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

The 30th juz has 34 meccan surahs and 3 madani surahs. We will focus on the themes of heaven and hell for the last episode of our podcast series. We pray we arrive in jannah a place of God’s mercy, proximity and closeness and not in hell which is distant from Allah and absent of Allah’s mercy. The hereafter is the fruits of the seeds which we planted in this world. In Surah an Naziat, Allah swt reminds us that this is the day in which human beings will see or be called to remember what it is that they have strived for. Heaven and Hell are the outcomes of what we have done in this world. It’s important to note that the pleasures of paradise and displeasures of hell are not similar to the ones we experience in this lower life. To enter paradise there is no easy answer but the simple thing to focus on is giving a preference to the next world over this one.

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 30. '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 30th and final episode in this podcast series titled: "Journeying Our Eyes through the Qur'an, Exploring 30 juz in 30 days".  Today, inshaAllah, we will conclude our journey through the pages of the Qur'an as we take a brief look into the final part of the Qur'an, the 29th and the 30th juz of the Qur'an, as we wrap up this series and wrap up this beautiful and blessed month.

For this final episode, we will continue and elaborate on the topic that we began yesterday, the last of the major themes of the Qur'an on Ma'ad, or the Return and the Resurrection, and today we will explore our final destinations of Heaven and Hell, what Heaven and Hell mean, and the ways in which we will continue our life in the afterlife. After the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell are our destinations, and we pray that we arrive eternally in a destination as lofty as Jannah, a place of God's mercy, proximity and closeness. And we pray that we are far removed from Hell, from Jahannam, which is essentially distance from Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and the absence of God's mercy.

As we mentioned yesterday, the Qur'an is quite unique in terms of how much depth it enters in discussions of eschatology. And the only way that we really know what's going to happen in the Afterlife is through revelation, i.e. through the words of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and the explanations and revelations to his prophets. We know the explanations from Rasul Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, and the A'imma, alayhum as-salam.  But these are all rooted in revelation. As such, it becomes quite important to pay attention to the details and the nuances of what is discussed in these revelations. They are how we know what we know.

The topic of Heaven and Hell can sometimes be controversial and difficult to dissect and navigate, especially when it comes to the idea of eternal punishment or eternal reward. When we look at this theme of Heaven and Hell in the Qur'an, there are a few points that must be taken into consideration. This idea of an eternal destination can sometimes be a difficult topic for some to comprehend. The question arises, how is it fair for us to have an eternal destination when we only lived temporarily in this world? A simple response to this is that there is no concept of time in the Hereafter that is similar to this world, it is different. And moreover, the hereafter is simply the fruits of the seeds which we have planted in this world, i.e. it's a reflection or a consequence of our actions without time in the picture.

Whatever a person's abode ends up being, even if that may be Hell, it is befitting for them, it is not an arbitrary consequence, but rather a direct reflection of our souls, a home that we have prepared for ourselves. A befitting requital as verse twenty six of Surah An-Naba' says:  Jaza'an wifaqa (78:26). That it is a befitting it's an appropriate consequence. And in Surah An-Nazi'at  verse 35, Allah  Subhana wa Ta'ala says: Yauma yatadhakkaru al-insanu ma sa'aa (79:35). The Day when man will remember his endeavors. What this means is that the Day of Resurrection is the Day in which human beings will see or be called to remember what it is that they have tried for or strived for or worked for. The word used in this verse is Sa'a, which means efforts, and on that Day we will be held accountable for our efforts, for what we did.

To bring the point home further, in Surah Al-Muddaththir, verse thirty-eight, it says that humans will be held hostage to what they have done or more literally, whatever they have earned, where it says the following: "Kullu nafsin bima kasabat raheenah (74:38). Every soul is hostage to what it has earned. Essentially, what this verse is saying is that Heaven and Hell are only outcomes of what we have done in this world, outcomes of what we have done and what we will be held hostage to, is what we have done: the result of our actions, the conclusions of our actions, the consequences of our actions. Our destinations are not different or separate from what we have done. In fact, our destinations are intimately tied to whatever it is that we have done, whatever our actions are and are a direct reflection of the reality of our souls, which has been created in terms of what we have worked for.

Not only or Heaven and Hell, the metaphorical outcome of our actions in this world, they are the literal embodiment and outcome of our actions. They are the direct reflection of our states as souls and as human beings. Disbelievers in the Qur'an are told that they will form the actual kindling, the raw material, the twigs and wood for the fire of Hell. And similarly, believers will recognize the rewards that they receive, indicating that whatever they see is simply a manifestation of their deeds. In Surah Al-Baqarah, even though it's not in this juz, we will explore where Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says the following:

Fa in lam taf'aloo wa lan taf'aloo fattaqu an-Nara allatee waqooduh an-nasu wa al-hijaaratu u'iddat lil-kaafireen (2:24). Wa bashshiri alladheena amanoo wa 'amilu as-salihati anna lahum jannatin tajree min tahtiha al-anharu kullama ruziqoo minha min thamaratin rizqan qaaloo hadha alladhee ruziqna min qablu wa utoo bihee mutashaabihaa, wa lahum feeha azwajum mutahharatun wa hum feehaa khaalidoon (2:25). But if you do not and you will not, then beware the fire whose fuel will be humans and stones prepared for the faithless (2:24).  And give good news to those who have faith and do righteous deeds that for them shall be gardens with streams running in them. Whenever they are provided with their fruit for nourishment, they will say this is what we were provided before and they were given something resembling it. There will be chaste mates for them and they will remain there in forever (2:25).

