Interpretation of Surah Al-Maun: Caring for The Orphan, Sympathizing The Poor, Upholding Salat, and Helping Others

Interpretation of Surah Al-Maun
Interpretation of Surah Al-Maun

Interpretation of Surah Al-Maun

By: Muhammad Chirzin

Surah al-Maun as the 107th one in al-Quran, according to the majority of Islamic schoolars, is the Makkiyah one, which came down in Mecca at da’wah phase of Prophet Muhammad saw. in Mecca. The main theme is a sharp criticism againt those who have no care to the orphan and the weak and who forget their substance of shalat. The essence of surah al-Maun is a criticism against those who claim to be Moslems but do not manifest their confession on their attitudes and actions. Such people belong to the religion liars.

Al-Maun is derived from a verb a’ana-yu’inu, which means helping by something clear, either by using the tool or facilities to make it easier to reach something expected. Another opinion states that this term is derived from ma’unah that means help. Al-Maun in that surah means charity, property, household appliances, water, daily needs, and many others. All refers to something very necessary although only a litte.

Religion and The Judgement Day

أرءيت الذى يكذب بالدين

“Have you seen him whho denies the recompense?”

At the first verse of this surah, Allah swt. asks the question to touch the heart and mind of the reader to concern about the content being delivered. Such a question functions as an encouragement to the readers to think and to get interested in finding the answer. Such an interrogative sentence also gives a sign how important it will be explained and how the hidden nature of the subject in question.

Knowing or seeing in the first verse includes the meaning of knowing and seeing with the sight of head and heart. Yukaddzibu (denying) may mean rejecting the truth directly and also indirectly. Rejecting the truth is rejecting it with kufur and openly, not acknowledging Islam and refusing the laws of Allah. Rejecting indirectly is like someone who claims to be a Moslem but his moral and action are not based on and not suitable with Islam guidance.

Din in the first verse has two meanings. First, it means Islam religion and its true teaching; faith, basic truth and falsehood in spiritual matters, which often against the individual passion. Second, it means the place to come back, the judgement day, the calculation and reward in the Doomsday; a responsibility in moral and spiritual world towards any action of human.

Caring for The Orphan

فذلك الذى يدع اليتيم

“That is he who repulses the orphan harshly”

In that verse, repulshing the orphan harshly also means not fulfilling their rights. Those who persecute the weak and treat their harshly and roughly because of wild animal lust. The orphan rights are proportionally straight to the obligation of those who are capable to protect them. First, taking care of them well and treat them as brothers/sisters. Second, maintaining the orphans property and avoiding to take it legally. Third, respect and glorify the orphans. Fourth, sympathizing the orphan and guiding them to grow up. Fifth, managing the orphans property carefuly and not mixing up their property with the caregivers property.

Ideally every district and subdistrict of Muhammadiyah manages The Orphanage House, whether Male or Female Ones. Taking care and educating the orphan to be the cadres of organization, religious community and nation who are strong and qualified; smart, skilled, and faithful to Allah swt. in the broadest sense. The very strategic program of cadreship can be handled by The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education of Muhammadiyah and ‘Aisyiyah in Regional Level with Youth of Muhammadiyah, Nasyiatul ‘Aisyiyah, The United University Students of Muhammadiyah and The United Students of Muhammadiyah in Regional Level, Tapak Suci, and Hizbul Wathan, in cooperation with the best Muhammadiyah schools at that region, by involving the best Muhammadiyah teachers and the Muhammadiyah aghniya at that region.

Sympathizing The Poor

ولا يحض على طعام المسكين

“And Urges not on the feeding of The Poor”

The third verse explains about the second group of people including to those who rejecting the religion or The Judgement Day, which are those who do not sympathize the poor. They do not suggest themselves, their family, and others to feed the poor. Poor means not having property, lack of anything or having low income, while fakir means very lack of anything or very poor. Al-Quran makes everyone who needs something as fakir or the poor to be helped. It cannot be justifies if someone living among the Islam society suffers from hungry, no dressing and homeless.

