قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۲﴾
قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ
1978. The verse refers to believers of a very high spiritual calibre whose characteristics and special marks have been mentioned in the verses that follow. Such believers will achieve Falah (success) and not only Najah (salvation), because the achievement of Falah is a much higher spiritual stage than the attainment of Najah. (close)
By "the believers" in this verse are meant believers of a very high spiritual caliber whose characteristics and special marks have been mentioned in the following verses. The verse says that the believers will achieve فلاح i.e. success, and not that they will get نجاة i.e. salvation, because the achievement of فلاح (success), which is the object of one’s life, is a much higher stage than the attainment of salvation or نجاة which only signifies getting rid of hardships and privations. (close)
الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ فِیۡ صَلَاتِہِمۡ خٰشِعُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۳﴾
ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ فِي صَلَاتِهِمۡ خَٰشِعُونَ
1979. With this verse begins a description of the conditions or prerequisites which a believer must fulfil before he should aspire to attain success in life and achieve the supreme object for which God has created him. These conditions may be regarded as so many stages in the spiritual development of man. The first stage or milestone in this journey of the human soul is that a believer turns to God in all humility, overawed by Divine Majesty, and with a penitent heart and humbled soul. (close)
2510. Important Words:
خاشعون is the plural of خاشع which is act. part. from خشع which means, he was or became lowly, humble or submissive. They say خشعت الشمس i.e. the sun was about to set. خشع فی صلاته means, he was humble in his prayer. خشوع which is infinitive noun from خشعgenerally signifies humility which is expressed by the movements of the body while تضرع generally signifies humility of the heart. But these words are also used synonymously (Lane & Aqrab).
With this verse begins a description of the conditions or prerequisites which a believer must fulfil before he aspires to attain success in life and achieve the supreme and sublime object for which God has created him. These conditions may be regarded as so many stages in the spiritual development and journey of man. The first stage or milestone in this journey of the soul is that a believer turns to God in all humility, overawed with Divine majesty, and with a penitent heart and humbled soul. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ عَنِ اللَّغۡوِ مُعۡرِضُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عَنِ ٱللَّغۡوِ مُعۡرِضُونَ
b. 25:73. (close)
1980. The second stage consists in the avoidance of all vain talk and thoughts and also of idle, vain and futile actions. Life is a grim and serious fact and a believer must take it as such. He must employ every moment of it usefully and shun all vain and useless pursuits. (close)
b. See 25:73. (close)
2511. Important Words:
اللغو (that which is vain) is derived from لغا and signifies a vain, foolish, worthless or careless talk or speech or that which one utters without seriously meaning it; vain act or an act done carelessly or unthinkingly; deviation from the right path; foolish joking. It covers all vain and foolish thoughts. It is also used for the chirping of sparrows and the sound of other birds (Lane, Aqrab & Muhit). See also 2:226.
The second stage in the spiritual journey of man consists in the avoidance of all vain talk and thoughts and also of idle, vain and futile actions. A true believer not only prays to God in the utmost humility of the heart but takes life very seriously. Life is a grim and serious fact and he takes it as such. He employs every moment of it usefully and shuns all vain and useless pursuits which are incapable of doing any good either to his own person or to his community or country. Incidentally, the avoidance of vain pursuits is the natural and inevitable result of humility in prayer as is evident from another verse of the Quran, viz. "Surely Prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil" (29:46). (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ لِلزَّکٰوۃِ فٰعِلُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۵﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ لِلزَّكَوٰةِ فَٰعِلُونَ
c. 5:56; 9:71. (close)
1981. The object of Zakat is not only to provide means for the relief of the distressed, or for the promotion of the welfare of the economically less favoured sections of the community, but also to discourage the hoarding of money and commodities and thus to ensure a brisk circulation of both, resulting in healthy economic adjustments. (close)
a. 5:56; 9:71. (close)
This verse refers to the third rung of the spiritual ladder. The true believers not only turn to God with utmost humility of the heart and avoid all sorts of vanities and trivialities but actually engage themselves in pursuits that purify them, such as the spending of their valuable time and hard-earned money and employing all the natural capacities and abilities with which God has endowed them, in the cause of truth. They are prepared to undergo all manner of sacrifice. In v. 4 above, the believers are mentioned as avoiding vain and useless things which is at best a negative virtue, and a negative virtue or good is not of a very high order. The present verse, however, points to a positive virtue which consists in the doing of good that should purify oneself and also benefit others and consists in giving money, which one has earned with the sweat of one’s brow, in the way of God. This indeed is a great positive virtue. In fact, Islam regards the share of the poor in the wealth of the rich as the inalienable right of the former and when a rich man discharges the debt that he owes to the poor by paying the Zakah, he does no favour to anybody. He only gives what is due from him. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: "Let no one imagine that his wealth or standing or power is the result merely of his own efforts or enterprise. That is not so. Your power and your position and your wealth are all earned through the poor" (Tirmidhi, Abwabuz-Zuhd).
