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Believers are the True Maintainers of the Masjids

Allah said,

﴿ إِنَّمَا يَعۡمُرُ مَسَـٰجِدَ ٱللَّهِ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ

(The Masjids of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day.) Therefore, Allah testifies to the faith of those who maintain the Masjids. `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that `Amr bin Maymun Al-Awdi said, "I met the Companions of the Prophet and they were saying, `The Masjids are the Houses of Allah on the earth. It is a promise from Allah that He is generous to those who visit Him in the Masjids.,'' Allah said next,

﴿ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ

(perform the Salah), one of the major acts of worship practiced by the body,

﴿ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّڪَوٰةَ

(and give the Zakah), which is the best act that benefits other people,

﴿ وَلَمۡ يَخۡشَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ‌ۖ

(and fear none but Allah), they fear only Allah, the Exalted, and none else,

﴿ فَعَسَىٰٓ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ أَن يَكُونُواْ مِنَ ٱلۡمُهۡتَدِينَ

(It is they who are on true guidance.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said about Allah's statement,

﴿ إِنَّمَا يَعۡمُرُ مَسَـٰجِدَ ٱللَّهِ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ

(The Masjids of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day;) "He who singles out Allah (in worship), has faith in the Last Day.'' (And he said); "He who believes in what Allah has revealed,

﴿ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ

(perform the Salah), establishes the five daily prayers,

﴿ وَلَمۡ يَخۡشَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ‌ۖ

(and fear none but Allah.), worships Allah alone,

﴿ فَعَسَىٰٓ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ أَن يَكُونُواْ مِنَ ٱلۡمُهۡتَدِينَ

(it may be they who are on true guidance.) Allah says, `It is they who are the successful ones in truth.' Similarly, Allah said to His Prophet ,

﴿ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَبۡعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامً۬ا مَّحۡمُودً۬ا

(It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqam Mahmud) (17:79). Allah says here, `Your Lord (O Muhammad) shall grant you a station of praise, that is, the intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).' Every `might' in the Qur'an means `shall'.''

﴿ أَجَعَلۡتُمۡ سِقَايَةَ ٱلۡحَآجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ كَمَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَجَـٰهَدَ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ لَا يَسۡتَوُ ۥنَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَـٰهَدُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ بِأَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَأَنفُسِہِمۡ أَعۡظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡفَآٮِٕزُونَ يُبَشِّرُهُمۡ رَبُّهُم بِرَحۡمَةٍ۬ مِّنۡهُ وَرِضۡوَٲنٍ۬ وَجَنَّـٰتٍ۬ لَّهُمۡ فِيہَا نَعِيمٌ۬ مُّقِيمٌ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَآ أَبَدًا‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُ ۥۤ أَجۡرٌ عَظِيمٌ۬

(19. Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of Al-Masjid Al-Haram as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah They are not equal before Allah. And Allah guides not those people who are the wrongdoers.) (20. Those who believed and emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allah's cause with their wealth and their lives, are far higher in degree with Allah. They are the successful.) (21. Their Lord gives them glad tidings of mercy from Him, and His being pleased (with them), and of Gardens (Paradise) for them wherein are everlasting delights.) (22. They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allah is a great reward.)

Providing Pilgrims with Water and maintaining the Sacred Masjid are not equal to Faith and Jihad

In his Tafsir, Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas explained this Ayah: "The idolators said, `Maintaining Al-Masjid Al-Haram and providing water for pilgrims are better than embracing the faith and performing Jihad.' They used to boast and show off among the people because they claimed, they were the people and maintainers of Al-Masjid Al-Haram. Allah mentioned their arrogance and rejection (of the faith), saying to `the people of Al-Haram', who were idolators,

﴿ قَدۡ كَانَتۡ ءَايَـٰتِى تُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡكُمۡ فَكُنتُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَعۡقَـٰبِكُمۡ تَنكِصُونَ مُسۡتَكۡبِرِينَ بِهِۦ سَـٰمِرً۬ا تَهۡجُرُونَ

(Indeed My Ayat used to be recited to you, but you used to turn back on your heels (denying them, and refusing to listen to them with hatred). In pride, talking evil about it (the Qur'an) by night.) (23:66-67). They used to boast about being those who maintained the Sacred Sanctuary,

