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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 16

Chapter 18: Surah Al-Kahf (The Cave) - Continued…

Verses 78 - 82

He said, “This calls for our separation from each other, but I will explain the significance of things for which you could not control your patience. Regarding the boat, it belongs to poor people who made their living from the sea and my desire to damage it was to prevent it from being taken away by a king who was seizing every (serviceable) boat by force just ahead of us. Regarding the boy, his parents are good believing people and we feared that he might cause them much suffering by his evils and disbelief and wished that their Sustainer God gives in exchange another who is better in conduct and has more empathy. With respect to the wall in the city, it belonged to two orphans and underneath the wall was treasured buried for them. Their father was a good man and your Sustainer God wished that they attain maturity and then benefit from this treasure, as a show of mercy from your Sustainer God. I did not do (these) on my own accord. There are the explanations that you did not have patience to wait for.

Verses 83 - 97

They ask you about Dhul-Qarnayn. Say, “I will give you an account of him – ‘truly We established him on the earth and granted him means of access to all things. He followed a set course (for conquest) and came upon a land where the sun was setting down into a black sea2 and there were people residing in the area. We said, ‘Dhul-Qarnayn, either punish them or offer them a benefit (as you see fit).’ He replied, ’We will only chastise those who are corrupt and unjust so that they can be send back to their Sustainer God who will punish them more severely while those who are believers and do good, we will offer them good reward and go easy with our commands.’ He then continued his journey and came upon a land where the sun was rising but the people residing there had no protection from the scorching sun.” This is how it was, and We had full knowledge of him!

Then he continued his travel until he came between two mountains outside of which were a people whose language was hard to understand. They said, “O Dhul Qarnayn, Gog and Magog are causing anarchy in the land. Would you please build a barrier between them and us, if we are to pay you a tribute?” He said, “What God has already given me is better but if you help me with physical labor, I will build a barrier fortified between you and them. Bring blocks of iron and fill the space between the two mountains. Work your bellows until these become hot and then pour molten brass over them.” Such a fortification they could not climb over or make holes in it.

Verses 98 - 106

He said, “This is a show of mercy from my Sustainer God. But when the promised time comes, God will destroy it and the promise of my God is always carried out.” On that day, We shall let them surge against one another like waves, blow the trumpet and gather them altogether. We shall, on that day, bring the hell to full view for the disbelievers – their eyes were covered to see My signs and they could not bring themselves to listen!

Do the disbelievers think that they can take My servants as their masters instead of Me? Indeed We have prepared the hell to welcome the disbelievers. Say (Prophet), “Shall we announce to you who will fail in their deeds? It is those whose efforts in this life are misguided, though they think they are being good and productive with their pursuits. They deny the messages from their God and coming back to God – their deeds bear no fruit and on the day of resurrection We will assign them no importance. Such is their reward – hell for their disbelief and for making fun of My messages and My messengers!

Verses 107 - 110

Those who believe and do good, theirs is the welcome of the Garden of Paradise – they will reside therein and will desire never to be removed. Say, “If the ocean were to become ink to express the words of God, the ocean will be exhausted before the words of God are completed, even if you were to add another ocean.” Say, “I am a mortal just like you and it has been conveyed to me that your God is One God. If you hope to meet your God, then do good and serve none other than God!”

Chapter 19: Mary (Surah Al-Maryam)

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

Verses 1- 15

Khaaf-Ha-Ya-A’in-Saad!

Now mention the mercy that your God bestowed on His servant, Zacharias, when he called upon his Cherisher God in private. He pleaded, “God, my bones have weakened, and my hair has turned gray, and I have never been unrewarded of my supplication to you! I am concerned about my family and kinsmen after I am gone, and my wife is barren. Grant me from Yourself an heir who will inherit me and the family of Jacob and make him pleasing to You!”

“Zacharias, We give you the good news of a boy, whose name will be John (Yahya) - We have not named anyone before him as such.”

Zacharias said, “My Sustainer God, how can I have a son while my wife is barren, and I am old and frail.” God replied, “This is how it is. It is easy for Me and (remember) I created you before when you were nothing!”

He said, “My Cherisher God, give me a sign.” God said, “You are unable to speak to people for three nights, though you are in sound health.” He then went forth to his people, signaled to them to praise God mornings and evenings.

“O John, take hold of the scripture firmly.” We (God) granted him wisdom from his childhood and tender heartedness from Us while being full of purity, and mindfulness. He was kind to his parents and was neither arrogant nor rebellious. (Declare) peace on him the day he was born, the day he died, and the day he will be raised to life!

Verses 16 - 34

Let’s narrate Mary in this scripture – she withdrew herself from her family to a place east and secluded herself from them. We (God) then sent Our spirit (angel) who appeared before her as a handsome man. She exclaimed, “I seek refuge in the Beneficent God (Ar-Rahman) from you; will you guard against evil?” He (angel) replied, “I am indeed a messenger from your Cherisher God. I am here to give you the news of a boy, pure!” She replied, “How can I have a son when no man has touched me, and I have not been unchaste.” He replied, “This is how it is. Your sustainer God says, ‘It is easy for Me.’, that We may make him a sign for men and a source of mercy from Us. It is a matter already ordained.”

She then conceived him and withdrew to a faraway place. The pain of childbirth drove her to cling to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “I wish I had died and long forgotten before this!” A voice came to her from beneath, “Do not grieve! Your Sustainer has provided a stream beneath you. Shake the tree towards you and it will drop fresh ripe dates for you. Eat, drink and be content. If you see anyone, say, “I have vowed to fast for the sake of the Beneficent God. So I will not speak to anyone today.” Once she arrived to her people, carrying her son, they said, “O Mary, you have indeed done a terrible thing! You are a sister of Aaron, your father was not wicked, and your mother was not unchaste.” But she pointed to the son and they said, “How can we speak to a child in his cradle?” Jesus replied, “I am a servant of ALLAH. He has given me the scripture and made me a prophet. He has blessed me wherever I may be. He has prescribed for me to worship, to help the poor as long as I live and to be kind to my mother. He has made me neither rebellious, nor without grace! Peace be on me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I will be raised to life!”

Such was Jesus, the son of Mary – a true narrative that they dispute about!

Verses 35 - 40

It does not befit ALLAH that He should take a child to Himself – God is full of glory! Whenever God wishes to decree a thing, He says, “Be” and it becomes. Surely God is your Sustainer and my Sustainer, so let’s serve him alone. This is the straight path! Yet, parties among them differed. What consequences await those who deny, on a grave day when it arrives! That day they will hear and see things clearly as they come back to Us; yet now they are far off the true path. Warn them of this day of regrets when matters will be decided; yet they are negligent, and they deny.

Surely, We (God) inherit the earth and those on it – to Us they all return!

Verses 41 - 50

Let’s narrate Abraham in this scripture – he was a man of truth, a prophet. He pleaded with his father thus, “Father, why do you worship such things that do not hear or see and can’t do any good. Father, certain knowledge has come to me that has not been given to you. Follow me and I will guide you to a path without blemish. O Father, do not serve the Devil – he disobeys the Beneficent God. Father, I am afraid that displeasure of the Beneficent God descends on you, and you are branded with the devil.”

His Father replied, “Do you hate our gods, Abraham? If you do not stop, I will drive you away. Go away from me for a long time.” Abraham replied, “Peace! I will supplicate to God for your forgiveness! God is ever kind to me! I will remove myself from you and all that you worship besides God. I call upon my Cherisher God and I fervently hope that my calling of my God is worthy of His blessings!

So he left them and moved away from all that they worshipped besides God. We gave him Isaac and Jacob and each We made a prophet. We blessed them with Our mercy and gave them eminence and a noble reputation!

Verses 51 - 58

Let’s mention Moses in this scripture. He was sincere in his devotion, a messenger, and a prophet.4 ALLAH called on him from the right side of the mountain and We made him drew near to Us for direct communication. We gave a companion prophet, Aaron, his brother out of Our Mercy.

