"There was for Saba, aforetime, a sign in their homeland [Yemen] two gardens to the right and to the left . . . be grateful to Him[Allah] . . .But they turned away, and We sent against them the flood released from the Dams [Maarib dam]" (Qur'an. Saba:15-16)
If the first 8 verses of Surat Taha , on Tawheed (Monotheism), settle in a believer’s heart they can make a 180 degree change in a believer’s life. They can transform him from a disbeliever to a believer. Bring him from darkness to light and from ignorance to knowledge. Indeed, the impact of these first verses were revolutionary in the life of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (raa). Truly the difference between night and day.
He left his home:
1) a disbeliever in the message of Prophet Muhammad (saw),
2) full of hatred for the Messenger of Allah (SWT),
3) and bent on killing him.
A companion who encountered Umar (raa) in his rage diverted his attention to Umar’s sister, who had embraced Islam. Furious, Umar rammed into his sister’s home, knocked down his brother in law, and struck his sister in the face. When he calmed down, he asked to see what they were reading before he came. His sister showed him, but not without a promise that he would not destroy it. Out of curiosity he obeyed her. He read the following ayahs:
We do not bring down the Qur’an upon you to make you suffer, rather it is a Remembrance to him who fears Allah. It is a revelation from Him Who created the earth and highest heavens./ The All Merciful is seated firmly upon the throne, /To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and on earth and what is in between, and what lies beneath the ground. /And if you are loud in speech, He knows what is kept secret, or even more deeply concealed./ Allah! There is no god but He! To Him belong the names most glorious!” (20:1-8)
In the midst of the darkness that surrounded Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (raa) these verses pierced through like a ray of sunshine. He was drowning and Allah (SWT) had thrown him a rope to pull himself up to safety. A moment when Allah (SWT) opened up the doors of His mercy to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (raa) and Umar chose to enter willingly.
Indeed, Allah (SWT) chose Umar for the good within him—a goodness that ONLY Allah (SWT) could see. Remember, the Prophet’s supplication to Allah (SWT) to grant Islam power and dominance with the conversion of either of the Umarayn (2 Umar’s)—Umar Ibn Al-Khattab or Amr Ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl). Allah (SWT) chose the most beloved of the two men to Him (SWT). Allah (SWT) chooses whom He (SWT) wants for His (SWT) missions and sends them messages of guidance; rays of light in what otherwise may seem utter darkness. Let’s keep our eyes and ears open at all times for whatever Allah (SWT) sends our way.
Back to Umar. Now, with the light of these verses filling every crevice of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab’s heart, he carried his rekindled soul to the Prophet (saw). On seeing him the Prophet (saw), held him by the scruff of his neck and shook him saying, “Is it not time that you embraced Islam O son of Al-Khattab.” He fell to his knees. The first ayat of Surat Taha had shaken Umar to his very core, knocked sense into his stubborn self, and this final statement by the Prophet (saw) was the finishing touch to what would become a masterpiece of a character in Islamic history. He declared his Islam in front of the companions, who were beside themselves with joy. And with that Umar (raa) was transformed into an entirely different person, and with him Islam took on an entirely new phase—from underground to ON the ground. And Umar (raa) was nicknamed Al-Farooq—meaning the “Criterion, the distinguisher between what is right and wrong.” What a position to attain in the blink of an eye. When faith settles in ones heart, there is no limit to the heights that a believer can reach since the Bestower is Allah (SWT) Himself.
If anything, we should read these ayat, contemplate on their meanings and eventually faith will settle and dwell in our hearts. If so, the outcome should be a complete transformation and rebirth of our selves. We need verses that punch our hearts, and result in us taking baby steps to Allah (SWT) that will eventually mature with the aid of Allah (SWT). It will be a remarkable beginning; one that will take us to unimaginable heights. So, let us run to Allah (SWT) and not from Him (SWT).