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“Believers! Send your Blessings on him” | Resource for Salawat on the Prophet

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Image Courtesy of Flickr: King-slaveofALLAH
Image Courtesy of Flickr: King-slaveofALLAH

Bismillah

Introduction

Of the greatest blessings that Allah ta’ala has given to mankind is sending the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as our guide and the Qur’an as our Book.

With the exception of Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, every Prophet and Messenger sent by Allah azza wa jal was sent to a specific nation for a specific time period. Allah ta’ala chose Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as the Messenger for all the worlds and raised his status and mention among all of mankind.

Allah ta’ala describes this bounty that He gave to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in the Qur’an,

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ

and We have raised for you your mention. (94:4)

We bear witness five times a day that he is the Messenger of Allah, we send peace upon him during our prayers, we open our gatherings with his mention after the mention of Allah azza wa jal and we ask Allah to bless him before we make a duaa. All of these acts show that we bear witness that he sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam delivered the message.Bearing witness that he delivered the message necessitates his love, his obedience and sending salah when he is mentioned, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Allah azza wa jal says,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you that believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (33:56)

The ayaat in the Qur’an that commands the believers to do good deeds or refrain from evil actions begins with “Ya ayyuhal latheena aamano”, “O you who have believed” however this ayah does not begin in this way. Rather, Allah ta’ala mentions that He and His Angels send blessings and greetings on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam first before calling the Believers to follow. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala calls the believers, because of your emaan, send salah and salaam on the Messenger. The Scholars of tafseer state that this is to show the honorable and elevated status of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as well as to show the honor in the act of sending salah on him. If Allah and His Angels do this action, it should motivate the Believers to do so as well. Imam Sa’di rahimahullah states in his tafseer regarding this ayah,

And in this there is an indication of the Prophet’s completeness, high rank, elevated status with Allah and His creation, and his wide fame. Indeed Allah the exalted and His Angels confer blessings upon him meaning: Allah praises him before the Angels, and in the exalted assembly [of Angels] due to His love for him. And the close Angels [too] praise him , make dua for him, and seek forgiveness [for him] in humbleness and humility.

O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace following the example of Allah and the Angels, rewarding him for some of the rights he has upon you, completing your faith, glorifying him, loving and honoring him, increasing in your good deeds, and expiating from your sins. And from the best forms of asking Allah to confer blessings upon him is the form that he taught to his companions: “O Allah, send Your Salah upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your Salah upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are the Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious. And send Your blessings upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your blessings upon the family of Ibrahim, verily You are Most Praiseworthy, Most Glorious” And this command of asking Allah to confer blessings upon him is legislated at all times and many of the scholars have made it mandatory in the prayer.

Tafseer al-Kareem al-Mannaan

Why do we Send Salawat on the Prophet?

If a close relative of ours passed away, such as a parent or a sibling, we would vehemently ask Allah to forgive them, to grant them security, and to enter them into Jannah. The Believers are those who love the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam more than their family, wealth and their own selves so just as we would ask Allah to forgive and bless our relative, we should send prayers upon our Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam who, by the bounty and mercy of Allah, has taught us our faith. Allah azza wa jal says,

هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ وَآخَرِينَ مِنْهُمْ لَمَّا يَلْحَقُوا بِهِمْ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

It is He Who has sent amongst the unlettered a Messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to purify them, and to teach them the Book and Wisdom (Sunnah),- although they had been, before, in manifest error;-As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them: And He is exalted in Might, Wise. Such is the Bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He wills: and Allah is the Lord of the highest bounty. [62:2-4]

We send salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam to acknowledge the great blessing that Allah has given us by sending the Messenger to us. Just as prayer is a manifestation of our love, gratitude and obedience to Allah azza wa jal, sending salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam shows our love for him, our respect for him, and our obedience to him.

We must also remember that Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was only a man who does not possess any power to harm or benefit us. Many from amongst our Ummah have taken their love of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam to an extreme that is not only forbidden in our religion, but does the exact opposite of their intended goal. Worship is exclusive for Allah azza wa jal and obeying and loving the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam falls under the worship of Allah.

Meaning of ‘Salah’ and ‘Salaam’

The linguistic meaning of salah is to pray and to supplicate. When it is said, salla ‘alaa (صلى على) like the above ayah, it gives us three meanings:

  1. To incline to someone and pay attention to them out of love.
  2. To praise someone (thanaa’ ثناء).
  3. To pray for someone.

When Salaah is used for Allah ta’ala (i.e., when Allah does “salah” on someone) it means:

  1. Allah loves that person.
  2. Allah praises that person.
  3. Allah sends blessings, His Pleasure and Mercy on that person.

When the creation does salah it means that they pray to Allah to send blessings on that creation. They seek forgiveness for them and ask Allah to send good to them. The meaning of love and praise is also understood in this meaning.Salawaat is plural of salah.

We are commanded in this ayah to do two things:

Firstly:

صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ

“send your salah on him” this means that we ask Allah to send blessings on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and ask Allah to praise him in the manner that he guided us to do.

There is a small difference of opinion amongst the scholars on the meaning of sending salah; the majority state that it means ‘mercy from Allah, prayers for forgiveness offered by the angels, and duaa offered by humans.’ The other group of scholars such as Ibnul Qayyim, Abul Aliyah and shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen state that the meaning of sending blessings on the Prophet is to ask Allah to praise him in the assembly of the Angels.

Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah states,

The best that can be said concerning this is what Abu’l-‘Aaliyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The salaah (blessing) of Allah upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is His praising him among the “higher group” (the angels). So what is meant by Allahumma salli ‘alayhi (O Allah send blessings upon him) is: O Allah, praise him among the higher group, i.e., among the angels who are close to Allah.

Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/163, 164

Both of these meanings can be taken as the definition because it is all included in the linguistic meaning of sendingsalah, and Allah knows best.

Secondly:

وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

and offer tasleem as it should be (offered)“. The linguistic meaning of tasleem is to offer greetings of peace. It also gives a meaning of asking for peace and security. This meaning comes from the root word of tasleem and the word salaamah. The two meanings of tasleem are:

  1. ‘May as-Salaam (The Perfection, One who Gives Peace and Security) be with you’, meaning may His Blessings be upon you.
  2. ‘May you be secure, peaceful and safe.”

Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah states:

The meaning is: May Allah protect, keep safe and take care of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is as if we are saying: Allah is watching over you, protecting you, helping you, etc. The meaning of greeting the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is to pray for him and ask that he be kept safe from all harm.

It may be said: This duaa is something obvious during his lifetime, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), but after his death, how can we pray that he be kept safe and sound when he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has died?

The answer is that prayer for safety and well-being are not limited to the time when someone is alive…we pray for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), that he will be kept safe from the terrors of the standing (on the Day of Resurrection).

Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 3/149, 150

How to Send Salawat

The most important aspect of sending salawat is that it is done in accordance with what the Prophet himself taught us; as a condition for the acceptance of deeds is that they are from the sunnah of Rasul Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

After the mention of his name, one should say: sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam or alayhi salaatu wa salaam which can be translated as: may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him or peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. One can also say any duaa that sends peace and blessings upon him such as: Allahumma sali wa sallim alaa Nabiyyina Muhammad, O Allah send Your praise, prayers and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad.

For other times such as in salah or on Fridays, one should say what the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us from the sunnah. There are two authentic narrations with different wordings:

Abu Muhammad Ka’b bin Ujrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam came to us and we asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, we already know how to greet you (i.e., say As-salamu alaykum), but how should we supplicate for you?” He said, “Say: `Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala aali Muhammadin, kama sallaita `ala aali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid. Allahumma barik `ala Muhammadin, wa `ala aali Muhammadin, kama barakta `ala aali Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum Majid [O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you exalted the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious.]”’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Humaid As-Sa’idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said: “O Messenger of Allah! How should we supplicate for you?” He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied, “Say: `Allahumma salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala azwajihi wa dhurriyyatihi, kama sallaita `ala Ibrahima; wa barik `ala Muhammadin wa `ala azwajihi wa dhurriyyatihi, kama barakta `ala Ibrahima, innaka Hamidum-Majid [O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and his wives and offspring as You exalted the mention of the family of Ibrahim, and bless Muhammad and the wives and the offspring of Muhammad as you blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are the Praised, the Glorious’].” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Can we Send Salawat for the Prophet with those Traveling to Madinah?

