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Nightly Ramadan Readings

Night (Juz') 23 - April 1, 2024

Chapter 36: Ya Sin (Surah Ya Sin) - Continued…

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

Verses 28 - 40

We (God) did not send a host from heaven to these people and We do not need to. It was but a single quake (blast) and they were but without any movement! It is unworthy of my servants that whenever a Messenger comes to them, they mock him. Do they not realize how many generations We (God) have removed prior to them, generations who do not come back to them? Whereas, all - yes all of them - will be brought back to Us.

Here is sign for them – the Earth is dead, and We give life to it and bring out grains from it that they can eat. We grow gardens of dates and grapes on it and let springs gush forth from it. They eat fruits from the gardens while their hand did not make any of these (fruits). Should they not be thankful?

All glory is to ALLAH Who creates in pair all things that grows from the earth and of their own species and of things they do not know (yet). Another sign to them – the night – how We extract it from the day and then there is darkness all around! And the sun moves along it designated path, following the natural laws (command) of the Mighty, the Knower! And the moon with its established destinations till it becomes a thin crescent. It is neither for the sun to outstrip the moon nor for the night to outstrip the day – each move along their defined progression. 

Verses 41 - 50

Another sign for them – the Ark fully loaded with their offspring that We carried (to safety) and We created for them similar vessels on which they ride. If We will, We may drown them in which case they will have none to rely on and none can save them, except by mercy from Us and to fulfill a span of time already defined.

They are reminded: “Be reflective of your past (and this life) and be mindful of your future (and Afterlife) so that you can engender mercy (from God).” Yet, there comes to them no message from messengers that they do not move away from. Again, when they are reminded: “Allocate and spend resources that ALLAH had gifted you with (for the benefit of others)”, those who have no faith say to those who have faith: “Why should we feed him who, if God wills, He can feed?”

This is an evidence of their errant views. They (those who have no faith) ask: “When will this promise (of judgment) come to pass, if your (Prophet) assertion is true?” They only wait for single calamity (blast) that will overtake them unbeknownst to them while they contend (about life), leaving them no time to make a plan for death or return to their families.

Verses 51 - 64

When the trumpet is blown and lo, they will rise from their graves and rush forth towards their Sustainer God. They will say: “O what just happened? Who has raised us from our places of sleep?” This is exactly what the Beneficent God had promised, and the Messengers conveyed in truth. It is but a single event (blast) and lo, they are arraigned before Us. On this day no one will be treated unjustly in any way and rewards will be according to what you did.

Surely the residents of the Garden are in a happy state; they and their spouses reclining on elevated couches in the shade. There they have fruits, whatever provisions they desire and “Peace” - a greeting from their Sustainer and Merciful God. But those who are guilty will be far removed (from paradise). “Did I not tell you, O children of Adam (and Eve), that you should not serve the Shaitan who is an avowed enemy? You should serve Me (God) and that is the Straight Path. Surely the devil (and his associates) already led many people astray – will you not then mind?” Here is the hellfire that you were promised and which you will now enter since you disbelieved.

Verses 65 - 73

On that Day (of Judgment), We (God) will seal their mouths; so their hands will speak to Us and their feet will bear witness as to what they did. Had We pleased, We would have blinded their eyes, then they would strive to find the ways but how could they? Had We pleased, We would have transformed them in their places, then they would not be able to move forward or go back.

Whoever We cause to reach old age, We reduce them to an abject state in creation. Do you not then reflect? We have neither taught him (the Prophet) poetry nor it is fit for him; rather, this is a Reminder and a Qur’an made clear to educate people who wish to have life and to make our promises true against those who deny (faith). Do they not see that We have created cattle for them with Our own Hands and now they are their masters? We have subjected these to them and they ride some and also eat of them (their meat). In these they also have other advantages and (milks to) drink. How it is that you do not give thanks?2

Verses 74 - 83

They take up gods other than ALLAH that they may be helped but these are not able to help; these are a host made up for them (and by them). Therefore, let not their speech (and vanity) grieve you; We (God) know what they do in secret and what they do openly. Do human beings not realize that we create them from a tiny drop (ovum capable of life) and they engage in disputes openly (about the Creator)! They would rather create an image of God (as false deity) and forget about their own creation. They say: “Who will give life to the bones, once they (flesh) are rotten?” Tell them: “ God will give them life Who brought them into existence the first time and Who knows all of the creations; Who produces fire out of green tree so that they can have light.

