Quran(2)

Surah An-Nahl

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala made this world in such a way that Man develops a connection with it from the moment he is born. Even a baby looks around and is affected by the things around him from a very early stage. The first questions that he asks, as soon as he is able to talk, are about the environment. What is this? What is that? He learns the names of things, then learns to use them. And through all the stages of his life he is dependent on the creations of Allah in one way or the other. The food he eats, the water that he drinks, the clothes that he wears are all from the nature around him. Some of us are just using the world and its things to fulfill our needs. Some develop a love for these things for their material benefit and to accumulate them becomes their purpose of life. Yet there are a few who contemplate and reflect upon the purpose of this creation and thus it connects them to the Creator, the almighty Allah.

     Surah An-Nahl is actually a reminder from Allah to man, inviting him to take a good look at the world around him. The things that he sees just in a passing glance and never stops to wonder at their complexities and extraordinary designs, are all put to focus in this beautiful chapter of the Quran. This is Islam, the complete code of life: don’t just sit in a corner rolling the beads of a tasbeeh,  come out and see the signs of Allah, but be careful , don’t lose the balance, don’t get so entangled in this creation that you forget the Creator.

      Look at these verses, just in the beginning:

 

خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ تَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ {3}

He created the heavens and the earth with the truth, highly exalted is He above what they associate (with Him).

خَلَقَ الإِنسَانَ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٌ مُّبِينٌ {4}

He created man from a small seed and lo! he is an open contender.

 

Allah is referring to the disbelievers and transgressors who forget their origin (which was a despicable drop) and use their intellect to become arrogant instead of becoming grateful for all the blessings that Allah has created for them.

Now in the next several Ayaat we see countless examples of Allah’s splendid creation. See how the Quran shows us a splendid documentary through the meaningful words of Allah:

 

وَالأَنْعَامَ خَلَقَهَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا دِفْءٌ وَمَنَافِعُ وَمِنْهَا تَأْكُلُونَ {5}

And He created the cattle for you; you have in them warm clothing and (many) advantages, and of them do you eat.

 

Allah has also catered for our aesthetic sense:

 

وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا جَمَالٌ حِينَ تُرِيحُونَ وَحِينَ تَسْرَحُونَ {6}

And there is beauty in them for you when you drive them back (to home), and when you send them forth (to pasture).

 

as well as transport to unreachable areas:

 

وَتَحْمِلُ أَثْقَالَكُمْ إِلَى بَلَدٍ لَّمْ تَكُونُواْ بَالِغِيهِ إِلاَّ بِشِقِّ الأَنفُسِ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ {7}

And they carry your heavy loads to regions which you could not reach but with distress of the souls; most surely your Lord is Compassionate, Merciful.

 

Not to forget the beauty of horses apart from their usefulness:

 

وَالْخَيْلَ وَالْبِغَالَ وَالْحَمِيرَ لِتَرْكَبُوهَا وَزِينَةً…………….                        

And (He made) horses and mules and donkeys that you might ride upon them and as an ornament

And Allah says that he will create the substitute of these animals, which you do not know:   It could be the limos of today or even those vehicles which are yet to come.                     

وَيَخْلُقُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ {8}                          

                                      and He creates what you do not know

           

From Animal kingdom, The Quran takes us to the world of plants and their one source: water. Isn’t it amazing that from the same earth and same water Allah has produced for us fruits and flowers of various colours and sizes and flavours. Do we ever pause to think before we take a bite of that red apple , how beautifully it reflects the light? Or have we ever wondered why Allah has created so many colours and flavours of Apples or other fruits? And what was the need of such a countless variety of flowers? just for the pleasure of our eyes? Allah says:

 

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء لَّكُم مِّنْهُ شَرَابٌ وَمِنْهُ شَجَرٌ فِيهِ تُسِيمُونَ {10}

He it is Who sends down water from the cloud for you; it gives drink, and by it (grow) the trees upon which you pasture.

يُنبِتُ لَكُم بِهِ الزَّرْعَ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالنَّخِيلَ وَالأَعْنَابَ وَمِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {11}

He causes to grow for you thereby herbage, and the olives, and the palm trees, and the grapes, and of all the fruits; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.

 

And now take a look at the vast sky:

 

وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالْنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالْنُّجُومُ مُسَخَّرَاتٌ بِأَمْرِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ {12}

And He has made subservient for you the night and the day and the sun and the moon, and the stars are made subservient by His commandment; most surely there are signs in this for a people who ponder;

 

Next we move on to the endless oceans:

 

وَهُوَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ الْبَحْرَ لِتَأْكُلُواْ مِنْهُ لَحْمًا طَرِيًّا وَتَسْتَخْرِجُواْ مِنْهُ حِلْيَةً تَلْبَسُونَهَا وَتَرَى الْفُلْكَ مَوَاخِرَ فِيهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُواْ مِن فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ {14}

 And He it is Who has made the sea subservient that you may eat fresh flesh from it and bring forth from it ornaments which you wear, and you see the ships cleaving through it, and that you might seek of His bounty and that you may give thanks.

 

last but not least, the majestic mountains:

 

وَأَلْقَى فِي الأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَأَنْهَارًا وَسُبُلاً لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ {15}

And He has cast great mountains in the earth lest it might be convulsed with you, and rivers and roads that you may go aright,

 

Allah says the list is endless, this is just a glimpse, the fact is that if you were to count these things you would fail to do so:

 

وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ اللّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {18}

And if you would count Allah’s favors, you will not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

 

It leads us to the one basic truth: the oneness of Allah—-TAUHEED:

 

إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَالَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالآخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مُّنكِرَةٌ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ {22}

Your Allah is one Allah; so (as for) those who do not believe m the hereafter, their hearts are ignorant and they are proud.

 

We see that Arrogance or Takabbar is such an evil that leads to disbelief. Allah says that when these people are asked about the Quran they have this typical response:

 

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُم مَّاذَا أَنزَلَ رَبُّكُمْ قَالُواْ أَسَاطِيرُ الأَوَّلِينَ {24}

And when it is said to them, what is it that your Lord has revealed? They say: Stories of the ancients;

 

But when the same question is put to the God-fearing people, they say:

 

وَقِيلَ لِلَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْاْ مَاذَا أَنزَلَ رَبُّكُمْ قَالُواْ خَيْرًا…………….                     

 And it is said to those who guard (against evil): What is it that your Lord has revealed? They say, “That which is Good”.

 

So Allah says that their reward is great, in both the worlds:

لِّلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُواْ فِي هَذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةٌ وَلَدَارُ الآخِرَةِ خَيْرٌ وَلَنِعْمَ دَارُ الْمُتَّقِينَ {30}

. For those who do good in this world is good, and certainly the abode of the hereafter is better; and certainly most excellent is the abode of those who guard (against evil);

 

In this Surah we see that Allah is again and again inviting us towards using our intellect. The purpose of Quran has also been stated as such:

 

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {44}

and We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them, and that haply they may reflect.

 

And the desired effect of this contemplation is submission to Allah. That is what Ibaadah is and that is what we were made for. Allah asks us why do you refuse to prostrate before me? Look at the shadows:

 

أَوَ لَمْ يَرَوْاْ إِلَى مَا خَلَقَ اللّهُ مِن شَيْءٍ يَتَفَيَّأُ ظِلاَلُهُ عَنِ الْيَمِينِ وَالْشَّمَآئِلِ سُجَّدًا لِلّهِ وَهُمْ دَاخِرُونَ {48}

Do they not consider every thing that Allah has created? Its (very) shadows return from right and left, making prostration to Allah while they are in utter abasement.

 

In fact the entire universe and all that’s within it is in quiet submission to Allah:

 

وَلِلّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِن دَآبَّةٍ وَالْمَلآئِكَةُ وَهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ {49}

And whatever creature that is in the heavens and that is in the earth makes prostration to Allah (only), and the angels (too) and they do not show pride.

 

And look at us and our foolishness, that we can’t find time for Namaz !! Simply because Allah doesn’t punish us immediately for our disobedience, we think that it really doesn’t matter ? Look at what Allah is reminding us:

 

وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ اللّهُ النَّاسَ بِظُلْمِهِم مَّا تَرَكَ عَلَيْهَا مِن دَآبَّةٍ وَلَكِن يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ إلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى فَإِذَا جَاء أَجَلُهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً وَلاَ يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ {61}

And if Allah had destroyed men for their iniquity, He would not leave on the earth a single creature, but He respites them till an appointed time; so when their doom will come they shall not be able to delay (it) an hour nor can they bring (it) on (before its time).

 

This is the ultimate truth which has become unimportant in our eyes because we rarely talk about it. It is human nature to attach significance to what he listens to, most of the time. Advertisements of various companies are also based on this principle. The more you hear a jingle or commercial, the more your brain tells you that you should buy that thing, even if you don’t need to. That is why truth is hardly talked about, for fear that it will topple all the towers of falsehood that we have built around it for our worldly benefits. So as Muslims it becomes our duty to promote the culture of healthy conversations which will keep reminding us of the basic fact of our existence. The more we promote the message of Allah the more we will remain in reality and will not fall into the traps of illusions.

Coming back to the wonders of Allah’s creation, we have a few verses which take us beyond the surface into the miraculous depths of these creatures. What I found most amazing about it was that Allah gives us the examples of the most ordinary and commonly found creatures, not the extraordinary species shown on National Geographic which most people have no knowledge of. This also shows that Quran is for all people.

 

وَإِنَّ لَكُمْ فِي الأَنْعَامِ لَعِبْرَةً نُّسْقِيكُم مِّمَّا فِي بُطُونِهِ مِن بَيْنِ فَرْثٍ وَدَمٍ لَّبَنًا خَالِصًا سَآئِغًا لِلشَّارِبِينَ {66}

And most surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle; We give you to drink of what is in their bellies– from betwixt the feces and the blood– pure milk, easy and agreeable to swallow for those who drink.

These are like some miraculous factories that Allah has made so widely available for our use. But have we ever given thanks to the Provider?

After this Allah takes us into another world , the mysterious colonies of the bees !! What could be so important about the Honey-Bee that Allah has named this Surah after it? The following two Ayat give us a glimpse into this amazing creation:

 

وَأَوْحَى رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ {68}

And your Lord revealed to the bee saying: Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build:

ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلاً يَخْرُجُ مِن بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاء لِلنَّاسِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {69}

Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively. There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colours, in which there is healing for men; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect.

 

We all read and see movies about science and the animal world etc but our study remains incomplete without Allah’s remembrance that it is He who has created these astonishing miracles. Now after reading all this from the Quran if we do a little research, for instance, on the bees, we get an awareness of Allah’s greatness and our own state of ignorance.

As Allah says in the following Ayat:

 

وَاللّهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْسَّمْعَ وَالأَبْصَارَ وَالأَفْئِدَةَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ {78}

And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers– you did not know anything– and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks.

 

So we can realize from these words that it is such a huge blessing of Allah that he has bestowed on us these faculties of sight and hearing and intellect. We should use all these to acquire an understanding of Allah and our own purpose of existence in this universe.

Allah tells us now to look at the birds:

 

أَلَمْ يَرَوْاْ إِلَى الطَّيْرِ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ فِي جَوِّ السَّمَاء مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلاَّ اللّهُ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ {79}

Do they not see the birds, constrained in the middle of the sky? None withholds them but Allah; most surely there are signs in this for a people who believe.

 

And also look at all the houses and other comforts that have been designed for us:

وَاللّهُ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّن بُيُوتِكُمْ سَكَنًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّن جُلُودِ الأَنْعَامِ بُيُوتًا تَسْتَخِفُّونَهَا يَوْمَ ظَعْنِكُمْ وَيَوْمَ إِقَامَتِكُمْ وَمِنْ أَصْوَافِهَا وَأَوْبَارِهَا وَأَشْعَارِهَا أَثَاثًا وَمَتَاعًا إِلَى حِينٍ {80}

And Allah has given you a place to abide in your houses, and He has given you tents of the skins of cattle which you find light to carry on the day of your march and on the day of your halting, and of their wool and their fur and their hair (He has given you) household stuff and a provision for a time.

وَاللّهُ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّمَّا خَلَقَ ظِلاَلاً وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الْجِبَالِ أَكْنَانًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ سَرَابِيلَ تَقِيكُمُ الْحَرَّ وَسَرَابِيلَ تَقِيكُم بَأْسَكُمْ كَذَلِكَ يُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُسْلِمُونَ {81}

And Allah has made for you of what He has created shelters, and He has given you in the mountains places of retreat, and He has given you garments to preserve you from the heat and coats of mail to preserve you in your fighting; even thus does He complete His favor upon you, that haply you may submit.

 

We should have been grateful for all of this but it only increased us in our arrogance towards Allah:

 

يَعْرِفُونَ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ ثُمَّ يُنكِرُونَهَا وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ {83}

They recognize the favor of Allah, yet they deny it, and most of them are ungrateful.

 

but how can we change our attitude? It is only possible through the Quran:

وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ {89}

and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.

 

And so Allah commands us:

 

إِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاء ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ {90}

Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful.

وَأَوْفُواْ بِعَهْدِ اللّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدتُّمْ وَلاَ تَنقُضُواْ الأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلاً إِنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ {91}

And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have made a covenant, and do not break the oaths after making them fast, and you have indeed made Allah a surety for you; surely Allah I . knows what you do.

 

The message in these verses is so important for us to act upon that they are read regularly in the Khutba of Friday Prayer, but how many of us really know what they mean? And if we don’t know their meaning then how can we ever hope to act upon them? Why are we so carefree? Why don’t we fear Allah?

The Quran tells us the reason:

 

ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمُ اسْتَحَبُّواْ الْحَيَاةَ الْدُّنْيَا عَلَى الآخِرَةِ وَأَنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ {107}

This is because they love this world’s life more than the hereafter, and because Allah does not guide the unbelieving people.

أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ طَبَعَ اللّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ وَسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ {108}

These are they on whose hearts and their hearing and their eyes Allah has set a seal, and these are the heedless ones.

لاَ جَرَمَ أَنَّهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ هُمُ الْخَاسِرونَ {109}

No doubt that in the hereafter they will be the losers.

 

But there have also been those who chose to commit themselves to the obedience of Allah. The favorite example with Allah of such a person is of Ibrahim (a.s) Look at how Allah honours him:

 

إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِلّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ {120}

 Surely Ibrahim was an exemplar, obedient to Allah, upright, and he was not of the polytheists.

شَاكِرًا لِّأَنْعُمِهِ اجْتَبَاهُ وَهَدَاهُ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ {121}

Grateful for His favors; He chose him and guided him on the right path.

وَآتَيْنَاهُ فِي الْدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَإِنَّهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ لَمِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ {122}

And We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the good.

 

Allah knows that people will still find excuses for their choice of discarding religion from their lives, and will find fault with the religion itself. So He tells the Prophet, s.a.w.:

 

ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ {125}

Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way.

 

 

The same rule applies to all those after the Prophet, who commit themselves to convey the message of Allah to people. This is not an easy task. It requires perseverance and patience under all circumstances. Therefore in the last words of this awesome Surah, Allah advices us:

 

وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّابِرينَ {126}

And indeed if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient.

وَاصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلاَّ بِاللّهِ وَلاَ تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ تَكُ فِي ضَيْقٍ مِّمَّا يَمْكُرُونَ {127}

And be patient and your patience is not but by (the assistance of) Allah, and grieve not for them, and do not distress yourself at what they plan.

إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَواْ وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ {128}

Surely Allah is with those who guard (against evil) and those who do good (to others).

 

Surah Bani Israel

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ                           

This surah begins with the reference to Prophet Muhammad’s (s.a.w.) night journey and ascent to the heavens.

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ {1}

 Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

It seems appropriate to share with you all a short account of this miraculous journey, as described in the authentic Hadeeth of Prophet (s.a.w), So as to refresh our memories of it and also to get a feeling of increased faith in the Power of Allah, and the truth of His messenger(s.a.w) :-

                        Al-Isra Wal Mairaj (the night journey and ascension)

               It was during the 10th year of the Prophethood that Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihe wasalam) was to be given one of the greatest and most uplifting honors by Allah. This was a miraculous night journey. On that special night, the Angel Gabriel came to Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihe wasalam) and woke him from his sleep. Gabriel then made him mount what looked like a dazzling white creature named Al-Buraq. Soon with lightening speed Muhammad was transported to Masjid Al-Aqsa, the distant place of prayer in Jerusalem. There, Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihe wasalam) was met by an assembly of earlier prophets who gathered behind him as he led them in prayer.

From there, Gabriel took him and they ascended through the seven heavens to witness the unseen mysteries of the universe and to see some of the greatest signs of Allah. Then Gabriel ascended with Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihe wasalam) through each subsequent heaven, meeting different Prophets as he went. Adam, Yahya, Eisa, Idrees, Yoseph, Haroon, Musa, peace be upon them all. Until finally they reached the seventh heaven. There was a man sitting on the throne at the gate of the immortal mansion. ‘Never have I seen a man more like myself’, said the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihewasalam). ‘This was my father Abraham’. Then Gabriel appeared to the Prophet (Sallalahu alaihewasalam) in all his angelic light and splendor. They had reached the lot tree of the utmost boundary, the Sidrat-ul-Muntaha veiled by mysterious colors, inexhaustibly indescribable.

“The sight did not swerve nor did it exceed, Verily he saw of the Sign of his Lord, the Greatest.” 53:17-18

Muhammad (Sallalahu alaihewasalam) had soared to the zenith of Divine heights. It was in this night of supreme spiritual and bodily elevation that he received from Allah Almighty, the second noble pillar of Islam: the five daily prayers. Before returning to the earth, Gabriel also took the Prophet to Paradise where the faithful would rejoice after their resurrection, and was shown scenes from the hell where various types of punishments were being meted out to the sinful.
 The journey gave the holy Prophet and His companions a great deal of psychological comfort and renewed their strength and determination to work for the cause of Islam. This helped them remain steadfast in their commitment to Islam’s message. The divine command during Al Mairaj that the believers must pray five times a day was an eternal tribute to the Prophet’s rendezvous with God. The prayer itself is a form of the faithful’s dialogue and communication with the Creator. Al Israa wal Mairaj was thus a landmark and turning point in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
                                     

Let me mention here that many people have tried to put doubts in the minds of the believers about this journey. They ask ,”how is it possible?” and “how can it be explained in scientific laws?” The answer is very simple; that even the scientific laws are a creation of Allah, and Allah is not bound by these laws while planning or taking His actions. If He plans to do something, He has all the power to do it. Nothing of His own creation can hinder Him in carrying out His plans. If we are too ignorant or arrogant to believe in the power of Allah then we should be worried about our own fate. Because what kind of faith is this that doubts everything that comes its way?

There is a strong warning for us in Ayat 13, which tells us that we are ourselves shaping our destiny by our attitudes and deeds in this world. Our real life, that’s going to start in Akhirat, and will never, ever come to an end, depends on this life we are living as a test, right now. Look at the way Allah makes us visualize the reality of our situation:

وَكُلَّ إِنسَانٍ أَلْزَمْنَاهُ طَآئِرَهُ فِي عُنُقِهِ وَنُخْرِجُ لَهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كِتَابًا يَلْقَاهُ مَنشُورًا {13} 

 And We have made every man’s actions to cling to his neck, and We will bring forth to him on the resurrection day a book which he will find wide open:

اقْرَأْ كَتَابَكَ كَفَى بِنَفْسِكَ الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكَ حَسِيبًا {14}

 Read your book; your own self is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day.

مَّنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدي لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَإِنَّمَا يَضِلُّ عَلَيْهَا وَلاَ تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّى نَبْعَثَ رَسُولاً {15}

Whoever goes aright, for his own soul does he go aright; and whoever goes astray, to its detriment only does he go astray: nor can the bearer of a burden bear the burden of another, nor do We chastise until We raise a messenger.

Because of our unawareness of Quran and Sunnah our concepts have been turned upside down. Instead of making the everlasting life of the hereafter our topmost priority and making solid efforts towards that goal, we have been misled into this false way of life that revolves around the temporary success of this temporary life. Allah says:

مَّن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعَاجِلَةَ عَجَّلْنَا لَهُ فِيهَا مَا نَشَاء لِمَن نُّرِيدُ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا لَهُ جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلاهَا مَذْمُومًا مَّدْحُورًا {18}

Whoever desires this present life, We hasten to him therein what We please for whomsoever We desire, then We assign to him the hell; he shall enter it despised, driven away.

وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الآخِرَةَ وَسَعَى لَهَا سَعْيَهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَئِكَ كَانَ سَعْيُهُم مَّشْكُورًا {19}

And whoever desires the hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted.

كُلاًّ نُّمِدُّ هَـؤُلاء وَهَـؤُلاء مِنْ عَطَاء رَبِّكَ وَمَا كَانَ عَطَاء رَبِّكَ مَحْظُورًا {20}

All do We aid– these as well as those– out of the bounty of your Lord, and the bounty of your Lord is not confined.

We should understand that only “desiring” akhirat, through our speech, is not enough. After all who would say that I don’t want to succeed there? Desire is proved through effort, otherwise they are just empty words when we say “I wish I could pray but I never get the time” or “I wish I could understand the Quran but my job is too important.” Allah reminds us once more:

وَلَلآخِرَةُ أَكْبَرُ دَرَجَاتٍ وَأَكْبَرُ تَفْضِيلاً {21}

and certainly the hereafter is much superior in respect of excellence.

Next we come to one of the most important aspects of an Islamic way of life, which is, doing “ehsaan” with our parents. No other religion has placed so much stress on the rights of parents, whereas Allah expects us to give them a far more honourable status than other people.

وَقَضَى رَبُّكَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلاَهُمَا فَلاَ تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلاَ تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلاً كَرِيمًا {23}

And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and (do)goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) “Ugh” nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.

وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا {24}

And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion, and say: O my Lord! have compassion on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little.

What is Ehsaan with our parents? It means treating them with honour, courtesy and  kindness. It is not enough just to feel love for them in our hearts, rather we are required to behave with them with utmost respect. While talking to them we should be very careful because we are not allowed to utter even the smallest word of disrespect. Why is it so? Because, after Allah, we owe them our greatest gratitude. Just think of yourself as that little helpless baby who was dependent on its mother for each and every physical and emotional need, while the father was working hard to provide for a comfortable life. Countless times they must have sacrificed their own needs for our sake. Can we even repay one sleepless night our parents went through when we were sick? So next time when your mother repeats a question which you have just answered a while ago, stop that expression of annoyance that springs to your lips and think back to the time when she answered your questions a hundred times. Look at the ayat again and notice that not only our speech but our body language should also be of humility and respect towards them. There is a strong link between our body language and our thoughts and speech. They are all interrelated. It is self deception to say that it doesn’t matter how you talk and that its just frankness, and that respect should be in the heart………. No ! if its really in the heart then it will rise to the surface as well, be sure of it !! the fact is that unless we read these commands straight from the words of Allah, we don’t really attatch any significance to these matters. Islam is not just a set of rituals , rather it is all about character building of an individual and then of a nation. The next few verses are also about personal and social values which Allah wants us to develop within ourselves, to achieve this goal.

The first thing is to spend on our relatives and other people, believing it to be their right on us. Because if we think that we are doing a favour on them then our attitude reflects the pride that we feel in being so superior. So Allah says:

وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَى حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَلاَ تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيرًا {26}

And give to the near of kin his due and (to) the needy and the wayfarer, and do not squander wastefully.

Secondly it is strictly forbidden to kill our children. How terrible………but we don’t kill them do we? It was the ancient barbaric Arabs who used to bury their daughters alive……… we don’t do that. Yes but look at the growing rate of abortions. Isn’t this murder? And why is it done ? due to fear of poverty…..

وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ أَوْلادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلاقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُم إنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْءًا كَبِيرًا {31}

And do not kill your children for fear of poverty; We give them sustenance and yourselves (too); surely to kill them is a great wrong.

There are some evils that are so contagious and dangerous that Allah doesn’t even want us to go near them. “zina” (fornication) is one such thing:

وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الزِّنَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاء سَبِيلاً {32}

And go not near to fornication; surely it is an indecency and an evil way.

What does it imply? Going near it means getting involved in all those things that lead to it. Obscene movies and novels are such things which provoke animal instincts in a person. So do lustful songs, pictures, etc No one jumps into these crimes straight away. Rather it is like a trap and a person falls into it by seemingly harmless pursuits. We should all be very careful as to where are our youth heading to in this explosion of media and mindless exposure to all kinds of obscenities.

Then Allah reminds us that its strictly forbidden to kill a person unlawfully. The punishment for this crime is Hell. Next we are told to be very careful with the wealth and property of an orphan, if we are entrusted with its care. Promises should be taken seriously and fulfilled. Honesty in give and take is essential. All those things that can be harmful for our character , have been pointed out.

And now look at the next two commands. See how Allah doesn’t leave any detail but wants us to really polish ourselves from inside out !!

وَلاَ تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولـئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْؤُولاً {36}

And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.

This ayat teaches us the value of our time and our life. Why should we waste or energies on things that don’t concern us. Better focus on our targets and reserve our resources for worthwhile pursuits. We should all take a good look at how we are spending our time. How we are using our faculties? What is the focus of our life? Finally the way we walk should also be free of arrogance. Again the link between body and soul :

وَلاَ تَمْشِ فِي الأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّكَ لَن تَخْرِقَ الأَرْضَ وَلَن تَبْلُغَ الْجِبَالَ طُولاً {37}

And do not go about in the land exultingly, for you cannot cut through the earth nor reach the mountains in height.

And so that we might not be in any doubt of it, Allah makes it very clear:

كُلُّ ذَلِكَ كَانَ سَيٍّئُهُ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ مَكْرُوهًا {38}

 All this– the evil of it– is hateful in the sight of your Lord.

 

And we have the Quran to tell us all we need to know:

وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا فِي هَـذَا الْقُرْآنِ لِيَذَّكَّرُواْ ………… {41}

And certainly We have repeated (warnings) in this Quran that they may be mindful………….

but then why are Muslims still so far away from the true spirit of their religion. Allah tells us the reason:

وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرآنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورًا {45}

And when you recite the Quran, We place between you and those who do not believe in the hereafter a hidden barrier;

وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ………..{46}

And We have placed coverings on their hearts and a heaviness in their ears lest they understand it

So its not enough just to let the sound waves hit our ears, rather we should open our hearts to the message of Quran when we are listening to it, if we want it to change our lives. Also we should beware of the evil whispers of the shaitaan. On the day when he had refused to bow before Adam, he had claimed:

قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَكَ هَـذَا الَّذِي كَرَّمْتَ عَلَيَّ لَئِنْ أَخَّرْتَنِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لأَحْتَنِكَنَّ ذُرِّيَّتَهُ إَلاَّ قَلِيلاً {62}

 He said: Tell me, is this he whom Thou hast honored above me? If Thou shouldst respite me to the day of resurrection, I will most certainly cause his progeny to perish except a few.

Allah answered:

قَالَ اذْهَبْ فَمَن تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ فَإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ جَزَآؤُكُمْ جَزَاء مَّوْفُورًا {63}

He said: Be gone! for whoever of them will follow you, then surely hell is your recompense, a full recompense:

وَاسْتَفْزِزْ مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ مِنْهُمْ بِصَوْتِكَ وَأَجْلِبْ عَلَيْهِم بِخَيْلِكَ وَرَجِلِكَ وَشَارِكْهُمْ فِي الأَمْوَالِ وَالأَوْلادِ وَعِدْهُمْ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلاَّ غُرُورًا {64}

And beguile whomsoever of them you can with your voice, and collect against them your forces riding and on foot, and share with them in wealth and children, and hold out promises to them; and the Shaitan makes not promises to them but to deceive:

We need to understand here what is meant by the voice of the shaitaan. Most scholars agree that from the Hadees of the Prophet s.a.w it is clear that it refers to music and singing. Nowadays when music has got such an ever present hold over our lives it becomes difficult for some people to accept that it is harmful and therefore prohibited by Allah. But it is a fact that Music leads one to fantasy and away from the remembrance of Allah. The lyrics all lead towards obscenity so that the thinking patters of our young generation has been totally distorted. Many accidents occur due to the distraction caused by music. For those who fear Allah only his command is enough and those who do not fear him , can hear all proofs and still be in doubt.

