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Bismillah.

Ayah 1: Alif Laam Meem

  1. There are 10 different categories into which all 114 surahs may be classified [An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan] 
    • Disjointed letters: 29 surahs like this – for example Kaaf-Haa-Yaa-‘Ayn-Saad (19)
    • The Glorification of Allah: 14 surahs like this – for example Tabarakaladhi (67)
    • A call: 10 surahs like this – for example Ya ayyuhaladhina aamanu (5)
    • A Statement of Fact: 23 surahs like this – for example Abasa wa tawalla (80)
    • An Oath: 15 surahs like this – for example Wal ‘asr (103)
    • A Condition: 7 surahs like this – for example Idhaa jaa a nasrullahi wal fath (110)
    • A Command: 6 surahs like this – for example Qul huwallahu ahad (112)
    • A Question: 6 surahs like this – for example ‘Amma yatasaa aloon (78)
    • An Invocation: 3 surahs like this – for example Waylul lil mutaffifeen (83)
    • A Reason or Cause: 1 surah like this – Li ilaafi quraish (106)
  2. These letters are called Huroof-e-Muqatta’aat – the disjointed letters
    • They occur in the beginning of 29 surahs.
    • There are 14 letters that are considered huroof-e-muqatta’aat, which comprise exactly half of the letters of the Arabic alphabet.
  3. There are many interpretations of what these letters mean. [An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan] –these are the most strongest opinions
    • Most strongest is that these are from the Mutashaabih and only Allah knows their meanings
    • It also thought that they are seeking to display the miraculous nature of the Qur’an that it cannot be imitated
    • They may also be used to attract attention.  The Muqatta’aat are not a phenomenon started by the Qur’an; the Arab poets of Jahilliyah occasionally used disjointed letters at the beginning of their poetry to attract attention to the poem that was to follow.  The Arabs at the time of the Prophet (S) never questioned these letters.  The companions never asked for the explanation despite for their thirst for knowledge.  This shows that they were not puzzled by these letters since they were accustomed to it
  4. Abu Bakr as-Sideeq is reported to have said, “Every book has secrets in it, and the secret of the Qur’an is in the beginning of the surahs (in the muqatta’aat)”

Ayah 2: Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence.

  1. Allāh – there is no deity except Him,
    • Allah begins with Tawheed, the Oneness of Allah which is the basic point of difference between Islam and other religions and between a disbeliever and a true Muslim.
    • There is only one God and only He is the Lord of all creation.
    • Allah is refuting the claims of the Christians that believe in trinity or associate any other thing with Allah.
  2. The Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence.
    • Allah is ever living who never dies, who sustains everything and everyone.
    • All creations are in need of Allah and totally rely on Him while He is in need of no one and nothing
    • Asma’ bint Yazid bin as-Sakan said: I heard the messenger of Allah say about these two ayat (Allahu la ilaha illa huwal hayyul qayyum [2:255]. Alif laam meem Allahu la ilaha illa huwal hayyul qayyum [3:1-2]) “They contain Allah’s Greatest Name.” [Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]
    • Ibn Marduwyah recorded that Abu Umamah reported that the Prophet said, “Allah’s Greatest Name, if He was supplicated with it, He answers the supplication, is in three Surahs – Al-Baqarah, Al `Imran and Ta-Ha.”
    • “The essence of the argument is that worship means to present oneself before somebody in utter submission and humility.  It, therefore, requires that the one who is being worshipped must occupy the highest point of honor and power and who has to be the most perfect from all angles.  From this it is obvious that anything which cannot sustain its own being, rather is dependent upon somebody else for its very existence, could hardly claim to have any honor or power in its own right.  Therefore, it is crystal clear that all things in this world which have no power to come into being by themselves, nor can they sustain it – be they idols carved in stone, or water, or trees, or angels and apostles – none of them is worthy of worship.  The only Being worthy of worship is the One who has always been Alive and Present and shall always live and sustain.  Such Being is none but Allah; there is none worthy of worship but Him.” [Ma’ariful Qur’an]

Ayah 3:  He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming what was before it. And He revealed the Torah and the Gospel

  1. He has sent down upon you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth,
    • Allah revealed the Qur’an to Muhammad (S) in truth—there is no doubt or suspicion that it is revealed from Allah.  Allah revealed the Qur’an with His knowledge, and the angels testify to this fact, Allah is sufficient as a Witness.  [Ibn Kathir]
  2. Confirming that what was before it
    • ‘It’ is referring to the previously divinely revealed Books sent to the Prophets of Allah. [Ibn Kathir]
    • These books testify to the truth of the Qur’an, and the Qur’an also testifies to the truth these Books contained, including the news and glad tidings of Muhammad’s Prophethood and the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an. [Ibn Kathir]
  3. He revealed the Torah
    • To Musa ‘alayhi salaam, the son of ‘Imran
  4. And the Gospel
    • To ‘Isa ‘alayhi salaam, the son of Maryam
  5. What Allah has sent down the Prophet Muhammad (S) is nothing different or peculiar, it is just like Allah had sent down revelations to previous Prophets.  All the Prophets brought the same message, and the Qur’an simply confirmed the truth, it did not present any new claim, which could create problems for people in understanding or accepting it. [Ma’ariful Qur’an] 

Ayah 4: Before, as guidance for the people. And He revealed the Qur’an. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah will have a severe punishment, and Allah is exalted in Might, the Owner of Retribution.

  1. Before
    • Before the Qur’an was revealed, before the Prophet (S)
  2. As a guidance for the people
    • It was a guidance for people of their time
  3. And He revealed the Qur’an (Furqan)
    • Allah uses the word “Al-Furqan” which can be translated as “The Criterion”
    • Furqan is the quality of the Qur’an, which is the book that distinguishes the truth from falsehood.
    • Furqan “is the distinction between misguidance, falsehood and deviation on one hand, and guidance, truth and piety on the other hand. This is because of the indications, signs, plain evidences and clear proofs that it contains, and because of its explanations, clarifications, etc.” [Ibn Kathir]
    • The purpose of mention this quality of the Qur’an here is to make it clear that when the people of the Book made changes in the Torah and Injeel, and it became difficult for the people to distinguish between the truth and the falsehood, Allah sent down the holy Qur’an as a Criterion so that the path of guidance may become clear to the people. [Dawatul Qur’an]
  4. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah will have a severe punishment
    • If even after guidance was given to them in the form of the Qur’an they still disbelieve then they will have a severe punishment
    • Those who disbelieve in the verses of Allah
      • In other words, they deny, refuse and unjustly reject the ayat of Allah
  5. And Allah is exalted in Might, the Owner of Retribution.
    • Allah is All-Mighty
      • His sovereignty is infinite
      • He is victorious in His affair, so that nothing can prevent Him from effecting His promise and His threat [Al Jalalain]
    • All-Able of Retribution
      • He is capable of punishing those that deserve to be punished
      • Those that reject his ayat and defy his honorable messengers will face [Ibn Kathir]
      • A severe punishment for those that disobeyed Him, the like that none can do [Al Jalalain]

Ayah 5: Indeed, from Allah nothing is hidden in the earth nor in the heaven.

  1. There is not one that that is hidden in the heaven and earth is hidden from Allah.
  2. God specifies them [heaven and earth] because sensory perception does not go beyond these. [Al Jalalain]
  3. This points out that Allah knows the changes people of the Book made to the Divine scriptures and the different religions which they have invented – none of this is hidden from Allah
  4. You can hide from the world but you can’t hide from Allah.   Whatever sin you are committing that you think no one in the world knows about, Allah does.  He knows every secret, every wrong deed you commit.  Nothing is hidden from Him.

Ayah 6: It is He who forms you in the wombs however He wills. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

  1. Allah continues to show His power
  2. HE was the one that shaped you in the womb of your mother
  3. He is the one who decides to make you short, tall, skinny, fat, beautiful, ugly, male, female, light skinned, dark skinned
  4. The Exalted in Might, the Wise.This ayah can be related back to ‘Isa ‘alayhi salaam and Maryam ‘alayhaa salaam:  Allah is the one that creates and forms whatever is in the wombs, and there is no God except Allah, so how can ‘Isa ‘alayhi salaam be god? [Dawatul Qur’an]
    • He has the power to shape you in whatever form he wants to shape you in
    • He is not vengeful against whoever does not believe in Him—disbelievers have kids that are normal and perfect, Allah does not deform them because they do not believe in Him, even though He is fully capable of doing so [Ibn Abbas]

Ayah 7: It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah . But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.

  1. Summary: “Allah states that in the Qur’an, there are Ayat that are Muhkamat, entirely clear and plain, and these are the foundations of the Book which are plain for everyone. And there are Ayat in the Qur’an that are Mutashabihat not entirely clear for many, or some people. So those who refer to the Muhkam Ayat to understand the Mutashabih Ayat, will have acquired the correct guidance, and vice versa” [Ibn Kathir]
  2. Muhkamaat
    • These ayat are clear, precise in meaning
    • These explain the abrogating rulings, the allowed, prohibited, laws, limits, obligations and rulings that should be believed in and implemented [Ibn Kathir]
    • Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar: “Containing proof of the Lord, immunity for the servants and a refutation of opponents and of falsehood. They cannot be changed or altered from what they were meant for.”
  3. They are the foundation of the Book
    • Meaning, they are the basis of the Qur’an, and should be referred to for clarification, when warranted [Ibn Kathir]
  4. Mutashabihat
    • They include the abrogated Ayat, parables, oaths, and what should be believed in, but not implemented [Ibn Kathir]
    • Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar: “As for the unclear Ayat, they can (but must not) be altered and changed, and this is a test from Allah to the servants, just as He tested them with the allowed and prohibited things. So these Ayat must not be altered to imply a false meaning or be distorted from the truth.”
    • These are not intended to have an outward meaning, they are rather a secret between Allah and His Messenger…One has to have faith in them by believing that whatever Allah Almighty has elected mean through them is the truth.  [Ma’ariful Qur’an]
  5. The exact meaning of Muhkam and Mutashaabih [An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan] :
    • The scholars of ‘uloom al-Qur’aan have differed over the exact meaning of muhkam and mutashaabih…Some of the meanings that as-Suyootee quotes are:
      • The muhkam is that which is clear in and of itself, in contrast to the mutashaabih.
      • The muhkam are the verses whose meaning is understood, whereas the mutashaabih are those verses whose meaning is not understood
      • The muhkam is that which can only hold one valid meaning, whereas the mutashabih
      • The muhkam can be understood by itself, whereas the mutashaabih must be understood in light of other verses
      • The muhkam does not need any interpretation in order for it to be understood, whereas the mutashaabih needs interpretation.
  6. There are 2 ways of reading and understanding this ayah [An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan]:
    • The first way is to stop after the phrase, ‘…except for Allah.’  This was the readingof Ibn Mas’ood.  The verse therefore reads, ‘…and none know its ta’weel except for Allah.’  When read in this context, ‘ta’weel’ signifies the actuality, such as the time and methodology of a phrase.
    • The second way of readin this verse is to stop after ‘…those well grounded in knowledge,’ so the verse reads, ‘…and none know its ta’weel except for Allah and those well grounded in knowledge.’  This is the reading of Ibn ‘Abbaas.  If one stops at this point, the context implies that the meaning of ta’weel is the interpretation.  Therefore, ‘those well grounded in knowledge’ are aware of the interpretation of the mutashaabih.  Ibn ‘Abbass stated, “I am of those well-grounded in knowledge who know the meaning (of the mutashaabih).
  7. We need to read the ayat and accept them all from Allah without any doubt. – just as it is said in the beginning of Surah Baqarah: This is the book, there is no doubt in it.
  8. You will always meet people who spend excessive time in understanding the mutashaabih ayaat, not because they want to learn, but with the intention of finding faults and confusions in the Qur’an.  We need to keep ourselves away from such people and make sure we don’t fall into that category of people
    • ‘Aisha radiuAllah ‘anhaa says that the Messenger of Allah salallahu ‘alayhi wa salam said: When you see people busy investigating into the Mutashabihat stay away from them because these are the same people Allah has talked about (in the Qur’an). [Bukhari, v.2]
    • The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa salam said “I have three apprehensions about my people (ummah): (1) That they become wealthy and start to envy each other resulting in rifts and bloodshed; (2) that the Book of Allah is trifled with (that is, even the uninitiated and ignorant claim its perfect understanding through translations) and that which is not supposed to be understood (Mutashabihat) becomes the very object of deliberations and investigations although Allah alone is the One who knows their meaning; (3) that they allow their knowledge, once it has increased, go to waste by forsaking efforts to increase it further.” [Ibn Kathir with reference to Tabarani]

Ayah 8: [Who say], “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.

  1. Rahmah: grant us mercy by making our hearts firm and increase our faith and certainty [Ibn Kathir]
  2. Our Lord, do not cause our hearts to deviate, do not cause them to incline away from the truth, in [their] desire to interpret it, such as is inappropriate for us — as You caused the hearts of those [others] to deviate — after You have guided us, [after] You have shown us the way to it; and give us mercy from You, as a strengthening; You are the Bestower [Jalalain]
  3. “Do not deviate our hearts from the guidance after You allowed them to acquire it. Do not make us like those who have wickedness in their hearts, those who follow the Mutashabih in the Qur’an. Rather, make us remain firmly on Your straight path and true religion.” [Ibn Kathir]
  4. Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded that Umm Salamah said that the Prophet used to supplicate, Ya muqallibul qulub thabit qalbi ‘ala deenik-“O You Who changes the hearts, make my heart firm on Your religion.” He then recited, “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.” [3:8]

Ayah 9: Our Lord, surely You will gather the people for a Day about which there is no doubt. Indeed, Allah does not fail in His promise.”

