Scientific Miracles in the Quran

Scientific Miracles of Quran

Hafsa Ahsan offers a selection of scientific evidences found in the Quran, which prove that science and religion can go hand-in-hand.

There has always been an ongoing debate between science and religion. The characteristic of science to prove objectively with hard core evidence seems to clash with the basis of religion, i.e., faith. However, the Quran is filled with the minutest scientific details which increase the faith of those aware of the latest research. Following are some of the scientific miracles in the Quran.

The orbits in motion

“And He it is Who has created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating.” (Al-Anbiya 21:33)

At the time, when there were no advanced technologies of telescopes, the Quran revealed the existence of orbits. Today, we know orbits as fixed paths, along which all the planets and satellites travel. Even the Sun travels in an orbit called the Solar Apex. Another verse in the Quran can be translated as: “By the heaven full of paths.” (Adh-Dhariyat, 51:7)

Mountains as pegs

“And We have placed on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with them…” (Al-Anbiya 21:31)

Another verse (Al-Naba 78:7) mentions ‘the mountains as pegs’. Combined with the above verse, this gives us a good idea regarding the function of mountains as pegs. The peg of a tent is used to fix it firmly on the ground. A major portion of the peg is under the ground, while a small part protrudes out. Similarly, mountains also extend under the ground ten to fifteen times their height. These underground parts of mountains are called mountain roots and play a critical role in stabilizing the Earth. If not for them, the plates floating on molten magma in the outer layer of Earth would have been moving rapidly, as the Earth revolves on its orbit. Hence, no life would have been possible on Earth, as no soil could be cultivated, seeds germinated or houses constructed. Mountains, hence, hold the Earth firmly, so that it remains steady.

The two seas, which do not mix

“He has let loose the two seas (the salt and fresh water) meeting together. Between them is a barrier, which none of them can transgress.” (Ar-Rahman 55:19-20)

Modern science has proven that two seas can meet without mixing. An example is that of the Mediterranean Sea with its warm and saline water and the Atlantic Ocean with its fresh and cool water. Where the Mediterranean Sea enters the Atlantic Ocean, it moves into the latter at a depth of a thousand metres. Even with large waves, strong currents, and tides in both, there is an unseen barrier between the two, which they do not cross. Science has attributed this to a phenomenon known as surface tension, whereby waters of different densities repel each other and do not mingle.

Embryology

“He creates you in the wombs of your mothers: creation after creation in three veils of darkness.” (Az-Zumar 39:6)

It is now known that the above verse refers to the three stages of creation in the development of the embryo in the mother’s womb. The first is the pre-embryonic stage, where the fertilized egg divides into two, and then into four cells and so on. The cells continue to divide, till they form a hollow ball of cells, which is called an embryo. This pre-embryonic stage lasts for two and a half weeks. The embryonic stage, which follows, lasts for five and a half weeks. In this stage, the basic organs and tissues of the embryo begin to develop. The final is the fetal stage, when all the organs have been developed; the embryo is then called a fetus.

The phrase ‘threefold darkness’ is an indication of the three layers around the embryo/fetus: the abdominal wall of the mother, the wall of the uterus and the amnio-chorionic membrane. The latter membrane contains the amniotic fluid, which, among other things, protects the embryo from mechanical injury and allows it to move freely during growth.

Mother’s milk

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” (Luqman 31:14)

Today, it has been proven that mother’s milk contains a balanced proportion of nutrients and is free from harmful bacteria. Plus, it contains those elements, which help to prevent diseases in a newborn. It is more easily digestible and the baby is less likely to develop milk allergies. Breastfeeding also helps in the emotional development of a baby by inculcating a sense of closeness to the mother. Also, it is custom-made for the baby.

Everything in pairs

“And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).” (Ad-Dhariyat 51:49)

Every single thing has been created along with its pair. Flowers have their male and female forms in the stamen and ovules, respectively. Plants have a male and female gender, and even the atoms, which conduct electricity, have their pairs – electrons with a negative charge and protons with a positive charge.

The above are only some of the many millions of miracles that we can find in the Quran. Scientific phenomena in the Quran, a book of signs and guidance, have gone a long way in causing many enlightened intellectuals to enter the folds of Islam. The presence of such accurate scientific facts in a book revealed at a time when science was not advanced is proof that the Quran is the word of Allah (swt).

Our Obligations to the Quran

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Our Obligations to the QuranBy Dr. Israr Ahmad

The pathetic and disastrous condition of the Muslim Ummah throughout the world is due to its abandoning of the Holy Quran. The constant attitude of indifference, along with our hypocritical lip-service, is tantamount to ridiculing the last of Allah’s (swt) revelations. Instead, we must clearly understand our responsibilities towards the Holy Quran and try our very best to fulfill them. We can neither expect any improvement in our worldly state of affairs, nor hope for salvation in the Hereafter, unless we carry out all the obligations that we owe to the Quran.

