A Commentary on Muslim Dua

by Syed Sharfuddin

kaaba
[Photo Courtesy Shariq Arif]

A Commentary on Muslim Dua

The Arabic word Dua is understood by Muslims in many ways. It means supplication; appealing for the mercy of the one and only Lord; calling Allah for help in time of distress; communicating with God secretly without any intermediary; making a prayer that combines the glorification of Allah and seeks His intervention for sustenance in this life and salvation in the hereafter; conversation with the Almighty God; and wishing well for someone else.

What is Dua
Dua is a bridge between man and his Creator, a medium through which man, living on earth tries to use to reach the Creator, living in the heaven. The Good and Glorious Allah permits human beings to call Him directly and He also gives assurance that He will respond to them when they call Him (40:60).

Meaning of Dua
The word Dua has also used with different meanings in the holy Quran. It has been used to mean as a mere voice which has no impact (2:171); as an invocation that is not answered by Allah in some specific circumstances (13:14), (21:15), (27:80), (40:50), (46:5) & (96:17); as an expression of thanks (14:39); as supplication to make a direct request to God (14:40) & (3:38); praying for the good and desired objects (17:11), (19:4) & (19:48); invitation or call to follow the right path (3:193), (21:45), (30:52), (35:14), (40:12) & (71:6); summoning one another in a group (26:43); to turn toward Allah for answers (24:48), (24;51), (25:77) & (40:60); and beseeching Allah to remove affliction (41:51).

How to make Dua
There are examples in the Quran and in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be on him how Dua should be conducted. These examples are found in the Duas of prophets, including the Duas of prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The verses dealing with the supplications the messengers of Allah made and the things they asked reveal the methodology of how Dua should be made and for what purpose.

Acceptance of Dua
We learn from the stories of prophets in the Quran that not every Dua reaches the level of acceptance. This is because human beings do not have the knowledge of the greater scheme of things in the universe that only Allah knows and plans. In Chapter 40 Verse 60 Allah says: “Man prays to seek evil as [eagerly as] he prays to seek good. Verily man is ever hasty”.

Duas can be instantly granted such as the Dua of Adam and Zachariah or can take a long time to come to fruition such as the Dua of Job. If a Dua is not granted in this world, then it is likely that it will be stored in the account of the worshipper and used on the Day of Judgement as a credit for balancing the book of deeds, or used for an upgrade to a higher level of reward in paradise.

Duas of Prophets
The Duas of other prophets such as Adam, Zachariah, Jonah and Moses were readily accepted by Allah. In the case of Solomon, Allah accepted his Dua for giving him a kingdom which will never be rivalled by any in the world. However, Solomon’s Dua for a good heir to succeed him was not accepted. The Duas of Job and David were accepted but were subject to a long waiting period.

Some examples of the Duas of prophets are the Dua of Jethro “Lord, judge between us and our people in truth, for you are the best of those who give judgement” (7:89); the Dua of Saul (Taloot) “Lord give me victory over the people who are mischief mongers” (29:30); the Dua of Joseph “Lord you are my protector in this world and in the hereafter; make me to die as one who has totally submitted himself to your Will and join me with the righteous” (12:101); the Dua of Abraham “Lord in you alone we put our trust, to you alone we turn in repentance and to you alone is our final return” (60:4) and the Dua of Moses “Lord I am in absolute need of the good You send me (28:24).

Duas of pious women
The Quran mentions the Duas of Pharaoh’s wife Asiyah “my Lord build for me a home with you in Jannah (66:11) and the Dua of holy Mary “I will abandon you and the gods you worship besides Allah; I will worship only my Lord; by imploring my Lord alone, I can never go astray” (19:48).

Duas that are never accepted
Some Duas are never accepted either in this world nor accounted for in the hereafter. These are Duas where Allah is associated with other idols or partners, and where someone repents after the hour of death has approached with the arrival of the angel of death. “And whoever invokes another god with Allah, whereof he has no proof, then surely his reckoning will only be in the Reckoning of his Lord; surely the disbelievers will not succeed.” [23:117]. “And those they invoke besides Him do not possess [power of] intercession; but only those who testify to the truth [can benefit], and they know.” [43:86].

Allah says in Chapter 46 Verse 5 “And who is more astray than he who invokes besides Allah those who will not respond to him until the day of Resurrection, and they, of their invocation, are unaware.” In Chapter 32 Verses 11, 12 & 14 Allah says: “The angel of death will take you who has been entrusted with you. Then to your Lord you will be returned. If you could but see when the criminals are hanging their heads before their Lord, [saying], ‘Our Lord, we have seen and heard, so return us [to the world]; we will work righteousness. Indeed, we are [now] certain.’ So taste [punishment] because you forgot the meeting of this Day; indeed, We have [accordingly] forgotten you. And taste the punishment of eternity for what you used to do (when you were alive).”
We learn from the Quran that the Dua of Abraham for his father Azer was not accepted. Likewise, the Dua of Noah in favour of his son was not accepted. Prophet Lut could not save his wife because she was the supporter of transgressors. “And address Me not in favour of those who have done wrong. Verily, they are to be drowned.” [23:27].

