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Lesson 6 From Surah Al-Kahf

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah last session, we were able to discuss the meanings of verses 27-31. InshAllah tonight we’ll be exploring the meanings of verses 32-44. Just as a quick reminder in the last set of verses the Surah dealt with some issues of general guidance. We were reminded:

1) to remain constant and steadfast in reciting and following the Quran

2) to keep the company of those who recite and study the Quran even if they may be poor

3) That the truth is only from Allah

4) describes the punishment of the non-believers 4) describes the reward of the believers.

The next set of verses, verses 32-44, discuss the story of two people, a rich man who was fooled by his wealth and a poor man who was honored for his conviction and belief, and the conversation they had with one another. In this set of verses, Allah ﷻ has given us an example of a rich non-believer who was fooled by his wealth, and a poor believer who was guided through his belief. Through this example Allah ﷻ shows us that wealth isn’t the true source of pride or honor; rather belief and obedience of Allah brings pride, honor, and respect. The first man thinks he’s extremely powerful because of the wealth he has and that causes him to forget about the Supreme Power who controls everything in a person’s life. The other is a believer who values his faith. He always remembers Allah realizing that the blessings he has are a gift from him. He recognizes the importance of praising Allah and gratitude.

Now, who exactly were these two men? There are two different reports. One mentions that they were two brothers from the people of Makkah from the tribe of Banu Makhzūm. According to Ibn ‘Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) they were two brothers from Bani Israel; one was a believer, the other a non-believer. They inherited 8,000 dinars from their father that they split in half. The non-believer bought land, gardens and invested his wealth. The believer spent his money on charity. The story goes that the nonbelieving brother purchased some land for a 1,000 dirhams so the believing brother said, “O Allah so and so purchased land for a 1,000 and I’m purchasing land from you in Paradise for a 1,000.” So he gave a 1,000 in charity.

The second brother built a house, 3) marriage 4) servants and possessions… then the believing brother was afflicted with severe need and poverty.

Verses 32-33: “Give them an example (the parable) of two men. We gave one of them two gardens of grapevines, and surrounded both of them with date palms, and placed crops between them. Both the gardens brought forth their fruit and suppressed nothing from it, and We caused a stream to flow through them.”

Allah ﷻ is telling his Prophet ﷺ to give this example, this parable, of two men to the rich and powerful of Makkah and those similar to them who refused to accept his message. The example starts by describing the wealth of the non-believer. He was given two gardens filled with grape vines. Both of these gardens were surrounded by date palms. In between these gardens were farms. There were also streams flowing through these gardens. This land was extremely fertile so the gardens, farms and date palms produced a lot of produce. Not only did he own this beautiful land and these amazing gardens and farms, but he was also given a lot of other wealth.

Verse 34: And he had [abundant] fruit (wealth) So, he said to his companion while conversing with him, “I am greater than you in wealth and stronger in manpower.””

“And he had wealth.” Gold and silver. All of this wealth, all of these material goods caused him to become arrogant, filled with pride. He was fooled and deceived by his wealth, just as we see so many rich people fooled by their wealth. Full of arrogance and pride he told his brother that I’m more well off than you and I have more servants, workers, and children than you. Basically, he was showing off (look at my crib, look at my car, look at my clothes). His arrogance, pride and wealth blinded him to such an extent that he became extremely ungrateful and heedless. So much so that he denied that this world would come to an end and he denied the Day of Judgment.

Verses 35-36: And he entered his garden while he was doing wrong to himself. He said, “I do not think that this will ever perish, and I do not think that the Hour (Day of Judgment) has to come. And even if I am sent back to my Lord, I will surely find a better place than this to resort to.”

Allah ﷻ is actually describing the scene to us to make it more real and relatable. This man entered his garden while conversing with his brother. He was talking about his wealth and material possessions and looking down upon and belittling his brother. He’s described as “wronging himself” because of his disbelief, arrogance, and denial of resurrection. He primarily wronged himself through his ingratitude; his pride and refusal to acknowledge that his provision, wealth, properties, gardens and children are a gift from Allah. The abundance of his material possessions fooled, tricked and deceived him into believing that they will never perish. “I don’t think that any of this will perish.” All of these things that I have, these gardens, crops, gold, and silver will last forever. He became heedless or neglectful of the impermanence of all created things and his own mortality. “I don’t believe that there is a Day of Judgment.”