The object of Zakah is not only to provide means for the relief of the distressed or for the promotion of the welfare of the economically less favoured sections of the community, but it is also to discourage the hoarding of money and commodities and, thus to ensure a brisk circulation of both, resulting in healthy economic adjustments. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ لِفُرُوۡجِہِمۡ حٰفِظُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۶﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ لِفُرُوجِهِمۡ حَٰفِظُونَ
d. 70:30. (close)
a. 70:30. (close)
2513. Important Words:
فروجھم (their chastity) is the plural of فرج (farjun) which is derived from فرج (faraja). فرج الشیء means, he opened the thing so as to make a gap or breach. فرج means, the pudendum or pudenda; the part or parts of a person which it is indecent to expose; or the external portion of the organs of generation of a man or a woman; an open, wide space; the part between the two sides of a valley, i.e. entrance; a frontier of access to a country (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse refers to the fourth stage in the spiritual development of man. It indeed marks a very high stage. The lesson is writ large on the pages of history that many a nation has gone to rack and ruin because they abandoned themselves to immoral practices. Sexual morality plays a very important part in the building up of the national character of a people. Islam is very keen on this point. It regards the guarding of sexual chastity as one of the most sacred duties of a believer. It has closed the door to all those avenues which lead to moral laxity. The word فرج signifies those avenues through which evil thoughts find access to the human heart. It covers all parts and organs of the body, i.e. eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet etc. Islam looks with extreme disfavour upon all those practices which are calculated to excite human passions and which are so popular in the west or among people enamoured of western ways of life.
The verse marks a still higher stage in the spiritual development of man than the one mentioned in v. 5 above. It seems much easier to spend one’s money and property in the way of God, to which reference has been made in the preceding verse, than to overcome one’s carnal passions when they once get excited. Man has suffered more from the gratification of his sensual appetites than perhaps from any other evil. The curbing of carnal desires requires a greater mental discipline than the spending of wealth in good causes. (close)
اِلَّا عَلٰۤی اَزۡوَاجِہِمۡ اَوۡ مَا مَلَکَتۡ اَیۡمَانُہُمۡ فَاِنَّہُمۡ غَیۡرُ مَلُوۡمِیۡنَ ۚ﴿۷﴾
إِلَّا عَلَىٰٓ أَزۡوَٰجِهِمۡ أَوۡ مَا مَلَكَتۡ أَيۡمَٰنُهُمۡ فَإِنَّهُمۡ غَيۡرُ مَلُومِينَ
a. 70:31. (close)
1981A. See 561. (close)
b. 70:31. (close)
2514. Important Words:
ما ملکت أیمانھم (what their right hands possess). أیمان is the plural of یمین which is derived from یمن یمین. They say یمن الرجل i.e. he came from the right hand of the man. یمن اللّٰه فلاناً means, God blessed such a one.
