What Is the Commentary and Explanation for Verse 14 in Chapter 49 (The Private Quarters)?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I know the Quran refers to Bedouins in 49:14, but are these people considered Muslims or still within the fold of Islam? And how does this verse relate to Muslims today? Does it describe the different levels of Islam, or is it referring to people are not really Muslims?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
I pray you are well. Thank you for your question.
This verse was revealed for a particular people; a group of Bedouins from the tribe of Banu Asad. But it applies to all Muslims till the last Day that the kind of Islam, which is merely superficial, not absolute and total, is not accepted. As far as faith is concerned, it is related to real belief by heart. Therefore, a verbal claim or lip service is meaningless if the heart does not support it.
Basis of Faith – Being Mindful of Allah Most High (Verse 49:13)
In the previous verse, which is: “O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may (get to) know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Quran, 49: 13]
It was stated that the basis of honor is godfearingness and piety, which is an inner quality that only Allah (Most High) knows. It is improper for any man to claim self-sanctification.
Basis of Faith – Inner Acceptance of the Heart (Verse 49:14)
In the current set of verses, you have asked about: “The (true) believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger—never doubting—and strive with their wealth and their lives in the cause of Allah. They are the ones true in faith.” [Quran, 49:14]
It is stated, on account of a particular incident, that the real basis of faith is the inner acceptance of the heart. Mere lip service to faith does not count the person as a faithful believer.
Circumstances of Revelation
According to Imam Baghawi (Allah have mercy on him), this verse was revealed in connection with the tribe of Banu Asad. A few members of that tribe came up to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in Madina during a severe drought. These people were not sincere believers. They had expressed their Islam merely to demand financial help from Muslim charity funds.
As they were not believers in the real sense of the word, they were unaware of Islamic injunctions and manners. They spread filth and excrement on the streets of Madinah. In the marketplaces, they increased the prices of necessary items. First, they made a false claim of faith in the presence of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); second, they wanted to deceive him; and third, they regarded their Islam as a favor to him. They said: “We embraced Islam without any conflict: we did not fight against you as did other tribes for a length of time and then they became Muslims; therefore, you should value us.” This was disrespectful to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) because they considered their Islam a favor to him.
Their sole purpose was to derive financial aid from the Muslim charity funds, enrich themselves, and eradicate their poverty. True and sincere faith is the most precious possession of a Muslim. By accepting Islam, he does not show a favor to anybody; on the contrary, it is a favor of Allah that he is guided to the Truth. On this occasion, the current set of verses was revealed in which their false claim is refuted, and they have been taken to task for boasting of their so-called kindness and favor conferred upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Summary of Chapter 49 -The Private Quarters – Acceptance in the Hereafter -Faith, Belief, and Obedience
In the entire Sura, first, the rights of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) were set out, and then the rules of respecting and honoring him. Next, the individual and collective rights and rules of mannerisms were set down to be applied in social life. Now at the conclusion of the chapter, it is reiterated that in the Hereafter, good deeds will be accepted and rewarded based on faith, the sincere belief of the heart, and obedience to Allah and His Messenger. [Mufti Shafi, Mariful Quran]
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.