Allah ta’ala says in one of the most beautiful surahs in the Qur’an:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
Successful indeed are the believers.
Allah ‘azza wa jall begins this surah, Suratul Mu’minoon (23), with this amazing statement. This Surah is named after the subject of the first ayah, Al-Mu’minoon, the believers. This word is from hamza-meem-noon and a mu’min a person who has emaan. What is emaan? To believe in Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, His Books, The Day of Judgment and the Divine Decree…. Anything else? Emaan is much deeper than this; emaan is what takes a firm position in the heart, confirmation with the tongue and the actions prove that statement. These believers do not just claim they are believers, but they have emaan in their hearts and the actions to prove it.
If you look at the ayah, Allah ta’ala begins it with قَدْ “qad” and when this word appears before a verb (in this case, أَفْلَحَ “aflaha”, “he succeeded’) it shows two things:
1- It appears before an expected matter, a matter that will surely occur. This denotes the meaning of: certainty, it is definitely going to happen. So with this in mind, this ayah will mean: in fact, certainly, those with emaan will succeed.
2- ‘qad’ makes the verb after it in the present and future tense, so it will give the meaning: certainly, the believers will succeed and will be successful and are successful.
The word Allah ta’ala uses for ’success’ is أَفْلَحَ “aflaha”, and a muflih is one who is successful. This is an amazing word that cannot be explained in English except with a deep analysis. It is from ف ل ح (fa-laam-ha) and it literally means to split something and cleave it. A falaah is a farmer. How does success connect to farming? Think about it: a farmer splits the earth, sows the seeds, waters it and takes care of his farm, tending it and watching over it everyday. A falaah is a person who puts in the work. A person who wants to achieve his goals breaks them down into tasks, with determination and consistency. The farmer cannot water his plants one week and leave them the next thinking they will still flourish properly, So a Muflih is one who bears difficulty and hardship and puts in his effort to achieve his aim and goal, effort is the key here. The farmer will go in the sun and heat, seven days a week and he will put in his maximum effort until his plants are harvested properly. Falaah is not just one who does a good deed once in a while, or here and there, but he does it until he reaches what he wants, consistently. Al-Muflihoon are the people who are successful, and not a partial success – a complete success: in this dunya and Aakhirah. And this success is not because of luck or good fortune, it didn’t just happen, but they became successful because they put in the work and effort to reach their goal (Jannah).
Who are these believers? What are their actions?
Allah ta’ala says:
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.
In their prayers, these believers are خَاشِعُونَ “khaashioon”, ones who are humbly submissive. This word has two literal meanings:
1- to bend down, to be humble.
2- to become still.
Khushoo’ is used for the submissiveness of the heart which is reflected on the limbs. So when the heart is humble and submissive to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, especially in salaah, how will the person be physically? Will they be moving? Will they be restless? They will be still. Inside they are humble and on the outside they are still and tranquil. If the heart has khushoo’, the body will have khushoo. So khushoo is not just a state of the heart, it is a state of the heart which is visible on a person’s actions, in their posture, and in their movements. Khushoo is a state of the heart and body, and the state of the body cannot be humble until the heart is humble…until this “feeling” is in the heart. What brings khushoo’ in a person? It is the fear of Allah azza wa jal, knowing that He is Watching you, and that He Sees you.
Moreover, these believers, who will be successful, are:
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ
And those who turn away from Al-Laghw.
They turn away from اللَّغْوِ “al-laghw”, and this word is from ل غ و (laam-ghayn-wow) or ل غ ي (laam-ghayn-ya), and laghw is defined as every word and action that is useless, without purpose, in vain and brings no khayr/good to the doer. Laghw in the Qur’an carries four meanings:
1- talk that is said without thinking/thoughtless talk
2- statements of indecency (fuhush)
3- meaningless and purposeless actions
4- very loud speech that is meant to drown out another person’s voice so they cannot be heard.
These people, from “laghw” are مُعْرِضُونَ mu’ridoon, ones who turn away. Think about it: when do we turn away from something? Firstly when we want to avoid it, and secondly when we don’t want to do it, and also when we are invited. Mu’ridoon gives two meanings:
1- They abstain from laghw
2- If and when they are invited to laghw, they refuse and don’t indulge in it.
Allah ta’ala continues:
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ
And those who pay the Zakat/purify themselves.
زَّكَاةِ Zakaat is from ز ك و (zay-kaaf-wow) or ز ك ي (zay-kaaf-ya), and has two meanings:
1- to purify something and make good.
2- to make something grow/growth.
Tazkiyah is a combination of both things: firstly you purify something from evil and that which not good and filthy (for example in one’s character, if one uses bad language, the first step in tazkiyah is purifying or getting rid of the bad words). And secondly, growth. (they learn how to speak in a good way).
The Zakaat which is paid on wealth is when one gives a certain amount of wealth on a certain kind of wealth at a certain time, given to certain people. As we know, Zakaat is very specific. It purifies the wealth and also makes it grow.
Allah says these believes with zakaat are: فَاعِلُونَ “faa’iloon”, ‘ones who do’, and if we take the meaning of zakaat given on wealth, it means they constantly give zakaat, regularly, and never miss giving the zakaat due on their wealth. Secondly, zakaat in this ayah can be taken literally as tazkiyah. They are constantly purifying themselves, their nafs and their akhlaaq. They regularly try to improve themselves and clean themselves. – The second meaning of tazkiyah may be more appropriate in this ayah because Suratul Mu’minoon is a Makkee surah and Zakaat was made obligatory after the Hijrah, 2 AH to be exact, and Allah knows best.
May Allah Ta’ala make us among those who believe and affirm their belief with sincere and good actions, Ameen.
I’m really enjoying these awesome Quranic reflection pieces during this month. Jazakillahu khayraan!
JazakiAllahu khayraan for this piece Sister Amatullah- I really enjoyed reading it and it has been a huge benefit , especially in this blessed month.
May Allah accept our effots and purify our intentions, and make us of the successful believers
Jazakillahu khayr, that was amazing alhumdulillah. The Qur’an is so beautiful! May Allah make us from the people of the Qur’an, ameen.
asalaamu alaykum, i too am enjoying these articles, may allah bless you insha-allah
Asalamu Alaykum Sr. Amatullah,
Thanks for the best thing I’ve read this morning. May Allah grant you peace and success both in this life and the next.
Br. Suhaib, see you in the Big Apple this weekend insha’ Allah.
wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Jazakum Allahu khayran for the kind words and duaas, Ameen, and may Allah grant you all better, Allahumma Ameen.
I thank Allah ta’ala for giving me the opportunity to share with everyone and for the virtualmosque.com team for allowing me to contribute! Jazakum Allahu khayran.
I ask everyone to make it their intention to learn the language of the Qur’an inshaAllah and make lots of duaa for it in this special month, indeed the English language cannot do an ounce of justice to its beauty. I am only a student who knows next to nothing trying to convey what I have learned, wa lillahil hamd.
InshaAllah the next set of ayaat will be done soon 🙂
Jazak Allah khayr, that was a great breakdown. Man, you and Abdul Sattar are motivating me to take learning Arabic more seriously insha Allah!
Another awesome point about this verse is about the word أفْلَحَ. The letter hamza is added to the original three letter فلح in order to make the verb transitive [requiring an object or a prepositional phrase]. Thus, it becomes أفْلَحَ صُهَيْبٌ فِي شُغْلِهِ [Successful is Suhaib in his business.] However, in this verse the object, or phrase, is hidden? Does anyone know why? I have the answer, but let’s talk about it.
Is it hidden because the meaning is success in both this world and in the herafter?
I can think of two reasons why it might be hidden. One is, as br. hamayoun mentioned, that the mu’minoon are successful in everything (this life and the hereafter). The other reason I think it’s hidden is because after the universal fact that every Muslim is trying to be successful in the Hereafter, every individual reading the Qur’an has different things they are trying to be successful in. For example, I want to be successful in my studies so I can find a good job, whereas someone else might want to be successful in their marriage because they are having marital problems, etc. So by having the object hidden in the sentence, the Qur’an is becoming personalized for everyone that is reading it.
I know this holds true in Suratul Hujuraat where the object in the first verse of the surah is missing. Part of the first ayah of suratul hujuraat is: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ [“Oh you who have believed, do not put forward […] in front of Allah and his Messenger”]. We see here that Allah doesn’t tell us what not to put forward in front of Him and His Messenger. Therefore, it’s personalized to the reader of the Qur’an since everybody has their own problems that they are struggling with. So if a brother has a girlfriend or smokes blunts, when he hears this ayah, it’s as if the ayah is saying “Oh you who have believed, do not put forward your girlfriend in front of Allah and his Messenger.” So the Qur’an is developing this personal relationship with you.
Although I don’t know if the same reasoning (as suratul hujuraat) applies to this verse as well.
Is that right Imam Suhaib?
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
SubhanAllah … that is such a powerful verse … every time I hear that I feel a personal connection with the Quran!
Jazaaki Allah Khayr sis … keep it coming 😉
Jazaki Allah Khair sister. This was very beautiful and inspiring. Very relevent lessons: 4 things to watch ourselves in this Ramadan: Khushu3 (especially as this is the month of Taraweeh), Speech (the one who does not leave ill speech, Allah has no need of him leaving food and drink), Tazkiah (as the shayateen are locked up this month and we come to terms with our bad habits) and Zakat/Sadaqa (as we feel the hunger of all of the world’s hungry) and the Prophet (saw) was said to be the most generous in Ramadan.
