Tonight’s Taraweeh consists of Juz (Section) 1 ‘Alif Lâm Mîm’ and the first quarter of Juz 2 ‘Sayaqûl.’ The Sûrahs covered are Al-Fâtiha (The Opening), and the first two thirds of Al-Baqarah (The Cow).
The Qur’ân begins with the beautiful Sûrat al-Fâtiha, containing seven verses and rightly called the “Essence of the Book”. It has been called by this title for a very obvious reason. It shows the helplessness of man without the aid of Allah (SWT)* and his continuous desire for Allah (SWT)’s assistance in all matters affecting his daily life. That is why, by means of this Sûrah, Allah (SWT) teaches us this perfect prayer and gives us some knowledge of Himself, i.e. He describes some of His qualities. Further He tells us about what His relation with us and to the rest of the creation is, from where we have come, what we are, and what goal we are heading for under Allah (SWT)’s guidance. We are to trust and commit ourselves to Allah (SWT) if we want to succeed in this life and in the Hereafter.
The second is Sûrat al-Baqarah, “The Cow”, revealed in Madina and containing 286 verses. It sums up the entire teachings of the Qur’ân. The wisdom for having this Sûrah second in the arrangement of Sûrahs is very logical. The essence of the first Sûrah is man, crying out to Allah
(SWT): “O Allah (SWT)! Help Me”. In the second sûrah Allah (SWT) says: “Here is the help and guidance that you need”.
This Sûrah begins with the example of three types of people and how they receive Allah (SWT)’s message. The creation of man is discussed, the high destiny that Allah (SWT) wanted him to reach, man’s fall (corruption), and the hope held out to him in spite of previous sins. The story of Banî Isrâ’îl is told: the favours they had and how they made wrong use of them to show again the general character of man. Reference is also made particularly to Moses Mûsâ (AS)* and Jesus ‘Isâ (AS). We learn how they had to deal with corrupt people and how, despite having had Allah (SWT)’s prophets and books in their midst, the corrupt ones rejected the Truth out of pride and jealousy. It was hence inappropriate for such people to claim the virtue of the righteous Imam, Abraham Ibrâhîm (AS) exclusively for themselves. ..The Ka’ba became the center of universal worship and stood for Islamic Unity (because all Muslims face towards it in prayer). The name of this Sûrah is gained from the parable of the Cow in verses 67 -71, which deals with hypocrisy. Once people lose faith, they try to put off obedience with various excuses, or they do things half- heartedly. It is then that, as Allah (SWT) says, “There is a disease in their hearts which Allah (SWT) increases” until they become spiritually “deaf dumb and blind”. Such people are spiritually dead even though they are physically alive.
Life is about striving especially when we are tempted by false promises (Adam & the Tree), excuses (The Cow) or desires (Arrogance of Satan & disbelievers).
May we reflect on this message during tonight’s Taraweeh.
*A.S -Alayhis Salam– (Prophets, pious ones) on whom be peace
*S.W.T Subhanahu wa Ta’ala – (Allah) The Glorious, the Exalted