Reflections from Surah Hud: Ayah 32-40

Bismillah

1- The Revelation to Nuh concerning what would happen to the People and the Command to prepare for It            

2- The beginning of the Flood and Nuh loads Every Creature in Pairs upon the Ship     

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 32

They said: “O Nuh! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful.”

Nuh ‘alayhissalam disputed with his people for a good cause; he knew he was calling them to the truth and guidance and was not propagating his own personal agendas nor was he trying to shove false claims at them. This sort of dispute is commendable in Islam, Allah says in the Surah Al Nahl “Invite to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better…” 

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 33

He said: “Only Allah will bring it (the punishment) on you, if He will, and then you will escape not.

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 34

“And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you good counsel, if Allah’s Will is to keep you astray. He is your Lord! and to Him you shall return.”

Does guidance ever benefit a person if Allah has already written misguidance for them?Misguidance cannot ever be attributed to Allah. Instead, He has created the world with two distinct paths and tests His slaves thereby, those who willingly take the path of misguidance after seeing and hearing the proofs have chosen the path for themselves. This was the case with Nuh ‘alayhissalam’s people. They rejected the signs and the words of advice and persisted in arrogance.

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 36 And it was inspired to Nuh: “None of your people will believe except those who have believed already. So be not sad because of what they used to do.

After Nuh prayed to Allah to destroy the disbelievers, Allah told him that He has now sealed the hearts of his people and the doors have been closed. Nuh ‘alayhissalam stopped calling to the people at that point and took on the next task that Allah gave him. He gave them a chance to accept the truth for over 900 years, but once He took it away, hope was lost. 

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 37

“And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Inspiration, and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned.”

Now Allah tells him to build an ark on top of the mountain. Nuh ‘alayhissalam was not a carpenter and he had divine help from Allah who made the wood and building materials easy for him to acquire and use. Just the construction of the ark was a miracle in itself! It survived the greatest flood ever. 

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 38

And as he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they made a mockery of him. He said: “If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise for your mocking.

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 39

“And you will know who it is on whom will come a torment that will cover him with disgrace and on whom will fall a lasting torment.”

Every time the chiefs would pass by they would laugh at him and say, “You became a carpenter while you were a Prophet a while ago!” They scoffed at him because they had no rainfall or sources of water around; he was building the ark on dry land! That is a display of sheer determination and obedience of Nuh ‘alayhissalam to Allah; he continued working without questioning. Nuh ‘alayhissalam did not respond to their mockery and told them that the tides will turn and they will see the truth plainly.

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 40

(So it was) till then there came Our Command and the oven gushed forth (water like fountains from the earth). We said: “Embark therein, of each kind two (male and female), and your family, except him against whom the Word has already gone forth, and those who believe. And none believed with him, except a few.”

Allah told Nuh ‘alayhissalam to wait until he sees a sign; and this was the gushing forth of water from the earth. He was commanded to take twos of all the animals, his family and the believers who were between 11-80 people (the narrations differ). This is proof that the majority is not always correct… Nuh ‘alayhissalam spent more than 900 years preaching to his people but less than half of them accepted guidance. 

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

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Reflections from Surah Hud: Ayah 25-30

Bismillah

1- The Story of Nuh and His Conversation with His People 

2- The Response of Nuh   

3- The People’s Request of Nuh to bring the Torment and His Response to Them

 

11:25

.And indeed We sent Nuh to his people (and he said): I have come to you as a plain warner

11:26

“That you worship none but Allah, surely, I fear for you the torment of a painful Day.”

The ayaat that describe Nuh ‘alayhissalam’s du’aa contains a lot of words that relay his desperate attempts at convincing his people, despite having lived with them for over 900 years! He relentlessly tried to gain their trust and convinced them that there is no personal interest in question. He repeatedly reminds them that he is a plain warner, a sincere advisor…

11:27

The chiefs of the disbelievers among his people said: “We see you but a man like ourselves, nor do we see any follow you but the meanest among us and they (too) followed you without thinking. And we do not see in you any merit above us, in fact we think you are liars.”