The reason why he is described as wronging himself is that he should have been thanking Allah ﷻ for all of these blessings, instead, he was ungrateful. He denied that a Creator even existed. He thought that all of these material blessings were a sign that if there was a Lord or Creator he must be extremely liked by him. If he weren’t then the Creator would not have given him so many things. That having wealth and power was a sign of being honored and having a high station in the sight of Allah. So if there were a day of judgment or a hereafter then he would be given more there than he was given here in the world. “And even if I am sent back to my Lord, I will surely find a better place than this to resort to.” His brother, recognizing the ignorance, shallowness, and ridiculousness of his argument, answered him saying,

Verses 37-38: His companion said to him as he conversed with him, “Do you deny the One who created you from dust, then from a drop (of semen), then fashioned you as a man? But He is Allah, my Lord, and I ascribe no one as a partner to Him.

This is a very beautiful response given by the less well to do brother. He responds to him asking him in astonishment and amazement, “Do you really deny the One who created you from dust, then a drop and then fashioned you as a man?” This question is meant as a maw’idha, a reminder or a heart softener; something that’s supposed to move the heart of his brother. How in the world can you deny the existence of the One who is the source of all your wealth, the One who gave you these amazing blessings, the One who brought you into existence? He declares his firm belief and commitment to Allah. “But He is Allah, my Lord, and I ascribe no one as a partner to Him.” He continues advising and counseling his brother reminding him how his attitude should be towards all of these blessings. The attitude of faith, submission, recognition, and obedience.

Verses 39-41: When you entered your garden, why did you not say, ‘[This is] as Allah wills. There is no strength save in Allah.’ If you see that I am less than you in wealth and children, (40) it may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden, and unleash against it a reckoning from the sky, so that it becomes a flattened plain. (41) Or its water may sink deep so that you cannot seek after it.

He’s telling his brother that instead of being full of pride, boastful, conceited and arrogant he should’ve been grateful, thankful and appreciative to Allah ﷻ. He should’ve thanked and praised Allah ﷻ by saying, “As Allah wills, there is no strength except with Allah.” This is an expression of gratitude and humility. By saying this he would’ve shown thanks to Allah for his wealth, children and properties and at the same time would be recognizing that all of it is from Allah. These are two very important phrases that we as Muslims are encouraged to learn and say often. Anytime we see something that we like or think is beautiful and amazing we should say, “As Allah wills, there is no strength except with Allah.” This is a very common phrase in our everyday speech and it indicates a recognition that nothing happens outside of the will of Allah ﷻ.

“There is no strength except with Allah” is also a common phrase that we use, which acknowledges that we can’t achieve or do anything without the help of Allah. It’s also used when we feel helpless in the face of some difficulty or hardship. It’s also considered to be a treasure from the treasures of Paradise. Abu Musa raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said to him, “Shall I not direct you to a treasure from the treasures of Paradise? It’s to say there is no power or strength except with Allah.” Ibn Kathīr mentions that this verse is the source of our practice and custom of saying “As Allah wills” whenever we are pleased with something. Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever sees something they like should say, “As Allah wills, there is no strength except with Allah.” Then nothing will harm it.

After counseling and explaining to his brother what the right attitude should be towards wealth and material possessions, he responds to his boasts and claims. “If you see that I am less than you in wealth and children, (40) it may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden.” He tells him that if you consider me to be less well off than you in this world in terms of wealth and children, then I hope that my situation will be different in the hereafter because of my faith. He believes that Allah ﷻ will reward him with something much better than the garden of his brother in the life to come because of his faith and humility. He then warns him of the transient and temporary nature of the life of this world. That one day you could have all of these amazing and wonderful things and the next day it could be gone. “And unleash against it a reckoning from the sky, so that it becomes a flattened plain. (41) Or its water may sink deep so that you cannot seek after it.” It’s possible that some sort of calamity, torrential rains, a storm or any other natural disaster can come from the sky and completely destroy the gardens leaving it without any growth or vegetation. The land will become a “flattened plain” barren and dead. Or it’s possible that the water from the springs will sink deep into the earth and you won’t be able to access it leaving your gardens to slowly wither and die.