  1. They say in their supplication: O our Lord! You will gather Your creation on the Day of Return, judge between them and decide over what they disputed about. Thereafter, You will reward or punish each according to the deeds they did in this life. [Ibn Kathir]

Ayah 10: Indeed, those who disbelieve – never will their wealth or their children avail them against Allah at all. And it is they who are fuel for the Fire.

  1. Those things that we love so much and run after in this world will not help us on the Last Day.
  2. Wealth—includes all our possessions, our money, our jewelry, everything we earn.  We work day and night to gain more wealth, to gain a higher status in society, to live a luxurious life.  If we do this at the expense of our Iman, then what’s the point?  We can be the most prestigious richest person in the country, but if our status in the eyes of Allah is in the lowest pit of Hell then what was the point of trying to gain all of that in the dunya?  You can’t take any of your possessions with you in your grave or in the Akhira.  You can’t buy your way into Jannah.  None of your wealth will help you in the end.
  3. Children—your children that you raise with so much love and care will not help you on that day either.
  4. This ayah is for the disbelievers who think that all these things will help them once they die.

Ayah 11: [Theirs is] like the custom of the people of Pharaoh and those before them. They denied Our signs, so Allah seized them for their sins. And Allah is severe in penalty.

  1. Allah shows an example of a nation that disbelieved and thought that their wealth and children meant that they had power and might and so nothing could harm them in this world or the next. – Allah shows how he punished them and how the disbelievers now will face a similar punishment for their arrogance as well
  2. The nation of Firawn and the nations before him – they all had Prophets come to them but they denied the truth and were arrogant.  They thought that they didn’t need Allah or his Messengers.  They thought that their wealth and power was enough for them and nothing could harm them.  But Allah gave them a sever punishment for their wrong assumptions.
  3. This is a warning for the disbelievers that if Allah could punish such strong nations, then your nation is nothing in comparison. 

Ayah 12: Say to those who disbelieve, “You will be overcome and gathered together to Hell, and wretched is the resting place.”

  1. They will be taken care of in this life and the next.
  2. Allah tells Muhammad (S) to tell them that they will be taken care of, soon they will be overcome (by Muslims) – this is foreshadowing good news for the believers, that they will defeat the disbelievers in physical encounter.
  3. So they will be defeated in the dunya and then gathered in the Hellfire to be punished further for all the wrong they committed in the dunya.
  4. The hell fire will be their resting place
    • Mihaad is a bed – a bed a place we go in order to relax and rest.  For the disbelievers, Hell will be their resting place.  It will be the place where they will find no rest, so sense of relaxation.  Their punishment will not be lessened nor stopped for a moment.  They can rest and relax in the dunya but in the Hereafter they will only receive punishment.

Ayah 13: Already there has been for you a sign in the two armies which met – one fighting in the cause of Allah and another of disbelievers. They saw them [to be] twice their [own] number by [their] eyesight. But Allah supports with His victory whom He wills. Indeed in that is a lesson for those of vision.

  1. This is how they were defeated by the Muslims and how the Muslims overcame them – in the battle of Badr.  And this battle is a sign for the disbelievers that victory is with Allah.
  2. In the battle of Badr the disbelievers had about 1000 men, 700 camels, and 100 horses.  The Muslims were just a little over 300, had 70 camels, 2 horses, 6 armors, and 8 swords.  [Ma’ariful Qur’an]
  3. When the two camps saw each other, the Muslims thought that the idolators were twice as many as they were, so that they would trust in Allah and seek His help. The idolators thought that the believers were twice as many as they were, so that they would feel fear, horror, fright and despair. When the two camps stood in lines and met in battle, Allah made each camp look smaller in the eyes of the other camp, so that they would be encouraged to fight each other [Ibn Kathir]
  4. In the end, Allah gave victory to whomever He willed – to the Muslims.  He sent angels to help the Muslims fight the disbelievers and gain victory.
  5. This should be an example for those who have intelligence and sound comprehension. They should contemplate about Allah’s wisdom, decisions and decree, that He gives victory to His believing servants in this life and on the Day the witnesses stand up to testify. [Ibn Kathir]
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Bismillah

These are my personal notes.  If there are any mistakes in them please forgive me.  The reference used is mentioned in the brackets.

