Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Surah Al Baqarah Ayahs 35-37

The next two ayahs depict the situation that was at hand when Allah (SWT) told Adam (AS) and his wife to enjoy all of the pleasures of Paradise, but forbade them from going near a specific tree. The Ayah is as follows, “And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise, and eat at pleasure wherever you like, but do not go near this tree or you shall join the transgressors.”

Even though the entire Jannah was there for the couple to enjoy, they got whisperings from Shaitaan, who made them want even more. He asked them if they knew why they weren’t allowed to have the fruits of that tree, and told them it’s because if they eat it, they will become like angels, or they will live in Jannah eternally. This comes to show the concept of wanting more, which is always present in humans. The other thing it highlights is fear of loss. If a person has happiness, then he or she tends to think about losing it as well. What is interesting in this ayah is that is says do not even approach this tree, let alone eat the fruits from it. There is a lot of wisdom in Allah’s command because He knows that if man even goes near something he is not supposed to then there’s a high risk of falling into sin. This also applies to our lives. The way we can really avoid sin is to avoid the environment of sin. For example, if you know you have a problem with backbiting, then don’t socialize with people who are into it. If you know you have a problem with lowering your gaze, then don’t go in such an environment to test yourself.

However, the thoughts from Shaitaan caused them to slip as it says in the next ayah, “Then, Satan caused them to slip from it, and brought them out of where they had been. And We said, “Go down, you all, some of you enemies of some; and on the earth there will be for you a dwelling place and enjoyment for a time.” We have been brought down to this world for a short period of time, and we are tested through our deeds.

We are human, and it is natural for us to make mistakes. But repentance is very important. Adam (AS) felt ashamed and begged for forgiveness and Allah accepted it. Ayah 37 says, “Then Adam learnt certain words (to pray with) from his Lord; so, Allah accepted his repentance. No doubt He is the Most-Relenting, the Very-Merciful.” There’s a discussion amongst the scholars who tried to figure out what these words were. Some say that it’s a phrase that comes in the 7th Surah of the Quran where this whole story is narrated where Allah asks Adam (AS) if He had not warned him about Shaitaan, the open enemy. That is when Adam and his wife Hawa (AS) respond with, “Oh Allah, we have wronged ourselves, and if You don’t forgive us, and have mercy upon us, we will be from among those who are the losers”.

This passage also shows that man was originally supposed to live in Jannah. He was created for Jannah, but now has been brought down to earth for a period of time, then according to his deeds will be taken back to Jannah. Allah makes it so easy for people to enter heaven. There are numerous ways given in the Quran and Hadith:

i)A hadith narrates that whoever recites the Kalimah with faith in it will enter Jannah
ii)The man who prays in Jamaat/congregation receives 27 times more sawaab
iii)The man who prays 2 rakah in front of the Kabah receives a hundred thousand times more reward.
iv)When you fast you get rewarded immensely, so much so that the ajar will be given on the Day of Judgment itself.
v)If you make an intention to do something good then you get rewarded just for the intention even if you don’t do the deed (it has to be a sincere intention though!). But if you make an intention to do evil you don’t get sinned until you do the deed, for which you can ask for forgiveness later on as well, sincerely.

All of this and much more come to show the mercy of Allah, and how He wants His people to enter the gates of Jannah. Allah also makes excuses to wipe away our sins, like when we make wudhu, when we pray, fast, go for Umrah or Hajj, and so much more. This comes to show His infinite mercy on humans.

May Allah (SWT) make us from those who obey His commands without trying to rationalize them, and may He return us to our original home, Jannah. Ameen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Surah Al Baqarah Ayahs 30-34

The next few ayahs will highlight the nobility of mankind, and emphasize on how humans are the creations of the highest rank compared to anything else. I will copy the next 3 verses in order to understand the beginning of the story of Adam (AS).

“And when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to create a deputy on this earth!” they said, “Will You create there one who will spread disorder on the earth and cause bloodsheds, while we, along with Your praises, proclaim Your purity and sanctify Your name?” He (Allah SWT) said, “Certainly, I know what you do not know”. And he taught Adam the names, all of them; then presented them before the angels, and said, “Tell me their names, if you are right”. They said, “To You belongs all purity! We have no knowledge except what You have given us. Surely, You alone are the all-knowing, all-wise”. He said, “O Adam, tell them the names of all these.” When he told them their names, Allah said, “Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the skies and of the earth, and that I know what you disclose and what you have been concealing.” (Verses 30-33)

This comes to show that Allah has given people a rank which is higher even than the angels, even though the angels continuously praise and glorify Allah, and always obey Him in the most perfect way. On the opposite extreme there is the Jinn, Shaitan, who completely disobeys Allah SWT. In between these two there are human beings. People are given a choice, whether they want to live like the angels of devil. The thing that makes humans better than the angels is knowledge.

The next ayah continues, “And, when We said to the angels: “Prostrate before Adam!” So they prostrated, all but Iblis. He refused and joined the infidels”. Telling the angels to prostrate before Adam (AS) is to convey respect for him, and by no way means that they are worshipping him. The fact is that before Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s time, people were allowed to prostrate before other people to show respect, like Yusuf (AS)’s family did sajdah in front of him. It is only in our ummah that prostrating to anyone besides Allah is forbidden, along with other things that were previously allowed. Examples include making pictures of living things, offering salah (prayer) at those times when then infidels used to worship their idols, or putting one hand on the other (like you do in prayer) in respect of some other person. These things have been prohibited so that there is no way that idolatry or shirk can enter into anyone’s life. In our Shariah, doors are completely closed to things that can lead to the wrong path.

Now, Iblis was actually a jinn, not an angel. But he was so devoted to Allah and so pious that it was almost like he was from amongst the angels. However, he began to reason through the command of Allah (SWT), by saying that he will not prostrate to Adam (AS) because he was made of dirt and Iblis, like other jinns, is made of fire. So naturally, fire is stronger than dirt. Because of this, he disobeyed Allah, and immediately went from being one if His most devout worshippers to Allah’s enemy. This is all because of the pride of Iblis. His pride differentiates him from Adam (AS), who also made a mistake of eating the forbidden fruits, but later asked for Allah’s forgiveness. Iblis did not do this. In the next few ayahs we will discuss the story of Adam (AS).

May Allah save us from pride, which caused Shaitan to receive the wrath of Allah (SWT). Ameen.