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Interpretation of Sura Hud - Verses 114-115

114. " And establish the prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night; verily the good deeds remove evil deeds. That is a reminder for the mindful. "

115. " And be patient(and steadfast); for verily Allah does not waste the reward of the righteous(ones). "


Prayer and Steadfastness

These two verses point to two of the most important Islamic instructions that embody the spirit of Islam and shape its foundation. At first, the Qur'an commands us to establish the prayers, declaring that we must keep our prayers at both ends of the day and at the time of nightfall. The apparent meaning of the phrase/ tarafay- in- nahar/(on both sides of the day )is the morning and evening prayers and/ zulaf/ is in keeping with the/ 'i a'/( the prayer of nightfall). In the meantime, as the midday prayer and the afternoon prayer have been explained in other verses, they have not been repeated here. However, according to one quotation, they are also mentioned in this verse as well, though this verse does not aim at explaining all the daily prayers. The verse says:

" And establish the prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night; ..."

Afterwards, to specifically stress the importance of the daily prayers, and other rituals, acts of worship and the performance of good deeds in general, it declares that good conduct nullifies evil acts. The verse continues saying:

"... verily the good deeds remove evil deeds. ..."

This is a reminder for those who try to lend ears to such matters. It says:

"... That is a reminder for the mindful. "

The above verse, like some other Qur'anic verses, illustrates the influence of good deeds in removing the evil effect of evil deeds. Good deeds, which have their origin in Divine motives, bestow purity and beauty upon the human spirit which may wipe out the effects of sin from it, turning the darkness of sins into light.

The Extraordinary Importance of Prayers

In the numerous narrations from the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) and the immaculate Imams(a.s.) which concern the above verse, one easily finds interpretations which unveil the extraordinary importance of prayers in Islam.

Ali(a.s.) is quoted as saying: "The Prophet(p.b.u.h.) and I were waiting for our prayers inside the mosque when a man stood up saying: "O Messenger of Allah! I have committed a sin. " The Prophet(p.b.u.h.) turned his face away from him. When the prayers ended, the same man stood up and repeated the same sentence. The Prophet(p.b.u.h.) said: "Have you not joined us in prayer And have you not done your ablutions well for it ?" The man answered: "Yes". He said: "This is an atonement for your sin." 51

The sublime Prophet(p.b.u.h.) said: "At the times of prayer, an angel is certain to say: 'O people! Stand up and put out the Fire you have lit( against your selves), by means of your prayers. '" 52

And the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) also said: "The five daily prayers are like a stream running in front of your houses. Once you wash yourselves five times a day in that stream, you will be clean of all pollution.(It is the same as cleaning your soul from all kinds of pollution by establishing your five daily prayers.)" 53

However, prayer insures man who has committed sinful acts, by wiping his heart clean of the dust of sin.?2 ? Ali ibn Abi Talib(a.s.) said: "Whenever man is in the state of prayer, his body, clothes, and whatever is found around him engage in giving glory of Allah. " 54

Prayer enables one's potentialities to flourish in the depths of his soul. It also strengthens one's will, purifies his heart and cleans up his spirit.

Prayer in this way can be a superior school of education, provided that it is not just treated as a series of rituals in form without substance.

Following the human shaping schedule of prayer, and the description concerning the impact of the virtues upon the vices, the Qur'an commands perseverance in this verse, saying that we should stay patient, for Allah does not spoil the rewards of those who act with righteousness. The verse says:

" And be patient(and steadfast); for verily Allah does not waste the reward of the righteous(ones). "

All of this means that performing decent acts is not possible without patience and perseverance.

The Qur'anic term/ s abr/ includes all aspects of forbearance against difficulties, oppositions, harms, emotions, outrage and disasters.

Patience and perseverance is a fundamental general principle which is sometimes coupled in the Qur'an with prayers. It is perhaps for the reason that prayer enables man to move and it ordains him to have patience and perseverance. And these two, that is 'movement' and resistance, when coupled with each other, are the main factors for victory. Finally, let us focus upon the most hopeful of the verses of the Qur'an: Had rat Ali(a.s.) coming upon a group in discussion asked them: "Do you know which is the most hopeful of the verses of the Qur'an " In response, everyone named one verse which suited his own mood.

?Some suggested the verse, which says: "Verily Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that, " 55 means that Allah forgives all sins except idol worship.

Others were of the opinion that the verse in question is the one which says: "And whoever does evil or acts unjustly to his own self, then seeks forgiveness of Allah, shall find Allah forgiving, Merciful" 56 This verse means that he who is a wrongdoer and a tyrant, if he asks for forgiveness, and apologizes, he will find Allah compassionate and merciful.

?Still others cited the holy verse declaring: "Say: 'O My servants who have acted extravagantly against their own selves! Do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; verily He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. " 57

Others were of the opinion that it was the verse saying: "And those who, when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their selves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins and who forgives the sins except Allah ? -And they(the pious)do not knowingly persist in what they have committed. " 58 Meaning that those who have committed an evil act, oppressing themselves, think of Allah and ask forgiveness from Him, and who is there to forgive sins except Allah ?

After hearing all those views, Had rat Ali said: "I heard from my dear one, the Prophet of Allah(p.b.u.h.) , who said: "I hope to a verse in the Book of Allah, which says: " And establish the prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night; verily the good deeds remove evil deeds. That is a reminder for the mindful. " Then the Prophet(p.b.u.h.) continued: 'O Ali! By the One Who appointed me as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner towards people. Whenever a person makes ablution for prayer, his sins will fall off; and when he turns toward Qiblah he will become purified. O' Ali! The example of the daily prayers resembles one who washes himself in a stream in front of his house, fives times every day. " 59

Notes :

(51) The commentary of Majma'- ul- Bayan, concerning this verse.

(52) Bihar, vol. 82, p. 209

(53) Kanz- ul- Ummal, vol. 7, Hadith 18931

(54) Bihar, vol. 82, p. 213

(55) Sura An- Nisa, No. 4, verse 48

(56) Ibid, verse 110

(57) Sura Az- Zumar, No. 39, verse 53

(58) Sura 'Al- i- 'Imran verse 135

(59) Majma'- ul- Bayan, the commentary, and Kanz- ud- Daqayiq.

Adopted from the book : "The Light of the Holy Qur'an; Interpretation of Surah Hud" by : "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars"

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