Monday, August 13, 2018

What is the Significance of First 10 Days of Dhu'l-Hijjah

Dhu'l-Hijjah as in Arabic and Zil-Hajj in non Arabic speaking countries  is the most sacred month of Islamic calender for its is in this month "Hajj", the fifth pillar of Islam, is performed in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Each year millions of pilgrims from around the world reach Makkah during this month before 8th of Dhu'l-Hijjah, when the Hajj rituals actually commence.

The first two verses of Surah Al-Fajr "By the Dawn; By the Ten Nights” are interpreted by many a scholar as the first ten days of Dhu'l-Hijjah, for these ten days are considered to very favourite of Allah, the Most High and Exalted. This oath, a very significant and extraordinary, can only be understood by the wise and scholarly.

In Surah At-Tawbah, Verse 36 Allah proclaims four months holier than the rest eight months of Islamic calander: “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred.” The 4 sacred months are: Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. [5]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been reported by Abdullah Ibn Abbas (r.a.) as saying: "There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the (first) ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of Qadr, Laylat Al Qadr (the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan). [1]

Dhu'l-Hijjah is the 12th and last month of the Islamic calander and it has just commenced. "Dhu'l-Hijjah" means "Possessor of the Pilgrimage" or the Month of Great Pilgrimage. The Hajj is performed on the eighth, ninth and the tenth of Dhu'l-Hijjah. The "Day of Arafah" takes place on the ninth of the month. 

“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” (Surah Al Maidah, Verse 3). This day was the day of ‘Arafah which falls on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah. [5]

As reported by by Ibn Majah, the Prophet (s) is reported to have said: “Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is an expiation (of sins) for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it." [5]

Eid al-Adha, the "Festival of the Sacrifice", begins on the tenth day and ends on sunset of the 13th. "It honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before Abraham sacrificed his son, God provided a male goat to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is retained by the family."[6]

The sacrificing of an animal of the eve of Eid al Adha (or the 10-13th of Dhu'l-Hijjah) is in fact the commemoration of great sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) showed when asked by Allah to sacrifice his most beloved thing. Since the Prophet loved his son Ismail (Ishmael) the most, he asked his son what he had been commanded by Allah. Prophet Ismail readily agreed and asked his father to go ahead to fulfill his obedience to God’s command. However, before Prophet Ibrahim could placed knife on his son's neck, Allah accepted his sacrifice and replaced his son with a lamb. 

It is incumbent on all those sacrificing an animal on Eid ul Adha to make three portions of the meat of which one third is to be given to the poor and needy; one third to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining one third for self and family. Thus by doing so, the poor and needy are helped who otherwise cannot afford meat, and so the needy relatives and known acquaintances. 

While those performing Hajj during the first ten days of Dhu'l-Hijjah will be granted immense rewards for observing the fifth pillar of Islam, those who cannot make it due to health or financial constraints, should preferably keep fasts on the first nine days, spend in charity, and do good as much as they can and try to slaughter as sacrificial animal on 10-13th days of the holy month. They are also to keep repeating the following as is obligatory for the pilgrims actually performing Hajj during the first ten days:
الله أكبر الله أكبر لا إله إلا الله والله أكبر الله أكبر ولله الحمد
Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa lillaahi’l-hamd (Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, and to Allah belongs praise).

During these ten days, thus, an earnest effort be made to seek forgiveness of one's past sins and misdeed from Allah by extensively engaging in prayers. However, during these ten days one must also take a solemn pledge to stay aways from all sorts of sins, disobedience of Allah's commandments and a firm resolve to be good Muslim and help those who need our help.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 86 Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq (The Night Comer / The Night Star)

The 85th chapter of Qur'an, Sūrat al-Burūj commenced with the Divine vow "By the sky containing great stars," and this succeeding Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq also commences with a similar vow by the Allah Almighty: "By the heaven and by the night visitor." Although the word "Samma" is used which means the sky, but it could also mean all the seven layers of the sky upon which throne of Allah rests.

Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq discuses two themes: first that man has to appear before God after death; second, that the Qur'an is a decisive Word which no plan or device of the disbelievers can defeat or frustrate. [1]

Like the previous Sūrah, Allah takes a solemn pledge of the sky and At Tariq. And then in the second verse asks Do you know what At Tariq is? Naturally man cannot answer something unknown to him, thus Allah replies Himself that At Tariq is in fact A Bright Star:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  • By the sky and the night comer
  • And what can make you know what is the night comer?
  • It is the piercing star
  • There is no soul but that it has over it a protector.
Why Allah has taken a solemn pledge of the sky and a piercing star? Many commentators believe that since most of the travelers in Arabia traveled at night to evade the scorching sun of the desert during the day time, all they had in sight was the starry sky up and some landmark stars, like the North Pole or other constellations, which served as navigation aids to the travelers. So giving an example of something with something that the Arabs were accustomed to, Allah not only shows His glory and greatness for its is He alone who has created such facilities that brighten up the desert at night even in the absence of the moon and bright stars that serve as navigation aids. And then in the fourth verse, Allah tells the man that there is no soul in this world that does not have a protector, and who best other than Allah can be the protector of man who makes it easy for him to obve about even in darkness.

The next three verses are an eye opener for those who claim that the Holy Qur'an is merely a book written by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
  • So let man observe from what he was created
  • He is created from gushing water,
  • Emerging from between the backbone and the ribs.
This is how Allah tells the man how he was born - a knowledge which has only been recently dawned on man in the last two or three centuries and medical science has proved this now when it was told more than fourteen hundred years ago. Although man can attain high status in this world, with wealth, authority and might, he forgets his pathetic beginnings from a dirty fluid that people wash off their clothes. The second and third verse describe that the water is not stale but fresh and gushes out from between the backbone of man and the ribs to impregnate a female. This is tell the man that how he has been created from an otherwise dirty water and forgets about his very humble origin when he attains a status and wealth.

And in verses 8-10, Allah, having told the man how he was created and how he disobeyed His commandments when he became a man of substance, warns that the day shall come soon (The Day of Judgement) when he will be made answerable to his misdeeds and punished, for on that day man would not find any helper or support from what he has left behind in his wordily life:
  • Indeed, Allah, to return him [to life], is Able.
  • The Day when secrets will be put on trial,
  • Then man will have no power or any helper.
In verses 11-17, Allah then takes another oath on the heaven (rain, which brings life to every living thing on earth) and cracks open the earth (to put out shoots), a proof of reality which no one has power to do except Allah alone and that whatever being said here is word of Allah and must be taken very seriously:
  • By the sky which returns [rain]
  • And [by] the earth which cracks open,
  • Indeed, the Qur'an is a decisive statement,
  • And it is not amusement.
  • Indeed, they are planning a plan,
  • But I am planning a plan.
  • So allow time for the disbelievers. Leave them awhile.
In the last three verses of the chapter, Allah says warns that those plotting a scheme against Allah's words and commandments will face a serious setback as Allah has taken upon Himself as how to counter their plans and whatever Allah wills and plans has no counter. So Allah advises the Prophet (s) to be patient with the disbelievers and let them take their time, for when wrath of Allah would befell, all their plans will crumble with a bitter end in waiting. 
You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat aṭ-Ṭāriq with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)
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Friday, August 10, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 87 Sūrat al-Aʻlā (The Most High)

Sūrat al-Aʻlā is one of the seven chapters of the Holy Qur'an which are called the "Al-Musabbihat " meaning by the chapters that commence with glorification of name of Allah. 

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الاّعْلَى
Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High
This single verse sums up the concept of Allah, for He alone is to be glorified, worshiped and eulogized. He is to be revered above all livings beings and "should not be remembered by any name which might reflect a deficiency, fault, weakness, or an aspect of likeness, with created beings, for the root of all false creeds in the world are wrong concepts about Allah, which assumed the form of an erroneous name for His glorious and exalted Being." [1]

Surah Al Ikhlas the 112th chapter best describes the oneness of Allah in just three simple verses: "He is Allah, (the) One. "The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks'. "He begets not, nor was He begotten; "And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him."

