Stand Up And Tell Them

A Quranic Reflection

4 min readApr 14, 2023

قُلْ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ ١ لَآ أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ ٢ وَلَآ أَنتُمْ عَـٰبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ ٣ وَلَآ أَنَا۠ عَابِدٌۭ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ ٤ وَلَآ أَنتُمْ عَـٰبِدُونَ مَآ أَعْبُدُ ٥ لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِىَ دِينِ ٦

This is Surah Kafirun.

It’s a surah we are so familiar with. One we usually gravitate towards in Salaah. A surah that I’ve carried with me since my childhood. It used to only stand out to me because the constant repetition of the verses made memorisation a bit tricky. Apart from that, it was just another short surah.

But last year during Ramadan, the power of this surah blew me away.

Witr prayer behind Sh Sudais

I remember standing for the Witr prayer in Makkah. We were on the roof. The night was still. It was our first night there and Allah gifted us the chance to pray taraweeh behind Sh Sudais. It was a taraweeh prayer unlike any other I’d stood for. Not just because I was standing behind my childhood Imam, but more because of the way he recited. We all know his tune for recitation but that night, there was no tune. He recited more as though he was speaking the Quran to the worshippers behind him. He would raise his voice almost in an admonishing tone around the parts that were warnings or punishments and lighten his tone for verses about the gifts and rewards waiting for those who succeed.

Then we stood for the Witr and that’s when it hit me, how powerful a surah Allah had gifted us with.

He began reciting –

Say Oh people who do not believe. I don’t worship what you do and you do not worship what I do. And I will never worship what you do and you will never worship what I do. For you is your deen and for me is mine.

Tell them what you believe

His way of recitation made it almost feel like he was not leading the prayer but instead he was in the middle of a speech, telling us people in the audience to stand up. Stand up and tell those non-muslims who keep trying to bring you onto their side – tell your co-workers who keep trying to take you to pubs, tell your friends who keep trying to persuade you to take of the hijab, tell the society that keeps trying to force their values and moral systems down your throat. Tell them this is me.

Tell them this is my religion. This is my faith. My fellow non-believer, believe what you want. I won’t force you to believe what I believe. But don’t try to force me to believe what you do either. If you don’t want to come to the true path, if you want to be someone who denies the favors of your Lord, then that’s fine with me. You do you, and let me carry on doing me.

A surah that renews your broken faith

I left that Witr, subhanallah, feeling empowered as a Muslimah. It made absolute sense why reciting this Surah in the nightly Witr prayer was a sunnah. Our days are long, filled with tests around us. We live in a society where the values we hold are classed as backward, illogical and sometimes outright evil. From the moment we step outside, the shield of Iman (faith) we hold is hit again and again and again. We come home at night, our shields almost bent, our Iman (faith) tired.

Maybe you slipped up that day and agreed to go out with your co-workers to a pub for the sake of networking. Or maybe you decided to dress in a way that you knew was wrong for the sake of a job interview. Or maybe you missed your prayer because you were too worried to stand up and leave in the middle of the client meeting. Every day our Iman (faith) is tested and we go home like battered soldiers on the verge of succumbing to the enemy.

But then we do Wudhu, and our sins fall like the hadith of the Prophet says “Whenever a man performs his ablution intending to pray and he washes his hands, the sins of his hands fall down with the first drop…’ (Musnad Ahmed)

And we feel a bit better.

Then we stand on our prayer mat, raise our hands and begin the Isha prayer.

Our hearts feel a bit more settled.

Then we stand for Witr and in it Allah reminds us. – remember you are not like them. You are on a different way of life, a different worldview, working for a different future.

So chin up, shoulders back and tell them – this is what I dedicate my life to, this is what I worship.

And I refuse to change it for anything.

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If you reached till the end of this reflection, thank you my friend. I appreciate it!

I hope we get to meet each other in my next reflection too. Until then, if you have any thoughts about what you’ve just read let me know (in the comments or any other way). I’d love to start a conversation!

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I write to make sense of the world, to make sense of myself. Reflecting on life and faith through fiction and daily happenings. Instagram: @tas.neemuu