  • Name
    • Name of this Surah comes from the 33rd verse where ‘Ali ‘Imran is mentioned.  Imran ‘alayhi salaam was the name of Maryam’s father.  Isa ‘alayhi salaam was his maternal grandson.  [Dawatul Qur’an]
    • The house of ‘Imran is mentioned once in this surah and has symbolically been chosen as its title [Mawdudi]
  • Period of Revelation
    • Madni Surah
    • Common themes of Madni Surahs
      • Perfection of rituals (Salah, Wudu, Hajj)
      • Legal System of Islam (Shari’ah, laws, inheritance)
      • Reference to Jews and Christians
      • Hypocrites
      • Notice – ayat are much longer compared to Makki Surahs
    • “Subjects indicate that it must have been revealed after the Battle of Uhad, 03 A.H.” [Dawatul Qur’an]
    • This surah comprises 4 discourses [according Mawdudi]
      • 1st: beginning of surah till verse 32.  It was probably revealed not long after the Battle of Badr. [2 A.H.]
      • 2nd: 33-63.  This was revealed in 9 A.H. at the time of the deputation of the Christians from Najran.
      • 3rd: 64-120: This period of revelation is approximately the same as that of the first discourse.
      • 4th: 121-end of the surah.  It was revealed after the battle of Uhud [3 A.H]
  • Central Theme & Subject Matter
    • Theme is guidance just like in Surah al-Baqarah
    • It is the sequel of Surah Al-Baqarah.  It can be considered a logical supplement to it.
    • Surah is addressed to 2 main groups: People of the Book and those who believe in Muhammad salallahu ‘alayhi wa salam.
  • Topics [Dawatul Qur’an]
    • 1-9: belief of oneness of Allah has been presented as a basic reality and it has been made clear that the Qur’an is the word of Allah and the command of Allah.
    • 10-32:  Warning for the people of the Book that if they did not accept this Qur’anic guidance which would be considered rejection of Allah, then the punishment for them will be an everlasting stay in the hell fire.
    • 33-63: Events and facts concerning Maryam ‘alayhaa salaam and Isa ‘alayhi salaam are mentioned which refute the false beliefs that the Christians had admitted in their religion.  Prophet Zakariyya and Yahya ‘alayhum salaam are also mentioned
    • 64-101: Depicts the wrong courses of the People of the Book, particularly the Christians.  They are reproached for their moral downfall and the faithful people are directed to keep away from them.
    • 102-120: Faithful are told to remain steadfast on Islam and told to hold on firmly to the book of Allah.  They are told to make the Qur’an the basis of their collective organization and to promote the emergence from amongst themselves a group that should be entirely devoted to the service of Dawah and reform so that the Islamic community can be safeguarded from every kind of deviation.  There is warning to be alert against the mischief-making of the People of the Book.
    • 121-189: The circumstances and the events of the Battle of Uhud are mentioned and the mistakes that were noticed have been pinpointed.
    • 190-200: Mark the end of the chapter where it is explained that faith is not blind belief but the voice of intellect and nature.  Glad tidings of a good end are given to those that respond to their Lord through prayer.  Allah reminds him that he will be given full reward for his sacrifices.  In the end Allah reassures those fighting in the cause of the truth and faithful people to remain steadfast in the battle between truth and falsehood.
  • Topics [Ma’ududi]
    • 1-32: Introductory verses, the fundamental truths about Allah, Revelation, and Life-after-death.
    • 33-65: Discourse is addressed particularly to the Christians and invites them to accept Islam.  It clears the false ideas they have about Maryam ‘alayhaa salaam and Isa ‘alayhi salaam
    • 66-101: The people of the Book have been invited to give up their sinful way and accept the divine Guidance.  At the same time Muslims have been warned to guard themselves against their evil intentions, erroneous ways and absurd objections
    • 102-120: Muslims have been instructed to learn lessons from the history of the people of the book and also to guard themselves against their evil plots and to prepare to train themselves to establish virtue and eradicate evil.
    • 121-175: A review of the Battle of Uhud is mentioned to teach and reassure the Muslims that the evil plots of their enemies could never harm them if they had restraint and fortitude and fear of Allah.  It was pointed out that the set-back they had suffered was due to the lack of some moral qualities and the existence of some evils.
    • 175-189: the theme of 109-120 has resumed to reassure and encourage the Muslims against the dangerous plots of their enemies.
    • 190-200: This is the conclusion of the Surah and is not directly connected with the verses immediately preceding it but with the theme of the Surah as a whole.
  • Virtues
    • `Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated to him from his father, “I was sitting with the Prophet and I heard him say, “Learn Surat Al-Baqarah, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow, and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.” He kept silent for a while and then said, “Learn Surat Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran because they are two lights and they shade their people on the Day of Resurrection, just as two clouds, two spaces of shade or two lines of (flying) birds. The Qur’an will meet its companion in the shape of a pale-faced man on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened. The Qur’an will ask him, ‘Do you know me’ The man will say, ‘I do not know you.’ The Qur’an will say, ‘I am your companion, the Qur’an, which has brought you thirst during the heat and made you stay up during the night. Every merchant has his certain trade. But, this Day, you are behind all types of trade.’ Kingship will then be given to him in his right hand, eternal life in his left hand and the crown of grace will be placed on his head. His parents will also be granted two garments that the people of this life could never afford. They will say, ‘Why were we granted these garments’ It will be said, ‘Because your son was carrying the Qur’an.’ It will be said (to the reader of the Qur’an), ‘Read and ascend through the levels of Paradise.’ He will go on ascending as long as he recites, whether reciting slowly or quickly.” [Muslim]
    • Abu Umamah Al-Bahili said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say, “Read the Qur’an, because it will intercede on behalf of its people on the Day of Resurrection. Read the two lights, Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran, because they will come in the shape of two clouds, two shades or two lines of birds on the Day of Resurrection and will argue on behalf of their people on that Day.” The Prophet then said, “Read Al-Baqarah, because in having it there is blessing, and in ignoring there is a sorrow and the sorceresses cannot memorize it.
    • Imam Ahmad narrated that An-Nawwas bin Sam`an said that the Prophet said “On the Day of Resurrection the Qur’an and its people who used to implement it will be brought forth, preceded by Surat Al-Baqarah and Al `Imran.”  An-Nawwas said, “The Prophet set three examples for these two Surahs and I did not forget these examples ever since. He said, “They will come like two clouds, two dark shades or two lines of birds arguing on behalf of their people.” [Muslim & At-Tirmidhi]
  • Relation to Previous Surah
    • At the end of Surah Fatihah a prayer for guidance to the straight path was made.
    • Surah Al-Baqarah began with making it clear that the prayer that was made in Surah Fatihah had been accepted and Allah sent down the Qur’an to provide guidance.  He mentioned many laws briefly and the need to confront the disbelieving people.  Towards the end, we make a prayer for Allah to help us against the disbelieving people.
    • Surah ‘Ali ‘Imran’s texts deal with the ways of dealing with the disbelievers and answers that prayer.

