Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.
Life and Death
تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ
Glorious is the One in whose hand is the Kingdom (of the whole universe), and He is powerful over every thing, the One who created death and life, so that He may test you as to which of you is better in his deeds. And He is the All-Mighty, the Most-Forgiving, (Mulk, 67:1-2)
This is the answer to the basic questions of life and death. This entire universe is in the hands of Allah, who has full control over its running. He created the system of life and death, so no body can escape it. Those destined to be born will be born. And everyone who is born will die one day. Then people will be judged and rewarded or punished based on the goodness of their deeds or lack thereof. It follows that for those holding this worldview it is incumbent that they find out what the good deeds are so they can perform them and what the bad deeds are so they can avoid them.
وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ
And they will add: "Had we but listened [to those warnings], or [at least] used our own reason, we would not [now] be among those who are destined for the blazing flame!" (Mulk, 67:10)
This is the statement of the people judged to go to Hell. When asked whether anybody had warned them about this dreadful result they will readily admit that the warners had come and they had flatly rejected them. In rejecting the Messengers today they may be vexing eloquent about how the use of their sense perceptions and reason dictates this rejection. When they come face to face with the Hell, they will suddenly realize that they had not really used their faculties of hearing and reasoning at all. This is what the Qur’an says elsewhere about the rejecters of faith:
وَلَقَدْ ذَرَأْنَا لِجَهَنَّمَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الْجِنِّ وَالإِنسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لاَّ يَفْقَهُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لاَّ يُبْصِرُونَ بِهَا وَلَهُمْ آذَانٌ لاَّ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا أُوْلَـئِكَ كَالأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْغَافِلُونَ
Many are the Jinns and men We have made for Hell: They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle--- nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning). (Al-Araf 7:179)
On that day they will be volunteering this admission on their own.
The tools of our sense perception and reasoning are not sufficient to find out the Truth about the deeper issues of life and death on our own. But they are sufficient to confirm the veracity of the Messengers who have been sent by Allah to answer these questions.
Human Weakness and its treatment
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا . إِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعًا . وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا . إِلَّا الْمُصَلِّينَ . الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ
Surely man was created fretful, when evil visits him, impatient, when good visits him, grudging. Not so, however, those who consciously turn towards Allah in salat, [and] who incessantly persevere in their salat. (Ma'arij, 70:19-23)
This a general human weakness, born out of myopia. This will be reduced to the extent a person can keep his eyes on the long term horizon. The longest term horizon is that encompasses the Hereafter. And therefore it is the practicing believers alone who escape this. Salat (prayer) has a central role in building a strong character and helping us overcome this weakness and therefore praying regularly is the first attribute mentioned here.
By Khalid Baig