Ancient History: Modern Lessons. 10th Taraweeh 2018


Ancient History. Modern Lessons.

Tonight’s Taraweeh consists of  3/4 of juz 12 & first 1/2 of juz 13.

Sûrahs no. 11 Hûd (last part), no. 12 Yûsuf (Joseph) & the first 1/3  of Ar-Ra’d (Thunder).

Sûrah Hûd

The efforts of the believers to reform ancient societies

Hûd a.s preached to his people, the ‘Ad, to worship Allah alone.  He reminded them of the worldly benefits, ‘Repent to Him. He will send (rain from) the sky upon you in showers & increase you in strength.’ But when they turned away, Hud warned them that Allah s.w.t will replace them with another nation. ‘And when Our command came, We saved Hud and those who believed with him…and We saved them from a harsh punishment.’

Sâlih appealed to his people, the prosperous community of Thamud, to go back to the worship of Allah alone. They began to make excuses about him. They said how they used to hold him in high regard but ever since he challenged their traditions, they have started to doubt him. They were tested with a miraculous she-camel that was not to be harmed. Instead, they hamstrung her. ‘So when Our command came, We saved Salih and those who believed with him..from the disgrace of that day..and the blast seized those who had wronged…as if they had never prospered therein.’

Abraham pleaded for the corrupt people of Lot’s community to be saved from Allah’s Punishment. Lût (as) asked them to change their promiscuous ways, but to no avail. The angels instructed Lût to set out with his family at night as the punishment was to arrive in the morning. Shu’aib’s people, the Madianites, were also warned against corruption. But they refused to give up idolatry and fraudulent business practices.

‘And when Our command came, We saved Shu’ayb and those who believed with him…and the blast seized those who had wronged..as if they had never prospered therein.’

Allah reminds us of the importance of social reform. If only there had been more than just those few ‘people of discernment who forbade corruption.But those who did wrong pursued what luxury they were given therein, and they were criminals. And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities unjustly while their people were reformers.’

Sûrah Yûsuf

A dream come true

This surah takes us through the story of Joseph (Yûsuf ), one of the 12 sons of  Jacob (Ya’qûb). It is called ‘the most beautiful of stories’ as: (1) it is the most detailed story in the Qur’ân; (2) it is full of the ups & downs of human fortune which everyone can relate to (3) it describes fully with their moral meanings, the different walks of life & people’s attitudes.

We see the elderly Ya’qûb’s love for  his young son, the elder brothers’ jealousy of Yûsuf, their plot & their father’s sorrow. We see lust contrasted with purity & modesty, innocence raised to honour. We learn about Yusuf’s ministerial policies and his remembrance of Allah  even as a high ranking official.

Jealousy had caused Yusuf’s brothers to plot his disappearance. After being sold into slavery, a high court official in Egypt (‘Azîz) bought & adopted Yusuf. The ‘Azîz’s wife tried without success to seduce him. Because he refused she decided to take revenge on him. He was falsely accused & sent to jail. Even there he taught the truth & was known for his kindness.

The King had a dream, which Yûsuf interpreted. The King wanted to release him, but before his release Yûsuf made it clear that all gossip against him should be publicly cleared. The King was much impressed & made Yûsuf his Chief Minister. His brothers came to Egypt to buy grain as there was a drought in Canaan. He treated them kindly without making himself known to them. He detained his youngest brother Benjamin by means of a plan which then led to Yûsuf revealing his identity to them. He forgave them & sent them to bring the rest of the family to Egypt. Thus was Ya’qûb reunited with his long lost son. Surely, Allah is the loving protector of the believers in both worlds.

Sûrah Ar-Ra’d: This Sûrah details Allah’s signs in the natural wonders of the world. Firstly Allah reveals His message through His creation: the earth & the sky. He also reveals His message by revelation. One can see life & death following each other at all times; after the lifelessness of winter comes spring. Astonishingly the Unbelievers ask: ‘When we are dust, shall we actually then be a new creation?’  They mock the idea that Allah will punish them because Allah’s punishment has not reached them yet for their wrongs. They want to see signs of His Power rather than of His mercy. Hear then the mighty thunder that praises Allah, as do the magnificent angels: both serve Him and deal with mankind as He wills. 

During tonight’s Taraweeh, as we complete 10 nights of Ramadan alhamdulillah, may we reflect on Allah’s power over the wrongdoers and His protecting care for the believers in the most unexpected ways.

