Quran(3)

Surah Luqman

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I first got acquainted with Surah Luqman a couple of years ago when I had listened to a few of its verses in connection with children’s education. It told how a wise man named Luqman teaches his son the important lessons of life. I remember I had felt so good that Allah had catered for this need of ours in the Quran i.e. knowing how to guide our children…………….an all important question of all times.

But when I studied this Surah in detail, I realized that the Quran provides a complete solution to all problems. Its teachings are not selective. Rather it lets you view things in a full-fledged scenario and for that you need to study it as a whole and not in bits and pieces. Selective study does have a benefit to the extent of motivating you and inspiring you with a trust and confidence in Allah, but only the complete study of this book, gives you the realistic knowledge and guidance with which you can analyze and deal with the situations in your life in a comprehensive way.

That is why Allah says:

تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْحَكِيمِ {2}

These are verses of the Book of Wisdom

هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّلْمُحْسِنِينَ {3}

 Guidance and a mercy for the “MOHSININ” (doers of goodness)

 

Now one might ask: who are these Mohsinin, for whom the Quran is a guidance and mercy. A Mohsin is a person who does beautiful deeds for the pleasure of Allah and works to the level of excellence. But aren’t we all “excellent” people in our own definitions?

Let’s analyze ourselves in the perspective of the following Ayat which tells what kind of people are really the “excellent ones” in Allah’s eyes:

 

الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُم بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ {4}

Those who establish “SALAH” (Islamic prayer) and give “ZAKAH” (obligatory charity) and they have “YAQEEN” (certainty) of the hereafter.

 

Have we established prayer in our life? It doesn’t refer to the casual reading of Namaz once in a while. Establishing prayer means that your whole routine revolves around it. The prayers become the nucleus of your life and they have to be offered with the right intention, in the right way, on the right time. And the rest of your jobs will fit in accordingly.

Next check up on your Zakat. Are we giving this obligatory charity on a regular basis? Occasional giving of Sadaqah (voluntary charity) cannot be counted as a substitute for it.

And the third and most important characteristic of these excellent people is that they have Yaqeen in the hereafter. What is Yaqeen ? It is the highest level of faith. When you are so convinced about the coming of an event that you can’t sit still anymore and your whole being gets up to prepare for it. It is a total conviction in the Hereafter, which motivates these people into thinking, planning and working for that Day on which nothing else will benefit us except our good deeds.

So what is the reward for these people who live their lives in complete obedience to Allah and for whom the Quran is a guidance and mercy?

Allah says these are the ones who will be guided and these are the ones who will succeed at the highest level.

 

أُوْلَئِكَ عَلَى هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {5}

These are on true guidance from their Lord, and these are the ones who will attain success

 

What a great blessing it is to achieve this kind of everlasting success. But then, if it is so simple then what stops us from acquiring this status of being the excellent slaves of Allah? Why aren’t we all moving in this direction? Don’t we have the Quran and Sunnah?

Is there any lack of knowledge? ………………….No.

 Don’t we have faith in Allah?…………………….. Yes we do. Aren’t we Muslims!

And do we believe in the hereafter?………….. Of course!

So that means we are all committed in the obedience of our Lord?……..No

Why?

The reason is that we have created a whole culture of addictive entertainment around us that has stripped us off all sense of responsibility towards our religion. Take a look around your house and see what are the things on which we have spent the most money and which take up most of our free time. Theater TVs and DVDs, sound systems, play stations, the latest movies, the latest fiction, the latest games……..all worthless stuff. We are drowning in a sea of trivialities and we don’t even realize what poison we are feeding into our own minds and also in the innocent hearts of our children day and night. After getting all this dose of cheap relaxation and enjoyment who would want to read the Quran, who is going to get up from a video game to read the Namaz? Even if you do so, how can you focus your mind on Allah’s presence when your mind is still playing the tune of the song you had been listening to.

It might seem that I am just voicing my own opinions against this era of “advanced enlightenment” but in fact this is what Allah is telling us, right in this Quran, in this very Surah.

 Listen:

 

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ {6}

Among the people there are some who purchase idle talks (i.e. music, singing etc) so that they may lead people astray from Allah’s path without any knowledge, and take it (invitation to the right way) as a mockery; for such people there will be a humiliating torment.

 

             Allah is telling us here about those who purchase; spend money on Lahwal-Hadees. First of all we need to understand what this word means. Lahwal-Hadees means anything trivial and unimportant which occupies one to such an extent that it makes one forgetful about the important things. In its basic context this Ayat refers to a man in Mecca called Nazar bin Haris who tried to distract the people from going towards the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and from learning and following Islam. In order to do that he went to Iran and brought back their stories and some singing slave-girls. He created an environment in which this fiction and music would be easily accessible. And his motive was to mislead the people away from Allah and the Prophet. In today’s scenario we see that the same thing is happening, especially our younger generation. They have lost touch with reality, living constantly in a dream-world of movies and songs and video games. In the name of relaxation they are being constantly led away from the true path of success. The very least damage of lahwal-Hadees is that it captivates the mind in such a way that religion becomes boring, Quran seems too heavy; teachings of the Prophet become irrelevant. And then Allah says that these people start making fun of religion and humiliate people who try to follow it. Why? Because their sense of judgment is so impaired through the constant exposure to immodesty and un-Islamic things. What will be the ultimate result? They are going to face a humiliating torment in the Hereafter.

            Now some people go to the other extreme and declare that TV is haram (unlawful) or computer and CD-s are haram. It is important to understand that Islam is not against technological advancement, therefore these objects in itself are not haram but the material you are watching or using should be pure and purposeful. The same technology if used with Allah-consciousness can lead one towards greater success both in this world and the hereafter.

And then Allah says that those who believe in Allah’s guidance (i.e. stay away from harmful distractions) and do good deeds (lead a purposeful life) for them are gardens of delight in which they will abide for ever and ever. It is a promise of Allah and it is true………….

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ النَّعِيمِ {8}

 (As for) those who believe and do good, they shall surely have gardens of bliss,

 

This is a decision we have to take now, when there is still time:

Do we want everlasting delight of success for a life that’s never going to end or are we willing to give that up for the sake of a few moments of enjoyment and forgetfulness? The choice is ours. And it should be based on wisdom.                                       Next Allah tells us about a learned and wise man named Luqman, whose wisdom was well known among the Arabs, whose proverbs and wise sayings were cited in their daily conversation, and who was often quoted by their poets and orators.

Allah says:

 

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ وَمَن يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ {12}

And certainly we gave wisdom to Luqman, saying: Be grateful to Allah. And whoever is grateful, he is only grateful for his own soul; and whoever is ungrateful, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, Worthy of all Praise.

 

This Ayat teaches us two things. First, that wisdom is a gift from Allah and secondly, that the core of wisdom is thankfulness towards Allah. How simply Allah has given us the key to satisfaction and happiness.

“Whosoever gives thanks does so for his own good”

Imagine the attitude of a grateful person who appreciates all that he has got and compare it with someone who is bitter and resentful all the time. Can their hearts be on the same level of satisfaction? Gratitude brings peace of heart and it spreads to those around you. You can create a whole atmosphere of tranquility and happiness through gratitude.

    Luqman advised his son about some very important things in life. And his advice is so comprehensive that Allah has honored it by giving it a permanent place in the Quran. We can also learn from here the values which we should convey to our children too.

    The first thing to teach is oneness of Allah so that from the very beginning our children should understand that there is no one equal to Allah. So that their first and foremost bond is with Allah and they should not give the same status to any other being.

 

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ {13}

And when Luqman said to his son while he advised him: O my son! do not ever commit shirk (associating anyone else with Allah); most surely committing shirk is the worst iniquity–

 

 After this Allah reminds us that He has enjoined on man, to be dutiful and good to his parents. So this is the second lesson we must teach our children, but in a practical way by being grateful to our own parents for what they have done for us. Because if we are not genuinely grateful to our parents, then our outward show of kindness will be deprived of sincerity and will not be of much value.

 

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ {14}

And We have enjoined man in respect of his parents– his mother bears him with weakness upon weakness and his weaning takes two years– saying: Be grateful to Me and to both your parents; to Me is the eventual destination.

 

But you cannot follow their ways if they want you to be disobedient to Allah. Still you should be courteous to them but follow only that person who calls you to Allah’s obedience.

 

وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًا وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {15}

 And if they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them, and keep company with them in this world kindly, and follow the way of him who turns to Me, then to Me is your return, then will I inform you of what you did–

 

Next Luqman tells his son that not even the smallest thing or deed is insignificant in Allah’s eyes. He will bring it to light, because Allah is well aware of all things to their finest details. So we should live a careful life with a sense of accountability for every little thing that we say or do.

 

يَا بُنَيَّ إِنَّهَا إِن تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِّنْ خَرْدَلٍ فَتَكُن فِي صَخْرَةٍ أَوْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ أَوْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَأْتِ بِهَا اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ {16}

O my son! surely if it is the very weight of the grain of a mustard-seed, even though it is in (the heart of) rock, or (high above) in the heaven or (deep down) in the earth, Allah will bring it (to light); surely Allah is Knower of subtleties, Aware;

 

Notice the loving way in which Luqman talks to his son. Giving advice doesn’t mean you have to be harsh. Children respond to love. So he calls him “my son” and gives him the most comprehensive advice in the following words:

 

يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ {17}

O my son! keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage;

 

And he reminds his son that he should always be kindly attentive towards people, because, even after doing all acts of worship, there is no allowance for pride. Don’t start thinking that just by being a religious person you can look down on people.

 

وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ {18}

And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;

 

Now why is gait so important? It is the outward reflection of your inner feelings and your perception about yourself. So it should be moderate, just like your voice……….

 

وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِن صَوْتِكَ إِنَّ أَنكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ {19}

Be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voices is braying of a donkey.

 

What a short, simple yet complete program for the grooming of our children in the Islamic way. First create an atmosphere free from idle things. Then talk to them in a loving way and focus on their beliefs as well as behavior and personality.

It makes me feel so grateful to Allah, that He has blessed us with such a miraculous Book; so easy to understand and easy to follow. The only thing is that we have ourselves created such a void between ourselves and this guidance by going further and further away from reality and creating such pastimes for ourselves and our children that we don’t have any time to sit and think and reflect upon the Quran and its teachings. Allah is calling us to His love:

 

وَمَن يُسْلِمْ وَجْهَهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَهُوَ مُحْسِنٌ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَى وَإِلَى اللَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ {22}

And whoever submits himself wholly to Allah and he is the doer of good (to others), he indeed has taken hold of the firmest thing upon which one can lay hold; and Allah’s is the end of affairs.

 

It makes me so sad that when there is so much bliss in surrendering to Allah and so much confidence in his support…………. then why do we deprive ourselves.

Allah says:

 

وَمَن كَفَرَ فَلَا يَحْزُنكَ كُفْرُهُ إِلَيْنَا مَرْجِعُهُمْ فَنُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ {23}

And whoever disbelieves, let not his disbelief grieve you; to Us is their return, then will We inform them of what they did surely Allah is the Knower of what is in the breasts.

 

Allah is The Great. There is no way we can describe Him because there is no one like Him. We know Him through his creation and through His qualities and attributes which are endless………..

 

وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ {27}

And were every tree that is in the earth (made into) pens and the sea (to supply it with ink), with seven more seas to increase it, the (writing of) the words of Allah (His wonderful signs and creations) would not come to an end; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.

 

Our problem is that when we face calamities we call out to Allah but when He brings us back to safety then we forget His favors.

 

وَإِذَا غَشِيَهُم مَّوْجٌ كَالظُّلَلِ دَعَوُا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ فَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمَا يَجْحَدُ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَّا كُلُّ خَتَّارٍ كَفُورٍ {32}

 And when a wave like mountains covers them they call upon Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience, but when He brings them safe to the land, some of them follow the middle course; and none denies Our signs but every treacherous, ungrateful one.

 

How can we do it if we really believe in Him? Aren’t we afraid of the punishment of Allah?

Allah says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ وَاخْشَوْا يَوْمًا لَّا يَجْزِي وَالِدٌ عَن وَلَدِهِ وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَن وَالِدِهِ شَيْئًا إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُم بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ {33}

O people! Have fear of (the punishment of) your Lord and dread the day when a father shall not avail for his son, nor shall the child avail for his father; surely the promise of Allah is true, therefore let not this world’s life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you concerning Allah.

 

We only have a limited time on this earth to come back to Allah and make repentance but we go around as if we are here forever. This fear of consequence, this Yaqeen in the Akhirah (life of the hereafter) is the important ingredient missing from our lives. That is why at the end of this Surah, once again Allah reminds us of the Hour of Judgment. It can happen any time. And for those who waste their time in laziness and put every important thing for tomorrow, Allah says that no one is aware what he will earn tomorrow, and when and where he will die, and how soon his time will be over………..

 

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْأَرْحَامِ وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا وَمَا تَدْرِي نَفْسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ {34}

Surely Allah is He with Whom is the knowledge of the hour, and He sends down the rain and He knows what is in the wombs; and no one knows what he shall earn on the morrow; and no one knows in what land he shall die; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.

 

This is an amazing Ayat which gives us the subtle warning that we should stop worrying about those things which are not in our hands anyway and for which we are not going to be held accountable. It has raised several questions in my mind. For instance:

 Instead of worrying about when the Qiyamat is going to arrive, why don’t we focus on what we have prepared for that day?

Instead of forecasting the weather all the time, and predicting rain, why don’t we make use of the sunny day and work as much as possible?

Instead of going and having ultrasounds to find out the sex of the child, which we can’t change anyway, why don’t we learn our duties as parents and prepare ourselves of the responsibility that Allah is going to bestow upon us?

 Instead of worrying about TOMORROW why don’t we live our TODAY, that we have in our hands now, in the obedience of Allah?

Instead of being afraid of death all the time, which is inevitable anyway, why don’t we focus on how we are living our lives?

       Surely Allah is the all-knower and aware of all things………..

 

Surah As-Sajdah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Our beloved Prophet, Muhammad, May peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him, used to recite Surah As-Sajdah daily, before going to sleep at night. And on Friday mornings He chose this Surah to recite in the first unit of the Fajar prayer. When I had read these facts in a book of Hadeeth, some time back, I had been curious to find out more about it. Obviously there must be something really important in its message. And we need to understand its importance because the “Sawab” or reward for following the Sunnah (teachings) of the Prophet (s.a.w) can be multiplied manifold if we do so with consciousness and understanding.

After reading it in its detail, I found that this Surah contains the essence of our faith and that is why it serves as daily reminder at night just at the completion of the day and the beginning of our oblivion into a near-death state. The realities outlined in its explicit words, help us to cleanse our souls by asking Allah’s forgiveness for whatever shortcomings we displayed during the day and help us to remember death for which we all need to be prepared at all times.

For the words of Allah to be effective in our lives, we need to be free of all doubts, therefore, Allah says right in the beginning of this Surah:

 

تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ مِن رَّبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {2}

The revelation of the Book, there is no doubt in it, is from the Lord of the worlds.

 

And then Allah reminds us of the purpose of the Quran……..to warn people so that they may be guided. The non believers of Makkah used to say that the Prophet had himself written this book. Even today there are people who doubt the authenticity of the Quran. For all of them Allah says:

 

أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ بَلْ هُوَ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّا أَتَاهُم مِّن نَّذِيرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ {3}

 Or do they say: He has forged it? Nay! it is the truth from your Lord that you may warn a people to whom no Warner has come before you, that they may follow the right direction.

 

It is our weakness that we are so caught up in the endless cycle of our daily routines and the race for worldly benefits that we never stop and ponder upon the purpose of our existence. There are many who have not even thought about this in the course of their lives. Isn’t it a pity to go on living, day after day and not knowing where we are going or why we are going and what do we hope to achieve at the end of this journey?

The Quran teaches us to think and it begins by focusing our attention on our own selves. How awesome it is that Allah has created us:

 

الَّذِي أَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ وَبَدَأَ خَلْقَ الْإِنسَانِ مِن طِينٍ {7}

 Who made good everything that He has created, and He began the creation of man from dust.

ثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهُ مِن سُلَالَةٍ مِّن مَّاء مَّهِينٍ {8}

Then He made his progeny of an extract, of despicable water.

ثُمَّ سَوَّاهُ وَنَفَخَ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِهِ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ {9}

Then He made him complete and breathed into him of His spirit, and made for you the ears and the eyes and the hearts; little is it that you give thanks.

 

But look at how arrogant humans are that they enjoy all the blessings of Allah and don’t remember to give thanks. Instead they doubt resurrection:

 

وَقَالُوا أَئِذَا ضَلَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَئِنَّا لَفِي خَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ بَلْ هُم بِلِقَاء رَبِّهِمْ كَافِرُونَ {10}

And they say: What! When we have become lost in the earth, shall we then certainly be in a new creation? Nay! They are disbelievers in the meeting of their Lord.

 

Allah tells us that they will all be brought before their Lord, no matter how much they deny it in this world. But when that happens, it will be too late to make amends. The following verse depicts a scene of the day of resurrection, when the criminals, those who denied the truth, will be standing before Allah. Look at how pathetic their condition is and so Allah says, “If only you could see them………………..”

 

وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذِ الْمُجْرِمُونَ نَاكِسُو رُؤُوسِهِمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ رَبَّنَا أَبْصَرْنَا وَسَمِعْنَا فَارْجِعْنَا نَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا إِنَّا مُوقِنُونَ {12}

And could you but see when the guilty shall hang down their heads before their Lord: Our Lord! We have seen and we have heard, therefore send us back, we will do good; surely (now) we are certain.

 

They chose to forget this meeting with Allah, and so Allah will also forget about them on that day:

 

فَذُوقُوا بِمَا نَسِيتُمْ لِقَاء يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا إِنَّا نَسِينَاكُمْ وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْخُلْدِ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {14}

So taste, because you neglected the meeting of this day of yours; surely We forsake you; and taste the abiding chastisement for what you did.

 

It is a moment for reflection. Let’s analyze ourselves before it’s too late. Do we really have faith in Allah and the day of resurrection? If yes then how come we go about our lives as if that day is never going to come? If we truly believe that Quran is the guidance towards success then how come our majority doesn’t even know what’s in it? We can very well say that we believe in the word of Allah but how much time or effort do we make towards its education and learning? And what is our attitude towards Allah’s religion? Do we submit to Allah’s will or do we make excuses?

Our claims of faith can be judged in the mirror of the following Ayat, which is so awesome that it is recommended that when we read it, we should make “Sajdah” (to prostrate) as an act of submission:

 

إِنَّمَا يُؤْمِنُ بِآيَاتِنَا الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهَا خَرُّوا سُجَّدًا وَسَبَّحُوا بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ {15}

Only they believe in Our communications who, when they are reminded of them, fall down in prostration and celebrate the praise of their Lord, and they are not proud.

 

These are the true believers, who get up to pray when the rest of the world is asleep. They call upon their lord with hope and fear; the perfect balance of faith; where their hope doesn’t cause them to be fearless and their fear doesn’t make them hopeless with themselves:

 

تَتَجَافَى جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ {16}

Their sides draw away from (their) beds, they call upon their Lord in fear and in hope, and they spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them.

 

Allah has promised great rewards for these people and it is going to be so magnificent that we can’t even imagine:

 

فَلَا تَعْلَمُ نَفْسٌ مَّا أُخْفِيَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعْيُنٍ جَزَاء بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {17}

So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes; a reward for what they did.

 

And of course this special surprise gift is not for everyone but only for those who do good deeds with sincerity and consistency, keeping in mind the teachings of the Prophet (s.a.w)

Now we find that in today’s world acting on Islam is not an easy task.  You need to revise your lifestyle and you might be afraid of being a misfit. So Allah has given us a very good advice here to think rationally and not expect that you can act like everybody else and still be a Momin (true believer). How logical and heartwarming are these words:

 

أَفَمَن كَانَ مُؤْمِنًا كَمَن كَانَ فَاسِقًا لَّا يَسْتَوُونَ {18}

Is he then who is a believer like him who is a transgressor? They are not equal.

 

If they act differently then of course it is logical to expect that they will be treated differently in the hereafter. Just look at the stark contrast of the consequence of their actions:

 

أَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ الْمَأْوَى نُزُلًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {19}

As for those who believe and do good, the gardens are their abiding-place; an entertainment for what they did.

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فَسَقُوا فَمَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ كُلَّمَا أَرَادُوا أَن يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا أُعِيدُوا فِيهَا وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ النَّارِ الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ {20}

 And as for those who transgress, their abode is the fire; whenever they desire to go forth from it they shall be brought back into it, and it will be said to them: Taste the chastisement of the fire which you called a lie.

 

How extremely terrible is the fate of the transgressors; we should all ask Allah’s forgiveness and protection from such a fate. The question arises that why did these people continue to disobey Allah when they knew that one day they will be accountable for their deeds. The fact is that it there is a difference between knowing some thing and being convinced of it. When we listen to warnings but our hearts turn away from the truth then we can’t protect ourselves from destruction. That is why Allah calls it the biggest injustice to one’s own self……….to ignore the teachings of Allah:

 

وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ ثُمَّ أَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا إِنَّا مِنَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُنتَقِمُونَ {22}

And who is more unjust than he who is reminded of the communications of his Lord, then he turns away from them? Surely We will give punishment to the guilty.

 

The illusion of this world has deceived the people into thinking that they can live in whatever way they want, just because Allah’s punishment doesn’t overtake them while they continue to disobey Allah. But haven’t they ever thought about the people who were destroyed before them? Surely there are signs………

 

أَوَلَمْ يَهْدِ لَهُمْ كَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّنَ الْقُرُونِ يَمْشُونَ فِي مَسَاكِنِهِمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ أَفَلَا يَسْمَعُونَ {26}

Does it not point out to them the right way, how many of the generations, in whose abodes they go about, did We destroy before them? Most surely there are signs in this; will they not then hear?

 

Still they doubt the truth and ask: “when will this judgement take place?”

Allah says that when they see the reality on that day, they will believe but it will be too late:

 

قُلْ يَوْمَ الْفَتْحِ لَا يَنفَعُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِيمَانُهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ {29}

Tell them: On the day of judgment the faith of those who (now) disbelieve will not profit them, nor will they be granted a respite.

 

So what are we all waiting for? Another day; another night?

Wake up when there is still time and turn to Allah.

As for those who refuse to listen to these clear warnings, Allah says:

 

فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ وَانتَظِرْ إِنَّهُم مُّنتَظِرُونَ {30}

Therefore turn away from them and wait, surely they too are waiting.

*****

 

 

Surah Al-Ahzaab

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I love Surah Al-Ahzab so much because for me it is the entrance to a whole new world and a new life. It is full of a lot of historical information but the real thing is the inspiration within that information. You can open up any book of Tafseer and can go through lengthy details of all the happenings of the time when these verses were being revealed but our target should be the level of consciousness that is achieved only when we believe that Allah is not simply telling us tales of an era long ago, but in fact He is making us aware of our own situation. So when we read about the forces coming towards Madinah to wipe out Islam from the face of the earth and the hypocrites inside the city, making conspiracies against the Muslims, we should think of the “enemies” surrounding our own heart, that is the shaitan (devil) and the negative elements in our environment, ready to attack, given half a chance, and the “hypocrite” inside us which is our “self” which conspires with the outside forces to try to make us come back to our former life of disbelief. Allah is telling us here, how to deal with these forces, because this is a battle we need to fight throughout our lives in this world, and we can’t afford to lose……….

So let’s begin now, our journey through Surah Al-Ahzab, starting with the first Ayat which refers to the dilemma, which the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w) was going through at the time of its revelation. Most of us know the story of Zaid bin Haritha (r.a) who was the adopted son of the Prophet (s.a.w). Hazrat Zaid (r.a) had been married to Hazrat Zainab (r.a) who was the Prophet’s first cousin, but due to the differences between their temperaments, there arose serious incompatibility between the two, resulting in a divorce. And then Allah commanded the Prophet that he should now marry Zainab (r.a).

This was not quite so simple because according to Arab custom, the adopted son was regarded as a real son. He got share in inheritance; he was treated like a real son and real brother by the adopted mother and the adopted sister. This custom clashed in every detail with the laws of marriage and divorce and inheritance enjoined by Allah. When the artificial relations endued with customary sanctity are allowed to mix freely like the real relations, it cannot but produce evil results. That is why the Islamic law of marriage and divorce, the law of inheritance and the law of the prohibition of adultery required that the concept and custom of regarding the adopted son as the real son should be eradicated completely.

This concept, however, could not be rooted out by merely passing a legal order, saying, “The adopted son is not the real son”. Therefore, it was inevitable that the custom should be eradicated practically, and through the Holy Prophet himself. For no Muslim could ever conceive that a thing done by the Holy Prophet himself, and done by him under Allah’s Command, could be detestable.

But the Prophet (s.a.w) was hesitant because if he married the divorced wife of his adopted son, then the hypocrites and the Jews and the mushriks (polytheists) who were already bent on mischief would get a fresh excuse to start a propaganda campaign against Islam.

Therefore in the very first Ayat Allah is giving a clear command and although it is primarily addressed to the Prophet (s.a.w), it is obviously meant for us too:


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا {1}

O Prophet! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and do not comply with (the wishes of) the unbelievers and the hypocrites; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise;

If the Prophet (s.a.w) is being told to have the fear of Allah, how can we justify our own fearless way of life? And then it is so clear from this Ayat that we should never ever compromise on our duty towards Allah in order to please the disbelievers and hypocrites. But the question arises that there are some of us who truly fear Allah and want to live in complete obedience to Him, yet we fail to do so. What’s the reason behind that? It is because we are afraid of opposition. That is why we gladly take those things in Islam which are convenient to us and leave out the parts that might result in objections from people.

 Fear of people is a crippling emotion; therefore, the following verses are going to give us the practical solution to put an end to this fear and confusion.

 

وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَى إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا {2}

And follow what is revealed to you from your Lord; surely Allah is Aware of what you do;

وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا {3}

And rely on Allah; and Allah is sufficient for a Protector.

Surely Allah’s fear will put an end to all other apprehensions. And the next thing to do is to follow whatever is revealed from Allah i.e. Quran and Hadith. Merely reading it, is not enough as we mistakenly assume that “oh we are so pious just because we are reading the Quran.”  No, these teachings are meant to be followed and to mould our lives accordingly, not just for quoting these words in gatherings so that we might appear knowledgeable. Also we need to put our complete trust in Allah that He is the disposer of our affairs. And that He is sufficient for us as our support against whomsoever we are afraid of. This is the crux of our faith and it is this faith which makes our heart strong.

Where social reforms were being discussed, there was another custom of the pagan Arabs that when a man wanted to divorce his wife, he used to say that you are like my mother to me. In the next Ayat Allah has put an end to this irrational practice too.

Now there was a hypocrite in those days, who went about claiming that he had two hearts; one was with the disbelievers and the other was with the believers. Allah denied this ridiculous idea and used this example to make them understand that just as Allah has not made two hearts inside a body, similarly your wife can not become your mother, nor the son of another person can become your own son.

 

مَّا جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِرَجُلٍ مِّن قَلْبَيْنِ فِي جَوْفِهِ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَزْوَاجَكُمُ اللَّائِي تُظَاهِرُونَ مِنْهُنَّ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ أَدْعِيَاءكُمْ أَبْنَاءكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ قَوْلُكُم بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَقُولُ الْحَقَّ وَهُوَ يَهْدِي السَّبِيلَ {4}

Allah has not made for any man two hearts within him; nor has He made your wives whose backs you liken to the backs of your mothers as your mothers, nor has He made those whom you assert to be your sons your real sons; these are the words of your mouths; and Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the way.

And now the following Ayat puts everything into perspective and leaves no doubt in our minds regarding the status of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) in the sight of Allah:

 

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَى بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ وَأُوْلُو الْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَى بِبَعْضٍ فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ إِلَّا أَن تَفْعَلُوا إِلَى أَوْلِيَائِكُم مَّعْرُوفًا كَانَ ذَلِكَ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَسْطُورًا {6}

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are (as) their mothers; and the possessors of relationship have the better claim in the ordinance of Allah to inheritance, one with respect to another, than (other) believers, and (than) those who have fled (their homes), except that you do some good to your friends; this is written in the Book.

 

We know from the Quran and Hadith that our love for our Prophet is a part of our faith. And it’s no ordinary kind of emotion; but a love which moves us towards an unquestioning obedience of the Prophet (s.a.w)

Just think about these words: “the Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves”

Are we believers? And is the Prophet closer to us than our own selves? When someone is “close” to you, then you know that person. Do we know about the Prophet?

We trust whom we are close to; we believe in their judgment; we act upon their advice………..So do we feel the same way towards the teachings of the Prophet (saw)?

It is a pity that we have “invented” lots of ways to show our love of this great personality through extravagant displays on his birthday, although the Prophet himself has warned us against these innovations. And we conveniently turn our eyes away from the fact that the only way acceptable to Allah and His Messenger, to prove our love for him is that we wholeheartedly accept his teachings and follow his Sunnah.

Next we have the section of this Surah which refers to the Battle of “Khandaq ” (the Trench) which is also known as the Battle of Al-Ahzab. In the fifth year of Prophet’s migration to Madinah, an unprecedentedly large army of the Arab tribes, in a combined attack against the Muslims, marched against the small city of Madinah. Together they numbered from ten to twelve thousand men. Had it been a sudden attack it would have been disastrous. But the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had been informed in time. It was decided that the best way to defend themselves against this huge attack was to dig a trench big enough to prevent the enemies from entering the city. This was no simple task…………..

It makes my heart ache just to visualize that staunch group of faithful companions along with their Prophet (s.a.w), digging in the sun, without any fancy tools, not even sufficient food to keep them going………….and hovering above them like a sword, the fear of the approaching enemy……….can we survive even a fraction of such a trial? What made them so brave? What made them so steadfast? Their main driving force was not love of their own life or safety but, Love of Allah and Love of His Prophet (s.a.w)…….. Complete surrender without any doubt.

Was it as easy as the utterance of these words? We can look at the following words of Quran and see for ourselves that the way of Love, is a way of selflessness and sacrifice; and a way which is interspersed with obstacles that are excruciatingly painful…………….but in the end this is the way which leads to success and a heavenly pleasure that is unknown to people who live without this passion. The Quran tells it all, we just need to open our hearts and eyes and ears:

 

إِذْ جَاؤُوكُم مِّن فَوْقِكُمْ وَمِنْ أَسْفَلَ مِنكُمْ وَإِذْ زَاغَتْ الْأَبْصَارُ وَبَلَغَتِ الْقُلُوبُ الْحَنَاجِرَ وَتَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ الظُّنُونَا {10}

When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes turned dull, and the hearts rose up to the throats, and you began to think diverse thoughts of Allah.

هُنَالِكَ ابْتُلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَزُلْزِلُوا زِلْزَالًا شَدِيدًا {11}

There the believers were tried and they were shaken with severe shaking.

Did the companions of the Prophet wait for everyone’s approval before they took upon this task? Like we do? Were they being appreciated for their efforts? No, on the contrary, the hypocrites were constantly demoralizing them by putting doubts in their hearts:

 

وَإِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ مَّا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا {12}

And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease began to say: Allah and His Messenger did not promise us (victory) but only to deceive.

 

Just look at these words and see how amazingly familiar they sound. I mean, even today we hear certain people saying things like, “Oh no!  Why are you going to read the Quran? What will become of your home and family? Your home will be neglected. Your husband will lose interest in you. Your children will turn against you.” Or, “Who will marry you like this? You will look awful in hijab. What are you going to get out of it anyway?”

وَإِذْ قَالَت طَّائِفَةٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَا أَهْلَ يَثْرِبَ لَا مُقَامَ لَكُمْ فَارْجِعُوا وَيَسْتَأْذِنُ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمُ النَّبِيَّ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّ بُيُوتَنَا عَوْرَةٌ وَمَا هِيَ بِعَوْرَةٍ إِن يُرِيدُونَ إِلَّا فِرَارًا {13}

And when a party of them said: O people of Yasrib! There IS no place to stand for you (here), therefore go back; and a party of them asked permission of the prophet, saying. Surely our houses are exposed; and they were not exposed; they only desired to fly away.

Allah says: “Tell them, running away will not do you any good, and if you are running away from death or being killed, you would enjoy this life only for a little while.” How logical the Quran is and how practical……….Don’t we realize that only Allah can help us whether we keep hiding in our comfort zones or venture out on His command:

 

قُلْ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَعْصِمُكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ سُوءًا أَوْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ رَحْمَةً وَلَا يَجِدُونَ لَهُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا {17}

Say: Who is it that can withhold you from Allah if He intends to do you evil, rather He intends to show you mercy? And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any guardian or a helper.

We need to think upon it that although the doubts raised by the hypocrites were the same as we have to face today, but there is a great difference between the response of the companions of the Prophet, and our own reaction to such comments. We tend to lose heart, every now and then, because our Love for Allah and His Messenger is not strong. But just look at the patience and determination of those blessed people……………… They stood like a rock till the end and eventually the armies had to retreat after a month long siege. We should study these events in detail and discuss it among our families and friends so that we may be inspired towards a courageous way of life in which nothing should make us lose our trust in Allah and His Messenger.

When we want to serve Allah, we cannot do it haphazardly, or follow our own heart’s desires or our self created theories. Allah has indeed given us the most beautiful example in the life and personality of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Although numerous books have been written on this topic but this one Ayat of the Quran encompasses it all……………for all those who have put their hopes with Allah, and hope for the day of the Hereafter, and who remember Allah a lot………………let them know who their guide should be……..who should they idealize and who should they follow: 

 

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً {21}

Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.

The Prophet didn’t just issue commands , rather he demonstrated all the teachings of the Quran by acting upon them first. So in this Battle too, he was side by side with his companions. When a believer complained of hunger and showed him that he had tied a stone to his belly to avoid the hunger pangs, the Prophet (s.a.w) showed that he himself had tied two stones instead of one.

