Explanation of Surah Al-Maa'oon
in the name of allaah, the most beneficent, the most merciful.
almighty allaah says (what means): "have you seen the one who denies the recompense? for that is the one who drives away the orphan. and does not encourage the feeding of the poor. so woe to those who pray. [but] are heedless of their prayer – those who make show [of their deeds]. and withhold [simple] assistance." [quran 107: 1-7]
"have you seen the one who denies the recompense?" [quran107:1] here, allaah the most high asks his messenger if he has seen the one who rejects the deen - that is, the appointed time, the requital and the reward.
"for that is the one who drives away the orphan." [quran 107:2] that is, he coerces and oppresses the orphan, denying him his rights, and refusing to feed him, or give him any aid.
"and does not encourage the feeding of the poor." [quran 107:3] as allaah says (what means): "no! but you do not honour the orphan, and you do not encourage one another to feed the poor." [quran 89: 17-18] that is, the one in need, who has nothing, he does not support or maintain him, or attend to his needs.
"so woe to those who pray. [but] are heedless of their prayer."[quran 107:4-5] according to ibn `abbaas and others, this verse refers to the hypocrites who pray in public but not in private, and for this reason allaah says (what means): "…to those who pray" who are among those who pray, but does not mean everyone who prays. these people, at first, are steadfast in their prayers, then they become neglectful of them either entirely, as stated by ibn `abbaas or they become careless about praying on time until they pray after the prescribed time. `ataa' said: "all praise is due to allaah who says (what means): "…heedless of their prayer" rather than neglectful in their prayers." however, this verse is comprehensive and covers both meanings. whoever is neglectful by delaying his prayers, is careless in implementing the prescribed sunnahs (recommended supererogatory acts) in prayer, fulfilling its conditions, or does not pray with a fitting sense of humility and does not reflect on the meaning may be considered a hypocrite in his actions as confirmed by the hadeeth (prophetic saying) that the messenger of allaah said: "this is the prayer of the hypocrite, this is the prayer of the hypocrite: he sits and observes the sun until it is between the horns of satan (about to set), then he quickly prays four rak'ahs (units of prayer) in which he barely mentions allaah." [al-bukhaari & muslim]
the prayer referred to is the 'asr (afternoon) prayer and the delay is until the end of the permitted time which is a time at which it is despised to offer prayers, when the hypocrite rapidly performs his prayer (so that his movements resemble the rapid pecking of a chicken), hastily, without a fitting sense of humility. likewise, the one who prays in order to be seen by others, and not to gain the pleasure of allaah, is like the one who doesn't pray at all. allaah says (what means): "indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive allaah, but he is deceiving them. and when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering allaah except a little." [quran 4:142] while allaah says here what means: "…who are heedless of their prayer." [quran 107:5]
"those who make show [of their deeds]." [quran 107:6]
imaam at-tabaraani stated: "the messenger of allaah said: "indeed, in hell there is a valley (which is so terrible) that the hellfire wishes, four hundred times a day, that it were not a part of it. it has been prepared for those among the community of muhammad who perform deeds in order to be seen doing them..."
imam ahmad narrated that the messenger of allaah said: "whoever performs a (good) deed in order to gain a good reputation, allaah will make him despised and degraded." however, if a person sincerely performs a good deed, solely for the sake of allaah, that happens to be seen by others and it pleases them, there is no sin for him in this, and the proof for this is the narration of abu hurayrah who said: "i was praying once when a man entered (the mosque), and this pleased me, so i told the messenger of allaah about it, and he said: "two rewards have been written for you - the reward of praying in secret and the reward of being seen."
imaam ibn jareer said that the messenger of allaah said that: "those "who are heedless of their prayer" are those who delay their prayers and do not pray them at the right time." delaying the prayer may simply mean praying it late, or it may mean not praying it at all, or it may mean delaying the prayer until the prescribed time has expired.
"and withhold [simple] assistance." [quran 107:7]
these people do not behave well in worship, nor do they behave well towards their fellow men; they will not even lend to those in need, though it would be returned to them, nor do they like to pay zakaah (obligatory alms) or other forms of charity. ibn abu nujayh said that `ali said that the word al-maa'oon means zakaah, and this was also related by imaam as-suddi may allaah have mercy on him. this was also attributed by more than one person to ibn `umar .
many narrations suggest that the word is more general than this and even includes things commonly shared, such as buckets, spades and axes, etc. it is narrated that the messenger of allaah was asked what al-maa`oon is, to which he replied: "the stone (i.e. pots and pans, etc.), the iron (i.e. axes, spades etc.) and all such things."