Theme of Juz Twenty Three –Aqeedah
The 23rd Juz comprises of four Makkan Surahs, Surah Yaseen, Surah As-Saffaat, Surah Sad and Surah Az-Zumar.
All four of these Surahs revolve around Makkan themes of Aqeedah, although they vary in their core theme.
While Surah Yaseen deals primarily with Tawheed, but with a reminder of the Afterlife and the messengers, Surah As-Saffaat focuses on the concept of the Afterlife and the Messengers. A unique feature of this Surah is the descriptive conversations of people in the Afterlife.
The first conversation is between the leaders of the disbelievers and their followers. Blind following is a dangerous path that many choose to thread, and on that day the followers will deeply regret their decision. The Surah makes it clear that both the followers and leaders will be punished, because blind following is a conscious decision people make: “They (the followers) will say: It was you who had authority over us. They (the leaders) will reply: No, rather you did not have any faith, and we did not have any authority over you, rather you were a rebellious nation.” (37:28-30)
Another conversation mentioned in this Surah is that the believers will recall their disbelieving friends who tried to lead them astray and will ask about their fate. This will be to gratitude to Allah for not following that friend. This is a strong lesson about the importance of following the truth, and not to let friendship dictate our lives.
The rest of the Surah is a reminder of some of the prophets and their stories, as it is only through following the prophets that we can attain Paradise and avoid the Hellfire. Surah Saad continues on this theme about the prophets and mentions the stories of four prophets: Dawud, Sulaiman, Ayub and Adam (Alayhum Salam).
Each of these prophets were tested in a unique way, Dawud
was tested with justice in decision making, Sulaiman
was tested will wealth and worldly success, Ayub
was tested with the opposite i.e. loss of wealth and any worldly pleasures, and Adam
was tested with Shaytaan. Each of these prophets eventually passed their tests, despite some setbacks, and we learn through their stories the diversity of tests that humans face in this world.
It is interesting to note that in this Surah, Allah uses the term “what a blessed servant” (38:30, 38:44)
to refer to both Sulaiman and Ayub (Alayhuma Salam). The tests of these two prophets were opposite to each other, Sulaiman
was given worldly success yet remained a grateful servant of Allah, and Ayub
was given trial upon trial in this world yet remained a patient servant, and so they both were praised with the same words. This shows that worldly success (or lack of it) is not the criterion for true success, rather one can be successful with or without it. What matters is how we deal with the situations Allah sends our way, patience during difficult times and gratitude during the good times.
The Juz ends in the middle of the beautiful Surah Zumar, a powerful chapter dealing with the reward of good deeds and the consequence of evil deeds. The closing verses of this chapter in the next Juz are a descriptive narrative about the entrance of people into Paradise and Hell: “Those who disbelieved will be driven to Hellfire in groups. When they reach it, the doors will be opened and the gatekeepers will ask them. ’Did the messengers not come to you reciting to you the verses of your Lord and warning you about the meeting of this day?’ They will reply, ’Yes!’ But the sentence of punishment had been established against the disbelievers. They will be told, ’Enter the doors of the Hellfire to abide therein forever,’ Evil is the end of arrogant.
Those who were conscious of their Lord will be led to Paradise in groups. When they reach it, the doors will already be opened, and its gatekeepers will say. ’Peace be upon you! You have done well, so enter it forever!’ They will say, ’All praise is for Allah who has fulfilled His promise and has given us this land to inherit, now we can live in Paradise wherever we like,’ How excellent is the Reward for the righteous!” (39:71-74)
Source: Themes of the Qur'an by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar