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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 18

Chapter 23

Believers (Surah Al-Mu’minun)

(118 verses in total, perhaps the last Surah revealed in Makkah)

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

Verses 1- 17

The believers have attained success!

Humble and mindful – in their devotion to God

Avoid lies and frivolity

Act with purity

Guard their chastity

Except with their spouses and those in possession

Where they are not to be blamed

Keep their trust and covenants

Do not fail in their ritual worships (salat)

These are the true inheritors

Of Ferdous (Paradise)

To reside in it! (v1-11)

We have created humankind (1) from an extract of clay (original creation – living cells), (2) then We reproduce it as a human-cell (zygote -sexual reproduction) secured in place (womb), (3) then We transform it to a lump that coalesce together (growing embryo), (4) then We differentiate the lump into specialized tissue, (5) then We create bones and (6) then shape and clothe the bones with flesh. Then We cause it to become a distinct creation. Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators!

Then you will die and will be raised on the Day of Resurrection! We have created seven pathways above you. We are never unmindful of creation! (v12-17)

Verses 18 - 29

We send down water from cloud in due measure and store them on earth, but We are fully capable of taking the water away from you. With the water We cause gardens of palm and grapes to grow for you where you find fruits in abundance to eat. There is a tree that grows on Mt. Sinai that produces oil and seasoning for you to enjoy. There are benefits in cattle for you – We make a drink for you from their bellies, you have many other benefits, including meat from them that you eat and are carried on their backs and on ships as well! (v18-22)

We sent Noah to his people, and he said, “O my people, serve God, besides Him there in no other deity. Why don’t you act responsibly and be mindful of God? The leaders among the disbelievers in his community said, “He is nobody but a simple person from among yourselves – he wishes to gain power over you. If God had wished, He would have sent an angel. We have never heard of what he says among our forefathers. He is just a mad man and let’s tolerate him for some time.” Noah said, “My Sustainer God, help me for they call me a liar!” We revealed to Noah: Prepare the Ark under our observation and guidance and when Our command comes and water starts to gush forth from the valley, load up pairs of every kind and your people, except those against whom Our decree has already been pronounced. Do not plead with Me regarding those who are corrupt – they will be drowned. Once you are firmly settled on the Ark and those with you, say, “Praise be God, Who delivered us from corrupt people. My Sustainer God, give us a blessed landing! You are the Best of those who brings people to safe landing! (V23-29)

Verses 30 - 44

Indeed, in these there are lessons for people. We [God] sure try people (to ascertain). After these, We raised another generation and send a messenger from among them who said, “Serve God. You have no other deity besides God. Will you be mindful?” But the leaders among the people who were given plenty to enjoy in this life but denied and called the meeting in Afterlife a lie, said, “He is just a mortal like yourself, eating and drinking just like you do. If you follow a mortal like him, you will be a loser. Does he assert that once you are dead and become bones and dust that you will be resurrected? Such assertions are far-fetched. There is nothing but this life of this world; we live, we die and we will not be raised again. He is nothing but a man who is fabricating lies regarding God. We are not going to believe him.” (v30-38)

He (the Messenger) said, “My Sustainer God! Help me because they are calling me a liar!” (God) replied, “In a short while they will be regretful.” Soon the blast overtook them as deserved, and they were swept away as scum – ah, away with unjust people! After them We raised another generation, but none can hasten their demise or postpone it. We sent messengers one after another. But whenever a messenger came to them, they labelled them as liars. So made them follow generations after generations and reduced them into stories – ah, away with disbelieving people! (v39-44)

Verses 45 - 62

Then we sent Moses (Musa) and his brother Aaron (Harun) with our messages and a clear authority to Pharaoh and his chiefs who behaved with pride; they were arrogant people. They said, “Shall we believe these two who are mortals like ourselves while their own people are in servitude to us?” This is how people of Pharaoh denied them and became of those who were destroyed, while We gave Moses the scripture with the hope that they will find the right path. (v45-49)

We made Jesus, son of Mary and his mother a sign and We gave them refuge on the hillside filled with meadows and springs.12 (v50)

O Messengers! Eat of the good things and do good. I am fully aware of what you do. Your communities are but one community and I am your Cherisher God! Be mindful of Me and act responsibly! But they divided their affairs according to scriptures they had with them and took pride in it. So (Prophet), leave them alone in their ignorance (sectarian divide) for a while. Do they think that their wealth and their family that We provide them with advance them to goodness? No, they fail to perceive. It is those who live in awe of their Sustainer God, those who believe in the messages from their Cherisher God, who do not assign partners to God and who give what they are blessed with while their hearts are inclined to God on account for their journeying back to God – it is they who are advancing towards good things and are at the forefront of achieving their objectives. (v51-61)

