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Monthly Qur'an Readings

Session 3

Chapter 2: The Cow (Surah Baqarah) – Continued…

Verses 253–254

We (God) have made some of these prophets to excel others. Among them are those to whom God spoke (e.g., Moses) and others whom He raised in eminence (e.g., Prophet Abraham and Prophet Noah). We (God) gave clear arguments and thoughts to Jesus, Son of Mary, and strengthened him with holy inspiration. Had ALLAH pleased, the followers of these prophets would not have fought one another after the case had been made to see and believe in the truth, but they chose to disagree—some believed while others refused to accept (the guidance). They would not have contended with one another if God had willed, but God does what He intends (by allowing people the freedom to make their choices).

Those who have attained faith (mo’men) should dedicate the resources (e.g., health, wealth, knowledge, and technology) that We have given you (for good cause) before the day comes (e.g., death, the Day of Judgment, and the reversal of fortune) when (you will lose the power) of bargaining, friendship, and intervention. The deniers (of truth, if you choose to be one) are truly the ones that do (serious) wrong (to themselves and to others).

Verse 255 (Ayatul Khursi)

Allah —there is no one worthy of worship but He, the ever Living, the Self-Subsisting (by Whom everyone subsists). Drowsiness or sleep does not overtake Him. He owns whatever is in the heavens and in the earth. Who is there to plead to Him for someone except with His permission? He knows their past and their future. They acquire none of His knowledge except what He allows. His dominion extends all over the heavens and the earth, and He does not get tired of preserving them. He alone is truly Exalted, Magnificent!

Verse 256-257

There shall be no coercion in matters of practicing your way of life (religion) —the right way has indeed been made distinct from the wrong way. Therefore, whoever rejects the Shaitan (evil faith and practices) and puts his faith in ALLAH (truth, knowledge, and good work) has taken a firm grip on a covenant, which will not break. God is full of Hearing, Knowing.

God is the friend of those who believe—He pulls them out of darkness into light. But those who disbelieve, their friends are the devils that pull them out of light into darkness. They are the companions in Hellfire, where they will stay.

Verses 258–259

Why not reflect on (the behavior of) the person (possibly Namrud) who argued with Abraham regarding ALLAH since God gave him the kingdom. When Abraham said, “My Sustainer gives life and causes death,” this person replied, “I (also) cause life and death.” Abraham then said, “Surely God makes the sun rise from the East, so could you make it rise from the West,” and then the person was confounded in his denial of God. And God does not guide people who do wrong deliberately.

Or, (think) of the person who was passing by a town whose houses had fallen in on their roofs (possibly due to an earthquake or neglect) and said, “How could God bring them all back to life after their death?” So God caused him to die for a hundred years and then raised him back to life and asked, “How long have you remained in that condition?” He said, “A day or part of a day!” God said, “No, you had passed a hundred years; yet, look at your food and drink—they do not show the sign of years passed by, and look at your donkey! We have made him a sign for men (to understand). You should look at the bones (e.g., human skeletons) and see how We arrange them together and then cover them with flesh.” Then it became clear to him, and he said, “Now I know that God has power over all things.”

Verse 260

(Remember) when Abraham said, “O My Sustainer! Show me how you give life to the dead,” ALLAH asked, “Do you not believe?” He (Abraham) replied, “Yes, I do, but this is to put my heart at ease.” God then instructed, “Take four birds and tame them to respond to you. Then put pieces of them in every mountain and afterward call them—they will come flying to you.” You should know that God is Mighty, Wise!

Verses 261–265

Those who spend their wealth for the purpose assigned by ALLAH, their likeness is that of a grain germinating into seven sheaths, and in each sheath there are a hundred grains. Thus, God multiplies for whom He wills. He is the abundantly Giving, Knowing. Those who spend their wealth for the purpose defined by God and do not make their spending a cause for insult or injury (to the receiving party), their reward is with God, and there will be no fear or grief for them. A kind word with forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury. God is Self-Sufficient, Forbearing.