Allah says that those who don’t want to get trapped by the devil will not come under his influence :

                             إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ وَكَفَى بِرَبِّكَ وَكِيلاً {65}

Surely (as for) My servants, you have no authority over them; and your Lord is sufficient as a Protector.

And about those who prefer to close their eyes to the reality, Allah says:

وَمَن كَانَ فِي هَـذِهِ أَعْمَى فَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ أَعْمَى وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلاً {72}

And whoever is blind in this, he shall (also) be blind in the hereafter; and more erring from the way.

But what can we do to prevent ourselves from this blindness? The Quran gives us the recipe for the strengthening of our souls:

أَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا {78}

Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed.

وَمِنَ اللَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِ نَافِلَةً لَّكَ عَسَى أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًا مَّحْمُودًا {79}

And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.

At the end of this awesome surah, Allah tells us to remember Him in all times, because his remembrance is the source of strength for our heart and soul:

وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذِي لَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا وَلَم يَكُن لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلِيٌّ مِّنَ الذُّلَّ وَكَبِّرْهُ تَكْبِيرًا {111}

And say: (All) praise is due to Allah, Who has not taken a son and Who has not a partner in the kingdom, and Who has not a helper to save Him from disgrace; and proclaim His greatness magnifying (Him).

 

Surah Al-Kahf

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

This is the Surah which has really put my heart to test: How to express the message it contains? However hard I pondered over it I finally came to the conclusion that only Allah’s own words are able to deliver the truth straight to the heart of a person. Our role is to try our best towards understanding this awesome treasure of knowledge and inspiration and inshaAllah the more sincere and committed we are in our pursuit of enlightenment the more Allah will reveal it to us.

    So let’s get ourselves acquainted with this beautiful Surah about which our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) once said :

       “Whoever recites Surah Al-Kahf on Friday, it will be a means of light for him till the next Friday.”

This Surah unveils the true reality of our world in which Allah has sent us for a limited time and sent us the Quran so that we might stay in the right perspective about everything.

 The first Ayat is full of gratitude of a believer when he realizes what a blessing Allah has sent down to him: The miraculous revelation of Allah’s words on the heart of His Prophet,

               الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجَا {1}

 (All) praise is due to Allah, Who revealed the Book to His servant and did not make in it any crookedness.                            

Next Allah tells us the purpose behind the creation of earth in the following ayaat:

إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَّهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا {7} 

Surely We have made whatever is on the earth an adornment for it, so that We may try them (as to) which of them is best in works.

 

Take a good look around yourself…………..what do you see? What are we immersed in, nowadays? “ZEENAT” : Adornment. The latest clothes, the latest shoes, the latest movies, the latest fashion……… the list goes on and on and on. And we have no time for Allah, no time for Prayer, no time for Quran. Allah is telling us that this beauty is so temporary, it’s just a test to see which of you is best in deeds. We are not even worried about attaining the minimum passing marks and Allah is talking about “ahsan” which means the best in every action and every thought, perfect in fulfilling the rights of Allah and of people.

It is important to understand here that the comforts of this world are not condemned in Islam but Allah is warning us that don’t get so involved in this mad race for material progress, that you forget the hereafter. Remember all this is going to turn into dry earth:

وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا {8}

And most surely We will make what is on it (earth) a bare ground without herbage.

 

Everything will be finished. These houses that we worship, this jewellery that we adore, everything will perish.

After this Allah relates to us the story of a few young men who renounced materialism, gave up everything and took refuge in a cave to save their Faith, when they were threatened with death from the ruler of the land, who wanted them to revert to “shirk”( polytheism). Look at their trust in Allah which is expressed in their prayer:

إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا {10}

When the youths sought refuge in the cave, they said: Our Lord! grant us mercy from Thee, and provide for us a right course in our affair.

 

Now there is a very important point to ponder in the following two verses:

 

نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُم بِالْحَقِّ إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى {13}

We relate to you their story with the truth; surely they were youths who believed in their Lord and We increased them in guidance.

وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ إِذْ قَامُوا فَقَالُوا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَن نَّدْعُوَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلَهًا لَقَدْ قُلْنَا إِذًا شَطَطًا {14}

And We strengthened their hearts with patience, when they stood up and said: Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth; we will by no means call upon any god besides Him, for then indeed we should have said an extravagant thing.

 

We see here that they had such a strong faith, that Allah increased them in their Guidance and made their hearts strong enough to take a stand against “shirk” (polytheism). We also claim to have imaan but why are we constantly in doubts? Why doesn’t our faith make our hearts strong? Why can’t we come out of our fears? The problem is that we don’t act upon our faith and that is why our level of Hidayat (enlightenment) is on the decline instead of being increased. Also we need to have courage for that first step……….for the first stand we take for Allah’s sake and then Allah will make our hearts strong.

Allah made these young men sleep in the cave, for a number of years and then raised them again as a sign for the people of that generation:

 

وَكَذَلِكَ أَعْثَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهَا….. {21}

 And thus did We make (men) to get knowledge of them that they might know that Allah’s promise is true and that as for the hour there is no doubt about it.

 

Often in our lives Allah shows us signs of reality but we don’t usually focus on the real issue and get distracted by useless details and thus we remain untouched and unmoved.

Our focus should be on Allah, but how do we do that? Allah tells us in this Ayat that it can be achieved through reading the Book of Allah:

 

وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَلَن تَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا {27}

And recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord, there is none who can alter His words; and you shall not find any refuge besides Him.

 

Also be wise in the choice of your friends.The Prophet (s.a.w) said:

“A man is on the religion of his friend.”

 Don’t be dazzled by superficial sophistication, go for imaan , that should be our criterion in seeking a friend:

 

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا {28}

 And withhold yourself with those who call on their Lord morning and evening desiring His goodwill, and let not your eyes pass from them, desiring the beauties of this world’s life; and do not follow him whose heart We have made unmindful to Our remembrance, and he follows his low desires and his case is one in which due bounds are exceeded.

 

There are various distractions in this world which cause a person to be forgetful of his Lord but none so much as the trial of wealth and prosperity. Very few can remain humble and grateful towards Allah after they have been given worldly success. As is shown in the following parable in which a man was blessed with two beautiful gardens:

 

وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلًا رَّجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَحَفَفْنَاهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعًا {32}

And set forth to them a parable of two men; for one of them We made two gardens of grape vines, and We surrounded them both with palms, and in the midst of them We made cornfields.

كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمْ تَظْلِمْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلَالَهُمَا نَهَرًا {33}

Both these gardens yielded their fruits, and failed not aught thereof, and We caused a river to gush forth in their midst,

Instead of showing gratitude to Allah, this man becomes arrogant and denies the truth of the Day of Judgment:

 

وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ قَالَ مَا أَظُنُّ أَن تَبِيدَ هَذِهِ أَبَدًا {35}

And he entered his garden while he was unjust to himself. He said: I do not think that this will ever perish

وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِن رُّدِدتُّ إِلَى رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهَا مُنقَلَبًا {36}

And I do not think the hour will come, and even if I am returned to my Lord I will most certainly find a returning place better than this.

 

He is advised by his companion to remember Allah’s greatness in giving him all that he had:

وَلَوْلَا إِذْ دَخَلْتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلْتَ مَا شَاء اللَّهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ ……. {39}

And wherefore did you not say when you entered your garden: It is as Allah has pleased, there is no power save in Allah?

 

And then Allah punished him for his arrogance and he is full of regrets but it was too late then:

 

وَأُحِيطَ بِثَمَرِهِ فَأَصْبَحَ يُقَلِّبُ كَفَّيْهِ عَلَى مَا أَنفَقَ فِيهَا وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا وَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُشْرِكْ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا {42}

And his wealth was destroyed; so he began to wring his hands for what he had spent on it, while it lay, having fallen down upon its roofs, and he said: Ah me! would that I had not associated anyone with my Lord.

 

And so we learn this very important lesson that worldly success is just a test and by no means does it mean that it is our own big achievement. Rather we should be grateful for whatever Allah has blessed us with, and try our utmost to spend it for the reward of the akhirah. As Allah says in the following Ayat:

 

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا {46}

Wealth and children are an adornment of the life of this world; and the ever-abiding, the good works, are better with your Lord in reward and better in expectation.

 

Why is all of this so important? Because each of our actions is being recorded and look at what will happen on the day of judgment:

 

وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ فَتَرَى الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُشْفِقِينَ مِمَّا فِيهِ وَيَقُولُونَ يَا وَيْلَتَنَا مَالِ هَذَا الْكِتَابِ لَا يُغَادِرُ صَغِيرَةً وَلَا كَبِيرَةً إِلَّا أَحْصَاهَا وَوَجَدُوا مَا عَمِلُوا حَاضِرًا وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا {49}

And the Book shall be placed, then you will see the guilty fearing from what is in it, and they will say: Ah! woe to us! what a book is this! it does not omit a small one nor a great one, but numbers them (all); and what they had done they shall find present (there); and your Lord does not deal unjustly with anyone.

 

Allah has made everything so clear for us and yet we keep on denying the reality:

 

وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا فِي هَذَا الْقُرْآنِ لِلنَّاسِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا {54}

 And certainly We have explained in this Quran every kind of example, and man is most of all given to contention.

 

Next we find the most interesting story of Musa (a.s) who goes in search of his teacher, Khizar (a.s) And then they travel together for a time, in which, through various incidents, Allah teaches us a very important lesson that if we cannot understand the wisdom behind anything that happens in our life then its is not due to any deficiency in Allah’s laws. Rather the deficiency is in our own understanding. We need to believe that whatever happens is for our own benefit. We should not be deceived by the outward appearance of things.

Then there is the story of Zulqarnain which bears a great relevance for us in this day. He was a great ruler, who had been given marvelous resources and a mighty power,

 

إِنَّا مَكَّنَّا لَهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَبَبًا {84}

 Surely We established him in the land and granted him means of access to every thing.

 

 But see how he harnessed that power, with humility to Allah. That is the meaning of Tauheed that even if we have been given power, we should not let that power blind us. When Zulqarnain came upon a people who wanted him to help them against their enemies by building a wall for their protection, they offered to pay him tax for it:

 

قَالُوا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًا عَلَى أَن تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّا {94}

They said: O Zulqarnain! surely Gog and Magog make mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute on condition that you should raise a barrier between us and them

 

Look at his reply:

 

قَالَ مَا مَكَّنِّي فِيهِ رَبِّي خَيْرٌ فَأَعِينُونِي بِقُوَّةٍ أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا {95}

He said: That in which my Lord has established me is better, therefore you only help me with workers, I will make a fortified barrier between you and them;

 

He doesn’t exploit them. Can we imagine any superpower giving free aid to any country that needed their help ? Look at the technology that he’s harnessed:

 

آتُونِي زُبَرَ الْحَدِيدِ حَتَّى إِذَا سَاوَى بَيْنَ الصَّدَفَيْنِ قَالَ انفُخُوا حَتَّى إِذَا جَعَلَهُ نَارًا قَالَ آتُونِي أُفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِ قِطْرًا {96}

Bring me blocks of iron; until when he had filled up the space between the two mountain sides, he said: Blow, until when he had made it (as) fire, he said: Bring me molten brass which I may pour over it.

 

فَمَا اسْطَاعُوا أَن يَظْهَرُوهُ وَمَا اسْتَطَاعُوا لَهُ نَقْبًا {97}

So they were not able to scale it nor could they make a hole in it.

 

And look at his magnificent statement:

 

قَالَ هَذَا رَحْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّي فَإِذَا جَاء وَعْدُ رَبِّي جَعَلَهُ دَكَّاء وَكَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي حَقًّا {98}

He said: This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes to pass He will make it level with the ground, and the promise of my Lord is ever true.

 

Look at how he gives all the credit to Allah and remembers the day of Qiyamah even at the peak of his worldly success. This should be the attitude of a true believer. And now compare it with our own attitude how dazzled we are at the tall sky scrapers and we think that these people have really made it and nothing can beat them. Allah is teaching us here that Islam doesn’t mean that all of us should go and sleep in a cave. Rather we face various situations in life and Allah gives different tests to different people. Some are tested with poverty and some are tested with power and status. Some are tested with loneliness and fear and others might be tested through interaction with crowds of people. Our success lies in our total submission to Allah’s will in whatever circumstances we come up with. Likewise Allah has bestowed each one of us with unique powers of personality. But we should not let this power make us arrogant or forgetful of Allah. Rather we should think of it as a gift from Allah and use it for His pleasure.

The ultimate success or failure is not in this world but the Hereafter. Allah says “should I tell you, who are the losers? …………..” :

قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا {103}

Say: Shall We inform you of the greatest losers in (their) deeds?

الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا {104}

 (These are) they whose labor is lost in this world’s life and they think that they are well versed in skill of the work of hands.

أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَلِقَائِهِ فَحَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فَلَا نُقِيمُ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَزْنًا {105}

These are they who disbelieve in the communications of their Lord and His meeting, so their deeds become null, and therefore We will not set up a balance for them on the day of resurrection.

 

Their tragedy is that they were doing something but their motive was wrong, their priorities were wrong. What a waste of energies that they were serving the Humanity and not the creator of this humanity……………they were just building grand monuments to be remembered by people. All their efforts were for the pleasure of this world, a better job, a better house, a better car, and that’s all it’s about. And Allah will not give any weightage to these accomplishments.

The key point is the last Ayat in which Allah reminds us that our God is one God :

 

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ……………

Say: I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your god is one Allah……….

We need to be careful lest we are enslaved to people, to our spouses, to our children , our friends………….because anyone for whose sake we are disobeying Allah, we are his slave………let there be no doubt about that. Whether it’s some person or material possessions or benefits.

But how can we change life long attitudes? By thinking about and planning for the hereafter. That is the key point. We cannot do anything unless we believe in meeting with our Lord. This concept is the real driving force we need. So Allah says:

…………..فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا{110}

………..therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord.

*****

 

 

Surah Maryam

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

Often I think to myself, what is it about the Quran that makes me love it so much. Today after reading Surah Maryam I have come to the conclusion that Quran makes us believe in the Ultimate power and authority of Allah in such a way that it enables us to see beyond the predictability of cause and effect. Although Allah has made this universe in such a way that for everything there is a logical and physical reasoning but at the same time Allah has also made miracles happen which make us realize the truth that Allah is not dependent on these laws to create anything. Again and again we find in the Quran such examples which make us “see” this power He has over everything so that the closer we come towards Him with love and submission, the more belief we have in our hopes and dreams turning into reality. The idea of having Allah as our friend and guide is so irresistibly delightful that it makes us return to Quran again and again for that silent meeting and communication with the Lord.

      This is what Surah Maryam is all about………..the power of Allah’s creation and the humility and submission of His chosen people. One of them was the Prophet Zakaria (a.s) who prays to Allah in his old age for a child so that he may carry on his mission of spreading Allah’s message. Look at the humility and gratitude in his words as he calls his Lord:

 

إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ نِدَاء خَفِيًّا {3}

When he called upon his Lord in a low voice,

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَهَنَ الْعَظْمُ مِنِّي وَاشْتَعَلَ الرَّأْسُ شَيْبًا وَلَمْ أَكُن بِدُعَائِكَ رَبِّ شَقِيًّا {4}

He said: My Lord! surely my bones are weakened and grey hair have spread on my head, and, my Lord! I have never been unsuccessful in my prayer to Thee:

وَإِنِّي خِفْتُ الْمَوَالِيَ مِن وَرَائِي وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا فَهَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا {5}

And surely I fear my cousins after me, and my wife is barren, therefore grant me from Thyself an heir,

 

At the end of his “duaa” he prays that Allah might be well pleased with his offspring. Just think what we pray and want for our children. A good life, a good education, a good job and a happy well settled family life…………..that’s it. Our list ends here without us ever worrying whether Allah is pleased with them or not. But Allah’s prophets were always conscious of this, so he calls out:

……            وَاجْعَلْهُ رَبِّ رَضِيًّا {6}

……………. and make him, my Lord, one in whom Thou art well pleased.

Why does Allah mention this act of “duaa”? He could have simply given Zakaria (a.s) what he wanted. So why is duaa important? Making “duaa” to Allah is not just a ritual; rather it is a connection between Man and Allah. It strengthens a person’s faith in Allah’s power and makes him see his own helplessness. Therefore a strong bond of intimacy is created which dispels all negative thoughts and gives hope and clarity of mind. On the other hand we see that by turning away from religion and spirituality, more and more people, even children, are falling prey to psychological disorders, depression being one of the most common. That is why In Islam Praying to Allah has been termed as the essence of Ibaadah. And it has been made very easy for us. We can make a “duaa” any time, anywhere, sitting, standing or lying………Allah is all the time listening and responding to our requests.

         And the best part is when our duaa is accepted. It fills us with joy and wonder that how a seemingly impossible thing has happened and it increases our faith and love for our Lord. As we see in the case of Zakaria (a.s) that when Allah tells him:

 

يَا زَكَرِيَّا إِنَّا نُبَشِّرُكَ بِغُلَامٍ اسْمُهُ يَحْيَى لَمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُ مِن قَبْلُ سَمِيًّا {7}

O Zakariya! surely We give you good news of a boy whose name shall be Yahya: We have not made before anyone his equal.

 

He asks Allah with joy and disbelief:

 

قَالَ رَبِّ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَتِي عَاقِرًا وَقَدْ بَلَغْتُ مِنَ الْكِبَرِ عِتِيًّا {8}

He said: O my Lord! How can I have a son, and my wife is barren, and I myself have reached indeed the extreme degree of old age?

 

And here Allah tells him as well as the whole mankind that such “miracles” are not difficult for Allah. Nothing can stop Him from giving a person what he desires and only He has the power to create out of nothing:

 

قَالَ كَذَلِكَ قَالَ رَبُّكَ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ تَكُ شَيْئًا {9}

He said: So shall it be, your Lord says: It is easy to Me, and indeed I created you before, when you were nothing.

 

Thus Allah bestowed on him a son, Yahya (a.s) with all the qualities that were most desired and pleasing to His Lord. Allah says:

 

يَا يَحْيَى خُذِ الْكِتَابَ بِقُوَّةٍ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحُكْمَ صَبِيًّا {12}

O Yahya! take hold of the Book with strength, and We granted him wisdom while yet a child

وَحَنَانًا مِّن لَّدُنَّا وَزَكَاةً وَكَانَ تَقِيًّا {13}

 And tenderness from Us and purity, and he was one who guarded (against evil),

وَبَرًّا بِوَالِدَيْهِ وَلَمْ يَكُن جَبَّارًا عَصِيًّا {14}

 And dutiful to his parents, and he was not insolent, disobedient.

 

And now Allah tells us another story……….that of another chosen person of Allah: Maryam (a.s) This is a beautiful story of a woman who by her life-long chastity and submission to Allah, became a symbol of purity and goodness for all times to come. Allah gave her the miracle of a son, without a father and thus made them both a sign of His supreme authority over the order of things. If He could create Adam (a.s) with clay, without mother OR father, could give Zakaria (a.s) a son in such an old age with his wife being barren then why could He not create another human being without a father?

So when the angel Jibraeel (a.s) appeared before Maryam (a.s) he gave her the glad tidings of a son:

 

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا {19}

He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord: That I will give you a pure boy.

 

Naturally she was stunned, so she asked:

 

قَالَتْ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا {20}

She said: How can I have a boy when no mortal has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste?

 

Here again we find almost a similar reassurance that Zakaria got:

 

قَالَ كَذَلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا {21}

He said: Even so; your Lord says: It is easy to Me: and that We may make him a sign to men and a mercy from Us, and it is a matter which has been decreed.

 

Now imagine how a woman, who spent her whole life in chastity and obedience to Allah, must have endured the hardship of having her reputation at stake, added to the physical pain of childbirth. So she calls out in her agony:

 

فَأَجَاءهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَى جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَذَا وَكُنتُ نَسْيًا مَّنسِيًّا {23}

And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten!

 

Look at how Allah takes care of her even in her loneliness and despair:

 

فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا {24}

Then (Jibraeel) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not; surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you;

وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا {25}

And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates:

 

She is also told not to say anything to anybody when they will accuse her. So when she enters upon her people carrying a child they start blaming her:

 

فَأَتَتْ بِهِ قَوْمَهَا تَحْمِلُهُ قَالُوا يَا مَرْيَمُ لَقَدْ جِئْتِ شَيْئًا فَرِيًّا {27}

And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her). They said: O Maryam! surely you have done a strange thing.

 

يَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ امْرَأَ سَوْءٍ وَمَا كَانَتْ أُمُّكِ بَغِيًّا {28}

O sister of Haroun! your father was not a bad man, nor, was your mother an unchaste woman.

 

Just imagine her calm determination and trust in Allah that instead of defending herself she quietly pointed towards her baby, and by Allah’s will the infant spoke up, the most beautiful words of the Quran that seem to shine on the page:

قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا {30}

He said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet;

 

And see how Allah honors him:

 

ذَلِكَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ قَوْلَ الْحَقِّ الَّذِي فِيهِ يَمْتَرُونَ {34}

Such is Isa, son of Marium; (this is) the saying of truth about which they dispute.

 

This beautiful story touches my heart every time I read it and makes me firm in my belief that when we suffer for Allah’s sake, but continue in our obedience towards Him with patience and perseverance, Allah will defend us from such sources that we can’t even imagine. Therefore neither agony nor fear of humiliation should make us disregard Allah’s pleasure. If Allah is pleased with us then we don’t need anything else. Because He is the owner of everything. There is none equal besides Him. He doesn’t need any helper or any son:

 

مَا كَانَ لِلَّهِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ مِن وَلَدٍ سُبْحَانَهُ إِذَا قَضَى أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ {35}

It beseems not Allah that He should take to Himself a son, glory to be Him; when He has decreed a matter He only says to it “Be,” and it is.

 

The Quran conveys to us, loud and clear, the message spoken by Jesus himself:

 

وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ {36}

And surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord, therefore serve Him; this is the right path.

 

This is TAUHEED, the essence of the teachings of all the prophets of Allah but as people turned away from the correct scriptures they formulated their own versions and created several gods in place of the one and only ALLAH.

And now we come to the prophet whom Allah has called his friend, Ibrahim (a.s) who was the son of an idol maker and yet he searched for the one true God, amid a whole system of polytheism. Allah gave him His knowledge and he in turn sacrificed all his life towards submission to Allah. In the following Ayat the Quran records the way he did “dawah” (calling to the right way) to his father. Notice how gentle and respectful he is:

 

إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ لِمَ تَعْبُدُ مَا لَا يَسْمَعُ وَلَا يُبْصِرُ وَلَا يُغْنِي عَنكَ شَيْئًا {42}

When he said to his father; O my father! why do you worship what neither hears nor sees, nor does it avail you in the least:

 

يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي قَدْ جَاءنِي مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَمْ يَأْتِكَ فَاتَّبِعْنِي أَهْدِكَ صِرَاطًا سَوِيًّا {43}

O my father! truly the knowledge has come to me which has not come to you, therefore follow me, I will guide you on a right path:

 

 Allah is teaching us that Islam should be spread with wisdom and decency. Our attitude is the most important factor which might attract or repel a person. So we see here that even though the response he gets from his father is far from gentle, he maintains his composure.

 

قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْراهِيمُ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا {46}

 He said: Do you reject my gods, O Ibrahim? If you do not desist I will certainly stone you, and leave me for a time.

 

Imagine yourself in his place and feel how these words must have hurt him, yet he is so Allah conscious that even now he is not filled with any negative emotion. He says:

 

قَالَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا {47}

He said: Peace be on you, I will pray to my Lord to forgive you; surely He is ever Affectionate to me:

 

Allah says he rewarded him with sons who were prophets themselves:

 

فَلَمَّا اعْتَزَلَهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَكُلًّا جَعَلْنَا نَبِيًّا {49}

 So when he withdrew from them and what they worshipped besides Allah, We gave to him Ishaq and Yaqoub, and each one of them We made a prophet.

وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِنَا وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ عَلِيًّا {50}

And We granted to them of Our mercy, and We left (behind them) a truthful mention of eminence for them.

 

Last but not least, is the reminder of Musa (a.s) whose tales Allah has recorded the most in the Quran and each time I read them I wish for more !

Here Allah says:

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مُوسَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ مُخْلَصًا وَكَانَ رَسُولًا نَّبِيًّا {51}

And mention Musa in the Book; surely he was one purified, and he was a messenger, a prophet.

 

We notice that each prophet has something special and Musa’s specialty is that Allah talked to him:

 

وَنَادَيْنَاهُ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنِ وَقَرَّبْنَاهُ نَجِيًّا {52}

And We called to him from the blessed side of the mountain, and We made him draw nigh, holding communion (with Us).

 

After this Allah has also mentioned Ismaeel (a.s)

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَسُولًا نَّبِيًّا {54}

And mention Ismail in the Book; surely he was truthful in (his) promise, and he was a messenger, a prophet.

 

 and Idrees (a.s)

 

وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِدْرِيسَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صِدِّيقًا نَّبِيًّا {56}

And mention Idris in the Book; surely he was a truthful man, a prophet,

وَرَفَعْنَاهُ مَكَانًا عَلِيًّا {57}

And We raised him high in Heaven.

 

Now why have all these prophets been discussed here? Obviously Allah wants us to learn something from each one of them. Allah is also teaching us that when He chooses someone to be His messenger then Allah makes him go through various trials in order to strengthen him, and to raise his status in the Paradise. The test here is to be constant in patience and goodness. The higher the trials, the greater are the rewards of this world and more so in the next. The belief in the Hereafter is the driving force behind every good deed. Yet there are those who don’t believe in the life after death, on the basis of their limited knowledge. Allah says:

 

وَيَقُولُ الْإِنسَانُ أَئِذَا مَا مِتُّ لَسَوْفَ أُخْرَجُ حَيًّا {66}

And says man: What! when I am dead shall I truly be brought forth alive?

أَوَلَا يَذْكُرُ الْإِنسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ وَلَمْ يَكُ شَيْئًا {67}

Does not man remember that We created him before, when he was nothing?

 

Again Allah reminds us of our creation. Each human being who comes in this world is a sign of the miraculous power of Allah. Whoever believes in the guidance of Quran gets further enlightenment from Allah as a reward:

 

وَيَزِيدُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا هُدًى وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ مَّرَدًّا {76}

And Allah increases in guidance those who go aright; and ever-abiding good works are with your Lord best in recompense and best in yielding fruit.

 

And definitely the treatment of the pious and the wrong doers cannot be the same on the Day of Judgment. As we see in the following Ayat the contrast is obvious:

 

يَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ الْمُتَّقِينَ إِلَى الرَّحْمَنِ وَفْدًا {85}

The day on which We will gather those who guard (against evil) to the Beneficent Allah to receive honors

وَنَسُوقُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ وِرْدًا {86}

And We will drive the guilty to hell thirsty

 

So we should all be worrying about our status in Allah’s eyes. Because ignorance from Quran leads us to arrogance and we think we are going to rule the world forever. Allah tells us that there have been far greater people who have lived before us yet their material progress could not prevent them from becoming part of the earth itself.

The last words of this brilliant surah leave one stupefied with awe:

 

وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُم مِّن قَرْنٍ هَلْ تُحِسُّ مِنْهُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَوْ تَسْمَعُ لَهُمْ رِكْزًا {98}

And how many a generation have We destroyed before them! Do you see any one of them or hear a sound of them?

