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A Muslim's Obligation Toward the Qur'an

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#31 [Permalink] Posted on 14th October 2015 09:41
Turning to Allaah and Seeking His Guidance


Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,



"We have indeed sent down signs that make things clear. And Allaah guides whom He wills to a path that is straight." (Sooratun-Noor, 24:46)

The clear signs have come from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. However, the one who reads the Qur'aan must realise that its guidance will only come to him if Allaah سبحانه و تعالى wills it so. Guidance is in the hand of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and He gives it to whomsoever He wills, according to His divine justice and mercy. This fact must be very clear in everyone's heart. The reader must turn to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى while reading the Qur'aan realising that the benefits of the Qur'aan will only come because of his sincerity to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.

[How to Approach and Understand the Quran, p. 112]

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#32 [Permalink] Posted on 15th October 2015 09:54
Isti'aadhah (Seeking Refuge from Shaytaan) upon Reading the Qur'aan


Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,



"When you wish to read [lit: have read] the Qur'aan, seek refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan." (Sooratun-Nahl, 16:98)

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله has given the wisdom behind seeking refuge in Allaah from Shaytaan before reading the Qur'aan:

(1) The Qur'aan is a healing for whatever is in the heart; it removes whatever comes from Shaytaan, be it his evil whisperings, lusts or evil desires. It is the antidote to what Shaytaan has put into the heart. So first the person is asked to reject whatever is in his heart from the acts of Shaytaan. Therefore, the medicine will find the heart free and can take its proper place and have its proper effect. As is said in poetry, "Her desire came to me before I knew the desire/ And it met my heart empty so it took root therein." So this healthy medicine comes to the heart and cleanses it from what can damage it. And it becomes successful therein.

(2) The Qur'aan is the source of guidance, knowledge and good in the heart of the reader, in the same way that water is the source that brings forth plants. Shaytaan is a fire that burns down the plants, one by one. For every good plant that springs in the heart, Shaytaan attempts to destroy it and burn it down. And Allaah سبحانه و تعالى orders us to seek refuge in Him in order for Him to ruin what Shaytaan is attempting to do. The first point stated above deals with the benefits of the Qur'aan while this point actually deals with the preservation and remaining of the Qur'aan in the heart.

(3) The angels descend upon the one who reads the Qur'aan and listen to its recitation. This has been related in a hadeeth in which Usayd Ibn Hudayr رضي الله عنه was reciting the Qur'aan and he saw a canopy with lamps in it. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him that those were angels. And the devils are the opposite of the angels and are their enemies. The one who reads the Qur'aan has been ordered to ask Allaah سبحانه و تعالى that he should be put far away from his enemy, the devils, until he is in the midst of only angels. This situation cannot possibly be occupied by both the the angels and the devils at the same time.

(4) Shaytaan tries to disturb the one who reads the Qur'aan with his steeds and feet until the reader is void of the meanings of the Qur'aan. The reader should try to ponder over and understand the words of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Shaytaan tries to come between his heart and the meanings of the Qur'aan. Thus the reader is not able to benefit from the Qur'aan. Therefore we have been ordered to seek refuge from this Shaytaan when we are about to read the Qur'aan.

(5) The reader of the Qur'aan is in a private conversation with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. And Allaah سبحانه و تعالى listens closer to His words when recited in a pleasant way than a singer listens to her song. The song of Shaytaan is poetry and music. The reader has been ordered to seek refuge from Shaytaan so Shaytaan will be removed from the private conversation and Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will isten to the person's recital.

(6) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has stated that whenever He sent a Messenger or a Prophet, Shaytaan has always tried to interfere in what he is preaching by bringing words or ideas that do not originate with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. The early scholars all agreed that this meant that when one is reciting, Shaytaan throws some words or such into the recital. If this was done with respect to the Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام, what must be the case with respect to others? This is why the reciter will sometimes make mistakes. And why he sometimes gets confused and cannot recite properly. Or his mind and his heart becomes confused. When he begins to recite, he might find one of these, if not all of them, occurring.

(7) Whenever a person contemplates the doing of a good deed, Shaytaan becomes even more zealous in his attempts to come between the person and the good deed, to prevent the person from doing the good deed. [Therefore, we are asked to seek refuge in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى in order for Shaytaan to be prevented from stopping us from this good deed.] [1]

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله elaborated on that last point when he said that one who prays has to face more of Shaytaan's whisperings than one who does not pray. The same is true for those who are students of knowledge. This is because they are greater enemies to Shaytaan and he makes his attack on them more fierce. One of the moments in which Shaytaan is most likely to attack humans is when they try to read the Qur'aan. It is this moment when the person is in most need of seeking Allaah's protection سبحانه و تعالى from Shaytaan so that he will be able to benefit from his reading of the Qur'aan. [2]

Finally, Imaam al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer رحمه الله notes that when seeking refuge in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى from Shaytaan - in general, not just upon reading the Qur'aan - one recognises his own inability to defeat that hostile but hidden enemy. That enemy cannot be repelled like evil humans by behaving kindly toward them or by some type of "bribe." Instead, one must turn only to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to repel that enemy and allow the person to freely read and benefit from the Qur'aan. [3] [4]

Notes:

[1] Quoted from Shaykh 'Umar al-Ashqar رحمه الله, The World of the Jinn and Devils, pp. 176-178.

[2] Majmoo' al-Fataawa, vol. 7, p. 282

[3] Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, p. 21

[4] How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 112-115
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#33 [Permalink] Posted on 16th October 2015 10:12
The Ruling on Isti'aadhah for Recitation and Its Wording


Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,



"When you wish to read [lit: have read] the Qur'aan, seek refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan." (Sooratun-Nahl, 16:98)

A group of reciters and scholars, from amongst them Imaam Hamza رحمه الله, Imaam Ibn Seereen رحمه الله, Imaam Ibraaheem an-Nakha'ee رحمه الله and Imaam Daawood adh-Dhaahiree رحمه الله, were of the opinion that one seeks refuge after the completion of recitation, taking to the literal sense of this verse. They also stated that the reason for doing so would be to repress self-astonishment at the completion of an act of worship.

A second opinion voiced is that one seeks refuge before and after the recitation. However, the famous and well-known opinion, which is the opinion of the majority, is that one seeks refuge before recitation in order to safegaurd oneself from the whisperings of Shaytaan.

This group understood the meaning of the verse to be, 'When you wish to read the Qur'aan...' in the same sense as the verse,



"...When you intend to stand for prayer [lit: have stood for prayer], wash your faces and forearms up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles...." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:6)

Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله records on the authority of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree رضي الله عنه that, "When the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم stood at night [for prayer, he would commence the prayer] by saying the takbeer and then saying, 'SubhaanakAllaahumma wa bihamdika, wa tabaarakasmuka, wa ta'aalaa jadduka, wa laa ilaaha ghayruk (You are glorified O Allaah and praised! Your Name is Blessed; Your Majesty Exalted and none has the right to be worshipped save You).'"

Then he would say, "Laa ilaaha illAllaah (There is none worthy of worship except for Allaah)," three times, then he would say, "Allaahu Akbar (Allaah is the greatest)," three times and then he would say, "A'oothu billaahis-Samee'il-'Aleem minash-Shaytaanir-Rajeem, min hamzihee wa nafkhihee wa nafthih (I take refuge with Allaah, the All-Seeing, the All-Knowing from the accursed Shaytaan; from his madness, arrogance and poetry)." [1]

Imaam Abu Dawood رحمه الله also reports on the authority of Naafi' Ibn Jubayr رحمه الله, from his father who said, "I saw the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم saying when he commenced the prayer, "Allaahu Akbar kabeera (Allaah is the greatest, very great)," three times, "Alhamdulillaahi katheera (Abundant praise and thanks be to Allaah)," three times and "SubhaanAllaahi bukratan wa aseela (Glorified be Allaah, morning and evening)," three times. Then he said, "Allaahumma innee a'oothubika minash-Shaytaanir-Rajeem, min hamzihee wa nafkhihee wa nafthih (I take refuge with Allaah, the All-Seeing, the All-Knowing from the accursed Shaytaan; from his madness, arrogance and poetry)." [2]

Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee رحمه الله and Imaam Abu Haneefah رحمه الله were of the opinion that the wording of the isti'aadhah should be, "A'oothu billaahi minash-Shaytaanir-Rajeem," such that it conforms to the aforementioned verse in Sooratun-Nahl. Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله said that is was most befitting to say, "A'oothu billaahi minash-Shaytaanir-Rajeem innahoo huwas-Samee'ul-'Aleem," such that the person combines the wording of the verse in Sooratun-Nahl and Soorah Fussilat. Some of the Shawaafi' said that one should say, "A'oothu billaahis-Samee'il-'Aleem minash-Shaytaanir-Rajeem," to conform to the hadeeth of Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله and also to combine the wording of both verses.

The majority of the scholars are of the opinion that isti'aadhah is recommended and not obligatory. However, it is reported from Imaam 'Ataa' Ibn Abi Rabaah رحمه الله that it is obligatory to say it within the prayer and outside the prayer when one desires to recite the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Imaam ar-Raazee رحمه الله stated that the proof for this opinion was that the verse, "Seek refuge with Allaah," is mentioned in the imperative, that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم persisted in uttering it throughout his life, and that it serves as a protective barrier from Shaytaan - therefore if an obligation can only be fulfilled by a particular means, that means also becomes an obligation. [3]

Notes:

[1] Abu Daawood and at-Tirmidhi

[2] Abu Daawood and Ibn Maajah

[3] The Spiritual Cure (An Explanation to Surah al-Fatihah), pp. 39-41
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#34 [Permalink] Posted on 19th October 2015 16:19
The Meaning of Isti'aadhah


Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said,

"Know that the verb 'aadha and its derivatives carry the meaning of being careful and wary, guarding and fortifying, being rescued and victorious. Its essential meaning is to flee from that which you fear will harm you to that which will safeguard you from it. This is why the one you seek refuge with is named ma'aadh and malja' (the source of refuge and recourse).

In the hadeeth there occurs, 'When the daughter of al-Jawn entered upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم [after their marriage] he moved his hand [to touch her] and she said, "I take refuge with Allaah from you." He صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Indeed you have sought refuge with the Ma'aadh, return and rejoin your family."' [1]

Therefore the meaning of a'oothu is: I take refuge, guard myself and take precaution. There are two opinions concerning the basis of this verb. The first is that it is derived from the meaning of as-satar, covering or protection, and the second is that it is derived from the meaning of luzoom a-mujaawara, firmly adhering to what which adjoins it.

As for the first opinion then the Arabs used to say with regards to a house that is in the shade of a tree - 'uwwadha. Therefore when this house did 'aadha with this tree by being built under its shade, the Arabs named it 'uwwadh. The same applies to the one who takes refuge, for he seeks protection and cover from his enemy with the one he seeks refuge with.

As for the second opinion, then the Arabs used to say regarding flesh that was stuck to a bone and could not be removed, uwwadha, because of its refusal to be dislodged from it. The same applies to the one taking refuge, for he sticks firmly to the one he is seeking refuge with and refuses to be distances.

Both of these opinions are correct, for seeking refuge include both. The one taking refuge seeks protection with the one he is seeking refuge with and sticks firmly to him. His heart attaches itself to him and holds firm, just as the child sticks close its father when threatened by an enemy. The same applies to the one taking refuge, for he flees from his enemy who desires his destruction to his Lord, throwing himself between His hands, holding firmly to Him, sticking close to Him and resorting to Him.

Now, know that the reality of seeking refuge that is established in the heart of the believer surpasses and is beyond these descriptions, for these serve only as examples and representations. As for that which is established in the heart in its taking refuge, holding fast to, and its throwing itself before its Lord, its need of Him and its submission and humility before Him, then all of this is beyond description. In a similar vein, love of Him and fear of Him can only be described in a deficient way, for they cannot truly be understood except through experiencing them. This is similar to the case of one trying to describe the pleasure of sexual intercourse to one who is impotent and feels no sexual urges. No matter how much you describe it and how many examples you give, never will he truly understand it. However, if you were to describe it to one who does have these urges and has had intercourse, then he will understand your description completely.

If it is asked: When one is commanded to take refuge with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, why does the form of the command carry a seen and taa? For example, in His saying,



"When you wish to read [lit: have read] the Qur'aan, seek protection (fasta'idh) with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan." (Sooratun-Nahl, 16:98)

Yet one says, 'I take refuge,' (a'oodhu) and, 'I took refuge,' (ta'awwadhtu) without including the seen and taa?

The reply is: the seen and taa are gramatically used to denote a person's seeking something. Therefore, when one says, 'Asta'idhu with Allaah,' he is saying, 'I seek refuge with Him.' When he says, 'Astaghfirullaah,' he is saying, 'I seek the forgiveness of Allaah.' However, when the person says, 'I take refuge (a'oothu) with Allaah,' he is actually implementing and realising what he seeks because he sought refuge and protection with Allaah. There is a clear difference between actually taking refuge and seeking refuge. Therefore, because the one who is seeking refuge is actually recoursing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and holding firmly to Him, he says the verb that denotes this rather than saying the verb that denotes that he only seeks this.

The opposite is true for the saying, 'Astaghfirullaah,' (I seek the forgiveness of Allaah) for in this case the person is asking Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to forgive him. Therefore when he says, 'Astaghfirullaah,' he is implementing what he desires because the meaning of this statement is, 'I ask Allaah that He forgive me.'

This, then, is the best way of seeking refuge and it was for this reason that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to say, 'I take refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan,' and, 'I take refuge with Allaah's perfect words,' and, 'I take refuge with the Might and Power of Allaah,' saying, 'a'oothu rather than 'asta'idhu. Indeed, this is what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى taught him to say, with His words,



"Say: 'I take refuge with the Lord of daybreak.'" (Sooratul-Falaq, 113:1)



"Say: 'I take refuge with the Lord of mankind.'" (Sooratun-Naas, 114:1)

Employing the word 'a'oothu rather than 'asta'idhu." [2] [3]

Notes:

[1] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree

[2] Bada'i al-Fawa'id, vol. 1, pp. 439-441; Tafseer al-Qayyim, pp. 538-541

[3] The Spiritual Cure, pp. 42-45
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#35 [Permalink] Posted on 20th October 2015 10:15
Everyone Is In Need Of Isti'aadhah


The order to take refuge is left general and as such it does not specify one set of people from another. Moreover, the Messengers and Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام would also do isti'aadhah, and this further serves to prove that everybody is in need of this statement.

Prophet Nooh عليه السلام said,

"My Lord! I take refuge with You from asking You for anything about which I have no knowledge." (Soorah Hood, 11:47)

for which he was honoured with two things: peace and blessings,

"It was said, 'Nooh, descend with peace from Us and with blessings on you and on the nations that will issue from those who are with you.'" (Soorah Hood, 11:48)

Prophet Yoosuf عليه السلام said,

"Allaah is my refuge! He is my Lord and has been good to me where I live." (Soorah Yoosuf, 12:23)

for which he was honoured with two things: evil and lust being averted from him,

"That happened so that we might avert from him all evil and lust." (Soorah Yoosuf, 12:24)

Prophet Moosaa عليه السلام said,

"I take refuge with Allaah from being one of the ignorant!" (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:67)

for which he was honoured with two things: the lifting of the accusation and the bringing back to life of the dead person. He also said,

"I have taken refuge with my Lord and your Lord against your stoning me." (Sooratud-Dukhaan, 44:20)

"I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every proud man who does not have faith on the Day of Reckoning." (Soorah Ghaafir, 40:27)

for which he was honoured with two things: the destruction of his enemy and his inheriting of their lands and homes.

The mother of Maryam عليها السلام said,

"I have named her Maryam and placed her and her children in Your safekeeping from the accursed Shaytaan." (Soorah Aali-'Imraan, 3:36)

for which she was honoured with two things:

"Her Lord accepted her with approval and made her grow in health and beauty." (Soorah Aali-'Imraan, 3:37)

And Maryam عليها السلام said, when she saw the angel,

"I take refuge from you with the All-Merciful." (Soorah Maryam, 19:18)

and was honoured with two things: a son without a father (Prophet 'Eesaa [Jesus] عليه السلام), and a son who absolved her of the accusations against her while still in his cradle.

[The Spiritual Cure, pp. 46-48]
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#36 [Permalink] Posted on 21st October 2015 10:27
The Virtues of Isti'aadhah


There are are a number of ahaadeeth that show us the virtue of isti'aadhah:

(1) Imaam al-Bukhaaree رحمه الله reports on the authority of Sulaymaan Ibn Sarad رضي الله عنه that, "Two men abused each other in the presence of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم while we were sitting with him. One of the two abused the other while in a state of rage, and his face turned red. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'I know a statement that if he were to say, what he is experiencing would leave him. If only he were to say, "I take refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan (a'oothu billaahi minash-shaytaanir-rajeem)."'" [1]

(2) Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله reports on the authority of Abu Dharr رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "O Abu Dharr! Take refuge with Allaah from the Shayaateen amongst men and jinn." Abu Dharr رضي الله عنه asked, "Are their Shayaateen amongst men?" The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم replied, "Yes." [2]

(3) Imaam Abu Daawood رحمه الله reports on the authority of Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما that the Messenger of Allaah said, "If anyone seeks refuge [with you] for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى then grant him refuge. If anyone asks of you for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى then grant his request." [3]

(4) Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله records on the authority of Ma'qal Ibn Yasaar رضي الله عنه that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Whoever says, 'A'oothu billaahis-Samee'il-'Aleem' [one narration adds, 'minash-shaytaanir-rajeem] three times upon awakening and then recites the last three verses of Sooratul-Hashr, Allaah will appoint seventy thousand Angels over him to invoke blessings upon him until he goes to sleep. Were he to die on that day he would have died as a martyr. Whoever says this when he goes to sleep, the same holds true." [4]

(5) Imaam Muslim رحمه الله records on the authority of Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aa'ishah رضي الله عنها that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to say, "I take refuge with Your pleasure from Your displeasure; I take refuge with Your forgiveness from Your punishment; I take refuge with You from You." [5]

Imaam Ibn al-Jawzee رحمه الله said, "Know that the one who is taking refuge with Allaah, the Great, from the accursed Shaytaan [6] has clung to the firm Rope of Allaah. I take refuge with Allaah from all sins and actions of transgression! I take refuge with Allaah from misguidance and treachery! I take refuge with Allaah from the displeasure of ar-Rahmaan!

