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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 10

Chapter 8: Verses 41-44

Let it be known that whatever gains are secured in a war (ghanama), twenty percent of that goes to ALLAH and His messenger (for social welfare and community support), the orphans, the needy and those who are travelers. This is a recognition that you believe in God, the guidance that has been revealed to Our Servant and this day of differentiation when the two parties met (in armed conflict). God is ever powerful over all things and all affairs.

(Recall how you ended up) on the nearer side of the valley (of Badr – place of the first battle) while their army was on the further side and the caravan drifted to a lower position (near the coast away from you). Had you intended to make a direct contact (with the army), you would have found ways to break away, but God intended to settle a matter that needed to be done – that those who fail the clear guidance (from God) might perish whereas those who follow the clear guidance, might be free to live by it. Surely God knows, and God hears.

God displayed them in your dream as a small army; had he shown them as many, you would have lost courage to fight and would have contended among yourself regarding the decision at hand (to fight or not to fight). But God gave you peace of mind; surely, God knows what happens in a man’s heart (at times of difficulty). And when you were drawn to each other, God made them appear few in your eyes and He made you appear as few in their eyes so that God can close out a matter that needed to be resolved. All matters come back to God for resolution.

Verses 45-51

O People of Faith, when you meet your adversary in a battle, be steadfast, be mindful of ALLAH often so that you can achieve your objectives. Always align with God and His Messenger and do not dispute and contend with one another such that you lose morale and power of unity; be patient and steadfast since God is with those who are steadfast (in challenging circumstances). And avoid behaving like those who left their home in pride, to be seen by people and to prevent people from God’s guidance. God certainly encompasses all their activities and conducts.

The Devil (and their personal ego) conspired with them, made their posture fair to them and postulated, “no man can overcome you on this day and you will be protected.” But when the two armies came to face each other, the Devil retreated saying: “I am no longer with you. I can perceive things that you cannot perceive. I am aware of God’s commitment and God always prevail and takes retribution.”

The hypocrites and those who had doubts in their faith said, “These (people of faith) are in delusion about their faith,” whereas when you put your trust and faith in God, He is a Wise Enabler. If you could only witness when the angels who causes death to those who lack faith, striking them on their face and back and (saying), “ Taste the consequence of your disbelief and evil.” This is the result of your life-long pursuits and God is never unjust to His creation.

Verses 52-59

The people of Pharaoh and their previous generations have likewise neglected the messages from ALLAH and God took them to account for their evils. God is ever powerful, capable of just retribution!

Such consequence (a reflection of divine rule) is because God does not remove a favor that He bestows on people until they become unfit for it by their own conducts. God always hears, and He knows!

The people of Pharaoh and their previous generations were treated as such. They denied guidance from their Sustainer God and We replaced them for their evils. We drowned the people of Pharaoh and they were indeed evil people. To God, the worst among His creations are those who disbelieve and never come back to belief. If you make an agreement with them, they dishonor their agreements every time and they are not responsible people.

So, when you face them in battle, fight and put them to flight so that those after them may become mindful. If you suspect treachery for any covenant that you make with them, you can renege such treaty on equitable manner. Surely God dislike treacherous conducts (from all parties). Let not those who deny God’s grace think that they can outmaneuver God or frustrate His purpose.

Verses 60-65

Be prepared against them with whatever forces (effective means) you can muster and horses (people, institutions, tools and technology) stationed to safeguard and to deter the enemies of ALLAH who are also your enemies and others whom you do not know but God knows them. Whatever you dedicate and spend in the cause of God (truth and justice), God will compensate back in full measure, and you will not be wronged (for your commitments).

If they (your adversaries) incline to peace, you too should incline and put your trust in God Who Hears, and Who Knows. If they intend to deceive you, then be rest assured that God is sufficient (for your protection and success). It is God who strengthens you with His help and with aid from the faithful whose hearts God had unified. If you were to spend all the resources that are on earth, you could not have brought them together, but God united them. God is Mighty and Wise!

