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Showing due respect for Allah’s Messenger ﷺ

Sūrat al-Hujurāt | Verse by Verse

Part 3

“Those who subdue their voices when they are with the Messenger of Allāh” lowering them when speaking to him directly or to others while in his presence out of respect for him (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) “are people whose hearts Allāh has tested for mindfulness (of Him),” selecting them and purifying them, refining them and separating the pure from the filth,[1] and making them a home for taqwā.[2] “They will have forgiveness” for any mistakes they make as man is bound to do “and an immense reward,” which is Paradise.[3]

“Those who subdue their voices when they are with the Messenger of Allāh” this is an example of the respect due to Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) as mentioned in the Qur’ān,

أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا ﴿٨﴾ لِّتُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُعَزِّرُوهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوهُ وَتُسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا

We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good news and warning, so that you (people) may believe in Allāh and His Messenger, support him, honour him, and praise Him morning and evening.[4]

This was the way of the Companions. They would subdue their voices when speaking in his presence as stated by ʿUrwah b. Zubayr.[5]

“are people whose hearts Allāh has tested for mindfulness (of Him),”

Alternative readings of this include “are people whose hearts Allāh has proven to be mindful (of Him)” and “are people whose hearts Allāh has tested so that mindfulness (of Him is reinforced).”[6] These are all correct and transmit the same essential meaning, that Allāh has tested them that they may be filled with taqwā and thus become a muttaqī.[7]

“are people whose hearts Allāh has tested for mindfulness (of Him),”

Allāh tested their hearts in order to refine them and extract the filth of opposition and base desires in much the same way that gold is refined from other materials. This is the ultimate goal of the test, and implied in the āyah, even if not explicitly stated.[8] Hence, when the Salaf came to comment on this āyah, they explained:

Qatādah said, ‘Allāh has purified their hearts so that they do what He loves.’[9] Ibn ʿAbbās said, ‘Allāh has purified their hearts of filth, and place the fear of Allāh and taqwā in its place.’[10] ʿUmar said, ‘Allāh removed lusts and desires from their hearts.’[11] Abū Hurayrah said that amongst these was Thābit b. Qays.[12]

This āyah illustrates, with one stark example, that throughout the course of one’s life, a Muslim will be tested in many ways with temptation to do evil or submit to his or her lusts and desires. To pass that test, he must fight that temptation and subdue it, and to do so signifies strength of faith and character, and is beloved to Allāh, Most High. A person who does this is upon istiqāmah, remaining firm on the path to Him.[13]

Allāh, Most High, says,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّـهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

As for those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allāh,’ and then remain firm on the path to Him, the angels come down to them and say, ‘Have no fear or grief, but rejoice in the good news of Paradise which you have been promised.[14]

Struggling against temptation and fighting the lower self and, as a result, avoiding sin is more beloved to Allāh than a person who avoids sin without that struggle. Aḥmad, al-Zuhd recorded that Mujāhid said, ‘Someone wrote to ʿUmar asking, “Leader of the Faithful! Who is better, a man who does not feel the desire to commit a sin and does not commit it, or a man who feels desire to commit a sin, but does not commit it?” ʿaski wrote in reply, “He who feels desire to commit a sin, but does not commit it,”’ and then he quoted this āyah.[15]

Humbling oneself before Allāh and His Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is a sign of taqwā and a means of repressing arrogance in oneself.

تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

We grant the Home in the Hereafter to those who do not seek superiority on earth or spread corruption: the happy ending is awarded to those who are mindful of Allāh.[16]

“They will have forgiveness and an immense reward”

The words maghfira (forgiveness) and ajr (reward) are indefinite nouns. The indefinite sense is used to aggrandise and enhance the recompense for showing due respect to Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and the extent of Allāh’s pleasure.[17] It also illustrates the severity of not showing due propriety as the implication is that they will not enjoy this reward.[18]

A believer can fall into error and sin but he should not succumb to despair or give up hope because Allāh is the forgiving. He should remain optimistic at all times.[19]

The āyah also shows us that fine conduct leads to forgiveness and great reward.[20] Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “There is nothing heavier on the scales than fine conduct.[21]

Points of Benefit

  1. Showing propriety with Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) bears a great status. It leads to taqwa residing in hearts, forgiveness and great reward.
  2. No one is above reminder and admonition, even the companions Abū Bakr and ʿUmar who were reminded.
  3. Allāh purifies the heart of the true believer through testing it.
  4. Allāh offers solace to His servants, showing them how they can attain exalted and sublime stations with Him.
  5. The pitfalls of the tongue are highlighted here.
  6. The Qurʾānic method in correcting mistakes is that the names of those in error are not highlighted, rather the mistake is. This allows a person to be more open to correction.
  7. The relationship of the tongue to heart.
  8. Allāh tests His servants to purify them and allows them to draw closer to Him.
  9. The goal is to fill the heart with taqwa of Allāh.
  10. Allāh is All-Forgiving.
  11. Allāh is Merciful.
  12. The Muslim should turn to Him in penitence.
  13. The Muslim does not despair of Allāh’s mercy.
  14. The Muslims remains optimistic.
  15. Fine conduct leads to great reward.

Source: www.islam21c.com


[1] Ṭabarī

[2] Ibn Kathīr

[3] Baqāʾī

[4] Al-Qur’ān, 48:8-9

[5] Bukhārī #2731-2732

[6] Abū Ḥayyān

[7] Ibn ʿĀshūr

[8] Wāḥidī

[9] Ṭabarī

[10] Qurṭubī

[11] Ibn ʿAṭiyyah, Qurṭubī

[12] Ibn Mardawayh as cited by Shawkānī

[13] cf. Ibn ʿAṭiyyah

[14] Al-Qur’ān, 41:30

[15] Ibn Kathīr, Suyūṭī

[16] Al-Qur’ān, 28:83

[17] Ibn ʿĀshūr

[18] Abū Ḥayyān

[19] ʿAdawī

[20] ʿAdawī

[21] Tirmidhī #2004, Abū Dāwūd #799

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