Allah has 99 names and each name describe Allah's glory and might. So those who remember these names and believes in them and recite these frequently are the best of the people and shall enter paradise. [3]

Verses 2-5 describe the creativity of Allah, which no human can even think of having any parallel to it. Man may go to moon, mars and frontiers beyond, but will not able to fathom the vastness of the universe Allah created. Allah reminds those who equate others with His oneness and ability create: "O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully) : Verily! Those on whom you call besides Allah, cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatched away a thing from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought." [Surah Al-Hajj 22:73]
  • That He has created, then proportioned (designed it).
  • And that He has decreed a destiny. Then guided.
  • And that He brought forth the herbage (greens) from earth. 
  • Then turned it into black refuse. 
The verses 6-8 were revealed specially for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), for He would try to remember the previously revealed verses, since He could neither read or write. These verses were thus revealed to console Him and assure Him that Allah has revealed these verses on to him, and it is the responsibility of Allah alone to make you remember these.
  • We will make you recite (the Qur’ân) so you will not forget it. 
  • Nevertheless (this is) what Allah wills; surely He knows what is manifest, and what is hidden.
  • And We shall make (it) easy for you so that it may be easy. 
This promise of Allah also appears at few other places in the Holy Quran too:
Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur'an, O Muhammad SAW) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to give you (O Muhammad SAW) the ability to recite it (the Qur'an)And when We have recited it to you [O Muhammad SAW through Jibrael (Gabriel)], then follow you its (the Qur'an's) recital.Then it is for Us (Allah) to make it clear to you. [Surah Al-Qiyamah 75:16-19]
In verses 9-10th Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has been told: "You have not been made responsible to bring everyone on to the right path; your only duty is to convey the truth, and the simplest way of conveying the truth is that admonition be given to him who is inclined to listen to the admonition and accept it, and the one who is not inclined to it, should not be pursued. The one who fears the evil consequences of deviation and falsehood, will listen to the truth and accept it, and the wretched one who avoids listening to and accepting it, will himself see his evil end. [1]
  • So remind, if the reminder should benefit;
  • He who fears [ Allah ] will be reminded.
And then comes a stark warning in the verses 11-13 for those wretched, addicted to their evil and corrupted desires,  and unfortunate, who despite having known the truth and a way to the righteous path, will find them no recuse when in the world hereafter they will be thrown into naked burning flames a blazing fire - a place where they will not be able to live and die !!
  • But the wretched one will avoid it.
  • [He] who will [enter and] burn in the greatest Fire,
  • Neither dying therein nor living.
A similar warning has been served to these unfortunate people in Surah An-Nazi'at 79:37-39:  "Then, for him who transgressed all bounds, in disbelief, oppression and evil deeds of disobedience to Allah), And preferred the life of this world (by following his evil desires and lusts) Verily, his abode will be Hell-fire."

The discourse has been summed up, saying: "Success is only for those who adopt purity of belief, morals and deed, and remember the name of their Lord and perform the Prayer. But, on the contrary, the people are wholly lost in seeking the ease, benefits and pleasures of the world, whereas they should actually endeavor for their well being in the Hereafter, for the world is transitory and the Hereafter everlasting and the blessings of the Hereafter are far better than the blessings of the world. (verses 14-17) [1]:
  • He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself
  • And mentions the name of his Lord and prays
  • But you prefer the worldly life
  • While the Hereafter is better and more enduring
The two verses (18-19) of Sūrat al-Aʻlā affirm that a similar message was also revealed to Prophets Ibrahim and Musa (Abraham, Moses, peace be upon them) in their scriptures:
  • Most surely this is indeed in the former Pages as well.
  • In the pages of Abraham and Moses. 
In substance, Sūrat al-Aʻlā and Surat Al-Ghāshiyah are said to complement each other. It has been quoted that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be up[on him) would recite Sūrat al-Aʻlā and Surat Al-Ghāshiyah (the 88th chapter) in Jummah prayers, and would also recite these two surahs Eid prayers. He is also reported to recite Sūrat al-Aʻlā in the first cycle (rakah) of Witr prayers, Surah Kaafiroon in second cycle and  Surah Ikhlas in the third cycle. [3]

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat al-Aʻlā with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 88 Surat Al-Ghāshiyah ( The Overwhelming Event )

Surat Al-Ghāshiyah, the 26-versed 88th chapter of the Holy Qur'an, 30th Part, is like most of the following chapters was revealed in Makkah and contain the similar messages of calling nonbelievers to Islam and tidings of reward and punishment in life that would befall on every born human being after he dies and is raised again on the Day of Judgment. 