A modern practice we see nowadays is asking those who are going for hajj/umrah and will be visiting the Prophet’s Masjid to say, “send my salaams to the Prophet,” however this is not from the sunnah nor has it been recorded that any of the righteous predecessors did this. Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah beautifully states,

We say: if you send salaam upon him from the farthest ends of the earth, your salaam will reach him, because Allah has appointed angels who travel about the earth, and if anyone sends salaams upon the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), they convey that salaam to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). So if we say now, “O Allah, send blessings and peace upon the Messenger of Allah,” our salaam will be transmitted to him. In prayer we say, “Al-salaamu ‘alayka ayyuha’l-nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakatuhu (Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings),” and the salaam is transmitted to him…

I have heard some people saying in Madinah, “My father asked me to give his salaams to the Messenger,” but this is wrong. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is not alive so that the salaams of a living person may be passed on to him. If your father sends salaams to the Messenger, the salaam is conveyed by those who are more able than you to convey it and are more trustworthy than you , namely the angels.

So there is no need for that, and we say: You are where you are, wherever you are on earth you can say, “Peace be upon you, O Prophet,” and it will reach him faster and more reliably than that.

Majmoo’ Fataawa aShaykh Ibn Baz, 23/416, 417

Send your salaam on him now and it will reach him by the will of Allah.

Benefits and Virtues of Salawat

There are numerous benefits in sending salah and salaam upon the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The fact that there are benefits for the person who performs this noble deed is one of the beautiful aspects of our deen. There is no such thing as a futile good deed in Islam; every good deed carries a benefit, even if it is a small one, for the one who engages in it.

  • You are following the way of Allah azza wa jal and His Honorable Angels. “Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet.” (33:56)
  • Your salah on him reaches him sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. We have lost our chance in this life to see and interact with our Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, but out of Allah’s Great Mercy He has allowed our duaa to reach him no matter how far or close we are to his grave. It was narrated that Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Allah has angels who go around on earth, conveying to me the salaam of my ummah.” [Sunan Nasaa’i, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam will return your greeting. Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “There is not one of you who sends his greetings upon me except that Allah returns the soul to my body (in the grave) and I return his greeting.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • Amplification of reward, removal of sins and receiving the blessings of Allah. Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam saying: “Whoever supplicates Allah to exalt my mention (i.e., send salah), Allah will exalt his mention (i.e., send salah)ten times and remove from him ten sins and raise him ten degrees.” [Muslim]
  • Jibreel alayhi salaam will send salah and salaam upon you. AbdurRahman ibn Awf (may Allah be pleased with him) said, I came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam while he was in prostration and he elongated his prostration and then said, “Jibreel came to me and he said, ‘whoever sends blessings (salah) upon you, I will send blessings on him, and whoever sends greetings (salaam) upon you, I will send greetings upon him,’ so I prostrated out of thankfulness to Allah.'” [Haakim, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • Answering of one’s duaa. Most of us do not know that duaa is suspended between the heavens and earth until we send salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Umar radi Allahu anhu said, ““Duaa is suspended between heaven and earth and none of it is taken up until you send blessings upon your Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan Al-Albani] The scholars state that it is recommended (mustahabb) to include salawat in our duaa for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. More details here.
  • The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam invited the believers to make salah on him. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Do not take your houses as graves and do not take my grave as a place of festivity (which you visit repeatedly). Send blessings upon me for your greeting will reach me no matter where you are.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • You will not be among the humiliated. Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “May his nose soil with dust in whose presence mention is made of me and he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albaani] Imam Nawawi rahimahullah states the saying ‘may his nose be rubbed in dust’ means to suffer humiliation and disgrace. That is “may such person be humiliated and disgraced who hears my name and does not invoke Allah’s blessings upon me.”
  • You will not be among the miserly. Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • You will not be among those that Jibreel alayhi salaam made duaa against and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied “Ameen” (O Allah, grant it). It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ascended the minbar and said: “Ameen, ameen, ameen.” It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the minbar and said, ‘Ameen, ameen, ameen.” He said: “Jibreel came to me and said: ‘If Ramadan comes and a person is not forgiven, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘O Muhammad, if both or one of a person’s parents are alive and he does not honour them and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘If you are mentioned in a person’s presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen.” [ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  • You will be among the closest to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam on a Day that will cause a child’s hair to become grey. Ibn Mas’ood (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The people who will be nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who supplicate Allah more often for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan li ghayrihi Al-Albani] Imam Nawawi rahimahullah states, “Nearest to me” signifies “those who are most entitled to my intercession”.
  • Allah will love you and forgive you because following the sunnah of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Allah says, “Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me , Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (3:31)
  • Your love for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam will increase. When you love someone, your mind is filled with thoughts of them. By constantly making duaa for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam whenever his name is mentioned, you are making a conscious effort to remember him. Put in the effort to internalize the salawat whenever you make them and understand who you are making duaa for, and inshaAllah your love for him will increase tremendously, alayhi salaatu wa salaam.

Obligatory and Recommended Times to send Salawat

We’ve established that sending salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a noble deed in Islam, however there are prescribed times for it and times that this act is not recommended or allowed. Furthermore, for specific supplications that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us, we must only say what he narrated without any modifications.

Ibn Hajar rahimahullah says,

The wording of dhikrs is tawqeefi (i.e., acts of worship which must be done as prescribed in the texts), and they have special characteristics that cannot be subject to analogy. So one must adhere to the wording as it was narrated.

Al-Fath Al-Baari (11/112)

The obligatory and recommended times are as follows:

  1. During the tashahhud in prayer. Shaykh Al-Albani rahimahullah gives a detailed description on sending salah in the tashahhud as well as some important notes on this act in general in his book “The Prophet’s Prayer Described”.
  2. After the Adhan. Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam saying, “When you hear the Adhan, repeat what the Mu’adhdhin says. Then ask Allah to exalt my mention because everyone who does so will receive in return ten rewards from Allah. Then beseech Allah to grant me Al-Wasilah, which is a high rank in Jannah, fitting for only one of Allah’s slaves; and I hope that I will be that man. If any one asks Al-Wasilah for me, it becomes incumbent upon me to intercede for him.” [Muslim] In another hadeeth, Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “He who says after the Adhan: `Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah Wah-dahu la sharika Lahu; wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa Rasuluhu, radhitu Billahi Rabban, wa bi Muhammadin Rasulan, wa bil Islami Deenan [I testify that there is no true god except Allah Alone; He has no partners and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; I am content with Allah as my Rubb, with Muhammad as my Messenger and with Islam as my Deen],’ his sins will be forgiven.” [Muslim]
  3. When entering and leaving the Masjid.
  4. Fridays. Aus bin Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Among the best of your days is Friday; so supplicate Allah more often for me in it , for your supplications will be displayed to me.” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah! How will our blessings be displayed to you when your decayed body will have mixed with the earth?” He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied, “Allah has prohibited the earth from consuming the bodies of the Prophets.” [Abu Dawood, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  5. Daily Adhkar (remembrances) of the morning and evening. Abu Dardaa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “whoever sends blessings on me ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening will receive my intercession.” [Al-Tabarani] This hadeeth is disputed amongst the scholars of hadeeth; Shaykh Al-Albani declared its chain weak while Al-Sakhawi and Imam ibnul Qayyim declared it authentic. However, sending salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam daily is still recommended based on the hadeeth, Ibn Mas’ood (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “The people who will be nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection (i.e., receive my intercession) will be those who supplicate Allah more often for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Hasan Al-Albani]
  6. When his name is mentioned in a gathering/written form etc. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned but he does not supplicate for me.” [At-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani] It is important to note though that it is established among the scholars that it is not obligatory to send salawat on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam every time his name is mentioned. Shaykh Al-Munajjid from IslamQA explains in detail here.

Times When it is not Allowed or Disliked to send Salawat

Imam ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah stated,

Sending blessings upon the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, although it is one of the best and most beloved of deeds to Allah, every dhikr has its own place and time, where no other can take its place.

Jala’ al-Afhaam (1/424)

These times include:

  1. When slaughtering the animal. The sunnah of slaughtering is to say only “Bismillah Allahu Akbar”, “With the Name of Allah, Allah is Greater [than everything else]”.
  2. When sneezing. It was narrated from Nafi’ that a man sneezed beside Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) and said “Alhamdulillah was-salaam ‘alaa Rasul Allah (Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah).” Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “And I say, ‘Alhamdulillah was-salaam ‘alaa Rasul Allah (Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah)’ – but this is not what the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us. He taught us to say: ‘Alhamdulillahi ‘alaa kulli haal (Praise be to Allah in all situations).’” [Al-Tirmidhi, Saheeh Al-Albani]
  3. When bowing (ruku’) or prostrating (sujood) in prayer, or any times in the salah other than the tashahhud.
  4. If you come upon an ayah in the Qur’an that has the name or mention of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Writing SAWS/SAS/PBUH etc

The Muslim is one who strives to do ihsaan (utmost good) in all of their deeds, even a seemingly simple deed such as making a duaa for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Dr Saleh as Saleh rahimahullah mentions a few opinions on writing abbreviations in a short 20 min lecture which can be listened to here.

