Quran(5)

Surah Al-Hadid

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Recently I visited one of my friends who has three daughters all studying in a medical college. When food was served they all had soft drinks in place of water. I asked one of them why she was drinking carbonated stuff when we all know it is so bad for health; especially since they were all studying medicine so they must be even more aware of its adverse effects. I love to discuss things with children and as I had expected, this question led to a lot of ideas and brainstorming on the question that what stops us from acting on what we know. The best answer was from the youngest daughter who said that human beings tend to put aside the long term benefits in favour of immediate pleasures. And this made me think that the same attitude is stopping us from going towards the path of Jannah. We are so much involved with the immediate pleasures of this world that we have no thought or time to do something for the Akhirah. How can we come out of this weakness? Is there any solution? Obviously what we need is a strong faith in Allah and Akhirah but the question is how to develop this strength of faith? Today when I studied Surah Al-Hadid I was so amazed to discover the answers to these questions that I feel like I have been given a treasure which I must share with everyone!!

Mainly there are two points on which we have to focus….one is to contemplate in Allah’s creation, power and attributes and secondly we need to connect deeply with Allah through spending in His way  whatever resources He has given us. It does not only mean our wealth but also our time and energies, our talents and capabilities and everything that we have. The more we spend for Allah the more we will be connected to Him and thus we can experience the sweetness of faith which is a delight known only to those who have sold their souls to Allah in exchange for Paradise.

So first of all look at the earth and the sky and imagine all the stars and galaxies and also the hidden treasures inside the earth and the oceans….All of this creation is a sign of Allah’s greatness and perfection…

ِسَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {1}

All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah, and He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise

How can we be impressed by anyone other than Allah when none is so awesome like Him:

لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {2}

To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; it is He Who gives life and causes death; and He has power over all things.

And in the third verse we find the qualities of Allah which even our intellects cannot grasp fully….the beginning and the end…encompassing all time…So visible in all His creations and yet invisible…the one with absolute knowledge of each and everything….is there anyone like Him?

هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ {3}

He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent, and He has the knowledge of all things

The more we contemplate on the amazing powers of Allah the more will our hearts be tuned to Him and only then will we get the desire to seek His pleasure. This is not an overnight process but gradually the idols of our hearts will be broken and replaced with the love of this All-Mighty All-Powerful Allah who has not left us alone in this big world but sent us His guidance, leading us out of darkness into the brilliant light…

هُوَ الَّذِي يُنَزِّلُ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُمْ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ {9}

He it is who sends clear revelations to His servant, so that he may lead you from the depths of darkness into the light. Surely Allah is Most Kind and Most Merciful to you.

Belief in Allah and desire to please Him are the greatest forces on earth and they are strengthened by contemplating on the guidance that He revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) in the form of Quran and Sunnah. The more we read it the more it will open our hearts and our eyes will begin to see the truth; and so the illusion of this world will be replaced by the desire to attain the highest levels of Paradise.

Faith is not a stagnant emotion, rather it keeps moving between various levels. Therefore we need to refresh it regularly by spending in the way of Allah. Spending our wealth, our time, our energies and other resources for His sake, is a great way to attain Allah’s pleasure, and when Allah is pleased with us He blesses us with a special kind of happiness and tranquillity which we cannot have with any other thing of this world. The rewards are endless as Allah calls this a “loan” which he will repay in both the worlds:

مَن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ وَلَهُ أَجْرٌ كَرِيمٌ {11}

Who is the one that will give to Allah a goodly loan, so that He may increase it manifold to his credit and give him a liberal reward besides it?

We mostly think of the success and pleasure of this world only but the next ayat is so beautiful and so vivid that it almost takes us into that other world when we will all be crossing over the bridge over hell fire. It will be in pitch black darkness except for the light of our deeds. The more we spread goodness in this world, the more will be that light. Just feel the amazing power of Allah’s words:

يَوْمَ تَرَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَسْعَى نُورُهُم بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِم بُشْرَاكُمُ الْيَوْمَ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ {12}

On the Day of Judgment you shall see the true believing men and the believing women, with their light shining before them and on their right hands, and it will be said to them: “Rejoice today, you shall enter the gardens beneath which rivers flow, in which you shall live forever, and that is the highest achievement.”

Those who love Allah as their most perfect ideal and believe in His true Guidance cannot live a carefree life. All the time they have this consciousness that this world is filled with good and bad things and they have to exercise a lot of self control in staying away from the things which might anger Allah, even though at the moment they might seem to be very attractive and full of fun and enjoyment. On top of it there are the people who are indulging in all these pleasures hardly caring for Halal or Haram. They call themselves believers but in their hearts is the disease of Hypocrisy. They will not only do wrong things but will also criticize and make fun of the believers. Apparently they seem to be having such a fine time but look at their position on that day of truth; when they will be literally begging for some light:

يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُوا وَرَاءكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُورًا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَاهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ {13}

On that Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to the true believers: “Wait for us, that we may borrow some of your light.” But they will be told: “Go away! Seek your light elsewhere.” So a wall with a gate shall be set up between them. Inside there shall be mercy, and outside all along there shall be punishment of hell.

They will not be able to understand how can this be happening to them…so they will make another appeal…”were we not with you…were we not Muslims? Living in the same houses, working in the same places?” But reality will be put before them which they will not be able to deny:

يُنَادُونَهُمْ أَلَمْ نَكُن مَّعَكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى وَلَكِنَّكُمْ فَتَنتُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتَرَبَّصْتُمْ وَارْتَبْتُمْ وَغَرَّتْكُمُ الْأَمَانِيُّ حَتَّى جَاء أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَغَرَّكُم بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ {14}

They will call out to the believers, saying: “Were we not on your side?” “Yes,” they will reply, “but you led yourselves into temptation, you wavered, you doubted, and were deceived by your vain desires until Allah’s command came, while the arch-deceiver (shaitan) deceived you concerning Allah till the last moment.”

When I talk to people about having true belief and adhering to Allah’s laws, I often get the standard response that all people are good and it is their own opinion or interpretation of truth according to which they are living….so we should not be critical or judgmental. But I tell them that in the Quran Allah has himself described different characters among people…. making it very clear who is acceptable to Him and who is not. This is not so that we point out towards people and declare them to be “bad” but the purpose is to make us understand what kind of life we should be living if we really want to have a good end in the hereafter. Therefore when Allah is pointing out the fatal errors of the hypocrites it is a warning to us that we should avoid this attitude at all costs…Here is the list from the above Ayat and it is like a mirror in which each one of us should find where he stands:

1- The hypocrites did not avoid situations where they were likely to disobey Allah

(Do I avoid such company and environment where I will be tempted to go beyond the righteous limits?)

2- They were always waiting for everyone else to reform first

(When I know about a command of Allah, do I start acting on it or keep waiting?)

3- They remained in doubt about Allah and His religion

(Do I take care to strengthen my faith by reading and contemplating on Quran and Hadith? And also by spending in the way of Allah?)

4- They were deceived by their desires

(Do I follow my desires blindly? Or do I stop and evaluate whether it will earn me Allah’s pleasure or anger?)

5- They allowed themselves to be deceived by the shaitan

(Do I regularly seek Allah’s protection against this enemy? Do I take steps of protecting my heart from his whispers by constantly remembering Allah?)

Why is it so important to straighten up our lives? Because if remain carefree and don’t turn to Allah then there will come a time when no amount of money can save us from the prison of hell:

فَالْيَوْمَ لَا يُؤْخَذُ مِنكُمْ فِدْيَةٌ وَلَا مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مَأْوَاكُمُ النَّارُ هِيَ مَوْلَاكُمْ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ {15}

They will be told, “Today no ransom shall be accepted from you, or from the unbelievers. Your abode is the fire: which you have justly earned, and it is an evil refuge.”

Normally we hear such warnings and pass them by with hardly a thought. It is because when we start taking a blessing for granted then we lose the feeling of fulfillment or the sense of responsibility attached with it. Allah gave us this glorious Quran but we have not recognized its worth. That is what Allah is warning us about in the next ayat:

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ {16}

Has not the time arrived for the believers to submit with fervent hearts to Allah’s warning and to the truth He has revealed, so that they may not become like those who were given the Book before this, even though their term was prolonged for them but their hearts became hardened? Today most among them are transgressors.

What if our hearts have already gone into a state of hardness? How to soften them? Allah has the remedy to all problems:

إِنَّ الْمُصَّدِّقِينَ وَالْمُصَّدِّقَاتِ وَأَقْرَضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا يُضَاعَفُ لَهُمْ وَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ كَرِيمٌ {18}

Surely the charitable men and the charitable women, and those who give a goodly loan to Allah, shall be repaid manifold, and also be given a liberal reward besides it.

But again the greatest thing is faith and conviction!! Look at these beautiful words of Allah which distinguish between belief and disbelief in such open words…

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصِّدِّيقُونَ وَالشُّهَدَاء عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ وَنُورُهُمْ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَكَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ {19}

Those who believe in Allah and His Rasool, they are the truthful and the true witnesses in the sight of their Rabb; they shall have their reward and their light. But those who disbelieve and reject our revelations; they shall be the inmates of hellfire.

If faith is such a beautiful and desirable thing then why don’t we make it our ideal and our goal in life? The fact is that Allah created this world in order to provide for our various requirements but we went a step further and declared it to be our purpose and our goal. This is the deception which leads us away from our real targets. Therefore Allah is making an announcement here which should move our hearts….if only we could hear:

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ {20}

You should know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, a show and boasting among yourselves, a quest for greater riches and more children. Its similitude is that of vegetation that flourishes after rain: the growth of which delights the tillers, then it withers and you see it turn yellow, soon it becomes dry and crumbles away. In the hereafter there will be either severe punishment or forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure. The life of this world is nothing but an illusion

Sometimes you will hear people say that does Allah want us to leave the world and live in jungles? Of course not! He made the world and gave us life so that we should use its resources to seek His pleasure and a way to Paradise which He has prepared for those who have understood this life to be a test and they do their utmost struggle to be the winners…so don’t waste life in doubts and useless debates but run for that great reward of paradise..

سَابِقُوا إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَاء وَالْأَرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاء وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ {21}

Race towards forgiveness of your Rabb and for the paradise which is as vast as the heaven and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Rasools. Such is the grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He pleases, and Allah is the Owner of mighty grace.

Just see how Allah has provided us with so many resources both physical and spiritual….the guidance which keeps us on the straight path and the powerful element…iron:

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ {25}

Surely we sent Our Rasools with clear signs, and sent down with them the Book and the Scales of Justice, so that men may conduct themselves with fairness. We also sent down Iron, with its mighty strength and diverse uses for mankind, so that Allah may know those who will help Him, though unseen, and help His Rasools. Surely Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.

When I had studied this ayat for the first time in my “taleem-ul-Quran-at-home” class, I had been so amazed that Allah had revealed to me this information at such a time when I was on treatment for celiac disease and anaemia, so had to take an iron supplement in the form of a terribly bitter tasting syrup. I used to hate it…….my mouth felt like it had a lining of metal all around it after taking a dose….even water tasted like molten iron!!! But all my thoughts changed when I read this ayat that Allah had blessed man with this amazing metal…..I remember how happy it made me feel that all the people would be thinking of the use of iron in machines and such stuff but Allah had given me this disease and this medicine so that I could understand in how many hidden ways we use Hadid in our lives….even our bodies cannot survive without it.

And just as we need the power of iron in the physical aspect of our life, similarly we cannot survive without the power of spiritual guidance which Allah revealed on His messengers:

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا نُوحًا وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَجَعَلْنَا فِي ذُرِّيَّتِهِمَا النُّبُوَّةَ وَالْكِتَابَ فَمِنْهُم مُّهْتَدٍ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ {26}

We sent Nuh (Noah) and Ibrahim (Abraham), and bestowed among their descendants Prophethood and the Book. Some of them adopted the right guidance, but most of them were transgressors.

Therefore the thing to do is to develop a bond with our Lord, a belief in His presence, in His love, His Mercy, His anger, His rewards and His punishment…because only if we live with this consciousness can we avoid to fall into the traps of the devil and the illusion of our desires…

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَآمِنُوا بِرَسُولِهِ يُؤْتِكُمْ كِفْلَيْنِ مِن رَّحْمَتِهِ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ نُورًا تَمْشُونَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {28}

O believers! Fear Allah and believe in His Rasool (Muhammad, peace be upon him). He will grant you a double share of His mercy, provide for you a light to walk with and forgive you your sins. Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful

Allah is calling us….

