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The Best of Stories: Pearls from Surah Yusuf | Part 1

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Lecture by Yasir Qadhi | Transcribed by Sameera

[The following is the video playlist and transcript of part 1 of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s lecture series “The Best of Stories: Pearls from Surah Yusuf.”  The transcript includes slight modifications for the sake of readability and clarity.]

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Part 8
| Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15

Introduction

I welcome you all to the first of a series of halaqat that we will have about the tafsir or the explanation of one of the most interesting, powerful, and moving surahs in the entire Qur’an, which is Surah Yusuf.  This surah is a very, very unique surah in the Qur’an, and a one-of-a-type of surah.

Firstly, it is the only place in the Qur’an where the story of the Prophet Yusuf (‘alayhi salaam) is mentioned.  No other surah mentions the story of the Prophet Yusuf (‘alayhi salaam).  If you compare this to, let’s say, the story of the Prophet Musa (‘alayhi salaam), the story of Prophet Musa is mentioned in over 25 different locations.  The story of our father Adam (‘alayhi salaam) is mentioned in over half a dozen locations.  The story of ‘Isa (‘alayhi salaam) is mentioned almost a dozen times.  The story of the Prophet Yusuf (‘alayhi salaam) only exists in this surah.  In fact, even the name of the Prophet Yusuf occurs only once or twice in passing in Surah Al-An‘ām and Surah Ghaafir, but there is no story at all.  The stories about what happened with the Yusuf (‘alayhi salaam) only occur in this particular surah.

Secondly, it is the only surah in the Qur’an that has a unified story as its theme from the beginning to the end.  The whole surah is nothing but a story.  There is no other surah of length in the Qur’an – we are not talking about the small surahs at the end of Juz ‘Amma, but we are talking about any surah basically more than 10-15 ayahs – there is no surah in the whole Qur’an that is a unified story from the beginning to the end.  This is something that we all know.  Read Surah Al-Baqarah, Surah Ale-‘Imran, and Surah Yunus you will find the stories of lots of people in one paragraph or one page or sometimes even five pages, but there is no place in the whole Qur’an where an entire 15 pages is dedicated to one story.  It is a chronological story from the beginning to the end.  This is not just very rare but unique.  There is no other place like it in the whole Qur’an.

Revelation of Surah Yusuf

We do not know the exact date of when this surah was revealed, but we know roughly that it was revealed around the tenth or eleventh year not of the hijrah but of the years of the daw’ah.

In other words, with the hijrah of course we begin the Madinan phase.  Before the hijrah, what do we call it?  Some scholars used the term ‘BH’ (before hijrah) just like the Christians have ‘AD’ and ‘BC’, Muslims have ‘AH’ and ‘BH’.  So if you look at ‘BH’, 1 BH means one year before the hijrah and 2 BH means two years before the hijrahSurah Yusuf is revealed around 2 or 3 BH, in other words right at the end of the Makkan era and the Makkan message.

The timing of revelation is very crucial.  Surah Yusuf was revealed after the famous year called the Year of Sorrow / the Year or Regret / the Year of Difficulty (‘aam al-huzn).  In that year, three things happened one after the other which were the most painful for the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and there was no time in the seerah where the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was more demoralized than this period, which is why the scholars of seerah call this period ‘aam al-huzn, the Year of Grief.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was feeling grief throughout that year.

What happened?  What makes it worse is that these three things happened one after the other.  The first of these three devastating things was the most personal and intimate, and that was the death of Khadijah (alayhi salaam).  Khadijah (alayhi salaam) was his supporter and his moral source of strength.  As they say, behind every great man there is a great woman, and this is exactly applying to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and Khadijah.  She was his source of comfort and support.  Whenever anything happened and even when the wahy came down and he was scared, he went running back to Khadijah (alayhi salaam) to be calmed down.  “Zambilooni!  Zambilooni! (Cover me up!  Cover me up!)”  Khadijah was his source of comfort and his source of support.  When a man has that comfort and love inside the house, he is able to face a lot outside.  When that is deprived of him, then the problems outside become more difficult to bear.  The death of Khadijah (‘alayhi salaam) was something that was very difficult for him.

Within five or six weeks, a second death followed and that was the death of his uncle Abu Talib.  Abu Talib was his support in society.  Abu Talib sacrificed his own reputation and prestige in order to protect the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  When the Quraysh came to bribe, threaten, and intimidate the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), initially Abu Talib was scared and went to him (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and told him to stop doing this.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “If they were to give me control of the sun and the moon, I would not give up what I am doing.”  Abu Talib said, “Oh son of my brother, oh my nephew, do as you please, I am never going to come to you again to tell you not to do this.”  He was a man of his word for ten years, and not once did he approach the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) after that.  He never came and said ‘why did you do this?’ / ‘look what I have to face now.’  Not once.  He was a man of his word.

Abu Talib did everything he could, so much so that when the Quraysh boycotted the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and told him he must leave Makkah, Abu Talib went with the Muslims to live in the valleys outside of Makkah.  Abu Talib was not a subject of that boycott because he was a pagan and a Qurayshi and a mushrik, but because he was a part of his nephew and loved him so much, he voluntarily went to live with the Muslims at the time of the boycott.

He was the only non-Muslim to live with the Muslims at the time of boycott.  He voluntarily gave up his privileges and his house in Makkah and gave up everything and suffered along with the Muslims because he felt that this was injustice and that he had to do this as the uncle and protector of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  He did everything he could.  As long as Abu Talib was alive, they could not do anything else to harm the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  With his death, the persecution reached its max, which is why eventually the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) had to leave for Madinah because he could not live in Makkah anymore.

Khadijah was his internal support in the house.  Abu Talib was his external support in society.  The both of them died one after the other, and it was a very difficult time for the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  To make matters worse, he suffered the single most depressing or difficult day of his whole life after the deaths of Khadijah and Abu Talib.  As if there could be no low, there was one low after that, which was the incident of Ta’if.

Aisha (radhi Allahu ‘anha) said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, was there any day that was more difficult for you to bear than the Day of Uhud?”  He (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Yes.”  Aisha was too young to know anything about Makkah and did not remember Makkah.  She knows Badr, Uhud, and Tabuk and the problems of Madinah and that the worst problem of Madinah was Uhud, so she asked, “Was there any day more difficult for you than Uhud?”  Immediately without thinking, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “The most difficult day for me was the day when I was rejected by the chieftains of Ta’if.”  You all know the story, and we will talk about it in a lot of detail insha’Allah in the lectures we will start on the seerah.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was humiliated and publicly scorned and the children of Ta’if stoned him.  This day was the most difficult for him.

These three incidents occurred within six weeks of one other – within two months, as if things could not get any worse.  At this point in time, Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) revealed Surah Yusuf.  When we understand this frame of revelation, all of a sudden the significance of Surah Yusuf increases many times.  Why?  Surah Yusuf is meant to uplift his spirits (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and console him and strengthen him at a time of such trials and tribulations.  Surah Yusuf is the light that will lead him out of this depressing time and time of pain and anguish.  This is hope for us when we are feeling down and suffering from problems of society.  This is the surah that we can turn to for an uplifting moment and to find some solace and comfort, which is why Allah revealed it to our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

Scholars also mention a number of incidents that also led to the revelation of this surah.  Of these incidents is:  as the persecution of the Muslims increased and the sahabah in Makkah were feeling more and more overwhelmed by all of the pressures, they came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, why don’t you tell us the stories of those before who also suffered?”  When they wanted these stories, Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) revealed this surah.  It was perfect timing – when the persecution reaches its maximum, and that is why the hijrah occurs two years after this surah because they could not live in Makkah anymore.  An assassination squad was sent for the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) the night before the hijrah and surrounded his house.  Allah miraculously saved him (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  One of the direct causes of the revelation was that the sahabah wanted something to uplift their spirits as well.

Another direct cause of revelation:  it is said that the Quraysh wanted to try to outwit the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and show that he was not truly a prophet.  They sent a delegation to the Yahud of Yathrib (the name of Madinah before it was Madinah), and they asked the Yahud, “Tell us a question that only a prophet would be able to answer.  Give us a trick question that we can show once and for all that this man is not a prophet.  Tell us a question that you know the answer to but nobody else knows.” Even though the Yahud were a different religion than the Quraysh, the Quraysh felt that the Yahud were superior because of their Book.  The Quraysh did not have a holy book or scripture or revelation.  The Yahud had a revelation, and the Quraysh felt a sense of inferiority that the Yahud were the people of the book and had knowledge that they did not and believed in prophets while they did not know any prophets from amongst them.

The Yahud said, “Ask him about the story of Yusuf and his brothers.  Nobody knows this.”  This is an interesting point that we will come to again.  In Makkah, there were no Christians and Jews.  In Makkah, there were only idol worshippers and pagans.  There were no centers of Christianity and Judaism.  There were one or two private / secret converts to Christianity like Waraqah ibn Nawfal and others, but they were not inviting others to it and not preaching Christianity.  There were no libraries of Christian or Jewish theology.  Nobody in Makkah knew these stories.  The people in Makkah had not heard of Yusuf because he was not their ancestor.  They were descendants from Isma’il and not of Ishaaq, and the tribes of Isra’il had nothing to do with the Makkans and people of Quraysh.  They don’t know these stories.  The Yahud knew this and said, “Ask him if he truly is a prophet to tell you what happened with Yusuf and his brothers because nobody knows this of your people.  This is something we know.”  The Yahud lived far away in Yathrib, so how would anybody in Makkah know this?

The Quraysh went to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and asked him, “Tell us the story of Yusuf and his brothers if you are truly a prophet.”  Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) answered that question and revealed Surah Yusuf.  In one of the last verses of the surah, Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) says, “This is of the ‘ilm al-ghayb that We sent down to you.”  In Surah Yusuf, Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) is telling the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) that He is giving them ‘ilm al-ghayb and that he (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and his people did not know the story until this surah came down to him.