O people of faith, do not make your charity worthless by insult and injury in the manner of those who spend their wealth to be seen by people, and they do not believe in God and the Last Day. Such charity is like the soil on a smooth rock that a heavy rainfall washes away (without producing anything). They do not benefit from what they spend, and God does not guide people who refuse to acknowledge the truth. (On the other hand), those who spend their wealth seeking God’s grace and strengthening their souls are like a garden on an elevated ground so that when rain falls on it, it brings forth double produce; if heavy rain is not there, even light rain is sufficient for growth. God sees all of what you do.

Verses 266–269

Do any of you like this scenario: You have a garden of fruit with a water stream flowing through and with all kinds of fruit around. Then you reach old age, your offspring are still young and weak, and suddenly a storm hits the garden and reduces everything to ashes. This way God makes the message clear so that you may reflect (and act when you have time).

O people of faith, spend the good part of what you earn and what We (God) bring out for you (e.g., harvest and natural resources) from the earth. Do not try to spend lesser quality items for others while you would not take it without dislike. Know that ALLAH is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.

It is the Devil that puts in you the fear of poverty and connives to make you niggardly while God promises forgiveness from Himself and abundance. God is indeed Ample-Giving, Knowing! He grants wisdom to whomever He wishes, and whoever receives this wisdom indeed receives ample goodness. Nobody can appreciate (such wisdom) except for those who seriously and sincerely try to understand.

Verses 270–272

Whatever charity you give or whatever oath (vow) you take, ALLAH surely knows about it. The wrongdoers will have no helpers (in the long run). If you show your charity (without arrogance or evil intent), then how excellent it is! If you hide it and give it to the poor, it is good for you. Charity does wash away some of your evil deeds. God is aware of what you do.

It is not your (Prophet’s) responsibility to guide people, but God guides whom He pleases (based on intention and effort). Whatever good things you spend (for others) are for your own good, and you should spend only to seek God’s grace (not for other motives). (God promises that) whatever good things you spend, it will be paid back to you in full, and no wrong will be done to you.

Verses 273–274

Charity is for those who are confined to the way of ALLAH and who are unable to move freely in the land (to seek livelihood); insensitive people think of them to be above need since they do not beg. But you can recognize them by their dignity; they do not go about begging openly. (Therefore, if you recognize them), and whatever you spend of good things (for them), God knows for sure.

Those who spend their resources (physical, material, and intellectual) day and night, openly and privately, (to benefit others) will have their reward with God—they will have no reason to fear or grieve.

Verses 275–277

Those who take usury (riba) are like those whom the Devil had confounded by his touch. They say, “Trading (buying and selling) is like usury,” whereas ALLAH has allowed trading and forbidden usury. (Therefore), whosoever receives this admonition from his Sustainer, and he refrains, he can keep what has already passed, and his affairs are with God, and whoever continues with usury (after the admonition), they are the companions in fire—they will reside in Hell. God withholds His blessings on usury, whereas He causes charity to flourish. God does not love any ungrateful sinners.

Those who believe, do good deeds, keep their prayers, and pay Zakat, their reward is with the Sustainer; they will have no fear or regret.

Verses 278–281

O people of faith, mind your responsibility to ALLAH (attaqu) and give up what remains of usury, if you truly believe. But if you do not give up, then be ready for a war from God and His Messenger. But if you repent, then you can have your capital. Do not do any wrong, then you shall not be wronged. If the (debtor) is in difficulty, there should be postponement until (he is) in ease. But if you were to give it up as alms, that is even better, only if you knew!

Be conscious of the day when you will return to God. Then every soul will be paid back in full what it has earned, and none will be treated unfairly.

Verse 282

O people of faith, when you agree to a debt (or commercial transaction) for a fixed term, put it in writing and let a writer write it down with fairness on behalf of both. Anyone who knows how to write should not refuse to write. And the debtor should dictate what should be written, and he should observe his duty to ALLAH and not reduce anything from it. But if the debtor is unsound in understanding or weak or not able to dictate, then his guardian should dictate with fairness. Also, call to witness from your men two witnesses; but if two men are not available (as witnesses), then one man and two women from among those whom you may want to choose as witnesses so that if one of them errs or forgets, the one will remind the other.

The witnesses must not refuse when they are called up (either to witness or to testify later on). Do not neglect to document it in writing whether a small or large transaction, including the time when (such debt) is due. This is more equitable in God’s eyes and ensures testimony to be confirmed and keeps you from doubts. But if it is ready merchandise that you exchange by hand to hand, it is not necessary that you write it down.

