Surah Al-Ma’un or Surah Maoon (in Arabic: سورة الماعون) is the 107th Surah of the Qur’an and composed of 7 ayat (verses). The English meaning of Al-Maun is “Small Kindness” or Almsgiving, The Daily Necessaries, Charity, and Assistance. This Surah is classified as a Meccan Surah meaning that it’s revelation was before Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his followers migrated to Medina.
This Surah teaches one of the core principles of Islam, Zakat meaning charity. It even advises in the manner it should be given, i.e. to give without showing or to give for the show. It also gives guidance on how to offer prayer. To be present and not to be ‘heedless’ in prayer.
One of the goals of the My Islam site is to make it easy to read and understand the Qur’an. So below each ayat you can find the transliteration and the Sahih International English translation. We’ve also included Tafsir which can be found at the end of the Surah.
Read Surah Maun with Translation and Transliteration:
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
Ara aital ladzi yukadzibu biddin
1. Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense?
Fazaalikal lazee yadu’ul-yateem
2. For that is the one who drives away the orphan
Wa la yahuddu ‘alaa ta’aamil miskeen
3. And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.
Fa wailul-lil musalleen
4. So woe to those who pray
Allazeena hum ‘an salaatihim saahoon
5. [But] who are heedless of their prayer –
Allatheena hum yuraaa’oon
6. Those who make show [of their deeds]
Wa yamna’oonal maa’oon
7. And withhold [simple] assistance.
Tafsir of Surah Al Maun
Here you find various different tafsir works on this Surah to expand your understanding. By reading Tafsir of Surah Maun you can learn insights from scholars about the benefits, different hadith which mention Surah Ma’un, it’s background history, purpose of revelation, significance to Islam, and much more.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir Surah Maun
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Allah says, “O Muhammad! Have you seen the one who denies the Din”
Here the word Din means the Hereafter, the Recompense and the Final Reward.
(That is he who repulses the orphan, ) meaning, he is the one who oppresses the orphan and does not give him his just due. He does not feed him, nor is he kind to him.
(And urges not the feeding of Al-Miskin.) This is as Allah says,
(Nay! But you treat not the orphans with kindness and generosity! And urge not one another on the feeding of Al-Miskin!) (89:17-18) meaning, the poor man who has nothing to sustain him and suffice his needs. Then Allah says,
(So, woe unto those performers of Salah, those who with their Salah are Sahun.) Ibn `Abbas and others have said, “This means the hypocrites who pray in public but do not pray in private.” Thus, Allah says,
(unto those performers of Salah,) They are those people who pray and adhere to the prayer, yet they are mindless of it. This may either be referring to its act entirely, as Ibn `Abbas said, or it may be referring to performing it in its stipulated time that has been legislated Islamically. This means that the person prays it completely outside of its time.
`Ata’ bin Dinar said, “All praise is due to Allah, the One Who said,
(with their Salah are Sahun.) and He did not say, `those who are absent minded in their prayer.”’ It could also mean the first time of the prayer, which means they always delay it until the end of its time, or they usually do so. It may also refer to not fulfilling its pillars and conditions, and in the required manner. It could also mean performing it with humility and contemplation of its meanings. The wording of the Ayah comprises all of these meanings. However, whoever has any characteristic of this that we have mentioned then a portion of this Ayah applies to him. And whoever has all of these characteristics, then he has completed his share of this Ayah, and the hypocrisy of actions is fulfilled in him. This is just as is confirmed in the Two Sahihs that the Messenger of Allah said,
(This is the prayer of the hypocrite, this is the prayer of the hypocrite, this is the prayer of the hypocrite. He sits watching the sun until it is between the two horns of Shaytan. Then he stands and pecks four (Rak`ahs) and he does not remember Allah (in them) except very little.) This Hadith is describing the end of the time for the `Asr prayer, which is the middle prayer as is confirmed by a text (Hadith). This is the time in which it is disliked to pray. Then this person stands to pray it, pecking in it like the pecking of a crow. He does not have tranquility or humility in it at all. Thus, the Prophet said,
(He does not remember Allah (in them) except very little.) He probably only stands to pray it so that the people will see him praying, and not seeking the Face of Allah. This is just as if he did not pray at all. Allah says,
(Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.) (4:142) and Allah says here,
(Those who do good deeds only to be seen,) Imam Ahmad recorded from `Amr bin Murrah that he said, “We were sitting with Abu `Ubaydah when the people mentioned showing-off. A man known as Abu Yazid said, “I heard `Abdullah bin `Amr saying that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever tries to make the people hear of his deed, Allah, the One Who hears His creation, will hear it and make him despised and degraded.)” from what is related to his statement,
(Those who do good deeds only to be seen.) is that whoever does a deed solely for Allah, but the people come to know about it, and he is pleased with that, then this is not considered showing off. Allah said:
(And withhold Al-Ma`un.) This means that they do not worship their Lord well, nor do they treat His creation well. They do not even lend that which others may benefit from and be helped by, even though the object will remain intact and be returned to them. These people are even stingier when it comes to giving Zakah and different types of charity that bring one closer to Allah. Al-Mas`udi narrated from Salamah bin Kuhayl who reported from Abu Al-`Ubaydin that he asked Ibn Mas`ud about Al-Ma`un and he said, “It is what the people give to each other, like an axe, a pot, a bucket and similar items.”
This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Ma`un, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.
The love of the world causes nations to lose faith and consign Allah to oblivion
This Surah denounces some of the evil actions of the pagans and the hypocrites, and it holds out a threat of destruction to those who commit them. If these evil actions are committed by believers, who do not reject the true faith, they are still heinous and gravely sinful, but the threat of chastisement made in this surah does not apply to them. Therefore, verse [ 107:1] أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ (Have you not seen him who denies the Requital?), as a preamble, makes plain that the person who performs these evil deeds is one who cries lies to the Doom, and thus the warning of punishment mentioned in this Surah is for those who deny the religion and the Day of Judgment. The verse contains a subtle indication that the moral sins condemned in this Surah are far too inconceivable from a believer; only a non-believer or hypocrite would commit them. The morally bad and sinful deeds mentioned here are:  oppressing and insulting the orphan, and being unkind to them;  despite the means, failing to feed the poor or failing to urge others to feed them;  praying [ in public only, not in private ] only to show the people; and  failing to pay the Zakah [ obligatory alms ]. These actions are intrinsically bad and gravely sinful, but their commission in the wake of kufr [disbelief] and takdhib [rejection] are even more aggravating, because they attract eternal perdition, which in this Surah is described as wail [heavy affliction or calamity or disaster or destruction].
Verses [ 107:4-6] فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ ﴿4﴾ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ ﴿5﴾ الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ (So woe to those performers of salah who are neglectful of their salah, who [do good only to] show off.) These verses describe the characteristics of the hypocrites who used to perform the prayers only to make a display of them to the people and prove that their claim of being sincere Muslims is true. As they do not believe in the obligatory nature of the prayers, they are not regular at them, and they do not observe the prescribed times, but offer them carelessly at the eleventh hour or completely out of time. They perform them only when they must to make a display of them, otherwise they have no place in their lives. The preposition ‘an (translated above as ‘of) in the prepositional phrase عَن صَلَاتِھِم “[ neglectful ] of their salah” is significant. It indicates that they [ the hypocrites ] are neglectful of the very concept of salah. This does not refer to the unintentional errors, slips and mistakes that Muslims make in their prayers. The Holy Prophet ﷺ also made this type of unintentional mistakes in his prayers. The warning of Hell by the expression of wail does not apply to such mistakes. If that was the case, the prepositional phrase would have been fi salatihim [in their prayers] instead of ‘an salatihim [neglectful of their prayers].
Verse [107:7] وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ (And refuse [to give even] small gifts.) The word min literally means any small or petty thing’ and idiomatically it refers to ‘small household articles of common use such as axe, hoe, cooking pot which at the time of need neighbors borrow from one another’.
Anyone who is unwilling to lend such small items is morally a very miserly and mean person. However, in the current verse the word ma’ un is taken in the sense of Zakah [obligatory alms] because it is a little amount out of much wealth – only 2-½% out of the entire wealth. Majority of the commentators – like Sayyidna ` Ali, Ibn ` Umar, Hasan Basri, Qatadah, Dahhak ؓ and others – hold the view that ma` un implies Zakah. [Mazhari]. The threat of wail (torment of Hell) can only be for failure to fulfill one’s legal obligation. Giving small items to help out one’s fellow human beings is a humanitarian and philanthropic gesture that carries much reward in the Hereafter, but it is not an obligation at all, the violation of which could lead to eternal perdition. Traditions reporting that ma’ un refers to pots and pans, and other household items of daily use are to show that if a person is reluctant to part with such small items, how will he have the heart to part with 2-½% of his wealth? The Traditions purport to say that these people are so narrow-minded that they are not willing to make the least bit of selfless sacrifice for the welfare and wellbeing of others. They are morally mean, low and miserly in the extreme. Therefore, they do not pay their legal alms. Thus the threat of punishment in Hell-fire is not on account of failure to do one’s neighborly acts of kindness, but for failure to pay the legal alms and perhaps for their extreme niggardliness.
The Commentary on
Surah Al-Ma’ un
This surah is a Makkan revelation according to some authorities and a MakkanMadinan one according to others, with the first three verses said to have been revealed in Makkah and the rest in Madinah. The latter view is perhaps weightier. Yet the surah is one interwoven entity, aiming at the establishment of one of the most Al-Ma`un (Small Kindness) 266 fundamental aspects of faith. Hence we are more inclined to take it as being an entirely Madinan revelation. Its subject matter is more in line with the topics of the part of the Qur’an revealed in Madinah. It relates to the phenomena of hypocrisy and false pretences which were unheard of among the Muslim community in Makkah. But there is no need to reject the assertion that the surah is a Makkan-Madinan one, because it is possible that the last four verses were revealed in Madinah and integrated with the first three on the grounds of similarity of subject matter. Having said that, let us now consider the surah and its theme.
Belief and Practice
This surah of seven short verses tackles an important and vital issue which could very well change the common meanings normally assigned to the terms ‘faith’, or iman, and ‘disbelief’, or kufr. Moreover, it brings out the fundamental truth intrinsic in the nature of the Islamic faith, the enormous benefit it offers to all humanity and the abundant blessings with which God favoured mankind when He sent them His last message.
As a way of life, Islam is not built on ostentation and superficiality. The apparent aspects of the different acts of worship are, according to Islam, meaningless unless they are motivated by sincerity and devotion to God. Worship sincerely motivated produces effects within a person’s heart, and these cause him to act righteously. The effects of worship are reflected in a type of social behaviour which elevates man’s life on this earth.
No less true is the fact that Islam is not a loose, fragmentary, disjointed system from which one can pick and choose at leisure. On the contrary, it is a complete way of life with acts of worship and rites, as well as individual and collective obligations that are mutually complementary. Together they lead to a goal of which mankind is the sole beneficiary; a goal which ensures that hearts are purified, life is ennobled, and men co-operate for the common good and progress; a goal wherein abound God’s blessings.
A person may profess to be a Muslim, that is, he accepts this religion and all its principles, offers prayers regularly and observes other acts of worship, and yet is lacking in the essence of faith and sincerity of belief. In fact, he may be very far from these. For there are signs which indicate the firm establishment of these qualities in people’s hearts. As explained in the commentary on Surah 103, The Declining Day, the essence of faith once firmly rooted in people’s hearts and minds, immediately begins to operate and manifest itself in their behaviour. The surah stresses unequivocally that, if this is not the case, there is no faith.
