Category Archives: Quran

The Merits of Dhikr

[Tafsir Mariful Qur’an Surah Baqarah Verse 152]

Dhikr or ‘Remembrance’ essentially pertains to the heart, but in so far as the tongue is the interpreter of the heart the oral recitation of a Divine Name or a verse of the Holy Qur’an is also described as Dhikr. In other words, oral Dhikr can be worth the name only when it is accompanied by the ‘remembrance’ of the heart. As the great Sufi poet Rumi points out, the recitation of a Divine name can have no efficacy if one keeps thinking of cows and donkeys while repeating it mechanically with the tongue. One must, however, bear in mind that even a mechanical Dhikr without the heart being engaged in it is not altogether futile. It is related that the great Sufi Abu Uthman, hearing a man complain of such a situation, remarked that one should be grateful to Allah even for this favour of having drawn at least one organ of the body into His service. (Qurtubi)

The merits of Dhikr are, indeed, innumerable. What greater merit could one wish for than the assurance that when a man ‘remembers’ Allah, He too ‘remembers’ him. Abu Uthman once claimed that he knew the time when Allah remembered His servants. The listeners grew curious as to how he could determine this. He replied that, according to the promise made in the Holy Qur’an, when a Muslim remembers Allah, He too remembers him, and thus everyone can know for himself that as soon as he turns to Allah and remembers Him, Allah too remembers him.

Let us add that Verse 152 means to say that if men ‘remember’ Allah by obeying His commandments, He will ‘remember’ them by granting His pardon and His rewards. The commentator Sa’id ibn Jubayr has, in fact, interpreted the Dhikr or ‘remembrance’ of Allah as obedience and submission to Him. He says:
“He who has not obeyed Him has not remembered Him, even though he has kept himself externally busy in offering (nafl: supererogatory) prayers and reciting His praises.”

This explanation is fully supported by a hadith cited by Al-Qurtubi on the authority of Ahkam Al-Qur’an by Ibn Khuwayz Mandadh. The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) has said that one who has been obeying Allah – that is, following the injunctions with regards to the Halal and Haram – has truly been remembering Allah, in spite of being deficient in (nafl: supererogatory) prayers and fasting, while one who has been disobeying divine commandments has, in fact, forgotten Allah, in spite of devoting long hours to nafl prayers, fasting and recitation of His praises.

The great Sufi Master Dhu al-Nun al-Misri has said that the man who remembers Allah in the full sense of the term forgets everything else, and that, in reward of such a total absorption, Allah Himself takes care of all his concerns, and grants him something far more valuable for everything he loses. Similarly, the blessed Companion Mu’adh (رضى الله تعالى عنه)has remarked that in so far as winning absolution from the divine wrath is concerned, no good deed on the part of man can compare with Dhikr. And in a hadith reported by the blessed Companion Abu Hurayrah (رضى الله تعالى عنه), Allah Himself says that so long as the servant keeps remembering Him and his lips keep moving in Dhikr, Allah is with him.

Listening to Quran

Listening to recitation is the perfume of the souls, the calmer of hearts, and the food of the spirit. Is is one of the most important psychological medicines. It is a source of pleasure, even to some animals – and pleasure in moderation purifies inner energy, enhances the functioning of the faculties, slows down senile decay by driving out its diseases, improves the complexion, and refreshes the entire body. Pleasure in excess, on the other hand, makes the illnesses of the body grow worse.

Abu Nu’aim states, in his Tib an-Nabbi, that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said that the benefits of listening to recitation are increased when it is understood – that is, when its meaning is understood. Allah Himself says:

…so give good news to My slaves, those who listen to the word and then follow the best of it…(Qur’an: 39.17-18)

Source: As-Suyuti’s Medicine of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)

Prophet Isa (Jesus)

The Birth of ‘Isa ( – Peace Be Upon Him)

The story of the birth of Isa (A.S.) as told in the Qur’an demonstrates again the power of Allah who can make happen whatever He wills. Just as Ibrahim (A.S.) and Sara (A.S.) wondered at being able to have a son at their great age, Isa’s mother, Maryam (peace be upon her) also wondered at being able to have a son when no man had touched her.

Maryam was the daughter of Imran (A.S.). When her mother became pregnant with her, she dedicated her baby to Allah for His special service. Maryam grew up pure and beautiful in the special protection of Allah. Whenever her guardian, Zakariah (A.S.), would visit her in her room, he would find that she had been provided with plentiful food and he wondered at it. It was Allah who was caring for her.

When Maryam became a young woman she was visited by a messenger from Allah. He told her that she would bear a son named Isa (A.S.). He would speak to the people as a child and as an adult. Allah would teach him the Book and the Wisdom, and he would be a prophet to his people.

