Surah An-Naba’

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Alhamdulillah we have reached the final part of the Quran. When I had started upon this journey, three years ago, I had been fully aware that I had taken upon myself such a huge task for which I was neither capable nor knowledgeable. Yet I believed that whatever I have studied in the Quran has to be shared with the whole world and Allah helps those who work for His pleasure. Thus I started writing these reviews… but really I had never imagined reaching the end!

This is the way we live in this world. We move on from day to day and we know it has an end but our minds fail to imagine how something so full of life can just come to an end. That is why when we hear the death of a person we feel shocked, as if the concept of death is totally unthinkable for us. Surah An Naba’ is really an eye opener for us if we ponder over its verses and more than ever before I have felt like the day of recompense is just so near and that it is high time we wake up from our illusion that we are going to stay here forever.

Our concept of the hereafter has become cloudy to such an extent that instead of making any preparations for that “mega event”, people are mostly arguing about it. Their questions are not to gain any knowledge or to clear any doubt, rather they want to prove it as false and imaginary. Do we ever argue about any “breaking news”? We have no problem at all in accepting and believing the words of a newscaster. So what about the breaking news which Allah is giving us?

عَمَّ يَتَسَاءلُونَ {1}
عَنِ النَّبَإِ الْعَظِيمِ {2}

About what are they asking? About the great news?

Allah has made this world in such a way that things do not appear as they are. The reality becomes clear only if we are interested in something and sincerely want to know about it. But most people are not interested in finding about the hereafter and so they make excuses to prove that what they are doing in their lives is perfectly alright. But soon we will see the truth with our own eyes:

كَلَّا سَيَعْلَمُونَ {4}
ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَيَعْلَمُونَ {5}

Very soon they shall come to know; We repeat, very soon they shall come to know.

In the hereafter everything will become so crystal clear but even in this world if we ponder over the creations of Allah, we can “see” His message written clearly all around us. The magnificent expanse of earth, the tall mountains… all are a clear sign of Allah’s power.

أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ مِهَادًا {6}
وَالْجِبَالَ أَوْتَادًا {7}

Is it not true that We have spread the earth like a bed, and the mountains as pegs?

How awesome is the rain that falls from the clouds. Could we have created water with our own hands? Then why don’t we appreciate these miracles?

وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْمُعْصِرَاتِ مَاء ثَجَّاجًا {14}
لِنُخْرِجَ بِهِ حَبًّا وَنَبَاتًا {15}
وَجَنَّاتٍ أَلْفَافًا {16}

And we sent down abundant water from the clouds, bringing forth grain, vegetation and gardens of luxurious growth

But the pleasures of this world are not unlimited. Everything in this world has an end. And like the beginning, the end also has a purpose…

إِنَّ يَوْمَ الْفَصْلِ كَانَ مِيقَاتًا {17}

The Day of decision is already fixed.

It is our inborn need to be rewarded for what we do. Some people might not want any “physical” return for their favours but they will definitely want appreciation or acknowledgement for what they have done. But in this world it is not humanly possible for anyone to give you the return for your efforts. Take the example of a mother… imagine what she has to bear for the sake of her children plus taking care of her husband and the entire household. Even if someone decides to pay her, it is simply not possible to assign any monetary value to her patience and hard work. Therefore a day must come in which all these dues are paid in full.

But the evil doers who do not believe in any punishment beyond this life, think of themselves as very successful that they have committed so many crimes and no one has been able to catch them. They don’t know what is awaiting them:

إِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ كَانَتْ مِرْصَادًا {21}

For sure, the hell shall lie in ambush

Next Allah informs us of the horrors of that terrible fire so that we can protect ourselves as best as we can:

لَّا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا بَرْدًا وَلَا شَرَابًا {24}
إِلَّا حَمِيمًا وَغَسَّاقًا {25}

in it they shall taste neither refreshment nor drink, except scalding water and decaying filth

It appears as if it is against Allah’s mercy to punish people like this but we should have a firm belief that Allah in never unfair to anyone:

جَزَاء وِفَاقًا {26}

a fitting recompense for their deeds.

So what was the crime of these people? Allah says:

إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا لَا يَرْجُونَ حِسَابًا {27}
وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا كِذَّابًا {28}

For they never expected to be accountable, and wittingly rejected Our revelations.

On the other hand the people who believed in the hereafter and spent a life of carefulness will be awarded the great success:

إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ مَفَازًا {31}

On that Day, the righteous will certainly achieve their Heart’s desires

Their deeds will be rewarded by the bountiful Lord:

جَزَاء مِّن رَّبِّكَ عَطَاء حِسَابًا {36}

a recompense from your Rabb and a gift beyond their account

That day is bound to come so instead of arguing about it we must immediately start working for that everlasting success:

ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمُ الْحَقُّ فَمَن شَاء اتَّخَذَ إِلَى رَبِّهِ مَآبًا {39}

That Day is a sure reality. Let him who desires, seek a way back to his Rabb.

Still if someone does not want to believe then what can be said after such clear verses. That day is not so far away as we think…. a day when we will truly see what we have collected for our final home:

إِنَّا أَنذَرْنَاكُمْ عَذَابًا قَرِيبًا يَوْمَ يَنظُرُ الْمَرْءُ مَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاهُ وَيَقُولُ الْكَافِرُ يَا لَيْتَنِي كُنتُ تُرَابًا {40}

Indeed We have forewarned you of an imminent punishment which lies close-at-hand, on the Day when man shall see what his hands have sent forth and the unbeliever will cry: “I wish! I could remain merely dust.”

May Allah save us from the regret of that day. As someone has so rightly said “we must face one out of two things: either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret”. So if want to be saved from the pain of regret then we must be ready to live each moment of our life as if it is the last chance in which we can do something to please Allah. Wasting time in vain pursuits is so easy and shaitan uses this trick on us that he gives us false hopes. Let us contemplate on the words of Allah and turn to Him for help and support. Surely He helps those who want to walk on the right way.

Surah An-Nazi’aat

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah An-Nazi’aat

This Surah starts with a reminder of something which we hardly ever think of… and that is the presence of angels. They are unseen beings, obeying Allah’s commands and performing whatever duties have been assigned to them. And one of their duties is to take back the souls of human beings at their appointed time…

وَالنَّازِعَاتِ غَرْقًا {1}وَالنَّاشِطَاتِ نَشْطًا {2}

By those angels who violently pull out the souls of the wrongdoers, and those who gently draw out the souls of the righteous

Even with all the advancement in science and technology we still do not have any scanning device which can show us how these angels take the soul out of the body. But the Quran and Hadith give us quite a vivid picture that it is going to be a really painful thing. Just imagine the pain of extraction…. something being taken out of your body. Tooth extraction can be one example. Or the pain of childbirth where one soul is being taken out of another soul. But these examples can only be used as a thinking tool. Otherwise the real truth is known only to Allah. But He is warning us that death is only the first step… the real catastrophe starts in the hereafter:

يَوْمَ تَرْجُفُ الرَّاجِفَةُ {6}تَتْبَعُهَا الرَّادِفَةُ {7}

The Day on which the quake shall cause a violent commotion, which will be followed by another violent commotion

Our hearts have become so enveloped by the love of this world that they are not moved by these warnings. But these hearts will not remain unmoved on that day:

قُلُوبٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَاجِفَةٌ {8}

And on that Day, hearts shall be pounding with terror

Today we don’t feel ashamed to disobey Allah but on that day the eyes will be downcast with shame and fear:

أَبْصَارُهَا خَاشِعَةٌ {9}

And their eyes shall be downcast.

The wrong doers obviously don’t want any day of judgement, where they can be punished so they constantly try to prove that it is just a fantasy and that there is going to be no resurrection:

يَقُولُونَ أَئِنَّا لَمَرْدُودُونَ فِي الْحَافِرَةِ {10}أَئِذَا كُنَّا عِظَامًا نَّخِرَةً {11}

The unbelievers say: “Shall we really be restored to our former state (life), when we shall have become hollow bones?”

Allah says that their denial is not going to save them at all. Their power and authority is for this world only:

فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ {13}فَإِذَا هُم بِالسَّاهِرَةِ {14}

They should know that it shall be only a single shout, and they will be back to life in an open plain.

Who could be more powerful than the Pharaoh? His people not only served him but also worshipped him as their god. But what was his end? Allah has told this story so many times in the Quran because the biggest reason for people being cut off from religion is arrogance. So as we enter the end of Quran, Allah is asking:

هَلْ أتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَى {15}

Have you heard the story of Musa (Moses)?

Allah gave Musa (a.s.) the awesome task to confront the pharaoh and to remind him of Allah:

فَقُلْ هَل لَّكَ إِلَى أَن تَزَكَّى {18}وَأَهْدِيَكَ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَتَخْشَى {19}

And tell him, `Have you the desire to purify yourself? If so, I shall guide you towards your Rabb, so that you may fear Him.’”

But some unfortunate people remain untouched no matter what proofs are presented before them…And why? because they themselves don’t want to see the truth. Allah does not force guidance on anyone. He guides only those who really want to be guided. And so Pharaoh chose to remain a symbol of arrogance and rejection for all times to come:

فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الْآخِرَةِ وَالْأُولَى {25} إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَى {26}

Consequently, Allah seized him for punishment, both in the Hereafter and in this life. Surely in this there is a lesson for the God-fearing.

Arrogance and defiance are born out of an exaggerated value of one’s powers. So the cure is to read the signs by which we can judge how “big” we really are:

أَأَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَمِ السَّمَاء بَنَاهَا {27}رَفَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا {28}

O mankind, is your creation harder than the heaven that He built? He raised its canopy and fashioned it to perfection

Also the endless expanse of earth and the tall mountains are all clear proof that the maker of these things is the most Great and who are we to reject His orders? What is our size? All this will become visible when that great calamity will come:

فَإِذَا جَاءتِ الطَّامَّةُ الْكُبْرَى {34}

Therefore when the great overwhelming disaster will strike

On that day when everything will become so obvious… the consequence of each man’s efforts will come before his eyes and he will himself evaluate the worth of what he did all his life:

يَوْمَ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ مَا سَعَى {35}

The Day when man will call to mind all that he had striven for

I was thinking that what will be the use of this clarity of vision when there will be no way to erase all the bad deeds? Sometimes while working on the computer we hit the wrong button which deletes all the work done in hours, and we realize the mistake instantly but we cannot undo it. How frustrating it is to go through such a regret and pain to have wasted the hard work of a few hours or days. So imagine the pain and horror of having wasted a whole life? Here we think that we are doing great and making so many achievements but we must be careful whether it is pleasing to Allah or not?

فَأَمَّا مَن طَغَى {37}وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا {38}فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى {39}

Then he who had rebelled and preferred the life of this world shall have his abode in hell.

Sometimes a person does realize the truth but doesn’t want to give up his desires which force him to take the wrong decisions. The cure for all such people is to fear Allah:

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى {40}فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى {41}

But he who had feared standing before his Rabb and curbed his evil desires shall have his home in paradise.

Actually our biggest illusion is that we think of this life as a long, long time; but in the hereafter we will realize that the long years of our life had not been more than a few hours…

كَأَنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَهَا لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلَّا عَشِيَّةً أَوْ ضُحَاهَا {46}

On that Day when they shall see it, they shall feel as if they had stayed in this worldonly one evening or one morning.

In today’s fast paced lifestyle we have a long list of “things to do” and we make several reminders for ourselves so that we don’t miss anything important. So I was thinking that maybe we should also make reminders of these verses (40-41) and hang them in some noticeable place so that daily we should see these powerful words of Allah and think that maybe this is my last day and maybe the angels are on their way to take my soul so am I prepared to die? Have I asked Allah’s forgiveness? Have I sincerely asked Him for guidance? May Allah guide us to the best way and forgive us for all our mistakes…Ameen.

Surah Abasa

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah Abasa

Just as we are curious to know what is the quality that Allah likes the most in a person similarly we should also be aware of the things which He does not like. And this Surah openly reflects Allah’s dislike for arrogance and His anger at the arrogant people. It has always been the case with privileged people that a majority of them suffer from a sense of superiority and in most cases they think themselves too high and mighty to follow the commands of Allah. The chiefs of Makkah were no exception. Some of them were once sitting in the company of our Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and He was trying to convey to them Allah’s message so that they might accept Islam. A companion of the Prophet (s.a.w), named Abdullah bin Umme-Maktum (r.a) turned up and tried to ask the Prophet (s.a.w) to teach him about something. Now this companion was blind and could not see that the Prophet (s.a.w) was attending to some other people. So he just came in and started talking. Although the Prophet (s.a.w) did not say anything to him but his face showed some sign of irritation. Now this seems to be such a harmless gesture but Allah sent down this Surah in which He made it very clear that in His eyes the believer who fears Allah and is so eager for knowledge has a far greater status than the non-believing people, however noble or influential they might be.

عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّى {1}أَن جَاءهُ الْأَعْمَى {2}

He (the Prophet) frowned and turned away; when there came to him the blind man (Ibn Umme Maktüm, who came to the Prophet and interrupted his conversation with the chiefs of Makkah)

This is a great lesson for all those who think that they are superior to others on the basis of their worldly status or their knowledge and wisdom. It is so common in us that we look down on people because of their apparent weaknesses… but we should remember that it might be that they are far better than us. Thus Allah refers to Abdullah Ibn Umme Maktoom, that he was a far better learner even if he was visually handicapped:

وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّى {3}أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَى {4}

How could you tell? He might have sought to purify himself; or become reminded and might have benefited from Our reminder.

How often it is that we see a blind person and feel pity for him as if he is the most unlucky person but in fact the real blindness is of the hearts who do not perceive the truth…

أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَى {5}فَأَنتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّى {6}

As for him who is indifferent; to him you were attending

Again Allah reminds us that in His eyes the true worth of a person is in his character… so we should never ignore the true and sincere believers, no matter how weak and insignificant they might seem. Allah has not sent His Book for just a few selected type of people… rather it is for the whole mankind; irrespective of worldly status:

كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ {11}فَمَن شَاء ذَكَرَهُ {12}

It should not be so! Indeed, this is but an admonition; let him who wants, accept it

We are so impressed by people and their possessions but Allah is directing our attention to the fact that the noblest thing in this world is the Quran:

فِي صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ {13}مَّرْفُوعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ {14}

It is written in scrolls, which are honoured; exalted, purified,

But some people don’t understand what could be so special in a book? Actually these are the arrogant ones who cannot see anything beyond their tall egos. Allah wakes them up by this reminder of their origin:

قُتِلَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ {17}مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ {18}

Woe to man! What a disbeliever he is! Out of what Allah has created him?

And then ponder upon the end:

ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ {21}

Then causes him to die and stows him in a grave.

But really the end is only a waiting period before the second birth:

ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاء أَنشَرَهُ {22}

Then He will surely bring him back to life when He pleases.

The people of Makkah were strongly denying the idea of resurrection. And they said how old bones could be made into complete human beings. So Allah calls their attention to the miracle of His creation… how He creates “live” things from the dead earth. We don’t have to go to any laboratory to observe these facts. Just focus on a morsel of food and contemplate on how it passed through so many places and stages before it reached your hand:

فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ إِلَى طَعَامِهِ {24}

Let man reflect on the food he eats

It is all Allah’s blessings that we are using; so will we not listen to Him?

وَزَيْتُونًا وَنَخْلًا {29}وَحَدَائِقَ غُلْبًا {30}وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا {31}

Olives and dates; lush gardens; fruits and fodder,

But all this is for a limited period. Suddenly it will all come to an end… and then no one will stop to help anyone else:

فَإِذَا جَاءتِ الصَّاخَّةُ {33}يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ {34}

Finally when there will come the deafening blast; on that Day each man shall flee from his own brother

In this world the relations between siblings may often turn sour but with parents one cannot even think to be separated. Yet the calamity of that day will be so great that even parents will lose their significance as well as spouses and children:

وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ {35}وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيهِ {36}

And (even) his mother and his father; And his wife and his children.

These are the same people for whom we live. Just to keep them happy we give up other important things… even ignoring the rights of Allah. How often we hear this excuse that we cannot follow such and such thing because our families don’t like it. But then why do they become strangers on that day when we will be in most need of help?

لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ {37}

For each one of them, on that Day, shall have enough concern of his own to make him indifferent to the others.

This is the reality we must face… that each one of them will be so engrossed with their own concern that it will be impossible for them to consider anyone else. It is a very important reminder from Allah that even though it is obligatory to give the rights of our loved ones but it is not their right that we disobey Allah because of them. Because no matter how much they seem to love us today they will not help us in the hereafter.

The people who understood this fact in this world and made Allah their no-1 focus of life, naturally have to put up with a lot of difficult stages but their end will be so sweet…

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ مُّسْفِرَةٌ {38}ضَاحِكَةٌ مُّسْتَبْشِرَةٌ {39}

Some faces on that Day shall be shining; smiling and joyful

And those who remained trapped in their own arrogance, and did not believe in Allah’s revelations, will find themselves in a really difficult and painful situation:

وَوُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَلَيْهَا غَبَرَةٌ {40}تَرْهَقُهَا قَتَرَةٌ {41}أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْكَفَرَةُ الْفَجَرَةُ {42}

And some faces on that Day shall be dusty; and veiled with darkness. These shall bethe faces of the disbelieving wicked.

So this is the end which we all have to face. We can all see ourselves… what we are doing? Whom we are pleasing? Only Allah will be the judge on that final day of judgement so how can we live our lives in contrast to His commands? Lets open our eyes to the truth… see the direction of our lives and adjust our sails accordingly! May Allah be our guide… ameen.