Will we not listen to Him?

Will we not obey?

 

Surah Al-Mujadilah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

We all know that complaining is a bad habit. And it becomes a sin when you start exaggerating in your complaints and say things which are far away from the truth. Islam is a religion based on appreciation and gratitude towards Allah as well as people. And thus ingratitude and complaining goes against the very spirit of our religion. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him) specially warned the women that a great majority of them will be punished in hellfire because of their ingratitude and complaints against their husbands. But what should we do when people are unfair to us and deprive us of our rights? It seems from the above statement as if women have no right to speak out if some injustice is being done to them. This of course is not the case at all. What is forbidden is exaggeration and excessive complaining to anyone who will listen. But if there is a genuine problem then that’s another thing. Allah is most protective of the rights of women and anyone who violates these rights will be subjected to penalty.

The beginning of Surah Al-Mujadalah tells the story of a woman in Madinah, named Khaula, whose husband chose to cut her off permanently using the old Arab custom of Zihar. According to it a man just said to her wife that she was like his mother to him, and it meant that the wife became permanently haram (unlawful) for her husband. So Khaula came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and pleaded with him to suggest a way out of this. Allah not only heard her complaint but gave instant help in the form of the following revelations:

قَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّتِي تُجَادِلُكَ فِي زَوْجِهَا وَتَشْتَكِي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَسْمَعُ تَحَاوُرَكُمَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ {1}

Allah has indeed heard the words of the woman who pleaded with you against her husband and made her complaint to Allah, and Allah has heard what you said to each other. Allah hears all and sees all.

This verse taught me some very important lessons; first is that a complaint should be for some serious problem, otherwise day to day small irritations should not be made into “issues” and mountains should not made out of mole hills! Secondly even the genuine complaint should be done in front of someone who is in authority to solve it and has the knowledge and wisdom to do so. (If you have an over sensitive mother, for instance, who will over react if her child is in trouble then please don’t burden her sweet little heart with your grievances!!) Third and most important point is that our complaint should basically be to Allah who has the absolute authority over all his creatures and even while He is the master and controller of his vast kingdom, he listens to each and every one of us and knows what we say and also what remains unsaid.

The next couple of verses denounce the injustice of Zihar as being disgraceful and totally unrealistic. Thus a penalty was meted out to the husband who does Zihar and then realizes that he wants to retain his marriage, that he will have to free a slave, or if that’s not possible then he will have to fast continuously for two months and if he is not able to do that then he has to feed sixty poor people. Notice that these acts combine spiritual purification as well as being tough on the Nafs (self). But we see that most people take these things lightly and are not bothered about the rights of Allah and the rights of people. They commit injustices and yet they don’t even remember what they have done wrong. To all such people Allah is issuing a warning here, in very clear words, that even if they forget; Allah remembers and records everything and they will have to pay for it:

يَوْمَ يَبْعَثُهُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا أَحْصَاهُ اللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ {6}

On the Day of Judgment Allah will raise them all back to life, then inform them about what they have done. Allah has kept full record of their deeds even though they may have forgotten, for Allah is a witness over all things.

For the hypocrites in Madinah, appearances were all that mattered. In their hearts they had no faith but they wanted to be known as Muslims. Thus when they would talk among themselves they would do so in whispers because they could not say those shameful things openly. It was all about supporting each other in their disbelief and creating mischief to harm the believers. In the next verses Allah has ordered the believers that they should not follow this example and never to whisper among themselves except for some righteous purpose e.g. giving charity secretly or discussing issues which should not be made public:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا تَنَاجَيْتُمْ فَلَا تَتَنَاجَوْا بِالْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَمَعْصِيَتِ الرَّسُولِ وَتَنَاجَوْا بِالْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ {9}

O believers! When you confer together in private, do not talk about sin and hostility and disobedience to the Rasool; but to counsel about virtue and piety, and fear Allah, before whom you shall be brought together.

And Allah also reassured them that the conspiracies of the hypocrites will not harm them if they keep their trust in Allah:

إِنَّمَا النَّجْوَى مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ لِيَحْزُنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَيْسَ بِضَارِّهِمْ شَيْئًا إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ {10}

Conspiring in secret is the work of shaitan, who means to vex the believers; but he cannot harm them at all except as Allah permits; so in Allah let the believers put their trust.

Even in terms of social ethics whispering is a bad habit and it creates mistrust among people. Islam forbids all such practices because it is a religion of peace and brotherhood. Thus Allah reminds us of our manners which seem trivial yet have a profound effect on our relationships. One of them is to give space to others…to be accommodating and cooperative when someone reminds us to make space or to disperse from a gathering. It is a strange human psyche that we do these things agreeably but if we are reminded by someone else we tend to feel defensive. That is why Allah says that when you are told to be generous then do so….

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَإِذَا قِيلَ انشُزُوا فَانشُزُوا يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ {11}

O believers! When you are asked to make room in your meetings, make room, Allah will make room for you (in this life as well as the hereafter). And if you are told to rise up, then rise up: Allah will raise to higher ranks those of you who have faith and knowledge. Allah is aware of all your actions.

This is the most beautiful concept of our religion that giving does not decrease but increase us in our blessings. Look at the above verse and feel the promise in the words: You make space for others and Allah will open it up for you…Isn’t this awesome to think that these physical quantities are constant only in our eyes and Allah can expand or contract them. I have seen people with large families living in small houses and they welcome guests with open arms although they just have a couple of rooms, and I wondered how do they live in such a small space? But now I have understood that scarcity of things is linked to the contraction of the heart. You open up your heart for others and Allah will open up His blessings for you.

On the contrary it was the way of hypocrites to hoard everything for their own pleasure and yet they would not feel secure. Do we not see the same insecurity among the elites of this day….earning millions yet unable to share it with others. Allah says:

لَن تُغْنِيَ عَنْهُمْ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا أُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ {17}

Neither their riches nor their sons shall avail them anything against Allah. They shall be the inmates of hell and live there forever.

Why is the attitude of selfishness so widespread even among Muslims? Don’t they believe in Allah? The following verse makes it clear that belief in Allah is strengthened by remembrance of Allah and shaitan is always putting doubts in our minds and making us insecure about our worldly interests to such an extent that we forget to remember Allah…

اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَأَنسَاهُمْ ذِكْرَ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ الشَّيْطَانِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ الشَّيْطَانِ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ {19}

Shaitan has gained possession of them, and caused them to forget Allah’s warning. They are the party of shaitan. Beware! Surely it is the party of shaitan that shall be the loser

How scary it is to be associated with the group of the devil…May Allah save us from such a fate. Obviously what we need to do is to be obedient to Allah at all times and follow the teachings of our Holy Prophet (s.a.w). Otherwise those who go against Allah and his Prophet will be disgraced in both worlds:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ فِي الأَذَلِّينَ {20}

Those who resist Allah and His Rasool will be among the most humiliated.

There are some people who have a weak faith so even when they know that they are going in the wrong direction they don’t turn back to Allah because they fear people and loss of wealth or status. Allah is telling us here that He is the one we should fear most…

كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ {21}

Allah has decreed: “It is I and My Rasools who will most certainly prevail.” Surely Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty

At the end Allah appreciates the true believers and gives them promise of the beautiful gardens of eternal delight…they gave Allah top most priority in their lives and Allah gave them the most beautiful gift of His pleasure and calls them with the honourable title of Hizbullah…Allah’s party…the only party which is going to be successful…won’t you join it too?

لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُوْلَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ مِّنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {22}

*****

You will never find any people who believe in Allah and the last Day on friendly terms with those who oppose Allah and His Rasool, even though they are their fathers, their sons, their brothers or their relatives. It is they in whose hearts Allah has inscribed faith and has strengthened them with a spirit of His own. He will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever. Allah will be well pleased with them, and they will be well pleased with Him. They are the party of Allah. Beware! Surely it is the party of Allah that will be successful.

 

Surah Al-Hashr

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

A believer who has made Allah’s pleasure his ultimate goal will find that contrary to his expectations, this path is not so smooth and easy. Generally it is believed that Hidayat or guidance is a gift from Allah which he gives to some chosen people and they are just effortlessly gliding along their lives doing deeds of goodness. Almost like robots or machines which have been programmed for goodness. It is assumed that these chosen ones are not plagued with doubts or weaknesses of desires, all of their near and dear ones are their supporters and they have all the resources to keep them on the straight path. But is it really true? How can it be that Allah would make it so easy for them and difficult for all the others? The fact is that the higher one goes the greater effort one requires to maintain that height and still move on. So a believer, at whatever level he might be, is tested by Allah through various trials, and his success depends on overcoming these trials in the best of manner. In Surah Al-Hashr Allah gives us an example of the war in Madinah, between the Muslims and the Jews, to teach us that in every situation there are obstacles for the believers; but the ones who are true to their commitment with Allah, will eventually be triumphant. There is no doubt that only Allah has the most absolute power and who ever believes in this power will certainly be helped by Allah in such a way as we can never imagine. This is among the signs through which we attain Ma’rifat or recognition of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala…the more we contemplate on the signs of His glorification the more we will be closer to him in faith and obedience…The whole universe is calling us to see how great and perfect Allah is:

سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {1}

All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah, and He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.

The tribe of Jews with the name of Bani an-Nadir were settled in the east of Madinah and were active in hidden enmity against Islam and Muslims even though they were bound by the treaty of peace which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had established in Madinah. Eventually the Bani an-Nadir made a secret plan to kill the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) though the plan failed before it could be executed. Now there was no question of showing them any further concession. The Holy Prophet at once sent to them the ultimatum that the treachery they had meditated against him had come to his knowledge; therefore, they were to leave Madinah within ten days; but they said that they would not leave and he could do whatever was in his power. Consequently, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) gathered a group of believers and laid siege to them, and after a few days of the siege the Jews accepted defeat and left Madinah, taking with them all they could carry out of their possessions and destroying their dwellings with their own hands so as to take even the building material with them…

هُوَ الَّذِي أَخْرَجَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مِن دِيَارِهِمْ لِأَوَّلِ الْحَشْرِ مَا ظَنَنتُمْ أَن يَخْرُجُوا وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُم مَّانِعَتُهُمْ حُصُونُهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ فَأَتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَمْ يَحْتَسِبُوا وَقَذَفَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الرُّعْبَ يُخْرِبُونَ بُيُوتَهُم بِأَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَيْدِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَاعْتَبِرُوا يَا أُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ {2}

It is He Who drove the disbelievers from among the People of the Book (reference is to the Jewish tribe of Banu Al-Nadir) out of their homes at the first banishment. You did not think that they would ever go out; and they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah, but the wrath of Allah came to them from where they never expected – which cast such terror into their hearts – that they destroyed their homes by their own hands as well as by the hands of the believers. So learn a lesson from this example! O people of insight

To the onlookers it seemed as if the Muslim army had evacuated them but Allah is attributing this whole event to Himself. This means that if the Muslims are truly faithful and if their war is for the sole purpose of preserving their religion, then it is Allah, who is actually defending his believers and giving them help in amazing ways. The events discussed in Quran are not mere stories but lessons for mankind for all times. To me it seems that Allah is telling me that no matter how big my problems are but to remove them, is not difficult for Allah. I feel like every seeker of paradise is all the time battling on two fronts…one is the outside war against obstacles in the way of Allah and the bigger war is going on inside…with the devil and with his own nafs (self). At times of weakness these obstacles feel like mountains, but we should keep our faith strong by constant remembrance of Allah and perseverance in His obedience. Then He will help us. And we should never underestimate Allah’s power. It doesn’t matter to him how deeply rooted our problem might be or how insurmountable it might seem…He can remove it as easily as he removed the well established Jews from Madinah.

