Reflections from Surah Hud: Ayah 1-23


Bismillah

Memorizing a Surah becomes much easier once you contemplate the verse and extract some of the billions of benefits from each word.

This is my attempt at reflecting the verses of Surah Hud, verses 1-23 which are based around these main titles:

1- The Quran and it’s call to Tawheed

2- The belief that Allah is Aware of all things and is responsible for their provisions, and that He created the heavens is six days

3- The mushrikeen’s argument about resurrection after death

4- The changing of man’s attitude in happiness and hardship

5- The Messenger of Allah’s grief over the refutations of the mushrikeen 

6- The seeker of the Dunya has no share in the Akhirah

7- The one who believes in the Quran is upon clear proof from Allah

8- Those who invent lies against Allah are losers in the Dunya and Akhirah

9- The reward for the believers

10- A parable of the believers and disbelievers

11:1

Alif-Lam-Ra. (This is) a Book, the Verses whereof are perfected, and then explained in detail from One  Who is All-Wise and Well-Acquainted.

What is the implication of this Book being sent down from the One Who is All-Wise and Well-Aquainted?

It implies that since the Quran is a Book of perfected verses in that each and every single letter serves it’s purpose, there is now no room for question or doubt in the wisdom of the Quran, because Allah is Al Hakeem-His laws and statements in the Quran are perfectly wise without flaw- and Allah is Al Khabeer- He has infinite knowledge of the outcome of ALL matters. 

11:2

(Saying) worship none but Allah. Verily, I (Muhammad SAW) am unto you from Him a warner and a bringer of glad tidings.

It calls to the worship of Allah without any false deities, and this was the ultimate purpose of the advent of ALL the Messengers of Allah- the call to Oneness. They warn of punishments in the Dunya and Akhirah for those who deny, and bring good news of reward and goodness in the Dunya and Akhirah for those who believe. 

11:3

And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).

What are the fruits of Istighfar? And why is Istighfar in this verse mentioned before Tawbah? And do they mean the same thing?

The fruits of Istighfar are twofold- He grants goodly enjoyment which includes everything Halal that a person benefits from for an appointed term, that is, in the Dunya; and then He bestows His endless blessings on them in the Akhirah on those who did the deeds that deserve reward and utilized the blessings of the Dunya to make profit in the Akhirah. 

As for the difference between Istighar and Tawbah- these are two words that when used separately mean the same thing but when used together imply a slight difference in meaning. Scholars have said that Istighfar i.e. seeking forgiveness means to cover something up, therefore it is to seek the forgiveness of Allah and beseeching Him to cover up and erase the sin. Tawbah i.e. repentance means to return, therefore it is to return to the obedience of Allah after having committed a sin. Istighfar encompasses the past consequences of the sin while Tawbah encompasses the future consequences. Tawbah is more of a firm commitment to never return to the sin that is being sought forgiveness for. Istighfar is begging for forgiveness, and Tawbah is begging for safety from being returned to the sin. And the best of sinners are those that repent…

11:6

And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterous, grave, etc.). all is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz – the Book of Decrees with Allah).

Why does the verse say that provision is DUE FROM Allah when it is through His Grace and Bounty that He provides- almost as though the provision is obligatory for Him, but nothing is obligatory for Him- He does what He wills, when He wills it?

It is to emphasize the guarantee that Allah is the source of provisions for all His creation. It is to assure that a promise from Allah will always be fulfilled- and there is no doubt in that.

11:7

And He it is Who has created the heavens and the earth in six Days and His Throne was on the water, that He might try you, which of you is the best in deeds. But if you were to say to them: “You shall indeed be raised up after death,” those who disbelieve would be sure to say, “This is nothing but obvious magic.”

What is the difference between “the best in deeds” and “the most in deeds”? What is the verse implying by the words “the best in deeds?”

An example: a person has to pray four Rak’aat. In the first two, he’s barely concentrating and has difficulty in keeping his intention in tact, he’s constantly distracting by the events of his day and therefore he has no Khushoo’, while by the next two Rak’aat he has a stronger grip on his thoughts and recites slowly while concentrating on the meanings; he now feels the Khushoo’. 

The last two Rak’aat were definitely closer in definition to Ihsaan than the first two. Ihsaan in essence is perfection and excellence. It is the manifestation of faith in word and deed after having a strong hold in the heart. The best definition of Ihsaan is the hadith of Jibreel ‘alayhissalam in which the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam says, “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then He truly sees you.” 

The weight of good deeds is not in the number of Rak’aat or amount paid in charity, it’s rather the level of sincerity in the person’s intention, and the conformation of his deed with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. 

قال ابن المبارك 

 رب عمل صغير تكثره النية ورب عمل كبير تصغره النية

11:9

And if We give man a taste of Mercy from Us, and then withdraw it from him, verily! He is despairing, ungrateful.

11:10

But if We let him taste good (favour) after evil (poverty and harm) has touched him, he is sure to say: “Ills have departed from me.” Surely, he is exultant, and boastful (ungrateful to Allah).

These two verses give a description man’s typical responses to hardship and happiness. He despairs and loses hope in hardship-forgetting that the One who is brought him to it will bring him through it. He leaves of du’aa and patience, hopeless for any good in the future and forgetful of any good in the past. And once Allah bring him out of the difficulty, he is exultant and excited about the good fortune he is enjoying, and is boastful to those who do not have what he does, forgetting that he was once in that state himself.

11:11

Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds, those: theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise).

What exactly does the word patience in this verse imply, after having mentioned the state of man in happiness and hardship?

There are many types, but here it is the patience that a person displays with the Decree of Allah-whether good or bad. This is the sixth article of faith and possibly the most difficult… 

Those who show patience when tried and tested with hardship, and do good, righteous deeds when times are easy. 

