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Taraweeh Tonight: Connect With The Quran – Third Night of Ramadan

Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim

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Ramadan 2013 Posts

Third Night of Ramaḍān

Allah, the Al-Mighty, says what can be interpreted to mean:

Surat al-Baqarah – The Cow (002)

254. You who believe, give from what We have provided for you, before the Day comes when there is no bargaining, no friendship, and no intercession. It is the disbelievers who are wrong.

255. God: there is no god but Him, the Ever Living, the Ever Watchful. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. All that is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him. Who is there that can intercede with Him except by His leave? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, but they do not comprehend any of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth; it does not weary Him to preserve them both. He is the Most High, the Tremendous.

256. There is no compulsion in religion: true guidance has become distinct from error, so whoever rejects false gods and believes in God has grasped the firmest hand-hold, one that will never break. God is all hearing and all knowing. 257 God is the ally of those who believe: He brings them out of the depths of darkness and into the light. As for the disbelievers, their allies are false gods who take them from the light into the depths of darkness, they are the inhabitants of the Fire, and there they will remain.

258. [Prophet], have you not thought about the man who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because God had given him power to rule? When Abraham said, ‘It is my Lord who gives life and death,’ he said, ‘I too give life and death.’ So Abraham said, ‘God brings the sun from the east; so bring it from the west.’ The disbeliever was dumbfounded: God does not guide those who do evil.

Further on Allah, the Al-Mighty, says what can be interpreted to mean:

267. You who believe, give charitably from the good things you have acquired and that We have produced for you from the earth. Do not give away the bad things that you yourself would only accept with your eyes closed: remember that God is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.

268. Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and commands you to do foul deeds; God promises you His forgiveness and His abundance: God is limitless and all knowing,

269. And He gives wisdom to whoever He will. Whoever is given wisdom has truly been given much good, but only those with insight bear this in mind.

270. Whatever you may give, or vow to give, God knows it well, and those who do wrong will have no one to help them.

271. If you give charity openly, it is good, but if you keep it secret and give to the needy in private, that is better for you, and it will atone for some of your bad deeds: God is well aware of all that you do.

272. It is not for you [Prophet] to guide them; it is God who guides whoever He will.

Whatever charity you give benefits your own soul, provided you do it for the sake of God: whatever you give will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged.

273. [Give] to those needy who are wholly occupied in God’s way and cannot travel in the land [for trade]. The unknowing might think them rich because of their self-restraint, but you will recognize them by their characteristic of not begging persistently. God is well aware of any good you give.

274. Those who give, out of their own possessions, by night and by day, in private and in public, will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve.

275. But those who take usury will rise up on the Day of Resurrection like someone tormented by Satan’s touch. That is because they say, ‘Trade and usury are the same,’

276. But God has allowed trade and forbidden usury. Whoever, on receiving God’s warning, stops taking usury may keep his past gains– God will be his judge– but whoever goes back to usury will be an inhabitant of the Fire, there to remain. God blights usury, but blesses charitable deeds with multiple increase: He does not love the ungrateful sinner.

277. Those who believe, do good deeds, keep up the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve.

278. You who believe, beware of God: give up any outstanding dues from usury, if you are true believers.

279. If you do not, then be warned of war from God and His Messenger. You shall have your capital if you repent, and without suffering loss or causing others to suffer loss.

Further on Allah, the Al-Mighty, says what can be interpreted to mean:

284. Whatever is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to God and, whether you reveal or conceal your thoughts, God will call you to account for them. He will forgive whoever He will and punish whoever He will: He has power over all things.

285. The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, as do the faithful. They all believe in God, His angels, His scriptures, and His messengers. ‘We make no distinction between any of His messengers,’ they say, ‘We hear and obey. Grant us Your forgiveness, our Lord. To You we all return!’–

286. God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear: each gains whatever good it has done, and suffers its bad–‘ Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make mistakes. Lord, do not burden us as You burdened those before us. Lord, do not burden us with more than we have strength to bear. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Protector, so help us against the disbelievers.’

Further on Allah, the Al-Mighty, says what can be interpreted to mean:

Surat ali-‘Imran – The Family of ‘Imran (003)

14. The love of desirable things is made alluring for men– women, children, gold and silver treasures piled up high, horses with fine markings, livestock, and farmland– these may be the joys of this life, but God has the best place to return to.

15. [Prophet], say, ‘Would you like me to tell you of things that are better than all of these? Their Lord will give those who are mindful of God Gardens graced with flowing streams, where they will stay with pure spouses and God’s good pleasure– God is fully aware of His servants–

16. Those who say, “Our Lord, we believe, so forgive us our sins and protect us from suffering in the Fire,”

17. Those who are steadfast, truthful, truly devout, who give [in God’s cause] and pray before dawn for forgiveness.’

18. God bears witness that there is no god but Him, as do the angels and those who have knowledge. He upholds justice. There is no god but Him, the Almighty, the All Wise.

19. True Religion, in God’s eyes, is islam: [devotion to Him alone]. Those who were given the scripture disagreed out of rivalry, only after they had been given knowledge– if anyone denies God’s revelations, God is swift to take account–

20. If they argue with you [Prophet], say, ‘I have devoted myself to God alone and so have my followers.’ Ask those who were given the Scripture, as well as those without one, ‘Do you too devote yourselves to Him alone?’ If they do, they will be guided, but if they turn away, your only duty is to convey the message. God is aware of His servants.

Further on Allah, the Al-Mighty, says what can be interpreted to mean:

42. The angels said to Mary: ‘Mary, God has chosen you and made you pure: He has truly chosen you above all women.

43. Mary, be devout to your Lord, prostrate yourself in worship, bow down with those who pray.’

44. This is an account of things beyond your knowledge that We reveal to you [Muhammad]: you were not present among them when they cast lots to see which of them should take charge of Mary, you were not present with them when they argued [about her].

