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Lesson 8 From Surah Al-Kahf

Verse 50-53

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah, it truly is a great blessing to be back after the last session. May Allah ﷻ accept this small effort of ours, place it on our scale of good deeds on the Day of Judgment and make it a means of us getting closer to the Qur’ān. As all of you know, by the grace of Allah ﷻ, I was given the opportunity to perform Hajj once again this year. I ask Allah ﷻ to accept the Hajj of all those who performed it this year and make them a blessing for the entire Ummah.

Hajj is simply amazing. It’s an experience that really can’t be captured in words. For those of you who haven’t gone yet, may Allah ﷻ give you the opportunity to go as soon as possible. Hajj is a huge source of blessing and virtue in a person’s life and perhaps the greatest act of worship and submission in Islam. As the Prophet ﷺ told us, “There’s no reward for an accepted/righteous hajj except for Paradise.”

In our last session, we covered the meanings of verses 45-49. InshAllah, tonight we’ll explore the meanings and lessons of verses 50-53. As a quick reminder, a quick refresher, the last set of verses gave us a very powerful and profound example of the reality of the life of this world. We’re reminded in a very brief yet powerful way that the life of this world is temporary and fleeting; that it will very quickly come to an end. And that the life to come, the life of the hereafter, is a life of eternity. The Qur’ān wants to change our perspective; it wants to change the way we view the material world. It wants us to recognize that the material is impermanent; whereas, belief and righteous deeds are permanent.

We’re reminded that just like anything else in this world they too will one day cease to exist. So we shouldn’t be fooled, deceived and tricked by them. Rather we should focus on what is everlasting; those things that will benefit us in this world and more importantly in the next. The passage ended with a brief description of some events that will take place on the Day of Judgment.

Now the Surah transitions into the story of Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Shaytan’s refusal to prostrate to him. This particular story is mentioned in the Quran a number of times. For example, it’s mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah, Surah Al-‘Araf, Surah Al-Hijr, and Surah Sād. However, each time it is mentioned for a different reason; for a different purpose. The story is mentioned very briefly here as an admonition to the wealthy and proud Makkans, reminding them that Satan’s refusal to prostrate before Adam (as) was based similarly on pride and a false sense of superiority. Allah ﷻ is highlighting the parallels between their attitudes towards Islam and the Muslims and the attitude of Satan.

Verse 50: “(Remember) when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before ’Adam.” So, they prostrated themselves, all of them but Iblīs (Satan). He was of the Jinn, so he rebelled against the command of his Lord. Will you then take him and his progeny as protectors apart from Me, though they are an enemy to you? How evil an exchange for the wrongdoers!

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is reminding us of the enmity of Shaytan, that just as he was an enemy to Adam he is also our enemy. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is telling His Messenger to remind people of when He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) ordered all of the Angels to prostrate to Adam out of respect and honor. So all of the Angels immediately fell in prostration except for Iblīs, who was amongst the Jinn. He refused to prostrate before Adam because he was fooled by his own arrogance and pride.

Before his fall from grace, Iblīs was a devoted servant of Allah. He was so special that he was granted permission to attend the gatherings of the Angels. The main reason why Shaytan didn’t prostrate is arrogance, pride, and jealousy. He thought he was better than Adam because he was created from fire whereas Adam was created from clay. His pride, arrogance, and jealousy caused him to disobey Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Pride, arrogance, haughtiness, thinking we’re better than others is one of the most dangerous diseases of the heart.

The word for pride in Arabic is Kibr. Linguistically the word الكبر is derived from the root letters ك ب ر , which convey the meaning of growth, either in mass or age. When a person is arrogant or prideful they glorify themselves and think of themselves as someone great or important. An Arabic word that is synonymous to الكبر is التكبر.

As a spiritual disease scholars throughout history have tried to capture its reality through a number of definitions. First and foremost the Prophet ﷺ defined الكبر as, “denial of the truth and dislike for others.”

  • “الكبر بطر الحق، و غمط الناس.”
  • الزبيدي: حالة يتخصص بها الإنسان من إعجابه بنفسه، و أن يرى نفسه أكبر من غيره.

