Surah Yunus – named after prophet Yunus (as)
Before we begin the Surah, let’s read why is it important to study the Quran. Allah (swt) says, “O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Qur’an, ordering all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences, etc.) in your breasts, – a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things, etc.) for the believers.” (Yunus 10:57) Quran is Shifa (cure) for diseased hearts, a guidance and mercy for the believers. This is the power of the Word of Allah (swt). It cleanses one from spiritual ailments.
The touch of affliction
Allah (swt) tests us so that we can turn to Him. It so happens that once the calamity is gone, we revert to our old ways. The One, Who brought us relief, is all capable of snatching our peace away and much more than that.
Why play with Allah (swt)?
“And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying down on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on his way as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him! Thus it seems fair to the Musrifun that which they used to do.” (Yunus 10:12)
Wouldn’t you want to become one of the friends of Allah (swt)? Who wouldn’t? We would run for the opportunity. Allah (swt) says, “No doubt! Verily, the Auliya of Allah (i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allah and fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)), no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve , Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and used to fear Allah much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds).For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present world (i.e. righteous dream seen by the person himself or shown to others), and in the Hereafter. No change can there be in the Words of Allah, this is indeed the supreme success.” (Yunus 10:62-64)
How to become Allah’s (swt) friend?
To become a friend of Allah (swt) one needs to be a believer and have Taqwa (consciousness of Allah (swt)). One is a believer if he believes in Allah (swt), associates no partners with Him, and treads on the path of Muhammad (sa). Taqwa can be attained by honouring Allah’s (swt) commands and staying away from prohibitions.
Allah (swt) takes care of His friends; as we see in the stories of the Prophets (as). When the messengers called people to Allah (swt), and they refused to follow; there came a time when the messengers were compelled to invoke Allah’s (swt) wrath against the transgressors.
“And Moosa (Moses) said: Our Lord! You have indeed bestowed on Firaun (Pharaoh) and his chiefs splendour and wealth in the life of this world, our Lord! That they may lead men astray from Your Path. Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment.” (Yunus 10:88)
What did Allah (swt) say in reply? He said, “Allah said: “Verily, the invocation of you both is accepted.” (Yunus 10:89)
Sometimes, we lack peace in our life because we harmed someone and perhaps, he invoked Allah (swt) against us. Abstain from mocking, hurting, or causing discomfort to anyone. Perhaps, they are friends of Allah (swt).
Surah Hud – named after prophet Hud (as) (the messenger sent to the people of ‘Ad)
People of ‘Ad were huge and dwelled in carved mountains. This Surah contains lessons for those, who shy away from working in the path of Allah (swt). They are worried about their sustenance and the worldly competition that distracts them. Shoo those Satanic whisperings away because Allah (swt) has promised sustenance. He says, “And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterus, grave, etc.). All is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz – the Book of Decrees with Allah).” (Hud 11:6) If He provides for an ant and a bird, would He not provide us? However, it does not mean to sit at home and do nothing. One has to work for a living, but should not make it the sole purpose of his lives. Work sincerely and ask Allah (swt) to open up avenues for you. Do not depend on your intellect alone. Depend on Allah (swt) instead.
Arrogance leads to destruction
Don’t be arrogant because arrogance was the cause of destruction of previous nations. Allah (swt) says, “They said: O Nuh (Noah)! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful.” (Hud 11:32) They were asking the Prophet of Allah (swt) to bring punishment upon them. And it was answered! Floods swallowed them up. Why invite trouble? Do not say, “Let me see what happens if I divert.” Stay on the straight path.
When one corrects someone, they are attacked by all kinds of statements as a rebuttal. Someone might say, “Who do you think you are?” Shuayb (as) faced a similar situation.“They said: O Shuayb! We do not understand much of what you say, and we see you a weak (man, it is said that he was a blind man) among us. Were it not for your family, we should certainly have stoned you and you are not powerful against us.” (Hud 11:91) What kind of a statement is that? May Allah (swt) protect us from arrogance. Ameen.
What is the cure to arrogance?
Do Shukr and acknowledge the supremacy of Allah (swt). Because whatever we have today is from Him. Let’s not become such people against whom others invoke Allah (swt). Allah (swt) gives us time to change our ways. But when we remain adamant; that is when His wrath descends. May He save us from destruction. Ameen.
Walk the talk
Having said that we should also not become of those who command others to do good and themselves do the entirely opposite. How will anyone listen to us when we don’t walk the talk? The Messengers were the first ones to act out a command. They submitted to Allah (swt) before reaching out to people. Shuayb (as) said, “And He said: “O my people! Tell me; if I have a clear evidence from my Lord, and He has given me a good sustenance from Himself (shall I corrupt it by mixing it with the unlawfully earned money). I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform so far as I am able, to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent.” (Hud 11:88)
People who live disciplined lives and have good conduct, do not even need to give long lectures, shout and scream at people to get some work done. People see them and are motivated to follow.
May Allah (swt) bridge the gap between our speech and our actions and allow us to live conscious lives. Ameen.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)