According to a hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to recite Surat Al-Ghāshiyah on the day of Jumu'ah after surah Al-Jumua (Surah 62). [3]

Surat Al-Ghāshiyah has mainly three parts, the warning for the wrongdoers and those who reject Allah's message and His messenger, the good tidings for those who choose the righteous path of truth as prescribed by Allah the Almighty, and the last part pertaining to the calling of nonbelievers / disbelievers and mis-believers to worship One true Allah, as have all previous prophets have been doing.

After drawing the attention of all alike about a day that will be so overwhelming that man will be drenched in fear in the first verse, the next six verses (2-7) speak of the wrath of Allah that will be for the people who refused to listen to Prophet of Allah (s) and mocked about a life of hereafter:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  1. Has there reached you the report of the Overwhelming [event]?
  2. [Some] faces, that Day, will be humbled,
  3. Working [hard] and exhausted.
  4. They will [enter to] burn in an intensely hot Fire.
  5. They will be given drink from a boiling spring.
  6. For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant
  7. Which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger.
In the verses 8-16, the good tidings are explained for those who bring faith on Oneness of Allah and walked the righteous path:
  • [Other] faces, that Day, will show pleasure.
  • With their effort [they are] satisfied
  • In an elevated garden,
  • Wherein they will hear no unsuitable speech.
  • Within it is a flowing spring.
  • Within it are couches raised high
  • And cups put in place
  • And cushions lined up
  • And carpets spread around.
Then Allah throws a number of questions to the non believers in verses 17-20 with a surprise that even after seeing the miracles and landmarks they see in their daily life whether at home or outside or while traveling, they still do not accept the divinity and Oneness of Allah, Who alone is the creator of everything that has been created?
  • Do (these unbelievers) not observe the camels: how they were created?
  • And the sky: how it was raised high?
  • And the mountains: how they were fixed?
  • And the earth: how it was spread out?
The best explanation of verses 17-20 is given by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi in his Tafhim al Qur'an:[2]
Do not these people, who frown and scorn the teaching of Tauhid (oneness of Allah) and the news of the Hereafter being given by the Qur'an, observe the common things which they experience daily in their lives? Do they never consider how the camels, on whom their whole life activity in the Arabian desert depends, came into being, endowed precisely with the same characteristics as were required for the beast needed in their desert life? When they go on their journeys, they see the sky, the mountains, or the earth. Let them ponder over these three phenomena and consider as to how the sky was stretched above them, how the mountains were erected and how the earth was spread beneath them? Has all this come about without the skill and craftsmanship of an All- Powerful, All Wise Designer? If they acknowledge that a Creator has created all this with great wisdom and power and that no one else is an associate with Him in their creation, why then do they refuse to accept Him alone as their Lord and Sustainer? And if they acknowledge that that God had the power to create all this, then on what rational ground do they hesitate to acknowledge that that God also has the power to bring about Resurrection, to recreate man, and to make Hell and Heaven?
In the last six verses (21-26), Allah then advises His Prophet (s) to only counsel the non believers and in no way 'compel' them to abide by the divine commandments, for that will be taken care of Allah Himself when the time comes:
  • So render good counsel, for you are simply required to counsel,
  • and are not invested with the authority to compel them.
  • But whoever will turn away (from the Truth),
  • Allah will chastise him with the most terrible chastisement.
  • Surely to Us is their return;
  • and then it is for Us to call them to account.
In view of the Divine message above, we must make an endeavour to call non / dis / mis-believers to the truth as contained in the commandments of Allah in the Holy Qur'an. But in no way we should force anyone to accept our faith for it is Allah who creates a space in the hearts of the people to accept His message. We must therefore continue to exhibit the message of Allah through our actions and way of life, for actions speak louder than words to send home the message rather than persuasion.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surat Al-Ghāshiyah with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 89 Sūrat al-Fajr (The Daybreak)

Sūrat al-Fajr, the 89th chapter of the Holy Quran consists of 30 verses and is part of the 30th Part of Holy Qur'an. The Sūrah begins with the word Fajr, the daybreak and mentions people of the bygone days who disobeyed Allah and His prophets and were destroyed. And it also gives good tidings to those who did good and obeyed commandments of Allah with bounties and rewards of Paradise in the hereafter.

