Juz 23 Of 30 - Journeying Our Eyes Through The Qur'an

The 23rd Juz covers the last 55 verses of Surah Yaseen, Surah As-Saffat, Surah Saad and first 31 verses of Surah- Az-Zumar. This Juz reflects on the beauty, depth and sheer awe the Quran presents to a point that staunch enemies of Islam secretly listening were enamored by it. Over the span of two decades, verse by verse the people reflected and built a relationship with each sound of the Holy Quran. To become a Quranic society, we must question the role and status we give the Book of Truth on a daily basis. Leveling up our experience with the Quran is an essential tool to increase our mindfulness of Allah(swt). The Quran was sent down as a warning to never lose sight of our purpose. In what ways can we reflect on it everyday?

Inna 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 23. '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-salaamu alaykum and welcome to the 23rd episode in this podcast series titled "Journeying Our Eyes Through the Qur'an, exploring 30 years 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 twenty third juz of the Qur'an, which consists of the last 55 verses of Chapter 36 which is Surah Yasin, the entirety of Surat as-Saffat, 182 verses, the entirety of Surat Saad's 88 verses. And finally the first 31 verses of Surat az-Zumar.

Depending on where you are in the globe, you may have just marked the 23rd night of the month of Ramadan, the most likely night of Qadr according to some of our ahadith and traditions. This marked the climax of this beautiful month, and it was the night that we have all been looking forward to, over the past few weeks. We praid to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala that our du'as are responded to, and that we have all reached some level of proximity to Him in this beautiful month, and that we continue to do so over the next week and the few days that are left.

To mark this special occasion and day of Qadr we will elaborate a little further on some of the characteristics of the Qur'an and the role that it plays in our lives. To do so we'll first take a look at verses 22-30 of Surat az-Zumar.

Afaman sharaha Allahu sadrahoo lil Islami fa huwa 'ala noorin mir Rabbih, fa wailun lilqaasiyati quloobuhum min Dhikri Allah, ulaaa'ika fee dalaalin mubeen (39:22). Allahu nazzala ahsana al-hadithi Kitaabam mutathabiham mathaniy taqsha'irru minhu juloodu alladhina yakhshawna Rabbahum thumma taleenu julooduhum wa qulubuhum ilaa Dhikri Allah, dhalika huda Allahi yahdee bihee man yashaaa', wa man yudlili Allahu famaa lahoo min haad (39:23). Afaman yattaqee biwajhihee sooo'al 'adhabi Yawm al-Qiyaamah, wa qeela lidh-dhalimeena dhuqoo maa kuntum taksiboon (39:24). Kadhdhaba alladhina min qablihim fa ataahumul 'adhabu min haithu laa yash'uroon (39:25). Fa adhaqahumu Allaahu al-khizya fi il-hayaati ad-dunyaa wa la'adhabul Aakhirati akbar, law kaanoo ya'lamoon (39:26). Wa laqad darabnaa li in-nasi fee hadha al-Qur-aani min kulli mathalin la'allahum yatadhakkaroon (39:27).Qur-aanan 'Arabiyyan ghaira dhee 'iwajil la'allahum yattaqoon (39:28). Daraba Allahu mathalan rajulan feehi shurakaaa'u mutashaakisoona wa rajulan salaman lirajulin hal yastawiyaani mathala, alhamdu lil-Lah, bal akstharuhum la ya'lamoon (39:29). Innaka maiyitun wa innahum maiyitoon (39:30).

So is one whose heart has expanded to accept Islam, and he is upon a light from his Lord like one whose heart rejects it? Then woe to those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah. Those are in manifest error (39:22). Allah has sent down the best statement, a consistent book where, in his reiteration, the skins shiver from of those who fear their Lord, then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah by which he guides whom he wills and one whom Allah leaves astray for him, there is no guide (39:23). Then is he, who will shield with his face the worst of the punishment of the day of resurrection, like one secure from it? And it will be said to the wrongdoers taste what he used to earn (39:24). Those before them denied, and punishment came upon them from where they did not perceive (39:25). So Allah made them taste disgrace in the worldly life. But the punishment of the hereafter is greater. If only they knew (39:26). And we have certainly presented for the people in this Qur'an from every kind of example that they might remember (39:27). It is an Arabic Qur'an without any deviance that they might become righteous (39:28).

In this set of verses an interesting point is that we're told about the reaction that we should have when we listen to the Qur'an. A part of the verse says, 'taqsha'irru minhu juloodu alladheena yakhshawna Rabbahum'- that the skins should shiver of those who fear their Lord (39:23). We should have goosebumps from the sheer beauty and power of revelation and that this is a truth from the Almighty. But what's interesting is that the verse starts with this fear of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and then transitions. The verse then says, 'thumma taleenu julooduhum wa quloobuhum ilaa Dhikri Allah'- it says, after this fear, their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance of Allah (39:23).

After fear, they are now at ease and with comfort when they think about their Lord. The Qur'an should be a source of solace and comfort for our hearts. Many of us have heard the Qur'an for our entire lives. But have we truly listened to the Qur'an? Have we experienced the Qur'an in this way where it has this impact on our hearts? Sending shivers up our spines and leaving us with goosebumps in our arms from its sheer power and beauty, followed by a feeling of comfort, the sweetness of realizing that we are in the absolute care of our Lord?

Sometimes we take fear to be a bad thing, but there's times where fear can be a beautiful starting point. Some of us may be thinking that our experience with the Qur'an is foreign to this, that we've never really felt overpowered or overwhelmed with the beauty of the Qur'an in the way that these verses indicate. And we're probably wondering how can we achieve this feeling. In order to build this relationship with the Qur'an to appreciate its incredible power and beauty, what can we do?

There are a few suggestions, some of which are more material and tangible than others that will go through right now. One suggestion is to include the aesthetic sounds and beauty of the Qur'an in your experience. Listen to a soulful Qari and read the translation at the same time that you listen to this beautiful recitation. Sometimes this is one of the perks of having the Internet at our disposal. There are so many beautiful Qaris that we can listen to. This apparent beauty of the sounds of the Qur'an can help us appreciate its inner beauty.

The outer is sometimes in alignment with the inner, and this is the truth of the Qur'an. And it's also something that the Qur'an itself has told us to do where it says, 'wa rattil il-Qur'aana tarteela' (73:4). And as you're listening to this Arabic of the Qur'an in a beautiful way, or perhaps reciting it yourself in a beautiful way, which has a sweetness to it, when the words of the Qur'an come onto your tongue, make sure to soak in the meanings and to feel yourself experience the Qur'an, reading it verse by verse, understanding and acting on his messages and experiencing it as a part of our daily life.

This is another crucial component of building a relationship with the Qur'an. It's to act on its teachings. And this will impact how you experience the Qur'an. Many of us know the Hadith that states that a Mu'min or a believer reads 50 verses of the Qur'an daily. But it's not just about reading. Imagine the Qur'an played an active role where every day we immersed ourselves into 50 of its verses. Think about the impact of this, in the way that the Qur'an has the potential to shape our lives when we give it this type of role, when we're immersed in it. Many people follow TV shows or book series waiting eagerly for the next one to come up, such that it becomes a part of our lives and something that we think about. Imagine if the Qur'an played this role in our lives.

In the early days of Islam there was a level of excitement just like this when new verses were revealed, as they were revealed gradually to the people over the span of two decades. And they took in these verses bit by bit. People were so mesmerized by its recitation, its beauty, its depth, its messages to the point that Quraysh some of the Mushrikeen would call it magic. And though this was intended as an insult, it's kind of an underhanded compliment. In Surah Saad, in verses 4-9 it says the following.

They consider it odd that there should come to them a warning from among themselves and the faithless say, this is a magician and mendacious liar (38:4). Has he reduced the gods to one God? This is indeed an odd thing (38:5). Their elite go about urging others. Go and stand by your gods. This is indeed the desirable thing to do (38:6). We do not hear of this in the latter day creed. This is nothing but a fabrication (38:7). Has the reminder been sent down to him out of all of us? Rather, they are in doubt concerning My reminder. Rather, they have not yet tasted My punishment (38:8). Do they possess the treasuries of the mercy of your Lord, the Almighty, the all munificent? (38:9). Do they own the kingdom of the heavens and the Earth and whatever is in between them? If so, let them ascend to the higher spheres by means of ascension (38:10).

In these verses we see the reaction that the disbelievers had to the Qur'an. It had to be magic, they claimed. In their ignorance and narrow mindedness they could not understand why it was Rasul Allah, Sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, who was recipient to this wondrous revelation. And they pointed to his lower socio-economic status, as a type of insult, or as somehow surprise that the revelation came to him. But interestingly enough, they were kind of enamoured by it. The aesthetic beauty of the Qur'an was no match to anything, even in a society that was known for its poetry.

There's an interesting story narrated in the Sirah of Ibn Hisham, where it says that Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahl and a couple others would sneak in to listen to the verses of the Qur'an without others knowing, spying on the Muslims and listening to the beauty of the words of the Qur'an. It said that once when they were doing this, they ended up catching each other, doing it, and they asked each other what they were doing, all of them surprised to see the others there. And they all denied being Muslim. They all said, we're not Muslim, but we just came here to listen to the Qur'an, and they made a pact with one another that they wouldn't come back to listen to the Qur'an again. But despite this promise that they made each other, they caught each other listening to it for a few more nights in a row until finally they really promised each other that they wouldn't.

The story is oddly funny and yet captivating to think that even some of the worst enemies of Rasul Allah, Sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, or some of the worst of the Kuffar who were so closed off to guidance, still recognized the aesthetic beauty of the Qur'an and would listen to its words. Do we even do this? Do we appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the Qur'an? Appreciating the aesthetic beauty of the Qur'an is one thing, something that even these Kuffar did. But reflecting on it and its depths and appreciating its meanings and believing in it as the word of God is something that we as believers should be doing, and it's how we should treat the Qur'an differently.

To close this podcast episode, let's close by listening to some of the beautiful verses from this juz that describe the sheer beauty of the Qur'an and its purpose. Let's reflect on the magnitude of its revelation. And we pray that we are able to mix the Qur'an with our very beings, that we are able to embody it and reflect on its essence on this day of Qadr.

Kitaabun anzalnahu ilaika mubaarakun liyaddabbaru Aayatihee wa li yatadhakkara ulul albaab (38:29). Tanzeelu al-Kitaabi min Allahi al-'Azeezi al-Hakeem (39:1). Inna anzalna'a ilaika al-Kitaaba bil-haqqi fa'budi Allaha mukhlisan lahu ad-Deen (39:2).

It is a blessed book that We have sent down to you so that you may contemplate it signs and that those who possess intellect may take admonition (38:29). The gradual sending down of the book is from Allah the Almighty, the all wise (39:1). Indeed, we have sent down the book to you with the truth. So worship Allah, putting exclusive faith in Him (39:2).

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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