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      Tafseer - Explanation of the Qur'aan



Tafseer of Soorah al-Hujarat 

verses 1 to 3   |   verses 4 to 7   |   Verses 8 - 10

VERSE 1 - 
"O Believers, do not put (yourselves) forward (hasten not to decide) in Allah and His Messenger's (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) presence but instead fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing."


The presence of Allah and His Messenger - One is in the presence of Allah, when the Qur'aan is recited and likewise one is in the presence of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) when his Hadeeths are mentioned. Thus, the presence of Allah and His Messenger is the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. [Ibn Katheer vol. 4, p.315]

And forwardness in their presence would be interpreting the Qur'aan and the Sunnah by other than what has been taught by the Messenger of Allah or giving one's own opinion precedence over the commands of Allah (Qur'aan) and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) (Sunnah).

A Believers Manhaj (way) - When clear proofs and evidences from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah are presented to the Believer, he submits to them giving up all his or hers mistaken concepts. Allah says: "The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah (His Words: the Qur'aan) and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to judge between them, is that they say: 'We hear and we obey'. They are those who will attain success." [Soorah an-Noor (24): 51]

Whereas, the Manhaj of an innovator is that he makes up his own concepts and practices and then tries to make the religion comply with his ideas - by unintentionally making false interpretations of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah or claiming them to be the practices of his forefathers. He is no better then those regarding whom Allah says: "Then do you believe in a part of the Book and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Judgement, they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do." [Soorah Al-Baqarah (2): 58]


VERSE 2 - 
"O you who Believe! Raise not your voices in the presence of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) nor speak aloud to him in talk as you speak loud to one another, lest your deeds may be rendered fruitless, while you perceive not."

Revelation - Narrated Az-Zubayr
(radhi allahu anhu): "When a delegation from tribe of Tameem came to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), Abu Baqr (radhi allahu anhu) suggested to the Prophet that al-Qa'qaa ibn Ma'bad (radhi allahu anhu) be sent to meet them and Umar ibn Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) that al-Aqra bin Qays (radhi allahu anhu) be sent instead. Abu Baqr was irritated by Umar's counter proposal so he turned to Umar (radhi allahu anhu) and said: "You only said that to contradict me" Umar in turn replied that he did not do it to be contrary. A quarrel aroused and both of them raised their voices to such a level that the Prophet's voice was drowned out. Allah then revealed the verse "O you who Believe! Raise not your voices in the presence of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)..."

As explained earlier, here too the meaning derived from: 'in the presence of Allah's Messenger
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam)' are the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). [as explained by Ibn Abbass (radhi allahu anhu) (Ibn Katheer)]. According to the interpretation of Ibn Abbass (radhi allahu anhu), this verse indicates that when the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) reaches a Muslim, he should not reject or neglect it claiming that his forefathers worked out in a different way.

NOTE - It should be noted that it was forbidden to raise one's voice in the presence of Prophet Muhammad
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam), while he was living, and it forbidden to raise one's voice at the grave of Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in Madeenah, now that he is dead. 

It has been narrated that the great Caliph, Umar ibn Khattab
(radhi allahu anhu) once he heard two men raising their voice in the Prophet's Masjid, so he asked them: "Do you realize where you are?" But before they could answer, he asked them, "Where are you both from?" They replied they were from Taaif. He then said to them: "If you had said that you were from Madeenah, I would have given you both severe lashes for raising your voices in the masjid of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)" [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

Cure for Disagreement and Disunity among Muslims - 

The revelation of this verse helps in realizing and understanding that the cure for disputes and disagreement among the Muslims is the adherence to the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. It is emphasized in details in the verse: "And if you disagree about anything you should refer it to Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), if you believe in Allah and the Last Day." [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 59]

After the death of Prophet Muhammad
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam), this verse applies to the Qur'aan and the Sunnah as the basis of all decisions. It is also important that the decision be accepted completely by the heart, tongue and the limbs because Allah says: "By Allah, they do not truly believe until they make you (O Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)) the judge in disputes between them, without finding within themselves any resistance to your decision but instead accepting them completely" [Soorah An-Nisaa (4): 65]

Because his
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) speech was divinely guided: "Nor does he speak of (his own) desires. It is only an inspiration that is inspired." [Soorah an-Najm (53): 3]