But winning a war even without having fought a battle does not mean that it is the end of all difficulties. The fact is that a Momin’s test will continue throughout his life and so even after a victory there are rules to follow and matters to be settled accordingly. Therefore in the following verse Allah is commanding the believers how to manage the lands and property which came under their control as a result of this event:

مَّا أَفَاء اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاء مِنكُمْ وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ {7}

Whatever spoils from the dwellers of the township Allah has bestowed on His Rasool, shall belong to Allah, His Rasool, Rasool’s relatives, and to the orphans, the needy and the travellers in need; so that it may not become the property of the rich among you. Whatever the Rasool gives you, take it and from whatever he forbids you, refrain from it. Fear Allah; for Allah is stern in retribution

Although the above ayat deals with the law of assets attained in war but if you see the last words you will find in it the most important law of our life…

“Whatever the Rasool gives you… take it, and from whatever he forbids you, refrain from it. Fear Allah; for Allah is stern in retribution”

It means that the rules and regulations laid out in the Hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w) are as important for us to follow as the Quran because the commands are basically all from Allah and He is going to punish those who do not take Hadith seriously. It is very important to understand that Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w) has conveyed to us all the aspects of Islam and through his practical example has taught us how to implement it in our lives. The Quran and Sunnah are completely preserved in their original true form. Whatever we invent outside of these limits is innovation and will lead us away from the paradise. This is very dangerous because a person who commits a sin is far more likely to seek forgiveness because of his consciousness that he is sinning. But when a believer acts on innovations thinking it to be worthy of reward in the hereafter, then how and why would he ever do Taubah? This is a trap of the devil so we need to come out of it, by having complete and authentic knowledge of what the Prophet (s.a.w) has taught us to do and what are the things from which he has stopped us. Also we should study the lives of the people who obeyed the Prophet (s.a.w) and how they implemented his teachings in their lives because they were the ones whom Allah blessed with His pleasure and forgiveness. The first among those were the “muhajirin” those who had left their wealth, their land and everything in Makkah and migrated to Madinah with the Prophet (s.a.w) all for the sake of Allah. Therefore they were given the most preference at the time of the division of assets gained in this war:

لِلْفُقَرَاء الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ {8}

 A share of the spoils shall be given to the indigent Muhãjirin (immigrants) who were driven out of their homes and their possessions, and are seeking Allah’s grace and His good pleasure and who want to help Allah and His Rasool: such are indeed the true believers.

On the other hand the people of Madinah were so open hearted and generous that they shared everything with the Muhajirin and never bore any grudge in their heart for them. It was because they honoured them and gave them preference over their own needs…Such was their amazing selfless attitude which united the Muslims of Madinah. Allah is telling us here that if we want to be successful as individuals as well as an Ummah then we will have to get rid of the selfishness of our hearts:

وَالَّذِينَ تَبَوَّؤُوا الدَّارَ وَالْإِيمَانَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ يُحِبُّونَ مَنْ هَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَا يَجِدُونَ فِي صُدُورِهِمْ حَاجَةً مِّمَّا أُوتُوا وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {9}

And those who made their abode in Madinah (the Ansãr) and believed even before the arrivals of the Muhãjirin and love those who migrated to them and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to them, and prefer those Muhãjirin over themselves, even though they themselves are poor. In fact those who are saved from the greediness of hearts, are the ones who will achieve true success

Selfishness arises from love of the world and lack of faith. Even generosity which is for the sake of recognition and praise is not accepted. We need to be good to others, unconditionally and expect our reward and appreciation only and only from Allah. Only then our hearts can find true peace and tranquillity. But it takes a lot of willpower and prayers to eradicate the age old attitudes which we have acquired, over the years, from an environment where goodness is also done in a traditional way and everything begins and ends with the people and their opinions. We are righteous because we love to be recognized as such and we are generous because it is our tradition to be openhearted and we want to be remembered because of it. Rarely will you find a person who can do good even to those who don’t appreciate him or who don’t reciprocate or even acknowledge his generosity. People will make fun of such a foolish person but in the eyes of Allah he is the most successful because he did everything for Allah and not for people. Thus we should sincerely make efforts to uproot this disease of selfishness from our lives and pray for Allah’s help, because He is the one who has control of our hearts. That is why the believers of the later generations prayed in the following words:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ {10}

And those who came after them say: “Our Rabb! Forgive us and our brothers who embraced the faith before us and do not leave any malice in our hearts towards the believers. Our Rabb! Surely You are the Kind, the Merciful.”

When I see my true reflection in the mirror of the Quranic verses, it feels that whatever life I have spent so far was meaningless because even my acts of goodness were not done in the true spirit so what will become of me now. How will I be successful? But when Allah gives warnings then there is also hope in it. When he says “What have you done for tomorrow?” it makes me realize that my most precious thing which I have to take care of, is the day I am living today. Through today I can save my tomorrow. But then I have to relieve myself from the burdens of past by making true and sincere repentance for all that has passed; and I should get rid of excessive fears and worries of the future by praying for Allah’s guidance and help…only then can I focus all my energies on the present, which is in my hands as far as Allah has allowed. But for all this we need to have a clear perspective of where we stand and then take into account all the blessings which Allah has given us and all the opportunities of goodness around us. But the most important thing is fear of Allah….Taqwa is our driving force as well as the destination:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ {18}

O believers! Fear Allah and let every soul see what it is sending for the morrow (Hereafter). Fear Allah, surely Allah is aware of all your actions

Then there are those who have forgotten their responsibility towards Allah. They appear to be living a very jolly and carefree life and sometimes believers look at them with envy thinking that they are being deprived of the pleasures of the world whereas the others seem to have it all…Allah warns us against these misleading thoughts….:

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ {19}

Be not like those who forgot Allah, as a result Allah caused them to forget themselves, it is they who are the transgressors.

How terrible it is that someone should forget how to assess his benefit and loss. Have you seen anyone suffering from memory loss? It is such a pity to see them not recognizing their own children or friends…they are not able to distinguish between the right or wrong way…so they always are in danger of being lost…That is why Allah has sent this clear warning that if we act careless and forget Allah then He will make us forget even our own self.

How can we forget Allah when we have such a glorious Quran to guide us? How could we allow the devil to make us so lost in the illusions of our desires, when there is such a brilliant reminder from Allah? The problem is that we have not given the book of Allah, its due importance. Otherwise if we would have learned it and absorbed its teachings in our lives then it would surely have changed us from inside out. The fact is that its effect is so powerful that it could crush mountains….so then are the hearts of people even harder than that?

لَوْ أَنزَلْنَا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى جَبَلٍ لَّرَأَيْتَهُ خَاشِعًا مُّتَصَدِّعًا مِّنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ الْأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ {21}

If We had sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would have seen it humble itself and split asunder from the fear of Allah, We are citing this example for mankind, so that they may take heed.

Allah is telling us here that the Quran has such power that if the mountains had hearts and could display their reactions, then we would have witnessed the crushing of their egos to dust. Similarly the true believers of Allah are those who absorb the truth of Quran in their hearts so much, that all negative feelings, like arrogance and self love, are broken down and the only thing which remains is the love of Allah and the fear of Allah. The Quran transforms them into humble and polite people who are conscious of their accountability at all times. And to really experience this impact of the Quran, we need to realize the true worth of Allah….Although our intellects can never truly encompass His greatness but Allah has taught us His beautiful names through which we can understand His attributes and glory…

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيمُ {22}

Allah is He, besides Whom there is no god, the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Who can be more worthy of our adoration when there is none like Him…can any other being have all these qualities?

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ {23}

Allah is He, besides Whom there is no god, the King, the Holy, the Giver of peace, the Granter of security, the Guardian, the Almighty, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory be to Allah! He is far above the shirk they commit (by associating other gods with Him)

He is the only one with all these beautiful names which reflect His perfection and grandeur. The whole creation is constantly and devoutly serving in His obedience; and if we ignore him then it is our greatest injustice to our own self…His glory will never fade:

هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {24}

He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Modeller. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth declares His glory, and He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

 

Surah Al-Mumtahina

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

When I read or listen to stories about our glorious past and the amazing heights of success achieved by the Muslims, both in spiritual and material aspects, it makes me wonder at our present state of helplessness and this one question keeps circulating in my mind that what is wrong with us? Why can’t we make any progress in this world even though we have the best minds, the best resources and the best guidance from Allah? The reason is that even if some of us have taken Islam as a way of life and we follow its rules and regulations to some extent; but our hearts are not attached to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’ala as they should be and that is why there is no unity or brotherhood among Muslims anymore. So far in the Quran Allah has taught us many things about life and our purpose of existence but in this last portion of the book Allah is warning us that this knowledge cannot really benefit us unless we have the strongest connection of love and loyalty with Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w) and which should result in a strong brotherhood among the believers as well.

It is so easy to assume in times of comfort that we love Allah and our Prophet (s.a.w) more than any other thing; but what about the times when you are forced to choose between what Allah wants and what your near and dear ones want from you? Would you really give the first preference to Allah? That is “the test”… which is the essence as well as the meaning of Al-Mumtahina.

At the time of the conquest of Makkah, this test was faced by a companion of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wassallam) named Hatib Bin Abi Balta .It so happened that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had decided to keep this expedition a secret because he wanted to take the Makkans by surprise. The purpose was to avoid fighting in the city of peace. But this companion tried to inform the enemy of the advance of the Muslim army, so that as a reward they might protect him and his family in case of a war. Now this was a blunder which could have had most disastrous consequences, but Allah revealed it to the Prophet (s.a.w) who succeeded in preventing this information from getting across to the enemies. As a lesson for all the believers, Allah gave a severe warning in the following verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ خَرَجْتُمْ جِهَادًا فِي سَبِيلِي وَابْتِغَاء مَرْضَاتِي تُسِرُّونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِمَا أَخْفَيْتُمْ وَمَا أَعْلَنتُمْ وَمَن يَفْعَلْهُ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ {1}

O believers! Do not make friendship with those who are enemies of Mine and yours. Would you show them friendship, when they have denied the truth that has come to you and have driven the Rasool and yourselves out of your homes, simply because you believe in Allah, your Rabb? If it was indeed to strive in My way, and to seek My good pleasure that you left your homes, how can you befriend in secret? I know all that you conceal, and all that you reveal. Any of you who does this, he indeed has gone astray from the Right Way

It is very important to note here that Allah has not used the words “non muslims” or “disbelievers” but “enemies” meaning anyone who is actively involved in creating obstacles for the believers to follow their faith. How can we even think of befriending such a person who has enmity against Allah and Islam? And Allah knows what we hide and what we display so it means that only an outward show of detachment is not enough; rather our hearts should be detached from all such people and things. But what about our families and relatives? After all we love them so much and Allah has commanded us to do Ehsaan (excellent behaviour) with them…the answer is that we cannot ever be disobedient to Allah for the sake of being popular or to please anybody even if they are our closest relatives because they will not save us from Allah’s punishment on the day of recompense:

لَن تَنفَعَكُمْ أَرْحَامُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَفْصِلُ بَيْنَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ {3}

On the Day of Resurrection, neither your relatives nor your children shall avail you. Allah will judge between you, and He is observing all your actions

It does not mean that if your family is against religiousness then you should not be kind to them; or not give them their rights. Allah certainly does not allow us to do that. The fact is that if we truly want the rewards of Akhirah then we will be even more eager in bringing our families towards religion by showing them the beauty of Islam through our own behaviour and dealings with them. We will have to do unconditional Ehsaan which means to give more and to expect nothing in return. This can only be done by someone who believes in Allah and Akhirah and has the strongest desire to save his family from the horrors of hell fire. Otherwise it is so convenient to say that I don’t want to be good to anybody because everybody is so bad…

The test of being good for the sake of Allah… to love our relatives and friends for the sake of Allah and yet giving top most priority to Allah’s rights is not an easy thing to do; but then what is life except a test?!!

But sometimes there is such a situation that someone tries to force you to leave your faith and it is no longer possible to go on being nice to them then what should we do? Allah reminds us of the beautiful example of His Prophet Ibrahim (a.s):

قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَاء مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاء أَبَدًا حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ إِلَّا قَوْلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَا أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ {4}

You have an excellent example in Ibrahim (Abraham) and his companions. They said to their people plainly: “We are clear of you and your gods, whom you worship besides Allah. We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall reign between us forever until you believe in Allah, the One and Only God.” But do not emulate what Ibrahim said to his father: “I will pray for your forgiveness, although I have no power to get anything for you from Allah.” Their collective prayer was: “Our Rabb! In You we have put our trust, to You we turn in repentance and to You is our final goal

There are many things to learn from the story of Ibrahim (a.s) but the thing which I find most touching is that he did not reject his father or his nation on the first day when he recognized that they were spiritually blind. It is our biggest mistake that as soon as we learn the truth in Quran and our inner self is awakened to reality of life and death; we start hating people because of their lack of awareness…not realizing that we were also like that and it took us time to come out of that darkness. But we refuse to give the same time to others! We want to drag them to our faith and it is indeed the worst thing to do. Ibrahim (a.s) made this announcement after he had done everything and been through all the tests including being thrown into the fire. And yet there is no arrogance in him, only softness and humility which is reflected in the prayer at the end of this verse. Through this prayer Allah is teaching us that no test can be endured without His help and that we are always in need of Allah’s forgiveness, because no matter what our level of Imaan and Taqwa might be, we are still human beings and never free from flaws:

رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {5}

Our Rabb! Do not expose us to the plots of the unbelievers. Forgive us, our Rabb! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.”