Shaykh ibn Baaz rahimahullah said when asked about the validity of writing SAWS or the like:

“The Sunnah is to write the entire phrase “sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam,” since it is a kind of supplication, and supplication is worship, (in one’s writing) just as it is in one’s speech. So to abbreviate it using the letter SAAD or the word SAAD-LAAM-‘AYN-MEEM [or in English: SAWS etc] is not a supplication nor it is worship, whether it occurs in speech or writing. For this reason, this abbreviation was not used by the first three generations, those that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam testified to their goodness.”

Fatwawa Al-Lajnatid-Daa’imah #18770

Imam Suyooti rahimahullah (as mentioned in the lecture by Dr. Saleh) also affirms this by saying, “It is disliked to resort to these abbreviations when making salah and salaam on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

Shaykh Ahmad Shakir said, “It is the absurd tradition of some of the later generations that they abbreviate the writing of ‘sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.'” [Musnad Imam Ahmad]

Why is it that we can debate with each other and discuss futile issues but when it comes to making a duaa for your own Prophet, we resort to abbreviations? Let’s openly display our love and take those extra few seconds to add some letters.

We should all strive and adopt the practice of writing out the salawat, even if we are students taking notes. It allows us to do ihsaan (the utmost good), it causes others to read and say the salawat which will be a good deed for you, and it shows our love for the Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is reported that the past scholars and students of hadeeth would leave spaces after writing the name of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in their notes and after returning home, fill in all the blanks with the salawat. Resorting to abbreviations may also make us among those who are miserly and those who Jibreel alayhi salaam made duaa against; may Allah protect us from being among them.

As a final reminder, Shaykh ibn Baaz stated (as mentioned in the lecture by Dr. Saleh), “And this is my advice to every Muslim, to every writer and reader that he should seek the superior and look for that which has more reward and keep away from that which diminishes that.”

The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam loved this ummah so much so that on his deathbed he kept repeating “ummati, ummati“, “my Ummah! my Ummah!”

He is the one who said, “I wish to see my brothers!” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah! Are not we your brothers?” He sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not come into the world yet.” [Muslim]

He is the one who made duaa for you after every prayer, so dear brothers and sisters, let us return a duaa for him.

A’ishah radi Allahu anha narrated “Once, when I saw the Prophet in a good mood, I said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! Supplicate to Allah for me!” So, he said: “O Allah! Forgive ‘A’ishah her past and future sins, what she has hidden, as well as what she has made apparent.” So, I began smiling, to the point that my head fell into the lap of the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam out of joy. The Messenger of Allah said to me: “Does my supplication make you happy?” I replied: “And how can your supplication not make me happy?” He then said: “By Allah, it is the supplication that I make for my Ummah in every prayer.” [Narrated in Al Bazzaar, Hasan Al-Albani]

We ask Allah to make us among those who love, follow and obey His Prophet and we implore Him to make us among those who will be with His Messenger on the Day of Judgment and to grant us his companionship in The Highest Gardens of Jannah. Ameen.

May the most perfect and complete Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon our Messenger and Prophet, and Allah the Most High knows best.

Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.

57 Comments

57 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ibnmasood

    December 21, 2009 at 1:03 AM

    That was rather exhaustive, not concise! masha Allah :-)

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 4:45 AM

      If you can believe it, this is condensed. SubhanAllah, I was surprised myself at the amount of information you can find on this topic! Of course, not much in English.

  2. Avatar

    Yousuf

    December 21, 2009 at 1:04 AM

    Thank you for the great article. Learned a lot and Inshallah will try my best to make it as my habit.

  3. Avatar

    Navaid Aziz

    December 21, 2009 at 2:08 AM

    As salam ‘alaikum,

    A very well researched piece. Jazaakillahu khairan! May Allah continue to grant you tawfeeq and success. Ameen.

  4. Avatar

    Ibn Masood

    December 21, 2009 at 2:33 AM

    mashaAllah ukhti! May Allah swt reward you abundantly for your articles!

    And as a cherry to top off your already beautifully baked and decorated cake:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX48sFSuLdg

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 4:47 AM

      baarak Allahu feek. that video is amazing!

    • Avatar

      Ismail

      July 1, 2016 at 7:22 PM

      This video is gone, know where to find it

  5. Avatar

    muhajjirah

    December 21, 2009 at 2:38 AM

    asalaam alaikum warahmat ALLAH wabarakatu:

    Allahuma Sally Ala Sayidinna Muhammad, alayhee salaat wa’salaam!!! mashaAllah this is an excellent piece, may Allah reward you for the spreading of this knowledge.

    so many times ppl say “send my salaams to Rasullilah, alayhee salat wa’salaam” so it was one of the first things i wanted to learn about. but that deed is easier than having to be here in madinah! because it is the Noble Angels who deliver your salaams to him, and with which Prophet Muhammad alayhee salaam, responds.

    May Allah send His Peace & Blessings upon our beloved Rasullilah…alyahee salat wasalam!

  6. Pingback: “Believers! Send your Blessings on him” | Resource for Salawat on the Prophet | allah.eu

  7. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 21, 2009 at 4:51 AM

    baarak Allahu feekum for the comments! I realize that this is quite long but you must understand how difficult it is to do justice to any topic regarding the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. InshaAllah I hope it is beneficial and I’ll accept any feedback :)

    Just had to say that I didn’t work on this by myself, a few people helped me with resources. May Allah azza wa jal reward them greatly.

  8. Avatar

    ummmaryam

    December 21, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    Assalamualykum warahemutullahee wabarakatahu,

    Allahu Akbar .Allahu Akbar..

    Jazakillahu khairaa .Mashaallah.Learned a lot.may Allah give you more and more barakah in your time.

    I do have a doubt regarding times when it is not allowed ” If you come upon an ayah in the Qur’an that has the name or mention of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.” ..If we are reading Quran word by word for example “[وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ here rabbuka means your lord that is prophet salallahualayhiwasallam’s lord ..Can I send salams then or not?

    salaam

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 10:58 AM

      wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Umm Maryam,

      wa iyyaki alhamdulillah.

      It is not recommended when reciting Qur’an meaning when you are reading in Arabic, like openly from the Mushaf or in salah or listening to a recitation. If it’s during class [i.e., like a tafseer class] or you are reading from a book, according to a link above from IslamQA and what I read from shaykh ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullah, then you should say “sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam” or the like.

      Other than that, I can’t really expound as I only put this together based on research so I don’t know. Allah knows best.

      • Avatar

        ummahmed

        December 21, 2009 at 11:06 AM

        jazakillahu khairaa..

      • Avatar

        ummmaryam

        December 21, 2009 at 5:46 PM

        Assalamualykum dear sister,

        Jazakillahu khairaa for being so kind and for answering each and every question with sabr.May Allahtaala accept all your service and reward you abundantly .

        salaam.

  9. Avatar

    Bint Khalid

    December 21, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Amatullah, may Allah subhana wa Ta’ala bless you immensley! Your articles are totally uplifting and inspiring and just know that I truly love you for the sake of Allah :) Miss you lots!

  10. Avatar

    Yus from the Nati

    December 21, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    Beast. Jazakillahukhair.

  11. Avatar

    aarij

    December 21, 2009 at 10:54 AM

    Masha Allah, a very comprehensive article. I was wondering, what is the proof for this:

    “If you come upon an ayah in the Qur’an that has the name or mention of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.”

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 21, 2009 at 10:56 AM

      It is from a fatwa of Imam Nawawi rahimahullah which can be found in the IslamQA link:

      In Tuhfat al-Muhtaaj, which is a Shaafa’i book, it says (2/65):

      If the worshipper recites or hears a verse in which the name of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is mentioned, it is not mustahabb to send blessings upon him, as the author said in a fatwa (i.e., al-Nawawi).

      Allah knows best.

      • Avatar

        aarij

        December 21, 2009 at 11:18 AM

        jazakillahi khairan. i saw one of my teachers do otherwise once (and that was at the end of juz 2 at the end of the recitation), so i was just wondering where that opinion came from.

  12. Avatar

    Hafsa

    December 21, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    Jazakallukhair! Beautiful!

  13. Avatar

    Ibrahim ibn Imran

    December 21, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    Jazaakumullahu Khairan for the great article mashaAllah.

  14. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    December 21, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    barak Allahu feekie, may Allah ta`ala grant you the highest ranks with the company of our beloved Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam)..what a beneficial article masha`Allah…

    Just would like to add to the list of virtues.

    – Our remembrance of our beloved prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam) should increase our ittiba (following) and impact our character and interpersonal relations, specially in the home between spouses, parents, and children. As the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa salaam) said, “those closest to me on the day of Judgement are those of you with the best akhlaaq”..

    – When we make salawat upon our prophet, then we also follow him more obediently, thereby attaining Allah’s love as the ayah, (Say, If you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins)..

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 22, 2009 at 9:56 AM

      wa feek barak Allah. Jazaak Allahu khayran for adding those virtues!