The five demands that the Quran makes on every Muslim are as follows:

  1. A Muslim is required to believe in the Quran.
  2. He is required to read it.
  3. He is required to understand it.
  4. He is required to act upon its teachings.
  5. He is required to convey its teachings to others.

Our First Obligation

The first obligation is to have faith (Iman) in the Divine origin of the Quran. Iman has two phases: verbal profession (Iqrar Bil-Lisan), and heart-felt conviction (Tasdeeq Bil-Qalb). To have faith in the Quran means that we should verbally profess that the Quran is the Word of Almighty Allah (swt) that was revealed by Him through His angel Jibrael (as) to the last of His messengers, Prophet Muhammad (sa). This is a legal requirement for the acceptance of a person as a member of the Muslim society.

Having done that, however, we also need to develop a deeply felt certitude in the Quran. It is only when we have real conviction in this verbal declaration, that our hearts and minds would come under its spell, leading us towards genuine devotion and veneration of the Holy Book. Unfortunately, there is a woeful lack of staunch faith in the Divine origin of the Quran among the Muslims of today. This lack of faith is the reason why we neither find any reverence for the Quran in our hearts, nor feel inclined to study it, nor evince any interest in pondering over its meanings, nor ever think of seeking its guidance in conducting our lives.

It might be asked as to how we can acquire true faith. The answer is that the source of Iman is the Holy Quran itself. If the Book is studied and its meanings are pondered upon in an authentic quest for truth, all the veils of darkness shall be lifted from our heart, and the inner self – the soul – will get illuminated by the light of true faith. Note that faith is not something that can be planted in us from the outside. It is an embodiment of fundamental truths that already exist inside us; the practice of pondering over the Ayahs of the Quran serves to bring them to the surface of our consciousness.

Our Second Obligation

The second obligation is slow and thoughtful reading of the Holy Quran with correct pronunciation, generally described as Tilawat, Tarteel, and Tajweed.Note that Tilawat is not only an important form of worship, but it is also an effective method of continually refreshing our faith. The Quran is not a book to be read once; it is a book that needs to be read again and again. We must read it carefully, reflecting on its messages, constantly seeking guidance for our lives. Just as our material body is in constant need of food for its sustenance, our spiritual soul or Rooh is also in perpetual need for its nourishment. And just as the food for our bodies is derived from the earth, the diet for our souls is obtained from the Word of God, the Holy Quran itself.

Moreover, a regular and constant programme of reciting the Holy Quran is also needed because it is a means of refreshing and reviving our faith, and a weapon for surmounting the obstacles in the path of Almighty Allah (swt). The ideal way in which the Holy Book should be recited is that one should stand in the post-midnight prayer before his Lord (swt) and recite its Ayahs in a slow and patient manner, pausing at proper places so as to enable one´s heart to imbibe its influence.

Our Third Obligation

The third obligationis to understand and comprehend the Holy Quran. The Quran has been revealed so that it may be understood and pondered upon. Of course, there are numerous levels and grades of comprehension, accessible to different persons according to their respective planes of intellect and consciousness.

The first stage in the comprehension of the Holy Quran is called Tazakkur, a term which alludes to the fact that the teachings of the Quran are not at all foreign or alien to the human Fitrah. Instead, they represent the eternal truths dormant in the human soul itself, and the reading or listening of the Holy Quran only facilitates the recalling of these forgotten verities. The Holy Quran has been rendered very easy by Almighty Allah (swt) for the purpose of gaining this level of guidance. It does not matter if a person´s intelligence is limited, or his knowledge of logic and philosophy is poor, or if he has no fine sense of language and literature. In spite of these drawbacks, he can still understand the basic message and practical guidance of the Holy Quran, provided he has an untainted nature not perverted by any crookedness.

The knowledge of Arabic language is, however, indispensable for this purpose. Muslims, who are not only educated but who have obtained advanced degrees in arts and sciences, would have no excuse before Almighty Allah (swt) on the Day of Judgement, if they failed to learn so much Arabic as would have enabled them to understand His Book. Learning basic Arabic is a duty that every educated Muslim owes to the Holy Quran.

The second stage in the comprehension of the Holy Quran is far from easy. Tadabbur is described as a penetrating study, an intense reflection, as thorough deliberation of the Holy Quran as possible. It involves diving deep into the bottomless ocean of its wisdom. This kind of understanding is impossible, unless one is to devote his entire life, all his talents, and all his energies for the sole purpose of comprehending the Quran. Obviously, not everyone is capable of such a high level of devotion and effort to acquire such insight and comprehension. But there must be a number of persons, at all times, who are engaged in this enterprise.

Such scholars cannot be produced unless we have a network of universities throughout the Muslim world, which concentrate on Quranic research by making it the focus of all their intellectual activity. Such scholars would need to have a thorough knowledge of the Arabic language and its grammar and a refined literary taste to appreciate the beauty and force of its expression. They must acquire a good grounding in the language in which the Quran was revealed by a critical study of the works of the pre-Islamic poets and orators. They must be able to appreciate the terms and modes of expression evolved by the Quran itself, along with an understanding of the coherence in the Quran. A good knowledge of tradition and old scriptures is also necessary for the comprehension of the Quran. Along with this classical knowledge, the scholars must also have an understanding of the fundamentals of modern physical and social sciences. This would widen their intellectual horizon and enable them to present the eternal Quranic truths in the contemporary idiom.

Our Fourth Obligation

The fourth obligationis to act upon the teachings of the Holy Quran. The Quran is the ‘guidance for mankind’. The purpose for which this Book has been revealed will be fully realized only when people act upon its teachings and make it the guide for them in every sphere of their lives. If we disregard the injunctions of the Quran, then the reading and understanding of the Holy Book, instead of doing us any good, will only make us guiltier before Almighty Allah (swt).

At an individual level, it is imperative for every Muslim to mould his or her life according to the teachings of the Quran. The best way to benefit from the study of the Holy Quran is to go on changing our lifestyles and mending our ways in accordance with its teachings.

At the collective level of the community, it is equally imperative for us to try and establish the system of social justice as given by the Holy Quran. The Muslims are, as a whole, responsible for establishing the Sovereignty of Almighty Allah (swt) in the public as well as the private sphere, and each of us is obligated to try his utmost in this path. The struggle for the establishment of such a just and equitable order in accordance with the teachings of the Quran is the bounding duty of its followers.

Our Fifth Obligation

The fifth obligation is to propagate the message of the Holy Quran to every nook and corner of the world. This was originally the responsibility of Prophet Muhammad (sa), who fulfilled his own obligation by conveying the Divine message to the Ummah; since Prophethood has been concluded with the advent of Prophet Muhammad (sa), who is the last of the Divine Messengers, it is now the duty of the Muslims to deliver that message to all humanity. Unfortunately, the proclamation of the Divine message to the whole world appears like a far-fetched and fantastic idea, because, at the moment, the Muslims themselves are ignorant of the teachings of the Holy Quran.

Therefore, a powerful intellectual and academic movement – back to the Quranis needed in order to propagate and disseminate the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Quran, both on a general scale for the benefit of our masses and on the highest level of scholarship in order to convert the educated and intelligent elite of the Muslim society.

Inviting Our Youth to the Quran

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Inviting Our Youth

Alhumdulillah, most people today know at least one person who is attending a Quran course. Yet, the Quran is not just for aunties, grandmothers or older people. Our Guide Book is as much for the young as it is for the old; it was as relevant 1400 years ago as it is today. It is as much for women as it is for men.

Oddly, studying the Quran is considered the domain of the older generations now. Therefore, we need to use some creative ways to attract and retain the youth, and connect them with the Quran.

Make it fun

Without compromising the respect of the Quran, keep the atmosphere light when you are addressing the youth. In order to attract today’s generation, choose topics and the style of delivery which they can relate to.

Choose your topics carefully

Select a Surah from the Quran that hits home with the youth. If you just talk on a topic, they might feel this is your opinion. I chose Surah Kahf for my first youth circle, as it talks about the youth that withdrew to a cave when they saw their society falling into disbelief. Even today the youth can withdraw and form their own group, if they see their friends falling prey to the dangers of smoking, dating, etc. Stories are always interesting for young people, so choose them accordingly.

Do not make it a one-way street

Ask questions while explaining the Surah, instead of having a test at the end. Divide the group into teams and have them compete in Quranic knowledge. You can hand out play (e.g., Monopoly) money whenever anyone answers a question correctly, and award a prize for the person with the most ‘money’ at the end.

Involve them even more by asking them to choose a Surah to learn. Does the story of Prophet Yusuf (as) intrigue them, or would they like to hear about the Battle of Uhud?

Do not say the ‘h’ word

They get enough homework from school – do not put them off by assigning pages and pages of questions. However, you do want them to remember what you learned together. Ask them to read a short Dua a few times a day and they will automatically learn it. Do not photocopy the Dua and give it to them. Have them open the Quran, find the Ayah and read it. Who knows, they might want to read a little more.