Poverty arises because of many things; first, because the view or understanding of al-Quran verses and of Prophet Muhammad hadits is not inapproriate, as if God predestined some people to live rich and some others to live in poverty. Second, because the Indonesian people generally are lack of science, knowledge, skill, and ability to explore the wealth of Indonesian natural resources and lift them to the surface. A mass organization like Muhammadiyah or other Islam foundations should take more active roles in educating the nation, either through formal, informal, or nonformal educational programs. Third, because the government policies are not supporting the society.

Upholding Salat

فويل للمصلين. الذين هم عن صلاتهم ساهون. الذين هم يراءون

“So woe unto those performers of salat, those who delay their salat, those who do good deeds only to be seen”

The fourth to the sixth verses explain the bad attitudes of those who refuse Allah swt., refuse the religion and The Judgement Day, which also cover the whole kinds of bad attitudes, those are people who perform salat but neglect it and want to be seen by others. Wail in the opening of this verse means how sad orpainful. It means something sad and panful will come to those who only practice salat formally and neglect the substance of their salat. This is done by those who do riya’, have over-self interest, have no sincerity and have double dealing.

Sahun at the ending of the fifth verse is from the word saha-yashu-sahwan that means neglect and forget. People who neglect and forget their salat at that verse have some meaning: (a) deliberately neglecting the time, so they perform salat not in time, they delay doing it until the time is up; (b) being careless from what should be practiced in performing salat, not seriously appreciating every movement and reading in performing salat; (c) neglect the requirements, the pillars, and anything obligated in salat, so it is not perfect in performing rukuk, i’tidal, sujud, and others; (d) not concentrated and focused the heart, mind, and feeling so it is not solemn; (e) performing salat not like the rules and procedures guided by Rasulullah saw; (f) performing salat not earnestly; carelessly, not seriously; (g) performing salat but not practicing its substance in their daily life.

Riya is derived from the word ra’a-yara, which means seeing. The real meaning is doing something by seeing if any other people see him, so if no one see him, he will not do this. He do something because he wish that other people seeing him will give appreciation to him.

Work for Others

ويمنعون الماعون

“And prevent to give help”

Those who deliberately neglect their religion and The Judgement Day belong to those who hinder themselves and others to help anyone who needs help by giving or lending useful things. They are reluctant to help and sacrifice the worthy things because they are controlled by hijab from the real tauhid view and from the partial demand of universal obligation, and because there is no belief to their good deeds. They do not love Allah al-Haqq at all, because they are not interested in many kinds of creatures, they fall to the abyss of low attitude and closed from the essence of tauhid. They have no sense of justice, because they have been surrounded by low attitudes, far from religious teachings, and have no anxiety and wish. They neglect the perfection and do not know about the afterlife. Therefore, they have no wish to help anyone. Consequently, they will not have luck forever.

Spending their wealth in the way of Allah in that verse includes spending for the sake of struggling in building the schools, hospitals, scientific research, and many others. The lots of gift from Allah is in priority for reaching the afterlife, by doing good deeds to others.

One of the main evidence of religious consciousness is by taking care or the weak. Those who do not realize and do not conduct any concrete steps, so their religiousity or belief in The Afterlife will have no trace. There is no slightest chance for those who are not participated and not feeling the pain of the weak, at least in the form of suggestion to the rich to give them help.

Life that make anyother ones alive is the worthy life. Be a noble man, helpful, and do good deeds, because such things will distinguish human with other creatures. God has give us a short time to live on this earth, but in this short time there is eternity. Do the good deeds as much as you can; in any way you can; in every place you can reach; in every moment prepared for you; to anyone around you; as longs as you live. Rasulullah saw. stated, “the best people is those who are the most useful for others,” and Kiai Ahmad Dahlan messaged, “deeds are more real than words”.

Souce: SA Magazine (Special Edition) May 2014

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