Ayaat 1-10 ~ Al-Araf

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Listen to recitation

1. Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad.

2. [This is] a Book revealed to you, [O Muhammad] – so let there not be in your breast distress therefrom – that you may warn thereby and as a reminder to the believers.

3. Follow, [O mankind], what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow other than Him any allies. Little do you remember.

4. And how many cities have We destroyed, and Our punishment came to them at night or while they were sleeping at noon.

5. And their declaration when Our punishment came to them was only that they said, “Indeed, we were wrongdoers!”

6. Then We will surely question those to whom [a message] was sent, and We will surely question the messengers[2].

7. Then We will surely relate [their deeds] to them with knowledge, and We were not [at all] absent.

8. And the weighing [of deeds] that Day will be the truth. So those whose scales are heavy – it is they who will be the successful.

9. And those whose scales are light – they are the ones who will lose themselves for what injustice they were doing toward Our verses.

10. And We have certainly established you upon the earth and made for you therein ways of livelihood. Little are you grateful.

Sura 7. Al-Araf

[1] Al-Araf: The Elevations, referring to the partition between Paradise and Hell. We will keep the word al-Araf because there is no equivalent in English.

[2] the messengers: here the Prophets (peace be upon them) who have a mission with men or the Angels (peace be upon them) who carry out the orders of Allah.

Commentary ~ How You deal with Others is how You will be dealt with

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

A wise man once said to his son, “My son, do not become resentful when you are afflicted with trials, for indeed that is tantamount to having bad thoughts about one’s Lord, and also, it gives pleasure to one’s enemy. Do not mock others, for indeed by Allah, every time I ever mocked anyone, I was afflicted in the same way as the person who I mocked. In this world, man is a target of arrows that come to him successively: some pass him by, some fall short, some fall to his right and others to his left, and some strike him. Know that for every deed, you are rewarded, and how you deal with others is how you will be dealt with. And whoever is dutiful to his parents, his children will be dutiful to him. Avoid greed and ambition, for both represent poverty in the present. Fear Allah as much as you are able. And if you are able to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today and your secrets better than your outward deeds, then do so. Beware of deeds that you have to apologize for, for one never has to apologize for goodness. When you stand for prayer, perform the prayer of one who is saying farewell, as if you feel that you will never afterwards pray again (i.e., that you will die). Adhere to modesty, and you will be of its people. Do not inflict harm upon others; rather give them good, and forgive if you are able to. Do not be miserly if you are asked for something and do not tarry when one seeks help from you. Whoever is stingy, then Allah will make things narrow for him; and whoever gives, then Allah will give him a replacement for what he gave.”

Gems and Jewels
Compiled by: Abdul-Malik Mujahid
Publisher: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam
ISBN: 9960-897-59-1
Page 141

Hadith ~ Afflicts him with trials

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Narrated Abu-Huraira (May Allah be satisfied with him): ‘Allah’s Messenger (May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection) said: “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (Bukhari)

Riyaadiss-Saliheen (The Meadows of the Righteous) (Abridged)
By Imam An Nawawi Vol. (1)
Publisher: Dar Al-Manarah
ISBN: 977.6005.23.3
Chapter 3, Page 122, Number 37

Ayaat 17-19 ~ An-Naml (The Ants)

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Listen to Recitation

17. And there were gathered before Sulaimân (Solomon) his hosts of jinns and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order (marching forwards).

18. Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulaimân (Solomon) and his hosts crush you, while they perceive not.”

19. So he [Sulaimân (Solomon)] smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.” [1]

Sura 27. An-Naml (The Ants)

[1]: Beautiful Dua (supplication) we should memorize and make often inchaAllah.

Commentary ~ Death is hovering above us

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

It is incumbent upon everyone to realize that death is hovering above us. At any moment, day or night, death can come. Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) expressed in lucid terms the reality of our life:

“The Hereafter is traveling towards us and this life is traveling away from us, so be from the children of the Hereafter and not from the children of this world. For today is action without reckoning (judgment), and tomorrow is reckoning without action.”

From this saying, we can learn how imperative it is for us to improve ourselves, to renew our repentance, and to know that we are dealing with Allah, Who is Most Generous and All-Powerful.

Death does not ask a person for permission prior to arrival, nor does it give one an early warning about its being on its way:

…No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allâh is All­Knower, All­Aware (of things). (Koran 31.34)

Say: “The appointment to you is for a Day, which you cannot put back for an hour (or a moment) nor put forward.” (Koran 34.30)

Ash-Shaykh Ali at-Tantawi related a story that equally illustrates the unexpectedness of death. A bus full of people was moving when the driver suddenly pressed on the brakes. The passengers asked him what was wrong. He said, “I am stopping for this old man who is waving so that he can get on the bus.” They all said in wonder, “We do not see anyone.” He said, “Look at him over there.” They repeated that there was no one to be seen. He said confidently, “Now look, he is coming to get in.” Now the situation was beyond wonder, and they exclaimed, “By Allah, we don’t see anyone.” Then, in an instant, the driver died in his seat.

Thus death came to him in the most bizarre and unexpected of scenarios:

…When their term is reached, neither can they delay it nor can they advance it an hour [or a moment]. (Koran 7.34)

Man is cowardly when he faces danger; his heart begins to thump when the possibility of death arises, and then, without prior warning, he dies at a time when he feels most safe.

(They are) the ones who said about their killed brethren while they themselves sat (at home): “If only they had listened to us, they would not have been killed.” Say: “Avert death from your ownselves, if you speak the truth.” (Koran 3.168)

The strange thing is that we do not think about meeting Allah or about the transient nature of this life.

La Tahzan (Don’t be sad)
By Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni
Translated by: Faisal ibn Muhammad Shafeeq, 2nd ed. Riyadh 2005
Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House
ISBN Hard Cover: 9960-850-36-6
ISBN Soft Cover: 9960-850-44-7
Page 426

Hadith ~ Make for him a way out

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Malek Al-Achja’i -may God be pleased with him-, reports that Ibn Ishaq, came to the Prophet (SAWS) and said to him: “My son ‘Awf was taken captive!”. He replied: “Send to tell him that the Messenger of Allah commands you to repeat often: “There is neither power nor strength except in Allah” (Transliteration: la hawla wala quwwata illa billah OR la hawla wala quwwata illa billahil aliyyil azim). Indeed, the envoy transmitted these words to ‘Awf who complied and spent most of his time repeating them. As he was tied up, he found that his bond came loose. He managed to escape and, finding a camel on his way out, he mounted her and left. On his way, he met a herd of camels, brought them with him and, when he arrived home, called his parents. His father exclaimed: “It is indeed the voice of ‘Awf, I swear by the Lord of the Ka’ba”. But his mother answered him: “Oh what a misfortune! How could he be ‘Awf when he’s a prisoner and tied up?”. The father and servant went out to find ‘Awf with a large herd of camels, and he told his father what had happened. The father went to the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) and told him everything. He said to him, “Allah on that occasion made this revelation: …And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. [Koran 65 2-3]

SAWS: May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection

Translated from:
The Compagnons of the Prophet (SAWS) (Hayat-Assahaba)
By Mouhammad Youssef Al-Kandahlawi – Volume II
Translated by Fawzi Chaaban
Editor: Dar El Fikr – Beyrouth/Liban
Page 398

Ayaat 87-88 ~ Al-Anbiyah’ (The Prophets)

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Listen to Recitation

87. And (remember) Dhan-Nûn (Jonah), when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him (i.e. the calamites which had befallen him)! But he cried through the darkness (saying): Lâ ilâha illa Anta [none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allâh)], Glorified (and Exalted) are You [above all that (evil) they associate with You]. Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers.”

88. So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers (who believe in the Oneness of Allâh, abstain from evil and work righteousness).

Sura 21. Al-Anbiyah’ (The Prophets)

Commentary ~ The Essence of the Story of Yusuf (PBUH)

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

They said: “Are you indeed Yûsuf?” He said: “I am Yûsuf (Joseph), and this is my brother. Allâh has indeed been gracious to us… (Koran 12.90)

I want you to pay attention to the following segment of the ayah. If you were to forget everything that we said in the story of Yusuf (peace be upon him) make sure you don’t forget this. Because this is the essence of the story of Yusuf. Keep in mind that this story was revealed to the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) when? In Makkah. When in Makkah? In the year of sorrow, when Abu Talib passed away, Khadija (may Allah have Mercy on her) passed away and the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) found no one to support him with strength, his uncle Abu Talib. No one to support him financially, his wife Khadija. That was the year of sorrow. It was not only sorrow on the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) because he lost his uncle and he lost his beloved wife but because the dawah (of Islam) was already limited and now additional barriers were being erected in the face of the Messenger of Allah (SAWS). Before that the Messenger of Allah had strength since his uncle was providing him with an umbrella and his wife was comforting him at home. Now the Messenger of Allah has lost these two supporters and the heart of the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) was filled with sadness and sorrow. Those moments that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) was going through are unbearable. In those moments, the Messenger of Allah is receiving sura Yusuf. In this particular situation sura Yusuf is being revealed because that is what Koran is for

…Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby… (Koran 25.32)

So Koran was being revealed on the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) in the appropriate times, for the appropriate situations and to serve the appropriate purpose. So in that specific period of this year of sorrow, Allah reveals to the Messenger of Allah the story of Yusuf. It is the story of someone who went through difficulty, trials, misery, sorrow and sadness but then in the end

…Allâh has indeed been gracious to us… (Koran 12.90)

Why? Allah says in this segment of the ayah the essence of sura Yusuf:

…Verily, he who fears Allâh with obedience to Him (Taqwa – by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allâh makes not the reward of the Muhsinûn (good-doers – see V.2:112) to be lost.” (Koran 12.90)

If you have Taqwa and patience eventually you will win even after awhile. If you have taqwa and patience no matter what in the end you will be victorious. And you should have no doubt in that. Saidna Yusuf was victorious in the end, in dounia (this life) and in Ehkira (the Hereafter). It is not only in dounia. In dounia and in Ehkira. But it happened after awhile, it took awhile, it wasn’t swiftly on the same day, it took awhile. Therefore it needs patience. If you do not have patience you will not be able to survive the long road. So Allah is telling the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) that there is a lot struggling, there is a lot of striving but if you have patience and you have Taqwa in Allah, the Exalted, Allah will establish you on the land. There is no victory without patience.

SAWS: May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection

Source:
Audio lecture “Lives of the Prophets”.
The full audio series may be downloaded here.

Hadith ~ In complete submission

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

“O people! Do not be too eager from the demand of this world. A person only gets what has been pre-written for them and no person will leave this world before what has been assigned to them from this world comes to them in complete submission.”

Translated from:
Riyad as-Salihin (Les Jardins des vertueux)
de l’Imam Mohieddine Annawawi 631 – 676
Traduction et Commentaire du Dr Salaheddine Keshrid (Tunisie)
Éditeur: Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islami
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