This Ramadan, take a journey through the Qur’an, every day.
Journey Through the Qur’an – Daur-e-Qur’an, is a quick skim-through of the translation of the Qur’an. One juz (or 1/30th) of the Qur’an is covered daily, enabling the class to finish the translation of the Qur’an within the month of Ramadan.
The class is a must-attend for all Muslims so that they can spend their Ramadan with the Qur’an, trying to understand its meaning.
Preparation for Ramadan (which is coming in about 6 months) begins now. Too often we put it off to the very end and the result is a mediocre Ramadan year after year. Ramadan contains the 10 best nights of the year – including the biggest and most blessed night of the year (Laytul Qadr), rewards are multiplied many-fold during this blessed month, the gates of paradise are opened and the devils are chained. All of this makes worship easy and tremendously rewarding. So it is critical that we prepare for Ramadan to extract the maximum benefit out of it.
The most important aspect of a successful, fruitful Ramadan is the Qur’an. This is because Allah says, “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion between right and wrong” (2:185, translation from the Noble Qur’an). The guidance for mankind was revealed by the Lord of mankind in Ramadan. What’s the connection between the Qur’an, Ramadan and the guidance from the Qur’an? The answer – and Allah only knows best – is that the guidance of the Qur’an is best received in Ramadan. Thus, in Ramadan, it is essential that we ponder over the Qur’an as we listen to it, reflect over it, recite it and memorize it so that we can receive its guidance and the furqan (the criterion between right and wrong).
To achieve this in the up-coming Ramadan, here are a few tried-and-tested suggestions from yours truly:
1) Understanding. If you don’t understand the Qur’an without a translation, then you must begin a course/curriculum* today that will enable you to do so within the next 2-3 years. Then you’ll notice how much benefit you get out of taraweeh and qiyam prayers each successive Ramadan. Understanding the Qur’an in its original text without the crutch of a translation is the key to pondering over the Qur’an and reflecting over it.
2) Recitation. If you are not used to reading the Qur’an, come Ramadan time you will get tired of it very quickly. So, you must start reciting a page or two daily from today so when Ramadan comes, you are ready to read the Qur’an for longer periods of time. Moreover, this consistency will, insha Allah, carry over after Ramadan and become a beautiful habit.
These two are essential. The next two are important but not as important as the above two.
3) Memorization. There is a special sweetness in long prayers during Ramadan. Thus, aim to memorize something significant before Ramadan comes in (e.g. Surah Baqarah) so you can enjoy your prayers more.
4) Arrangements. Make logistical arrangements (e.g. building up a vacation, booking time-off, etc.) for i’tikaaf so you can benefit to the max in the last ten days.
It is famously quoted that our predecessors in faith used to pray to Allah 6 months to accept their previous Ramadan, and 6 months to see the next one. This preparation for Ramadan is a legacy of our predecessors in faith and upholding it will allow us to see results in Ramadan like never before. The crux, core of this preparation in getting ready to understand the Qur’an. Without it, the next Ramadan will be another run-of-the-mill Ramadan.
Everyone fasts and prays during Ramadan, most people give charity, but how few cry in prayers, over-whelmed by the Qur’an. Allah says, “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)” (8:2, translation from the Noble Qur’an).
We ask Allah to make us of those mentioned above, ameen.
And certainly We have explained in this Quran every kind of example, and man is most of all given to contention. (54)
Tasreef is to diversify and repeat. Tasreef is used for winds, because winds come from all directions and come again and again. Allah has presented different way, styles, and every kind of example that is necessary for them so that man can understand. Allah ta’ala mentions parables, warnings, glad tidings to convey the message to mankind.
We learn from this that Allah ta’ala, out of His complete Mercy, has set forth everything we need in the Qur’an. He azza wa jal gave us many examples to explain the Deen so that we may comprehend it. In surah Kahf alone, we’ve covered more than one example of the life of this world and of the Qur’an.
Even though this is the case, Allah ta’ala says:
وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا and man is most of all given to contention. Jidaal is an argument in which two parties try to overcome each other. Jidaal is not an ordinary debate but it is a severe argument; none of the parties are willing to give up. If there is one thing mankind is good at, it is arguing.
Instead of understanding and taking a lesson, man argues concerning these ayaat. In surah Baqarah, the first example Allah ta’ala mentions is the mosquito and He ta’ala mentions the objection of those who hear this example, that why would Allah use a mosquito to strike a parable. The objective behind an example is to make the concept easier for understanding, and is not meant for dispute.
We can end arguments and disputes by remaining silent. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam promised a house in the middle of Jannah for the person who leaves an argument even if they are in the right.
This is a phenomenal way to read Qur’an on your computer. I love reading Qur’an on the computer but can’t stand the Arabic font nor the slow-loading sites with fancy masahif. Google Books makes reading a book on the computer so simple and easy. It is quick, loads fast, you can send pages to people (by clicking on “link”) and best of all, its very readable (especially if you use full screen mode).
And (remember) the Day He will say: “Call those (so-called) partners of Mine whom you pretended.” Then they will cry unto them, but they will not answer them, and We shall put a barrier between them.(52)
Allah azza wa jal presents for us a scene from the Day of Judgment in these two ayaat.
Allah ta’ala will order the mushrikeen (pagans) to call upon their shurakaa (partners setup in worship with Allah). These partners can be idols, Shaytan or whatever being they associated with Allah in worship. When they call upon these partners, they will not respond to them. The scholars mention for two reasons:
1- If the partners were idols, then there is no reality to their existence.
2- if they worshiped a being, then that being cannot help them.