“Have you seen him who denies religion? It is he who thrusts the orphan away and does not urge others to feed the needy.” (Verses 1-3) The surah starts with a question addressed to all who can see, generating suspense and holding their attention in order to make them discover the target and subject of the surah. Who is this creature identified by the Qur’an as the one who denies the religion of Islam? The answer is given immediately: “It is he who thrusts the orphan away and does not urge others to feed the needy.” (Verses 2-3)
This definition of unbelievers may sound surprising when compared with a traditional definition of faith, but this is the crux of the matter. Indeed, the one who denies the faith is he who harshly pushes away the orphan, humiliating him and hurting his feelings, and who does not care for the needy or their welfare. For if the truth of Islam has touched his heart in any degree, he would not commit such acts. True belief in Islam is not a verbal statement, but an overall change of the individual’s heart, motivating him to benevolence and goodwill for all his fellow beings that are in need of his care and protection. God does not want mere words from His servants but demands deeds to support the spoken words which, otherwise, are as weightless and valueless as blown ash. Nothing can be more forceful than these three verses in affirming this fact which represents the nature of faith.
We do not intend here to indulge in a juristic discussion on the boundaries of faith and Islam. These are required in legal affairs, whereas this surah states the facts from God’s point of view and judgement, which is quite different from the legal aspect.
Next, God offers a practical illustration of what is meant above: “Woe, then, to those who pray but are heedless of their prayers.” (Verses 4-5) These verses contain God’s invocation against, or a threat of destruction to, those who offer prayers but are careless about them. Who exactly are such people? They are those “who put on a show of piety but refuse to give even the smallest help to others.” (Verses 67) Those who perform prayers but who do not aptly meet their requirements. They execute the mechanical aspects and pronounce the verbal formulae of prayers but their hearts are never alive to them, nor do they benefit by the spiritual nourishment prayers give. The essence and purpose of prayer and its component parts, such as Qur’anic recitation, supplication and glorification of God, are never present in their souls. They offer prayers only to deceive others and not out of devotion to God. Hence, they are inattentive when they pray. They only outwardly perform their prayers. Muslims are required to offer their prayers regularly, having in mind that their prayers are a manifestation of their servitude to God alone. Thus, prayer leaves no result in those who are neglectful and inattentive to it. Consequently, they refuse to give any kindness or help to their fellow beings and deny the slightest charity to any of God’s servants.
Once again, we find ourselves presented with the fundamental truth and nature of this religion. A Qur’anic verse threatens with destruction those who offer prayers precisely because they carry out meaningless movements devoid of any spirit or sense of purpose, intended for deceit and pretence, and not devoted to God. Since their prayers have not affected their hearts and behaviour, they are not merely useless but rather a sin for which they will be punished.
We thus gather the purpose behind what God demands of His servants when He instructs them to believe in, and worship Him. He seeks no benefit thereof for Himself, as He is in no need of anyone or anything. All He cares for is their own welfare and prosperity, purification of their hearts and happiness in their lives. God wishes human life to be elevated, happy, based on pure motives and characterized by mutual compassion, brotherhood and purity of hearts and behaviour.
To where then is humanity driving itself, moving away from this abundance of mercy; away from this wonderful and sublime path? How can mankind debase itself to living in the wilderness of a wretched and gloomy jahiliyyah when it beholds the splendid light of faith before its very eyes at the cross-roads where it now stands?
The words “have you seen”, apparently, are directed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), but the Quranic style is that on such occasions it generally addresses every intelligent and thinking person. And seeing means seeing with the eyes, for what has been described in the succeeding verses can be seen by every seer with his eyes, as well as knowing, understanding and considering something deeply. If the word araaita is taken in the second meaning, the verse would mean: Do you know the kind of man who belies the rewards and punishments. Or: Have you considered the state of the person who belies the Judgment?
The word ad-din as Quranic term is used for the rewards and punishments of the Hereafter as well as for the religion of Islam. But the theme that follows is more relevant to the first meaning, although the second meaning is also not out of the context. Ibn Abbas has preferred the second meaning, while a majority of the commentators have preferred the first. In case the first meaning is taken, the theme of the Surah would mean that denial of the Hereafter produces such and such a character in man. In case the second meaning is taken, the object of the Surah would be to highlight the moral importance of Islam, to stress that Islam aims at producing an altogether different character in its adherents from that found in its deniers.
The style shows that the object of asking this question at the outset is not to ask whether he has seen the person or not, but to invite the listener to consider as to what kind of character is produced in man when he denies the judgment of the Hereafter, and to urge him to know the kind of the people who belie this creed so that he tries to understand the moral significance of belief in the Hereafter.
The letter fa in the sentence fa-dhalika-alladhi expresses the meaning of a whole sentence, which is to this effect: If you do not know, then know that it is indeed he who drives away the orphan. Or, it gives the meaning: Because of his this very denial of the Hereafter he is the kind of man who drives away the orphan.
The sentence yadu ul yatim as used in the original, has several meanings:
(1) That he deprives the orphan of his rights and evicting him from his father’s heritage thrusts him away.
(2) That if an orphan comes to ask him for help, he repulses him instead of showing him any compassion, and if he still persists in his entreaties in the hope for mercy, he drives him away and out of sight.
(3) That he ill-treats the orphan.
For example, if in his own house there is a closely related orphan, it is the orphans lot to serve the whole house, to receive rebuffs and suffer humiliation for trivial things. Besides, this sentence also contains the meaning that the person does not behave unjustly and tyrannically only occasionally but this is his habit and settled practice. He does not have the feeling that it is an evil which he must give up, but he persists in it with full satisfaction, thinking that the orphan is a helpless, powerless creature; therefore, there is no harm if his rights are taken away wrongfully, or he is made the target of tyranny and injustice, or he is repulsed and driven away whenever he asks for help.
In this connection, Qadi Abul Hasan al-Mawardi has related a strange incident in his Aalam an-Nubuwwat. Abu Jahl was the testator of an orphan. The child one day came to him in the condition that he had no shred of a garment on his body and he implored him to be given something out of his father’s heritage. But the cruel man paid no attention to him and the poor child had to go back disappointed. The Quraish chiefs said to him out of fun: Go to Muhammad (peace be upon him) and put your complaint before him. He will recommend your case before Abu Jahl and get you your property. The child not knowing any background of the nature of relationship between Abu Jahl and the Prophet (peace be upon him) and not understanding the motive of the mischief-mongers, went straight to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and apprised him of his misfortune. The Prophet (peace be upon him) immediately arose and accompanied the child to the house of Abu Jahl, his bitterest enemy. Abu Jahl received him well and when the latter told him to restore to the child his right, he yielded and brought out whatever he owed to him. The Quraish chiefs were watching all this earnestly in the hope that an interesting altercation would take place between them. But when they saw what actually happened they were astounded and went to Abu Jahl and taunted him saying that he too perhaps had abandoned his religion. He said: By God, I have not abandoned my religion, but I so felt that on the right and left of Muhammad (peace be upon him) there was a spear which would enter my body if I acted against what he desired. This incident not only shows what was the attitude and conduct of the principal chiefs of the most civilized and noble tribe of Arabia towards the orphans and other helpless people in those days but it also shows what sublime character the Prophet (peace be upon him) possessed and what impact it had even on his bitterest enemies. A similar incident we have already related in E.N. 5 of Surah Al-Anbiya, which points to the great moral superiority of the Prophet (peace be upon him) because of which the disbelieving Quraish branded him as a sorcerer.
La yahuddu means that the person neither persuades his own self, nor tells the people of his household, to provide the poor man with his food, nor does he urge others to recognize the rights of the poor and needy people of society who are starving and do something to satisfy their hunger.
Here, by giving only two conspicuous examples, Allah has pointed out what kind of evils are produced in the people who deny the Hereafter. The real object is not to point out only these two evils that the people drive away the orphans and do not urge giving away the food of the poor as a result of the denial of the Hereafter. But of the countless evils which are thus produced, two evils have been presented as an example, which every noble and sound-natured person will regard as hateful. Besides, another thing meant to be impressed is that if this very man had believed that he would have to go before God to render an account of his deeds, he would not have committed such evils as to deprive the orphan of his rights, tyrannize him, repulse him, neither feed the poor man himself nor urge others to give him his food. The characteristics of the believers in the Hereafter which have been described in Surah Al-Asr and Surah Al-Balad are that they exhort one another to mercy, and they exhort one another to the truth and to render the rights of others.