 

After such a question what answer do we have? Lets wake up to the reality of our powerlessness and become powerful by acknowledging the power of Allah. Total submission is the real strength in this world and a hope for everlasting success and happiness in the Hereafter.

 

Surah Ta-Ha

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

In this modern world of global communication, we are bombarded with emails, voice mails, phone calls etc etc etc but we don’t have time for all. So we have learned to categorize them into “urgent” and “less urgent” and some we even don’t bother to open at all. We just see the name of the sender and accordingly file it away where it fits. The more important the sender the more alert we are while receiving a message. Imagine if you got a letter from the president himself? What would be your reaction? Will it be the same if it was from just an ordinary co-worker? Naturally it can’t be so………..it’s in our human nature to react differently to different people.

Therefore right in the beginning of Surah Ta-Ha, Allah is making us alert that this Quran you are about to receive is not from any ordinary being. You cannot afford to take it lightly. It is from the King of all Kings, the one who has not inherited his kingdom from anyone but has created it all Himself, therefore, listen attentively. Just feel the magnificence of these words:

 

تَنزِيلًا مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ الْأَرْضَ وَالسَّمَاوَاتِ الْعُلَى {4}

A revelation from Him Who created the earth and the high heavens.

الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى {5}

The Beneficent Allah is firm in power.

لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَمَا تَحْتَ الثَّرَى {6}

His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth and what is between them two and what is beneath the ground.

 

What follows next is the most vividly described story of Musa (a.s). He is the prophet whom Allah has talked of the most in the Quran and narrated the events of his life from different angles so that his personality emerges in a different perspective every time.

 Allah begins by awakening our interest:

 

وَهَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَى {9}

And has the story of Musa come to you?

إِذْ رَأَى نَارًا فَقَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِقَبَسٍ أَوْ أَجِدُ عَلَى النَّارِ هُدًى {10}

When he saw fire, he said to his family: Stop, for surely I see a fire, haply I may bring to you therefrom a live coal or find guidance at the fire.

 

The above Ayat refers to the journey of Musa (a.s) and his family from Madyan to Egypt. When he goes towards the light he hears the voice of Allah , calling to him. Imagine what a glorious experience it must have been for him to hear Allah talking to him, calling him by his name:

 

فَلَمَّا أَتَاهَا نُودِي يَا مُوسَى {11}

So when he came to it, a voice was uttered: O Musa:

إِنِّي أَنَا رَبُّكَ فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى {12}

Surely I am your Lord, therefore put off your shoes; surely you are in the sacred valley, Tuwa,

وَأَنَا اخْتَرْتُكَ فَاسْتَمِعْ لِمَا يُوحَى {13}

And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed:

إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي {14}

Surely I am Allah, there is no god but I, therefore serve Me and keep up prayer for My remembrance:

 

In the last Ayat we see that Allah is telling him to establish prayer for His “zikr” (remembrance). Very few of us have ever connected Salat with Zikr. That is why in our Salat, we remember everything except Allah for whose remembrance we were taught Salat in the first place !!

Then Allah gives him the two miracles. One, that his staff will turn into a serpent when he will throw it on the ground; and second, that when he will press his right hand to his left side it will come forth white and shining.

After this Allah tells him about the mission, he has been chosen for:

 

اذْهَبْ إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَى {24}

Go to Firon, surely he has exceeded all limits.

 

Now we must remember here that by worldly standards there was no way that a man of Musa’s stature could go and stand before the mighty Pharaoh, who ruled over a vast land and was worshipped by his people because he considered himself to be the god. Yet Musa (a.s) has such trust in Allah that he immediately prays:

 

قَالَ رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي {25}

He said: O my Lord! Expand my breast for me,

وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي {26}

And make my affair easy to me,

وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي {27}

And loosen the knot from my tongue,

يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي {28}

 (That) they may understand my word;

 

Musa (a.s) also prays that Allah might make his brother, Haroon (a.s), a companion in this mission, so that :

 

كَيْ نُسَبِّحَكَ كَثِيراً {33}

 So that we should glorify Thee much,

وَنَذْكُرَكَ كَثِيراً {34}

And remember Thee oft.

 

Allah grants him his wish and reminds him of the blessings that were bestowed on him since his birth, when the Pharaoh  of that time was killing the sons of all the people of “Bani Israel” :

 

إِذْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى أُمِّكَ مَا يُوحَى {38}

When We revealed to your mother what was revealed;

أَنِ اقْذِفِيهِ فِي التَّابُوتِ فَاقْذِفِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ فَلْيُلْقِهِ الْيَمُّ بِالسَّاحِلِ يَأْخُذْهُ عَدُوٌّ لِّي وَعَدُوٌّ لَّهُ وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِّنِّي وَلِتُصْنَعَ عَلَى عَيْنِي {39}

Saying: Put him into a chest, then cast it down into the river, then the river shall throw him on the shore; there shall take him up one who is an enemy to Me and enemy to him, and I cast down upon you love from Me, and that you might be brought up before My eyes;

 

Allah further reminds Musa (a.s) how Allah had made him go through the various twists and turns of his life before coming finally to this awesome moment when he was being chosen as a Prophet. The words that Allah uses here have no substitute :

ثُمَّ جِئْتَ عَلَى قَدَرٍ يَا مُوسَى {40}

then you came here according to the fixed term, which I ordained (for you), O Musa!

وَاصْطَنَعْتُكَ لِنَفْسِي {41}

And I have chosen you for Myself.

 

Now we see here a guideline that Allah gives to his chosen prophet, on his mission, and in it there is a great lesson for us too. Allah tells him:

 

اذْهَبْ أَنتَ وَأَخُوكَ بِآيَاتِي وَلَا تَنِيَا فِي ذِكْرِي {42}

 Go you and your brother with My communications and be not remiss in remembering Me;

 

We have this tendency that when we set out in Allah’s way to spread His message, we start neglecting the aspect of his remembrance, thinking that since Allah is pleased with us anyway, so that we don’t need to do any zikr. This is wrong because it is a sort of self deprivation. Allah’s remembrance makes us strong and helps us to stay in the right perspective about things. It is the fuel we need against the negative forces both outside and inside of us. So we should never be neglectful of this.

The other problem we have is that mostly we are harsh and judgmental about people and it shows in the way we talk to them. When a person is inviting others to Islam, this rude behavior puts off people and so Allah is telling Musa here that even if you are talking to someone as haughty and cruel as pharaoh, it should be with gentleness:

 

اذْهَبَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَى {43}

 Go both to Firon, surely he has become inordinate;

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَى {44}

Then speak to him a gentle word perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah.

 

 Truth can never be compromised upon to save the other person’s feelings but it should be represented in a soft manner.

When we face difficult situations in Allah’s way, it is natural to be fearful of consequences. Here Allah tells us that even prophets feel fear, which proves that after all they are human beings :

 

قَالَا رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا نَخَافُ أَن يَفْرُطَ عَلَيْنَا أَوْ أَن يَطْغَى {45}

Both said: O our Lord! Surely we fear that he may hasten to do evil to us or that he may become inordinate.

 

Allah puts their hearts at ease with this beautiful Ayat which we should also remember at times like this:

 

قَالَ لَا تَخَافَا إِنَّنِي مَعَكُمَا أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَى {46}

 He said: Fear not, surely I am with you both: I do hear and see.

 

And so Musa and Haroon (a.s) went to Pharaoh and gave him the message of the one true God. He asked:

 

قَالَ فَمَن رَّبُّكُمَا يَا مُوسَى {49}

 (Pharaoh) said: And who is your Lord, O Musa?

 

and Musa replied:

 

قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِي أَعْطَى كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَى {50}

He said: Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal).

 

And when Pharaoh saw the signs of Allah, he felt threatened and said:

 

قَالَ أَجِئْتَنَا لِتُخْرِجَنَا مِنْ أَرْضِنَا بِسِحْرِكَ يَا مُوسَى {57}

 Said he: Have you come to us that you should turn us out of our land by your magic, O Musa?

فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّكَ بِسِحْرٍ مِّثْلِهِ فَاجْعَلْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكَ مَوْعِدًا لَّا نُخْلِفُهُ نَحْنُ وَلَا أَنتَ مَكَانًا سُوًى {58}

So we too will produce before you magic like it, therefore make between us and you an appointment, which we should not break, (neither) we nor you, (in) a central place.

 

 

When the magicians gathered on the appointed day, Musa (a.s) ‘s miracles defeated their false magic and so it was proved that :

وَلَا يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَيْثُ أَتَى {69}

and the magician shall not be successful wheresoever he may come from.

 

Thus the magicians recognized the truth of their Lord;

 

فَأُلْقِيَ السَّحَرَةُ سُجَّدًا قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ هَارُونَ وَمُوسَى {70}

And the magicians were cast down making obeisance; they said: We believe in the Lord of Haroun and Musa.

 

And then Allah commanded Musa (a.s) to take the people of “Bani Israel” out of the slavery of Pharaoh:

 

وَلَقَدْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنْ أَسْرِ بِعِبَادِي فَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ طَرِيقًا فِي الْبَحْرِ يَبَسًا لَّا تَخَافُ دَرَكًا وَلَا تَخْشَى {77}

And certainly We revealed to Musa, saying: Travel by night with My servants, then make for them a dry path in the sea, not fearing to be overtaken, nor being afraid.

فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ بِجُنُودِهِ فَغَشِيَهُم مِّنَ الْيَمِّ مَا غَشِيَهُمْ {78}

And Firon followed them with his armies, so there came upon them of the sea that which came upon them.

 

But when Musa went to the mount of Toor to receive the Torah, his people started worshipping the statue of a calf. Imagine the fury of Musa when he came back and found this out:

 

فَرَجَعَ مُوسَى إِلَى قَوْمِهِ غَضْبَانَ أَسِفًا قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَلَمْ يَعِدْكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ وَعْدًا حَسَنًا أَفَطَالَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْعَهْدُ أَمْ أَرَدتُّمْ أَن يَحِلَّ عَلَيْكُمْ غَضَبٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُم مَّوْعِدِي {86}

So Musa returned to his people wrathful, sorrowing. Said he: O my people! did not your Lord promise you a goodly promise: did then the time seem long to you, or did you wish that displeasure from your Lord should be due to you, so that you broke (your) promise to me?

 

They said they had been led astray by the magician, Samiri.

Musa (a.s) banished him and burnt the idol. Thus ends this story with Musa telling his people the eternal truth:

 

إِنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَسِعَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا {98}

Your Allah is only Allah, there is no god but He; He comprehends all things in (His) knowledge.

 

The purpose of all these stories from the past is that we may learn from it:

Allah says:

 

كَذَلِكَ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاء مَا قَدْ سَبَقَ وَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ مِن لَّدُنَّا ذِكْرًا {99}

Thus do We relate to you (some) of the news of what has gone before; and indeed We have given to you a Reminder from Ourselves.

 

Lest we take Quran for granted, Allah warns us:

 

مَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ يَحْمِلُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وِزْرًا {100}

Whoever turns aside from it, he shall surely bear a burden on the day of resurrection

 

In this world Allah has given us freedom of thought and speech as a test, and so people engage in loud, non serious, debates over the issues of religion. Allah reminds them that on the Day of Judgment they will not dare to raise their voices :

 

يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَّبِعُونَ الدَّاعِيَ لَا عِوَجَ لَهُ وَخَشَعَت الْأَصْوَاتُ لِلرَّحْمَنِ فَلَا تَسْمَعُ إِلَّا هَمْسًا {108}

On that day they shall follow the inviter, there is no crookedness in him, and the voices shall be low before the Beneficent Allah so that you shall not hear aught but a soft sound.

 

People say “Oh the Quran is too frightening. Why does Allah talk of hell and its horrors?” Their answer is in the following Ayat:

 

وَكَذَلِكَ أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا وَصَرَّفْنَا فِيهِ مِنَ الْوَعِيدِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ أَوْ يُحْدِثُ لَهُمْ ذِكْرًا {113}

And thus have We sent it down an Arabic Quran, and have distinctly set forth therein of threats that they may guard (against evil) or that it may produce a reminder for them.

 

All these concepts remain incomprehensible until we get a clear knowledge of Quran and Sunnah, So Allah teaches a short but comprehensive dua:

 

وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا {114}

And say: O my Lord! increase me in knowledge.

 

After this there is a short account of how the devil caused Adam (a.s) to be removed from the Paradise. The following words that Allah said to him were in fact the essence of the purpose for which man was created :

 

قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى {123}

He said: Get forth you two there from, all (of you), one of you (is) enemy to another. So there will surely come to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, he shall not go astray nor be unhappy;

وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَى {124}

 And whoever turns away from My reminder, his shall be a straitened life, and We will raise him on the day of resurrection, blind.

 

Just imagine what a shock it will be to wake up on the Day of resurrection and find your eyesight gone. He will cry out in anguish:

 

قَالَ رَبِّ لِمَ حَشَرْتَنِي أَعْمَى وَقَدْ كُنتُ بَصِيرًا {125}

He shall say: My Lord! why hast Thou raised me blind and I was a seeing one indeed?

 

Allah will remind him of the time when he preferred to remain blind from the Quran:

قَالَ كَذَلِكَ أَتَتْكَ آيَاتُنَا فَنَسِيتَهَا وَكَذَلِكَ الْيَوْمَ تُنسَى {126}

He will say: Even so, Our communications came to you but you neglected them; even thus shall you be forsaken this day.

 

This path of obedience is not an easy one and is filled with trials of all sorts. One of them is the rejection from people and their negative propaganda. Allah says:

 

فَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا يَقُولُونَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا وَمِنْ آنَاء اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَى {130}

Bear then patiently what they say, and glorify your Lord by the praising of Him before the rising of the sun and before its setting, and during hours of the night do also glorify (Him) and during parts of the day, that you may be well pleased

 

It is infact the Ayat from which we find the timings of the daily prayers.

But we should remember that rituals alone cannot give us the strength of faith unless we develop a clear perspective about life. So Allah says, do not be dazzled by the obvious glitter and glamour of the non believers:

 

وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَى مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ وَرِزْقُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى {131}

And do not stretch your eyes after that with which We have provided different classes of them, (of) the splendor of this world’s life, that We may thereby try them; and the sustenance (given) by your Lord is better and more abiding.

 

Allah is relieving us of the needless burdens that we carry around by reminding us that our job is to remain obedient to Allah and keep the rewards of the Hereafter in mind. Allah will not ask us about our financial status on that day:

 

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَى {132}

And enjoin prayer on your followers, and steadily adhere to it; We do not ask you for subsistence; We do give you subsistence, and the (good) end is for guarding (against evil).

 

And still if anyone has any doubts about the truth of this magnificent Quran, Allah ends the Surah with this clear message:

قُلْ كُلٌّ مُّتَرَبِّصٌ فَتَرَبَّصُوا فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ مَنْ أَصْحَابُ الصِّرَاطِ السَّوِيِّ وَمَنِ اهْتَدَى {135}

Say: Every one (of us) is awaiting, therefore do await: So you will come to know who is the follower of the even path and who goes aright.

 

Surah Al-Anbiyaa

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

Out of all the resources that Allah has given us on this earth, time is the most precious. It goes by so softly and imperceptibly, that one doesn’t even realize how a day melts into night, and night gives way to another dawn……………on and on, the cycle takes us through different stages of our life. The ways of the world are such that all of us create a routine life pattern within this cycle of time, so that very few people ever stop and think what life is all about. Their routine is everything that matters to them, whichever way it might be taking them. That is why Allah sent His messengers, to remind man of the purpose of his creation and his ultimate destiny which is to meet his Lord on the day of reckoning and face the consequences of his actions that he did in this world. Now, we being Muslims are very much familiar with this concept of resurrection, which, in fact, is a part of our faith, but our lifestyles are not a reflection of it. We don’t seem to be making any preparation for that event at all. Rather the way we are piling things upon things and building paradises on this earth makes it look as if we are going to live here forever. The Quran makes us come out of our illusions, by showing us the truth. There are some verses of the Quran which literally shake you to the core. The first one of Surah Al- Anbiyaa, is also one such Ayat. Listen to it:

اقْتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمْ وَهُمْ فِي غَفْلَةٍ معْرِضُونَ {1}

(The day) of their reckoning has drawn near to men, and in heedlessness are they turning aside.

 

How can we ignore such a warning? But one might ask that after all, so many people read the Quran, listen to it, and still they don’t change their ways. Allah gives the reason:

 

مَا يَأْتِيهِم مِّن ذِكْرٍ مَّن رَّبِّهِم مُّحْدَثٍ إِلَّا اسْتَمَعُوهُ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ {2}

 They listen (with ridicule) to each fresh warning that comes to them from their Lord, and remain engaged in the sports.

 

Allah seems to be asking us that if you listen to anything with this kind of non serious attitude then how can it touch your hearts?

When this Surah was revealed to the Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w) in Makkah, the disbelievers used to make a mockery of Quran so that people would turn away from it. Even now there are some who feel insecure that if the truth is known to all, then what will become of their authority and power. So they make allegations like this to deviate people away from Quran:

 

بَلْ قَالُواْ أَضْغَاثُ أَحْلاَمٍ بَلِ افْتَرَاهُ بَلْ هُوَ شَاعِرٌ فَلْيَأْتِنَا بِآيَةٍ كَمَا أُرْسِلَ الأَوَّلُونَ {5}

Nay! say they: Medleys of dreams; nay! he has forged it; nay! he is a poet; so let him bring to us a sign as the former (prophets) were sent (with).

 

Allah says, haven’t I given you brains? Can’t you use your sense to see that this Book is for your own guidance?

 

لَقَدْ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ كِتَابًا فِيهِ ذِكْرُكُمْ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ {10}

Certainly We have revealed to you a Book in which is your good remembrance; what! do you not then understand?

 

Imagine if you have been mentioned in a book or magazine, would you not be interested to find out what has been said about you? So Allah says this Quran is all about you, so read it and understand yourself and your life. But our problem is that we don’t take it in this spirit. When there is a warning we think it is for the disbelievers only, the standards of excellence are for the saints and prophets to follow. Then where does that leave us?

Quran gives the light of guidance and awareness only to those who seek it with sincerity. Allah says in the following Ayat, that He has not created this universe without a purpose:

 

وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا لَاعِبِينَ {16}

And We did not create the heaven and the earth and what is between them for sport.

 

There are some astonishing facts discussed in the Quran which could not have been known to man 1400 years ago. It proves that Quran is the word of Allah. One such “scientific discovery” has been put forth in the following Ayat:

 

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاء كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ {30}

 Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth were closed up, but We have opened them; and We have made of water everything living, will they not then believe?

 

Notice the words: ” Do the disbelievers not see ?”  And if they see “then why don’t they believe?” The fact is that observation alone cannot lead one to true faith, unless one focuses on the creator behind the creation.

And when the disbelievers are warned of resurrection, they ask in a mocking tone:

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {38}

 And they say: When will this threat come to pass if you are truthful?

 

Allah says:

 

لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا حِينَ لَا يَكُفُّونَ عَن وُجُوهِهِمُ النَّارَ وَلَا عَن ظُهُورِهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ {39}

Had those who disbelieve but known (of the time) when they shall not be able to ward off the fire from their faces nor from their backs, nor shall they be helped.

بَلْ تَأْتِيهِم بَغْتَةً فَتَبْهَتُهُمْ فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ رَدَّهَا وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ {40}

Nay, it shall come on them all of a sudden and cause them to become confounded, so they shall not have the power to avert it, nor shall they be respited.

 

They act arrogantly and think they are indestructible. When you try to convince them of the Hereafter, they normally shrug their shoulders and show they don’t care for such warnings. But Allah is their creator and He knows what their apparent might and splendor amounts to :

 

وَلَئِن مَّسَّتْهُمْ نَفْحَةٌ مِّنْ عَذَابِ رَبِّكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ يَا وَيْلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ {46}

And if a blast of the chastisement of your Lord were to touch them, they will certainly say: O woe to us! surely we were unjust.

 

In this world we see that often people get what they don’t deserve and the righteous ones seem to be getting the worst of it. This state of things makes us doubtful that why Allah is not being fair to them. Allah tells us that what happens in this world whether good or bad is just a test. But on the Day of Judgment, everything will be taken into account and nobody will be deprived from his right:

 

وَنَضَعُ الْمَوَازِينَ الْقِسْطَ لِيَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ فَلَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئًا وَإِن كَانَ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ أَتَيْنَا بِهَا وَكَفَى بِنَا حَاسِبِينَ {47}

And We will set up a just balance on the day of resurrection, so no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and though there be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, (yet) will We bring it, and sufficient are We to take account.

 

Now we come to one of my best loved stories from the Quran; the story of Allah’s prophet, Ibrahim (a.s) In it we find numerous similarities towards our own Muslim society and the various additions we have made in our religion, taking us far away from “Tauheed”(oneness of God).  Allah says, remember the time when Ibrahim (a.s) said to his father and his people:

 

إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا هَذِهِ التَّمَاثِيلُ الَّتِي أَنتُمْ لَهَا عَاكِفُونَ {52}

When he said to his father and his people: What are these images to whose worship you cleave?

 

And he tries to convince them of the truth:

 

قَالَ بَل رَّبُّكُمْ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الَّذِي فَطَرَهُنَّ وَأَنَا عَلَى ذَلِكُم مِّنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ {56}

He said: Nay! your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who brought them into existence, and I am of those who bear witness to this:

 

To teach them all a lesson he decides to break all the idols, but he leaves the biggest one of them intact, as a sign. After a lot of uproar, they suspected that Ibrahim was the one who did it, so they confronted him:

 

قَالُوا أَأَنتَ فَعَلْتَ هَذَا بِآلِهَتِنَا يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ {62}

 They said: Have you done this to our gods, O Ibrahim?

 

Look at his reply,

قَالَ بَلْ فَعَلَهُ كَبِيرُهُمْ هَذَا فَاسْأَلُوهُمْ إِن كَانُوا يَنطِقُونَ {63}

He said: Surely (some doer) has done it; the chief of them is this, therefore ask them, if they can speak.

 

And when they have no words to justify themselves, Ibrahim (a.s) says:

 

أُفٍّ لَّكُمْ وَلِمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ {67}

 Shame on you and on what you serve besides Allah; what! do you not then understand?

 

Whenever the falsehood of people is challenged, they resort to aggression:

 

قَالُوا حَرِّقُوهُ وَانصُرُوا آلِهَتَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ {68}

They said: Burn him and help your gods, if you are going to do (anything).

 

And then the unthinkable happened:

 

قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ {69}

We said: O fire! be a comfort and peace to Ibrahim;

 

 The fire cooled down, and Allah taught us an unforgettable lesson, through this miracle, which has been recorded in the Quran for all times to come, that whoever strives purely for the sake of Allah, will always be protected and guided by Him, no matter what the circumstances.

Each and every Prophet was tried in Allah’s way with a different trial, but they all trusted in Allah and were saved in the end as was the case of Loot, Ishaq, Yaqub and Nuh ( May peace and blessings of Allah be upon them ).

Next Allah tells us about His two prophets, Suleiman (a.s) and Dawud (a.s)

See what  magnificence of power and glory is reflected in these following verses. How Allah made both of them such majestic kings that there has been no other example like them in the whole history of mankind:

 

…..وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ {79}

and to each one We gave wisdom and knowledge; and We made the mountains, and the birds to celebrate Our praise with Dawood; and We were the doers.

وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ صَنْعَةَ لَبُوسٍ لَّكُمْ لِتُحْصِنَكُم مِّن بَأْسِكُمْ فَهَلْ أَنتُمْ شَاكِرُونَ {80}

And We taught him the making of coats of mail for you, that they might protect you in your wars; will you then be grateful?

وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ عَاصِفَةً تَجْرِي بِأَمْرِهِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا وَكُنَّا بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَالِمِينَ {81}

And (We made subservient) to Sulaiman the wind blowing violent, pursuing its course by his command to the land which We had blessed, and We are knower of all things.

وَمِنَ الشَّيَاطِينِ مَن يَغُوصُونَ لَهُ وَيَعْمَلُونَ عَمَلًا دُونَ ذَلِكَ وَكُنَّا لَهُمْ حَافِظِينَ {82}

And of the rebellious people there were those who dived for him and did other work besides that, and We kept guard over them;

 

Yet we see that it didn’t make them lose sight of their true reality………that of being first and foremost, the slaves of Allah. If you look closely you will find that each of the above verses ends with the reminder that the ultimate owner of all power is Allah Himself. This is the beauty of the Quran, that it never lets you get entangled by the glamour of creation for long. It does draw your attention to it because this is the way we achieve a sense of wonder about who has made it all, but side by side it reminds us that our real love and admiration should be for Allah.

      Ayub (a.s) was another prophet on whom Allah had bestowed enormous prosperity of wealth and children, but he remained constant in Allah’s worship. Then Allah took away everything from him as a test, and also afflicted him with a terrible skin disease. The following Ayat shows how a true believer reacts to calamities :

 

وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ {83}

 And Ayub, when he called to his Lord, (saying): Harm has afflicted me, and Thou art the most Merciful of the merciful.

 

No blaming, no protest, just a complete trust that Allah you are the most merciful. Just compare his composure, with our own behavior at such times. Do we have this kind of trust in Allah? We are tested with a little hardship and we behave as if nothing good has ever come our way. And what does it give us but an increased sense of loss and insecurity. So we should seriously try and get rid of this “blame and complain” attitude and cultivate in our hearts a feeling of gratitude, because gratitude is the key to happiness and peace of heart and soul and it also pleases Allah. See how Allah accepts Ayub’s prayer:

 

فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ فَكَشَفْنَا مَا بِهِ مِن ضُرٍّ وَآتَيْنَاهُ أَهْلَهُ وَمِثْلَهُم مَّعَهُمْ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَذِكْرَى لِلْعَابِدِينَ {84}

Therefore We accepted his prayer and took off what harm he had, and We gave him his family and the like of them with them: a mercy from Us and a reminder to the worshippers.

 

Next Allah relates to us the story of Younus (a.s) who, after all the efforts he had made, finally gave up on his people that they will never accept faith. And so he left them in anger and went out to sea so he could go to some other land. On his way the boat capsized and he was thrown overboard. He was swallowed by a fish and so in the darkness of his misery he called out to his Lord:

 

وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ أَن لَّن نَّقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ فَنَادَى فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَن لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ {87}

And Yunus, when he went away in wrath, so he thought that We would not straiten him, so he called out among afflictions: There is no god but Thou, glory be to Thee; surely I am of those who make themselves to suffer loss.

 

Allah teaches us here that if you really feel that you have done wrong, and then make a sincere confession to Allah, He will save you. Even if it seems impossible to you, remember that for Allah there is no such word as “impossible”. See what a loving assurance is emitted from these words:

 

فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْغَمِّ وَكَذَلِكَ نُنجِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {88}

 So We accepted his prayer and delivered him from the grief and thus do We deliver the believers.

 

And when Zakaria (a.s) called to his Lord:

 

وَزَكَرِيَّا إِذْ نَادَى رَبَّهُ رَبِّ لَا تَذَرْنِي فَرْدًا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الْوَارِثِينَ {89}

And Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord: O my Lord leave me not alone; and Thou art the best of inheritors.

 

We find the same response as was in the case of Ayub (a.s) and Younus (a.s)

 

فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ يَحْيَى وَأَصْلَحْنَا لَهُ زَوْجَهُ ……

So We accepted his prayer and gave him Yahya and made his wife fit for him;

 

Notice the words : “Fastajabna lahu”. Doesn’t it make you wonder, what exactly was so special in their prayers that Allah says after each one “fastajabna Lahu” ?? Did they do any special “wazeefa” (litany of words)? Like we in the sub-continent, believe that to ward off any trouble we should read the prayer of Younus (a.s) 125,000 times. Why don’t we read it just once and with sincerity and understanding………..How many times did Younus (a.s) read it?

