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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 21

Chapter 29: Surah Al-Ankabut (The Spider) Continued…

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

Verses 45 - 49

Recite what has been revealed to you in the scripture and be constant in worship. Surely such worship (salat) protects from indecent acts and evil deeds and gives remembrance of ALLAH which is of great importance. ALLAH is constantly aware of what you are doing!

Reason with those who have been given scriptures before using sound arguments and common decency and to those who act corruptly among them, say, “We truly believe in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to you. Our God and your God is but One! We truly submit to God!”

This is the manner in which We reveal this book to you (Prophet) – those who were given the book before, believe in it2 and some of the current recipients believe in it too – none refuses to acknowledge Our messages except the ungrateful! See, you never recited a book before this nor have you ever written one with your right hand in which case the deniers could have a reason to doubt.

On the contrary, it is a clear message in the hearts of those who are gifted with knowledge. None denies Our message except who commits evil.

Verses 50 - 57

They demand, “Why aren’t any miracles sent to him by his Sustainer? Reply, “Miracles are with ALLAH alone and I am but a human warner!” Why, is it not sufficient that God had revealed to you the scripture and it is being recited to them? In it there is mercy and a reminder for those who truly believe! (v50-51)

Say (Prophet), “ALLAH is sufficient as a witness between me and you – God knows what is in the heavens and on earth. Those who believe in false deities and deny ALLAH, they are in a state of constant decay.

They challenge you to bring on the chastisement. It would have already overwhelmed them, had it not for the fact that God has set a time for it. It certainly will come suddenly, while they are unaware! Again, they challenge you to bring on the chastisement. Surely, Hell will overwhelm the deniers when the chastisement descends on them from above and approach them from beneath their feet and it will be said, “Taste the consequence of what you did.”

My Believing Servants, My earth is expansive – serve Me alone! Every soul will taste death and then to Us you will be brought back.

Verses 58 - 69

Those who believe and do good, ALLAH will give them residence in lofty Gardens full of running springs to be content with – excellent rewards for the doers (of good)! – they are patient, and they rely on God!

How many of the living creatures neither carry nor store their provision? ALLAH provides for them all and you. God is all Hearing, all Knowing!

If you were to ask them, “Who created the heavens and the earth, and who made the sun and the moon follow orders?”, they will say. “ALLAH.” See how they turn around! ALLAH amplifies provision for some and constrains for others as He wills – God is fully aware of all things! If you were to ask them, “Who is it that sends down water from the clouds to bring life back on earth after its demise?”, they will say, “God.” Say, “Praise be to God!” Most of them are confused!

The life of this world is amusement and diversions, while the true living is in the Hereafter -only if they knew!

See when they ride a ship, they call on God with sincere submission but when God brings them to shore in safety, they start associating deities with God – this is how they demonstrate ungratefulness for what God had given them and they wish to enjoy – but soon they will find out. Do they not see how God had secured the precinct (of Kabah) while people are being driven away by force around it? Would they still believe in falsehood and deny the blessings of God? Who is more unfair that the one who fabricate lies against God or say to the truth, that it is a lie when such truth is presented to them? Can there be any residence but in Hell for such deniers?

Those who pursue diligently after Us (God and good people), We will guide them in Our Path. God is always with those who do good!

Chapter 30: The Byzantines (Surah Al-Rum)

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

Verses 1 - 8

Alif, Laam, Meem!

The Byzantines are routed!

In a land nearby

But will gain victory after defeat!

Within few years

God is always in command - before and after!

The faithful will rejoice

On that day in God’s help!

God helps who God pleases

God is Mighty, Endower of Mercy!

This is God’s promise

God does not fail in promises!

But most of humankind do not know!

They only know the outer layer of this earthly life

While being totally oblivious to after life!

Why is it that they do not reflect inwardly? God did not create the heavens, the earth and all that is in them without a purpose – all has an appointed time, yet most of humankind denies that they will meet God!