O my brother! Know that when the servant clings to the rope of the created king, he is saved from the evil of the oppressors. Therefore, it is far more befitting and appropriate for the one who takes refuge with the Lord of the Universe from the accursed enemy, Shaytaan, that he be saved." [7]

Notes:

[1] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree

[2] Musnad Ahmad. The hadeeth has two routes of narration, both of which are weak, as mentioned by Imaam Muqbil Ibn Haadee رحمه الله. Takhreej Ibn Katheer, vol. 1, p. 98

[3] Sunan Abee Daawood. Imaam as-Suyootee رحمه الله ruled it to be hasan and Imaam an-Nawawee رحمه الله said it was saheeh as did Shaykh al-Albaanee رحمه الله, as-Saheehah #253.

[4] Sunan at-Tirmidhee and Musnad Ahmad. Imaam at-Tirmidhee رحمه الله said that it is hasan ghareeb and in some texts ghareeb, and this seems most correct. Shaykh al-Albaanee رحمه الله ruled it da'eef (weak).

[5] Saheeh Muslim.

[6] The Meaning of Shaytaan: It is said that the word Shaytaan is derived from shatana which means to be distanced, and indeed Shaytaan is far removed from any good whatsoever. It is also said that the name is derived from shaata, which means to burn, because he is made from fire *. Others have said that both meanings are correct. However, the first meaning is most correct and is proven by the usage of the Arabs. (The Spiritual Cure, p. 51)

* Shaytaan is one of the Jinn, as proven by the following verse,
"And [mention] when We said to the angels, 'Prostrate to Aadam,' and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord." (Sooratul-Kahf, 18:50)

as such he is made of fire, "...And He created the jinn from a smokeless flame of fire." (Sooratur-Rahmaan, 55:15)

[7] The Spiritual Cure, pp. 49-51
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#37 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd October 2015 12:20
Teaching the Creation about Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, His Oneness and Attributes


There is no question that guiding the creation to the understanding and implications of Allaah's Oneness سبحانه و تعالى and Uniqueness (tawheed) is the overriding purpose of the Qur'aan. It is part of the nature of a human to want to know Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, his Lord and Creator. It is the Qur'aan that eloquently tells the human about his Lord such that he will then recognise the signs of his Lord, appreciate His actions and know His attributes. [1]

Through these teachings found in the Qur'aan, the human will increase his love and adoration for his Lord. He will worship Him with greater intensity and love and he will be a more devoted servant to Him. [2]

Through Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى clear description of His complete power over all things, His complete power to punish and His justice, the human learns to fear his Lord because of his own sins and shortcomings toward Him. At the same time, Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى clear description of His forgiveness and great mercy as well as the generous rewards He grants to the believers for their belief and good deeds increases the human's hope in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Hence, all of these aspects of the Qur'aan are intended to help the human know his Lord, have the proper relationship toward Hum and to have the feelings in his heart that make him act properly towards Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.

Thus when one reads the Qur'aan, he should realise that he is reading about his God and Lord. The Qur'aan is answering those basic human questions for him: Who is my Creator and God? What is my relationship to Him? Why did He create me? But, more importantly, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is telling the human about Himself so the human may draw closer to Him and increase his adoration and worship Him.

That this is one of the overriding purposes of the Qur'aan can be seen in the following hadeeth wherein the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم identifies the greatest or most virtuous verse in the Qur'aan: Ubayy Ibn Ka'ab رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said to him, "O Abul-Mundhir! Do you know which verse of the Book of Allaah with you is the greatest?" He replied, "Allaah and His Messenger know best." Again the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم asked, "O Abul-Mundhir! Do you know which verse of the Book of Allaah with you is the greatest?" He replied, "I said, '[The verse,] Allaah, there is no god worthy of worship besided Him, the Ever-Living, the Ever-Sustaining'"? The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم then struck his chest and said, "By Allaah, may knowledge be made pleasant for you oh Abul-Mundhir [as you answered correctly]." [3]

The verse referred to in the hadeeth is verse 255 of Sooratul Baqarah, known as Aayatul-Kursee (the verse of the Footstool):



"Allaah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:255)

The greatest verse of the Qur'aan is all about Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, His attributes and His greatness. This is a clear sign that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is, if one may use the term, "revealing" Himself to His creatures through the verses of the Qur'aan. This aspect of the Qur'aan is one of the most important, if not the most important, of aspects.

Similarly, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said about Sooratul-Ikhlaas, "By the One in whose hand is my soul, it is equal to one-third of the Qur'aan." [4] [5]

Sooratul-Ikhlaas is the following Soorah:






"Say, 'He is Allah , [who is] One, Allaah-as-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need), He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him." (Sooratul-Ikhlaas, 112:1-4)

Once again, this Soorah which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم declared to be equivalent to one-third of the Qur'aan is all about Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, His names and attributes, and His uniqueness.

There can be no doubt then that one of the major purposes of the Qur'aan is to teach the creation about Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. This should be something clear in the mind of the reader. He should turn to the Qur'aan to learn about His creator. He should be emphasising the relevant verses during his reading. When Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions His names and attributes, the reader should be alert and realise that this is one of the main goals of the Qur'aan and it is information about his creator that he will not be able to receive from any other source.

These teachings about Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى names and attributes are essential for the strength and health of one's faith. It is by these verses of the Qur'aan that one really knows whom he is worshipping and he then no longer worships something or theory alone without any aspect of realness to him. This point is aptly summarised in the following quote: "You will not be able to fulfill the true form of worship and servitude nor attain the proper direction [in your worship] if you do not know the One who you are worshipping and directing your worship toward - that is, if you do not know the attributes that He has. [You will not be able to fulfill the true worship] until your worship is based on recognition and knowledge. And Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has described Himself in His noble book with attributes that He wants us to know and attribute Him with [so that our worship of Him can be proper and as complete as we can make it]." [6]

Furthermore, many of the people before the coming of the Prophet accepted the idea of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى being the only Creator of the Universe. However, they associated partners with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى in different forms of worship. Therefore, Islaam came to purify this concept of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى being the Lord or Rabb and gave it its proper understanding. By doing so, then they would worship Allaah سبحانه و تعالى alone properly. But the way to achieve that, or the beginning point, is to have knowledge and correct understanding of Allaah's names and attributes سبحانه و تعالى. If one has knowledge and a correct understanding of Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى names and attributes, then one would never turn to anyone else or direct any form of worship to anyone other than Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Hence, a correct and detailed understanding of Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى names and attributes is truly the foundation for the correct application of the proper belief in Allaah. [7]

Hence, the desired product of these verses of the Qur'aan is a true and devoted worship of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى alone. The more that one knows about Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and His attributes, the more one will love Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, fear Him and have hope in Him. Definitely, the more one knows about Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, the more one should love Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and desire to please Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and have Allaah سبحانه و تعالى pleased with him. Hence, the correct understanding of the names and attributes of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is very important and very beneficial and forms one of the major goals of the teachings of the Qur'aan. [8]

Notes:

[1] Obviously, the human mind or intellect cannot discover this information by itself as it is well beyond its limitations. All philosophers who have tried to determine the nature or attributes of God without the aid of revelation have ended in confusion and frustration. The only reliable source for this kind of information is revelation from Allaah Himself سبحانه و تعالى.

[2] Those philosophers of Islaam who turned away from or denied Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى clear descriptions of His attributes had, as is clear from their writings, a very empty and hollow conception of God, void of any real feelings of the heart.

[3] Saheeh Muslim

[4] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree

[5] This hadeeth has been explained by some of the scholars in the following fashion: The verses of the Qur'aan may be divided into three categories:

a) Those related to the stories of the prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام and earlier peoples,

b) those related to law and rulings, and

c) those related to the attributes of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.

Hence, Sooratul-Ikhlaas covers the last third. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى knows best. See Imaam an-Nawawi رحمه الله, Sharh Saheeh Muslim (Riyadh: Daar al-Muayyad, 1995), vol. 6, p. 335

[6] Muhammad Qutb, Rakaa'iz al-Imaan (Riyadh: Daar Ishbeeliyah, 1997), p. 105

[7] Ahmad Salaam, Muqaddimah fi Fiqh Usool ad-Da'wah (Beirut: Daar Ibn Hazm, 1990), p. 97

[8] How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 118-123
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#38 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd October 2015 10:01
Showing the Creation the Path and Way of Life That Is Pleasing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى


After one truly knows Allaah سبحانه و تعالى by His names, attributes and actions, one should dearly want to know what actions he must perform to please Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and what actions not to perform in order to avoid His displeasure. In every rak'ah of every prayer, the believer must earnestly pray,




"Guide us to the straight path, the path of those You have favoured, not the path of those who have earned your anger nor of those who have gone astray." (Sooratul-Faatihah, 1:6-7)

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, in His mercy, did not leave humans without giving them the answer to this prayer. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى seems to be alluding to the answer of this prayer by the opening verses of Sooratul-Baqarah, the first Soorah after Sooratul-Faatihah,



"This is the Book concerning which there is no doubt. A guidance for the Muttaqeen [1]." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:2)

The Qur'aan is the guide and the only true guide to the path that is pleasing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى:



"Verily, this Qur'aan guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers, who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a great reward." (Sooratul-Israa', 17:9)

The Qur'aan is a guide for every aspect of one's life. [2]

This is one of the greatest blessings that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has vouchsafed upon His creation; a clear guide for all aspects of life. The person who reads it realising this important aspect and goal of the Qur'aan needs never be lost. In every aspect of his life, he can find some guidance from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. He will always see and know what actions or path will be pleasing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. The person who turns to the Qur'aan in this matter will rarely, if ever, feel lost, confused or confounded. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,




