Category Archives: Quran Stories

Syed Sharfuddin

In Surah Saba (Chapter 34) Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala compares the life of two types of people – those who are humble and grateful for His blessings and those who are ungrateful and impatient. To illustrate the former, Allah gives the examples of two of His great peygambers (messengers) who were blessed with power and knowledge. They were father and son David and Solomon. They had extraordinary powers as kings but their own lives were simple and down to earth. Kings David made armour for his livelihood. Solomon stitched caps. The enormous wealth they controlled in their kingdoms was not for their personal use; it was a trust in their care to be spent on the welfare and good of their people. They were gifted by Allah with numerous blessings because they were grateful. David was formerly an ordinary soldier in the army of Taloot before he was made king. Solomon had a kingdom no other human will ever have in this world. They are described in verses 10 to 14 as follows:

Indeed, We granted David a [great] privilege from Us, [and commanded] “O mountains! Echo his hymns! And the birds as well.” We made iron mouldable for him [and instructed] “Make full-length armour, [perfectly] balancing the links. And work righteousness [O family of David!]. Indeed, I am All-Seeing of what you do.” And to Solomon [We subjected] the wind: its morning stride was a month’s journey and its evening stride a month. And We caused a stream of molten copper to flow for him, and [We subjected] some of the jinns to work under him by his Lord’s Will. And whoever of them deviated from Our command, We made that jinn taste the torment of the blaze. The jinns made for him [Solomon] whatever he desired of sanctuaries, statues,1 basins as large as reservoirs, and cooking pots fixed [into the ground]. [We ordered] “Work gratefully, O  family of David!” [Only] a few of My servants are [truly] grateful. When We decreed Solomon’s death, nothing indicated to the [subjugated] jinns that he was dead except the termites eating away his [wooden] staff.1 So when he collapsed, the jinns realized that had they [really] known the unseen, they would not have remained in [such] humiliating servitude [Chapter 34: Verses 10-14].

The other type of people, the ungrateful ones were the people of Saba. Their story is described in the verses that immediately follow the description of David and Solomon:

Indeed, there was a sign for [the tribe of] Sheba in their homeland: two orchards—one to the right and the other to the left. [They were told] “Eat from the provision of your Lord, and be grateful to Him. [Yours is] a good land and a forgiving Lord.” But they turned away. So We sent against them a devastating flood, and replaced their orchards with two others producing bitter fruit, fruitless bushes, and a few [sparse] thorny trees. This is how We rewarded them for their ingratitude. Would We ever punish [anyone in such a way] except the ungrateful? We had also [comfortably] placed between them and the cities.  We showered with blessings [many small] towns within sight of one another. And We set moderate travel distances in between, [saying,] “Travel between them by day and night safely.” But they wronged themselves and said: “Our Lord! Make [the distances of] our journeys longer.” So We reduced them to [cautionary] tales, and scattered them utterly. Surely in this are lessons for whoever is steadfast, grateful. Indeed, Iblîs [Satan] assumption about them has come true, so they [all] follow him, except a group of [true] believers. He does not have any authority over them, but [Our Will is] only to distinguish those who believe in the Hereafter from those who are in doubt about it. And your Lord is a [vigilant] Keeper over all things.” [Chapter 34: Verses 15-21]

Historians have tried to explain the background and location of the people of Saba referred to in the Quran. It is said that they were the descendants of the Queen of Sheba (Bilquis of Yemen) who accepted Islam on the invitation of Prophet Solomon. After many years of remaining Muslims, the nation of Saba abandoned Islam and became idol worshippers. It is also said that Saba was the name of the head of a tribe linked to the royal family of Yemen who had many children. They spread out to establish their own small communities in Yemen, near modern day Sana, and along the way to Syria and Palestine. Historians also point out that the location of the flood was in the ancient city of Marib where the ruins of a dam and a palace associated with Queen Bilquis can still be seen. The date of the collapse of the dam is reported circa 6th century AD.

The Saba people lived in a fertile valley surrounded by mountains. They also constructed a spectacular dam for their water needs. Arid rain would fill up the dam and provide year-long water for irrigation. Their cities were built in very close proximity to each other in such a way that they could easy move from one city to another for conducting their trade. The dam irrigated their two large gardens which bore the best of fruits. Allah gave them peace and tranquillity and they enjoyed abundant provisions of their fertile gardens as freely as Adam and Eve enjoyed their life in the Garden of Eden. Their lives were peaceful and without any security problems. Their travels were facilitated by several small settlements along their trading route, so they never felt the need to take the burden of their provisions along with them or guard their belongings. Their women could walk in the day and night without any fear. In every way they were facilitated and had no worries.

But then Satan put doubt in their hearts and just as Satan misguided Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. Satan also created doubt in the minds of the people of Saba. He sowed the seed of impatience in their hearts. They became bored with their peaceful lifestyle. They prayed to Allah to make their travelling distances long so that they could take loads of provisions on their camels and travel like other caravans searching for water and oasis to stay en-route in the desert.

They made a big mistake by exchanging the good with the bad. They  stopped being thankful to Allah and started worshipping the sun. No less then 13 messengers were sent by Allah on their nation to mend their ways, but they did not listen to these messengers. Eventually, for their ungratefulness, Allah caused a rat to dig a hole in the mountain which acted as the wall of the dam of Iram. When the dam broke their homes and gardens were completely flooded. The unity of their community was torn apart. Their people left the destroyed homes. Their settlements were deserted. The distances between their cities and communes increased and became far part. Their travels were no longer safe; security of life and property became an issue. The vegetation of their gardens was replaced by scattered bushes, trees bearing bitter fruits and new trees with thorns that gave no shade. The birds that used to come to their gardens flew away. An ungrateful community of people that had everything others would envy had brought its own misfortune by wishing to replace their blessings and peace with troubles and hardship.

This parable is a reminder from Allah to the faithful that if we have peace at home and in our community; if we have a halal job and livelihood; if our life and property is safe from dispute and conflict; if we do not have struggle or strife, we should always be thankful for what we have, just as King David and King Solomon were grateful to Allah for their blessings which increased as they progressed in their lives. If we reject our blessings and become like the nation of Saba, wishing for things we do not have, then our blessings can be taken away from us and replaced by troubles and misery.

Think for a moment what is meant by Allah’s blessings and how can one be ungrateful for them. People who have halal and tayyeb income, but their greed makes them take bribes and become corrupt by amassing illegal wealth is ungratefulness. People who have faithful spouses, but they go out flirting with other women to chat and spend time with them outside is ungratefulness. People who have a pure and simple lifestyle struggling to replace it with a stressful and materially bloated living is ungratefulness. People who have good relatives and neighbours, but they ignore these precious ties and instead go out making introductions and friends in other cities and countries is ungratefulness. People who have good means of living but who still complain and crib about their condition is ungratefulness. People who have families and children, but they do not spend time with them and leave them to grow up without education and good manners while they themselves keep drowned in entertainment is ungratefulness. People who have faith, a blessed living, a home, a family, a job and yet they are unhappy because they find it very boring is ungratefulness.

Therefore, next time you get bored with your living, your job, your earnings, your home, your car and your friends and surroundings, think of the people of Saba. But if you are satisfied that your dissatisfaction is caused by some other reason such as inability to practice your faith freely, or there are circumstances which threaten your health, safety and peace, then it would be a different thing. To strive for better is good for progress, but to be impatient and not count your blessings and be grateful for what you have is an act of Satan and downright criminal.

By nature, man is born good. He is kind and merciful. But man is also given to fanciful desires and perpetual change. In his heart there is also a small space for ungratefulness and impatience which is exploited by Satan. Surely Satan has no control over man, but he causes doubt and uncertainty and makes people turn away from faith. By narrating such parables in the Quran, Allah warns His slaves that there are lessons for those who remain steadfast.

Syed Sharfuddin

In Surah Al-Qalam, chapter 68 in the holy Quran, Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala narrates a parable about the owners of an orchard who did not give charity to the poor and needy. On the contrary they avoided them. The selection of orchard in this parable is worth pondering over because a good harvest of fruit is dependent on good weather, timely rain and regular sunshine, which are beyond man’s power to control. An orchard does not require regular tilling of the soil or care after it has grown up. It yields annual harvest of fruits without much labour. For the owners of the orchard to regard it as the reward of their hard labour is utter folly and this is what the parable brings out in the story of the orchard owners in Surah Al-Qalam.

So Allah tested the owners of the orchard when they decided without saying in-sha- Allah and qualifying their intention with the will of Allah, that they would pluck its fruit by the break of the dawn before the poor wake up. But Allah had other plans for them. A fire burnt down their orchard on the eve of the harvest while they slept. When they got up, they whispered to each other to make haste and reach the orchard. They planned not to let any poor person enter the garden lest he may ask for alms. When they arrived there, they found their orchard was struck by a calamity leaving nothing to harvest. They thought they had lost their way and come to another garden. But soon the reality began to dawn on them that the ruined garden was indeed theirs. They realised that they had been deprived of the same thing they wanted to deprive the poor of. They realised they had been ruined.

A wise person among them told them: “did I not tell you before that you should praise Allah and be thankful to Him for receiving the blessings. At that moment they started blaming each other. They said indeed they had forgotten to glorify Allah and give their thanks. They admitted that they were transgressors. Then they hoped that Allah will forgive their mistake and give them something better to replace their loss. [68: 17 to 33].

