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Section 2: Special cleanliness for Prayer -Equity enjoined

Prescribed cleanliness for prayer -Equity and piety enjoined -To fear Allah alone and not the enemies

Surah Al-Ma'idah, Verse 6

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاةِ فاغْسِلُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُواْ بِرُؤُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُواْ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاء أَحَدٌ مَّنكُم مِّنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لاَمَسْتُمُ النِّسَاء فَلَمْ تَجِدُواْ مَاء فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُواْ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهَّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

6. "O' you who have Faith! when you stand up for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet up to the ankles; and if you are polluted, then perform a total ablution; and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy, or you have touched the women and you can find no water (for ablution or major ritual ablution), then betake yourselves to clean soil and wipe a part of your faces and your hands with some of it. Allah does not intend to put on you any difficulty, but He intends to purify you, and to complete His favour upon you in order that you might be thankful."

In the former verses there were different statements mentioned about 'bodily purification and some material bounties'. This verse has pointed to the 'soul purification' and what causes the purification of the self of Man.

Here, a notable amount of the ordinances upon ablution, major ritual ablution and dry ablution have been referred to, which are effective in soul purification. At first, it addresses the believing people and states the ordinances of ablution as follows:

"O' you who have Faith! when you stand up for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet up to the ankles...."

Thus, only that part of the hand that has been mentioned in the verse must be washed. But its manner in the practice of the Prophet (S) that has been conveyed to us by Ahlul-Bayt (as) denotes that the elbows must be washed down to the fingers.

Then, the verse pays to the ordinance of the major ritual ablution y when it says:

"...and if you are polluted, then perform a total ablution..."

It is clear that the objective meaning of the phrase: ' then perform a total ablution' is to wash the whole body thoroughly.

The Arabic term /junub/ philologically means 'something goes away'. So, a person in a state of ritual impurity is called /junub/ for the reason that the one must avoid doing actions such as: establishing prayers, staying in a mosque and the like of them while the person is in that state.

By the way, when the Holy Qur'an in this verse enjoins the persons in the state of ritual impurity to perform a major ritual ablution for establishing prayers, it is understood that the major ritual ablution substitutes ablution.

Then, the verse continues its words referring to the statement of the ordinance of 'dry ablution' for the person who gets up and intends to keep prayers. It says:

"...and if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy, or you have touched the women and you can find no water (for ablution or major ritual ablution), then betake yourselves to clean soil ..."

Next to this statement, the style of performing dry ablution is shortly stated. It says:

"...and wipe a part of your faces and your hands with some of it…"

And, to make it clear that there has been no restriction in the previous commandments when all of them have been legitimated for the sake of some considerable expediency, at the end of the verse, it says:

"... Allah does not intend to put on you any difficulty, but He intends to purify you, and to complete His favour upon you in order that you might be thankful."

Indeed, the statements mentioned in the above holy verse once more emphasizes on this fact that all divine commandments and Islamic enjoinments are assigned for the sake of people and for the protection of their rights.

There has been no aim other than that. By these instructions, Allah intends people provide both spiritual and bodily purification for themselves.

However, the final sentence of the, holy verse convey a general law. It denotes that the divine ordinances, in no aspect, are in the form of difficult proposals, or onerous duties.

Surah Al-Ma'idah, Verse 7

وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمِيثَاقَهُ الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُم بِهِ إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

7. "And remember Allah's favour on you and His covenant with which He has bound you, when you said: 'We heard and we obeyed '. And be in awe of Allah, surely Allah is aware of what is in the breasts."

Divine Convictions

In this verse, the Qur'an attracts the attention of the Muslims to the importance o the endless bounties of Allah, the most magnificent of which is faith and guidance. It says:

"And remember Allah's favour on you ..."

What favour is greater than that Muslims obtained all kinds of merits, honours and effective possibilities owing to Islam? Islam caused a group of people who had been before dispersed, ignorant, blood-thirsty immoral, and corrupter to change into a society who became organized, united, and intelligent, with abundant material and spiritual privileges and possibilities.

Then, the holy verse reminds them the covenant that they have compacted with Allah, and says:

"...and His covenant with which He has bound you, when you said: ' We heard and we obeyed..."

This verse can be a hint to, all the genetic and divine covenants, (the covenants that Allah has bound Man through primordial nature, or those- that the holy Prophet (S) has bound Muslims with in different circumstances.

