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Juz’ 9 – The Tablets of Mercy

Today’s Juz’ covers Al-A‘raf [7]:88 – Al-Anfal [8]:40.
The themes discussed in these ayat include (1) the Israelite exodus from Egyptian bondage; (2) main events during the wandering in the wilderness; (3) Sabbath keeping as a paradigm of obedience; (4) the end of time; and (5) a reminder of God’s protection during a significant battle.

 

 

Ramadan Mubarak.

The ayat I have chosen demonstrate how God’s justice and mercy are embedded in his Ten Commandments.

“Moses said, ‘My Lord, forgive me and my brother; accept us into Your mercy: You are the Most Merciful of all who show mercy. Those who took to worshipping the calf will be afflicted by their Lord’s wrath, and by disgrace in this life.’ This is the way We repay those who invent such falsehoods, but your Lord is most forgiving and most merciful towards those who do wrong, then repent afterwards and truly believe. When Moses’ anger abated, he picked up the Tablets, on which were inscribed guidance and mercy for those who stood in awe of their Lord.” (Al-A‘raf [7]:151-154).

 

These ayat conclude the account of Aaron leading the Israelites’ into idolatrous apostasy while Moses was on the mountain with God, Who “inscribed” his commands on stone tablets (see Al-A‘raf [7]:145). In committing idolatry, the people had violated the foundational commandment: “You shall have no other god but God.” So important is this command, that it is the basis of the Muslim confession of faith contained in the Shahada: “There is no god but God” (lā ilāha illā -llāh).

 

Justice demanded that the sinners receive death, but the merciful God listened to His servant’s intercession and many who repented were spared from a terrible judgment. This incident demonstrates the power of God’s mercy (rahmat) to the extent that he is even willing to forgive repentant people who had willfully sinned. It is in this context that we read the following verses in the Tawra.

 

Listen: 

“The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, ‘The LORD! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’” (Exodus 34:6-7)

 

Prayer:

In the name of God, the merciful and compassionate, forgive me for the times when I have worshipped the gods of desire, pride, vanity, lust, ambition and materialism; I repent of my sins and gratefully receive your compassion and mercy. In your holy name I pray, amen.