By Fatima Chaudhry
On Monday March 4 NJIT’s Muslim Student Association held a woman’s halaqa at the MSA room located in the basement of the campus center. A halaqa is a religious gathering where aspects of Islam are discussed with references made to the Qu’ran and Sunnah. There is usually a head speaker who leads the discussion with a certain topic pertaining to the group and is a chance for people to come together and look at religion on a more personal level. The girl’s halaqa covered Surah Yaseen verses 55-68 followed by a discussion on how these verses may impact us today.
Looking at these verses can help us gain an insight into our own lives regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof:
“Undoubtedly, the inmates of Heaven are enjoying their entertainment comfortably.
They and their wives are in shades reclining on raised couches.
There is a fruit therein for them and there is for them whatever they ask for.
Peace will be on them, a word from the Merciful Lord.
And today, be separate, O you culprits!
‘O children of Adam, Had I not made covenant with you that you should not worship the devil (Satan), verily he is your manifest enemy.
And that you should worship Me. This is the straight path.
And undoubtedly, he has led astray a great number of people from you. Had you then no wisdom?
This is the Hell, which you were promised.
Enter it today, the recompense of your infidelity.
Today, We shall set seal on their mouths and their hands will talk to us and their feet will bear witness of their doings.
If We willed, We would have obliterated their eyes, then they would have rushed towards the path but they would see nothing.
If We willed, We would have mutilated their faces sitting in their homes, they could not be able to go on or could return.
And to whosoever We give long life, We revert him in creation. Do they then not understand?”
Now Surah Yaseen is seen as the heart of the Qu’ran, this surah is very significant and conveys a special meaning and helps contribute to the themes of the Qu’ran.
This specific piece is obviously describing the afterlife more specifically: heaven and hell. The people of heaven are lounging and enjoying their time while getting whatever they ask for and then the tone changes to the inmates of hell. The people of hell are first introduced as children of Adam where God is speaking directly to those people saying he had made a contract with them ordering them not to worship the devil. Now this may be seen as literally worshipping the devil; however, if you look deeper you may see forms of devil worship as putting materialistic possessions or worldly matters on a pedestal over the worship of God and immaterial aspirations (such as striving for heaven). Also, Islam is referred to as the “straight” path quite often in the Qu’ran which can only be explained with this analogy- if one takes the straight path it is free from distracting routes and unnecessary distractions where you can arrive to your destination. God says that the people’s mouths will be sealed and their bodies will do the talking. this is a very interesting development because the people’s body on the Day of Judgment will be personified, the mouth will speak on behalf of itself and so will the arms and tongue and they will give an explanation and speak of how they were treated. This eastern philosophy comes into play of man being a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul. The body parts will serve as witnesses of the souls doings and actions giving, and God ends the piece saying that he gives man a long life but he will revert to creation. To revert is to go back to the state that one was in before, here God is saying that man will go back to the state he was in before he was put on Earth and he then asks a question: “Do they not understand?” which signifies the covenant made between God and humanity. The first question raised in line 62 is, “Have you then no wisdom?” God is talking about the people who have easily been led astray to their worldly demies and he is asking them why they did not uphold their covenant blaming their lack of understanding. Ultimately, it should be noted that this is a rough English translation and that some words in Arabic need further explanation to truly understand their meanings.