In his entire life, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) was the perfect reflection of the spirit of Quran. It is Allah’s favor on us that, just as he has preserved the Quran for us, He has also preserved the Sunnah of His Prophet for all times to come, so that we have a perfect role model to follow. However, if today we find ourselves misdirected and confused, it’s all because we have let ourselves be deluded into following other “ideals”, leaving behind the clear, shining example of our Prophet (s.a.w). But there is still time while we are alive, to turn back to our original sources of guidance so as to live with an inner sense of peace in this world and reap great success in the Hereafter.

It was this trust in the Prophet (s.a.w) which strengthened the faith of the believers in Madinah even in the face of severe trials. They had taken an oath to obey Allah and His Messenger and they proved their sincerity in every gesture. Their loyalty did not waver with time, whether in happiness or in trials and difficult times, they gave preference to the obedience of Allah and His Messenger over their own comforts and desires. Our glorious history is full of shining examples of their sacrifices for the sake of Islam. That is why Allah appreciates them in these beautiful words:

 

مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَى نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا {23}

Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah: so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed in the least

This is the key: never changing your determination to serve Allah, even if it costs your life. We also say these words but our actions do not live up to the claims we make. So let’s take a quiet moment and check up on our sincerity of purpose. What are we really working for? If our focus is on  anything other than Allah then surely it cannot give us the constant and ever present energy we need to keep going with determination. That is why the truth of true believers is so much valuable in the eyes of Allah:

 

لِيَجْزِيَ اللَّهُ الصَّادِقِينَ بِصِدْقِهِمْ وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ إِن شَاء أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا {24}

That Allah may reward the truthful for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if He please or turn to them (mercifully); surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

The battle of Ahzab lasted almost a month. The enemies could not enter Madinah because of the trench, thus they had to lay a siege during the cold winter for which they were not prepared. The believers faced a two sided dilemma. On one hand, they had to stand ready to fight at the battle front in case the enemy should try and cross the trench and on the other hand they were being pressurized by the treachery of the Jews inside Madinah, who had pledged to support them but were now changing their alliance. It was a painful test of faith in which the hypocrisy of the hypocrites came out in the open, and the belief of the believers was strengthened more than ever.

Every night is followed by a morning; similarly this trial also came to an end. Suddenly one night, help arrived from Allah; a severe windstorm accompanied by thunder and lightning hit the camp. It added to the cold and darkness. The wind blew over the tents and put the enemy in disarray. They could not withstand this blow from nature so they fled from the battle field in humiliation:

 

وَرَدَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِغَيْظِهِمْ لَمْ يَنَالُوا خَيْرًا وَكَفَى اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الْقِتَالَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ قَوِيًّا عَزِيزًا {25}

And Allah turned back the unbelievers in their rage; they did not obtain any advantage, and Allah sufficed the believers in fighting; and Allah is Strong, Mighty.

Islam is a religion of peace. But peace is a condition which is achieved through hard work and perseverance and selflessness. Just to defeat the enemies in battlefields is not enough. You need to have individuals who are at peace with themselves and who can maintain an environment of peace and stability. For this purpose Allah sent a complete guideline of social reforms which was aimed at creating an inner strength within the Believers, to guard themselves against the negative effects of the Hypocrites, who were so intermingled in the Muslim society of Madinah that their removal was not possible. So this education starts with the most important members of the society………the women.

Most people ask the question, “What is the status of women in Islam?” The following verses which are addressed primarily to the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w), prove that in Allah’s eyes, women are the foundations of a society. Their conduct and personality affects the environment of the home and families, who in turn transfer it to the whole society. Therefore it was very important that their education should be given top priority. Look at how Quran provides us with a set of values, beginning with the most honorable of Ladies, the blessed Wives of the Prophet (s.a.w) who are the mothers of the believers, and thus a role model for us to follow.

Allah says:

 

يَا نِسَاء النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاء إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا {32}

O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other of the women; if you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire BUT speak in an honorable manner.

This is the best education because it is coming directly from Allah. And so the order of commands is so amazingly perfect. What is the first thing about a personality that needs to be put right? Your way of talking…….women should be very careful because the way they talk has a far reaching effect on the listener. So the tone they reserve for their loved ones should not be used randomly for every other man. Also they have been told to talk in a straightforward manner. Being precise in the choice of words, prevents misinterpretation and saves a lot of time.

The next thing is that the home for a woman should be regarded by her as a sanctuary and not a prison. It should be a place she loves, because she knows that her honour and dignity are preserved within its boundary. It doesn’t mean that Allah has forbidden her to step outside the house. She can go out occasionally but not without a solid reason. Obviously Allah is not holding her back from going out for education, or going to a doctor, or fulfilling other needs. But going out of habit and purposelessly traversing the roads, and spending hours on window shopping is a different thing………which needs to be stopped. Similarly going to meet somebody with a purpose, is different than just going about into one’s neighborhood out of curiosity and boredom, to kill time with gossip and idle talk. Another important factor here is that when a woman has to go out of necessity then she should go in respectable attire and not copy the fashions of the ignorant. Isn’t it ironical that nowadays we associate being fashionable to being educated and Allah is calling it the way of the ignorant people!! And then at the end Allah is assuring us that these are not restrictions. Nor should we mistakenly assume that Allah doesn’t want us to enjoy freedom. No, the fact is that Allah loves us so much that he doesn’t want us to pollute ourselves with the harmful elements of the society. The words of the Quran are so very clear and precise:

 

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا {33}

And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying in the days of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance); and keep up prayer, and pay the obligatory charity (Zakat), and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.

One might ask what should the women do with all the time that they have on their hands? Shouldn’t they contribute towards the society? Allah says why not! Their responsibility is a great one and that is to educate themselves as well as their families with the Book of Allah and the Wisdom in the Sayings of the Prophet (s.a.w):

 

وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلَى فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ لَطِيفًا خَبِيرًا {34}

And remember that what is recited in your houses of the verses of Allah and the wisdom (of the teachings of the Prophet s.a.w); surely Allah is ever most courteous, well Aware of all things.

If after all this anyone has a doubt in their minds about Allah’s love and mercy for women, then look at the following Ayat in which Allah has once and for all made it clear, that He has created both man and woman with equal opportunities to excel and to seek a closer relationship with their Creator, even if they have been created in different moulds to be able to fulfill the specific roles assigned to them respectively.

 

إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْقَانِتَاتِ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالصَّادِقَاتِ وَالصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّابِرَاتِ وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ وَالْمُتَصَدِّقَاتِ وَالصَّائِمِينَ وَالصَّائِمَاتِ وَالْحَافِظِينَ فُرُوجَهُمْ وَالْحَافِظَاتِ وَالذَّاكِرِينَ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً وَالذَّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا {35}

Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember– Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.

But it’s a pity that those who do not wish to see the truth, come up with a lot of objections that women have been suppressed in Islam and that they should be given freedom and equality with men etc. A lot can be said in response but there is no match to the simplicity and clarity of Quran, which has given us the following Ayat as an answer to put an end to all such doubts:

 

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا {36}

And it is not for a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying.

The fact is that we cannot truly worship Allah until we have a complete trust in His love and mercy for us. Allah wants us to succeed that is why He has taught us a beautiful way to increase our faith in Him; and that is through His constant remembrance and glorification:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيراً {41}

O you who believe! Remember Allah, with frequent remembrance

وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا {42}

And glorify His praises morning and evening.

 

Allah’s mercy for us is so boundless. Just listen to these soothing words of assurance:

 

هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيمًا {43}

He it is Who sends His blessings on you, and (so do) His angels, that He may bring you forth out of utter darkness into the light; and He is Merciful to the believers.

This great Surah has many things to teach us but its basic lesson is that we should have a very clear perspective about the status of the Prophet (s.a.w) in the sight of Allah as well as his importance in our own life.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا {45}

O Prophet! surely We have sent you as a witness, and as a bearer of good news and as a Warner,

وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا {46}

And as one inviting to Allah by His permission, and as a lamp spreading light.

Even with this great honour and status, given by Allah, the Prophet (s.a.w) was the most humble and soft-hearted person; quick to show mercy to all, especially to the weak and downtrodden ones, and even to those who annoyed him. However this softness of attitude caused some people to take undue advantage of him. Those were mostly the Bedouins from around Madinah who had embraced Islam but were not yet aware of the manners and etiquettes to conduct themselves in the company of the Prophet (s.a.w). The following Ayat goes into a detailed analysis of this behavior. We might brush it aside as something meant for the uncivilized ones, but do read it and you will be astonished to see some familiar social scenes in this mirror!

Otherwise, why would Allah keep this ayat in the Quran if it was not meant for us, anyway?

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَى طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ وَلَكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُوا فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانتَشِرُوا وَلَا مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي النَّبِيَّ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنكُمْ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا {53}

O you who believe! do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless permission is given to you, nor stay waiting for mealtime– but when you are invited to a meal, enter, and when you have eaten, then disperse—and do not seek long conversation; surely such behavior gives the Prophet trouble, but he feels shy in asking you to leave, and Allah does not feel shy in telling you the truth. If you have to ask His wives for anything, ask of them from behind a curtain; this is purer for your hearts and (for) their hearts; and it is not proper that you that you should give trouble to the Messenger of Allah, nor that you should marry his wives after him ever; surely this is grievous offence in the sight of Allah.

إِن تُبْدُوا شَيْئًا أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا {54}

If you do a thing openly or do it in secret, then surely Allah is witness of all things.

The one line that captured my attention the most is that the person you are offending, intentionally or otherwise, might be too good natured and shy to tell you so because he does not want to hurt your feelings; but don’t forget that Allah is watching and keeping a record of your deeds and “He Doesn’t feel shy in telling the truth” So we should look deep into our own selves and make corrections before the Almighty decides to tell us the truth about ourselves. It might be too late to make amends then.

It really makes me feel a tremendous love for my Beloved Prophet to imagine how much he went through, including the painful attitudes of the people, so as to accomplish the task of conveying to us the message of Allah, to connect us with Allah through this never ending bond of the Quran. How should we express our gratitude to Him and our love? What is the best gift that we can send him to show our devotion? Allah says:

 

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا {56}

Surely Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet; O you who believe! call for (Divine) blessings on him and salute him with a (becoming) salutation.

Those who persist in hurting Allah and The Messenger, have been warned in the following ayat:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا {57}

Surely (as for) those who speak evil things of Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the here after, and He has prepared for them a chastisement bringing disgrace.

It is not possible to rid the society of all harmful people or attitudes. Although social reforms are meant to educate the society but there would always be certain elements which might not even be visible. So it becomes absolutely necessary to protect our own self against such possible dangers. Therefore Allah commanded the Prophet to tell his wives, daughters and all the believing women to cover themselves properly before venturing out of the safety of their homes:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاء الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا {59}

O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their outer-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

The above Ayat is a superb example of the balance of Islam. Neither have the women been held captives in their houses, nor can they go about carelessly. The covering for a Woman, is like protecting a precious jewel. Allah knows His creation and He knows what is best for us. Unfortunately it is a topic which is misunderstood by most and thus has become an “issue”. Ironically, while people feel it’s a violation of women’s rights, the women who actually chose to wear the complete Hijab feel happy and liberated, not imprisoned. I came across a poem written by one such woman. Hope you will enjoy it:

The Muslim Woman “Unveiled”

 

 You look at me and call me oppressed,
Simply because of the way I’m dressed,
You know me not for what’s inside,
You judge the clothing I wear with pride
My body’s not for your eyes to hold,
You must speak to my mind, not my feminine mold,
I’m an individual, I’m no mans slave,
It’s Allah’s pleasure that I only crave

I have a voice so I will be heard,
for in my heart I carry His word,
“O ye women, wrap close your cloak,
so you won’t be bothered by ignorant folk”

Man doesn’t tell me to dress this way,
It’s a Law from God that I obey,
Oppressed is something I’m truly NOT,
For liberation is what I’ve got

It was given to me many years ago,
With the right to prosper, the right to grow,
I can climb mountains or cross the seas,
Expand my mind in all degrees
for God Himself gave us LIB-ER-TY,
When He sent Islam,
To You and Me!

A lot can be said about the advantages of Hijab in our day to day life. Because when we remain connected with these natural laws, our best talents and inner resources get a chance to come to surface and benefit us in fulfilling our roles in this world. But success in this world is not our only target. Our main focus should be on the Day of Recompense, when all matters shall be decided by Allah and we will not be allowed to put forward our own philosophies. The guidance of the Quran is clear and simple, it our choice whether to accept it or make excuses.

Allah has given us a certain time in which to exercise this limited power of choice. But this time will end anytime and we are not even aware how soon that might be:

 

يَسْأَلُكَ النَّاسُ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ اللَّهِ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ السَّاعَةَ تَكُونُ قَرِيبًا {63}

Men ask you about the hour; say: The knowledge of it is only with Allah, and what will make you comprehend that the: hour may be near.

We know what Allah has forbidden and yet we continue to indulge in those activities. We have knowledge of the ways to please Him yet we are not rushing towards those things? Why? May be it’s because we have a false sense of security that just as in this world we are allowed to go about our lives without any obstacles even if we disobey Allah. So we will not have to face any consequences of our actions even in the hereafter and just because we are all Muslims He will grant us Jannah (Paradise). It is such a great folly to deceive oneself. The truth is that Allah’s disobedience is not such a minor offence as we have made ourselves believe. Allah says very clearly:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَعَنَ الْكَافِرِينَ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ سَعِيرًا {64}

Surely Allah has cursed the unbelievers and has prepared for them a burning fire,

 Obviously none of us wants to face such a terrible end; But, how to avoid it? How to get out of this quicksand of disobedience to Allah and love of worldly success? 

The only power that can take us out of this darkness, and bring us into light, is a strong belief in Allah and the fear of His displeasure; along with the desire for a complete, everlasting success of both the worlds. And so, at the end of this Surah Allah gives us this reminder to take with us as we close this chapter,  something that will remain with us as we go about in our lives………...  

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا {70}

O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and speak the right word,

يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا {71}

He will put your deeds into a right state for you, and forgive you your faults; and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he indeed achieves a mighty success.

                                          

Surah Saba

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

In the Quran I’ve seen that every once in a while there comes a Surah where the previously learned lessons are reinforced so that we can stop and take a look at ourselves to see what have we absorbed of the Quran so far. Surah Saba, not only provides an opportunity to strengthen our concepts, but also reminds us of the most important lesson of the Quran, i.e. Gratitude.

After studying it, I feel as if I have reached a cross roads where Allah is giving me a choice about which road I would like to follow. One is of gratitude and is filled with peace of mind, tranquility, and deep contentment. The other is of arrogance and ingratitude, which in turn is filled with complaints, dissatisfaction and never ending worries.

Surah Saba starts with the words “Alhamdulillah”……… the ultimate expression of gratitude and praise for Allah. The most amazing thing which attracts me towards the Quran is that Allah doesn’t force anything upon us. For every concept, He provides us with reasons and logic so that we might utilize our thinking powers into creating a strong bond with Him………..a bond of love and submission which sustains us through the difficult situations of life, and helps us to stay on the right track.

That is why right after these words of Praise; Allah gives us the reason why we should admire Him:

 الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ وَهُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْخَبِيرُ {1}

 All praise is due to Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and to Him is due all praise in the hereafter; and He is the Wise, the Aware.

 

Allah has given us the ability of comprehension and evaluation. And He has given us endless signs in the Quran to contemplate upon, so that we might use this gift of reasoning to “discover” Allah who is the owner of all there is in the heavens and on the earth. The more I study the verses of the Quran, the more I realize how limited my knowledge is. Perhaps this is has been the most fascinating discovery for me in this journey through Quran; the knowledge that I know very little and that My Allah knows everything.

 

يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاء وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا وَهُوَ الرَّحِيمُ الْغَفُورُ {2}

He has the knowledge of all that which goes down into the earth and that which comes out of it, and that which comes down from the heaven and that which ascends to it; and He is the Merciful, the Forgiving.

 

I used to think why it is so important that after every few verses in the Quran there comes a passage which speaks of Allah’s creation and Allah’s knowledge? What is the reason for this repetition? Now I understand that if we don’t contemplate on Allah’s greatness, then we try to attribute this greatness to people and things, placing them on high pedestals and then we almost start worshipping them, making them the nucleus of our lives, forgetting completely that it’s Allah who has blessed everyone with whatever qualities they have. Denying Allah and denying His authority is very dangerous because then Allah takes away our ability to accept unseen things. Consequently, anything that does not have a physical explanation becomes impossible to comprehend. That is why the non-believers deny the concept of resurrection.

 

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَا تَأْتِينَا السَّاعَةُ قُلْ بَلَى وَرَبِّي لَتَأْتِيَنَّكُمْ عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْهُ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا أَصْغَرُ مِن ذَلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرُ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ {3}

And those who disbelieve say: The hour of Doom shall not come upon us. Say: Nay! By my Lord, the Knower of the unseen, it shall certainly come upon you; not the weight of an atom becomes absent from Him, in the heavens or in the earth, and neither less than that nor greater, but (all) is recorded in the Clear Book.

 

Everything in this universe has been created with a definite purpose. So how can we even think that Human life will just end here and that there will be no consequences of our actions? Allah will definitely re-create us out of dust and bones so that we are paid in full for whatever we worked for in this life:

 

لِيَجْزِيَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ {4}

That He may reward those who have believed and done good deeds; these are the ones for whom is forgiveness and an honorable sustenance.

وَالَّذِينَ سَعَوْا فِي آيَاتِنَا مُعَاجِزِينَ أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مِّن رِّجْزٍ أَلِيمٌ {5}

And (as for) those who strive hard to discredit our revelations, It is they for whom is a painful chastisement of an evil kind.

 

For those who use their knowledge in a positive way, they have no problems to accept the greatness of Allah. When they see the Quran they accept wholeheartedly that it is the Book of Allah and its purpose is to guide us towards a way of life which is approved by Allah.

 

وَيَرَى الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ هُوَ الْحَقَّ وَيَهْدِي إِلَى صِرَاطِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ {6}

And those to whom the knowledge has been given, can see that the revelations sent down to you from your Lord, are the truth, and it guides to the Way  of the Almighty, the Praised.

 

But for some unfortunate people, the same knowledge becomes a barrier in their acceptance of Allah, so they try to hide their confusion and lack of direction by making fun of the Prophet (s.a.w) and the clear message He gave. Allah says that if they think themselves to be so wise and so intelligent, then how is it that they never think about their helplessness? It doesn’t take any extraordinary intellect, to evaluate man’s lack of control over his destiny. Therefore the only choice we have is to surrender to Allah with humility:

 

أَفَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُم مِّنَ السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضِ إِن نَّشَأْ نَخْسِفْ بِهِمُ الْأَرْضَ أَوْ نُسْقِطْ عَلَيْهِمْ كِسَفًا مِّنَ السَّمَاء إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّكُلِّ عَبْدٍ مُّنِيبٍ {9}

Do they not see the sky and the earth that surrounds them from front and from behind? If We want We can cave in the earth to swallow them up or let the fragments of the sky fall upon them; most surely there is a sign in this for every servant turning (to Allah) in repentance.

 

After this realization that we are all helpless and dependent on Allah for our protection and sustenance, the next step is to be grateful for all the blessings that Allah has given to us. Gratitude and humility are the virtues which increase a person in Allah consciousness; paving the way for success in both the worlds. On the contrary if a person thinks that all his goodness is due to his own superiority then he cannot give thanks to the Lord, earning Allah’s displeasure in this world and total loss in the Hereafter.

This contrast is further highlighted in the following examples. The first one is that of the Prophets Daud (a.s) and Suleiman (a.s). They had both been blessed by Allah with amazing powers, and such grandeur and glory which were unparalleled in the history of mankind. In spite of this, they remained grateful servants of their Rabb. On the other hand, were the people of Saba, who, when blessed by Allah, became proud and were consequently destroyed.

Look at the picture painted by the beautiful words of the Quran, about Prophet Daud (a.s) who had been blessed with such a melodious voice that when he used to recite the praise of Allah, all the birds and even mountains joined him in that. It brings to mind a whole atmosphere celebrating the splendor of Allah:

 

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ مِنَّا فَضْلًا يَا جِبَالُ أَوِّبِي مَعَهُ وَالطَّيْرَ وَأَلَنَّا لَهُ الْحَدِيدَ {10}

And certainly We gave to Dawood excellence from Us and commanded: O mountains! Join him in singing My praise , and (a similar command was to) the birds; and We made the iron soft for him,

 

Daud (a.s) was given another awesome power that Iron had been made soft for him and Allah had taught him the skills to work with it.

 

أَنِ اعْمَلْ سَابِغَاتٍ وَقَدِّرْ فِي السَّرْدِ وَاعْمَلُوا صَالِحًا إِنِّي بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ {11}

Saying: Make coats of armour measuring out the links in mail and do good deeds; surely I am watching over all your actions.

 

So on one hand there was his excellence of worship and on the other hand excellence in industry……..but that was not all, because Allah commands him to do good deeds and reminds him that He is watching over all his actions. What an amazingly impressive Ayat it is, in which the standard of excellence has been defined in such a few words. What is our attitude if we are blessed with any exceptional ability? We become arrogant and boast of it to others, and then we become slack in other fields of worship, thinking that if we are doing one great job then we don’t need to worship with so much devotion, or even if we do that, then our general behavior is careless, being rude to people, letting them down, being selfish, discourteous, etc.

 It is a common joke (that made me very sad when I heard it) that once a person was heard praying:

O Allah! Make all the good people religious

And make all the religious people good

 

So if by the grace of Allah, we are working in His way, Learning the Quran, or spreading His message to the world, bringing people to Quran or contributing in any way, then we need to remember that it is all due to the Mercy of Allah and be grateful to Him. Strive to work hard in all areas of our life and be conscious that Allah is watching all our actions. This is the essence of gratitude; to accept that everything is from Allah and for Allah.

Next Allah tells us about Prophet Suleiman (a.s) for whom Allah had conquered the air, which enabled him to travel across the great expanse of his kingdom day and night:

 

وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ غُدُوُّهَا شَهْرٌ وَرَوَاحُهَا شَهْرٌ وَأَسَلْنَا لَهُ عَيْنَ الْقِطْرِ وَمِنَ الْجِنِّ مَن يَعْمَلُ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ وَمَن يَزِغْ مِنْهُمْ عَنْ أَمْرِنَا نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ {12}

And (We made) the wind (subservient) to Sulaiman, which made a month’s journey in the morning and a month’s journey in the evening, and We made a fountain of molten copper to flow out for him, and of the jinn there were those who worked before him by the command of his Lord; and whoever turned aside from Our command from among them, We made him taste of the punishment of burning fire.

 

How magnificent was his power that even Jinns were made humble in front of him, like slaves. They used their immense strength to produce for him great arts and architecture:

 

يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَاء مِن مَّحَارِيبَ وَتَمَاثِيلَ وَجِفَانٍ كَالْجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ رَّاسِيَاتٍ اعْمَلُوا آلَ دَاوُودَ شُكْرًا وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ {13}

They worked for him as he desired: making arches, images, basins as large as reservoirs and built-in cooking cauldrons. (We said) “O family of Daud! Work gratefully.” Only a few of my slaves are truly grateful.

 

Still we see that Allah is commanding Him and his followers to be grateful. And what a strange thing it is that very few people show gratitude. Why is it so rare? What is the reason for this wide spread ungratefulness, that we see around us? I think it might be due to a lack of closeness with Allah. We have somehow moved away from reality and see things only from a material perspective. So whatever we have in life seems to be a result of our own efforts. This makes way for self-praise and arrogance. Consequently we find that whatever one misses in life is considered to be a great “loss” and “bad-luck” not realizing that life is just a test from Allah. Patience has become an unknown quality, and is replaced with constant complaints and self pity.

What a terrible way to live………. What a waste of life to be deluded by this deception.

One such nation who suffered from this illusion was that of “Saba”. They were one of the most prosperous and materially advanced people in the history of this world. But this made them arrogant.

 

لَقَدْ كَانَ لِسَبَإٍ فِي مَسْكَنِهِمْ آيَةٌ جَنَّتَانِ عَن يَمِينٍ وَشِمَالٍ كُلُوا مِن رِّزْقِ رَبِّكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لَهُ بَلْدَةٌ طَيِّبَةٌ وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ {15}

Certainly there was a sign for Saba in their abode; two gardens on the right and the left; eat of the sustenance of your Lord and give thanks to Him: a good land and a Forgiving Lord!

 

They forgot the Creator who had blessed them with all the bounties of life, thinking that nothing could destroy them, but Allah proved them to be wrong. The huge dam which was the source of their prosperity was broken and destroyed everything in its way. It was not due to any other reason except that Allah punished them for their disbelief and arrogance:

 

ذَلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُم بِمَا كَفَرُوا وَهَلْ نُجَازِي إِلَّا الْكَفُورَ {17}

This We requited them with because they disbelieved; and We do not punish any but the ungrateful.

 

Normally such disasters are attributed to “technical” faults. But one should ask forgiveness of Allah, because these things are a warning for our own misconduct. But to recognize the truth is possible only when we have a day to day contact with the greatest truth on earth……i.e. the Quran and the Hadith. Otherwise this world is just an illusion and anybody can be captivated into believing things as they appear……….this is what the shaitan (devil) does………leads you away from the truth and then you are ready to believe whatever lies he whispers to you:

 

وَلَقَدْ صَدَّقَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِبْلِيسُ ظَنَّهُ فَاتَّبَعُوهُ إِلَّا فَرِيقًا مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {20}

And certainly the Shaitan found true his conjecture concerning them, so they follow him, except a party of the believers.

 

Many people ask this question, “Why doesn’t Allah stop shaitan?” the answer is in the next Ayat:

 

وَمَا كَانَ لَهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِالْآخِرَةِ مِمَّنْ هُوَ مِنْهَا فِي شَكٍّ وَرَبُّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ {21}

And he has no authority over them, but that We may distinguish him who believes in the hereafter from him who is in doubt concerning it; and your Lord is the Preserver of all things

 

It means that having a strong conviction in the Hereafter is a great protection against the traps of the devil and other negative forces, but this conviction cannot be achieved without the Quran. So instead of cursing shaitan all the time, and thinking how unfortunate we are in not having enough control against his illusions, we should concentrate on studying the Book of Allah on a daily basis and inshaAllah the more we strengthen our contact with Allah and his teachings, the greater will be our strength of faith.

Faith in Allah is the only thing that can save us. Other things and people might appear to be powerful but in reality there is no power and no authority except with Allah:

 

قُلِ ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا لَهُمْ فِيهِمَا مِن شِرْكٍ وَمَا لَهُ مِنْهُم مِّن ظَهِيرٍ {22}

Say: Call upon those whom you assert besides Allah; they do not control the weight of an atom in the heavens or in the earth nor have they any partnership in either, nor has He among them any one to back (Him) up.

 

The disbelievers attach themselves to the glamour of this world and reject the clear warnings of the Quran. Since they don’t have any faith in the hereafter, so they blatantly deny the truth.

                    {31}………….وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَن نُّؤْمِنَ بِهَذَا الْقُرْآنِ وَلَا بِالَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ

And those who disbelieve say: By no means will we believe in this Quran, nor in that which is before it;

 

The biggest illusion for the disbelievers is that they assume that they can get away with anything they do or say against Allah. Although Allah might not punish them for it in this life but what will be their fate on the Day of Judgment? When they will stand in front of their Lord and recognize their helplessness then they will start blaming each other. The downtrodden followers of the affluent people will curse them for leading them astray but their leaders will in turn deny any responsibility for their wrongdoing:

……..وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ مَوْقُوفُونَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يَرْجِعُ بَعْضُهُمْ إِلَى بَعْضٍ الْقَوْلَ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لَوْلَا أَنتُمْ لَكُنَّا مُؤْمِنِينَ {31}

And could you see when the unjust shall be made to stand before their Lord, tossing accusing words on one another! Those who were reckoned weak shall say to those who were proud: Had it not been for you we would certainly have been believers.

قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا أَنَحْنُ صَدَدْنَاكُمْ عَنِ الْهُدَى بَعْدَ إِذْ جَاءكُم بَلْ كُنتُم مُّجْرِمِينَ {32}

Those who were proud shall say to those who were deemed weak: Did we turn you away from the guidance after it had come to you? Nay, you (yourselves) were guilty

 

It shows that every one of us is responsible for one’s own choices in life. So before following anyone we should make sure that it is the right way. Because on the Day of Judgment, it is not going to be any use to put the blame on those, whose influence we readily accept in this life, most probably due to our own interests.

It seems horrifying to imagine such torments being faced by people but it will be the consequence of their own deeds. Allah’s decisions will not be unfair:

 

وَأَسَرُّوا النَّدَامَةَ لَمَّا رَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَجَعَلْنَا الْأَغْلَالَ فِي أَعْنَاقِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا هَلْ يُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {33}

And they shall conceal regret when they shall see the punishment; and We will put shackles on the necks of those who disbelieved; they shall not be requited but what they did.

 

In this world our main focus of attention remains on two things; our material possessions and our children. No doubt these are great blessings of Allah and they sustain us through this journey of life but it becomes a problem when all our energies, ideas and aspirations are revolving around it. Because then it makes us forgetful of our real purpose of life. In some cases it even gives some people a false sense of security, making them arrogant and defiant:

 

وَقَالُوا نَحْنُ أَكْثَرُ أَمْوَالًا وَأَوْلَادًا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ {35}

And they say: We have more wealth and children, and we shall not be punished.

 

Allah makes it clear for us that these are only the pleasures of this world and can be a source of greater status in the hereafter only if we use these blessings in the way of Allah and do good deeds with sincerity and faith:

 

وَمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُم بِالَّتِي تُقَرِّبُكُمْ عِندَنَا زُلْفَى إِلَّا مَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ جَزَاء الضِّعْفِ بِمَا عَمِلُوا وَهُمْ فِي الْغُرُفَاتِ آمِنُونَ {37}

And not your wealth nor your children, are the things which bring you near Us in station, but whoever believes and does good, these it is for whom is a double reward for what they do, and they shall be secure in the highest mansions.

 

To use our wealth and other worldly resources in the way of Allah is a great way to win Allah’s pleasure, but some of the times we feel insecure that we might not be left with enough for our own needs. Allah is assuring us here that whatever we spend for His sake, he will replace it with more, because His treasures are endless:

 

قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّي يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ لَهُ وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَهُوَ يُخْلِفُهُ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ {39}

Say: Surely my Lord amplifies the means of subsistence for whom He pleases of His servants and straitens (them) for whom (He pleases), and whatever thing you spend in charity, He will pay you back, and He is the best of Sustainers.

 

Allah has given us clear signs of guidance in this book but it benefits only those who want to be guided; for those who are arrogant, will never try to find the truth, because they already think themselves to be perfect. To prove their self-worth they seek to let down the true religion and since they can’t find fault with this perfect Quran, their next target becomes the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w):

 

وَإِذَا تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُنَا بَيِّنَاتٍ قَالُوا مَا هَذَا إِلَّا رَجُلٌ يُرِيدُ أَن يَصُدَّكُمْ عَمَّا كَانَ يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَقَالُوا مَا هَذَا إِلَّا إِفْكٌ مُّفْتَرًى وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلْحَقِّ لَمَّا جَاءهُمْ إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ {43}

And when Our clear communications are recited to them, they say: This is naught but a man who desires to turn you away from that which your fathers worshipped. And they say: This is naught but a lie that is forged. And those who disbelieve say of the truth when it comes to them: This is only clear enchantment.

 

Obviously their allegations make no sense, So Allah tells them to stop and think about what they are saying:

 

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَعِظُكُم بِوَاحِدَةٍ أَن تَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ مَثْنَى وَفُرَادَى ثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُوا مَا بِصَاحِبِكُم مِّن جِنَّةٍ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ لَّكُم بَيْنَ يَدَيْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ {46}

(O Prophet) Say: I would ask you only one thing, for Allah’s sake, think individually or consult one another, then ponder whether your companion (Muhammad s.a.w) is really crazy; He is only a Warner to you to forewarn you of a severe punishment.

 

The Truth cannot be washed away by falsehood and baseless allegations:

 

قُلْ جَاء الْحَقُّ وَمَا يُبْدِئُ الْبَاطِلُ وَمَا يُعِيدُ {49}

 Say: The truth has come, and the falsehood neither originates nor restores anything.

 

Again Allah warns us that all this freedom to speak and act as we want is limited to this world only, and it is a test for people whether they stay on the right track or not. On the Day of Judgment when they will see their end, the disbelievers will all cry out that they were ready to believe in the truth brought by the Prophet, but it will be too late:

 

وَلَوْ تَرَى إِذْ فَزِعُوا فَلَا فَوْتَ وَأُخِذُوا مِن مَّكَانٍ قَرِيبٍ {51}

And if you could only see when they shall be in a state of confusion, but (then) there shall be no escape and they shall be seized upon from a near place

وَقَالُوا آمَنَّا بِهِ وَأَنَّى لَهُمُ التَّنَاوُشُ مِن مَكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ {52}

 And then they shall say: We believe in it. And how shall the attaining (of faith) be possible to them from a distant place?

وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِهِ مِن قَبْلُ وَيَقْذِفُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ مِن مَّكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ {53}

And they disbelieved in it before, and they had sneered at the unseen when they were far away (i.e. during their life on earth)

 

They will suffer a terrible loss because of suspecting the true guidance when it was given to them.

 

وَحِيلَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ مَا يَشْتَهُونَ كَمَا فُعِلَ بِأَشْيَاعِهِم مِّن قَبْلُ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا فِي شَكٍّ مُّرِيبٍ {54}

And a barrier shall be placed between them and that which they desired to have, as was done with the similar people before them; for they were indeed involved in a misleading suspicion.

