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Short Qur'anic Chapters study 2nd week halaqa (discussion circle)
Short Qur'anic Chapters study 1st week (4.15.2016) halaqa's (Sura 99) link:
Next halaqa's (3rd week) (4/30) (Sura 87) 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 30 Sat 7am PST, 10am EST, 5pm Istanbul time live at ha-mim.org/live. We started studying "Surah azZalzalah" "Chapter of the Earthquake" on last week's halaqa, find below the audio recording of the English translation of the Surah and notes to be read before this week's halaqa:

• Al-Zalzalah, Surah 99: 1-8

***Day of Judgment (yawm alQiyamah)

• When is the Day of Judgment?
• Juha joke about the Little Day of Judgment and the Big Day of Judgment
• Everyone’s Day of Judgment is when they die

***VERSES #1-3

When the Earth quakes with its mighty quaking
The Earth throws her Burden
Human wonders what is happening to her.

• When we read the Quran, we read it as a living entity speaking to us right now. When I read this verse, I should ask myself how does this verse relate to me?

• Is this a good news? (Bushra)
• Is this mercy? (Rahma)
• Is this guidance? (Hidaya, does it teach me something I could not have learned otherwise)
• Is it healing (Shifa)

• If the verse is only talking about Qiyama, it is not an answer to my questions. It is just an information about the future

• There are bubbles in the river and all the bubbles reflect images of the sun. However, the bubbles disappear. The bubbles disappear and new bubbles keep coming but keep showing the impermanence of the same sun. The river represents the time that flows in one direction. The bubbles represent every single thing in the creation. The Sun represents God. Bubbles are weak, they cannot sustain their existence. The bubbles remind us of our vulnerability. Bubbles disappear but they keep pointing to the Sun. If the bubbles were permanent then we would think that the Sun is inside the bubbles. But since they keep disappearing, it forces us to look for the permanent and unlimited source of all the beautiful names (beauty, wisdom, power, justice) of God and hence that is why remembering earthquakes are a good news.

• Earth represents stability in this worldly life, other things like tulips, butterfly only last a season. Earth appears to be intransient. It appears to be reliable and permanent to us.

• Earthquakes in our life, so we can relate to the concept. We have accounts from people. Everything that we are attached to this life goes into a crack and goes out of our hands. This should reminds us of utter impermanence of everything in this universe. It also reminds us of our vulnerability because things we thought we can control we in fact cannot. We cannot keep things in our hands that we thought we could. We just watch in shock and terror.

• We come to realize that grandiose claims of our ego are shattered when we suddenly face an unexplained. It is putting me down. How is this good news and mercy? It relates to me here and right now? They detach me from the face of things that looks to impermanence. They turn my vision to the face of things as they reflect God’s beautiful names. Earthquakes force us to look for something permanent and hence they become good news, mercy and healing. Because now we are forced to look for something permanent. That is looking for aspect of things that look for God.

• I have a need of looking for something that looks at something permanence. Things that we try to think are stable, we know they are not. We know that Earth is not as merciful or smart as I am so I am aware of its limitation. This increases our vision of the Earth.

• I do not like the impermanent – Abraham. He is looking for something that is permanent. Unlike his descendents he did not where to find permanence. Revelation teaches us where to find us. Noah’s son thought he could be saved by climbing the mountain. What is truly permanent, I need to realize the impermanence of everything else.

***VERSES #4-5

• Tells one-by-one all its news
• Your sustainer has inspired her

• Now we have vision of the Earth that is not a dead rock. But it is a living entity that carries meanings in it. Every entity in this universe can be described as the reflection of God’s infinitely many names each in various degrees at various points in time and space. Examples …. The flower is prettier than grass. Name of beauty is reflected more in flower as opposed to cockroach. Life is reflected more in a cat than in a tree. Name of light is reflected more in a star as opposed to inside a cave

• All entities if understood in this way, give us news about their sustainer. Cannot understand Quran in one hour… the names of the sustainer is just the first step in reading the universe and understanding its speech (language)

• Track animals, crimes, our thoughts and emotions are reflected in the universe. Architect designs a building and a landmark is created. Our actions leave a mark in the universe. Earth is a Hafiziat of God (it is saving actions by his command). Just like the computer is able to save information, record images and sound. This is the reflection is the hafiziat of God. In the same way, whatever we do the universe saves our actions hence it is the evidence of the hafiziat of God. Everything will come before us on the Day of Judgment. (Hafiziat = saving, protecting, memorizing, and preserving)

• Why is this concept important? Major evidence for the establishment of justice in the afterlife.

