Quranreading.com shares an Infograph with stories & lessons from Surah Al Kahf.
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Let’s learn some lessons from the last verse of Surah Al-Baqarah. It’s a long verse, but we will only refer to the first part of it.
You are strong enough
The word ‘Takleef’ in Arabic means, to be burdened with something; and Allah (swt) says that He does not burden any individual. Allah (swt) will not burden any single person- except to that person’s capacity. It means that any trials you and I go through in life are custom tailored to our capability to manage them. What somebody else is going through may not be something I can handle; and what I’m going through might not be something they can handle.
The gifts we enjoy in life and the difficulties we suffer in life; the hardships and the trials we go through- all are custom tailored according to our own individual personalities. So, Allah (swt) says that He does not burden anybody more than their tolerance level.
Obligatory is obligatory
The other thing that’s remarkable about this verse is- there are some things that all of us are equally responsible for- the commandments of Islam. For them, you can’t say, ‘Well, I know you can do it, but it’s not my personality’ like five prayers for example. You can’t say, ‘Well, Masha’Allah, I know you pray five times, but I could only do it in Ramadan- usually, it’s impossible for me. I’m not able to do that’. You can’t make that excuse for such commandments of Allah (swt) because they are the ones that Allah (swt) put on every Nafs. He put it on every individual and enabled us to do it. And, there are very few exceptions to those, that are in very minute cases; and even then, there are differences of opinion. Hence, for the major things that are forbidden and obligatory on Muslims, you cannot make an excuse for those- such as Allah (swt) will understand that you are not exactly the prayer type; or you are not a morning person so you can’t really make it to Fajr. That’s not going to be the case.
Are you guilty of hiding something?
Allah (swt) burdened us with these responsibilities knowing that every single human being is capable of praying five times a day. Every human being, every Muslim is capable of staying away from Haram; you’re capable of doing Halal things. So, when you tell yourself you can’t, and when you convince yourself that you can’t- then you’re actually, wasting the capability that Allah (swt) has granted you with; and that Allah (swt) would never have given those things for you and me to do- if we weren’t capable of doing them. You have to ask yourself- ‘Am I being truthful to myself when I say I cannot?’ or ‘Is Allah (swt) being true when He says that yes you can, and I wouldn’t have given it to you- unless you could have handled it?’ Self question yourself with honesty- you and I have to ask ourselves, especially when it comes to the major commandments of Allah (swt).
Make it hard to sin and easy to do right!
Finally, the last part of the verse- Allah (swt) says a person will benefit from whatever they earn; whatever they earned in terms of sin will go against them. There are some things you earn that’ll go for you, and there are other things you earn that’ll go against you. In Arabic, ‘Kasaba’, which is easier, was used for good deeds; and ‘Iktasaba’, which is harder to earn, was used for bad deeds.
It is weird because we think sins are easy to earn, and good deeds are hard to earn, but Allah (swt) is telling us a secret in this verse.
Sins may be easy to earn in the short term, but what you pay for them in the long term, they bring about so much difficulty in what you’ve earned in terms of problems and difficulties in life. It causes so much hardship because of the disobedience to Allah (swt), that it doesn’t count as something easy.
And getting a job, working hard and earning money the right way may be really hard, but the hardship you save yourself from compared to what you’re doing is pretty easy. The alternative is pretty easy, that’s the view Allah (swt) wants us to have of good deeds and bad deeds. Good deeds may require a lot more work, but Allah (swt) will make them easy; while bad deeds may be much easier to do, but you will pay the price, and you will realize in how much difficulty you have put yourself.
Hence, don’t over estimate the burden that Allah (swt) has put on you as far as responsibilities are concerned; and don’t underestimate the weight of sin. Don’t think, it’s just something I do, who cares and not think about the burdens and the troubles it’ll bring you tomorrow; and especially, when you and I stand in front of Allah (swt).
As a mother, I want to teach you the important lessons of life
Tomorrow when you stand as a husband or wife,
I might not be around as I am growing old and gray
Caring for you, worrying for you every living day,
Today, when you’re young and spirited so high
You want pleasure and freedom to fly,
Things matter most to you and they better be the best
Your heart is constantly in this world put to test,
My child understand the mirage of the world
Do not lose your grip in this dazzling whirl,
It’s the stuff that allures
But it won’t be long before you want more,
The nature of worldly things is such
It captivates your desires, but keeps your soul unrested much,
Occasionally the make-up may fail
The weight may go up and down the scale,
Dark or fair, don’t worry, don’t fake
Allah (swt) made you and He makes no mistakes,
You are beautiful because of your soul
Not the six pack chest or the beauty mole,
If you believe in yourself and the beauty of what lies within
You will be the happiest person from Bahrain to Berlin,
Befriend Allah (swt) so He lights up your heart
May your Iman and Aqeedah never depart,
Throw the world behind you and let it chase you
Just lead a meaningful life with courage and be true,
Let the stuff be your slave
And with dignity do behave,
You are from the Ummah of the greatest leader of all times
Never should you be the reason for anyone to ever malign,
Our beloved messenger (sa) who cried for you and I
Do not forget until you die,
Allah (swt) has destined your Rizq all along
It is you who has to decide the path right or wrong,
Not a penny will you earn less, not a penny more
Than what you deserve so go on and explore,
I don’t want a grade you earn by cheating others in school
I don’t want you to demean yourself to look cool,
I want to see you live and die loving your Creator
I want you to feel pride in serving His creation,
I want to meet you at the gates of Paradise
I want to embrace you there with no guise,
I pray to Allah (swt) to choose you to be the one
A worthy daughter or a wonderful son,
Oh my child, this life is so precious to waste
Such little time is left, until death we taste,
Rise and stretch high
Sprint and zoom by,
Do not look back, but only to learn from your errors
One day you will become a reflection of this mirror,
I pray to Allah (swt) He forgives my slights
And fulfills all the gaps with His might,
Mould you into what He wants you to be
And as a striving and faulty mother honour me. Ameen
This poem is dedicated to every mother who sheds tears for the salvation of her family.
She was the sister of Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) who was the father of the famous Hadeeth narrator Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra). Her husband Amr ibn Jamuh (ra) was the leader of Yathrib (old name of Madinah) and was from the nobles of the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah).
Conversion to Islam
Hind (ra) converted to Islam along with her sons through the Dawah efforts of Musab ibn Umair (ra). Her husband, like other ignorant leaders, had installed an idol in his house that he used to worship and sacrifice animals for. One day, he purchased a sturdy piece of wood and instructed a woodworker to craft an idol for him. This idol, named Manat, was dressed in fine clothing and pleasantly perfumed.
Like many early Muslims, Hind (ra) kept her conversion a secret. She was waiting for an appropriate time to break the news to her husband. Her sons regularly attended the gatherings of Musab ibn Umair (ra), and later shared the knowledge of the Quranic verses with their mother. Amr (ra) remained unaware of what was happening in his house. He only began to worry when more and more people entered Islam. He then felt insecurity for his family. He instructed Hind (ra) to keep a close watch on their sons that they do not meet the man from Makkah, and get spoilt by his teachings. Hind (ra) assured him to not worry and to keep his heart free from apprehensions about them.
While at one end, the father was instructing the mother to keep a close watch on the sons; on the other end, the sons worried for their father’s faith. Muadh ibn Amr (ra) shared his concerns with a close friend and they plotted a plan to get the father off idol worshipping. It was decided that Muadh ibn Jabl (ra) will help the brothers in throwing the idol in a trash can. Amr (ra) was fast asleep when this plan was carried out. The next day when he woke up, as per his routine, he entered the room where the idol was kept. Not finding it there he vehemently demanded where it was. The mother and the sons replied that they had no idea where it had gone.
