English - Ma'ariful Qur'an - Mufti Shafi Usmani RA - Vol - 1
Surah Al-Baqarah - 2 : Verse 177
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A careful look at the text of the verse will show that those on whom wealth has to be spent, that is, the relatives, orphans, the needy, the wayfarer and those who ask, have all been described in one distinct manner, while the last head on the list has been introduced in another manner. It is clear that by adding : fi in: " And (spends) in (freeing) slaves" the purpose is to point out that the amount spent will not reach the hands of the slaves owned by somebody as their personal amount which they can spend at will. Instead, the amount has to be spent in buying slaves from their masters and setting them free. Hence, the translation: 'And (spends) in (freeing) slaves.' After that, the statement, : "And observes the prayers and pays the Zakah" appears in the same manner as everything else has been mentioned earlier. Now, in order to introduce the chapter of dealings, the style has been changed. And instead of using verbs, the nouns have been used. This denotes that one should have a continuing habit of fulfilling promises made. A chance fulfillment of a compact, something even a disbeliever or a sinner would accomplish once in a while is not enough to qualify a person for being included in the list.
The reason why the keeping of promises has been chosen to represent dealings with people is simple. A little thought would show that staying by a contract entered into or the fulfilling of a promise made, is the essence of all dealings, such as buying and selling, leasing, renting and partnership.
Similarly, while referring to the moral principles or the inner deeds, only sabr (patience) is mentioned in the verse, because sabr means to control the human self and guard it against evil. Even a little reflection can lead to the conclusion that sabr is the very essence of all inner deeds; through it, high morals can be achieved and through it, low morals can be eliminated.
Yet another change in style made here concerns the use of the word and not on the pattern of which appeared immediately earlier. Commentators call it : nasb 'ala l'madh which means that the word madh (praise) is understood here and the word al-sabirin is its object. This means that among the righteous, the sabirin (the patient) are worthy of special praise since sabr gives one special power to perform righteous deeds.
In short, this verse holds in its fold important principles of all departments of Faith and its eloquent hints tell us the degree of importance of each one of them.
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