Sometimes it gets really painful to bear the enmity of our loved ones, just because they don’t want us to leave the former lifestyle, based on ignorance, which we shared with them. But no matter how difficult it might be, we should stay firm in Allah’s obedience and trust Allah that He will do the best for us….certainly it is not difficult for Allah to change the hearts!

عَسَى اللَّهُ أَن يَجْعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ عَادَيْتُم مِّنْهُم مَّوَدَّةً وَاللَّهُ قَدِيرٌ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {7}

It may well be that Allah will put love between you and those with whom you are now at odds because of the order which is given to you, for Allah is All-Powerful, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful

We as believers are quick to assume that we are doing everything for Allah but we seriously need to examine our real intentions because in the final analysis, our deeds will be weighed according to our inner sincerity; and unlike this world, labels will be of no value at all. Even a great act like migrating from one place to another will not be accepted unless it is truly for the sake of Allah. That is why; when some women from Makkah migrated to Madinah to join the believers, it was essential to assess what was their real motivation…It shows that Islam has no place for empty slogans and false assumptions…

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا جَاءكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ مُهَاجِرَاتٍ فَامْتَحِنُوهُنَّ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَانِهِنَّ فَإِنْ عَلِمْتُمُوهُنَّ مُؤْمِنَاتٍ فَلَا تَرْجِعُوهُنَّ إِلَى الْكُفَّارِ (10)…………

O believers! When there come to you believing women refugees; examine (and test) them. Allah best knows their faith. If you find them true believers, do not send them back to the unbelievers…..

To enter Islam, is to make a lifetime commitment with Allah that we will obey Him over all other things and we will follow the teachings of His Prophet (s.a.w) in all areas of our lives. Thus Allah ordered the Prophet to take a formal oath from the men as well as women who had entered into Islam so that they realize that they have not just adorned a new cloak but a whole new way of life based on truth and sincerity….a straight way that leads straight to success:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا جَاءكَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ يُبَايِعْنَكَ عَلَى أَن لَّا يُشْرِكْنَ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَسْرِقْنَ وَلَا يَزْنِينَ وَلَا يَقْتُلْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ وَلَا يَأْتِينَ بِبُهْتَانٍ يَفْتَرِينَهُ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِنَّ وَأَرْجُلِهِنَّ وَلَا يَعْصِينَكَ فِي مَعْرُوفٍ فَبَايِعْهُنَّ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُنَّ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {12}

O Prophet! When the believing women come to you to take the oath of allegiance , take their pledge: that they will not commit shirk with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery, that they will not kill their children, that they will not give any cause for scandal which they may invent between either their hands or feet (inventing falsehood), and that they will not disobey you in any just matter, then accept their allegiance and pray to Allah for forgiveness. Surely Allah is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.

Taking a decision to follow the straight path of success is not enough unless we avoid all things which might distract us from it. Initially the diversion seems to be trivial but if one is not careful he ends up being far from where he had intended to reach. The biggest motivation is our environment so at the end of this great Surah Allah is warning us not to make any friends who do not believe in the Akhirah. In the words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) “A man is on the religion of his friend”…So be careful and choose the right company which will help you to stay focused for success!

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَوَلَّوْا قَوْمًا غَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ قَدْ يَئِسُوا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ كَمَا يَئِسَ الْكُفَّارُ مِنْ أَصْحَابِ الْقُبُورِ {13}

O believers! Do not befriend those who have incurred the wrath of Allah. Indeed they despair of the Hereafter, just as the unbelievers despair of those buried in the graves.

 

Surah As-Saff

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

A drop of water is such an insignificant little thing which you can just wipe off with your hand without even thinking about it. But what happens when these drops join together to form a river or a sea. How much force there is in the waves…those of us who have travelled in a ship must have experienced the power of water…but when you look at those mighty waves, have you ever thought that they are just a collection of drops? What has transformed a tiny lifeless drop of water into a gigantic force? It is unity and cohesion. This is the law of nature and since Islam is a natural religion, it calls for unity and brotherhood. Alone we stand nowhere but together we can become a force…a force that can transform the world into a peaceful place to live, where everyone is selflessly trying to assist you in this collective journey of life because they will all be focused on the end of this journey which is the Akhirah. This is a beautiful dream and this kind of selfless unity and brotherhood looks almost impossible in today’s scenario but there is one quality which can make it happen and that is truth. If you are true in your commitment, and you have knowledge and faith in the truth of Allah’s message, then it travels through people like light. Allah is not impressed with our words but He values our deeds, therefore our actions should reflect our faith which we utter from our lips……otherwise Allah is extremely angry with deceit and falsehood…that you portray an image by saying things which you don’t do:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ {2}كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ {3}

O believers! Why do you say something which you don’t do? It is very hateful in the sight of Allah that you say something which you don’t do.

This means that if we are believers then we will surely translate our beliefs into action. It is very easy to advise others but to act on the same advice is the test of our real sincerity. When I listened to these verses, I was so worried about Allah’s anger that I thought I will never say anything to anyone, anymore!  But then I realized that if Allah puts a good idea in my mind or makes me experience the signs of His mercy, or has given me the love of His words, then definitely it is not for me alone but a gift which I must share with everyone. How will I spread it without telling others? So my salvation is in doing utmost struggle with myself to act on all that I say. But acting on religion is, again, something which cannot be done in isolation. Islam gives a way of life; and life involves constant interaction with other people. So what we need is a combined effort against ignorance and disbelief which has penetrated in our hearts. Allah loves those who make such collective efforts:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُم بُنيَانٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ {4}

Indeed Allah loves those who fight for His Cause in ranks as if they were a solid wall.

Imagine a building which has been made strong and smooth. The individual bricks lose their identity in the walls just like drops in the sea. Such a unity among people can happen only when they are ready to accept and forgive each other’s imperfection because they realize that they are themselves not perfect. They don’t have double standards and they are always ready to share their resources because they value their Akhirah more than the petty interests of this world. They will be humble and soft for one another because they know that their war is not with people but with ignorance and destructiveness. They will love each other because they know that only love can melt and join hearts to work for a collective purpose. But the question is that if we all want peace and success, then why is the reality so different from this vision? Why are Muslims making life miserable for other Muslims? Where is the brotherhood? Allah tells us the answer in the next verse that when people are persistent in their ignorance and disobedience and don’t make any effort to change it then Allah also makes them blind…not by taking away their eyes but by taking away their insight and wisdom…as it happened to the people of Bani Israel:

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ لِمَ تُؤْذُونَنِي وَقَد تَّعْلَمُونَ أَنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ فَلَمَّا زَاغُوا أَزَاغَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ {5}

Remember what Musa (Moses) said to his people: “O my people! Why do you vex me while you know that I am the Rasool of Allah towards you?” But in spite of this when they adopted perverseness, Allah let their hearts be perverted. Allah does not guide those who are transgressors.

So it is apparent from the above ayah that Allah sent His guidance through His messengers but most people did not take them seriously and chose ignorance and chaos over knowledge and peace. On top of it, they try to prove, that the teachings of the Prophet are not right…not realizing that even though they can deceive people but how can they hide from Allah? Thus the Bani-Israel denied not only Prophet Musa (a.s) but also when Prophet Esa (Jesus) came with his brilliant miracles; they said it was magic and not the truth:

وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ فَلَمَّا جَاءهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالُوا هَذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ {6}

And remember when Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam said: “O children of Israel! I am the Rasool of Allah towards you, confirming the Torah which came before me, and to give you good news of a Rasool that will come after me whose name shall be Ahmed (another name of Muhammad, meaning ‘The praised one’).” But when he came to them with clear signs, they said “This is plain magic.”

This is such a brilliant verse in which Allah has conveyed to us in just one line the complete truth about Jesus (a.s). If we read it closely we can see the following facts:

1) Esa (a.s) was the son of Maryam (a.s) and not the son of God.

2) He said I am the messenger of Allah…not part of God or God himself.

3) He was a messenger only to the Bani Israel…not to the whole world

4) He confirmed that the Torah was also from Allah

5) He gave the good news of the coming of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and even told His name

6) And finally he presented to them such amazing miracles which should have left them in no doubt that he was the messenger of Allah but they denied all that they saw with their own eyes by declaring it to be magic….how blind could they have been? The reason for their rejection was not that they didn’t recognize the truth but the fact was that they wanted to hold on to their false self righteousness. Same is the case even today with all the arrogant deniers of truth…they want to wipe it out with their false propaganda but they have underestimated Allah’s power:

يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِؤُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ {8}

They seek to extinguish the Light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His Light, much as the unbelievers may dislike it.

When the Bani Israel persisted in their wrong ways, Allah took the honour from them and bestowed it to the descendents of Prophet Ismael (a.s) who was the son of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s); by sending in them the last and final Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) who brought the complete guidance of Quran and a deen of absolute truth, as a mercy for the entire mankind:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ {9}

It is He Who has sent His Rasool with the guidance and the religion of truth so that he may proclaim it over all religions, much as the Mushrikïn may dislike it.

How will the peace and mercy of Islam spread to the whole world when the believers themselves are in such a miserable state? It is a question which casts a depressive shadow over the light of my Yaqeen…my faith and my optimism…But Allah is so great, He has a solution for every problem no matter how insurmountable it may seems to us. Therefore He invites us to invest in a business which will save us from a painful end:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى تِجَارَةٍ تُنجِيكُم مِّنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ {10}

O believers! Should I tell you of a bargain that will save you from a painful punishment?

What will be our response if someone offers us such a trade in which there is 100% guarantee of profit…will we not jump to join in such a business which will alleviate all our worries and fears? So what is the state of my heart when I hear such a promise from Allah? He is calling us:

تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ {11}

It is to believe in Allah and His Rasool and strive your utmost in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your persons. That is best for you, if you but knew it.

I remember when I was trying to find out about my religion, I asked my father, “what is the meaning of belief in Allah and His Messenger?” And he taught me a very simple but powerful definition that belief in Allah means that your heart should be fully convinced that only Allah has the power of making things happen and no creature can do anything except with Allah’s command. Secondly, our hearts should be fully convinced that following the way of life of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) will lead us to the success of both worlds and if we ignore his teachings and follow the way of others then it will lead us to nothing but failure. So this is “faith”, a word which is well known and understood by most of us, but the word which has been greatly distorted and used against Islam, is “Jihad”. The moment you say this word, it brings up images of people murdering others mercilessly or creating disturbance and chaos in society…this imagery is the result of the on-going campaign against this most sacred concept of Islam. Even Muslims will be heard talking against it…sometimes out of ignorance and mostly due to a weak faith and intense love of this world. The fact is that Jihad means struggle…surely nothing can be achieved without effort but especially in the way of Allah there will be tests and trials at every step of the way because Allah wants to test the sincerity of our claims…do we really believe in the success of this way or are we ready to quit at the first set back? So in order to strive towards Allah we need to do utmost struggle in our individual as well as collective lives. If our faith is true then we cannot keep this message to ourselves but will make all efforts to spread it to the whole of mankind and this cannot be done just by day dreams or wishes. Rather we will have to sacrifice our convenient lifestyle for the sake of bringing peace to the world…not by fighting but by spreading the true knowledge of Quran and Sunnah and reverting people back to the true faith on which they were born. For the comfort lovers, this might look to be a gloomy picture of never ending sacrifices and struggles…but look at what is waiting at the other end of this road:

يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَيُدْخِلْكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ {12}

He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow, and will lodge you in beautiful mansions in the gardens of Eden, which will be a supreme achievement

These are the honours of a never ending life and nothing can be better than that but Allah knows us so well…He knows we cannot wait that long to see the results of our efforts so He is giving yet another promise…the glimpses of success in this world:

وَأُخْرَى تُحِبُّونَهَا نَصْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَفَتْحٌ قَرِيبٌ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {13}

And yet another blessing which you love: help from Allah and a speedy victory. So O Prophet, give this good news to the believers.

