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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 13

Chapter 12: Surah Yusuf (Joseph) - Continued…

Verse 53-64

I do not call myself above sinfulness, since each person is inclined to sin (nasfa laammarah) except those who has ALLAH’s blessings. My Sustainer God is ever Forgiving, Merciful!

The king said: “Bring him to me that I can ascertain for myself.” When he talked to him (and was duly impressed), he said: “Today you are in our presence elevated and trusted.” He (Joseph) said: “Put me in charge of the treasure of the land. I am a good keeper and have the know-how” This is how We (God) did establish Joseph in the land; he was free to settle for himself as he deemed appropriate. We place our mercy whomever We please and We never fail to reward anyone who does good. However, the reward of the afterlife is much better for those who establish faith and act responsibly.

Joseph’s brother came (in search for food – see Genesis 42) and went to where he (Joseph) was. He knew them (immediately) but they failed to recognize him. After he gave them their provisions, he said: “Bring a brother of yours who is with your father. As you can see, I give proper measure and am a good host. If you do not bring him, you will not get provision from me and not be allowed to come near me.” They said: “We will attempt to get his father yield him (to us); we will try for sure.”

He (Joseph) said to his helpers: “Put their money back into their bags so that they might recognize when they get back to their family; perhaps they will then come back.” When they got back home to their father, they said: “The portion for us (our brother) is withhold; so send with us our brother (Benjamin) so that we can get our portion. We promise to protect him.” He (Jacob) said:

“Can I trust him to you except as I trusted his brother to you before this? (So I place my trust in) God who is the best protector and He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy!”

Verse 65-73

Then as they opened for their goods, they found their money returned. So they said to their father: “O our father, what more can we ask for? Our merchandise has been returned to us. (If Benjamin comes with us) We can bring our provision, protect our brother and have an additional camel-load. This is an easy argument!”

He (Jacob) said, “No way I will let him go with you until you give me a solemn promise in ALLAH’s name that you will bring him back, unless you are compelled otherwise. Once they gave such a pledge, he said, “It is God who guards our promises.” He further advised them, “My sons, enter (the city) not by one gate, but separately through different gates. I cannot help you against God’s plan. All outcomes belong to God. I rely on God for trust and let all reliant rely on God as well.”

They came as they were instructed by their father and it did not thwart God’s plan, though it fulfilled a desire that Jacob’s soul was yearning for. He was truly a person of knowledge, since We gifted him with such knowledge, but most people are unaware.

When the brothers came to Joseph, he pulled his brother (Benjamin) to himself and said, “I am your (lost) brother. Do not grieve (anymore) for what they did.” Once they were furnished with their provisions, he placed a drinking cup in the saddlebag of his brother (Benjamin) and a caller shouted, “O people of this caravan, you truly are thieves.” They (brothers) turned around and said, “What is it that you miss?” They (Joseph’s attendants) said, “We miss the drinking cup of the king. Anyone who can bring it back will have an additional load of provision, a promise from me.” They (brothers) said,” By God, you know that we have not come here to make trouble in the land, and we are not thieves.”

Verse 74-87

They (Joseph’s attendance) said, “What is the penalty for this, if you turn out to be liars.” They (the brothers) said, “the person, in whose saddlebag this object is found, will himself become the penalty. This is how we judge such wrongdoers.” He (Joseph) then began searching others’ sacks before going to his brother’s and then he brought it out from his brother’s bag. This is how God planned for the sake of Joseph. He could not have taken his brother under the law of the land, unless God pleased. We (God) raise people to eminence as We please. For everyone who possesses knowledge, there is a knower above (ultimately God Himself).

His brothers said, “If he did this stealing, then a brother of his also did the same before.” But Joseph kept the truth to himself and did not disclose to them (at that moment). He replied, “You are in an evil condition. God knows better your own condition.” They replied, “O chief, his father is an old man. Please take one of us in his place. We perceive you to be a good man.” He replied, “God forbids that we take anyone other than with whom we found our property. To do otherwise will be unjust.”