    The following Ayat tells us why their prayers were so readily accepted:

…..إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ {90}

surely they used to hasten, with one another In deeds of goodness and to call upon Us, hoping and fearing and they were humble before Us.

 

In it there is a lesson for us that we need to be accepted by Allah in the way of our thinking and behavior. Our main focus should be on our relationship with Him, through a constant effort in good deeds.

 And last but not least Allah reminds us about Maryam (a.s) It shows that even a woman can attain the highest level of acceptance:

 

وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ {91}

and she who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration and made her and her son a sign for the nations.

 

the criteria for excellence is not in being a man or a woman, but it depends on the sincerity of our intentions and efforts. That is why Allah assures us that He will not disregard our endeavors:

 

فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَا كُفْرَانَ لِسَعْيِهِ وَإِنَّا لَهُ كَاتِبُونَ {94}

Therefore whoever shall do of good deeds and he is a believer, there shall be no denying of his exertion, and surely We will write (It) down for him.

 

On the horrifying day of resurrection when the disbelievers will see the burning hell-fire they will cry out:

 

وَاقْتَرَبَ الْوَعْدُ الْحَقُّ فَإِذَا هِيَ شَاخِصَةٌ أَبْصَارُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا قَدْ كُنَّا فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِّنْ هَذَا بَلْ كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ {97}

 And the true promise shall draw nigh, then lo! the eyes of those who disbelieved shall be fixedly open: O woe to us! surely we were m a state of heedlessness as to this; nay, we were unjust.

 

but the righteous ones will be saved from all hardships forever. They will be taken to the peaceful Paradise:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ سَبَقَتْ لَهُم مِّنَّا الْحُسْنَى أُوْلَئِكَ عَنْهَا مُبْعَدُونَ {101}

 Surely (as for) those for whom the good has already gone forth from Us, they shall be kept far off from it(hell-fire);

لَا يَسْمَعُونَ حَسِيسَهَا وَهُمْ فِي مَا اشْتَهَتْ أَنفُسُهُمْ خَالِدُونَ {102}

 They will not hear its faintest sound, and they shall abide in that which their souls long for.

لَا يَحْزُنُهُمُ الْفَزَعُ الْأَكْبَرُ وَتَتَلَقَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ هَذَا يَوْمُكُمُ الَّذِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ {103}

The great fearful event shall not grieve them, and the angels shall meet them: This is your day which you were promised.

 

What a blessing of Allah that he sent to us this Quran and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), who was sent to the entire world, and showed us the way to complete happiness and success. So after such revelations will we still not believe?

 

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ {107}

 And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.

قُلْ إِنَّمَا يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ {108}

Say: It is only revealed to me that your Allah is one Allah; will you then submit?

 

Surah Al-Hajj

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

“O Mankind! Have fear of your Lord; the catastrophic earthquake of the Hour of doom will be terrible indeed.”

 

Imagine if this headline were to appear in a newspaper, what would our reaction be? Would we just keep reading placidly and then put it out of our minds and continue with our daily routine as if we had not read anything? Oh no ! We will be scared to death and will start calling people and everyone would be asking:

 “O, God! What do we do now?”

“What can we do to save ourselves?”

 

This horrifying news is, in fact, the opening Ayat of Surah-Al-Hajj:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ {1}

O people! Fear (the punishment from) your Lord; surely the earthquake of the hour (of judgment) is a grievous thing.

 

After the headline, what do we read? We immediately go for the details of that news, especially if it’s a shocking one; to get more clues and to get a complete picture. That has been given in the next verse; as Allah goes on to describe what people will go through, on that day:

 

يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّا أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُم بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ {2}

On the day when you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant woman shall lay down her burden, and you shall see men intoxicated, and they shall not be intoxicated but the chastisement of Allah will be severe.

 

See how Allah touches the very core of our emotions with this vivid description. And we must remember that these are not just examples but it is a certainty that is really going to happen. What kind of fear will it be that it will make a mother forget her nursling? A mother cannot forget her child at any stage but especially when she is breast-feeding, then emotionally and physically there is such a strong bond of continuous dependence and intimacy that even when they are both asleep a mother’s heart is alert and conscious. But Allah is telling us here that the terror of the earthquake will cause mothers to forget their most precious babies. Not only mothers but everyone will be terrified out of their minds, so much, that they will appear as if they are drunk.

We need to use our imagination to feel the fear of that day now, today, this moment, so that we might correct our ways and start off in the right direction before it’s too late.

The opening words:  “O Mankind !” reminds one of the fact that Quran is for the entire humanity. It is the right of every person on this earth to know about the truth of his destiny. So in the next one Ayat Allah has encompassed all the basic proofs of His being the Lord of the universe and the master of the Day of Judgment.

 Allah asks Man are you in disbelief about the resurrection?

                ……………….يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّنَ الْبَعْث

      O people! if you are in doubt about the raising, ………….                      

    

 Why don’t you look at your own self? Where were you before you were born? Just remember your biological origin:

 

فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِن مُّضْغَةٍ مُّخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِّنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاء إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى

then surely We created you from dust, then from a small seed, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete, that We may make clear to you; and We cause what We please to stay in the wombs till an appointed time,

 

And you don’t need any proof to believe that you are born as an infant, grow old and die, you see the manifestation of Allah’s power over life and death all around you.:

ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلًا ثُمَّ لِتَبْلُغُوا أَشُدَّكُمْ وَمِنكُم مَّن يُتَوَفَّى وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرَدُّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ لِكَيْلَا يَعْلَمَ مِن بَعْدِ عِلْمٍ شَيْئًا

 then We bring you forth as babies, then that you may attain your maturity; and of you is he who is caused to die, and of you is he who is brought back to the worst part of life, so that after having knowledge he does not know anything;

 

and you see that the dead earth is brought back to life:

 

وَتَرَى الْأَرْضَ هَامِدَةً فَإِذَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَاء اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ وَأَنبَتَتْ مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ

and you see the earth sterile land, but when We send down on it the water, it stirs and swells and brings forth of every kind a beautiful herbage.

 

Have you ever asked yourself, Who is the one to do it all?

 

ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنَّهُ يُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى وَأَنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {6}

This is because Allah is the Truth and because He gives life to the dead and because He has power over all things

 

 So why can’t you be made to rise from the graves?

 

وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ لَّا رَيْبَ فِيهَا وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْعَثُ مَن فِي الْقُبُورِ {7}

And because the hour is coming, there is no doubt about it; and because Allah shall raise up those who are in the graves.

 

Allah says those who argue about these facts are doing so without any proof:

 

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ {8}

And among men there is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge and without guidance and without an illuminating book,

 

And then there are those whose belief is on the edge. A religion of convenience……..

 

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى حَرْفٍ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ {11}

And among men is he who serves Allah (standing) on the verge, so that if good befalls him he is satisfied therewith, but if a trial afflict him he turns back headlong; he loses this world as well as the hereafter; that is a manifest loss.

 

“A manifest Loss?” why? Because this is the picture of a confused person who wants to please Allah, but only on the surface. His faith is not real enough to bear any hardship, so if a trial comes his way, he runs back to hide in his refuge of worldly pleasures. Such a person is deprived of the real peace and security of Allah’s friendship in this world and so his life is a constant misery of fear and anxiety and he loses all rewards of Akhirah because he never took the trouble to do anything for it. That is why Allah says : he loses this world as well as the hereafter

 

But what harm can these hypocrites do, except to themselves. The entire universe is in submission to Allah:

 

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَسْجُدُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ وَالنُّجُومُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَابُّ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنَ النَّاسِ وَكَثِيرٌ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَذَابُ وَمَن يُهِنِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِن مُّكْرِمٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يَشَاء {18}

Do you not see that Allah is He, Whom obeys whoever is in the heavens and whoever is in the earth, and the sun and the moon and the stars, and the mountains and the trees, and the animals and many of the people; and many there are against whom chastisement has become necessary; and whomsoever Allah abases, there is none who can make him honorable; surely Allah does what He pleases.

 

Allah doesn’t want us to stay in any illusion that we can get away with any disobedience towards Him. So the warnings are made in very clear words:

 

فَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا قُطِّعَتْ لَهُمْ ثِيَابٌ مِّن نَّارٍ يُصَبُّ مِن فَوْقِ رُؤُوسِهِمُ الْحَمِيمُ {19}

then (as to) those who disbelieve, for them are cut out garments of fire, boiling water shall be poured over their heads.

يُصْهَرُ بِهِ مَا فِي بُطُونِهِمْ وَالْجُلُودُ {20}

With it shall be melted what is in their bellies and (their) skins as well.

وَلَهُم مَّقَامِعُ مِنْ حَدِيدٍ {21}

And for them are whips of iron.

 

Side by side is the gentle and loving assurance to those who believe in Allah and do good deeds for His pleasure:

 

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدْخِلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍ وَلُؤْلُؤًا وَلِبَاسُهُمْ فِيهَا حَرِيرٌ {23}

Surely Allah will make those who believe and do good deeds enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; they shall be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and (with) pearls, and their garments therein shall be of silk.

 

Instead of passing judgments on the Quran that why is it so frightening and why Allah is so cruel, we should focus our attention on how to ensure a place in Paradise because this is the balance of Quran that it gives you the clear picture of both the ends and then leaves you to decide which one you want to make your goal.

There have been people like Ibrahim (a.s) who built the house of worship according to Allah’s command. He is a symbol of trust and complete submission:

 

وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ {26}

And when We assigned to Ibrahim the place of the House, saying: Do not associate with Me aught, and purify My House for those who make the circuit and stand to pray and bow and prostrate themselves.

وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ {27}

 And proclaim among men the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path,

 

When you see the millions of people gathered at Hajj, try and go back in time and remember how it all started and how Allah has made it into such a place which makes people return to it again and again. The efforts of one Man, Ibrahim (a.s) against the barren land and His unwavering faith in his Lord ………and today if we think of doing anything for Allah we start by this doubt “but…….what can I do?” and  “what difference can I make?” forgetting that the actual power is with Allah and if we just trust in Him , then He can make miracles happen. That is why Allah honours those who submit themselves before Him:

َفَإِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَلَهُ أَسْلِمُوا وَبَشِّرِ الْمُخْبِتِينَ {34}

so your god is One God, therefore to Him should you submit, and give good news to the humble,

الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَهُمْ وَالْمُقِيمِي الصَّلَاةِ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ {35}

 (To) those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, and those who are patient under that which afflicts them, and those who keep up prayer, and spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them.

 

I read this ayat again and again and the more I pondered over it, the more I felt enveloped by an overwhelming love for Allah and His book, the Wonderful Quran. What a complete guide we have to lead us out of our confusions and show us the light. No wonder Quran has been called a “Nur” (light). For most of us, the biggest doubt about Allah is that if He loves us and is so Merciful then why are people in such miseries? why doesn’t He help us? Look at the words:

“give good news……..” It means that our actual life has yet to start; this one is just an examination hall in which we all have to go through trials. Our main problem is that we have started to think of it as our permanent residence, and so we want everything to be perfect and flawless here. Allah is telling us here that a wonderful Paradise has been prepared for all those who submit to the will of Allah and in difficult times they are patient. They remain true to their commitment and establish salat, which means they maintain their contact with Allah, and find peace in sharing what Allah has blessed them with. They are rewarded in this world too because after every test Allah increases them in their faith.

And Allah has promised His special support for those who support His religion:

وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ {40}

and surely Allah will help him who helps His cause; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.

 

 

But it is a fact that no matter how the truth is presented before people, there are sure to be some, who deny it. Allah talks about how he meted out His punishment to such wrong doers:

فَكَأَيِّن مِّن قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا وَهِيَ ظَالِمَةٌ فَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا وَبِئْرٍ مُّعَطَّلَةٍ وَقَصْرٍ مَّشِيدٍ {45}

 So how many a town did We destroy while it was unjust, so it was fallen down upon its roofs, and (how many a) deserted well and palace raised high.

 

They did have eyes but their hearts remained blind to the truth:

 

أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ {46}

Have they not travelled in the land so that they should have hearts with which to understand, or ears with which to hear? For surely it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts which are in the breasts.

 

 I read somewhere that eyes have sight and hearts have insight, which is so true. If we continue to see and make use of Allah’s creation but in our hearts we don’t feel the presence of Allah then it means that our hearts have really gone blind. We find in a Hadees of the Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w) that he told his companions the remedy to cure such hearts;

1) Frequent remembrance of death and

2) The recitation of the Quran.

 

In the Quran Allah repeatedly invites man to see………….

 

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَالْفُلْكَ تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَيُمْسِكُ السَّمَاء أَن تَقَعَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ {65}

Do you not see that Allah has made subservient to you whatsoever is in the earth and the ships running in the sea by His command? And He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except with His permission; most surely Allah is Compassionate, Merciful to men.

 

But inspite of these clear signs of Allah, people make idols and think them as Gods. Allah gives them the true picture through this example:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ ضُرِبَ مَثَلٌ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَن يَخْلُقُوا ذُبَابًا وَلَوِ اجْتَمَعُوا لَهُ وَإِن يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئًا لَّا يَسْتَنقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ {73}

O people! a parable is set forth, therefore listen to it: surely those whom you call upon besides Allah cannot create a fly, though they should all gather for it, and should the fly snatch away anything from them, they could not take it back from it, weak are the invoker and the invoked.

 

Isn’t this amazing!! How Allah has ripped apart the false supremacy that people attach to their self created gods by showing their helplessness against the most despicable of all creatures, a poor fly. Allah says if they all gather forces they cannot create a single fly. And forget about creation, they cannot even retrieve even a small speck of something that a fly snatches away from them. So how can you worship such powerless gods??

What a sad reality it is, that we have not recognized yet, the true glory of Allah. If we had known how great He is, then our lives would have been totally different and our first and foremost priority would have been to serve Allah in the best way that we can:

 

مَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ {74}

They have not estimated Allah with the estimation that is due to Him; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.

 

And if we want to have success then our goal should be the following Ayat:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ارْكَعُوا وَاسْجُدُوا وَاعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمْ وَافْعَلُوا الْخَيْرَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ {77}

 O you who believe! bow down and prostrate yourselves and serve your Lord, and do good that you may succeed.

 

But this is not complete without the next Ayat that follows right after it and is one of the most magnificent in the Quran:

 

وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ {78}

And strive hard in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving a is due to Him; He has chosen you and has not laid upon you an hardship in religion; the faith of your father Ibrahim; He named you Muslims before and in this, that the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you, and you may be bearers of witness to the people; therefore keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and hold fast by Allah; He is your Guardian; how excellent the Guardian and how excellent the Helper!

 

Jihad is the word that has been the most misinterpreted by the critics of Islam. We must understand that it doesn’t stand for military aggression only. Jihad has a vast scope and literally it means “to strive”. In Islam it refers to the efforts made towards establishing the religion of Allah, in our individual and social lives. And we must remember that by doing Jihad we are not doing any favor on Allah. Rather He has honored us by “choosing” us for this prestigious job.

What better thing than being His “chosen” person? And listen to His assurance that He is your helper and friend, so are we not interested in the friendship of the Lord of the universe?

 

Surah Al-Mu’minoon

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

If we think about it, what is the driving force behind anything that we do? It is our desire to succeed. Even small children, playing their innocent little games, want to win. When they grow older and start their studies, what is it that differentiates the “high achievers”  from the rest of the class? It is the will to succeed. Allah himself has programmed into our hearts, this sense of competition. Thus we see that people have derived several formulas for success according to their experiences. Books have been written specifically on this subject, and the fact that they have been best sellers, proves how eager we are, to know about the ultimate secret of success.

The Miraculous Quran tells us in just a few lines; all that we need to know in order to achieve a glorious, everlasting success. It is Allah’s own formula for us and we should understand it very carefully.

The very first Ayat fills us with assurance and conviction:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ {1}

Successful indeed are the believers!!

 

But who are these believers? The ones who call themselves believers? No, belief is not just an utterance of some fixed amount of words. It is an inner consciousness of Allah which changes your heart and reflects in your speech and in your actions. It makes you turn over to a completely new lifestyle, in which your first and foremost priority, is to please Allah, according to  the guidance of  Quran and the teachings of his Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w)

The greatest reflection of their faith is in their Salat :

 

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ {2}

Who are humble in their prayers,

 

This humility is in the stillness of their posture, and the inner concentration of their hearts. When they offer salat they are not just making mechanical movements, rather it is their time alone with their Lord. It makes them feel His presence in their life and they feel loved and cherished by the Creator. It is through this intimate contact with Allah, that a believer derives energy to work in Allah’s obedience. So we see that Imaan and Salat go side by side. One is incomplete without the other.

The next characteristic that sets them apart is :

 

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ {3}

And who keep aloof from what is vain,

 

When a believer steps out into the world, all sorts of attractions and distractions assail him. Here Allah tells him; “watch out !! stay away from all that is trivial and unnecessary” Today’s world is literally overflowing with these charming slogans that offer fun and recreation, but one should be careful and avoid all meaningless activities which are time wasting and gain you neither any benefit in this world, nor any points in the hereafter. Its like sitting in a maths exam and making a painting for the sake of artistic fulfillment !! what would you call it ? art or foolishness. Similarly, a true believer who wants to be Successful, doesn’t waste even a single moment.

He is constantly looking for ways to make the best use of his time:

 

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ {4}

And who are active in deeds of charity.

 

This includes giving obligatory Zakat, as well as purification of self. They give up bad habits and cultivate positive characteristics in themselves, through constant learning. A complete make over !! Their inner and outer personalities reflect their status as representatives of Allah’s religion on this earth.

And now their social behavior:

 

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ {5}

And who guard their modesty.

 

They protect their chastity and thus save themselves from a lot of troubles and complications. Their life is made pleasurable and peaceful by the boundaries set by Allah.

They take their responsibilities and their covenants seriously:

 

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ {8}

And those who are keepers of their trusts and their covenant,

 

They are highly conscious of their responsibilities towards others because they know that they are going to be answerable for it in the hereafter. Yet they don’t get so entangled by their other duties that they forget their foremost duty towards Allah:

 

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ {9}

And those who protect their prayers;

 

Look at the word Allah has used: protect. What do we protect? our most valuable possessions; something that we can’t afford to lose. Next time when shaitaan makes you see Salat as a burden, remember that its your very own thing that you need to protect by offering it on time and by making sure that all its prerequisites have been taken care of. In one line protection of Salat means to make it the central nucleus of your life in such a way that no other activity takes precedence over it.

Allah says such are the people who will inherit the highest level of Paradise: the Firdous:

 

أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْوَارِثُونَ {10}

These are they who are the heirs,

الَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ الْفِرْدَوْسَ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ {11}

Who shall inherit the Paradise; they shall abide therein forever.

 

Now we must understand here that life in this world is a test. Especially for those who want to compete for Paradise. We see that the most difficult trials were faced by the Prophets. Allah gives here the example of Nuh (a.s) who preached to his people for 950 years and only a handful of people accepted Allah’s message. So after all his efforts he finally called out to Allah for help.

Allah says:

 

فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِ أَنِ اصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَوَحْيِنَا فَإِذَا جَاء أَمْرُنَا وَفَارَ التَّنُّورُ فَاسْلُكْ فِيهَا مِن كُلٍّ زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَأَهْلَكَ إِلَّا مَن سَبَقَ عَلَيْهِ الْقَوْلُ مِنْهُمْ وَلَا تُخَاطِبْنِي فِي الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا إِنَّهُم مُّغْرَقُونَ {27}

So We revealed to him, saying: Make the ark before Our eyes and (according to) Our revelation; and when Our command is given and the valley overflows, take into it of every kind a pair, two, and your followers, except those among them against whom the word has gone forth, and do not speak to Me in respect of those who are unjust; surely they shall be drowned.

 

Now look at Allah’s response. He is not saying: “ok,  you can go on vacation now”  No!  work your way out of it and I will help you along. And not only that but keep praying to me as well , so that you remember that it is my favor on you that I have saved you from those rebellious people:

 

فَإِذَا اسْتَوَيْتَ أَنتَ وَمَن مَّعَكَ عَلَى الْفُلْكِ فَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي نَجَّانَا مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ {28}

And when you are firmly seated, you and those with you, in the ark, say: All praise is due to Allah who delivered us from the unjust people:

وَقُل رَّبِّ أَنزِلْنِي مُنزَلًا مُّبَارَكًا وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الْمُنزِلِينَ {29}

And say: O my Lord! Cause me to disembark a blessed alighting, and Thou art the best to cause to alight.

 

Just imagine yourself in that condition and think what your response would be. How frightening it must be for him. But why did Allah put him through that storm and all?

Didn’t Allah love him? Allah says:

 

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ وَإِن كُنَّا لَمُبْتَلِينَ {30}

Most surely there are signs in this, and most surely, We do test people.

 

And then Allah sent other messengers after him and the affluent people had the similar response that we hear nowadays:

 

أَيَعِدُكُمْ أَنَّكُمْ إِذَا مِتُّمْ وَكُنتُمْ تُرَابًا وَعِظَامًا أَنَّكُم مُّخْرَجُونَ {35}

What! does he threaten you that when you are dead and become dust and bones that you shall then be brought forth?

هَيْهَاتَ هَيْهَاتَ لِمَا تُوعَدُونَ {36}

Impossible, just impossible is that which you are threatened with.

 

 

what is their philosophy?

 

إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا حَيَاتُنَا الدُّنْيَا نَمُوتُ وَنَحْيَا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمَبْعُوثِينَ {37}

There is naught but our life in this world; we die and we live and we shall not be raised again.

 

quite familiar, I would say! look at the way we are planning our lives. Is there any thought of the hereafter?

Allah tells us what happened to them:

 

فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّيْحَةُ بِالْحَقِّ فَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ غُثَاء فَبُعْدًا لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ {41}

So the punishment overtook them in justice, and We made them as rubbish; so away with the unjust people.

 

Next Allah tells us about a very important thing that all the messengers had come with the same message of Tauheed (oneness of Allah) but then people made various sects. This is the biggest enemy of Islam: sectarianism; Which eats away at the very basis of our unity and strength. Instead of standing together as a single force against the negative influences of the world, we fight against each other and bow down to our enemies for support. What a pity that instead of realizing the truth, each group is proud of its own identity:

 

وَإِنَّ هَذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاتَّقُونِ {52}

And surely this religion of yours is one religion and I am your Lord, therefore be careful (of your duty) to Me.

فَتَقَطَّعُوا أَمْرَهُم بَيْنَهُمْ زُبُرًا كُلُّ حِزْبٍ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُونَ {53}

 But they cut off their religion among themselves into sects, each part rejoicing in that which is with them.

 

Allah says , do they think they will succeed this way? No, the successful are those who fear Allah, and even when they do something for Allah they are not proud of it, instead they always feel that they have not done enough, when they think of their return to their Lord:

 

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ {60}

And those who give what they give (in alms) while their hearts are full of fear that to their Lord they must return,

أُوْلَئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ {61}

These hasten to good things and they are foremost in (attaining) them.

 

The word “Saabiqun” means the forerunners or the winners. Imagine a hundred-meter sprint in the Olympics and the ones who compete for the top ! Do they pause , look here and there? No matter how glamorous the crowds or how blinding the lights of the  cameras, they are not conscious of anything except the finishing line. Thus is the focus of a true “momin” his goal is the meeting with His lord. He cannot rest before that nor can he indulge in useless pleasures of the world.

As for those who waste this life in vain pursuits, they are going to regret it in the next world. The following verses depict the scene of Judgment Day when the wrong doers will be punished:

 

حَتَّى إِذَا أَخَذْنَا مُتْرَفِيهِم بِالْعَذَابِ إِذَا هُمْ يَجْأَرُونَ {64}

Until when We overtake those who lead easy lives among them with punishment, lo! they cry for help.

لَا تَجْأَرُوا الْيَوْمَ إِنَّكُم مِّنَّا لَا تُنصَرُونَ {65}

Cry not for succor this day; surely you shall not be given help from Us.

 

It was not just their ignorance of the Quran but the attitude of arrogance that caused them to receive such a torturous punishment.

 

قَدْ كَانَتْ آيَاتِي تُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَكُنتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ تَنكِصُونَ {66}

My communications were indeed recited to you, but you used to turn back on your heels,

مُسْتَكْبِرِينَ بِهِ سَامِرًا تَهْجُرُونَ {67}

In arrogance; talking nonsense about the Quran, and left him like one telling fables by night.

 

Allah has given us all faculties that are needed to recognize the truth, yet we don’t use them for this purpose.

 

وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ {78}

And He it is Who made for you the ears and the eyes and the hearts; little is it that you give thanks.

 

Allah seems to be asking with wonder, “don’t you have any sense?”

 

وَهُوَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَلَهُ اخْتِلَافُ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ {80}

And He it is Who gives life and causes death, and (in) His (control) is the alternation of the night and the day; do you not then understand?

 

You say you are the intellectuals of the 21st century yet you say the same words that were said by the disbelievers of eons ago:

 

بَلْ قَالُوا مِثْلَ مَا قَالَ الْأَوَّلُونَ {81}

Nay, they say the like of what the ancients said:

قَالُوا أَئِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا وَعِظَامًا أَئِنَّا لَمَبْعُوثُونَ {82}

 They say: What! When we are dead and become dust and bones, shall we then be raised?

 

Allah tells the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) to ask the mushriks (disbelievers)

 

قُل لِّمَنِ الْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ {84}

Say: Whose is the earth, and whoever is therein, if you know?

 

They will readily admit that all of this belongs to Allah.

Then again ask them:

 

قُلْ مَن رَّبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ السَّبْعِ وَرَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ {86}

Say: Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the mighty dominion?

 

And also ask them:

 

قُلْ مَن بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ يُجِيرُ وَلَا يُجَارُ عَلَيْهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ {88}

Say: Who is it in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things and Who gives succor, but against Him Succor is not given, if you do but know?

 

Their answer is the same and, and so is Allah’s anger at them:

 

سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ قُلْ فَأَنَّى تُسْحَرُونَ {89}

They will say: (This is) Allah’s. Say: From whence are you then deceived?

 

We see that when we make up our minds to follow Allah’s will, then there are several hurdles that start appearing in our way and we begin to lose heart when things get tough. Our family and friends, who used to support us, now become estranged and even hostile in some cases. The only thing that can keep us upright is the remembrance of Allah and the realization that the devil is our worst enemy and he is going to put depressing thoughts in our hearts to make us come back towards our old way of life. The following verses teach us that our job is to be unconditionally good to people, even if their attitude is discouraging.

 

ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَصِفُونَ {96}

Repel evil by what is best; We know best what they describe.

 

 And we should pray to Allah to protect us from the whispers of the devil.

 

وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ {97}

And say: O my Lord! I seek refuge in Thee from the evil suggestions of the Shaitans;

وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ {98}

 And I seek refuge in Thee! O my Lord! from their presence.

 

This prayer has the effect of a tonic for the heart. At once you will feel a sense of security and strength inside you. Surely Allah’s friendship is the only thing that can help us against the enmity of the devil.

Our lifespan is the time in which we should correct our mistakes and make a strong connection with Allah so that he will guide us towards the right way of life. There should be no procrastination here because who knows when our time is up and the call comes from Allah to go back to Him. Therefore, people who are too busy in their worldly life, to make any commitment for Allah’s cause, should read the following verses with open eyes and an open heart and listen to the words of such a person who at the time of death realizes his mistake, but it is too late then to make amends. He cries out:

 

حَتَّى إِذَا جَاء أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ {99}

 Until when death overtakes one of them, he says: Send me back, my Lord, send me back;

لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ

So that I may do good in that which I have left.

 

But Allah knows him inside out and so He says:

كَلَّا إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا وَمِن وَرَائِهِم بَرْزَخٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ {100}

By no means! it is a (mere) word that he speaks; and before them is a barrier until the day they are raised.

