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.

Powerful Tips for Last Ten Nights

How should we spend the last ten nights of Ramadan? What are the ways to make the most of these blessed nights. Following is an infograph based on tips by Sh. Tawfique Chowdhury. Illustrated by Owh So Muslim.

Click on the image to enlarge.

47u 10-Tips

Hiba’s Directory of Ramadan Events

Hiba Magazine presents its very first web directory of Ramadan events taking place in Pakistan and elsewhere.

To find out more details about an event, simply click on the relevant flyer.

To notify us about any other event or any errors, email editor@hibamagazine.com

Ramadan Events – Various Areas

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Ramadan Events – DHA, Karachi

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DORA E QUR'AN nazeeha

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Ramadan Events in PECHS and nearby areas, Karachi

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Ramadan Events in Islamabad

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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.”

To read the rest of this article, and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

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)

Understanding Surah Asr – 1

hour-glassTranscribed from the Bayyinah podcast Tafseer series by Iqra Asad.

“By Al-Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Maruf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allâh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd).”

Why is humankind in loss?

The central aspect of this Surah is “Khusr” i.e. loss. The previous Surah (Surah Takasur) discussed the people wanting to accumulate more and more, and this Surah discusses the reality, that people are actually in loss. The overwhelming theme of this Surah is warning; that is negative reinforcement. Humans are created in the best of forms; they are qualified to be successful, so then why are they in loss? Allah (swt) mentions four things in the end. The last two things are both actions, to enjoin the truth and to enjoin perseverance. Then Allah (swt) mentions faith and good deeds. He could have mentioned anything, like Zakat, but He mentions truth and patience. Why is it critical to mention these actions? Let’s analyze.

Surah Asr is Islam (in a nutshell)!

The only people who are the exception are the ones who do all the above four mentioned things. A famous quote by Fakhruddin Ghazi regarding this Surah, “In this verse, there is an intense, severe warning that is filled with a promise, because in this verse Allah (swt) declared utter loss against all humanity, except for the one who comes to Allah (swt) with these four things. The language illustrates that salvation hangs in the balance of these four conditions.” In many ways, this Surah is a summary of the Quran and Islam.

Success or Survival?

In this Surah, there is no mention of reward. No mention that “these people will get everlasting Jannah.” It demarcates between the people who fail and those who pass. This Surah does not talk about higher levels of success. It describes the bare minimum, the bottom line. So this Surah is not about success, it’s about survival; about escaping Hell, not earning Paradise. When your survival is being questioned, you forget everything else. If you’re drowning, for example, there is no time for you to talk about success. If you’re talking to your boss about promotion in the office, and there’s a fire alarm, you won’t stop in the office to finish discussing your promotion; that won’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense for someone to talk about anything other than survival, if they’re not meeting the bare requirements for survival.

This Surah does not talk about higher levels of success. It describes the bare minimum, the bottom line.

This Surah proves that being good on your own, is not enough. Islam is about living with and for other people. Imam Shafi (ra) said, “If people only reflected on this Surah, it would encompass them.” It would be enough for them. “If this was the only thing that was revealed, it would have been enough.” What is in this Surah that made him say that?

Whenever the companions would meet, they would not leave each other without reciting Surah Asr to each other. Why? They felt this is something extremely important to remind each other of constantly.

We should never lose sight of the fact that Allah (swt) is talking to us like someone who is concerned about us would talk to us. Talking about this Surah is easy, internalizing it is very difficult.

Survival is interdependent

If you’re drowning and you’re unconscious, what do you need to survive? You need to wake up. Once you wake up, you realize that you’re drowning. Even if you don’t know how to swim, you will move every muscle in your body to move towards the surface. Once you reach the surface, you are pulled back down, because your leg is tied to a chain which is tied to your drowning cousin. You need to wake up your cousin to save yourself. Maybe you don’t even like your cousin. But you wake him up. Then you are pulled down by your unconscious grandmother. You need to wake her up. Your survival depends on each other.