So now that the hearts are full of happiness with the promise of success, Allah calls us in the most magnificent words of the Quran:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُونوا أَنصَارَ اللَّهِ …..

O believers become the helpers of Allah!

What an honourable title it is because He knows we love titles and feel proud to be recognized by them…so he is giving us the most honourable title that we can hope for…Allah’s helper…a helper of that Being who needs no help, upon whom I depend for every breath that I take and every little morsel of food that I put in my mouth and every tiny little movement that I make…He is calling me His Helper? Isn’t it absolutely amazing….?

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُونوا أَنصَارَ اللَّهِ كَمَا قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ لِلْحَوَارِيِّينَ مَنْ أَنصَارِي إِلَى اللَّهِ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ نَحْنُ أَنصَارُ اللَّهِ فَآَمَنَت طَّائِفَةٌ مِّن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَكَفَرَت طَّائِفَةٌ فَأَيَّدْنَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا عَلَى عَدُوِّهِمْ فَأَصْبَحُوا ظَاهِرِينَ {14}

O believers! Be the helpers of Allah, just as Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam said to his disciples: “Who will be my helper in the cause of Allah?” And the disciples responded: “We will be your helpers in the cause of Allah.” Then a group from the children of Israel believed in him (Isa) and another group disbelieved. We aided the believers against their enemies, so they became victorious.

When Prophet Esa (a.s) saw that the so called educated people of Bani Israel were not listening to him, He went to the community of laundry-men and asked them if they would help him and they all agreed to be the helpers of Allah. The interesting thing is that why did they agree to take on this honour while the intellectuals had rejected it. And the answer is that that the biggest hurdle in the way of Allah is arrogance and love of this world. When people think of themselves as too high and mighty to bow down to reality, then they fail to recognize the power of Allah and so Islam does not impress them and this world seems to be the only thing worth their worry or concern. Thus they remain the slaves of this world even though they imagine themselves to be the lords. And the humble folks readily submit to Allah’s greatness and accept His promises and warnings with an open heart….so they become the Helpers of that all-Mighty Allah and earn eternal honour and success.

So what is the message of this Surah? To me it is a call to step out of my comfort zone and join with the believers so that with love and mutual trust we may become a strong force in the way of Allah. Alone we are nothing and together we can become the helpers of Allah……after reading this Surah can anyone sit lazily and not rush to receive this honour?

 

Surah Al-Jumu’ah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

You must have heard a lot of people saying that although they believe in the religion of Allah, but these days it has become virtually impossible to adhere to this way of life. “After all we have to live in society and look at where the world is going. How can we go back to the teachings of 1400 years ago while everyone is moving forward?”

When I hear this excuse, my mind always turns to the fact that when Allah sent His Quran with its eternal message and appointed His Messenger (s.a.w) to be the best example for the whole of mankind for all times to come, didn’t Allah know that a time would come when the majority would ridicule this concept of following the traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w) and insist that Islam has to be modified according to the requirements of this modern world? Is the development of the people and the world, a surprising thing for Allah? No of course not…His knowledge is complete and all encompassing and He knows all the past, present and future issues of this world and its inhabitants. Still if He sent the Quran and declared it to be our guide regardless of time and space then surely it must have the completeness and timelessness, which if cannot see, then it is our own lack of comprehension or the cover of a lot of prejudice which has been piled up on our hearts through the propaganda of all anti Islamic forces. The only way you can really see the true picture is to recognize that your opinions are not entirely original. The ideas that you have about things are just a summary of all that you have been reading or listening or an essence of all your observations through life. If you have been living mostly with staunch believers of Allah and hearing His praises and watched people worshipping Him, then there will be a natural tendency in you to believe in Allah and to worship Him alone. On the other hand if you have been listening to a lot of anti Islamic stuff, then your faith will be shaky too. This human tendency to follow the trends and to be influenced by the environment is something which we cannot take lightly. That is why all these last Surahs have this fundamental message of unity among believers. The more we stay close to one another the more will be the strengthening of our faith, and the easier it will be to follow the right way of life. 

Allah’s religion and His laws are eternal and the whole universe is a manifestation of this fact. Look at the creation of Allah…everything is working tirelessly and perpetually in a most efficient way. The night and the day, the coming and going of seasons, life and death…all are the signs of Allah’s perfection…

يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوسِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ {1}

All that is in the heavens and earth declares the glory of Allah, the King, the Holy, the Mighty, the Wise

If we contemplate on the amazing miracles in the universe, we recognize the absolute power of Allah and immediately you feel the softening of the heart when you think of how Allah has made so many things for us and given us so many blessings both in our own creation as well as the outward blessings like food and water and shelter. Our hearts bow down in gratitude for all his favours which we need for our existence, but we never think of the ONE BIG FAVOUR without which our whole existence would have been meaningless…Allah reminds us of that in the next verse:

هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ {2}

It is He Who has raised among the unlettered people a Rasool (messenger) of their own, who recites to them His revelations, purifies them, and teaches them the Book and Wisdom, though prior to this they were in gross error,

We have to understand that although material blessings are important because they are essential for our survival in this world; but the spiritual blessing of Islam brought to us through our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) is the most valuable gift from Allah. It was the miracle of the Quran and Sunnah which transformed the unlettered Arabs into great intellectuals and leaders of the world. But this miracle did not happen by itself. You can read the History and see how our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) and His blessed companions went through unimaginable trials and sacrifices to uphold the religion of Allah… until at last Allah gave them victory. It is a history of persistent hard work and perseverance in the face of all sorts of hardships. Therefore if today we want to rise back to our honourable status in the world as the chosen nation, then we have to get out of our comfortable illusions and self created theories and remind ourselves that we are the representatives of Allah’s message in this world. To serve this purpose we need to apply the four step program for education and self development as stated in the above ayah:

1) Reading of Quran….correct reading of Allah’s words makes the desired impact on the heart so we need to put in a serious effort to learn the tilawah in the same way as taught to us by the Prophet (s.a.w).

2) Self purification…it would be a fruitless exercise to paint from the outside while the inner self is corrupt due to years of neglect. Therefore a proper training is needed to get rid of the bad characteristics and develop good habits and attitude.

3) Learning the Quran… Reading is the first step but it should be closely followed by the understanding of the verses. Knowledge is the key to guidance.

4) Learning the wisdom and knowledge of Hadith… This would teach us how to put our knowledge into practise; in other words we have to learn the practical implementation of Islam.

These days with the advancement in science and technology, it has become so easy to acquire this knowledge. There is a world of resources and as they say, everything is just a click away! But even with all the ease of availability, only those can get it who really want to be guided and out of those who get this knowledge only those can really benefit from it who act upon it…

ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاء وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ {4}

That is the grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He pleases. Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.

If you give a valuable gift to someone and he throws it to one side, not caring for its worth; what would you call such a person except that he is crazy…similarly if we don’t value the magnificent treasure of Quran and Hadith, then we are equally senseless in Allah’s eyes. Allah gives the example of the nation who was given the guidance of Torah but they did not implement it in their lives:

مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا بِئْسَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ {5}

The example of those who were given the Taurãt, but then they failed to carry out their obligations, is that of a donkey who is carrying books and does not know what is in those books. Bad is the example of those who deny the revelations of Allah. Allah does not guide the wrongdoers

Although this verse has been revealed in the context of the Jews, who prided themselves to be the recipients and scholars of the Torah, while their lives were totally devoid of its teachings; but in fact it is warning for us, that if we also ignore the real purpose of Quran then just being the bearers of this great book will not make us great in Allah’s eyes.

Why don’t we feel the need to act upon the Quran? Is it because we are so sure of our salvation? The Jews too had this false pride that they were the favourites of Allah and the Paradise had been reserved only for them. So Allah is asking them that if their claim is true then why are they so much afraid of death?

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ هَادُوا إِن زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء لِلَّهِ مِن دُونِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الْمَوْتَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ {6} وَلَا يَتَمَنَّوْنَهُ أَبَدًا بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ {7}

Say: “O you, the Jews! If you claim that you are the favourites of Allah to the exclusion of other people, then wish for death if what you say is true.” But, because of what their hands have sent before them for the Hereafter, they will never wish for death. Allah knows these wrongdoers very well

We as Muslims are also affected by this contradiction. On one hand we think that we will definitely be going to Jannah because we read the kalimah and we are the nation of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and on the other hand we prefer this world over the hereafter and live like we are going to be here forever… Allah says:

قُلْ إِنَّ الْمَوْتَ الَّذِي تَفِرُّونَ مِنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مُلَاقِيكُمْ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {8}

Tell them: “The death from which you are running away, will surely overtake you: then you will be sent back to Him Who knows the unseen and the seen; and He will tell you all that you have been doing.

“Running from death” does not necessarily mean physically avoiding it but it also refers to the mental detachment from the fact that our life is going to end. We make so many plans for this life which might or might not happen yet we prepare for those things wholeheartedly. On the contrary we are totally carefree about the one and only thing which is most certain and will happen to all of us; and that is death. We avoid this reality so much that we don’t even want to hear about it…. How often do we think about the possibility of death when we lie down to sleep and ask Allah for forgiveness because it might be the last chance to do so? How many times before we hurt someone do we think that this might be the last chance that we are both alive so I should open my heart for him before it is too late? The more you think about death as something hanging in the air and waiting to catch you, the more likely it is that you will give up all your negative ideas about Allah or Allah’s religion or Allah’s creatures. This positive attitude will enable the believers to join together with forgiveness and acceptance of each other. Although the five daily prayers teach us unity and brotherhood but this lesson is specially reinforced in the Friday prayer:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِي لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ {9}

O believers! When the call for Salah (prayer) is made on Friday (the day of congregational prayers), hasten to the remembrance of Allah and cease your business. That is better for you if you but knew

This ayah is a great reminder of the importance of the Friday prayer, and it also gives the formula for balance in our deen and duniya…(the religious and worldly affairs) This again, is a question on which there is a lot of confusion, as to what is more important; deen or duniya? Allah is teaching us the correct balance that the priority for an action is to be decided according to the time. It means that when it is time for the Prayer then you stop all other activity and get to the masjid. But then as soon as the prayer is over then get back to your jobs:

فَإِذَا قُضِيَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَانتَشِرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَابْتَغُوا مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيراً لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ {10}

When you finish the Salah, then disperse through the land and seek the bounty of Allah (go back to your normal business). And remember Allah greatly, so that you may prosper.

Notice the difference between the two commands: when you go to masjid you leave your business behind but when you go back to your businesses then don’t leave Allah behind…rather remember Him even more. It shows that our real purpose is to worship Allah but to do other jobs is just a necessity; and so, while we are busy in the tasks of this world we should remember Allah a lot so that we might not forget the real objective of our existence.

Now compare this to our own attitude…aren’t we doing just the opposite? While in duniya we totally forget Allah, and when we are in worship we still keep remembering the worldly affairs. This is our weakness but we have to keep trying and shift our focus to the actual goal. Allah gives the example of some people in Madinah who were still in the early years of their education in Islam. It was Friday and they were in the masjid attending the sermon of the Prophet (s.a.w). When they heard the coming of a caravan that had brought food and other stuff, they rushed to the sound of its drum because there had been a drought in the city and no food was available locally…

وَإِذَا رَأَوْا تِجَارَةً أَوْ لَهْوًا انفَضُّوا إِلَيْهَا وَتَرَكُوكَ قَائِمًا قُلْ مَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ مِّنَ اللَّهْوِ وَمِنَ التِّجَارَةِ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ {11}

Those who are still weak in Imãn (faith), when they see some bargain or some sport they rush to it and leave you standing. O Prophet declare to them that what Allah has in store for them is far better than any sport and bargain, and Allah is the best provider.

Even though these people had gone to fulfil a rightful need yet Allah is reminding us that no need is so urgent that you neglect your worship for it….because after all who can fulfil our needs except Allah and how can we expect to be fulfilled when we neglect the one who is the provider of everything…??

