By Ikraan Abdurahman
Seeking Strength Through Supplication
Although Juz’ 13 (12:53–14:52) contains Surah al-Ra’d and Surah Ibrahim, in this reflection I focus on the wisdom we can extract from Surah Yusuf.
When I think of my brother, a victim of the corrupt justice system in this country, a Black Muslim prisoner among thousands who, like him, endure a punishment harsher and longer than they ought to serve, I am reminded of the story of Yusuf (AS) in the Holy Qur’an. Allah SWT describes this chapter in the Qur’an as “the best of stories” and in it are many lessons and gems we can extract and apply to our lives. As often the case with political prisoners, Yusuf (AS) was imprisoned after being falsely accused; nonetheless, he persevered and put his absolute trust in the plan of Allah SWT even when the duration of the trial or the final result is unknown.
Admittedly, even in my continued advocacy for the Muslims who have been stripped of their freedom, there are days that I vacillate between hope and hopelessness. Some days I rise only to hear the news of yet another Black person being murdered on the streets with shrewd in difference or torn from their families and reduced to a number and another dollar for the prison-industrial complex. In these moments, the outcome of the story of Yusuf (AS) serves as a remarkable lesson. It is through this prophetic narrative that I am reminded that although a situation may seem dire and completely unjust it is ultimately Allah SWT who is Al-’Adl, the Most Just, who tests His servants and grants them the ability to seek patience through prayer. It is Allah who makes out of an adversity, the best of outcomes. It is stories like these that remind me to be hopeful in the plan of Allah SWT and know that ultimately after every trial comes ease.
I challenge us to think about how often we call on Allah SWT in prayer seeking ease for our plights and problems and asking for strength in our struggles to fortify us against the whispers of satan and the desires of our nafs.
Yusuf (AS) was bestowed with a beauty and wisdom unlike any of his brothers, which led to their enmity for him as he was most favored by his father, Ya’qub (AS). The devising of his brothers led him into the bottom of a well where Allah swt intended him to be found and sold off, ultimately ending up in the household of the chief minister of Egypt. As the story goes, the chief minister’s wife is astounded by young Yusuf’s (AS) beauty and attempts to seduce him. When he doesn’t oblige to her wishes, she resorts to lying about him. Yusuf (AS) is met with yet another major trial in his life- he is sentenced to prison. The time he spent there is the most remarkable to me and his conversation(s) with Allah swt is cemented in the Qur’an for the ummah of Muhammad (SAW) to learn from.
He said, “My Lord, prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. And if You do not avert from me their plan, I might incline toward them and [thus] be of the ignorant.” – 12:33
Yusuf (AS) acknowledges his weakness to Allah SWT in admitting that he is indeed human and fallible. He professes that it is only by the strength granted by Allah SWT that makes him able to endure a trial like prison or abstain from sin and seduction. This Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world as well as the ones behind bars observe the commandments of this month with much restraint. I challenge us to think about how often we call on Allah SWT in prayer seeking ease for our plights and problems and asking for strength in our struggles to fortify us against the whispers of satan and the desires of our nafs. Practicing forbearance and patience may be difficult, but the story of Yusuf (AS) is an impeccable one that reminds us that even at the height of all challenges, we can overcome if we call out to our Lord for assistance.
This Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world as well as the ones behind bars observe the commandments of this month with much restraint. I challenge us to think about how often we call on Allah SWT in prayer seeking ease for our plights and problems and asking for strength in our struggles to fortify us against the whispers of satan and the desires of our nafs.
Prayer of Prophet Yusuf :
….Creator of the heavens and the earth, You are my Protector, in this world and the Hereafter. Cause me to die in submission to you, and join me with the righteous. — 12:101
The doors of divine mercy and fate alteration are wide open for the duration of this holy month- what supplications will you knock on the door of Allah SWT with?
Ikraan Abdurahman is a senior at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis double majoring in English Literature and Ethnic Studies. She is a mentor for Muslim youth at MAS-MN and helps forge their identities through social justice founded on Islamic principles. As a recently published author in an anthology titled Out from the Shadows of Minneapolis, Ikraan expresses her passion for criminal justice reform while elevating the stories of Muslim (political) prisoners and highlighting systemic injustices at the judiciary level. Ikraan recently completed an internship for Sapelo Square as a Politics Content Editor.