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It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.

The following excerpt is taken from “Bayan ul Quran” Surah 2 Verse 177:

(177) “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward East or West” The
theory and a complete holistic definition of piety and righteousness has
been mentioned in this ayah and it gives a comprehensive and clear
description of the righteous and Allah-fearing man. As for the context of
this ayah is concerned, Allah (SWT) first commanded the Muslims to
change the Qiblah from Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) to the Ka’bah. This
change did not go well with the Jews, but Allah (SWT) clarified the wisdom
behind this change: that there is no real virtue in the mere act of turning
your faces to the east or to the west in the prayer unless it is commanded
by Allah (SWT). But Allah (SWT) says: “the righteous man is he who believes in Allah
(SWT) and the Last Day, in the Angels and the Book and the Messenger; who for the love
of Allah (SWT) gives his wealth to his kinsfolk, to the orphans, to the needy, to the
wayfarer and to the beggars and for the redemption of slaves, who attends to his prayers
(salah) and pays the alms-tax (zakah); who is true to his promises and fulfills all
agreements and contracts and remains steadfast in trial and adversity and in times of
war.” Far from deadening formalism the real virtue and righteousness is
that a person should obey all the salutary regulations, and should make
his sincere motive the love of Allah (SWT) and the love of his fellow men for
the sake of Allah (SWT). Here we have four elements of righteousness : (a)
One’s faith should be true and sincere, (b) one should be prepared to
show it in deeds of charity and kindness to fellow men, and one must be
a good citizen by supporting charitable institutions and social
organizations, (c) one must pray regularly and pay obligatory annual
poor-due, and (d) one must be steadfast and unshakeable in all circumstances. It is clear, therefore, that righteousness is not merely a
matter of void utterances, it must be found on strong Faith and constant
practice. It must cover the person’s thinking and action and extend to his
inside and outside life, to his individual and corporate affairs2. Further
Allah (SWT) says: “Such are the people of truth and righteousness.” i.e. whoever
acquires the above qualities, only they are truthful in their faith and are
pious and Allah-fearing.

References:

Ahmad, Israr. (2012). Bayan ul Quran. (Surah al Baqarah verse 177). http://www.islamicweblibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2-Al-Baqarah.pdf

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