Surah At-Takwir

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

surah At-Takwir

Our happiness and peace of mind depends so much on the environment in which we live, yet we are rarely grateful for the shining sun, the twinkling stars or the air in which we breathe. We go on and on in the never ending cycle of our routine lives as if this world will continue to serve us forever. In these times of materialism, there is no time for contemplation on the blessings of nature and thus we move further and further away from our Creator. We seem to be totally ignorant of the fact that the biggest connection between Him and us is the miracle of His creation… and if we are too busy to even look at these things then how will we remember Him or be grateful to Him? Thus in Surah At-Takwir Allah is giving us a warning that the world is going to end one day and it will be a terrible day in which nothing will be the same anymore:

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ {1}
وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ {2}

When the sun will cease to shine; when the stars will lose their lustre;

In the next few verses Allah has shown in complete detail of all the horrifying things that are going to happen when this world will finally come to its end. That is why I always feel that the Quran is actually a window through which we can watch all the things which are otherwise unimaginable…

وَإِذَا الْوُحُوشُ حُشِرَتْ {5}
وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ سُجِّرَتْ {6}

When the wild beasts will be brought together; when the oceans will be set ablaze;

It is human nature to take for granted whatever we have and we only realize the value of a blessing when we are faced with the possibility of losing it. Even life itself becomes a routine and we hardly ever thank Allah for being alive! But as soon as we are faced with some life threatening disease, or an accident… then all our sleeping senses come alive, and we beg Allah to give us another chance. So Allah is warning us that we should make use of our life while we still have it because it will soon be gone. And the day will come with all its catastrophes in which the biggest worry of a person will be the “luggage” that he has brought along….

وَإِذَا الصُّحُفُ نُشِرَتْ {10}

When the record will be laid open;

عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا أَحْضَرَتْ {14}

Then each soul shall know what it has bought with it.

All the thoughts, words and actions are being recorded by the angels and they don’t miss even the tiniest details. Most of the time we are forgetful of their watching eyes and writing hands and so our whole attitude towards life becomes casual and non serious. On one hand we might be doing acts that please Allah; but side by side we say or do such things which neutralize all our good deeds. This carelessness is like darkness and the light of the heart is the only thing which can eliminate this ignorance. Thus Allah daily makes us witness the night and day so that we might ponder on the darkness of our hearts and make efforts to light them up with the light of Quran:

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ {17}
وَالصُّبْحِ إِذَا تَنَفَّسَ {18}
إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ {19}
By the night as it dissipates; by the morning when it breaths again: surely this word (The Qur’an) is brought by a noble Messenger (Gabriel),

When you begin to follow the teachings of Quran, it becomes so difficult because the whole world seems to be rushing in the opposite direction. So it makes one think that the whole society cannot be wrong so maybe I am the one who has gone crazy. Even if you remain firm in your faith, other people will continue to put this doubt in your mind. So Allah has very strongly stated the fact that the taunts of the disbelievers are false and baseless:

وَمَا صَاحِبُكُم بِمَجْنُونٍ {22}

O people of Makkah! Your companion has not gone mad;

This Quran is the most authentic message of Allah which takes us out of the darkness of doubt into the light of faith and conviction. There is no other way to success…but the shaitan has led people away from Quran and now they are running in all directions to find peace but how can they find a thing where it is not meant to be:

فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ {26}

Where then are you going?

It is not enough that we just sit and criticise the people who have gone astray. Rather it is our responsibility that we convey to them this treasure which was meant for the whole world and not just one selected group of people:

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ {27}

This is but a Message to all the people of the world,

But only those can benefit from this Magnificent Quran who truly have a desire to be guided to the straight way…

لِمَن شَاء مِنكُمْ أَن يَسْتَقِيمَ {28}

To each one who wishes to follow the Right Way.

Allah’s guidance is the greatest gift on this earth and He gives it to those who ask Him for this gift with utmost sincerity and seriousness. But even this choice that we make in our heart, is a gift of Allah. This is something that we often forget and so we tend to feel “proud” of being connected to the Quran. Being happy and grateful for finding the straight path is one thing, but giving oneself the credit for it, is sheer folly and leads to arrogance. And we all know that arrogance leads to the fire… So Allah the most merciful and the most compassionate Rabb, is reminding us in this most beautiful verse that if you have opted for guidance then it is also the blessing of your Lord that He “allowed” you to make this choice:

وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ {29}

Yet your wishes are of no avail unless Allah, the Rabb of the worlds, pleases so.

This is the beauty of Allah’s message that He does not leave anything incomplete and wants us to understand and live with the complete truth. May Allah help us to remember the worth and importance of all His blessings so that we might use them positively for ultimate success and happiness… ameen.
Surah Al-Infitaar

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

surah Al-Infitaar

Allah is so Perfect… He has given us everything that we need for eternal success. One of these blessings is that he created in us a need for appreciation and reward. Normally we don’t admit that we do like to be thanked and appreciated for our efforts, but the fact is that this need has been programmed into our system so that we might work really, really hard for getting the reward of Jannah and the sweetest pleasure of being appreciated by Allah the almighty. In every salah we say the words maliki yaum-iddin… meaning that we believe Allah to be the Master of the Day of Recompense, so whatever good we do is for Allah. This motivation keeps us alive that our lives are not going unnoticed… Allah is watching everything and if our intention is to please Him then He will grant us what we worked for. This faith should have been enough reason to keep us happy and busy but then why is it that we remain sad and depressed? The problem is that all our lives we expect appreciation from people… we want instant recognition and appreciation even though we don’t admit this… that is why we are quick to serve people who appreciate us but are reluctant to do anything for ungrateful people. However if our intention is to get Allah’s appreciation then it shouldn’t matter to us whether our effort is being recognized by people or not. Some people who don a cover of piety and righteousness also do it to impress people. This is the worst kind of deception and may Allah save all of us from it. But why are we like this? It is because we haven’t really understood the purpose of our lives. We have neither understood the word of Allah, nor have we acted on the teachings of our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w) But Quran is a remedy for all the diseases of the heart and InshaAllah as we go through today’s Surah, Al-infitaar, we will realize that our whole life depends on our belief in the day of recompense… So Allah shows us how it is going to happen:

إِذَا السَّمَاء انفَطَرَتْ {1}
وَإِذَا الْكَوَاكِبُ انتَثَرَتْ {2}
وَإِذَا الْبِحَارُ فُجِّرَتْ {3}

When the heaven will cleft asunder; when the stars will scatter; when the oceans will be torn apart;

Have you ever pondered over the question that why will Allah destroy everything which He created with such systematic detail and perfection? Actually the purpose of putting an end to this universe is to bring everything to its conclusion… The world was created just as a testing place and now the time has come for the results to be announced:

عَلِمَتْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ وَأَخَّرَتْ {5}

Then each soul shall know what it has sent forth and what it left behind.

We say we believe in Judgement and Recompense, but if our faith in this day is so strong then why is it that the majority of us are not following Allah’s commands? It is because we are living in this self created illusion that Allah is so kind and merciful, so He will forgive us anyway… Allah is asking all of us:

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ {6}

O man! What has lured you away from your gracious Rabb?

What a great injustice it is to not obey Allah who made this world for us and gave us all the lawful means to derive pleasure and satisfaction. But the devil leads us towards breaking all limits of Allah and we are ever ready to accept his ideas… So how are we going to get out of this web of self destruction? We need to remind ourselves how Allah created us and why?

الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ {7}
فِي أَيِّ صُورَةٍ مَّا شَاء رَكَّبَكَ {8}

Who created you, fashioned you, proportioned you, [7] and moulded you in whatever form He pleased?

Did Allah create us without any reason? Even our intellect demands that there should be a consequence for everything… why then should we not believe in the consequence of our whole lives?

كَلَّا بَلْ تُكَذِّبُونَ بِالدِّينِ {9}

Nay! In fact you deny the Day of Judgment!

Allah is not going to pass any judgement without proof. Although He is the master of every creation, and does not need to offer any proofs but look at His justice that He has appointed special angels who live with us throughout our lives with the sole mission of recording everything that we say or do…

وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ لَحَافِظِينَ {10}
كِرَامًا كَاتِبِينَ {11}
يَعْلَمُونَ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ {12}

You should know that guardian angels have indeed been appointed over you, who are noble writers, they know all that you do.

For those who did everything for the appreciation of Allah, there is great reward… but for those who did not care for Allah and just wanted to remain popular among people even at the cost of Allah’s disobedience will find nothing but failure and destruction:

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ {13}
وَإِنَّ الْفُجَّارَ لَفِي جَحِيمٍ {14}

On that Day the righteous will surely be in bliss; while the wicked will indeed go to hell

When I read such verses I feel so grateful for the faith that Allah has blessed us with. How amazing is this great blessing to believe in Allah and the day of recompense but then it saddens me to realize that we are not really making any significant preparation for that day…why? If we believe in it then why isn’t this belief being reflected in our actions? Allah tells us so clearly that it is because we have not fully realized what a day that is going to be:

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ {17}
ثُمَّ مَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ {18}

What will explain to you what the Day of Judgment is? Again, what will explain to you what the Day of Judgment is?

Without Quran we could never understand our own behaviours. Now it seems as if for the first time this fact has penetrated my heart that our contradictions in our speech and action is because we have not given any serious thought to the consequences of our actions. We are more worried about what people will say and not worried at all about what Allah will do to us if we are not obedient to Him. So at the end of this surah Allah sends a clear warning that the same people for whom you choose to disobey Allah, they will have no power at all to save you at all…

يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلَّهِ {19}

It will be the Day when no one shall have the power to do anything for another: for, on that Day, Allah shall keep the entire command to Himself.

It does not take any great wisdom or intellect to reach the conclusion that if Allah is the One who created us and He is the One, who is going to judge us, then it is His judgement for which we should be most concerned about and nothing else should come between us and His obedience. May Allah remove all doubts and misconceptions from our hearts and make us strong in our faith so that we might live for Allah the way He likes best… Ameen

Surah Al-Mutaffifin

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah Al-Mutaffifin

We are humans and thus we can never hope for perfection. Perfection is only for Allah. But we can and should always strive for excellence. Excellence means that you make utmost efforts to fulfil your responsibilities in the best of manner. It is human nature to make mistakes but the quality which differentiates a believer from a hypocrite is that a believer considers his errors as a mountain which might crush him and so he asks forgiveness from Allah and forever worries about his status with Allah. The hypocrite on the other hand is totally casual about his mistakes and neither recognizes them nor feels guilty even if he is aware that he has done wrong. Between these two is the third category of people who truly believe in Allah and the hereafter but they take paradise for granted and think that they are so good that Allah will forgive them whatever they might do. This arrogance leads to destruction in both worlds… because Allah severely dislikes arrogance and carelessness. Therefore at the end of Quran where we might feel so good that we are at the completion of a great task and Allah must be so happy with us… here comes a Surah which is to save us from flying too high on the wings of self praise and self worth. This is surah Al-Mutaffifin which is a warning that no matter how righteous we are we should always be careful not to decrease our efforts… whether in worship of Allah or in giving people their rights.

وَيْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِينَ {1}

Woe to those who defraud

Who are the people whom Allah is referring to as the “mutaffifin”?

الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُواْ عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ {2}وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ {3}

who when, they take by measure from men, take the full measure, but when they give by measure or by weight to others, they give less than due

If we were to identify one major factor which has contributed to our decline, it would be our lack of sense of responsibility. We are so concerned about our own rights but are totally careless about the rights of others. How can such a society hope to prosper? How will we face Allah in the hereafter?

أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَئِكَ أَنَّهُم مَّبْعُوثُونَ {4}

Do they not think that they will be raised to life again

Each and every act of dishonesty is being recorded; however trivial or insignificant we might call it… in fact I don’t even think we should use these words where duties are concerned because nothing is without significance in this test of life. There is a consequence for everything. For example if someone comes late to duty by just 10 minutes and leaves 10 minutes before the appointed time, it comes to 7300 minutes in a year… Same goes for all other things. It reminds me of the Hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w) where he warned us to stay away from small sins because if we keep doing them without feeling sorry or making amends then they will become a mountain of sins from which there will be no escape…

كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ {7}

Indeed not! The record of the wicked is in Sijjeen (register of prison)

It is such a pity that we take these warnings so lightly. If someone warns us about any loss of this world then we immediately become concerned but if Allah warns us about the loss of the hereafter, we hardly feel any urgency to mend our ways. This is a subtle form of rejection… a denial of truth. But where will this denial and rejection lead us?

وَيْلٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُكَذِّبِينَ {10}

Woe on that Day to the disbelievers

The question is that why do we have this attitude of carelessness regarding the hereafter? Don’t we have enough proof that everybody has to die? Do we not have knowledge of Allah and the hereafter? Then why do we Muslims not follow the right way of life?

كَلَّا بَلْ رَانَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِم مَّا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ {14}

Of course not! In fact their misdeeds have caused a covering (raan) on their hearts.

How amazing it is that in such a few words Allah has clearly defined our biggest hurdle in the way of success. And that is the “Raan” which has enveloped our hearts. Raan is the Arabic word for rust. Just as the rust can destroy such a solid thing as iron, similarly the sins that we accumulate on our hearts are enough to corrupt and destroy our belief. So when we keep indulging in bad habits without feeling guilty and without asking Allah’s forgiveness then the heart loses its ability to see the truth. Therefore we should make sincere Taubah to Allah that He might forgive us and remove the effects of our sins from our hearts. Leading a careful life is surely not easy but if you keep the reward in mind then you can cross all obstacles that might come your way:

إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ {22}

Surely the righteous will be in bliss

If someone tells us that you will have to pay a certain price to get the supreme benefits of a lifetime, without any fear of loss, what would be your response? Surely we will rush towards it and even borrow money for the required investment. So what are we waiting for? Why don’t we rush towards the beautiful Paradise where every little thing will be exquisite in looks, delightful in fragrance and most refreshing in taste… just visualize the following scene:

تَعْرِفُ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ نَضْرَةَ النَّعِيمِ {24}يُسْقَوْنَ مِن رَّحِيقٍ مَّخْتُومٍ {25}خِتَامُهُ مِسْكٌ وَفِي ذَلِكَ فَلْيَتَنَافَسِ الْمُتَنَافِسُونَ {26}

And you will recognize in their faces the brightness of bliss. Their thirst will be quenched with the choicest sealed wine, and the seal will be of musk. Those who wish to excel above others, let them endeavour to excel in this.

Obviously this truth can only be felt with a believing heart. Otherwise those who are already trapped in the web of illusions can see no “logic” in following any religion so they make fun of the believers:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا كَانُواْ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يَضْحَكُونَ {29}

During their life on earth, the culprits used to mock at the believers

Some wrongdoers do feel in their hearts that they are not doing the right thing but they cannot accept it and so they hide their guilt by blaming others:

وَإِذَا رَأَوْهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّ هَؤُلَاء لَضَالُّونَ {32}

And when they saw the believers, they used to say: “These are the people who have surely gone astray,”

But this web of deception can hold them only for a little while. In the hereafter the truth will be as evident as the shining sun…

فَالْيَوْمَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ يَضْحَكُونَ {34}

On that Day, the believers shall be laughing at the unbelievers

Allah has given us such clear warnings but if we do not take any guidance from these surahs and verses then it is our own loss. On the day of judgement there will be no injustice at all. Everyone will get only what they worked for…

هَلْ ثُوِّبَ الْكُفَّارُ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ {36}

“Have not the unbelievers been fully rewarded for what they used to do?”

After such powerful words, I don’t know what else I can say except a dua that May Allah help us to see the truth in this world so that we don’t remain in any illusion. May He help us in self analysis and self purification so that we might attain His forgiveness and eternal success…inshaAllah

Surah Al-Inshiqaq

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah Al-Inshiqaq

Although we do read about the day of judgement in many surahs of the Quran yet I never truly experienced the impact of meeting Allah until I read surah Al-Inshiqaq. I felt like the purpose of my whole existence has been depicted in just one verse of this surah where Allah says that all your efforts in your life have one end. No matter where one lives on this earth, and no matter what his occupation might be, no matter what religion he might follow, what belief he has and whatever direction he might choose for his efforts, the fact is that all of us our moving towards one end and that is the standing before Allah. Day after day, step by step… we are on a non- stop journey which is taking us to that moment when each one of us will be standing in front of Allah, waiting for the final result of our life…

Life is a test and this universe is the answer sheet on which we write our deeds. When the test will be over there will be no more need of these things so Allah will order everything to collapse:

إِذَا السَّمَاء انشَقَّتْ {1}وَأَذِنَتْ لِرَبِّهَا وَحُقَّتْ {2}

When heaven will split asunder, obeying it Rabb’s command as it ought to.

Just imagine such a powerful and huge thing as the sky being so obedient and humble before its Lord and then compare it with our own size and our arrogance and disobedience… may Allah forgive us, how casually we treat his commands… But how far can we escape our responsibility towards Him?

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ إِنَّكَ كَادِحٌ إِلَى رَبِّكَ كَدْحًا فَمُلَاقِيهِ {6}

O mankind! Surely you must strive towards your Rabb, a hard striving, and then you shall meet Him.

I still remember the trembling of my heart in my school days, when at the end of the year we would be standing in lines, and the teacher would enter the classroom holding the stack of report cards. It used to be a moment of fear and regret… regret at wasting my time in useless things when I could have used it to study more thoroughly and fear of the consequences of my non serious attitude. But that used to be the end of just one term or year and the new class would begin with a new hope. So imagine what it will be like when the whole of one’s life will be assessed and there will be no retest, no new class in which to regain the loss…

فَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ {7}فَسَوْفَ يُحَاسَبُ حِسَابًا يَسِيرًا {8}وَيَنقَلِبُ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ مَسْرُورًا {9}

Then he, who will be given his Book of deeds in his right hand, shall have a quick and easy reckoning and shall return to his people rejoicing.

