In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
A believing man of Pharaoh’s family, who until then had concealed his faith, said: Would you kill a man because he says, “God is my Lord,” when he has brought you all evidence of the truth from your Lord? If he is a liar, his lie will fall back on him; but if he is speaking the truth, something of what he warns you against is bound to befall you. God will not grace with His guidance anyone who is a lying transgressor. My people! Yours is the dominion today, having the upper hand in the land; but who will rescue us from God’s punishment should it befall us? Pharaoh said: “I am only putting before you what I see myself, and I am guiding you to none other than the path of rectitude.” (The Forgiving; Ghafir: 40: 28-29)
At this point in the story of Moses, a man from Pharaoh’s own household who had accepted the truth but kept his faith secret begins his argument in defense of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him).
In his address to Pharaoh and his courtiers, the man tries to touch their hearts with his advice and makes very convincing arguments that combine facts with the prospect of dreadful consequences.
This is a long, powerful argument advanced by a believer against the conspirators in Pharaoh’s court. His argument relies on the sound logic of uncorrupted human nature. It is a skillful argument that combines caution with power. He begins first by describing the enormity of what they propose to do: “Would you kill a man because he says, God, is my Lord?” Do such innocent words that imply personal conviction deserve killing the person who says them? Can such words be answered by murder? Shown in this way, your action appears to be gruesome, horrid, and repugnant.
He then takes a step forward, saying that this person, Moses, supports his own statement with solid and clear evidence: “He has brought you all evidence of the truth from your Lord.” Here, he is referring to the signs Moses had shown them. They certainly saw these signs, and when they were together, away from the masses, they could not argue about such signs nor their import.
The believer then puts to them the worst possible situation, taking an objective attitude to allow them to reflect on such a scenario: “If he is a liar, his lie will fall back on him.” If he is lying, he will bear the consequences of his lie and suffer his punishment. However, this does not justify killing him. There is, however, the other possibility that what he says is true. It is, then, prudent to be careful and not to expose oneself to its consequences: “But if he is speaking the truth, something of what he warns you against is bound to befall you.” Again this is the least that can be expected in this case. The man did not ask them to consider anything beyond this. His purpose was to make an objective stand, one that provided the most convincing argument.
He then delivers an implicit warning: one that applies to them and to Moses alike: “God will not grace with His guidance anyone who is a lying transgressor.” If this applies to Moses, God will not allow him to escape unscathed. Leave him to God, then, to receive his due punishment. However, you must be careful lest you be the ones who are lying transgressors because this will mean your inescapable doom.
The believer then gives them a strong warning against incurring God’s punishment, reminding them that should it befall them, no power can avert it. Their kingdom and power will then be of little use. They should remember this and be grateful to God for having given them what they enjoyed: “My people! Yours is the dominion today, having the upper hand in the land; but who will rescue us from God’s punishment should it befall us?”
At heart, the man feels what a true believer should feel: God’s punishment is closest to those who are in power. Therefore, they are the ones who should be most careful and should try their best to avoid it. It could come upon them at any moment of the night or day, so they must dread such a possibility. The man reminds them of the power and authority they enjoyed and includes himself among them as he reminds them of God’s punishment:
“Who will rescue us from God’s punishment should it befall us?” He, thus, shows them that what happens to them is a matter of great concern to him; he is one of them, awaiting the same destiny. Hence, his kind and caring advice. He hopes that they will take this to heart, realizing that it is meant most sincerely and that they stand no chance against God’s punishment should it befall them.
At this point, Pharaoh demonstrates the feeling that possesses any tyrant receiving honest advice. He turns in arrogance, perceiving detraction from his authority and encroachment on his dominion: “Pharaoh said: I am only putting before you what I see myself, and I am guiding you to none other than the path of rectitude.” I am only telling you what I know to be true and useful. It is indeed the proper path to follow. Has anyone ever heard of a tyrant who did not feel that what he said was right and full of wisdom? Would any tyrant allow for someone to imagine that he be wrong? Do tyrants allow anyone to uphold a view other than theirs? How else do they become tyrants?
In the Name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
Say: ‘I am commanded to worship God, sincere in my faith in Him alone; and I am commanded to be the first to submit myself to Him.’ Say: ‘Indeed I would dread, were I to disobey my Lord, the suffering of an awesome day.’ Say: ‘God alone do I worship, sincere in my faith in Him alone. You can worship whatever you please instead of Him.’ Say: ‘True losers indeed are those who shall have lost their own selves and their families on Resurrection Day. Such is the ultimate loss.’
