- Reciting the Qur’an means to recite the book as the Prophet recited it and to act upon it.
- The kalimaat of Allah don’t change.
- Enduring the trials with patience requires good company.
- Remembering Allah during the rush hours: morning and evening.
- Avoiding bad company is as important as having good company.
Reciting the Book
And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Rabb: none can change His Words, and none will you find as a refuge other than Him. (27)
Allah ta’ala address the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and the believers, وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ – and recite what has been revealed to you from your Rabb. Tilaawah is of two types:
- To recite the words of the Qur’an to yourself and others (out loud) as recited by the Prophet. Proper tajweed is not an option, its a requirement.
- To understand the Qur’an and act upon it.
The Qur’an was sent down to be recited and acted upon. Just as we learned in the previous ayah that no one has a share in the Hukm of Allah–We must fulfill this command to recite and act upon this book as the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam did and the Companions, whether the people like or do not like, if it is against or complying with their desires–continue to recite.
The Kalimaat of Allah don’t change
لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ- There is no changer of His words.
Since the revelation of the Qur’an, people have wanted to change its meanings, because they did not want to change themselves. Allah ta’ala says in another surah, “those who do not expect the meeting with us say, ‘bring us a Qur’an other than this or change it'” (10:15).
كَلِمَاتِ is of two types:
- Kawnee: In the creation and decisions of Allah. If Allah ta’ala sends rain, then no one can prevent the rain from coming.
- Shar’ee: In the Commands of Allah. If Allah ta’ala sends a command in the Qur’an, it has been preserved. There are people who change or alter the meanings and interpretations, but the true deen of Allah has been preserved and guarded. The Word of Allah cannot be changed.
And if a person does try to change the words of Allah, لَن تَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا- none will you find as a refuge other than Him, they will have no place to run, no place of refuge to hide.
Enduring the trials with patience
And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds. (28)
Once again, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is being addressed as well as the believers, to keep themselves patient in the company of those who remember Allah in the morning and evening.
Allah ta’ala says,وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ , and be patient with yourself, hold yourself. We have to make an effort to be with the righteous people, because our nafs will naturally incline to the adornment of this life. Sabr is not only when a difficulty or calamity occurs, but keeping with righteous company and continuing with the remembrance of Allah requires sabr.
When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam began calling to Islam, his followers were mainly of the poor and when the Quraysh would enter upon him to listen to the Qur’an–they would demand that the poor leave the gathering. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam may have inclined to send them away to bring the Quraysh closer to Islam, but Allah ta’ala forbids it even though the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam had a good intention of doing so.
Remembering Allah during the rush hours
Allah ta’ala mentions two specific times in this ayah:
الْغَدَاةِ- which is the time of fajr until sunrise. The believers call upon Allah specifically during this time, The one who prays fajr on time after the adhaan and sits after praying in remembrance.
الْعَشِيِّ- which is the time between asr and sunset. This time is also a time to remember Allah.
What is the relationship between these two times? It’s rush hour time! In the morning, we prepare breakfast, ironing clothes, any school work, help your parents/siblings/children with their needs and in the evening we are winding up our days work. These two times are difficult to remember Allah ta’ala, and these people spend this time to remember Allah despite the fact that there is so much going on around them.
Allah ta’ala also tells us whose company we should keep: those who call upon Allah in the morning and the evening. Why did the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam prefer to sit with these people? Firstly, to be surrounded by righteous company, because those who remember other than Allah in their gatherings are prone to sinning–such as indulging in backbiting and slander. Secondly, we will be with those whom we love: if you are in the company of righteous people in this life, then on the Day of Judgment you will be in their company.
Do you use your morning and evenings to remember Allah, or in seeking worldly affairs? Many of us may not have the chance to sit in the masjid/musallah in dhikr, but even if we are busy with some matters–at least keep your tongue moist with His remembrance.
They remember Allah, يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ– to seek the Countenance of Allah. This is their special quality, they only do it for the sole purpose of His Pleasure.
وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا– and do not let your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam did not desire the dunya, but this part of the ayah is a reminder to not be impressed by the nobility and wealth of those of high status but to remain with those who remember Allah. It is not enough for us to be with good company, but we must leave the bad company as well.
The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is being addressed in this ayah, showing us that our company does affect each and every one of us. If the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is being instructed with the company he should keep, then what of us?
Why is keeping righteous company mentioned after the story of Ashaabul Kahf? Ashaabul Kahf chose to be amongst the group who remember Allah and not of those who seek the dunya. Our aakhirah depends on our company. If we chose righteous companions, we will be amongst them in the hereafter.
Allah ta’ala compares those who call upon Him (they make duaa) and those who seek the glamor of this worldly life, because no one can have both at the same time–you are either from those who remember Allah, or of those who seek the dunya.
Avoiding bad company
وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا – nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.
Allah ta’ala then instructs us to avoid those people who do not have any interest in the remembrance of Allah and follow their desires. Following one’s desires leads to their affairs being fruitless because there is no purpose or goal. Being in gatherings where there is no mention of Allah decreases one’s emaan, because a heart without His remembrance is like a fish out of water. The believer on the other hand, lives a conscious life, they are not heedless, from morning to night they are conscious of what they are doing and they have their goal and purpose. Ashaabul Kahf had a goal in their life, to seek Allah’s Pleasure, and they acted upon this goal and Allah granted them success.
Allah ta’ala is giving us a direction in these ayaat: He ta’ala is guiding us to what is best for us and instructing us about what to avoid.
WAllahu alam – And Allah knows best.