45 The angels said, ‘Mary, God gives you news of a Word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, who will be held in honour in this world and the next, who will be one of those brought near to God.

46. He will speak to people in his infancy and in his adulthood. He will be one of the righteous.’

47. She said, ‘My Lord, how can I have a son when no man has touched me?’

[The angel] said, ‘This is how God creates what He will: when He has ordained something, He only says, “Be”, and it is.

48. He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel,

49. He will send him as a messenger to the Children of Israel: “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I will make the shape of a bird for you out of clay, then breathe into it and, with God’s permission, it will become a real bird; I will heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life with God’s permission; I will tell you what you may eat and what you may store up in your houses. There truly is a sign for you in this, if you are believers.

50. I have come to confirm the truth of the Torah which preceded me, and to make some things lawful to you which used to be forbidden. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. Be mindful of God, obey me:

51. God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him– that is a straight path.”’

52. When Jesus realized they [still] did not believe, he said, ‘Who will help me in God’s cause?’ The disciples said, ‘We will be God’s helpers; we believe in God– witness our devotion to Him.

53. Lord, we believe in what You have revealed and we follow the messenger: record us among those who bear witness [to the Truth].’

54. The [disbelievers] schemed but God also schemed; God is the Best of Schemers.

55. God said, ‘Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me: I will purify you of the disbelievers. To the Day of Resurrection I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieved. Then you will all return to Me and I will judge between you regarding your differences.

56. I will make the disbelievers suffer severely in this world and the next; no one will help them.’

57. God will pay those who believe and do good deeds their reward in full; God does not love evildoers.

Further on Allah, the Al-Mighty, says what can be interpreted to mean:

79. No person to whom God had given the Scripture, wisdom, and prophethood would ever say to people, ‘Be my servants, not God’s.’ [He would say], ‘You should be devoted to God because you have taught the Scripture and studied it closely.’

80. He would never command you to take angels and prophets as lords. How could he command you to be disbelievers after you had devoted yourselves to God?

81. God took a pledge from the prophets, saying, ‘If, after I have bestowed Scripture and wisdom upon you, a messenger comes confirming what you have been given, you must believe in him and support him. Do you affirm this and accept My pledge as binding on you?’ They said, ‘We do.’ He said, ‘Then bear witness and I too will bear witness.’

82. Those who turn away after this are the ones who break pledges.

83. Do they seek anything other than submission to God? Everyone in the heavens and earth submits to Him, willingly or unwillingly; they will all be returned to Him.

84. Say [Muhammad], ‘We [Muslims] believe in God and in what has been sent down to us and to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes. We believe in what has been given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets from their Lord. We do not make a distinction between any of the [prophets]. It is to Him that we devote ourselves.’

85. If anyone seeks a religion other than [islam] complete devotion to God, it will not be accepted from him: he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter.

86. Why would God guide people who deny the truth, after they have believed and acknowledged that the Messenger is true, and after they have been shown clear proof? God does not guide evildoers:

87. Such people will be rewarded with rejection by God, by the angels, by all people, 88 and so they will remain, with no relief or respite for their suffering.

89. Not so those who afterwards repent and mend their ways– God is most forgiving and merciful–

90. [Although] the repentance of those who, having believed, then increase in their disbelief, will not be accepted. They are the ones who have gone [far] astray:

91. Those who disbelieve and die disbelievers will not be saved even if they offer enough gold to fill the entire earth. Agonizing torment is in store for them, and there will be no one to help them.

92. None of you [believers] will attain true piety unless you give out of what you cherish: whatever you give. God knows about it very well.

Ustadh Yahya Ibrahim is Canadian by birth & education, Egyptian through a rich ancestry, Turkish via the blessing of marriage to Songul and Australian by Choice of residence and migration. Since his early teens, in the 90's, Ustadh Yahya has been talking about Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. He was blessed with numerous opportunities to meet, translate, study and teach alongside some of the Islamic worlds top scholars. Ustadh Yahya is blessed now to be living in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and three wonderful children – Shireen, Omar and Adam. He is a regular lecturer to Muslim and non-Muslim audiences their and around the world. Recently, Ustadh Yahya was awarded by the West Australian State Government the "Individual Excellence in Community Service Award." Ustadh Yahya is a passionate educator with a decades experience in school leadership as an Asst. Principal & registered Teacher. He, also, serves the Muslim community at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia as the Islamic Chaplain and teaches Islamic Ethics & Theology,internationally, with al-Kauthar Institute www.alkauthar.org .

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#Islam

Lesson 11 From Surah Al-Kahf

Tafsir Verses 72-81

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah last session we were able to explore the meanings and lessons of verses 60-70. InshAllah, we’ll try our best to cover the meanings of verse 71-82. As we learned in the last session, this passage of the Surah deals with a very unique and interesting episode from the life of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). It’s the story of his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. We reached the point in the story where Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finally finds Khidr and asks with the utmost humility and respect to allow him to be his student. This highlights Musa’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) sincerity in seeking knowledge, his lack of pride and his willingness to humble himself in front of Khidr despite his own status as a Prophet.

But Khidr initially declined his request telling him, “Truly you will not be able to bear patiently with me. And how can you be patient with that which you have no knowledge?” Khidr recognized that he would do things that Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) would find to be illogical, irrational and even impermissible. Things that on the surface level seem to be horrible and despicable. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was sent as a Prophet of Divine Law, while Khidr had been entrusted with some unique knowledge and actions that seemed to be contradictory to that law. So he explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he wouldn’t be able to be patient with him and his actions. But Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was extremely eager to learn. He resolved to be patient and obedient while relying upon the will of Allah ﷻ.

He tells Khidr, “You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I shall not disobey you in any matter.” Khidr finally gave in and both of them set off on their way. This is where we’ll pick up the story again. Allah ﷻ says,

Verse 71: So they both went on till, when they had embarked upon a ship, he made a hole in it. He said, “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.”

They set out walking together along the shore looking for a ship to ride. As they were walking a ship of sailors passed by them and Khidr asked for a ride. The sailors knew Khidr so they let both him and Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) come on board without any charge. After traveling for a while Khidr got up and pulled out one of the planks from the bottom of the ship using an ax making a hole in it. This placed everyone on the ship in danger of drowning. Obviously, this seemingly absurd and cruel behavior surprised Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). He was literally in shock. He couldn’t understand why Khidr would do such a thing to someone who helped him out. This went against his moral compass of what’s right and wrong. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) forgot about the conditions of his teacher and objected. These people gave us a free ride and you’re pulling a plank to drown their ship. You’ve done something bad. “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.” Khidr then reminded him gently with patience.

Verse 72: He said, “Did I not say that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to be patient with me and my actions? The way he says this shows that he was willing to overlook and tolerate Musa’s (as) impatience. Musa (as) felt a sense of regret and apologized to Khidr telling him that he completely forgot about his deal.

Verse 73: He (Musa) said, “Do not hold me responsible for what I forgot, and do not make my course too difficult for me.”

Basically he apologized. He said please don’t hold me responsible for what I forgot and allow me to continue travelling in your company. While telling the story the Prophet ﷺ says, “the first (question) was out of forgetfulness. While this conversation was taking place a bird came and sat on the side of the boat and took a sip of water from the ocean. Khidr said to Musa, ‘my knowledge and yours combined in comparison to the knowledge of Allah is like the sip of water compared to the ocean.’” Khidr accepting his apology and they continued travelling on their way.

Verse 74: So, they moved ahead until when they met a boy, he killed him (the boy). He (Musa) said, “Did you kill an innocent soul while he did not kill anyone? You have committed a heinous act indeed.”

“So they continued…” They both got off the ship and started walking along the shore until they came across a young boy playing with his friends. Khidr went up to this young boy and killed him by either strangling him to death or striking him on his head. This was too much for Musa (as) to handle. He objected even more vehemently. How can he kill an innocent young boy for no reason whatsoever? To Musa (as) this seemed absolutely absurd, cruel and unjustified. It was too much for him to tolerate patiently despite his promise not to question anything that he saw. So he said, How can you kill a pure innocent child for no reason whatsoever? You have done something unjustified and have committed a heinous act. Once again Khidr reminds him of the condition that he made and the promise that Musa (as) had given.

Verse 75: He said, “Did I not tell you that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I warn you that you wouldn’t be able to handle what I would do? Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to remain silent when I do certain things? In this reminder, Khidr added the word “laka” to show that this time his reminder is more severe and clearer. The first time someone forgets and makes a mistake it’s overlooked. The second time it’s also overlooked but with a sense of hesitation. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) again feels a sense of regret for breaking his word and not sticking to the conditions of Khidr. He’s now done this twice so he apologizes by saying,

Verse 76: He said, “If I ask you about something after this, do not keep me in your company. You have had enough excuses from me.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)(as) again apologizes but this time gives himself one last chance. He said if he questions Khidr one more time then Khidr can choose to part ways with him. Once again Khidr accepts his apology and they set off on their way. After commenting on this part ibn Kathīr narrates a hadīth from the Prophet ﷺ. He writes, “Ibn Jarir narrated from Ibn `Abbas that Ubayy bin Ka`b said: “Whenever the Prophet ﷺ mentioned anyone, he would pray for himself first. One day he said:

  • «رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى مُوسَى لَوْ لَبِثَ مَعَ صَاحِبِهِ لَأَبْصَرَ الْعَجَبَ، وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ:
  • ﴿إِن سَأَلْتُكَ عَن شَىْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلاَ تُصَاحِبْنِى قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِن لَّدُنِّى عُذْراً﴾»

May the mercy of Allah be upon us and upon Musa. If he had stayed with his companion he would have seen wonders, but he said, (`If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.’))” That brings us to the third and last adventure they had together.

Verse 77: Then, they moved on until they came to the people of a town and sought food from them. But they refused to show them any hospitality. Then, they found there a wall that was about to fall down. So he (Khidr) set it right. He (Musa) said, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Khidr continued traveling until they came upon the people of a town that most commentators identify as the ancient city of Antioch. Being tired and hungry they asked them for some food but they refused to give them any or show them any hospitality whatsoever. As they were leaving the city they came across a wall that was about to fall down. Khidr stopped by it and repaired it. Now, this situation is also bizarre; Khidr is a complete stranger in a town that refused to give them food or host them yet he still stops and fixes their wall for nothing in return. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finds the situation full of irony. Why should a stranger exert so much effort in rebuilding a wall in a town where they were denied even a little food and all hospitality? He should have at least demanded some money for his labor and then they could have bought some food to eat.

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) couldn’t hold himself so he objected, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.” And that was the end of their relationship. Khidr responded,

Verse 78: He said, “This is the parting between me and you. I shall inform you of the meaning of that which you were unable to bear with patiently.”

Meaning, this is the end of our relationship and this is where we’ll part ways. But before we go our separate ways I’ll explain to you the wisdom and hidden meaning behind everything I did. Up till this point in the story, we’ve probably been just as impatient as Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him); we have no clue why Khidr did the things he did. But he then explains everything is detail; why he pulled a plank out of the bottom the ship, why he killed an innocent child and why he rebuilt the wall without taking anything in return.

Verse 79: As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people who worked at sea. I wanted to damage it, for just beyond them was a king who was seizing every ship by force.

Khidr is explained that his act of damaging the ship was, in reality, a means of saving it. It comes in a narration that these poor people were ten brothers, 5 of them were handicapped while the other five worked. The ship was their only source of income. The king was a cruel, tyrannical oppressor who would take ships by force. The damage done to the ship made it undesirable for the king and ultimately saved it for its owners. Had it been seaworthy, it would certainly have been confiscated by the tyrannical king. Perpetrating some small damage to the boat saved it from the greater harm and ruinous injustice which was certain to take place without it. Hence, causing such damage was a good and kindly action. So damaging the ship actually turned out to be a good thing.

Verses 80-81: And as for the young boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he would make them suffer much through rebellion and disbelief. So we desired that their Lord give them in exchange one who is better than him in purity, and nearer to mercy.

Although the young child seemed to be pure and innocent in reality the seeds of disbelief and wickedness were entrenched in his heart. If he had grown up he would have been a source of grief and sorrow for his parents who were believers. Their love for this child would have led them towards evil and wickedness as well. They would suffer because of the rebellion and disbelief. So Allah told Khidr to kill this boy to spare them that grief and to replace him with a child that would be better and more dutiful. Now obviously the parents weren’t aware of this at this time so to them this was a huge loss and tragedy. They weren’t aware of the future difficulties that they were saved from by his death.

Qatādah said, “His parents rejoiced when he was born and grieved for him when he was killed. If he had stayed alive, he would have been the cause of their doom. So let a man be content with the decree of Allah, for the decree of Allah for the believer, if he dislikes it, is better for him than if He were to decree something that he likes for him.” That’s why in connection to these verses ibn Kathīr رحمهم الله quotes the hadīth, “Allah does not decree anything for a believer, save that it is better for him.”

  • «لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ مِنْ قَضَاءٍ إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَه»

It is mentioned in a narration that the parents were blessed with a pious daughter who gave birth to a Prophet. So the murder of this child actually turned out to be something good in the long run.

Verse 82: And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and beneath it was a treasure belonging to them. Their father was righteous, and your Lord desired that they should reach their maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I didn’t do this upon my own command. This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.

Khidr explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that the wall that was about to fall that he rebuilt was covering a treasure that belonged to two orphan boys. If the wall had fallen down the treasure would be exposed and the orphan children would’ve been deprived of their wealth. By rebuilding the wall Khidr made it possible for them to access their treasure when they grew up. This was done partially because their father was a righteous and pious man. Khidr then explains to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he didn’t do any of these things based on his own accord or understanding. Rather he did them according to the Divine command, decree, and will of Allah ﷻ. “And I didn’t do this upon my own command.” He concludes by saying, “This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.” Meaning, this is the explanation of my actions that you didn’t understand and weren’t able to be patient with.

Lessons:

1) One of the most powerful and profound lessons we learn from this entire episode is that oftentimes a tragedy is a blessing in disguise. Everything that happens in this world, whether good or bad, happens according to the Divine will and decree of Allah ﷻ. There’s some deep divine wisdom behind every single thing that happens in this world. When something good happens we recognize it as a blessing. For example, if we get a good job, get a raise at work, purchase a new car or are blessed with the birth of a child. All of recognize this as something positive. On the other hand whenever we face setbacks, difficulties, hardships and tragedies we tend to lose patience.

This incident is teaching us that difficulties, tests, trials, and hardships are oftentimes blessing in disguise. The first thing to understand is that Allah isn’t sending these difficulties our way to break us or destroy us. Rather he’s sending them our way to test our patience and faith, as a source of mercy and a reminder. As a way of nurturing and training us. He’s reminding us to turn back to Him, to hold on to our faith, to be steadfast, patient, strong, and to persevere. When we’re struggling and going through difficult times we shouldn’t assume that somehow Allah is displeased with us. Similarly, when we’re comfortable and enjoying life we shouldn’t assume that Allah is pleased with us. The opposite can be true. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

  • « إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الْخَيْرَ عَجَّلَ لَهُالْعُقُوبَةَ فِى الدُّنْيَا وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الشَّرَّأَمْسَكَ عَنْهُ بِذَنْبِهِ حَتَّى يُوَفَّى بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

“If Allah wants good for his servant, He hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day of Resurrection.”

Everything we face in this world is actually a source of blessing for us. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

  • «مَا يُصِيبُ المُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ،وَلاَ وَصَبٍ، وَلاَ هَمِّ، وَلاَ حُزْنٍ، وَلاَ أَذًى، وَلاَ غَمِّ، حَتَّىالشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا؛ إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ الله بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ»

“No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.”

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that the main tool, the key to deal with the world and all the problems it contains is through patience and turning towards Him. When we’re dealing with our problems we should turn to Allah. We should make dhikr, read Quran, spend time in prayer and reflection and try to be around good company. We should try to focus our attention, our spiritual and emotional energy on our relationship with Allah instead of our problem. By doing so we’ll find peace and comfort. True contentment. Part of patience is recognizing that whatever we’re going through is something that we can handle. Whatever we’re going through will not last forever. That’s why throughout the Quran whenever Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) consoles and comforts the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) He reminds him to be patient and to turn to him. “So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord.” (20:130) “So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth.” (30:60) “So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” (50:39)

2) Being content with the Divine decree of Allah ﷻ.

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Lesson 10 From Surah Al-Kahf

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah last week we were able to explore the meanings of verses 54-59. InshAllah tonight we’ll explore the meanings and lessons of verses 60-70. In this set of verses, Allah ﷻ relates a very unique and interesting story about Musa (as) and his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. Interestingly this story is not told or hinted at anywhere else in the Qur’ān. Similarly this is the only account of Musa (as) in the Qur’ān that doesn’t also have some reference in the Biblical text. This is the third story mentioned in the Surah after the story of the people of the cave and the owner of the two gardens.

Now the Surah itself relates a few events from this story but doesn’t provide all the fine details. For example, it doesn’t mention exactly where this story took place. Nor does it tell us when exactly it took place. So we don’t know if it took place when Musa (as) was still in Egypt, or after he escaped from Fir’awn and his army or even later on. The Qur’ānic narrative also doesn’t mention the name of the individual who Musa (as) sent out to meet. It doesn’t mention who he was, where he was from and whether he was a prophet, scholar or an ascetic. Allah ﷻ simply describes him as “a servant from amongst Our servants”.

One of the reasons why all of these details are left out is because they’re not that important. They actually take away from the main purpose, objective and lessons of the story. We’re supposed to focus on what lessons, morals, and guidance we can derive from these incidents and not worry about the minute detail. However, a more detailed version of this story is found in a hadith recorded in both Sahih Bukhari and Muslim narrated by Ubay ibn Ka’b raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

Ubay ibn Ka’b raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was making a speech to the Children of Israel when he was asked which person had been endowed with the most knowledge. Meaning he was asked, “Who is the most knowledgeable person?” Since Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) wasn’t aware of anyone who was more knowledgeable than him he said, ‘I am’. Even though he was right, Allah ﷻ didn’t like his answer. The situation demanded that he say Allah knows best. Allah ﷻ has a unique way of teaching and training those close to Him. That is why Allah ﷻ gently reprimanded him for his answer and revealed to him that there is a servant of his at the meeting point of the two seas (the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea) who is more knowledgeable than him. This doesn’t mean that Khidr had a higher station than Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). What it means is that he had a special field of knowledge given to him that Musa didn’t have.

Musa had an intense desire to seek knowledge. So he asked Allah ﷻ, ‘How can I find him?’ Allah ﷻ told him to cook a fish, place it in a basket and head towards the meeting point of the two seas. The place where you lose fish is the place where you will find Khidr. So Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) set out with his servant/student Yusha’ ibn Nun, who in English is Joshua. This is where Allah ﷻ starts the story in the Quran.

Verse 60: And when Musa said to his servant, “I shall continue on till I reach the junction of the two seas, even if I journey for a long time.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was instructed by Allah to travel to the meeting point or junction of the two seas and that is where he will find Khidr, the one who is more knowledgeable than him. So Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in his determination said that he will continue traveling till he reaches this junction even if it takes him a long time. There’s a lot of discussion amongst the commentators regarding the exact location of the junction of the two seas. Some mention it’s referring to the point where the fresh water of rivers meets the salt water of the seas. Others mention that it’s the meeting point between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The actual geographical location is ultimately immaterial to the story; it doesn’t really matter. The narration mentions that they continued to travel until they reached a large rock where they decided to rest for a while. Both of them fell asleep. As they were sleeping, all of a sudden, the fish moved, fell out of the basket and into the ocean. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) stopped the flow of water around the fish forming a tunnel around it allowing it to swim.

Verse 61: Then when they reached the junction of the two, they forgot their fish, and it made its way to the sea, burrowing away.

Yushā’ witnessed this extraordinary event. He saw the fish make its way into the sea and burrow away. Meaning, a tunnel was formed around it allowing it to swim away. When Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) woke up he forgot to tell him and they continued on their journey. They traveled for another day and night. After traveling for another day and night Musa finally felt hungry.

Verse 62: Then when they had passed beyond, he said to his servant, “Bring us our meal. We have certainly met with weariness on this journey of ours.”

They had passed the meeting point of the two seas, which is where they decided to rest and where the fish escaped from the basket. So when he finally felt hungry he asked Yushā’ to take out the fish that they had prepared to eat. In the narration, the Prophet ﷺ says, “Musa didn’t feel any fatigue until he passed the place Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)informed him of. When Musa asked for food that is when Yusha’ remembered what had happened to the fish.

Verse 63: He said, “Did you see? When we took refuge at the rock, indeed I forgot the fish – and nothing made me forget to mention it except Shaytān – and it made its way to the sea in a wondrous manner!”

He told Musa (as) that while they were resting at the rock the fish miraculously came back to life and made its way into the ocean. And that he completely forgot to tell him and that Shaytān made him forget. When Musa (as) heard this he remarked,

Verse 64: He said, “That is what we were seeking!” So they turned back, retracing their steps.

He immediately realized that the place where the fish was lost to the sea was exactly the place where he would meet the servant of Allah more knowledgeable than him. So they turned back retracing their steps back to that rock.

Verse 65: There they found a servant from among Our servants who We had granted mercy from Us and whom We had taught knowledge from Our presence.

When they returned to that rock they found a man lying there covered in a white sheet. Musa (as) greeted him with Salam startling Khidr who replied, “Where is this salam coming from in this land? Who are you?” He replied, “Musa.” Khidr asked, “Musa Bani Israel?” He answered, “Yes.” The servant from among our servants is identified by all commentators as Khidr or Al-Khadir, which is translated as the Green One. It’s mentioned that wherever he prayed or stood everything around him would become green. There’s a huge discussion regarding his status as well; was he a prophet, a messenger or simply a righteous servant of Allah? What we do know with absolutely certainty is exactly what the Qur’ān tells us. He was a righteous servant who was granted unique divine mercy and was given a special type of knowledge from Allah ﷻ. Some of the commentators mention that “rahmah” is referring to the fact that he was a wali; a very devout and close servant of Allah. The knowledge from Allah is knowledge from the unseen that he taught to Khidr. It’s an understanding of the divine wisdom and reason behind the occurrence of certain events.

Verse 66: Musa said to him, “May I follow you so that you can teach me some of that which you have been taught of sound judgment?”

Musa (as) asked him with the utmost respect and humility to allow him to be his student. This form of questioning, this request is full of humility. Musa made himself a follower of Khidr, asked for permission and admitted his ignorance regarding the knowledge that Khidr had. Khidr responded to his request as Allah ﷻ tells us,

Verses 67-68: He said, “Truly you will not be able to bear patiently with me. And how can you be patient with that which you have no knowledge?

Khidr recognized that he would do things that Musa (as) would find to be illogical, irrational and even impermissible. Things that on the surface level seem to be horrible and despicable. So he explained to Musa (as) that he wouldn’t be able to be patient with him and his actions. He explained to Musa (as), “O Musa! I have knowledge from Allah that you don’t have that he taught me. And you have some knowledge from Allah that he taught, which I don’t have.”

  • يا موسى، إني على علم من علم الله، لا تعلمه، علمنيه، و أنت على علم من علم الله علمكه، لا أعلمه.

But Musa (as) is extremely eager to learn. He resolves to be patient and obedient while relying upon the will of Allah ﷻ. He says,

Verse 69: He said, “You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I shall not disobey you in any matter.”

Meaning, don’t worry, you’ll find me to be patient, if Allah wills, and I won’t disobey you or challenge you in any matter. This convinced Khidr to allow Musa (as) to accompany him as his student but with certain conditions.

Verse 70: He said, “If you will follow me, then don’t question me about anything until I mention it to you.”

Meaning, he told Musa (as) that if you follow me then you’re not allowed to ask me about anything or challenge anything I do until I allow you to do so. Musa (as) accepted this condition and then they both set out together. Now up till this point in the story, there are several important lessons that we can learn and derive.

1) Intellectual humility – Our knowledge regarding a specific topic or subject, our understanding of a certain issue or our expertise in a certain field shouldn’t make us proud and arrogant. It shouldn’t make us think that we’re better than anyone else. Rather it should make us humble; it should create a sense of gratitude and humility. We should express gratitude to the One who gave us that knowledge and should recognize that there’s much more that we don’t know. And that’s the lesson that Allah ﷻ taught Musa (as). When he was asked who is the most knowledgeable individual, Musa (as) based on his own understanding and station as a Prophet assumed that he was. So Allah ﷻ gently reprimanded him for his answer and revealed to him that there is a servant of his at the meeting point of the two seas (the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea) who is more knowledgeable than him.

No matter how advanced we become as human beings, no matter how many discoveries we make and how many inventions we create, our knowledge is still limited; it’s nothing compared to the infinite knowledge of Allah ﷻ. As Allah ﷻ tells us in the Qur’ān, “Over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing.” Similarly, in one of the narrations, Khidr tells Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), “My knowledge or your knowledge compared with the knowledge of Allah is nothing but the small amount of water the sparrow takes in its beak.” This is especially true for religious knowledge; the more we learn the more we should recognize that we don’t know. That’s why it’s important for us to not reject or disregard things that we don’t know or haven’t heard of. Just because we don’t know something, haven’t heard something or haven’t read something, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Also, learn how to say “I don’t know”. There’s a famous story of Imām Mālik …

2) The importance of seeking knowledge. Seeking knowledge is something that has to be done actively; it’s not a passive activity. knowledge isn’t something that’s going to come to us automatically. It’s something that requires us to put in work; it requires time, effort, wealth and sacrifice. And in order to seek knowledge, we’ll have to go through some difficulties. Seeking knowledge is a religious obligation upon us just like praying, fasting, paying zakah and performing Hajj. The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” All the commentators agree that this is referring to knowledge of Allah; knowledge of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. That knowledge that brings us closer to Allah ﷻ. That’s why there are so many narrations from the Prophet ﷺ that encourage us to seek knowledge. Interestingly, this is the only story in the Qur’ān that talks about seeking knowledge and in it the student is required to go and look for the teacher. On a side, not the amount of knowledge we learn regarding our religion at homes or at Sunday schools is not enough. We need to have a systemized way of learning the fundamentals of our faith and religion and teaching it to our children.

3) Respecting the people of knowledge. This is another very important lesson we learn from this particular part of the story. Musa (as) is a Prophet, he’s kalīm Allah, the one who spoke directly with Allah ﷻ, yet he still treated Khidr with the utmost honor and respect. Knowledge itself has a very special status in Islam and because of its status, those who seek it and possess it have also been granted a special status. As the Prophet ﷺ told us, “The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets.” Humility is an essential characteristic that we as students must have to truly benefit from our teachers. In the hadith of the Messenger of God ﷺ, when the angel Jibrīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) came to ask the Prophet ﷺ about Islam, Imān, and Iḥsān, he is described as having, “put his knees against the knees [of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)] and placed his hands on his thighs.”[2] When the Companions used to sit with the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), they did not use to raise their heads up to him out of their reverence for him. It is reported on the authority of Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), “If the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to enter the mosque, none of us used to raise our heads except Abū Bakr and ʽUmar. They used to smile at him and he used to smile at them.”[3] It is also reported on the authority of ʽUbāda b. al-Ṣāmit that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said regarding respecting scholars and honoring them, “He is not from my community who does not venerate our elders, have mercy on our youth, and know the rights of our scholars.”[4]

Disrespect of scholars and people of knowledge is actually a problem within our communities and has been for some time. People of the past used to say that the flesh of scholars is poisonous and the way of Allah with those who insult them is well-known. So whoever insults the scholar of this ummah by his tongue Allah will afflict him in this world by death of the heart. There are many other beneficial lessons that we can derive from this story that we’ll talk about next session after we complete the story itself.

4) Studying is an act of worship but it’s not the goal in and of itself. The goal is to attain guidance.

 

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Lesson 9 From Surah Al-Kahf

Verses 55-59

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah, last session we were able to cover the meanings and lessons of verses 50-53. InshAllah, tonight we’ll be exploring the meanings of verses 54-59 and some of the lessons we can learn from them. In the last set of verses, Allah ﷻ very briefly mentioned the story of Adam (as) and Shaytān’s refusal to prostrate before him. We talked about how this story is mentioned in several places throughout the Qur’ān and that each time that it’s mentioned, it’s mentioned for a different purpose. Here it was mentioned to highlight the evil nature of kibr; pride, arrogance, and haughtiness or thinking that we’re better than others because of some quality that we possess. The passage also highlighted the consequences of disbelief in the Hereafter.

Verses 54-59

In this next set of verses, Allah ﷻ covers a number of different topics. He starts off by describing one aspect of the Qur’ān by saying,

Verse 54: And indeed We have employed every kind of parable for mankind in this Qur’ān. And man is the most contentious of beings.

This is a very beautiful verse in which Allah gives us a holistic understanding or a macro understanding of the Qur’ān. “And indeed We have employed every kind of parable for mankind in this Qur’ān.” A parable is an example or a metaphor that is used by Allah in the Qur’ān to provide us with lessons and guidance. They are known as amthāl al-Qur’ān. They provide us with reminders, lessons, encouragement, reprimand, reflection, contemplation, ease understanding, and illustrate difficult concepts with something tangible. Allah ﷻ uses amthāl to help us understand concepts such as faith, patience, gratitude, morality, ethics, values, reliance, life, death and resurrection.

In this verse, Allah ﷻ is telling us that He has clearly explained and clarified every single thing that we as human beings need to know, both worldly and religious affairs, in the Qur’ān so that we can know and recognize the path of truth and guidance. The Qur’ān contains guidance for every single thing we need to know as human beings in order to achieve success in this life and more importantly in the life to come. Allah ﷻ describes the Qur’ān is Surah Yusuf as “an elaboration of all things.” The full verse is, “Certainly in their stories is a lesson for those possessed of intellect. It is not a fabricated account; rather, it is a confirmation of that which came before it, and an elaboration of all things, and a guidance and mercy for a people who believe.”

The Qur’ān is our book of guidance; it’s our roadmap to happiness in this world and salvation in the hereafter. That’s why it’s so important for us to have a real, daily, practical and intimate relationship with the Quran. We have to read it, contemplate over its meanings and internalize its message. That’s why the Quran was revealed. To reflect, ponder and contemplate over its meanings. Ali (ra) said, “Indeed there’s no good in worship without fiqh, there’s no good in knowledge without understanding, and there’s no good in recitation without contemplation.” The more we engage with the book of Allah, the more we learn and the more we understand.

It’s such a book that its wonders are never-ending, it never becomes boring through repetition, whoever speaks from it will speak the truth, whoever rules with it will be just, and whoever holds fast to it will be guided to the straight path. That’s why ibn ‘Abba (ra) said, “If I lost the rope of my camel I would find it in the book of Allah!”

Despite the fact that the Qur’ān is a book of guidance and that it contains everything we need as human beings, Allah tells us why some people still fail to take advantage of it or benefit from it. “And man is the most contentious of beings.” Meaning, despite the clarity of the Qur’ān, despite its guidance, despite its light and details human beings still choose to oppose and argue against the truth. Even though Allah (swt) has explained everything necessary in detail, mankind is still predisposed to argument and dispute. That is why we find a lot of people who choose to reject the truth and disbelieve.

Allah ﷻ then tells us that oftentimes people refuse to believe because of two reasons: 1) they are waiting for punishment or 2) they wanted to see the punishment of the hereafter with their own eyes.

Verse 55: And nothing prevents men from believing when guidance comes to them and from seeking forgiveness from their Lord, except that [they wait] for what befell earlier generations to come to them, or the punishment to come upon them face to face.

This verse is referring specifically to the non-believers of Makkah but is applicable to anyone who rejects and denies the truth after it has been clarified to them. Allah ﷻ is telling us that nothing prevented the non-believers of Makkah from accepting faith after having witnessed clear signs and proofs regarding the existence and oneness of Allah and the messengership of Muhammad ﷺ, and seeking forgiveness from their Lord except for two things:

1) Being afflicted with punishment and destruction like the previous nations or 2) Seeing and experiencing the punishment of the hereafter with their own eyes. Meaning, they’re waiting to see if the same worldly punishment that befell earlier people will come upon them as well or to witness the punishment of the hereafter with their own two eyes. What this means is that they won’t believe or accept faith until they are punished. Everything has already been explained to them; there’s no reason for them to reject or deny the truth. They have received guidance in plenty, which should have been sufficient for them to believe and follow Allah’s orders. But they demanded for themselves the sort of suffering that befell nations of old. They made such a demand thinking that Allah’s punishment would never overtake them, or they did so in mockery. Sometimes they modified their demands, asking for the punishment to be shown directly to them. That, they argued, would prove what the Prophets preached and then they would believe in them. However, punishment comes from Allah, not the Messenger, and that’s why Allah says next,

Verse 56: And We don’t send the messenger except as bearers of glad tidings and as warners. And those who disbelieve dispute falsely in order to refute the truth. They take My signs and that which they have been warned as mockery.

The word mursalīn is translated as messengers and refers to all of the previous prophets and messengers that were sent by Allah ﷻ throughout history. This verse is telling us that their role or function was to convey the message. That included giving glad tidings of forgiveness, reward and paradise for those who believed and warnings of punishment and sin for those who rejected the truth. However, despite receiving the message and recognizing its truth they decided to argue against it. “And those who disbelieve dispute falsely in order to refute the truth.” They argue against it not because they’re right; rather, because they want to refute the truth. And since they’re unable to they resort to mockery and derision. “They take My signs and that which they have been warned as mockery.” They treat the Qur’ān, revelation, miracles, evidence, and proof as a joke; something to be taken lightly and made fun of. This is the worst kind of rejection and denial. It’s an attitude of arrogance and ignorance. Imagine hearing the truth, recognizing it and then rejecting it through mockery and ridicule because of pride, arrogance, and stubbornness.

After explaining the reason for their disbelief and their mockery, Allah describes the non-believers with some characteristics that bring them disgrace and dishonor.

Verse 57: And who does greater wrong than one who has been reminded of the signs of his Lord, then turns away from them and forgets that which his hands have sent forth? Surely We have placed coverings over their hearts, such that they understand it not, and in their ears a deafness. Even if you call them to guidance, they will never be rightly guided.

There is no injustice greater than disbelief, especially after witnessing the signs and evidence of the truth and then turning away from them. On top of that, they are heedless and careless of what they do in this world. Oftentimes we forgot how great of a sin and injustice disbelief truly is; we don’t recognize the gravity of rejecting and refusing to accept the truth. There’s no sin greater than disbelief. The rhetorical question mentioned at the beginning of the verse, “and who does greater wrong than the one who has been reminded of the signs of his Lord, then turns away from them and forgets that which his hands have sent forth”, is repeated throughout the Qur’ān. It’s usually asked in relation to those who deny the signs of Allah ﷻ. So Allah ﷻ is telling us that there’s absolutely no one worse or more disgraceful than a person who turns away from His signs that invite him towards the truth, success, and salvation.

On top of that, they forget about the consequences of their actions or they don’t care about the consequences of their actions. They say what they want and do what they want without any thought or apprehension. This is the absolute most unjust type of person; they’re not just to themselves nor are they just in their relationship with Allah ﷻ. As a consequence of their disbelief, rejection, stubbornness, and disobedience Allah places a seal over the hearts and ears. “Surely We have placed coverings over their hearts, such that they understand it not, and in their ears a deafness. Even if you call them to guidance, they will never be rightly guided.” Their hearts are covered.

The heart within this Islamic tradition has been given a lot of importance. It’s considered to be the center of understanding and enlightenment. It’s the center of faith, belief, reliance, and true comprehension; true recognition of the truth. Modern science attributes this to the mind and the intellect but we understand it to be the heart. The heart is “a subtle tenuous substance of an ethereal spiritual sort, which is connected with the physical heart. This subtle tenuous substance is the real essence of man. The heart is the part of man that perceives and knows and experiences; it is addressed, punished, rebuked, and held responsible…” The heart in the Islamic tradition is the center of being, intellect, and consciousness. So those who turn away from Allah, reject the truth and engage in sin and disobedience, a seal is placed over their hearts. They’re no longer able to perceive and recognize the truth; they can’t tell right from wrong.

Similarly, a “deafness” is placed in their ears. Meaning they hear the truth being spoken but they’re unable to understand and comprehend. That’s why Allah then consoles and comforts the Prophet ﷺ by telling him that if you invite them towards guidance they will never be guided. Again this is a result and consequence of their own actions and choices. Allah ﷻ tells us this elsewhere in the Qur’ān as well. For example, in Surah Al-Mutafifīn Allah says, “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” “Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearings, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allah’s Guidance), and on their eyes, there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.” “These people who treat what Allah has bestowed from on high with mockery and who ridicule His warnings cannot understand the Qur’ān or comprehend its message. Hence, Allah places over their hearts screens which prevent them from understanding it. In their ears, He causes a sort of deafness so that they cannot hear it. He has also willed that, because of their deliberate refusal and willful turning away from His guidance, they will never be guided. For guidance to penetrate people’s hearts, such hearts must be open to receive it in the first place.”

Despite their pride, arrogance, ignorance, stubbornness, and refusal to accept the truth Allah ﷻ in His infinite mercy delays their punishment. He gives them time to reflect, ponder, think, recognize their mistakes and repent.

Verse 58: And your Lord is Forgiving, Possessed of mercy. Were he to take them to task for that which they have earned, He would have hastened the punishment for them. Nay, but theirs is an appointed time, beyond which they shall find no refuge.

Allah ﷻ is Al-Ghafūr, the All-Forgiving, the Possessor of infinite and limitless mercy. He forgives regardless of how much a person has sinned or how major or grave the sin is. And He continues to forgive as a long as a person turns back to Him in forgiveness and repentance. And His mercy is infinite; it encompasses every single thing in this universe. If Allah ﷻ wanted to He could have held people accountable for what they’ve done immediately. If that were the case he would have brought punishment upon them in this world without any delay. As Allah ﷻ tells is in Surah Fātir, “And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving (living) creature on the surface of the earth, but He gives them respite to an appointed term, and when their term comes, then verily, Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves.” Instead, Allah ﷻ has set an appointed time for their punishment, which can come in this world or the next. It’s up to Allah.

Verse 59: And those towns, We destroyed them for the wrong they did, and We set an appointed time for their destruction.

Allah is reminding them of the past nations that were destroyed because of their rejection and disobedience such as, ‘Aad, Thamūd and the people of Lūt (as). The Qur’ān repeatedly refers to the destruction of whole towns as a result of their disbelief and wrongdoing. All of these references are found in Makkan revelation because they’re mostly intended as warnings for the Quraysh of Makkah.

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