Title: Reflections of the Seventh Night of Ramadan
Description: Al-An’am (The Cattle): 73 – 165 and Al-A’raf (The Elevated Place): 1 – 51
Both revealed in Makkah, around the same time. As mentioned in Night 6 Reflections, the tension between the believers and disbelievers of Makkah was at its height during this period.
Al-An’am was entirely covered in Night 6 Reflections. We learned about Tawheed, staying clear from any form of associating deities to Allah (Shirk), and the struggle with all the prophets and messengers with good versus evil; tawheed versus shirk.
Struggles of Adam With Iblees (Leader of Satans)
The fight of good vs. evil has been in existence ever since the creation of Adam, and in the beginning of this chapter, we learn that Iblees has been the root of evil since that time and he will be until the end of time. Verses 11- 25 tell us the famous incident of Iblees being expelled from his high ranks in Paradise after disobeying Allah. After being granted his wish of living until the Day of Judgment, he made a promise to wait on the Straight Path of Allah and attack us from all around. He began right away by encouraging Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden fruit. In doing so, he used many tricks and tools to finally deceive them.
As briefly discussed in Night 2 Reflections, Satan still uses these methods to deceive mankind from what is good, and it is extremely crucial that we know these tricks so that we can be aware. Before we get into these tools, it is important to note that Iblees promised that day to lie in Allah’s Straight Path, waiting to attack. This tells us that he will attack the people who are actually striving for good and not those who are already on the wrong path. He is after the people active in Allah’s cause; mosques, Islamic schools, charity work, etc.
- He first tried to tempt them by revealing each other’s shame that they had never seen before. Adam and Eve were created with dignity and shame, and Iblees wanted to take that away from them.
- Then he lied about material benefits from eating from the fruit – being immortal. And he falsely swore, saying “I am one of the sincere well wishers for both of you.” He wanted time for himself when he asked to live until The Day of Resurrection, and he uses time to deceive us; telling us we have a lot of time for good deeds and getting us to procrastinate.
- Once deceived, their shame became visible to them, and they started to cover themselves from the leaves. This is happening in society today. Shamelessness is continuously becoming more open through disobedience to Allah. Adam and Eve’s shame was shown and they immediately started to cover up. This shows that shame and dignity are characteristics that human is born with. It is on us to preserve that. Verse 26: “Oh children of Adam, We have sent you clothing to cover yourselves, and also for beautification for you. But the clothing of righteousness – that is the best.”
Allah then tells us not to let Satan misguide us in the same method that he used to get our parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their shame. Adam and Eve were innocent, and they had never been exposed to evil in the peaceful Garden, and Iblees took advantage of this. We are therefore being told to learn from our parents’ incident and be aware of Satan’s wickedness. Following this, Allah tells us about certain people who do a little shameful, and then use the excuse that “we found our fathers doing the same.” Allah condemns this attitude and teaches us that we ourselves are accountable for our wrong; not our ancestors.
The People of Al-A’raf
Al-A’raf is described as a place that is in between Heaven and Hell, where the people who’s good and bad deeds balanced, will remain for some time. It comes from a word that means a piece of land that is elevated and peaked at the top. After briefly discussing the people of Heaven and the people of Hell, Allah captures the conversations that will take place between them, and also their conversations with the people of A’raf, in verses 44 – 51. The people of A’raf will recognize the residents of Paradise by their features, and will greet them, saying “peace upon you.” They will not have entered yet, but will have high hopes of entering. They will then see the people of Hell and will say, “Our Lord, do not send us to the company of the wrongdoers.” The inmates of Hell will them cry out to the residents of Paradise, saying “Give us some water or some food which Allah has provided you with.” They will reply, “Allah has prohibited both of these things to the unbelievers, who took their religion to be mere amusement and play, and were deceived by their Earthly life.” Allah will finally say, “Today We will forget them as they forgot the meeting of this Day, and mocked Our revelations.” May He (SWT) save us from being among these people. The people of A’raf will eventually be granted entrance to Paradise, by Allah’s Will and Mercy.
Lessons from Night 7
- The struggle between good and evil has existed since the creation of Adam (AS), and it will always exist, until the end of time. It is up to us to know the tricks of Satan and persevere through his temptations.
- After Adam and Eve were deceived into eating from the fruit, they immediately asked to be forgiven with a beautiful prayer: “Our Lord, we have wronged our souls; if You do not forgive us and have Mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers.” Allah’s infinite Mercy is always there; we just need to turn back to him and ask for it when we do sin.
- We pray that Allah enters us directly into Paradise, but let’s imagine ourselves, for a moment, among the people of Al’A’raf, having those very conversations. The anxiety that would be felt is unparallel to any anxiety that we feel on Earth. The balance that those people will have between the hopes of being among the people of Paradise and the fear of being in Hell is shown in the above verses, and it is very important for us believers to have this attitude in this life. We cannot undermine the Mercy of Allah, and we cannot be overly secure from the safely of His Punishment. This is perfectly shown by a statement of Umar (RA): “If all of mankind were to enter the Fire except for one, I would hope that person would be me. And if all of mankind were called to enter Paradise except for one, I would fear that one person would be me.” If one of the greatest companions of the Prophet (SAW) had this fear, then where do we stand?