Lessons from al-Ma`aarij: The Lock & Key

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا

Indeed, mankind was created anxious

إِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعًا

When evil touches him, impatient

وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا

And when good touches him, withholding of it

إِلَّا الْمُصَلِّينَ

Except the observers of prayer

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ

Those who are constant in their prayer

1.  هَلُوعًا is from the root: ه ل ع which has several meanings and some of which are: anxious, miserly, someone who loses hope over small matters, fretful, very impatient, etc.

2. جَزُوعًا is from the root: ج ز ع which is similiar to هَلُوعًا in meaning: to become agitated or irritated, to be extremely impatient, to display violent grief and it also means to cut or cut off [Lanes Lexicon].

For instance, in soorah Ibrahim Allaah says:

وَبَرَزُوا لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا فَقَالَ الضُّعَفَاءُ لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا لَكُمْ تَبَعًا فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّغْنُونَ عَنَّا مِنْ عَذَابِ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ قَالُوا لَوْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ لَهَدَيْنَاكُمْ ۖ سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْنَا أَجَزِعْنَا أَمْ صَبَرْنَا مَا لَنَا مِن مَّحِيصٍ

“And they will come out [for judgement] before Allaah all together, and the weak will say to those who were arrogant, “Indeed, we were your followers, so can you avail us anything against the punishment of Allaah ?” They will say, “If Allaah had guided us, we would have guided you. It is all the same for us whether we show intolerance or are patient: there is for us no place of escape.”

3. مَنُوعًا is from the root: م ن ع and its meanings are: to withhold, to deny from access, to prevent, to abstain from, etc.

Allaah mentions these 3 sifaat that are innate to human beings and they were placed in our hearts as a trial for us, to see who can overcome these. The beautiful thing is that Allaah mentions right away the solution, the way to overcome these negative characteristics. And that is: salaah. Not just any salaah but the kind that is constant: << الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ >>

دائم: its meanings are: continued, to be prolonged, to extend, to remain or stay longer, to endure. And from amongst its meanings is also moderation.

Ibn Katheer in his tafseer gives 3 explanations for this:

1. It means that they [the performers of salaah] “guard its times and the elements obligatory in it. This was the opinion of Ibn Mas`ood, Masruq and Ibrahim an-Nakha`i.”

2. Second opinion is that “it means tranquility and humble concentration (in the prayer). This is similar to Allaah’s statement,

[قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ – الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِى صَلاَتِهِمْ خَـشِعُونَ ]

‘Successful indeed are the believers. Those who with their Salah are Khashi`un.’


This was said by `Uqbah bin `Amir. From its meanings is the same terminology used to describe standing (still) water (Al-Ma’ Ad-Da’im). This proves the obligation of having tranquility in the prayer. For verily, the one who does not have tranquility (stillness of posture) in his bowing and prostrating, then he is not being constant (Da’im) in his prayer. This is because he is not being still in it and he does not remain (in its positions), rather he pecks in it (quickly) like the pecking of the crow. Therefore, he is not successful in performing his prayer. “

3. Constancy and moderation. Ibn Katheer lastly mentions that “the meaning here refers to those who perform a deed and are constant in its performance and consistent in it. This is like the hadeeth that has been recorded in the Sahih on the authority of `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said,

«أَحَبُّ الْأَعْمَالِ إِلَى اللهِ أَدْوَمُهَا»

“The most beloved deeds to Allaah are those that are most consistent, even if they are few.”

So in essence, Allaah listed the 3 characteristics are inherent to human beings but are present as a trial for us inorder to separate the successful ones from those who aren’t. The successful ones are those who a) guard their salaah, i.e. pray on time; b) who give the salaah its due right by completing all aspects of it for e.g. the qiyaam, the ruku`, the sujood, etc.. making sure that our posture throughout is still, serene and humble. To take our time when we bow down in humility and in praise and lastly; c) to be constant and consistent with our prayers.

Subhan’Allaah, how beautiful is His Kalaam and how soothing it is to the heart! The Qur’aan is truly a vast and deep chest of treasures, the more you dig, the more you come up with. Its like a lock and key. We are given the problems, along with answers so there’s no excuse, no reason to not implement.

Whenever we’re overcome by sadness or hardship, instead of exhibiting impatience and agitation, Allaah gives us the perfect fix: prayer. If you think about it, what does prayer constitute of? Praising Allaah, displaying humility, complete surrender in His Oneness and His Might, fearing Him and His Wrath, yet being hopeful of His Infinite Mercy, reaffirming our belief in Him and His Absolute Power. How can then one feel even the slightest bit of anxiousness or irritation?


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