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Surah al-Fajr (No. 89, The Daybreak)

Verses 1-14

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful.

وَالْفَجْرِ

By the Daybreak, (89:1).

وَلَيَالٍ عَشْرٍ

by the ten nights, (89:2).

وَالشَّفْعِ وَالْوَتْرِ

by the Even and the Odd, (89:3).

وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَسْرِ

by the night when it departs! (89:4).

هَلْ فِي ذَٰلِكَ قَسَمٌ لِذِي حِجْرٍ

Is there an oath in that for one possessed of intellect? (89:5).

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِعَادٍ

Have you not regarded how your Lord dealt with (people of) 'Ad, (89:6).

إِرَمَ ذَاتِ الْعِمَادِ

[and people of] Iram, [the city] of the pillars, (89:7).

الَّتِي لَمْ يُخْلَقْ مِثْلُهَا فِي الْبِلَادِ

the like of which was not created among cities, (89:8).

وَثَمُودَ الَّذِينَ جَابُوا الصَّخْرَ بِالْوَادِ

and (the people of) Thamud, who hollowed out the rocks in the valley, (89:9).

وَفِرْعَوْنَ ذِي الْأَوْتَادِ

and Pharaoh, the impaler, (89:10).

الَّذِينَ طَغَوْا فِي الْبِلَادِ

- those who rebelled [against Allah] in their cities (89:11).

فَأَكْثَرُوا فِيهَا الْفَسَادَ

and caused much corruption in them, (89:12).

فَصَبَّ عَلَيْهِمْ رَبُّكَ سَوْطَ عَذَابٍ

so, your Lord poured on them lashes of punishment. (89:13)

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَبِالْمِرْصَادِ

lndeed your Lord is ever watchful. (89:14).

1. The Ways In Which Allah Treats Individuals And Nations

This surah is set out in such a way as to convey the manner in which Allah treats different individuals and nations – His sunnah (ways of precedent) - and these sunnahs, like all other conventions related to creation (sunan takwiniyyah) are never invalidated. The surah mentions:

a. The nature of the rebellious nations and what became of earlier peoples; how their rebelliousness brought them complete ruin.

b. The nature of rebellious persons, who embezzle the property of orphans and love amassing wealth, who become restless in times of difficulty and wanton in times of ease.

c. The nature of contented persons, namely the servants who are pleased with their Lord while their Lord is pleased with them.

2. Verses Without Unanimous Interpretation

There are few instances where there is as much disagreement about the interpretation of the objects of Qur'anic oaths in this surah. Some scholars have counted as many as forty different possible meanings for 'the daybreak' and 'the even and the odd!'

Based on what we have already said in similar places, we can only admit that there must be someone who accompanies the Book of Allah, and who knows the intended meaning between all of these possibilities. This person can be none other than the second of the Two Weighty Things (thaqalayn), namely the Household of the Prophet, to whom were entrusted the realities of the Qur'an, as it was to them that these were addressed.

3. Possible Meanings Of “Daybreak”, “The Ten Nights” And Other Phrases

The basic issue of the controversy about the different meanings of the words 'daybreak,' 'the ten nights,' 'the even and the odd’, and 'the night' revolves around two possibilities:

a. First, that these are connected to the time of Hajj, so, the meaning of 'daybreak' is the daybreak of Eid; 'the ten nights' are the first ten nights of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijja; 'the even and the odd' are the days of Tarwiyah and 'Arafah; and 'the night' is the night of Muzdalifa.

b. Second, that these are connected to prayer (salah); the meaning of 'daybreak' is the time of the true daybreak which is connected to the obligatory dawn prayer; 'the ten nights' are the last ten nights of Ramadan, in which a person devotes himself to following the example of the Final Messenger (S) in worshipping his Lord; 'the even and the odd' are the parts of the night prayer – shaf’ and witr - offered in the pre-dawn hours; and 'the night when it departs' is simply the end parts of the night, when most of it has passed .

Looking at these two opinions, the importance of these two pillars of worship - namely prayer and Hajj - becomes apparent.

4. Objects Of Oaths In The Qur’an

It is the convention of the Qur'an to mention the object of an oath immediately after the oath itself, but in this surah it is interesting to note:

a. First that the object of the oath is left implicit - according to one opinion - although the context suggests its import.

b. Second, after invoking these oaths, Allah poses a rhetorical question, namely: Are these oaths sufficient for someone possessed of intellect?

Is there an oath in that for one possessing intellect?” (al-Fajr, 89:5).

