By Um Hussein
In the Name of Allah, The All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful
In the true words of the Holy Qur’an, 17:9-10
“Indeed this Qur’an guides to what is most upright, and gives the good news to the faithful who do righteous deeds that there is a great reward for them. As for those who do not believe in the Hereafter, We have prepared a painful punishment for them.”
As we reflect upon the 26th juz’ of the Qur’an, we must understand what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) has said about the Holy Qur’an.
The Prophet (saaw) said:
“I leave behind me two weighty (very worthy and important) things:
The book of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an), which is a stretched string from the heaven to the earth, and my progeny, (my AhlulBayt); for verily Allah, the Merciful, the Aware, informed me that never, never will these two get separated from each other until they meet me at the Fountain of Abundance (Houd of Kauthar). Therefore, be careful and contemplate on how you will treat them (after me)”. Ma’uni-ul-Akhbar, p.90 Tradition 2 & Musnad Ahmad-ibn-Hanbal, Vol.3, p17
The 26th Juz’ of the Qur’an is comprised of six chapters:
Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:1-35 verses (ayah), Surah Muhammad 47:1-38, Surah Al-Fath 48:1-29, Surah Al-Hujurat 1-18, Surah Qaf 50:1-45 and Surah Al-Dhariyat 51:1-30.
The first surah of this juz’, which was revealed in Mecca, reveals a major warning to anyone who denies the truth and the Resurrection. The word ahqaf refers to the “curved sandhills” whereby the people of Ad were warned by Prophet Hud (as) and they ignored his warnings. Thus the wind blew for seven days and seven nights piling up sand that erased traces of their existence. False pride and enduring obstinacy were the prevailing attitudes then and one can observe them clearly in contemporary global society. This particular juz’ is filled with the warnings of “fire and brimstone ” reminiscent of early rural African American sermons that resonant in some speeches today. Wrong doing impedes insight and results in deprivation of Divine Grace. Today, we are faced with the decision to “stand up” and risk loss of worldly freedom, wealth, even life or live a life filled with anxiety, oppression and ultimately a loss of faith that can result in the loss of Allah’s forgiveness.
In Surah Muhammad, the dominant theme of jihad against the enemies of Islam strikes a deep cord of fear familiar to those present in the time this surah was revealed in Mecca which persists even to this day. People fear to say the word jihad, much more to type it into their electronic devices or utter it in a public space. It is mentioned in verse 20 that when struggle is mentioned as in war, the faint heartened become sick. The defining specifications of those who follow their own desires is stated clearly as those who choose to enjoy this life and seek personal pleasure. We are abound with pleasure-seeking activities that numb our sensibilities masking our fear and doubt. Resultant of fear, doubt, and ignorance is our decreasing faith and withdrawal of Allah’s rewards.
We live in a time where polytheism and disbelief appear to be truth which gives us free license to pursue our enamored examples of the rich and famous, singing idols and “golden calves”. Let us be clear that polytheism can even be a form of self-worship, placing ones desired and personal preferences before the commands of Allah.
Reference in the final verses of Surah Muhammad, refer to “stinginess”. We can observe in the millions of people migrating from war today, that the cost of struggle is expensive. Would it be so far a stretch in thought, that as people of African descent in the West, our migration could take another forced turn in the light of contemporary threats? Will we be then stingy and niggardly? Even now we can report the reluctance of some Muslims to return a simple greeting of “Peace.” Imam Husayn (as), grandson of Our Holy Prophet, said:” The niggardly person is he is too niggardly to greet.” Stinginess is sometimes overlooked within our struggling communities. Our economic power must be refocused to promote unity, reject the branding of our oppressor and encourage self sufficiency within our African American communities and throughout the African Diaspora.
Characteristic of Allah’s Mercy and Compassion, we are given hope and promise of victory in Surah Al-Fath in terms of forgiveness. We can also be given guidance, composure in our hearts and the ability to increase one’s faith. In this Medinan surah, revealed in the sixth year after the Treaty of Hudabiyya, strivers are given assurance that they will be recognized and rewarded according to their good deeds.
We as people of African descent and of the African Diaspora, let us self describe as having been guided by Allah, to have submitted to Islam. Surah 50:15, defines:
“The faithful are only those who have attained faith in Allah and His Apostle and then have never doubted, and who wage jihad with their possessions and their persons in the way of Allah. It is they who are the truthful (sincere)”
Are we, the African Diaspora, like the people of Noah..?
The people of Noah denied before them, and [so did] the inhabitants of Rass, and Thamud, and Ad, Pharoah, and the brethren of Lot, and the inhabitants of Aykah and the people of Tubba.
Each [of them] impugned the apostles, and so My threat became due [against them]. Surah Qaf:12-14
Let us strive to be as individuals, families, clans, tribes and communities in the Diaspora to be described as in Surah Al-Dhariyat 51:17-19:
“They used to sleep a little during the night, and at dawns they would plead for forgiveness, and there was a share in their wealth for the beggar and the deprived.”
Let us not think of Islam as a worthless old lie from the past (46:11), but rather utilize the bounties of health, property, wealth, delicious food and intellect to attain virtue and perfection which can be accomplished within 40 years of life. Let us not aid the enemies of Islam in usurping and erasing traces of our existence or living lives worthy of Allah’s erasure. By example, we can bring hope to our oppressed communities of a good life in this world and in the Hereafter for those who have done good deeds.
Khadijah Rose is the descendant of Black Cherokees, the more than 15,000 free and enslaved Africans that were owned or intermarried with tribes in the early part of the 19th Century. Rose doesn’t call herself a Shia, but strives everyday to be a good human being and live by the teachings of Imam Hassan Al-Askari (as) about how to be a true momin. She was the development editor of “Lets Get to Know Imam Ali” a children’s book about the life of Ali ibn abi Talib (a.s.). She is a mother of 7, but an Umi to more.