This Worldly Life is Unsuitable for Settlement

My brothers and sisters, this life is like a farewell assembly, so be patient over its pleasures, for one day it will cease to exist, and beware of it evil, for it even succeeded in casting a spell upon the magicians of Babylon. Indeed, the things that people are averse to doing in this life are actually to be found in the branches of the beloved [i.e. the things you dislike often draw you nearer to Allah]. Everyone who felt secure from its evil, ended up up in a state of fear regarding its outcome.

You have spent all your life seeking the pleasures of this life, and yet you have not gained from it anymore than what the head of Qais could gain from Laylaa.

When you are in the assembly, at which sermons and religious reminds are given you awake from the intoxication of this worldly life briefly, but it is not long before you start to crave again for the heat of its wine. Indeed, there is no joy in sighting the flashes of lightening, if you are walking through the darkness. You rein yourself back in with awakening, but by the time you leave the assembly your nature becomes unleashed again. Your nature prevents you from changing yourself because although your are present in body, your heart is completely absent; though you desire attaining the reward of the Hereafter, your endeavours are only focused on obtaining this worldly life.

This worldly life is a land unsuitable for settling down; it is only when the harvest has been reaped that is taken to its place of final settlement.

I wonder at a person standing at the foot of a bridge for so long that he forgets the name across it, which he was meaning to get to. Woe to you, though the pleasures of this worldly life are sweet and tempting, know that the questioning over it will be strict and severe. The time at which a woman conceives one of playfulness, but the actual hardship that awaits her is at the time of her delivery. This life is like a promiscuous woman who does not settle for one man; those who sought after it are shamed and condemned.

The worldly life is a bridge leading over an ocean of doom, so you had better be serious about learning to swim before passing over it, because you can never be certain that you will not slip off it, or encounter a storm that blows you off the bridge into the water. Thus, be wary of it despite how safe you feel in it, and expect its sorrow in spite of your contentment with it.

This life is a house of trials and calamities, similar to the palace in Egypt wherein Yusuf, peace be upon him, fled to the door with his forbearance whereas Zalikhah rushed to the door enflames by her desires. The garments of deeds shall be presented for intercession; therefore those whose garments were torn from the front will express their woefulness, whereas those whose garments were torn from behind, their intercession shall be saved for their time of need.

O you who desire cast him into the well of love for this worldly life, you should know that the caravan of fate brings you a message every night saying: “Is there anyone requesting anything so that I may fulfil it for him?”

So, ensure your attentiveness when this message tosses down to you the rope of salvation, and stand up all night on the feet of those “Their sides part [i.e. they arise] from their beds.” (al-Sajdah 32:16) stretch out the fingers of “they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration” (al-Sajdah 32:16) “Throw that which is in thy right hand!” (Taha 20:69)

So that you may climb out of your well of desires as quickly as possible and do not grasp at the walls of the well of desires, because it is built of loose dirt that will collapse over you. After you have rescued yourself, by your determination to returning to Allah, beware of the beasts on the road; so walk in the light of the lamp of certainty and conviction, and leave behind you the signposts veering you off the right course towards the way of desire, because only after arriving at your destination in the morn shall you be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam ibn Jawzi Pages 124-127

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Twenty-sixth Juz’

Contents

The twenty-sixth juz’ of the Qur’an contains Surah Al-Ahqaf (The Curved Sand-hills) Surah Muhammad (Muhammad) or Surah Al-Qital (The Fighting), Surah Al-Fath (The Victory), Surah Al-Hujurat (The Dwellings) and Surah Qaf in their entirety and Surah Adh-Dhariyat (The Winds that Scatter) up to ayah 30.

Revelation

Surah Al-Ahqaf, Surah Qaf and Surah Adh-Dhariyat were revealed in Makkah. Surah Muhammad and Surah Al-Hujurat were revealed in Madinah. Surah Al-Fath was sent down in Dhul Qa’dah 6 A.H. when the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was returning to Madinah after concluding the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. 

