Surah Al-Hujurat in our Lives – Part 9

hujurat 9“The Bedouins say: ‘We believe.’ Say: You believe not but you only say: ‘We have surrendered (in Islam)’, for faith has not yet entered Your hearts. But if you obey Allah and his Messenger (sa), He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

This Surah is a piece of legislation for a comprehensive system that will result in an ideal society. Verse 14 deals with the tribes that converted to Islam – those that had an arrogant attitude. They felt entitled to receive favours from the Prophet (sa) because they had not fought the Muslims but accepted Islam peacefully. They thought the Prophet (sa) ‘owed them’.

Scholars point to tribal groups, like Muzainah, Juhainah, Aslam, Ashja, Ghifar, and Bani Asad bin Khuzaimah in particular. We find in Sayyid Qutb’s “In the Shade of the Quran”: “The first of these verses is said to have been revealed in relation to the Bedouins of the Asad tribe who, as soon as they accepted Islam, boasted by saying: ‘We have attained faith.’ Allah (swt) wanted to show them the truth of what was in their hearts when they said this, stating that they only embraced Islam in submission, while true faith had not touched their hearts or souls.”

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Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives (Part 8)

22“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqun (pious)]. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Al-Hujurat 48:13)

In Ayah 13, we look at what Allah (swt) has commanded to all of humanity, not just believers. The call is to every member of society – a general rule for everyone on how to interact with each other or groups comprised of each other. Islam gives equal respect to everyone because, as humans, we are all Allah’s (swt) creations.

شَعَبَ – The same word is used for coral reef in the Arabic language. This word has two opposite meanings – separation (branching out) or connection (at the base), i.e., starting from one point and separating out or starting from branches and gathering into a single point. Example: From Adam (as) and Hawwa come every human being or all human beings go back to one father and one mother. All nations branch out into tribes and also further into smaller family groups. They all look different, as every person is unique based on their skin color, facial features and other characteristics. There is no concept of racism in Islam; it is not tolerated by Allah (swt). Allah (swt) created everyone – believers and disbelievers – equal. Think about it:

  1. Why do you put people down?
  2. Why are you proud of yourself?
  3. Why do you fight people?
  4. Why do you not see everyone as equal?
  5. Why do you differentiate among people?
  6. Do you have anything to do with the creation of another being?

Each tribe speaks a certain language or has a certain financial/educational status; Allah (swt) chose our nation and tribe for us. We think we know best, but only Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) know best. The true blessing is that of Iman. Why should we degrade others due to something they have not and cannot choose? This Ayah removes discrimination, stressing that no one is better than another. The point is that we benefit from each other’s cultures and learn from shared virtues. The fact that we are born in a certain country or into a certain family does not give us the right to be arrogant due to heritage. This was Allah’s (swt) will alone; our existence is not our choice.

Preserving the bonds of kinship (Silatur-Rahim) has significant importance in Islam. Getting to know each other is vital for the success of societies. We should know who our relatives are in order to appreciate the family structure and enjoy good relationships with our kin. Being aware of relationships among families, tribes, and nations creates empathy and love within that structure.

Finally the closest to Allah (swt) and the most valued by Him is one who has Taqwa (piety). The criteria are not family association tribal links or skin colour – the defining factor is Taqwa. Only Allah (swt) knows what is in someone’s heart; only He can decide who has Taqwa. Your tribe, nation or family will not give you honour in front of Allah (swt). Your tribe, nation, or family name will not bring you closer to Allah (swt). Only Taqwa is the measuring scale for your relationship with Allah (swt). We are warned that we must not be judgemental about another person. Prophet Muhammad (sa) chose Bilal ibn Rabah (rtam), a former slave, for calling out the Adhan. He did not choose anyone from his family or other Arab Sahabah; no one questioned him – they all simply accepted his decision. This is what our attitude should be like; if Allah (swt) chooses someone, He knows best. It is not because of what we see in them and how we judge them. Hence, the Ayah ends with “Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

Allah’s (swt) knowledge encompasses everything – the apparent/hidden, future/present, possibilities/impossibilities, seen/unseen – nothing is hidden from Him. Allah (swt) is All-Aware of the “hidden” things – even the small things hidden in your heart. When used with the word العليم, additional depth and nuances are added to the meaning. Allah (swt) is All-Aware of things deep inside, hidden, secret, and unseen. He knows everybody’s secrets and so He is the only One Who can judge and assess Taqwa.

Keep in mind that this command and the attributes of Allah (swt) mentioned in Ayah 13 come after verses that talk about backbiting, calling others hurtful names and making false accusations, or, in other words, all the things a person uses to ridicule others. Allah (swt) now tells us that we are not qualified to judge. During the Farewell Sermon (Hajj), the Prophet (sa) advised the Ummah that the only redeemable quality on the Day of Judgement will be a person’s level of piety in front of Allah (swt) not who he was in life, his family name, or his connections; none of the latter things will benefit him. The test is Taqwa, and only Allah (swt) has knowledge of who the best is.

  1. If a person thinks very highly of his family name or status, it will lead him to transgress the boundaries defined in this Surah. He will become proud and arrogant.
  2. On Judgement Day, one of the questions that will be asked is: “Where are the pious?”
  3. The righteous will be honoured in front of everyone on the Day of Judgement.

We should focus on building our own character and safeguarding our Iman.

Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali (Canada)

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives – Part 7


 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah (swt). Verily, Allah (swt) is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

This verse teaches us how to deal with people who are not present with us. It addresses the believers and points out three things.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ

  1. Avoid suspicion. ‘Ijtanibu’ means ‘to avoid or abstain from something’. Allah (swt) orders us to stay away from ‘much’ of suspicion. Suspicion is not totally forbidden because doubt can sometimes be good. The word ‘Dhan’ in Arabic actually means ‘to assume or think’. Therefore, ‘Dhan Al-Khayr’ means to think well about fellow Muslims. You may not be sure about them, but you should think well about them from what appears to you. This is allowed and also recommended. You deal with them, according to what you see of them; do not worry about their heart and what they may be hiding from you.

Then there is also ‘Dhan Al Su’ which is thinking badly of people. There are two parts to this: one is allowed/recommended and the other is forbidden.

  1. Allowed: Sometimes you see that people are negative and do questionable actions; in this case, it is allowed to doubt and be suspicious of them. For example, a person is just standing there and staring at you; in order to protect yourself, you have to be wary and suspicious of the person’s intentions.
  2. Forbidden: Someone is doing something positive but you still doubt their actions. For example, you see a person praying, yet you doubt his or her faith and say that he or she is praying only to show off. This is Haram.

وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا

  1. Do not spy. Spying is secret listening or looking at what is meant to be concealed from you. The verb is mentioned in plural form; hence, it is collectively addressed to all the believers. This starts from Dhan. The person who has suspicions will then keep thinking about it, until he or she starts to spy.

Everybody has defects or imperfections that need to stay covered; we should not uncover these private matters and invade people’s space.

The Messenger (sa) told his companions not to bring him news of what people say and do, because he wanted his heart to be pure when he met them. His advice was to deal with people in the way they appeared.

When you spy on people, your judgement becomes clouded and you cannot view them the same way anymore. The Messenger (sa) dealt with the hypocrites as normal Muslims, based only on how they appeared.

وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا

  1. Do not backbite. Think before you speak. If someone backbites in front of you, be sure that he or she will backbite about you. Therefore, you cannot trust a person who talks about people behind their backs.

There are permissible situations for backbiting, such as at the time of a marriage proposal. In such a case, if you know the person about whom somebody is asking, then you are obliged to tell them the facts and the absolute truth that you know about him or her. For example, if a man is stingy or has a temper, you have to mention it.

Backbiting is permissible also in the case of an Amanah (trust). For example, if an oppressed person speaks to the authorities about an oppressor, he is allowed to speak the truth and uncover all the evil things the oppressor has done. Likewise, a person can relate a situation to his sincere friend and ask for Naseeha and advice; however, care must be taken not to share more information than necessary.

At the time of the Messenger (sa), there was a woman whose husband was very stingy and would not feed her and her son. She went to him for advice and he asked her to take what was sufficient for her and her son. She did not take more than what she needed for sustenance. (Bukhari)

A Parable about Backbiting

Allah (swt) draws a picture in the Quran for two major sins, in order for us to understand the seriousness of the matter and how dangerous these sins are for us. Allah (swt) says:

أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ

“Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting).”

The four keywords to note here are: eat, flesh, dead, and brother. A person eats with desire and out of hunger. The image of a person eating flesh is disgusting in itself, even more so, if he is eating the flesh of a dead human, and that too of his dead brother. Moreover, it is human nature to dislike dead bodies; so how can a person relish the flesh of a dead brother?

Allah (swt) uses the word ‘brother’ because there is a relationship between you and the person you are talking about: he is your brother in Islam and this is a relationship established among you by Allah (swt). You are insulting the relationship that Allah (swt) has placed between you; this means you are mocking and insulting Allah (swt).

ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Fear Allah (swt) and repent, because He is the One who accepts a person’s repentance and is Merciful.”

There’s a combination of hope and fear in this verse, which draws parallels with how a Mutaqqi is. He is fearful of Allah’s (swt) punishment and, therefore, eager to rush to Allah’s (swt) mercy.

Transcribed and adapted by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah).


Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives (Part 6)

Verse 11

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

“O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).” (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

In the previous verses, we are told to fix societal problems, in order to attain unity in Islam. In verses 11 and 12, Allah (swt) has forbidden and warned us about six common behaviours of people, which we often take lightly.

  1. Don’t mock one another. People may differ in their appearance, language and status. Allah (swt) has given to people different levels of knowledge, beauty and rank. He has raised some people above others and subjected them to their service. In Surah Al-Zukhruf, it means ‘subjected to’. It does not mean ‘mocking’.

Surah Al-Hujurat is telling us not to mock anyone or make fun of them. We must not be proud, arrogant, jealous, hateful and malicious, all of which comprise sicknesses of the heart. In Surah Al-Isra (17:21), Allah (swt) says that the differences in this life do not mean anything; rather, they are tests. We need to accept the differences and change our perspective of perceiving people.

If you are mocking someone because he or she is poor or ugly, who put you in your elevated situation? A believer understands Allah’s (swt) decree and accepts it. By mocking Allah’s (swt) creation, it is as though you are mocking Allah (swt). Islam focuses on people’s feelings, and no one likes to be mocked.

It may be that the person being made fun of is better than the one who is mocking. It can be in the Dunya or Akhirah.

  1. When Allah (swt) says ‘Qawm’, it encompasses men and women; however, He still mentions women separately, because women are more subject to such behaviour than men. Here we see that Allah (swt) deals with men and women according to their nature.

This verse is for every Muslim; however, the students of knowledge and Daees have to be extra careful, as because of their behaviour, people may start doubting the teachings of Islam. A student of knowledge should not make fun of other’s mistakes; instead, he needs to learn how to guide people in a kind and loving manner.

If certain individuals are not praying or dressing according to the Islamic guidelines, you can gently advise them, but never think that you are better than them by lowering their image in your heart. You can never know what level of faith they may attain. They may end up being better Muslims than you.

  1. Do not insult one another. ‘Lamz’ means ‘to insult, defame, find fault in somebody’ by your words. A person’s physical features can be described, if they are lost and need to be found. ‘Hamz’ means ‘to insult’ by your actions. This includes hand gestures, imitation.

Why does Allah (swt) say ‘Anfusakum’?

  1. If you insult a Muslim, you have insulted your own self, because Muslims are like a wall, like one body. They give strength to each other and do not hurt or weaken one another.
  2. If you insult someone, they will insult you in return. The other person will not keep quiet.

Do not insult each other by using nicknames (‘Laqab’). Nicknames can be good or bad, and we should call people by names that they like to hear. Using abusive language and hurtful names is not part of Islam.

These three aforementioned behaviours are forbidden. All of these are actions of the tongue; however, there is something in the heart that triggers such words and actions. It is important for mothers to teach humility to their children and remind them that all the bounties they have are from Allah (swt).

If you keep up such behaviour after having believed in Allah (swt), you will become a Fasiq. Being a Fasiq has many implications. Such a person cannot lead prayers and a testimony is not accepted from him. The person is required to repent from these major sins or else, he or she will face the following:

  • Darkness in the grave.
  • Darkness on the Day of Judgement,
  • Darkness on the bridge of Sirat.

One needs to repent to Allah (swt) and rectify his affairs with the people he has wronged.