Allah then warns that one might loose all his good deeds, due to disrespect to the Messenger of Allah
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) or his Sunnah, without he knowing it. Also, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: "A man may inadvertently speak a word pleasing to Allah because of which Paradise is destined to him, and another may recklessly speak a word displeasing to Allah because of which he will be cast in the Hellfire, further then the distance between heaven and the earth." [Saheeh al-Bukharee v.8, p.322, no.485]

He also said: "O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and make not vain your deeds." [Soorah Muhammad (47): 33]

We Learn - Morals 

Anger -
 

The Messenger of Allah
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) advised the Muslim Ummah to avoid anger and bad language. He once repeated the command: "Do not get angry" thrice. [Saheeh Bukharee v.8, p.88, no. 137]

And: "The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe." [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

He
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) also said: "The signs of a hypocrite are four and anyone who possesses one of them possesses a characteristic of Nifaaq (hypocrisy) until he abandons it. When he is entrusted he betrays his trust, when he talks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he quarrels he uses foul (bad language) words" [Saheeh al-Bukharee v.1 p.32-33, no. 33, Muslim v.1, p.40, no.111, and Abu Dawood v.3, p.1313, no.4671]

The ill feeling produced by arguments may last forever and spoil the Muslim unity. Hence, Islam has completely prohibited this ill behavior for Muslims on the tongue of Prophet Muhammad
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam), he said: 

"It is not allowed for a Muslim to cut off his relations with his Muslim brother for more than three nights by turning away from each other whenever they meet. And the best of them is the one who greets (Salaams) to the other - first." [Saheeh Bukharee v.8, pp.64-65, no.100]

Loud Voices 

Raising the voice is a sign of bad character, and Islam has abandoned such ill manners. Allah recalls the saying of Luqman
(alaihi as-salaam): "Lower your voice, (my son) for verily, the most detestable (hateful) voice is the braying of a donkey." [Soorah Luqmaan (31): 19]

Furthermore, Allah's Messenger
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) referred the raising of voices as being among the signs of the Last Day and said: "Voices will be raised loud in the masjids and the tribes will be lead by their most sinful members" [At-Tirmidhee]

And he
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) advised: "If you get angry, be quiet!" [Adaab al-Mufrad]


VERSE 3 - 
"Surely, those who lower their voices in the presence of Allah's Messenger
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) are the ones whom Allah has tested their hearts for Taqwa (piety). Forgiveness and a great reward will be theirs."

Here, Allah informs the believers that if they lower their voices in the presence of Allah's Messenger
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam), then they will be considered to have passed the test of piety, thereby, earning His forgiveness and the reward of paradise. 

A Test of Taqwa (Piety)

Following the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) - According to the Tafseer of Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) in which the presence of Allah's Messenger is interpreted as his (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) Sunnah, then this test can only be achieved through submission to Allah's Messenger. Thus, if a believer has practices and ideas that contradict the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), then he should lower his voice by submitting to the truth. 

And if he does so, then he will have passed the test of piety and proved his belief in the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam), because the second half of the testimony - "Muhammadur Rasool-Allah" obligates the obedience to Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). And Allah says: "Whatsoever the Messenger gives you take it and whatsoever he forbids you refrain from it." [Soorah al-Hashr (57): 7]

Thus, this verse emphasizes the importance and obligation of following the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and giving his Sunnah precedence over one's own desires and habits. 

Choice between Good and evil 

Another general explanation of this verse was given by Umar Ibn Khattab (radhi allahu anhu), when he was asked whether a man who never desired evil nor did he do it, was better than one who desired it but did not do it. He replied: "Surely, those who desire sin and do not commit it are the ones whom Allah has tested their hearts for Taqwa. Forgiveness and a great reward will be theirs" [Musnad Ahmad]

Also, the Messenger of Allah
(sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "Whoever intends to do a bad deed and chooses not to do it, will have good deed recorded for him." [Saheeh al-Bukharee v.8, p.329, no: 498 and Saheeh Muslim v.1, p.75, no: 237]

Thus, this verse also refers to those who are tempted to commit acts of disobedience and choose to do the right. All such people have passed the test of Taqwa.

It hurts us to see people die on Shirk