I’m here to share with you a reflection on the 20th juz of the Qur’an where Allah (SWT) shares with us the chapters Surah An-Naml, Surah Al-Qasas and Surah Al-Ankabut in which He shares with us a common theme of the history of the prophets and those communities that came before Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Those examples are not meant to just entertain us, but rather for us to learn from their history, their trials and their tribulations so that we can be prepared for our present and our future and learn from them.
One of the great examples in this juz is the example of Prophet Musa and Allah (SWT) contrasts it with another individual that we’ll learn later about in our reflection. Prophet Musa went through many different ups and downs in his life. First, he was caught in a time when the Pharoah was committing a genocide against the people of Bani Israel. His mother had a difficult decision of letting go of her son. And he then was in the home of the Pharoah where he lived in wealth and opulence. After that, after committing murder, killing a man who was oppressing a person of Bani Israel, he was so remorseful and so filled with guilt. He prayed to Allah (SWT) and he asked for forgiveness and decided to leave Egypt. When he left Egypt, he went from being a man of wealth and opulence to someone who had to be an indentured servant for years. He found his wife. He became a shepherd and then eventually, he was revealed the revelation from Allah (SWT) when he saw the fire in the desert. This life of humility, where he had been given everything compared to the lives of those who have wealth frequently showcases the example that our prophets came for before us.
Allah (SWT) describes in Surah Al-Qasas a contemporary of Prophet Musa. His name is Karun and it speaks about him in Surah Al-Qasas.
Indeed Karun was from the people of Moses, but he treated them in a cruel manner and We gave him treasures. The treasures were so heavy that even a band of strong men could not carry them. And the people advised him and they told him, do not rejoice in your financial success, but Allah does not like those who exalt.
And then they also continued to advise him and they told him, “But seek through that which Allah has given you success in the hereafter and do not neglect your share of the world.”
Be good to others as God has been good to you and do not strive to perpetrate evil in the land. Indeed Allah does not like the evildoers.
The interesting response that Karun had showcases the level that wealth and opulence and extravagance can impact an individual. Karun responded believing that he really was the reason behind all of his wealth, behind all of his sustenance. And he said, “I have been given all of his on account of my knowledge that I possess.” Imagine the arrogance of someone who had been given so much believing that he is the reason for the solely and there was no one else that impacted his growth and success financially.
And then, Allah (SWT) later on in the surah asks a question: “Does he not realize that Allah has destroyed those who came before him, generations of people who were stronger and wealthier?” This question is really important for us to reflect upon. Someone like Karun who believed that all of his wealth was due to himself and was not grateful for the blessings and the reward that Allah (SWT) gave him, and didn’t feel an obligation to give to those who were less fortunate than him showcases a real challenge that any of us can be facing ourselves. And we have to contrast it with the life of Prophet Musa, who was given opulence, but he walked in this world in a humble manner. He was in servitude to the people. And for us we should leave this reflection thinking how can we follow the guidance that is presented in Surah Al-Qasas here where Allah (SWT) tells us, “Do not neglect your obligation to the world. Be good to others as God has been good to you. And do not strive to perpetrate evil in this land.”
We ask Allah (SWT) to make us of those who do good to others and that we perpetuate good and not evil. We ask Allah (SWT) to forgive us for any of our shortcomings, to have mercy upon us and to grant us pardon from the gates of hellfire as we enter in these last 10 days of Ramadan.