1. I am near.
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad (saws)], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. [2:186]
Look closely at the ayah. Allah doesn’t say, ‘When My servant asks you about me, say to them I am near.’ It is as if He removes any other person from the conversation and addresses you individually, personally. He is talking directly to you and directly to me. ‘I am near, just call on me and I’ll answer you.’ Can you feel the love that the King of the kings is expressing towards you?
الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا
Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope. [18:46]
Zeenah is something which is ornamental, increasing beauty of something else, but by itself useless. All the worldly possessions which we love are nothing but ornaments. The real useful thing is your deeds which will last eternally.
كَلَّا بَلْ تُحِبُّونَ الْعَاجِلَةَO وَتَذَرُونَ الْآخِرَةَ
No! But you love the immediate And leave the Hereafter. [75:20-21]
Human beings are hasty by nature. This is especially true nowadays. Just look at any of the roads in your city during daytime. People are hurrying by, walking in full speed, cars honking as if your life or death depends on overtaking another car. When browsing the net, we become restless when our downloads take a few extra minutes to complete. When waiting for the lift, we press the button several times as if it will make the lift suddenly realize, ‘Oh that guy is in a hurry!’ and run towards us. And in all that hurry we forget about what’s most important – what we’re earning for the Hereafter.
Light Upon Light
اللَّهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِي اللَّهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things. [24:35]
This glass encased lamp in this ayah is the heart of the believer. Its glass is crystal clear and shining, not covered with the grime of sins. The lamp is filled with a blessed oil (faith) which is so pure that it almost glows by itself. It is ready to receive light – Allah’s light, the light of revelation. As Suddi said, ‘Light of the fire and the light of the oil: when they are combined they give light, and neither of them can give light without the other. Similarly the light of the Qur’an and the light of faith give light when they are combined, and neither can do so without the other.’ [ibn Kathir]
The sun is not allowed to reach the moon . . .
لَا الشَّمْسُ يَنبَغِي لَهَا أَن تُدْرِكَ الْقَمَرَ وَلَا اللَّيْلُ سَابِقُ النَّهَارِ ۚ وَكُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ
It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming. [36:40]
Every creation of Allah submits to Him in its own way. The sun and moon submit so precisely to the will of Allah that we can calculate time using their movements. They never vary from their course by one second. The night never overtakes the day – they alternate in cycles ordained by Allah. Why does the Quran talk about these things? Why does Allah talk about nature? Not to give us a lesson on geography, but rather on life. If the sun and the moon can worship Allah so smoothly, we can’t we do that? Allah can make us achieve what He has given to the sun and the moon, but we need to put some effort to try to reach there.
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