Quran English Translation & Commentary

Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Surah Al Ma'un

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Introduction and Summary

This Surah---at least the first half of it---belongs to the early Makkan period. The subject is the meaning of true worship, which requires Faith, the practical and helpful love of those in need, and sincerity rather than show in devotion and charity.

C.287 (The running Commentary, in Rhythmic Prose)

What remains if you deny all Faith

And personal Responsibility? Why then

Help the helpless or reach others

Deeds of charity? Vain were worship

Without heart and soul. What think ye of men

Who make great show, but fail to meet

The simple needs of daily life?

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ ﴿١﴾

1.Seest thou one who denies the Judgment (to come)?

C6281. Din may mean either

1.the Judgment to come, the responsibility in the moral and spiritual world, for all actions done by men, or

2.Faith, Religion, the principles of right and wrong in spiritual matters, which often conflict with selfish desires or predilections.

It is men who deny Faith or future responsibility, that treat the helpless with contempt and lead arrogant selfish lives.

فَذَلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ ﴿٢﴾

2.Then such is the (man) who repulses the orphan (with harshness),

وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ ﴿٣﴾

3.And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.

C6282. The Charity or Love which feeds the indigent at the expense of Self is a noble form of virtue, which is beyond the reach of men who are so callous as even to discourage or forbid or look down upon the virtue of charity or kindness in others.

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ ﴿٤﴾

4.So woe to the worshippers

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ ﴿٥﴾

5.Who are neglectful of their Prayers,

C6283. True worship does not consist in the mere form of prayer, without the heart and mind being earnestly applied to seek the realisation of the presence of Allah, and to understand and do His Holy Will.

الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاؤُونَ ﴿٦﴾

6.Those who (want but) to be seen (of men),

C6284. Cf. 4:142:

"When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance."

وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ ﴿٧﴾

7.But refuse (to supply) (even) neighborly needs.

C6285. Hypocrites make a great show of hollow acts of goodness, devotion, and charity. But they fail signally if you test them by little acts of neighbourly help or charity, the thousand little courtesies and kindnesses of daily life, the supply of needs which cost little but mean much.


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Lahore, Pakistan

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