Tafseer Taha : Ayat 129-135

Link to video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • previously, we talked about the closing of the surah and how Allah closes the surah by consoling Prophet saw and reconfirming the purpose of his mission and objective and what he needs to focus on in terms of remembrance of Allah and leaving the opposition to Allah
  • Allah talked about the fate the opposition will face in akhirah if they don’t better their ways

 

Ayat 129

20:129
Sahih International

And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, punishment would have been an obligation [due immediately], and [if not for] a specified term [decreed].

  • when word كَلِمَةٌ is used in Quran, it’s used in meaning and mentioned in the context of decision from Allah
  • this is mentioned in many different places in the Quran :- حَقَّت كَلِمَة رَبِّك = the decision from your lord is final/complete
  • if it had not been for the fact that the decision from your lord has been made, decreed had been set..
  • the word أَجَلٌ مُّسَمًّى means an appointment that has been set/fixed
  • the Quranic scholars, mufassiroon tell us that this word is actually connected to the first part of the statement
  • the normal grammatical sequence here would have been وَلَو لاَ كَلِمَةُُ سَبَقَت مِن رَبّكَِ وَ اجَلَ مُسَمَّى لَكَانَ لِزَامََا
  • if the decision from your lord hadn’t already been decided and the time hadn’t already been fixed, then the punishment would have come and gripped them
  • لِزَامََا comes from a root that means something that latches on and doesn’t let go
  • Allah is saying that the punishment would have latched on to them and wouldn’t have let go
  • the meaning of Ayah =
  • Allah has already made the decision with regards to them
  • the time had been fixed for their accountability, then the punishment would have come and gripped
  • this is again consolation to the Prophet saw to not worry, that if he (saw) doesn’t see them being punished right now, don’t be disturbed by that, because the decision has already been made by Allah and Allah will deal with them when and how He sees fit
  • they will be accountable before Allah
  • just understand that this decision has been made and the time has been fixed, you (saw) just keep doing what you have to do
  • this is a huge lesson
  • prophet saw of course has 100% conviction in decree of Allah but this is also a reminder to us to never lose sight of the task at hand, of the objective
  • yes, the opposition is on your face, but we can’t get too caught up in this
  • 73:10
    Sahih International

    And be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance. [Muzammil 73:10]

  • وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلًا = leave them a beautiful leaving (don’t even worry about them anymore)
  • common sense and wisdom that elders would often share
  • older people might not be able to quote or refer to ayah to us but often times they speak with a lot of wisdom
  • older folks would say that if you’re walking down a street and a dog starts bark at you, do you stop and start barking back? No, you don’t, the dog is doing the only thing it knows what to do
  • same thing, this is the Quranic way of doing the same thing = وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِيلًا
  • 73:11
    Sahih International

    And leave Me with [the matter of] the deniers, those of ease [in life], and allow them respite a little. [Muzammil 73:11]

  • ignore them in an admirable way
  • these people who call you a liar, just leave them to Me, I’ll take care of them
  • so why isn’t the ayah in the normal sequence?
  • Allah said the decision already has been made and then Allah advances the fact that punishment would have gripped them to console Prophet saw that ‘the punishment would have gripped them already” but then Allah ends in a powerful way “The time has been set’
  • as human beings when you’re trying to placate someone “Yeah, inshaaAllah inshaaAllah” and trying to get by right now and taking the situation at hand
  • here Allah is saying “No, no, the time has been fixed”
  • so if Prophet saw is not supposed to worry about them
  • the wisdom that comes from Allah and Prophet saw, = don’t worry about them just worry about yourself, you can’t control others, you can only control what you do
  • so what do you need to know about yourself? next ayah

 

Ayat 130

20:130
 قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا ۖ وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ فَسَبِّحْ وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَىٰ
Sahih International

So be patient over what they say and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night [exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied.

  • فَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَقُولُونَ = > be patient in regards/in spite of what they say/let your patience override what they say
  • when a dog barks at you, you let your intelligence take over that situation “I’m a human being, I know better.”
  • you don’t pick up a rock and throw it at the dog => “Stupid dog! Let me show you!”
  • you’ll look dumber than the dog in that case
  • so let your intelligence rise, and in this case in this ayah, let your patience rise
  • the advice of the Quran is not taking the emotion out of the equation
  • this is similar to the address at the end of surah Hijr:-
  • 15:97
    Sahih International

    And We already know that your breast is constrained by what they say. [Al Hijr 15:97]

  • “We understand that what they say hurts but just work to it, nothing comes easy, no pain no gain”
  • it’s easy to say ‘just be patient’
  • every human being needs something that drives and motivates them to be patient
  •  وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ = glorify by the praises of your Lord
  • glorify Allah by saying the praise of your lord
  • another thing the scholars say that this type of construction means to glorify your lord and then praise your lord for your ability to glorify, for that tawfeeq
  • you don’t pat yourself on the back and say “Yeah, I was awesome, I said Subhanallah! I’m the man!”
  • praise Allah for the tawfeeq of being able to dp that
  • at the end of surah Hijr, Allah says,
    15:98
    فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَكُن مِّنَ السَّاجِدِينَ
    Sahih International

    So exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord and be of those who prostrate [to Him]. [AlHijr 15:98]

  • here Allah connects it to the prayer => be among those who put their face on the ground before Allah
  • and in this ayah in surah Taha, Allah gives timing
  • generally we should do it all the time
  • praise and glorification of Allah have been emphasized throughout the surah but here it becomes specific
  • قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ = before the rising of the sun => we call that time fajr time
  • طُلُوع, طَلَعَ = when something becomes obvious
  • وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا = and before it disappears
  • before the setting of the sun , we call that the time of Asr
  • وَمِنْ آنَاءِ اللَّيْلِ = and from the times/different phases of the night
  • here there is a bit of discussion
  • some scholars say this refers to all different segments of the night
  •  آنَاءِ is plural
  • which would include maghrib, isha, but at the same time, also tahajud
  • وَأَطْرَافَ النَّهَارِ= and the edges of the day
  • if the center of the daylight hours is when the sun is at its peak, and Sheikh does gesture at 16:32, we would think of Zuhr on one side and asr on the other [that completes the 5 obligatory prayers], but before sun reaches its peak it’s ishraq, dhuha time
  • so we have 5 obligatory prayers and 2 voluntary prayers being mentioned here
  • why should you observe these timings? لَعَلَّكَ تَرْضَىٰ = so you may find peace, contentment, you will be satisfied and content
  • Profound lesson here => what drives us to be patient and to keep working and maintain our dignity and honor is turning to Allah
  • that turning to Allah drives the patience
  • 2 resources offered:-  be patient and build your relationship with Allah
  • we can’t be patient without having a relationship with Allah
  • patience comes from knowing there is something better for you instead of responding and retaliating, there is something better for you (pleasure of Allah)
  • and that comes from strengthening your relationship with Allah and nothing strengthens our relationship more than salah
  • this is the spiritual foundation
  • that’s it
  • 2 step solution => salah and patience
  • وَاستَعِينُو بَِالصبرِ وَالصَّلَة = seek help in patience and salah
  • the 5 times daily prayers are not explicitly mentioned but their timings are being referred to here, and this is even before the 5 daily prayers were mandated
  • the Quran was prepping the Prophet saw and the believers to be ready for that
  • this falls in line with the tarbiyyah of salah =>
  • there is no faqeeh that says salah becomes obligatory at age of 7
  • but Prophet saw says to teach your children to pray at age 7 and have consequences of not praying at age 10
  • it’s more than likely that prayer is not obligatory upon them at age 10, but have consequences, train them to pray, let them embrace salah as part of their lives
  • salah should be the initial and elementary part of the tarbiyyah of our children
  • when promising peace and tranquility and talking about the 5 daily prayers, the voluntary prayers are also mentioned => if you truly are going to master patience, work through very difficult situation, you  have to go above and beyond the call of duty
  • it’s not just the obligatory you are managing but it’s time to take on more voluntary acts of worship
  • so much so that salah becomes your go-to, default mode, that anything happens anytime, you turn to salah
  • the condition of the Prophet saw was that whenever anything came up any situation, he (saw) immediately went to prayer
  • the promise of Allah remains that if you do this, if you can manage and learn this, you will find true peace and satisfaction in life

Ayat 131

20:131
Sahih International

And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, [its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.

  • what about the situation around you, how do you manage that?
  • once you have a relationship with Allah and you learn patience, don’t fixate your eyes
  • تَمُدَّنَّ مَدَّ يَمُدُّ basically refers to a long sight
  • وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ => do not longingly gaze, don’t be infatuated, too hopeful
  •   إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ= on what We have provided them with
  • أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا = different types of people have been given different material things in this dunya
  • the reality of the things We have given them =>زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا
  • زَهْرَةَ literally means the very temporary
  • flowers also called زَهْرَةَ
  • after time, flowers wither, die
  • they might have glitz and glamor of this world but it will fade very quickly
  • زَهْرَةَ is the classical word for bling bling
  • something sparkly but has no long intrinsic benefit
  • so don’t fixate your eyes on that, on what We have allowed the different groups and types among them to benefit temporarily from
  • a hadith where Prophet saw shows the prophetic wisdom “the world and materialistic things in this world are sweet and green”
  • sweet things spoil faster, they attract insects more than sweet items
  • green things die, wilt, wither, turn brown, yellow and orange
  • similarly the glitz and glamor, don’t fixate your eyes on that
  • here, the Prophet saw was being addressed but we understand that we are being addressed through the prophet saw
  • of course the Prophet saw didn’t care for these materialistic things but we do, so it’s definitely a reminder and lesson for us
  • scholars explain that Prophet saw didn’t care for materialistic things, and the Quraysh elite offered him (saw) to stop preaching and they will give him anything he wants
  • and he (saw) said, “Oh dear uncle, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I still won’t leave my mission.”
  • Prophet was offered by Allah “We will give you treasures of the world. Be a king prophet or be a slave prophet.”
  • Prophet saw chose to be a slave prophet
  • the dua :- الّلَهُمَّ احيِنِي مِسكِينََا وَتَوَفَّنِي مِسكِينََا وَاحشُرنِي فِي زُمرَة المَسَاكِين
  • Oh Allah Keep me alive as a simple man and make me die as a simple man and when I’m resurrected, put me in the company of simple men
  • there is no question about him(saw) being fixated with the bling bling, but there was one thing, he (saw) was consumed with his cause and objective, he (saw) wants people to understand truth and reality, that Allah is telling him to take it easy
  • when you see someone with a lot of potential and talent but they’re doing something wrong and bad with it, you can’t help but wish that they’re on your side
  • Prophet saw would look at the rich and powerful and would sometimes think “Man, if we could put this guy on the right track, think about how he can affect others and bring them to Islam!”
  • Allah is telling Prophet saw not to even think or long for that
  • iman won’t be inspired in someone’s heart through someone’s influence, money or eloquence
  • it’s inspired within the hearts through sincerity and sacrifice and character
  • لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ = everything that We have given to them We only gave to them so We could test them with it
  • وَرِزْقُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ= and the sustenance of your Lord[Prophet saw’s character and iman] is better and longer lasting

 

 

Ayat 132

20:132
 Sahih International

And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.

