THE NIGHTS ARE A REVIVAL
If one’s nights are spent in seeking forgiveness, with a renewal of one’s belief, in togetherness with the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, in remembrance and contemplation of death…
There is no escape from death.
yaqūlu l-insānu yawma-idhin ayna l-mafaru
“On that day human will say: ‘Where is the escape?'” (75:10)
There is no place to run and hide on the Day of Judgement. We are living in His dominion. When will death come, how will it come, we do not know this either.
In short, the nights are each a new revival.
Allah Almighty again provides us with an example: all animals slowly wake at dawn. Roosters are the first to rise. They begin crowing. The birds follow. And then flowers begin blooming; they begin showing their colour, their shape, and begin exuding their fragrance.
Of course, Allah Almighty warns the human being as such, by means of all these events. Of course it is not appropriate for the human being to remain sluggish.
In one of his supplications, the Messenger of Allah says:
Allahumma inni a’udhu bika min ‘adhabi l-qabr, wa min ‘adhabi-nnar,
“O Allah, I seek refuge with you from the torment of the grave, and from the torment of the Fire…” (Bukhari, Adhan, 149)
That is to say, we will experience such a state in the grave and in the Hereafter that Allah Almighty wants for us to turn to Him with such a supplication. In other words, not forgetting the grave, not forgetting the Hereafter and not forgetting our reckoning.
Muhammed Es’ad Erbili says in one of his letters to his students:
“My son, may Allah illuminate the eye of your heart. Just as rose water is present in every point of a rose petal, may love and constant remembrance of Allah permeate every particle of your precious being, and may your constant remembrance and invocation of Allah beautify you with its beautiful fragrance.”
This is so important that, there is another resurrection on the Day of Judgement. Upon rising:
“Some faces will on that Day…” (80:38)
As declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“…Some faces will on that Day be radiant with happiness, smiling, rejoicing at good tidings. And some faces will on that Day be dust-stained; veiled in darkness.” (80:38-41)
So, the state of our inner world in this abode will come forth there, on the Day of Judgement, as a particular shape and form. [There,] we will not have the colour, shape and form that we have in this world.
We must pay attention to our every moment. Our tongue in particular. Allah gave us a tongue. Why did He do so? Our tongue needs to be a tongue of mercy. A mercy must constantly be projected from our hearts. From the vain and futile… Allah Almighty declares:
“They always turn away from and avoid whatever is vain and frivolous.” (23:3)
And so, the time of the night before dawn is a vital time for us. The heart’s being together with Allah in the sombre darkness of the night.
Allah Almighty then declares:
“And ten nights.” (89:2)
Each night has a separate beauty. Great things happen during the night. The Prophet’s Ascension took place at night. Most of the revelation came during the night. Important events took place at night.
This goes to show the importance of spending one’s nights in worship. The ten nights of Dhu al-Hijjah, the ten nights of Muharram, the last ten nights of Ramadan. Allah wants for us to pay particular attention to these nights.
The next verse reads:
“And [by] the even and the odd.” (89:3)
Allah is One. The essence of His Being cannot be known. Everything that He has created is in pairs, or possesses similar characteristics. Only He Himself is One.
This indicates the importance of reflecting upon the infinite majesty of Allah. It is then declared:
wa-al-layli idhā yasri
“And [by] the night as it journeys on (towards an end).” (89:4)
The day ends and night begins. One needs to prepare for the night during the day. The body prepares for it, becoming weary throughout the day and preparing for sleep and the night.
But the heart, too, needs to prepare for the night. It needs to be in the company of the righteous, the truthful ones, during the day. It must not travel about in the wrong places. It must not look at the wrong things.
The night is, in a sense, an opening to death. In other words, it is as though a drill for death. You drift off into sleep and you have no knowledge or awareness of anything – where you are, nor your age, nor your family or children. It is a practice run for death. Everyone dreams differently, in accordance with their particular state. For some it is freedom from grief, and for others it is suffering.
Dawn, however, is a rising, anew. It is as though the Rising on the Day of Judgement, a scene from the Hereafter. This is why the Messenger of Allah says:
“Sleep is the brother of death.” (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Kitab al-Zuhd, 43)
So, [we need] to be able to take lesson from it.
Allah puts you to sleep, in the same way that you will enter [a state of] death, you will rise on the Day of Judgement.
Calling oneself to account when entering the night, saying, “What have I done for the sake of Allah today?” Everything is constantly being recorded.
Again, in the Qur’anic chapter Munafiqun, it is stated:
“And spend (in God’s cause and for the needy) out of whatever We provide for you before death comes to any of you and he says: ‘My Lord! If only You would grant me respite for a short while, so that I may give alms, and be one of the righteous!'” (63:10)
The Messenger of Allah says:
“…Even the good doer shall face death with regret…” (See Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 59) Wishing they had done more.
The Angel of Death, Azra’il, once came to the Prophet Ilyas, upon him be peace. He began trembling and was overcome with consternation.
Archangel Azra’il said:
“You are a Prophet. Do you fear death?”
“No,” he replied. “I am not afraid of death. How beautiful was the life of this world. I was fulfilling my servanthood to Allah and I had a very peaceful existence with my worship, my way of life, and my conveying the message to others. However, now I am to remain in the grave until the Resurrection and will be deprived of these rewards.”
In short, may Allah enable us to know the value of our lives.
