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Al-Najwa Verse

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Al-Najwa Verse
Verse's Information
Name of Verse: al-Najwa Verse
Sura: Qur'an 58
Verse: 12
Juz': 28
Content Information
Cause of Revelation: Paying charity for private consultation with Prophet (s)
Place of Revelation: Medina
Topic: Ethics
others : Virtues of Imam Ali (a)

Al-Najwā Verse (Arabic: آية النجْوَا) is the twelfth verse of Qur'an 58, which is also known as al-Munajat Verse. According to this verse, when wealthy Muslims wanted to privately consult the Prophet of Islam (s) they were obligated to pay charity to the poor. However, Muslims other than Imam 'Ali (a) refused to comply with the command. Thus, in the subsequent verse, God reprehends Muslims for the disobedience of the ruling, cancels the obligation of the charity, and abrogates the implication of the preceding verse.


Text and Translation

The Occasion of the Revelation

The occasion of the revelation of the verse is said to be as follows: a group of wealthy Muslims visited the Prophet (s) and consulted him in private by cutting the line of the poor, and this offended the poor. Moreover, the Prophet (s) was upset by their garrulousness and sitting there for too long. Thus, al-Najwa Verse was revealed, which is also known as al-Munajat Verse, commanding the wealthy to pay charity to the poor prior to their private consultation with the Prophet (s). Some exegetes have specified that some of these people sought to gain superiority over others by their private consultations with the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) did not prohibit them out of generosity although he was upset, until they were prohibited by the Qur'an.

The Reason for the Legislation of the Ruling of Charity Priori to Private Consultation

According to Makarim Shirazi, the reason why it was obligatory to pay the charity prior to private consultations with the Prophet (s) was that it was purer for Muslims. For on the one hand, the charity resulted in divine rewards and goodness for the wealthy, and an aid for the poor, and on the other, it led to the purity of the hearts of the wealthy from love of this-world possessions and the purity of the hearts of the poor from remorse. 'Allama Tabataba'i believes that such charity was made obligatory because it would approximate the hearts of the wealthy and the poor to each other and obviate their grudges.

In the subsequent verse, God exempts those in need from paying the charity so that they are not deprived of privately talking to the Prophet (s) about their important problems or needs. At the end, the revelation of the verse was a test to determine the extent of love for the Prophet (s) by Muslims.

Abrogation of the Ruling of Paying Charity prior to Private Meetings with the Prophet (s)

Al-Najwa Verse was abrogated by its subsequent verse (the verse 13 of Qur'an 58). After the legislation of the ruling of paying charity prior to private consultation with the Prophet (s), no Muslim acted upon it except Imam 'Ali (a). Thus, in the subsequent verse, Muslims who refused to pay the charity from the fear of poverty were strongly reprehended, and then the ruling of the obligation of paying such charity was cancelled, and their sins in the disobedience of the command was forgiven, and instead, the verse emphasizes on acting upon other obligations, avoiding forbidden actions, and obeying God and His Prophet (s).

A number of exegetes believe that the revelation of the verse was tentative from the outset, because it was a test for Muslims, and when the test was over, the ruling was abrogated. Moreover, the continued obligation of paying charity prior to private consultations with the Prophet (s) would lead to problems for the Muslim community, since sometimes it was necessary or urgent for Muslims to privately meet the Prophet (s), and if the charity ruling remained in force, those urgencies could be relinquished and people or the Islamic community could be harmed.

The Only Person who Acted on al-Najwa Verse

According to al-Tabrisi, the majority of Shiite and Sunni exegetes maintain that the only person who acted on this verse was Imam 'Ali (a). Imam 'Ali (a) himself said, "there is a verse in the Qur'an on which no one acted and will never act. I had one dinar and changed it to ten dirhams, and whenever I wanted to privately consult the Messenger of God (s), I paid one dirham as charity."

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه نجوا in Farsi WikiShia.