the wives? This doubt is unjustified because when the husbands are exempted from the command of guarding their private parts in regard to their wives, the wives automatically stand exempted from the command with regard to their husbands, and there is no nerd to grant them exemption separately. Thus the command of exemption remains applicable and effective only in respect of the man and the woman legally in his possession, and the slave becomes unlawful for the woman possessing him. The wisdom of why the slave has been forbidden to the woman is that he can only satisfy her sexual desire but cannot become guardian and governor of herself and her household, which leaves a serious flaw in the family life.
(3) The sentence ".... but those who go beyond this (in lust for sexual desire), shall be transgressors" has made satisfaction of sex desire in other ways unlawful, whether it be through fornication, homosexuality, sex gratification with animals, or some other means. The jurists differ only with regard to masturbation. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal regards it as lawful, but Imams Malik and Shafi`i regard it as absolutely unlawful: and though the Hanafites also regard it as unlawful, they give the opinion that if a person indulges sometimes in masturbation under the fit of passion, it is expected that he will be forgiven the error.
(4) Some commentators have proved the prohibition of Mut ah (temporary marriage) from this verse. They argue that the "woman with whom one has entered into wedlock temporarily, can neither be regarded as a Wife nor a slave-girl. A slave-girl obviously she is not, and she is also not a wife, because the legal injunctions normally applicable to the wife are not applicable to her. She neither inherits the man nor the man her; she is neither governed by the law pertaining to `Iddah (waiting period after divorce or death of husband), divorce, subsistence, nor by that pertaining to the vow by man that he will not have conjugal relations with her, false accusation, etc. She is also excluded from the prescribed limit of four wives. Thus, when she is neither a "wife" nor a "slave-girl" in any sense, she will naturally be included among those "beyond this", whose seeker has been declared a "transgressor" by the Qur'an.
This is a strong argument but due to a weakness in it,-it is difficult to say that this verse is decisive with regard to the prohibition of Mut`ah. The fact is that the Holy Prophet enjoined the final and absolute prohibition of Mut ah in the year of the conquest of Makkah, but before it Mut ah was allowed according to several authentic traditions. If Mut 'ah had been prohibited in this verse, which was admittedly revealed at Makkah, several years before the migration, how can it be imagined that the Holy Prophet kept the prohibition in abeyance till the conquest of Makkah? The correct position therefore is that prohibition of Mut ah is not based on any express law of the Qur'an but is based on the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. Had it not beep prohibited by the Sunnah, it would have been difficult to declare it as prohibited only on the authority of this verse.
It would be worth-while to clarify two other points in connection with Mut'ah: (a) lts prohibition is based on the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and therefore it is wrong to say that it was prohibited by Hadrat 'Umar. As a matter of fact, Hadrat `Umar only enforced it as a law of Islam and publicised it among the people. This had not been done earlier because the Holy Prophet had forbidden Mut 'ah only during the latter part of his worldly life.
(b) The Shiite view that Mut ah is absolutely lawful and permissible has no sanction and support in the Qur'an or Sunnah. The fact is that a few of the Companions, their followers and jurists who regarded it permissible in the early days of Islam, did so only in case of extreme necessity and need. None of them held the view that it was absolutely lawful like marriage and could be practised in normal circumstances. Hadrat `Abdullah bin 'Abbas, who is generally cited as a prominent supporter of the view of permissibility, has himself explained his position thus: "It is just like carrion which is lawful for a person only in extreme necessity." Even Hadrat Ibn 'Abbas had to revise his opinion when he saw that people were abusing permissibility and had started practising Mut ah freely regardless of genuine need and necessity. Again, even if the question, whether Hadrat Ibn '.Abbas and the few likeminded jurists had revised their opinion or not, is ignored, the fact is that the supporters of Mut'ah allow it only in case of extreme necessity. Holding Mut ah as absolutely permissible, practising it without any real necessity, or resorting to it even when one has a legally wedded wife or wives is a kind of licence which is abhorred by good taste, much less it be attributed to the Shari ah of Muhammad (Allah's peace be upon him) and imputed to the learned jurists of his family. I think that among the Shiite Muslims themselves no respectable person would like that somebody should ask for the hand of his daughter or sister not in marriage but for the purpose of Mutah. For if Mutah is held as absolutely permissible, it would imply that there should exist in society a low class of women, like the prostitutes, who should be available for the purpose as and when required, or if not that, Mutah be restricted to the daughters and sisters of the poor stratum of society and the well-to-do be given the freedom and right to exploit them as and when they like. Can such an injustice and discrimination be expected of the Divine Law? And will Allah and His Messenger permit an act which every respectable woman would regard not only disgraceful for herself but shameful, too?
The Believers fulfill the terms of the trusts which are placed in their charge. In this connection it should be noted that the Arabic word amanat is very comprehensive and includes all those trusts which are placed in their charge by Allah or society or individuals. Likewise `ahd includes all those compacts, pledges, and promises which are made between Allah and man, and man and man. The Holy Prophet himself used to impress the importance of the fulfillment of pledges in his addresses: "The one, who does not fulfil the terms of his trust, has no Faith, and the one, who does not keep promises and pledges has no Islam. " (Baihaqi) According to a Tradition reported both by Bukhari and Muslim, he said: Four characteristics are such that if a person has all the four in him, he is beyond any doubt a hypocrite, and the one who has one of these, is a hypocrite to that extent till he gives it up:
(a) When something is placed in his trust, he commits breach of the trust,
(b) when he speaks, he tells a lie,
(c) when he makes a promise, he breaks it, and
(d) when he has a quarrel with somebody, he exceeds all limits (of decency and morality)"
Salawat is plural of Salat. In verse 2 the act of Salat itself was implied, but here the plural number implies the individual Prayers offered in their own times. "They strictly guard their Prayers": they strictly adhere to the prescribed times of the Prayers: they perform them with due regard for their pre-requisites, conditions and articles with clean body and dress and necessary ablutions: they do not regard their Prayers as an unnecessary burden, which has to be cast off somehow: they do not recite mechanically but understand what they recite and are conscious that they are supplicating their Lord like humble servants.
Firdaus (Paradise) is a common word found in almost all human languages in very nearly similar forms. It means a vast garden adjoining the dwelling of a person and enclosed by defence walls and containing all kinds of fruit trees, especially vines: In some languages, the word has the sense of containing pet birds and animals, too. Firdaus was in common use in pre-Islamic Arabic literature. The Qur'an, however, has used it for a plurality of gardens as in Al-Kahf (XVIII) :107. This gives the idea that Firdaus is a vast place containing a great number of gardens, vineyards, etc.
The inheritance of Paradise by Believers has been explained in detail in E.N. 83 of Surah Ta Ha (XX) and E.N. 99 of Surah Al-Anbiya' (XXI).
The substance of this passage may be summed up in four parts for the further understanding of the Surah:
(1) The above-mentioned excellent qualities of the Believers are not confined to any race, nation or country.
(2) These excellences can be attained only by sincere Faith and excellent moral qualities, and by the observance of prescribed laws in all the aspects of life.
(3) True success is not confined to transitory worldly and material prosperity but it comprises both success in this life and in the life after death in the Hereafter, and is attained by sincere Faith and righteous deeds. This is a fundamental principle which cannot be falsified either by the worldly "success" of the evil-doers or by the temporary "failure" of the righteous people.
(4) Let us reiterate that these excellent characteristics of the Believers have been presented as a practical proof of the truth of the Message of the Holy Prophet, for these were the result of its acceptance. This should be kept in mind in the study of the succeeding passages, wherein the same subject has been pursued from different angles. This will also help to show the connection between this and the succeeding passages.