The Surah begins with four solemn pledges that Allah take to show His eternal powers and warns those who disobey Him and His commandments brought to them by His prophets (verses 1-4):
  • By the dawn
  • And [by] ten nights
  • And [by] the even [number] and the odd
  • And [by] the night when it strolls away
There are many interpretations of the above four vows that Allah has taken in this surah, beginning with the Daybreak, the dawn when the sun rises, a similar pledge Allah has taken in Sūrat ash-Shams (The Sun), the 91st chapter, and the darkness comes to an end. 
  • Fajr in fact means to tear or rip open something completely.So the earliest time when the light tears through the darkness of the night - Fajr has begun. Thus Fajr is the time when those fearing Allah wake up willingly by choice to worship Allah, while the disbelievers remain asleep. This makes the believing slave of Allah have a high rank in His sight. When Allah swears by the morning - He is swearing by death and life. Because the night sleep is a sign of death, and the waking up is like the Resurrection after that death. 
  • Taking oath of the 'Ten nights' has been explained by scholars as either the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan (when Qur'an was revealed and Laylat-al-Qadr occurs in any of the odd nights) or the First 10 Nights of Dhul Hijjah (the month Hajj, the great annual pilgrimage).
  • The swearing  by the even and the odd also has many interpretations. The even and odd means that every creation has been made in pairs: Earth / Sky. Day /Night, Sun / Moon, Male / Female, Hell / Paradise. Which means that without the one, we cannot appreciate the other. Likewise the good and the evil - of which good is even and the evil is odd. So on the day of Judgment, the injustices and justices would be balanced out and reward and punishment would be decided.
  • "I swear by the night as it strolls away" implies that people don't have power over time, rather Allah has power over time, and humans - with the limited abilities given to them - use the different times for their benefit. [2]
[Verses 5-10]
Allah having taken the four solemn pledges, which shows His might and control over everything that happens to us, asks the non/disbelievers "Is there [not] in [all] that an oath [sufficient] for one of perception?" And if this was not enough, then Allah tells them how His wrath befell of people of  Aad and Iram (who had lofty pillars, the likes of whom had never been created in the lands, people to whom Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) was sent and when they did not obey the prophet, the city was destroyed in a great storm - Read more about these people in Surah Hud, Chapter 11)), Thamud (mentioned in the 91st chapter Sūrat ash-Shams who disobeyed Prophet Saleh (peace be upon him) and were destroyed) and the Pharaoh (who despite all his might and large armies, referred here as Possessor of Pegs could not stop Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) and was finally drowned chasing the Prophet.

The mention of these four mighty people and kings and the wrath that befell on them to completely obliterate them from the earth has been used as a forewarning to the pagans of Makkah, who boasted of their wealth and rich ancestral lineage, and tell them in clear words that if the do not obey the message of Allah, sent to them trough Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and hurt and torture him, their fate will be similar to the people long gone and perished. And we see today that in the lands of Arabia, none of the erstwhile today exist for not believing in the words of Allah and His Prophet (s).

This is then followed by Allah's pledge to destroy who stands disbelieved (Verses 11-14):
  • Who (all) were rebellious (to Allah) in these lands,
  • so they increased in corruption.
  • So your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment.
  • There is no doubt, your Lord is waiting in observation
Allah then mentions of ungrateful people, even among the believers besides the non/disbelievers, that those who are given in abundance are grateful to Him. But if the face hardships they lament and complain and become ungrateful (verses 15-26):
  • And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, "My Lord has honored me."
  • But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, "My Lord has humiliated me."
  • No! But you do not honor the orphan
  • And you do not encourage one another to feed the poor.
  • And you consume inheritance, devouring [it] altogether,
  • And you love wealth with immense love.
  • No! When the earth has been leveled - pounded and crushed -
  • And your Lord has come and the angels, rank upon rank,
  • And brought [within view], that Day, is Hell - that Day, man will remember, but what good to him will be the remembrance?
  • He will say, "Oh, I wish I had sent ahead [some good] for my life."
  • So on that Day, none will punish [as severely] as His punishment,
  • And none will bind [as severely] as His binding [of the evildoers].
While for the ungrateful, a long list is given as above, for the grateful there is promise of eternal rewards (verses 27-30):
  • [To the righteous it will be said], "O reassured soul,
  • Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him],
  • And enter among My [righteous] servants
  • And enter My Paradise."
The theme of this surah thus revolves around the rewards and punishments in the Hereafter, which the people of Makkah were not prepared to acknowledge then, and even thereafter. We still find many believers following the path of people mentioned in verses 11-26 and oblivious of the day of justice when all injustices will be equated with justices - and those having a negative net effect will find them in hell with blazing fire, boiling water and torture that one cannot even imagine.