Why was it that the poorest people followed him and they were all looked down upon? Why did the chiefs consider this a shame and why did they belittle him and his followers?

The poorest among his people had nothing to lose- they were not attached to their status or their wealth; pride and arrogance did not prevent them from accepting the truth. They were looked down upon and the chiefs said that if what he called to was really desirable and worthy then the first people to follow him would be the rich! But that was a wrong conception that they harbored because the Messengers were sent to call to Tawheed and accept anybody who accepted it- the truth is not to be rejected because of those who follow it- it is correct in itself regardless of the fact that those who follow it are of low status or nobility! In fact, those who follow the truth are nobility regardless of their low status!

11:28

He said: “O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear proof from my Lord, and a Mercy has come to me from Him, but that (Mercy) has been obscured from your sight. Shall we compel you to accept it when you have a strong hatred for it?

11:29
“And O my people! I ask of you no wealth for it, my reward is from none but Allah. I am not going to drive away those who have believed. Surely, they are going to meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people that are ignorant.”
He tells them, “I am not asking for any payment in return for my sincere advice to you, rather, my reward is with Allah.” Also, they asked him to drive away and hurt those who believed because they were of low status, but this was ignorance and poor judgement from them. 
11:30
“And O my people! Who will help me against Allah, if I drove them away? Will you not then give a thought?
An important lesson for those who call to the path of guidance: there is no scope for you to feel superior over a slave of Allah regardless of his social or economic status; you will be held accountable for the ill-treatment. A look or word of scorn can go a long way in ruining any efforts you made to rectify their faith. 

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

Reflections from Surah Hud: Ayah 1-23

Bismillah

Memorizing a Surah becomes much easier once you contemplate the verse and extract some of the billions of benefits from each word.

This is my attempt at reflecting the verses of Surah Hud, verses 1-23 which are based around these main titles:

1- The Quran and it’s call to Tawheed

2- The belief that Allah is Aware of all things and is responsible for their provisions, and that He created the heavens is six days

3- The mushrikeen’s argument about resurrection after death

4- The changing of man’s attitude in happiness and hardship

5- The Messenger of Allah’s grief over the refutations of the mushrikeen 

6- The seeker of the Dunya has no share in the Akhirah

7- The one who believes in the Quran is upon clear proof from Allah

8- Those who invent lies against Allah are losers in the Dunya and Akhirah

9- The reward for the believers

10- A parable of the believers and disbelievers

11:1

Alif-Lam-Ra. (This is) a Book, the Verses whereof are perfected, and then explained in detail from One  Who is All-Wise and Well-Acquainted.

What is the implication of this Book being sent down from the One Who is All-Wise and Well-Aquainted?

It implies that since the Quran is a Book of perfected verses in that each and every single letter serves it’s purpose, there is now no room for question or doubt in the wisdom of the Quran, because Allah is Al Hakeem-His laws and statements in the Quran are perfectly wise without flaw- and Allah is Al Khabeer- He has infinite knowledge of the outcome of ALL matters. 

11:2

(Saying) worship none but Allah. Verily, I (Muhammad SAW) am unto you from Him a warner and a bringer of glad tidings.

It calls to the worship of Allah without any false deities, and this was the ultimate purpose of the advent of ALL the Messengers of Allah- the call to Oneness. They warn of punishments in the Dunya and Akhirah for those who deny, and bring good news of reward and goodness in the Dunya and Akhirah for those who believe. 

11:3

And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).

What are the fruits of Istighfar? And why is Istighfar in this verse mentioned before Tawbah? And do they mean the same thing?

The fruits of Istighfar are twofold- He grants goodly enjoyment which includes everything Halal that a person benefits from for an appointed term, that is, in the Dunya; and then He bestows His endless blessings on them in the Akhirah on those who did the deeds that deserve reward and utilized the blessings of the Dunya to make profit in the Akhirah. 

As for the difference between Istighar and Tawbah- these are two words that when used separately mean the same thing but when used together imply a slight difference in meaning. Scholars have said that Istighfar i.e. seeking forgiveness means to cover something up, therefore it is to seek the forgiveness of Allah and beseeching Him to cover up and erase the sin. Tawbah i.e. repentance means to return, therefore it is to return to the obedience of Allah after having committed a sin. Istighfar encompasses the past consequences of the sin while Tawbah encompasses the future consequences. Tawbah is more of a firm commitment to never return to the sin that is being sought forgiveness for. Istighfar is begging for forgiveness, and Tawbah is begging for safety from being returned to the sin. And the best of sinners are those that repent…

11:6

And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit (in the uterous, grave, etc.). all is in a Clear Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz – the Book of Decrees with Allah).

Why does the verse say that provision is DUE FROM Allah when it is through His Grace and Bounty that He provides- almost as though the provision is obligatory for Him, but nothing is obligatory for Him- He does what He wills, when He wills it?

It is to emphasize the guarantee that Allah is the source of provisions for all His creation. It is to assure that a promise from Allah will always be fulfilled- and there is no doubt in that.

11:7

And He it is Who has created the heavens and the earth in six Days and His Throne was on the water, that He might try you, which of you is the best in deeds. But if you were to say to them: “You shall indeed be raised up after death,” those who disbelieve would be sure to say, “This is nothing but obvious magic.”

What is the difference between “the best in deeds” and “the most in deeds”? What is the verse implying by the words “the best in deeds?”

An example: a person has to pray four Rak’aat. In the first two, he’s barely concentrating and has difficulty in keeping his intention in tact, he’s constantly distracting by the events of his day and therefore he has no Khushoo’, while by the next two Rak’aat he has a stronger grip on his thoughts and recites slowly while concentrating on the meanings; he now feels the Khushoo’. 

The last two Rak’aat were definitely closer in definition to Ihsaan than the first two. Ihsaan in essence is perfection and excellence. It is the manifestation of faith in word and deed after having a strong hold in the heart. The best definition of Ihsaan is the hadith of Jibreel ‘alayhissalam in which the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam says, “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then He truly sees you.” 

The weight of good deeds is not in the number of Rak’aat or amount paid in charity, it’s rather the level of sincerity in the person’s intention, and the conformation of his deed with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah. 

قال ابن المبارك 

 رب عمل صغير تكثره النية ورب عمل كبير تصغره النية

11:9

And if We give man a taste of Mercy from Us, and then withdraw it from him, verily! He is despairing, ungrateful.

11:10

But if We let him taste good (favour) after evil (poverty and harm) has touched him, he is sure to say: “Ills have departed from me.” Surely, he is exultant, and boastful (ungrateful to Allah).

These two verses give a description man’s typical responses to hardship and happiness. He despairs and loses hope in hardship-forgetting that the One who is brought him to it will bring him through it. He leaves of du’aa and patience, hopeless for any good in the future and forgetful of any good in the past. And once Allah bring him out of the difficulty, he is exultant and excited about the good fortune he is enjoying, and is boastful to those who do not have what he does, forgetting that he was once in that state himself.

11:11

Except those who show patience and do righteous good deeds, those: theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise).

What exactly does the word patience in this verse imply, after having mentioned the state of man in happiness and hardship?

There are many types, but here it is the patience that a person displays with the Decree of Allah-whether good or bad. This is the sixth article of faith and possibly the most difficult… 

Those who show patience when tried and tested with hardship, and do good, righteous deeds when times are easy. 

11:12

So perchance you (Muhammad SAW) may give up a part of what is revealed unto you, and that your heart feels straitened because they say, “Why has not a treasure been sent down unto him, or an angel has come with him?” But you are only a warner. And Allah is a Wakil over all things.

What are the lessons that Allah is teaching us when calling to the message in the Quran?

1- to deal with patience and compassion, to have a BIG heart and a SMALL ego, and never to take arguments personally

2- arguments, refutations and rejections of the people should never be a hindrance in proclaiming the truth

3- the mushrikeen were asking for miracles and signs-treasures and angels-but they conveniently ignored the miracles and proofs that they WERE given, implying that they were merely picking arguments and being stubborn

11:13

Or they say, “He forged it (the Quran).” Say: “Bring you then ten forged Surah like unto it, and call whomsoever you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!” 