Al-Mulk 6-11

Bismillah

After inviting everyone to reflect upon the creations of Allah and making us realize that there is a greater purpose in life, Allah shows the end of those who live up to that purpose and those who go against it.

 (6) And for those who disbelieved in their Lord is the punishment of Hell, and wretched is the destination

Those who decide to follow their own ways and go against the commands of Allah will have Hell as their final destination.  They were given the choice in this world to worship Allah but they chose to follow their desires.  They were reminded over and over again but they never took heed.

(7) When they are thrown into it, they hear from it a [dreadful] inhaling while it boils up.

Allah describes the intensity of Hell and how outraged it will be.  Hell will be inhaling and exhaling like an angry beast waiting to pounce on its prey.  It will swallow up its inhabitants, completely encompassing them leaving no escape from the punishment.  May Allah protect us all from His punishments.

(8) It almost bursts with rage. Every time a company is thrown into it, its keepers ask them, “Did there not come to you a warner?” 

Hell fire will almost burst into bits because of the anger it will have for its inhabitants.  The keepers of hell will ask as people are being thrown into it if not they were given a warning—Didn’t you know the truth?  Weren’t you given warnings?  Didn’t people remind you and tell you about the straight path?  Didn’t you have the opportunity to turn back to Allah?  Didn’t Allah remind you of the truth through your family and friends, by blessing you with so much and taking some things away?  Then why didn’t you turn back to Him?

(9) They will say,” Yes, a warner had come to us, but we denied and said, ‘ Allah has not sent down anything. You are not but in great error.’ ” 

When they see the hellfire they will realize what a huge mistake they made by closing their ears to the truth in the world.  Every time the warning came to them, every time someone reminded them to turn back to Allah, they ignored it and turned away from it.  They pretended as if it wasn’t true and said that there was nothing like that in Islam.  They made up excuses so they wouldn’t have to follow the truth.

(10) And they will say, “If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze.” 

But when they will be thrown in the Hellfire and will have to face the wrath of Allah, then they will regret not turning back to Allah in the dunya (world).  They will regret not listening to the truth and making excuses.  They will regret not using their intellect and realizing that if they sacrificed a little in the world they would have paradise for eternity.  They will regret wasting their time and running away from the commands of Allah.  They will wish to go back into the dunya and change their ways, but by then it will be too late.  They were given a lifetime to worship Allah and change their ways, yet it wasn’t enough.

(11) And they will admit their sin, so [it is] alienation for the companions of the Blaze.

