by Eric Powell
A’udhubillahi min al-Shaytan, al-Rajim. Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim.
(I seek refuge in, with, through and by Allah from the rejected enemy, Satan. In, with, through, and by the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.)
He it is Who made the earth subservient to you, so go about in the spacious sides thereof, and eat of His sustenance. And to Him is the rising (after death). Do you feel secure that He Who is in the heaven will not make the earth to swallow you up? Then lo! it will shake.
Or do you feel secure that He Who is in the heaven will not send on you violent wind? Then shall you know how (truthful) was My warning! And certainly those before them denied, then how (terrible) was My disapproval! Do they not see the birds above them spreading and contracting (their wings)? Naught upholds them save the Beneficent. Surely He is Seer of all things.
Or who is it that will be a host for you to help you against the Beneficent? The disbelievers are in naught but delusion. Or who is it that will give you sustenance, if He should withhold His sustenance? Nay, they persist in disdain and aversion. Is, then, he who goes prone upon his face better guided or he who walks upright on a straight path?
Say: He it is Who brought you into being and made for you ears and eyes and hearts. Little thanks it is you give! Say: He it is Who multiplies you in the earth and to Him you will be gathered. And they say: When will this threat be (executed), if you are truthful?
Say: The knowledge is with Allah only, and I am only a plain warner. But when they see it nigh, the faces of those who disbelieve will be grieved, and it will be said: This is that which you used to call for.
Say: Have you considered if Allah should destroy me and those with me — rather He will have mercy on us — yet who will protect the disbelievers from a painful chastisement?
Say: He is the Beneficent — we believe in Him and on Him do we rely. So you will come to know who it is that is in clear error.
Say: Have you considered if your water should subside, who is it then that will bring you flowing water? –– 67:15-30 (as translated by Maulana Muhammad Ali)
“Woe on that day to the rejectors!” Juz’ 29 begins at the first ayah of Surah al-Mulk (the 67th chapter) and concludes at the final ayah of Surah al-Mursalat (the 77th chapter). In the translated tafsir of Maulana Muhammad Ali, he states that:
From here to the end [of the Qur’an] there are forty-eight chapters […] All of them, sometimes in plain and sometimes in metaphorical language, contain prophecies of the greatness to which Islam would rise and of the failure of the opposition. But while they mostly belong to the earliest period of the Holy Prophet’s revelation, the prophecies contained in them very often relate to the distant future of Islam, and are certainly not limited to the prevalence of Islam in Arabia or to the lifetime of the Prophet (pg. 1111).
Divine Revelation is always relevant, and in our current state of difficulty, we see prophecy being fulfilled in many ways. The aforementioned verses from Surah al-Mulk sum up the essence of this entire juz’, hence why I felt compelled to include the whole thing.
Each surah contained within Juz’ 29 focuses on the Day of Resurrection and the Judgment: how they are forever near, how this is perceived by the Believers and the Disbelievers while in this life, and the reward (or penalty) brought about by a person’s or people’s awareness (or lack thereof) of Allah and our duty toward Him. Allah tells us all throughout the Qur’an of how He made the earth and the creation in it subservient to human beings (31:20), yet He also reminds us to “walk gently upon [it]” (25:63). There is a balance that must be struck in our Nafs, or self, acknowledging the immense power given to us by Allah, while staying humble, even with this great power since Allah gives power to whomsoever He Wills.
Divine Revelation is always relevant, and in our current state of difficulty, we see prophecy being fulfilled in many ways.
When Allah created Adam, He made him (and all of us, as Adam’s descendants) a Khalifah or vicegerent on the planet, bestowing upon us the mission to care for and cultivate all under the heavens. It is known that Allah provides sustenance to those of us who are grateful. The ungrateful are allowed respite and some satisfaction for a time. Eventually, what we took for granted is taken away from us as a way to humiliate and punish, so that we may realize the error of our ways and turn in repentance. We are given an example of this when Allah speaks of the “owners of the Garden” (68:17-33). Nothing can save us when we choose unrighteousness.
As Black Muslims living in the West, particularly in the United States of America, we find ourselves born and raised among “those who reject” — ignorant people, hoarders of wealth, oppressors and persecutors. They are neighbors, classmates, colleagues, employers, people in power and people behind the curtain pulling the strings of economics and politics. Not only that, we live under a system set up by these same people and the mentality they espouse. Within this juz’, we are informed to not be “pliant” with them (68:7-9), to not bend to their low desires, when we know what Allah’s will is, for whatever reason.
We should direct our work toward building a new society like the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did in Medina that will survive the one that is, by nature, self-destructive and gradually being brought low “by degrees” by Allah (68:44).
“And Allah has made the earth a wide expanse for you, That you may go along therein in spacious paths” (71:19-20). We should never feel limited to one country or nation-state, for we have been granted the whole planet. Repeatedly in this juz’, Allah tells us the best way to deal with these types of people and their system is to simply leave them alone (68:44; 70:42; 73:10-11; 74:11).
Nothing built upon falsehood and evil lasts, and therefore there is no need to try and bring about its end with our own hands. Rather, we should direct our work toward building a new society like the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did in Medina that will survive the one that is, by nature, self-destructive and gradually being brought low “by degrees” by Allah (68:44). We are commanded to warn, so that those whom Allah wills see the Truth and come out of that civilization, but those who are repeatedly warned and invited, who do not heed and try to blot out the Truth and the purveyors of it, must be left to Allah.
As Muslims, we must not be focused on trying to convince those who hate us to love us. Rather, we must have enough love for Allah and ourselves and allow that to be sufficient for us, as we seek to establish a society that reflects His will and spreads to the rest of humanity by example. And Allah knows best.
This reflection was originally published in 2017.
Eric Lamont Powell Jr. (Fard Ali ibn Hanif-Allah) is a Black Muslim husband, father and artist from Prince George’s County, MD. As an Emcee/Poet performing under the name of E.L.P.J., he has released several projects, performed internationally and opened for acts like Common. He is an alumnus of Howard University (HU) where he majored in Media, Journalism and Film Communications, with a concentration in Audio Production. He also served as President of HU’s Muslim Students’ Association. During an internship with Sapelo Square, he served as a Politics Content Editor, Eric loved supporting the preservation and elevation of Black Muslim narratives through multiple media forms