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), Yûsuf (Joseph) & the first 1/3 of Ar-Ra’d (Thunder).
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.’
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, may we reflect on Allah’s power over the wrongdoers and His protecting care for the believers in the most unexpected ways.
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