(But in general), have witnesses when you sell one to another. Let there be no harm done to the writer or to the witnesses. But if you do such harm, then it is a sign of transgression on your part. (But you are to) keep your duty to God (taqwa), and God teaches you. God (truly) knows all things.

Verses 283–284

If you are on a journey and you cannot find a scribe, then a security may be taken in possession. Since these types of transactions are also based on trust, the one who is trusted with (security, debt, promise, etc.) should deliver his trust and keep his duty to ALLAH, his Sustainer (and to his fellow men). Do not conceal testimony; whoever conceals testimony, his heart is sinful. (Remember), God knows everything that you do.

To God belongs whatever is in heavens and in the earth. (Moreover), whether you express what is in your mind or hide it, God will call you to account according to it (your intention). Then He may choose to forgive whom He pleases and punish whom He pleases. God has power over all things.

Verses 285–286

The Messenger and the faithful believe in what has been revealed to the Messenger. They all believe in ALLAH, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers, making no distinctions among the prophets. They say, “We have heard, and we take our submission to God seriously. O our Sustainer! We seek Your forgiveness, and to You is the end of our journey!”

God does not impose on any soul a burden beyond its capacity. It has the benefit of its good works and its evil works against its own soul. (Say in prayer), “O our Sustainer! Do not hold us accountable if we forget or make a mistake. Our Sustainer, do not put a burden on us similar to what was laid on those before us. Our Sustainer, spare us of a burden that we do not have the ability to bear. Forgive us, protect us, have mercy on us, You are our Guardian.” Therefore, help us against the people who actively deny faith. (Amen)!

Chapter 3: House of Amran (Surah Al-Imran)

Verses 1–4

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

Alif, Lam, Meem. ALLAH, there is none but He worthy of worship—the Ever-Living and the Self-Subsisting. He has now revealed the Book [the Qur’an] to you [the Prophet and mankind] based on truth, reconfirming those [messages and books] sent earlier—Old Testament [Taurat] and the Bible [Gospel—Injil].161 This, just like previous generations, He revealed as guidance to people and as a criteria for differentiation (between good and evil, truth and falsehood).

[In spite of revelations and guidance] those who refuse to accept God’s guidance—for them is a severely adverse consequence. For God is Mighty and Able (to bring such consequences)!

Verses 5–7

Indeed, there is nothing on this earth or in the universe that is hidden from ALLAH. He is the One who shapes you in your mother’s womb in whatever form He wishes! He is the One Who has revealed the book to you. Some of its verses are foundational and decisive (mohkamat), forming the basis of the book while other verses are allegorical, given as examples (mutashabihat). But those whose hearts are steeped in perversity and seek to misguide, attempt to give meanings to these verses according to their own interpretation. Only God and those who have developed deeper knowledge understand these meanings, who say, “We believe in it, and it is all from our Sustainer.” Only people of understanding will take note of such guidance.

Verses 8–12

(Prayer): Our Sustainer! Do not let our hearts and conscience deviate from Your teaching after You have guided us right. Grant us mercy and support from Yourself since You are a Generous Giver. O our Sustainer, You are the Gatherer of people on a Day about which there is no doubt; a promise, O ALLAH, you will not fail to deliver.

For those who are persistent in denying God, their wealth and their family will not be enough to protect them from God’s accountability, and they will face the suffering of hellfire. This was the case with Pharaoh and others before them. They refused to accept God’s message and guidance, and on account of their continued sin (and defiance), God took away their power and prominence. God is Able, and He is Just in taking such actions. Therefore, tell those who continue to disbelieve that they will be made to suffer the consequences in this life and will be driven toward Hell, which is an evil place to find oneself in.

Verses 13–15

There was a sign in the encounter of the two groups—one fighting for the ways of ALLAH [truth and justice] and one consistently denying [His Grace]; you saw them with your naked eyes twice as many. But God strengthens whom He will. There is a lesson in this for those who have vision [see beyond what their eyes can see]! Men are preoccupied with the love of desires, of women, of children, of wealth, well-bred horses, cattle, and land. But these are provisions for the life of this world, whereas with God is the wholesome goal of life!

Say to them, “Shall I tell you what is better than these (worldly attractions and desires)? Those who act responsibly (with taqwa) in the eyes of God will be rewarded by their Sustainer with Gardens with rivers flowing, consummate companions, and God’s grace. God sees over the servants (as to how they act).”

Verses 16–19

These people (who are responsible) say, “Our Cherisher, we have faith; therefore, forgive our sins and save us from the torment of the fire”—these are the people who are patient and truthful and mindful of ALLAH’s greatness, serve others, and passionately seek righteousness and God’s protection from the inner core of their hearts. God Himself declares that there is no god but Him, a reality that angels and those who possess knowledge confirm with justice. Indeed, there is no God but He Who is Mighty and Wise!

Islam [submission, faith and goodnes] is the way of life in the eye of God, but those who were given the message earlier differ from the current knowledge [Islam] only out of envy. [They should know that] God is prompt in seeking accountability from those who persistently deny the truth.

Verses 20–25

When they dispute with you, say to them, “I acknowledge and accept ALLAH wholeheartedly, and so do those who are with me.” Say to those who had been given the book earlier and those who are uninformed, “Do you accept God [like we do]?” If they accept, then certainly they are on the right path, and if they deny, then your job is only to deliver the message. God sees and is aware of all His servants [and their activities].

For those who deny God’s message, kill God’s prophets, and try to kill those who try to establish justice — God announces serious consequences. For these people, their pursuits in this life will end in failure and the same in the life to come after death; there will be no helper for them. Have you noticed that those who are given a portion of the book [the Torah] and are invited to the book of God [the Qur’an] so that clarity can be achieved, they turn back and withdraw? These people feel they have special privileges such that their evils and denying of God’s message will result in minor displeasure from God [literally, fire will not touch us except for a few days]; this they concoct only to deceive themselves. When God will gather them all on the Judgment Day, about which let there be no doubt, each soul will meet the results of its deeds; there will be no injustice.

Verses 26–27

Say, “O ALLAH, the Sovereign God! You give command and control to whomever You wish, and You take away such command and control from whomever You feel it is not deserved; You raise the honor of whom You wish and debase whomever so deserves. In Your hand is all that is good, and you possess power over all that exists. You make the night glide into the day and the day into the night, and You extract the living from the dead and the dead from the living, and you provide resources (material, intellectual, spiritual) to whomever You wish in abundant measures.”

Verses 28–30

People of Faith should favor friendship with other people of faith and not with the deniers of faith (who are in active opposition). Such friendship is to sustain your faith and to guard against those who are in opposition and guard yourselves with diligence. ALLAH cautions you to avert His displeasure, and to God is the eventual destiny.

Say, “God is ever powerful over all things—He knows what one hides in his or her heart or exposes it, and He knows what is in the universe and what is on earth. On a day (Day of Judgment and our daily existence), every soul will find itself confronted by what it has done of good or of evil and would wish that it and its evils were far apart. God continues to caution you about Him while He is ever Compassionate to His creations.”

Verses 31–41

Say, “If you love ALLAH, then follow me [God’s prophet]. God will love you and protect you from committing evils. Know that God is Ever Forgiving and Merciful.” Say, “Follow the guidance of God and His Prophet.” But if people turn back, know that God has no relationship with those who deny His grace.

God chose Adam, Noah, and the descendants of Abraham and Amran above others—generation after generation. God knows and He hears. The wife of Amran [and Mary’s mother] addressed God: “My Lord, I wish who is in my womb to be dedicated to You. So accept my wish; You certainly know, and You certainly hear (my prayer).” But when she gave birth, she exclaimed, “My Lord, I have given birth to a female.” God certainly knew who she brought forth and that a male [which she may have hoped for] could not be the same as this female. She named her Mary and entrusted her and her offspring to the protection of God from the devil.

Her Lord accepted her offering as God accepts genuine offering and graced Mary with a good upbringing. She was placed under the guardianship of Zacharias. Whenever Zacharias used to come to visit Mary inside the sanctuary, he would find provision with her. He would ask, “Mary, where does this provision come from?” Mary would say, “It is from God who gives provision to whom He wishes in abundance.”