The parable ends with the admonition: “in this way the punishment comes. And, of course, the punishment of the Hereafter is even greater, only if they realise!” Then there is the promise of the garden of bliss for the God fearing.” [68:34 to 35].

This parable highlights human frailty and places it a context suggesting how to overcome our selfish behaviour. It is a story of greed, loss, denial, blame, acceptance of individual and collective guilt, repentance, hope and compensation. We all go though this cycle at least a few times in our lifetime, if not frequently. We also see these characteristics in others in our practical lives. We are all part of this story. Little do we realise that there is a way out of this by listening to the advice of the wise men among us, such as the person among the owners of the orchard, to glorify our creator and help the poor. The fruits symbolising wealth and well-being are not guaranteed to stay with us forever. We as humans do not own them, and when we do possess them temporarily, there is a share of others in these fruits.

This parable compares the orchard of the world to the everlasting garden of bliss in two ways. The first is that whatever is in this world is destined to be destroyed. It will also ruin its keepers, i.e. human beings if they do not remember Allah and be grateful to Him for the many blessings they enjoy free in this world. However, if they are grateful and give charity, they shall enter the everlasting garden of bliss in the hereafter where there will be no loss, nor calamity on them or on their possessions.

This parable also addresses us directly about our own nature. How many of us do not despise the company of the poor when we are celebrating success or are at a feast. On the contrary we change our walkways to avoid encountering them in our good time. We think the empty and dark ‘world’ of the poor is different from our small ‘world’ of joy and abundance. For the more affluent and powerful among us, our servants and guards act as the gatekeepers to keep the poor away from us. Are we not then behaving like the owners of the orchard in our small selfish ways? This questions needs to be asked by each one of us and answered to our conscience privately.

Syed Sharfuddin

The main themes of the holy Quran revolve around monotheist belief and good action [2:3]. Belief concerns faith in Almighty Allah, the angels, the divine scriptures, the divine messengers, destiny and the final hour [4:136]. Action requires worship [6:162], charitable giving [9:60 and 2:177] and good conduct in society [5:93]. Muslims are required to serve the cause of peace and preserve the divine balance on earth by not corrupting it [3:110 & 7:56]. There is no compulsion in religion; everyone has a free choice to accept or reject the divine message [2:256].

Why are belief and action so important? This is because time is constantly on the move. Man cannot help prevent growing old or escaping death [3:185]. The offspring of Adam are all travellers on the journey of earthly life with no control over time [103-1 & 2]. Whether they like it or not, they are constantly moving forward from this temporal world to the eternal life of the hereafter to be judged against the scroll of their deeds hanging from their necks which everyone will write for himself in this earthy life [17:13].

Human beings are physically weak and easily given to temptation. Allah wants to lighten their burden [4:28]. They can be easily deceived, exploited and provoked because they are born with restless disposition [70:19]. Almighty Allah has provided humans with free air, sunshine and all the provisions necessary for their survival on earth [6:151]. He has sent divine messengers and scriptures from time to time to guide mankind on the right path. Allah has also permitted Shaitan, the devil, who fell from heavenly grace because of his self imposed rivalry to Adam, to chase the children of Adam and make them also fall from God’s grace by disobeying Him [7:18]. Allah tests human beings through power, position, wealth, health, temptation or adversity [9:16]. Those who remain steadfast join the party of Allah [58:22]. Those who follow their carnal desires join the party of Shaitan [58:19].

To warn the children of Adam against the evil designs of Shaitan, Allah’s messengers came in all regions of the world in every era from Adam till the last and final prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Their mission was to convey Allah’s divine message to their nations and set a personal example of how to live a clean life according to the universal principles of justice and good human values. The long line of messengers ended after prophet Muhammad. In this post-modern era, the prophetic work of guiding people now rests on the shoulders of Muslims [21:43]. Everyone who claims to be a follower of prophet Muhammad is obliged to set an example to others as a good Muslim by enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong and living a life of universally proclaimed principles of humanity and moral values, which form the bedrock of Islam [3:110].

In the holy Quran Allah Ta’ala has followed the same biblical tradition as in the Gospel and Torah to relate stories and events in history, which the people of their time could easily understand without requiring long annotations. In the holy Quran, Allah Almighty used the parables and historical events known to the local Arabs, in particular to the Jews and Christians of the Arabian peninsula, at the time of prophet Muhammad to relate the message of the Quran to the followers of other holy scriptures [11:100 & 20:99].

In our time, as indeed in the time following the demise of the Prophet when the generation that was familiar with those stories passed away, some Quranic parables needed additional explanation to be understood by the latter generations. This gap was filled by the early mufassereen of Quran who relied on hadith and their authentic narrators to provide additional information about these stories. Hafiz Imaduddin Ibn Kathir [774H] is one of those mufassereen who are widely consulted. His Tafseer has also been translated in English. Others are: Al-Tabari [310H], Zamakhshari [538H], Qurtubi [671H], Baidawi [685H], Al-Suyuti [864] and Shokani [1250H].

The explanations of some of these stories are also found in Talmud (known as Israelyat) and Christian commentaries but one needs to be careful about the source and should be aware of the differences between the account of the stories mentioned in the Quran and those narrated in the Gospel or Torah. For example in the Christian texts it was Adam who ate the forbidden fruit after he was deceived by Shaitan, but in the holy Quran it is not just Adam; he and his wife Eve together ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. Similarly, Iblis is an angel in the Gospel, whereas in the Quran he is described as jinn. The story of Ibrahim’s supreme sacrifice is mentioned in Torah, the Gospel and the holy Quran but while the Jews and Christians believe that Ibrahim took his son Ishaq to sacrifice him, the holy Quran mentions that it was Ismail who accompanied his father to comply with the commandment of God in Ibrahim’s dream. It is therefore important to know the Quran first before consulting other religious texts to search for detailed explanations for the parables of Bani Israel.

This essay attempts to provide an index of the parables, miracles, similitudes and future events mentioned in the holy Quran. The parables are not explained here because this will require a full book to be composed. The references can be used to access material available elsewhere about the parables and stories. However, it must be borne in mind that the objective of the stories is not an end in itself but to draw lessons from them and bring Muslims back to the fundamental theme of Quran which is belief in one Allah and following the guidance in the holy Quran and Sunnah and avoiding the way of the earlier nations who were destroyed because of their disobedience and rebellion.

The parables on the Quran are mostly from the stories familiar to the local Arabs during the Prophet’s time and in particular to the Jewish rabbis and Christian priests. Most of the parables relate to previous prophets and their nations, but some are from the time of Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him. These include the following:

