Quran Stories 2: The Believer of Ya-Sin

Alone in a crowdEver since we were kids, our eyes glazed over at the prospect of being told a story. Even as adults with kids of our own today, we relive our stories and memories. The Quran is nearly 1/3 stories, Allah (swt), our Creator, knows how powerful stories are; in fact all civilizations used  to pass on knowledge in the form of stories from one generation to the next. Stories have a profound impact on our minds – for example, how influential Hollywood is universally! Allah (swt) has related to us the best stories that are true, so why go elsewhere.

Story of the anonymous preacher

The story of an unnamed believer in Surah Ya-sin is noteworthy for many reasons, but most importantly because it teaches us how to be a Daee or the one who invites others to Islam. It starts with a conversation that two messengers have with people in a small town. When these people transgress and deny the messengers, Allah (swt) reinforces the two messengers with a third to lend weight to their claim and help them.

This also serves to indicate that the message is crystal clear, three people claiming the same thing. The names of the people or the town are not relevant so Allah (swt) has left them out in His wisdom as it would detract us from the lessons in the story. Also Allah (swt) will leave no place without sending guidance.

The messengers say: “Verily! We have been sent to you as Messengers.”

The people of the town denied that those men could be Messengers, they belied them. Their argument was like the one that the Quraish used on the Prophet (sa) as well: “You are only human being like us, and the Most Beneficent (Allah) has revealed nothing, you are only telling lies.”

The messengers reply: “Our Lord knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you, and our duty is only to convey plainly (the Message).”

They claimed that they wanted no riches or fame, their only aim was to deliver Allah’s (swt) message. They said Allah (swt) was enough for them, He was their witness that they were telling the truth.

Now, when people are stubborn and do not want to see the truth, they start an illogical argument, they said: “For us, we see an evil omen from you, if you cease not, we will surely stone you, and a painful torment will touch you from us.”

Imagine, in exchange for good, these evil people wanted to hurt the messengers who were trying to save them from doom.This is typical of people who do not have truth on their side; they will always resort to tyranny and oppression. They do not have words to counter the truth with; they just rely on superstitions and omens.

The messengers reply: “Your evil omens be with you! (Do you call it “evil omen”) because you are admonished? Nay, but you are a people Musrifun (transgressing all bounds by committing all kinds of great sins and by disobeying Allah).”

This is such an important lesson for us. Whenever we feel that someone wants to hurt us; we should look within ourselves and evaluate whether we are the ones who are being prejudiced? The messengers’ job is only to deliver Allah’s (swt) message as clearly and accurately as possible; people are free to choose what they want.

Dawah – Our sole and sacred mission!

A man from the furthest part of the city arrived. This statement teaches us two things: First, when the truth is apparent, we should hurry towards it and make an effort to tell others. Sitting at home and tweeting about it does not work. The first thing this man did was to call his people towards Allah (swt). He did not claim to be one of the messengers. His concern was only for his townsfolk – he did Dawah. Even when there are others doing Dawah, our responsibility to enjoin good and forbid evil does not desist; it is still our duty. He said, “My O my people! Obey the Messengers; Obey those who ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided.”

It is obvious that the man was not an influential person in the town, he was an average resident.

The townsfolk were very upset, and they did not want to hear what this man had to say, “And why should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to Whom you shall be returned. Shall I take besides Him Aliha (gods), if the Most Beneficent (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me? Then verily, I should be in plain error. Verily! I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!”

He was adamant, and knew that if Allah (swt) wanted harm to come to him, no one could stop it. Allah (swt) tells us that He will test our patience. The man realized that false idols could not harm or save him. What was perceived as harm was in reality Allah’s (swt) mercy- as we discover in the next verse.

The story continues and we are informed that Allah (swt) had asked this man to enter Paradise. We read in between the lines, that the people must have murdered this innocent man. The man was in Paradise, yet concerned for his people and said, “Would that my people knew! That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honoured ones!”