They conferred among themselves privately, once they realized they have no way out of this situation, the eldest brother said, “Do you not remember that we took a pledge in God’s name with our father and we also fell short in the case of Joseph before. I am not going back until my father forgives me (of my oath) or God decides my case. God is indeed the Best of the judges. Go back to your father and say, “O our father, your son had committed theft. We bear witness to what we saw, and we were not privy to what happened outside of our knowledge. You can inquire from the people in the town we were and the caravan that we were part of. We do speak the truth.”

He (Jacob) said, “No, your soul has contrived this foul play. Patience in a better course. Perhaps, God will bring them together to me, as He is the Knowing, the Wise!” Jacob then turned away from them to hide his sorrow and his eyes were filled with tears for his grief and said, “Oh, how I miss Joseph!”

The brothers said, “By God, you will not forget of Joseph until you become sick (with grief) or you perish.” He said, “I only complain to God for my sorrow and grief. I know of God and from God what you do not know. O my sons, go back and inquire about Joseph and his brother. Do not despair about God’s grace. Indeed, none should despair of God’s grace except those without faith.”

Verse 88-98

So they journeyed back to him (Joseph) and said, “O honorable chief, we and our people have been afflicted with distress and we have but little money. Give us full measure of our provisions and be generous to us. Indeed, God rewards the cheritable.”

Joseph said, “Do you know how you treated Joseph and his brother, when you acted as ignorant?” They said, “Are you Joseph? He replied, “I am Joseph, and this is my brother – God has indeed been gracious to us. Whoever is mindful of his responsibilities and patient, God never neglects to reward the virtuous.”

They said, “By God! Indeed, God has chosen you over us. We were certainly at fault.” He said, “No ill-feeling this day against you. May God forgive you. God is the Most Merciful to those who show mercy. Take this shirt of mine and place it before my father’s face. He will come to know. Then come back to me all together as a family.”

As the caravan set off to return, their father said, “I feel the presence of Jospeh, and I am not senile yet. They (his family) said, “By God, your old age is getting the best of you.” When the one bearing the good news reached him and cast the shirt before his face, he became certain, “Did I not say to you that I know from God what you do not know?” He (older son) said, “O our father, ask for forgiveness for our sins. We were truly misguided!” Jacob said, “I shall seek forgiveness from my Sustainer God, as He is the Forgiving, the Merciful!”

Verse 99-104

Soon they went to Joseph and he drew his parents close to him and said, “Enter Egypt in safety, as God wills.” Then he positioned his parents on his throne and they fell prostrate towards him. He (Joseph) said, “O my father, this is the significance of my dream from the past, that my Sustainer God made real. God had been kind to me when He took me out of the prison and brought me from the desert after the Devil sowed discord between me and my brothers. God is Subtle regarding what God wills, and God is the Knowing, the Wise!”

(Then he prayed), “My Sustainer God, you have gifted me something of sovereignty and taught me interpretations of visions. (You are) the Originator of the heavens and the earth. You are my Protector in this earth and in the Hereafter. Take me as one who submits to You and let me join those who are righteous.”

This is the narrative of unseen and unknown (from the past) that We (God) reveal to you. You were not there with them when they were devising plans and making resolutions regarding their affairs. Most of mankind do not believe, though you desire such a belief for them with earnest. You ask for no rewards from them for your work. This (revelation) is nothing but a reminder for all of mankind.

Verse 105-111

How many of (God’s) signs they encounter in the heavens and the earth, but they turn away from these! Most of them do no not believe in ALLAH except as polytheists. Do they feel secure from the overwhelming chastisement from God or the sudden coming for the hour (death or Day of Judgment) while they are unmindful? Say, “This is my approach. I call (you) to God with clarity of sight (and thought) and those who follow me. Glory is to God, the Almighty! I am not a polytheist.”

We (God) did not send before you any but men, to whom We sent revelations, from among the people of the towns. Do they not travel on earth (around them) and see how these people fared in the end? The outcome in the Hereafter is the best for these who acts responsibly. Do you then not understand?

When the messengers could convince no more and (the community) thought they were lied to, God’s help came and We saved whom We pleased. Our prescribed consequences cannot be averted by people who are guilty.

In their stories are lessons for people who possess intellect. This is not a narrative that is fabricated but a confirmation what was made known before and a clear elaboration of all things (related) – (such narratives) are a guide, and source of mercy for people who believe.

Chapter 13: Surah Ar-Ra’d (The Thunder)

Verse 1-4

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

Alif, Lam, Meem, Ra! These are the verses (signs) of the book, which is revealed to you with truth by your Sustainer, but most people choose not to believe. ALLAH is the One Who elevated the heavens without pillars that you can see and He established Himself in the Seat of His Majesty (arsh). God made the sun and the moon to follow His command – each runs a course to its appointed end. He regulates the affairs (of all) and makes clear the message so that you can be certain that you will meet your Sustainer God (at the end).

God is the One Who spread the earth, placed on it mountains firms and streams, and of every kind of fruits He placed therein two kinds (e.g., sweet and sour). He makes the night transition from the day. In all these, there are, indeed, real signs and symbols for people who wish to reflect.

On the earth, there are tracts side by side, vineyards, corn fields, palm trees with roots shared and distinct – all these are watered by the same water, yet We (God) make some of them excel others (e.g., size, taste, fragrance, nutrition, etc.). Again, there are signs and symbols in these for people who wish to understand.

Verse 5-13

If you do wonder, the really wonderous thing is when they ask, “When we are dust (in graves), shall we be raised as a new creation?” It is these people who deny their Sustainer, put shackles around their necks and become to party to the fire, where they will reside. They (even) ask you to hurry up the evils before the good, whereas consequences (for such conducts) have already been demonstrated before them. Indeed, your Sustainer is full of forgiveness for mankind, despite their own inequity and injustice. Be mindful, your Sustainer God is capable of compete requital. Those who disbelieve ask, “Why has not a sign come down from your Sustainer God?” You are but a warner and for every people, there is a guide.

God knows what every female bears and how what is in a womb grows or falls short of – for everything with ALLAH comes with precise measures. God is the Knower of what is hidden and what is visible, God is the Great, the Exalted! It makes no difference to God whether you speak openly or in secret or if you hide by the night or go forth by the day.

For him (Prophet or an individual) there are guardian (angels) to his front and to his back, protecting with God’s command. Truly, God does not change the condition of a people, until they change what is in themselves. When God intends to bring out evils (due to their own conducts), there is no way to avert it and besides God, they have no protector.

It is God Who shows you lightning, causing fear and hope and brings up heavy clouds. The thunder hymns God’s praise, and the angels too, in awe of God. God sends thunderbolts and smites whomever He wills. Yet they dispute regarding God, while He is Mighty in prowess.

Verse 14-18

To God true supplication is due. As to those they call on besides ALLAH answer them not. It is as if they stretch their hands towards water in the hope that it will reach their mouth, but it does not. The supplications of the disbelievers are nothing but going astray. To God prostrates all that is in the heavens and on the earth, either willingly or unwillingly, even their shadows, in the morning and evening.

Ask, “Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?” Reply, “Allah.” Ask, “Do you take guardians besides Him who controls neither benefits nor harms, even to themselves?” (Again) Ask, “Are the blind and the seer equal, or the light and the darkness? Or, is it that the associates, they set up with God, have created creations like God such that those creations (as they see it) seem similar to them?” Say, “God is the Creator of all things. God is the One, the Supreme!”

God sends down water from the clouds and causes waterways to flow according to their measures and the torrents carry a swelling froth; similar to how they melt in the fire to make ornaments and instruments and scum rises. This is how God compares truth and falsehood. The scum passes away as worthless whereas what benefits mankind, it remains in possession. This is how God sets forth parables (to gain insight).

