This reflection is part of Sapelo’s Ramadan 2020 series. To read other reflections in the series click here.
By Talut Dawud
Al-Hamdu li Llah
Juz’ Tabarak, or Juz’ 29 of the Qur’an opens with a Surah establishing the absolute Sovereignty of Allah and ends with a Surah that describes the absolute Power of Allah. It is steeped in the Majesty of Allah, to which all creation owes obeisance and submission. The themes are obeisance and submission, which result in blessings, rewards, and its opposite, obstinacy, and rebellion, which results in deprivation, and punishment.
As we move through this Juz’, we should keep these central themes in mind. From the beginning of the Juz’, Allah sets a tone: (Blessed is He in Whose hand is the dominion/authority) (al-Mulk, 67:1). The mufassirin (commentators) relate this to another verse (ayah) that mentions the dominion (mulk) of Allah, (To whom belongs the dominion this Day? To Allah, the One, the All-Powerful) (Ghafir, 40:16). The scholars mention that Allah alone will answer the question on the Day of Judgement. However, the dominion doesn’t only belong to Him on that Day. It will just be on full display and undeniable at that time. The fact is that the dominion is His at this time. The abovementioned verse of Surah al-Mulk is proof.
Throughout the Surah, and indeed the Juz’, this theme of dominion is repeated, such as when Allah commands those who negate His authority to (turn your eyes towards the heaven, do you see any breaks? Return your vision repeatedly and it will return to you humbled and fatigued) (al-Mulk, 67:3-4). In other verses, Allah’s authority is displayed by painting the disbelievers as helpless before whatever He wants to do with them, such as when He said, (Someone asked about the punishment that is sure to happen. The disbelievers will have no way to ward it off) (al-Ma’arij, 70:1-2).
The scholars mention that Allah alone will answer the question on the Day of Judgement.
The mentions of Allah’s Omnipotent Power are even more numerous in these verses. His description of the natural signs that He causes to occur (Have you not seen how Allah has created seven heavens in layers. And He placed the moon within them as a light. And he placed the Sun as a lamp. And Allah causes plants to grow from the Earth for you….) (Nuh, 71:15-17), to also reminding us that He may turn the Earth against us, or remove whatever blessing He has given us, with or without means (Do you feel safe that He who is in Heaven will not cause the Earth to swallow you up, and suddenly it would sway? Or, do you feel save that He who is in Heaven will not rain stones down upon you, that you may know how severe was My warning?) (al-Mulk, 68:16-17).
Allah even demonstrates that a race to whom the human being attributes magical powers and amazing feats has no power at all. In Surah Jinn, He (Exalted is He) (And we had sought to reach heaven, but we found it filled with fearsome guards and powerful flames. We used to sit therein in a position to listen, but whoever listens now will find a burning flame awaiting him) (al-Jinn, 72:8-9). And He establishes His authority in their lack of knowledge (And that we don’t know if evil has been decreed for the people of the Earth or a right course) (al-Jinn, 72:10).
Allah even demonstrates that a race to whom the human being attributes magical powers and amazing feats has no power at all.
So, what do we take from this? The manifestation of Allah’s Power and Authority is a warning to disbelievers, the despotic oppressors and the unrepentant.. This is demonstrated by the fact that the main focus of the final parts of the Qur’an (ajza’), were revealed upon the pagans of Makkah, as a warning and to call them to repent, all focus on Allah’s Omnipotent Power and His Authority. So, we can take some lessons, especially at this time when Allah has revealed and acquainted us with His Power through the deadly pandemic is upon the whole world.
- Even though the current oppressive society seems to have everything going for it, its refusal to repent and turn aright puts it on a crash course with punishment. This society has increased in its wrongdoing, killing of innocents (Auhmaud Arbery), and the oppression of its poorest sectors (underprivileged and minorities being denied adequate testing and care in the midst of this pandemic). This is a sign that their cup of iniquities is becoming full. (So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.) (al-An’am, 6:44).
- It is not our job to determine when and how sinful societies are called to account. It is our job to make sure that we are not among them, or if we are, pray that we will be resurrected with the believers. We do that by recognizing that Allah has sent down what is a test for the believers. As such, it is imperative for us to turn back to Allah in repentance and humility.
- As mentioned in the Qur’an, at various places, such repentance opens the doors to what is good, and it will open the door for us to move forward and overcome the challenges that face us as a people.
We ask Allah to grant us more insight through reflecting upon His Book and to provide us with sincere repentance, which only results in pure good. Ameen.
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Talut Dawood is a student of knowledge from the United States who has studied Arabic and the religion for more than 10 years. He specializes in Arabic translation and Hanafi fiqh. He has translated a number of works into English and Spanish, including the following:
Jawahir al-Ma’ani (English), a main Tijani manual volume one currently available through Fayda Books); The Guarded Treasure (English), a book of devotional prayers by Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse of Senegal; and The Moon and the Month (English), a Fatwa on the importance of sighting the moon for Ramadan.
Sidi Talut is currently the Director of Spanish Outreach and the main translator for the Imam Ghazali Institute. He currently resides in Mexico where he teaches and has served as Imam for the past six years.