O Prophet, God is sufficient for you and for those, from among the faithful, who follow you. Call and inspire the faithful to resist fear of loss and fight. If there are twenty of you, committed and steadfast, you will overcome two hundred of them and if there are a hundred of you, you will overcome a thousand of them who disbelieve, it is because these are a people who do not comprehend (truth).

Verses 66-69

In light of your current weaknesses, God intends to lighten your burden; so, if there be one hundred of you who are committed and steadfast, you can overcome two hundreds and if you be a thousand (committed and steadfast), you can overcome two thousands of them, by God’s will. God is with those who are patient and willing to persevere.

It is not dignified for a prophet (see also 47:4) to take prisoner until he has fought hard and triumphed on earth (for truth and justice). One may desire the transient goods and pleasure of this life, whereas God desires for you the lasting goods of the life to come. God is Mighty and Wise!

Had it not already been ordained by God, a serious misdeed and consequence would have unfolded for what you were about to do. Relish then what is lawful and what is good from your effort in war and be mindful of God and your mutual responsibilities. God is Ever Forgiving, Merciful!

Verses 70-75

O Prophet, say to the captives from Badr: “If there is any goodness in your hearts (which God knows), then be mindful that God will give you something better than what has been taken from you; God is Forgiving, Merciful.” But if you fear deception and treachery from them, then know that they have been as such in the eye of God before and God gave you mastery over them. God is Aware and God is Wise!

Those who became faithful, fled (their homes in distress) and struggled for truth and justice with their persons and possessions (immigrants – Muhajirun) and those who helped and sheltered them (helpers – Ansar) are real friends of one another. But those who became faithful but chose not to flee, you are not and cannot be responsible for their protection until they flee. If on the other hand, they seek helps in matters of faith (against persecution for their faith), you have an obligation to help such individuals, unless they are part of a community with whom you have an existing covenant (which should be honored). God always sees how you conduct yourselves!

Those who deny the truth and act unjustly (kafirun) are friends of one another and if you do not (struggle in pursuit of truth and justice), there will be persecution and large-scale mischief in the world!

(Again,) those who accepted faith (in God, truth and justice), fled (to avoid persecution) and actively struggled against injustice and evil and those who helped them and gave them shelter are the real believers worthy of forgiveness from God and dignified support from God. Also, those who accepted faith afterward (another group or another generation), fled to avoid persecution and aligned with you to struggle, then they are of you; but blood relations are nearer to one another as God sees it. God is the Knower of all things.

Chapter 9: Surah At Tawba (Repentance)

Verses 1-6

In the Name of ALLAH, the God of Mercy, the Endower of Mercy!

ALLAH and His Messenger announce immunity to those polytheists with whom there is existing covenant, so they are free to move around for four months. But none can escape God; God will humiliate those who deny His grace (kafirun). A similar announcement from God and His Messenger to all people on this day of greater Pilgrimage (ninth day of the month for Haj) that God disavows all who are polytheists. So, if they repent and mend their ways, it is good for them, but if they opt to resist, then there is no escape from God. Announce hereby a severe consequence to those who deny the grace of God, except those with whom you have agreements and who had neither failed in their commitment nor supported anyone against you. Therefore, you should honor such commitments until the end of their terms. God favors those who act responsibly (muttaquin).

Once the sacred months (period of no hostility) has passed, fight the polytheists wherever they engage you, take them captives, besiege them and take advantage of every opportunity they open up for you; but if they repent, worship God, purify themselves by helping the needy, then you should leave them free since God is Forgiving, Merciful. If any of the polytheists, seek your protection (but do not accept your faith), protect them so that they can hear and reflect on the word of God and then provide them safe passage. Such courtesy is appropriate since they are uninformed.

Verses 7-15

How can there be an agreement for the polytheists from ALLAH and His Messenger, except what was agreed to near the Sacred Mosque (parties to Hudaiybiyyah peace treaty in 6 A.H.) As long as they honor the agreement to you, you should likewise honor it. God loves those who acts responsibly. How is it that when they prevail against you, they neither respect ties of relationship nor any agreement with you? They wish to please you with deceitful words while they harbor in their hearts sentiment contrary to what they say; most of them transgress repeatedly.

