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IOK Ramadan Reflections Series: #4

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IOK Ramadan Reflections Series: Night 4-Ayat ul Kursi

Transcript: In today’s video, I would like to focus on what the Prophet ﷺ describes as the greatest verse of the Quran, Āyah al-Kursī. Ubayy ibn Kaʿb (ra) narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “O Abu Mundhir! Do you know which verse in Allah’s Book that you have is the greatest?” I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He ﷺ again asked, “O Abu Mundhir! Do you know which verse in Allah’s Book that you have is the greatest?” I replied, “It is ‘Allah la Ilaaha illa Huwal-Haiyul-Qayum’ (Allah! There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him, the Ever-Living, All-Sustaining.)’.” (2:255) He ﷺ patted me on the chest and said, “Rejoice with this knowledge, O Abu Mundhir!”

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 عَنْ أُبَىِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ يَا أَبَا الْمُنْذِرِ أَتَدْرِي أَىُّ آيَةٍ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مَعَكَ أَعْظَمُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ يَا أَبَا الْمُنْذِرِ أَتَدْرِي أَىُّ آيَةٍ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مَعَكَ أَعْظَمُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ قُلْتُ اللَّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَىُّ الْقَيُّومُ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَضَرَبَ فِي صَدْرِي وَقَالَ ‏”‏ وَاللَّهِ لِيَهْنِكَ الْعِلْمُ أَبَا الْمُنْذِرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It is described as the greatest verse in the Quran because it explains the important themes of tawhid, the magnificence of Allah ﷻ, and His beautiful names and attributes. It explains these concepts and the power of Allah ﷻ in a very beautiful and eloquent way.

Because of all of the virtues, rewards, and blessings associated with Ayah al-Kursi, it is part of Muslim cultures across the globe to memorize it and recite in on a daily basis. In several aḥādīth, we are encouraged to recite it after every prayer, in the morning, in the evening, and before going to sleep. I’m sure this is a verse that most if not all of us have memorized from a very young age. Reciting this verse in order to receive all of its blessings, rewards, and virtues is a very beautiful and commendable act of worship.

However, what is more important and more impactful is reciting this verse with understanding. Reciting it in the morning and evening and after every prayer while concentrating and focusing on its message. ibn Kathīr (r) writes that this verse is made up of ten sentences that give us a description of our Lord and Creator.

The verse begins, “Allah! There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him, the Ever-Living, All-Sustaining.” The word Allah is a very powerful and profound word. It is the proper noun for the Divine Being; the One Who is necessarily existent. It is the proper noun for the Almighty Lord and Creator, the One who created this entire universe and every single thing it contains, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing, the All-Wise, the Almighty, the One Who gives life, the One Who gives Death, the King of all kings. This is the name or title that Allah ﷻ chose for Himself and is considered to be the greatest name and the most comprehensive. Allah is the one name that combines and brings together all of the Divine Names and Attributes of Allah ﷻ. It is a very powerful word; it is supposed to create a sense of awe, reverence, and fear in the heart of the one who hears it or mentions it. As Allah ﷻ says in Sūrah al-Anfāl, “True believers are those whose hearts tremble with awe when God is mentioned, whose faith increases when His revelations are recited to them, who put their trust in their Lord.”

Who is Allah ﷻ? “There is no god [worthy of worship] except Him.” Allah ﷻ is the only One Who is worthy of worship, the One Whom all creation praises and glorifies. Everything on land or sea – everything in the seven heavens and the seven earths – glorifies Him. The day and night praise Him. Allah says: “The seven heavens and the earth and everyone in them glorify Him. There is not a single thing that does not celebrate His praise, though you do not understand their praise: He is most forbearing, most forgiving.” [Surah al-Isrd: 44]

  • تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا – 17:44

There is no person or thing worthy and deserving of submission, devotion, obedience, and worship except for Allah ﷻ.

