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Holy Quran Section > Commentary of the Holy Quran by Dr. Basharat Ahmad > Chapter 108 (Al-Kauthar - Abundance of Good)

Commentary of Chapter 108
(Al-Kauthar -- Abundance of Good)
of the Holy Quran:

by Dr. Basharat Ahmad
Translated by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed


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

Surely We have given thee abundance of good.
So pray to thy Lord and sacrifice.
Surely thy enemy is cut off (from good).

This chapter, Al Kauthar (Abundance of Good) was revealed at Makkah and it is the shortest chapter of the Holy Qur’an. However, the Holy Qur’an had already issued a challenge to the whole world as regards its uniqueness in eloquence and elegance of language, and this had aroused bitter feelings of jealousy and frustration in the hearts of the Makkan leaders. When this chapter was revealed it was hung up in the Ka‘bah and this action was considered a challenge to the whole country. Whereupon the Arabs, who prided themselves on the beauty and style of their diction, were inflamed, and so they sought out a poet who was unsurpassed in eloquence and fluency of language, in order for him to compose a reply to this chapter. He came and read the chapter and left quickly saying: "This is not the word of man." This chapter has wonderfully summarised the essence of religion in a single verse, and this same verse embraces every means of attaining Allah’s pleasure and gaining self-perfection in a statement that is so exquisite, delicate, subtle and comprehensive, that it is beyond man’s ability to describe its sublimity.

Inna a‘tainakal kauthar
Surely We have given thee abundance of good

Kauthar means abundance of everything, and here it means abundance of good things. This chapter was revealed at a time when our Holy Prophet (pbuh) was most helpless and powerless. A storm of opposition was raging on all sides, every kind of persecution was being meted out to him and the hope of success in his mission was non-existent. In fact, if one considered his material resources, then the picture was even gloomier – failure seemed to stare him on all sides. But it was at this time of despair that the Heavenly Voice was heard saying: We have given thee abundance of good.

In this verse the news of abundant good was given with great force and certainty, and world events have borne out the truth of this statement. If we study carefully the history of the world, we shall see that as regards abundance of good things, Allah’s favours to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) were so complete that nothing was left out – worldly and religious favours, heavenly and earthly blessings of the highest rank and to the greatest measure; in addition, power and kingdom, followers and community, honour and renown, nobility and culture, high morals and perfect spiritual blessings flowing from his prophethood till the Day of Resurrection – all these and more were bestowed on him to the highest degree and to the greatest measure as were not granted to any mortal before or after.

This prophecy, which was given at a time when the Holy Prophet was in a most helpless, powerless and forlorn position, was fulfilled with such splendour and magnificence that even the enemies of Islam cannot help but acknowledge its veracity. Accordingly, in the Encyclopaedia Britannica it is written:

"Of all religious personalities Muhammad, the Arab, was the most successful."

History is witness to this truth and no one can deny these historical facts. And what he received in this world is nothing compared to what is in store for him in the life hereafter.

Fa salli li Rabbika wanhar
So pray to thy Lord and sacrifice

The whole religion is encapsulated in this one verse. If a person acts according to this verse, he is putting the whole religion into practice. We are told to pray to our Lord and make sacrifices for His sake. To live in accordance with the religion, or, to forge a relationship with Allah and win His pleasure, there are only two ways open to us – worship and good deeds.

Firstly, let us take worship. The essence of worship is du‘a (supplication) as the Hadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [pbuh]) tells us, and the highest form of du‘a is salah (formal prayer) through which a person can confess his servitude to Allah, and seek His aid and assistance in helping him to obey Him with total obedience in the doing of good deeds.

Secondly, sacrifice is the ultimate in good actions - that is, to reach that point of perfection where a person can give up everything for the sake of Allah – his possessions, his deepest attachments, his ego and all his desires and ambitions.

Prayer and sacrifice are so intricately bound that without sacrifice, prayer cannot be perfected, neither can sacrifice be complete without prayer to Allah for His help and assistance. We shall examine the two aspects.

(i) To achieve perfection in prayer, first of all one’s intention must be solely for the sake of Allah, after which connection with everything else besides Him must be completely severed – be it possessions, or pleasures, hopes, egoism, desires or ambitions. At the time of prayer, the pronouncement of the first takbir (pronouncement of Allah is the Greatest), called the takbir tahrimah (click here to listen to it in RealAudio), must be like the cutting of the neck of an animal in sacrifice. Then this sacrifice will give rise to the cutting off of relationship from everything worldly and turning wholly and solely to Allah. This, in turn, will lead to the perfection of prayer and the fulfilment of the Holy Prophet’s statement: As-salatu mi‘rajul mu’minin (Prayer is the ascension of the believers). Thus the command to perform prayer and to sacrifice points to the fact that prayer is perfected when a person reaches the stage where at the moment when he makes his intention and pronounces the first takbir, he has already cut off connection with everything except Allah.

