Ar-Rabb (The Lord and Cherisher)
“And your Rabb is the Ever-Forgiving, Owner of Mercy. Were He to call them to account for what they had earned, surely He would have hastened on their punishment. Instead they have their appointed time beyond which they will find no escape.” (Surah Al-Kahf :58)
All praises be to Allah who is known by the Beautiful and glorious Name ar-Rabb, the Lord and Cherisher. He is the One who nurtures and sustains all of His servants. He is the One who regulates and governs all of their affairs. He grants His servants infinite favours and blessings. More specifically, He is the One who nurtures and sustains his sincere friends by correcting and purifying their hearts, souls and manners. If we want this type of nurturing, we should call on Allah frequently by this Noble Name, Ar-Rabb, the Lord and Cherisher.
Ar-Ra’uf (The Kind)
“And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, [Allah would have hastened the Punishment]. And that Allah is ar-Ra’uf, Rahim.” (Surah an-Nur :20)
All praises be to Allah who is known by the Beautiful Name ar-Ra’uf, the Kind. The meaning of this Beautiful Name is similar to the meaning of His Names al-Barr, The Generous, al-Karim, the Kind, al-Jawwad, the Bestower of Good, ar-Rahman, the all-Merciful, ar-Rahim, the Most Merciful and al-Wahhab, the Bestower. All of these Names describe Allah’s Attributes of mercy, generosity and kindness. They point to the great expanse of His mercy and kindness, that encompasses all of His creation.
All of this mercy and kindness are bestowed in accordance with His infinite wisdom, perfect as it is. It is from His kindness that the believers have been specifically singled out for the blessing of Allah’s mercy. He tells us in the Qur’an:
“My mercy encompasses all things and I shall decree it for those who have taqwa.” (Al-A’raf :156)
SubhanAllah! Think of the infinite blessings that Allah in His kindness and mercy, has bestowed on you: health, wealth, free time, youth, life and so many more. Are we thankful for these blessings? Do we utilise them to please Allah?
It is also from His infinite kindness that He warns us about His own punishment, in order that we may protect ourselves from it. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:
“On the Day when every person will be confronted with all the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil. And Allah warns you against Himself (His punishment) and Allah is full of kindness to (His) slaves.” (Surah Al-Imran :30)
How merciful is Allah? He warns us repeatedly of His punishment and how to avoid it. He sent Prophets and Messengers to advise us, He revealed His Book of guidance for us to read and He guides the hearts of those who seek Him sincerely. Do we have any excuse not to answer His call?
Let’s call on Him by His Beautiful name ar-Ra’uf, the Kind, and ask Him shower His infinite mercy on us and guide us to what is best. Ameen.
Ar-Rahman (The Most Gracious) Ar-Rahim (The Most Merciful)
“Ar-Rahman. He taught the Qur’an and created mankind.” (Surah ar-Rahman :1-3)
“He is Allah, none has the right to be worshipped but He. He is the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim.” ( Surat al-Hashr, 59:22)
All praises be to Allah, who is known by the Beautiful Names ar-Rahman, the Most Gracious or the All-Merciful, and ar-Rahim, the Most Merciful. These Beautiful Names teach us that Allah’s mercy is infinite, and all-encompassing, and that He bestows it upon whomever He wills. His are all the Attributes of mercy and grace in their ultimate perfection.
SubhanAllah, think of the beauty of the opening of Surah al-Fatihah. Allah tell us to recite:
“In the Name of Allah, ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim. All praise and thanks are Allah’s, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).” (Surah al-Fatihah : 1-2)
He informs us of these Beautiful Names of His, ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim, and then tells us that all praise and thanks are due to Him alone. All praise and thanks are due to the One who is the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful.
What are the ways in which He shows us His grace and mercy? We couldn’t even begin to count the numerous blessings that He bestows on us: this life; the air that we breathe; the food that sustains us; our senses; the vast earth that stretches out before us; cool water; guidance; the love of those that love Him. There are infinite ways in which He showers His mercy upon us.
What does He ask in return? That all praise and thanks are due to Him. That we worship Him alone, without partners. Some people see the blessings that Allah has bestowed on them, and grasp the purpose of their existence, devoting themselves to Allah. Others do not, and remain ungrateful, rejecting the idea of worshipping Him. Despite this fact, Allah manifests His graciousness upon everyone, regardless of whether they are unbelievers, hypocrites, or polytheists. He gives us all air to breathe, water to drink, houses to live in, children, health etc. This fact in itself is a manifestation of His Name ar-Rahman, the Most Gracious.
“On that Day mankind will follow strictly (the voice of) Allah’s caller, no crookedness will they show him. And all voices will be humbled for the Most Gracious, and nothing shall you hear but the low voice of their footsteps.” (Surah Ta Ha :108)
“On the Day Ar-Ruh [Jibrail or another angel] and the angels stand forth in rows, they will not speak except him whom the Most Gracious allows, and he will speak what is right.” ( Surat an-Naba :38)
What Surahs and ayat are included in the Twenty-third Juz’?
The twenty-third juz’ of the Qur’an contains Surah Ya-Sin from ayah 28 till its end, Surah As-Saffat (Those Ranged in Ranks) and Surah Sad in their entirety and Surah Az-Zumar (The Groups) up to ayah 21.
When were the ayat of this juz’ revealed?
Surah Ya-Sin, Surah As-Saffat, Surah Sad and Surah Az-Zumar are all Makkan Surahs.
From the Virtues of Surah As-Suffat
An-Nasai recorded that ‘Abdullah bin Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to command us to make our prayers short and he used to recite As-Saffat when he lead us in prayer.” (An-Nasai 2:95)
“And they say: ‘When will this promise (i.e. Resurrection) be fulfilled, if you are truthful?’ They await only but a single Saihah (shout) which will seize them while they are disputing! Then they will not be able to make bequest, nor return to their family. And the Trumpet will be blown (i.e. the second blowing) and behold from the graves they will come out quickly to their Lord. They will say ‘Woe to us! Who has raised us up from our sleep.’ (It will be said to them) ‘This is what the Most Gracious (Allah) had promised, and the Messengers spoke the Truth!’” (Surah Ya-Sin 36:48-52)
“And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allah). So look what you think!’ He said: ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded, InshaAllah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of As-sabirun (the patient).” (Surah As-Saffat 37:102)
“(This is) a Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” (Surah As Sad 38:29)
“[Iblis (Satan)] said: ‘My Lord! Give me respite till the Day the (dead) are resurrected.’ (Allah) said: ‘ Verily you are of those allowed respite, Till the Day of the time appointed.’ [Iblis (Satan)] said: ‘By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, Except Your chosen slaves amongst them.” (Surah Sad 38: 79-83)
“And when some hurt touches man, he cries to his Lord (Allah Alone), turning to Him in repentance. But when He bestows a favour upon him from Himself, he forgets that for which he cried for before, and he sets up rivals to Allah, in order to mislead others from his path. Say: ‘Take pleasure in your disbelief for a while, surely, you are (one) of the dwellers of the Fire!’ (Surah Az-Zumar 39:8)
“Allah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book (this Qur’an), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften in the remembrance of Allah. That is the Guidance of Allah. He guides therewith whom He wills; and whomsoever Allah send astray, for him there is no guide.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:23)
What are the main themes of this juz’?
Surah Ya-Sin continues in this juz’ with its warning to the disbelievers of the consequences of not accepting the Message. They are told to look at the generations before that were destroyed for disbelief. Look at the signs in the earth, how the land appears dead but then is brought back to life, in the same way Allah will bring us back to life on the Day of Judgement. The disbeliever is arrogant and ungrateful for the bounties Allah has bestowed on them. Allah advises his Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, not to let the vain speech of the disbelievers grieve him, and Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal (36:76).
Surah As-Saffat continues with the theme of warning the disbelievers of a painful punishment. It testifies by the angels arranged in ranks, who drive the clouds and bring the Book, that verily Allah is One, and He is the Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything in it (37:1-5). Yet the disbelievers mock the signs and question the resurrection. On the Day of Judgement the angels will gather those who did wrong, and the companions they used to worship and lead them to the flaming Fire (37:22-23). The Prophets Nuh (Noah), Musa (Moses), Ilyas (Elias), Yunus (Jonah) peace be upon them all, are mentioned. The story of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) peace be upon him, is continued in and we are told of when he was called to sacrifice his son, Ismail. They submitted themselves humbly to the Will of Allah and He blessed them for having passed the trial and called them sacrifice a ram instead (37:102-107). It is a reminder that we have to be prepared to sacrifice things we love for sake of Allah, and to follow His command even when it is difficult for us.
Surah Sad follows on closely from the themes of Surah As-Saffat making the point that the reason for disbelief is not any defect with the Message, but rather the arrogance of the people. The stories of Prophets Nuh (Noah), Lut (Lot) are mentioned. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is enjoined to remember the incident when the Prophet Dawud (David) was a ruler and a group of people climbed over his wall and asked him to settle their dispute. He was taken aback and did not take time to properly consider the case. He ruled wrongly, then repented and sought forgiveness from His Lord and Allah forgave him. Dawud (David) was ordered to judge between men in truth and justice, (38:17-26) and all Muslims should do this also. We are told of how the Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon) was tested by Allah and repented and was forgiven, and how Prophet Ayyub (Job) was afflicted by trials, was patient, made du’a and was relieved.
Surah Az-Zumar is mainly addressed to the unbelievers, like the preceding Surahs. It opens with the testimony that the Qur’an is a true revelation calling people to worship Allah alone and perform good deeds. Allah is far above having any partners, He created everything in the heavens and the earth including our own selves, and is not in need of any helpers. They call on Him Alone when we are in need, but when times are good they forget their call and set up partners with Allah (39:8). Woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah.