Verse 16 continues to highlight other traits of the true believers and states:
تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ
خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ
16. Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.
The verse mentions another outstanding attribute of the true believers and states that they are those ‘whose sides part from their beds’. This refers to those who perform Tahajjud Salaah. These servants sleep only for a short while at nights, and then forsake their beds to stand before Allah in devotion and worship. In this state, they pray fervently to Allah, hoping for His mercy and blessings and fearing His punishment.
While explaining the verse ‘Their sides forsake their beds’ many scholars have stated that it refers to the Tahajjud Salaah (standing at night) since this is evident from the traditions of the Prophet (S.A). In part of a long hadith narrated by Muaz bin Jabal (R.A), he says that the Prophet (S.A) said,
سَأُنَبِّئُكَ بِأَبْوَابٍ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ: الصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ، وَالصَّدَقَةُ تُطْفِئُ الْخَطِيئَةَ
كَمَا يُطْفِئُ الْمَاءُ النَّارَ، وَقِيَامُ الْعَبْدِ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ “. ثُمَّ قَرَأَ
” تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا
‘Should I not inform you of the doors of goodness?’ (They are):‘Fasting is a shield, charity (sadaqah) extinguishes sins just as water extinguishes fire and the Salaah of a person in the middle of the night’. After mentioning this, the Prophet (S.A) recited the verse, ‘Their sides’ part from their beds, they supplicate to their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend from what We have provided for them’. (Sura As Sajdah verse 16). (Recorded by Tirmizi, Hadith No.2616, Pg.245, Vol.2, Altaf and Sons / Ibn Majah, Hadith No.3973, Pg.1314, Vol.2, Maktaba Tijariya and Ahmad, Hadith No.22129, Pg.247, Vol.8, Darul Fikr)
It is recorded that the verse also speaks about those who will wait for Salaatul Isha. In this regard, Anas bin Malik (R.A) states,
أَنَّ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ المَضَاجِعِ نَزَلَتْ فِي انْتِظَارِ هَذِهِ
الصَّلَاةِ الَّتِي تُدْعَى العَتَمَةَ
‘the verse, ‘Their sides forsake their beds (in worship to Allah)’ was revealed about those who waited for the Isha Salaah’. (Tirmizi, Hadith No.3196, Pg.414, Vol.2, Altaf and Sons / Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.92, Maktab Rasheedya).
It is also narrated from Anas (R.A), Ikrama, Muhammad bin Al Munkadir, Qatada and Abu Hazim that the verse refers to those believers who used to perform optional (nafl) Salaah between Maghrib and Isha Salaah’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.92, Maktab Rasheedya / Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Vol.3, Pg.459, Amjad Academy, Lahore, Pakistan / Tafseer Ibn Jareer At Tabari, Vol.22, Pg.115-116, Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi)
Some other Sahabahs like Abu Darda (R.A), Ubadah (R.A), along with Dhahak (A.R) have stated that this quality of the believers which states that ‘their sides forsake their beds (for Allah’s worship)’ refers to those who perform both the Isha and Fajr Salaah in congregation (Jamaah). It is also narrated from Dhahak that the verse refers to those who are constantly engaged in the remembrance of Allah, whether it is in Salaah, standing, sitting, lying, or waking up from sleep. This has also been narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A). (Tafseer At Tabari, Vol.22, Pg.117, Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi)
With respect to the different views expressed about those who ‘forsake their beds invoking their Lord in fear and hope,’ the commentators have stated that there is no contradiction in these opinions. The verse includes all these statements, since the objective of highlighting this trait of the believers is to show that they sleep little at night and wake up for the Ibadah (worship) of Allah. Hence, whoever wakes during any period of the night for the worship of Allah in Salaah, or is engaged in His remembrance, he will be considered as having parted from his bed for the worship of Allah. (Tafseer At Tabari, Vol.22, Pg.118, Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi).
Although all the different explanations are accepted by the scholars, the opinion which is the best according to the great commentators is that the verse refers to those who forsake their beds for the Tahajjud Salaah (that is, standing during the latter portion of the night in optional (nafl) Salaah).
About this, Imam Qurtubi has stated, ‘this is the opinion of the overwhelming majority of exegetes and commentators of the Holy Quran and most of the scholars hold this view’. He says, ‘This is the opinion of Mujahid, Awza’i, Imam Malik, Hasan, Abul Aliyah and many others’. (Tafseer Al Qurtubi, Vol.14, Pg.91, Maktab Rasheedya).
Hafiz Ibn Jareer At Tabari has also stated that this is the preferred and best opinion in his view. (Tafseer At Tabari, Vol.22, Pg.118, Dar Ihya At Turath Al Arabi)
The verse also mentions that the true believers are those who call on Allah with fear and hope. These two qualities form an integral part of the life of a Muslim, and in everything he does, he must exercise fear and hope. As such, when he performs good deeds, he must hope for the blessings from Allah, and when he abstains from sins, he must fear the punishment of Allah).
The verse further states that the true believers spend from the wealth that Allah has given to them. This includes Zakaat and other forms of charity. Be it little or a great deal, a true believer always looks for the opportunity to spend in the cause of Allah since this is a sign of true faith and love for Allah.
With respect to the proper understanding of fear and hope, (as mentioned in the above verse), the great scholar, Mulla Ali Qaari (A.R) has written, ‘True and praiseworthy fear is that which comes between its possessor and what Allah Most High has prohibited. If it goes beyond this, it could become hopelessness and despair. Praiseworthy hope is when a person performs acts of obedience through a light from Allah and anticipates His reward, or when one commits a sin and then repents to Allah hoping for forgiveness. As for one who is constantly indulging in excesses and wrongdoings and is entertaining hopes of mercy from Allah without doing good deeds, then this is a delusion, empty wishing and false hope’.
‘Abu Ali Al Rawdhbari (A.R) says, ‘Fear and hope are like the two wings of a bird, if they are both balanced, then the bird is stable in flight, and if there is an imbalance, then it could lead the bird to its death’. (Sharh Al Fiqhul Akbar, Pg.92, Qadeemi Kutub Khana, Karachi)