Verses 9 - 19

Do they not travel the world and see the condition of those before them? They were more powerful, extracted more from earth and build loftier construction than these people. Their designated messengers came to them with clearly articulated reasonings! It was not ALLAH who did injustice, but it was they who were unjust to themselves. Evil is the outcome of those who do evils – they deny God’s messages and make fun of them! (v9-10)

God originates creation, then establishes means for reproduction, and finally all will be called back to God!

When the Day and the Hour come, the guilty will despair – their deities will not be there to intercede, and they will deny such associations. When the Day and the Hour come, they will be separated from one another – those who believed and did good will be given contentment in a garden while those who denied and rejected God’s messages and the eventual meeting of the afterlife will be made to face the consequences.

Therefore, glorify ALLAH in the evening and in the morning. God’s praise be present in the heavens and the earth at mid-day and in the afternoon. God brings the living out of the dead, the dead out of the living and gives life to the earth after its death. Such will be your extraction and return.

Verses 20 - 27

Among ALLAH’s signs is this: ALLAH created you out of elements of this earth (dust - turab), and – lo and behold – you became mortals and scattered far and wide!

Among ALLAH‘s signs is this: God creates mates for you from amongst yourselves that you might find comfort in each other, and God bestows love and mercy between you. These are indeed signs if you wish to reflect!

Another of ALLAH’s sign is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and races. Again, these are signs if you wish to educate yourselves!

Another of ALLAH’s sign is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking of God’s provisions. Again, these are signs for people who wish to hear!

Another of ALLAH’s sign is this: ALLAH shows you fear and hope through lightning, and sends water from the cloud, giving life to the earth after its death. Indeed, these are evidence if you wish to comprehend!

Another of ALLAH’s sign is this: the heavens and the earth stand firm by God’s command. Then when God will call you back from the earth – lo and behold – you will come forth!

To God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth – they all are subservient to God! It is God who originates creation and then reproduces (for continuity) – all is easy for God! Most exulted is God’s stature in the heavens and the earth! God is the Mighty, the Wise!

Verses 28 - 32

God shares an example from your own lives – those whom you enslave or those whom you imprison in battle, do you share with them what We (God) had given you so that they become your equals? Do you fear them as you fear each other? This is how We make the message clear if you wish to understand. Nay, they are indeed unjust who follow their frivolous desires without the benefit of knowledge. Therefore, who can guide these whom God leaves in error? There will be no helpers for them either. (v28-29)

(O Prophet) Set your mind for this way of life (Islam – deen), being sincere and committed – aligned with the true nature of God (fitrah), the essence of which God has embedded in humankind! There is no deviation in God’s creation – this is the right way to live, but most people seem to be ignorant of this.

Turn to God and act responsibly with respect to God (and God’s creation). Keep up worship of God and neither practice polytheism nor split your religion into sects, whereby each sect glorifies its practices.

Verses 33 - 41

When something bad afflicts human beings, they call upon ALLAH pleading. No sooner God shows mercy than – lo and behold – they give credit to partners, not to God, being ungrateful for what was given to them. Let them enjoy a while, but soon they will come to know. Have We sent them an authoritative instruction that speaks of such partnerships with God?

When We (God) provision mercy for people, they rejoice but when an evil touch them, on account of their own misconducts, they become full of despair. Do they not see that God expands or contracts provisions for whomever God pleases? For the faithful, this affirms God’s presence (ayat – signs)!

Therefore, give to kins and neighbors, the poor, and the travelers (strangers). This is better if you wish to have God’s pleasure and success in life! Whatever you gain thru usury (and corrupt practices), it may increase in property and wealth for people, but it does not increase with God and whatever you give away of your wealth as an obligation to uplift others (zakat), aspiring for God’s good grace, it will get magnified! It is God Who created you, Who sustains you, Who causes you to die, and then brings you back to life. Is there a deity that you assign with God, can do any of these? Glory be to God - God is above any deity they take as god!

