Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives (Part 3)

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Verse 4

“Verily! Those who call you from behind the dwellings, most of them have no sense.”

This verse was revealed for the Bedouins. Understand that the life of the Bedouins in the desert is very rough and very harsh. They came to the Prophet (sa) to understand some matters of the religion. At the time, the Prophet (sa) was inside his private chambers. Instead of exhibiting patience, they started to call him out from outside. This verse is admonishing them for their impatience. Note it gives no excuse for their behaviour. It simply says that they “have no sense”. As Muslims, we are obliged to behave responsibly and conduct ourselves as individuals who use their intellect, not as those who have no sense.

Verse 5

“And if they had patience till you could come out to them, it would have been better for them. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

One can imagine that the Bedouins, for whom the previous verse was revealed, must have felt terrible that a verse came directly to admonish them. Allah (swt) is comforting them here. He mentions that He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. If the aforementioned acts of impatience were done out of ignorance, He will forgive. However, now that the warning and the solution is clear, one must not fall prey to impatience. The solution is to repent for previous behaviour and reform one’s ways to ensure one is patient and respectful towards the Prophet (sa).

Verse 6

“O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.”

Consider whom this verse is addressing: “O you who believe” or the believers. Essentially, this means that the instructions that follow are for the believers. Whoever follows these commands will be considered as a believer. Question is: Believe in what? Answer: Believe in Allah (swt) and believe in the commands He has given.

Let’s analyze the verse in more detail. “…a rebellious evil person…” – who is he? The Arabic word is ‘Fasiq’. Literally, Fasiq is derived from the word Fisq, which refers to a date, whose skin is peeling off. It essentially refers to a person, who has deviated from the right path. People can be guilty of either major Fisq or minor Fisq. Those, who engage in the latter, are still considered to be believers. However, those, who do major Fisq, are not considered to be Muslims, because they have crossed all the limits set by Islam. A Fasiq can exercise Fisq in terms of behaviour (calling out to the Prophet [sa] from outside his chambers) or in terms of religion.

Now what happens if someone comes to you and brings you some news? You have to:

  • Analyze the person, who has brought the news;
  • Analyze the content of the news.

People usually go to extremes in following the two-pronged approach. They either refuse to accept any news from the disbelievers, or they accept it without question. True believers take the middle approach. If the person bringing the news is not a believer, verify it and if needed, discard it without giving it a second thought.

If a believer brings some news to you, again, you have to analyze the content. What is this news about? If the person is telling you about someone committing adultery, you immediately discard the news. This is because of the condition that whoever accuses one of adultery has to bring four witnesses, and if this testimony proves to be false, the person bringing the news will be lashed 80 times. Moreover, this individual’s testimony will not be accepted ever again and he will be termed as a Fasiq.

The word used for news in the verse is Naba. Naba refers to major news that has a great impact. Such is the impact of the news that it can affect one’s hearts and one’s relations with others. This is why verification of this news is extremely important, before acting upon it. If one acts upon the news without verification, one falls in the category of being judgemental. One’s attitude towards the other person starts changing. This takes root, until the two people concerned part ways totally.

What are the specific types of news that you do need to verify?

  • News that concerns you directly. If something does not concern you, it doesn’t bother or affect you. Hence, you can easily dismiss it.
  • News that affects you. This type of news creates doubt in your heart about someone close to you. You have to verify that this news is true, before you act upon it. Consider an example: your friend tells you she saw your husband with a lady at a mall at 11:00 pm. When your husband comes home, you will, of course, ask him about it. Suppose he replies he has no idea what you are talking about. He has arrived straight home from a long meeting. You accept this and leave the rest to Allah (swt). Maybe your friend saw someone else. Maybe she did this on purpose to create a rift in your house.

Note: You have to verify with a clean heart and clear intention. What would happen if, in the above example, you start accusing your husband the minute he sets foot inside the house, without giving him a chance to explain? What if you would start checking his cell phone, when he is not around? If you do this, then it simply indicates that you totally believe what your friend said. Since you believe without verifying, Allah (swt) will make your doubts seem as reality. Remember that incorrect ways of verification lead to more doubts. Your heart should not take any sides without verification.

The wisdom behind verification is to ensure you do not end up harming anyone emotionally, out of ignorance. Harming emotionally means backbiting, giving a cold shoulder, discussing negatively with others, etc. You don’t know the true story because you heard only one side and believed it whole-heartedly. Remember that every story has two sides. If you never heard the other side, it means you judged the person whose news was communicated to you, while that poor person has no idea what is being spread about him or her. What if you would later find out that the news was false? Remorse and regret would naturally follow.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) warned us about the punishments for those, who bring news and create rift/enmity between people. It is reported from Hudhaifah (rtam) that news reached him (the Prophet (sa)) that a certain man used to tell tales. Upon this, Hudhaifah (rtam) remarked: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (sa) saying: ‘The tale-bearer shall not enter Paradise.’” (Muslim)

Don’t make it your job to spread people’s news. Refrain from gossiping. Vain talk about people creates enmity and hatred. Some people do this in relation to scholars. They ask one Sheikh about a matter, and then they go to another and ask the same question. Then they quote the first Sheikh to the second one and thus create differences between them.

A very important aspect of spreading information is forwarding emails. Do you verify the content of emails before forwarding them? Are you especially careful with anecdotes and incidents from Islamic history that are written without any references? This is how this verse applies today, when there are Blackberries and Iphones in almost every hand.

Another key point is that you yourself have to be careful. Don’t put yourself in a situation, in which others get a chance to judge you. Consider the following Hadeeth:

Narrated by Ali bin Al-Husain (rtam): Safiya (rtaf), the wife of the Prophet (sa), told me that she went to Allah’s Apostle (sa) to visit him in the Masjid, while he was in Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. She had a talk with him for a while. Then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet (sa) accompanied her. When they reached the gate of the Masjid, opposite the door of Umm Salamah (rtaf), two Ansari men were passing by and they greeted Allah’s Apostle (sa). He told them: “Do not run away!” And said: “She is (my wife) Safiya bint Huyai.” Both of them said: “Subhan’Allah! (How dare we think of any evil), O Allah’s Apostle?” And they felt it. The Prophet (sa) said (to them): “Satan reaches everywhere in the human body, as blood reaches in it (everywhere in one’s body). I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds.” (Bukhari)

As we can gauge from the aforementioned Hadeeth, it is better to clarify before you are questioned.

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives (Final Part)

5 Surah Hujurat in our lives“Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful. Say: Will you inform Allah about your religion? While Allah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is All-Aware of everything. They regard as favour upon you (O Muhammad) that they have embraced Islam. Say: Count not your Islam as a favour upon me. Nay, but Allah has conferred a favour upon you, that He has guided you to the faith, if you indeed are true. Verily, Allah knows the unseen of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.” (Al-Hujurat 49:15-18)

After warning the Bedouins about their unacceptable and disliked actions, Allah (swt), being the Most Merciful, shows us through this story, a way to repent and atone for our arrogance in thinking that we have done Allah (swt) a favour by being Muslims.

 

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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

hujurat

 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.

QuranInsights1

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:

QuranInsights

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)

Hujurat

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.