Syed Qutb while commenting on these verses writes, “This is an example of how faith makes a believer very powerful. He does not care for wealth, might, or arrogance. He states the truth clearly, without hesitation or cowardice. There is no room for bending the truth in order to please anyone, be that a friend or someone mighty. A believer feels that he is far higher than all power and wealth. What God has for him is far superior to any riches or pleasures this life may bring. God’s grace is all that he seeks, and His grace is plentiful and always available. On the other hand, God’s punishment is severe and could befall the arrogant at any time.”

The surah then tells us that the warning of his brother actually came true. Allah sent down some type of punishment, a storm or something else, that completely destroyed all of his wealth and belongings.

Verse 42: And his fruit was encompassed. So he began to wring his hands on account of what he had spent on it while it lay in waste upon its trellises saying, “Would that I had not ascribed anyone as partner to my Lord!”

“And his fruit was encompassed…” Meaning his wealth, property and gardens were encompassed by ruin; they were completely destroyed. Allah describes it as “it lay in waste upon its trellises”. And when he saw his possessions destroyed before his eyes and how he wasn’t able to do anything about it, he realized his faults. He started showing remorse, sorrow, and sadness. He began to wring his hands as a sign of remorse, sorrow, and regret. He now realizes that what his brother said was true and he is repentant for having associated partners with Allah ﷻ. “Would that I had not ascribed anyone as partner to my Lord!”

The Surah concludes this story or example by declaring in all clarity that all protection comes from Allah: all power belongs to Him; all support comes from Him; His Reward is the best reward; what He stores for us is best and everlasting

Verses 43-44: And he had no party to help him except for Allah; nor could he help himself. (44) There, protection belongs to Allah, the Real. He is best in reward and best in requital.

Despite his claims of power and strength at this time of loss and destruction, he finds himself absolutely helpless. There’s no group, party or children to help him except for Allah. He couldn’t even help himself. And it’s at that specific moment that he realizes that all protection comes from Allah; all might, power, authority, support and decision making belong to Him alone. “There, protection belongs to Allah, the Real.” Allah alone is the Walī, the Protector and He is the Truth. “He is best in reward and best in requital.”

This story is a clear reminder of the difference between true belief and disbelief. A true believer is concerned about the life to come and the disbeliever is consumed with this life. This story is a powerful reminder of the reality of the life of this world. Through this story, we’re reminded that the life of this world is temporary. That you and I, we’re, not going to be here forever. We’re made to realize that this world is temporary and fleeting. That it will eventually come to an end. And that the life to come, the life of the hereafter, is a life of eternity.

This is a message that is echoed and emphasized in several places throughout the Qur’ān. “O my people, this worldly life is only [temporary] enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the home of [permanent] settlement.” (40:39) “Say, The enjoyment of this world is little, and the Hereafter is better for he who fears Allah.” (4:77) “But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring.” (87:16-17) The Qur’ān constantly reminds us not to be fooled, tricked and deceived by the life of this world. “And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion?” (3:185) “O mankind, indeed the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver.” (35:5)

One of the most consuming and powerful diseases of the heart is love of the world. The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Love of the world is the origin of every sin.” The Prophet ﷺ also told us, “The life of the world is sweet and green. Allah makes you generations succeeding one another so that He may try you in respect of your actions. So beware of the beguilements of the world and those of women. The first trial of Banu Israel was through women.”

  • ‏ إن الدنيا حلوة خضرة، وإن الله مستخلفكم فيها فينظر كيف تعملون، فاتقوا الدنيا واتقوا النساء؛ فإن أول فتنة بني إسرائيل كانت في النساء‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

 

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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