(1) (108:1) (O Prophet), We have surely bestowed upon you good in abundance. *1
*1) The full meaning of the word kauthar, as used here, cannot perhaps be expressed in one word in any language of the world. This is an intensive form of the noun kathrat which literally means abundance, but the context in which it has been used does not give the meaning of mere abundance but abundance of good, of spiritual benefits and blessings, and of such abundance which is unbounded and limitless, and it dces not imply any one good or benefit or blessing but abundance of countless benefits and blessings. Have a look again at the background of this Surah given in the Introduction. The enemies thought that Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings) had been completely ruined: he was cut off from the community and had become utterly helpless and powerless; his trade was ruined; his male children who could perpetuate his name were dead; the message that he presented was such that except for a handful of the people no one in entire Arabia, not to speak of Makkah, was prepared to listen to it therefore, failure and disappointment would be his lot as long as he lived and there would be no one in posterity to remember him when he died. Under such conditions when Allah said: "We have granted you the Kauthar," it by itself gave the meaning: Your foolish opponents think that you are ruined and deprived of the good things that .you enjoyed before Prophethood, but the fact is that We have favoured you with unbounded good and countless blessings." This included the matchless moral qualities which the Holy Prophet was blessed with; this included the great blessings of Prophethood and the Qur'an, the knowledge and wisdom that were granted to him; this included the blessing of Tauhid and also of such a system of life, whose simple and intelligible, rational and natural, and comprehensive principles had the potential to spread throughout the world and of continuing to spread for ever afarwards. This also included the blessing of the exaltation of renown because of which the holy Prophet's blessed name continues to be exalted throughout the world since 1400 years and will continue to be so exalted till Resurrection. This also included the blessing that by his preaching eventually such a world-wide community came into being, which became the standard-bearer of Truth in the world for ever, which can claim to have produced the greatest number of the pious, virtuous and noble charactered rnen in any one nation, and which even when corrupted and deprived has the highest good in it as against every other nation of the world. This also included the blessing that the Holy Prophet during his very lifetime witnessed his invitation and message attaining to the highest success and the preparation of a community which had the power to dominate the world. This also included the blessing that although on his being deprived of the male offspring the enemies thought he would be lost to posterity, yet Allah not only blessed him with the spiritual offspring in the form of Muslims, who will continue to exalt his name in the world till Resurrection but also granted him from his one daughter, Hadrat Fatimah, the natural progeny, who have spread throughout world and whose only mark of distinction and pride is that they trace their descent from him. These are the blessings which the people have seen and witnessed as to how abundantly Allah has blessed His Holy prophet within the world. In addition, Kauthar also implies two udtrr great blessings which Allah will bestow on him in the Hereafter. We had no means of knowing these; therefore the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) himself gave us news of them, and told us that Kauthar also implied them. First, the Fountain of Kauthar, which he will be granted on the Resurrection Day in the Plain of Assembly; second, the River Kauthar, which he will be granted in Paradise. About both such a large number of the Ahadith have been reported from him through such a large number of the reporters that there remains no doubt about their authenticity. What the Holy Prophet said about the fountain of Kauthar is as follows: (1) This Fountain will be granted to him on the Resurrection Day when there will be the cry of al- atash, al- atash (thirst, thirst!) on every side. The Holy Prophet's community will gather together before him at it and will be watered thereby. He himself will be the first to arrive at it and will be occupying the central position. He has said: "This is a Fountain at which my Ummah will assemble on the Resurrection Day." (Muslim: KItab as- Salat Abu Da'ud: Kitab as-Sunnah). "I shall have arrived at the Fountain before you. " (Bukhari: Kitab ar-Riqaq and Kitab al-Fitan; Muslim: Kitab a!