• One who saves your actions is the one who will hold us responsible for it.

• The face that looks to God’s name and the third that looks to Afterlife.

• Once we realize that the beautiful aspects look to God. Then we go to Afterlife.

• Death is not annihilation, it is just a transformation.

• Paradise is the place of permanent unveiled manifestation of all of God’s attributes in their utmost form in various degrees at various times. What is the difference from previous definition? One moment it reflects life (hayy) and one moment we reflect death (mumeet). There is a permanence of reflection. (The bubble does not pop). The names are reflected in various degree and in paradise it is in maximum degree that is each individual is capable of facing. How much I prepared myself in this life to face God’s names in paradise? A Prophet will experience God at a higher level as opposed to a person who rarely sees universe as a reflection of God. The degree of the reflection of name that I can see in paradise.

• Even in hell, there is reflection of God but at a very low level. Levels of hell like levels of paradise.

• The bubbles may disappear in this life but they (same) are permanent in paradise and in a much more greater degree of reflection of God’s names.

• Face of the impermanence – quake and shake

• Right afterwards, i.e. how earth recounts – YES!!! It looks at the face of Earth that looks at permanence. Everything will be preserved. So it transitions from impermanence to permanence. After is where his names will appear permanent. The Akhirah is created according to this worldly life. Everything is a witness to our actions, including ourselves. Everything in this universe is perserved for the Akirah. The result of our action is how we preceive Akirah and this world. One person in utter bless and peace and the other one can be complaining. Our actions are the result of our thoughts and prespective. That is the witnessing of the earth, hifaziyat of the earth is all

• Verse 4 – everything is preserved
• Verse 5 –Earth is doing so – is an evidence of reflecting a name of God, explanation of Hereafter

• Preserving – Witness

• What are these impermanence and vulnerabilities telling us? This makes us humans and everything that exists more valuable. They are more meaningful and more valued. In our vulnerabilites, weaknesses and impermanence, we can only find our real self values. Not in our arbitrary measures like careers, families and degrees. In fact, through these things we find good news of paradise. Hence we develop appreciation of ourselves.

***VERSE #6

• That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds

• Individualism versus collectivism – Societies where Muslims are in majority as mostly collectivistic societies like Afro-Asiatic cultures. Islam is a religion of Jamaat, i.e. acting in groups. Yet in various place of the Quran we're told how on that day, people will leave their parents, spouses, children (Surah M’aarij 10-14, Surah Abasa 33-37)

Surah alMa'arij/ Chapter of the Ways of Ascent

and [when] no friend will ask about his friend, - 70:10 (Asad)
Wala yasalu hameemun hameema
though they may be in one another's sight: [for,] everyone who was lost in sin will on that Day but desire to ransom himself from suffering at the price of his own children, - 70:11 (Asad)
Yubassaroonahum yawaddu almujrimu law yaftadee min AAathabi yawmiithin bibaneeh
and of his spouse, and of his brother, - 70:12 (Asad)
Wasahibatihi waakheeh
and of all the kinsfolk who ever sheltered him, - 70:13 (Asad)
Wafaseelatihi allatee tuweeh
and of whoever [else] lives on earth, all of them - so that he could but save himself. - 70:14 (Asad)
Waman fee alardi jameeAAan thumma yunjeeh

Surah 'Abasa / Chapter "He Frowned"

AND SO, [10] when the piercing call [of resurrection] is heard - 80:33 (Asad)
Faitha jaati alssakhkhah
on a Day when everyone will [want to] flee from his brother, - 80:34 (Asad)
Yawma yafirru almaro min akheeh
and from his mother and father, - 80:35 (Asad)
Waommihi waabeeh
and from his spouse and his children: - 80:36 (Asad)
Wasahibatihi wabaneeh
on that Day, to every one of them will his own state be of sufficient concern. - 80:37 (Asad)
Likulli imriin minhum yawmaithin shanun yughneeh