 

This Surah really puts your focus on the concept of success. In the next two verses, Allah tells us who are the successful ones. Not necessarily those with grand houses or gleaming cars and numerous bank accounts, whom we envy in this world. No! The only thing of any value that day will be the weight of good deeds done purely for the sake of Allah.

 

فَمَن ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِينُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {102}

Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,- they will attain salvation:

 

And take a look at the state of the losers:

 

وَمَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِينُهُ فَأُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ فِي جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدُونَ {103}

And as for him whose good deeds are light, these are they who shall have lost their souls, abiding in hell

تَلْفَحُ وُجُوهَهُمُ النَّارُ وَهُمْ فِيهَا كَالِحُونَ {104}

The fire shall scorch their faces, and they therein shall be in severe affliction.

 

Allah will ask them that day:

 

أَلَمْ تَكُنْ آيَاتِي تُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَكُنتُم بِهَا تُكَذِّبُونَ {105}

Were not My communications recited to you? But you used to reject them.

 

And they will admit their fault and will plead for mercy but the time for action is gone, only the consequences remain…….. For eternity. Allah says:

 

قَالَ اخْسَؤُوا فِيهَا وَلَا تُكَلِّمُونِ {108}

He shall say: Go away into it and speak not to Me;

 

What a terrible thing that Allah will not even want to talk to them. Imagine someone saying this to you. How miserable it makes you feel, and how terribly insecure. May Allah forgive us and save us from such misery (ameen)

Allah asks us the most important question:

 

أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثًا وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا تُرْجَعُونَ {115}

What! did you then think that We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us?

 

The ultimate truth is that Allah is the one most High, and thus the only one who is worthy of our worship. Just absorb the awesome power of the following words:

 

فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْكَرِيمِ {116}

So exalted be Allah, the True King; no god is there but He, the Lord of the honorable dominion.

 

This magnificent Surah ends with this beautiful prayer, which is a constant reminder that to be successful in this test of life and death we need two very important things: Allah’s mercy and His forgiveness.

 

وَقُل رَّبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ الرَّاحِمِينَ {118}

And say: O my Lord! forgive and have mercy, and Thou art the best of the Merciful ones.

     

Surah An-Noor

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

Just as eyes cannot see without light, similarly our intelligence and reasoning alone cannot guide us towards complete success, without the light of Allah’s Book, to show us the way.

In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah says:

اللّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ يُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّوُرِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَوْلِيَآؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ {257}

Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.

 

 

So this is the Surah of Light. It liberates us from the darkness of ignorance and confusion towards the light of Allah’s love. Although the whole of the Quran is from Allah, yet for this Surah specially, Allah says that “we have revealed it” so that we should have complete trust in the wisdom of the rules laid out in it. The opening Ayat is in fact a short and accurate introduction of this radiant Surah

سُورَةٌ أَنزَلْنَاهَا وَفَرَضْنَاهَا وَأَنزَلْنَا فِيهَا آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ {1}

 (This is) a chapter which We have revealed and made obligatory and in which We have revealed clear communications that you may be mindful.

 

And then right after it Allah states the punishment of Adultery. Look at the straight forward tone and the clarity of words, which Allah has used here, so that anybody, with even average intelligence can verify its exact meaning.

 

الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا مِئَةَ جَلْدَةٍ وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُم بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {2}

 (As for) the adulteress and the adulterer, flog each of them, (giving) a hundred stripes, and let not pity for them detain you in the matter of obedience to Allah, if you believe in Allah and the last day, and let a party of believers witness their chastisement.

 

Now we see that this Ayat has provoked great controversy that Islam is so barbaric and so cruel. Why should a man be flogged a hundred times for just one mistake?

Allah has told us in the Quran:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ {4}


Indeed We have created man in the best of moulds, 

 

Man was created with dignity and self respect, an honorable being, and what is the purpose of “zina” (adultery)? It is the degradation of Man, when he stoops from his honorable position, just to satisfy his lust. If this sick crime is not stopped immediately it acts like a virus and spreads in the whole society so that the very balance and structure of family life collapses, giving rise to chaos and insecurity. Allah wants to protect us form this madness where no one is safe anymore. An American woman once commented:

“If you only knew the insecurity that an American woman goes through, every single day of her life, in fear that her husband might dump her for another more attractive person”

Allah loves us and he wants us to live a life of mutual trust and harmony. The family structure is supposed to be a Haven of peace and love. And if anyone dares to sabotage it, then they should be tortured publicly so that it is established as a terrible crime which no one would dare to repeat. Allah knew that there would be some who would try to act like they are more tenderhearted than Allah Himself so He said:

“Let not pity withhold you in their case……..If you have faith in Allah and in the day of recompense”

That’s what it’s all about: our Faith. It’s not just saying the words of the “shahadah” but believing that ONLY ALLAH in His infinite love for us and His infinite wisdom could have come up with a system of life as beautifully balanced as Islam.

This balance is manifested in the fact that Allah has not allowed anyone to falsely accuse anyone of adultery. This is a serious crime in Allah’s eyes and such a person who wishes to ruin someone’s reputation will also be flogged:

 

وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاء فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً وَلَا تَقْبَلُوا لَهُمْ شَهَادَةً أَبَدًا وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ {4}

 And those who accuse chaste women then do not bring four witnesses, flog them, (giving) eighty stripes, and do not admit any evidence from them ever; and these it is that are the transgressors,

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا مِن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ وَأَصْلَحُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {5}

Except those who repent after this and act aright, for surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

 

Next we have the Ayaat which refer to a slander that was fabricated against Ayesha (r.a) the wife of the Prophet (s.a.w) by the Hypocrites of Madinah. According to her own narrative, Ayesha ( r.a) had accompanied the Prophet (s.a.w) on a mission. On the way back while they were about to proceed one night, she discovered that she had dropped her necklace and so she got out of the howdah that she had been riding in and went off in search of it. It took her quite some time and during her absence the caravan took off, carrying her howdah thinking that she was inside it. When Ayesha returned to the camp and found no one she decided to wait there so that they will come back and find her. She fell asleep and was discovered by Safwan, who used to come up behind the army to pick up anything they might have left on the way. Upon seeing the wife of the Prophet, he exclaimed: “Inna Lillaahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’oon” and so Ayesha woke up. He lowered his camel and Ayesha mounted it, while he set out walking, leading the camel by the rope. And they did not exchange a single word, till they reached the army, who had halted at midday. Upon seeing them, the chief of the hypocrites, Abdullah bin Ubaiyy said, “By Allah, they have not come safe.” 

This rumor was spread like wild fire and took Madinah by storm. Until these following Ayaat were revealed, which proved the innocence of Ayesha (r.a), for all times to come.

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُم مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ وَالَّذِي تَوَلَّى كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ {11}

Surely they who concocted the lie are a party from among you. Do not regard it an evil to you; nay, it is good for you. Every man of them shall have what he has earned of sin; and (as for) him who took upon himself the main part thereof, he shall have a grievous chastisement

 

Allah reproached all those who took part in circulating the rumor.

 

لَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوا هَذَا إِفْكٌ مُّبِينٌ {12}

Why did not the believing men and the believing women, when you heard it, think well of their own people, and say: This is an evident falsehood?

 

 

وَلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُم مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَن نَّتَكَلَّمَ بِهَذَا سُبْحَانَكَ هَذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيمٌ {16}

And why did you not, when you heard it, say: It does not beseem us that we should talk of it; glory be to Thee! this is a great calumny?

 

There is an important lesson here for all of us that it is a serious crime to ruin other peoples’ reputation by idle gossips and backbiting. A true believer is a careful person. His purity of heart is reflected in the purity of his conversation. Allah says that even if you have been indulging in it so far, do not ever repeat it again:

 

يَعِظُكُمُ اللَّهُ أَن تَعُودُوا لِمِثْلِهِ أَبَدًا إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {17}

 Allah admonishes you that you should not return to the like of it ever again if you are believers.

 

Why is it so strongly prohibited? Actually when people discuss these shameful things, then it does have an imperceptible effect on them even if they are not involved in it. And the publicity of evil creates a never ending curiosity, which leads to the eventual involvement in such acts.

So Allah says:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَن تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ {19}

Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter; and Allah knows, while you do not know.

 

Allah wants us to live in peace and harmony but the Devil allures us towards immorality and immodesty:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ وَمَن يَتَّبِعْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَا مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُزَكِّي مَن يَشَاء وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ {21}

O you who believe! do not follow the footsteps of the Shaitan, and whoever follows the footsteps of the Shaitan, then surely he bids the doing of indecency and evil; and were it not for Allah’s grace upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have ever been pure, but Allah purifies whom He pleases; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

 

We should remember that the devil cannot rest until he leads us astray from the straight path of Allah’s guidance. For this he has various traps. One of them is to make it seem very trivial for us when we deprive someone of their basic rights. So many people fall into this trap that after a while such a violation of Allah’s laws becomes very normal and seems harmless. And if you remind someone the seriousness of their offence then they become defensive and protest, “Oh! Don’t be so formal………surely Islam is not so rigid !” But we forget that Islam is a complete way of life. It focuses as much attention on proper social behavior as on the spiritual aspect. So Allah reminds us here of an important social issue:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ {27}

O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own houses until you have asked permission and saluted their inmates; this is better for you, that you may be mindful.

فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا فِيهَا أَحَدًا فَلَا تَدْخُلُوهَا حَتَّى يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ وَإِن قِيلَ لَكُمُ ارْجِعُوا فَارْجِعُوا هُوَ أَزْكَى لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ {28}

But if you do not find any one therein, then do not enter them until permission is given to you; and if it is said to you: Go back, then go back; this is purer for you; and Allah is Cognizant of what you do.

 

A home is a place where one wants to live in peace and security. Allah is protecting our privacy here. And it’s better for us not to enter a door without permission, so that the doors of people’s hearts are not closed on us, and relationships are not soured. It is a matter of dignity and respect, the more you give; the more you get, and of course the actual rewards are with Allah.

Our life is such that we cannot exist on our own. We have to interact with people and this involves an unavoidable contact between men and women. Islam is a natural religion. It doesn’t put a complete ban on mutual interaction, because that would have been impossible. So we have been given certain rules which make it possible for us to conduct ourselves in such situations, in a graceful manner, without compromising on our modesty. So the first order is for Men:

 

قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ {30}

Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do.

 

And then the same applies for women as well. We are all familiar with hijab of the dress but notice that the first thing is the hijab of the eyes. Why? because, “ The glance is the poisonous arrow of shaitan.” When we look at someone with unnecessary intensity, that’s the first step towards danger, towards unlawful desires arising in your heart, so lower your gaze and protect your modesty:

 

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ

And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms

 

And in the same Ayat Allah has forbidden women to display their adornment to any man except the ones Allah has Himself listed down:

وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاء

and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women;

 

This Ayat ends with the reminder that even the walk should be modest and not such that would attract attention:

وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ

and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known;

 

After all, it is the way towards Allah and towards success:

وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ {31}

 and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful.

 

Although a lot can be said on the subject but it is enough for the time being to understand that the essence of these rules is to avoid situations which can lead to our exploitation. Allah is protecting us here. Women are like precious jewels so don’t cheapen yourself under the false banner of so called “liberation” and don’t become an object for every man on the street to ogle at.

Surah An-Noor contains an Ayat which is mysteriously beautiful. It makes you stop and think what is Allah telling you here. Listen carefully:

 

اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونِةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ نُّورٌ عَلَى نُورٍ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاء وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ {35}

Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth; a likeness of His light is as a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp is in a glass, (and) the glass is as it were a brightly shining star, lit from a blessed olive-tree, neither eastern nor western, the oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not– light upon light– Allah guides to His light whom He pleases, and Allah sets forth parables for men, and Allah is Cognizant of all things.

 

The niche in this example is the chest of the believer and the lamp is the heart inside it. The glass is the environment and the potential in this heart to catch the light of Allah’s guidance is such that it seems on the verge of glowing, even if no fire touches it. This Ayat actually focuses on the connection between Allah’s light and the purity of a Momin’s heart. And every time I read it, it makes me want to be such a lamp that would reflect Allah’s light to the whole world, like a star ………And Allah guides towards his light whom he wills………doesn’t it fill you with the most passionate desire to be that person for whom Allah makes it a reality?!!

In a striking contrast, Allah gives the example of another kind of light that deceives a person and this is the light of mirage, which makes you see images which do not exist………..

 

وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَعْمَالُهُمْ كَسَرَابٍ بِقِيعَةٍ يَحْسَبُهُ الظَّمْآنُ مَاء حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءهُ لَمْ يَجِدْهُ شَيْئًا وَوَجَدَ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ فَوَفَّاهُ حِسَابَهُ وَاللَّهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ {39}

And (as for) those who disbelieve, their deeds are like the mirage in a desert, which the thirsty man deems to be water; until when he comes to it he finds it to be naught, and there he finds Allah, so He pays back to him his reckoning in full; and Allah is quick in reckoning;

 

 What a pathetic situation for a person who believes that what he is doing is very rewarding and at the end of his journey he finds nothing but hot earth, Imagine his frustration and remorse. Allah says that all those who think that they are wiser than Allah and that they can devise a more successful way of life other than Islam, their lives are like dark oceans in which they shall never see the light of truth:

 

أَوْ كَظُلُمَاتٍ فِي بَحْرٍ لُّجِّيٍّ يَغْشَاهُ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ مَوْجٌ مِّن فَوْقِهِ سَحَابٌ ظُلُمَاتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ إِذَا أَخْرَجَ يَدَهُ لَمْ يَكَدْ يَرَاهَا وَمَن لَّمْ يَجْعَلِ اللَّهُ لَهُ نُورًا فَمَا لَهُ مِن نُّورٍ {40}

Or like utter darkness in the deep sea: there covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness one above another; when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light.

 

How frightening are the last words of this Ayat: For whom Allah has not appointed any light, then for him there is no light. May Allah save us all from such a terrible fate.

In the following Ayat, Allah tells us how to make sure we are not among the losers:

 

وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَخْشَ اللَّهَ وَيَتَّقْهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ {52}

 And he who obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah, and is careful of (his duty to) Him, these it is that are the achievers.

 

We all say that of course we fear Allah but we have to prove our sincerity too:

 

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ {56}

And keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and obey the Messenger, so that mercy may be shown to you.

 

And there are some other rules too which we take lightly but they are also a reflection of our piety. One such rule is the discipline of privacy within a house, between various family members. Allah says “O You who have faith……..” It means it is a part of our faith to obey this command:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِيَسْتَأْذِنكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُوا الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ مِن قَبْلِ صَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَابَكُم مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِن بَعْدِ صَلَاةِ الْعِشَاء ثَلَاثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَا عَلَيْهِمْ جُنَاحٌ بَعْدَهُنَّ طَوَّافُونَ عَلَيْكُم بَعْضُكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ {58}

O you who believe! let those whom your right hands possess and those of you who have not attained to puberty ask permission of you three times; before the morning prayer, and when you put off your clothes at midday in summer, and after the prayer of the nightfall; these are three times of privacy for you; neither is it a sin for you nor for them besides these, some of you must go round about (waiting) upon others; thus does Allah make clear to you the communications, and Allah is Knowing, Wise.

 

Remember that everything belongs to Allah including our own selves and we are going to return to Him. This is the truth of our existence and upon this truth ends this Surah of Light.

 

أَلَا إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ قَدْ يَعْلَمُ مَا أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَيَوْمَ يُرْجَعُونَ إِلَيْهِ فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ {64}

Now surely Allah’s is whatever is in the heavens and the earth; He knows indeed that to which you are conforming yourselves; and on the day on which they are returned to Him He will inform them of what they did; and Allah is Cognizant of all things.

 

Surah Al-Furqan

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

For me the study of the Quran is like a spiritual journey. Every step of the way is filled with wonder and excitement. I look at the words and feel such a thrill, “what is Allah going to tell me here?” This urge to discover, takes me from one Surah to the next And my thirst is never satiated !! The fact that this mystery is endless, makes me love it even more. This, I suppose, is the only pleasure on this earth, which is complete and never ending !! It reminds me of a favorite phrase from Surah Al-Waqiah where Allah describes the fruits of the Paradise as:

لَّا مَقْطُوعَةٍ وَلَا مَمْنُوعَةٍ {33}

Neither limited to season nor forbidden,

 

Today’s Surah begins with an absolutely gorgeous Ayat, in which Allah has used just a few words, to tell us about Himself, as well as His Prophet (s.a.w) His Book, and the purpose of this message. Allah reminds us that the actual purpose of the Quran is to teach us to distinguish between the good and the bad, between truth and falsehood, between light and darkness, between success and failure.

This is why Allah has called it, Al-Furqan : The criterion.

 

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا {1}

Blessed is He Who sent down the Furqan upon His servant that he may be a Warner to the nations;

 

Allah says that He revealed this magnificent Quran on His slave, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) so that he might be a “Warner” for the whole world. It means that the study of Quran is incomplete without the Sunnah of the Prophet. His whole life was a live interpretation of the Quran. Therefore, Allah has reminded us of the importance of following the footsteps of our Prophet (s.a.w), in numerous verses throughout the Quran.

But to face the reality, is not a comfortable experience, and so most people prefer to stay in the semi darkness of their self-created standards of success instead of admitting the fact that there is something far more superior than their own principles of life and that is the Quran, the Al-Furqan sent by Allah himself, who is the OWNER of the skies and the earth. Is there anyone equal to Him?

 

الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَدًا وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ شَرِيكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا {2}

He, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Who did not take to Himself a son, and Who has no associate in the kingdom, and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure.

 

When the people of Makkah could not find fault with the glorious Quran, they resorted to a campaign of negative propaganda against the Prophet(s.a.w)

 

وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرًا {7}

 And they say: What is the matter with this Messenger that he eats food and goes about in the markets; why has not an angel been sent down to him, so that he should have been a Warner with him?

 

 Allah says that it is not something extraordinary. All the other messengers were also Human beings. If Allah had sent an angel then how could we have taken him as a role model? Then these people would have said that how could they follow an angel when he doesn’t have the same needs or problems like us human beings.

Allah says that those who deny the truth are actually the ones who are arrogant and that is why they come up with outrageous arguments like this:

 

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَاءنَا لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْنَا الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَوْ نَرَى رَبَّنَا لَقَدِ اسْتَكْبَرُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ وَعَتَوْ عُتُوًّا كَبِيرًا {21}

And those who do not hope for Our meeting, say: Why have not angels been sent down upon us, or (why) do we not see our Lord? Now certainly they are too proud of themselves and have revolted in great revolt.

 

They don’t realize that when the Angels will appear, it will be the hour of judgment:

 

يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ الْمَلَائِكَةَ لَا بُشْرَى يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُجْرِمِينَ وَيَقُولُونَ حِجْرًا مَّحْجُورًا {22}

On the day when they shall see the angels, there shall be no joy on that day for the guilty, and they shall say: It is a forbidden thing totally prohibited.

 

And the following Ayat shows the pathetic helplessness that will be faced by all those who did no preparation for that day:

 

وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاء مَّنثُورًا {23}

And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them as scattered floating dust.

 

Allah says, that will be the Day of Regrets when people will be so devastated to realize that they had wasted their lives away in useless pursuits, when they should have gone along Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w) Look at how Allah has portrayed their anger at themselves:

 

وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ الظَّالِمُ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي اتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ الرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا {27}

And the day when the unjust one shall bite his hands saying: O! would that I had taken a way with the Messenger

 

 And on that day when all the veils of illusions will be removed from their eyes, they will have another great regret:

 

يَا وَيْلَتَى لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا {28}

O woe is me! would that I had not taken such a one for a friend !

 

Why? What did the friend do? What is so tragic in having a certain friend? The next Ayat reveals it to us:

 

لَقَدْ أَضَلَّنِي عَنِ الذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءنِي وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا {29}

Certainly he led me astray from the reminder after it had come to me; and the Shaitan fails to aid man.

 

Now we need to think upon this. It is not something as trivial as we have taken it to be. Friends have the most profound effect on our thoughts and ideas about life. Unknowingly and unconsciously, a person follows the religion of his friend. So if you want to judge the level of your faith , take a good look at your friends. Whom do you like to spend your time with? Who makes you feel good? Because eventually your friends are your destiny……..

The next Ayat is one that really touches my heart and fills me with a deep sorrow. Just read it and feel the truth of its words:

 

وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا {30}

And the Messenger cried out: O my Lord! surely my people have treated this Quran as a forsaken thing.

 

We Muslims take the concept of intercession very lightly and think that we can live the way we  want to and then of course on the Day of Judgment our Prophet will intercede for us. See what Allah is telling us here. There is such sadness in the words of the Prophet, “O my Lord, my people had forsaken the Quran” We need to look at ourselves carefully. Is he talking about us? Look at how the Quran is being treated; as a book of magic. We read it when someone is sick, we read it if we want something done, or when someone dies……..end of story. And then we say we are Muslims?!! We can get away with this attitude in this world but just think what justification will we have on that day of recompense? What a self deprived nation we are that we have such a wonderful treasure of knowledge and guidance in the form of Quran, that can make us into the most advanced people of the world, only if would learn it and establish it into our life structure, but we have squandered it away and now, we have become the most despised nation.

But after all what is it that has so blinded us that we cannot see the truth? Admit it or not, it is our desires……….. And the following Ayat proves it:

 

أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا {43}

 Have you seen him who takes his low desires for his god? Will you then be a protector over him?

 

Notice the contempt in Allah’s words………..Look at these fools they are worshipping their desires and they think they are following their ideologies? Giving fancy names doesn’t change the reality of things but they go on deluding themselves……….who are they fooling anyway?? On surface these people look very distinguished and sophisticated so that ordinary people are so impressed by their grand styles. Allah says, “Are you taken in by their appearances?” Do you think they listen or that they understand? In Allah’s eyes they are worse than cattle !

 

أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا {44}

Or do you think that most of them do hear or understand? They are nothing but as cattle; nay, they are straying farther off from the path.

 

Allah is teaching us here to open our eyes and “see” the endless signs of Allah’s complete control over all things. Have you noticed the shadows?

How they move about? Come out of your air-conditioned houses and see something real for a change !

 

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى رَبِّكَ كَيْفَ مَدَّ الظِّلَّ وَلَوْ شَاء لَجَعَلَهُ سَاكِنًا ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا الشَّمْسَ عَلَيْهِ دَلِيلًا {45}

 Have you not considered (the work of) your Lord, how He extends the shade? And if He had pleased He would certainly have made it stationary; then We have made the sun an indication of it

 

Have you pondered over the endless cycle of day and night? Doesn’t it remind you of death and being born again?

 

وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ لِبَاسًا وَالنَّوْمَ سُبَاتًا وَجَعَلَ النَّهَارَ نُشُورًا {47}

 

And He it is Who made the night a covering for you, and the sleep a rest, and He made the day to rise up again.

 

The question arises here, how to join people with Allah? How to make them understand the purpose of their life? There is so much negative going on in the world. What can we do? Allah gives the answer in this powerful Ayat:

 

فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا {52}

So do not follow the unbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with it.

 

Do Jihad with the Quran , which is a great Jihad. Why? Because to make the society pure from all evil and chaos is a huge task and it can only be possible by spreading the awareness of Quran. When people will recognize who their Lord is, and they will start obeying Him in all matters, only then will they learn to live peacefully and with dignity and self respect. But when you start out with this intention of spreading the Quran , there are bound to be several obstacles in the way. One of them is the opposition from people because they feel their interests are being threatened. They are rightly afraid that when people will only bow down in front of one Allah only, then who is going to tolerate exploitation of any kind? What will become of their superiority? So on one hand there is this huge task of making widespread programs of Quranic education and on the other hand the various opposing factors have to be borne with patience and perseverance. Thus Allah has so rightly named it “Jihadan Kabira”: the great Jihad.

You might wonder,  who is going to do it and how is it possible? Allah has the answer right here !

 

وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِ وَكَفَى بِهِ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًا {58}

And rely on the Ever-living Who dies not, and celebrate His praise; and Sufficient is He as being aware of the faults of His servants,

 

This is a great book. What an honor for an ordinary human being that Allah might chose him for serving the Quran. But surely there must be something that makes one worthy of such honors…………what are those qualities that we can acquire to become those favorites of Allah Almighty, whom he calls “Ibaad-ur-Rahman”: slaves of the most beneficent(Allah)

 

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا {63}

And the servants of the Beneficent Allah are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace.

 

I am filled with wonder how Allah has not mentioned any “religious” ritual and straightaway goes on to correct our carriage and speech !!  And have you noticed that when we are talking to learned people, almost everyone tries to talk in a soft and pleasant tone; but when we talk to ordinary, “common” people then our style is totally different. That is where our “real” self comes out. But Allah’s favorites are not double faced. They walk with dignity and humility, reflecting an inner consciousness of Allah, and the same is  reflected in the way they talk.

But this is not all. They not only establish the obligatory prayers, but for them praying in the night is a form of a special contact with their Lord:

 

وَالَّذِينَ يَبِيتُونَ لِرَبِّهِمْ سُجَّدًا وَقِيَامًا {64}

And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing.

 

What do they pray for? That they might be saved from the torment of the fire………..…..It shows that they are not assuming Paradise to be their birthright.

وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اصْرِفْ عَنَّا عَذَابَ جَهَنَّمَ إِنَّ عَذَابَهَا كَانَ غَرَامًا {65}

And they who say: O our Lord! turn away from us the punishment of hell, surely the punishment thereof is a lasting

إِنَّهَا سَاءتْ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَمُقَامًا {66}

Surely it is an evil abode and (evil) place to stay.

 

And does this mean they are ignorant in their worldly affairs? No they are wise people and spend their resources with care. No stinginess and no extravagance. Moderation is the key word here !

 

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَنفَقُوا لَمْ يُسْرِفُوا وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُوا وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ قَوَامًا {67}

And they who when they spend, are neither extravagant nor parsimonious, and (keep) between these the just mean.

 

And the most important thing is that doing all of this , they stay true to the worship of only one Allah. They have not associated any partners with Him, whatsoever. Neither people, nor desires, nor any “peer” or saint.

 

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا {68}

And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay the soul, which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin;

 

It is important to remember that good deeds alone cannot gain us any benefit, if we don’t stay away from evil. But Allah is very kind, so if we commit any mistake then we should make sincere repentance, and Allah will forgive us:

 

وَمَن تَابَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَإِنَّهُ يَتُوبُ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَتَابًا {71}

And whoever repents and does good, he surely turns to Allah a (goodly) turning.

 

Another quality of these favorites of Allah is that they stay away from falsehood, whether it’s in speech or actions:

 

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا {72}

And they who do not bear witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly.

 

Notice the other thing mentioned here that when they happen to see someone involved in foolish or useless activity, they are neither attracted nor are they aggressive, but pass by gracefully.

And what a beautiful quality that when they hear the words of their Lord they don’t sit there like deaf or blind.

 

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَمْ يَخِرُّوا عَلَيْهَا صُمًّا وَعُمْيَانًا {73}

And they who, when reminded of the communications of their Lord, do not fall down thereat deaf and blind.

 

 It means that the magic of the Quran moves them from inside. It penetrates their soul and they change their lives accordingly. But they know that their individual effort cannot take them far so they call out to their Lord:

 

وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا {74}

And they who say: O our Lord! grant us in our wives and our offspring the joy of our eyes, and make us guides to those who guard (against evil).

 

Such are the people whom we call “lucky”. And so Allah will reward them with a splendid reward, because they were patient, because they persevered, because they constantly stayed away from evil and because they were constant in their good deeds.

 

أُوْلَئِكَ يُجْزَوْنَ الْغُرْفَةَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيُلَقَّوْنَ فِيهَا تَحِيَّةً وَسَلَامًا {75}

These shall be rewarded with high places because they were patient, and shall be met therein with greetings and salutations.

