It was during our days at Ahmadiyya,( now Anwar-Ul-Islam) Grammar School, Eleiyele, Ibadan, that Ayat 9-11 of Surah Jumu’ah, Quran 62., were made very memorable as it had to be read every Friday morning at the school assembly. Today we shall attempt a Tafsir of these ayat.
O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah. And celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.But when they see some bargain or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave thee standing. Say: “The (blessing) from the Presence of Allah is better than any amusement or bargain! And Allah is the Best to provide (for all needs).”(Quran 62:6-11)
In these ayah Allah (swt) brings a specific example of a time when every believer has to choose between Allah (swt) and the life of this world. Also note that Allah (swt) refers to Salatul Jumuah as the “remembrance of Allah”. Although we should always remember Allah (swt) always but, in Salatul Jumuah there is something extra which is the Huthba that the Imam gives. It tends to emphasise the need to remember Allah and be closer to him. There are many benefits in remembering Allah always. Among those that have been noted are the following: –
- Remembrance of Allah aims at growing closer to Allah. ‘Almighty Allah says, I am with my slave when he thinks of Me and I am with him when he mentions Me. For if he mentions Me to himself, I have mentioned him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in a gathering, I have mentioned him in a superior gathering. If he approaches Me by a hands width, I approach him by arms length; and if he approaches Me with and arm’s length, I approach him by a miles length. And if he comes to Me walking, I hasten to him swiftly.’[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
- Remembrance of Allah revives the heart and gives it strength. The Prophet said: ‘He who remembers his Lord and he who does not remember his Lord are like the living and the dead.’
- Remembrance of Allah leads to the shade of Allah on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet said, ‘Seven kinds of people will be under the shade of Allah [on the Day of Resurrection], when there is no shade but Allah’s,and mentioned a person who remembers Allah.
- Remembrance of Allah is a protection from the hard life in the world and blindness on the Day of Judgment. The Qur’an says,
‘But whosoever turns away from My remembrance, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.’ He will say: ‘O my Lord! why hast Thou raised me up blind, while I had sight [before]?’ [Allah] will say: ‘Thus didst Thou, when Our Signs came unto you, disregard them: so wilt thou, this day, be disregarded. (Quran 20:124-126)
- 5. Remembrance of Allah is a protection from hellfire on the Day of Judgment. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] said, ‘Shall I tell you about a protection from fire? They, ‘yes.’ He says, ‘The uttering of the words: ‘Subhana Allah [Allah is free from imperfection], Al-hamdu lillah [all praise is due to Allah], La ilaha illallah [there is no true god except Allah] and Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest] …’
- Remembrance of Allah restrains evil actions and prevents shameful deeds just as prayer does. The Qur’an says,
Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish Regular Prayer: For Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do (Quran 29:45)
- Remembrance of Allah is a reason for forgiving the sins, getting high status and great reward. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Allah Almighty has angels who travel the highways and by-ways seeking out the people of dhikr. When they find people remembering Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, they call out to one another, ‘Come to what you hunger for!’ and they enfold them with their wings stretching up to the lowest heaven. Their Lord – who knows best – asks them, ‘What are My slaves saying?’ They say, ‘They are glorifying You, proclaiming Your greatness, praising You and magnifying You.’ He says, ‘Have they seen Me?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, they have not seen You.’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see Me?’ They say, ‘If they were to see You, they would worship You even more intensely and magnify You even more intensely and glorify You even more intensely.’ He says, ‘What are they asking for?’ They say, ‘They are asking You for the Garden.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ They say, ‘No, by Allah, O Lord, they have not seen it.’’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would yearn for it even more strongly and seek it even more assiduously and would have an even greater desire for it.’ He says, ‘What are they seeking refuge from?’ ‘They are seeking refuge from the Fire.’ He says, ‘Have they seen it?’ He says, ‘How would it be if they were to see it?’ They say, ‘If they were to see it, they would flee from it even harder and have an even greater fear of it.’ He says, ‘I testify to you that I have forgiven them.’ One of angels says, ‘Among them is so-and-so who is not one of them. He came to get something he needed.’ He says, ‘They are sitting and the one sitting with them will not be disappointed.’’ (Agreed upon)
- Remembrance of Allah will increase reward in the scale. Abu Hurayrah narrated: The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] said, ‘There are two statements that are light for the tongue to remember, heavy in the Scales and are dear to he Merciful: ‘Subhana Allahi wa bihamdihi, Subhana Allahil-Azim [Glory be to Allah and His is the praise, [and] Allah, the Greatest is free from imperfection].’[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Allah (swt) tells us that when the Salah is completed, then we should go out in the land and seek for ourselves from the bounties of Allah (swt). It’s like us saying. “O Allah, I have responded to your call and performed the Salah that you prescribed for me as an obligation, and now I am going out as you commanded me in search of livelihood. So grant me my livelihood out of our grace and you are the best of giver of sustenance”. We have to work hard in this world to seek the sustenance from Allah (swt). Only in paradise can we simply relax and have all of our food and provisions come to us with no effort. In the life of this world, Allah (swt) has mandated that all of us must work hard to seek His (swt)’s Fadl. This is true for the animals, it is true for disbelievers and it is true for the Muslims as well. The Yoruba aphorism comes to mind when they say, ‘Ojo’ku lojo‘sinmi’, ‘until death that rest comes’.
