1) Have you observed him who denies the religion? 2) Such is one who harshly rebuffs the orphan 3) and does not encourage the feeding of the indigent. 4) So woe to those who pray: 5) those who are heedless of their prayers, 6) those who show off, 7) yet forbid common kindness!
Have you observed him who denies the religion, by denying the resurrection and the recompense and as such does not believe in what the Messengers came with. Such is one who harshly rebuffs the orphan, with coarseness and insolence. He shows him no mercy because of the hardness of his heart and because he does not look to reward, nor fear punishment. And does not encourage others the feeding of the indigent, not to mention him, himself feeding them! So woe to those who pray, they pray but are heedless of their prayers, lax in its performance, not praying in its correct time and skipping its pillars. This is because they do not give the commandments of Allah due regard; they wasted the prayer which is the most import act of obedience.
Heedlessness of the prayer is what leads to censure and blame. However to have some sort of heedlessness in the prayer is something that affects everyone, even the Prophet ﷺ. It was to express this fact that Allah describes them as being ostentatious, hard of heart and without mercy: Those who show off, i.e. they work their deeds by way of ostentation yet forbid common kindness, they forbid giving small things that would not harm them at all, essentials such as a cup or bowl or the likes which are habitually given away without the giver feeling any remorse at their loss. These people, because of their intense greed, prevent even these being given let alone larger, more significant things!
This chapter encourages the feeding of the indigent and the orphan, it encourages the encouragement of this, it stresses the importance of being careful in our prayers, the importance of preserving them, the importance of being sincere in them, and in all other deeds. The chapter also encourages doing good and spending small amounts of wealth in charity because Allah reprimands those who do not do this. Allah, Transcendent is He, knows best.(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)