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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 14

Chapter 15: Surah Al-Hijr (The Rock)

Verse 1-15

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

Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses (ayat) of the book – The self-evident Quran (mubin). Those who disbelieve, may at times wish that they had submitted (to be a Muslim). Leave them alone to their consumption and enjoyment, and let their false hope deceive them but soon they will come to know. Never did We (God) destroy a town (and its people) but according to terms already made known – no community can advance their term or delay it. They (even) say, “You are, to whom this revelation is sent, is indeed without a sound mind. Why don’t you bring an angel if you speak the truth?” (God’s reply), “We do not send angels except with truth (to execute commands) and when We do so, there will be no respite.”

Indeed, We have revealed this Reminder (zikran) and We are its Guardian. We had sent (messengers) to many communities before your time and never there was a messenger who came and was not made fun of. This is how we let it (disbelief) infiltrate into the hearts of the guilty – they develop no faith, even though the examples of their predecessors are in front of them. Even if We open up a gate to heaven and they climb to ascend, they would still say, “Our eyes have been deluded and we have been bewitched.”

Verse 16-31

Indeed, we established constellations (burujan) in the sky and beautified them for the viewers. We guard them from the Devil (shaitan) who is an outcast, except he who steals a hearing, and a burning meteorite pursues him.

The earth – We made it to spread out, placed therein firm mountains and caused every suitable thing to grow on it – thereby, providing on it means of livelihood for you and for others whom you do not provide for. None but We (God) have its treasurers and We do not send them down except with a known measure. We send the winds fertilizing and then send down water from the clouds to provide you with drinks while you are not the keepers of its storage.

Indeed, We give you life and cause your death and We are the proper heirs. We know, who among you, advance forward, and We know who lag behind. Surely, your Sustainer God will gather them all together. Truly, ALLAH is Wise, Knowing!

Indeed, We created humankind of dried clay, made out of molded mud, while the jinns, We created beforehand, out of intense fire. (Recall) when your Cherisher God said to the angels, “I am going to create a mortal out of dried clay, made out of molded mud. So once I have made him complete and breathed into him My Spirit (ruh), bow down before him and prostrate.” So the angels – all together – made prostration, except Iblis. He refused to be with those who prostrated.

Verse 32-50

ALLH asked, “What is the reason that you are not with those who made prostration?” Iblis replied, “I am not going to bow down to a mortal whom You had made out of dry clay, with molded mud.”

God said, “Then depart from here, as an outcast, driven away. There will be disgrace for you till the Day of Judgement (yawmid deen)!” He said, “My Lord, give me respite till the Day they are resurrected (yawmi yub’asun).” God said, “Surely, you are one of those who are given respites, till the Day of the known Hour (yawmi wakti ma’lum)!”

Iblis said, “My Lord, as You had judged me erring, I shall certainly make things seem fair to them on this earth and cause them to deviate, except those of your servants, who are pure.” God said, “This is the proper way with Me. Of My servants, you have no power over them, except those who deviate and follow you. Hell is the promised destination for them all – it has seven gates, each gate has an appointed portion of them.”

Those who are responsible (muttaquin) are in the gardens and fountains – “enter in peace and security” – We shall take out any rancor that lies in their hearts, as brothers and sisters, sitting on couches, facing one another. No weariness will afflict them there and they will not be removed from there. Inform my servants that I am the Forgiving, the Merciful, and My chastisements are severe!

Verse 51-84

Narrate to them about the guests of Abraham – when they came to visit him, they said, “Peace!” He replied, “We are afraid of you.” They said, “Don’t be afraid. We are here to give you the good news of a boy, possessing knowledge.” He said, “Do you give me the good news when old age had taken hold of me? What kind of good news is this?” They said, “We give you the good news with truth; so, don’t be among those who despair.” He replied, “Who loses hope in the mercy of his Sustainer God, except those who are misguided?”

He then asked, “What is your mission, O messengers!” They said, “We have been sent to a guilty people, except the family of Lot. We shall save them all, except his wife. We (God) has determined that she is to remain with those who lagged behind.”

When the messengers (angels) came to Lot, he said, “You are strangers.” They said, “No, we have come to you (to inform) about the issue they had disputed. We have come to you with the truth, and we are truthful. Travel with your followers during the night and you stay with them from behind and do not let anyone turn around but go to where you are commanded.” Thus, We informed him of this decree – that the very foundation of these people will be destroyed in the morning.

The people of the town converge to the house, rejoicing. Lot said to them, “These are my guests. So do not disgrace me (in their presence). Act responsibly regarding God and do not shame (yourselves)!” They replied, “Did we not forbid you from all people?” He replied, “Here are my daughters, if you seek (guarantees).” By your life, they were blindly wandering on in their drunkenness (of their evils). By sunrise, the tremor (saihat) overtook them – We turned it (their city) upside down and We rained on them stones of baked clay. In this there is a lesson for those who can discern, and it still stands by a roadway. For the believers, this is surely a sign (ayat)!

The inhabitants of the grove were also unjust. So We inflicted retributions on them (as well) and they too are on the side of an open highway. So did the rock-dwellers who rejected the messengers. We conveyed our messages to them but they used to turn away. They felt secured in their houses, hewed on the mountainside. So the tremor overtook them in the morning and their earnings could do nothing.

Verse 85-99

We (God) did not create the heavens, the earth and whatsoever is in between, except with truth. Indeed, the Hour (sa’at) is coming – therefore, bear with graceful forbearance. Surely, your Sustainer God – is the Creator, the Knower! Certainly, We had gifted you with the seven oft-repeated verses (Surah Fatiha) and the Grand Qur’an!

Do not take pain at what We had given to certain classes of them to enjoy and do not grieve for them (either), rather, make yourself gentle and considerate to the believers!

Say (Prophet), “I am indeed an explicit warner.” As We had revealed to those who took the oaths and those who divided the Qur’an into parts, all will be questioned by your Sustainer God as to what they did. Therefore, declare vigorously what you have commanded and turn away from the polytheists.

Surely, We are sufficient against those who mock you – they set up other idols with ALLAH; soon, they will come to know. We are fully aware that you heart pains at what they say.

Therefore, celebrate the praise of your Sustainer God. Be among those who submit to God and continue to serve your Sustainer God till certainty comes to you.

Chapter 16: Surah Al-Nahl (The Bee)

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

Verse 1-9

ALLAH’s command is coming; so, try not to hasten it. God is Glorious and Exulted above all that they ascribe as partners. God commands and sends down angels with revelations to whomsoever among the servants, as God pleases, instructing – “Give the warning that there is no god but Me; therefore, act responsibly to Me (attaqu).”

God created with truth the heavens and the earth. God is Exulted over anything they associate (with God)! God created human being from a tiny drop and see, how he becomes an eager contender!

The cattle – We created them for you; in them you find warmth (hide), other usages and flesh to eat. There you find beauty when you drive them home or take them out (to the pasture). They carry your heavy loads to regions that you could not reach by yourself, except with great hardship. This is how your Sustainer God is Compassionate and Merciful!

(He also made) horses, mules and asses that you may ride on them and made them your possession. God (also) creates what you have no knowledge of.

It rests on God to show the right path, while some others deviate. Had God willed, He would have guided you all together.

Verse 10-22

God is the One Who sends down water from the cloud; it gives you drink and helps grow vegetation from which you feed your cattle. God causes the crops to grow for you; and olives, date palms, grapevines, and all kinds of fruits – in all of these there are evidence for people who reflect. He has made the day and the night subservient to you, and so are the sun and the moon. The stars are made subservient by His command. In all of these there are evidence for people who understand. He has created for you on this earth a variety of colors – in this there are evidence for people who are mindful.

God is the One Who has made the sea subservient so that you may eat fresh flesh from it and bring forth ornament that you wear. You see the ships cleaving through it so that you may seek God’s bounty and you may be thankful. God had casted firm mountains in the earth, lest it shakes beneath you and in it are rivers and pathways that you may be guided by. And there are landmarks and stars that you may find the right directions.

Is He then Who creates the same as one who does not? How is it you do not pay attention? If you were to count ALLAH’s blessings, you could not catalog them all. Surely, God is Forgiving, Merciful. God knows what you hide and what you disclose. Those that you call besides God created nothing and they themselves are created – these are dead, not living and they know not when they will be resurrected.

Your God is One God. Therefore, those who deny the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to acknowledge, and they are arrogant.

Verse 23-35

ALLAH knows, without any doubt, what people hide and what they manifest. Indeed, God does not love those who are arrogant. When they are asked, “What is it that your Sustainer God has revealed?”, they reply, “Old fables.” (Such denials) will lead them to face the full consequences on the day of Resurrection and carry the burden of those whom they lead to error without knowledge. Ah! What an evil they will bear.