 

How frightening it is to imagine the extent of destruction caused by the lack of complete faith in Allah. Any doubt in the truth of Allah’s teachings might be very small in the beginning but if it is not corrected, it can be a means of leading us far astray from the straight path. Therefore in order to save ourselves from this miserable torment in the hereafter, we should pray to Allah for the consistency and firmness of our faith, be grateful for all that He has blessed us with, follow a regular pattern of worship, spend in the way of Allah and work towards learning and spreading this message to the whole world; in whatever way we can, using whatever abilities and resources we have. Only then can we hope for Allah’s forgiveness and mercy. May Allah keep us all steadfast in His way (Ameen)

 

Surah Fatir

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ

Surah Fatir was revealed in Makkah. It was a time when the antagonism from the disbelievers towards the Prophet of Allah and his followers had grown quite strong and every sort of mischief was created to frustrate the mission of the Prophet (s.a.w). Allah warned the disbelievers, through this Surah, that their conspiracies were against their own interest. No matter how powerful they thought themselves to be, they could never overpower Allah’s decisions.

Although Surah Fatir was primarily addressed to the Disbelievers of Makkah, it stands as an open invitation to all generations of people, of all times, to look around carefully and use their intellect to understand that there is no basis for “shirk” (associating partners with Allah) and that there is no being besides Allah, which might possess divine attributes and powers. Therefore all our admiration and worship should be purely for Allah, the Creator of the Universe:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ جَاعِلِ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا أُولِي أَجْنِحَةٍ مَّثْنَى وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ يَزِيدُ فِي الْخَلْقِ مَا يَشَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {1}

All praise is due to Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who appoints the angels having two, three and four pairs of wings as His messengers. He adds to His creation as He pleases; for Allah has power over all things.

 

Of all the signs of His creation, why has Allah specifically mentioned the angels here? The reason is that the polytheists of Makkah claimed these to be Allah’s daughters and so they worshipped them in the form of statues. This Ayat clearly negates their misconception. Angels are a creation of Allah, and have been employed by Allah; to perform various tasks but they have no power of their own.

The basic theme of Surah Fatir is “Tauheed”, which means to believe in the oneness of Allah. It is the first and foremost article of Faith and the basic Pillar of Islam; whereas “Shirk” or polytheism is the most despicable sin in the sight of Allah. At various places in the Quran, Allah refers to it as the greatest “Zulm” (injustice) And Allah will never forgive it unless one does sincere repentance with the promise of never reverting to it again.

Why is it so important to worship only one Allah? The reason is that Allah wants us to be liberated from all other forms of subjection and slavery. Why should we bow down to people and things and status? What can anybody give us if it’s not in our destiny? How can anybody prevent us from having something if Allah wants to give it to us?

 

مَا يَفْتَحِ اللَّهُ لِلنَّاسِ مِن رَّحْمَةٍ فَلَا مُمْسِكَ لَهَا وَمَا يُمْسِكْ فَلَا مُرْسِلَ لَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {2}

Whatever Allah grants to men of (His) mercy, there is none to withhold it, and what He withholds there is none to send it forth after that, and He is the Mighty, the Wise

 

So Tauheed is our freedom;

Depending on Allah is our real independence;

Fearing Allah is our courage;

Loving Him for His attributes is our pleasure;

And being grateful for His blessings is our contentment……….

 

But look around yourself and observe people. Isn’t it strange that the more they have, the more worried they are? Why are so many people of the elite class suffering from depression? Why is nobody really happy? Listen to any conversation and what do you hear except problems, difficulties, tension, depression? Why?

Allah tells us in very simple and direct words that to be happy we don’t need more things, or more success, or more power, but the only thing we need for happiness and peace of mind, is to remember, just in How many ways Allah has blessed us. Because if we really get down to counting our blessings, we can never be able to encompass them all and we will realize how extremely fortunate we are to have so many things going on in our lives which give us pleasure, comfort, satisfaction and even happiness. And you can really experience that there is a sort of magic, that as soon as you start talking about your fortunate moments and the good things in your life, it immediately takes you out of the shell of self-pity, the world seems to be lighted up and deep in your heart you feel something like happiness!!

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ هَلْ مِنْ خَالِقٍ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُؤْفَكُونَ {3}

O men! Call to mind the favor of Allah on you; is there any creator besides Allah who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth? There is no god but He; whence are you then turned away?

 

Another benefit of appreciating Allah’s blessings is that it increases our faith in Tauheed. Observing the universe and its systems, we will reach the conclusion that there is no other Provider of sustenance except Allah. But then why do people insist on worshipping other gods? Allah explains in the next Ayat that for some people it has become a habit that due to their arrogance and their unwillingness towards submission, they continue to deny the truth of Allah’s Messengers. Our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w) was also being denied and tormented by the pagans of Makkah, so Allah is giving him comfort that even the Messengers before him were obstructed from their true path by their people but they persevered till the very end, because every matter will eventually be returned to Allah and then the arrogant ones will reap the result of their doings. Thus it is a consolation for all those who want to spread the message of Allah in the world. If they are being rejected and abused, they should not worry and remember that this life is just a test and one day these so called powerful people will be standing in front of Allah.

 

وَإِن يُكَذِّبُوكَ فَقَدْ كُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِّن قَبْلِكَ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأمُورُ {4}

And if they call you a liar, truly messengers before you were called liars, and to Allah are all affairs returned.

 

Majority of people don’t use their own intellect and just blindly follow those who appear powerful to them or are the trend-setters. They are easily trapped by the glamour of this world and the superficial benefits they expect from people and material wealth. So Allah has sent this most beautiful Ayat that moves me to the core whenever I read it. It calls to all people whether they are Muslims or not, because every person whether good or bad, rich or poor, belongs to Allah:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُم بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ {5}

O men! Surely the promise of Allah is true, therefore let not the life of this world deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver deceive you respecting Allah.

 

Who is this “chief deceiver” that Allah is referring to? It is the devil, “Iblis”……….Allah is reminding us in such strong words, that he is your enemy so take him as your enemy:

 

إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُوا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ {6}

Surely the Shaitan is your enemy, so take him for an enemy; he only invites his party that they may be companions of the burning fire.

 

 It means that just saying that he is not our friend and that he leads us towards destruction is not enough; rather, through our attitude and actions we should prove that we believe him to be our greatest enemy.

What a pity it is that this disease of straying away from the right path is not only found in the less intelligent people who blindly follow their leaders. But even intelligent people, whom we term as “intellectuals” are seen debating hotly on their doubts regarding the authenticity of Islam. They do good deeds like helping others or running other charitable organizations but when asked to submit before the Creator, they mock religion and claim it to be some superstition of certain people. They think that they are living very “meaningful” lives, whereas they are only deceiving themselves. It becomes very frustrating to try to put them right because they already think themselves to be perfect. So Allah is giving support to the Prophet (s.a.w) and his true followers in these words:

 

أَفَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَآهُ حَسَنًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَن يَشَاء وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء فَلَا تَذْهَبْ نَفْسُكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسَرَاتٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ {8}

What! (Can that person be guided) whose evil deeds are so  fair seeming to him that he considers them to be good? The fact is that Allah leaves to stray whom He wills and guides whom He pleases, so let not your soul waste away in grief for them; surely Allah is aware of what they do.

Mostly we see people going about their ways of life, blindly following their prejudices, year after year. What is it that makes them so heedless of their end? The fact is that they don’t believe in the resurrection and the life after death. Allah says it is so obvious for people if only they would remove the covering of prejudice from their eyes and see, that even the air around them, causing clouds to gather and rain to fall, is a testimony to Allah’s power of putting life into the dead:

 

وَاللَّهُ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ الرِّيَاحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَابًا فَسُقْنَاهُ إِلَى بَلَدٍ مَّيِّتٍ فَأَحْيَيْنَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا كَذَلِكَ النُّشُورُ {9}

 It is Allah Who sends forth winds to raise up the clouds, then drives them to a dead land and therewith revives the earth after its death. Similar will be the resurrection of the dead

Every baby that is born is a miracle of Allah’s creation. How he creates life in such complexity and perfection…….

 

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا وَمَا تَحْمِلُ مِنْ أُنثَى وَلَا تَضَعُ إِلَّا بِعِلْمِهِ وَمَا يُعَمَّرُ مِن مُّعَمَّرٍ وَلَا يُنقَصُ مِنْ عُمُرِهِ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ {11}

It is Allah Who created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then He made you pairs. No female conceives or delivers without His knowledge. No long-lived man grows old or has his life cut short but is written in a Book; surely all this is easy for Allah.

 

Isn’t it a miracle that water flowing in the rivers and seas, looks the same but has such opposite characteristics. One is so sweet and the other so salty and bitter, and yet we derive benefits from both:

 

وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْبَحْرَانِ هَذَا عَذْبٌ فُرَاتٌ سَائِغٌ شَرَابُهُ وَهَذَا مِلْحٌ أُجَاجٌ وَمِن كُلٍّ تَأْكُلُونَ لَحْمًا طَرِيًّا وَتَسْتَخْرِجُونَ حِلْيَةً تَلْبَسُونَهَا وَتَرَى الْفُلْكَ فِيهِ مَوَاخِرَ لِتَبْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ {12}

And the two seas are not alike: the one sweet, that subdues thirst by its excessive sweetness, pleasant to drink; and the other salt, that burns by its saltiness; yet from each of them you eat fresh flesh and bring forth ornaments which you wear; and you see the ships cleave through it that you may seek of His bounty and that you may be grateful.

 

This verse also has a symbolic interpretation that the flow of life is like the flow of water. Sometimes it is sweet with pleasure and at times it is bitter with disappointments and sorrows. But a successful person is one who remains steadfast and continues to do good deeds, deriving benefit in sweetness with “Shukr ” (gratitude) and in bitterness with ”Sabr ” (patience). The lesser benefit is the fish which symbolizes the provisions of life which Allah continues to give to us in all circumstances. The greater benefit is the gems and pearls, which refer to the deeds of goodness that can be done under all circumstances, purely for the sake of obtaining Allah’s pleasure. A true Believer never gives up hope because he knows that Allah only tests us through difficulties but then He himself removes these burdens and brings us back to a peaceful state. It doesn’t require any extraordinary intellect to observe that no difficulty remains unsolved forever; and that there is no pleasure which has no end. Don’t we all see this miracle of day and night which happens daily………

 

يُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَالَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ مَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِن قِطْمِيرٍ {13}

He causes the night to enter in upon the day, and He causes the day to enter in upon the night, and He has made subservient (to you) the sun and the moon; each one follows its course to an appointed time; this is Allah, your Lord, His is the kingdom; and those whom you call upon besides Him do not control a straw.

 

Again Allah calls the people to recognize the fact of their existence. How powerless we are, we are dependent on Allah for everything. Take a break, close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Now imagine if we had been made responsible for this action only; i.e. if it was not automatic and instead we had to “remember” to breathe? I am sure we would not have been able to perform any other job except monitoring our intake of air and to exhale it out!! What a burden it would have been. And then think that it is not the only job of our body. There are countless tasks being performed inside this amazing thing called the human being, and we are not even conscious of these things going on inside us. How can then we be arrogant and think that we can do without Allah’s mercy? Listen carefully to Allah’s words, “O Mankind, you are beggars in front of Allah !”  How can a beggar be arrogant or boastful?

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاء إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ {15}

O mankind! It is you who are beggars, in need of Allah, and it is Allah Who is Free of all wants, Worthy of all praise.

Don’t you ever for one moment delude yourself into thinking that you are so important or indispensable. It is no big deal for Allah to finish you all and bring another generation of people:

 

إِن يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَأْتِ بِخَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ {16}

 If He wants he will destroy you and bring a new generation.

 

Why are we being told this? Is it to scare us? Or to humiliate us? No, it is to make us grateful. Because when we realize that we are nothing and still Allah is keeping us on this earth as his most honorable creation, then it fills our heart with tremendous love and gratitude for Allah because then it becomes clear how much Allah loves us in spite of our weaknesses.

I feel that until we absolutely accept our dependence on Allah, we cannot attain the required level of humility in our worship;

And unless we accept our helplessness we cannot appreciate the absolute control and authority of Allah;

And without breaking our tower of self-conceit, we cannot “see” the magnificence of Allah;

That is why Allah has interspersed our lives with “speed breakers” in the form of difficult situations, so that we may recognize our own reality and become the humble slaves of Allah.

People have different ways of receiving these warnings of the Quran. For someone who wants to view things in the light of truth, this book becomes a torch, showing him the way. But if someone closes his eyes then no matter how powerful the light is, he will not be able to see. This contrast is most effectively highlighted in the following verses:

 

وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْأَعْمَى وَالْبَصِيرُ {19}

And the blind and the seeing are not alike

وَلَا الظُّلُمَاتُ وَلَا النُّورُ {20}

Nor the darkness and the light,

وَلَا الظِّلُّ وَلَا الْحَرُورُ {21}

Nor the shade and the heat,

وَمَا يَسْتَوِي الْأَحْيَاء وَلَا الْأَمْوَاتُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُسْمِعُ مَن يَشَاء وَمَا أَنتَ بِمُسْمِعٍ مَّن فِي الْقُبُورِ {22}

Nor the living and the dead; Certainly Allah can make anyone hear if He so wills; but, O Prophet, you cannot make those who are in the graves hear you.

 

On the face of this earth, people of all religions and beliefs appear to be the same. They go about their lives, eat and drink, get married, have children, have jobs, make and lose money, acquire property, status, power………….and so people ask, “So what if you believe in one Allah or not? What does it matter to anyone?” Though the disbelievers themselves might not care but for Allah it is like the difference in being dead or alive……..

Whenever I study the life history of our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w) I am surprised at the difference of reaction of people towards the same message, brought to them by the same person whom they all used to call as Sadiq and Amin, which means the truthful and the trustworthy. How did some of them believe in Allah and His Messenger with so much passion and commitment while in the same environment, within the same families were those who opposed him bitterly? Were they less intelligent? Did they not understand the language of the Quran? Did they not have the most perfect example of the Prophet (s.a.w) in front of them? I am raising these questions because nowadays whenever you try to tell someone about the importance of Allah’s obedience, they start using these same excuses………. Why is the Quran in Arabic, we don’t understand this language so how will we act upon it? We don’t have any role models, whom can we follow?

 But we see that within the same environment there are people who want to earn the pleasure of Allah and so they commit themselves to their religion as a way of life. They find pleasure in learning the language of the Quran because it has been chosen by Allah for His Words. They concentrate on “becoming” the role models of Islam, instead of complaining about the lack of it. It is obvious that the difference is not in their resources for guidance but it is in their attitudes, in their inner desires, their goals and ambitions.

The same concept has been defined in the next few verses. Allah invites us to see the miracle of his variety of creation; how the same soil and the same water produce such an array of colors and textures of plants:

 

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ ثَمَرَاتٍ مُّخْتَلِفًا أَلْوَانُهَا27…

 Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the cloud, then We bring forth therewith fruits of various colors

 

And have you ever wondered at the beauty of the mountains with their various colours and designs?

….وَمِنَ الْجِبَالِ جُدَدٌ بِيضٌ وَحُمْرٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهَا وَغَرَابِيبُ سُودٌ {27}

And in the mountains are streaks, white and red, of various hues and (others) intensely black?

 

And look at the amazing diversity of human beings. Their colors, cultures, languages, features, are so amazingly different from each other yet they all are the children of Adam (a.s) Who except Allah,  could have created this variety which is not only present in human beings but also in the animals:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَابِّ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مُخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ كَذَلِكَ إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ {28}

And of men and beasts and cattle are various species of it likewise; those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.

 

From this Ayat it is obvious that the basis of guidance, which is the fear of Allah, is not generated inside a person due to his color or creed, but because of one’s knowledge of Allah’s greatness.

It is this level of consciousness which leads the people of faith towards a way of life which earns them the ultimate success which we all yearn for. Just as we are so fond of reading success stories, Allah has portrayed for us a complete picture…………..Let’s read it and see whether we are in it or not?

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ {29}

Surely they who recite the Book of Allah and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them secretly and openly, hope for a gain which will not perish.

لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّهُ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ {30}

That He may pay them back fully their rewards and give them more out of His grace: surely He is Forgiving, Multiplier of rewards.

 

Every success story begins with a conviction; therefore we should be convinced of the Quran as the ultimate truth:

 

وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ هُوَ الْحَقُّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِعِبَادِهِ لَخَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ {31}

(O Prophet), What We have revealed to you of the Book is the Truth, which confirms the previous scriptures. Surely, with respect to His servants, Allah is well Aware and fully Observant.

After the original recipient of this sacred revelation i.e. Our Prophet (s.a.w) Allah chose certain people among His slaves to be the Inheritors of this Book, and they in turn have been divided into three groups:

 

ثُمَّ أَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتَابَ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا فَمِنْهُمْ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ وَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمِنْهُمْ سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَاتِ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْكَبِيرُ {32}

Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants; but of them is he who makes his soul to suffer a loss, and of them is he who takes a middle course, and of them is he who is foremost in deeds of goodness by Allah’s permission; this is the great excellence.

 

This division is according to their attitude towards this great honour that was bestowed on them. Some of them just have no place for the Quran or its guidance in their lives. They reject it; sometimes openly, and mostly through their actions. Allah says these are the ones who have done themselves a great injustice (by earning eternal torment of hellfire). On the other hand there are some who are the “mediocres”. Neither here nor there. Sometimes obeying Allah when it’s easy and other times acting as if they have no concern with what’s right and what’s wrong. These still have some hope that someday their goodness might overcome their weakness of faith and character.

And among these people, are the ones who are truly appreciate the immense honour and responsibility of the Quran. They have no place for ifs and buts in their life and they really race towards all forms of good deeds because they have only one thing in their minds………..their goal……..the ultimate success!!

Faith is their asset;

Quran is their guide;

The life of the Prophet (s.a.w) and His Companions is their inspiration;

Standing in front of Allah on the Day of Judgment is their motivational drive

And Success is their desire; and eventually; their destiny………..

 

جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ يَدْخُلُونَهَا يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍ وَلُؤْلُؤًا وَلِبَاسُهُمْ فِيهَا حَرِيرٌ {33}

Gardens of perpetuity, they shall enter therein; they shall be made to wear therein bracelets of gold and pearls, and their dress therein shall be silk.

 

The best quality of these people is that they are never arrogant or self satisfied with their goodness. Always they remain in wonder whether their actions are acceptable in the sight of Allah or not? Their endeavors are pure and free from any desire of publicity or self praise. They are aware that they can never give thanks for all that Allah has blessed them with; And so their life is marked with an ever present desire to know for sure if Allah is pleased with them or not? This anxiety and restlessness moves them on to new horizons day after day until they meet their Lord………How happy they will be to finally step into the delightful gardens of Paradise. Look at the relief and happiness in their expression:

 

وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَنَ إِنَّ رَبَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ {34}

 And they shall say: (All) praise is due to Allah, Who has made grief to depart from us; most surely our Lord is Forgiving, Multiplier of rewards,

الَّذِي أَحَلَّنَا دَارَ الْمُقَامَةِ مِن فَضْلِهِ لَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيهَا نَصَبٌ وَلَا يَمَسُّنَا فِيهَا لُغُوبٌ {35}

Who has admitted us to this Eternal Home out of His bounty, wherein we neither experience any toil nor sense of any weariness.

 

We need to take a break here and look deep into our hearts; what do we really desire? What are our priorities? Where does Quran stand in our lives? An honest evaluation is important because this is the time when we can make amends. We don’t know how long we are going to live so don’t fall for the trap of procrastination. Decide which group you want to belong and then stick to your decision and go for it with all your might.

Now see the other side of the picture; what happens to those who do “Zulm” by denying the signs of Allah:

 

وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَهُمْ نَارُ جَهَنَّمَ لَا يُقْضَى عَلَيْهِمْ فَيَمُوتُوا وَلَا يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُم مِّنْ عَذَابِهَا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي كُلَّ كَفُورٍ {36}

And (as for) those who disbelieve, for them is the fire of hell; it shall not be finished with them entirely so that they should die, nor shall the chastisement thereof be lightened to them: even thus do We retribute every ungrateful one.

 

They will cry out “our Lord! Take us out of here and we will do good”

But Allah will say to them “Did I not give you a life………..?”

 

وَهُمْ يَصْطَرِخُونَ فِيهَا رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا نَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا غَيْرَ الَّذِي كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ أَوَلَمْ نُعَمِّرْكُم مَّا يَتَذَكَّرُ فِيهِ مَن تَذَكَّرَ وَجَاءكُمُ النَّذِيرُ فَذُوقُوا فَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِن نَّصِيرٍ {37}

And they shall cry therein for help: O our Lord ! take us out, we will do good deeds other than those which we used to do. (Allah will say): “Did we not give you lives long enough so that he who would, could take a warning? Besides, someone did come to warn you. Now taste (the fruit of your deeds,)  here there is no helper for the wrongdoers.”

 

In this life many people hear these warnings and they shrug their shoulders in arrogance and think that such things are not worth their time and attention. They are full of their own power and self importance. But they should look around in the world and see how the people before them were destroyed by the wrath of Allah, even though they were stronger and more powerful:

 

أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَكَانُوا أَشَدَّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةً وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعْجِزَهُ مِن شَيْءٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَلِيمًا قَدِيرًا {44}

Have they not travelled in the land and seen how was the end of those before them while they were stronger than these in power? And Allah is not such that any thing in the heavens or in the earth should escape Him; surely He is Knowing, Powerful.

 

So why does Allah not punish the wrong doers? Why does He let them get away with their crimes? The fact is that Allah has set a time for everything and he lets everybody complete his tenure on this earth. We have a choice between good and bad and we can follow the path of our choice until our time is up, and death takes us to the beginning of our actual life in the hereafter:

 

وَلَوْ يُؤَاخِذُ اللَّهُ النَّاسَ بِمَا كَسَبُوا مَا تَرَكَ عَلَى ظَهْرِهَا مِن دَابَّةٍ وَلَكِن يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى فَإِذَا جَاء أَجَلُهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِعِبَادِهِ بَصِيرًا {45}

If it was Allah’s will to punish people for their misdeeds, He would have not left any living creature around them on the surface of the earth, but He is giving them respite for an appointed time; when their appointed time will come, they shall realize that in fact Allah has been watching His servants all along.

 

So let’s not waste anymore time and make sincere repentance for our sins, right now, when we still have time to change our ways. The path towards Paradise is steep and difficult but Allah has given us tremendous potentials. The only thing we need is conviction and desire to use these potentials in the way of Allah. May Allah help us all to make the right choices in life, and keep us steadfast in our pursuit of absolute success.

 

Surah Ya-sin

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah Yasin is probably the most frequently read chapter of the Quran, in our country. Numerous benefits are associated with its reading, especially in the mornings or whenever there is any difficult situation; or if someone is critically ill; or just for barakah. You get invited for reading it in gatherings; like khatam-e-Quran, khatam-e-Yasin (reading it 41 or 71 times in one sitting) is a familiar and popular ritual, believed to be the remedy for all sorts of problems. Rarely does anyone pause to think that Surah Yasin like the rest of the Quran has a message in it for our guidance. Nobody bothers to find out what that message is. Mostly we prefer to treat this magnificent reminder like some magic words which will relieve us of our miseries. Whereas the truth is that if we read this Surah, just once but with proper understanding and apply its wisdom in our lives, it can truly relieve us of our misery of uncertainty and save us from the agony of going round and round in a senseless pursuit of worldly interests. Not only this but it can also help us throw away the burden of accumulated negligence regarding the hereafter, making us feel bright and optimistic about attaining the rewards of paradise.

We all want permanent and everlasting success and happiness, but unfortunately we try to find it in this world, where it was not meant to be. The life in this world is only a test and instead of running after its illusions, the only thing that we need to pursue in this world is the straight path that will lead us to the fulfilment of our desires, in the hereafter, which is when our actual life will begin. That is why Allah has taught us the dua “Ihdinassirat al mustaqeem” (guide us to the Straight Way) which we read in each and every unit of our five daily prayers. But only praying for guidance is not enough; we need to have a role model to follow in whom we can trust. Therefore Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) as a perfect example for us to follow till the end of time. The Quran is the guide book and the life and personality of the Prophet (s.a.w) is the practical application of this guidance. Therefore Allah begins this magnificent Surah with the assurance that if we want success in both the worlds we need to believe and follow our Prophet(s.a.w) who is truly one of the Messengers and is on that straight path of guidance:

يس {1}

 Ya Seen.

وَالْقُرْآنِ الْحَكِيمِ {2}

I swear by the Quran full of wisdom

إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ {3}

 Most surely you are one of the messengers

عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ {4}

 On a straight path

 

Next Allah tells us that this Quran is not just an ordinary thing. Now we might say that of course we know it’s a sacred book of Allah, and so we put it on high shelves, never putting anything on top of it, holding it above newly married couples and reading it when someone dies. We think this is it! We have done our duty by showing this book the proper respect and now we can live our lives according to our own desires and self created standards of goodness. What we don’t want to acknowledge is the fact that The Quran was not meant just to be placed on high shelves, rather it should have been given the highest place on our priority list. We take care not to put anything on top of it but when faced with any situation in life do we stop to consider whether we might be putting our own desires on top of its teachings? Holding it above the bride and bridegroom was never taught to us; it is our self created innovation for which we should seek forgiveness of Allah. But its spiritual protection should certainly be held above us as a refuge from shaitan and as a guide for our entire lifetime. And the way we neglect it in our life and so religiously read it for the dead, it seems as if we have forgotten that it’s a magnificent guide for the living and not just an offering for the dead. Why Allah continues to let us live in spite of our thankless attitude is because He is Al- Raheem: the repeatedly merciful. So He keeps giving us chances to come back to him. But we should not forget that He is also Al-Aziz; The overpowering!

 

تَنزِيلَ الْعَزِيزِ الرَّحِيمِ {5}

 (This is) a revelation of the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.

 

What is the purpose of the Quran? Why did Allah sent this revelation to the Prophet (s.a.w)? As a warning to a nation whose forefathers were not warned and so they had become heedless (ghafil). Primarily it refers to the people of Makkah to whom no messenger had come after Prophet Ismail (a.s) who was the son of Ibrahim (a.s) Now the teachings of the prophets had gradually been forgotten and although the Arabs called themselves the followers of Ibrahim and Ismail but in reality they had gone far away from the spirit of Islam, replacing Allah’s religion with a few self created rituals and worshipping idols made of wood and clay instead of worshipping the One and only Allah. If we compare it with our own situation, we find that there are amazing similarities of attitude. We also call ourselves Muslims and claim to believe in the Quran and the last Prophet of Allah but in reality there are only a handful of people who actually know what the Prophet’s life was all about and what were his teachings. Similarly there are some people who “read” the Quran but again only a few of them understand its message. We don’t worship Idols of course and believe in one Allah but let’s be honest; Do we really follow Allah’s commands in the way we plan and live our lives? Who are we following or “worshipping”? Our homes, our jobs, money, comfort, our own desires, or our own philosophies of life? As the Prophet (s.a.w) said in a Hadith:

“The worst Idol that is worshipped instead of Allah is the desire of the self”

What is the solution? What can bring us out of this ignorance and forgetfulness? What will save us from Allah’s punishment in the hereafter? It is definitely the Quran and nothing else. Not just in bits and pieces but a proper study, verse by verse, word to word. So that we might get in touch with our reality and our purpose of life and most of all we need to get in touch with Allah, our Creator and Sustainer:

 

لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّا أُنذِرَ آبَاؤُهُمْ فَهُمْ غَافِلُونَ {6}

 That you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they are unaware.

 

When I look at the Quran and its amazing clarity and depth, I wonder how a nation who has this treasure of wisdom can ever deviate from the straight path. Also I find it shocking that most people think it is not important to study this Book. They are mostly the highly educated, intellectual people who deny the need to act upon Allah’s commands. Allah has stated the same thing in the next Ayat:

 

لَقَدْ حَقَّ الْقَوْلُ عَلَى أَكْثَرِهِمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ {7}

 Already the word has come into effect upon most of them, so they do not believe.

 

Allah says that most people will not believe in it…….but why? Hasn’t Allah provided them with the resources to acquire knowledge and guidance? The fact is that the truth is obvious like the bright sun but they have their eyes closed to it.

إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا فِي أَعْنَاقِهِمْ أَغْلاَلاً فَهِيَ إِلَى الأَذْقَانِ فَهُم مُّقْمَحُونَ {8}

 Surely We have placed shackles on their necks, and these reach up to their chins, so they have their heads raised aloft.

 

The shackles in their necks are actually the pride of self importance that keeps their head high in the air, so that they cannot see their own reality of helplessness in front of the absolute authority of Allah. They think that the power they have in this world is going to remain with them forever and hardly think of dying or the hereafter. The glamour of this worldly life is like a wall in front of them which makes them totally forgetful of the Akhirah:

 

وَجَعَلْنَا مِن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ سَدًّا وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ سَدًّا فَأَغْشَيْنَاهُمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يُبْصِرُونَ {9}

 And We have made before them a barrier and a barrier behind them, then We have covered them over so that they do not see.

 

Imagine yourself in an elevator………you have walls all around you without any window and a roof on top. As you move up or down you can never know which floor you are on unless you see the indicators.  No matter how intelligent you might be, you cannot perceive what is outside that enclosed space. Similarly the majority of people are so immersed in their worldly pursuits that they have erected invisible walls around themselves. Any talk of Allah, or Quran or Islam just bounces off these walls without touching them in any way. They have to lower these barriers themselves so that the truth of Quran might penetrate their hearts.

Allah is telling the Prophet (s.a.w) here, that if the people of Makkah were not listening to him it was not because of any lack of effort on his part. The fact was that their own pride and prejudice was preventing them from acknowledging the truth. His warning could benefit only those people who wanted to take advice when it was given to them and who feared Allah:

 

إِنَّمَا تُنذِرُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الذِّكْرَ وَخَشِيَ الرَّحْمَن بِالْغَيْبِ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِمَغْفِرَةٍ وَأَجْرٍ كَرِيمٍ {11}

You can only warn one who follows the message and fears the Most Merciful unseen. So give him good tidings of forgiveness and noble reward.

The remarkable point of this Ayat is that these people fear “the Most Merciful”!!

How amazing it is that while some people use the same excuse for their lack of commitment, that Allah is so compassionate so we don’t need to worry too much about the day of judgement; the true believers fear Allah despite His Mercy……….It is for this kind of humbleness that Allah has given the good news of forgiveness and honourable rewards. The fear of accountability in the Akhirah is the most potent force which propels a believer towards purifying his heart and his actions. Because he knows that he is being watched all the time, and his thoughts and deeds are all being recorded by Allah.  To reinforce this belief we need constant reminders otherwise we tend to get entangled in our day to day affairs and our life stretches out before us like an endless ocean. That is why Allah has sent us this following Ayat which acts as a most powerful reminder of the seriousness of our test in this world.

 

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى وَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُوا وَآثَارَهُمْ وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُبِينٍ {12}

 Surely We give life to the dead, and We write down what they have put forth and what they have left behind, and We have enumerated everything in a clear register.

 

Before we move on, let’s take a moment and ponder upon this beautiful Ayat which reflects the truth of our existence. Allah is telling us in very clear words that He is definitely going to raise the dead……….which means that our life is not going to end just like that. We are going to be born again so that we might be given the due return for our deeds. That is why each and every action of ours is being recorded in a clear Book. These include the deeds that we do and also the footsteps or impressions that we leave behind through our attitude and behaviour. How can we be careless after reading such a warning? Imagine that all around you are cameras, which are clicking away constantly day and night; capturing images of what you do, both alone and in company, recording the words that you say and the words that simply echo in your minds which we call ”thoughts”. Not only that but these cameras are also recording something which might not be readily visible to human eye…………that is the impressions we create around us. The hidden effects of our deeds. For example if you write a book on Islam, it will not be recorded simply as the writing of one book , rather all the people who embraced Islam due to it, will also be counted in your favour. Similarly if you make a false accusation against someone, it will not be simply written as one mischief only, rather the damage created by that will also be counted against you. The examples could go on and on but the thing to understand is that whatever we do or say is not simply the act that appears at the time but it has an everlasting impact too. So we need to be very careful because apparently we might be doing great deeds of goodness but in such a way that it might drive a lot of people away from religion. 

It makes me think that if we understand this one Ayat and really absorb its message then our environment would be so much better where everybody would be conscious about his own affairs and would be extra careful in his dealings with others. There would be no one hanging around without a purpose because there will be an awareness that we are going to have to answer for all our time on this earth. And the best thing about this is that no one can ever be judgemental about themselves or others because we simply cannot count the effects of our deeds and personalities. So until the time we are declared free from hell fire and actually gain an entry into paradise we can never be quite sure of ourselves. What an eye opener it is for those who want to see!

To further illustrate this important concept, Allah states an example of a town where He sent two messengers. But the people of that town rejected them. So Allah sent a third messenger too but the people continued to blame them instead of believing that they had really brought the truth from Allah. It is human weakness that people don’t want to be proved wrong so when they see that their lives are going totally against the message brought by the Messengers of Allah, they start finding faults with them instead of accepting their own mistakes and correcting themselves. Look at their rash comments:

 

قَالُوا إِنَّا تَطَيَّرْنَا بِكُمْ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهُوا لَنَرْجُمَنَّكُمْ وَلَيَمَسَّنَّكُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ {18}

 They said, “Indeed, we consider you a bad omen. If you do not desist, we will surely stone you, and there will surely touch you, from us, a painful punishment.”

 

And while these people were busy trying to establish their superiority, by denying the truth, there came upon them a man who had come running from the remote part of the city, calling to them:

“O My people! Follow these Messengers. Follow the ones who ask no reward of you and are rightly guided.”