Mashallah, your responses are amazing. I will spill the beans after I arrive and settle in NYC inshallah.
As Salamu Alaikum Sr. Amatullah,
Jazakum Allahu Khayer for this well-written article, mashAllah it was really easy to read and understand. Do you have more reflections on the Quran, that we can have constant access to?
wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
wa iyyakum alhamdulillah!
Mel: InshaAllah 🙂 I completely agree with you. SubhanAllah I find that the beginnings and endings of surahs are so powerful, and there are some verses that I can read over and over–in complete awe, it is a miracle. That ayah is definitely one of them. Another one I really love is: Saad. wal quraani dhi dhikr. Saad. and by the Qur’an, full of dhikr! (38:1)
Muslema: mashaAllah very nice observation sister, there is always something new we can learn from the Qur’an. Jazaki Allahu khayran for sharing with us.
N.S.: InshaAllah I hope to share on this site many more pieces on the Qur’an and Arabic language. As I mentioned, I’m only a student sharing what I have learned alhamdulillah. InshaAllah my intention is to post on verses in the Qur’an that really benefited me and those verses that we can immediately implement.
I’d give some hints as to what I’m working on, but I like surprises 🙂 If you have any ideas/suggestions or would like to see something specific, please do let me know! InshaAllah the rest of these verses up to verse 11 will be posted, and mashaAllah I really really love the ending.
Imam Suhaib, I’m waiting for the bean spillage inshaAllah! Jazakum Allahu khayran.
N.S.: I actually didn’t answer your question. I don’t have many, but I have a few posts on tayyibaat (click on my name) and I’ll be posting tafseer suratul Kahf notes here: http://trueword.wordpress.com/tafsir-surah-kahf/ inshaAllah. mashaAllah Imam Suhaib (may Allah protect him) already has amazing lectures on Tafseer surah Faatihah, Hujuraat and Kahf so please check those out as well inshaAllah. English tafseer sites include: tafsir.com and altafsir.com.
Also there are really nice articles here: arabicgems.wordpress.com mashaAllah.
I’d like to also mention how important it us to learn and read the tafseer of the Qur’an and also to learn the language of the Qur’an. Many of us (myself included) read the Qur’an just to read it, but we need to change our mindset and realize that the Qur’an is a book of guidance, Huda, as Allah ta’ala describes for all aspects of our life. SubhanAllah how would we be able to derive lessons from farming if this was not the case?!
Hidaayah is not just any guidance, but Huda or hidaayah has three meanings:
* To show one the path
* To help them ‘walk’ on that path
* To guide them until they reach their destination
So Allah ta’ala guides us with this Qur’an and the sunnah of our Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam by showing us the correct path (siraatal Mustaqeem, the straight path of Islam), He guides us along this path and He doesn’t just leave us to fend for ourselves but He guides us until we reach our end destination as well: Jannah inshaAllah. A complete guidance.
One of the salaf gave an awesome parable on the importance of tafseer, Iyaas ibn Mu’aawiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The example of a people who recite the Qur’an and do not know its explanation is like a group of people who have a written message from their king that comes to them during the night, and they do not have a lamp. Therefore, they do not know what is in the message.”
Allahu ta’ala alam, may Allah azza wa jal make us companions of the Qur’an, Ameen.
Hmm, one question for the Imam. When you have the verb أفلح should it not take a direct object (مفعول به)? My understanding of the example you gave is the prepositional phrase is in حال as opposed to being in the محل of مفعول به. An example of where the verb takes an object is when Allah (swt) says إنه لا يفلح الظالمون. So my question when reading the verse is “Who have they made successful?”
Am I understanding the grammar correctly here? Jazak Allahu khairan.
Whoops, I take that back. The example I gave does not take a direct object. In fact I can’t think of any example in the Qur’an that does.
Looking forward to the answer, and seeing some nahw/sarf analysis.
Actually, the strong opinion is that the verb is intransitive. However, Abu ‘Abayd and Talha bin Masraf read it with a doma above the Hamza which makes it transitive. The text Shadh al-‘Urf mentions what I stated above. However, after further research it appears that I was mistaken and the word does not carry, at least according to Imam Ibn ‘Ashir, a transitive sense. I will, inshallah, have more on this soon.
If I’m not mistaken the word “qad” also means that the verb is imminent. For example in the phrase “qad qaamatis solah” (the prayer is going to be established”. Has this meaning been encompassed in the two previous explanation?
wa alakyum assalam wa rahmatullah,
Imam Suhaib, please do post more when you can inshaAllah. Barak Allahu feekum.
Takumi: If I understood correctly, then yes ‘qad’ does imply that. “Qad” implies the present and future: the believers are successful and they will be successful. Allahu ta’ala alam.