Zacharias was inspired to pray to his Lord: “My Lord, grant me a worthy offspring (as well) —surely You are the One who hears a genuine prayer.” God sent angels to Zacharias as he stood in devotion inside the sanctuary and said, “God gives you good news of John - a testimony to His promise - honorable, morally upright, and a prophet from among righteous people.” He (Zacharias) said, “My Sustainer, how can I have such an heir when I am of advanced age and my wife is not fit to conceive?” God replied, “This is how He does what He wishes to bring about!” Zacharias replied, “My Sustainer, give me a sign [for this fortune].” God said, “The sign is that you will not be able to speak to others except by gestures; remember God and glorify Him day and night [as a sign of thanks].”

Verses 42–49

The angels said to Mary, “ALLAH has chosen you, made you noble, and made you eminent over all women in the world. O Mary, remain devoted to your Sustainer God, humble yourself, and bow together with those who submit to God. These are the matters unseen [in history] that God reveals to you. You were not there when they were casting lots to decide who will take charge of Mary and when they contended with one another on this matter.”

The angels said to Mary, “God gives you the advent of a word from Him [a son for you], whose name will be Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, to be eminent in this world and in the hereafter and shall be close to God. He [Jesus] will speak to people from an early age to full maturity, and he will be of those who are good people.”

Mary replied, “My Lord, how can I have a son when no man had ever touched me?” God said, “This is the will of God. When He wills a thing, He says, ‘Be,’ and it becomes.” God will teach him (Jesus) knowledge, wisdom, the Torah, and the Bible and make him an apostle to the children of Israel. Jesus will say, ‘I have come as a sign of God, that I am able to create out of clay a bird, breathe into it, and it becomes alive with God’s permission; that I heal the blind and the leprous and bring consciousness to those who are [spiritually] dead with God’s permission and I inform you what you should eat and what you should store in your dwellings [in the afterlife]. These are signs that I bring so that you may believe.”

Verses 50–54

I (Jesus) am here to confirm the Torah that came to you before me and to reverse certain prohibitions that were imposed on you, and I have come with certain evidence from my Lord. Therefore, it behooves you to submit to ALLAH and to pay attention to my guidance. Surely God is your Lord and my Lord; therefore, let’s serve Him—that is the straight path.

But Jesus perceived reluctance (and active opposition) to his message, and he reached out (to those close to him): “Who will be my helpers [ansar] toward God?” His disciples said, “We are your helpers toward God, and we believe in God. And be our witness that we are muslims.” And they prayed, “Our Sustainer God, we accept what you have sent as guidance, and we follow the messenger (Jesus); therefore, confirm us as those who bear witness [to the truth].”

There are those who planned [against Jesus and his followers], and God also planned. God is certainly a better planner!

Verses 55–63

[Reflect on what] ALLAH said to Jesus, “I will cause your death, give you eminence in my presence, protect you from those who disbelieve, and make your followers above those who disbelieve till the day of resurrection. Remember that your eventual return is to Me, and I will judge on all that you differ among yourselves. As for those who deny the truth, God will punish them severely in this world and in the hereafter, and they will have no helpers. God will pay those who fully believe and do good their rewards. Know that God does not love those who are unjust!” This is how God describes the messages and brings reminders full of wisdom.

The likeness [birth] of Jesus is similar to that of Adam in God’s eyes. He created Adam from dust and said to it, “Be,” and it became. This is truth from your Lord, and do not become one of those who doubts or disputes. Whoever disputes on this matter with you, tell them that you will risk all that you have and let them put at risk all that they have and sincerely ask that God destroy those who lie (and see if they are prepared to do). These are accounts for truth. Let it be a reminder that there is no god but God, and God is Mighty and Wise. If they refuse to acknowledge the truth (even after all of these), then know that God is aware of those who make mischief!

Verses 64–71

Address the People who follow earlier Revelations: “Let’s come to an equitable understanding among ourselves that we serve none but ALLAH, and that we associate no human with God in divinity and that some of us will not take others for gods besides God.” If they refuse to accept such understanding, then simply say, “We ourselves submit wholeheartedly to God alone.”

