Let’s study together this ayah from the Glorious Qur'an and learn the lessons contained therein.177. It is not Birr that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west; but Birr is the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set servants free, performs As-Salah (Iqamat-As-Salah), and gives the Zakah, and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).
Lessons derived from this Ayah:
1. It is not Birr that you turn your faces towards the east or west- Righteous and piety (Birr) does not come with turning our faces towards the east or west. (toward the Qiblah) (note: it does not mean that we don’t have to face the Qiblah when we pray)
2. Birr means believe in Allah – He is the ONE and Only – Tawhid and its three classes:
a. Ar-Rububiyyah (Lordship of Allah-He is the Lord, creator of the universe and every thing in it – Rabb of the World)
b. Ar-Uluhiyyah (He is the ONE AND ONLY God (Ilah) and none should be worshipped besides HIM)
c. Al-Asma was-Sifat (To affirm and acknowledge that the Most Beautiful Names and Attributes belong to HIM Alone)
3. The Last day-Accountability on the Day of Judgment for our deeds and actions, rewarded or punished, sent to Paradise or Hell-Fire. (May we be amongst those who enter Paradise Ameen!)
4. The Angels – They are Allah’s creation and are from the world of the Unseen (Al-Ghayb). They worship Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and are completely obedient to His Commands.
5. The Books – All the Books revealed by Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala not only the Qur'an, but we only follow the commands in the Glorious Qur'an not the other books as the Glorious Qur'an is the Final Book from Allah.
6. The Prophets – From Adam (the first Human) to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) the Final and Seal of Prophethood. But once again we only follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and not the teachings of other other prophets.
7. Spending from our wealth – despite our love and desire to possess wealth (this is the voluntary charity, Zakah the Pillar of Islam is mentioned separately.)
a. The kinsfolk (our relatives)
b. The Orphans
c. The Poor (Masakin-refers to those people who do not have food, clothing or shelter-they do not have enough to sustain themselves)
d. The wayfarer (is a traveler who runs out of money or lost his money etc. to help him get back to his land.)
e. Those who ask
f. To free slaves (slaves who wish to free themselves but do not have money to buy their freedom-today Alhamdulillah we do not have slaves.)
8. To perform the Salah (Iqamat-as-Salah) (performing our prayers on time and in the proper manner with attention and humbleness.)
9. Give charity (Zakah) (The Obligatory charity due on our wealth)
10. Fulfill our covenant (our promises, agreements, contracts etc)
11. Be patient in times of poverty and illness
12. Be patient during battlesTHESE ARE THE PEOPLE OF TRUTH THE AL-MUTTAQUN (THE PIOUS)
This is a brief summary I have on this Ayah
Isn't it amazing; the more we learn, we realize how little we really know.