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Taraweeh Reflections - Night Twenty

By Khalid Baig

Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.

Juz 21 - Surahs Rum and Luqman

Surah Rum

This surah begins with two predictions. One was for the victory of Romans over the Persians after they had been nearly vanquished by the latter. Simultaneously, it was predicted, Muslims would gain victory over the Quraish. Both would take place in less than a decade. Both came to pass as predicted. In this alone there is ample proof that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah for open minded people.

Limits of Scientific Knowledge

يَعْلَمُونَ ظَاهِرًا مِّنَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ عَنِ الْآخِرَةِ هُمْ غَافِلُونَ

They know but the outer surface of this world’s life, whereas of the ultimate things they are utterly unaware. (Rum, 30:7)

This is a general comment on the limits of human knowledge, that acquired through sense perception and logical reasoning--- in other words the scientific knowledge. It is based only on the observable phenomenon, whether observed with the help of instruments or without. But there is much much more to life than the observable spectrum. The victory of Romans over the Persians within a decade, was beyond all human calculations.

Realizing the limits of human knowledge is a pre-requisite for opening our hearts and minds to the revealed knowledge. As we are reminded elsewhere in the Qur’an: “of knowledge it is only a little that has been given to you.” (Isra 17:85). Without this realization the scientific knowledge --- though useful and important in its limited scope--- acquires a place in our life that it is not qualified for. It them leads to the disaster called scientism, when it becomes the final judge and arbiter of everything in life. This ayah is a powerful tool to break that hegemony of science.

Surah Luqman

Music and Distractions

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

But there are, among men, those who purchase distracting amusements, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): For such people there is a disgraceful punishment. (Rum, 31:6)

This includes all distractions--- music, video games, movies, television entertainment programs--- that fit the description in terms of their effect. There is a place for recreation in life, when its purpose is to rejuvenate us and prepare us to better face the serious tasks in life. But when recreation becomes a goal in itself and a means of diverting us from the Path of Allah then it is a curse.

Today the human weakness to fall for such diversions has been exploited in an unprecedented manner with the help of machines. For example, when music could only be produced by a live person working in real time, no one, no matter how rich, could surround himself with music at all hours of the day and night. Today no one is safe from it. No place or time is immune.

Probably that explains why we see such an increase in the occurrence of disasters, both natural and man-made, today. The disasters are reminders so we leave our state of forgetfulness and turn to Allah. The disasters have increased because the distractions have increased. May Allah protect us from both.