Allah ﷻ then describes Himself with two of His unique divine names and attributes; al-Ḥayy (the Ever-Living) and al-Qayyum (All-Sustaining). Allah ﷻ is al-Ḥayy, the Ever-Living. He has always existed and will always exist. He is the Ever-Living who does not die. This beautiful name is referring to the eternal and everlasting nature of Allah ﷻ. He alone is the One without beginning and without end; the First and the Last. Allah ﷻ exists beyond the concepts and limits of boundaries, time, direction, and space. As human beings our intellect, our minds, are extremely powerful tools. However, there is only a certain extent or limit to which our minds and intellects can reach. Despite how intelligent, smart, and advanced we may think we are, the reality is that we are weak. We cannot imagine things outside the confines of time, direction, and space. Everything single thing we see around us; every single human being, animal, insect, plant, fruit, vegetable, tree, whatever you can think of has a limited life span. The Heavens and the Earth and everything they contain, the planets, stars, galaxies, celestial bodies, mountains, rivers, oceans, this entire universe will cease to exist. The universe will be made non-existent and the only being remaining will be Allah the Almighty the All-Powerful, the Ever-living, the Ever-lasting, the Eternal. As Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah al-Rahmān, “Everyone on Earth perishes; All that remains is the Face of your Lord, full of majesty. Bestowing honor.”

  • كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ – 55:26 وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ – 55:27

al-Qayyum, the All-Sustaining. Allah ﷻ is the one who sustains and maintains the entire universe and everything it contains; from the smallest particle to the largest galaxy. Allah ﷻ alone is the One who sustains, maintains, controls, manages, and directs the affairs of this universe. Sustaining, maintaining, controlling, managing, and directing the affairs of this universe has no affect or impact upon Allah ﷻ and His might whatsoever. He ﷻ does not become weary, tired, or sleepy.

“Neither drowsiness nor sleep overtakes Him.” He is not similar to us or His creation in any way, shape, or form.

“To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth.” Allah ﷻ is the master, owner, sovereign, and king of every single thing in the heavens and the earth; the Angels, sun, moon, stars, celestial bodies, galaxies, clouds, rain, birds, land, trees, plants, oceans, animals, insects, molecules, and atoms. Allah ﷻ is the King of all kings and everything in this universe is subject to his rule, command, will, and decree.

“Who could possibly intercede with Him without His permission?” On the Day of Resurrection, no one will be allowed to speak or intercede on behalf of another except the one whom Allah ﷻ, the most Merciful, allows to do so.

“He ˹fully˺ knows what is ahead of them and what is behind them.” Allah’s knowledge is infinite, limitless, and never ending. He ﷻ knows every single thing big and small, hidden and apparent, public and private, past, present, and future. Allah ﷻ knows what lies ahead of us in terms of judgment, accountability, reward, punishment, paradise, and hell. And He ﷻ knows what is behind us in terms of what we did in the life of this world.

“And they do not comprehend any of His knowledge except what He wills.” Through this, Allah ﷻ is reminding us that our knowledge is finite and limited; it is nothing compared to the infinite and limitless knowledge of Allah ﷻ.

“His Seat1 encompasses the heavens and the earth.” And the preservation of both does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Greatest.”

The greatest verse in the Quran gives us a description of Allah’s oneness and perfection with clarity and detail. It allows us to understand who our Lord and Creator truly is. And reciting this verse after every single prayer is our key to Paradise. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever recites Ayah al-Kursi after every obligatory prayer, then nothing prevents them from entering Paradise except for death.”

مَن قرأَ آيةَ الكرسيِّ دبُرَ كلِّ صلاةٍ مَكْتوبةٍ ، لم يمنَعهُ مِن دخولِ الجنَّةِ ، إلَّا الموتُ

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

IOK Seminary Faculty train highly motivated and dedicated Muslim men and women in classical Islam and contemporary scholarship, giving them the tools to grow as individuals, effectively serve those around them, and preserve the Islamic tradition in the West.

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