Maryam was amazed at this message. She was a well-behaved young, unmarried woman, so how could she have a baby? Allah’s message was similar to that given to Ibrahim (A.S.).  Allah creates whatever he wills. All he has to do is say, “Be,” and it is.

When the time came for Maryam’s baby to be born, she withdrew from her family because she knew they wouldn’t understand. As the pains of birth began, she came to a palm tree and cried out in despair that she wished she were dead. A voice answered her, telling her not to grieve, and telling her to shake the palm tree to obtain dates. Allah also provided her with a small stream to ease her thirst and cool her face during the birth of her son, Isa .

When Isa (A.S.) had been born, Maryam returned home with him. When her family saw him they were shocked, as she knew they would be. But she merely pointed to the baby in explanation and he, the newborn infant, spoke, declaring that he was indeed a servant of Allah, a prophet, blessed by Allah, enjoined to do prayer and charity, and be kind to his mother, humble and not overbearing, and that he would eventually die and be raised to life again.

You can read about Maryam and the birth of Isa (A.S.) in the following suras of the Qur’an: 3:35-37, 3:42-49, 19:16-40.

Remain Busy with Quraan


Hadhrat Abu Sa’eed (Radhiyallaho anho) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: “Almighty Allah says; “If anybody finds no time for My remembrance and for begging favours of Me, because of his remaining busy with the Holy Qur’an, I shall give him more than what I give to all those who beg favours of Me. The superiority of the Word of Allah over all other words is like the superiority of Allah over the entire creation.”
[Tirmidhi, Darimi, Bayhaqi]

In other words, compared to those who are begging favours of Allah, He will surely confer some better reward on a person who remains so occupied with committing the Qur’an to memory or learning and understanding it that he hardly gets time for du’a (prayer).

It is commonly known that when a man distributes sweets, or something else amongst others, a share is set aside for the person who cannot attend the function because of the task of distribution given to him by the distributor himself.

In another hadith, in the same context, it is mentioned that Allah would give such a person a better reward than what He would give to His ever grateful servants.

Source: Fazail-e-amaal

Tafsir of Surah Ikhlas

Allah, The One, The Unique: A Tafsir of Surat ‘l Ikhlas delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 25th May 2012 at Al Kawthar Academy, Leicester, United Kingdom.

This small chapter speaks about the oneness of Allah and monotheism. It emphasises the importance of making religion sincere and exclusive for Allah in all deeds and actions. Its profound meanings and messages are the very foundation of faith and the Qur’an.

Prophet Ismail and his Mother

When Ismail (alayhis salam) was still a small baby, his father Ibrahim (alayhis salam) took him and his mother, Hajra, to the site of the Ka’ba. He gave them some dates and a goat skin full of water and left them there. At that time no one lived at the Ka’ba, and there was no water nearby. As Ibrahim (alayhis salam) was walking away, Ismail’s (alayhis salam) mother followed him, asking why she and her son were being left in such a desolate place. She asked several times but he would not answer her. Finally, she asked if Allah had ordered him to do this and he replied that it was so. Upon hearing this, she accepted Allah’s will and returned to the site where Ibrahim (alayhis salam) had left her.

As soon as Ibrahim (alayhis salam) was out of sight, he turned and prayed to Allah to protect and provide for his family which he had left out in the wilderness:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; In order, O our Lord that they may establish regular prayer; So fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits; So that they may give thanks.” (al-Qur’an 14:37)

Ismail (alayhis salam) and his mother lived for some time on the supply of water and dates, but finally the water began to give out, and Ismail’s (alayhis salam) mother could no longer produce sufficient milk to nurse her baby. The baby became agitated and near to death because of his thirst. The mother could not bear to see her child suffering, so she ran to the top of nearby Mt. Safa to see if she could find someone to help her. When she could see no one, she ran down the mountain and across the valley to Mt. Marwa. Seven times she ran from one mountain to the other, looking in vain for assistance. After the seventh time she heard a voice and she called out to it for help. When she looked she saw an angel digging the earth with his heel until water flowed forth. That place was the site of Zam-zam. She carefully made a depression around the place where the water was flowing, and filled her waterbag with her hands. Then she was able to drink water and nurse her baby. The angel told her not to be afraid, that she and her son would be provided for.

Ismail (alayhis salam) and his mother continued to live at the Ka’ba all by themselves for some time. One day some people of the Jurhum tribe were passing through the valley. They didn’t intend to stop, because they knew that there had never been any water in that valley. But they saw a kind of bird which was known to frequent wet spots, so they followed it to the spring of Zam-zam. There they found Ismail’s mother sitting by the water.

Ismail’s (alayhis salam) mother was a very sociable person who loved the company of others, so she readily agreed to their request to stop there for a while, provided that they did not claim possession of the water. Some of the people of Jurhum decided to settle permanently by Zam-zam and sent for their families. Ismail (alayhis salam) grew up with these people and learned to speak Arabic from them. When he grew up, they urged him to marry one of their women.

You can read about Ismail and his mother in Sahih al-Bukhari IV:582-584.

How the Qur’an was Compiled

I wanted to know was the entire Qur’an compiled before the Prophet’s death or after by the khalifas. What I mean by compiled is the ordering of the surahs. Before the Prophet’s death (Allah bless him & give him peace), did the sahabas know that the #1 surah is fatiha and #2 is suratul baqara and so forth? Or was this order established by the khalifas like during Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) time?

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah the inspirer of truth

The order of the verses in each chapter of the Qur’an was divinely inspired, even though they were revealed portion by portion as the need arose over a 23 year period.

The Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace) would instruct the scribes to place each verse in its proper place as they were revealed.

It is related by Imam Ahmad and the authors of the Sunans on the authority of Uthman radhiyallahu anhu, “When a chapter was revealed of the Qur’an that had a number of verses, the Messenger of Allah would call one of the scribes and say, “Place these verses in the chapter which states such and such…” Hence, from this and other narrations it is understood that not only was the arrangement of the verses divinely inspired, so were the chapters according to many scholars. (Fath al-Bari, Bab ta’lif al-Qur’an).

Although there is agreement concerning the arrangement of the verses being divinely inspired, there is a difference of opinion concerning the order of the chapters. The stronger opinion seems to be that the arrangement of many chapters was also divinely inspired, although some chapters were placed through the ijtihad [inference] of the Companions. For instance, it is reported that the Companions placed Surat al-Tawba after Surat al-Anfal, through their own deliberation, as they did not have any information concerning this from the Messenger (upon him be peace).

A good English work on the sciences of the Qur’an is, Approach to the Qur’anic Sciences by Shaykh Mufti Taqi Uthmani. An abridged version of it is found in the beginning of the Ma`arif al-Qur’an [a Qur’anic tafsir in Urdu, which is available in English translation as well]. Well worth reading.

Mufti Abdur Rahman Ibn Yusuf Mangera

More information here

A Cure for Music

By MI. Muhammad Karolia

Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said: “He who does not read the Qur’aan in a melodious voice is not from us.” (Bukhari Vol. 2 Pg 1123. Abu Da’ud Vol. 1 Pg 207)

To recite the Qu’raan in a melodious voice is mustahab and has been encouraged in many ahaadith. Thus Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said: “Adorn the Qur’aan with your voices.” (Bukhari Vol. 2 Pg 1126)

The narration of Haakim’s Mustadrak and Daarimi’s Sunan have the following addition: “… because a beautiful voice increases the beauty of the Qur’aan.”

Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said: “Allah does not listen as attentively to anything as He listens to a Nabi reciting the Qur’aan in a melodious voice.” (Bukhari Vol. 2 Pg 1115)

Hadhrat Abu Moosa Ash’ari (r.a.) a famous Sahabi, used to recite the Qur’aan in a very beautiful tone. Rasulullah (s.a.w.) praised him saying that he had been blessed with “a flute from the flutes of Dawood.” (Bukhari Vol. 2 Pg 755)

Note: The word ‘mizmar’ (flute) has not been used in its literal meaning. Hadhrat Dawood (a.s.) used to recite the Zabur in an extremely beautiful voice. Thus his voice has been described as a flute in the Hadith.

The question however is that the word used in the Hadith for ‘reading in a melodious voice’ is that of ‘taghanni’. The literal translation of this word is ‘to sing’. On the contrary we have been prohibited in the Hadith to sing and read the Qur’aan. Although it is understandable that the word ‘taghanni’ has been used figuratively, why has a simpler or more clearer word not been used?

A similar question was posed to the famous Muhaddith, Ibn al-Arabi (r.a.) to which he replied: “The Arabs used to sing when they mounted their camels, when they sat in their assemblies and in most of their conditions. Thus when the Qur’aan was revealed, Rasulullah (s.a.w.) desired that the Qur’aan should be their habit rather than singing.” (Sharh-us-Sunnah Vol. 4 Pg 486)

In other words, the Arabs were so infatuated with singing that singing and music was found in basically every aspect of their lives. Thus when the Qur’aan was revealed, Rasulullah (s.a.w.) desired that their habit of singing be substituted by the recitation of the Qur’aan. This explanation may be substantiated by the following Hadith narrated by Hadhrat Zaid Ibn Arqam (r.a.): “While Nabi (s.a.w.) was walking through an alley in Medina, he passed a youth that was singing. Nabi (s.a.w.) said to him: ‘Woe to you, O youth. Why do you not recite the Qur’aan in a melodious voice?” (Ahkaam-ul-Qur’aan of Mufti Muhammad Shafe).