Those who respond to their Sustainer God, they will have what is most beautiful and wholesome! As for those who do not respond to God, even if they possess all that the earth contains and another amount equal to that, they will offer up all for a ransom. But their reckoning will be evil, and their refuge will be Hellfire, an evil refuge indeed!

Verse 19-26

Can he, the one who knows (and acknowledges) what your Sustainer God revealed to you is the truth, be like the one who is blind? Only people who have understanding will be mindful, those who – (1) fulfil their pact with ALLAH and do not break the covenant, (2) keep intact what God has commanded to be joined (e.g., human relationship), (3) stand in awe of God and dread the torment of the eventual reckoning, (4) are patient in seeking alignment with God, (5) are constant in maintaining worship of God, (6) give in charity, openly or in secret, from God gave them, and (7) repel evil with good. These are the one who will have the reward of a (happy) residence – The Garden of Perpetuity in which they will enter with those who did good, from among their forefathers, spouses and children.

Angels will come upon them through every gate, wishing – Peace be to you because of your constancy and patience (in serving God and mankind) – How excellent is this final resting place!

But those who break the covenant with God after confirming it, destroy relationships that God had commanded to preserve, and makes mischiefs and corruptions on earth, for them is the curse (of all) and they will come to an evil resting place. God constrains or expands livelihood as He pleases but they rejoice in this world’s life. This world’s life, compared to the Hereafter, is a short-lived enjoyment!

Verse 27-31

Those who disbelieve say, “Why is not a sign (miracle) sent down to him by his God? Say, “ALLAH leaves in error whomever He please and He guides to Himself those who incline (to Him) – those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in mindfulness of God. Indeed, only in God’s remembrance the hearts find comfort. Those who believe and do good, it is they who will enjoy blessedness and a beautiful outcome.

(It is with such intent) We (God) had sent you to a nation, before which other nations had passed away, that you may convey to them what We have revealed to you. Still, they deny the Beneficent God (Ar-Rahman). Say (to them), “He is my Sustainer God. There is no god but God. It is in God that I put my trust and to God is my return.”

If there were a Qur’an with which mountains can be lifted, or the earth could be cleaved, or the dead could be made to speak - but all affairs find recourse in God! Do not those who believe realize that if God had willed, He would have guided all of mankind? Those who deny God, their evils will never cease to afflict them because of what they do, or land close to their dwellings, until the promise of God is manifest. Truly, God never fails in His promise!

Verse 32-37

Before you, messengers were also mocked at while I (God) gave them respite and then I seized them. How (devastating) then was My requital! What of ALLAH Who watches over every soul as to what it earns! Yet, they practice polytheism. Say, “Name them (if you know), or will you inform God of a thing that He does not know to exist on earth, or are these just your own conjectures?” Rather, their scheme (of falsehood) seems reasonable to those who deny God and they are kept back from guidance. Whoever God leaves in error, will not find guidance. Chastisements will visit them in this life but the chastisement of the life to come is even more intense. There shall be none to protect them against God.

A parable of a Garden that is promised for those who acts responsibly – therein rivers flow and (trees with) fruits abundant, and their (comforting) shade! Such is the eventual outcome of those who act responsibly whereas the deniers will find themselves in the Fire. Those who have been given revelations before, rejoice for the revelation that has come to you (now) but there are parties (among them and others) who deny a part of it. Say (to them), “I am commanded to serve God only and not to associate partners with Him. To God I invite and to God is my return.”

Thus We (God) had sent it (the Qur’an) down as a judgement in Arabic. If you were to follow other’s vain desires after knowledge has come to you, then you will find neither a protector nor a guardian against God.

Verse 38-43

Certainly We (God) sent messengers before and gave them wives and children. It is not within the power of a messenger to bring a sign (miracle) except with ALLAH’s permission. For every term, there is corresponding instruction. God effaces what God wills, and He establishes what He wills. With God is the sources of all knowledge (mother of the books)!

