Quran(4)

Surah Al-Ahqaf

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

If we believe that Quran is the word of Allah, then we must learn to understand its meanings so that we may act upon its guidance.

What happens if we don’t understand or follow Quran? The fact is that human beings have been given the power of intellect and they use it to determine what they want to do in their lives. But this intellect alone cannot help them in making the right choices in life. We need a direct communication from Allah so that He who created us, and this world in which we live, and all the other planets and stars and galaxies, He with His complete and supreme knowledge can tell us what things in life are good for us and what we should stay away from. Where to go and where not to go….what are the things we should avoid at all costs and what are the ideals we should be running after………..if intellect had been enough then why do people worship statues which they carve with their own hands? The false gods who can neither benefit them nor have created a single thing in the entire universe…..How could they have created anything anyway when they are not even masters over their own creation:

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ اِئْتُونِي بِكِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ هَذَا أَوْ أَثَارَةٍ مِّنْ عِلْمٍ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {4}

Ask them: “Have you pondered on those whom you invoke besides Allah? Show me anything that they have created in the earth, or do they have any share in the creation of the heavens? Bring me any Book revealed before this, or some remnant of divine knowledge in support of your beliefs if you are telling the truth.”

 

It confused me so much when I used to see highly educated people denying the clear verses of the Quran. I wondered why couldn’t they see the obvious? But now I understand that the same intelligence which can be used to understand the message of Allah; can also be used in making allegations against it. Thus the arrogant disbelievers in Makkah also did the same thing; they didn’t want to believe in Quran so they decided to humiliate it:

وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ قَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءهُمْ هَذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ {7}

When Our revelations are recited to them, clear as they are, and the truth comes before them, the disbelievers say: “This is plain magic.”

 

And they didn’t want people to think that they had been deprived of something special, (which in their hearts they knew to be the most perfect words which they had ever heard) so they made another claim:

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْ كَانَ خَيْرًا مَّا سَبَقُونَا إِلَيْهِ وَإِذْ لَمْ يَهْتَدُوا بِهِ فَسَيَقُولُونَ هَذَا إِفْكٌ قَدِيمٌ {11}

And those who disbelieve say of those who believe, “If it had [truly] been good, they would not have preceded us to it.” And when they are not guided by it, they will say, “This is an ancient falsehood.”

But the believers remained firm in their conviction that there was no god except Allah and He is their only Lord. They were being humiliated and tortured and cast aside by their families but their hearts were at peace because they knew that the Master of the Universe, the King of all Kings, was on their side and one day He will give them the rewards, which they were striving for:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ {13}

أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {14}

Indeed those who say: “Our Rabb is Allah, and then remain firm shall have nothing to fear or to regret. They shall dwell in paradise forever as a reward for their good deeds.

 

The people, who have this kind of commitment with Allah and stays firm on it, are rewarded in this world too, in the form of a special kind of happiness and peace from Allah. On the other hand those who deprive themselves from Allah’s mercy, remain forever in anxiety and restlessness, because in their hearts they have a void which can only be filled with Allah’s love and His obedience. So in order to cover their guilt and confusion, they invent other ways to look good in people’s eyes. They spend their money and time in charitable works and think that it is not necessary to follow the religion. Many people today ask this question: will these “good” people be punished?

They should ask themselves that if their servant spends all his time out of the house attending to the needs of the neighbourhood and comes after a month to get his salary from them, will they pay him? No, they will tell him to get money from the people whom he had worked for. So if we are not doing anything for Allah and not following the way of the Prophet (s.a.w) then how can we expect any reward from Allah? Still Allah is merciful that he will reward these people in this world but in the hereafter they will be punished for their crime of disobeying Allah and ignoring His guidance:

وَيَوْمَ يُعْرَضُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَلَى النَّارِ أَذْهَبْتُمْ طَيِّبَاتِكُمْ فِي حَيَاتِكُمُ الدُّنْيَا وَاسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهَا فَالْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ عَذَابَ الْهُونِ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَسْتَكْبِرُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَبِمَا كُنتُمْ تَفْسُقُونَ {20}

 And the Day those who disbelieved are exposed to the Fire [it will be said], “You received your good things (rewards) in your worldly life and enjoyed them, so this Day you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation because you were arrogant upon the earth without right and because you were defiantly disobedient.”

 

Next Allah reminds the people of Makkah about a perished nation called ‘Aad. Their Prophet Hud (a.s) had warned them that they should not worship anyone else except Allah but they did not accept his message and were destroyed by a great torment. It’s a historical fact that they were great people, highly prosperous, civilized and highly intellectual, but since they ignored the guidance from Allah, their intelligence only led them to destruction:

وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَّاهُمْ فِيمَا إِن مَّكَّنَّاكُمْ فِيهِ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ سَمْعًا وَأَبْصَارًا وَأَفْئِدَةً فَمَا أَغْنَى عَنْهُمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَلَا أَبْصَارُهُمْ وَلَا أَفْئِدَتُهُم مِّن شَيْءٍ إِذْ كَانُوا يَجْحَدُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُون {26}

We had established them much better than We have established you, O Quraish of Makkah, and endowed them with the faculties of hearing, seeing, and intellect. Yet their faculties of hearing, sight and intellect availed them nothing since they denied the revelations of Allah; and they were completely hemmed in by the same thing that they used to mock at.

 

These were warnings for the people of Makkah at the time when they were strongly opposing the Prophet (s.a.w). The situation was becoming extremely painful for the Prophet and His followers due to the growing persecution from the people of Quraish. Especially when the people of Taif also rejected him mercilessly, it seemed as if he had no support. But one day as the Prophet (s.a.w) was reciting the Quran in the prayer, there happened to pass by a group of Jinn, who listened carefully and believed in it, and then returned to their tribe as preachers of faith. Of course Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w) was not aware of this so Allah gave him the good news:

وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَا إِلَيْكَ نَفَرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُوا أَنصِتُوا فَلَمَّا قُضِيَ وَلَّوْا إِلَى قَوْمِهِم مُّنذِرِينَ {29}

Tell them how We brought to you a group of jinns, who when they reached the place where you were reciting and listened to the Qur’an, said to each other: “Be silent.” When the recitation was over, they returned to their people as warners.

We know that Jinn are also a creation of Allah and they have very little intelligence as compared to human beings but they came to the right conclusion because of listening attentively to Allah’s revelation. Look how they are warning others:

قَالُوا يَا قَوْمَنَا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَابًا أُنزِلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَى مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ وَإِلَى طَرِيقٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ {30}

They said “O our people! We have just listened to a Book that has been revealed after Musa which is confirming that what came before it, and it guides to the truth and to the Right Way.

 

They understood that Allah is to be obeyed above all others and if they don’t listen to the teachings of Allah’s Prophet then they are going to be in terrible loss:

وَمَن لَّا يُجِبْ دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ فَلَيْسَ بِمُعْجِزٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَيْسَ لَهُ مِن دُونِهِ أَولِيَاء أُوْلَئِكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ {32}

He that does not answer the one who is calling towards Allah, shall neither escape in the earth, nor shall have any to protect from Him. Surely such people are in manifest error.”

 

Reading all of this I wondered how can anyone still remain in doubt when Allah has so clearly told us the truth? The day for recompense is coming nearer day by day. This life seems endless now but on that day we will feel as if we had not spent even one complete day on earth:

فَاصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ أُوْلُوا الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ وَلَا تَسْتَعْجِل لَّهُمْ كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ مَا يُوعَدُونَ لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا سَاعَةً مِّن نَّهَارٍ بَلَاغٌ فَهَلْ يُهْلَكُ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ {35}

Therefore, bear with them with patience, as did the Rasools endowed with firmness of purpose before you, and do not be in haste about them. On the Day when they shall see that which they are being threatened with, their life on earth will seem to them as if they had lived no more than an hour of a day. The Message of forewarning has been conveyed. Shall any be destroyed except the transgressors?

 

When I think of the ultimate meeting with our Lord and seeing the Jannat and Jahannum with my own eyes, I wonder is it too much difficult to let go of our false pride, our egos, and enter the true faith of Tauheed? Is it too much of a bargain to let go of our desires for such a short time for the sake of the rewards of that life which will never end? As Allah said in Surah Al-Jathiya ayat-6

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَ اللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ {6}

These are the revelations of Allah, which We are reciting to you in all truth. Then, in what report will they believe if not that of Allah and His revelations?

 

Surah Muhammad

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

As I open the Quran to study a new surah, an amazing thing happens that whatever situation I am going through, I find verses that relate to it. It is a clear proof that Allah knows what goes on in our minds and He has answered all our thoughts in such a way that we can open it from any page, and we can see the words speaking out to us as if it’s being revealed to us just at that moment. What a miracle it is to listen, and to be able to understand, Allah’s words…….Alhamdulillah

        So let’s start Surah Muhammad and see what lessons Allah has in it for us. Surah Muhammad begins with a stunning Ayat which has a direct and powerful warning that if anyone rejects the true faith and does not accept Islam as the only true religion, and even stops other people from accepting and following the way of Allah, then all his deeds will be wasted:

الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَضَلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ {1}

Those who disbelieve and obstruct Allah’s Way, He will render their deeds fruitless

 

Basically it refers to the Arabs of Makkah who used to think that just by being the care-takers of the Ka’ba, and doing some other acts of generosity, they have attained a high esteem in Allah’s eyes. So they opposed the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) when he brought the message of Tauheed because they couldn’t bear to let go of a lifestyle which suited their interests. Yet they thought that they were on the right way because they believed in Allah and called themselves the followers of Ibrahim (a.s) Therefore Allah warned them that they should stop fooling themselves because true faith is not just taking Allah’s name but they will have to believe and support all that was being revealed on the Prophet (s.a.w) too:

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَآمَنُوا بِمَا نُزِّلَ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَهُوَ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ كَفَّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَأَصْلَحَ بَالَهُمْ {2}

As for those who believe and do good deeds and believe in what is revealed to Muhammad – the truth from their Rabb – He will remove from them their evils and improve their condition.

 

This is an important reminder for us that our faith and our deeds are acceptable only when one supports the other. Just saying I believe in Allah is not enough until I prove by my actions that I fear Allah and know that He is the ultimate judge of right and wrong. Similarly just doing some acts of charity which suit my temperament without having faith in Allah, will have no value on the Day of Recompense.  It is a common misconception that people believe in the Quran but don’t think that learning Hadith is important as well. But in this Ayat we find that our faith cannot be complete unless we have the three important ingredients…..Faith in Allah……..goodness of action…..belief in the Prophet (s.a.w) and all that was revealed to Him i.e. The Quran and the Hadith.

This Surah was revealed in Madinah and we know that The Muslims had suffered a lot of cruelty from the Pagans of Makkah for thirteen years, without any retaliation because Allah had not allowed them the use of force. When they eventually migrated to Madinah, they were still under the continuous risk of military action from the people of Makkah because they wanted to put an end to the rising power of Muslims in Madinah. Now was the time when for the first time Muslims were given permission to defend themselves. But Islam is a religion of peace and so they were given detailed instructions on how to be at war and still be the agents of peace. How to do “Ehsaan” even to prisoners; yet be fearless in the battle ground and aim for the enemies in a bold manner:

فَإِذا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَضَرْبَ الرِّقَابِ حَتَّى إِذَا أَثْخَنتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّوا الْوَثَاقَ فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَاء حَتَّى تَضَعَ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا ذَلِكَ وَلَوْ يَشَاء اللَّهُ لَانتَصَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَلَكِن لِّيَبْلُوَ بَعْضَكُم بِبَعْضٍ وَالَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَلَن يُضِلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ {4}

Therefore, when you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield smite their necks and, when you have thoroughly subdued them, then take prisoners of war and bind them firmly. After the war lays down its burdens, then you have the choice whether you show them favor or accept ransom. Thus are you commanded. If Allah wanted, He Himself could have punished them; but He adopted this way so that He may test some of you by means of others. As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.

 

This ayat and other such commands from Allah show that even when the believers were facing such enemies who had tortured them so ruthlessly and then drove them out of their hometown, they could not for one moment forget that their life is for Allah and they have to follow His instructions at all times. Their wars were defensive, and were not to avenge their own anger but to uphold Allah’s religion. Thus Allah assured them that whoever will strive for Allah’s religion, Allah will definitely help them:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ {7}

O believers! If you help the cause of Allah, He will help you and establish your feet firmly

This life will end anyway. We cannot save it permanently. So who can be more fortunate than the one who uses it for Allah? We have been given this entire universe full of luxuries and attractions but if we make these our destination, and forget that these were merely a necessity of our journey through this world, then what is the difference between us and animals? Even if we have learned to satisfy our desires in a much more sophisticated way, yet we are still doing basically the same thing.

This is not my opinion but Allah’s own evaluation as we can see in the following ayat:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدْخِلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَتَمَتَّعُونَ وَيَأْكُلُونَ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ الْأَنْعَامُ وَالنَّارُ مَثْوًى لَّهُمْ {12}

Surely Allah will admit those who believe and do good deeds to gardens beneath which rivers flow. While those who are unbelievers, they are to enjoy only this life and eat as cattle eat; but in the hereafter, the fire shall be their abode

In the above Ayat is the description of the Jannat as a place where rivers flow…….we read it so often in the Quran and it always seemed to me very delightful and mysterious to think what those rivers will be like. Although we can never imagine the true picture of the paradise, but the following Ayat has given a glimpse of the delightful rivers:

مَثَلُ الْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي وُعِدَ الْمُتَّقُونَ فِيهَا أَنْهَارٌ مِّن مَّاء غَيْرِ آسِنٍ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِن لَّبَنٍ لَّمْ يَتَغَيَّرْ طَعْمُهُ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّنْ خَمْرٍ لَّذَّةٍ لِّلشَّارِبِينَ وَأَنْهَارٌ مِّنْ عَسَلٍ مُّصَفًّى وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ كَمَنْ هُوَ خَالِدٌ فِي النَّارِ وَسُقُوا مَاء حَمِيمًا فَقَطَّعَ أَمْعَاءهُمْ {15}

Here is the parable of the paradise which the righteous have been promised: it has rivers the water of which will never be stagnant, rivers of milk whose taste never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it they will have all kinds of fruits, as well as forgiveness from their Rabb. Can such people be compared to those who shall dwell in hell forever, and they will be given scalding water which will cut their intestines into pieces?

Notice that the same Ayat, which began with such a captivating description of the rivers of paradise, ends with a horrid alternative of intestines being cut into pieces by the scalding water……….It is such a clear warning that Allah, who is so Beneficent and Compassionate, is entirely capable of giving the most painful torment to all those who chose to deny Him and His commands. May Allah forgive us all….Ameen.

It might seem difficult or even impossible to some people, to change their lifestyle according to the Quran; but once a person takes the first step of acceptance, and submits his desires and fears in front of Allah, then Allah helps and guides that person to greater heights of righteousness:

وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَآتَاهُمْ تَقْواهُمْ {17}

As for those who follow the Right Way, Allah will increase their guidance and bestow on them their righteousness.

 

When we say that Islam is a religion of peace then we expect that there should be no talk of war. It’s like expecting that a good surgeon will never operate on a person because cutting his skin and causing blood to flow out of his body is inhuman. Islam is a complete code of life and it gives instructions on what to do when you are being attacked. What will you do if someone attacks you? Welcome him with a smile? But those who have no faith spread this negative propaganda about Islam being a terrorist religion and those whose faith is weak accept these allegations and start doubting their religion too. This is not something new as the same thing happened all those centuries ago in Madinah where some people did not have very strong faith:

وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَإِذَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ مُّحْكَمَةٌ وَذُكِرَ فِيهَا الْقِتَالُ رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَيْكَ نَظَرَ الْمَغْشِيِّ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْمَوْتِ فَأَوْلَى لَهُمْ {20}

The believers were asking: “Why is not a Sürah revealed allowing us to fight?” But when a decisive Sürah carrying the order of allowing them to fight is revealed, you saw those in whose hearts was a disease looking at you like the one under the shadow of death. Woe to them

 

The truth of the matter is that people who talk against Islam do not have complete knowledge about it. And so they quote the verses of the Quran out of context. And it’s a pity that people who believe them, have also not contemplated on the Quran.

Allah asks them:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا {24}

Will they not ponder upon the Qur’an? Are there locks upon their hearts?

 

In this world a person can say a hundred things against Islam, against Quran or Hadith, and still Allah doesn’t stop providing for them. He still lets them complete their appointed time on this earth. But what will happen when this time is over……..

فَكَيْفَ إِذَا تَوَفَّتْهُمْ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ {27}

Then what will they do when the angels carry off their souls, smiting their faces and their backs?

Does this mean that Allah is doing zulm on them? No; Allah doesn’t do anything without a reason:

ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمُ اتَّبَعُوا مَا أَسْخَطَ اللَّهَ وَكَرِهُوا رِضْوَانَهُ فَأَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالَهُمْ {28}

That will happen because they followed the way that called for the wrath of Allah and hated to adopt the way of His pleasure, therefore He made all their deeds void.

Before we move on let’s take a moment and ponder on these words for our own self evaluation. Quran is a mirror and if we see carefully we can see our true images…..so I must look and see….am I one of those people who are fascinated and follow the trends which Allah dislikes, and are suffocated with dislike when they have to follow something that Allah likes?

So it’s obvious that faith has to be followed, and is not just an utterance of words:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبْطِلُوا أَعْمَالَكُمْ {33}

O believers! Obey Allah and obey His Rasool, and do not let your deeds come to nothing

 

It’s the illusion of this world which traps our senses in such a way that we cannot think beyond it.  Therefore Allah brings us out of it:

إِنَّمَا الحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَإِن تُؤْمِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا يُؤْتِكُمْ أُجُورَكُمْ وَلَا يَسْأَلْكُمْ أَمْوَالَكُمْ {36}

The life of this world is but a play and amusement. If you believe and follow the way of piety, He will grant you your rewards and will not ask you to give up your possessions.

 

What is it that can help us to strengthen our faith? Spending our money, our time, our efforts for the way of Allah is something that holds our heart and if done consistently and sincerely, Allah makes the small seed of faith in our heart grow into a strong tree. But if we want to hold on to our money, and our routine lives, then it is going to put us into endless loss:

هَاأَنتُمْ هَؤُلَاء تُدْعَوْنَ لِتُنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَمِنكُم مَّن يَبْخَلُ وَمَن يَبْخَلْ فَإِنَّمَا يَبْخَلُ عَن نَّفْسِهِ وَاللَّهُ الْغَنِيُّ وَأَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاء وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُمْ {38}

Behold, you are those who are being asked to give in the cause of Allah. Yet some of you are stingy, whereas whoever is stingy to His cause, is in fact stingy to himself. Allah is self sufficient, it is you who are needy. If you turn away He will replace you by some other folk; who will not be like you.

 

What an astonishing end to a magnificent Surah…….reminding us of our reality…..putting an end to all our arrogance once and forever. What are we anyway? What can we give to Allah who owns the entire Universe? It is just as a test that he provides us with things and then asks us to spend a little of it in his way…..and look at us how we spend on our own luxuries and how we give in the way of Allah. And see the words at the end and think about it; if we don’t want to do anything for Allah’s religion, it doesn’t matter to Him at all. He can wipe us all out of this world in less than a moment and bring in other people………who will not be like us…….what more do we need to hear, after this?

Again, the words from Surah Al-Jathiya come to my mind:

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَبِأَيِّ حَدِيثٍ بَعْدَ اللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ يُؤْمِنُونَ {6}

These are the revelations of Allah, which We are reciting to you in all truth. Then, in what report will they believe if not that of Allah and His revelations?

 

Surah Al-Fat’h

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the sixth year after their migration to Madinah, The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) along with fourteen hundred companions, proceeded on a journey to Makkah with the intention of performing Umrah. But the disbelieving Quraish stopped them at Hudabiya and refused to let them enter Makkah. After that, there followed some negotiations between them, which resulted in an agreement, which later became known as the famous pact of Hudabiya. Apparently almost all of the clauses of this treaty were in favour of the Quraish. According to it, the Muslims were to go back to Madinah without doing Umrah, and so they were bitterly disappointed and heartbroken. Anyone who has ever been stopped en route a long awaited journey and forced to go back, can understand the pain they were feeling of apparent defeat and humiliation at the hands of the disbelievers. So with heavy hearts they returned back, but even before they reached Madinah, Allah’s revelation came upon them, giving them the most unexpected good news, that through this incident Allah had blessed them with a clear victory:

إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُّبِينًا {1}

O Prophet, Surely We have granted you a manifest victory

Apparently there was no sign of any victory yet but it was a great assurance from Allah that the treaty of Hudabiya was in fact a great conquest for the Prophet (s.a.w) and His followers. And that is exactly the way it turned out eventually, as one of the clauses of this pact was that there will be no war between the Quraish and the Muslims for the next ten years. Thus the Muslims had a peaceful environment which enabled them to preach and spread Islam throughout Arabia, with such speed and spirit that within two years the number of people who embraced Islam was far more than the previous nineteen years. Moreover it was due to this treaty that when the Quraish violated it two years later, it open the way for the Prophet (s.a.w) to conquer Makkah. Similarly, the other things about the treaty, which seemed to be against the interests of Muslims, eventually proved to be a blessing in disguise; thus Allah completed his favour and blessings on the Believers:

لِيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَيَهْدِيَكَ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا {2}

so that Allah may forgive your past as well as your future sins, and may perfect His blessings upon you, and keep you on the Right Way,

Allah is always on the side of those who believe in Him and sacrifice their personal interests in His way. At some point in time it may appear that things are going against us but we should never doubt Allah’s help. Some things may be difficult to accept but if one remains patient and keeps going on the straight path, he will find success….. just round the corner:

وَيَنصُرَكَ اللَّهُ نَصْرًا عَزِيزًا {3}

and that Allah may bestow on you His mighty help. [3]

 

Why does Allah put us through these tests? Why don’t things always go as we plan? It is because these tests and trials increase us in our faith and our level of goodness. We become strong and work even harder for the sake of Allah. Routine life makes us dull and getting everything to our hearts desire makes us arrogant and self-centred. These are not the qualities which Allah wants in us so He makes us go through these difficult times for our self purification:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَّعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا {4}

It was He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers, so that they may add more faith to their Faith. To Allah belong the forces of the heavens and the earth. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Wise. [4]

The believers’ ultimate goal is the Hereafter and not the benefits of this world anyway:

لِيُدْخِلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَيُكَفِّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا {5}

so that He may admit the believing men and believing women into the gardens beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever and remove their ills from them; and that is the highest achievement for men in the sight of Allah. [5]

So whatever takes us to this beautiful end is a blessing; whether it’s something good that happens to us and we do shukr and get reward, or something bad happens on which we do sabar and get reward. Life is an ever changing test; the only thing that should never change is our commitment with Allah and His Messenger.

لِتُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُعَزِّرُوهُ وَتُوَقِّرُوهُ وَتُسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا {9}

So that you, O people, may believe in Allah and His Rasool, and that you may help him and honour him and glorify Allah morning and evening. [9]

Before the actual agreement at Hudabiya had taken place, The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had sent Hazrat Usman (r.a) to Makkah as an ambassador of peace, so that he might convince the Quraish about the harmless intentions of the Prophet and his companions to do Umrah only. The Makkans did not accept it and thus he got delayed in returning back. A rumour broke out that Usman (a.s) had been killed. Now the killing of an ambassador was a serious crime and not something to be overlooked; so the Prophet (s.a.w) took oath from all his companions that they will take revenge for Usman’s blood and will not return to Madinah without doing so. Now we have to understand the situation to grasp the enormity of this oath. They were so far from home, so few in number, unarmed, and right into the hands of their worst enemies…….yet they did not hesitate in doing the right thing, even if their own lives were at stake. This sincerity of their commitment and firmness made Allah so pleased with them that it became known as the “bay’at-e-Rizwan” ……..the oath for Allah’s pleasure. Thus Allah pays tribute to these true and fearless heroes in the following verse:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِمَا عَاهَدَ عَلَيْهُ اللَّهَ فَسَيُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا {10}

Surely those who swore allegiance to you O Prophet, indeed swore allegiance to Allah Himself. The Hand of Allah was above their hands. Now, the one who will break his pledge, will break it at his own peril, and the one who will keep his pledge that he has made with Allah, shall soon be given a great reward by Him. [10]

A majority of us read about these things and say: yes, we also want to serve Allah in this way; but when the time comes to sacrifice some of our comforts, some of our interests, then we lag behind. And the problem is that we don’t even recognize our mistakes; rather we make excuses and this makes us fall back even deeper into our state of negligence. This is the same attitude which was displayed at that time by the Bedouin Arabs who had entered Islam but were not ready to sacrifice anything for it:

سَيَقُولُ لَكَ الْمُخَلَّفُونَ مِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ شَغَلَتْنَا أَمْوَالُنَا وَأَهْلُونَا فَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَنَا يَقُولُونَ بِأَلْسِنَتِهِم مَّا لَيْسَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ لَكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ ضَرًّا أَوْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ نَفْعًا بَلْ كَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا {11}

The Bedouin Arabs who stayed behind will soon say to you: “Our goods and families kept us occupied, so please ask forgiveness for us.” They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts. Tell them: “Who can intervene on your behalf with Allah if it be His will to do you harm or He pleases to do you good? Allah is well aware of your actions.[11]

 

See how it angers Allah that we say something which we don’t actually feel in our hearts. Lying or pretending is something that has become such a common disease that we hardly ever notice it ourselves. But we should remember that we cannot harm anyone else with our lies and pretence except our own self. Whoever wishes to please Allah and gain the rewards of Paradise will have to prove the truth of his claims….like these brave companions of the Prophet (s.a.w) about whom Allah says:

لَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُونَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ فَأَنزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَثَابَهُمْ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا {18}

Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and He rewarded them with a speedy victory,[18]

 

The reason why they had taken upon this journey in the first place, despite the unfavourable circumstances, was that Allah Himself had revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w), in a dream in which he had seen that the believers were doing all the rites of the Umrah. Now, when they returned home without having fulfilled this long awaited desire, the people started speculating on why the Prophet’s dream had not come true? Some believers asked the Prophet about it, to which he replied that in the dream he had not been told the specific time of its fulfilment. And since according to the treaty of hudabiya, the Quraish had promised that they will let them do Umrah next year in peace then it meant that the dream was truly a revelation from Allah. The following ayat refers to the same promise:

لَقَدْ صَدَقَ اللَّهُ رَسُولَهُ الرُّؤْيَا بِالْحَقِّ لَتَدْخُلُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ إِن شَاء اللَّهُ آمِنِينَ مُحَلِّقِينَ رُؤُوسَكُمْ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لَا تَخَافُونَ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا فَجَعَلَ مِن دُونِ ذَلِكَ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا {27}

Indeed Allah has in all truth shown the vision to His Rasool, that, Allah willing, you shall enter the Masjid-al-Harãm (Ka’bah) fearless and secure to perform Umrah or Hajj and some having their heads shaved and others having their hair cut, for He knows what you do not know. So, He granted you a near victory before the fulfillment of that vision.[27]

 

Belief in the Prophet is crucial for our deen. How can we be Muslims if we don’t believe or follow the one who conveyed to us the message of Allah? Therefore Allah reminds us:

 هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ شَهِيدًا {28}

It is He who has sent His Rasool with Guidance and the religion of truth, so that He may exalt this religion over all other religions: and sufficient is Allah as a witness.[28]

And finally we come to the end of this magnificent Surah. The last Ayat is a tribute to the Prophet (s.a.w) and his blessed companions. And it shows how much Allah valued their faith and commitment. Let us see this Ayat in detail as it covers several points. But as we read it, we should think about our own level of faith and compare it with theirs; because they are the ideals which we should follow if we want to reach Paradise.

It starts with a clear declaration that Muhammad (s.a.w) is the Messenger of Allah:

                                                مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ

Muhammad, is the Rasool of Allah

                                                                    

It clearly means that we have to recognize this true status of the Prophet (s.a.w) and respect and honour him accordingly. Next Allah says that the companions of the Prophet are firm against the non believers and gentle and merciful among themselves:

 وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاء عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاء بَيْنَهُمْ                  

and those with him are strong against the unbelievers and compassionate to each other among themselves.

How do they spend their days?

تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا  

When you see them, you will find them making Raküh (bowing down) and Sajüd (prostrate in prayers), and craving for the blessings from Allah and His good pleasure.

A balanced life style…..acts of Allah’s worship side by side with earning the goodness of this world, but their ultimate goal is always to attain Allah’s appreciation.

Allah says you can see the effects of their worship on their faces:

سِيمَاهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ

They have the marks of Sajüd (prostration) on their foreheads, the traces of their prostration.

 It means that their whole attitude shows their humble nature. It is not just the mark on their foreheads but is evident in all their actions. They have been mentioned in Torah and the Bible……

ذَلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنجِيلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهُ فَآزَرَهُ فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَى عَلَى سُوقِهِ يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ

This is their similitude in the Taurãt (Torah); and their similitude in the Injeel (Gospel): they are like the seed which puts forth its sprout, then strengthens it, then becomes thick and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the sowers of the seed, so that through them He may enrage the unbelievers.

 

What a beautiful description it is……..how the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w) grew in faith and maturity…..like tiny little sprouts coming out of seeds, soft and weak in the beginning but with time they grow strong and stand firm.

And finally the most important thing that we should all seek is the forgiveness of Allah and His great rewards:

 وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا    

Yet to those of them who will believe and do good deeds, Allah has promised forgiveness and a great reward. [29]

So next time when you send peace and blessings on the Prophet (s.a.w) or hear about the golden period of the Muslims, remember this Surah and think how we can take some practical steps in our own lives that would bring us close to their example. How important it is to tell this story to our children. Make them proud of their glorious past and create in them a longing to follow these ideals. But first we need to absorb this message in our own hearts. May Allah make it easy for us to come out of ignorance and find the true path of success. Ameen.

 

Surah Al-Hujurat

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

It is the desire of every person to be successful in this world. And we have to admit that success is not an accidental thing which might happen just by chance. We need to have some basic qualities in order to be successful at any job, in any field. There have been many books written on the subject of personal development and success, but our knowledge is incomplete and Allah is the one who knows everything. So in order to discover the complete truth, we should turn to Him and see what guideline He has given us in the Quran, which we should follow, to become better individuals as well as to create an environment of mutual trust and brotherhood in the society. Surah Al-Hujuraat is all about character building. On one hand it teaches us manners worthy of true believers, and on the other hand it points out some of our harmful habits, which we take so lightly, without realizing what harm we are doing to our faith and our lives.

But before we go into the detail of our manners towards people, we must know how to behave towards Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w), because that is the foundation of our faith:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ {1}

O believers! Do not put yourselves ahead of Allah and His Rasool. Fear Allah; surely Allah hears all and knows all.

It is a clear warning for all of us, who claim to have belief in Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w), that we should never put our own ideas, our theories and our own intellect ahead of Allah’s commands or the teachings of His Messenger (s.a.w). We should fear Allah and remember that this intellect of ours is also His own gift and He gave it to us so that we should use it to understand His words and His absolute authority over us. Not that we become arrogant and come up with self created theories so that we can distort the laws of Allah.

Sometimes it happens that we do have faith in Allah and in His commands, but our outward manners are not respectful. This is also wrong and so Allah is warning us here:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُوا لَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَن تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ {2}

O believers! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud when talking to him as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds should come to nothing while you do not even perceive it.

The companions of the Prophet (s.a.w) were being taught the proper manners that they should not even raise the volume of their voices in front of the Prophet (s.a.w) and the same rule applies to us when we hold a class of Hadith, in which we should be most respectful in the way we talk. Sometimes we see people engaged in hot arguments about a Hadith, or say that Hadith is just confusion or things like that……..how terrible it is that shaitan keeps us deceiving that such and such thing is so trivial and not a sin, but see how disrespect can cause someone to lose all his good deeds. So we have to be very careful.

The Bedouins living around Madinah, who were mostly illiterate, had embraced Islam but they did not realize that they had to learn and mould themselves according to the etiquettes of true believers. So most of them remained in their places and did not seek to come to Madinah to learn from the Prophet (s.a.w) and His companions. On some occasions, however when they had to come to Madinah, they did not know any manners to talk to the Prophet and so they used to shout outside his door to come out to them and attend to their needs:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِن وَرَاء الْحُجُرَاتِ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ {4}

Those who call out to you, O Muhammad, from outside the private apartments, most of them lack common sense.

 This is a common attitude even today that people do not realize that the religious scholars are to be respected and given time and privacy to do the work which is beneficial to the whole community. Everyone wants them to be their private counsellors, whom they can call at any time of the day, or even night…..and they should attend to their call immediately…..It is all done due to ignorance but we should learn to be respectful if we are really Muslims.