• When we are going to face our deeds, we are all alone. When it comes to taking responsibility of our actions we are individual entities. This is separate from acting in groups or being a harmonious society

• We are individuals when it comes to deciding our actions/ our life course. We cannot inherit iman or faith from someone. Everyone is responsible to searching meaning and finding purpose in their lives, and they will be held accountable. an apparent contradiction again? IMPERMANENCE TO PERMANENCE and now COLLECTIVE TO INDIVIDUAL

• There are aspects of religion and our lives are collectivistic, e.g. charity, father looking after children etc. Our relationship with others is collectivistic but our relationship with God is individualistic.

• We know that whatever provision we have has been given to us by our provider. I have a holistic perception of the universe. I am completely connected to everyone. Everyone is part of one body. I see a kid / human crying I feel bad and forced to take action. When there is an earthquake, everyone wants to take an action and do something to rectify the situation. When we have individual connection with our creator. Then we know that whatever, I am feeling is being given to us. When I see it that way then I can readily give whatever was given to me by my provider. So charity becomes faith in action rather than my humanity and goodness in itself. Individual relationship with God is related to our communal lives. One example of how when we change our horizontal relations to vertical relationships. And there is a lot more than what we have just touched.

***VERSES #7-8

• So whosoever does good equal to an atom’s weight, shall see it
• So whosoever does evil equal to an atom’s weight, shall see it

• It reinforces all the points in the previous verses and focuses our attention on what we need to do now not what is going to happen on the day of judgment
• Good and Evil??

• Death is the truth – Prophet was alive, he kept reminding us of our death. Why is it important to be reminded of death. We think death is a long time from now but it could happen any moment. What we should be doing right now? Even if you are planting a seed don’t stop when the day of judgment. What should I be doing when the day of judgment comes. What matter in the face of death. What should my actions be revolving around. I have to find meaning and purpose in life. I have to set goals and I have to set my life course in the direction of that goal (siraat-e-mustaqeem)

• What will define my action as good and evil? We can only define good and evil in relation to how we have defined our purpose of creation. We have to have a measure for good and evil. Four sources of defining measures: our conscience, book of the universe, book of revelation and prophets.

• Emphasizes even the atom’s weight – Description of paradise and hell trees represents that afterlife is an organic consequence of this life. This life is a seed and after life is a tree. There are also hadith that say that you reap in the akkirah what you sow in this world. The world is the sowing field of the afterlife. What we get in Afterlife is the ultimate justice to what we did in this afterlife. He is the one who creates it. Surah Mulk 13-14, Say your words openly or hide them. Verily, he knows what our hearts hide and show. Does he not know what he created? (He knows about all things)

Surah alMulk / Chapter of the Dominion:
AND [know, O humen, that] whether you keep your beliefs [10] secret or state them openly, He has full knowledge indeed of all that is in [your] hearts. [11] - 67:13 (Asad)
Waasirroo qawlakum awi ijharoo bihi innahu AAaleemun bithati alssudoori
How could it be that He who has created [all] should not know [all]? [12] Yea, He alone is unfathomable [in His wisdom], aware! [13] - 67:14 (Asad)
Ala yaAAlamu man khalaqa wahuwa allateefu alkhabeeru

• We tend to choose our actions because our definition of existence and meaning of our lives is skewed in comparison what the revelation teaches us. The source/ measures by which we value ourselves and others is usually arbitrary and impermanent things and as a result we tend to judge ourselves from the eyes of other people, family, society. Social media = cool to peers = should be replaced with the eye of revelation. The fact that our actions are created by god does not take away our freedom of choice. If my values are based on God then I judge my actions according to what god teaches me. I cannot have a single moment where I am supposed to act unmindfully of my sustainer

• God teaches me through book of universe, book of revelation.
• My consciousness is given to me by God
• Latif = delicacy, finesse

It came to me, how this surah tries to explain everything by switching between opposites
• Stable versus wobbly
• Collective versus individual
• Good versus Evil
• Permanence versus Impermanence

Three faces of everything:
• World -> Transcendent -> Afterlife
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 Beenish.

Licence : CC BY-NC-ND 3.0