Allah has forewarned everyone of the consequences of what we prefer to do and has given us knowledge to differentiate between good and evil. It is up to us now to prepare for our hereafter and ask repentance of all sins we have thus far committed, lest time runs out for confessions and asking forgiveness.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat al-Fajr with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

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Monday, August 6, 2018

The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 90 Sūrat Al Balad (The City)

The Sūrat Al Balad  was revealed on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when tired of pursuing the Prophet (s) of leaving what He was preaching to "pollute' the minds of the people of Makkah, the chieftains finally decided to openly oppose the Prophet of Allah and took a solemn pledge to use every means to pain and torture Him with a view of finally persuading Him to leave them on their own.

Please read English translation of Sūrat Al Balad  to understand its plain meaning / translation, followed be a summary of its purpose of revelation and the Divine message intended::
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  1. I swear by this city, Makkah
  2. And you, [O Muhammad], are free of restriction in this city
  3. And [by] the father and that which was born [of him],
  4. We have certainly created man into hardship
  5. Does he think that never will anyone overcome him?
  6. He says, "I have spent wealth in abundance."
  7. Does he think that no one has seen him?
  8. Have We not made for him two eyes?
  9. And a tongue and two lips?
  10. And have shown him the two ways?
  11. But he has not broken through the difficult pass.
  12. And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?
  13. It is the freeing of a slave
  14. Or feeding on a day of severe hunger
  15. An orphan of near relationship
  16. Or a needy person in misery
  17. And then being among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to compassion.
  18. Those are the companions of the right.
  19. But they who disbelieved in Our signs - those are the companions of the left.
  20. Over them will be fire closed in.
A great Muslim scholar of Pakistan Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi sums up the comprehensive meaning and theme of this chapter of the Holy Qur'an [1]:
In this Surah a vast subject has been compressed into a few brief sentences, and it is a miracle of the Qur'an that a complete ideology of life which could hardly be explained in a thick volume has been abridged most effectively in brief sentences of this short Surah. Its theme is to explain the true position of man in the world and of the world in relation to man and to tell that Allah has shown to man both the highways of good and evil, has also provided for him the means to judge and see and follow them, and now it rests upon man's own effort and judgment whether he chooses the path of virtue and reaches felicity or adopts the path of vice and meets with doom.
The surah begins with the solemn pledge of Allah, this time taking the name of the holy city of Makkah where the Prophet (s) was born and and endured many a hardship during His early life and then after proclaiming the religion of Islam openly to the pagans of Makkah. The opening verses clearly explain that this wordily life is not easy to live, specially for those who choose the righteous path and fearful of Allah. and those who struggle for good, are rewarded accordingly. This is the same message that has been conveyed to man in the 39th verse of Chapter Surah An-Najm (Laisa lil insani illa ma saa: there is nothing for man but what he has striven for).

Allah through this surah amply clarifies man's position to his actions. It is said that having been given the ability to reason, a man is given two choices in life: The good and otherwise. Those who seek the easier path of wordily pleasures, will one day will be the end losers and will ultimately end up in the blazing and torturous fire of Hell. While those who toil and embrace the hardships of life and abstain from the evil t please Allah, shall have the eternal rewards in the hereafter.

Hence one must not be boastful of one's wealth for its given to him to help others and not to please own self. They should instead invest for their future life in the hereafter by helping the poor, protecting the orphans and even freeing slaves and "then being among those who believed and advised one another to patience and advised one another to compassion."

