He frowned and turned away
Day 4 – DON’T LOOK AWAY, DON’T TURN YOUR FACE AWAY
This one scares me…The first ten verses actually.
So this is what happened: This surah was revealed in the Meccan era. Muslims were facing the oppression of the powerful Quraish. The Prophet of Allah Muhammad (saw) wanted to get the message of Allah across to the leaders of Mecca so that the oppression would stop and Islam would gain foothold, though the message was in no way exclusive only to the rich and famous, and the fact that so many earliest Muslims were from the underprivileged strata of Meccan society.
The background of the revelation of this and the following verses is that once the Prophet (saw) was deeply engaged in trying to explain the Holy Qur’an to some pagan Quraish leaders such as ‘Atabat‑ibn‑i‑Rabi ‘ah, Abu‑Jahl, ‘Abbas‑ibn‑’Abdul‑Mutallib and some others. He was hopeful that it would attract them to Islam, and in so doing, surely a lot of others would come to Islam, too. But, suddenly, he was interrupted by a blind man, ‘Abdullah‑ibn‑Ummi‑Maktum, who was apparently poor, so that no one took notice of him. He wanted to learn the Qur’an and asked the Prophet (saw) to teach him. He repeated his statement again and again, because he did not know exactly whom he was talking to.
The Holy Prophet (saw) in that moment did not like the frequent interruptions and this was seen on his face.
He turned away from ‘Abdullah and continued the work at preaching Allah’s Message to them.
At that moment he received the verses stated above.
The translation of the first ten verses of this Surah from the 30th Juz are as under:
1. He frowned and turned away
2. Because there came to him the blind man
3. And what would make you know that he might (spiritually) purify himself
4 Or become reminded so that the reminder might profit him?
5. As to one who regards himself self‑sufficient
6. To him do you address yourself!
7. Though it is no blame on you if he would not (spiritually) purify himself.
8. But as to him who comes to you striving hard
9. And he fears (Allah in his heart)
10. Of him you were unmindful.
So in this verse 80:1 of the Quran, and the verses that follow, Allah (swt) is admonishing the best of the best in the sight of Allah, Muhammad (saw). No one is closer to perfection than the last Prophet (saw). Yet, look how he is being reminded. So high is the honour and stature of a sincere person in the sight of Allah, even though he is poor and blind.
How many times, may Allah forgive us, have we judged someone on the basis of their financial status or their physical appearance? How many times have we been dismissive or demeaning to someone who is not influential or rich or powerful? How many times we punish people by our indifference and silence? Our body language suddenly becomes respectful and our choice of words becomes careful when we address someone who has a position. But with a poorer person we could care less.
It reminds me of that beautiful hadith:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ
(2564 صحيح مسلم كتاب البر والصلة والآداب باب تحريم ظلم المسلم وخذله واحتقاره ودمه وعرضه وماله)
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather he looks at your hearts and actions.” (Sahih Muslim 2564)
Tremendous lesson here.
Also, I feel enormous love for the Prophet of Allah (saw) when I read this and similar verses. To be humanity’s ultimate role model, his every action was checked more strictly than anyone else on earth. What a heavy responsibility he carried all his life, and what all he went through, to be our role model.
The Quran is indeed the words…. Allah’s final message to humanity, pure and unadulterated. If it were, God forbids, authored by our beloved Prophet (saw), verses admonishing him would not have been part of it.
As for ‘Abdullah, after this revelation, the Prophet (saw) always held ‘Abdullah in high honor, and whenever he saw him he used to tell him
“Hail to the one for whom Allah admonished me.”
And, then, he questioned the man:
“Is there anything that I can do for you?”
The blind man became a true and sincere Muslim and as a direct appointment by the Prophet, himself, become a governor of Medina on two occasions when the Prophet (saw) went to battle.
May peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad (saw), the final messenger, and may Allah enable us to follow his beautiful path.