In the Quran there are a few surahs and several verses on women. Looking at the 24th surah in the Quran, Surah an-Nur, we can learn 3 characteristics of women inspired by this surah:
Muhsanat (محصنات) the fortified
This category of women is fortified and protected from committing big sins. She is loving not just to her children and spouse but also managing to keep a healthy relationship with her neighbours.
Another character of this category of women is Qana’ah (القناعة), which means satisfaction.
2. Gafilat (غافلات) the unaware
How is it that being unaware is a good character? According to Buya HAMKA, an Indonesian Islamic scholar; this kind of lady would always be focusing on her affairs and business only. She would never try to deviate from her original goal and always think good and positive about others.
Thus she is unaware of negative thoughts about others.
3. Mū’mina (مؤمنات) believer
The character of this type of believing women is that they are totally obedient to Allah and Ar-Rasul only. Living in this modern era doesn’t break their will to protect themselves from the fitnah or tests and tribulations by potential predators around them. Their mind grows with only positivity.
May we benefit from learning about these characters.
This article was originally written in Bahasa Malaysia by Zirwatul Amal Idrus, and published by the DreamTeam Tadabbur Centre on 28 September 2020. This article is republished here with the Tadabbur Centre’s written permission.
And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’
(Surah Ibrahim, verse 7)
This verse has often been used in seminars about the desirability of becoming millionaires. The idea of referring to this verse is that it teaches us that we can be millionaires if we are thankful to Allah because if we are Allah will increase it even more.
Two important terms that we must understand from this verse are ‘being thankful’ and ‘increase in favour’ . The former is clearly mentioned in the Quran, thus it should be easier to understand.
What does ‘shukr’ or being thankful in this verse refer to? It simply means to run our duty as a Muslim and to completely abandon what Allah forbids us from doing (Tafseer al-Tabari).
Being thankful doesn’t just stop at pronouncing the word ‘alhamdulillah’, but also means to perform our responsibility in ibadah such as the 5 times a day prayers and zakah. Being a wealthy person means nothing if we fail to pray to Allah. Having all the money in the world would be meaningless if we never pay zakah, and perform infaq and waqaf.
Now what does ‘increase in favour’ refer to? Ibn Abbas translated the ‘nikmah’ or favour as referring to rewards or Thawāb (Arabic: ثواب). Al-Hasan al-Bashri and Sufyan al-Thauri translated this as obedient towards Allah. (Tafseer al-Alusi)
With this, the more a person is thankful in its full context, Allah will increase his or her rewards or Thawāb and also his or her desire to obey Allah’s wills.
This nikmah or favour can also be translated as spiritual nikmah (faith) and physical nikmah (strength). Spiritual nikmah happens when a person appreciates and exalts The One Who Gives The Nikmah more than the nikmah itself (Tafseer al-Razi). This means that the more one is thankful for the favour or nikmah, the more Allah will increase the appreciation of Allah in oneself.
The increase of nikmah or favour may also be in other forms of benefits from Allah whether in this world or in the hereafter, where the rewards or Sawāb/Thawāb will be doubled. (Tafseer Ibn Juzayy).
In conclusion, tafseer scholars didn’t limit the meaning of increase in favour to just material belongings.
The nikmah or favours in this verse are not limited to just material possessions. So shouldn’t we accordingly.
Looking at the previous verse (verse 6), we will be able to understand better the meaning of ‘shukr’ or thankfulness. Prophet Musa reminded Bani Israel to be thankful of the nikmah of victory against the Pharaoh’s subjugation.
This victory didn’t only free the sons of Israel but also strengthened their fragile faith before Prophet Musa subsequently came to save them. Many miracles happened in front of their eyes. The red sea miracles were supposed to boost their faith to believe in one God, that is Allah. It should also lead them to the increase of their thabat (steadfastness), Ikhlas (sincerity) and piety (Tafseer al Alusi).
This shows that being thankful for the favour of having the victory will make Allah increase their faith and ibadah.
Prophet Musa didn’t ask the sons of Israel to be thankful for the nikmah of material belongings, as there were no treasures such as gold and gems being sent down to them from above. Prophet Musa reminded them to express their thankfulness by fully obeying what Allah had asked them to do and avoiding what Allah had forbidden them from.
Looking at the next verse (verse 9), let’s take time to think as to why Prophet Musa asked the sons of Israel to reflect what had happened to the people of Prophet Noah, and the people of Aad and Thamud? Weren’t they among those who were given the nikmah of wealth and high positions in society? There’s nothing wrong with being rich and wealthy, but we should always learn from the previous people who had failed themselves in the test of wealth.
To conclude, we must be able to understand that the meaning of being thankful is not limited to just pronouncing it with our tongue without looking deeply into its full context ,and that it must also be translated into obedience of Allah. Similarly, the nikmah or favour that is to be increased is not limited to just money, property and material belongings but also covers faith, happiness, obedience, ibadah and all forms of good deeds that mankind needs.
Remember, being a wealthy Muslim is viewed favourably in Islam. But the acquisition of wealth must be based on thankfulness and awareness that it’s a heavy spiritual test upon us. With righteous thankfulness and awareness we shall free ourselves from being another Qarun without realising it.
In Islam, we believe that all sustenance (rizq) belongs with Allah. Allah is the One who determines our rizq or sustenance. And indeed, one of the names of Allah is ‘Ar-Razzaq’ or ‘The Provider’. This is why Muslims work hard to find a place they can call home,and food to bring to the table, without really worrying about how much they are really making while also trying to allocate some of their income and wealth to those in need.
In Surah Adh-Dhariyat verse 22, Allah says:
“And in heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.”
This does not mean that we get to just sit back and relax and not do anything to make a living. We earn what Allah promised us to and that is sufficient and the best for us. In Surah Taha verse 15, Allah says:
“… so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives”
Believing that what we have is enough makes our life less stressful and we get to focus on our ibadah, as well as doing good to others. Allah didn’t just provide sufficient rizq or sustenance for mankind, but also for plants and animals. In the Quran, there are a few places that Allah talks about rizq or sustenance.
And wed the singles among you, and those who are fit among your servants and maids. If they are poor, God will enrich them from His bounty. God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surah An-Nur verse 32)
Rizq that is promised
وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ
And in the heaven is your livelihood, and what you are promised. (Surah Adh-Dhariyat verse 22)
Rizq for making effort
وَأَنْ لَيْسَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ
And that the human being attains only what he strives for. (Surah An-Najm verse 39)
Rizq for women who were divorced, and for those who abide by his or her fate with taqwa