Abbreviations

s.w.t  – Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted

a.s – Alayhis Salam– (Prophets, pious ones) on whom be peace

s.a.w – SalAllahu alayhi Wa sallam – (Muhammad) on whom be peace

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Turning back to God: 9th Taraweeh 2018

 

Turning Back To God

Tonight’s Taraweeh consists of juz 11 & first ¼ of juz 12.

Sûrah no. 9 At-Taubah (Repentance) verse 93-end.

No.10 Yûnus (Jonah) & the first ½ of no.11 Hûd.

Sûrah  At-Taubah:

Sticking to the Path

Allah s.w.t mentions His pleasure with the believers who followed the Prophet s.a.w during a period of severe stress (the intense heat & scarce supplies during the Battle of Tabuk). A group of them had almost inclined to doubt, but they repented and Allah forgave them. He also accepted the repentance of the 3 who were left behind and were regretful to the point that ‘the earth closed in on them despite its vastness…indeed Allah is Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.’

People who continue with their unfaith, hypocrisy & mischief have no hope of Allah’s mercy. A few Muslims must remain behind when the others go out to fight for the Cause of Islam, so that ‘they may devote themselves to studies in religion & warn the people.’ Every sûrah increases the faith of the Believers, ‘but for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add disbelief to their disbelief.’

Sûrah Yûnus

Heed The Message & The Messenger

To the amazement of people, Allah has revealed His message of Oneness to a (mere) man of their own race. The disbelievers condemn Allah’s Messenger as an ‘obvious magician.’ Yet it is in the perfect creation of the universe & the great uses of creation that one can feel the presence of Allah’s Message & His signs. He has created the sun and the moon ‘that you might know…the count (of time).’  Allah enables you to travel  by ship and when the disbelievers think they are doomed at sea they turn to Allah with full sincerity. But as soon as He has saved them they disbelieve and ‘commit injustice on the earth.’

‘And it was not possible for this Quran to be produced by other than Allah, a confirmation of what was before it.’ No people can ever claim that Allah did not reveal His Truth to them because ‘an Apostle (was sent) to every people.’ Allah’s Justice will be seen clearly when Allah punishes the wicked. “Surely Allah will not deal unfairly with man in any matter: it is man that wrongs his own soul.”

Allah revealed Himself through Noah – Nûh – (a.s) but his people rejected him; so they perished. A similar fate was earned by Pharaoh during Moses – Mûsâ’s – time. Pharaoh repented, but it was too late. But in the case of Jonah – Yûnus – his people accepted the Truth and Allah was merciful to them.  Follow Allah’s Truth & be patient. Surely Allah is the best Judge.

Sûrah Hûd

The Message is for all, not specfic groups.

Allah says that the Messenger instructs us, ‘Seek forgiveness of Your Lord and repent to Him, He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor (i.e. reward). But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day.’

The Prophet Noah  humbly preached the Truth of Allah (swt) for centuries. Those from the upper classes who rejected him said they see him as just a man like themselves ‘and you are only followed by the lower classes.’ Noah said that he is not interested in material gain,’my reward is from only Allah…I see that you are a people behaving ignorantly.’ He was mocked and rejected while he built his Ark under Allah’s directions. He and the believers were saved, with peace & blessings, while the rejecters were drowned in the flood.

May we turn our hearts humbly towards Allah, the All Forgiving, during tonight’s Taraweeh.

Abbreviations

s.w.t –  Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted

a.s – Alayhis Salam– (Prophets, pious ones) on whom be peace

s.a.w – SalAllahu alayhi Wa sallam – (Muhammad) on whom be peace

Steadfast In a Storm: 8th Taraweeh 2018

 

Steadfast In a Storm

Tonight’s taraweeh consists of the last quarter of Juz 9 and all of Juz 10. The Sûrahs covered are no. 8 Al-Anfâl (The Spoils of War) and no. 9 At-Taubah (Repentance) till verse 92. At-Taubah is the only Sûrah that begins without the prefixing of Bismillâh (In the Name of Allah).

Sûrah Al-Anfâl

If you are patient & steadfast, Allah is on  your side  

This sûrah begins a new series. The lessons of the Battle of Badr are re-emphasised with instructions on: (1) the question of the war booty; (2) the good qualities needed for fighting in the Path of Allah(swt) ; (3) victory against great odds; (4) merciful treatment of enemies in the hour of victory. An analysis of the Battle of Badr shows that even if your enemies are greater in number and have better weapons and war tactics, you will gain victory if Allah is on your side.

Those who help Allah’s cause will be helped by Him, since “there is no help except from Allah ”. “Never turn your backs to the enemies (i.e. flee).” Regard the eventual victory as Allah’s, not yours. Therefore obey Allah and His Messenger. Be steadfast, stay united and remember Allah much that you may be successful.”  “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it (also).” Treat non- Muslim captives with honour and kindness. Do not argue about the spoils of war because they are “at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger (s.a.w)”.

Sûrah At-Taubah

Breaking peace treaties

A very important question is dealt with: what must be done if the enemy breaks the peace treaty and is guilty of wrong-doings? “Dissolve (treaty) obligation with the Pagans” if they keep on breaking their treaties. But give the Pagans 4 months to change their habits and to repent. If there is no change, fight them. But if any asks for protection “grant it to him”, so that he may hear “Allah’s word”. Now only believers will have the right to come to the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah).

Don’t be a couch potato

“O believers, what is the matter with you that, when you are told to go forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth? Are you satisfied with the life of this world rather than the hereafter? But what is the enjoyment of worldly life compared to the Hereafter except a little.”

Spend your wealth for the greater good. Do not hoard it or misuse it – otherwise there will be consequences.

Tears of sincerity

“Do not offer excuses like the Hypocrites did – do your duty. The hypocrites’ efforts were rejected as they lacked sincerity, were lazy about their prayers and would mock Allah’s Messenger. Do not let their wealth & families impress you, they will be tried by them in this life. The hypocrites enjoined what is wrong and forbade what is right and closed up their hands.

Rather, be like the obedient believers who enjoined what is right, forbade what is wrong and gave generously. Those who are sincere but without means are not to be blamed. When they came to the Messenger, he had no more mounts for them, so ‘they turned back while their eyes overflowed with tears out of grief that they could not find something to spend (for Allah’s cause).’

May we reflect on the lessons of steadfastness and sincerity during  Taraweeh.

Abbreviations

swt   Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted

saw  SalAllahu alayhi Wa sallam – (Muhammad) on whom be peace

Pride Was Kept In Check: 7th Taraweeh summary 2018

 

Pride was kept in check

Tonight’s taraweeh consists of the second half of Juz 8 to the first three-quarters of Juz 9. The Sûrah covered is the whole of chapter no. 7 Al-A’râf (The Elevations).

This Sûrah is closely connected to the previous Sûrah (Al-An’am). It relates the spiritual history of man from Adam (AS)’s time to the time of Muhammad (SAW). In the process, it gives accounts of various prophets, especially the struggles of Moses Mûsâ (AS).

Iblîs’ Racism & Adam’s Humility

The struggle between Good & Evil is illustrated by the story of Adam  & Iblîs the jinn. Iblîs  refused to bow down to Adam, as commanded by Allah (SWT). His arrogance prevented him from obeying Allah. He was also jealous of Adam’s position. He tempted Adam & Eve (AS) & caused them to commit a wrong deed. Consequently they were stripped of the garments of Paradise. But Allah  granted his mercy to our grandparents by guiding them to forgiveness. He also guided us to cover the shameful parts as well as to adorn ourselves, but remember that “the dress of righteousness – taqwa – is the best dress”.

A’râf: The people on the Elevations

We must be vigilant of Iblîs & stay within the limits, from moderation in food, drink & clothing to accepting Allah’s revelation with humility. If warnings are not heeded, severe penalties lie ahead. ‘The gates of Heaven will not be opened for them ( the arrogant), nor will they enter Paradise until a camel passes through the eye of a needle( i.e. never).’ But privileges, peace & happiness for the righteous are shown in a picture of the hereafter. While rivers flow beneath them, all their past grudges will have been washed away. Between the people of Paradise & Hell will be a wall with elevations A’râf. There will be men up on these elevations whose final judgement is pending. They will greet the people of Paradise and condemn the people of  Hell for their arrogance and worthless power.

Denying The Worship of Allah alone (SWT)

Noah Nûh (AS)’s warning was rejected by his people; therefore they were destroyed in the flood by Allah. Hûd (AS) was defied by his people (the ‘Ad) so they were swept away by a tornado of hot wind. Their successors, the Thamûd treated Sâlih (AS) with pride & injustice – an earthquake destroyed them. Lot  Lût (AS) warned his people against following their lusts. They disobeyed & Allah (SWT) rained stones on them to destroy them. The people of Madian practiced mischief & fraud. Shu‘aib (AS) warned them, but they didn’t heed & they perished in an earthquake.

