03 Nov Sūratu’l-Baqarah [The Cow] : (2:248).Part1
وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اٰيَةَ مُلْكِه۪ۤ أَنْ يَأْتِيَكُمُ التَّابُوتُ ف۪يهِ سَك۪ينَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِمَّا تَرَكَ اٰلُ مُوسٰى وَاٰلُ هَارُونَ تَحْمِلُهُ الْمَلٰۤئِكَةُۘ إِنَّ ف۪ي ذٰلِكَ لَاٰيَةً لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِن۪ينَ
“Their Prophet (Samuel) added: The sign of his (Saul’s) kingdom is that the Ark will come to you, in which there is inward peace and assurance from your Lord, and a remnant of what the house of Moses and the house of Aaron left behind, the angels bearing it. Truly, in that is a sign for you if you are (true) believers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:248)
First of all, we should determine the meaning of the Arabic word “sakīnah,” which is translated here as “inward peace and assurance.”
Literally, sakīnah means a miracle or sign which gives solemnity, steadfastness, assurance, and confidence.
*When eyes see sakīnah and hearts feel it, it becomes a kind of peace and assurance felt in the spirit, manifesting itself in different ways. It has been represented or pictured sometimes as an object which gives glad tidings and sometimes as a nice breeze.
▪Of whatever nature, sakīnah was related here to the Children of Israel; it was a blessed gift inherited from the great Prophets of the past, with which hearts became tranquil and souls attained reassurance and contentment. Since sakīnah was carried inside the ark, the ark was considered as sakīnah itself and therefore a cause of blessing. The ark was such a blessing that angels, who are the heroes of extraordinary incidents, carried it, both showing and increasing its value. Their respect for it announced how blessed the ark is.
▪The sakīnah mentioned in the Qur’ān and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is described as a spiritual object and metaphysical manifestation that God Almighty sends to people. It gives strength to the hearts, and it increases the potency of the willpower in the ones on whom it descended.
*Sakīnah is such a mysterious favor that at times it has been desired by awliyā’ullah, or friends of God, and sometimes it has been bestowed without request on certain people due to their spiritual state.
▪Those who enter the atmosphere of sakīnah sense the infinity from the place where they stand. There have been, however, some who define sakīnah as descending of angels while some have described it as the presence of spiritual beings.
Of whatever nature it is, Divine assurance and contentment come down where sakīnah descends.
▪It brings about such an atmosphere that a complete satisfaction and peace are experienced in this atmosphere. It is such that even if people all around him or her die and their corpses fill the environment, one who receives sakīnah does not lose any of their assurance and confidence.
For instance, the Qur’ān gives such an example from the Battle of Trench (627 CE), during which Madīnah was kept under siege for almost four weeks. The Qur’ān uses the expression “wa zulzilu” (They [the believers] were shaken) (Al-Ahzāb 33:11) in describing the severe conditions surrounding the believers.
•Despite four weeks of besiege and continuous attacks in the cold of January and in the clutches of hunger, destitution, and even some conspiracies within Madīnah, the believers were able to stand firm without taking even a step backward. In the Battle of Uhud (625 CE), again we see the heroes who challenged death despite the many shocks coming like waves of a roaring ocean. It was a severe test.
•As many as seventy heroes, such as Hamza, the heroic uncle of God’s Messenger, may God be pleased with them all, were martyred and emigrated into eternity. After all those shocks, when God Almighty came to their assistance with sakīnah, the rest of the fighters took the courage again.
•The next day, carrying the wounded on their backs, they set out to follow the enemy. When Abū Sufyān, the commander of the enemy forces, saw the believers so determined to chase them even as far as the inside of Makkah despite their though conditions, he ordered his army to continue toward Makkah swiftly, saying:
“We won somewhat of a victory in Uhud, let us not lose it.”(Ibn Hisham, as-Sīratu’n-Nabawiyyah, 3/110; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāyah wa’n-Nihāyah, 4/58.)
•Due to its merits mentioned, sakīnah has always been a desired gift in the prayers of the believers. For instance, while digging the trench before the Battle of Trench, God’s Messenger and his Companions asked for sakīnah, praying all together:
“O Allāh! Descend sakīnah upon us.”(Bukhārī, Maghāzī, 29; Muslim, Jihād, 123–125.)