Now, one might ask, who was this person? Allah doesn’t tell us his exact identity because it is not important for us to know who he was, rather what he said and did was so remarkable that it has been recorded for us as an eternal example of unquestioning and complete belief in Allah, acceptance of His message and Loyalty for His Messengers. It is apparent that he had not attended any regular lectures on Tauheed because he had come from the further part of the city. He hadn’t had any direct contact with the messengers, yet whatever he had heard of Allah’s message had had such a deep impact on him that he was ready to give up all his former beliefs and ideas, in order to enter completely into the religion of Islam. His humility and acceptance of his own reality before the creator is amazing; as is apparent from his words:

 

وَمَا لِي لاَ أَعْبُدُ الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ {22}

 And what reason have I that I should not serve Him Who brought me into existence? And to Him you shall be brought back;

أَأَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً إِن يُرِدْنِ الرَّحْمَن بِضُرٍّ لاَّ تُغْنِ عَنِّي شَفَاعَتُهُمْ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يُنقِذُونِ {23}

 Should I take other than Him [false] deities [while], if the Most Merciful intends for me some adversity, their intercession will not avail me at all, nor can they save me?

 

إِنِّي إِذًا لَّفِي ضَلاَلٍ مُّبِينٍ {24}

Indeed, In that case I shall most surely be in clear error:

 

Just look at his logic and realistic attitude. He recognizes that since Allah had created him and has all the power then why should he worship anything else? It is not difficult for him to accept his helplessness before Allah; a reality which remains hidden from those people who cannot see beyond the walls of their false pride. He begs them to listen to him, one more time:

 

إِنِّي آمَنتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ فَاسْمَعُونِ {25}

 Indeed I have believed in your Lord, therefore listen to me.

 

Consequently they killed that man and as he died he found that he had been granted paradise:

 

قِيلَ ادْخُلِ الْجَنَّةَ قَالَ يَا لَيْتَ قَوْمِي يَعْلَمُونَ {26}

 It was said, “Enter Paradise.” He said, “I wish my people could know

بِمَا غَفَرَ لِي رَبِّي وَجَعَلَنِي مِنَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ {27}

 Of how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honoured.”

 

He was honoured by Allah simply because of his true faith, and compassion for his people. Because even after being granted the paradise he is feeling sorry for his fellow men. If he would have been self-centred like the majority of people nowadays, he would have simply rejoiced in his good fortune and that’s it.

What is our attitude when we see someone heading towards self destruction? We think well he deserves punishment and Oh thank God, I am such a pious person, Alhamdulillah……….

Do we feel any pain of his disbelief? Do we feel sorry for the countless people who do not have any awareness of what’s going to befall them in the hereafter? If not, then what kind of faith is this?

If we ponder upon it, this is really the ideal combination; belief in the Creator and tenderness towards His creation. One is not acceptable without the other. We need to work upon both, even though it is difficult to shove off our natural tendency of hoarding everything good for our own self and simply not caring about others. It will be sheer folly to think that we will please our Lord just by having perfect belief in Him, if we are not loving and compassionate towards other people. And similarly it is not good enough to do charitable deeds for mankind if we don’t have the right Aqeedah.

As for those who disbelieve even after seeing all the signs and hearing all the true warnings, Allah doesn’t need any armies to destroy them all. He is compassionate and merciful but His punishment is also very swift:

إِن كَانَتْ إِلاَّ صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ خَامِدُونَ {29}

It was not but one shout, and immediately they were extinguished.

 

And it doesn’t end here, because the actual day of reckoning has yet to come when the due rewards and punishments will be dealt out to all. No one can escape that day:

 

وَإِن كُلٌّ لَّمَّا جَمِيعٌ لَّدَيْنَا مُحْضَرُونَ {32}

 And Indeed all of them shall surely be brought before Us.

 

The disbelievers could not come to terms with the idea of resurrection. They said it was not possible for dust and bones to be turned again into human beings. And the sad thing is that nowadays even the Muslims have become so detached from the Quran that their faith in the hereafter has also become blurred. Allah wants us to look carefully and contemplate on the signs which He has placed for us in this world so that we might realize that it is not difficult for Allah to give life to the dead:

 

وَآيَةٌ لَّهُمُ الْأَرْضُ الْمَيْتَةُ أَحْيَيْنَاهَا وَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهَا حَبًّا فَمِنْهُ يَأْكُلُونَ {33}

 And a sign for them is the dead earth. We have brought it to life and brought forth from it grain, and from it they eat…

 

Most of us have become so absorbed in the race of materialism that we ignore the numerous blessings of Allah. We take these things for granted although each one of these is a miracle of Allah. Why is Allah telling us about it in the next Ayat? Because when we think about the amazing beauty of Allah’s creation, then it makes us feel aware of Allah’s love and mercy. The heart becomes soft and fills up with awe and admiration for this Supreme Creator who made such fabulous things for us:

 

وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا جَنَّاتٍ مِن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ وَفَجَّرْنَا فِيهَا مِنْ الْعُيُونِ {34}

 And We make therein gardens of palms and grapevines and We make springs to flow forth in it,

لِيَأْكُلُوا مِن ثَمَرِهِ وَمَا عَمِلَتْهُ أَيْدِيهِمْ أَفَلَا يَشْكُرُونَ {35}

 That they may eat of the fruit thereof, and their hands did not make it; will they not then be grateful?

 

What has caused us to be so blind to the beauty of nature? It is mainly because of an ever growing struggle for material gains. Look at the overcrowded streets of over populated cities and see the restlessness in the expressions of people. Their way of talking, their manner of driving, their dealing with each other is like they are in some kind of mad race, in which no one knows where they have come from or where they are headed to……..

All this comes to a halt when the day turns into the night, so softly and imperceptibly that we hardly notice it. The whole world seems to be covered by a dark comforting blanket. Isn’t it a miracle in itself? But only if we contemplate…..

 

وَآيَةٌ لَّهُمْ اللَّيْلُ نَسْلَخُ مِنْهُ النَّهَارَ فَإِذَا هُم مُّظْلِمُونَ {37}

And a sign for them is the night. We remove from it [the light of] day, so they are [left] in darkness.

 

Next Allah talks about the Sun and Moon, how each of them orbits in its own path, with its own speed, never deviating from their path, nor obstructing the other. Their obedience is so focused unlike us Human Beings, forever deviating from the right track, interfering into other’s affairs, wasting time and energy on non productive issues:

 

لَا الشَّمْسُ يَنبَغِي لَهَا أَن تُدْرِكَ الْقَمَرَ وَلَا اللَّيْلُ سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ {40}

Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.

 

Another amazing sign of Allah’s control over everything is the way He enables us to move across waters in ships. It is a miracle, because we know that even a small needle cannot hold itself on top of the water, and just look at the huge ships that remain floating? Who has caused it to happen except Allah?

 

وَآيَةٌ لَّهُمْ أَنَّا حَمَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ فِي الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ {41}

 And a sign to them is that We carried their offspring in the laden ship.

 

And in the middle of that endless expanse of water who can save us from drowning except Allah. But the ungrateful people don’t acknowledge the greatness of Allah and go on living as if they are the masters of their own lives. So if they are reminded that they should fear Allah, they remain totally unmoved:

 

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمُ اتَّقُوا مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَمَا خَلْفَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ {45}

 And when it is said to them: Beware of what is before you and what is behind you, so that mercy may be had on you.

وَمَا تَأْتِيهِم مِّنْ آيَةٍ مِّنْ آيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَّا كَانُوا عَنْهَا مُعْرِضِينَ {46}

And no sign comes to them from the signs of their Lord except that they are from it turning away.

 

The main reason for their arrogance is that they don’t believe in the Akhirah. Their mockery is obvious in the way they ask about it:

وَيَقُولُونَ مَتَى هَذَا الْوَعْدُ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {48}

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

 

But the fact is that the day of judgement will come on its appointed time whether we believe in it or not, whether we fear it and prepare accordingly or prefer to close our eyes to it:                 

 

إِن كَانَتْ إِلَّا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ جَمِيعٌ لَّدَيْنَا مُحْضَرُونَ {53}

 It will not be but one blast, and at once they shall all be brought before Us;

 

That is going to be another world and things will be totally different there. There will be no illusions that day. And no injustices:

 

فَالْيَوْمَ لَا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئًا وَلَا تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {54}

So this day no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least; and you will not be recompensed except for what you used to do.

 

Next we have the beautiful picture of paradise. The hardships one might face in this world in order to remain true to Allah, are nothing when you view it from the perspective of the Hereafter. What are a few years of sacrifice as compared to the eternal bliss of Paradise?

إِنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ الْيَوْمَ فِي شُغُلٍ فَاكِهُونَ {55}

 Surely the companions of Paradise, that Day, will be amused in [joyful] occupation –

هُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُهُمْ فِي ظِلَالٍ عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ مُتَّكِؤُونَ {56}

They and their shall be in shades, reclining on raised couches.

لَهُمْ فِيهَا فَاكِهَةٌ وَلَهُم مَّا يَدَّعُونَ {57}

They shall have fruits therein, and they shall have whatever they desire.

 

Who are these lucky people? Do they live on any other planet, in some other environment, where it’s “easy” to follow Islam? Where there are no temptations? Where there is no shaitan? No they are right here with us but we hardly pay any attention to them. So the believers in spirit and the believers in name, live side by side. The truthful and the liar might be brothers, living in the same house, the honest and the criminal might be working as colleagues. No one knows where he stands in the sight of Allah. The sincere Momin and the hypocrite might be offering their Salat in the same mosque shoulder to shoulder, But on that day they will no longer be intermingled:

 

وَامْتَازُوا الْيَوْمَ أَيُّهَا الْمُجْرِمُونَ {59}

 [Then He will say], “But stand apart today, you criminals.

 

What happens when you point out someone in a gathering, telling him he has done something wrong? The first reaction is shame and it is immediately followed by defensive arguments. But in that world of the hereafter, the criminals will not be allowed to offer any false excuses:

 

الْيَوْمَ نَخْتِمُ عَلَى أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتُكَلِّمُنَا أَيْدِيهِمْ وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ {65}

On that day We will set a seal upon their mouths, and their hands shall speak to Us, and their feet shall bear witness of what they earned.

 

Today it might seem impossible that our hands and feet could be speaking against us. But if you think about it, if Allah could teach our tongues to speak, then how can He not put the same capability in our limbs? After all He is the one who created us, but the sad truth is that we have forgotten the Creator:

 

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الْإِنسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٌ مُّبِينٌ {77}

Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] sperm-drop – then at once he is a clear adversary?

 

Allah is asking such a simple question here, from all those who have doubts about the resurrection:

 

أَوَلَيْسَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِقَادِرٍ عَلَى أَنْ يَخْلُقَ مِثْلَهُم بَلَى وَهُوَ الْخَلَّاقُ الْعَلِيمُ {81}

Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yes! [it is so] and He is the Knowing Creator

 

We really need to focus our hearts and minds on the presence and Power of Allah who is the Creator, Owner and Provider of all things. The more we learn about Him, the easier it will be to understand His message and to follow the true path of Success. Nothing is difficult for Him to accomplish. If we are living here in spite of disobeying Him, it doesn’t mean that we can get away with it. It’s just Allah’s Mercy and Compassion that He has given us a life span in which we have the means to acquire guidance and can turn towards him in sincere repentance. But if we don’t change our ways then we are going to have to pay for our wrong doings. It was so easy for Allah to make this universe and it is equally easy for Him to destroy it all in the blink of an eye or even sooner than that. What will save us then, except our good deeds that we did in the hope that Allah might accept them and have mercy on us. Thus ends Surah Yasin, telling us once again in very clear words that Allah is the Absolute Owner of everything and we all have to return to Him. What other words will wake us from our heedlessness if not these?

إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ {82}

His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is.

فَسُبْحَانَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ {83}

Therefore glory be to Him in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things, and to Him you shall be brought back.

 

Surah As-Saaffat

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

As I had studied and then wrote the review for Surah Yaseen, I had been thoroughly gripped by a feeling that this is it….. All has been said and explained in such clear strong words. So what else is there to say? But Allah created Man and He knows our weakness of forgetfulness, and He knows the dangers lurking around us. Therefore Quran reveals its reminders to us in waves upon waves. As soon as one recedes, the other one comes to take us in its effect. Thus, a person who holds on to this great book never goes astray. Even if he is at times deluded by the devil and his own self, he soon reverts back to this magnificent fort of faith and finds himself even more committed to Allah’s obedience.

So let’s step into the awesome world of Quran and discover the words of Allah in Surah As-Saaffat. The main theme of this Surah is Tauheed, (oneness of Allah) and Akhirah (the life of the hereafter). As in the following Ayaat (verses) Allah Himself testifies that “your God is one” and He is the Rabb of everything:

 

إِنَّ إِلَهَكُمْ لَوَاحِدٌ {4}

 Most surely your Allah is One:

رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَرَبُّ الْمَشَارِقِ {5}

The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, and Lord of the sunrises.

 

Although the pagans of Makkah, to whom these verses were primarily addressed, believed in Allah; yet they had associated other partners with Him in the form of statues. When Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) called them to the true religion of One Allah, they did not accept his message because basically they were afraid to give up their reckless way of life which allowed them to do whatever they desired. Since they couldn’t find fault with the Quran so they tried to ridicule the Prophet (s.a.w) and his followers. Even today we see this behaviour among so called Muslims who believe in Allah but do not consider it important to be obedient to Him. We have to understand that a mere declaration that “there is no God but Allah”, is not enough. To prove this statement we need to follow His commands as revealed in the Quran and the teachings of His Prophet (s.a.w).

So what happens when someone reminds them of their duty towards Allah? Instead of accepting the truth, they make fun of it:

 

وَإِذَا ذُكِّرُوا لَا يَذْكُرُونَ {13}

                And when they are reminded, they pay no attention.

وَإِذَا رَأَوْا آيَةً يَسْتَسْخِرُونَ {14}

 And when they see an Ayah (a sign, a proof or an evidence) from Allah they mock at it.

 

Today they hold long debates denying the Day of Judgement, but when they will have to face the reality on that appointed day, they will cry out in horror:

 

فَإِنَّمَا هِيَ زَجْرَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ فَإِذَا هُمْ يَنظُرُونَ {19}

 So it shall only be a single shout, and behold, they will be staring!

وَقَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا هَذَا يَوْمُ الدِّينِ {20}

And they shall say: O woe to us! this is the day of recompense.

 

Then it will be said to them

 

إِنَّكُمْ لَذَائِقُو الْعَذَابِ الْأَلِيمِ {38}

 Most surely you will taste the painful punishment.

وَمَا تُجْزَوْنَ إِلَّا مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {39}

 And you shall not be rewarded except (for) what you did.

 

So we see that a big factor which influences our daily existence is our belief in the day of recompense. If this is distorted or blurred in confusion then we cannot move on the right track. For surely, the desire to succeed, together with the fear of failure, provides the motivation to do well in any test, and what is this life except a test of our faith and obedience to the one Allah? Those who pass this test by remaining true to their commitment with their Lord, will be given great honour on the Day of Judgement:

 

أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ رِزْقٌ مَّعْلُومٌ {41}

 For them will be a known provision,

فَوَاكِهُ وَهُم مُّكْرَمُونَ {42}

 Fruits, and they shall be highly honoured,

فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ {43}

In gardens of pleasure,

 

The question that used to baffle me the most, all through my school years, is that being Muslims, when we do have this belief that we are going to be held accountable for our actions, then why don’t we avoid sins? If we believe in reward and punishment then why are we so casual about not fulfilling Allah’s rights and people’s rights? What makes us believe that it is good enough if we just pick and choose bits and pieces from our religion and reject the things which are inconvenient for us to follow? Later on I realized that we learn these attitudes from our environment. Most of us are just following the trends. We don’t really think for ourselves, nor do we have any direct communication with Allah through Quran. It is our families and friends who have a profound influence on our beliefs, especially if we ourselves are out of touch with the authentic sources of knowledge. So it becomes extremely important to find the right friends and the right company so that we might be positively inspired by their righteousness and build our lives on sound principles. I was reminded of all of this by reading the following Ayaat in which we see a scene from the Paradise where people are reminiscing about their former life and a person among them relates to the others how a companion of his used to put doubts in his mind regarding the resurrection. Now we should pay close attention to these verses because it is quite probable that we might be facing a similar situation, in which those who are far removed from the knowledge of Quran cannot accept anyone taking up religion seriously. So they give logics and all sorts of philosophies to dissuade us from our faith, using words like “extremism” and such. And sometimes the pressure becomes too much. That is why Allah has recorded this conversation in the Quran so that we can be reassured that one day the difficulties we sometimes face for the sake of Allah will seem very insignificant, and we will be grateful that we held on to the right way:

 

قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِّنْهُمْ إِنِّي كَانَ لِي قَرِينٌ {51}

A speaker from among them shall say: Surely I had a companion (in the world)

يَقُولُ أَئِنَّكَ لَمِنْ الْمُصَدِّقِينَ {52}

Who said: What! are you indeed of those who accept (the truth)?

أَئِذَا مِتْنَا وَكُنَّا تُرَابًا وَعِظَامًا أَئِنَّا لَمَدِينُونَ {53}

What! when we are dead and have become dust and bones, shall we then be certainly brought to judgment?

 

Just as in this life we are curious about the outcome of our friends’ results, so it will be offered to this person in Paradise, if he would like to see where his companion had ended up after going through the accountability of Judgement Day:

 

قَالَ هَلْ أَنتُم مُّطَّلِعُونَ {54}

 He shall say: Would you (care to) look ?

فَاطَّلَعَ فَرَآهُ فِي سَوَاء الْجَحِيمِ {55}

 Then he will look down and see him in the midst of the Hellfire.

 

At once he realizes how fortunate it was that he had remained firm in his conviction about the day of recompense and had not faltered under his companion’s negative influence. Imagine his relief at having been saved from a similar fate:

 

قَالَ تَاللَّهِ إِنْ كِدتَّ لَتُرْدِينِ {56}

 He shall say: By Allah! you had nearly ruined me;

And look at this attitude—he knows that if he had followed his companion and given up his true beliefs then he could be burning along with him but he does not brag about his intelligence or piety, rather acknowledges the fact that it was Allah’s mercy on him that He had kept him on the right track:

 

وَلَوْلَا نِعْمَةُ رَبِّي لَكُنتُ مِنَ الْمُحْضَرِينَ {57}

 And had it not been for the favour of my Lord, I would certainly have been among those brought forth (to Hell).

 

Truly, to be saved from all misconceptions and negative influences that might lead us to Hell and to be guided towards Paradise is the ultimate success:

 

إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ {60}

 Most surely this is the mighty achievement.

 

But the thing to understand is that guidance and success are not given away just at random, rather Allah reminds us that to attain this highest honour we all need to work hard. It will be foolishness to expect that we will be granted a free visa to paradise when we see that in this world where Allah is the provider of all our needs, He still has created a system in which we have to work for everything. Nothing comes easy……not even a morsel of food just enters your mouth by itself….you have to move your hands to the food and then take it to your mouth!! So get your concepts straightened up and identify the things that really matter, define your goals and then go for it…..with all the talents, capabilities and energy Allah has given you. Remember that utmost struggle is the key to success:

 

لِمِثْلِ هَذَا فَلْيَعْمَلْ الْعَامِلُونَ {61}

For the like of this (success) –those who work,  should be working for.

 

Another hurdle in our way to Paradise is that we blindly follow the faith of our forefathers. In other words, for a large majority of people, Religion is just a set of traditions that is transferred from one generation to the next. Allah puts this in such clear and direct words:

 

إِنَّهُمْ أَلْفَوْا آبَاءهُمْ ضَالِّينَ {69}

 Surely they found their fathers on the wrong path,

فَهُمْ عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ يُهْرَعُونَ {70}

 So they too hastened to follow in their footsteps!

 

Isn’t it ironical that for every other aspect of life we have devised new ways of living, and consider it backwardness to follow the elders; yet when it comes to religion we are not bothered to analyse where we are headed to…… But then if ignorance and misconceptions are thus followed by generation after generation; what will be the fate of mankind? Obviously no one can save us except Allah, our Creator and Provider. The way He keeps giving us the means to fulfil all our physical, material needs; similarly He kept sending us His Messengers who guided people away from ignorance towards the light of guidance. Again it was left up to the free will of people whether they took heed of these warnings or not……

 

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا فِيهِم مُّنذِرِينَ {72}

 And certainly We sent among them warners.

فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُنذَرِينَ {73}

 Then see how was the end of those warned,

 

And now Allah tells us about His chosen Messengers who had committed their lives to the mission of bringing people to Allah’s obedience. The first example is that of Prophet Nuh (a.s) who spent 950 years, preaching Allah’s message to his nation. When after all his efforts the people continued to reject him, He asked Allah for help. After that there was a great flood in which the whole nation was drowned and only the Prophet and His followers were saved:

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ {76}

And We delivered him and his followers from the mighty distress.

وَجَعَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُ هُمْ الْبَاقِينَ {77}

 And We made his offspring the survivors.

 

Although very few people accepted his teachings, yet the greatest acceptance and appreciation is from Allah Himself who honours him in the following words:

 

سَلَامٌ عَلَى نُوحٍ فِي الْعَالَمِينَ {79}                                                                  

 Peace and salutation to Nuh among the nations.

إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ {80}

Thus do We surely reward the doers of good.

إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {81}

 Surely he was of Our believing servants.

 

The next Prophet, whom Allah honoured by calling him His friend, was Ibrahim (a.s)……..what a supreme honour! But how did he get this title? His story is of extreme submission and selflessness. He was born into a society which had forgotten all about Tauheed and everywhere people were blindly worshipping idols made of wood and stone. His own father was an idolater and held an esteemed position in the king’s court due to his craftsmanship. But Ibrahim (a.s) did not blindly follow the traditions. Instead he started questioning people about their beliefs:

 

إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَاذَا تَعْبُدُونَ {85}

 When he said to his father and his people: What is it that you worship?

أَئِفْكًا آلِهَةً دُونَ اللَّهِ تُرِيدُونَ {86}

Is it falsehood (as) gods besides Allah– do you desire?

 

Apparently no one listened to him in spite of all his reasoning with them. So one day when he was all alone while his people had gone to attend their national fair, Ibrahim (a.s) went into the temple of their gods and addressed them:

 

فَرَاغَ إِلَى آلِهَتِهِمْ فَقَالَ أَلَا تَأْكُلُونَ {91}

Then he turned aside to their gods and said: “What! do you not eat (of the offerings before you)?”

مَا لَكُمْ لَا تَنطِقُونَ {92}

“What is the matter with you that you do not speak?”

 

Then he began striking them one after the other and destroyed them. As soon as the people discovered what had befallen their idols, they came running to Ibrahim (a.s) because they were sure no one else could do such a thing. But instead of being afraid of what they might do to him, Ibrahim (a.s) faced them with courage:

 

قَالَ أَتَعْبُدُونَ مَا تَنْحِتُونَ {95}

 He Said: “What! do you worship what you (yourself) carve out?”

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ {96}

“While Allah has created you and what you make.”

 

It is quite often the case that when people can’t put down somebody at logic and reasoning, then all they can think of, is to subdue their opponent with force. So they decided to prepare a furnace for Ibrahim and to throw him into the blazing flames. But Allah saved him by His miracle that when he was thrown into the fire, it cooled down instantly. Even after seeing such a manifestation of Allah’s greatness, the people refused to believe, so Ibrahim (a.s) left his country saying:

وَقَالَ إِنِّي ذَاهِبٌ إِلَى رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ {99}

And he said: Verily, I am going to my lord; He will guide me.

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ {100}

My Lord! grant me (offspring) from the righteous.

 

Allah listened to his prayers and blessed him with the good news of a son, even though at that time both Ibrahim (a.s) and his wife Hajarah (a.s) were quite old. Imagine how happy he must have been when his son Ismail (a.s) was born, who later on became a prophet too. But His trials had not ended there, as Allah had yet another test for him……..When his beloved son reached the age of about 13, Ibrahim saw in his dream that Allah was commanding him to sacrifice his son. As prophets’ dreams are a kind of revelation so he knew he had to obey Allah’s command, however painful it was to do so. He called Ismail and told him about his dream, asking him his opinion. Imagine a son being asked such a question………what do you suppose would be the reply? The calm, unperturbed response of Ismail was so amazing that Allah recorded it in His Quran for eternity so that we might know the rewards of setting an excellent example for our children by our own actions. If the father is willing to sacrifice all his life, even the love for his sole child, for the sake of Allah then that child will also be following the same standard of patience and submission before Allah’s decisions:

 

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَى فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ {102}

And when he (his son) was old enough to work with him, he (Ibrahim) said: O my son! surely I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allah); So look what you think. He said: O my father! do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.

 

And so Ibrahim (a.s) laid down his son prostrate upon his forehead for sacrifice. As he was about to put the knife to his neck, Allah called out to him to stop!

 

وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ {104}

 And We called out to him saying: O Ibrahim!

قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ {105}

 You have indeed shown the truth of the vision; surely thus do We reward the doers of good:

إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْبَلَاء الْمُبِينُ {106}

Most surely that indeed was a manifest trial.

 

By narrating this event Allah has made it so clear to us that to sacrifice our own pleasures for the sake of His obedience, is the ultimate proof of a person’s faith. Those who pass this test of love and submission are honoured by Allah in this world and also the next.

 

وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ فِي الْآخِرِينَ {108}

And We perpetuated (praise) to him among the later generations.

 

سَلَامٌ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ {109}

Peace and salutations be on Ibrahim.

كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ {110}

Thus do We reward the doers of good.

 

Next Allah reminds us of the trials faced by Prophet Musa (a.s) and his brother Haroon (a.s) who also became a prophet. They had been given the awesome task of delivering Allah’s message of Tauheed to Pharaoh who had established himself as a god to his people. It was an uphill task all the way. Finally, after all their struggles, Allah saved them and their followers from the tortures of the evil forces of Pharaoh:

 

وَنَجَّيْنَاهُمَا وَقَوْمَهُمَا مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ {115}

 And We delivered them both and their people from the mighty distress.

وَنَصَرْنَاهُمْ فَكَانُوا هُمُ الْغَالِبِينَ {116}

 And We helped them, so that they became victors.

 

Not only this but they were blessed with the sacred book of Torah and were guided to the right way. Their good names have been preserved in the generations to come. This is really a great reward for all their sacrifices:

 

وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِمَا فِي الْآخِرِينَ {119}

And We perpetuated (praise) to them among the later generations.

سَلَامٌ عَلَى مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ {120}

Peace be on Musa and Haroun.

إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ {121}

Even thus do We reward the doers of good.

 

Ilyas (Elias) was also Allah’s messenger who had been sent to a nation who worshipped their invented god named “baal”. He told them that Allah is the only one who has the right to be worshipped. But they denied him. Apparently this was not a success story but when you work for Allah then the outcome of your efforts in this world do not matter. Look, how Allah appreciates his sincerity and hard work:

 

سَلَامٌ عَلَى إِلْ يَاسِينَ {130}

 Peace be on Ilyas.                                                                                         

إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ {131}

 Even thus do We reward the doers of good.

إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {132}

Surely he was one of Our believing servants.

 

Now Allah remembers Prophet Lut (a.s) who put up with an extremely difficult situation, trying to guide a whole nation of homosexuals into leaving their evil practices. But they would not listen to him so Allah destroyed them all and saved his messenger and a handful of his followers. Except his wife who used to take sides with the wrong doers.

 

إِذْ نَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ أَجْمَعِينَ {134}

When We saved him and his followers, all–

إِلَّا عَجُوزًا فِي الْغَابِرِينَ {135}

Except an old woman (his wife) who was amongst those who remained behind.

ثُمَّ دَمَّرْنَا الْآخَرِينَ {136}

Then We destroyed the others.

 An important lesson in this story is that everyone is responsible for his own actions. No matter how closely you might be related to a righteous person, it cannot save you unless your own deeds are in obedience to Allah. Some people have this misconception that since we are the followers of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) then we will surely go to Paradise. Or that we belong to this group or to that family so we are the chosen favourites of Allah. It is precisely to remove this wishful thinking that Allah has given us such a detailed picture of all these Prophets……how they spent their lives and how they were rewarded for what they did.

The next story, which is of Prophet Yunus (a.s), is a remarkable example of Allah’s mercy. Younus (Jonah) called his people to the Oneness of Allah but was disheartened by the constant denial of his nation, and their unwavering rejection of Allah’s message. When he felt that they were not going to change their ways, he thought it was time that he should leave them to their fate and so he went off in a fury, without realizing that he should first wait for Allah’s command before taking such a step. Upon reaching the sea shore he boarded a crowded ship, which started to drown just as they reached the middle of the sea. When they began casting of lots to decide whom to overthrow to lighten the ship, Younus’s name came up and so He was thrown into the sea, where a big fish swallowed him whole…….

 

إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ {140}

 When he ran away to a ship completely laden,

فَسَاهَمَ فَكَانَ مِنْ الْمُدْحَضِينَ {141}

 So he (agreed to) cast lots, and he was among the losers.

فَالْتَقَمَهُ الْحُوتُ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ {142}

 So the fish swallowed him while he did that for which he blamed himself

 

Now imagine what a horrible situation it was for a person who was already heartbroken by the obvious failure of his efforts and struggles in the way of Allah. But now he had realized his mistake of taking a hasty decision and giving up on himself and his people too soon. So immediately he asks for forgiveness, glorifying Allah and admitting his error. Allah says:

 

فَلَوْلَا أَنَّهُ كَانَ مِنْ الْمُسَبِّحِينَ {143}

 had he not been of them who glorify Allah,

لَلَبِثَ فِي بَطْنِهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ {144}

He would certainly have remained in its belly till the day of resurrection.

 

So Allah saved him by causing the fish to throw him up on the desolate shore, where a plant grew by Allah’s orders to give him shade and food. When he was restored to good health, Allah sent him to a nation which believed in him…..

 

وَأَرْسَلْنَاهُ إِلَى مِئَةِ أَلْفٍ أَوْ يَزِيدُونَ {147}

And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people), or even more.

فَآمَنُوا فَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَى حِينٍ {148}

And they believed, so We gave them enjoyment for a while.

 

 It is a clear reminder that even if Prophets, who are the chosen people of Allah, can be held accountable for their slight errors then who are we to think that paradise will be granted to us automatically. I simply love reading this story because it removes all hopelessness from my heart. It reassures me that while making mistakes, is a human weakness, but glorifying Allah and repenting for one’s mistakes is so much appreciated and rewarded by Allah. I have myself experienced it that every time I do sincere Tauba, I feel renewed and energized to start living again with a clean heart and soul. How merciful Allah is for giving us these practical solutions to problems that seem impossible to cure.

And so after this beautiful journey through time, in which we saw these perfect people whom Allah chose as His messengers, we have the following passage in which Allah puts an end to the mythology of the ancient Arabs, who used to believe that the angels were Allah’s daughters. Thus they made statues in their likeness and worshipped them as gods believing that they brought them good luck and fortune. It was a pity that after all the teachings of Tauheed which the Messengers had delivered to them, they still couldn’t come out of their distorted beliefs. So Allah is asking them, what’s wrong with you? How can you make such tales? Is there any proof for your statements?

 

مَا لَكُمْ كَيْفَ تَحْكُمُونَ {154}

What is the matter with you, how do you judge?

أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ {155}

Will you not then remember?

أَمْ لَكُمْ سُلْطَانٌ مُّبِينٌ {156}

Or have you a clear authority?

 

The angels know what their place is, in the order of the universe and they are aware of their responsibilities. They say:

 

وَمَا مِنَّا إِلَّا لَهُ مَقَامٌ مَّعْلُومٌ {164}

 And there is not one of us (angels) but has his assigned place (or position),

وَإِنَّا لَنَحْنُ الصَّافُّونَ {165}

 And most surely we are they who draw themselves out in ranks,

وَإِنَّا لَنَحْنُ الْمُسَبِّحُونَ {166}

And we are most surely they who declare the glory (of Allah).

 

The people of Makkah used to say that had they been given a Devine revelation, then they would be the true believers. But as time and events proved later on, it was just an empty claim:

 

وَإِنْ كَانُوا لَيَقُولُونَ {167}

 And surely they used to say:

لَوْ أَنَّ عِندَنَا ذِكْرًا مِّنْ الْأَوَّلِينَ {168}

Had we a reminder from those of yore,

لَكُنَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ {169}

 We would certainly have been the servants of Allah– the purified ones.

فَكَفَرُوا بِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ {170}

But (now) they disbelieve in it, so they will come to know.

 

It is an attitude that is found among people even today. They boldly claim that when Allah wishes He will bring them to the true guidance. And they don’t want to be reminded of the fact that they have to ask for this guidance and they have to pay the price, which is hard work and sincerity of purpose. It cannot be simply handed to them on a tray. And do they think that Islam depends on them? No it is Allah’s true religion and He is enough to uphold it. So Allah reminded the disbelievers of Makkah that His Prophet(s.a.w) and his followers will definitely be victorious:

 

وَلَقَدْ سَبَقَتْ كَلِمَتُنَا لِعِبَادِنَا الْمُرْسَلِينَ {171}

And certainly Our word has already gone forth in respect of Our slaves, the messengers:

إِنَّهُمْ لَهُمُ الْمَنصُورُونَ {172}

Most surely they shall be the triumphant ones

وَإِنَّ جُندَنَا لَهُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ {173}

And most surely Our hosts alone shall be the victorious ones.

 

And all praise to Allah who is perfect and free from all that the disbelievers associate with Him:

 

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ {180}

 Glory be to your Lord, the Lord of Honour and power, (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him.

وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ {181}

 And peace be on the messengers.

وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {181}

 And all praise and thanks is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

What a glorious end to a magnificent Surah! I pray to Allah that He might make it easy for us to understand the truth of His message and to apply it in our lives. This is what really matters after all.