Include trivia

Insert some general knowledge and trivia to make the session even more interesting. If you talk about the alternation between day and night, you can, perhaps, show some slides from a science unit, making them appreciate the balance and beauty of Allah’s (swt) creations. There are lots of games and flash cards with Islamic knowledge available today, so make the best use of them.

These are just some ideas you can use for making the studies of the Quran interesting and exciting for our youth. Implement these ideas or use your creative imagination to come up with even better ones of your own!

A Reminder for Ahl Al-Quran

Vol 6 - Issue 4 A reminder for Ahl Al Quran

I get amused to read the occasional newspaper article, describing the chagrin felt by well-established members of society at how educated Pakistani women are increasingly adopting the Islamic dress code. Whether by spotting a university bus full of black-Abaya-clad students or attending a hotel conference dominated by a significant proportion of women in Hijab, some people are definitely not too happy about witnessing this growing phenomenon of women covering up.

The reason behind this heartening or disconcerting – whichever way you see it – trend is, undoubtedly, the upsurge of regular Quran classes among the country’s educated women’s circles. Gone are the days when the Quran was opened only on deaths of relatives or to be recited without comprehension on other occasions for the sole purpose of gaining blessings. Now, commendable efforts are being made to understand its meanings and ponder over its deeper message.

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” (Bukhari)

As a result, any random ‘aunty’ you’d meet at a wedding, grocery store or tailor’s shop will tell you that she attends such-and-such Quran class. Most of these classes, usually comprising Tajweed, translation, and Tafsir, are held in people’s homes.

Although studying the Quran is highly praiseworthy, the fact remains that the basic purpose behind gaining its knowledge is to act upon it; to mould oneself according to its commands; to change ourselves to how Allah (swt) wants us to be. The Quran should, in short, have a visibly profound effect on a person’s character, conduct, demeanor and overall dealings with people. This usually takes some time – perhaps by going through the Quran in-depth a few times – but, nevertheless, the Quran should have its intended effect eventually, one that is openly visible.

It should be a cause for concern if a person has been teaching the Quran for several years, for example, but finds it difficult to act upon it or to submit to its commands at the level of Ihsan (superlative degree). Teaching the Book of Allah (swt) – whether conducting a Tajweed class, translation review or Tafsir – is the best ‘professional occupation’ in the world, so to speak. It comes with the added responsibility of embodying epitomic Muslim behaviour and upright Islamic character. Of course, no one other than Allah (swt) can grant a person this level of action.

The Companions of the Prophet (sa) would not learn a new Ayah, until they had incorporated the one they had studied completely into their actions. As for us, we might claim that we are full-time ‘workers of Allah (swt)’ or Daees dedicated to serving the Quran, but how much have our actions and character changed according to it?

Ask yourself some key questions

  • Why is it that my prayers are different before people than when I am alone?
  • Why do I need to be woken up by someone else for Fajr?
  • Would I confidently recite the Quran to a Qari/Shaikh, or would it cause me shame as I still make too many mistakes?
  • Why do I wear an Abaya to my Quran class, but not to a wedding, market or a family picnic?
  • Why do I cover my face from one man at the Quran class venue, but leave it unveiled in public places when I am out with my family?
  • Do I still acquire clothes, jewellery and interior decorations with the same frequency and zeal as before studying the Quran?
  • Why do I still call up my friend/sister/mother/cousin to gossip when I’m bored?
  • How do I react when someone points out my weaknesses?
  • What thoughts occupy my mind when I am alone?

Muslims involved in Quran education, Sunnah propagation and Dawah have a greater responsibility to act upon what they are preaching and to cleanse their hearts from diseases of the self (Nafs) and desires of this world. So renew your intention today, and ask Allah (swt) to help you submit to every command of the Quran at the degree of Ihsan.

What’s in a Word?

Vol 6 - Issue 4 What's in a Word

Allah (swt) says: “This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun [the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden)]…” (Al-Baqarah, 2:2)

Therefore, it is only logical to assume that we MUST read the Quran with understanding. By merely reading the Arabic text, we do get reward; however, we miss out on the real reason why the Quran is central to Islam. Most people have a ‘logical’ excuse for not reading the Quran using a translation – they claim that a translation is merely someone’s (namely the translator’s) point of view and, therefore, not what Allah (swt) wants us to truly comprehend. Agreed! That is why the first preference of any Muslim should be to learn at least that much Arabic, so that they can directly understand what Allah (swt) is asking of us. There is absolutely no justification for reading a translation, when we can directly read and grasp the true essence of what is being related to us. No matter how precise or accurate a translation is, it can never be compared with the original. If our excuse is time, then we should consider: “If we can spend more than thirteen years accruing education, so that we have social acceptability and status in this world, why not spend a couple of months trying to gain acceptability in the Hereafter?”