What a joy and what a relief it will be for the fortunate souls who will be forgiven by their Lord. These words of Allah create such a longing in me to be one of those people and I shudder to think of what will become of me if I am not successful in this war against the devil and the temptations of this world… just read the next verses and imagine the utter despair and misery of the people who took the day of judgement casually and made no effort to please Allah:

وَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ وَرَاء ظَهْرِهِ {10}فَسَوْفَ يَدْعُو ثُبُورًا {11}

But he who will be given his book of deeds from behind his back, shall soon be calling for death

Why are we not serious about our accountability? Why do we not prepare for our permanent life in the hereafter? It is because we think that this world is our home and life will just end after death…

إِنَّهُ ظَنَّ أَن لَّن يَحُورَ {14}بَلَى إِنَّ رَبَّهُ كَانَ بِهِ بَصِيرًا {15}

And thought that he would never return to Allah for accountability? Yet, surely his Rabb was ever watching over his misdeeds

Our test is to believe in the unseen; so that even if no roof collapses over my head if I miss a prayer but I should have belief in the punishment of the hereafter. Similarly I should have this conviction that Allah is going to reward me for my righteous deeds. Without this faith we can never follow Allah’s commands. Even in the physical world we see that ever action has a reaction, every act has a consequence… so then how can we assume that this life will have no consequence. Allah created these amazing signs in the universe but the question is: do we take the right lessons from it or not…

فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِالشَّفَقِ {16}

I swear by the glow of sunset;

Have you ever wondered why does the twilight have such a saddening effect on the heart, even though it is always glows with such spectacular colours? Because we know that this beauty is soon going to be covered in the darkness of the approaching night…

وَاللَّيْلِ وَمَا وَسَقَ {17}

By the night and all that it gathers together;

The sky is fascinating in all its changing colours and lights but surely the peak of its beauty is with a full moon… yet with all its magnificent charm and loveliness, it is also a reminder that nothing in this universe is going to remain forever:

وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا اتَّسَقَ {18}

By the moon, when it grows full

Allah has taken the oath of all of the above mentioned things to teach us a very important lesson… and that has been stated in the next ayat:

لَتَرْكَبُنَّ طَبَقًا عَن طَبَقٍ {19}

That you shall gradually pass from one stage to another.

What a simple yet the most accurate description of life… we all have to move from one stage to the next. And we cannot stop this journey no matter how comfortable we might be at any stage… we have to move to the next. So why should we waste our time in something that is going to end at the cost of something that is going to remain forever and ever? But those who don’t want to believe, will never accept the reality:

فَمَا لَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ {20}

What is the matter with the people that they do not believe?

We have to understand that our intelligence is limited to only a certain capacity and we cannot fully grasp the truth until we receive it directly from Allah. This is why Allah revealed the Quran and preserved it in its original form so that we might take the true guidance from it. But then it depends on our desire whether we want to be guided or not:

وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يُوعُونَ {23}

And Allah knows what they are hiding in their hearts.

Human beings can never be perfect and we do make mistakes but then we can readily wash them away by sincere Taubah. But if we insist that we are doing fine then gradually the small sins lead to bigger ones and the heart gets so corrupted that it is no longer able to lead a person towards any goodness… so what is going to be the end of it all? Can Allah’s disobedience give us anything except pain and humiliation?

فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ {24}

Therefore, proclaim to them a painful punishment

Why do people not surrender their lives for Allah? They have heard about the punishment of the hereafter but their hearts don’t really believe in it… why? Because they have this BIG misconception that if they follow Allah’s commands then they might be deprived of the pleasures and benefits of this world. They think it is a sort of punishment to limit yourself in the boundaries set by Allah. What a pity it is that they don’t know the secret which has been revealed by Allah in the Quran again and again that the pleasures and benefits which the disbelievers yearn for, are only for those who are obedient to Allah. May be in this world someone might be apparently enjoying life in disbelief and transgression but firstly the enjoyment is only superficial and inside there is a lot of pain and depression. Secondly the enjoyment or benefit is only for a limited time until death… after that only those will be rewarded with unending joy and peace who remained truthful to Allah even if they had to bear some pain or deprivation in this world…

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ {25}

Except those who embrace the true faith and do good deeds; for them there will be a never ending reward.

So now that we are alive and we have been given the power to choose between these two ways of life; what should be our choice? Limited pain for everlasting pleasure or limited pleasure for everlasting pain? May Allah give us the wisdom and strength to always stick to the right decisions… ameen

Surah Al-Burooj

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah Al-Burooj

Throughout the history of mankind, we can see that whenever people have spoken out against the injustice of a system, those who are benefitting from that injustice will try and suppress the voice of truth. And then they don’t stop at any limit… suppression turns into oppression and consequently leads to physical torture and even bloodshed. Although the one in power thinks that he can do anything he wants with the oppressed and weak people, but the fact is that they are in the direct grip of Allah and are preparing a pit of fire for themselves with their own deeds…. but they don’t know it and they don’t even want to be told or reminded of any consequence of their terrible sin. Surah Al-Burooj is a warning for all such criminals who torture the believers… and it begins with the oath of Allah’s most magnificent creation: the sky with its numerous stars and galaxies… and also the day when all of this will be destroyed…

وَالسَّمَاء ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ {1}وَالْيَوْمِ الْمَوْعُودِ {2}

By the heaven and its constellations! By the promised Day of Judgment!

When Allah takes oath, it is a matter of great importance because He doesn’t need any oath to prove His words… so any news which begins with an oath becomes even more worthy of attention…

وَشَاهِدٍ وَمَشْهُودٍ {3}

By the witnesses and that which is being witnessed!

This refers to an incident where a large number of Muslims were burnt alive because they had accepted the true faith. When some people commit such acts of cruelty they think they have gained a victory over the helpless people. But the fact is they have earned a severe punishment from Allah which will last forever and ever…

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ {10}

Those who persecute the believing men and believing women and do not repent, shall receive the punishment of hell, wherein they shall have the punishment of conflagration.

Sometimes it happens that people do believe in the truth of Islam but they are afraid of what people will say or do to them. Therefore Allah is reassuring us that no matter what consequences you might face in this life, Success is only for the believers who act according to their belief:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ {11}

As for those who believe and do good deeds, they shall have gardens beneath which rivers flow; which will be the greatest success.

It is a part of our test from Allah that He has given us a free choice whether to believe in Him or not, whether to obey him or not… it is up to us. He gives all the blessings of life to all the people whether they are believers or not…. so on one hand people mistake the free choice as a sign of being free from all responsibility and on the other hand they think of the blessings of life to be a sign of approval from Allah for whatever they are doing. The truth is that both these things are given as a test… we have to use this free choice to become obedient slaves of Allah otherwise the consequences are going to be unbearable:

إِنَّ بَطْشَ رَبِّكَ لَشَدِيدٌ {12}

Surely, the seizure of your Rabb is very severe

Sometimes we try our utmost to be obedient to Allah but the shaitan and the nafs together make us so weak that we commit mistakes… even blunders! And then one starts to feel hopeless but Allah comes to our rescue… with these beautiful words:

وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ {14}

He is the Forgiving, the Loving,

Although these attributes of Allah are meant to make us even more alert and obedient to Allah because they create such a strong feeling of love and devotion for the one who loves us so much and forgives us so many times; but alas we have used the same words as a sort of escape from our responsibility. Even if someone else reminds us about our mistakes we are ready to use this excuse: “surely this little thing doesn’t matter… Allah is forgiving so he will forgive me”… Allah wants us to come out of these self deceptions so He asks:

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْجُنُودِ {17}فِرْعَوْنَ وَثَمُودَ {18}

Have you not heard the story of the warriors? of Fir’on (Pharaoh) and of Thamüd?

The examples of these prosperous and powerful nations have been mentioned so clearly in the Quran. What is the lesson that we learn from it? That Allah will never forgive disbelief and arrogance…. but those who don’t want to accept the truth will continue to deny it:

بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي تَكْذِيبٍ {19}

Yet the unbelievers persist in denying the truth,

Hiding from the truth cannot change the truth… Allah’s decisions are eternal:

وَاللَّهُ مِن وَرَائِهِم مُّحِيطٌ {20}

Although Allah has encircled them from all around.

The biggest truth in this world is the Quran and all the confusions and debates about religion originate from not having a direct relationship with our true source of knowledge. So if we want to come out of our problems then we will have to turn back to the pure truth…

بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَّجِيدٌ {21}فِي لَوْحٍ مَّحْفُوظٍ {22}

Surely this is a Glorious Qur’an, inscribed on an Imperishable Tablet.

Surah At-Tariq

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah At-Tariq

The sky is surely a magnificent creation of Allah. We can see it only from a limited perspective but now with the advent of science and technology, we have access to amazing pictures and images taken from telescopes and satellites. The more we see these pictures the greater is the awe and wonder at the Greatness of Allah who has created this entire universe and then created man with these amazing abilities to discover all the mysteries of the countless stars and galaxies. The logical conclusion of all this knowledge and research should have been a deeper awareness of Allah and a longing to seek His closeness through obedience and devotion but mostly people get trapped in the magnificence of these “objects” without connecting themselves with the Creator. There are those who have decided that the only job of a Muslim is to remain busy in acts of worship. While a majority have rejected these rituals all together, on the pretext that it is more important for a Muslim to be active in the knowledge of the world and make his life better by gaining more and more resources. But the real truth is that our purpose in life is to worship Allah according to His commands and one of His commands is that we should ponder on the signs of the universe to get greater awareness and understanding of Allah…

وَالسَّمَاء وَالطَّارِقِ {1}وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الطَّارِقُ {2}النَّجْمُ الثَّاقِبُ {3}

By the heaven and by the visitant by night, and what will explain to you what the visitant by night is? It is the star of piercing brightness.

The purpose of these oaths is to bring our attention to a very important fact which has been stated in the next ayah:

إِن كُلُّ نَفْسٍ لَّمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌ {4}

Certainly, over each soul there is an appointed guardian angel.

We all know that life is a test and we are answerable for all our deeds. Then isn’t it strange that we lie, backbite, cheat… so fearlessly? Why? Don’t we know that we will be punished for our sins? On the other hand we are so lazy and casual about good deeds. The problem is that we don’t really have this feeling that someone is watching over us. You can easily verify this statement by observing the difference in your attitude when you are alone and when in the company of people who are important to you. What brings this positive change? The knowledge that people are watching you makes you speak politely, act generously etc. Allah knows this weakness of ours and that is why He reminds us that we should be always on our best behaviour because we are being watched…!!!

The other reason for being casual about life is that we have an unrealistic, high opinion about ourselves. No one will admit that he thinks highly of himself but just look at his face if someone criticizes him and breaks his shell of superiority… or feel the state of your heart if you are ignored or “underestimated”… In fact this sense of superiority which is called arrogance or “takabbur” is the root of all evil. And we should do our best to get rid of this hidden enemy which lurks in the darkest corners of our hearts. One way to crush it is to ponder on our origin:

فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ {5}خُلِقَ مِن مَّاء دَافِقٍ {6}

Let man consider from what he is created! He is created from an emitted fluid

With such a humble origin… what right do we have to any superiority? The only thing which can really make us great is to become the most humble slave of Allah. This does not just mean that we adorn ourselves with some artificial cloak of piety… rather this piety and righteousness should be deeply embedded in our thoughts. Because soon there will come a day when all our hidden truths will be revealed… That is the day of judgement in which there will be no power and no help:

يَوْمَ تُبْلَى السَّرَائِرُ {9}فَمَا لَهُ مِن قُوَّةٍ وَلَا نَاصِرٍ {10}

On the Day when the hidden secrets will be brought to scrutiny, then he will have neither power of his own nor any helper to save him from the punishment of Allah.

Again Allah takes the oath of the sky and the earth:

وَالسَّمَاء ذَاتِ الرَّجْعِ {11}وَالْأَرْضِ ذَاتِ الصَّدْعِ {12}

By the sky (having rain clouds) which sends down rain and by the earth which is ever bursting with new growth

We see rain falling and we only think of the benefit it might bring to the crops or the inconvenience caused by the water on the roads… how many of us ponder and see Allah’s power and glory in this miracle? We have become so materialistic that our hearts have been covered with the trivial concerns of this world and they cannot see beyond the obvious. That is why it is so important to listen to these words of Quran so that our hearts might come alive and experience the closeness of Allah:

إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلٌ فَصْلٌ {13}وَمَا هُوَ بِالْهَزْلِ {14}

Surely this Qur’an is a decisive word, and it is no joke.

But the question arises here that if Quran was such an eye opener then why are Muslims not as successful as the other nations of the world? The reason is that we got trapped in the web of material glamour and distanced ourselves from this true knowledge. Even now if we come back to this truth we can rise in the world… but for that we have to accept this reality that we can never succeed on our own and we need to have Allah’s support and His mercy. The devil and his followers will always try to take us away from the truth but they cannot force us to do anything if we refuse to fall in their deceptions:

إِنَّهُمْ يَكِيدُونَ كَيْدًا {15}وَأَكِيدُ كَيْدًا {16} فَمَهِّلِ الْكَافِرِينَ أَمْهِلْهُمْ رُوَيْدًا {17}

These unbelievers are plotting a scheme…and I, too, am plotting a scheme. Therefore, leave the unbelievers alone. Leave them alone for a while.

So it is high time that we should stop blaming other people for our lack of goodness. Rather, we must focus with utmost clarity on our own character and try to get rid of bad habits and replace them with good ones. Read the Quran and look at the true reality of life. And create a strong bond with Allah through devoted and sincere worship. Spread this message of peace to the whole world. And if people oppose you or threaten you then remember that Allah’s help and His Judgement is very near…

Surah Al-A’la

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

When I had first studied the Quran few years ago, I had been filled with instant enthusiasm and optimism that all my confusions have been cleared and now I can easily follow the truth which has been made so easy and clear by Allah. But I soon realized that understanding the goodness of a religion is not going to put me on its path automatically. There are obstacles all around which I must overcome to reach my destination. And it took me some time before I reached the conclusion that the biggest obstacle is not outside but my own self. This realization gave me even more incentive to find some cure… something to clean my heart. Today when I discovered these amazing lessons of Surah Al-A’la, I felt like I have found that “healing medicine” which can cure all the diseases of the heart. Its first dose is to glorify Allah with His beautiful names:

سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى {1}

Glorify the name of your Rabb, the Most High

The first step towards healing is peace and so we should bring peace into our hearts with Allah’s remembrance. Secondly we should take out some time from our busy schedules in which to contemplate on His creation because it increases our love for the Creator who not only made everything in perfect balance but also guided it:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّى {2}وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَى {3}

Who has created all things and perfected them. Who has set their destinies and guided them

These words remind us of a very important fact that just as Allah guided my eyes to see, my ears to hear… similarly He will guide my heart to follow the complete truth… But he gives this guidance to those who ask for it, who really and truly yearn for it and prove their desire by their acts of righteousness. There is so much in this world to see and use but none of these things is permanent… every climax has an anti-climax; as is evident in the next ayahs:

وَالَّذِي أَخْرَجَ الْمَرْعَى {4}فَجَعَلَهُ غُثَاء أَحْوَى {5}

Who brings forth green pasture, then reduces it to black rubbish.

Only one thing is permanent and that is the word of Allah. This is never going to change in any way at all. Allah has promised to preserve the Quran in its original form forever and ever. The first proof of this preservation was that our Prophet (s.a.w) used to retain each and every word as it was revealed to Him; and afterwards when He used to recite it to His companions, they also memorised it word to word:

سَنُقْرِؤُكَ فَلَا تَنسَى {6}

Soon We shall make you recite Our revelations so you shall forget none of them.

This was Allah’s promise to His Messenger (s.a.w) that even though the path of righteousness is full of thorns, yet Allah will make it easy for Him:

وَنُيَسِّرُكَ لِلْيُسْرَى {8}

We shall make it easy for you to follow the easy way.

Although these assurances were being directed to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) yet the Quran is for all mankind… so we should also have this firm hope in our hearts that if we stay committed to the true way of life then Allah will make it easy for us. There are two ways to achieve this ease… one is to do something consistently and sincerely. The more you tread on a path, the less difficult it seems… practise makes perfect!! Secondly you should share your ideas with others… Help others to make the right choices in their lives:

فَذَكِّرْ إِن نَّفَعَتِ الذِّكْرَى {9}

Therefore remind (others), surely reminder does benefit.

Sometimes it happens that your advice is very good and sincere but your way of conveying it is not effective. Most people then blame others and feel frustrated. Finally they give up saying “what is the use of telling others when they don’t even listen to me”. Here Allah is assuring us that giving good advice to others is always beneficial… even if others don’t listen to you, remember that the most attentive listener is your own heart and it will surely benefit from the good words… But the basic ingredient which makes our deeds effective is fear of Allah, fear of consequences…

سَيَذَّكَّرُ مَن يَخْشَى {10}

He who fears Allah will heed the reminder.

No matter how beneficial something might be, there will always be those who remain deprived of it… simply because their hearts and minds have become blind to their own destruction:

وَيَتَجَنَّبُهَا الْأَشْقَى {11} الَّذِي يَصْلَى النَّارَ الْكُبْرَى {12}

And he who is unfortunate will avoid the reminder; the one who shall burn in the gigantic fire.

Imagine the fire of hell… it is seventy times more severe than the fire which we see in this world. Can we even bear to be close to it? So what will be the state of a person who will be burning in that unimaginably hot furnace… even death will not come for his rescue:

ثُمَّ لَا يَمُوتُ فِيهَا وَلَا يَحْيَى {13}

Where he shall neither die nor live.

The only thing which can make us remove our bad habits and sins, is to think of ourselves in this situation. Because if we think we are not likely to fall in this category then there can be no hope for any self analysis or self improvement… which are the keys of success:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّى {14}

The one who will take admonition and purify himself shall be successful.

Since there can be no Falah or success without Tazkiyah or self purification; we should understand in clear terms what it actually means. Basically it means that you analyze your characteristics and get rid of the bad habits and replace them with good ones. And then two more ingredients:

وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّى {15}

Who remembers the name of his Rabb and prays.

Apparently it looks so “do-able” but then surely there must be some hidden problem due to which so few people seem to come even close to this kind of piety… So what is stopping us from self purification? Is Allah’s remembrance really difficult? Can we not read our salah regularly and on time? What is the hindrance?

بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا {16}

But O men! You prefer the life of this world.

This is the reason behind every evil… the root cause of all our diseases of hearts… the love for instant benefits is so great that it covers the intellect and so we forget that our real benefit will be in the real life…. which will be so much better and everlasting…

وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى {17}

While the Hereafter is better and everlasting.

The concept of the hereafter is present in all religions because all the teachings were basically from Allah even though later on people distorted these facts by adding their own philosophies in it… but these teachings are present in all books:

إِنَّ هَذَا لَفِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَى {18}صُحُفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى {19}

Surely the same was said in the earlier scriptures; the scriptures of Ibrãhïm (Abraham) and Musa (Moses).