یمین means, good luck; the right hand; power and strength; a covenant confirmed by an oath; a good position. They say فلان عندنا بالیمین i.e. such a one possesses high position with us. An Arab would say ھذا ملک یمینی i.e. he or it is in the possession of my right hand, meaning, he or it is in my possession (Lisan & Aqrab). The expression ما ملکت ایمانھم generally signifies prisoners of war whether men or women, who are in the custody and control of their Muslim captors because they had taken part in a war which was waged to destroy Islam. The term has been used in the Quran in preference to عباد and اماء (slaves and bondwomen) to point to a just and rightful possession. It includes both slaves and bondwomen, but it is only the context which determines what the expression signifies in a particular place. See also 4:25.
Much misunderstanding prevails as to what the expression "their right hands possess" signifies, and what are the rights and status of the persons to whom it applies.
It should be clearly understood that Islam has condemned slavery in unequivocal terms. According to it, it is a mortal sin to deprive a person of his liberty by kidnapping him, i.e. to make him a slave, unless, of course, he renders himself liable to deprivation of it by taking part in a war waged to destroy Islam or an Islamic state. It is also a grievous sin to buy or sell slaves. All human beings as such are equal in the sight of God and enjoy equal human rights. Islamic teaching on this point is quite clear, unequivocal and emphatic. According to it a person who makes another person his slave commits a grave sin against God and man (Bukhari, Kitabul-Bai’ & Abu Dawud as quoted by Fathul-Bari). It is also worthy of note that when Islam came into the world slavery was a part and parcel of the human social system and there existed large number of slaves in every country. It was therefore not feasible, nor even wise, to abolish with a stroke of the pen, an institution which had become so inextricably interwoven into the whole texture of human society, without doing serious injury to its moral tone. Islam, therefore, sought to abolish it gradually but effectively and surely. The Quran has laid down the following very sound principles for the speedy and complete abolition of slavery:
(1) Prisoners of war (i.e. ما ملکت أیمانھم) can only be taken after a regular battle.
(2) They cannot be retained after the war is over.
(3) They are to be set free either as a mark of favour or by exchange of prisoners.
The Quran says:
And when you meet in regular battle those who disbelieve, smite their necks; and when you have overcome them; bind fast the fetters—then afterwards either release them as a favour or by taking ransom—until the war lays down its arms. That is the ordinance (47:5).
Those unfortunate persons however, who, may fail to gain their freedom through any of these means, or should choose to remain with their Muslim masters can purchase it by entering into a contract called mukatabat (24:34). Now if a woman is taken prisoner in a war of the nature mentioned above and thus loses her liberty and becomes ملک یمین and she fails to get her release by exchange of prisoners of war, and the exigencies of government also do not justify her immediate release as a mark of favour, nor do her own people or government get her ransomed and she does not even seek to buy her freedom by entering into mukatabat and her master, in the interest of morality marries her, whether she likes it or not, in what way, it may be asked, can this arrangement be regarded as objectionable and the great hue and cry raised over it as justified or justifiable?
Let it be clearly understood that as regards establishing sexual relations with a female prisoner of war or a slave-wife, which is the real significance of the expression ما ملکت أیمانھم used in the present verse, without first marrying her, neither this nor any other verse of the Quran lends any support whatsoever. Not only does the Quran not give any sanction for the treatment of female prisoners of war as wives without first taking them into proper wedlock, but there are clear and positive injunctions to the effect that these prisoners of war, like free women, should be married if they are to be treated as wives, the only difference between the two being a difference of social status inasmuch as prior consent of prisoners of war to their marriage is not considered necessary as in the case of free women. The fact that the expression ما ملکت أیمانھم signifies female prisoners lends no support whatsoever to the untenable view that Islam has upheld and encouraged concubinage. Besides the present verse, at least in as many as four other verses of the Quran, the injunction has been laid down in clear and unambiguous terms that female prisoners of war should not remain unmarried. These verses are as follows:
1. And marry widows from among you and your male-slaves and female-slaves who are fit for marriage (24:33).
2. And those of you who cannot afford to marry free believing women, let them marry what your right hands possess, namely your believing handmaids—so marry them with the leave of their masters and give them their dowries according to what is fair (4:26).
