Surah Al-Furqan (contd.)
You Are On Your Friend’s Deen, Choose Your Friends Wisely
Why were the Quraysh so intense in their opposition to the Prophet ﷺ? It was because of the company that they kept. None of them had a genuine concern for people’s well-being. All of them desired authority and leadership and shamelessly devoured people’s properties.
Hence, we go back to our earlier lesson: you are known by the company you keep. Because there was no one in their circle who could advise them to goodness they considered themselves right. Staying in wrong company only destroys us in the end. Therefore, it is best to distance away from those who call us to a path other than that of the Messenger ﷺ.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala warns us,
“And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, ‘Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Shaytan, to man, a deserter,” [al-Furqan 25:27-29].
This tells us the importance of holding on to the Quran, studying it and reflecting on its ayaat.
Don’t Abandon the Qur’an
On the Day of Judgment, the Prophet ﷺ will complain,
“O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Quran as [a thing] abandoned,” [al-Furqan 25:30].
This is the month of the Qur’an. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives us a chance after every eleven months to re-connect with it and not be of those who have discarded it. Let us not miss this opportunity. Let us learn it and also teach it to others.
What is the reason for abandoning the Qur’an? Our hearts are not opened to accept that which is against our desires. Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam heard the command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and submitted right away.
Don’t Be A Slave of Your Nafs
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks us,
“Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire?” [al-Furqan 25:43]
Following one’s desires is a sure way to end up in hellfire unless one realizes his mistake and repents. Desires are Shaytan’s trap to trick men.
If everyone was to follow their own desires there would have been chaos on earth. Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala blesses us with Ramadan to discipline ourselves and soften up our hearts to follow His instructions.
Qualities of the Servants of Allah
Talking about submission let’s read how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala describes His slaves,
“And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace,” [al-Furqan 25:63].
He calls them Ibad-ur-Rahman (the servants of the Most Merciful). He associates them to Himself, and the attribute that He chooses is mercy. SubhanAllah! He is teaching us to be merciful to others, walk humbly on earth and excuse ourselves from disputes and arguments with a word of peace.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not like the proud and boastful people, therefore, humility is a dear quality to Him such that we are required to be humble in our prayers and acknowledge our low position. Engaging in disputes is a futile activity. Such people are not really interested in learning. They argue for the sake of arguing. Therefore, our Prophet ﷺ guaranteed a house in Paradise for the one who gives up arguing.
Why engage our tongues in something that is not approved by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Why miss a few moments of Allah’s remembrance?
In arguments pretend to be deaf. You will be controlling your tongue from committing a sin and also achieve a lot of peace.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala points to another quality of Ibad-ur-Rahman,
“And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer],” [al-Furqan 25:64].
This is where we should be spending our energies. One night, wake up only for Him. If we can do this for a world cup then why not for Jannah-cup?
We have all heard the hadeeth where it is stated Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala calls out at night if there are any people seeking His forgiveness so He can forgive them or if they are making du’a for something and He may answer it. Let’s not waste this opportunity of getting our du’as answered.
Ask Allah to Avert the Punishment
One thing is to abstain from sins, another is to increase good deeds and a third category is asking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to avert from us the punishment of Hell. This is the du’a of the Ibad-ur-Rahman:
رَبَّنَا اصْرِفْ عَنَّا عَذَابَ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ إِنَّ عَذَابَهَا كَانَ غَرَامًا إِنَّهَا سَاءَتْ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَمُقَامًا
“Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell. Indeed, its punishment is ever adhering; indeed, it is evil as a settlement and residence,” [al-Furqan 25:65-66].
Shaytan controls us and we cannot control him but for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala it is possible. Let us then seek refuge with Him against the treachery of the cursed one. Add du’as to your daily routine seeking Allah’s protection. Without His help, nobody can protect themselves from the tricks of Shaytan.
One of the traps of Shaytan is to make us splurge on the non-essentials and when it comes to spending in the Cause of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala we are counting change. Or he makes people overspend to later burden themselves with debts and loans. He is ever so active in snatching away people’s peace. Ibad-ur-Rahman know the art of budgeting. They are neither extravagant nor miserly and choose the middle path instead. Let’s cut the size of our pocket.
‘Ibad-ur-Rahman do not commit Shirk (associating partners with Allah), kill a soul unjustly, or commit illegal sexual intercourse. Since these are some of the major sins there is punishment and humiliation for he who commits them. But the one who repents and changes himself, he will find his Lord Merciful,
“And he who repents and does righteousness does indeed turn to Allah with [accepted] repentance,” [al-Furqan 25:71].
One of the qualities of a good believer is to be constantly engaged in repentance.
The Ibad-ur-Rahman do not testify to falsehood and stay away from time wasters. In Ramadan, people are hastening towards doing good. Someone is reciting the Qur’an. Someone is offering extra voluntary prayers. There is someone hastening to give voluntary charity. And then there is someone busy in the computer game. Let us only make the best use of technology rather than making it a mean for our destruction.
Hold On to the Qur’an
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala again mentions the importance of holding on to the Qur’an,
“And those who, when reminded of the ayaat of their Lord, do not fall upon them deaf and blind,” (al-Furqan 25:73).
That is a sign of a living heart. They make du’a for righteous spouses and offspring that will be a comfort to their eyes. For them are treasures, as a reward for what they have patiently endured in this world and they will enter peace.