Amr (ra) went out of the house and fetched the idol. Seeing it lying on trash, he brought it home, cleaned it and applied fragrance. He vowed to take revenge from the culprit. The mother and the sons looked at Amr (ra) in disbelief- was he really talking to a piece of wood? He was apologising to it while it could neither hear him nor speak.
He then brought a sword and hung it around Manat’s neck. He told the idol that it was for its defence, in case it was attacked again.
When the father had gone to sleep, the sons again, with the help of Muadh ibn Jabl (ra), picked up the idol and threw it in trash. Second time they tied a dead dog to the wooden piece and returned home.
The next day, when Amr (ra) woke up and did not find Manat in its room, he again screamed and shouted and went out to find the idol. When he saw that it was again lying on trash and a dead dog was wrapped around its neck, and that the idol did not defend itself, Amr (ra) conceded that the idol did not deserve his respect. It was content with its own dishonour. He left the idol on the trash and returned home feeling estranged.
She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.
Seeing Amr (ra) anguished, the family inquired what the matter was. Amr (ra) did not reply to the question. He sighed deeply and asked the mother if she had been keeping a close watch on the sons. The mother assured him that the sons had acted upon her instructions. However, she quickly added that their son Muadh (ra) had a meeting with the Makkan preacher Musab (ra) and had learnt some things. She suggested that Amr (ra) should call him and inquire what he had learnt.
Amr (ra) at once called Muadh (ra). Muadh (ra) came and the father inquired if he had memorised anything from the Makkan preacher (ra). The son replied in affirmation. The father then asked the son to share something. Muadh (ra) recited the Ta’awuth and Surah Al-Fatihah.
Amr (ra), as if speaking to himself commented that how eloquent, enticing and beautiful the words were. The son was overjoyed by his father’s statement. He affirmed that indeed that Makkan man’s entire talk was elegant, beautiful and exceptional and that Amr (ra) should meet the man himself. To entice the father furthermore, he added that all the other leaders of Madinah had been visiting Musab (ra) and embracing Islam. They had preceded Amr (ra). Hind (ra) also encouraged her husband to meet the Makkan preacher (ra). Amr (ra) said that he needed to take advice from his idols. Muadh (ra) immediately reminded his father if he was to take advice from a dumb and deaf piece of wood. Amr (ra) was offended by his son’s comment, but then admitted that it was indeed the truth. The wood was void of intellect and emotions. He then looked at his family and asked for their views. The family was startled, but quickly agreed that Amr (ra) was right.
Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism
At that moment, Amr (ra) testified the Oneness of Allah (swt) and recited the Islamic testimony of faith (Shahadah). That was a joyous moment for the family. Later that evening Musab ibn Umair (ra) was invited to their home, who then purified the house from the filth of associating partners with Allah (swt).
Lessons to draw
There are several lessons in this story. When Hind (ra) became a Muslim she did not break the news to her husband at once. Despite having the support of adult sons, she waited for an appropriate time to approach Amr (ra). She hoped that he might embrace Islam on his own and the relations between them will not be severed. She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.
We need to reflect on our attitudes when we learn something new and how we preach it to others. First, we must gain firmness in what we have learnt and then pass it on to others. Show them by practicing, not by preaching. Melt their hearts first. Give them space to understand. Secondly, “plan” how you are going to preach. Hind (ra) and her sons first sketched a plan that how they could convince Amr (ra) that what he was following was wrong.
Thirdly, when Amr (ra) returned home feeling estranged, the family showed concern and inquired- although they knew it very well what grieved him. They treated him with respect and care- even when he was upset about a wrong matter. Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism. Unless, we show some compassion how can the other person trust our opinion? Gain the support first, so that he can open up his heart to understand what you want to tell him.
Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah
Another Hikmah of preaching is that Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah — the Opening Surah of the Quran — that introduces us to Allah (swt). Generally, we invite people to Islam by scaring them with the punishment of the Hereafter. Even to the babies and toddlers, we introduce Allah (swt) by telling them how intense His punishments are; whereas Allah (swt) introduces Himself to us by choosing His attributes of mercy: Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem (Al-Fatihah 1:3).
Finally, Hind (ra) respected the leader of the house. When the father asked if she had been keeping an eye on the sons, the mother replied in affirmative and then added that Muadh (ra) had heard something. She then requested the father to ascertain what he had learnt. In a way, she was putting the father in-charge- whether he found it fit for the family or not. She did not say I have checked it and I find it alright. She gave reverence to the husband’s position in the house.
When the parents fail to give respect to one another, the silent observers — the children — grow up disrespecting their parents. Family matters should be dealt with utmost respect and wisdom thinking about the children as well.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)
Wife of the Generous
When Allah (swt) sees goodness in someone’s heart, He guides them to the truth and opens up pathways of much subsequent goodness. Same happened with Abu Talha (ra) and Umm Sulaym (ra).
Abu Talha (ra) was a rich man who owned many properties of palm-trees. His favourite, however, was a garden known as Bairuha that was near the Prophet’s Mosque. The Prophet (sa) would often visit this garden and drink its fresh and pleasant water.
When the verse, “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness – here it means Allah’s reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well,” (Al-Imran 3:92), was revealed, Abu Talha (ra) came to the Prophet (sa) and said: “O Messenger of Allah (swt)! Allah (swt) has revealed, ‘By no means shall you attain Al-Birr, unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love,’ so I love the garden of Bairuha the most, I want to give it in the way of Allah (swt) as a Sadaqah. And I anticipate its reward with Allah (swt); so spend it, O Messenger of Allah (swt), as Allah (swt) guides you.” The Prophet (sa) advised him to give his best property to his relatives. Abu Talha (ra) agreed and gifted it to his relatives and cousins.
The guest first!
Umm Sulaym (ra) and her husband are also those virtuous companions who served the Prophet’s (sa) guest at night while sacrificing their meal. A hungry man had approached the Prophet (sa) requesting to be fed. The Prophet (sa) asked his wives if they had anything to feed the hungry guest, each replied that they had nothing except water. The Prophet (sa) then asked his companions (ra). Abu Talha (ra) volunteered and took the guest to his home. When he asked his wife if they had anything for the guest, the wife replied that they only had sustenance for the children. Abu Talha (ra) instructed his wife to bring the food, light the lamp and put the children to sleep. When they sat down for dinner, Umm Sulaym (ra) got up and pretending to fix the lamp extinguished it. As the guest ate his meal, the couple pretended that they were eating as well. However, they had not touched the food, it was insufficient.
Abu Talha (ra) learnt a new verse that day, and he immediately acted upon it. How long does it take us to surrender to the many commands of Allah (swt)
When next morning, Abu Talha (ra) visited the Prophet (sa)- he complimented his generosity, and informed him of Allah’s (swt) pleasure. A new verse had been revealed for the Talha family.
Allah (swt) said, “And (it is also for) those who, before them, had homes (in Al-Madinah) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their chests for that which they have been given (from the booty of Banu An-Nadir), and give them (emigrants) preference over themselves even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful,” (Al-Hashr 59:9).
Lessons to draw: We must ask Allah (swt) to save us from the covetousness of our souls. Abu Talha (ra) gave generously in the way of Allah (swt) because his wife like Umm Sulaym (ra), was supportive of her husband’s benevolence. She knew the provision that they enjoy is all gifts from Allah (swt) that must be shared with others as an expression of gratitude.
Abu Talha (ra) learnt a new verse that day, and he immediately acted upon it. How long does it take us to surrender to the many commands of Allah (swt) that we read every day in the Quran? What are the commands that we have not submitted too? What is the reason for our delaying?
She raised her children such that they could sleep on empty stomachs with gentle patting. Today, our children demand variety. Separate dishes are cooked satiating the desires of each family member. When the home cooked food does not appeal to us, we order it from the restaurant. We are spoilt and we are spoiling our children.
She raised her children such that they could sleep on empty stomachs with gentle patting.
Let us be inspired by these incidents from our rich past and make our lives simple. Insha’Allah.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)
Mother’s Sacrifice for Her Orphan Son
Umm Sulaym (ra) grieved for her unbelieving husband, for they had spent many years together under the same roof despite their differences. She turned her attention to little Anas (ra) and said, “I will re-marry when my son Anas allows.” She nourished him with the Quranic verses and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) until Anas (ra) grew up into a trustworthy young man.
Blessed with intellect and wisdom, it struck Umm Sulaym (ra) to request the Prophet (sa) to accept Anas (ra) in his service. The mother desired the best for her son. What could be better than learning directly from the Prophet (sa) while also serving him? The Prophet (sa) accepted this young man who grew up with the Quran and Sunnah.
Lessons to Draw: When being tested, people leave whatever good they are doing and devote their time to mourning over their loss and in depression. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us to rise up in the face of calamity. She focused her attention on the other blessings of Allah (swt) that she enjoyed – her son. She had him to be thankful for, look after and nurture.
What is our attitude in affliction? What has Allah (swt) given us that we are ignoring?
While at one point Umm Sulaym (ra) says she would not re-marry (that is separate herself from her son) until her son permitted; she later gave her beloved boy to the Prophet (sa). She knew she could give him love, but she could not raise or educate him better than the best of mankind. She picked the best teacher for her son and endured the temporary separation for his betterment. We must pay attention to our children’s education. If they are not being homeschooled, what kind of school have we chosen for them? Who are their teachers? Do they instil the love of Allah (swt) in their little hearts along with education? What kind of education are they being delivered?
While at one point Umm Sulaym (ra) says she would not re-marry (that is separate herself from her son) until her son permitted; she later gave her beloved boy to the Prophet (sa)
The Best Dowry of All
One of the richest men from the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah) had heard of Umm Sulaym’s admirable virtues. Her integrity and her courage, appealed him. When he learnt that she was a widow, he decided to marry her. Being affluent, he had no qualms about the dowry. He had decided he would present her with as much gold and silver as she desired. He was confident that his proposal would certainly be accepted. Umm Sulaym (ra), however, surprised him.
When this man approached her, the woman of Taqwa said, “A man like you cannot be refused, the problem is that you are an idol worshipper. It does not befit me to marry a polytheist.” The man requested her to re-consider and offered to present her with as many jewels as she desired. Umm Sulaym (ra) replied, “My dowry is Islam. Accept Islam. I will marry you. Upon your becoming a Muslim, I will not demand any other dowry.”
We must pay attention to our children’s education. If they are not being homeschooled, what kind of school have we chosen for them? Who are their teachers?
She then talked about his idols. The gods that he worshipped were crafted by people with their own hands. When they required firewood, they would throw their idols into fire and cook meal. The man agreed that it was indeed true. Umm Sulaym (ra) continued and asked him if he did not feel embarrass to prostrate to a wooden piece that grew from the Earth. A wooden piece that could not help its own self, could not solve his problems either.
The man held his head low and did not utter another word. Umm Sulaym (ra) again presented her proposal to him that if he agrees to embrace Islam, she will accept his marriage proposal. The man asked for some time to think and then accepted Islam. Anas (ra) was called and instructed to arrange the Nikah of his mother with Abu Talha Ansari (ra).
Abu Talha (ra) then approached the Prophet (sa) and inquired about the unique dowry that he had been demanded. The Prophet (sa) accepted ‘Islam’ as Umm Sulaym’s dowry and conducted their Nikah.
Lessons to draw: Allah (swt) replaced an unbelieving, unkind husband with him who was much better in many ways. One person abandoned her, Allah (swt) sent another to take care of her. We keep complaining to people that they are not giving us our right or not helping us, but we don’t ask Ar-Razzaq – He, who provides all kinds of provisions. Umm Sulaym (ra) did not remain undeterred because of a grudge. Her sacrifice was for her religion. She loved Allah (swt) more. He who loves or hates someone or something for the sake of Allah (swt), his sacrifices are never ignored by Him. The only condition is the standard of our Iman (faith). How sincere are we?
Have Tawakkal on Allah (swt) if future appears bleak today, it would not remain so forever. Allah (swt) will bring relief to us when He thinks it is right for us with what He chooses for us.
Umm Sulaym (ra) proved that to her faith mattered. Through her Dawah abilities, she convinced the man to come to the truth ‘before marriage’, not later.
We also see that Umm Sulaym (ra) gives no attention to the financial standing of Abu Talha (ra). She rejects him on the basis of his faith. Many a times, we put the faith behind thinking we can work on it later and go ahead with the marriage. When later arrives, girls have either fallen to a lower level of faith or marital conflicts have emerged. Umm Sulaym (ra) proved that to her faith mattered. Through her Dawah abilities, she convinced the man to come to the truth ‘before marriage’, not later.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)
When someone is loved by their dear ones, they are called by many nick names. Same was the case with Umm Sulaym (ra). Though widely known as Umm Sulaym, some of her other names were: Sahlah, Ghameesa, Rameesa, Rumaylah and Mulaykah.
She was the daughter of Malhan ibn Khalid. Her first husband was Malik ibn Nadhr, from whom she had Anas ibn Malik (ra) and Barah (ra). She later married Abu Talha (ra). She was a woman blessed with beauty, intellect, good character, fortitude and independent thinking. Her distinguishing trait, however, was her love for Islam and its defence.
Conversion to Islam
Umm Sulaym (ra) is one of the forerunners who embraced Islam as soon as the message reached her. Her husband was not in town. When he learnt that his wife had converted to Islam, he asked her if she was a Sabi (without any religion). Umm Sulaym (ra) replied that she had not left religion. Rather, she had embraced faith and followed the truth. Her husband threatened her. But Umm Sulaym (ra) remained calm. Her heart was filled with the love of her Creator (swt) and His Messenger (sa).
(Note: Umm Sulaym (ra) remained married to an unbeliever because at that time the verses that prohibit such a marriage were not revealed.)
We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt)
Lessons to draw: Umm Sulaym (ra) knew her salvation in the hereafter did not depend on her husband. She was a woman of independent thinking. She submitted to the commands of Allah (swt) and did not allow her husband to dissuade her. When our family does not support us in the way of Allah (swt), we take that as an excuse for not excelling in religion. We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt), and not depend on people to connect with Him. She also did not fear that if her husband left, what will become of her.
How strong are we in the path of Allah (swt)?
Paying attention to the necessary
Umm Sulaym (ra) did not engage herself in conflicts and arguments. She directed her energies to that which actually mattered – the upbringing of her son Anas (ra). She started with the basics and taught him the words of Adhan (call to prayer). One day, little Anas (ra) was memorising La ilaha illa Allahu Muhammad ur Rasulullah, when his father saw him. Furious as he was, Malik ibn Nadhr confronted his wife for spoiling their son and warned her to stop. Umm Sulaym (ra) again calmly replied that she was not spoiling their son, but educating him.
Arguments became a norm in Malik’s house. Malik threatened his wife that if she did not leave her religion, then he will have to leave her. Umm Sulaym (ra) remained undeterred. Understanding that his wife would not give up the religion that she so dearly loved, Malik left the house and was killed by an enemy.
Lesson to draw: Dawah begins from home. Many people are seen practicing religion, but when one meets their children – they are quite the opposite. While it is a test from Allah (swt), one cause of their detachment from Deen is that the message did not reach them. The parent had been attending or delivering religious lectures and classes, while not transferring the knowledge to those at home. This is also one reason why families are different.
Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed
Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed. Again, it is a test from Allah (swt). When the father (Nadhr) rejects the religion, the son (Anas) embraces it. Continue your efforts and seek reward from only Him.