Whether We (God) allow you to see part of what consequences We bring to them or We take you back (unto Us), your responsibility is to deliver the message and Our job is to take accounts (of their actions). Do they not see how We are visiting the lands and curtailing the outlying areas (from them)? When God declares judgements, there is none to repel his judgements. God is swift in taking accounts.

People before them also planned but all planning is God’s. God knows what every soul yearns for. The deniers will come to know (soon) who will have ultimate success. Those who disbelieve, say, “You are not a messenger.” Reply, “God and those who have knowledge of the book are sufficient as witnesses between you and me.”

Chapter 14: Surah Ibrahim (Abraham)

Verse 1-8

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

Alif, Lam, Raa. A book that We (God) have revealed to you so that you can bring mankind out of darkess, by the grace of their Sustainer God, into the light – the way to ALLAH, The Almighty, the Praised One! God – Who possess all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Unfortunates are the disbelievers who will face severe chastisement, who love this world’s life more than the Hereafter and refuse to follow God’s path, making it crooked instead – they are too far into error.

We sent no messenger except with the language of his people so that he can make the message clear to them. Subsequently, God leaves in error whom He wills and guides whom He wills. God is the Mighty, the Wise!

We indeed sent Moses with our messages (and miracles), “Bring your people out of darkness into the light and remind them of the days of God. In this (narrative) are lessons for all who are patient and grateful. (Recall) when Moses said to his people, “Remember God’s favor to you when He saved you from the people of Pharaoh who subjected you to terrible oppression, killed your sons and spared your women. When your Sustainer God made it known, ‘if you are thankful, I will increase (My blessings) and if you act ungratefully, then My chastisement is indeed severe!’”

Moses (further said), “If you are (still) ungrateful – you and those who are on this earth, (know that) God is Self-Sufficient, Praised!”

Verse 9-14

Has the narrative reached you – of those who before you, of the people of Noah, Ad and Thamud, and those after them? None knows them but ALLAH. Their messengers came with reasoned arguments, but they thrust their hands over their mouth and said, “We deny your mission and we are in serious doubt about which you invite us.”

Their messengers responded, “Is there a doubt about God – the Originator of the heavens and the earth? He invites you to forgive your faults, and to give you time to correct yourselves till a time already appointed.” They said, “You are none, but a mortal like us. You wish to move us away from what our forefathers used to worship. Bring us a clear proof (if you will)!”

Their messengers said, “(Yes), we are nothing but mortals like yourselves, but God grants His blessings on His servants as He pleases. It is not up to us to bring a clear proof, but with God’s permission. Therefore, on God let the believers rely! And why should we not rely on God, when God had guides us in our path? We shall be patient in the face of your persecution. On God should the reliant rely!”

The disbelievers said to their messengers, “We will expel you from our land unless you revert back to our creed.” Then their Sustainer God revealed to them, “We shall destroy those who do wrong and establish you in the land after them. This (reward) is for such who stand in awe of My Presence and fear My Threat.”

Verse 15-22

They (disbelievers) sought victory (over believers) and every stubborn tyrant fails. Evil consequences (hell) wait for them, and they are given to drink filthy boiling water. They drink it a little by little but is not able to swallow. Death comes to them from every angle, but they will not die. Before them waits a dire chastisement.

The parable of the those who disbelieve in their Sustainer God is this – their works are like ashes on which wind blows on a stormy day. They have not power over anything they have earned. This is the straying too far!

Do you not see that ALLAH created the universe and the earth with truth? If God pleases, God will remove you and bring in a new creation which is not a matter outside His greatness.

They will come to God all together. The weak among them will plead with the ones who were arrogant (powerful), “We were you followers. So, can you avail us in any way you can against God’s chastisement?” They will reply, “Had God guided us, we would have guided you. Now it is the same whether we are anxious or patient, there is no escape for us.”

Satan (the Devil) will say, once the matter has been settled, “God surely promised you a promise of truth. I too made a promise to you but had failed you. I had no power over you when I called you (to evils) and you followed me. Therefore, do not blame me but blame yourselves. I cannot help you nor can you help me. I disavow your associating me as a partner (to God) before. For those who deny (and do evil), there is a severe torment!”