What is the implication of “bring you then ten forged Surahs like it”?

It is a challenge from Allah and a slap in the face of every eloquent disbeliever. Allah challenges those who disbelieve in the Quran to bring forth a verse, or a Surah, or ten forged Surahs, but that was never possible and will never be possible because the Quran is the word of the Creator- distinct and excelling over the word of the creation.

11:15

Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter; to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein.

11:16

They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire; and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do.

Who exactly are people who desire the world- don’t we all have an inclination towards it? 

Rather, these are people who have an unhealthy obsession- they desired the Dunya at the expense of their Akhirah- their intentions were tainted and they pursued the Dunya to boast and show off. In the Akhirah, these deeds and pursuits will have no significance since they get their praise and reward from the people in the Dunya.

11:17

Can they who rely on a clear proof from their Lord, and whom a witness from Him follows it (can they be equal with the disbelievers); and before it, came the Book of Musa, a guidance and a mercy, they believe therein, but those of the sects  that reject it (the Quran), the Fire will be their promised meeting-place. So be not in doubt about it. Verily, it is the truth from your Lord, but most of the mankind believe not.

The person who is on a clear, guided proof from Allah and believes in the Quran and in the message that the Prophets brought are true believers because the natural inclination of man conforms to the Shari’ah that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam brought. On the other hand, those who disbelieve-whether they are Jews, Christians, atheists-and anybody on the face of the earth who hears the Quran and then rejects it- are promised a sure punishment.

11:18

And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah. Such will be brought before their Lord, and the witnesses will say, “These are the ones who lied against their Lord!” No doubt! the curse of Allah is on the Zalimun.

11:19

Those who hinder (others) from the Path of Allah, and seek a crookedness therein, while they are disbelievers in the Hereafter.

Who are the people deprived of Allah’s mercy? How will they be treated in the Akhirah?

They are people whom Allah has cursed- they invent lies about Allah and speak about His laws without knowledge, they are misguided and misguide others from His path, preventing themselves and others from doing good, all the while seeking a crookedness in the straight path of Allah, since they disbelieve in resurrection and the fear that they will be held accountable for these deeds. They are unjust and oppressive to themselves by sinning day and night. On the day of Judgement, there will be no veil between them and the people, rather, there will be witnesses testifying to their misguidance, while Allah will cover and shade the sins of the believers: 

«إِنَّ اللهَ عزَّ وَجَلَّ يُدْنِي الْمُؤْمِنَ فَيَضَعُ عَلَيْهِ كَنَفَهُ، وَيَسْتُرُهُ مِنَ النَّاسِ، وَيُقَرِّرُهُ بِذُنُوبِهِ وَيَقُولُ لَهُ: أَتَعْرِفُ ذَنْبَ كَذَا؟ أَتَعْرِفُ ذَنْبَ كَذَا؟ أَتَعْرِفُ ذَنْبَ كَذَا؟ حَتَّى إِذَا قَرَّرَهُ بِذُنُوبِهِ وَرَأَى فِي نَفْسِهِ أَنَّهُ قَدْ هَلَكَ قَالَ: فَإِنِّي قَدْ سَتَرْتُهَا عَلَيْكَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَإِنِّي أَغْفِرُهَا لَكَ الْيَوْم»

“Verily, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, will draw near the believer and He will place His shade over him. He will conceal him from the people and make him confess to his sins. He will say to him, “Do you recognize this sin? Do you recognize that sin? Do you recognize such and such sin?” This will continue until He makes him confess to all of his sins and he (the believer) will think to himself that he is about to be destroyed. Then Allah will say, “Verily, I have concealed these sins for you in the worldly life and I have forgiven you for them today.” Then he will be given his Book of good deeds.”

11:20

By no means will they escape (from Allah’s Torment) on earth, nor have they protectors besides Allah! Their torment will be doubled! They could not bear to hear the preachers of the truth and they used not to see the truth.

What happened to their sense of hearing and sight?

There is a difference between looking and seeing, and between hearing and listening. Their senses of looking and hearing are alive but their intellect and conscience is dead. They are spiritually stagnant people. They are people who will lose themselves to the Fire on the day of Judgement, and the false deities and lies they made up will not avail them in the least. 

11:23

Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and humble themselves (in repentance and obedience) before their Lord, – they will be dwellers of Paradise to dwell therein forever.

As for those who are humble to Allah, pleased with His decree, and submissive to His encompassing knowledge, they will be the dwellers of Paradise. Ibn Al Qayyim did an amazing description of Paradise based on the Quran and Sunnah in his Qaseedah…

11:24

The likeness of the two parties is as the blind and the deaf and the seer and the hearer. Are they equal when compared? Will you not then take heed?

The parable or comparison between the believers and disbelievers is that of the blind and the seeing, the deaf and the hearing, the shadows and the sunlight, the darkness and the light, the living and the dead. These are striking opposites mentioned in the Quran.

 -The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

Etched In My Memory

slate quran

A chilled breeze sweeps crispy autumn leaves across my glass terrace door. The sun creeps into the horizon streaking shades of pink and orange. After a long glance at my backyard, I lift my stubby piece of chalk against my letter-sized slate and begin.

So was the way I began every beautiful morning so many years ago. Years that feel like only yesterday and will definitely be just as fresh tomorrow. The three golden years I dedicated to memorizing the Qur’an.

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Memorizing the Quran: Step 5

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Bismillah.

Advice #5

Now that you have a plan and effective strategies have become your habits, focus on dua’a and your deeds. These steps will help you maintain your new commitment to the Quran on the long run insha Allah:

1-       Stop sinning: Sins are the number one barriers between knowledge and a Muslim’s heart. Allah’s superior speech will never settle in a heart that is sinful and barred by desire and doubt.

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Memorizing the Quran: Step 4

PaperArtist_2013-05-28_21-49-35

Bismillah.

Advice #4

The fourth step is taken once you’ve started and are flowing smoothly with your daily memorization. You are following your plan with utmost energy and motivation and feel productive and inspired to keep going. Now you need effective strategies to keep you going at a steady pace without finding yourself at a dead end.

1-       Make sure that you connect the first part of the surah to its end before moving on to another.  You may find that the beginning of the Surah flows smoother for you because you spent more time and energy on it, while the end of the Surah does not get as much attention and repetition. This is your first red signal. Stop and revise it as many times as you need (10 times minimum) to strengthen the memorization.

2-      Recite with understanding! Start reading tafseer of at least five verses per day. This way, the meaning of the verses will engrave into your mind and heart. Beginners are recommended to start with a tafseer that explains the verses clearly like Tafsir Ibn Kathir (summarized version) or Tafsir Al Jalalayn. 

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Friends Will Be Foes – Gems from Surah Al Zukhruf

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 Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd rahimahullah said,

“I do not know anything rarer than a good dirham (money earnt lawfully) whose owner spends it on something right, or a brother in Islam in whose company one finds peace. And they are only getting rarer.”

No matter how independent we may think we are, human relationships are inevitable. Having said that, it is close to impossible for us not to influence or be influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was given a gigantic task of reviving the lost message of the Oneness of Allah and the sanctity of His Law. This mission was helped on by Companions radhiallahu ‘anhum, who stood by him through thick and through thin with their lives, their wealth, and their families. We have living examples of true friendship and companionship in the Messenger of Allah and those who were around him. Through gentle preaching and honorific example, he set a path out of the tunnel of disbelief and darkness into the light of belief and guidance. The love and togetherness he instilled in their hearts for each other was remarkable! 

It suffices to say that companionship, whether good or bad, is like water dripping drop by drop on a rock, slowly wearing mountains away. If the companionship is good, it breaks down your mountains of evil habits and detestable traits. However, if it is bad companionship, it will incessantly diminish the mountains of pleasant habits and fruitful manners that you tired yourself acquiring. I can say with certainty that, after years of ups and downs, swallowing the bitter pill of solitude is worth the pain if all around you is chaos and confusion. 

 Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us about the situation of good and bad companionship on the day of Judgement: 

(الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ)

(يَا عِبَادِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ وَلَا أَنتُمْ تَحْزَنُونَ)

(الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا مُسْلِمِينَ)

 Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except Al Muttaqun; [To whom Allah will say],”O My servants, no fear will there be concerning you this Day, nor will you grieve, you who believed in Our verses and were Muslims. (Surah Al Zukhruf 67-69)

In the Arabic language, the word Khalil impersonates a close friend who is faithful and loving. He is sincere in his efforts and you distinguish him from among all your peers. How many times in this short lifespan of ours do we naively entrust ourselves to individuals who show us the dark and dreary? How many times have we stubbornly attached ourselves to the “popular” crowd, just for a few days of worldly benefit and pleasure? How often have we befriended a person who promises us care and trust; while we blindly take in the worthless, meaningless trash that they surround themselves with? How often have we fell into a deep, dark ditch, all in the name of “friendship”? 

The difference that Allah spoke about in this verse is stark and apparent. This group of friends was faithful with each other in the affairs of the Dunya: transient pleasure, ephemeral whims and satanic desires. The evil interests that bonded them together lead them to an evil end; and despite the vows of faithful companionship and loyalty they engaged in during their short lives, this group of friends turned into lethal enemies on the day of Judgement. Neither is willing to shoulder the burden of the other.

How despicable is their end! How sorrowful is their countenance on that day!

Friends will be foes.

On the other hand, the group whom Allah labelled “Al Muttaqun”, did not come to know one another except that they increased themselves in goodness and piety. They were the ones who helped each other in belief and submitted solely to Allah; never ceasing to desire the eternal pleasures and ethereal bliss of the Akhira.

They will be asked to enter Jannah in groups; just as they had aided one another in sowing the seeds, they will now reap the harvest together. Entering Jannah with their companions from the Dunya in happiness and joy; they will never want to leave it nor will they tire of it. Leaving behind the tests and struggles, they now delight in that which soothes their hearts and comforts their eyes.

 اللهم ارزقنا الصحبة الطيبة الصالحة وباعد بيننا وبين الصحبة السيئة

– The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

More Precious Than Gold and Silver – Gems from Surah Al Tawbah

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‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radhiallahu ‘anh said, “This world  is only taken as a home by those who will have no real home in Jannah, and it is the wealth of those who will have no real wealth, and it is gathered and collected for by those who have no real intelligence.”

In today’s materialistic world, it is very likely that one of us will lose perspective and vision. What do we consider real wealth?

What do we covet? What is profitable investment? Is it the hundreds of thousands I spend on my education only with the intention of obtaining a high paying career? Or is the objective of  my study to  benefit the Ummah, earn Halal income for my family, and raise educated children? Is my wealth the amount I have saved up in my bank account? When I see someone whom Allah has blessed with the riches of this world, what is my first thought?  Do I really believe that wealth equals happiness and safety?

Allah gives a stern warning to those who hoard wealth and tire themselves in pursuit of it.

 

(وَالَّذِينَ يَكْنِزُونَ الذَّهَبَ وَالْفِضَّةَ وَلَا يُنفِقُونَهَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَبَشِّرْهُم بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ…)

(يَوْمَ يُحْمَىٰ عَلَيْهَا فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ فَتُكْوَىٰ بِهَا جِبَاهُهُمْ وَجُنُوبُهُمْ وَظُهُورُهُمْ ۖ هَٰذَا مَا كَنَزْتُمْ لِأَنفُسِكُمْ فَذُوقُوا مَا كُنتُمْ تَكْنِزُونَ)

 …And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give them tidings of a painful punishment. The Day when it will be heated in the fire of Hell and seared therewith will be their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, [it will be said], “This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard. (Surah Al Tawbah 34-35)

‘Abdul Razzaq recorded a Hadith from ‘Ali radhiallahu ‘anh that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

تبًا للذهب تبًا للفضة يقولها ثلاثا فشق ذلك على أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقالوا: فأي مال نتخذ؟ فقال عمر رضي الله عنه: أنا أعلم لكم ذلك من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: يا رسول الله: إن أصحابك قد شق عليهم، وقالوا : فأي المال نتخذ؟

((“Woe to gold! Woe to silver!” He repeated this statement thrice, and this was hard on the Companions of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who said, “What type of wealth should we use?” ‘Umar radhiallahu ‘anh said, “I will find out for you,” and he asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! Your statement was hard for your Companions. They asked, “What wealth should we use?”))

