Title: Reflections of the 20th Night of Ramadan
Location: Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley
Description: Al-Ahzab (The Allies); Sabaa (the city of Sheba); Fatir (The Originator of Creation); and Ya-Seen
Al-Ahzab was revealed in Madinah, and the rest were revealed in Makkah.
The chapter begins with addressing Muhammad (SAW) as “Oh Prophet.” Throughout the Qur’an he is referred to as “Oh Prophet,” or “Oh Messenger,” or by certain characteristics. Even when his name is mentioned, “Messenger of Allah” is place immediately after. This shows Allah’s softness towards him and the esteemed position that he is placed in, due to the high level of God consciousness that he had. Other prophets and messengers are called upon by their name alone. Allah Himself holds the Messenger in such a high regard, and we are taught to do the same. Therefore, we are required to send blessings and peace upon him when he is mentioned. We are not true believers until he is more beloved to us than anyone else; including our families, spouses, mothers, and even our own selves. Also, his wives (RA) are to be as beloved to us as our mothers.
In the next several verses we read about the Battle of the Trench that took place in Madina; and kept the city blocked off for 21 days. This was a time of fear, and a major test for the believers. Many of those among the believers were exposed as hypocrites or cowards, as they abandoned their army on the battle field. Through them, we are warned not to fear anyone except Allah. Only He can protect us, and only He can allow harm to us. Once again, Allah’s help came to the believers when He unleashed violent winds and invisible forces against their enemies.
The chapter begins by praising Allah (SWT), and then mentioning the Day of Judgment. Even something as small as an atom is not hidden from Him and is recorded in the Clear Book.
Allah (SWT) once again tells us the favors He bestowed upon Dawud and Sulaiman (AS), and shows how thankful they were to Him. Dawud was given a beautiful voice, and the mountains and birds were commanded to sing Allah’s praises along with him. Also, Iron was made soft for him, enabling him to craft armor. As for Sulaiman, he was given control over wind by which he could travel a month’s distance in one morning, or one evening. He was given a fountain of molten copper. He was also given control over jinns who built massive arches, basins, and cooking pots for him. Again, they are noted in the Qur’an for their gratitude.
On the other hand, we are told about the people of the town of Sabaa, which is in Yemen. They are noted for their ingratitude to Allah. They were given two gardens to eat and enjoy from, but gave no regard to Allah and turned away from Him. Therefore, Allah sent a flood to convert them into gardens producing bitter fruit. Allah states that only a few of his devotees are truly thankful to Him.
This chapter also begins with the praise of Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth. Allah (SWT) then talks about the angels that he appoints as His messengers, with two, three, four, or more pairs of wings. It is reported by the Messenger (SAW) that the Archangel Jibreel had 600 wings when he saw him in his actual form during his visit to the seven heavens.
In verse 6, Allah (SWT) reminds us that Satan is our enemy; therefore we should treat him as our enemy. He invites us towards his way only so we can accompany him in the blazing fire. With this, Allah tells us that everyone will be responsible for themselves on the Day of Judgment. No one will carry the burden of anyone else. We are all accountable for our own actions, and even Satan will not assume any responsibility for leading people astray.
Allah tells us about three types of believers that the Book was revealed to: 1) Some who wrong their own souls, 2) some who take a middle path, 3) and some who, by Allah’s permission, excel in good deeds. The third category, Allah says, will be the ones to enter the Gardens of Paradise where they will be decorated with bracelets of gold and pearl, and wear garments of silk. According to the Prophet (SAW), people of the third category will be ahead, as they excelled in good deeds. People of the second category will be safe. And people of the first category will be forgiven. This truly shows the infinite Mercy of Allah (SWT). Of course, none in these three categories will enter Paradise without that Mercy. Furthermore, Allah says that if He were to hold us all accountable for our misdeeds, he would not leave any living creature on the earth. But out of His Mercy, He is giving us a chance until the Day of Judgment.
According to the Messenger (SAW), this chapter is the heart of the Qur’an. He also advised us to recite it over a person who is passing away.
Some scenes from the Day of Judgment are presented to us in parts of the chapter. We begin with a beautiful description of Paradise. The residents therein will be preoccupied with their pleasure. There will be no more worries of any kind. Each moment will be spent in enjoyment. They will be reclined on couches in the shade of trees, along with their wives. And the greatest gift; they will be greeted with Salaam from the Lord, Most Merciful.
Allah (SWT) will then turn to the criminals and scold them, saying “Did I not command you not to worship Satan? That he is an open enemy to you? Had you no common sense? Here is the hell that you were repeatedly warned about.” Their mouths will be sealed that day, and their limbs will speak to bear witness against them. May Allah (SWT) save us from this.
The chapter ends with declaring, “Glory be to Him in Whose hands is the Kingdom of all things; and Whom you shall all be brought back.
Lessons from Night 20
- We may find it difficult to be able to love the Messenger (SAW) more than our own selves, but if we learn about, and begin to appreciate everything that he went through for us, it will become easier inshaAllah.
- We are reminded of the importance of being thankful to Allah (SWT) for all that He has blessed us with, and also the dangers of ingratitude. The more we are blessed with, the more responsibility is upon us to be grateful.
- We have to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions in this life, and constantly repent to Allah.