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Lesson 2 From Surah Al-Kahf

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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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 al-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,

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 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 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.

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi serves as the Director of Religious Education at the Institute of Knowledge in Diamond Bar, CA. He regularly delivers khutbahs and lectures at various Islamic Centers and events in southern California.

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#Islam

Lesson 11 From Surah Al-Kahf

Tafsir Verses 72-81

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lessons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#Life

Why I Turned to Tech to Catch Laylatul Qadr

Make sure you maximize your sadaqah

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By Ismael Abdela

My life, just like yours, is sooo busy. So naturally, as the tech nerd I am, I turn to tech to help me manage my regular routine including project management apps to manage my daily tasks. I even have a sleeping app that wakes me up at the optimum time (whatever that means!). But even though tech has changed everything in all sectors and helped make efficiencies in my daily life, it had had little impact on my religious activities.

A few years ago, whilst I was preparing for the last 10 nights of Ramadan, it hit me – why doesn’t something exist that automates my donations during these blessed nights to catch Laylatul Qadr. Rather than putting a reminder on my phone to bring out my bank card every night and inputting it into a website – why doesn’t something exist that does it for me, solving the problem of me forgetting to donate. After all we are human and it’s interesting that the Arabic word for human being is ‘insan’ which is derived from the word ‘nasiya’ which means ‘to forget.’ It is human nature to forget.

So the techie in me came out and I built the first scrappy version of MyTenNights, a platform to automate donations in the last 10 nights of Ramadan (took two weeks) because I wanted to use it myself! I thought it would be cool and my friends and family could use it too. That same year, nearly 2000 other people used it – servers crashed, tech broke and I had to get all my friends and Oreo (my cat) to respond to email complaints about our temperamental site!

I quickly realised I wasn’t alone in my need  – everyone wanted a way to never miss Laylatul Qadr! Two years down the line we’ve called it MyTenNights, and our team has grown to 10, including Oreo, senior developers, QA specialists, brand strategists, creative directors and more. It fast became a fierce operation – an operation to help people all over the world catch Laylatul Qadr!

Last year alone we raised almost $2 million in just 10 days – and that was just in the UK. We’ve now opened MyTenNights to our American, Canadian. South African and Australian brothers and sisters and we’re so excited to see how they use it! We’ve made it available through all the biggest house name charities – Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, Helping Hand, Penny Appeal, you name it! All donations go directly to the charity donors choose – all 100% of it.

Looking back at the last couple of years – it feels surreal: The biggest charities in the world and tens of thousands of users who share my need to be certain they’ve caught Laylatul Qadr. Although I hear many impressed with the sheer amount MyTenNights has raised for charity (and that excites me too!), it’s not what motives me to go on. What excites me most is the growing number of people who catch Laylatul Qadr because we made it easier.

I often tell my team that the number of people that use MyTenNights is the only metric we care about, and the only metric we celebrate. It makes no difference to us whether you donate $1 or a million – we just want you to catch Laylatul Qadr and for you to transform your Akhirah, because (after Allah) we helped you do it.

To catch Laylatul Qadr with MyTenNights, visit their website MyTenNights.com

Ismael Abdela is a Law & Anthropology graduate from the London School of Economics. He spent some years studying Islamic Sciences in Qaseem, Saudi Arabia. He is now a keen social entrepreneur. Ismael likes to write about spiritual reflections, social commentary, and tafsīr. He is particularly interested in putting religion in conversation with the social sciences.

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Hajj

Heart Soothers: Shaykh Noreen Mohamed Sideeq

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