People of ‘Ad were huge and dwelled in carved mountains. This Surah contains lessons for those, who shy away from working in the path of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). They are worried about their sustenance and the worldly competition that distracts them. Shoo those Satanic whisperings away because Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has promised sustenance.
He says, “And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus, grave, etc.). All is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz – the Book of Decrees with Allah).” (Hud 11:6)
If He provides for an ant and a bird, would He not provide us? However, it does not mean to sit at home and do nothing. One has to work for a living, but should not make it the sole purpose of his lives. Work sincerely and ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to open up avenues for you. Do not depend on your intellect alone. Depend on Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) instead.
Walk the Talk
We should also not become of those who command others to do good and themselves do the entirely opposite. How will anyone listen to us when we don’t walk the talk? The Messengers were the first ones to act out a command. They submitted to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) before reaching out to people. Shuayb (as) said, “And He said: “O my people! Tell me; if I have a clear evidence from my Lord, and He has given me a good sustenance from Himself (shall I corrupt it by mixing it with the unlawfully earned money). I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform so far as I am able, to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent.” (Hud 11:88)
People who live disciplined lives and have good conduct, do not even need to give long lectures, shout and scream at people to get some work done. People see them and are motivated to follow.
May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) bridge the gap between our speech and our actions and allow us to live conscious lives. Ameen.
Wipe out the Bad with Good
When a believer commits a sin, he is filled up with remorse and guilt. This is nothing but a sign of Iman. It is the mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) that He has informed us beforehand about the major and the minor sins. However, this does not give one a license to continue their minor sins. If one does not avoid minor sins, then one day they will fall for the major ones. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) protect us all. Ameen. If a person commits a minor sin, the Prophet ﷺ advised us to follow it up with a good deed. This is done in order to wipe out the effects of the bad deed.
In Surah Hud it appears, “And perform As-Salat, at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night (i.e. the five compulsory prayers). Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins). That is a reminder (an advice) for the mindful (those who accept advice).” (Hud 11:114) Many people appear to be religious, but they have some hidden bad habits such as pornography.
How can one get rid of addictive bad habits?
First, exercise your willpower. Go cold turkey. But if a person finds himself weak, he keeps reverting to the sin after repentance, and then such a person should increase his good deeds. Add a lot of voluntary prayers, recitation and Dhikr in your routine; so much so that you have no time left for Laghw (non-beneficial) matters.
Stories of the Past – a Solace
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) narrates the stories of past nations in the Quran to enlighten us about them and to give us comfort and solace; like there were people before you who endured much intense challenges. Thus, if they could persevere and become victorious, you would too; if you rely on Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and follow His commands.
A similar verse appears in Surah Yusuf, “Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding.” (Yusuf 12:111) A person can learn a lesson through the hard way, by not paying heed to advice; or they can learn through the easy way, by reading about the lives of other people, and being cautious of what could destroy them.
The Story of Yusuf (‘alayhi salaam)
This story is bound to leave your teary-eyed. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says, “We relate unto you (Muhammad ﷺ) the best of stories through Our Revelations unto you, of this Quran…” (Yusuf 12:3)
In Prophet Yusuf’s (‘alayhi salaam) story, we learn about the evils of jealousy; brothers harming their own brother out of jealousy. A jealous person cannot live in peace. He destroys his own peace and that of others. We should remember that Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has decided who would get what.
How to get rid of Jealousy?
Instead of being jealous of what someone has, we should rather make Dua to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to bless us with the same or a better blessing.
اللهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ وَرَحْمَتِكَ؛ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَمْلِكُهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ
“O Allah, I ask you of Your bounty and Your mercy, for indeed, none hold possession of them but yourself.” [At-Tabaraani 10379]
Another cure for jealousy is that, instead of looking at what people have been gifted, we should see what Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has given us. Perhaps, there is something that we have and they don’t. For example, a sister might be married; but the person to whom she is married doesn’t respect her or provide her any emotional support. On the other hand is a sister, who is not married yet; but her parents are kind and loving. Let’s consider another example, a person complains about his wife being out of shape. There’s another man whose wife is in shape, but too difficult to get along. Each of them has something to be grateful for. Jealousy blinds us. When evil thoughts come to your mind, seek the refuge with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) from the cursed Shaytan.
An Important Advice
Prophet Yusuf (as) saw a dream that eleven stars, and the sun and the moon are prostrating him. When he narrated this dream to his father, his father warned him, “He (the father) said: “O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Shaytan (Satan) is to man an open enemy!” (Yusuf 12:5)
Here is an important advice for us. Do not share everything with others; especially your future plans, because Shaytan uses your loved ones as a tool to harm you. Do not talk about it, unless you have achieved your task completely. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) protect us from jealousy and causing harm to others. Ameen.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)