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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 17

Chapter 21: Surah Al-Anbiya (The Prophets)

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

Verses 1 – 10

Humankind is ever approaching it’s reckoning, yet people turn away in negligence! Not a new revelation come to them from their Cherisher God but they listen to it playfully and with frivolous hearts. They, the evil and the unjust, counsel in secret and say, “He (Prophet) is a mortal just like yourselves – are you going to be spellbound by him, while you can see?”

He (Prophet) said to them, “My Sustainer knows of every word that is spoken in heavens and on earth! God is the Hearer, the Knower!” Some say, “It is just dreams”, while others say, “No, he made it up”, yet others say, “he is but a poet. Let him bring evidence like what others (prophets) were sent with.”

But not a town that We had brought to judgement before believed; so will these believe now? Before you We have never sent any other than a human being to receive revelations. Ask the followers of previous Reminders1 if you do not know. We had neither given them (these former prophets) bodies that did not need to be fed nor to exist (unlike another human being)! Finally, We fulfilled our promise to them – We saved them and those who met Our criteria while We destroyed those who showed no restraints! (6-9)

Now We have revealed another Book2 to you to remind you – will you not then use reasoning to understand?

Verses 11 – 20

How many towns have We condemned that were unjust – but We raised another generation after them. When they saw Our presence, they sought to escape – “Escape not but go back to your dwelling and ease of living (if you can) – you will be questioned!” They finally regrated and said, “Indeed we committed injustice”, but their despair would not cease until they were destroyed, made extinct!3

We did not create the heavens and the earth and what is in-between for playfulness; had We desired such a pastime, We could have done so with what was already with Us. We will never do so – We send the truth against falsehood and see how it destroys falsehood and makes it disappear. It is unfortunate how you describe (God and divine guidance)! To God belongs all that is in heavens and on earth and those who are with God are neither too arrogant to serve God, nor too weary. They glorify ALLAH day and night tirelessly.

Verses 21 – 29

Have they found gods from this earth that produce life? If there were gods on earth beside God, they both (earth and the heavens) would have been in disarray. Therefore, glorify ALLAH, the Master of All Power! God is pure from all that they describe! God cannot be questioned for what God does but they will be questioned!

Have they taken gods for worship besides God? Ask them, “Bring your proof! This is a reminder for those who are with me and a reminder for those went before me.”4 Most of them are ignorant of the truth and hence gone astray. We have never sent messengers before except that We revealed to them – there is no god but Me, therefore, serve Me!

They assert, “The God of Mercy has taken a son.” May God be glorified! No, these are honorable servants who speak not before God speaks and they act according to what they are commanded. God knows their past and their future and they cannot intercede for anyone except as God approves. They themselves are always in awe of God! If any of them should say, “I am god.”, for such We give the reward of Hell - this is how the reward for the unjust is determined.

Verses 30 – 37

Do those who are in denial not know that the heavens and the earth were undifferentiated5 until We separated them6. We made every living thing from water! When will they accept? We placed mountains firm on the earth lest it may shake beneath them. We have placed wide valleys as tracts to guide them. We have configured the sky as a protective shield; yet they turn a blind eye to the evidence. It is ALLAH Who created the night, the day, the sun, and the moon – each follows its course. We have never assigned perpetual existence to any mortal before your time. Therefore, if you were to die, will they live forever?

Every soul will succumb to death! We test each of you by way of evil and good – as trials and then to Us is your coming back!

The disbelievers when they see you, they treat you with mockery, “Is this the person who speak about your gods?” When the mention is made of the God of Mercy, they do nothing but deny. Humankind is ingrained with impatience. Soon I (God) will show you My evidence – so do not entreat Me to hasten them!

Verses 38 – 47

They ask, “When will this promise come to pass, if you (Prophet) speak the truth?” If these disbelievers only knew that once the promise comes to pass, they will not be able to ward off the fire from their faces and from their backs – nor help will be available at that time! Aye, it will come upon them suddenly, confounding them utterly and they will not be able to stop it or escape from it. Messenger before you (Prophet) were similarly made fun of until the very thing they made fun of came upon them, those who scoffed!

