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Oppressors Beware & Oppressed Be Comforted: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #13

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Transcript:

وَلَا تَحۡسَبَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَـٰفِلًا عَمَّا یَعۡمَلُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَۚ إِنَّمَا یُؤَخِّرُهُمۡ لِیَوۡمتَشۡخَصُ فِیهِ ٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرُ ۝٤٢ مُهۡطِعِینَ مُقۡنِعِی رُءُوسِهِمۡ لَا یَرۡتَدُّ إِلَیۡهِمۡ طَرۡفُهُمۡۖ وَأَفۡـِٔدَتُهُمۡ هَوَاۤءࣱ ۝٤٣

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“Don’t think for even a second that The One True God, Allāh, is unaware of what the oppressors do. He’s just delaying them – delaying them until a day when eyes will be locked, wide-open, and starting. Stiff necked, staring, walking fast, heads raised, unable to blink or turn away, heartless chests, no hope for even the slightest bit of good.” [Ibrāhīm: 42-43]

These are extremely terrifying āyāt. Like they are legitimately scary. Even for believers, they instill such a heavy load of fear. But these two āyāt serve to do two things (1) horrify the ẓālim, the oppressor, and (2) give comfort to the oppressed.

This is first and foremost a consolation from Allāh to the Prophet . Allāh knows every single bit of evil, wrong, oppression, murder, slander, … the list goes on … done by the pagans of Makkah, and by extension, the other Arabic tribes that aid them, and even in future years, the hypocrites. Allāh comforts His beloved Messenger : don’t think for even the slightest moment that Allāh is unaware, or is blind to, or is ignoring all of their evil and oppression. This too highlights two things. First, of course, Allāh is Fully Aware of every single thing. The most obvious apparent public thing, and even the tiniest of thoughts and feelings that an individual themselves doesn’t even recognize in their own heart or mind. Second, is that Allāh’s knowledge isn’t just information. He not only knows, but He is Raqīb — He not only sees and knows, but He will deal with all those actions that He sees. If it deserves reward, He’ll reward. If it deserves punishment, He’ll punish. So don’t think that just because evil, vile, disbelievers, oppressors aren’t being dealt with at this very moment means that Allāh doesn’t care or is unaware. He knows full well. But His response to them is also at His Will. When is that time?

إِنَّمَا یُؤَخِّرُهُمۡ لِیَوۡمتَشۡخَصُ فِیهِ ٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرُ

He’s just giving them a little time, a short delay, a teaser, until one very specific day. The Day of Reckoning. A day wherein eyes are locked, fixed, staring, unable to turn away, blink, relax. Their eyes are, perhaps we can say, bloodshot and glazed, stuck wide open, frozen. And within this is an aspect of terror. They can’t blink because the sights and emotions they are feeling are too strong. They are literally so terrified; they can’t close their eyes for even a second.

Not only is it a day when people will be starting in horror, but they will be muhṭīʿīn: stiff necked, staring, walking fast. They can’t turn their heads, they are walking forward with their necks sticking out, they are almost running in fear and panic. They will be miqniʿī ruʾūsihim their heads raised, looking upward. Who knows what horrors they are seeing above them. They will be, as is expressed literally in the Arabic, their eyes, their blink will not come back to them. They will have no control over their sight, unable to blink, gain control, or look away. Their emotions hearts (afʾidah) will be hawāʾ empty and void. They will have no thought, hope, or slightest expectation of any form of good to come their way.

 

Here, Allāh doesn’t actually even mention a single form of punishment. Rather, He suffices by giving us an image of what the oppressors will look like. The multiple layers of shock and fear on their faces are enough to convey to the reader the extreme magnitude of torture and punishment that will soon befall those who oppress.

And yes, these āyāt were revealed to console the Prophet Muḥammad , and apply to those who oppressed him and the early Muslims, but it continues to apply to anyone who oppresses until the end of time. So to remind ourselves, and our brothers and sisters who are oppressed day in and day out, don’t think that Allāh is unaware of the actions of the oppressors. Allāh knows:

  • The oppression and brutality carried out by every single police officer in this country.
  • He knows how many people in the military, navy, air force, marines, and every other branch have taken lives of innocent people all over the globe.
  • He knows the oppression carried out on the hands of every politician, and every CEO.
  • He knows the oppression of the leaders of Israel, of the BJP of India, of the Chinese Communist Party, of the leaders of Burma, of the leaders of Syria, and every other leader on this planet. Whether those leaders are disbelievers, and even if they are Muslim leaders who oppress their own people, or other people, or even if they side those governments and leaders that harm others.

As a reminder for all of us, these āyāt should remind us to never oppress anyone, and to never side, support, or help any other person or party in their oppression. And to give some ease and comfort to those who see nothing but death, blood, explosions, and suffering — Allāh is FULLY aware of what they’ve done. He’s just giving them a few years before He deals with them in a manner that no human would ever be able to.

May Allāh give help, aid, support, and victory to all those who are suffering. And to deal with the oppressors of the world in a way that He sees fit. And to protect and save us from ever being or siding with oppressors.

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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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.

IOK Seminary Faculty train highly motivated and dedicated Muslim men and women in classical Islam and contemporary scholarship, giving them the tools to grow as individuals, effectively serve those around them, and preserve the Islamic tradition in the West.

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