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"Removing the Middleman" Chapter 2: Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow): Verses 198-202


It is not inappropriate to seek provision  96 (e.g., profit from trade during Hajj) from the bounty of your Lord. When you move on from Arafat, remember God (much) near the Holy Monument (Muzdalafah, the valley between Arafat and the Ka’bah) and appreciate His guidance to you because, before, you were steeped in error.

Then join the people (in the plain of Arafat) and ask for God’s forgiveness, since God is Forgiving, Merciful. When you have completed your rituals, remember God as you remember your forefathers, rather with a better remembrance (only befitting to God). 97

There are people who say, “O Our Sustainer, give us (everything) in this world.” For them, there will be no portion in the Hereafter. But then there are others who say, “O Our Sustainer, grant us good in this world and grant us good (equally) in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the Hellfire.”  98 These are they who will have their portions in accordance with what they have worked for, as God is prompt in taking account (of what you do or deserve).


96 Islam encourages a unique blend of spirituality and material well-being. On Fridays, we are encouraged to earn a living outside the time of the noon prayer (Zuhr salat), unlike the Jews who consider Saturday to be a day of worship alone and of no worldly activities. In Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism, some people live in monasteries, escaping from the outside world altogether.

97 In the pre-Islamic days, certain tribes or leaders who would consider themselves above others would not join people in the plain of Arafat to seek God’s forgiveness. Yet, this is the perfect place to show humility and oneness with all people.

98 Islam wants us to succeed in this world as well as in the Hereafter. Since what we do in this life will determine what we achieve in the Hereafter, the key is to make this life the most productive through service to God and our fellow men. Too many Muslims seem to think that only ritual worship is needed to succeed in the Hereafter, but they lose sight of this world and, hence, lose the Hereafter as well. Other Muslims lose sight of the Hereafter and get consumed in this world, as if this is all that matters.

Both groups are at fault, and we need to reorient our community (Ummah) to the balanced course. The prayer of seeking success both in this life and in the Hereafter and of seeking refuge in God from the Hellfire is an aspiration that, when properly followed through in life with appropriate activities and life choices, will ensure our success in life.


Islam encourages people to combine the spiritual and material at the same time, in proper balance and within moral and ethical limits. Earning an honest living, raising children, and gently dealing with spouses are considered acts of worship and not worldly occupations to be despised or neglected, as some religious people like to speak of and teach wrongfully.


Let us focus on this life of ours while keeping an eye on the Hereafter so that we neglect neither one. The lack of success of Muslims in this world in the areas of education, healthcare, and proper governance is also an indication of their failure to come in the Hereafter. It is really important to see why God favors this holistic approach to life, where one is equally dedicated to success in this life on Earth and in our lives in the Hereafter, success which is achieved by following certain moral and ethical standards and principles that define true success in both worlds.

Please feel free to leave any thoughts, comments, or questions here!