Having made that point, not everyone has an aptitude for languages or the opportunity to learn Arabic; hence, the next best option is reading a translation in the language one understands. The complete Quran has been translated into approximately fifty languages, and selected verses – into 114 languages. With such a mountain of available choices, it is hard to choose a translation that suits one’s needs, especially if one is reading a translation for the first time.

Below is a guide to help you navigate through the multitude of the available English translations. Some are freeware and are easily downloadable from the Internet at imanstar.com or other sites. All you have to do is to type in your search engine ‘Quran translation downloadable’ and you will get a limitless list. A note of caution: the following is a list of translations and not summaries (Tafseer) of the Quran. Summaries are different kinds of explanations altogether. The translations in this list will give you a basic and literal translation of the verses, including short explanatory notes, historical significance and geographical locations on subjects that might be a source of confusion or disorientation to a novice reader.

Translator Name of translation Comments
Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall “The Meaning of the Glorious Quran” (London, 1930). It keeps close to the original in archaic English. It is one of the most widely used English translations.
Abdullah Yusuf Ali “The Holy Quran: Translation and Commentary” (Lahore, 1934 37) Excellent English translation, though since he was not a scholar in the traditional sense, some of his excellent notes and commentary are more spiritual. A revised version, published by King Fahad press, is available. His is more a paraphrase than a literal translation, and his command over the English language reads beautifully in the translation.
Abdul Majid Daryabadi “The Holy Quran: with English Translation and Commentary” (Lahore, 1941-57) It contains the traditional Muslim viewpoint and is a faithful rendering, supplemented with useful notes on historical and geographical issues, particularly the illuminating discussions on comparative religion. These notes help to dispel the doubts in the minds of readers.
Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi “The Meaning of the Quran”(Lahore, 1967) A translation by Muhammad Akbar of the fabulous original in Urdu, “Tafhim Al-Quran.”
Muhammad Asad “The Message of the Quran”(Gibraltar, 1980) This highly readable translation contains useful background information about the Quranic Surahs and even provides exhaustive notes on various Quranic themes.
T.B. Irving “The Quran: The First American Version”(Vermont, 1985) The work has almost no explanatory notes. Using his own arbitrary judgment, Irving has assigned themes to each Quranic Ruku (Juz).
Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan “The Noble Quran”(Chicago, 1977) Explanatory English translation of the Holy Quran: A summarized version of Ibn Kathir, supplemented by At-Tabari with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari. Hiba Magazine also consults “The Noble Quran” for the translation of various Ayahs referred to throughout the publication.

May Allah (swt) inspire everyone to read the Quran with understanding and help to implement it in their daily lives. Ameen.

Everybody loves to…

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Everybody loves to..

“Everybody is doing it!” stated Sara in the midst of a heated argument with her mother.

“Does that grant you the license to go ahead and do it too? If tomorrow crime becomes an accepted norm, because it is cool and enjoyable, or people start walking around naked, because science proves that it is healthy, will you jump on the bandwagon, too?”

Sara pouted her lips in disgust and retreated to her room, banging the door behind her. Who could ever win over her mom’s logic and sense of reason?

However, this question perturbs many of us who are battling to stay sincere to their Deen yet succumb to countless temptations inviting us with open arms. We regularly witness a majority of people (Muslims and non-Muslims) who are either heedless, defiant or absolutely ignorant to the purpose of this life. This obviously leads them to accepting and practicing impermissible stuff since ‘everybody is doing it’!

Another amusing angle to this is that most of us wish to stand out in a crowd, don’t we? But only to the extent of pursuing our desires. We want to own the most exclusive car, the latest electronic gadget, wear the trendiest of attires and so on. Here, we want to be among the minority, among the selected few and choicest ones.

When we are given an opportunity to stand out in the crowd, being the only ones observing Salah in the Masjid, donning the Hijab, sporting a beard or trying to observe our Deen more consciously, we do not want to belong to this circle of minority and present a very valid excuse: “It’s just not possible to swim against the tide. Majority of people are not into it these days, you see?” Hmmm… a convenient stance, don’t you think?

Well, Allah (swt), fully comprehending the nature of its best creation, has also clearly stated that His ultimate reward in the form of Jannah is also only for the minority, the exclusive ones who dare to follow their Deen, regardless of ongoing trends, fashions, and pressures of the society.

Majority hates the truth

“Indeed We have brought the truth (Muhammad (sa) with the Quran) to you, but most of you have a hatred for the truth.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:78)

Why is it so? Maybe because falsehood is more colourful, doesn’t require personal sacrifice, demands submission to our desires, doesn’t reflect upon right or wrong, is selfish and self-centered and frees us from all responsibilities and accountabilities.