For some Muslims all that they can think about is gaining the provisions of this world. They wish to spend all of their time and effort to acquire as much wealth as possible. They forget the hadith of the Prophet (saw) where he said that we should be in this world as if we are a traveller. A traveller does not seek too many provisions, he only looks for what can sustain him on his journey and what will get him to his destination. Our destination is the paradise of Allah (swt) and His (swt)’s pleasure. That is the goal that we must always focus and that is what we must strive to achieve.
However bearing that in mind we must also prevent ourselves from becoming like the other extreme of some Muslims who completely renounce everything from this world. They say that to live a life of poverty and hunger is a sign of piety and closeness to Allah (swt). Those Muslims should be reminded of this ayah where Allah (swt) is telling us to go out and seek of the Fadl of Allah (swt). So we see that both extremes are wrong. We must not be concerned only with acquiring wealth and the material things of this world to the extent where we forget Allah (swt) and forget our duty to Allah (swt), and at the same time we must not live a life of poverty and renunciation of the world and think that this is having right. Even though we work to seek the Fadl of Allah (swt), we have to remember however that ultimately Allah (swt) is the Provider of everything that we have. We have to remember that our sustenance has already been written for us even before we were born, how much of food, shelter and clothing that each of us would receive has already been written for us. So we should never think that any of our provisions comes from our own effort. We should not think that anything that we have is because we have worked hard to earn it, rather we should know that everything that we have is only from Allah (swt).
In the final portion of this ayah Allah (swt) says “and remember Allah much that you may be successful”. So Allah (swt) is telling us in this ayah that although we must go out in the world and seek of the Fadl of Allah (swt), we must remember Him (swt) at the same time. When our mind is always remembering Allah (swt) it will prevent us from getting distracted by the life of this world. Then even while we are working, even when while we are doing our business, we will be remembering Allah (swt)
And when they see some trade or some amusement, they disperse towards it and leave you standing. Say “That which is with Allah is much better than amusement or trade, and Allah is the Best of Providers”. (Quran 62:11)
For us, the lesson that we can take from this ayah is that it shows how the life of this world can distract people from the remembrance of Allah (swt). The Prophet (saw) has warned us about how the life of this world has been made sweet and alluring, and how we should beware of it.
We must never allow these material things to distract us from Allah (swt) and the purpose for which Allah (swt) created us. We are reminded, however that,” that which is with Allah (swt) is better than amusement and trade.”
In the final portion of this ayah, Allah (swt) reminds us once again that He (swt) is the Best of Providers. Allah (swt) is the Provider of every single thing that we have. Every drop of water we drink, every morsel of food that we eat, every breath of air that we take, every garment of cloth that we wear, every roof that protects our heads and walls that keep us safe. All of these different forms of sustenance come only from Allah (swt).
May Allah (swt) always provide for everyone in this Ummah everything that they need! May Allah (swt) always keep our focus on Him (swt) and the Hereafter and not on the temporary and fleeting things of this world!
Barka Jumuah and a happy weekend.