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Short Qur'anic Chapters study 1st week halaqa (discussion circle)
Next halaqa's (2nd week) (4/22) (Sura 99) link:
Today's halaqa was based on the Receiving Nur video where Sura 99 Sura azZalzalah (Chapter of the Earthquake) is discussed:
Note: You can download the youtube video and convert it to mp3 using realplayer's realdownloader program, in order to play the audio file on your computer or phone without needing internet access.
Next halaqa will inshaAllah be April 22 Fri 7am PST, 10am EST, 5pm Istanbul time live at ha-mim.org/live. We started studying "Surah azZalzalah" "Chapter of the Earthquake" this week and continued studying it on next week's halaqa, find the relevant notes below the audio recording link above.

Surah az-Zalzalah (Chapter of the Earthquake) Chapter 99: 1-8

1. When the earth is shaken with its mighty quaking,
2. And (when) the earth yields up its burdens,
3. And the human cries out: "What has happened to it?"
4. On that Day it will declare its information,
5. Because your Lord has inspired it,
6. That Day humans will come forward, cut off from one another (ashtatan*), to be shown their (past) deeds.
7. So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small amount), shall see it.
8. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small amount), shall see it.

*Asad's note on Verse6: Lit., ''as separate entities" (ashtatan). Cf. 6:94 - "And now, indeed, you have come unto Us in a lonely state, even as We created you in the first instance": thus stressing the individual, untransferable responsibility of every human being.

Arabic-English Lexicon by Edward William Lane
(London: Willams & Norgate)
If you have listened to this halaqa where we discussed the basic meaning of the verses and words, we recommend that you listen to this ARN video- an interpretation of the surah (Quranic chapter) by Dr Yamina Bouguenaya of the Always Receiving Nur team:

Next week (4.22.2016) we discussed the meaning of this surah as it pertains to our lives based on the ARN video and prepared a powerpoint presentation with ample notes, check out under next week's halaqa.
Here are some questions to consider while reflecting on this Sura before the 4.22.2016 Halaqa:

Day of Judgment
•When is the Day of Judgment?
•Everyone’s Day of Judgment when they die

Principles of Reading Quran
Quran is a living entity that is speaking to us right now:
•Is it giving me a good news? (Bushra)
•Is it mercy? (Rahma)
•Is it bringing guidance? (Hidaya, does it teach me something I could not have learned otherwise)
•Is it healing? (Shifa)

Impermanence Aspects
1. When the earth is shaken with its mighty quaking,
2.And (when) the earth yields up its burdens,
3.And human cries out: "What has happened to it?"
•What is the topic here?
•A future event?
•How does it relate to me here and now?

Permanence Aspects
4.On that Day it will declare its information,
5.Because your Lord has inspired it,
•What is the message here?
•How does it change our understanding of Earth?
•What does it tell us about God?
•What does it tell us about the Earth?

Personal Responsibility
6.That Day humans will come forward, cut off from one another, to be shown their (past) deeds.
-Another set of opposites: collectivistic and individualistic
-Afro-Asiatic Muslim cultures are collectivistic
-Horizontal versus vertical relationships
-Example of charity

Justice in Reward and Punishment
7.So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small amount), shall see it.
8.And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small amount), shall see it.
•To what is our attention being drawn here?
•What is our understanding of good and evil?
•What is the meaning of this world?
While listening to the ARN video whose link is posted above, here are some notes we took, consider these points which we have discussed on next week's halaqa (4/22):

Beenish's notes:

Surah Zilzal
Topic suggests that it is a Meccan Surah

Sign = Something we overlooked very easily

We are being called to look at life in a new way. We are being called to look at Earth in a new way. When there is an Earthquake, the earth was split into two and everything went it. People were in shock. They could not believe it. Why they could not believe it? Because we take everything for granted.

Imagine we are dying in six months. What are we going to do to all our projects or schedules? What are you going to do with people? Our priorities will change. I will try to change or increase what I know about Allah. I won’t give up projects that I know are worthy and are not worth postponing. What matters is not what we deem important but what is being done in the name of God? I am only going to focus on those projects that have meaning beyond this world.

The reality is that not only am I dying, but everything in this world is also passing. Everything is a divine speech. Everything is coming and pointing to a permanent world. This awareness will change our perception of reality. Right now that knowledge is going to change my life. Therefore, our values change. Whatever we could postpone will change it. Our world and our values are inversed with the realization that this world is impermanent.

This whole world is impermanent. We are being made aware of the Day of Judgment. These verses are giving us a moment of clarity right here, right now.

Our Rab is the one who is sustaining us right now. He knows us and he knows how we delude ourselves. Therefore, we need awareness about why it matters what we are doing? Wealth in itself cannot do anything.

These verses are shaking us and forcing us to realize that everything that we thought was enduring is passing. Something that is a symbol of stability is also passing. Everything is vulnerable and shaky. We need to be shaken that if there is no awareness of life to come that whatever we have achieved in life is meaningless and has no eternal fruit. That is why, our Rab is reminding us, shaking us and telling us that this earth is very fragile and passing.

We always thought it is alive and all my dreams are tied to me through a few breaths. Build your life on the perception – I am always being given. When I give, even then I am given.

We have to start looking around us and realize what things are signs and what truths they behold. Every single spot on this earth has meaning, and thousands of year of history. Everyone will come one by one to be shown their deeds. He who has done an atom’s weight of good or evil shall see it. Human being will be appalled at Earth that you are not hiding anything.

The verses are forcing us to look beyond. The earth is very fragile. We have needs that force us to search and be guided.

Prophet Abraham asm said "La uhibbul afileen" "I do not like the impermanent".

What you thought is forgotten is actually not forgotten. It can be a moment of betrayal.

What are we setting ourselves up for. I can take myself up to a mountain and think it will protect me like Prophet Noah asm's son, but it does not.

The main message is that this surah is pushing us to confront our delusion about reality. If we think and pause. Everything is vulnerable and anything can happen at anytime. Then we will also be open to the idea that miracle will happen and can happen anytime. Everything is extraordinary.

Death is not annihilation, it is just a transformation. We have no idea how and it was so easy.

A good word is like a good tree. Firmly rooted, branching out into the world.

Why are we talking about words? Words change human beings? Words transform us and shape us?

The nature around us is a reflection of the divine word. Nature is speaking to us. This world is a divine speech.

Asma's notes:

Joke: People asked Juha/Molla Nasreddin do you know when Yawm ul-qiyama will be. He asked which one are you asking about. People said isn't there just one qiyamah, how many qiyamat are there? He said two, the big one and the little one. People were puzzled, they asked, when are those? He said, the little one is when my wife dies and the big one is when I will die.

Everyone’s qiyama is when they die.

Earthquake ---- river bubbles- ajziyet and fena points to the Baqi

Awhayna vejhillah asma manai harfi akhirah witness

Ashtatan individuality vs collectivistic

Seeking stability--- earth- seeking impermanence... la uhibbul afilin

Our fragility and vulnerability is what makes us and all that exists more valuable

The quran is alive, it speaks to us anew every time we listen to it.
We thank Dr YAMINA BOUGUENAYA for being a means of guidance to us in attempting to scratch at the surface of this surah and we also thank SAID NURSI the author of the Risale-i Nur Collection which was a means of teaching Yamina how to read the Qur’an after decades of dedicated study. Alhamdulillah alHadi, alAleem, alHakeem / Praise and thanks be to God the Source of Guidance, Knowledge and Wisdom.
The picture is of a news about an old message bottle that was recently found--as an example of how the Earth keeps records of our deeds.

Licence : CC BY-NC-ND 3.0