If I didn’t know any better, that sounds like the life of an animal.

Majority shuns guidance

“Giving glad tidings [of Paradise to the one who believes in the Oneness of Allah and fears Allah much and loves Allah much] and warning (of punishment in the Hell Fire to the one who disbelieves in the Oneness of Allah), but most of them turn away, so they listen not.” (Fussilat 41:4)

As Muslims, we are living in a bubble of complacency. We assume that uttering the Shahadah/Kalima is sufficient for us to attest to the Oneness of Allah (swt). From here onwards, we can act and think as we please. And all those horrendous punishments mentioned in the Quran are meant for the idol worshippers.

If we are really submitting to our own desires, we are clearly worshipping ourselves and not Allah (swt).

Majority disbelieves

“Verily, the Hour (Day of Judgement) is surely coming, there is no doubt about it, yet most men believe not.” (Ghaffir 40:59)

Denial of the Day of Recompense is one thing, but forgetting it altogether is another. For Muslims the problem is not so much about atheism. It is more about heedlessness and a casual attitude towards the concept of accountability. Some may think it is far away, while others may suspect whether it is ever likely to occur. It is best forgotten or just meant to be read about in our Islamic studies class to pass the course.

Majority is ungrateful

“Allah, it is He Who has made the night for you that you may rest therein and the day for you to see. Truly, Allah is full of bounty to mankind; yet, most of mankind give no thanks.” (Ghaffir 40:61)

Being thankless and almost always wanting more has become very common now. As soon as we are granted one blessing, we instantly start craving for the next one, not even allowing ourselves to enjoy that one blessing, let alone be grateful for it. Some pseudo-intellectuals justify this attitude of constant needs as that of being ambitious. But, honestly speaking, ungratefulness brings misery and kills such virtues as gratitude, humility, contentment and an overall happy approach to life. As Allah (swt) has highlighted it, the majority of people are stricken by ungratefulness.

Majority is ignorant

“We created them not except with truth (i.e. to examine and test those who are obedient and those who are disobedient and then reward the obedient and punish the disobedient ones), but most of them know not.” (Ad-Dukhan 44:39)

If we are not clear about the purpose of our creation, there will be a direct and disastrous impact on our life. Why would we want to crush our desires, if there is no reward awaiting us? We would rather break all the rules, have the time of our life and indulge in every possible vice!

Disobedience of a majority of people is pre-destined. It is not a surprise for Allah (swt), as He has already mentioned this fact repeatedly in the Quran. For this very reason we cannot accept that the concept of majority is authority, as democracy demands. Caricatures in the Danish newspapers, legalization of suicides for terminally ill patients in certain countries, gay marriages, etc. are only some of the examples of how wayward the society is becoming under the shade of “majority is authority.”

So, next time Shaitan tries to drill this idea into your mind that the majority of the people are not obeying the rules, or most of the people are breaking the laws and overstepping their boundaries, remember where they are heading – definitely and sadly not to Jannah, where you will be able to do as your heart desires. This is a promise by Allah (swt) for His choicest slaves, not for everybody!

Companions’ Love for the Quran

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Companinons' love

If someone would ask you what the Prophet (sa) has left for you, will it take you a while to respond? When Abu Hurairah (rta) told a group of people that the Prophet’s (sa) inheritance was being distributed in the mosque, the people returned lost, unable to find anything. What they missed out on was exactly what we would have missed out on easily. So, what was the Prophet’s (sa) inheritance? In the mosque, they found people performing Salah, others reading the Quran and discussing what was Halal and what was Haram. Abu Hurairah (rta) told them: “Woe unto you! That is the inheritance of Muhammad (sa).” (Tabarani)

Modern life moves at the speed of a bullet train, or perhaps even faster. In this rapid rut of life, we hardly find time to connect with Allah (swt). Unfortunately, Salah for most of us just becomes a combination of mechanical actions that we repeat day in and day out. The spirit in our worship lies in understanding the Holy Quran, which cannot come without the love of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) describes the believers in the Quran: “… But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else).” (Al Baqarah 2:165)

Such love is evident in the tremendous effort that the Companions put in reading and understanding the Holy Quran. Some used to finish the entire Quran in two months, some in one month, some even in ten days or less. Once, when Ibn Umar (rta) was asked by the Prophet (sa) to read the Quran in one month, he insisted on doing it in less than that, so he was then advised to read it in seven days and no less (Bukhari). A group of such Companions as Usman, Zaid Ibn Thabit, Ibn Masood and Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta) used to complete the reading of the entire Quran every Friday. (Ghazali)

