Azizi Khalid

July 15, 2021

Hypocrites and Thunderstorm

19. Or ˹those caught in˺ a rainstorm from the sky with darkness, thunder, and lightning. They press their fingers into their ears at the sound of every thunderclap for fear of death. And Allah encompasses the disbelievers ˹by His might˺. 20. It is as if the lightning were about to snatch away their sight. Whenever lightning strikes, they walk in its light, but when darkness covers them, they stand still. Had Allah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and sight. Surely Allah is Most Capable of everything.

- Al-Baqarah 19-20
At the opening of Surah al-Baqarah, Allah introduces the three groups of people: the people of Taqwa, the disbelievers, and the hypocrites. And at the end of the passage describing the hypocrites, Allah gives us two parables to further illustrate their characteristics.

Last night the Qaswa Qrew were reading these beautiful parables. The one in aya 19 and 20 strikes close to home. It is about thunderstorms and the hypocrites—such an apt time considering that Perth has been experiencing stormy weather for many days.

Rain in the parable refers to revelation from Allah. Just as the rain comes from the sky and brings life to earth, revelation comes from beyond the heavens and brings life to the heart. With rain comes thunder and lightning. Thunder and lightning in the aya refer to the warnings that come with the revelation, such as Judgement Day and punishment of Hell.

Instead of focusing on the good that comes with rain/revelation, the hypocrites choose only to see the thunder and lightning/warning and punishments. Instead of heeding the warnings, they decide to ignore them by pressing their fingers in the ears. As if by ignoring them, they would be safe. Covering your ears will not protect you from the danger of a lightning strike, just like an ostrich burying its head in the sand to hide from its predators.

Sometimes when lightning strikes, and there is some light, they will move forward. But when it gets dark again, they stop. When the commands of the revelation are easy for them, they will do it. When it gets difficult, they stop. They pick and choose the commands of the religion based on their caprice.

Allah ends this passage with a stern warning that He may take away our spiritual hearing and sight and leave us blinded towards His guidance.

Alhamdulillah, we have been saved by Allah from major hypocrisy, like the one suffered by Abdullah ibn Ubayy and his cohorts. But we have to be careful with the minor one described in this parable where we pick and choose our Deen based on what is convenient. 

Yes, we may find some parts of the Deen hard to practice as it doesn't conform to our Nafs. It is narrated that Rasulullah said that Paradise is surrounded by things that are disliked (by the Nafs). Herein lies the struggle for Paradise. Mujahadatunnafs. No matter how hard it is, we don't give up. We improve daily - make sure that today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow is better than today. Every new day brings us closer to Allah. Guidance from God is a great gift that we should cherish and take it seriously.

If we don't, we fear Allah will take away His guidance from us (may Allah protect us from it).

Azizi Khalid
Making Islamic education fun at Qaswa House
Towards the Middle Path