"O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture and overlooking much. Indeed, there has come to you from Allaah a light (Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and a clear Book (this Qur'aan). By which Allaah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:15-16)

Among the most important aspects that the Qur'aan guides a person to is the proper behaviour, manners and character that he should possess. When talking about the purpose for which he had been sent, the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "I have been sent for the purpose of perfecting good morals." [3]

A Muslim's life and his behaviour should be an actualisation and implementation of the Qur'aan and Sunnah. This is exactly what the true example and model, the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, was like. When Ummul Mu'mineen 'Aa'ishah رضي الله عنها, the wife of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, was asked about his character, she answered, "His character was the Qur'aan." [4]

Every person should look to the Qur'aan as the judge or signpost of his own life. That is, as Imaam al-Hasan al-Basri رحمه الله stated: "If anyone desires to know what he is [or what is his standing] he should examine himself in the light of the Qur'aan." [5]

A person's true esteem or true worth can be judged in the light of the teachings of the Qur'aan. Every individual should look to the Qur'aan and see where he stands with respect to its guidance. If he is benefitting from the guidance of the Qur'aan, he should thank Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and ask Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to increase his guidance and eemaan (faith). If he is falling short, he should blame only his own self, determine to change himself and turn in repentance to Allah. [6]

Finally, it must be stressed that since the revelation of the Qur'aan, scholars throughout the ages have been able to turn to the Qur'aan, ponder its meanings, and, thereby, get guidance for the particular situation that they were living in. The Qur'aan will always be filled with such guidance until the Day of Judgement. No matter how much the society and environment may change, the guidance found in the Qur'aan will always be able to guide Muslims to the straight path. It is the word of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, the One who knows everything that will occur until the Day of Judgement and who can guide mankind under all circumstances. But this will only come about if the Muslims themselves turn to the Qur'aan, realising this aspect of the Qur'aan, drinking from its fountain of guidance, and conveying its sublime teachings for every age to the masses. [7] [8]

Notes:

[1] See: Fear Allaah Wherever You Are (Taqwa) -

[2] Since the Qur'aan points to the obligation of following the Sunnah, the detailed guidance found in the Sunnah must be considered part of the Qur'aan's guidance. See also: Obedience To Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), Following Him And Following The Khulafa (رضي الله عنهم) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/36-nabi-s--sahaabah-stories/6214-obedience-to-rasulullaah-saw-following-him-and-following-the-khulafa-ra.html

[3] Recorded by Imaam al-Haakim رحمه الله and others. Graded saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله in Saheeh al-Jaami', vol. 1, p. 464

[4] Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله

[5] Imaam Abu Bakr al-Aajurri رحمه الله, Akhlaaq Ahlul-Qur'aan (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1987), p. 41

[6] See also: Tawbah (Repentance) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/12-virtues/5476-tawbah-repentance.html

[7] Not everyone has the ability to translate the Qur'aan's teachings and guidance to events that are occurring today. This application of the Quranic teachings to today's reality needs to be done according to basic principles and methodology. One must also be aware of what is happening in the world at present and this requires some specific sources and methodology.

[8] How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 123-126
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#39 [Permalink] Posted on 26th October 2015 16:15
Creating the Complete and Balanced Islamic Individual - The Importance Of Having Both 'Ilm (Knowledge) And Taqwaa (Fear of Allah/God-Consciousness)


The Qur'aan is not simply a book of laws - of dos and don'ts - but it is foremost a book of tarbiyyah or a Book that develops and allows people to grow spiritually and morally. In the following verse, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes the Qur'aan as a maw'idhah,



"This [Qur'aan] is a clear statment to mankind, a guidance and admonition (maw'idhah) to the Muttaqeen (those who fear Allaah, have God-consciousness)." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:138)

Lane gives the following definition for the word maw'idhah, "He exhorted him, admonished him, or warned him; commanded him to obey; he gave him good advice, or counsel; and reminded him of the results of affairs; he reminded him by informing him of that which should make the heart tender; he reminded him of that which should soften his heart by the mention of reward and punishment." [1]

So, maw'idhah involves warning the person about the consequences of his actions. It includes reminding him of what his wrong actions will lead him to. It also includes, as the English expression states, "putting the fear of God in him," as well as making his heart soft and submissive to the truth.

Hence, the Qur'aan is a Book that is meant to reform the individual, either changing him if he were void of guidance or improving him if he already was walking along its straight path. It brings him from the death of jaahiliyyah (ignorance) to the life of Islaam - such that his heart and mind sees things in the light of Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى guidance and he acts accordingly. This is the true life of a human, a life which is different from that of one in ignorance, just as life is different from death. Allaah says,



"And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge therefrom? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing." (Sooratul-An'aam, 6:122)

And,






"Not equal are the blind and the seeing, Nor are the darknesses and the light, Nor are the shade and the heat,And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allaah causes to hear whom He wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves." (Soorah Faatir, 35:19-22)

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also says,




"And We did not give Prophet Muhammad, knowledge of poetry, nor is it befitting for him. It is not but a message and a clear Qur'an. To warn whoever is alive and justify the word against the disbelievers." (Soorah Yaa Seen, 36:69-70)

The difference between this goal of the Qur'aan and the previously discussed goal is that the latter is referring basically to showing the straight path - like telling a person the laws of driving - while this goal is another aspect of the Qur'aan which develops the person in such a way that he follows the straight path that he finds from the previous goal - such as imbibing the citizen with his civic responsibility so that he abides by the driving laws even if he has no fear of being punished. [2]

In other words, the Qur'aan is not just giving the human the knowledge ('ilm) of what is correct but is also imbibing him with the fealing of fear, love and responsibility to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى (taqwa) [3] that will drive him to do what is proper and correct. This is achieved through many means in the Qur'aan.

For example, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى tells humans the real nature of this world and its pleasures. [4] The Qur'aan also contrasts the fleeting pleasures of this world with the real pleasure of Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى rewards. [5] The Qur'aan also vividly describes to mankind what will happen on the Day of Judgement to both those who were pious and those who were evil.

In fact, after almost every law stated in the Qur'aan, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى closes the relevant verses with the remembrance of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, promises of reward for those who stay within His limits and promises of punishment for those who wish not to abide by His commands. These are just some examples of how the Qur'aan gives both 'ilm and taqwa [6] to the individual. [7]

A clear example from the Qur'aan of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى both showing the Muslims the straight path or correct actions as well as inspiring them with taqwa or urging them to follow Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى guidance can be seen in Sooratul-Baqarah. Verses 221-242 of that Soorah cover twelve different laws or ruling involving marriage, marital relations, divorce, waiting peridod, maintenance, nursing and so on. In the verses, every ruling is clearly tied to an aspect of belief or 'aqeedah.

The first ruling concerns marriage with polytheists and ends with the words,



"They [the disbelievers] invite you to the Fire. But Allaah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:221)

The second ruling prohibits intercourse with a menstruating wife and ends by saying,



"Indeed, Allaah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:222)

and,



"And fear Allaah and know that you will meet Him. And give good tidings to the believers." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:223)

The next ruling concerns oaths and ends with,



"And Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Knower (the One who hears and knows all things)." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:224)

and,



"And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Forbearing." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:225)

This is followed by the ruling concerning al-eela [8] and ends with,



"But if they return [to normal relations] - then indeed, Allaah is Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:226)

The next verse ends with,



"...then indeed Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Knower" (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:227)

The fifth law concerns the waiting period and states,



"and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allaah has created in their wombs if they believe in Allaah and the Last Day." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:228)

The next verse discusses the number of divorces and concludes in this manner,



"These are the limits of Allaah , so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allaah - it is those who are the wrongdoers." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:229)

Next comes the order to remain with such wives properly or to let them free, which is followed by Allaah's words,



"And do not take the verses of Allaah in jest. And remember the favor of Allaah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Book and wisdom by which He instructs you. And fear Allaah and know that Allaah is Knowing of all things." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:231)

The following ruling concerns the breastfeeding of children and is followed with the words,



" And fear Allaah and know that Allaah is Seeing of what you do." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:233)

Then comes the ruling concerning the waiting period of the widow followed by the words,



"And Allaah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:234)

Next comes a ruling about an indirect marriage proposal to a widow whilse she is still in her waiting period ('iddah). This command is followed by Allaah's warning,



"And know that Allaah knows what is within yourselves, so beware of Him. And know that Allaah is Forgiving and Forbearing." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:235)

At this point, there is a brief change in topic as the person is reminded of the importance of prayer, as some rulings concerning prayer are mentioned. Then the final ruling found in this set of verses discusses the maintenance of the divorced woman in these words,



"And for divorced women is a provision according to what is acceptable - a duty upon the righteous." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:241)

All of these rulings are ended by Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى words,



"Thus does Allaah make clear His signs to you in order that you may understand." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:242)

The importance of giving both 'ilm (knowledge) and taqwa (fear of Allaah God-consciousness) cannot be overemphasised. If a person simply has the knowledge of what is right without anything in his soul driving him to perform that right deed, all of that knowledge will be of no avail or benefit to him. This can clearly be seen in western societies. For example, how many people in the West know very well the dangers and harmful effects of smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs and so on, but, at the same time, how many of these same people have the will and drive to refrain from these acts that they know are so harmful to them? [9]

On the other hand, a false sense of taqwa without 'ilm can also be very dangerous [10] as such a person may do something very displeasing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى while he should have known better, and this may lead to his destruction. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,




"Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): 'Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.'" (Soorah Kahf, 18:103-104)

In fact, this was the way of the Christians who worshipped Allaah سبحانه و تعالى not based on knowledge. Hence, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى calls the, in particular, those who have gone astray.