  • after establishing the relationship with Allah and the proper perspective, now Allah is talking about how to manage the family
  • Family is a part of parcel of the deen, a Muslim’s Islam, a preacher’s message, the Prophet’s character
  • now Allah commands Prophet saw just like in Surah Maryam, Ismail a.s. command his family to pray
  • وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ
  • here Allah is telling Prophet saw to remind and tell his (saw) family to pray
  • Prophet saw would used to go to Ali and Fatima’s house on the way to Fajr and wake them up and would wake up his family to pray the tahajud prayer with him (saw)
  • Omar r.a. would wake up his family for Tahajud and recite this ayah when waking them up
  •  وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا
  • the word إصطَبِرcomes from word صَبر =  to tie something down
  • is the hyperbolized version of the word and it means ‘be very particular, tie yourself to the prayer, be very consistent with regards to the prayer’
  • tell your family to pray but YOU be extremely particular about it
  • we can’t be hypocritical
  • the best way to teach our children to pray is to pray ourselves
  • we can learn so many lessons from this => practice what you preach
  • that’s why the Prophet saw’s character would shine through
  • when sahabah traveled the world they would say “Be like us”
  • that’s all they would say
  • what gets in the way of prayer and spending quality time with family? the two important thing that Allah is emphasizing
  • look how Allah is bridging the gap
  • we need to stop separating the family from spirituality but rather bring spirituality into family life and make it an integrated experience
  • most often than not, what gets in the way is the pursuit of money
  • there is an admirable notion behind it, paying the bills and putting a roof over the family’s head, but there is a difference between taking care of responsibilities and chasing dreams and ambitions
  • everyone is free to chase dreams and ambitions but not at the expense of relationship with Allah and relationship with the family
  • لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا – We didn’t ask you for sustenance
  • “Yes, you are told to make a good effort to take care of the family, but We didn’t out you in charge of feeding your family. You fulfill the means but it’s Allah who feeds the family.”
  • نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ =>Allah is saying “We will provide for you. Don’t lose sight of that fact!”
  • there is a lot of deep profound lessons here in the Muslim communities
  • fathership is being addressed here, being a good father, husband
  • opportunity cost for working overtime, taking another job, chasing after dream and ambition => time with family can’t be recovered, when hearts ar broken they won’t mend back together again
  • Allah can turn it back but we can’t bank on that fact
  • there are people across the country today who would cry tears if they could physically over what they had lost
  • Prophet saw was consumed by his mission but he (saw) still didn’t let it take away from spending time with his family
  • sahabah knew what family time of Prophet saw and didn’t interrupt it
  • at instances when people did interrupt it (in surah ahzab and hujuraat), Allah sent ayaat saying “Back off! Let him get back to his family.”
  • late at night, a group of people arrived and just yelled for him (saw) “Hey Muhammad! Yo!! We here!!”
  • Prophet saw, being humble, came out and welcomed them
  • but Allah reprimanded the people in Surah Hujuraat:-
  • 49:4
    Sahih International

    Indeed, those who call you, [O Muhammad], from behind the chambers – most of them do not use reason.[Hujuraat 49:4]

  • “they just don’t know any better”
  • 49:5
    Sahih International

    And if they had been patient until you [could] come out to them, it would have been better for them. But Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.[Hujuraat 49:5]

  • Allah let it go this time, don’t do it again
  • وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ = taqwa results in a good end, stick to god cognizance and the end will be good
  • there might be temporary setbacks along the way (they’re just trials and temporary) but the end is good, stick with Allah

 

 

Ayat 133

20:133
Sahih International

And they say, “Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord?” Has there not come to them evidence of what was in the former scriptures?

  • وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا يَأْتِينَا بِآيَةٍ = Oh, why don’t you impress us with something? If only he cold have blown us away with some major miracle, something cool!
  • أَوَلَمْ تَأْتِهِم بَيِّنَةُ مَا فِي الصُّحُفِ الْأُولَىٰ = you’re just wanting to be entertained, this is just an excuse, didn’t clear proofs come to them from previous scriptures??
  • this means a few things:-
  • the previous scriptures also gave them clear proofs and evidence but it didn’t change their minds so who says that anything else will, they don’t have a good track record
  • what prophet saw came with is in line with the previous scriptures. Isn’t that miracle enough with you?? This messenger is 100% consistent with the message of the past? Isn’t that enough for you??! if that isn’t what would be enough for you?!

 

Ayat 134

20:134
Sahih International

And if We had destroyed them with a punishment before him, they would have said, “Our Lord, why did You not send to us a messenger so we could have followed Your verses before we were humiliated and disgraced?”

  • now Allah calls them out
  • if We would  have destroyed these people by means of a punishment (any type you can’t even imagine) before the Prophet came, they would have said “Oh Our master, why didn’t you send us a messenger, we would have listened to him, followed your signs, before we would be humbled/weakened and before we would be publicly humiliated and disgraced!”
  • now that the messenger came, it’s not good enough
  • “Oh we just need one more miracle!”
  • when that was given => “Oh we need one more!!”
  • and so on
  • with Firawn, one after another signs and miracles were sent, distinct signs (frogs, locust, blood, etc)
  • ذُلَّة ذِلَّة refers to being humbled and humiliated when you know that that’s it, busted, that feeling of defeat, weakness, no confidence
  • الخِزيُrefers to public humiliation and disgrace
  • Allah is saying now that the punishment has come they not only feel hopeless, they are also publicly humiliated and disgraced

 

 

Ayat 135

20:135
Sahih International

Say, “Each [of us] is waiting; so wait. For you will know who are the companions of the sound path and who is guided.”