So basically this surah triggers our hearts towards the greater success of the hereafter and it is so obvious that if you plan for a big success then the achievements of this world will also come to you as an additional bonus from Allah… but if you trade your big investment for small, petty gains of this world then that is all you will get… and nothing more. The choice is ours and help is all from Allah… May He enable us to reap the maximum benefit from our lives and save us from failure and destruction… ameen

Surah Al-Ghashiyah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Sometimes I wonder why there is so much contradiction in our faith and actions. We believe Allah to be the All-Mighty, All-Powerful; yet we fear people more than we fear Allah. We have faith that Allah is the Provider of all our needs yet we are more concerned with people’s approval and pleasure, instead of worrying whether Allah is pleased with us or not. And we believe that our life is in the Hereafter, yet we are so involved in this world that it seems as if it is our final destination. That is why when we have to bear any loss of this world we feel like there is nothing more to live for. Why? If we were living for Akhirah then we can never have this feeling of total loss, no matter how great a tragedy might be. We would still have the hope of Akhirah.

But to become “Akhirah oriented” we need to be reminded again and again that this event is sure to come and we better be prepared for it…

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ {1}

Has the news of the over shadowing event of resurrection reached you?

Just imagine the time when all the human beings, from beginning of this world till the end, will be resurrected and brought in front of Allah to receive the payment of their deeds. There will be some people who will have worked so hard but their efforts were lost in the wrong direction… earning them nothing but pain of regret and humiliation:

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَاشِعَةٌ {2}عَامِلَةٌ نَّاصِبَةٌ {3}

On that Day some faces shall be downcast… Working hard and worn out.

On the surface it seems unfair to punish a hard working person but imagine the example of a people who were given the task of building houses and they spend their energy in destroying the houses… what will be the payment of their “hard work”? Similarly Allah sent us to this world to live as His obedient slaves and act on His commands, but if we don’t even care what His commands are then how can we even hope for any reward? It is sheer foolishness which will become apparent on that day…

تَصْلَى نَارًا حَامِيَةً {4}تُسْقَى مِنْ عَيْنٍ آنِيَةٍ {5}

Scorching in the blazing fire, given to drink from a boiling fountain.

Simultaneously there will be some people glowing with pleasure:

وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاعِمَةٌ {8}لِسَعْيِهَا رَاضِيَةٌ {9}

While some faces on that Day shall be radiant… well pleased with their endeavours.

What a great feeling it is when after a long hard day, your efforts are appreciated. It is this feeling which makes a person shine with delight… Thus the believers who had devoted their lives for Allah and sacrificed the temporary pleasures for the sake of Akhirah will get their precious rewards…

فِي جَنَّةٍ عَالِيَةٍ {10}

(They will be) in a lofty garden.

We dream about houses with beautiful rugs and cushions, and spend so much time and money in beautifying our temporary homes but the furnishings of Akhirah are much better and everlasting:

وَأَكْوَابٌ مَّوْضُوعَةٌ {14}وَنَمَارِقُ مَصْفُوفَةٌ {15}وَزَرَابِيُّ مَبْثُوثَةٌ {16}

With goblets placed before them; silky cushions ranged in order and fine carpets richly spread.

These ayahs are like photographs of some exotic place and they make us yearn to be among those who reach this level of success. But the disbelievers make fun of such promises that how can they be true… how can dead people become alive and then start leading another life of extreme pain or extreme pleasure. Allah says: have they not seen my creation? Is it not amazing? If I can make “this” happen then I can make “that” happen as well…

أَفَلَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ {17}وَإِلَى السَّمَاء كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ {18}

Do they not look at the camels, how they were created? The heaven, how it was raised high?

Out of all animals Allah has chosen the camel… so we must do some research to see the amazing qualities of this animal which will make us aware of Allah’s Power of creation. And then look at the sky from one end to the other and imagine that it is only half of it which we see. There is a similar roof on the other side of the world as well… How amazing it is to realize that even this fact used to appear as fiction to people of early times. So what appears as fiction to us now, might also be a hard fact… the sooner we realize it, the better:

فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ {21}

So keep on giving admonition, for you are an admonisher

The Prophet (s.a.w) was being assured by Allah that his responsibility was to teach the people but if they chose to remain ignorant then he will not be asked about it…

لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُصَيْطِرٍ {22}

You are not a taskmaster over them.

This principle must be remembered by all those who commit themselves to serve Allah… sometimes we become very harsh with people… it is because we become impatient and want that whatever we convey must be accepted and implemented then and there. We must remember that human beings cannot be forced to believe in anything. So our job is to convey the truth and leave the rest to Allah… He alone is sufficient to judge people:

إِنَّ إِلَيْنَا إِيَابَهُمْ {25}ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا حِسَابَهُمْ {26}

Surely to Us is their return, then surely it is for Us to take their account.

Although it relieves us from the accountability of people yet we should forever be worrying about our accountability to Allah which we can never escape no matter how pious or righteous we think ourselves to be. May Allah save us from all illusions and guide us to the thoughts, words and actions which He likes best… Ameen

Surah Al-Fajr

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The magnificence and glory of Allah is most visible at Fajr… the time when the blanket of night is pierced by the glow of the rising sun… and the world begins to light up like magic. It is a time of hope and a beginning of a new day, a new life, a new chance to accomplish all the things which we want to do. If people knew this and took advantage of the blessings of this time, there would be no more “depression”…no more tension… But we remain sleeping at his blessed time and deprive ourselves of the rays of hope and enthusiasm which Allah sends for people who remember Him at Fajr…

وَالْفَجْرِ {1}

By the morning

When Allah takes oath of something, it is to focus our attention to that specific sign of His existence. Whether it is the morning or the amazing darkness which looks so permanent yet goes away so imperceptibly that we can’t even perceive its movement…

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَسْرِ {4}

And the night when it departs!

Obviously the purpose of observing nature is not an end in itself; rather the objective is to learn some important lesson… so Allah asks this question to make us think and evaluate and reach the conclusion:

هَلْ فِي ذَلِكَ قَسَمٌ لِّذِي حِجْرٍ {5}

Is there not in these an oath (enough evidence) for those who use their common sense?

Allah does not dictate the answers; rather He wants us to use our intellect… So here comes the second question:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِعَادٍ {6}

Have you not seen how your Rabb dealt with ‘Ad?

Obviously we haven’t seen this incident with our eyes, but Allah has told us about the people of “Aad” many times in the Quran. So why does He want us to think about them again? Surely there must be something related to the signs of day and night… But if we fail to understand the connection then look at the next two ayahs… maybe we can find some clue…

وَثَمُودَ الَّذِينَ جَابُوا الصَّخْرَ بِالْوَادِ {9}وَفِرْعَوْنَ ذِي الْأَوْتَادِ {10}

And with the people of Thamüd who hewed out their dwellings in the rocks of the valley? And with Fir’on (Pharaoh) the owner of stakes?

All of the above three examples are of people who were the superpowers of their time. Wealth and prosperity were abundant. But they made one fatal error:

الَّذِينَ طَغَوْا فِي الْبِلَادِ {11}فَأَكْثَرُوا فِيهَا الْفَسَادَ {12}

They all transgressed beyond bounds in their cities, and committed great mischief therein.

When people become arrogant and destructive they forget that they will themselves be enveloped by the same fire which they burn for others… Allah’s punishment is very swift:

فَصَبَّ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّكَ سَوْطَ عَذَابٍ {13}

Therefore, your Rabb let loose on them His scourge of torment.

So what does all of this teach us? It is not just a story of the past which we hear and brush aside… but a lesson to learn. The lesson is that if someone is disobedient to Allah then all of his power and wealth cannot save him from Allah’s wrath… Similarly the night and day are not just times to sleep and get up mechanically but reminders of life and death… and most importantly it is a proof of resurrection. Watching the rising sun makes us realize that death is not a permanent state… just like the night turns into the day, one day we will wake up from our graves… to face the consequence of our actions…

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَبِالْمِرْصَادِ {14}

Surely your Rabb is ever watchful.

Even though we believe in these statements yet we don’t seem to apply these lessons in our lives… the problem is that we have remained so far away from the first hand knowledge of Quran and Hadith that even our basic concepts about life are not realistic… we think of every situation as the final end and behave accordingly:

فَأَمَّا الْإِنسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ {15}

As for man, when his Rabb tries him through giving him honour and blessings, he says: “My Rabb is bountiful to me.”

Just recall any triumph of your life and remember your reaction… did you remember that it is a test? Were you concerned how to give shukr? Did it increase you in your worship and obedience of Allah? Because this is what the test is all about… whether in happiness or in sorrow… Allah’s pleasure should be our biggest concern. But it is our ignorance that when Allah gives us any blessing, we think we have a very honourable status in Allah’s eyes; so instead of becoming humble and obedient we become proud and careless. On the other hand when the test comes in the form of unpleasant situations, we become resentful and angry with Allah’s decisions:

وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِ {16}

But when He tries him through restricting his subsistence, he says: “My Rabb has humiliated me.”

Obviously this kind of attitude has a painful outcome in the hereafter but even in this life, it has a direct effect on our character. The worldly status has become everything to us. Therefore even if we outwardly help the poor people, we don’t think of them as worthy of any respect or honour:

كَلَّا بَل لَّا تُكْرِمُونَ الْيَتِيمَ {17}

Nay! But you did not give respect to the orphan,

The fact is that Muslims have forgotten their responsibility of helping others… and are just running after their personal interests:

وَتَأْكُلُونَ التُّرَاثَ أَكْلًا لَّمًّا {19}وَتُحِبُّونَ الْمَالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا {20}

Man is busy building towers of wealth and extravagance while the reality is that these are like sand houses which will all be washed up by a single wave of the hereafter:

كَلَّا إِذَا دُكَّتِ الْأَرْضُ دَكًّا دَكًّا {21}

Nay! You should know, when the earth will be pounded to powder,

And when the hellfire will be brought forward, all illusions will disappear like smoke…

وَجِيءَ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِجَهَنَّمَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ وَأَنَّى لَهُ الذِّكْرَى {23}

Hell shall be brought in sight. On that Day man will remember his deeds, but how is that remembrance going to profit him?

What is the use of understanding the errors when there is no more chance for correction? But the regret will be so overpowering that he will cry out:

يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي قَدَّمْتُ لِحَيَاتِي {24}

He will say: “Alas! Would that I had sent forth some good deeds for this life of mine.”

You see this is the crux of the matter: we think this is life and so we do nothing for “our real life”… the life which has yet to begin… Allah keeps telling us… but only a few fortunate people believe in it to such an extent that they fulfil all their responsibilities… both to Allah and to people. Such lucky souls shall get the good news from the angels:

يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ {27}ارْجِعِي إِلَى رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً {28}

“O fully satisfied soul! Return to your Rabb, well pleased with Him and well-pleasing to Him.

Death seems to us like an end but if we see with the eyes of our hearts, it is nothing but a new beginning… if we want to have a good life there, then we will have to make utmost struggle in this life and not waste it in ignorance and illusions. Although that life in the hereafter is unseen, yet if we use our hearts we can see it as clearly as the words we read in the Quran…

May Allah guide us to the best efforts and the best results… because true faith is not gained by just thinking or desiring… rather it has to be earned by sincere deeds and lots of duas.

Surah Al-Balad

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The journey of life is different for different individuals. We all have our own stories of happiness and sorrow, success and failures, achievements and disappointments. But one thing is common between all of us that we have to constantly endure the trials of life. We make so much effort to avoid hardships but as soon as we solve one problem, sooner or later, it is followed by another one. That is why most of us become frustrated and often blame others for our problems; which is again a problem in itself! But then what is the solution? How can we come out of these difficulties? The answer is that we have made life difficult because of our wrong expectations and if we want peace then we will have to accept and understand the reality of life. The truth is that life is a test and tests are supposed to put us in a constant state of effort. If someone goes into an examination hall and expects to relax and enjoy, then he is himself creating his disappointment. Thus our real problem is that we don’t realize that life was meant to be hard, and that our purpose is to keep striving towards Allah’s pleasure in all situations.

To fully understand this concept we must study the life of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) therefore Allah reminds us of the city where it all began so many centuries ago…

لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَذَا الْبَلَدِ {1}وَأَنتَ حِلٌّ بِهَذَا الْبَلَدِ {2}
I swear by this city (of Makkah)… You (O Muhammad) are free of restrictions in this city,

Makkah is the most beloved place to Allah yet life was not easy for the people living there. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) is the most beloved to Allah, yet his life was full of extreme hardships. But we see that there is not a single Hadith in which there is any complaint or misery for his problems. Thus Allah says:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي كَبَدٍ {4}

Certainly We have created man to be in hardship.

But most people live in the illusion that they can make their lives secure by acquiring a lot of money. They crave for it day and night and don’t care where it is coming from… or in what way it is being spent:

يَقُولُ أَهْلَكْتُ مَالًا لُّبَدًا {6}

He boasts: “I have squandered wealth in abundance!”

Allah created the human beings with such a fine intellect, then how can they act so foolishly? Hasn’t Allah provided for all the means of acquiring knowledge and wisdom?

أَلَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ عَيْنَيْنِ {8}

Have We not given him two eyes to observe?

Allah has spread His signs all around us and also gave us the intellect which can differentiate between right and wrong. This is Allah’s biggest blessing on us for which we should be extremely grateful:

وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْنِ {10}

Then shown him the two high ways (good leading towards paradise and evil leading towards hell)?

After getting all these things why do we still not follow the right path? It is the same problem which I mentioned earlier… our love of ease. Yes, it is not ignorance or lack of abilities which is keeping the Muslims of this world in such a pitiable state; rather it is the love of ease and enjoyment which has made us lazy and lethargic. So now we don’t want to work hard for anything. Neither for this world, nor for the Akhirah:

فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ {11}وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ {12}

Yet he does not attempt to tackle the Aqabah (steep path)! And what will explain to you what the Aqabah is?

Imagine that all rewards are for struggle… the more you struggle the more rewards you get. If this is the concept of success then what will be your choice? Obviously you will choose struggle over entertainment… so imagine the mountaineers on a steep climbing path on a dangerous cliff… on each step they have to hold on for their life, with aching limbs and a pounding heart… they climb on and on… what makes them do so even though they are not even doing it for the hereafter? It is because it gives them extreme joy of accomplishing an extremely difficult task. So what can be the joy of a believer who climbs this steep path of life for the sake of Allah and the hereafter?

Here Allah tells us about the things which are most difficult to do yet the most pleasing in Allah’s eyes:

فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ {13}أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ {14}

It is the freeing of a slave from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of extreme hunger.

On surface they appear as simple tasks but imagine going to a court and trying to release any prisoner who has been held by false charges? Who would even think of those people? And then how many would actually go and put their time, effort and energy into freeing the enslaved people held in captivity? And the other thing is feeding people… you might think so many people do charity work but here Allah is talking about a situation where there is some food crisis… extreme hunger… starvation… who will give people in such a crisis when your own supplies are in jeopardy? Many well off people give charities but what is their attitude to their own poor relatives?

يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ {15}أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ {16}

To an orphan of near relationship, or to a needy person in distress;

To climb a mountain you need a specific outfit and shoes etc. Similarly for this steep path of struggle we need three important tools… Faith, patience and mercy:

ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ {17}

And then, he should be among those who believe, and advise one another towards patience, and encourage kindness and compassion.

Faith is most important because if we want the reward from Allah then we must do it for his pleasure and according to his pleasure. For such a person is the complete success:

أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ {18}

Such are the companions of the right (going towards paradise)

As for those who insist that their own thinking is more precious than the words of Allah, and their own pleasure is more important than the pleasure of Allah… they have been warned of a painful punishment:

وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِنَا هُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ {19}عَلَيْهِمْ نَارٌ مُّؤْصَدَةٌ {20}

But those who disbelieve Our revelations, they are the companions of the left, having fire all around them.

So this is the message of this surah… stop wishing for paradise in this world… get up from laziness and start working for the Real Paradise which Allah has prepared for His hard-working believers… help others for Allah’s sake and Allah will help us too… InshaAllah

Surah Ash-Shams

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

When I was a child I used to believe that the sun is revolving around the earth… later on as a young student of science I came to know that in fact it is the earth which is revolving round its axis and so when we come in front of the sun we have daylight and as we go towards the other side, we enter darkness. As I became familiar with this concept, I also learned another very important lesson that if we want to reach the truth then we have to do research because our eyes do not always see the real picture. This is the thought which led me to the Quran and Hadith because I wanted to find out the “real truth” about my religion and could not blindly follow the apparent trends.

So Alhamdulillah, it turned out to be such a pleasure to be taught about the absolute truth in the Quran, a book in which there is no doubt at all… Because who could tell us the truth about life better than the one who created this life? Who could be more knowledgeable than Him, more truthful than Him? And when He, the Almighty, takes oath of something, it sort of scares me… have we become so obstinate in our denial that we need an oath from Him? And even then we don’t listen to Him?

This Surah too starts with a lot of oaths as if to awaken us from our heedlessness:

وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا {1}
وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلَاهَا {2}

By the sun and its brightness; and by the moon, as it follows the sun

Who can say that they have never observed the sun or the moon? But how many of us remember Allah through these miraculous signs of His creation? How enormous is this great ball of fire which continues to give us heat and light day after day… can we even imagine any life without it? And the moon so beautiful and mesmerising; reflecting the same light but in an entirely different tone… How great must be the creator of these great objects?

وَالسَّمَاءِ وَمَا بَنَاهَا {5}
وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا {6}

By the heaven and Him Who made it; and by the earth and Him Who spread it

If Allah had wished so, He could have given intellect to all His creatures but He selected only the human beings for this great honour…

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا {7}
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا {8}

By the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with evil and good characteristics

But this honour is also the biggest test for us, because on one hand we have been given a natural tendency towards goodness; but on the other hand there is an evil instinct present in all of us. So if we want to be successful then we have to purify our inner self because we cannot be really good without a good heart…

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا {9}
وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا {10}

Indeed successful will be the one who purifies it and indeed destroyed is he who corrupts it!

It makes me feel like Allah has given each one of us a separate garden full of good plants as well as harmful weeds. If we do not pull out these useless weeds then they will eat up the good plants no matter how beautiful or healthy they are. If I want my garden to be the best then I have to be very careful and consistent in keeping it clean of all bad things. Same is the case of my heart. The moment I feel any bad thought coming into it, I have to pull it out before it turns into a parasite which will eat up my good ideas and optimism. On the other hand, the good ideas also cannot be left idle… I have to nourish them by putting them into action. The more I practise my faith, the more it grows. Otherwise it will be wasted. So the battle of good and bad is the test of our life. The unfortunate people are those who have not understood this fact and are blindly running towards destruction. Allah gives the example of one such nation:

كَذَّبَتْ ثَمُودُ بِطَغْوَاهَا {11}

The people of Thamüd denied the truth because of their arrogant transgression

Allah had sent to them Prophet Salih (a.s) to warn them, so that they would mend their ways but instead of listening to his advice they demanded for a miracle. Thus Allah sent to them a huge she-camel and commanded them that they were not to harm it in any way. But they did not care for any warnings and thought that they could do what they wished… not realizing that Allah’s punishment will be swift and powerful:

فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَعَقَرُوهَا فَدَمْدَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِذَنْبِهِمْ فَسَوَّاهَا {14}

They disbelieved him and hamstrung her. Therefore, for that crime, their Rabb let loose His scourge upon them and levelled them to the ground.

This story of the people of Thamud is a great warning for us. So many times I have observed that we take Allah’s commands very lightly. Some people don’t even want to listen to any warning or advice. And then there are those who show interest in knowing the truth but when it is told to them they think that it is their own choice whether they want to follow it or not. We have to understand that although we do have a choice but it is a test from Allah. He wants to see which one of us “chooses” to obey Him. So if we look at it with open eyes we can see that there really is only one choice… and that is to be the most humble and obedient slaves of Allah… the true embodiment of the word “Muslim”… not just in name but in character and deeds. May Allah help us to make the right choice… ameen.

Surah Al-Layl

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

When I look back and remember the time in which I did not know anything about the Quran or Hadith, it seems to me like a dark tunnel from which Allah took me out and led me towards the light of awareness. So today when I was reading Surah Al-Layl I felt like it is the story of my life. In the Islamic calendar every new date begins right after sunset. So first we have night and then the day…

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَىٰ {1}
وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا تَجَلَّىٰ {2}

By the night, when it covers with darkness; and by the day, when it spreads its brightness.

Light and its different shades, play a very important part in our life. But mostly we are so busy in our routine lives that we don’t observe how the position of the sun keeps changing through the seasons and how the quality of life is affected with its changing light. Why does the day seem so cheerful and friendly; and what makes the night so gloomy and mysterious? It seems like a completely different world, although the only thing which has changed is the light… In the same way the light of the heart determines our attitude in life. Apparently a group of people working under the same roof appear to be leading the same life, but in reality they all have different goals and visions according to their level of awareness:

إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّىٰ {4}

Surely your efforts are directed towards various ends.

Although Allah has made the entire mankind with a vast variety of traits and given them endless choices to pursue their careers and lives yet the basic test of life is to come up to the standards of goodness set by Allah…

فَأَمَّا مَنْ أَعْطَىٰ وَاتَّقَىٰ {5}

So for him who gives in charity, and fears Allah

This is the most important quality… to be generous and open hearted. Sharing whatever Allah has given us with the less fortunate people. To care for the needs of others, not just hoarding everything for one’s own self… but the true believer does not feel impressed with his efforts. He lives a very careful life and tries his utmost to save himself from Allah’s anger and punishment. This is the feeling of “Taqwa” which helps him to stay away from arrogance and conceit. Most people think that it is very difficult to stay on the right track and it is not simply possible to live according to Islam… but Allah tells us the simplest solution for all problems… and that is to accept the truth:

وَصَدَّقَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ {6}
فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْيُسْرَىٰ {7}

And testifies to goodness, We shall facilitate for him the easy way.

Although guidance is in Allah’s hands but He is promising to make the path of guidance easy for those who accept it to be the right way. And those who keep trying to prove that it is inapplicable then surely Allah makes it inapplicable for them:

وَأَمَّا مَنْ بَخِلَ وَاسْتَغْنَىٰ {8}
وَكَذَّبَ بِالْحُسْنَىٰ {9}
فَسَنُيَسِّرُهُ لِلْعُسْرَىٰ {10}

As for him who is stingy and considers himself independent of Allah, and rejects the goodness, We shall facilitate for him the hard way.

The main reason why people are reluctant to accept the truth is that they are too much in love with their worldly interests. Running after wealth and power has become their purpose of existence… not realizing that it will not benefit them at all…

وَمَا يُغْنِي عَنْهُ مَالُهُ إِذَا تَرَدَّىٰ {11}

Just think! What benefit will he get from his wealth, if he himself is doomed?

Allah has kept the hereafter hidden from our eyes as a test otherwise the paradise and hell have been “shown” in the Quran and Hadith, with utmost clarity. Now it is up to us whether we have faith in His warnings or not:

فَأَنْذَرْتُكُمْ نَارًا تَلَظَّىٰ {14}
لَا يَصْلَاهَا إِلَّا الْأَشْقَى {15}

Therefore, I warn you of the blazing fire, in which none shall burn except the wretched

There is only one way that we can save ourselves from this unimaginable torture… and that is by spending whatever we have, for His pleasure… not as a means of gaining some worldly awards or appreciation but only for the pleasure of our Lord:

وَمَا لِأَحَدٍ عِنْدَهُ مِنْ نِعْمَةٍ تُجْزَىٰ {19}
إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ رَبِّهِ الْأَعْلَىٰ {20}

Not seeking any favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, except seeking the good pleasure of his Rabb, the Most High.

It is surely not an easy decision to give up the false security of a familiar way of life, and choose an entirely different path, but it is just a matter of belief and trust in Allah. The moment you take the first step, Allah’s mercy envelops you like a protecting embrace… there is no other thing which can satisfy our hearts because we were made for submission and until we truly submit we can never find the true happiness…

وَلَسَوْفَ يَرْضَىٰ {21}

Such persons shall soon be well-pleased with Allah.

Surah Ad-Dhuha

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

This is one of my most beloved surahs of the Quran because it became known to me at a time when I most needed it. It was the spring of 2005… I had been listening to the tafseer of the Quran for more than a year and had reached the 18th chapter, but quite often it seemed to me like my heart was still not free from negative and depressive thoughts. And it used to hurt me a lot that why the Quran is not having a permanent healing effect on me. Why did I keep falling back to the same self-pity and hopelessness… so one night when I couldn’t sleep due to restlessness and anxiety, I just picked a book lying on my shelf, thinking that by reading a few pages I might be able to find some peace… the book was about the life of the Prophet (s.a.w) and I started reading the same page where it had opened on its own. At first I couldn’t properly focus on the words but after a few lines there was an excerpt from the translation of the Quran which held my heart with its stunning effect…

وَالضُّحَىٰ {1} وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَىٰ {2}

By the morning brightness, and by the night when it covers with darkness,

It was Surah Ad-Dhuha and I felt like it was a special message for me, coming directly from Allah… full of hope and love; reminding me that just as there are happy times full of light and life, similarly Allah puts us through difficult times in which there seems to be no light and no hope… but they are both a test… the bright times are a test of our gratitude and appreciation and likewise the hard times are a test of our faith and patience…

Most of us are deceived by the devil when we face any disappointment in life. The devil makes us think that it is a sign of Allah’s displeasure or that He doesn’t care for us… whereas the fact is that Allah never forsakes a true believer… and we should never lose hope in His mercy:

مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَىٰ {3}

Your Rabb has neither forsaken you (O Muhammad), nor is He displeased.

We have all experienced that the good times pass by too quickly but the difficult phases in life seem endless. Here Allah is giving us hope that even though the problems might seem bigger than mountains but Allah is bigger than every other thing. So He can solve all issues no matter how impossible they might seem to us. The road to Allah’s pleasure and forgiveness is full of hurdles but the end is very sweet:

وَلَلْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِنَ الْأُولَىٰ {4} وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَىٰ {5}

Certainly the later period shall be better for you than the earlier. Soon your Rabb shall grant you something with which you will be well-pleased.

Going back in the memory lane, I remember that these words were enough to open my eyes and I understood that my depression was nothing but an illusion created by the devil and I was trapped in it due to the weakness of my own self. I realized that if I wanted to get rid of these illusions then I will have to strengthen my faith in Allah by focusing on the understanding of the Quran and being conscious in my Salat and duas. Just making this decision in my heart I seemed to be filled with a new energy… as if all of a sudden the darkness was replaced with a brilliant light. And when I read on to the next words, I was so moved by their truth that I started crying:

أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ {6}

Did He not find you an orphan and sheltered you?

I cried because I felt the sadness of the small child who had been born to a widowed mother and she too left him at the tender age of 6… That was how our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) started his life… but then we see that he grew up to be a man full of truth and honesty. There are no traces of self pity in his brilliant character. Who gave him this confidence? The same Allah who guided Him to the ultimate truth:

وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ {7}

Did He not find you lost and gave you guidance?

My tears were not only for the Prophet (s.a.w) but also for realizing the truth about my own life. For the first time I realized that the same Allah who cared for His Prophet (s.a.w) was caring for me, and the same Allah who guided him was giving me the gift of guidance too… Allah has given us the same Quran which was revealed on the heart of His prophet (s.a.w) but how many times have we been really grateful for this great gift? We cry for petty little deprivations of life because we don’t know the value of the Quran and its guidance, which we keep ignoring. Hasn’t Allah given us so much that we cannot even count?

وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ {8}

Did He not find you poor and made you self-sufficient?

We keep worrying over things which we don’t have. Or sometimes we feel proud of having so many blessings. But very few people realize that all blessings are a test. On the day of Judgement we will not be given any reward for what we had in life; but it will be seen how we used those gifts to please Allah… that is the real test. Therefore Allah is reminding us of some very important duties:

فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ {9}

Therefore, do not treat the orphan with harshness

When we see any helpless person, we tend to feel superior… so we have to correct this attitude by thinking that we could also have been in the same situation. Therefore we should express our gratitude to Allah by being extra nice and helpful to the orphans and other needy people:

وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ {10}

And as for the beggar; do not repel him

And finally Allah reminds us of our most important responsibility:

وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ {11}

And as for the bounty of your Rabb; express it.

Normally we are all the time grumbling and complaining about “how hard life is” but Allah is telling us here that we should not only focus on what we have, but also express it. And our greatest thanks should be for the greatest gift… and that is the gift of guidance. We should tell the whole world about the miracle of Quran and how it changes our life and gives us the hope of eternal success… may Allah guide us all to that beautiful destination… ameen
Surah Alam-Nashrah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

This surah seems to be a sequel of the previous one because it has the same comforting message… making one realize the enormous blessings of Allah. Primarily these soothing words were being addressed to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) but at a secondary level, we, the ordinary followers of faith, can extract a glimpse of the same assurance from Allah which He had sent to His beloved Messenger (s.a.w). It is a well known fact that the road to paradise is not a bed of roses… on the contrary Allah is going to test us at every step with various hurdles and setbacks to judge our level of faith and commitment. Although we understand this reality but still, being human beings, we sometimes begin to lose hope… Thus Allah has revealed these beautiful words to reassure us that just as he had opened our hearts to understand His Quran, similarly he will open up the doors which appear to be closed on us…

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ {1}

O Prophet! Have We not expanded your breast for you?

The opening of the heart is the first step towards success because unless we are whole heartedly convinced of the benefit of a project we can never truly work to our utmost capacity. Thus we should be extremely thankful to Allah if we feel complete conviction in His religion. Surely the heaviest burden is the feeling of being lost… not knowing where to go.

وَوَضَعْنَا عَنْكَ وِزْرَكَ {2}
الَّذِي أَنْقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ {3}

And relieved you from the burden which had weighed upon your back

Before Islam, our Prophet (s.a.w) used to feel so sad at the state of people’s lives… their ignorance, their aggression, their total lack of direction. He wanted to change all that but He himself didn’t know the true religion… until finally Allah relieved the burden of uncertainty from His heart and filled it with the conviction of His message. And due to this He became known in the whole world. Even today, after all these centuries, He is the most well known personality, known for His truth and sincerity, for his courage and character, for his mercy and forgiveness for even the worst enemies… the most successful person in the history of mankind…

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ {4}

And exalted your fame

The disbelievers made life miserable for the Messenger of Allah and His followers but they could not turn them away from their true faith. Similarly today if we have to face problems due to following our religion then we should remember that the pain is soon followed by ease…

فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا {5}
إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا {6}

Surely with every difficulty there is relief. Surely with every difficulty there is relief.

Why should we hesitate to bear a temporary hardship if it is to bring everlasting peace and pleasure? This life is nothing but a test and it will pass away so quickly anyway… so our focus should be on the life of the hereafter which is never ever going to end. The only way to succeed there is to work hard for it…

فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانْصَبْ {7}

Therefore, when you are free from your daily task, devote your time to the labour of worship

But all our actions should be focused on making Allah happy. Because if He is not happy then nothing is of any use at all… and if He is happy with us then it is the greatest success which will bring the greatest joy and security that we yearn for…

وَإِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ {8}

And turn all your attention towards your Rabb.

I recently read an advertisement which addressed its clients in the following words:

“Making you our Number-1 priority has made us Number-1″

And I thought to myself that if we understand this concept so well for our worldly interests then why can’t we understand that if we want to be successful then we have to make Allah our number-1 priority. We want everything from Him and yet we don’t want to give Him anything? Think on it…

Surah At-Tin

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The ending surahs of the Quran speak to us like someone giving the last minute instructions before saying goodbye… the journey through Quran is going to end soon but when you reach the end you will find that it is just the beginning of another journey… And so we need to have very clear concepts before we embark upon the next voyage of life.

The surah begins with some oaths and they are like key words reminding us of very important people and incidents…

وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ {1}
وَطُورِ سِينِينَ {2}
وَهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ {3}

By the fig and by the olive, by the mount of Sinai and by this city of peace

What does the fig and olive bring to mind? Palestine… which was the blessed land where Allah sent Prophet Esa (a.s) and mount Tur reminds us of Prophet Musa (a.s). And the city of peace is none other than Makkah, where Allah sent the last Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w). These places became sacred to us because Allah sent His revelations to His Messengers. And they were all human beings… not angels. So it means that Allah gave the most honour to Mankind because He assigned them the most honourable job of being His representatives:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ {4}

We have indeed created man in the best stature

But if human beings do not fulfil the role which Allah assigned to them, and give more importance to other things besides Allah; then in other words they are choosing a lower status than whatever object they choose to worship…and so they become lowest than the low:

ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ {5}

Then We abase him to the lowest of the low

The choices which human beings make in their lives, determines their true status. If they worship only Allah, then they rise above all other things and attain the highest status in Allah’s eyes:

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ {6}

Except those who believe and do good deeds – for they shall have a never ending reward.

What could be simpler or clearer than this message? But still there are people who don’t want to submit in front of Allah and accept their mistakes; even though they don’t really have any solid proof…

فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ {7}

So, what causes them to disbelieve you concerning the Day of Judgment?

These people are living in deep self deception. They think that just like they win the arguments over here with loud criticism and baseless accusations against Islam and its followers; they will win the best place in Jannat as well? Well the fact is that ONLY Allah will have the power of decision on the day of recompense…

أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ {8}

Is not Allah the best of all Judges?

May Allah help us to remember that any power or ability that we have in this world is from Allah and it is only a temporary phase to test our obedience to Him. If we accept His greatness and power, then He will make us more powerful and honourable. But if we think that our own logics and arguments are superior to His commands then this is going to lead us nowhere but everlasting humiliation and torment… May Allah save us from His anger and punishment… ameen.

Surah Al-Alaq

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

It is a common misconception that being religious makes a person inactive and incompetent because people think that religion isolates a person from the world of knowledge and progress. Especially about Islam people have this negative view that it does not encourage one to be knowledgeable. However the fact is that Islam is the most modern religion which began with the subject of knowledge in its very first lesson…

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ {1}

Read! In the name of your Rabb Who created

Most of us recognize these opening verses of Al-Alaq because they were the very first revelation of Allah to His Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). But unfortunately very few of us have remembered to apply it in our lives. Although we do act on the first word “Iqra” which means to learn… but this learning is incomplete unless it connects us with Allah. This incomplete knowledge might give us some temporary benefits of this world… but how can we worship Allah without knowing about Him and His commands? And how can we strive for the success of the hereafter if we don’t know anything about it? What excuse will we give Allah that we didn’t have any time to learn about Him… the one who gave us life and gave us time? Who are we anyway… remember what is our origin?

خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ {2}

– created man from a leechlike mass.

Some people recognize this emptiness in their lives and so they make sincere efforts to learn about Allah and His Quran but then they start to feel superior to others. It is a most destructive trick of the devil and we should always be alert not to fall in its trap. It is understandable that knowledge and understanding gives a lot of honour to a person but we should remember that the real honour belongs only to Allah because only His knowledge is complete…

اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ {3}

Read! Your Rabb is the Most Gracious

Anybody who has experienced the transformation from ignorance to knowledge must have felt the sweet satisfaction which accompanies awareness… I myself am witness to this miracle. There was a time when I had no clue what the Quran was all about and my only knowledge of Allah and religion was from observing different people and listening to their views… and really it was most confusing because they didn’t seem to be worshipping the same Allah and it seemed like everyone was following some God of their own. And so I used to feel so lost and confused… until finally Allah led me to the knowledge of Quran and it felt like cool refreshing rain being showered on my heart. I thought it was the biggest miracle of my life… but I didn’t know that it was just the first part of the miracle… the second part was even sweeter when Allah guided me to use the pen to spread His message. Because when I started writing I began to understand things which I had never thought before:

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ {4}
عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ {5}

(Allah is the one) Who taught by the Pen, taught man what he knew not.

Therefore it is Allah’s most wonderful blessing on man that He not only created him but also taught him to read and write so that he might strive towards the greatest heights of success. But it is a human weakness that as soon as anyone becomes successful, they begin to think that they are now totally independent and that they don’t need any other support. And so they even neglect Allah…

كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ {6}
أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَىٰ {7}

Nay! Indeed, man transgresses all bounds, in thinking himself to be self-sufficient.

It is a big mistake to think that we can survive without being obedient to Allah… but an even greater mistake is to stop other people from Allah’s obedience:

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يَنْهَىٰ {9}
عَبْدًا إِذَا صَلَّىٰ {10}

Have you seen the one who forbids…; Our servant from offering Salah (prayer)?

Although these people are supposedly very educated, but they use their intellect in a negative way by finding faults with the Quran and Hadith and discouraging other people from following Allah’s commands… but this act of theirs makes them so senseless that they don’t even realize the basic fact that Allah is watching them:

أَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَرَىٰ {14}

Does he not know that Allah is observing all things?

Although these verses were being revealed to the disbelievers of Makkah but in them is a great warning for all the arrogant oppressors that they are in the grip of Allah…

كَلَّا لَئِنْ لَمْ يَنْتَهِ لَنَسْفَعًا بِالنَّاصِيَةِ {15}

Nay! Let him know that if he does not stop, We will drag him by the forelock

And now we come upon the last verse which is specifically meant for the beloved Messenger of Allah but it also has a great assurance for the believers… Allah is telling us not to follow the desires of any oppressors but to fear only Allah. Because only Allah is worthy of obedience and worthy of being feared:

كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ ۩ {19}

Nay! Do not obey him! Prostrate yourself and bring yourself closer to your Rabb.

SubhanAllah! Such a powerful verse which reflects the love of Allah for His Prophet (s.a.w) and also for all the believers… Normally when we fear someone, it drives us away from that person but Allah’s fear is such an emotion which takes us closer to Him. Because we know Him to be our best protector and our guide… thus Allah created for us this act of prostration through which we can feel the comfort of His closeness several times a day. We normally take salah as a duty, but Allah made it obligatory on us, so that we should have no chance to deprive ourselves from this spiritual experience even for a single day of our lives. We need it for our faith and we need it for our remembrance of Allah and His Love.

All thanks and Praise to Allah for guiding us to it… May He keep us steadfast on it too. (ameen)

Surah Al-Alaq

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

It is a common misconception that being religious makes a person inactive and incompetent because people think that religion isolates a person from the world of knowledge and progress. Especially about Islam people have this negative view that it does not encourage one to be knowledgeable. However the fact is that Islam is the most modern religion which began with the subject of knowledge in its very first lesson…

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ {1}

Read! In the name of your Rabb Who created

Most of us recognize these opening verses of Al-Alaq because they were the very first revelation of Allah to His Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). But unfortunately very few of us have remembered to apply it in our lives. Although we do act on the first word “Iqra” which means to learn… but this learning is incomplete unless it connects us with Allah. This incomplete knowledge might give us some temporary benefits of this world… but how can we worship Allah without knowing about Him and His commands? And how can we strive for the success of the hereafter if we don’t know anything about it? What excuse will we give Allah that we didn’t have any time to learn about Him… the one who gave us life and gave us time? Who are we anyway… remember what is our origin?

خَلَقَ الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ {2}

– created man from a leechlike mass.

Some people recognize this emptiness in their lives and so they make sincere efforts to learn about Allah and His Quran but then they start to feel superior to others. It is a most destructive trick of the devil and we should always be alert not to fall in its trap. It is understandable that knowledge and understanding gives a lot of honour to a person but we should remember that the real honour belongs only to Allah because only His knowledge is complete…

اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ {3}

Read! Your Rabb is the Most Gracious

Anybody who has experienced the transformation from ignorance to knowledge must have felt the sweet satisfaction which accompanies awareness… I myself am witness to this miracle. There was a time when I had no clue what the Quran was all about and my only knowledge of Allah and religion was from observing different people and listening to their views… and really it was most confusing because they didn’t seem to be worshipping the same Allah and it seemed like everyone was following some God of their own. And so I used to feel so lost and confused… until finally Allah led me to the knowledge of Quran and it felt like cool refreshing rain being showered on my heart. I thought it was the biggest miracle of my life… but I didn’t know that it was just the first part of the miracle… the second part was even sweeter when Allah guided me to use the pen to spread His message. Because when I started writing I began to understand things which I had never thought before:

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ {4}
عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ {5}

(Allah is the one) Who taught by the Pen, taught man what he knew not.

Therefore it is Allah’s most wonderful blessing on man that He not only created him but also taught him to read and write so that he might strive towards the greatest heights of success. But it is a human weakness that as soon as anyone becomes successful, they begin to think that they are now totally independent and that they don’t need any other support. And so they even neglect Allah…

كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ {6}
أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَىٰ {7}

Nay! Indeed, man transgresses all bounds, in thinking himself to be self-sufficient.

It is a big mistake to think that we can survive without being obedient to Allah… but an even greater mistake is to stop other people from Allah’s obedience:

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يَنْهَىٰ {9}
عَبْدًا إِذَا صَلَّىٰ {10}

Have you seen the one who forbids…; Our servant from offering Salah (prayer)?

Although these people are supposedly very educated, but they use their intellect in a negative way by finding faults with the Quran and Hadith and discouraging other people from following Allah’s commands… but this act of theirs makes them so senseless that they don’t even realize the basic fact that Allah is watching them:

أَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَرَىٰ {14}

Does he not know that Allah is observing all things?

Although these verses were being revealed to the disbelievers of Makkah but in them is a great warning for all the arrogant oppressors that they are in the grip of Allah…

كَلَّا لَئِنْ لَمْ يَنْتَهِ لَنَسْفَعًا بِالنَّاصِيَةِ {15}

Nay! Let him know that if he does not stop, We will drag him by the forelock

And now we come upon the last verse which is specifically meant for the beloved Messenger of Allah but it also has a great assurance for the believers… Allah is telling us not to follow the desires of any oppressors but to fear only Allah. Because only Allah is worthy of obedience and worthy of being feared:

كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ ۩ {19}

Nay! Do not obey him! Prostrate yourself and bring yourself closer to your Rabb.

SubhanAllah! Such a powerful verse which reflects the love of Allah for His Prophet (s.a.w) and also for all the believers… Normally when we fear someone, it drives us away from that person but Allah’s fear is such an emotion which takes us closer to Him. Because we know Him to be our best protector and our guide… thus Allah created for us this act of prostration through which we can feel the comfort of His closeness several times a day. We normally take salah as a duty, but Allah made it obligatory on us, so that we should have no chance to deprive ourselves from this spiritual experience even for a single day of our lives. We need it for our faith and we need it for our remembrance of Allah and His Love.

All thanks and Praise to Allah for guiding us to it… May He keep us steadfast on it too. (ameen)

Surah Al-Bayyinah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

When false ideas and wrong practices become common in a society then a time comes when the majority of people stop thinking it to be wrong. Now if you want to return these people to the right track, they will neither believe in it nor accept it… except for some strong proof…

لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ مُنْفَكِّينَ حَتَّىٰ تَأْتِيَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ {1}

Those who are unbelievers from among the people of the Book and from the Mushrikïn were not going to desist from their unbelief until the clear proof came to them

The last two surahs were about the importance of Quran and now Allah wants us to understand the true status of our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) without whom the destiny of people could not have changed. Whether it was the idol-worshippers of Makkah or the “people of the book”… none could have believed in Allah’s message unless it was presented to them by a man about whose honesty and truth they were in no doubt…

رَسُولٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُطَهَّرَةً {2}

That is, a Rasool of Allah reciting to them holy scriptures from purified pages

Just as the message of Quran is eternal, similarly the life of the Prophet (s.a.w) is a most perfect example for us till the end of time. He was the most successful person in the entire history of mankind; so anyone who wants to walk on the surest path of success can just follow his footsteps!! But then why are Muslims so far from progress and success? It is because we deviated from the teachings of our Prophet and instead of taking him as our role-model; we began to follow the footsteps of the “people of the book”. Just like them we have also disintegrated into various sects even though we have the clear guidance…

وَمَا تَفَرَّقَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَةُ {4}

Those who were given the Book before this (Qur’an) did not divide into sects until after there came to them a clear proof

Why does religion seem like a burden to us? Simply because people have fabricated so many additions to it that it has lost its original simplicity. So even if someone wants to turn to the true way of life, people are confused to see so many versions of Islam and their various philosophies and practises… But Allah has preserved the truth for us in the Quran and Hadith, and if we spend some time to understand it, we will find that our creator has not put any burden on us… rather the teachings of Islam are most clear and practical…

وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ {5}

Yet they were commanded nothing but to worship Allah, with their sincere devotion to Him, being True in their faith; to establish Salah (prayers); and to pay Zakah (poor due); and that is the infallible true Religion.

Allah has given us all that we need for sustenance as well as guidance, but if we don’t eat food we cannot survive, similarly if we do not follow guidance we cannot succeed. It is so sad that such intelligent and wonderfully talented people fall into the trap of shaitan and think that they don’t need Allah’s religion; and they think that they are very successful because of some apparent signs of material growth and prosperity. Who will tell them that Allah calls such ungrateful people as the worst of creatures…?

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ {6}

Surely those who disbelieve from among the people of the Book and the Mushrikïn shall be in fire of hell, to dwell therein forever. They are the worst of all creatures.

On the other hand those who give up their false ego and submit their will to Allah’s obedience become the best of people… even if the whole world scorns at them:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ خَيْرُ الْبَرِيَّةِ {7}

Surely those who believe and do good deeds, are the best of all creatures.

We judge success by material standards because we have become so attached to this world and its petty little things… but if we study the Quran and Hadith on a regular basis and understand what Allah wants us to think… then gradually the veils of darkness are lifted and our hearts begin to see things in their real perspective. Thus our goal becomes the extraordinary beauty of the paradise… the pure pleasures and the perfect success which will never fade:

جَزَاؤُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۖ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِيَ رَبَّهُ {8}

Their reward with their Rabb shall be the gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. Allah shall be well pleased with them and they shall be well pleased with Him. That is for him who fears his Rabb

The last words of this beautiful ayat are worth pondering on… we want Allah to appreciate our small little efforts of goodness; But how can we make someone happy if we are not happy with him? All the time we are complaining about our disappointments with destiny… are we content in whatever Allah has given us?

Are we satisfied with the religion that he has chosen for us?

Are we grateful for the Great Quran and the Greatest Prophet (s.a.w)?

Do we love Allah and His Prophet more than all other things?

And the last question is:

Do we fear Allah more than any other thing?

Because Allah has said that these rewards are for those who fear him… this fear should not just be a claim… but a real and strong feeling which should be reflected in all our actions; not just in worship but also in our dealings with people. And this, I think, is the real test of our faith and obedience…

Surah Az-Zilzaal

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Our life is nothing but a passage of time in which each and every second is like a gem with which we are supposed to buy the best deeds. But we have to decide and act in that very instant when the gem is given to us… because if we don’t use it then it just slips out of our hands… wasted… gone… never to be returned again. I am sure if we could see time going by, we would have been extremely conscious about it but since it is an unseen treasure we just let it go by and don’t even realize what a loss it is… And so when we waste time we are actually wasting our life… and even if we cannot instantly see the consequence of this loss, and feel like everything is just going so well… there is going to come a time very soon when we are going to be shaken out of our false security by a massive jolt which will move apart the whole world…

إِذَا زُلْزِلَتِ الْأَرْضُ زِلْزَالَهَا {1}

When the earth will be shaken to her utmost convulsion

In fact this earthquake will be so mighty and powerful that it will cause the earth to spill out everything that is hidden in it:

وَأَخْرَجَتِ الْأَرْضُ أَثْقَالَهَا {2}

And the earth shall bring out all her inner burdens

It is human nature that even though we know that every living person has to die, still we are shocked when we hear any news of death. And the first words which come to mind are: “what happened?” If one person’s death can be so heartbreaking then imagine how shocking it will be when the whole world will be broken apart…

وَقَالَ الْإِنْسَانُ مَا لَهَا {3}

Man shall say: “What is happening to her?”

But the real shock will be when the earth will start to speak. We are so used to the fact that people keep talking and there is nothing strange in it. But imagine if the walls of your house start talking about you? And blurt out all the embarrassing events which they have witnessed but which you don’t want anyone to hear about? Well the same thing is going to happen on a much larger scale when not just a group of people but the whole world will be listening to the tales being broadcast by the earth…

يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا {4}
بِأَنَّ رَبَّكَ أَوْحَىٰ لَهَا {5}

On that Day she shall report whatever had happened on her, for your Rabb shall have commanded her to do so.

After the judgement has been announced people will be taken to their final destination… either heaven or hell… which is nothing but a reflection of our true intentions and a consequence of our actions:

يَوْمَئِذٍ يَصْدُرُ النَّاسُ أَشْتَاتًا لِيُرَوْا أَعْمَالَهُمْ {6}

On that Day men shall proceed in sorted out groups to be shown their ‘Book of Deeds.

Although we should aim high and dream of big things to do for the sake of Allah but remember that every journey, no matter how long, is just a combination of countless small steps. So we cannot ignore the steps… each one of them is leading us either to heaven or to hell. Therefore we should remain constantly alert to use any opportunity of goodness, however small it might appear. Giving someone an encouraging smile, putting a small coin in the charity box, removing some harmful thing out of the way… we never know which action might save us from the fire of hell…

فَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَهُ {7}

Then, whoever has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it there

Similarly every little sin for which we don’t feel guilty nor do we ask for forgiveness, is going to add to our punishment. These acts of disobedience which have become a routine and therefore seem inconsequential… do have a very painful outcome which will be shown to us very soon…

وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ {8}

And whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it there.

This is the essence of the purpose of our existence. We have to live each moment with a conscious mind. And the test becomes harder because we have not been told how many days, hours, minutes and seconds do we have before we run out of time. Saying Alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks to Allah) takes a second but we cannot delay saying it, because we don’t know for sure whether we will be alive in the next moment or not. So be thankful when you have the opportunity to do so. SayingAstahgfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah) also takes a moment… so when you realize that you have done something wrong then don’t delay in asking Allah’s forgiveness… just do it before the time runs out.

May Allah help us to remember this lesson at all times… and may we make full use of our time and life… ameen

Surah Al-Adiyaat

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I have often experienced this dilemma in my life that although I truly and sincerely wish to do something for the sake of Allah but it never gets done. Or even if I accomplish any target, it is often done at a much slower pace than I had planned. What is wrong with me? Is my intention not sincere or is there any fault in my way of doing things? These questions made me think a lot but I could not reach any satisfactory conclusion until I read the crystal clear surah, Al-Adiyaat, which explained to me the difference between dreams, desires and determination. Through the unique example of the warrior horses and their wonderful speed and focus, Allah made me understand that if I ever want to achieve any goal in my life then it cannot be done by simply dreaming or desiring for it… rather I will have to use my utmost effort and determination… and keep moving without stopping:

وَالْعَادِيَاتِ ضَبْحًا {1} فَالْمُورِيَاتِ قَدْحًا {2}

By the snorting steeds (horses that are used in wars), dashing off sparks by the strike of their hoofs

The Arabs were really swift and fearless in their battles and used to train their horses to match their own strength… often preparing the whole night and moving in for the action in the early morning… like a mighty storm, raising dust all over the place…

فَالْمُغِيرَاتِ صُبْحًا {3} فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا {4} فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا {5}

Making raids in the morning, and leaving a trail of dust as they dash into the middle of the enemytroops!

But when we start off on any mission in the way of Allah… what is our attitude? Always apprehensive and fearing the loss of petty interests… taking tiny little steps, ready to run back into our safe shelters at the slightest risk of danger. Going after duniya with full speed and energy but when it comes to working for the sake of Allah, then all sorts of excuses come up to slow us down… what is it except sheer ingratitude:

إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ {6} وَإِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ {7}

Surely man is ungrateful to his Rabb; and surely he himself bears witness to it

And the biggest reason for our ingratitude is our love of this world and its transient pleasures. We keep holding back because we just cannot tolerate any loss of our worldly interests… and Allah knows us so well:

وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ {8}

And surely he is violent in his love of this worldly wealth.

Due to this materialistic attitude we now have no value or status as a nation… because this intense greed for more and more wealth and status has transformed us into money earning robots and in the madness of competition we have forgotten our ultimate end… when this wealth will be of no use at all:

أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ {9} وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ {10}

Is he not aware that when those who lie in the graves will be raised to life, and that what is in their breasts will be made known

We judge people by their outward appearances… their clothes, their style, their houses, their cars etc etc but Allah will not even glance at these things… because they are of no importance at all in His eyes. The only thing by which He will judge us is our heart… the centre of all our desires and intentions. Although determination leads us to action but it is our desire and intention which motivates us towards determination. Therefore we must keep a constant check on our hearts… and keep it clean from all negative thoughts. Always think positive and keep on making good intentions, because even if you cannot fulfil all your plans, you will get points for your sincere intentions. We have a chance now, for doing good or at least thinking and planning to do good… tomorrow will be too late:

إِنَّ رَبَّهُمْ بِهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَخَبِيرٌ {11}

Surely their Rabb on that Day shall have full knowledge about them.

Just like the dreams seem so real when we are asleep and often when we wake up from those dreams the reality sort of dazzles us with its clarity. Similarly this world is also a dream and when we die we are going to wake up in the real life. The only difference is that we don’t have any choice of action when we are sleeping… but Allah has given us a free will in this world to choose whatever direction we want. And it is this choice which will determine our destiny in the hereafter. May Allah help us all to understand this reality and to act accordingly… ameen

Surah Al-Qari’ah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Human beings are very much affected by sounds although we hardly ever think about it. If we see a glass being broken, but don’t hear the crash, then it will not affect us so much. Similarly if we just see the flash of lightening on a stormy night, it won’t look frightful… but it strikes the heart when it is accompanied by the crack of thunder. In a previous surah we read that on the day of resurrection the whole world will be shaken with a mighty earthquake and now in this Surah Allah is reminding us that it will produce a most terrible crashing noise as well…

الْقَارِعَةُ {1}

The striking calamity

Imagine sitting peacefully in your lounge, reading a book or having a quiet meal… and suddenly the peace is disrupted by a loud explosion… everybody will have the same question on their tongues… what is it??

مَا الْقَارِعَةُ {2}

What is the Qãri’ah (the striking calamity)?

But no matter how much we try to understand the scene of the hereafter we cannot truly imagine the reality of that day unless we read the words of Allah:

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْقَارِعَةُ {3}

And what will explain to you what the Qãri’ah is?

We live in this world so casually as if we are going to stay here forever. But when Allah has told us so clearly that we are going to die, and have to face the results of our deeds, then why are we so heedless about it? Every day we see or hear of people dying in various incidents but we think of it as a tragedy which can only happen to some unfortunate people. This attitude becomes worse when we don’t read the Quran and Hadith… but soon the reality will be exposed to each and every one of us…

يَوْمَ يَكُونُ النَّاسُ كَالْفَرَاشِ الْمَبْثُوثِ {4}

It is that Day when men shall be like scattered moths

We are all so full of our own importance. This is one reason why we reject the truth of our religion. Because when we find something in the Quran or Hadith which does not match with our lifestyle then we try to prove that it is wrong, or that the interpretation of the scholars is not right, etc etc. Our ego is our worst enemy because it hinders our submission to Allah. But imagine when people will be helpless and powerless like the scattered moths; what will be their status? What will be the weight of their opinions? There are some people who are as tough as rocks and as immovable as mountains… but what will become of their grandeur and power, when even the mountains will become like scattered wool… weightless and worthless…

وَتَكُونُ الْجِبَالُ كَالْعِهْنِ الْمَنْفُوشِ {5}

And the mountains will be like wool, fluffed up.

The only thing which will have any weight on that day will be our deeds… the good deeds which we did sincerely for the sake of Allah and according to the commands of Allah…

فَأَمَّا مَنْ ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ {6} فَهُوَ فِي عِيشَةٍ رَاضِيَةٍ {7}

On that Day, he whose scale of good deeds is heavy; shall live a pleasant luxurious life

The luxurious lives which we crave for in this world are not worth seeking because they are neither perfect nor permanent. But in the Paradise life will be pure enjoyment and pleasure. What a pity it is that a majority of people do not make any investment for the hereafter and so they will face a terrible punishment:

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ {8} فَأُمُّهُ هَاوِيَةٌ {9}

But he whose scale of good deeds is light… his refuge shall be an abyss

Allah made the human beings as His best creation and gave them all the necessary tools to discover the true purpose of life… the superb intellect, the divine revelations, the Prophets, the signs of the universe, the ability to see, hear and contemplate… the ability to differentiate between right and wrong and the power to choose the right way… these are all gifts of Allah which can lead us to eternal success. But the rejection of these gifts leads us nowhere except into a blazing fire…

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا هِيَهْ {10} نَارٌ حَامِيَةٌ {11}

And what will explain to you, what this abyss is? It is a blazing fire

It is Allah’s mercy on us that He has so clearly and repeatedly told us about this fire… something which we should seek protection from… both in our duas and in our actions. Let us turn to Allah in sincere repentance. Ask His forgiveness for all our past mistakes and make a fresh start in this Ramadan to lead a life of goodness and sincerity… making Allah’s pleasure our utmost goal. May Allah save us from the fire of His anger and punishment… ameen

Surah At-Takathur

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Time is a commodity which is given in the same amount to each and every individual on the face of this earth. Exactly twenty four hours every day of our lives… this supply never varies but the way we use this time depends on our priorities. Each and every second, minute and hour is taking us towards our destination whatever that might be… but then how ignorant we are that we just go about our “routine lives” never stopping to think of what our journey is all about? Where is our time being spent? What is our direction and what is our destination? Maybe the reason for this mechanical attitude towards life is that we have assumed that the only purpose of our lives is to fulfil the needs of this life… and no matter how much we acquire, we are never satisfied because we are always comparing ourselves with someone or the other who has more than us. So materialism has become a universal nucleus around which the majority of the world is revolving. And we muslims despite having a clear knowledge of the reality of life, are also running along the world… not realizing that this mad race for material gains is nothing but a trap… an illusion… which becomes apparent only when it is too late…

أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ {1} حَتَّىٰ زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ {2}

Competition in worldly increase diverts you… until you get into the grave

Now we must understand that making use of the blessings of this world is not a sin… rather it is a means of being connected to Allah and being grateful to Him. But it becomes a problem only when we make it the only concern of our life and forget the real goal for which Allah sent us to this earth. Death is the ultimate eye opener and it is not something which we can avoid simply by not giving it any attention… soon we will have to face the truth:

كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ {3} ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ {4}

Nevertheless, soon you shall come to know. Again, nevertheless, soon you shall come to know

Allah gave us all the means to acquire knowledge of the reality of life and death, but he did not force us to be convinced… because it is a test of our faith whether we believe in Allah’s words with utmost conviction or not. What a meaningful life we can have if we understand the Quran and Hadith and live according to its teachings… the peace and tranquillity of knowing Allah and living according to His pleasure is the greatest pleasure of this world… but it can only be experienced by those who have “Yaqeen”…

كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ {5}

No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty…

We don’t realize that we cannot avoid the reality by denying it. No matter how firmly we close our eyes but the shining sun will not go away simply because we don’t want to acknowledge its presence. Similarly the hereafter will come on its appointed time and the heaven and hell which Allah created for us will also become apparent to our eyes… whether we like it or not:

لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَ {6} ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ {7}

You will surely see the Hellfire… Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.

Here in this world we become boastful if we get any gift from Allah. We forget His mercy and we think that whatever we have is due to our own hard work or intelligence. We might impress people with this show of material greatness, but we forget that every blessing which Allah gives us is a test and we will be held accountable for each and every thing that we have:

ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ {8}

Then you shall surely be questioned, on that day, about the blessings (faculties and resources that you were given in the worldly life – as to how you used them?)

If we keep this accountability in our mind then our whole attitude will be different. Instead of boasting, we will feel the seriousness of responsibility… and do we even know what our responsibility is? Yes most people know that we must be grateful for our blessings but does being grateful mean only to be happy upon ones gifts and say “Alhamdulillah” or Thank you Allah? No… this is not the end of it… real gratitude is with your heart when you feel that Allah is the only one who deserves praise… so there will be no self praise. Secondly, gratitude is done by expressing thanks to Allah and also proclaiming His greatness to people. And finally the essence of gratitude is to use every blessing in the way of Allah…

He gave us everything and He has the greatest right over our lives. So how can we go against His wishes? Is there any excuse for our denial and disobedience? None at all…

Surah Al-’Asr

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The biggest asset, which Allah has given to each and every individual, is time… twenty four hours a day, no more no less… whether you are rich or poor, young or old, living in the east or in the west… the amount of time given every day for every person is the same. And it is a treasure which keeps going out of our hands… slipping away into a place from where we cannot bring it back. So the only way to avoid losing this treasure is to use it… every moment is like a jewel and we must buy a good deed with it… this is the test of life… to buy the most deeds, the best deeds, most pure in intention and excellent in their quality… But who is going to tell us whether we are buying the right things with our time or are we just collecting worthless trash?

وَالْعَصْرِ {1}
إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ {2}

By the time through the ages! Surely mankind is in loss

It is such a deception that instead of asking Allah for the true guidance, we have formed our own opinions about life and think them to be enough as our guiding principles. But if our ideas and principles don’t match with Allah’s commands then what will we gain at the end of the day? That is why Allah is warning us in very clear words that if we don’t turn to Him for guidance then it is the greatest loss which we are inflicting on ourselves… So only those people will be saved from this loss who have the following qualities:

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ …..

Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds;

What does faith have to do with success or failure? Is being a good person not enough? But if you think about it, what good can be in a person who denies the Creator and Sustainer? Can an ungrateful person who takes everything and then denies the Provider be called a good person? The fact is that faith in one Allah is the root of all goodness. And it is the only motivation for us to be consistently obedient to Allah and to be unconditionally good to people. But we cannot remain steadfast on our faith and good deeds unless we make a conscious effort to spread this goodness to others too…

وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ ….

And advised one another to the truth

Human beings cannot survive in isolation… we can never be entirely independent, neither for our worldly needs nor for our spiritual growth. So that’s why Allah has made it a requirement upon us that if we want to save ourselves from loss then just being good in our own spirit and character is not enough. Rather we will have to cultivate this goodness of faith and good deeds all around us.

And finally the thing which ensures our safety is patience… the journey to paradise is tough and we cannot reach our destination without patience and perseverance. So we must help each other to stay determined and focused…

وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْر….

And advised one another to patience.

Thus faith, good deeds, and helping each other… are the ultimate keys to success. May Allah guide us and help us… ameen


Review of chapter 104

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Surah Al-Humazah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The definition of a true Muslim is that he chooses for others what he chooses for himself. Still we see that even belonging to this religion of peace and brotherhood, our standards for others are not the same as what we want for ourselves. No one would like to be mocked at, but we think it a great entertainment to make fun of other people’s shortcomings. Sometimes humiliating them face to face and other times criticizing them behind their back. Although it seems to be a minor sin yet it is not so in Allah’s eyes…

وَيْلٌ لِكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُمَزَةٍ {1}

Woe to every scorner and mocker

Why do we think and talk so negatively about others? The reason behind this is an overblown image about ourselves… in which we assume all the goodness to be in our own characters, and think of others as being full of flaws. In other words it is arrogance of being perfect and superior to other… in intelligence, knowledge, status, or authority or even wealth…

الَّذِي جَمَعَ مَالًا وَعَدَّدَهُ {2}

Who amasses wealth and keeps on counting it.

Being wealthy or saving some for the rainy day is not a sin but the thing which is being condemned is the attitude of superiority that wealthy people reflect in their dealings with other people who are not so well off. They think that their wealth is enough to give them a never ending success…

يَحْسَبُ أَنَّ مَالَهُ أَخْلَدَهُ {3}

He thinks that his wealth will insure his status forever!

We must realize that whatever talents or capabilities we might have are not going to make us superior in the eyes of Allah, rather it is our attitude and behaviour that makes us good or bad. All the blessings which we have been given; whether physical beauty, intelligence, knowledge, wealth or authority…are nothing to be proud of… because they are just temporary assets to be used for the pleasure of Allah. Therefore it is absolute foolishness to assume that our superior status will save us from Allah’s anger and punishment…

كَلَّا ۖ لَيُنْبَذَنَّ فِي الْحُطَمَةِ {4}

By no means! He shall surely be thrown into the “Crusher”.

I have often felt that whenever we come across such verses in the Quran which speak of the terrible punishment which Allah has prepared for the wrong doers; we tend to close our eyes to it as if it does not concern us… this is also because of our self conceived idea that surely we are too good to be punished. So we need to wake up from this complacency…

وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْحُطَمَةُ {5}

What will make you understand what the “Crusher” is?

The purpose of a question is to arouse interest and curiosity. Here Allah seems to warn us… that we go around treating people with contempt and disrespect, not even giving it a second thought… so do we even know what is the punishment for such behaviour?

نَارُ اللَّهِ الْمُوقَدَةُ {6}
الَّتِي تَطَّلِعُ عَلَى الْأَفْئِدَةِ {7}

It is the fire kindled to a blaze by Allah Himself. The one which will rise right to the hearts.

Why will it burn the hearts? Because the real contempt and disrespect is in the heart. Even if outwardly we show very good manners and flawless social etiquettes… we can all see the state of our hearts… the real feelings which we have about others are often not good; except for some very few people whom we admire. So if we want to rid ourselves of this negative habit then we must focus on cleaning our hearts rather than just cutting the branches and leaving the roots intact. But if we don’t even accept that we are doing anything wrong then there is no remedy for arrogance and stubbornness except fire… tall columns of fire for tall egos…

إِنَّهَا عَلَيْهِمْ مُؤْصَدَةٌ {8}
فِي عَمَدٍ مُمَدَّدَةٍ {9}

Closing in upon them from every side in outstretched columns.

Human beings can never be perfect… we are all full of positive and negative characteristics. So remember to give others the same respect, the same acceptance, and forgiveness that you want for yourself… May Allah help us all… ameen


Review of chapter 105

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Surah Al-fil

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The Quran is such a powerful miracle… a brilliant proof of Allah’s greatness and power and a clear guidance for whoever wants to walk on the way of success. Still there are people who don’t accept it as being the true guide… they are the ones who really don’t want to accept the fact that they are not as great as they think. And so instead of accepting Allah’s religion and humbling themselves before His greatness and Power; they start attacking the image of Islam and Quran. Often they are in the guise of being “Muslims”… but they will spare no effort to prove that the limits set by the Quran and Hadith are just the fanciful imagination of some misguided people… When I listen to such people I get so disturbed because it feels like they are going to destroy the very foundation of our faith… and I feel so small and helpless that I cannot defend my religion against their hateful and aggressive attacks. But today when I understood the meaning of Surah Al-fil, I felt so comforted and secure that Allah is enough as the defender of Islam… my job is to put in the best effort that I can, but the only one who can protect my Quran from these arrogant people is Allah.

I just listened to His words and felt how clear is His assurance as He reminds me of an incident which happened in the same year in which our Prophet (s.a.w) was born:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصْحَابِ الْفِيلِ {1}

Have you not considered how your Rabb dealt with the Army of the Elephant?

It is a famous story in the history of Makkah that in the year 571 A.D. the Governor of Yemen, by the name of Abraha, advanced to destroy the Ka’ba with his 60,000 troops and some 13 elephants… The protectors of Ka’ba could do nothing against this mighty advance, except to take refuge in the nearby mountains… and prayed to Allah to save His house. What followed was an amazing miracle…

أَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ كَيْدَهُمْ فِي تَضْلِيلٍ {2}

Did He not make their treacherous plan a flop?

Allah could have destroyed them with anything that He wanted but He chose a flock of small birds to do this job… to show the arrogant people that whatever power they have is from Allah and if they go against Him then He can make them weaker and smaller than the birds…

وَأَرْسَلَ عَلَيْهِمْ طَيْرًا أَبَابِيلَ {3}

And He sent against them flocks of birds

No missiles were needed to finish these people… just tiny little stones made of clay, held in the small little beaks of the birds, were enough for their destruction:

تَرْمِيهِمْ بِحِجَارَةٍ مِنْ سِجِّيلٍ {4}

Striking them with stones of hard clay

And look at what became of their pomp and splendour… they thought of themselves as unbeatable but they were beaten beyond recognition:

فَجَعَلَهُمْ كَعَصْفٍ مَأْكُولٍ {5}

Thus he made them like chewed-up straw

Like other stories of the Quran, this is not just a recording of history nor is it a tale of amusement… rather it has a lesson for all of us. For me it is a great reminder that human beings are nothing more than Allah’s creation. So we should not fear them no matter how powerful they seem. Allah gave them power and strength and He can take it back whenever He wants…

The Quran is Allah’s book and Islam is the religion chosen by Him… therefore no one can defeat it… Arrogance is nothing but a deception and leads towards utter destruction… so may Allah save us from it always… Ameen


Review of chapter-106

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Surah Quraish

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In this world people strive to earn a good livelihood and a good reputation… so much that it has become their no-1 goal in life. But worldly prosperity and prestige often leads people away from Allah because they think that they have “earned” it by their own intelligence or hard work. Thus instead of praising Allah and becoming more obedient to Him, they admire their own status and become slaves of their desires which never end…

The tribe of Quraish in Makkah were also a people whom Allah had greatly honoured by making them the caretakers of the Holy Ka’ba… thus they were respected all over Arab, travelling without any fear, secure in the assurance that no one will dare to harm them…

لِإِيلَافِ قُرَيْشٍ {1}
إِيلَافِهِمْ رِحْلَةَ الشِّتَاءِ وَالصَّيْفِ {2}

The privilege of protection enjoyed by the Quraish… safe passage of their trading caravans in the winter and the summer

Allah is reminding them of His favours so that they might realize their responsibility. Although this surah was basically addressed to the Quraish, yet it is a lesson for all of us. And the thing to learn here is that we should all take a good look at the favours which Allah has bestowed on us and stop being proud of them… instead we should remember our first and foremost duty… which is to worship Allah…

فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَٰذَا الْبَيْتِ {3}
الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُمْ مِنْ جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُمْ مِنْ خَوْفٍ {4}

So they should worship the Rabb of this House, Who has provided them food (saving them) from hunger and made them secure (saving them) from fear.

What is worship? Just a set of rituals? Or recitation of some words? Or just going through some mechanical routine? Because when we do any of these things we start thinking of ourselves as very religious or true worshippers of Allah. While the fact is that very few people have recognized the true meaning of worship…

Worship means to be humble and submissive towards Allah with love and reverence. All acts of obedience are physical, but they become “worship” only when the heart is full of these feelings… otherwise we keep praying with the tongue, prostrate with the body while the heart is engrossed in other things. Can such feeling-less actions make us better people? Can such thoughtless prayers connect us to Allah?

So while we enjoy the blessings of life let us not forget that our real purpose of life is to worship the one who gave us these blessings… because the day is coming nearer and nearer when we will be asked about our actions. Better to wake up before it is too late…

Surah Al-Ma’un

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Faith in Allah and the hereafter is the basis of Islam; not just because it serves as a foundation of religion but also because it gives us the motivation to become better people. Without this fear of accountability, there can be no real goodness. Even those who do not believe in Allah, do some acts of charity because they want to maintain a certain standard of “goodness”. But such good deeds are not acceptable to Allah which are not done for Him… Therefore disbelief is the greatest injustice that people inflict on themselves…

أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ {1}

Have you seen the one who denies the Day of Judgment?

The greatest disadvantage of disbelief is that by distancing oneself from Allah and not experiencing His love and fear, the heart becomes hardened… so that a person cannot feel any real mercy for anyone. He becomes self centred and selfish; being good to people only when it suits him to do so… rejecting them at will… not caring for their feelings at all…

فَذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ {2}

For that is the one who drives away the orphan with harshness

As more and more Muslims have become strangers to their religion, we see a rise in materialism and extravagance. It is because lack of faith gives rise to selfishness and greed. So you see millions of people going without food for days… starving to death… while their brothers in Islam are enjoying lavish meals day in and day out… but they will never stop to think whether their servants have had their meal or not? What to talk of the poor neighbours down the street…

وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ {3}

And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.

People often raise this question that so many Muslims pray salah, then why are they not good in their general conduct and behaviour?

As we discussed in the previous surah that Ibadah or worship is not just going through a series of acts… rather it is the connection of our hearts with Allah, while our body is also bowed in front of Him with full humility and submission. But when the faith in Allah is weak and the Akhirah seems to be a remote possibility, then the heart does not worship Allah and remains occupied in other things. Therefore such a person will pray with a non-serious attitude… doing the minimum effort and giving it up at the slightest inconvenience. Surely such a salah cannot be expected to bring any positive change in a person…

فَوَيْلٌ لِلْمُصَلِّينَ {4}
الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ {5}

So woe to those who pray, the ones who are heedless of their prayer

These are Muslims by chance who pray because they have to maintain an image of religiousness. But Allah has no reward for anything that is done to impress people…

الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاءُونَ {6}

Those who make a show of piety

The disease of showing off is not just in prayers but also in other acts where a person tries to look good in people’s eyes. So when he hopes to get a huge publicity then he increases his charity to huge amounts and if no one is looking then becomes the true picture of stinginess…

وَيَمْنَعُونَ الْمَاعُونَ {7}

And refuse to share the simple necessities of life.