5. Objects Of Oaths In The Qur’an

The object of the oath (jawab al-qasam) can be either:

a. Allah's words:

“Indeed, your Lord is ever watchful!” (al-Fajr, 89:14).

b. Or it has been left implicit, and it is either an implicit warning of divine punishment and retribution for the rebels in this world and the Hereafter, or an implicit tiding of wonderful rewards for those persons with souls that are contented and who Allah is pleased with, which are happy because of their inner peace (itmi'nan) in this world and because they shall enter the paradise of their Lord on the Day of Resurrection. And this, like all other situations where the object of an oath is left unsaid, calls us to ponder and reflect on the verses of the Qur'an.

6. The Word ‘Hijr’

There is a connection between the linguistic meaning of the Arabic root h-j-r and the 'intellect' ('aql), which the phrase 'possessed of intellect' (dhu al-hijr). In every derivation of hijr, such as 'compartment' (hujra), 'ward' (mahjur 'alayh), 'a mother's care' (hijr al-umm), we find a common element that joins them together, namely protection and restraint. So, someone who is a 'ward' is prevented from disposing of his property, and both a compartment and care prevent others from entering while protecting the items they contain.

In this sense, when a person's intellect ('aql) is complete, it protects him from deviation and inclinations, and prevents him from acting against his own nature, according to the intellectual laws planted in his heart.

7. Human Power

This surah paints an image of human abilities, as represented sometimes by:

a. Engineering prowess and urban development, such as in building the city of Iram, which we are told is without peer, filled with lofty palaces and tall pillars, as we can understand from Allah's words:

“[and people of] lram, of pillars,” (al-Fajr, 89:7).

“the like of which was not created amongst cities.” (al-Fajr, 89:8).

b. Progress in industry, as represented by cutting boulders to use them in construction; this is something that can only be performed with skill, especially in the distant past when tools for cutting and shaping stone were very limited (and undeveloped). And this is alluded to by Allah's words:

“and Thamud, who hollowed out the rocks in the valley.” (al-Fajr, 89:9).

c. Military might, as represented by the power of Pharaoh and his ruthlessness in dealing with his enemies, to the extent that even his wife Assiya was not safe from him; he impaled her as he did all his opponents, as alluded to by the words:

“and Pharaoh, the impaler.” (al-Fajr, 89:10).

And all of these tyrants are united under a single banner; rebellion (tughyan), transgressing Allah's bounds and causing corruption on the earth.

8. The Corruption Of The Whole Human Species

Allah grants respite to some of those who disobey Him on a personal level and whose disobedience does not cause the corruption of the whole human species. In fact, He is eager to forgive them when they turn to Him in repentance. But He seizes with severity anyone who becomes a source of corruption for the whole human species, as He says in another verse:

“And if he were to wield authority, he would try to cause corruption in the land, and to ruin the crop and the stock...” (al-Baqarah, 2:205).

And this is why among the reasons for Allah's most severe retribution that is mentioned in this surah are the deeds of those rebels who 'caused much corruption,' and now there is no trace of them left on the face of the earth.

It should be clear that this verse gives reassurance to the mind of the Final Messenger (S) who was facing the rebels of his own time. We can see this because Allah refers to himself as 'your Lord' and connects himself to His Prophet to show that the one who dealt out retribution in previous generations is the one who will exact it upon present ones - as a natural consequence of His unrivalled Lordship - and this is what happened when He sent flocks of birds against them, and other forms of retribution as well.

9. Divine Punishments

Divine punishments are always appropriate to the nature of the sin, so, those mentioned in the verse who caused much mischief on earth, such as the peoples of 'Ad, Thamud and the Pharaoh, the punishment they respectively received corresponds with their rebellion in which they violated Allah's bounds. It is described as:

a. Continuous, as alluded to by Allah's words 'poured upon them':

“so, your Lord poured on them lashes of punishment.” (al-Fajr, 89:13).

because when water is poured it flows continuously. This also, alludes to its vigour and force, and this Qur'anic expression has been used to describe rain elsewhere:

'We poured down water plenteously.” (‘Abasa, 80:25).

b. Severe, as we can glean from the words 'lashes of punishment':

“so, your Lord poured on them lashes of punishment”. (al-Fajr, 89:13).

because a lash is a common device of corporal punishment.

c. Sudden:
Indeed, your Lord is ever watchful.” 1 (al-Fajr, 89:14).

because unexpected punishment is more painful for its victim, and that is because he has not been able to prepare himself psychologically to receive or protect himself from it.

10. The Expression “In Ambush”

The expression ‘La bil Mirsad’ '(ever watchful or literally ‘in ambush') suggests two things:

a. The ambusher wishes to exact retribution from his victim at an appropriate time, for it to be more effective.

b. The victim has no idea that his attacker is lying in wait for him, or else it would not be an ambush!

And it is obvious that if someone is aware that his Lord is watching over him, and this fact inspires him with a sense of fear and awe towards Him, then he will not fall victim to this kind of retribution, which is manifested in the fires of Hell by Allah's words:

“Verily Hell is an ambush.” (an-Naba', 78:21).

Verses 15-20

فَأَمَّا الْإِنْسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ

As for man, whenever his Lord tests him and grants him honour and blesses him, he says, 'My Lord has honoured me.' (89:15).

وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِ

But when He tests him and tightens for him his provision, he says, 'My Lord has humiliated me.' (89:16).

كَلَّا بَلْ لَا تُكْرِمُونَ الْيَتِيمَ

No indeed! Rather you do not honour the orphan, (89:17).

وَلَا تَحَاضُّونَ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ

and do not urge the feeding of the needy, (89:18).

وَتَأْكُلُونَ التُّرَاثَ أَكْلًا لَمًّا

and you eat the inheritance rapaciously, (89:19).

وَتُحِبُّونَ الْمَالَ حُبًّا جَمًّا

and you love wealth with much fondness (89:20).

11. The Way We View Blessings And Tribulations

These verses want to produce an essential change in the way that man sees blessings and tribulations; blessings are not always an honour that should occasion happiness. Nor is tribulation always a humiliation that should occasion fear and sadness:

“So, that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster.” (al-Hadid, 57:23).

Of course, it is only natural for a human being to experience these feelings in his soul, but it is the mission of the prophets to take man's hand and bring him out of the confines of his nature, both in this and other situations, as the Qur'an repeatedly affirms.

It is interesting to note that Allah has repeated the word 'tests' (ibtala) for both blessings and tribulations, as if to affirm that they both occupy the same level as a test of a servant’s commitment and obedience to his Lord!

12. The Human Nature

The verses criticizing this aspect of human nature

“As for man, whenever his Lord tests him...” (al-Fajr, 89:15).

are connected to those before and after them:

a. As for their connection to the previous verses, it is as though they are saying that the fact Allah is watching over man and waiting in ambush for the rebels means that a person should make pleasing his Lord and avoiding His displeasure his concern, and not just look at his own short-term gratification, thinking that having means is an honour while lacking them is a humiliation.

b. As for their connection to the verses that follow them, it is as though they wish to say that the sources of honour and humiliation are not as man imagines them; the real source of humiliation is some of the sins mentioned in the verse, such as failing to honour the orphans and consuming the property of others, while the real source of honour is feeding the needy and detaching one’s heart from one's property.

13. The Benchmarks Of Honour And Disgrace

It is natural for a believer, when conversing with his Lord, to keep in mind the community of the believers as a whole, which is why Allah uses the expression 'our Lord' in more than sixty places throughout the Qur'an. This means that when the believer turns towards his Lord and sees all the believers are with him, he includes them all in his supplications. But someone who is not a believer will place himself at the centre of his dialogue with his Lord without paying attention to anyone else, even if this is only because he is absorbed by the terror of something he sees. But this is the reason why when Allah relates their words, he uses the individual pronouns 'my' and 'me' –

“ …...MY Lord has honoured ME” (al-Fajr, 89:15).

and

“.... MY Lord has humiliated ME.” (al-Fajr, 89:16).

Here we should note that the benchmark of honour and humiliation in their eyes are tangible blessings (mahsusat); their level of thought does not reach the level where they consider the standard of honour and humiliation to be their degree of proximity to their Master. And this is something the later verses discussing the ‘contented soul’ (al-nafi al-mutma'inna), the phrase 'pleased, pleasing,'2 alludes to. And this is how people should see their behaviour in day-to-day life.

14. Blessings And Afflictions

When a person reaches the level where they can understand how Allah organizes this existence and that it is connected to His unparalleled wisdom, then both blessings and tribulations become as one to him, because a true servant:

a. Loves whatever his Master loves, in whatever form this love takes, so, a tribulation could actually demonstrate more love for His servant than comfort.

b. Does not see any privilege in blessings or indignation in tribulations, so, long as both of these fall upon the path towards self-development and spiritual ascent. In fact, he may even reach the level where he sees himself inclining towards tribulation because it will grant him patience (sabr) in the form of entreating and taking refuge with his Lord in this world, and additional rewards in the Hereafter.

