References: The Noble Qur'aan, Tafseer Ibn Katheer, the book, 'al-Khushoo' and informative Answers by Shaikh S. al-Munajjad, Lying or Envying by Abdul Malik al-Qasim, and others
"Successful indeed are the believers. Those who with their Salaat (prayers) are Khashi'oon. And those who turn away from al-Lagw. And those who pay the Zakaat. And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts). Except from their wives or (captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, - for then, they are free from blame; but whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors; those who are faithfully true to their Amanah and to their covenants; and those who strictly guard their Salaat. These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus, they shall dwell therein forever." [Soorah al-Muminun (23): 1-11]
Allah mentions the qualities of the believers who are blessed and have attained victory. The first quality is,
"Those who with their Salaat (prayers) are Khashi'oon (those who possess Khushoo)"
"Al-Khushoo means calmness, serenity, tranquility, dignity, and humility." [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Dar al-Sha'ab Edition, (6/ 414)] Ibn Abbas t explained Khashi'oon to mean, with fear and tranquility. [At-Tabaree (19: 9)]
Al-Khushoo is a necessary component of Salaat. Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said concerning the verse, "Seek help in patience and Salaat and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for the Khashi'oon (those who possess al-Khushoo)." [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 45] "This (verse) implies condemnation of those who are not Khashi'oon... Condemnation only applies when something obligatory is not done, or when something forbidden is done. If those who do not have Khushoo are to be condemned, this indicates that Khushoo is obligatory." [Majmoo al-Fatawa (22/553-558)]
Khushoo is very easily lost and Allah's Messenger r said: "The first thing to be lifted up (taken away) from this Ummah will be Khushoo; until you will see no one who has Khushoo." [(Saheeh) - Saheeh at-Targheeb no: 543]
The site of Khushoo is in the heart and heart is the king of the limbs, so if one intends to pray wholeheartedly the limbs will follow the heart as Allah says: "And seek help in patience and Salaat and truly it is extremely heavy and hard, except for Khashi'oon." [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 45] The meaning is that the burden of prayer is heavy indeed; except for those who have Khushoo. [Tafseer Ibn Katheer (1/125)]
To attain Khushoo one must forget everything about the world and concentrate in the prayer acts, reciting the Qur'aan and thinking of the verses one reads and bearing death, grave and the torment in mind so that he never looses concentration. Imam Ibn Katheer writes, 'Khushoo is gained by the fear of Allah and the sense that He is always watching.' [Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Dar al-Sha'ab Edition, (6/ 414)]
"And those who turn away from al-Lagw"
refers to falsehood, which includes Shirk and any words or deeds that are of no benefit. Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Out of a person being good Muslim is his leaving alone, what does not benefit him." [at-Tirmidhee]
and: "Let he who truly believes in Allah and the Last Day speak good or be silent." [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
Imam Ahmed (rahimahullah) reported in his Musnad, "The faith of a man cannot be straight unless his heart is straight, and his heart cannot be straight, unless his tongue becomes straight." [Musnad Ahmed] It was from the manners of the Sahabah to speak very little.
Abdullah Ibn Mas'oud (radiyallahu anhu) said: "By the One other than whom there is no God on this earth there is no one more deserving of long imprisonment that the tongue." [at-Tabaranee] and Abu Tharr (radiyallahu anhu) said: "Adopt silence, this is the way of causing Shaytan to run away; it is a supporter to you in the matter of your religion." [Musnad Ahmed]"And those who pay the Zakaat"
Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes in his Tafseer, "Most commentators say that the meaning here is the Zakaat that is paid on wealth, even though the verse was revealed in Makkah, and Zakaat was ordained in al-Medina in the year 2.H. The apparent meaning is that the Zakaat that was instituted in al-Medina is the one based upon the Nisaab (the minimum level of wealth which dictates a person's obligation of Zakaat). And the specific amount, apart from which it seems that the basic principle of Zakaat was enjoined in Makkah. As Allah says in Soorah al-An'aam, which was also revealed in Makkah: "but pay the due thereof on the day of their harvest." [Soorah al-An'aam (6): 141]
It could be that what is meant here by Zakaat is purification of the soul from Shirk and filth, as in the verse: "Indeed he succeeds who purifies himself (Zakkaha). And indeed he fails who corrupts himself." [Soorah (91): 9-10]
It could be that both meanings are intended, purification of the soul and one's wealth, because that is part of the purification of the soul, and the true believer is one who pays attention to both matters. And Allah knows best.""And those who guard their chastity. Except from their wives or that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors"
means those who protect their private parts from unlawful actions; fornication and homosexuality, and do not approach anyone except the wives whom Allah has made permissible for them or their right hand possession from the female slaves. Allah says "they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors."