 

Surah Saad

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Today when so much is being said and done against the religion of Allah, this Surah came to me as a powerful reminder of how important it is for us to open this great Book of Allah, understand it and convey it to others so that our hearts may find peace and we may follow Allah’s commands with conviction and desire. We need to be fully convinced that even if some people are using every possible measure in trying to distort the image of Islam, it certainly is the true religion.

Surely, doubt is like a poison which eats away at our faith, making us lose our focus and sense of direction. Therefore Allah is assuring us here that this Noble Quran is full of goodness and guidance but the disbelievers are in sheer arrogance and are deliberately deviating from what is good:                   

ص وَالْقُرْآنِ ذِي الذِّكْرِ {1}

 Saad, I swear by the Quran, which is full of admonition.

بَلِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فِي عِزَّةٍ وَشِقَاقٍ {2}

 But those who disbelieve are in self-exaltation and opposition.

 

And then they ridicule the person who brings to them the message of Allah……Just like the disbelievers said about the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.):

 

أَأُنزِلَ عَلَيْهِ الذِّكْرُ مِن بَيْنِنَا بَلْ هُمْ فِي شَكٍّ مِّن ذِكْرِي بَلْ لَمَّا يَذُوقُوا عَذَابِ {8}

Has the message been revealed to him out of [all of] us?” Rather, they are in doubt about My message. Rather, they have not yet tasted My punishment.

What if we come across a similar situation? What should we do when someone makes fun of our religion or says negative things about our Prophet or the good people who are following His Sunnah (way of life) by conveying the message of Quran to others? Allah says: be patient, don’t talk back, don’t react in a negative way, rather make yourself knowledgeable, increase your awareness about the virtuous people who have come before you and learn from them how to live, how to face various situations:

 

اصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا يَقُولُونَ وَاذْكُرْ عَبْدَنَا دَاوُودَ ذَا الْأَيْدِ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ {17}

 Bear patiently what they say, and remember Our servant Daud (David), the possessor of power; surely he was frequent in returning (to Allah).

 

The Prophet Da’ud (David) was a magnificent King and Allah had given Him extraordinary voice so that when He sang praises of Allah, the mountains and the birds joined in this glorification of their Lord. And he was also blessed with a grand kingdom along with two most prized qualities of character:

 

وَشَدَدْنَا مُلْكَهُ وَآتَيْنَاهُ الْحِكْمَةَ وَفَصْلَ الْخِطَابِ {20}

 And We strengthened his kingdom and We gave him wisdom and a clear judgment in speech.

 

This shows that for a man to rule the land; or to lead any nation or organization; or even a household, the most important thing after Allah consciousness is “Hikmat”. This can best be defined as the ability to make the right decision at the right time. Such a person is not ruled by his emotions or desires; rather he speaks and acts with wisdom and sincerity. His second quality; that we need to develop too; is to communicate effectively. The most brilliant ideas or detailed instructions can turn useless if they are not communicated to others in the right manner. So Allah said to His Prophet, Da’ud (a.s)

 

يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَى فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسَابِ {26}

O Da’ud! surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between men with justice and do not follow your own desires, lest it should lead you astray from the path of Allah; (as for) those who go astray from the path of Allah, they shall surely have a severe punishment because they forgot the day of reckoning.

 

From the above Ayat it is obvious that the two things which cause misguidance and disaster is firstly to blindly follow one’s desires and secondly to be forgetful of the Day of Judgement.

You look around and you see people living as if they are going to live here forever; going about their daily routine without any sense of accountability. Allah is focusing their attention to the fact that He has not created this world without a purpose:

وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا بَاطِلًا ذَلِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنَ النَّارِ {27}

 And We did not create the heaven and the earth and what is between them in vain; that is the opinion of those who disbelieve then woe to those who disbelieve on account of the fire.

 

It means that to deny the day of recompense is “Kufr” (disbelief). Allah asks them, how can they even think that the good and the bad will be treated alike?

 

أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ كَالْمُفْسِدِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الْمُتَّقِينَ كَالْفُجَّارِ {28}

 Shall We treat those who believe and do well like the mischief-makers in the earth? Or shall We make those who guard (against evil) like the wicked?

 

The people who bring up such doubts about the Day of Judgement claim to have a lot of reasoning behind their philosophies and appear to be very knowledgeable and clever. But Allah challenges them that if they are so intelligent then they should contemplate over the verses of the Quran, if they really want to find the truth:

 

كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ {29}

This Book which We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) is highly blessed, so that they may ponder upon its verses and the men of understanding may learn a lesson from it.

 

Da’ud (a.s) was granted a son, Suleiman (a.s) who also became a Prophet. Here Allah mentions his most superior quality……that he was “Awwab”; which means that he used to turn to Allah in every situation:

 

وَوَهَبْنَا لِدَاوُودَ سُلَيْمَانَ نِعْمَ الْعَبْدُ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ {30}

 And to Daud We gave Suleiman, (Solomon) most excellent devotee! Surely he was frequent in returning (to Allah).

 

This attitude of humbleness before Allah was especially admirable in Prophet Suleiman (a.s) who had been blessed with all the powers of a grand kingdom and wide-spread authority not only over the land and people but also over Jinn and animals and birds- even on the air which used to flow at his command. But instead of being arrogant he always remembered that in reality everything belonged to Allah, so all that grandeur further increased his love for Allah…….as is apparent in the following incident:

 

إِذْ عُرِضَ عَلَيْهِ بِالْعَشِيِّ الصَّافِنَاتُ الْجِيَادُ {31}

 When one evening, excellent-bred horses were presented before him….

فَقَالَ إِنِّي أَحْبَبْتُ حُبَّ الْخَيْرِ عَن ذِكْرِ رَبِّي حَتَّى تَوَارَتْ بِالْحِجَابِ {32}

 Then he said: Surely I have adopted the love of these good things with a view to glorify my Lord– until they disappeared from sight.

رُدُّوهَا عَلَيَّ فَطَفِقَ مَسْحًا بِالسُّوقِ وَالْأَعْنَاقِ {33}

(he said) Bring them back to me; so he began to pass his hand over their legs and necks (with affection)

 

These are one of my most favourite and delightful Ayaat, because I feel so liberated to know that Allah has allowed us to love and admire the “worldly” things (Halal things not Haram……be careful!) on the condition that this love should increase our love for the Creator and it should not make us arrogant or negligent of our basic duty towards Allah. So Allah has not completely put a ban on our emotional needs…..they just have to be channelized into a proper direction. The main focus of our love should be Allah. And for His sake if something enables us to work more efficiently in Allah’s way then there is no harm in loving that thing; be it wealth or material blessings, or love for the righteous people for the sake of Allah.

Such a person who remembers and admires Allah when he admires one of His creation; provided it’s not something which Allah has forbidden; will actually be rewarded for it. That is why Allah says about Suleiman (a.s):

                   {40}  وَإِنَّ لَهُ عِندَنَا لَزُلْفَى وَحُسْنَ مَآبٍ

Surely he has a place of nearness to Us and will have an excellent place of final abode.   

Learning about the righteous people of Allah, is a source of great inspiration for us, therefore Allah gives us another example of patience and perseverance from the life of His Prophet, Ayub (a.s). He was afflicted with a terrible skin disease which made it impossible for others to endure his presence, so all his family and friends left him one by one but even in his anguish and isolation he never complained and did not stop worshipping Allah. So as a reward for his patience, Allah granted him back his health and his family and a kingdom much more splendid than ever before. Thus Allah appreciates Him:

……..إِنَّا وَجَدْنَاهُ صَابِرًا نِعْمَ الْعَبْدُ إِنَّهُ أَوَّابٌ {44}

…….Certainly We found him full of patience. He was an excellent devotee, who turned to Us over and over again.

The Quran is full of such brilliant examples:

 

وَاذْكُرْ عِبَادَنَا إبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ أُوْلِي الْأَيْدِي وَالْأَبْصَارِ {45}

And remember Our servants Ibrahim and Ishaq and Yaqoub, men of power and insight.

All these Prophets were given magnificent power and vision. What a great combination it is when a person has depth of insight and far sightedness, and also has the power to bring his plans and ideas into action. Vision alone is nothing but dreams and to act without insight is mere foolishness. But the combination of both these faculties produces excellent results. Without doubt, it is a gift from Allah and here Allah tells us why he chose these people for this gift and also for the gift of Prophet-hood:

 

إِنَّا أَخْلَصْنَاهُم بِخَالِصَةٍ ذِكْرَى الدَّارِ {46}

Surely, We chose them for their special quality of keeping in mind the abode of Hereafter

So this is the key: Remembrance of Akhirah, the hereafter. I often observe that Allah has made us in such a way that our natural abilities remain hidden unless there is a motivation to bring them out. When you are focused on a high target then your hidden powers come to surface to assist you in attaining those goals. So when you focus your sight on the hereafter, your vision is increased and when you decide to work for it then other physical powers come into action too. So I have learned that Allah gives to us according to our aspirations.

Then we see that Allah reminds us of some other Prophets too:

                وَاذْكُرْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ وَكُلٌّ مِّنْ الْأَخْيَارِ{48}

And remember Ismail and Al-Yasha and Zulkifl; and they were all of the best.

                                                

 

So many people try to read Quran like an ordinary book; not giving it its due recognition or importance; forgetting that it is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. They don’t understand that it is Allah’s greatest favour on us that He enables us to understand His words. But this favour cannot be attained without proper respect for the Message as well as the Messenger. So they leaf through its translations and criticize things which they don’t understand…….One of their most common remarks is about the mention of earlier nations and the Prophets. It seems irrelevant to them…….the stories of the former people. The fact is that these lessons from the history of the world motivate us to assess ourselves and see how we can too, become the favourites of Allah and save ourselves from Allah’s anger and punishment.

Nothing else can make us believe in the Hereafter, except the Quran, which portrays such beautiful and attractive pictures of the paradise that inspire us towards making ourselves entitled for this delightful place…

 

هَذَا ذِكْرٌ وَإِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ لَحُسْنَ مَآبٍ {49}

 This is a reminder; and most surely there is an excellent resort for those who guard (against evil),                               

              

جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ مُّفَتَّحَةً لَّهُمُ الْأَبْوَابُ {50}

The gardens of perpetuity, the doors are wide opened to receive them.

مُتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا يَدْعُونَ فِيهَا بِفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيرَةٍ وَشَرَابٍ {51}

Reclining therein, calling therein for abundant fruits and delicious drink.

 

وَعِندَهُمْ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ أَتْرَابٌ {52}

And with them shall be those (bashful virgins) restraining their eyes, (companions) equals in age.

 

هَذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِيَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ {53}

This is what you are promised for the day of reckoning.

 

The best thing about Paradise is that with it will never end:

 

إِنَّ هَذَا لَرِزْقُنَا مَا لَهُ مِن نَّفَادٍ {54}

Most surely this is Our sustenance; it shall never come to an end;

 

But Allah has created everything for a purpose and just as he created this beautiful paradise for his faithful slaves, He has also created Hell fire for those who deny His rights and those who disobey Him. What else can make us strong enough to give up our bad habits……. except the reminder of this terrible torture?

 

هَذَا وَإِنَّ لِلطَّاغِينَ لَشَرَّ مَآبٍ {55}

This (shall be so); and most surely there is an evil resort for the rebellious ones;

جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلَوْنَهَا فَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ {56}

Hell; they shall enter it, so evil is the resting-place.

هَذَا فَلْيَذُوقُوهُ حَمِيمٌ وَغَسَّاقٌ {57}

This (shall be so); so let them taste it, boiling water and festering blood (pus).

 

Next Allah describes how the companions of the Hell Fire will be fighting among themselves. It is natural for people to blame and curse one another when going through extremely painful times. But the one thing which caught my attention is that they will be surprised not to find among themselves the good people whom they ridiculed in the world for following the right way, whom they called names such as extremists and fundamentalists:

 

وَقَالُوا مَا لَنَا لَا نَرَى رِجَالًا كُنَّا نَعُدُّهُم مِّنَ الْأَشْرَارِ {62}

Then they will say (to one another) “But why do we not see those who we deemed wicked-

أَتَّخَذْنَاهُمْ سِخْرِيًّا أَمْ زَاغَتْ عَنْهُمُ الْأَبْصَارُ {63}

And whom we used to ridicule? Or has our eye-sight failed to notice them?”

It is the final reward that counts; so it shouldn’t bother us if people talk against us in this world for following Allah’s religion. What harm can their comments do except to their own selves? In this life, too, the negative minded person keeps burning inside with hatred and fury and envy, and in the hereafter too they shall burn in a greater fire. May Allah save us all from such an end (Ameen)

Thus Allah comforts His Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) who was being severely pressurised by the opposition of the Disbelievers of Makkah:

 

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مُنذِرٌ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَهٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ {65}

O Prophet tell them, : I am only a Warner, and there is no god but Allah, the One, the Subduer (of all):

رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفَّارُ {66}

The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, the Mighty, the most Forgiving.

The absolute power and authority of Allah and the horrors of the Day of Judgement are the two realities which often remain hidden from our thoughts and this is the main reason for our casual attitude towards religion:

 

قُلْ هُوَ نَبَأٌ عَظِيمٌ {67}

Say: It is a message of importance,

 

أَنتُمْ عَنْهُ مُعْرِضُونَ {68}

(And) you are turning aside from it:

 

But a question arises that when there were so many Prophets coming to guide the people one after the other; and they all worked with so much sincerity; then why did a majority of people not believe? What led them to their disbelief and ultimately their destruction? Even today when we have the Blessed Quran and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad, (s.a.w)…..why is it that so many people are not willing to accept this message? What stops them? We find the answer to this in the following story:

It all started from day one, when Allah created Man:

 

إِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي خَالِقٌ بَشَرًا مِن طِينٍ {71}

Behold when your Lord said to the angels; Surely I am going to create a man from clay:

 

فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي فَقَعُوا لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ {72}

So when I have made him complete and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down and prostrate yourselves before him.

 

So what happened was that they all prostrated except Iblees (the devil) who acted arrogantly and so he disobeyed. Allah asked him:

 

قَالَ يَا إِبْلِيسُ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَن تَسْجُدَ لِمَا خَلَقْتُ بِيَدَيَّ أَسْتَكْبَرْتَ أَمْ كُنتَ مِنَ الْعَالِينَ {75}

Allah said: O Iblees! what prevented you from prostrating yourself to him whom I created with My two hands? Are you too proud or do you think that you are one of the exalted ones?

Look at his answer……aren’t the same words lurking in the back of our minds too? The sense of superiority…..

 

قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ {76}

 He said: I am better than he; you have created me of fire, and you created him of dust.

 

What could have been the reward for such arrogance? That too before the Creator of the Worlds….

 

قَالَ فَاخْرُجْ مِنْهَا فَإِنَّكَ رَجِيمٌ {77}

Allah said: Then get out of here, for surely you are accursed:

وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ لَعْنَتِي إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ {78}

And surely My curse shall be on you till the day of judgment.

But then Iblees asked for respite till the day of judgement which he was given. So he swore in his anger and frustration that he was going to mislead all men and take them along with him to the Hell except those who were sincere to Allah. Even he knew that he could not mislead the committed ones!

 

قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ {82}

Iblees said: Then I swear by your honour, I will surely mislead them all

 

إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ {83}

Except your chosen sincere devotees among them.

 

So this is our test: To recognize our enemy- Iblees and to make ourselves strong against his evil influence. Nothing can give us this strength except Allah’s remembrance and His Quran. We need to familiarize ourselves with this great book by spending time with it regularly, consistently…… sometimes just reading its text, sometimes understanding it and sometimes conveying its message to others. But mostly we need to act upon it ourselves and also remind others about it too. It is the only way out. If we don’t accept this truth now then surely the time is coming very close when we will all see the complete reality with our own eyes.

At the end we have this reminder which is the gist of this entire Surah:

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ {87}

This (Quran) is nothing but a reminder to all the nations;

وَلَتَعْلَمُنَّ نَبَأَهُ بَعْدَ حِينٍ {88}

And before long you will certainly know its truth.

 

 

Surah Az-Zumar

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Belief in the oneness of Allah is called “Tauheed”. When we believe that only Allah is our Lord and only He himself is the Creator, the Owner, the Provider and the Master of our destiny, then all our worship will be purely for Allah, all our hopes will be associated only with Allah; consequently our major concern will be to win His pleasure and likewise our only fear will be of His anger or displeasure. This is the first and foremost pillar of Islam and we have to hold tight to it because to associate any partner with Allah completely overturns the whole structure of one’s religion. Thus we see that in the Surahs which were revealed in Makkah, the principle of Tauheed was strengthened into the hearts of the believers, along with vivid descriptions of the life of the hereafter, so that they could clearly see the absurdity of the glamorous world of idols that the disbelievers had created around Ka’ba in the name of religion.

Surah Az-Zumar is also one of the Surahs of the Makkan period, and revolves around the main theme of Tauheed and openly challenges the disbelievers to face the fact that there is no substance in their false idols and if they don’t accept the true religion they will face unending torment of Hell fire.

It begins with an open declaration from Allah:

 

أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاء مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَى إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي مَا هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ {3}

Now, surely, sincere obedience is due to Allah (alone) and (as for) those who take guardians besides Him, (saying), We do not serve them save that they may make us nearer to Allah, surely Allah will judge between them in that in which they differ; surely Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar, ungrateful.

 

Although we believe in the unseen and have faith in Allah and the angels and the Heaven and Hell without having seen them but Allah has displayed numerous signs in the universe for us to feel His presence. So in the next verses Allah makes us ponder over His signs of “Tauheed”:

 

خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ يُكَوِّرُ اللَّيْلَ عَلَى النَّهَارِ وَيُكَوِّرُ النَّهَارَ عَلَى اللَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى أَلَا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفَّارُ {5}

He has created the heavens and the earth with the truth; He makes the night cover the day and makes the day overtake the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient; each one runs on to an assigned term; now surely He is the Mighty, the great Forgiver.

 

How could all of this be happening with such precision and harmony if there were more gods except Allah?

Then take a good look at your own self and see where have you come from? How can anyone be arrogant after reading this Ayat? Could anyone else design such creation other than Allah?

 

خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ الْأَنْعَامِ ثَمَانِيَةَ أَزْوَاجٍ يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِي بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِن بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلَاثٍ ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُصْرَفُونَ {6}

He has created you from a single being, then made its mate of the same (kind), and He has made for you eight of the cattle in pairs. He creates you in the wombs of your mothers– a creation after a creation– in triple darkness; that is Allah your Lord, His is the kingdom; there is no god but He; whence are you then turned away?

 

Although after such solid proofs there should be no doubt in the Absolute Oneness of Allah, however it is very common that some people continue to hold fast to their wrong beliefs simply because of their rebellious attitude. They don’t want to accept the truth because then they will have to accept that they were not right. So this arrogance keeps them misguided. Allah is warning them that in such a case they will themselves be the losers:

 

إِن تَكْفُرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنكُمْ وَلَا يَرْضَى لِعِبَادِهِ الْكُفْرَ وَإِن تَشْكُرُوا يَرْضَهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَةٌ وِزْرَ أُخْرَى ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّكُم مَّرْجِعُكُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ {7}

If you disbelieve, then verily, Allâh is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you. No bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, so He will inform you what you used to do. Verily, He is the All-Knower of that which is in the hearts.

It is very interesting to note that even those who stubbornly refuse to submit before Allah; call to Him when they face some calamity and know that no one can save them except Allah. However, as soon as they come out of that situation they act like they have completely forgotten whom they were calling in time of distress. Who are they fooling except themselves?

 

وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَا رَبَّهُ مُنِيبًا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلَهُ نِعْمَةً مِّنْهُ نَسِيَ مَا كَانَ يَدْعُو إِلَيْهِ مِن قَبْلُ وَجَعَلَ لِلَّهِ أَندَادًا لِّيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ قُلْ تَمَتَّعْ بِكُفْرِكَ قَلِيلًا إِنَّكَ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ النَّارِ {8}

And when some hurt touches man, he cries to his Lord (Allâh Alone), turning to Him in repentance, but when He bestows a favour upon him from Himself, he forgets that for which he cried for before, and he sets up rivals to Allâh, in order to mislead others from His Path. Say: “Take pleasure in your disbelief for a while: surely, you are (one) of the dwellers of the Fire!”

 Worship is not just a set of rituals to help you through difficult times, rather it is the expression of love and submission for the Creator at all times, especially in the quietness of night, when a true believer prostrates before the Lord of the universe, fearing the horrors of the day of recompense, yet at the same time hoping for Allah’s mercy:

 

أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاء اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ {9}

Is one who is obedient to Allâh, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who disbelieves)? Say: “Are those who know equal to those who know not?” It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allâh’s Signs and Verses).

What has enabled these people to develop this kind of relationship with Allah that keeps them awake at night? It is their knowledge that makes all the difference. The awareness that Allah is to be feared is the greatest knowledge. That is why we see that at the end of the above Ayat Allah honours these people by saying that those who know cannot be like the ones who do not know.

Some people have been misled into believing that the Allah-fearing people must necessarily be living a pathetic life, having no comforts of the world. Allah puts an end to this misconception:

 

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ لِلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا فِي هَذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةٌ وَأَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةٌ إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُم بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ {10}

Say: O my servants who believe! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord; for those who do good in this world is good, and Allah’s earth is spacious; only those who are patient will be paid back their reward in full without measure.

 

Still some people fear that if they adopt the true religion and abide by its teachings then maybe people will make negative comments and single them out for ridicule. So in the following verses it seems as if Allah is saying “Why should you fear anyone except Me? Just tell them that this is what I have been ordered by the Lord, to purely worship Him and no one else……”

 

قُلْ إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ الدِّينَ {11}

Say: I am commanded that I should serve Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience.

وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ {12}

And I am commanded that I shall be the first of those who submit.

 

If someone calls you a loser, tell them who the actual loser is…….

 

فَاعْبُدُوا مَا شِئْتُم مِّن دُونِهِ قُلْ إِنَّ الْخَاسِرِينَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَهْلِيهِمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَلَا ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ {15}

Then serve (worship) what you like besides Him. Say: The losers surely are those who shall have lost themselves and their families on the day of resurrection; now surely that is the clear loss.

 

What a terrible punishment they will face:

 

لَهُم مِّن فَوْقِهِمْ ظُلَلٌ مِّنَ النَّارِ وَمِن تَحْتِهِمْ ظُلَلٌ ذَلِكَ يُخَوِّفُ اللَّهُ بِهِ عِبَادَهُ يَا عِبَادِ فَاتَّقُونِ {16}

They shall have coverings of fire above them and coverings beneath them; with that Allah makes His servants to fear, so be careful of (your duty to) Me, O My servants!

 

Sometimes we think that staying pure in this day and age is next to impossible and how can we give up certain things which have become so essential to us even though they lead us away from Allah’s path? At such times we must remember that this life is just a test and maybe it takes a lot of struggle to give up things which displease Allah but then see how much reward there is for those who stay away from wrong ways:

 

وَالَّذِينَ اجْتَنَبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ أَن يَعْبُدُوهَا وَأَنَابُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فَبَشِّرْ عِبَادِ {17}

And (as for) those who keep off from the worship of the idols and turn to Allah, they shall have good news, therefore give good news to My servants,

 

How do these people manage to stay away from evil? Are they born lucky? Allah tells us that they have two qualities due to which they get guidance; one is that they listen carefully and then they act upon what is good….

 

الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ {18}

Those who listen to the word, then follow the best of it; those are they whom Allah has guided, and those it is who are the men of understanding.

 

In this life we have a choice of action. We can do good or bad. But once this test is over then we cannot change the results and there is no chance of a re-test. On one side there will be people burning in the hell and on the other side is such luxury, such beautiful description of Paradise….a promise from Allah and we know that He doesn’t go against His promises:

 

لَكِنِ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ لَهُمْ غُرَفٌ مِّن فَوْقِهَا غُرَفٌ مَّبْنِيَّةٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ الْمِيعَادَ {20}

But (as for) those who are careful of (their duty to) their Lord, they shall have high places, above them higher places, built (for them), beneath which flow rivers; (this is) the promise of Allah: Allah will not fail in (His) promise.

 

This Quran is full of these admonitions but then why don’t people take it seriously? Maybe Arabic is not their language but then what about the vast Arabic speaking world? Are they all living according to the Quranic teachings? Is Hadith their guiding principle in their day to day life? If not, then why is it so? We have been told in the Quran that Allah has made Quran easy to understand; revealed it in a language that is easy to learn. So if language is not a problem then why is it that so many Muslims are not following the true way of life and are not exactly reflecting a good representation of Islam? Allah gives the answer in the next Ayat:

 

أَفَمَن شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ فَهُوَ عَلَى نُورٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْقَاسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مِّن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ {22}

What! is he whose heart Allah has opened for Islam so that he is in a light from his Lord (like the hard-hearted)? Nay, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah; those are in clear error.

 

This happens to be one of my most favourite Ayaat and fills me with a deep sense of gratitude to Allah. He has made us in such a beautiful way. We see and we hear and we receive information but the heart is the place where this information is processed. So if there is an acceptance in the heart for something then it is not only understood, rather its effect is circulated like blood in the whole body. On the other hand if the heart doesn’t open up, then no matter how logical or valid the information might be, it just won’t be understood or accepted by that person. This opening of the heart for truth is a special gift from Allah given to those who truly desire it, leaving aside their prejudices, willing to admit their mistakes, willing to take Allah as the most Superior-Being…….superior to their logic and their desires…..superior to their own sense of superiority. Otherwise we see people who become even more hard hearted if they are reminded about Allah or Islam, because Allah has put a seal on their hearts due to their rebellion and their bloated egos.

See how Allah describes the effect of His words on the “open hearted” people:

 

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاء وَمَن يُضْلِلْ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ {23}

Allâh has sent down the best statement, a Book (this Qur’ân), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allâh. That is the guidance of Allâh. He Guides therewith whom He pleases and whomever Allâh sends astray, for him there is no guide.

As for those who prefer to live by their own rules, here is a warning which makes my heart tremble in fear………fear for the displeasure of Allah and His punishment:

 

كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَأَتَاهُمْ الْعَذَابُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ {25}

Those before them rejected (prophets), therefore there came to them the chastisement from whence they perceived not.

فَأَذَاقَهُمُ اللَّهُ الْخِزْيَ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَعَذَابُ الْآخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ {26}

So Allah made them taste the disgrace in this world’s life, and certainly the punishment of the hereafter is greater; did they but know!

 

For us Muslims, who have this Quran, there is no excuse for being ignorant or unaware. Allah has told us the same thing in countless ways:

 

وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ {27}

And certainly We have set forth to men in this Quran similitudes of every sort in order that they may remember.

 

In the clear Arabic language which has no ambiguity:

 

قُرآنًا عَرَبِيًّا غَيْرَ ذِي عِوَجٍ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ {28}

An Arabic Qur’ân, without any crookedness (therein) in order that they may avoid all evil (which Allâh has ordered them to avoid, fear Him and keep their duty to Him)

 

The people of Makkah who were the first recipients of this magnificent revelation, believed in Allah as the creator of the world but they had appointed various idols as partners of Allah, and believed them to be the masters of their destiny. They couldn’t accept the message of Tauheed, even though it was being presented to them in Quran, which was their own language. Allah challenges their belief in the following Ayat:

 

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ قُلْ أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَادَنِيَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ هَلْ هُنَّ كَاشِفَاتُ ضُرِّهِ أَوْ أَرَادَنِي بِرَحْمَةٍ هَلْ هُنَّ مُمْسِكَاتُ رَحْمَتِهِ قُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ يَتَوَكَّلُ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ {38}

And verily, if you ask them: “Who created the heavens and the earth?” Surely, they will say: “Allâh (has created them).” Say: “Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allâh, if Allâh intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm, or if He (Allâh) intended some mercy for me, could they withhold His Mercy?” Say : “Sufficient for me is Allâh; in Him those who trust (i.e. believers) must put their trust.

 

They also doubted the concept of resurrection. Allah says, don’t they witness a death every night and then re-birth every morning of their lives? Who is the one who wakes them up when they lose all sense of their existence?

 

اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَى عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَى إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {42}

It is Allah who recalls the souls at the time of their death, and of the living during their sleep. then He withholds the souls of those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed term; most surely there are signs in this for those who reflect.

 

There are so many beautiful verses and ideas in the Quran which I yearn to share with those who have kept themselves stubbornly isolated from everything related to Allah and His religion and I feel such pity for them for this senseless deprivation but the problem is that they are not willing to listen…….

 

وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ اشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ الَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ {45}

And when Allah alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the hereafter shrink, and when those besides Him are mentioned, lo! they are joyful.

 

I wish they would know that this life is soon going to end and then we will all have to pay for all our sins……..but the payment there is nothing but punishment…..our bank balances and grand houses and luxurious automobiles won’t have any worth at all….

 

وَلَوْ أَنَّ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ لَافْتَدَوْا بِهِ مِن سُوءِ الْعَذَابِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَبَدَا لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يَكُونُوا يَحْتَسِبُونَ {47}

If the wrongdoers possessed all the treasures of the earth and as much more besides it, they would gladly offer it to redeem themselves from the painful punishment on the Day of Resurrection. For there will become apparent to them from Allah what they would never have imagined.

And nobody would be able to deny anything because it will all be out in the open:

 

وَبَدَا لَهُمْ سَيِّئَاتُ مَا كَسَبُوا وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُون {48}

And the evils of that which they earned will become apparent to them, and they will be encircled by that which they used to mock at!

 

When we read the verses which describe the punishment of the day of Judgement, it is quite natural to feel a heavy burden on the heart; and of course that’s what they are meant for in the first place, so that we might be persuaded to bring about a positive change in our attitude towards life. But Allah is so kind and merciful to us that He doesn’t want us to lose hope. So here is good news for all of us and especially those who mistakenly believe that they have gone so far in their wrong ways that now there is no use in turning back to the straight path…….

 

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ {53}

Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful.

 

Some people stop here and think, ok this is great…we can live the way we want and of course it’s only human to make mistakes, so Allah is telling in the Quran that don’t be afraid and Allah will forgive us all our sins….?? No, it’s not meant like this; You have to read further to get the whole picture. Forgiveness is on condition that you repent to Allah and submit to His commands:

 

وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ {54}

“And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islâmic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islâm), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.

 

So that covers the past and the present. Repent for the past sins and make a decision now to submit before Allah and accept His religion; But, what to do in future? Islam is a complete religion so it takes care of all three phases of our lives:

 

وَاتَّبِعُوا أَحْسَنَ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ العَذَابُ بَغْتَةً وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ {55}

And follow the best that has been revealed to you from your Lord before there comes to you the punishment all of a sudden while you do not even perceive;

 

Allah is again warning us here that we should not let ourselves procrastinate about this decision of Tauba (Repentance) to Allah. Shaitan knows how powerful this treatment is to the soul of a believer. He knows how it will give him energy to move in life, all refreshed and clean; and hopeful and optimistic…..believing in Allah with an open heart and doing everything to Please His Lord……so the devil spares no effort in making us delay this process until the time when the person will eventually lose his resolve and thus will plunge back into the devil’s obedience instead of Allah’s worship.

Thus Allah warns us:

 

أَن تَقُولَ نَفْسٌ يَا حَسْرَتَى علَى مَا فَرَّطتُ فِي جَنبِ اللَّهِ وَإِن كُنتُ لَمِنَ السَّاخِرِينَ {56}

Lest a person should say: “Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allâh and I was indeed among those who mocked at the truth (the Qur’ân, and Muhammad SAW and at the faithful believers, etc.)

أَوْ تَقُولَ لَوْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هَدَانِي لَكُنتُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ {57}

Or (lest) he should say: “If only Allâh had guided me, I should indeed have been among the pious and righteous persons “

أَوْ تَقُولَ حِينَ تَرَى الْعَذَابَ لَوْ أَنَّ لِي كَرَّةً فَأَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ {58}

Or (lest) he should say when he sees the torment: “If only I had another chance (to return to the world) then I should indeed be among the excellent ones.”

If someone neglects his duty in this world and goes to the next one without accepting Allah’s guidance then no such excuse will be accepted from him. Rather it will be said:

 

بَلَى قَدْ جَاءتْكَ آيَاتِي فَكَذَّبْتَ بِهَا وَاسْتَكْبَرْتَ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ {59}

Aye! My communications came to you, but you rejected them, and you were proud and you were one of the unbelievers.

 

What a pity it is that we don’t realize the greatness of Allah. Isn’t that why we remain heedless in spite of all the warnings?

 

وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالْأَرْضُ جَمِيعًا قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّماوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ {67}

And they have not honoured Allah with the honour that is due to Him; and the whole earth shall be in His grip on the day of resurrection and the heavens rolled up in His right hand; glory be to Him, and may He be exalted above what they associate (with Him).

 

Have we ever visualized about the Day of Judgement? Have we ever been curious what is going to happen to us? Or is our imagination limited only to the petty affairs of this world?

 

وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ {69}

And the earth shall shine with the light of its Lord, and the Book shall be laid down, and the prophets and the witnesses shall be brought up, and judgment shall be given between them with justice, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.

 

Imagine how everyone will be given their share according to their deeds. There will be no injustice….

 

وَوُفِّيَتْ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا عَمِلَتْ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ {70}

And every soul shall be paid back fully what it has done, and He (Allah) knows best what they do.

 

And when the wrong doers will be led to the doors of Hell, the guardians will ask them with surprise- had no one warned them of their end? Had no one read to them the verses of their Lord?

 

وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ زُمَرًا حَتَّى إِذَا جَاؤُوهَا فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُونَ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِ رَبِّكُمْ وَيُنذِرُونَكُمْ لِقَاء يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا قَالُوا بَلَى وَلَكِنْ حَقَّتْ كَلِمَةُ الْعَذَابِ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ {71}

And those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in groups, till, when they reach it, the gates thereof will be opened (suddenly like a prison at the arrival of the prisoners). And its keepers will say, “Did not the Messengers come to you from yourselves, reciting to you the Verses of your Lord, and warning you of the Meeting of this Day of yours?” They will say: “Yes, but the Word of torment has been justified against the disbelievers!