Dua is different from Salat (prayer)
In the context of the present discussion, Dua is different from established prayer which is called Salat in the holy Quran. There are specific timings and occasions when Salat prayers are performed. Salat prayers are both obligatory and optional. Dua is not obligatory and is mostly optional although Allah says in Chapter 25 Verse 77 “Allah will not attach any value to you were it not for your Duas to him”.

While there are differing opinions among scholars on whether Dua should to be made within salat or should be asked after salat as part of remembrance of Allah (Zikr), the practice is widespread for both. Some people follow the tradition of making Dua after offering the obligatory salat, others combine Duas within the salat such as making Dua after Surah Fateha has been read, while in sujood or juloos when sitting in Attahiyat after sajda.

A major path of Salat comprises Dua because every rakat starts with the recitation of Surah Fatiha which is a complete Dua in its own right. A Christian scholar Chawkat Moucarry in his book “Two Prayers for Today: The Lord’s Prayer and the Fatiha” (2007) has compared Surah Al-Fateha with the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible. A special Dua, Called Dua Qunoot is recited after the last obligatory prayer of the night (Isha) in the odd rakats of Vitr. It is also a comprehensive Dua and sometimes is supplemented by a longer Dua called Qunoot-e-Nazila.

For details one is invited to benefit from the works of renowned Muhaddesin (narrators of Hadith) namely, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasaai, Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawood, Ibn-Al-Qaiyim Al Jawzi, Abd Al-Azeez Ibn Baz, Al-Nawawei, Ibn Taymiyah and Al-Daani. Their books in Arabic are easily available in libraries and Islamic resource centres. Translations of some of these works are also available in major languages.

Time and place for Dua
Dua has no fixed place or timing. A believer can always establish contact with Allah whenever and wherever he wants to connect to his Creator. However, from confirmed Ahadith, i.e. sayings of prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be on him, there are certain special times, places and relationships where Dua is highly effective and most likely to be accepted.

These times are: Dua of a fasting Muslim after he/she has broken his fast; the period between the Azan when prayers are called and Aqama when prayers actually stand in a congregation, the time after obligatory prayers have been offered and other specific occasions such as the Night of Power, Days of Haj, the Tawaf of the holy Kaaba and Saee between Mounts Safa and Marwa, and the Days of Eid.

Dua is also accepted around certain times of the day and night when Allah is exalted. Dua made during worship (Tahajjud salat) in the late hours of the night before dawn when everyone is asleep is believed to be the most acceptable Dua. “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.” [Surah Al-Araaf 7:55]. Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala is glorified in the universe constantly at all times. “Exalted is Allah when you reach the evening and when you reach the morning”. [Surah Al-Rum 30:17]. “And to Him is all praise throughout the heavens and the earth. And (exalted is He) at night and when you are at noon.” [Surah Al-Rum 30:18].

For the places it is mentioned that places which are regarded as the signs of Allah (shaair Allah) Dua is accepted. These include the Kaaba, Multazim, Hateem, Muqam Ibrahim, Mounts Safa and Marwa, Riad-al-Jannah in Madinah and generally the three holiest Mosques in Islam which have been the places of visitation by other prophets and messengers in ancient times.

For the personal relationships it is believed that the Dua of parents for children, or children for their parents; the Dua of a husband for his wife, the Dua of a just ruler for his people, the Dua of a pious person, the Dua of an oppressed person and the Dua of a traveller are more potent and powerful compared to the Dua of others. According to Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah the Dua of three persons is never rejected: the Dua of a father for his children, the Dua of a traveller and the Dua of the oppressed.

Pre-requisites for Dua
The etiquette of calling Allah in the state of Dua requires two fundamental conditions. The caller should fear Allah but he should also remain hopeful of mercy from Allah. In Chapter 7 Verse 56 Allah says: “And call unto Him with fear and longing. Allah’s grace is ever near to those who do good”. In Chapter 32 Verse 16, Allah says: “Those who stay away from their beds at night to remember Allah call Him in fear and hope”.

The state of fear and hope constitute the twin pillars of faith. All the prophets who were sent to guide mankind on the right path came with the dual role of being the bearer of good news (bashir) and at the same time being the trumpeter of warning (nazir). “And We send not the messengers except as bringers of good tidings and warners.” [Surah Al-Kahf 18:56]. However, Allah’s forgiveness and mercy are far more in abundance than His wrath or punishment.

According to Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, on the authority of Anas who said he heard Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said that Allah the Almighty says: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it.’
Individual and collective Dua

Dua can be made individually or collectively as taught to us by the Quran. Adam and Eve when they realised the mistake of eating the forbidden fruit made collective Dua for their forgiveness which was accepted by Allah. “Lord we have wronged ourselves. If you forgive us not and bestow not upon us your mercy, we shall certainly be among the losers” (7:23). Congregational Duas are collective such as the Dua after Friday prayers, the longer Dua in Qayamul Lail after the recitation of the Holy Quran and the collective Dua made on the Day of Mount Arafat as part of the annual Haj Khutba.

