The Qur’an for Young Hearts
[This is part of a book under preparation. A few starting pages were missing during the earlier installments].
Herewith we offer a simple paraphrasing of the Qur’an, some notes and exercises for our young readers. Note that:
- What follows is not a translation but a simple narrative of what the passage is saying.
- This is also not a proper commentary. It tries to introduce you to the Qur’anic themes, subjects and topics.
- This is also not the ‘Message of the Qur’an.’ It is an effort to bring young minds closer to the Qur’anic concept, themes and messages.
- It is to prepare you for an understanding of the Qur’an, which you will have to attempt sooner or later.
Surah 2 – Al-Baqarah (The Cow)
 Surely, those who have (already) disbelieved, it is same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe.
 Allah has set a seal on their hearts, and on their hearing; and, on their eyes is a covering. For them is a mighty punishment.
 And, among the people are some who say: ‘We have believed in Allah and in the Hereafter,’ while they are not believers at all.
 They (try to) deceive Allah and the faithful. But they deceive not (anyone) except themselves, but they see (it) not.
 In their hearts is a disease. So Allah caused increase in their disease. For them is a painful punishment, because they used to lie.
 When they are told, ‘Spread not corruption in the land,’ they say, ‘(Quite the opposite), it is we indeed (who are) improving things.’
 Not at all! They in fact are the corrupters, but they realize not.
 When they are told, ‘Believe as the people have believed (in sincerity),’ they say, ‘Shall we believe as the fools have believed?’ Truly, they are the foolish ones, but they realize not.
 When they come across the faithful, they assert, ‘We (also) believe (like you have believed).’ But when they are alone with their evil ones, they tell them, ‘We are with you, we were only joking.’
 Allah (indeed) is joking with them (by) letting them wander on (blindly) in their pride.
 These are the ones who have bought error at the price of guidance. Their exchange profited them not, and they were not rightly guided.
Strangely, it takes a moment to decide whether a man will believe or not believe. When the message and the guidance come to them, either through the Book, a few verses from it, or a living example of a Muslim or Muslimah, then, in the blink of an eye, the man or woman would have decided whether they will believe or not.
No matter what happens after that. They might see a gangster, killer with a price on his head, embraces Islam and beginning to preach good, they might see a teen-age girl going around in less than bikini dress in the streets, flirting with all kinds of men, a notorious girl for the neighborhood, and then, suddenly, she embraces Islam, and becomes as pious as angels, but it makes little difference to those who had, at one point in their life, decided to disbelieve. Nothing will make them believe. How well the Qur’an put it:
“Surely, those who have disbelieved, it is same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them – they will not believe.”
So, sign upon sign, a thousand good Muslims right between them, but those who have decided to disbelieve, refuse to see. The moment they read the Qur’an – while browsing in a bookstore – they feel that this is something different, penetrating, disturbing, sounding as if true – but they refuse to admit it, instead, say, “This is a terrorist’s handbook.” When he persists in his false judgment, which he knows in his heart that it is a dishonest judgment, when he persists, years upon years, then comes Allah’s own judgment and retaliation:
“Allah has set a seal on their hearts, and on their hearing; and, on their eyes is a covering.”
A Canadian Muslim’s house was burned down to coals and ashes. While foraging through the debris, he discovered a table with a copy of the Qur’an, unburnt. A neighboring lawyer came down to console. He showed him the unburnt Qur’an on the table while all else around was burnt. What did he do who had decided to disbelieve. He merely shrugged his shoulders and went away.
Now, if the above describe the open unbelievers, then, there is another kind: the hidden unbeliever. Maybe in our times, they are among and within the Muslims. They can be easily spotted among the ruling class. They say they believe, and swear by their Islam, but in actual fact they believe not but a little. They live among Muslims because they see some advantages in it, especially of power and wealth, so they do not openly deny Islam. They are great friends of the enemies of Islam and Muslims.
In their hearts is a disease, that of hypocrisy. They see the truth but cannot accept it wholeheartedly. They claim that they believe in the Qur’an, but they have their own opinions against the Qur’an. They are not ready to accept Allah’s commandments whole-heartedly, fully, unconditionally. In actual fact, they do things that are harmful to Islam and Muslims. When they are told not to associate with the enemies of Islam, they say, “We are cooperating with them to improve the Muslim situation.” But they indeed, throughout history, are the major cause of corruption, and the reason why Muslim countries are always in crisis.
When they are told that they should adopt true belief, like everybody else, they respond by saying that their Islam is the true Islam, that they understand and practice Islam better than the simple, common, somewhat naïve Muslims, if not idiots.
These hypocrites, whose Islam is on their tongues, are a dangerous element, because, people think that they are Muslims, and thus they are deceived by their claims. These are enemies from within, so, more harmful than the known unbelievers.
It is right that a great punishment should await them.
Allah’s revelation has dealt with them on several occasions.
(To be continued)
Worrying Over the Past
A wise man once sat in the audience and cracked a joke. At this, all of them laughed like crazy.
After a moment, he cracked the same joke again and a little less people laughed this time. Then, he cracked the same one again and no one laughed.
Then he smiled and said: “When you cannot laugh on the same joke again and again, then why do you keep crying over the same thing over and over again..?
Forget the past and MOVE ON.
Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter.
This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of twelve. You could tell they didn’t have a lot of money. Their clothes were not expensive, but they were clean.
The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, elephants and other acts they would see that night. One could sense they had never been to the circus before. It promised to be a highlight of their young lives.
The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and basking in pride, looking at her as if to reply, “You got that right.”
The ticket lady asked the father how many tickets he wanted. He proudly responded, “Please let me buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets so I can take my family to the circus.”
The ticket lady quoted the price. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. The father leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?”
The ticket lady again quoted the price. The man didn’t have enough money.
How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?
Seeing what was going on, my dad put his hand into his pocket, pulled out a 500 rupee note and dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father reached down, picked up the note, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”
The man knew what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the 500 rupee note, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied, “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”
My father and I went back to our car and drove home. We didn’t go to the circus that night, but we didn’t go without.