Juz 18 Of 30 - Journeying Our Eyes Through The Qur'an

Juz 18 of the Holy Qur'an consists of three surahs, Surah al-Muminun, a Meccan surah, Surah Nur, a Medinan surah, and Surah al-Furqan, a Meccan surah. Surah al-Muminun and Surah Nur discuss the certain behaviours Allah (swt) expects us to have and those behaviours that He expects us to stay away from. Through these surahs we realize the importance that Allah (swt) places on how our actions affect those around us. When we do things, we should be mindful of how we are affecting others. The characteristics that He advises us to have include: being humble in our prayer, avoiding vain talk, paying zakat, guarding our private parts, keeping our trusts and promises, being careful over our prayers, not fault-finding, and not spreading rumours about others. This juz should cause us to really reflect on our actions and whether or not they positively or negatively affect others. Do we treat others the way Allah (swt) wants us to treat them?

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 18. 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. Salaam Alaykum and welcome to the 18th episode in this podcast series titled "Journeying Our Eyes Through the Quran, Exploring 30 Juz in 30 Days". Today, In ShaAllah, we will continue our journey through the pages of the Qur'an as we take a brief look into the 18th Juz of the Quran. This Juz starts with Chapter 23 Surat ul-Mu'minun or The Believers, which is 118 verses long and is a Meccan Chapter. It also contains Chapter 24, which is Surat un-Nur an 64 verses long and a Medinan Chapter. And lastly, it also contains the first 20 verses of Surat ul-Furqan, which is a Meccan Chapter.

To begin our discussion for today's episode, we will start with the first section of Surat ul-Mu'minun. It is titled Mu'minun since the chapter begins with a description of the successful believers, which we will now read.

Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. "Qad aflaha al-mu'minoon (23:1). Alladheena hum fee Salaatihim khaashi'oon (23:2). Wa alladheenahum 'an illaghwi mu'ridhoon. (23:3) Wa alladheenahum li az-zakaati faa'iloon (23:4). Wa alladheenahum li furujihim haafidhoon (23:5). Illaa 'alaa azwaajihim aw maa malakat aymanuhum fa innahum ghairu maloomeen (23:6). Faman ibtaghaa waraa'a dhaalika fa ulaa'ikahumu ul-'aadoon (23:7).Wa alladheenahum li amaanatihim wa 'ahdihim raa'oon (23:8). Wa alladheenahum 'alaa Salawaatihim yuhaafidhoon (23:9). Ulaaa'ikahumu al-waarithoon" (23:10).

'In the name of Allah, Compassionate to all, Merciful to each. Certainly the faithful have attained salvation. Those who are humble in their prayers avoid vain talk, carry out their duty of zakat, guard themselves with modesty in terms of their relationships within the confines of marriage. But whoever seeks anything beyond that, it is they who are transgressors and those who keep their trust and covenants and are watchful of their prayers. It is they who will be the inheritors, who shall inherit Paradise and will remain in it forever (23:1-10).

In this particular passage, the Qur'an outlines certain behaviours and characteristics of the believers, beginning with one of the most crucial characteristics of a believer, which is that they are humble in their prayers. They not only turn to God in prayer, but they do so with humility, realizing their place in front of their Lord. Prayer is also mentioned again, repeated twice in this passage, once at the beginning and once at the end, where it mentions that the believers are also watchful and careful over their prayers as well, which is a slightly different descriptor from the initial humble that we mentioned a minute ago.

An interesting point to note in this description is that the majority of characteristics mentioned about a believer here have to do with the behaviours and etiquette that they have with others, i.e. how they treat and interact with their fellow human. It mentions giving charity, having relationships only within the context of marriages, keeping Amanaat, which are trust and promises, avoiding haraam social gatherings, etc.

As human beings, we are social creatures with much of our actions and deeds taking place among one another. We live with one another, we influence one another, and unfortunately, sometimes we impede on the rights of one another. But in the ethical system of Islam, the responsibilities for the way that we must act socially are not just ones of personal preference or ones where we do so from an individualistic worldview, or because we want others to treat us in the same way, or that we're legally obligated to do so.

But rather we do so because they are rooted in a God centric worldview. They are part and parcel of our faith and a part of our measure of our Taqwa. This personal piety and social responsibility is rooted in the pleasure and the commands of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala himself. The social sphere is where we see our virtues manifested. For example, if we are to claim generosity as a characteristic of ours, it is a characteristic that one may theoretically have, but it is only realized in a social setting in the context of others.

