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Lesson 2 From Surah Al-Kahf

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Surah Kahf

Alhamdulillah, last lesson we talked a little bit about the virtues, rewards, blessing, and importance of reading the Quran. We also went through a very brief introduction and summary of the Surah as well as some of the narrations regarding the unique virtues of reciting Surah Al-Kahf on Fridays. For example, we learned that reciting the first 10 or last 10 verses of Surah Al-Kahf will protect us from the trials of Dajjal. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever memorizes the first ten verses of Surah Kahf will be protected from the Dajjal.” In another narration, it mentions the last 10 verses.

  • عن أبي الدرداء أن نبي الله قال: من حفظ عشر آيات من أول سورة الكهف عُصِمَمِنَالدَّجَّالِ ِ. وفي رِوايةٍ : مِنْ آخِرِ سورةِ الكهفِ ِ.

Today we’ll actually get into the Surah itself. Allah ﷻ starts the Surah in a very beautiful, elegant and eloquent way by teaching us how to be grateful for the infinite blessings of Allah; and more specifically how to express gratitude for the Quran, one of Allah’s greatest gifts to humanity. The opening verses of the Surah deal with the concept of gratitude and give us a brief description of the Qur’ān.

Verses 1-3: (1)Praise be to God, Who sent down the Book unto His servant, and placed no crookedness therein, (2) upright, that he may warn of a great might coming from His Presence and give glad tidings unto the believers who perform righteous deeds that theirs shall be a beautiful reward, (3) wherein they shall remain forever,

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The verse starts with the words al-hamdulillah, which is usually translated as “Praise belongs to Allah”, “All praise is due to Allah” or “All praise and thanks are due to Allah.” It is one of five surahs in the Quran that start with these words. The others are Al-Fātihah, Al-An’ām, Saba’, and Fātir.

The word al-Hamd is translated as praise; however, its meaning is much more comprehensive than simply praise. It denotes praising someone with goodness for what they have done consciously as a favor or because of some inherent quality.

  • الشكرو الثناء بالجميل على الفعل الصادر بالاختيار من الله تعالى.

Hamd is praise along with acknowledgment of noteworthy qualities and actions done out of genuine love, veneration, reverence, gratitude, and appreciation. It includes extolling Allah ﷻ and giving thanks to Him for all of the favors and blessings He has given us in this world and for the reward that He will give us in the next.

The word hamd has sister terms in Arabic that are very close and similar in meaning such as madh and shukr. Madh is simple praise; when you praise someone or something for noteworthy qualities or actions. Shukr is gratitude; it’s always done as a response to a favor that someone has done for us. Through this lens the word hamd is much more comprehensive than both madh and shukr; madh is too wide in scope and shukr is too narrow

Allah ﷻ is constantly showering us with His blessings, favors and mercy. The reality is that Allah ﷻ has blessed us with an innumerable amount of gifts and blessings; they can’t be quantified. As Allah ﷻ Himself tell us in the Quran, “And if you were to count the blessings of Allah, you would not be able to quantify them. Truly mankind is unjust, ungrateful.” (14:34) Just take our bodies for example. In our eyes and our ability to see, our noses and ability to smell, our ears and ability to hear, our hands and feet and ability to feel, in every joint, every bone, every muscle, every organ, every vein, and every cell are countless blessings. Not only are we unable to count all of these blessings or even imagine them, but we’re also unable to thank Allah ﷻ for them.

So by starting with Alhamdulillah, Allah ﷻ is teaching us how to thank Him and express gratitude to Him.

The Prophet ﷺ said,

“When you say, ‘Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds,’ you will have thanked God and He will increase your bounty.”

  • إذا قلت الحمد لله رب العالمين فقد شكرت الله، فزادك.

Similarly, the Prophet ﷺ when supplicating used to say,

“There is no way to enumerate the praise due to You; You are as You have praised Yourself.”

He’s also reminding us that all praise and thanks exclusively belong to Him ﷻ. That’s why the word “hamd” is definite. Even the “al” in the Arabic language carries meaning. One of the meanings it carries is that of istigrāq, or comprehensiveness. Literally every and all types of praise are for Allah. Whenever we praise anything in this world we are ultimately praising Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) because He is the Source of every single thing that exists. The world is made of millions of things that attract our attention and admiration, and if we move beyond what we see physically or materially, we will find in each and every single thing the manifestation of the greatness of Allah. All Praise is exclusively for Allah because He is the one that is showering us with blessings at every single moment of our lives.

Allah ﷻ then tells us one of the infinite reasons why we praise Him. “Who sent down the Book unto His servant, and placed no crookedness therein, (2) upright,” “His servant” is referring to the Messenger of Allah, our master and beloved, Muhammad ﷺ. The title “servant” is the highest spiritual station we can reach as human beings. When attributed to the Prophet ﷺ it’s an honorific title. al-Kitāb, literally the Book, is one of the titles of the Quran. It can mean that which is read as well as that which is written. One of the reasons why it has been called Al-Kitāb is because the Qur’ān is preserved both orally and through writing.