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat Al Balad  with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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The Holy Qur'an (Summary): Chapter 91 Sūrat ash-Shams (The Sun)

Sūrat ash-Shams, the 91st chapter of the Holy Qur'an is one of those sūrahs have been named using incipits (i.e. the first few words of the sūrah). Sūrat ash-Shams, which means the Sun open with a vow of the Almighty Allah taking name of the brightest of its visible celestial objects. However besides the sun, in this surah, Allah also takes vows of the Moon, that follows the Sun, and the Day followed by the Night, the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure, the Earth and the Soul of the man.

Please read English translation of Sūrat ash-Shams to understand its plain meaning / translation, followed be a summary of its purpose of revelation and the Divine message intended:
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"
  • By the Sun and its (glorious) splendour;
  • By the Moon as it follows it (the sun);
  • By the Day as it shows up (the Sun's) glory;
  • By the Night as it enshrouds it;
  • By the Firmament and its (wonderful) structure;
  • By the Earth and its (wide) expanse:
  • By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;
  • And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-
  • Truly he succeeds that purifies it,
  • And he fails that corrupts it!
  • The Thamūd (people) rejected (their prophet) through their inordinate wrong-doing,
  • Behold, the most wicked man among them was deputed (for impiety).
  • But the Messenger of Allah said to them: "It is a She-camel of Allah. And (bar her not from) having her drink!"
  • Then they rejected him (as a false prophet), and they hamstrung her (She-camel). So their Lord, on account of their crime, obliterated their traces and made them equal (in destruction, high and low)!
  • And He does not fear the consequence thereof.
According to the scholars, this surah has two parts: Part One (verses 1-10) are the Divine Oaths that man’s happiness and misery depends on the purity or corruption he hath wrought in it", and Part 2 (verses 11-15) explain the destruction of people of "Thamūd  for rejecting their prophet." 

In the first part, a pairing of objects, sun/moon, day/night, Firmament/earth which are completely opposite to one and other is used to show the two states that reside inside a man: The good and the Evil. Thus it has been indicated that a man has two choices in his life which are instilled into his unconscious; either to do good and seek eternal reward or do otherwise and draw the wrath of Allah as did the people of Thamūd. 

The second part that relates to the Prophet Saleh (peace be upon him), a pious man selected by Allah to show the righteous path to the wicked and evil minded people of Thamūd. But they instead mocked the prophet and labelled him as a false prophet. And when Allah sent down a she-camel to the people of Thamūd, Prophet Saleh (peace be upon him) urged them not to harm the animal, one of the most wicked of all of the community at the behest of their collective will hamstrung the heavenly she-camel. Thus the wrath of all fell on them and the entire tribe became a history.

And be warned (the last verse) that Allah does not fear the consequence thereof. Allah being the sole creator of the entire universe has His own way to run the universe. Those who understand the divine will and obey Allah's commandments will cherish forever, but those who do not fear of the consequences of their evil doings, tangent to the divine commandments, then Allah does not fear the consequence thereof. A similar reminder is also given in Sūrah Al Anbiya 21:23: ‘He is not questioned about what He does, but they will be questioned. [2]’

Here are two views of the prominent Muslims scholars about the interpretation of this chapter [3]:
Abul A'la Maududi on summing up the success and failure of man: "Success depends on keeping the soul pure and failure depends on corrupting it, people of Thamūd were leveled to the ground for that very reason. 
Professor Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: "While narrating this story of the Thamūd nowhere in the Surah has it been said "O people of Quraish, if you rejected your Prophet, Muhammad (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings), as the Thamūd had rejected theirs, you too would meet with the same fate as they met." The conditions at that time in Makkah were similar to those that had been created by the wicked among the people of Thamūd against the Prophet Saleh (peace be upon him). Therefore, the narration of this story in those conditions was by itself enough to suggest to the people of Makkah how precisely this historical precedent applied to them."
You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Sūrat ash-Shams with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Part backwards for chapters in 30th Part are shorter and easier to understand)

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
If you like My Ultimate Decision, follow us on Facebook to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam

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