Archive

Archive for the ‘Sura 93: adh-Dhuha / The Morning Hours’ Category

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.

adh-Dhuha: Orphan(s) and/or Muhammad?

August 11, 2010 Leave a comment

This one is short and sweet, a mere eleven verses, and mainly talks about orphans. I can’t tell if it’s specific to Muhammad or more general.

For example:

Did he not find you an orphan and give you shelter?
(perhaps with his uncle Abu Talib)

He found thee in need and made thee independent
(perhaps guided him to Khadija where he found independence from his uncle managing her prosperous business)

But on the other hand:

“Treat not the orphans with harshness” seems a more general commandment. Of course, the two could be combined? God choosing an orphan to be his messenger is a message in and of itself, and fits in with the condemnation of infanticide and the imperatives to help the needy.

I guess I should add, for those who aren't familiar with Muhammad's biography: his father was named 'Abdullah, but died before Muhammad was born while on a trade caravan returning from Syria/Palestine. Muhammad's mother, Aminah, gave birth a month or two later, and she raised Muhammad until he was five or six, best as I can tell. She fell ill and died while traveling with Muhammad near Medina, and after that Muhammad was raised by his grandfather and then his uncle.

Read more…