From the Virtues of Surah Al-Fath

The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him said,

“Last night, a Surah was revealed to me that is dearer to me than this life and all that it contains: ‘Verily, We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future.’” (Recorded in Al-Bukhari)

Imam Ahmad recorded from Abdullah bin Mughaffal, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, recited Surah Al-Fath on the (day) of the conquest of Makkah, riding on his she-camel. He recited it in a vibrating and pleasant tone. Mu’awiyah (a subnarrator) added: “Were I not afraid that the people would crowd around me, I would surely try to imitate and produce his recitation.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith through Shu`bah)

Select Quotations

“And we have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him in hardship, and the bearing of him, and the weaning of him is thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says, ‘My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be  grateful for the favour which you have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my offspring good. Truly I have turned to you in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims (submitting to Your Will).” (Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

“And whoever does not respond to Allah’s Caller, he cannot escape on earth, and there will be no Auliya (lords, helpers, supporters, protectors) for him besides Allah (from Allah’s punishment). Those are in manifest error.”  (Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:32)

“Behold! You are those who are called to spend in the Cause of Allah, yet among you are some who are niggardly. And whosoever is niggardly, it is only at the expense of his own self. But Allah is Rich (Free of all needs) and you (mankind) are poor. And if your turn away (from Islam) He will exchange you for some other people and they will not be your likes.” (Surah Muhammad 47:38)

“He it is Who sent down As-Sakinah (calmness and tranquility) into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in Faith along with their (present) Faith. And to Allah belong the hosts of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Ever-KnowerAll-Wise.” (Surah Al-Fath 48:4)

“Verily, We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner. In order that you (on mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger and that you may assist and honour him and (that you) glorify (Allah’s) praises morning and afternoon.” (Surah Al-Fath 48:8-9)

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa. Verily Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Surah Al-Hujirat 49:13)

“And indeed We have created man, and We know what his own self whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge).” (Surah Qaf 50:16)

“Verily, the Muttaqun (the pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (of Paradise), Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinun (good-doers). They used to sleep but little by night, And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:15-18)

Main Themes

Surah Al-Ahqaf is the final Surah in the series of Surahs that begin with the letters ‘Ha Mim‘. Like the Surahs before it, it points to the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and the night as Signs for people who have Faith and certainty. If Allah created this, can he not then give life to the dead? Reference is made to the Scripture of Musa (Moses) peace be upon him, and how a witness from amongst the Children of Israel testified that this Qur’an is from Allah like the Torah before it, but they were too proud to believe (46:10-12). We are enjoined to be dutiful to our parents, especially our mother who bore us in hardship. The Prophet Hud, peace be upon him, is mentioned and how he warned the people of Al-Ahqaf, the curved sand-hills in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. They rejected the message of Tawhid, and asked him to the bring the punishment if he was truthful. Allah brought a devastating wind to destroy them for their arrogance, and Allah has power over all things (46:21-25). Mention is made of the jinn who heard the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, reciting Qur’an and returned as warners to their people (46:29-32). The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is enjoined to patience with the disbelievers.

Surah Muhammad was revealed in Madinah and contains instructions for warfare and the taking and freeing of captives. We are told that fighting is a test for the believers, and to reward those willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Allah. If Allah had willed he could have destroyed the disbelievers without the need for fighting (47:4). Paradise is described with its rivers of milk, honey and wine, a resting place for the Muttaqun, the pious (47:15). The believers are enjoined to strive hard for Allah’s cause, be patient, obey Allah and His Messenger and to be generous in giving charity.

Surah Al-Fath begins with the declaration that Allah has given the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, a manifest victory, so that He may forgive his past and future sins and complete his favour upon him. Allah sends down As-Sakinah, calmness and tranquility, into the hearts of his believing slaves, so that they may grow in Faith (48:4). Those who made Bai’ah to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, (in the Pledge of Ar-Ridwan), had the Hand of Allah over their hands, and whoever breaks that pledge will bring harm to themselves, and those that uphold it will have a great reward (48:10), and Allah knows what is in the hearts of men. The call to battle separates the true believers from the hypocrites, and those that believe will be rewarded with a great victory, the conquest of Makkah, and many spoils of war. This fullfills the vision of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in which he saw himself and his companions entering Makkah with their heads shaved and cut short (48:27).

Surah Al-Hujurat outlines the manners of the true believers. They should not be hasty in making decisions until Allah and His Messenger have ruled on a matter. They should not raise their voice to the Messenger as they do with one another, rather they should speak to him, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in humble tones. The believers should not convey the words of  a Fasiq, a liar without first checking their facts, lest it be a cause for them to regret later (49:6). We should also not judge one another because it may be that others are better than us. We should avoid suspicion and spying and backbiting because it is like eating the flesh of you dead brother (49:12). We should fear Allah. Our nations and tribes are a Sign from Allah, and the most honourable amongst us is the one with the most Taqwa.

Surah Qaf reminds us that the heavens and the earth, the rain and the winds and our crops are Signs for those who believe. Many before us denied Allah’s Signs and theirs was a terrible end. Allah tells us that He is closer to us than our jugular vein (50:16) and that there are two angels with us, recording everything we do (50:17). We will be presented with our Book of Deeds on the Day of Judgement, and on that Day, Shaitan will distance himself from the actions he called us to do, may Allah curse him (50:27). On the Day of Judgement, Paradise will be brought near to the Muttaqun, the pious believer who feared Allah and turned to Him in repentance, and they will have all that they desired and more.

Surah Adh-Dhariyat testifies by the winds that scatter dust, and the clouds that bear the heavy weight of water, and ships that float with ease, and the angels who distribute provision and blessings, that the promise of Allah (Resurrection, reward and punishment) is true (51:1-7). Cursed is the one who turns away from the Message. The Muttaqun, who slept little because they were praying to their Lord, and begging him for forgiveness in the hours before dawn, will be rewarded with Paradise (51:15-18). We then begin the story of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) peace be upon him, and his visit from the angels, bearing glad tiding of a son despite his wife being barren, and Allah is All-Wise and All-Knowing.

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Seeking Knowledge

Knowledge and action based upon that knowledge are twins whose mother has high aspirations. O youth, the essence of your soul lies in seeking knowledge, and the adornment of your soul is acting upon what you have learnt.

Whoever does not act upon his knowledge will never recognise the value of what he possesses; he will be like a person carrying musk perfume but he is unable to smell it because he has the flu. The vast ocean of the learned person’s knowledge throws onto the shore of utterance words that are like pearls, which are picked up by the hands of understanding.

By Allah, the learned one acquainted with sacred knowledge is a ring on the index finger of time. The learned are strangers in this world as they are a few, among the multitude of ignorant people. The written work that learned person authors and complies is indeed his immortal child, and his flag of honour.

O teacher, hearten and uplift the novice in his path for seeking knowledge, “and measure the links thereof” (Saba 34:11) For the learned is firmly planted whereas the learner is in a state of anxiety. O you seeker of knowledge, humble yourself while seeking knowledge, and know that when sand humbly accepted creatures stepping on it with their feet, Allah made it pure enough for a person to wipe his face with in tayammum. Do not fall into despair as to whether you would ever be strong so long as you continue doing good, because sands shall turn into stones and rocks over time. Endure the nights of hardship, because if you look through the eye of patience you shall see the dawn of reward. Indeed, the lofty ranks can be attained only by undergoing hardship! Did you not notice the thorns growing beside the roses?

O novice, be gentle on yourself – coping with ignorance is difficult, therefore you should move from the basement of concessions to the roof of noble acts requiring determination and strong will. This demands that you never give up striving to achieve your goal, for rain starts with the pitter-patter of drops before it turns into a torrent.

Persist in attending the assemblies of knowledge, for an infant needs to be breastfed time and again, so that he is strong enough to be weaned when he grows up. Indeed, even drops of water that drip on a rock should leave a mark on it when such drops are continual. O you who is parched with the thirst of desires in the desert of youth, change your course to the road of knowledge, for through knowledge you will come across many a water fountain that shall help you in your journey through the desert.

The road to virtues is paved with hardships and trials; those whose resolve is feeble will turn back from it. When the determined suffers a hardship or encounters a calamity whose taste is bitter, he instantly thinks of the sweetness of the final outcome, upon which he brushes away the dirt from the deep-seated high purpose in his heart. A judicious person endures hardships patiently, because he is aware of how close at hand ease is, whereas the ignorant is his exact opposite. This is similar to how the wood of the olive plant burns without producing smoke, unlike the wood of liquorice that produces smoke as it burns. Indeed, man’s nature is like a small child, whereas his intellect is like an adult.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam ibn Jawzi Pages 121-123

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Twenty-fifth Juz’

Contents

The twenty-fifth juz’ of the Qur’an contains Surah Fussilat (They are Explained in Detail) from ayah 47 till its end, Surah Ash-Shura (The Consultation) Surah Az-Zukhruf (The Gold Adornments), Surah Ad-Dukhan (The Smoke) and Surah Al-Jathiyah (The Kneeling) in their entirety.

Revelation

Surah Al Fussilat is reported in hadith to have been revealed after the shahadah of Hamza and before that of Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, in Makkah. Surah Ash-Shura, Surah Az-Zukhruf, Surah Ad-Dukhan and Surah Al-Jathiyah are all Makkan Surahs.

From the Virtues of Surahs that begin with Ha Mim

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Everything has an essence and the essence of the Qur’an is the family of Ha Mim,” or he said, “the Ha Mims.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 7:268) Mis’ar bin Kidam said, “They used to be called ‘the brides’.” (Al Qurtubi 15:288) All of this was recorded by the the Imam, great scholar, Abu Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Sallam, may Allah have mercy upon him, in his book Fada’il Al-Qur’an (p137,138).

Humayd bin Zanjuyah narrated that Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The parable of the Qur’an is that of a man who sets out to find a place for his family to stay, and he comes to a place where there is evidence of rainfall. While he is walking about, admiring it, he suddenly comes upon beautiful gardens. He says, ‘I liked the first traces of rainfall, but this is far better.’ It was said to him, ‘The first place is like the Qur’an, and these beautiful gardens are like the splendor of family of Ha Mim in relation to the rest of the Qur’an’.” This was recorded by Al-Baghawi (Al-Baghawi 4:90).

Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When I reach the family of Ha Mim, it is like reaching a beautiful garden, so I take my time.”  (Al-Baghawi 4:90)

Select Quotations

“We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a witness over all things? Verily, they are in doubt concerning the Meeting with their Lord (i.e the Resurrection)? Verily, it is He Who is surrounding all things.” (Surah Fussilat 41:53-54)

“To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He enlarges provision for whom he wills, and straitens (it for whom He wills). Verily, He is the All-Knower of everything.” (Surah Ash-Shura 42:12)

“And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do.” (Surah Ash-Shura 42:25)

“And similarly, We sent not a warner before you (O Muhammad)  to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: ‘We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow in their footsteps.’ (The warner) said: ‘Even if I bring you better guidance than that which you are following?’ They said: ‘Verily, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:23-24)

“Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private counsel? (Yes We do) and Our messengers (appointed angles in charge of mankind) are by them, to record.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:80)

“And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play. We created them not except with truth (i.e. to test those who are obedient and those who are disobedient and then reward the obedient ones and punish the disobedient ones), but most of them know not.” (Surah Ad-Dukhan 44:38-39)

“And in your creation, and what He scattered (through the earth) of moving (living) creatures are signs for people who have faith and certainty.” (Surah Al-Jathiyah 45:4)

“Whosoever does a good deed, it is for his own self, and whosoever does evil, it is against (his own self). Then to your Lord you will be made to return.” (Surah Al-Jathiyah 45:15)

Main Themes

Surah Al Fussilat continues in this juz’ with the theme of man’s attitude towards Revelation, and those who reject it. They only call on Allah when they are in desperate need, and then they turn away. Those who they call on besides Allah will not avail them on the Day of Resurrection.

Surah Ash-Shura deals with how evil can be cured by the Mercy and Guidance of Allah, which comes through Revelation. Allah’s Majesty is illustrated through the examples of creation and how He sustains it (42:11-12).The believers are ordered to stand firm in what they are commanded and not to follow their own desires, yet Allah accepts repentance from His slaves. We are asked to settle our differences by mutual Consultation, which gives rise to the title of the Surah (42:38).

Surah Az-Zukhruf addresses the contrast between the real Truth and the false nature of what people like to believe and worship. Those who disbelieved before suffered a terrible punishment for their arrogance.We return to the story of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him, when he distanced himself from his father’s worship of anything other than Allah, and his offspring were made of those who are righteous (43:26-28). We are reminded that the Mercy of our Lord is better than the wealth that disbelievers amass, including gold adornments. The Prophet Musa (Moses), peace be upon him, was sent to Fir’aun (Pharoah) and his chiefs with Ayat from Allah, but they were arrogant and laughed at him, and they angered Allah and He punished them (43:46-55). The  return of the Prophet Isa (Jesus) peace be upon him, will be a Sign for the coming of the Hour of the Day of Judgement (43:61).

Surah Ad-Dukhan addresses worldly pride and power and how they are worthless if one denies Truth. Allah testifies that He sent this Qur’an down on a blessed night, the night of Al-Qadr, in the month of Ramadan, as a warning to those who disbelieve. On that night is decreed every matter of ordainments, and Allah is the All-HearerAll-Knower (44:3-6). Those who doubt are told to wait for the Day of Judgment when the sky will bring forth visible smoke, that will cover the people in a painful torment. They will beg for the it to be removed so that they can become believers, but by then it will be too late. Look at the end of Fir’aun (Pharaoh) who was punished for his arrogance. His wealth and power did not avail him any benefit, and with Allah lies the highest reward (44:17-33). The punishment of Hell is described in frightening detail, and contrasted with the beauties Paradise.

Surah Al-Jathiyah takes its title from the kneeling on the Day of Resurrection, when each nation will be called to the Record of its deeds. We are called to look at the Signs of Allah in His creation. Those who hear the Ayat of Allah being recited and yet persist with pride will suffer a painful torment (45:8). The one who takes their own desires as their god and guide has a seal on their hearts and their hearing and sight (45:23). On the Day of Judgement they will be recompensed for what they used to do.

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The Love of Allah, the Most High

Paradise is given to you in trade of worldly detachment and asceticism [i.e. removing the love of this worldly life from your heart]; Hell is kept away from you if you abandon the temptation of this worldly life; love cannot convince of its sincerity unless it is inscribed into the soul, because the authority of love never accepts bribes.

O you who seeks his Lord, detach yourself from the love of yourself, for your heart is too fragile and weak to have your Lord and yourself therein at the same time; it is either to keep Allah by Himself or yourself alone; and when you forget your love for yourself, only then will you find Allah in your hear. When Ibrahim was in a state of rigorous self-denial, his strength manifested itself the day he said, “I have nothing to request from you.” Indeed, the moment his body entered into a new realm after his detachment from the worldly catapult was more gratifying than any other moment. Indeed it was a journey at which the feet of contentment waled across the land of longing. As the poet said: ‘I visited you as I was longing for you, but even if the land had been full of embers I would still have walked on it to reach you’.

The attributes of the Creator are shown in the beauty of perfection. Hearts steeped in His love. The price is dear; it is proclaimed that the blood of the devotee is the price for achieving nearness to his Lord. The love that is steadfast responds by saying: if our hearts were to shed their blood, it would be nothing compared to one look from the Lord upon us. Love of the devotee is placed in the hands of tribulation, while the veins of desires are cut off with the knife of humility, and all the while the Beloved asks them: Will you be patient enough to endure trials? The souls reply back, “They said, ‘No harm. Indeed, to our Lord we will return.” (al-Shuara 26:50)

As the poet said: ‘I devoted myself and my heart to your Love, May Allah never free my soul from Your Love, Here I am, upset with myself for Your sake, I even despised my life after you left me, If the ember of yearning is blazing in my heart, Our meeting shall be the water by which You shall extinguish it.’ The devoted people are unaware of their own existence due to their complete devotion to the One who brought them into existence. When someone knocked on the door of Abu Yazid, a famous ascetic and pious worshipper of the early generations, asking, ‘Is Abu Yazid at home?’ Abu Yazid replied from inside his house: ‘Abu Yazid himself is searching for Abu Yazid but cannot find him!’ Indeed, no one can recognise the secret code of devotees except a person that ilk. Only ask Layla about the state of her lover whose nickname was the Madman of Layla because of his love for her? Their love was so deep that they even enjoyed the anguish that ensues from such a love, just because they knew that this was what their beloved wanted.

Even the actions of the beloved, regardless of their kind, are loved; when Haram ibn Malhanat [maternal uncle of Anas ibn Malik who was murdered in the incident of the ‘well of Awanah’] was stabbed he said: I have won, by the Lord of the Kabbah. And Swaid ibn Shubah, a pious worshipper of the early generations, said while he was on his bed suffering all kinds of trails and sickness: By Allah, I would not like Allah to lessen my trials even by the equivalent of the size of a small nail. As the poet said: ‘They wonder at a heart that longs for agony, they are unaware that in reality it is sweeter than honey’ The beloved is always loved, even if he tortures his lover, because the mountains of love are deep-rooted in the lands of the heart, and therefore no storm of calamities can cause it to shake. Even when al-Hajjaj crucified Mahan the worshipper, he remained extolling Allah, keeping count of his exaltations on his fingers, so that by the time he reached the number twenty nine he was stabbed, yet remained in that state for a month, his finger not changing from that number.

When the knowledge is rooted in the heart, all calamities become bearable. If such knowledge is mixed with love for Allah then calamities will surely have no effect whatsoever because a devote enjoys the pain he suffers for the sake of his beloved. Some people passed by a person whose fingers were cut due to a disease. When they advised him to seek treatment, he replied: ‘Even if you were to cut me to pieces, my love for Him would increase even more. As one poet said: ‘I wonder at the censurers, what they have to do with me, Do not they know that the one killed is content with his death?’

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam ibn Jawzi Pages 117-120

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Twenty-fourth Juz’

Contents

The twenty-fourth juz’ of the Qur’an contains Surah Az-Zumar (The Groups) from ayah 32 till its end, Surah Ghafir or Al-Mu’min (The Forgiver or The Believer) in its entirety and Surah Fussilat (They are Explained in Detail) up to ayah 46.

Revelation

Surah Az-Zumar and Surah Al Ghafir were sent down consecutively in Makkah according to Ibn Abbbas, may Allah be pleased with him. Surah Al Fussilat  is reported in hadith to have been revealed after the shahadah of Hamza and before that of Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, in Makkah.

From the Virtues of Surahs that begin with Ha Mim

Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Everything has an essence and the essence of the Qur’an is the family of Ha Mim,” or he said, “the Ha Mims.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 7:268) Mis’ar bin Kidam said, “They used to be called ‘the brides’.” (Al Qurtubi 15:288) All of this was recorded by the Imam, and great scholar, Abu Ubayd Al-Qasim bin Sallam, may Allah have mercy upon him, in his book Fada’il Al-Qur’an (p137,138).

Humayd bin Zanjuyah narrated that Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The parable of the Qur’an is that of a man who sets out to find a place for his family to stay, and he comes to a place where there is evidence of rainfall. While he is walking about, admiring it, he suddenly comes upon beautiful gardens. He says, ‘I liked the first traces of rainfall, but this is far better.’ It was said to him, ‘The first place is like the Qur’an, and these beautiful gardens are like the splendor of family of Ha Mim in relation to the rest of the Qur’an’.” This was recorded by Al-Baghawi (Al-Baghawi 4:90).

Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When I reach the family of Ha Mim, it is like reaching a beautiful garden, so I take my time.”  (Al-Baghawi 4:90)

Select Quotations

“And verily, if you ask them: “Who created the heavens and the earth?’ Surely they will say: ‘Allah (has created them).’ Say: ‘Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allah – if Allah intended some harm for me, could they withhold His Mercy?’ Say: ‘Sufficient for me is Allah; in Him those who trust (i.e. the believers) must put their trust.” (Surah Az-Zummar 39:38)

“Say: ‘O Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, he is Oft-ForgivingMost Merciful.” (Surah Az-Zummar 39:53)

“And the trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown a second time, and behold they will be standing, looking on (waiting). And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord, and the Book will be placed  (open), and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward, and it will be judged between them with truth, and they will not be wronged. And each person will be paid in full of what he did; and He is Best Aware of what they do.” (Surah Az-Zummar 39:68-70)

“And warn them (O Muhammad) of the Day that is drawing near (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), when the hearts will be choking the throats, and they can neither return them (hearts) to their chests nor can they throw them out. There will be no friend nor intercessor for the Zalimun (polytheists wrongdoers) who could be given heed to.” (Surah Gahfir 40:18)

“Oh my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever.” (Surah Gahfir 40:39)

“When the Messengers came to them,  from before them and behind them (saying): ‘Worship none but Allah,’ They said: ‘If our Lord had so willed, he would surely have sent down the angels. So, indeed we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.’” (Surah Fussilat 41:14)

“And who is better in speech than the one who invites (men) to Allah and does righteous deeds and says: “I am one of the Muslims.” (Surah Fussilat 41:32)

Main Themes

Surah Az-Zumar continues in this juz’ with its warnings to the unbelievers, and those who utter lies against Allah. They deny the Truth and the Oneness of Allah, and theirs will be a terrible end. Those who believe and yet commit sins, should not despair of the Mercy of Allah, and He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. To attain His Mercy we need to repent from our sins change and submit ourselves to Him in obedience before the torment comes, for then it will be too late (39:54). Details are given of the Day of Resurrection when the heavens and the earth will be rolled up and the people will be gathered standing, looking on and waiting. Each person will be paid in full for what they did and Allah is All-Aware of what they do. The disbelievers will be driven to Hell in groups, and those who kept their duty to their Lord will be led to Paradise where they will be given the greeting of peace: “Salamun ‘Alaikum! You have done well, so enter here to abide therein forever.” (39:67-75).

Surah Ghafir is the first of seven Surahs to open with the letters ‘Ha Mim‘ which belong to the late Makkan period, when the Muslims were suffering great persecution at the hands of the disbelievers. The general theme of this series is the comparison between belief and disbelief, revelation and rejection, truth and falsehood and good and evil etc, showing the superiority of the former over the later. We are told of the regret of the disbelievers when they are resurrected for judgement, but it will be too late to confess their sins (40:11). They are called on to look at what happened to those that went before them who disbelieved in the Messengers, they were destroyed for their actions, so the disbelievers should purify their belief and worship for the sake of Allah alone. The story of Prophet Musa (Moses), peace be upon him, is returned to and how Fir’aun called him a sorcerer and a liar and plotted to kill him, but Allah is the best of All Planners (40:23-33). Those who deny the Book will suffer a severe punishment, with iron collars round their necks, boiling water to drink and a burning Fire (40:70-72). The believers are enjoined to be patient, because verily the promise of Allah is true.

Surah Fussilat continues with the theme of man’s attitude to Revelation. It gives the glad tidings of Paradise to the believers who do righteous good deeds, but most people turn away and reject the Message. We are told of the people ‘Ad who were arrogant thinking themselves superior. Allah destroyed them with a furious wind (41:15-16) The people of Thamud also received a Messenger whom most of them rejected and they were destroyed by a terrible punishment. The good deed and the bad are not equal, and whoever does wrong wrongs their own selves. The best of speech is that that testifies that Allah is Lord and invites others Islam (41:33).

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Beware of Sins

The greatest of trials is when your enemies’ rejoice over your downfall; the enmity of the devil is ancient, as it started from the day on which Allah, “And mention when We aid to the angels, ‘Prostrate before Adam’; spot they prostrated, except for Ibis. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.” (al-Baqarah 2:34) And the envy of Shaytan started from the moment it was said, “Will You place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood?” (al-Baqarah 2:30)

On the other hand, the joy of your peers is the greatest joy of all; therefore the envious ones greatest revenge is when you neglect or overlook  your religious obligations, so if you wish to avenge your enviers, you must rectify yourself and your affairs. Nevertheless, observe how you have rejected the opportunity yourself, and allowed your enemies to gloat over your mistakes and shortcomings. As one poet said: ‘Enemies cannot do harm to an ignorant, as much as the ignorant does harm to himself.’ Woe to you, succeed in overcoming your desires as you shall praise the consequences of your safety. As one poet said: ‘A person is pleased when tasting the sweet, but the sweet becomes bitter after it causes harm, So taste the bitter if ultimately it shall befall you, and never opt for a sweet that shall fetch you harm’. Beware of sins, for if they did not have any punishment other than feeling the shame of meeting your Lord while you carry these sins upon you, it would have been enough. The best moment of Yaqub, peace be upon him, was when he saw Yusuf after their separation and the most difficult moment to the brothers of Yusuf was when they met him after they had wronged him. If the heart was purest would be in a tumult hen a sin was committed, but if the sin was repeated often then it would pass by the heart, the heart feels a foreign presence that it finds discomfiting. But when the heart is used to the sin, the heart will become accustomed to it, and will accept without a second thought. This is like the example of a person who wears a black garment, since he will not be concerned if he spills black on it.

O you whose sins have wounded him, you know the ointment that shall soothe you. If you could not afford paying a wailer [i.e. if you cannot weep over your own sins] then suffice by lowering you head out of sorrow and regret because the one in calamity does not go unnoticed. If you couldn’t achieve the glory of Muadh, may Allah be pleased with him, then at least be not unable to taste the humility of the three who stayed back.

Take strong will to be your guide, if you did not know the way; the bafflement of the seeker may lead him to the water of Madyan. Walk in the valley of the night [engage in night prayer], dismount in the valley of humility while showing the greatest state of wretched humbleness, and be attentive so that the chants of the arrivers [i.e. the pious] may move your hearts. Those who took the path may facilitate the arrival of the one detached from his Lord for how many are those from the first generation who eventually became leaders of armies?! Do not get bored from standing at the door of Allah’s Forgiveness and Mercy even if you are reprimanded, and do not stop apologising for your sins even if you are rejected. When a gate is opened for the incomers [i.e. attained Allah’s Love and Pleasure] rush to it fervently, lay down the head of humility and stretch out your hands while begging you Lord by saying, “be charitable unto us” (Yusuf 12:88) so that the answer you may hear is “No blame will be upon you today” (Yusuf 12:92)

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 113-116

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