  15. Avatar

    abu nabeeha

    December 21, 2009 at 6:04 PM

    Jazakallah for this beautiful reminder.
    I shall be very grateful if somebody can answer my questions regarding this inshallah.
    1) When somebody mentions the name of the prophet, is it sufficient to send salaam silently in heart, or are we required to say it loud. If so, how loud?

    2) What is the ruling on this subject when the jumuah khutbah is going on. Is there any difference of opinion on this?

    Thanks alot again for sharing this beneficial knowledge.

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

      inshaAllah I will try and do some research and get back to you.

  16. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    December 21, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    Ma sha Allah, keep up the good work sister!

    Yasir

  17. Avatar

    Faraz Omar

    December 22, 2009 at 12:50 AM

    Baarak Allahu feek. really nice article. may Allah accept it from you. may Allah guide us to often send salah n salaams on our beloved prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

    just one small criticism. Ending the article on the topic of abbreviation seems to undermine the purpose of the article. All the benefits and virtues and importance of the salaat alan-nabi ends on that note, which is not as important as the rest, and gives an impression that this is the crux of action that you want your readers to take after reading the piece.

    It would have been better if it had come in the middle or if you had added a last sub-title that urge us to implement this sunnah as an act of worship as much as possible. Though this is how I clearly see you intended.

    I hope you take this +vely and are not offended by this feedback.

    But Masha Allah… may Allah guide us to learn Islam and study it more. Really inspiring stuff.

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 22, 2009 at 9:54 AM

      jazaak Allahu khayran for the feedback, I’m not offended in the least.

      Actually another staff writer told me the same thing but I honestly forgot to change it. InshaAllah I will be more mindful in the future.

  18. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 22, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Jazaakum Allahu khayran for the encouraging words and comments :) May Allah azza wa jal accept our deeds.

  19. Avatar

    Nisa

    December 22, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    MashaAllah I really enjoyed reading it :) Yet another wonderful article by Sr. Amatullah alhamdulilah. Looking forward to more bi’idnillah!

  20. Avatar

    Holly Garza

    December 24, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    Assalamu alykum wa ramatulahi wa barakatu

    MashaAllah!!!! Great article, very well put together with such good wealth of information. Thanks for sharing. I am AlhamduliAllah in the habit of saying this but why I say it has become so much more meaningful! Jazakillahu khaiyer.MashaAllah, I Learned a lot. It also reminded me of my faults I need to work on such as patience and guarding my tongue. It is a great article that can make me feel more knowledgeable, more in love with my deen and ashamed of my faults without making me “jumpy” May Allah reward you immensely and Jazak Allah Khayer for sharing

    May Allah give you much more barakah in your time and ability to share.

    • Avatar

      Holly Garza

      December 24, 2009 at 5:35 PM

      I forgot to put in her, that I was beginning to develop the nasty habit of abbreviating it as well. This is very beneficial

      • Avatar

        Amatullah

        December 28, 2009 at 2:05 PM

        wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Holly,

        wa iyyaki, baarak Allahu feeki for your comments and duaa :)

        I totally understand what you mean about the abbreviations. i feel the same way about abbreviating the salaams.

  21. Avatar

    AbdAllah

    December 27, 2009 at 9:19 AM

    Dear respected sister in Islam

    Asalm ualkum.

    I have taken liberty to post your most beneficial article on follwing site with some editing (without changing meaning of the original text) to expand the rewards InshaAllah.

    http://ahlalhdeeth.cc/vbe/showthread.php?t=7729

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 28, 2009 at 2:02 PM

      wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullah

      baarak Allahu feek akhi.

  22. Avatar

    shuja

    December 31, 2009 at 6:56 PM

    subhan’ALLAH what a beautiful article.

    Sallahu Alayhi Wasalm.

  23. Pingback: Twists of the Texts | Ahmadiyya

  24. Avatar

    Muqith Mujtaba Ali

    February 26, 2010 at 4:31 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum, dear brothers and sisters, at Muslim Matters.

    Masha Allah this section covers all aspects of salawat and salam on our glorious Prophet Muhammad
    (Sal-lal-lahu-alaihi-wa-sallam).
    I am going to link this in my seerah blog,
    http://www.muhammad-theideal.blogspot.com
    insha allah.

    Jazakallah Khair.

    Muqith.

  25. Avatar

    Sam

    June 27, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    Reading this is beautiful, really well laid out and explained…i have personally benefited today. thank you for your hard work. I just want to suggest something, i think alot of people can benefit from this work if you share it, there a great site for muslim converts were this work can be of use to many people, please consider sharing it on http://www.MuslimsIn.com

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      June 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM

      Please feel free to share it inshaAllah.

      • Avatar

        Sam

        June 28, 2010 at 2:46 AM

        thanks brother

  26. Pingback: From the Nurse to the Shaykh: A Heartfelt Reminder | MuslimMatters.org

  27. Avatar

    feint

    March 28, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Salam Alaykum,

    A great addition I may suggest:

    Ubayy ibn Ka`b relates: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, I send much blessings on you. What proportion of my prayer should I devote to you?” He said, “As much as you like.” I said, “A quarter?” He said, “As much as you like, and if you increased it would only be better for you.” I said, “Then a half?” He said, “As much as you like and if you increased then it would only be better for you.” I said, “Then two thirds?” He said, “As much as you like and if you increased it would only be better for you.” I said, “I’ll devote all of my prayers to sending blessings on you.” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “In that case it will suffice you from your worries and your sins will be forgiven. “ [Reported by Tirmidhi who declared it well authenticated]

    And Allah knows best

  28. Pingback: Sunnah 8: Passing prayers on the Prophet (pbuh) « A Sunnah A Day

  29. Pingback: Manners of Making Du’a – Continued | Lollies Place

  30. Avatar

    druana1

    July 4, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Allah grant us useful resource from this website, al-wahhab.

  31. Pingback: All About the Selawat upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w (peace & blessings be upon him) | islambitbybit

  32. Avatar

    Abu Nour

    July 30, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    As-salamu ‘alaykum,

    Sorry I just cannot get over your phrasing: he (alayhi salawatu wa salam) is just a man with no power to benefit. Are you serious? I would think that statement borders kufr: Is the revelation of no benefit to you? Is the Sunnah or no value? Are you not counting on shifa’a? How did the Sahaba treat the Messenger (sallaLlahu alayhi wa sallam) and how does the Quran speak of him–every word of his is hidayah, every prayer of his is mustajab (with the four ways that Allah responds to prayer). May Allah reward us all for our intention and improve our adab and ‘ilm.

    • Avatar

      Zafar

      September 19, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      Bismillah alhamdulillah wassalatu wasalamu ala rasulillah wa ala alihi wasahbi

      As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

      Amatullah Jazakallahu Khairan Kasiran kasira.
      May Allah Subhanahu give you best rewards in this dunya and aakhirah. May Allah give you Wisdom.

  33. Avatar

    abu sa'adah

    February 25, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    salamun alaekum sir, if we are on solat for instance and the imam recites a verse containing the prophet’s name to our hearing, we are use to responding but please if it is not allowed do we have an evidence from quran and sunnah prohibiting it. and please can you help with how the sahabah used to respond to it at least they were there with the prophet. many sheikhs have many things about it but their fatwas seems more of ijtihad than direct evidence. may Allah bless you

  34. Avatar

    Anila Moin Syed

    May 30, 2016 at 6:30 AM

    Alhamdulillah. A teacher of mine recommend me to read this article as i had a lot of confusions but by the mercy of Allah SWT i am so clear now about my beliefs. May Allah put barakah into your work.

  35. Avatar

    Ali

    January 12, 2018 at 12:57 PM

    Very informative and right directed to Deen-e-Ilahi
    plz Must watch like subscribe n share for more informative lectures

    Thanks

  36. Avatar

    humair

    January 28, 2018 at 3:32 AM

    Asalamoalaikum,

    Great resource i must say, my purpose for commenting is to showcase a resource which i recently discovered while surfing on the web, i was searching for different Fatwas, so i just encountered this website: https://www.awqaf.gov.ae/en/officialfatwacenter
    Here you can also ask your question and the best part is they help in you a very helpful manner and its for absolutely free.

  37. Avatar

    Hashim

    February 25, 2018 at 7:09 AM

    Salaam alaikum. If you don’t mind me asking how come some Muslim says the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) name and then say “salalahu aleyhi wa Salam” when at the same time all the Hadith quoted above say that we should be including his (pbuh) family in the salutation? Shouldn’t we be saying “salalahu aleyhi wa alehi wa Salam” after saying his (pbuh) name according to the evidences provided by this article?