The Companions were a true example of the verse of the Holy Quran, “Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides…” (Al-Imran 3:191). They used to read the Quran during all hours of the day and night, whether they stayed in one place or were travelling. (Al-Nawawi)

They read the Quran in a slow and distinct manner (Tartil), as taught by the Prophet (sa). Abdullah Ibn Abbas (rta) said: “That I read Surah of the Cow (Al-Baqarah) and the Surah of the House of Imran (Al-Imran) in a slow and distinct manner, while pondering over them, is better for me than to read the entire Quran babbling.” He also said: “That I read, [the surah beginning with] ‘when the earth is shaken’ (Surah Al-Zilzal) and Surah Al-Qariah, reflecting over them, is better for me than to read Surah Al-Baqarah and Surah Al-Imran babbling.” (Ghazali)

Weeping whilst reading the Quran was also a way of the Companions. The Messenger of Allah (sa) commanded: “Recite the Quran and weep. If you do not weep naturally, then force yourself to weep.” (Ibn Majah) True to this tradition, Abdullah Ibn Abbas (rta) tells us: “When you read [the Quranic verse of] prostration, in which occurs the word, Subhana, do not hasten to prostrate until you weep. If the eyes of anyone of you do not weep, his mind should weep [i.e. be filled with grief and fear of God].”

Some Companions liked to read the Quran silently and others liked to read it aloud. The Prophet (sa) directed them even in this matter in accordance with the Quranic verse: “… And offer your Salat (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between.” (Al-Isra 17:110) Abu Qatadah narrates that the Prophet (sa) told Abu Bakr (rta): “When I passed by you, you were reciting the Quran in a low pitch [in the night prayer].” He replied: “I recite it to Him, Who hears [even my] whispers.” The Prophet (sa) continued: “Raise your pitch a little.” Then he told Umar (rta): “When I passed by you, you were reciting the Quran in a very loud pitch.” He replied: “I awake those who sleep, and make Satan run away.” The Prophet (sa) said: “Lower your pitch a little.” (Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi)

The Companions also read the Quran beautifully, thereby following the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa), who said: “Adorn the Quran with your voices.” (Abu Dawood) Reading beautifully meant reading in a slow and distinct manner, by controlling the voice though not with that excessive stretch which changes the prose order (Nazm). (Ghazali) One night the Prophet (sa) listened to the Quranic recitation of Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta), and with the Prophet (sa) were Abu Bakr and Umar (rta). They stood still for a long time [listening]. Then the Prophet (sa) said: “One who wants to read the Quran as fresh as it was revealed should read it following the reading of Ibn Umm Abd.” (Ibn Majah)

Merely reading the Quran was not enough. An important part of recitation was to understand the Quran. The Companions warned the people not to overlook understanding the words of Allah (swt). Anas Ibn Malik (rta) once said: “Often one recites the Quran, but the Quran curses him, because he does not understand it.” The sign of faith, according to Abdullah Ibn Umar (rta), was to understand the Quran. In this regard he said: “We have lived long … a time has come when I see a man who is given the whole Quran before he has acquired faith; he reads all the pages between Al-Fatihah and its end, without knowing its commands, its threats and the places in it where he should pause – he scatters it like the scattering of one fleeing in haste.” Ali (rta) said: “There is no good in the Quran reading which is not pondered over.”

A man once came to learn the Quran from the Prophet (sa), who taught him Surah Az-Zalzalah (99). When he reached the words “So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it; And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it,” the man said: “This is sufficient for me,” and left. The Prophet (sa) observed: “This man has returned as a Faqih (one who has acquired understanding).” (Abu Dawood)

There were also Companions like Usman Ibn Affan (rta) and Abdullah IbnMasood (rta), who, once they had learnt ten verses from theProphet (sa), did not go anyfurther, unless they had understood and put into practice whatever they had been taught. That is how they sometimes spent years in learning onlyone Surah. (Suyuti)

It was the strength of the bond with the Quran that kept the Companions steadfast in their faith, even when the Prophet (sa) was not amongst them. Due to the fine understanding and frequent reading of the Quran, they were able to control their excessive grief at the Prophet (sa)’s death by remembering the Quranic verse: “Muhammad (sa) is no more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)?” (Al-Imran 3:144) May Allah (swt) fill our hearts with love for the Quran. Ameen.

Ebb and Flow

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Ebb and FlowNaureen Aqueel discusses the highs and lows of Iman (faith).

I am often left in great awe about the experiences my heart goes through. At times, I’m overjoyed, while at others – perplexed. The feeling is inexplicable, but every Muslim experiences it. It’s the highs and lows of Iman (faith), as we tread through this journey of life. Sometimes the waves rise and wash away the dirt, driving us to greater and greater heights of good deeds. At other times of spiritual deprivation, the same waves lower, leaving us wondering how they had ever been so high.