Now another important thing is being highlighted in the next Ayat that mostly these illiterate Bedouins would come with their personal disputes and give exaggerated accounts of the injustices done by others. So the Muslims of all times are being cautioned that if someone comes with such complaints then they should not be hasty in decisions but should look at the other side of the picture too, before taking any action…….otherwise they might regret it later when they find out the complete truth:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ {6}

O believers, if an evildoer comes to you with some news, verify it (investigate to ascertain the truth), lest you should harm others unwittingly and then regret what you have done.

Everybody wants that his opinion should be given preference and so the Muslims in Madinah would insist that the Prophet (s.a.w) should follow their advice, which at times would have been disadvantageous to them if it had been followed. So it is a lesson for us too that when we read a Hadith and we don’t understand its benefit then we should believe that the Messenger of Allah always taught us what was beneficial for us and our own intellect can be wrong or misguided but the Prophet (s.a.w) spoke from divine inspiration and wisdom. Therefore, instead of finding fault, we should be grateful for the favours of Allah on us:

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُونَ {7}

And know that Allah’s Rasool is among you. If he were to follow you in most affairs, you would certainly be in trouble. Allah has endeared this faith to you and beautified it in your hearts, making unbelief, wrongdoing, and disobedience abhorrent to you. It is they who are rightly guided

Really if we think about it, isn’t it the greatest favour on us that Allah has made the faith dear to us and has made it so beautiful in our hearts……otherwise if something has to be done without love then what an awful burden it becomes, which has to be carried anyway. And the other great blessing Allah has bestowed upon us is that he put hatred in our hearts for disbelief, transgression and disobedience; otherwise how could we stop ourselves from these evils? So if, by the grace of Allah, we are on the straight path, then we should be thanking Allah day and night, and not be arrogant:

فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَنِعْمَةً وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ {8}

(it is) through Allah’s grace and blessing. Allah is Knowledgeable, Wise.

Islam is a religion of brotherhood and unity. Muslims as a nation have a great responsibility from Allah that they have to spread the message of Allah to the whole world. This cannot be achieved if they keep fighting each other over every little disagreement. So the Muslims are being taught here, that if any two groups among the muslims start fighting then the rest of them should neither be indifferent to it nor just turn on the TV and watch the news for how many got killed today, but should play an active role in making peace between them:

وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تَفِيءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِن فَاءتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ {9}

If two parties among the believers fall into mutual fighting, make peace between them. Then if one of them transgresses against the other, fight the one who has transgressed until he returns to the commands of Allah. Then, if he returns, make peace between them with justice and be fair; for Allah loves those who are fair and just.

But notice here that Allah is warning us not to exceed our roles of peacekeepers and start any favouritism or unfair use of resources.  Because the real motive is not to win any war or get any favours but to be the agents of peace and unity among Muslims. Why is it so important? Allah says:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ {10}

The believers are brothers to one another, therefore, make reconciliation between your brothers and fear Allah, so that you may be shown mercy.

We take these words lightly because for most of us, we have been hearing them since childhood, but seldom seen in practise. So unconsciously we think that these are mere quotations to be used in essays and speeches. But now we read the same things in the Quran and know that it is Allah Himself who is opening our eyes to the fact that we Muslims are all like brothers, like one big family…..irrespective of our status, or origin. The best demonstration of this brotherhood is on Hajj where Muslims from all over the world gather together as one people and bow down to one Allah. But for peace to prevail among these brothers it is important that every individual takes it as his own responsibility to strengthen the relationships between Muslims. This deed is better in reward than even prayers and fasting and charity:

A companion of the Messenger (s.a.w), Abu Dardaa (r.a) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w) said, “Shall I inform you of that which is better than fasting, praying and charity?”

They said, “Why not, O Messenger of Allah!”

He said, “To reconcile between yourselves (otherwise) the mischief between yourselves is something that shaves (eliminates religion)”

So ask yourself: do I really think of other Muslims like my brothers. Would I treat my own brother, like I treat others?

Next Allah highlights for us the basic evils which sour our relationships. These are some highly destructive habits which we have developed over time due to our ignorance and indifference to the importance of character building and nurturing mutual relationships. The first one is to humiliate people and making fun of them. So Allah is addressing all those who believe:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَومٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَى أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاء مِّن نِّسَاء عَسَى أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ بِئْسَ الاِسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ {11}

O believers! Let no men laugh at other men who may perhaps be better than themselves; and let no woman laugh at another woman, who may perhaps be better than herself. Do not defame through sarcastic remarks about one another, nor call one another by offensive nicknames. It is an evil thing to be called by a bad name after being a believer, and those who do not repent are the ones who are the wrongdoers

The root cause for this behaviour is pride in one’s own self. If we constantly look down on people and think them to be inferior to us then we will express that arrogance in our comments. But before we start humiliating anybody, in our thoughts or openly, we should think that maybe that person is much more superior in Allah’s eyes than us. It is considered to be just a harmless way to have fun, to mock others and to call them names but notice that Allah calls it a sin for which we can only be forgiven if we do Taubah…… sincere repentance.

Then there is this other disease of being suspicious of everybody. How can we love our brothers if we have this negative feeling of mistrust? It will definitely lead you to being curious about others lives and activities, and finally talking against them to whoever is willing to listen. That is why the next Ayat deals with all three of these interlinked evils:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيراً مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ {12}

O believers! Avoid immoderate suspicion, for in some cases suspicion is a sin. Do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another (to say something about another behind ones back that if one hears it, dislikes it). Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely you would abhor it. Fear Allah; for Allah is the Accepter of repentance, Merciful

We all know that it is Haram to eat pork and we will not touch it, but is the flesh of our own dead brother Halal? Aren’t we constantly eating it in our daily conversation? Just like a disease has to be eradicated from its root, similarly we have to begin with opening up our minds to the fact that we are all equal in the sight of Allah. Being born into a rich family, or an educated family, or being an Arab or Indian, or whatever nationality, or the language we speak or the colour of our skin…….these are all things which we didn’t choose for ourselves…it was just Allah’s plan:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ {13}

O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Aware.

If we want honour then we should fear Allah and develop a strong bond with Him because that’s the thing which is most valued by Allah. Most of us know these principles but then why don’t we act accordingly? Why do we respect wealth and status more than Allah consciousness? The problem is that mostly we see everything from a worldly perspective and take our faith for granted. For a majority of us so called Muslims, our faith is nothing except for a few words that we have uttered or a set of beliefs which we have inherited from our ancestors, or a few rituals that we might or might not perform…….But how many of us have really accepted Allah as our Lord and Islam as our religion at a conscious level?

 The same thing was hindering the Bedouin Arabs from entering completely into the religion of Islam:

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {14}

The Bedouin Arabs say: “We have believed.” Tell them: “You have not believed; rather say ‘We have become Muslims;’ for faith has not yet found its way into your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Rasool, He will not deny you the reward of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”

We call ourselves believers but have ever tried to find out what is the true definition of a believer?

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ {15}

The true believers are those who believe in Allah and His Rasool, then never doubt; and make Jihad (exert their efforts) with their wealth and their persons in the cause of Allah. Such are the ones who are truthful in their claim to be the believers.

Remember that the way to Jannat is not an easy one. It’s easy enough to quote this definition but doing Jihad with the nafs and with one’s wealth is not quite such a smooth ride. There are going to be rough spots along the way too. And when difficulties arise then what should be our attitude? That we go around showing our wounds to everyone? Making it look like we have done some favour on others? The fact is that it is Allah’s favour on us that He has given us this guidance and saved us from the darkness of ignorance.

يَمُنُّونَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ أَسْلَمُوا قُل لَّا تَمُنُّوا عَلَيَّ إِسْلَامَكُم بَلِ اللَّهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدَاكُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {17}

They think they have conferred upon you a favour by embracing Islam. Tell them: “You have conferred upon me no favour by accepting Islam. It was Allah Who has conferred a favour upon you in guiding you to the true faith; admit this, if you are men of truth.

 Why is Allah reminding us about this favour on us? Because sometimes people start thinking themselves as superior due to being religious. They want that they should be given special attention and special favours due to it. But we should all remember that our true status in Allah’s eyes has not been revealed to us in this world. No one can think of himself as free from the punishment of Akhirah. So we should keep striving towards Allah’s obedience, always remembering the fact that none of our thoughts, words or deeds escapes Allah….He knows everything about us whether its apparent for all to see or we keep it hidden from the whole world:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ {18}

Surely Allah knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is watching all your actions.”

Surah Qaf

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the last Surah we learned how important it is for us to develop our characters according to the real Islamic spirit, if we want to be in the category of true believers. But we see that despite all the knowledge we have, our sense of responsibility towards Allah’s rights as well as our behaviour towards other people is not quite what it should be. What is the reason for not practicing what we know? This question often comes up in my mind and Alhamdulillah after I studied Surah Qaf, I have come to understand that although we say we believe in Allah and the day of Judgement, yet we think of our death and the Hereafter as a remote thing and that is why our actions, even in the way of Allah, lack the vigour, optimism, urgency, or the momentum which otherwise characterizes the fulfilment of our worldly interests. When we unconsciously imagine life to be a never ending cruise and don’t remember where we are going to end up, then naturally our attitude towards Allah’s commands will be non-serious. Therefore Surah Qaf is a reminder of death and our rebirth into that other unseen world, which gives the spark that we need to come back to the right track.

So let’s begin our journey of enlightenment with the first Ayat, which reminds us of the greatness of Quran:

ق وَالْقُرْآنِ الْمَجِيدِ {1}

Qãf. By the Glorious Qur’an

The Quran is guidance for the whole of mankind yet only those benefit from its knowledge and inspiration who truly recognize the great beauty and magnificence of the Quran. But what is our attitude if someone warns us through this Book? Are we ready to listen and accept the truth? No one wants to admit that they might be wrong in their thinking. It was the same attitude due to which the disbelievers of Makkah denied the Prophet (s.a.w). They could not digest the fact that someone from amongst themselves was warning them against their centuries old beliefs and customs:

بَلْ عَجِبُوا أَن جَاءهُمْ مُنذِرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَقَالَ الْكَافِرُونَ هَذَا شَيْءٌ عَجِيبٌ {2}

But they wonder that there has come to them a Warner from among themselves. So the unbelievers say: “This indeed is very strange”

Another hindrance was their lack of acceptance of life after death. They simply didn’t want to believe in this concept and thus tried to prove it as an impossible fantasy:

أَئِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا ذَلِكَ رَجْعٌ بَعِيدٌ {3}

That after we are dead and have become dust we shall be raised to life again, such a return is far from reason.”

They did say that they believed in Allah but they had no idea of His magnificent power and all-encompassing knowledge. So Allah tells them:

قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا تَنقُصُ الْأَرْضُ مِنْهُمْ وَعِندَنَا كِتَابٌ حَفِيظٌ {4}

We know all that the earth consumes of their bodies, and we have a Book which keeps records of everything.

Have we ever imagined this as something which will eventually happen to us……….that our bodies will decompose and become dust…..and then on the day of resurrection Allah will gather all the dust from wherever it might have blown or sunk or washed away by some river or sea…….to make it into a complete human being. How awesome it is to visualize…..and I am thinking that if we all see ourselves for what we really are……helpless creatures who don’t even have any control over their own existence…………then how can we be arrogant? How can we ignore Allah if we truly grasp our own reality?

But the problem is that we don’t want to admit the truth and look for it in places where it does not exist. Thus our whole lives are spent in a cycle of never ending confusion and doubts:

بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِالْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءهُمْ فَهُمْ فِي أَمْرٍ مَّرِيجٍ {5}

Nay! But these people deny the truth when it comes to them, and they are confused.

Allah says is it so difficult for you to recognize me? Has none of you ever seen the sky……….surely you don’t have to make an educational trip abroad to see the signs of Allah’s Power:

أَفَلَمْ يَنظُرُوا إِلَى السَّمَاء فَوْقَهُمْ كَيْفَ بَنَيْنَاهَا وَزَيَّنَّاهَا وَمَا لَهَا مِن فُرُوجٍ {6}

Have they never looked at the sky above them, and marked how We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it?,

And look at the earth……..

وَالْأَرْضَ مَدَدْنَاهَا وَأَلْقَيْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ {7}

And the earth, how We have spread it out and set upon it mountains and caused to grow in it every kind of beautiful vegetation.

If Allah could bring to life a dead earth and could grow all sorts of vegetation in it then how can it be difficult for Him to re-create Human beings from the same earth? But this obvious truth becomes apparent only to those who turn to Allah and want guidance:

تَبْصِرَةً وَذِكْرَى لِكُلِّ عَبْدٍ مُّنِيبٍ {8}

All these things are eye-openers and a reminder for every servant returning to Allah.

Usually it’s our negative thinking which prevents us from accepting any goodness. And then we develop a series of doubts about the religion and even those who follow the religion. Allah reminds us that He knows what goes on in our hearts and minds:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ {16}

We created man, We know the prompting of his soul, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein.

We also know that our book of deeds is being compiled, in which all our actions are being recorded with the minutest details, by the two angels………our constant companions- about whom we seldom give any thought:

إِذْ يَتَلَقَّى الْمُتَلَقِّيَانِ عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَعَنِ الشِّمَالِ قَعِيدٌ {17}

Besides this direct knowledge ,We have assigned to every one two scribes (guardian angels), the one seated on his right and the other on his left

If we believe that they are constantly looking at us, won’t we think twice before committing any wrong act? And just think that it’s not only our deeds but every single word that we utter is being written down by them:

مَا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ {18}

Not a single word does he utter but there is a vigilant guardian ready to note it down.

It is only this awareness which can make us careful of how we behave. If I know that the reports of these two angels, watching over me, will determine my destination in the real life of the Hereafter, then naturally I will always be on my best behaviour, even when I am alone. But the problem is that most people don’t want to talk or even think of death. Isn’t it ironic that we go on avoiding the one thing which is the only certainty of this life……..all the rest of the events of life might happen or they might not…..they are just possibilities; but death is certainly going to meet everyone of us……..

وَجَاءتْ سَكْرَةُ الْمَوْتِ بِالْحَقِّ ذَلِكَ مَا كُنتَ مِنْهُ تَحِيدُ {19}

When the agony of death will bring the truth before his eyes, they will say: “This is what you were trying to escape!”

Our concept of the hereafter has been blurred in our minds due to the glamour of this world and our deep involvement with our day to day affairs. But when we will be raised on that day and brought before our Lord, then our vision will become so clear……..there will be no more “confusion”…..the reality will be fully exposed:

لَقَدْ كُنتَ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِّنْ هَذَا فَكَشَفْنَا عَنكَ غِطَاءكَ فَبَصَرُكَ الْيَوْمَ حَدِيدٌ {22}

It will be said: “You were heedless of this, but now We have removed your veil, so your eyesight is sharp today!”

The reports will be there so nobody will be able to deny whatever thoughts they had thought, whatever words they had said, and whatever acts they had committed…..good or bad. And thus Allah will order punishment for the wrong doers:

أَلْقِيَا فِي جَهَنَّمَ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ {24}

The sentence will be: “Throw into hell every stubborn disbeliever

مَّنَّاعٍ لِّلْخَيْرِ مُعْتَدٍ مُّرِيبٍ {25}

Every opponent of good, and every doubting transgressor

الَّذِي جَعَلَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ فَأَلْقِيَاهُ فِي الْعَذَابِ الشَّدِيدِ {26}

who set up other gods besides Allah. Throw him into severe punishment.”

Look at the above Ayat and analyse the crimes for which these people will be thrown into the fire. The first one is Kufr i.e. disbelief. And it also means ingratitude. So it means that even if we believe in Allah, it could be a serious sin to be unappreciative of His greatness and His blessings on us. This forms a root cause for all other sins. The person who appreciates and is grateful for Allah’s blessings cannot act arrogantly or be disobedient. So our heedlessness is a form of “Kufr” when we don’t appreciate Allah’s Magnificence as being our Creator and Master. We forget our status as His slaves and want to live according to our own choice. This indifferent attitude makes people act rebelliously against Allah’s religion and then they also stop others from following the right way. Thus they create doubts in the true message of the Quran and Hadith and finally there comes a stage where they start looking up to other ideals and idols besides Allah…..which is shirk. Surely these crimes can only end in the blazing fire of Hell.

Mostly we blame the devil that he distracts us from the path of Allah’s obedience. The fact is that he does not have any control on us except if we ourselves are ready to follow his deceptive advices. Thus on the day of judgement he will say to Allah:

قَالَ قَرِينُهُ رَبَّنَا مَا أَطْغَيْتُهُ وَلَكِن كَانَ فِي ضَلَالٍ بَعِيدٍ {27}

His companion will say: “Our Rabb! I did not mislead him. He himself had gone far astray.”

