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Chapter 107:
Al-Ma'un — Acts of Kindness:

Revealed at Makkah: 7 verses

English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali


Introduction:

This chapter gives expression to the prominence which Islam gives to helping the needy and uplifting the poor. Anyone who pays no attention to this is spoken of as belying religion. Prayer to God and help of the poor are repeatedly spoken of in the Holy Qur’an as the two foundations of Islam, but here we are told that even prayer is a mere show, if it does not generate feelings of love and sympathy for humanity. Hence its title al-Ma‘un or Acts of Kindness, the word itself occurring in the last verse. It is one of the very early Makkan revelations.

Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

107:1 Hast thou seen him who belies religion?

107:2 That is the one who is rough to the orphan,

107:3 And urges not the feeding of the needy.a

107:4 So woe to the praying ones,

107:5 Who are unmindful of their prayer!a

107:6 Who do (good) to be seen,

107:7 And refrain from acts of kindness!a

Commentary:

3a. Din is generally taken here as meaning judgment, but I would prefer its more well-known significance, religion. Not taking care of orphans and helping the needy is really a denial of religion. Vv. 4 –7 make it clear that praying to God is useless, a mere show, unless one is kind to orphans and helps the needy.

5a. Being unmindful of prayer means not paying heed to the spirit of prayer, which is described in the two previous verses as being the help of the orphan and the needy.

7a. Al-Ma‘un is explained by Bukhari as meaning al-Ma‘ruf kullu-hu, i.e., every good or kind deed. And it is added that according to ‘Ikrimah, its highest form is obligatory zakat and lowest lending of a thing or giving any useful thing to another (B. 65: cvii). The root is ma‘n, which means a useful or easy thing. Having regard to what is said in the opening verses, al-Ma‘un includes all acts of kindness done to fellow-men.

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