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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Traveling From the Desert to the Oasis

From the desert

O my soul: I want to travel from the desert of disobedience to the oasis of obedience.

The soul: It's okay. But remember, you may be deprived of many enjoyments.
You may be deprived of seeing what you want.
You may be deprived of hearing what you want.
You may be deprived of doing what you want at the time and in the manner you want. 
O my soul: Do you truly advise me? 
Do you want me to enjoy my life?
The soul: Yes, I love you. I want you to enjoy every moment of your life as much as you like.
O my soul: What is the benefit of seeing what I want if it involves what Allah prohibits?
The soul: Do not be so strict, so meticulous. Seeing some beautiful things is not an enormous sin. Just seek forgiveness from Allah after seeing them. Indeed, Allah is forgiving, and merciful. 
O my soul: Will hearing vulgar words calm down my restless spirit? 
The soul: Definitely, they will make you forget your heartbreaking pains. 
O my soul: They may make me forget my heartbreaking pains, but they will make my heart grow hard.
The soul: You are exaggerating. It is just a drop of happiness in the ocean of sadness. 
O my soul: I want to taste what people enjoy, but I am afraid of its negative consequences. 
The soul: You are an idiot. You want to isolate yourself. You want to live in the medieval age just because you are afraid of imagined negative consequences. 
Look how all people live. They enjoy their modern life. They don't suffer from your imagined negative consequences. However, if you are afraid, just enjoy some of what people enjoy, and try to control yourself. 
O my soul: I want to believe you, but…  
The soul: Why you don't want to believe me. I love you and want your happiness. You will just live your life once. So, what's the problem with you?  Do your old-fashioned ideals keep you away from broad-mindedness?
O my soul: Do you think that adhering to the straight path that leads to the pleasure of Allah is an old-fashioned ideal?
The soul: Don't misunderstand me. I do not tell you to disobey Allah. Rather, I strongly advise you to obey Him. You should pray, fast, and do good deeds. But at the same time, I want you to keep pace with this modern age. I do not want you to be seen as someone from the medieval age. You don't live alone in this world, and you cannot impose your old-fashioned ideals on the whole world. You have to choose between interacting with the modern age, and being isolated with your obsolete ideals. 
O my soul: Did Muhammad salla Allah alayyhi wa-sallam preach old-fashioned ideals? Was he only sent to his age?
The soul: You are so stubborn, or I don't understand you. O my friend!
To the oasis

O my soul: I want to walk across the path that leads to safety. It is simple and clear. I need only to follow the principles that Muhammad salla Allah alayyhi wa-sallam preached. Following them guarantees humanity happiness. 
They don't divide the world into two adversary camps; rather, they warrant peace and safety for the whole world. However, they don't accept any compromise that violates them. 
They want their followers to do their best to apply them. 
They want their followers to recognize the rights of mankind, be followers or non-followers of their faith. 
They teach their followers that life is a bridge that  leads to everlasting life, and instruct them not to focus on how long or short the bridge is; rather, to focus on adhering to the rules of safety across the bridge because it will inevitably come to an end.
O my soul: Do you want to accompany me on this journey. I promise to consult you about the smallest details. 

The soul: I think this is a worthwhile experience. Why I don't judge these principles through hand-on experience as long as I have the freedom to continue or stop from going on this journey. 



Sunday, February 9, 2020

Tafsir of Surah al-Isra: Ayah 110-111

Invocation

Invoking Allah by Means of His Beautiful Names



Praise is to Allah, who has the most beautiful names. It is permissible to invoke Allah by means of any of these names. The Messenger said, ‘Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever knows them well will enter Paradise.’ (Say – O Messenger, ‘Invoke Allah, or invoke the Giver of Mercy. By whichever name you invoke Him, to Him belong the most beautiful names.’ And neither make your recitation loud in the prayer, nor too low, and seek a moderate manner of recitation between both.Say – O Messenger, ‘Praise is to Allah, who has neither a child, nor a partner in His kingdom, nor a supporting ally out of humility. And praise Him greatly.)

 [Quran Surah al-Isra: 110-111]



Relationship with the Previous Part


Allah, Exalted is He, confirmed that He revealed the Quran to His Messenger, who invited the disbelievers to worship only one God. They accused him of worshipping more than one god as he used to invoke Allah, and the Giver of mercy. They thought that these names belong to more than one god. Thus, Allah informed that He is One even if He, Exalted is He, has more than one name.


