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Translation & Commentary: Verses from Surah 25: Al-Furqan

14. While promising more details later, Qurtubi points out that going about in the markets – for a purpose – is not an impious habit. Thanwi’s penetrating mind brings out the idea that the undesirability reported in the Ahaadith is for purposeless sauntering in the markets (today’s window-shopping: Au.). In fact, he adds, if someone doesn’t go into the markets out of pride, then his ‘not going about’ in them is undesirable, while going about would be commendable.

What he means is that some people never go the markets out of pride, leaving it for the plebian. Also see note 26 below (Au.).

Sayyid Qutb looks at other aspects: “Allah’s honoring of Man manifests itself in this .. but those who do not appreciate the worth of this creature (Man), nor the true meaning of Allah’s honor that Allah wished for him, refuse that humans should have contacts with Allah through revelation. They refuse that one of the humans should be a Messenger from Allah. They see that angels were more suitable. They ask, ‘Why an angel has not been sent down to him to be with him as a warner?’…

“Allah’s wisdom manifests itself in the fact that one of the humans should appear as a Messenger unto the humans. It can only be one of the humans – who feels like they do, who experiences their emotions, who undergoes their experiences, who shares their hopes and fears, who knows their tendencies and delights, who knows their needs and burdens, and, in addition, is favorably disposed towards understanding their weaknesses and shortcomings, who has hopes in their strengths and their efforts to advance, who walks with them step by step, who understands their motives, sensitivities and responses: for, in the end he is one of them, who explores with them the way to Allah … through the revelations of Allah and seeks Divine help to face the hardships of the way – it can only be such a human who could be raised as a Messenger.

“On the other hand, they find in him a model possible of imitation. For, he is a man like them, who seeks to raise them little by little. He lives among them bearing values, deeds and burdens about which he informs them that Allah has made obligatory on them and is desirous of them. Thus, he is in his own person a living explanation of the message that he brings to them. His life, his movements and his deeds are meant to be placed in front of them so that they could transfer them (unto themselves) line by line, and put into action, in the truest possible sense. They can aim to imitate him. For, he is a living example. Had he been an angel, they would not have thought of imitating his deeds nor to follow him, for, from the start they would have realized that his nature is different from their own. In that event, it would have been obvious that his behavior should be different from theirs, which would create no desire for imitation, nor any wish to conduct themselves in the light shown by him…

“One of naïve objections raised by the unbelievers was that the Messenger went about in the markets, seeking his livelihood… But Allah did not wish that he should possess a treasure or an orchard. He wished that he should be a complete example for them, who bore the responsibilities of messengership, while, at the same time struggled to earn his livelihood, as anyone of his followers did. So, that, no one of his followers who tired himself in earning his sustenance should say, ‘So far as the worldly needs are concerned, the Prophet had been taken care of. He never struggled to earn and hence was able to free himself for his beliefs, his message and his responsibilities thereof. He never faced any of the hardships (as I do).’ But, in actual fact, here was the Prophet, striving, in order to earn while he also struggled for his cause. So, the least that one of his followers can do today is to bear his own meager share of the Prophet’s burden. And he has his example before him. Yes, the Prophet did receive wealth later, toward the end of his life. That was in order that he should be an example of the other extreme also, and so that his example should remain complete.  He did not allow the wealth that arrived to prevent him from any of his duties. But rather, he became like a wind unleashed in his generosity and came out the better when tested with wealth. So that, no one could say after him, ‘The Messenger lived in poverty, wealth never distracted him in any way.’ For, there he was, wealth coming to him in abundance, but he carried on as usual with his call, behaving those days as if he was poverty stricken.”

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