Allah ta’ala says وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُم مَّوْبِقًا, and We shall put a barrier between them. Maubiq comes from the word wabaq which means a prison and a barrier. Some scholars say maubiq is a specific level in hell-fire that is like a sewer–the place where the pus, blood and bodily fluids of the people of Jahannam is collected.
بَيْنَهُم between them, can have two meanings:
1- The maubiq will be the meeting place for the people and the partners they set up with Allah.
2- Between the worshipper and worshipped will be a barrier. They will not find eachother, and as Allah ta’ala says in another ayah: “so it will be lost from them what they fabricated.” (10:30)
In the hereafter, people who worshipped other than Allah in this life will disassociate and curse what they used to worship. Allah ta’ala says in surah Fatir, “If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call; and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you like Him Who is the All-Knower. (35:14)
Allah azza wa jal continues the scene of the Day of Judgment:
And the criminals shall see the fire, then they shall know that they are going to fall into it, and they shall not find a place to which to turn away from it.(53)
The criminals will see the fire in front of them, and Allah describes in surah Furqan, they will hear it raging and roaring (25:12). They will see hell-fire and hell-fire will see them; as if it is a living monster.
“The occupier of the left raises [and holds] his pen for six hours from the Muslim servant of Allah who has wronged or committed a mistake. So if he regrets and seeks Allah’s forgiveness from it he returns it back, and if that is not the case then it is written as one.”
Source: Mu’jam al-Kabeer: 7765, Saheeh Jam’i as-Sagheer: 2097 – Imaam Albaanee said it is hasan.
When a Muslim sins, the angel who writes the bad deeds (ashabul shimaal – the companion/occupier of the left) is supposed to write that down as a bad deed. But instead of doing so right away, the angel waits for a reasonable time (note: it mentions six hours in the hadith, but that doesn’t necessarily mean 360 minutes exactly) waiting to see if the sinner repents to Allah. If he does, then the sin is not written as if it never happened.
And if he doesn’t, it is written as one bad deed.
It’s never too late for repenting. And the best time to repent is right after the sin or soon after. It almost feels like hypocrisy to be making istighfar (repentance to Allah) right after committing a sin, but that is nothing more than a trap of Shaitan. In fact, Allah describes the people of Jannah as, “Those who when they commit a sin or wrong themselves remember Allah right away and ask for forgiveness for their sins.” [Surah Al-e-Imran (3)]. May Allah make us of those who repent from sins immediately, ameen.
And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves unto Adam.” So they prostrated themselves except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord. Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you? What an evil is the exchange for the wrong-doers. (50)
In the Qur’an, the only place where the story of Aadam alayhi salaam occurs twice consecutively back-to-back is in Surah Israa (17) and Surah Kahf (18). The story of Aadam alayhi salaam is mentioned in other surahs such as A’raaf and Baqarah, but here in these two surahs, his story is mentioned in the middle of the surahs right after one another.
Suratul Kahf is directed more to the Christians, so Allah ta’ala addresses their main ideology with this story.
Allah ta’ala begins by saying,وَإِذْ, and mention:
Allah azza wa jal ordered the angels to make sajdah (prostration) to Aadam alayhi salaam.
Sajdah is of three kinds:
1- Sajdah of worship. It is a physical prostration like we do in our salah.
2- Sajdah of greeting and respect. This type of sajdah is like a gesture, for example someone may lower their head out of respect.
3- Sajdah of servitude. The creation of Allah do sajdah to Allah, not as a physical prostration but of obeying Him.
The sajdah here is the sajdah of greeting and honor; all of the angels prostrated out of obedience to Allah ta’ala except for Iblees, who was also commanded to prostrate. Allah ta’ala describes him as being from the Jinn; making it clear that he was never an angel.
Allah ta’ala says about him, “he disobeyed the Command of his Lord.” Fasaq is from fisq, and fisq literally gives the meaning of when a flower emerges from the bud or when a date is over-ripe and the it breaks through the date skin. Fisq means to go beyond the limits set by Allah. Iblees departed from the command of Allah ta’ala by not prostrating.
The Christians say that Iblees was not a Jinn, but he was an angel. They took the theological component of this story and said he was a fallen angel, but Allah ta’ala clarifies: “he was from the jinn”, telling the Christians what they need to hear.
Allah ta’ala also added something else: “he violated the commands of his Rabb“. Why is that important for Christians? They systematically violated the commands of their Rabb by abandoning the law of Musa alayhi salaam after the depature of Esa alayhi salaam.
أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ, “Will you then take him (Iblis).” Ittakatha means to take, but it also gives the meaning of preferring.
أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ, “Will you then take him (Iblees) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you?”
Thurriyah, Children, can mean according to the scholars of Tafseer:
1- refers to the real children of Iblees
2- refers to the followers of Iblees
With regards to the real children of Iblees, we do not know how or why, so we say as we learned in the previous ayaat: Allah is Most Knowing.
We do learn that shaytan does have followers and armies. In Saheeh Muslim, Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: Iblees places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension) ; the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: I did so and so. And he says: You have done nothing. Then one amongst them comes and says: I did not spare so and so until I sowed the seed of discord between a husband and a wife. The Satan goes near him and says: ‘You have done well.’
This is the job of Shaytan; to create dissension between us and take us from the obedience of Allah ta’ala.
Allah mentions that Shaytan is a clear enemy, so we should be alert. Nowadays, when leaders or famous people go to dangerous places that an enemy of theirs may be lurking…how do they act? They are staying in a secure house, they ride in a bullet-proof car, with a vest, multiple body guards and they do not stay out too long. Likewise we must take precautions with Shaytan, because Allah azza wa jal has told us he is our real enemy…so how can we take him and his children as auliyaa?