Cause of Revelation


Abdul-Allah bin Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that (And neither make your recitation loud in the prayer, nor too low, and seek a moderate manner of recitation between both.), was revealed to the Messenger in Mecca. He used to recite the Quran loudly when praying secretly with his companions. If it happened that the disbelievers would hear him, they would curse the Quran, the One who revealed it, and the one who conveyed it. Thus, Allah, told His Prophet (And neither make your recitation loud in the prayer…). so as the disbelievers would curse the Quran; (nor too low…), so as your companions could not hear your recitation, and (and seek a moderate manner of recitation between both.). 


Tafsir



(Say – O Messenger, ‘Invoke Allah, or invoke the Giver of Mercy. By whichever name you invoke Him, to Him belong the most beautiful names.’ And neither make your recitation loud in the prayer, nor too low, and seek a moderate manner of recitation between both.)[110]

Prayer


(Say – O Messenger, ‘Invoke Allah, or invoke the Giver of Mercy. By whichever name you invoke Him, to Him belong the most beautiful names.’)


O Messenger! Tell the disbelievers, who objected to invoking Allah by means of His name ‘ar-Rahman – the Giver of mercy,’ that whether you say ‘O Allah! or O ar-Rahman’, both are names of Allah, Exalted is He. He has the most beautiful names. Thus, invoke Him by means of any one of them.

(And neither make your recitation loud in the prayer, nor too low, and seek a moderate manner of recitation between both.)


O Messenger! Neither make your recitation of the Quran loud when praying, so that the disbelievers would curse the Quran, the One, who revealed it, Allah, and the one, who brought it, Muhammad, nor make your recitation of the Quran when praying too low so that your companions could not hear you. Rather, you should recite the Quran with a moderate voice, not too loud nor too low, which is the best manner of recitation. 


(Say – O Messenger, ‘Praise is to Allah, who has neither a child, nor a partner in His kingdom, nor a supporting ally out of humility. And praise Him greatly.)[111]


O Messenger! Say, ‘Perfect praise is due to Allah, Exalted is He.’ 
Allah has no son as He is the richest, and He owns whatever thing in the heavens and the earth.

Allah has no partner in His kingdom, and He owns everything in the universe.

Allah has no supporting ally out of humility; rather, He is the Omnipotent and nothing can overcome Him, Exalted is He.
Allah deserves the greatest praise and glorification.

Qatãda said, ‘I have been informed that the Prophet used to teach this ayah to his family, the old and the young ones, (Say – O Messenger, ‘Praise is to Allah, who has neither a child, nor a partner in His kingdom, nor a supporting ally out of humility. And praise Him greatly.)’ 


Learned Lessons


Allah may be invoked by means of any of His beautiful names, among which are Allah and ar-Rahman ‘the Giver of mercy. 
Recitation of the Quran when praying should be in a moderate voice, neither loud, nor too low.
Allah, Exalted is He has neither a son, nor a partner in His kingdom, nor a supporting ally because of humility that may befall Him, Exalted is He.
Allah deserves perfect praise. 

Tafsir of Surah Al-Isra: Ayah 105-109


Sunday, February 2, 2020

The Physical Characteristics of the Messenger Muhammad



Physical Treats

Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘The Messenger was not very conspicuously tall nor short-statured; not glaringly white-skinned nor dark-brown; and not very curly-haired nor completely straight-haired. Allah, Exalted is He, sent him as a messenger at the age of forty years. He stayed in Mecca for ten years, and in al-Madinah for ten more years. Allah, Exalted is He, caused him to die at the age of sixty years, and at that time, he had only twenty white hairs in his head and beard.’


General Meaning of the Hadith


In the abovementioned Hadith, Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, described the physical appearance of the Messenger Muhammad. He mentioned that the Messenger was not very long nor very short, but tending more towards being tall. He was not glaringly white-skinned nor dark-brown, but had rosy white color skin. His hair was not very curly nor very straight, but in between. He received the divine revelation of prophet-hood when he was forty years old. He stayed ten years in Mecca after receiving the divine revelation. Then he emigrated to al-Madinah, where he stayed for ten more years. Finally, he died when he was sixty years old, at which age, he had only few white hairs in his head and beard as was authentically transmitted. 


Learned Lessons


1. The appearance of the Messenger Muhammad was one of the most beautiful forms, having the most good-looking characteristics that indicate he enjoyed the highest degree of human perfection.
2. In the abovementioned hadith, tallness was qualified, i.e. by stating: not “very conspicuously” tall, but shortness was not. That is because the Messenger tended towards being tall. Besides, shortness of stature is always disliked, whereas tallness is only disliked when it is very conspicuous. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Tafsir of Surah Al-Isra: Ayah 105-109

Prostration when hearing the Quran

The Quran & the Truth


Humanity needs a divine code, guiding them to what brings them happiness and wards off misery in this world and the Hereafter. Therefore, Allah, Exalted is He, revealed the Quran, supporting the truth, and containing the truth. 

