Reflections on the Meccan Quran in view of the Meccan Seerah ; Compiled from my notes from a presentation by Sheikh Mokhtar Maghroui, Uskudar Turkey.
( the comments in italics are mine)
I am looking at Google where hundreds of mosques are burning some for the second and third times, all over the west and I feel overwhelmed. I feel I am in pre or early Islamic Mecca.
This surah (Al Ala’s) descends on our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh in a Mecca where Allah Subhanawataala has commanded Prophet Muhammad pbuh to introduce Islam openly.
Mecca is burning from within and without…………….
The Kuffar are burning from within with the fire of hatred, fear of the power of this quiet gentle man (pbuh) who has come to level the playing field between the rich and the poor, between man and women, between the master and slave and between the buyer and the seller.
The new Muslims are burning with the fire of the wrath of the Kuffar being wrecked on their defenseless, bodies, businesses, homes and honor.
One of the first muslim converts was a woman named Summaya who was tortured to death putting terror in the hearts of all Meccans.
A slave girl is blinded with hot coals by her kuffar master and asked “Now ask your Allah to heal you…….see you are being punished by the idols of Lat and Uzla for disobeying them.
Her answer shocks her master as she replies from the depths of the new darkness and pain that she has been plunged into: “It is the will of Allah perhaps He is testing my sincerity in my absolute belief in him. He can give what He took away” The raucous laughter of Her master and his friends can be heard by her through the darkness and pain that engulfs as she gropes for a support in her newly lost sight.
To the shock of all her Master included, she wakes up in the morning and her sight has returned. This strikes terror in the hearts of the Kuffar, whose cruelty to the defenseless new Muslims knows no bounds.
Isn’t it always those on whom injustice has been piled who first have the clarity to recognize the Light of Islam, it is as if comfort, wealth, sons, professions and ease of living blurs the clarity of the presence of the Divine.
It is such days that the gentle Prophet hurts for his what seem to be defenseless people. His heart aches at the fire of anger and vendetta that rages in Mecca against them and him.
It is in those days of unending strife, and merciless cruelty by the Kuffar that this surah descends. The first aya puts all the perceived sources of power in perspective, lifting the yoke of pain and anguish and bringing the Light of Hope and Power into the hearts and minds of the Muslims.
سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى ﴿١﴾
Under these circumstances be in Dhikr of Allah the Almighty! What is Dhikr? It is the Remembrance of Allah, which elevates the person to a nobler dimension and brings ease to the heart.
Why? One would ask. Why would a supposedly passive act of remembering Allah and Exalting him would bring ease and reverse the power of the Cruel on oneself? It is because when we Exalt the Supreme Power we bring ease to our heart and mind with the Knowledge that He is in Charge and He is Qahar and the Just and Sareh hul Eqaab. The perspective of the balance of Power is re- aligned with Reality thus bringing us under the wing of the one who really wields the Supreme Power over all.
Dhikr is such a simple single word yet it embodies the vast and varied call to the All Powerful, All Loving. It is for any and everyone and can be done solo, privately and silently or can be done in a group, which gives emotional strength.
Nasheeds and poems about the love of the Prophet also induce comfort, sweetness and deference to one who took so much pain to pass the message to us. The Burda is one in which the heart of the poet flows from his words and brings tears to ones eyes.
Hamds or nasheeds praising Allah also fall in this category and recruit the softness of the heart with its words and rhythm and people have done that from time immemorial to bring inner and group strength to them in face of adversity or sadness.
Sabeh isme rabik al alaa…………Exalt your Lord above all else, He is your Rabb your caretaker, and is above everything even what may appear to be very powerful on earth is subservient to Him. Thus Exalt Him, the Almighty!
My reflection: When circumstances or people seem to overpower you and obstacles seem to be insurmountable, this is the ayah to remember which couches in it multiple levels of comfort, reassurance and visions of protection by the Rabb, just by the simple act of exalting Him.
It is Mecca and the barrage of insults, cruelty, and severe physical and emotional abuse is in action with what seems to be no recourse to anyone or anything.
In this scenario SURAH ALA’A descends and Allah commands in the first ayah of Surah Ala to Exalt him and call upon the immense Power of Allah, which is over everything and everyone,
This ayah also give us accessibility to Him via His names, His love and caring through His being our Rabb and caretaker, and commands us and facilitates the ability to do Tasbeeh at anytime, anyplace and in any circumstance, quietly or loudly, solo or in groups, secretly or publicly, standing (Salah) sitting, (dhikr) or lying down. (Prayer beads).
Sometimes I am overwhelmed with difficulties from multiple directions and I remember surah ALa: Someone is more powerful than my worries and my challenges………..
I exalt him and everything and everyone falls into perspective.
A hamd in praise of Allah:
One of my favorite naat in urdu:
And dont forget the source: