Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Recent Trends in Qur’nic Scholarship


Recent Trends in Qur’nic Scholarship

Viva Books has published a book on Qur’inc Studies: Recent Trends in Qur’nic Scholarship 

Description:


‘Qur’anic Studies’ (al-Dirasat al-Qur’aniyya) is a remarkable and noteworthy academic sub-genre in the area of Islamic studies to which Muslims and non-Muslims have contributed extensively. Qur’anic scholarship has seen a rapid and broad-ranging development, especially in the present century, as it is seen as a vibrant and multidimensional scholarly pursuit to which scholars have introduced a multiplicity of approaches. Keeping in view the academic study of the Qur’an in its present scenario, it is not an exaggeration to claim that the Qur’anic studies have emerged as a vibrant field of research globally. In this context, the present work (consisting of 11 chapters) attempts to explore some facets of and the recent trends in the 21st century Qur’anic studies by: exploring some Qur’anic concepts and themes of socio-political and moral significance vis-à-vis their contemporary relevance (such as Ihsan, Shura, inter-connection of ‘Aql, Tafakkur and ‘Ilm, rise and fall of societies/ nations and social ethics vis-à-vis the institution of family); assessing and evaluating the scholarly contribution of some prominent scholars of the 21st century in the field of Qur’anic studies (including Abdur Raheem Kidwai, Abdullah Saeed, Ziauddin Sardar, Andrew Rippin and Jane D. McAuliffe) and focusing on the teaching, research and recent works in Qur’anic studies by providing a description of the activities of some academies, journals and recent research carried on different aspects in this field. Thus, blending the scholarship of the past and the present, it reflects on some major trends and issues of diverse nature. The present work will prove valuable and appealing to the students, general readers and the specialists alike. It seeks to explore the relevance of the teachings of the noble Qur’an to the readers of the 21st century.

Contents:

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction

Part I: Qur’anic Concepts and Themes

Chapter 1. Concept of Ihsan (Excellence) as a Virtue: Text, Traditions and Interpretations
Chapter 2. The Qur’anic Concept of Shura: Text, Tradition and Modern (Varied) Interpretations
Chapter 3. Reasoning and Pondering as ‘Sources of Knowledge’: Inter-connecting the Qur’anic Concepts of ‘Aql, Tafakkur and ‘Ilm
Chapter 4. Rise and Fall of Societies in the Qur’anic Perspective: The Views of Some Contemporary Scholars
Chapter 5. Social Ethics vis-à-vis the Institution of Family: The Contemporary Crisis and the Qur’anic Paradigm

Part II: 21st Century Qur’anic Scholarship

Chapter 6. Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s Contribution to the Qur’anic Studies: An Evaluation of His Important Works
Chapter 7. Abdullah Saeed’s Contribution to the 21st Century Qur’anic Scholarship: An Evaluation
Chapter 8. Ziauddin Sardar vis-à-vis Qur’anic Studies: A Critical Evaluation of His ‘Reading the Qur’an’ (2015)
Chapter 9. 21st Century Western Scholarship in the Qur’anic Studies: A Comparative Study of the Works of Jane D. McAuliff e and Andrew Rippin

Part III: Recent Works and Research vis-à-vis Qur’anic Studies

Chapter 10. A Critical Assessment of Some Recent Works on the Qur’anic Studies (2010–2019)
Chapter 11. Teaching and Research on the Qur’anic Studies: Introducing Some Exemplary Academies and Journals on the Qur’anic Studies
Appendix: List of My Writings on the Qur’anic Studies
Bibliography
Index

About the Author:

Tauseef Ahmad Parray is presently working as Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies, Govt. Degree College for Women, Pulwama, Higher Education Department, J&K (India). He holds his masters, PhD and postdoctorate in Islamic studies from the University of Kashmir (2008), Aligarh Muslim University (2014), Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue (IRD), International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan (2015),
respectively.
He is the author of Towards Understanding Some Qur’anic Terms, Concepts, and Themes (2017), Muslim Intellectual Deficit: Reasons and Remedies (2018), Exploring the Qur’an: Concepts and Themes (2019) and Mediating Islam and Modernity (2019). He has published in numerous reputed academic journals, magazines and newspapers, from over a dozen countries, around the world. He is on the editorial board (and is also a member) of various journals based in Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and the UK. His major areas of interest are: Islam and Democracy; Modernist/Reformist Thought in South Asia; and Recent Trends and English Scholarship in Qur’anic Studies.
Target Audience:
This book is for students, general readers and the specialists of Qur’anic studies.
Source:  Viva Books 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Madaarij as-Salikeen: The Rank of Patience: Part Two


The Rank of Patience Part Two

Excerpts from Madaarij as-Salikeen by Ibn Quyyim al-Jawziyya
Madaarij Saalikeen, which is a commentary on, and explanation of the book by Shaikh Abu Ismail al-Ansari al-Harawi al-Sufi, Manazil-u Sa'ireen (Ranks of the Seekers). 

Definition of Patience


The Arabic word sabr comes from a root meaning to refrain and stop.

Patience is to prevent the soul from anxiety and discontent, prevent the tongue from complaining, and prevent the limbs from doing acts that displease Allah.

Types of Patience


There are three types of patience: being patient by doing things that please Allah, being patient by refraining from doing things that displease Allah, and being patient in respect of afflictions that Allah decrees for man.

The first and second types are related to things than a person can control and the third type is related to things that man cannot control.

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah said, ‘Patience of Prophet Joseph in respect of refraining from yielding to the seduction of the Potiphar’s wife, though she enjoyed a high rank, is greater than his patience when his brothers threw him into the well and then selling him as a slave, which led to depriving him of his father. Joseph could not control the latter things and man could do nothing regarding them but enduring them patiently. On the other hand, Joseph’s patience in respect of refraining from disobeying Allah was done willingly to please Allah and resist the soul’s whim, though there were strong causes that might motivate him to yield. First, Joseph was young then and it is known that young people’s sexual desire is strong. Second, he was a bachelor and had no lawful means to satisfy his sexual desire. Third, he was a foreigner and a stranger usually feels free to do whatever he wants like satisfying his sexual needs, unlike a person who lives in his hometown. Fourth, Joseph was also a slave. Deterrents preventing a slave from doing immoral acts are unlike that of a free person. Fifth, the Potiphar’s wife was beautiful, enjoyed high rank, and his master. Besides, no one could see them. Sixth, she strongly asked him to have sexual relations with her and threatened him with humiliation and imprisonment if he refused to yield to her commands. Nonetheless, Joseph was willingly patient, preferring to attain the reward of Allah. This type of patience cannot be compared with his patience when his brothers threw him into the well, which was out of his control. 

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah also said, ‘Patience in respect of performing righteous acts is greater than patience in respect of refraining from perpetrating acts of disobedience. That is because Allah loves doing righteous deeds more than refraining from perpetrating acts of disobedience. Allah also dislikes refraining from doing righteous acts more than the negative effects of the presence of acts of disobedience. 

Ranks of Patience


First, patience by seeking help from Allah, believing that He alone manages all affairs and one cannot be patient except by His support. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Be patient. Your patience is attained only by Allah’s bounty.] [Surah an-Nahl: 127]
Second, patience for Allah’s sake. It is done because of loving Allah and seeking His pleasure. It is also done to be close to Allah, and not show off one’s fortitude, be praised, etc. 
Third, patience in respect of Allah’s commands and prohibitions. It is complete submission to Allah by complying with His commands and avoiding His prohibitions patiently no matter what the results may be.
This type of patience is the most difficult kind and it is the patience of the truthful people.

Al-Junayd said, ‘The journey from the worldly life to the Hereafter is easy for the believer, deserting people for Allah’s sake is difficult, the journey from the soul to Allah is more difficult, and being patient by complying with his commands and avoiding prohibitions is the most difficult.’

He was asked, ‘What does patience mean?’ he said, ‘It is unwilling sipping of bitterness without any resentment.’

Dhu-an-Nun, the Egyptian, said, ‘Patience is distancing oneself away from acts of disobedience, being clam when affliction befalls and pretending to be rich when poverty strikes one’s life.’

It is said, ‘Patience is cultured acceptance of affliction.’
It is also said, ‘Patience is honorable interaction with affliction, just like interaction with the blessings.’

Ranks of the Patient are Five


1) A person who is patient in all situations. 2) A person who exerts his best to be patient. 3) A person who endures hardship with difficulty. 4) A person who is y patient more than those around him. 5) A person who is deeply patient and this kind describes the extent of patience while the former ranks describe how patience is. 
Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [O you who believe! Be patient, be steadfast, be on guard, and be God-fearing that you may be successful.][Surah al-Imran: 200] 
This ayah describes patience, moving from the lowest to the highest rank.

 It is said that it means to be patient at times of prosperity and adversity, keep on guard to protect your frontiers, and fear Allah that you may be successful in the Hereafter. 

Messenger Muhammad was asked, ‘What is faith?’ 
He said, ‘It is patience and generosity.’
This answer contains the most eloquent statement, the greatest evidence, and the most comprehensive classification of the ranks of faith. 
One is commanded to do two things. Giving what is commanded to give, which is done due to generosity, and to avoid what is prohibited to do, which is done due to patience.

In the Quran, Allah has commanded to be patient without complaining, forgiving others without reproaching, and deserting without enmity. 

Complaining to Allah does not contradict patience. Jacob, peace be upon him, promised to be patient and a prophet never breaks his promise; however, he said, [I only complain of my anguish and sorrow to Allah and I know from Allah what you do not know.] [Surah Joseph: 86]

However, complaining to human beings contradicts patience. A man saw a person complaining about his poverty to another one. Hence, he said to him, ‘O man! Do you complain the One, Allah, who can bestow mercy on you to someone he cannot bestow mercy on you.’

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Tafsir of Surah Ibrahim: Ayah 5-8


Quran Surah Ibrahim

Indeed, We sent Moses with Our proofs, saying, ‘Bring your people out of darknesses into the light and remind them of the Days of Allah.’ Surely in that are proofs for every patient, thankful one. [Q 14: 5]

Mention - when Moses said to his people, ‘Remember Allah’s blessings on you when He saved you from Pharaoh’s people, who used to inflict grievous torment on you, slaughter your sons, and keep your daughters alive. In that, there was a great trial from your Lord.’ [Q 14: 6]

Remember – when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly increase you. And if you are ungrateful, indeed, My torment is severe.’ [Q 14: 7] 

Moses said, ‘If you and all those on earth are ungrateful, Allah is indeed Self-sufficient, Praiseworthy.’ [Q 14: 8] 

[Quran: Surah Ibrahim: Ayah: 5-8]



Relationship with the Previous Part


Allah says that He sent Messenger Muhammad [saw] to bring people out of darknesses of disbelief and ignorance to the light of belief in Him. Furthermore, Allah mentions that He, out of His bounty and mercy, sent Messenger Muhammad [saw] speaking the language of his people, Arabic language, to facilitate understanding the message of Islam for his people. Then Allah mentions stories of some messengers. He informs of how the reaction of their people was to their messages to console Messenger Muhammad [saw] in respect of the hardship he suffered from his people. The first story that Allah mentions is the story of Messenger Moses, the Children of Israel, and Pharaoh and his people. 

Tafsir


Indeed, We sent Moses with Our proofs, saying, ‘Bring your people out of darknesses into the light and remind them of the Days of Allah.’ Surely in that are proofs for every patient, thankful one. [Q 14: 5]


Messenger Moses is the son of Imran. He was a descendant of Prophet Jacob. 
The proofs refer to the miracles that Allah gave Messenger Moses. Some of them were his hand turned white, his rod turned into a snake, the famine that befell Pharaoh and his people, shortage of crops, the flood, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, and the blood.  
Just as Allah, Exalted be He, sent Messenger Muhammad [saw] to his people to bring them out of darknesses of disbelief and ignorance into the light of belief in the Oneness of Allah, He sent Messenger Moses to his people to invite them to believe in Allah and warn them of disbelief in Him. 
Thus, the purpose of sending the messengers of Allah is one, namely, inviting people to believe in the Oneness of Allah, and warning them of worshipping other gods besides Him.  

[…and remind them of the Days of Allah.]


The Days of Allah refer to the bounties of Allah that He gives His slaves, and the afflictions befall the disbelievers and the disobedient people.   
Allah commanded Moses to admonish the Children of Israel by promising them a great reward if they believe in and obey Allah and threatening them with severe torment if they disbelieve in and disobey Allah. He commanded Moses to remind his people of His bounties and blessings on them. He also commanded him to tell them about the former nations that believed in Allah and obeyed their messengers as well as to the severe punishment that befell the disbelieving nations. 
This reminding is to make the Children of Israel desire and hope to attain the reward of Allah by believing in Him and obeying His Messenger and fear and the punishment of Allah if they refuse to obey their messenger and insist on disbelief in Allah.  
The Days of Allah in respect of Moses and his people refer to the time of comfort and blessings they enjoyed, such as when Allah saved them from Pharaoh and his people, and the time of afflictions that they suffered, such as the severe oppression they suffered at the hands of Pharaoh and his people. 

Mujahed said, ‘[…and remind them of the Days of Allah.] This refers to the blessings that Allah granted the Children of Israel. He saved them from the people of Pharaoh, He caused the sea to split so that they could safely pass over it, He made the clouds over them to shade them, caused the manna and the quails to descend from the heaven so that they could eat them.’
   
Ibn Zayd said, ‘‘[…and remind them of the Days of Allah.] This refers to the days on which Allah punished the disbelieving people among the former nations. So the meaning will be, ‘Threaten the Children of Israel, reminding them that it would befall them what befell the former nations.’   

[Surely in that are proofs for every patient, thankful one.]


‘In that’ refers to reminding of the Days of Allah.
Indeed, reminding of the blessings of Allah and the punishment that Allah inflicted on the disbelievers is clear evidence, denoting the Oneness of Allah, His ability, and His comprehensive knowledge, and wisdom for every patient and thankful person. 
The patient person faces the afflictions that Allah may afflict him with patience, believing that the decrees of Allah are done for a wise purpose. A thankful person always thanks Allah for His blessings.   
Patience and thankfulness are mentioned together to refer to the fact that circumstances of a believer involve either one of them. 
 
Suhayb, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger [saw] said, ‘How amazing the conditions of a believer is! Indeed, all his conditions are praiseworthy, and this case is not for anyone except the believer. When a delighting matter happens to him, he is thankful, and it will be good for him. And when a distressing matter befalls him, he is patient, and it will be good for him.’  

Patience is mentioned first in the ayah because it is the key to attaining thankfulness, or because it implies refraining from blameworthy matters, which should be done before attaining praiseworthy matters.   

Mention - when Moses said to his people, ‘Remember Allah’s blessings on you when He saved you from Pharaoh’s people, who used to inflict grievous torment on you, slaughter your sons, and keep your daughters alive. In that, there was a great trial from your Lord.’ [Q 14: 6]


O Messenger! Mention to your people when Moses said to the Children of Israel, ‘O my people! Remember Allah’s blessings on you. He saved you from Pharaoh and his people, who used to inflict grievous torment on you. They used to slaughter your sons and keep your daughters alive to be slaves, servants, or rape them. Indeed, saving you from your enemy after suffering such afflictions is a great trial from your Lord. When attaining the blessings of Allah, you should thank Him, and when suffering from affliction, you should be patient, and refrain from sinning, which leads to punishment and humiliation.’  
‘Slaughtering your sons’ refers to killing the male children of the Children of Israel. Killing adult males would be against the interest of Pharaoh and his people as they used to employ them in hard and degrading work. Moreover, if the intended meaning was killing adult males, the mother of Moses would not have thrown him in the river when he was a child to protect him from slaughtering. 
 ‘Keeping alive the females’ was considered punishment to the Children of Israel. It was done to rape them and employ them as slaves and servants. Thus, keeping the females alive after killing the male children is considers painful psychological torment that noble souls cannot accept. 
Messenger Moses kept on reminding his people of the bounties of Allah on them and the afflictions that He inflicted on the former nations, instructing them that the purpose behind salvation and torment is to be thankful for the blessings of Allah and be patient with the afflictions. 

Then Messenger Moses informed his people about the result of gratefulness and ungratefulness. 