Note: The word ‘taghanni’ has been used in this Hadith as well. Hafiz Ibn Hajr (r.a.) quotes from Ibn-Ambari that it means to take pleasure and delight just as the singers take pleasure in music. Thus the word music (taghanni) has been used because the same pleasure is experienced (i.e. when reciting the Qur’aan) as is experienced when listening to music. (Fath-ul-Bari Vol. 9 Pg 62)

It is for this reason that Hafiz Ibn Qayyim (r.a.) and Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmir (r.a.) have regarded excessive recitation of the Qur’aan as an excellent cure for music.

Hadhrat Shah Saheb explains: “When a man forms a habit of music it overpowers him until he is unable to refrain from it. That is why you will see the singer always humming to himself. Thus Nabi (s.a.w.) has taught him that the means for refraining from music is that he make the Qur’aan his hum and music until the Qur’aan overpowers him just as music had overpowered him.” (Faiz-ul-Bari Vol. 4 Pg 269)

Let alone Muslims, even non-Muslims often marvel at the sweetness and beauty of the Qur’aan, its rhythm, choice of words etc. This sweetness is further enhanced by reciting the Qur’aan in a sweet voice as mentioned in the Hadith. In the light of the above, it may be concluded that excessive reading and listening to the Qur’aan is an excellent cure for the ailment of music.

Prophet Musa and the Bani Israel

When Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and his people fled from the Egyptians, their trials were far from over. After they had safely crossed the sea, they came upon some people who were worshiping idols. The children of Israel asked Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) to make an idol for them, and he had to remind them of all that Allah had done for them. How could he make another god for them when their Allah was the only true god?

Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) was summoned by Allah to Mount Sinai and he put his brother Harun(alayhis salam) in charge while he was gone. When he arrived at the appointed site, he asked to see Allah. Allah said He could not show Himself directly to Prophet Musa (alayhis salam), but Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) should look towards the mountain, and if the mountain remained in one piece, then Musa would see Allah. When Allah showed His glory on the mountain, it became like dust, and Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) fell down in a faint. When he had recovered his senses, he asked Allah’s forgiveness and declared his unquestioning belief in Allah. Then Allah spoke with Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and gave him tablets containing His commands and explaining all things. Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) was to carry the tablets back to his people and convey to them the words of Allah. He spent forty days on the mount, communing with his Lord.

Meanwhile, the people of Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) gathered together all their jewelry and gold which they had carried from Egypt. They melted it down and made it into the form of a calf, which they wished to worship. When Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) returned from the mountain with his tablets, he was angry and grieved to see the golden calf. Thinking that Harun (alayhis salam) had approved the actions of the Israelites, an angry Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) grabbed his brother by the hair and dragged Harun towards him. Harun hastily explained that the people had not listened to him and had even threatened to kill him when he opposed their activities. At this Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) prayed to Allah for forgiveness for both himself and his brother. He also prayed for mercy for those who repented of their evil deed in making the golden idol.

The ultimate destination of the people of Israel was the land of Canaan. Continuously they rebelled against Allah, and continuously Allah forgave them. When they were thirsty, Allah commanded Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) to strike a rock and from it sprang twelve springs of water, one for each of the tribes of Israel. When they were hot, Allah provided clouds to cover the sun. When they were hungry, Allah provided manna and salwa. Yet they were never grateful. They even complained about the sameness of the diet and asked for more variety.

At last they came to the land of Canaan. But because the people of Canaan were very strong-looking, the Israelites were afraid to invade their land. There were only two men who were willing to join Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and Harun (alayhis salam) in an attempt to drive the Canaanites out. They counseled that if the proper gates were attacked, they could easily gain entrance. And once they were inside, they would easily be victorious if only they would put their trust in Allah. But the people of Israel would not budge. They told Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and Harun (alayhis salam) to go with their Lord and fight, while they, the people, would sit and watch. At this Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) gave up trying to persuade his rebellious people. And Allah decreed that because of their behavior, the children of Israel would be condemned to wander in the wilderness for forty more years, before they would be allowed to enter the land of Canaan.

You can read about the story of Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and his people in the wilderness in al-Quran 2: 51-61; 5: 23-29; 7: 138-162; and 20: 80-98.