Inna Ma’al Usre Yusra
As per the custom of that time, the Mushrikeen visited the Kabah for Hajj. On one such instance, Qais too joined the delegation. The Prophet (sa), despite being in the minority, would promote his religion to the strangers. He would make efforts, and take out time to meet the people who had come to Makkah for Hajj.
He met Qais and presented Islam to him. Qais attentively listened to the Prophet (sa), and acknowledged that what he was being presented was a glorious religion. He asked for time to contemplate conversion. The Prophet (sa) desired that the husband of a devoted religious woman embraced Islam as well, therefore, he prolonged his dialogue with Qais. Qais, however, kept asking for more time to consider. The Prophet (sa), then asked Qais about his unkind treatment towards his wife. He instructed him to fear Allah (swt), and to promise him that he will never say anything to his distressed wife. Qais promised that he would do as the Prophet (sa) instructed and would never again be cruel to his wife.
Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance.
When Qais returned to Madinah, he informed Hawa (ra) about his meeting with the Messenger of Allah (sa), and his promise to him. He assured her that from then onwards he would never torment her. Hawa (ra) was relieved to hear that.
“Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).” (Ash-Shath 94:6)
Hawa (ra) could then freely practice her religion. She openly declared her faith because she had no one to be fearful about. After a little time had passed, the Prophet (sa), being a true leader and well-wisher, asked about Hawa (ra) and her husband’s treatment. He was informed that she lived in peace.
People teased Qais about his wife’s conversion. He informed them of his promise to the Prophet (sa) and his will to honour it.
Qais had honoured his promise to the Prophet (sa). However, he kept waiting for the right time to embrace Islam, and missed his chance. Qais was killed as an idolater. He saved Hawa’s life in this world and the hereafter, but could not save his own hereafter.
Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator.
Lessons to draw: Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance. Because Hawa (ra) only depended upon Allah (swt), He helped her in a miraculous way. With every difficulty there is ease, strengthen your faith in Allah (swt).
Life as a Widow
When the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator. This is how Allah (swt) honours those who are willing to remain steadfast in their trials, and give precedence to religion over anything in the world.
May Allah (swt) also make us of those He honours. Ameen.
Lessons to draw: When you have taken the step to draw closer to Allah (swt), He will test you. He will put you through trials to separate the wheat from the chaff. How truly dedicated and honest are you in your service and commitment to Islam? Be brave. Don’t let Shaytan weaken your resolution.
(Click here to read ‘Lessons in Faith from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)’)
Surah Al-Fatihah, also known as the opening of the Quran- is a short Surah, and yet so important that a prayer without it is deemed invalid. Even in this short Surah of seven verses, some important lessons have been highlighted. Below are the top three lessons that can be obtained from this first Surah of the Quran.
Lesson 1: An Introduction to the Rabb
Following are the verses 1-6 of Surah Al-Fatihah
1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
2. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
3. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
4. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)
5. You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).
In the first two verses, Allah (swt) gives an introduction about Himself. When one reads this Surah, he acknowledges Allah’s (swt) infinite mercy; and then, praises Him by recognizing that He, Allah (swt) is the universal Master- the Master of the whole world. He has not just created everything in it, but He continues to provide His creation in order to attain a meaningful life. He has not abandoned His creation without any intervention. Over all His creation, he is an ever- living authority.
In the third verse, two attributes of Allah (swt) are mentioned. These two attributes encompass all the aspects of compassion and mercy between Allah (swt) and His servants. Therefore, a servant must never be hopeless about Allah’s (swt) mercy and should always turn to Allah (swt) for help and repentance.
In the fourth verse, a very fundamental principle is mentioned based on which our lives are significantly influenced i.e. belief in the Hereafter. This gives man the hope that if he is weak on earth and is suppressed by people, he will be given justice and the suppressor too will be punished because of his oppression. Based on this belief, one restrains himself from doing evil acts. He performs righteous acts hoping for its reward from Allah (swt).
In the next verse, man accepts that he has submitted to Allah (swt). He worships Him alone without associating any partner with Him; and when he needs any help, he turns to Allah (swt) for it. Turning to Allah (swt) for help protects the man from facing the abuse, and a feeling of dependency that he could face if he turns to people begging for help. Allah (swt) has the power over everything; hence a man must turn to Him for assistance.
Lesson 2: Asking for the Straight Path
“Guide us to the Straight Way.” (Al-Fatihah 1:6)
In this verse, one asks Allah (swt) for His guidance towards the straight path. A person cannot be guided- unless Allah (swt) wills; and no one can be led astray- unless Allah (swt) wills.
Nawwas bin Sam’an Al-Kilabi said:”I heard the Messenger of Allah (swt) say: ‘There is no heart that is not between two of the fingers of the Most Merciful. If He wills, He guides it and if He wills, He sends it astray.’ The Messenger of Allah (swt) used to say: ‘O You Who makes hearts steadfast make our hearts steadfast in adhering to Your religion.’ And he said: ‘The scale is in the Hand of the Most Merciful; He will cause some people to rise and others to fall until the day of Resurrection.'” (Ibn Majah; authentic)
The guided person finds happiness and contentment is this world, as well as, in the Hereafter. He has a broader vision as he believes that his life is not limited to this world, but another life awaits him.
Lesson 3: The path of the righteous people
“The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).” (Al-Fatihah 1:7)
In the last part of this Surah, one pleads Allah (swt) to help him follow the path which the righteous people followed- the path which led them to ultimate success and salvation, the path with which they attained the pleasure of Allah (swt). Just after that, one also asks Allah (swt) to protect him from following the way of those who attained the wrath of Allah (swt), and those who were misguided.
May Allah (swt) guide us all to the straight path and make us among those whom He loves. May Allah (swt) protect us from the evil whispers of Shaytan, and give us the strength and courage to hold n to the principles of Islam firmly. Ameen.
In Surah Qasas, Allah (swt) relates the story of Korah (Qarun), “Verily, Qarun (Korah) was of Musa’s (Moses) people, but he behaved arrogantly towards them. And We gave him of the treasures, that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men. When his people said to him: “Do not be glad (with ungratefulness to Allah’s Favours). Verily! Allah likes not those who are glad (with ungratefulness to Allah’s Favours).” (Qasas 28:76)
The Surah begins with the story of Musa (as) and Pharaoh, followed by Haman, who is Pharaoh’s Army Chief and ends with Qarun’s tale of worldly riches. As in other stories, we do not know the time and place of where the events took place specifically, and so those details are not important. This story is narrated exactly as my grandmother told me many years ago.
Nani Jan (grandmother) talked to me because I had been given a warning from school about skipping class: Beta (child), you will always be known by the company you keep.
Me: What do you mean? Am I not accountable only for what I do?
Nani Jan: Yes, you are – but what you do is always influenced by who your friends are. Let me tell you a story of a tyrant king, his army chief and a rich man from his court.
Me: Oh, this sounds very interesting. I would love to be rich and buy whatever I want. No need to collect pocket money to buy treats.
Smiling a gentle, wise smile my grandmother started: Once upon a time there was a great nation, but it had its roots in evil, slavery and oppression. The king was called Firawn, and he forced his subjects to call him God. He enslaved an entire nation of people called the Israelites, and forced them to do whatever he commanded. His power was absolute in his kingdom, and no one dared challenge it. Firawn had helpers to maintain his power and evil. His biggest ally was his Army Chief – Haman. Haman used his physical strength, to oppress people and carry out his king’s orders of murder and injustice.
They also had a third partner, his name was Qarun. He was not of the people of Firawn, but he was from the slave race. Yet, due to his servitude to Firawn, he was rich and helped to subjugate his own people.
Most of the slaves were struggling for one meal a day and Firawn would kill the male babies and keep only the female babies alive. He would order Haman to abuse the slaves. The Israelites were believers in Allah (swt) and they told each other that Allah (swt) will surely send someone to help them against the evil Firawn.
As true believers, their heart never accepted doing the wrong thing – calling Firawn God, or oppressing others. They also never gave up hope of Allah (swt) saving them. These are signs of true Muslims. Even though, they could do nothing; they knew in their hearts that what Qarun was doing was a sin. Their test was long and hard, but they knew that help was on the way.
Since, the rest of Qarun’s people were true believers, they warned him not to be arrogant. They told him to invest in the Akhirah (hereafter) and seek only Allah’s (swt) pleasure. But Qarun’s friends were Firawn and Haman, he wanted to be like them; hence, he did not listen to his well-wishers. He thought they were jealous.
“But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of legal enjoyment in this world, and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the Mufsidun (those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupts).” (Qasas 28:77)
So, Qarun was blind to his faults and told the people, “He said: “This has been given to me only because of knowledge I possess.” Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected. But the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) will not be questioned of their sins (because Allah knows them well, so they will be punished without account).” (Qasas 28:78)
Me: But Nani Jan, can I not spend my money on myself? Must I always give everything away? That is just not fair. I work hard to earn my pocket money.
Nani Jan: Beta, Islam teaches us the best way, the moderate way. We can definitely use our portion of the wealth we have, but we must also remember to share with others. Be good to others as Allah (swt) has been good to you. So, when you see someone who might have more wealth and better things, thank Allah (swt) and know that it is a test.
Me: So, what happened next? Qarun was wealthy and he enjoyed his wealth. He was happy. What is so bad about that?
Nani Jan: Qarun, did not do anything to help others. In fact, he started to show his wealth off so others would feel sad and hopeless about what they did not have.
“So he went forth before his people in his pomp. Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun (Korah) has been given? Verily! He is the owner of a great fortune.” (Qasas 28:79)
“But those who had been given (religious) knowledge said: “Woe to you! The Reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this none shall attain except those who are patient (in following the truth).” (Qasas 28:80)
Qarun was Dunya-centric. He did not care about what Allah (swt) had commanded. His friends did not advise him to help others. He was occupied in pleasing his desires only. He thought, “I am smart and know how to create wealth, others are stupid. Allah (swt) has not given me all this. I have earned it by using my intelligence.” Qarun spread mischief by parading his wealth; his intention was to show others that he was better than them all. The significance of the heavy keys mentioned in the verse are not that he locked the wealth to keep it safe, but that wealth is a heavy burden- a difficult test from Allah (swt) for the true believer.
Qarun was Dunya-centric. He did not care about what Allah (swt) had commanded. His friends did not advise him to help others.
Now some people, who did not know better, wished they had what Qarun had. But Allah (swt) tests each of us in His own way. We must go beyond the appearance, and be patient in whatever our test is. It could be knowledge, wealth, fame, fortune, poverty etc.
“So We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group or party to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.” (Qasas 28:81)
“And those who had desired (for a position like) his position the day before, began to say: “Know you not that it is Allah Who enlarges the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His slaves. Had it not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up (also)! Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.” (Qasas 28:82)
Now, those who desired his wealth and position knew that it is only Allah (swt) Who gives and takes. Allah (swt) is the only One Who can decide what is right for you. People thanked Allah (swt) for not being as wealthy as Qarun, or as arrogant. They were convinced that only the Hereafter is the ultimate goal, and only the pious will have a good end.
“That home of the Hereafter (i.e. Paradise), We shall assign to those who rebel not against the truth with pride and oppression in the land nor do mischief by committing crimes. And the good end is for the Muttaqun.” (Qasas 28:83)
“Whosoever brings good (Islamic Monotheism along with righteous deeds), he shall have the better thereof, and whosoever brings evil (polytheism along with evil deeds) then, those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.”. (Qasas 28:84)
Oh Allah (swt), shield us from the wealth trap. We are not Qarun, we do not envy him. In fact, we do not want to be mentioned along with him. His is not the company we want to keep.
Adapted for Hiba by Tasneem Vali
“What is she reading… Blank pages?” I looked in bewilderment, as this girl came and sat next to me after Maghrib Salah at Masjid Nabawi and started reciting. I realised that she was blind and was reading the Braille Quran, it was the first time my eyes had set on a Quran with blank pages with just embossed dots.
Mesmerized, I fell into Sajdah Shukr- thanking Allah (swt) for being able to see His Kalam, to see the word ‘Allah (swt)’. I pause and ponder here for a moment- how many of us have a copy of the Quran in our homes, eyes to read, and yet, are oblivious to this immense blessing.
Another amazing moment, as I waited with restless, emotionally charged ladies of our country to get an opportunity to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah, I started to talk about the virtues of where we were sitting to a stranger companion who urged me to communicate all that to the rest of the group; so seeking permission from the Arab lady group in charge, Allah (swt) gave me an opportunity to address these ladies. I told the women how Allah (swt) had chosen us to be there, near our Prophet’s (sa) grave. So many people yearn and pray to visit his mosque where prayers are rewarded thousand times over normal prayers. We, therefore, in gratitude must not push, shove or hurt anyone, nor raise our voices, and should be fearful that the rewards we have come to gain, don’t turn into sins instead; alternatively, keep reciting Durud, focus on the fact the angels will take our Salam Insha’Allah to our Beloved Prophet (sa). The women listened wide-eyed, and wept too, and Alhumdulillah when we were called to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah area, the Pakistani group of ladies was relatively calmer.
The spirit of sharing and caring in the Prophet’s (sa) mosque was overwhelming. As I passed a number of Miswak to my companions, waiting in the mosque for Salah, a pretty girl opened her handbag and pressed a bottle of perfume in my palms. The scent was so delicate and back home it reminded me of my companion- her Duas, her love, as she gave me that gift, in our beloved Prophet’s (sa) mosque. It was so amazing- we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers. Reflection of warmth through eyes and gestures made that trip a source of love and peace, not experienced in any other journey.
As I passed a pack of sweet biscuits to the lady next to me, I noticed her thoroughly enjoying it. She read the wrapper and nodded in appreciation- making me realize how different tastes from different parts of the world too are a source of bonding with one another.
I observed as people would pour in before the Salah time, chairs were a much sought after item. It is good to guide people to where they are stacked. And that can only be done if you are observant and earmark the places.
Mondays to Thursdays after Asr prayers Halaqas are held, young children and ladies are taught to read proper Tajweed. The love and commitment of the teachers was amazing, and the students were so disciplined. One of the lessons that stayed in my mind is to constantly make Dua for acceptance of any good deed, small or big.
we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers.
As I approached Masjid Nabawi before the Fajr Salah after keeping a voluntary fast, feeling a bit sad that I did not have dates for Sehri, a lady standing at the entrance of the mosque was eagerly distributing something. As I passed, she pressed the most delicious, juicy and fresh bunch of dates in my hand, Subhan’Allah; how Allah (swt) nourishes and fulfils our desires, even before we have had a chance to voice them.
It’s truly amazing how the voluntary Sunnah fasts of Mondays and Thursdays are opened with such zeal and enthusiasm at both the Mosques. Simple, yet the overwhelming warmth is an experience by itself. Adults and children all eagerly beckon you to join them at Iftari time. Arabic tea, dates, bread and yogurt- so nourishing and fulfilling- are such a contrast to our rich fried table spreads.
As the time to leave for Makkah drew close, sadness of leaving Madinah was soon engulfed with the excitement of Makkah and Umrah. As we stopped at the Miqat, I kept imagining how our Prophet (sa) and his companions (rta) too must have stopped at that point for entering into Ihram.