Remember – when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly increase you. And if you are ungrateful, indeed, My torment is severe.’ [Q 14: 7] 


Thankfulness and gratefulness are acknowledging the blessings of Allah and using them in a manner that pleases Him.  
Ungratefulness of the blessings of Allah is not attributing them to their bestower, Allah, and using them in a manner that displeases Him.   
O Children of Israel! Remember when Moses said, ‘Indeed, your Lord clearly and emphatically proclaimed, ‘If you thank Me for my blessings, I will certainly give you more. And if you are ungrateful for My blessings and use them in a manner that displeases Me, I will certainly deprive you of them. Indeed, My torment is severe, and My punishment is painful.’ 

Abdul-Allah bin Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger [saw] said, ‘Whoever is inspired to be thankful will be given more since Allah says, [If you are grateful, I will certainly increase you.] [Q 14: 7]’  

Thowban, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger [saw] said, ‘Indeed, a person may be deprived of sustenance because of a sin he committed.’  
[‘If you are grateful, I will certainly increase you. And if you are ungrateful, indeed, My torment is severe.’ 

‘We face these great facts: thankfulness increases the blessings, and ungratefulness causes severe torment. 
First, we face this great fact that our hearts immediately accept and are pleased with it because it is a promise from Allah, whose promise is truthful and shall be fulfilled.  
Anyway, if we want to see its application in real life, and look for its causes that we may comprehend, then we need not go too far to understand the causes. 
Thanking Allah for His blessings is evidence of righteousness in a human soul. The blessing should be met by thankfulness because it is the normal result, originating from a sound disposition. 
Another fact is that the soul that thanks Allah for His blessings keeps on watching Him when making use of these blessings without being arrogant nor haughty with people, and without using these blessings in a harmful, wicked, debased, and corrupt manner.
Undoubtedly, both qualities elevate the soul, and motivate it to do righteous deeds, and use the blessings righteously in a manner that increases it. Furthermore, thankfulness makes people pleased with the blessed person and support him as well as it amends relationships in society, causing increase of wealth and security and so on, which are natural causes that we can discern in life. The promise of Allah is sufficient to reassure the believer, whether he understands the cause or not, as it is a truthful promise, and the promise of Allah will definitely be fulfilled.  
Being ungrateful to the blessing of Allah may take many forms, such as not thanking Allah for it, denying that Allah is its bestower, and attributing its attainment to having knowledge, expertise, and personal effort and endeavor. It is as the ungrateful person believes that all those capacities are not blessings granted by Allah. Ungratefulness may also be by using the blessings arrogantly and haughtily with people and using them to satisfy whims and in a corrupt manner.  
The severe punishment for ungratefulness to the blessings of Allah may be its annihilation either by physical eradication or by sentimental extermination. Many blessings may be a curse causing suffering to the extent that their owner may envy those who do not have them. Furthermore, the severe punishment may be deferred torment that will be inflected sometime in the future in the worldly life or in the Hereafter, as Allah may wish. However, it will definitely happen because ungratefulness for the blessings of Allah does not go unpunished.’ [Fi Zilal al-Quran, Sayyid Qutub]

Then Moses told his people that they will suffer from the negative effect of their ungratefulness. Indeed, Allah is self-sufficient and He never needs any of His creatures.  

Moses said, ‘If you and all those on earth are ungrateful, Allah is indeed Self-sufficient, Praiseworthy.’ [Q 14: 8] 


Moses said to his people, ‘If you and all those on earth are ungrateful for the blessings of Allah, you will never harm Allah in the least. Allah is self-sufficient. You only harm yourselves by your ungratefulness. Indeed, Allah does not need your thankfulness. When you thank Him, you benefit yourself by attaining His bounty and mercy. Indeed, Allah deserves perfect praise.’ 
 
Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger [saw] said, ‘O My slaves! If the first of you, the last of you, all human beings, and the jinn had the heart of the most pious man, it would not increase My kingdom in the least. O My slaves! If the first of you, the last of you, all human beings, and the jinn had the heart of the most wicked man, it would not decrease My kingdom in the least. O My slaves! If the first of you, the last of you, all human beings, and the jinn were to stand together in one place and ask Me, and I were to give everyone his request, it would not decrease what I have except what decreases from the sea when a needle is dipped into it.’ 

Learned Lessons


The purpose of sending the messengers of Allah is one. Allah sent them to bring people out of darknesses of disbelief in Allah and guide them to the light of worshipping Him alone.
People should learn lessons from what happened to former nations. They should reflect on the blessings Allah granted those nations and fear of the punishment that befell them.
The patient and thankful people learn from what happened to those who were before them whether bestowing blessings on them or inflicting punishment on them. 
The Children of Israel suffered great affliction at the hands of Pharaoh and his people. They killed their male children, and kept their female children alive for employment as slaves or servants, or raping them, which was a severe trial. 
Thanking the blessings of Allah increases them. On the other hand, ungratefulness for the blessings of Allah leads to their annihilation and severe punishment. 
Thanking the blessings of Allah is realized by acknowledging that Allah has given them and using them in a manner that pleases Him.
Ungratefulness to the blessings of Allah is realized by denying that Allah is their bestower and using them in a manner that displeases Him.
Allah is self-sufficient. He does not need anything from His slaves. Allah deserves perfect praise. 
Positive effects of thanking Allah and negative effects of ungratefulness for the blessings of Allah affect only doer. As for Allah is not affected in the least by people’s gratefulness or ungratefulness.

Introduction to Tafsir of Surah Ibrahim

Monday, July 27, 2020

Madaarij as-Salikeen: The Rank of Patience: Part One


The Rank of Patience

Excerpts from Madaarij as-Salikeen by Ibn Quyyim al-Jawziyya
Madaarij Saalikeen, which is a commentary on, and explanation of the book by Shaikh Abu Ismail al-Ansari al-Harawi al-Sufi, Manazil-u Sa'ireen (Ranks of the Seekers). 

