Daily Qur’an Reflections: (21) Prayer as the Ascent of the Believer, Striving for Allah, Marriage as Sign and Means to Allah, Success and Purpose in Life
Day 21: Juz’ Twenty One: Surat al-`Ankabut [29.45-69], Surat al-Rum [30.1-60], Surat Luqman [31.1-34], Surat al-Sajdah [32.1-30] & Surat al-Ahzab [33.1-30]
We look at four key themes of the 21st Juz’ of the Qur’an: (1) establishing the prayer and its transformative and protective impact; (2) striving for Allah, by Allah, as means to closeness; (3) marriage as a sign pointing to Allah, and as a means to Allah’s closeness; and (4) the purpose of the true believer, and their relationship with the beautiful example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
 The Prayer is the Ascent of the Believer
Prayer is the ascent of the believer. Allah’s command is to establish prayer (iqamat al-salat), and not mere “praying.”
Establishing prayer is
(1) to pray with purpose–seeking Allah Most High;
(2) to pray in accordance with the outward example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)–by fulfilling the conditions, integrals, and outward proper manners of prayer; and
(3) to pray with sincerity, presence of heart, and in a state of remembrance of Allah–these being some of the key inward sunnas of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
It is such prayer that Allah refers to:
“[Prophet], recite what has been revealed to you of the Scripture; keep up the prayer: prayer restrains outrageous and unacceptable behaviour. Remembering God is greater: God knows everything you are doing.” [Qur’an, 29.45]
It is such prayer that transforms. Transformative prayer requires:
(1) knowledge of the outward and spiritual example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace);
(2) a living heart nourished by “keeping your tongue moist with remembrance of Allah,” throughout one’s life and actions;
(3) mindfulness (taqwa) and
(4) renouncing worldliness (zuhd), such that one leaves anything that distracts or disadvantages in one’s standing with Allah.
 Striving for Allah
This is the Divine promise of assistance for those who strive for Allah’s sake.
“Whoever strives seeking Us, We shall surely guide to Our ways–and Allah is with those of excellence.” [Qur’an, 29.69]
Striving seeking Allah is that
(1) one’s actions are for Allah (li’l Llah)–for His closeness, pleasure, and love; and
(2) one performs them by Allah (bi’l Llah), such that one is reliant on Allah’s assistance and facilitation in them.
This is the reality and realization of “You alone with submit to, and You alone we ask for assistance.” [Qur’an, 1.5]
 Marriage as a Sign of Allah, and a Means to Him
In a series of verses within Surat al-Rum, Allah tells us about His signs in creation– here, specifically about spouses.
Marriage is a sign of Allah, as it (1) reminds of the marvel of creation; (2) reminds of the marvel of destiny and how Allah brings a man and woman together; (3) reminds of the gift of serenity (sukun) Allah has placed in marriage; and (4) reminds of the potential of love and mercy Allah grants the couple. There are numerous signs of Allah in marriage:
“Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect.” [Qur’an, 30.21]
Marriage is also a “sign of Allah,” in that it is a means of turning to Allah and seeking His closeness. How? Through upholding and expressing the “love and mercy” that is the glue of relations, even when tested. The manifestation of this is good character in conduct and response–seeking Allah thereby. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The believers most perfect in faith are those best in character. And the best of you are those best to their spouses.” [Tirmidhi]
 Success, Purpose, and the Beautiful Way of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)
This verse summarizes success in life:
“Truly, you have in the Messenger of Allah the most beautiful example for whoever seeks Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.” [Qur’an, 33.21]
The keys to a successful life:
(1) have a clear purpose in life: seek Allah and the Last Day as your life goal, and in every action and response;
(2) strive to take the Messenger as your “excellent model” in life, and in every action and response;
(3) sustain this purpose and way through remaining constant and consistent in remembrance of Allah.
And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani and Tabraze Azam
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