Now they confess their sin when it’s too late.  They finally understand and recognize the truth, but it’s of no use now.

Allah (SWT) has given us a peak into the Hereafter for a reason – so we learn a lesson and change our ways before it’s too late.  Allah is warning us from becoming like those in these ayaat (verses) who realize the truth when they see the hellfire in front of them.  Reflect on these ayaat now and turn back to Allah before it’s too late.  Listen to the call your Lord and change your ways now so you also don’t regret your time in this life.

Al-Mulk 1-5

Bismillah.

Surah Al-Mulk was revealed in the early Makki time period when Rasulullah (S)’s mission had just begun.  Teachings of Islam are briefly introduced as well as a warning to those who are living in heedlessness.

(1) Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent. 

Allah (SWT) begins the surah with reminding man of the greatness of his Lord.  Allah is superior to everything in His attributes, essence, and works.  He is permanent and everlasting.  The source of all blessings is Allah, and He is most blessed.  He has complete power and ownership of the kingdom.  He is Qadeer, always in power and capable of exercising His power.  Allah doesn’t mention His name but says “ka” which means “He”, in order to force every human being to ponder and think of who could be capable of having this much power.  Who else can create and own the heavens and the earth and everything in it? Only Allah.

(2) [He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving 

Allah continues describing His attributes.  Only He can grant life and only He can give death.  And all of this is not in vain, but to test us.  Allah created us in this world to see who will do the best in their lifetime.  We have been given the free will to do good or evil in this world.  We can choose to follow the straight path of Islam or follow the path of our lust and desires.  But Allah wants ahsan ‘amal from us.  Allah wants quality, not quantity.  He is urging us, inspiring us to work toward the best deeds.  He will judge our sincerity and intentions.  At the end of the ayah Allah mentions two of his names, Al-‘Azeez and Al-Ghafoor.  Allah is Al-Azeez, the All Mighty who can take your life at any time no matter how sad and tragic it may be.  He is capable of punishing you for your sins, but he is still Al-Ghafoor, The Forgiving.  He forgives us for our mistakes, for every time we fall into wrong and turn back to Him and seek forgiveness.  With both these attributes Allah keeps us in a state of fear and hope, a state we should always be in.  We should always fear His punishment and hope for His mercy.

(3) [And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? 

Allah continues showing His might and power through examples of His creations.  Look at the skies and how perfectly they have been layered.  Notice the perfection in just this one creation of your Lord.  Think about the vastness of the universe and the billions of huge galaxies beyond us – all in perfect order.  Contemplate and think of who else has the power to create something so perfectly?  The things we make always have defects and are constantly updated and upgraded.  But the creations of Allah are perfect with no defects at all.

(4) Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. 

We are told to reflect again and again and make it a habit to reflect upon these creations.  If you consistently and sincerely reflect then Allah will change your perspective.  If you find it difficult to give up desires in the way of Allah you need to first recognize who Allah is.  In order to recognize Him, you need to reflect upon His creations and remember his Greatness, His Might, His Mercy and all of His attributes.  Learn to fall in love with Allah while pondering over his creations.  We can also take this ayah to mean that you can stare at the sky day and night but you will never find any defect in it because the creations of Allah are perfect.

(5) And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze.

Look in the evening and notice the beauty in the sky.  Look at the stars and the moon that Allah has created as lamps for us.  Everything Allah creates has a purpose.  The stars and the moon weren’t created only to adorn the sky but to also help us get a sense of direction at night.  They are also used as a form of protection for the heavens against the Shayateen.  (It was believed that soothsayers used Shayateen who ascended to the heavens to gather news of the unseen.  Allah is saying that they have no news of the unseen because the heavens are protected from them with these stars.)  Just as the heavens and earth were created for a reason, we have been created with a purpose as well – to worship Allah (SWT).  In the next part of the surah Allah (SWT) gives the result of those people to choose to live up to their purpose of creation and those who choose to follow their own ways.

Which Fast Are You?

Many people fast, but not all fasts are the same…

  • Those who see Ramadan as in inconvenient time of restrictions and preventions; a time of prohibitions from fun and indulgence.  They fast with great difficulties while continuing to be the way they are.  They see the fast as nothing more than cultural practice and as an obstacle in front of their usual life.
  • Those who see Ramadan as a month of food and drink.  Most of their time is consumed going and coming from the grocery store purchasing food for themselves, families and guests.  Ramadan doesn’t increase them except in being pre-occupied with entertaining.  Though fasting from food is not a divine weight-loss plan and there is no harm in entertaining, provided that does not become the focus of the month
  • Those who see Ramadan as an annual Muslim event and since everyone at home fasts, they too fast;  but there is no increase in…their prayers, neither in their God-concioussness nor improvement in their character.
  • Those who are “Ramadan Muslims”; who pray, dress appropriately, give charity and read Qur’an…ONLY in Ramadan.  (Then they take a break from Islam till the next Ramadan)
  • Those who can not wait for the arrival of Ramadan, and when it comes they go into top gear with their worship, their character development and their generosity.  Ramadan motivates, invigorates and rejuvenates them.

