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Videos of Abul A'ala MAWDUDI: Urdu Tafseer of Ayat (verses) on Prayer (namaz/ salat) Times from Tafheemul Quran

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Tafseer of Ayat (verses) on prayer-times (auqat al-salaat or namaaz)

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أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآَنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآَنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا ﴿17:78﴾ 
(17:78) Establish Salat *91 from the declining of the sun *92 to the darkness of the night, *93 and be particular about the recital of the Qur'an *94 at the dawn of the morning, for the recital of the Qur'an at the dawn is witnessed. *95
*91 The Muslims have been commanded to establish Salat immediately after the mention of obstacles and adversities. This implies that the perseverance required to face adverse circumstances is obtained by the establishment of Salat.
*92 We have translated the words of the Arabic Text into "the declining of the sun. " Though some of the Companions and their followers are of the opinion that it means "the sunset", the majority of them are of the opinion that it means "the declining of the sun from its zenith." Caliph 'Umar, Ibn `Umar, Anas bin Malik, Abu Barza-tal-Aslami, Hasan Basri, Sha'abi, Ata', Mujahid and, according to a Tradition, Ibn `Abbas (Allah be pleased with them all) are of this opinion and Imam Muhammad Baqir and Imam Ja`afar Sadiq also are of the same opinion. Besides this, there are some Traditions from the Holy Prophet to the same effect, though they are not so authentic.
*93 According to some, the original words of the Arabic text mean "complete darkness of the night", while others take it to mean "midnight" If the first opinion is accepted, it will imply the beginning of the time of the 'Isha' Prayer and according to the other it will mean "the last limit of the time of "Isha" .
*94 The literal meaning of the word fajr is "dawn", that is, "the beginning of the morning after the darkness of night. "
Here the "recital of the Qur'an in the morning" stands for the Morning Prayer. At some places the Quran has used the word Salat for 'Prayer' and at other places a particular part of Salat for Prayer as a whole, e.g., tasbih, hamd, zikr, qayam, ruku', sajud etc. Likewise, here "recital of the Qur'an at dawn" does not mean the mere recital of the Qur'an but its recital during the Prayer. Thus, the Qur'an has also incidentally referred to the different parts of which Salat is composed and these guided the Holy Prophet to prescribe the definite form of Salat in which it is performed by the Muslims to-day.
*95 The recital of the Qur'an at dawn is witnessed by the angels of Allah to testify it, as has been explained in the Traditions. Though the angels witness each prayer and each good deed the special mention of their being witnesses at the time of the recital of the Qur'an during the Morning Prayer gives it a particular Importance. That is why the Holy Prophet used to recite long passages from the Qur'an during the Morning Prayer. His example was followed by the Companions, and the succeeding Muslim scholars held it to be a desirable thing.
In this verse, it has been briefly stated how to establish Salat which was made obligatory on the occasion of Mi `raj at the prescribed timings. It has been ordained that the first Prayer is to be offered before the sunrise and the remaining four after the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night. Afterwards Angel Jibril was sent to the Holy Prophet to define the limits of the timings of each Prayer. According to a Tradition of Abu Da'ud and Tirmizi related by Ibn 'Abbas, the Holy Prophet said, "Jibril led me in the five Prayers twice near the Ka`abah. On the first day, he offered the Dhuhr Prayer just after the declining of the sun, when the shadow of everything was the shortest. Then he offered the 'Asr Prayer when the shadow of each thing was equal to its own length; then the Maghrib Prayer at the time when one breaks one's fast, and the 'Isha' Prayer was offered just at the time when twilight had disappeared, and Faj rPrayer at the time when it becomes unlawful to eat and drink anything for the one who intends to observe a Fast. The next day he offered the Dhuhr Prayer at the time when the shadow of each thing became equal to its own length and the 'Asr Prayer when the shadow had doubled. The Maghrib Prayer was offered as on the previous day and the Isha' Prayer when one-third of the night had passed away, and the Morning Prayer when light had spread all over. After this Jibril turned towards me and said. 'O Muhammad, these are the timings of Salat of the Prophets and the right tunings are between these two extreme limits."
The Qur'an has also pointed to these five times of Salat on different occasions:
(1) "And listen; establish Salat at the two ends of the day and in the early parts of the night. . . " (IX: 114).
