Qurʾānic Reflections

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«A blessed Book which We have sent down to you, so that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.» Ṣād:29

How to: A Fine Gentleman

When Mūsā ʿalayhis salām entered the land of Madyan, after barely just escaping wrongful persecution from Firʿawn et al., he comes across a body of water surrounded by herders and their cattle.

Nearby, but still at a distance, he spots two young women struggling with their herd.

He approaches them and asks,

ما خطبكما؟

❝What is your circumstance?❞

(Or if we were to look at my favourite translation of this verse: “What aileth you?”)

From just two words in a single āyah, scholars derive innumerable lessons in the etiquettes of male-female interaction.

He could have offered a warm greeting, so as not to frighten them. He could have offered words of support. He could have prodded more into their very strange circumstance (– WHAT was aileth-ing them?! It wasn’t normal for women to be carrying out hard labour exclusive to the realm of men, but here they were.)

Instead he limits his interaction to two words: ما خطبكما

Absolutely no other comment or remark is offered.

Receiving a reply just as reserved,

They said, we do not water until the shepherds dispatch [their flocks]; and our father is an old man. – al-Qaṣaṣ:23

Content with their reply, he finds no need to extend the conversation further and does what is only obvious,

So he watered (their flocks) for them. – al-Qaṣaṣ:24

And instead of waiting for a word of thanks, an appreciation, or even to ask if any further help was needed, he leaves.

These stories in the Qurʾān are not (just) meant to be made a part of children’s Islāmic school syllabus’, or bed time stories, or themes for fun, entertaining but overpriced Islāmic events.

More than anything, they are meant to be lessons for us, examples of real life implementation of etiquettes and laws that please Allāh subḥāneh wa tʿālā.

As Allāh the Most Exalted says in the Qurʾān, ﴾Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding…﴿  Yūsuf:111

و لكن يا أسفى؛ قل من يعتبر

And here we are far, far removed from implementing even an iota worth of Qurʾānic mannerism our society desperately needs in order to function well. Great changes do not and cannot happen overnight, it’s in these small considerations (note: it’s always the finer details that reflect who we are) – the most basic of all: how we carry ourselves, interact and converse with those around us in public and private – which eventually will oversee some form of betterment on a larger scale.

And never forget, Allāh does not belittle an act of goodness. Be it an ounce of taqwa in our hearts restraining our actions and speech to a small, kind gesture (such as the one demonstrated by Prophet Mūsā), He ﷻ sees, and He rewards by opening doors of goodness. Look at the sort of doors that He opened for Mūsā alayhis salām! :)

(Not done yet), though centuries have passed and vast changes have taken place in the way we live our lives, function, communicate,… (you’re not going to come across two maidens trying to water their herd, know what I mean?) but these lessons are universal, especially in the ease of their applicability, if we only but tried.

What do you say? :)  

21 notes Quran Quranic Reflections blog Thought Quraan qr_blog Surat al-Qasas Surah Manners Etiquettes

[Allāh chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him)] Shūrā:13

Turn to Allāh and He will guide you.

Those who disobey Allāh and justify this disobedience by claiming that they have not been guided by the Almighty have simply stamped themselves astray.

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Companions of the Garden

In sūrah al-Qalam we learn about a group of companions who owned a garden.

The story goes; the garden was initially owned by a generous man. During seasons of harvest, he would divide the income in three portions: one to spend on his family, one to store, and one to give in charity to the poor and the needy. When he passed away, the garden was inherited by his children; sadly the children did not hold the same values as the ones he held. They contrived a plan to harvest the garden’s fruits without giving a share to the poor. But overnight their plan foiled when a storm came and turned their garden to dust. 

It was this calamity that made the realise the gravity of their mistake. They immediately sought forgiveness from their Merciful Lord.

From this story, we learn a profound lesson: No amount of mistakes or transgressions should keep you from admitting your fault and seeking forgiveness from your Lord.

A great lesson to take away, but my focus is another lesson from this story; a greater lesson. We learn that no amount of mistakes or transgressions should make you think that your Lord will be unkind to you. That He will not forgive you. That He will not be generous towards you. Repent sincerely with no intention of going back, and He will forgive you and give you, lovingly. 

After their mistake and prompt repentance, it was because of this belief that they continued to hold good thoughts about their Merciful Lord and had optimism in what is to come. They said,

[Perhaps our Lord will substitute for us (a garden) better than it. Indeed, we are toward our Lord desirous.] al-Qalam:32

And it was narrated in the tafsīr of this āyah that He subḥāneh indeed compensated them with a garden better than the one they had lost. Allāhu Akbar.

