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

The Dwellers of Jannah will remember their time in Dunyā and the Qurʾān relates to us snippets of these memories that trickle back to them. And of all the memories the Qurʾān could have mentioned, it mentions their memories with their friends.
Not property, not wealth, not the thrills and adventures of this world, but their friends.

Friends that become family, and the friends that are lost..

Now do you see the importance of loving, and of loving the right people? The importance of caring and giving, of patching up and forgiving?

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What makes a strong woman?

What makes a strong woman? The kind of woman who lives by principle, who is unfazed by weak morals of those around her. One who does not succumb and give in and thereby give up what the Almighty expects of her (and what does the Almighty expect of her? This, I’ll discuss later.)

The kind of woman who does not need validation of her worth from anyone, least of all strangers, least of all creepy, strange men lurking on the internet. Strangers who, by the way, are most unworthy of her time, attention, words, and… her – are most unworthy to look at her.

How does one become her? How does one raise her?

I find myself coming back to these thoughts often. My thoughts conclude to this āyah,

O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste. – Maryam:28

This is what was said to Maryam ʿalayhas salām when she returned from her time in seclusion clutching an infant.

It is as if they knew that one who grows up in a stronghold such as the one Maryam grew up in will least likely deviate and become corrupt and unchaste.

What strikes me is the ratio of men to wom(a)n mentioned in the āyah.

It’s often said that the fate of our future generations rests upon the shoulders of the women today. If we want an ummah that’s good enough, women better raise good enough children.

But here in the āyah we’ve got a different formula to raising a strong woman – the kind I described earlier. She needs twice the number of righteous men around her than women. Ah.

Or… perhaps this: one woman, a mother, who’s capable, is enough for the daughter to grow up and become an upright woman.

Backtrack to sūrah Āle-ʿImrān and this point is reiterated by a conversation Wife of ʿImrān, Maryam’s mother, had with her Lord.

If you were to look at that conversation, you’ll realise something peculiar, she says, ❝and *I* have named her Maryam…❞, considering the era they lived in, how often do you think a woman got enough freedom to name her child? But she did.

You see, a stronghold isn’t formed overnight by the efforts of one. It needs dedication, effort, sincerity, and the right people to bring it about.

I posted this on Facebook with two quotes from two different friends in the comments, if you want to read that :)

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Blessed Establishments

Then is the one who laid the foundation of his building on taqwa of Allāh and [seeking] His Pleasure better or the one who laid the foundation of his building on the edge of a bank about to collapse, so it collapsed with him into the fire of Hell? And Allāh does not guide the wrongdoing people. – at-Tawbah:109

The context of this āyah is a mosque which the hypocrites during the time of our Prophet ﷺ adopted in order to spread harm, evil and disunity amongst the believers. 

Tell me, if a masjid, a house of Allāh, when built on anything other than taqwa (God consciousness) and Pleasure of Allāh crumbles into hellfire, then what will happen to any other establishment that is not built on taqwa and His pleasure?!

Do you think it will last? Do you think you will find happiness and success within it? Do you think its pillars will withstand the storms that come? Not only will such an establishment crumble but it will continue to unsettle the hearts of those who built it. Imagine that. 

The only way to ensure an everlasting and fruitful investment – be it a structure or a relationship – is when you build the foundations on taqwa and His pleasure. There is no other way around it.

May Allāh make our establishments blessed.

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For Those Overcome…

If life has overcome and exhausted you with its many hardships, worries, sorrows and trials, then acquaint yourself with the following two:

The first:

There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the transgressors.

al-Anbiyāʾ:87

This was the call of a man oppressed by his own mistake, a call from the lowest, darkest point.  A man who, if you were to logically assess the situation, had absolutely no way out; he was stuck in the belly of a whale, in the deepest, terrible most pits of the ocean. But he supplicated Allāh with this call, and Allāh not only saved him but He cared for and sheltered him after he was out of this great trial.

Reciting this supplication has a great amount of excellence and it brings about an immense amount of good. In a Ḥadīth, Rasūl Allāh ﷺ said,

❝The supplication of Dhun-Nūn (Prophet Yūnus) when he supplicated, while in the belly of the whale was: ‘There is no deity except You; Exalted are You, Indeed, I have been of the transgressors.’ Indeed, no Muslim supplicates with it for anything, ever, except Allāh responds to him.❞ {Narrated by Imām Aḥmed in al-Musnad, graded authentic by al-Albānī.}

And the second:

Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.

al-Anbiyāʾ:83

We learn something profound; admitting weakness to Allāh and complaining to Him about the adversities and hardships we face is not only acceptable, but it is laudable. This admission does not stem from ingratitude and displeasure with what Allāh has decreed, but rather with an acknowledgement that if there is any One who can lift it off of you, it is Allāh. You are weak and in need, and He is Greater and Most Generous.

Consider the wording of this call, “adversity has touched me”, a non-accusatory statement made by someone who does not begrudge the Most Merciful for the situation he is in. Allāh is pleased with those who are pleased with Him in all and every circumstance.

In the words of Ibn al-Qayyim, ❝This call embodies the reality of tawḥīd and shows utter humility and indigence to ones Lord. It shows love for the One who is Praised, and it establishes the attribute of Mercy to Him, and that He is the Most Merciful of the merciful. Allāh is beseeched through His Glorious Attributes.  And it professes the dire need of the one calling to Allah. And whenever this occurs, adversity is lifted off the caller.❞ {al-Fawāid 1/201}

May Allāh grant ease to those facing hardship; a response to those seeking an answer; a way out to those searching for an exit. 

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For Those Waiting…

Ever waited for something to happen? Something totally out of your control so that you are left without a choice and are forced to wait?

Something so incredibly valuable that you are absolutely terrified that it just might not happen. And that fear – will it, will it not – is eating you away inside, (literally) queasiness has settled deep in your stomach; butterflies that turned into moths.

You eagerly wait for tomorrow in hopes to hear some good news – so much so that you barely live in the present – but you absolutely dread tomorrow, because it might bring with it a tragic end to what your heart pines for. So you wait.

Now imagine this: you go through the hurdles of this life. The climaxes, the tragedies, the inevitable. The sadnesses, the pain, the happinesses, the losses, the wins. The births, the marriages, the deaths. Death. You go through death. Then comes what is more terrifying than the life of this world and death combined; the life of barzakh – the time in the grave. Then the Big Day; the Day of Resurrection.

A Day when a father would abandon his child, a nursing mother would cast away her infant, a lover would betray his beloved – all in hopes to save themselves. The horrors of this Day could grey the hairs on a child’s head.

You make it through this. You make it through Aṣ-Ṣirāṭ. You see the gates of Jannah!! But you are not granted entry. What?

You are not allowed entry. You are amongst the Men on Al-Aʿrāf.

The Men on Al-Aʿrāf are mentioned in sūrat al-Aʿrāf.

And between them (i.e. between the people of Jannah and the people of Hellfire) will be a partition, and on its elevations are men who recognise all by their mark. And they call out to the companions of Paradise, “Peace be upon you.” They have not [yet] entered it, but they long intensely. – al-Aʿrāf:46

They are the people whose good deeds were equal to their bad deeds. Thus they are not granted entry into Jannah with those who have earned Jannah. But neither are they cast into hellfire with those who have earned hellfire. They are waiting.

They are waiting for one decision – literally the most important decision they will ever know – that could give them Jannah; so precious that no heart can come close to fathoming the bliss enjoyed by the dwellers of Jannah. But they are fearing the possibility of one decision that could end them in hellfire; so terrible that one dip in it will make a person forget every enjoyment they ever tasted in this life.

Imagine this wait. Imagine every painful wait you have waited in your life now multiply that by infinity and then some. But of course, no words can come close to describing what these people will feel.

Not only have they been barred from entering Jannah, but they can see the people of hellfire, they can see firsthand the horrors the people of hellfire are facing. Imagine their fear!

Digression: Do good and abstain from bad; as little, as minuscule, as insignificant you might find it. It just might be that extra push you need to get into Jannah and avoid this fate.

What do you do when all you can do is wait? What do you do when you have seen and tasted the possibility of pure bliss, of eternal happiness – that could be snatched away any moment?

What do you do when you see and taste the possibility of the most wretched of fates – that could be yours, any moment?

You proceed to make duʿāʾ.

And when their [the people on the elevations] eyes are turned toward the companions of the Fire, they say, “Our Lord, do not place us with the wrongdoing people.” – al-Aʿrāf:47

You do not lose hope in the Most Merciful. Whatever you do, you do not lose hope in the vast Mercy of Allāh. You do not give up, because maybe that bliss you tasted could be yours for the keeping. It only needs one word from the Almighty. And He is Allāh, Who is Near and Who Hears the call of every caller.

Allāh is Generous, He is Forgiving. You do not lose hope, not even in the very last moment. Not even when standing on an elevated partition looking down on the possibility of eternal damnation.

Because what your heart yearns for so desperately, so painfully, could be yours – Allah is Merciful and He is over all things able, 

[Allāh will say], “Are these the ones whom you [O inhabitants of Hellfire] swore that Allāh would never offer them mercy? Enter Paradise, [O People of the Elevations]. No fear will there be concerning you, nor will you grieve.” – al-Aʿrāf:49

 

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Prophetic Advice for those Memorising Qurān

One of the most frequent questions that make its way into my inbox – here and on Facebook – is: “I’m memorising Qurʾān, do you have any advice for me?”

There’s a lot that can be said, but as I’ve shared a great deal of thoughts and insights on this topic in the past, I want to keep the following short and simple.

Besides the tips and tricks I’ve shared on this blog and on Facebook; from working with a Qurʾān teacher, to keeping a ḥifḏh log where you record the amount you memorise and revise each day, to having a “game plan”, to having a timeframe to work within…), the one advice I will convey is the advice of our beloved Prophet ﷺ:

 “تعاهدوا القرآن”

A literal translation: “strike a covenant with the Qurʾān” — recite it often and regularly. When you strike a covenant with something you are bond to it.

Don’t forgo your daily portion of recitation of the Qurʾān . Hold tight to it.

In completion of the Ḥadīth, Rasūl Allāh ﷺ said, “For by Him in Whose Hand my life is, the Qurʾān escapes from memory faster than camels that are untied.” {Bukhāri 5033}

No matter what happens, revise a set portion each day, and set a memorisation goal for each day as well. Even if you reach only half of that goal it’s still better than nothing, so don’t give up hope.

Another advice I want to share is one by my teacher who said: The Qurʾān is Mighty. It is ʿAzīz. Its knowledge will not come easy to you unless and until YOU give it your all and dedicate your time and effort to it. Ḥifḏh is something that can hardly be done half heartedly. You truly need to exert every ounce of yourself into it. And this is not meant as a discouragement or to scare anyone off but rather as a reminder of how dear the Qurʾān should be to us. Of how close we need to be to it in order to succeed in memorising it and retaining it to memory.

The difference between those who want to memorise Qurʾān and the Ḥuffāḏh is that the latter group actually dedicated their time and effort and put in energy and came through, whereas the former group fell short and gave up.

We *all* fall short from time to time, but pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving with a goal in mind. Do not give up. A ‘bad’ ḥifḏh day doesn’t mean that you’ve reached your maximum capacity and that you cannot memorise any more. Whether you miss a day, a week or even a month, don’t let it bring you down. This is what differentiates ḥuffāḏh from those who’ve attempted ḥifḏh; the ḥuffāḏh did not give up, they did not let any ‘down time’ effect their overall motivation.

A final note to everyone, including those who are not memorising Qurʾān: Recitation of the Qurʾān is not exclusive to the month of Ramaḍān. The Qurʾān is not a guide, a healing, a light, an admonition… only during the month of Ramaḍān. It is your lifelong companion. It is meant to be recited, understood, reflected on and implemented throughout your life.

May Allāh make the Qurʾān dear to our hearts. May Allāh make us from amongst the People of the Qurʾān, those whom He calls His people, specially His people.

 

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Jāhilīya 2.0

[and do not display yourselves as was the display of the former times of ignorance.] al-Aḥzāb:33

This āyah specifically addresses our role models, the noble women we strive to emulate; the mothers of the believers (the wives of our Rasūl Allāh ﷺ). But in general, as scholars have stated, it addresses all believing women. The commands in it are for all Muʾmināt to follow.

In the āyah, the pre-Islāmic era of ignorance, where display of women’s beauty was rampant, is called ‘al-Jāhilīyat al-Uwlā’. Literally: the first phase of ignorance.

An incessant display of beauty AFTER your guidance to Islām is nothing more than an unabashed second phase of ignorance. Jāhilīya 2.0.

Think.

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