Let’s mention Ishmael in this scripture. He was a man of truth, keeping promises made, a messenger, and a prophet. He instructed his people to devote to God, to goodness and to help the poor. He was one of those with whom God was pleased!

Let’s mention Idris in this scripture. He was a man of truth, a prophet. We elevated him to a higher state.

These are they whom God had blessed – from among the prophets, among the children of Adam (and Eve), among those whom We carried with Noah (in his Ark), among the children of Abraham and Israel, and of those whom We guided and selected. When the messages of the Beneficent God are read out to them, they would prostrate and weep in awe and devotion!

Verses 59 - 65

But after them came an evil generation who misused their worships, followed their greed and lust and as a result met their consequences, except those who repented, reestablished faith and did good. It is these who will enter the Garden and they will not be touched with any injustice! A Garden of Perpetuity, a promise from Beneficent God to His servants, yet unseen (in this life), but God’s promises always come to fruition.

In it they will hear no vain discourse, but greetings of Peace! They will have their provisions given, each morning and evening! Such is this garden that those of our servants, who acts responsibly, will inherit by Us!

(Gabriel said) “We do not descend except with the permission and command of ALLAH, to Whom all belongs – what is behind you, what is in front of you and what is in between. Your Cherisher God is never forgetful! God of heavens and earth and what is in between. Serve Him and be patient in His Service! Do you know of anyone who can be His Equal?

Verses 66 - 74

Some people say, “Once I am dead, shall I be brought back to life?” Do they not remember that God created them before, when they were nothing worthy? By your God (Prophet), We will gather them altogether along with the Devil and then bring on the brink of hell, on their knees!

Then We will draw out from various groups those who were the worst in denial and disobedience against the God of Mercy. We know for sure those who are most deserving of getting in the blaze in front of them. Everyone will come to face this – none can escape, as this is ordained by God. But God will deliver those who acted responsibly and avoided evils, while the wicked will be left behind on their knees.

When Our messages are read out and explained to them, those who are in denials ask those who are believers, “Of our two parties, which party do you believe is in better positions? Which party has better following?” (Do they not know that) We have brought to account generations before them who had better possessions and better outward appearances!

Verses 75 - 87

Say, “For those who are in errors and denials, God of Mercy will prolong their days until they come face to face with what they have been cautioned before – either the consequence (in this life) or the Hour (of death and resurrection)! – then they will realize who is in worse position and weaker in following!” But ALLAH amplifies guidance for those who seek and follow guidance and their deeds, the good deeds, are more worthy of rewards from God and yield better returns.

Have you seen him who denies Our messages and asserts, “I am certain to be given wealth and children.”? Does he have knowledge of the future or is there a covenant between him and the God of Mercy? No way! We record his assertions and will prolong his chastisement. We preserve all he says, and he will come back to Us alone! These people take on gods besides God, assuming these will be a source of strength for them. No way! These will soon deny such worshipping and turn against them!

Do you not see (Prophet) that we send evil ones to incite the deniers? So do not be impatient regarding them; We do a countdown against their life span. On the day (of judgement) We will gather the responsible ones as an honored delegate, while We will drive the deniers as a horde of thirsty beasts. These have no power to intercede, except those who made a solemn covenant with the God of Mercy!

Verses 88 - 98

They assert, “The God of Mercy has taken on a son7 for Himself.” What a terrible assertion! It almost renders the heaven to be torn down, the earth to split itself and the mountain to crumble to pieces – that they ascribe a son to the God of Mercy! It is unworthy of God of Mercy to take on a son since there is nothing in the heavens and on earth that does not come to the God of Mercy as a creation and as a servant! He tracks them all and takes accounts of them precisely. Every one of them will come back to ALLAH on the day of Resurrection, all alone!

Those who believe and do good deeds, for them the God of Mercy will let love to blossom!

Therefore, We have made it easy for you (Prophet) in your own language and speech that you give good news to those who acts responsibly, while warning those who are contentious and stubborn.

How many a generation have We removed before them – can you see any of them or hear even a whisper?

Chapter 20: Ta Ha (Surah At-TaHa)

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

Verses 1 - 16

Ta Ha!

We (God) are not revealing this Qur’an to cause you stress, rather as a Reminder for those who are in awe of ALLAH! A revelation from the One who created the earth and the high heavens – God of Mercy, established on the Throne! To Whom belongs all that is in the heavens, on earth, in-between these and what is beneath the soil. God knows whatever you may say aloud, keep quiet in secret and even your inner consciousness! This is God – there is no deity worthy of worship except God, Who has beautiful names!

Has the story of Moses come to you (Prophet) yet? When he saw a fire (at a distance), he said to his family, “Stay here, I see a fire. Perhaps I can bring a flaming brand back to you or find guidance by the fire.” When he approached the fire, a voice called out, “O Moses! I am your Sustainer God! Take off

your shoes and enter the sacred valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you, so pay attention to what is being revealed. Indeed, I am God, there is no deity but Me and keep your devotion to Me being mindful. The Hour is coming, which I keep a secret so that every soul may be rewarded for what it strives for. So do not let anyone who disbelieves and follows their vain desires, distracts you from it, lest you are harmed (by such negligence).”

Verses 17 - 37

“And what is in your right hand, Moses?”

He said, “It is my stick. I lean on it, bring down leaves for my sheep and I have other usage.”

ALLAH said, “Moses, throw down your stick.”

As soon as he did, it became a serpent alive and gliding away fast!

God said, “Grab it and don’t be afraid. We will return it as was before. Now hide your arm by your side and it will come out white, without any harm; this is another sign as We are about to show you signs of much greater importance. Now, go to Pharaoh, who has become a tyrant.”

Moses said, “My Sustainer God, increase my capacity for me, make my tasks manageable for me, and strengthen my speech so that they can comprehend my message. Also, give me a helper from my family – my brother Aaron – to add strength to me, share tasks with me, and together glorify You often. Indeed, You are a watcher over us both!”

God said, “Moses, your prayer is granted. (Remember) We also granted you favor another time in the past.”

Verses 38 - 55

We (God) revealed to your mother, as an inspiration – put him (Moses) in a container and then float it in the river. Let the river bring it to a shore, where an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his will shelter him. I showered My love on you thus that you may be brought up under My watch.

Your sister went and said (to Pharaoh’s household), “Shall I direct you to someone who can nurse this boy?” This is how We brought you back to your mother so that she can be comforted and not grieve!

Later you did kill a man and We did save you from distress. We tried you with many trials and you did reside in Midian for a long time. Now you come here as ordained, O Moses!

I have chosen you for Myself! Now, go – you and your brother – with My signs and don’t fail in keeping Me in your remembrance! Go – both of you – to Pharaoh as he has become a tyrant. But speak to him gently – perhaps he will pay attention or show respect!

They (Moses and Aaron) said, “Our Sustainer God, we are afraid. He (Pharaoh) might do us harm or transgress further.” God replied, “Fear not. I am with you. I do hear, and I do see! Go to him and say, ‘We are two messengers from your God. Let the Children of Israel go with us and do not torment them. We have brought a message to you from your God and we wish peace to him who follows the guidance. It has also been revealed to us also that whoever rejects and turns away will face the consequences.’”

Pharaoh said, “Moses, who is the God of you two?

Moses said, “Our God is the One Who gives everything its creation and then guides.”

Pharaoh said, “What is the state of the former generations?”

Moses said, “Such knowledge is with my God and is in a written document. My God neither errs nor forgets. God made the earth expansive for you and laid out pathways on it, sends down water from clouds.” This is how We (God) bring forth all kinds of vegetations in pairs that you can eat and let your cattle pasture. In all of these, there are evidence for people of intelligence.

From the earth We created you, into it We shall return you and from it We shall raise you for the second time!

Verses 56 - 69

Indeed, We showed Pharaoh Our signs, all of them, but he denied and refused. Pharaoh said, “Moses, have you come to us to drive us out of our homes by your magic? We too can bring you such magic. Let’s convene in a central place, an appointment that neither you nor we will break.” Moses said, “Yes, let’s our appointment be the day of festivity. Let people gather in the early afternoon.”

