Chapter 107: Verses 1-7
“Have you seen him who denies Our religion? It is he who harshly repels the orphan and does not urge others to feed the needy. Woe to those who pray but are heedless of their prayers; who put on a show of piety but refuse to give even the smallest help to others.”
This surah brings forth 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 Allah favored mankind when He sent them His last Message. “Have you seen him who denies Our religion? It is he who harshly repels the orphan and does not urge others to feed the needy.” 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. Ah! Who is this creature identified by the Qur’an as the one who denies the religion of Islam? Hence, the answer: “It is he who harshly repels the orphan and does not urge others to feed the needy.” This definition of the disbelievers may sound surprising when compared with the traditional definition of faith but this is the core of the whole matter. Indeed the one who denies the faith is he who wickedly repels the orphan, humiliating him and hurting his feelings! And who does not care for the needy or their welfare.
Next, Allah offers a practical illustration of what is meant above: “Woe to those who pray, but are heedless of their prayers.” These verses contain Allah’s invocation against, or a threat of destruction to those who offer prayers but are careless about them. Who exactly are such? They are those “who put on a show of piety but refuse to give even the smallest help to others,” those who perform prayers but 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 are they nourished by praying.
The essence and purpose of prayer and its component parts (recitation, supplication and exaltation of Allah) are never present in their souls. Muslims are required to offer their prayers regularly, having in mind that their prayers are a manifestation of their servitude to Allah alone. Thus, prayer leaves no result in those who are neglectful and inattentive to it. Consequently they refuse to be kind or helpful to their fellow beings and deny the slightest charity to any of the servants of Allah. From all these, we gather the purpose behind what Allah demands of His servants when He instructs them to believe in, and worship Him. He seeks no benefit thereof for Himself, as He is All-Affluent, but all He cares for is their own welfare and prosperity, purification of their hearts and happiness in their lives. Allah wishes human life to be elevated, happy, based on pure motives and characterized by mutual compassion, brotherhood and purity of hearts and behaviour.
Source:“In The Shade Of The Quran” – Sayyid Qutb