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Constructing Identity: Loud Whispers, Lasting Echoes

Qiyam Contemplations : Part 1 August 29, 2014

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As Salam Alaykum

These reflections were written over the 29 nights of Ramadan 1435/2014, and many were presented by myself at Masjid ul-Islam in Johannesburg, South Africa to the congregation before the taraweeh prayers. I have posted them in three parts, and they cover, generally, the 30 Juz division of the Qur’an. Read Part 2

I am especially thankful to my husband for his support, co-parenting and unwavering patience; to friends, family and readers for encouraging me to keep up with the postings throughout the month, to my Kazakh sister Yelena Muzykina for sharing her own introspections from the Bible on each of my posts. I am indebted to my teachers throughout the years (some who do not even know I consider them teachers), for the knowledge of Arabic, Tafsir and an honest, critical dip in the vast ocean of our classical legacy, in particular to beloved Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, from whose spiritual love, knowledge, companionship and guidance I constantly draw inspiration; to try, in my limited capacity, to connect with the infinite Grace, Mercy and Wisdom of  Allahu Ta’ala – and to Him, our Creator, I am eternally grateful for the gifts of the soul, the Qur’an and the life of al-Habib Muhammad (saw).

 

Introduction

A journey through the Quran – where to begin such a journey – a journey of a single moment, when Allah reached out to humankind, to His creation through His chosen messenger, al-Habib (saw)  – and a journey of a thousand years from that moment, a journey we need to take inside ourselves, a thousand times over.

Orientalist commentators of the Quran often criticized how the Quran seemingly jumps from one topic to the next, there being no apparent “linear” structure. As a Muslim and a book-lover, I know that the Quran is not that kind of book – WE need to suspend our ideas of “logic”, of what makes sense, the very power of the Quran for me, is that it is not linear – it challenges us to relfect and feel in different ways, to think out of the box.

 

Qiyam Contemplation 1

“And to Allah belongs the East and the West. So wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing, all-Knowing.” (2:115)

Dear brothers and sisters, I pray that wherever we may turn this Ramadan, we find Him … and are grateful …

“Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me” (2:152)


Allah tells us, from what was recited tonight, our dhikr (remembrance) is rewarded with His dhikr, He can be “with” us when we seek help in sabr (patience) and salat (prayer) (2:153) and that His salawat (blessings) and rahma (mercy) will descend (2:157) on those of us who attribute our origins and return to Him in times of difficulty (2:156). Therein are the keys to seeing His Face wheresoever we turn.

Alhamdulillah wa Shukrlillah for this month, may it be for the One who prescribed it.

 

Qiyam contemplation 2

Moving through the Quran, from beginning to end in its compiled sequence is a journey to be taken as many times as we can, it is a voyage of discovery, as much into the self as into Allah … for as Allah reveals of Himself, we begin to understand everything we are and are not, our limits and our capabilities …

Slowly, exquisitely, Allah does reveal of Himself … first in al-Fatiha as al-Rahman (the Supremely Merciful), al-Raheem (the most Compassionate), but also al Malik/al-Maalik (the King/Owner), then as Al-Hayy (the ever-living), al-Qayyum (self-existing), in Ayat al-Kursi, wherein He also elaborates,

“no slumber or sleep can overtake Him … ” (2:155)

Look at how we, His creation, are so reliant on rest, which is a great blessing … and look also at how we remain in our own self-induced slumber, asleep from our true selves, made lethargic by the excessiveness of our modern world … enticed by everything other than Him? When will we wake up, out of this inertia to His reality and to embrace the roles we were created for … as His ‘Ibad (servants) (2:21) and Khulafa (representatives) (2:30)?

As Allah reveals of His characteristics, He also reveals how to reach out to Him …

“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the supplicant when they call on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (2:186)

Call, ask, beg … but more importantly, Answer …

 

Qiyam contemplation 3

Tonight, my reflection is dedicated to all my sisters reading this, as Surah Aal Imran was recited in thousands of masaajid around the world and it is a chapter of birth and of life …of Maryam (as), of Isa (as), of Yahya (as) and of a new community of believers, in the deserts of Arabia, enraptured by the words of Allah”.

The story of Umm Maryam is a powerful symbol of women’s spirituality, and the way we can embrace all our experiences, including our biological roles, on the spiritual plane in the worship of Allah. When I read how Umm Maryam speaks to Allah, with such certainty, so eloquently and articulately, praising and glorifying Him as is His right … claiming her right to dedicate of herself to Gods way … I have hope, that we women of today, can also embrace fully our spiritual truths.

“As the wife of Imran said, “Oh My Rabb! Surely I have vowed to you what is in my womb in dedication to your service; so (graciously) accept (it) from me. Surely, You, are The Ever-Hearing, The Ever-Knowing.” (3:35)

Umm Maryam became confused when she gave birth to a baby girl – how would a female serve in the temple? Allah responds …

“the male child is not like this female” (3:36)

and Allah Himself accepts Maryam (as) in His service,

“So her Sustainer accepted her with a beautiful acceptance, and made her to grow up beautified, and placed her in the care of Zakariyya.” (3:37)

Here now, is the young Maryam (as), growing up, completely against social convention, in the temple. Under the care of Zakariyya (as), she comes to a deep consciousness of Allah, and ends up teaching her guardian himself (as) one of the most important lessons, which shapes his destiny and leads to the birth of Yahya (as)

“Every time Zakariyya entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, “O Mary, from where is this coming to you?” She said, “It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account. At that, Zakariyya called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me from You a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.”(3:37-38)

This was Maryam (as), whom Allah declared as “purified, chosen and preferred over all women of the worlds” (3:42) … who later went on to become a single mother to Isa (as) in the miraculous birth.

Then, towards the end of Surah Aal Imran, Allah answers the questions of the female companions of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) who were concerned that there was no mention of their sacrifices (particularly the first hijrah to Abyssinia), they were not afraid to question, to claim the acts which they did for the pleasure of Allah and for the fledgling Muslim community, and they received a response that is recorded for all time, a response from Allah Himself, which is also one of hope to us,

“And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of any worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another, So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed – I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah and Allah has with Him the best reward.” (3:195)

May we use this Ramadan to revive our spirituality, our higher consciousness, our soul-selves which is “min amri Rabbi” (of the command of Allah 17:85) and aspire to emulate these women … Umm Maryam, Maryam (as) and the women (ra) around our beloved Messenger (saw) who did not let motherhood, social convention and cultural norms hinder them from sacrifice and service to the Almighty, whether through their wombs, their service in the sacred spaces, uprooting their homes or giving their lives … for the message of Oneness.

On this night, 3 years ago, I was preparing to give birth to two little girls, Kimiya and Eethar – who were born early the next morning … Alhamdulillah, wa shukrulillah … they inspire me to be the best human being I can be, to challenge the cultural patriarchy which has clouded our spirituality, to do all that I can do to bring about inner and outer transformation and learn as much as I can learn of this beautiful Way… so if ever they are told, “a woman can’t do that”, they can simply say “my mother did”, and insha’allah, uplift themselves and the world around them under the guidance and protection of their Creator.

 

Qiyam Contemplation 4

Surah Nisa (The Women), contains some of the most “controversial” verses in the Qur’an due to issues relating to the two genders and their relationships with each other, some would argue based on “superiority” and others, “responsibility”. There are enough tafseer and counter-tafseer which either oppose or support gender justice. Sometimes we fall into the same trap as the people of Musa (as), who became so fixated with the minute details of what kind of cow to sacrifice that they forgot the actual objective of the sacrifice – the bigger picture (not that those other verses are not important, or that we shouldn’t be having those conversations – we should, but first, be-able to see the vision of the Quran, or we remain trapped in discussions of merely rights, roles and functionalities, rather than moving beyond to purpose, objectives and essence). Lets look at the bigger picture of Surah Nisa

“Oh humankind, be consciously aware of your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And be careful of your duty to Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah ever watches over you” (4:1)

Having Taqwa of Allah is equated here to revering the wombs which bore us, and by extension – the ties of family. However, even this is qualified – based on justice –

“Oh You who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and those nearest to you. Whether one is rich or poor, for Allah can best protect both. So follow not personal desires, in case it causes you to deviate from being just. And if you distort or refuse (justice), then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Aware.” (4:135)

Ultimately, Allah wants for us to move away from our base desires which lead us away from Justice, even as He says “humankind was created weak” (4:28), He also shows us how to find the strength to overcome this –

“If you avoid the most heinous of the sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall expel out of you all the evil in you, and admit you to a gate of great honour.” (4:31)

and the greatest sin, below which all else is forgiveable by Allah is Shirk –

“Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, has devised indeed a tremendous vice” (4:48)

Therefore, affirm and re-affirm Oneness, again and again, with heart, soul and body … so that rather than associating partners with Allah, we would be associated with those beloved to Allah,

“All who obey Allah and the Messenger are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah, – of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good). What a beautiful companionship!” (4:69)

May Allah keep us and raise us in this fellowship with the Ambiya, Siddiqeen, Shuhada and Saaliheen.

That is my take on Surah Nisa – sorry, no controversy – just sincere hope that Allah turns to us when we turn to Him, for if He wants something, we cannot want anything less –

“And Allah does desire to turn to you in mercy” (4:27)

 

Qiyam Contemplation 5

It is so easy to read Surah Ma’idah as yet another of the chapters which speak at length about the Ahl Kitab, the People of Scripture – the Jews and the Christians – and think it doesn’t have much to do with us. The problem is – we have stopped seeing ourselves (Muslims) as intrinsically connected to those before us when in fact we are deeply connected by the thread of Tawhid which was sent through various messengers to humankind … so much is revealed to us through those who received the message before us. We are of each other … recipients of this Divine message (and this is not just restricted to Jews and Christians of course, but to all the inheritors of Tawhid, some of whom we know, and others we don’t. I mention these two groups because it is they who are mentioned frequently in this Surah).

This message is an ancient one – it reaches out to us from the very beginning of time from the One beyond Time – and the story of every religion is our story as well, for all of it is from Allah. When the Qur’an points to the mistakes and shortcomings of any group of people – it is because human beings in general, are prone to these faults – they are reminders to us as much as they are rebukes to those before us!

It is also easy to relegate surah Ma’idah as the chapter which tells us what to eat and what not to eat … (and of-course, we should eat of the good, pure and wholesome which has been made Halal for us (5:5) ).

There are other important messages in this Surah, some obvious, others subtle – and one of those subtleties is –

“have Taqwa of Allah, for Allah knows well the secrets of your hearts.” (5:7)

We fast so as to attain Taqwa (2:183), that state of righteousness which comes from awareness of our Creator and awareness of His knowledge of our innermost selves. He knows those thoughts and emotions which we harbour deep within; therefore He even commanded us to be bearers of Justice against the self (4:135 from yesterday), which is a great test. Recognizing that He knows what we conceal in the depths of our consciousness helps us to cling to Taqwa and be witnesses of Integrity, even if it means forgoing self-interest.

“Oh you who believe, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let antagonism of any people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to Taqwa. And have Taqwa of Allah; indeed, Allah is well acquainted with what you do.” (5:8)

Justice is nearer to Taqwa, and we are not just encouraged, but in fact commanded to seek nearness to Allah –

“Oh you who believe! Be mindful of Allah and seek means of nearness to Him and strive hard in His way that you may be successful.” (5:35)

May Allah make us of the Muqarabeen (those drawn close to Allah by Allah)

 

Qiyam Contemplation 6

Tonight’s reading of Surah An’am reveals the nature of this life …

“What is the life of this world but play and amusement” (6:32)

The diversions of this world are not denied in the Qur’an, but acknowledged for their distracting nature, so as to help us move beyond – to live in the dunya and not for the dunya! This does not mean that we should not enjoy the countless blessings of Allah in this world – we should – with joy and gratitude – but we should also see this life for what it is – fleeting enjoyment!

This is exceedingly more-so relevant in the world we live in today, where the amount of entertainment being produced has reached unprecedented levels, and even more worryingly, where the greed for that amusement corresponds to the supply chain – some live and breathe to be amused and to consume, moving from one gratifying experience to the next … even our precious children, with their fragile bodies and minds are being confronted with frivolous amusement from every angle … we are only destroying our own souls, that sacred entity through which we access and perceive the Divine.

“Leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. But proclaim this that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts” (6:70)

We do this even though the Qur’an reminds us, that we linger in this world for but a moment – and it a place of leave-taking

“It is He Who has produced you from a single being: here is a place of sojourn and a place of departure: We detail Our signs for people who understand.” (6:98)

but there is somewhere we can call Home …

“best is the home in the hereafter, for those who have Taqwa. Will you not then understand?” (6:32)

and that Home is with Allah, in His very Presence and it is “Dar al-Salaam” … a Home of Peace …

“For them will be the home of Peace with their Lord. And He will be their Wali (Protecting and Intimate Friend) because of what they used to do.” (6:127)

Are we amusing ourselves to death only to find that Home neglected, derelict and bare? We can build that Home of Peace, but first we must heal our souls from the diseases of this dunya – and fasting is so precious in how it helps us to do that. There are so many ways to heal … Read the Qu’ran for it is a healing (17:82), be in the dhikr of Allah for in it we find contentment of the heart (13:28), love and follow the Messengers because they all came to mend humanity’s broken consciousness (2:151) … and most of all … always have perspective … and let that perspective be framed by one of the most exquisite verses Allah reveals about Himself in this Surah

“Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives all vision; and He is the knower of Subtleties, Well Acquainted with All things.” (6:103)

 

Qiyam Contemplation 7

One week down the line and I pray the fasting and (spiritual) feasting is going well for you all. Allah says in Surah al-A’raf, part of which was covered in tonight’s Qiyam :

“And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy until, when they have carried heavy rain-clouds, We drive them to a dead land and We send down rain therein and bring forth of all the fruits. Thus will We bring forth the dead; perhaps you may be reminded.” (7:57)

I pray that the winds of good tidings carry the Mercy of Allah into dead hearts and minds this Ramadan for only then may we taste the fruits of spiritual awareness!

There are so many important teachings for us in this chapter:

1) The first sin ever committed by the creation of Allah was Pride. This is the actual “original sin” which led Iblis, who was in the very presence of Allah to become a Kafir (one who is ungrateful/ denies or covers the truth and then disbelieves in God) (2:34). It was when Iblis declared that “I am better than he”, referring to Adam (as) in response to his refusal to obey the command of Allah to bow down, that he led himself astray (7:11-13) – a deep lesson for us all as to the consequences of arrogance and thinking ourselves superior to anyone based on arbitrary traits, which for Iblis, was that he was created of fire, and Adam of clay. Every scholar of Tazkiya warns against Kibr – pride … for it is the path to Riya (ostentation/pretension/doing-to-be-seen), which is the “hidden shirk”.

2) The so-called “original sin”, or the original human sin (seeing as Iblis is not human) is also recounted in this Surah. It is vital for us to affirm the Quranic version of humanity’s “fall from heaven” as due to Adam and Hawa (as) having BOTH been deceived by Shaytan, so as to redress , historically speaking (and to some degree today as well, particularly in notions of shame/purity/temptation, in which, shockingly, the idea that Hawa (as) caused Adam to fall, is actually listed in some fiqhi books), the psychological and spiritual burden womankind have lived with of being responsible for enticing Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit. The Qur’an says :

“And he (shaytan) swore by Allah to them both: ‘Verily, I am one of the sincere advisers for you both.’ So he made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, ‘Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Shaytan is to you a clear enemy?’” (7:21-22)

Furthermore, look to when the Qur’an speaks of how their bodies were made apparent to them and they hastened to cover themselves, it addresses BOTH Adam and Hawa (as) … they were both made aware of their nakedness … whereas Muslim discourse today focuses (obsesses) on the female body only. Also important here is that the nakedness of their physical bodies was made apparent to them as a reprimand … think of this in light of trends to “bare it all” today, as well as the appropriation and commodification of women’s bodies in the media and global culture.

Notice also Adam and Hawa (as) both turn to Allah in supplication, acknowledging their mistake, no blaming and shaming, but spiritual responsibility for their own actions :

“They said, “Our Lord, we have wronged our own souls, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers'”.(7:23)

Then follows one of the most beautiful verses in the Qur’an on Libas al-Taqwa – the garments of God Consciousness! What more beautiful attire could we ever adorn ourselves with?

“Oh children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you garments to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the garments of Taqwa – that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.” (7:26)

 

3) The same co-responsibility for both men and women can be seen further on in this surah when Allah speaks about childbearing – it is BOTH the parents who pray to Allah for a righteous child whilst waiting in suspended anticipation … whereas discourse around children today tends to focus on “mothering” rather than “parenting” …

“It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order to dwell with her in security. When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about. When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord : ‘If You should give us a good, we will surely be among the grateful.’” (7:189)

We need to really speak about fatherhood today … just look at Ebrahim (as), Luqman (as) and of course beloved Muhammad (saw) … the discourse around them in the Qur’an and ahadith focuses a lot on their role as fathers … why then are we only fixated with the duties/rewards/responsibilities of motherhood, which is not to ignore or diminish the Quran’s elevation of mothers, or the Prophets advice to honour three times the mother, but rather tipping the scales of parenting towards balance. And obviously – the very act praying for righteous children and then being grateful is directly implied in this verse.

4) Allah also instructs us on how to interact with the Qu’ran :

“When the Qur’an is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that you may receive Mercy” (7:204)

This is how we should read the Qur’an … captivated by the Kalam Allah (words of Allah), with peace – un-agitated, in a calm and still manner … and then open ourselves up to its infinite Mercy … for it is from the Most Merciful Himself.

and how to interact with Him as well :

“And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in reverence without being apparent in speech – in the mornings and the evenings. And do not be among the neglectful.” (7:205-206)

Even though Iblis was in the very presence of Allah, at the end of this surah, Allah reminds us that those who are truly “with” Allah, those who “remember him in humility” as in the verse above – they are never too arrogant to worship Him and bow down to him in sujood – that ultimate act of humbleness and devotion to Allah, when we are at our lowest point physically, but our most elevated, spiritually (insha’Allah); when we disappear to ourselves to become intensely mindful of Him.

“Indeed Those who are with your Lord, are never too proud to be in His worship, They celebrate His praises, and prostrate before Him.” (7:206)

 

Qiyam Contemplation 8

Reading through Surah Anfal and trying to relate it to us, here and now … today.

My thoughts for now are that it is very important for us to read these verses in their context, in light of events which they refer to – some of these very ayaat have been misappropriated at the core of the Islamophobic agenda … so when we read these verses bear in mind always the specific circumstances of war and hostility and the rules governing those scenarios. As much aversion as I have for war, its recurrence in history (which perhaps speaks to the angelic observation “You will place therein those who will cause corruption and bloodshed”? 2:30) means it is something we have to deal with, something this chapter does … reminding us that “There is no victory except that from with Allah” (8:10)

Two other verses really struck me – in how they force us to think about our actions in the external world vs. our perceptions in the internal world …

“Surely the believers are only the ones who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts tremble and when His ayaat (signs/symbols) are rehearsed to them, they increase them in Iman, and in their Lord they put their trust” (8:3)

Do our hearts tremble when we remember Allah or when Allah is mentioned? Do we feel those vibrations of awe and reverence within ourselves? When we see His signs in His book and in the world, does our Iman increase? Iman is not just ‘belief’ – it is to be secure in faith, to have certitude and understanding of our beliefs and is intrinsically linked to the how Allah describes the believers at the end of this verse … as those who put their trust in Him … who have “tawakkal”.

Tawakkal refers to complete reliance and trust in Allah … its roots mean “to take a representative for oneself”, “to give oneself over to another” and “to have confidence in another”. Tawakkal is a spiritual state and station, a relationship based on Trust with our Creator, wherein we feel secure in His Divine plan, in this way it is intrinsically linked to Iman (having entered into a state of secure belief) … Once we are secure in our beliefs, we can also be secure in the trust of our Creator … so we need to go back to the very basics of our beliefs, and be sure to imbibe Tawhid in the very core of our being … that deep understanding of the Oneness of God which inexplicably alters the way we perceive our inner and outer realities!

It is only with Iman and Tawakaul we can understand why Allah says further on in this Surah

“And know that your possessions and your children are a test, and that with Allah is immense reward.” (8:28)

In my (limited) observation these are the two major distractions we human beings obsess about – our wealth, and our children … to the extent that we have become control-driven societies … aiming to control each and every aspect of our lives and our children’s lives with precision, and this is how wealth and children become a trial rather than a blessing – because we make them the object of our worship, we are preoccupied with the future of our wealth and the future of our children to such an abnormal extent, that we have forgotten what it means to “trust in God” regarding them.

Iman and Tawakkul teach us that we are not here to control everything, and that ‘letting go’ after trying our best in our livelihood and with our children is what will insha’allah, bring us great reward!

 

Qiyam Contemplation 9

Seeking comfort and healing in the beloved (saw) of Allah from this verse at the end of Surah Tawbah ….

“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him, that which distresses you, he is full of concern over you and to the believers is constantly kind and merciful.” (9:128)

Even now, his concern and care envelopes us … We know from the hadith that he shed blessed tears over us, his Ummah when reciting the verses of Ebrahim (as) and Isa (as) praying for their people … he would weep … “oh Allah, my Ummah” … his Ummah … that believing community of which says Allah in this same chapter :

“The believing men and believing women are Awliya (protecting friends, helpers, allies, supporters and spiritual guides) of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, establish salat and dispense zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is all-Mighty, ever-Wise.” (9:71)

 

This is the Ummah described by Allah, over which he (saw) cried … men and women active in encouraging and nurturing each other to the highest of our spiritual and social responsibilities.

Allahuma Salli wa Salim ala Muhammad.

Oh Allah, eternal salutations and peace on Muhammad.

 

Qiyam Contemplation 10

Surah Yunus and Surah Hud – two chapters which retell stories of various Prophets (as) and their people. Each of them (as) was clear in seeking no material reward for carrying out the message, & there was always some personal trial which each one faced in their mission, whether through being rejected by the people closest to them (a child, spouse, parent etc.) or being ostracized from their communities. Each people displayed a stubborn attachment to the “ways of their fathers”, they either demanded immediate proof by way of miracles from Allah or dismissed the messages as magic.

The Qur’an, a miracle itself, and the singular message which all the Prophets came with, teach us that no amount of material miracles can definitely bring about faith, which is an ongoing and reiterative process of awakening from ones lower self to higher consciousness.

Allah says that all these stories are revealed for a reason

“And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers”.

Some of those lessons and reminders are that even as we go about trying to transform societies and build God-consciousness, we will face moments of ridicule like Nuh (as) for building a ship in a dry land. That people will cling to the “ways of their ancestors” and it is up to us to use the Quran, not the past, as a moral and spiritual reference. This is as Allah says

“Oh humankind! there has come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the diseases in your hearts,- and for those who believe, a guidance and a Mercy” (10:57)

One of these diseases of the heart is to think ourselves self-sufficient. Allah describes this as one of the characteristic natures of human beings, who, when in distress, find it so easy to call on Allah and place all hopes in Him … but when delivered from hardship, revert to heedlessness.

“When trouble touches a person, he cries unto Us – lying down on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We have solved his trouble, he passes on his way as if he had never cried to Us for a trouble that touched him! thus do the deeds of transgressors seem fair in their eyes” (10:12)

Due to this, we are reminded time and again in these chapters and throughout the Book,

“Indeed, Allah does does not unjustly wrong the people at all, but it is the people who are wronging themselves.” (10:44).

Heedlessness is one of the greatest injustices, precisely because it is injustice against the self, if we can so easily wrong ourselves, we can also be unjust to others without a thought.

May Allah save us all.

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2 Responses to “Qiyam Contemplations : Part 1”

  1. […] These reflections were written over the 29 nights of Ramadan 1435/2014, and many were presented by myself at Masjid ul-Islam in Johannesburg, South Africa to the congregation before the taraweeh prayers. I have posted them in three parts, and they cover, generally, the 30 Juz division of the Qur’an. Read Part 1. […]

  2. […] I have posted them in three parts, and they cover, generally, the 30 Juz division of the Qur’an. Read Part 1. Read Part […]


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