 

And this is the part which I love the most…………… they will live there for ever and ever……………. They strived hard in Allah’s way without any deviation and their reward is also never ending !!

 

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا حَسُنَتْ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَمُقَامًا {76}

Abiding therein forever; beautiful the abode and the resting-place.

 

 

 

Surah Ash-Shu’araa

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

These days there is a lot of controversy going on in the newspapers about the “veil”. I read an article today and the writer has made several statements that there is no law in the Quran about it. Otherwise too, I hear people say: “where is it written in the Quran?” It made me think, that if a majority of people had an understanding of the actual Quran, the Book (and not just its various interpretations), then would anyone dare to make statements like this? Quran is a book of ultimate truth and knowledge, directly in the words of Allah. If this truth had been established in our lives, then who could come out with self-created theories and get away with it? It’s just because of our general ignorance and indifference towards this book, that people can say whatever they like and others are willing to believe it. So the greatest need of our times is to come back to the REAL source of our knowledge and guidance………the Quran. And our goal should be, to understand it and to set up our lives according to it. Because, if you don’t want the truth, then you can never see the truth, however obvious that might be……………….. This is the theme of today’s Surah, in which Allah has repeatedly stated the fact that whosoever denies the truth and wants to lead a life purely for the sake of fulfilling personal desires then the manifest signs of Allah, whether in the creation of the universe or in the Quran; remain hidden for that person or nation. They have eyes but do not see, and they have ears but do not hear, and they have hearts but do not feel……… 

So Allah tells the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) not to fret for the sake of the disbelievers who chose to ignore the verses of the Glorious Book:

 

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ {2}

These are the verses of the Book that makes (things) clear.

لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ {3}

(O Muhammad) Perhaps you will fret yourself to death with grief because they do not believe.

 

Allah says that it is not at all difficult for Him to make the people believe perforce, but it is not Allah’s way of doing things. “Hidayat” (guidance)  is the greatest blessing of Allah which He gives only to those who ask for it. Allah doesn’t thrust it upon anyone:

 

إِن نَّشَأْ نُنَزِّلْ عَلَيْهِم مِّن السَّمَاء آيَةً فَظَلَّتْ أَعْنَاقُهُمْ لَهَا خَاضِعِينَ {4}

If We please, We should send down upon them a sign from the heaven so that their necks should stoop to it in submission.

 

But if people think that they will be able to escape the consequences of their actions, just like today they deny every truth that is put before them, then they are just deluding themselves:

 

فَقَدْ كَذَّبُوا فَسَيَأْتِيهِمْ أَنبَاء مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُون {6}

So they have indeed rejected (the truth), therefore the news of that which they mock shall soon come to them.

 

Allah has given us all, exactly two eyes, no more no less, why is that most of us see only the creation and only a few remember the Creator through it all ?

 

أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَمْ أَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ {7}

Do they not see the earth, how many of every noble kind We have caused to grow in it?

 

Allah says that they don’t see the signs because they don’t want to believe. They don’t want to pay the price of submission………

 

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {8}

Most surely there is a sign in that, but most of them will not believe.

 

But let’s stop and ask ourselves, whose loss is it after all?

However large the majority of disbelievers might be and however successful they might seem in today’s world , or however powerful; they are still dependent On the Mighty Lord for every breath they take and every move they make. So what can they hope to achieve by denying His message? 

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {9}

And most surely your Lord is the Mighty, the Merciful.

 

 

This is a beautiful Surah, in which Allah takes us back in time and shows how He sent His messengers one after the other so that they might connect people to their Lord. For this purpose, each Messenger was given signs and miracles from Allah, as well as divine revelations, but the majority of people denied them and refused to acknowledge the truth of their Message.

 As I was reading the first story, which is about Musa (a.s), I thought to myself, why am I so enthralled by it every time I come across it? I realized that it’s because of the fact that every time I read it, it offers some new dimensions to reflect upon and it makes me understand the fascinating bond between Man and Allah. How an ordinary man is transformed into an awesome personality, just by that strong connection of Allah’s love and man’s submission. It gives me such a strong sense of Allah’s power that if we stop complaining about what we lack in certain areas, and just concentrate on the fact that Allah can do anything, then Allah infuses us with such a confidence that enables us to face all sorts of difficulties with courage and patience, provided our own desires remains at a side and our whole effort is purely for the sake of Allah.

Allah says: Remember when your Lord called to Musa (a.s)…………….

Imagine, what an experience it must have been for him to hear Allah’s voice!!

 

وَإِذْ نَادَى رَبُّكَ مُوسَى أَنِ ائْتِ الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ {10}

And when your Lord called out to Musa, saying: Go to the unjust people,

 

The following words of Musa (a.s) show that it is natural for a man to feel fear of a certain situation, but a true believer specially a prophet doesn’t let that fear stop him from obeying Allah’s commands. He admits his fears to Allah and asks for His help:

 

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يُكَذِّبُونِ {12}

He said: O my Lord! surely I fear that they will reject me;

وَيَضِيقُ صَدْرِي وَلَا يَنطَلِقُ لِسَانِي فَأَرْسِلْ إِلَى هَارُونَ {13}

And my breast feels cramped, and my tongue is not eloquent, therefore send Thou to Haroun (to help me);

 

Allah accepted his request and sent along his brother Haroon (a.s) on this mission:

 

فَأْتِيَا فِرْعَوْنَ فَقُولَا إِنَّا رَسُولُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {16}

And when you both come to Firon , say: Surely we are the messengers of the Lord of the worlds:

أَنْ أَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ {17}

Then send with us the children of Israel.

 

When they went to Pharaoh and conveyed to him the message of Allah, he tried to make Musa feel embarrassed by reminding him of the time he was being brought up in pharaoh’s palace and the murder that he had committed involuntarily. Musa’s reaction is a lesson for us that he neither hides behind false excuses nor does he let Pharaoh dampen his confidence. This is the sheer power of truth……………..just look at the pure honesty of Allah’s prophet:

 

قَالَ فَعَلْتُهَا إِذًا وَأَنَا مِنَ الضَّالِّينَ {20}

He said: I did it then while I was of those unable to see the right course;

فَفَرَرْتُ مِنكُمْ لَمَّا خِفْتُكُمْ فَوَهَبَ لِي رَبِّي حُكْمًا وَجَعَلَنِي مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ {21}

So I fled from you when I feared you, then my Lord granted me wisdom and made me of the messengers;

 

So Pharaoh asks Musa (a.s):

 

قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ وَمَا رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ {23}

Firon said: And what is the Lord of the worlds?

 

To this Musa gives a straightforward response:

 

قَالَ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ {24}

He said: The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, if you really care to believe

 

Pharaoh could not bear the truth, so he tries to humiliate Musa, by addressing his courtiers:

قَالَ لِمَنْ حَوْلَهُ أَلَا تَسْتَمِعُونَ {25}

 (Firon) said to those around him: Do you not hear that!!

 

But Musa was confident in Allah’s message, so he continued without faltering:

 

قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ {26}

He said: Your Lord and the Lord of your fathers of old.

 

Now Pharaoh resorts to insulting him directly:

 

قَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَكُمُ الَّذِي أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ لَمَجْنُونٌ {27}

Said he: Most surely your Messenger who is sent to you is crazy.

 

But this is the amazing courage of a true believer who is working purely for the sake of Allah, that he is not discouraged by insults because he knows that Allah will compensate for all that he is going through. So whatever comes his way, whether insult or injury, becomes a badge of honour in the way of Allah. Thus, Musa (a.s) remains focused and completes Allah’s message:

 

قَالَ رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ {28}

He said: The Lord of the east and the west and what is between them, if you understand

 

Now Pharaoh begins to feel threatened:

 

قَالَ لَئِنِ اتَّخَذْتَ إِلَهًا غَيْرِي لَأَجْعَلَنَّكَ مِنَ الْمَسْجُونِينَ {29}

Said he: If you will take a god besides me, I will most certainly make you one of the imprisoned.

 

At this Musa said, “what if I show you a convincing sign?” And threw his stick which transformed into a snake:

 

فَأَلْقَى عَصَاهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ ثُعْبَانٌ مُّبِينٌ {32}

So he cast down his rod, and lo! It was an obvious serpent,

 

And then he displayed the miracle of his glowing white hand:

 

وَنَزَعَ يَدَهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ بَيْضَاء لِلنَّاظِرِينَ {33}

And he drew forth his hand, and lo! It appeared white to the onlookers.

 

But Pharaoh had no intention of believing the true miracles, so he took refuge in accusing Musa of being a magician:

 

قَالَ لِلْمَلَإِ حَوْلَهُ إِنَّ هَذَا لَسَاحِرٌ عَلِيمٌ {34}

 (Firon) said to the chiefs around him: Most surely this is a skillful magician,

يُرِيدُ أَن يُخْرِجَكُم مِّنْ أَرْضِكُم بِسِحْرِهِ فَمَاذَا تَأْمُرُونَ {35}

Who desires to turn you out of your land with his magic; what is it then that you advise?

 

Pharaoh seems to be thoroughly shaken by the Miracles and that is why his claims are totally nonsense. How could a magician overthrow any king from his throne? Or drive people out of their country? But his chiefs also felt insecure and defensive so they advised Pharaoh to gather all the expert magicians of the country so that they might defeat Musa (a.s).

So when the magicians gathered on the appointed day, they asked Pharaoh:

 

فَلَمَّا جَاء السَّحَرَةُ قَالُوا لِفِرْعَوْنَ أَئِنَّ لَنَا لَأَجْرًا إِن كُنَّا نَحْنُ الْغَالِبِينَ {41}

And when the magicians came, they said to Firon: Shall we get a reward if we are the vanquishers?

 

Now this is what differentiates a Messenger of Allah from ordinary people, that he doesn’t seek any reward for conveying Allah’s message, except from Allah. The strength of a person’s faith lies in the fact that he believes in the powerlessness of people and he doesn’t want anything from them. All his focus is on Allah and Allah’s message. This is what makes him strong in the face of all that goes against him and gives him the courage and determination to keep moving in Allah’s way with consistency and dedication. On the other hand if someone is dependent only on people for their approval and support then it weakens him from inside and gives him a never ending insecurity and anxiety.

Therefore, we see how confidently Musa (a.s) challenges the magicians although they must be great in number and had the support of the crowds of people gathered there to see the power of their magic. Where had this courage come from? Where had his fears gone? Obviously it was his firm faith in Allah’s power that had made him so fearless. He knew he was being taken care of by the Mightiest of all !!

So he called out:

 

قَالَ لَهُم مُّوسَى أَلْقُوا مَا أَنتُم مُّلْقُونَ {43}

Musa said to them: Cast what you are going to cast.

 

And they threw their sticks and ropes and they all turned into snakes running everywhere. Imagine what a horrifying scene it must have been. We are scared out of our wits even if we see one snake and to be standing there, apparently without any protection, must have been a hard test of Musa’s nerves!! But he remained steadfast and simply threw his stick, which turned into such a snake that ate up all the rest of the snakes. Here Allah tells us symbolically that the power of truth is enough to wipe out all the falsehood; however awesome it might seem on the surface. Look at the wonderful simplicity and depth of Allah’s words:

 

فَأَلْقَى مُوسَى عَصَاهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَلْقَفُ مَا يَأْفِكُونَ {45}

Then Musa cast down his staff and lo! It swallowed up the lies they told.

 

The magicians were completely overwhelmed and they recognized at once that it could not be magic but a true miracle from Allah. So without a moment’s hesitation they all fell in prostration:

 

قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {47}

They said: We believe in the Lord of the worlds:

رَبِّ مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ {48}

The Lord of Musa and Haroun.

 

Now imagine the frustration of Pharaoh when he saw his own people going against him. What could he do except to threaten them with a severe torture?

 

قَالَ آمَنتُمْ لَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ آذَنَ لَكُمْ إِنَّهُ لَكَبِيرُكُمُ الَّذِي عَلَّمَكُمُ السِّحْرَ فَلَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ لَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُم مِّنْ خِلَافٍ وَلَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ {49}

Said he: You believe in him before I give you permission; most surely he is the chief of you who taught you the magic, so you shall know: certainly I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and certainly I will crucify you all.

 

If you want to know what faith is, then listen to the reply of these magicians, and remember that they are not talking to some ordinary person but the superpower of that time and apparently they only have two people (Musa and Haroon) on their side. It makes me question my own level of conviction when I read this verse:

 

قَالُوا لَا ضَيْرَ إِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا مُنقَلِبُونَ {50}

They said: No harm; surely to our Lord we go back;

 

Isn’t this what really matters after all; the conviction of going to Allah? This is the conviction that gives you a new perspective about all that you see in this world. Then people cease to be your rulers. You are ruled only by the fear and love of Allah and the fear of standing before Him.

Coming back to the story, what happened next was that Allah ordered Musa(a.s) to lead the people of “Bani-Israel” out of Egypt. They set off at night and Allah had warned them that they will be followed by the Pharaoh and his followers. When they reached the seaside, at dawn, they saw their captors close behind.

 

فَلَمَّا تَرَاءى الْجَمْعَانِ قَالَ أَصْحَابُ مُوسَى إِنَّا لَمُدْرَكُونَ {61}

So when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Musa cried out: Most surely we are being overtaken.

 

Imagine the situation…………..In front of them is the mighty sea, and coming towards them from behind, is the powerful enemy……….what does Musa (a.s) have except his faith in Allah? But we see here that faith is more powerful than any other force on earth. So Musa said:

 

قَالَ كَلَّا إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ {62}

 He said: By no means; surely my Lord is with me: He will show me a way out.

 

And Allah revealed to him;

 

فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ {63}

 Then We revealed to Musa: Strike the sea with your staff. So it had cloven asunder, and each part was like a huge mound.

 

And so they all crossed the ocean, while Pharaoh and his people, who were following behind were drowned. Thus Allah liberated Bani-Israel out of their slavery forever.

 

وَأَنجَيْنَا مُوسَى وَمَن مَّعَهُ أَجْمَعِينَ {65}

And We saved Musa and those with him, all of them.

ثُمَّ أَغْرَقْنَا الْآخَرِينَ {66}

 Then We drowned the others.

 

I was thinking that it was so easy for Allah to just make them fly over the sea or send angels to destroy the enemy………but He made them go through this dilemma for a while as a test of their faith as well as to make it a lesson for all times to come. When we read about these stories we should check our own way of thinking and question ourselves, why do we expect all good things to come our way automatically? Having faith in Allah and “tawakkal” (a belief that Allah will take care of everything) does not mean that we should just sit and cry without doing anything. Rather each situation that Allah sends our way is for us to call out to Him with complete faith and conviction in his power and then he will definitely send help. But we see here that miracles also happen when you do something. Allah says to him hit the ocean with your stick. Imagine if it was someone like us he would have doubted, “how is this going to save me?” This is what our problem is………lack of conviction.

And so in this story there is a sign for us if only we care to believe. Again Allah reminds us that if we don’t believe then it’s our own loss:

 

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {67}

Most surely there is a sign in this, but most of them do not believe.

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {68}

 And most surely your Lord is the Mighty, the Merciful.

 

After reminding us about these inspirational events of Musa (a.s)’s life, Allah tells us the story of Ibrahim (a.s), who alone challenged a whole system of Idol worship:

 

إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ {70}

When he said to his father and his people: What do you worship?

 

And then he asked them some thought provoking questions:

 

قَالَ هَلْ يَسْمَعُونَكُمْ إِذْ تَدْعُونَ {72}

He said: Do they hear you when you call?

أَوْ يَنفَعُونَكُمْ أَوْ يَضُرُّونَ {73}

Or do they profit you or cause you harm?

 

And then Ibrahim tells them some of the attributes of Allah……….the Lord of the Worlds:

 

فَإِنَّهُمْ عَدُوٌّ لِّي إِلَّا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ {77}

Surely they (statues)are enemies to me, but not (so) the Lord of the worlds;

الَّذِي خَلَقَنِي فَهُوَ يَهْدِينِ {78}

Who created me, then He has shown me the way:

وَالَّذِي هُوَ يُطْعِمُنِي وَيَسْقِينِ {79}

And He Who gives me to eat and gives me to drink:

وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ {80}

And when I am sick, then He restores me to health

وَالَّذِي يُمِيتُنِي ثُمَّ يُحْيِينِ {81}

And He Who will cause me to die, then give me life;

 

What a beautiful introduction of Allah in such a few words. I think we should teach our children these short but comprehensive verses. So they can think and feel who their Allah is and how closely He is connected to their lives.

Next Allah tells us about the prayer of Ibrahim (a.s). It makes one realize what kind of a person he was that he is focusing on his own forgiveness on the Day of Judgment. This should be our main target too. Because no matter what glorious deeds we might do, our salvation depends on Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. Whoever is conscious of this fact, he will definitely pray for it:

 

وَالَّذِي أَطْمَعُ أَن يَغْفِرَ لِي خَطِيئَتِي يَوْمَ الدِّينِ {82}

 And (Allah is the one) Who, I hope, will forgive me my mistakes on the day of judgment.

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي حُكْمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ {83}

My Lord: Grant me wisdom, and join me with the righteous

وَاجْعَل لِّي لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ فِي الْآخِرِينَ {84}

And grant me a reputation of honor among later generations

وَاجْعَلْنِي مِن وَرَثَةِ جَنَّةِ النَّعِيمِ {85}

And make me of the heirs of the garden of bliss

وَاغْفِرْ لِأَبِي إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الضَّالِّينَ {86}

And forgive my father, for surely he is of those who have gone astray;

وَلَا تُخْزِنِي يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُونَ {87}

And disgrace me not on the day when they are resurrected

 

Through this prayer Allah is teaching us the importance of wisdom, of a good reputation, of the inheritance of Paradise, of praying for one’s parents, and of the possibility of humiliation on the day of resurrection, which we must avoid at all costs through our deeds and prayers.

Allah says that on that day, none of our worldly blessings will be of any benefit to us. The only thing that will matter will be a sound heart; a heart full of Allah’s consciousness and free from all other pollution.

 

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ {88}

The day on which property will not avail, nor sons

إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ {89}

Except him who comes to Allah with a sound heart (free from evil).

 

So read this Ayat and take a look into your heart…………………is it a sound heart? If not then what should we do?

We can all analyze our schedules and see how our time is being spent. What efforts do we make in the direction of self-analysis and self-development?

 The sad thing is that in this life we don’t usually care much for these warnings and think that all will be well and there is no need to be so “pessimistic”. But Allah is telling us here that for those who don’t prepare for the Hereafter then they will face such torment that they will wish they could go back on earth and live a life of faith:

 

فَلَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {102}

But if we could but once return, we would be of the believers.

 

And in this too there is a sign, but……………..

 

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {103}

Most surely there is a sign in this, but most of them do not believe.

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {104}

 And most surely your Lord is the Mighty, the Merciful.

 

Allah says that the people of Nuh (a.s) also rejected his teachings. When he warned them:

 

إِذْ قَالَ لَهُمْ أَخُوهُمْ نُوحٌ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ {106}

When their brother Nuh said to them: Will you not fear Allah?

إِنِّي لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ {107}

 Surely I am a faithful messenger to you;

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ {108}

 Therefore guard against (the punishment of) Allah and obey me

 

From these words we come to know about the importance of Allah’s messengers that they are a role model for us from Allah and we should follow them to attain Allah’s pleasure. The driving force should be Allah’s fear but we cannot ignore the Prophet’s teachings.

We know that Nuh (a.s) preached for 950 years but instead of listening to him the people threatened to stone him to death. As a result Nuh (a.s) prayed to Allah for help. And so the Prophet as well as the believers were saved and the rest were all drowned. Allah reminds us yet again:

 

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {121}

Most surely there is a sign in this, but most of them do not believe.

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {122}

 And most surely your Lord is the Mighty, the Merciful.

 

And Allah’s prophet Hud (a.s) was also rejected by the people of ‘Ad, when he told them that he was a messenger from Allah and they should fear Allah and obey him. And he also told them that he didn’t want any favours or any rewards from them:

 

وَمَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {127}

And I do not ask you any reward for it; surely my reward is only with the Lord of the worlds

 

The people of ‘Ad were known for their architecture, and they were immersed in wealth and luxuries. So Allah’s messenger asked them to think over what they were doing with all the blessings Allah had given them:

 

أَتَبْنُونَ بِكُلِّ رِيعٍ آيَةً تَعْبَثُونَ {128}

Do you build on every height a monument? Amusing yourselves:

وَتَتَّخِذُونَ مَصَانِعَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَخْلُدُونَ {129}

And you make strong fortresses that perhaps you may live forever?

وَإِذَا بَطَشْتُم بَطَشْتُمْ جَبَّارِينَ {130}

And when you strike (men) you strike (like) tyrants;

 

He warned them that they should fear Allah who had given them all these things. But they were reckless people. Look at their reply:

 

قَالُوا سَوَاء عَلَيْنَا أَوَعَظْتَ أَمْ لَمْ تَكُن مِّنَ الْوَاعِظِينَ {136}

 They said: It is the same to us whether you admonish or are not one of the admonishers

 

And then what could be their end except that Allah destroyed them all:

 

فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَأَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {139}

So they denied him, then We destroyed them. Most surely there is a sign in this, but most of them do not believe.

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {140}

And most surely your Lord is the Mighty, the Merciful.

 

The people of Thamud were also fond of extravagances and they used to carve houses in the mountains. Prophet Saleh (a.s) was sent to them to warn them about Allah. He tried to remind them of the fact that they were not going to live in this world forever however luxurious they might make it:

 

أَتُتْرَكُونَ فِي مَا هَاهُنَا آمِنِينَ {146}

Will you be left secure in what is here?

فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ {147}

In gardens and fountains,

وَزُرُوعٍ وَنَخْلٍ طَلْعُهَا هَضِيمٌ {148}

 And fields of crops and palm-trees with softened fruit?

وَتَنْحِتُونَ مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا فَارِهِينَ {149}

And you hew houses out of the mountains exultingly;

 

 But they refused to accept his warnings and instead asked for a sign if he was truthful. Allah gave them a sign in the form of a she-camel, and Saleh (a.s) warned them not to harm it as it was a miracle of Allah. She would drink water one day and the next day they could draw out water from themselves. But the people took it as a joke and could not tolerate her for long. They killed her and so faced a terrible punishment:

 

فَعَقَرُوهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا نَادِمِينَ {157}

But they hamstrung her, and then became regretful;

فَأَخَذَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {158}

So the punishment overtook them. Most surely there is a sign in this, but most of them do not believe.

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {159}

And most surely your Lord is the Mighty, the Merciful.

 

Next Allah tells us about the Prophet Lut (a.s) whose people were indulged in the crime of homosexuality. He tried to warn them, but instead of mending their ways they threatened to expel him from the land. Lut (a.s) prayed to Allah for help:

 

رَبِّ نَجِّنِي وَأَهْلِي مِمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ {169}

My Lord! deliver me and my followers from what they do.

 

So Allah saved His messenger and destroyed the rest with a terrible punishment;

 

ثُمَّ دَمَّرْنَا الْآخَرِينَ {172}

Then We utterly destroyed the others.

وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّطَرًا فَسَاء مَطَرُ الْمُنذَرِينَ {173}

And We rained down upon them a rain, and evil was the rain on those warned.

 

The last story of this series is about Prophet Shuaib (a.s) who was sent to the people of Aiykah, who were very successful financially but their success was based on illegal business practices. So the prophet warned them:

 

وَلَا تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءهُمْ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ {183}

 And do not wrong men of their things, and do not act corruptly in the earth, making mischief.

وَاتَّقُوا الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالْجِبِلَّةَ الْأَوَّلِينَ {184}

And guard against (the punishment of) Him who created you and the former nations.

 

But they were so averse to truth that they accused him of being bewitched and being a liar. And challenged him:

 

فَأَسْقِطْ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفًا مِّنَ السَّمَاء إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ {187}

Therefore cause a portion of the heaven to come down upon us, if you are one of the truthful.

 

They didn’t know that by their mockery, they were actually asking for their own destruction:

 

فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَأَخَذَهُمْ عَذَابُ يَوْمِ الظُّلَّةِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ {189}

 But they called him a liar, so the punishment of the day of covering overtook them; surely it was the punishment of a grievous day.

 

Why has Allah narrated to us all these events of a time long gone? What does it have to do with us? First of all we should understand that Quran is like a mirror and we should look very carefully into it and check our reflections with open eyes. Are we copying any of these people? Are we making the same mistakes? Are we also heedless of our end? Are we following the teachings of our Prophet? Or are we also in the same kind of illusion that we can just go on living the way we think is best and Allah will take care of us in the hereafter because we are of course Muslims, isn’t it? If I try to put these questions to people their common response is that these warnings are for the non-believers. But this is exactly what I am afraid of…………….are we the believers? Because we can see here, that in the beginning as well as at the end of each of these stories, Allah has told us over and over:

 

إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ {190}

Most surely there is a sign in this, but most of them do not believe.

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {191}

And most surely your Lord is Mighty, the Merciful.

 

What a wonderful miracle this Quran is and do we believe in it? If you sign a document as a proof that you agree with its stated facts, would you do it without reading it? Or would you ever claim that you believe in a book which you have never read? But it is only this miracle of Quran that we dare to take so lightly. Allah says it is not just an ordinary book for which you have neither time, nor any thought. Think over it; it is the revelation from the Mighty Allah…………..the Lord of the Worlds.

All the questions that one might ask about it have been answered in this short but complete introduction of the Quran.

 

Who is it from?

وَإِنَّهُ لَتَنزِيلُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {192}

And most surely this is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.

 

who brought it?

نَزَلَ بِهِ الرُّوحُ الْأَمِينُ {193}

The Faithful Spirit has descended with it,

 

where was it revealed?

عَلَى قَلْبِكَ

Upon your heart

 

Why, what was the purpose?

لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ {194}

that you may be of the warners

 

what is the language used?

بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُّبِينٍ {195}

In plain Arabic language.

 

where can we find any reference for it?

وَإِنَّهُ لَفِي زُبُرِ الْأَوَّلِينَ {196}

And most surely the same is in the scriptures of the ancients.

 

But for those who prefer to remain in their comfortable shells and don’t want to believe, no amount of proof is of any use:

 

لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ حَتَّى يَرَوُا الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ {201}

They will not believe in it until they see the painful punishment.

 

Allah says that He doesn’t destroy nations out of fun:

 

وَمَا أَهْلَكْنَا مِن قَرْيَةٍ إِلَّا لَهَا مُنذِرُونَ {208}

And We did not destroy any town but it had (its) warners,

ذِكْرَى وَمَا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ {209}

 As a reminder, and We are never unjust.

 

So there is a warning in the following Ayat

 

فَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُعَذَّبِينَ {213}

So call not upon another god with Allah, lest you be of those who are punished.

 

But to be on the right track you need to have your loved ones with you, otherwise it becomes too lonely and difficult. It is our human need to have support from family in whatever we do, so Allah says:

 

وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ {214}

And warn your nearest relations,

 

But we cannot depend on people. “Tawakkal” (reliance) should be only on Allah:

 

وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْعَزِيزِ الرَّحِيمِ {217}

And rely on the Mighty, the Merciful,

 

Normally we complain that we want to do good, but the devil comes in our way and   we are so helpless against such an enemy. Allah says:

 

هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ عَلَى مَن تَنَزَّلُ الشَّيَاطِينُ {221}

Shall I inform you (of him) upon whom the Shaitans descend?

تَنَزَّلُ عَلَى كُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ {222}

They descend upon every lying, sinful one,

 

So if we keep our hearts sound and filled with Allah’s remembrance then the devil cannot have any effect on us. The devil uses only our own weaknesses. Then why should we give him any chance? The thing to do is to remain in the truth and not to indulge in fantasies. Allah says:

 

وَالشُّعَرَاء يَتَّبِعُهُمُ الْغَاوُونَ {224}

And as to the poets, those who go astray follow them.

