• Tafseer Surah Burjooj: Fitnah

    This is post #27 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

    Allah says, in Surah Al-Burooj:

    وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ

    وَالْيَوْمِ الْمَوْعُودِ

    وَشَاهِدٍ وَمَشْهُودٍ

    قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ

    Translation: By the sky containing great stars. And [by] the promised Day. And [by] the witness and what is witnessed. Cursed were the companions of the trench. [Surah Al-Buruj, verses 1-4]

    The story of Ashaab-ul-Burooj, the People of the Ditch, is pretty well-known; in fact, we have an entire 15-part series on this surah. Check it out insha’Allah.

    Allah opens this surahs with testifications. Then he testifies: qutila ashaabul-‘uqdood. ‘uqdood is another word for ditch. Qutila, literally, means “they were killed.” But Ibn Abbaas (radiallahu anhu) said, whenever you read qutila in the Qur’an, it means lu’ina–cursed.

    Allah cursed the People of the Ditch. And Allah is not in need of cursing–He can do anything, to anybody, anytime, anywhere. Lu’ina means, they were destroyed.

    And they _are_destroyed.

    So what great sin did they perpetrate in order to deserve this immense reward–not only being cursed and destroyed, but being documented in the Qur’an, to be recited until the end of time?

    Let’s see.

  • The People of the Ditch (15): Tests and Purification

    The people came to the king and said “Don’t you see, by Allah, your fear brought about the very thing you were afraid of.” The king didn’t know what to do. So he had ditches dug at all the roads out of the city. People try to escape, BOOM into a ditch. He had people brought to the ditches and said “disbelieve and live or believe and in you go.” They believed, so he threw them in.
  • The People of the Ditch (14): Belief

    The boy said “You will never be able to kill me until you do what I say.” The king said “Ok, what do I do?” Notice the reversal of roles–who’s in control now? So the boy said “gather the people, cruficy me on a tree trunk, put your arrow in the middle of the bow, say ‘in the name of Allah, Lord of the worlds’ and fire.” And the king did just that, so obsessed to kill the boy he didn’t realize what the effect would be.
  • The People of the Ditch (13): Your Purpose on Earth

    The king asked the boy to renounce his religion, to which the boy refused. The king said “take him to the highest mountain and if he doesn’t renounce by the time you reach the top, throw him off.” Why not saw him in half? Because the boy’s useful. He has influence among the poeple. People love him, and if he joins the king, many will follow his example. So they took him up, and the boy said “O Allah, suffice me against them in whatever way You please”.
  • The People of the Ditch (12): Sincerity of Du’a

    We often make empty du’as–they lack in sincerity, but hey, we don’t expect them to be answered. But why do it? Are you just testing Allah? Think with certiny that Allah will answer your du’a. Make the most sincere, heart-felt du’a of your existance. And have hope that Allah will answer it. Before Islam, there was a man named Jurayj, a worshipper of Allah. The people around him had intense jealousy of him for this.
  • The People of the Ditch (11): Torture and Flattery

    The king’s companion pointed out the boy. Why didn’t he remain silent? For that matter, why does the boy point out the monk later? Resolve. Ibn Tamiyyah, may Allah have mercy on him, said “much of your resolve disappears when tortured”. Your determination and strength of will plummets. So the man pointing out the boy, well, his determination couldn’t withstand the torture. So the king’s soldiers brought the boy to the king, who said “O my boy, your magic heals the blind and cures the lepers …” Then he used flattery.
  • The People of the Ditch (9): Honouring vs. Prophetic Miracles

    The boy healed the blind and the lepers–the same miracles given to the prophet ‘Isa (Jesus), on whom be peace. Was he a prophet? No, he was not. The difference is: Allah gave the boy karamah, a less intense form of mu’jizah. In a way, karamah mimics mu’jizah, but to a less intense level. The boy’s powers mimiced the miracles of ‘Isa (alayhi salaam), to a lesser level. And while ‘Isa (alayhi salaam) could resurrect the dead, the boy could not.
  • The People of the Ditch (7): The People Most Tested

    Some companions asked the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) “Who are the people most tested?” The Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said “The rightly guided people.” Allah tests people according to the strength of their faith. As you increase in iman, your tests become tougher and tougher. Allah tests everyone, even non-believers. So if you’re going to be tested, be tested for fleeing to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and the truth.
  • The People of the Ditch (6): Allah Tests Truth-Bearers

    The scholar/monk said to the boy, after he defeated the beast: verily, you will be tested. The sunnah of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) is to test those who come with the truth –place tests in their path. When the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) first received revelation and visited Waraqa, he said: I wish I had the life/strength to live until the time when your people kick you out. The Prophet said: Are they going to kick me out?
  • The People of the Ditch (5): Humility with Arrogance

    After the boy killed the lion, news spread fast–news arrives like an ant and leaves like an elephant. Sensationalism. The boy meets the scholar and informs him of what occurred. The scholar replied with: “O my boy, today you are better then me. You will be tested, so when it happens, do not reveal me (don’t rat me out).” How was the boy better? He gained knowledge and implemented it, and increased in humility.