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Al-Maun: Small kindnesses

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment

This sura answer a few questions for me. First, in ad-Dhuha, I wasn't sure whether the orphan references and second, around the issue of insincere prayer–the preceeding suras, in my opinion, seemed to imply that the act of prayer was sufficient.

Seest thou one who denies the Judgment (to come)?
Then such is the (man) who repulses the orphan (with harshness)
And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.

Adh-Dhuha may have referenced Muhammad initially (it's not clear to me) but this leaves no doubt the intent of that sura was to elevate the status of all orphans.

So woe to worshippers
Who are neglectful of their prayers,
Those who (want but) to be seen
But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs.

This second bit must've meant that the small Muslim community had long since extended beyond Muhammad, Ali, Khadija and a few servants. It must have become large enough to include some people who were just going through the motions for whatever reason, or only praying some of time; as well as those who prayed but didn't extend their religious practice to the charity so frequently demanded in earlier suras.

Prior to this, it was only unbelievers and deniers in hell. Now, "believers" who missed the point (I'm thinking specifically of the massive amounts of charity work the Taliban and al-Qaeda don't deliver) are at risk of hell as well.