Say (Prophet), “Who can protect you day and night from the Beneficent God?” Yet they turn away at the mere mention of their God. Is is that they have gods who can defend them against Us? But these gods can’t even help themselves, let alone defending others from Us. See – We give livelihood to them and their parents and they feel assured of a long life. Do they not see that We visit the land, constraining it from all sides? How will they prevail? Tell them, “I only caution you through revelations. Are you deaf that you do not hear the warning?” However, even if a slight breath of God’s punishment were to land on them, they would say, “Shame on us! We truly were unjust.” We will set up a precise balance to judge on the Day of Resurrection so that no one is treated unjustly in the least. Even if your action weigh as little as a grain, We will note it. We are sufficient to take accounts!

Verses 48 – 61

We gave Moses and Aaron a scripture and laws for differentiation7, a light for guidance8 and a reminder9 for those who - act responsibly10, are mindful of their Sustainer God in their private moments and are keenly aware of the coming Hour!11 This is the blessed Reminder that We had revealed – will you then remain averse?12

Indeed long ago We gave Abraham, whom We knew well, the right guidance. He said to his father and his people, “What are these statues and images that you show your devotion to?” They replied, “We found our forefathers worshipping these.” He said, “You and your forefathers are clearly misguided!” They demanded, “Are you bringing the truth to us or just making fun of us?”

He said, “No, your Sustainer God is the God of the Universe and the Earth, Who created them. I am here to profess this to you. By ALLAH, I will plan against your gods after you depart.” Then he broke all the idols to pieces but kept the chief idol intact so that they might come back to it. (When they came back,) they said, “Who has done this to our gods? He is certainly a worst offender!” Some people replied, “We heard a youth, named Abraham, talk (against) our gods.” They said, “Let us bring him in front of the people who can bear witness.”

Verses 62 – 73

They asked, “O Abraham, have you done this to our gods?” Abraham said, “Surely someone had done it. Here is the chief god, ask him, if he can speak.” (This confounded them) as they turn to themselves and blamed each other, “You have done this to yourselves.” In their moment of shame13, they asked (Abraham), “You know that these do not speak.” He said,” Do you then serve not ALLAH but these gods which can do no good nor any harm? Shame on you and all those that you worship beside God. Have you lost your reasoning?”

(In desperation and anger) they said, “Burn him, if we are going to do anything and save our gods.” We (God) said, “O fire, be a source of coolness and peace for Abraham.” They plotted against him and We in turn made them the loser. We protected him and Lot (his nephew) and directed them to a land which We had blessed for all people.

We gave him (Abraham) Isaac and then Jacob as an additional gift – made them all good people. We made them leaders who guided by Our instruction, and We revealed to them the means of doing good, practicing worship, and giving in mandatory charity14 - they were our true servants!

Verses 74 – 82

We blessed Lot with wisdom and knowledge and saved him from the town where people practiced obscenities. Surely they did evils and transgressed! We brought him into Our mercy as he was a righteous person! Noah did plead with us in the long past. We did answer him and saved him and his followers from a great disaster. We aided him against people who denied Our messages. Surely these were evil people and as such We drowned them all.

(Remember) David and Solomon when they decided on a matter related to the pasture where a farmer’s sheep strayed into during the night. We witnessed their judgment and made Solomon to understand it (better). To each We gifted knowledge and wisdom. We made the mountains and the birds hymn Our Praises with David – it is We Who did thus. We taught him how to make body protections for you against the violence of others – will you be grateful then? For Solomon, We let the strong winds follow his command to lands that We had blessed – We are aware of all that happens! There were the evil jinns that dived for him and did other tasks as well and We guarded them (for him)!

Verses 83 – 93

(Remember of) Job when he cried to his Sustainer God, “I am afflicted with distress, but You are the God of Mercy and the Endower of Mercy!” We responded, removed his difficulties and multiplied his family and followers – as a show of mercy from Us and as a reminder for the believers. (v83-84)

(How about) Ishmael, Idris and Dhul-Kifl – they were patient. We brought them into Our Mercy – they were good people! Dhul-Nunn (the man with the whale) who left in anger, thinking that God will not confine him but called out once he found himself in distress of deep darkness, “There is no god but You! You are the most Glorious! I have done wrong by myself!” So We responded and delivered him from his distress. This is how We safeguard the believers.

(Listen to) Zacharias when he pleaded with his Sustainer God, “My Sustainer, do not let me be childless, though You are the best to inherit!” We responded and gave him John by making his wife fit for pregnancy. These people used to compete to do good and worshipped ALLAH – hoping and being weary, always humble before Us! (v 89-90)

(Think of) her (Mary) who maintained her chastity and We breathed into her Our Spirit, thereby making her and her son evidence for all people!