We (God) do not lay a burden on a soul except to its ability and We have a book with Us that affirms the truth so that they are not treated unjustly! (v62)

Verses 63 - 77

No, their hearts are filled with ignorance about this (message) and they have other (evil) deeds besides what they do (that you see) until We seize them with due punishment, those who lead easy life among them, and then they cry out for relief. But do not cry for relief on this day since no help will be rendered from Us, because My Message was offered to you time and again, but you used to turn away with pride and mock it at night. (v62-67)

Do they not ponder on these Words? Do they have information that was not given to their previous generations? Do they not recognize their Messenger that pushes them to denial? They say, “There is madness in him.” No, he has brough them the truth but majority of them dislike the truth. If the truth were to follow their whimsical desires, then the heavens and the earth and everything in between will become unlivable. Indeed, We have brought them their Reminder but most of them turn away from such reminders. You do not seek from them any compensation. Compensation from your Sustainer God is the best and He is the best of all providers. You indeed call them to the Straight Path! (v68-73)

Surely those who deny the Afterlife are off the right path. Even if We (God) show them mercy and remove their distress, they would still persist in their denial, blindly wandering about. But We have already bound them with their evil consequences, but they did not submit to God nor showed humility. If We now open the flood gate of punishment, they will plunge into total despair! (v74-77)

Verses 78 - 92

It is God Who gave you ears, eyes, and a heart – yet you give very little thanks! It is God Who multiplied you on this earth and to God you will all be gathered back. It is God Who gave you life and will cause your death. It is God’s to alternate the day and the night. Do you not understand? (v78-80)

But they speak like the way their former generations used to speak. They say, “When we die and become reduced to dust and bones, are we going to be resurrected? We are being told as such and so were our previous generations. These are nothing but fables from the past!” Ask them, “Who owns this earth, and all is inhabitants, if you really know?” They reply, “It is Allah!” Then ask them, “How come you do not pay attention?” Ask, “Who is the Sustainer of the seven heavens and the Owner of the Mighty Throne?”, they will say, “It is Allah!” Ask them then, “When will you become mindful of your responsibilities?” Ask again, “Who possesses the kingdom of the heavens and the earth? Who protects (all) but is not protected against, if you really knew?”, they will again say, “It is Allah!” Ask them then, “How are you then deluded?” No, We have brought them the truth but they are in denial! (v78-90)

Allah has not taken to Himself a son, nor is there any god with Him – in that event, each of these gods would have taken away what each has created and try to overpower one another. God is pure from any such assertions! God is the Knower of what is unseen and what is seen! He is above any such partners! (v91-92)

Verses 93 - 110

Say, “My Cherisher God, would you show me what they are warned about? My Sustainer God, keep me away from unjust people.” Sure, We (God) are fully capable of showing you what We had warned them about.

Repel evil with good! We (God) know what they assert! Say, “My Protector God, I seek refuge in You from the evils of the Devil. My Sustainer God, I seek refuge in You, lest they influence me!” (v93-98)

When death approaches one of these deniers, he says, “My God, send me back so that I can do good that I did not do.” No way – what they say is nothing but wishful thinking. A barrier is placed before them, only to be removed at the time of resurrection when the trumpet will be blown. Then no ties of relationships will remain among them, and they will not even ask of one another! (v99-101)

Whose good deeds weigh heavy on the balance, they will have success, whereas those whose good deeds are light they have destroyed their souls, finding themselves in Hell to reside. The fire will scorch their faces, as they grimace in pain. (They will be asked,) “Were not My messages conveyed to you? But you used to reject them.” They will say, “Our Sustainer God, our misguidance confounded us and we lost our way. Do take us out of this and if we do not correct ourselves, then we will truly be in the wrong.” God will say, “Get lost in it and do not speak to Me. Remember, there was a group among My servants who used to say, ‘Our Sustainer God, we believe! Do forgive us and have mercy on us – You are the best of those who show mercy!’ But you used to make fun of them such that you became unmindful of Me. You even laughed at them.” (v102-110)

Verses 111 - 118

Now, I have rewarded them on this day because of their patience and constancy and they are the high achievers. God will ask, “How many years did you live on earth?” They will reply, “We lived only for a day or part of a day. Perhaps those who keep account could tell.” God will say, “You did stay but for a little time. You did not think much of it. You thought that We created you for no purpose and you will not come back to Us!” (v111-115)

Let Allah be exalted – the true Owner! There is no god but God – the Sustainer of the Throne of Grace! Whoever invokes a deity other than God and brings no proof for such assertion, his reckoning is with his Sustainer God. The disbelievers will never succeed! (v116-117)

Say,” My Sustainer God, forgive (us) and show (us) mercy – You are the most Merciful of all!” (v118)

Chapter 24

The Light (Surah An-Nur)

(64 verses in total; early to middle Madinah (earlier – last year of Makkah))

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

Verses 1 - 14

This is a Sura (Chapter) that We have revealed and made obligatory – therein We have provided clear messages that you may pay attention. The adulterer and the adulteress – flog them each one hundred times. Even compassion for them should not get in the way of your serving the laws of God, if you truly believe in God and in the Afterlife. Let a party among the believers witness such a punishment. (v1-2)

Such an adulterer cannot have sexual relationship except with an adulteress or an idol worshiper. Similarly, such an adulteress cannot have sexual relationship except with an adulterer or an idol worshipper. Such a behavior is forbidden for a believer! (v3)

Those who accuse chaste women and fail to bring four witnesses, flog them eighty times and never consider them trustworthy – they are truly transgressors, unless they genuinely repent afterwards and make amends – for these God is Forgiving, Merciful! (v4-5)

Those who accuse their wives and have no witnesses other than themselves, let them testify before God four times that they speak the truth and the fifth time, invoke God’s rejection if they are lying. She will avoid the chastisement if she testifies before God four times that her husband is the liar and the fifth time, invoke God’s rejection, if he is speaking the truth. It is truly a sign of God’s grace and God’s mercy on you that God is Forgiving, Wise! (v6-10)

Surely those who made up this lie14 were a party from among you and considered it good instead of an evil. Every man of them will have his share of the sin while the one who took the leading part will have severe torment. How is it that the faithful men and faithful women, when they heard this news, did not think well of their own kind and said, “This is a clear falsehood!” Why were there not four witnesses for it? Since they could not bring four witnesses, they were truly liars in the sight of God. A grievous chastisement would have touched you for the type of talks you indulged in, except that God’s grace is on you and God’s mercy prevails in this world and in the life to come! (v11-14)

Verses 15 - 20

When you took up this lie on your tongue and spoke with your mouth, something you had no true knowledge of, you considered it a trivial matter, while in the sight of God it was serious.

When you heard it, why did you not say, “It is not appropriate for us to talk of it. By God this is a monstrous accusation!” God warns you not to do this type of accusation ever again, if you truly claim to be faithful. God makes clear to you the messages and God is knowing, God is Wise! (v15-18)

Those who love to spread scandals about the believers will suffer serious torments in this life and in the life to come – God knows while you do not! It is only a reflection of God’s grace on you and God’s mercy – God is Compassionate, God is Merciful! (v19-20)

Verses 21 - 26

O Believers! Do not follow the footsteps of the Shaitan. Whoever follows the footsteps of the Devil should know that he only incites indecency and evil. Were it not for God’s grace on you and His mercy, none of you would have attained purity. It is God Who purifies as God wills – God hears, and God knows! Those among you who possess wealth and grace should never swear against giving to the poor, the relatives and those persecuted for following God’s guidance15. Forgive and overlook – do you want that God to forgive you? God is Forgiving, Merciful! Those who accuse chaste and unwary believing woman are cursed in this world and in the Hereafter and a serious punishment awaits them on a Day when their hands and their feet will give witness against them for what they did. God will compensate them fully on that Day and make them realize that God is the Evident Truth! (21-25)

Corrupt women are for corrupt men and corrupt men are for corrupt women while good women are for good men and good men are for good women – the good ones are innocent of what is being said against them; they will have forgiveness and an honorable life! (26)

Verses 27 - 31

O Believers! Do not enter a house other than your own, until you have asked for permission and conveyed your greeting of peace (salam) to the household. This is a better way if you are mindful. If you find no one there, do not enter until permission is given and if you are told, “Go back”, then go back and maintain your purity. God knows what you do. But if the house is uninhabited and you have your necessities in there, then you are not blamed if you enter. God knows what you do in public and in secret! (27-29)

Say (Prophet) to the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their chastity – this is closer to purity. God is fully aware of what they do! And say to the believing women to lower their gaze, protect their chastity and not to display their charm (jinatahunnah) except what is ordinarily visible, to draw their headcover (bi-khumurihinna) over their bosoms, and not to display their charm except to their (1) husband, (2) their father, (3) their husbands’ father, (4) their sons, (5) their husbands’ sons, (6) their brothers, (7) their brothers’ sons, (8) their sisters’ sons, (9) their women, (10) servants, (11) male attendants who lack desires (for women) and (12) children yet unaware of women’s nakedness. Let them not stamp their feet to reveal hidden charms.

