The basic message of Surah al-Balad (Qur’an: 90) is that we’re in a life of difficulties. The human being has been placed in such a life in order to be tested.
The tests of people may vary; the difficulty of these tests varies too. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) told us that the Prophets have the hardest trials, then those who resemble them the most, then those that are most like the second group. (Tirmidhi)
Profiting From the Difficulty
If that is the case for everyone, then what are we expected to do? The surah provides the perfect answer in a succinct way. It encourages us to live in a way that will lead us to have ease after this life of difficulty – not a further difficulty. How? Through good deeds directed towards ourselves and the neediest of people.
This disbeliever, however, who doesn’t heed this advice goes from a life of difficulty to a life of much greater difficulty. This is due to his own choices. The message of the Qur’an was sent to warn and guide one and all of this pitfall.
So what is this elixer that turns difficulty to ease?
The Trifecta of Good Actions
Three actions are particularly highlighted in the Surah:
Belief in Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is one of the greatest of deeds, and a manifestation of gratitude to Him for creating us and providing us with guidance. Believe in Allah, and work on deepening and developing that Iman you have been blessed with. This is the biggest key to the promised, unending ease in the Afterlife.
Encouraging Each Other To Be Patient.
Seeing as everyone is in some form of difficulty, everyone needs some form of support, encouragement, and direction. Many a time, directing someone to the wisdom underlying their trials can make the world of difference to them and their attitude towards life and it’s tests.
Provide them with a comforting statement. A reminder of Allah’s care for His servants. Lessons from the trials of others. Listening. Being with someone in difficulty. All these matters, when used to direct someone to Allah, can help someone embrace their tests and the benefits that come from them.
Those who give this reminder and just as in need of it as those who hear it.
Encouraging Each Other To Be Merciful.
If everyone is in difficulty, make your interactions with them a source of comfort, mercy, and kindness for them. Be a person of compassion.
Alleviate their difficulties through your kindness as best you can. It may be difficult in your own difficulties, but the benefits return to you from Allah.
Promoting such mercy also makes it part of the common discourse. It doesn’t remain as an ideal mentioned in a book somewhere. It becomes part of people’s understanding of life. A goal to achieve. A way of life to embody. This connects one to Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in a way many other deeds do not.
This is the beautiful message of Surah al-Balad. We cannot escape the difficulties that life is woven from, but we can improve the quality of our lives and the lives of others now – through kindness and support – and in the future, forever – through belief and good deeds.
And all praise belongs completely to Allah, the Lord of all being.
Quran Series by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
The curriculum is a comprehensive approach to understanding and studying the Qur’an. The introductory Qur’anic Understanding certificate is a one year course consisting of six modules. Three modules provide a detailed tafsir of the last 30th of the Qur’an, and the other three cover the wisdom behind some of its laws, its preservation and proof of it being from God, and building a lasting connection with the Qur’an.
The Introductory Quranic Understanding certificate consists of six courses.
The second element of the curriculum is a complete tafsir of the Qur’an. This is not as detailed as the former, and its lessons are restricted to approximately half an hour. Based on some authoritative tafsirs, it is a comprehensive study of the Qur’an, its themes, message, some of its rhetorical features, and philological nuances. It is sufficient to equip laymen with a thorough grasp of the Qur’an, and students of knowledge with a firm foundation.
About the Author
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.
His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.
When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.