In the last couple of ayahs we had discussed, Allah tells us to seek patience and prayer. One thing to keep in mind is that today's society is designed in such a way that it pulls us away from patience or sabr since everything is supposed to be instant, due to the power of technology. We instantly get information on the click of a button off the internet, we can instantly get money from the ATM machine, we have things known as "instant coffee" and "instant noodles" in our generation. This isn't a bad thing, but we have to realize that we can't attain nearness to Allah instantaneously like we can with so many other things. Getting close to Allah requires time, consistency, sacrifice, effort and a long period of time. It's a journey. Sometimes we go to a religious talk and we feel an "iman rush" for a while, thinking our souls have been elevated instantly, then after a while we go back to our normal lives. We have to seek assistance with patience in order to be regular in our deen.
The next few ayahs are addressed towards the Bani Israel, who were people who deviated from the straight path, and Allah says "Remember the blessings I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the worlds". This ayah was revealed to the Bani Israel during the time of Muhammad (SAW), although the stories mentioned are from the time of Musa (AS). This comes to show that the later generations also take part in the benefits given to the Bani Israel. It is similar in the case of Muslims - the source of benefit in our religion is Muhammad (SAW), and because of his efforts and his sacrifices, we, 1400 years later, also get to benefit from our religion. If we have concern for our future generations, we should attain closeness to Allah so that we receive His mercy and this will benefit the next generations. Our primary concern is that the deen remain within the upcoming generations. The best way to make sure Islam stays strong is by supplicating and asking for Allah's grace or "fadhl", and He, in turn, will inshaAllah not only bless the person who made dua, but also the community, and therefore, the future generations.
In this ayah, the Bani Israel are being challanged. They are told in a subtle manner that they shouldn't take it for granted that Allah is bestowing His mercy on them again and again. He could easily close the doors of Rahma for them, and so they should be careful. They have to be sincere, and have be careful about this as well. Just being born Muslim doesn't mean we can take going to Heaven for granted - we have to work for it.
There have been great historical narrations in the life of Bani Israel, and Allah (SWT) reminds them about many incidents to awaken them. Then He makes them conscious, "And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be aided". We live for thousands of days, but the one essential day in our life is that one Day - the Day of Judgment. In reality, all these thousands of days we're living one after another, are just days to prepare for that one day. And Allah gives us 4 charactistics of that Day:
i) There will be no compensation
ii) Intercession will not be accepted
iii) Ransom will not be taken
iv) No one will be aided exept by Allah's will.
So basically, we are all alone. It's just us and our deeds. Even a mother will not think about her child that day. Everyone will be on their own. There are a few examples of intercession taking place on that day though...which include the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) making dua that the people with equal amount of thawab and sin go to Heaven, and an infant which died at a young age will seek intercession for its parents, as will a fetus lost in miscarriage. Also, the hufaaz who have memorized the Quran and implemented it's teachings in their lives and intercede...but it all depends on the situation and their level of piety, and only Allah knows what will happen. In these ayahs it just generally says there will be no intercession as will be the case in most situations.
InshaAllah next time we will go through the various blessings bestowed upon the Bani Israel during Pharaoh's time.
May Allah give us the tawfiq to remember the Day of Judgment everyday and prepare for it accordingly.