Above them, there shall be layers of fire, and layers of fire shall be beneath them. In this way, God puts fear into His servants’ hearts: ‘My servants! Fear Me!’
There is good news for those who shun the worship of false deities and turn to God, so give good news to My servants, who listen carefully to what is said and follow the best of it. These are the ones whom God has graced with His guidance, and these are the ones endowed with insight. (The Throngs; Al-Zumar: 39: 11-18)
THIS passage begins with a declaration by the Prophet outlining what he is commanded to do with regard to worship, devotion, and submission to God alone. This declaration is very important in keeping the belief in God’s oneness pure, as Islam wants it to be. In this respect, the Prophet is one of God’s servants. He does not exceed that position. In their servitude to God, all people stand in one rank, while God has His sublime position over all creation.
Thus the two concepts of Godhead and servitude are well established and clearly distinguished. There can be no confusion between the two. Oneness is clearly seen as an attribute of God alone, in which no one else has any share. When Muhammad (peace be upon him) stands in the position of God’s servant making this clear declaration, fearing to commit any disobedience of God, there can be no room for any claim of intercession by idols or angels granted through addressing worship to them instead of God.
The declaration is made once more, with the Prophet’s announcement that he will stick to his way, leaving the idolaters to their way and the painful end to which that leads: “Say: God alone do I worship, sincere in my faith in Him alone. You can worship whatever you please instead of Him. Say: True losers indeed are those who shall have lost their own selves and their families on Resurrection Day. Such is the ultimate loss.”
Once more the Prophet announces: I am unwavering in following my way, addressing all worship to God, and submitting myself to Him alone. As for you, you can follow any way you want, worship whomever you wish, but this will lead you to the worst imaginable loss: a loss of oneself as one goes to hell, and the loss of family and kin, be they, believers or unbelievers. If those relatives are believers, the idolaters will have lost them as each group goes their separate ways, and if they are unbelievers, the loss is the same as they all will have lost themselves in hell: “Such is the ultimate loss.”
We then have a picture showing the extent of the loss: “Above them, there shall be layers of fire, and layers of fire shall be beneath them. In this way, God puts fear into His servants’ hearts: ‘My servants! Fear Me!’”
It is a scene that strikes real fear in people’s hearts, showing the fire in layers that engulfs people from above and below. They are seen within these layers as they close in on them from all sides. Yet these layers are fire. God shows this picture to His servants while they are on earth and still have the chance to change their ways: “In this way, God puts fear into His servants’ hearts.” He calls on them warning them so that they may choose the way to safety: “My servants! Fear Me!”
On the other side stand those who are safe, having feared this fate and done what is necessary to avoid it: “There is good news for those who shun the worship of false deities and turn to God, so give good news to My servants, who listen carefully to what is said and follow the best of it. These are the ones whom God has graced with His guidance, and these are the ones endowed with insight.” ‘False deities’ are referred to here by the word “taghut,” which implies an exaggerated sense of exceeding the bounds. Those who shun the worship of taghut are the ones who reject the worship of anyone other than God in any form whatsoever. They are the ones who turn to God, stand in front of Him, and worship Him alone. These have good news issued to them directly from on high. The Prophet is giving them this good news by God’s order: “So give good news to My servants.” The fact that this news comes from on high and is delivered by the noble messenger is in itself a great blessing.
One quality of such people is that they listen to whatever is being said, but their hearts and minds pick up only the best of it and discard the rest.
Thus, the only words that they actually receive are the best words that improve and purify people’s hearts and souls. A good soul is always ready to receive good words and respond to them, while the one which is foul receives only what is foul. “These are the ones whom God has graced with His guidance.” He knows that they are genuinely good in their hearts and souls and He, therefore, guided them to listen and respond to the best of what is said. Guidance comes only from God.
“And these are the ones endowed with insight.” It is a sound mind that leads a person to self-purification and safety. Anyone who does not follow the way that ensures such safety appears to be deprived of a sound mind and insight, which are blessings given by God.
– Commentary by Sayyid Qutb
AS far as the issue of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) night journey (Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi’raj) is concerned, we’d deal with it from the following dimensions:
1. Its time and incidents
As for its exact date, it is still controversial and no consensus has been reached. However, the majority of scholars are in favor of a date between 16-12 months prior to the Prophet’s (PBUH) migration to Madina.