Ask the People of the Book why they dispute about Abraham, whereas the Torah and the Bible were both revealed after him. Is it that difficult to comprehend? It is bad enough that you argue about things that are made known to you [i.e., Jesus], but to argue about things [i.e., about Abraham] that you have no knowledge of is certainly uncalled for. Know that Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but an upright human being, a muslim and was not a polytheist. The people who can claim to be the kin to Abraham are the ones who follow Abraham’s way—like this Prophet [Mohammad] and those of true faith. Indeed, God is a friend of those who truly believe!

A segment of the People of the Book desires that you fall to disbelief and evil ways, but they lead none to such conditions but themselves, without being aware. Why is it that they disbelieve in the message, while they are witness to such messages from earlier times? Why do they confound truth with falsehood and hide what is made known?

Verses 72–76

Some of the folks from the People of the Book say among themselves (to confuse the newly faithful), “Believe in the early part of the day in what has been revealed, and then deny these revelations in the later part of the day.” Perhaps they will turn back on their faith. And do not have faith in anyone except those who follow your religion. Say, “The true guidance—the Guidance from ALLAH —is given to people in a manner similar to what they have been given; otherwise, they will prevail in their false argument in front of God.” Say, “All bounty and grace belongs to God! He graces whom He wills. God is limitless in His bounty and is All-Aware. God singles out whomever He wishes for His grace, and He is the Lord of limitless grace.”

There are people from the People of the Book who, if you entrust them with a pile of wealth, will return it to the owner, and there are also people who will not return even a gold coin unless you keep insisting on it. This aberrant behavior is the result of their false claim that God will not hold them accountable about their interactions with lesser (of other religion) folks. This is a lie they forge on God while being fully aware that it is a lie. Yes, God loves those who fulfill their promises and are conscious of their responsibilities (have taqwa).

Verses 77–82

Those who exchange their bond with ALLAH and their oaths for a small earthly gain, God will allow them no such gain in the life to come; God will not speak to them, nor look at them nor purify them of their sins. So awful will be their punishment. And, indeed, there are people among them who lie about the revelations contained in the book so that one might consider these (their false assertions) to be part of the book while these are not part of the book. They say, “This is from God,” while it is not from God. They lie against God, and they know about it.

It is not at all fitting for a mortal (Prophet Jesus, for example) that God should give him revelations, superior judgment, and prophethood, and he would say to people, “Be a servant of me, besides God.” [Rather, he would say] “Be a follower of God by having studied the revelation by yourself and by teaching it to others.” And he would not ask people to take angels and prophets as lords. How could he ask you to deny God after the fact that you have submitted to God? God took a pledge from the followers of the prophets that after the revelations and wisdom were gifted to you, should there be another messenger who comes and confirms what you already have, that you should believe in him and support him (just the same). He (the prophet) asked, “Do you accept such commitment?” They replied in the affirmative. The prophets and the followers then bear witness with one another. Whoever then turns back on this commitment is a transgressor, no doubt.

Verses 83–91

Do they seek out guidance other than ALLAH’s, whereas everyone and everything in the universe and on Earth surrenders to God, voluntarily or involuntarily, and to Him all must return? Declare, “We believe in God and what has been revealed to us and all that was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and generations following them and all that was given by their Sustainer to Moses, Jesus, and other prophets; we make no differentiation among the prophets, and to God we do surrender ourselves.”

To anyone who seeks out ways other than submission to God (Islam) — such ways are not acceptable to God, and such people will be among those who have lost their ways.

How can God guide people who refuse to acknowledge the truth after having believed in previous revelations bearing truth regarding prophets and having renewed guidance that corroborates what they already have? God does not guide such people. Their fate will be rejection from God, from angels, and from people altogether—being in that state without respite or reduction in its evil impact.

But to those who repent and mend their ways afterward, God is Ever Forgiving and Merciful. But if they bind themselves to denial after believing and then continue to intensify their disbelief, their repentance will bear no fruit, and they are destined to lose their ways. Such people who lack faith and die without faith—even an earth full of treasure will not be sufficient to ransom them from their evil fate, and they will have no helper.

***Excerpt from Volume 2: Free to Choose – Removing the Middleman Series, by Rashed Hasan. Copyright by Author***

July 2024

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