In this series, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Ustadh Tabraze Azam, SeekersHub Global Instructors, share a day by day overview of key themes of each section (juz’) of the Qur’an, over the month of Ramadan. This is covered nightly at IMO of Toronto, where SeekersHub Toronto (www.seekersguidance.org) is conducting its Ramadan 2013 programming.
Day 6: Juz’ Six: Surat al-Nisa’ [4.148-176] & Surat al-Ma’ida [5.1-82]
In tonight’s set of verses, we’ll be looking at four key themes: (1) cooperating in virtue; (2) firm commitment to justice; (3) seeking the means to closeness; (4) neediness, ability, and worship.
 Cooperating in Virtue
Assisting each other in the good is a Divine command, and a personal duty. Just as each of us have personal obligations (fard `ayn) to fulfill, we are also responsible for social obligations (fard kifaya)–and these cannot be fulfilled without cooperating with others:
“…Assist one another in righteousness and mindfulness–and do not assist another towards sin and hostility. Be mindful of God, for His punishment is severe.” [Qur’an, 5.2]
These two qualities–righteousness (birr) and mindfulness (taqwa)–are needed in successful cooperation, and these are what one needs to be working together towards. Our actions need planning, and plans need purpose. The purpose of religion is the promotion of virtue–righteousness and mindfulness, as bridges to the love of Allah.
Righteousness (birr) refers to all ways of upholding good. The key to righteousness? The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Righteousness is good character.” The key to relationships–and successful cooperation–is upholding good character in attitude, conduct, and response–in our relationships.
Mindfulness (taqwa) here refers to being careful of limits and rights in our relationships.
 Firm Commitment to Justice, for Allah’s Sake
Allah calls us to be firmly committed to justice (`adl), for His sake, and not to let our emotions or enmity cause us to veer away from the right balance in our conduct and responses. This requires mindfulness (taqwa) and awareness of Allah (muraqaba). The consequence: eternal reward from Allah:
“You who believe, remain steadfast God’s sake, and bear witness impartially: do not let hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, for that is closer to awareness of God. Be mindful of God: God is well aware of all that you do. God has promised forgiveness and a rich reward to those who have faith and do good works.” [Qur’an, 5.8-9]
 Seek the Means to Closeness to Allah
In this verse, Allah commands us to take the means to get closer to Him, and to strive in His way:
“You who believe, be mindful of God, seek ways to come closer to Him and strive for His cause, so that you may prosper.” [Qur’an, 5.35]
Allah doesn’t need us or our worship. He is the One, absolutely free of need. Paradise has been prepared for the believers. Be the strong believer, seek Allah in everything you
do, and trust in Him: “there will be no fear for those who follow My guidance nor will they grieve” [Qur’an, 2.39]
 Divine Unity: Worshipping Allah alone
This verse is a call to reflection. Allah alone is the one who can benefit and harm. “And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)
“Say, ‘How can you worship something other than God, that has no power to do you harm or good? God alone is the All Hearing and All Knowing.’” [Qur’an, 5.76]
Realize your neediness and poverty to Him–Creator and Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth–and turn to Him, completely.
And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani and Tabraze Azam
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