It was during this period that the Prophet (PBUH) was made to undertake a night journey from the Kaaba to Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. Then he was borne to the celestial regions where he witnessed the seven Heavens, met the Prophets (of yore and saw the remarkable signs of divine majesty about which the Qur’an says: “The sight (of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) turned not aside (right or left) nor it transgressed beyond the limit (ordained for it). Indeed he (Muhammad, peace be upon him) did see of the Great Signs, of his Lord.”(Surah 53: 17-18)
The occurrence of the event at that time was meant to confer honor upon the Prophet (PBUH). It signified something like viands of higher regale in order to console and alleviate the feelings of distress caused to him by the persecution of the pagans at Taif. After the incident of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi’raj, the Prophet (PBUH) told the people about his nocturnal journey, but the Quraysh mocked him and shook their heads in disbelief stating that it was inconceivable and beyond the bounds of reason. When Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) saw the Quraysh accusing the Prophet (PBUH) of falsehood, he said, “What makes you wonder about it? If he said this, then it must be true. By Allah, he tells me that the revelation is sent down to him from Heaven in a flash or in an instant during the day or night and I believe him. This is even more unimaginable and difficult than what seems to astound you.”
2. Real significance of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi’raj
The journey of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi’raj did not occur in a routine or ordinary run of things. It was only to demonstrate the profound phenomena of the Kingdom of Allah in the Heavens and the earth to the Prophet (PBUH) of Islam. More than that, such a prophetic journey of tremendous importance alludes to a number of other significant and complex realities of far-reaching concern to humanity.
The two Qur’anic chapters (Surahs) of Al-Israa’ and An-Najm revealed in connection with this Heavenly journey indicate that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was charged with the office of prophethood for both the Houses of Allah, those in Jerusalem and Makkah, and was sent as the leader of the East and the West or the entire human race until the end of time.
As the inheritor of all the Prophets (peace be upon them all) of old, he represented the fulfillment and consummation of mankind’s religious development. His nightly journey from Makkah to Jerusalem expresses, in a figurative way, that his personality conformed and alluded to the oneness of Al-Masjid Al-Haram at Makkah and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa at Jerusalem. That all the Prophets (peace be upon them all) arrayed themselves behind him in Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa shows that the doctrine of Islam, preached by him, was final, universal and all-comprehensive, meant for every class and section of human society throughout the ages.
The event is, at the same time, indicative of the comprehensiveness of the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) and the place accorded to his followers in the great task of humanity’s guidance and the distinctive character of his message.
Frankly speaking, the incident of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi’raj represents a demarcation line between the regional, limited, and variable rules of divine guidance entrusted to the Prophets of old and the global, comprehensive, and abiding principles of faith conferred on the universal leader of the human race. Had the Prophet (peace be upon him) been a sectional or regional guide, a national leader, the savior of any particular race or the restorer of the glory of any particular people, there would have been no need to honor him with the ascension to the Heavens nor would he have been required to perceive the hidden phenomena of the Heavens and the earth. Nor would it have been necessary to create a new link between the celestial and the earthly boundaries of the Divine Kingdom; in that case, the confines of his own land, his surroundings environs, and the times would have been sufficient enough and there would have been no need for him to divert his attention to any other land or country. Neither his ascension to the most sublime regions of the Heavens and to the “Lote-Tree of the Farthest Limit” or even the nocturnal journey to the far-away Jerusalem, then in the grip of the powerful Christian Empire of Byzantium, would have been necessary at all.
The Journey of Al-Israa’ and Al-Mi’raj of the Prophet (PBUH) was a divine proclamation that he had nothing to do with the category of national or political leaders whose endeavors are limited to their own country and nation, for they serve the nations and races to which they belong and a product of their time, they serve the need of a particular juncture. The Prophet (PBUH) of Islam, on the contrary, belonged to the luminous line of the Messengers of Allah (peace be upon them all) who communicate the inspired message of Heaven to the earth. They are links between Allah and His creatures.
3. The prescription of prayer
On this occasion, Allah made 50 prayers a day obligatory for the Prophet (PBUH) and his followers. The Prophet (PBUH) constantly implored Allah for the reduction of the prayers until the Lord was also pleased to limit these to only five times daily. The Lord was also pleased to declare that whoever properly performs these five-times daily prayers would be recompensed for all the 50 daily prayers enjoined earlier.