Before these, other plotted (and denied) and God demolished their dwellings from their foundation such that the roofs fell on them, and their chastisement caught up with them from sources they could not perceive. Then on the day of Resurrection, God will bring them to their disgrace and ask, “Where are My partners, for whose sake you were defiant?”, while those who possessed knowledge will say, “Surely, disgrace and evil on this day is only upon those who denied (and did evils).”

(These people) whom angels will cause to die while they were ungrateful, will now offer submission and claim, “We did no evil.” Nay, surely God knows what they did. Therefore, enter the gates of hell to reside in - an evil place to reside in for those who were arrogant.

(Whereas) those who are mindful, and act responsibly (attaqu) are asked, “What has your Sustainer God revealed?”, they reply, “Goodness.” Good indeed is for those who do good in this world, and (their) residence in the Hereafter will be better. Excellent indeed is the residence of those who are mindful and act responsibly (muttaquin) – Gardens of perpetuity, they will enter – full of springs and provisions as they please! This is how God rewards those who acts responsibly – the angels cause them to die in a state of purity, offering, “Peace be to you! Enter the garden (as a reward) for what you did.”

(Those who are unmindful and do evil) wait for nothing but angels to come (to cause their death) or God’s command to take place. This is how those before them also behaved and God did no injustice to them but they themselves were unjust! (This is how) their evils came back to afflict them and the consequences they mocked at came to engulf them.

The polytheists say, “If God had willed, we would not have served anyone other than God – neither us nor our forefathers – nor would we have assigned divinity to anyone (other than God).” This is how those before them also behaved. Yet, the messengers (of God) have no more responsibility than to simply convey (the message).

Verse 36-40

Indeed, in every community We (God) raised messengers, saying, “Serve ALLAH and shun evils.” Then among them were those whom God guided and of them were those who deserved to be in error. Therefore, travel on earth and see how the deniers fared at the end! You may desire that they be guided, but God will not guide those choose to go astray, and they shall have no helpers.

They swear with their firm convictions, “God will not resurrect those who die.” Nay, it is a promise binding on God with truth while most of mankind claim otherwise. (Such eventuality) is necessary so that God may bring clarity to them about which they differed and those who denied may know they were liars. Our word for a thing (such as resurrection), when We (God) intend it, is only to say to it, “Be” and it becomes (kun fayakun).

Verse 41-50

Those who emigrate for ALLAH’s sake after they have been oppressed – those who are steadfast and rely on their Sustainer God – We will settle them in a good place on this earth and the reward in the Hereafter is even better, if they but knew.

We have never sent before you anyone but humans to whom We sent revelations; ask then the followers of (previous) Reminders if you do not know – clear arguments and scriptures. (Now) We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may clarify for mankind what has been revealed and perhaps, they may reflect.

Are they, who plan evil, feel secure that (1) God will not abase them in this earth, or (2) chastisement will come upon them from whence they perceive not, or (3) God will not seize them during their going about in their daily routine that they will not be able to escape, or (4) God will not afflict them with gradual diminishing? God is ever Compassionate, Merciful!

Do they not consider all that God had created? Their very shadows cast to the right and to the left in submission to God while being in utter humility. To God bows down whatever is in the heavens and the earth, among it creatures, and the angels too – none of them are proud. They are mindful of their Sustainer God and do whatsoever they are commanded.

Verse 51-60

ALLAH has said, “Do not take two gods. He is the only one God for certain – so stand in awe of Me!” Unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth and permanent obedience is due to God only. Will you then be duty bound (tattaqun) to anyone other than God?

Whatever blessings you have is from God. If an affliction were to touch you, you cry to God for aid. When God removes such afflictions, some of you attribute partners to God (instead) as a denial to what We have given them. “Enjoy yourselves; soon you will come to know.” They also set apart, from what We have given them, a portion (to deities) without knowledge. By God, they will be questioned about what they made up – they even ascribe daughters to God but for themselves whatever they desire. God is above such falsification!

When the news of a daughter is announced to one of them, he feels ashamed and full of anger. He hides himself from people because of the evil of what he has been informed – shall I keep it alive with shame or bury it in the sand? Now, this is real evil as to how they judge! Those who deny the Hereafter have evil attributes whereas God’s are the sublime attributes. God is the Mighty, the Wise!