[Then, there is] Rabi’ b. Khaytham. He says:
“I was once present by the side of a man in the throes of death. I prompted him to say, ‘There is no deity but Allah (La ilaha illallah)’.
(As one needs to quietly recite the Declaration of Faith beside one whose death is close.)
“He seemed not to hear this Declaration of Faith. It was as though he were holding a bag and calculating something with his fingers, like he was counting money, and that the state in which he died.”
The Messenger of Allah says:
“You will die as you have lived and will be resurrected as you have died.” (Munawi, Fayd al-Qadr, V:663)
Like the drops that fill this glass. However lucid are these drops, our life capital, that is the extent to which they will contribute to our deliverance. But this water was poured into a clean glass. Had it been poured into a dirty, soiled glass, even if it were pure spring water or even Zamzam, one could not drink it. The glass needs to be clean. This means that the heart has to be cleansed.
qad aflaḥa man zakkāhā
“He is indeed prosperous who has grown it [his carnal soul] in purity.” (91:9)
qad aflaḥa man tazakkā
“Prosperous indeed is he who purifies himself (of sins, and of his wealth by spending from it in God’s cause and for the needy).”(87:14)
This is what Allah Almighty demands of us.
The heart is to be purified so that it can invest all acts of worship, all worldly transactions as well as the servant with spirituality. The heart above all…
hal fī dhālika qasamun lidhī ḥij’rin
Allah declares: “Is there not in that a solemn oath for one endowed with reason (to reflect upon, so that it may guide him to the truth and keep him away from evils)?”(89:5)
Then Allah, in the Qur’anic verses recited, refers to those societies who were destroyed in the past.
“Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the (tribe of) ‘Ad?”(89:6) He declares.
alam tara: “Have you not considered how,” He says. He says, in other words, “concentrate on this matter.”
The (tribe of ) ‘Ad He says:
Allah Almighty bestowed great favours upon the tribe of ‘Ad. The Gardens of Iram and the strength given to its people, who used to hew their dwellings into stone and make pools with fountains. The more Allah gave to them, the more they went astray. “The like of which had not been created in the land,” the Qur’an declares. (See 89:8) Such degree of beauty. Those cities of Iram. They went astray as Allah gave to them. They ascribed to themselves the bounties Allah bestowed upon them. “Is there anyone more powerful than us?” they said. “Who is more powerful than us?” they said.
They used to take slaves and for sheer pleasure, as hunters do in our day, and would take them all the way to the tops of buildings off which they would throw them, to see which one would blow their slave up better. In other words, they went astray, they turned brutal. Allah Almighty sent down His punishment, destroying them with a furious storm.
Because they said to their Prophet:
“Bring the wind as a miracle, not like this, but like that,” they said, “so that we may believe in you.”
Prophet Hud, peace be upon him, also did thus. But they persisted in their rebellion. And Allah Almighty destroyed them with storms and winds.
Then came the tribe of Thamud. (89:9) This tribe did not take lesson either, did not learn from the events that took place.
“They, (they said) built unsound foundations, while we made them strong and nothing can happen to us. No power can destroy us,” they said.
And Allah Almighty destroyed them with such a sound that it decimated them – a deafening blast.
Then Allah Almighty makes known the Pharaoh’s people. (See 89:10) His armies, and how they used to tie the hands and hands and feet of the slaves to stakes and then turn mills. This is the way in which they would torment and torture them.
Allah Almighty declares:
“(All of these) increased manifold disorder and corruption therein.” (89:12)
He gave them bounties and they increased their disorder and corruption. He manifests His wrath and punishment upon them.
There are similar things in other verses. The tribe of Prophet Lut. Unfortunately, just as is the case today. They acted outside the bounds of humanity and even went beyond animals. Prophet Lut, peace be upon him, warned them:
“Is there not among you one right-minded man?” (See 11:78)
And they replied.
“Go, if you are pure! And leave us to our own devices!” How difficult for a Prophet – how he was backed into a corner.
“O! would that I had power to resist you,” he said to them. “Or that I could lean upon some strong support!“
Allah Almighty rained lava upon them, from the firmaments above.
His wife, too, was among them. This is because his wife was among the wrongdoers; she joined the transgressors.
Just think how a Prophet is subjected to such an ordeal.
The people of Prophet Shu‘ayb. They were a dishonest tribe. They used to cheat and deceive others. They were involved in black marketeering. They used to commit every kind of abominable act for the sake of profit. A scourge of punishment descended upon them also.
Let us come, now, to the present:
Do these exist in our day, or not? They do. Allah Almighty destroyed them, these tribes and peoples. But the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, asked Allah for three things. One of these things was for his community not to face destruction. Allah Almighty confers His grace and kindness in this way.
At this point, of course, the Day of Judgement awaits everyone. And this is the entirety of the matter; Allah makes these known to us for us to take lesson and learn from these events.
Unfortunately, in our day, immorality is ever increasing. These mobile phones… Our children are going wherever they want, to places they should not go. Life is passing by with the vain and useless. This starts from the tiniest child.
This is why the responsibility of parents has greatly increased in our age. Institutions are to be established. From daycare centres to Qur’an schools and Imam Hatip high schools, and the like. In other words, to save our generations. Otherwise, we are losing them, dear brothers. That is to say, children are becoming strangers to their parents. Blood relations are of no avail…