by Muhammad Alshareef
When I was 8, life was great alhamdulillah. My mother took my sister and I to Egypt and one day that summer, I was playing in the dusty streets with dozens of local children. One of the kids found out that I spoke English. Seeing a foreign exchange opportunity, he tried out on me the one sentence he knew. The boy whispered softly, "You are donkey!"
I said, "What?"
He shouted, "You are donkey!" Then he ran down the street squealing in gleeful mockery.
Later that afternoon, when the boy had forgotten what he said, I snuck up behind him and proceeded to wrestle him to the ground. He shouted for his sister, and this girl, who was seven years older than me, started raining down on me with her fists.
Shouts came from all directions. "Stop! He's Kanadee (Canadian)! He's Kanadee (Canadian)!"
With tears in her eyes, the girl apologized for what she had done. How could she have harmed a Kanadee, she kept asking herself.
So, you're thinking, what does this have to do with tafseer?
Imagine yourself back in Makkah over 1,400 years ago. The unstoppable army of Abraha Al-Ashram was annihilated miraculously, the house of Allah was still standing, and victory had come to the tribe of Quraish. If you were a tribe member of Quraish, how high would your head be raised?
When the Bedouins in the desert would see someone from Quraish, they would warn others from harming them. They would say, "These are the neighbors of the house of Allah, the inhabitants of his sanctuary. They are the keepers and custodians of the house, so do not harm or oppress them."
The Arabs before Islam were a proud people and in this Surah Allah reminds them of that which makes them proud.
For the accustomed security of the Quraish / Their accustomed security (in) the caravan of winter and summer (Al-Quraish 106 / 1-2).
The caravan of the winter was to Yemen, in the summer it was to Shaam. The Makkans were not farmers; they lived in mountainous valleys with no vegetation. Their livelihood came from these safe summers and winters of business.
The deserts were infested with robbers and thieves. But if it were a Quraishi caravan, no harm was to be inflicted. They were, after all, Quraish, the inhabitants of God's sanctuary. This was Allah's blessing upon them.
But is life just about counting blessings? Nay, all of us must take it one step further and actually thank the Creator of these blessings that no one denies.
Let them worship the Lord of this House (the Ka'bah) (Al-Quraish 106 / 3).
"Who is this Lord?" the reciter asks.
(The Lord) who has fed them, (saving them) from hunger, and made them
safe, (saving them) from fear (Al-Quraish 106 / 4).
Have you ever gone for two days with nothing to eat? Who is it that gives you food? It is Allah. Have you ever had a gun pointed at your head as a thief barks for money? Who is it that protects you other than Allah?
Two blessings, so simple, and yet so profound: Provision and security. Who else but our Lord Allah provides us with these blessings? Alhamdulillah.
Next time you recite Surah Quraish in salah think about all the provision and security Allah has blessed you and I with. Perhaps the recitation will now come a little deeper from our hearts.