We have come this far in the month of Ramadan. It is time for us to reflect on what we have gained and what we have lost.
If we are still slacking, let us ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to bless our time and worship in these last few days, and let us be more serious. The Prophet ﷺ used to take his worship to a higher level in the last few days. May this Ramadan be a means of positive change in our lives that will draw us closer to our Maker, ameen.
Surah Al-Ankaboot (contd.)
Sometimes people argue over the Signs of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They require evidence to truly believe in what has been revealed. Such was the case of the Arab pagans. They would persist in demanding different kinds of miracles from the Prophet ﷺ. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
“And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe,” [al-Ankaboot 29:51].
Today, the Qur’an is with us. Do we read it? How much do we read? Does it move us when we read it? We have the examples of Negus and Umar bin Khattab radhiAllahu ‘anhum who heard only one ayah of the Qur’an and their lives changed. Moments ago they were unaware of the truth of Islam and later they converted into strong supporters. All they did was hear the Qur’an.
We might have read the Qur’an from cover to cover several times, yet we cannot give up immoralities. If we had any sincerity in our heart, we would have immediately surrendered to the commandments of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and quit whatever is bad within us.
When the ayaat of the prohibition of alcohol were revealed, those who were consuming it spat it out of their mouths “immediately” and emptied the barrels that contained the alcohol. They didn’t say, “Let me finish this and after that I will not consume anymore.” They didn’t say, “Ok, it’s forbidden for us let me find someone who drinks it and I will sell it to him.” No! What is haram for us is haram! We cannot sell the forbidden things to other people either.
Strive for Allah
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.”
Guidance is a gift of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. You have to work hard to achieve guidance. You have to find the resources of guidance, fight against your own nafs and laziness, find and develop a link with the people who are knowledgeable. Show your keenness and sincerity to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala so that He can make a way for you.
We spend so much of our time and energy in earning the livelihood of this world and do not have time for that which is eternal.
Live With Your Spouse With Affection and Mercy
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Ar-Rum 30:21]
Our spouses are a gift from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala but when we enter marriages with our sins and have not repented or we are not sincere in committing to this marriage, then there is no blessing in such a marriage.
Don’t blame your spouse or your in-laws but blame yourself.
Learn the etiquette of marriage, what characteristics to look for in a spouse, what is important to you, know yourself, ask questions, consult the righteous people and ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for guidance, sincerity and assistance and then enter into a marital contract. It’s not a game! You have to show your sincerity and commitment to building a peaceful home.
We learn from the ayah the purpose of marriage – to live with affection and mercy. Two important ingredients to live a happy marital life.
Instead of engaging in extramarital affairs, work on your marriage. Spend time with your spouse and children. Talk to your wife kindly and lovingly so that your child knows how to address her. Speak to your child in a clean language so that your child learns not to utter words of profanity. Take him to the Masjid so that he is attached to his roots and grows strong in his identity as a Muslim, loving Allah subhanahau wa ta’ala, His Book and His Messenger ﷺ.
The same advice is for the women – stop husband bashing. Stop abusing him in private and in public. Ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for help. Our energies should be spent in worshipping Him, seeking His help and guidance and protecting our homes in this world and the next.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to enable us to turn to Him first before we turn to our nafs or the people. We ask Him to allow us to seek His guidance and to cry before Him and ask for help instead of falling for the whisperings of the Shayateen and our nafs, ameen.
Stop Taking Interests, Stop It!
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“And whatever you give for interest to increase within the wealth of people will not increase with Allah. But what you give in zakah, desiring the Countenance of Allah – those are the multipliers.”
As entering a marriage with sins or insincerity lacks any blessing, similarly earning wealth from haram resources contains no blessing, no matter how much you earn. Since it is earned from the disobedience of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, you will see it being wasted in unforeseen expenditures, medical bills, loss and destruction of property. And if not tangible loss then you will witness a lack of peace and love in your homes. Sometimes sisters don’t get married because the father’s main source of earning was through haram means. Sometimes they get married and they get divorced.