They have traded away God’s guidance for a small gain in this life and thus, removed themselves from God’s way (truth and justice). It is pure evil what they do. They respect neither ties of relationship nor any covenant when it comes to a believer – they have certainly crossed the boundary (of common decency and human freedom). If they, on the other hand, reverse their course, worship God and take care of those in need, then they are your fellow brother in faith. This is how We make the message clear to those who wish to know.

Therefore, if they renege their oaths after their agreement with you and spread hatred against your faith, then actively oppose them – these leaders of disbelievers, since their oaths mean nothing, and they may be restrained. Why would you not oppose and fight these people who break their promises, expelled the Prophet and they now attacked your first.

Are you afraid of them? Is it not God that you need to be mindful of, if you claim to believe? Actively engage and fight them; then God will debase them with your hands and bring them to failure; God will help you against them, bring inner peace in you and relieve the pangs of rage from your hearts. God turns to whom God wills (with mercy and forgiveness). Indeed, God is All-Knowing, Wise!

Verses 16-24

The polytheists (and idol worshippers) are not fit to maintain the Mosque of ALLAH while denying the grace of God and being unfaithful against themselves. Their works are nothing but in vain and they will endure its consequence (on the earth and in afterlife). Only ones who can be fit to maintain God’s Mosques are those who believe in God and in the accountability of hereafter, establish worship of God, take care of the needy and are mindful of God above anyone or anything. These are the ones who are truly guided.

(At the same time) do you really think that the mere act of giving drinks to pilgrims and maintenance of the Sacred Mosque (Kabah) is equivalent to the acts of those who not only believes in God and the Last Day but also strives diligently and constantly in God’s Way (to establish truth and justice). These are not the same in the sight of God and God does not guide those who practice injustice.

Those who had achieved faith, fled ((to avoid persecution) and struggled against injustice with their beings and with their resources are much nearer to God. They will triumph (against their adversary) in the end. Their Sustainer God gives them the good grace of His mercy and pleasure from Himself and the Garden full of bliss that lasts forever, specifically for them. God has a grand reward for them.

O People of Faith: “Beware of your own parents and siblings if they love disbelief over belief. If you take them as confidants, then it is an act of injustice by itself”. (O Prophet) Say: “If your family, parents, children, spouses and relative; the wealth and position you have accumulated; trade and commerce whose decline your worry about; the residence you love to dwell in - are all more important and dearer to you than God, His Messenger and the imperative to struggle in God’s way, then wait for God’s command to come to pass since God does not guide those who practice injustice and mischief.

Verses 25-29

ALLAH had helped you in many battles and conflicts. But during the battle of Hunain, while you were overconfident with greater numbers, it afforded you nothing and the land with all its vastness felt constrained to you and you turned back in retreat. It is God who eased your anxiety, send calm to the Prophet and the faithful around him, descended hosts (spiritual forces - angels) that you could not see and finally routed the people who deny the graces of God, an outcome that is inevitable for such deniers. God will continue to turn His mercy to whom He wills since God is Forgiving, Merciful!

O People of Faith, those who are polytheists are declared unseemly to be able to approach the sanctity of the Sacred Mosque (Kabah) after this year. If you feel that your source of income will decline, then know that God will enrich you out of His grace, if He wills. God is Aware and God is Wise!

You should continue to struggle against those who do not believe in God and the Last Day, who practices things that God and His Messenger had guided against, and who do not follow the True Faith, though they have been gifted the books of guidance before - until they agree to pay a tax for protection (jizyah) willingly and once they are humbled (by your struggle and quest for justice).

Verses 30-35

(Some) followers of Moses say: Ezra is the son of God while (most) Christians say: The Christ is the son of God. These are mere assertions from their mouth. They borrowed such sayings from those who disbelieved and denied God’s grace in the past. ALLAH strongly condemns such assertions and conducts by which they turn away (from God). These people take their rabbis and their monks as gods besides God and also include Jesus, the son of Mary as such, whereas, they have been instructed that they should serve one God – besides Whom there are no other gods. God is above all that they associate with Him. They wish to extinguish the light of God with their utterings whereas God will do nothing but perfect His Light even though these deniers will dislike such outcome.

