Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.
The Peril of Humanism
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
Do not be like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget their own souls. It is they who are truly depraved. (Hashr, 59:19)
Why does the Qur’an emphasize remembrance of Allah so much? It is for our own good. Allah is in no need of our worship or our remembrance. As a hadith points out if the entire body of humans and jinns were to engage in such an intensive worship and remembrance of Allah that they did nothing else, that would not add an iota to the majesty and power of Allah. If all of them became totally disobedient, that would not take away even an iota from it.
But we need it. Our lives have no meaning and our endeavors have no purpose when we are disconnected from our Creator and Master. Being oblivious of Allah in fact amounts to being oblivious of what is good and bad for our own souls. This is what humanism has done as an ideology. By making the human being instead of God as the center of its universe, it has caused the humanity to sink into a life of utter depravity.
The study of “humanities” thus has a problem with its very foundations. Unless that foundation is corrected by going back to a God-centered world, this education will be spreading ignorance instead of knowledge.
Muslim Women Marrying non-Muslim men
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا جَاءكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَاتُ مُهَاجِرَاتٍ فَامْتَحِنُوهُنَّ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَانِهِنَّ فَإِنْ عَلِمْتُمُوهُنَّ مُؤْمِنَاتٍ فَلَا تَرْجِعُوهُنَّ إِلَى الْكُفَّارِ لَا هُنَّ حِلٌّ لَّهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحِلُّونَ لَهُنَّ
O YOU who have attained to faith! Whenever believing women come unto you, forsaking the domain of evil, examine them, [although only] Allah is fully aware of their faith; and if you have thus ascertained that they are believers, do not send them back to the deniers of the truth, [since] they are not [any longer] lawful to their erstwhile husbands, and these are not [any longer] lawful to them. (Mumtahinah, 60:10)
This ayah is categorical that Muslim women cannot be married to non-Muslim men.
By asking the community to decide the issue of faith of a claimant through examination the ayah also answers a common confusion about the issue of judging what is in people’s hearts. Only Allah knows what is truly in people’s hearts as the ayah reiterates. Yet it asks us to deal with these women based on the results of our own examination.
Many a time we do need to make a judgment about people’s intentions and faith in order to deal with them. Whether a person has true faith or not is known with certainty by Allah alone. But since we need the information to decide our dealings with them, we judge based on apparent evidence. In doing so we fully realize that in the Hereafter everyone will be judged by Allah and we cannot make any declarations with certainty as to what that judgment will be.
A well-known saying of Syedna Umar ibn Khattab makes it clear. “We decide based on apparent evidence and Allah knows the secrets in people’s hearts.”
وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ
And [this happened, too,] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O children of Israel! Behold, I am an apostle of God unto you, [sent] to confirm the truth of whatever there still remains of the Torah, and to give [you] the glad tiding of an apostle who shall come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." (Saf, 61:6)
Asad writes: “This prediction is supported by several references in the Gospel of St. John to the Parklûtos (usually rendered as “Comforter”) who was to come after Jesus. This designation is almost certainly a corruption of Peraklytos (“the Much-Praised”), an exact Greek translation of the Aramaic term or name Mawhamana. (It is to be borne in mind that Aramaic was the language used in Palestine at the time of, and for some centuries after, Jesus, and was thus undoubtedly the language in which the original – now lost – texts of the Gospels were composed.) In view of the phonetic closeness of Peraklytos and Paraklûtos it is easy to understand how the translator – or, more probably, a later scribe – confused these two expressions. It is significant that both the Aramaic Mawhamana and the Greek Peraklytos have the same meaning as the two names of the Last Prophet, Muhammad and Ahmad, both of which are derived from the verb hamida (“he praised”) and the noun hamd (“praise”).”
An even more unequivocal prediction of the advent of the Prophet Muhammad – mentioned by name, in its Arabic form – is in Gospel of St. Barnabas, which was accepted as authentic and was read in the churches until the year 496 of the Christian era, when it was banned as “heretical” by a decree of Pope Gelasius.
Among the many books written on the subject is Kais al-Kalby’s “Prophet Muhammad: The Last Messenger In The Bible,”
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا ۚ بِئْسَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
THE PARABLE of those who were graced with the burden of the Torah, and thereafter failed to bear this burden, is that of an ass that carries a load of books [but cannot benefit from them]. Calamitous is the parable of people who are bent on giving the lie to Allah’s messages – for Allah does not bestow His guidance upon such evildoing folk! (Jumuah, 62:5)
Knowledge that is not accompanied by true understanding and practice is as useful for the holder of that knowledge as the books are for the ass carrying them.
وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَهُمْ تُعْجِبُكَ أَجْسَامُهُمْ ۖ وَإِن يَقُولُوا تَسْمَعْ لِقَوْلِهِمْ ۖ كَأَنَّهُمْ خُشُبٌ مُّسَنَّدَةٌ ۖ
And if you see them, their physiques would attract you, and if they speak, you would (like to) listen to their speech (because of their eloquence). (Yet, being devoid of substance,) it is as if they were propped up beams of timber. (Munafiqun, 63:4)
This is a description of the hypocrites. In the media age one wonders how many are the sought after celebrities with carefully groomed appearances and telegenic personalities who have perfected the art of slick talks who precisely fit the description. They are wooden props on a stage, not real human beings.
This should always remind us not to confuse eloquence with scholarship or video images with reality.
Way out of hardships
ۚ وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا . وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ ۚ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا
Whoever fears Allah, He brings forth a way out for him, and provides him (with what he needs) from where he does not even imagine. And whoever places his trust in Allah, He is sufficient for him. Surely Allah is to accomplish His purpose. Allah has set a measure for every thing. (Talaq, 65:2-3)
When we are in a difficulty and all doors out of it seem to be closed, reciting this ayah repeatedly will bring comfort to our heart and ease from unexpected sources.
By Khalid Baig