Components of Dua
A Dua has three parts. In the first part is the glorification of Allah and an admission that He alone has the power to change things (62:1), (64:1), (3:36), (3:189), (5;120), (57:2) & (67:1). He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He listens and is aware of the true intention of the person making the Dua (3:29).

The second part of Dua is admission of the weakness of human frailty and the mistakes one has made in life and is truly embarrassed to stand before his Lord in shame and humiliation. Without confession, repentance is incomplete. However, when the confession and guilt is expressed sincerely Allah not only forgives the believer but also credits as much good in his account as was his debit prior to repentance (40:3), (66:8). “Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful” [Surah Al-Furqan 25:70].

In the third and final part Dua is focused on the believer seeking forgiveness for the sins, deliverance from Hellfire and help from Allah for himself, his family, community and nation to make things easy in this mortal life and grant the strength to face life’s challenges, overcome hardship and build a character to become a good Muslim and a good human being in this world and become the inheritor of Paradise in the next life (2:286).

Best Duas
The best Duas are contained in the holy Quran in the form of Duas of prophets and in the Sunnah of prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be on him.

Language of Dua
It is preferable to recite the Duas of the Quran and the holy Prophet in original Arabic because these are concise and contain the exact words used by the prophets in calling Allah. However, Duas can also be made in the mother tongue of the worshipper because these come directly from his/her heart and their sense is not lost in translation, especially if they are not familiar with the Arabic language.

Syed Sharfuddin

Safa and Marwa – Allah”s Symbols on Earth

safa-marwa

The following text is reproduced from http://sunnah.com/bukhari/60/43 which copies the narration of Ibn `Abbas in Arabic and English translation taken from Sahih Al-Bukhari 3364, Book 60, Hadith 43. English Reference Sahih Bukhari, Vol IV, Book 55, Hadith 583.

“The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka`ba under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael’s mother followed him saying, “O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her Then she asked him, “Has Allah ordered you to do so?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not neglect us,” and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka`ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers: ‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Ka`ba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.’ (14.37) Ishmael’s mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, ‘O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael’s mother! Had she let the Zamzam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” The Prophet (ﷺ) further added, “Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.’ The House (i.e. Ka`ba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada’. They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, ‘This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water).” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “Ishmael’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?” She replied, ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that.” The Prophet (ﷺ) further said, “Ishmael’s mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them. After Ishmael’s mother had died, Abraham came after Ishmael’s marriage in order to see his family that he had left before, but he did not find Ishmael there. When he asked Ishmael’s wife about him, she replied, ‘He has gone in search of our livelihood.’ Then he asked her about their way of living and their condition, and she replied, ‘We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution,’ complaining to him. He said, ‘When your husband returns, convey my salutation to him and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).’ When Ishmael came, he seemed to have felt something unusual, so he asked his wife, ‘Has anyone visited you?’ She replied, ‘Yes, an old man of so-and-so description came and asked me about you and I informed him, and he asked about our state of living, and I told him that we were living in a hardship and poverty.’ On that Ishmael said, ‘Did he advise you anything?’ She replied, ‘Yes, he told me to convey his salutation to you and to tell you to change the threshold of your gate.’ Ishmael said, ‘It was my father, and he has ordered me to divorce you. Go back to your family.’ So, Ishmael divorced her and married another woman from amongst them (i.e. Jurhum). Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished and called on them again but did not find Ishmael. So he came to Ishmael’s wife and asked her about Ishmael. She said, ‘He has gone in search of our livelihood.’ Abraham asked her, ‘How are you getting on?’ asking her about their sustenance and living. She replied, ‘We are prosperous and well-off (i.e. we have everything in abundance).’ Then she thanked Allah’ Abraham said, ‘What kind of food do you eat?’ She said. ‘Meat.’ He said, ‘What do you drink?’ She said, ‘Water.” He said, “O Allah! Bless their meat and water.” The Prophet added, “At that time they did not have grain, and if they had grain, he would have also invoked Allah to bless it.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “If somebody has only these two things as his sustenance, his health and disposition will be badly affected, unless he lives in Mecca.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added,” Then Abraham said Ishmael’s wife, “When your husband comes, give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.’ When Ishmael came back, he asked his wife, ‘Did anyone call on you?’ She replied, ‘Yes, a good-looking old man came to me,’ so she praised him and added. ‘He asked about you, and I informed him, and he asked about our livelihood and I told him that we were in a good condition.’ Ishmael asked her, ‘Did he give you any piece of advice?’ She said, ‘Yes, he told me to give his regards to you and ordered that you should keep firm the threshold of your gate.’ On that Ishmael said, ‘It was my father, and you are the threshold (of the gate). He has ordered me to keep you with me.’ Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished, and called on them afterwards. He saw Ishmael under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Abraham, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Abraham said, ‘O Ishmael! Allah has given me an order.’ Ishmael said, ‘Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.’ Abraham asked, ‘Will you help me?’ Ishmael said, ‘I will help you.’ Abraham said, Allah has ordered me to build a house here,’ pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it.” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Ka`ba). Ishmael brought the stones and Abraham was building, and when the walls became high, Ishmael brought this stone and put it for Abraham who stood over it and carried on building, while Ishmael was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, ‘O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.’ The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “Then both of them went on building and going round the Ka`ba saying: O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” (2.127).”