To survive, you have faith, due to which you do good. You tell people about the truth, and you remain patient, because it’s a time consuming and draining process.

When we want to hurry through the prayer, which Surah do we recite? Surah Asr. What do we have hanging on the wall next to our TVs and our game consoles? Surah Asr. See the irony.

Allah (swt) oath must grab attention!

This is one of the Surahs that begins with Allah (swt) taking an oath. Whatever Allah (swt) swears by is grand and magnificent, demanding reflection. Allah (swt) is bringing time as a witness to the tragedy of the human being.

“Asr” literally means “time that is running out”. It comes from “Aseer”, juice that is squeezed out. The time for Asr prayer is when the daytime is ending.

If one really has faith, the next three things are bound to happen. If those things don’t happen, what is missing? Faith.

Faith- Most wanted!

If you are truly doing good, it is impossible for you to keep it to yourself. When you enjoin good, you will encounter people who respond to you and people who hate you for what you have to say, and for the haters you need patience.

When a decent human being comes across a dispute, the first thing he will do is to seek out the truth. When he has discovered the truth, he must take action according to the truth. It may be that when he finds the truth, he does not like what he finds. However, he must stand by the truth.

Now, when he sees other people doing wrong—in our society we have the “mind your own business” policy. However, that is not the way of the Prophets. Otherwise, Islam would just be confined to saying prayers and doing Dhikr (remembrance of Allah (swt)). Islam began as, “Arise and warn!” (Al-Muddatthir 74:2).When you want to stand up for justice, you think, “I know I shouldn’t do it, but I don’t have the guts to tell people not to do it.” People who act on their beliefs, stick to their beliefs, are known as “heroes”. Like Martin Luther King. His days are celebrated; this is a process of decency that people respect. The struggle of such human beings is commendable, but it is just a part of the truth, not the entire truth. We, Muslims, have the entire truth. How much more convinced and willing should the believer be to stand up for Islam? We should compete with the disbelievers with patience and perseverance.

Further reading and viewing:

8-minute illustrated explanation of Surah Asr [Nouman Ali Khan Collection]: http://bit.ly/surahasrillustrated

The concept of time in Hadeeth [Productive Muslim article]: http://bit.ly/timeinhadith

A message from myself to the Quran [I Got it Covered article]: http://bit.ly/tothequran

[To be continued Insha Allah..]

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).

 

Tafseer Surah Luqman (Part 3): The Rights of Allah and the Right of the Parents

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Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Shaheera Vakani (Jeddah)

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ

“And (remember) when Luqman said to his son when he was advising him…”

Allah is telling us what Luqman said to his son while advising him. Those who are wise teach their wisdom first to their children. The closest to you are those who should be advised first. Your children are a perpetual charity and if you raise them with the right manners and creed, your deeds continue to increase.

The most important lesson we learn from Luqman’s manner of speaking to his child in this verse is his gentleness: he does not scorn his son; rather, he begins by using an endearing name showing love and affection. Raising children is an act that should be done for the sake of Allah.

How did Luqman preach to his son?

He spoke casually and did not underestimate him just because he is his son. The word used here is “وعظ” which is to advise with the prohibitions and commandments of Allah. It includes warning and encouragement. We should tell them that these actions bring the pleasure of Allah and these actions bring on the wrath of Allah. A lot of times we just give ambiguous commands and make up rewards and warnings. We should instead give rationale based on the Quran and Sunnah and not invent new things.

What was his first advice?

يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ

“O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah.

This is the first and foremost advice that Luqman gave to his son. His first advice pertains to tawheed. The most important lesson we learn from Luqman’s manner of speaking to his child in this verse is his gentleness: he does not scorn his son; rather, he begins by using an endearing name showing love and affection. Raising children is an act that should be done for the sake of Allah.

What is the reasoning behind this warning?

إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed.