Look around yourself and observe the dissatisfaction written on the faces of people. They might have all the luxuries of this world but they are unfulfilled…why? The reason is that they have forgotten Allah and His obedience. Our hearts cannot find peace without it. So remember Allah greatly and remember the message of this Surah…which is to recognize the beautiful gift of Islam and to use it in our lives and also enrich the lives of all the others with its beauty. May Allah help us to act on what we have learned…Ameen

 

Surah Al-Munafiqun

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

What is happening to Muslims these days is no big secret. It is all over the media. They are being literally crushed into pieces and the world is watching helplessly. Why? Is Allah not with the Muslims? Why doesn’t Islam make them strong like it is supposed to? Why is there no peace even when the word Islam means peace? The reason is that just wearing a label of Islam doesn’t make us a Muslim. We have to be true to Allah from the heart to be a Muslim. Strength comes from true faith…a faith which reflects in your thoughts, in your words and in your actions…not just the tag under which you were born. So when individuals will all be focused on one point; that is the true and complete obedience of Allah for the rewards of Hereafter; then they will be able to be united and come up in the world as a force. But when they have other worldly interests and their goal is not one, then they might just gather in rallies and demonstrations but their hearts cannot be united. This is most dangerous for our Akhirah as well as the duniya and Allah is making us taste the consequences of our disbelief and disobedience in this world as a warning so that we might take lesson from it and mend our ways before it is too late. While all eyes are glued to the TV screens and the newspapers let us take a moment and open Allah’s book and see what solution it gives us for the problems we are facing today. Because it is so ironical that people know so much of what is happening in the world but they don’t have any idea of what is happening with their own hearts. They talk of boycotting the companies which support the oppressors but they never think of boycotting our biggest enemy i.e. shaitan. The injustices done by others to Muslims are so apparent to all but we have become blind to what injustice we are doing to our own souls by being so totally immersed in this temporary world that we have forgotten our real life which is coming nearer day by day and we are not making any preparation for it.

Today’s Surah is about the Hypocrites of Madinah in which Allah has exposed all their characteristics. But before starting it I would like to give a word of caution that the purpose of these Ayahs and signs of hypocrisy is not that we use it against people and start labelling others as munafiqs; rather it is like a mirror for our own self analysis and we should look deeply into the bottom of our hearts to root out all the doubts and disbelief which we might have. Always remember that only Allah has the right to judge people because only he has the complete knowledge. Our job is just to analyse our own selves and diagnose the diseases of our own hearts, so that we can mend ourselves.

The first sign of the Hypocrite is that they make false claims publicly, to show their sincerity, but Allah knows that they are liars:

إِذَا جَاءكَ الْمُنَافِقُونَ قَالُوا نَشْهَدُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُهُ وَاللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَكَاذِبُونَ {1}

When the hypocrites come to you, they say: “We bear witness that you are indeed the Rasool of Allah.” Allah knows that you are indeed His Rasool, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.

Normally we react to such warnings in a negative way and start thinking of people who make such claims and then don’t act accordingly. As I said earlier, let us leave their matter to Allah and focus on our own behaviour. What should really concern me is that “Do I speak like this and then act totally opposite to my claims?” Sometimes we think it is our personal matter and we can say and do what we want but the reality is that as Muslims we transmit our faith and sincerity to others too. And if we don’t do what we say, then it spreads like a disease and becomes a general attitude. That is what the Hypocrites used to do; they wore a cloak of faith but in reality stopped people from following the religion in its true spirit:

اتَّخَذُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ جُنَّةً فَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُمْ سَاء مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ {2}

They use their faith as a disguise, and thus debar others from the Way of Allah. Evil is indeed what they do

While we might not be discouraging people from Islam deliberately, we should be aware that whatever good or bad behaviour that we display becomes a cause for others to form an opinion about Islam and its followers. When I read about the life in Madinah and feel so proud of the Blessed Companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) who led such virtuous lives, I often think what made the Hypocrites what they were. After all they were in the company of the Prophet (s.a.w) and the Quran was being revealed in front of them. Why did they choose to lead such a disgraceful life of constant lies and deception? The answer is in the next Ayah and we need to read it very carefully:

ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا فَطُبِعَ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ {3}

This is because they believed and then renounced their faith. Their hearts are sealed; therefore, they are devoid of understanding

The words of Allah are so clear. Whoever recognizes the truth and then rejects it, by not following it, then Allah takes away his insight. Gradually the sins don’t even look like sins and the vision of the heart gets totally sealed up. That is what happens to the Hypocrites…they do not understand the irreparable loss which is going to result from their misdeeds. They might appear to be very sharp and intellectual in worldly matters, but their understanding of faith, religion and Hereafter is almost nil. They don’t have time or concern for learning about these matters because all their time and intellect is being used in the preservation of their worldly interests. They never spend in charity and use all of their wealth for themselves. That is why they have healthy, smart appearances and mesmerizing verbal skills:

وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَهُمْ تُعْجِبُكَ أَجْسَامُهُمْ وَإِن يَقُولُوا تَسْمَعْ لِقَوْلِهِمْ كَأَنَّهُمْ خُشُبٌ مُّسَنَّدَةٌ يَحْسَبُونَ كُلَّ صَيْحَةٍ عَلَيْهِمْ هُمُ الْعَدُوُّ فَاحْذَرْهُمْ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ {4}

When you see them, their good stature pleases you; and when they speak, you listen to what they say. Yet they are as worthless as hollow pieces of propped up timber. Every shout they hear, they think it to be against them. They are your enemies, so guard yourselves against them. May Allah destroy them! How perverse they are!

Allah is not impressed with their appearances; that is why He is comparing them to magnificent logs of wood which appear to be so strong but are lifeless and have no intellect. This Image also refers to their arrogance that when they came to the gatherings they would not mingle with the believers (whom they thought of as inferior and foolish), and so they would sit at the back or on the sides resting with a grand style against the walls. Not listening, nor having any intention of learning. What does this attitude depict? That they thought of themselves as perfect. This is the biggest deception that could trap a person’s heart, because if someone thinks that he has no faults and that all that he is doing is right then there is no way that he will ask for forgiveness…

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا يَسْتَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ لَوَّوْا رُؤُوسَهُمْ وَرَأَيْتَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ {5}

When it is said to them: “Come, the Rasool of Allah will pray for your forgiveness,” they shake their heads and you see them turning away with arrogance.

And if someone does not admit his mistakes and does not ask Allah to forgive him then Allah will not forgive him at all, even if the whole world gathers together to seek forgiveness for him. So Allah tells the Prophet (s.a.w):

سَوَاء عَلَيْهِمْ أَسْتَغْفَرْتَ لَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ لَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ {6}

It is the same, whether you pray for their forgiveness or not, Allah is not going to forgive them. Surely Allah does not guide the transgressors.

The root cause for all disobedience is the love of this world and forgetfulness of the Hereafter. Although we have faith in Allah but we forget why He sent us to this world? What is the purpose of our creation? Right at the start of the Quran Allah has told us that He created everything for us and He created us for His worship. And this worship is not just rituals rather it consists of our complete surrender and obedience in all matters. We are His representatives on this earth and as the chosen nation it is our responsibility to spread His message to the whole world. No one will deny this fact but when it comes to translating this faith into action then we turn to a hundred and one excuses. Here Allah wants to shakes us out of our lethargy and self deception… so listen to the warning in the following Ayah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ {9}

O believers! Let neither your riches nor your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Those who will do so, it is they who shall be the real losers.

Wealth and children are the wonderful blessings of Allah but they are not given to us as a gift which we can just relax and enjoy… rather every blessing is a test. And these two blessings are the main tests of our lives. We cannot live without these because they are our primary needs but the problem begins when we make our needs into our goals. Because no matter how significant the need might be, it cannot be our purpose of existence. It is just the sustenance of the traveller and not his destination. But we have been living in this deception for so long that we have started thinking of wealth and children as our very purpose of life. Their love and attraction has been engraved deep into our hearts and Akhirah seems to be just a distant probability and too vague to be given any importance. But what is the solution? Allah tells us that the only way to come out of Nifaq (hypocrisy) is through Infaq (spending for Allah):

وَأَنفِقُوا مِن مَّا رَزَقْنَاكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ فَيَقُولَ رَبِّ لَوْلَا أَخَّرْتَنِي إِلَى أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ فَأَصَّدَّقَ وَأَكُن مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ {10}

Spend, in charity and in the Cause of Allah, out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on you before that time when death will come to anyone of you, and he shall say: “O my Rabb! If only you would reprieve me for a little while then I would give out everything in charity, and be among the righteous.”

The only way to ensure salvation is to spend whatever Allah has given us in the way of Allah. Whether it is wealth or our children or other resources and capabilities… every single thing has been given to us as a test. Now it is up to us whether we use them for the success of the Hereafter or let them become a hindrance in our success. Some of us already know this and so we make plans with very good intention; but most often the plans don’t come into practise… why? Because we remain in an illusion that we have lots of time and we will do such and such thing when the right time comes… I wonder how we let ourselves be fooled by this thought when we don’t even know whether we are going to live in the next moment or not. We keep delaying things and make lots of excuses but we should remember that when the time for action is gone… when death comes… it will not listen to any excuse:

وَلَن يُؤَخِّرَ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِذَا جَاء أَجَلُهَا وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ {11}

But Allah reprieves no soul when its term comes to an end. Allah is well aware of all your actions.

Every day every hour and every minute and second is bringing us closer to our end. As soon as our eyes close from this world, we are going to step into the world of reality. Then we will realize that the things which we were running after had no value and the deeds which we should have accomplished for the hereafter have been left undone. But then the realization will not benefit us because Life is a one way journey. There are no U-turns…

 So make use of your free time before you become busy;

Make use of your health before you become sick;

And make use of your life before you die…

 

Surah At-Taghabun

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

No concept of the Quran can really touch the inner most core of our hearts unless we realize whose words are these? Whose speech is this? Who is that being who sent this message? That is why at the start of many surahs Allah has brought our attention to the fact that He is the most powerful one and we are nothing in comparison. Because what happens is that the more we gain the understanding of Quran, the more we progress in religion; it gets difficult for the shaitan to lead us away from it because we become firmly rooted in it, like a plant that has crossed the initial stage of weakness. But the shaitan is not half hearted in his enmity; so he does not accept defeat so easily. In fact he attacks us even more strongly; and since he cannot lead us away from religion; he then uses his other weapons to make us lose Jannat, by polluting our hearts with arrogance and self praise which settles in the heart unnoticeably. You can judge yourself when someone praises you; what is the state of your heart then? Are you glad? Or uncomfortable? Also test yourself at the time of criticism; when someone points out your mistake, what is your reaction? Are you ready to admit it and ask forgiveness or do you display your hurt and resentment through denial and arguments? Therefore we cannot easily free ourselves from this disease unless we consciously make it a habit to think of Allah’s greatness and tell ourselves that we are nothing except His creation. Only he has the ultimate authority, and so only He deserves the ultimate praise:

يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {1}

All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah. To Him belongs the kingdom and to Him is due all praise, He has power over all things

What I learned from this ayat is that Allah’s glorification and praise should not be limited to just the formal “Zikr” which we do in the morning and evening. It should be and can be a constant activity and we don’t require any extra time for it as well. From the moment we wake up in the morning, we have a million reasons to praise Allah! The coming of day after the dark night is a miracle but isn’t it an even greater miracle that he brought me back to a life about which I was not conscious just a moment ago. How great is Allah who gave me a heart which can remember him, how refreshing is this water which purifies me, how beautiful is the ritual of Salat which takes me (spiritually) to the heavens even while my feet remain firmly placed on the earth. How beautiful is the morning light, how awesome the endless sky…. there is no end to the things for which you can praise Allah and remember Him, and be grateful and be happy.

A heart that is focused on Allah in such a way can never ever be impressed with anything more than Allah. But when we are focused on everything except on Allah then every little thing will affect us; small little fears will turn into phobias, desires will turn into our rulers, small irritations will become “issues” and life will become miserable and confused. Basically it is not the lack of blessings but a lack of positive attitude… it is not the difference of status but the difference of focus, the difference of belief, which makes one a believer or a denier:

هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ فَمِنكُمْ كَافِرٌ وَمِنكُم مُّؤْمِنٌ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ {2}

 It is He Who has created you; yet some of you are unbelievers and some are believers. Allah is observant of all your actions.

