Surah Maun

Surah Maun

Surah Maun (سورة الماعون) or Surah Ara’aital Lazhi (سورة أرأیت الذي) or Surah al-Din (سورة الدین) as it is also known is one of the chapters of the 30th part of the Quran and addresses the important topic of those who deny Qiyamah which is one of the principal beliefs of Islam. The verses serve as a warning to these people.

Some facts about Surah Maun

Surah Maun or Ara’aital Lazhi or al-Din is the 107th chapter of the Quran and focuses on giving us the attributes of those who deny Reckoning and the Hereafter. Even though it is the Prophet God is addressing in the chapter, the verses, in fact, include all people as its addressees and the meanings are for everyone. The verses serve as a warning to those who claim to Muslims apparently but in their hearts are actually hypocrites and perform actions for other than God.

107 Surah no.

Juz’ 30 Place

It could be either Makki/Madani

17 Order of revelation

7 No. of verses

25 No. of words

114 No. of letters


Arabic Text, Translation & Recitation of Surah Maun


بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

In the name of Allah, the most compassionate, most merciful

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿1﴾

Did you see him who denies the Retribution?!

فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ ﴿2﴾

That is the one, who drives away the orphan,

وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ ﴿3﴾

And does not urge the feeding of the needy.

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ ﴿4﴾

Woe to those who pray

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ ﴿5﴾

But are heedless of their prayers

الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ ﴿6﴾

—who show off

وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ ﴿7﴾

But deny aid. 1

The article includes the following topics:

Benefits of Reciting Surah Maun

The Prophet (peace be on him and his household) is narrated to have said:

Allah will forgive the sins of whoever recites it, and he will be regarded as having paid his zakat.

Ja‘far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (peace be on him) has said regarding this chapter:

If someone recites it in his obligatory and optional prayers, Allah will accept his prayers and fast and will not try him about what he did in the short life of this world. 2

An Overview of the Verses

The verses of Surah Maun are a warning for those who claim to be Muslims but their actions are those of the hypocrites like taking prayers lightly, showing off, and deny aid; all of which are inconsistent with belief in the Hereafter.3

Attributes of the Deniers of Qiyamah in Surah Maun

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿1﴾

Did you see him who denies the Retribution?!

فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ ﴿2﴾

That is the one, who drives away the orphan,

وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ ﴿3﴾

And does not urge the feeding of the needy.

Denying Reckoning in Surah Maun

The word ‘ru’yat’ (رؤیت) in the verse can refer to seeing with the eyes and it could also refer to cognizance.

These verses are addressing the Prophet (peace be on him and his household); not as a Prophet but as a listener. As a result, all the listeners of the world are included in the address of the verse.

Din’ (دین) in the verse refers to the rewards/punishments of the Day of Reckoning and therefore one who denies this, denies the Hereafter. 4

Turning away Orphans in Surah Maun

We can recognize the deniers of Qiyamah through their attributes. One of the attributes is turning away the orphans.

One who turns away the orphans and here the word ‘da’ (دع) has been used which means to turn away harshly.5

Such a person is not afraid of the outcome of his actions and if he didn’t deny Qiyamah, he would never have dared to do such a thing as he would worry about the consequences of sins there.6

Not Enjoining to Feeding the Needy in Surah Maun

The word ‘hadda’ (حضّ) means to encourage and persuade others.7

The second attribute of the deniers of Qiyamah is that they do not enjoin others to feed the needy.

This expression has also been used in other places of the Quran and shows that apart from feeding the needy, a person must also make others do the same.8

Taking Prayers Lightly in Surah Maun

The following verses of Surah Maun continue in mentioning the attributes of the deniers of Qiyamah:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ ﴿4﴾

Woe to those who pray

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ ﴿5﴾

But are heedless of their prayers

The denial of religion and Qiyamah in this chapter is denial of the heart, not words; because Surah Maun addresses those people who offer prayer but their prayers are a showing-off, full of errors they are careless towards them.9

Carelessness in regards to prayer shows that they do not give importance to it; they don’t care if they miss offering them sometimes or always or whether they offer them on time or not or whether they pray an invalid prayer because they don’t know of the necessary conditions, rules pillars etc. of prayers.