By the grace of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, if the person realises this goal of the Qur'aan and sincerely tries to achieve it through his reading and study of the Qur'aan, he will be given both 'ilm and taqwa and he will become a complete Muslim in his life. In every rak'ah of his prayer, he will be asking Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to guide him away from being a person of 'ilm without taqwa or a person with a false type of taqwa that is not based on 'ilm. In every rak'ah, he recites,




"Guide us to the straight path, The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray." (Sooratul-Faatihah, 1:6-7)

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم explained to whom the last two terms were referring to when he said, "Those who earned the wrath of Allaah (maghdoobi 'alayhim) are the Jews and those who went astray (ad-Daalleen) are the Christians." [11] [12]

Notes:

[1] E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (Cmabridge, England: The Islamic Texts Society, 1984), vol. 2, p. 2953

[2] Note that there is a strong relationship between the implementation of this goal and the first goal discussed above. This is acceptable as these goals need not be mutually independent. There should be some overlap as the goals are all strongly related to one another, as shall be highlighted later.

[3] See: Fear Allaah Wherever You Are (Taqwa) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/12-virtues/7703-fear-allah-wherever-you-are-taqwa.html

[4] There are many verses concerning this topic, such as the following:



"[This] worldly life is only amusement and diversion. And if you believe and fear Allaah, He will give you your rewards and not ask you for your properties." (Soorah Muhammad, 47:36)



"Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allaah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion." (Sooratul-Hadeed, 57:20)

[5] For example, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,




"Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allaah has with Him the best return. Say, 'Shall I inform you of [something] better than that? For those who fear Allaah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and purified spouses and approval from Allaah. And Allaah is Seeing of [His] servants.'" (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:14-15)

[6] See, Virtues of Knowledge which is Learnt and Taught for the sake of Allah - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/12-virtues/5075-virtues-of-knowledge-which-is-learnt-and-taught-for-the-sake-of-allah.html

[7] One can see that the style of the Qur'aan lends itself to this giving of both taqwaa and 'ilm through the following means:

(a) The Qur'aan presents what actually happens as if the person is witnessing the even itself by exposing all of the important and relevant aspects in a clear, vivid manner.

(b) The Qur'aan does not discuss essentially related matters in separate chapters like what one finds in science or philosophy books but rather everything is tied together and presented as one unified, related whole.

(c) At the same time, though, the Qur'aan stresses various aspects of life in balance or proper proportion, the proportions they deserve to be given in Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى sight, and

(d) the Qur'aan gives reality a life or breathing spirit that allows the Qur'aan to influence the reader.

Of course, since the Qur'aan is the speech of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, the Creator and Lord of mankind, His message is able to strike the hearts, intellect and emotions of mankind like no humanly produced work could. In fact
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#40 [Permalink] Posted on 26th October 2015 16:17
Creating the Complete and Balanced Islamic Individual - The Importance Of Having Both 'Ilm (Knowledge) And Taqwaa (Fear of Allah/God-Consciousness)


The Qur'aan is not simply a book of laws - of dos and don'ts - but it is foremost a book of tarbiyyah or a Book that develops and allows people to grow spiritually and morally. In the following verse, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes the Qur'aan as a maw'idhah,



"This [Qur'aan] is a clear statment to mankind, a guidance and admonition (maw'idhah) to the Muttaqeen (those who fear Allaah, have God-consciousness)." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:138)

Lane gives the following definition for the word maw'idhah, "He exhorted him, admonished him, or warned him; commanded him to obey; he gave him good advice, or counsel; and reminded him of the results of affairs; he reminded him by informing him of that which should make the heart tender; he reminded him of that which should soften his heart by the mention of reward and punishment." [1]

So, maw'idhah involves warning the person about the consequences of his actions. It includes reminding him of what his wrong actions will lead him to. It also includes, as the English expression states, "putting the fear of God in him," as well as making his heart soft and submissive to the truth.

Hence, the Qur'aan is a Book that is meant to reform the individual, either changing him if he were void of guidance or improving him if he already was walking along its straight path. It brings him from the death of jaahiliyyah (ignorance) to the life of Islaam - such that his heart and mind sees things in the light of Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى guidance and he acts accordingly. This is the true life of a human, a life which is different from that of one in ignorance, just as life is different from death. Allaah says,



"And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge therefrom? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing." (Sooratul-An'aam, 6:122)

And,






"Not equal are the blind and the seeing, Nor are the darknesses and the light, Nor are the shade and the heat,And not equal are the living and the dead. Indeed, Allaah causes to hear whom He wills, but you cannot make hear those in the graves." (Soorah Faatir, 35:19-22)

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also says,




"And We did not give Prophet Muhammad, knowledge of poetry, nor is it befitting for him. It is not but a message and a clear Qur'an. To warn whoever is alive and justify the word against the disbelievers." (Soorah Yaa Seen, 36:69-70)

The difference between this goal of the Qur'aan and the previously discussed goal is that the latter is referring basically to showing the straight path - like telling a person the laws of driving - while this goal is another aspect of the Qur'aan which develops the person in such a way that he follows the straight path that he finds from the previous goal - such as imbibing the citizen with his civic responsibility so that he abides by the driving laws even if he has no fear of being punished. [2]

In other words, the Qur'aan is not just giving the human the knowledge ('ilm) of what is correct but is also imbibing him with the fealing of fear, love and responsibility to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى (taqwa) [3] that will drive him to do what is proper and correct. This is achieved through many means in the Qur'aan.

For example, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى tells humans the real nature of this world and its pleasures. [4] The Qur'aan also contrasts the fleeting pleasures of this world with the real pleasure of Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى rewards. [5] The Qur'aan also vividly describes to mankind what will happen on the Day of Judgement to both those who were pious and those who were evil.

In fact, after almost every law stated in the Qur'aan, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى closes the relevant verses with the remembrance of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, promises of reward for those who stay within His limits and promises of punishment for those who wish not to abide by His commands. These are just some examples of how the Qur'aan gives both 'ilm and taqwa [6] to the individual. [7]

A clear example from the Qur'aan of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى both showing the Muslims the straight path or correct actions as well as inspiring them with taqwa or urging them to follow Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى guidance can be seen in Sooratul-Baqarah. Verses 221-242 of that Soorah cover twelve different laws or ruling involving marriage, marital relations, divorce, waiting peridod, maintenance, nursing and so on. In the verses, every ruling is clearly tied to an aspect of belief or 'aqeedah.

The first ruling concerns marriage with polytheists and ends with the words,



"They [the disbelievers] invite you to the Fire. But Allaah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:221)

The second ruling prohibits intercourse with a menstruating wife and ends by saying,



"Indeed, Allaah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:222)

and,



"And fear Allaah and know that you will meet Him. And give good tidings to the believers." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:223)

The next ruling concerns oaths and ends with,



"And Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Knower (the One who hears and knows all things)." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:224)

and,



"And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Forbearing." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:225)

This is followed by the ruling concerning al-eela [8] and ends with,



"But if they return [to normal relations] - then indeed, Allaah is Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:226)

The next verse ends with,



"...then indeed Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Knower" (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:227)

The fifth law concerns the waiting period and states,



"and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allaah has created in their wombs if they believe in Allaah and the Last Day." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:228)

The next verse discusses the number of divorces and concludes in this manner,



"These are the limits of Allaah , so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allaah - it is those who are the wrongdoers." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:229)

Next comes the order to remain with such wives properly or to let them free, which is followed by Allaah's words,



"And do not take the verses of Allaah in jest. And remember the favor of Allaah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Book and wisdom by which He instructs you. And fear Allaah and know that Allaah is Knowing of all things." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:231)

The following ruling concerns the breastfeeding of children and is followed with the words,



" And fear Allaah and know that Allaah is Seeing of what you do." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:233)

Then comes the ruling concerning the waiting period of the widow followed by the words,



"And Allaah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:234)

Next comes a ruling about an indirect marriage proposal to a widow whilse she is still in her waiting period ('iddah). This command is followed by Allaah's warning,



"And know that Allaah knows what is within yourselves, so beware of Him. And know that Allaah is Forgiving and Forbearing." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:235)

At this point, there is a brief change in topic as the person is reminded of the importance of prayer, as some rulings concerning prayer are mentioned. Then the final ruling found in this set of verses discusses the maintenance of the divorced woman in these words,



"And for divorced women is a provision according to what is acceptable - a duty upon the righteous." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:241)

All of these rulings are ended by Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى words,



"Thus does Allaah make clear His signs to you in order that you may understand." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:242)

The importance of giving both 'ilm (knowledge) and taqwa (fear of Allaah God-consciousness) cannot be overemphasised. If a person simply has the knowledge of what is right without anything in his soul driving him to perform that right deed, all of that knowledge will be of no avail or benefit to him. This can clearly be seen in western societies. For example, how many people in the West know very well the dangers and harmful effects of smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs and so on, but, at the same time, how many of these same people have the will and drive to refrain from these acts that they know are so harmful to them? [9]

On the other hand, a false sense of taqwa without 'ilm can also be very dangerous [10] as such a person may do something very displeasing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى while he should have known better, and this may lead to his destruction. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,




"Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): 'Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.'" (Soorah Kahf, 18:103-104)

In fact, this was the way of the Christians who worshipped Allaah سبحانه و تعالى not based on knowledge. Hence, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى calls the, in particular, those who have gone astray.