The words used are to taam-il-miskin and not itam-ilmiskin. If itam-il-miskin were the words, the meaning would be that he does not urge (others) to feed the poor. But taam -il-miskin means that he does not urge (others) to give away the food of the poor. In other words, the food that is given to the poor man is not the food of the giver but of the poor man himself; it is his right which is enjoined on the giver, and the giver is not doing him any favor but rendering him his right. This same thing had been said in Surah Adh-Dhariyat: And in their possessions is a due share of him who asks and of him who is needy. (verse 19).
The fa in fa-wail-ul -lil-musallin signifies that such was the condition of the open deniers of the Hereafter. One may then consider the condition of the hypocrites who are included among the praying ones (i.e. Muslims). Since, despite being Muslims they regard the Hereafter as a falsehood, one may note what path of ruin they are following.
Though musallin means the praying ones, in view of the context in which this word has been used and the characteristics of these people that follow, this word, in fact, does not have the meaning of the praying ones but of the people of salat, i.e. of those included among Muslims.
The words used are an-salat-i him sahun and not fi salati- him ahun. In case the words fi salat-i him had been used, the meaning would be that they forget in the course of their Prayer. But forgetting in the course of the Prayer is no sin in the eyes of the Shariah, nothing to say of its being hypocrisy, nor is it a fault or anything blameworthy. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself sometimes forgot in the Prayer and to compensate for it he prescribed the method of sajdah sahv. On the contrary, an salat-i-him sahun means that they are neglectful of their Prayer. Whether they perform the Prayer, or do not perform it, it is of little importance to them. They are not regular at the Prayers. When they perform it, they do not observe the prescribed times, but offer it carelessly at the eleventh hour. Or, when they rise up for the Prayer, they rise up and perform it with an unwilling heart, as if it were a calamity imposed on them. They play with their garments, yawn and betray absence of every trace of Allah’s remembrance in their hearts. Throughout the Prayer they show no feeling at all that they are performing the Prayer, nor of what they are reciting; their minds wander and they perform articles of the Prayer without due attention; they somehow perform a semblance of the Prayer and try to be rid of it as soon as possible. And there are many people who would perform the Prayer only when they must, otherwise the Prayer has no place in their lives. The Prayer time comes but they show no concern that it is the Prayer time; they hear the call to the Prayer but do not understand what the caller is calling to, whom he is calling and for what purpose. These in fact are the signs of absence of faith in the Hereafter. The claimants to Islam believe thus only because they do not believe that they would be rewarded for performing the Prayer, nor have the faith that they would be punished for not performing it. On this very basis, Anas bin Malik and Ata bin Dinar say: Thanks to God that he said an salat-ihim and not fi salat-i-him. That is, we do forget in the course of the Prayer but we are not forgetful and neglectful of it; therefore, we shall not be counted among the hypocrites.
The Quran at another place has described this state of the hypocrites, thus: They come to offer their Prayer but reluctantly, and they spend in the way of Allah with unwilling hearts. (Surah At-Taubah, Ayat 54). The Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah has said: This is the Prayer of the hypocrite; this is the Prayer of the hypocrite; this is the Prayer of the hypocrite! He watches the sun at the Asr time until when it reaches between the two horns of Satan (i.e. when the time of sunset approaches), he gets up and performs the Prayer carelessly, in which he remembers Allah but little. (Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad Ahmad). Musab bin Saad has related from his father, Saad bin Abi Waqqas: When I asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the people who are neglectful of their Prayer, he said: These are the people who perform their Prayers when the prescribed time for it has passed. (Ibn Jarir, Abu Yala, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn abi Hatim, Tabarani in Ausat; Ibn Marduyah, Baihaqi in As-Sunan). This tradition has been related as a statement of Saad himself also as a mauquf hadith and its sanad is stronger. Its being a marfu narration of the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) has been regarded as weak by Baihaqi and Hakim). Another tradition from Musab is that he asked his father: Have you considered this verse? Does it mean giving up the Prayer, or wandering of one’s attention in the course of the Prayer, who among us has not his attention divided. He replied: No, it implies wasting the prescribed time of the Prayer and performing it when its time has elapsed. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Shaibah, Abu Yala, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Marduyah, Baihaqi in As-Sunan).