Just read on and imagine the horrors of Hell:

يَوْمَ نَقُولُ لِجَهَنَّمَ هَلِ امْتَلَأْتِ وَتَقُولُ هَلْ مِن مَّزِيدٍ {30}

On that Day, We shall ask the hell: “Are you full?” And the hell will answer: “Are there any more?”

Sometimes people make jokes about heaven and hell due to their non-serious attitude and say things like, “if the majority is going to be punished then how are they going to fit in?” Allah is telling us here that it is so tremendously huge that it will keep on asking for more, like a live monster.

May Allah save us from this torture and guide us to work for the endless serenity of Paradise. What a striking contrast it is:

وَأُزْلِفَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ غَيْرَ بَعِيدٍ {31}

Paradise shall be brought close to the righteous, which will no more be a distant thing

How merciful and Kind is our Rabb…He could have thrown us all into the fire because none of us can ever come up to the standards of perfection. We are full of weaknesses yet Allah has promised to reward all those who fear Allah and try their utmost to live a life of Allah’s obedience:

هَذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِكُلِّ أَوَّابٍ حَفِيظٍ {32}

مَنْ خَشِيَ الرَّحْمَن بِالْغَيْبِ وَجَاء بِقَلْبٍ مُّنِيبٍ {33}

and it will be said: “Here is what you were promised. It is for every penitent faithful person,[32] who feared the Compassionate (Allah) without seeing Him and will come before Him with a devoted heart.”

This is such a clear message and it penetrates to every sensitive heart. But even if you feel that your heart is not receptive to it, you should keep listening to it attentively and one day Insha’Allah the heart will also respond:

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَى لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى السَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ {37}

Surely in this there is a lesson for every person who has a heart, or who listens while he is present (in mind).

The other thing is that we should not listen to the negative comments of those who don’t believe in the truth of Islam, because our ears are passages to our hearts…….our thoughts and feelings are affected by whatever we hear. So Allah comforted the Prophet (s.a.w) and all the believers that they should do Sabar and not respond to such negative propaganda. Instead we should seek comfort in prayers:

فَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ الْغُرُوبِ {39}وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَأَدْبَارَ السُّجُودِ {40}

Therefore, O Prophet, bear with them in patience whatever they say, and keep on glorifying your Rabb before sunrise and before sunset.[39] And glorify Him during a part of the night and after the prostration (prayers).[40]

It is our responsibility to spread the message of Allah and to try and bring people to the right way. But we should remember that our duty is just to convey the right thing to others in the most pleasant manner; and if they reject it then it is their own choice. Allah says:

نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِجَبَّارٍ فَذَكِّرْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَن يَخَافُ وَعِيدِ {45}

We know very well what these unbelievers say. You (O Muhammad) are not there to compel them to believe. So remind with this Qur’an every such person who fears My warning.

So obviously the thing to do is to establish prayers in our life and secondly to keep reminding ourselves and others of the message of Quran. The fear of the hereafter together with prayers and understanding the message of Quran can really make us change from within. And this is what real character building is all about. May Allah help us to become the true representatives of Islam in this world, who might have such a fear of Allah’s warnings that we should act on what we believe, and what we say or write, Ameen.

Surah Az-Zariyat

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The reality of this life and the Hereafter is such an important part of our faith that Allah has repeatedly warned us about it; especially in the Makkan Surahs. In Surah Adh-Dhariyat the verses are so short and meaningful, as if to prove that we are not totally unaware of what is really going to happen and our heedless lives are not as much a reflection of our lack of knowledge, rather it is a manifestation of our forgetfulness and reluctance to face the truth. Therefore the sequence of Ayat upon Ayat is on one hand a powerful reminder, and on the other hand the reflection of the beauty and depth of the Arabic language. Just see the opening verses in which simply two words of each line, encompass the vastness of the winds and the clouds; all floating smoothly. So imperceptible is their movement that we hardly notice what miracles are being unfolded before us all across the sky:

وَالذَّارِيَاتِ ذَرْوًا {1}

By the dust scattering winds

فَالْحَامِلَاتِ وِقْرًا {2}

 Then by the heavy laden clouds;

فَالْجَارِيَاتِ يُسْرًا {3}

 Then by their swift gliding;

فَالْمُقَسِّمَاتِ أَمْرًا {4}

                                               Then by those who distribute the big affair (rain);

Allah is taking oath by the winds and their endless movement, to tell us that the warning of the Hereafter is most certainly the truth:

إِنَّمَا تُوعَدُونَ لَصَادِقٌ {5}

Surely, that which you are being promised is true;

And we should remember that accountability will also take place:

وَإِنَّ الدِّينَ لَوَاقِعٌ {6}

And surely, the Day of Judgment shall come to pass.

The next Ayat points to the beauty and splendour of the sky which Allah has adorned with stars and moon and sun and clouds. Just ponder over the fact that He could have lit it up without these objects but Allah is so great, He took care of our aesthetic needs as well. He could have painted it red or orange or even green, but just look at the soft and soothing blue and the soft white clouds, forever changing shapes and colours reflecting the sun especially in the rising and setting of the sun. Imagine how much He loves us, but majority of people, instead of being grateful, show their arrogance by devising their own ideas about the Day of Judgement:

وَالسَّمَاء ذَاتِ الْحُبُكِ {7}

إِنَّكُمْ لَفِي قَوْلٍ مُّخْتَلِفٍ {8}

By the sky full of orbits, surely you contradict one another in what you say

When there are so many ideas to chose from, it is so easy to go astray but Allah says that only those get distracted from the right way who don’t want to follow the path of righteousness…..who think it is such a great burden to submit their own will to Allah’s commands. So whoever avoids reality will definitely go far away from it:

يُؤْفَكُ عَنْهُ مَنْ أُفِكَ {9}

Only the perverse persons turn away from the truth.

When people deny the clear message of Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w) then surely they will come up with their own theories about the end of this life. Some say that they will just become dust and bones and there is no after-life. Others say that there will be a life after death but everyone will go to Paradise because Allah is so merciful……and so on. But their ideas are all based on whims….and whoever builds a life on such a weak foundation is certainly going to be destroyed:

قُتِلَ الْخَرَّاصُونَ {10}

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي غَمْرَةٍ سَاهُونَ {11}

Woe to those who judge by conjecture, those who are engulfed in ignorance and heedlessness.

If you try to explain things to them they arrogantly ask irrelevant questions to prove their cleverness. Like the people asked the Prophet (s.a.w) when will the Qiyamat (hour of Doom) occur? And the Prophet (s.a.w) replied that they should worry whether they have prepared anything for that day or not.

يَسْأَلُونَ أَيَّانَ يَوْمُ الدِّينِ {12}

They ask: “When will the Day of Judgment be?”

Here is the answer for all arrogant people, who think they can outsmart Allah’s decisions:

يَوْمَ هُمْ عَلَى النَّارِ يُفْتَنُونَ {13}

ذُوقُوا فِتْنَتَكُمْ هَذَا الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ {14}

It will be the Day when they will be punished in the fire, and it will be said: “Taste your chastisement! This is what you were seeking to hasten.”

And surely it is true that Allah is most merciful and kind but on that day His Love and compassion will only be for the righteous ones:

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ {15}

As to the righteous, they will be in the midst of gardens and springs

Imagine that even if they led a hard life in this world for the sake of Allah’s obedience and gave up all those pleasures which they saw most people indulging in, what a small sacrifice it will seem to them on that day when in Paradise they will be receiving their rewards from Allah:

آخِذِينَ مَا آتَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ مُحْسِنِينَ {16}

Joyfully receiving what their Rabb shall give them; for they were before that (during their life on earth) righteous people

They did not get there just by chance or good luck, as sometimes happens in this world, rather their character determined their destiny as Allah says that they were the “Muhsinin”, the ones who did everything with beauty and completeness. We all tend to think of ourselves as perfect people but we should see our true reflection in the mirror of the Quran, as shown to us in the following verses:

كَانُوا قَلِيلًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ {17}

They used to sleep but little in the night time

Just count how many nights have we ever spent in our lives in this way. These successful people of the Paradise never thought of any of their deeds as good enough for Allah’s sake so even when they spent most of their nights in worship, they would still be asking for forgives in the early hours:

وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ {18}

They pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning

But even that was not enough that they just dedicated their lives to the prayer mat. Rather they spent their time, their resources, their money, for the less fortunate people. They did all of it with genuine concern, as giving them their right…..not showing off, nor arrogantly doing any favour on them:

وَفِي أَمْوَالِهِمْ حَقٌّ لِّلسَّائِلِ وَالْمَحْرُومِ {19}

And share their wealth with the needy who asked for it, and those who did not ask.

But how did those “lucky” people find Allah’s true guidance? There is so much to trap you in illusions so how come they thought and acted differently? Allah says that you just have to look at the earth before you and you will find such clear signs…….but these signs become clear only to those who want to believe:

وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ {20}

In the earth, there are signs for the firm believers,

People ask for proof or miracles, but Allah is asking all of them “Do you not see your own self?” What a miracle it is the way Allah has created us in such perfect proportions:

وَفِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ {21}

And also in your own selves (there are signs); can you not see?

Allah has given us eyes which make us see this colourful world. But there is also an inner sight which sees beyond the obvious. This inner sight has been given to everyone but most of the people don’t use it so their vision remains limited and shallow. On the other hand those who use their insight don’t get trapped by the obvious glitter and glamour of the world. They go beyond the surface of things and try and get to the real truth. These are the ones who recognize the signs of their Lord and have a firm belief in His Power and Mercy. A shining example of one such person, who used his insight and rational thinking to find Allah, was Ibrahim (a.s) His story has been told many times in the Quran…….how he gave up everything for the sake of Allah and proved his utmost belief and submission for Allah.

In the following verses we find that some angels came to Ibrahim’s (a.s) house in the guise of being his guests and rewarded him with the miraculous good news of a son. Both Ibrahim (a.s) and His wife were very old. So his wife exclaimed:

فَأَقْبَلَتِ امْرَأَتُهُ فِي صَرَّةٍ فَصَكَّتْ وَجْهَهَا وَقَالَتْ عَجُوزٌ عَقِيمٌ {29}

Hearing this, his wife came forward, with astonishment she smote her forehead and said: “A son to a barren old woman!”

But the angels told her:

قَالُوا كَذَلِكَ قَالَ رَبُّكِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْعَلِيمُ {30}

They replied: “Thus has said your Rabb: surely He is the Wise, the Knowledgeable.”

Even in the midst of such good news, Ibrahim (a.s) remains focused and asks the angels that surely that was not all what their mission was about, so what was their real business:

قَالَ فَمَا خَطْبُكُمْ أَيُّهَا الْمُرْسَلُونَ {31}

Ibrahim (Abraham) asked: “O Divine Messengers, what is your errand?”

They told him that they had come to destroy the people of Prophet Lut (a.s) who were involved in the crime of homosexuality:

قَالُوا إِنَّا أُرْسِلْنَا إِلَى قَوْمٍ مُّجْرِمِينَ {32}

They replied: “We have been sent to a guilty nation (people of Lot, who were homosexuals),

لِنُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهِمْ حِجَارَةً مِّن طِينٍ {33}

To shower upon them brimstone,

Only the Prophet Lut (a.s) and his few followers were saved from this torment. The rest of them were completely destroyed by the terrible punishment. The question is that why Allah is telling us here about these people? Obviously it is to make us understand that the people who don’t have any belief in the Hereafter, will never accept the commands of Allah, and so they will have to face His punishment. The same thing happened to Pharaoh and his people who rejected the clear proofs brought to them by Prophet Musa (a.s):

فَتَوَلَّى بِرُكْنِهِ وَقَالَ سَاحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ {39}

But he turned his back along with his chiefs, saying: “He (Moses) is a sorcerer or a madman.”

فَأَخَذْنَاهُ وَجُنُودَهُ فَنَبَذْنَاهُمْ فِي الْيَمِّ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ {40}

Consequently, We seized him and his warriors, and cast them into the sea. Indeed he deserved much blame.

And there was the nation of Aad. They were tall and mighty people highly civilized and prosperous, but they did not fear Allah and rejected the teachings of their Prophet, Hud (a.s).

Allah is most merciful but when people refuse to accept the truth then they invite Allah’s wrath. The same breeze which gives so much pleasure became a torment for them:

وَفِي عَادٍ إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الرِّيحَ الْعَقِيمَ {41}

There is also a sign in the story of ‘Ad: when We let loose on them a blighting wind

مَا تَذَرُ مِن شَيْءٍ أَتَتْ عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا جَعَلَتْهُ كَالرَّمِيمِ {42}

which made rotten everything that it blew on.

The people of Thamud were arrogant in their own progress and thought that the Prophet Salih (a.s) was just frightening them needlessly; so what was their end:

فَعَتَوْا عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّاعِقَةُ وَهُمْ يَنظُرُونَ {44}

but they disobeyed the commandment of their Rabb; consequently they were overtaken by the thunderbolt even while they were looking on.

And even before that the people of Nuh (a.s) had made the same mistake of not taking seriously the message of Allah, so they remained disobedient and finally were drowned by a huge flood:

وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ مِّن قَبْلُ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمًا فَاسِقِينَ {46}

And We destroyed the people of Nuh (Noah) before them because they too were transgressors.

Allah has given us all the clues in the creation of the universe and in our own existence and has revealed to us lessons from the history of the world. Therefore after all that we have seen and heard, it is not difficult to reach the conclusion that we have to turn to Allah, not half-heartedly, not with just a passive obedience but with all our passion and conviction…….Listen to the words in the next ayat and run towards Allah!!

فَفِرُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ {50}

O Prophet, say to mankind: “Rush towards Allah, surely I am assigned by Him as a plain Warner to you all.

When you run towards something then the natural consequence is that you leave something behind…..you can’t hold on to both. So when we go forward in our commitment with Allah then we have to leave all the things that stand between us and His pleasure…..there can be no other object of worship except Allah:

وَلَا تَجْعَلُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ {51}

Do not set up another god besides Allah, surely I am assigned by Him as a plain Warner to you all.”

This is the absolute truth and there are no two ways about it but if people blame you for going against the flow of majority, or try to discourage you by calling names like “fanatics” or “extremists” then remember that even the best people in the world, who were Allah’s chosen Prophets, were also taunted in the same way:

كَذَلِكَ مَا أَتَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا قَالُوا سَاحِرٌ أَوْ مَجْنُونٌ {52}

It has been the case that whenever a Rasool came to the peoples before them, they said about him: “He is a sorcerer or a madman.”

In such a situation, be proud that you are following the examples of those blessed favourites of Allah, and keep running!! As for those who want you to change your direction and come back to their way of life…….just ignore them. This is the advice from our Lord:

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ فَمَا أَنتَ بِمَلُومٍ {54}

So, O Prophet, ignore them; you are not at fault.

The best way to remain steadfast in the way of Allah is to invite others towards Allah too. And don’t be afraid that no one is going to listen to you. Just keep giving the message and surely those who believe will follow:

وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَى تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {55}

But keep on admonishing them, for admonition is beneficial to the true believers.

After all, what are we here for……. if not for the worship of Allah?

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ {56}

We have not created jinns and mankind except to worship Me.

Mostly you will hear people say that they don’t have time for prayers. They are too busy in their jobs and other worldly affairs. Although Allah doesn’t forbid us to fulfil our needs, yet we cannot do so at the cost of ignoring the rights of Allah…… because He is our Creator and Owner and Provider of all needs:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ {58}

Surely it is Allah Who is the giver of all sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Invincible.

The message is bright and clear, authentic and without any doubt or confusion, that this world is a temporary abode where we all are being tested in our faith and actions. Our actual life is to begin on the day of Judgement and each of us will be given exactly what we worked for in this life. If we don’t even think of the Hereafter, nor give it any priority, nor strive to achieve its rewards, nor fear its punishment…….then how can we expect Allah to forgive us on that day?

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن يَوْمِهِمُ الَّذِي يُوعَدُونَ {60}

Woe then to the unbelievers, on that Day with which they are being threatened!

May Allah make us strong in our faith and give us the insight to distinguish between the truth and falsehood. May all our actions be according to Allah’s commands so that He may forgive us on the day when nothing will save us except Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, Ameen.