Just imagine how painful it will be to accept their mistake on that day in front of so many people and knowing that they are going to be thrown into the fire like useless rubbish….. How great will be the shame and regret……. (Astahgfirullah)

But this is not all; there is going to be another crowd, groups of honoured people who will be led to the Paradise. Look at the welcome they receive…

 

وَسِيقَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ زُمَرًا حَتَّى إِذَا جَاؤُوهَا وَفُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُهَا وَقَالَ لَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ طِبْتُمْ فَادْخُلُوهَا خَالِدِينَ {73}

And those who are careful of (their duty to) their Lord shall be conveyed to the garden in companies; until when they come to it, and its doors shall be opened, and the keepers of it shall say to them: Peace be on you, you have done well; therefore enter it to abide.

 

Isn’t it simply beautiful…..Such a glorious reward for such fine people, who lived their lives in complete obedience and submission to their Lord; Forever fearing his anger and striving for His pleasure…..all the while having an undying conviction in the promises of Allah………….Just feel their pleasure at having reached their final destination for which they had worked and prayed all their lives:

 

وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي صَدَقَنَا وَعْدَهُ وَأَوْرَثَنَا الْأَرْضَ نَتَبَوَّأُ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ حَيْثُ نَشَاء فَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ {74}

And they will say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allâh Who has fulfilled His Promise to us and has made us inherit (this) land. We can dwell in Paradise where we will; how excellent a reward for the (pious good) workers!”

And thus the test and its judgement will come to an end. The angels will surround the throne of Allah and will glorify Him with His praises:

 

وَتَرَى الْمَلَائِكَةَ حَافِّينَ مِنْ حَوْلِ الْعَرْشِ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَقِيلَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {75}

And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne (of Allâh) from all round, glorifying the praises of their Lord (Allâh). And they (all the creatures) will be judged with truth, and it will be said. All the praises and thanks be to Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists).”

 

With this the “picture” comes to an end. It’s like Allah has just taken us on a tour of our future. We have seen the hell and the Paradise. The sad regrets of the people going into hell are resounding in my heart, just side by side with the joyous exclamations of the victorious ones………..The question is; Which group do I belong to?

And, what about you? Where do you see yourself? As the Prophet (s.a.w.) told us:

Al Mar’u Ma’a Man Ahabba

Meaning: A man will be with the one he loves

So it means that the company I keep in this world is most likely to be my companions in the next world too. So take a look at those you love to hang out with…….where do you see them in this picture of the hereafter?

And what about our own record of deeds? Take a good look at the journal of your life…… What have you accomplished so far? It’s all being written down, recorded with the minutest details; With an irremovable ink. The only thing that can wipe its writing is Tauba…..a sincere repentance. So take this decision while there is still time. Before the bell rings to announce the end of the test……

 

وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَن شَاء اللَّهُ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخْرَى فَإِذَا هُم قِيَامٌ يَنظُرُونَ {68}

 And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except such as Allah please; then it shall be blown again, then lo! They shall stand up awaiting….

 

Surah Al-Mu’min

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The Quran is a road map for us to follow in this journey of life, so that it can lead us to our final destination i.e. the Paradise. But to follow any set of directions one needs to have complete trust in its authenticity. The level of our trust will determine the degree of our attachment with this Book, which in turn will enable us to follow its teachings. Therefore Allah has sent us many reminders about the honourable status of Quran so that we can take its guidance with open eyes and an open heart.

The opening verse of Surah Al-Mu’min is also one such reminder in which Allah tells us that this is not just any ordinary book you are holding; rather it is a revelation from the All-mighty Allah who knows everything. There is no author of any other book who can make this claim that he knows everything, therefore no book on earth can tell you everything. No knowledge is complete except Allah’s knowledge and therefore no book is complete except the Quran:

 

تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ {2}

 The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing,

 

Allah has blessed each one of us with unique talents and capabilities and to attain the highest level of success we need to use these talents and live a productive wholesome life. But to be able to live fully one needs to have peace of mind, otherwise life just goes round and round in circles and we don’t get to achieve even half of what we could have done. Most of the people feel a burden on their hearts which takes away all their energy and initiative. It’s just like running in a race carrying a sack of goods on your back……can you imagine yourself winning the race in such a way? But what are the burdens we carry in our hearts which hinder our progress in life? It is the burden of sins; the guilt and regret of years of negligence; and the worries for an uncertain future. Apparently it seems that there is no way out of it; but Allah is so kind, He gives us the solution in the following verse:

 

غَافِرِ الذَّنبِ وَقَابِلِ التَّوْبِ شَدِيدِ الْعِقَابِ ذِي الطَّوْلِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ إِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ {3}

 The Forgiver of the faults and the Acceptor of repentance, Severe to punish, Lord of bounty; there is no god but He; to Him is the final return.

 

Just concentrate upon each of Allah’s attributes mentioned here and see how simple it is to put everything before Him. The only thing we need to do is to submit to His obedience, make a sincere repentance for the past sins and negligence and then feel the assurance of His forgiveness. He accepts all our intentions for the future too; as “Tauba” is not complete without it. We make a commitment before Him that we will live according to His Book and the teachings of His Prophet (s.a.w) and immediately we feel the hope and energy inside our heart that Allah will help us to do it. But if we don’t avail this opportunity of self purification, and think that we are fine just as we are and don’t need to change our way of life, then not only Allah increases the burden on our heart but He is also swift in His punishment. There is no escape from recompense because we all have to return to Him. How awesome it is that all this has been revealed in just one verse……the same thing for which I used so many words and sentences………….what more proof do we need for the greatness of the Quran? But there are still a lot of people who cannot feel any significance for this great Book. Look at what Allah has to say about them:

 

مَا يُجَادِلُ فِي آيَاتِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَلَا يَغْرُرْكَ تَقَلُّبُهُمْ فِي الْبِلَادِ {4}

 None dispute concerning the communications of Allah but those who disbelieve, therefore let not their going to and fro in the cities deceive you.

 

Quran is full of the incidents of those people who denied its teachings and then see what punishments they faced……

 

كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ وَالْأَحْزَابُ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ وَهَمَّتْ كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ بِرَسُولِهِمْ لِيَأْخُذُوهُ وَجَادَلُوا بِالْبَاطِلِ لِيُدْحِضُوا بِهِ الْحَقَّ فَأَخَذْتُهُمْ فَكَيْفَ كَانَ عِقَابِ {5}

The people of Nûh (Noah) and the confederates after them denied (their Messengers) before these, and every (disbelieving) nation plotted against their Messenger to seize him, and disputed by means of falsehood to refute therewith the truth. So I seized them (with punishment), and how (terrible) was My punishment!

In all the nations which came one after the other since the creation of the world, Allah sent His messengers to guide the people to the truth but they all faced rejection from a majority of the people. Even those few who believed in the true guidance were made into an object of ridicule and hatred. This rejection from the society tends to depress the believers and they feel isolated and insecure. But Look at the inspirational verses that follow in which Allah assures the true believers that He is on their side, and His angels are constantly praying for all those who believe in Allah and make a true commitment to follow the right way even if it’s difficult at times to do so…..

 

الَّذِينَ يَحْمِلُونَ الْعَرْشَ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَيُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا وَسِعْتَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ رَّحْمَةً وَعِلْمًا فَاغْفِرْ لِلَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا سَبِيلَكَ وَقِهِمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ {7}

Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allâh) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh) (saying): “Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire!

 

How beautiful is this prayer! The angels know that the greatest pleasure for man is to share his pleasures with his family and friends. Even in paradise his happiness will be complete when he will be in the company of his beloved people. So they pray for the believers to be blessed with this delight in Paradise………to enjoy the company of their beloved people:

رَبَّنَا وَأَدْخِلْهُمْ جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ الَّتِي وَعَدتَّهُم وَمَن صَلَحَ مِنْ آبَائِهِمْ وَأَزْوَاجِهِمْ وَذُرِّيَّاتِهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {8}

“Our Lord! And make them enter the ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) which you have promised them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.  

 

This Ayat also gives us a sense of responsibility that while we are making any progress towards gaining Allah’s pleasure and doing good deeds to enter paradise we should also take care of our families and friends that they should not be deprived of this guidance. We have to take them along with us to this path of success.

 

وَقِهِمُ السَّيِّئَاتِ وَمَن تَقِ السَّيِّئَاتِ يَوْمَئِذٍ فَقَدْ رَحِمْتَهُ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ {9}

“And save them from (the punishment, because of what they did of) the sins, and whomsoever You save from (the punishment, because of what they did of) the sins (i.e. excuse them) that Day, him verily, You have taken into mercy.” And that is the supreme success.

 

So next time if you feel like crying because of all the opposition you have to face in the way of Allah, remember these Ayaat and be happy on this wonderful support you have!! And if you feel pressurised by the environment to follow the trends then take a moment and revise your commitment with Allah:

فَادْعُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ {14}

So, call you (O Muhammad SAW and the believers) upon (or invoke) Allâh making (your) worship pure for Him (Alone) (by worshipping none but Him and by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allâh’s sake only and not to show-off and not to set up rivals with Him in worship). However much the disbelievers (in the Oneness of Allâh) may hate (it).

 

And don’t worry about any loss of status or peoples’ approval; remember that true status is with Allah:

 

رَفِيعُ الدَّرَجَاتِ ذُو الْعَرْشِ يُلْقِي الرُّوحَ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلَى مَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ لِيُنذِرَ يَوْمَ التَّلَاقِ {15}

(He is Allâh) Owner of High Ranks and Degrees, the Owner of the Throne. He sends the Inspiration by His Command to any of His slaves He wills, that he (the person who receives inspiration) may warn (men) of the Day of Mutual Meeting (i.e. The Day of Resurrection).

 

Mostly we let our desires govern our minds and that’s why we have such a lethargic attitude towards religion. There is so much we don’t know because of our self imposed ignorance but isn’t it strange that often we fail to follow even those things which we know are right and important. We keep putting them off because our concept about accountability is very blurred. Also we tend to avoid talking or thinking about our death or about the day when we will have to face the consequences of our actions. So the importance of Allah’s obedience becomes more and more obscure from our minds. Thus to save mankind from utter loss and destruction, Allah ordered all His Messengers to warn the people about the day of recompense:

 

وَأَنذِرْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْآزِفَةِ إِذِ الْقُلُوبُ لَدَى الْحَنَاجِرِ كَاظِمِينَ مَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَلَا شَفِيعٍ يُطَاعُ {18}

 And warn them of the day that draws near, when hearts shall rise up to the throats, grieving inwardly; the unjust shall not have any compassionate friend nor any intercessor who should be obeyed.

 

 This fear of the day of Judgement is something which breaks our desire to do things which have been prohibited and motivates us into doing good deeds to please Allah who will be the one and only Master and Judge on that day:

 

وَاللَّهُ يَقْضِي بِالْحَقِّ وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ لَا يَقْضُونَ بِشَيْءٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ {20}

 And Allah judges with the truth; and those whom they call upon besides Him cannot judge aught; surely Allah is the Hearing, the Seeing.

 

Now it so happens that when you act upon Allah’s command and you decide to tell people about the reality of life, warning them of the horrible punishments that Allah has listed down in the Quran; most people don’t like it at all and often turn nasty in their defensive attitude. It’s quite similar to waking a person from deep sleep, especially one who loves to sleep……… you will not expect him to thank you for reminding him that he is getting late for work….on the contrary there can be a lot of negative reaction…..so that is the case with warning people about the consequences of their disobedience to Allah’s. It is never easy but it’s the duty of every believer to spread this awareness.

Now Allah gives us an example of one such believer who took a stand to speak the truth even at the cost of putting his life at risk. The story begins when Musa (a.s) was sent to the Pharaoh and his people:

 

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مُوسَى بِآيَاتِنَا وَسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ {23}

And certainly We sent Musa with Our communications and clear authority,

إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَقَارُونَ فَقَالُوا سَاحِرٌ كَذَّابٌ {24}

To Fir’aun (Pharaoh), Hâmân and Qârûn (Korah), but they called (him): “A sorcerer, a liar!”

 

But when Pharaoh saw that people were starting to believe in Musa’s teachings, he threatened to kill Musa (a.s) to put an end to the Message along with the Messenger:

 

وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ ذَرُونِي أَقْتُلْ مُوسَى وَلْيَدْعُ رَبَّهُ إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يُبَدِّلَ دِينَكُمْ أَوْ أَن يُظْهِرَ فِي الْأَرْضِ الْفَسَادَ {26}

 And Firon said: Let me alone that I may kill Musa and let him call upon his Lord; surely I fear that he will change your religion or that he will make mischief to appear in the land.

 

Normally such a threat from such a mighty force as Pharaoh would take the guts out of anyone, but look at the power of faith that is reflected in the words of Musa (a.s) who calmly replied:

 

وَقَالَ مُوسَى إِنِّي عُذْتُ بِرَبِّي وَرَبِّكُم مِّن كُلِّ مُتَكَبِّرٍ لَّا يُؤْمِنُ بِيَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ {27}

And Musa said: Surely I take refuge with my Lord and– your Lord from every proud one who does not believe in the day of reckoning.

 

This is the beauty of Tauheed that when you fear Allah alone and take Him as your Lord, then all other forces will seem worthless as compared to Allah’s power. Fear of Allah is the only fear that makes you brave!

 So what happened next was that a person among the courtiers of Pharaoh who had not so far disclosed the fact that he had become a believer in Allah and His Messengers, stood up in support of Musa (a.s) and said:

 

وَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مُّؤْمِنٌ مِّنْ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ يَكْتُمُ إِيمَانَهُ أَتَقْتُلُونَ رَجُلًا أَن يَقُولَ رَبِّيَ اللَّهُ وَقَدْ جَاءكُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ وَإِن يَكُ كَاذِبًا فَعَلَيْهِ كَذِبُهُ وَإِن يَكُ صَادِقًا يُصِبْكُم بَعْضُ الَّذِي يَعِدُكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ مُسْرِفٌ كَذَّابٌ {28}

And a believing man of Firon’s people who hid his faith said: What! will you slay a man because he says: My Lord is Allah, and indeed he has brought to you clear arguments from your Lord? And if he be a liar, on him will be his lie, and if he be truthful, there will befall you some of that which he threatens you (with); surely Allah does not guide him who is extravagant, a liar:

 

The important thing to learn from his statement is that the courage of faith does not mean that we have to be loud and unnecessarily rude to prove our point; rather true courage should enable us to face the opponent with dignity and firm conviction, using logic and clear reasoning. This wisdom is also a gift from Allah to those who really fear Him in all situations; and for whom the actual motive is not to proclaim their own greatness, but they seek to glorify Allah’s honour at all times.

So this “Mu’min”, this true believer reminds his people of their actual helplessness before Allah in case He sent His punishment, because they would not be able to save themselves from it, in spite of the fact that they were rulers and were dominant in the land. He then gives them examples of the perished nations:

 

وَقَالَ الَّذِي آمَنَ يَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُم مِّثْلَ يَوْمِ الْأَحْزَابِ {30}

And he who believed said: “O my people! Verily, I fear for you a fate like that day (of disaster) of the Confederates (of old)!

مِثْلَ دَأْبِ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَعَادٍ وَثَمُودَ وَالَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ وَمَا اللَّهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلْمًا لِّلْعِبَادِ {31}

The like of what befell the people of Nuh and Ad and Samood and those after them, and Allah does not desire injustice for (His) servants;

 

Like every true believer, his real focus was on the Akhirah, so he warns them:

 

وَيَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ يَوْمَ التَّنَادِ {32}

 And, O my people! I fear for you the day of calling out,

يَوْمَ تُوَلُّونَ مُدْبِرِينَ مَا لَكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ عَاصِمٍ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ {33}

 A Day when you will turn your backs and flee having no protector from Allâh, And whomsoever Allâh sends astray, for him there is no guide.

 

The Pharaoh saw that what he was saying was true and he might succeed in influencing the people, so he tried to distract the audience by his non serious remarks. What he did not know was that all his schemes will avail him nothing but destruction:

 

وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا هَامَانُ ابْنِ لِي صَرْحًا لَّعَلِّي أَبْلُغُ الْأَسْبَابَ {36}

 And Firon said: O Haman! build for me a tower that I may attain the means of access,

أَسْبَابَ السَّمَاوَاتِ فَأَطَّلِعَ إِلَى إِلَهِ مُوسَى وَإِنِّي لَأَظُنُّهُ كَاذِبًا وَكَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِفِرْعَوْنَ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ وَصُدَّ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا كَيْدُ فِرْعَوْنَ إِلَّا فِي تَبَابٍ {37}

 The means of access to the heavens, then reach the god of Musa, and I surely think him to be a liar. And thus the evil of his deed was made fairseeming to Firon, and he was turned away from the Right Way; and the schemes of Firon led him to nothing but destruction.

 

The believer continues with his speech unwaveringly, as he is neither oppressed by the threats nor is he angered by the ridicule of Pharaoh. This is really true courage and determination……..to remain focused on one’s own purpose and not let others disturb your emotional equilibrium:

 

وَقَالَ الَّذِي آمَنَ يَا قَوْمِ اتَّبِعُونِ أَهْدِكُمْ سَبِيلَ الرَّشَادِ {38}

 And he who believed said: O my people! follow me; I will guide you to the right course;

يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّمَا هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا مَتَاعٌ وَإِنَّ الْآخِرَةَ هِيَ دَارُ الْقَرَارِ {39}

 O my people! this life of the world is only a (passing) enjoyment, and surely the hereafter is the abode to settle;

 

How well he understood and conveyed the reality of life. Surely it is a reflection of the fact that to be a believer doesn’t mean that you shut off your intellect and blindly follow some group wherever they might lead you. The truth is that Allah wants us to use our senses to understand His signs so that we can really absorb the spirit of the revelations. Just look at this person’s clarity of thought and speech:

 

مَنْ عَمِلَ سَيِّئَةً فَلَا يُجْزَى إِلَّا مِثْلَهَا وَمَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُوْلَئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ يُرْزَقُونَ فِيهَا بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ {40}

 Whoever does an evil, he shall not be recompensed (with aught) but the like of it, and whoever does good, whether male or female, and he is a believer, these shall enter the garden, in which they shall be given sustenance without measure.

 

And at the end what inspires me greatly about this character is his absolute faith in Allah, his constant remembrance of Allah, which doesn’t let him get carried away with any self projection. He doesn’t care whether he scored any points with his audience rather he remembers that his actual judge is Allah and not people………no wonder Allah refers to him as “Al-Mu’min” The believer:

 

فَسَتَذْكُرُونَ مَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ وَأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِي إِلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ {44}

 So you shall remember what I say to you, and I entrust my affair to Allah, Surely Allah is the All-seer of His servants.

 

So Allah saved him from all those evil plots that Pharaoh and his people devised against him:

فَوَقَاهُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِ مَا مَكَرُوا وَحَاقَ بِآلِ فِرْعَوْنَ سُوءُ الْعَذَابِ {45}

 So Allah protected him from the evil (consequences) of what they planned, and the most evil punishment overtook Firon’s people:

 

There are many lessons to be learned from this story but the most important thing is that we should compare our attitude with this believer and evaluate our level of faith……..because we also make claims of having faith in Allah and His message. But faith is something that should be etched deep in our heart and our actions should reflect it. Allah has promised to help all those who have true faith in Him, not only in this world but also the next:

 

إِنَّا لَنَنصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْأَشْهَادُ {51}

 Most surely We help Our messengers, and those who believe, in this world’s life and on the day when the witnesses shall stand

 

And what will be the fate of the wrongdoers? Ask anyone about why they don’t obey Allah’s commands and they will be full of excuses. But what will be the use of these excuses in the hereafter?

 

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ الظَّالِمِينَ مَعْذِرَتُهُمْ وَلَهُمُ اللَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ {52}

 The day on which their excuses shall not benefit the unjust, and for them is curse and for them is the evil abode.

 

And if someone thinks that why should we worry about something that might happen after an infinite time, let them read the following verse carefully:

 

إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَآتِيَةٌ لَّا رَيْبَ فِيهَا وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ {59}

 Most surely the hour is coming, there is no doubt therein, but most people do not believe.

 

But people continue to deny these plain warnings from the Lord. Allah says, very soon they will know:

 

الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِالْكِتَابِ وَبِمَا أَرْسَلْنَا بِهِ رُسُلَنَا فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ {70}

 Those who reject the Book and that with which We have sent Our Messenger; but they shall soon come to know,

 

What will be the use of acknowledging the truth when a great torment will overcome all those who chose to deny it in this life?

 

إِذِ الْأَغْلَالُ فِي أَعْنَاقِهِمْ وَالسَّلَاسِلُ يُسْحَبُونَ {71}

When the fetters and the chains shall be on their necks; they shall be dragged

فِي الْحَمِيمِ ثُمَّ فِي النَّارِ يُسْجَرُونَ {72}

Into boiling water, then in the fire shall they be burned;

 

As we read these verses we should imagine the probability of us being in such a condition and then we should pray for forgiveness. May Allah save us all from the fire. (Ameen) We should understand that Allah has made everything in this universe with a purpose and the creation of Man was not so that he could roam around in the land in an aimless pursuit of amusement, without caring whether he might be breaking his covenant with Allah. This is the attitude which angers Allah so much:

 

ذَلِكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَفْرَحُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَبِمَا كُنتُمْ تَمْرَحُونَ {75}

That is because you exulted in the land unjustly and because you behaved insolently.

 

Another thing which invites Allah’s punishment is to be proud of one’s own knowledge and to make fun of the Messengers as well as the Message of Allah:

 

فَلَمَّا جَاءتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَرِحُوا بِمَا عِندَهُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُون {83}

Then when their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, they were glad (and proud) with that which they had of the knowledge (of worldly things): And that at which they used to mock, surrounded them (i.e. the punishment).

 

It is human nature that no matter how arrogant someone might be; when he finds himself trapped in any calamity then he calls out to Allah:

 

فَلَمَّا رَأَوْا بَأْسَنَا قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ وَكَفَرْنَا بِمَا كُنَّا بِهِ مُشْرِكِينَ {84}

 But when they saw Our punishment, they said: We believe in Allah alone and we deny what we used to associate with Him.

 

But there is a time limit for everything. The opportunity for Tauba is available to us only until we are alive and once the disbelievers will be facing their punishment then it will not matter whether they believe in Allah or not………

 

فَلَمْ يَكُ يَنفَعُهُمْ إِيمَانُهُمْ لَمَّا رَأَوْا بَأْسَنَا سُنَّتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي قَدْ خَلَتْ فِي عِبَادِهِ وَخَسِرَ هُنَالِكَ الْكَافِرُونَ {85}

But after seeing our punishment, their professing the faith (Islam) was of no use to them; such was the practise of Allah in dealing with His servants in the past, and Thus the disbelievers were utterly lost.

 

We human beings are so perceptive of profit and loss in all areas of life. We don’t do anything for free. Even a child evaluates what he will gain out of any situation. So how strange it is if we are not bothered about gaining any benefit from our entire life? If we don’t invest our time and energy to gain the rewards of the permanent life of the hereafter, then what are we doing here? What good is there in just working for this temporary life which is going to end anyway? What are we going to do after that? The time to think for that is now……not tomorrow or the day after but now ………..the time for Tauba is now, not next year or next Ramadan but now…..

 

Surah Ha-Meem As-Sajdah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The names, Al-Rahman and Al-Raheem, signify the extreme mercy and compassion of Allah and since the opening verse of this Surah tells us, that this Quran and this Surah is a revelation of the Al-Rahman and Al-Raheem, I feel as if the Quran is actually a gift of love from the Lord of the Universe to Man……His best creation….. to whom He gave the power to think and the faculties to live a life of consciousness. It was due to His extreme love and mercy that He gave us this source of guidance, so that we might not get lost in the confusion of this world……

 

تَنزِيلٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ {2}

This is revealed by the Compassionate, the Merciful (Allah)

كِتَابٌ فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ {3}

a Book whose verses are well explained, a Qur’an in the Arabic language for people who understand.

 

The word “Fussilat ” in the above Ayat is also the other name for this Surah; and it means “well-explained”. Why do we need explanation? It is a fact that a lot of books fail to give any help to the readers in their lives because of their complex language and unrealistic ideas. When you read such a book you might admire it for its grand style but you cannot get any benefit out of it. But Allah made the Quran simple for everyone to understand because its purpose was to guide people out of darkness of ignorance into the light of awareness. Therefore each and every concept has been repeatedly explained in different ways so that it becomes vivid and clear to readers of all levels of intellect.

And thus, these clear words of Allah give good news to the righteous ones and they find peace and happiness in its reading; and also it gives a clear warning to the wrongdoers so that they should revert to the right way of life. But the majority of people don’t want to accept their mistakes, so they ignore the Quran and even refuse to listen to it because they want to avoid the feeling of guilt it inspires in them.

 

بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا فَأَعْرَضَ أَكْثَرُهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُونَ {4}

A giver of good news and admonition: yet most of the people turn their backs and do not listen.

If they are advised to pay attention to the Quran because it is the strongest link with Allah, they make many excuses:

 

وَقَالُوا قُلُوبُنَا فِي أَكِنَّةٍ مِّمَّا تَدْعُونَا إِلَيْهِ وَفِي آذَانِنَا وَقْرٌ وَمِن بَيْنِنَا وَبَيْنِكَ حِجَابٌ فَاعْمَلْ إِنَّنَا عَامِلُونَ {5}

They say: “Our hearts are concealed in veils from the faith to which you call us, there is deafness in our ears and there is a barrier between you and us: so you work your way and we keep on working our way.

It is a fact that those who don’t want to listen to the Quran and its truths create a barrier between themselves and the people who want to communicate its message to them. They might be living as a family under the same roof, or working together as colleagues but in their thinking they are poles apart. Therefore this barrier, although unseen, is so wide that even the simplest, straight forward things become impossible for them to understand. This attitude is very painful for the one who wants to save these misguided people from eternal loss. Like it was in the case of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) who was trying to communicate Allah’s message to the people of Makkah, most of whom were defying the truth by their stubborn refusal to listen to it. Thus Allah comforts His Messenger in the following Ayat:

 

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَاسْتَقِيمُوا إِلَيْهِ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ وَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُشْرِكِينَ {6}

Say: I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your Allah is one Allah, therefore follow the right way to Him and ask His forgiveness; and woe to the polytheists;

 

The people, who deny the true religion of Tauheed, should be made to realize that even if their excuses can be accepted, that they don’t have time for the Quran, or they find it too difficult to understand, still they cannot say that they can’t see any proof of it. Don’t they look at the signs in the universe? If they just observe with open eyes, they will find the truth written all over the skies and the earth:

 

قُلْ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَكْفُرُونَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَ الْأَرْضَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ وَتَجْعَلُونَ لَهُ أَندَادًا ذَلِكَ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ {9}

Ask them: “Do you really deny the One Who created the earth in two periods and do you set up rivals in worship with Him while He is the Rabb of the worlds

وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ مِن فَوْقِهَا وَبَارَكَ فِيهَا وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَا أَقْوَاتَهَا فِي أَرْبَعَةِ أَيَّامٍ سَوَاء لِّلسَّائِلِينَ {10}

He set upon it mountains towering high above its surface, He bestowed blessings upon it and in four periods provided it with sustenance according to the needs of all those who live in and ask for it.

Just imagine someone who has to prepare different types of food for different members of the family and also has a variety of pets to feed. How difficult it would be to plan and shop and cook and serve. But look at Allah’s majestic powers and His superb planning. Such an endless variety of living creatures on the land, in the air and under the oceans……..all requiring specific food at specific times and Allah provides for them all, day and night throughout their lives. What a miracle it is, if only we think! But if we ignore these signs then there is a clear warning:

 

فَإِنْ أَعْرَضُوا فَقُلْ أَنذَرْتُكُمْ صَاعِقَةً مِّثْلَ صَاعِقَةِ عَادٍ وَثَمُودَ {13}

Now if they turn away, say to them: “I have given you warning of a thunderbolt, like the thunderbolt which struck ‘Ad and Thamüd.”

In the examples of ‘Aad and Thamud who were the perished nations of ancient times, there was one common factor that they resembled the disbelievers of Makkah in making excuses:

 

إِذْ جَاءتْهُمُ الرُّسُلُ مِن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا اللَّهَ قَالُوا لَوْ شَاء رَبُّنَا لَأَنزَلَ مَلَائِكَةً فَإِنَّا بِمَا أُرْسِلْتُمْ بِهِ كَافِرُونَ {14}

When their Rasools came to them from before and from behind, saying: “Worship none but Allah.” They replied: “If our Rabb wanted to send us a message, He would certainly have sent down angels, so we categorically deny the message with which you are sent.”

 

Just as the leaders of Quraish thought it beneath their dignity to accept the Prophet (s.a.w), similarly, the people of ‘Aad were also full of a false sense of superiority:

 

                                                   

فَأَمَّا عَادٌ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَقَالُوا مَنْ أَشَدُّ مِنَّا قُوَّةً أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ الَّذِي خَلَقَهُمْ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُمْ قُوَّةً وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يَجْحَدُونَ {15}

As for ‘Ad, they conducted themselves with arrogance in the land without any justification and said: “Who is stronger than us in might?” Could they not see that Allah Who created them, was mightier than them? Yet they continued to reject Our revelations.

Allah has strongly forbidden “takabbar” (feeling of superiority) because the only one who is superior is Allah himself. No one else has the right to assume that he is better than others. So Allah gave them a terrible punishment in which they were destroyed by a strong chilly wind. It was painful as well as humiliating for those tall powerful men to be tossed about by something as light and apparently powerless as wind:

 

فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحًا صَرْصَرًا فِي أَيَّامٍ نَّحِسَاتٍ لِّنُذِيقَهُمْ عَذَابَ الْخِزْيِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَعَذَابُ الْآخِرَةِ أَخْزَى وَهُمْ لَا يُنصَرُونَ {16}

So, over a few ill-omened days, We let loose on them a furious hurricane to make them taste a shameful scourge in this life, but more shameful still will be the punishment of the hereafter, and they shall have none to help them.

The people of Thamud were given guidance but like the disbelievers of Makkah they preferred to remain in darkness:

 

وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ فَاسْتَحَبُّوا الْعَمَى عَلَى الْهُدَى فَأَخَذَتْهُمْ صَاعِقَةُ الْعَذَابِ الْهُونِ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ {17}

As for Thamüd, We offered them Our guidance, but they preferred to remain blind rather than to receive guidance towards the Right Way; so the thunderbolt of humiliating scourge seized them for their misdeeds,

How terrible is the punishment for those who think that they can bypass Allah’s commands by making excuses, and are deluded into a false satisfaction that by finding fault with the religion and religious people, they can find justification for their own faults. (May Allah forgive us all) . Allah calls such people His enemies:

 

وَيَوْمَ يُحْشَرُ أَعْدَاء اللَّهِ إِلَى النَّارِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ {19}

Imagine that Day when the enemies of Allah will be brought together and led to the hellfire in groups.

Sometimes when I listen to the objections raised by such people who don’t want to surrender to the truth of Quran and Islam, I am baffled by their words and don’t understand what to say in response to their strange remarks. The way they can find fault with everything and lead the discussion away from relevant facts to far-fetched theories and philosophies is too weird. But what will be the use of all this skill of dodging the truth when their own skin and bodies will testify against them?

 

حَتَّى إِذَا مَا جَاؤُوهَا شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَارُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {20}

Finally when they reach there, their ears, their eyes, and their skins will testify to their deeds.

On that day they will be horrified at this unexpected turn of affairs, and will ask their skins, “Why did you testify against us?” Then their skins will give them a detailed reply, which will completely shatter the fool’s paradise in which they had been living so far:

 

وَقَالُوا لِجُلُودِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمْ عَلَيْنَا قَالُوا أَنطَقَنَا اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ خَلَقَكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ {21}

And they will ask their skins: “Why did you testify against us?” Their skins will reply: “Allah Who gives the faculty of speech to everything, has made us speak. He is the One Who created you to begin with, and now to Him you are being brought back.

وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَسْتَتِرُونَ أَنْ يَشْهَدَ عَلَيْكُمْ سَمْعُكُمْ وَلَا أَبْصَارُكُمْ وَلَا جُلُودُكُمْ وَلَكِن ظَنَنتُمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَعْلَمُ كَثِيراً مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ {22}

During your life on earth you used to hide yourselves while committing crimes, you never thought that your own ears, your own eyes and your own skins would ever testify against you. Rather you thought that even Allah had no knowledge of many things that you do

وَذَلِكُمْ ظَنُّكُمُ الَّذِي ظَنَنتُم بِرَبِّكُمْ أَرْدَاكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم مِّنْ الْخَاسِرِينَ {23}

This thought of yours, which you entertained concerning your Rabb, has brought you to destruction and now you have become of those who are utterly lost.”

 

If we contemplate on these verses we see one word occurring three times and that is “zann ” which means idea, assumption or concept about something. It is stated here that mainly their wrong ways were due to their misconception. They had been misled by the assumption that Allah will not hold them accountable for their deeds. And this fearlessness caused them to live a carefree life. But why do we assume certain things or have misguided ideas in the first place? Why don’t we all accept the truth when we see it? Why do some people continue to hold fast to their wrong beliefs or mistaken ideas even though they don’t have any clear proof? The fact is that most people are greatly influenced by their environment. More than families, it is our friends who we accept as our role models. We try to follow them and want to be one of them. This desire to be owned and accepted, leads us to borrow their ideas and concepts about life and religion etc. Thus it becomes extremely important to make good, righteous friends, because your friends will always encourage you on whatever way of life they themselves are following. They will not let you analyse or find fault with the way things are, and so you will keep on thinking and doing what you have been doing all along, regardless of the fact whether it is right or wrong.