The Hypocrites in Surah Maun

The deniers of Qiyamah do not include only those who deny it outright; rather it also includes those who show that they are apparently Muslims and offer the Muslim prayers but they do so in such a way that it shows they have no fear of the Day of Reckoning. Such people are not without hypocrisy.10

It has also been narrated from Ali (peace be upon him) and Ibn Abbas that these verses refer to the hypocrites .11

Doing Actions for Others

الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ ﴿6﴾

—who show off

Showing off could include prayers as well as other acts of worship.

The verse would then mean that the deniers of Qiyamah are those who don’t pray and perform other acts of worship for God; rather they do so to show off for other people.

It must be noted that showing off results in the invalidation of actions. 12

Holding Back Aid

وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ ﴿7﴾

But deny aid.

The word ‘Maun’ (ماعون) (after which Surah Maun is named) refers to all actions or things that are done or given to a person in need and fulfills one of their needs like a loan, gift or through lending something to them.13

This is the last attribute of the deniers of the Day of Reckoning mentioned in Surah Maun.

A Look at Riya (ریا) in Surah Maun

Two of the greatest dangers that can threaten a believer are ‘riya’ (ریا) and ‘sum‘ah’ (سُمعه). ‘Riya’ means to perform actions so that others can see them and ‘sum‘ah’ is to perform an action with the purpose that people hear about it.14

Indications of Hypocrisy

These two indicate hypocrisy in a person which the Quran has spoken about in many verses; including the following:

وَ إِذا قامُوا إِلَى الصَّلاةِ قامُوا كُسالى‏ يُراؤُنَ النَّاس

When they stand up for prayer, they stand up lazily, showing off to the people. 15

The Quran also says about them:

…وَ لا يُنْفِقُونَ إِلاَّ وَ هُمْ كارِهُون

And do not spend but reluctantly. 16

Many narrations also speak of hypocrisy.

In Islamic culture, hypocrisy is considered a type of polytheism.17

Signs of those who Show Off

The sign of a person who shows off is that he expands and increases his good work if he is praised for it and reduces it if he does not.

We must note, however, that all these admonishments and criticisms are for those who perform action for other than God. However, if a person performs an action for God and people find out about it, that’s not an issue.

Muhammad bin Ali al-Baqir (peace be on him) has narrated that there is no one that does not like for his good actions to become known to people, with the condition that his intention was not for people from the onset.18

Sincerity

Sincerity is in contrast to showing off and getting credit.

In a narration it has been mentioned that God does not accept anyone except the sincere.

The signs of sincerity are that one loves and hates, and gives and does not give all for the sake of God and sincerity is the most virtuous of worship.19

Summary of Surah Maun

The chapter addresses the Prophet but includes all people as those who are addressed by these verses and mention some of the attributes of those who deny the Day of Reckoning. These attributes are: driving away orphans with force, not encouraging others to feed the needy, being heedless of prayers, showing off and holding back aid from those who need it. One of the important matters that these verses indicate is hypocrisy, the opposite of which is sincerity and as a result, a hypocrite is also denying the Hereafter due to his actions.


References

  1. Qarai translation
  2. Al-Islam
  3. Tabatabai, M. H. (1374). Tafsir al-Mizan. (Transl. by Seyed Muhammad Baqir Musavi Hamedani). Jamiat al-Modarresin. Vol. 20, pp. 632-633
  4. Ibid. 633
  5. Qaraati, M. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of Surah Ma’un; Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 633
  6. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 633
  7. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  8. Qarashi, A. A. (1377). Tafsir-i Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 12, p. 371.
  9. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  10. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 634
  11. Tabarsi, F. (1360). Majma‘ al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran. Translated by a group of translators. Farahani Publications. Vol. 27, p. 305
  12. Qarashi, A. A. Ibid. p. 372
  13. Tabatabai, M. H. Ibid. p. 634
  14. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  15. [4: 142]
  16. [9: 54]
  17. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  18. Qaraati, M. Ibid.
  19. Qaraati, M. Ibid.

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