Surah At-Tur

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

This Surah takes its name from its opening Ayat in which Allah has taken oath by the Mount Tur. It is the same mountain beside which Allah had spoken to Prophet Musa (a.s). If you think about it, what an honour it is for a person if he gets to talk directly with Allah. Often I used to feel such a longing that why doesn’t Allah speak to us also? But then I understood that Allah is speaking to us all the time through this eternal Quran, yet we deprive ourselves of this miracle by never giving any time towards understanding its language. The purpose of Allah’s communication with us is to give us a feeling of His presence, and to give us a firm conviction in the true religion of Islam and to guide us to the path of righteousness- the path of success. When we listen to Allah’s words we are convinced that this world has not been created without a purpose. We understand that it is a test and there is, no doubt, a reward for the righteous ones and a painful torment for those who deny this message by their words or deeds.

To ensure that we don’t take this warning lightly, Allah has taken oath of some other things too. But before we go into their detail we must consider the fact that even a simple statement from the Creator and Master of the Worlds, would have been enough for us to believe. Therefore if He has taken oath then it means we have to be very, very attentive of what He is warning us about. Another thing is that although we should understand about the things which Allah has chosen for taking oath but the ultimate attention should be on the object, the purpose……..which is to warn us of the terrible punishment:

إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ لَوَاقِعٌ {7}

مَا لَهُ مِن دَافِعٍ {8}

the torment of your Rabb will surely come to pass! There shall be none to avert it.

And what will happen on that terrifying day?

يَوْمَ تَمُورُ السَّمَاء مَوْرًا {9}

وَتَسِيرُ الْجِبَالُ سَيْرًا {10}

On that Day, heaven will shake violently and the mountain will travel around.

If we are deluding ourselves by saying things like: “Well, I am not quite convinced” or “It doesn’t quite make sense to me” then Listen to what Allah is saying to all those who reject the true warnings:

فَوَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْمُكَذِّبِينَ {11}

On that Day, woe be to the deniers of truth

Have you ever thought why do some people believe and some do not? After all they have been created in the same mould so what’s the big difference. Why do people who are otherwise so intelligent and capable, don’t believe in Allah’s words? The Quran says:

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي خَوْضٍ يَلْعَبُونَ {12}

who are engaged in their useless sports.

In this world people continue to enjoy their lives and are honoured by the society even if they are all the time disobeying Allah and earning His anger. But in the Hereafter they will be treated according to their deeds, according to their faith:

يَوْمَ يُدَعُّونَ إِلَى نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ دَعًّا {13}

On that Day they shall be shoved into the fire of hell with violence

And all their denial and their logics will be of no use:

هَذِهِ النَّارُ الَّتِي كُنتُم بِهَا تُكَذِّبُونَ {14}

and it will be said to them: “This is the fire which you denied.

They amuse themselves by criticizing those who follow the true religion by saying that these poor people have been brainwashed. Just like the Prophets were blamed to be magicians. But on that day when they will be thrown into the fire, it will be asked:

أَفَسِحْرٌ هَذَا أَمْ أَنتُمْ لَا تُبْصِرُونَ {15}

Is this a magic, or do you not see?

Allah does not do any injustice. In this world the path of righteousness might not be very pleasant at times. There might be difficulties and problems which are just a test from Allah and then people around you start blaming the religion that if it was so good then why are you being treated like this? Why doesn’t Allah give you success which he promised? But we should remember that this world is not the place where we can see all the outcome of our deeds. The results will be shown in the hereafter when those who led a righteous life will be given the beautiful paradise:

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَعِيمٍ {17}

فَاكِهِينَ بِمَا آتَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ وَوَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ {18}

As for the righteous, they will be in Gardens and bliss, rejoicing in what their Rabb has given them and their Rabb shall shield them from the torment of hell.

While people all around them were only concerned with the pleasures of the world, these Allah conscious people remembered that life is not made just for enjoyment but a test of obedience. Thus their reward will be the eternal enjoyment of Paradise…….a pleasure that will never fade:

كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {19}

It will be said to them: “Eat and drink to your heart’s content, this is the reward for your good deeds.”

It’s a fact that our pleasure is not complete without our families. So Allah will join all the family members who followed the righteous path even if they are on different levels according to their deeds. Those on the lower ranks will be raised high to be united with their parents or children or spouses……and even friends for the sake of Allah. As in a Hadith the Prophet (s.a.w) assured us: A man will be with the person whom he loves:

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَاتَّبَعَتْهُمْ ذُرِّيَّتُهُم بِإِيمَانٍ أَلْحَقْنَا بِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَمَا أَلَتْنَاهُم مِّنْ عَمَلِهِم مِّن شَيْءٍ كُلُّ امْرِئٍ بِمَا كَسَبَ رَهِينٌ {21}

We shall unite the true believers with those of their descendants who follow them in their faith, and shall not deny them the reward of their good deeds – everyone is responsible for his deeds

It is a clear reminder that we should not only be concerned with our own admission into the Paradise but should also take practical measures to take along our families and friends. Surely the following verses point towards the joy of playful activities which can only be enjoyed with our loved ones:

يَتَنَازَعُونَ فِيهَا كَأْسًا لَّا لَغْوٌ فِيهَا وَلَا تَأْثِيمٌ {23}

They will exchange among themselves a cup of wine which shall cause no idle talk, nor sinful urge;

Another pleasurable activity is to sit with family and friends and remember the past incidents. In Paradise too they will engage in the same enjoyment:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءلُونَ {25}

They will converse with one another about their worldly life

They will remember the good deeds which they did to gain Allah’s pleasure. And the best among them was that they feared Allah even when they were with their closest people….their families:

قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ {26}

And say: “When we were living among our kinfolk, we were fearful (of displeasing Allah)

Some might say that what is so special about it? But if you think carefully you will understand that it is very easy to remain on Taqwa (fearing Allah and abstaining from wrong things) when you are with like-minded people or those whom you honour or even those who look up to you as an example to follow. But when you are alone with only your family members who know you inside and out, and for whom you cannot put on any false cloak of piety, then fearing Allah and not doing or saying anything which might displease Allah…..really shows the truth of your faith. The main characteristic of these Allah conscious people is that they never give themselves any credit for their goodness. They rightly believe it all to be a favour of Allah. So in Paradise too they will be expressing the same sentiments:

فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ {27}

So Allah conferred favour upon us and protected us from the punishment of the Scorching Fire.

The most important thing is that we should keep praying only to Allah and have faith that He will enable us to follow the right path if we remain true to our commitment. This is what the people of paradise will remember:

إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ {28}

Indeed we used to pray only to Him. Surely He is the Beneficent, the Merciful.”

Although the above Ayat is so clear, and this faith in one Allah is such a straight forward thing but those who stubbornly deny the truth can come up with a thousand excuses, simply because they don’t want to lose their false pride in their own “principles” and philosophies of life.

The disbelievers of Makkah were also using all tactics prove that this Quran is nothing but poetry and that the Prophet (s.a.w) was just making it up or was under some kind of spell. Therefore in the following verses Allah has asked them a series of questions, in a powerful style of interrogation, to make them ponder over the folly of their allegations against the same person whom they had known all their life to be the most truthful and honest one:

 أَمْ تَأْمُرُهُمْ أَحْلَامُهُم بِهَذَا أَمْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ طَاغُونَ {32}

Do their faculties of reasoning prompt them to say this? Or is it merely that they are wicked people?

Is it really possible that the Quran could be fabricated? Don’t they have any sense?

أَمْ يَقُولُونَ تَقَوَّلَهُ بَل لَّا يُؤْمِنُونَ {33}

Do they say: “This man has invented this Qur’an himself?” Nay! They do not want to believe

If it is such a simple thing then why don’t they bring a scripture like this?

فَلْيَأْتُوا بِحَدِيثٍ مِّثْلِهِ إِن كَانُوا صَادِقِينَ {34}

Let them produce a scripture like this, if what they say is true!

If they deny Allah then how did they create themselves?

أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ {35}

Were they created without a Creator? Or were they their own creators?

If they think that they give birth to their children then what about the universe?

أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بَل لَّا يُوقِنُونَ {36}

Did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay! They will never be convinced.

They think they control the world. So are they really the distributers of wealth?

أَمْ عِندَهُمْ خَزَائِنُ رَبِّكَ أَمْ هُمُ الْمُصَيْطِرُونَ {37}

Do they possess the treasures of your Rabb? Or is it they who control them?

Or do they have access to the heaven from where they get proof of their theories?

أَمْ لَهُمْ سُلَّمٌ يَسْتَمِعُونَ فِيهِ فَلْيَأْتِ مُسْتَمِعُهُم بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ {38}

Do they have a stairway to heaven by means of which they overhear Him? If so, let any of them who overheard Him, bring clear proof.

Some people avoid these reminders as if they will be asked for any payment for listening to the truth. But the true caller to faith, like the Prophet (s.a.w), will never ask for any reward or payment:

أَمْ تَسْأَلُهُمْ أَجْرًا فَهُم مِّن مَّغْرَمٍ مُّثْقَلُونَ {40}

Do you ask them payment for your services, that they should fear to be overburdened by a debt?

The truth is that all the deniers of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w) have something else in their hearts which they depend on as the provider of their needs. It could be any idol or grave or wealth or power, anything which they believe will sustain them and save them:

 أَمْ لَهُمْ إِلَهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ {43}

 Do they have a god other than Allah? Exalted is Allah, far above those deities they associate with Him.

Their mistaken belief and stubbornness to accept the truth makes them see everything from a distorted vision. Therefore Allah says that even if they see a sign of punishment coming over them they will dismiss it something resulting from physical laws of the universe….not giving a thought to the One who made these laws as well as the universe:

وَإِن يَرَوْا كِسْفًا مِّنَ السَّمَاء سَاقِطًا يَقُولُوا سَحَابٌ مَّرْكُومٌ {44}

They are such people that, even if they will see a part of heaven falling down, they would say: “It is but a mass of clouds.”

After all the efforts to remove the misunderstanding from the minds of these people and sincerely calling them to the way of Allah, the last thing to do is to ignore them:

فَذَرْهُمْ حَتَّى يُلَاقُوا يَوْمَهُمُ الَّذِي فِيهِ يُصْعَقُونَ {45}

So leave them alone until they encounter that Day of theirs wherein they shall be made to swoon with terror.

It is very important to understand the above ayat in its context because there are people who want to do this as soon as someone disagrees with their point of view. No, it is not what is meant here. See for yourself how for thirteen years the Prophet (s.a.w) and His followers remained in Makkah facing all hardships but still continued to invite people to Islam. It was only after all had been said and done that they were ordered by Allah to migrate to Madinah. Similarly we should also try our utmost with all sincerity and goodness of behaviour to call people to the right way. But after a certain time when we are convinced that we have done all that we could have done, then it is best to ignore them, because at times they not only deny the message but also try to put doubts in our minds about the Allah and the Prophet (s.a.w) as well as the Quran and Hadith. Therefore we should avoid such people especially if they are dominating and make us lose our faith and energy.

The thing to do in all such trying situations is Sabar (patience) as Allah is sending His love and comfort in the following Ayat:

 وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ {48}

وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْهُ وَإِدْبَارَ النُّجُومِ {49}

 

Therefore, wait for the Judgment of your Rabb with patience, We are surely watching over you. Glorify your Rabb with His praises when you wake up and glorify Him in a part of the night, and also as the stars fade away.

Allah is so kind to us. He wants us to avoid the most dangerous thing which might creep into our heart and be a cause of destruction of all our goodness. That dangerous poison is self admiration or thinking oneself to be perfect. Naturally when we mingle too much with people who are unfortunately not on the right track, we feel sorry for them but sometimes we also feel superior to them because Allah has shown us the right way. That is why Allah is reminding us that to avoid this kind of feeling we only have one tool…… which is to keep glorifying Allah, at all times. Thus we will always be alert and conscious that it is Allah alone, who is most Supreme and free from flaws. Whereas we human beings can never declare ourselves free from punishment until Allah has mercy on us on the day of judgement. At the end of the day, only those who live with this attitude will, Insha’Allah, be able to say with all satisfaction of having escaped the horrors of fire and sitting contentedly in the pleasures of Paradise:

 فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ {27}

But Allah has been gracious to us; He has delivered us from the fiery scourge.

 

Surah An-Najm

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

An-Najm means star. In the first ayat of this Surah, Allah has taken oath of the stars to prove to the non-believers that Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon Him) was exactly on the right path. The people of Makkah were witness of the fact that all through his life, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) had never been involved in any indecent activity. His truthfulness and honesty was a recognized fact; so why now, when he had brought to them the true religion of Allah, were they doubting him and spreading false propaganda against him?

وَالنَّجْمِ إِذَا هَوَى {1}

مَا ضَلَّ صَاحِبُكُمْ وَمَا غَوَى {2}

By the star when it sets, your companion (Muhammad) is neither astray, nor misguided

The oath of the stars and their setting is also a proof, that just as stars have a fixed orbit and they never deviate from their path, similarly the Prophet (s.a.w) was firmly following the true revelation from Allah. Therefore, just as people take guidance from the stars to find the direction in the darkness of the land or sea, similarly we should follow the Prophet (s.a.w) with complete confidence that He was, and is, the absolutely best person in the entire history of mankind who practically demonstrated the pure and complete religion of Allah.

The disbelievers of Makkah were labelling the Quran as a mere fabrication but Allah is warning all those who think on these lines. Unlike common human beings, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was never influenced by his own desires to such an extent that He could have done or said anything which was against the truth. Rather he spoke only what was being revealed to Him:

وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى {3}

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى {4}

Nor does he speak out of his own desire. This Qur’an is but an inspired revelation.

The best knowledge is delivered by the best of people so Allah chose His best angel Gabriel to teach this most noble Book of Quran to the best of mankind, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)

عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ الْقُوَى {5}

ذُو مِرَّةٍ فَاسْتَوَى {6}

He is being taught by one who is mighty powerful (angel Gabriel); the one free from defects who became stable in the view.

Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, knows us so well. He knew that people would deny the truth and put doubts in others minds too. Therefore it was His supreme wisdom and Judgement that He not only sent the revelation through the most powerful angel, Gabriel, but also made him appear in his actual form to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). The following verses are testimony to the fact that our beloved Prophet had the magnificent experience of watching the mighty angel with his own eyes:

وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَى {7}

ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّى {8}

فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى {9}

He stood poised at the uppermost horizon, then he drew near, coming closer within the length of two bows or even closer,

Look at how the above verses reflect Allah’s love and mercy that He gradually brought the angel close to the Prophet (s.a.w), because Gabriel (a.s) was so awesome in size and grandeur that it would have been difficult for Prophet (s.a.w) to see him at close range, all at once. But now when he saw him, there was no doubt in the Prophet’s heart of what was apparent before his eyes:

مَا كَذَبَ الْفُؤَادُ مَا رَأَى {11}

His (Muhammad’s) own heart did not deny that which he saw.

Next, Allah tells us that it was not a one-time incident on which the deniers of truth could cast a doubt that maybe the Prophet (s.a.w) was mistaken. Therefore, he saw Gabriel one more time when he was taken to the journey of the heavens, which is commonly known as the incident of Mairaaj:

وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَى {13}

عِندَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى {14}

And he (Muhammad) saw him once again, near Sidra-tul-Muntaha (the Lote-tree at the farthest end of the seven heavens, beyond which none can pass).

Normally when people see any extraordinary scene, they cannot control their nerves and lose their focus simply because they don’t have the wisdom of what to see, and what to ignore. But the Prophet (s.a.w) was a man of extraordinary wisdom and composure:

مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَى {17}

His eyes did not turn aside nor did they exceed the limit

Thus Allah made him see many signs of His power, including the Paradise and hell, so that when He spread Allah’s message to people and warned them about the realities of life and death, he could speak from first-hand knowledge and experience:

لَقَدْ رَأَى مِنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَى {18}

And he did indeed see some of his Rabb’s greatest signs.

 Although it can be read as a beautiful incident, and while reading it, we can feel the magnificence of Allah, yet I always feel that behind every beautiful ayat, or sign of Allah is an important lesson, which must be contemplated, because Quran is not just for intellectual enjoyment, or spiritual fulfilment, rather its real purpose is to guide us…….whether it is through direct commands or through these mesmerising descriptions, which captivate our imagination.

There are two very important things that I learned from this incident: firstly that our life is incomplete without the revealed knowledge, which Allah sent to our Prophet (s.a.w). And secondly I have come to realize that if Allah has taken such care to provide us with definite proofs of the heaven and hell, and of the angel Gabriel then it means that when we follow anything in the name of religion then we must base it on authentic facts.