Al-Zubaidi defined it as, “A state or condition where a person thinks good of themselves (admires themselves) and they consider themselves to be better than others.”

  • الغزالي: استعظام النفس، و رؤية قدرها فوق قدر الغير.

Imām Ghazāli defines it as self-aggrandizement and thinking your better than others.

  • استعظام الإنسان نفسه، و استحسان ما فيه من الفضائل، و الإستهانة بالناس، و استصغارهم، و الترفع على من يجب التواضع له.

Al-Jāhidh: “When a person thinks highly of themselves (self-aggrandizement), considers their qualities to be good, belittles others, and behaves arrogantly with one whom they should be humble with.” Imām Al-Ghazāli says, “The reality of arrogance is that you see yourself as being superior to others in possessing attributes of perfection (list some). So there occurs in you haughtiness and a delightful sensation from this view and belief…”

Kibr is basically thinking that we’re better than others because of our knowledge, wealth, lineage, race, color, power, strength or language.

In the Ihyā, Imām Al-Ghazāli writes very beautifully, “Arrogance/Pride is an extremely grave calamity. Through it, distinguished people are destroyed. Rarely are worshippers, ascetics, and scholars free from it, let alone normal people. How can it not be a grave calamity when the Prophet ﷺ said, “No one who has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” It’s a barrier in front of Paradise because it separates between a person and all the characteristics of true believers. Those characteristics are the gates to paradise and arrogance closes all of those gates. Because a person who has arrogance is unable to love for the believer what they love for themselves. An arrogant person is compelled to have all the blameworthy traits to protect his pride. There isn’t a praiseworthy characteristic except that they’re unable to adopt it out of fear of losing their honor…”

He also writes, “Arrogance bars you from the entirety of praiseworthy manners, because the proud person is not capable of loving for people what he loves for himself. Nor is he capable of modesty, or leaving disdain, envy or anger. Likewise, he’s incapable of concealing rage, giving good counsel or leaving ostentation. On the whole, there does not remain any bad trait except that the arrogant person is compelled to perpetrate it, and there does not remain any good trait except that he is compelled to leave it.”

The most villainous and evil individuals throughout history were filled with arrogance and false pride: Satan, Fir’awn, the enemies of the Prophet ﷺ and every single tyrant throughout history. Perhaps that’s why there are so many verses of the Qur’ān and narrations from the Prophet ﷺ that condemn pride and arrogance. For example, the Prophet ﷺ said, “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” A person (amongst his hearers) said: “Verily a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine.” He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: “Verily, Allah is Graceful and He loves Grace. Pride is to disdain the truth (out of self-conceit) and have contempt for the people.” (Muslim)

  • عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ كِبْرٍ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ رَجُلٌ إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَكُونَ ثَوْبُهُ حَسَنًا وَنَعْلُهُ حَسَنَةً ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَمِيلٌ يُحِبُّ الْجَمَالَ الْكِبْرُ بَطَرُ الْحَقِّ وَغَمْطُ النَّاسِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

The Prophet ﷺ also said, “Whoever has humility Allah will elevate him, and whoever is arrogant Allah will lower him.” May Allah protect us from pride and arrogance and make us amongst the people of humility.

Again, Shaytān’s pride and arrogance led him to disobey the direct command of Allah ﷻ. “So he rebelled against the command of his Lord.” The verb used for rebelling here is فسق, which literally means to stray from the right course or to behave sinfully. In the context of Islam, it refers to open disobedience; leaving the obedience of Allah. That’s exactly what Iblīs did; he openly disobeyed the command of Allah ﷻ.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then reprimands and scolds those people who choose to follow Shaytan by disbelieving and committing sins even though he is their sworn, open enemy. He reprimands them by asking them a rhetorical question. Oftentimes rhetorical questions are used to scold and reprimand individuals in order to make them realize their mistakes.

Allah ﷻ says,

“Will you then take him and his progeny as protectors apart from Me, though they are an enemy to you? How evil an exchange for the wrongdoers!”