We entered Makkah just before Asr. By that time, I had developed a slight fever and my throat was hurting too, coupled with the exhaustion of the drive. I decided I would wait till the next morning to perform my Umrah. Praying Asr in my hotel room, I decided to go to the mosque for Maghrib. I realized that the entrance had changed, and I never saw so many people before. Reading Duas I tried to reach the Kaaba, but due to the change I could not reach it, so I decided to retrace my footsteps in order to catch my Salah. Lo and behold, I had to visit the washroom. What to do? Where to find it? I tried to follow the instructions, but just could not seem to find it with so many people. I asked a sweeper, he tried to explain it to me but after seeing my eyes watery, he threw his broom to another and beckoned me to follow him, may Allah (swt) reward him. I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others- it was a great comfort for me to have someone guiding.
The next morning Alhumdulillah, I performed the rituals of Umrah
The rush, the construction, the noise of the equipment, all seemed to fade away when compared to the over powering emotions one is engulfed with as one approaches the House of Allah (swt); I am the Guest of Allah (swt)- the honour, and love Allah (swt) bestows are beyond my capacity to express here in words. The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.
During Tawaf, a hand was placed on my shoulder. Instantly, I wanted to shrug it off, but when I looked carefully- a lady was supporting her other arm with a lady and she needed to stabilize so had to sought my help. I slowed downed my pace, so she could comfortably walk. It was amazing how smooth that Tawaf was. And later, my husband inquired how could I manage the Tawaf in a much lesser time than him. It reminded me of a beautiful Hadeeth:
I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others
“Allah (swt) is helping the servant, as long as, the servant is helping his brother.” (Muslim)
After Salah, a group of Turkish ladies on my left invited me to eat with them. It was an amazing experience. There was so much energy and warmth in that group. They unrolled plastic sheet, placed bread, cheese from Turkey and olives. One of them would break the bread, spread the delicious cheese, add olives and pass it around. As soon as we had eaten, I shared my dry fruit from Pakistan. The most loved item was the dried round apricots. Once eaten, quickly the sheet was gathered, crumbs were cleaned up, and each of the ladies took out their copy of the Quran. One beckoned me to read first, while others listened. Turn by turn each one of us read a Surah and then just before Isha Salah, hands were lifted for Dua. We kissed, hugged and prayed for each other without speaking a common language. I felt I was in a dream. A dream I did not want to wake up from.
Later in the day, I paved my way through looking for a place for Asr Salah. Finally, as I identified a spot and had comfortably settled down with the Quran in my hand, a wheel chair edged next to me. Instantly, I felt disapproval as to how that wheelchair would fit in such a small space. The surrounding women too gave disapproving looks. And that is when I remembered how one should make space for other. I Squeezed, and beckoned others to do the same. The lady on the wheel chair gave a nod, and I noticed she managed to maneuver herself on the floor. And soon, she was lying down in front of us and started to read the Quran. No one said anything, but looks say it all.
The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.
After a while, she again managed to sit in her wheelchair, that is when we got to talk. She was from Argentina and came to Makkah with a group of women. She had a brace to support her spine, and she could neither walk, nor lie down, or sit for too long. I felt so ashamed of my negative thoughts for her and clasped the hands of that brave lady. She spoke English and soon we had our hearts pouring out to each other. After Salah, amidst tears of love for meeting each other, she asked me when would we ever meet. Knowing no answer, spontaneously I said, ‘Jannah!’ Ameen. More hugs and tears rolled down our cheeks praying for our friendship for Allah’s (swt) sake. .
“Allah (swt) will ask on the Day of Judgement, Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My glory? Today, on a day when there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.” (Muslim)
There is yet more- in fact, I could go on and on, but lastly, a glistening pearl Tasbeeh was handed out to me during Tawaf. Memories of precious moments flood back only to engulf me to pray for more return visits.
”O Allah (swt) I ask You for Your Love and the love of those whom You Love and the actions that will cause me to attain Your Love”
Asma bint Abu Bakr (ra) – the daughter of the Prophet’s (sa) closest companion Abu Bakr Siddique (ra), the sister of the Prophet’s beloved wife Aishah (ra), the wife of another companion of Rasulullah (sa) Zubair ibn Al-Awwam (ra), and the mother of another eminent companion Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair – has a lot to her credit.
When Abu Bakr Siddique (ra) accepted Islam, he rushed to spread the message in his family. While his wife Qutaylah bint Abdul Uzza refused, his two children including Asma (ra) readily embraced it. She is a woman known for her piety, farsightedness, courage, and generosity. Let’s look at her characteristics individually.
When the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (ra) were seeking refuge in the cave of Thawr, Asma (ra) came to deliver them food and water. But, she did not have a piece of rope or string to tie the food with. Acting on instinct, she tore her girdle (or waist-wrapper) into two and tied the items to the camels. This act got her the title of Dhat Al-Nitaqayn (she of the two girdles).
She grew up seeing her father looking for solutions and helping others, rather than creating hurdles or panicking.
She was the daughter of the man, who rushed to serve Allah (swt) and the Prophet of Allah (sa). She grew up seeing her father looking for solutions and helping others, rather than creating hurdles or panicking. When she was in a tough situation herself, she did not refrain from looking for solutions.
Become a problem solver. Look for opportunities. If Allah (swt) has put you in this, He will definitely bring you out. Have you considered all the options?
When the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (ra) left for Madinah, their greatest enemy Abu Jahl began searching for them frantically. Not finding them anywhere, he came to Abu Bakr’s house enraged and asked for him. Asma (ra) replied that she did not know where her father was. Abu Jahl, drowned in insolence, slapped Asma (ra) hard. But this courageous woman did not falter or betray her father’s secret.
Be strong. Life will throw you challenges that you need to stand up to. Fear none because our belief is:
“Nothing shall ever happen to us, except what Allah has ordained for us.” (At-Taubah 9:51)
Each time the Prophet (sa) called out to people to spend in the way of Allah (swt), we read that Abu Bakr (ra) was the foremost and the most generous. Upon seeing all that he brought, he would be asked, if he left anything for his dependents. He would reply that he left Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa) for them. When the command to migrate came, Abu Bakr (ra) gathered all his wealth and financed the journey.
Complain less and become a source of comfort, instead. Cover up for others and Allah (swt) will cover up for you, Insha’Allah.
His father, Abu Quhafa, was not unaware of his son’s benevolence. When he learnt of his son’s migration to Madinah, he said to his granddaughter that her father had put them in adversity and deprived them of himself and property. Asma (ra), the courageous daughter of a brave man, did not allow her grandfather’s comments to weaken her resilience. Instead of complaining of her father’s attitude, she replied: “No, he left so much to us.” She covered some stones and brought them to her grandfather and said: “This is what he left.” Being blind, Abu Quhafa could not see what he was touching, so he said: “There is no blame, if he left that.” Asma (ra) not only covered up for her father, but she desired to comfort her grandfather as well.
Keep your private matters private. Complain less and become a source of comfort, instead. Cover up for others and Allah (swt) will cover up for you, Insha’Allah.
Adapted from the book: Seerat-e-Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat-e-Sahabiyat
The Surah is named after one ant which was concerned about the rest of her tribe, “Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulaiman (Solomon) and his hosts crush you, while they perceive not.” (An-Naml 27:18)
Dua is directly proportional to closeness to Allah (swt)
If we Muslims concern about one another’s well-being just like the ant our lost peace would return. Prophet Sulaiman (as) who was given the miracle of communication with the humans, as well as, other creatures like the ant. He smiled, amused at her speech, and said, “So he Sulaiman (Solomon) smiled, amused at her speech and said: My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves. ” (An-Naml 27:19)
He right away acknowledged Allah’s (swt) special favour upon him and expressed gratitude. Let’s memorise this Dua and be grateful to Allah’s (swt) blessings upon us and our parents. Dua is a means to get closer to Allah (swt). The more we make Dua, the closer we get to Him. And the more effort we make to get closer to Him, the more He will run to us for He is a loving and compassionate Lord.