 

 

 

5 notes Islam Islaam Muslims Quran Quraan Quranic Reflection Tafseer Tafsir Surat al-Qalam Quranic gem

A Lesson from Sūrah Āle-ʿImrān

Lately, I’ve been listening to the ending verses of sūrah Āle-ʿImrān on repeat, and thinking.

These verses are some of the most beautiful yet powerful verses in the Qurʾān. I don’t think there is any student of the Qurʾān who does not hold these verses dear.

In a Ḥadīth, it is narrated to us that Rasūl Allāh ﷺ would recite these verses upon waking up from sleep, and thus scholars have encouraged us to do the same.

And truly, I can’t think of anything that can give one the motivation to get up and get going than these last āyāt. Absolutely incredible.

In sūrah al-Baqarah, Allāh subḥāneh relates to us a methodology of ‘doing it right’. In it we also learn how the nations before us brought the wrath of Allāh upon themselves by taking a series of misguided routes and by taking on condemned traits. Vivid imagery from past incidents is related to us with one aim: that we may be heedful.

The next surah, Āle-ʿImrān, offers a subsequent lesson. A lesson just as crucial as the one offered in surah al-Baqarah. Think: Chapter two (or three, technically) to chapter one of The Code of Guidance.

And what might this lesson be?

It is a lesson in thabāt (persistence, perseverance).

Now that you have been shown the methodology of doing it right, your duty is to remain undeterred from this methodology. How? We learn the how-to of persistence in surah Āle-ʿImrān. (More on this another day.)

The beginning āyah of sūrah Āle-ʿImrān tells us that the Truth is with us,

[He has sent down upon you, [O Moḥammed], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it.] Āle-ʿImrān:3

And the last āyah tells us how to successfully hold on to it,

[O you who have believed, persevere and endure in patience, and strengthen each other and fear Allāh that you may be successful.]

That’s pretty much what will get us through this life: persistence, endurance, strengthening each other, and taqwa of Allāh.

38 notes Reflection Islam Muslim Islaam Surah Ale Imran Quran Quraan Quranic Reflection

Worst of the Worst

Assuredly, it is they, in the Hereafter, who will be al-khāsirūn (the losers).

– an-Naḥl:109

Assuredly, it is they, in the Hereafter, who will be al-akhsarūn (the greatest losers).

–  Hūd:22

Who are the losers and who are the greatest of losers?

First, it is important to note the difference between al-khāsirūn and al-akhsarūn. There are those who are the losers (al-khāsirūn) and then there are those worse than the losers, worse in their loss; al-akhsarūn.

Why then is al-khāsirūn used in one place and al-akhsarūn in the other in two seemingly similar āyāt? What is the significance?

To understand this, we look at the context of the two āyāt, one in sūrat an-Naḥl and the other in sūrat Hūd.

In sūrat Hūd, Allāh says,

And who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about Allāh ? Those will be presented before their Lord, and the witnesses will say, “These are the ones who lied against their Lord.” Unquestionably, the curse of Allāh is upon the wrongdoers.

Who averted [people] from the way of Allāh and sought to make it [seem] deviant while they, concerning the Hereafter, were disbelievers.

Those were not causing failure [to Allāh] on earth, nor did they have besides Allāh any protectors. For them the punishment will be multiplied. They were not able to hear, nor did they see.

Those are the ones who will have lost themselves, and lost from them is what they used to invent.

Assuredly, it is they, in the Hereafter, who will be the greatest losers.

— Hūd:18-22

We learn that these ‘greatest losers’ were not just misguided – that wasn’t enough for them, but they averted and they prevented others from the path of Allāh. Their evil was in multiples; they disbelieved, they averted others from the path of Allāh, they lied upon Allāh – they prevented people from guidance. And so their loss is in multiples.

And as we know, the punishment of Hellfire varies in intensity. The greater the loss, the greater the punishment. Aʿdhana Allāh wa iyyakum minha.

As for the losers in sūrat an-Naḥl, Allah subḥaneh says about them, 

That is because they preferred the worldly life over the Hereafter and that Allāh does not guide the disbelieving people.

Those are the ones over whose hearts and hearing and vision Allāh has sealed, and it is those who are the heedless.

Assuredly, it is they, in the Hereafter, who will be the losers.

–  an-Nal:107-109

This second set of disbelievers – the khāsirūn – obstructed their means of their own guidance; they did not benefit from their hearing, or their sight, or their hearts, or their thinking. Because of which they were from amongst the wrongdoers, but they were still not as bad as the first set who had not only disbelieved but had done all they could to make others disbelieve. They earned Hellfire, but as I mentioned, Hellfire has darakāt, descending levels that worsen in intensity.  