O believers! Seek God’s forgiveness, all together (male and female) – that you can achieve success! (v30-31)

Verses 32 - 34

Marry off those who are single and those who are capable among your male and female slaves. If you are poor, God will enrich you out of His grace. God is infinite in His resources and is fully aware! Let those who can’t afford a mate, remain chaste and God will enrich them. Those of your slaves who desire freedom, give them in writing if you feel they are capable and gift them from the wealth that God had blessed you with. Do not force your slave girls to prostitution, if they wish to remain chaste, in order to gain fleeting pleasure of this world. If they are forced, then God is Forgiving and Merciful (to them)! (v32-33)

We have indeed sent you clear messages and a narration of those who have gone before you – to caution and to admonish those who wish to act responsibly and be righteous. (v34)

Verses 33 - 40

God is the light of the heavens and the earth – the likeness of his light is like the lamp in a niche, the lamp being surrounded by glass sparkling like a shining bright star, lit from a blessed olive tree – neither from the East or the West, the oil giving out light without fire ever touching it – light within light! God guides to His light whomever God pleases! God sets up such parables for people – God knows all things! Light shining out from houses of worship where God is honored and His names remembered day and night as the devoted people glorify God, not distracted by merchandise or profit and keep up the devotional worship (salat), giving of charity (zakat) and are fearful of a Day when the hearts and eyes will roil over. God wishes to give them rewards for what they do and give more out of His grace. God make provisions beyond measure for whom God is please with! (v35-38)

But for the disbelievers, their life and acts are like a mirage in a desert where the thirsty may run for water but when he comes to it, he finds nothing, but God instead Who pays him his dues – God is ever swift in retribution! (Or his condition) is like darkness in deep sea where a wave covers him, with layers of waves and cloud – darkness beyond darkness – he holds out his hand but can hardly see it. Whoever God deprives of light, will find no light! (v39-40)

Verses 41 - 50

Do you not see that all those who are in the heavens and the earth glorify God, even birds with wings spread out? Each knows its mode of prayer (salat) and glorifications (tasbiha)! God knows what you do. The kingdom of the heavens and the earth belongs to God and to God is the eventual return! (v41-42)

Do you not see that it is God Who drives the clouds, gathers them together and piles them up on top of one another so that you see rain pouring down from among them? God sends from heavens and from mountains hailstorms that afflict whom God pleases and leave untouched whom God pleases – the flash from such lightning almost blinds you! God causes the night and the day to alternate, giving lessons for those who wish to see! God created animals from its fluid16 such that some of them crawls on their bellies, others walk on their two feet, while others walk on four feet – God creates as He pleases! God has power over all things! (v43-45)

We have indeed revealed messages that are clear. God guides whom God please to the Straight Path. They confirm, “We believe in God, the Messenger and we obey,” yet a party of them turn away after such affirmation and they prove to be unbelievers. When they are summoned to God and to His Messenger so that judgment can be render, a party of them refuse. If they truly seek the truth, they would have come willingly. Do they have sickness in their hearts? Are they in doubt? Do they fear that God and His Messenger will deal with them unjustly? But it is they who are unjust. (v46-50)

Verses 51 - 57

The response of the faithful when they are invited to God and to His Messenger so that he may judge between them is that they say, “We hear, and we obey” – such are the successful ones! Whoever obeys God and His Messenger, is mindful of God and acts responsibility towards God – these are the true achievers! (Whereas the hypocrites,) they swear with their strongest oath that if you command them, they will certainly go forth (for battle). Tell them, “No swearing is necessary, just follow with sincerity!” God knows exactly what you do and how you act. Say (Prophet), “Obey God and obey His Messenger,” but if you refuse, then know that he is responsible for the duty imposed on him and you are responsible for the duty imposed on you, but if you obey, then you are on the right guidance. The duty of the Messenger is to simply deliver the message. (v 51-54)

God’s promise to those who believe and do good is that God will make them successors on this earth as God did for those before them, secure for them their faith that God has chosen for them and give them security after fear. They should serve Me and associate none with Me. Whoever shows ungratefulness after this, they are the true transgressors! Keep up devotional prayers (salat), offer help to the others (zakat) and obey the Messenger such that true mercy can be bestowed on you! Do not think that the disbelievers and the ungrateful will prevent (God’s plan)17 for the earth – their residence is in the Fire, and it is an evil resort! (v55-57)

Verses 58 - 61

O Believers! Those who serve you in the household and those who have not attained puberty should ask your permission on three occasions – (1) before morning prayer, (2) during noon heat when you set aside your attire, and (3) after the Isha prayer when you retire – these are times of privacy for you. Outside of that there is no blame as you go around attending to each other’s needs. This is how God makes things clear for you. God is Knowing, Wise! For children who have attained puberty, they should seek permission as those before them sought such permissions. This is how God makes things clear for you. God is Knowing, Wise! As for women who are elderly and have no desire for marriage18, it is no blame if they were to take off their outer layers without flaunting their bodily charms or ornaments but if they keep themselves covered, it is better for them. God is Hearing, Knowing! (v58-60)

There is no blame on the blind, the lame, the sick or yourselves that you eat in your own houses, or houses of your fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, paternal uncles and aunts, maternal uncles and aunts, or houses whose keys are in your possession or the houses of your friends. 19There is also no blame if you eat together or alone. But when you enter houses, always greet its inhabitants with a godly salutation of blessing, purity, and sincerity! This is how God makes things clear so that you can comprehend! (v61)

Verses 62 - 64

True believers – those who believe in God and His Messenger – never go away without asking permission to leave of the Prophet when called to discuss important matters. The true believers in God and His Messenger ask permission of you (Prophet) to attend their private matters – you may give them permission as you see fit and invoke God’s forgiveness for them. God is Forgiving, Merciful! Do not consider a call from the Prophet like your mutual calling amongst yourselves. God Knows who leaves such meeting surreptitiously without seeking permission and whoever goes against his orders, perhaps should be aware that a trial or affliction may inflict them. (v62-63)

Know that all that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to God and God knows your condition. The Day when you return to God, God will inform you all that you did. God is in the know over all things! (v64)

Chapter 25: Surah Al-Furqan (The Differentiation)

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

Verses 1- 3

Exulted is God - Who sent down Differentiator20 to His servant so that he might serve as a warner to the world. God’s sovereignty is over the heavens and the earth, Who has not taken a son to Himself and Whose sovereignty allows no partnership. He creates everything and evolves them with precision. Yet, they take besides Him gods that create nothings while they themselves are created, have no control to benefit or to harm themselves, and they control neither death, nor life, nor resurrection!

Verses 4 - 10

The deniers say, “This is nothing but a lie, something he had forged, and other people had helped him with it.” Thus, they have become unjust and liars. They say, “Fables from the past which he has written – now they are being read out to him mornings and evenings.”

Reply, “God has revealed it, Who knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth. God is every Forgiving, Merciful!”

The deniers say, “What a Messenger is this? He eats and goes about in the marketplace. Should not an angel be sent down to warn with him? Or, wealth given to him or a garden from which to get provision?” The wicked ones say, “You follow none but a person under spell.” See what they compare you to! They have lost their ways, so how could they find ways?

Exalted is God, Who if He wills, can give you better things – gardens with flowing streams and palaces built for you.

Verses 11- 16

It is the Hour (hour of resurrection and judgment) that they deny; such deniers of the Hour will face the consequences from the fire. When the fire comes into their sight, they will hear its raging and roaring. They will be chained and cast into a narrow confinement; there they will pray for death. (It will be said), “Do not cry out for death once – but many times.”

Say: “Is this better or the Perpetual Garden that has been promised for those who acts responsibly? A promise for a reward and a destiny! There they will reside and have everything they wish for – it is a promise from God worth praying for!

Verses 17 - 20

On the Day God will gather the deniers and their false gods whom they took beside God, and ask, “Was it you (false god) who cause My creatures to deviate, or it is they themselves that went astray?

The false gods will say, “Glory be to You! It is impossible for us to take a patron other than You, but You granted them and their forefathers to enjoy life until they forgot the Reminder and became lost!” This is how the false god will prove them to be liars.

Now you can neither avoid (the consequence) nor get any help. Anyone who does wrong, God will make them face the grave consequence. God had never sent anyone before you (Prophet) but they ate food and went about in the market places. God made some of you a temptation for others. Will you (Prophet) then be steadfast? Your God is always watchful!

***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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