3. And if you fear that you will not be fair in dealing with the orphans, then marry of women as may be agreeable to you, two or three or four; and if you fear you will not deal justly, then marry only one or (if you cannot afford to marry even one free wife then marry) what your right hands possess (4:4).
The verse may also be rendered as "then marry of women as may be agreeable to you two or three or four or what your right hands possess;" the words "and if you fear you will not deal justly, then marry only one," forming a parenthetical clause. According to this rendering also slave-girls are to be married before they are treated as wives.
4. And marry not idolatrous women until they believe; even a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatrous woman, although she may highly please you (2:222).
The sense being that a believing slave wife should be preferred to a non-believing free wife. The Holy Prophet is also very explicit on this point. He is reported to have said, "He who has a slave girl, and gives her proper education and brings her up in a becoming manner and then frees and marries her, for him is double reward" (Bukhari, Kitabul-‘Ilm). This hadith implies that if a Muslim wishes to have a slave girl as wife, he should first set her free and then marry her. The Holy Prophet’s own practice was quite in harmony with his precept. Two of the Holy Prophet’s wives, Juwairiyyah and Safiyyah, came to him as prisoners of war. They were his ملک یمین. But he married them according to Islamic Law. Mariyah was sent to him by the King of Egypt. He also married her and she enjoyed the status of a free wife like his other wives. She observed "purdah" and was included among "the Mothers of the Faithful."
Another verse of the Quran, viz. O Prophet We have made lawful to thee thy wives whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesses from among those whom Allah has given thee as gains of war, and the daughters of thy paternal uncle, and the daughters of thy paternal aunts, and the daughters of thy maternal uncle, and the daughters of thy maternal aunts who have migrated with thee (33:51), points to the fact that the commandment regarding marriage applies to ما ملکت أیمانکم (whom your right hands possess) as much as it does to daughters of the Holy Prophet’s paternal and maternal uncles and aunts. Both are to be legally wedded before they are treated as wives. All the three categories mentioned above were made lawful to the Holy Prophet through marriage.
The verse 4:25 viz. And forbidden to you are married women, except such as your right hands possess, seems to present some difficulty. But in reality there is no such difficulty. The verse along with its predecessor deals with women whom it is unlawful for a man to marry and among these are included married women. But it makes one exception. Those married women who are taken prisoner in a religious war and then choose to remain with Muslims, can be married to their masters. The fact that they choose not to go to their former husbands is considered as tantamount to the annulment of their former marriage.
It may also be noted in passing that it is not permitted to take in marriage such female relations of a slave as correspond to the relations of a free woman within the prohibited degree. For instance, the mothers, sisters, daughters etc., of a slave wife cannot be taken in marriage. This also shows that the Quranic commandments with regard to marriage and in-laws apply as much to bondwomen as they apply to free women.
It may further be stated here that in view of circumstances obtaining at the time of its revelation the Quran had to make a distinction between the social status of two classes of women. That distinction was expressed by the word زوج (a free woman taken in marriage) and ملک یمین (bondwoman taken in marriage). The former word connotes a sense of equality between husband and wife while the latter implies an inferior status of the wife. The Quran and the Holy Prophet, however, desired and encouraged that bondwomen should first be given full freedom and full status and then married as the Holy Prophet himself did.
Besides, Islam does not allow women taken prisoner in ordinary wars to be treated as wives. This exceptional injunction comes into operation only when a hostile nation wages a religious war against Islam in order to extirpate it and to compel Muslims to abandon their religion at the point of the sword and then treats their prisoners—men and women, as slaves, as was done in the time of the Holy Prophet. At that time the enemy took away Muslim women as prisoners and treated them as bondwomen. The Islamic injunction was thus only a retaliatory measure and served also the additional purpose of protecting the morals of captive women. Those conditions have ceased to exist now. There are no religious wars now and hence no prisoners of war to be treated as slaves and bondwomen. For a fuller note on slavery see 24:34. (close)
فَمَنِ ابۡتَغٰی وَرَآءَ ذٰلِکَ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡعٰدُوۡنَ ۚ﴿۸﴾
فَمَنِ ٱبۡتَغَىٰ وَرَآءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡعَادُونَ
b. 70:32. (close)
a. 70:32. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ لِاَمٰنٰتِہِمۡ وَ عَہۡدِہِمۡ رٰعُوۡنَ ۙ﴿۹﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ لِأَمَٰنَٰتِهِمۡ وَعَهۡدِهِمۡ رَٰعُونَ
c. 70:33. (close)
b. 70:33. (close)
2515. Important Words:
راعون (watchful) is derived from رعی. They say رعی النجوم i.e. he watched the stars. رعی الامر means, he looked after the affair (Aqrab & Lane). See also 2:105.