Which group do you belong to?

[[lecture by Sheikh Sadullah]]

Gem #7

“Knowledge that is followed by action is true knoweldge”

Al-Baqarah 8-16

Bismillah.

Allah (SWT) begins describing the 3rd group of people, the hypocrites, in these ayat.  Hypocrites are those people who have one thing in their heart and show another thing in their actions.  They are different than what they publicize.  These people will be in the lowest pit of the Hellfire in the Akhirah.

And of the people are some who say, “We believe in Allāh and the Last Day,” but they are not believers.

The first quality Allah (SWT) mentions is that they say with their tongues that they are believers when they truly are not.  They do not prove their belief through their actions.  They say one thing, but do something else.  They call themselves Muslims, but are nowhere near to fulfill the commands of Allah (SWT).  It’s not enough for us to call ourselves by Muslim names such as Abdullah or Maryam or Muhammad thinking our label is sufficient.  We need to prove through our actions that we truly are Muslims.

They [think to] deceive Allāh and those who believe, but they deceive not except themselves and perceive [it] not.

What do they think, they are deceiving Allah (SWT)?  Do they think that Allah (SWT) does not know?  Do they think they can get away with all this? They are not deceiving anyone except themselves.  They are not harming anyone except themselves, if only they knew. Do you think when you hide all these secrets in your heart that no one knows?  Do you think you’re getting away with everything?  How will you get away from Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgment?  How will you hide your sins then?  You’re not hurting Allah (SWT) with this deception, you are only deceiving yourself and hurting yourself.

In their hearts is disease, so Allāh has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.

They have a disease in their heart, the disease of hypocrisy and doubt.  They live an uneasy life always confused and lost.  But the punishment will not end when they die, it will go on with a painful punishment in the Hereafter. They receive such a great punishment because they used to lie.  They lied to others and to themselves thinking they got away with all their white and black lies.  Well Allah (SWT) has news for you, you got away with nothing.  Instead, the cause of your destruction is your lying habit.

And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but reformers.”

When you talk to these people and you tell them not to create problems on the earth, they say we are only doing good.  When they cause fights and spread gossip and lies, they try to justify their actions saying they are only trying to help.  They think they are doing something good when it is only creating problems.

Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not.

Allah (SWT) affirms that they are creating problems and spreading corruption.  The sad part is that they don’t even realize it.  They continue to justify their wrong actions thinking they are doing something good.  But Allah (SWT) says that they are not helping anyone.  In fact, they are only harming themselves.

And when it is said to them, “Believe as the people have believed,” they say, “Should we believe as the foolish have believed?” Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish, but they know [it] not.

When they are told to be good Muslims, follow the footsteps of Muhammad (S) and the Sahabahs and the righteous among them they laugh it off saying should we believe these foolish people?  Should we follow these “mullis” or “wahabis” or “religious” people who are too serious and don’t know how to have fun?  They are considered foolish because they don’t work for worldly gain and are ready to sacrifice anything for Allah (SWT).  Allah (SWT) responds to them saying that indeed the believers are not foolish but these hypocrites are but they don’t even know it.  They are ignorant and too occupied to get out of it.

And when they meet those who believe, they say, “We believe”; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, “Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers.”

Such people change faces depending on their circle of friends.  When they are with the believers they become “religious” and are “loyal” to them.  But when they are with the wrongdoers, those who fall into Shaytaan’s traps, they become like them.  They give excuses for being with the believers saying we were only with them to see how crazy they were and to mock them.  In simple words, they can be considered fake.

[But] Allāh mocks them and prolongs them in their transgression [while] they wander blindly.

Because they mock the believers, they receive a taste of their own medicine.  Allah (SWT) in response mocks the hypocrites and lets them wander blindly in dunya.  Because they chose to mislead themselves, Allah (SWT) allows them to wander away in disbelief.

Those are the ones who have purchased error [in exchange] for guidance, so their transaction has brought no profit, nor were they guided.

These people traded away the guidance they had for misguidance.  It’s as if they went to the store and bought 3 packs of misguidance for the price of 3 packs of guidance.  They received no benefit from this trade, only loss.  They were not guided because they chose misguidance over guidance.  They had the chance to follow the Qur’an, but they wanted to have fun in dunya instead.