We have been reading the story of Moosa (as) in bits and pieces so far, now comes Surah al-Qasas.
Story of Moosa (as)
It is the Surah which contains the most detailed account of Prophet Moosa (as). Moosa (as) was born at a time when Pharaoh was slaughtering new-born male children. For the mothers, it was a grievous time; to give birth and see their child slaughtered. Allah (swt) inspired Moosa’s (as) mother to cast him into the river without fear or grief. He assured her that He will return the baby to her and make him one of His messengers. And this did happen, as we read, “So did We restore him to his mother, that she might be delighted, and that she might not grieve, and that she might know that the Promise of Allah is true. But most of them know not.” (Al-Qasas 28:13)
Allah (swt) keeps His promise
Allah’s (swt) promise is always true. He does not back out of His promises. Another promise mentioned in this story is when Allah (swt) promised Prophet Muhammad (sa) return to Makkah, “Verily, He Who has given you (O Muhammad (sa)) the Quran (i.e. ordered you to act on its laws and to preach it to others) will surely bring you back to the Maad (place of return, either to Makkah or to Paradise after your death, etc.). Say (O Muhammad (sa)): My Lord is Aware of him who brings guidance, and he who is in manifest error.” (Al-Qasas 28:85), and we read it did happen. Another meaning of this verse could be return to Allah (swt) in Paradise. May He grant us the company of Muhammad (sa) in Paradise. Ameen.
Moosa (as) and the valley of Madyan
When Moosa (as) was in the valley of Madyan, he found two women standing aside a water well, waiting for the men to leave so that they could water their flock. Moosa (as) felt no disgrace in reaching out to help them despite being a prophet of Allah (swt). He made his way into the crowd and watered the flock on the behalf of those girls. When the girls reached their home, they narrated the incident as well as the man’s utmost dignity and respect towards them to their old father; the father requested to meet him. He had found the man to whom he would marry off one of his daughters.
Current matrimonial facts
Today, we have made the Sunnah of marriage tough by our unrealistic demands and expectations. The Prophet (sa) instructed us to marry off our daughters to anyone whose conduct pleased us. People meet good fellows in the mosque, but due to their financial standing or not having a certain career, are refused or overlooked. Similarly, remarrying a divorced woman is looked down upon. Didn’t the Prophet (sa) marry divorced women? However, the divorced men and women have more experience. Reach out and see if you can find suitable matches for the singles, divorcees and widows in your families and communities. Let us save ourselves and our families from enjoying secret affairs which are strictly forbidden in Islam.
Hold on to trust and zest, let all else rest
One of the women said, “And said one of them (the two women): O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” (Al-Qasas 28:26) Hard work and trustworthiness are the two qualities that can take a person to higher levels.
Here we learn a recruitment tip: if you are to hire someone for a task look for these two qualities. (May Allah (swt) grant us these qualities too. Ameen.) The example we have is none other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa). When Khadijah (ra) was looking for an employee to conduct trade on her behalf, she selected Muhammad (sa) because of his hard work and trustworthiness. Due to these two qualities, she felt no shyness in offering her hands in marriage to him; to someone who was fifteen years younger than her. And the Prophet (sa) accepted it because she was a woman of grace and high respect.
In the story of Prophet Moosa (as) and Prophet Muhammad (sa), we learn that there is nothing wrong with the girl’s side offering proposal. If the conduct pleases you, and they are righteous; marry your daughters, sisters and even divorced/widowed aunts and mothers to them. Make Dua and also make an effort to help that Dua be answered. A beautiful Dua that we learn in Surah Al-Qasas is:
رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ
“…and said: My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!” (Al-Qasas 28:24)
May Allah (swt) answer our prayers and grant us peace. Ameen.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)
Like other special occasions in Islam (Jummah and Eid), the Nikah ceremony too is marked by a Khutbah, in accordance with the practice of our beloved Prophet (sa).The Nikah sermon is an essential part of every Muslim wedding. However, unfortunately, women rarely get to hear it, and the men who do hear it seldom understand the meaning.
Whatever the Prophet (sa) did or said had a purpose behind it. The Khutbah of Nikah is not just a ritualistic repetition of a few words. This simple, concise, and yet profound sermon contains a message for all those who are involved in the making of a new family: the bride, the groom, and their respective parents and siblings.
Let us, as parents, ponder over and extract lessons pertaining to the marriage of our children.
From the Lips of Our Beloved (sa):
“Praise be to Allah (swt). We seek His help and His forgiveness, and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allah (swt) guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah (swt) leaves astray can be guided by no one. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah (swt), and I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is His slave and Messenger.
O you who believe! Fear Allah (swt), as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah (swt). (Al-Imran 3:102)
O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah (swt), through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah (swt) is ever an All-Watcher over you. (An-Nisa 4:1)
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah (swt) and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth.” (Al-Ahzab 33:70) (Nasai and Abu Dawood)
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Being a believer means being really strong in belief. We see the example in the stories of the Prophets (as). Each time that they were tried by the opponents, they stood firm in their Iman. Later, it was these firm believers who came out victorious.
Moosa (as) vs. Pharaoh
When Prophet Moosa (as) spoke to Pharaoh about Allah (swt), Pharaoh threatened to get him imprisoned. Prophet Moosa (as) argued, “Musa (Moses) said: Even if I bring you something manifest (and convincing)?” (Ash-Shuara 26:30)
Pharaoh denied his prophet hood and called him a magician. Learned and skilled magicians were called to unveil Prophet Moosa’s (as) magic. The magicians arrived and asked if there was any reward for them. Pharaoh promised them a close companionship. So they threw their ropes and their staffs and said, “So they threw their ropes and their sticks, and said: By the might of Firaun (Pharaoh), it is we who will certainly win!” (Ash-Shuara 26:44)
When Moosa (as) threw his staff and it devoured their ropes and staffs, they fell down in prostration to Allah (swt) and said, “Saying: We believe in the Lord of the ‘Alamin .The Lord of Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron).” (Ash-Shuara 26:47-48)
Allah (swt) boosted up the Iman of magicians
Moments ago these skilled magicians were testifying their loyalty to Pharaoh, but upon seeing the truth, they immediately surrendered. For the tyrant, it was an unbelievable situation; hence he threatened them, “Firaun (Pharaoh) said: You have believed in him before I give you leave. Surely, he indeed is your chief, who has taught you magic! So verily, you shall come to know. Verily, I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you all.” (Ash-Shuara 26:49)
However, this threat landed on deaf ears. One sincere prostration to Allah (swt) had filled their hearts with so much peace and strength that they replied, “They said: No harm! Surely, to our Lord (Allah) we are to return; Verily! We really hope that our Lord will forgive us our sins, as we are the first of the believers (in Musa (Moses) and in the Monotheism which he has brought from Allah)” (Ash-Shuara 26:50-51). In other words, “Do what you want to do. We will return to our Lord, anyway whether you kill us or we die a natural death.”
Sincere prostration to Allah (swt) and firm belief in Him works wonders
In the morning, the magicians came in a state of shirk and in the evening they died as martyrs; earning Paradise for themselves. When Allah (swt) desires to guide someone He makes it happen. Let us never lose our hope in Him. The magicians after prostrating to Allah (swt) hoped that He will forgive them. They trusted their sincere submission will result in their forgiveness. We perform a lot of prostrations throughout the day. Let us not turn them into a mere ritual. Let us strive to be humble in our prayers with our hearts connected to Allah (swt) hoping He will forgive us for our intentional and unintentional sins. Insha’Allah!