While some of this can be a test from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to raise our scales in the Hereafter, we need to reflect on our lives and leave everything that falls under the disobedience of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and transgression. JannahtilFirdous is too precious to lose it over the temporary pleasures of this world.
Earn money from the halal sources and give generously in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala while concealing your sadaqat.
Stages of Human Development
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Allah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength weakness and white hair. He creates what He wills, and He is the Knowing, the Competent.” [Ar-Rum 30:54]
When we came into this world, we were weak. We required changing, feeding, nurturing and care. Then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala helped us develop and become strong. Let us not use our strength and capabilities in displeasing Him. Let us be grateful for the family that He chose for us, the resources that He made available for us and use all of His blessings in gratitude and drawing nearness to Him, in sha Allah.
Use your energies in His ibadah today so that tomorrow when we grow old we don’t have any regrets. Years from now, we should be able to look back and say,
“Ya Allah! Thank You for the abilities that You granted me. Thank You for guiding me to Your path. Thank You for teaching me the Salah and granting me the ability to pray. Thank You for granting me good health that I was able to stand on my feet without needing to sit down on a chair and was able to place my forehead on the ground in prostration to You alone.”
Let us not take our abilities for granted. Let us not grow old and weak with regret. He who is mindful of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and uses his physical and financial capabilities in Allah’s way, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will preserve him even in old age and we will leave this world with His remembrance as our last words, in sha Allah.
O Allah! Enable us to be grateful to You, to use our wealth, time and skills in Your path. Do not take away the blessing of being able to pray, recite the Qur’an and help others…because of our own wrongdoings. O Allah! Allow us to be grateful servants for what we have today and not lose it, ameen.
Whatever consistent good deeds we do in our youth, the angels will continue to write them down in our book of deeds even if we are unable to perform them when we grow old. Let us not neglect this time.
Named after a wise man, it contains lessons for everyone.
Luqman said some words of wisdom that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala liked so much that He preserved them in the Qur’an. Luqman said,
“O my beloved son, do not associate [anything] with Allah. Indeed, association [with him] is great injustice.” [Luqman 31:13]
The first pearl to draw from this ayah is to note how he addresses his son, “O my beloved son.”
How do we address our children? Do we speak to them with affection and respect? Or do we abuse our children by yelling at them, speaking harshly because they are subservient to us and do not deserve any respect? Do you even talk to your children or do you do not even like talking to them?
Luqman was a grown up man but he knew how to speak to a child. Mothers and fathers, fight your nafs and be respectable and respectful. It is your responsibility to “build” the next generation not destroy them. You will be answerable for it!
The first advice that he gives his son is to not associate partners with Allah. He starts from “Aqeedah,” a pillar that many of us neglect. We get married without confirming the person has the correct Aqeedah. We are so blinded by our love that we will get married to anyone who pleases our nafs whether he is obedient to Allah or not. O Allah! We are sorry for neglecting Your Deen and submitting to our nafs. O Allah! Please cleanse our souls of their filth and allow us to submit to You alone, ameen.
We are required not to oppress ourselves or others. What about oppressing Allah? What does that mean? Shirk is oppression against Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. In the Arabic language, zulm means to place something where it does not belong. So to place a person or a thing where Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala should have been is oppression against Allah. He is the One who blesses us with a child and we praise the Peer or Faqeer. He is the One who blesses us with a good dwelling but instead of thanking Him we thank our spouses, our bosses, our jobs or our parents.
How would we feel if we do something for someone and they go and thank someone else? Perhaps, we would be fired from our jobs if we don’t acknowledge and thank our boss for the promotion or pay increase. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has more right to be honored than any other thing on earth.
Be Grateful to Your Parents
After the right of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, Luqman talks about the rights of the parents. Among them, the mother comes first. Even if someone’s parents are disbelievers, they owe them respect and kindness. The only time that we will not listen to them is when they ask us to disobey Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to protect our families, ameen.
