Assalamualaikum Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Many of us know surah ad-dhuha off by heart and have probably read its meaning many times as well, which seems quite straightforward. How many of us, though, have actually gone into the reason behind its revelation and derived the lessons and implications this surah has in our lives?
This surah was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saw) at a time when he had not received any revelation for six months, not even in the form of a dream! The Prophet (saw) was in a very disturbed state of mind, feeling negative and depressed and believing that Allah was displeased with him, had forgotten him, and did not want him as a Nabi (prophet) anymore.
Don’t we have similar feelings in our lives? Times when our level of iman (faith) is low, our khushoo (concentration) in salah (prayer) wavers and we feel a drop in our connection with Allah? We feel like our duas (prayer) are not being answered, our salah (prayer) is not having a positive impact on our hearts, and worst of all the feeling that we’re horrible human beings, that Allah doesn’t love us or doesn’t care about us anymore.
Surah Ad-dhuha was revealed to the Prophet (saw) to relieve him of these negative feelings and to give him hope, positivity, and the assurance that Allah is with him no matter what. From it, we too can find peace, hope, and a renewed faith in Allah when we go through similar states of depression, sadness, and hopelessness.
So what does this surah say?
Wad duhaa— By the morning brightness
This is the first thing you need to hear when you’re depressed: Wake up, look at the sunshine! Everything in life is not doom and gloom– you just have to look up!
Wal laili iza sajaa— And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,
Why is this aayah immediately talking about darkness? As a reminder to us that the night is meant to cover and give us comfort and rest.
Generally when we’re depressed, we tend to get into a very bad sleep pattern by staying up at night and sleeping all day, thereby worsening our state of mind. This aayah reminds us to use the night as a comfort to ease our distress.
Ma wad da’aka rabbuka wa ma qalaa— Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].
This is a very powerful verse from Allah telling us that He doesn’t hate us and hasn’t forgotten us– reminding the depressed person that He is always by his or her side!
Walal-aakhiratu khairul laka minal-oola— And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].
Many times when we’re depressed we think: Is this all my life is going to be? Is it never going to get better?
This aayah serves as a perfect answer to those questions, reminding us that life in this world is temporary and that Aakhira is certainly a better, more permanent place for us than this world could ever be.
This makes us look forward to attaining our place in Jannah and helps us look at any problems in our lives as temporary tests of our faith from Allah.
Wa la sawfa y’uteeka rabbuka fatarda— And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.
A promise from Allah that very soon he will give us a massive reward (Jannah) and we will be happy! Subhanallah!
Isn’t this the best thing to hear when you’re depressed and fed up with this worldly life and the problems you’re facing?
Alam ya jidka yateeman fa aawaa – Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?
From this verse onwards, Allah gives us reason to believe His declarations and promises in the first half of the surah.
Now many of us may think: how would this aayah about orphans relate to the majority of us?Think about it– weren’t there many times in your life when you were sick or lonely and felt like you had nobody who cared about you? Who was the only one by your side at that time? Allah! It was He who took care of you and guided you out of that stage in life.
Wa wa jadaka daal lan fahada— And He found you lost and guided [you].
How many of us, despite being born Muslims, have found ourselves misguided and straying away from Islam in the past? It was Allah who gave us that hidaya and brought us back to the straight path and to Him and made us practicing Muslims. Alhamdulillah!
Wa wa jadaka ‘aa-ilan fa aghnaa— And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.
Many of us have probably gone through many periods in our lives when we have been short of money and wealth. Now when we look back we realize that it was only Allah who gave us that rizq in some form and got us through those tough financial times.
When a person is depressed, giving him or her examples of how Allah has helped them in the past will strengthen their conviction and belief in the promises Allah makes in this surah for their future.
Fa am mal yateema fala taqhar — So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him].
This aayah is the ultimate antidote to depression!
Depressed people are mostly consumed with their situation and feel that nobody could possibly be in a worse situation.
This aayah reminds us to look at people who are in far worse situations than ourselves when we’re feeling hopeless and depressed— Look at the orphans, who have no family or loved ones and nobody to care for them. We have families and parents who love us, a roof over our heads and food on the table and we still think we’re in a bad situation? Subhanallah!
Wa am mas saa-ila fala tanhar— And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him].
Another example is of the beggar – to once again remind us of the many material blessings that Allah has given us that we take for granted – food, clothing and shelter. How many of us have ever gone to sleep hungry? How many of us don’t have clothes to wear? Or don’t have a home to go to?
These examples of the orphan and the beggar are ones we should constantly remind ourselves of to be thankful for the numerous blessings Allah has given us, get over our depression and feel connected to Allah again, out of gratitude.
Wa amma bi ne’mati rabbika fahad dith – But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].
This final aayah is about maintaining that renewed faith and bond with Allah – by pondering, glorifying and talking about the blessings of Allah! Either in terms of halaqas, discussions with family and friends or even da’wah! Dhikr, reading quran and listening to lectures are also great ways to keep the remembrance of Allah close to your heart!
So the next time you feel disconnected, disheartened or depressed with your level of Iman (faith) and your connection with Allah – read Surah Ad Duha and ponder over its meanings – Inshallah it will restore your faith and increase your belief in the greatness and power of Allah.
(1) This article was inspired by Sheikh Tawfique Chowdry’s talk on Surah Ad Duha. The full video can be accessed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoqhNz7wD3I
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