  38. Avatar

    Eleeny

    June 2, 2018 at 6:39 AM

    World best online Quran academy for various Arabic Quran learning classes in an easy way. effective way no matter where you are in the world.
    https://alazharquranteaching.com

  39. Avatar

    Aamna

    August 29, 2018 at 2:35 PM

    MashAllah very nice. People should read this that do not send Salawat on out Beloved Prophet (peace be upon him)

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#Islam

Lesson 11 From Surah Al-Kahf

Tafsir Verses 72-81

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

Published

on

Alhamdulillah last session we were able to explore the meanings and lessons of verses 60-70. InshAllah, we’ll try our best to cover the meanings of verse 71-82. As we learned in the last session, this passage of the Surah deals with a very unique and interesting episode from the life of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). It’s the story of his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. We reached the point in the story where Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finally finds Khidr and asks with the utmost humility and respect to allow him to be his student. This highlights Musa’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) sincerity in seeking knowledge, his lack of pride and his willingness to humble himself in front of Khidr despite his own status as a Prophet.

But Khidr initially declined his request telling him, “Truly you will not be able to bear patiently with me. And how can you be patient with that which you have no knowledge?” Khidr recognized that he would do things that Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) would find to be illogical, irrational and even impermissible. Things that on the surface level seem to be horrible and despicable. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was sent as a Prophet of Divine Law, while Khidr had been entrusted with some unique knowledge and actions that seemed to be contradictory to that law. So he explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he wouldn’t be able to be patient with him and his actions. But Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was extremely eager to learn. He resolved to be patient and obedient while relying upon the will of Allah ﷻ.

He tells Khidr, “You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I shall not disobey you in any matter.” Khidr finally gave in and both of them set off on their way. This is where we’ll pick up the story again. Allah ﷻ says,

Verse 71: So they both went on till, when they had embarked upon a ship, he made a hole in it. He said, “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.”

They set out walking together along the shore looking for a ship to ride. As they were walking a ship of sailors passed by them and Khidr asked for a ride. The sailors knew Khidr so they let both him and Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) come on board without any charge. After traveling for a while Khidr got up and pulled out one of the planks from the bottom of the ship using an ax making a hole in it. This placed everyone on the ship in danger of drowning. Obviously, this seemingly absurd and cruel behavior surprised Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). He was literally in shock. He couldn’t understand why Khidr would do such a thing to someone who helped him out. This went against his moral compass of what’s right and wrong. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) forgot about the conditions of his teacher and objected. These people gave us a free ride and you’re pulling a plank to drown their ship. You’ve done something bad. “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.” Khidr then reminded him gently with patience.

Verse 72: He said, “Did I not say that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to be patient with me and my actions? The way he says this shows that he was willing to overlook and tolerate Musa’s (as) impatience. Musa (as) felt a sense of regret and apologized to Khidr telling him that he completely forgot about his deal.

Verse 73: He (Musa) said, “Do not hold me responsible for what I forgot, and do not make my course too difficult for me.”

Basically he apologized. He said please don’t hold me responsible for what I forgot and allow me to continue travelling in your company. While telling the story the Prophet ﷺ says, “the first (question) was out of forgetfulness. While this conversation was taking place a bird came and sat on the side of the boat and took a sip of water from the ocean. Khidr said to Musa, ‘my knowledge and yours combined in comparison to the knowledge of Allah is like the sip of water compared to the ocean.’” Khidr accepting his apology and they continued travelling on their way.

Verse 74: So, they moved ahead until when they met a boy, he killed him (the boy). He (Musa) said, “Did you kill an innocent soul while he did not kill anyone? You have committed a heinous act indeed.”

“So they continued…” They both got off the ship and started walking along the shore until they came across a young boy playing with his friends. Khidr went up to this young boy and killed him by either strangling him to death or striking him on his head. This was too much for Musa (as) to handle. He objected even more vehemently. How can he kill an innocent young boy for no reason whatsoever? To Musa (as) this seemed absolutely absurd, cruel and unjustified. It was too much for him to tolerate patiently despite his promise not to question anything that he saw. So he said, How can you kill a pure innocent child for no reason whatsoever? You have done something unjustified and have committed a heinous act. Once again Khidr reminds him of the condition that he made and the promise that Musa (as) had given.

Verse 75: He said, “Did I not tell you that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I warn you that you wouldn’t be able to handle what I would do? Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to remain silent when I do certain things? In this reminder, Khidr added the word “laka” to show that this time his reminder is more severe and clearer. The first time someone forgets and makes a mistake it’s overlooked. The second time it’s also overlooked but with a sense of hesitation. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) again feels a sense of regret for breaking his word and not sticking to the conditions of Khidr. He’s now done this twice so he apologizes by saying,

Verse 76: He said, “If I ask you about something after this, do not keep me in your company. You have had enough excuses from me.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)(as) again apologizes but this time gives himself one last chance. He said if he questions Khidr one more time then Khidr can choose to part ways with him. Once again Khidr accepts his apology and they set off on their way. After commenting on this part ibn Kathīr narrates a hadīth from the Prophet ﷺ. He writes, “Ibn Jarir narrated from Ibn `Abbas that Ubayy bin Ka`b said: “Whenever the Prophet ﷺ mentioned anyone, he would pray for himself first. One day he said:

  • «رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى مُوسَى لَوْ لَبِثَ مَعَ صَاحِبِهِ لَأَبْصَرَ الْعَجَبَ، وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ:
  • ﴿إِن سَأَلْتُكَ عَن شَىْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلاَ تُصَاحِبْنِى قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِن لَّدُنِّى عُذْراً﴾»

May the mercy of Allah be upon us and upon Musa. If he had stayed with his companion he would have seen wonders, but he said, (`If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.’))” That brings us to the third and last adventure they had together.

Verse 77: Then, they moved on until they came to the people of a town and sought food from them. But they refused to show them any hospitality. Then, they found there a wall that was about to fall down. So he (Khidr) set it right. He (Musa) said, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Khidr continued traveling until they came upon the people of a town that most commentators identify as the ancient city of Antioch. Being tired and hungry they asked them for some food but they refused to give them any or show them any hospitality whatsoever. As they were leaving the city they came across a wall that was about to fall down. Khidr stopped by it and repaired it. Now, this situation is also bizarre; Khidr is a complete stranger in a town that refused to give them food or host them yet he still stops and fixes their wall for nothing in return. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finds the situation full of irony. Why should a stranger exert so much effort in rebuilding a wall in a town where they were denied even a little food and all hospitality? He should have at least demanded some money for his labor and then they could have bought some food to eat.

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) couldn’t hold himself so he objected, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.” And that was the end of their relationship. Khidr responded,

Verse 78: He said, “This is the parting between me and you. I shall inform you of the meaning of that which you were unable to bear with patiently.”

Meaning, this is the end of our relationship and this is where we’ll part ways. But before we go our separate ways I’ll explain to you the wisdom and hidden meaning behind everything I did. Up till this point in the story, we’ve probably been just as impatient as Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him); we have no clue why Khidr did the things he did. But he then explains everything is detail; why he pulled a plank out of the bottom the ship, why he killed an innocent child and why he rebuilt the wall without taking anything in return.

Verse 79: As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people who worked at sea. I wanted to damage it, for just beyond them was a king who was seizing every ship by force.

Khidr is explained that his act of damaging the ship was, in reality, a means of saving it. It comes in a narration that these poor people were ten brothers, 5 of them were handicapped while the other five worked. The ship was their only source of income. The king was a cruel, tyrannical oppressor who would take ships by force. The damage done to the ship made it undesirable for the king and ultimately saved it for its owners. Had it been seaworthy, it would certainly have been confiscated by the tyrannical king. Perpetrating some small damage to the boat saved it from the greater harm and ruinous injustice which was certain to take place without it. Hence, causing such damage was a good and kindly action. So damaging the ship actually turned out to be a good thing.

Verses 80-81: And as for the young boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he would make them suffer much through rebellion and disbelief. So we desired that their Lord give them in exchange one who is better than him in purity, and nearer to mercy.

Although the young child seemed to be pure and innocent in reality the seeds of disbelief and wickedness were entrenched in his heart. If he had grown up he would have been a source of grief and sorrow for his parents who were believers. Their love for this child would have led them towards evil and wickedness as well. They would suffer because of the rebellion and disbelief. So Allah told Khidr to kill this boy to spare them that grief and to replace him with a child that would be better and more dutiful. Now obviously the parents weren’t aware of this at this time so to them this was a huge loss and tragedy. They weren’t aware of the future difficulties that they were saved from by his death.

Qatādah said, “His parents rejoiced when he was born and grieved for him when he was killed. If he had stayed alive, he would have been the cause of their doom. So let a man be content with the decree of Allah, for the decree of Allah for the believer, if he dislikes it, is better for him than if He were to decree something that he likes for him.” That’s why in connection to these verses ibn Kathīr رحمهم الله quotes the hadīth, “Allah does not decree anything for a believer, save that it is better for him.”