The Rank of Patience: Part One


Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, may Allah have mercy on him, said, ‘Patience has been mentioned about ninety times in the Quran. It is obligatory according to the consensus of the Islamic nation. Patience is half of the faith. Hence, if faith is divided into two parts, then patience will be one half and the other will be gratitude.’

Sixteen types of patience are mentioned in the Quran.


First, the commandment to be patient. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, 
[O you who believe! Seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.] [Surah al-Baqarah: 153]

Second, prohibiting impatience. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [So be patient, as the messengers of the strong will were patient and do not be in haste about them.] [Surah al-Ahqaf: 35]

Third, praising the patient. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [… and those who are patient in times of poverty, hardship, and war. Those are the truthful and those are the God-fearing.] [Surah al-Baqarah: 177]

Fourth, mentioning that Allah loves the patient. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [And Allah loves the patient.] Surah al-Imran: 146]

Fifth, mentioning that Allah is with the patient, which is especial companionship that indicates that Allah will protect them, make them victorious, and help them. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [And Allah is with the patient.] [Surah al-Baqarah: 249]

Sixth, mentioning that patience produces positive results for the patient. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [If you are patient, verily it will better for the patient.] [Surah an-Nahl: 126]
 
Seventh, mentioning that the patient deserve the best reward. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [We shall surely reward them their recompense according to the best of what they used to do.] [Surah an-Nahl: 97]

Fruits of Patience


Eighth, mentioning that the reward of the patient will be limitless. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without measure.] [Surah az-Zumar: 10]

Ninth, the patient are given the good news of unqualified reward. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [We shall surely test you through some fear, hunger, and loss of wealth, lives, and fruits. And give good news to the patient.] [Surah al-Baqarah: 155] 

Tenth, victory and help are guaranteed for the patient. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Most certainly, if you are patient and God-fearing, and they swiftly attack you, Your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels, distinguishingly marked.] [Surah al-Imran: 125]
 
Eleventh, mentioning that the patient are characterized by a strong will. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [And whoever is patient and forgives – indeed, that is of the matters indicating determination.] [Surah ash-Shura: 43]

Twelfth, mentioning that only the patient are qualified for performing righteous deeds and deserving great rewards. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Those who had been given knowledge said, ‘Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for him who believes and does righteous deeds. And none attains this but the patient.’] [Surah al-Qasas: 80] 

Thirteenth, mentioning that only the patient benefit from lessons and admonitions. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Indeed, We sent Moses with Our proofs, saying, ‘Bring your people out of darknesses into the light and remind them of the Days of Allah.’ Surely in that are proofs for every patient, thankful one.] [Surah Ibrahim: 5] 

Fourteenth, mentioning that attaining desired goals, being saved from fearful things, and entering Paradise is only acquired by patience. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Gardens of eternal abode, they will enter along with the righteous among their fathers, wives, and descendants. And the angels will come to them through every gate. Peace be upon you for what patiently endured. What an excellent ultimate abode!] Surah ar-Ra’d: 23-24]

Fifteenth, the patient are qualified for leadership. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [We made from them leaders, guiding by Our command when they patiently endured and firmly believed in Our signs.] [Surah as-Sajdah: 24]

Sixteenth, Connecting patience with Islam, faith, certainty, fear of Allah, reliance on Allah, thankfulness, righteous deeds, and mercy.
Therefore, patience is like the head for the body. Whoever does not have faith, does not have patience. Likewise, whoever does not have a body, does not have a head. 
Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘We attain happy life by being patient.’ 
Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, said in an authentic narration, ‘Patience is light.’ He also said, ‘Whoever exerts his best to be patient, Allah will help him to be patient.’

Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, said in another authentic narration, ‘How wonderful the condition of a believer is! All his conditions are good for him and this is not for anyone but the believer. If a good thing happens to him, he is thankful and it will be good for him. And if adversity befalls him, he is patient and it will be good for him.’ [Narrated by Imam Muslim] 

A black woman came to Messenger Muhammad and said, ‘I get epileptic seizures and my body becomes uncovered. Please invoke Allah for me.’ He said, ‘If you wish, be patient and you will enter Paradise, and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.’ She said, ‘I will be patient. But my body becomes uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.’ So he invoked Allah for her. [Narrated by Imam al-Bukhari]

Messenger Muhammad mentioned that all results of patience are good. He said, ‘No one is given a gift better and blessed than patience. [Narrated by Imam al-Bukhari]

Friday, July 24, 2020

Carrying on the Tradition: A Social and Intellectual History of Hadith Transmission across a Thousand Years


Carrying on the Tradition

Brill has published a book on Islamic Studies: Carrying on the Tradition: A Social and Intellectual History of Hadith Transmission across a Thousand Years


Series: Islamic History and Civilization, Volume: 160

Author: Garrett Davidson


In Carrying on the Tradition Garrett Davidson employs a variety of largely unutilized print, as well as archival sources collected from the Near East, North Africa, India, Europe, and North America. 
He analyses these sources to excavate the fundamental reinvention of the conceptions and practices of hadith transmission that resulted from the establishment of the hadith canon. 
Further, the book examines how hadith scholars reimagined the transmission of hadith, not as a scholarly tool, as it had originally been, but instead as, among other things, an act of pious emulation of the forefathers. 
It demonstrates the emergence of new genres and subgenres of hadith literature, as a result of this shift, examining them as artefacts of the cultural, social, and intellectual history of Muslim religiosity from the tenth to twentieth centuries.

Author

Garrett A. Davidson, Ph.D. (2014) University of Chicago, is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the College of Charleston. His research focuses on hadith and the Arabic manuscript tradition.

Readership

All interested in Islamic Studies, Islamic Intellectual History, the Islamic Scholarly Tradition and hadith.

Source Brill Middle East and Islamic Studies 



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Revelation and Collection of the Quran


Revelation and Collection of the Quran

Revelation and Collection of the Quran


Excerpted from At-Tasheel li-Uloom at-Tazeel by Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi –al-Gharanti


Allah revealed the Quran to Messenger Muhammad in Mecca when He sent him as a messenger and prophet. Messenger Muhammad was forty years old then. The revelation continued when Messenger Muhammad emigrated to al-Madinah until he died. Thus, the Quran was revealed for about twenty years and it was said for about twenty-three years. This difference is due to disagreement on, was Messenger Muhammad sixty or sixty-three years old when he died? Sometimes an entire surah was revealed to him and sometimes some ayat, and then Messenger Muhammad would combine them so that a whole surah was formed.

The first surah revealed to Messenger Muhammad was surah al-Alaq [the Clot], then surah al-Mudathir [the cloaked] and al-Muzammil [the One Wrapped in Garments] and it was said that surah al-Fatihah [the Opening].

However, the correct opinion is the first one because Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, mentioned that in a narration about the beginning of the revelation to Messenger Muhammad. She narrated that Messenger Muhammad said, ‘The angel came to me while I was in Hira’ cave. Then he said, ‘Read.’ I said, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Then he held and pressed me until I could not bear it. Then he released me and said, ‘Read.’ I said, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Then he held me for the second time until I could not bear it and then he released me. Then he said, ‘Read.’ I said, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Then he held me for the third time, released me, and said, [Read in the name of your Lord who created. He created man from a clinging clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the pen. He taught man that he knew not.’ [Surah al-Alaq] Then Messenger Muhammad returned to his house and his heart was trembling. Then he said, ‘Cover me! Cover me!’ They covered him until his fear was over.’ [Sahih al-Bukhari]

In another narration reported by Abdul Allah bin Jabir, ‘He said, ‘Cover me!’ Then Allah revealed, [O you covered with his clothes.] [Surah al-Muddaththir] [Sahih al-Bukhari]

As for the last surah that was revealed, it was surah an-Nasr, it was also said that it was the ayah about usury in surah al-Baqarah, and it was also said that it was the ayah that was before it.

During the lifetime of Messenger Muhammad, the Quran was written in leaves and memorized by the companions of Messenger Muhammad. After Messenger Muhammad died, Ali bin abi Talib began to collect it in chronological order according to the time of revelation. If what he collected should be found, great knowledge would have found therein. However, it was not found. 

Then many companions of Messenger Muhammad died in the battle of Umamah while fighting Musaylimah, the Liar. Thereupon, Umar bin al-Khattab advised abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them, to collect the Quran lest it might be lost because of the death of those who memorized it. Thus, abu Bakr collected the Quran in leaves and the surahs did not have a specific order. These leaves remained with abu Bakr, then Umar, and finally with Hafsah, the mother of the believers and the daughter of Umar bin al-Khattab.

Meanwhile, leaves wherein some surahs of the Quran were written by the companions of Messenger Muhammad spread in different Islamic regions. These leaves contained some differences. Thus, Hudhayfah bin al-Yaman advised Uthman bin Affan to write a copy of the Quran so that people would depend on the same copy of the Quran lest disagreement should take place among them. 

Quran Surah al-Fatihah


Uthman delegated and commanded Zayd bin Thabit to collect the Quran and there were three persons from the tribe of Quraysh with him. They were Abdul Allah bin az-Zubayr, Abdur-Rahman bin al-Harith, and Sa’id bin al-As. Uthman told them that if they should disagree about how to write anything, then they should write it according to the dialect of Quraysh. Those men depended on the written copy of the Quran that was kept with Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her. Uthman used to observe and help them in this task. When the collection of this copy finished, Uthman sent copies of it to different Islamic regions and commanded to burn or cut all other copies of the Quran. Accordingly, the arrangement of the surahs in the present Quran was done by Uthman and Zayd bin Thabit and those who helped him to write the Quran. It was also said that the arrangement was done by Messenger Muhammad, which is a weak opinion that narrations about this issue contradict it. 

As for adding dots and diacritical marks, Abdul Malik bin Marwan ordered al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf to add them. Al-Hajjaj also divided the Quran into parts called hizb. It was also said that the first person, who added dots to the written copy of the Quran, was Yahya bin Ya’mur, and it was also said that he was abu al-Aswad ad-Du’ali. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Tafsir of Surah Ibrahim 1-4

Tafsir of Surah Ibrahim

Alif, Lam, Ra. This is a Book, which We have revealed to you that you might bring people out of darknesses into the light, by the permission of their Lord, leading them to the path of the All-Mighty, the Praiseworthy. [Q 14:1]

Allah is the one to whom belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. Woe to the disbelievers, for them, there will be severe torment. 

[Q 14:2]

Those who favor the worldly life over the Hereafter and turn people away from the path of Allah, seeking to make it deviant. Those are far astray. [Q 14: 3]

We did not send any messenger but he spoke the language of his people so that he would clarify for them. Then Allah lets go astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. [Q 14: 4] 

[Quran Surah Ibrahim: 1-4]


Relationship between Surah al-Hijr and Surah Ibrahim


Both Surahs begin by speaking about the Quran. In Surah al-Hijr, Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the ayat of the Book, and a clear Quran.] [Q 15:1] In Surah Ibrahim, Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Alif, Lam, Ra. This is a Book, which We have revealed to you that you might bring people out of darknesses into the light, by the permission of their Lord, leading them to the path of the All-Mighty, the Praiseworthy.]
 [Q 14:1]

  Both Surahs speak about the marvelous creation of Allah in the heavens, the earth, and this vast universe. Moreover, the story of Ibrahim and the stories of some prophets and their people are mentioned in both surahs. These stories are mentioned to console Messenger Muhammad [saw] for the hardship he suffered from his people and motivate him to be patient, reminding him that just as the former prophets were victorious over their enemies despite the hardship they faced, he would also triumph over the disbelievers among his people. 

Some of the conditions of the disbelievers on the Day of Judgment are mentioned at the end of surah Ibrahim. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, 
[Their garments will be of pitch and their faces will be covered with the Fire.] [Q 14: 50] 

At the beginning of surah al-Hijr, Allah has mentioned that the disbelievers will wish that they were Muslims in the worldly life after the suffering they face in the Hellfire and seeing that the believers will be brought of it. Allah says, interpretation of meaning, [Occasionally, the disbelievers will wish that they were Muslims.] [Q 15: 2]

 

Tafsir 


Alif, Lam, Ra. This is a Book, which We have revealed to you that you might bring people out of darknesses into the light, by the permission of their Lord, leading them to the path of the All-Mighty, the Praiseworthy. [Q 14:1]


[Alif, Lâm, Ra.]
  These three Arabic letters are called ‘al-Muqatta, separated letters’. They are among the separated letters found at the beginning of twenty-nine surah of the Quran.
  The scholars differ about their meanings. Their opinions can be summarized as follows: 

a) These letters have meanings; however, they differ about specifying their meanings whether they are names of Allah, names of the surahs, or that they refer to how long the nation of Muhammad [saw] will remain, and so on.
b) They are alphabetical letters and do not have meanings.
c) They have meanings, which only Allah knows.
d) Refraining from giving any opinion.

The most correct opinion is (b), i.e. they are alphabetical letters and do not have meanings. This opinion is based on the fact that the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language and its alphabetic letters do have meanings. Similarly, these separated letters at the beginning of some surahs of the Quran do not have meanings.   
The wisdom behind these letters, according to those who say that they do not have meanings, is that the separated letters demonstrate the inimitability of the Quran. That is because it has not brought words or letters that are beyond the reach of man. Rather, these letters are some of the letters used in people’s speech. However, they cannot bring anything like the Quran.  

[This is a Book, which We have revealed to you that you might bring people out of darknesses into the light, by the permission of their Lord, leading them to the path of the All-Mighty, the Praiseworthy.] [Q 14:1]


This ayah refers to the sublime rank of the Quran. It mentions the noble purpose for which Allah, Exalted be He, revealed the Quran to His Messenger Muhammad [saw]. 
The book refers to the Quran.
Darknesses refer to disbelief in Allah and following the path of misguidance.
The light refers to belief in Allah and following the right path that pleases Allah, Exalted be He. 

O Messenger! This Quran is a noble and sublime book. We have revealed it to you so that you might bring people out of the darknesses of disbelief in Allah, misguidance, and ignorance to the brightness of belief in Allah, knowledge, and following the path of guidance. You will be able to guide people to the right path by the permission of Allah and His command. Indeed, Allah is All-Mighty and Praiseworthy in all His deeds, statements, rules, commandments, and news, and His path is the straight path.  

Though Allah, Exalted be He, is the one, who guides people to the right path, the ayah attributes bringing people out of the darknesses of disbelief to the brightness of belief to Messenger Muhammad [saw]. That is because Messenger Muhammad [saw] is one who conveys the message of Allah, which brings people out of the darknesses of disbelief to the brightness of belief in Allah. 

  In the Arabic version of the ayah, ‘zulumat’ translated as darknesses is used. The word ‘zulumat’ is plural in the Arabic language, which denotes that disbelief in Allah has many paths. On the other hand, belief in Allah is one and the only right path. 
The ayah specifically mentions that Messenger Muhammad [saw] guides people to the path of Allah by the permission of Allah to emphasize the fact the changing the conditions of people from one state to another one happens by the permission of Allah, and that the role of Messenger Muhammad [saw] is only to convey the message of Allah. 

[This is a Book, which We have revealed to you that you might bring people out of darknesses into the light, by the permission of their Lord, leading them to the path of the All-Mighty, the Praiseworthy.] [Q 14:1]


Sayyid Qutb, may Allah have mercy on him, wrote , 
Allah, Exalted be He, sent Messenger Muhammad [saw] to bring people out of the darknesses of illusion, superstition, and ignorant circumstances and traditions. Allah also sent him to bring people out of perplexity of multiple false gods, and confusion of concepts, values, and criteria. 

Allah sent the Messenger [saw] to bring all humanity out of all kinds of darknesses to the brightness that reveals and uncovers all kinds of darknesses. It reveals them in the world of conception and then in real life with its values, circumstances, and traditions.  

  Belief in Allah is the light that shines in the heart whereby all human existence shines. The human body is composed of hard muddy substance and divine endowment. If it becomes empty of the brightness of the divine endowment, and this brightness is obliterated, it becomes lightless mud that is made of flesh and blood just like animals. Flesh and blood come from the muddy substance. That divine endowment softens and cleans the human body and makes it transparent. 
 
