Word by Word
and your children
(are) a trial
(is) a reward
and your children
(are) a trial
(is) a reward
And know ye that your possessions and your progeny are but a trial; and that it is Allah with Whom lies your highest reward.
And know that your wealth and your children are a trial, for you, impeding you from the concerns of the Hereafter; and that with God is a tremendous wage, so do not forfeit it by giving [undue] attention to wealth and children, acting treacherously for the sake of [preserving] them.
Reminding Muslims of Their previous State of Weakness and Subjugation which changed into Might and Triumph
وَاذۡكُرُواۡ إِذۡ أَنتُمۡ قَلِيلٌ مُّسۡتَضۡعَفُونَ فِي الَارۡضِ تَخَافُونَ أَن يَتَخَطَّفَكُمُ النَّاسُ فَأوَاكُمۡ وَأَيَّدَكُم بِنَصۡرِهِ وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ
And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land, and were afraid that men might kidnap you, but He provided a safe place for you, strengthened you with His help, and provided you with good things (for livelihood) so that you might be grateful.
Allah, the Exalted, reminds His believing servants of His blessings and favors on them. They were few and He made them many, weak and fearful and He provided them with strength and victory. They were meek and poor, and He granted them sustenance and livelihood. He ordered them to be grateful to Him, and they obeyed Him and implemented what He commanded.
When the believers were still in Makkah they were few, practicing their religion in secret, oppressed, fearing that pagans, fire worshippers or Romans might kidnap them from the various parts of Allah's earth, for they were all enemies of the Muslims, especially since Muslims were few and weak. Later on, Allah permitted the believers to migrate to Al-Madinah, where He allowed them to settle in a safe resort.
Allah made the people of Al-Madinah their allies, giving them refuge and support during Badr and other battles. They helped the Migrants with their wealth and gave up their lives in obedience of Allah and His Messenger.
وَاذۡكُرُواۡ إِذۡ أَنتُمۡ قَلِيلٌ مُّسۡتَضۡعَفُونَ فِي الَارۡضِ
(And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land),
""Arabs were the weakest of the weak, had the toughest life, the emptiest stomachs, the barest skin and the most obvious misguidance. Those who lived among them lived in misery; those who died went to the Fire. They were being eaten up, but unable to eat up others! By Allah! We do not know of a people on the face of the earth at that time who had a worse life than them. When Allah brought Islam, He made it dominant on the earth, thus bringing provisions and leadership for them over the necks of people. It is through Islam that Allah granted all what you see, so thank Him for His favors, for your Lord is One Who bestows favors and likes praise. Verily, those who thank Allah enjoy even more bounties from Him.
Reason behind revealing This Ayah, and the prohibition of Betrayal
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ امَنُواۡ لَا تَخُونُواۡ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُواۡ أَمَانَاتِكُمۡ وَأَنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ
O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat (things entrusted to you).
The Two Sahihs mention the story of Hatib bin Abi Baltaah.
In the year of the victory of Makkah he wrote to the Quraysh alerting them that the Messenger of Allah intended to march towards them. Allah informed His Messenger of this, and he sent a Companion to retrieve the letter that Hatib sent, and then he summoned him. He admitted to what he did.
Umar bin Al-Khattab stood up and said, ""O Allah's Messenger! Should I cut off his head, for he has betrayed Allah, His Messenger and the believers?""
The Prophet said,
دَعۡهُ فَإِنَّهُ قَدۡ شَهِدَ بَدۡرًا وَمَا يُدۡرِيكَ لَعَلَّ اللهَ اطَّلَعَ عَلَى أَهۡلِ بَدۡرٍ فَقَالَ
اعۡمَلُوا مَا شِيۡتُمۡ فَقَدۡ غَفَرۡتُ لَكُم
Leave him! He participated in Badr. How do you know that Allah has not looked at those who participated in Badr and said, Do whatever you want, for I have forgiven you.
However, it appears that this Ayah is more general, even if it was revealed about a specific incident. Such rulings are dealt with by their indications, not the specific reasons behind revealing them, according to the majority of scholars.
Betrayal includes both minor and major sins, as well those that affect others. Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah,
(nor betray your Amanat),
""The Amanah refers to the actions that Allah has entrusted the servants with, such as and including what He ordained. Therefore, Allah says here,
(nor betray...), `do not abandon the obligations.""'
Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd commented, ""Allah forbade you from betraying Him and His Messenger, as hypocrites do.""
وَاعۡلَمُواۡ أَنَّمَا أَمۡوَالُكُمۡ وَأَوۡلَادُكُمۡ فِتۡنَةٌ
And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial.
from Him to you. He grants these to you so that He knows which of you will be grateful and obedient to Him, or become busy with and dedicated to them instead of Him.
