Our Desired Goal

Image courtesy http://strategicmodularity.com/

Image courtesy http://strategicmodularity.com/

My Quran Reflections Journal – 3

Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 5 Reflection

Surah Al Baqarah (Ayahs 8-16)

Our Desired Goal

Today’s lesson revolved around the third category of people mentioned in Surah Fatihah (Ayat 7) – Ad-Duaaleen (the Munafiqun). These are those disbelievers, who went astray. They had Hidayah Ilmi (knowledge) but were deficient of Hidaya Tawfeeqi (capacity to implement the knowledge).

Some signs of such people are:

1) They try to deceive Allah (swt) and the believers and collaborate in doing so, but end up deceiving themselves.

2) They consider the Mutaqeen foolish and mock them.

3) They lie and pretend to be among the believers, but when alone with their type of people, they declare they are among them (the Shayateen).

4) They create corruption and mischief on the Earth, and, when asked not to do it, they say they’re among the rectifiers.

My mind was continuously wandering; deceptive people, liars, mockers, people who joke around and lie in their jokes, too, people who consider others foolish and think of themselves as superior, those who are pretentious and mischievous, these are the ones, whom Allah (swt) has left to transgress and such people will never be guided. These are the hypocrites that Allah (swt) refers to as Ad- Duaaleen.

I couldn’t think any further. Time for some serious retrospection – Tazkiya-e-Nafs (self analysis). I am not in a position to say anything, because I first need to rectify myself and clear myself of all such habits. Only then will I be able to come out of this category.

I also thought that a lot of these characteristics are directly proportional to one’s level of Taqwa (Allah-consciousness). The higher the Taqwa, the more the cautiousness of not committing the sins named above. Henceforth, my desired goal is to make continuous Dua for increase in Taqwa, Insha’Allah, along with actions, which would lead me to put my Ilm (knowledge) into Amal (action).

I thought of sharing this Dua with all of you. I pray that this Masnoon Dua benefits us all, Bi Idhn Allah.

“Allahumma Ati Nafsi Taqwaha wa Zakkiha anta Khayru man Zakkiha anta Waliyyuha wa Mawlaha.” (“O Allah, grant my soul its piety and purify it, You are the best to purify it, You are its Guardian and Master.”)

I also pray that the next time we all pray to be among the pure believers, the Mutaqeen (Alladheena Ana’mta) and not from the pure disbelievers, the Kafireen (Al-Maghdoob), and neither from the hypocrites, the Munafiqun, (Ad-Duaaleen), we say it with our whole hearts. May Allah (swt) listen to us and guide us to the straight path. Aameen.

Day 6 Reflection

Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 18

Our Inner State

“Deaf, dumb and blind they would never return to the right way.” (Al-Baqarah 2:18)

I was stuck on this Ayat last evening. It describes the inner state of the hypocrites. However, what one needs to understand is that these people are not literally deaf, they hear the Divine message but deny it; they are not literally dumb or mute, because they do mock the believers. Neither are these individuals literally blind, but their vision is impaired because of their lofty aspirations and excessive materialistic desires. Hence, they stay oblivious to the truth – the Haq (knowledge).

I just want to ask myself: am I one of those? Was I from among them in the past? Would I want to stay one of them in the future? If not, then this Ayat serves as a wake-up call for me and, in fact, for all of us.

I beg Allah (swt) not to seal our hearts and allow our hearing, sight and speaking faculties to do their jobs in the way that is most pleasing to Him. Aameen.

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.

Tafseer Surah Luqman (Part 2): Allah’s Wisdom, Good Deeds and Etiquettes of Salam

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ النَّعِيمِ

“Verily, those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, for them are Gardens of delight (Paradise)”  (Luqman 8)

Allah shows us the opposite side of the picture; those were people of rebellion and disobedience, who, despite hearing the message of guidance rejected it and turned away. These however, are people who believe in Allah and all that He has informed us about the Day of Judgement, His Messengers, His Angels, His Books, and Divine decree. This belief is part of what is called inner worship. Outer worship is then portrayed by doing righteous deeds with the belief that they will be rewarded.

What is the connection between belief and good deeds?

The believers will dwell in Paradise forever and for eternity. There is no death after this life, and this is a promise of Allah which must be believed in and trusted.

They can be compared to a tree. The roots portray a person’s faith; tucked underneath the ground and unseen, while the branches and fruits portray the righteous deeds. This tree can reach the skies as a result of the faith which produces righteous deeds. A person who frees himself from the shackles of desires and temptations is truly the successful one. Such a person is free from being a slave of desires and disobedience, and instead becomes a slave of Allah. He will prepare himself in the Dunya for the Akhirah so that Allah may reward him with Gardens of Delight. The word Jannah comes from the word Jann which means to be hidden. For His righteous slaves, Allah has hidden delightful rewards that no eye has seen, no ear has heard of, and no mind can perceive. Contrary to the delights of the Dunya, the Akhirah is ceaseless and its rewards are multiplied.

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۖ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقًّا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

“To abide therein. It is a Promise of Allah in truth. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (Luqman 9)

The believers will dwell in Paradise forever and for eternity. There is no death after this life, and this is a promise of Allah which must be believed in and trusted. Shaitan makes promises and breaks them in the Dunya, and he will do likewise in the Akhirah for his followers, while Allah’s promises are never to be questioned. He is Al-Azeez, meaning He has full and perfect might to fulfil His promise. His Decree is never false and cannot be rejected, and He can never be defeated. He is also Al-Hakeem, meaning that He is perfect in His wisdom. The wisdom behind making a promise to the believers for reward is perfect and helps them increase in faith and good deeds.

خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ۖ وَأَلْقَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ ۚ وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ

“He has created the heavens without any pillars, that you see and has set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with you. And He has scattered therein moving (living) creatures of all kinds. And We send down water (rain) from the sky, and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein.” (Luqman 10)

Allah further explains to us His complete and perfect ability and wisdom in order to make firm our belief in His promise. He created the heavens without any pillars and structured the skies like ceilings. They are great, vast and high, unlike any other creation in the world. He then placed mountains that function as anchors to stabilize the earth and keep it firm despite its rotation.

Then He scattered living creatures of all kinds on the earth. They move in different ways and have different adaptations. Some have two legs, some have three, and some have four and some have many more than that. Some live in the sea, some on land, and some on the mountains. All of this points to His infinite ability and wisdom. These creatures have been subjected to us and they bring us benefit as well as harm.

Why does Allah create harmful creatures?

  • To teach us His ability and wisdom
  • To teach us that we are weak humans; a mosquito may harm a human which may result in his death despite the creature’s tiny size
  • To make us taste the pain and punishment of the harm that these creatures can do in the Dunya, as compared to the doubled harm of these creatures in the grave

He then brought down blessed rain from the clouds. Water is the foundation of life; without it we cannot survive and 75 per cent of the earth and our bodies are made of water. He created all living things from water. There is wisdom in the fact that some areas of the earth do not receive any rain at all, while some areas are always wet and cloudy.

He then caused beautiful plantations of various colours and benefit to grow from the earth. This is the wisdom of Allah.

هَٰذَا خَلْقُ اللَّهِ فَأَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقَ الَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِ ۚ بَلِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ

“This is the creation of Allah. So show Me that which those (whom you worship), besides Him have created. Nay, the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers and those who do not believe in the Oneness of Allah) are in plain error.” (Luqman 11)

After explaining His signs of infinite wisdom, Allah challenges the disbelievers. He says this is the creation of Allah that He created without a partner and without help.  This is His dominion. He challenges those who associate partners with Allah to show what these false gods have created. He negates all of this association and says that they cannot create anything so how can they be worshipped?  Rather, the disbelievers are wrong doers who are drowning in clear error. They worship that which is disabled, weak and poor.

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِلَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَشْكُرْ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ

And indeed We bestowed upon Luqman Al-Hikmah (wisdom and religious understanding, etc.) saying: “Give thanks to Allah,” and whoever gives thanks, he gives thanks for (the good of) his ownself. And whoever is unthankful, then verily, Allah is All-Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise. (Luqman 12)

Most scholars of the Quran are of the opinion that Luqman was a wise man and not a Prophet. Allah blessed him and bestowed upon him wisdom and religious understanding. Allah tells us that wisdom is a special provision and favour from Allah. It is the best of qualities, behaviours and attributes. Not every knowledgeable person is wise, but every wise person is knowledgeable.

What is wisdom?

The result of being grateful is that the blessing will not be removed from you and Allah will increase the blessings.

It is to have knowledge of the truth and its secrets, and to use this knowledge in speech and action. To thank Allah is one of the biggest signs of wisdom and goodness. Thank Him for all the blessings that He has bestowed upon you without any efforts on your part. Use your speech, your heart and your limbs to express this gratefulness by utilizing them in the way that He loves.

The result of being grateful is that the blessing will not be removed from you and Allah will increase the blessings. Whoever gives thanks to Allah does so for the good of his own self. It does not harm or benefit Allah if you are grateful or ungrateful, because He is Rich and free of needs, and He is worthy of all praise.

Etiquettes of Salam

  1. It is Sunnah to greet someone with the Salam, but it is Wajib to return the greeting.
  2. It is preferred to say the whole greeting
  3. It is disliked to say Alaykum Assalam
  4. It is preferred to repeat the greeting three times if you are not heard the first time
  5. It should be said clearly
  6. It is recommended to greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know
  7. It is recommended for the arriving person to greet the seated one, and the riding person to the one who is walking, and the one who is walking to the one who is sitting, and the fewer group should greet the larger group and the young should greet the old
  8. It is recommended to greet the ones who are awake even if there are sleeping persons amongst them
  9. Forbidden to greet the People of the Book- you can however, greet them with “hello” or “good morning”
  10. It is permissible to say Salam with the wave of the hand in times of need
  11. It is disliked to greet the one who is answering the call of nature
  12. It is recommended to say Salam when entering the house
  13. It is recommended to return the greeting to the one whose greeting has been conveyed to you
  14. When entering the Masjid, it is better to pray Tahiyyat Al-Masjid before greeting those who are sitting in the Masjid
  15. It is disliked to say the Salam during the Friday sermon
  16. It is recommended to say the Salam before talking about anything else
  17. It is recommended to say Salam before leaving a place or ending a conversation

Tafseer Surah Luqman: Quran, Music and Idle Talk

music-calms-mind-quran-calms-heart

Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e.music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).” (Luqman 31:6)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ And of the people are those who are محرومين  and مخذولين. They are deprived from happiness, disgraced and dispraised.

And when Our Verses (of the Qur’an) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.

Why are they deprived and disgraced?

مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ they purchase idle talk that makes them heedless and deviated.  Allah is telling us that when someone chooses to purchase something, he has a desire for it and nobody is forcing him to. Qatadah said: “By Allah, he may not spend money on it, but his purchasing it means he likes it, and the more misguided he is, the more he likes it and the more he prefers falsehood to the truth and harmful things over beneficial things.”

What are the types of talk?

  • Truthful talk: is helpful and beneficial
  • Vain talk: neutral talk; it is neither good nor bad and it does not increase one’s knowledge but it will not harm him either
  • Harmful talk: these are the sins of the tongue: backbiting, lying, slandering, and mocking. It is important to safe guard the tongue from such talk and rely on Allah to be protected from such talk.
  • لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ is talk that is Haram; it is false and has no benefit in the Dunya or Akhirah.

Music and the Quran

The scholars have agreed that this verse indicates musical instruments and singing. Many people are in the misconception that the Quran does not explicitly mention that music is Haram but this verse makes it clear. It was said by scholars that singing and musical instruments sows hypocrisy in the hearts because it is not beneficial and deviates the heart from Allah’s remembrance.

What about Nasheeds?

The wisdom behind this verse is that sometimes Nasheeds become faster engrained in the hearts and minds of people than the Quran. The misconception is that Nasheeds increase in one’s faith, but if you really wish to increase your faith, then you have the Book of Allah! It is the speech of Allah that is unmatched by any other speech. This is Ihsaan, to worship Allah in the best way.