Then Pharaoh left, made this plan, and then came back. Moses said to them, “Are you trying to fabricate a lie against God? Such fabrications have consequences, and every fabricator fails in the end.” So they (Pharoah and his advisors) debated among themselves what to do and kept their discourse secret, while Pharoah told them, “These two magicians are here to drive you out from this land by their magic and destroy our way of life. Therefore, firm up our plan, rally together and we will prosper if we prevail on this day.”

They said, “Moses, will you cast first, or shall we?”

Moses said, “You cast your spell first”.

Instantly their cords and rods appeared alive and moving, causing fear in the mind of Moses.

God said, “Fear not! You will surely prevail! Cast what is in your right hand and it will consume all that they had devised. What they have produced is nothing, but tricks of a sorcerer and such enchantment never succeeds no matter where they come from.”

Verses 70 - 79

All the sorcerers fell to their knees and said, “We believe in the God of Moses and Aaron.” (Pharaoh) said, “Do you believe in him before I give you permission? For sure, he is your chief and taught you sorcery. I will cut off your hands and feet from opposite sides and crucify you on the trunks of palm trees. Thus, you will know which of us can inflict a more severe and lasting punishment.” They said, “We cannot give you preference over what became manifest to us as a sign and God Who created us in the first place. Therefore, decide as you will decide—your decision is only about this life whereas we believe that our Sustainer God will forgive our faults and the magic that you had compelled us to perform. God is the Best and Ever Living!

Whoever comes as guilty to his Sustainer God, he is surely bound for Hell where he will neither die nor live, but those who come to God as believers and have done good, for them is the higher rank—Paradise of perpetuity, river flowing and comfortable living—such is the reward for those who keeps themselves pure!

We certainly inspired Moses to travel by night with My servants and made for them a dry path across the sea, without fear of being overtaken or being afraid. Pharaoh pursued them with his armies but were overwhelmed as the sea covered over them. Pharaoh misled his people, and he had no guidance (to follow)!

Verses 80 - 88

O Children of Israel, We (God) delivered you from your enemy and made a covenant with you by the right side of the mountain and sent you manna and quails. Eat of these good things that We have given you as provision and not act in arrogance because of such blessings, lest God’s displeasure touches you. Anyone God is displeased with, is indeed ruined!

I (God) am forgiving to those who amend their ways, truly believe, do good deeds and stay the course!

(God asked) “Moses, what made you come back (to Me) from your people in such hurry?”

He said, “My people are following my teachings. So I rushed back to you, my Sustainer God, so that You may be pleased.”

God said, “We have tested your people in your absence, and Samiri has led them off your teachings.”

Moses then returned to his people, being angry and grieving. He addressed them, “Did not your God made a promise that was full of goodness? Were you impatient regarding the timing of this promise or you wished God’s displeasure to come down on you? Is that why you broke your promise to me?”

They replied, “We did not break our promise with you on our own. We were burdened with people’s jewelry and following Samiri’s suggestion we melted them in a pit and so did he. Then he made a golden calf out of it, and it emitted a lowing sound, to which they said, “This is your god and the god of Moses, who went in search for it.”

Verses 89 - 98

How could they not see that it made no reply to them and could do no harm or bring no benefit to them? Even Aaron cautioned them, “My People, you are being tested by this. Your true god is the God of Mercy. Follow me and obey my command.” They said, “We will not refrain from our devotion to this until we hear from Moses.”

(Moses) said, “Aaron, what stopped you, when you saw them doing deviant things, that you did not come after me? How could you disobey my order?”

Aaron said, “Son of my mother (Moses), do not pull me by my beard or my head. I was afraid that you would say, ‘I caused division among the Children of Israel and did not follow what you said to me.’”

(Moses turned to and) said, “Samiri, what possessed you?”

He said, “I could perceive what others could not. So, I took a handful from the footprints of the messenger and then threw it. I was thus tempted by my soul.”

Moses said, “Go away from us. It is your shame in this life that you say, “Touch me not.”, and a consequence that will not fail you. This your god that you are devoted to, we shall grind it and scatter it in the sea. (People), your true deity is none but ALLAH – there is no god but He, Who truly comprehends all things in His knowledge.”