Allah said in other Ayat,
إِنَّمَأ أَمۡوَلُكُمۡ وَأَوۡلَـدُكُمۡ فِتۡنَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عِنۡدَهُ أَجۡرٌ عَظِيمٌ
Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allah! With Him is a great reward. (64:15)
وَنَبۡلُوكُم بِالشَّرِّ وَالۡخَيۡرِ فِتۡنَةً
And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. (21:35)
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواۡ لاأَ تُلۡهِكُمۡ أَمۡوَلُكُمۡ وَلاأَ أَوۡلَـدُكُمۡ عَن ذِكۡرِ اللَّهِ وَمَن يَفۡعَلۡ ذَلِكَ فَأُوۡلَـيِكَ هُمُ الۡخَـسِرُونَ
O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers. (63:9)
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواۡ إِنَّ مِنۡ أَزۡوَجِكُمۡ وَأَوۡلـدِكُمۡ عَدُوّاً لَّكُمۡ فَاحۡذَرُوهُمۡ
O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (who may stop you from the obedience of Allah); therefore beware of them! (64:14)
Allah said next,
وَأَنَّ اللّهَ عِندَهُ أَجۡرٌ عَظِيمٌ
And that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.
Therefore, Allah's reward, favor and Paradise are better for you than wealth and children.
Certainly, among the wealth and children there might be enemies for you and much of them avail nothing. With Allah alone is the decision and sovereignty in this life and the Hereafter, and He gives tremendous rewards on the Day of Resurrection.
In the Sahih, there is a Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah said,
ثَلَثٌ مَنۡ كُنَّ فِيهِ وَجَدَ بِهِنَّ حَلَوَةَ الاِۡيمَانِ
مَنۡ كَانَ اللهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيۡهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا
وَمَنۡ كَانَ يُحِبُّ الۡمَرۡءَ لَا يُحِبُّهُ إِلاَّ للهِ
وَمَنۡ كَانَ أَنۡ يُلۡقَى فِي النَّارِ أَحَبَّ إِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ أَنۡ يَرۡجِعَ إِلَى الۡكُفۡرِ بَعۡدَ إِذۡ أَنۡقَذَهُ اللهُ مِنۡه
There are three qualities for which whomever has them, he will have tasted the sweetness of faith. They are:
whoever Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anyone else,
whoever loves a person for Allah's sake alone, and
whoever prefers to be thrown in fire rather than revert to disbelief, after Allah has saved him from it.
Therefore, loving the Messenger of Allah comes before loving children, wealth and oneself.
In the Sahih, it is confirmed that he said,
وَالَّذِي نَفۡسِي بِيَدِهِ لَاا يُوۡمِنُ أَحَدُكُمۡ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ نَفۡسِهِ وَأَهۡلِهِ وَمَالِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجۡمَعِين
By He in Whose Hand is my soul! None of you will have faith unless I become dearer to him than himself, his family, his wealth and all people
يِا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ امَنُواۡ إَن تَتَّقُواۡ اللّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ فُرۡقَاناً وَيُكَفِّرۡ عَنكُمۡ سَيِّيَاتِكُمۡ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ وَاللّهُ ذُو الۡفَضۡلِ الۡعَظِيمِ
O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allah, He will grant you Furqan, and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you; and Allah is the Owner of the great bounty.
Ibn Abbas, As-Suddi, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Muqatil bin Hayyan and several others said that,
means, `a way out';
Mujahid added, ""In this life and the Hereafter.""
In another narration, Ibn Abbas is reported to have said,
`Furqan' means `salvation'
or -- according to another narration -- `aid'.
Muhammad bin Ishaq said that
`Furqan' means `criterion between truth and falsehood'.
This last explanation from Ibn Ishaq is more general than the rest that we mentioned, and it also includes the other meanings.
Certainly, those who have Taqwa of Allah by obeying what He ordained and abstaining from what he forbade, will be guided to differentiate between the truth and the falsehood. This will be a triumph, safety and a way out for them from the affairs of this life, all the while acquiring happiness in the Hereafter. They will also gain forgiveness, thus having their sins erased, and pardon, thus having their sins covered from other people, as well as, being directed to a way to gain Allah's tremendous rewards,
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواۡ اتَّقُواۡ اللَّهَ وَءَامِنُواۡ بِرَسُولِهِ يُوۡتِكُمۡ كِفۡلَيۡنِ مِن رَّحۡمَتِهِ وَيَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ نُوراً تَمۡشُونَ بِهِ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah, and believe in His Messenger, He will give you a double portion of His mercy, and He will give you a light by which you shall walk (straight). And He will forgive you. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (57:28)"
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