Note: This is post #19 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

In Surah Ma’oon, Allah says:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ

الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ

وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ

Translation: So woe to those who pray; those who are heedless of their prayer, those who make show [of their deeds]; And withhold [simple] assistance (al-ma’oon). [Surah Ma’oon, verses 4-7]

Allah says, “so woe to those who pray.” Don’t stop at this ayah! People who pray are not cursed by Allah! Allah continues: those who show off in their prayer, …

You know what’s interesting about this ayah? What’s really, really interesting about this ayah?

Do you want to know?

Are you sure?

…ok, here goes: Allah says:

إن المنافقين يخادعون الله وهو خادعهم وإذا قاموا إلى الصلاة قاموا كسالى يراؤون الناس ولا يذكرون الله إلا قليل

Translation: Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah , but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little … [Surah Nisaa, verse 142]

Here, Allah directly says, “the munafiqeen.” And he says: they show themselves to the people (i.e. showing off) when they pray.

And he says: they pray lazily.

So what about people who don’t pray, at all?

So if you fall into this category–even partially–you should be afraid. Very afraid. This is a very serious matter to Allah, these five-minutes you stand up and pray five times a day.

I’ve discussed this issue in more detail in my post, The Terrible Consequences of Not Praying Salah. If you pray every prayer regularly, alhamdulillah, read it and be reminded about what you’re safe from.

And if you don’t pray, read it insha’Allah; it might help you start, or if you’ve started, it might give you that extra motivational juice to jump farther in your salah.

May Allah protect us all from being those whom He has cursed as a consequence of their actions–ameen ya rabbi!

Allah continues and mentions: those who prevent al-ma’oon. What exactly is al-ma’oon, the thing that caused this surah to get its name?

a big box of crayons

Al-Ma’oon means something small that you do, that wouldn’t even harm you to do it. Muhammad Alshareef describes it as crayons–if you ever see young kids, there might be two kids in a class; one kid has a big box of like 300 crayons with like 15 shades of blue.

So another kid pops by, “can I borrow your blue crayon?”

And the first guy looks over his box of 300 crayons and says … “no!”

That is preventing al-ma’oon. The first kid could give away that crayon, and it wouldn’t even hurt him; but he doesn’t (because kids tend to not return crayons).

And of course, kids are sinless … but we are not.

One example of al-ma’oon I find is, letting people go when it’s heavy traffic and a guy wants to change lanes in front of you. It’s literally bumper-to-bumper, and the guy won’t slow you down; but people tend to speed up and not leave any space, subhanallah.

Action Items:

  • What Is Al-Ma’oon? Insha’Allah see if you can come up with some examples from your own life.
  • Pray More. Hit your five fard salawaat if you haven’t; if you have, fortify it with more sunnah and nawaafil prayers, so you don’t even come close to missing a fard salah.

Wallahu ta’ala ‘alam.


  • Touched by an Angel: Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. By Muhammad Alshareef. 2009.