Arabic Text

. باب ‏{‏يَزِفُّونَ‏}‏ النَّسَلاَنُ فِي الْمَشْىِ
وَحَدَّثَنِي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّزَّاقِ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنْ أَيُّوبَ السَّخْتِيَانِيِّ، وَكَثِيرِ بْنِ كَثِيرِ بْنِ الْمُطَّلِبِ بْنِ أَبِي وَدَاعَةَ،، يَزِيدُ أَحَدُهُمَا عَلَى الآخَرِ عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ جُبَيْرٍ،
قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ أَوَّلَ مَا اتَّخَذَ النِّسَاءُ الْمِنْطَقَ مِنْ قِبَلِ أُمِّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، اتَّخَذَتْ مِنْطَقًا لَتُعَفِّيَ أَثَرَهَا عَلَى سَارَةَ، ثُمَّ جَاءَ بِهَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ، وَبِابْنِهَا إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَهْىَ تُرْضِعُهُ حَتَّى وَضَعَهُمَا عِنْدَ الْبَيْتِ عِنْدَ دَوْحَةٍ، فَوْقَ زَمْزَمَ فِي أَعْلَى الْمَسْجِدِ، وَلَيْسَ بِمَكَّةَ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَحَدٌ، وَلَيْسَ بِهَا مَاءٌ، فَوَضَعَهُمَا هُنَالِكَ، وَوَضَعَ عِنْدَهُمَا جِرَابًا فِيهِ تَمْرٌ وَسِقَاءً فِيهِ مَاءٌ، ثُمَّ قَفَّى إِبْرَاهِيمُ مُنْطَلِقًا فَتَبِعَتْهُ أُمُّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ فَقَالَتْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ أَيْنَ تَذْهَبُ وَتَتْرُكُنَا بِهَذَا الْوَادِي الَّذِي لَيْسَ فِيهِ إِنْسٌ وَلاَ شَىْءٌ فَقَالَتْ لَهُ ذَلِكَ مِرَارًا، وَجَعَلَ لاَ يَلْتَفِتُ إِلَيْهَا فَقَالَتْ لَهُ آللَّهُ الَّذِي أَمَرَكَ بِهَذَا قَالَ نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَتْ إِذًا لاَ يُضَيِّعُنَا‏.‏ ثُمَّ رَجَعَتْ، فَانْطَلَقَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ حَتَّى إِذَا كَانَ عِنْدَ الثَّنِيَّةِ حَيْثُ لاَ يَرَوْنَهُ اسْتَقْبَلَ بِوَجْهِهِ الْبَيْتَ، ثُمَّ دَعَا بِهَؤُلاَءِ الْكَلِمَاتِ وَرَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ، فَقَالَ ‏{‏رَبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ‏}‏ حَتَّى بَلَغَ ‏{‏يَشْكُرُونَ‏}‏‏.‏ وَجَعَلَتْ أُمُّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ تُرْضِعُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، وَتَشْرَبُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ الْمَاءِ، حَتَّى إِذَا نَفِدَ مَا فِي السِّقَاءِ عَطِشَتْ وَعَطِشَ ابْنُهَا، وَجَعَلَتْ تَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ يَتَلَوَّى ـ أَوْ قَالَ يَتَلَبَّطُ ـ فَانْطَلَقَتْ كَرَاهِيَةَ أَنْ تَنْظُرَ إِلَيْهِ، فَوَجَدَتِ الصَّفَا أَقْرَبَ جَبَلٍ فِي الأَرْضِ يَلِيهَا، فَقَامَتْ عَلَيْهِ ثُمَّ اسْتَقْبَلَتِ الْوَادِيَ تَنْظُرُ هَلْ تَرَى أَحَدًا فَلَمْ تَرَ أَحَدًا، فَهَبَطَتْ مِنَ، الصَّفَا حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَتِ الْوَادِيَ رَفَعَتْ طَرَفَ دِرْعِهَا، ثُمَّ سَعَتْ سَعْىَ الإِنْسَانِ الْمَجْهُودِ، حَتَّى جَاوَزَتِ الْوَادِيَ، ثُمَّ أَتَتِ الْمَرْوَةَ، فَقَامَتْ عَلَيْهَا وَنَظَرَتْ هَلْ تَرَى أَحَدًا، فَلَمْ تَرَ أَحَدًا، فَفَعَلَتْ ذَلِكَ سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ ـ قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ فَذَلِكَ سَعْىُ النَّاسِ بَيْنَهُمَا ‏”‏‏.‏ ـ فَلَمَّا أَشْرَفَتْ عَلَى الْمَرْوَةِ سَمِعَتْ صَوْتًا، فَقَالَتْ صَهٍ‏.‏ تُرِيدَ نَفْسَهَا، ثُمَّ تَسَمَّعَتْ، فَسَمِعَتْ أَيْضًا، فَقَالَتْ قَدْ أَسْمَعْتَ، إِنْ كَانَ عِنْدَكَ غِوَاثٌ‏.