15. Helping Orphans

What Allah intends by the verse:

No indeed! Rather you do not honour the orphan” (al-Fajr, 89:17).

is not what most people understand, namely helping the orphan by giving him food, clothing and the like. In fact, what is meant here is much more general, namely honour in its broadest sense. This means more than merely feeding; it includes doing things to make the orphan feels respected and held in high esteem rather than the feeling of insignificance that usually accompanies being an orphan. Equally, Allah does not mean that you should only feed the needy, but that you should encourage others to do likewise too; if only some people spend, this will not meet the needs of all the needy persons because of great number of needy persons in every age. No, rather all the believers must strive to encourage one another, especially when it comes to providing food, for lacking a basic means of subsistence - as we are told by the Commander of the Faithful (‘a)-causes 'the poor to be perturbed by their poverty.' 3

It is interesting that the Qur'an singles out this iniquity - failing to encourage others to feed the needy - out of all others for harsh rebuke, and categorizes it as one of the qualities of the disbelievers;

Indeed, he had no faith in Allah, the All-supreme,” (al-Haqqah, 69:33).

“and he did not urge the feeding of the needy...” (al-Haqqah, 69:34)

16. Usurping The Property Of An Orphan

The fact that an orphan lacks a guardian is one of the reasons why some persons dare to usurp his property and treat it as their own:

“and you eat the inheritance rapaciously,” (al-Fajr, 89:19).

only to ultimately ingest fire into his belly. This is the spiritual reality (malakut) of wrongfully consuming the property of orphans.

And the verses encouraging friendliness towards orphans are Indeed, abundant, whether with regards to the orphans themselves or their property. For example, Allah says:

'...you should maintain the orphans with justice ...' (an-Nisaa’, 4:127).

'And when the division is attended by relatives, the orphans and the needy, provide for them out of it, and speak to them honourable words.' (an-Nisaa’, 4:8).

'...and do not eat up their property, mingling it with your own...’ (an-Nisaa’, 4:2).

In this surah, we read:

“No indeed! Rather you do not honour the orphan.” (al-Fajr, 89:17).

And the shift in address that this verse contains, whereby it moves from the third-person ("he") to the second-person ("you"), serves to make the prohibition of the sin more effective and the reprimand of its perpetrator more forceful!

17. Struggle

When the Qur’an attributes something to human nature, such as greed, anxiety and parsimony, as in Allah's words:

“Indeed, man has been created covetous, anxious when an ill befalls him and grudging when good comes his way” (al-Ma'arij, 70:19).

and such as the love of wealth:

and you love wealth with much fondness.” (al-Fajr, 89:20).

This highlights an important fact; which is that uprooting these vices from the soul and restraining oneself from following this baser nature requires that a person struggles and overcomes his low self (nafs), or else he will be pulled along by this nature just as objects are pulled to the ground by gravity.

It is worth noting here that this surah warns against some specific consequences of love for wealth; failing to honour the orphan, to feed the needy, devouring the inheritance of others, and loving to amass wealth by any means possible, whether ethically or otherwise.

Verses 21-30

كَلَّا إِذَا دُكَّتِ الْأَرْضُ دَكًّا دَكًّا

No indeed! When the earth is leveled to a plain, (89:21).

وَجَاءَ رَبُّكَ وَالْمَلَكُ صَفًّا صَفًّا

And your Lord and the angels arrive in ranks, (89:22).

وَجِيءَ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِجَهَنَّمَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنْسَانُ وَأَنَّىٰ لَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ

the day when hell is brought [near), on that day man will take admonition but what will the admonition avail him? (89:23).

يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي قَدَّمْتُ لِحَيَاتِي

He will say, 'Alas, had I sent ahead for my life!' (89:24).

فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لَا يُعَذِّبُ عَذَابَهُ أَحَدٌ

On that day none shall punish as He punishes, (89:25).

وَلَا يُوثِقُ وَثَاقَهُ أَحَدٌ

and none shall bind as He binds. (89:26).

يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ

'O contented soul! (89:27).

ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّةً

Return to your Lord, pleased, pleasing! (89:28).

فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي

Then enter among My servants! (89:29).

وَادْخُلِي جَنَّتِي

And enter My paradise!' (89:30).

