Ramadan Tafseer Series: Quality Vs. Quantity

Al An’aam [6:44]

6:44
Sahih International

So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.

  • the reminder came to them from Allah, Allah sent them reminders by all different means
  • recall passage where Allah sent difficulties to wake people up and revive them out of this ‘sleep’
  • when people are heedless of these reminders, Allah then open doors of everything for these people
  • Allah does not say the quality of these things, but he mentions abundance
  • all that is given does not have any blessings or good in it for them
  • end result they still don’t heed the reminders and they become totally enamored in what they have been given, they get hapy, they become content and they get lost in all of it
  • then they find themselves in a desperate situation
  • here Allah is showing us that an abundance of material things are given to people who are already off the track
  • they get a large quantity but there is no blessings in it

Al A’raaf [7:96]

7:96
Sahih International

And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah , We would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth; but they denied [the messengers], so We seized them for what they were earning.”

  • here Allah informs us of a different situation
  • if the people of a town, area, place, if they were to strengthen their faith and then inculcate the taqwa of Allah (abstain from sins and strive to do good), Allah will open upon them the barakaat
  • here Allah is not talking about quantity, but quality instead

the word barakah (singular) in Arabic linguistically, the root indicates

  1. something that perpetually increases and
  2. that which is lasting
  • that’s why Barakah is attributed to allah (tabaarakallzhee)
  • the other group of people were given the quantity but it doesn’t last long
  • as soon as they become lost in what they were given it was snatched away
  • now look at the life of prophet saw, sahaba, anbiyaa, they always have quality

incidents during time of prophet saw:

  1. there was a bowl of milk that prophet saw told abu hurayrah to bring to ahlul suffah(sahaba who resided on platform outside of masjid) , there were many of them and the prophet saw told him to pass the bowl around and they all drank from it and when it came back to Abu Hurayrah, the prophet saw told him to drink from it and he said he had had his fill. Prophet saw told him to drink some more, and he said “I drank.” The prophet saw told him to drink more. Abu Hurayrah said “I can’t drink anymore.” Then they prophet saw drank from it. A bowl of milk filled dozens of people.
  2. an expedition of the sahaba where one of the sahabi was telling his students about the sacrifices they’d endure. That they used to live off one date for a whole while out in battle during traveling. His student asked, “How in the world did you survive off 1 date?” He replied, “We realized how valuable that date was when we didn’t have that and we began to chew the leaves off the trees till it damaged our digestive system that we got severely ill.”
  • these stories are what we need to focus on
  • someone can have a little bit but it can bring them peace, contentment, happiness, satisfaction
  • let them sleep peacefully at night
  • someone can have an abundance of wealth but it brings them no happiness
  • a man in Europe lost many billions of dollars and he ended up walking on to a train track and killing himself
  • people we look up to  whom we feel proud to name our children after, e.g. Bilal, Salman, Suhaib, Ammaar, Aisha r.a. did they have a lot? No
  • Aisha r.a. was asked “What did you cook on the day when the prophet saw passed away?” She replied.” if we had oil to burn I would have lit the lamp, it was dark in the house that day.”
  • they had little but they had quality
  • when we neglect reminders sent to us, we might find quantity but there will be no quality in them
  • when we make obedience to Allah the main objective and disobedience the main thing to abstain from, Allah says, “I bestow upon you barakah.”
  • so it might be in abundance but the quality will increase
  • and that is what matters at the end of the day
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