Verse 61-69

If ALLAH were to take mankind into account for their injustice and inequity, He would have left not a single creature, but He gives them reprieve until an appointed time. When that appointed time comes, they are unable to delay it for an hour or advance it. They assign to God what they themselves dislike and their tongues utter lies that they have goodness. Fire is their destiny without any doubt, and they are forsaken.

By God, We certainly sent (messengers) to communities before you but the Shaitan made their (evil) conducts seem good to them. So the Devil continues to be their patron till this day whereas theirs will be painful chastisement. We have not revealed the Book (The Qur’an) except that you may make clear to them regarding matters they differ and also for the believers to be a source of guidance and mercy.

God sends down water from the sky and thereby gives back life to the earth after its death – surely in this there are signs for people who wish to listen! There is also lessons for you in the cattle – We give you drinks (milk) from their bellies, between refuse and blood, a pure milk palatable to the drinkers. You also secure from the fruits of date palms and grapes strong drinks and wholesome provisions – a sign for people who wish to understand!

Your Sustainer God revealed to the bees – make hives in the mountains, in the trees and in what people build, and then eat from all the fruits and forage submissively in the ways of your Sustainer God. From their bellies comes a beverage of many different colors (and flavors) and in it is healing for mankind. Truly, in this is a sign for people who wish to reflect!

Verse 70-77

ALLAH creates you and He takes you back (unto Him). Among you are those who are brought to the weakest part of life (old age), when they know nothing after having knowledge. Indeed, God is Knowing, Powerful!

God has favored some of you above others in provision and wealth; yet, those who have been favored do not share their provisions with others whom they control, (fearing that) they might become their equal in this regard. Will they then deny God’s favor?

God has made mates for you from among yourselves, gifted you with sons and daughters from your mates, and given you good provisions. Will you then believe in falsehood and deny the favor of God? They worship besides God others that own no provisions for them in the heavens or on the earth and these are incapable of anything. Therefore, do not set up parallels to God. God knows and you do not know.

God sets forth a parable – there is a servant enslaved, who has no power over anything, and one whom We have given good provisions that he can spend freely – are these two alike? Praise be to God! Nay, most of them are ignorant. God sets another parable – two men, one of whom is dumb, has no power over anything and is a burden to his master such that whenever he sends him, he brings no good. Is he equal to one who establishes justice and is on the right guidance?

God’s is the unseen of the heavens and the earth, and the matter of the Hour is but a blinking of an eye or perhaps sooner still. Indeed, God is powerful over all things.

Verse 78-85

God brings you forth from your mother’s womb, knowing nothing and then God gives you hearing, sight and a heart that you may give thanks.

Do you not see the birds, suspended in midair? None holds them except God. Surely, in this are signs for those who believe.

God has given a place to rest in your houses and He has made such dwellings with the skins of cattle, which you find light to carry during your travel and the day when you pitch camp. From their wool, fur, and hair you make furnishings and seek enjoyment for a while.

God has made for you, out of what God had created, shades for shelter and places of refuge in the mountains and has given you garments to protect you from heat and coats of armor to save you from your fighting – this is how God completes His blessings on you so that you, perhaps will humbles yourselves. But if they turn away, then your responsibility is only to deliver the message clearly. They recognize the blessings of God, and then they deny it, and many of them are ungrateful.

On the day when We will bring forth a witness from every community, those who denied and were ungrateful will not be permitted (to offer excuses) or make amends. When the oppressors will see the chastisements, it will neither be lightened for them nor given respite from it.

Verse 86-90

When the polytheists will see the partners they used to associate (with God), they will say, “Our Sustainer God, these are the partners we used call upon besides You.” But those (partners) will retort back, “You are but liars.” They will offer submission to God that day and what they used to fabricate will fail them.

Those who denied and turned away from the guidance of God, We will add chastisement to their chastisement, because they caused corruption and mischief.

On the day We will bring witnesses from every community, from amongst themselves and against themselves and then invite you as a witness against these. We have revealed the Book as an explanation of all things and to serve as a guidance, a source of mercy and a source of good news for the believers.

Indeed, God commands justice (adl), virtue (ehsan) and giving to neighbors (qurbah) and He forbids indecency (fahshay’i), evils (munkar), and rebelliousness (bug’yee). God admonishes you, that you may become mindful.

Verse 91-100

Fulfil the covenant of ALLAH once you have made such a covenant and do not break your oath after solemnly making such an oath, with God as a witness. God knows what you do. Do not be like her who unravels her yarn, breaking into pieces after having spun it compact, by taking your oath (and treaties) as a form of deceit so that one nation can be stronger and wealthier than another nation. God only tries by such conducts. He will certainly make it clear to you on the day of Resurrection about your differences.

Had God willed, He would have made you all into a single nation, but God leaves in error whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases. You will certainly be questioned about what you did.

Do not make your oaths as a practice of deceit among yourselves, lest a foot slips after its firm placement and you suffer evils because you inhibit people from God way (by breaking oaths) and grievous chastisement becomes your (destiny). Do not bargain away the compact of God for a small price. Indeed, what is with God is better for you if you but knew. What is with you is transient but what is with God is enduring.

We (God) shall certainly give to those who are patient their rewards for the best of their conducts. Whoever does good – be a male or a female – and is a believer, We will grant a good life. We shall give them their rewards for the best of what they did.

When you recite the Qur’an, seek refuge in God against the outcast devil who has no power over those who believe and who rely on their Sustainer God. Devil’s power is only over those who befriend him and become polytheists regarding him.

Verse 101-109

When We (God) change a message for a message – and God knows best what God reveals – they say, “You are a fabricator.” But most of them are ignorant.

Say to them, “The Holy Spirit has revealed it from your Sustainer God with truth so that it can empower those who believe and serve as a guidance and a glad tiding for those who submit (become muslim).”

We (God) are aware that they say, “It is a mortal who teaches him.” But the speech of whom they refer to is foreign whereas this (the Qur’an) is clear, Arabic tongue. Those who do not believe in God’s message, God does not guide them, and they will face serious consequences since only those who do not believe in God are capable of fabricating, and they indeed are liars.

It is these who disbelieve in God after their achieving faith – excluding those who are coerced, while their hearts were content with faith – those who welcome disbelief are the recipient of God’s displeasure and theirs is a grievous chastisement. This is for their preference for the life of this world over the Hereafter and because God does not guide the disbelievers. These are the people whose hearts, eyes and wars have been sealed off and they have become incapable of mindfulness. Undoubtedly, they will be the losers in the Hereafter.

Verse 110-119

Those who turn to their Sustainer God, after being persecuted and they continue to struggle hard and exercise patience, your Sustainer God is Protecting, Merciful – (specially) on a day when every soul will come pleading for itself and every soul will be recompensed in full for what it had done and they will not be dealt unjustly.

ALLAH sets forth a parable – a town, safe and at peace, its sources of abundant sustenance coming from all quarters, yet they denied the blessings of God. So God let them taste the touch of hunger and fear for what they themselves have brought to bear. There came to them a messenger from their community, but they rejected him – so the due consequences descended on them while they were in a state of wrongful conducts.

Therefore, partake of the good and pure things that God had blessed you with and give thanks for God’s blessing, if you truly serve Him. God has only forbidden for you what dies of itself, blood, the flesh of pig and anything over which, any name other than God’s have been invoked, but making exception to those who are driven (out of dire necessity) and not due to desire or willful negligence of the boundaries set forth, for them God is Forgiving, Merciful.

Do not let your tongue utter a lie – “this is lawful, and this is unlawful” – so that you establish lies in the name of God. Indeed, those who forge lies in the name of God will not succeed. It is a transient enjoyment but will result in a grievous consequence. As for the Jews, We forbade things that has already been narrated to you – We did no injustice, they were unjust to themselves. God is Forgiving and Merciful to those who do evil in ignorance and then repent and make amends afterwards.

Verse 120-128

Indeed, Abraham was a role model (for humanity) – subservient to God, upright, devoid of polytheism, and grateful for His blessings – God chose him and guided him to the right path. We (God) showered with goodness on this earth and in the Hereafter, he is surely among those who are righteous. Now We reveal to you, “Follow the creed of Abraham, the upright one and he was not, for sure, a polytheist.

Sabbath was only prescribed for those who expressed differing views about it. Your Sustainer God will judge between them, on the day of Resurrection, concerning their differences.

Invite to the ways of your Sustainer God with wisdom, pure persuasion and sound reasoning. Your Sustainer God surely knows best the one who strays from His path, and He knows best the one who goes aright. If you were to retaliate, then only do so in the manner you were afflicted but if you show empathy, then it is best for the patient. Be patient and your patience is only by the grace of God. So do not grieve for their conducts, nor be distressed by their plot, since God aids those who act responsibly and do good.

***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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