Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 81

Important Notes

1. The translation of the Qur’an being presented here is interpretative. It is meant for children. Those who can understand other translations should better consult them. This translation may not be used elsewhere.

2. Parents are advised to hold sessions at home and teach the verses and explanation as given here, and, if they can, add more from Qur’anic commentaries].

Verses from Surah No. 2, Al-Baqarah

[285] The Messenger believed in what was sent to him by his Lord ‑ and (so did) the believers. They all believed in Allah, His angels, His Books and (in all of) His Messengers (of the past, saying), ‘We make no difference between any of His Messengers.’ They said, ‘We heard and obeyed.(We seek) your forgiveness O our Lord. To You is the return.’

[286] Allah makes not anyone bear (the burden of Laws) what is beyond his strength.(So), to him (will be the reward of) what he worked for, and upon him (the responsibility of) what he earned (of the sins).  (They say), ‘Our Lord! Do not take us to task for what we forgot or slipped about. Our Lord! Do not lay upon us a burden (of Laws) as You laid upon those (who were) before us. Our Lord! Do not make us responsible for what we do not have the strength for. Pardon us, forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Protector, therefore, give us victory over the unbelieving folk.’

Understanding these Verses:

These two beautiful verses are so important that the Prophet was given them from a treasure beneath the `Arsh, when he visited the heavens during his night-journey. No Prophet was given anything so valuable before him. Therefore, the Prophet said that it will be sufficient (against harm) for a man who recited them every night.

In these two verses, Allah teaches us what to believe in. We must believe in our Messenger, and in all those things in which our Prophet Muhammad believed, and the believers in him believed. We do not behave like some others, to take an example. Their Holy Book says, “Do not drink wine,” but they drink barrels of it. We truly and unconditionally believe in our Prophet, just like his earliest Companions did. This makes us one party: the party of Muhammad consisting of the earliest ones and the latest ones. What an honor to belong to this party!

We all – every one of us – believe in what the Messenger and his first followers believed in. So we believe in Allah as our Lord, we believe in all his angels, and, in all Messengers mentioned in the Qur’an. We do not say like those who say that they believe in Moses, but do not believe in Jesus. They actually curse him and say that he is drowning in faeces in Hell. They also do not believe in Jibril. They will not name their children as “Jibril.” Some others say that they believe in Jesus but not in Prophet Muhammad. But we, the Muslims say that we believe not only in Moses and Jesus, but we believe in those Prophets also who were Israeli Prophets. We do not condemn any. We believe that all Prophets were one party, and we belong to that party. What an honor to be in this party!

We are a people who, when we hear an order from our Lord, we immediately accept and obey. Having obeyed, we now make the Du`a that may our Lord forgive us. So our Du`a is not empty words, nor saying “Aameen, Aameen” from behind an Imam, not understanding anything, and quite inattentive. Not like that. We obey Allah in all things and then ask Him. And when we ask, what do we ask? No, not worldly things. Death can come any time. We ask for forgiveness. After all, sooner or later we will be returning to Him, our Lord.

And to obey Allah is not a difficult thing. He does not ask us to do what is not in our power. Allah has promised us that He will not overburden us. He reminds us that if we have done good, we will be rewarded for it, and if we have done evil, it is a burden upon us.

No one will bear our burden but ourselves. Some say that Jesus will bear the burden of sins of billions of his followers, so that those billions will enter Paradise without being held to account for any crime they committed in their lives. Allah tells each of us, that we will have to bear the burden of our sins, ourselves.

But sometimes we forget, and do something by mistake. So, at the end of this Surah, we make Du`a that Allah forgive us; not for what we did intentionally, but for what we did by mistake.

We also ask Allah that He make things easy for us; and not like for those of the past, who, when they sinned, and sinned a lot, and everybody was sinning all the time, then Allah overburdened them with his tough commandments as immediate punishment. For example, He ordered (as in the some holy literature) that if an unclean woman sits on a bed, the bed sheet becomes unclean, it must be washed, even if she did not dirty it; just the touch was enough to make it unclean.

Now, what should we supplicate for? When people make Du`a, they ask for lowly, worldly things.But we pray to Allah that He does not press upon us difficult commandments. In other words, we are promising that we shall not be sinning against Him and inviting hard rulings as punishment upon ourselves.

At the end of this Surah we ask for pardon, which is not simply cancelling out of the punishment; but we ask for even more. We ask for forgiveness, which is removal of the sins from the Records, thus concealing them from other people on the Day of Judgment – a Day of shame for many.

By saying in their Du`a, “You are our Protector,” the believers bind themselves to Allah and are as if saying, “We are Your party.” What an honor to be of His party.

So it is natural that they should ask for victory over those who hate Allah, hate Islam, hate His Messenger,hate the believers in Him, and hate the Truth.

We do not wish to enter into a situation of war. Our Prophet has asked us not to face wars, unless attacked; and so, we make Du`a that He take care of those who hate theTruth. The fight is between Him as one Lord God, and others, whoever their god or gods are.