يقول أبو مالك الأشعري أنه سمع النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول

ليكونن من أمتي قوم يستحلون الحر والحرير والخمر والمعازف

Abu Malik Al-Ashari said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say, “From among my followers there will be people who will consider lawful (Halal) illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcohol and the use of musical instruments.” (Bukhari)

Musical instruments were “made Halal or lawful”, which means that in the time of the Messenger of Allah (sa), musical instruments were Haram. Singing is the sound of the Shaitan, it stirs people’s emotions and deprives them from working towards the noble goal that Allah created us for. This includes movies, theatres and cinemas.

What is the reason behind purchasing this idle talk?

لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ to mislead other from the path of Allah without knowledge. He will mislead someone else by spreading this disease of idle talk. He misguides himself and others from the Quran and Sunnah and Shaitan will tempt and trick us into thinking that the path of Allah is tedious.

وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا the next step is that he will mock the verses of Allah and never take it seriously. He will become busy with things that have no wisdom or value and this shows his misbehaviour and disrespect towards Allah and His verses.

أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ for those people is a humiliating torment. The word أُولَٰئِكَ is usually used to exalt something and raise its status, but in this verse it means that those people are outcasts and far from Allah’s mercy. This status started from purchasing idle talk, which lead to misleading himself and others, which lead to mockery of Allah and His verses. They are punished and belittled and will suffer humiliating torment because of their mockery.

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا وَلَّىٰ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا ۖ فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ

“And when Our Verses (of the Quran) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.” (Luqman 31:7)

What is the condition of this person?

وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا The verses of Allah are recited to this person because Allah has decreed that he will hear them and choose the path of guidance, but what is his response?

وَلَّىٰ مُسْتَكْبِرًا كَأَن لَّمْ يَسْمَعْهَا كَأَنَّ فِي أُذُنَيْهِ وَقْرًا He turns away and rejects the verses of Allah with complete arrogance. These verses were meant to increase him in faith but rather, the idle talk and heedless words that he would listen to and relish have blinded his heart and the verse of Allah cannot penetrate into a sinful heart. Moreover, he turns away as though he cannot hear the verses at all because there is a deafness of heaviness in his ears. At this point, the person has rejected the truth as a result of ignorance and arrogance.

فَبَشِّرْهُ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ So announce to him a painful torment. Allah will give him respite and show him the signs to bring him to guidance, but the person rejects this. The temporary satisfaction that he got out of this idle talk resulted in painful torment of the body and heart because he turned away from the speech and remembrance of Allah.

 Etiquettes and Manners of Reciting the Quran

  1. Sincerity: to be sincere to Allah in your intention and to recite it only for His sake
  2. Purity: it is recommended to make Wudhu and be in a purified state when reciting the Quran. However, a person in the state of Janabah is not allowed to recite the Quran. Also, the area he is sitting to recite should be clean and pure.
  3. Use of Miswak: to have a clean mouth before reciting the Quran is a Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sa)
  4. Seeking refuge with Allah from Shaitan: Shaitan does not want you to recite the Quran and will distract you and discourage you
  5. Saying Bismillah: It should be said when starting a new Surah, except for Surah At-Taubah. When starting the middle of a Surah, however, it is enough that only the Istiadhah is said.
  6. Reciting clearly: to recite clearly and slowly without hastening, and to recite with Tajweed while pondering the meanings
  7. Beautifying the voice: beautify your voice when reciting the Quran without exceeding the limits of Tajweed
  8. Stop reciting if tired or sleepy: when tired or sleepy, it is better to stop reciting because you are not fully aware of what you are reciting.
  9. Patience with difficulty: It is mentioned in a Sahih Hadith that the one who recites the Quran with expertise is with the honourable angels, while the one who has difficulty reciting gets two rewards: reward for reciting and reward for patience
  10. Facing the Qiblah: it is from the manners of reciting the Quran but it is also allowed to recite in any other position; sitting, walking, riding and even if you are lying down. The best way is to sit and face the Qiblah.

 

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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.