Belief in Allah is the light that brightens the heart so it can see the path. It can see the path of Allah clearly without any confusion nor doubt as well as without the confusion of illusions, superstitions, whims, or greediness. When the heart sees the path of Allah, it walks firmly without stumbling, confusion, hesitation, nor perplexity.  

Belief in Allah is the light that illuminates life. Thus, all people are equal slaves of Allah, connecting between them the bond of servitude and submission to Allah alone. They are not divided into slaves and tyrants. Their bond with the universe is knowledge of its great law as well as what it contains and who are therein. Accordingly, they enjoy peace with the universe, its components, and the creatures therein. 

Belief in Allah alone is the light of justice, the light of freedom, the light of knowledge, and the light of cordiality by being close to Allah, and being reassured by His justice, mercy, wisdom in times of comfort and hardship. Such reassurance necessitates being patient at times of hardship, and thankful at times of comfort, believing that there must be wisdom behind the affliction.’ 

Allah is the one to whom belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. Woe to the disbelievers, for them, there will be severe torment. [Q: 14:2]


The ayah refers to some aspects of the ability of Allah, Exalted be He. Allah is the only owner of whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. No one shares with Him, Exalted be He, the ownership of this universe. 

[Woe to the disbelievers, for them, there will be severe torment.]


This is a threat to the disbelievers. Woe to the disbelievers in Allah and His Messenger. Severe torment will befall them on the Day of Judgment. 

Those who favor the worldly life over the Hereafter and turn people away from the path of Allah, seeking to make it deviant. Those are far astray. [Q 14: 3]


This ayah mentions some attributes of the disbelievers.

- They favor the worldly life over the Hereafter and dedicate their efforts to attain the pleasures of the worldly life to the exclusion of the Hereafter. 
- They turn people away from following the path of Allah, i.e. Islam, using various means.
- They seek to make Islam deviant to agree with their whims and goals, though it has a straight methodology. For example, deviation in respect of not applying Islamic law and claiming that it is unsuitable to be applied in certain eras. 

 [Those are far astray.]


Those people are extremely gone astray away from the right path that pleases Allah, Exalted be He. Indeed, no deviation is greater than deviation away from Islam, the religion Allah has chosen for His slaves.  

We did not send any messenger but he spoke the language of his people so that he would clarify for them. Then Allah lets go astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. [Q 14: 4] 


One of the bounties of Allah on His slaves is that He revealed the Quran to Messenger Muhammad to bring people out of darknesses of disbelief and guide them to the straight path, Islam. This constitutes a great bounty on the Messenger [saw] as Allah authorized him to convey Islam. It is also a bounty on the people as Allah sent them a messenger to guide them to Islam and bring them out of the darknesses of disbelief.  Ayah [4] mentions another bounty of Allah on His slaves. 

The former messengers of Allah were sent to their people; whereas, Messenger Muhammad [saw] was sent to all people. Sending a messenger who speaks the language of his people facilitates understanding of the message of Allah. 

The meaning of ayah [Q 14: 4] is as follows: O Messenger! We did not send any messenger before you but he spoke the language of his people so that they could understand his speech and comprehend the commands and prohibitions that he would convey to them.  

Someone may say, ‘Messenger Muhammad [saw] was not sent only to the Arab; rather, he was sent to all people as well as the jinn, and they speak different languages. If the Arab does not have any excuse, other nations have an excuse. Moreover, if other nations do not have an excuse if the Quran had been revealed in another language other than Arabic, the Arab will not have any excuse too. The issue is that the Quran should be revealed either in all languages or in one of them. As for revealing it in all languages, there is no need to do so because translation serves as a substitute for doing so and makes up for lengthy revelation. Thus, there remains only one thing, namely, the Quran would be revealed in one language. The most appropriate language would be the language of the people of Messenger Muhammad [saw] because the Arabs were the closest people to him. If they understood the Quran fully from him, transmitted, and spread it, the translation would transmit it and help in explaining it to other nations.  
 
  If the Quran was revealed in the languages of all people to whom Messenger Muhammad [saw] was sent, it would lead to dispute and argumentation because every nation might allege that its version had meanings that were not found in the other versions. Furthermore, such a matter may cause distortion and alteration. 
 

[And Allah lets go astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.] 


After sending the messengers and clarifying the path that pleases Allah, people are divided into two parties. A party that goes astray because it is completely heedless, extremely sinning, and stubborn. Another party that follows the path pleases Allah, Exalted be He.   
Indeed, Allah is the All-Mighty and no one can overcome Him. What Allah wants happens and what He does not want does not happen. Moreover, Allah is All-Wise in His deeds and statements. He causes to go astray those who deserve to be misguided and guides to Islam those who deserve to be guided.  

Learned Lessons 


Allah, Exalted be He, revealed the Quran to Messenger Muhammad [saw] to bring people out of darknesses of disbelief into belief in Allah, the Creator by the permission and bounty of Allah.
Disbelief in Allah, ignorance, and misguidance have many ways; whereas, the path pleasing to Allah, Islam, is one path. 
Allah alone owns all that is in the heavens and the earth.
The punishment of the disbelievers will be severe torment in Hell.
The disbelievers deserve severe torment because they favor the worldly life over the Hereafter, turn people away from following Islam, and seek to make deviant the path of Allah to achieve their corrupt aims.
Allah, out of His bounty and mercy, sent His messengers, speaking the languages of their nations to facilitate understanding the message of Allah for their people.
The duty of the messengers of Allah is to convey His message. Allah, out of His knowledge and wisdom guides to the right path those who deserve to be guided and let go astray those who deserve it.

Introduction to Tafsir of Surah Ibrahim