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Quran and Sunnah

Ramadan Reflections – Juz 3

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Ramadan Reflections – Juz 3

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The Third Juz’ – Surat Aali-‘Imraan

In today’s reflection on the verses of the Qur’an we will look at two verses from this portion. In keeping with the practical application theme of this series, it is always of great value to learn the various supplications in the Qur’an. This is due to the fact that it is Allah’s instruction on how best to supplicate to Him. We find one such profound supplication in the early verses of this tremendous surah:

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

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]

The importance of this du’a cannot be overstated as can be seen from the following authentic hadith:

حَدَّثَنِي شَهْرُ بْنُ حَوْشَبٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ لِأُمِّ سَلَمَةَ

يَا أُمَّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُ دُعَاءِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا كَانَ عِنْدَكِ قَالَتْ كَانَ أَكْثَرُ دُعَائِهِ يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ قَالَتْ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا أَكْثَرَ دُعَاءَكَ يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ قَالَ يَا أُمَّ سَلَمَةَ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ آدَمِيٌّ إِلَّا وَقَلْبُهُ بَيْنَ أُصْبُعَيْنِ مِنْ أَصَابِعِ اللَّهِ فَمَنْ شَاءَ أَقَامَ وَمَنْ شَاءَ أَزَاغَ فَتَلَا مُعَاذٌ

{ رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا }

Narrated Shahr ibnu Hawshab that he once asked the Mother of the Believers Umm Salamah, “O’ Mother of the Believers, what was the most frequent supplication of the Messenger of Allah (saas) while he was with you?” She replied, “The supplication he most often made was to say,

O’ You Who changes the hearts, establish my heart firmly upon Your religion‘.” [Yaa Muqallib al-quloob thabit qalbi ‘alaa deenak]

She then said, “I asked him, ‘O’ Messenger of Allah, why do you so often supplicate with O’ You Who changes the hearts, establish my heart firmly upon Your religion’?” He (saas) replied, “O’ Umm Salamah, there is no human being except that his heart is between two of the fingers of Allah. For whomsoever He wills, he establishes it, and for whomsoever He wills, he allows it to deviate.” Mu’aath (one of the narrators of the hadith) then recited, “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us”.

In the volatile times in which we live, when we see a person one day in the Masjid and the next day they are at nightclub having fallen victim to the deception of the Shaytaan, a supplication like this is priceless. If the Prophet, who had his past and future sins forgiven, used to make this supplication most often then why have we neglected it?

The second ayah that we shall explore today is a very special ayah indeed. It is known as “the Verse of the Trial” (ayatul mihnah) among the scholars of Islam because of the challenge it entails to anyone who claims to love Allah:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Say (O’ Muhammad): “If you truly love Allah then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [3:31]

Al-Hasan Al-Basri and several scholars among the Salaf commented, “Some people claimed that they love Allah. So Allah tested them with this Ayah.” Hence, this tremendous ayah gives us a measuring stick whereby we can measure our love for Allah. The closer we are to following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) then the more right we have to claim that we love Allah. We can also take benefit from the following hadith which has great relevance to this concept:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ كُلُّ أُمَّتِي يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلَّا مَنْ أَبَى قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ

وَمَنْ يَأْبَى قَالَ مَنْ أَطَاعَنِي دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَقَدْ أَبَى

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) who said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saas) say, “All of my nation will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” His Companions asked, “Who would refuse?” He (saas) answered, “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me has refused (to enter Paradise).” (Bukhari)

To be fair though, some people may ask, “Why should I follow him? I am a unique individual who lives in modern times. Why should my love for Allah be measured by my conformity to the Sunnah of Muhammad (saas)?” This is indeed a question that some have asked and the answer comes from the book of Allah:

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in the Meeting with Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. [33:21]

From the tafseer of Ibn Kathir, “This Ayah is an important principle, to follow the Messenger of Allah in all his words, and deeds, etc. Hence Allah commanded the people to take the Prophet as an example on the day of Al-Ahzab, with regard to patience, guarding, striving and waiting for Allah to provide the way out; may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him forever, until the Day of Judgment.

Thus, the reason that he (saas) is the measuring stick for our love of Allah is because Allah guided him to that which most pleases Him, and so to follow his example is to follow those statements, actions and manners which are most pleasing to Allah. He (saas) is our role model sent to personify the Qur’an and to model the goodness which Allah wishes to see in us.

They used to say about Michael Jordan, “I wanna be like Mike” because he was so good at playing basketball. So people young and old used to emulate him because they wanted to be as good as he was. This involved wearing the same shoes he wore and went as far as them sticking their tongue out like him when they would shoot, no matter how foolish that made them appear. Where are those today who want to be like Muhammad (saas) – those who have no fear of practicing his Sunnah in a time when his Sunnah has become worn and strange among the nations?

So in conclusion, the take-home points from today’s reflections are:

  1. We should do our best to learn the various supplications from the Qur’an and Sunnah since they are the ones that Allah has chosen to be in His revelations and because they are His words and the words of His Messenger whom He guided. We learned one such supplication today that is tied to the supplication the Prophet most often used to make.

  2. We may feel that we love Allah, but our claim is false and hypocritical unless our life is in conformity with that of the Sunnah of the Prophet who was sent to be our example. He was a living Qur’an who embodied all that was most beloved to Allah. So let us learn his Sunnah so that we can find the ways to more effectively demonstrate our love for Allah.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Dr. Ali Shehata is the author of Demystifying Islam: Your Guide to the Most Misunderstood Religion of the 21st Century. Dr. Ali is an Emergency and Family Medicine physician currently living in an area of central Florida. He was born in Maryland to parents who had immigrated to the US from Egypt. He has studied Islam mainly through traditional methods among various scholars, du'at and students of knowledge here in the US.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Student of a Student

    September 4, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Jazak Dr. Ali, it is so wonderful to read these beautiful reminders every day. May Allah reward you, and accept the fast of all the Muslims during this blessed month.

  2. muslim

    September 4, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    JazakAllah!

  3. IbnAbbas

    September 4, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    jazakallahu khairan akhee for these beautiful reminders.

  4. salam

    September 19, 2008 at 12:20 AM

    “[Yaa Muqallib al-quloob thabit qalbi ‘alaa deenak]”

    Isn’t it supposed to be ‘alaa diinik instead of diinak ? because the diin is majrur, not mansub right ?

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