  • The creation of Adam from clay [38:71]; Adam and Eve’s abode in the garden of peace and innocence [2:35],
  • Adam and Eve’s fall from heaven, repentance and redemption and warning to humans not to fall prey to Shaitan’s deception [7:24 to 27];
  • The story of two sons of Adam and Qabeel’s remorse [5: 27 to 31];
  • The parable of two angels Harut and Marut practicing sorcery in Babylon and warning people that they were but a temptation to evil [2:102];
  • The angel-borne heritage of the House of Musa and Haroon known as Taboot-e-Sakeena or the Ark of the Covenant, which is precious to the children of Israel [2:248];
  • The story of King Talut whose side defeated the army of Jalut in a battle and the test for the troops of Bani Israel [2:246-252];
  • The story of Musa telling his people to enter the Holy land and their refusal to do so on account of their rebellious nature and their subsequent punishment of banishment into the wilderness for forty years [5: 21 to 26].
  • The story of prophet Isa asking Allah on the request of his followers to send down a basket full of food  from heaven which may be a happy occasion for them and their  generations, present and future [5:114].
  • The story of Moses from his infancy to his growing up in the palace of Pharaoh (Ramses 1) [20:40];
  • The incident of two fighting men, one from the tribe of Bani Israel and the other from the enemy tribe, and when Musa intervened with them to end the fighting his unintentional blow killed the Egyptian [28: 15 to 20];
    The story of Musa fleeing Egypt [28: 22 to 26], his training under prophet Shoaib after his marriage [28:27];
  • Discovery about the infinite nature of knowledge after Musa located Khizr and spent some time travelling with him [18: 60 to 82];
  • Zulqarnain’s conquests in distant lands and account of the people who submitted to him. [18: 83 to 98];
  • Musa’s journey to Mount Sinai and his dialogue with Allah and his subsequent encounter with the Pharaoh (Ramses 2) [Surah 28],
  • Musa’s spectacle with the magicians on the day of the Egyptian festival [20: 59 to 73];
  • The story of the rich man of Egypt, Qaroon [28:74-82];
  • The story of the owners of an orchard who wanted to pluck its fruit at dawn in order to avoid the poor fearing that they would ask for help but a fire consumed their harvest while they slept and they themselves became poor [6:17 to 33];
  • The parable of flood, locusts, lice, frogs and blood as distinct signs of Allah to warn the arrogant Egyptians to accept Musa’s message [7:133];
  • Musa takes Bani Israel from Egypt to Palestine accompanied by his brother Harun [7:138];
  • The story of a party of Bani Israel who demanded to see God and were struck by lightening [2:55 & 56];
  • The story of the man called Samri who made an idol (golden calf) from the jewellery of families who left Egypt in a hurry and accompanied Musa to take them to Palestine [20: 85 to 97];
  • The story of Ibrahim from his youth, his discovery of Allah [6:74 to 83], his tests, travels and reconstruction of Kaaba in Makkah accompanied by his son Ismail [2: 124 to 132] and his thanksgiving to Allah [14: 35 to 40];
  • The story of Dawood and two farmers who came to him for a judgement about their dispute [38: 21 to 25];
  • The story of Saleh’s camel who was sent to his nation as a test [11:64],
  • The story of Suleiman and his stallions [30: 35 to 40], S
  • The story of Suleiman learning about the Queen of Sheba and his letter to her and her response [27: 23 to 34];
  • The amazing story of Yusuf’s patience, wisdom, purity, piety and knowledge of interpreting dreams [Surah 12];
  • The story of Isa son of Mariam from his birth [3:45], his miracles [[3: 49]; his teachings to his companions and his ascension to the heaven [3:52 to 55];
  • Stories of other prophets such as Ayub [38:41 to 45], Yunus [37:137 to 147];
  • Destruction of nations mentioned in the Quran such as the Aaad [11:50 to 60], Thamud [11:61 to 68], Al-Hijr [15:80], Al-Ras [50:12]; and Al-Aikah [11:84 to 95] who rejected Allah’s messengers and made evil plots against them;
  • The parable of the woman who untwisted the yarn after spinning it thereby bringing her labour to naught [16: 92]
  • The advice of the wise man, Luqman, to his son about how to live a humble and good life on earth and taking no partners with Allah (31:13 to 19];
  • The brave talk of a believing noble in the court of the Pharaoh (Ramses II) who spoke in defence of Musa and his message after the Pharaoh said he would like to see Musa killed [40: 23-44];
  • The man of faith who came in defence of three messengers who faced opposition from the people to whom they were sent (some believe that his name was Habib and he was from the tribe of Niger) [36: 13 to 26];
  • The story of the scholar Bal’aam bin Ba’ura, who fell for the pleasures of this world and traded away his rewards in the afterlife [7:175-176],
  • An account of the people of Yemen under a righteous king Tubba [44: 37];
    An account of the people of Iram [89: 7 & 8];
  • The story of the people of Bani Israel, who did not carry out the commandment to observe the day of Sabbath [4:47];
  • The story of the destruction of the army of elephant [Surah 105];
  • Ibrahim’s dialogue with the king (believed to ne Namrood) about the existence of one Supreme Lord [2:258];
  • The story of the slaughtering of the cow by Bani Israel in response to their approach to Musa to help identify a murderer among them [2:271 & 274];
  • The account of a small group of righteous youth who took refuge in the cave to save themselves from persecution [Surah 18];
  • The parable of opening of the Prophet’s heart to receive divine revelation [94:1];
  • The miracle of the splitting of the moon during the time of the Prophet [54:1];
  • The story of the Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Madina [9:40];
  • The story of how the battle of Badar was won [8:15 to 20 and 3:123];
  • The lesson learnt in the battle of Uhud [3:121-122 & 154 and 24:62];
  • Condemnation of Abu Lahab and his wife [111:1];
  • The battle of Ahzab [33: 9 to 31];
  • The battle of Hunain [25: 26 to 27];
  • Change of direction of Qibla from Jerusalem to Makkah [2:144].
  • Admonition for the outrageous slander against the Prophet’s wife, Ayesha [24: 11 & 12];
  • The account of the Prophet’s marriage to his wife Zainab and Allah’s commandments for the wives of the Prophet who are declared mothers of Muslims, and His commandment for other Muslim women concerning modesty (33: 28 to 40];
  • The compromise agreement reached at Hudaibiya with the Quraish and prediction of the conquest of Makkah [Chapter 48];
  • The story of Prophet’s ascension to the heavens [17:1 and 53: 14 to 18];
    Recurrence of the night of power [Surah 97];
  • The story of the blind man who came to the Prophet seeking Islam [80: 1 to 12];
  • The parable of the three companions of the Prophet who were pardoned after repentance [9:118]; and,
  • The ten companions of the Prophet who were given the good news of paradise in their lifetime [3:133 implied for Ashra Mubashsharah].


The holy Quran uses images from our environment and nature to illustrate the various points focusing on the purpose of life and building our moral code of ethics. These images are also used to draw strong comparisons between good and evil, obedience to Allah and defiance, and light and darkness in faith.

  • Similitude of return on the investment of charity giving like a grain which grows into a plant with seven branches and each branch producing a hundred grains in return to make a total of seven hundred from one grain planted [2:261];
  • Similitude of the reward of charity giving for seeking Allah’s pleasure like an orchard on a higher altitude which gives twice as much fruit when it rains or sprinkles a small drizzle [2:265];
  • Similitude of the holy Quran for not taking it seriously, and if it was revealed on a mountain [59:21];
  • Humanity’s failure to measure up to the moral responsibility arising from reason and choice which have been given to man by God whereas the heavens and earth have no free will [33:72];
  • Similitude of exhausting all the seas if these were made ink for writing the glorification of Allah [18:109];
  • Similitude of Allah’s light like a niche in which there is a crystal lamp shining like a star, and the cool light in it is from the choicest oil from the best harvest of an olive tree, light upon light [24:35];
  • Similitude of disbelievers like darkness in the deep sea, covered by waves upon waves topped by dark clouds [24:40];
  • The deeds of disbelievers are like a mirage for wanderers in a desert [24: 39];
  • Similitude of a good land [7:58] and a good tree which provides cool shadow and fruits [14:24] and a barren tree that gives no benefit [14:26];
  • Comparing the strength and contentment of the Prophet and his companions with the disarray and envy of the deniers of the Truth [48:29];
  • Similitude of man’s helplessness against a fly [22; 73];
    The spider’s web is the weakest of all homes despite its amazing qualities [29:41];
  • Similitude of the creation of camel, being a very different kind of creature compared to other animals [88:17];
  • Allah has no reservation giving an example of a mosquito [2:226];
  • Similitude of unbelievers running away from the Truth like zebras from the lion [74:51] and its comparison with the command to Muslims to rush toward Allah [51:50];
  • The example of two believing women who are awarded Paradise and two unbelieving women who are destined to hell fire. [66:10 to 11]

The holy Quran is itself a miracle of God with its superb imagery, linguistic eloquence, complex numeric equations, ease of text memorisation, its preservation throughout the centuries without any corruption, its scientific accuracy and it being an open challenge to mankind to produce a book like this if they ever dare to write one. The miracles mentioned in this divine scripture are also found in other scriptures.

  • The destruction of the world after Adam and Nuh and his companions surviving the great flood [11: 25 to 48];
    The destruction of many deviant nations by windstorm, blast, earthquake and flood [29:40];
  • The supplication of Musa to provide Bani Israel with Manna and quails [2:57];
  • Musa strikes a rock and twelve springs gush forth to provide fresh water to Bani Israel, a separate spring for each of their 12 tribes [2:60];
  • Musa takes seventy elders from Bani Israel to accompany him to Mount Sinai to repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness [7:155];
  • Musa’s staff turns into a moving serpent [26:45];
  • Musa’s arm becomes a bright source of light [26:33];
  • Musa strikes his staff on the river Nile to make a dry path [26:63];
  • Prophet Isa’s supplication to Allah for a table of food for his companions [5:114];
  • Ibrahim survives the pit of fire prepared for his punishment [21:69];
  • Uzair’s questions about resurrection when he passed by a ruined city and wondered how could Allah bring it back to life after its destruction [2:259];
  • Ibrahim’s question to Allah about resurrection when he said “O my Creator show me how you give life to the dead” [2:260];

Events Foretold
Some future events including those occurring after the final hour mentioned in the Quran are:

  • The difference of time calculation (300 and 309 years) in the story of the companions of the cave [18:25]. This Chapter was revealed in Makkah before the Hijra year which was adopted by Muslims as the Islamic calendar;
  • Early prediction about the victory of Cross over the polytheist Romans which was realised by the Christians at the time the battle of Badr was fought in Madina [30:1 to 5];
  • News of the great rupture and account of the day of judgement [89:21 to 26];
  • Signs of the final hour [7: 187, 22:2 and 75: 1 to 13];
  • Appearance of Yajooj and Majooj [21:96].
  • The creature of the earth that will speak [27:82]
  • Conversation between the people and angels when they will approach the gates of heaven and hell [39: 71 to 73];
  • Conversation among the sinners [37: 27 to 39]
  • Conversation between the people of paradise and the sinners and deceivers [7:44 and 57: 13 to 15];
  • Conversation between Shaitan and the person who would have taken him as a companion in the world [43: 36-38];
  • The account of the people of A’raf [7:46]

The purpose of this article is that next time you read the holy Quran and come across an example, a parable or imagery, stop there and reflect on the lesson Allah wants you to draw from it before proceeding to the next verse. Some stories give multiple lessons while others focus on only one theme. The more aware you are of the lessons from these examples and stories, they greater will be your pleasure reading and benefiting from the holy Quran Insha’Allah.



Syed Sharfuddin

In Surah Al-A’raaf, verses 175-76, Allah asks Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings be upon him, to relate to the Jews an account of the man to whom Allah gave His signs but he followed Shaitan and became one of the perverse. Allah would have raised this man to the heights of attainment, but he clung to the earth and followed wanton desires. His example is like that of a dog whose tongue hangs out of its mouth relentlessly whether in peace or in the absence of peace. So narrate this account to those who reject Allah’s signs so that they may reflect.

وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ الَّذِيَ آتَيْنَاهُ آيَاتِنَا فَانسَلَخَ مِنْهَا فَأَتْبَعَهُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ
وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا وَلَـكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الأَرْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث ذَّلِكَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Scholars of Quran (Al-Tabri, Al-Zamakshari, Ibn Kaseer, Al-Razi, Al-Qurtubi, Al-Suyuti, Al-Shokani et al) identify this man as Bal’am, son of Ba’ra, who lived in Canaan during the time of Moses. Some scholars have named him Umaiya bin Abi al-Salat al-Saqfi from Yemen. He was from Bani Israel but he lived with a nation of non-believers (Qaum Jabbareen). Bal’am was a scholar and known for his faith and piety. He knew Allah’s greatest name. His spiritual knowledge helped him to get closer to Allah and his supplications were never rejected. He had 12000 students. His account is also found in Talmud.

When Moses moved an army of Bani Israel from the Levant to Canaan to fight against the non-believers, Bal’am’s people came to him and asked for his help against the army of Moses. They said: “Moses is strong and he is coming with his troops. If he gains victory over us, we will be destroyed and he will replace us with the children of Israel.” They requested Bal’am to pray to his God to destroy the marching army because they could not defend themselves against it. Bal’am told his people that he could not accept their request because Bani Israel were believers and Moses was a prophet of Allah. But they insisted that he should help their nation. Bal’am told them he would seek Allah’s guidance in this matter by sleeping over it. In is sleep he received confirmation that he should not supplicate against Moses and his army.

When he disclosed this to his people, they made him change his mind with flattery and gifts and gold. Shaitan lured him with wanton desires and greed. Bal’am became the follower of devil and rebelled against Allah. He was ungrateful and lost his faith. He mounted on his donkey and proceeded to Mount Hisban to make Dua against Moses and his troops. His donkey stopped three times on the way to the mountain but was beaten by Bal’am every time. On the third stop the donkey spoke to Bal’am in human voice and said: “Don’t you see, angels are stopping me from going to the mountain”. But Bal’am was led by Shaitan who had taken complete control over him.

Eventually when Bal’am reached the appointed place and started making the supplication against the army of Moses, he could not remember Allah’s great name (Ism Azam). His supplication turned against his own people who began dying. They told him that he was not making the right supplication because it was going against them and not against the troops of Bani Israel. The more Bal’am tried to make the supplication the more it went against the non-believers. His tongue came out of his mouth like that of a dog lashing out of his jaw. He knew that he had sold his soul to the devil and there was no salvation for him. Since he was under Shaitan’s spell, he told his nation that the only way to destroy the army of Bani Israel was by sending them beautiful women from their tribe to lure the soldiers of Bani Israel into fornication. This will invoke the wrath of God and they will be destroyed. The King offered his own daughter along with other women. She was very beautiful. He told her to go to Moses’ tent and allure him into sin. The women reached the army of Moses. The king’s daughter was captured by one of the sons of Aaron. He took her to Moses and asked if she was Halal for him. Moses refused. He said that he and his associates should not commit any sin with them and immediately return these women. But the men in Moses’ army were away from their homes for many weeks. They fell pray to Shaitan’s temptation and committed sin.

As punishment for their sin, a pandemic broke out in the army of Bani Israel. Nearly seventy thousand soldiers fell ill and died. The remaining troops of Bani Israel returned to Palestine without attaining victory. Moses was very sad because they did not heed his counsel.

For as long as he lived, his tongue continued to lash out of his mouth and hung on his chest like a bib. He resembled a condemned dog that kept showing his long tongue in any condition. Bal’am bin Ba’ra died an unbeliever and a condemned man. He could have achieved the highest rank of piety by being obedient to Allah but he chose the wanton desires of the world over the bliss of the hereafter and was destroyed by Shaitan.

In the holy Quran dog is mentioned in two places. In Surah Al-Araaf, as mentioned above, the dog represents restlessness as symbolised by its hanging tongue. In Surah Al-Kahf, the dog represents loyalty and fear. In the former parable, the dog is a guard of his pious masters; in the former parable, a pious man falls to the level of a restless dog. Allah also commands the believers to be mindful of Allah “in a betting way as He deserves and not die except in a state of full submission to Allah.” [Surah Al-Imran: verse 102).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

Reason takes a back seat in Faith

Syed Sharfuddin

The stories of prophets mentioned in the holy Quran testify to the fact that in matters of faith, logic does not occupy the primary place but has a complimentary role. Although man has been given the faculty to think and reason, it is always limited because it is human and only a small fraction of the whole, represented by God whose wisdom and knowledge is unfathomable and beyond human comprehension. It is but natural for reason to question our inner gut feeling and often stop it from manifesting itself in our response to outside happenings. This inner gut feeling is what connects humans with nature. And it is nature through which God manifests Himself to humans. In the Quran this phenomena is called His clear signs.

But we also know that reason and logic are not constant. They are dependent on external factors of time and place. Whether it is cosmic time or earthy time, the principle is the same. They change according to circumstances and settings. But divine laws go a step further. They include miracles and incidents which are both extraordinary and beyond human logic. When faith and reason are compared with each other, they are hierarchical, if not incompatible.

Take for example the story of prophet Musa (AS). He grew up in the palace of the Pharaoh as an adopted orphan. When he grew up he killed an Egyptian in a fight and was wanted by the law of the land. He became a fugitive for ten years before he returned to Pharaoh’s court. Reason would demand that he should be arrested by the Pharaoh and tried for murder. But instead, what we are presented in the Quran is Musa’s invitation to Pharaoh to accept Islam and hand over the Hebrews to him who were oppressed in Pharaoh’s reign. In his defence Musa brings forth the miracles of his walking stick becoming a ferocious serpent and his hand becoming white from celestial light. Musa also had seven additional miracles to prove he was a prophet of God. Imagine if you lived in those times, would you side with the rule of law to punish Musa? Or would you support a ‘magician’ who challenged a king who brought hum up in his house as his adopted ‘father’?

Then there is the story of prophet Nuh (AS). He lived for 950 years and most of his life preached the message of oneness of God and observed the moral and ethical code of peace and tranquillity. But his nation ignored him completely except a minority who accepted the divine message and started to live as Muslims. Then Nuh starts building a large barge and tells everyone that God will punish this nation for continuing idol worship and only those who will come aboard with him will be saved from the great flood which he foretold to his people. Imagine if you lived in those times, would you believe the words of an old man who had no miracles and no power to prove what he was saying was going to happen? Would you help this old man build the barge by making a physical or material contribution to it and ride with him when he said these waters will drown everyone? Or would you laugh at the old man’s claim and pass on doing what you have always been doing?

Then there is the story of Saleh (AS) who was sent to the nation of Thamud who had taken to idol worship. Their leaders not only plotted to kill Saleh but they also demanded a miracle from him to prove that he was a peygamber of God. On their demand a healthy she camel emerged from the mountains. This she camel was no ordinary animal. She drank so much water that there was nothing left for the people. Being a nobleman himself, Saleh made the rule that the village’s drinking water will be apportioned every alternate day for the she camel and for the community. He also waned them not to harm the animal because she was a gift of God. The people of Thamud could not stand this arrangement for long. They hated the she camel even though they were the ones who had asked Saleh for a miracle. Finally, they killed the she camel and invited God’s wrath in the form of a huge earthquake which destroyed all the disbelievers. Imagine if you lived in those times, would you tolerate a camel sharing your drinking water in such a way that the entire community would be out of water on the day that was reserved for the she camel? Would you find it reasonable to equate the rights of an animal with those of humans, one verses many? Would you not join those who reasoned to get rid of the problem so that normalcy could be restored? Or would you think this is a trial from Allah and do nothing against the camel?

There is the story of prophet Ibrahim (AS). We learn that from childhood he started searching for the true God because he abhorred the worship of idols by his father and his community. He first told his father of the futility of making idols, then selling these to the temple for pittance and then worshipping these as gods. In Ibrahim’s story we also learn that Ibrahim demolished all the idols at the big temple except the chief idol and mocked the priests and his community be saying they should ask the chief who broke the rest of his companions. For this act of sacrilege Ibrahim was sentenced to die in a burning fire. But Allah ordered the fire not to harm Ibrahim. Imagine if you lived in those times, would you not support punishing a half mad man who challenged your religious practices and broke your religious icons? Or would you support Ibrahim and say he should not be punished for not showing any remorse because he was right and his people were wrong?

Further, in the story of prophet Ibrahim (AS), we learn that he left his woman Hajirah and infant Ismail alone in the desert of Arabia making no arrangement for their livelihood. Then he returned to this deserted place after some years and told Ismail of his dream of sacrificing him for the pleasure of God, as was ordained to him in a repetitive dream. Then, we also learn that Ibrahim and Ismail (AMS) traced the original foundations of the House of Allah and constructed the Holy Kaaba which stands to this day as a reminder of the his great message of oneness of God. Imagine if you lived in those times, would you not detest a man who left his woman and infant child uncared for in a hot and lonely desert without any shelter and water  and yet he came back to this place after a few years to slaughter his surviving son to please his God? Would you endorse his actions? Or would you not report him to the authorities to detain this man and intern him before causing any harm to his family?

