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Quran and Sunnah

Ramadan Reflections – Juz 6/7

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Ramadan Reflections Juz 6/7

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Juz 6/7 – Surahs al-Maa’idah and al-An’aam

 

 

Unfortunately due to some travel I had to make and the delay in writing that ensued, I have decided to combine sections for the next few days insha’Allah.

 

 

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَن يَرْتَدَّ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَلاَ يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لآئِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاء وَاللّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

 

O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will replace them with a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing. [5:54]

 

 

In this noble ayah we have a warning from Allah. Were we to imagine (and how foolish that would be) that Allah is in need of us and our efforts, then He brings us the Truth that if we neglect this deen then certainly He shall bring those who will not slacken in its fulfillment nor take it for granted. This is similar to another verse which demonstrates that not only will those who apostate from Islam be replaced, but also those who turn away from fulfilling its obligations:

 

وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُمْ

 

And if you turn away (from Islam and the obedience of Allah), He will exchange you for some other people, and they will not be your likes. [47:38]

 

 

In reality we see this clearly. How many of us are afraid to openly call to Allah? Yet, there are many among those who accept Islam these days who immediately accept the Sunnah in all its fullness and turn quickly to calling people – friends, family, co-workers, etc. – to Islam without shame or fear of blame. They know the darkness of ignorance and disbelief and they wish for all around them to come to the light of Islam. So let this ayah be a strong motivator for us to not take the guidance we have for granted and to not open any window for us to be replaced by someone better.

 

Furthermore, this noble ayah demonstrates clear routes to the love of Allah. We all wish that Allah would love us, so here we are told that this love comes with five characteristics:

 

  1. Loving Allah (more than anything else) – Anas (ra) narrates that Allah’s Messenger (saas) said: “Whoever possesses three qualities will have tasted the sweetness of faith: (i) The one to whom Allah and His Messenger (saas) are more beloved than anything else; (ii) the one who loves a person purely and solely for Allah’s sake; and (iii) the one who hates to return to disbelief after Allah has saved him, as much as he would hate to be thrown into a Fire.” (Agreed)

  2. To be humble with the believers – this refers to the attitude we should have among our brothers and sisters to be forgiving towards them, gentle in speech with them, finding ways to make them happy and to remove their burdens. Ibn ‘Umar narrates that a man asked RasulAllah what was the most beloved deed to Allah, and he (saas) answered, “To bring happiness to your fellow Muslim. To remove one of his burdens, to pay off one of his debts, to relieve him of his hunger (by feeding him) …. (Hasan – al-Asbahani) And ‘Ata ibn abi Rabaah said, “Like a father to his children and like a servant to his master.”

  3. To be tough with the believers – This doesn’t mean to be rude or impolite, but to be firm and not to humiliate yourself before them. To act with the honor that comes from being Muslim and pride in your deen as ‘Umar ibnul Khattab said to Abu ‘Obaidah ibnul Jarraah when they spoke upon his arrival to the outskirts of Jerusalem when Abu ‘Obaidah showed concern for ‘Umar’s simple dress before he was set to meet with the Patriarch of Jerusalem, “We are a people whom Allah honored through Islam (practicing it), and if we were to seek honor through any other means than Allah would certainly humiliate us.”

  4. To strive in the way of Allah

  5. To not fear the blame of the blamers – meaning to practice the Sunnah and not to fear the ridicule or the attacks of the disbelievers who seek to criticize and demean this noble religion. ‘Ubada ibn As-Saamit (ra) said, “We gave the oath of allegiance to Allah’s Messenger that we would listen to and obey him both in times of ease and times of difficulty; and that we would not fight against the ruler or disobey him; and that we would stand firm for the truth or say the truth wherever we might be, and in the Way of Allah we would not be afraid of the blame of the blamers.’

 

 

 

Another very beneficial and important ayah comes later in surat al-Maa’idah:

 

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ لاَ يَضُرُّكُم مَّن ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ إِلَى اللّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

 

O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the right guidance (and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong) no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do. [5:105]

 

 

In this blessed ayah, Allah commands the believers to reform themselves and to be concerned about their deeds. It is an important and often overlooked point as often people seek to reform the world around them before they pay due attention to themselves. The Muslim will be far more successful in their dawah to others if they have implemented what they are teaching in their own lives. In many cases, that person’s behavior is a dawah in of itself without the need for much in the way of words and explanations.

 

Then Allah informs the believers that if they follow the right guidance – adhering to the straight path of Allah as shown in the Quran and Sunnah – that those in error can not cause harm to them and cannot lead them astray. The correct explanation of this portion of the ayah as it relates to commanding good and forbidding evil was mentioned in the following hadith:

 

Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (ra) once stood and said to the people, “O people, indeed you recite the ayah: ‘O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the right guidance no hurt can come to you from those who are in error‘, yet you misunderstand it. Certainly I heard the Messenger of Allah (saas) say regarding it, “If the people witness a wrong and neglect to change it then I fear that Allah will encompass them all in a punishment from Him.” (Sahih – Tirmithi, Ibn Majah)

 

Thus the most exact understanding of following the right guidance is to command the good and forbid the evil after having understood it clearly. This is a common theme throughout the Quran and throughout the ahadith of the Prophet (saas) as referenced below:

 

Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman said that the Prophet said, “By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah will send a punishment on you from Him. Then, you will supplicate to Him, but He will not accept your supplication.” (Hasan – Ahmad, Tirmidhi)

 

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah said, “He among you who witnesses an evil, let him change it with his hand, if he cannot do that, then by his tongue, if he cannot do even that, then with his heart, and this is the weakest faith.” (Muslim)

 

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah gave a speech once and said, “Behold! Fear from people should not prevent one from saying the truth if he knows it.” Abu Sa`id then cried and said, “By Allah! We have seen some errors, but we feared (the people).” (Sahih – Ibn Majah)

 

 

 

Surat al-An’aam

 

Ibn `Abbas said, “All of Surat Al-An`am was revealed in Makkah at night, accompanied by seventy thousand angels, raising their voices in glorification of Allah.”

 

 

 

وَإِذَا جَاءكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا فَقُلْ سَلاَمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ

أَنَّهُ مَن عَمِلَ مِنكُمْ سُوءًا بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ تَابَ مِن بَعْدِهِ وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَنَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

 

When those who believe in Our signs come to you, say: “peace be on you”; your Lord has obligated Mercy upon Himself, so that, if any of you does evil in ignorance, and thereafter repents and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then surely, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [6:54]

 

I chose this beautiful ayah to discuss for its numerous applications for us as Muslims. One of the signs of the Hour that the Prophet (saas) prophesied was the greeting of distinction; that the salam would only be given to those a person knows personally but withheld from others. This is an unfortunate thing that we have already come to see in our own societies how a person can enter a masjid for the first time and virtually be ignored by many inside because they don’t know that person. Had they known the tremendous reward in the greeting, as well as the fact that it is a right of their fellow Muslim upon them, then they certainly would have hasted to it. Here are just a few ahadith on this wide subject:

 

Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar reports that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (saas): “What is the best thing in Islam?” He said, “Feeding others and giving the greeting of salaam to those whom you know and those whom you do not know.” (Agreed)

 

Al-Sanoosi said in Ikmaal al-Mu’allim: “What is meant by salaam is the greeting between people, which sows seeds of love and friendship in their hearts, as does giving food. There may be some weakness in the heart of one of them, which is dispelled when he is greeted, or there may be some hostility, which is turned to friendship by the greeting.”

 

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.” (Muslim)

 

Abu Hurayrah (ra) reports that a man passed by the Messenger of Allah (saas) whilst he was sitting with some others, and said “Salaam ‘alaykum (peace be upon you).” The Prophet (saas) said, “[He will have] ten hasanaat (rewards).” Another man passed by them and said “Salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah).” The Prophet (saas) said, “[He will have] twenty hasanaat.” Another man passed by and said “Salaam ‘alaykum wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakaatuhu (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings).” The Prophet (saas) said, “[He will have] thirty hasanaat.” (Sahih – Nasaa’ee)

 

 

Allah then continues in the ayah by stating that He has obligated Mercy upon Himself meaning that He shall be merciful, compassionate and forgiving to His servants, especially those who sin in ignorance – and as the scholars of tafsir have clarified, everyone who sins does so in ignorance. This Exalted attribute of Allah was mentioned in the following well known Hadith Qudsi:

 

Abu Hurairah said that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said, “When Allah finished with the creation, He wrote in a Book that He has with Him above the Throne, `My mercy prevails over My anger‘.” (Agreed)

 

 

 

And the last ayah we will discuss very briefly:

 

 

وَلاَ تَسُبُّواْ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ فَيَسُبُّواْ اللّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ

كَذَلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّهِم مَّرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

 

And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do. [6:108]

 

 

There is a great and wise principle illustrated in this ayah, and that is the preference for the lesser of two evils or stated another way, to avoid one good action for fear of falling into a greater evil. To not put down that which the disbelievers worship is something evil, yet that they would insult Allah in return is something even worse. `Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented on this ayah saying, “They (the disbelievers) said, `O Muhammad! You will stop insulting our gods, or we will insult your Lord.’ Thereafter, Allah prohibited the believers from insulting the disbelievers’ idols.

 

Regarding this principle (refraining from a good deed to avoid falling into a greater evil) it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said, “Cursed is he who insults his own parents!” They said, “O Allah’s Messenger! And how would a man insult his own parents” He said, “He insults a man’s father, and that man insults his father, and insults his mother and that man insults his mother.” (Agreed)

 

And Allah knows best

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Dr. Ali Shehata is the author of Demystifying Islam: Your Guide to the Most Misunderstood Religion of the 21st Century. Dr. Ali is an Emergency and Family Medicine physician currently living in an area of central Florida. He was born in Maryland to parents who had immigrated to the US from Egypt. He has studied Islam mainly through traditional methods among various scholars, du'at and students of knowledge here in the US.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Ali Shehata

    September 9, 2008 at 5:18 PM

    I’m sorry everyone that this turned out to be longer than I had wanted it to be. Insha’Allah the future reflections will be more concise and easier to complete in a short time.

  2. Amad

    September 9, 2008 at 5:43 PM

    jazakAllahkhair Dr. Ali… long or short, mashalah you are providing us a great service and reminder….

  3. Naila

    September 9, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    There is no need to apologize! What matters most is the invaluable content in the entry rather than the length. JazakAllah khair.

  4. najla

    September 10, 2008 at 8:46 AM

    assalaamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakathu!!!

    sis naila stole najla’s words :)
    jazakhallah khairain dr.Ali Sheheta!

  5. muslim

    September 10, 2008 at 3:38 PM

    JazakAllah Khair. I agree with sister Naila as well.

  6. Tunde

    September 14, 2008 at 12:02 AM

    Asalaam aleikum,

    The lenght of the article doesn’t count, what is important is the content. Every time i read these ayats i learn something new and makes me rethink my actions. Thank you for another wonderful reminder, it really helps to stay o the right path.

  7. Sarah

    December 11, 2008 at 10:33 AM

    This was very beneficial Alhamdulillah. I especially want to share it with a new Muslim sister to help her better understand certain concepts that she asks me about that are answered in this article. Jazakallhukhair!

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