On the contrary, we see that whatever idols, or gods that people worship besides Allah, is not based on any proof, but it is their own self created ideas which have been passed down through generations. Like the Arabs, who believed that angels were the daughters of Allah and had named them accordingly………….Allah puts an end to such speculations:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ لَيُسَمُّونَ الْمَلَائِكَةَ تَسْمِيَةَ الْأُنثَى {27}

وَمَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا {28}

Those who do not believe in the hereafter give the angels the female names of goddesses. But they have no knowledge of it. They follow mere conjecture; and surely conjecture does not avail against the truth at all.

But why do people lay the foundations of their lives according to false notions and not on authentic knowledge? It is because they want to fulfil their worldly interests and they don’t want to take any responsibility of their actions in the Hereafter. So what to do when people don’t want to face the truth? Allah has the most perfect answer for everything:

فَأَعْرِضْ عَن مَّن تَوَلَّى عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَلَمْ يُرِدْ إِلَّا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا {29}

Therefore, ignore those who ignore Our warnings and seek only the life of this world.

Those who are blindly involved in the affairs of this world and have no concern about the Hereafter believe that worldly knowledge is all that they need to be successful:

ذَلِكَ مَبْلَغُهُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اهْتَدَى {30}

This is the sum of their knowledge. Surely your Rabb knows who have strayed from His path, and who are rightly guided.

But we should be careful not to get so involved in this world that we think it to be our destination. Always remember that Allah created this universe for a purpose:

وَلِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاؤُوا بِمَا عَمِلُوا وَيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا بِالْحُسْنَى {31}

To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth, so that He may requite the evildoers according to their deeds, and richly reward those who do good deeds.

Success is for those who belong to this second category of people: “Allazina Ahsanu” i.e. those who do good deeds. But then we are human beings and we are likely to fall into errors, so how can we become totally good? The answer is here:

الَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ إِلَّا اللَّمَمَ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ وَاسِعُ الْمَغْفِرَةِ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِكُمْ إِذْ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ وَإِذْ أَنتُمْ أَجِنَّةٌ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَى {32}

Those who avoid the major sins and shameful deeds and are guilty of only small offense, surely for them your Rabb will have abundant forgiveness. He knew you well when He created you from earth and when you were just embryos in your mother’s wombs, therefore, do not claim piety for yourselves. He knows best who is really God-fearing pious.

Now this is a Superb Ayat which needs to be really understood well, because it gives us a clear guideline on what to do and what not to do. The most important thing to learn from it is that we MUST stay away from all major sins as well as indecency of all kinds, except what is called “lamam” which means small and momentary. Like, for example, you happen to look at something which you were not supposed to see but immediately you should turn your gaze and ask forgiveness from Allah. In other words it could be stated as a slight lapse from your efforts of goodness. We must try our utmost to reduce these lapses too but we should also remember that we cannot become perfect angels and so we should always be positively hopeful of Allah’s forgiveness and never give up our struggle of becoming the best representatives of Islam. Next Allah has reminded us that even if we become successful in this struggle, we should never think of ourselves as pure because after all we are just humans and only Allah knows us exactly as we are.

The polytheists of Makkah and the Jews in Madinah were most stubbornly resisting the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and refused to accept Him as a Prophet of Allah. On the other hand they were fond of calling themselves as the followers of Ibrahim (a.s) and Musa (a.s) respectively. But if they really knew what their prophets had taught them then it should not be difficult for them to recognize that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was also calling them to the same religion:

أَمْ لَمْ يُنَبَّأْ بِمَا فِي صُحُفِ مُوسَى {36}

وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ الَّذِي وَفَّى {37}

Or has he not been notified about what was in the scrolls of Musa (Moses) and of Ibrahim (Abraham) who always kept his word

Did they not warn them about the accountability of the Hereafter?

أَلَّا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى {38}

“That no soul shall bear the burden of another

And did they not know that they only get from life what they strive for? So if all their investments are for this world and they don’t put in any effort for the hereafter then how can they expect to be rewarded for things which they didn’t do?

وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَى {39}

That there shall be nothing for a man except what he strives for

Sometimes it happens that we want to do good deeds but our lives revolve around other things which gratify our desires. So that when we feel guilty we try to satisfy our conscience by saying things like “I do try to pray regularly but it is impossible to maintain the routine” or “I do want to study the Quran but I hardly have any time for myself”……..these statements can be just excuses, and we should be well aware that we can fool others by pretending to be Allah conscious, but we cannot deceive Allah. It is also true that sometimes we consistently make genuine efforts, but we fail to achieve our targets. In both cases we should remember that our efforts are not hidden from Allah. He really knows how much effort we have made, and He also knows the deepest reality of our intentions. So we should neither be self satisfied with outward success, nor depressed due to lack of results:

وَأَنَّ سَعْيَهُ سَوْفَ يُرَى {40}

That his striving shall be scrutinized,                                               

ثُمَّ يُجْزَاهُ الْجَزَاء الْأَوْفَى {41}                                                                                                 

            Then he shall be rewarded for it with the fullest reward

وَأَنَّ إِلَى رَبِّكَ الْمُنتَهَى {42}

                That to your Rabb is the final goal,

He is the one who gave us life and He is the one who will take it back so what should be our objective if not to spend this life for Him? Allah has created so much for us… to observe and to think upon, and He has destroyed those who refused to admit the truth……then how CAN we deny?

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكَ تَتَمَارَى {55}

Then which of your Rabb’s blessings would you doubt?

There is not much time left…….we have to turn to Allah while we still can, otherwise the hour of judgement is very close upon us:

أَزِفَتْ الْآزِفَةُ {57}

The ever approaching (the Day of Judgment) is drawing near

No one can save us from its torment except Allah:

لَيْسَ لَهَا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَاشِفَةٌ {58}

None but Allah can remove it.

Those who read these verses with open eyes and listen to Allah’s words with an open heart, can feel the urgency of their need for the right path- the right way of life….before it is too late……but there are some who are so steeped in their ignorance that they fail to realize the seriousness of this test of life. Allah asks them:

أَفَمِنْ هَذَا الْحَدِيثِ تَعْجَبُونَ {59}

Do you then wonder at this revelation?                                                         

وَتَضْحَكُونَ وَلَا تَبْكُونَ {60}

And laugh instead of weeping?                                               

وَأَنتُمْ سَامِدُونَ {61}

Rather you are wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements?                          

So we should fear Allah and bow down to Him, not just in one Sajdah (prostration) but a complete submission of our whole life for His sake:

فَاسْجُدُوا لِلَّهِ وَاعْبُدُوا {62}

Prostrate yourselves before Allah and worship Him while you can!        

It has been recorded in a Hadith that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) recited this Surah in an open gathering in which many disbelievers of the Quraish were also present. When He reached at the end and recited this last verse, He bowed down in prostration; upon which the whole gathering, including the Quraish, were so moved by the words that without realizing they also did Sajdah.

So we should also check the state of our own hearts. Are we affected by these warnings? What is the level of our love and fear of Allah?

May Allah make our hearts receptive to His words, Ameen.

 

Surah Al-Qamar

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Imagine yourself on an aeroplane. When you take off from the land you feel the awesome pull of the aircraft against the gravity as you leave behind the solid, secure earth and go higher and higher in the air. For some people, it is a thrilling joy to see everything getting smaller and smaller and for some of us, it can be a frightening experience…….but after a while you get used to the drone of the engines and as the view from the window is reduced to a blur, you start focusing on the things and people around you. The newspapers, magazines and eventually the food……distract your attention, and the realization that you are hanging in the air, is diminished….until you almost forget it. But as soon as the plane starts descending and the announcement is made that you are about to reach your destination, everybody is again alert, and start fastening the seat belts……the anticipation and anxiety creeps into your system…..until you land safely.

Similarly our life is also a journey on this earth, which is like a huge air bus travelling through space with unimaginable speed. We have a whole world full of people and things and activities to make our journey comfortable and meaningful but these distractions have succeeded in making us totally oblivious of our actual state of helplessness. And most of us have even forgotten where we are going, and what are we supposed to do before we disembark?

The first Ayat of Surah Al-Qamar is actually an announcement of the end of our flight……we are about to touch reality……

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ {1}

The Hour of Doom is drawing near, the moon has split asunder; (which is a clear proof that the same thing can happen to the earth.)

We have to understand the purpose of this journey, which is to worship only Allah and live our life according to His guidance, because we are going to meet Him at the end of this journey and face the consequences of all our actions. It is an illusion that this life seems so long and we think we will come back to the right path after we have satisfied our desires. But we just have been given a specific time and we have no idea how little that might be…….

When Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) delivered the message of Allah to the people of Makkah, most of them strongly rejected the concept of resurrection. They refused to accept Him as being the Messenger of Allah and demanded that if this world is really going to come to an end then there should be some physical sign, some miracle that should be shown to them as a proof. So five years before the Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet (s.a.w) to Madinah, Allah made them witness a miracle; when one night they saw the moon split into two pieces and the two halves were so separated that each one appeared on either side of the mount Hira. After a moment the moon was again joined together. You would think that after seeing such a tremendous sign of Allah’s power, they would have accepted the truth; but it did not affect their attitude at all…….stubbornly they said that it was just some kind of magic and nothing else:

وَإِن يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُّسْتَمِرٌّ {2}

Yet when they see a sign, the unbelievers turn their backs and say: “This is an ingenious magic.”

Why do people persist in remaining ignorant of the truth? Why don’t they accept even such clear proofs? It is because their lives revolve around their own desires and their false self image makes it almost impossible for them to admit that they were chasing the wrong ideals. Therefore they prefer to turn a blind eye to all those things which make them uncomfortably aware of the truth:

وَكَذَّبُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَكُلُّ أَمْرٍ مُّسْتَقِرٌّ {3}

And they denied and kept on following their own fancies. Ultimately every matter shall be laid to rest.

The splitting of the moon was not the only sign of Allah’s power; rather, the people of Makkah were also well informed about the nations which had been destroyed before them, because of rejecting Allah’s message which the Prophets had brought to them…..

وَلَقَدْ جَاءهُم مِّنَ الْأَنبَاء مَا فِيهِ مُزْدَجَرٌ {4}

There has already come to them the information of former nations containing enough deterrents

They could have learned a lot of wisdom from the lessons of history but it did not benefit them at all. It is a fact that when someone constantly rejects the truth then his heart becomes sealed:

حِكْمَةٌ بَالِغَةٌ فَمَا تُغْنِ النُّذُرُ {5}

And profound wisdom to serve as a warning, but warnings are of no use to these people.

Allah has given us the choice to think and choose our way of life in this world but those who misuse this choice, and reject Allah’s guidance should not forget that there will come a day when they will not be able to say “no” to the caller, who will call them towards the final Judgement:

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ يَوْمَ يَدْعُ الدَّاعِ إِلَى شَيْءٍ نُّكُرٍ {6}

Therefore, O Prophet, let them be. On the Day when the caller will call them to a terrible event….

How helpless will be the state of people……….imagine all the seemingly powerful people, their arrogance, their affluent life styles, their pomp and splendour…..and then read the following words:

خُشَّعًا أَبْصَارُهُمْ يَخْرُجُونَ مِنَ الْأَجْدَاثِ كَأَنَّهُمْ جَرَادٌ مُّنتَشِرٌ {7}

They shall come out from their graves, like swarming locusts, with downcast eyes

The arrogant speeches and arguments against Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w) will all be forgotten and they will be rushing blindly towards their fate:

مُّهْطِعِينَ إِلَى الدَّاعِ يَقُولُ الْكَافِرُونَ هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَسِرٌ {8}

Rushing towards the caller and the same unbelievers will cry: “This is indeed an awful Day!”

But man is trapped in such an illusion that if he has any power or status he thinks he can insult anyone who dares to speak against his interests. Look at the way the people of Prophet Nuh (a.s) treated him when he brought to them Allah’s clear guidance:

كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ فَكَذَّبُوا عَبْدَنَا وَقَالُوا مَجْنُونٌ وَازْدُجِرَ {9}

Long before them, the people of Nuh (Noah) disbelieved. They rejected Our servant, called him a madman and drove him out.

They were flying so high in their arrogance that they forgot their own helplessness. Allah sent upon them a mighty flood which drowned everything except the boat carrying Prophet Nuh (a.s) and the few people who had believed in Allah:

وَحَمَلْنَاهُ عَلَى ذَاتِ أَلْوَاحٍ وَدُسُرٍ {13}

تَجْرِي بِأَعْيُنِنَا جَزَاء لِّمَن كَانَ كُفِرَ {14}

We carried him in an Ark built with planks and nails, which drifted on under Our care: a reward for him (Noah) who was denied by the unbelievers.

This shows Allah’s extreme mercy and compassion for His messenger and for the believers of truth……but at the same time His punishment for those who stubbornly reject His message, is also evident:

فَكَيْفَ كَانَ عَذَابِي وَنُذُرِ {16}

How terrible was My scourge and how clear My warning!

The only thing that can save us from such a fate is to live in a state of Allah consciousness. Whatever we do, wherever we go, there should always be an awareness that none of our acts should go against Allah’s desire. This is nothing new for us. Being Muslims we know all this, yet we see that there is a widespread confusion about what exactly is the right way of life. There have become so many sects within Islam that even those who want to follow it, are unsure of where to find it, in its real spirit? The reason for all this confusion is that we have deprived ourselves from the true source of Guidance……which is Quran…..the word of Allah; most carefully preserved in its original form……for people of all times:

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ {17}

We have indeed made the Qur’an very easy to understand and remember: but is there any who would remember (and take admonition)?

This is just a misunderstanding that Quran is only for scholars. Allah is saying in such clear words that He has himself made it easy for us to understand and now it’s up to us……….how we contemplate and receive its guidance. Apparently it might seem an awesome task to learn its language and understand its meanings, but those who have made an effort are witness to the pure simplicity of its teachings. This is the only book in the world which has been read by all sorts of people. Even illiterate people can benefit from its clear guidance because Allah has given such simple examples in it from everyday life. Simultaneously we see that along with simplicity, there is an amazing depth in its words which stimulates the intellect of highly learned people too. Therefore everyone should study it with a desire to learn what Allah wants us to do…….and Allah will open the doors of His guidance and inspiration.

Next Allah gives us some other examples from history where people of extraordinary talents and prosperity, refused to listen to the message of Allah’s prophets and consequently faced a terrible end:

كَذَّبَتْ عَادٌ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ عَذَابِي وَنُذُرِ {18}

Likewise the people of ‘Ad did not believe then how terrible was My scourge and how clear My Warning!

These people of ‘Ad were extremely powerful, not only in skills but also in physical attributes; but when they continually rejected the message of Allah, He sent to them a severely cold wind which gave them a humiliating punishment:

إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحًا صَرْصَرًا فِي يَوْمِ نَحْسٍ مُّسْتَمِرٍّ {19}

تَنزِعُ النَّاسَ كَأَنَّهُمْ أَعْجَازُ نَخْلٍ مُّنقَعِرٍ {20}

We let loose on them a tornado, on the day of their bitter misfortune, which snatched them off like trunks of uprooted palm-trees.

Just imagine what a terrifying scene it would be when these powerful people were reduced to such humiliation……being tossed around like dead trees. But then the people of Thamud also made the same error. They were also very proud of their worldly success, and thought that the Prophet Salih (a.s) was just spreading some self created stories or lies. So they said:

أَأُلْقِيَ الذِّكْرُ عَلَيْهِ مِن بَيْنِنَا بَلْ هُوَ كَذَّابٌ أَشِرٌ {25}

Was he the only person among us to receive this warning? Nay! He is indeed an insolent liar.”

Then they demanded for some miracle and Allah sent to them a she-camel, about which they had been warned not to give her any harm…….but they killed it thinking that they could get away with whatever they desired. Consequently Allah gave them a painful end:

إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً فَكَانُوا كَهَشِيمِ الْمُحْتَظِرِ {31}

We let loose on them one mighty blast and they became like the trampled twigs used by a fence builder.

Again Allah says that He has made Quran so easy to understand so is there anyone who will try to understand?

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ {32}

We have indeed made the Qur’an very easy to understand the admonition, so is there any who would take admonition?

Allah’s guidance has always been clear and simple but people themselves choose to remain misguided, thinking in their arrogance that it is a sign of independent thinking that they should live by their own laws and not to follow the teachings of Prophets whom they perceive to be just ordinary people. Their tall egos don’t permit them to admit that the Messengers of Allah had more knowledge than anyone else, because the revelations which they received directly from Allah contained the complete truth which is required for our salvation…….But arrogance keeps most of us misguided.