This is also an expression of wonder and amazement; how in the world can you take Shaytān and his progeny as protectors apart from me? Meaning, how can you obey and follow Shaytān, while he’s an open and sworn enemy of humanity? His sole purpose and objective in life is to misguide as many people as possible and lead as many people as he can to eternal damnation. That’s the oath he took in front of Allah ﷻ. After refusing to prostrate before Adam (as) Iblīs asked Allah to give him some time; a little bit of a reprieve. Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah Al-‘Arāf, “He said, ‘Grant me respite until the Day they are resurrected.’ He said, ‘Truly you are among those granted respite.’ He said, ‘Because you have caused me to err, I shall surely lie in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from in front of them and from behind them, and from their right and from their left. And you will not find most of them thankful.”

Shaytān is not our friend. Allah ﷻ makes this explicitly clear throughout the Qur’ān. Allah ﷻ tells us, “Truly Satan is your enemy so treat him as an enemy.”

Allah ﷻ ends the verse by highlighting how ridiculous it is for someone to follow Shaytān and his helpers. “How evil an exchange for the wrongdoers!”

The exchange is referring to taking Shaytān and his helpers and protectors and guardians beside Allah ﷻ. Meaning, instead of obeying Allah ﷻ they disobey Him by following the path of Shaytān.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) then explicitly states that Shaytan and all these false deities that people have associated with Him have no power or authority whatsoever. They’re completely helpless themselves.

Verse 51: I did not make them witness to the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor to their own creation. And I take not those who lead astray as a support.

According to some commentators in this verse, Allah ﷻ is referring to those beings or objects that people associate as partners with Allah ﷻ. Allah ﷻ is making it absolutely clear that these false deities, the Satans, didn’t witness the creation of the heavens and the earth. Meaning they weren’t partners with Allah in creation, so it’s illogical for them to be partners with Allah in being worshipped. Similarly, Allah ﷻ didn’t make them witness their own creation; meaning they are creatures themselves that don’t deserve to be worshipped.

While explaining this verse Ibn Kathīr writes, “Allah says: `These whom you take as helpers instead of Me are creatures just like you. They do not possess anything and did not witness the creation of heaven and earth, because they did not exist at that time.’ Allah says, `I am the One Who independently and exclusively creates and controls all things, and I have no partner, associate or advisor in that.” Essentially this verse is highlighting the concept of tawhīd while at the same time highlighting the absurdity of the belief of the polytheists.

Allah ends the verse by declaring that He wouldn’t take them as helpers.

“Sublime and great is God. He is in no need of anyone in the universe. He is the Almighty who has the power to accomplish whatever He wills.”

The phraseology here is intentional. It brings to the fore the myths of the unbelievers only to shoot them down. Those who seek protection from Satan and make him a partner to God only do so because they imagine that Satan has a great wealth of knowledge and overpowering might, when in fact Satan is a seducer who leads people astray. God does not like deviation or those who lead other people astray. Had He, for argument’s sake, sought helpers, He would not have taken them from among the seducers who lead people into error and deviation. This is the meaning the verse and its ending aim to emphasize.”

The Surah then paints another scene from the Day of Judgment, highlighting the consequence that awaits those who associated partners with Allah.

Verse 52: On the Day when He says, “Call those who you claimed as My partners,” they will call upon them, but they will not respond to them, and We will place a gulf between them.

In this verse, Allah is telling Muhammad ﷺ to tell the non-believers that on the Day of Judgment Allah will scold and reprimand them and tell them to call their deities whom they associated with Allah so that they can save them from the difficulties of that day and the punishment. This is one of several verses in the Quran that highlights that on the Day of Judgment Allah will challenge those who associate partners with Him to call upon them for help and intercession. On that day those partners will abandon them, dissociate from them and will be unable to help them in any way. This will be said to them as a reprimand and rebuke in order to scold them and make them feel a greater sense of regret and remorse. The “gulf” between them may refer to a place of destruction or a valley of Hell into which those who ascribed partners to Allah will be cast.

Allah then tells us of the consequences of their disbelief and shirk.

Verse 53: The Guilty will see the Fire and know they will fall into it, but they will find no means of escape from it.

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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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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Heart Soothers: Shaykh Noreen Mohamed Sideeq

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