By the grace of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, if the person realises this goal of the Qur'aan and sincerely tries to achieve it through his reading and study of the Qur'aan, he will be given both 'ilm and taqwa and he will become a complete Muslim in his life. In every rak'ah of his prayer, he will be asking Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to guide him away from being a person of 'ilm without taqwa or a person with a false type of taqwa that is not based on 'ilm. In every rak'ah, he recites,




"Guide us to the straight path, The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray." (Sooratul-Faatihah, 1:6-7)

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم explained to whom the last two terms were referring to when he said, "Those who earned the wrath of Allaah (maghdoobi 'alayhim) are the Jews and those who went astray (ad-Daalleen) are the Christians." [11] [12]

Notes:

[1] E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (Cmabridge, England: The Islamic Texts Society, 1984), vol. 2, p. 2953

[2] Note that there is a strong relationship between the implementation of this goal and the first goal discussed above. This is acceptable as these goals need not be mutually independent. There should be some overlap as the goals are all strongly related to one another, as shall be highlighted later.

[3] See: Fear Allaah Wherever You Are (Taqwa) - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/12-virtues/7703-fear-allah-wherever-you-are-taqwa.html

[4] There are many verses concerning this topic, such as the following:



"[This] worldly life is only amusement and diversion. And if you believe and fear Allaah, He will give you your rewards and not ask you for your properties." (Soorah Muhammad, 47:36)



"Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allaah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion." (Sooratul-Hadeed, 57:20)

[5] For example, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,




"Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire - of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allaah has with Him the best return. Say, 'Shall I inform you of [something] better than that? For those who fear Allaah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and purified spouses and approval from Allaah. And Allaah is Seeing of [His] servants.'" (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:14-15)

[6] See, Virtues of Knowledge which is Learnt and Taught for the sake of Allah - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/12-virtues/5075-virtues-of-knowledge-which-is-learnt-and-taught-for-the-sake-of-allah.html

[7] One can see that the style of the Qur'aan lends itself to this giving of both taqwaa and 'ilm through the following means:

(a) The Qur'aan presents what actually happens as if the person is witnessing the even itself by exposing all of the important and relevant aspects in a clear, vivid manner.

(b) The Qur'aan does not discuss essentially related matters in separate chapters like what one finds in science or philosophy books but rather everything is tied together and presented as one unified, related whole.

(c) At the same time, though, the Qur'aan stresses various aspects of life in balance or proper proportion, the proportions they deserve to be given in Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى sight, and

(d) the Qur'aan gives reality a life or breathing spirit that allows the Qur'aan to influence the reader.

Of course, since the Qur'aan is the speech of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, the Creator and Lord of mankind, His message is able to strike the hearts, intellect and emotions of mankind like no humanly produced work could. In fact, the way the Qur'aan is able to affect mankind directly in the heart and soul is another proof that its source is Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.

[8] This is an oath that a man makes vowing to abstain from his wife.

[9] A society in which people lose their moral conscience even though they have the knowledge of what is right or wrong is doomed to disaster. Sayyid Qutb رحمه الله commented, "This is what causes the failure of all of the systems that are not based on the control of the heart, which is God-consciousness (taqwaa). And all the theories and ideologies that man has made for man and that do not have any authority from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى likewise fail." Fi Dhilaal al-Qur'aan, vol. 3 ,p. 1384.

[10] Although in the long-run 'ilm without taqwaa is much more dangerous. Perhaps the person of taqwaa without 'ilm shall be forgiven in some cases because of his ignorance and good intentions while the one with 'ilm and no taqwaa combines knowing that the act he is performing is wrong with bad intentions.

[11] Recorded by Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله. See the discussion of the different narrations from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his Companions رضي الله عنهم stating the same in Shaykh al-Huwaini's رحمه الله footnotes to Imaam Ibn Katheer's رحمه الله Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, vol. 1, pp. 501-504.

[12] How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 127-135.
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#41 [Permalink] Posted on 27th October 2015 09:52
Bringing About An Islamic Society


Many scholars, such as Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله and Imaam Ibn Khaldoon رحمه الله, state that humans are social creatures. It is clear from the Qur'aan that every human being is part of a greater society and is not an island unto himself. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'aan,



"O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allaah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allaah is ever, over you, an Observer." (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:1)

In general, from birth, a human is a person's son or daughter, another's brother or sister and yet another's nephew or cousin. Furthermore, almost everyone has neighbours and many have spouses. The guidance of the Qur'aan produces not only the Islamic individual with respect to his worship and character, but beyond that it also guides humans in their relationships to one another such that they create a society based on mutual understanding, rights and responsibilities all according to the guidance of the Creator, the All-Wise, the All-Knowing. This society works together as a whole and uses all of its resources in ways that are pleasing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has made it clear that one of the purposes for which He revealed the Qur'aan is so that it may be the law of the land and used to judge what is right and what is wrong. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,



"Surely, We have sent down to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) the Book (this Qur'aan) in truth that you might judge between men by that which Allaah has shown you, so be not a pleader for the treacherous." (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:105)

This society will be unique, based on the clear guidance from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. It will have its own principles and values that it will do its best to propagate and uphold. It will be something distinct from the way of ignorance (jaahiliyyah) or non-Godly societies that this world has seen and is witnessing. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى indicates that there is only His true and perfect guidance or there is the way of ignorance and the way of desires of mankind. Note this implication in the following two verses of the Qur'aan,



"And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allaah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:48)



"Do they then seek the judgement of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:50)

The sole raison d'etre of such a society will be to worship Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and serve His cause. It will stand for truth and justice in every realm of life and throughout the world. For example, within the society itself, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى tells the believers that they do not have the right to allow others to do evil or spread evil in their midst. [1]

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'aan,



"You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allaah." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:110)

and,




"Cursed were those who disbelieved among the Children of Israel by the tongue of David (عليه السلام) and of Jesus (عليه السلام), the son of Mary (عليها السلام). That was because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed. They used not to prevent one another from wrongdoing that they did. How wretched was that which they were doing." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:78-79)

This is one essential aspect of this Islamic society guided by the teachings of the Qur'aan: its members work together to eradicate evil and promote good. They not only purify themselves but they do their best to purify everyone in their society as a whole.

But this proper Islamic society which the Qur'aan can guide humans to not only spreads good and eradicates evil from within but it also feels the responsibility of spreading the word of Allaah and the true submission to the One and only God to the rest of the world. This can be seen in the Quranic injunctions concerning, for example, Jihaad. For instance, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,



"And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allaah. And if they cease - then indeed, Allaah is Seeing of what they do." (Sooratul-Anfaal, 8:39)

Hence, when a person reads the Qur'aan, he must realise that the Qur'aan is showing him or guiding him to his rights and responsibilities towards all of mankind. When the person reads the Qur'aan in this light and attains this guidance from the Qur'aan, his behaviour and actions will change such that he becomes beneficial and helpful for his own society and the world as a whole: calling people to the way of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and helping to establish the Quranic commands in this world. [2]

Notes:

[1] As opposed to those societies which believe in freedom and that everyone should be allowed to do whatever they wish even if it might be somewhat harmful for the other members of society.

[2] How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 136-139.
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#42 [Permalink] Posted on 5th November 2015 10:47
Guiding Muslims In Their Ongoing Struggle Against The Enemies Of Islaam


Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'aan,




"They want to extinguish the light of Allaah with their mouths, but Allaah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it. It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth (Islamic Monotheism) to make it victorious over all (other) religions even though those who associate others with Allaah dislike it." (Sooratus-Saff, 61:8-9)

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has made this religion to be established in the earth. But there are many humans and jinn in this world who do not wish to bow down to the Creator and Lord. Not only that, there are many jinn and humans in this world who do not wish to see others bow down to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and live virtuous lives. Due to this, there will always be a struggle between truth and falsehood. Shaytaan and his followers will never give up their fight against Islaam and faith and the Muslims are ever obligated to struggle against them. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says:




"And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allaah), then certainly, Allaah is All-Seer of what they do. And if they turn away, then know that Allaah is your Maula (Patron, Lord, Protector and Supporter, etc.), (what) an Excellent Maula, and (what) an Excellent Helper!" (Sooratul-Anfaal, 8:39-40)

History demonstrates that as individuals embrace Islaam, they are often opposed by the people closest to them, such as family and close friends. This was true in the case of the Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in Makkah - long before the Islamic state was established - and it is also true for many people who embrace Islaam today in non-Muslim societies. Hence, as individuals seeking to follow the way of life they find to be true, Muslims will be opposed.