Is He not, Who created the universe and the earth, able to create the likes of them (humans) again? Yes (He can), and He is the Creator Who knows (how to recreate). His command when He desires something is only to say to it – “be and it becomes.” Glory be to God Who has the dominion over all things and to God you all will be returned.

Chapter 37: Surah Al-Shaffat (The Ranks)

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

Verses 1 - 10

By those arranged in ranks

Driven and restrained

Reciter of the Reminder

“Surely your God is One!” (v1-4)

God of the heavens and the earth – in between, and the lands of rising sun!4 We (God) had beautified the lower heavens with stars and a safeguard against rebellious devils (Satan) – they cannot listen in to the Highest Assembly5 and are restrained from all directions, driven away and faced with perpetual reproach. Even if any of them steals away a bit of information, they are pursued by intense flames!

Verses 11 - 26

Therefore, ask (Prophet) the deniers whether they (humans) are more difficult to create or others that We had created? Surely, We had made them (humankind) of firm clay. (v11)

Now you wonder

While they mock

While you remind

They mind not

While they see a sign

They make fun of it! (v12-14)

They say, “It is nothing but a plain enchantment – when we are dead and turn into bones and decayed, shall there be a second living? What about our previous generations?” Reply (Prophet), “Yes, and you will be humbled and humiliated.” (v15-18)

It will but a single blast, and lo! they will be awake! They will then say, “Shame on us! This is the Day of Judgement!” This is the day of decision that you mocked at – all who denied and did wrong, their associates and their deities that they worshipped besides ALLAH, will be gathered and led to hell. They will be stopped on the way and questioned, “What is the matter now that you do not aid one another?” Now indeed, they will be totally submissive!

Verses 27 - 37

They will turn to one another questioning and accusing, “You used to come to us with power and argument6”, but they will reply, “You yourselves were deniers and arrogant – we had no power over you. Now the word of ALLAH had proven against us, we have no choice but to face the consequence. We led you astray because we ourselves were without guidance. Therefore, they will share in the consequence. This is how We deal with the guilty!

They were definitely arrogant when they were informed, “There is no god but God”, because they said, “Shall we forgo our gods for the sake of a mad man? Yet, he comes with the truth and confirms the (previous) prophets.

Verses 38 - 53

You will face grave consequences

Requital is nothing but a response to what you do

Saved are those who are God’s servant and pure

They will have provisions already known

Fruits as provision

Honorable disposition

In the garden of delight!

On couches facing each other

Cups of drink will come from a flowing stream

Milky – delicious to the drinkers

Causing no exhaustion or intoxication!

Among them will be spouses – modest and beautiful

As if like eggs, carefully protected!7

Some of them will turn to others inquiring

A speaker among them will say

I had a friend who would ask

“Are you of those who are faithful?”

“When we are dead – bones and decayed – shall we be brought to judgement?

Verses 54 - 68

He will say, “Shall we look?”

He will look down and will see him in the throes of hell

“By God, you almost made me perish just like you!

Had it not been for the grace of God,

I too would have been there with the likes of yours!”

(He will then ask those around him) – “Are we never to die?

Except our previous death? Never to be chastised again?

This is indeed a grand achievement!”

For such outcome, let everyone strive!

Is this a better outcome or the tree of Zuqqum? We have made a trial for the unjust and those who do wrong! It is a tree that grows at the bottom of hell and its produce are like the heads of serpents. They (guilty) will surely eat from it to fill their bellies and then have a drink of boiling water afterward. Then they will return to the fire. 

Verses 69 - 98

They found their previous generation in error

In their footsteps they are rushing forth

Most of the generations even prior to them were in error

We had sent messengers and warner to them all

You can see the results of those warned

Except the servants of God, those who purified themselves!

Indeed Noah called on Us before

How excellent of a Responder We are!

We saved him and his people from calamity

Aided his offspring establish themselves

Greetings of Peace on Noah from all people!

This is how We compensate the doers of good

He was one of the believing servants

Others We drowned!

Abraham was of his faith as well

He was secure in his faith in his God

He came to his father and his community – “what is it that you worship?”

“A fabrication – gods besides the true God you desire to worship?”

“What do you think about the God of the universe?”

He then glanced at the stars and said, “I am sick.9”

At that they left, leaving him alone

He then turned to their gods –

“Do you not eat?”

“How is it that you do not speak?” (v88-92)

Then he turned to them and started to break them with his right hand. His people rushed towards him. He said to them, “Do you worship things that your own hand constructed? While God created you and all that you make.” They said, “Let’s build a pyre and throw him in the flaming fire.” They devised a plan against him, but We foiled it and humiliated them!

Verses 99 - 113

He said, “I will go to my Sustainer God – He sure will guide me. My Sustainer God, grant me a righteous doer.10” So We gave the good news of a forbearing servant. Once the boy came of age and worked with him, Abraham said, “My son, I see myself sacrificing you in a dream. What is your take on it? The son replied, “My father, do as you are commanded. God willing, you will find me patient and observant.”11 Once they complied and Abraham put his son face down, We called out, “Abraham, you had fulfilled the vision.” This is how We reward those who do good – it was certainly a difficult trial. We replaced it with a greater form of sacrifice and granted Abraham endearment from later generations – “Peace be to Abraham!” - as our reward for the doers of good!

He was one of the faithful servants. We gave him the good news of Isaac, a prophet, a righteous one! We blessed Isaac and him, both. Among their offspring are good people, but there are some who have clearly become unjust and corrupt!

Verses 114 - 132

We also placed Our (God’s) blessings on Moses and Aaron – We saved them and their people from a great distress. We helped them so that they can be successful! We gave them both a book with clear expositions and guided them to the right path. We granted them endearment from later generations – “Peace be to Moses and Aaron!” - as our reward for the doers of good! They were both from our faithful servants.

Surely Elias12 was one of the messengers. He said to his community, “Will you stop doing evil? What is that you call on Ba’l13 but forget the Best Creator – ALLAH, the Cherisher of yours and your forerunners?” They rejected him - so they will be called to face the consequence (of their evils) but not those who were devoted to God and led a pure life. We granted him endearment from later generations – “Peace be to Elias!” - as our reward for the doers of good! He was from our faithful servants.

Verses 133 - 157

Lot was certainly among the messengers. We saved him and his people, all but an old woman who remained behind with others – We destroyed all others! You pass by their ruins each morning and night – what is it then that you do not understand?

Jonah was certainly among the messengers. He fled in an overloaded ship, sharing with others and was thrown overboard when a fish took him into its mouth, since he was blameworthy. Had he not been one of those who glorified God, he would have died in its belly until the Day of Rising. Therefore, We cast him on a barren shore and he was sick. We caused a gourd to grow for his nourishment and we restored him to numerous followers. They all believed and God gave them prosperity for a time.

Ask them (Prophet)

Does your God have daughters while you prefer sons?

Did God create angels as females, while you witnessed?

Ah, it is their own lie, when they say

“God has begotten!”

They are indeed liars.

Has God preferred daughters to sons?

What is the matter with you? How do you make assertions?

Will you not be mindful?

Do you have clear evidence?

Bring your Book if you speak the truth!

Verses 158 - 182

They claim relationship for jinn with God, while jinns know that they are accountable to God.

God is pure from what they ascribe!

While true servants of God – the pure ones – refrain!

“You and what you worship will not derail any

Except those who will face the flame

Each one of us (angels) has an assigned place

Arranged in orderly ranks

And we truly exalt (God)”

They used to say before

Had we been given a reminder like the previous generations

We would have been sincere devotees of God

But now (with the Reminder) they disbelieve in it

Soon they will come to know (the reality)

God’s word has already gone out – to the servants, the messengers

They will be helped, for certain

Those who support our cause, they will prevail

Now, turn away from them and wait a little

Watch them as they watch you too

Do they want to hasten the accountability?

But when it lands in their court, it will be a dreadful morning

So, turn away and wait a little

Watch as they will find out

Glory be to your God, the God of Might, pure from what they attribute

Blessings on those who are sent (as messengers)

All praises to be God, the Cherisher of the Universe!

Chapter 38: Surah Swad (Swad)

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

Verses 1 - 14

Saad!

The Qur’an and its reminding! Those who deny – do so with arrogance and hostility. Yet, how many generations have We (God) removed, and they cried out (for help) – when there was no longer the option for deliverance. These people think it is wonderous that someone from among themselves have come to warn them; they say, “This is a lying enchantment. He (Prophet) makes all gods into a Single God? What a strange claim!”

The leaders among them say, “Stay away and follow you own gods, which is what you should do. We have never heard of such a thing in previous creeds. This is nothing but a forgery. Is he the only one among us to receive such a reminder?”

Really? They doubt My Reminder? Are they waiting for the consequences? Do they own the treasure of mercy from their God, The Mighty, the Great Giver? Is the kingdom of the heavens, the earth and everything in between theirs? Let them rise then, but the forces of such allies have been routed (before) – The people of Noah, Ad and Pharaoh were hosts who denied before as did Thamud, the people of Lot and the forest dwellers. They all rejected the messengers and consequently faced My Retribution.

Verses 15 - 23

They wait for nothing except a single blast that will not be delayed. They mock, “ALLAH, bring on our portion (of the chastisement) before this day of reckoning.” (Prophet) be patient with what they say and remember Our servant David whom We gave power, and he was always leaning (towards God). We made the mountains subservient to him, praising God at sunset and sunrise. The birds gathered in flocks, being subservient to him. We made his kingdom a stronghold, gave him wisdom and effective speech.

Has the story of the two litigants come to you? They climbed into his private chamber. When they came upon him, David was afraid. They said, “No need to fear. We are in dispute as to a wrong done by one to the other. Decide between us with justice, don’t be unjust and guide us to the right way. This is my brother who has ninety-nine ewes while I have one. He demanded that I hand over my ewe to him and he prevailed over me with his speech.” He (David) said, “He is indeed unjust in demanding your ewe to add to his. There are many partners who does injustice to one another, except a few who believe and do good.”

Verses 24 - 29

David then realized that he has been tried by Us (God); so, he sought God’s forgiveness, bowed down kneeling and repented.16 So We granted him forgiveness, and a nearness to Us, an excellent place to come to.

“O David, surely We made you a ruler on this earth. Judge between people justly and do not follow your desire, lest it leads you away from God’s path. Those who strays from God’s path will face severe consequences as they become oblivious to the day of Reckoning!”

We did not create the heavens and the earth and all that is in-between without purpose. Only the disbeliever asserts otherwise and will face the fire for their denials. Shall We treat those who believe and do good like those who spread corruptions on earth? Shall We render those who acts responsibly with regards to God and others same as those who are wicked and respect no boundaries?

This is a book We have revealed to you – with abundant good – that they may reflect on its verses and people with genuine interest may pay attention and understand!

Verses 30 - 40

We gave David Solomon – an excellent servant, always leaning towards God. When well-bred and swift horses were paraded before him in the evening, he thought – my love of fine things are due to my remembrance of God – until the horses went out of sight and he said, “Bring them back to me”, and started to strike their necks and legs.

We tried Solomon (in this instance) and when We placed an emaciated body on his throne so that he turned (to God) and prayed, “My Cherisher God, forgive me and grant me a reign (kingdom) that is superior to anyone after me. You are a Great Giver!” So We gave him power over wind, running gently by his command as he desired, and the devil – every builder and diver, and others fettered in chains – as Our generous gift, to give freely or to withhold, without constraints.

