Some Essential Attributes of a Believer

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

A Short Commentary on Initial Ayats of Surah Al-Mominoon

Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)

“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

  1. Successful indeed are the believers
  2. Who concentrate their attention in humility while performing their salat,
  3. And who keep away from abominations,
  4. And who are disbursers of Zakat,
  5. And who guard their genital parts;
  6. Save from their wives or those under their rightly possession [bondswomen], for then they are not blameworthy,
  7. But who soevercraveth beyond that, such are transgressors.
  8. And who honestly safeguard their trusts and their covenant,
  9. And who are consistent in performance of their salats.
  10. These are the heirs;
  11. Who will inherit Firdaus [the Paradise]. There they will remain forever.”  
[23: AlMominoon]

In the above verses Allah has mentioned seven prerequisites for believers to attain success and well-being.  Anybody who looks for eternal bliss must fulfil these conditions in this mortal life. Those who fulfil these conditions are declared to be the heir of the Firdaus [Garden] where they will lead an eternal life. Here is the ideal success which surpasses all worldly gains and successes.

Believers as mentioned in the above are those who affirm the one-ness of Allah, acknowledge Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as His Messenger, and undertake to abide by the commandments of Allah and His Messenger. Faith and belief in Allah and His Messenger is the bedrock of success and well-being of the believers.  In addition the seven requisites as mentioned in the above ayats are discussed below:

  1. Performance of Salat with due concentration:  The ethos of all prayers prescribed for Muslims is Khushu’ [perfect devotion and concentration] and Khudhu’ [solemn movements of body parts]. One must imbibe full peace, concentration and devotion in carrying out the essential parts of a salat. One should not be distracted by stray thoughts during the performance of a salat.  

It is narrated through Abu Hurairah (RA) that once the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) entered the masjid.  He was followed by a common man who performed his salatthen came to the Prophet and saluted him.  The Prophet greeted him back and told him to perform his salat again, as he had not done it properly.  This happened three times.  The man then said:  By the Being who has deputed you with the right word, I cannot do better than this. Please teach me how to perform salat. The Prophet instructed him thus:  When you stand up for performing a salat recite takbeer, then recite whatever you remember of the Quran. Then genuflect [ruku’], be quiet while in ruku’, rise up from ruku’ and stand still, then prostrate [sujud], remain quiet while in sujud. When you rise up from sujud sit quietly. Do all this properly throughout your salat  [Saheeh Bukhari].

  1. Avoidance of Laghwa: By laghwa is meant whatever is nonsensical, irrelevant or absurd. Our Lord has warned us against indulgence in irrelevant actions whether they are mubahh or ghairmubah. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has aphorised: “A man’s Islam is meticulate only when he avoids what does not concern him” [Tirmidhi].
  1. Discharge of Zakat: The third condition for the success of a Muslim is payment of zakat. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. In the order of obligations zakat comes after salat. In Surah AtTaubah (34-35) Allah has warned of dire consequences for those who do not defray the proper portion of their goods and properties as zakat. He calls upon His Messenger to warn those who do not spend their money in the way of Allah of painful punishment. In another verse the form of this painful punishment has been described in this way: A day will come when this hoarded gold and silver will be melted on fire and then the forehead, sides and the back of the defaulter shall be branded with the burning metal. He will be told that this is the treasure which you had hoarded during his worldly life. Now taste your treasure which you had accumulated for yourself.  Some commentators have opined that this ayat refers to self-purification. That is, the true believers must purify themselves of all reprehensible acts and practices.
  1. Safe guarding of genital parts: The sexual impulse is natural to human beings. The telos of sexuality is procreation and maintenance of human species. Islam has permitted sexual activity between a pair who has been legally married. Therefore Allah has prescribed that except the permitted avenues of satisfaction of sexual needs the sexual organs must be protected against haraam activity [zina]. Allah has further proclaimed that those who cross the permitted limits are the transgressors. In Surah Isra (32) Allah has explicitly forbidden zina. Zina is not limited only to illicit contacts of genital parts. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has said: The eye too indulges in zina. Its zina is [illicit] sighting.”

In today’s modern society marked by permissiveness, sexual liberation and free mixing of the sexes it has become imperative that we avoid free mixing of the sexes and obscenity in accordance with Islamic teachings.

  1. Keeping of trust: An amanat [trust] is anything accepted by a man for safe custody for somebody else. A trust may pertain to the rights of people or the rights of Allah.  So far as rights of Allah are concerned, one should regularly discharge one’s duties and obligations and at the same time avoid the prohibited and abominable acts. The trust in relation to the rights of the people customariloy means the safe-keeping of properties of others.  In addition, keeping the secrets of others is also a trust. To disclose secrets of others without legal justification is regarded as breach of trust and so is dereliction of duty and malfeasance regarded as breach of trust. Therefore, we must avoid breach of trust in all circumstances.
  1. Fulfilment of covenant:  Whether it is called a pledge, a covenant or a contract or a deal it is incumbent upon us that we faithfully carry out the obligations undertaken under a contract. Similarly, one should fulfil his promises made to others.
  1. Regular performance of salat: Successful believers perform their salat five times regularly and with due attention. Allah has proclaimed: “Maintain the salat. Verily salat prevents you from committing obscenities and abominations” [Al‘Ankabut: 45]. Perseverance in the performance of salat is a sure safeguard against sinful acts and evils. Once the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was informed somebbody who used to perform salat at night but committed thefts in day time. He replied that very soon his salat will prevent him from committing evil acts [Ahmad, IbnHabban].

It is worth noting that Allah began the description of the seven requisites of the bellievers with salat and ended it with salat. Here is an indication that timely and proper performance of salat is a vehicle for the implementation of the whole of religion.  Within the Quran the foremest and utmost emphasis has been laid upon the performance of salat. On the Day of Rising the first question asked shall be about salat. It is also noteworthy that all divine commandments were revealed to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) through the medium of the Archangel, Jibril (AS) but the obligation of five-time compulsory prayers was directly communicated to him by God during his Ascension to the heaven.

One must remember that in ayats 10 and 11 of the Surah the believers who fulfil the seven requirements have been declared as the heirs of the Garden of Firdaus. The term warith [heir] here is meaningful. Just as in ordinary life an heir is certain to inherit the legacy bequeathed to him in the same way the bearers of the seven virtues are bound to enter the Garden of Firdaus.

May Allah enable us to lead our lives in accordance with the seven prescribed requirements and make us heirs of the Garden of Firdausi! Amen! 

Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi

(www.najeebqasmi.com)

najeebqasmi@gmail.com

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