This bumpy journey of faith is fascinating but at the same time puzzling. During the periods of low, it is spiritually distressing. And that becomes the best time for Shaitan to attack. Therefore, it becomes extremely important for us to understand these variations in the level of our Iman and the reasons causing them, so that we can be well-prepared to intercept Iman in its downward journey and bounce it back up, Insha’Allah.

It is natural for our Iman to go through these ups and downs. The Prophet (sa) informed us of this condition, when he said: “Faith wears out in the heart of anyone of you, just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (Hakim) Allah (swt) also mentions this condition: “…And when His Verses (this Quran) are recited to them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith…” (Al-Anfal 8:2)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) is reported to have said: “There is no heart that does not have clouds like the clouds that cover the moon. When the cloud covers it, it’s dark, and when the cloud moves away, it shines.” (Tabarani)

It is comfortably reassuring that the Companions of the Prophet (sa) went through the same fluctuations in their level of Iman. The Companions used to feel their Iman increase when they would sit in gatherings of righteousness, and when they were away from such gatherings, they felt their Iman was not so high. Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta) used to say: “Sit with us, so that we may increase in Iman.” (Ahmad)

We find similar reports about other Companions. An increase in their Iman was what they always sought. The fact that the Companions went through the same fluctuations in the level of faith is reassuring, only because it prevents us from falling into despair and gives us hope of reaching high ranks despite this natural human shortcoming. However, this should not make us passive and prevent us from striving to increase our Iman, for Iman often lowers due to sins and laziness.

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “When the believer commits a sin, a black dot will be engraved on his heart. If he repents, refrains and regrets, his heart will be polished again. If he commits more errors, the dots will increase, until they cover his heart. This is the Ran (stain) that Allah described: ‘Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn’ (Al-Mutaffifin 83:14).” (At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai and Ibn Majah)

We often feel this rust on our hearts, when we fail to get the same concentration and spiritual replenishment through our Salah that we got previously. The same Quran that moved our hearts no longer brings those tears. We no longer feel the same excitement at learning a new Hadeeth, nor do we run to adopt a new Sunnah. We slack in carrying out voluntary acts of worship, and while we do perform the obligatory acts of worship, we find that vigour and spirituality painfully missing in us. Sounds familiar? Well, most of us experience one or more of these symptoms during different phases of our life.

The reasons for the falling of Iman are all basically centered around disobedience, laziness, heedlessness and being too involved in the Dunya (world). We often find ourselves so caught up in our worldly activities that we are unable to take out quality time for our Salah, gatherings of Zikr, the Quran and voluntary acts of worship. Our Salah becomes shorter, our daily Quran recitation and study become lesser, we do not have the time to attend Quran study circles, and slowly and gradually we get cut off from all that brings us near to Allah (swt). The result is a decrease in the level of our Iman, a weakening in our connection with Allah (swt) and eventually a heart covered by a dark and gloomy cloud of depression and frustration, resulting in a strange void inside us.

Ok, so we aware of the tell-tale signs signaling that our Iman is beginning to take a downward turn. We know the reasons for its lowering. Now what? Well, firstly, we have to take charge of our lives and not let our busy schedules, laziness or desires weaken our relationship with Allah (swt). It’s not like you won’t commit mistakes or that you’ll become a super time manager and find time for everything; however, you must not let these tactics of Shaitan keep you down for long. Repent and reform as soon as you realize your mistake. Squeeze out time from your busy life just to spend more time with the Quran and good companions. And above all – make Dua.

The Prophet (sa) taught us to ask Allah (swt) to renew our faith. He also taught us beautiful Duas for seeking Allah’s (swt) help concerning the matters of our Iman: “O Turner of hearts! Make my heart firm and steadfast on Your Deen (religion)!” (At-Tirmidhi) “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth), after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower!” (Al-Imran 3:8)

During periods of low Iman, you may find your daily Salah and your daily Quran recitation difficult and burdensome, but never let those feelings pull you down. Shaitan will tell you it’s no use praying or reading the Quran, when you no longer feel the way you did before. Don’t fall into that trap. Letting go of Salah and the Quran will only worsen your state. Also, increase the time of your listening to the Quran. This has an amazing effect on the heart. Attend Quran study circles and sit in the company of the righteous. You will feel a fascinating ray of Iman reaching into your heart, when you sit with the believers. Such congregations have a great effect in fortifying Iman, and even if your schedule feels tight, taking out time for such gatherings and for the Quran will leave you finding more time in your day, as you gain more energy and motivation from the Quran and the believers. Give it a try!

Wish you the best of Iman!