The Qur’an for Youthful Minds
Surah No.2, Al-Baqarah
Syed Iqbal Zaheer
 Or, like a violent cloudburst out of heaven in which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They press their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps, in terror of death. But Allah has encompassed the unbelievers.
 The lightning well‑nigh snatches away their sight. Whenever it lights up their surrounding they advance therein, but when it throws darkness over them, they halt. Had Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing, and their sight. Indeed Allah has power over all things.
Summary of Interpretations
The second group of those which adopted deceptive ways of belief in Islam, is one which felt somewhat convinced of Islam and therefore declared belief in it. But their conviction was not based on a spiritual realization or reawakening. They were guided by material considerations.
They had found Islam a growing power, adherence to which promised good returns. But sometimes that happened, sometimes not. Sometimes Islam was faring well in its struggle with its foes, sometimes its foes got the upper hand. And the struggle seemed to be interminable, unending. This put these people into confusion.
Doubts beset them. Was Islam a true religion? If so, why didn’t it triumph over its enemies? When will it become the indomitable force that it promised to be? With these doubts this lot weakened in practice. They pulled themselves along, but only half‑heartedly. When they heard of the promises of punishment made to those who disbelieved or feigned belief they felt scared to death. Maybe Islam was true and maybe something terrible will happen to them. But maybe Islam was not true. Then there was no worry. Therefore, they tried to ignore their fears. (Verse 19)
In the meanwhile, sometimes Islam emerged victorious and in the wake of victories in the battlefield lots of wealth came in from which all profited. Similar things happened, such as their witness of a miracle at the hands of the Prophet (saws), or they heard of the prediction by one of their intelligent man that Islam would be unstoppable. These things brightened the situation a little, and with a little increased conviction, they would begin to take Islam’s teachings somewhat seriously. But this phase also would not last long.
A bad spell came for Islam and they were again in confusion and behest with doubts. Like the first category of the hypocrites, these also seemed not to be able to make use of their faculties of discernment. And in consequence Allah (swt) should have also withdrawn from them the use of these faculties as He withdrew them from the other category of hypocrites. But He did not do it although He has power over all things. (Verse 20)
Why? It is because, it is they who had not decided about themselves: whether they would remain hypocrites or become true Muslims. Therefore, Allah (swt) has also not decided to take away their powers of sight and hearing. He will, if they will make a firm decision about themselves. In the meanwhile, they remain being counted among the hypocrites. For nothing but true and sincere faith is acceptable. There can be no ambivalence. Either you are a believer or not a believer.
(To be continued)
Reflections on Azan: What the Call to Prayer Means
By Gulrukh Tauseef
I feel that one of the best features about my house is that it situated very near a small local mosque. Every day, five times a day, I am fortunate enough to hear the clear, soul-stirring voice of the Muezzin calling all and sundry to the prayers.
Immersed in sleep, household chores or just watching television, the Azaan, or the call to the prayers, comes both as a welcome respite and a timely reminder. A welcome respite, because it lets me get away from everyday trivial and major problems of the day and lets me cleanse my body, mind and soul.
Imagine a thirsty traveller trudging across hot desert sand who suddenly comes across a green fertile oasis. Can you imagine the satisfaction that comes for this desert traveller when his eyes feast upon this welcoming sanctuary amid the bleak surroundings or when he dips his hand in the water and takes a few sips to slake his thirst?
For a Muslim, the Azaan is the harbinger of that satisfaction and unparalleled joy five times a day, every day of his life – if he so chooses. The Azaan heralds that it is time to put down the worldly burdens and seek peace and tranquility in the daily prayers, the refuge that offers serenity and strength amid the chaotic jumble of life.
Azaan is also a timely reminder because it is the call to a duty above all others, a call that makes me drop everything and head towards the prayer rug, to thank Allah (swt) for all His blessings that He has bestowed upon me, to ask for forgiveness for my sins and to seek His mercy and clemency in all matters of my life.
One thing that all Muslims should know and teach their children is to respond to Azaan and reply to each call. We should repeat after the Muezzin and when it is stated, “Come to prayer, come to success,” we should say, “There is no power or might except with Allah” after each of these statements. After the Azaan, the proper Dua’ should be recited which is as follows:
“Oh Allah! Owner of this perfect call and Owner of this prayer to be performed. Bestow upon Muhammad Al Waseelah (a station in Jannah) and Al Fadeelah (a rank above the rest of creation). And raise him to the rank you have promised him.”
The frequency and timings of Azaan and resulting prayers never lets a Muslim forget his Creator. Many people complain that, while praying, their hearts and minds are not in the prayers. Concentrating on the Azaan enables us to get in the right frame of mind for the daily prayers.
Did You Know That…?
- The only continent without reptiles or snakes is Antarctica.
- The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 square miles.
- The US city with the highest murder rate is Detroit, with 45.3 homicides per 100,000 people.
- The Jordanian city Amman was once called Philadelphia.
- The wettest spot in the world is located on the island of Kauai. Mt. Waialeale consistently records rainfall at the rate of nearly 500 inches per year.
- The world’s deadliest recorded earthquake occurred in 1557 in central China. It struck a region where most people lived in caves carved from soft rock. The dwellings collapsed, killing an estimated 830,000 people.
- The world’s smallest independent state is the Vatican City, with a population of about 1,000 – and a zero birth-rate.
- The world’s tallest mountains, the Himalayas, are also the fastest growing. Their growth – about half an inch a year – is caused by the pressure exerted by two of Earth’s continental plates (the Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate) pushing against one another.
Just for Today!
- Decide to be happy today, to live with what is yours – your Deen, your family, your business, your job, your luck. If you can’t have what you like, maybe you can like what you have.
- Just for today, be kind, cheerful, agreeable, responsive, caring, and understanding. Be your best, dress your best, talk softly, and look for the bright side of things. Praise people for what they do and do not criticize them for what they cannot do. If someone does something stupid, forgive and forget. After all, it’s just for one day. Who knows, it might turn out to be a nice day!
A little child was playing one day with a very valuable vase. He put his hand into it and could not withdraw it. His father too, tried his best, but all in vain.
They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Now, my son, make one more try. Open your hand and hold your fingers out straight as you see me doing, and then pull.”
To their astonishment the little fellow said, “O no, father! I couldn’t put my fingers out like that, because if I did I would drop my penny.”
Smile, if you will – but thousands of us are like that little boy, so busy holding on to the world’s worthless penny that we cannot accept liberation. We are prisoners of our jobs, our businesses and our ambitions.
I beg you to drop the trifle in your heart. Surrender! Let go, and let Allah (swt) have His way in your life. You’ve been a prisoner for so long, at least let go and see what being free is like.