Let us review the qualities of the ‘Ibad-ur-Rahman and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to enable them to adopt them in our lives, ameen.
Being believers means being really strong in belief. We see the example in the stories of the prophets ‘alayhim salaam. Each time that they were tried by the opponents they stood firm in their emaan. Later, it was these firm believers who came out victorious.
When Prophet Musa spoke to Pharaoh about Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, Pharaoh threatened to get him imprisoned. Musa ‘alayhi salaam argued, “Even if I brought you proof manifest?” [Ash-Shuara 26:30]
Pharaoh denied his prophethood and called him a magician. Learned and skilled magicians were called to unveil Prophet Musa’s magic. The magicians arrived and asked if there was any reward for them. Pharaoh promised them a close companionship. So they threw their ropes and their staffs and said, “By the might of Pharaoh, indeed it is we who are predominant,” [Ash-Shuara 26:44].
When Musa ‘alayhi salaam threw his staff and it devoured their ropes and staffs they fell down in prostration to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and said,
“We have believed in the Lord of the worlds – the Lord of Musa and Haroon,” [Ash-Shuara 26:47-48].
Moments ago these skilled magicians were testifying their loyalty to Pharaoh but upon seeing the truth they immediately surrendered. For the tyrant, it was an unbelievable situation hence he threatened them, “I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you all,” [Ash-Shuara 26:49]. However, this threat landed on deaf ears. One sincere prostration to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had filled their hearts with so much peace and strength that they replied,
“No harm. Indeed, to our Lord, we will return. Indeed, we aspire that our Lord will forgive us our sins because we were the first of the believers,” [Ash-Shuara 26:50-51].
In other words, “Do what you want to do. We will return to our Lord, anyway whether you kill us or we die a natural death.” In the morning they came in a state of shirk and in the evening they died as martyrs; earning Paradise for themselves.
When Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala desires to guide someone He makes it happen. Let us never lose our hope in Him. The magicians after prostrating to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala hoped that He will forgive them. They trusted their sincere submission will result in their forgiveness. We perform a lot of prostrations throughout the day. Let us not turn them into a mere ritual. Let us strive to be humble in our prayers with our hearts connected to Him hoping He will forgive us for our intentional and unintentional sins.
Don’t Lose Hope
There are people of hope and there are people of despair. After this incident of the magicians, Musa ‘alayhi salaam had to rescue the Children of Israel from the tyranny of Pharaoh. He fled with them only to later halt near the mighty sea. His people complained, “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!” [Ash-Shuara 26:61]
Prophet Musa, on the other hand, had firm faith that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala would show him the way out. In our lives when challenges arrive sometimes the first reactions that we display are those of despair. We tell ourselves “Now there is no way out of this calamity,” or “I am doomed.” While we are still lost in our thoughts and complaints, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala inspires our hearts to see the way out. He tests us and then guides us.
Prophet Musa’s words were,
“No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me,” [Ash-Shuara 26:62].
Do we have the same conviction? It is He Who guides, helps, protects and rescues His servants from calamities. When tested, call out to Him for nothing is impossible for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Allah Guides You, Feeds You And Cures You
Another emaan-inspiring story found in Surah Ash-Shuara is that of Prophet Ibraheem who had fought Shirk ever since he was a young boy. He refused to worship what his community bowed to. He said,
“Indeed, they are enemies to me, except the Lord of the worlds. Who created me, and He [it is who] guides me. And it is He who feeds me and gives me drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me. And who will cause me to die and then bring me to life. And who I aspire that He will forgive me my sin on the Day of Recompense,” [Ash-Shuara 26:77-82].
Such was the state of his conviction!
After acknowledging countless favors of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, he makes a du’a,
“My Lord, grant me authority and join me with the righteous. And grant me a reputation of honor among later generations,” [Ash-Shuara 26:83-84].
Was this du’a answered?
Absolutely! Prophet Ibraheem’s name is mentioned each time we send salutations and blessings on Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in Salat (prayer). The Station of Ibraheem in Makkah reminds us of his great service and sacrifice for the love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Sa’ee that the pilgrims make at Safa and Marwa and the sacrifice on Eid-ul-Adha are some of the things related to him. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to resurrect us with him and grant us his company in JannatilFirdous, ameen.
For the Day of Resurrection, Prophet Ibraheem asked,
“And do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected – the Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth or children. But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart,” [Ash-Shuara 26:87-89].
Despite being an excellent example of submissive slave he was still concerned about disgrace on that Day. SubhanAllah!
What is a sound heart? A heart that is free from Shirk and all kinds of ailments such as pride, arrogance, jealousy, rancor, anger and so on.
The Surah is named after one ant which was concerned about the rest of her tribe, “Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, an ant said, ‘O ants, enter your dwellings that you not be crushed by Sulaiman (Solomon) and his soldiers while they perceive not,’” [an-Naml 27:18]. If Muslims were as concerned about one another’s well-being as this ant was our lost peace would return.
Prophet Sulaiman ‘alayhi salaam who was given the ability of communication with the humans, as well as other creatures, heard the ant. He smiled, amused at her speech, and said,
“My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants,” [an-Naml 27:19].
He right away acknowledged Allah’s special favor upon him and expressed gratitude. Let’s memorize this du’a and be grateful to Allah’s blessings upon us and our parents. Du’as are our means to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The more we make du’as, the closer we will get to Him. And the more effort we make to get closer to Him, the more He will run to us for He is a loving and compassionate Lord.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)