In another place in the Qurʾān, Allāh says,

Say (O Moammed), “Shall we inform you of al-akhsarūn in respect to (their) deeds?

(They are) those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.”

— al-Kahf:103-104

Why is al-akhsarūn used in this āyah instead of al-khāsirūn?

The group of people described in this āyah were the greatest of losers because their efforts were lost in this worldly life, and on top of that they believed they were upon the truth and they believed they were doing well, because of which they promoted their erroneous beliefs – and in effect paved the path for others to follow. And thus, Allāh specifies them as al-akhsarūn. They were misguided and they misguided. 

The point of this is not simply to marvel at the linguistic precision in the Qurʾān, but to take heed – have you used your God gifted senses to facilitate your guidance? Do you glamorise a life of sins? Do you enable wrongdoing? Do you hinder others from the path of Allāh? Think.

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A Guide to Understanding the Qurʾān

This was written as a reply to a few dozen messages I received on my Facebook page, with the same request, “How can I understand the Qurʾān better?”

I’ve been asked this question numerous times. And overtime I’ve fine tuned the answer to this question. I divide “I want to understand the Qurʾān” into three levels: 

Level 1:

If you’re looking to understand the Qurʾān at the most basic level (which every single Muslim should do), then I would suggest reading any book of interpretation (this is what people normally call translation of the Qurʾān.)

I vouch for Muḥsin Khān’s translation due to the clarity and authenticity of the interpretation, even though the English of this translation is a bit old. 

A good alternative is Ṣaḥīḥ International translation. 

If you opt for this level, then you’re merely familiarising yourselves with the very simple meaning of the āyāt of the Qurʾān, without much (if any) consideration of the in depth and the vast meaning each verse and word holds. 

You simply get an idea of what the Qurʾān talks about, not necessarily gain an understanding of it. 

How to: Recite a page of the Qurʾān and then read the translation going back over the Arabic āyāt to familiarise yourselves with the words. 

(Important note: only the Qurʾān in Arabic is considered Qurʾān. The translation of the interpretation is merely just that, and is not considered Qurʾān.) 

Level 2:

A better understanding can be attained through reading books of exegesis (tafsīr). I call this level two understanding. I recommend some basic books of tafsīr:

  1. Tafsīr Ibn as-Saʿdī.

I seriously urge you to buy this. Even if you don’t understand the actual words of the Qurʾān, you will start to taste the sweetness of the Message through this tafsīr.

2. The translation and interpretation compiled by King Fahad printing press. (Order online, here) — it’s an edited version of Yūsuf ʿAlī’s work. 

3. Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿAḏhīm by Ibn Kathīr. 

The translation is available in English (Available Online.) 

Do note, if you opt for this tafsīr, you’ll have to be patient as it does go into great detail, particularly with narrations of aḥādīth and āthār, and it might be tedious for beginners. 

4. Qurʾān Corpus. 

How to: Recite a page of the Qurʾān. Then go āyah by āyah. Write down a short summary of what you understand. Try to understand the actual words in Arabic. Pick out the words in the āyah and write down the meaning (the Qurʾān Corpus will help you here.) 

For level 2 understanding, I also recommend some side reading on the topic of Qurʾānic Sciences and Principles of Tafsīr. This will give you a better grasp of how tafsīr works.

My recommendations:

  1. Explanation of Introduction to the Principles of Tafsīr by Sheikh Ibn al-Uthaymīn. [I cannot recommend this enough. And it’s recently become available in English.]
  2. Usūl at-Tafsīr by Bilal Philips. [Download here.]
  3. Magnificence of the Qurʾān by Maḥmūd ad-Dūsarī. [It’s based on a Master’s thesis and it discusses the miraculous nature of the Qurʾān, amongst other topics covered.]
  4. Sciences of the Qurʾān by Yasir Qadhi. [I’ve read this book cover to cover. And really do vouch for the book – only for the book. It’s based on the work of the notable researcher in the field of Qurʾānic sciences Dr. Fahad ar-Rūmī.]

[Disclaimer: Inevitably, with book recommendations, there were will be those upset at the choice (particularly choice of author). But you need to understand that the trusted literature available on Qurʾānic sciences in English is scarce. Of the small quantity available, the above books are based on authentic information, and I recommend because I trust the content of the books.]

Level 3:

The third level understanding is for those seeking a more in depth study of the Qurʾān (which can only come to be alongside memorisation of the Qurʾān, so keep this in mind).

You’ll have to study Arabic with a teacher, preferably one who is a native speaker of the language. 

And eventually study the Qurʾān with a teacher. Self study can only take you so far. 

How does one begin? Nothing fancy; don’t jump into the “hardcore” grammar, rhetoric and morphology. Stick to the basics of speaking and interacting. 

I’ve listed some names and numbers of centres that teach Arabic in the Gulf and the UK, down below. But if that’s not feasible for you, worry not, there are many online institutions that teach Arabic:

1. Mediu.edu.my 

Al-Madina University (an online Islāmic university based in Malaysia) offer an online degree in the Arabic language. (If you’re not up for the entire degree, then at least take a few modules!) 

2. Islāmic Online University/KIU (English). 

Offer a well rounded Islāmic education. Though I’m not certain how in depth their teaching of Arabic is. 

3. WizIQ.com

WizIQ, one of the biggest hubs for freelance teachers and a platform for live, interactive classes. I’ve come across several students of knowledge who give Arabic classes on there.

4. Qortoba.net

A very good institute based in Alexandria. 

5. Eaalim.com

Based in the UK, they specialise in teaching Arabic to a people with wide ranging backgrounds; from GCSE students to those intending to learn the dīn. 

6. Self Study. 

If you want to opt for something that won’t cost you anything, then look up Madina Arabic Books. They’re good to start with if you’re looking to self-study. And there are many tutorials/recorded classes tackling those books available online. 

Other books for beginners:

-          Al-Kitāb al-asāsī.

-          Silsila Talīm al-lugha al-ʿarabīya by Moḥammed bin Suʿūd University.

-          Al-ʿArabīya bayna yadayk.

If you reside in the Arabian Gulf, then you absolutely cannot say that you are unable to find somewhere to learn. I urge you to get out of your comfort zone and get in touch with people. Open up a directory and CALL. Call Qurʾān centres, call learning institutions, call language centres, call your own embassy and ask if they have an Arabic program for foreigners; many do. (Call repeatedly, because chances are, you won’t get through to someone the first time.)

When Allāh sees your enthusiasm and effort to actually learn His Book, He *will* facilitate what you seek. 

In Bahrain: 

1. Administration for Qurʾānic Affairs. 

It’s the Qurʾān department of the Islāmic Affairs ministry. 

Contact: +974 17812844

Twitter: @QuranCenters

Facebook: أهل القرآن – البحرين 

*Anything* Qurʾān related, call them and ask. And they’ll guide.

2. Fateh Grand Mosque. 

They offer wide ranging classes for both Arabic and non-Arabic speakers. 

3. The School of Arabic. 

Foundation, beginner, pre-intermediate and intermediate Arabic courses. 

Contact: +973 17537373+973 39806624

4. Global Institute. 

Speak, read and write Arabic in 40 hours. 

Contact: +973 33863475

5. Local Government Schools (evening classes).

Most local government schools offer evening classes in basic Arabic that covers speaking, reading and writing. You’ll have to get in touch with a school in your neighbourhood and ask. 

In Qatar:

Fanar – Qatar Islāmic Cultural Centre. 

They offer Arabic classes. Visit their website and call them: http://www.fanar.gov.qa/

In Kuwait:

Islāmic Cultural Centre for non-Arabic Speakers. 

In UK: 

Tayyibun Institute 

http://data.tayyibun.com/

With studying Arabic you need to keep something important in mind, and that is: you cannot study the language in isolation from the dīn. One of the main sources of the Arabic language is the Quran and then the authentic sunnah. And thus it is paramount that as your study of the Arabic language advances, you study with those who are knowledgeable of the dīn, who will be able provide you with crucial guidance on taking the right steps towards gaining greater knowledge of the language that eventually leads you to gaining greater knowledge of the religion.

For students of knowledge in general, it is advisable that they take guidance on how to seek knowledge from scholars and those experienced. You are set to gain so much more if you were to follow a structured syllabus than you would if you spend your time jumping from one topic/book/course to another.

I think this should be enough for now. 

And remember: If you are a serious student of knowledge then you must memorise the Qurʾān. The Salaf would not teach any Islāmic sciences to those who had not memorised the Qurʾān.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please let me know. =)

Bārak Allāhu fīkum. 

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43 notes Quran Quraan Islaam Islam Studuy Quran Muslim


- ❝Recite the Qurʾān to me.❞

- “Shall I recite to you while it has been revealed to you?!”

He ﷺ said: - ❝I like to hear it from others.❞

- ❤️

- — Narrated by ʿAbdullāh Ibn Masʿūd.

In: - Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī; Virtues of the Qurʾān.


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