 And then of course it depends on your own choice, what sort of people you enjoy to be with; and somehow fate lands you in exactly the same sort of company you desire:

 

وَقَيَّضْنَا لَهُمْ قُرَنَاء فَزَيَّنُوا لَهُم مَّا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَحَقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقَوْلُ فِي أُمَمٍ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِم مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا خَاسِرِينَ {25}

We have assigned intimate companions, of like nature, for them Who make their past and present seem fair to them; and the same word (sentence of punishment) proved true against them, which overtook generations of jinn and men who have gone before them, that they shall surely be in loss.

In this world they were proud to be their friends and admired them like idols but in Akhirah when the reality will be exposed in front of them, they will have a complete change of heart and will wish to take revenge from those “friends” who led them to this destruction:

 

وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا رَبَّنَا أَرِنَا الَّذَيْنِ أَضَلَّانَا مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ نَجْعَلْهُمَا تَحْتَ أَقْدَامِنَا لِيَكُونَا مِنَ الْأَسْفَلِينَ {29}

Wherein, the disbelievers will say: “Our Rabb! Show us those among jinns and mankind who misled us: we shall trample them under our feet so that they become utterly disgraced.”

What a sad end for those who seem so carefree and cheerful in this world, among their group of friends. In any gathering you can see scores of them standing together and laughing and joking endlessly. As if they have no care nor worry in their life. While the pious, careful person, focused on his purpose of life, fearful of Allah’s displeasure, forever alert and conscious about his actions, might be standing alone. After all who wants to hear about his concerns for the Akhirah? Who wants to be reminded that this world and its pleasures are just an illusion? So the righteous ones, the Allah conscious people might at times be rejected and left alone and the onlooker might think of them as unlucky or have pity on them but Allah has put it into a completely different perspective. He has sent such marvellous good news for these lonely people, in the following verses that touch the very core of my soul every time I come across them. Together these verses (30 to 36) make up one of the most powerful reminders in the Quran which can lead you to unimaginable heights of success if you follow them consistently.

It begins with the core value of our religion- “An undying conviction in Allah”:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ {30}

As for those who say: “Our God is Allah,” and then stay firm on it, the angels will descend on them, saying: “Let nothing fear or grieve you. Rejoice for the good news of paradise that has been promised to you.

When we say “Rabbunallah” (Allah is our Lord) these are not simply a set of words, rather it is a declaration that for all times we have decided to put our faith in Allah, and that; our love, our trust, our devotion and our worship is only for Allah. If we love people it is because of His sake, if we give to someone, it is for His sake, we live for His sake and we die for His sake. This is our oath and we live by it…… ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا  (then they are firm on it) means that it is not just a tide of emotions coming one way and going the other way…..No, it should be an everlasting conviction……like a rock……. which is not influenced by any other force. The angels descend on such people who have (or want to have) this kind of faith. This is a miracle they experience in their lives, when in times of extreme distress some unseen hand puts a balm on their wounds, in times of hopelessness and discouragement, someone puts hope in their heart……by whispering to them the good news of an everlasting paradise…..these are the unseen angels and they give assurance of their friendship in both the worlds:

 

نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِي أَنفُسُكُمْ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ {31}

We are your friends/protectors in this life and in the hereafter. There you shall find all that your souls desire and all that you can ask for:

نُزُلًا مِّنْ غَفُورٍ رَّحِيمٍ {32}

A hospitable gift from the All-Forgiving, All-Merciful.”

You might be discouraged from calling other people to the right way, connecting them to their Lord, because then lots of people might turn against you, and you will be isolated, but Allah says that nothing can be better than this:

 

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ {33}

Who is better in speech than the one who calls people towards Allah, does good deeds and says: “I am a Muslim?”

Although it’s true that when you start on this journey of truth; conveying to people their real purpose of life, there are going to be several problems and obstructions on the way, You will win a few friends and a lot of enemies too, But the secret of success lies in the ability to respond kindly and politely to all unkindness. To the ordinary mind, it might seem impossible to politely ignore aggressive behaviour or to be kind and considerate for those who have openly insulted you, but for someone who began with “Rabbunallah” it isn’t impossible to replace this unpleasantness with goodness because he knows he is doing it for Allah and he has the assurance of a best reward from Allah:

 

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ {34}

Good deeds are not equal to the evil ones. Repel other’s evil deeds with your good deeds. You will see that he with whom you had enmity, will become your close friend.

It is so true that even enemies can become friends if you can control yourself and continue to be good to them even if they have done you harm. But unconditional and one-sided goodness is not easy, and it requires loads of stamina and patience. Not everybody can do that, rather it is a privilege enjoyed by those very few people who really and truly want to please Allah above everything else; so much so that their own ego or desires don’t come in their way when they put up with insults with a smile on their face knowing that every such incident is raising their status in Allah’s eyes even if people might think that they are being humiliated. That is why Allah says:

 

وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ {35}

But none will attain this quality except those who patiently endure and none will attain this quality except those who are truly fortunate.

The greatest hurdle in this way is the Satan, who spares no effort in arousing negative feelings in us so that we might respond in an equally bad way to whatever discouragement we encounter. We need to be strong against this urge to take revenge and the only way to remain steadfast is to seek Allah’s protection:

 

وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ {36}

If any time you are tempted by Shaitãn, seek refuge with Allah. It is He Who hears all and knows all.

Thus a believer’s life revolves around Allah, beginning with a strong faith in Him, doing everything for Allah’s sake, keeping on the right path under all sorts of pressures, and seeking Allah’s help all along the way because a believer knows that he himself is nothing unless he has Allah’s support with Him. And he also has conviction that for Allah nothing is impossible.

In the next Ayat, Allah brings our attention to our ultimate end: that is resurrection and the permanent life of the hereafter. It is important to remain focused on our real purpose of life, which is to attain Allah’s pleasure and to be saved from the punishment of Hell-fire. So that even after all our efforts, if we don’t see any positive results in this life, we should still not lose hope. We must remember that Allah is recording every single act that we do for His sake, and we will see its reward in the hereafter.

The disbelievers of Makkah could not accept the concept of resurrection. They thought it was impossible that they would be born again when they had become dust and bones. So Allah has given a proof of it from the signs we observe in our daily lives:

 

 

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنَّكَ تَرَى الْأَرْضَ خَاشِعَةً فَإِذَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْهَا الْمَاء اهْتَزَّتْ وَرَبَتْ إِنَّ الَّذِي أَحْيَاهَا لَمُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى إِنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {39}

And among His other signs is the earth that you see barren; but when We send down rain upon it, it stirs to life and its yield increases. Surely He Who gives it life, will raise the dead to life. Surely He has power over all things.

 

 

Still they used to ask the Prophet (s.a.w) in a mocking way when will the Day of Recompense arrive? To this Allah has the answer in the following Ayat:

 

إِلَيْهِ يُرَدُّ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ وَمَا تَخْرُجُ مِن ثَمَرَاتٍ مِّنْ أَكْمَامِهَا وَمَا تَحْمِلُ مِنْ أُنثَى وَلَا تَضَعُ إِلَّا بِعِلْمِهِ وَيَوْمَ يُنَادِيهِمْ أَيْنَ شُرَكَائِي قَالُوا آذَنَّاكَ مَا مِنَّا مِن شَهِيدٍ {47}

To Him Alone is referred the knowledge of the Hour of Doom. No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive, nor she gives birth but with His knowledge. On the Day of Judgment when Allah will ask the unbelievers: “Where are those partners that you associated with Me?” They will answer: “We confess to you that none of us can vouch for them.”

Even today some people are very fond of making predictions and assumptions about when the “Qiyamat” (Hour of Doom) is going to happen. But what we need to worry about is: how we are going to stand before Allah and answer for our deeds? As for the people who prefer to remain forgetful about the Akhirah, their punishment on earth is that they are overly conscious and sensitive about their gains and losses of this worldly life. Thus life for them becomes a never ending cycle of worries and tension:

 

لَا يَسْأَمُ الْإِنسَانُ مِن دُعَاء الْخَيْرِ وَإِن مَّسَّهُ الشَّرُّ فَيَؤُوسٌ قَنُوطٌ {49}

Man is never tired of praying for good, but when any evil befalls him, he loses hope and is in despair

It is ironical that normally they deny Allah’s message and reject the need for religion but when it comes to their worldly interests they suddenly remember Allah:

 

وَإِذَا أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ أَعْرَضَ وَنَأى بِجَانِبِهِ وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ فَذُو دُعَاء عَرِيضٍ {51}

When We bestow favors on man, he turns away and drifts off to another side; and when an evil befalls him, he comes with lengthy supplications.

 

Making duas (supplications) is not being condemned here, but it is their attitude of remembering Allah only when they have a problem, which is not right. Our relationship with Allah should not be just for asking favours only, and then doing whatever we feel is okay, putting aside the clear instructions outlined in the Quran and Sunnah. Rather, it is mandatory upon us that we should pay attention to our responsibility too. What is the purpose of our life?

Is it just to follow where everybody else is going?

Is it just to follow the desires of our hearts?

Is it just to gain a lot of wealth and comforts to live in a grand style?

Is this life without an end?

Is it logical to think that the good people and the bad ones will have the same end, i.e. to become dust and bones and forgotten forever?

Don’t we want to think?

The problem is that unless we connect ourselves with the greatest source of guidance, which is the Quran, we can never really grasp these realities. So the greatest loss for anybody is to be deprived of this connection with the Quran. How rightly Allah says:

 

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ كَفَرْتُم بِهِ مَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنْ هُوَ فِي شِقَاقٍ بَعِيدٍ {52}

O Prophet, ask them: “Have you ever considered: if this Qur’an is really from Allah and you deny it, who can be more astray than you who have gone too far in defying Him?”

This confusion about Islam and Quran that has been caused today by negative propaganda as well as animosity among the Muslims due to their differences of opinion, has given a lot many people the lame excuse of saying goodbye to religion completely from their lives. They think that, since nothing is clear, so now they have no responsibility of finding the truth. But Allah says that soon there will come a time when they will have to admit that there was no confusion in the Quran, and it was, and is, and will remain, the greatest, most vivid truth on earth:

 

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ {53}

Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and in their own souls, until it becomes clear to them that this Qur’an is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that your Rabb is a witness over everything?

The confusion is not in Islam or in the Quran but it is in their own minds……… and the heart of the matter is that they doubt their meeting with the Lord.

 

أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَاء رَبِّهِمْ أَلَا إِنَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّحِيطٌ {54}

Now surely they are in doubt about meeting their Rabb! Now surely it is He Who encompasses everything.

 

Anyone who has faith in Akhirah and accountability cannot sit purposelessly, but will do all he can to prepare to look good for that encounter with the Creator and King of the Worlds. The hope of being accepted into Allah’s Mercy and the fear of possible rejection and humiliation in front of whole mankind on that decisive day has enough force to open our eyes. But how can we hope to achieve this level of conviction without reading about it in the Quran and Hadith? How can we hope to have any motivation to work for Akhirah without getting the exact knowledge about it from these authentic sources? The level of conviction depends upon our knowledge and constant remembrance. And this conviction will take us out of our confusion and will make our goals clear, and the path towards complete success will become easy to walk upon. InshaAllah.

 

Surah Ash-Shura

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In today’s world of chaos and confusion, poverty and inflation, hunger and war, lawlessness and terrorism, there is an ever growing need for peace above everything else. But the question is: who will bring this peace in our lives, on an individual as well as national and international level, and how and when is it going to happen? Why is it that people and nations are blaming each other for everything and nobody is doing anything constructive about it except for fighting more wars and killing people in the name of peace? And among Muslims the question arises that why doesn’t Allah stop the oppressors and terrorists from destroying our lives? These days the newspapers and all news channels are busy in collecting horrifying statistics about how many people have been killed in which attack and how many suicide bombings have taken place in the last so many days or months. It seems as if a third of the mankind is busy killing and another third is just being killed and the remaining third is busy speculating or selling their newspapers because of all this sensationalism.

There seems to be no way out, but as always, I found that all the answers are there in the Quran. And as I was sitting at my study table, reading and absorbing the message of this Surah, it really opened my eyes, more than ever before, that complete peace and harmony in this world cannot be attained unless and until each and every one of us knows and implements the way of life that has been chosen by the Creator Himself for the whole mankind. This way of life is Islam, which means peace. It was for this purpose that since the beginning of time Allah sent down His chosen Messengers, one after the other, and sent to them His revelations, according to which they called people to the way of their Creator and Master………the one and only Allah.

 

كَذَلِكَ يُوحِي إِلَيْكَ وَإِلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكَ اللَّهُ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {3}

Thus, Allah All-Mighty, the All-Wise sends His revelation to you, O Muhammad, as He sent to other Rasools before you.

Due to our ever increasing involvement with the world and its affairs, we fail to realize the true worth of Allah. So He reminds us that He is the owner of everything. To understand this, think for a moment that you encounter someone at a gathering whom you don’t recognize, and just as you are trying to guess who he is, some mutual friend introduces him to you as being the owner of a couple of factories or some multinational companies…….and imagine the shift in your attitude towards that person. Similarly, we would be overwhelmed if we got a direct order from the King or head of state…….and now think who Allah is…..Owner, King, Ruler….not of one company or one country or one world but the entire universe!! Who can be bigger or more important than Him but do we feel His greatness in our hearts?

 

لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ {4}

To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. He is the Supreme, the Great.

If we truly grasp this reality and act accordingly, there will be no arrogance. We will know just how tiny and powerless we are, so how can we oppress anybody else when we know that the All-Mighty King is watching us. Naturally we will fulfill all of His rights as well as people’s rights because we would always be conscious that we have to report back to Him and we would be so eager to please Allah because we would have this complete trust that all our provision is coming from Him. This sort of Allah-oriented life will definitely bring peace in this world and ultimate success in the permanent life of the hereafter. And we all want that, don’t we?…….to live happily ever after………But to spoil the happy end of this story, we have one big enemy, the shaitan, Satan or devil…….He doesn’t want us to succeed at all, or be at peace, so he constantly attacks our hearts with his evil whispers. He plays with our eyesight, our perception, so that we view things with an inverted image…….the good seems impossible and the bad becomes irresistible…..The true revelations become doubtful and the fantasies and man-made philosophies appear mesmerizingly beautiful. What happens then? Our focus is shifted away from Allah and we become more and more self centred, running day and night after our desires, pleasing false deities, trying to maintain a false image of perfection, until the time when we are spiritually drained and feel totally alone and helpless. Naturally its man’s need to find a support somewhere and since shaitan has already put so many doubts in his heart about Allah, so he starts seeking other gods:

 

وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَولِيَاء اللَّهُ حَفِيظٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِوَكِيلٍ {6}

Those who take others as their guardians besides Him, Allah Himself is watching them; and O Prophet, you are not the disposer of their affairs

The fact is that no matter how many different gods or theories we might invent in this world, and create countless groups on their basis; there are going to be only two groups in the hereafter: one in Paradise and the other in Hell-Fire. That is why Allah sent the Quran to our Holy Prophet, Muhammad (May peace be upon Him), so that He might warn us about the day of recompense, when all of us will be gathered and our reports will be handed out to us, according to which it will be decided which group we belong to:

 

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّتُنذِرَ أُمَّ الْقُرَى وَمَنْ حَوْلَهَا وَتُنذِرَ يَوْمَ الْجَمْعِ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ فَرِيقٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَفَرِيقٌ فِي السَّعِيرِ {7}

Thus have We revealed to you this Qur’an in Arabic, so that you may warn the residents of the Mother City (Makkah) and its suburbs, and forewarn them of the Day of assembly about which there is no doubt: when some will go to paradise and others to the blazing fire.

Some people ask, “Is Allah so cruel that He will throw people in hell?”

 “Isn’t he merciful and kind?”

“So if He wanted to save us why did he not make us all into perfect Muslims?”

 Allah knew we would ask such questions so He has already answered it:

 

وَلَوْ شَاء اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَهُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَكِن يُدْخِلُ مَن يَشَاء فِي رَحْمَتِهِ وَالظَّالِمُونَ مَا لَهُم مِّن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ {8}

If Allah wanted, He could have made all of them a single nation; but He admits to His mercy whom He pleases; as for the wrongdoers, they will have no protector nor helper.

It was not any problem for Allah to have created us as perfect angels. He could have done it so easily…..but He made us Human…..full of imperfections as well as having a great potential for goodness. Now He left it to us, to decide which way we want to go and how strong is our desire of following the right path. This is the test…………to see how we use our power of choice. If someone decides to find the truth and really wants true guidance then Allah gives it to him but He never guides the one who denies the truth. For such people there will be no help.

The main thing is that our focus should remain on Allah and we should never think of associating partners with Him:

 

أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاء فَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْوَلِيُّ وَهُوَ يُحْيِي المَوْتَى وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {9}

Have they set up other guardians beside Him, while Allah Alone is the Guardian? It is He Who gives life to the dead and it is He Who has power over all things.

Look at the universe; is there anyone beside Allah who could have this power of creativity? Allah says there is no one like Him:

 

فَاطِرُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا وَمِنَ الْأَنْعَامِ أَزْوَاجًا يَذْرَؤُكُمْ فِيهِ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ {11}

the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you mates from among yourselves and also mates among the cattle from their own kind; by this means does He multiply you. There is no one like Him. He Alone hears all and sees all.

Why should we not commit ourselves to Allah? Are we afraid that we would lose out on our worldly interests? Allah assures us: Don’t be afraid…..you can never lose in Allah’s friendship because He has the keys of the heavens and the earth…..what other support, what other friend can give you, that can measure up to Allah’s bounties?

 

لَهُ مَقَالِيدُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَيَقْدِرُ إِنَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ {12}

To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He gives abundantly to whom He pleases and sparingly to whom He wills. He is the Knower of everything

Allah has provided for us all of our needs and desires. Our whole life from beginning to end is one long series of Allah’s blessings, which He showers on us day and night……..But often we forget that the biggest blessing is the religion of Islam that He made so perfect and chose specially for us to live by. And Allah reminds us in the next Ayat that it is the same religion that He revealed to the all the Prophets:

 

شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّى بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يَشَاء وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يُنِيبُ {13}

He has ordained for you the same Deen (way of life – Islam) which He enjoined on Nüh – and which We have revealed to you O Muhammad – and which We enjoined on Ibrãhïm and Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus): “Establish the Deen of Al-Islam and make no division (sects) in it.” Intolerable for the mushrikïn is that to which you O Muhammad call them. Allah chooses for His service whom He wills, and guides to His Way only those who turn to Him in repentance.

All the Prophets had come to this world with the message of Islam. The only difference was that each one of them had been given a different methodology or Shariy’at, which means the set of rules and regulations through which Islam is implemented. But the basic religion was the same. And the above Ayat clearly states that the spirit of our religion is to establish a way of life. Not just rituals, not just discussions and talk shows, but a complete, unconditional submission to Allah and to live according to His commands in all aspects of our lives, not just in the Masjid, not just in Ramadan, not just in Ka’ba, not just in hard times…….No, you cannot compartmentalise Islam…….It has to be internalised.

And the other command from Allah is that do not be divided. But He created us and He knows we have all have a different way of looking at things and our evaluation and perception cannot be identical. So then how is it possible to avoid conflict? We must understand that difference of opinion is a natural thing and Allah had not meant us to be identically programmed robots. That is why he created so much variety. Look at the various landscapes where people are born and are adapted to their surroundings, the foods they eat, the jobs they do, the languages they speak, the various colours and shades of their skins, the features and physical structures……….all are so widely different and so there has to be difference of opinion. Ask any mother and she can tell you the miracle of variety that exists between her own children!! The same home, the same parents and environment, yet they don’t have the same preferences, the same perception. So from all of these observations it is clear that Allah doesn’t want uniformity, but He wants us to be united in spite of our differences………united in the worship of one Allah. So the only thing on which we should never compromise, is the way of life chosen by Allah– the religion of Islam, but within its limits we have a choice to think for ourselves and serve Allah according to our own unique characteristics and personalities that we were born with.

Yet we see that people have not acted on this guidance, and have even waged wars against one another on the basis of different opinions. The biggest loss is to the religion. When our children see so many sects within the same religion they are confused and wonder who is on the right path. And, since everybody is busy fighting, and proving themselves to be the only righteous ones, there is a general mistrust about religion as a whole and most of our youth has even given up the quest for the straightway. As a result they have started finding emotional satisfaction in a mad race for material things, to make up for the spiritual deprivation in their hearts.

So Allah reminds us again in the next Ayat that these were the true heirs of the Book i.e. the Quran, and they could have conquered the whole world with the blessing of its guidance, but they are in doubts about it and so it just rests on the highest shelves of their closets, to be taken out only on specific occasions…..

 

وَمَا تَفَرَّقُوا إِلَّا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِن رَّبِّكَ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى لَّقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُورِثُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ مُرِيبٍ {14}

The people did not become divided into sects until after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves. Had your Rabb not issued the word to defer their punishment till an appointed time, the matter would have already been settled between them. The fact is that those who were made to inherit the Book after them, are surely in disquieting doubt concerning it.

What a sad situation it is, enough to depress me and put me in serious doubts about my own inadequate efforts to spread its message. What can I hope to achieve? I cannot change the whole system or clean up this disgusting mess we are in…..so what’s the use…….But Allah doesn’t want us to give up hope. So here’s a magnificent Ayat that really defines our role as the inheritors of this Book:

 

فَلِذَلِكَ فَادْعُ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَقُلْ آمَنتُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِن كِتَابٍ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ لَا حُجَّةَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ {15}

Therefore, call them to the true Deen, stay firm on the Right Way as you are commanded and do not follow their vain desires. Tell them: “I believe in whatever Allah has revealed from the Book and I am commanded to do justice between you. Allah is Our Rabb and your Rabb. We are responsible for Our deeds and you for yours. Let there be no dispute among us. Allah will bring us all together on the Day of Judgment and decide as to who is right and who is wrong, and to Him is the final return.

The first thing we need to do is to call people to the Quran. We need to understand it ourselves and we need to convey it to others. This is where all of us can get first-hand knowledge about Allah and the religion of Islam. The clear words of hope and warning, directly from Allah, are sure to inspire our hearts. So in other words we have to wash up the dust of doubts with the shower of certainty. The next thing is that we should stand firm against all other influences. Only one time belief is not enough, we need to strengthen it with constantly reminding ourselves that we are not going to bow down to any other force except Allah. Those who deny Allah will want us to go along with them and ignore the teachings of Quran but Allah says do not follow their desires. And then the bottom line is that whether anyone believes or not, their Lord and our Lord is Allah, so don’t indulge in any purposeless debates with those who don’t want to believe. What a wonderful lesson it is, to leave aside useless fights and spend our energies and resources in spreading the teaching of the Quran because nothing else can replace its effectiveness. Allah also reminds us that our time is limited:

 

اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ وَالْمِيزَانَ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ السَّاعَةَ قَرِيبٌ {17}

It is Allah Who has revealed this Book (Al-Qur’an) with the truth, and the Balance (to distinguish between right and wrong). What will make you realize that perhaps the hour of doom may be fast approaching.

Now it’s our own choice. We can live a self centred life and preserve our tiny little worlds or we can shift our focus to the whole world and think about what responsibility we have as Muslims to spread the message of Quran to each and every person. Do you think this can be achieved without making any sacrifice? Has anything ever been done or achieved without organized efforts and sacrifice? So are we prepared to give up at least a portion of our time and resources to this cause? Allah says there is no compulsion; you can choose which of the two you desire: The interests of this world or the Hereafter…..

 

مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الْآخِرَةِ نَزِدْ لَهُ فِي حَرْثِهِ وَمَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِن نَّصِيبٍ {20}

He who desires the harvest of the hereafter, shall be given a many fold increase in his harvest; and he who desires the harvest of this world, a share of it shall be given to him: but in the hereafter he shall have no share at all.

The amazing thing about this Ayat is that it says if you choose the rewards of the hereafter Allah will increase it, meaning that your life in this world will also become peaceful and wholesome. But if your focus is primarily on this world then you will lose out on Akhirah. It’s as simple as that…….so choose what you wish.

But Allah warns us about the day when we will all wish we had obeyed Allah and not our desires:

 

تَرَى الظَّالِمِينَ مُشْفِقِينَ مِمَّا كَسَبُوا وَهُوَ وَاقِعٌ بِهِمْ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فِي رَوْضَاتِ الْجَنَّاتِ لَهُم مَّا يَشَاؤُونَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَضْلُ الكَبِيرُ {22}

You will see that the wrongdoers will be fearing the bad consequences of their deeds which will surely befall them. While those who believe and do good deeds shall dwell in the luxurious gardens of paradise, and shall receive from their Rabb all that they wish for; that will surely be the magnificent blessing.

Paradise is the place in which all our dreams will come true and all our wishes will be granted. It is foolishness to expect this world to become a paradise. Most people keep mourning about all that they have been deprived of. The more they have, the more is their dissatisfaction. So you will see them running after things, the latest dresses, the latest houses, the most stylish furniture, but something or the other is still out of place, not quite the right colour or the right tone, enough to keep them forever tense and worried, and then they spend hard earned money in the beauty clinics to smooth out the frown lines they get from frowning too much!!

But leave aside this small percentage of the elites and take a look at the majority of people. They spend their whole lives in the pursuit of things but still something or the other is always out of reach. It must have crossed your minds at some point in your life, that if Allah owns everything then why doesn’t He give to everybody what they desire? Here is the answer in the next Ayat:

 

وَلَوْ بَسَطَ اللَّهُ الرِّزْقَ لِعِبَادِهِ لَبَغَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَكِن يُنَزِّلُ بِقَدَرٍ مَّا يَشَاء إِنَّهُ بِعِبَادِهِ خَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ {27}

Had Allah bestowed abundance upon His servants, they would have transgressed beyond bounds in the earth; that’s why He sends down in due measure as He pleases; He is well aware and observant of His servants.

How true it is that if all of us had been wealthy enough to live in palaces, then who would be willing to build those palaces? So Allah knows just how much we should be given and at what time. Of course Allah doesn’t stop us from wanting things or fulfilling our needs, it’s just that we should not expect everything to be according to what we desire. Have trust in Allah that He knows better than us, what is best for us to have. And often you must have experienced that just when you were getting totally hopeless about something, Allah blessed you with happiness:

 

وَهُوَ الَّذِي يُنَزِّلُ الْغَيْثَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا قَنَطُوا وَيَنشُرُ رَحْمَتَهُ وَهُوَ الْوَلِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ {28}

It is He Who sends down rain even after they have lost all hope, and spreads His Mercy. He Alone is the Praiseworthy Guardian.

So the most important lesson is not to lose hope. Everything happens by the will of Allah. Even the biggest inventions of Man cannot work without the help of Allah. Think of the huge ships floating on the surface of the mighty oceans……  they reach their destinations only if Allah wills:

 

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ الْجَوَارِ فِي الْبَحْرِ كَالْأَعْلَامِ {32}

Among His signs are the ships which look like mountains upon the ocean.

إِن يَشَأْ يُسْكِنِ الرِّيحَ فَيَظْلَلْنَ رَوَاكِدَ عَلَى ظَهْرِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ {33}

If He wants, He can cause the wind to become still and leave them motionless on their backs – surely in this example there are signs for every such person who patiently endures and is grateful.

أَوْ يُوبِقْهُنَّ بِمَا كَسَبُوا وَيَعْفُ عَن كَثِيرٍ {34}

– Or He may cause them to drown in consequence of even a few of their misdeeds, though He forgives many of their misdeeds.

 

Again the Quran exposes the ultimate truth which otherwise remains hidden from us, that these worldly things are just the need of this life and they cannot give us the everlasting peace and security that we desire. The most satisfying rewards are with Allah for those who believed in Him and had tawakkul in Him.

 

فَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَمَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ {36}

Whatever you are given is nothing but a provision for the transitory life of this world, better and everlasting is the reward which Allah has for those who believe, put their trust in their Rabb,

Now tawakkul is a word of such profound meaning that it cannot be translated simply into “trust”. It has a deeper meaning and it implies that a believer should have this complete conviction that all of his affairs are in Allah’s control. So tawakkul is to depend on Allah, after doing everything you can, that He will give you the outcome of your efforts, whether in this world or the hereafter. Tawakkal is to hand over all your worries, anxieties, plans, desires to Allah and believe that He will take care of you. When you have tawakkal, you focus is on how best you can work to please Allah, you plan, you struggle, you pray to Allah, you put in your best but then you leave the results to Him………. This is Tawakkal. Not as some people have been misled into believing that we can just sit and do nothing and Allah will make everything happen.

Islam is a practical religion. It is essential that the beliefs you have, should be reflected in how you conduct yourselves. Merely saying the words that okay I have belief in Allah and I have tawakkul in him is not going to take me to Jannat. Our deeds must prove our words. That is why Allah says that Paradise is for those whose faith enables them to stay away from all major sins as well as indecencies of all kinds. And they are brave enough to conquer their anger by forgiveness.

Believe it or not, this is the most difficult, to suppress your anger when you are angry and to forgive instead of reacting. This is where our belief and Tawakkul is most tested..

 

وَالَّذِينَ يَجْتَنِبُونَ كَبَائِرَ الْإِثْمِ وَالْفَوَاحِشَ وَإِذَا مَا غَضِبُوا هُمْ يَغْفِرُونَ {37}

And those who avoid major sins and shameful deeds, forgive even when they are angry;

وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ {38}

And the ones who answer the call of their Rabb, establish Salah, conduct their affairs with mutual consultation, spend out of the sustenance which We have given them,

To answer the call of the Rabb is to obey Him in all matters especially in the way we answer the Call to Prayer five times a day. This is the biggest demonstration of how much we value Allah in our lives. And so He made the establishment of Salat/Prayer a compulsory act of worship because it enables us to have a direct link with Allah. We are reminded of our commitment five times a day and we ask for forgiveness for whatever mistakes we might have made. And then these Allah conscious people share with others, whatever Allah has given them. Only those will spend their money and other resources for the sake of Allah who have belief that they will be rewarded for it. But in between Prayer and Spending, Allah has mentioned another act which I found so amazing, that these believers make decisions on important matters through mutual consultation. Why is this so important in Allah’s eyes that He will grant paradise because of it? Mutual consultation is a reflection of your humbleness and sense of responsibility. For those decisions which might affect a lot of people, we should seek opinion of all concerned, and settle things accordingly. Thus we will be saved from selfishness, false pride in our own judgement and dictatorship, which are the main causes of mistrust and division among people. And Allah wants us to be united, with mutual understanding and goodwill.

In this way of life, there are sure to arise several problems, because after all life is not a bed of roses, but a test, so how can you expect it to go all safe and smooth. Mostly the problem is from other people who might be rude or even hostile. What should we do? Allah tells us:

 

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَهُمُ الْبَغْيُ هُمْ يَنتَصِرُونَ {39}

and when they are oppressed, help and defend themselves.

But remember, that although you have been given permission to take revenge, you should not lose your control and don’t exceed the limits set by Allah:

 

وَجَزَاء سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ {40}

The recompense for an injury is an injury proportionate to it; but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation he shall be rewarded by Allah; He does not like the wrongdoers

That is why it is far better to have patience and to forgive but it is not so easy after all:

 

وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ {43}

And those who endure with fortitude and forgive others, surely exhibit great courage in conducting their affairs.

After everything has been so clearly explained in the Quran, if someone persists in denying its truth then Allah will not guide that person. Surely whom Allah leaves to go astray, cannot hope to find any other support.

 

وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِن وَلِيٍّ مِّن بَعْدِهِ وَتَرَى الظَّالِمِينَ لَمَّا رَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ يَقُولُونَ هَلْ إِلَى مَرَدٍّ مِّن سَبِيلٍ {44}

He whom Allah lets go astray has no protector after Him. When they will face the punishment, you will see the wrongdoers exclaim: “Is there any way back to the world?”

In the illusion of this world and its glitter and glamour, it might be hard to imagine the hereafter but see how clearly Allah portrays for us the scene in which people, who have done wrong to themselves, will be so afraid of the Hell-fire that they will not be able to even look at it:

 

وَتَرَاهُمْ يُعْرَضُونَ عَلَيْهَا خَاشِعِينَ مِنَ الذُّلِّ يَنظُرُونَ مِن طَرْفٍ خَفِيٍّ وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ الْخَاسِرِينَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَهْلِيهِمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَلَا إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ فِي عَذَابٍ مُّقِيمٍ {45}

You will see them brought before Us awed and humiliated, looking at it with stealthy glances. The true believers will say: “The real losers indeed are those who have lost themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection.” Beware! Surely the wrongdoers shall suffer everlasting punishment.

So what are we waiting for? Allah is calling us to Himself…..do we not hear?

 

اسْتَجِيبُوا لِرَبِّكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا مَرَدَّ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَكُم مِّن مَّلْجَأٍ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن نَّكِيرٍ {47}

Answer the call of your Rabb before that Day arrives which cannot be averted against the will of Allah. There shall be no refuge for you on that Day, nor shall you be able to deny your sins.

Imagine such powerful revelations were coming to the Prophet (s.a.w) in Makkah and He was warning the disbelievers through these clear words in their own language yet they chose to ignore this reality. Allah assured him that he should not worry about their rejection because his responsibility was just to convey the message:

 

فَإِنْ أَعْرَضُوا فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا إِنْ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ وَإِنَّا إِذَا أَذَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِنَّا رَحْمَةً فَرِحَ بِهَا وَإِن تُصِبْهُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ فَإِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ كَفُورٌ {48}

Now if they give no heed, they should know that We have not sent you, O Muhammad, to be their keeper. Your only duty is to convey My message. Man is such that when We give him a taste of Our Mercy, he is very happy about it; but when, through his own fault, an evil afflicts him, he becomes utterly ungrateful.”