Honouring the Covenant 

The story of Moses is now recounted: his struggles to free his oppressed people (the Children of Israel) from the proud & cruel Pharaoh & his eventual success, leading them up to the Promised Land against all resistance. This is an illustration of Muhammad (SAW)’s struggles & eventual victory. But there were people of Moses who forgot & corrupted their Covenant with Allah, such as when they worshipped the golden calf.  Prophet Muhammad (SAW) then  brought back light & guidance for all mankind, including the followers of Moses. ‘And among the people of Moses is a community which guides by truth and by it establishes justice.’

The Covenant to recognize Allah as our Lord was taken from us, the descendants of Adam. We were made to testify that Allah is our Lord, lest we make excuses later on. ‘And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then ask for Allah’s protection.’ And ‘when the Qur’ân is recited, listen to it with attention & be silent: that you may receive His Mercy.’

May we listen & benefit, with rapt attention, to the lessons of arrogance and humility during Taraweeh.

Abbreviations

S.W.T Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted

A.S Alayhis Salam– (Prophets, pious ones) on whom be peace

S.A.W SalAllahu alayhi Wa sallam – (Muhammad) on whom be peace

Was That the Creator You Were Just Worshipping? 6th Taraweeh summary 2018

 

Worshipping the Creator, not creation

Tonight’s Taraweeh consists of three-quarters of juz 7 and the first half of juz 8.The Sûrah covered is the whole of ch. 6 Al-An’âm (The Cattle).

The spiritual history of mankind is continued here from where the previous Sûrah left off. Up until now, the Qur’ân has discussed the creation of man, leading onto the history of the People of the Book and the loss or corruption of the message, the need for Islam, and the rules governing the Muslim Ummah. The next step is to contrast the teachings of Islam with the beliefs of the idol worshipping Arabs (or the Mushriks).

Did the civilizations of idolatry survive?

First the qualities of Allah (SWT) are discussed. He is the Creator, the Sustainer and the All-Truth. Then why should man worship other than Him? Further, He is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Now the weakness of Paganism is exposed. They “reject the Truth when it reaches them,” claiming that “this is nothing but obvious magic.” Here, a clue to the reality of rejecting Allah (SWT) is given by asking the Unbelievers to “travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth”  – they were all destroyed, no matter how powerful they were. They are the losers in the Hereafter also. The life of this world is “play and amusement, but best is the Home in the Hereafter.”

Creation has its limits unlike the Creator

The perfection in Creation must convince us that all this is only Allah’s working in His world, under His constant care and guidance. This is the argument that Abraham (AS) put forward in his dispute with those who worshipped false gods. A very important point is brought out against the worshippers of the sun and the moon: Abraham (AS) rejected them as gods because the sun sets when the day is over. It cannot offer its radiance to us all the time. Similarly, the moon, whose radiance is so splendid, cannot offer any radiance once it sets. In short, it is futile to accept them as gods because they do not give permanent radiance because being created things there are limits to their abilities. The Creator is surely Allah (SWT) and surely we must turn to Him alone to give us the light of guidance. The signs pointing out Allah’s Oneness are so many and so obvious and yet there are those who still join partners with him.

Reflect on His beautiful signs in the natural world and in revelation

The succession of Prophets after Ibrâhîm (AS) kept Allah’s Truth alive and led up to Muhammad (SAW) and the revelation of the Qur’ân. So do not make excuses about being unaware of the Truth that Allah is to be worshipped alone.

On the Day of Judgement, we see Allah’s Mercy that the believer’s single good deed will receive ten times the like, while a single evil deed will receive only the like thereof.

Muhammad (SAWS) is instructed to testify to Islam’s message of tawheed (worshippping Allah alone). ‘Say, Indeed my Lord has guided me to a straight path – a correct way of life – the way of Abraham, inclining toward truth. and he was not among those who associated others with Allah.’

In tonight’s taraweeh, may we reflect on Allah’s beautiful signs that help us dedicate our devotion and worship to Him alone.

Abbreviations

S.W.T Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted

A.S -Alayhis Salam– (Prophets, pious ones) on whom be peace

S.A.W SalAllahu alayhi Wa sallam – (Muhammad) on whom be peace

The Message & the Messengers: 5th Taraweeh Summary 2018

The Message & the Messengers

Tonight’s taraweeh consists of the whole of the 6th juz  and the first quarter of the 7th juz .

The Sûrahs covered are the last quarter of Ch.4 An Nisâ’ (the Women) and all of Ch.5  Al-Mâ’ida (the Tablespread).