Or take the example of Isa (AS), son of Mary. Isa did not have a blood father because God ordered the angel to make his mother pregnant without meeting any man. When people questioned Mary’s chastity, the infant spoke in his cot and proclaimed to be the slave of Allah. Like Musa (AS), Allah also gave many miracles to Isa. He cured the sick and brought the dead to life with Allah’s Will. Isa conveyed the message of peace and oneness of God to his people who rejected his message and plotted for his death, eventually finding him and sending him to the cross. He was raised to the heavens by Allah and another person bearing his figure was left to die on the cross. Imagine if you lived in those times, would you be one the side of Isa or on the side of the people who chained him and sent him to the cross? If you would be on the side of Isa, would you believe his miracles as a medium of illustrating the power of God, as did Musa before the Pharaoh? Or would you take Isa as son of God because he was born to Mary with the spirit and attributes of God?

We are also told that before the end of times, Dajjal will appear with extraordinary powers to convince people that he is god descended on earth. His stay on earth will be short (reportedly 40 days in which the days will be of different time variations) but this stay will be long enough to rob all those believers of their faith who simply use logic and reason as the foundation of their religion. Dajjal will also have the power to show heaven and hell on earth which will be scientifically observable in real time. His power and actions will satisfy reason that what he claims is real. Only the faithful will know the truth about his false claims. Imagine if you lived long enough to see those trying times, would you believe the words of Dajjal because he will have the power to kill and bring the dead back to life? Or would you oppose him because you have been told that regular recitation of Surah Kahf will protect a believer and bring him no harm from the actions of Dajjal?

The historical account of the prophets who preceded prophet Muhammad, may Allah preserve him and protect him, serves as a strong reminder in the holy Quran that if Islam is to be understood properly, the creation of Adam and Eve, their despatch to earth for a fixed time, the miracles given by Allah to His prophets, the foretelling of the end of the world, the coming of the day of judgement, the reality of hell and heaven and everlasting life after death can only be grasped fully with faith and not with logic or reason alone. The latter are great instruments which sharpen the understanding of religion but to suspend faith completely and place every single aspect of religion in a test tube to be subjected to scientific observation and experimentation will never get you the right answer in the same way as the difficult questions I have posed you above as a believer in this essay. May Allah bless us and guide us always, for without His guidance we will surely be lost in the wilderness.

Dialogues in Monotheism in the Quran

In the stories of the prophets in the Quran which are meant to emphasise the divine message of monotheism there are two stories narrated in Chapters 40 and 36 in which Allah shows how He facilitates the work of the prophets with faithful people who are not prophets themselves but assist in the propagation of the divine message to others. In the two dialogues which illustrate this point, the believing men provide a convincing account of why their people should believe in the one true God (Allah) and forsake idol worship which neither protects them nor provides any gains.

One detailed dialogue is presented in the story of Prophet Moses, the Pharaoh and a believing man in Surah Ghaafir, also known as Surah Momin (Chapter 40). The other, which is comparatively a short dialogue is presented in the story of three messengers, the unbelievers and a believing man in Surah Yaseen (Chapter 36).

In the first story the believing man is saved from the punishment in this world and the Hereafter. He was let go by the Pharaoh because he was from the same tribe as the Pharaoh – a Coptic and an Egyptian and was Pharaoh’s cousin from the king’s father side. In the second story the believing man was punished by the elders of his nation who stamped on him and crushed his intestines until he died. As soon as his soul departed this world he was granted entry into Paradise by Allah. The message of the two dialogues is that there is no other god except the one Glorious God and that it is not just the work of the prophets to spread the word of God to the people but it is also the responsibility of the believers to support the message of the prophets with wisdom, knowledge and the best manner that is pleasing but firmly conveyed.

Dialogue I

After receiving the commandment of Allah on Mount Sinai, Prophet Moses came to the court of the Pharaoh with “clear signs and a manifest authority” (40:23). The court was filled with Pharaoh’s advisers, elites and ordinary people who had known Moses from his days in Pharaoh’s palace. Few in Pharaoh’s court had even secretly accepted the message Moses brought from the mountain; that is belief in one true God instead of the false deities the Egyptians and the Canaanites had come to worship after the death of Prophet Joseph. But the Pharaoh and his key advisers, Hamaan and Korah felt threatened from the message of Moses and they accused Moses of being a “sorcerer and a liar!” (40:24). At the heart of their defiance was the fear that Moses wanted to turn their population against them, take away their land and power and change their way of life which they were proud of.

The people of Egypt had seen the hollowness of Pharaoh’s claim to be a god, notwithstanding the fact that their religion allowed taking strong men from Egyptian and Canaanite mythology and history as gods. Even before the birth of Moses the Coptic soothsayers had warned the Pharaoh that a son will be born in the House of Israel who will challenge his throne. The Pharaoh was scared. He ordered to kill the male children (sons) of the Israelites but spare the women. This was the worse form of genocide which would erase Israeli race because their women would only bear Egyptian children. But the way of the Lord is far superior to the thinking of mortal men even if they defy the Lord and falsely claim to be gods as did the Pharaoh. Readers are aware how despite this systematic ethnic cleansing, Moses survived childhood with the Will of Allah and grew up in Pharaoh’s palace under his very care. Now that Moses had come back to Egypt after receiving his training and clear signs as a prophet, he became a real threat to the Pharaoh. Therefore, for the second time the Pharaoh ordered that anyone who believed in the message of Moses shall be meted out the same fate as was ordained earlier for the Israelis, i.e. their male child will be killed as a punishment for believing in the message of Moses. But Allah knows that “the plots of unbelievers always end in vain.” (40:25).

The Pharaoh went a step further and threatened to kill Moses saying “let him invoke his God to save himself. The dialogue starts at the point when the Pharaoh said to those attending his court that it was necessary to kill Moses because he feared that Moses may change their way of life or cause mischief in the land (40:26). Moses replied: “I seek refuge in Him who is my Lord as well as your Lord from every arrogant man or woman who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning.” (40:27).

At this point when everyone in the court of Pharaoh is quiet, a believing man stands up and delivers a calm speech. He tells the Pharaoh that although he is king it is not right to kill someone just because of his faith in one God. This believing man is not from another tribe. He is from the Pharaoh’s family. He is a believer in one God as preached by Moses but he has kept his faith private. He asks the Pharaoh “Would you kill a man because he says: My Lord is Allah, and he has come to you with clear signs from your Lord? And if he is a liar, upon him will be the burden of his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of that calamity wherewith he threatens you will befall on you. ….” (40:28).

The Pharaoh is not convinced despite seeing the clear signs because “Allah does not guide a transgressor to the right path’. (40:28).

The believing man then turns to the Pharaoh’s advisers and those present in the court and recognises that they enjoy power and prestige in the kingdom and that they are supreme in the land. But if Allah’s chastisement were to fall upon them for disobeying Him, no one would come to their help”.

The Pharaoh fears that the believing man might convince his advisers that Moses was right so he quickly interrupts the believing man and says: “I only counsel what I consider right; I only direct you to the right path” (40:29).

The believing man sees that the Pharaoh is trying to brainwash the audience therefore the believing man goes on to address the same theme. He cautions them: “my people verily, I fear that you might confront a day of disaster that overtook many people before you.” (40:30). It would be a day that overtook the people of Noah and Aad and Thamud, and those who came after them. Allah does not wish to subject His servants to any injustice”. (40:31). My people I fear that you will encounter a day when there will be much wailing and you will cry out to one another for help”. (40:32). It will be a day you will turn around to retreat but there will be none to protect you from Allah. He whom Allah lets go astray, none will be able to show him the right way”. (40:33).

The believing man further says: verily Joseph came to you with clear signs before, yet you continued to doubt his message. Prophet Joseph had said that there will be a prophet after him who will come with a clear sign. This was an affirmation of Moses but the Egyptians and Canaanites were confused and instead said: “Allah shall send no messenger after Joseph. “Thus Allah leads astray those who transgress the limits and are given to much doubting (40:34). “Those who dispute in Allah’s signs without any evidence that may have come to them to support their position are exceedingly loathsome to Allah and to the believers. Thus Allah seals the hearts of everyone who is proud and high handed (40:35). The Pharaoh and his advisers are intoxicated with a false sense of pride and power.

When the Pharaoh runs out of argument he tries to change the goalpost and shuts up the believing man. He shouts: “O Hamaan! Build me a tower that I may scale the highways – the highways of the heavens and have a look at the God of Moses, although I am certain that Moses is a liar (40: 36-37).

The Pharaoh sees his evil taunting as a fair proposition. He says build me a ladder to reach Moses’s God up in the heavens. But in fact Allah makes this evil deed look attractive to him, and he is barred from the right path. Pharaoh’s guile only leads him to his destruction. ((40:37).

The believing man who is endowed with faith says: “O my people, follow me; I shall direct you to the right path.” (40: 38). “My people the life of this world is temporary, whereas the Hereafter is your true permanent abode”. (40;39).

Continuing his speech, the believing man says; “Whosoever does an evil deed will be requited only with the like of it: and whosoever acts righteously and has attained to faith, be he a male or female shall enter Paradise and shall be provided sustenance beyond all reckoning”. (40:40).