﴿ بِهِۦ سَـٰمِرً۬ا

(talking about it by night). They used to talk about this by night while shunning the Qur'an and the Prophet . Allah declared that faith and Jihad with the Prophet are better than the idolators' maintaining Al-Masjid Al-Haram and providing water for pilgrims. These actions -- maintaining and serving Allah's House -- will not benefit them with Allah because they associate others with Him. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ لَا يَسۡتَوُ ۥنَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(They are not equal before Allah. And Allah guides not those people who are the wrongdoers.) those who claimed they are the maintainers of the House. Allah described them with injustice, on account of their Shirk, and thus, their maintaining the Masjid will not avail them.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This Ayah was revealed about Al-`Abbas bin `Abdul-Muttalib, for when he was captured in the battle of Badr, he said, `If you rushed before us to embrace Islam, perform Hijrah and Jihad, we were maintaining Al-Masjid Al-Haram, providing water for the pilgrims and setting the indebted free.' Allah, the Exalted and Ever High, said,

﴿ أَجَعَلۡتُمۡ سِقَايَةَ ٱلۡحَآجِّ

(Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims), until,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(and Allah guides not those people who are the wrongdoers). Allah says, `All these actions were performed while committing Shirk, and I do not accept the (good deeds) that are performed while in a state of Shirk.''' Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, "Muslims came to Al-`Abbas and his friends who were captured during the battle of Badr and admonished them for their Shirk. Al-`Abbas said, `By Allah! We used to maintain Al-Masjid Al-Haram, release the indebted, serve the House (or cover it, or maintain it) and provide water for pilgrims.' Allah revealed this verse,

﴿ أَجَعَلۡتُمۡ سِقَايَةَ ٱلۡحَآجِّ

(Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims...)''' There is a Hadith (from the Prophet) about the Tafsir of this Ayah that we should mention. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that An-Nu`man bin Bashir said that a man said, "I do not care if I do not perform an action after embracing Islam other than providing drinking water for pilgrims (who visit the Ka`bah at Makkah).'' Another man said, "I do not care if I do not perform an action after embracing Islam other than maintaining Al-Masjid Al-Haram.'' A third man said, "Jihad in the cause of Allah is more righteous than what you have said.'' `Umar admonished them, "Do not raise your voices next to the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah,'' and as it was a Friday, he said, "but after we pray the Friday prayer, we will go to the Prophet and ask him.'' This verse was revealed,

﴿ أَجَعَلۡتُمۡ سِقَايَةَ ٱلۡحَآجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ ٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ

(Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of Al-Masjid Al-Haram), until,

﴿ لَا يَسۡتَوُ ۥنَ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ

(They are not equal before Allah. )

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تَتَّخِذُوٓاْ ءَابَآءَكُمۡ وَإِخۡوَٲنَكُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءَ إِنِ ٱسۡتَحَبُّواْ ٱلۡڪُفۡرَ عَلَى ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنِ‌ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُم مِّنكُمۡ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ قُلۡ إِن كَانَ ءَابَآؤُكُمۡ وَأَبۡنَآؤُڪُمۡ وَإِخۡوَٲنُكُمۡ وَأَزۡوَٲجُكُمۡ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمۡ وَأَمۡوَٲلٌ ٱقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوهَا وَتِجَـٰرَةٌ۬ تَخۡشَوۡنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَـٰكِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَهَآ أَحَبَّ إِلَيۡڪُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَجِهَادٍ۬ فِى سَبِيلِهِۦ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡتِىَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَمۡرِهِۦ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡفَـٰسِقِينَ

(23. O you who believe! Take not as supporters your fathers and your brothers if they prefer disbelief to belief. And whoever of you befriends them, then he is one of the wrongdoers.) (24. Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are rebellious.)