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّهُمْ فِي كُلِّ وَادٍ يَهِيمُونَ {225}

Do you not see that they wander about bewildered in every valley?

 

It is important to understand here that poetry is not condemned completely in Islam. We see that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) admired greatly the poetry of Hassaan bin Sabit who wrote wonderful verses for the sake of Allah. Meaningful poetry is appreciated provided it leads us towards greatness of soul and inspires us towards greater horizons of achievement. It is the intention and the way a thing is done which determines its actual value in the eyes of Allah.

That is what Allah reminds us in the last Ayat of this magnificent Surah:

 

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيراً وَانتَصَرُوا مِن بَعْدِ مَا ظُلِمُوا وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنقَلَبٍ يَنقَلِبُونَ {227}

Except those who believe and do good and remember Allah much, and defend themselves after they are oppressed; and they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.

 

Surah An-Nam’l

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

When we say something in the same way again and again without pondering over the meaning, then gradually we become forgetful of its importance. Perhaps it’s a human weakness to take familiar things for granted and we need to view things from different angles to really appreciate their value. That is why we need to come out of our stereotype impression that we have about the verses of the Quran and we should study it with the sincere intention of understanding the spirit of Allah’s message to us. Surah An-Naml begins with the very same message, that this Book is guidance and good news for the believers.


طس تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْقُرْآنِ وَكِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ {1}

Ta Sin! These are the verses of the Quran and the Book that makes (things) clear

هُدًى وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ {2}

A guidance and good news for the believers,

 

If you think about it, just the assurance of being on the right track fills you with hope and happiness because then you know that if you keep going, you will reach your final destination. Therefore when a believer gets the revelation of the Quran on his heart, it makes him optimistic that if he acts upon this guidance then inshaAllah one day he will reach the Paradise. It makes me think that in today’s world of anxieties and depressions, Quran is the ultimate anti-depressant that can make us come out of our endless dissatisfaction with everything.

To be able to benefit from the message of Allah, one needs to be free of arrogance. Otherwise if you think yourself to be the best judge then all your intellect is spent in trying to prove the message to be worthless or insignificant or inapplicable. This is what happened with Pharaoh who saw the signs of Allah, brought by Musa (a.s) but he refused to accept it.

 

فَلَمَّا جَاءتْهُمْ آيَاتُنَا مُبْصِرَةً قَالُوا هَذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ {13}

So when Our clear signs came to them, they said: This is clear enchantment.

 

Allah knows that Pharaoh had recognized the truth in his heart but he could not admit it because he was too arrogant and full of his own sense of superiority to admit Allah’s superiority over all things:

 

وَجَحَدُوا بِهَا وَاسْتَيْقَنَتْهَا أَنفُسُهُمْ ظُلْمًا وَعُلُوًّا فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ {14}

And they denied them unjustly and proudly while their (inner) selves had been convinced of them; consider, then how was the end of the mischief-makers.

 

But it doesn’t mean that all successful people are arrogant. There are some who fear Allah even while they have been blessed with an abundance of everything. So Allah gives the example of His two prophets, who were kings as well, Dawood (a.s) and his son Sulaiman (a.s) who had been bestowed with extraordinary resources and power; and best of all they had been given extraordinary knowledge, so that they remained conscious of the fact that all the credit of their superior status goes to Allah:

 

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ عِلْمًا وَقَالَا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي فَضَّلَنَا عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِّنْ عِبَادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {15}

 And certainly We gave knowledge to Dawood and Sulaiman, and they both said: Praise is to Allah, Who has favored us over many of His believing servants.

 

Next follows the fascinating story of Sulaiman (a.s) in which we find that he was blessed with unusual powers and authority. Yet it didn’t prevent him from doing “shukr” (expressing gratitude) to Allah. Read the following words and imagine what it must have been like for a man to communicate with and rule over the birds and animals, as well as the Jinn and people too:

 

وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ {16}

And Sulaiman was Dawood’s heir, and he said: O men! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given all things; most surely this is manifest grace.

وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيْمَانَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ {17}

And his hosts of the jinn and the men and the birds were gathered to him, and they were formed into groups.

 

One expects such a ruler to be arrogant and ruthless, yet we see that Once in an expedition, when he came upon a valley of ants, and listened to an ant warning her fellow creatures, to protect themselves from Sulaiman and his army, he smiled……….

 

فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ {19}

So he smiled, amused at her speech, and said: My Lord! enable me that I should be grateful for your favor which you have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I should do good deeds such as you are pleased with, and admit me, by your mercy, into your servants, the good ones.

 

Sulaiman (a.s)’s smile shows that the grandeur of his kingdom had not made him callous or insensitive, rather he takes notice of such a tiny little ant and is amused by her words. And his prayer teaches us that softness of heart leads to gratitude, and gratitude protects you from arrogance. Look at how conscious he is of the fact that gratitude should be expressed not only in words but also by doing such good deeds which might please Allah. And the last thing that he asks is the company of the righteous people, which is also a mercy of Allah because when we are among good people, then our heart automatically reaches out towards goodness and humility. What a beautifully comprehensive prayer for those who really want to add meaning to their lives.

In the next verses Allah is giving us another example of a ruler, the Queen of Sheba, who ruled over the most wealthy and well-known people in the history of Arabia. But despite being a powerful woman, she had a cool temperament and a logical mind which was receptive to truth.

A hoopoe of Sulaiman (a.s)’s army reported to him with information about the Queen of Sheba:

 

إِنِّي وَجَدتُّ امْرَأَةً تَمْلِكُهُمْ وَأُوتِيَتْ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَلَهَا عَرْشٌ عَظِيمٌ {23}

 Surely I found a woman ruling over them, and she has been given abundance and she has a mighty throne:

 

The hoopoe realizes that the description of worldly success is only half the picture. So he puts forth his observations about their religion too:

 

وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوْمَهَا يَسْجُدُونَ لِلشَّمْسِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فَصَدَّهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ فَهُمْ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ {24}

I found her and her people prostrating to the sun instead of Allah, and the Shaitan has made their deeds fair-seeming to them and thus turned them from the way, so they are not guided.

 

Compare it with our own attitude. Do we ever give a thought to the fact that however successful a person or a nation might be, their ultimate success lies only in the obedience of Allah. Do we ever feel sorry for such people who are known for their worldly advancements and power, yet they are heading towards a terrible end in the hereafter?

Well Sulaiman (a.s) decides to investigate into the truth of the matter so he tells the hoopoe to deliver a letter to the Queen. When she received it she informed her courtiers:

 

قَالَتْ يَا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ إِنِّي أُلْقِيَ إِلَيَّ كِتَابٌ كَرِيمٌ {29}

She said: O chiefs! Surely an honorable letter has been delivered to me

إِنَّهُ مِن سُلَيْمَانَ وَإِنَّهُ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ {30}

 Surely it is from Sulaiman, and surely it is in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful;

أَلَّا تَعْلُوا عَلَيَّ وَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ {31}

Saying: exalt not yourselves against me and come to me in submission.

 

Notice how brief and comprehensive it is. Sulaiman (a.s) has come straight to the point. In such a few words the letter conveyed to the people who is it from and that it is not for any personal ambition but it is for the sake of Allah and what is being required of them.

The queen immediately recognizes that this is not something to take lightly but should be given serious consideration. So she asks the chiefs:

 

قَالَتْ يَا أَيُّهَا المَلَأُ أَفْتُونِي فِي أَمْرِي مَا كُنتُ قَاطِعَةً أَمْرًا حَتَّى تَشْهَدُونِ {32}

She said: O chiefs! Give me advice respecting my affair: I never decide an affair until you are in my presence.

 

They assured her that they had mighty power and great ability for war, so she could choose and command what she thought was best. She decided to send an envoy to Sulaiman with some presents to see what his reaction would be. But when Sulaiman saw the presents he was not impressed or overwhelmed by this show of wealth. So he said:

 

فَلَمَّا جَاء سُلَيْمَانَ قَالَ أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ فَمَا آتَانِيَ اللَّهُ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا آتَاكُم بَلْ أَنتُم بِهَدِيَّتِكُمْ تَفْرَحُونَ {36}

So when they came to Sulaiman, he said: What! Will you help me with wealth? But what Allah has given me is better than what He has given you. Nay, you are exultant because of your present;

ارْجِعْ إِلَيْهِمْ فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّهُمْ بِجُنُودٍ لَّا قِبَلَ لَهُم بِهَا وَلَنُخْرِجَنَّهُم مِّنْهَا أَذِلَّةً وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ {37}

Go back to them, so we will most certainly come to them with hosts which they shall have no power to oppose, and we will most certainly expel them therefrom in abasement, and they shall be in a state of ignominy.

 

Later on when Sulaiman heard that the Queen of Sheba was coming in submission, he asked his chiefs, which of them could bring to him, her throne. So after one audacious Jinn offered to bring it in a short time, another one who had knowledge of the Scripture said that he could bring it to him within the blink of an eye:

 

قَالَ الَّذِي عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ

 One who had the knowledge of the Book said: I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye.

 

And so the next moment Sulaiman (a.s) found the throne placed before him.

What did he say? Was he proud of his power? Imagine for a moment such a technology being invented today with which people could bring things from thousands of miles in just a moment, the whole world would be boasting of how we have invented this and the media would go crazy over the “advancement” made by MAN, but there would not be one single thought or word to remember that it is in fact Allah who has given us the resources and the intelligence too, so we can make progress like this.

Look at how Sulaiman (a.s) remembered Allah’s power at all times:

 

فَلَمَّا رَآهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِندَهُ قَالَ هَذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّي لِيَبْلُوَنِي أَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ {40}

Then when he saw it placed beside him, he said: This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Self-sufficient, Honored.

 

He also understands that Allah’s special blessings on a person are not merely a sign of Allah’s love but they are actually a test through which a man might prove himself thankful and gain eternal rewards in both the worlds.  Gratitude is like a shield to protect us from anxieties and it gives us peace of mind, enabling us to live a meaningful, productive life.

Next he orders some changes to be made in the Queen’s throne so as to disguise it before she came. He wanted to see whether she was able to recognize the truth.

 

قَالَ نَكِّرُوا لَهَا عَرْشَهَا نَنظُرْ أَتَهْتَدِي أَمْ تَكُونُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ {41}

He said: Alter her throne for her, we will see whether she follows the right way or is she of those who are not guided.

 

 In this, is an important lesson for us to remember that when we want to convey Allah’s message to someone we should first find out the intellectual level of that person, to be able to reach out to the person’s heart in a more effective way.

When the Queen arrived, she was asked if her throne was like that. She didn’t jump to conclusions; rather she calmly observed that it looked   as it might be her own. She also admitted that she and her people had recognized that Sulaiman was not only a king but a Prophet of Allah, so they had already become Muslims.

 

فَلَمَّا جَاءتْ قِيلَ أَهَكَذَا عَرْشُكِ قَالَتْ كَأَنَّهُ هُوَ وَأُوتِينَا الْعِلْمَ مِن قَبْلِهَا وَكُنَّا مُسْلِمِينَ {42}

So when she came, it was said: Is your throne like this? She said: It is as it were the same, and we were given the knowledge before it, and we were submissive.

 

The next Ayat is very important, as it tells us that her reason for leading a life of “shirk” was because she had been born and brought up in a polytheistic environment. It was not her personal choice.

It makes me think of the countless people out there going towards an unknown end, living a life without Allah’s remembrance just because the message has not reached them. Whose duty is it? Why are the Muslims so content in their lives without giving it any thought? Have they forgotten their role of being the chosen nation?

Allah is reminding us here:

 

وَصَدَّهَا مَا كَانَت تَّعْبُدُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهَا كَانَتْ مِن قَوْمٍ كَافِرِينَ {43}

 And what she worshipped besides Allah prevented her, surely she was of an unbelieving people.

 

And then Sulaiman (a.s) asks her to enter his palace and when she does so, she mistook the crystal clear floor to be a pool of water:

 

قِيلَ لَهَا ادْخُلِي الصَّرْحَ فَلَمَّا رَأَتْهُ حَسِبَتْهُ لُجَّة وَكَشَفَتْ عَن سَاقَيْهَا

It was said to her: Enter the palace; but when she saw it she deemed it to be a great expanse of water, and uncovered her shins[to wade through].

                             

Sulaiman (a.s) explains:

                                                                                                                                                                                  

قَالَ إِنَّهُ صَرْحٌ مُّمَرَّدٌ مِّن قَوَارِيرَ

He said: Surely it is a palace [whose floor is] made smooth with glass.

 

Now her heart truly submits to the glory of Allah so she exclaimed:

قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {44}

 She said: My Lord! surely I have been unjust to myself, and I submit with Sulaiman to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

 

Next Allah reminds us that there have been many Prophets who were rejected by their people but it was the people’s own loss. Allah has given here the example of Saleh (a.s) and Lut (a.s) both of them tried to bring their people out of their wrong beliefs but they persisted in their crimes. Allah says you can see how they were destroyed:

 

فَتِلْكَ بُيُوتُهُمْ خَاوِيَةً بِمَا ظَلَمُوا إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ {52}

So those are their houses fallen down because they were unjust, most surely there is a sign in this for a people who know.

 

And the righteous ones were saved:

 

وَأَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ {53}

And We delivered those who believed and who guarded (against evil).

 

So the important thing to remember is that the truth prevails and falsehood has to come to an end sooner or later however awesome it might seem on the surface. So all those who commit themselves to spreading Allah’s message in the world should be firm in their belief that Allah is always on their side even if things get difficult for them at times.

All praise is for Allah and peace be upon His chosen people. This is the prayer that Allah is teaching us here:

 

قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى عِبَادِهِ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَى آللَّهُ خَيْرٌ أَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ {59}

Say: Praise be to Allah and peace be on His servants whom He has chosen: is Allah better, or what they associate (with Him)?

 

And in the same verse is a question to all those who associate partners with Allah, whether in the form of statues, or the stars, or people, dead or alive, or their wealth and property, or their sacred homes and their lifestyles. Allah asks them, how can they even compare anything with Him? Do they have any quality like Allah?

Just look at the tone of these questions that have been put forth, one after the other:

 

أَمَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَأَنبَتْنَا بِهِ حَدَائِقَ ذَاتَ بَهْجَةٍ مَّا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُنبِتُوا شَجَرَهَا أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ يَعْدِلُونَ {60}

Nay, He Who created the heavens and the earth, and sent down for you water from the cloud; then We cause to grow thereby beautiful gardens; it is not possible for you that you should make the trees thereof to grow. Is there a god with Allah? Nay! they are people who deviate.

 

Have we ever wondered who has made the earth so stable despite the extraordinary speed of its two-way motion, one around its axis and the other around the sun? and who has made the rivers and the mountains?

 

أَمَّن جَعَلَ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَجَعَلَ خِلَالَهَا أَنْهَارًا وَجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ {61}

Or, Who made the earth a stable ground, and made in it rivers, and raised on it mountains and placed between the two seas a barrier. Is there a god with Allah? Nay! most of them do not know!

 

And who is the one who answers the prayer of the desperate heart?

 

أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاء الْأَرْضِ أَإِلَهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ {62}

Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil, and He will make you successors in the earth. Is there a god with Allah? Little is it that you mind!

 

The questions continue and make us look around ourselves with a new angle. Do we think there can be anyone other than Allah to do all this? If not then how can we worship any other thing? How can we compromise on our duty towards Allah for the sake of other people or things? What is misleading us? Allah says it is because of our misconceptions about the day of Judgment:

 

بَلِ ادَّارَكَ عِلْمُهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ بَلْ هُمْ فِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهَا بَلْ هُم مِّنْهَا عَمِونَ {66}

Nay, their knowledge respecting the hereafter is slight and hasty; nay, they are in doubt about it; nay, they are quite blind to it

 

And also because we are not grateful:

 

وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ {73}

And surely your Lord is the Lord of grace to men, but most of them are not grateful.

 

But we should remember that we will not go on enjoying our life in this world forever:

 

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُم بِحُكْمِهِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْعَلِيمُ {78}

Surely your Lord will judge between them by his judgment, and He is the Mighty, the knowing.

 

To deny these clear warnings is a serious crime. Allah says:

 

وَيَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ مِن كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ فَوْجًا مِّمَّن يُكَذِّبُ بِآيَاتِنَا فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ {83}

And on the day when We will gather from every nation a party from among those who rejected Our communications, then they shall be formed into groups.

 

حَتَّى إِذَا جَاؤُوا قَالَ أَكَذَّبْتُم بِآيَاتِي وَلَمْ تُحِيطُوا بِهَا عِلْمًا أَمَّاذَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {84}

Until when they come, He will say: Did you reject My communications while you had no comprehensive knowledge of them? Or what was it that you did?

 

Do we realize how dangerous it is to say things about the Quran or Allah about which we don’t have any knowledge? But we see that this is exactly what is happening nowadays. Turn on any talk show, about religious issues and people can be seen talking passionately, each trying to convince others about his own philosophy of life and trying to prove that this is what Islam is all about. Allah says such people will be so horrified when they will face the torment that they won’t be able to speak:

 

وَوَقَعَ الْقَوْلُ عَلَيْهِم بِمَا ظَلَمُوا فَهُمْ لَا يَنطِقُونَ {85}

 And the word shall come to pass against them because they were unjust, so they shall not speak.

 

That will really be a frightening day but only those who have done good deeds will be in peace:

 

مَن جَاء بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهَا وَهُم مِّن فَزَعٍ يَوْمَئِذٍ آمِنُونَ {89}

Whoever brings good, he shall have better than it; and they shall be secure from terror on the day.

 

But look at the terrible fate of the wrongdoers:

 

وَمَن جَاء بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَكُبَّتْ وُجُوهُهُمْ فِي النَّارِ هَلْ تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {90}

And whoever brings evil, these shall be thrown down on their faces into the fire; shall you be rewarded (for) aught except what you did?

 

So we should all glorify Allah for sending us this Quran and giving us the means to read it and understand it. Soon the time will come when we shall all see with our eyes the things that we are being warned about. Let’s turn to Allah before that happens because by that time it will be too late.

 

وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ {93}

 And say: Praise be to Allah, He will show you His signs so that you shall recognize them; nor is your Lord heedless of what you do.

 

Surah Al-Qasas

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

The difference between hearing stories from people and reading a story in the Quran is that the power of truth of Allah’s words, enlightens one’s heart to such an extent that you can almost “see” all the events as they happened, and it is a well known fact that seeing is believing !! So whatever conclusions one draws from these happenings, have a far reaching impact on one’s thinking and attitude about life.

In Surah Al-Qasas, the amazing incidents of the story of Musa (a.s) and Fir’oun (pharaoh) make us realize the awesome power of Allah over His entire universe………….. How He helps those whom He selects as His messengers; and how truth triumphs over falsehood.

Fir’oun was a tyrant who was committing all sorts of cruelties upon the oppressed nation of Bani-Israel, slaughtering their sons, in order to establish his status as the super-power and also he was afraid that one day one of them might over-throw him. When Musa (a.s) was born, his mother feared that the people of Fir’oun might come and kill her child. Therefore, by Allah’s inspiration, she put Musa (a.s) in a box and cast him into the river. Although it seemed like she would lose her child forever, but Allah guided the box to the shore where it was picked up by the people of Fir’oun. When Fir’oun’s wife, Asiyah (a.s) saw the baby, she requested to keep it as her own.

 

وَقَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ فِرْعَوْنَ قُرَّتُ عَيْنٍ لِّي وَلَكَ لَا تَقْتُلُوهُ عَسَى أَن يَنفَعَنَا أَوْ نَتَّخِذَهُ وَلَدًا وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ {9}

And Firon’s wife said: A coolness of the eye to me and to you; do not slay him; maybe he will be useful to us, or we may take him for a son; and they did not perceive.

 

 On the other hand the heart of Musa (a.s)’s mother was greatly troubled so she told Musa’s sister to look out for him. She watched from a distance and saw that no one was able to soothe the baby, because Allah had ordained that Musa would refuse to be nursed by any other woman. So she went forward and offered to guide them to the house of such a woman who could comfort this child and take care of him. Thus Allah made it possible to re-unite Musa (a.s) to his mother and arranged for him to be brought up in Fir’oun’s palace, who did not know that he was fostering the same child who would be the cause of his downfall.

 

فَرَدَدْنَاهُ إِلَى أُمِّهِ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ وَلِتَعْلَمَ أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ {13}

So We gave him back to his mother that her eye might be refreshed, and that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true, but most of them do not know.

 

This makes me aware of how much Allah loves us and takes care of us. When we face certain problems in our lives and people who are dear to us are taken away temporarily, we start blaming our fate and think that all bad things are happening only to us while others are living such comfortable lives. At such times one should remember that Allah is taking care of us and He will bring us back the coolness of our eyes. This trust in Allah eases away the bad feelings and so our hearts find peace in the assurance that Allah is with us all the time.

When Musa (a.s) reached the age of maturity Allah bestowed on him wisdom and knowledge. One day he came upon two men fighting each other. The one who was of Musa’s race called to him for help, whereupon Musa gave their enemy a blow which killed him. Of course he was horrified to see what he had done because it was not his intention to kill him. So instead of justifying his action he immediately asked forgiveness of Allah:

 

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَغَفَرَ لَهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ {16}

 He said: My Lord! Surely I have done harm to myself, so do protect me. So He protected him; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

 

The next day he found that the same man was now into a fight with another person. Again he called for his help, and when Musa went ahead for his aid, the enemy cried out “Do you want to kill me like you killed a man yesterday?”

Musa (a.s) realized that the news of that murder was not hidden anymore. Just at that point, a man came running to him from the other end of the city and called out to Musa: “O Musa ! The chiefs are plotting to kill you, therefore, run away !” Hearing this Musa (a.s) fled out of the city not even knowing where to go. He was fearful and cautious but most of all he had great faith in Allah’s help. So he prayed:

 

وَلَمَّا تَوَجَّهَ تِلْقَاء مَدْيَنَ قَالَ عَسَى رَبِّي أَن يَهْدِيَنِي سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ {22}

And when he turned his face towards Madyan, he said: Maybe my Lord will guide me in the right path.

 

When he arrived at the well of Madyan, Musa (a.s) saw a multitude of men watering their flocks and beside them two women were keeping their flocks back. He sensed that they were in trouble and so forgetting his own helplessness, he went up to them and asked if he could help them in any way. The women told him that they were waiting because they could not water their flocks until the shepherds take away their flocks from the water, and that their father was an old man and could not work. So Musa (a.s) watered their flocks for them and went back to sit under the shade of a tree without expecting or waiting for any gratitude or payment for his services. Instead he prayed to Allah in such beautiful words that Allah recorded his prayer in the Quran for all times to come.

 

فَسَقَى لَهُمَا ثُمَّ تَوَلَّى إِلَى الظِّلِّ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ {24}

So he watered (their sheep) for them, then went back to the shade and said: My Lord! Surely I stand in need of whatever good Thou may send down to me.

 

 Imagine Musa (a.s)’s helplessness; he was all alone, without shelter, without food, without any friend whatsoever. On top of that, he was carrying the terrible burden of the crime he had committed unintentionally. And yet he did not seek help from any person at all because of his complete confidence in Allah’s provision. There are situations like this in our lives too when some of us might feel totally deprived of hope. At such moments we should remember Musa’s helplessness and his prayer, because it shows how a true believer places his trust in Allah, knowing Him to be the most powerful authority who can give any person, anything, anytime, without having to ask anyone for assistance or approval, simply because everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him alone.

Musa’s prayer was answered immediately. Just as he was sitting there, one of those two women whom he had helped, came to him, in a modest manner, and said: “My father is calling you. He wishes to reward you for watering our flocks for us.” So Musa (a.s) went to him and told him his story, to which the old man said: “Have no fear. You have escaped from the wicked people.”

The old man was advised by his daughter that they could hire Musa because he was strong and trustworthy.

 

قَالَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا يَا أَبَتِ اسْتَأْجِرْهُ إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَأْجَرْتَ الْقَوِيُّ الْأَمِينُ {26}

Said one of them: O my father! Employ him; surely the best of those that you can employ is the strong man, the faithful one.

 

In this there is a great lesson to learn that the real qualities of a person are those which are reflected in his day to day affairs and the people around us can evaluate our worth from our behavior. And so the old man realized that here is a reliable person to whom he could marry his daughter. Thus he offered to Musa (a.s):

 

قَالَ إِنِّي أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُنكِحَكَ إِحْدَى ابْنَتَيَّ هَاتَيْنِ عَلَى أَن تَأْجُرَنِي ثَمَانِيَ حِجَجٍ فَإِنْ أَتْمَمْتَ عَشْرًا فَمِنْ عِندِكَ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَيْكَ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ {27}

 He said: I desire to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you on condition that you should serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be of your own free will, and I do not wish to be hard to you; if Allah please, you will find me one of the good.

 

What a beautiful example of Allah’s care for his sincere people. Musa’s truth and sincerity, his selflessness and  his complete trust in Allah was appreciated by Allah so much that just a few words of his prayer, brought him all the goodness one hopes for in this life. He not only found a job but also a home and family.

Musa (a.s) stayed for ten years in Madyan. After completing the term of his agreement, when he was traveling with his family, out of Madyan,  he saw a fire in the direction of Mount Tur so he said to his family, “Stay here. I saw a fire and I hope to bring some information from there or a lighted torch from which you may warm yourself.” But when he reached there, a voice called out to him:

 

فَلَمَّا أَتَاهَا نُودِي مِن شَاطِئِ الْوَادِي الْأَيْمَنِ فِي الْبُقْعَةِ الْمُبَارَكَةِ مِنَ الشَّجَرَةِ أَن يَا مُوسَى إِنِّي أَنَا اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ {30}

And when he came to it, a voice was uttered from the right side of the valley in the blessed spot of the bush, saying: O Musa! Surely I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

 

Then Allah commanded, “Throw down your staff!” When Musa saw that the staff was writhing like a snake, he turned his back and fled without even looking back. Allah said:

يَا مُوسَى أَقْبِلْ وَلَا تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ مِنَ الْآمِنِينَ {31}

O Musa! Come forward and fear not; surely you are of those who are secure;

 

اسْلُكْ يَدَكَ فِي جَيْبِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَاء مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوءٍ وَاضْمُمْ إِلَيْكَ جَنَاحَكَ مِنَ الرَّهْبِ فَذَانِكَ بُرْهَانَانِ مِن رَّبِّكَ إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمًا فَاسِقِينَ {32}

Enter your hand into the opening of your bosom, it will come forth white without evil, and draw your hand to yourself to ward off fear: so these two shall be two arguments from your Lord to Firon and his chiefs, surely they are a transgressing people.

 

When Musa realized that he was to go to Fir’oun with Allah’s message he was fearful of what they would do to him. So he said:

 

قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي قَتَلْتُ مِنْهُمْ نَفْسًا فَأَخَافُ أَن يَقْتُلُونِ {33}

He said: My Lord! Surely I killed one of them, so I fear lest they should slay me;

 

Also he was realistic enough to recognize the fact that he was not equipped with the strength that was needed to confront such an arrogant person as Fir’oun. So he said:

 

وَأَخِي هَارُونُ هُوَ أَفْصَحُ مِنِّي لِسَانًا فَأَرْسِلْهُ مَعِيَ رِدْءًا يُصَدِّقُنِي إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يُكَذِّبُونِ {34}

And my brother, Haroun, he is more eloquent of tongue than I, therefore send him with me as an aider, verifying me: surely I fear that they would reject me.

Here we find another quality of Musa (a.s) which is the ability to evaluate oneself. It’s a pity that nowadays so few people are honest about themselves. We not only delude people but in doing so we have lost the ability to see ourselves as we are.