How true are the words of Allah… we have all seen countless examples like this where a so called generous person is behaving like a miser… but the real issue for each one of us is that how much sincerity of faith do I have in my worship of Allah and in my kindness to people? We are very fond of pointing faults in others but on the day of judgement the only thing that will matter is my own account of deeds. So now while we have the time we should check ourselves. Just like we check the level of fuel and engine oil in our vehicles before embarking on a journey; we should check our hearts and actions before we move on further on our journey of life… do we have the required level of faith and sincerity that can take us to the paradise?

Surah Al-Kauthar

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The life of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) was full of hardships and trials. Most of the people didn’t want to accept faith and neither did they want others to accept it. That is why they started tormenting the believers and tried to make life impossible for the Prophet (s.a.w). So he had to leave his home, his country, his wealth… On top of it there were the heartbreaking incidents in his personal life which he had to face one after the other… the death of his father even before he was born, then the death of his mother at such a tender age of 6… And after two years his grandfather who cared for him so much, also died… how difficult it must have been to have been raised up as an orphan… can we even imagine? But there must be something that gave him so much hope and optimism… there must be something which gave him so much courage and strength in the face of all difficulties… and that was his pure faith and constant relationship with Allah. Therefore at a time when he faced one of the most heart-breaking tragedies of his life, which was the death of his beloved son, Qasim, Allah sent this beautiful surah which gave him the most delightful glad tidings:

إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ {1}

O Muhammad, surely We have granted you The Kauthar (countless blessings)

The word “kauthar” is the name of a river in Paradise from which the Prophet (s.a.w) will give water to his loyal followers on the day of judgement. But in its broader meaning it refers to the vast magnitude of blessings and goodness bestowed on the Prophet (s.a.w). It made me feel so good to understand from this promise of Allah all the pain and sadness which our beloved Prophet went through was only temporary and the rewards which he got were timeless and endless. Therefore this surah has good news for all those who are working for the sake of Allah that even if they seem to be surrounded by the most impossible hurdles, they should never lose hope in the mercy of Allah… because for them are the ultimate blessings of Allah. And this is a promise for which we should be extremely grateful to Allah… so how should we express this gratitude?

فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ {2}

Therefore, offer Salah (prayer) to your Rabb and sacrifice.

So it means that praying salah is the best expression of appreciation and gratitude for Allah’s blessings. Along with it we should make some sacrifice too… like giving something in the way of Allah. These acts connect us more and more deeply with Allah and so our hearts find peace and security even though the whole world might be against us and our faith… Even when we seem to be overpowered with the attacks of the disbelievers, our hearts have this conviction that Allah’s support is with the righteous people and who ever dares to have enmity and hatred against Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w), will face the ultimate destruction:

إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ {3}

Surely your enemy is the one who will be cut off from the root.

On one hand this surah gives us assurance of Allah’s support and blessings but it also makes us think what kind of a relationship we have with our Prophet (s.a.w)? Just a verbal claim of love is not enough when our life style reflects total isolation from his blessed example. We must ask ourselves:

How much do we know of his life?

What is our effort towards creating any bond of love and familiarity with him?

So what kind of friends are we?

And if we are not his friends then what is our status in Allah’s eyes?

May Allah give us the wisdom to mend our ways before our time is up. We must make it our priority to learn about our Prophet (s.a.w) and follow his teachings and earn Allah’s pleasure… InshaAllah.

Surah Al-Kafirun

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Islam is a religion that cannot be imposed on any individual. Rather the word “Islam” itself means submission. Therefore, to be a Muslim means that you consciously and willingly submit yourself to Allah… accepting Him to be the one and only being worthy of worship. True belief in Islam will automatically be reflected in one’s lifestyle; and makes a person clearly distinct from those who worship other things besides Allah. But then this manifestation of Islam often makes others quite uncomfortable because it exposes their own lack of faith. Therefore they try to prove that it is the same whether you act on your religion or not… The question is: don’t they realize how ridiculous it is to say that you believe in Allah but don’t believe in His commands?

The fact is that each and every person is worshipping one thing or the other. Therefore it is an impossibility that you believe in one Allah and then you worship other things as well… In order to declare this fact, Allah revealed this surah to our Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon Him) in which Allah commanded him to make it very clear to the non-believers that Muslims do not worship any other thing besides Allah:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ {1}
لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ {2}

Say: O unbelievers! I do not worship that which you worship

These days we hear a lot of stuff about creating a global village; So we have adopted the ways of the world without caring whether they are in accordance with our religion or not. Our first priority should have been Allah’s pleasure and if this had been the case then we would be very very careful of what we are taking from other cultures because they do not worship whom we worship so naturally their priorities cannot be the same as ours…

Fourteen hundred years ago our Prophet (s.a.w) said the same thing to those who claimed to believe in Allah, but instead of worshipping Him, they chose to worship idols…

وَلَا أَنْتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ {3}
وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَا عَبَدْتُمْ {4}

And you will not worship that which I worship. And I shall never worship those gods whom you worship

The basic reason due to which there is so much misunderstanding about religion is that on one hand we have “learned” to believe in Allah, but on the other hand we want to please other “gods”. A majority of people think of their culture and traditions as more important than any other thing… so they follow it “religiously”. Some others believe their self interest to be most important, so they are known as bold and courageous who can break the customs if it does not suit them… but for a Muslim, the most important thing is to obey Allah at all times… to seek Allah’s pleasure and to avoid His anger… this is their all time concern and every other thing becomes secondary… Obviously the reward for a believer is going to be totally different to those who did not make Allah their No-1 priority…

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ {6}

To you be your religion, and to me mine.

As human beings it is our nature to seek rewards for everything that we do. We always do things to achieve something. That is why Allah made it so clear to us that different ways lead to different ends… so we must choose our destination sensibly and adopt the way which leads to it. May Allah give us the wisdom to make the right choice… ameen

Surah An-Nasr

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The way to achieve Allah’s pleasure is not a cruise… rather Allah keeps testing the faith and determination of the believers by putting them in various trials. These tests not only increase them in their faith but also raise their status in the paradise. But it becomes quite difficult to remain patient, when a person is trying to please Allah but his efforts seem to bring no positive result… on the contrary the whole environment turns against him. The time comes when the devil tries to make him believe that even Allah is not happy with him because if Allah is on his side then why isn’t he making things easy for him? Why is he not removing the hurdles? The shaitan loves to make us hopeless but we should not lose hope in Allah’s mercy because His help is very near…

إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ {1}

When there comes the help of Allah and the victory

1400 yrs ago when Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) had to leave his hometown to migrate to Madinah with a small number of followers, it must have seemed totally impossible that one day He would enter Makkah as a Conqueror… but it did happen only after seven years of migration… and because of this victory the whole Arab accepted Islam:

وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا {2}

You see the people entering Allah’s religion (Islam) in multitudes

We also experience this miracle of Allah in our lives when He sends us his help in miraculous ways and saves us from most impossible situations. These are the moments of extreme joy and gratitude… but it is also a test of our obedience. What do we do in such situations?

Do we give all the credit to our own intelligence that we managed to succeed?

Or we think we are so pious that we have become Allah’s favourites… so He has given us exactly what we desired?

Or do we really believe it to be nothing else except Allah’s greatness and mercy… and we feel even more aware of our sins and this enormous guilt makes us turn to Allah in sincere repentance…?

In fact the last option is the only one leading to Allah’s pleasure:

فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا {3}

So glorify your Rabb with His praises, and pray for His forgiveness: surely He is ever ready to accept repentance

I have often felt this strange feeling of inadequacy after having done any act of goodness… I feel like I could have done so much better than this… but couldn’t do it… due to my lack of knowledge or my lack of proper planning, or maybe it is lack of determination or sincerity… But today I have understood that even though analysing one’s faults leads to becoming a better person but it should not become a cause for hopelessness with oneself… therefore we should do a lot of “Istighfaar”, to remove the bad feelings of not reaching the level of excellence which we want. The more we ask Allah’s forgiveness, the more He fills our hearts with peace and gives us hope and optimism to start again.

May Allah help us always to remember the fact that all goodness is from Him alone… this awareness of our own weakness and Allah’s greatness is the biggest lesson to learn… so may Allah increase us in our knowledge… ameen.

Surah Al-Lahab

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the last surah, Allah showed us how His help can bring the most glorious success to the believers who remain determined and steadfast on their faith. On the other hand, if someone shows hostility and enmity towards Allah and His Messenger, then Allah’s punishment is also very great.

Prophet (s.a.w)’s uncle, Abu Lahab, was one such person who spared no effort to destroy the mission of the Prophet (s.a.w) but in the end he himself met the most disgusting defeat… The fact is that when people go against Islam and torture the believers they think they are waging a war against people… not realizing that they are coming up against the most powerful being… the All-Mighty Allah…

تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ {1}

May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined… and ruined is he!

Imagine what a great dislike Allah had for Abu Lahab that He has recorded these words full of anger and punishment for all times to come. It means that this warning is not just for one person but it is for all those people who think they are being very clever by spreading hatred and mistrust against Allah or His Prophet or His religion. Do they think that their wealth and power will save them? Well they can see what good it did to Abu Lahab…

مَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ {2}

His wealth and whatever he earned did not avail him anything.

Allah made the most beautiful paradise for His obedient believers… but for the enemies there can be no other place but fire…

سَيَصْلَىٰ نَارًا ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ {3}

Soon he shall be burnt in a flaming fire (a pun on the meaning of Abu Lahab, “father of flames“)

The wife of Abu Lahab was also an active participant in his hostile activities. She would put garbage and thorny bushes on the entrance of the Prophet’s house… and vowed that she would sell her necklace in the cause of putting an end to Islam… Allah declares His punishment for her as well as all such supporters of disbelief:

وَامْرَأَتُهُ حَمَّالَةَ الْحَطَبِ {4}
فِي جِيدِهَا حَبْلٌ مِنْ مَسَدٍ {5}

And his wife, the carrier of crackling fire wood, shall have a rope of palm-leaf fibre around her neck

This surah seems to be Allah’s announcement… loud and clear… that just as He is so forgiving and merciful to His faithful believers, similarly His anger and punishment for the arrogant enemies of Islam is also great. So we should fear His wrath as much as we hope for His forgiveness. May Allah save us from the deceptions of this world…ameen.

Surah Al-Ikhlas

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Although we have a firm belief that our Lord is one and only Allah… only He has the right to be worshipped… yet we do not always follow His commands and thus we become distanced from the purity of faith. The devil uses our weakness to further put barriers between us and the real truth… and so we become attracted to other things besides Allah and this involvement leads to shirk i.e. associating partners with Allah. Even if we think that our faith is pure yet we can all see that in our lives we give more importance to other things than Allah and so our way of life is not purely Islamic… but this is such a harmful thing; even though apparently it seems quite alright to adapt to the changing world… some people even call it enlightenment or progress… but if you read the Quran and Hadith, it becomes very clear that to Allah the only acceptable religion is the religion of Purity… the religion of Tauheed. So at the end of our journey Allah is once again reminding us of our real destination:

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ {1}

Say: He is Allah the One and Only

Like a majority of Muslims, I learned this surah in the earliest years of my childhood but sadly it was thought enough to just memorise the words of Quran and read them without understanding or thought. So we spend our whole lives reciting this beautiful surah without actually knowing that we are declaring our faith… Allah wanted us to know Him and to be eternally devoted to Him with all our heart and soul but how could our hearts feel any warmth of love without any knowledge? What a waste of life to keep running after other “gods” who could neither give us anything nor satisfy our yearning hearts… the hearts which can only be satisfied with the perfect adoration of a perfect Allah:

اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ {2}

Allah is the Self-Sufficient (independent of all, while all are dependent on Him)

In one word “As-Samad” Allah has given us His complete introduction… because it encompasses all the qualities of power, strength and eternal perfection. We keep searching for our “ideal” not realizing that our ideal can be none other than Allah… because no one has the level of completeness and perfection which Allah has. All through the history of the world, people kept trying to prove the false notion that Allah has a son or daughters… but the fact is that He is so complete that he does not require any parent or any offspring:

لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ {3}

He begets not, nor is He begotten

The beauty of Quran is most apparent in this surah because in such few words it presents to us the complete truth without any falsehood, without any imperfection at all. My heart seems to glow with the light of the following words which prove beyond doubt that Allah is most unique and incomparable… nobody is like Him and He is like no one:

وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ {4}

And there is none comparable to Him

What a freedom it is to feel the comfort of being Allah’s slave. What more honour than to be under the direct care and supervision of the most magnificent Lord? It makes me feel so grateful to Allah that He blessed me with this pure Book which taught me to nurture this pure faith… but at the same time this surah also fills me with a sense of awesome responsibility that I have to be very very careful in all my actions because the pure faith demands pure worship… complete obedience with proper humility and respect… and of course love and adoration for the most perfect Allah… may Allah help me remember it at all times… ameen.

Surah Al-Falaq

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The beautiful book of Allah is coming to an end… on one hand it gives a person a huge sense of achievement of having completed a journey but at the same time it fills the heart with melancholy… as if leaving a comfortable, reliable shelter and coming out in a world full of deceptions and falsehood… But Allah is so merciful that He has chosen for us these two magnificent duas at the end of Quran which teach us to seek Allah’s protection from all the dangers of the world…

قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ الْفَلَقِ {1}

Say: I seek refuge with the Rabb of the dawn

Before studying the Quran, I used to feel afraid of so many things and on top of that I was made to feel like a fool because people could not understand what was so frightful about simple little things like crossing a river or driving in traffic? So I thought maybe there was something wrong with me because I was always conscious of the dangerous aspect of every thing or situation. Today when I studied the following Ayah, I was so relieved to understand that what I used to feel was not entirely wrong… everything in this world does have a potential of being harmful or dangerous… And Allah expects us to seek His protection from the harm of everything which He has created…

مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ {2}

From the evil of all that He has created

Now I understand that true “tawakkul” or trust in Allah’s protection is not in being carefree of dangers… rather it is the feeling achieved after you make consistent duas to Allah, being aware of the risks; but knowing that Allah’s protection is stronger than every other thing…

So when the dark night seems to engulf all the brightness of the day and the heart feels gloomy… we should remember that Allah is Greater than this enormous sky and more powerful than its darkness…

وَمِنْ شَرِّ غَاسِقٍ إِذَا وَقَبَ {3}

And from the evil of darkness when it overspreads

Another dangerous thing which can ruin people’s lives is the magic done by some malicious people to harm others…

وَمِنْ شَرِّ النَّفَّاثَاتِ فِي الْعُقَدِ {4}

From the evil of those who blow on knots (black magic);

But the greatest harm is in the jealousy of an envious person. It is often observed that in some people’s company you feel secure and comfortable, but there are some who make you feel threatened even though their outward behaviour is quite nice… the rays of their envy can be felt in the heart. So we should remember that no one can protect us from their negative thoughts except Allah:

وَمِنْ شَرِّ حَاسِدٍ إِذَا حَسَدَ {5}

And from the mischief of the envier when he envies.

When a child is going out of the house for the first time, the mother sends him off with a lot of instructions… and teaches him to beware of the dangers… Similarly Allah is telling us that these are the dangers from which we should save ourselves… not just physical dangers but also spiritual pitfalls which might ruin our treasure of faith and conviction. Seeking Allah’s protection day and night, not only ensures our security but is also a means of increasing our love and trust in Allah… May Allah help us all to achieve the best out of life… ameen.


Review of chapter-114

Posted by theseekerspath in Uncategorized. Leave a comment | Edit

Surah An-Naas

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the world that we live in, we are aware of different dangers and we take safety measures against them; but ironically the biggest danger that threatens our life in this world as well as in the hereafter, is unrecognized by many… and that is the constant danger of being deceived by the devil… we think that we are making the right decisions in life not even analyzing whether we are really following the right way or are we blindly following the devil’s whispers? If we don’t recognize our biggest enemy then how can we protect ourselves against his activities? That is why at the end of our journey through Quran Allah is making us aware of this danger, and also giving us the assurance that we do have one big thing going in our favour… which is the most reliable protection and care of Allah… who is the Lord of all mankind:

قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ {1}

Say: I seek refuge in the Rabb of mankind

In this world we are so impressed by those who have some authority and power… and we look towards them for help… often facing disappointment due to their carefree attitude or sometimes due to their inability to understand or solve our problems. Here Allah is reminding us that the real king is Allah… who can us everything.

مَلِكِ النَّاسِ {2}
إِلَٰهِ النَّاسِ {3}

King of mankind, the real God of mankind

Here Allah reveals to us that the most harmful thing which is constantly threatening our safety is not traffic accidents, or treachery of people, or loss of wealth or even life… but the real danger is to believe and follow the whispers of the devil…

مِنْ شَرِّ الْوَسْوَاسِ الْخَنَّاسِ {4}
الَّذِي يُوَسْوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ النَّاسِ {5}

From the mischief of the slinking whisperers (Shaitan and his workers)… who whisper into the hearts of people

The only purpose of the devil is to prevent the people from entering Paradise, so he keeps trying to deceive them by making sinful things look attractive… consequently the heart which should be full of Allah’s love, starts to love the forbidden things… and the person is willingly led into the ways which bring him utter destruction in both worlds. Therefore Allah is giving us the powerful weapon of this most effective dua which will protect us not only against the devil but also from the people who have become his partners in driving people away from the righteous path…

مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ {6}

Whether he be from among the jinn or from mankind.

Although this life is full of dangers and it is so because Allah made it like this… as a test of our faith and obedience… But the Quran is the most powerful shelter for us and the good news is that this journey has no end. If we really and truly want Allah’s guidance then He fills our hearts with a never ending love and attachment for His book which is the ultimate source of guidance for all mankind…

So my dua at the completion of this journey is that may this journey never end… may Allah always keep us joined to Him through His Book… may we understand its true spirit, may we act on its guidance and may we be among those who spread its message all over the world…ameen summa ameen.

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