God is the One Who has sent His Messenger to spread the guidance and the true faith (deen) so that it can supersede all other ways, even though the polytheists (and disbeliever) may dislike such outcome.

O People of Faith, surely many of the rabbis and monks consume the possession of others under false pretext and lead people away from God’s guidance. And those (rich people) who build up their gold and silver (wealth) and distribute them not in the service of people will face its evil consequence. Such wealth will be branded on their face, their back and their side to remind them and for them to taste the results of such hoarding and overconsumptions.

Verses 36-37

The number of months established by ALLAH since the creation of the heaven and earth (solar system) is twelve months of which four have been designated as sacred. This is the proper discourse and do not cause injustice to yourselves by denial of this arrangement. Exert with unity against the polytheists as they fight you (first) in unity. You should know that God is always with those who act responsibly (muttaquin).

Tempering (nasi’u – intercalation] with this established arrangement is another instance of their increasing disbelief whereby those who disbelieve move farther away from guidance. Such arbitrary intercalation or adjustments, while might give semblance to observing the months made sacred by God, end up making a month not sacred while God had made it sacred. They find justification to such arrangements in their mind while God does not guide such acts of people who persistently deny God’s grace (and truth).

Verses 38-47

O People of Faith, when you are asked to struggle in ALLAH’s way (for truth and justice), what causes you to disincline and cling heavily to the comfort of living on this earth? Are you more inclined to the life of this earth in preference to the life to come whereas the life of this earth is miniscule compared to the life to come? If you persist in such refusal, God will make you face its grave consequences and replace you with another people. You can do no harm to God. God overpowers everything and everyone!

If you do not support him (the prophet), you should know that God supported him when he was driven away by the deniers of truth, he being the second of the two souls who hid in that cave and said to his companion: “Don’t be anxious, God is with us!” God sent down to them tranquility and confidence and strengthened them with spirits whom you cannot see. God made lowly the assertions of those who denied the truth while God’s guidance is always triumphant (in the long run). God is Supreme; God is Wise!

Go forth well prepared, as best as you can and afford (light and heavy) and strive hard in God’s way with your person and with your resources. This is a better way, if you want to know. Had they (hypocrites) been assured of a sure gain and a shorter journey, they would have certainly gone with you, but the hard and long journey was too much for them (in their estimation). They swear by God: “if we are able, we would have gone forth.” Such falsity only despair their soul and God knows that they were lying. God forgives you for giving them permission to stay while it would have been better had you waited until it was clear to you who were truthful, and you came to know who were lying. It is only those who do not believe in God and the Last Day and whose hearts are in doubt ask your permission to stay as they become ambivalent in their doubt (about the truth). If they were sincere, they would have made necessary preparations, but God disliked their being part of this effort. So, God held them back, when it was said: “You may stay back with those who wish to stay back.”

Had they gone forth with you, they would have caused trouble and go back and forth amongst you causing discord and doubts, especially those who were prone to such conversations. God know well who the troublemakers are!

Verses 48-59

These people have tried to create discord before, and they planned against you (prophet and his followers) until the truth became manifest. Thus, ALLAH’s command prevailed even though they dislike it. There are people among them who say: “Leave me alone and try me not,” whereas they have already deep in such trials and the evil consequences (hell) have already encompassed the deniers of truth. If fortunes come to you (Prophet), they grieve whereas if a hardship falls on you, they turn away rejoicing and say: “See, how we have taken care of ourselves.” Say to them: “Nothing will fall on us except what God wills. God is our Protector and on Him all believers rely. Do you perhaps wait (hoping bad things for us) whereas only one of two goods can come to us? While we do wait, God will bring you evil consequences directly from God or through our efforts. Therefore, you wait, and we wait patiently as well.”

Say to them: “Whether you support our causes willingly or as a show, it will make no difference, since you have already proven your transgression.” The reason their effort is no longer meaningful is that they disbelieve in God and in His Messenger, that their prayer and worship is done without mindfulness and that their support, if rendered, is with but reluctance (only to save face outwardly).