“My people how is it that I invite you to salvation and you call me to the fire”. (40:41). “You call me to deny Allah and to associate with Him partners regarding whom I have no knowledge that they are Allah’s partners in divinity, whereas I call you to the mighty and the most forgiving”. (40:42). “There is no doubt that those whom you call me to, have no claim to be called upon in this world and in the Hereafter. Certainly to Allah shall be our return, and those who exceed the limits are destined to the hell fire”. (40:43). Soon you shall remember what I say to you. I entrust my affairs to Allah. Surely Allah is watchful over His servants.” (40:44).

“Eventually Allah saves the person endowed with faith from all the evils of their guile, and a woeful punishment encompasses the nation of the Pharaoh.” (40:45). “They are exposed to the fire every morning and evening; and when the last hour will come to pass, a command shall be given: Admit the nation of Pharaoh to an even more severe punishment.” (40:46).

The believing man was a trusted member of the Pharaoh’s cabinet. But because his heart was filled with the light of faith, he did not keep quiet and spoke his mind candidly without fearing the consequence of supporting the message of Moses. He knew the art of making a presentation wisely. He challenged the Pharaoh and surprised him with his logic. He built his argument with reasoning and kept demolishing the claim that the Pharaoh was on the right path. He gave examples of the power of Allah to guide and misguide, punish or let go whomsoever He pleases. Indeed, it is Allah who if He lets someone go astray, no one is able to show him the right way. And this is exactly what Pharaoh exemplified. He was blinded by power and pride.

In the end the Pharaoh is muted by the believing man who continues to glorify Allah and urges the people to accept the message of Moses. The theme of his speech is to challenge the polytheism of the Egyptians and Canaanites who had ten major idols representing light, fertility, water, fire etc. The Pharaoh had stripped the authority of the priests to interpret the religion for the people and declared himself to be a god on earth. The mission of Moses was to re-establish the kingdom of God (Yaweh) and bring back the monotheistic religion which Joseph, Jacob, Abraham Noah and other prophets before him had taught and practiced.

Dialogue II

The second dialogue is narrated in Surah Yaseen (Chapter 36). It occurred in a town most probably Antioch (Antakya) which was then under the rule of King Antiochus who was an idol worshipper. Allah sent two messengers to this town to educate the people about monotheism and advise them to stop worshipping man-made idols who had no power to prevent disasters or benefit mankind. These messengers were then reinforced by a third messenger to fulfil their mission because the people of this town were cruel and did not pay heed to the divine message these messengers had brought to them. Commentators have offered different interpretations about who sent these messengers to this town. One interpretation is these three men were Prophets whom Allah had sent but did not name them like he has not named other Prophets in the Quran except those we know from the holy Scripture. The second interpretation is that these were messengers sent by Prophet Jesus to the town with the message from Torah. However, the contents of the dialogue between the messengers and the people and the believing man and the people suggest that these messengers were in fact prophets. Allah knows best.

The famous historian Ibn Ishaq mentions that these messengers were Sadiq, Sadeeq and Shulam. Another historian has stated that their names were Sham’un, Yuhanna and Bulus. In the Quran neither their names are mentioned nor the name of the city is identified because the object of the dialogue is not to get distracted by the detail but remain focused on the message which is monotheism. Allah has taken no partners and has not allowed to shares power with Him in His divine sovereignty.

In this story there are two sets of dialogues. One dialogue is between the three messengers and the people of the town. The second dialogue starts when the people of the town have belied the messengers and finally resolved to kill them. The second dialogue in this story takes place between a believing man and the people of the town and ends with the same fate for him as agreed by these cruel people for the messengers.

The two messengers and subsequently a third messenger came to this town to challenge idol worship and remind the people that these false gods whom they worshipped had no power over their affairs. The real power was with the one true God. The people of the town ridiculed their message and came up with the idea of challenging their authority. It was a clever way to skirt the issue and avoid a discussion about their false gods altogether. They said to the messengers you are but humans like us. Why did you, and not someone super human bring the divine message. “Lord Almighty has not sent you. You are but liars.” (36:15). “The messengers said our Lord knows that undoubtedly we have been sent to you”. (36:16) “And on us is not but clear deliverance”. (36:17). The people of the town said: “We suspect you are a bad omen and if you do not desist from your ways, we shall stone you and give you a painful chastisement”. (36:18). The messengers replied that the bad omen is but with you people. Do you consider good counsel as a sign of bad luck? Indeed, you are a people who exceed the limit.” (36:19). The limits these people had exceeded was that they had resolved to kill the messengers by regarding them as a sign of bad luck.

At this point there came running from the far end of the town a man who said
“O my people, follow these messengers”. (36;20). They are not demanding any reward from you for their service and they are indeed on the right course”. (36:21). Ibn Ishaq has reported that the name of this man was Habib. Some historians have stated that his name was Habib An-Najjar. He lived in the lepers’ corner of the town and worked with ropes. He was a very kind man. Continuing, this believing man said to the people: “And what is to me that I should not worship Him Who created me and you will also return only to Him”. (36:22). “Shall I take, besides Allah other gods that if the Lord Almighty intends any harm, their intercession shall not be of any use to me, nor would they be able to save me?” (36;23). If I do this, “undoubtedly then I am in a clear error”. (36:24). After firmly establishing the argument that whether or not these people acknowledge their one and only creator, His existence cannot be denied, he said: “Undoubtedly I believe in the Lord of all of you, so listen to me”. (36:25).

The people of the town were outraged that an ordinary man from their own town was saying the same thing that the messengers they were disputing were saying. They assaulted him badly and killed him by standing on his belly until such time his intestines came out of his body and his soul departed. Allah gave good tidings to this man. “It was said to him, enter the Paradise”. (36:26). Upon seeing the Paradise, the dying man called out: “Only if my people knew that “my Lord has forgiven me and has made me among the honoured ones”. (36:27).

After the brutal murder of the believing man by the town’s people Allah, decided their fate which was to meet a severe calamity. There was no need to send a force against these people to punish them. For Allah, a single explosion was enough to raze them to the ground. “And We sent not against his people after him any army from the heaven and nor are We ever to send down there any army.” (36:28). “It was but only a loud shriek, hence they were all extinguished.” (36:29). (And it was said) Ah! Woe is on those people, when any Messenger comes to them, they merely mock at them.” (36;30).

It is said that later Antioch became a stronghold of Christianity. It was the only city in the early years of Christianity where almost every inhabitant of this city was a believer. It is Allah’s way that throughout history when He replaces a despotic unbelieving nation that refuses to accept clear signs and kills Allah’s messengers, a severe punishment visits this nation and it is uprooted as if it never existed. The land, houses and building of this uprooted nation are given to another nation who believes in Allah and performs good deeds until such time Shaitan beguiles their children and tries to take them away from the right path.

Syed Sharfuddin
Sunday 23 October 2016

Lessons from Surah Yusuf in the Quran


The story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) peace be upon him is one of the best stories retold to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him by Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala in the holy Quran. Unlike the stories of other prophets mentioned in the Quran, the story of Yusuf is mentioned only in one chapter (12) which is also named after him. Yusuf was the eleventh son of Prophet Yaqoob (Jacob) peace be upon him. He had one blood-brother Ben Yameen from the same mother and 10 step-brothers. The story of Yusuf also appears in the Bible in several places – see Genesis 30, 37, 45 & 50 and Matthew 1.

According to the Bible Yusuf lived for 110 years and for the most part of his life spread the word of God to the Israelites. In Surah Ghaafir (Chapter 40) in the holy Quran, it is mentioned that “Yusuf came to his people with clear signs before, yet you (Israelites) continued to doubt his message. Thereafter when he died, you (Israelites) said “Allah shall send no messenger after him’. Thus Allah leads astray those who transgress the limits and are given to much doubting.” (40:34).

Some major lessons that come out of the story of Yusuf from his childhood to attaining full age deal with the themes of jealousy, affection, loyalty, love, hardship, as well as challenges in family relationships and living a virtuous life that each one of us comes across. The purpose is to show Muslims how to cope with these challenges and overcome human temptation and frailty.

The story of Yusuf is more relevant in our globalised world today than it was in earlier times. In our time sex between men and women outside marriage is seen as a sign of freedom and self-confidence. The youth of today have a major dilemma right from the age of attending high school to moving forward to other stages in life. If they remain virtuous they are seen by their peers as backward and old fashioned. If they join the fornicating crowd, they are guilty within and suffer from a sense of sin. The story of Joseph gives the youth of today a high moral ground to stay firm on their faith and feel proud of their spiritual purity and high moral values.

There is a lesson too in the story of Yusuf on equal treatment of children. While parents treat all children equally it is natural for parents to show their affection to some children a little more than they show their other children either because of their young age or certain characteristics which may be peculiar to them. It is also natural for siblings whether from same parents or multiple parents to develop jealousy and competition among them and form groups. This is natural and one should not feel guilty about it as long as no injustice is done to anyone in the family and all are given same opportunities and are treated equally.

The story of Joseph shows human frailty at its weakest point which is the desire to mate with the opposite sex with no holds barred. It also shows how beauty in a woman or good looks in man can become a test. The story teaches how to overcome temptation or refuse an open invitation to sin by invoking the help of Allah.