As we go continue our everyday lives, do we ever take a pause to reflect on where we are heading? We toil throughout the day, in pursuit of All our efforts are directed towards the achievement of Well, the answers may be different for different persons, Some may have a career goal, some business, and some education, etc. But what is our goal, our aim, our objective, our target for our Afterlife, which is our true life, the life last that we have to live forever and ever and ever and ever, whether we wish to live it or not?
Have we even set our goals for the after-life or are we so consumed in bettering this temporary life for ourselves and our families that we never had the chance to give a second thought to the afterlives of ourselves and our families.
Ultimately, we all have to face our Lord, answer His questions, give an account of our life in this world, and then proceed to our final destination, may it be Heaven or Hell?
If, we enter Heaven, SubhanAllah, alhamdulillah, but what if?. just imagine what would be the state of our terror, when on the Day of Judgement, we have to go to Hell. Will the status we worked so hard to achieve in this life be of any avail? Will the wealth we spent day and night earning save us from the Fire?
[And if every person who had wronged, possessed all that is on the earth and sought to ransom himself therewith (it will not be accepted), and they would feel in their hearts regret when they see the torment.]
What use will it be if we regret then when we cannot return back, when the register of our deeds will be closed, and nothing can be done?
[And warn mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them, then the wrongdoers will say: Our Lord! Respite us for a little while, we will answer Your Call and follow the messengers! (It will be said): Had u not sworn afore time that you would not leave (the world for the Here-After).]
Today, maybe we don’t swear verbally that we will never have to leave this world, but our actions are enough to prove our beliefs.
Before the sands of time slip, and we are in a no-return position, we have to work for our afterlives and for that we have to have a goal in mind a specific target, and do I need to say, what the goal must be? all of us wanting to achieve everlasting pleasures, our goal is to achieve Jannah, which is the criterion of real success.
Surah al-‘Imran, verse 185
“Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have indeed attained the object of life [or: been successful]” (3:185).
The success of this life, the mansions we build, the wealth we amass, the enormous amount of bank balance we add up, the precious gems and jewelry we possess, they all are a temporal success, when we breathe our last, when our soul departs our body, this success will then not even matter the amount of a speck of dust to us, True success lies in seeking and achieving Jannah, AND THAT IS WHAT WE MUST STRIVE FOR.
How can we not seek to enter al-Jannah and it is the real success, it is the house of eternity, the house of lasting joy and happiness, the house where there is no sorrow, no pain, no death but just pleasure and enjoyment and above all there is in Jannah the PLEASURE OF ALLAH on its inhabitants. It is in Jannah where the believers would see their LORD, where they will meet with the Messengers and their companions, and the Martyrs.
The Jannah that is so wonderful the description of which lies in a hadith “Bricks of gold and silver, and mortar of fragrant musk, pebbles of pearl and sapphire, and soil of saffron. Whoever enters it is filled with joy and will never feel miserable; he will live there forever and never die; their clothes will never wear out and their youth will never fade.” [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, ad-Daarimee, Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh, 3/29, sahih].
In another hadith, we have
What Allaah (SWT) has kept hidden from us the delights of Paradise is beyond our ability to comprehend: al-Bukhaari reported from Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Prophet (saw) said that Allaah (swt) said, “I have prepared for My slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human heart can imagine”. Recite if you wish, “No person know what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” (32:17).
LET US ALL PRIORITISE, SORT OUT WHAT IT IS WE ACTUALLY SEEK TO ATTAIN, AND WORK HARD TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THAT GOAL, AND NOT LET OTHER TRIVIAL MATTERS STOP US FROM STRIVING TOWARDS OUR FINAL DESTINATION: JANNAH.
ALLAH tells us in Surah Aal-Imran,Verse 133:
[And run to forgiveness from ur Lord, and to Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqun]
And in Surah Hadid, ayah 21:
[Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your LORD, AND paradise, the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He is pleased with.]
This is how our manner should be in seeking Jannah, running, hastening and racing with one another, but we only compete with each other for worldly means and remain amazingly heedless to our Lord’s commands, what a shame it is.
In this world, the higher we set our aims, the harder we have to work, the more we have to sacrifice, then let us not be under the misconception that the path to Jannah is an easy one.