Similarly, a person may claim to be honest, but it is only when they are expressing themselves to others that this honesty is manifested. Our social interactions are the plane in which we see these virtues or vices of ours come to life, and as such we see the heavy way in which our etiquette plays a role in our piety. In the upcoming few nights as we start to think about the nights of Qadr, some of us may recite Du'a Makarim ul-Akhlaq from Sahifat as-Sajjaddiyyah.

And this Du'a is one of the most beautiful odes to the crucial nature of Adab, mannerisms and akhlaq in terms of how we act with others and how our A'imma, alayhimu as-salaam, saw these mannerisms as an integral part of their personal piety. We also see many of these ethical issues and mannerisms of the Muslims being addressed in Surat un-Nur Chapter 24 of the Qur'an called The Light, which is also in today's Juz where Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala spells out and clarifies the ways in which He expects believers to act and the ways in which they should act if faith has truly entered their hearts.

Various arenas are mentioned here, ranging from marital life to modesty to Adab and the ways in which the Muslims are told to address Rasul Allah himself, treating him as the Prophet of God. Beginning in verse 10, Surat un-Nur enters into a discussion of a major mistake that some of the early Muslimeen made when it came to believing an accusation that was spreading amongst the Muslimeen without evidence. Not only did they believe the accusation, but they spread it amongst each other.

In verse 12, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala asks them a rhetorical question. When you first heard about it, why didn't the faithful men and women think well of each other and say 'This is an obvious lie?' Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala asked them, 'Why didn't you immediately consider that what you heard was not true? Why don't you have Husn adh-dhan or good thoughts about each other?' And then Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says that the Muslims should have said "Haadhaa ifkun mubeen (24:12)- that this was a great lie," especially since there was no evidence of the accusations that were mentioned.

In verses 15-17, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala makes another powerful reminder: "Idh talaqqawnahu bi al-sinatikum wa taquluna bi afwaahikum maa laysa lakum bihee 'ilmun wa tahsabu nahu hayyinan wa huwa 'inda Allahi 'adheem.(24:15) Wa law laaa idh sami'tu muhu qultum maa yakunu lana an natakallama bihadha Subhaanaka haadha buhtaanun 'adheem. (24:16) Ya'izukumu Allahu an ta'oodu li mithlihi abadan in kuntum mu'mineen" (24:17).

When you were receiving it on your tongues and were mouthing something of which you had no knowledge, supposing it to be a light matter while it was a grave matter with Allah,(24:15) and why did you not, when you heard it, say it is not for us to say such a thing? Oh Allah, You are Immaculate. This is a monstrous calumny! (24:16) Allah advises you, lest you should ever repeat the like of it, should you be faithful (24:17).

These verses mention a part of the social etiquette of Muslims that we do not advertise nor seek to find faults in our brothers and sisters. However, this should not be confused with apathy to our ethical lines. But it does have to do with us not taking lightly what comes off of our tongues.

The problem with the Muslims in this scenario, in the occasion which this verse was revealed, wasn't that they saw the accusation as bad or deemed it as a negative and horrible thing, but it was that they were spreading this horrible accusation without evidence. Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala expects us to have ethical grounds and to dislike sin.

And of course, we are obligated to encourage others to do good and to avoid evil in order to keep society at a certain level, as we explored in a previous Juz. But at the same time, we're told not to fault find, not to advertise and spread these forms of false rumours of Fahisha, scandalous rumours amongst people. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

Surat un-Nur also consists of other injunctions with regards to behaviours like seeking permission before entering anybody's home, lowering one's gaze, which is something that's rarely noted in our societies. There are also verses with regards to the hijab mentioned in this Chapter, which inshaAllah most of us are already familiar with.

There is an encouragement towards marriage and helping others get married in order to address some of these human struggles as well. As Surat un-Nur is a Medinan Chapter, it is no surprise that we see several of these ethical injunctions in terms of how to act with one another. And as you go through this Juz today, try to focus on the behaviours that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala asks from us, those noted with love, and those noted with dislike. And let's ask ourselves, what is it that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala expects from us in a social context?

How does He want us to act with one another? What are the ways in which we can improve on our etiquettes and behaviours, seeking nothing except the Pleasure of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala?

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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