Islaam is not a religion simply for the individual. Indeed, when it spreads, it is a kind of ideological revolution that seeks to root out all aspects of jaahiliyyah in society. This kind of change will most likely be met with some resistance by those known as "the powers that be." Their entire values and way of life may be threatened or changed under the guidance of Islaam and those who were leisurely enjoying the old, false way of life may not be content with any change in their power or their ability to fulfill their desires. Indeed, they will not be satisfied. As Sayyid Qutb رحمه الله has noted, "History tells us, however, that the jaahili society always chooses to fight and not to make peace. It normally attacks the vanguard of Islaam at its very inception, whether it be a few persons, or larger groups, or it may wait until this vanguard has become a well-established community. From Noah to Muhammad, peace be upon them all, without exception, this has been the response of jaahili society to the call of Islaam." [1]

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is well aware of what forces oppose Islaam and the Muslims. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'aan,



"Allaah has full knowledge of your enemies, and Allaah is Sufficient as a Wali (Protector), and Allaah is Sufficient as a Helper. " (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:45)
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#43 [Permalink] Posted on 5th November 2015 10:48
In His mercy, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى did not leave Muslims without any guidance concerning this matter. Certainly one of the purposes of the Qur'aan is to guide the Muslims in this encounter with their enemies - be they enemies to the individual himself or opponents of the Muslim Ummah as a whole. It is for this reason that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى clearly describes these enemies and all those criminals who oppose the message of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,



"And thus do We explain the Aayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail, that the way of the Mujrimeen (criminals, polytheists, sinners), may become manifest. " (Sooratul-An'aam, 6:55)

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes who they are, what their goals are, how they behave and how the Muslim may defend himself against them. This is something that the reader must realise when he intends to read the Qur'aan: Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is showing him how to make himself stronger and protect himself against his enemies. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is showing him the path that he should follow in the encounters he will have to face.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this category of teachings in the Qur'aan deals with Shaytaan. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes the source of the conflict between Shaytaan and humans. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى states,







"And We have certainly created you, [O Mankind], and given you [human] form. Then We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated. [Allaah] said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?" [Shaytaan] said, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay." [Allaah] said, "Descend from Paradise, for it is not for you to be arrogant therein. So get out; indeed, you are of the debased." [Shaytaan] said, "Reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected." [Allaah] said, "Indeed, you are of those reprieved."" (Sooratul-A'raaf, 7:11-15)

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also discloses to the believers what Shaytaan has in store for them:




"(Shaytaan) said: "Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You)."" (Sooratul-A'raaf, 7:16-17)

The Qur'aan also depicts the ways and means of the Shaytaan; one such way is appearing as a sincere adviser and well-wisher, as was the way he approached Adam عليه السلام and Eve عليها السلام, although Allaah سبحانه و تعالى had warned them about Shaytaan (as He warns the Muslims about him in the Qur'aan):





"Then Shaitan (Satan) whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts (before); he said: "Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals." And he [Shaitan (Satan)] swore by Allaah to them both (saying): "Verily, I am one of the sincere well­-wishers for you both." So he misled them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame (private parts) became manifest to them and they began to stick together the leaves of Paradise over themselves (in order to cover their shame). And their Lord called out to them (saying): "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily, Shaitan (Satan) is an open enemy unto you?"" (Sooratul-A'raaf, 7:20-22)

Finally, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى guides the believer to what may protect him from Shaytaan:



"And if there comes to you from Shaytaan an evil suggestion, then seek refuge in Allaah. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing." (Soorah Fussilat, 41:36)

All of this is a mercy from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and, based on Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى wisdom, it is part of the Qur'aan. The reader of the Qur'aan must realise that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is warning him against this great enemy.

But this is not the only enemy that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى clearly describes or talks about in the Qur'aan. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also discusses the disbelievers, be they polytheists, Jews or Christians, and how they plot against the Muslims. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى warns the Muslims about taking them as close friends and allies. The hypocrites are also minutely described in the Qur'aan. This is because they are a great danger to the social fabric and unity of the Muslim Ummah. They are an enemy from within that many Muslims may not recognise. Hence, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has devoted long passages of the Qur'aan to their ways and, in fact, one Soorah even bears their name.

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also cautions the believer concerning his own soul (an-nafs) - an enemy concerning which most humans would have been oblivious if it were not for the revelation of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and His guidance. In two places in the Qur'aan, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى states,



"And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful." (Sooratul-Hashr, 59:9 and Sooratut-Taghaabun, 64:16)

Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is telling the believer that if he is not cautious concerning what his own soul sometimes desires or leads himself to, he can easily take himself to his own destruction.

When the reader opens the Qur'aan, he should be aware that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is telling him and warning him about his true enemies. When reading about Shaytaan, the disbelievers, the hypocrites and others, an alarm should sound in his mind telling him that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is now describing those beings that are going to try to deviate him from the straight path. He should take not of how they behave and what he can do to defend himself and the Muslim society from them. [2]

Notes:

[1] Milestones

[2] How to Approach and Understand the Quran

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#44 [Permalink] Posted on 9th November 2015 10:06
The Qur'aan Is All About The Proper Conception and Application of Tawheed


The correct belief in tawheed (Islamic monotheism) does not mean that one simply recognises that there is a God or Creator. It goes beyond that to having the proper beliefs about that Creator and submitting to that Creator and God in all realms of life, either as an individual in his worship and behaviour or as a society.

Imaam Ibn Abil-'Izz al-Hanafi رحمه الله said: "Most of the soorahs in the Qur'aan are concerned with the two types of tawheed [1]; in fact, every soorah in the Qur'aan [is concerned with tawheed]. The Qur'aan either reports about Allaah's Names and Attributes سبحانه و تعالى. This is the tawheed that one must have knowledge about and that is reported. Or the Qur'aan calls to His worship, associating no partner with Him [in that worship] and abandoning any other idol other than Him. This is the tawheed of intention and will. Or the Qur'aan orders, prohibits or commands [His] obedience. These are essential aspects of tawheed and part of its completeness. Or the Qur'aan reports about how [Allaah سبحانه و تعالى] honours the people [who adhere to] tawheed and what He does for them in this world and what He graciously bestows upon them in the Hereafter. That is the reward for [adhering to] tawheed. Or [the Qur'aan] reports about the polytheists and how He treats them in this world and what kind of punishment that will receive in the end. That is the punishment for those who abandon the aspects of tawheed." [2]

Sayyid Qutb رحمه الله echoed that statement when he wrote: "Defining the real uloohiyyah [3] and clarifying its particular aspects of Lordship, Sustainer and Ruler, and defining uboodiyyah [4] and its limits that must not be trespassed, and going from all of that to mankind worshipping their true Lord, and recognising that Lordship, Sustaining and Ruling belong only to Him.. [5] This is the main topic of the entire Qur'aan.. And what is beyond that is simply an explanation of what this great truth [tawheed] implies and requires in the life of humans, in every respect." [6]

Summary


When a reader has a clear concept of what he is trying to get from what he is reading, the more he will be able to concentrate on those important points in his reading. Similarly, when a person reads the Qur'aan, he should know what it is that he should get from the Qur'aan. He should realise that the Qur'aan is showing him what to believe in. It is showing him how to act such that he will be pleasing Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and worshipping Him in the proper manner. He should turn to the Qur'aan to try to understand what are Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى rights upon him and how can he fulfill those rights. He should turn to the Qur'aan to see how he is supposed to behave toward his Lord. He also must turn to the Qur'aan to see how he is supposed to deal with others in a way that would be most pleasing to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. He also turns to the Qur'aan to understand how to protect himself from all of those forces that are trying to distance him from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. All of these teachings should be foremost in the reader's mind. When they are, Allaah willing, the guidance of Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى speech will become clear to him and he will truly benefit from the Qur'aan in both this life and the Hereafter. [7]

Notes:

[1] What is meant by the "two types of tawheed" is tawheed with respect to (1) what one believes in and acknowledges as true and (2) one's devotions and worship in this life.

[2] Sharh Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah

[3] Uloohiyyah is an aspect of tawheed which implies that no one has the right to be worshiped except Allaah.

[4] The correct servitude to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.

[5] Two periods instead of three have been placed in this quote because actually nothing has been omitted from the text but this was Sayyid Qutb's رحمه الله style to put such periods leading to his next point.

[6] Fi Dhilaal al-Qur'aan, vol. 3, p. 1753.

[7] How to Approach and Understand the Quran.
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#45 [Permalink] Posted on 11th November 2015 11:40
Allowing The Qur'aan To State What Is True And What Is False


There is no question that the Qur'aan guides to the straight path and to the truth. This is one of its major goals. Yet, at the same time, although this guidance is perfect and preserved, it must be allowed to guide the reader. The Qur'aan must be given the opportunity to tell its reader what the straight path is. That is, the reader must approach the Qur'aan with, if one may use the expression, an "open mind." If the reader has already decided what is right and what is wrong, and is only looking to the Qur'aan to substantiate his views, then the Qur'aan will never give him the guidance it contains. Indeed, in that case, the Qur'aan would never be given that opportunity.

Unfortunately, it is the case with some readers of the Qur'aan who, instead of letting the Qur'aan speak for itself, have taken it upon themselves to speak for the Qur'aan. If it contains any passage that contradicts their preconceived notions of what is the truth, instead of accepting what the Qur'aan says, they simply try to reinterpret the Qur'aan in such a way that it is consistent with their beliefs and ideas. They do not realise that it is their thinking and beliefs that need to be changed or corrected according to the Qu'raan and not vice-versa. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, Who revealed the Qur'aan, is not in need of their far-fetched interpretations. It (along with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم of course) presents the truth in clear and plain language and it is simply up to the reader to accept what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has said in the Qur'aan.