(Supporting the truth, it has been revealed, and containing the truth, it has been revealed. And We have not sent you – O Messenger – but as a giver of good news, and as a warner.
And We have revealed the Quran distinctively clear so that you – O Messenger – may recite it to the people deliberately, and We have revealed it in stages.
Say – O Messenger, believe or do not believe in it. Indeed, those who have been given knowledge earlier fall on their faces, prostrating, when it is being recited to them. 
They say, ‘Glory is to our Lord! Indeed, the promise of our Lord has been fulfilled.
And they fall on their faces, weeping, and it increases them submission.)
[Quran Surah al-Isra: 105-109] 

Relationship with the Previous Part


The previous ayat stated that the Quran is inimitable. Then they mentioned that the disbelievers asked for miracles from the Messenger [saw]. If the requests of the disbelievers were met and they disbelieved, they would be destroyed. After that, the ayat return to speak about the greatness and sublimity of the Quran.

Tafsir


(Supporting the truth, it has been revealed, and containing the truth, it has been revealed. And We have not sent you – O Messenger – but as a giver of good news, and as a warner.)[105]


(Supporting the truth…): The Quran is revealed to support, establish, and sanction the truth.

(…and containing the truth…): The Quran contains the truth in every matter, creed, worship, etc. 

Allah, Exalted is He, revealed the Quran containing proofs of His Oneness, what people need, commandments to implement justice, and practice virtue ethics, prohibition of injustice, and vice ethics, law and legislation regulating the life of people and societies, etc. Moreover, Allah revealed the Quran and takes upon Himself to protect it from distortion, alteration, increase, and decrease. 

(And We have not sent you – O Messenger – but as a giver of good news, and as a warner.)


This is praise for the Messenger to whom the Quran was revealed.
O Messenger! We have sent you only as a giver of good news to the good doers and as a warner to the evil doers. We have not sent you to force people to belief. Verily, Allah, Exalted is He, is the only One, who can guide to belief.

(And We have revealed the Quran distinctively clear so that you – O Messenger – may deliberately recite it to the people, and We have revealed it in stages.)[106]


O Messenger! We revealed the Quran to you distinctively clear. It precisely and distinctly states its commands, prohibitions, rules, and law. We revealed it in stages so that you might recite it to people deliberately in order to facilitate its understanding, memorization, and implementation of its rules. 

The companions of the Messenger followed the same method in learning the Quran. It was not only something they recited, it was also a road map for success in the worldly life and the Hereafter. 

Abû Abdur-Rahman as-Sulamy said, ‘Those who used to teach us the Quran told us that they used to learn the Quran from the Prophet. When they learned ten ayat, they would not learn other ayat until they implement their teachings. Thus they learned the Quran and how to implement it at the same time.’ 

(...and We have revealed it in stages.)


The Quran was revealed to the Messenger over a period of twenty-three years in accordance with wisdom of Allah, and events that took place. It was also revealed in such a manner to facilitate its understanding and memorization.  If people were asked to implement the entire rules and teachings of the Quran at once, it would be difficult for them. 

Then Allah, Exalted is He, threatened the disbelievers, showing their insignificance. 

(Say – O Messenger, believe or do not believe in it. Indeed, those who have been given knowledge earlier fall on their faces, prostrating, when it is being recited to them.)[107] 


O Messenger! Tell the disbelievers, who rejected your message, described the Quran as tales of the ancient, and asked for miracles: 
‘Do as you like. Believe or disbelieve in the Quran. Your belief will not increase its sublimity, and your disbelief will not decrease its significance. The scholars among the Jews and Christians, who had knowledge of the former divine Scriptures and could distinguish truth from falsehood, fell on their faces, prostrating when the Quran was being recited to them. They did so to thank Allah because He, Exalted is He, fulfilled His promise by sending His Messenger and revealing the Quran as He promised in His earlier Scriptures.’ 

(…fall on their faces, prostrating, when it is being recited to them.)


It indicates that the belief of those scholars was so strong that the effect of hearing the recitation of the Quran appears immediately on them. They submissively fell on their faces, prostrating as soon as they heard the recitation of the Quran. 

Falling on the faces particularly is mentioned because the face is the first part of the body touches the earth when prostrating, and because it shows humility and submission. 

