“WHEN THEY STAND FOR SALAAH THEY DO SO LAZILY, SHOWING PEOPLE AND THEY DO NOT REMEMBER ALLAH EXCEPT A LITTLE.”

A Short Explanation of Surah Maaoon

Background

In this Surah four evil actions of the disbelievers and hypocrites have been mentioned. The end result of such people will be eternal destruction in Hell-fire.

Muslims who do such evil actions are not eternally damned because their belief in Allah and the day of Qiyaamah will ultimately save them, although they may have to suffer for a certain period of time in Hell-fire. Nevertheless, there is a definite indication in the Surah that it is not appropriate for a Muslim to do any such evil – only a disbeliever can stoop to such a level.

Verse 1: Have you seen the person who denies the day of Recompense?

“Deen” can refer to Islam or to Qiyaamah / Hereafter. Most of the scholars have preferred the second meaning. Allah draws the attention of the reader at the start of the Surah by posing a question: Do you know the qualities of a person who denies the day of Recompense? A question creates a desire in the reader to read on and find an answer to the question.

Verse 2 – 3: He is the one who repels the orphan… … and who does not encourage feeding the poor.

The answer to the question begins here. A denier of the Hereafter has no feelings for those who are less fortunate than him. He therefore behaves harshly towards orphans and is an extreme miser. Let alone him spending on the poor from his wealth, he does not encourage others to do it either.

Verse 4 – 5: Destruction be to those performers of Salaah… … who neglect their Salaah…

The verse does not mean that any person who makes mistakes while performing Salaah is doomed to Hell. No! Islam is not such a harsh religion that punishes people for mistakes.

This verse is, rather, an apt description of the condition of a hypocrite. In order to make people believe that he is a Muslim who performs Salaah. However, because he does not believe in Islam he performs Salaah irregularly and halfheartedly. He regards Salaah as a burden upon himself. Another Quranic verse provides further insight into a hypocrite’s Salaah: “When they stand for Salaah they do so lazily, showing people and they do not remember Allah except a little.” (Surah Nisa, 142)

Verse 6: … who want to be seen…

In addition to his Salaah he does all his other deeds to show people as well. He has no sincerity in his actions. His purpose is to please people rather than please Allah . Regarding this Nabi said: “A person who shows off his actions to people, Allah will disgrace him on the day of Qiyaamah. A person who shows off his good deeds to gain honour in the sight of people Allah will expose his secrets to all creation.”

Verse 7: … and who refuse to give even minor articles!

“Maaoon” literally means a small or insignificant thing that benefits people. In this case, the verse would mean that such people withhold beneficial things from others even though such things will be returned to them.

According to many scholars, however, in this verse “Maaoon” refers to Zakaat. Zakaat has been described using the word “Maaoon” because it is a small amount (2.5%) in proportion to a person’s total wealth. If one takes the meaning of “Maaoon” as an insignificant thing then it would mean that such people are exceedingly miserly; let alone discharging their Zakaat, such people are reluctant to part with even small things of little value.

Lessons

  1. As Muslims we need to be careful that we do not have qualities like the disbelievers and hypocrites. We need to be kind and generous to the poor; we need to perform our Salaah with discipline and concentration and not just for the sake of getting it over with; and we should discharge our Zakaat meticulously.
  2. Eternal damnation and Hell is for the disbelievers and hypocrites. A good Muslim will directly enter paradise. A sinful Muslim will enter paradise after being punished for his sins.
  3. Sincerity of intention should be the core of every action. Good deeds should not be done for name and fame.

Source:  An Explanation of the short Surahs of the Quran By Moulana Afzal Ismail