  • «لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ مِنْ قَضَاءٍ إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَه»

It is mentioned in a narration that the parents were blessed with a pious daughter who gave birth to a Prophet. So the murder of this child actually turned out to be something good in the long run.

Verse 82: And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and beneath it was a treasure belonging to them. Their father was righteous, and your Lord desired that they should reach their maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I didn’t do this upon my own command. This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.

Khidr explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that the wall that was about to fall that he rebuilt was covering a treasure that belonged to two orphan boys. If the wall had fallen down the treasure would be exposed and the orphan children would’ve been deprived of their wealth. By rebuilding the wall Khidr made it possible for them to access their treasure when they grew up. This was done partially because their father was a righteous and pious man. Khidr then explains to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he didn’t do any of these things based on his own accord or understanding. Rather he did them according to the Divine command, decree, and will of Allah ﷻ. “And I didn’t do this upon my own command.” He concludes by saying, “This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.” Meaning, this is the explanation of my actions that you didn’t understand and weren’t able to be patient with.

Lessons:

1) One of the most powerful and profound lessons we learn from this entire episode is that oftentimes a tragedy is a blessing in disguise. Everything that happens in this world, whether good or bad, happens according to the Divine will and decree of Allah ﷻ. There’s some deep divine wisdom behind every single thing that happens in this world. When something good happens we recognize it as a blessing. For example, if we get a good job, get a raise at work, purchase a new car or are blessed with the birth of a child. All of recognize this as something positive. On the other hand whenever we face setbacks, difficulties, hardships and tragedies we tend to lose patience.

This incident is teaching us that difficulties, tests, trials, and hardships are oftentimes blessing in disguise. The first thing to understand is that Allah isn’t sending these difficulties our way to break us or destroy us. Rather he’s sending them our way to test our patience and faith, as a source of mercy and a reminder. As a way of nurturing and training us. He’s reminding us to turn back to Him, to hold on to our faith, to be steadfast, patient, strong, and to persevere. When we’re struggling and going through difficult times we shouldn’t assume that somehow Allah is displeased with us. Similarly, when we’re comfortable and enjoying life we shouldn’t assume that Allah is pleased with us. The opposite can be true. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

  • « إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الْخَيْرَ عَجَّلَ لَهُالْعُقُوبَةَ فِى الدُّنْيَا وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الشَّرَّأَمْسَكَ عَنْهُ بِذَنْبِهِ حَتَّى يُوَفَّى بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

“If Allah wants good for his servant, He hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day of Resurrection.”

Everything we face in this world is actually a source of blessing for us. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

  • «مَا يُصِيبُ المُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ،وَلاَ وَصَبٍ، وَلاَ هَمِّ، وَلاَ حُزْنٍ، وَلاَ أَذًى، وَلاَ غَمِّ، حَتَّىالشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا؛ إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ الله بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ»

“No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.”

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that the main tool, the key to deal with the world and all the problems it contains is through patience and turning towards Him. When we’re dealing with our problems we should turn to Allah. We should make dhikr, read Quran, spend time in prayer and reflection and try to be around good company. We should try to focus our attention, our spiritual and emotional energy on our relationship with Allah instead of our problem. By doing so we’ll find peace and comfort. True contentment. Part of patience is recognizing that whatever we’re going through is something that we can handle. Whatever we’re going through will not last forever. That’s why throughout the Quran whenever Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) consoles and comforts the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) He reminds him to be patient and to turn to him. “So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord.” (20:130) “So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth.” (30:60) “So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” (50:39)

2) Being content with the Divine decree of Allah ﷻ.

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Lesson 10 From Surah Al-Kahf

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah last week we were able to explore the meanings of verses 54-59. InshAllah tonight we’ll explore the meanings and lessons of verses 60-70. In this set of verses, Allah ﷻ relates a very unique and interesting story about Musa (as) and his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. Interestingly this story is not told or hinted at anywhere else in the Qur’ān. Similarly this is the only account of Musa (as) in the Qur’ān that doesn’t also have some reference in the Biblical text. This is the third story mentioned in the Surah after the story of the people of the cave and the owner of the two gardens.

Now the Surah itself relates a few events from this story but doesn’t provide all the fine details. For example, it doesn’t mention exactly where this story took place. Nor does it tell us when exactly it took place. So we don’t know if it took place when Musa (as) was still in Egypt, or after he escaped from Fir’awn and his army or even later on. The Qur’ānic narrative also doesn’t mention the name of the individual who Musa (as) sent out to meet. It doesn’t mention who he was, where he was from and whether he was a prophet, scholar or an ascetic. Allah ﷻ simply describes him as “a servant from amongst Our servants”.

One of the reasons why all of these details are left out is because they’re not that important. They actually take away from the main purpose, objective and lessons of the story. We’re supposed to focus on what lessons, morals, and guidance we can derive from these incidents and not worry about the minute detail. However, a more detailed version of this story is found in a hadith recorded in both Sahih Bukhari and Muslim narrated by Ubay ibn Ka’b raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him).

Ubay ibn Ka’b raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was making a speech to the Children of Israel when he was asked which person had been endowed with the most knowledge. Meaning he was asked, “Who is the most knowledgeable person?” Since Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) wasn’t aware of anyone who was more knowledgeable than him he said, ‘I am’. Even though he was right, Allah ﷻ didn’t like his answer. The situation demanded that he say Allah knows best. Allah ﷻ has a unique way of teaching and training those close to Him. That is why Allah ﷻ gently reprimanded him for his answer and revealed to him that there is a servant of his at the meeting point of the two seas (the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea) who is more knowledgeable than him. This doesn’t mean that Khidr had a higher station than Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). What it means is that he had a special field of knowledge given to him that Musa didn’t have.

Musa had an intense desire to seek knowledge. So he asked Allah ﷻ, ‘How can I find him?’ Allah ﷻ told him to cook a fish, place it in a basket and head towards the meeting point of the two seas. The place where you lose fish is the place where you will find Khidr. So Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) set out with his servant/student Yusha’ ibn Nun, who in English is Joshua. This is where Allah ﷻ starts the story in the Quran.

Verse 60: And when Musa said to his servant, “I shall continue on till I reach the junction of the two seas, even if I journey for a long time.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was instructed by Allah to travel to the meeting point or junction of the two seas and that is where he will find Khidr, the one who is more knowledgeable than him. So Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in his determination said that he will continue traveling till he reaches this junction even if it takes him a long time. There’s a lot of discussion amongst the commentators regarding the exact location of the junction of the two seas. Some mention it’s referring to the point where the fresh water of rivers meets the salt water of the seas. Others mention that it’s the meeting point between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The actual geographical location is ultimately immaterial to the story; it doesn’t really matter. The narration mentions that they continued to travel until they reached a large rock where they decided to rest for a while. Both of them fell asleep. As they were sleeping, all of a sudden, the fish moved, fell out of the basket and into the ocean. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) stopped the flow of water around the fish forming a tunnel around it allowing it to swim.

Verse 61: Then when they reached the junction of the two, they forgot their fish, and it made its way to the sea, burrowing away.

Yushā’ witnessed this extraordinary event. He saw the fish make its way into the sea and burrow away. Meaning, a tunnel was formed around it allowing it to swim away. When Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) woke up he forgot to tell him and they continued on their journey. They traveled for another day and night. After traveling for another day and night Musa finally felt hungry.

Verse 62: Then when they had passed beyond, he said to his servant, “Bring us our meal. We have certainly met with weariness on this journey of ours.”

They had passed the meeting point of the two seas, which is where they decided to rest and where the fish escaped from the basket. So when he finally felt hungry he asked Yushā’ to take out the fish that they had prepared to eat. In the narration, the Prophet ﷺ says, “Musa didn’t feel any fatigue until he passed the place Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)informed him of. When Musa asked for food that is when Yusha’ remembered what had happened to the fish.

Verse 63: He said, “Did you see? When we took refuge at the rock, indeed I forgot the fish – and nothing made me forget to mention it except Shaytān – and it made its way to the sea in a wondrous manner!”

He told Musa (as) that while they were resting at the rock the fish miraculously came back to life and made its way into the ocean. And that he completely forgot to tell him and that Shaytān made him forget. When Musa (as) heard this he remarked,

Verse 64: He said, “That is what we were seeking!” So they turned back, retracing their steps.

He immediately realized that the place where the fish was lost to the sea was exactly the place where he would meet the servant of Allah more knowledgeable than him. So they turned back retracing their steps back to that rock.

Verse 65: There they found a servant from among Our servants who We had granted mercy from Us and whom We had taught knowledge from Our presence.

