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

Wednesday

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

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The Message & the Messengers: 5th Night of Taraweeh 2017

Tuesday

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 tonight’s 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 Night of Taraweeh 2017

Monday

 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

Dedication, Defeat & Duas: 3rd night of Taraweeh 2017

Sunday

Dedication, Defeat & Du’as: Holding on to the Rope of God

Tonight’s Taraweeh summary consists of all of Sûrah 3 Aali ‘Imrân The Family of ‘Imrân i.e. father of Mary Maryam (A.S).*

Juz-wise it is the second half of juz  3  to the first three-quarters of juz 4.

Like  Sûrah 2 Al-Baqarah, this chapter surveys the religious history of mankind, with special reference to the People of the Book (i.e. Christians and Jews).

Three new points are discussed:

(1) The Christians’  faith in One God is especially appealed to in this Sûrah, as the Jews were especially appealed to in the last Sûrah;

(2) The lessons of  two battles are set out for the Muslims.

  • The lesson of Badr is: Allah (SWT) helps the people who help His cause. Patience, courage, effort and discipline are rewarded by Allah. No matter how poorly you are armed and how powerful your enemy may be, Allah will give you victory if you remain true Muslims at all times.
  • The lesson of Uhud is: Indiscipline, indecision and selfishness, as shown by certain Muslims in this battle who went after the booty without even being commanded to do so by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). These are not qualities of a true Muslim and can lead to his downfall. This outcome is shown by the great losses suffered by the Muslims in this battle.

(3) The responsibilities of Muslims, both in their dealings amongst themselves and with non-Muslims are stressed. Allah (SWT) has revealed the Qur’ân, confirming previous revelations like the Torah, revealed to Moses Mûsâ (A.S) and Gospel, revealed to Jesus ‘Isâ (A.S).

We must accept the truth of this whole Book (the Qur’ân), and not only parts of the Book, as those before had done. Muslims must try to understand the message of the Qur’ân. They must understand how to seek common ground with the People of the Book.

The beautiful story of the birth of Mary Maryam (A.S), is gradually connected to the miraculous birth of Jesus (Isa – upon whom be peace)  and his years of prophethood. Accounts of story relating to Jesus are to be found in the Gospel. These facts show that Allah’s message is eternal and revelation is a continuous reminder. Seeing that the Qur’ân is Allah’s message, all people are invited to accept its completion in Islam. Hold firmly to the rope of Allah i.e. his Revelation or Covenant and be not divided.

The duas (prayers) in this surah nicely sum up the messages and stories of this chapter:

  •  ‘Do not let our hearts deviate after guidance’ (verse 8)
  • ‘I have dedicated to you what is in my womb. I have delivered a female & I have named her Mary…and I ask You to protect her and her descendants from Satan.’ (verses 35-6)
  • ‘My Lord grant me a good offspring.’ (verse 38 – Zachariah’s prayer after seeing Mary’s piety)
  • ‘Forgive us our sins and excesses, plant firmly our feet and give us victory.’ (verse 147)
  • ‘Sufficient for us is Allah & He is the best Disposer of Affairs.’ (verse 173)
  • ‘Our Lord, You did not create all this (the skies & the earth) for no reason, exalted are you (above such a claim), then protect us from the fire…indeed we have heard a caller (i.e. Prophet Muhammad) calling to faith..and we have believed…grant us what You have promised us…indeed You never break a promise.’ (verses 191-4)

May we  reflect on the stories of dedication, defeat and du’as during tonight’s Taraweeh

Abbreviations

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

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

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

Ayatul kursi & The Ayahs of Community: 2nd Night of Taraweeh 2017

Saturday

Image

Tonight’s Taraweeh consists of the last ¾ of Juz 2  and the first ½ of Juz 3.    The Sûrah covered is the last third of Al-Baqarah. 

Ka’bah sign of unity

Earlier we were told how Prophet  Ibrâhîm (A.S)* together with his son  Ismâ’îl (AS) built the Ka’bah.

Listen to the dua that Ibrâhîm makes with his son: “O our Lord! Make us among those who submit to Your Will and make from our offspring a Community which bows down to Your Will.”  Their joint effort, the  ancient Ka’bah, is the symbol of Muslim unity to this very day. This unity comprises of man’s relationship with Allah (SWT), and man’s relationship with man.

The Qur’ân emphasises that righteousness does not simply mean restricting ourselves to the outward observance of rituals, but in having deep-rooted faith (îmân). We are to show kindness, perform prayer with sincerity and give charity selflessly.

Our relationship with Allah, the community, our wealth & health

Rules are then laid down relating to the community, our wealth and our health. Food and drink, the laws of inheritance, fasting, jihad, wine and gambling, good treatment of orphans and women and the prohibition from taking interest are all discussed.

So here, one demonstrates one’s faith by taking care of the commandments of Allah (SWT), taking care of the community and taking care of one’s own health.

We are then given examples of the resources endowed upon the great Prophets by Allah Almighty:

Prophet David Dâwûd (AS) was given great physical strength to defeat his enemy Goliath and defend Islam.

On the other hand, Prophet Jesus ‘Isâ (AS) was strengthened “with the Divine Word of Allah.”

Prophet Moses Mûsâ (AS) called upon his followers to fight their evil desires.

Allah (SWT) describes Himself, calls us to action &  teaches us a beautiful prayer

Now comes the beautiful and sublime Ayat al-Kursî, a long verse which describes the supreme power & authority of Allah. Read it and reflect upon the description of your Lord.

And finally, as this surah comes to a close, we are urged to have faith in and take responsibility for the rules and regulations laid down in this Sûrah.  Then we are equipped with a beautiful du’a seeking His Mercy. Man might not be able to follow the guidance of Allah (SWT)* perfectly in both letter and spirit; hence it is here that man turns to Divine Help once more.

May we reflect on this message of Community relations, personal obedience & a deep rooted belief in Allah’s Power during tonight’s Taraweeh.

Abbreviations

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

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

 

Dear God, Throw me a Lifeline: 1st Night of Taraweeh 2017

“Dear God, Throw me a Lifeline!” Summary of 1st Night of Taraweeh 2017

Friday

image

Tonight’s Taraweeh consists of Juz (Section) 1  and the first quarter of Juz 2. The Sûrahs covered are Al-Fâtiha (The Opening), and the first two thirds of Al-Baqarah(The Cow).

Sûrat al-Fâtiha

The Qur’ân begins with the beautiful Sûrat al-Fâtiha, containing seven verses and rightly called the “Essence of the Book”. It shows the helplessness of man without the aid of Allah the Almighty. It shows his continuous desire for Allah’s assistance in all matters affecting his daily life.

That is why, by means of this Sûrah, Allah teaches us this perfect prayer and describes His qualities.

Sûrat al-Baqarah

While the essence of al-Fatiha is man crying out to Allah: “O Allah! Help Me.” In al-Baqarah,  Allah says:

“Here is the help and guidance that you need.”

Sûrat al-Baqarah sums up the entire teachings of the Qur’ân. The wisdom for having this Sûrah second in the arrangement of Sûrahs is very logical.

Surah Al Baqarah begins with the example of three types of people: the believers, the disbelievers and the hypocrites.

The creation of man is discussed, the high destiny that Allah wanted him to reach, the temptation of the tree, and the hope held out to him in spite of previous sins.

The story of Banî Isrâ’îl (the Children of Israel) is told as a reminder to us: do not misuse your God given gifts. We also learn how, even with Allah’s prophets and books in their midst, people can still reject the Truth. There were those who rejected the message of Moses and Jesus because of their egos, pride and jealousy. There were those who claimed piety by association. But can one claim the noble Prophet Abraham or any other Prophet exclusively for oneself when one’s actions betray otherwise?

The ancient house of worship, the Ka’ba is introduced as the center of universal worship. It represents Islamic Unity by virtue of the ummah facing 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 procrastinate with various excuses, or they do things half- heartedly. It is then that Allah  says, “There is a disease in their hearts which Allah increases” until they become spiritually “deaf dumb and blind”. Such people are spiritually dead even though they are physically alive.

The stories in this surah give us a glimpse into the kinds of temptations we face on a daily basis in our own lives:

The allure of false promises (Adam & The Tree). Keyword: Ash shajarata (tree).

The urge to make excuses (The Cow). Keywords: al baqarah (the cow), bani israeel (Israelites)

The desire to assert one’s ego (Arrogance of Satan & disbelievers). Keywords: Astakbara (he became arrogant), Iblees (satan).

May we reflect on this message during tonight’s Taraweeh.

Abbreviations

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

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