A quick and beautiful reminder from Surat ‘Abasa (chapter 80 of The Noble Qur’an).
The circumstances of revealing this surah are really beautiful and heart-warming. As mentioned in Tafsir Ibn Kathir, The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings be upon him) was one day talking with one of the great leaders of Quraysh, hoping he would accept Islam. Of course if he accepts Islam, then the believers would have more safety and security to practice their deen; and the noble Prophet is always concerned about the Ummah and the greater benefit of the believers. So the Prophet was keen on this conversation with the leader. As he was speaking directly to him, another man approached him by the name of Ibn Umm Maktum.
Ibn Umm Maktum was blind and he was among those who had accepted Islam in its earliest days.
While the Prophet (may the peace and blessings be upon him) was in the middle of the conversation with that leader, Ibn Umm Maktum kept interrupting the Prophet and kept asking him to teach him more about Islam.
Because he was being repeatedly interrupted while in the middle of a critical conversation, the Prophet (may the peace and blessings be upon him) frowned ever so slightly, asked Ibn Umm Maktum to wait for a moment until he finishes his conversation and he turned away to face the leader and finish his conversation with him.
So Allah revealed the verses…
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
(1. He frowned and turned away.)
(2. Because there came to him the blind man.)
(3. And how can you know that he might become pure)
(4. Or he might receive admonition, and the admonition might profit him)
(5. As for him who thinks himself self-sufficient,)
(6. To him you attend;)
(7. What does it matter to you if he will not become pure)
(8. But as for him who came to you running,)
(9. And is afraid.)
(10. Of him you are neglectful and divert your attention to another.)
(11. Nay; indeed it is an admonition.)
(12. So, whoever wills, let him pay attention to Him (it).)
(13. In Records held in honor,)
(14. Exalted, purified.)
(15. In the hands of ambassadors (Safarah),)
(16. Honorable and obedient.)
There are so many beautiful reflections to be taken from these verses. But we’ll just mention two here.
First, the verses show us that the weak or helpless or poor, even if the society doesn’t give them value, but Allah gives them value. To Allah they matter and to Allah, they are significant. In comparison to the great leader of Quraysh, Ibn Umm Maktum didn’t have a significant rank in the society, but to Allah he was valuable enough that Allah revealed verses from above seven heavens for his sake! This is the value of those who sincerely seek Allah. Allah values them and honors them. Ibn Umm Maktum was seeking the Prophet to know more about Allah and to purify himself. So those who seek Allah, He never turns them away. Whosoever seeks Allah, will find Allah openly receiving him. But those who turn away from Him, even if they are rich/powerful…etc, they don’t have value in the sight of Allah if they think they are self sufficient and don’t need Him.
“Say, [O Muhammad], “Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds?
[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.”
Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and in [their] meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless; and We will not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any importance.” ( Qur’an 18: 103-105)
Value is due to people on account of their sincerity in seeking Allah and purifying themselves, not their looks/money/power/degrees/status, because all these things are gifts from Allah in the first place and if He wishes, He can take all of that away in a heartbeat.
Second, this whole story shows the Ultimate Mercy and Gentleness of Allah towards the believers. Allah did not accept that the one who was seeking Him would be frowned at, even though Ibn Umm Maktum did not see this frown because he is blind, but Allah saw it!
And Allah spoke to honor His humble seekers and let them know that they matter to Him.
How beautiful is the way that Allah shows us mercy, honor and care about our feelings! Subhan Allah.