By Osman Umarji
This madani surah is well known for its in depth details on social and family law, particularly the laws of inheritance. However, it is full of heart shakers and awakeners. SubhanAllah, after reading and hearing the surah, I came to the realization about one thing concerning family law and the rights’ of women; that is that people in the world in including Muslims completely take for granted the sweeping changes Islam made in this regard. The surah reminds me of just how deep the changes made by Islam are in the world today, yet we don’t really realize that it was all done by Islam. For example, the surah clarifies that not only are women not to be inherited, but they also have a right to inherit. This was a change that completely shook the social values of the Arabs and the region. We should think about this, amongst all the other major social diseases that Islam fixed, and thank Allah for this perfect way of life.
In ayah 43, we find an ayah that was later abrogated, but nonetheless has quite a profound thought in it. “O Believers, do not approach prayer while you are drunk until you are able to understand what you are saying…” I think many of you will say “how is this applicable to me, I don’t drink”, but think for a second. One of the wisdoms mentioned about why alcohol and Salah don’t go together is because when one is drunk one cannot comprehend the words of Allah. Think for second…how many of us are SOBER, but still do not understand or comprehend what we read??? SubhanAllah, the Quran was meant to be read to comprehend and practice, but somewhere down the line we were taught just read it for its’ blessing and don’t try to understand it. This is an absolutely ridiculous notion and we should all strive to read the translations, tafseers, and other explanations on how to live the ayaat. Is that not what the Prophet was? A Quran walking upon the earth.
A few pages later we come across one the fundamentally most important ayahs in the Quran. Allah swears by Himself that “They will not have complete imaan until they make you (Mohammad) the judge in all their disputes, and then they will not find any displeasure in their hearts to how you have judged, and they will accept with the fullest conviction.” (4:65)
This ayah is so deep. It ties the completion and perfection of our belief to our willingness to submit to the words and decisions of Rasool Allah. In reality, this ayah is scary because it means that we must seek to perfectly practice the sunnah in our lives and if we ever have a disagreement with someone regarding any Islamic matter, then we refer to the hadith to judge between us. This may be in matters of transactions, fiqh, or worship. This ayah is very humbling because it makes us put our intellects and egos below the commands of our Prophet. This may sound simple, but in reality this requires a lot of internal struggle. Furthermore, not only must we submit to the decision of our Prophet, but we must fully be satisfied and content with it. Have we reached this level of imaan? I know one way that can help. Once we open the books of seerah, the decision to submit to his decisions becomes very easy and comfortable, and we will truly learn that he was a mercy to mankind.
The surah then goes on to discuss some concepts related to jihad and struggling for the sake of Allah. Allah cites an ayah that mentions people who stay back and don’t struggle out of fear of getting hurt or falling into difficulties. Allah says that when they see good coming to those who struggled that they will say “Oh how I wish that I had been with them, then I would have been really successful.” (4:73)
This ayah struck me hard, because there are so many good Islamic endeavors and projects in our communities and universities. This is a reminder to get involved as much as I can, in a focused manner to be of utmost service to the ummah. The saddest thing would be for any of us to feel regret over something we could have done if we had a little will power and passion to work for Allah. How many programs, projects, and opportunities have slipped by our hands in which all those involved reaped huge rewards from Allah and we watched and wished we were a part of them. Let’s make a pact with Allah that we won’t let this happen again. It reminds of that Sahabi would had a chance to be one the first companions but rejected the dawah until 10+ years later. He thought back “Had I accepted Islam then, I would have been of the first Mulims.” May Allah allow us to take advantage of every opportunity, so that we can truly be successful.
Allah returns to discussing imaani topics after completing the portion on jihad. Many of the ayahs in this later portion are heart shakers, but ayah 114 hit me hardest. “There is no good in many of your private discussions; except who pushes for giving charity or doing good or who seeks reconciliation between people. Whoever does that seeking the pleasure of Allah, then We will give them a great reward.” (4:114)
I ask Allah to forgive me for not practicing this ayah fully. How many discussions can we count in which we wasted time, talked about nonsense, spoke ill about others, and did nothing productive? This is ayah is unbelievable. Allah is calling us out for running our tongues without mentioned anything good. From now on, lets try to make all our discussions based on the following that will bring us great reward, success, and the pleasure of Allah:
1. Urging one another to spend our time, wealth, energy for Islam
2. Speaking about and doing good deeds
3. Seeking to reconcile between our brothers and sisters who have issues
This is what Allah is reminding us. That any private conversation outside of these points has little to no value in it. The bottom line we should learn from this verse is to control our tongues.
May Allah make us amongst those whose gatherings are of benefit and pleasing to Him.