(ii) Similarly, the order to sacrifice, that is, to sacrifice oneself from all personal desires and possessions, cannot reach perfection unless Allah’s help is sought and so it is necessary for man to make supplication in his prayer and beseech Allah for His help in making his actions attain that supreme rank of sacrifice.

Now there are two aspects to good deeds: firstly, respect for, and obedience to the commands of Allah and secondly, kindness to the creation of Allah. Neither can be fulfilled without sacrifice, for in both cases sacrifice of personal desires, ambitions, hopes and possessions are called for, and further, this sacrifice must be performed for the sake of Allah and Allah alone. For example, if a person should do a good deed to another, his intention must not be to get something in return, but it must be done solely for the pleasure of Allah. Similarly, if he practises obedience to any of Allah’s commands, again it must be done only to please Allah and not for show or for name and fame or for any ulterior personal motive. That is why when the command to pray and sacrifice was given, the words li Rabbika (for the sake of thy Lord) were added – they must be done specifically for the sake of Allah and for no other reason.

When man reaches this stage of sacrifice, which is the farthest limit of obedience to Allah, then his personality is dyed with the Oneness of Allah, and that is the utmost limit in the perfection of man’s actions. To achieve this, man must seek the aid and succour of Allah, that is, prayer is imperative. It was for this reason that the command was given to man that if he wishes to receive the bounties of al kauthar, and to become the inheritor of abundant goodness, he must pray and sacrifice also. Obedience to Allah should reach perfection through worship and sacrifice. Thus, this is the perfection in religion to which man is bound and if he follows it, then Allah, Most High, is pleased and bestows on him the blessings of al kauthar (abundance of good).

Inna shani’aka huwal abtar
Surely thy enemy is cut off from good

Abtar refers to a person who has no descendant, and so remembrance of him is cut off from the world. The unbelievers thought that as the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had no male offspring, as soon as he died, he would be completely forgotten. They were told that it was their remembrance that would be obliterated and that they should know that Allah, Most High, had made the Holy Prophet (pbuh) the inheritor of an abundance of good things - that he would be blessed with progeny and faithful followers, and physical and spiritual favour to a degree unprecedented in the history of the world; the chain of his spiritual progeny would extend to the Day of Resurrection, but no trace of his enemies names would remain.

It is a fact that when a servant sacrifices everything for his Lord – his own self, and all his hopes and ambitions, and his possessions and all his expectations solely for the pleasure and the obedience of his Lord, then Allah, Most High, comes to his assistance and destroys anyone who is an impediment in the way of the servant’s goals and advancement, and effaces their evil designs. Just as the servant sacrifices everything that is a stumbling block in the way of obedience to his Lord and seeking His pleasure, in like measure, his Lord removes every obstacle that stands in the path of the servant’s ambitions and progress. In other words, Allah’s actions correspond with those of the servant.

If anyone is in doubt about that, then let him look at the Holy Prophet (pbuh) whose life was the perfect manifestation of the Qur’anic verse: My prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are surely for Allah, the Lord of the worlds (6:163) and whose prayer and sacrifice reached the zenith of perfection, and see how he became heir to an abundance of all good things, whilst his enemies became extinct and no mention of them remains in the world. Today the number of those who would sacrifice their lives for the name of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) runs into millions, and the number of spiritual descendants with which Allah has blessed him cannot be found in any nation on earth. In the history of the world, other nations never possessed even one hundredth of the number of righteous servants, saints, abdals, qutbs, mujaddids (Reformers), religious scholars, inheritors of prophetic blessings and devoted followers that are to be found in his community. The stream of good things in abundance has not dried up, but will flow until the Day of Resurrection, and if Allah wills, its current will become stronger and stronger in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

Further, every member of his ummah (community) who performs prayer and sacrifice in the manner explained above will partake of this kauthar (abundance of good), now and in the future, in proportion to his capability and the degree of his worship and sacrifice, whilst destruction is the lot of his enemy, now and in the Hereafter. Again, blessed is he who shares in this kauthar which Allah, Most High, gave to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and by following whom every member of his ummah can and will partake to the extent of his capacity and good deeds.


Holy Quran Section > Commentary of the Holy Quran by Dr. Basharat Ahmad > Chapter 108 (Al-Kauthar - Abundance of Good)