Theme of Juz Fifteen –The Test
The fifteenth Juz comprises Surah Bani Israel (Also known as Surah Al-Israa) and Surah Al-Kahf,
both of these are Makkan Surahs and they have many common themes. Both Surahs talk about the Oneness of Allah, and His Greatness, as well as the concept of the Afterlife.
Another common thread between them is that both Surahs explain to us that this world is a test, and we need to pass this test in preparation for the Afterlife. Surah Al-Kahf reminds us: “Indeed We have made everything in this world beautiful to test which of you are best in deeds, and indeed We will make it all dry earth.” (18:7-8)
This is the nature of this world, it is a temporary test and the real life starts after we leave this world. Surah Al-Israa reminds us that a major part of this test is Shaytaan and his vow to lead us all astray: “And seduce whoever amongst them you can with your voice, and assault them with your horses and soldiers, and share in their wealth and children, and make promises to them. Yet the promises of Shaytaan are nothing but deception. Indeed, you have no authority over my believing servants, and Your Lord is sufficient as their Disposer of Affairs.” (17-65)
So Shaytaan will use every possible trick to lead us astray and so we much be ready to deal with the tests of life, and we should not expect our existence to be smooth sailing. Surah Al-Kahf compromises of four stories which deal with different types of tests.
The story of the youth of the cave reminds us that we will be tested with regards to our religion and our firmness upon it. We find in them role models of opposing society for the sake of Allah. “And I strengthened their hearts when they took a stand…” (18:14)
The parable of the two men and the garden reminds us that we can be tested with wealth and success too, and we should not allow worldly success to divert us from the purpose of life. “Wealth and Children are the beauty of the worldly life, but lastly acts of righteousness are better source of reward with Lord and a better basis of Hope.” (18:46)
The story of Musa
and Khidr reminds us that bad things happen to good people because there is hidden benefit in it for us, and good things happen to bad people because it serves a greater good for others.
Finally, the story of Dhul Qarnayn reminds us that the authority we have over others is also a test and we have in Dhul Qarnayn a good role model in how to handle positions of authority justly.
There is a misconception that none of the laws of Islam were revealed in Makkah. Reality is that general laws were revealed in Makkah, while most detailed laws were revealed in Madinah. Surah Al-Israa is evidence of this as it is a Makkan Surah and contains prohibitions of oppression, abusing one’s parents, usurping the wealth of orphans, fornication, infanticide and of course, the prohibition of Shirk.
Avoiding these sins are crucial for passing the test of life, as it is only through the obedience of Allah that we earn Paradise and protection from the Hellfire.
Source: Themes of the Qur'an by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar