Sunday, July 24, 2016

ACCOUNTING ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

Prophet Adam and his wife Hazrat Hawwa landed on this planet thousands of years ago. Allah created mankind from them and spread all over the earth. Of course people since that time have different colors of skin; some are rich while others are poor. As promised, Allah started sending His guides to humanity to preach Unity of God and showed the paths of right and wrong, virtues and sins, also provided Man with patent prophet of intellect and conscience to make a decision before embarking on right path or follow Shaytan. In all, Allah (s.w.t.) sent 124,000 prophets and many guide books (Sahifay) as the caravan of civilization marched forward. Sent four divine Books of guidance; Zubur to Prophet Dawood, Taurayt (Torah) to Prophet Musa, Injeel (Bible) to Prophet I’sa, and the Last Comprehensive Book, the Glorious Qur’an on the heart of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.). As the Guidance as promised by Allah (s.w.t.) is to continue till the Day of Judgment, and the Prophet Hood had terminated with the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.), Allah (s.w.t.) in His Divine Mercy ordered the Guidance to continue through the Progeny (a.s.) of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.). The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.) was sent as a baby by Allah (s.w.t.) in His House; Ka’bah. He was the first Imam of the “Golden Chain of Imamate” and Imam Mehdi (a.t.f.) is the last-twelfth- Imam who is in Occultation and obscured from the people as every Imam was being poisoned or killed by the sword, hence Allah had placed him in occultation but is continuing the task of guiding the humanity like sun spreads its light (energy) from behind the clouds!  
In Surah al-Zilzal, Ayahs 7 and 8 which reads as: “Faman Ya’mal Mithqa’al Zarratin Kayran Yara, Wa Man Ya’mal Mithqa’ala Zarratin Saharran Yara””Whoever has done an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will also see it.”
There are three opinions about seeing the deeds; is it the record of good and bad deeds or knowing the quality of the deeds or it means the embodiment of these deeds and observing the deeds themselves. Mithqal means weight, heaviness or scale, but here it means weight. These are one of the Ayahs which shake a man and show that the account of Allah (s.w.t.), on the Day of Judgment, is extraordinarily proper and sensitive, and the scales for weighing the man’s deeds are so delicate and just that they count smallest weight of his actions. The extreme precision of the reckoning on the Day of Judgment is also stated in Surah Luqman Ayah 16 which states: “O my son!” said Luqman, “If there be (but) the weight of a mustard seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: For Allah understands the finest mysteries, (and) is well - acquainted (with them).” Mustard is proverbially a minute small seed. These Ayahs warn the man of the strictness which he will be dealt with in accounting for his deeds. These Ayahs warn us not to think that lesser sins are not important nor the good deeds are insignificant. Whatever Allah counts cannot be insignificant.
Here a question arises that according to these Ayahs, man will see all his deeds, good or evil, small or great, on the Day of Judgment. How does this idea adapts with the Ayahs about the good deeds cancelling bad deeds (or vice versa), excommunication, forgiveness, and repentance?
There are two answers of this question; one is that there are exceptions to the general rule. Another answer is that in case of cancellations and excommunications, there occurs a balance that remains. When man sees the remaining balance, he has, indeed, seen all his good and bad actions. This is also true for repentance and forgiveness.
There is a tradition that once a man came to the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) and asked to be taught. The Messenger sent him to one of his followers to teach him the Glorious Qur’an. He taught the man Surah Zilzal. The man left saying these Ayahs 7 and 8 were sufficient for him. The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “Let him go since he became a scholar.” The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) told Abu Sa’eed Khudri: “The virtues will be counted as ten-fold or even 700 fold and even more if the Merciful Allah (s.w.t) desires. But each vice will be punished as one only or even the Merciful Allah (s.w.t.) may forgive it. But remember, no one will attain salvation simply because of good deeds except Allah (s.w.t.)’s Mercy is included.”

Sources: The Glorious Qur’an (Urdu translation) by Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

                   An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur’an  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

IMAM ALI (A.S.) PURCHASED THE ALLAH (S.W.T.)'S PLEASURE

On the night when the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) migrated from Makkah to Madina, the pagans surrounded his house. In order to minimize the possibility of reprisal from the clan of Banu Hashim, all the hostile tribes decided to kill the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.). They were guarding the Prophet’s house with drawn swords at night and planned to enter the house in the morning. Allah (s.w.t.) informed His Prophet about the impending danger to his life and advised him to let Imam Ali (a.s.) sleep on his bed covering with his green sheet concealing the person beneath the sheet.
Imam Ali (a.s.) only asked if he slept in Prophet’s bed his life will be safeguarded. When the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) replied in affirmative, Imam Ali (a.s.) slept in Prophet’s bed.  At this time, Allah, the Mighty questioned Jib’raeel and Mi’kaeel which one of the two would devout his life for the other, but neither of them was ready to sacrifice his life for the other. Then Allah told them to watch how Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) was ready to sacrifice his life for the Noble Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.).
At that time, the Ayah 207 of Surah al-Baqarah was revealed: “Wa Minan Na’ase Man Yashri Nafsahub Tegha Maraz’atillah Wallahu Raufun Bil Iba’d” “And among people is he who sells his self to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is affectionate unto His (faithful) servants.”

The one, who would agree to himself instead of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.), who was wanted by the enemy, must essentially have:
1.       The safety of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) preferred to his own safety.
2.       Implicit faith in the duty of man to earn the Pleasure of Allah and His Noble Messenger at any cost even at the cost of his own life.
3.       The courage of surrendering himself willingly with the utmost peace of mind, to sleep under the swords, ready to fall upon him.
4.       The confidence and faith in the Divine Protection.
5.       The external as well as internal resemblance to resemble the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) to the watching eyes, when under the mantle (sheet).
Surprisingly, the enemy could not distinguish when Imamate slept on the bed of Prophet Hood!
It was a sales transaction in which Imam Ali (a.s.) was the seller, the commodity being sold was his “Self”, the buyer was Allah (s.w.t.), and the price being paid to the seller was “the pleasure” of Allah (s.w.t.)

Following are the list of some of the authors and their books who had reported this event of Imam Ali (a.s.) sleeping in the bed of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.):
Ibne Abil Hadid Mu’tazeli                             Sharah-e-Nahjul-Balagha
Allama al-Amini                                                 Al-Ghadeer volume 2 page 48
Imam Ahmad ibne Hanbal                            Musnad volume 1 page 348                                                                        
Tabari                                                                    Tarikh-e-Tabari volume 2 page 373
Yaqubi                                                                  Tarikh-e-Yaqubi volume 2 page 39
Imam Ghazali                                                     Ihya –u-Uloom ud-Deen volume 3 page 238
Sebt-ibn-Jauzi Hanafi                                     Tatkhirat-ul-Khawas page 21
Ibn Husham                                                        As-Sirat-un Nabawiyya volume 2 page 291
Ibn Sabbaq Maliki                                            Al-Fusul ul-Muhimma
Ibne Hisham                                                       Seerat ibne Hisham volme 2 page 291
Halabi                                                                    Seerat-e-Halabi volume 1 page 29
The famous Ibne Abil Hadid Mu’tazeli expressed in his renowned Sharah-e-Nahjul Balagha, volume 4 page 73 that Muawia ibn Abu Sufyan paid four thousand Dirhams to Sumra bin Jundab to fabricate a tradition saying that this valuable Ayah was revealed upon the virtue of the worst creature and murderer of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.)!

Source: The Glorious Qur’an (English translation) by Ayatollah H.M.M. Pooya Yazdi

An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Glorious Qur’an

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

FORTY HADITH BY AYATOLLAH RUHULLAH KHOMEINI (R.A.)