Sometimes a refusal to commit sin can also exact a price as it did in the case of Joseph. Joseph not only asked for Allah’s protection from the enticing lady but also prayed to be sent to prison in order to stay away from her because she was determined to take him to bed in his master’s house. The lesson is that sometimes you pay a price for being righteous. Truth lands you in trouble while falsehood can give you sort-cuts. But in the long run it is the truth that prevails. There is light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long the tunnel is. The longer the tunnel the greater is your reward both in this world and in the hereafter. Every cloud has a silver lining. There is ease after every hardship as promised by Allah in another Surah (94:6)

The story explains the concept of destiny clearly without placing any limitation on human choice. Yusuf had never dreamt of attaining the position of authority after his imprisonment. He did not even know what will happen to him once he was freed from jail. It was Allah who had planned this shepherd boy to become the Governor of Egypt and become the most trusted adviser of the Pharaoh.

Allah has plans for all His servants. These can be long term but if you place your trust in Allah as Yusuf did, then the sail of your ship is safe in Allah’s care and you need not worry about your life, as Yusuf did not worry about his future. Allah responds when you call Him. He delivers you from difficulty just as he took Yusuf out of prison, restored his honour, gave him a good wife and a lovely household and placed Joseph in a high profiled position in Egyptian society.

Almost all Prophets of Allah went through a period of training and learning before they were given the divine mission. Joseph’s training started from the tender age when he needed to be looked after by his brothers but was abandoned by them in a deserted place. It lasted more than 17 years including an internment period of 13 years until he was chosen by the Pharaoh as the Governor of Egypt at the age of 30. During this period, he learnt patience, forgiveness and wisdom and became a good interlocutor, planner and administrator.

We also learn that forgiveness is a virtue which all great men have. His brothers deprived him of childhood, took away the best years of youth from him and yet when he was all powerful and mighty to settle score with them, he invited them to have a meal with him and treated them kindly.

Other lessons from the story of Yusuf are: dreams have meanings but not everyone can interpret these correctly; if a woman decides to tempt a man and trick him into it, it is very hard to beat her trick; remembrance of Allah is to be kept kindled at all times as Yusuf’s conversation with his prison inmates shows; laws must be observed as Yusuf did not just detain his brother Bin Yameen but worked out a strategy to prevent his return with his brothers; patience and perseverance pay even though it may take time; it is important you ask for something if you want it just as Joseph did in asking for prison from his master and a high position for himself from the Pharaoh.

Finally, the biggest lesson that comes out of these stories is that they are retold in the holy Quran not for passing time or for entertainment but to teach important lessons to mankind and order the lives of believers on the high moral ground of truthfulness, honesty and steadfastness. This is the divine message of Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala taught to mankind through the holy scriptures and His chosen messengers.

London: 26 September 2016

Lessons from the Story of Qaroon

small bismillah

Qaroon (Korah) was by today’s measure of wealth a super rich tycoon in the kingdom of the Pharaohs. He lived in Egypt in the time of the Pharaoh who claimed to be god himself when invited by Prophet Moses to accept Islam. After receiving Torah from Allah on Mount Sinai, Moses had come to the land of Pharaoh and his companions Qaroon and Haman with clear signs (miracles) but they rejected the message of Islam and remained arrogant in the land, even though they could not overtake Allah’s Will (29:39). They also accused Moses of being a false magician (40:24).
Qaroon was from the tribe of Moses but he looked down upon the Israelites and despised the followers of Islam because they were poor and dispossessed. He did not speak to the Pharaoh to protect them when Pharaoh decided to humiliate them by putting their male children to death and letting female children to live because he was unhappy that they had embraced the message of Moses and became Muslims.
Many people who loved the material life of Pharaoh and his companions admired Qaroon for his wealth. The keys of his treasure were so bulky that a group of people were employed by Qaroon to carry their weight.
When Qaroon went out in public with his chariot and fanfare, those who loved the life of this world wished if God would give them such good luck as he had given Qaroon and made them rich too. But those who were endowed with true knowledge said woe to Qaroon. The knew the reward of Allah is best for those who keep faith in Him and do good deeds. Such blissful state of contentment is attained only through patience (28:80).
One day Allah ordered the earth to swallow Qaroon and his entire household (28:81). It is a geological phenomena in which earth caves in down under due to fossilised gaps created underground by seismic movement. When this happens everything gets sucked into an unfathomable black hole. Qaroon met this fate due to arrogance. The very people who wished to be like him yesterday were now holding him in pity. They said alas we had forgotten that it is Allah who increases the provision of whosoever He wills and limits the provision of whomsoever He wills. Allah has been kind to us. He could have made the earth sack under our homes too. Alas we had forgotten that the disbelievers never prosper (28:82).
Qaroon’s story contains a number of lessons for the faithful.
Lesson 1). One should never be arrogant over wealth, knowledge or fame. Allah does not like those who exult in their wealth (28:76).
Lesson 2). Use whatever wealth Allah has given you toward earning a place in the Hereafter. This is the best investment. But also do not renounce the world. Do good deeds, speak in favour of the oppressed and do not support mischief. Allah does not love those who make mischief on earth (27:77).
Lesson 3). Do not think your status in the society is because of your knowledge or wealth although one often gets this mistaken impression as fact. Allah has the power to take this away in a second if He so wills. Therefore thank Allah for what He has given you and do not envy what others have. You do not know what fate awaits the others whom you admire for their wealth and who otherwise seem lucky to you.
Lesson 4). Allah awards heaven exclusively to those who do not seek glory on this earth, nor cause chaos. Their end is the hereafter which is the best end (28:83).
Lesson 5). Never despise the poor, for indeed they are the true inheritors of Heaven if they follow the right path and obey Allah and His Prophet Mohammed and do good deeds.

The Story of Taloot, Jaloot and Dawood.

باسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

. أَلَمۡ تَرَ إِلَى ٱلۡمَلَإِ مِنۢ بَنِيٓ إِسۡرَٰٓءِيلَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مُوسَىٰٓ إِذۡ قَالُواْ لِنَبِيّٖ لَّهُمُ ٱبۡعَثۡ لَنَا مَلِكٗا نُّقَٰتِلۡ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِۖ قَالَ هَلۡ عَسَيۡتُمۡ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَٰتِلُواْۖ قَالُواْ وَمَا لَنَآ أَلَّا نُقَٰتِلَ فِي سبيل ٱللَّهِ وَقَدۡ أُخۡرِجۡنَا مِن دِيَٰرِنَا وَأَبۡنَآئِنَاۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوۡاْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا مِّنۡهُمۡۚ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ ٢٤٦. وَقَالَ لَهُمۡ نَبِيُّهُمۡ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَدۡ بَعَثَ لَكُمۡ طَالُوتَ مَلِكٗاۚ قَالُوٓاْ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ ٱلۡمُلۡكُ عَلَيۡنَا وَنَحۡنُ أَحَقُّ بِٱلۡمُلۡكِ مِنۡهُ وَلَمۡ يُؤۡتَ سَعَةٗ مِّنَ ٱلۡمَالِۚ قَالَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱصۡطَفَىٰهُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَزَادَهُۥ بَسۡطَةٗ فِي ٱلۡعِلۡمِ وَٱلۡجِسۡمِۖ وَٱللَّهُ يُؤۡتِي مُلۡكَهُۥ مَن يَشَآءُۚ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٞ. ٢٤٧. وَقَالَ لَهُمۡ نَبِيُّهُمۡ إِنَّ ءَايَةَ مُلۡكِهِۦٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَكُمُ ٱلتَّابُوتُ فِيهِ سَكِينَةٞ مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ وَبَقِيَّةٞ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ءَالُ مُوسَىٰ وَءَالُ هَٰرُونَ تَحۡمِلُهُ ٱلۡمَلَٰٓئِكَةُۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لَّكُمۡ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ ٢٤٨. فَلَمَّا فَصَلَ طَالُوتُ بِٱلۡجُنُودِ قَالَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مُبۡتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٖ فَمَن شَرِبَ مِنۡهُ فَلَيۡسَ مِنِّي وَمَن لَّمۡ يَطۡعَمۡهُ فَإِنَّهُۥ مِنِّيٓ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱغۡتَرَفَ غُرۡفَةَۢ بِيَدِهِۦۚ فَشَرِبُواْ مِنۡهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا مِّنۡهُمۡۚ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُۥ هُوَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُۥ قَالُواْ لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا ٱلۡيَوۡمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦۚ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَٰقُواْ ٱللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٖ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتۡ فِئَةٗ كَثِيرَةَۢ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِۗ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَ ٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ ٢٤٩. وَلَمَّا بَرَزُواْ لِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦ قَالُواْ رَبَّنَآ أَفۡرِغۡ عَلَيۡنَا صَبۡرٗا وَثَبِّتۡ أَقۡدَامَنَا وَٱنصُرۡنَا عَلَى ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡكَٰفِرِينَ ٢٥٠. فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُۥدُ جَالُوتَ وَءَاتَىٰهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡمُلۡكَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُۥ مِمَّا يَشَآءُۗ وَلَوۡلَا دَفۡعُ ٱللَّهِ ٱلنَّاسَ بَعۡضَهُم بِبَعۡضٖ لَّفَسَدَتِ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ذُو فَضۡلٍ عَلَى ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ ٢٥١. تِلۡكَ ءَايَٰتُ ٱللَّهِ نَتۡلُوهَا عَلَيۡكَ بِٱلۡحَقِّۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ ٢٥٢. سوره البقره. (٢).