He said, 

 لسانًا ذاكرًا وقلبًا شاكرًا وزوجةً تعين أحدكم على دينه

((A tongue moist with remembrance, a heart full of gratitude, and a wife that helps one of you to implement his religion.))

 Don’t we claim to love the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Don’t we agree that his guidance is the best guidance?

Well, this is what he considered wealth:

1- The constant, perpetual remembrance of Allah that gives you hope of His mercy and keeps you away from His wrath.

2- Thankfulness and appreciation to Allah for the blessings you are living in.

3- A righteous companion who will guide you gently back to Him when you are lost and aid you in attaining the highest objective- Jannah and the Pleasure of Allah. 

Abu Hurayrah radhiallahu ‘anh narrated that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “If I had gold equal to the mountain of Uhud, it would not please me that anything of it should remain with me after three nights (i.e., I would spend all of it in Allah’s Cause) except what I would keep for repaying debts.” (Sahih Bukhari)

اللهم لا تجعل الدنيا أكبر همنا و لا مبلغ علمنا و لا إلى النار مصيرنا و اجعل الجنة هي دارنا و قرارنا برحمتك و جودك و كرمك يا أرحم الراحمين

O Allah! Do not let this world be the greatest of our worries, nor let this world be the limit to our knowledge, nor make the Fire of hell our fate, and make Jannah our home and our final abode. 

– The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

Memorizing the Quran: Step 3

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Bismillah.

Advice #3

The third most important step is to have a plan. This means you must designate an assigned portion that you intend to memorize every day. Be warned, planning is the easiest part. You must have will power and a strong sense of purpose in order to stick to it.

Do not try to aim too high and keep the planning moderate. That way, if you have extra time and end up memorizing more than planned, you’ll feel more encouraged to move forward consistently insha Allah.

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

 خذوا من الأعمال ما تطيقون فإن الله لا يمل حتى تملوا و أحب الأعمال إلى الله ما داوم عليه صاحبه و إن قل

“Take from the deeds how much you can bear because Allah does not tire (of rewarding you) until you tire (of doing the deed). The most beloved of deeds to Allah are those that are done consistently by a person, even if they are small.” Bukhari and Muslim

The Salaf would say, “The one who does little consistently is better than the one who does a lot inconsistently.”

Follow these practical steps in order to lay out your plan and stick to it:

1- Learn about the way the Quran is divided.

  • 114 Surahs: each of the Surahs are of varying number of ayaat, and the ayaat are varying in length

  • 30 Juz’: each Juz’ is twenty to twenty one pages long

  • 60 Hizb: each Juz’ is divided into two almost equal subparts

  • or you can decide to memorize according to the meaning and tafsir of the ayaat, for example, Surah Yusuf hsa one primary topic, yet it can be divided according to the events that occurred: his dream and conversation with Ya’qub ‘alayhissalam, being thrown into the well, the incident with the ‘Aziz’s wife etc.

  • Additionally, scholars of the Quran have divided it this way:

1- السبع الطوال The Seven Long Surahs: this includes Surah Al Baqarah, Ali ‘Imran, Al Nisaa, Al Mai’da, Al An’aam, Al A’raaf, and the seventh is either Al Tawbah or Yunus

2- المئون The Hundreds: this includes almost all the Surahs that come after the previous seven and the number of ayaat in these Surahs reach approximately a hundred

3-المثاني The Repititions: this includes all the Surahs that come after the previous and the number of ayaat in these Surahs reach approximately two hundred.

4- المفصل The Separated Ones: this includes all the Surahs from Surah Al Hujurat to Surah Al Naas

2- Decide which method of division is easiest for you to follow. Consider your daily routine. Make productive use of holidays, weekends, and free time.

3- Start early! Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, 

اللهم بارك لأمتي في بكورها

“O Allah! Bless my Ummah in its early hours.” Sahih Al Jami’

Therefore, make use of the blessed hours  before and after the Fajr salah. This will also help you start the rest of your day with a sense of accomplishment.

