Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verse 177
177. " It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteous is he who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the Apostles, and for the love of Him gives (of) his wealth, although he likes it, to the kindred, the orphans, the needy, the travellers, beggars and for the (emancipation of) slaves, and keeps up the prayer, and pays the poor-rates (zakat) ; and those who fulfil their promise whenever they make a promise, and are patient in distress, adversity, and in the time of war, these are they who are the truthful (in Faith verbally and actually) and these are the pious ones."
The Faith of a person in Allah causes him to be humble before Him and to stand firm, with no obedience, before tyrants; where the Faith in Resurrection creates eyesight and magnanimity; and Faith in angels refers to the existence of belief in the processes of supernatural including the Faith in revelation, Providence, etc. Faith in prophets is a belief in a straight way and true guidance existing throughout history. It is an evidence leading to the fact that Man has never been aimless and absolutely free in this world. " It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteous is he who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the Apostles, ..."
The Qur'anic phrases: " gives (of) his wealth " indicates the assistance and humanity of believers; " keep up the prayer " refers to the direct link with Allah; " pay the poor-rates (zakat) " leads to planning the social life for solving the problem of different layers of the society; " Those who fulfil their promise whenever they make a promise " strengthens the coherence and connection between people; and the concept of " are patient " is an active factor in Man to become persevering and stable.
"... and for the love of Him gives (of) his wealth, although he likes it, to the kindred, the orphans, the needy, the travellers, beggars and for the (emancipation of) slaves, and keeps up the prayer, and pays the poor-rates (zakat) ; and those who fulfil their promise whenever they make a promise, and are patient in distress, adversity, and in the time of war, these are they who are the truthful (in Faith verbally and actually) and these are the pious ones."
1- This verse is one of the most consistent verses of the Qur'an. It is cited in Al-Mizan, Commentary, that the Messenger of Allah said in a tradition that everyone who acts according to this verse has a complete Faith. 30 2-We should heed the content and essence of the religion rather than to go after the mere mottoes, which hold us back from the main godly aims.
3- The number of those who claim Faith is very large, but the true believers, who follow all the details of this verse, are a particular small group: " These are they who ...".
4- Belief in Allah, Resurrection and revealed Book is mentioned before the fulfilment of the righteous deeds.
5- In this verse, the act of attachment to Allah " Faith in Allah ", and connecting with the poor and deprived people, and also social aids upon accidents and afflictions have been stated together, one after another, in the verse.
6- For reaching a true piety, donation in both obligatory and non-obligatory forms are necessary. There are some people who sometimes help the poor while they do not pay their religious obligatory payments. There are also some other believing people who pay their obligatory payments but are often indifferent to the poor and the deprived. Here , in this verse, the true pious believers are introduced as those who pay both their obligatory alms and recommended donations; as well.
"... and for the love of Him gives (of) his wealth ". Regarding this meaning, that is why that some Islamic narrations say that in the wealth of the rich, besides the poor-rates, there is a portion for the deprived and the poor. 31
And also, the one who goes to bed while he is satiated but someone in his neighbourhood is hungry, has faith neither in Allah nor in the Hereafter. 32
Therefore, to feel responsibility for the hungry people, is a duty on us, whether we have paid the obligatory alms or not.
7- It is necessary to show patience and perseverance in all the followings:
Being patient and firm in facing with poverty and afflictions.
To show patience and endurance in having ailments.
To be patient in battle and at the time of Holy War.
However, patience is the cause of all virtues. So, the Qur'an introduces patience as one of the factors for entering Heaven, where it says: " These shall be rewarded with high places because they were patient, ..." 33 These are given high positions as a reward for the patience they had, while some others are honoured by angels in Heaven with these words: " Peace be on you because you were constant, ..." 34 And, one of the conditions of obtaining the position of Imamate is to be patient, as the Qur'an says: " And We made of them Imams to guide by Our command when they were patient, ..." 35
8- The application of the term /birr/ (righteous) is similar to the application of honey. Whoever or whatever is very sweet and wholesome is likened to honey. Then, whosoever is very good and benevolent is called ' righteous '; viz. , such a one is absolutely a right-doer.
30. Al-Mizan, vol. 1, p. 615 (Persian version)
31. Tafsir-il-Qurtubi, vol. 2, p. 242
32. Usul-i-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 660
33. Sura Furqan, No. 24, verse 75
34. Sura Ar-Ra'd No. 13, verse 24
35. Sura As-Sajdah, No. 72, verse 24
Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Quran - Interpretation of Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"
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