Virtues of Learning/Studying Qur’ān

Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet ﷺ as saying: No people get together in a house of the houses of Allah (i.e. a mosque), reciting the Book of Allah, and learning it together among themselves, but calmness (Sakinah) comes down to them, (Divine) mercy covers them (from above), and the angels surround them, and Allah makes a mention of them among those who are with Him.”

(Discussed the concepts of Sakinah, Rahmah and the mention of Allah)

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The best amongst you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it.”

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Abu Hurairah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him.”

Without a doubt, the Quran is the most important book in the life of a Muslim. That is because the Quran is not simply a book; it is the divine uncreated speech of Allāh ﷻ — His words revealed to the Prophet ﷺ. It is the last and final revelation sent for the guidance of humanity for all times and all places. It is our primary source of beliefs, rituals, ethics, morals, and laws in Islām. Our entire lives as Muslims revolve around the teachings of the Qurʾān. Its words are so powerful, emotive, and effective that if they were to be revealed on a mountain, it would be humbled and burst apart out of the awe of Allāh. It’s recitation, memorization, interpretation, understanding, teaching, and learning are all acts of worship that bring blessings and reward. These words are a source of light, guidance, cure, and mercy.

True love and respect for the Qurʾān is expressed through reading it, understanding its message, and applying it to our lives. We use it as a source of guidance to navigate through the world and live a life that is pleasing to Allāh ﷻ. It is literally our manual for life that we use to build a path towards the Divine. It is supposed to be our inspiration, encouragement, and tool we use to deal with the challenges of life. It contains guidance for every single aspect of our lives: theological, spiritual, individual, communal, economic, and political.

The primary objective of the Qurʾān is for us to think, ponder, and reflect over its meanings. As Allāh ﷻ tells us, “[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” This one-word description of the Qurʾān is actually very comprehensive. Every single aspect of the Qurʾān is blessed: its words, meanings, style, stories, commands, and prohibitions. Its recitation, memorization, interpretation, learning, and teaching are all acts of worship that bring huge amounts of rewards and blessings.

Part of its blessings is that those who learn it and teach it to others are considered to be the best of people. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The best amongst you are those who learn the Qurʾān and teach it.” For every single letter of the Qurʾān that is recited, a person is rewarded with a good deed that is multiplied by ten. “Whoever recites a letter from the book of Allāh, then for them is a good deed, and a good deed is multiplied by ten. I am not saying that Alif lām mīm is one letter, but alif is a letter, lām is a letter, and mīm is a letter.” The Qurʾān will intercede for its companion on the Day of Judgment. “Recite the Qurʾān because it will come as an intercessor for its companion on the Day of Judgment.” Through the Qurʾān, some nations are elevated while others are lowered. From all of these narrations, we can see that the simple act of reciting the Qur’ān is full of blessings, reward, virtues, and mercy.

However, it’s extremely important for us to understand and recognize that mere recitation and listening is not the purpose of the Quran. The main purpose or objective of reciting the Quran or listening to the Quran should be to reflect, ponder and think over its meanings and more importantly bring its guidance into our daily lives. When we come across a verse that has a command we’re supposed to accept it and follow it. When we come across a prohibition we stay away from it no questions asked. When we come across a verse describing the mercy of Allah we should ask for that mercy and hope for it. When we come across a verse that threatens punishment we should feel a sense of fear and seek protection from it.

The only way to contemplate and reflect over its words and meanings is to actually know what those words and meanings are, and that is learned through Tafsīr. That is why learning Tafsīr is considered to be an obligation upon every Muslim in varying degrees. One way to look at it is that the Qurʾān is a treasure chest full of guidance and wisdom. The key to unlocking that chest is Tafsīr.

Intro to Surah Kahf

Surah al-Kahf is a Makki surah, consisting of 110 verses. It’s a late Makkan Surah (provide context of Seerah and explain the difference between Makki and Madani). It is named after the unique and interesting story of the people of the cave discussed in verses 9-26, which serves as a clear proof of the power and greatness of Allah ﷻ.

Just like most Makkan revelation, it deals primarily with issues related to belief, iman. Makkan revelation generally deals with three concepts: 1) Tawhīd, 2) Risālah and 3) Qiyāmah. Syed Qutb raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) mentions that the central theme of the Surah is to purge faith of all alien concepts. “It seeks to establish correct and accurate thought and reasoning in order to establish values that are sound according to the criterion of Islam… It is to make faith the basis for the evaluation of concepts, ideas, practices, and values.” That’s part of the reason why the Surah starts and ends with declaring Allah’s oneness and accepting revelation as the absolute truth.

The Surah is made up of four main narratives: 1) the story of the companions of the cave (v. 9-26), 2) the story of the owner of the two gardens, 3) the story of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Khadr and 4) the story of Dhul Qarnayn. These four stories make up the majority of the Surah, taking up approximately 71 out of the 110 verses. In between these four narratives, we’ll find various warnings to the non-believers and descriptions of the Day of Judgment.

Virtues of Surah Kahf

One of the reasons for choosing to cover Surah Al-Kahf is because we are encouraged to recite it and memorize it by the Prophet ﷺ.

In Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nasa’i, and Tirmidhi we find a narration of Abu Darda raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) in which he narrates that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Whoever memorizes the first ten verses of Surah al-Kahf will be protected from the Dajjal.” In another narration, it mentions the last 10 verses.

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever reads the last ten verses of Surah Al-Kahf it will be a protection for him from Dajjal.”

In a longer narration that talks about Dajjal and the trials that come along with him, the Prophet ﷺ told us to recite the beginning of Surah Al-Kahf upon him…

In another narration, it is mentioned that whoever reads it will be given light between the heaven and earth and it will protect him from the trial of the grave.

Another hadith mentions that a person who recites Surah al-Kahf on Friday will have light from his feet till the sky. This light will serve him well on the Day of Judgment, and every sin committed by him between the past and present Friday will be forgiven.”

Who has a problem waking up for Fajr? There is a hadith that mentions whoever recites the last five verses before going to sleep, then Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will wake him up at any time in the night that he wants. (Natural alarm clock)

Cause of Revelation

Regarding the background in which this surah was revealed it is mentioned that the Quraysh sent two men, Al-Nadr ibn Al-Harith and ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, to the Jewish scholars of Madinah. The Quraysh told these two men to ask the Jews about Muhammad ﷺ, his characteristics and to inform them about some of his teachings because they knew more about Prophets since they were people of the book. So they arrived in Madinah and told the Rabbis about Muhammad ﷺ, about his characteristics, his message and his teachings.

They said ask him three questions; if he answers them correctly then he is a prophet and a messenger. If he doesn’t answer them then he is a fake.

Ask him about the young men who left their city in the distant past and what happened to them, because this is a unique event. Ask him about the person who traveled the East and the West and what happened to him. Ask him about the spirit and what it is.

So they came back and posed these three questions to the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ told them that he would reply to them the next day expecting Allah ﷻ to send down the revelation, but he forgot to say inshAllah. Allah ﷻ didn’t send down any revelation for the next fifteen days (one narration says 3) and the Quraysh began to assume that he didn’t know the answers and that his claims to prophethood were false. After 15 days Allah ﷻ revealed the entire Surah and reminded the Prophet ﷺ to always say InshAllah.

Now, we should be asking ourselves the question, “What’s the connection between this noble Surah and Dajjal?” Or, “How will reciting Surah Al-Kahf protect me from the trials of Dajjal?” When we reflect upon Surah Al-Kahf we will find that its meanings carry what is extremely beneficial in protecting us from the trials of this world and security from the dajjal. Surah Al-Kahf discusses four stories that are representative of four different types of trials (fitan) and four causes of salvation:

1) The first story is about the companions of the cave, which represents the fitnah of religion.

This is a story about a group of young men who remained firm, steadfast and patient upon their faith in the face of hardship and difficulty. They were living in a society of disbelief and immorality and decided to seek refuge in a cave to protect their own faith. Allah ﷻ miraculously protected them and when they awoke they found their entire community had become believers.

Their salvation: Concern and righteous companionship.

2) The second story is of the owner of the two gardens, which represents the fitnah of wealth and children.

This is a story about an extremely wealthy man whom Allah ﷻ had blessed with wealth, properties and children. Instead of being grateful he became extremely arrogant and prideful. His friend reminded him that all of his blessings were from Allah ﷻ but he refused to recognize that. As a result, Allah ﷻ afflicted him with difficulties by taking away his wealth.

Salvation from that trial: Knowing the reality of the Dunya

3) The third story is about Musa (as) and Khadr: The fitnah of knowledge.

Musa [alayjis] was asked about the most knowledgeable person on the face of the Earth. Since he was unaware of anyone more knowledgeable than him he answered that he was. Allah ﷻ then revealed to him that there was someone even more knowledgeable than him and then Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) traveled in search of him. After finding him he spent some time in his company and saw him doing things that he couldn’t understand. We’ll talk about this story in greater detail later on, InshAllah.

Salvation from that trial: Humility

4) The story of Dhul Qarnain = The fitnah of power

The story of a great ruler who was given both knowledge and power and traveled the earth relieving hardship and spreading goodness. He solved the problem of Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj by sealing them in the earth and in doing so was able to mobilize the resources of a people who could hardly understand his speech!

Salvation from that trial: Sincerity

So what exactly is the connection of Surah Al-Kahf to the Dajjal? From a number of narrations we learn that the Dajjal will come with four trials:

1) He will demand that he be worshiped by the people (The fitnah of religion)

2) He will command the sky to rain and will be a trial of the people due to the amount of wealth he will possess (The fitnah of wealth)

3) He will be a trial for the people regarding the information he will possess and relay (The fitnah of knowledge)

4) He will have control over many parts of the world (The fitnah of power)

The causes of salvation related in the Surah:

1) Righteous companionship

And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect. (Kahf v. 28)

2) Knowing the reality of this world

And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being] like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability (Kahf v. 45)

3) Humility

[Moses] said, “You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in [any] order.” (Kahf v. 69)

4) Sincerity

Say, “I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” (Kahf v. 110)

May Allah protect all of us from the fitnah of the Dajjal, and all fitan those apparent and those hidden.

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