The disbelievers constantly used to blame the Prophet (s.a.w) that he was a liar or a magician and challenged him that how could Quran be a message from Allah. What they failed to realise was that if Allah could create this whole universe and create such a variety of living creatures, created man and inspired it with life, then why could He not inspire his words to his Messenger:

 

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَّشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ {52} صِرَاطِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَلَا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَصِيرُ الأمُورُ {53}

Thus, have We revealed to you O Muhammad, a Spirit (inspired Book – The Qur’an) by Our command: while you did not know what is The Book and what is the Imãn (faith). But We have made it (The Qur’an) a light whereby We guide those of Our servants whom We please; and surely you are guiding mankind to the Right Way- the Way of Allah – to whom belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Beware! All affairs will eventually return to Allah for a decision.

 

What a beautiful reminder it is……….How beautifully it portrays the picture of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) who was born into a noble family and lived a pious life, not worshipping the idols, not getting involved into any of the evil practices of his fellow men. Going about with truth and honesty, earning an honest living, worshipping in the cave of Hira, He never knew that He was a chosen Messenger, He didn’t anticipate receiving the revelation…..but Allah chose Him and gave Him this great treasure in the form of Quran.

For us too, it’s Allah’s extreme mercy that He guided us to this Book. Allah’s words seem to speak out to me………Where were you before this? Did you know there was this great Book lying in your house? Did you know what a treasure it was? Had you ever realised that faith was something other than just being born into a Muslim family? No, I had no idea………So can any of us ever be arrogant and think how pious or knowledgeable we are? Or look at others with contempt? It is simply Allah’s blessing that He brought us out of the darkness of ignorance into the light of His guidance and we should just be concerned with the responsibility attached with it. Now that we have known the Quran, we have to absorb its spirit into our character by acting upon it in all aspects of our lives, and secondly we have been entrusted with the assignment of spreading its message to the whole world, as far as our resources allow us, according to whatever talents and capabilities Allah has given us. May Allah guide us all towards this light, Ameen.

 

Surah Az-Zukhruf

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ          

In the last Surah we learned that if we want to save our lives from total loss, then the only thing that can help us, is the Book of Allah. The Quran is the key to enlightenment, therefore, to strengthen our belief, this Surah also begins with an introduction to the Quran. That it is a clear Book….an open invitation to peace and success. Its message is so vivid that you just have to open it and see it with your own eyes……..like the bright sun shining in the sky doesn’t need any proof for its existence; similarly the glorious Quran is a testimony to its own truth. And Allah has chosen the beautiful Arabic language, for His Book, so that we might use our intellect:                                              

إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ {3}

By the Glorious Book.[2] We have revealed this Qur’an in the Arabic language so that you may understand its meanings.[3]

The word Ta’qiloon in the above Ayat refers to basic understanding of the Quran as well as to ponder on its deeper meanings and interpretations. It is a speciality of the Arabic language that it is easy to learn and to understand for all sorts of people and on the other hand has such literary depth which stimulates even the highly intellectual ones. But we have failed to recognize its true worth because we have created for ourselves other ideals and objectives. The fact is that Quran holds the most prestigious place in Allah’s record:

وَإِنَّهُ فِي أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ لَدَيْنَا لَعَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ {4}

 

And indeed it (The Quran) is, in the Mother of the Book with Us, exalted and full of wisdom.

We all know that Allah is our Rabb. He created us and everything else too…..in this we have no doubt, no objection……….even the idol worshippers of Makkah believed in it:

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ خَلَقَهُنَّ الْعَزِيزُ الْعَلِيمُ

{9}

If you ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth?” They will surely say: “They have been created by the All-Mighty, the All-Knowledgeable.”[9]

Allah has made this amazing earth which revolves around itself and also orbits around the sun; each movement has unimaginable speed, yet we do not feel it, and continue to live in it undisturbed. And through its different landscapes Allah created paths for us to follow so that we might travel from one part of the earth to the other and reach our destinations:

الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ مَهْدًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ فِيهَا سُبُلًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ {10}

(Allah is) The One Who has made the earth a resting place for you and traced out routes upon it so that you may find your ways.[10]

To make these journeys, Allah provided us with animals and other means of transport, so that we are grateful to Him and acknowledge His blessings:

وَالَّذِي خَلَقَ الْأَزْوَاجَ كُلَّهَا وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الْفُلْكِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ مَا تَرْكَبُونَ {12}

The One Who has created all living things in pairs and made for you the ships and cattle on which you ride[12]

And remember when you step on your vehicle that it is Allah who provided it and gave to you its control……..therefore it is not for us to be arrogant but to be humble in appreciation of Allah:

لِتَسْتَوُوا عَلَى ظُهُورِهِ ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَتَقُولُوا سُبْحانَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ {13}

so that you may firmly sit on their backs, then as you mount, recall the goodness of your Rabb and say: “Glory be to Him Who has subjected these to Our use, otherwise We could not have brought them under our control,[13]

So Allah reminds us that we are all on a journey through life, and day by day we are getting closer to our death, which is not an end but a doorway to the permanent life of the Hereafter. So while we go about in this fast paced world we should keep that destination in mind too:

وَإِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ {14}

and to our Rabb we shall all return.”[14]

For any worldly journey, however small, we all ask the purpose and the direction. Then why is it, that most people spend their journey of life without asking its purpose or the right direction for it? It’s because they don’t want to disrupt their comfort zones and so prefer to remain in ignorance. Shaitan makes them believe that they are already the best of men and don’t need to change at all. It is a kind of superiority complex, a self delusion that keeps them away from the truth. To justify this attitude they make up certain hypothesis and theories which they use as shields whenever they have to face the reality. This is what caused the Disbelievers of Makkah, to come up with this falsehood that Angels were daughters of Allah and so they should worship them too, like they had seen their forefathers do it:

وَجَعَلُوا الْمَلَائِكَةَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ إِنَاثًا أَشَهِدُوا خَلْقَهُمْ سَتُكْتَبُ شَهَادَتُهُمْ وَيُسْأَلُونَ {19}

They regard the angels, who are themselves servants of the Compassionate, as female divinities. Did they witness their creation? They should know that their testimony shall be noted down and they shall be called to account for it.[19]

The sad truth is that while for worldly matters they use their intellect and ensure that all their efforts are in the right direction, but for Akhirah they are least bothered and say that Allah will guide them if He wills and it doesn’t matter how they worship Him, or where they have placed Akhirah in the list of their priorities. The following Ayat depicts their attitude and Allah’s answer to that as well:

وَقَالُوا لَوْ شَاء الرَّحْمَنُ مَا عَبَدْنَاهُم مَّا لَهُم بِذَلِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ {20}

They say: “Had it been the will of the Compassionate, We should never have worshipped them.” They have no knowledge about that; they are merely guessing.[20]

What will be the result of this stubborn refusal to accept the truth? Allah reminds us:

فَانتَقَمْنَا مِنْهُمْ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ {25}

Consequently, We inflicted Our retribution on them; then see what was the end of those who disbelieved?[25]

The majority of people are basically just followers by nature. They cannot rise above their petty interests and desires. And so they worship whatever they see others worshipping. But there are others among that tide of people who feel that they are not moving in the right direction but they lack the courage to stand apart from the rest or to choose the opposite direction because they fear that they will be cast aside by the crowd. Their faith is weak and so it doesn’t enable them to take this bold decision. Therefore Allah is telling us here in the following verses that we should not worry about the majority, but should take a stand, and believe in Allah’s help, just as He helped His Prophet and friend, Ibrahim (a.s), who was born into a society of idol worshippers but he rejected it:

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ إِنَّنِي بَرَاء مِّمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ {26}

إِلَّا الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي فَإِنَّهُ سَيَهْدِينِ {27}

Behold! Ibrãhïm said to his father and his people: “I renounce the gods you worship,[26] except Him Who created me, for He will surely guide me.”[27]

So what happened? Did Allah leave him to be crushed by the flow of people? No Allah even saved him from the pit of fire in which his people threw him. What can be greater or more powerful than Allah’s friendship and His approval? But most people are forever dazzled by the glamour of wealth and status. Thus the disbelievers in Makkah used to say:

وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَذَا الْقُرْآنُ عَلَى رَجُلٍ مِّنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ {31}

They also say: “Why is this Qur’an not revealed to a man of great importance in the two towns (Makkah and Ta’if)”?[31]

They believed that a prophet should have been a wealthy, influential person, but Allah says that the treasures of gold and silver don’t have any value in His eyes………it is just the adornment of this world:

وَلَوْلَا أَن يَكُونَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً لَجَعَلْنَا لِمَن يَكْفُرُ بِالرَّحْمَنِ لِبُيُوتِهِمْ سُقُفًا مِّن فَضَّةٍ وَمَعَارِجَ عَلَيْهَا يَظْهَرُونَ {33}وَلِبُيُوتِهِمْ أَبْوَابًا وَسُرُرًا عَلَيْهَا يَتَّكِؤُونَ {34}وَزُخْرُفًا وَإِن كُلُّ ذَلِكَ لَمَّا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةُ عِندَ رَبِّكَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ {35}

 

And were it not that all mankind might become one nation of unbelievers, We would have given those who disbelieve in the Compassionate (Allah), such houses whose roofs, stairways by which they go to upper chambers all made with silver,[33] and also the doors of their houses and couches on which they recline,[34] along with ornaments of gold – for all these are nothing but merely comforts of this worldly life. It is the life of the hereafter which your Rabb has reserved for the righteous.[35]

It has all been said in the above verses; the message is so clear that even if we have palaces of silver and gold, the everlasting success of the Hereafter is only for the Allah conscious people. Why then are we so heedless of this message? Why don’t we change our priorities? Why have made the success of this world our only goal in life? The reason to all these questions is that we have become alienated from the Quran and so have become easy targets for the Shaitan:

وَمَن يَعْشُ عَن ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَنِ نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَانًا فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِينٌ {36}

He who turns away from the remembrance (Reminder) of the Compassionate (Allah), We assign a shaitãn for him, who becomes his intimate companion.[36]

The most dangerous thing about shaitan is that he stops us from following the way of success, and at the same time he traps us in a false sense of security that we are the rightly guided ones:

وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَصُدُّونَهُمْ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَيَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ {37}

and indeed the devils turns such people away from the Right Path, while they think that they are the rightly guided.[37]

Those who don’t appreciate the guidance of Allah face a terrible end. Allah gives us the example of Pharaoh who made fun of Musa (a.s) when he presented to him the message of Allah. Pharaoh’s biggest hurdle that prevented him from accepting the truth was his arrogance which is so evident in the following words:

أَمْ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْ هَذَا الَّذِي هُوَ مَهِينٌ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ {52}

Am I not better than this insignificant one, who can hardly express himself clearly?[52]

But that pride in his status did not help him when he faced the great punishment:

فَلَمَّا آسَفُونَا انتَقَمْنَا مِنْهُمْ فَأَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ {55}

At last when they provoked Us, We inflicted retribution on them and drowned them all,[55]

All these negative emotions like pride, arrogance and contempt for others is a trap of our enemy, the shaitan, therefore Allah warns us:

وَلَا يَصُدَّنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ {62}

Let not shaitãn mislead you, for he is your open enemy.[62]

Next Allah tells us about the Prophet, Isa (Jesus Christ), who came to the people of Bani Israel, with the same message of Tauheed that they should submit to the worship of one Allah:

وَلَمَّا جَاء عِيسَى بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالَ قَدْ جِئْتُكُم بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَلِأُبَيِّنَ لَكُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي تَخْتَلِفُونَ فِيهِ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ {63} إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ {64}   

When Isa (Jesus) came with clear signs, he stated: “I have brought you wisdom, and to clarify some of those things about which you have disputes: so fear Allah and obey me.[63] Surely it is Allah Who is my Rabb and your Rabb, so worship Him. This is the Right Way.”[64]

But various groups formed their own versions of the one true religion. Thus they lost the true guidance and fell into eternal destruction:

فَاخْتَلَفَ الْأَحْزَابُ مِن بَيْنِهِمْ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمٍ أَلِيمٍ {65}

In spite of these teachings, the factions disagreed among themselves; so woe to the wrongdoers from the punishment of a painful Day.[65]

It is clear from verse-64 that Isa (a.s) told his people that Allah is his Lord and their Lord too, and that they should only worship Allah. But later on they ignored the teachings of their Prophet and claimed that he was the son of Allah. This false claim is being challenged by Allah in the following verses:

قُلْ إِن كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَلَدٌ فَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْعَابِدِينَ {81}

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ {82}

(O Prophet tell the Christians) Say: “If the Compassionate (Allah) had a son, I would be the first to worship him.”[81] Glory be to the Rabb of the heavens and the earth, the Lord of the Throne, He is above what they ascribe to Him.[82]

But if people don’t agree with you or don’t accept the truth then what should you do? Allah says:

فَذَرْهُمْ يَخُوضُوا وَيَلْعَبُوا حَتَّى يُلَاقُوا يَوْمَهُمُ الَّذِي يُوعَدُونَ {83}

So let them blunder and play until they face their Day, which has been promised to them.[83]

People’s opinions cannot change the fact that Allah is only one…..He does not have any partner, or son, or daughters:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي فِي السَّمَاء إِلَهٌ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَهٌ وَهُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْعَلِيمُ {84}

It is He (Allah) Who is God in the heavens and God on earth; He is the All-Wise, the All-Knowledgeable.[84]

May Allah help us all to absorb this message of Quran and to spread its light to the whole world. Ameen

 

Surah Ad-Dukhan

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) sent to us this clear, glorious book in a blessed night. In Surah Al-Qadr, Allah refers to this night as the Laiyla-tul-Qadr, meaning the night of power or the night of destiny, in which Allah revealed His ultimate guidance to mankind through His angel Jibraeel who conveyed the verses of Quran to the messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w):

وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ {2}

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ {3}

We swear by the Glorious Book [2] that We revealed this Qur’an in a blessed night (Layla-tul Qadr); for We wanted to forewarn mankind

 

The objective of this revelation was to warn people that no one has the right to be worshipped except Allah. There is none beside Him because only He is the Lord who created everything in this universe:

رَبِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ {7}

The Rabb of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them, mark this, if you are true believers

 

If we think about it, the awareness of our life and death is a great force that shakes us from within and makes us turn to Allah. Look at yourself and say Allah made me, and one day He will make me die and just feel the tremors of consciousness ripple through your whole being:

لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ {8}

There is no god but Him. He gives life and death. He is your Rabb and the Rabb of your forefathers.

But if someone reminds us of death, what is our response?

 “Oh come on! don’t be such a bore……”

 So basically we all just want to have a good time. Either we are too busy in our jobs or schools or we are planning for some entertainment. Apart from that we don’t want to think at all, and the idea of the hereafter seems too remote and improbable:

بَلْ هُمْ فِي شَكٍّ يَلْعَبُونَ {9}

Yet they play about in doubt.

 

Only when something terrible happens to us then we remember Allah. That is why Allah says that if these non-serious people don’t listen to your warnings then let them have fun until the day when they will see the beginning of their end:

فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاء بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ {10}

Well! Wait for the Day when the sky will pour down visible smoke

 

What will be this smoke? Clearly it could be one of the signs of the approaching Qiyamah, the hour of doom:

يَغْشَى النَّاسَ هَذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ {11}

Enveloping all mankind; this will be a painful punishment.

 

And look what people will say:

رَبَّنَا اكْشِفْ عَنَّا الْعَذَابَ إِنَّا مُؤْمِنُونَ {12}

Then the mankind will say: “Our Rabb! Remove from us this punishment, surely we have become real believers.”

 

But Allah says that even if they are given a little respite they will again turn back on their previous way of life…..their spirituality is only temporary:

إِنَّا كَاشِفُو الْعَذَابِ قَلِيلًا إِنَّكُمْ عَائِدُونَ {15}

We shall remove the affliction for a while, but you will revert to the same old ways

But they should not forget that Allah is giving them a chance here until the day they die. He wants them to turn back to Him but if they don’t care and die without submitting their will to His obedience then there won’t be anyone to save them from His punishment:

يَوْمَ نَبْطِشُ الْبَطْشَةَ الْكُبْرَى إِنَّا مُنتَقِمُونَ {16}

One day We shall seize you with a mighty onslaught to exact Our retribution

 

The arrogant people think that they are free to do whatever they think is right, because apparently there is no one to stop them. They are trapped in this illusion of being the masters of their own lives. Here Allah shows us the example of Pharaoh who denied the Prophet Musa (a.s) and rejected the message of Allah. So Allah told Musa (a.s) to lead the people of Bani-Israel out of Egypt, during the night, and He warned him that the people of Pharaoh will try to capture them but he (Musa) should not worry because Allah had decided to drown them all. This is exactly what happened; Allah destroyed Pharaoh along with all his armies, and there was no one left to inherit all that grandeur which they left behind:

كَمْ تَرَكُوا مِن جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ {25}وَزُرُوعٍ وَمَقَامٍ كَرِيمٍ {26}

وَنَعْمَةٍ كَانُوا فِيهَا فَاكِهِينَ {27}

How many gardens and springs they left behind! [25] And agriculture and grand palaces! [26] And means of luxury and comfort which they used to enjoy! [27]

 

Just imagine how heart-breaking it would be to witness even one such house where all the people get killed or die in some accident…..how strange it is that the things which we love and are proud of, cannot save us……how terrible if a whole nation is gone simultaneously leaving behind all their belongings and then someone else takes over. In our life we are at times so reluctant to share even a small thing of ours due to possessiveness, or privacy but as soon as we die, we have no control and the same things are open for whoever happens to get hold of it…..

كَذَلِكَ وَأَوْرَثْنَاهَا قَوْمًا آخَرِينَ {28}

Thus was their end! And We let other people inherit what was once theirs. [28]

 

But for the cruel people there is no one to grieve:

فَمَا بَكَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَا كَانُوا مُنظَرِينَ {29}

Neither Heaven nor earth sheds tears for them; nor were they given a respite. [29]

The fact is that Allah created this universe with a purpose, so we need to find it, understand it and then live accordingly:

وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا لَاعِبِينَ {38}

It was not for a sport that We created the heavens the earth and all that lies between them. [38]

 

We keep on disagreeing and arguing about our philosophies of life, about what is right and what is wrong, but Allah says:

إِنَّ يَوْمَ الْفَصْلِ مِيقَاتُهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ {40}

Surely the Day of sorting out is the time appointed for the resurrection of them all. [40]

In this world many wrong doers go scot free because they have their intercessors to back them up. But on that ultimate day of recompense no one will help them:

يَوْمَ لَا يُغْنِي مَوْلًى عَن مَّوْلًى شَيْئًا وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ {41}

On that Day no one shall be able to protect his friend, nor shall they receive any help

 

The only thing that can save us on that day will be Allah’s mercy:

إِلَّا مَن رَّحِمَ اللَّهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ {42}

Except those to whom Allah will show His Mercy: for it is He Who is the All-Mighty, the All Merciful. [42]

 

This is a very important thing to remember that even the people who are trying to follow the right way, cannot do any deeds which could earn them the splendid rewards of paradise. Why? Because the paradise is too grand and expensive to be given at the price of these small little deeds we do to please Allah. We can never be perfect. Look at how many times we do and say things which we know to be wrong but we cannot control ourselves. To make mistakes is human but only those who keep repenting to Allah and keep asking for his forgiveness will be blessed with Allah’s mercy. Otherwise the arrogance of being “religious” is also a dangerous thing that can lead to Allah’s displeasure.

Next Allah has given us a description of the two options we have about the hereafter…..one is the extreme torture of the Hell fire and the other is the extreme pleasure of Paradise……there is nowhere else to hide…..so make up your mind now.

Here is the Hell….in which people will be given to eat the tree of Zaqqum (a poisonous plant); it will be like the residue of oil and boil in their stomachs like the boiling water:

كَالْمُهْلِ يَغْلِي فِي الْبُطُونِ {45}

كَغَلْيِ الْحَمِيمِ {46}

It will be like the dregs of oil. Which shall boil in the belly [45] like the boiling of scalding water. [46]

 

Then the angels of Hell will be ordered to take these criminals to the scalding waters and they will be tortured and humiliated because they used to be arrogantly cruel to people in the world:

خُذُوهُ فَاعْتِلُوهُ إِلَى سَوَاء الْجَحِيمِ {47}

ثُمَّ صُبُّوا فَوْقَ رَأْسِهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْحَمِيمِ {48}

A voice will be heard: “Seize him and drag him into the depth of the hell, [47] then pour scalding water over his head, [48]

 

Of course all those criminals are in doubt about such things to happen to them. Most of us haven’t even heard about these details and even those who hear it; dismiss it like some rumour circulated by “fundamentalist” preachers of Islam. That is why Allah will remind them on that day:

ذُقْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْكَرِيمُ {49}

إِنَّ هَذَا مَا كُنتُم بِهِ تَمْتَرُونَ {50}

Then the voice will say: “Taste it; you were such a powerful noble! [49] This is the punishment which you use to doubt.”[50]

 

And now have a look at the other end of the Hereafter…..the beautiful, splendid Paradise, the final abode for the Allah conscious:

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي مَقَامٍ أَمِينٍ {51}

فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ {52}

As for the righteous, they will be in a secure place; [51] among gardens and springs, [52]

 

They were thankful for whatever Allah gave them in this world and focused their attention on their responsibility towards Allah; often sacrificing their small little pleasures……So Allah will give them fantastic compensations:

يَلْبَسُونَ مِن سُندُسٍ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ {53}

Dressed in fine silk and rich brocade, sitting face to face. [53]

يَدْعُونَ فِيهَا بِكُلِّ فَاكِهَةٍ آمِنِينَ {55}

There, in full peace, they shall call for every kind of fruit; [55]

 

And the greatest thing about these pleasures is that they will be forever and ever:

لَا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا الْمَوْتَ إِلَّا الْمَوْتَةَ الْأُولَى وَوَقَاهُمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ {56}

And after having prior death in the world, they shall taste death no more; and He (Allah) will protect them from the torment of hell [56]

 

Truly this is the most glorious success, to be saved from Hell fire.

فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّكَ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ {57}

As a grace from your Rabb, and that will be the supreme achievement. [57]

 

How easy and simple Allah has made this Quran for us to understand:

فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَاهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ {58}

Surely We have made this Qur’an easy by revealing in your own language so that they may take heed. [58]

 

So we should be extremely grateful to Allah for opening up our eyes to this truth and giving us this miraculous gift of Quran. If we keep our bond with it, Insha’Allah we will never forget the way. May Allah help us all. Ameen

 

Surah Al-Jathiya

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Surah Al-Jathiya is another great reminder for the mankind that Allah is their Lord, and He has sent them to this world with a purpose. In many of its verses, Allah has focused our attention on the miracles of His creation so that we should remember that this world has been created for us but we have been created for a far superior thing, which is Allah’s worship and obedience. Therefore, while we have been given permission to use the blessings of Allah, we must do it with a consciousness that the only being worthy of our ultimate feelings of love and adoration, is Allah, and nothing else should come between us and Allah’s remembrance and obedience.

This is not the theory of any individual or group but a revelation from the one who is All-Mighty, All-Wise:

تَنزِيلُ الْكِتَابِ مِنَ اللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ {2}

This Book is revealed from Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

 

Allah is All-Mighty, so it means that He could have forced us into submission, He has all the power to do that, but He is All-Wise and gave us a free will to choose between right and wrong. Thus he has given us intellect and spread His signs all around us so that we should contemplate on His creation and understand that He is surely the only one who has the right to be worshipped and obeyed:

وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِنَ السَّمَاء مِن رِّزْقٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ آيَاتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ {5}

And in the alternation of night and day, in the sustenance that Allah sends down from heaven with which He revives the earth after its death and in the changing of the winds, there are signs for those who use their common sense.

 

Not only the universe, but this Quran; which is the word of Allah, is also a proof of Allah’s existence, but if we don’t believe in it then what else will bring us to the right way?

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

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

 

But there are some who don’t want to change themselves. Because they think that they are perfect people; and so they listen to the Quran only half heartedly, not caring what is being said to them. Thus they persist in their wrong ways, even after listening to the truth:

وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ {7}يَسْمَعُ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ تُتْلَى عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ يُصِرُّ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ {8}

Woe to each lying sinner. Before whom the revelations of Allah are recited: he hears them, yet he arrogantly persists as though he never heard them; announce to him a painful punishment.

 

Therefore when we listen to the Quran we should have a sincere intention to act upon its guidance because it is our ultimate guide in this world:

هَذَا هُدًى وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مَّن رِّجْزٍ أَلِيمٌ {11}

This Qur’an is the true Guidance. As for those who deny the revelations of their Rabb, there will be a terribly painful punishment.

 

Allah doesn’t order us to leave everything and just sit in a cave and read Quran….no Islam doesn’t encourage any unnatural self deprivation. Nor is it just a set of rituals, rather all the acts of worship which Allah has made compulsory for us, are meant to teach us how to live in this world with justice and peace. And all the blessings from Allah are for us to be grateful and to remember Him:

اللَّهُ الَّذِي سخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْبَحْرَ لِتَجْرِيَ الْفُلْكُ فِيهِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ {12}

It is Allah Who has subjected the sea to you, so that ships may sail upon it by His command, and that you may seek His bounty and be grateful to Him.

 

Not only the great oceans but the whole world has been made for us, and is filled with the signs of Allah, but only those benefit from these underlying messages and get to the truth who are not deluded by the apparent glitter of things but go beyond the appearances and think deeply:

وَسَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مِّنْهُ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لَّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {13}

He also subjected to you whatever is between the heavens and the earth; all from Himself. Surely there are signs in this for those who think.

 

And whether we take heed of these verses or dismiss them with a shrug, the fact remains that we are going to be paid for all that we do, whether good or bad:

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَاء فَعَلَيْهَا ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ {15}

He that does a righteous deed, does it for his own good; and he that commits an evil, does so at his own peril. In the end, you all will be brought back to your Rabb

Do people think that they can continue to ignore the message of Allah and still reach the same paradise which He has created for the righteous ones?

أًمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ أّن نَّجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَوَاء مَّحْيَاهُم وَمَمَاتُهُمْ سَاء مَا يَحْكُمُونَ {21}

Do the evil doers think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do good deeds, and that their lives and deaths shall be alike? Worst is the judgment that they make!

How can they be so misguided? The fact is that when a person blindly follows the desires of his inner self then everything that suits him becomes right in his eyes……Such people are no longer able to judge right from wrong:

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَى سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَى بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ {23}

Have you considered the case of such an individual who has made his own desires as his god, and Allah having knowledge let him go astray, and sealed his hearing and heart and drew a veil over his sight? Who is there to guide him after Allah has withdrawn His guidance? Will you not learn a lesson?

 

If they are reminded of the truth of their existence they have ready-made excuses, by which they fool themselves:

وَقَالُوا مَا هِيَ إِلَّا حَيَاتُنَا الدُّنْيَا نَمُوتُ وَنَحْيَا وَمَا يُهْلِكُنَا إِلَّا الدَّهْرُ وَمَا لَهُم بِذَلِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَظُنُّونَ {24}

The disbelievers say: “There is nothing but our life of this world. We live and die; nothing but time destroys us.” In fact, they have no knowledge concerning this. They are merely guessing.

 

Allah says: tell them, that they cannot change the reality so they had better wake up and accept it before it’s too late:

قُلِ اللَّهُ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يَجْمَعُكُمْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا رَيبَ فِيهِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكَثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ {26}

O Prophet tell them: “It is Allah Who gives you life and later causes you to die; then it is He Who will gather you all on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt, yet most people do not understand.”

 

And what a painful day it will be when all of us will be standing before Allah…..all our arrogance will come to an end:

وَتَرَى كُلَّ أُمَّةٍ جَاثِيَةً كُلُّ أُمَّةٍ تُدْعَى إِلَى كِتَابِهَا الْيَوْمَ تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {28}

You shall see every nation on its knees. Every nation shall be summoned to its book of record, and Allah will say: “Today you shall be rewarded for your deeds.

 

I must say that if someone comes and tells me that he has recorded all that I have said and done in one day and wants to play the recording just for me and my family, I won’t be able to stand it…….. So can we bear to have all our life being exposed in front of all the people? Just imagine the fear, the apprehension that has brought all these people down on their knees. It is enough to make us Allah conscious, when we know that each and every thought word and action of ours is being recorded:

هَذَا كِتَابُنَا يَنطِقُ عَلَيْكُم بِالْحَقِّ إِنَّا كُنَّا نَسْتَنسِخُ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {29}

This book of Ours speaks about you with the truth. Surely We have recorded all your deeds.”

The people who believed in these warnings and who tried to live a life of purity and Allah consciousness; will get a glorious reward:

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَيُدْخِلُهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْمُبِينُ {30}

As for those who believed and did righteous deeds, their Rabb will admit them into His mercy. That will be a glorious achievement.

 

But all those who denied the open truth will be asked if they had never been warned:

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَفَلَمْ تَكُنْ آيَاتِي تُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاسْتَكْبَرْتُمْ وَكُنتُمْ قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِينَ {31}

But as to those who disbelieved, Allah will say: “Were My revelations not recited to you? But you showed arrogance and became a people of criminals.”

 

And their biggest crime against their own selves was that they had never believed in the Day of Qiyamah (the hour of doom): If someone doesn’t believe in the day of recompense then that person cannot be expected to sacrifice the desires of this world for a day in which he has no belief:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَالسَّاعَةُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهَا قُلْتُم مَّا نَدْرِي مَا السَّاعَةُ إِن نَّظُنُّ إِلَّا ظَنًّا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُسْتَيْقِنِينَ {32}

When it was said, “the promise of Allah is true and the Hour of Judgment is sure to come. You used to say, ‘We don’t know what the Hour of Judgment is: we think it is just a conjecture, we are not convinced.'”

 

So on that day it will be said to them:

وَقِيلَ الْيَوْمَ نَنسَاكُمْ كَمَا نَسِيتُمْ لِقَاء يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا وَمَأْوَاكُمْ النَّارُ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ {34}

It will be said: “Today We will forget you as you forgot the meeting of this Day of yours! Hellfire will be your home and none will be there to help you.

 

Their problem was that the love of this world had deluded them so much that they took the warnings of Allah as a joke and hardly cared what was being revealed by Allah:

ذَلِكُم بِأَنَّكُمُ اتَّخَذْتُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ هُزُوًا وَغَرَّتْكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فَالْيَوْمَ لَا يُخْرَجُونَ مِنْهَا وَلَا هُمْ يُسْتَعْتَبُونَ {35}

This is because you used to take Allah’s revelations as a joke and you let the worldly life deceive you.” Therefore, on this Day neither shall they be taken out of hell, nor shall they be given a chance for amending their ways to please their Rabb.

 

Therefore enjoy the blessings of Allah but don’t get trapped into the beauty and glamour of this world…..remember the one who Created it all…….the Creator and Lord of all the worlds:

فَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ رَبِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَرَبِّ الْأَرْضِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ {36}

So, praise be to Allah, the Rabb of the heavens, the Rabb of the earth and the Rabb of the worlds.

 

And none is mightier than Him, who is the All- Mighty, the All- Wise:

وَلَهُ الْكِبْرِيَاء فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {37}

 

To Him belongs greatness throughout the heavens and the earth, and He Alone is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

 

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8 thoughts on “Quran(3)

    • Thanks a lot for taking the time to write your comment. JazakAllah khairan. The answer to your question is that the reviews I have written about the surahs of the Quran are not a proper tafseer, because I am not a scholar… And so my purpose was to just provide a basic outline to the readers… something to motivate them towards learning the Great Book of wisdom and guidance. That is why I have just used a selection of ayahs to show how great the Quran is.

  1. Thanks for this all inclusive insight into this great Surah. However, there is one question i will be grateful if you could comment on. Is it prohibited to recite Surah Yasin for Dua?

    • According to my limited knowledge, there is a Hadith about surah Yasin which says that it should be read upon a dying person. The benefit is that the dying person will be reminded about His lord at this crucial time and also it will be a good reminder for the alive people who are reading it so that they will also see what they are doing for the preparation of their death?
      Other than this I don’t know of any Hadith which proves the famous things we have been hearing about surah yasin like reading it daily in the morning or reading it 41 or 71 times etc… these are not part of sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w) or his companions.
      Even though it is a good thing to read Quran or do other good deeds before making any special dua but we should not prescribe one specific surah for all times… Only Allah and His Prohpet s.a.w. have the authority to make this kind of selection.
      If you like surah yasin you can read it daily but you can not say that it is a rule which everyone must follow. The act of prescribing things in religion like this is strictly prohibited
      Kindly do ask some qualified scholar on this issue because they know better and Allah knows best

  2. I am highly grateful for sharing your experience with your readers. Quiet educative and insightful too, but can we assume that with your reponse on the use of Surah for dua that its forbidden to recite any of the quranic Surahs or their verses for dua. Example, recitation of verses like Lahola wala quwata, etc. Once again, i appreciate your quick response and Jummah Mubarak.

    • I think I did not write very clearly so I should repeat it once more… that it is NOT forbidden to recite surahs or verses for duas. For example the very first surah is a dua in itself!! and the last two surahs of the Quran were also sent as duas for the cure of magic and other such problems. Every night the Prophet s.a.w used to recite surah al-Mulk and surah As-sajdah. Every friday he prescribed the recitation of al-kahf. These things are proven through the sahih hadith and we must follow it in our lives… But to create a ritual OUTSIDE of the sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w is definitely prohibited. I hope it is clear. and Allah knows best

  3. Thank u so much for making quran understanding so easy and comprehensble. Your concept of a muslim is what is so appealing, a spiritual muslim a not just a muslim in appearance. Your writing and interpretation have profound effects. May allah give u jazai khair for your efforts.

    • JazakAllah khairan for your kind words… do share it with others too so that together we can rise as an enlightened and productive nation to please our Lord… who created us and appointed us as his best people… inshaAllah

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