Basing on many Islamic authentic traditions, the objective meaning of 'covenant', mentioned in the verse under discussion, is the master ship of Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (as). It is the covenant that the Prophet (S) took from them in Ghadeer Khumm, on the day of Farewell Pilgrimage, and they accepted it, too. 1

To emphasize on this meaning, at the end of the verse, the Holy Qur'an says:

"...and be in awe of Allah, surely Allah is aware of what is in the breasts."

It is also narrated from Imam Baqir (as) who said that the holy Prophet (S) stated both the prohibited things and the essentiality of master ship of Ali (as) during Farewell Pilgrimage. 2

Surah Al-Ma'idah, Verse 8

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

8. " O' you who have Faith! be always up rite for Allah, bearers of witness with justice, and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably. Act equitably, that is nearer to piety, and be in awe of Allah; verily Allah is well aware of what you do."

An Earnest Invitation unto Justice

This verse invites to establishment of justice. At first, it addresses the believers and says:

"O' you who have Faith! be always up rite for Allah, bearers of witness with justice...."

After that, the verse points to one of the factors of deviation from justice, and warns Muslims as such that tribal hatreds and hostilities, or personal accounts, should not stand as a barrier in the way of the execution of justice and should not cause transgression over the rights of others, because justice is something beyond all of them. It says:

"...and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably....."

For the importance of the matter, it emphasizes on the subject of justice once more and says:

"…Act equitably, that is nearer to piety....."

And, since justice is the most important element of piety and righteousness, for the third time, it adds as an emphasis that:

"... verily Allah is well aware of what you do."

Surah Al-Ma'idah, Verses 9 - 10

وَعَدَ اللّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَكَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا أُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ

9. "Allah has promised those who believe and do good deeds that they will have forgiveness and a great reward."

10. "And (as for) those who disbelieve and deny Our Signs (revelations), these are the companions of Hell."

Allah's way of treatment is such that, in the Qur'an, next to the statement of some particular commandments, in order to emphasize and complete them, He points to some general laws and principals. So, here, in verse 9, to emphasize on the subject of the execution of justice and rightfully bearing witness, it says:

"Allah has promised those who believe and do good deeds that they will have forgiveness and a great reward."

In contrast with the above-mentioned group, there are those who reject Allah and deny His Signs, i.e. the verses of the Qur'an. Such people will be in Hell. It says:

"And (as for) those who disbelieve and deny Our Signs (revelations), these are the companions of Hell."

It is worthy of attention that the phrases: 'forgiveness' and 'a great reward' are referred to in the verse as a promise of Allah (s.w.t.) where it says: "Allah has promised ..." while the 'retribution of Hell' has been mentioned as a result of 'deeds '.

The verse implies that those who have deeds such as so and so, will have a fate so and so. In fact, this meaning is a hint to the grace and favour of Allah (s.w.t.) regarding the rewards in the Hereafter which will never be paralleled with the insignificant deeds of the mortals in this world.

Also, the chastisements in the coming world have no aspect of vengeance, but they are the fruit of the evil deeds of human beings in the present world.

Surah Al-Ma'idah, Verse 11

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ هَمَّ قَوْمٌ أَن يَبْسُطُواْ إِلَيْكُمْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَكَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنكُمْ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَعَلَى اللّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

11. "O' you who have Faith! remember Allah 's favour on you when a (hostile) people were minded to stretch against you their hands, but He withheld their hands from you; and be in awe of Allah, and on Allah let the believers rely. "

The opinions are divided on that which happening this verse was revealed for. Yet, it can be considered for all the instances that Muslims have relied on Allah and have victoriously rescued when confronting the evil attempt or attack of the enemy.

Still, the remembrance of the bounties of Allah (s.w.t.) is a kind of thanksgiving. It takes away pride and negligence from man and increases, his love to the Lord.

"O' you who have Faith! remember Allah's favour on you when a (hostile) people were minded to stretch against you their hands, but He withheld their hands from you; and be in awe of Allah, and on Allah let the believers rely."

Explanations

1. Repelling the harms of the enemy is among the most important favours of Allah.

2. Absorb the grace of Allah to yourself and repel the harm of the enemy through piety, Faith and relying on Him. (Similar to the condition that Allah leaves the enemy to predominate over persons, because of their committing sins, the same is to attentive to Him that causes the harms of enemies to be removed)

  • 1. At- Tafsir-ul-Burhan, vol. 1, p, 454
  • 2. Tafsir-i-Jawami'-ul-Jami', vol. 2, p. 44

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