Title: Reflections of the 22nd Night of Ramadan
Location: Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley
Description: Ghafir (The Most Forgiving) or Al-Mu’minun (The Believer); Fussilat (The Detailed Explanation); and Ash-Shura (Consultation)
All three chapters were revealed in Makkah
This chapter begins beautifully with some attributes of Allah (SWT). “The revelation of this Book is from Allah, the Almighty, the All-Knowledgeable, the Forgiver of Sins, the Accepter of repentance, the Stern in punishment, and the Lord of bounty. There is no god except Him – to Whom all shall return.”
Another incident with Musa (AS) and Fir’aun is captured in this chapter. When Fir’aun repeatedly failed and lost hope of stopping Musa (AS) from spreading the message of Tawheed and submission to Allah, he planned on killing him. We learn that this is the case for most of the prophets throughout history. Upon hearing Fir’aun’s evil plan, one of his relatives who was secretly submitting to Allah finally spoke out in defense of Musa (AS). He argued that if Musa (AS) is lying, his lie will be on his head. But if he is speaking the truth, then what he warns you against will fall upon you. Fir’aun argued that his way and his religion is the only right way. Then this believing man began to address the people of Fir’aun. He warned them of the punishment of Allah and the Day of Judgment. He also reminded them about the warnings of previous prophets and the destruction of their nations. Fir’aun tried killing him also but he was able to get away with Allah’s protection, and the people of Fir’aun were destroyed by Allah. We then learn the final outcome of these people on the Day of Judgment when Allah will command, “Make the people of Fir’aun enter the severest punishment.” The followers among them will then say to their leaders, “We simply followed you; can you then take some of our share of the fire?” The arrogant leaders will of course refuse and tell them, “We are all in this together.”
Similar to Fir’aun, disbelievers of the past cried out and accepted the Oneness of Allah only when His punishment came to them and they were at the verge of being destroyed. Allah again shows us that professing faith at that final moment out of desperation is not accepted and useless to them.
Parts of this chapter were revealed in response to the disbelievers among the people of the Messenger (SAW) who were mocking the Message and preventing others from listening to its recital. They would accomplish this by making a lot of noise altogether upon its recital.
Verse 20 tells us about the Day of Judgment, when the enemies of Allah will be brought forth and their own ears, eyes, and skin will be made to speak and testify against them. Allah says that they will surely be punished for the worst of their misdeeds, and Hell will be their eternal home.
As for the ones who say: “Our God is Allah,” and they stay firm on it, they will be given the good news of Paradise and have protection from angels in this life and the hereafter. We learn from the verses that follow, no one is better in speech than the one who calls people to Allah and says “I am a Muslim.” Lastly, we are given some signs from the heavens and the earth, and we are called upon to prostrate to Allah (SWT) alone.
Like several other chapters, this also begins with separately pronounced letters and begins with the mention of the Qur’an. Allah says that He sent this revelation to Muhammad (SAW), as he sent revelations to other Messengers before him. In fact, He brought the same religion to the other messengers – to remain steadfast in the religion and create no division within it.
Part of this chapter emphasizes the importance of conducting mutual consultation in our daily affairs. Of course, this doesn’t apply to matters that are already declared as lawful or unlawful by Allah (SWT). This consultation is also not for matters that are recommended or not recommended by Allah (SWT), as no consultation is necessary there. It applies to matters which are permissible and have various options that will affect others. As mentioned previously, the Messenger (SAW) would regularly practice this among his companions and then make a decision based on the advice. For example, the idea of digging the trench around Madinah during the Battle of the Trench came from a companion. The Messenger (SAW) had another plan, but this companion suggested the trench after making sure the Messenger’s plan wasn’t a revelation from Allah (SWT). This shows that consultation has to come from people who are on the straight path and those with knowledge. To showcase the opposite effect of consultation, we can take the attitude of Fir’aun as an example. Due to his arrogance, he wasn’t able to take advice from anyone and believed that his way was always superior.
Lessons from Night 22
The man that spoke to defend Musa (AS) is a perfect example of speaking truth to power. He did not show any fear in speaking up against the greatest oppressor. We know that this is a form of Jihad. He also wasn’t afraid to displease his relative in order to please Allah (SWT). From a Hadith, we learn about two types of people: the one who strives to please people even at the expense of displeasing Allah (SWT), and the one who strives to please Allah, even if it may displease people. Not only will Allah be displeased with the first type of person, but Allah will make the people displeased with him also. The second type will enjoy the pleasure of Allah, and Allah will make the people pleased with him also.
Among the benefits of consultation is that it builds unity and strength among the community. Our communities have people from various backgrounds and expertise, and when we pull that together for the sake of Allah (SWT), it empowers our Islamic Centers. Additionally, Allah has promised guidance to the people who practice consultation. However, it is important to remember that successful consultation requires a humble attitude. We cannot expect our ideas to always be implemented, and we cannot get upset when they are not.