Corruption has spread across land and sea, as a result of what humankind has done with its own hands and God will make them suffer the consequences of what they have done – perhaps they will amend their conducts!

Verses 42 - 47

Say, “Travel the earth and see what the outcomes was for those who came before you – most of them were polytheists.” Therefore, stand firm and orient yourself to the upright Deen (religion) before you are confronted with a Day from ALLAH that you cannot avert. On that day people will be separated – whoever denied God will be responsible for their own behaviors and whoever did good, they will have prepared their souls well – that God may bestow God’s blessings on those who believed and did good. God does not love those who deny the truth!

One of God’s signs is this: God sends winds bearing good news that you may taste God’s mercy, that your ships may glide with God’s command, that you may seek God’s grace and that you may be thankful! (v46)

We did sent messengers before you (Prophet) to these people and they each came with clear proof. Then We took account of them who proved to be guilty. We make it an obligation on Us to help the faithful!

Verses 48 - 54

It is ALLAH Who sends forth winds that raise clouds, spreads the clouds as God pleases, breaks them so that you see rain pouring down from inside, and causes rain to fall to benefit God’s creation as God pleases – and lo, they rejoice! Yet, before this, before the rain was sent down to them, they were in a state of despair. Again, look at the evidence of God’s mercy – God gives life to the earth after its death, and it is the same God Who will bring life after death. God is ever powerful over all things!

If We were to send winds, winds that are destructive4, they would continue to disbelieve even after that. So Prophet, you cannot make them hear, like the dead or the deaf – as they turn and retreat. Similarly, you cannot guide a blind out of blind wanderings. You cannot make anyone hear, except those who submit, because they have believed in Our messages!

ALLAH is the One Who created you in a vulnerable state, then gives you strength after weakness and then brings you back to weakness and graying hair after strength. God creates as God pleases. God is the All Knowing, the All Powerful!

Verses 55 - 60

The day when the Hour (resurrection) arrives, the guilty will swear that they did not live for more than an hour – this is how they are deluded, while those who were given knowledge and who had faith will say, “Surely you lived long till the day of Resurrection, as ALLAH had commanded, and this is the day of Resurrection – but you did not care to know!” On that occasion, the excuses of the corrupt ones will not profit them, not any amends can be made.

For humankind, We (God) have laid out all kinds of explanations in this Qur’an. Yet if you (Prophet) were to bring them even a miracle, those who disbelieve will say, “You are none but a deceiver.” This is how God seals the heart of those who do not care to know. Therefore, be patient and (know that) God’s promise is ever true. Let not their lack of certainly cause you to feel unsettled!

Chapter 31: Luqman (Surah Luqman)

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

Verses 1 - 7

Alif, Laam, Meem!

These are verses of the book

Full of wisdom!

Guidance and mercy for those who do good!

Who establish worship of God (salat)

Fulfil the obligation to the poor (zakat)

Attain certainty about the life to come!

Such are on the guidance from their Cherisher God

Assured of success!

Among people, there are those deploy playful discourse, without knowledge, to lead people away from God’s guidance and to mock at. For them is a humiliating consequence. When Our messages are relayed to them, they turn away with pride, as if they did not hear it or there is deafness in their ears. Inform them of a painful consequence!

Verses 8 - 13

Those who believe and do good

Is the Garden of bliss

Reside in it - a promise from God in truth

God is the Mighty, the Wise!

God created the heavens without any support structure that you can see, cast mountains on earth lest it shakes under you, spread animals of all kinds, and sends down water from clouds to cause all kinds of wholesome growth. This is God’s creation! Now show Me what the deities that you worship other than God have created? Indeed, the deniers are in a state of plain misguidance!

We (God) endowed Luqman with wisdom, and instructed: ‘Be thankful to God – whoever give thanks, they do it for their own souls, whereas those who deny should know that God is self-sufficient, always praised!’ Luqman said to his children, as he cautioned them, “My children, do not ascribe partners to God – it is an act of grave injustice!”

Verses 14 - 19

We (God) have instructed humankind regarding their parents – the mother carries (the child) with strain after strain and weans after two years – ‘Give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me is your eventual return! If your parents strive to make you associate any deities with Me, do not obey them in that matter but still keep good company with them in this world. But do follow the way of those who turn to Me. Your final return is to Me and I shall inform you about your activities.’ (v14-15)

(Luqman continued), “O my children, even if a mustard seed is hidden in a rock, or somewhere in the heavens or in the earth, God will find it – surely God is the Knower of all subtleties, fully Aware!”

“O my children, establish worship of God, enjoin and encourage good, forbid and discourage evil, and exercise patience when difficulties come your way. Such pursuit and forbearance are a matter of a great character! Do not turn away from people in contempt or walk on land with arrogance – God does not approve of arrogance or show of excess pride in people! Pursue the proper courses in your daily living, and moderate your voice and speech – indeed the most annoying of all voices is that of a braying ass!”

Verses 20 - 28

Do you not see that ALLAH had made – all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth – subservient to your needs and granted God’s favors to you both inwardly and outwardly? Yet there are people among mankind who dispute about God without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening scripture! (v20)

When they are told, “Follow what God has revealed”, they say, “No, we follow our forefathers in what they did.” What! Did they not know that the Devil was calling them to a consequence of burning torment? Whoever submits to God wholeheartedly and show genuine goodness to others, takes hold of the firmest handle one can find! All matters find resolution with God alone!

(O Prophet), whoever disbelieves, let not their denials cause you grief. To Us is their eventual return and We shall inform them of their conducts. God surely knows what they did, as God knows what is in the hearts. We give them time to enjoy a little, but then We will drive them to the serious consequences! If you were to ask them, “Who created the heavens and the earth?”, they will say, “ALLAH”. Say, “Praise be to ALLAH”, yet most of them are ignorant.

All that are in the heavens and on earth belong to God. God is indeed Self-Sufficient, Praised! If all the trees on earth were to become pens and all the seas, including seven more, were to become ink, God’s words would not be exhausted. God is Mighty, Wise! Your collective creations and your resurrections are just like a single soul. God is Hearing, Seeing!

Verses 29 - 34

Do you not see that ALLAH makes the night enter the day and makes the day enter the night? God has subjected the sun and the moon to run their respective courses, till a time appointed. In like manners God is aware of what you do! That is because God is the truth and all that are worshiped besides God are falsehood! God is the Most High, the Great!

Do you not see how ships glide through the seas with God’s grace so that God can show you evidence from God? Surely those who are patient and those who are grateful will see those signs. When giant waves tower over them, they resort to God in obedience and being sincere, but as soon as God brings them to safety, they vacillate. No one denies God’s sign, except the treacherous, the thankless people!

O humankind! Be mindful of your responsibility to your Sustainer God and beware of the day when parents cannot help their children and children cannot help parents in any way. Indeed, God’s promise is ever true! Therefore, do not let this earthly life deceive you, nor let the arch-deceiver5 delude you about God. With God is the knowledge and execution of the Hour6, the sending of rains, the content of what is in the womb, what one will earn tomorrow and what land one will die – God is indeed Knowing, Aware!

Chapter 32: Bowing to God (Surah Al-Sajdah)

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

Verses 1 - 9

Alif, Lam, Meem!

The revelation of this Book – there is no doubt about it – is from the God of the Universe! Yet some says, “He (Prophet) has fabricated it.” No Prophet, it is the truth from your God so that you may caution people since no such warner has come before so that these people may be guided.

ALLAH is the One who created the heavens, the earth and all that is in-between in six periods and then assumed control over them. Besides God, you have no other who can act as guardian or to intervene. Will you not be mindful? God issues decrees from the heaven to the earth and its affairs ascend back to God over a period, the measure of which is a thousand years, by your calculation. Such is God – the Knower of what is hidden and what is exposed, the Mighty, the Endower of Mercy!

God has made everything of God’s creation as beautiful and wholesome and initiated the creation of humankind from dust. God then prescribed the descendent of humankind to reproduce from an extraction of mundane water (ovum), then makes it complete by breathing into it God’s spirit (ruh). Then gave it ears, eyes and a heart! Yet, how little is your thankfulness!

Verses 10 - 17

Yet they say, “When we have decayed in our graves, shall there be a new creation?” These deniers only refuges to acknowledge that they have an appointment with ALLAH. Say to them, “The angel of death, who is given charge to execute over you, will cause you to die. Then you will journey back to God.”

If you could only observe or visualize, when the guilty will hang their heads before God and plead, “God, we have seen and we have heard. Send us back and we will do good, now that we are certain of the reality!”

If We (God) had pleased, We could have prescribed to every soul its guidance, but the Word from Me (God) will come to fruition – the hell will be filled with (denying) humankind and jinns. Face this, since you forgot this appointment of yours. We forsake you now. Suffer through the lasting consequence of your own actions.

The true believers are those who when they are reminded of Our messages, they bow down (sujjad), praise God and humble themselves. They leave the comfort of their sleep and call on God with trepidation and hope. They devote to charity from what We have given them as provisions.

No soul knows the delights that are kept hidden – to reward their good works!

Verses 18 - 25

Are those who are believers the same as those who transgress all limits? They can never be equal! Those who believe and do good, for them are Gardens, a paradise, and happiness for what they did! But those who transgressed, their refuge is fire. Whenever they attempt to escape from it, they are brought back into it and reminded, “Suffer the consequence of this fire which you denied.” We (God) did try them with dire consequences in their earthy life before this greater consequence, giving them opportunities to turn back. Who is more in error than the one who is reminded of the message from their Sustainer God but turns away from it? Surely, We do extract retribution from the guilty!

We (God) did give Moses the Book and made it a guide for the Children of Israel. So, do not doubt about your meeting with God. We established leaders among them and commanded them to guide and exercise patience. They were certain and sincere about Our messages! God will surely decide among them on the day of Resurrection regarding their differences.

Verses 26 - 30

Is it not clear to them how many generations in whose lands they travel We have removed before them? These are indeed signs, only if they could hear! Do they not see how We direct water to a land that is dry and then We bring forth herbage and produce which they eat and their cattle as well? How can they not see? (Instead) they ask, “When will this victory appear, if you speak the truth?” Say, “When the victory comes, the faith of those who disbelieved will neither generate profit nor offer reprieve!”

So (Prophet) turn away from such people and have patience, as they wait as well!

Chapter 33: The Allies (Surah Al-Azhab)

(73 verses - revealed in Madinah - middle period of after Hijrah 4th year during battle of the trenches)

In the Name of Allah, the God of Mercy, the Endower of Mercy!

Verses 1-8

O Prophet! Be mindful (attaqu) of Allah and do not listen to (tutiy’i) the deniers and the hypocrites. Allah is Aware, Wise! Follow what has been revealed to you from your Sustainer. Allah is fully aware of all that you do! Have trust in Allah! Allah is sufficient to rely on! (v1-3)

Allah has not made any person with two hearts, or that your wives become your mothers by pronouncement (zihar) or whom you assert (adopted sons) to be your sons. These are assumptions expressed by your mouth, but Allah speaks the truth and shows you the way. Call them by their biological fathers – that is more equitable with Allah. If their fathers are not known to you, then consider them a brother in faith and a friend. Whatever mistakes were made (in the past) you have no blame, but what you hearts propose (do matter)! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful! (v4-5)

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves and his wives are like their mothers! Blood relations are closer to one another, more so than other believers and those who migrated but you do good to your friends, nonetheless. There are prescribed in the Book! When We (God) took a covenant from (earlier) prophets and from you and from Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus – son of Mary – those were solemn covenants. God will question the sincerity of those covenants! God has prepared severe consequences for the deniers! (v6-8)

Verses 9-17

O Believers! Remember the favor that Allah brought when an army came against you - We (God) sent a violent storm and forces that you could not see. Allah is Ever a Watcher over your actions! They came from all directions such that your eyes could not focus (out of fear) and your hearts became deeply disturbed and you began to have doubts about Allah – this was a trial for the believers when they were shaken with internal turmoil and further aggravated by the hypocrites and those whose hearts had sickness in them as they said, “Allah and His Messenger did not promise us (any victory) but a deception!” (v9-12)

A party of them even said, “O people of Yathrib!7 You cannot withstand this onslaught – give up your resistance, while another party came to the Prophet and said, “Our houses are open to attack”, while these were not – only to run away. If the enemy were to make a breach in the city and asked them to join the fight (against the Muslims) they would have done so without much hesitation, whereas they had made a covenant with Allah that they will not renege – a covenant with Allah must be answered for! Tell them (Prophet), “Even if you avoid death or slaughter by running away, your relief would be temporary – who can protect you against Allah if He intends to bring harm on you or show you mercy?” They will not find a protector or a helper for themselves other than Allah. (v13-17)

Verses 17-27

Allah knows who among you discourage others and who say to their fellow hypocrites, “join us instead” – they will not join except with reluctance and are not committed to you (Prophet) at all. When they are fearful, you see their eyes rolling over as if death is on them, but when that fear is gone, you see them smite you with sharp tongue and show no goodness. They truly lack faith and Allah makes their work useless – a task easy for Allah! They think the enemy is still around and if they were to attack again, they would rather be in the deserts, among the Bedouins, seeking news about the Muslims. Even if they were around, they will hardly fight with you. (v18-20)

Those who are inclined to Allah, the Hereafter and are constantly mindful of Allah find in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example (to follow). When these believers saw the enemy converge, they said, “This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us; Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth.” The unfolding event only added to their faith and commitment! There are people among the believers who remained faithful to the covenant with Allah – some of them have already sacrificed themselves while others wait their turns – they have shown unwavering commitment! This is how Allah rewards the truthful for their trust and punish the hypocrites if He wills or show forgiveness – Allah is Ever Forgiving, Merciful! (v21-24)

Allah turned the disbelievers around filled with rage – they gained nothing! Allah is sufficient for the believers in their fights. Allah is Ever Strong, Mighty! It is God who drove the People of the Book8 out, those who backed the enemy from their fortresses – God caste terror in their hearts enabling you to kill some while taking other as captives. God made you to inherit their lands and their dwellings and (in future) to lands you are yet to traverse. Allah is Ever Powerful over all things! (v25-27)

Verses 28 - 34

O Prophet, say to your wives, “If you desire this world’s life and its finery, I will give you what you desire and let you leave me in a good manner but if you desire Allah, His Messenger and the destiny of the Afterlife, then know that Allah has already prepared a reward matching the good work that you do.” (Says Allah), “O wives of the Prophet, if any of you engage in open and improper conducts, you will have double the punishment. It is easy for Allah. But if you are faithful to Allah and His Messenger and do good, then Allah will double the rewards and prepare for you an honorable provision. You are not like any other women. If you act responsibly, speak in a manner that does not encourage men who have sickness in their hearts, but speak good words, stay in your homes, do not display your beauty like ignorant women of the past, keep up daily prayers, offer zakat and follow Allah and His Messenger – all these are for you such that Allah may cleanse you as the household of the Prophet, and offer you a purification that is worthy of who you are. Remind yourselves of the recitations in your houses that come from Allah and the wisdom contained in them. Allah is Subtle, Ever Aware! (v 29-34)

***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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