Ayah 1:

 

Alif-laam-ra…”

Huroof Al-Muqatta’at (Broken Letters)

This surah begins with the letters alif-laam-ra.  We all know that there are a number of surahs in the Qur’an that begin with letters.  Alif-laam-meem, ha-meem, ‘ayn-seen-qaaf, noon, qaaf, kaf-ha-ya‘ayn-saad, ta-ha, ya-seen.  These letters are called huroof al-muqatta’at (broken letters) by the scholars of tafsir.  They are called the broken letters because they do not form words.  Ha-meem is not a word.  Alif-laam-meem is not a word.  Scholars of tafsir call them huroof al-muqatta’at – broken letters put together.

Scholars have wondered about the meaning of the huroof al-muqatta’at since the very beginning of time.  Since the time of the tabi’un and taba tabi’un, they began wondering what these letters mean. There are over fifteen opinions about what these letters represent.  Some of these opinions include that these letters represent the Names of Allah (subhanahu wata’ala), so alif is for Allah, laam is for Al-Lateef, meem is for Al-Muhaymin.  They have different opinions, but this does not seem to have a strong basis.

One opinion is that we will never know what these huroof al-muqatta’at mean.  This is a valid opinion in so far as that we will never know for sure and only Allah knows for sure, but we can try to think and come forth with some type of opinion because why did Allah reveal these letters?  There must be a wisdom.  We can try to think of wisdoms of why Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) revealed these letters at the beginning of these surahs.

One thing that we notice which is very interesting is that almost all the time in the Qur’an when Allah begins a surah with these letters, the very next phrase has something to do with the Qur’an.  Think about all of the surahs you know.  Ya-sin. Wa’l-Qur’an al-hakeem.  Kaf-ha-ya‘ayn-saad.  Dhikru rahmati rabbika… “This is what I am telling you in the Book.”  Alif-laam-meem.  Dhaalika kitabu la rayba feehi… Alif-laam-ra. Tilka aayaatu’l-kitabi’l-mubeen.  Ha-meem. Wa’l-kitabil-mubeen.

There are some exceptions where it is not the second verse but it is the third or fourth verse.  Every single time Allah mentions huroof al-muqatta’at within the first few verses, something to do with the Qur’an is mentioned.  Therefore, it would make sense that these huroof al-muqatta’at have something to do with this magnificent Qur’an.  Every time, the Qur’an is praised after the huroof al-muqatta’at.  It is logical to make some connection.

What is this connection?  Scholars have tried to think about this and have compiled all of these huroof al-muqatta’at.  The huroof al-muqatta’at number exactly 14 letters.  How many letters are in the Arabic alphabet?  28.  There are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, and 14 is exactly half of 28, so some scholars have read in some type of symbolic meaning that Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) is showing us that the Qur’an is composed of our letters and the language that we speak, and yet, mankind cannot produce something similar to it.  It is as if Allah is taunting the rejecters of the Qur’an by showing them that these are their words and letters, so produce a surah / ten surahs / a Qur’an similar to it if they are able to it.

There are five verses of challenge (ayaat at-tahaddi) in the Qur’an.  In one of these verses, Allah says, “…bring the whole Qur’an.”  In another verse, Allah says, “…bring ten surahs.”  In another verse, Allah says, “…bring something.”  In two verses, Allah says, “…bring one surah if you can.”  In these verses of challenge, it is as if there is a linkage with the huroof al-muqatta’at and these verses of challenge.  It is as if Allah is saying ‘here is half of the alphabet, bring the other half and bring something similar to the Qur’an.’

One of the wisdoms that scholars have tried to derive from the huroof al-muqatta’at is to show the miraculous nature of the Qur’an.  The Qur’an is composed of words that we speak, language that we know, and letters that we write, yet mankind is not able to produce something similar to this.  Allah knows best.  We will never know for sure the meaning of the huroof al-muqatta’at, but it does appear that there is some relationship with the beauty and the majesty and the miraculous nature of the Qur’an.

“…these are the verses of the clear / lucid Book.”

Tilka is an Arabic word which means ‘this/these.’  There is a difference between tilka and haadhihi, which both mean ‘this/these.’  Haadhihi is used for something close.  Tilka is used for something far away.

Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) is talking about the Qur’an with the far away word.  He (subhanahu wata’ala) does this not only here but also in Surah Al-Baqarah:  “Alif-laam-meem.  Dhaalika kitab la rayba feeh.”  Kitab is masculine, so the word dhaalik is used.  Aayaat is feminine, so the word tilka is used.  Feminine and masculine aside, there is a difference between haadha / haadhihi versus tilka / dhaalika.  We would say “haadha kitab” for a book here, but to point to something far away, you say tilka (over there, far away).

Allah ‘azza wa jall talks about the Qur’an in the pronoun that refers to something far away.  Why does Allah mention the far away pronoun when the Qur’an is in our hands?  To show the status of the Qur’an is exalted and to show that the Qur’an is worthy of being something majestic.  Even if you have it, we should thank Allah that we have it, but its status is a high and noble status.  Allah says, “Tilka aayaatu’l-kitabi’l-mubeen.”

An ayah is a verse.  This shows us that Allah has Himself divided the Qur’an into ayat.  Where does this division come from?  From Allah (subhanahu wata’ala).  What about into surahs?  Allah (subhanahu wata’ala says, “…when a surah comes down…”  Allah mentions the word surah and the word ayah.  Many other scriptures including the New Testament have man-made divisions.  For us, the Qur’an is from Allah, and even the divisions within the Qur’an (meaning surah and ayah) are from Allah.  An ayah also means a sign / indication / miracle.  A verse is a sign, and a verse is a miracle.  Allah uses the term that is loaded with meaning.  What does ayah mean?  Allah calls the miracles of creation ayah.  Allah says that in your creation there is an ayah, and in the sun and the moon there is an ayah.  Allah calls the verses of the Qur’an an ayah.  It is not a coincidence, and Allah knows what He is saying, and no one is more eloquent than Allah.  The meaning here is that every verse of the Qur’an has a message for you and an indication and a miracle.

Mubeen is a description of the book.  Allah calls the Qur’an many different names, but there are two names that are the most common:  kitab and Qur’an.  Kitab and Qur’an both occur around 75 times to describe our Book.  Kitab and Qur’an are complementary to each other and put together tell us what this book is.  Kitab means something that is written down, and Qur’an means something that is recited.  The Qur’an is something that is written down and recited simultaneously.  No other book from Allah has been preserved to this level.  The Qur’an has been written down by the commandment of Allah, and it has also been recited by Allah, Jibreel, and the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and is recited to this day, which is of the miracles of the Qur’an that no other book has.  All of the other books were written down by men and scribes and people after the times of the prophets.  As for us, the Kitab and the Qur’an are complementary.

Al-mubeen can have two meanings.  The first meaning is the Book itself is a clear Book.  Allah says in the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah:  “dhaalika kitab la rayba feeh.”  There is no doubt / no ambiguity in it.  The Book is clear.  What does it mean that the Book is clear?  It means that anybody who approaches the Qur’an will be able to get some message from it and find some level of benefit from it.  What this means is that the Qur’an is a Book that is meant to be contemplated by every single Muslim.  It is not something that only the elite have access to and is not something that only the scholars should read.  Even the basic, average Muslim can benefit from the Qur’an.  There is no doubt that the average Muslim can only benefit a certain level, and the more they grow in knowledge, the more they can benefit.  This is a common misconception that alhamdulillah is getting more and more minimal these days, but once upon a time, it was very common to hear:  “Oh, anybody can interpret the Qur’an.  I can open up the Qur’an and interpret it.” No – interpretation requires knowledge, but simple hidayah can be obtained immediately and even from a translation.  Anyone can read the Qur’an for personal benefit and personal guidance.  There are levels of meaning.  Qul huwAllahu ahad.  Alhamdulillahi rabb’l-‘alameen. You understand these, but if you want to go deep and dissect why Allah said hamd and not shukr, then you need ‘ilm.  The average Muslim can benefit from the Qur’an, so the Qur’an is mubeen.

Another meaning of Allah calling the kitab mubeen is that this Book is a clear message from Allah, and you do not have any doubt where it is from.  Mubeen doesn’t refer to the language but to the origin and the source of the Book.  The Book has a clear-cut source, and everybody knows where this Book is from.  There is no ambiguity in this Book.  This may surprise you, but to this day, nobody knows who wrote the New Testament, and no one knows the biographies of these people.  They were not the actual disciples of Christ but were anonymous people living in the second or third generation after Jesus Christ.  To this day, nobody knows who wrote the Old Testament; it is completely shrouded in mystery.  The Orthodox Jews believe that Musa wrote it, but no other group believes this because the Old Testament mentions the death of Musa and who buried Musa.  People don’t know who wrote it.

Allah is saying that this is a mubeen Book – you know the origin, you know the source, and everything is clear about it.  There is no question mark.  I cannot stress for you – O Muslims – that we take this for granted as if it is something that is no big deal.  There is no other religious scripture on the face of this earth that is as unambiguous and as clear and demarcated from Al-Fatihah to Al-Nas in the origin of language as the Qur’an.

There is such a massive confusion about the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and Jewish scriptures.  In many religions, you do not even know what the scripture is.  In almost all religions, the language is not the language spoken by the prophets.  The original New Testament was written in Greek, and ‘Isa (alayhi salaam) spoke Aramaic and not Greek.  I am trying to stress to you that we take these things for granted.  Our Qur’an has no versions.  To this day, the Orthodox Christians, Protestants, and Catholics have different Bibles.  They are completely different books and different additions and subtractions and different versions.  You can belong to any sect of Islam and differ in theology, but the Qur’an is exactly the same from Al-Fatihah to An-Nas, word for word, letter for letter, harakah for harakah – you can purchase a Qur’an in India, here, or Timbuktu or the hand-written manuscripts.  Alhamdulillah this is such a blessing from Allah that we take for granted that our holy Book is clear.  All of this proves that as Allah says in a previous surah in the Qur’an:  “We have revealed this scripture and will protect it.”