The Prohibition of taking the Idolators as Supporters, even with Relatives

Allah commands shunning the disbelievers, even if they are one's parents or children, and prohibits taking them as supporters if they choose disbelief instead of faith. Allah warns,

﴿ لَّا تَجِدُ قَوۡمً۬ا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ يُوَآدُّونَ مَنۡ حَآدَّ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ وَلَوۡ ڪَانُوٓاْ ءَابَآءَهُمۡ أَوۡ أَبۡنَآءَهُمۡ أَوۡ إِخۡوَٲنَهُمۡ أَوۡ عَشِيرَتَہُمۡ‌ۚ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ ڪَتَبَ فِى قُلُوبِہِمُ ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ۬ مِّنۡهُ‌ۖ وَيُدۡخِلُهُمۡ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ

(You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such He has written (predetermined) faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a Ruh (proof, light and true guidance) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow.) (58:22) Al-Hafiz Al-Bayhaqi recorded that `Abdullah bin Shawdhab said, "The father of Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah was repeatedly praising the idols to his son on the day of Badr, and Abu `Ubaydah kept avoiding him. When Al-Jarrah persisted, his son Abu `Ubaydah headed towards him and killed him. Allah revealed this Ayah in his case,

﴿ لَّا تَجِدُ قَوۡمً۬ا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ يُوَآدُّونَ مَنۡ حَآدَّ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ

(You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger.'') (58:22) Allah commanded His Messenger to warn those who prefer their family, relatives or tribe to Allah, His Messenger and Jihad in His cause,

﴿ قُلۡ إِن كَانَ ءَابَآؤُكُمۡ وَأَبۡنَآؤُڪُمۡ وَإِخۡوَٲنُكُمۡ وَأَزۡوَٲجُكُمۡ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمۡ وَأَمۡوَٲلٌ ٱقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوهَا

(Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained), amassed and collected,

﴿ وَتِجَـٰرَةٌ۬ تَخۡشَوۡنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَـٰكِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَهَآ

(the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight), and prefer and love because they are comfortable and good. If all these things,

﴿ أَحَبَّ إِلَيۡڪُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَجِهَادٍ۬ فِى سَبِيلِهِۦ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ

(are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His cause, then wait...) for what will befall you of Allah's punishment and torment,

﴿ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡتِىَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَمۡرِهِۦ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡفَـٰسِقِينَ

(until Allah brings about His decision. And Allah guides not the people who are rebellious.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Zuhrah bin Ma`bad said that his grandfather said, "We were with the Messenger of Allah , while he was holding the hand of `Umar bin Al-Khattab. `Umar said, `By Allah! You, O Messenger of Allah, are dearer to me than everything, except for myself.' The Messenger of Allah said,

« لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ نَفْسِه »

(None among you will attain faith until I become dearer to him than even himself.) `Umar said, `Verily, now, you are dearer to me than myself, by Allah!' The Messenger of Allah said,

« الْآنَ يَا عُمَر »

(Now, O `Umar!)'' Al-Bukhari also collected this Hadith. Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud (this is the version of Abu Dawud) recorded that Ibn `Umar said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,

إِذَا تَبَايَعْتُمْ بِالْعِينَةِ وَأَخَذْتُمْ بِأَذْنَابِ الْبَقَرِ وَرَضِيتُمْ بِالزَّرْعِ، وَتَرَكْتُمُ الْجِهَادَ سَلَّطَ اللهُ عَلَيْكُمْ ذُلًّا لَا يَنْزِعُهُ حَتَّى تَرْجِعُوا إِلَى دِينِكُم »

(If you transact in `Iynah (a type of Riba), follow the tails of cows (tilling the land), become content with agriculture and abandoned Jihad, Allah will send on you disgrace that He will not remove until, you return to your religion.)''

﴿ لَقَدۡ نَصَرَڪُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِى مَوَاطِنَ ڪَثِيرَةٍ۬‌ۙ وَيَوۡمَ حُنَيۡنٍ‌ۙ إِذۡ أَعۡجَبَتۡڪُمۡ كَثۡرَتُڪُمۡ فَلَمۡ تُغۡنِ عَنڪُمۡ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَضَاقَتۡ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتۡ ثُمَّ وَلَّيۡتُم مُّدۡبِرِينَ ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِۦ وَعَلَى ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودً۬ا لَّمۡ تَرَوۡهَا وَعَذَّبَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ‌ۚ وَذَٲلِكَ جَزَآءُ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُ ٱللَّهُ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٲلِكَ عَلَىٰ مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬

(25. Truly, Allah has given you victory on many battlefields, and on the day of Hunayn (battle) when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you naught and the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for you, then you turned back in flight). (26. Then Allah did send down His Sakinah (tranquillity) on His Messenger, and on the believers, and sent down forces (angels) which you saw not, and punished the disbelievers. Such is the recompense of disbelievers). (27. Then after that Allah will accept the repentance of whom He wills. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)