-Fida and Kitab at-Taharah; lbn Majah,: Kitab al Manasik and Kitab az-Zuhd. Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyyat `Abdullah bin Mas'ud `Abdullah bin `Abbas, Abu Hurairah. "I shall be there before you and shall bear witness on you, and by God, I am seeing my Fountain even at this time." (Bukhari: Kitab al-jana-iz Kitab al-Maghazi, Kitab ar-Riqaq). Addressing an assembly of the Ansar, the Holy Prophet once said: "After me you will meet with selfishness and nepotism, endure it patiently until you meet me at the Fountain. " (Bukhari: kitab Manaqib al-Ansar and Kitab al-Maghazi; Muslim: Kitab al-Iman; Tirmidhi:Kitab al-Fitan). "I shall be near the middle of the Fountain on the Resurrection Day." Muslim: Kitab al-Fada'il). Hadrat Abu Barzah Aslami was asked: "Have you heard something about the Fountain from the Holy Prophet? He replied: Not once, or twice, or thrice, or four or five times, but over and over again. May Allah deprive of its water the one who be lies it." (Abu Da'ud: Kitab as-Sunnah). "Ubaidullah bin Ziyad thought that the traditions about the Fountain were false; so much so that he belied all the traditions reported by Hadrat Abu Barzah Aslami, Bara' bin 'Azib and `A'idh bin 'Amr. At last, Abu Sabrah brought out a writing which he had written down after hearing it from Hadrat `Abdullah bin 'Amr bin al-`As, and it contained this saying of the Holy Prophet: "Beware! your place of meeting me will be my Fountain."(Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyyat 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin al-'As). (2) Different dimensions of the Fountain have been given in different traditions, but according to a large number of the traditions it will extend from Aylah (the present Israeli seaport of Ilat) to Sana'a of Yaman, or from Aylah to Adan, or from 'Amman to `Adan in length, and from Aylah to Juhfah (a place between Jeddah and Rabigh) in breadth. (Bukhari: Kitab ar-Riqaq; Abu Da'ud at Tayalisi: Hadith No. 995; Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyyat Abu Bakr Siddiq and `Abdullah bin `Umar; Muslim: Kasab al-Taharah and Kitab al-Fads il; Tirmidhi Abwab Sifat al-Qiyamah; Ibn Majah: Kitab az-Zuhd). From this it appears that on the Resurrection Day the present Red Sea itself will be turned into the Fountain of Kauthar. And the correct knowledge is only with Allah! (3) About this Fountain the Holy Prophet hes told us that water will be supplied to it from the River Kauthar of Paradise (which is being mentioned below). "Two channels from Paradise will flow into it and supply water to it."(Muslim: Kitab al-Fada il). According to another tradition: "A canal from the River Kauthar of Paradise will be opened towards this Fountain. "(Musnad Ahmad Marwiyyat `Abdullah bin Mas`ud). (4) According to the description of it given by the Holy Prophet its water will be whiter than milk (according to other traditions whiter than silver, and according to still others, whiter than snow), cooler than snow, sweeter than honey; the earth of its bed will be more fragrant than musk; the water jugs set at it will be as numerous as the stars in the sky; the one who drinks from it would never thirst; and the one who is deprived of it will never have his thirst satisfied. These things with a little variation in wording have been reported in numerous Ahadith (Bukhari: Kitab ar-Rigaq; Muslim: Kitab at-Taharah and Kitab al-Fada'il; Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyyat Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, `Abdullah bin 'Amr bin al-`As; Tirmidhi: Abwab Sifat al-Qiyanmah: Ibn Majah: Kitab az-Zuhd; Abu Da'ud: Tayalisi, Ahadith No. 995, 2135). (5) Concerning it the Holy Prophet warned the people of his time again and again, saying: "after me those from among you who would effect changes in my Way, will be removed from the Fountain and will be disallowed to approach it. I shall say: they are my companions, but it will be said: "Don't you know what they did after you? Then I too shall discard them and tell them to keep away." This subject too has been expressed in many traditions. (Bukhari: Kitab ar-Rigaq, Kitab al-Fitan; Muslim: Kitab al-Tahara and Kitab al-Fada'it Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyyat !bn Mas`ud, Abu Hurairah; Ibn Majah: Kitab al-Manasik. The Hadith which Ibn Majah has related in this connection contains very pathetic words. The Holy Prophet said: "Beware! I shall have arrived at the