Taraweeh Reflections - Night Nineteen
Posted: 18 Ramadan 1434, 27 July 2013
Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.
Juz Twenty - Surahs Qasas and Ankabut
This is the last surah revealed before hijrah; its ayah 85 was revealed when the Prophet had already started his journey to Madinah. This was a heart breaking departure and he was consoled that Allah would be bringing him back to this city as a conqueror. This happened within a decade although at that time there were no apparent clues leading to this result.
In preparation for the encounter with Jews in Madinah, the first 43 ayahs give a detailed account of the life of Prophet Musa, alayhi salam, not given anywhere else in the Qur’an. The parallels between the lives of Propeht Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and that of Prophet Musa alayhis salam are unmistakable. Prophet Musa had also left his home when his life was threatened and was brought back and ultimately the Pharaoh was drowned. The account thus provides assurance for the Prophet and admonishment for the unbelievers.
A character called Qarun
إِنَّ قَارُونَ كَانَ مِن قَوْمِ مُوسَىٰ فَبَغَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْكُنُوزِ مَا إِنَّ مَفَاتِحَهُ لَتَنُوءُ بِالْعُصْبَةِ أُولِي الْقُوَّةِ إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ قَوْمُهُ لَا تَفْرَحْ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ . وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَأَحْسِن كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ . قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ عِندِي ۚ أَوَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَهْلَكَ مِن قَبْلِهِ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مَنْ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُ قُوَّةً وَأَكْثَرُ جَمْعًا ۚ وَلَا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذُنُوبِهِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ . فَخَرَجَ عَلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ فِي زِينَتِهِ ۖ قَالَ الَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا يَا لَيْتَ لَنَا مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ قَارُونُ إِنَّهُ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ . وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَيْلَكُمْ ثَوَابُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَلَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الصَّابِرُونَ . فَخَسَفْنَا بِهِ وَبِدَارِهِ الْأَرْضَ فَمَا كَانَ لَهُ مِن فِئَةٍ يَنصُرُونَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُنتَصِرِينَ . وَأَصْبَحَ الَّذِينَ تَمَنَّوْا مَكَانَهُ بِالْأَمْسِ يَقُولُونَ وَيْكَأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ ۖ لَوْلَا أَن مَّنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا لَخَسَفَ بِنَا ۖ وَيْكَأَنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْكَافِرُونَ
Indeed Qārūn (Korah) was from the people of Mūsā, then he rebelled against them. And We had given him treasures such that the very keys of them were too heavy a burden for a company of men endowed with strength.. (Remember) when his people said to him, “Do not exult. Surely, Allah loves not those that exult. And seek the (betterment of) the Ultimate Abode with what Allah has given to you, and do not neglect your share from this world, and do good as Allah did good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land. Surely, Allah does not like the mischief-makers.” Answered he: "This [wealth] has been given to me only by virtue of the knowledge that is in me!" Did he not know that God had destroyed [the arrogant of] many a generation that preceded him – people who were greater than he in power, and richer in what they had amassed? But such as are lost in sin may not be asked about their sins (for ascertaining their sins). And so he went forth before his people in all his pomp; [and] those who cared only for the life of this world would say, "Oh, if we but had the like of what Qārūn has been given! He is a man of great fortune indeed!" But those who had been granted true knowledge said: "Woe unto you! Merit in the sight of Allah is by far the best for any who attains to faith and does what is right: but none save the patient in adversity can ever achieve this [blessing]."
And thereupon We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling; and he had none and nothing to help him against Allah, nor was he of those who could defend themselves. And on the morrow, those who but yesterday had longed to be in his place exclaimed: "Alas [for our not having been aware] that it is indeed Allah [alone] who grants abundant sustenance, or gives it in scant measure, unto whichever He wills of His creatures! Had not Allah been gracious to us, He might have caused [the earth] to swallow us, too! Alas [for our having forgotten] that those who deny the truth can never attain to a happy state!" (Qasas, 28:76-82)
The account of Qarun (Korah in the Bible) is given at the end of the surah. Qarun is the personification of the possible evils of wealth. He was given tremendous wealth, which got to his head. He believed, as many do today, that his economic success was the result of his own knowledge and smarts. Little did he realize that for every smart person who has struck it rich, there are many smarter people who have not. How many are the economically successful who can see that their success was the result of being at the right place at the right time? Failure to comprehend that our wealth or lack thereof is a test decreed by Allah according to His plan leads to the other common evil. The surplus wealth begs to be put on display to advertize the superiority of those who hold it. Qarun did the same. And it did take its toll on the shallow people who are captivated by this world and have not received the revealed knowledge. (Such are the people being produced by our education systems today). They said Qarun had got it made and wished they had the same. The people of knowledge (i.e revealed knowledge) tried to talk sense to them telling them the real important things were faith and virtue. The truth of this was finally realized by the first group when Qarun was buried alive along with his wealth.
Wealth also took another toll on the poor Qarun. He belonged to a colonized people (Bani Israel) and had accepted to work for the Pharaoh as his agent to control his own people. He betrayed his people and became an oppressor for them--- because his narrowly conceived vested interests dictated so.
We can see the dark character of Qarun, the agent, in the history of colonized people to this day. We can also see the character of Qarun, the filthy rich, in every society.
تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
As for that Ultimate Abode (the Hereafter), We assign it to those who do not intend haughtiness on earth nor mischief. And the (best) end is for the God-fearing. (Qasas, 28:83)
The eternal success belongs to the good people. Their defining characteristic is that they seek neither oppression of others nor corruption. They are a God-fearing people or muttaqi in the special Qur’anic terminology.
The nurturing of taqwa is a central Islamic goal. The Qur’anic guidance is beneficial only for those who have taqwa (Al-Baqarah, 2:2). The purpose of fasting is also to develop taqwa (Al-Baqarah, 2: 183). All acts of virtue are performed by the muttaqeen (plural of muttaqi) (Al-Baqarah, 2: 177). Paradise has been created for the muttaqeen (Al-Imran, 3:133).
Limits of Parental Rights
وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْنًا ۖ وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ لِتُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۚ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
We have charged man to do good to his parents. But if they insist upon you that you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. To Me is your return; then I shall tell you what you were doing. (Ankabut 29:8)
The persons who have the greatest right on us are our parents. Yet when this right impinges on the right of Allah to be worshipped alone, it will be disregarded. It follows that rights of other people will be disregarded even more when they conflict with the commands of Allah. All obedience to other people that results in disobedience to Allah is a no-no.
A Great Reassurance
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
But as for those who strive hard in Our cause – We shall most certainly guide them onto paths that lead unto Us: for, behold, Allah is indeed with the doers of good. (Ankabut, 29:69)
This ayah holds great reassurance for all those who may find hurdles in obeying Allah. When doors seem to be locked and all options look bad, let us have faith. We should turn to Allah seeking His help and do the best we can under the circumstances. And we will find a way out from totally unexpected sources. The Qur’anic words are very emphatic. Let us find comfort in their great promise. If we keep this ayah in front of us, we’ll never lose hope, no matter what the current circumstances.
(Taken from the book: Listening to the Qur'an: Insights, Commands, and Guidance for Our Life)