English - Ma'ariful Qur'an - Mufti Shafi Usmani RA - Vol - 8
Surah Al-Mâ'ûn - 107 : Verses 1 - 7
Pages for Current Surah - Verse/s :-
- Verses 1 - 7: Translation and Commentary: -
(The Small Gifts)
This Surah is Makki, and it has 7 verses
With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful
Verses 1 - 7
Have you seen him who denies the Requital?  So he is the same one who pushes away the orphan.  and does not persuade (others) to feed the needy.  So, woe to those performers of salah,  who are neglectful of their salah,  who (do good only to) show off,  and refuse (to give even) small gifts. 
The Love of the World Causes Nations to Lose Faith and Consign Allah to Oblivion
This Surah denounces some of the evil actions of the pagans and the hypocrites, and it holds out a threat of destruction to those who commit them. If these evil actions are committed by believers, who do not reject the true faith, they are still heinous and gravely sinful, but the threat of chastisement made in this surah does not apply to them. Therefore, verse [107:1] (Have you not seen him who denies the Requital?), as a preamble, makes plain that the person who performs these evil deeds is one who cries lies to the Doom, and thus the warning of punishment mentioned in this Surah is for those who deny the religion and the Day of Judgement. The verse contains a subtle indication that the moral sins condemned in this Surah are far too inconceivable from a believer; only a non-believer or hypocrite would commit them. The morally bad and sinful deeds mentioned here are:  oppressing and insulting the orphan, and being unkind to them;  despite the means, failing to feed the poor or failing to urge others to feed them;  praying [in public only, not in private] only to show the people; and  failing to pay the Zakah [obligatory alms]. These actions are intrinsically bad and gravely sinful, but their commission in the wake of kufr [disbelief] and takdhib [rejection] are even more aggravating, because they attract eternal perdition, which in this Surah is described as wail [heavy affliction or calamity or disaster or destruction].
Verses [107:4-6] (So woe to those performers of salah who are neglectful of their salah,who [do good only to] show off.) These verses describe the characteristics of the hypocrites who used to perform the prayers only to make a display of them to the people and prove that their claim of being sincere Muslims is true. As they do not believe in the obligatory nature of the prayers, they are not regular at them, and they do not observe the prescribed times, but offer them carelessly at the eleventh hour or completely out of time. They perform them only when they must to make a display of them, otherwise they have no place in their lives. The preposition 'an (translated above as 'of) in the prepositional phrase "[neglectful] of their salah" is significant. It indicates that they [the hypocrites] are neglectful of the very concept of salah. This does not refer to the unintentional errors, slips and mistakes that Muslims make in their prayers. The Holy Prophet also made this type of unintentional mistakes in his prayers. The warning of Hell by the expression of wail does not apply to such mistakes. If that was the case, the prepositional phrase would have been fi salatihim [in their prayers] instead of ['an Salatihim [neglectful of their prayers].
Verse [107:7] (And refuse [to give even] small gifts.) The word ma'un literally means 'any small or petty thing' and idiomatically it refers to 'small household articles of common use such as axe, hoe, cooking pot which at the time of need neighbours borrow from one another'.
Anyone who is unwilling to lend such small items is morally a very miserly and mean person. However, in the current verse the word ma'un is taken in the sense of Zakah [obligatory alms] because it is a little amount out of much wealth - only 2 1/2% out of the entire wealth. Majority of the commentators - like Sayyidna 'Ali, Ibn 'Umar, Hasan Basri, Qatadah, Dahhak (R.A) and others - hold the view that ma'un implies Zakah. [Mazhari]. The threat of wail (torment of Hell) can only be for failure to fulfil one's legal obligation. Giving small items to help out one's fellow human beings is a humanitarian and philanthropic gesture that carries much reward in the Hereafter, but it is not an obligation at all, the violation of which could lead to eternal perdition. Traditions reporting that ma'un refers to pots and pans, and other household items of daily use are to show that if a person is reluctant to part with such small items, how will he have the heart to part with 2 1/2% of his wealth? The Traditions purport to say that these people are so narrow-minded that they are not willing to make the least bit of selfless sacrifice for the welfare and well-being of others. They are morally mean, low and miserly in the extreme. Therefore, they do not pay their legal alms. Thus the threat of punishment in Hell-fire is not on account of failure to do one's neighborly acts of kindness, but for failure to pay the legal alms and perhaps for their extreme niggardliness.
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