Another way to understand this is that Allah is saying this surah in particular is something that is clear.  You need nothing else besides this surah.  This indicates the importance of this surah.  To emphasize this point, Allah says in the second verse:

 

“We have sent this Qur’an down as an Arabic Qur’an so that you may understand.”

A question that many Muslims ask is: ‘why does Allah refer to Himself in the plural?’  In fact, many non-Muslims ask this question.  There are two primary interpretations of this.  The first of them is that the ‘We’ is a royal plural, the plural of majesty, and the plural of ‘izzah.  It is allowed in the Arabic language that a singular person (one man) will say ‘we’ when he is worthy of it, meaning king or royalty.  Even in the English language, the Queen of England always says ‘we’ and never says ‘I’, which is the ‘we’ of royalty.  When she says ‘we’, she doesn’t mean her and her family, but she means ‘I’.  She says ‘we’ to indicate that majesty.  In Arabic, this is called the royal plural.  It is a permissible interpretation.

Ibn Taymiyyah has another interpretation and says that every time there is a plural in the Qur’an, it is a reference to Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) along with the command of the angels.  Allah tells the angels to do something.  That is why – and this is interesting – Ibn Taymiyyah says that never in the Qur’an does Allah say ‘worship us,’ but He always says ‘worship Me.’  Allah says, “We revealed the Book” because the Book comes down via Jibreel.  Allah says, “We send the rain” because every single drop of rain has an angel taking it right to where Allah said it is going to go.  Allah says, “We are the ones who blow the winds” because the angels are the ones who take the winds.  Allah said, “We are the ones who take the souls” because the angel of death comes and takes the souls.  This is an interesting interpretation, which also seems to make sense.  When Allah says “We”, He means, “I am doing this and I am telling the angels to execute this command.”  The Qur’an comes down at the Command of Allah by the hands of Jibreel.  Jibreel is the one who brings it down.  This is one interpretation as well, and it has a good basis to it.

Anzalah means ‘to descend.’  Nazalah means to go down / to descend.  This shows that the Qur’an physically came down.  We know that the Qur’an did not come down onto a mountain and the book was there.  What does it mean?  There are a number of meanings here.  Firstly, that Jibreel came down with the recitation of the Qur’an.  Literally, the Qur’an is coming down with Jibreel in his memory, and Jibreel is reciting it to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  Secondly, we learn from a hadeeth in the Mustadrak of Al-Hakim that on laylat al-qadr Allah ‘azza wa jall physically sent down a divine copy of the Qur’an (a book), a part of Al-Lawh al-Mahfud.  There is a copy of the Qur’an in Al-Lawh Al-Mahfud.  According to one hadeeth, which is authentic, on laylat al-qadr, Allah says “inna anzalnahu fi laylat al-qadr,” and in one interpretation, this Al-Lawh al-Mahfud portion of the Qur’an was literally sent down to the lowest heavens on laylat al-qadr before the wahy began upon the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  Jibreel (alayhi salaam) would take from there as well.  There is a physical descent of a divine copy of the Qur’an, and so Allah says anzalah.  There is also a metaphysical descent, meaning within Jibreel that he brings it down.  This is also one of the many evidences that Allah is above us, which is why the Qur’an is coming down.  If the Allah was not above us, then the Qur’an would not need to come down and nor would the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) have to go up in isra’ wa’l-miraj to speak to Him.  The Qur’an is coming down.  “We have sent down this Qur’an.”

Sometimes Allah says, “We have anzalah” and sometimes He says, “We have nazzalah”.  What is the difference between these?  There is a minor difference, but it is also very profound and deep.  Anzalah means to send down at once.  Nazzalah means to send down bit by bit.  The Qur’an is referenced with anzalah and with nazzalah because both occurred.  The Qur’an is sometimes anzal and sometimes nazzal – how is this?  Because both occurred.  The Qur’an came down in its entirety on laylat al-qadr, which is anzalah.  For the next 23 years, Jibreel brought it bit by bit, which is nazzalah.  Allah speaks the exact truth, and both of these things are valid.

inna anzalnahu Qur’anan arabiyyan…”

“We have revealed this as an Arabic Qur’an.”  This is a very, very interesting verse.  There are exactly 11 verses in the Qur’an that characterize the Qur’an as being Arabic.  Allah says in 11 verses “We have revealed an Arabic Qur’an.”  From this, there is unanimous consensus amongst all of the scholars of Islam that the Qur’an can only be in Arabic.  Allah describes the Qur’an as being an Arabic Qur’an.  This means that when we read a translation, we are not reading the Qur’an.  We all know this, and this is an evidence of this.  What this means is that when we stand up in salah, we cannot say “All praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds.”  If we do so, our salah is null and void.  We have to say, “Alhamdulillahi rabb’l-‘alameen.”  If we were to recite it in a non-Arabic language, it is not Qur’an but is a translation.

This shows us as well that the Qur’an has been revealed in the language that Allah ‘azza wa jall spoke.  This is a deep theological point, and I don’t want to go to deep.  Ahl al-sunnah wal-jama’ah believe that the Qur’an is the kalamullah.  Other groups deny this and said it is not kalamullah.  What does it mean that it is kalamullah?  It means that literally Allah ‘azza wa jall spoke and recited the Qur’an, and Jibreel heard this recitation and brought this recitation down to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) recited it after he heard it from Jibreel.  From Jibreel to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and from the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) to the sahabah up until this day we have a continuous chain, non-stop, and it is from Allah ‘azza wa jall the recitation begins.  This means that when Allah says, “We have revealed an Arabic Qur’an,” then that recitation was done in Arabic as well.  When we recite the Qur’an, what we feel is something that is divine even if you are not Arab.  When you recite the Qur’an, you feel that it is an amazing speech and a divine speech.  When you understand Sunni theology, you understand where this came from.  We believe that this recitation was recited by Allah ‘azza wa jall; therefore, when we recite it, there is something divine about the Qur’an.  The Qur’an must be respected – you cannot put it on the floor and show disrespect to it – and it is sunnah to respect the Qur’an.  You should put it in a high place in the room, and you should have wudu’ when you touch it.  There are so many aspects of respect because the Qur’an is not just any book but is kalamullah and has a certain status that no other book has.

Allah says, “inna anzalnahu Qur’anan arabiyyan…”  (“We have revealed it in an Arabic Qur’an.”)  Another question arises:  does this mean that all of the words in the Qur’an are Arabic?  There are clearly words in the Qur’an that come from Persian, Greek, and even Roman.  There are clearly words in the Qur’an that are not Arabic such as istabrak and abaareeq.  There are Roman, Persian and sometimes even Sanskrit words.  There are even words from Latin.  These Latin words have also worked their way into English, which is an interesting point.  We are native speakers of English, and English is based on Latin, and Latin is a very ancient language.  Some words from Latin made their way to the Arabs as well.  What is a word that is Qur’anic and English at the same time?  Story – al-saateer (this is not a pure Arabic word but is a Latin word).  The English word ‘story’ is from the Latin that also made its way to the Arabs and we find in the Qur’an.  There are other words as well.  The word ‘justice’ in Arabic is qistaas.  It is from the same root as the Latin root.  This is just a side point and something for your benefit.

Allah says that this is an Arabic Qur’an.  The sahabah and tabi’oon and taba tabi’oon read the Qur’an and said that not every single word is Arabic, so what do they do?  Imam Shafi’i, said, “Anybody who says there is a single word of non-Arabic in the Qur’an is a jahill and does not know what he is talking about.  How can there be a non-Arabic word in the Qur’an when Allah says ‘inna anzalnahu Qur’anan arabiyyan‘?”  His love for the Qur’an was so much that he did not listen to any argument and said that every single word had to be Arabic.  What do we do with these words from other languages?  He said that they took the words from the Arabs.  With all respect, it doesn’t work that way.  Later scholars said that there are lots of non-Arabic words in the Qur’an and it is not a problem.  Imam Al-Suyuti wrote a book, and over 250 words in this book are claimed to be non-Arabic.  He said sundus is a Farsi word.  There are words from Aramaic and the Ethiopian language such as istabrak.

How do we reconcile this?  A great scholar Abu Ubayd Al Qasim ibn As-Salam (d. ~230 AH) said, “Both groups are right.  Every language interacts with other languages, and it incorporates words from the other language into its own and substitutes the letters of those languages with the letters of its own and changes the word to suit its own grammar.  The word becomes a fluent Arabic word so much so that when an Arab uses the word, no one thinks of its Greek or Latin or Aramaic origin.  It is an Arabic word even if it came centuries ago from another language.”  For example:  Story becomes as-saateer and justice becomes qistaas.   This is the way languages work; you bring in words from other cultures and then they become part of your language.  They are Arabic words even if they were taken from non-Arabic languages.  Allah has spoken the truth when He said ‘inna anzalnahu Qur’anan arabiyyan.’  Imam Al-Shafi’i has said the truth when he said that every single word was Arabic even though his interpretation was a little incorrect.

“…la’alakum ta’qiloon.”  (“So that you may understand…”)

So that you may understand what?  The sentence is not complete.  Why?  When you leave the sentence blank, then you encompass all meanings.  If you finish the sentence, you limit it.  When you leave it blank, it means “so that you may understand [everything]”, and it doesn’t need to be limited.  This also shows us that there is a reason why Allah chose the language of the Arabs, which is because His Prophet is an Arab prophet and his immediate people are an Arab people.  This tells us very frankly that the Arabic language is the most eloquent language.  The opinion of Imam Al-Shafi‘i and Ibn Taymiyyah and many scholars, including non-Arabs, is that the Arabic language is the best language.  Even as non-Arabs we must acknowledge this.  The Arabic of today is not that language, and this is referring to fuhsa (Qur’anic Arabic).  Modern Arabic is a different language altogether and is not the language of that era.  We are talking about that language, and that language was the most eloquent language, and we must believe this as a part of aqeedah.  Imam Al-Shafi‘i said, “This is our aqeedah.”  Some of the scholars were very strict.  In those days, the only other language that the Muslims spoke was Farsi.  If anyone spoke Farsi in front of Imam Maalik, he would have him kicked out of the Prophet’s Masjid (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and say, “This is a place where we speak Arabic.”

Those were different times, and there is nothing wrong with speaking another language.  They wanted to preserve the language of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  I say this as a non-Arab: we should learn Arabic.  It is not wajib to learn Arabic, but subhanAllah, this is our religion.  The Qur’an and Sunnah are our religion, and learning Arabic is a big part of our religion.  You cannot become a true student of the Qur’an until you learn Arabic.  This is a simple fact.  Reading a translation is meaningless.  You have not read the verse yet, much less the tafsir, if you have to read the translation to understand it.  Allah says, “I have revealed this kitab al-mubeen in an Arabic language so that you can understand it.”

If somebody were to say, ‘It is not fair that the non-Arabs do not understand the Qur’an.  What do we do as a non-Arab and what are non-Arabs supposed to do with the guidance in the Arabic language?’, the response to this is:

  1. One language had to be chosen, logically.  Even if Allah chose another language, then people of other languages would have said the same thing.  This is not a solid response to criticize the revelation in Arabic.
  2. Also, we say that Arabic is the most eloquent of all languages.  All of the languages we know of that Allah revealed Books in are Semitic languages.  He (subhanahu wata’ala) revealed books in Hebrew and Aramaic and probably in Syriac (the language of Dawud (‘alayhi salam)).  Semitic is a family of languages:  Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic.  There are Indo-Aryan languages, which is Latin and Sanskrit.  If you study the differences between those two branches, you will find a world of difference.  [Tangent: Nahw and sarf are a blessing because they show the structure and precision of the language.  It is not found in English grammar and Latin grammar.  Sarf is taking a three letter verb and adding an alif, a wow, or a meem.  It is said from one verb you can derive 250 words.  Once you learn one word in the Arabic language (one three letter root), you can instantaneously derive at least 250 words if you know sarf properly.  This is an amazing language.  This does not exist in English or any other language.]
  3. The third response is even if you do not understand its full beauty in Arabic, a translation will give you a glimpse of it.  We give non-Muslims a translation of the Qur’an, and there is no problem with this whatsoever.  Some stricter Muslims say that we should not give them a translation of the Qur’an.  [Refutation:]  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) wrote to the Emperor of Rome, and in the letter, he wrote a verse of the Qur’an.  When the Emperor received the verse, it was translated in front of him into Latin.  This was the first time in history that the Qur’an was translated.  This was in the lifetime of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  How can anybody say that it is not allowed?  It was in the lifetime of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and he knew it was going to be translated.  The Emperor of Rome did not speak Arabic, and the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) wrote to him in Arabic.  It is our duty to translate the Qur’an into other languages.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) had no problem doing it. It is not the Qur’an anymore, but the glimpse of beauty will remain.

Why is Allah beginning this surah by mentioning that He has revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam)?  One of the reasons Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) is mentioning this is to remind the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) of the favors that He has given to him.  This is a standard motif of the Qur’an.  Surah Al-Dhuha:  “Your Lord has not left you, nor has He abandoned you…Didn’t We find you as an orphan and take care of you?”  Allah is reminding the favors He has done to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).  It is human nature that when you are spiritually down, you need somebody to cheer you up.  Allah ‘azza wa jall is telling the greatest positive thing:  He has revealed the Qur’an to him (one person), and this is the greatest blessing.

Ayah 3:

 

 

“We will be narrating to you the best of all stories…”

Nahnu (the plural) occurs because of Allah and the angels.  “We recite to you the stories.” What stories?  Ahsana’l-qasas. “The best of all stories.”  What is a qisah?  The word qisah comes from qasah, which means to follow the footsteps in the sand. When the bedouins found somebody’s footsteps, they would follow them in order to catch up to that person.  Allah says about Musa in the Qur’an in Surah Kahf [v. 64]:  “…Musa and Yusha followed their own qassasah (footsteps) back.”  Why does a story come from following the footsteps?  You are walking in their footsteps and following them.  When I tell you the qisah, what happens to you?  You are living it.  Why does everybody love a story?  A story is mesmerizing.  A person never grows too old to listen to a story.  No matter how old you are, you love to listen to a story.  What do we do when we put children to sleep?  We tell them a story, and this is what children love.  All of us are children in this regard, and we love stories.  Allah is saying, “We are going to give you the best of stories.”  It is called a qisah because we are walking the walk.  When we hear the story it is as if we are following their footsteps.  Allah is saying, “We will give you the best of stories.”

If you read any book of how to speak and how to give an effective talk, there is always a chapter dedicated to the story.  In one of the latest books that I read, it says to always begin a lecture with a personal anecdote or personal story.  Why?  Because it grabs the attention of the audience.  It is human nature that stories are attractive.  Stories are something that you like to listen to.  Also, the lessons in stories are manifested.  If I open up Riyadh Al-Saliheen and tell you the benefits of patience, masha’Allah it is good, but now I get to the story of the mother of Anas and how she reacted when her son died.  Now those ahadith are brought home.  It is not the same as saying, “Whoever is patient, masha’Allah he has good iman.”  When I show you a story, those stories remain with you, and you are affected by them more, which is human nature.  Allah ‘azza wa jall is telling us stories.

Another benefit of a story is that they are ‘aqeedah (theology) in action.  It is one thing to say that you put your trust in Allah, but when we hear the story of Ibrahim when he is going to be thrown into the fire and he puts his trust in Allah, it is theology shown in action.  ‘Aqeedah is manifested.

Another benefit of the story is that it is the reality of what has happened in the past.  It is a real thing and not theory anymore.  We know this happened to the previous prophets, and so we sense it more.  Another benefit is that stories teach us that Allah’s Sunnah is repetitive and what has happened in the past will happen again.  What is the purpose of a fable or story we tell our children?  There is always a moral to the story.  There is always a lesson to be learned.  The lessons of Allah and these rules of Allah are permanent.  When we hear these stories, the rules are reinforced.  One of the fundamental rules of the story of Yusuf is that righteousness will win in the end, and evil can never succeed in the long run.  This is one of the main themes of Surah Yusuf.  We are going to come to this.  When we read the story, we see this manifested and in real life; therefore, this maxim is then implanted in us that righteousness will win out in the end, and that is why Allah says in the Qur’an: “We will send you down stories to strengthen your resolve.”  It is not childish to find motivation in stories, but it is part of our iman.  Reading the stories of the prophets and reading the seerah of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is one of the greatest ways to increase iman.  Reading the stories of the sahabah brings about a sense of taqwa and iman and courage in us.  Stories are a part of the Qur’an and Sunnah and part of human nature.  This whole surah is a story.

“We will be narrating to you the best of all stories.”  This has two meanings to it.  First, every single Qur’anic story is the best of its kind.  This is for many reasons:

  1. They are all true and not legends or fables.  A true story is always better than an imaginary story.
  2. They have the best morals.  No other story will give you those types of morals.
  3. The eloquent manners of presenting these stories.  There is no story that can be more eloquent than the Qur’anic one.
  4. Every story that a man writes will have details and information that is not needed, and it distracts from the story and the moral. Allah ‘azza wa jall will tell you exactly what you need to know and not more or less. This is one of the biggest differences between the story of Yusuf in the Qur’an and the story of Yusuf in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament gives so many details that you get lost.  The story of Yusuf [in the Qur’an] even a ten year old can read cover to cover and will understand everything.  The details are not there that will cause you to become lost.

Every story in the Qur’an is the best.  A second meaning that has been derived is the fact that Allah has mentioned this verse in Surah Yusuf is an indication that Surah Yusuf is the best of all stories.  There are two meanings that we derive:  1)  Qur’anic stories are better than all other non-Qur’anic stories, and the Qur’an re-emphasizes this; it is pretty obvious.  2)  The story of Yusuf is the best of all of these stories.  This is why Allah begins the surah with “nahnu naqussu ‘alayka ahsana’l-qasas.”  “We are the Ones who will tell you the best of all qasas…”

…bimaa awhaynaa ilayka…

Bimaa means ‘because / through this revelation We have given you the Qur’an.’  In other words, ‘because We are revealing the Qur’an to you, it is Our duty to tell you the best of all stories even though before the Qur’an came down you were from the ghaafileen.’  Ghaafil means you did not have knowledge.  Ghaflah means to not have knowledge, and sometimes that ghaflah is intentional, and sometimes it is unintentional.  In this case, it is unintentional.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did not have access to knowledge.  Allah calls the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) ghaafil because he didn’t have the knowledge, not because he did not study but because he could not have studied.  Allah is saying, “Because We have revealed this Qur’an to you, it is Our duty to give you the best of stories.”

Notice:  Allah calls the Book Qur’an, and in the previous verse, He called it kitabKitab and Qur’an are complementary.  The kitab is written, and Qur’an is recited, and the two put together form the reality of our Book.  Allah mentions both in the beginning of this surah.

“We have revealed to you the best of all stories because of Our relation to the Qur’an even though before the Qur’an came down you were from the ghaafileen.”  This shows us a number of points, and with this insha’Allah we will conclude:

  1. The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) despite being the greatest human being before the wahy came down did not know these details.  What does that show?  This is a very profound point for modern philosophers and scientists.  The Qur’an is the ultimate source for all of our guidance.  We will never know ultimate truth from falsehood and good from evil without the Qur’an.  The modern philosophy is that if you sit in a cave and meditate – I’m being a bit sarcastic here – and if you use your intellect, you will be able to derive all of the wisdoms you need to know.  You will be able to figure out what is right and wrong and what is the best way to govern and what is the best way to judge and what the best ruling is.  The Qur’an tells us that even before the Qur’an came down, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) despite being the best of human beings was ghaafil.  If our Rasool (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) could not have known all of these truths before the Qur’an came down, do you think that me or you or someone else would ever know the realities?  Allah says in the Qur’an:  “You didn’t choose to know what was iman, what was the Book.”  Allah says in the Qur’an,  “Wa wa jadaka daalan fahada (You were not on the path.)”  [Surah Dhuha: 7]  The meaning of daal here is not misguided; the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was never misguided.  Daal means, “you weren’t on the path.”  You can be misguided or just not have a path, and in the case of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), he did not have a path yet.  This was the state of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) before the wahy (revelation) came down, so what then is the state of other than the Rasool without wahy?  There is no guidance without the Qur’an, and this is a fundamental belief of all Muslims.  This is why the Qur’an is a hidayah and siraat al-mustaqeem and kitab al-mubeen and kitab al-hakeem.  You will never be able to achieve ultimate truth without the Qur’an.  Allah says, “Even though before the coming of the revelation, you were from the ghafileen.”
  2. Allah is saying, “You didn’t know these surahs before I revealed them to you, and you were ghaafil about them, so how did you know about them?”  We mentioned this before.  How did he living in Makkah without access to any library and without any Old or New Testament and without access to Jews and Christians know about the story of Yusuf?  There is only one source and that is Allah (subhanahu wata’ala).  This is of the greatest miracles that we as Muslims many times neglect and do not appreciate.  Our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was living in an environment of complete illiteracy and complete ignorance.  There were no libraries, and there were no universities and there were no scholars.  The people in Makkah were bedouins.  Imagine: in our times with the internet and cell phones, it is difficult to imagine.  For those of you older than fifteen or twenty remember the time before cell phones – imagine in that era coming across a tribe in Brazil or in the jungles of Africa, which are completely cut off from civilization, and they have amongst them a man who is talking about the histories of Rome and Persia and the stories of the Old and New Testament, and he is in the complete middle of the jungle, and the people can’t even read and write.  They are literally backward tribesmen, let’s say, but they have a man amongst them who knows all of these things.  Isn’t this something we can’t imagine?  It is a miracle of miracles.  This was the case of our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) in Makkah.  He came forth with stories, issues, and statements that people had no access to.  The only access could have been from Allah, and this is one of the clear signs that the Qur’an is indeed from Allah.

Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Avatar

    nayma

    April 22, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Jazak allahu khairan Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. We just started listening to this series a few weeks ago.
    Your videos are always a source of inspiration and knowledge for my kids.

  2. Yahya Ibrahim

    Yahya Ibrahim

    April 22, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    Bismillah,

    Thats the Abu Ammar EVERYONE loves, masha Allah Tabarak Allah.

    Keep up the good work and rock the mic akhi.

    yahya

    http://www.facebook.com/yahya.adel.ibrahim

  3. Pingback: The Best of Stories: Pearls from Surah Yusuf | Part 1 … | Baltimore Pearls

  4. Avatar

    ahmed

    April 22, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    jazakum Allahu khairan to whoever did the transcript for this – it’s a lot of work to type up a lecture, but it makes studying the material much easier

  5. Avatar

    Bint Alam

    April 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    may Allaah keep you steadfast on the truth shaykh, ameen. I like you in the traditional way, as in apeaking on the mic more, suits you better Alhamdulillah.

  6. Avatar

    ummMaryam

    April 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    salamu ‘alaikum,

    jazakum Allah khair…the transcript is soooo helpful mashaAllah. with a newborn and other young kids, it would be hard for me to sit through a video at this stage in life…but if reading and cut off, I can continue easily where I left off…while it is a lot of work I hope the person who did this will continue with the transcripts inshallah. Jazakum Allah khair again.

  7. Avatar

    Bint A

    April 22, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Masha’Allah the quality of the video is amazing. JazakumAllahu khairun for posting the series, as well as the transcript.

    I think all who know Sh. Yasir Qadhi have listened to his Tafseer Surat Yusuf series in one form or another.
    Can’t wait to get to this inshaAllah!

  8. Avatar

    salih

    April 22, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    Barakallahu fik for such this beautiful and beneficial tafsir!

  9. Avatar

    Qasym

    April 23, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    we’re using his series for a Study Circle…very beneficial mA

  10. Avatar

    Ibrahim Shareef

    April 23, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Jazakallah khair for the upload, barakallah feek: will there be any uploads of the Seerah classes mentioned in the other set of videos on that same channel?

  11. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    April 24, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    masha`Allah, it looks like someone has outpaced us in transcribing of these series. Jazakum Allahu khairun.

    I was upto number lesson no. 5 from the Huda TV series, are these series more or less the same content, I have not had a chance to compare with my notes yet?

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      April 26, 2011 at 8:53 AM

      Salam

      This series is much more comprehensive – the Huda ones are older and more compact. Of course there will be a lot of overlap (the original notes are the same!), but I was able to take more time for this one and research through more tafsir works.

      Yasir

  12. Avatar

    Leo Imanov

    April 25, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    bismi-lLaah wa-lhamdu li-lLaah wa-sh shalatu wa-s salamau ‘ala rasuli-lLaah wa ‘ala lihi wa man walah

    assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatu-lLaahi wa barakaatuH

    what a tafsir!
    may Allaah preserve abu ammar yair qadhi, i love his lecture and i learn very much from his lecture, alhamdu li-lLaah!

    wa bi-lLaahi-ttaufiq wa-lhidayah

    wa-ssalamu ‘alaikum

  13. Avatar

    Leo Imanov

    April 25, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    bismi-lLaah wa-lhamdu li-lLaah wa-sh shalatu wa-s salamau ‘ala rasuli-lLaah wa ‘ala lihi wa man walah

    assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatu-lLaahi wa barakaatuH.

    one thing i do NOT agree with him, ‘alaihi-ssalam is only for the prophet and for the shahabah we say radliya-lLaahu anha for a woman or ‘anhu for a man.

    i heard he said khadijah ‘alaihi-ssalam and he should say khadijah radliya-lLahu anha

    wa-ssalamu ‘alaikum

  14. Avatar

    M

    April 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    “the Qur’an is exactly the same from Al-Fatihah to An-Nas, word for word, letter for letter, harakah for harakah ”

    What about the different recitations?

  15. Pingback: The Best of Stories: Pearls from Surah Yusuf | Part 2 | MuslimMatters.org

  16. Pingback: The Best of Stories: Pearls from Surah Yusuf | Part 2 | ISLAMIC SPOTLIGHT: ISLAMIC NEWS, STORIES, HADITH, DOCUMENTARIES, LECTURES, NASHEED AND MORE DEEN RELATED ARTICLES

  17. Pingback: Pearls from Surah Yusuf Part 1 – Video 1 of 5 – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

  18. Pingback: The Best of Stories: Pearls from Surah Yusuf | Part 1 | allah.eu

  19. Pingback: Pearls from Surah Yusuf Part 1 – Video 3 of 5 – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

  20. Avatar

    Your sis

    June 15, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    jazak Allahu khayran Shaykh, just started reading this & you’ve got me all geared up, alhamdulilLah!

  21. Avatar

    Saikouba

    July 3, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Allahu Akbar, it is indeed amazing and the stories are really and truely inspiring as it the nature of human as the Sheikh said in the commentary, so this lessons are very moving and sensational there in are countless wisdoms put fort by our Rabb. May Allah make the Quran the ultimate source of our strength and guidance. Ameen. May Allah swt preserve our Scholars InshaAllah the likes of Sheikh Yasser Quadi and the rest inshaAllah.

  22. Pingback: সূরা ইউসুফ থেকে পাওয়া ১২টি লাইফ লেসন – ৪র্থ ও শেষ পর্ব – চূড়ান্ত সাফল্য | চিন্তাশীল মুসলিমের ব্লগ

  23. Avatar

    dervesh

    December 14, 2015 at 1:13 AM

    Jazak allah
    I have a question ..it says in Verse 100..ALLAH BRINGS FORTH WHAT HE WILLS OR HE WORKS IN mysterious ways ?? does it mean he has a plan for each one of us .I know about Qadar ( destiny) but my question is what this ayat mean ??

  24. Avatar

    Zia-e-Taiba

    October 31, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    Nice to see an article about Amazing Power Of Memory

  25. Avatar

    Abubakar Farooqui

    March 28, 2018 at 3:23 PM

    Jazak Allah sister Sameera for the transcript. Its really hard to type a lecture down but its really helpful. Thank you so much! May Allah reward you for this in this world and the hereafter.

    And of course, Ustadh Yasir Qadhi enhances our understanding Quran in an amazing manner i.e quoting different examples and bringing out easy analogies. May Allah S.W.T make us worthy of understanding Qur’an so that we may get the best of it.

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    Abdul Muhaimin Rahman

    October 26, 2018 at 1:19 AM

    Can we have a full pdf version?

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Six Principles for Achieving the Ideal Islamic Society

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By Ibrahim Khan

 

Attending jumu’ah on a weekly basis can give us an opportunity to learn many things. However, nearly every Friday towards the end of the khutbah, the khatib recites a verse that many of us are accustomed to:

“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. [An-Nahl; 90]

Some of us may have even memorised this verse directly from the mouth of the Imam during the Friday Khutbah. Why do Imams recite this verse nearly every Friday in the jumu’ah khutbah worldwide? What is the significance of this verse?

Imam Ahmad reports a Hasan Hadith on the authority of Abdullah bin AbbasraḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) with regards to the revelation of this verse, who said:

‘While the Messenger of Allah was sitting in the courtyard of his house, Uthman bin Maz`un passed by and smiled at the Messenger of Allah.

The Messenger of Allah said to him, “Won’t you sit down?”

He replied, “Certainly.”

So the Messenger of Allah sat facing him, and while they were talking, the Messenger of Allah began looking up at the sky, looking at it for a while, then he brought his gaze down until he was looking at the ground to his right. Then the Messenger of Allah turned slightly away from his companion Uthman to where he was looking. Then he began to tilt his head as if trying to understand something, and Ibn Maz`un was looking on. When the matter was finished and he had understood what had been said to him, the Messenger of Allah stared at the sky again as he had the first time, looking at whatever he could see until it disappeared. Then he turned back to face Uthman again.

Uthman said, “I have never seen you do anything like you did today while I was sitting with you.

The Messenger of Allah said: “What did you see me do?”

Uthman said, “I saw you staring at the sky, then you lowered your gaze until you were looking to your right, then you turned to him and left me. Then you tilted your head as if you were trying to understand something that was being said to you.”

The Messenger of Allah said, “A messenger from Allah came to me just now, when you were sitting here.”

Uthman said, “A messenger from Allah!”

The Messenger of Allah said, “Yes.”

Uthman said, “And what did he say to you?”

The Messenger of Allah said, “A verse was revealed to me:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَأْمُرُ‌ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْ‌بَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ‌ وَالْبَغْيِ ۚ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُ‌ونَ

“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.”

Uthman said, “That was when faith was established in my heart and I began to love Muhammad.”’ [Tafsir Ibn Kathir 16;90]

 

If we carefully analyse this verse, we find that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has mentioned 6 principles; 3 commandments and 3 prohibitions.

 

  • Justice

The first command is to be just. From amongst the 89 commandments within the Qur’an in which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) addresses the believers by beginning with the statement, ‘O you who believe’, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in one of those verses:

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.” [Al Ma’idah;8]

From amongst the other prophets of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) who were commanded within the Qur’an to act with justice, is the Prophet Dawud 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) narrates in Surah Sa’d an event that occurred during his lifetime in which his ability to act justly was tested. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says,

”And has there come to you the news of the adversaries, when they climbed over the wall of [his] prayer chamber –

When they entered upon David and he was alarmed by them? They said, ‘Fear not. [We are] two adversaries, one of whom has wronged the other, so judge between us with truth and do not exceed [it] and guide us to the sound path.

Indeed this, my brother, has ninety-nine ewes, and I have one ewe; so he said, ‘Entrust her to me,’ and he overpowered me in speech.

(Dawud) said, “He has certainly wronged you in demanding your ewe [in addition] to his ewes. And indeed, many associates oppress one another, except for those who believe and do righteous deeds – and few are they.” And David became certain that We had tried him, and he asked forgiveness of his Lord and fell down bowing [in prostration] and turned in repentance [to Allah ].

 

Allah tested Dawud 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) by sending him two angels disguised in the form of shepherds. These shepherds where brothers; one of them had a single female sheep (ewe) whilst the other had 99. They both came to Dawud 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) to present their case to him. The one who had a single sheep spoke and said that his brother wanted to claim his one sheep (to make a total of 100 sheep). Without hearing the other side of the story, Dawud 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) made a judgement and said the other brother’s claim was oppressive towards his brother. The two brothers then vanished and Dawud 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) realised it was a test; he fell into prostration seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accepted his repentance and then commanded him to judge with justice on the Earth.

So We forgave him that; and indeed, for him is nearness to Us and a good place of return.

[We said], “O David, indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth and do not follow [your own] desire, as it will lead you astray from the way of Allah .” Indeed, those who go astray from the way of Allah will have a severe punishment for having forgotten the Day of Account. [Surah Sa’ad; 21-26]

 

  • Excellence

The second principle mentioned in the verse is the command to act with excellence. If you study the Qur’an, you will find إِحْسَانًا or أَحْسَنُ meaning ‘excellence’ to be a prevalent theme throughout.

When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) speaks about being obedient to parents, he mentions obedience in the most excellent form,

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, excellent treatment.” [Surah Isra’;23]

When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) speaks about talking, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions excellent in utterance,

And tell My servants to say that which is excellent[Surah Isra’;53]

In Surah Mulk, when Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) speaks about the purpose of his creation, he relates it to excellence:

“It is he who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is excellent in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving “ [Surah Mulk;2]

These are just some of the examples mentioned in the Qur’an. Within the Sunnah our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) summed up excellence in a single hadith:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الْإِحْسَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ
“Verily, Allah has prescribed excellence in everything.” [Muslim; 1955]

 

Whatever actions we perform, whether it is related to Islam or the Dunya, the foundation of excellence should be there.

 

  • The Rights of the Relatives (Ties of Kinship)

The third and final command of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) within this verse is to be kind to relatives and to uphold the ties of kinship. Our prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioned many ahadith which emphasised the status of the relatives. In just one of those ahadith, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

The quickest good deeds to be rewarded are righteousness and good relations with family. The quickest evil deeds to be punished are transgression and severing family ties.” [Ibn Majah; 4212]

One of the greatest dilemmas facing Muslims in today’s time is the cutting of kinship. A person will do their best to maintain ties of relationship with relatives only to have them cut off.  During the time of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), a man came to him and complained, “I have relatives with whom I maintain ties while they cut me off. I am good to them while they are bad to me. They behave foolishly towards me while I am forbearing towards them.” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied, “If things are as you said, it is as if you were putting hot ashes on them (it is going to harm them because of their behaviour) and you will not lack a supporter against them from Allah as long as you continue to do that.” [Adab al Mufrad; 52]

 

  • Immorality 

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) now moves on to the prohibitions. The first prohibition that the believers -both male and female- are commanded to stay away from is immorality. It is very unfortunate, living in the West that we Muslims are exposed to immorality on a daily basis; at work, school, university and the easily accessible media.

With regards to this principle, I want to outline two remarkable hadiths. Our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“Modesty is part of faith and faith is in Paradise. Shamelessness is part of impudence and impudence is in the Hellfire.” [Tirmidhi; 2009]

The paths to eternal bliss and eternal punishment have been made clear.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also said:
“Obscenity is not found in anything but that it spoils it, and modesty is not found in anything but that it beautifies it.” [Tirmidhi; 1974]

 

  • Evil

Allah within the Qur’an praised this Ummah because of their enjoining of good and forbidding evil.

You are the best nation produced for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. [Surah Al-e-Imran; 110]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) gave us a stern warning, if evil was not prohibited when he said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment to you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted“. [Tirmidhi; 193]

 

  • Transgression 

The final principle and prohibition is to avoid transgression. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commanded the Muslims to be united through the bond of La ilaha ilallah, enveloped by brotherhood & sisterhood, and to be upon the Qur’an & Sunnah:

And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” [Surah Al-e-Imrah;103]

For this reason, there are numerous ahadith of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mentioning the virtues of unity. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

لاَ تَبَاغَضُوا، وَلاَ تَحَاسَدُوا، وَلاَ تَدَابَرُوا، وَكُونُوا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ إِخْوَانًا، وَلاَ يَحِلُّ لِمُسْلِمٍ أَنْ يَهْجُرَ أَخَاهُ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثِ لَيَالٍ

Do not hate one another, nor be jealous of one another; and do not desert one another, but O Allah’s worshipers! Be Brothers! And it is unlawful for a Muslim to desert his brother Muslim (and not to talk to him) for more than three nights.” [Bukhari; 6076]

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) at the end of this hadith mentioned that it is prohibited to desert talking tot your brother for more than three nights. How many households are there where brothers don’t speak to one another, or sisters don’t speak to sisters or children not speaking to their parents? This principle is very similar to the previous principle mentioned earlier on this verse on the importance of being kind to relatives. These two principles involve giving other fellow human beings their right and for this reason, the Prophet combined them two (transgression and ties of kinship) within a single hadith where he said:

There is no sin more deserving for Allah to quicken its punishment in this life, in addition to the Hereafter, other than transgression and cutting off family ties. [Tirmidhi; 2511]

 

These 6 principles; Being just, acting with excellence, maintaining ties of kinship, staying away from immorality, forbidding evil and avoiding transgression, if followed, will lead to the ideal Islamic society being formed within our communities. If we all implement these 6 principles on an individual level, this will insha’allah be embodied on a communal level. This verse encapsulates both good and bad and for this reason, the great scholar of the Qur’an, Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) commented on this verse and said;

“There is no verse in the Qur’an which is greater in combining the halal and the haram and the command the prohibition than this verse.” [Adab al Mufrad; 489]

 

 

Ibrahim Khan was blessed to have been able to memorize the Qur’an in the UK and then went on to study Aqeedah, Fiqh, Hadith with different teachers and scholars (some from which visited the UK from abroad).

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Power Up Your Kids’ Ramadan! Days 1-7

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Welcome to Ilmburst’s FREE Ramadan children’s video series: Power Up Ramadan.

Day Two: RACE

Day Three: GOALS

Day Four: PRAYER

Day Five: EMPTY

Day Six: QUR’AN

Day Seven: SINCERITY

Check out more Ramadan resources on the Ilmburst website.

Follow Ilmburst on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Al-Mudawwanah Al-Jāmi’ah: The History and Methodology of the Hadith Encyclopedia

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By Shaykh Al-Islam Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani, translated by Umer Ansari

Translator’s Foreword:

The following is the first formal introduction to Al-Mudawwanah Al-Jāmi’ah: The Hadith Encyclopedia in the English language.

It has been formulated based on the Arabic Muqaddimah penned by Shaykh Mufti Taqī ‘Uthmānī at the beginning of Al-Mudawwanah Al-Jāmi’ah, the Urdu introduction by our esteemed Shaykh that was published in Al-Balagh Urdu Monthly (Nov 2017), and his speech given at “Taqrīb-i Shukr” ceremony (Dec 5, 2017) at Dār al-Ulūm Karachi, the transcription of which has also been published in Al-Balagh Urdu Monthly (Jan 2018).

This translation aims to provide, in the English language, a comprehensive introduction of this historical work with the latest information available at the time.


In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Ever Merciful

All praises are due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings be upon Allah’s noble messenger, his household, and all of his noble companions.

Since 2002, Dār al-‘Ulūm in Karachi has undertaken an important project in the field of hadith compilation and, by Allah’s mercy and blessings, we have reached an important milestone. The first volume of the hadith encyclopedia has been published under the title Al-Mudawwanah Al-Jāmi’ah lil-ahadith al-Marwīyah ‘an an-Nabī al-Karīm allá Allāh ‘alayhi wassallam.

By the grace of Allah, this project has been in progress without any publicity. Since the first volume is now published, however, the time is ripe on this joyous occasion that a concise introduction be presented for all the people of knowledge.