Summary of the six characteristics we have been warned against in Verses 11 and 12:

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives

Transcribed and adapted for “Hiba” magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah).


Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives – Part 4

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives

Verse 7

“And know that, among you there is the Messenger of Allah (sa). If he were to obey you (i.e. follow your opinions and desires) in much of the matter, you would surely be in trouble, but Allah has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts, and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger [sa]) hateful to you. These! They are the rightly guided ones.” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

In the previous verse, it was mentioned that whenever someone brings any news, we have to verify it before accepting it. In this verse, we are being informed about an exception. If Prophet Muhammad (sa) brings any news, those around him had to accept it without any process of verification. Likewise, if he did not practice something, then it was not supposed to be done either. ‘Among you’ in the above verse refers to the Sahabah, who were around the Prophet (sa).

Sometimes, the Sahabah wanted to perform extra worship. For instance, once in Ramadan, the Prophet (sa) prayed Qiyam-ul-Lail with the Sahabah. He prayed for a part of the night and then stopped. The Sahabah wanted to perform some more, so they went to the Prophet (sa) and asked, if it was possible to continue the prayer for the whole night. The Prophet (sa) informed them that the one, who has prayed the full prayer behind the Imam, will be rewarded for standing the entire night in prayer. This was his way of saying no to the Sahabah’s request. If he followed every suggestion that those around him gave, it would surely be troublesome and difficult for them. The Prophet (sa) was very kind. He could have heeded the suggestion given to him, but he did not.

The Sahabah were very interested in the kind of worship that was done by the Prophet (sa). Consider the following Hadeeth:

Anas (rtam) has reported: “Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (sa) to inquire about the worship of the Prophet (sa). When they were informed, they considered their worship to be insignificant and said: ‘Where are we in comparison with the Prophet (sa), while Allah (swt) has forgiven his past sins and future sins?’ One of them said: ‘I shall offer Salah all night long.’ Another said: ‘I shall observe Saum (fasting) continuously and shall not break it.’ Another said: ‘I shall abstain from women and shall never marry.’ The Prophet (sa) came to them and asked: “Are you the people, who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah (swt) more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fast and break it; I perform Salah and sleep at night and take wives. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This Hadeeth instructs us to do what the Prophet (sa) did, and to leave what the Prophet (sa) did not do. One should not think that they can do anything more than the Prophet (sa) – it is not possible.

Remember that the chains of narration of Ahadeeth were verified and scrutinized before being accepted. If an individual in the chain of narration was discovered to be a liar, no more Ahadeeth from him were accepted. This is again because no one was supposed to add anything or delete anything from the sayings of the Prophet (sa).

Now that we no longer have the Prophet (sa) among us, this command applies to us in terms of accepting Ahadeeth and Sunnah. We cannot give our own opinion on the Ahadeeth.

Note the reaction of the Sahabah, when the Prophet (sa) did not accept their suggestion. What did they do? Did the Prophet’s (sa) rejection of their suggestion turn them away from Islam? Of course not! It did not affect them in any way, because faith was firmly entrenched in their hearts. They were happy and content with Islam itself, and they accepted anything and everything that was done by the Prophet (sa). Their hearts were stable upon firm faith.

For us, the lesson is to remain firm upon faith even when we are overcome with trials and tribulations. Let’s move on to the next part of the verse, which states:

“…Allah has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts…” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

The Arabic word for endearment or love is Hubb. The following diagram explains the meaning of Hubb.


Essentially, it means that Allah (swt) puts faith in your heart and gradually enables you to love it. You cannot force your heart to love Islam or the faith. It’s only from Allah (swt), Who makes you love the faith!

Love in your heart is like a seed. You plant a small seed in your heart. Then Allah (swt) nurtures it and enables it to grow gradually, till it becomes big and beautiful with fruits and flowers. One needs to take good care of faith in the heart, similar to the way we take care of seeds in the garden. Our hearts need to be watered with the rain of knowledge and guidance, so that they can blossom into a fruit-bearing tree. One should also supplicate: “O Allah, make my heart love the faith.” Ameen!