Translation: “Have you also reflected upon the matter concerning the chiefs of the Israelites after (the death of) Moses? They said to their Prophet, “Appoint a king for us so that we may fight in the way of Allah.” The Prophet asked them, “Might it be that you will not fight, if fighting is prescribed for you?” They replied, “How can it be that we would refuse to fight in the way of Allah when we have been turned out of our homes and separated from our children?” But (in spite of this assurance) when they were enjoined to fight, they all, except a few of them, turned their backs. And Allah knows each and everyone of these transgressors.” 246. “Their Prophet said to them, “Allah has appointed Taloot (Saul) to be king over you.” Hearing this, they replied, “How has he been entitled to become king over us? We have a better right to kingship than he, for he does not even possess enough riches.” The Prophet replied, “Allah has preferred him to you and blessed him with abundant powers of mind and body. And Allah has the power to give His kingdom to whomever He wills: Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.”247. “Their Prophet further informed them, “The sign of his appointment as king from Allah is that during his reign you will get back the Ark, wherein are the means of your peace of mind from your Lord, and which contains the sacred relics of the family of Moses and Aaron, and which is being borne at this time by the angels. Herein is a great Sign for you, if you are true believers.” 248. “And when Taloot (Saul) marched out with his army, he warned: “Allah is going to put you to a test by the side of a river: whoso drinks of its water shall cease to be my companion. Only he shall be my companion who does not quench his thirst with its water. You may, however, take a sip or two. Except a few, most drank their fill of it. Afterwards, when Taloot (Saul) and those who had accompanied him crossed the river and advanced forward, the former who had drank water from the river said to Taloot, “We have no power left this day to fight against Jaloot and his army.” But those in Taloot’s army who believed that one Day they shall meet Allah declared, “lt has often been that a small host has, by Allah’s grace, overcome a big host: for Allah is with those who show fortitude.” 249. “Accordingly, when they marched forward to fight with Jaloot and his forces, they prayed, “Our Lord, bless us with fortitude, make firm our foothold and give us victory over the unbelieving host.” 250. “Consequently, by Allah’s grace, they routed the unbelievers, and Dawood killed Jaloot; and Allah gave him kingship and wisdom and taught him whatever other things He willed. And if Allah had not been repelling one set of people by means of another, the earth would have been filled with chaos. But Allah is bountiful to the world (and so repels chaos in this way).” 251. “These are Allah’s revelations, which We are conveying to you accurately. And O Muhammad, most surely you are one of those who have been sent as Messengers.” 251. (Surah Al Baqarah. The Cow. Verses

In this story which also appears in other Biblical texts seven key lessons are drawn.

Lesson 1) People assert their right to leadership on the basis of kinship or riches (as Israelites protested to their Prophet when they heard that Taloot was going to be appointed their king but he was neither from their tribe nor he was rich to qualify for this position). But Allah alone has the power to give honour and authority to whomsoever He wishes. For Allah, the standards are different. Taloot was high in piety (Taqwa) and Allah had given him both knowledge and strength (علم و الجسم). He would bring the Israelites victory over Jaloot and would bring back the heirlooms of Moses and Aron to them.

Lesson 2). The king is expected to obey the laws of Allah and people are expected to follow his orders, but he is not the religious authority. Often the king is misguided because he relies on the counsel of his advisers. They are not impartial because they have a conflict of interest between keeping their positions and the greater good of the people and the universal truth. The religious authority rests with the Prophet. The Prophet may not always say things which people want to hear because he is guided by Allah, not by people.

Lesson 3). The claim that knowledge or power qualifies one to claim the political throne is challenged in this story because Allah alone has the power to bestow honour or dishonour on anyone He pleases. Even knowledge and strength are attributes of Allah. It is He who gives knowledge and strength. Man is but a mortal being who is born weak and dies weak. Allah gave Dawood knowledge and all he needed to know to be a king; otherwise he was but an ordinary soldier in Taloot’s army.

Lesson 4). In Allah’s scheme there is greater wisdom and benefit far more than what men can decide for themselves. The Israelites could not win over Jaloot’s forces and expand their reach in the land if they had a king other than Taloot at the time of their humiliation and disorganised nationhood.

Lesson 5). In the battlefield victory comes only from Allah, not from arms or large armies. The story shows that a small number of faithful soldiers easily defeated the powerful army of Jaloot. Some historians estimate that those who heeded Taloot’s warning not to drink the water to the fill were only 340 out of an army of 70,000 men who initially made up Taloot’s army to fight Jaloot. This was a test of their faith. Those who passed the test placed their trust in Allah. They knew their circumstantial vulnerability but they asked for victory from Allah. It reminds one of the small number of Muslim soldiers in the battles of Badr, Al-Ahzab, Tabook and Khyber in which they achieved victory over their enemy whose soldiers were many times over in numbers and arms.

Lesson 6). People make tall claims of bravery which they conveniently forgets when faced with adversity. The way of Islam is peace. Muslims are advised to use kind words with their adversaries when arguing over a point, avoid reaching a stage where fighting is the only option left and be magnanimous in forgiving others. The Israelites were not given the commandment to fight until they insisted they wanted to fight and put forward arguments in favour of it. But when the commandment to fight came from Allah, the same people turned back on their demand and started to look for excuses to avoid it. Allah does not put His servants in hardship but whey they choose it themselves, they ungratefully complain about it. Such people are called by Allah the transgressors.

Lesson 7). Allah repels one group of people by another to maintain peace and tranquility on earth. This is because by nature man causes chaos by his insatiable desire to conquer the universe. While man thinks he is doing good, in fact his greed and excesses cause destruction and war. Allah’s Sunnah or method to restore order in the world is to repel one group of people when they become transgressors and troublesome by another group of people who are peaceful and respectful of the laws of nature and God.

Biblical reference.
In the Judaic and Christian texts Dawood is mentioned as David, Taloot as Saul and Jaloot as Goliath. Soon after this battle, David succeeded Saul, the first king of Israelites after Moses. David was a soldier in Saul’s army and was a strong and wise man. He killed Goliath by using a sling. The stone hit the head of Goliath and caused his death. It is also mentioned in their texts that the Prophet who predicted David becoming king was Samuel.

Non-Muslim historians have considered Taloot as one who disobeyed God and caused hardship for the Israelites. They also maintain that he had known about Dawood and had recruited him in the army to have him killed. Even after the killing of Jaloot he had become an enemy of Dawood and also had intended to kill him through some deceit but he ironically got himself killed. The Islamic tradition does not support these accounts. The object of the story narrated in the Quran is to draw the lessons for the Muslims and not to correct or comment on the historical accounts.

Parables of Animals in the Quran


“Allah has created every [living] creature from water. And of them are those that move on their bellies, and of them are those that walk on two legs, and of them are those that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.” Surah Noor 24: Verse 45.


The method of Quran is to present the Divine Message in the most appealing way through everyday examples and parables of kings and people from earlier generations, animals, birds and insects to make it easy for mankind to understand the message of peace and the order of universal in which man, as the representative of God is placed at the Centre.


The animals, birds and insects mentioned in the Quran are either parts of parables or brief examples to illustrate a point. Seven of the 114 Chapters in the Quran also bear names of animals. These are: The Cow 2, The Cattle 6, The Bee, 16, The Ant 27, The Spider (29), The Horses 100 and The Elephant 105.


Some of the stories in the Quran mention animals more than once. These are: the stories of Moses and Pharaoh and the Children of Israel (serpent, cow, calf, fish, apes, monkeys, swine, locust, vermin and toads); the story of the Cave people (dog); the story of Abel and Cain (crow); the story Abraham (mosquito, ram, birds); the story of Uzair (ass); the story of Jonah (fish); the story of the people of Thamud (camel); the story of the Elephant people (elephants and birds) the story of King David (sheep) and the story of King Solomon (hoopoe, ant).


In the verses of the holy Quran where animals are mentioned as examples are cow 6:144; calf 2:51 & 7:148 & 11:69; camel 6:144, 7:73, 11:64 & 77:33; fish 18:61 & 21:87; cattle 7:179 & 22:33; dog 5:4, 18:22 & 7:176; donkey 2:259, 16:8; 62:5 & 74:50; lion 74:51; termite 34:14; bird 5:110 & 105:3; serpent 26:32 & 27:10; spider 29:41; elephant 105:1; sheep 21:78, goat 6:143; locust, bugs and toads 7:133; fly 22:73; ant 27:18; bee 16:68; monkey 2:65; pig 2:173 & 5:60; apes 7:166; horses and mules 16:8, 38:33 & 100:1; mosquito 2:26; hoopoe 27:20; and wolf 12:13.


There is also a reference to an unidentified earthly animal in 27:82 who will appear “when the time for fulfillment of Our word against them will come”, this beast from the earth will speak to people because they did not believe in Our signs”.

May Allah increase our knowledge of the holy Quran and give us the understanding to comprehend the Divine Message correctly.

Syed Sharfuddin
21 June 2016