In the history of Islaam, one can see that the lack of allowing the Qur'aan to state what is true and what is false has been a major characteristic of the heretical and stray groups (ahlul-bida'). [1]

They approached the Qur'aan with preconceived notions and tried to force their opinions on the Qur'aan. [2]

Without a doubt, it can be stated that they did not turn to the Qur'aan for its guidance - since they had already decided what the truth is. They turned to it only trying to substantiate their views. A glaring example of this nature is the Mu'tazilah [3] who even attempted to change the wording of the Qur'aan because it was inconsistent with their preconceived beliefs. The Mu'tazilah, due to the supposedly "ingenious" theories they developed, did not believe in Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى attribute of speech. They have a length theory and proof that such an attribute is impossible for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى according according to their notion of Allaah. [4]

Hence, they were forced to try to change the wording of the Qur'aan. They attempted to change the verse that states,



"And to Moses Allaah spoke directly (wa kallamAllaahu Moosaa takleemaa)." (Sooratun-Nisaa, 4:164)

to "And Moses spoke to Allaah directly (wa kallamAllaaha Moosaa takleemaa)." [5]

They also quote the Qur'aan out of context or ignore other related verses that give a complete picture of the Quranic view of the topic at hand. When this is done, the Qur'aan can be used to "prove" things that are incorrect.

Here are some examples:

(1) If someone wants to prove that it is obligatory to obey and be loyal to the government, no matter how much the government may be non-Islamic, he may only quote the verse,



"O you who have believed, obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you." (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:59)

and ignore all of the other relevant verses - even the remainder of the this particular verse itself, which reads:



"And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allaah and the Messenger." (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:59)

- and ahaadeeth on the same question. In a relevant hadeeth, the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم stated, "Listening and obeying is a duty as long as one is not ordered to do an act of disobedience [to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى]. If one is ordered to do an act of disobedience, there is then not to be any listening or obeying." [6]

The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "There is no obedience to any human being if it involves sin; obedience is only in that which is right and proper." [7]

And he صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “There is no obedience to any human being if it involves disobedience of Allaah.” [8]

(2) Similarly, if someone wants to prove that it is permissible to take Christians as awliyaa' (close friends and allies) [9], he will only quote the following verse, ignoring the numerous other verses that are pertinent,



"You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews and those who associate others with Allaah; and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, "We are Christians." That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:82)

Such a person will ignore verses like the following,



"And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say, "Indeed, the guidance of Allaah is the [only] guidance." If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allaah no protector or helper." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:120)

and,



"O you who have believed, do not take the disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do you wish to give Allaah against yourselves a clear case?" (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:144)



"Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Auliya (supporters, helpers, etc.) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself (His Punishment), and to Allah is the final return." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:28)



"O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya' (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliya' to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya', then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust)." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:51) [10]

This problem of approaching the Qur'aan with one's preconceived notions of right and wrong may even be growing worse in this age of modern science and advancements in knowledge. Some Muslims nowadays spend years of specialised study to get, for example, an advance degree. They master a particular topic. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads them to believe that they completely understand the reality and essence of the field they studied and to start analysing the Qur'aan in their light of "confirmed knowledge." [11]

It is easy for such a person to forget Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى words,



"And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little." (Sooratul-Israa', 17:85)

and to approach the Qur'aan in an improper fashion. Those verses that go against what the person thinks he knows must either be ignored, given a new reinterpretation based on their knowledge or, and this is the worst case, rejected as false in light of today's modern science. [12]

If a person approaches the Qur'aan in this manner, he will never see its real guidance. He will continue in his obstinate behaviour and wandering ways no matter how often he reads the Qur'aan - unless Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has mercy upon him and guides him to the proper way of approaching the Qur'aan. Until he changes his approach to the Qur'aan, his heart, mind and soul will be closed to its true guidance.

One has to turn to the Qur'aan realising that it is the guidance from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, the All-Wise, the All-Knowing and it is the Furqaan (criterion of right and wrong) showing the person the difference between right and wrong. [13]

Again, this was the way of the unique generation of the Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

Salaahud-Deen Al-Khaalidi writes, "This is what the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم did in their behaviour towards the Qur'aan. They were a unique Quranic generation. Everyone of them would leave all of his old thoughts, perceptions and traditions on the doorstep; then he would enter the broad and pure world of the Qur'aan with nothing in his hands [that is, no preconceptions] and then he would build himself in a balanced manner, stage by stage and would derive his decisions, culture and way of life from the Qur'aan, and he would leave its study as a person full of faith, balanced and straight." [14]

To put it into Western terms and to relate it directly to those who convert to Islaam: Many times people enter into Islaam with a lot of "old baggage." It is a must that a person make a complete break from the teachings of jaahiliyyah (ignorance) and discard all of that "old baggage." Otherwise, it may colour his understanding and reading of the Qur'aan. He may be reading the Qur'aan or ahaadeeth and interpreting them in the light of that "old baggage" and, therefore, he never gets a chance to see the whole and complete picture that is being presented to him by Islaam.

In many cases it is not obvious to the reader that he is not approaching the Qur'aan in this correct manner. This is probably the saddest case. This may be particularly true for those who have grown up in contemporary Muslim societies that have had teachings alien to Islaam penetrate their society and culture. A person from those societies may read the Qur'aan in the light of what he believes are Islamic teachings while, in fact, they are not teachings of Islaam. In other words, his vision has been blurred by customs he practices and sees as Islamic but are not, by teachings he has received that he thinks are Islamic but are not, and so on. Every time he comes across a verse related to these topics, he interprets it according to his incorrect notions. Unfortunately, he has never allowed himself a true study of the Qur'aan that will show him the proper Islamic views of these same ideas that he thinks are correct. This person's intention may certainly be good but, unless Allaah سبحانه و تعالى guides him to see the mistake of his notions, he will actually miss the true guidance of the Qur'aan.

In sum, if one really wants to learn from the Qur'aan, he must approach the Qur'aan in such a way that he allows the Qur'aan to speak for itself and tell him what is correct and what is false. All preconceived notions must be judged by what the Qur'aan says and not vice-versa. If the Qur'aan is not approached in this manner, one should not expect to benefit from its teachings related to those matters concerning which the reader has already made his conclusions. [15]

Notes:

[1] In fact, it is a necessary characteristic of the people of innovations and desires. By definition, their teachings go against the Qur'aan and their only solution is to try to reinterpret the Qur'aan in ways that are consistent with their heresies.

[2] They were forced to do this because all Muslims believe in the Qur'aan and, to propagate their beliefs, they had to claim that their beliefs were consistent with the Qur'aan.

[3] Followers of Waasil ibn 'Ataa' who abandoned the circles of Al-Hasan Al-Basri رحمه الله. They negated the Attributes of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for fear of likening Him to His creation, yet affirmed His Names. From amongst their beliefs was that a person who committed a major sin was neither a believer nor a disbeliever, rather of a station between the two stations, but he would be consigned to Hellfire forever. They were from the rank and file of the Mutakallimeen and gave precedence to their intellects over the divine texts.

[4] Their notion of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى was based on rational arguments and not on the Qur'aan and Sunnah.

[5] See Fahd ar-Roomi, Manhaj al-Madrasat al-Aqliyyah al-Hadeetha fi at-Tafseer (Muassasat ar-Rosaalah, 1983), vol. 1, p. 57.

[6] Al-Bukhaari

[7] Al-Bukhaari and Muslim

[8] Musnad Ahmad

[9] This argument has been made quite often recently, especially among the Muslims in the West who, in general, live with the Jews and Christians. The argument has also been heard quite often in some parts of the Muslim world, especially after the Gulf War.

[10] See also: Be Careful Who You Take For Friends! - http://www.muftisays.com/forums/12-virtues/5592-be-careful-who-you-take-for-friends.html

[11] This is especially a problem with respect to social sciences that are almost entirely based on Western philosophies and views of life.

[12] This approach of critiquing the revelation based on one's "scientific knowledge" has been especially dangerous with respect to the ahaadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. With respect to the Qur'aan, no Muslim would dare reject a verse if he finds it inconsistent with what he believes to be a "scientific fact"; in that case, the most he will do is try to reinterpret the verse to make it consistent with his "facts." However, with respect to the ahaadeeth, people have, in a very bold fashion, declared authentic ahaadeeth to be fabricated simply because the hadeeth did not match their view of reality. Such criticism of hadeeth has even gone beyond those ahaadeeth that are related to science, to ahaadeeth whose correctness mankind could not possible judge based on their limited experiences. One example that comes to mind is the hadeeth in Saheeh al-Bukhaari in which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stated that a people would not prosper of have falaah if their affairs were in the hands of women. Some contemporary speakers have rejected this authentic hadeeth on the basis of the examples of Golda Meier, Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi. This approach is preposterous because there is no scienctific measure of falaah by which one can say that the peoples of those female leaders had falaah and, therefore, the hadeeth must not be true.

[13] The passage above is in reference to the person who has studied the Qur'aan or life of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم and is convinced that they are true. In other words, this is the case with the believer. Since he already knows and believes that the Qur'aan is Allaah's Word سبحانه و تعالى, there is no room for him to question it or reinterpret it in the manner he wishes. With respect to the disbeliever or skeptic, the overriding question that he must answer is whether the Qur'aan is a true and pure revelation from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. This can be convincingly argued in a logical fashion to the point that only an arrogant disbeliever would deny its true validity. However, such a discussion is beyond the scope of this present article.

[14] Salaahud-Deen al-Khaalidi, Mafaateeh Li-Itimaal ma' al-Qur'aan, (Jordan: Maktabah al-Manaar, 1985), p. 89.

[15] How to Approach and Understand the Qur'aan.
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