We know what is right and what is wrong but we are not really bothered about it. Because most of the time we are using all our thoughts and words into proving ourselves to be  good and sadly we do not use the same energy in trying to “become” good in the sight of Allah. Why? Is it because we are more concerned about people’s opinion and are not so much worried about what Allah thinks of us? The basic problem of all the disbelievers in the history of mankind is that they thought that their life was just the life in this world and nothing was going to happen to them after they died…. this lack of fear of accountability made them arrogant and forgetful of their Creator:

زَعَمَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَن لَّن يُبْعَثُوا قُلْ بَلَى وَرَبِّي لَتُبْعَثُنَّ ثُمَّ لَتُنَبَّؤُنَّ بِمَا عَمِلْتُمْ وَذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ {7}

The unbelievers claim that they shall not be raised to life again. Tell them: “Indeed, by my Rabb, you shall surely be raised to life again! Then you shall be told of all that you have done, and that is easy for Allah.”

It all depends on your conviction of the Hereafter. Therefore if you really have a definite picture of accountability in your heart, which remains in your eyes just like when you have to go on a journey next week but in your mind you start making a picture of it, the moment you decide that you are going. After that decision everything that you do revolves around that trip. I don’t need to buy so many groceries, I am leaving for a week, I need to apply for a leave, I should get my car repaired, I should finish my work before going or give some task to my co workers to do in my absence… etc etc And remember it’s just for a week… think if you are leaving for a year… and then think of how big the eternity is going to be!! Can we leave its affairs on chance? Can we afford to lose our place in Jannah? Because that is what is going to happen on the day of judgement; some people are going to win and others will lose…

وَيُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ {9}

The Day when He will gather you all will be the Day of Assembly, which shall be the Day of mutual loss and gain among the people. Those who believe in Allah and do good deeds, He will remove from them their sins and admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever, and that will be the supreme achievement.

This life is a test and the greatest test is to remember that our main worry should be about the Akhirah. But the problem is that we are so busy and trapped in the worries of the world that the Akhirah becomes a forgotten thing which we prefer to dump at the back of our minds. What happens next; is that the life of this world becomes the biggest problem for us and even small little irritations get magnified out of all proportion. Here Allah is reminding us that he will continue to test us through various setbacks and hurdles, but we should remember that nothing can come without Allah’s permission, and if Allah has sent this problem then it must have come for a purpose… whoever keeps his faith in Allah will be guided by Allah:

مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ {11}

No affliction can ever befall except by the leave of Allah. He that believes in Allah, his heart is guided to the Right Way. Allah has knowledge of all things.

Sorrows and unpleasant things are inevitable part of life but it is up to us how we react to them. Negative reaction begins with lack of faith in Allah, and then blaming others further makes life miserable. Everyone gets hurt in the process and sometimes whole lives are overshadowed by self pity and resentment. When the hearts are full of grudges about others then how can we even think of any genuine good will or brotherhood among Muslims? That is why overall we face this dilemma of mistrust and lack of unity. The thing to do is to cleanse our hearts from such bad feelings and trust Allah that whatever problems we face are for our own good; in one way or the other:

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ {13}

Allah! There is no god but Him; therefore, in Allah Alone let the believers put their trust.

Most of our worries and problems arise in our households when our loved ones make it difficult for us to stay cool and patient!! Whether it is our spouses, or children… they will continue to do things against our desire and even the most cool headed among us tend to lose their temper when it comes to them. Sometimes their love will hold us back from making any substantial contribution towards the cause of Allah’s religion. And in some cases they will try to stop you from Allah’s obedience… so what are we supposed to do?

Allah tells us:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {14}

O believers! Surely among your wives and your children there are some who are your enemies: so beware of them. But if you pardon, overlook and forgive their faults, then know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

From this ayah I have learned that first of all we should remember that anyone who stops us from religion cannot be our true friend and we should recognize it when shaitan uses a loved one to deviate us away from Allah’s obedience. But even then we are not allowed to react negatively but we should continue to forgive and forget in spite of everything; because shaitan loves to break homes and we should defeat his tactics by being on our best behaviour even if we do not find any recognition or appreciation from anyone. But how can we come up to this level of patience and tolerance if we have no fear or consciousness of Allah? Therefore let us not forget the fuel which drives our heart towards goodness… i.e. Taqwa and charity:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِّأَنفُسِكُمْ وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ {16}

Therefore, fear Allah as much as you can, listen to His message attentively, be obedient, and be charitable, this is for your own good. Those who are saved from the covetousness of their own souls, it is they who are truly successful.

At the end Allah reminds us that we cannot stay on the right path unless we make it our responsibility to spread the knowledge of religion. For this we will need to spend our wealth, our time, our resources and all the talents and capabilities that we have been given by Allah. Also it is not the responsibility of just one person or a particular institution or certain people labelled as “religious”. No! It is our joint mission; given to us by Allah, and each one of us has to contribute his own part in it. Whatever contributions we make in this cause whether monetary or otherwise; Allah takes it like a loan… Can you imagine giving a loan to the owner of the entire universe!! Just imagine how much profit He will give you:

إِن تُقْرِضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا يُضَاعِفْهُ لَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ شَكُورٌ حَلِيمٌ {17}

If you lend to Allah a goodly loan, He will pay you back manifold, and will forgive you your sins. Allah is Appreciative and Forbearing to those who are grateful.

People who believed in this promise of Allah had no difficulty in giving up all that they had for the sake of Allah’s religion. Remember the example of Hazrat Umar (r.a) who donated half his wealth, at the time of the expedition of Tabuk; thinking that this time he will out do everyone else. But then Hazrat Abu Bakar came and donated his entire wealth and belongings. Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w) asked him “but what have you left for your family?” and he replied “I have left Allah with them!”

عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ {18}

He has the knowledge of the unseen and the seen; He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise

In this day and age when everyone is running after money and status; it seems so unbelievable that anyone could be so generous as to give up everything for religion. We only see the obvious but faith makes you see the invisible, believe the incredible and receive the impossible… Therefore those who really and truly believe in Allah, know, that Allah is enough for them; because He Himself is the source of every other thing. So whoever has earned Allah’s pleasure; has earned everything!

 

Surah At-Talaq

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Marriage is the most beautiful bond created by Allah between a man and a woman, so that they can experience the joy and satisfaction of mutual love and affection, and nurture a family with responsibility and care. But it is also the biggest test of patience and self control; because Allah made us so different from one another, and due to this difference it is inevitable that there will be certain irritations and conflicts. The best remedy is patience and forgiveness, but like all best things it is not so easy to achieve! There have been many books written on the subject which will give you a list of qualities that you should develop in order to remain happily married. But no book will tell you how to remain on your best behaviour even when your heart is broken with disappointment or how to be kind to an unkind person? The only book which answers these unanswerable questions is the Great Quran, which comes straight from the heavens to open our eyes to the one fact which we don’t consider…i.e. fear of Allah. We do have patience and kindness for the whole world but when it comes to that one person against whom we might bear some grudge; then we don’t want to give him even his basic rights. But if we fear Allah and want to save ourselves from the consequences of His displeasure, then we will continue to give rights to people even when we think that the other person does not deserve it; and if we want Allah’s pleasure then we will continue to be kind and considerate even if people don’t appreciate or reciprocate, because we will be seeking our reward from Allah and not people. This is faith, this is Taqwa… that you do everything for the pleasure of Allah knowing that He can and He will solve your problems.

Breaking of a marriage is not an isolated incident. So many people are affected and especially children’s lives are thrown into a severe emotional torture. So every effort should be made to preserve this bond. But there are times when despite our efforts things don’t work and there appears to be more harm and destruction in remaining together, than in separation. For such exceptional cases Allah has allowed divorce but it should be conducted according to the limits of Allah:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاء فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ وَأَحْصُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ رَبَّكُمْ لَا تُخْرِجُوهُنَّ مِن بُيُوتِهِنَّ وَلَا يَخْرُجْنَ إِلَّا أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَاحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ وَمَن يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ لَا تَدْرِي لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ يُحْدِثُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ أَمْرًا {1}

O Prophet! If you and the believers divorce your wives, divorce them at the end of their prescribed periods, and count their prescribed periods accurately. Fear Allah, your Rabb. Do not expel them from their homes during their waiting period, nor should they themselves leave, unless they have committed an open lewdness. These are limits set by Allah; he that transgresses the limits of Allah will wrong his own soul. You never know, Allah may, thereafter, bring about some new situation of reconciliation.

The amazing discovery for me was when I came to know for the first time that giving divorce in Islam is not what is commonly observed in our society. According to general belief or custom, the word divorce brings to mind the picture of an angry husband losing his temper (and his senses!) saying the word “talaq” three times and kicking the poor woman out of her house. Within seconds the queen of her home is reduced to a lost soul on the road, not knowing where to go. This is NOT what Allah has prescribed and even if Muslims do it, it is not the representation of Islam. After one divorce Allah has prescribed a period for which she will continue to stay in her house and the husband can reconcile during that period which is the duration of three menstrual cycles. After that they can separate, if they don’t find a way to remain together:

فَإِذَا بَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعْرُوفٍ وَأَشْهِدُوا ذَوَيْ عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ وَأَقِيمُوا الشَّهَادَةَ لِلَّهِ ذَلِكُمْ يُوعَظُ بِهِ مَن كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا {2}

Then when their waiting period ends, either keep them honourably or part with them in an honourable way. Call to witness two honest persons among you, and O witnesses, bear witness equitably for the sake of Allah. This advice is being given to all who believe in Allah and the last Day. He that fears Allah may be provided a way out by Him,

This is a heart breaking procedure but the governing factor should not be personal grudges or revenge but Allah consciousness. And whoever remembers and fears Allah will find Him on his side:

وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا {3}

And Allah will give him sustenance from the sources he could never imagine: for Allah is all sufficient for the person who puts his trust in Him. Surely Allah brings about what He pleases, and Allah has set a measure for all things

Mostly we tend to think that it is impossible to do one-sided goodness. This is because all the books we read or people we meet are of the same opinion. How much you will read and hear about women’s liberation and human rights. But no one is bothered about human duties or women’s duties? If we think from the point of view of the Akhirah, Allah is not going to ask us why we didn’t get our rights. But he will definitely ask us about the rights that we were supposed to give others. Therefore Allah wants us to keep giving and to think of receiving only from Allah. When we believe that all power and resources are from Allah then how can we even think of expecting anything from anyone other than Him?

ذَلِكَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ أَنزَلَهُ إِلَيْكُمْ وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يُكَفِّرْ عَنْهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِ وَيُعْظِمْ لَهُ أَجْرًا {5}

This is the command of Allah which He has sent down to you. He that fears Allah, will have his sins removed and his reward enlarged.

Sadly very few people have studied this concept of Quran and even those who know it, fail to act on it completely. But still we should keep trying to educate ourselves, especially young people, about the rights and duties in marriage so that they have a sense of responsibility towards it. So far the situation is not very promising because mostly girls and boys have a misleading concept of marriage which is imparted to their minds from childhood through fairy tales and then other fiction which they are exposed to all their lives. They think it is a cruise of delight and so find it very difficult to cope with realities when they come across them. Broken egos and broken hearts then lead to a broken society where people seem to be dragging along with their spouses and the whole family unit is destroyed; and people try and find peace and happiness through illegal means. All this is because people do not fear Allah and so Allah reminds us of the consequence of such recklessness:

وَكَأَيِّن مِّن قَرْيَةٍ عَتَتْ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهَا وَرُسُلِهِ فَحَاسَبْنَاهَا حِسَابًا شَدِيدًا وَعَذَّبْنَاهَا عَذَابًا نُّكْرًا {8}

فَذَاقَتْ وَبَالَ أَمْرِهَا وَكَانَ عَاقِبَةُ أَمْرِهَا خُسْرًا {9}

How many townships have rebelled against the commandments of their Rabb and His Rasools! Stern was Our reckoning with them and exemplary was Our punishment. [8] So they tasted the fruit of their misdeeds, and the fruit of their misdeeds was perdition

Not only did they face tortures in this world but a great punishment awaits them in the hereafter too:

أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَا أُوْلِي الْأَلْبَابِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَدْ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكُمْ ذِكْرًا {10}

Allah has prepared for them a severe punishment in the Hereafter. Therefore, fear Allah! O men of understanding and faith. Allah has indeed sent down to you a reminder (Quran);

Just read this ayah again and focus on Allah words… O people of intellect, if you are so intelligent then you should fear Allah. Use your intellect to be aware of Allah’s power and understand the reminder that He has sent to you. Allah is so merciful to His creatures. He not only sent a book but also the Prophet (s.a.w) who taught how to act on this book:

رَّسُولًا يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ مُبَيِّنَاتٍ لِّيُخْرِجَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ وَيَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا قَدْ أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ لَهُ رِزْقًا {11}

a Rasool reciting to you the revelations of Allah containing clear guidance, so that he may lead the believers who do good deeds from the darkness to the light. He that believes in Allah and does good deeds, shall be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever; and Allah has prepared an excellent provision for them.