Allah reassured him:

 

قَالَ سَنَشُدُّ عَضُدَكَ بِأَخِيكَ وَنَجْعَلُ لَكُمَا سُلْطَانًا فَلَا يَصِلُونَ إِلَيْكُمَا بِآيَاتِنَا أَنتُمَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَكُمَا الْغَالِبُونَ {35}

He said: We will strengthen your arm with your brother, and we will give you both an authority, so that they shall not reach you; (go) with Our signs; you two and those who follow you shall be uppermost.

 

The impact of these verses is awesome. How absolutely miraculous it is that the Creator should choose to actually speak to one of his creatures. I cannot help wondering that although Haroon ( a.s) was older and more eloquent than Musa (a.s) , yet there must be something really special about Musa’s character, for Allah to have chosen him. So if we also want to be the favorite of Allah we should remember to focus on our inner sincerity and truth as much as we focus on our outer personalities, because that is an aspect which is hidden from people but visible to Allah, the all-knower.

         When Musa (a.s) came to Fir’oun and his people with Allah’s clear signs, and invited them to Islam, they said, “This is nothing but baseless sorcery; we never heard such a thing in the time of our forefathers.” Then Fir’oun exhibited the height of arrogance when he commented in his taunting way:

 

وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَهٍ غَيْرِي فَأَوْقِدْ لِي يَا هَامَانُ عَلَى الطِّينِ فَاجْعَل لِّي صَرْحًا لَّعَلِّي أَطَّلِعُ إِلَى إِلَهِ مُوسَى وَإِنِّي لَأَظُنُّهُ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ {38}

And Firon said: O chiefs! I do not know of any god for you besides myself; therefore kindle a fire for me, O Haman, for brick, then prepare for me a lofty building so that I may obtain knowledge of Musa’s god, and most surely I think him to be one of the liars.

 

But his arrogance and refusal to obey Allah’s message did not do him any good. Eventually he faced a terrible punishment:

فَأَخَذْنَاهُ وَجُنُودَهُ فَنَبَذْنَاهُمْ فِي الْيَمِّ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الظَّالِمِينَ {40}

So We caught hold of him and his hosts, then We cast them into the sea, and see how was the end of the unjust.

 

Thus Allah gave victory to Musa and his people and gave them His guidance in the form of Torah:

 

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ الْأُولَى بَصَائِرَ لِلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ {43}

And certainly We gave Musa the Book after We had destroyed the former generations, clear arguments for men and a guidance and a mercy, that they may be mindful.

 

The presence of this story in the Quran, complete with all its details, is a testimony to the Prophethood of Muhammad (s.a.w) because he could not have known about these events of Musa (a.s)’s life, except through Allah’s revelation. Therefore Allah says:

 

وَمَا كُنتَ بِجَانِبِ الْغَرْبِيِّ إِذْ قَضَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى الْأَمْرَ وَمَا كُنتَ مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ {44}

And you were not on the western side when We revealed to Musa the commandment, and you were not among the witnesses;

 

وَمَا كُنتَ بِجَانِبِ الطُّورِ إِذْ نَادَيْنَا وَلَكِن رَّحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّا أَتَاهُم مِّن نَّذِيرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ {46}

And you were not on this side of the mount Tur when We called, but a mercy from your Lord that you may warn a people to whom no Warner came before you, that they may be mindful.

 

When we study the “Seerah” (Life history) of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) it seems so unbelievable that on one hand there were the staunch believers who gave up all they had for the sake of Allah and put up with all sorts of trials and tribulations to hold on to their faith, and yet on the same land, people of the same families opposed the clear message of Allah even though Allah’s verses were being revealed in front of them. How could they deny it? The following verse of the Quran explains it:

 

فَإِن لَّمْ يَسْتَجِيبُوا لَكَ فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يَتَّبِعُونَ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ بِغَيْرِ هُدًى مِّنَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ {50}

But if they do not answer you, then know that they only follow their low desires; and who is more erring than he who follows his low desires without any guidance from Allah? Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

 

It must have been so painful for the Prophet (s.a.w) to see the disbelievers going further and further away from the truth inspite of all his efforts to bring them to the right way. Allah assured him in the following verse:

 

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ {56}

Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases, and He knows best the followers of the right way.

 

Mostly it is the love of this world which continues to mesmerize people into forgetfulness about the hereafter and so Allah tells us:

 

وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَمَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتُهَا وَمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ {60}

And whatever things you have been given are only a provision of this world’s life and its adornment, and whatever is with Allah is better and more lasting; do you not then understand?

 

The next character introduced in this Surah is of Qaroon (korah), who was one of Musa’s people but he rebelled against them. Just as Fir’oun is a symbol of arrogance; Qaroon represents the symbol of materialism. Allah had given him such treasures that their very keys were a heavy burden to a band of strong men.  He was very fond of making a proud display of his wealth and thought it to be a proof of his own cleverness and knowledge. Some of the wise people tried to warn him against this exultance, because Allah does not like it at all.

إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ قَوْمُهُ لَا تَفْرَحْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ {76}

When his people said to him: Do not exult, surely Allah does not love the exultant;

The following words of the Quran give us a clear picture of what is the truly balanced attitude towards wealth in Islam:

 

وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِن كَمَا

أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ {77}

 And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers.

 

But Qaroon was too stubborn to listen to these admonitions. Just look at his reply; it is the typical response of the so called “successful” people of our times too………

      {78}  ……… قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ عِندِي           

He said: I have been given this only on account of the knowledge I have.

 

The people around him, who idealized such wealth and splendor, looked at him with yearning and said:

 

فَخَرَجَ عَلَى قَوْمِهِ فِي زِينَتِهِ قَالَ الَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنيَا يَا لَيْتَ لَنَا مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ قَارُونُ إِنَّهُ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ {79}

So he went forth to his people in his finery. Those who desire this world’s life said: O would that we had the like of what Qaroon is given; most surely he is possessed of mighty good fortune.

 

But the ones who were endowed with knowledge said:

 

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَيْلَكُمْ ثَوَابُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَلَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الصَّابِرُونَ {80}

And those who were given the knowledge said: Woe to you! Allah’s reward is better for him who believes and does good, and none are made to receive this except the patient.

 

What a beautiful comparison this is between awareness and ignorance. Our aspirations and efforts in this life depend on the things we idealize. The one who yearns for the glitter of this world cannot be the same as one who dreams of getting appreciated and rewarded by Allah in the Paradise.

When Allah sent his wrath on Qaroon and caused the earth to swallow him, together with his dwellings, the same people who used to envy him, began to say:

 

….. وَيْكَأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ لَوْلَا أَن مَّنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا لَخَسَفَ بِنَا وَيْكَأَنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْكَافِرُونَ {82}

…………Alas! (We had forgotten that) it is indeed Allah who enlarges the provision for whom he wills and restricts it for whom He pleases. If Allah had not been gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us too. Alas! (We did not remember that) The disbelievers never attain felicity

 

At the end of the day what matters is the status we earn in the eyes of Allah. That will determine our eternal abode of the Hereafter. In the words of Quran:

 

تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ {83}

(As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil)

 

Therefore as we go about in the world and see all that is happening in front of our eyes, we should keep our focus on the one and only Allah because we know that everything is perishable except Him, and to Him we all will return.

 

وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ {88}

And call not with Allah any other god; there is no god but He, every thing is perishable but He; His is the judgment, and to Him you shall be brought back.

 

 

Surah Al-Ankabut

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

The biggest problem in our life is that most of the time we don’t know how to come to terms with all the things that are against our wishes. We try and try hard to make our lives comfortable and smooth, yet we see that it never really happens. As soon as you solve one problem, sooner or later, there comes up another one. Especially if you choose to establish Islam in your life, then there is no end to obstacles. And at times these irritations are so overwhelming that one cries out in frustration that if I am trying to make Allah happy, then why isn’t He helping me? Am I not good enough in His eyes? Does He not love me?

Allah says:

 

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ {2}

Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, We believe, and not be tried?

 

Allah is telling us here that the unpleasant situations in our life are not a sign of his disapproval rather it is a test for us so that we may prove the truth of our intention to serve Allah. It is easy enough to make claims of having faith in Allah but we should remember that the truth of our commitment cannot be ascertained without undergoing the tests of hardships.

 

وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ {3}

And certainly We tried those before them, so Allah will certainly know those who are true and He will certainly know the liars.

 

 Only those who are sincere will be able to keep a calm composure, during such trials and remain steadfast in Allah’s obedience. And if our faith is weak and we do not understand the nature of these trials, then there is a great possibility that we might become frustrated and negative minded. Blaming Allah and blaming people will gain us nothing except souring our whole life with a feeling of deprivation. On the other hand, having patience and hope of Allah’s mercy will give us the confidence we need in difficult times.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that we are doing Jihad for our own good and not as any favor to Allah. He is the owner of all that is in the earth and in the skies and he doesn’t require any help from us.

 

وَمَن جَاهَدَ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَاهِدُ لِنَفْسِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ {6}

 And whoever strives hard, he strives only for his own soul; most surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above (need of) the worlds.

 

If we understand that hardships in life make us strong, gain us an upper status in paradise, (provided we do Sabar) and cleanse us of our sins, then we can understand that they are blessings in disguise. That is why we see that the prophets received the greatest trials in their lives because they had the greatest degree of Faith and Allah’s love.

Look at the example of Nuh (as) who spent 950 years of his life trying to bring people to the worship of Allah, yet only a handful of them accepted his “dawah” (call to straight way) Do you think it was easy for him? Just compare it with our own attitude. How easily we lose heart and our Iman starts dwindling if anyone refuses to agree with us.

Allah says:

 

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا نُوحًا إِلَى قَوْمِهِ فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمْ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمْسِينَ عَامًا فَأَخَذَهُمُ الطُّوفَانُ وَهُمْ ظَالِمُونَ {14}

And certainly We sent Nuh to his people, so he remained among them a thousand years save fifty years. And the deluge overtook them, while they were unjust.

 

Then Look at what happened with Ibrahim (as). Allah called him His friend and yet he faced trials of all sorts and came out of each one with sabar and commitment. He struggled to make people understand their folly of worshipping statues made of wood and stone, which could neither benefit them nor harm them but what was their answer?

 

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا اقْتُلُوهُ أَوْ حَرِّقُوهُ فَأَنجَاهُ اللَّهُ مِنَ النَّارِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ {24}

 So nothing was the answer of his people except that they said: Slay him or burn him; then Allah delivered him from the fire; most surely there are signs in this for a people who believe.

 

Similarly Prophet Lut (a.s.) tried to stop his people from committing horrendous crimes but instead of listening to him, they earned the wrath of Allah by saying:

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا ائْتِنَا بِعَذَابِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ {29}

But nothing was the answer of his people except that they said: Bring on us Allah’s punishment, if you are one of the truthful.

 

Other prophets of Allah went through similar trials of rejection and cruel treatment from their people. But they persevered till the end until Allah saved them and destroyed the evil doers.

Allah says:

 

فَكُلًّا أَخَذْنَا بِذَنبِهِ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِ حَاصِبًا وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ أَخَذَتْهُ الصَّيْحَةُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ خَسَفْنَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ أَغْرَقْنَا وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ {40}

So each We punished for his sin; of them was he on whom We sent down a violent storm, and of them was he whom the rumbling overtook, and of them was he whom We made to be swallowed up by the earth, and of them was he whom We drowned; and it did not beseem Allah that He should be unjust to them, but they were unjust to their own souls.

 

This Surah gives a strong message to all the believers that they are not alone. Allah is with them through all times, in happiness and sorrow, from the beginning till the end, and even after that till eternity. It makes life so much more endurable and purpose-oriented when you don’t run after worldly happiness and comfort but spend each and every moment of your life in earning Allah’s pleasure so as to ensure everlasting success in the hereafter. Every step that you take moves you towards the fulfillment of this goal. On the contrary, when we close our eyes to the Quran and live for the fulfillment of our desires, then even minor problems stand before us like mountains. Naturally we have to look somewhere for assistance in life, and if we don’t recognize Allah as the Supreme Power then we try to cling to other “supports”, such as people, wealth and other worldly resources. Allah has himself blessed us with these things to use in life but in no way can we rely on them completely. This is what Allah is explaining to us in the following verse:

 

مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَوْلِيَاء كَمَثَلِ الْعَنكَبُوتِ اتَّخَذَتْ بَيْتًا وَإِنَّ أَوْهَنَ الْبُيُوتِ لَبَيْتُ الْعَنكَبُوتِ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ {41}

The parable of those who take guardians besides Allah is as the parable of the spider that makes for itself a house; and most surely the frailest of the houses is the spider’s house did they but know.

The web of the spider looks so intricate and beautifully constructed but in reality it is the weakest thing and you cannot even think of holding to it for support. So anyone or anything other than Allah is weak and not worth holding on to; no matter how strong or reliable it may appear.

Islam is a logical and practical religion. It gives you clear thinking and then tells you how to act upon it. So when you free your heart from the dependence of worldly resources, Allah gives you the practical way of seeking His friendship and support in the following Ayat:

 

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ {45}

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do.

 

So let’s liberate ourselves from false supports and make these three things a part of our daily lives so that we can truly feel Allah’s love and comfort as we go through the various ups and downs of our life. Put them up as a reminder in some noticeable place so that you never forget:

 

1- Read from the Quran

2- Establish prayer

3- Remembrance of Allah

 

If we act upon this formula we will never lose sight of our real goal, that is to please Allah and thus gain endless rewards of the hereafter.

 

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ غُرَفًا تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا نِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ {58}

And (as for) those who believe and do good, We will certainly give them abode in the high places in gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein; how good the reward of the workers:

الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ {59}

Those who are patient, and Put their trust in their Lord.

 

The race for survival and earning our livelihoods has taken complete control over our time and our thoughts. Allah wants us to see the reality that He himself is the Provider of our needs:

 

وَكَأَيِّن مِن دَابَّةٍ لَا تَحْمِلُ رِزْقَهَا اللَّهُ يَرْزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ {60}

How many creatures are there, that do not carry their provisions with them? Allah provides for them as He provides for you, and He is All- Hearing, All- Knowing.

 

Often I ask myself the question, “What is the change in me after having Quran in my life?” After all, being a Muslim, I was already reading my prayers and performing other rituals. Then what is the difference? I have found that the difference is in my thoughts and attitude, which is reflected in the way I prioritize, and act upon different things in my life. Walking around in the darkness of self created theories and ideas, is worlds apart from walking in brilliant sunshine of knowing things as they are. In one sentence, the role of Quran in our life is that it reveals to us the true picture of this world as compared to the hereafter, and so enables us to plan and work, with energy and conviction, towards complete success.

 

وَمَا هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا لَهْوٌ وَلَعِبٌ وَإِنَّ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ لَهِيَ الْحَيَوَانُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ {64}

And this life of the world is nothing but a sport and a play; and as for the next abode, that most surely is the life– did they but know!

 

The joy of Islam is that we have Allah with us at all times. His love, His support and His guidance is like a fuel that moves us forward. And there is good news for those who do utmost struggle for the pleasure of Allah:

 

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ {69}

And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good.

 

Surah Ar-Rum

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

During the period 614 A.D. to 616 A.D. the Roman emperor Heracles was defeated by the Persians and the Roman Empire lost much of its lands. In Makkah, the Muslims were grieved at the defeat of Romans because their sympathies were with them for being the people of the book. On the other hand the disbelievers of Makkah were delighted because they sympathized with the Persians and were taunting the Muslims to the effect:

 “Look! the fire worshipers of Iran are winning victories and the Christian believers in Revelation and Prophethood are being routed everywhere. Likewise, we, the idol worshipers of Arabia, will exterminate you and your religion.”

These were the conditions when this Surah of the Quran was sent down, and in it a prediction was made, saying:” The Romans have been vanquished in the neighboring land and within a few years after their defeat, they shall be victorious. And it will be the day when the believers will rejoice in the victory granted by Allah.”

 

غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ {2}

The Romans are vanquished,

فِي أَدْنَى الْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ {3}

In a near land, and they, after being vanquished, shall overcome,

فِي بِضْعِ سِنِينَ لِلَّهِ الْأَمْرُ مِن قَبْلُ وَمِن بَعْدُ وَيَوْمَئِذٍ يَفْرَحُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ {4}

Within a few years. Allah’s is the command before and after; and on that day the believers shall rejoice

 

 It contained not one but two predictions: First, the Romans shall be Victorious; and second, the Muslims also shall win a victory at the same time. Apparently, there was not a remote chance of the fulfillment of either of these predictions in the next few years; But Allah assured them in these words:

 

 

بِنَصْرِ اللَّهِ يَنصُرُ مَن يَشَاء وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {5}

With the help of Allah; He helps whom He pleases; and He is the Mighty, the Merciful;

 

This prophesy of the Quran was fulfilled in 624 A.D. when Heracles defeated the Persians; this was the very year when the Muslims achieved a decisive victory at Badr for the first time against the mushriks (non-believers). Thus both the predictions made in Surah Rum came true simultaneously and it is one of the most outstanding evidences of the Quran’s being the Word of Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s being a true Messenger of Allah.

The question is what is the significance of this revelation in today’s context? What lesson does Allah want us to learn from this incident? The next Ayat explains it:

 

وَعْدَ اللَّهِ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ {6}

 (This is) Allah’s promise! Allah will not fail His promise, but most people do not know.

 

This is what we must remember at all times:  that when Allah tells us something in the Quran or through the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (saw) then we should have full confidence in it even though the apparent conditions are against it. Isn’t it strange that we claim to believe in Allah and then we doubt His power? We claim to have faith in Him but then we have doubts about Islam being the most perfect way of life…………..why?

The answer is that the majority of people are so mesmerized by this world and its apparent attractions that their whole knowledge and thinking revolves around the temporary life of this world. And so they don’t know the importance of the promises made in the Quran about the hereafter. As Allah says in the next Ayat:

 

يَعْلَمُونَ ظَاهِرًا مِّنَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ عَنِ الْآخِرَةِ هُمْ غَافِلُونَ {7}

They know the outward of this world’s life, but of the hereafter they are absolutely heedless.

 

The beauty of the Quran is that it not only defines a problem but also gives its solution, provided we keep our hearts and eyes open and “see” the message in its beautiful words. The next Ayat tells us how to create a strong awareness inside our hearts about the consequences of our actions in the hereafter so that it motivates us towards unconditional goodness.

 

أَوَلَمْ يَتَفَكَّرُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى وَإِنَّ كَثِيراً مِّنَ النَّاسِ بِلِقَاء رَبِّهِمْ لَكَافِرُونَ {8}

Do they not reflect within themselves: Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them two but with truth, and (for) an appointed term? And most surely most of the people are deniers of the meeting of their Lord.

 

Allah is talking about us here, “have they never thought about themselves?”

It means that we should contemplate upon our own existence in this world. Look at yourself and think: what am I? Where have I come from? Why have I been sent to this earth? What am I supposed to do? Where have I to go from here? What is the purpose of my life?

And then Allah is shifting our focus to the universe and all that’s in it. Everything has been created with a solid purpose and for a definite time. So how can man think himself beyond any accountability?

And the end of this Ayat tells us of the most powerful driving force and that is the thought of meeting the Lord of this Universe. Somehow we have put this belief in the back of our minds. Then how are we going to prepare ourselves for this meeting if we never pause to think about it?

So you see, Islam is a religion based on rational thinking and evaluation. It wants you to think and contemplate and then decide how you can achieve everlasting success and happiness.

We need a constant reminder of these facts and so Allah has blessed us with the beautiful spiritual nourishment of the five daily prayers. The timings of these prayers are defined in the following verse:

 

فَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ حِينَ تُمْسُونَ وَحِينَ تُصْبِحُونَ {17}

Therefore glory be to Allah when you enter upon the time of the evening and when you enter upon the time of the morning.

وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَعَشِيًّا وَحِينَ تُظْهِرُونَ {18}

And to Him belongs praise in the heavens and the earth, and at nightfall and when you are at midday.

 

This universe is filled with the signs of Allah and if we focus our attention on them, it becomes a means to improve our faith in Allah and His absolute Power and authority. This Surah talks about a number of these signs but the following Ayat touched my heart and filled me with an immense love for the creator that how he has created such a beautiful relationship of husband and wife, not just for the sake of procreation but also to give us peace of mind and tranquility.

 

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {21}

And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.

 

It is a sad thing that just as we have misused the countless other blessings of Allah, we have also overshadowed this bond of matrimony, by materialism and selfishness, so that now only a few are enjoying the comfort and emotional satisfaction for which it was meant to be.

       And then a great sign of Allah is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the differences of our languages and colors.

 

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ {22}

And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors; most surely there are signs in this for the learned.

 

Allah says: “surely there are signs in this for the knowledgeable.” It means that you have to broaden your horizons to really appreciate the diversity of creation. Get out in the world. See how Allah has created differences in human beings. Although they are made of the same basic structure yet their appearance is so different from one another. If Allah had willed He could have taught all of them the same language yet we see there is so much variety of languages and dialects. Who has planned all of it? Did it all happen by accident?

Allah knew that it would not be possible for all of us to travel in the world so he has created other signs which anybody can observe daily and reflect upon them. Among those signs is our sleeping at night and also during the day.

 

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ مَنَامُكُم بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَابْتِغَاؤُكُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ {23}

And one of His signs is your sleeping by night and your seeking of His grace during the  day; most surely there are signs in this for a people who would listen.

 

Who created this need in us to sleep and who taught us to fulfill it? How awesome it is that just by lying down quietly, our whole being is transported out of conscious world and yet we remain alive………..the heart keeps beating, blood keeps circulating and the breath keeps going in and out. And we don’t even know that we exist !! Isn’t it a miracle? Daily we die and daily we are born but how many of us think of it as Allah’s sign and recognize the greatness of Allah through it?

If we think about Allah’s creation, we are overwhelmed by its enormity and complexities but for Allah it is very easy to originate things out of nothing and to repeat it:

 

وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَهُوَ أَهْوَنُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَهُ الْمَثَلُ الْأَعْلَى فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {27}

 And He it is Who originates the creation, then reproduces it, and it is easy to Him; and His are the most exalted attributes in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

 

It is so logical that since Allah has created us for His worship and wants that we should live our lives in obedience to His laws, then He must have programmed into all of us a need to worship him alone and not to associate any partners with him. That is why we see that Man’s soul cannot find true peace until he recognizes the oneness of Allah. It is not merely an assumption but a solid truth expressed in the following verse:

 

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ {30}

Therefore stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith- — the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know–

مُنِيبِينَ إِلَيْهِ وَاتَّقُوهُ وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَلَا تَكُونُوا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ {31}

Turning to Him, and be careful of (your duty to) Him and keep up prayer and be not of the polytheists

 

Islam is a balanced way of life. It doesn’t let you get fixed in one dimension of life only. Much as Allah’s worship is appreciated, a true believer cannot remain oblivious of the rights of people. Therefore Allah says that if you want my love then you must develop a spirit of giving.

 

فَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَى حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لِّلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ اللَّهِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {38}

Then give to the near of kin his due, and to the needy and the wayfarer; this is best for those who desire Allah’s pleasure, and these it is who are successful.

 

Allah has taught us a complete system of giving rights not only to Allah and people but also to things. It means treating each and every blessing of Allah with respect and using all natural resources with proper care. If we don’t give people their rights then the result is social chaos and dissatisfaction. Similarly when we abuse natural resources then the result is environmental pollution and corruption. Isn’t it amazing to find such topics discussed in the Quran hundreds of years ago, which we think are the problems of the modern world? And Allah also tells us that this corruption both on the land and the sea is the result of Man’s own destructive actions. And thus it is a warning for him:

 

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ {41}

 Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return.

 

Everybody is responsible for his own actions. And he himself will have to bear its consequences.

 

مَن كَفَرَ فَعَلَيْهِ كُفْرُهُ وَمَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِأَنفُسِهِمْ يَمْهَدُونَ {44}

Whoever disbelieves, he shall be responsible for his disbelief, and whoever does good, they prepare (good) for their own souls,

لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ {45}

That He may reward those who believe and do good out of His grace; surely He does not love the unbelievers.

 

If anyone has a doubt about resurrection and accountability then he just has to look around himself and see the proof of this truth.

 

فَانظُرْ إِلَى آثَارِ رَحْمَتِ اللَّهِ كَيْفَ يُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {50}

 Look then at the signs of Allah’s mercy, how He gives life to the earth after its death, most surely He will raise the dead to life; and He has power over all things.

 

These warnings are effective only for those who are spiritually alive. Because if someone is deaf and he refuses to look at you then how can you warn him of any danger that is about to overtake him?

 

فَإِنَّكَ لَا تُسْمِعُ الْمَوْتَى وَلَا تُسْمِعُ الصُّمَّ الدُّعَاء إِذَا وَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ {52}

For surely you cannot, make the dead to hear and you cannot make the deaf to hear the call, when they have turned their backs and are running away.

 

We have a very short span of life in this world and the day will come when all of this is going to end. It does seem endless to us who are alive but the reality will be obvious on the Day of Judgment:

 

وَيَوْمَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ يُقْسِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ مَا لَبِثُوا غَيْرَ سَاعَةٍ كَذَلِكَ كَانُوا يُؤْفَكُونَ {55}

And at the time when the hour shall come, the guilty shall swear (that) they did not stay (in this world) more than an hour; thus are they ever deluded.

 

But even on that terrible day the people of knowledge will be in their senses and they will speak the truth:

 

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَالْإِيمَانَ لَقَدْ لَبِثْتُمْ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْبَعْثِ فَهَذَا يَوْمُ الْبَعْثِ وَلَكِنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ {56}

And those who are given knowledge and faith will say: Certainly you have stayed according to the ordinance of Allah till the day of resurrection, so this is the day of resurrection, but you were not aware.

 

How beautiful is Allah’s way of telling us that if we want to save ourselves from living a life of illusions then we must acquire the knowledge of the truth of our existence, and find out the purpose of our life and start moving in the right direction of sirat-e-mustaqeem (the straight path) before it’s too late. In other words, having knowledge of the hereafter is as important as the knowledge of this world. We can’t afford to remain ignorant from either one of them. Here is the Quran, the book of Allah containing all that we need to know and the Sunnah of the prophet is also a powerful guide showing us the way out of every dilemma and grooming us to become the finest individuals. Then why are we so heedless of this treasure? Why are we so downtrodden in the world? Why are we the losers when we have this book that changed the fate of such an uncivilized nation of Arabs and made them the leaders of the world?

The reason is that if we don’t want to accept the truth, and if we want to continue living in our self created illusions about life then we can’t see right from wrong even if the truth comes before us. Allah says:

 

وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ وَلَئِن جِئْتَهُم بِآيَةٍ لَيَقُولَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا مُبْطِلُونَ {58}

And certainly We have set forth for men every kind of example in this Quran; but whatever sign you may bring, those who disbelieve would certainly say: “you are preaching falsehood.”

كَذَلِكَ يَطْبَعُ اللَّهُ عَلَى قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ {59}

Thus does Allah set a seal on the hearts of those who do not use their common sense.

 

And finally a soothing assurance at the end of this Surah for the Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (saw) who was facing all kinds of opposition from the polytheists of Makkah.

 

فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَا يَسْتَخِفَّنَّكَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُوقِنُونَ {60}

Therefore be patient; surely the promise of Allah is true and let not those who themselves have no certainty of faith, shake your firmness.

 

For the people of our times too, it is a powerful message from Allah that when you have to face people’s negative reactions towards Islam, don’t be discouraged, but be steadfast, be patient and the reward of Allah will be yours. And remember that it is a promise from Allah and He doesn’t go against His promises.

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3 thoughts on “Quran(2)

  1. assalaamu alaikum,
    read your translation of surah kahf as its friday today. its very refreshing to read quran translation in such simple language.
    jazakillah khair.

    • dear farheen… wa alaikum assalam w r b
      actually the translation was taken from different sources… it is not mine.
      but the thoughts I expressed about these ayaat were from me and that is why they are in a seperate font and colour.
      I am glad you found it refreshing. May Allah make Quran the noor of our hearts. ameen

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