Seek refuge in Allah (swt)
There are people of hope and there are people of despair. After this incident of the magicians, Moosa (as) had to rescue the Children of Prophet Yaqoob (as) from the tyranny of Pharaoh. He fled with them only to later halt near the mighty sea. His people complained, “And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Musa (Moses) said: We are sure to be overtaken.” (Ash-Shuara 26:61)
Prophet Moosa (as), on the other hand, had firm faith that Allah (swt) would show him the way out. In our lives when challenges arrive, the first reaction we display is that of despair. We tell ourselves “now there is no way out of this calamity” or “I am doomed”. While we are still lost in our thoughts and complaints, Allah (swt) inspires our hearts to see the way out. He tests us and then guides us. Moosa’s (as) words were, “Moosa (Moses) said: Nay, verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me.” (Ash-Shuara 26:62)
Do we have the same conviction? It is He Who guides, helps, protects and rescues His servants from calamities. When tested, call out to Him for nothing is impossible for Allah (swt).
Ibrahim (as) – born to be Allah’s (swt) friend
Another Iman-inspiring story found in Surah Ash-Shuara is that of prophet Ibrahim (as), who had fought Shirk, ever since he was a young boy. He refused to worship what his community worshipped.
He said, “Verily! They are enemies to me, save the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists); Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me; And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life (again); and Who, I hope will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense, (the Day of Resurrection).” (Ash-Shuara 26:77-82) Such was the state of his conviction!
After acknowledging countless favours of Allah (swt), he makes a Dua, “My Lord! Bestow Hukman (religious knowledge, right judgment of the affairs and Prophethood) on me, and join me with the righteous; And grant me an honourable mention in later generations.” (Ash-Shuara 26:83-84).
Was this Dua answered? Absolutely! Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) name is mentioned each time we send salutations and blessings on Prophet Muhammad (sa) in Salat (prayer). The Station of Ibrahim (as) in Makkah reminds us of his great service and sacrifice for the sake of Allah (swt). The Sai that the pilgrims make at Safa and Marwa and the sacrifice on Eid-ul-Adha are some of the things related to him. May Allah (swt) resurrect us with him. Ameen.
For the Day of Resurrection, Prophet Ibrahim (as) asked, “And disgrace me not on the Day when (all the creatures) will be resurrected; The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allah a clean heart.” (Ash-Shuara 26:87-89) Despite being an excellent example of a submissive slave, he was still concerned about disgrace on that Day. Subhan’Allah!
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)
Long ago, in the land of Egypt lived a man known as Pharaoh, who disobeyed all of Allah’s (swt) commands; so much so that he started to call himself God. Allah (swt) sent Moosa (as) with the message of Tawheed, to warn Pharaoh to return to worshipping Allah (swt). We enter this story to see a battle between truth and falsehood being played out by a person from Pharaoh’s family. This believer is eloquent; he tries to show people that the truth will always prevail. He presents logical opinions; while reminding Pharaoh, Haman and Korah that the life of comfort and authority that they are enjoying, will come to an end. They will suffer a punishment from Allah (swt) like others have experienced before them.
The Elements in the Story
Believer: He is the person who is a part of Pharaoh’s household, who has embraced the message of Moosa (as), but has kept it secret.
Pharaoh: The king of Egypt who calls himself God; he and Moosa (as) grew up together in the palace.
Haman: A verse in Surah Ghafir represents Haman as a person who Pharaoh trusts; He is also in charge of building projects in Egypt, which is why he is asked to build a tower that reaches the Heavens.
Korah: He is a rich person from the Banu Israel and becomes arrogant due to his wealth and position in Pharaoh’s court. He is also present during this debate.
“And indeed we sent Moosa with Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), and a manifest authority…” (Ghafir 40:23-24) So Moosa (as) comes to Pharaoh’s court with the intention of guiding his childhood friend toward Allah (swt). Moosa (as) has the people and the court in awe since he has the power of truth. However, with the entire court, all the elite, the magicians and the common people are watching these three deny Allah (swt) and call Moosa (as) a sorcerer- just to safeguard their position for they felt the truth threatened Pharaoh, Haman and Korah!
“…to Pharaoh, Hâmân and Qârûn (Korah), but they called (him): A sorcerer, a liar!” (Ghafir 40:24)
The people are not convinced by what Pharaoh says. They are starting to believe in Moosa (as). Hence, like any other tyrant, Pharaoh ordered, “then, when He brought them the Truth from us, they said: “Kill the sons of those who believe with Him and let their women live”, but the plots of disbelievers are nothing but errors!” (Ghafir 40:25)
The magicians recognized the truth and are killed; now Pharaoh is threatening to kill anyone else who sides with Moosa (as). Recall this was the same plan that had been used when Moosa (as) was a baby, but Allah (swt) is the best of planners and He saved Moosa (as).
So Pharaoh tells the people to let him take care of the problem. And that he is going to do what is best for them.
“Pharaoh said: Leave me to kill Moosa, and let him call his Lord! I fear that He may change your religion, or that He may cause mischief to appear in the land! Moosa said: Verily, I seek refuge in My Lord and your Lord from every arrogant who believes not in the Day of Reckoning!” (Ghafir 40:26-27)
At this point when everyone is quiet, the hero of our story starts his speech. He wants to convince the people that murdering someone just because of their belief in one God is preposterous. “And a believing man of Pharaoh’s family, who hid his faith said: Would you kill a man because he says: My Lord is Allah, and he has come to you with clear signs from your Lord? And if he is a liar, upon him will be (the sin of) his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of that (calamity) wherewith he threatens you will befall on you….” (Ghafir 40:28)
What a beautiful argument he puts forth. If Moosa is telling the truth, then you should believe in him or else the punishment will destroy you. But if he is not, then the sin is his alone, he will bear all the consequences. He is guiding them to a win/win situation with a warning, “Allah guides not one who is a Musrif (a polytheist, or a murderer who shed blood without a right, or those who commit great sins, oppressor, transgressor), a liar.” (Ghafir 40:28)
Now, he reminds the people and the court that should Allah’s (swt) wrath befall them when none can save them? Thus, they should be thankful to Allah (swt). “O my people! Yours is the kingdom this day, you are uppermost in the land. But who will save us from the Torment of Allah, should it befall us?”(Ghafir 40:29)
Pharaoh sees that this man is changing people’s minds and hearts, he interjects trying to brainwash the people, “Pharaoh said: “I show you only that which I see (correct), and I guide you only to the path of right policy!” (Ghafir 40:29)
The man reminds the people of the Prophets that have come before Moosa (as), he reminds them of Nuh (as) and Yusuf (as). “And he who believed said: O my people! Verily, I fear for you a fate like that day (of disaster) of the Confederates (of old)!” (Ghafir 40:30)
Well, Pharaoh cannot let someone steal the limelight, he uses drama, creates doubt. “And Pharaoh said: O Haman! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways. The ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the God of Moosa but verily, I think him to be a liar.” (Ghafir 40:36-37) This is Pharaoh’s plan to convince people he is fair, he is willing to test Moosa’s (as) claim. He even claims that Moosa (as) is a liar, but he, Pharaoh, is still giving him a chance. Satan has influenced Pharaoh, so he thinks he is taking steps to maintain peace and help others. He is blinded by his pride.
Faced with such stupidity and arrogance, the believer has no choice but to make a final plea to Pharaoh, the noblemen and the people.
“And the man who believed said: O my people! Follow me; I will guide you to the way of right conduct.O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever…And O my people! How is it that I call you to salvation while you call me to the Fire…And you will remember what I am telling you, and my affair I leave it to Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Seer of (His) slaves.” (Ghafir 40:39-44)
The believer directly challenges Pharaoh by saying that he is the one who is guiding them towards salvation, not Pharaoh. The argument is now over, he has declared the truth and it is up to each individual to decide which path he wants to follow.
(Adapted with permission for “Hiba” by Tasneem Vali.)