Juz 15 Of 30 - Journeying Our Eyes Through The Qur'an

The 15th Juz consists of Surat al-Isra (111 verses, The Night Journey) and Surat al-Kahf (First 74 verses, The Cave), both Meccan. The concepts of Rizq, sustenance and Dua, supplication, are discussed here. Man is created hasty and we often ask for things that may be detrimental to us. We quickly get dejected and disappointed in Him, but need to remember that God is the one who gives, and withholds, and that He does this in perfect measure, with full awareness and of our needs and betterment. This teaches us to have complete faith and reliance in Him, and to recognize that He is the one in complete control. God also reminds us of our fragility, and complete dependency on Him. He points out our tendency to turn to Him only in distress, when in fact we should be turning to Him constantly, with hope and gratitude. And only then will we realize that the true power of supplication is not in gaining our wants, but in realizing our deepest desire which is proximity to God.

Innaa Hadha Al-Qur'ana Yahdee li-latee hiya aqwamu wa yubashshir Al-mu'mineen al-lathi ya'malun al-salihat anna lahum Ajran Kabira (17:9) [Indeed, this Qur'an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward (17:9)].

Juz 15. 'A'udhu billahi min al-shaytan al-rajim. Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim, I begin in the name of Allah, compassionate to all, merciful to each. As-salamu alaykum and welcome to the 15th episode in this podcast series titled "The Journeying Our Eyes Through the Qur'an", exploring 30 juz in 30 days. Today, InshaAllah, we will continue our journey through the pages of the Qur'an as we take a brief look into the 15th juz of the Qur'an, which consists of the entirety of Sutah al-Israa', the night journey, which is 111 verses long, and also it contains the first 74 verses of Chapter 18 Surat al-Kahf, the cave.

Both of these surahs are also Meccan. In today's episode, we will take a brief look into two topics intimately intertwined with one another, namely Rizq and Du'a. Rizq can be translated as sustenance or provision and is in the hands of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala it is what we are allotted and what reaches us. A common struggle that we face is how our Rizq in this world or what we get in this world is tied to our Du'a or prayers and the things which we ask Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala for.

The struggle here is when we grapple with what happens when we are denied our request. Much of this struggle has to do with our relationship with Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, in understanding his role and ultimate power and control in the universe, and de facto, our own role, or lack of power at all. In Surah al-Israa' there is a very crucial verse about Du'a which we will begin by reading for today's episode.

Wa yad'uu al-insanu bish-sharri du'a'ahu bil khayr, wa kaana al-insanu 'ajoola (17:11) Man prays for ill as avidly as he prays for good and man is overhasty (17:11). From this verse, there are two major points that can be noted. The first is that there are many times when we, Insan, human beings pray for things that are actually to our detriment, mistaking them to be good for us when in reality they are harmful or negative for us. As such, we end up praying for good things and bad things for ourselves. And this stems from a lower quality, which is mentioned at the end of this verse and associated with it and that is that we are Ajool, or hasty.

As hasty creatures. A lot of the time we want things quickly and instantly without taking the time to carefully consider the reality of its benefits and harms, which is why we pray for things that are bad for us at times. Sometimes when we pray for something that we really want and perhaps we are denied it. This verse can be helpful to recall, and we can ask ourselves the question, is it possible that we're really praying for something that is Shar or that is negative, that is bad for us, and that we've confused it for something good out of our hastiness or out over the limits of our knowledge?

Many a time when our Du'as are not answered in the way that we desire material in this world, we become frustrated, thinking that somehow Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is rejecting us, and we wonder why is Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala keeping something good away from us? Why isn't he giving us what we want, what we know is good for us? Here we can look to verses 18-21 of Surat al Israa' for some further insights.