Their wealth and their children should not cause any envy from you. These are means by which God tries them in this world and enables condition by which they persist in their disbelief and denials till their death. They invoke God to assert that they are with you while they are not; it is because they are afraid. If they had the means or availability of a refuge - a place or a cave, they would have taken advantage of those in a hurry. There are some of them who express unhappiness with your distribution of charity. If they are given some, they are happy and if they receive none, they are full of anger, whereas, if they were content with allocations made by God and His Messenger and said instead: “God is sufficient for us. Perhaps God will give (in future) out of His grace and His prophet as well. It is to God that we express our desires.”

Verse 60

Charity (zakat) should be directed to (1) meet the need of the poor and otherwise needy, (2) bear expenses for those employed to administer the fund, (3) support those whose hearts incline to (faith), (4) (free) people from captivity and debt, (5) support those who strive selflessly in God’s way (establish truth and justice) and (6) help travelers (away from home). This is an obligation from ALLAH. God is Knowing and Wise!

Verses 61-68

There are people who harass the Prophet and say: “He listens to everyone,” whereas he hears all that is good for you. He believes in ALLAH; he believes the faithful and he is a mercy to those who are faithful amongst you. Those who malign the prophet of God, there will be adverse consequences for them. They swear by God to make a positive impression to you whereas God and His Messenger are asking that you please God if you truly believe. These people should be aware that anyone who opposes God and His Messenger will face its consequence (the fire of Hell)- this is a grave disgrace!

These hypocrites are constantly in fear that a revelation will come which will expose what is in their minds. Say: “Go on mocking (if you will); God will bring to light what you wish to hide.” If you ask them, they will make excuse: “We were only sporting and engaged in idle talk.” Say: “Was it God, His messages and His Messenger that you were making fun of? Make no excuse as you have gone back to denial of God after affirming your faith. Even if We (God) forgive a group of you, another group will face the consequence since they are consumed in evil.

Hypocritical men and hypocritical women are all alike – they engage in evil, hinder people from good and offer no charity. They have abandoned God; likewise God has abandoned them. These hypocrites have transgressed (too far). God’s disposition with respect to those who are hypocrites and disbelievers is the evil consequence of their hypocrisy – fire of Hell and God’s displeasure, a consequence with lasting impact!

Verses 69-72

(Recall) those before you – they enjoyed the gift of wealth and family and were (even) stronger than you. They took the easy way to enjoy what they were given, and you also did the same as did those of your previous generations and you engaged in idle talk and sporting about life as they did. For such, their life and work came to nothing in this world and in the hereafter and in the end they did not profit from this life. Have you heard the story of such people – the community of Noah, the A’d, Thamud, the people of Abraham, the residents of Midian and in cities that were turned upside down? Messengers from ALLAH came to them with guidance, clearly articulated and reasoned with. God was not unjust to them, but they suffered the consequence of their own transgression.

Those who have faith – men and women, are each other’s caretakers. They strive to establish what is good, struggle against evil, establish worship of God, take care of the needy and align themselves with the guidance from God and His Messenger. These are the people who deserved to have God’s mercy and support. God is Ever Mighty, Wise!

God had promised to the faithful – men and women, Gardens of peace and plenty, to reside in them and a good life in such Gardens of perpetuity. The greatest of all success is God’s good grace, best of all achievements and grandeur that are possible!

Verses 73-78

O Prophet, struggle hard against those deny ALLAH, those who practice hypocrisy and be firm in your stance against them. They are destined to an evil place – hell is where they will reside. They swear by God that they said nothing whereas they had certainly spoken word of disbelief after their acceptance of Islam and sought objectives that were beyond their reach while God and His Messenger enriched them out of His grace which they deny and wish to find fault in. So, if they reverse their course of action, it will make things good for them but if they persist, then God will make them face the consequence in this life and in the hereafter. On this earth they will find no friend and no helper.