He was only an ordinary man and was killed for his belief. His response was not revenge; he only wished that the people could see what he could see after his remorse, so they would believe. He was forgiving and was steadfast in his mission, in spite of messengers sent by Allah (swt). Finally, after Allah (swt) had given the town’s people every chance to redeem themselves, He said, It was but one Saihah (shout, etc.) and lo! They (all) were silent (dead-destroyed).”

Subhan’Allah, we humans are so fragile, and when we disobey Allah (swt), nothing but humiliation is our destiny!

(Adapted with permission for “Hiba” by Tasneem Vali.)

Sleeping Habits of the Prophet (sa) – In the Light of Surah Al-Mulk

Sleeping Habits

Ahadeeth offer us ample advice for perfecting our lives according to the Islamic guidelines. Alhumdulillah, every minute aspect of our life is discussed, including such daily routine as sleeping. Let’s take a look at what the Sunnah says about the sleeping habits of the Prophet (sa).

Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to recite Surah Al-Mulk before sleeping and then go straight to bed after Isha, without engaging in useless talk. The Prophet (sa) said: “There is a Surah in the Quran, which contains thirty verses. It will plead for the one who recites it, until Allah (swt) forgives him.” (Tirmidhi)

This action of our beloved Prophet (sa) holds great wisdom. Let’s look deeper into this Surah and reflect upon why he specifically chose it to be recited at night. The Surah begins with a majestic introduction of Allah (swt), enlightening the reader about His three characteristics:

  1. Allah (swt) is Blessed.
  2. He is the Owner of the entire universe.
  3. He does whatever He wills.

These characteristics are important, because they explain the upcoming verse, which is the heart of this Surah: “Who created death and life that He may test you, which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” (Al-Mulk 67:2)

This verse explicitly defines the purpose of our creation, i.e., to perform the best of deeds in life. It is important to note here that Allah (swt) did not state that He wants to see which one of us does the most deeds! Every single night, we sleep with thoughts about the reason behind our creation, and this serves as a reminder for the next morning, assuring that our actions will be performed in accordance with this notion.

In the following two verses, Allah (swt) sets some standards for an Ahsan (best) deed. He commands us to inspect the sky keenly and inquires if there is any visible inconsistency or defect. Just as the creation of Allah (swt) is free from any imperfections, so should be an Ahsan deed. It should be free from ill-intentions and must be performed on the level of excellence.

In the next verse, Allah (swt) directs the attention of the reader towards the sky, manifesting that the aims and objectives of a believer’s life should always be as high as the sky. Another advantage of an Ahsan deed is that it serves as a weapon a believer uses against his/her greatest enemy: the Shaitan.

The verses that follow give a detailed description of Hell and clarify the reason why a person would end up there. Every single night the mind is fed with the idea of Hell, so that a person makes all the efforts possible to be safe from it. The reason for people eventually ending up in Hell would be that they did not follow or listen to the messengers. The only way to attain Jannah is by following the Sunnah, as the life of our Prophet (sa) is a compilation of Ahsan deeds.

Later verses illustrate that the actions of believers are outstanding not only in the company of others, but also when they are all alone. Next, Allah (swt) states that it is only Him, Who upholds the birds in the sky. Similarly, the people, who think they can achieve something in life without the help of Allah (swt), are blinded by delusion. Even if a believer reaches the height of an Ahsan deed, it is because of the mercy of Allah (swt). If He withdraws His support, then a person is left completely helpless.

Towards the end, Allah (swt) presents the reader with two aspects that, if reflected upon, would aid in performing Ahsan deeds. They are Shukr and remembrance of the afterlife. Verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine implant a significant lesson: it is not necessary that those, who do Ahsan deeds, will not be affected by calamites; whenever such a situation occurs, they should keep their trust in Allah (swt) and carry on with their work.

The last verse poses a simple question: if water – the most vital element for human sustenance – is seized, who has the authority to bring it back other than Allah (swt)? It explains the fact that humans are completely dependent on Allah (swt) for their survival, and they should live their lives in the manner Allah (swt) wants them to, which is by doing Ahsan deeds.

When we recite Surah Al-Mulk, we should know what we are reading, because only then we would be able to attain all of its benefits prescribed in the aforementioned Hadeeth.