(Prophet) Such is your community (from all prophets) – a unified community! I am your Sustainer God – therefore, serve Me alone! Some of them have torn their collective affairs, but to Us is your eventual return!

Verses 94 – 103

Whoever do good and are also believers, their effort will not be in vain. We note such faith and conducts for them. It is not possible for a town that we had destroyed that they can come back until we let loose Gog and Magog as they descend from every hill top and the True Promise come to fruition, only then the eyes of the disbelievers will be fixated with a stare – “Shame to us! We were truly heedless! Aye, we did wrong ourselves!” You and those that you worshipped, besides ALLAH, will become the fuel of Hell. You are bound to come to this! If the gods were really true, they would not come to it but now, you are in it. There is the groaning, but you will be deaf of hearing!

As for those for whom salvation has already been prescribed from Us, they will remain far from it. They will not even hear a whisper of it and their abode will be as their soul desire. The great terror will not terrorize them, and the angel will mee them saying, “This is your day – a day promised!”

Verses 104 – 112

It is the Day when We will roll up the heavens like a writer rolls up its scroll. As We created the first creation, so will We begin the resurrection. It is a commitment binding us and We shall bring this about!

It is written by Us in the scripture as We had reminded – good people will inherit the earth! It is a message for those who wish to serve (God)! We have not sent you (Prophet) except as a mercy to humankind!

Say, “It has been revealed to me that your god is but One God! Will you not submit?” If they do not accept, say to them, “I have warned you with fairness to you all. It is not within my knowledge about the promise (of the Day of Judgment) – if it is near or far off. God knows what is spoken openly and what you confide in secret. I do not know if your current condition is a trial or a temporary enjoyment till the time comes.” He (Prophet) said, “My Sustainer God, You judge in truth. My God is the God of Mercy, Whose help I seek against what you ascribe!”

Chapter 22: The Pilgrimage (Surah Al-Hajj)

(78 verses - mix of Makkah and Madinah verses, but mostly Madinan verses)

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

Verses 1 - 7

O Mankind! Be mindful of your responsibility (ittaqu) to your Sustainer God! The shock of the Hour will be anything but a terrifying event! On that Day, nursing women will forget to nurse, pregnant women will miscarry, and men will wonder aimlessly as if drunk, though they are not! The chastisement of Allah will be severe! (v1-2)

There are those among people who contend about Allah, though having no knowledge and follow the Shaitan, the rebel! It is written regarding Shaitan that whoever befriend him, he will lead them astray and bring them to the chastisement of the Fire! (v3-4)

O People! If you are in doubt about resurrection, consider this – God created you from earthly dust, then from a living cell, then reproduces you from a lump (ovum), covers you with flesh and then either completes your form or leaves it incomplete, to make matters clear for you. Then God causes it, as He deems appropriate, to remain in the womb till a time determined, and then brings it out as babies so that it may mature in time. Some of you God causes to die (at different ages) while others are brought to old age so that they forget after having been endowed with knowledge. (Similarly) you see the earth barren and God sends down water. It then stirs, swells, and brings out beautiful and refreshing growth of all kinds! This is Allah – He is the Truth, Given of life to the dead, Possessor of power over all things! The Hour is ever approaching – let there be no doubt about it! Allah will certainly raise those who are in the graves! (v5-7)

Verses 8-15

There are people who dispute about Allah without knowledge, without guidance and without a book that enlightens. They turn away in arrogance to lead people away from the way of Allah. For them is disgrace in this life and on the Day of Resurrection they will face the consequences that burn. Such retribution is a result of what they have done. Allah is not the least bit unjust to the creation! (v8-10)

There are those who serves Allah with doubts in their faith – if something good comes to them, they are satisfied but if a trial falls on them, they revert to old ways. They lose this world and the Hereafter – a clear loss! They resort to others instead of Allah – entities that can neither harm nor benefit – that is truly straying far! They call on those whose harm is nearer than their benefit – an evil guardian and an evil company! But Allah will welcome those who believe and do good to the Gardens with streams flowing. Allah does what He wills! (v11-14)

If they think that Allah will not aid him (Prophet) in this life and in the Hereafter, let them climb a rope to heaven and disconnect and see if this will change the plan which enrages them.16 This is how We (God) reveal the messages, with clear arguments – Allah guides whom He intends! (v15)

Verses 16-25

Regarding the Muslims, the Jews, the Sabians, the Christians, the Magians, the Polytheists – Allah will judge among them on the Day of Resurrection; Allah is a witness to all things! Do they not see that all that is in the heavens and on earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, animals and many of the people show their submission to God?17 And there are many (among people) for whom chastisement is due. Whomever faces disgrace from Allah, can have no honor! Allah does what He wishes! (v16-18)

These are two adversaries18 who disputes about their Sustainer God. Whoever deny and disbelieve, for them are pieces of garments of fire (to wear) and boiling water, poured over their heads, that will melt their bellies and their skins and iron hooks to contain. Whenever they wish to get out of it – such grief – they are pushed back and (told), “Taste the chastisement of burning!” (v 19-22)

Allah will make those who believe and do good to enter the Gardens with flowing streams, have bracelets of gold and pearls, and garments made of silk – being guided to pure words and guided to the path of the One Praised! Whereas those who deny, prohibit people from Allah’s Way, prevent people from the Sacred Mosque which should be accessible to both residents and visitors, and incline to do evil in it unjustly will taste the grave consequences from Us (God)! (v23-25)

Verses 26 - 35

We showed Abraham the place for the Kabbah and instructed, “Associate none with Me and purify My House for those who will circumbulate, stand for worship, bow and prostrate in it.

Proclaim to people the practice of Pilgrimage – that they will come on foot, on camels worthy of long journey and come from every remote valleys – that they may acknowledge blessings given to them, remember Allah on days appointed, sacrifice livestock so that they can feed themselves and feed those who are needy and in distress! Let them cleanse themselves as instructed, fulfil their vows and circumbulate the Ancient House! This is how it is – whoever honors the sacred ordinance of Allah, it is better for them with their Sustainer. Cattle are made halal for you except what has already been mentioned and avoid the indignity of idol worship and false speech. Be upright (hanif) for the sake of Allah and associate none with Him. Whoever associate anyone with Allah, it is as if they fell from the sky and birds snatched them away or the wind carried them to a distant place. Again, whoever honor the ordinance of Allah, that is the hallmark of a heart responsible (taqwa)! (v26-32)

The livestock give you benefit till an appointed time and then their sacrifice is near the Ancient House! For every community (faith group) We (God) had assigned acts of devotion that they may mention Allah’s name on what He had given them of livestock. Your God is One God – submit to your God! Give good news to those who are humble – whose hearts quiver at the mention of Allah, who are patient in adversity, maintain their worship (salat) and share with others what God had given them. (v33-35)

Verses 36 - 41

The camels – these are evidence manifest to you from Allah. In them there are much good. Mention Allah’s name as they stand in row (for sacrifice) and when they fall to their sides, eat their flesh and feed those who are content and those who beg. We have made them submissive to you so that you may be grateful! It is not their flesh or blood that reaches Allah but it is the demonstration of your sense of responsibility (taqwa) that does reach Him. He had made them subservient so that you may magnify Allah for giving you guidance. Give good news to those who are good people (muhsen)! (v36-37)

Allah will certainly defend those who believe! Allah does not love those who are ungrateful, unfaithful! (v38)

Permission (to fight) is granted to those who are forced to defend themselves and they have been oppressed. Allah is certainly able to assist them – as they were driven of their land without any justification except that they said, “ Our Sustainer is Allah!” If Allah did not repel one group from another then monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques – where Allah’s name is much mentioned – would have been destroyed! Allah will help those who help His cause – Allah is Strong, Mighty – those who, if they are given sovereignty over a land, they establish worship (salat), given their wealth tax, establish what is good and forbids what is evil. To Allah all matters come for resolution! (v39-41)

Verses 42 - 51

If they reject you (Prophet), so did the people of Noah, A’d, Thamud, Abraham, Lots – they too rejected, including the people of Midian. Moses was rejected too! I (Allah) give respite to the deniers and then I seize them! What was the effect of what I did? Many towns that We destroyed – while they were ungrateful – lay with their roofs fallen down, watering holes abandoned and palaces high (but empty). If they had traveled on earth, then perhaps their hearts could understand and their ears could hear, but it is not the eyes that are blind but blind is the heart that is in the chest. (v42-46)

They ask you (Prophet) to speed up the chastisement but Allah will never fail in His promise. A day with your Sustainer is a thousand years by your measure! How many a town that were given opportunities to mend while it acted unjustly, but in the end I seized it! To Me is the eventual return! (v47-48)

Say (Prophet), “I am simply a warner to you. Therefore, whoever believe and do good, for them is forgiveness and a generous provision, while those who oppose and try to foil Our message, they are the inhabitants of the Abyss! (v49-51)

Verses 52 - 62

We (God) have never sent a messenger before you (Prophet) except that those (in opposition) desire – their desire is nothing but an instigation from the Shaitan, and Allah defeats the insinuation of the Devil and establishes His messages. Allah is Knowing, Wise! This how God makes what the Devil suggest a trial for those whose hearts are diseased and hardened. The unjust is indeed in serious opposition. Whereas it is a source of affirmation for those who have been gifted with knowledge so that they believe in the truth and their hearts softens with belief – Allah surely guides the believers to the Straight Path (siratal mustaqim). (v52-54)

The disbelievers will never cease to doubt this message until the Hour overwhelm them suddenly or their consequences catches up with them on a day devoid of any good (for them). The sole governance on that Day will rest with Allah Who will judge between them – whoever believe and do good will be in the Garden of bliss and whoever deny and reject Our messages will have humiliating consequences! (v55-57)

Those who flee in Allah’s way and are either killed or die, Allah will certainly offer a good provision; Allah is indeed the Best Provider! God will bring them to a place that they will be pleased with. Allah is Knowing, Forebearing! This is how it is. Whoever retaliate in the same proportion that they have been impacted and they have been oppressed, Allah will certainly help them. Allah is Pardoning, and Forgiving! This is how it is, just as Allah makes the night transform in the day and the days transform into the night. Allah is Hearing, and Seeing! Again, Allah is the Truth and those they invoke other than God are falsehood. Allah is the most Exalted, the Greatest! (v58-62)

Verses 63 - 72

Do you not see how Allah sends down water from the clouds and the earth becomes green (with vegetations). Allah is surely the Most Subtle, Fully Aware! All that is in the heavens and on the earth belong to Allah – the Self-Sufficient, the Praised! Do you not recognize how the all that is on earth benefits you and so are the ships that glides through the oceans with God’s command. He maintains the heavens from falling onto the earth, except by His permission. Allah is certainly compassionate to mankind and endow them with mercy from Him! He gives them life, then causes them to die and then He will resurrect them to life. Mankind surely is ungrateful! (v63-66)

To every community We (God) have prescribed acts of devotion which they should observe. Do not let them dispute with you regarding the matter at hand and rely on your Sustainer; you are on the right path! If they continue to contend with you, then say, “Allah knows what you do. Allah will decide between you on the Day of Resurrection regarding your disagreements. Do you not know that that Allah knows what is in the heavens and the earth? All are documented in a book – an act easy for Allah!” (v67-70)

They show devotion to others besides Allah for which they are given no authority nor any knowledge that they possess. The deniers and the unjust cannot be helped – you can see it on their faces when Our messages are clarified to them; they almost attack those who recite Our messages to them. Say (Prophet), “Shall I inform you what is worse than this – the Fire that Allah had promised to those who deny – what an evil ending!” (v71-72)

Verses 73-78

O People! Here is a parable and so listen to it: those that you invoke besides Allah cannot create a fly even if they were to combine forces together, and if a fly were to carry anything away from them, they cannot get it back. How feeble are those who invoke and those who are invoked! They cannot estimate Allah in His true measure. Allah is Strong, Mighty! Allah chooses messengers from among the angles and people. Allah indeed Hears and Sees! He knows what is their past and what is their future; all matters return to Allah! ((v73-76)

O Believers! Bow down, prostrate and devote yourself to your Sustainer and do good that you may achieve success! Strive hard for Allah, a striving that is worthy of Him! He has selected you and placed no hardship in your faith – the faith of your father Abraham! He named you Muslims in the past and in this (Qur’an) so that the messengers can bear witness to you, and you can bear witness to the people! Therefore, commit to your worship (salat) and pay your charity (zakat) and hold strongly onto Allah! He is your Protector – how Excellent of a Protector, how Excellent of a Helper! (v77-78)

***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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