Ramadan Tafseer Series: Perfection?

ayat in passage about the battle of Tabuk and the different circumstances and struggle

Tawbah [9:90]

9:90
Sahih International
And those with excuses among the bedouins came to be permitted [to remain], and they who had lied to Allah and His Messenger sat [at home]. There will strike those who disbelieved among them a painful punishment.
Tawbah [9:91]
9:91
Sahih International
There is not upon the weak or upon the ill or upon those who do not find anything to spend any discomfort when they are sincere to Allah and His Messenger. There is not upon the doers of good any cause [for blame]. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Tawbah [9:92]
9:92
Sahih International
Nor [is there blame] upon those who, when they came to you that you might give them mounts, you said, “I can find nothing for you to ride upon.” They turned back while their eyes overflowed with tears out of grief that they could not find something to spend [for the cause of Allah ].
Tawbah [9:93]
9:93
Sahih International

The cause [for blame] is only upon those who ask permission of you while they are rich. They are satisfied to be with those who stay behind, and Allah has sealed over their hearts, so they do not know.

  • they seek to be excused from going out on this endeavor and excellent opportunity
  • they were content to stay back
  • they have no understanding, or know anymore what they were doing and the great loss they were moving towards
  • there is one particular concept in our deen ; Allah is not demanding that we be perfect or flawless or infallible, rather Allah tells us that what He wants from us is effort, to do the best we can
  • results are out of our hands
  • Allah will hold people accountable for them not putting forth effort, the excuses
  • when people make sincere effort, whether results achieved or not, Allah is just He won’t hold us accountable for the result
  • He will reward us based on our sincerity and effort
  • this was a very difficult journey, situation during the time of prophet saw
  • they had to travel very far in extreme heat when their dates are ripe and ready to harvest, they have to leave harvest behind and it would be ruined
  • on the other side, what they heard was that there was a huge Roman army that was waiting for them
  • it was the most difficult circumstances you can imagine
  • the announcement and demand from Allah was that everyone has to go, this was not an option, it was mandatory

and at this time you see clearly lines between the people

  1. those who make elaborate excuses – prophet saw could see the people were trying to get out of this, so what’s the point if bringing them along, people who are not content, their attitude is contagious, so it might be better to leave them behind, so the prophet saw allowed them to remain behind
  2. those who didn’t even bother to present excuse and just didn’t go period ,they were not interested in going from the very beginning
  3. those who very badly wanted to go but couldn’t go because of circumstances, old, sick, poor, so Allah absolved them of any guilt (Tawbah 91-92)
  • Allah presents a very interesting condition
  • they must be sincere to Allah and his prophet saw

how sincere?

  • that they really want to go, but even that alone is not enough
  • e.g. if they are sick, but they have money, so they can give money
  • e.g. if they are poor but have physical ability, they can put time into the preparation of the army and encourage others to go
  • once the people have left, the families behind take and watch over the families and the homes of the people
  • after prophet saw left the hypocrites continued to slander the prophet saw and believers and these people defended the honor of the prophet saw and sahaba and continue to establish jama’ah etc
  • sometimes we might not be capable of the demands of a need
  • e.g. to build a masjid in a community we nee fund, and I am poor, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything else: put in time to help, encourage others
  • sometimes we’re so quick to pick a way out
  • but we should look for ways we can pitch in somehow
  • when there is a need for Islam , I might not be required to do what is needed but there must be something I can do; motivate others, help physically etc and that shows my sincerity, that I’m not just trying to look for a way out
  • sincerity demands that a person explores all avenues to do something
  • look at the believers who came to the prophet saw and said they were ready to go and they were turned back
  • in book of seerah, a group of people came but didn’t have transportation and prophet saw turned them back but they turned back again and tried again and pleaded with the prophet saw. At that time, a sahabah came and donated 6 camels and the prophet saw said, “Look Allah has arranged your transportation.”
  • another group of people, their sincerity was oozing out so apparently that Uthman who had contributed so much, when he saw these people, he said he would arrange something for them
  • so Allah makes ways but we have to have that level of sincerity
  • yet there are groups who come to the prophet saw and the prophet saw had to regrettably turn them away, and they turned away from there and they were grieving, crying profusely وَّأَعْيُنُهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ حَزَنًا
  • Allah says these are the people who He will not make accountable
  • but Allah mentions people whom Allah will make accountable: they came to have themselves excused
  • أَغْنِيَاءُ , when we see the word غني – we think it means wealthy, rich but it actually means someone who is independent and has a good amount of a blessings
  • they are healthy and have plenty of money to donate, fully qualified to go but they still try to find excuse for themselves
  • لْخَوَالِفِ – used for women . Allah mentioned they were happy to stay back with the women
  • Allah sealed their hearts, completely seal so no guidance, hidayah and come in
  • in our deen and Islam, Allah does not demand perfection from us, but rather Allah wants us to be sincere, try our best
  • we should hold ourselves accountable
  • am I really doing all I’m capable of doing?
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