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Memorize Surah al-Mulk Ramadan 2021 | Verse 2

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Verse 2: Who created death and life to test you [people] and reveal which of you does best––He is the Mighty, the Forgiving;

Meaning, Allah ﷻ alone is the one who created death and life. The creation of life is something obvious; all of us can see examples of how Allah ﷻ brings things into existence from nothing, or how He gives life. But what does it mean that He created death? Death is the absence of life. This verse proves that death is also a created event just like life. Death is not a state of pure non-existence. It’s the removal of the soul from the body and its transfer from one place to another.

One of the reasons why Allah ﷻ specifically chose to mention only life and death is because it covers the entire spectrum of human life. Just as Allah ﷻ created life and death he has created everything in between as well. Another interpretation given for this verse is that Allah ﷻ created all of us for death and life. Meaning, for death in the life of this world and for life in the world to come. 

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Oftentimes the sequence of words in the Quran also has significance. Here the concept of death has been mentioned before life because it creates a greater sense of urgency.The th ought and remembrance of death motivates us to constantly be on watch and do good deeds. ʿAmmār ibn Yāsir (ra) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Death is sufficient as a preacher and certainty is sufficient as a cause of being free from needs.” The thought of death and the remembrance of death will automatically correct our behavior.

Allah ﷻ then tells us why He’s created this cycle of life and death. “That He may test you which of you is best in deed.” The whole purpose of this life, the reason why we were created is to test us and see which of us is best in terms of deeds. Who will believe and do the best righteous deeds? Allah ﷻ gave us life, intellect, feelings, emotions and the ability to think rationally. He has given us free will, the ability to choose what we say and what we do. That’s why we’ll be held accountable for what we say and do. These tests and trials are actually part of Allah’s infinite mercy; they’re an integral part of purification. 

It should be noted here that Allah ﷻ said, “Which of you is best in deed” and not “which of you does more deeds”. This shows that it’s not about the quantity of deeds but the quality. That’s why on the Day of Judgment our deeds won’t be counted but they will be weighed. It could be that the weight of one action is more than a thousand other deeds. Ibn ʿUmar (ra) narrated that once the Prophet ﷺ recited this verse and when he reached the words “better in deeds” said, “that better in deeds is the person who stays away from most things Allah has forbidden and is always ready to obey Him.”

“And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” Allah ﷻ is the All Mighty and the All Powerful. The One who overcomes and can’t be overcome. al-ʿAzeez is one of the names and attributes of Allah ﷻ. It indicates power, predominance, superiority and highness. al-Ghafoor is another attribute of Allah ﷻ. He’s the most forgiving. This means that He is the Almighty, the Most Great, the Most Powerful and the Most Honorable. However, along with this He is Most Forgiving to whoever turns to Him in repentance and seeks His pardon after having disobeyed Him and opposed His commandment. Even though Allah is Almighty, He also forgives, shows mercy, pardons and excuses.

Syed Qutb comments, “The Truth Islam establishes in people’s hearts does not depict Allah as chasing humans to afflict or punish them. He only wants them to be aware of the purpose behind their existence and of their true nature. He wants them to rise to the level worthy of His honor when He blew of His own spirit into them, elevating them above many of His other creations. When they have absorbed this truth and hold to it, they will find that His grace, mercy, and forgiveness are always available to them.”

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Shaykh Furhan Zubairi was born in 1983 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Shortly thereafter, he moved and spent most of his youth in Southern California, graduating from high school in Irvine in 2001. He began his pursuit of Islamic knowledge and spirituality at the Institute of Knowledge (IOK) in 1998, where he started the memorization of the Qur’an and studied the primary books in the Islamic Sciences and Arabic language. After starting college, he took a break and went to Karachi, Pakistan, for 9 months to complete the memorization of the Qur’an at Jami’ah Binoria. He returned home and completed his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine in 2005. He then traveled to Egypt to further his studies of the Arabic language. Thereafter, his pursuit of Islamic knowledge led him back to Pakistan, where he completed a formal ‘Alamiyyah degree (Masters in Arabic and Islamic Studies) at the famous Jami’ah Dar Al-’Ulum in Karachi. He has obtained numerous ijazat (traditional licenses) in the six canonical books of hadith, as well as the Muwata of Imam Malik and Imam Muhammad, and has also received certification in the field of Islamic Finance. Shaykh Furhan Zubairi serves as the Dean of the Full-Time and Part-Time Seminary Programs at the Institute of Knowledge in Diamond Bar, CA. He also serves as IOK University Chaplain for students at UCI and Community Chaplain for the local and extended SoCal Community, and he regularly delivers sermons and lectures at various Islamic Centers and events in Southern California. Learn more about Institute of Knowledge at www.instituteofknowledge.com.

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