This is the warning that follows the advice. He tells his son that Shirk is great injustice; and injustice is putting something in the wrong place. Shirk is injustice and imbalance while Tawheed is justice and balance. It is the most severe injustice and it is the only sin which Allah will never forgive. This injustice, however, does not harm Allah. It is the slave that harms himself and puts himself in danger of the punishment of Allah.

What is Shirk anyway?

Shirk is to associate partners with Allah in:

  1. His Lordship- to believe that there is someone besides Allah who creates, sustains and provides.
  2. His worship- to worship others besides Allah; and directing acts of worship such as supplication, vows, sacrifice, hope, fear, trust and all other acts done to seek nearness
  3. His Names and Attributes: to elevate someone’s status to the level of Allah’s perfect Names and Attributes

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years; give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.

What was his second advice?

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ

And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents.

The second advice pertains to being dutiful to parents. The wording of this verse tells us that it is Allah who is giving this advice, He said “وصينا” meaning “We enjoined”. Additionally, the advice that comes from Allah is called “وصية” which is a will, or a covenant. It is a command from Allah that makes it obligatory upon us to obey and be kind towards our parents.

This advice is not directed to Muslims only, it is directed to all of humanity, whether believer or disbeliever. This relationship can never be changed or cut off.

حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْنًا عَلَىٰ وَهْنٍ

His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship,

He specifically mentions the mother because of the pain she suffers in bearing children, raising them and taking care of them. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness; from the time of conception to labor, she becomes weaker by day. She is elevated in ranks as a result of this hardship.

Allah orders us to thank our parents. This does not mean to just verbalize a few sweet words; rather, gratitude should be expressed through actions.

وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ

and his weaning is in two years

And his nursing is for two years; there was hardship at conception and birth, and now there is hardship in raising the child. She suffers exhaustion upon exhaustion in bringing the child up. He constantly needs to be with the mother because he needs to be fed. Allah plants mercy in the heart of the mother and she is able to tolerate this work.

أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

Therefore, give thanks to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.

Allah commands us to be grateful and thankful towards Him since He is the One who is laying down all of these rights and rules and sowing mercy in people’s hearts.

How do we thank Allah?

  1. To worship Him in the way He loves
  2. Fulfilling the rights He has enjoined upon us
  3. To use His blessings to obey Him

Allah orders us to thank our parents. This does not mean to just verbalize a few sweet words; rather, gratitude should be expressed through actions.

The final return is to Allah; He is our destination. He will then hold us accountable for these deeds.

Etiquettes of Answering the Call of Nature

  1. Avoid spoiling water that is beneficial to people, such as springs and wells.
  2. Avoid spoiling the streets and pathways that people walk on and pass through.
  3. Avoid spoiling the shade under the trees that people might relax under and enjoy.
  4. Avoid urinating in stagnant water like a pond or fountain.
  5. It is not allowed to enter into the bathroom with anything that mentions Allah’s name
  6. It is not allowed to speak in the bathroom.
  7. While defecating or urinating, the person should not face the Qiblah nor should he give the Qiblah his back.
  8. When entering the bathroom, say “بسم الله اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الخبث و الخبائث”“Bismillah, O Allah I seek refuge with You from the devils, male and female.”This creates a barrier between the person and the Shaytan.
  9. To enter the bathroom with the left foot and exiting with the right
  10. When exiting the bathroom, say “غفرانك” “(I seek) Your forgiveness” when exiting the bathroom.
  11. To place a barrier between himself and the people in order not to be exposed
  12. To use the left hand to clean after answering the call of nature
  13. To use the two methods of cleansing; Istinjaa (using water to cleanse yourself) and then Istijmaar (using tissues to cleanse yourself).

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

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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 Al-Asr: Illustrated Explanation by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

In our weekly “View with Us” segment, take some time out to watch this brief, illustrated explanation of Surah Al-Asr by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. CEO of Bayyinah, an Islamic educational institute in the USA. Video courtesy: NAKCollection.com

What’s in a Word?

Vol 6 - Issue 4 What's in a Word

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

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

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

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

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

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