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Al Kahf Challenge – Verse 104 (Memorize + Learn Tafsir)

Al Kahf 104

Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”

ٱلَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا

Allatheena dalla saAAyuhumfee alhayati addunya wahum yahsaboonaannahum yuhsinoona sunAAa
[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.
{Surat Al Kahf 18 : Verse 104}

Audio – Recitor (Maher al-Muaiqly) (Fast)

Audio – Recitor (Hani Ar Rafai) (Slow)

Word Analysis
1. alladhīna – Those –
2. ḍalla – is lost
3. saʿyuhum – their effort
4. – in
5. l-ḥayati – the life
6.  l-dun’yā – (of) the world,
7. wahum – while they
8. yaḥsabūna – think
9. annahum – that they
10. yuḥ’sinūna – (were) acquiring good
11. ṣun’ʿan – (in) work.”

Tafsir & Explanation
The previous Ayah asks: Who could be the worst possible loser in terms of their deeds? This Ayah is the answer to that: They are those whose efforts were exhausted and wasted in this worldly life. Meaning, their deeds will have absolutely no value because they were not done in accordance with the prescribed way that is acceptable to Allah.

The worst part is that these people thought they were on the right path! Unfortunately this is the case for a lot of people, including the Muslims. Rasulallah ﷺ asked who is the truly bankrupt and he said:

“The real bankrupt of my Ummah is one who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, fasting, and charity, but he cursed others, slandered others, unlawfully consumed the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others; so his good deeds would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand). If his good deeds run out before the score is settled, their sins would be added to his account and he would be thrown in the (Hell) Fire”.
[Sahih Muslim]

This corresponds with the second condition stated in surah al-Asr: they had no or lost their righteous deeds. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى protect us from becoming one of them.

Every single human being is suffering decline in his time, in his age, his abilities. Humans are in a constant state of loss as the time passes by . Only some people are saved by this loss. People who perform “Amaal Saleh – Good deeds”. 

Who are the ones who are going to suffer? Their actions will not bring any benefit – those who ” dalla saAAyuhum – ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ” their hardwork and endeavor is lost – where is this lost? “fil hayatit duniya – فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا = in the life of this world”. Anything that they did got lost in the duniya it did not go with them to the hereafter – all their deeds were focused on this duniya they never aimed for akhira, their accomplishments were limited to benefit of this duniya.

Those occupied with Duniya think their actions are excellent – no one is better than them in action – they are the greatest losers صُنْعًا – Sun’ah is from the root letters  ص ن ع – صنع sunn”. Sunn means to do something with skill, it is to produce something, basically this word is used for manufacturing products.

Producing things in a factory for instance. It is used for craftmanship. This work is done through expertise – any random person cannot go and work in a factory no he has to get some training he has to follow certain procedure the things that are produced need to be of certain size, certain weight and certain colour. Isnt it so? This is what Sunn is. Sunn – صنع” means to do something with perfection and skill to the best of one’s ability.

They think whatever efforts they are putting in are the best deeds. The truth is confused to such people, they are confused about reality. In reality they are on falsehood, what they are doing is wrong they are only assuming that what they are doing is right. and this is something that is very common.

If you look at it each person thinks he is right and others are wrong.

The followers of each religion, the adherence of every sect – what do they think? They think that we are right and everybody else is wrong. And when a person is of this mindset, that “I am right” then there is absolutely no room for improvement because he is not going to search for truth he is thinking he is right nothing needs to be changed nothing needs to be improved. With this regressive mindset he will not search for the truth – he will not acquire it – he will not implement it and he will not improve himself he will not try to change himself such a person is in greatest loss.

Who is successful then?
The one who believes in what Allah has said. No one is more truthful than Allah.

“…waman asdaqumina Allahi qeela”
“..and who is more truthful than Allah in statement.”
{Surat An Nisa 4: Verse 122}

If a person’s entire focus in this duniya becomes his Maal and his banoon and his focus is not on baqiyatu salihaat. Isnt he the greatest loser. What a bad investment he has done – he has spent all his life and energy into maal and banoon and nothing for baqiyatu salihaat. The worst thing is he thinks there is nothing wrong with his prespective and outlook on life and the kind of work he is doing. So the person who is the greatest loser is the one whose entire focus is the enjoyment of this life.

Almalu walbanoona zeenatu alhayatiaddunya walbaqiyatu assalihatukhayrun AAinda rabbika thawaban wakhayrun amala
Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope
{Surah Al Kahf 18: Verse 46}

He doesn’t think, prepare or worry about the akhira/hereafter. And this is why no matter how much he acquires, it will be left in the duniya. No matter how much money it may be – billions of dollars, huge houses, has big list of qualifications and even if he has educated children, elite circle of friends, thriving multiple businesses all of them will be left where? IN THIS DUNIYA!! Because he never worked for akhira and when he comes before Allah he will have nothing. he did not have akhira in mind.

Waqadimna ila maAAamiloo min AAamalin fajaAAalnahu habaan manthoora
And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed
{Surat Al Furqan 25: Verse 23} 

If you look at it, this thinking is very common in our world today. Muslims and non-muslims alike – their focus is duniya, they are working they are busy, even if its cooking – children – buying something. Hardly do people think I am doing this for Allah – I am doing this the halal way following certain restrictions according to the pleasure of my lord. So that ultimately Allah will reward me for my sabr and endurance. Rarely ever do people think like this.

Example a person gives huge charity but it doesn’t benefit him – he dint do it for the sake of Allah.
Dhurqarnain accomplished so much in life but what did he say ultimately?
“Qala hatha rahmatun minrabbee..”
“[Dhul-Qarnayn] said, “This is a mercy from my Lord..”
{Surat Al Kahf 18: Verse 98}
In our deen we are not condemned from excelling in the duniya. Because sometimes people misunderstand this ayah. This doesn’t mean that a person should not excel in the duniya. But what our religion does condemn is a person does what he does only for the sake of this duniya. Do whatever you wish to but make sure it is according to the instructions and under the boundaries of instructions that Allah has given. And to remember that this duniya is a “means” to attain the “goal” of “Jannah”. Many people make “duniya” the “goal”.
– One man buys a home just for the sake of purchasing a house. It is usually to show off and he doesn’t care how the house was bought or what is done inside the house.
– Another man buys a house so he can safegaurd his family. He knows he has a duty to perform, he has been made the qawwaam of his family. And he makes sure nothing happens in that house and through that house that is displeasing to Allah.
When a believer is trying to excel in duniya his religion is not compromised, this is the main criteria. May Allah make us of those who learn to balance duniya and deen – ameen ya rabbi.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
www. Quran.com
Authored by Aida Misr & Shamsiya Noorul Quloob
Edited by Ibtahal Minhaj
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ - "Convey (knowledge) from me even if it is just one ayah" [Bukhari 3461]

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