Acceptance or belief in the heart plus good deeds based on the five pillars of Islam highlight the extent of one’s faith. Faith grows and nurtures inside the heart, but is manifested through one’s actions. One should worry, first and foremost, about one’s heart. Once the heart is on track and the love in one heart’s is well-nourished, the rest (in terms of action) will follow.

What urges the believer (because all verses of this Surah are addressed to the believers) to follow all the rules given by Allah (swt) in this Surah?

  • Loving the faith.
  • Beautifying the faith in the heart.

We need to thank Allah (swt) for all His bounties and provisions. When Allah (swt) enables you to do good, you need to be grateful to Allah (swt) for putting you in situations that He loves, for example, praying. When you feel that good deeds or acts of worship are difficult for you, this should make you fear that Allah (swt) did not want the deeds from you or would not accept them from you. You need to supplicate a lot. Even if you have the love of faith in your heart, always make Dua. You never know when your heart can change! You need the following triangle:


Faith is a bird with a head and two wings. When you have all three, you can fly to Allah (swt). Your worship can fly to Allah (swt).

When Allah (swt) plants the seed of love for something in your heart, He also plants the seed of dislike for the opposite of the same. For example, music is not allowed, so you slowly begin to love listening to the Quran and beneficial lectures. At the same time, Allah (swt) plants the seed of hatred of music in your heart. Gradually, your love for music will turn into hate and become love for the good words!

“…and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger (sa) hateful to you…” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

When Allah (swt) puts love in the heart, no one can remove it. Likewise, when He puts hate in the heart, no one can affect it. Allah (swt) puts the hatred of the following:

  • Disbelief (in terms of the heart),
  • Wickedness (in terms of actions),
  • Disobedience (in terms of actions).

The opposite of faith is not one word. It consists of three words. Those who love faith hate disbelief + wickedness + disobedience.

“…These! They are the rightly guided ones.” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

Allah (swt) magnifies and honours them by referring to them as the only ones, who are taking the path of the rightly-guided. They love their faith, acquire knowledge and then act upon this knowledge. This entire Surah highlights deeds and acts of worship, along with behaviour and mannerisms to be implemented in the society. Its instructions are meant to be understood and implemented.

Verse 8

“(This is) a Grace from Allah and His Favour. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Al-Hujurat 49:8)

‘Favour’ means blessings, bonuses, bounties and favours. This should make a believer humble. One should not feel proud. Everything we do is a favour from Allah (swt). Some blessings for the believers include even the material things in life that will help them achieve Paradise, like children and money. Believers use these things to attain success in the Hereafter.

The last part of the verse specifies some of Allah’s (swt) names. He is All-Knowing. He knows who deserves what. Also, because He is the most Wise, He does everything according to perfect knowledge and wisdom.

Surah Hujurat in our Lives (Part 2)


Verse 2

“O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet (sa), nor speak aloud to him in talk, as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds should be rendered fruitless, while you perceive not.

This verse specifies the special manners to be practiced with Prophet Muhammad (sa) and includes the following instruction: Don’t raise your voice above the Prophet’s (sa) voice.

This addresses two categories of people: those living during his lifetime and those who came after them (including us). To the Sahabah, the instruction is: don’t talk louder than the Prophet (sa) or don’t talk over him. For us today, the command is to refrain from making our speech more valuable than or over-riding the words of the Prophet (sa) (his Sunnah).

There are two reasons for the revelation of this verse, as recorded in Bukhari. One is the story of Thabit ibn Qais (rtam), and another is the story of Abu Bakr (rtam) and Umar (rtam).

Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abi Mulaykah said: “The two righteous ones, Abu Bakr (rtam) and Umar (rtam), almost earned destruction when they raised their voices before the Prophet (sa), who was receiving the delegation of Bani Tamim. One of them recommended Al-Aqra ibn Habis, the member of the Banu Mujashi, while the other recommended another man. Nafi (a sub-narrator) said: ‘I don’t remember his name.’ Abu Bakr (rtam) said to Umar (rtam): ‘You only wanted to contradict me,’ while Umar (rtam) said: ‘I did not intend to contradict you.’ Their voices then became loud; thereupon Allah, the Exalted, sent down this Ayah. Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr (rtam) said: ‘After that, Umar’s (rtam) voice became so low that the Messenger of Allah (sa) had to ask him to repeat what he had said, so that he could understand what he was saying to him.’”