(2) "...And glorify your Lord with His praise before the sunrise (Fajr) and before sunset ('Asr) and then glorify Him during the night (`Isha') and then at the ends of the day (Fajr, Dhuhr and Maghrib). . . " (XX: 130).
(3) "So glorify Allah when it is evening for you (Maghrib), and when it is morning (Fajr). praise is only for Him in the heavens and the earth and glorify him in the later part of the afternoon ( 'Asr) and in the afternoon (Dhuhr). "(XXX. 17-18).
There is great wisdom in this system of the timings of Salat. One of these is to avoid the timings of the worship of the sun-worshippers. This is because the sun has always been in every age one of the greatest deities of the mushriks, who worshipped it especially at the time of sunrise and sunset. Therefore, these two times have totally been forbidden for Salat. Besides this, they worshipped the sun at the time of its zenith. That is why Islam has ordained that the Muslims should offer their two Prayers during the day-time after the sun has declined and the Fajr Prayer before the sunrise. The Holy Prophet himself has stated this wisdom of the timings of Prayer in several Traditions. For instance, in the Tradition related by 'Amar bin `Abasah, the Holy Prophet is reported to have replied to a qua"soon to this effect: "Offer your Morning Prayer, but refrain from it when the sun is about to rise until it has risen high. For the sun rises between the horns of Satan and the unbelievers fall prostrate before it at that time.
Then after mentioning the `Asr Prayer, he said:
"After `Asr Prayer, refrain from any Prayer until the sunset, for during that time the sun sets between the horns of Satan and the unbelievers fall prostrate before it. "
The rising and the setting of the sun between the horns of Satan is a symbolic expression that has been used in this Tradition. This implies that both these times are used by Satan as temptations for the people. This is, as if to say, that Satan is so pleased with the worship of the unbelievers at the time of sunrise and sunset that he appears to carry the sun on his head as a mark of approval. This interpretation of the Tradition is based on this remark of the Holy Prophet: "The unbelievers fall prostrate before it. "
وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَكَ عَسَى أَنْ يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَحْمُودًا ﴿17:79﴾ 
(17:79) Besides this, offer Tahajjud Prayer *96 at night: this is an additional prayer for you. *97 That time is not far when your Lord may exalt you to a laudable position. *98
*96 The literal meaning of "Tahajjud" is to rise up by breaking sleep. Therefore, the sentence has been translated into "Offer Tahajjud Prayer", which means "Rise up from sleep after the passing of a part of night and then offer your Prayer. "
*97 "Nafl" literally means "something done in addition to an obligatory duty". This shows that the Tahajjud Prayer is in addition to the five prescribed Prayers.
*98 "....... may exalt you to a laudable position": "You may attain such a high position in this world and in the next world that people from everywhere may be full of praise for you, and you may become a praiseworthy personality." This is, as if to say, "Now your opponents are engaged in calling you names and arc trying to defame you throughout the country, and have raised a storm of false accusations against you but that time is not far when the world will ring with the echoes of your praise and in the Hereafter you will become worthy of praise by all creatures. " The exaltation of the Holy Prophet to the high position of intercession on the Day of Resurrection is also a part of that "laudable position."
قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَنَ أَيًّا مَا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ سَبِيلًا ﴿17:110﴾ 
(17:110) (O Prophet), say to them, "You may call Him by any name, Allah or Rahman, for it is all the same by whichsoever name you call Him because all His names are most excellent. *123 And do not raise your voice high in your Prayer nor make it very low but adopt the middle way *124 between these two
*123 This is the answer to another objection of the disbelievers. They said, "We have heard the name Allah for the Creator but where from have you brought the name Rahman ?" This was because the name "Rehman " was not used for Allah and they did not like it.
*124 This instruction was given at Makkah. Ibn 'Abbas relates that when the Holy Prophet or his Companions offered their Prayers, they recited the Qur'an jn a loud voice. At this the disbelievers would raise a hue and cry and often called them names. Therefore, they wen enjoined that they should neither say their Prayers in such a loud voice as might incite the disbelievers nor should they say it in such a low voice that their own Companions might not hear it. This instruction was discontinued under the changed conditions at Al-Madinah. However, if the Muslims thay have to face the same conditions, at any place or at any time, they should observe the same instruction.


About Abul A'ala Maududi

Abul A’la was born on Rajab 3, 1321 AH (September 25, 1903 AD) in Aurangabad, a well-known town in the former princely state of Hyderabad (Deccan), presently Maharashtra, India. Born in a respectable family, his ancestry on the paternal side is traced back to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be on him).

The family had a long-standing tradition of spiritual leadership and a number of Maududi’s ancestors were outstanding leaders of Sufi Orders. One of the luminaries among them, the one from whom he derived his family name, was Khawajah Qutb al-Din Maudud (d. 527 AH), a renowned leader of the Chishti Sufi Order. Maududi’s forefathers had moved to the Subcontinent from Chisht towards the end of the 9th century of the Islamic calendar (15th century of the Christian calendar). The first one to arrive was Maududi’s namesake, Abul A’la Maududi (d. 935 AH).Maududi’s father, Ahmad Hasan, born in 1855 AD, a lawyer by profession, was a highly religious and devout person. Abul A’la was the youngest of his three sons.

Educational & Intellectual Growth:

After acquiring early education at home, Abul A’la was admitted in Madrasah Furqaniyah, a high school which attempted to combine the modern Western with the traditional Islamic education. After successfully completing his secondary education, young Abul A’la was at the stage of undergraduate studies at Darul Uloom, Hyderabad, when his formal education was disrupted by the illness and eventual death of his father. This did not deter Maududi from continuing his studies though these had to be outside of the regular educational institutions. By the early 1920s, Abul A’la knew enough Arabic, Persian and English, besides his mother-tongue, Urdu, to study the subjects of his interest independently. Thus, most of what he learned was self-acquired though for short spells of time he also received systematic instruction and guidance from some competent scholars. Thus, Maududi’s intellectual growth was largely a result of his own effort and the stimulation he received from his teachers. Moreover, his uprightness, his profound regard for propriety and righteousness largely reflect the religious piety of his parents and their concern for his proper moral upbringing.

Involvement in Journalism:

After the interruption of his formal education, Maududi turned to journalism in order to make his living. In 1918, he was already contributing to a leading Urdu newspaper, and in 1920, at the age of 17, he was appointed editor of Taj, which was being published from Jabalpore, a city in the province now called Madhya Pradesh, India. Late in 1920, Maududi came to Delhi and first assumed the editorship of the newspaper Muslim (1921-23), and later of al-Jam’iyat (1925-28), both of which were the organs of the Jam’iyat-i ‘Ulama-i Hind, an organisation of Muslim religious scholars. Under his editorship, al-Jam’iyat became the leading newspaper of the Muslims of India.

Interest in Politics:

Around the year 1920, Maududi also began to take some interest in politics. He participated in the Khilafat Movement, and became associated with the Tahrik-e Hijrat, which was a movement in opposition to the British rule over India and urged the Muslims of that country to migrate en masse to Afghanistan. However, he fell foul of the leadership of the movement because of his insistence that the aims and strategy of the movement should be realistic and well-planned. Maududi withdrew more and more into academic and journalistic pursuits.

First Book:

During 1920-28, Maulana Maududi also translated four different books, one from Arabic and the rest from English. He also made his mark on the academic life of the Subcontinent by writing his first major book, al-Jihad fi al-Islam. This is a masterly treatise on the Islamic law of war and peace. It was first serialised in al-Jam’iyat in 1927 and was formally published in 1930. It was highly acclaimed both by the famous poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938) and Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar (d. 1931), the famous leader of the Khilafat Movement. Though written during his ’20s, it is one of his major and most highly regarded works.

Research & Writings:

After his resignation from al-Jam’iyat in 1928, Maududi moved to Hyderabad and devoted himself to research and writing. It was in this connection that he took up the editorship of the monthly Tarjuman al-Qur’an in 1933, which since then has been the main vehicle for the dissemination of Maududi’s ideas. He proved to be a highly prolific writer, turning out several scores of pages every month. Initially, he concentrated on the exposition of ideas, values and basic principles of Islam. He paid special attention to the questions arising out of the conflict between the Islamic and the contemporary Western whorl. He also attempted to discuss some of the major problems of the modern age and sought to present Islamic solutions to those problems. He also developed a new methodology to study those problems in the context of the experience of the West and the Muslim world, judging them on the theoretical criterion of their intrinsic soundness and viability and conformity with the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. His writings revealed his erudition and scholarship, a deep perception of the significance of the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah and a critical awareness of the mainstream of Western thought and history. All this brought a freshness to Muslim approach to these problems and lent a wider appeal to his message.

In the mid ’30s, Maududi started writing on major political and cultural issues confronting the Muslims of India at that time and tried to examine them from the Islamic perspective rather than merely from the viewpoint of short-term political and economic interests. He relentlessly criticised the newfangled ideologies which had begun to cast a spell over the minds and hearts of his brethren-in-faith and attempted to show the hollowness of those ideologies. In this connection, the idea of nationalism received concerted attention from Maududi when he forcefully explained its dangerous potentialities as well as its incompatibility with the teachings of Islam. Maududi also emphasised that nationalism in the context of India meant the utter destruction of the separate identity of Muslims. In the meantime, an invitation from the philosopher-poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal persuaded him to leave Hyderabad and settle down at a place in the Eastern part of Punjab, in the district of Pathankot. Maududi established what was essentially an academic and research centre called Darul-Islam where, in collaboration with Allama Iqbal, he planned to train competent scholars in Islamics to produce works of outstanding quality on Islam, and above all, to carry out the reconstruction of Islamic Thought.

Founding the Party:

Around the year 1940, Maududi developed ideas regarding the founding of a more comprehensive and ambitious movement and this led him to launch a new organisation under the name of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Maududi was elected Jamaat’s first Ameer and remained so till 1972 when he withdrew from the responsibility for reasons of health.

Struggle & Persecution:

After migrating to Pakistan in August 1947, Maududi concentrated his efforts on establishing a truly Islamic state and society in the country. Consistent with this objective, he wrote profusely to explain the different aspects of the Islamic way of life, especially the socio-political aspects. This concern for the implementation of the Islamic way of life led Maududi to criticise and oppose the policies pursued by the successive governments of Pakistan and to blame those in power for failing to transform Pakistan into a truly Islamic state. The rulers reacted with severe reprisal measures. Maududi was often arrested and had to face long spells in prison.

During these years of struggle and persecution, Maududi impressed all, including his critics and opponents, by the firmness and tenacity of his will and other outstanding qualities. In 1953, when he was sentenced to death by the martial law authorities on the charge of writing a seditious pamphlet on the Qadyani problem, he resolutely turned down the opportunity to file a petition for mercy. He cheerfully expressed his preference for death to seeking clemency from those who wanted, altogether unjustly, to hang him for upholding the right. With unshakeable faith that life and death lie solely in the hands of Allah, he told his son as well as his colleagues: "If the time of my death has come, no one can keep me from it; and if it has not come, they cannot send me to the gallows even if they hang themselves upside down in trying to do so." His family also declined to make any appeal for mercy. His firmness astonished the government which was forced, under strong public pressure both from within and without, to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment and then to cancel it.

Intellectual Contribution:

Maulana Maududi has written over 120 books and pamphlets and made over a 1000 speeches and press statements of which about 700 are available on record.

Maududi’s pen was simultaneously prolific, forceful and versatile. The range of subjects he covered is unusually wide. Disciplines such as Tafsir, Hadith, law, philosophy and history, all have received the due share of his attention. He discussed a wide variety of problems C political, economic, cultural, social, theological etc. C and attempted to state how the teachings of Islam were related to those problems. Maududi has not delved into the technical world of the specialist, but has expounded the essentials of the Islamic approach in most of the fields of learning and inquiry. His main contribution, however, has been in the fields of the Qur’anic exegesis (Tafsir), ethics, social studies and the problems facing the movement of Islamic revival. His greatest work is his monumental tafsir in Urdu of the Qur’an, Tafhim al-Qur’an, a work he took 30 years to complete. Its chief characteristic lies in presenting the meaning and message of the Qur’an in a language and style that penetrates the hearts and minds of the men and women of today and shows the relevance of the Qur’an to their everyday problems, both on the individual and societal planes. He translated the Qur’an in direct and forceful modern Urdu idiom. His translation is much more readable and eloquent than ordinary literal translations of the Qur’an. He presented the Qur’an as a book of guidance for human life and as a guide-book for the movement to implement and enforce that guidance in human life. He attempted to explain the verses of the Qur’an in the context of its total message. This tafsir has made a far-reaching impact on contemporary Islamic thinking in the Subcontinent, and through its translations, even abroad.

The influence of Maulana Maududi is not confined to those associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami. His influence transcends the boundaries of parties and organisations. Maududi is very much like a father-figure for Muslims all over the world. As a scholar and writer, he is the most widely read Muslim writer of our time. His books have been translated into most of the major languages of the world C Arabic, English, Turkish, Persian, Hindi, French, German, Swahili, Tamil, Bengali, etc. C and are now increasingly becoming available in many more of the Asian, African and European languages.

Travels & Journeys Abroad:

The several journeys which Maududi undertook during the years 1956-74 enabled Muslims in many parts of the world to become acquainted with him personally and appreciate many of his qualities. At the same time, these journeys were educative for Maududi himself as well as they provided to him the opportunity to gain a great deal of first-hand knowledge of the facts of life and to get acquainted with a large number of persons in different parts of the world. During these numerous tours, he lectured in Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Kuwait, Rabat, Istanbul, London, New York, Toronto and at a host of international centres. During these years, he also participated in some 10 international conferences. He also made a study tour of Saudi Arabia, Jordan (including Jerusalem), Syria and Egypt in 1959-60 in order to study the geographical aspects of the places mentioned in the Qur’an. He was also invited to serve on the Advisory Committee which prepared the scheme for the establishment of the Islamic University of Madinah and was on its Academic Council ever since the inception of the University in 1962.

He was also a member of the Foundation Committee of the Rabitah al-Alam al-Islami, Makkah, and of the Academy of Research on Islamic Law, Madinah. In short, he was a tower of inspiration for Muslims the world over and influenced the climate and pattern of thought of Muslims, as the Himalayas or the Alps influence the climate in Asia or Europe without themselves moving about.

His Last Days:

In April 1979, Maududi’s long-time kidney ailment worsened and by then he also had heart problems. He went to the United States for treatment and was hospitalised in Buffalo, New York, where his second son worked as a physician. Even at Buffalo, his time was intellectually productive. He spent many hours reviewing Western works on the life of the Prophet and meeting with Muslim leaders, their followers and well-wishers.

Following a few surgical operations, he died on September 22, 1979 at the age of 76. His funeral was held in Buffalo, but he was buried in an unmarked grave at his residence (Ichra) in Lahore after a very large funeral procession through the city.

May Allah bless him with His mercy for his efforts and reward him amply for the good that he has rendered for the nation of Islam (Ummah).



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