Sunday, July 26, 2009

Surah Al Baqarah Ayah 43

These verses are addressed towards the People of the Book, but there is something for all of us to learn. We should reflect on where the previous communities went wrong. In the following ayahs there is a tremendous amount of advice. Allah makes 3 commands to the people:

i) Be steadfast in Salah ( "wa aqeemus salah")
ii) pay the alms, give Zakat
iii) make Rukuh with people who make Rukuh.

The first is to establish the Salah. Prayers are a way of lowering oneself towards Allah and praising Him. Literally, the Arabic word "aqeemus" means to straighten. So the prayers also help in straightening ones path towards Allah. We need to be very careful about all the different aspects of Salah, such as the timings, the Qiblah, our purity and the purity of the place we pray in, as well as the purity in our hearts (praying with the right intentions).

All actions have some kind of reaction. Prayers, as well, are supposed to have effects, such as stopping one from doing sinful acts. In a hadith the Prophet (SAW) said the mi'raj (ascension) for a Mu'min is Salah. The unique experience during Salah that are present are unlike any other feeling. If one experiences this deep feeling while praying then they know they are doing it right. Otherwise, more focus is needed in the different aspects. For us non-Arab speakers, it's ideal to also learn the meanings of the various surahs and duas, so that we actually know what we are praying for, and this increases attentiveness.

In Surah Rum, there is an ayah that says, "And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." (Ar Rum: 21) This again comes to show that all forms of worship have some kind of effect. Marriage as well can be a form of worship, and it's effect is tranquility in the heart. If this is not the case in couples then most probably the spouses are not following all of the rules of Islam in their relationship. Obviously, there are ups and downs, but marriage should lead to a general state of peace. Similarly, Salah also has some effects if we pray properly, and this will show that we are doing it the right way. Also, going to the masjid gives you many rewards if you are in a state of wudhu before going there. Every step makes you drop a sin, gain a reward, and raises your rank in Jannah. When you go to the masjid by car you should try to park your car furthest away from the entrance to get more reward for every footstep!

The second command is to give Zakat to the needy. "Zakat" has two meanings. One is "to purify" and one it "to grow". Basically by giving Zakah to the poor and needy, we purify ourselves and our barakah or blessings grows in our own wealth. These is a means of purifying our wealth. If one finds that there is no barakah in their wealth, then there is most probably a problem with the Zakah.

The third command is to make rukuh with those who make rukuh. In the previous Ummahs of other Prophets, the prayers did not have Rukuhs. It is just the Ummah of the Prophet (SAW). So the Bani Israel are told to join the Muslims and make Rukuh in their prayers.

InshaAllah I will continue the rest of the ayahs shortly afterwards. I apologize for the delay in this tafsir!

Jazak Allah Khair.