Bukhari also recorded that Anas ibn Malik (rtam) said: “The Prophet (sa) missed Thabit bin Qays and a man said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I will find out about his news.’ That man went to Thabit and found him sitting at home with his head lowered and asked him: ‘What is the matter?’ Thabit said: ‘An evil matter!’ And he said that he used to raise his voice above the voice of the Prophet (sa). He feared that his good deeds would be rendered useless, and he would be among the people of the fire. The man went back to the Prophet (sa), conveyed Thabit’s statement and returned to Thabit with wonderful news. The Prophet (sa) had said: ‘Go back to him and tell him this news: you are not among the people of the fire; rather, you are among the dwellers of paradise.’”

Note: the instruction to not speak loudly is different from raising one’s voice. It means: when you want to call him, don’t do so in a loud voice. Don’t talk to him directly in an outspoken manner. Don’t converse with the Prophet (sa) like you converse with each other. If he calls you, you need to respond. You can’t expect him to respond to you whenever you want. He is the Prophet (sa) and you have to show him respect. Remember, these instructions were directed at the Sahabah, the most pious individuals!

With instructions come the warnings. What if one does not obey these instructions? The answer: their deeds will be nullified and rendered void. Like a tornado, this action will blow away all prayers, Sadaqah and Jihad.

What was the reaction of the Sahabah? After this verse was revealed, they started whispering in front of the Prophet (sa), to the extent that sometimes he could not even hear them!

Now, let’s come to us! What is the impact of this verse for us? What is it instructing us to do today? There are four aspects of obeying this verse:

1) We should not talk loudly in Masjid An-Nabawi, where the Prophet (sa) is buried. Recall the story that once after the death of the Prophet (sa), Umar ibn Al-Khattab (rtam) heard two men chattering in raised voices in the Masjid and he admonished them: “Do you know where you are standing?

From where do you come from?” It turned out these two men were from Taif. Since they were unaware of the etiquette, Umar (rtam) commanded them to talk softly in the Masjid.

2) We have to respect the Ahadeeth and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) by obeying them.

3) Appreciating the Prophet (sa) is a way of showing gratitude to Allah (swt) that He sent a Messenger (sa) to us to guide us and lead us towards the straight path.

4) Our good manners should extend towards the scholars who are teaching us. After the Prophet (sa), they are our teachers who are delivering the message of Allah (swt) to us. This respect should be in moderation – one should be careful to not elevate the status of scholars or go to extremes in following them.

After the Prophet (sa), the Sahabah assumed the role of teachers. The Tabieen used to learn from them, and they in turn, became the educators of the generation after them. In this manner, future generations graduated from the university of the Prophet (sa).

Today, we see individuals backbiting scholars. One must remember that scholars are human. They can make mistakes. However, scholars follow the same Aqeedah and Sunnah, and have knowledge from which one can benefit! The minute differences are in terms of Fiqh. Sometimes, people get enraged over a Fatwa that is not in accordance with their convenience. They use this as an excuse to spread negativity about that particular scholar. This is a very serious matter and a cause of deviation! People who spread malice in the society about scholars are usually over-ridden with jealousy, envy, following of Nafs and a desire to imitate others.

Remember: scholars are teachers and they need to be shown respect. The same warning as given above applies to all of us. If we don’t show this respect to the Prophet (sa), the pious predecessors and the sincere scholars among us today, our deeds will not be accepted. Note also that this respect needs to come from the heart. It should not be mere lip service.

To be continued in the upcoming issue of “Hiba”. Adapted by Umme Ibrahim from a workshop conducted by sister Eman of “Al-Huda Sisters”, Dubai.

Surah Hujurat in Our Lives (Part 1)

Overview, Verses 1-8:

This Surah was revealed to the best generation of Muslims. Imagine the Sahabah – they were the best of the people with a high level of faith. Yet this Surah was revealed obligating a change in their behaviour. Their hearts were inclined towards Allah (swt) with a high level of faith and certainty. However, they still harboured negative feelings towards each other. Jealousy, malice, hatred, and backbiting were still present. These issues in the society needed to be reformed. A way of living was needed now – which was sent by Allah (swt).


The teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sa) were focused to reform the Sahabah’s hearts. But now Allah was reforming their جهنم = ways. You can figure out the جهنم of an organization, school, university or organization from their students/employees – The way they interact with each other, The way they behave, their discipline, interaction, empathy towards others.

Surah Hujurat talks more about Taqwa (guarding oneself from Allah’s (swt) anger) and building faith. It also offers lessons of leadership in this Surah. Each person is a leader (at home also). The Sahabah did not lead the world/people by their sword or money – they led by their manners. Islam spread to Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asian countries through Muslim traders. Amazingly, they did not know the local languages but were still able to spread Islam through their manners and behaviours.

Verse 1

“O you who believe! Do not put (yourselves) forward before Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Verily! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Al-Hujurat 49:1)

This is a gentle address from Allah (swt) to the believers. If a person is a believer – انعطا و انعمس .Whatever Allah says (commands) and the person submits and obeys then he is a Muslim. Someone doing contrary (not submitting and obeying) indicates a low faith. Don’t – ةيهانلا لا forward or precede “Between the hand” = a phrase that means don’t put before or put forward – it doesn’t literally mean between two hands.

What did Allah (swt) forbid the believers? Don’t put anyone or anything before Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa). Before Allah (swt) mentions how to reform our manners with the people, He mentions how our manners with Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) should be like. That’s the most important manner we need to have. The other conditions follow in a proper sequence.

We the verses of the Quran personally – each verse is for each person. Don’t follow the saying, “Please don’t take it personally.” Sometimes, we say this to people when stating something general. However, our behavior with the Quran has to be the opposite! We have to take each verse personally as if Allah is directly addressing each one of us, in order to reform us and to make us better in life and worthy of Paradise.


Nothing, nothing, nothing comes before Allah (swt) and his Messenger (saw)!

Sometimes people ask for opinions in Islam. That’s not acceptable. We cannot question or ask for opinions or comments on the rules and commands of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa).We cannot have conferences or discussions regarding doctrines of Islam. Some people debate on topics of Islam, like mix gathering, and then say: Ok, Allah (swt) said this and the Messenger (sa) said this: What’s your opinion? That is not acceptable! This means we need to go behind and follow Prophet Muhammad (sa) very closely. A believer’s sole goal is to attain the pleasure of Allah (swt) and tread المستقيم صراط


We need to be conscious of Allah (swt) (ىوقت) in the following circumstances in life: While doing obligations and while abstaining from sins. Worship without love of Allah (swt) is just an exercise or duty; the heart remains detached from it. Worship should be out of love for Allah (swt) hoping for reward from Allah (swt) and fearing Allah’s (swt) punishment.


We must remember that this Surah was revealed to people who had a very high level of faith still the Shaitan could affect them. He could incite them to believe that they had a lot of knowledge, thus making them arrogant and proud like Iblees himself. Firmness or staying steadfast upon guidance is more difficult than the guidance itself! After having guidance, if you elevate yourself, and make yourself high and proud – that’s a disaster! When you know Allah (swt) is the All-Hearer, you will not put anyone before Allah. You know Allah hears everything. All-Knower: Allah (swt) also knows everything in your heart, even when you are saying something and meaning something different. This means your inside and your outside both have to be the same!

We cannot pinpoint anyone. “I know she is saying something but in her heart is something else.” This is only for Allah (swt). Only He is the All-Knower – not any human! No one can deceive Allah (swt). Consider the impact of both these names together

“I will focus on what I say and what is in my heart at the same time.”

“And there is no sin on you if you make a hint of betrothal or conceal it in yourself, Allah knows that you will remember them…” (Al-Baqarah, 2:35)

“O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he () calls you to that which will give you life, and know that Allah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e. He prevents an evil person to decide anything). And verily to Him you shall (all) be gathered.” (Al-Anfal, 8:24)

You need to respond to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) whatever they invite you/command you to do. It will make you alive! If you put anyone else’s words in front of you – they will not give you life! Opposite of life is death or destruction. You need to know that Allah (swt) will stand between you and your heart. You need to be careful. Allah (swt) standing between you and your heart means that you don’t/won’t even have control over your heart!

This Surah, will help us do the makeover that comes from the inside, and also shows on the outside, through our actions

Adapted from a workshop conducted by sister Eman of Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai.