by Abdul Jalil Muhammad
Bismillah ar Rahman ir Raheem
Alhamdulillah, juz’ 13 is a weighty juz’ that requires sincere reflection while necessitating a profound sense of taqwa.
Yaqub (alayhi al-salam) is faced with the daunting, heart-wrenching experience of losing his beloved son Yusuf (alayhi al-salam). To make matters worse, while still grieving over the loss of Yusuf (alayhi al-salaam), he was asked by his eldest sons (who were the culprits in throwing Yusuf in the well) if they could take their brother Benjamin on a journey. Yaqub, who Allah states was blessed and endowed with spiritual vision, sensed something dastardly regarding this request and thus made them pledge that they would bring Benjamin back safely. They obliged their father with a solemn oath in the name of Allah. Upon hearing the pledge, Yaqub (alayhi al-salam) then made a very profound statement. He said to his sons, “Allah is a Witness to what we say.”
Ponder over that lofty statement! Allah is a Witness to what we say. By virtue of us taking our shahadah, in essence all of us have made a covenant with Allah that is expansive. The vow entails that we worship none but Allah; recognize Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) as the Seal of the Prophets; remember Allah’s favors upon us. Black Americans are under siege right now. And Black American Muslims are not exempt from this horrific, ever increasing siege. Racism, by all accounts, has reached epic proportions. Discrimination is seen everywhere and wanton killing of innocent Blacks has become the norm.
As Muslims, if we have pledged to make our prayer, sacrifice, life and death (Surah 6:162) truly for Allah, then it stands to reason that our ability to stamp out these ills should be quickened. Through a fortified faith, it has been done before as seen in the life of our Noble Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and his righteous companions (May Allah be pleased with them). Allah states in Surah 33,
Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Latter day, and remembers Allah much.
And when the believers saw the allies, they said: This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth. And it only added to their faith and submission.
Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant they made with Allah; so of them is he who has accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed in the least. —33:21–23
Our people are suffering mightily just as the ummah was suffering during the time of Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) and just as Yaqub (alayhi al-salam) and Yusuf (alayhi al-salam) were suffering. But are we “accomplishing our vow” as those before us accomplished theirs? Or are we heedless and dismissive to the fact that Allah is “a Witness to what we say”?
The hadith of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) best illustrates on how falsehood (evil, murder, lies, etc.) should vanquish to truth. The loyal companion, Salamah bin Nufail said:
While I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon him), a man came to him and said, “O Messenger of Allah, our horses are being humiliated (ignored), and weapons are being laid down and people are claiming there is no more Jihad and war has ended” Messenger of Allah said: “They are lying! Fighting has just begun! Fighting has just begun! And a party of my Ummah will remain fighting for the cause of truth until the hour comes along with the promise of Allah.
Have we become too tired to fight for truth to prevail over falsehood? Have we become so disengaged with our oppressed, pitiful condition that we have lost all hope? As we languish in muck and mire, will we continue to lament and do nothing to augment our lamentations? No! Let us allow this blessed month of Ramadan to renew our spirit and commitment to uplift our people from the doldrums of all that we are suffering and thus emulate Yaqub (alayhi al-salam), Yusuf (alayhi al-salam) and the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon him). This should be easy when we reflect upon the hadith of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), when he said, “How can I relax when the one (Israfeel, the angel) has put the horn in his mouth, and knelt down, waiting for the command of Allah to be given?”
We do not have the luxury to relax. We cannot rest on our laurels and become complacent. These divinely decreed tasks await us all. Vows have been taken and proclamations have been tendered. And verily, Allah is a Witness to what we say, (and do!) #FohRealTho
Abdul Jalil Muhammad is the Founder and President of the Deen Intensive Academy which brings weekend seminars featuring Islamic scholars like Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Imam Zaid Shakir to inner cities like Washington, DC, Detroit, Baltimore, Dallas and Houston.