Taraweeh Reflections - Night Nine
Posted: 7 Ramadan 1434, 16 July 2013
Here are selected verses from the taraweeh recitation for each night with lessons for our lives today.
This juz begins with the following ayah:
وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلّهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ إِن كُنتُمْ آمَنتُمْ بِاللّهِ وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ وَاللّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“And know that whatever spoils you receive, their one fifth is for Allah and for His Messenger, and for kinsmen and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you do believe in Allah and in what We sent down upon Our Servant on the Decisive Day, the day when the two forces encountered each other. And Allah is powerful over everything.” [Surah Anfal, 8:41]
This is an answer to the question which was mentioned right in the beginning of surah Anfal itself, forty ayahs ago. That ayah said:
“They ask you about the spoils. Say, “The spoils are for Allah and the Messenger.” So, fear Allah, and set your relations right, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers.” (8:1)
The question was about the distribution of the spoils of war. In the tribal society the soldier who laid his hand on the spoil kept it. The rules were to be changed now. But it is extremely significant that after mentioning the question, the answer was delayed while mention was made of the special favors of Allah that led to the decisive victory in the highly unequal battle of Badr for which Muslims were not even prepared. Mention was also made of the qualities of the true believers, whose hearts tremble upon the mention of the name of Allah, whose iman increases upon listening to the Words of Allah, and who put their trust in Allah.
The ruling regarding distribution was given after the minds had been prepared to accept it. Today a mention of rulings --- in all areas of life --- elicits arguments instead of compliance because of the lack of this preparation. Unless Islamic education carefully nurtures iman, and creates strong conviction about Islamic beliefs and teachings, simply imparting knowledge of commandments will not change the behavior. Parent and educators can ignore this point only with disastrous results. Today the sources of this nurture are neither in the formal education nor in the environment created by the media.
فَلاَ تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلاَ أَوْلاَدُهُمْ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُم بِهَا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ
Let not, then, their wealth and their children excite your admiration. In fact, Allah intends to punish them with these in this lowly life and that their souls should depart while they are disbelievers. [Surah Tauba, 9:55]
Surah Taubah has much commentary about the munafiqeen. This ayah is also about them.
The hypocrites were men of wealth and position. In fact their possessions, and their undue love for them, were the main cause of their hypocrisy. This ayah reminds us that the wealth of a hypocrite or non-believer should never engender envy in the believer. We must not be dazzled by the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Net worth estimates should not excite us. Accounts of the richest men should not attract us. If we realize the troubles in the Hereafter caused by disbelief, we’ll feel pity rather than envy.
الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ بَعْضُهُم مِّن بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمُنكَرِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَقْبِضُونَ أَيْدِيَهُمْ نَسُواْ اللّهَ فَنَسِيَهُمْ إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ .وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَـئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللّهُ إِنَّ اللّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
The hypocrites, males and females, are all alike. They enjoin vice and forbid virtue and withhold their hands (from doing good). They are oblivious of Allah, and so He is oblivious of them. Surely, the hypocrites are the sinners. The believers, male and female, are protectors one of another: they enjoin virtue and forbid vice and establish Salāh and pay Zakāh and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy. Surely, Allah is Powerful, Wise. [Surah Tauba, 9:67, 71]
These two verses compare and contrast believers and hypocrites and invite deep reflection.
More often than we realize we are engaged in persuading others or are being persuaded by them about big and small things in life. It is a very powerful force also. That is why marketers yearn for word of mouth publicity and powerful media machines long for becoming the talk of the town.
Concerned with good as it is, Islam gives this tremendous social force a purpose. It must be used for promoting good, truth and justice and checking evil and injustice. That is the essence of amr-bil-maroof-wa-nahi-anil-munkar. And Qur'an declares it as the defining mission for this Ummah.
A believer may commit sins, but he cannot be on the side of promoting them. In the Islamic society sin is a private weakness, not a public cause.
Today we seem to be doing exactly the opposite. There are Muslim women who have been pressured out of observing hijab by friends and relatives. Men and women have been enticed into riba transactions. All innovations (bid'at) and false social practices continue under social pressures. Bribery, backbiting, corruption, indecency, and dishonesty flourish under social approval. It is frightening to see how our real life matches the description given for the hypocrites. For we are warned that if we persuade others to commit a wrong we'll add to our burden of sins by the same amount. It is one thing to commit a wrong out of weakness. It is totally different to advocate the wrong and willingly multiply our burden of sins.