Title: Reflections of the 16th Night of Ramadan
Location: Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley
Description: Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) and Al-Mu’minun (The Believers)
Both chapters were revealed in Makkah. Al-Hajj came just before the migration, except for parts of it; which were revealed just after migration. Al-Mu’minun was revealed at an earlier period of the Prophet’s life in Makkah.
Verse 109 from the previous chapter alludes to the Day of Judgment, when Allah (SWT) says, “If they (disbelievers) give no heed, tell them: I have warned you all alike in complete fairness; now I do not know whether what you are threatened with is near or far.” Al-Hajj begins with a warning to mankind about The Day. It is meant to instill fear in us of our Lord and that day when the earth will continuously shake like it has never shaken before. This is the day when every nursing mother will forget about her infant due to fear and anxiety. People will look like they’re drunk, but they will not be. People who argue about Allah without knowledge and follow Satan are particularly warned. Those who doubt resurrection are reminded about their origin; how they were created from dust in the first place.
Allah then reprimands those who are weak in faith; those who have no problem worshipping him, and are content at times of ease. But when trials and tribulations befall, they lose faith and may turn to other deities or sources that cannot help. This is lack of faith and trust in Allah, and such a person will lose both in this world and the hereafter. Allah (SWT) reminds us that everything dwelling in the heavens and the earth bow down in worship to Him, including the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the animals, and a large number among mankind. This verse is followed by a prostration upon hearing or reciting it.
In verses 26 – 37, Allah (SWT) discusses the command to Ibrahim (AS) to build the Ka’ba for Allah’s worship, and the call to Hajj. Various rituals that are to be performed in Hajj are mentioned here.
Allah then gives permission to the Muslims to fight back with those who have expelled them from their home town of Makka. They had been unjustly expelled for simply proclaiming the Oneness of Allah, and they were now allowed to engage in war. Before this was revealed, they hadn’t been given permission to fight; even in self defense. The purpose of this fight was to repel evil and injustice with good. Allah says if this fight wasn’t decreed, the places of His worship would be utterly demolished. Allah’s help is certainly with those who help His cause. These are the people who establish prayer, pay Zakah, enjoin justice, and forbid evil.
In verses 73 – 74, Allah challenges the mindset of those who worship false gods: “Those deities whom you call besides Allah cannot create a single fly, even if they all combined their forces. Rather, if a fly snatches away anything from them, they cannot even get it back; how feebleminded are those who call, and how powerless are those to whom they call upon! In fact, Allah is the One Who is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.”
The chapter ends by telling us to bow down to Him, prostrate to Him, worship Him, and do good deeds so that we may prosper. We are told to strive in His cause with dedication and devotion, establish prayer, pay Zakah, and hold fast to Allah.
The previous chapter tells the believers to hold fast to Allah and be successful through prayer and Zakah. This chapter begins with that same success, and takes it further. It tells us to be humble and diligent in our prayers, avoid vain talk, be punctual in paying our Zakah, guard ourselves from unlawful relationships, and be true to our trusts and promises. “These are the heirs who will inherit Paradise, and live in there forever.” According to authentic source, Umar (RA) witnessed the revelation of this chapter, and reported that once it ended the Prophet said that the ones who measure up to these commandments will surely go to Paradise.
The next several verses discuss Nuh (AS) and his people; and Hud (AS) and his people. Each nation denied their messenger and was too arrogant to obey another human being. Each nation was destroyed, just like the nations upon nations that came after them and denied each of their prophets. These nations were not destroyed until several warnings came to them. As mentioned before, they denied the warnings, and even challenged Allah. Allah (SWT) commanded each messenger, and each nation through their messenger, to eat of pure things and do good deeds. Mankind was originally created as one nation and religion, but they divided themselves, each with their own doctrine.
Finally, Allah (SWT) puts this life into perspective compared to the afterlife, in addressing the disbelievers on the Day of Judgment. He will ask how many years they lived on earth, and they will reply a day or part of a day. It will then be said to them, “did you think that We had created you without any purpose and that you would never return to Us?” The chapter ends with telling the Messenger to ask, “Oh Lord, forgive and have Mercy, for You are the Best of those who show mercy.”
Lessons from Night 16
- We are to learn from those whom Allah warns in regards to lacking faith and trust in Him. True faith is when you worship Him and ask only from Him through ease and difficulty. We have to keep in mind that He will not put us through trials that He knows we would fail. Also, we cannot have the attitude of “why do bad things happen to good people.” This is the decree of Allah; a test from Him, and we have to have trust in that.
- We should abide by the first ten verses of Al-Mu’minun, as it is an assurance for entering Paradise. Zakah, which means purification and is referred to purification of our assets, also applies to purification of our character and our heart.
- We should really internalize the temporary nature of this life compared to our permanent life, and live by that.