Man kana yureedu al-'ajilata 'ajjalna lahoo feehaa maa nashaaa'u liman nureedu summa ja'alnaa lahoo Jahannama yaslaahaa madhmooman madhoora (17:18). Wa man araada al-Akhirata wa sa'aa lahaa sa'yahaa wa huwa mu'minun fa ulaaa'ika kana sa'yuhum mashkooraa (17:19). Kullan numiddu ha'ulaaa'i wa ha'ula'i min 'ata'i Rabbik, wa ma kana 'ata'u Rabbika mahdhura (17:20). Undhur kaifa faddalnaa ba'dahum 'ala ba'd, wa lal-Aakhiratu akbaru darajaatin wa akbaru tafdeelaa (17:21)

Whoever desires what is immediate of this world, We expedite for him there in whatever We wish, for whomever We desire. Then We appoint hell for him, to enter it, blameful and spurned (17:18). Whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it with an endeavour worthy of it, should he be faithful. The endeavour of such will be well appreciated (17:19). To these and to those to all We extend the bounty of your Lord and the bounty of your Lord is not confined (17:20). To observe how We have given some of them an advantage over some others. Yet the hereafter is surely greater in respect of ranks and greater in respect of relative merit (17:21).

Interestingly, we see here that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala mentions that He expedites what is immediate of this world, what is, Ajila, the immediate worldly blessings. And He expedites these for disbelievers because He considers them unworthy, as He says in verse 21: 'wa lal-Aakhiratu akbaru darajaatin wa akbaru tafdeelaa' (17:21). A fastidious response for what is material and what is wealthy of this world is not necessarily an indication of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala love for us. In fact, it might be the opposite.

This doesn't mean that if Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala does choose to bless us with something, that we should immediately take it as an ill omen instead of a blessing, but is to realize that sometimes his delay or his withholding of a certain form of Rizq is not necessarily a negative thing or indicative of his unhappiness or his rejection of us as people, as followers, as believers. In verse 30 Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says:

Inna Rabbaka yabsutu ar-rizqa liman yasha'u wa yaqdir, innahoo kana bi'ibadihi Khabeeran Baseera (17:30). Indeed, your Lord expands the provision for whomever He wishes and tightens it. Indeed, He is well aware of his servants and a keen observer (17:30).

Here Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is reminding us that, yes, it is in his control to expand and give whatever He likes to whomever He wants, but the verse ends with something important, and that is remembering who Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is. Allah is aware of what we need. He's aware of what's good for us and as servants, especially as intentional servants, He pays attention to it. He says: 'innahoo kaana bi'ibaadihi Khabeeran Baseera'(17:30). He pays attention to us as believers and He responds and grants us prevision according to His all encompassing knowledge of us, our state, our well-being, our religious well-being, our spirituality, our connection with Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, our future and everything else in between.

When we realized that everything is from Him, that everything is in His control, we start to focus less on the things that are out of our control. We have a level of Tawakkul, reliance on Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and we can have a level of Tafwid which means to entrust our affairs to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. And that's what's required here. We also realize that our possessions are not our own possessions, but the Rizq is given to us and granted to us from Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala who everything belongs to. He grants it to us through various means that He puts at our disposal.

This idea makes it easier for us to give, to be less attached to this world and to give even when it comes to things like charity, and since today we're remembering Imam Hasan, alayhi assalam, we can see how his recognition of Rizq, being a blessing from Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and belonging to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is what allowed him to give an incredible amount in charity.

It is reported that twice Imam Hasan, alayhi assalam gave everything he owned in the way of charity, and in another three times he gave half of his wealth. As such, he was known for his generosity and his humbleness. He recognized that everything was in the hands of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. This characteristic of his is exceptional and it goes against a sometimes unfortunate common tendency that we have to be covetous or Halu' and often ungrateful when good things come our way.

In fact, this tendency to be ungrateful in times of ease and to be a little stingy is elaborated on in verses 66 to 69 and again, Surah al Israa'.