1.       “Blessed are those who have performed minor struggle, and have yet to perform the major one.” When asked what the major struggle is, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “The struggle of the self.”
2.       The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Ostentation (Riya) in any form amounts to Shirk (Polytheism); verily, one who works for the people, his reward lies with them, and one who works for Allah, his reward lies with Him.”
3.       The Infallible Imam Abul-Hasan (a.s.) said: “Ujb (Self-conceit, vanity) that vitiates the quality of human deeds. There are several levels of Ujb, one of them is when one’s bad qualities appear to him as good. Another level is when a man believes in Allah and thinks that he has done a favor to Allah.”
4.       The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Kibr (Pride) is the lowest degree of Ilhad (Apostasy).”
5.       The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Allah addressing Prophet Musa (a.s.) said”O Son of Imran, never be envious (Hasad) of people concerning the favors I have conferred on them, and do not succumb to your (envious) self. Indeed the envious man is indignant at the bestowal of My favor, and contests My apportioning of gifts among My creatures. Whosoever is such, he neither belongs to Me nor do I belong to him.”
6.       The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “One who passes his evenings and mornings in such a way that the world be his biggest concern, Allah ordains poverty between his two eyes and his causes his affairs to be disjointed and dissipated, while he does not attain anything except what has been apportioned for him. And as for one who passes his evenings and mornings while his biggest concern and goal be the Hereafter, Allah puts contentment to his heart and gives a wholesome and unity to his affairs.”
7.       The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Anger is the key (that opens the door) to all kinds of vices.”
8.       The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said that the Prophet said: “Whoever possesses in his heart prejudice or assabiyah (prejudice in any of its forms such as tribalism, racism, nationalism) even to the extent of a mustard seed, Allah will raise him on the Day of Resurrection with the (pagan) Bedouins of the Jahiliyyah.”
9.       The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “One who meets with the Muslims with double face and a double tongue, on the Day of Judgment he will come with two tongues of fire.
10.   The Infallible Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “I am apprehensive for you on account of two things: submission to desire and cherishing of inordinate hope. As to desire, it prevents one from haqq (Truth, Righteousness and Allah); and as to inordinate hope, it makes man oblivious of Hereafter.”
11.   The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked about Allah’s word: Allah’s creation (fitrah) upon which He created mankind. The Imam said: “He originated mankind on Tawheed.”
12.   The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said that the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) used to say: “Arouse your heart to contemplation; keep your side clear off the night; and be heedful towards your Lord.”
13.   The Infallible Abul Hasan al-Awwal (a.s.) was asked about the Ayah: “And whoever puts his trust in Allah, then Allah suffices him (65:3). The Imam (a.s.) said: “There are various degrees of trust in Allah. Of them one is that you should put trust in Allah in all your affairs, being well-pleased with whatever Allah does to you, knowing for certain that He does not cease in His goodness and grace towards you, and that the command therein rests with Him. So put your trust in Allah, leaving that to Him and relying upon Him in regard to that and everything other than that.
14.   The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) replied to a question about “the testament of Luqman” to his son, he (a.s.) said: “Have such a fear of Allah that were you to come to Him with the virtues of the two worlds, He would still chastise you, and put such a hope in Allah that were you to come to Him with the sins of the two worlds, He would still have compassion for you.”

Source: Condensed from “An Exposition of Forty Hadith” by Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini (r.a.) translated by Ali Quli Qara’I & Mahliqa Qara’i


Sunday, July 17, 2016

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE GLORIOUS QUR'AN

The contents of Surah al-Shams guides us how to be successful in this life and the Hereafter. Shams is the name of Sun in Arabic language. This is a Makki Surah containing 15 Ayahs. The English translation is as follows:
"By the Sun and its brightness. By the Moon when it follows it (reflects the Sun’s light). By the day when it unfolds its glory. By the night when it enshrouds it. By the heaven and He Who made it. By the earth and He Who spread it. And by the soul and He Who perfected it. Then inspired it to understand what is wrong and (what is) right for it. Indeed he succeeds who purifies it. And indeed he fails who corrupts it. The Thamood (people) rejected (their prophet) through their inordinate wrong doing. When rose up the most reprobate of them. Then the Messenger of Allah (Salih) said to them: “It is a she-camel of Allah and (bar her not from) having her drink.” But they rejected him and hamstrung her, so their Lord crushed them for their sin and leveled them (with the ground). And for Him is no fear of its consequences."
It is the tradition of the Glorious Qur’an that it makes an oath of any subject when lays great importance to that subject. This Surah contains eleven oaths collectively. These oaths relate to the great subjects from the world of creation and Divine Essence. Surah al-Shams restate one of the most important instructive points for the destiny of man’s life.
According to “Majama al-Bayan (volume 10 page 496), the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “He who recites Surah Shams is like he who has given charity (in the way of Allah) to all things that the sun and the moon shine upon.”
This great excellence belongs to the one who keeps the sublime content of this Surah alive in his spirit and remembers that the purification of his soul is his constant duty.
The sun plays a most important role in man’s life and that of other creatures. It is not only a source of heat and energy but also wind, plants, rains, oil, coal etc. If this mammoth illuminating creature of Allah ceases one day, darkness and death would dominate the globe. As for the oath of “moon”, it is reported that it refers to the time of full moon when it appears on the eastern horizon nearly at the time of sun-set. The next oath of “the day” also refers to the great celestial phenomena which is extremely effective in man’s life. The next oath of “the night” is equally important for the mankind to take rest away from the solar heat. The oath about “heaven and He Who made it” refers to the creation of the glorious heaven with its beautiful heavenly bodies and their wonderful regularities, is one of the manifestations of Allah’s Might and Wisdom, which none else, besides Him, could ever produce. Next is the”earth and He Who spread it” refers to the cradle of life for man with all its wonders; mountains, seas, forests etc. is a collection of Divine Signs and more importantly the Creator Who spread it out. Lastly, the oath of “soul and He Who perfected it” refers to the man (soul and body), the essence of creation on earth and heavens and the Creator Who perfected it.
After man was created by Allah, He taught the man how to distinguish between right and wrong. This is the most precious gift Allah granted exclusively to man. Man should learn that his success, prosperity, salvation and position, where he can be in a rank higher than the angels depends on himself, on keeping his soul pure as Allah has made it, and his failure, his decline ; to the lowest degree even lower than the beasts by choosing evil!
Success and salvation depends upon preserving the soul in its original purity against it polluted by carnal desires, by submitting it to the Will and Pleasure of Allah.
In conclusion, it may be said that Allah wants to tell the man that everything, either material or spiritual, was made ready for him to enable him to reach salvation. On the one hand, He made the world illuminated and fruitful with sun shine and moon light for him to live in, and brought the regularity of day and night into existence on the earth to make his life calm and useful.  On the other hand, He created him with a soul gifted with all applicable talents and merits necessary for this aim such as a wakeful conscience and a sense of understanding of piety and impiety for paving the way to felicity. Yet, he does not purify his soul, but follows the intrigues of Shaytan.

Sources: The Glorious Qur’an (English translation) by Ahmed Ali & Ayatollah H. M. M. Pooya Yazdi
The Glorious Qur’an (Urdu translation) by Maulana Sayyid Farman Ali