Here Allah ﷻ is reminding us of one of the greatest gifts given to humanity; the Quran.

He reminds as that He is the one who has revealed the Book to Muhammad ﷺ, which is one of the greatest blessing given to mankind. It is one of the greatest blessings because it took mankind from darkness to light. It guides us to the path of eternal salvation. It teaches us how to be successful in the life of this world.

Allah ﷻ then describes the Quran with two descriptions. The first is, “and placed no crookedness therein…” There’s absolutely no crookedness in the Quran. Meaning that the Quran isn’t confusing or difficult to understand. There are no contradictions in it in terms of words or meanings. It is free from all kinds of excess and deficiencies. The Quran is balanced and harmonious. When something is crooked it’s difficult to follow. The Quran is straight and easy to follow. As Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah al-Qamar, “And indeed We have made the Quran easy to remember; so is there any who remembers?” The reason for mentioning this here is to refute the false claims of the people of Makkah that the Qur’ān is poetry, magic, ancient tales or a human composition.

The second is “upright.” Meaning, the Quran is straightforward, perfect in words and meaning, guiding towards the straight path. The Quran can’t be corrupted; it can’t be altered or changed in any way shape or form. It is under the divine protection of Allah ﷻ. As Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah Fussilat, “Falsehood comes not upon it from before it or from behind it; a revelation from the All-Wise, Praised.” (41:42) The word “Qayyim” or upright is used elsewhere in the Quran to describe Islam itself. But here it’s being used to describe the Quran, which emphasizes that there’s no crookedness in it. The word “Qayyim” can also mean a guard or custodian. So the meaning would then be that the Quran is a custodian of all previously revealed scriptures, confirming what’s in them and a witness to their truth. It can also mean that the Quran takes care of the needs of humanity highlighting those things that are beneficial and preventing those things that are harmful.

Allah ﷻ then tells us about two main reasons or objectives behind the revelation of the Quran. “… That he may warn of a great might coming from His Presence and give glad tidings unto the believers who perform righteous deeds that theirs shall be a beautiful reward. One of the objectives of revelation is to warn the disbelievers and give glad tidings to the believers.

1) To warn those who disbelieve in the book about a severe punishment from Allah both in this world and the next. 2) To give good news to the believers, those who believe in the Quran, and have affirmed their faith with good deeds, that for them is a good reward, which is Paradise. They will live in Paradise forever.

Warning and giving glad tidings was the responsibility of every single Prophet and Messenger that was sent to humanity. To warn humanity about the dangers and consequences of disbelief and to give humanity the glad tidings of forgiveness, grace, mercy, reward and paradise for those who believe. Allah ﷻ tells us, “Mankind was one community; then Allah sent the prophets as bearers of glad tidings and as warners.” Allah ﷻ tells us about the Prophet ﷺ, “O Prophet! Truly We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of glad tidings and as a warner, as one who calls unto God by His leave and as a luminous lamp.” (33:45)

Allah ﷻ then makes the warning specific to a certain group of disbelievers, those who said that Allah ﷻ has a child.

Verses 4-5: (4) and that He may warn those who say, “God has taken a child.” (5) They have no knowledge thereof, nor do their forefathers. A monstrous word it is that issues from their mouths. They speak naught but a lie.

This verse is referring to 3 specific groups of people 1) Mushrikoon 2) Christians 3) Jews. The Mushrikūn of Makkah believed that angels were the daughters of Allah ﷻ. The Christians claimed that ‘Isa (as) was the son of God and some Jews claimed that ‘Uzair was the son of God. The reason why Allah specified these three groups is to show that this is the worst type of disbelief. It is considered to be one of the worst types of disbelief because there is no evidence for it whatsoever; it’s based off pure ignorance. “They have no knowledge thereof, nor do their forefathers.” Basically, they’re blindly following the religion, customs and traditions of their forefathers without questioning them whatsoever. They’re not using their minds and thinking on their own.

Throughout the Qur’ān Allah ﷻ encourages us to use our intellect to recognize the truth. Blindly following one’s parents and grandparents in terms of religious practices has been looked down upon. In addition to that to ascribe a child to Allah ﷻ is blasphemous; it’s a huge claim to make without any proof. “A monstrous word it is that issues from their mouths. They speak naught but a lie.” To say something like that is a big deal; it carries a lot of weight and sin. It’s literally a monstrosity that’s coming out of their mouths and it’s an absolute lie that has no reality to it whatsoever. This concept of God having a child has been categorically rejected in several places throughout the Qur’ān.

The Surah now turns to console and comfort the Prophet ﷺ telling him not to worry and be so sad about the continual disbelief of his people. This is an extremely beautiful aspect of the Qur’ān. The Lord of the worlds consoles and comforts the last and final Messenger through revelation. The Prophet ﷺ had extreme concern and care for his people; he wanted every single person to achieve eternal salvation. The Makkan period of Prophethood was full of difficulty and hardships. The Prophet ﷺ was mocked, ridiculed, harassed and abused both verbally and physically. His Companions faced verbal and physical persecution. These difficulties definitely had an effect on the psyche, moral and emotions of both the Prophet and His companions. The Prophet ﷺ would feel concern, grief, sorrow and sadness at the fact that his own people are rejecting him and his message. Throughout Makkan revelation we find Allah ﷻ consoling, comforting and reassuring the Prophet ﷺ; reminding him to be strong, patient and steadfast. Not to worry about the reaction of his people and to place his trust fully in Allah ﷻ.

Verse 6: Perhaps you would destroy yourself with grief for their sake, should they believe not in this account.

Allah ﷻ is comforting and consoling the Prophet ﷺ; don’t be so sad, distraught and depressed. Don’t grieve out of sorrow for them if they refuse to accept the message. Your responsibility is to simply convey the message. They are then responsible for their own decisions. If they accept the truth then they will be benefitting themselves and if they reject it then they will only be harming themselves.

The Surah Kahf then reminds the readers and listeners about the reality of the life of this world. Allah ﷻ informs us about the mortal, fleeting nature of this world. That this world is a place of tests and trials; it is not permanent.

Verses 7-8: (7) Surely We made whatsoever is on the earth an adornment for it, that We may try them as to which of them is most virtuous indeed. (8) And surely We shall make whatsoever is upon it a barren plain.

In this verse in Surah Kahf, Allah ﷻ is telling us that every single thing on this Earth is a type of adornment or beautification; it’s meant to attract us. That’s the purpose of adornment and beautification; to attract and draw a person’s attention towards it. The adornment of this world is a huge distraction for us as human beings from our true purpose in life. The dunya, material wealth and possessions, enjoyment and pleasure are a test for us as human beings. Allah is testing us to show those who are the most virtuous in terms of deeds.

The idea of the dunya as a distraction and test is something that has been explained throughout the Qur’ān. In several places, Allah ﷻ reminds us to not be fooled and deceived by the pleasures and enjoyments of this world. Similarly, the Prophet ﷺ told us,

  • «إِنَّ الدُّنْيَا حُلْوَةٌ خَضِرَةٌ، وَإِنَّ اللهَ مُسْتَخْلِفُكُمْ فِيهَا فَنَاظِرٌ مَاذَا تَعْمَلُونَ، فَاتَّقُوا الدُّنْيَا، وَاتَّقُوا النِّسَاءَ، فَإِنَّ أَوَّلَ فِتْنَةِ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ كَانَتْ فِي النِّسَاء»

“This world is sweet and green, and Allah makes you generations succeeding one another, so He is watching what you will do. Beware of (the beguilements of) this world and beware of women, for the first affliction that Children of Israel suffered from was that of women.” Allah ﷻ ends the verse by reminding us that this world is temporary and will eventually come to an end.

“And surely We shall make whatsoever is upon it a barren plain.

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Shaykh Furhan Zubairi was born in 1983 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Shortly thereafter, he moved and spent most of his youth in Southern California, graduating from high school in Irvine in 2001. He began his pursuit of Islamic knowledge and spirituality at the Institute of Knowledge (IOK) in 1998, where he started the memorization of the Qur’an and studied the primary books in the Islamic Sciences and Arabic language. After starting college, he took a break and went to Karachi, Pakistan, for 9 months to complete the memorization of the Qur’an at Jami’ah Binoria. He returned home and completed his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine in 2005. He then traveled to Egypt to further his studies of the Arabic language. Thereafter, his pursuit of Islamic knowledge led him back to Pakistan, where he completed a formal ‘Alamiyyah degree (Masters in Arabic and Islamic Studies) at the famous Jami’ah Dar Al-’Ulum in Karachi. He has obtained numerous ijazat (traditional licenses) in the six canonical books of hadith, as well as the Muwata of Imam Malik and Imam Muhammad, and has also received certification in the field of Islamic Finance. Shaykh Furhan Zubairi serves as the Dean of the Full-Time and Part-Time Seminary Programs at the Institute of Knowledge in Diamond Bar, CA. He also serves as IOK University Chaplain for students at UCI and Community Chaplain for the local and extended SoCal Community, and he regularly delivers sermons and lectures at various Islamic Centers and events in Southern California. Learn more about Institute of Knowledge at www.instituteofknowledge.com.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Safia Khan

    May 31, 2019 at 1:18 PM

    This is the “Best-Reminder”, Not-Only-For-Momin, But for all others, whom have lead ‘a-strayed’ ……. May Allah(SWT) Guide Us, All, To Read Qur’aan, Atleast By Beginning To Read ‘Surah-E–Al-Kaahaf’, Every Friday, In-Sha-Allah!!!….AaMeEn—ThUmMa…AaMeEn!!!….

  2. Umar

    December 30, 2020 at 6:40 AM

    Mashallah Very Nice

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