Title: Reflections of the Six Night of Ramadan
Location: Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley
Description: Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread): 41 – 120 and Al-An’am (The Cattle): 1 – 72
Al-Ma’idah revealed in Madinah, except a few verses. Al-An’am revealed in Makkah.
The majority of this chapter was covered in the Reflections of Night 5. As we learned, this chapter addresses the believers about the covenant with Allah and how to fulfill it. In the last few verses, Allah tells us about a scene that will take place on the Day of Judgment where He will gather the Messengers and ask them about those whom they were sent to address and how they responded. Then Allah will specifically address Isa (AS) and remind him of all the favors that Allah bestowed upon him and his mother Maryam. He will be reminded of several of the miracles that were shown through him by Allah’s permission, and then a specific miracle, and an extremely stern and frightening warning that follows. This is the miracle of the table with food (Ma’idah) that Allah sent down to Isa and his believing disciples after they asked for it. They asked for it so they can satisfy their hearts and know for sure that they were told the Truth. After accepting to send the table, Allah warns: “if any of you disbelieve after that, I shall punish him with a torment which I have never inflicted on anyone in the worlds.”
This table being sent down was the gift for the believing followers of Isa (AS). The gift for the believing followers of Muhammad (SAW) is that Allah has perfected this religion for us, completed His Favor upon us, and chosen Islam as our way of life. Regarding this verse, a Jew once came to Omar (RA) and told him, “There is a verse from your book, if it was revealed to us, we would take it as a celebration.”
The dialogue between Allah and His messenger continues, and Allah asks whether he ever told his people to worship him and his mother as gods besides Allah. Obviously Allah knows that Isa said no such thing, but as this conversation will take place in front of all of humanity, it will be a way for Allah to show the people who took Isa and Maryam as gods how wrong they were and Isa himself doesn’t claim them. Allah will then say: “This is the day on which the truthful will profit from their truth; they shall have gardens under which rivers flow, to live therein forever. Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him; this is the Great Achievement.” May Allah make us from among those who fulfill the covenant with Him.
This chapter focuses on the concept of Tawheed – accepting that Allah is one and unique, with no deity aside from Him. He is free of need and above everything – physically and figuratively. This concept of Tawheed is repeated 49 times. It was sent down at night, accompanied by 70,000 angels because it’s a chapter on Tawheed. It came as comfort to the Prophet and his followers who were in a state of anxiety and depression because of the persecution from the disbelievers. The chapter begins with the first three verses beautifully praising Allah and stating His Powers. With each one, He reprimands the disbelievers – despite all His Powers, how can they disbelieve. So far, the previous chapters have mainly talked about the disbelievers form the People of the Book, and the people who believed in the previous messages as theory, but did not practice. This chapter talks about the disbelievers form Arab tribes during Muhammad’s (SAW) time, and his encounters with them. Allah uses the word ‘say’ repeatedly, advising His messenger (SAW) what to say to his people. He also uses ‘He’ for Himself, to highlight the attributes and Powers of Him (SWT). Together, these two words appear in 54 verses. Like the previous Books, the Qur’an came as evidence to the Prophet and his people – warning them, now that the clear evidence has reached them.
Verses 27 – 31 give us a little glimpse of The Day of Judgment, and show the regret that the disbelievers will have, wishing to be on Earth again so that they can believe. Allah says after this that even if they were to be sent back, they would only repeat the forbidden acts again, as they are indeed liars.
Following this, Allah (SWT) notes His messenger’s pain for being denied, then comforts him by telling him that it is not him that they deny. Rather, it is the revelations of Allah that they deny. He (SWT) goes on by reminding him about the prophets who came before him, who were also denied by their people and had various struggles, and persevered until Allah’s help came down. Allah gives the specific example of Ibrahim’s conversation with his people about taking the stars, then the moon, then the sun as their lord, in verse 74 – 79. It is important to note that Ibrahim (AS) didn’t actually believe that these creations were his lord. This was his sarcastic way of arguing with his people. We know from other examples as well, that he had an intelligent and direct way of arguing. This would truly challenge the mindset of the disbelievers and leave them stumped. Allah finishes the mention of previous prophets by saying if they had committed shirk (associating deities with Allah), all their deeds would have become void. This tells us that we are not safe from shirk just because we may think or feel that we are. It is something that can easily creep up on us in many different forms, and we have to be extremely cautious and mindful of it. Fearing others over Allah, depending on others over Allah, showing off in worship or good action, and loving others over Allah are all very dangerous and common forms of it.
Allah Also discusses the revelation he sent to Musa (AS) – The Ten Commandments, in verses 151 – 153: “Do not associate partners with Him; be good to your parents; do not kill your children with the excuse of inability to support them – We provide sustenance for you and for them; do not come near shameful deeds, whether openly or in secret; do not kill any soul forbidden by Allah, except for the requirements of justice. Thus does He command you, that you may learn wisdom. And do not come near property of an orphan, except to improve it – until he attains maturity; give full weight and justice – no burden do We place on any soul, except that what it can bear; whenever you speak, be just even if it affects your own relatives; and fulfill your covenant with Allah. These are the things enjoined on you so you may be mindful.” Ibn Mas’ud (companion of Muhammad SAW) said regarding this, that whoever wants to see the Will of the Messenger (SAW), let him recite these verses.
In verses 95 – 103, Allah once again shows His Infinite Power by mentioning His creation and attributes, then condemning the disbelievers and asking them why they are being misled.
In verses 138 – 139, Allah discusses certain disbelievers committing shirk through their cattle; making certain rules regarding them, making some prohibited from riding or carrying load, not pronouncing the name of Allah on others, reserving the offspring for males (unless they’re stillborn), and falsely attributing all this to Him. Allah promises a punishment for them. This shows that only Allah decrees lawful and unlawful. This is not even in the hands of the Prophets and Messengers.
Finally, in verse 162, Allah tells Muhammad (SAW): “Say: surely my prayer, my devotion, my life, and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” This simply teaches us complete submission to Allah. As Muslims, we need to internalize and live by the fact that Allah is our Master – He alone decrees; He is our Lord – our existence and provisions depend on Him, alone; and He is our God – He has the right on us to be worshipped, alone. And we are His slaves – we obey, submit to, and worship – Him alone. This is internalizing Tawheed.
Lessons from Night 6
- In order to strengthen our relationship with Him, and worship to Him, we should try to appreciate His Greatness and His Power through pondering on His creations that surround us. We should also know His 99 names and attributes attributes, and use them when we ask from Him.
- Always being aware of wronging Allah and ourselves through any form of Shirk.
- Let’s strive to internalize Tawheed like the way Ibrahim (AS) and the rest of the prophets did.