Taraweeh Reflections - Night Twelve
Posted: 10 Ramadan 1434, 19 July 2013
Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.
Juz Thirteen - Surah Yusuf and Surah Ra'ad.
Sura Yusuf is unique among Qur’anic narratives as the entire surah is devoted to the story of Prophet Yusuf, alayhis Salam. And his story, unlike other stories, is not mentioned anywhere else. The surah is filled with moral lessons, for which a good tafsir should be consulted. Here are only some of those lessons.
اقْتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ أَوِ اطْرَحُوهُ أَرْضًا يَخْلُ لَكُمْ وَجْهُ أَبِيكُمْ وَتَكُونُواْ مِن بَعْدِهِ قَوْمًا صَالِحِينَ .
“Let us kill Yūsuf, or throw him at some place on earth, and thus your father’s full attention will be devoted for you alone, and after doing that, you may become a righteous people.” (Yusuf, 12:9)
The brothers of Prophet Yusuf were Muslims. They were driven by jealousy and not by an ideological conflict. But this jealousy led them to commit serious wrongs. Torn between their negative emotions and their sense of right and wrong, they were the in-between Muslims. They must have felt the pricks of conscience in formulating their evil plan. This is how they assuaged their guilt feeling. “Do this one wrong now, and afterward lead a virtuous life.”
Anyone resorting to the same justification for any wrong should realize the hollowness of this logic.
This surah gives extremely valuable insights into human nature. It also tears apart the idea that good people are above lusts and desires. This idea only helps remove the safeguards that make succumbing to those desires easier. Witness the nonsense about platonic love, and the entire campaign against restrictions on male-female interactions.
This is the story of a Prophet, whose innocence is attested to by the Qur’an. Yet it also says clearly that he could have succumbed to the lust, except for the help from Allah. The following ayahs make it very clear. The take-home lesson is that all the laws of hijab and the restrictions against free-mixing are based on a perfect knowledge of the human nature. And all those who try to water them down are working against the forces of nature. Witness the inevitable results that are all around us, despite all the laws against sexual harassment.
وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلا أَن رَّأَى بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ كَذَلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاء إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ
She certainly desired him, and he might have desired her, had he not seen the proof from his Lord. Thus We did, to turn evil and lewdness away from him. Surely, he was one of Our chosen servants. (Yusuf, 12:24)
قَالَ رَبِّ السِّجْنُ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا يَدْعُونَنِي إِلَيْهِ وَإِلاَّ تَصْرِفْ عَنِّي كَيْدَهُنَّ أَصْبُ إِلَيْهِنَّ وَأَكُن مِّنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ
He (Yūsuf) said, “My Lord, the prison is dearer to me than what these women invite me to do. If You do not turn their guile away from me, I might yet yield to their allure and become one of those who are unaware [of right and wrong]. (Yusuf, 12:33)
مَا أُبَرِّىءُ نَفْسِي إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلاَّ مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّيَ إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“And yet, I am not trying to absolve myself: for, verily, man’s inner self does incite [him] to evil, and saved are only they upon whom my Sustainer bestows His grace. Certainly, my Lord is the Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (Yusuf 12:53)
Sermon in the prison
إِنِّي تَرَكْتُ مِلَّةَ قَوْمٍ لاَّ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَهُم بِالآخِرَةِ هُمْ كَافِرُونَ .وَاتَّبَعْتُ مِلَّةَ آبَآئِـي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ مَا كَانَ لَنَا أَن نُّشْرِكَ بِاللّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ذَلِكَ مِن فَضْلِ اللّهِ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَشْكُرُونَ .يَا صَاحِبَيِ السِّجْنِ أَأَرْبَابٌ مُّتَفَرِّقُونَ خَيْرٌ أَمِ اللّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ .مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلاَّ أَسْمَاء سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَآؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّهِ أَمَرَ أَلاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ إِيَّاهُ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ
I have abandoned the way of those who do not believe in Allah, and who are deniers of the Hereafter. And I follow the creed of my forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is not conceivable that we should [be allowed to] ascribe divinity to anyone beside Allah: this is [an outcome] of Allah’s bounty unto us and unto all mankind – but most people are ungrateful. O my companions in imprisonment! Which is more reasonable: [belief in the existence of numerous divine] lords, each of them different from the other – or [in] Allah, the One God, who holds absolute sway over all that exists? All that you worship instead of Allah is nothing but [empty] names which you have invented – you and your forefathers – [and] for which Allah has bestowed no warrant from on high. Sovereignty belongs to none but Allah. He has ordained that you shall not worship anyone but Him. This is the only right path. But most of the people do not know.” (Yusuf 12:37-40)
This is a very powerful sermon that passionately appeals to our ingrained sense of truth and falsehood to show the truth of the universal call of Islam.
وَقَالَ يَا بَنِيَّ لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ مِن بَابٍ وَاحِدٍ وَادْخُلُواْ مِنْ أَبْوَابٍ مُّتَفَرِّقَةٍ وَمَا أُغْنِي عَنكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَعَلَيْهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ
And he said, “O my sons, do not enter (the city) all of you from the same gate, rather, enter from different gates. And I cannot help you in any way against (the will of) Allah. Sovereignty belongs to none but Allah. In Him I place my trust, and all those who trust should trust in Him alone.” (Yusuf, 12:67)
This is a lesson in the very important concept of tawakkul. Take the steps needed that we can determine based on our knowledge and understanding, then leave the results to Allah.
قَالَ لاَ تَثْرَيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ يَغْفِرُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
He said, “No reproach upon you today! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most- Merciful of all the merciful. (Yusuf, 12:92)
وَقَدْ أَحْسَنَ بَي إِذْ أَخْرَجَنِي مِنَ السِّجْنِ وَجَاء بِكُم مِّنَ الْبَدْوِ مِن بَعْدِ أَن نَّزغَ الشَّيْطَانُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَتِي
[My Lord] favored me when he released me from the prison, and brought you from the countryside after Satan had caused a rift between me and my brothers. (Yusuf, 12:100)
This is the greatness of the Prophetic character. After all the ordeals through which his brothers had put him as a young child, he forgave them. And the forgiveness referred to in the first ayah mentioned above was really meant as we can see in the second ayah quoted above. Prophet Yusuf simply referred to whatever happened to the inspirations of Satan.
Knowledge, Wisdom, Blindness
أَفَمَن يَعْلَمُ أَنَّمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَبِّكَ الْحَقُّ كَمَنْ هُوَ أَعْمَى إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُواْ الأَلْبَابِ
Now, can the one who knows that whatever has been revealed to you from your Lord is the truth, be equal to one who is blind? But only men of understanding heed. (Al-Ra’d, 13:19)
اللّهُ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَنْ يَشَاء وَيَقَدِرُ وَفَرِحُواْ بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فِي الآخِرَةِ إِلاَّ مَتَاعٌ
Allah expands the provision for whom He wills and narrows it (for whom He wills). And they [who are given abundance] rejoice in the life of this world – even though, as compared with the life to come, the life of this world is nothing but a fleeting pleasure. (Al-R’ad, 13:26)
Too many people get deceived into thinking that their economic achievements are a result of their own smarts. This ayah should help destroy this myth.
Peace of mind
الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
The ones who believe and their hearts are peaceful with the remembrance of Allah. Listen, the hearts find peace only in the remembrance of Allah.” (Al-R’ad, 13:28)
This is the real recipe for achieving that elusive peace of mind.