Allah is telling us here that rejection of truth is not a new phenomenon:

كَذَّبَتْ قَوْمُ لُوطٍ بِالنُّذُرِ {33}

(Another example is) the people of Lut (Lot) who disbelieved Our warning.

Prophet Lut (a.s) had warned them of Allah’s wrath but they did not listen:

وَلَقَدْ أَنذَرَهُم بَطْشَتَنَا فَتَمَارَوْا بِالنُّذُرِ {36}

Lut did warn them of Our scourge but they doubted his warnings.

They were the first people to indulge in homosexuality, and it had blinded their senses to such an extent that when the angels came to the Prophet’s house in the guise of young men, these people rushed to have them………nothing mattered to them except the fulfilment of their lust:

وَلَقَدْ رَاوَدُوهُ عَن ضَيْفِهِ فَطَمَسْنَا أَعْيُنَهُمْ فَذُوقُوا عَذَابِي وَنُذُرِ {37}

They even sought to snatch away his guests from him but We blinded their eyes, and said: “Now taste My punishment and the result of disbelieving My warning.”

So they were crushed beneath a painful torment:

وَلَقَدْ صَبَّحَهُم بُكْرَةً عَذَابٌ مُّسْتَقِرٌّ {38}

فَذُوقُوا عَذَابِي وَنُذُرِ {39}

At daybreak they were overtaken by a lasting punishment…. as if to say: “Now taste My punishment and the result of disbelieving My warning.”

What can be easier to understand than these stories full of admonition and wisdom?

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ {40}

We have indeed made the Qur’an very easy to understand the admonition, so is there any who would take admonition?

The same thing happened to Pharaoh, when he thought himself to be indestructible:

وَلَقَدْ جَاء آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ النُّذُرُ {41}

My warnings also came to the people of Fir’on (Pharaoh).

He thought he could easily wipe out Musa (a.s) and his followers, but Allah saved them and caused the mighty pharaoh and all his troops to drown helplessly in the sea………not even a soul was saved:

كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا كُلِّهَا فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ أَخْذَ عَزِيزٍ مُّقْتَدِرٍ {42}

They disbelieved all Our signs. Consequently, We seized them with a seizure of the Mighty, Powerful.

Now Allah asks those who disbelieve in Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), that are they better than the disbelievers of earlier times? Or is there any other reason for their arrogance?

أَكُفَّارُكُمْ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أُوْلَئِكُمْ أَمْ لَكُم بَرَاءةٌ فِي الزُّبُرِ {43}

(O Quraish) are your unbelievers better than they were, or have you been granted immunity in the Sacred Books?

How can they delude themselves when Allah has sent such clear warnings?

سَيُهْزَمُ الْجَمْعُ وَيُوَلُّونَ الدُّبُرَ {45}

بَلِ السَّاعَةُ مَوْعِدُهُمْ وَالسَّاعَةُ أَدْهَى وَأَمَرُّ {46}

Soon will their multitude be routed and put to flight. Nay! The Hour of Judgment is the time promised to deal with them. That hour will be the most grievous and bitter.

Those who persist in their disbelief and do not bother to read the Quran or follow the teachings of Prophet (s.a.w) should know that they are committing a terrible crime, even if they are in any illusion of being “good people”:

إِنَّ الْمُجْرِمِينَ فِي ضَلَالٍ وَسُعُرٍ {47}

Yet, surely the criminals persist in error and madness

In this world they made fun of the believers that they were being overly concerned with the torment of Hell…….their constant claim is that Allah is so merciful and He cannot burn anyone…..but Allah is warning them that this fire will definitely touch those who made fun of it, and made no effort to save their souls from it:

يَوْمَ يُسْحَبُونَ فِي النَّارِ عَلَى وُجُوهِهِمْ ذُوقُوا مَسَّ سَقَرَ {48}

On that Day when they will be dragged into the fire with their faces downwards, We shall say: “Feel the touch of hell!”

Everything in this universe has been created with a specific purpose and a perfect measure, whether it’s the universe with all the countless stars and galaxies, or the plants and animals with their amazing structures and movements……

إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَاهُ بِقَدَرٍ {49}

Surely We have created everything in perfect ordainment (destiny and purpose).

It doesn’t take Allah any time to implement His decisions. It was no big deal for Him to create all the worlds and likewise its destruction will also happen within the blink of an eye:

وَمَا أَمْرُنَا إِلَّا وَاحِدَةٌ كَلَمْحٍ بِالْبَصَرِ {50}

We command but once and Our will is done in the twinkling of an eye.

So instead of making guesses about when that time will occur, we should be more focused on our deeds…….because these actions of ours during this journey of life will be like a ticket to our next destination. And remember that we will not be able to make any false claims over there; as each and every thought, word and deed is being recorded:

وَكُلُّ شَيْءٍ فَعَلُوهُ فِي الزُّبُرِ {52}

وَكُلُّ صَغِيرٍ وَكَبِيرٍ مُسْتَطَرٌ {53}

All that they do is being added to their record books: every action, small and big is being noted down.

And so at the end of this Surah, Allah is showing us the glimpse of the splendid gardens of delight………the beautiful paradise, which He has prepared so lovingly for the ones who remained faithful to Him in the worldly life. These people willingly sacrificed their egos and desires for the sake of Allah……so He will give them this wonderful reward where all their desires will be fulfilled eternally:

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَهَرٍ {54}

Surely the righteous will be in the midst of gardens and rivers,

In addition to all the comforts and pleasures of life, one thing which we all desire is honour. But true honour is only for those who are true in their commitment with Allah and who honour His religion, and His Quran and His Prophet (s.a.w)…….Not only in this world but also in the hereafter, Allah will honour these truthful people:

فِي مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِندَ مَلِيكٍ مُّقْتَدِرٍ {55}

a place of true honour, in the presence of Almighty Sovereign.

Just imagine the beauty of Paradise and then to be given a seat of honour near Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala…… Can there be any honour superior to this? So are we willing to Honour His words? Are we willing to give Him the most precious place in our hearts? Are we willing, to worship Him in the true sense of the word? 

May Allah make us of those who reflect on these superb reminders and warnings, and live up to the true guidance, Ameen.

 

Surah Ar-Rahman

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Al-Rahman is the glorious name of Allah which reflects His extraordinary compassion and mercy for His creatures; and Surah Al-Rahman is an expression of Allah’s countless blessings and favours on us, which are spread over this entire universe; and are not confined merely to this world but also go far beyond these physical boundaries into the eternal life of the hereafter. If we make a list of these blessings in order of superiority, beginning with the most important thing of our life…..what would that be? For different individuals it could be a different thing according to what they value most in their lives. But have you ever wondered, what is the absolutely best gift of love and mercy which Allah has bestowed on Mankind? The answer to this question is right here in the opening verses of Surah Al-Rahman:


الرَّحْمَنُ {1}
عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ {2}

The Most Compassionate (Allah).(1)  Has taught (you mankind) the Qur’an (2)

The Quran is to our life what the heart is to the human being. If the heart stops working then the body dies even if all other things are in first class condition. Similarly if we are not on the true guidance of the Quran, nothing else is going to benefit us at all. Therefore Allah has reminded us here that we should stop taking this book for granted and open our eyes to the fact that this is the supreme knowledge, wisdom, and cure of hearts……..coming directly from the Lord. What a great injustice it is if we keep ourselves deprived from this treasure.

Another thing that we take for granted is our own creation. We are so rushed into the endless chores of our existence that we seldom think of the fact that Allah has created us…..planned our lives, gave us individual characteristics, talents, abilities, physical attributes……and most important of all: the power of speech….

خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ {3} عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ {4}

Created man and taught him how to convey his feelings and thoughts.

We all know that human beings hold a distinguished position in the universe because of their intelligence but have you ever considered that if Allah had not taught us the art to express our thoughts and feelings, our thinking abilities would have been useless. But look at how we are using this ability…….chatting endlessly about inconsequential things, arguing on the same issues over and over again, back biting, telling lies, making false accusations, spreading rumours, making fun of others…….so many sins; all through speech. And even those few people who refrain from these acts seldom think that true appreciation of this great blessing is to use it for the sake of Allah.

In fact being a truly faithful slave of Allah requires complete submission. The whole universe is following Allah’s laws……..Look at the sun and the moon how they are glorifying their Lord through their eternal submission, along with the stars and the vegetation spread across the earth:

الشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ بِحُسْبَانٍ {5} وَالنَّجْمُ وَالشَّجَرُ يَسْجُدَانِ {6}

The sun and the moon move along their computed courses. The shrubs and the trees prostrate in adoration.

Then look at the sky and ponder over its perfect balance:

وَالسَّمَاء رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ {7}

He has raised the heaven high and created the balance

These things are not just for beauty but each one is teaching us a lesson as well:

أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ {8}

That you not transgress within the balance.

وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ {9}

And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.

Just imagine that if Allah had given all things the power of choice and for just a minute the sun refused to obey Allah and decided to come towards the earth………what a disaster that could be? But we should remember that if we disobey Allah and destroy the balance, the consequences will be worse than any worldly disaster, even if we cannot see it right now.

Allah made this world so comfortable for us to live in peace but we have not given it the due appreciation. So Allah reminds us of His various blessings which are the basis of our existence……. First of all a place to live:

وَالْأَرْضَ وَضَعَهَا لِلْأَنَامِ {10}

He laid out the earth for His creatures

And then food for survival and pleasure:

فِيهَا فَاكِهَةٌ وَالنَّخْلُ ذَاتُ الْأَكْمَامِ {11}

وَالْحَبُّ ذُو الْعَصْفِ وَالرَّيْحَانُ {12}

With all its fruits and palms having sheathed clusters, and grain with husk and scented herbs.

This Surah has a great quality of rhythm and when you read it or listen to its recitation you will instantly feel its soothing effect. Moreover, if you understand the words, then you can imagine a picture in your mind, of a tremendously affectionate and kind Lord, giving you life and a religion of peace by which you can ensure a peaceful existence in this world and everlasting success and peace in the eternal gardens of pleasure. What more do we need? Yet we see that the only thing lacking in our lives is peace of heart. We might be living like kings and have all the luxuries that money can buy but still we are deprived of the one thing……peace…..peace of heart and peace in our homes and peace in our environment. The reason is that we are not grateful for whatever Allah has given us and always keep yearning for things which are out of our reach. This attitude creates in us a general feeling of thanklessness and depression and moves us away from Allah……Therefore to make us come out of our dissatisfaction Allah has repeatedly asked us one question in this Surah…….

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {13}

So, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s favours will both of you deny?

The word “Alaa” refers not only to the favours of Allah but is also used for the amazing signs of His power. So from this verse onwards Allah takes us through a series of eye-openers………focusing our attention on His miracles and after each one He asks us the same question………..how can we deny His miracles? And this question is addressed to mankind and also the Jinns because they are also the creatures who had been given the choice of obedience, and so they will also be held accountable if they deny the rights of Allah. And among His rights is that we acknowledge that He created us……..

خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ كَالْفَخَّارِ {14}

He created man from clay similar to pottery

Even if we cannot see the jinns we believe that Allah has created them as well:

وَخَلَقَ الْجَانَّ مِن مَّارِجٍ مِّن نَّارٍ {15}

And created jinns from smokeless fire.

He is the Lord, the Sustainer of the whole universe whichever direction you follow, you will find Him:

رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقَيْنِ وَرَبُّ الْمَغْرِبَيْنِ {17}

He is Rabb of the two easts and the Rabb of the two wests.

The two easts and two wests symbolize the rising and setting of the sun…….What a miracle it is that every point of sunrise is also a sunset for the people living on the opposite side of the globe…….and every sunset is a sunrise……Allah’s mercy never stops!!

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {18}

So, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s favours will both of you deny?

This huge expanse of earth is mostly water…….and so, from the sun, Allah takes us to the miracles of the oceans in which different currents of water flow side by side without mixing up:

مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيَانِ {19} بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخٌ لَّا يَبْغِيَانِ {20}

He has made the two oceans apparently meeting together… yet between them is a barrier which they cannot cross

From both these waters there are benefits for the mankind:

يَخْرُجُ مِنْهُمَا اللُّؤْلُؤُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ {22}

He produces pearls and coral from both of them

And upon that water in which a single pin gets drowned, you witness huge ships like mountains……going from one end to the other by the mercy of Allah:

وَلَهُ الْجَوَارِ الْمُنشَآتُ فِي الْبَحْرِ كَالْأَعْلَامِ {24}

His are the ships looming up like mountains on the sea

Surely we cannot refuse to acknowledge these favours of Allah?

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {25}

So, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s favours will both of you deny?

Before studying the Quran, I used to marvel at the ships and aeroplanes and skyscrapers……and believed them to be the miracles of mankind. Only through the Quran I came to recognize that these things too are Allah’s blessings….. because Allah created the Human brain and the resources from which man has been able to produce so many things. Unfortunately this basic truth is kept hidden from us and so we don’t recognize or appreciate Allah as we should. That is the reason why we are so far away from Him and why our hearts are so immersed in the accumulation of things which fail to satisfy our souls no matter how far we progress in the world. Everything here is so temporary……soon to end:

كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ {26}

All that exists on the earth will perish

Except the one and only Allah……..who will never die:

وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ {27}

But the Face of your Rabb will remain…. full of Majesty and Glory

Just as the creation of this universe is a miracle of Allah, similarly the end is also a sign of His power…….because it shows that He is so Magnificent and self sufficient that He doesn’t depend on His creation………..he doesn’t need anything. Compare it with any of your own creation and your attitude towards its preservation……the heartbreak you feel if it is lost or broken…….can you ever have the courage to break your own piece of craft? We are so weak in front of Him……….So then how can we deny the Al-mighty Rabb?

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {28}

Then, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s glories will both of you deny?

We are all dependent on Him…….and He is all the time giving us:

يَسْأَلُهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأْنٍ {29}

All who dwell in the heavens and the earth, implore Him for their needs, every moment He is busy in some mighty task

We recognize His power to give us but we don’t recognize our duty towards Him…. which is to be His obedient slaves. It is His decision that He does not punish us in this world and lets us have our way; so people think that they can keep avoiding His accountability forever. In the following Ayat, Allah challenges them to how far can they run away from Him?

يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ إِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَن تَنفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ فَانفُذُوا لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ {33}

O you, the assembly of jinns and men! If you have the power to get away from the boundaries of the heavens and the earth (to escape from His punishment), then get away! You cannot get away except with Our Own authority

Allah’s power is not something to take lightly:

يُرْسَلُ عَلَيْكُمَا شُوَاظٌ مِّن نَّارٍ وَنُحَاسٌ فَلَا تَنتَصِرَانِ {35}

The flames of fire and molten brass will be unleashed on you both, jinn and men, and you will not be able to defend yourselves.

This universe was not created just for our enjoyment and fulfilment of desires. It is just a test and when it will end, the lovely blue sky which gives such a peaceful feeling of security, will turn into a painful red colour:

فَإِذَا انشَقَّتِ السَّمَاء فَكَانَتْ وَرْدَةً كَالدِّهَانِ {37}

When the heaven will burst and will become red like red hide

Who will be able to deny it?

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {38}

So, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s favours will both of you deny?

The criminals who rejected the truth from Allah and led a disobedient life will be given their due punishment:

يُعْرَفُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ بِسِيمَاهُمْ فَيُؤْخَذُ بِالنَّوَاصِي وَالْأَقْدَامِ {41}

The sinners will be recognized by their faces and they shall be seized by their forelocks and their feet

They will no longer be able to deny the facts:

هَذِهِ جَهَنَّمُ الَّتِي يُكَذِّبُ بِهَا الْمُجْرِمُونَ {43}

يَطُوفُونَ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَ حَمِيمٍ آنٍ {44}

It will be said to them: “This is the hell which the culprits denied.” They shall go around between fire and hot boiling water.

This terrible scene fills one with fear…….fear of Allah’s anger. And in turn this fear makes us humble. But our attitude towards Allah should be a combination of fear and love. Fear makes us avoid sins while love inspires us with hope and energy to do as much as we can for the pleasure of Allah. This love is intensified when Allah shows us the glimpses of the paradise which He has prepared for all those who fear the day of judgement and act accordingly:

وَلِمَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ جَنَّتَانِ {46}

For those who fear the time when they will have to stand before their Rabb there are two gardens.

Isn’t this the most wonderful blessing…….

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {47}

So, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s favours will both of you deny?

Imagine the greenery:

ذَوَاتَا أَفْنَانٍ {48}

Having shady trees with lush green branches.

The beautiful rivers:

فِيهِمَا عَيْنَانِ تَجْرِيَانِ {50}

Each of them will be watered by two flowing springs.

The delicious fruits:

فِيهِمَا مِن كُلِّ فَاكِهَةٍ زَوْجَانِ {52}

In both of them there will be two pairs of every fruit.

Luxurious sitting arrangements:

مُتَّكِئِينَ عَلَى فُرُشٍ بَطَائِنُهَا مِنْ إِسْتَبْرَقٍ وَجَنَى الْجَنَّتَيْنِ دَانٍ {54}

They will recline on couches upholstered with rich brocade while the fruit of the gardens will be within their easy reach.

Beautiful companions:

فِيهِنَّ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ لَمْ يَطْمِثْهُنَّ إِنسٌ قَبْلَهُمْ وَلَا جَانٌّ {56}

Therein will be women limiting their glances, whom neither any man nor jinn has touched before.

Captivating like jewels:

كَأَنَّهُنَّ الْيَاقُوتُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ {58}

As beautiful as though they were rubies and corals

Allah is asking another question here which fills my heart with love and happiness:

هَلْ جَزَاء الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ {60}

Could the reward for goodness be anything but goodness?

In this world one sometimes feels as if nothing is going right. You might be trying so hard with your own self and with people but the results are often not up to our expectations. In such times we should remember that Allah is recording all our efforts. How can we doubt His generosity?

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {61}

So, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s favours will both of you deny?

The pleasures of the paradise are not restricted to just two gardens. There will be others far more beautiful than the previous ones:

وَمِن دُونِهِمَا جَنَّتَانِ {62}

And besides these two there shall be two other gardens

Greener than our imagination:

مُدْهَامَّتَانِ {64}

Densely shaded with dark green trees.

With gushing fountains:

فِيهِمَا عَيْنَانِ نَضَّاخَتَانِ {66}

In both of them there will be two gushing springs.

And fruits in abundance….

فِيهِمَا فَاكِهَةٌ وَنَخْلٌ وَرُمَّانٌ {68}

Each planted with fruit trees, dates and pomegranates

Mesmerising, beautiful companions:

فِيهِنَّ خَيْرَاتٌ حِسَانٌ {70}

In each of them, there will be chaste and beautiful women.

Unimaginable luxuries:

مُتَّكِئِينَ عَلَى رَفْرَفٍ خُضْرٍ وَعَبْقَرِيٍّ حِسَانٍ {76}

Reclining on green cushions and beautiful fine carpets.

What more can we desire!

فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ {77}

So, O jinn and men, which of your Rabb’s favours will both of you deny?

Isn’t it ironical that we keep trying to create these luxuries in this world and still cannot match this grandeur of the Paradise which Allah has already created…..the thing to do here is to stop going after these illusions and enrich our hearts with Allah’s love and fear, fill our souls with the peace of His remembrance, beautify our lives with His obedience, and strive hard to attain the highest levels of the real paradise……

تَبَارَكَ اسْمُ رَبِّكَ ذِي الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ {78}

Blessed be the name of your Rabb, His Majesty and His Honour

 

Surah Al-Waqiah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I became acquainted with this Surah when I was twenty, and was living a normal routine life with my husband and eight month old daughter. One day there came a boy from some “Madrasah” asking for charity. I felt so sorry for him and gave him some money. In return he handed me a small red book. I said I wasn’t interested but he insisted so I just took it and without even looking at it just put it on a side table and went back to whatever I had been doing. After a few days my husband had to go out of town and I was left all alone with my baby. At night when I had put my daughter to bed, I began to feel terrified that what will happen if I die during the night? What will become of my child? So I just sat on the sofa trying to come out of this irrational fear…when I happened to see the same red book. Out of curiosity I opened it and saw that it was a collection of selected surahs from the Quran. I began to read the first surah hoping to feel better. It seemed that as I pondered over the meaning of each line my mind got so involved in it that I forgot how disturbed I had been. And then I thought that I should memorize these words so that I could read them whenever I was upset. So I began to learn four Ayahs daily and as I would do the housework I would keep repeating them. After about forty days I had learned the first two surahs which were Ya-sin and Ar-Rahman. Then came a surah which I didn’t know before. I tried to skip it and find some other familiar one but all of the remaining ones were new to me so I thought ok I will do it in sequence and so started this Surah which was Al-Waqiah… As soon as I read the first few lines, I felt like entering a totally different world where the earth was shaking and the mountains were crumbling down and people were being lined up in three categories….it was awesome and its impact was forever recorded on my mind…

And then it was many years later, when I was blessed with the opportunity of studying the Quran in detail; that I understood the real meaning of this brilliant Surah which leaves you in no doubt that the Day of Judgment will definitely be established whether we remember it or not…

إِذَا وَقَعَتِ الْوَاقِعَةُ {1} لَيْسَ لِوَقْعَتِهَا كَاذِبَةٌ {2}

When the inevitable event will come to pass- no one will be able to deny its coming to pass

And these were the exact words which had shown me the scene of the Qiyamah…..all those years ago…..

إِذَا رُجَّتِ الْأَرْضُ رَجًّا {4} وَبُسَّتِ الْجِبَالُ بَسًّا {5}

The earth shall be shaken with severe shaking and the mountains shall be made to crumble with awful crumbling

Just imagine any earthquake on just one point of earth and the devastation of people’s homes and lives. So what will it be like when the whole earth will be shaken? Isn’t this enough to put an end to our arrogance….If these gigantic mountains can be crumbled up into dust then what are we in comparison?

وَكُنتُمْ أَزْوَاجًا ثَلَاثَةً {7}

Then you shall be divided into three groups

On that day all mankind, from all eras of time, will be resurrected and divided into just three groups. In this world we have hundreds of criteria of categorizing people. We are recognized by our nationality and colour of skin; by our academic qualification and our careers, by our financial status and our various talents and capabilities…but on that day of final judgment our worth will be decided according to only one thing…our obedience to Allah.

فَأَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ {8} وَأَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ {9}

Those on the right hand – how blessed shall be the people of the right hand; those on the left hand – how unfortunate shall be the people of the left hand

Quite naturally the people on the right side will be those who worshipped Allah will sincerity and spent their lives in His obedience. And the people on the left will be the ones who had been too arrogant to accept Allah’s authority. But what about this third group…who are these people?

وَالسَّابِقُونَ السَّابِقُونَ {10} أُوْلَئِكَ الْمُقَرَّبُونَ {11}

And foremost shall be the foremost. They will be nearest to Allah

In a Hadith, the Prophet (s.a.w) asked His Companions, “Do you know who will be the people on the day of Qiyamah who will be the first to enter the shade of Allah’s throne?” The Sahabah (companions) answered that Allah and His Messenger knew best. And So the Prophet (s.a.w) told them…

“These are the people that when The Truth came to them, they accepted it; when they were asked to give others their rights, they gave it; and their decision for others was the same as what they judged for their own selves.”

This honour is so great and that is why its price is our whole life…..not just bits and pieces which we might spare from our free time. We can see that mostly people are so involved with their worldly interests that it is becoming increasingly rare that any individual should devote his life for the sake of Allah. That is why the following words make me so sad:

ثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْأَوَّلِينَ {13} وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنَ الْآخِرِينَ {14}

Most of them will be from the former people and a few from the later generations

But it gives me a hope as well because Allah has not excluded the people of the later generations altogether. I remember the first time I had read this ayat, my heart wanted to fly in the skies, looking for a way to become a part of this honourable group of people. When I shared this passion with my friends, they tried to discourage me that this place is only for very few people. But I have observed that if the same case is with some worldly benefit we will rush to be in that “few” people…whether it’s a limited number of seats in some university or limited plots in a housing scheme…our efforts are doubled…..but when it comes to attaining the highest honours of Akhirah we suddenly become very contented.

After describing the wonderful reception which has been prepared for these excellent people, Allah tells us that these are rewards for what they used to do:

جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {24}

As a reward for their good deeds that they had done

Therefore desires and ambitions and dreams can get us nowhere unless they are followed by actions.

Next there are the verses about the companions of the right…

وَأَصْحَابُ الْيَمِينِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْيَمِينِ {27}

Those of the right hand – happy shall be those on the right hand

They will be in gardens with beautiful trees and fruit; waterfalls and extended shade….endless enjoyment of blessings:

وَفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيرَةٍ {32} لَّا مَقْطُوعَةٍ وَلَا مَمْنُوعَةٍ {33}

 And abundant fruits… neither limited to season nor forbidden

We must really work hard to achieve this status as Allah promises in the next ayat:

ثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْأَوَّلِينَ {39} وَثُلَّةٌ مِّنَ الْآخِرِينَ {40}

Many of them will be from the former people and many from the later generations.

The unfortunate ones who made no effort to fall into the above two groups will have no choice but to stand on the left:

وَأَصْحَابُ الشِّمَالِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الشِّمَالِ {41}

As for those of the left hand – how unfortunate will be the people of the left hand!

They will be in fierce hot wind and boiling water; in a shadow of black smoke which will be neither cool nor beneficial….

Why will they be in such severe punishment?

إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ مُتْرَفِينَ {45} وَكَانُوا يُصِرُّونَ عَلَى الْحِنثِ الْعَظِيمِ {46}

Indeed they were before that living in affluence and they used to persist on great violations (sins)

Being wealthy is not a crime in itself, but majority of people tend to forget the reality of this world and the hereafter, when they are living luxurious lives….Allah reminds us of our worth:

أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تُمْنُونَ {58} أَأَنتُمْ تَخْلُقُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْخَالِقُونَ {59}

Have you ever considered that which you emit: Is it you who create the child from it, or are We the Creator?

Look at the grand shopping malls and people loading their shopping carts with luxurious food items….do they remember it is all from Allah?

أَأَنتُمْ تَزْرَعُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الزَّارِعُونَ {64}

Is it you who cause it to grow or are We the grower?

And what about the water that we drink?

أَأَنتُمْ أَنزَلْتُمُوهُ مِنَ الْمُزْنِ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنزِلُونَ {69}

Is it you who send it down from the clouds or are We the sender?

If Allah wanted he could deprive us all from these blessings but He continues to provide for us even when we don’t obey Him. Still we are so full of self praise and hardly think that the only being worthy of glorification is Allah:

فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ {74}

So glorify the name of your Rabb, Who is the Greatest.

When we read this ayat we should say “sub’hana rabbiyal Azim” which expresses our acknowledgement that only our great lord is the most perfect and pure from all flaws.

The next thing which we should remember is that Just as Allah himself is perfect similarly His words are also most perfect:

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ {77}

Indeed this is a Glorious Qur’an,

So how can we say we believe in Allah and His words when we have no time or place for it in our lives?

أَفَبِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَنتُم مُّدْهِنُونَ {81}

Then is it to this scripture that you are indifferent?

We can deny Allah’s religion and make excuses for all our sins but who can deny the ultimate truth of death:

فَلَوْلَا إِذَا بَلَغَتِ الْحُلْقُومَ {83}

Why is it not then that when you see a dying person’s soul come up to his throat

This scene has been so vividly portrayed that I can almost feel it happening in front of my eyes:

وَأَنتُمْ حِينَئِذٍ تَنظُرُونَ {84}

While you are helplessly looking on

Allah says that our angels are nearest to the dying person but we cannot see:

وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنكُمْ وَلَكِن لَّا تُبْصِرُونَ {85}

And at that time our angels are nearer to him than you, although you cannot see them.

This is the limit of our knowledge….something we so proud of. Whenever we listen to any of Allah’s commands which we don’t want to follow we arrogantly comment “I don’t see any point of doing this or that” Allah reminds us that although he gave us eyes to observe and gain information but he kept some things hidden which can only be “seen” by keeping in touch with Allah through His words. But as we made tremendous progress in science and technology, we began to think we could do everything….Allah asks the most painful question:

فَلَوْلَا إِن كُنتُمْ غَيْرَ مَدِينِينَ {86} تَرْجِعُونَهَا إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {87}

Then why do you not – if you claim you are not subject to reckoning- restore to the dying person his soul? Answer this, if you are truthful!

So now when the soul has been taken by the angels….leaving behind the helpless doctors with all their life saving systems….the relatives crying out their hearts….it doesn’t matter now whether that person who has just entered an unseen world, was rich or poor; influential or unknown, popular or unpopular………the only thing which matters is his worth in Allah’s eyes; according to which he will be placed in one of those three groups mentioned in the beginning:

فَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ {88} فَرَوْحٌ وَرَيْحَانٌ وَجَنَّةُ نَعِيمٍ {89}

Then if the dying person is one of those near to us.  For him there is comfort and bounty, and a garden of bliss

How simply beautiful is the picture that comes to mind. Someone might be living a poor life. People don’t even notice him but he was true to Allah and kept doing everything for Allah’s pleasure and so the moment this test of life is over; Allah will send his angels with perfumes and flowers to receive this blessed soul.

People sometimes do illegal things just to be a part of their group and to be accepted by society. But our worth is not what this society thinks but what Allah decides. So Allah sends peace on those who spent a righteous life:

وَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنَ أَصْحَابِ الْيَمِينِ {90} فَسَلَامٌ لَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الْيَمِينِ {91}

And if he be one of the right hand, he is greeted with salutation: “Peace be upon you,” from those of the right hand.

Finally the misguided ones….they will be treated according to what they deserve….regardless of the fact that they might have held honourable status in the world….

وَأَمَّا إِن كَانَ مِنَ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ الضَّالِّينَ {92} فَنُزُلٌ مِّنْ حَمِيمٍ {93}

وَتَصْلِيَةُ جَحِيمٍ {94}

And if he is one of the mistaken rejecters, he is welcomed with scalding water, and burning in hellfire.

Just in case it seems unbelievable; Allah sends the confirmation:

إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ حَقُّ الْيَقِينِ {95}

Surely this is an absolute truth.

Thus the thing to do is to glorify Allah….

فَسَبِّحْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الْعَظِيمِ {96}

Therefore, glorify the name of your Rabb, Who is the Greatest

These words of glorification are not just to utter thoughtlessly, rather it should be a reminder for us that our actual worth is what Allah thinks of us. Therefore all our efforts should be for his sake and according to the limits set by him. Let’s all renew our pledge that our worship and our sacrifice; our life and our death; everything is for Allah who is the lord of the worlds. May Allah accept it from all of us. Ameen.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by farheen on January 25, 2014 at 5:21 am

    assalaamu alaikum,

    i am loving ur quran review. i wish i could understand it in such a way.
    i am commenting a lot nowadays, may be bcaz i have no one to talk to as i am on leave.
    you wrote in review of surah muhammad s.a.w above…….

    What is it that can help us to strengthen our faith? Spending our money, our time, our efforts for the way of Allah is something that holds our heart and if done consistently and sincerely, Allah makes the small seed of faith in our heart grow into a strong tree. But if we want to hold on to our money, and our routine lives, then it is going to put us into endless loss

    i am stuck in a routine life and i feel like i am not accomplishing anything. How can i spend my time and efforts for the way of Allah? what does it mean? Like does it mean that i have to do dawah? i am terrible at that bcaz i am an introvert. what else can i do? does praying and reciting quran included in spending efforts and time in the way of Allah?

    Also, there r so many scholars who are experts on quran and hadeeth… they dedicated their life for islam. i cant do that. so i feel like my life is just a waste as this world is anyhow nothing in value and i am not earning anything for akhirah also.

    How to strive for akhirah? how can i be best in deeds when others accomplished so much? i know this is one way of shaitan to make me feel depressed but i am unable to come out of this sadness… i cant join an islamic school as its not possible for me. so what can i do?

    i feel like only scholars and great daee like farhat hashmi, nouman ali, zakir naik, etc have done tremendous work in islam. only they go to jannathul firdous. i cant achieve all of that. its like even if i try my level best it wont be enough… i can only pass, i will never get disctinction or A grade in akhirah.

    what can i do staying at home? i dont go out at all as i am an introvert i cant talk to people in a charming way, people dont get convinced by me… so i am bad at spreading islam. i send islamic messages whatever i find relevent like hadith etc to my friends. can you plz suggest what i can accomplish?

    i am extremely sorry if i am disturbing you a lot.
    jazakillah khair in advance.

    Reply

    • Posted by theseekerspath on January 25, 2014 at 7:38 am

      I recently wrote an article on this topic… “am I like the sun?”
      But in sha Allah I will write another article to answer your thought provoking question. I love your comments and I feel like readers like you are a gift from Allah to motivate me into making some progress towards akhirah because Allah likes for us to go forward in good deeds and not be stagnant. JazakAllah khairan and may Allah give you barakah in your Imaan…ameen

      Reply

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