English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 107: Al-Maun — Acts of Kindness (Revealed at Makkah: 7 verses)

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Introduction:

This chapter gives expression to the prominence which Islam accords to helping the needy and the poor. Those who neglect this are described as denying religion. Prayer is a mere show if it does not generate feelings of love and sympathy for humanity. Hence its title Acts of Kindness occurring in the last verse. It is one of the very early revelations at Makkah.

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Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

107:1 Have you seen him who denies religion?
107:2 That is the one who is rough to the orphan,
107:3 and does not urge the feeding of the needy.1
107:4 So woe to the praying ones,
107:5 who are unmindful of their prayer,2
107:6 who do (good) to be seen,
107:7 and refrain from acts of kindness!3

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Commentary:

  1. The word dīn in v. 1 is generally taken here as meaning judgment, but its more well-known significance, religion, is preferable. Not taking care of orphans and helping the needy is really a denial of religion. Verses 4–7 make it clear that praying to God is useless, a mere show, unless one is kind to orphans and helps the needy.
  2. Being unmindful of prayer means not paying heed to the spirit of prayer, which is described in verses 2 and 3 as being the help of the orphan and the needy.
  3. Al-Mā‘ūn is explained by Bukhari as meaning every good or kind deed. And it is added that its highest form is the obligatory zakāt and the lowest is the lending of a thing or giving any useful thing to another (Bukhari, 65.107). It includes all acts of kindness done to others.

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