4- Write. It. Down. EVERYWHERE! Draw out a  neat little memorization plan for yourself and tick it as you go, or if you are tech-savvy, use Microsoft Excel or Word.

5- Remember to include new memorization  (parts you’ve memorized in the last few days), old memorization (parts you’ve memorized in the last month), and your new lesson (parts you memorized that day in particular). The new lesson you’ve memorized will stay in your short-term memory until you revise it consistently and transfer it to your long-term memory.

Finally, none of this will help you unless you have a strong determination to move forward. Do not burden yourself. Scholar of Fiqh and teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa rahimahullah, Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman would say, “Learn three issues every day, and do not increase to it anything else. Know that your heart is a part of your body and it is able to carry some things, while unable to carry other things.”

If you are unable to move forward and feel stressed, GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. Relax and renew your intentions. I remember having a very fruitful month finishing one Juz’ every week, and suddenly, I found myself unable to memorize anything new. It would take me a whole hour to finish a page as opposed to the better days when I would be able to memorize a page in thirty minutes. I made myself a revision plan and gave the memorization a break. After a few days, I had everything revised as planned, which encouraged me to get back on track, Alhamdulilah!

Remember that no matter how much you plan and organize, there will occasionally be set backs. Do not despair, it is better to start afresh than to never have started at all!

I ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to help us realize our goals.

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)

Memorizing the Quran: Step 2

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Bismillah.

Advice #2

The second step in this spiritual journey is to learn the correct recitation and articulation of the Quran. The second condition (after a sincere intention) for any deed to be accepted by Allah is that it should done according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.  Someone who wants to memorize the Book of Allah must learn it from those who are knowledgeable; and it is never sufficient for him to rely on his own self. 

This is one of the most amazingly unique aspects of the Quran- there has always been a one-on-one student-teacher interaction with regards to studying it.Jibreel ‘alayhisalam taught it to the Messenger of Allah sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who in turn taught it to his companions radhiallahu ‘anhum ajma’een (may Allah be pleased with them all), and that’s how its reached us: pristine, complete, unchanged, unaltered and unadulterated.

There are various steps to take to learn the correct recitation of the Quran:

1-      Use the same copy of the Quran- this will help you to get accustomed to the text, the number of verses per line, and it’ll keep your comments and corrections organized (use a pencil and mark your mistakes!); it  also helps to use highlighters and sticky notes

2-      Find a teacher- somebody who is well-versed in Tajweed  and can accurately point out your mistakes. Its best to recite the Quran to a teacher before starting to memorize so that he/she may correct any mispronunciation. Begin to learn the basic rules of Tajweed. 

3-      Repeat the verses-  repeating the same page at least ten times will help you to grasp a stronger hold of the difficult letters such as the Qaaf (القاف) and Raa’ (الراء). Bishr bin as-Sirri said, “Verily, each verse is like a date: the more you chew it, the more of its sweetness is released.” Abu Sulayman heard this and commented: “True. It is the case with one of you that if he begins one chapter of it, he wants to read it to the end.”

4-     Use your senses- listening to an audio recitation of the Quran by a skilled reciter while reading the verses from your mus-haf (copy of the Quran) is extremely beneficial

5- Write it down- write down the verses that you find most difficult to recite; that will help you concentrate on each word separately, and this has been the way of the students of knowledge

Lastly, don’t give up! The Messenger of Allah sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

.عن عائشة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: مثل الذي يقرأ القرآن وهو حافظ له مع السفرة الكرام البررة ومثل الذي يقرأ وهو يتعاهده وهو عليه شديد فله أجران

 “The example of the one who recites the Quran and is fluent it is as if he is with the noble pious angels, and the example of the one who recites the Quran and stammers in it has two rewards as it is difficult for him.” 

Remember to renew your intention every single time you begin reciting so that you may relish the beauty of wandering in the gardens of the remembrance of Allah.

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan said, “If our hearts were truly pure, we would never get enough of the Words of our Lord, and I hate that one day passes with me not looking in the Quran.” 

 

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)