The Preservation of Hadith

For indeed, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has chosen the nation of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to preserve the details of His beloved messenger’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) noble life. This is so because the noble messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was sent with divine guidance for all of humanity until the Day of Judgment. Therefore, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has taken it upon Himself to protect the Qur’an. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

“We, Ourselves, have sent down the Dhikr (the Qur’an), and We are there to protect it.” [Al-ijr, 15:9][1]

 

Furthermore, the protection of the Qur’an entails the preservation of the sunnah of Allah’s messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) because Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) had sent him to teach and explain the Book of Allah. He says:

 

 

“We sent down the Reminder (The Qur’an) to you, so that you explain to the people what has been revealed for them, and so that they may ponder.” [an-Nal, 16:44]

 

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

 

Allah has surely conferred favor on the believers when He raised in their midst a messenger from among themselves  who recites to them His verses and makes them pure and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, while earlier, they were in open error.” [Āl-i-Imrān, 3:164]

 

Therefore, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) chose some among His servants to preserve the sunnah of His Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). They dedicated their lives to preserving the sunnah by memorizing, writing, teaching, explaining, and propagating it. They spared no effort in preserving the text and the chains of narrators of ahadith, in scrutinizing the narrators to separate the reliable narrators from the unreliable, in the writing and compiling of ahadith, in explaining and extrapolating from them, and in expanding this science while preserving it, the likes of which is unprecedented in human history.

It is no secret from the people of knowledge that the way Muslims have preserved hadith of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is unparalleled and incomparable with any other nation or religion. Innumerable compilations of hadith have been written in different styles, and each one of them possesses many benefits.

When we examine the history of the hadith sciences, we find works that attempted at compiling numerous hadith. ‘Allāmah Ibn al-Athīr al-Jazarī compiled the six books of Al-Sihah Al-Sitta (also known as Al-Kutub Al-Sitta)[2] into Jāmi’ al-Usūl, however, it included Al-Muwaṭṭaʾ of Imam Mālik instead of Sunan Ibn Mājah. Then ‘Allāmah Haythami compiled his Majmau’ al-Zawāid in which he compiled the ahadith of Al-Sihāh Al-Sitta, along with Musnad Amad, Al-Mu’jam Al-abarānī, and Musnad Abu Ya’lā. This was followed by Jam’ul Fawāid in which Jāmi’ al-Usūl and Majmau’ al-Zawāid were compiled together, in addition to the narrations exclusively found in Sunan Ibn Mājah and Sunan ad-Dārimi.

Later, many other compilations took place, for example Al-Jawāmi’ of ‘Allāmah al-Suyūṭī and Kanz al-‘Ummāl to name a few. However, in these compilations, ahadith were collected with their matn (text), while leaving out their isnād (chain of narrators)[3].

Thus, every generation has served the Prophetic traditions by facilitating the need to search ahadith from the hadith compilations, details of which are well-known to the people of knowledge. In the Information Age, there are numerous programs to search hadith, the importance of which cannot be denied. However, new ways of service to the Prophetic traditions continue to manifest.

Background

About fifteen years ago a friend of mine, who would like to remain anonymous, proposed that all the Prophetic traditions should be assigned a unique international number. The current method of citing hadith is either by making a reference to the page number of the reference work, or by mentioning the hadith number found in that collection. However, such references differ quite often due to the differences in the manuscripts and publications. Therefore, such a method is not the best tool to search and cite hadith. In addition, while doing takhrīj[4], narrations of some works are missed.

Without drawing a likeness to the Qur’an, just as each Qur’anic chapter and verse are numbered, and it is enough to cite the chapter and the verse number that doesn’t differ with different prints, the proposal suggested each hadith to be assigned a unique hadith number that can be used to cite as a reference comprising of all the details (pertaining to it) in a single place.

I personally liked this proposal, and it was obvious that it would require a thorough examination to compile a new hadith encyclopedia consisting of all the traditions that are attributed to the messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (i.e. Marfū’ ahadith)[5]. None of the compilers of hadith have claimed that they have only included hadith, after a close study of all the narrations, that are found in all of the hadith works in the world.

Along with its importance, the sheer volume of work required an insight of a scholarly body. For this reason, the gentleman who had presented this proposal wanted to host a meeting of scholars who were learned and experienced in dealing with the sciences of hadith and it’s cataloging.

The First Meeting

On the 5th and 7th of Ramaḍān, 1422 (A.H.) a meeting was held in Makkah al-Mukarramah that comprised of scholars who had expertise in hadith, especially in hadith compilation, arrangement, and preservation.

The most prominent amidst them was Shaykh Dr. Mustafa al-‘Azami, who, among his other extensive contributions to the hadith sciences, was the first to computerize hadith. His work in the digitization of hadith had earned him the King Faisal International Award[6].

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaraḍāwī, who currently resides in Qatar, was also invited because he is a world-renowned academic.

The Grand Mufti of Pakistan Shaykh Mufti Muḥammad Rafī’ ‘Uthmāni, the Principal of Dār al-‘Ulūm Karachi in Pakistan and the muḥaddith there was invited as well.

Also present was Shaykh Dr. Abdul Malik bin Bakr al-Qāḍi, a Riyadh based scholar and the author of Diwān as-Sunan wa al-Athār, who in 1422 A.H. had personally begun to collect all the available ahadith with their text and chain of narration. He had presented to me a sample from his work in the form of Kitāb al-Zakah, seeking my advice and recommendations. I had found that his work was missing the books of the Hanafi school, for example At-aāwī, Al-Muwaṭṭaʾ of Imam Muḥammad and Kitāb al-Athār of Imam Abu Yusuf. I had written to him in my response that how can his work be called “al-Jāmi’” if it did not include these works. He then responded to me that he would include them as well. At the time we had no thought towards such a project. However, now that we were meeting in Makkah, he was invited as well so that we could benefit from his experience.

Additionally, Shaykh Dr. Maḥmūd al-Taḥān, Dr. ‘Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah[7], Dr. Syed Muḥammad Syed Nūḥ, Shaykh Nizām Ya’qūbi, and I were present at the meeting.

With the blessings of the month of Ramaḍān and the Ḥaramain Sharīfain, everyone was receptive to the proposal, analyzed different aspects of it, and encouraged it. We discussed the different ways this could be achieved. The first meeting was concluded by forming a four-member committee to further brainstorm the methodology for the project and how it may be implemented. The four members of this committee were Dr. Mustafa al-‘Azami, Muḥammad Taqī ‘Uthmānī, Shaykh Abdul Malik bin Bakr al-Qāḍi, and Shaykh Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah.

The Second Meeting

This committee convened its meeting on the 25th and 26th of Shawwāl, 1422 A.H. in Makkah al-Mukarramah, where the structure of this project was discussed.

Since Shaykh Abdul Malik bin Bakr al-Qāḍi had a head start, even though his work was missing some books, he presented his methodology in compiling hadith. Listening to his experience, it dawned upon the committee members that this project would require at least forty personnel. It was also suggested that this forty personnel should be divided into two equal groups, one based in Karachi under the supervision of Dār al-‘Ulūm Karachi and another group in Cairo under the supervision of Shaykh Abdul Malik bin Bakr al-Qāḍi.

The Suggestion of Dr. Mustafa al-‘Azami

When the project’s finances were estimated, we were in shock. I spoke with Dr. Mustafa al-‘Azami that with such estimated expenses, it did not seem possible to have forty people in two groups working on the project in two different cities, to which he agreed.

I also told him that if we were to undertake this project it would be in the footsteps of our elders in simplicity. We would do however little we can and we will leave it to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to make it reach its completion.

Dr. Mustafa al-‘Azami agreed, and he proposed that this project should be entrusted to Dār al-‘Ulūm Karachi under my humble supervision, it should not be publicized, and while relying and trusting upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the work should begin.

Initial Investment

In order to initiate this project, some investment was nevertheless needed. An individual from Dubai approached us and offered to single-handedly sponsor all the finances of this project. I did not think it wise to rely on an individual for the finances of this project; rather I felt that we must solely rely upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Therefore, it was made clear to him that he may assist out of his own will for as long as he wishes, while we trust in Allah to arrange the needed finances.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) showed us that the individual who wanted to single-handedly sponsor the entire project backed out within four months of his claim. We believed that this project was purely for the sake of Allah, because it was in service of the hadith of the messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), therefore, Allah Most High would continue the project to operate out of His Mercy.

Whatever little finances we had, we continued to operate with it. Since this project was not Zakat eligible, those funds could not be allocated to this project.

The Department of Mawsū’ah al-Hadith

Henceforth, a separate department by the name of Mawsū’ah al-Hadith (موسوعة الحديث) was established within Dār al-‘Ulūm Karachi. A small group of researchers was formed so that by working on this project they could gain hands-on experience in researching hadith.

After laying down its methodology, this project needed a leader with rigorous qualifications: he had to be experienced, intimately familiar with the science of hadith, skillful in the art of writing scholarly publications, as well as proficient in the use of computers. Praise be to Allah that Shaykh Na’īm Ashraf[8] was appointed to this position, may Allah bless his life, knowledge, and endeavors.

Hence, they began the work fifteen years ago with very limited resources, having trust only in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Since then, Shaykh Na’īm Ashraf has been dedicating three hours a day to supervise the work. After every dhuhr salāh he brings the draft of ahadith of that day for my review; I give any needed suggestions regarding it, which are then accounted for, and the ahadith are brought for my further review the next day. The finalized ahadith get included in the encyclopedia after my signature approval. This is how the work has been progressing on a daily basis, all thanks are due to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

The Methodology

The intended purpose of the project is to include in Al-Mudawwanah all the marfū’ ahadith[9] that are available in print or in manuscripts from anywhere in the world, and assign a unique number to them along with their variations in the chain of narrators.

The total number of source works have reached up to 910 – comprising of primary and secondary books of hadith, the books of tafsīr, takhrīj, and shuruāt al-hadith[10]. From these, 80 books are the primary sources of hadith because of their original sanad and matn, while the rest are being used as supplementary sources for attesting the primary ahadith. These 80 books are the most commonly referenced works in the field of hadith, as most of the ahadith are found within them, and their authors have narrated them on the authority of their own chain of narrators. If any unique hadith is found in the secondary sources then they are also given a unique number.

An additional feature of Al-Mudawwanah is that we are mentioning the grading of ahadith with their sanad by mentioning the statement from the mutaqaddimīn scholars if available. In the occasion when a comment from the mutaqaddimīn scholars is unavailable, we do not mention our own comment on the hadith, or that of our contemporaries, unless there is a pressing need, in which case the grading of hadith is added in the footnote.

The Arrangement of Al-Mudawwanah

Regarding the arrangement of hadith, we pondered over whether it should be in alphabetical order or based on topics (abwāb). We decided that the alphabetical order would not be beneficial because ahadith, specifically the ahadith al-Fi’liyyah[11], have differences in their text and chain. Hence, Al-Mudawwanah is being arranged according to the abwāb, however, care is being taken that the abwāb do not reflect any particular juristic or theological school.

Al-Hadith al-Mukhtār

Under each chapter, the first hadith is declared as al-Hadith al-Mukhtār (الحديث المختار), which is a marfū’ hadith that is mentioned with its complete chain and has the strongest chain of narrators. This hadith is assigned a unique international number.

The second hadith is at-arīq al-Ajma’ (الطريق الأجمع) and it is also brought with its full chain. The benefit of this second hadith is that it often provides the complete background and context of the narration of al-Hadith al-Mukhtār.

After mentioning at-arīq al-Ajma’, all the different chains that are found in the books that are narrated from the companion of al-Hadith al-Mukhtār are mentioned, along with any important variations in their wordings.

Next, different mutūn (texts) of the hadith that are reported from other noble companions are therefore brought as Shāhid (corroborating evidence) and these reports are assigned subsidiary numbers.

Example: The Famous Hadith an-Niyyah

In order to explain this by an example, the first volume of Al-Mudawwanah is “Kitāb al-Imān”, and it begins with the Hadith an-Niyyah: إنما الأعمال بالنيات.

The strongest chain for this hadith is the one narrated by ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb and recorded in aī al-Bukhārī. Therefore, this report is declared al-Hadith al-Mukhtār, and it is mentioned with its complete chain and assigned a unique international number of Hadith #1.

Following it are 43 different chains of transmission of this hadith that are reported from ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, which are found elsewhere within aī al-Bukhārī and other compilations, along with any variations in their wordings.

Moreover, Hadith an-Niyyah is also narrated by other noble companions, which are brought as shawāhid (corroborating evidence) and are assigned subsidiary numbers.

A subsidiary number of 1/1 is assigned to a report narrated by Abu Sa’īd al-Khudri as recorded by Imam Abu Nu’aym in ilyat-ul-Awliya’; 2/1 is assigned to a report that is narrated by Abu ad-Dardā’ and recorded by Imam Ṭabarānī in his Mu’jam al-Kabīr; 3/1 is a report that is recorded in Tārīkh ad-Dimashq of Ibn ‘Asākir on the authority of Anas; 4/1 is assigned for a report in Tārīkh Nīsābūrī of Ḥākim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah. 5/1 is a hadith reported by Muḥammad bin Yāsir al-Jiyāni on the authority of ‘Ali ibn Abi Ṭālib; 6/1 is a report on the authority of Hizāl bin Yazid that is recorded in Tārīkh Nīsābūrī; and 7/1 is a report that Ibn Bakkar has narrated as a Mursal hadith[12] on the authority of Muḥammad bin Ibrahīm bin al-Ḥārith, which is recorded in Khaāi al-Madīnah.

In summary, wherever this hadith is found in the available classical hadith sources (maādir), they are all detailed in Al-Mudawwanah. Moreover, each sanad is cited with its complete reference, i.e. the name of the book, the volume and page number, and the chapter heading and hadith number found within it.

Therefore, now it would suffice to say, “Al-Mudawwanah Al-Jāmi’ah, Hadith #1”, while making a reference to Hadith an-Niyyah, as Al-Mudawwanah Al-Jāmi’ah will provide all the pertinent details regarding this hadith and all of its different chains of transmission in a single place.

The Digitization of Al-Mudawwanah

When Shaykh Na’īm Ashraf presented the very initial draft of Al-Mudawwanah to the honorable advising committee, it was well-received and approved. Furthermore, Dr. Mustafa al-‘Azami suggested that this work should be digitized. We felt this suggestion quite appropriate and relevant to the needs of our time.

Therefore, Shaykh Na’īm Ashraf drafted a layout for data entry software for this project and hired a company. By the grace of Allah, the database software is in the Arabic language and fully capable of handling the data entry, searching and reporting, and more importantly, the composing needs of this project.

The Work Accomplished Thus Far

Thus far, all thanks are due to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that 17,334 ahadith have been worked upon along with their 340,499 different chains of transmission.

The first volume of Al-Mudawwanah, consisting of a complete Kitāb al-Imān, has been published in high quality with the help of Dār al-Qalam, a Beirut publishing house.

The Kitāb al-Imān of Al-Mudawwanah consists of 445 unique ahadith with their 9,423 chains of transmission, whereas, an additional 515 are those ahadith that have been brought as shawāhid (corroborating evidences). Hence, the total number of ahadith under Kitāb al-Imān has reached 960[13].

The work is in constant progress with additional ahadith and their chains being added. By the will of Allah, Al-Mudawwanah is expected to have over 40 volumes.

I have personally reviewed each and every hadith, their chain of narrators, accompanied by my comments and recommendations. Each hadith was only included in Al-Mudawwanah after my signature approval.

The researchers in service of Al-Mudawwanah, under the leadership of Shaykh Na’īm Ashraf, deserve our heartfelt congratulations for their effort, endurance, and dedication with which they worked on this project. May Allah accept their services and bestow upon them increased taufīq, Ameen

Their names are:
Maulāna Mukarram Ḥussain Akhtar,
Maulāna Muḥammad ‘Abbas al-Derwī,
Maulāna ‘Abdur-Raḥmān Owais al-Marghuzī,
Maulāna Maḥmūd Ḥasan al-Kumillāī,
Maulāna ‘Ināyat-ur-Reḥmān Wahīd,
Maulāna ‘Abdur-Raḥmān al-Ḥamīdi,
Maulāna ‘Abdul ‘Azīz al-Sindhi,
Maulāna Muḥammad Taimūr al-Marghuzī,
Maulāna ‘Ubaydullah Anwar al-Multani,
Maulāna Muḥammad Ṭayyab al-Ḥussaini.

The readers are requested to supplicate to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for this project to reach its completion with sincerity and trust.

Since it is after all a human effort, the reason behind the publication of the first volume is for the people of knowledge, specifically those familiar with the hadith sciences, to review this volume and share with us any beneficial recommendations.

We ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to bestow His barakah upon this humble effort, and make it a historical milestone in the service of the noble hadith, and make this encyclopedia the most comprehensive reference work in hadith for the generations to come. Ameen.

Muḥammad Taqī ‘Uthmānī
Jumāda al-Thānī 1439 A.H. (March 2018)
Karachi, Pakistan.


Footnotes:
[1] The English translation of the verses of the Qur’an are taken from “The Meanings of the Noble Qur’an” by Shaykh al-Islām Mufti Taqī ‘Uthmānī.
[2] The six books of “al-iā al-Sitta” (also known as “al-Kutub al-Sitta”) are aī al-Bukhārī, aī al-Muslim, Jāmi’ at-Tirmidhī, Sunan Abī Dāwūd, Sunan an-Nasā’ī, and Sunan Ibn Mājah.
[3] Matn: “The matn (text) is the wording of the hadith by which meanings are formed.” Isnād: “Isnād is [the act of] reporting the chain of the text. By this, it is clear that the text is the point at which the chain of transmission ends.” (Al-‘Uthmānī, Zafar. “Qawā’id fi ‘Ulūm al-Hadith,” pg. 45. London: Turath Publishing, 2014)
[4] Takhrīj: Referencing hadith from the classical sources.
[5] Marfū’: “The marfū’ (raised) is that which is specifically ascribed to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) [through his] words, deeds, or tacit approvals whether or not it is uninterrupted or interrupted.” (Al-‘Uthmānī, Zafar. Pg. 50)
[6] He received the 1980 King Faisal International Award under the category of Islamic Studies for his monumental contribution to the Hadith Sciences, “Studies of the Prophet’s Hadith.” http://kingfaisalprize.org/professor-mohamad-mustafa-al-aazami/
[7] Nephew of Shaykh Abu Fattah Abu Ghuddah. He is an active member of Islamic Fiqh Academy and the Accounting & Auditing Standards Board of Islamic Financial Institutions. He teaches Fiqh, Islamic studies and Arabic in Riyadh and has done a valuable task of researching and compiling information for the Fiqh Encyclopedia in the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Kuwait. He was a member of the Fatwa Board in the Ministry from 1982 to 1990. Dr. Ghuddah holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Law from Al-Azhar University Cairo, Egypt.
[8] He specialized in hadith under Shaykh ‘Abdur Rashīd Nu’māni. He is also intimately familiar with the Science of Hadith, skillful in the art of writing scholarly publications, for example, his researched and edited works include Shar at-ībī (شرح الطيبي) in 12 volumes and al-Muī al-Burhānī (المحيط البرهاني), an encyclopedia of the Hanafi juristic school in 25 volumes.
[9] See footnote #5.
[10] Out of the total 910 source works, 80 are the primary books of hadith that are commonly referred to; while the remaining 830 are the secondary source works, of which 111 are the books of tafsīr, takhrīj, and shuruāt al-hadith.
[11] The Prophetic Traditions that refer to the practice of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).
[12] Mursal: When a Tābi’ī (Follower) narrates a hadith saying, “The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said such-and-such or he did such-and-such.” and by doing so omits the name of the Companion, is called a mursal hadith.
[13] Shaykh Na’īm Ashraf: “All thanks are due to Allah, we are not aware of any book that contains such a large number of only marfū’ ahadith on the topic of Imān alone.”

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