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Juz’ 13 – Choosing Paradise

Today’s Juz’ covers Yusuf [12]:53 to Ibrahim [14]:52.
The themes discussed in these ayat include (1) the final part of the story of Joseph (Yusuf); (2) God as Creator and Sustainer; (3) a defense of Muhammad’s gift of prophecy; (4) the importance of standing firm in witness; and (5) individual responsibility for righteousness.

 

 

Ramadan Mubarak.

 

The ayat I have chosen for today highlight freedom of will as it pertains to salvation.

“When they all appear before God, the weak will say to the powerful, ‘We were your followers. Can you protect us from any of God’s punishment?’ They will reply, ‘If God has guided us, we would have guided you. It makes no difference now whether we rage or endure with patience: there is no escape.’  When everything has been decided, Satan will say, ‘God gave you a true promise. I too made promises but they were false ones: I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me; blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before.’” (Ibrahmi [14]:21-22)

 

 

Often when a group of children are caught in their misdeeds, they will be quick to blame their actions on somebody else with words like, “He made me do it!” The scene depicted in these ayat suggests that on the day of God’s final judgment, many unrepentant sinners will want to blame their actions on the person who enticed them into sin. The implication is that they would have never sinned had they not been tempted.

 

However, this frame of mind totally ignores the fact that each person has a free will and must take responsibility for his or her own actions. When the sinful scenes are replayed in the mind, everyone will be forced to admit that along with the temptation to which he or she succumbed, God had sent “a way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). It is with this in mind that the prophet Hazqiyal informs us that we have only ourselves to blame if we miss out on Paradise.

 

 

Listen: 

“The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, ‘What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? ‘As I live,’ says the LORD God, ‘you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine; the soul who sins shall die…. The son shall not bare the guilt of the father, nor the father bare the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:1-4, 20)

 

Prayer: 

In the name of God the merciful and compassionate, thanks for reminding me of my responsibility to stay on the straight path. Forgive me for the times I have strayed. If I miss out on paradise, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. Strengthen me with your love and grace so that I can live a life that pleases you. In Your holy name I pray, amen.