(They say, ‘Glory is to our Lord! Indeed, the promise of our Lord has been fulfilled.)[108]


When hearing the recitation of the Quran, the scholars among the Jews and Christians say ‘Glory is to Allah, our Lord. Indeed, His promise has been fulfilled.’ 

They glorified Allah, who has fulfilled His promise in the Torah and the Gospel by sending Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah and revealing the Quran, which is a blessing that Allah must be thanked for.

(And they fall on their faces, weeping, and it increases them submission.)[109]


Praising the scholars among the Jews and Christians is repeated in (And they fall on their faces, weeping, and it increases them submission) because the reason for their prostration on earth is different from what is mentioned in ayah [107].

The first prostration was to glorify Allah, Exalted is He, and thank Him as He fulfilled Hid promise by sending the Messenger. And the second prostration was because they were greatly affected by the lessons of the Quran.

(And they fall on their faces, weeping, and it increases them submission.)


The scholars among the Jews and Christians prostrated themselves when hearing the Quran, and wept out of submission to Allah. 
The scholars deduced from ayah [107 &109] that weeping out of fear of Allah indicates true belief, and purity of the soul. 

The Messenger said, ‘Two eyes shall never be touched by the Hellfire. They are an eye that cried out of fear of Allah, and an eye that spends the night guarding the borders for the sake of Allah.’ 

Learned Lessons


Allah, Exalted is He, revealed the Quran, supporting and containing the truth.
The Quran was revealed in stages over a period of twenty-three years to be recited, learnt, understood, implemented, and memorized deliberately. Otherwise, it might be difficult for people to comprehend and implement its teachings.
Allah, Exalted is He, threatened the disbelievers, who disbelieved in the Quran, informing them that the scholars among the Jews and Christians believed in the Quran, and immediately prostrated themselves on the earth to glorify and express their submission to Allah, Exalted is He.
Crying for fear of Allah indicates strong faith, and fear of Allah.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Al-Muqatta’at Letters in the Quran

Al-Muqatta'at in theQuran

Al-Muqatta’at Letters [disconnected letters] are 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.


al-muqatta'at letters in the Quran


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 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 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 speech. However, they cannot bring something like Quran.




Sunday, January 19, 2020

Tafsir of Surah Yusuf: Learned Lessons 1-6


Quran Translation and Tafsir of Surah Yusuf

Quran Translation & Commentary Tafsir of Surah Joseph




Learned Lessons from Ayah 1-6 



The Quran is a clear book. It explains matters people need to know to attain happiness in this life and the hereafter, e.g. the lawful, the unlawful, commandments of Allah, rules related to individuals and society, etc. 


The Quran is a Clear Book



Narrating stories to clarify concepts and ideas is a praiseworthy method.

Arabic is the language of the Quran. It is the most eloquent language, and it is the language of the Arab, the people of Messenger Muhammad [saw]. 

The Quran contains the most truthful and clear stories, and news. It relates stories about the former nations in the most eloquent manner.

The story of Joseph [alayhi as-salam] is the best story. It contains beneficial lessons, as well as it speaks about important matters, such as matters related to the Oneness of Allah, interpretation of dreams, politics, management of government, business, etc. It is a comprehensive story that refers to things related to the worldly life and the hereafter.

The dreams of the prophets of Allah and the righteous people are truthful. Aisha, the wife of Messenger Muhammad [saw], may Allah be pleased with her, said that the prophet-hood of the Messenger [saw] began by seeing truthful dreams. He used not to see a dream but it would come true, just like a clear break of dawn.  Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that the Messenger [saw] said, ‘Nothing of prophet-hood will remain after my death but good news.’ His companions said, ‘What is good news?’ He said, ‘It is a good dream that a person sees (for himself), or a person dreams about someone else.’ 

Prophet Yusuf Dream



A dream shall only be told to a person who can interpret it, or a loving person. 

It is recommended not to speak about the blessings that Allah grants us before those who may envy us.

It is permissible to advise people on harmful things. It is not considered backbiting. Jacob [alayhi as-salam] advised his son, Joseph, not to relate his dream to his brothers lest they would envy him.

Ayah [Quran12: 6] clearly indicated that Jacob [alayhi as-salam] knew how to interpret dreams. He told Joseph that he would achieve a high position.

The interpretation of Joseph’s dream conveyed glad tidings. It denoted that Joseph [alayhi as-salam] would enjoy prophet-hood, and distinguished status, and that Allah would bestow His blessings on him and the family of Jacob. 