Fountain before you and shall pride myself by your means upon the greater numbers of my Ummah as against other ummahas Do not at that time cause my face to be blackened. Beware: I shall have some people released, and some people shall be separated from me. I shall say: O my Lord, they are my companions. He will reply: Don't you know what innovations they introduced after you?" According to Ibn Majah, these words were said by the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) in his Sermon at `Arafat. (6) Likewise, the Holy Prophet has also warned the Muslims coming after him till Resurrection, saying: "Whoever from among you will swerve from my Way and effect changes in it, will be removed from the Fountain. I shall say: O Lord, they belong to me, they are the people of my Ummah. In response it will be said: Don't you know what changes they effected after you and then turned back on their heels? Then I too shall turn them away and shall not allow them to approach the Fountain. " Many traditions on this subject are found in the Hadith. (Bukhari: Kitab al-Musaqat, Kitab ar-Rigaq, Kitab al-Fitan; Muslim: Kitab at-Taharah. Katab as-Salat, Kitab al-Fada il; Ibn Majah: Kitab az-Zuhd; Musnad Ahmad: Marwiyyat Ibn `Abbas). Traditions about this Fountain have been related by more than 50 companions, and the earliest scholars generally have taken it to mean the Fountain of Kauthar. Imam Bukhari has named the last chapter of his Kitab ar-Rigaq as Babun fil hawd wa qual-Allahu inna a `tainak al-Kauthar, and in a tradition from Hadrat Anas there is the explanation that the Holy Prophet said about Kauthar: "It is a Fountain at which my Ummah shall alight. " The River Kauthar which the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) shall be granted in Paradise, also has been mentioned in a large number of the traditions cf Hadith. Many traditions have been related on the authority of Hadrat Anas in which he says (and in some he explains that he is reporting the exact words of the Holy Prophet himself) that on the occasion of mi'raj; the Holy Prophet was taken round Paradise and shown a river on the banks of which there were vaults of pearls or precious stones carved from within; the earth of its bed was of the strong scented musk. He asked Gabriel, or the angel who took him round, what it was. He replied that it was the River Kauthar, which Allah had granted him. (Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Da'ud, Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud Tayalisi, Ibn Jarir) Again, according to Hadrat Anas, the Holy Prophet was asked (or a person asked him): "What is the Kauthar?' He replied; "It is a River which Allah has granted me in Paradise. Its earth is musk: its water is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey "(Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, lbn Jarir; according to another tradition of Musnad Ahmad, describing the merits of the River Kauthar the Holy Prophet said that at its bottom there are pearls instead of pebbles. Ibn `Umar says that the Holy Prophet said: "The Kauthar is a river in Paradise the banks of which are golden; it flows on pearls and diamonds (i.e. its bed has diamonds instead of pebbles); its earth smells sweeter than musk; its water is whiter than milk (or snow), cooler than snow and sweeter than honey."(Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi Hatim, Darimi, Abu Da'ud Tayalisi, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Marduyah, Ibn Abi Shaibah). Usamah bin Zaid says that the Holy Prophet once went to visit Hadrat Usamah; he was not at home; his wife entertained him and during the conversation said "My husband has told me that you have been granted a river in Paradise, which is called the Kauthar." The Holy Prophet replied "Yes, and its bed is of rubies and corals and emeralds and pearls"(Ibn Jarir, Ibn Marduyah. Though the sanad of this tradition is weak, the presence of a large number of traditions dealing with this subject strengthens it). Besides these marfu traditions, a great many sayings of the Companions and their successors have been related in the Hadith to the effect that the Kauthar implies a river in Paradise. These traditions describe its qualities as have been mentioned above. For instance, the sayings of Hadrat 'Abdullah bin `Umar, Hadrat `Abdullah bin `Abbas, Hadrat Anas bin Malik, Hadrat `A'ishah, Mujahid and Abul `Aliysh are found in Musnad Ahmad, Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Nasa'i'; and the books of Ibn Marduyah, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Shaibah and other traditionists.