From among them are those who made a promise with God: If God gives us from His grace, we will surely dedicate some of it to charity and lead a righteous life. But when He gave them from His grace, they became miserly, forgot their promise and turned away. Therefore, God lets hypocrisy persist in their hearts till the day they will meet God – because, they disregarded their covenant with God and lied (about their intent). Do they not realize that God is fully aware of their inner desires and their secret planning and God is the Knower of all that is unseen and unknown (to mankind).

Verses 79-84

There are those (hypocrites) who tease believers who donates freely and those who cannot find anything to give except their hard labor – these (hypocrites) mock at both. ALLAH will requite their mockery and there will be serious consequences (for their conducts) irrespective of whether you (Prophet) ask for their forgiveness or not, even if you ask for forgiveness multiple times. God will not forgive them because they deny God and His Messenger. God will not guide those who transgress repeatedly.

Those (hypocrites) who stayed back were glad to be not following the Messenger of God, precisely because they were disinclined to striving in God’s way with their persons and property and they even said: “Do not go out in the heat (of the desert).” Tell them: “The heat of hellfire will be even more intense if you could only comprehend. Let them laugh a little (at this time) as they will commiserate a lot (in the end) – it is the consequence of what they do (or do not). If an occasion arises when God brings you back to them and they ask for your permission to join in, say to them: “Never will you go with me and never will you fight an enemy on my behalf. You chose to stay back the first time and (now) you will sit with those who stay back.” They do not deserve your prayer on their death or your standing by their graves, because they denied God and His Messenger and they died in a state of repeated transgressions.

Verses 85-89

Their wealth and their families (ease of life) should not incline you to them with admirations. ALLAH only intends to have them suffer its consequences while in this world and let their soul depart them while they are still in denial. When a chapter (surah) is revealed asking them to confirm their faith in God and to strive hard along with the Messenger from God, the wealthy among them ask for exemption and say: “Let us be with those who wish to stay back.” They would rather stay back as if their hearts are sealed, disarming them to comprehend (their responsibilities)

As for the Messenger and those who are with him struggling hard with their persons and their possessions are worthy of goodness of life and they will become successful. God has prepared for them Gardens place of peace and plenty [in which rivers flow] to reside; they are the real successful!

Verses 90-99

Some of the tribes came to seek exemption (from participating in the Tabuk campaign) while others stayed at home in a state of denial of ALLAH and His Messenger. There are serious consequences for those who neglect and deny. But those who are weak or sick or have no means and they were sincere with God and His Messenger will have no blame to suffer. There is no way a doer of good can be blamed. God is Ever Forgiving, Merciful!

Neither can there be any blame who came to you looking for transport and provision, but you said: “I have no more provision and transport to give you.” As such they went back, full of sorrow, that they were unable to support them to participate. The blame is due on those who came to you to seek exemption though they had means. They choose deliberately to stay back with others. God let their hearts stay sealed, so they are unable to comprehend.

These people will offer excuses (again) when you are back. Say to them: “Make no more excuses – we are not willing to believe you (anymore). God had informed us your affairs. God and His Messenger will continue to observe your conducts; eventually you will find yourselves back to the God, the Knower of all that is exposed and hidden, and God will make you comprehend what you did.” They will swear by God when you are back so that you leave them be (without any repercussion). So, leave them alone; they are unworthy of your attention. They will suffer the consequences (of hell) – a rightful result for what they strive for!

Their swearing is only to be in your good grace. While you may be inclined to them, God is not pleased with people who repeatedly and deliberately transgress, especially the Bedouins, who are filled with denial and hypocrisy and fail to know the meaning and boundary of what God reveals as guidance to His Messenger. God is full of knowledge and wisdom!

These Bedouins takes these calls for spending as an undue burden and wait for misfortune to fall on you. The turn of misfortune is really on them.

God Hears, and God Knows! But there are among them those who do have faith in God and in the Last Day and consider what they need to spend (for common cause) as a mean to come closer to God and to secure good grace of the Messenger. Indeed, they achieve such closeness (to God) and God will take them into His mercy. God is Forgiving and Merciful!

***Excerpt from Volume 4: Personal Accountability – Removing the Middleman Series, by Rashed Hasan. Copyright by Author***

July 2024

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