Verses 99 - 112

This is how We (God) relate to you what has gone before, and We have given you a true Reminder from Ourselves! Whoever turns away from this will face its consequences on the day of Resurrection – abiding in an evil of a burden - to carry to the day of Resurrection!

The day when the trumpet is sounded, and We (God) will gather the sinful, being blinded8! They will whisper to one another – we only stayed (on earth) about 10 days. We know best what they will say but the more perceptive of them will say, “Your stay was only but a day!”

They ask you about the mountains. Say, “God will scatter them (on that day) as dust, rendering them as flat plains, you will see no valleys or hills.

On that day, they will follow the summoner, a voice clear and without escape. Other voices before the God of Mercy will be low – you could hardly hear except a soft murmur. On that day, no intercession will work except whom the God of Mercy allows and whose words God is pleased with. God knows what is ahead of them and what was behind them, while their knowledge can hardly comprehend any. People will be humbled before the Living and the Eternal God while those who cause and carry out injustice will be undone! Whoever do good works, and are believers, they will have no fear of injustice, nor be deprived of what is due!

Verses 113 - 120

This is why We sent the Qur’an in Arabic and clearly stated cautions and warnings that they may act responsibly, guarding against evils, and be reminded.

ALLAH is truly Exalted, the Sovereign, the Truth! Do not make haste in reciting the Qur’an until its revelation is complete, and say, “God, may you increase my knowledge.”

God gave command to Adam before, but he failed to remember. We did not find in him resoluteness.9 (Remember) when God said the angels, “Bow down to Adam.” They all did but not Iblis (Satan) – he refused! We10 said, “Adam, this is an enemy to you and to your wife. Do not let him drive you out of this garden (paradise) that you face difficulty. Here you will not suffer hunger or nakedness or thirst or the heat of the sun.” But the devil whispered to him, saying, “Adam, shall I lead you to the tree of immortality and a kingdom that never ceases?”

Verses 121 - 128

They both ate from it and became aware of the evils of their nakedness that they started gathering leaves from the garden to cover themselves. Thus, Adam disobeyed God and was disappointed by his mistake. Later God brought him near, forgave him and guided him.

ALLAH said, “Go forth from here – all of you – as enemies of one another, but guidance will come forth from Me. Whoever will follow My Guidance will not err or face difficulty. But whoever turns away from My Reminder will face difficulty and We will raise him as blind on the day of Resurrection.”

He will say, “God, why did you raise me as blind, while I used to see?” God will say, “This is how it is – you neglected our messages when it came to you, and today you are also being neglected.” This is how We take retribution from those who obey no boundaries and deny the messages. The chastisement of the hereafter is even more severe and even more lasting!

Does it occur to them that many a generation, whose dwelling places they now walk on, have been destroyed before them? Indeed, people with understanding should take lessons from these!

Verses 129 - 132

Were it not for a Word from your Sustainer that had already gone forth before, the inevitable would have already occurred. But a term has been fixed. So, be patient regarding what they say, and glorify the praise your God – before the rising of the sun and it’s setting, during the hours of the night, and during parts of the day – that you may find contentment.

Do no prolong you gaze and longing for what We have given some of them to enjoy – the finery and splendor of the worldly life. We try them with these, while the provision that is with your God is better and more enduring!

Bid your family and your community to establish worship and maintain constancy in it yourself. We do not ask of any provision from you, instead We provide, and the good outcomes belong to those who act responsibly.

Verses 133 - 135

They say, “Why has he not brought a sign from his God?” Have not such signs been already delivered in the previous scriptures? If We had brought them to accountability before this Qur’an, they would have said, “God, why did you not send to us a messenger that we could have followed your guidance, before facing disgrace and shame?” Say, “We all are waiting; you too then wait. Soon you will come to know who walks the true path and who is truly guided.”

***Excerpt from on-going translation of the Qur’an – Removing the Middleman Series, by Rashed Hasan. Copyright by Author***

July 2024

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