When they returned to that rock they found a man lying there covered in a white sheet. Musa (as) greeted him with Salam startling Khidr who replied, “Where is this salam coming from in this land? Who are you?” He replied, “Musa.” Khidr asked, “Musa Bani Israel?” He answered, “Yes.” The servant from among our servants is identified by all commentators as Khidr or Al-Khadir, which is translated as the Green One. It’s mentioned that wherever he prayed or stood everything around him would become green. There’s a huge discussion regarding his status as well; was he a prophet, a messenger or simply a righteous servant of Allah? What we do know with absolutely certainty is exactly what the Qur’ān tells us. He was a righteous servant who was granted unique divine mercy and was given a special type of knowledge from Allah ﷻ. Some of the commentators mention that “rahmah” is referring to the fact that he was a wali; a very devout and close servant of Allah. The knowledge from Allah is knowledge from the unseen that he taught to Khidr. It’s an understanding of the divine wisdom and reason behind the occurrence of certain events.

Verse 66: Musa said to him, “May I follow you so that you can teach me some of that which you have been taught of sound judgment?”

Musa (as) asked him with the utmost respect and humility to allow him to be his student. This form of questioning, this request is full of humility. Musa made himself a follower of Khidr, asked for permission and admitted his ignorance regarding the knowledge that Khidr had. Khidr responded to his request as Allah ﷻ tells us,

Verses 67-68: He said, “Truly you will not be able to bear patiently with me. And how can you be patient with that which you have no knowledge?

Khidr recognized that he would do things that Musa (as) would find to be illogical, irrational and even impermissible. Things that on the surface level seem to be horrible and despicable. So he explained to Musa (as) that he wouldn’t be able to be patient with him and his actions. He explained to Musa (as), “O Musa! I have knowledge from Allah that you don’t have that he taught me. And you have some knowledge from Allah that he taught, which I don’t have.”

  • يا موسى، إني على علم من علم الله، لا تعلمه، علمنيه، و أنت على علم من علم الله علمكه، لا أعلمه.

But Musa (as) is extremely eager to learn. He resolves to be patient and obedient while relying upon the will of Allah ﷻ. He says,

Verse 69: He said, “You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I shall not disobey you in any matter.”

Meaning, don’t worry, you’ll find me to be patient, if Allah wills, and I won’t disobey you or challenge you in any matter. This convinced Khidr to allow Musa (as) to accompany him as his student but with certain conditions.

Verse 70: He said, “If you will follow me, then don’t question me about anything until I mention it to you.”

Meaning, he told Musa (as) that if you follow me then you’re not allowed to ask me about anything or challenge anything I do until I allow you to do so. Musa (as) accepted this condition and then they both set out together. Now up till this point in the story, there are several important lessons that we can learn and derive.

1) Intellectual humility – Our knowledge regarding a specific topic or subject, our understanding of a certain issue or our expertise in a certain field shouldn’t make us proud and arrogant. It shouldn’t make us think that we’re better than anyone else. Rather it should make us humble; it should create a sense of gratitude and humility. We should express gratitude to the One who gave us that knowledge and should recognize that there’s much more that we don’t know. And that’s the lesson that Allah ﷻ taught Musa (as). When he was asked who is the most knowledgeable individual, Musa (as) based on his own understanding and station as a Prophet assumed that he was. So Allah ﷻ gently reprimanded him for his answer and revealed to him that there is a servant of his at the meeting point of the two seas (the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea) who is more knowledgeable than him.

No matter how advanced we become as human beings, no matter how many discoveries we make and how many inventions we create, our knowledge is still limited; it’s nothing compared to the infinite knowledge of Allah ﷻ. As Allah ﷻ tells us in the Qur’ān, “Over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing.” Similarly, in one of the narrations, Khidr tells Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), “My knowledge or your knowledge compared with the knowledge of Allah is nothing but the small amount of water the sparrow takes in its beak.” This is especially true for religious knowledge; the more we learn the more we should recognize that we don’t know. That’s why it’s important for us to not reject or disregard things that we don’t know or haven’t heard of. Just because we don’t know something, haven’t heard something or haven’t read something, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Also, learn how to say “I don’t know”. There’s a famous story of Imām Mālik …

2) The importance of seeking knowledge. Seeking knowledge is something that has to be done actively; it’s not a passive activity. knowledge isn’t something that’s going to come to us automatically. It’s something that requires us to put in work; it requires time, effort, wealth and sacrifice. And in order to seek knowledge, we’ll have to go through some difficulties. Seeking knowledge is a religious obligation upon us just like praying, fasting, paying zakah and performing Hajj. The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” All the commentators agree that this is referring to knowledge of Allah; knowledge of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. That knowledge that brings us closer to Allah ﷻ. That’s why there are so many narrations from the Prophet ﷺ that encourage us to seek knowledge. Interestingly, this is the only story in the Qur’ān that talks about seeking knowledge and in it the student is required to go and look for the teacher. On a side, not the amount of knowledge we learn regarding our religion at homes or at Sunday schools is not enough. We need to have a systemized way of learning the fundamentals of our faith and religion and teaching it to our children.

3) Respecting the people of knowledge. This is another very important lesson we learn from this particular part of the story. Musa (as) is a Prophet, he’s kalīm Allah, the one who spoke directly with Allah ﷻ, yet he still treated Khidr with the utmost honor and respect. Knowledge itself has a very special status in Islam and because of its status, those who seek it and possess it have also been granted a special status. As the Prophet ﷺ told us, “The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets.” Humility is an essential characteristic that we as students must have to truly benefit from our teachers. In the hadith of the Messenger of God ﷺ, when the angel Jibrīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) came to ask the Prophet ﷺ about Islam, Imān, and Iḥsān, he is described as having, “put his knees against the knees [of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)] and placed his hands on his thighs.”[2] When the Companions used to sit with the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), they did not use to raise their heads up to him out of their reverence for him. It is reported on the authority of Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), “If the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to enter the mosque, none of us used to raise our heads except Abū Bakr and ʽUmar. They used to smile at him and he used to smile at them.”[3] It is also reported on the authority of ʽUbāda b. al-Ṣāmit that the Messenger of God ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said regarding respecting scholars and honoring them, “He is not from my community who does not venerate our elders, have mercy on our youth, and know the rights of our scholars.”[4]

Disrespect of scholars and people of knowledge is actually a problem within our communities and has been for some time. People of the past used to say that the flesh of scholars is poisonous and the way of Allah with those who insult them is well-known. So whoever insults the scholar of this ummah by his tongue Allah will afflict him in this world by death of the heart. There are many other beneficial lessons that we can derive from this story that we’ll talk about next session after we complete the story itself.

4) Studying is an act of worship but it’s not the goal in and of itself. The goal is to attain guidance.

 

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Lesson 9 From Surah Al-Kahf

Verses 55-59

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah, last session we were able to cover the meanings and lessons of verses 50-53. InshAllah, tonight we’ll be exploring the meanings of verses 54-59 and some of the lessons we can learn from them. In the last set of verses, Allah ﷻ very briefly mentioned the story of Adam (as) and Shaytān’s refusal to prostrate before him. We talked about how this story is mentioned in several places throughout the Qur’ān and that each time that it’s mentioned, it’s mentioned for a different purpose. Here it was mentioned to highlight the evil nature of kibr; pride, arrogance, and haughtiness or thinking that we’re better than others because of some quality that we possess. The passage also highlighted the consequences of disbelief in the Hereafter.

Verses 54-59

In this next set of verses, Allah ﷻ covers a number of different topics. He starts off by describing one aspect of the Qur’ān by saying,

Verse 54: And indeed We have employed every kind of parable for mankind in this Qur’ān. And man is the most contentious of beings.

This is a very beautiful verse in which Allah gives us a holistic understanding or a macro understanding of the Qur’ān. “And indeed We have employed every kind of parable for mankind in this Qur’ān.” A parable is an example or a metaphor that is used by Allah in the Qur’ān to provide us with lessons and guidance. They are known as amthāl al-Qur’ān. They provide us with reminders, lessons, encouragement, reprimand, reflection, contemplation, ease understanding, and illustrate difficult concepts with something tangible. Allah ﷻ uses amthāl to help us understand concepts such as faith, patience, gratitude, morality, ethics, values, reliance, life, death and resurrection.

In this verse, Allah ﷻ is telling us that He has clearly explained and clarified every single thing that we as human beings need to know, both worldly and religious affairs, in the Qur’ān so that we can know and recognize the path of truth and guidance. The Qur’ān contains guidance for every single thing we need to know as human beings in order to achieve success in this life and more importantly in the life to come. Allah ﷻ describes the Qur’ān is Surah Yusuf as “an elaboration of all things.” The full verse is, “Certainly in their stories is a lesson for those possessed of intellect. It is not a fabricated account; rather, it is a confirmation of that which came before it, and an elaboration of all things, and a guidance and mercy for a people who believe.”

