Categories
Islam

Truly Worshiping Allah

An excerpt from a khutbah discussing what it means to truly worship Allah.

Summary:

– Allah says, ” يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ – O mankind, worship your Lord”. The word اعْبُدُوا has two origins: 1) to worship 2) to enslave/be a slave of someone
– Worshiping Allah is doing things that make Allah happy.
– Being a slave of Allah is being happy with what Allah does to us.
– Allah gives us several reasons to worship Him in the ayaat without even mentioning how to worship Him, highlighting how important it is to make the “why” a part of our discourse.

The discussion is based on the following ayaat from Surah Baqarah (2):

Categories
Islam

Description of the Qu’ran in the Qur’an – Aarij Anwer

A discussion on the description of the Qur’an – آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ فِي صُدُورِ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ – as described in the ayaat from Surah Al-Ankaboot [29:49] and what it entails.

This is an excerpt from a longer speech given at one of my student’s Qur’an graduation party (finishing of memorization of the Qur’an).

Categories
Islam

Ramadan With Quran – One Month Quran Intensive

Ramadan With Quran: an intense, daily study of the Quran consisting of translation and recital. Starting July 15th,2012.

http://www.ramadanwithquran.com/

Categories
Islam Quran

Creation and Resurrection – Surah Luqman

Consider the following ayaat from Surah Luqman:

And if whatever trees upon the earth were pens and the sea [was ink], replenished thereafter by seven [more] seas, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

Your creation and your resurrection will not be but as that of a single soul. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing.

Do you not see that Allah causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term, and that Allah, with whatever you do, is Acquainted?

There is some incredible things to learn from this set of ayaat. Watch the videos for more details:

Categories
Islam Quran

Coherence in the Quran – Morning/Evening v Evening/Morning

So exalted is Allah when you reach the evening and when you reach the morning [30:17] – فسبحان الله حين تمسون وحين تصبحون

Why does Allah mention evening before morning in this ayah, whereas in other ayahs the morning is mentioned before the evening (which is the natural order of the day)?

Categories
Islam Quran

Ramadan Special: Journey Through the Qur’an

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.

Starting Sunday July 31st
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm online and in-person at the Islamic Community Center of Milton.

Sign-up: http://bit.ly/DQSignUp
Class Link: http://bit.ly/daureQuran

Categories
Advice Islam Quran

Prepare for Ramadan

Bismillah.

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.

*Some programs/curricula that focus on Qur’an:

Taleemul Qur’an from AlHuda Institute. New offering begins in July.

Madinah Book Course from LQToronto.com. Fully online (books and lectures). Available for download free of charge. Start with book 1.

Bayyinah Institute‘s live summer programs and pre-recorded online courses.

– Milton Qur’an Academy’s Miftahul Qur’an course. Please email 185erb@gmail.com for more details.

Categories
Arabic Islam

Arabic Dictionaries and Resources for Students

Bismillah.

Introduction

For students of Arabic, there are a lot of wonderful dictionaries and resources available online and in-print. However, the wrong dictionary at certain stages of learning could lead to a lot of frustration, unnecessary expenditure of time and even ultimately a loss of motivation to study Arabic.

Thus, here is a list of dictionaries and resources in English that students of Qur’an and Arabic can use in their studies. For each resource, the following aspects are expanded upon:

  • where is it available from,
  • what are some of its main features (not exhaustive by any means),
  • some pros and cons,
  • a personal review (if applicable), and
  • a final verdict.

The pros and cons, personal review and final verdict should help a student decide which dictionary is appropriate for them, insha Allah. The resources are categorized in two ways:

  1. Arabic-English/English-Arabic dictionaries and resources,
  2. Qur’an-Exclusive dictionaries and resources.

This categorization should further help a student decide which resource is most suited for their educational needs. The list is in no particular order. At the end of the article, there is a small concluding note as well, insha Allah.

Reading Time: 20-30 minutes.

Intended Audience: Students/Budding students of Qur’an and Arabic, preferably those with a little background.