11:12

So perchance you (Muhammad SAW) may give up a part of what is revealed unto you, and that your heart feels straitened because they say, “Why has not a treasure been sent down unto him, or an angel has come with him?” But you are only a warner. And Allah is a Wakil over all things.

What are the lessons that Allah is teaching us when calling to the message in the Quran?

1- to deal with patience and compassion, to have a BIG heart and a SMALL ego, and never to take arguments personally

2- arguments, refutations and rejections of the people should never be a hindrance in proclaiming the truth

3- the mushrikeen were asking for miracles and signs-treasures and angels-but they conveniently ignored the miracles and proofs that they WERE given, implying that they were merely picking arguments and being stubborn

11:13

Or they say, “He forged it (the Quran).” Say: “Bring you then ten forged Surah like unto it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!” 

What is the implication of “bring you then ten forged Surahs like it”?

It is a challenge from Allah and a slap in the face of every eloquent disbeliever. Allah challenges those who disbelieve in the Quran to bring forth a verse, or a Surah, or ten forged Surahs, but that was never possible and will never be possible because the Quran is the word of the Creator- distinct and excelling over the word of the creation.

11:15

Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter; to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein.

11:16

They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire; and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do.

Who exactly are people who desire the world- don’t we all have an inclination towards it? 

Rather, these are people who have an unhealthy obsession- they desired the Dunya at the expense of their Akhirah- their intentions were tainted and they pursued the Dunya to boast and show off. In the Akhirah, these deeds and pursuits will have no significance since they get their praise and reward from the people in the Dunya.

11:17

Can they who rely on a clear proof from their Lord, and whom a witness from Him follows it (can they be equal with the disbelievers); and before it, came the Book of Musa, a guidance and a mercy, they believe therein, but those of the sects  that reject it (the Quran), the Fire will be their promised meeting-place. So be not in doubt about it. Verily, it is the truth from your Lord, but most of the mankind believe not.

The person who is on a clear, guided proof from Allah and believes in the Quran and in the message that the Prophets brought are true believers because the natural inclination of man conforms to the Shari’ah that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam brought. On the other hand, those who disbelieve-whether they are Jews, Christians, atheists-and anybody on the face of the earth who hears the Quran and then rejects it- are promised a sure punishment.

11:18

And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah. Such will be brought before their Lord, and the witnesses will say, “These are the ones who lied against their Lord!” No doubt! the curse of Allah is on the Zalimun.

11:19

Those who hinder (others) from the Path of Allah, and seek a crookedness therein, while they are disbelievers in the Hereafter.

Who are the people deprived of Allah’s mercy? How will they be treated in the Akhirah?

They are people whom Allah has cursed- they invent lies about Allah and speak about His laws without knowledge, they are misguided and misguide others from His path, preventing themselves and others from doing good, all the while seeking a crookedness in the straight path of Allah, since they disbelieve in resurrection and the fear that they will be held accountable for these deeds. They are unjust and oppressive to themselves by sinning day and night. On the day of Judgement, there will be no veil between them and the people, rather, there will be witnesses testifying to their misguidance, while Allah will cover and shade the sins of the believers: 

«إِنَّ اللهَ عزَّ وَجَلَّ يُدْنِي الْمُؤْمِنَ فَيَضَعُ عَلَيْهِ كَنَفَهُ، وَيَسْتُرُهُ مِنَ النَّاسِ، وَيُقَرِّرُهُ بِذُنُوبِهِ وَيَقُولُ لَهُ: أَتَعْرِفُ ذَنْبَ كَذَا؟ أَتَعْرِفُ ذَنْبَ كَذَا؟ أَتَعْرِفُ ذَنْبَ كَذَا؟ حَتَّى إِذَا قَرَّرَهُ بِذُنُوبِهِ وَرَأَى فِي نَفْسِهِ أَنَّهُ قَدْ هَلَكَ قَالَ: فَإِنِّي قَدْ سَتَرْتُهَا عَلَيْكَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَإِنِّي أَغْفِرُهَا لَكَ الْيَوْم»

“Verily, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, will draw near the believer and He will place His shade over him. He will conceal him from the people and make him confess to his sins. He will say to him, “Do you recognize this sin? Do you recognize that sin? Do you recognize such and such sin?” This will continue until He makes him confess to all of his sins and he (the believer) will think to himself that he is about to be destroyed. Then Allah will say, “Verily, I have concealed these sins for you in the worldly life and I have forgiven you for them today.” Then he will be given his Book of good deeds.”

11:20

By no means will they escape (from Allah’s Torment) on earth, nor have they protectors besides Allah! Their torment will be doubled! They could not bear to hear the preachers of the truth and they used not to see the truth.

What happened to their sense of hearing and sight?

There is a difference between looking and seeing, and between hearing and listening. Their senses of looking and hearing are alive but their intellect and conscience is dead. They are spiritually stagnant people. They are people who will lose themselves to the Fire on the day of Judgement, and the false deities and lies they made up will not avail them in the least. 

11:23

Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and humble themselves (in repentance and obedience) before their Lord, – they will be dwellers of Paradise to dwell therein forever.

As for those who are humble to Allah, pleased with His decree, and submissive to His encompassing knowledge, they will be the dwellers of Paradise. Ibn Al Qayyim did an amazing description of Paradise based on the Quran and Sunnah in his Qaseedah…

11:24

The likeness of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf and the seer and the hearer. Are they equal when compared? Will you not then take heed?

The parable or comparison between the believers and disbelievers is that of the blind and the seeing, the deaf and the hearing, the shadows and the sunlight, the darkness and the light, the living and the dead. These are striking opposites mentioned in the Quran.

 -The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

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