Surah Az-Zumar (contd.)
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that do not die [He takes] during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [az-Zumar 39: 42]
Sleep is a reminder of death. We all desire a peaceful ending. Therefore, we must sort our matters out with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala before we lie down on our beds for a good night’s sleep. Seek forgiveness for the wrong that we have done, whether intentionally or unintentionally. We do not want to die in a state where Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is displeased with us. Recite the words of remembrance before falling asleep. Make it a habit. So that when our souls are recollected we have words of remembrance on our tongues, in sha Allah.
One of the easiest deaths is the death in sleep because the soul is already extracted up to a certain level. Let us all ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to enable us to die in the state of prostration – the most humbling position, ameen.
We find one of the most hopeful ayaat in Surah Az-Zumar. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.’ And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped. And follow the best of what was revealed to you from your Lord before the punishment comes upon you suddenly while you do not perceive.” [Az-Zumar 39: 53-55]
Never lose hope in the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. No matter what you have done, He is always ready to forgive. Some parents disown their own children over a small mistake. Allah’s mercy is far more than a nursing mother’s.
We must turn to Him before His punishment descends.
Follow the Qur’an and the teachings of Rasoolullah ﷺ before our chances of repentance are over. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to not call us back while we still have some unforgiven sins, ameen. Young people say they will repent when they grow old. Now is the time to be adventurous and have fun. Do we know when we are going to die? Don’t we hear about teenagers and people in their early 20s, 30s or even 40s, dying?
Next Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us about two groups – one that will be entering the Paradise and another group that will be entering the HellFire. He says,
“[To them] it will be said, ‘Enter the gates of Hell to abide eternally therein, and wretched is the residence of the arrogant.’ But those who feared their Lord will be driven to Paradise in groups until, when they reach it while its gates have been opened and its keepers say, ‘Peace be upon you; you have become pure; so enter it to abide eternally therein,’ [they will enter].” [Az-Zumar 39: 71-73]
The angels will ask the people entering the HellFire if the Message didn’t reach them. Care was taken in sending them messengers and the Message, but they refused to pay heed. They were stubborn and chose to pursue their Nafs. What about us? How many times we have heard a particular message to abandon a Haram relationship, Haram source of earning, the injustices that we commit towards ourselves and others? When are we going to pay heed?
On the contrary, those entering Jannah will be welcomed with the greeting of Peace. They experienced peace in the worldly life by following that which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed and they will experience eternal peace in the Hereafter because they “surrendered” to the Lord of all the worlds. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make us of them, ameen.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala opens up this Surah with a brief introduction of Himself. He says,
“The forgiver of sin, acceptor of repentance, severe in punishment, owner of abundance. There is no deity except Him; to Him is the destination.” [Ghafir 40: 3]
He is the One Who forgives sins and accepts repentance of those who repent. So what must we do? Seek repentance.
Do you know the reward for seeking repentance?
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [ Allah ] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], ‘Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire. Our Lord, and admit them to gardens of perpetual residence which You have promised them and whoever was righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their offspring. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.'” [Ghafir 40: 7-8]
A certain category of angels calls upon Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to forgive those believers who are engaged in Istighfar. First, you have to believe in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and everything that He has instructed us to believe in – the Seen and the Unseen. Second, “we must seek repentance” to expect repentance. We cannot assume because we are the believers we are by default entering Jannah.
We want to reunite with our loved ones in the Hereafter? Let us do good deeds and encourage our loved ones to do good deeds as well, so that we become deserving of the du’as of the angels, in sha Allah.
People ask if they will be with their loved ones. The answer is in this ayah – they have to “qualify” for Jannah first.
These ayaat comprehensively describe the expansive mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for His servants. Not only is He ready to forgive us if we repent, but one of the best of His creations – the angels – too make supplications for us.
They ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to accept our repentance, to join the righteous with their righteous family members, to save us from the consequences of our evil deeds and save us from the punishment of the Fire. SubhanAllah!
Sometimes, we don’t make such elaborate du’as for ourselves as the angels make for us. So what do we have to do after believing in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? Stay away from all kinds of evil. Repent for all the wrong that you have done. Preserve your repentance by abstaining from repeating the sin. Qualify to receive du’as of the angels.
What is meant by the consequences of our evil deeds?
Remember, when Rasoolullah ﷺ used to give a sermon he used to seek refuge in Allah from the consequences of evil deeds. Rasoolullah ﷺ did not have any deed that was less than perfect. But it was his way of teaching his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum.