His reward is nearness to Us and that is an excellent resort!

Verses 41 - 55

Remember Our servant Job when he cried to his God, “The devil has afflicted me with weariness and suffering18. “Let your feet push (your ride) – here is cool water to wash with and to drink!” We restored for him his family and kins and more like them – as a show of mercy from Us and to remind those who wish to understand.

“Take in your hands few worldly goods, earn goodness with them and do not incline to falsehood19.” We found him to be patient – Most excellent of a servant – always leaning towards God.

Remember Our servants – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – men of character and vision. We increased them in faith through devotion and mindfulness of their ultimate destiny (back to Us); with Us they were truly chosen and the best!

Remember also Ishmael, Elisha and Dhul-I-Kifl – truly among the best!

This is the lesson – for the responsible ones, there is an excellent home to come to – a garden of perpetuity with gates open wide for them, comfortably seated and requesting fruits and drinks in abundance, in the company of spouses suitable in age and likeness. This is Our provision for you – never to end!

Verses 56 - 66

This is how it is, whereas there is an evil place to go to for the wicked – Hell, where they will enter – what an evil place to reside! Let them taste in it boiling, dark and foul drinks and other sorts of similar (deprivations). (It will be said,) “An army of (the likes of) you is heading – no welcome for them – into the fire to face their consequences.” They (the followers to ringleaders) will say, “No, no welcome for you! You cause this consequence of ours – (to come to) this evil place! Our God, whoever made us to come here, give him more, a double punishment in this fire.” They (the ringleaders) will say, “what is wrong with us? Why don’t we see the people that we thought were bad? We used to make fun of them. How do our eyes miss them?” This is the truth – how they will contend with one another as inmates of the fire!

Say (Prophet), “I am simply a warner; there is no god but ALLAH, the One, the All Powerful! The Cherisher of the heavens and the earth and what is in-between, the Almighty, the Most Forgiving!” Say: “It is a message of profound importance from which you turn away. I am not privy to the contention among the heavenly agents – only what is revealed to me, and I am a plain warner!”

Verses 67 - 88

When your Cherisher God said to the angels, “I am going to create a mortal from clay. Once I have completed its make and breathed into it My essence (ruh), bow down to it.” The angels – all of them – did so except Iblis21. He displayed pride and became a disbeliever.

God asked Iblis, “What prevented you from submitting to the one that I had created with My own hands? Are you arrogant or you think of yourself as high and mighty? Iblis replied, “I am better than it. You created it with clay whereas I am created of fire.” God said, “Exit from this place and this position; you are forsaken. My rejection will be with you till the Day of Judgment.” Iblis replied, “Let me be free till the day when these are resurrected.” God said, “yes, you are left free until that day whose time is already established.”

Iblis said, “By my power, I will lead them all astray, except those of your creatures who are pure.” God said, “The truth is – and I only speak the truth – I will fill hell with you and with those who among these will follow you.”

Say (Prophet)

“I ask for no rewards, and I make no false claim.

It is a reminder to all nations!

you will all come to know for sure in due time.”

Chapter 39: The Throngs (Surah Al-Zumar)

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

Verses 1 - 6

The revelation of the Scripture is from ALLAH, the Mighty, the Wise! We have revealed the book to you with the truth; therefore, serve God with sincerity and complete devotion – true devotion is due to God alone! Those who choose patrons besides God and say, “We only serve them to be closer to God,” God will judge them regarding their differing positions. God does not guide the one who is a liar and ungrateful.

If God were to take on a son, God could have chosen any, as God pleases, out of all that God had created. God is above such assertions. God is One, the Most Powerful! God created the heavens and the earth with a purpose. God makes the night stretches over the day and the day over the night. God had ordained the moon and the sun to follow a prescribed path and timing. Now God is Mighty, Forgiving!