This verse points to a yet higher stage in the spiritual development of man than the one described in v. 6 above. It means to say that the truly righteous men have full regard for the obligations they owe to God and man. They do not do good deeds cursorily or haphazardly but look to their minutest details with extreme caution and are careful not to overlook different aspects of their actions. They have a punctilious regard for the discharge of their responsibilities and duties. They do not relax in an endeavour to remain true to their trusts and are scrupulously true to the covenants and treaties they make with other people. This is what is signified by the word راعون. Compared to this stage of spiritual evolution the fourth stage at which a believer has complete control over his carnal passions is but a negative virtue. At that stage he only abstains from indulging in vice but in this, the fifth stage, he is always on the lookout to discover the most delicate facets of virtue and tries to act upon them. This is evidently a much higher stage than the one preceding it. (close)
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ عَلٰی صَلَوٰتِہِمۡ یُحَافِظُوۡنَ ۘ﴿۱۰﴾
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عَلَىٰ صَلَوَٰتِهِمۡ يُحَافِظُونَ
d. 6:93; 70:35. (close)
1982. This verse marks the last and the highest stage of spiritual development, when remembrance of God becomes a second nature with the believer, a part and parcel of his being, the solace of his soul. At this stage he takes particular care about acts of collective worship which implies that the national instinct becomes very strong in him and he subordinates individual interests to communal and national good. (close)
a. 6:93; 70:35. (close)
This verse marks the last and the highest stage of spiritual development. Arriving at this stage the spiritual wayfarer almost becomes immune from the possibility of estrangement from his Creator. He basks, as it were, in the sun of God’s love and his soul continues to derive sustenance from the fountainhead of His grace and mercy. He achieves his goal and all fear of faltering or falling disappears. At this stage the worship and remembrance of God becomes a second nature with him, a part and parcel of his being, the solace of his soul. He needs no reminding or exhortation on this account. He feels irresistibly attracted towards his Maker and Creator. At this stage the believer takes particular care about acts of collective worship which implies that national instinct becomes very strong in him and he also tries to rouse and encourage in others love for his community and country and subordinates individual interest to communal and national good. This is the significance of the words والذین ھم علی صلواتھم یحافظون. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said, الصلوة معراج المؤمن i.e. Prayer constitutes the highest stage of the spiritual development of a believer (Ibn ‘Asakir). In the fifth stage mentioned in v. 9 above the spiritual wayfarer was true to his trusts and responsibilities for virtue’s sake. At this, the last stage of his spiritual development, he is true to them for love of God which is manifestly a higher stage. It is when a believer attains to this stage that God descends upon his heart and he becomes at one with Him.
It is significant that the word صلوات (Prayers) has been used in the plural form. It shows that the believers not only are strict in the observance of Prayers themselves but urge their near and dear ones, their dependents and relatives also to be regardful of them. The word یحافظون signifies that they say their Prayers with all the rules and conditions attached to them, viz. (1) they say them regularly and at their appointed hours; (2) they say them in congregation; (3) they say them in a true spirit and with the utmost humility of the heart, not allowing wandering thoughts to spoil them and fully understanding the meanings of the words they utter and (4) they not only say their five daily Prayers but also supererogatory Prayers, particularly the Prayer in the latter part of the night (تھجد). (close)
اُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡوٰرِثُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۱۱﴾
أُوْلَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلۡوَٰرِثُونَ