Taraweeh Reflections - Night 23
Posted: 22 Ramadan 1434, 31 July 2013
Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.
Juz 24 - Surahs Zumar, Mu'min, and Fussilat
Sincerity and exclusive devotion to Allah alone is the central tenet of Islam. In this surah, which was revealed before the migration to Abyssinia and which is a concise statement of what Islam is all about, this tenet is repeated four times. It begins with a command and a statement of principle:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ فَاعْبُدِ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ الدِّينَ . أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ ۚ
Surely We have revealed the Book to you with truth; so worship Allah making your submission exclusive for Him. Remember, Allah alone deserves the exclusive submission. (Zumar, 39:2-3)
Then it reiterates the command:
قُلْ إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ الدِّينَ
Say, “I have been ordered to worship Allah, making my submission exclusive to Him. (Zumar, 39:11)
And again it asserts a statement of fact:
قُلِ اللَّهَ أَعْبُدُ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ دِينِي
Say, “It is Allah whom I worship, making my submission exclusive to Him. (Zumar, 39:14)
Those who believe in Allah being the sole creator and master of this universe still run the danger of losing the purity of their devotion due to lusts and desires. Hence attaining and maintaining this purity is a life long struggle. It helps to realize that of all groups of Muslims, the Companions had the highest level of sincerity. And their unique status is due entirely to it. Learning about their lives and keeping an eye on their examples is thus an effective way of nurturing this sincerity.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ . وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ
SAY: “[Thus speaks Allah:] ‘O my servants who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of Allah’s mercy: behold, Allah forgives all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful. Hence, turn towards your Sustainer [alone] and surrender yourselves unto Him before the suffering [of death and resurrection] comes upon you, for then you will not be helped” (Zumar, 39:53-54)
The pencil which has been given to us to course of our life’s journey does come with a huge eraser. It lasts as long as the pencil itself. There are no signs on this highway that prohibit a U-turn. No matter how messed up our lives may have been, we can always correct course. The door to repentance is always open--- until the very end of our life. But if we wait too long and the end comes in sight, then repentance will not help.
Admonishment to the Pharaoh
يَا قَوْمِ لَكُمُ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ ظَاهِرِينَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَمَن يَنصُرُنَا مِن بَأْسِ اللَّهِ إِن جَاءَنَا ۚ قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ مَا أُرِيكُمْ إِلَّا مَا أَرَىٰ وَمَا أَهْدِيكُمْ إِلَّا سَبِيلَ الرَّشَادِ . وَقَالَ الَّذِي آمَنَ يَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُم مِّثْلَ يَوْمِ الْأَحْزَابِ . مِثْلَ دَأْبِ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَعَادٍ وَثَمُودَ وَالَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ ۚ وَمَا اللَّهُ يُرِيدُ ظُلْمًا لِّلْعِبَادِ
O my people, the kingdom is yours today, while you are dominant on the land. But, who is going to help us against Allah’s punishment, if it comes upon us?” Pharaoh said, “I do not give you an opinion unless I myself believe it to be correct, and I do not direct you to anything but to the right way.” Thereupon exclaimed he who had attained to faith: “O my people! Verily, I fear for you the like of what one day befell those others who were leagued together [against God’s truth] –the like of what happened to Noah’s people, and to [the tribes of] ’ād and Thamūd and those who came after them! and Allah does not intend to do any injustice to His servants.” (Mumin, 40:29-31)
The story of the believer in the court of the Pharaoh is described in some detail in this surah. He kept his belief to himself for fear of persecution. However when things started to go out of hand, he had to come out and tell the truth. In the first sentence above he spoke of we and us so as not to alienate them. Upon Pharaoh’s rejection of his passionate appeal, he had to tell them “I fear for you.”
Moral: The inclusive language should be used whenever possible and the exclusive language when necessary.
Fighting evil with good
وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ
Good and evil are not equal. Repel (evil) with what is best, and you will see that the one between whom and you was hatred become as if he were a close friend. (Fussilat, 41:34)
This teaching will keep the callers to Islam from ever going on ego trips in dealing with the opponents. In his commentary on this Syedna Abdullah ibn Abbas said, “Show patience when someone is venting his anger on you. Show forbearance when some one is rude to you. Forgive when someone hurts you.” We should never leave the high moral ground in dealing with adversity and it may even win over the most committed enemies.