18. Magnificient Sights

When Allah says:

“No indeed! When the earth is leveled to a plain” (al-Fajr, 89:21).

this prevents the human being from attaching too much importance to the magnificent sights his eyes perceive in this world, whether these are manmade - like the towering buildings - or natural - like the firm mountains - because his heart perceives that these lofty and imposing edifices will ultimately be reduced to scattered dust:

'They question you concerning the mountains. Say, 'My Lord will scatter them like dust.” (Ta Ha, 20:105).

“Then He will leave it a level plain.” (Ta Ha, 20:106).

“You will not see any crookedness or unevenness in it!” (Ta Ha, 20:107).

Clearly, when these towering manmade and natural landmarks on earth are leveled and a new stage begins:

“and your Lord and the angels arrive in ranks,” (al-Fajr, 89:22).

then the awe of being in the divine presence at that terrifying moment will be clearly visible. How fortunate is someone to have a friendly relationship with the Master of this grandeur while he is in this world, before he sees what will become of its towering landmarks!

19. The Expression “No, Indeed!”

The word 'No, indeed!' (kalla), which is repeated twice in this surah - even though it is not visibly connected to anything - has a very deep meaning. It represents a rejection of a previous idea in preparation for receiving a new one:

a. In the first instance

No indeed! Rather you do not honour the orphan” (al-Fajr, 89:17).

this is a rejection of their false belief that being blessed (with good life) is a mark of honour, while a tightening of provision is a mark of humiliation. This is as a preliminary step to adopting an alternative belief, namely that honouring the orphan is a mark of honour and withholding sustenance from the needy and not encouraging others to feed them is a mark of humiliation.

b. In the second instance,

“No indeed! When the earth is leveled to a plain,” (al-Fajr, 89:21).

it prepares the audience to receive the belief that a person's real honour or humiliation begins with what is made manifest on the Day of Resurrection as a result of his efforts in this world, when Allah levels the earth completely and the human being stands before his Lord as a meek servant.

20. The ‘Physical’ Form Of Allah

The Qur'an wants those who recite its verses to be people of intelligence, and this requires them to think and ponder. So, there are verses, which would appear to indicate that the Creator has a physical form, for example:

“The All-beneficent settled on the Throne.” (Ta ha, 20:5).

“The hand of Allah is above their hands.” (al-Fath, 48:10).

“Do they await anything but that Allah should come to them in the shades of the clouds.” (al-Baqarah, 2:210).

In addition to the phrase contained in this surah:

“and your Lord and the angels ARRIVE in ranks.” (al-Fajr, 89:22).

However, when a person opens the locks upon their heart and realizes it is impossible for the Creator to have a physical form as stated by this verse:

“Nothing is like unto Him” (ash-Shura, 42:11).

and because He said of Himself:

'You shall not see Me.” (al-A'raf, 7:143).

So, there is no other explanation except that there is an implicit meaning to the aforementioned verses, such as Allah's command, dominance or magnificent signs etc.

21. The Hell Being Brought Near

When we talk about the Hell being brought near on the Day of Resurrection, we can explain it either:

a. Metaphorically, meaning that it came into view for its inmates, as in Allah's saying:

“and hell is brought into view for one who sees” (an-Nazi'at, 79:36).

so, it is as though it came to them after being absent.

b. Or literally, meaning that Hell moves from its place and heads towards them, and this appears to be even more terrifying because it makes Hell seem eager to devour them, saying:

“ …... Is there any more?” (Qaf, 50:30).

And this interpretation is supported by a narration from the Prophet (S) when he was asked about Hell being brought near: 'When the first and the last are gathered, Hell is driven forth.'4

And it is narrated that the Prophet (S) was so, distressed by this that his face changed visibly and it was difficult for his companions to see him like this. And that is when this verse came down because of the severity of its contents. It is only to be expected that a person will remember his efforts in this world, but without this reminder what use is it, for on that day he will have no time left to work!

22. What The Resurrected People Will Wish For Themselves

There are a number of things that the resurrected people will wish for themselves when they see the divine punishment, including:

a. That they had not taken as a friend one who barred their way towards Allah in this world:

“Woe to me! I wish I had not taken so, and so, as a friend!” (al-Furqan, 25:28).

b. That they had not been given their record of deeds because of the humiliating details it contains:

“But as for him who is given his book in his left hand, he will say, 'I wish I had not been given my book.” (al-Haqqah, 69:25).

c. That they were reduced to dust so, that there would never have been an accounting (for them) nor a record of deeds:

“Indeed, We have warned you of a punishment near at hand - the day when a person will observe what his hands have sent ahead and the faithless one will say, 'I wish I were (mere) dust!” (an-Naba', 78:40).

d. And what this surah records, which is that they wish they had sent something ahead for their life:

“ .... Alas, had I sent ahead for my life!” (al-Fajr, 89:24).