God created you from a single being and made its mate of the same kind. God sent down eight heads of cattle, in pairs. God creates you in the womb of your mothers – stage after stage – in triple layers of darkness. Such is God, your Sustainer – controller of the Kingdom! There is no god but God! How can you turn away?

Verses 7 - 10

If you deny ALLAH, then know that God is not in any need from you. God does not like ungratefulness from the creation and if you are grateful, God prefers it from you. No soul shall bear another soul’s burden. You will all be returned to God, Who will inform you of your activities – all that you did. God knows even what is in your inner consciousness.

When distress afflicts humankind, it calls on its Creator, inclining towards God but when God grants it a favor, in response to its calling, it sets up partners with God and causes others to deviate from God’s way. Say, “Enjoy your ungratefulness for a while – your destiny is the fire.” But how about another human being who is devoted to God during the long hours of the night - prostrating and standing – wishing for security in the hereafter and hoping for God’s mercy? Say, “Are those who know and those who are ignorant, the same?” Only people who are mindful are those who understand (the distinction)!

Say (God says), “O My servants, if you believe, then be responsive to your Sustainer! Those who do good in this world, it is good (for them) and God’s earth is vast! Those who are patient and those who persevere, will be rewarded beyond measure.”

Verses 11 - 20

Say (Prophet), “I am commanded to serve ALLAH, being sincere and committed in my servitude. I am commanded to be the first of those who submit. If I fail to serve, I fear the consequence of a difficult day. It is God Whom I serve, being sincere and committed.

Say, “Serve then whom you will besides God. The real unfortunate ones are those who will be lost on the day of Resurrection! Now, that is a loss for sure!” They will have covering of fire from above and from beneath. This is how God makes the humankind heed the call – “O My servants, act responsibly!”

Those who refrain from worshipping false gods and turn to God – for them is the good news. So give such good news to My servants, who listen to the Word and tries to follow its best understanding. Such are the people guided by God and are people of understanding.

One against whom the sentence of grave consequence is already due – how can you save when one is already in the fire?

But those who acts responsibly in the eye of God – they will have lofty dwellings, rising one above the other, connected by flowing streams. This is a promise from God – a promise that God never fails to execute!

Verses 21 - 26

Do you see how - ALLAH sends down water from clouds, make them enter the earth to flow as streams and then brings forth vegetations of various colors, but eventually turns these yellow and withers away as dry fragments? In these there are insights for people who wish to understand.

How about the people whose hearts has been opened to peace (Islam) such that they see and follow a light from God? So unfortunate are those whose hearts are negligent of God’s remembrance - such have clearly lost their ways!

God has revealed the best narrative, a book full of comparisons and examples such that their spirit is shaken up at the very mention of their God and their hearts and their spirit are awakened to the remembrance of God. Such is effect of God’s guidance and God guide whom God wills. Whoever God leaves in error, they will find no guide.

How about the people who will have only their own persons to protect against the evil consequences of the Day of Resurrection? The unjust will be addressed thus, “Taste what you have strived for!” People before them also denied and so their consequences caught up with them while they were unprepared and unaware! God made them face the humiliation in this life and the consequences in the Hereafter are even more severe – only if they could comprehend.

Verses 27 - 35

ALLAH has set forth every kind of examples for people in this Qur’an so that they may be mindful; a Qur’an in Arabic (in their own language) without any inconsistency so that they may develop a sense of responsibility. Here is how God sets an example – a person owing allegiance to several partners who differ among themselves and a person who is devoted to one person – are these two conditions the same? Praise be to God – how most of them do not recognize!

Surely you (Prophet) will die and so will they and then they will argue with one another before God on the Day of Resurrection. Who is more blamable than one who utters falsehood against God and denies the truth when it comes to them? Should not there be a place in Hell for such deniers?

Whereas the responsible ones are they who accept the truth when it comes to them. They will have whatever they desire from their Sustainer – such being the rewards for those who do good! God protects them from the effects of their bad deeds and rewards them for their good deeds!

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

April 2024

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