In the name of Allah
The All Compassionate, the All Merciful
24 Shabaan 1444 (17 March 2023)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG
Jihad An-Nafs – Part 123
Purification of the heart-Part 65
In continuation of last week’s discussion on Surah Al-Waqiah I quote below Ayahs 7-10 of Surah Al-Waqiah, which refer to the three groups of people on the Day of Judgment:
“And you shall be three kinds.
Then the people of the right: O’ what happiness awaits the people of the right!
And the people of the left: Ah! Wretched are the people of the left!
And (thirdly) the foremost in faith and virtue shall be the first to receive their reward.”
- The people of the right – Ashab Al-Maymanah or Ashab Al-Yamin; this category refers to people of exalted rank and position. The Arabs regarded the right hand as a symbol of strength, eminence and honor, and therefore they would seat a person whom they wished to honorr on the right side in assemblies. Italso means fortunate and blessed people.The people of this category will be given their Record of deeds in their right hand and according to some commentators they willbe on the right of Allah (s.w.t)’s throne and whereas others have advised that they will be brought forth from the right.
- The people of the left – Ashab Al-Mashamah or Ashab Al-Shimal refer to the unfortunate people and those who will suffer disgrace and ignominy and will be made to stand on the left side in the Court of Allah (s.w.t). The Arabs regarded the left hand or shimal as a bad omen and a symbol of weakness and indignity. If a bird flew left on the commencement of a journey, they would take it as a bad omen and if they made a person sit on their left, it meant they regarded him as weak. The people of this category will be given their Book of deeds in their left hand and some commentators say that they will enter hell from the left side and will face severe chastisement.
- As-Sabiqoon (the Foremost) refers to the people who have excelled others in virtue and love of the truth and responded to the call of Allah (s.w.t) and His Messenger before others. They were also in the forefront in their response to the call for Jihad, for expending their wealth for the needy and for public services, for inviting others to virtue and truth, by promoting good and forbidding evil and making sacrifices and exerting themselves whenever there was need for On this very basis, in the hereafter they will be placed in the forefront.
Virtues of the holy month of Ramadan
With the forthcoming holy month of Ramadan, the month of forgiveness, blessings and clemency, I take this opportunity to congratulate you and also to beseech Allah (s.w.t) to grace us with the benefits and blessings of this month.
It is highly important to appreciate the significance and blessings of Ramadan so that we are motivated to furnish our utmost effort and time to worship Allah (s.w.t) and to abstain from temptations and wrongdoings. In many ways, this month serves as an enhancement of the soul.
- Ramadan is indeed a month of guidance and purification. According to Ayah 183 of Surah Al-Baqarah,“O who believe! Fasting has been ordained to you as it was ordained to those before you, so that you may guide yourselves (against evil).” Fasting has been prescribed, during this month, so as to bring the soul into harmony with Islamic belief and virtue and to get closer to Allah (s.w.t).
- Allah (s.w.t) has sent down the Holy Quran during this month to bring man out of darkness and oppression into light and guidance. Ayah 185 of Surah Al-Baqarah provides: “The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind; a clear evidence of guidance and the criterion of right and wrong…” It has been reported in Amali Sadooq on page 62 that when Haifs ibne Qaiyth asked Imam Sadeq (a.s) how was it possible for the Holy Quran to be revealed in Ramadan as it was revealed to the Holy Prophet (s.a) in 23 years, the Imam explained: “The entire Quran was revealed during the month of Ramadan to the sky in Baitul Mamoor and thereafter from Baitul Mamoor it was revealed to the Holy Prophet over a period of 23 years.”
- Another special characteristic of this month is that the night of Qadr falls during the month of Ramadan. It is the night of power or the night of destiny. Surah Al-Qadr reads: “Verily we have revealed the Quran in the Night of Qadr (Power). And what will make you know what the Night of Qadr is? The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months.Therein descends the angels and the spirit by the permission of their Lord with decrees of all affairs. Peace is the entire night until dawn-break.” The Holy Quran was therefore revealed in the Night of Power during the blessed month of Ramadan as a guide to man. The value and excellence of this night is better than a thousand months (83 years and 4 months). Furthermore, Ayahs 2 and 3 of Surah Ad-Dhukhan provides: “By the manifesting Book. Verily We have revealed in on a blessed night indeed, for We intend to warn the people.” The blessed night is the Night of Glory referred to in Surah Al-Qadr quoted above, and according to Surah Al-Baqarah it was revealed during the month of Ramadan. The revelation thus began during that night in Ramadan, and the entire Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet (s.a) during a period of 23 years, to warn the heedless as the occasion demanded.