Arabic-English/English-Arabic Dictionaries and Resources

Executive Overview

AlMawrid Dictionary

Available from:

Available in PDF. Available for purchase at Amazon. Software available from Amazon and the electronic version also from Amazon.

Features:

The Mawrid has words that are arranged alphabetically, instead of by root words (which is more traditional). Moreover, unlike many Arabic-English dictionaries, the Mawrid also offers a synonym in Arabic for each Arabic word. The Mawrid, unlike most dictionaries, comes in print, in a software package and in a very handy electronic device that is easy to carry around.

The Mawrid comes in two types: Arabic-English only and in Arabic-English/English-Arabic, which makes it supremely useful for a student who is learning how to speak and write in Arabic.

Pros:

1) Ease of Usage. It requires very basic knowledge of grammar to benefit from it. For example, for Arabic verbs, if you don’t know the root of the verb or you don’t know the form of the verb, you can still utilize this dictionary as long as you can figure out the past tense of the verb. So there is some basic grammar required, but not a lot.

2) Arabic Synonyms. These help a student quickly build up a very strong vocabulary.

3) Electronic Version. Easily one of the most useful tools for a student of the language. The time to search words is drastically reduced when using the electronic version, which makes reading Arabic texts much easier and faster.

Cons:

1) Missing Information. The Mawrid does not provide the masdar of a verb, the forms of the verbs, the present tense of 3-letter verbs and the plural of nouns.

Personal Review:

I have used the Mawrid extensively and have found it to be one of the best dictionaries. It helped me increase my vocabulary, helped save my time when I was looking up words quickly and it explained many words beautifully and concisely.

Verdict:

Essential for beginners, excellent for intermediate students but not too much value for advanced students/researchers. A dictionary that should be in every one’s library.

Hans Wehr

Available from:

Available in PDF. Available for purchase at Amazon.

Features:

Hans Wehr arranges its entries by root word, giving many applicable meanings, commonly used phrases, usage of verbs with prepositions, how verbs effect the objects (مفعول به) (if applicable) and how the meaning changes with different forms of a verb (numbered II-X). Moreover, it provides the meanings of the masadir of verbs, meanings of many of the derivatives from verbs (المشتقات) and also the present tense of 3-letter verbs. All of these are done in a code that is explained in the preface of the dictionary. Furthermore, Hans Wehr provides a transliteration for most words which helps in pronunciation.

The Hans-Wehr does not come in English-Arabic, only in Arabic-English.

Pros:

1) Thoroughness. The dictionary is very thorough and comprehensive, providing a wide range of meanings, usages, associated phrases in a very succinct manner.

2) Completeness. You can find relatively complete information about the basics of a verb (present, masdar, different forms, usages) and plurals for nouns. This makes it very beneficial for anyone who delves deeper into the language for studying the Qur’an or the ahadith.

Cons:

1) Difficult Usage. Hans Wehr requires some intermediate knowledge of grammar to fully benefit and utilize it. Thus, it can be intimidating and time-consuming for beginners who do not have too much mastery over grammar.

2) Notation. There is a lot of notation in the dictionary that takes a lot of time and reading of the preface to get used to. This is another hurdle for the beginner, but once you get used to it, the notation is very useful.

Personal Review:

I have used the Hans Wehr a lot and still use it as my first reference whenever I research a word. It is not something to use when you want to quickly look up a word, rather Hans Wehr is useful when you have some time to read the entire entry concerning the word, its usages, phrases, etc.

Verdict:

A little background in grammar is necessary to fully benefit from this work. A challenging book for beginners, essential for intermediate and advanced students. Another dictionary that should be in every one’s library, in my opinion.

Categories
Friday Special Islam Quran Tafsir Surah Kahf

Tafsir Surah Kahf: Ayat 54

Bismillah.

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.

Complete Tafsir Surah Kahf here.

Categories
Friday Special Islam Quran Tafsir Surah Kahf

Tafsir Surah Kahf: Ayat 52-53

Bismillah.

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.