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Story of Zachariah May 7, 2008

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Zachariah was very old when God made him His messenger. His wife, who had borne him no children, had also reached an advanced age, and it was no longer possible for her to have a child.

One day, while praying in the Ka’aba, Zachariah beseeched the Lord: ‘Please hear my prayer, My Lord! Grant me an offspring. I am a feeble old man. My hair has become snow-white. My wife is forlorn without a child. Both of us yearn for an heir. I am afraid my kinfolk will harm the cause I have served all my life if I die without an heir.’

When Zachariah finished his supplication, angels descended from above and told him: ‘O Zachariah! god has granted your prayer. You will soon be blessed with a son. He will be called John [Yahya]; he will be a prince among men, chaste and virtuous, and he will be a messenger of God.’

Zachariah himself before God and thanked Him for granting a son to an old man and his barren wife. He declared, ‘God does what He wills and so it shall be.’ Zachariah then asked the Lord: ‘What should I do now?’ ‘Do not speak to anyone for three days,’ the voice replied. ‘Convey whatever you have to only by gestures.’

Zachariah followed the instructions faithfully and waited for the happy event. As ordained by God, a lovely son was born to his wife. Zachariah and his wife doted on John. He brought great happiness to his aged parents. When he was still a child, God blessed him with the Book and asked him to hold it ‘with all your strength’.

John grew up to be straightforward, humble and gentle-mannered. He was loving, caring and compassionate to all creatures; he was especially kind to animals. The Koran refers to him fondly: God’s blessings were upon him from the day John was born to the day he passed away and his blessings will be upon him, the day he is raised again. [19:15]

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story of Hud April 29, 2008

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To the industrious and hardworking people belonging to the tribe of Aad, God sent Hud as His messenger. He told them:

O my people, worship God. There is no one other than Him. The other notions you have are all false. He is the only true God. I ask you to worship Him, I ask nothing for myself. My reward is with Him who has fashioned me. Will you not understand this? Seek His forgiveness and remember His bounties, and do not revert to your evil ways. [11:50-52]

The elders of the tribes rebuked Hud:  We think you are a simpleton. Nay, worse, a liar. [7:66]

Hud assured them:  I am not a simpleton; I am God’s apostle. I bring His message to you, hence, heed the warning I give, for you are Noah’s people. If you have God’s blessings, everything will go well with you. [7:67-69]

But they persisted in their unbelief and told Hud:  You have brought us no clear Signs save what you are telling us. How can we abandon our gods? It seems some of our gods have smitten you with evil so that you go on the wrong path. [11:53-54]

Hud answered them:  I swear by my Lord that I am not guilty of your charge. I believe only in my Lord; To me no one else matters and none can delude me and make me go against Him. Nothing moves without His will; His path alone is the right path. If you do not respond to my call and turn away from the Lord, the loss will be yours, not His. In your place He will bring others, for He has control over all things, He watches over all that happens. [11:54-57]

Hud reminded the elders of the tribe of how God gave them tenure of the land upon which they built their castles and homes. They had forgotten all His bounties and resorted to corrupt dealings and evil ways. Eventually, they had to pay the price of their unbelief: they were overwhelmed by a raging tempest. The fury lasted for seven nights and eight days; the people of Aad perished and their castles and dwellings became like  ‘stumps of hollow palmtrees

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Story of Noah April 28, 2008

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God sent Noah to his people and asked him to tell them to worship none but the One, who was the Creator of all. He was also told to warn them that ‘stern retribution will overtake them’ if they did not heed his call.

The nobles among them refused to believe him. They said: You are just a human being like us; why should we follow you? Except the vulgar who may thoughtlessly hasten to listen to you, you have no superiority over us; in fact, you are nothing but an impostor [11:27]

Noah beseeched them not to misunderstand him: I have a clear message from the Lord Who in His mercy has granted me this task. I ask you not to be deaf to what I have to say. I am not coercing you nor am I asking you for wealth. My reward is with my Lord. I will not turn away believers. Only pause and think of your future. I do not claim to possess God’s treasures nor have I the knowledge of the Unseen; I am also no angel. But do not be scornful of those who believe in God or talk ill of them. [11: 28-31]

These people, however, remained adamant in their opposition and told Noah bluntly: You have raised a dispute between us; we have heard your contentions and also the warnings of dire consequences. Bring upon us the calamity that you threaten; let us see what your God can do to us. [11:32]

Noah warned them that if God so willed, He would do what He wanted and nothing could frustrate it. He pleaded with them again to come out of their ‘persistent delusion’. But they refused to listen to him.

In desperation, Noah told the Lord: O my Lord, night and day I have pleaded with my people, but instead of listening to me they have fled away from me. Each time I have asked them to seek Your forgiveness, they have put their fingers in their ears and wrapped their heads with rich garments; they have persisted in their arrogance. Even so I pleaded with them, privately as well as publicly, in all earnestness, entreating them to seek Your forgiveness and to remember Your bounties and Your Awesome Majesty. But they have said ‘no’ to me. On the contrary, they have asked people not to abandon the worship of their gods. [71:5-23]

God then asked Noah not to be distressed and to construct an ark ‘under Our eyes and by Our inspiration’. As he began the work, the chiefs of his people mocked him. He told them that soon they would realize who was in for ‘lasting doom’.

And so it happened; under a decree from the Lord, the waters gushed forth and flooded the earth. Noah was commanded by the Lord to take into the ark two creatures of each species, a male and a female, members of his family, except the wrongdoers among them, and all the believers who numbered just a handful. Noah’s son refused to board. The father pleaded with him, but he said, ‘No, I will climb the mountain and take shelter there and protect myself.’

Noah cried out: This day there shall be no protection from the wrath of God, save for those who will receive His mercy. The waves came gushing forth in torrents and swept off Noah’s son and all unbelievers; when Noah saw his son drowning, in a moment of weakness he asked God to forgive his son and to save him.

The Lord said: ‘He was not a true son of yours; what he did was wrong. Do not ask for something which is wrong and of which you have no comprehension. Otherwise, you may be counted among the ignorant and the willful.’ Noah realized his folly and was repentant.

He asked for God’s forgiveness, and the blessings came: Noah! Take to the way of peace; Our blessings are upon you and upon people descending from you. We will give satisfaction to believers and retribution to unbelievers. the future is only known to Us; neither you nor your people have an inkling, hence be patient and fear your Lord. [11:48]

As the floods overwhelmed the unbelievers and took them to their doom, Noah prayed to the Lord: O my Lord! Forgive me and all believers who have taken shelter under my roof, but do not leave on earth a single unbeliever. For if You spare any one of them, He will lead Your servants astray and also their offspring and make them faithless wrongdoers. [71:26-28]

Noah and his companions in the ark were safely conveyed to the shore. God kept them steadily under His grace and granted them His bounties

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