  • Allah tells Prophet saw, قُلْ “You just say..”
  • Allah talks about this people
  • this is إعرَاض
  • in ayat 124
    20:124
    Sahih International

    And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.”

    they turned away, now Allah turns away from them, He doesn’t speak to them or address them directly

  • so now it’s like “Tell them oh Prophet…”
  • كُلٌّ مُّتَرَبِّصٌ = everybody’s just waiting => don’t worry, We cool, we’ll wait it out, we’ll see
  • تَرَبُّص is to wait something out hoping that something good will be at the either end of this
  • فَتَرَبَّصُوا = so y’all just sit tight and wait, and see if something comes out good for you
  • فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ  = very soon you will come to know, realize
  • مَنْ أَصْحَابُ الصِّرَاطِ السَّوِيِّ = that who were the companions of the very straight path
  • straight path is usually صِرَاطَ المُستَقِيم
  • الصِّرَاطِ السَّوِيِّ means the sound path, the path with no bumps on it
  • سَوِي means level, smooth
  • here Allah describes path as being smooth because it’s talking about hardship and difficulty
  • remember that this was revealed during a time of hardship and persecution for the Prophet saw and the believers
  • “Oh everything will be smooth. Don’t you worry about it. Smooth sailing!”
  • “Very soon you will realize who are the people of the sound path..”
  • وَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ = and who are the rightly guided
  • “We already know..”
  • here it says “YOU will realize.”
  • that’s the conclusion of surah Taha

How does the end connect with the beginning?

  • the beginning was a consolation to Prophet saw
  • 20:2
    Sahih International

    We have not sent down to you the Qur’an that you be distressed

  • 20:3
    Sahih International

    But only as a reminder for those who fear [ Allah ] –

  • 20:4
    Sahih International

    A revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens,

  • 20:5
    Sahih International

    The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established.

  • at the end of the surah Allah again tells Prophet saw
  • 20:130
    Sahih International

    So be patient over what they say and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night [exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied.

  • “We didn’t send the Quran so you would suffer, but it’s to give you guidance and teach you patience, so that you may find peace and satisfaction.”
  • It’s emotionally consoling the Prophet saw from beginning to end
  • the next surah is Surah Anbiyaa
  • Allah ends Taha by saying,
    20:129
    Sahih International

    And if not for a word that preceded from your Lord, punishment would have been an obligation [due immediately], and [if not for] a specified term [decreed].[20:129]

  • and Allah begins surah Anbiyya by,
  • 21:1
    Sahih International

    [The time of] their account has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away.[21:1]

  • at end of surah Taha “the time has been fixed, and if it hasn’t, they would have ben gripped by the punishment.”
  • then Allah begin the following surah with “by the way that time has drawn very very near”
  • this is the connection and consistency of the surah
  • profound lessons we learned :-
  • not to get caught up in glamor and glitz of this dunya
  • hadith narrated by Abu Said Khudri “one of the things that I fear for you the most is that the glamor and glitz and comforts and luxury  of this dunya is opened for you and
  • hadith Qudsi “Oh Son od Adam, free yourself for My worship. I will fill your chest with independence, happiness, and I will close your need and poverty. But if you don’t do that, I will fill your chest with different types of concerns. I will not seal your poverty and need for things.”
  • Narrated by Ibn Masood “Someone who makes all his concern the concern of the akhirah, Allah will suffice him of all the concerns of the world. But someone who becomes consumed by the condition of this duny and worldly affairs, Allah doesn’t care in which valley he falls and dies.”
  • build a relationship with Allah primarily through salah
  • remember to maintain god relation with our families
  • focusing on akhirah
  • we can work through test and trial in this world

 

 

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