This last portion of Sûrah An Nisâ’ deals with the consequences of attitudes, both good and bad, of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) with regards to the Message and the Messengers.

Sûrah Al-Mâ’ida continues addressing the People of the Book after the rules of Islam relating to food, cleanliness and justice are recapitulated.  Ayah 3 contains the memorable declaration: “This day have I perfected for you your religion.”

Rules relating to food are next laid down: “dead meat, blood and pork” are forbidden. Any animal slaughtered in the name of a being other than Allah (SWT) is also forbidden to be eaten. “All things good and pure” are lawful.  Personal purification is explained in the verses of wudu.

Justice and unbiased dealings are emphasised showing that these acts are nearest to Piety. “Do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just.”

The Qur’ân now reminds us of those who broke or forgot their Covenant with Allah (SWT).  As a result of this, Allah caused them to remain without His favours. The Children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years for refusing to enter the Holy Land.

The story of Adam’s 2 sons, where one brother kills another, is described.  Allah decreed upon the Children of Israel ” Whoever kills a soul (unjustly)..it is as if he has killed all of mankind, and whoever saves one it is as if he saved all of mankind.”

Allah sent down the Torah to Moses (A.S.)  “in which was guidance and light”. He sent down the Gospel to Jesus son of Mary (A.S.) confirming the Torah.  Then came the Quran to Muhammad (s.a.w) confirming the previous scriptures. So judge by what Allah has revealed through His messengers and do not judge according to your desires.

The miracles of Jesus are recounted, and the story of the disciple’s request for a table spread (Al Mâ’ida) from heaven is related. The fate of those who raised Jesus (AS)’s status to that of a god or a son of God is briefly described.”To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is within them. And He has power of everything.”

May we reflect on these messages during Taraweeh and let us resolve to be counted amongst those who honoured the Messengers.

Abbreviations

S.W.T Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted

A.S. Alayhis salam – Upon whom be peace

 

Scales balanced now, heavy later: 4th Taraweeh summary 2018

 

 Justice & The Family of Man

Scales: Balanced in this World, Heavy in the Next

Tonight’s Taraweeh summary consists  of the last quarter of juz 4 to the end of juz 5. The Sûrah covered is the first three-quarters of Al-Nisâ’ (The Women)

Surah No. 4, verses 1-147

Sûrah Al-Nisâ’ deals with the social problems which Muslims had to face immediately after the Battle of Uhud (which we read about in the previous chapter).

Broadly speaking, this Sûrah can be divided into:

(1) family life, the rights of women & orphans. Laws dealing with inheritance & family rights generally are also discussed;

(2) regulations for the larger family i.e. the community at Madîna both Muslim and non Muslim.

The Sûrah opens with the verse mentioned in many marriage sermons. It is an appeal to mankind to be mindful of our Lord who is watching how we uphold human relationships.  Women & orphans have  rights that must be fulfilled with justice. The sexes must honour each other.  Laws of Inheritance show that  justice and kind words should extend to the distribution of the wealth of our family members. In short, be mindful of our Lord’s commands at all times – while our family members are alive, and when they are no longer with us.

Before Islam, women were not allowed to inherit, here they are given the right to inherit. Guidelines for a stable marriage are prescribed: Live with them on a footing “of kindness”. Be forbearing.  “If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah (SWT) wishes to bring a lot of good through it.” A husband is to provide for the wife’s finances and they are to protect each other’s chastity, reputation and property.

Now the larger family is discussed.

‘The family of the Prophet Abraham (A.S) were given scripture and wisdom and a great kingdom.’ Unfortunately some abandoned Abraham’s legacy for disobedience and superstitious practices.  The hypocrites are also warned. The rewards of this life are short-lived ‘and the Hereafter is better for he who fears Allah’. The Muslims must be prepared to defend themselves. But follow the appropriate rules of engagement and compensation.

Do not live where you find difficulty practicing Islam, if you are able to migrate then Allah’s earth is very spacious. Shorten your prayers in times of danger & on journeys.  Any sin can be forgiven if Allah wills but Allah  does not forgive  joining partners with Him.   Whoever does good, male or female, will not be wronged in the least. Justice must be practised, even if the eventual verdict is against yourselves. Have firm faith consistent with the legacy of Abraham. And be not like the hypocrites, who are the worst of people, they pray lazily, to show off, hardly remembering Allah.

May our scales of justice help our scales in the next life. Let us reflect on this during tonight’s Taraweeh.

Abbreviations

S.W.T Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted

A.S. Alayhis salam – Peace be upon him