‏ فَإِذَا هِيَ بِالْمَلَكِ، عِنْدَ مَوْضِعِ زَمْزَمَ، فَبَحَثَ بِعَقِبِهِ ـ أَوْ قَالَ بِجَنَاحِهِ ـ حَتَّى ظَهَرَ الْمَاءُ، فَجَعَلَتْ تُحَوِّضُهُ وَتَقُولُ بِيَدِهَا هَكَذَا، وَجَعَلَتْ تَغْرِفُ مِنَ الْمَاءِ فِي سِقَائِهَا، وَهْوَ يَفُورُ بَعْدَ مَا تَغْرِفُ ـ قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ أُمَّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ لَوْ تَرَكَتْ زَمْزَمَ ـ أَوْ قَالَ لَوْ لَمْ تَغْرِفْ مِنَ الْمَاءِ ـ لَكَانَتْ زَمْزَمُ عَيْنًا مَعِينًا ‏”‏‏.‏ ـ قَالَ فَشَرِبَتْ وَأَرْضَعَتْ وَلَدَهَا، فَقَالَ لَهَا الْمَلَكُ لاَ تَخَافُوا الضَّيْعَةَ، فَإِنَّ هَا هُنَا بَيْتَ اللَّهِ، يَبْنِي هَذَا الْغُلاَمُ، وَأَبُوهُ، وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُضِيعُ أَهْلَهُ‏.‏ وَكَانَ الْبَيْتُ مُرْتَفِعًا مِنَ الأَرْضِ كَالرَّابِيَةِ، تَأْتِيهِ السُّيُولُ فَتَأْخُذُ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ وَشِمَالِهِ، فَكَانَتْ كَذَلِكَ، حَتَّى مَرَّتْ بِهِمْ رُفْقَةٌ مِنْ جُرْهُمَ ـ أَوْ أَهْلُ بَيْتٍ مِنْ جُرْهُمَ ـ مُقْبِلِينَ مِنْ طَرِيقِ كَدَاءٍ فَنَزَلُوا فِي أَسْفَلِ مَكَّةَ، فَرَأَوْا طَائِرًا عَائِفًا‏.‏ فَقَالُوا إِنَّ هَذَا الطَّائِرَ لَيَدُورُ عَلَى مَاءٍ، لَعَهْدُنَا بِهَذَا الْوَادِي وَمَا فِيهِ مَاءٌ، فَأَرْسَلُوا جَرِيًّا أَوْ جَرِيَّيْنِ، فَإِذَا هُمْ بِالْمَاءِ، فَرَجَعُوا فَأَخْبَرُوهُمْ بِالْمَاءِ، فَأَقْبَلُوا، قَالَ وَأُمُّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ عِنْدَ الْمَاءِ فَقَالُوا أَتَأْذَنِينَ لَنَا أَنْ نَنْزِلَ عِنْدَكِ فَقَالَتْ نَعَمْ، وَلَكِنْ لاَ حَقَّ لَكُمْ فِي الْمَاءِ‏.‏ قَالُوا نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ فَأَلْفَى ذَلِكَ أُمَّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، وَهْىَ تُحِبُّ الإِنْسَ ‏”‏ فَنَزَلُوا وَأَرْسَلُوا إِلَى أَهْلِيهِمْ، فَنَزَلُوا مَعَهُمْ حَتَّى إِذَا كَانَ بِهَا أَهْلُ أَبْيَاتٍ مِنْهُمْ، وَشَبَّ الْغُلاَمُ، وَتَعَلَّمَ الْعَرَبِيَّةَ مِنْهُمْ، وَأَنْفَسَهُمْ وَأَعْجَبَهُمْ حِينَ شَبَّ، فَلَمَّا أَدْرَكَ زَوَّجُوهُ امْرَأَةً مِنْهُمْ، وَمَاتَتْ أُمُّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، فَجَاءَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ، بَعْدَ مَا تَزَوَّجَ إِسْمَاعِيلُ يُطَالِعُ تَرِكَتَهُ، فَلَمْ يَجِدْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، فَسَأَلَ امْرَأَتَهُ عَنْهُ فَقَالَتْ خَرَجَ يَبْتَغِي لَنَا‏.‏ ثُمَّ سَأَلَهَا عَنْ عَيْشِهِمْ وَهَيْئَتِهِمْ فَقَالَتْ نَحْنُ بِشَرٍّ، نَحْنُ فِي ضِيقٍ وَشِدَّةٍ‏.‏ فَشَكَتْ إِلَيْهِ‏.‏ قَالَ فَإِذَا جَاءَ زَوْجُكِ فَاقْرَئِي عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمَ، وَقُولِي لَهُ يُغَيِّرْ عَتَبَةَ بَابِهِ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا جَاءَ إِسْمَاعِيلُ، كَأَنَّهُ آنَسَ شَيْئًا، فَقَالَ هَلْ جَاءَكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ قَالَتْ نَعَمْ، جَاءَنَا شَيْخٌ كَذَا وَكَذَا، فَسَأَلَنَا عَنْكَ فَأَخْبَرْتُهُ، وَسَأَلَنِي كَيْفَ عَيْشُنَا فَأَخْبَرْتُهُ أَنَّا فِي جَهْدٍ وَشِدَّةٍ‏.‏ قَالَ فَهَلْ أَوْصَاكِ بِشَىْءٍ قَالَتْ نَعَمْ، أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَقْرَأَ عَلَيْكَ السَّلاَمَ، وَيَقُولُ غَيِّرْ عَتَبَةَ بَابِكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ذَاكِ أَبِي وَقَدْ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أُفَارِقَكِ الْحَقِي بِأَهْلِكِ‏.‏ فَطَلَّقَهَا، وَتَزَوَّجَ مِنْهُمْ أُخْرَى، فَلَبِثَ عَنْهُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ثُمَّ أَتَاهُمْ بَعْدُ، فَلَمْ يَجِدْهُ، فَدَخَلَ عَلَى امْرَأَتِهِ، فَسَأَلَهَا عَنْهُ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ خَرَجَ يَبْتَغِي لَنَا‏.‏ قَالَ كَيْفَ أَنْتُمْ وَسَأَلَهَا عَنْ عَيْشِهِمْ، وَهَيْئَتِهِمْ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ نَحْنُ بِخَيْرٍ وَسَعَةٍ‏.‏ وَأَثْنَتْ عَلَى اللَّهِ‏.‏ فَقَالَ مَا طَعَامُكُمْ قَالَتِ اللَّحْمُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَا شَرَابُكُمْ قَالَتِ الْمَاءُ‏.‏ فَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَهُمْ فِي اللَّحْمِ وَالْمَاءِ‏.‏ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ حَبٌّ، وَلَوْ كَانَ لَهُمْ دَعَا لَهُمْ فِيهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَهُمَا لاَ يَخْلُو عَلَيْهِمَا أَحَدٌ بِغَيْرِ مَكَّةَ إِلاَّ لَمْ يُوَافِقَاهُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَإِذَا جَاءَ زَوْجُكِ فَاقْرَئِي عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمَ، وَمُرِيهِ يُثْبِتُ عَتَبَةَ بَابِهِ، فَلَمَّا جَاءَ إِسْمَاعِيلُ قَالَ هَلْ أَتَاكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ قَالَتْ نَعَمْ أَتَانَا شَيْخٌ حَسَنُ الْهَيْئَةِ، وَأَثْنَتْ عَلَيْهِ، فَسَأَلَنِي عَنْكَ فَأَخْبَرْتُهُ، فَسَأَلَنِي كَيْفَ عَيْشُنَا فَأَخْبَرْتُهُ أَنَّا بِخَيْرٍ‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَوْصَاكِ بِشَىْءٍ قَالَتْ نَعَمْ، هُوَ يَقْرَأُ عَلَيْكَ السَّلاَمَ، وَيَأْمُرُكَ أَنْ تُثْبِتَ عَتَبَةَ بَابِكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ذَاكِ أَبِي، وَأَنْتِ الْعَتَبَةُ، أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أُمْسِكَكِ‏.‏ ثُمَّ لَبِثَ عَنْهُمْ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ، ثُمَّ جَاءَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ، وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ يَبْرِي نَبْلاً لَهُ تَحْتَ دَوْحَةٍ قَرِيبًا مِنْ زَمْزَمَ، فَلَمَّا رَآهُ قَامَ إِلَيْهِ، فَصَنَعَا كَمَا يَصْنَعُ الْوَالِدُ بِالْوَلَدِ وَالْوَلَدُ بِالْوَالِدِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَنِي بِأَمْرٍ‏.‏ قَالَ فَاصْنَعْ مَا أَمَرَكَ رَبُّكَ‏.‏ قَالَ وَتُعِينُنِي قَالَ وَأُعِينُكَ‏.‏ قَالَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَبْنِيَ هَا هُنَا بَيْتًا‏.‏ وَأَشَارَ إِلَى أَكَمَةٍ مُرْتَفِعَةٍ عَلَى مَا حَوْلَهَا‏.‏ قَالَ فَعِنْدَ ذَلِكَ رَفَعَا الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ، فَجَعَلَ إِسْمَاعِيلُ يَأْتِي بِالْحِجَارَةِ، وَإِبْرَاهِيمُ يَبْنِي، حَتَّى إِذَا ارْتَفَعَ الْبِنَاءُ جَاءَ بِهَذَا الْحَجَرِ فَوَضَعَهُ لَهُ، فَقَامَ عَلَيْهِ وَهْوَ يَبْنِي، وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ يُنَاوِلُهُ الْحِجَارَةَ، وَهُمَا يَقُولاَنِ ‏{‏رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ‏}‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَجَعَلاَ يَبْنِيَانِ حَتَّى يَدُورَا حَوْلَ الْبَيْتِ، وَهُمَا يَقُولاَنِ ‏{‏رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ‏}

The Concept of Permanence in Islam

allah-kiswah-kaaba
The concept of Khuld [permanence] and Adan [perpetuity] is central to human nature especially when there is total absence of hardship and discomfort in life. In reality, the good times never roll forever but human beings are always in search of peace and pleasure and are ready to pay any price they can afford to prolong it as long as and as far as they possibly can.

When Adam was created by the Good and Glorious Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala and provided the blissful company of Eve to live in Paradise as the vicegerent of Allah, he had everything to be happy about. Yet he needed a second assurance that these good times will not be short lived but will last forever.

Perhaps this was Adam’s only worry in divine luxury and comfort. This was the soft spot where Adam’s arch enemy, Shaitan, attacked him with sweet talk. Burnt by Allah’s rebuke to him for not prostrating before Adam, Shaitan had declared his sworn enmity to Adam and promised to Allah that he will lead Adam to a life of sin and disobedience so that he too earns divine condemnation and falls to disgrace. Shaitan promised to approach Adam and his progeny from all sides – right, left, front and behind – to ensure that Adam swerved away from the right path and became disobedient and lacking in his total submission to Allah.

Allah Subhanuhu wa Taala granted Shaitan his wish to be free to beguile Adam and his progeny howsoever he chooses to, but Allah also added the condition that He will fill jahannam with both Shaitan and sons of Adam whoever follows him in his footsteps. Allah said: “most certainly will I fill hell with you and such men who shall follow you, all together” 38:85.

Shaitan therefore approached Adam in Paradise with the pretence of disclosing the secret of ‘everlastingness’. He said to him:” “O Adam shall I lead thee to the tree of eternal life, and thus to a kingdom that will never decay”. (2:106). This concern being Adam’s only weakness, he and Eve fell for it instantly and followed Shaitain’s direction to taste the forbidden tree. And that’s how Adam’s fall happened.

Later Adam and Eve repented and were pardoned by Allah but were ordained to live a short span of life on earth where they would live, grow old and die and will be raised again to be presented before Allah on another earth on the Day of Judgement when Allah will decide their final abode on the basis of their individual record of deed hanging from their necks like an open scroll.

In the holy Quran, Allah has made the concept of everlastingness or perpetuity a constant theme to satisfy our curiosity for finding the secret of permanence. This curiosity is further sharpened by the reality of death which spares no living being, whether powerful or weak, young or old, criminal or saint.

There are 86 verses in the holy Quran spread over 37 chapters where the words khalidoon, khalideen or adan [meaning everlastingness or perpetuity] are mentioned. Of these, bout 34 verses relate to the perpetual nature of punishment for being Shaitan’s followers. 49 verses are about Everlasting Paradise or Perpetual Gardens of Bliss. That indeed is the answer to the secret of everlasting life.

References

 Al-Baqara (The Cow) > [2:81] [2:82] [2:257] [2:275] [2:39] [2:25] [2:217] [2:162]
 Al-Imran (The Family of Imran)> [3:15] [3:88] [3:107] [3:116] [3:136] [3:198]
 An-Nisa (The Women)> [4:13] [4:14] [4:57] [4:93] [4:122] [4:169]
 Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread) > [5:80] [5:85] [5:119]
 Al-An’am (The Cattle) > [6:128]
 Al-A’raf (The Heights) > [7:20] [7:36] [7:42]
 At-Tauba (The Repentance)> [9:68] [9:17] [9:22] [9:100] [9:63] [9:72] [9:89]
 Yunus> [10:26] [10:27]
 Hud (The Prophet Hud)> [11:23] [11:107] [11:108]
 Ar-Ra’d (The Thunder)> [13:5]
 Ibrahim (Abraham)> [14:23]
 An-Nahl (The Bee)> [16:29]
 Al-Kahf (The Cave)> [18:108]
 Ta-Ha> [20:76] [20:101]
 Al-Anbiya (The Prophets)> [21:99] [21:102] [21:8] [21:34]
 Al-Mu’minun (The Believers)> [23:11] [23:103]
 Al-Furqan (The Criterion)> [25:16] [25:76]
 Al-‘Ankabut (The Spider)> [29:58]
 Luqman (Luqman)> [31:9]
 Al-Ahzab (The Confederates)> [33:65]
 Az-Zumar (The Groups)> [39:72] [39:73]
 Ghafir (The Forgiver)> [40:76]
 Az-Zukhruf (The Gold Adornments) > [43:71] [43:74]
 Al-Ahqaf (The Curved Sandhills) > [46:14]
 Muhammad > [47:5] [47:15]
 Al-Fath (The Victory) > [48:5]
 Al-Hadid (Iron) > [57:12]
 Al-Mujadilah (The Disputation) > [58:22] [58:17]
 At-Taghabun (Loss and Gain) > [64:10] [64:9]
 At-Talaq (The Divorce) > [65:11]
 Al-Jinn (The Jinn) > [72:23]
 Al-Baiyinah (The Clear Evidence) > [98:6] [98:8]
 Ar-Ra’d (The Thunder)> [13:23]
 An-Nahl (The Bee)> [16:31]
 Al-Kahf (The Cave)> [18:31]
 Maryam (Mary)> [19:61]
 Fatir (The Originator of Creation)> [35:33]
 Suad> [38:50]
 Ghafir (The Forgiver)> [40:8]
 As-Saff (The Row) > [61:12]
 Yunus> [10:52]
 Ta-Ha> [20:120]
 Al-Furqan (The Criterion)> [25:15]
 Fussilat (Explained in Detail)> [41:28]

Dialogues in Monotheism in the Quran

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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

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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

Sustenance

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O Son of Adam. Do not fear authority because no authority lasts forever. But the authority of your Lord is permanent.

O Son of Adam. Do not be worried about your provision because resources are limited. But the treasures of your Lord are always full.

O Son of Adam your Lord has created you for His worship so do not waste time in playful activities.

Your Lord had set your sustenance in this world so do not tire yourself to increase it even though you must work for it and put your trust in Allah.

If you are content with what your Lord has allocated you, your will get peace of mind and comfort of body and shall receive His blessings.

But if you are not pleased with what your Lord has allocated you, then He swears on His Glory and Honour that He will set the world loose on you where you will run just like animals in the wilderness and after all that hardship you shall get no more than what your Lord had originally allocated in your portion.

O Son of Adam. Your Lord created the seven heavens and earth without any effort so would it trouble Him to simply send a bread of loaf your way.

O Son of Adam. Do not ask your Lord for tomorrow ‘s sustenance because He has not asked you for tomorrow’s deeds.

O Son of Adam. Your Lord loves you so He has a right over you that you love Him.

(Voiceover in Arabic is on Youtube by Imam Ash Sharawi. The source of this reported Hadith is not known.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHtjYhnlxqo

Hizb Allah and Hizb Shaitan

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Tonight on the eve of the festival of Eid, two groups returned to the world of matter and material. One group comprised people who left their homes ten nights ago to sit in Etekaf and remember Allah day and night within the four walls of their local mosques. The other group comprised shayateen who were released from prison at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Tomorrow the tug of war between the two sides, aided and abetted by their respective followers, admirers, agents, facilitators, sympathisers and sponsors, namely Hizb-e-Allah and Hizb-e- Shaitan will commence again to last another 11 months until next Ramadan. The former group will be remembered asالمفلحون هم أولئك. The latter group will be remembered as اولئك هم الخاسرون .

Between these two sides will be a third group sitting on the fence watching the battle and waiting to see which group will win so that they can join them at the last moment and claim a share in their booty. They will be remembered as اولئك هم الفاسقون.

The House

 

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In the holy Quran there is a description of three types of houses. The first is the House of Allah which was rebuilt by Prophet Abraham in Makkah and is the most sacred place in the universe for the Muslims. “Allah has appointed this sacred house, the Ka’bah, as a means of support for (the collective life of) men, and has caused the holy month (of Pilgrimage), and the animals of sacrificial offering and their distinguishing collars to assist therein. This is so that you may know that Allah is aware of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; and that Allah has knowledge of everything.” Al-Maeda 5:97. The owner of this house is Allah but anyone who accepts the sovereignty of Allah over him is permitted to visit this house and worship there.
The second type is the house of this temporal world. Bricks and mortar but these are only temporary abodes even though they may provide protection against harsh weather, harmful animals and thieves and be a place for ultimate luxury and comfort. But in the eyes of Allah these are like a spider web, a wonder in architecture and material and yet so fragile that it can’t even stand a small storm. “The case of those who took others than Allah as their protectors is that of a spider who builds a house; but the frailest of all houses is the spider’s house; if they only knew. Al-Ankaboot 29:41. Come to think of the cost of this house for an average person; it is a mortgage of a lifetime with hard economic choices and tight budgeting unless you opt for the world and receive annual profit on your investment right here, instead of collecting an endowment in the hereafter.
The third type is the house in heaven for the believers who are the true servants of Allah and take the Straight Way, These houses are lofty, fully serviced and come with attached gardens and streams. The lease on these houses remains forever and there are no monthly or annual rates, rents or bills to be paid. “Allah has set forth for the believers the parable of Pharaoh’s wife. She prayed: “My Lord, build for me a house with You in Paradise and deliver me from Pharaoh and his misdeeds; and deliver me from the iniquitous people.” Al-Tahreem 66:11. The cost of getting this house is a life time of good deeds and obedience to Allah. For Su h people Allah may not provide riches but he has promised them that their life on earth will not be hard. “But whosoever turns away from this Admonition from Me shall have a straitened life; We shall raise him blind on the Day of Resurrection,”. Ta’ha. 20:124.

The Straight Way

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.