And it is interesting that the one speaking in the above verse, it does not say 'for my Hereafter,'. It is as if everything that came before that moment was not really life, and this is made clear in another verse:

“The life of this world is nothing but diversion and play, but the abode of the Hereafter is Indeed, Life, had they known!” (al-'Ankabut, 29:64).

23. Allah’s Threats

It is the habit of Allah, the Most-Generous and Most-Forbearing, to avoid threats and warnings except where necessary, so, what about actually carrying out a threat? And what if a threat was more appropriate than a warning?

You see, man's insolence towards their Lord reaches such a level that it causes Him, the One whose mercy precedes His wrath, to threaten them with the very highest level of threat; He says:

“On that day none shall punish as He punishes,” (al-Fajr, 89:25).

“and none shall bind as He binds.” (al-Fajr, 89:26).

He places Himself in the position of the greatest force, whether we attribute ‘punishes’ or ‘binds’ to the Divine Essence - as according to the common recitation - or to the servant - according to the alternate recitation whereby 'punishes' and 'binds' are read in the passive voice (i.e. 'On that day none shall be punished as he [the servant] is punished, and none shall be bound as he [the servant] is bound'). Of course, when we ponder on this terrifying description of punishment and binding, it makes the persecution of the faithful by the disbelievers seem trivial in comparison, as what awaits the oppressors is so, severe that it cannot even be conceived!

24. The “Contented Soul”

The 'contented soul' (al-nafs al-mutma'inna) is ennobled here by being the object of Allah's direct address ('O contented soul!') even if the possessor of this soul is not a recipient of revelations!

Let it be known that the way to this state of inner peace is made clear in the Qur'an, and it is represented by remembrance (dhikr), as in Allah's saying:

“Lo! Verily in the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find rest!” (ar-Ra'd, 13:28).

And this is achieved through two means:

a. Prayer (salat): Allah says:

“Maintain the prayer for My remembrance.” (Ta Ha, 20:14).

b. The Qur'an, for He refers to His scripture:

“Indeed, We have sent down the Reminder ...” (al-Hijr, 15:9).

So, the combination of ascent, represented by prayer and descent, represented by the Qur’an can convey us to this level, and this is why Imam al-Sajjad (‘a) says: 'Even if everyone between the East and the West were to die, [and I was the last man alive,] I would not fear so, long as I had the Qur'an with me.'5

25. “Enter My Paradise”

Allah speaks about Paradise and attaches it to Himself with the words:

“enter My Paradise!” (al-Fajr, 89:30).

We do not find this expression anywhere except in this surah; and this is to convey the exceptional honour of this Paradise, which has been prepared for a group of servants whom Allah has attached to Himself. The same applies to His words:

“enter among my Servants!” (al-Fajr, 89:29).

as Allah makes entering within the ranks of His servants who have been singled out for His providence the recompense of the contented soul, and that is only because they dedicated the most sacred part of their being to Him alone - and, of course, it is their heart! - which means that He poured out contentedness upon them, causing them to become pleased with Him and pleasing to Him.

It is interesting to note here that Allah mentions - as a recompense - entering in the ranks of His servants first, that is headed by, according to a narration from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), 'Muhammad and his Household'6 and second entering Paradise, for verily the nobleness of Paradise comes from its inhabitants, just as any place becomes noble because of the one who is in it!

26. Entering Paradise

Entering Paradise, whether this is Paradise in general or the Paradise reserved for Allah's friends (awliya’), depends on the feeling of fear of standing before one's Lord, as Allah says:

“But as for him who fears standing before his Lord and forbids the soul from desire,” (an-Nazi'at, 79:40).

“his refuge will Indeed, be paradise.” (an-Nazi'at, 79:41).

And this fear accompanies or is accompanied by a person resisting his own desires himself, as there is no fatalism meanwhile.

And here we must distinguish between the fear of standing before one's Lord and the fear of His punishment, for what radiates from Allah's closest servants is the former rather than the latter, because they would not do anything that would bring down His punishment upon them!

  • 1. ‘La bil Mirsad’ literally means ‘in ambush’ [Note of Al-Islam]
  • 2. See Surah al-Fajr:
    “Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him)” (89:28).
  • 3. Nahj al-Balagha, sermon no. 209.
  • 4. Bihar al-Anwar, 7/125.
  • 5. Al-Kafi 2/602.
  • 6. Al-Kafi 3/127