Surah Al-Hashr: The Exile


Those before them who had homes in the city and embraced the faith before them, love those who have sought refuge with them; the entertain no desire in their hearts for what they have given, but rather prefer them above themselves, though they are in need themselves. Those who can protect themselves from greed shall surely prosper.

Those that came after them pray, “Forgive us, our Lord and forgive our brothers who embraced the faith before us. And let not our hearts harbour malice and ill thoughts against the faithful. O Lord! You are the most compassionate and gracious (Al-Hashr: 9-11).

These verses describe the generous nature of the early Muslims. In particular the Ansar, there were the Muslims of Madinah, who graciously welcomed the refugees from Makkah. They helped them, they opened their homes for them, shared their orchards, palm groves business and wealth. They speared no effort to support and settle the newcomers. No wonder, the Messenger (saws) was so impressed by their self less sacrifice that he said, “To love the ‘helpers’ is a sign of being a believer and their hatred is a sign of hypocrisy” (Agreed upon). The prophet passionately loved the ‘helpers’. When the booty (wealth, animals, and land gained after the battle) from Huwaizan was distributed amongst the Makkan refugees, some young helpers complained saying, “May God forgive the Messenger, he only gives to the Makkan, yet blood is still dripping from our swords. When the messenger (saws) heard this he immediately summoned all the helpers in a large tent. When they had all gathered there he spoke to them and said, “what is this that I hear you say…” The wise people amongst them spoke and said, “O Messenger these were some young naïve men who said this, please don’t worry about it”. The Messenger (saws) upon hearing this replied, “I give wealth to those who are new Muslims to give them strength and confidence. Tell me whilst some people take home wealth and animals and you take home the messenger of God- The Helpers replied, “Why not! We are happy with this deal” (Agreed Upon).

The ‘helpers’ themselves were needy; they were hardly affluent. But they knew that the refugees were more needy then them. This willingness to forego their share in the booty is truly amazing. Although the young and the naïve amongst them complained they were swiftly reprimanded by the wise and the elderly.

After describing these ‘role models’ of generosity and kindness the Glorious Quran proclaims a principle of success; “Whoever can guard him/herself against greed will surely be successful”. Today we once more need to rediscover this basic law of success and happiness. We are standing on the brink of environmental disaster; the warming of the climate and the depletion of the Ozone layer form the atmosphere will cause cataclysmic destruction. They are a result of mans’ greed to possess more material goods. Greed is this excessive love of the world.