Here, one should understand that coming of other thoughts in the mind in the course of the Prayer is one thing and being unmindful of the Prayer and thinking other things during it quite another. The first state is a natural human weakness. Thoughts do interfere without intention, and as soon as a believer feels that his attention is wandering from the Prayer, he gathers it and brings it back to the Prayer. The other state is of being neglectful of the Prayer, for in it man only goes through an exercise of the Prayer mechanically, he has no intention of the remembrance of God in his heart. From the commencement of the Prayer till its completion his heart is not turned towards God even for a moment, and he remains engrossed in the thoughts with which he entered the Prayer.
This can be an independent sentence as well as one relating to the preceding sentence. In the first case, it would mean that they do not perform any act of goodness with a pure intention for the sake of God, but whatever they do, they do to be seen of others so that they are praised, are considered righteous, their good act is publicized and its advantage and benefit accrues to them here in the world. In the second case, the meaning would be that they pray to be seen. The commentators generally have preferred the second meaning, for at first sight it appears that it relates to the preceding sentence. Ibn Abbas says: It implies the hypocrites who prayed to be seen. They performed the Prayer if there was somebody to see them, but did not perform it if there was nobody to see them. In another tradition his words are to the effect: If they were alone they did not pray; but if there were others, they prayed. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim , Ibn Marduyah, Baihaqi , in Ash-Shuab). In the Quran the hypocrites have been described thus: When they rise up for the salat, they go reluctantly to it, merely to be seen of people and they remember Allah but little. (Surah An-Nisa, Ayat 142).
The word used is maun. The view held by Ali, Ibn Umar, Saeed bin Jubair, Qatadah, Hasan Basri, Muhammad bin Hanafiyyah, Dahhak, Ibn Zaid, Ikrimah, Mujahid, Ata and Zuhri is that it implies the zakat while Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud, Ibrahim Nakhai, Abu Malik and many other scholars have expressed the opinion that it implies items of common use; for example, cooking-pot, bucket, hatchet, balance, salt, water, fire, flint (now its successor, the match-stick), etc. which the people generally borrow from each other. A statement of Saeed bin Jubair and Mujahid also supports it. Another view of Ali also is that it implies the zakat as well as the little courtesies and kindnesses of daily life. Ibn Abi Hatim has related from Ikrimah that maun of the highest form is zakat and of the lowest lending of a sieve, bucket, or needle to a borrower. Abdullah bin Masud says: We, the companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him), used to say, and according to other traditions, in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), used to say that maun implies lending of the cooking pot, hatchet, bucket, balance, and such other things. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Shaibah, Abu Daud, Nasai, Bazzar, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Tabarani in Al- Ausat, Ibn Marduyah, Baihaqi in As-Sunan). Saad bin Iyad without specifying any names has related almost the same view from the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which shows that he had heard this from several companions. (Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Shaibah). Dailami, Ibn Asakir, and Abu Nuaim have related a tradition from Abu Hurairah in which he says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) explained this verse saying that it implies the hatchet, bucket and other such things. If this tradition is genuine, it probably did not come to the notice of other scholars; otherwise it was not possible that other people should have given any other commentary of this verse.
Maun in fact is a small, little thing useful to the people. Accordingly, zakat also is maun, for it is a little amount out of much wealth, which one has to give away in order to help the poor, and the other small items of common use are also maun as mentioned by Abdullah Ibn Masud and the scholars who share his viewpoint. The majority of the commentators say that maun applies to all those small things which the neighbors usually ask each other for, and asking for these is not in any way blameworthy, for the rich and the poor, all stand in need of these at one time or another. However, to show stinginess in lending these is regarded as mean behavior morally. Generally these things by themselves last and the neighbor returns them in the original form after he has used them. It would also be maun if a neighbor asks the other for a bed or bedding items on the arrival of guests, or asks the neighbor’s permission to have loaves baked in his oven, or wants to leave some valuables in the neighbor’s custody when going out of his house for some days. Thus, the verse means to impress that denial of the Hereafter renders a man so narrow-minded and niggardly that he is not even prepared to make a most minor sacrifice for the sake of others