Enlightening Commentary on Light of Holy Qur’an

Friday, July 15, 2016

SURAH AL - AN'KABOOT OF THE GLORIOUS QUR'AN

This is a Makki Surah having 69 Ayahs. The Surah strengthens believers in their dedication to the right path. This Surah encompasses four aspects. First part discusses the trials of the hypocrite’s and their trials which disclose their inner feelings. Second part deals with the stories of Prophets Noah, Ibrahim, Lut, and Sho’aib to inspire the newly converted Muslims and warn the oppressive polytheists. Third part deals with the Tawheed and conflict with the polytheism. Fourth part deals with the false deities, importance of salaat and virtuous treatment of parents.
The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) said: “Whoever recites this Surah receives ten times the number of the believers and hypocrites.” The Infallible Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “Whoever recites this Surah and the Surah al-Rum on the night of 23 Ram’zaan will be among the people of Paradise.”  
People will be tried, although they verbally declare their faith. It will distinguish the true believer from the hypocrite. People in the past were also tried. Allah knows the truthful and the liars. Although people think that they will escape Allah but everyone will return to Him. Whoever strives, strives for himself as Allah is Self-Sufficient. People who believe and do good deeds, Allah will forgive their evil deeds. Allah orders the believers to be kind to their parents and follow their wishes except if they order him to associate others with Him then do not follow their order. The disbelievers assure the believers that if they follow them then they will bear their wrongs. It is a false promise. Everyone is responsible for his own acts.
We try our best to practice Islam as much as we can with mixed feeling of hope and fear. It is entirely Allah’s will; He may punish anyone He pleases and have mercy on anyone He pleases. The people, who disbelieve the Signs of Allah and the meeting with Allah, will have a painful punishment. There are Signs of Allah in the stories of Noah, Ibrahim, Lute, and Sho’aib. The people of Noah were unjust in spite of his long preaching (he lived for 950 years) hence they were drowned in a mammoth flooding but Allah saved Noah and his true followers. Ibrahim preached his people not to worship idols but worship and fear only Allah. They tried to burn Ibrahim alive but Allah ordered the fire to cool down and save Ibrahim. Ibrahim was the friend of Allah hence He rewarded Ibrahim with the Prophets of Is’haque and Y’aqub and also awarded him the Book in his progeny. Similarly Lut warned his people to desist from the indecent acts of homosexuality but they did not listen to him hence Allah punished them by the rain of stones and saved Lute and his followers, except his wife. On the same lines, Sho’aib advised his people to worship Allah and desist from corruption on earth but they did not respond hence Allah punished them by an earthquake. The creation of heaven and the earth is also one of the Signs of Allah.
The example of people who take guardians other than Allah is like a spider whose house is the frailest of all houses.
The Sa’laat is the pillar of the religion. Allah is encouraging the people to read the Book (Glorious Qur’an) and establish prayer (Sa’laat); surely prayer keeps the Muslims away from indecency and evil. (Please refer my article on the subject on ZULFIQAR5.BLOGSPOT.COM). Remembrance of Allah is the greatest act of worship. In fact all modes of worship revolve around the concept of “Remembrance of Allah”.  Allah knows what His creatures do. People were asking for miracles from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.). Miracles are shown at the discretion of Allah (s.a.w.a.s.). Prophets in the past were given miracles by Allah which was for a short time like the division of river Nile for Musa. Islam had come to guide the humanity till the Day of Judgment. Hence the Glorious Qur’an is the everlasting miracle of the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) till the Day of Judgment! Similarly, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) did not read or write before the start of revelation; hence it was clear Sign of Allah in the hearts of those were given knowledge. The Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.)’s tradition is relevant here: “I am the City of Knowledge and Ali is the Gateway.”
Every soul shall taste of death and the men shall return to Allah.
Every creature of Allah, whether man or other creatures, is provided sustenance. Other creatures, other than man, do not carry their sustenance with them. Seek sustenance from Allah. Allah is All-Aware and He increases the sustenance of whomever He pleases and curtails it for whomever He pleases.
Whoever strives in the way of Allah, Allah will guide them in His way. Allah is always with the doer of good.

Sources: The Glorious Qur’an (English translation) by Mir Ahmed Ali & Ayatollah H.M.M. Pooya
The Glorious Qur’an (Urdu translation) by Maulana Sayyid Farman Ali

Al-Islam.org & Zulfiqar5.Blogspot.com

Friday, July 8, 2016

QUALITIES OF A PIOUS MUSLIM

Qualities of a pious Muslim are expressed in Ayah 177 Surah al-Baqarah as: “Righteousness is not determined by facing East or West during the prayer. Righteousness consists of the belief in Allah, the Day of Judgment, the angels, the Books of Allah, His Prophets; to give money for the love of Allah to relatives, orphans, the destitute, those who are on a journey and in urgent need of money, and beggars, to set free slaves and to be steadfast in the prayer, to pay the religious tax (zakaat), to fulfill one’s promises, and to exercise patience in poverty, in distress, and in times of war. Such people who do these acts are really truthful and pious.
This is the most comprehensive Ayah of the Glorious Qur’an which was revealed on the occasion of the switching of Qibla from Bait-ul-Muqaddas to Ka’bah. The Christians used to prostrate facing the East and Jews faced towards West. The Ka’bah is in the middle of the two directions.
The Ayah defines the believe, manners, and deeds under six headings;
Faith in Allah, Day of Judgment, Angels, the Divine Books, Prophets, Charity and distribution of wealth, Prayers, Religious Tax, Fulfillment of promises, and Patience.
Tauheed along with His other Attributes is the foundation of Islam.
Day of Judgment is also one of the “Roots of Islam” which stimulates the faithful to perform virtuous deeds, abstain from prohibited acts with a mixture of hope and fear of the rewards and punishment on the Day of Judgment.
Faith in the Angels who are praying to Allah as ordained by Him including the prominent angels like Jib’raeel, Mika’eel, Is’rafeel and Iz’raeel (the angel of Death).
The four Divine Books are Zuboor, Taurait, Injeel and the Glorious Qur’an.
The Prophets numbering 124,000, the first being Adam and the last being the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.)
Distribution of wealth includes the six categories i.e. relatives, orphans, destitute, travelers (who lost money), beggars, free slaves (now inapplicable). There is category of relatives in the order of preference; the parents, family members, siblings and so on.
Promises should be fulfilled irrespective of religion of the person to whom the promised was made.
Prayers (salaat) should be established.  Please read my article on the subject at Zulfiqar5.blogspot.com
Religious Tax – Zakaat
Patience. The Commander of Faithful Ali (a.s.) said: “Patience is half of Faith”. Patience is a multi-faced word which includes fasting, exercising patience in the face of poverty, sickness, sorrows and calamities, steadfast in the struggle against aggression and other social situations facing insults etc.
At the end, the Ayah affirms that the people who possess the above-mentioned qualities are the “Truthful”. The truthfulness embodies all the attributes of knowledge and actions. Man has three things; faith, speech, action and character. When he becomes truthful, the three components are united in his personality. He does what he says, and says what he believes.

Sources used: The Glorious Qur’an (Urdu Translation) Ayatollah Sayyid Muhaammad Husayn Tabatabai
The Glorious Qur’an (Urdu Translation) by Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi
The Glorious Qur’an (English Translation) by S.V.Mir Ahmed Ali & Ayatollah Agha H.M.M. Pooya Yazdi

                                
                                                                                          

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

SUPERIORITY OF FAITH IN ALLAH, DAY OF JUDGMENT, AND STRIVING IN THE WAY OF ALLAH

Surah at-Taubah Ayah 19 says: “Do you make giving of water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque equal to someone who believes in Allah and The Last Day, and strives in the way of Allah? They are not equal with Allah, and Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

One day, the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.)’s uncle Abbas, and Shayba, the custodian of the Sacred Mosque (Ka’bah), were boasting to each other.  Abbas boasted of his job which was supplying water to the pilgrims of the Sacred House, and Shaybah boasted of being the custodian of Ka’bah. Imam Ali (a.s.) said that he gloried in the fact that they embraced Islam with the help of his struggle and his sword. Abbas was annoyed and complained of Imam Ali (a.s.) to the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.). Consequently this Ayah was revealed. Naturally, faith and the struggle in the way of Allah were superior to the services done in the Age of Idolatry which did not bring them spiritual enhancement. Therefore, a deed not accompanied by faith is hollow, like a mirage or a body without soul.
The message was further strengthened by the next Ayah 20: “Those believed and emigrated, and strove in Allah’s way with their properties and selves, have a greater rank with Allah, and these they are triumphant.”
This Ayah clearly emphasize that the triumphant people are those who had believe and faith, migrated from Makkah to Madinah and strove in the way of Allah by their properties and their selves. And their rank is greater.
Allah compensates their triumph in the next Ayah 21: “Their Lord gives them the good news of Mercy from Himself and (His) Good Pleasure and of Gardens wherein for them are lasting bounties.”

These traditions have been reported, with minor adjustments, in many books of our Sunni brothers like:
Tafseer-e-Tabri, Tha’labi, Ashab Nuzool-e-Wahidi, Tafseer-e-Khazan Baghdadi, Mua’lim al-Tanzil by Allama Baghvi, Manaqib ibne Maghazili, Ja’ma-al-Usul by Ibne Kathir, Tafsir Allama Fakhr-ud-Din Razi (Refer Ah’qaq-ul-Haq volume 3 pages 122 to 127)


Sources

The Glorious Qur'an (English Translation) by Ayatullah Agha H.M.M. Pooya Yazdi
The Glorious Qur'an (Urdu Translation) by Maulana Sayyid Farman Ali
Enlightening Commentary, Light, Holy Qur'an