How beautiful is this verse. Just ponder on its words and you will realize that Allah wants you to come out of the darkness of ignorance and darkness of depression and sadness; and enter into the light of Quran which lights up your heart and lights up your life. And this reward is not just in the world but the power of faith and goodness will take you to the eternal gardens of delight… how beautiful is the promise of Allah!!

He is the originator of everything and He has created such marvels. But He has not forced guidance on us, because it is the test of our faith. He will give guidance and light only to those who really and truly want it and value it from the depth of their heart. Remember that He is Allah, the most perfect and free from all needs:

اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا {12}

It is Allah Who has created seven heavens, and earths as many. His commandment descends through them; this is being explained to you, so that you may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge.

As believers of Allah our closest bond should be with Allah. Knowing that He created us and He is the one who is constantly showering His countless blessings on us and making decisions for us and taking care of all of our needs. So as we go about our lives, our hearts should be conscious of Him and be attached to Him firmly and completely, in gratitude and fear, so that seeking His pleasure and avoiding His anger and punishment should become our basic objective. May Allah accept our efforts in his way… ameen.

 

Surah At-Tahreem

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

When I studied this Surah I felt that it has come just in time to save us from a great danger. This is a time when all around us, the family structure is being torn apart by a wave of materialism which has engulfed our lives under the attractive and deceptive term of advancement and progress. Shaitan, our biggest enemy has deceived us into believing that acquiring wealth and status should be our primary objective in life. Therefore men started drifting away from the cares of the family, and concerned themselves with only the financial responsibility. When the wives didn’t get the emotional fulfillment from their over tired and over occupied husbands, then they also started compensating for it by finding careers of their own, leaving their children in other people’s care. I have personally met women who say that they don’t need the money but they just have to “do something” with their lives because raising and caring for a family is no longer considered to be “something”. Shaitan makes us see things from a totally negative angle….the most worthy job of being a mother is made to look so ordinary and worthless. With the result that even those who do so are full of self pity and restlessness. The biggest loss in this mad race is that we have all become over involved with this world and have totally forgotten the real world which is hidden from our eyes but is coming closer to us with every passing moment. Surah At-Tahreem has come to remind us of our biggest responsibility in this life which is to save ourselves and our families from a terrible punishment which awaits all those who neglected Allah and His commands and assumed that they could lead their lives in whatever way they wanted. Let us get out of this illusion and learn the truth before it is too late…

The beauty of Islam is that it does not just give us theories but also portrays for us the most authentic practical implementation through the example of our Blessed Prophet (s.a.w). He was the most beloved of Allah yet his whole life is the reflection of complete submission to Allah’s commands. On one occasion he took oath that he will never again drink honey, because apparently it had displeased some of his wives, but Allah said that He could not make a Halal thing haram for himself, just to please His wives:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكَ تَبْتَغِي مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَاجِكَ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ {1}

O Prophet! Why do you make something unlawful, which Allah has made lawful to you in seeking to please your wives? Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

The wisdom behind this ayah is that if the Prophet (s.a.w) makes something haram for himself, then the whole Muslim Ummah who must follow the Prophet (s.a.w) in all cases, will be deprived of a most beneficial blessing in doing so. It should make us really cautious that if the Blessed and Most Beloved Prophet was not allowed to make a halal into haram, then how can we ordinary people make excuses that just because my husband does not approve of it I cannot act on such and such order of Allah. Or just because my wife demands more money therefore I am forced to deal in Riba (interest) or bribery etc. To keep your family happy is one thing, and to give them their rights is your responsibility; but in this too we cannot cross the boundaries of Allah.

Now what happened was that the Prophet (s.a.w) had told his wife that she should not tell anyone about this oath; but she could not resist sharing this secret with another wife of the Prophet (s.a.w). Allah revealed the truth to the Prophet (s.a.w) and also sent a warning to the wives that even if the incident might seem as very innocent and harmless, but they should do Taubah:

إِن تَتُوبَا إِلَى اللَّهِ فَقَدْ صَغَتْ قُلُوبُكُمَا وَإِن تَظَاهَرَا عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ مَوْلَاهُ وَجِبْرِيلُ وَصَالِحُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ ظَهِيرٌ {4}

If you both (the wives of the Prophet) turn in repentance to Allah – for your hearts have sinned – you shall be pardoned; and if you back up each other against him (the Prophet), then you should know that his protectors are Allah, Gabriel and all righteous believers, furthermore the angels too are his supporters.

Now what does it teach us? For me it was an eye opener that if anyone is close to Allah due to his honourable status or his extraordinary goodness, then this closeness is an added test of staying on the straight path. Most of the time we have a tendency to take it for granted that if Allah loves me then maybe I will not be punished… however, the truth is, that the higher you go, the more careful you have to be at each step.

The other thing which I learned from this incident is that the trust between a husband and wife is a sacred thing. They should not disclose their secrets with anyone. But nowadays we see that it is not considered to be any unusual thing to talk about your spouse with friends, parents, and even neighbours!! Small everyday occurrences are projected as issues. Why? It is because we are ignorant of the real “issue” of life… the one which should have been the biggest concern of our lives… and that is our well being and safety in the next world. We are so conscious of saving ourselves and our children from diseases or other harmful things of this world and we are all the time taking precautions… but what about the hereafter? Are we doing anything about it too? Listen to the words of Allah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ {6}

O believers! Save yourselves and your families from hellfire, whose fuel is men and stones, in the charge of fierce and mighty angels who never disobey Allah’s command and who promptly do what they are commanded to do.

The truth is that the bond of love between parents and their children can be the strongest armour against shaitan and the deceptions of this world. Home is the first learning place for the children. But if there is no one to teach then what will they learn? When they see their parents running after the worldly things then how can they even think about the hereafter? Allah has portrayed the horrors of Hell so intensely so that we must take this thing seriously if we are believers… Because as you must have noticed that this verse is addressed to us… who claim to be believers. If we believe that Allah has made us and this universe for a purpose; and He sent the Quran to educate us about that purpose; then how can we go on living our lives, ignoring the road map which can guide us to safety both in this world and the hereafter? If someone told you that at the end of the road is a huge pit of fire… will you still keep on travelling on that same road? No you will definitely find a diversion. But if someone does not want to believe in the warning of Allah then they have a thousand excuses for not believing. They never think that their disbelief cannot alter the truth and when the truth will come before their eyes then their excuses will not be of any use at all:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا الْيَوْمَ إِنَّمَا تُجْزَوْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ {7}

They will say to the unbelievers: “O unbelievers! Make no excuses for yourselves this Day. You are being rewarded according to your deeds.”

If we take a look around us we find that so few people take the matter of hereafter as a certainty. They might love their life but they don’t love Allah who gave them this life. And they have no idea of how beautiful is the paradise which he has prepared for His true believers who seek His pleasure and are always striving for obedience. So that is why our lives are totally opposite to the spirit of Islam and we are deprived of the peace which should have been the natural consequence of our being born into the religion of peace…

But we have to get out of this chaos; we need to straighten out our priorities; we have to save ourselves… but how? Where do we start? Let us all turn to Allah and He will show us the way:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا عَسَى رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيُدْخِلَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ يَوْمَ لَا يُخْزِي اللَّهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَى بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ {8}

O believers! Turn to Allah in sincere repentance. It may well be that your Rabb will remove from you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. On that Day Allah will not humiliate the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their light will shine in front of them and on their right, and they will say: “Our Rabb! Perfect our light for us and grant us forgiveness, for You have power over all things.”

How beautiful are the words of Allah… so full of hope and mercy. He is promising such a great reward if we would just do Taubah (a sincere repentance) and come to the true way of life. Some of us keep worrying that even after studying the Quran and all the efforts of bringing positive changes in our lives we still commit mistakes as if we have learnt nothing. At such times the devil makes us depressed that we can never be good because of the deep effects of ignorance. But here Allah is giving us the good news that even if you fall into errors, you should keep turning to me and I will help you to erase all the bad influences which have settled on your heart. And even though this life is a difficult test but whoever keeps true to his faith and commitment with Allah, he will be made to enter the glorious gardens of Paradise. And the light of their good deeds will be their guide. So whoever will hold tight to the light of Quran in this world, will have the light in the hereafter too.

All of this seems so simple and clear but then what stops us from acting on it? The biggest hindrance (or excuse) is that our environment does not allow us to accept our faith wholeheartedly. What can I do when my family is against Hijab? My husband or parents don’t want me to learn Quran because they think I will become an extremist or fundamentalist… These seem to be valid reasons but the Quran has the answer to everything. Allah says that Faith is the choice of a person’s own heart and if one doesn’t want to believe then even if the whole environment is conducive, you will not believe:

ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا اِمْرَأَةَ نُوحٍ وَاِمْرَأَةَ لُوطٍ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ {10}

Allah has set an example to the unbelievers in the wife of Nuh (Noah) and the wife of Lut (Lot). They were married to two of Our righteous servants, but they betrayed them. In no way could their husbands protect them from Allah. Both of them were told: “Enter the fire, along with those who enter.”

The wives of these two Prophets were believers in name, but their loyalties were with the disbelievers. This kind of faith which was just reduced to a label could not save them from the wrath of Allah. Sometimes people think that even if we are not very religious but we will be given paradise because of our noble ancestors or our pious parents or spouses. This example should be enough to open our eyes to the reality that Allah will hold each one of us accountable for our own deeds. Nothing else will benefit us on that day.

We keep on complaining about lack of support but what support did Asiya (a.s) have, who was the wife of Pharaoh? She believed in Allah even though it meant going against such a cruel person who tortured her brutally because of her faith. Our focus remains on the trials of this world only; but look at her beautiful prayer… as if she doesn’t care what is happening to her in this world as long as she gets a house near Allah:

وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اِمْرَأَةَ فِرْعَوْنَ إِذْ قَالَتْ رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِندَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَنَجِّنِي مِن فِرْعَوْنَ وَعَمَلِهِ وَنَجِّنِي مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ {11}

And for the believers Allah has set an example in the wife of Fir’on (Pharaoh), who said: “My Rabb! Build for me a house as a special favour from You in paradise, deliver me from Fir’on and his misdeeds, and save me from the wicked nation.”

And then Allah gives us the beautiful example of Maryam (a.s.) who remained pure and strong in the face of all trials…

وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ {12}

Another example is in the life of Maryam, the daughter of `Imrãn, who guarded her chastity, and into whose womb We breathed of Our spirit, who testified to the words of her Rabb, and His scriptures, and was one of the obedient.

She did not even have a father to protect her, nor a husband to share the burden which she carried alone. Imagine what a test she went through in giving birth to a child, facing all sorts of accusations; while her whole life had been of chastity and purity. But her faith was so strong that instead of complaining and lamenting on her problems, she remained focused in her knowledge and complete obedience.

We also want to be the favourites of Allah and we wish for the highest ranks of paradise but are we prepared to pay the price? Allah has just revealed to us that it is not impossible. So let us empty our hearts from all the negativity and make them clean and pure with real Taubah. Turn to Allah and protect yourselves and your families from fire…

 

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3 thoughts on “Quran(5)

  1. I followed some Islamic rituals but at one stage realized I don’t know Allah. I cried to him that I want to know you and this website landed my way. The journey of reading Quran has opened me to new horizons. Jaza kalla for making Quran so easy n understandable. I started late n am just a beginner but may Allah help us all in this path of gaining knowledge

    • Dear Ayesha it was such a pleasure to know you are learning Quran… really its the best blessing of Allah. May Allah increase you in knowledge and bless you with the taufeeq to act upon it and convey its wisdom to all others too… Ameen

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