The evil of our deeds affects our decision making ability. When we are engaged in sins – we have chosen the company of the Shayateen. The angels leave us because we have left the path of our Creator. Since we are no longer protected, we make errors and take wrong decisions. Therefore, it is important to not only leave the sin but also seek protection in Allah from their consequences.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions the story of a believing man from the family of Pharaoh who testifies on behalf of Musa ‘alayhi salaam. The man says,
“And a believing man from the family of Pharaoh who concealed his faith said, ‘Do you kill a man [merely] because he says: My Lord is Allah, while he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? And if he should be lying, then upon him is [the consequence of] his lie; but if he should be truthful, there will strike you some of what he promises you. Indeed, Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar.'”
[Ghafir 40: 7-8]
The man concealed his faith from his people and Pharaoh and did not reveal it until the day when Pharaoh ordered the murder of Prophet Musa. Many reverts have to conceal their faith fearing their lives, sometimes only a few people know. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala enable us to appreciate one another, ameen.
Today, sometimes it is not the non-Muslims but those born into Muslim families that criticize religion and the laws of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They take the prohibitions as restrictions and hardship. They don’t realize that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is our Creator, He knows us like no one else does. He knows what’s best for us. If we desire peace we need to study, understand and follow the commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The man continues,
“‘And you will remember what I [now] say to you, and I entrust my affair to Allah . Indeed, Allah is Seeing of [His] servants.'” [Ghafir 40: 44]
A day will come when we will realize that whatever the Prophet ﷺ told us was the truth. We don’t want to stand before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala on the Day of Judgment and be caught unaware. Pharaoh was warned of that day and when day came it was too late for repentance. We still have time. We can strive to not let our end be similar to that of Pharaoh. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for forgiveness, His pleasure and a good end, ameen.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala narrates to us how the unbelievers living in Makkah denied the Qur’an. They would listen to the ayaat as they were being delivered to Rasoolullah ﷺ, confess in their private gatherings that it was the truth, however continued to deny it out of their own arrogance. They could not see a poor, orphan was chosen for prophethood while the leaders of the Quraysh having much wealth and children were ignored.
When the Qur’an was being recited they would place their fingers in their ears, make noise and advised one another to not pay attention to what was being said.
“And those who disbelieve say, ‘Do not listen to this Qur’an and speak noisily during [the recitation of] it that perhaps you will overcome.'” [Fussilat 41: 26]
Our behavior, as Muslims, should be that when the Qur’an is being recited we must pay attention to it. Sit quietly, listen to every word that is being said and reflect on its meaning so that the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala descends upon us.
In response to unbelievers attitude towards the Qur’an, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“But We will surely cause those who disbelieve to taste a severe punishment, and We will surely recompense them for the worst of what they had been doing.” [Fussilat 41: 27]
Sometimes, we attend religious gatherings (or even in our cars) the Qur’an is being recited or played on a recorder but we pay no attention to it. We are busy in our chatter giving the excuse that we don’t understand Arabic. We must learn the language of the Qur’an to understand it. If we can’t be respectful toward the Ayaat of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala i.e. we cannot stop our chatter then please turn off the Qur’an recitation or leave the room. We want to be among those on whom the mercy of Allah descends and not from those who are deprived from it. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to enable us to study and understand His Deen and His Book, and be respectful followers of it, ameen.
Imagine, you were invited to a worldly gathering. Someone of authority was given a speech while the entire crowd was busy in their conversation or perhaps mocking the speaker, how would that person feel? Disrespectful, right? Then how can we treat the Ayaat of Allah in such a way?
If we intentionally make noise when the Ayaat are being recited then we are sinful. However, we have done so in ignorance – then as soon as we remember and realize our mistake, we must correct our behavior.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us about the one who has the best speech among us,
“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am of the Muslims.'” [Fussilat 41: 33]
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala informs us that nobody utter a better statement than him who calls people to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, does good deeds himself and introduces himself a believer. Today, we have corrupted our identities. We call ourselves this and that. We learn from the stories of the prophets, ‘alayhim salaam, that each one of them introduced themselves as a Muslim – submissive to Allah. That is our identity and it should be sufficient as an introduction. I am not a Pakistani Muslim or an American Muslim, I am a Muslim and that is enough.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to unite as the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and to enable us to return to that which was taught by Rasoolullah ﷺ, ameen.