Rabbukumu alladhee yuzjee lakumu al-fulka fi ol-bahri litabtaghoo min fadlih, innahoo kaana bikum Raheemaa (17:66). Wa idhaa massakumu adh-dhurru fi il-bahri dalla man tad'oona illa iyyaahu falamma najjakum ila al-barri a'radtum, wa kana al-insanu kafooraa (17:67). Afa amintum any yakhsifa bikum jaaniba al-barri aw yursila 'alaikum haasiban thumma laa tajidoo lakum wakeelaa (17:68). Am amintum any yu'eedakum feehi taaratan ukhraa fa yursila 'alaikum qaasifam min ar-reehi fa yughriqakum bimaa kafartum thumma laa tajidoo lakum 'alainaa bihee tabee'aa (17:69).

Your Lord is He who drives for you the ships in the sea so that you may speak of His bounty, indeed, He is most merciful to you (17:66). When distress befalls you at sea, those whom you invoke besides Him are forsaken. But when He delivers you to land, you are a disregard full of Him. Man is very ungrateful (17:67). Do you feel secure that He will not make the coastland swallow you or He will not unleash upon you a rain of stones? Then you will not find any defender for yourselves (17:68). Do you feel secure that He will not send you back into it another time and unleash against you a shattering gale and drown you because of your unfaith? Then you will not find for yourselves any redresser against Us (17:69). And again, in verse 83, this concept is repeated again.

Wa idha an'amnaa 'ala al-insani a'rada wa na-aa bijaanibihee wa idha massahu ash-sharru kaana ya'oosaa(17:83). When We bless men, he is disregardful and turns aside. But when an ill befalls him, he is despondent (17:83).

Here we see Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala describing a tendency of human beings who have not paid much consistent attention to their spiritual purification, and what happens is that when they're blessed, they turn away from Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala instead of thanking Him and turning to Him. And the only time when they turn to God is when they are in incredible distress and have nobody else to turn to.

For example, when someone is at sea and stuck in a storm, something that no human can control or even feign control over, it is an instant of absolute vulnerability. And it's in these instances of absolute vulnerability where we feel out of control. It's these instances where we often remember Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala the most. In times of absolute desperation versus times of ease.

Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in this passage asks a few rhetorical questions and He says, Why do we feel so secure against his power? What makes us think that we will not die at any moment? Whether we are at sea or not, we are still vulnerable, fragile and in the hands of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala death could come to us at any moment. The difference is that in a storm at sea, we are more perceptive of this fragility, recognizing our vulnerability.

But it's true in all instances. Our life is always in the hands of Allah, and this fragility of our lives is not meant to scare us. But rather it is to remind us that we are absolutely at the disposal of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. That He is in control, that He is our Lord, and that we should turn to Him not only in times of desperation, but constantly. We should be consistently hopeful and thankful, unlike the tendency that we seem to have, which is to only turn to Him when we feel like we need it.

When do our most personal heart wrenching Du'as take place? Is it when we feel as though we have enough of this world and we feel truly content? Or is it when we want something of this world so badly that we turn to Him in the process? The truth is that sometimes Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala withholds something of the Duniya from us so that we can turn to Him and recognize His control. Other times it's because He knows that whatever transient, temporary pleasure we're after, is not good for us and our long term well-being or relationship with Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala or it's because He wants us to go through the process of building a personal relationship with Him, detaching ourselves from our superficial attachments.

He wants us to call to Him and He wants us to realize that our deepest desire isn't what we're asking Him for. Our deepest desire is proximity to Him, whether we realize it or we don't. Our Du'as to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala need not be transactional and Insha Allah, as we go through this holy month, we can do our level best to build on these Du'as, not just to get what we want of this world, but to build a deeper relationship with our Lord, fighting and struggling for our essential purpose in life, which is nothing other than to be connected to Him.

Wa Al-Hamdulil-Lahi Rabbi Al-Alameen, wa salla Allahu alaa nabiyyina Muhammadin, wa alihi, al-tayibeen, al-tahireen. Wa as-salamu alaykum, wa rahmatullahi, wa baraktu.

Rabbana La tuzigh Qulubana (3:8) [Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate (3:8)]

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