• Tafseer Surah Qadar: What’s Better Than 1000 Months?

    This is post #25 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

    Reason of Revelation

    The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) told the companions about a man of the previous nations; a man who lived and fought jihad for over 1000 months (roughly 83 years, 4 months). (In case you didn’t know, the previous nations lived longer than us–like Prophet Nuh (alayhi salaam), who did da’wah for nearly 1000 years.)

    The companions were amazed, and they said: how can we compete with him?

    And subhanallah, this is a gem. Look at the companions. They prioritized and competed for the akhirah. Subhanallah to the point that, they don’t just try to do “some good deeds before I die;” not enough. They competed with each other–but even that was not enough. Rather, they competed with all of the Muslims, ever, starting from the time of Prophet Adam, until the Day of Judgment.

    We need to really look at ourselves and see, how much are we like them? Or are we just vying for bigger houses, better cars–more dunya?

  • Tafseer Surah Abasa: What Really Matters?

    imperial crown

    It’s not dunya status that matters. Allah teaches us this again in Surah Abasa–it’s the one with taqwa.

    This is post #24 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

    How would you feel if someone you love corrected you, in public, in front of everyone else? Would you feel condemned, or criticized? Would you take it more seriously than someone you don’t like criticizing you?

    And what if Allah, the Lord of the Universe, criticized you … in public?

  • Say: O You Kafiroon …

    Note: This is post #20 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

    In Surah Kafiroon, Allah says:

    قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْكَافِرُونَ

    لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ

    وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

    وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَّا عَبَدتُّمْ

    وَلَا أَنتُمْ عَابِدُونَ مَا أَعْبُدُ

    لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ

    Translation: Say, “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” [Surah Kafiroon]

    The mushrikeen (polytheists) of Mecca tried many, many different techniques to get the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) to stop spreading Islam.

    Before this ayah was revealed, they decided to make a pact with him. They said, “Look, how about this–you worship our gods for one year, and we’ll worship your God for one year.” And to sweeten the deal: “And, we’ll go first.”

    And they applied the Broken Record technique. Whenever the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) would try to speak to them about Islam, they would only repeat this.

    And he, salallahu alayhi wa sallam, refused.

    Those of you who are wondering why–although it seems on the surface like a fair trade, it’s not. Allah does not forgive shirk, worshipping other than him; not even a single sujood, or a single du’a, none of it is acceptable.

    So clearly, this is not a contract the Messenger of Allah could engage with. So he refused.

    And he refused.

    And he refused.

    Then, the Mushrikeen said, “ok, how about this–just speak highly of our gods, and we’ll do the same for you.” A smaller compromise.

    And whenever people approached them, they would say, “Well, we’re trying to compromise (like we’re the good ones in this deal–even though we kill our daughters and murder on whims and …), but he’s not agreeing.”

    So the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) went to the ka’bah.

    The Ka'bah, the House of Allah

    Mushrikeen were there. And in front of everybody he said:

  • Indeed, We Gave You Al-Kawthar

    Note: This is post #16 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

    Indeed, We gave you Al-Kawthar.

    Allah says, in Surah Al-Kauthar:

    إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ

    فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ

    إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ

    Translation: Indeed, We have granted you, [O Muhammad], al-Kawthar. So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [to Him alone]. Indeed, your enemy is the one cut off. [Surah Kawthar, verse 1-3]

    Many of you know the hadith where the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) was napping under a tree, and he woke up, smiling; and he said, Allah revealed to me this surah.

    Interestingly, the ‘ulama have discussed this–is it possible that Allah sends revelation in a dream? The answer is, surprisingly, no; of the 6-7 ways, the most common is through Jibreel (alayhi salaam). Even here, there’s no indication that the surah was revealed through a dream–perhaps Jibreel (alayhi salaam) came to the Prophet once he had woken, and revealed it to him. (For more information, check our posts on Route 114: Uloom Al-Qur’an)

    In verse 1, Allah says: Inna ‘ataynaaka al-kawthar. These two words allude to an enormous giver, giving an enormous gift. Allah could’ve just said: ataytuka al-kawthar; but that would’ve been weak, human speech. Instead, he uses inna–emphasis, and refers to himself in the “royal we” (something we have in English, too).

  • Tafseer of Surah Duhaa

    Note: this is our 12th post in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

    Islam is about social service and shukr (thankfulness).

    Insha’Allah in this post, we’re going to discuss three points:

    1. The close relationship between Allah and His prophet
    2. A glimpse of Paradise
    3. A core theme of social services in Islam

    The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) received revelation prior to Surah Duhaa. Then for a while, nothing. Umm Jameelah, the wife of Abu Lahab, came to him and said: “I hope your shaytaan has finally left you.” Because the Arabs used to say, if someone was really good at something, that they had a shaytaan helping them. (No doubt like some of the musicians today.)

    Still nothing came. The people began to talk … and they said, maybe his Lord has left him. Maybe He has abandoned him.

    And so Allah revealed:

    In Surah Duhaa, Allah says:


    وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا سَجَى

    مَا وَدَّعَكَ رَبُّكَ وَمَا قَلَى

    Translation: By duhaa (the morning brightness after Fajr), and [by] the night when it covers with darkness, your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muúammad], nor has He detested [you].

    [This hadith is found in Bukhari and Muslim, and is quoted in Tafseer ibn Katheer]

    This shows us two things: first, that the people knew when revelation came; that it was a big deal, and everybody knew about it. And second, the immense love of Allah for His prophet. How close their relationship–that even something as small as this stress, Allah revealed verses on behalf of the prophet, to reassure him. Subhanallah!

    What’s more, Allah swears by duhaa–by the brightness of the day right after the sun has come up–and by the night, as it covers up the day with darkness. (This shows the greatness of these creations–that Allah swears by them. Who would deny these things? Nobody!)

  • Tafseer of Surah Al-‘Ala

    Note: This is post #9 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

    The Taj Mahal, a HUGE palace.

    Surah Al-‘Ala is one recited quite often; the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to recite it in Witr, and in Jumu’ah, and in ‘Eid; and on days when Jumuah and ‘Eid coincide, people would hear it in ‘Eid, then again a few hours later in Jumu’ah. This indicates the great importance of Surah Al-‘Ala.

    One thing you probably didn’t know about this surah–when we say “Subhanna rabbiy al-‘alaa” in sujood, that comes from this verse–because the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded us to do so. This is where it comes from!

    Let’s dive into some of the tafseer. In ayah 9, Allah says:

  • Tafseer of Surah Lahab

    Note: This is post #7 in our series of Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. Most of us know Surah Lahab. It’s one of the first one Muslim children learn these days. We’re going to breeze through the tafseer, then dive into one of the miracles, and finish up with some Arabic analysis. Allah says: تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ مَا أَغْنَى عَنْهُ مَالُهُ وَمَا كَسَبَ سَيَصْلَى نَاراً ذَاتَ لَهَبٍ
  • The Beginning of Revelation

    This is the first post in our series of Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma. Although the story is well-known amongst the Muslims, we will recap the story of the first revelation: Surah Iqraa (also known as Surah ‘Alaq), revealed in Mecca. Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah) relates from ‘Aisha (radiallahu ‘anhaa) that the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam), for six months before revelation, would see true dreams that would happen the next day–day after day after day, for six months.