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Ramadan Reflections – Juz 14

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 For all parts, up to and including this one, click “Ramadan Reflections: The Daily Journey

Ramadan Reflections – Juz 14

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Juz 14 – Surat al-Hijr

In the today’s juz, we will insha’Allah reflect upon a portion of Surat al-Hijr. From this surah, we shall take two selections, reflecting upon the latter before the former. Towards the end of this noble surah, Allah states:

وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰكَ سَبۡعً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡمَثَانِى وَٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ ٱلۡعَظِيمَ

لَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيۡنَيۡكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعۡنَا بِهِۦۤ أَزۡوَٲجً۬ا مِّنۡهُمۡ وَلَا تَحۡزَنۡ عَلَيۡہِمۡ وَٱخۡفِضۡ جَنَاحَكَ لِلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

And indeed, We have bestowed upon you seven of Al-Mathaani (the seven repeatedly recited Verses – surat Al-Fatiha) and the Grand Qur’an. Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have given certain classes of them (the disbelievers), nor grieve over them …. [15:87-88]

Ibn Kathir states in his tafseer regarding these ayaat, “Allah is saying to His Prophet: Since We have given you [surat al-Fatiha and] the Grand Qur’an, then do not look at this world and its attractions, or the transient delights that we have given to its people in order to test them. Do not envy what they have in this world, and do not upset yourself with regret for their rejection of you and their opposition to your religion.”

Regarding His statement, “Look not with your eyes ambitiously at what We have given to certain classes of them”, is an encouragement to be content with the Grand Qur’an that Allah has given to you, and to not wish for the luxuries and transient enjoyment that those who disbelieve now experience. Ibn `Abbas said, “He [in this Ayah] forbade a man to wish for what his companion has.”

We had already opened one discussion about the issue of wealth and the transient nature of this life, but this ayah puts it in a different perspective. It causes us to reflect upon the greatness of the Quran, the rope of Allah, that He has blessed us to hold in our hands. How many of us really comprehend the greatness of this blessing? Let us hear what one of the Khulafaa’ ar-Rashideen, Ali ibnu Abi Taalib (ra), said about this priceless blessing:

It is the Book of God. It contains the story of what was before you, the news of what will come after you and a Law that judges between you. It is the definitive statement. It is not a statement of jest. Whoever abandons it out of arrogance, God will utterly destroy, and whoever seeks guidance apart from it, God will lead astray. It is the rope of Allah. It is the wise reminder. It is the Straight Path. It is that which temptations cannot divert and tongues cannot pervert. The people of knowledge (scholars) cannot satisfy their appetite for it. It will never wear thin from much repetition. Its wonders will never cease. [It is the Book] which, when the Jinn heard it [recited], they could not part before saying: “We have head a wondrous Recital, which guides to uprightness.” Whoever speaks in accordance with it is believed. Whoever acts in accordance with it, will be [highly] rewarded. Whoever judges in accordance with it, will be just. Whoever summons [others] to it, will be guided to a straight path. (Tirmithi – sometimes classed as a hadith but more correct as a statement of Ali, and Allah knows best)

This book is a gift in this life, and the adherence to it will be a source of success in both this life and the next. Allah states regarding the Quran in Surat Taha what means, “When guidance comes to you from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor shall they fall into distress or misery. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (neither believes in this Qur’an nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” [20:123-124] It is through the Quran that the successful have benefited from this life and exited it as champions honored, whereas those who neglect it or refuse it shall live lives of difficulty and have their souls ripped forcefully from their bodies as the Angels beat them – may Allah protect us from this.

Some people wonder though, how can the disbelievers have such a life of difficulty when we see them enjoying the riches they have accumulated. For indeed with their wealth comes worry and anxiety over how to preserve it. Do you not see how hard they work for it while in the end it is their inheritors who take it from them? The wise person should ponder the high suicide rates in the wealthiest nations. Nations where everything seems to be served to its people on a silver platter, yet their citizens are consuming boat loads of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines.

They have no real hope for the hereafter and because of this fact, those that don’t commit suicide are found to do whatever they can to prolong this life any way that they can, no matter how miserable it may be. Even though they say with their lips that they shall be the inheritors of the Hereafter, Allah has revealed their hypocrisy when He said what means, “And verily, you will find them the greediest of mankind for life and (even greedier) than the pagans. Everyone of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years.” [2:96] The amazing thing in this ayah is that Allah doesn’t say that they are greedy for al-hayaat in Arabic, which means the life of this world; but that they are greedy for hayaat, which is understood to mean any form of life. Any form of life means that they are not in the grave even if that means a life devoid of any honor. As such you find them wasting the precious moments of their life with ideas like cryo-preservation (freezing the body so that it can be “resurrected” from this state when technology allows – like Star Wars), anti-aging gimmics (the effort to prevent death) and so forth. They don’t seek to extend their life to accumulate more good deeds as the righteous do, but only to avoid the punishment which they know they must face for ignoring the worship of their Creator all of these years.

Now we shall turn back to the opening section of this noble surah to add to the understanding we have just gained insha’Allah. There Allah states:

رُّبَمَا يَوَدُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ لَوۡ كَانُواْ مُسۡلِمِينَ

ذَرۡهُمۡ يَأۡڪُلُواْ وَيَتَمَتَّعُواْ وَيُلۡهِهِمُ ٱلۡأَمَلُ‌ۖ فَسَوۡفَ يَعۡلَمُونَ

How much those who disbelieve will wish ardently that they were Muslims. Let them eat and enjoy life, and let (false) hope beguile them. Soon they will come to know! [15:2-3]

Ibn `Abbas and Anas bin Malik explained that this ayah refers to the Day when Allah will detain the sinful Muslims in Hell along with the mushrikeen. He said: “The mushrikeen will say to them, ‘What you used to worship on earth has not benefited you.’ Then by virtue of His mercy, Allah will be angry for their sake, and He will remove those who used to worship Him from Hell (they are those who will be known as Jahannamiyoon). That is when the mushrikeen will wish that they had been Muslims.”

Thus Allah continues by instructing the Muslims to leave those of them who have denied or ignored the guidance that has been offered to them. Leave them to eat and enjoy life, and to be deceived by their false hopes and “guarantees” of salvation in the Hereafter because soon they will come to know the reality. At that point, they will wish to return to this life and do what they should have done in regards to the worship of Allah alone, but then it will be too late.

So do not be deceived by the wealth that they have or the enjoyment that they seem to demonstrate because in the end this will be their downfall. What enjoyment they do truly have is the reward they receive in this life for the good they have done, because Allah does not deprive a single soul of the reward for the good that it has done. But they shall have no share in the Hereafter and thus they are given some enjoyment for the brief moment of life before they shall be sent forth to their eternal abode in the Fire – may Allah protect us from that.

On this theme, Abu Hurairah reports from the Prophet (saas) that he said, “The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever.” (Muslim) Why a prison? It is because in prison, the inmate is restricted. He is forced to get up at certain times, eat at other specified times, etc. He lives according to rules and has a limited amount of freedom to choose. Yet, the prison is not his final abode. He expects to be in the prison for only a set number of years and then he can have his freedom. Such is the believer. He lives this life according to the boundaries imposed upon him by Allah. He does have some freedoms and enjoyments, but they are restricted. Yet, his hope is that his adherence to the rules of this prison will allow him to enter into the true life of the Hereafter where he will enjoy pure delight without restriction and without end – may Allah allow us to be among them! Whereas the disbeliever is the opposite; he has taken this home to be his final abode with statements like, “You only live once”. He lives his life without any rule except that he should accumulate whatever he can of enjoyment in any way that he can.

Another explanation of this hadith offered by one of the scholars is that this description will become apparent on the Day of Judgment when the believers have entered Jannah and the disbelievers have been pushed into Hell. At that moment, the believers will look back upon their lives in this world as the life of one in prison as compared to the richness and full extent of pure enjoyment they will find in Jannah, whereas the disbeliever will see the life he lived here as a paradise in comparison to the humiliation and punishment he faces in the Hereafter – may Allah make us of the former and not of the latter.

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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. ibnabeeomar

    September 19, 2008 at 2:14 AM

    jazakallahu khayr for this series

  2. nikhat mansoori

    September 19, 2008 at 12:44 PM

    Assalam-o-alakum brother jazakallahu khairan for this wonderful article,we like your series very muchand have read all your ARticles in this series.May Allah (S.W.T.)BESTOW upon you
    the best of HIS blessings and forgive us.AMEEN

  3. shahana

    September 24, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    Assalamoalikum brother masha Allah it is so good that I was searching about the Quran it is so informative for who depend on explanation of Quran .May Allah blessed U for the wonderful work AMEEN

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