The Qur’ān is our book of guidance; it’s our roadmap to happiness in this world and salvation in the hereafter. That’s why it’s so important for us to have a real, daily, practical and intimate relationship with the Quran. We have to read it, contemplate over its meanings and internalize its message. That’s why the Quran was revealed. To reflect, ponder and contemplate over its meanings. Ali (ra) said, “Indeed there’s no good in worship without fiqh, there’s no good in knowledge without understanding, and there’s no good in recitation without contemplation.” The more we engage with the book of Allah, the more we learn and the more we understand.

It’s such a book that its wonders are never-ending, it never becomes boring through repetition, whoever speaks from it will speak the truth, whoever rules with it will be just, and whoever holds fast to it will be guided to the straight path. That’s why ibn ‘Abba (ra) said, “If I lost the rope of my camel I would find it in the book of Allah!”

Despite the fact that the Qur’ān is a book of guidance and that it contains everything we need as human beings, Allah tells us why some people still fail to take advantage of it or benefit from it. “And man is the most contentious of beings.” Meaning, despite the clarity of the Qur’ān, despite its guidance, despite its light and details human beings still choose to oppose and argue against the truth. Even though Allah (swt) has explained everything necessary in detail, mankind is still predisposed to argument and dispute. That is why we find a lot of people who choose to reject the truth and disbelieve.

Allah ﷻ then tells us that oftentimes people refuse to believe because of two reasons: 1) they are waiting for punishment or 2) they wanted to see the punishment of the hereafter with their own eyes.

Verse 55: And nothing prevents men from believing when guidance comes to them and from seeking forgiveness from their Lord, except that [they wait] for what befell earlier generations to come to them, or the punishment to come upon them face to face.

This verse is referring specifically to the non-believers of Makkah but is applicable to anyone who rejects and denies the truth after it has been clarified to them. Allah ﷻ is telling us that nothing prevented the non-believers of Makkah from accepting faith after having witnessed clear signs and proofs regarding the existence and oneness of Allah and the messengership of Muhammad ﷺ, and seeking forgiveness from their Lord except for two things:

1) Being afflicted with punishment and destruction like the previous nations or 2) Seeing and experiencing the punishment of the hereafter with their own eyes. Meaning, they’re waiting to see if the same worldly punishment that befell earlier people will come upon them as well or to witness the punishment of the hereafter with their own two eyes. What this means is that they won’t believe or accept faith until they are punished. Everything has already been explained to them; there’s no reason for them to reject or deny the truth. They have received guidance in plenty, which should have been sufficient for them to believe and follow Allah’s orders. But they demanded for themselves the sort of suffering that befell nations of old. They made such a demand thinking that Allah’s punishment would never overtake them, or they did so in mockery. Sometimes they modified their demands, asking for the punishment to be shown directly to them. That, they argued, would prove what the Prophets preached and then they would believe in them. However, punishment comes from Allah, not the Messenger, and that’s why Allah says next,

Verse 56: And We don’t send the messenger except as bearers of glad tidings and as warners. And those who disbelieve dispute falsely in order to refute the truth. They take My signs and that which they have been warned as mockery.

The word mursalīn is translated as messengers and refers to all of the previous prophets and messengers that were sent by Allah ﷻ throughout history. This verse is telling us that their role or function was to convey the message. That included giving glad tidings of forgiveness, reward and paradise for those who believed and warnings of punishment and sin for those who rejected the truth. However, despite receiving the message and recognizing its truth they decided to argue against it. “And those who disbelieve dispute falsely in order to refute the truth.” They argue against it not because they’re right; rather, because they want to refute the truth. And since they’re unable to they resort to mockery and derision. “They take My signs and that which they have been warned as mockery.” They treat the Qur’ān, revelation, miracles, evidence, and proof as a joke; something to be taken lightly and made fun of. This is the worst kind of rejection and denial. It’s an attitude of arrogance and ignorance. Imagine hearing the truth, recognizing it and then rejecting it through mockery and ridicule because of pride, arrogance, and stubbornness.

After explaining the reason for their disbelief and their mockery, Allah describes the non-believers with some characteristics that bring them disgrace and dishonor.

Verse 57: And who does greater wrong than one who has been reminded of the signs of his Lord, then turns away from them and forgets that which his hands have sent forth? Surely We have placed coverings over their hearts, such that they understand it not, and in their ears a deafness. Even if you call them to guidance, they will never be rightly guided.

There is no injustice greater than disbelief, especially after witnessing the signs and evidence of the truth and then turning away from them. On top of that, they are heedless and careless of what they do in this world. Oftentimes we forgot how great of a sin and injustice disbelief truly is; we don’t recognize the gravity of rejecting and refusing to accept the truth. There’s no sin greater than disbelief. The rhetorical question mentioned at the beginning of the verse, “and who does greater wrong than the one who has been reminded of the signs of his Lord, then turns away from them and forgets that which his hands have sent forth”, is repeated throughout the Qur’ān. It’s usually asked in relation to those who deny the signs of Allah ﷻ. So Allah ﷻ is telling us that there’s absolutely no one worse or more disgraceful than a person who turns away from His signs that invite him towards the truth, success, and salvation.

On top of that, they forget about the consequences of their actions or they don’t care about the consequences of their actions. They say what they want and do what they want without any thought or apprehension. This is the absolute most unjust type of person; they’re not just to themselves nor are they just in their relationship with Allah ﷻ. As a consequence of their disbelief, rejection, stubbornness, and disobedience Allah places a seal over the hearts and ears. “Surely We have placed coverings over their hearts, such that they understand it not, and in their ears a deafness. Even if you call them to guidance, they will never be rightly guided.” Their hearts are covered.

The heart within this Islamic tradition has been given a lot of importance. It’s considered to be the center of understanding and enlightenment. It’s the center of faith, belief, reliance, and true comprehension; true recognition of the truth. Modern science attributes this to the mind and the intellect but we understand it to be the heart. The heart is “a subtle tenuous substance of an ethereal spiritual sort, which is connected with the physical heart. This subtle tenuous substance is the real essence of man. The heart is the part of man that perceives and knows and experiences; it is addressed, punished, rebuked, and held responsible…” The heart in the Islamic tradition is the center of being, intellect, and consciousness. So those who turn away from Allah, reject the truth and engage in sin and disobedience, a seal is placed over their hearts. They’re no longer able to perceive and recognize the truth; they can’t tell right from wrong.

Similarly, a “deafness” is placed in their ears. Meaning they hear the truth being spoken but they’re unable to understand and comprehend. That’s why Allah then consoles and comforts the Prophet ﷺ by telling him that if you invite them towards guidance they will never be guided. Again this is a result and consequence of their own actions and choices. Allah ﷻ tells us this elsewhere in the Qur’ān as well. For example, in Surah Al-Mutafifīn Allah says, “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” “Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearings, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allah’s Guidance), and on their eyes, there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.” “These people who treat what Allah has bestowed from on high with mockery and who ridicule His warnings cannot understand the Qur’ān or comprehend its message. Hence, Allah places over their hearts screens which prevent them from understanding it. In their ears, He causes a sort of deafness so that they cannot hear it. He has also willed that, because of their deliberate refusal and willful turning away from His guidance, they will never be guided. For guidance to penetrate people’s hearts, such hearts must be open to receive it in the first place.”

Despite their pride, arrogance, ignorance, stubbornness, and refusal to accept the truth Allah ﷻ in His infinite mercy delays their punishment. He gives them time to reflect, ponder, think, recognize their mistakes and repent.

Verse 58: And your Lord is Forgiving, Possessed of mercy. Were he to take them to task for that which they have earned, He would have hastened the punishment for them. Nay, but theirs is an appointed time, beyond which they shall find no refuge.

Allah ﷻ is Al-Ghafūr, the All-Forgiving, the Possessor of infinite and limitless mercy. He forgives regardless of how much a person has sinned or how major or grave the sin is. And He continues to forgive as a long as a person turns back to Him in forgiveness and repentance. And His mercy is infinite; it encompasses every single thing in this universe. If Allah ﷻ wanted to He could have held people accountable for what they’ve done immediately. If that were the case he would have brought punishment upon them in this world without any delay. As Allah ﷻ tells is in Surah Fātir, “And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving (living) creature on the surface of the earth, but He gives them respite to an appointed term, and when their term comes, then verily, Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves.” Instead, Allah ﷻ has set an appointed time for their punishment, which can come in this world or the next. It’s up to Allah.

Verse 59: And those towns, We destroyed them for the wrong they did, and We set an appointed time for their destruction.

Allah is reminding them of the past nations that were destroyed because of their rejection and disobedience such as, ‘Aad, Thamūd and the people of Lūt (as). The Qur’ān repeatedly refers to the destruction of whole towns as a result of their disbelief and wrongdoing. All of these references are found in Makkan revelation because they’re mostly intended as warnings for the Quraysh of Makkah.

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