[Or do u think that you will enter Paradise without such trials as those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with Him said: When will the help of ALLAH come? Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!]
We will have to bear with patience all the difficulties and obstacles that come our way, and there are bound to be loads, but we have an excellent example in our Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) to follow. And all the difficulties, when compared to the rewards one hopes to obtain in Jannah, are minute.
[Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties for (the price) that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah’s Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth, which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to His covenant than Allah. Then rejoice in the bargain you have concluded. That is the supreme success.]
Let us now march forward with a clear perspective of what we aim to achieve. The clock is ticking, none of us know when the angels of Death will approach us, its high time we realize the mission in our life, and labor towards it. The path may be difficult, but once the destination is reached, we will know our efforts were not put in vain.
I ask ALLAH, He makes it easy for us to follow the path that leads to Jannah and encompass us with His Mercy and Fadhl.
I conclude with the dua of Prophet Ibrahim Alayhi salaam,
[And make me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight]
Ash-Shu’ara. Verse 85
IN a report narrated by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Hatim a Christian delegation from Najran came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and disputed about Jesus son of Mary and said who is his father, and they attributed falsehood to God.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) addressed the delegation and said, “Don’t you know that the son resembles his parents.” They replied in the positive.
He said, “Don’t you know, that God is Ever-Living, never dies, and death shall come upon Jesus (after his second coming).” They said, yes. He said, “Don’t you know that our God is the Sustainer of all that exists, He is the Preserver and Protector and gives sustenance to all.”
They said, yes. He said, “Did Jesus possess any of these qualities?” They said, no. He said, “Don’t you know that nothing is hidden from God in or on the earth or in the heavens.”
They said, yes. He said, “Did Jesus know any of these things except what God had made him know?” They said, yes. “Do you know our Lord does neither eat nor drink and is free from any attributes of weaknesses of mankind, and God-shaped Jesus in the embryo as He wished?” They said, yes. He said, “Don’t you know that Jesus’s mother conceived him, as every woman conceives, then she gave birth to him and fed him as every woman feeds her child, and he used to eat, drink, excrete and urinate. ”
They said, yes. He said, “then how he can be what you alleged i.e. God the son.” Yet they did not believe in the Prophet (peace be upon him); then Allah sent down,
“There is no God but He (The Unique), the Ever-Living, Sustainer (of all) that exists.” (Qur’an, 3:2) (Literal translation from Pickthall). In another verse, And they say Allah has begotten a son. Be He Glorified, nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. (Qur’an, 2:116)
Over and above the dogma of the godhood of Jesus, the Jews also claimed Ezra being the Son of God and the pagans said, the angels are the daughters of God. God denied them all. He is too exalted and far above any such fabrications. He is the Creator of everything and everything created depends on its existence on Him. Secondly, God is sempiternal, Immortal, and Omnipresent, but the one born out of mother is mortal. But God is eternal and perpetual therefore, a mortal can’t be a son to immortal.
Modern science found the truth of what was uttered by the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the 7th century. Let us consider the signs in their existence and in such human traits as eating human food as mentioned by the Prophet and also as per directions of the Qur’an.
“The Messiah [Isa (Jesus)], son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother [Maryam (Mary)] was a Siddiqah [i.e. she believed in the Words of Allah and His Books (See Verse 66:12)]. They both used to eat food (as any other human being, while Allah does not eat). Look how We make the Ayat (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to them; yet look how they are deluded away (from the truth).” (Qur’an, 5:75)
Science has unraveled the mechanism that fulfills the Genesis Law of reproduction only after its kind. The substance is called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) consisting of complex molecules present in the chromosomes of all plants and animal cells and carrying in coded form instructions for passing on hereditary characteristics.
DNA is a microscopic computer with built-in memory. It contains a fantastic number of blueprints and at the right time issues orders to build the cells and structures of every plant, animal, and human being to its kind.
Therefore, Ezra and Jesus had all human limitations from their mothers: the limitations of aging and decaying, eating and excreting, drinking and urinating, working and sweating, laughing and crying, awakening and sleeping, tiring and relaxing, breathing and spitting, gaining and losing, fearing and hiding and hence anyone with all these infirmities can’t be a God, neither a person with the attributes of godhood.
God is Unique, Besought of all, He begetteth not, nor He was begotten and there is none comparable unto Him.
Whatever the Prophet (peace be upon him) had told the delegation of Najran, had been duly confirmed by the modern science.