When It Becomes Empty

94:7
Sahih International

So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. [As-Sharh 94:7]

In class last week, we did Surah As-Sharh7, and the tafseer and word analysis of this ayah particularly struck me. The root for فَرَغتَ is ف ر غ. It has the meaning of ‘becoming empty’. A visually wonderful explanation of this word is in Brother Abu Ezra’s post ‘Her Heart Became Empty’.
The root for the word فَنصَب is ن ص ب. The word نَصَبَ literally means to fix something so that it becomes straight. When you fix something in its place, it doesn’t move away from there. So in this context, it gives the meaning of being busy with something with toil and determination.
According to Ibn Abbas, this ayah means that when you  have finished performing your faraa2idh (obligatory) prayers, stand up and perform your naafil (voluntary) prayers, your Qiyam. According to Ibn Abbas and Qatadah, it means that after you are done performing your Faraa2idh, then start getting busy making dua. According to Mujaahid, when you are done with the affairs of the dunya, then start getting busy with the affairs of the Akhirah.
When the tafseer of this ayah was going on, I thought to myself, how perfect is this ayah when applied to us students. We are about to near the end of this four year part-time course, yet here we are, being told,
“When you are done with this course, start busy with another.”
With the meaning of ‘becoming empty’, our course is almost done, meaning, we have started from Al Fatihah, and gone through the Quran in chronological order, and are reaching the end; An Naas. So, when we reach An Naas inshaaAllah, it’s as if, we have ’emptied’ the study of the Quran. But then, فَنصَب, so we are told to immediately get fixed on something else and toil in that, not moving from that until we have ’emptied’ that. What a perfect ‘farewell’ message and reminder. Our learning doesn’t end here. In fact this is only the beginning, just like reaching surah An Naas is not the end, but we are to repeat the cycle and go back to Al fatihah.
In worldly context, it’s like following a university semester or quarter with another semester or quarter. Once you are done with 101, proceed to 102, and so on. If we are not satisfied with a bachelor’s and proceed to pursue Masters and Doctorate, why then should one be content with completing an Islamic course? So,
94:7
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