Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 77

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

[277] Those who believed and did good deeds, Prayed, and gave in charity, for them is their reward with their Lord. They have nothing to fear nor shall they grieve.

[278] Believers! Fear Allah and give up any remaining interest if you are truly believers.

[279] But, if you do not, then be ready for a war from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent then you may have your original money: neither you wrong (others) nor are you to be wronged (by others).

[280] Yet, were he (the debtor) to be hard up, then allow him time until an easy situation. But if you treat it (the loaned amount) as charity, it will be better for you, if only you knew.

[281] And fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah, then (it is that) every soul shall be paid in full for what it earned. And they shall not be wronged.

Understanding these verses:

The statement in the beginning can be called a key sentence of the Qur’an. Whoever accepted it and practiced it, will experience peaceful days and peaceful nights, throughout his life. And, whoever refuses will never have peace in his life.

And the promise is that neither he nor she will fear anything about what’s going to happen next, nor will be in grief over what happened in the past.

Today every person is afraid, and unsure of what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, etc. and always regretting over what happened in the past. They say for instance: “If I had done this, I would have been more successful,” or, “If only I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be in this problem today,” and so on.

So, they are sorry for the past, and fearful of the future. But a Muslim is free of these and lives with a light heart, and liberated of worries.

Specifically, people happily deal with usury i.e. bank-interest, taking and giving. They are at war with Allah. And they will not win the war.

When alive, the Prophet declared war on those tribes who dealt in usury, and the Ummah should follow him in his foot-steps.

Now, what happens when a people dealing in interest repent and stop dealing in it? Well, he who had lent the money, should get back the amount he had loaned out. Maybe he gave 10,000 as loan and took 1200 as interest during the last year. If he repents he gets back his 10,000.

But, if the lender can forgive part or whole of the loan and declare it as his saving with Allah, that would be the best thing for him. He will get back from Allah, hundreds or thousands more from Allah in the Next life, when he will badly need good deeds to balance out his bad deeds.

(To be continued)

Even the Devil Believes in God

“Say, ‘Allah [alone] do I worship, sincere to Him in my religion, So worship what you will besides Him.’ Say, ‘Indeed, the losers are the ones who will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Unquestionably, that is the manifest loss.’” (Qur’an 39:14-15)

The time preceding the Prophet Muhammad (saws) was dark, bleak and empty. It was considered sound business practice for merchants to drown their customers in usury and dubbed socially progressive for communities and families to bury their baby daughters.

“And likewise, to many of the polytheists their partners have made [to seem] pleasing the killing of their children in order to bring about their destruction and to cover them with confusion in their religion.” (Qur’an 6:137)

In spite of the chaos, there existed a few men in this period that believed in one God alone and refused to succumb to the ignorant ways that existed in the communities of those that worshiped their desires, idols, status and power.

Zayd bin’ Nufail was one among a few that had a sense of Allah’s (God’s) complete Oneness (Tawheed). Zayd traveled wide and far in search of the truth. He met with Christians and Jews during his travels, but decided in the end that both religions were missing critical elements, so he finally concluded that the truth rested in the footsteps (Sunnah) of the Prophet Abraham (asws). Zayd even went to the extent of proclaiming the Oneness of God to the people of Quraysh. In the center of Makkah, with his back against the Ka’abah, he would say to them:

“O People of Quraysh! By Allah, none amongst you is on the religion of Abraham except me.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Zayd never accused the Quraysh of not believing in God, but rather accused them of not following in the footsteps of the Prophets that preceded them in worshipping God alone. Zayd was later banished by his own family from Makkah. When in Al-Sham (modern-day Syria), Zayd was told by a monk that a Prophet would soon appear in Makkah. So Zayd made the intention of going back to Makkah to wait for the Prophet to appear, but was killed before he could make it back. Zayd’s son Sa’eed, who lived in Makkah after his father passed away, became Muslim under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad (saws).

There are many stories similar to Zayd’s. Each time a person who believed in the oneness of God came forward in Makkah and demanded that its population submit themselves entirely in oneness and purpose to God’s cause (i.e. politically, socially, spiritually and economically) they were threatened and usually banished from the city.

It is critical to understand, though, that the Quraysh never ran people out of Makkah that preached the belief in one God. It was when people preached oneness in purpose and complete submission to God in all aspects of life (Tawheed), that the Quraysh felt threatened. For example, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), Khadija (ra), had two cousins that believed in one God (one of them even embraced Christianity). Why weren’t the Quraysh threatened by them? Why didn’t the Quraysh try to run them out of Makkah? Because neither of them expressed the importance of worship to One God alone in all aspects of life. Tawheed, when practiced in its essence, affects everything. It is at the heart of every single other matter. Belief in God does not alone qualify one as being a believer (Mu’min) in Islam. It is the complete submission to God that makes the difference.

It was for this reason that the Quraysh perceived the Prophet (saws) as a challenge. It meant a change in the political, social, and economic spheres of influence. Tawheed would have a huge impact on their political power, but more so, it would overwhelm their economic dominance in the peninsula. Case in point? In the times of the Prophet (saws), caravans with goods that would travel back and forth to Syria were very commonly attacked by tribal people and everything was stolen. The only tribe this didn’t happen to was the Quraysh. That was because the Quraysh owned everyone’s idols in the Arab peninsula. If one of the tribal people tried to steal from their caravan, the Quraysh could easily threaten to destroy their idol since it was stored in the Ka’aba. The Prophet Muhammad’s practice meant complete loss of such economic benefits for the Quraysh. It meant no more ‘free-trade’ agreements or economic buffer zones.

So the importance isn’t only in believing in One God. As a matter of fact, Allah (swt) clearly states that messengers and prophets were sent not only to declare the belief in one God, but also to warn of any form of Taghut (rebellion, deviation, transgression outside the bounds of God’s rulings). Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], ‘Worship Allah and avoid Taghut (all false deities, authorities, ideas, solutions, etc., outside of Islam).’” (Qur’an: 16:36)

Taghut is a very potent term that engenders many complexities. In his …‘Four Basic Qur’anic Terms, ’Maududi explains the seriousness of Taghut, by laying out three shades of rebellion against God. The first category is when someone declares obedience to God (as a matter of principle), but in deeds they disobey and fall short (Fisq). The second is when someone rejects obedience to God (as a matter of principle) and does as he pleases or obeys someone else (Kufr). The third category (and most serious) is when one rejects the principle of obedience to God alone, and begins to make his/her own laws and rules for a nation and its people (Taghut).

It was the third level of rebellion – Taghut – that the Quraysh and so many others before them, and after them, were accused of. They refused to believe and obey God alone, and they openly declared their own laws based on what suited them economically and politically. When Zayd bin’ Nufail stood up to the Quraysh and declared his belief in the Oneness of purpose to God, he wasn’t simply declaring his belief in God, he was articulating his faith in a way of living— a way of living that would require his people humbly and faithfully submit themselves to God alone in everything they do together as a nation.

When the Prophet (saws), years later, spoke of Zayd bin’ Nufail, he said that Zayd “[would] be raised as a nation by himself on the Day of Resurrection” (Sahih al Bukhari). It was this idea of oneness in purpose to God that the Prophet Muhammad (saws) would soon successfully articulate and advance through the revelations of the Qur’an and his Sunnah (tradition).






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