Nothing is Hidden from Allah
“O my son, indeed if wrong should be the weight of a mustard seed and should be without a rock or [anywhere] in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Indeed, Allah us Subtle and Acquainted.” [Luqman 31:16]
Therefore, do not do any wrong. Nothing is hidden from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Establish Salah, Enjoin Good, Forbid Evil and Be Patient
Luqman gives his son four instructions, establish prayer, enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong and be patient over what befalls you.
The prayer has always been there since the time of Prophet Adam ‘alayhi salaam. It might not have been the way we pray today, but it was always there. Establish prayers to establish a “bond” with your Creator.
Do good and encourage people to do good. Stay away from the haram and impermissible and forbid others too. We can earn a reward for “advising” people, subhanAllah!
Be patient over your tests. Remember, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tests them whom He loves the most. So trust Him and pass your tests with excellence.
Be Moderate in Your Walk and Lower Your Voice
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reveals ayaat of the Qur’an to teach us how to walk, subhanAllah! We read etiquette books but don’t search for etiquette in the Book of Allah.
Be moderate in your pace – calm and composed. Do not walk so fast that you ignore the people around you. Do not walk so slow that you block other people’s way.
Likewise, be mindful of the level of your voice. Do not make yelling your identity. Don’t speak so loud that people have to place their hands on their ears. Do not speak in such a low voice that people have to ask you to repeat yourself over and over again. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala compares a loud voice with the voice of a donkey.
“And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” [Luqman 31:19]
No sane, respectful human being would like to be compared to a donkey. Therefore, correct yourself. In some cultures, it is assumed that the one who speaks the loudest is the strongest or the most right. We should remember that the empty vessels make the most sound. Be cultured, study the Seerah and learn from the best of the creation ﷺ and his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum. You will earn more respect.
The Surah ends with a reminder to not be deceived by the temporary pleasures of the world and to beware of the greatest deceiver – the Shaytan.
Named after the Sajdah that appears in ayah 15.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us the qualities of the people who believe in His ayaat,
“They arise from [their] beds; they supplicate to their Lord in fear and aspiration, and from what We have provided them, they spend.” [As-Sajdah 32:16]
Standing in prayer is more beloved to them than sleeping.
Let us tame our nafs and remind ourselves that it is not difficult to set our alarms once a week, once a month or at least once in a while an hour before the Fajr prayer and get up in those peaceful hours of the night to express our gratitude to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, as our beloved Prophet ﷺ did, and to seek peace in our lives. O Allah! Enable us to do so, ameen.
Protect Your Lineage
In Islam, the lineage is very important. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the Sight of Allah…” [al-Ahzab 33:5]
Do not change your lineage for some temporary pleasures of this world – to get included in the will, shares of inheritance or for any other benefit. One who deceives others will be humiliated by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
After the divorce, some women change the last name of the child because they are angry at the father. You may hate that person as much as you like but you cannot go “against” the ayaat of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He chose that person to be your child’s father – you will have to accept it. Likewise, those who hate their fathers, you cannot change your last name either. No matter what he has done to you or to the society (he could be a murderer).
Don’t transgress the ayaat of the Qur’an. On the Day of Judgment, we will be called by the names of our fathers.
An important point to mention here is that it is not from the tradition of Islam, especially the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah, for a woman to change her last name after marriage. She remains to be identified by the family that she was born in and not the husband’s family. Aisha radhiAllahu ‘anha remained ‘Aisha bint Abu Bakr after her marriage to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Let us learn our Deen and not become blind followers of others’ traditions.
For a Peaceful Resurrection Follow the Messenger
“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” [al-Ahzab 33:21]
If we are serious about being resurrected with the Messenger ﷺ then we need to study his Seerah and Sunnah and follow him. If we are interested in being raised with someone else then we can go ahead and follow them even if they lead us to the Hellfire.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for guidance – the path of Rasoolullah ﷺ, his company in JannatilFirdous and protection from destruction in this world and the next, ameen.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s Peace of Pearl Series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013.)
[If you would like to read about the early life of Rasoolullah ﷺ, alhumdulillah, we have transcribed a few lectures for our Seerah Series. If you would like to learn a few Sunnahs of the beloved Prophet, you may find some posts from the book, More than 1000 Sunnahs.]