Tafsir of Surah al-Kahf: Ayah 17-18



Surah al-Kahf the Protection of Allah

Had you – O observer- been present, you would have seen that when rising, the sun would move away from their cave towards the right side, and when setting, it would leave them toward the left side, while they were lying in the spaciousness thereof. That was a sign of the omnipotence of Allah. Whomever Allah guides is rightly guided, and whomever He leaves astray, never will you find a helping guide for him.17 

You – O observer - would have thought that they were awake, while they were asleep. And We would repeatedly turn them once to the right and to the left. Their dog was stretching its legs at the cave’s yard. If you had seen them, you would have fled the place and been extremely terrified.18

[Quran Surah al-Kahf: 17- 18]


Tafisr



Under the Protection of the Mercy of Allah



Had you – O observer- been present, you would have seen that when rising, the sun would move away from their cave towards the right side, and when setting, it would leave them toward the left side, while they were lying in the spaciousness thereof. That was a sign of the omnipotence of Allah. Whomever Allah guides is rightly guided, and whomever He leaves astray, never will you find a helping guide for him.17 


The Ayaht move on to narrate how the young men stayed in the cave after Allah, Exalted is He, caused them to sleep deeply. 

Regarding the meaning of ayah 17, the scholars of Tafsir of the Quran have two opinions.

The first is that the entrance of the cave was open toward the north. Thus, when the sun rose, it would be to the right side of the cave, and when it set, it would be to the left side of the cave. Therefore, the light of the sun would not enter into the cave, but mild breeze would enter. In other words, Allah kept the young men of the cave away from the light of the sun.

The second opinion is that when the sun rose, Allah would prevent its light from entering the cave, and the same thing when it set, which was a miraculous matter, and a great miracle that Allah bestowed upon those men in the cave. This is the opinion of az-Zajãj. He argued that this was a sign denoting the omnipotence of Allah, Exalted is He. If the true meaning was the first one, then it would be normal rather than a miraculous thing. On the other hand, it would be a great miracle if the true meaning was the second one. Allah also informed that they were lying in the spaciousness of the cave so that a mild breeze would blow on them. 


Whomever Allah guides is rightly guided, and whomever He leaves astray, never will you find a helping guide for him.17 


Whomever Allah guides to the right path, indeed is the rightly guided one, and will have the best in the worldly life and the hereafter. However, whomever Allah leaves astray and does not guide to the right path, indeed, is the misguided one, and he will never find anyone who will help and guide him.
Then Allah described the wondrous state of the young men inside the cave. He, Exalted is He, said,


You – O observer - would have thought that they were awake, while they were asleep. And We would repeatedly turn them once to the right and to the left. Their dog was stretching its legs at the cave’s yard. If you had seen them, you would have fled the place and been extremely terrified.18


(You – O observer - would have thought that they were awake, while they were asleep. And We would repeatedly turn them once to the right and to the left.)

If someone observed them, he would think that they were awake because their eyes were open and they were being turned toward the right and the left, which indicates that were turning a lot.  They were being turned to the right and the left to protect their bodies from disintegration due to their long sleep. 
Then Allah states how their dog was.


Impact of Righteous Companionship


(Their dog was stretching its legs at the cave’s yard. If you had seen them, you would have fled the place and been extremely terrified.18)

Their dog was stretching its legs at the cave’s yard as if he were guarding them. If someone saw them in this state, he would be extremely terrified.

The scholars deduced from this ayah some lessons, among which is the following:

The dog lay at the cave’s yard, which was a natural habit of dogs, as if he were guarding them. The blessing of those righteous young men included their dog as it slept as they did, which was an advantage of accompanying the righteous. Thus, this dog attainted a good status.
If a dog acquired such a high rank by accompanying the righteous that it was mentioned in the book of Allah, then what the case will be if a human being accompanies the righteous.

Anas bin Malik said:

‘As the Messenger [saw] and I were getting out of the mosque, we met a man at the dooryard. The man asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! When the Day of Resurrection will occur?’ The Messenger [saw] said, ‘What have you prepared for it?’ The man – as if he submitted –replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I have not prepared so much praying, fasting, nor charity for it. However, I love Allah and His Messenger.’ The Messenger [saw] said, ‘You will be with those whom you loved.’ In another narration, Anas Malik said,
‘We were not so happy with something after embracing Islam like being happy with the statement of the Messenger [saw], ‘You will be with those whom you loved.’ Anas said, ‘I love Allah, His Messenger, Abu Bakr, and Umar. I hope to be with them in the hereafter even if my deeds are not as perfect as those of them.’ 


Tafsir of Surah al-Kahf: Ayah 13-16