Verse 23-31

Those who believe and do good will enter the Garden in which flows the rivers -they will reside therein with the grace of their Sustainer. Their mutual greetings will be – Peace!

Do you not see how ALLAH sets forth a parable – a good word is like a good tree with deep roots and high branches, providing fruits every season with the grace of its Sustainer God? God sets forth such parable so that people can be mindful.

(On the other hand) the parable of an evil word is that of an harmful tree that has been pulled from the earth’s surface – such a tree has no permanence.

God assures those who believe with word of assurance in this life and the Hereafter and He leaves the corrupt in their errors. God does what God wills!

Do you not see those who replaces God’s blessings with ungratefulness and make others live in an abode of destruction – Hell, where they burn and find an evil place to settle in? They set up equals with God and lead people away from God’s path. Tell them, “Enjoy yourselves. Surely your journey ends in the fire. Tell My servants who believe to establish worship (of God), spend generously from what we have given them of provision – openly and in secret – until the arrival of the day when there would be neither bargaining nor befriending.

Verse 32-41

It is ALLAH Who created the heavens and the earth, pours down water from the clouds, brings forth fruits for sustenance for you and makes ships subservient to you as these run their courses in open seas by His command, and He has made the rivers subservient to you. He has made subservient to you the sun and the moon, with constant willfulness and the days and the nights are made subservient to you (as well). God gives you something from all that you ask of God. If you were to count God’s blessings, you could not number them all. Indeed, mankind is unjust and ungrateful!

(Recall) when Abraham said, “My Sustainer God, make this city secure and save me and my children from worshipping idols. Surely, many had been led astray by these (idols). Therefore, whoever follows me is of me and whoever disobeys me, then (I am reminded) that You are Forgiving, and Merciful! O our Sustainer God, I am leaving behind a part of my offspring in this valley that is devoid of cultivation (fruits) near Your Sacred House. May they maintain their worship (of You) and may the hearts of some people incline towards them and provide them with provisions so that they may be grateful.

Our Sustainer God, you know what we hide and what we say. Nothing is hidden from God either on this earth or in the heavens. Praise to be ALLAH Who has blessed me, in my old age, with Ishmael and Isaac. Indeed, my Sustainer God hears all supplications. O my Sustainer God, may you help me keep up my prayers and from my offspring too, and accept my prayer. O our Sustainer God, may you grant me protection, and my parents, and the believers too on the Day of Accountability.”

Verse 42-52

Do not think that ALLAH is unaware of the conducts of the unjust. God only gives them respite till the day when the eyes will stare, transfixed (in disbelief), running forward with heads raised high, their gaze never turning to them, and their hearts vacant!

(Continue to) warn people of the day when chastisement will finally come to them – the unjust deniers will then say, “O our Sustainer God, give us reprieve for a near term – we will certainly respond to Your call and follow the messengers.” (It will be said), “Did you not swear earlier that there will be no such ends for you? You settled yourselves into the likes of those who wronged themselves while it was made clear to you how We (God) dealt with such people and We showed you by examples.”

They planned their (mighty) plans – with which mountains could be moved, but all their plans are with God. Do not think that God will fail in His promise to His messengers. God is Mighty, the Lord of Retribution!

On the day when the earth will be changed for a different earth and so will be heavens and they will appear before God – the One, the Supreme! You will see the guilty bound together in fetters, their garments made of pitch and their faces covered with fire – so that God can compensate every soul what it had earned. God is swift in reckoning!

This is a (grand) proclamation for mankind – that they may be cautioned thereby, that they may know that He is the One God, and that people of intellect my pay attention!

Chapter 15: Surah Al-Hijr (The Rock)

Verse 1

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

Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses (signs) of the book – The self-evident Quran.

***Excerpt from Volume 5: Spiritual Quest – Removing the Middleman Series, by Rashed Hasan. To be published in 2024. Copyright by Author***

July 2024

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