From these verses, we can understand that the Afterlife is nothing but a manifestation of our own actions and the states of our individual souls. Is it any surprise that there is no other destiny for us except for Heaven and Hell that reflects and fits our souls most acutely? This is the ultimate expression of Divine Justice.

Another important point to take into consideration that many mufassirin discuss is that the pleasures of Paradise and the displeasures of Hell are not similar to the ones we experienced in this lower life. There are different type of existential experience. So when the verses mention fruits, and rivers, and fire, these are expressions of a deeper reality that we don't necessarily comprehend in its full sense. In Surah As-Sajdah, Allah  Subhana wa Ta'ala says the following: Fa la ta'lamu nafsum ma ukhfiya lahum min qurrati a'yunin jaza'an bima kanoo ya'maloon (32:17). No one knows what delights have been kept hidden for them in the hereafter as a reward for what they used to do (32:17). We don't know it. We don't really understand it.

But moreover, there are also many allusions to some of the more spiritual parts of Heaven and the idea that in Heaven we will be accompanied with conversations of depth and meaning and proximity to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. In Surah An-Naba,  where it says that those who are in Heaven will not hear vain talk or lies or useless forms of godlessness. It says the following: Therein, they shall hear neither vain talk nor lies (78:35). A reward and sufficing bounty from your Lord (78:36).

As a last point for today, we may be wondering how do we ensure that we enter Jannah? What's a fool-proof way that we can ensure an eternally beautiful destination? Well, there's no easy answer or easy form of action. There is a simple one, and that is to focus on what we want of the Hereafter, to act according to a desire of what we truly want our results to be in the Hereafter. This means giving preference to the Next World over this one: Bal tu'thiroona al- Hayat ad-Dunya (87:16). Wa al-Akhiratu khairun wa abqa' (87:17). But you prefer the worldly life (87:16). While the hereafter is better and more enduring (87:17). 

In this verse, Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, is reminding us that if we don't learn to choose the Hereafter and the results of the Hereafter over this world and its temporary, fleeting pleasures, then we won't succeed in the Hereafter. And the way in which we can do this is by adhering to Divine Guidelines, taking Revelation and prophetic instructions with confidence and in strength; and fulfilling our obligations like praying, fasting, the rights of others, and all that we know of our religion and of truth. If we do this, preferring the Hereafter to this world and we restrain ourselves from the temporary, fleeting, impermissible parts of this Duniya, the verses say that our end will be Paradise. This advice is simple and it is not complicated, even though, yes, it is difficult to truly implement.

Some of us will be celebrating Eid and is indeed a bittersweet day and night as another month of Ramadan has passed our hands. But the blessings of this month, the relationship with the Qur'an that we have built, our most intimate connection to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, does not need to stop here and it shouldn't stop here.

Many of us may wonder where the sweetness of the month of Ramadan lies, what is its spiritual secret? And without a doubt, a part of it is the sweet relationship with the Qur'an that we build throughout this month. For those of you who have been following this journey in this podcast series every day for the past month, how did it feel to have the Qur'an as a part of your life every day? Isn't this something that we can take forward with us beyond this month, and taste its sweetness consistently in our lives, even though it will never be as sweet as it is in the month of Ramadan?

There is a beautiful hadith from Imam As-Sajjad, alayhi assalam, narrated in Al-Kafi, where he says that even if there were nothing in the East or in the West, as long as he had the Qur'an with him, he would feel its company and wouldn't feel lonely. Well, this hadith may have sounded foreign at the beginning of this month. How does it feel to think of it now as we've built and created this deeper relationship with the Qur'an?

As the last set of verses that we will explore for this podcast series, let's take a look at some verses from Surah At-Takwir from verses twenty five to twenty nine: Wa ma huwa biqawli shaitani ir-rajeem (81:25). Fa ayna tadhaboon? (81:26). In huwa illa dhikrul lil 'alameen (81:27). Liman sha'a minkum an yastaqeem (81:28). Wa ma tasha'oona illa an yasha'a Allahu Rabbu al-'Alameen (81:29). And it is not the speech of an outcast Shaytan (81:25). So where are you going? (81:26). It is just a reminder for all the nations (81:27).  For those of you who wish to walk straight (81:28).  But you will not wish it unless it is wished by Allah. The Lord of the all the worlds (81:29). 

Here, Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is asking us a question:  Fa ayna tadhaboon? (81:26) Where are you going? What direction are you taking in life? We have been given guidance. We have been given the Qur'an, we have been given the word of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. So what are we going to do about it?

InshaAllah it is with this question, a beautiful question that we can end and close our podcast series. As a final note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the World Federation for hosting this podcast series, and I ask all of you to forgive me for my mistakes. My mistakes are mine and mine alone. To all of those who have supported this series in any capacity, we ask to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala rewards you for your efforts and for your time. While my name may be the one that you see labeled on these videos, there is a hardworking, dedicated team of volunteers who have been working throughout the nights in the month of Ramadan. There are individuals behind the scenes whose names you do not know, and who are no less deserving of the credit to make this series possible. The coordinators, editors, graphic designers and all of those who helped support this journey. Your reward is inshaAllah with the Almighty.

All Tawfiq and thanks belongs to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala the Lord of the Worlds. This year has not been an easy one, and we pray that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala eases the hardship of our oUmmah, gives solace to all of those who have suffered loss this year. And we pray that we realign ourselves with our purpose, that we move towards the ultimate message of the Qur'an, the pleasure of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and His pleasure alone.

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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