End of the Surah, All praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds.

Inspiring Quotes

  • “The world has the habit of making roomfor the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.” ~ Napoleon Hill
  • “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointedby the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
  • “You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have.” ~ Jim Rohn
  • “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” ~ Epictetus
  • “Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.” ~ John Wooden

The Sacred Month of Rajab

Allah (Subhanahuwa Ta`ala—Exalted is He) has given a special status to certain days, months, places, and people. The Prophets of God are the most honored among mankind; Makkah is the holiest of all cities; Ramadan is the best month; and the Night of Power (Laylat-ul-Qadr) is the greatest night of the year.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred […]” (Qur’an, 9:36)

These four sacred months were mentioned by the Prophet (peace be upon him) during his farewell pilgrimage:

“O People! Time has gone back to how it was at the time Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. A year has twelve months, four of which are sacred, three consecutive, Dhul-Qi’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab.” (Bukhari)

As we look through the Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophetic tradition), we are taught to respect and honor what God and His Prophet (pbuh) have honored. These sacred months are a time for us to reflect on our lives, exert ourselves in extra worship and ask Allah (swt) for His forgiveness.

Specifically, Allah (swt) reminds us to guard our actions during the sacred months:

“O you who have believed, do not violate the rites of Allah or [the sanctity of] the sacred month […]” (Qur’an, 5:2)

He (swt) reminds us not once, but twice, to be careful of what we do during a sacred month:

“[…] so do not wrong yourselves during them (i.e., the sacred months) […]” (Qur’an, 9:36)

These two verses show us the importance of being a conscientious believer. The only way we can make sure we do not wrong ourselves during the sacred months is to be conscious of our actions. Time and time again, we forget or are lax in our duties to God. Allah (swt) has given us these sacred months to turn back to Him and to take account of ourselves.

The month of Rajab comes at an important time of the year for us. The coming of this month means that we are close to yet another Ramadan, God Willing. While the validity of certain narrations or specific acts of worship for this month are disputed, we as average Muslims can use this month with the intention to mentally and physically prepare for Ramadan.

How can we honor the month of Rajab and use it as a preparation for Ramadan?

  1. Reflect on your Life and Deeds

Take some time alone and ask yourself the hard questions we normally don’t like to think about: If I died today, where would I stand with Allah (swt)? Have I prepared for Ramadan? Have I been conscious of what I am saying and doing to those around me? Am I stagnant in my worship?

  1. Deprive your Nafs (lower self)

I was with my brother one day and I mentioned that I was hungry and wanted to get something to eat. He told me: “Teach your Nafs a lesson. We shouldn’t always give it what it wants.” This does not mean that we starve ourselves or do not take care of our bodies. One of the goals of Ramadan is to increase in our God-consciousness by not indulging ourselves with what our soul desires. Eat a simple meal for a few days instead of an expensive or huge meal. Wake up early and go for a walk. Pray extra prayers. Go to the mosque for Fajr, if you normally do not do so. Exert yourself and do something to “teach your Nafs a lesson.”

  1. Fasting

There is no better way to prepare for Ramadan than to fast some extra days. A’isha (RadiaAllahu `anha—may God be pleased with her) was known to fast during the summer, and when the scholars would mention her habit, they would add: “If the price is cheap, then everyone will buy it.” Ibn Rajab explained: “She wanted to do those actions that only a few were capable of due to how hard it was to do them, and this is indicative of the high aspirations she had.”

While we can’t get out of having Ramadan in the summer, we can follow our mother A’isha (ra) and be of the few that do something valuable before we are all obligated to fast. Now is the time to not only prepare for fasting, but also to gain some reward, as the temperature rises.

  1. Remember the Hereafter

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Hell complained to its Lord saying: O Lord! My parts are eating (destroying) one another. So Allah (swt) allowed it to take two breaths, one in the winter and the other in the summer. The breath in the summer is at the time when you feel the severest heat and the breath in the winter is at the time when you feel the severest cold.” (Bukhari)

  1. Charity

Most of us do some act of charity every day without realizing it. In this sacred month, be charitable with the intention of pleasing God. Being courteous, helping someone, feeding another, saying a good word, sharing a reminder and even abstaining from doing a bad deed are all non-monetary forms of charity taught to us by the Messenger.

  1. Supplicate (make du`a’) to Allah (swt)

Ask for His forgiveness and guidance. Ask Allah (swt) to bless us to reach Ramadan and to make the month of Rajab, and the following month of Sha’ban, a means for us to prepare for Ramadan. It is reported that the Prophet of God used to supplicate when Rajab came, “O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan.”

Take Care of Your Tree

Ibn Rajab used to say: “The year is like a tree. The days of Rajab are its foliation. The days of Sha’ban are its branching and the days of Ramadan are wherein its fruits are reaped. The reapers are the believers. It is befitting for the one who has blackened his pages with sins to whiten them with repentance in this month, and for the one who has squandered his life in idleness to profit in it from what remains of his life.”

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