Zina (fornication/adultery) is one of the major sins, concerning which Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) have issued stern warnings. "…come not near to Zina. Verily, it is Fahishah (immoral sin) and an evil way." [Soorah al-Isra (17): 32]
Similarly, Allah has also made homosexuality Haraam (prohibited) and it is against the natural inclination (fitrah) which Allah has placed in man, whereby the male is inclined towards female and vice versa. Going against the fitrah has caused man diseases like AIDS, which attack the immune system in human and cause death. Moreover, it has also caused breakups in families.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "There is nothing I fear for my Ummah more than the deed of the people of Loot." [At-Tirmidhee (1457) Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee (1552)]
"And (remember) Loot when he said to his people, 'Do you commit al-Fahishah (evil, great sin, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, sodomy) while you see (one another doing evil without any screen) Do you practice your lusts on men instead of women? Nay, but you are a people who behave senselessly.' There was no other answer given by his people except that they said: 'Drive out the family of Loot from your city. Verily, these are men who want to be clean and pure!' So We saved him and his family, except his wife. We destined her to be of those who remained behind. And We rained down on them a rain (of stones). So evil was the rain of those who were warned." [Soorah al-Naml (27): 54-58]
These verses refer to the punishment that befell the people of Loot. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Whoever of you finds (someone) doing the deed of the people of Loot, kill the one who does it and the one to whom it is done." [At-Tirmidhee (1456) Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee (6589)]
Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: "Both of them - fornication and homosexuality - involve immorality that goes against the wisdom of Allah's creation and commandment.
For homosexuality involves innumerable evil and harms, and the one to whom it is done would be better off being killed than having this done to him, because after that he will become so evil and so corrupt that there can be no hope of his being reformed, and all good is lost for him, and he will no longer feel any shame before Allah or before His creation…The scholars differed as to whether the one to whom it is done will ever enter Paradise. There are two opinions which I heard Shaikh al-Islam (rahimahullah) narrate." [al-Jawaab al-Kafi, p.115]"Those who are faithfully true to their Amanah and to their covenants"
Meaning, when they are entrusted with something, they do not betray that trust, but they fulfill it, and when they make a promise or make a pledge, they are true to their word.
This is not like the hypocrites about whom the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust." [Fath al-Baree (10: 522)]
Allah says in Soorah an-Nisa, "Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due…" [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 58]
Those who do not return the trust in this life, it will be taken from them on the Day of Resurrection, when there will be no Dirham nor Deenar but only good and bad deeds to give back the rights!! Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "The rights will be rendered back to those to whom they are due, and even the sheep that does not have horns will take revenge from the horned sheep." [Saheeh Muslim (4): 1097]
Other scholars have explained the Amanah in this verse to mean, all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts, etc. based on the Hadeeth of Hudhaifah (radhiyallahu anhu) who narrated: Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said to us: "Certainly, al-Amanah (the trust or moral responsibilities, etc. and all the duties which Allah has ordained) descended from the Heaven and settled in the roots of the hearts of men (faithful believers), and then the Qur'aan was revealed and the people read the Qur'aan (and learnt al-Amanah from it) and also learnt it from the Sunnah. [Both the Qur'aan and As-Sunnah strengthen their (the faithful believer's) Amanah.]" [Saheeh al-Bukharee (vol. 9, no. 381)]
"and those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salaat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours)"
Allah, the Exalted, again mentions preserving of Salaat as one of the characteristics of the successful believer which shows the importance and virtue of Salaat. Ibn Mas'oud (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated, 'I asked Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam): 'O Messenger of Allah, which deed is most beloved to Allah?' He said: 'Prayer at the appointed time.' I said: 'Then what?' He said: 'Kindness to parents.' I said: 'Then what?' He said: 'Jihad in the way of Allah.' [Saheeh Muslim (vol.1, no.89)]
Allah's forgiveness and pleasure is closely related to the prayers. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said, "Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and Khushoo has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him." [Musnad Ahmad, Abu Dawood and others. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee, vol.1, p.616]
and: "The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad." [at-Tabaranee. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee vol.1, p.503]
He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) compared the five daily prayer by five daily baths, which leave no filth on the body. Similarly, one who prays five times a day will become free of the filth of sins. "If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?" The people said, "No filth would remain on him whatsoever." The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) then said, "That is like the five daily prayers. Allah wipes away the sins by them." [Saheeh al-Bukharee] "Verily, the prayer keeps one from the great sins and evil deeds." [Soorah al-Ankaboot (29): 45]
"Verily, man was created impatient, irritable when evil touches him and niggardly when good touches him. Except for those devoted to prayer those who remain devoted in their prayers…" [Soorah al-Maarij (70): 21-23]
"These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Firdaus, they shall dwell therein forever"
After mentioning the characteristics of the successful believer, Allah gives them the good news of Firdaus. Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "If you ask Allah for Paradise, then ask him for Firdaus, for it is the highest part of Paradise, in the middle of Paradise, and from it spring the rivers of Paradise, and above it is the (Mighty) Throne of the Most Merciful." [Fath al-Baree (13: 415)]
Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) said: "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "There is not one among you who does not have two homes; a home in Paradise and a home in Hell. If he dies and enters Hell, the people of Paradise will inherit his home, and this is what Allah said: 'These are indeed the heirs.'" [Ibn Majah (2): 1453]