• Tafseer Surah Nazi’at, Part 1

    This is post #42 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series).

    In this post, insha’Allah we will take a whirlwind tour of the first third or so of Surah Naazi’aat, a great and powerful surah of the Qur’an. Then insha’Allah we will go back and dive into more details (particularly in the Arabic side of things).

    Allah says:

    وَالنَّازِعَاتِ غَرْقًا

    وَالنَّاشِطَاتِ نَشْطًا

    وَالسَّابِحَاتِ سَبْحًا

    فَالسَّابِقَاتِ سَبْقًا

    فَالْمُدَبِّرَاتِ أَمْرًا

    Translation: By those [angels] who extract with violence, and [by] those who remove with ease, and [by] those who glide [as if] swimming, and those who race each other in a race, and those who arrange [each] matter, … [Surah Nazi’at, verses 1-5]

    These ayaat describe attributes of angels:

    • Ripping Out: Gharq (غَرْق) means to rip out, to yank out, to extract harshly. If you had a tree and you uprooted it, roots and all, that would be gharq. This refers to the angels who remove the souls of the corrupt and the evil-doers.
    • Gently Pulling: Verse two contrasts verse one by mentioning nasht (نَشْط), which is like a gentle pulling. This refers to the angels that remove the souls of the righteous believers.
    • Swimming: Verse three refers to angels who swim through the air; they are described as swimming.
    • Racing: Verse four refers to angels who are racing; racing the souls of the righteous to Jannah.
    • Al-Mudabiraat: Al-Mudabiraat are those angelswho settle the affairs of deen and dunya, in the dunya. They take care of floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, among other things. Their name, al-mudabiraat, also implies that they are thorough planners and executers of those plans.

    All of these are aqsaam (oaths), which is typical in Mecci surahs. What is Allah (‘azza wa jal) swearing to?

  • Tafseer Surah Naba’, Part 2

    This is post #40 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series). In the previous post, we discussed the first 16 verses of Surah Naba’. The remaining 24 verses discuss the Day of Judgment, Paradise, and Hellfire; you should read them to extract the details. Insha’Allah we’re going to touch on a few points that are interesting. First, a recap–verse 16 talked about (a continuing discussion of) some of the blessings of Allah (‘azza wa jal) in the dunya on the people.
  • Tafseer Surah Ghashiyah: Heaven and Hell

    This is post #38 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series). Allah (‘azza wa jal) says in Surah Al-Ghaashiyah: هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ الْغَاشِيَةِ Translation: Has there reached you the report of the Overwhelming [event]? [Surah Ghashiya, verse 1] The surah starts with a question, to make you think. The companions would say: Allahu wa rasuluhu a’lam (know better), out of humbleness, even know they had an answer in mind.
  • Tafseer Surah Qaari’ah: The Striking Calamity

    This is post #30 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series). Allah says, in Surah Qaari’ah: الْقَارِعَةُ مَا الْقَارِعَةُ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْقَارِعَةُ Translation: The Striking Calamity – What is the Striking Calamity? And what can make you know what is the Striking Calamity? [Surah Qaariah, verses 1-3] As we mentioned, the phrase in verse three–“wa maa adaraaka maa …,” is a phrase that means that, you cannot understand this thing–Al-Qaari’ah, the striking calamity.
  • Do YOU Encourage Good?

    Note: This is post #18 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series). Insha’Allah we’ll be kicking up the post frequency to three times a week in order to finish before Ramadan.

    Allah says, in Surah Ma’oon:

    أَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِي يُكَذِّبُ بِالدِّينِ

    فَذَلِكَ الَّذِي يَدُعُّ الْيَتِيمَ

    وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ

    Translation: Have you seen the one who denies the Repayment? For that is the one who drives away the orphan, and does not encourage the feeding of the poor. [Surah Ma’oon, verses 1-3]

    Notice the connection here–verse one, the one who denies Ad-Deen, the Day of Repayment. And verse two and three? He drives away orphans, He doesn’t encourage feeding of the poor.

    It’s not that he doesn’t feed the poor. It’s that he doesn’t encourange feeding the poor.

  • Arabic Explanation of Surah Takweer

    Note: This is post #17 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

    When the sun is kuwwirat

    We’re going to digress a bit and jump back to Surah Takweer. This post is based on Shaykh Nouman Khan’s tafseer, which heavily emphasizes the Arabic language. I hope you will find, as I found it, as a glimpse of a previously-unseen world, a depth of knowledge that just drips from the Arabic language.

    Allah says, in surah Takweer:

    إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ

    Translation: When the sun is kuwwirat … [verse 1]

    There are a lot of gems that we learn even from this first ayah:

    • Idhaa + Past-Tense: Idhaa is an indicator of future-tense “when (something will happen).” Yet, kuwwirat is past-tense; why? This combination means something is so certain, it’s like past-tense. So Allah is saying “when this happens,” yet it’s certain that it WILL happen; as certain as the past is past.
    • Nominal Sentence: The default in Arabic is to put the verb first–“kuwwirat ash-shamsu.” To reverse this into “ash-shamsu kuwwirat,” shows emphasis, and makes it a tougher, stronger sentence. This hints at the audience–Mushrikeen in Mecca, the worst and most obstinate of them, who are listening to this revelation.
    • Passive Voice: Allah could have said, “When I wrap up the sun,” but He didn’t. Why? If you’re biased against someone (say a political party), no matter what they say, even before they open their mouth, you say, “psshh.” But here, passive-voice highlights the maf’ool, the recipient of the action–the sun, the stars–instead of the doer.

    As for the meaning of kuwwirat, kawwara means to wrap something around something; it’s used in the context of a turban, something long, that’s wrapped around your head.

    Allah is applying the same meaning here–that the light of the sun, something that’s long, will be kuwwirat, wrapped up. Wrapped up meaning, something will cover it, and it will no longer be visible; and it will be wrapped slowly, part by part disappearing–the same way that Allah described the day as wrapping around the night and the night wrapping around the day.

    This is something scary–that you see the sun wrapped up, and losing its light. But there’s more

  • When the War-Horses Pant …

    Note: This is post #15 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

    Allah begins Surah Aadiyaat by saying:

    وَالْعَادِيَاتِ ضَبْحًا

    فَالْمُورِيَاتِ قَدْحًا

    فَالْمُغِيرَاتِ صُبْحًا

    فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا

    فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا

    Translation: By the ‘aadiyaat, when they pant, and the muwriyraat striking (when their hoves strike the ground and make sparks), and the mughiyraat, at dawn (when they raid), stirring up thereby [clouds of] dust, arriving thereby in the center collectively, …

    This is a qasam (oath), a big oath that spans five ayaat. I’m going to dive into word-for-word translation, because no translation can do justice (without paragraphs of brackets).

    ‘Aadiyaat (عَادِيَات) are horses (plural: sound feminine plural, in fact). Not those horses you see Canadian Mounties riding; but real, true, WAR horses. If you’ve ever seen war-horses (send us a picture!), they have a special, particular intensity to them.

    Dabhaa (ضَبْحًا) means to pant. Pant meaning, if you’ve ever run in a 100-meter race, or tried to run until you’re tired, and you start breathing heavily through your mouth–that’s panting. Why are the ‘aadiyaat panting? Because they are charging into battle.

    You’ll see lots of war concepts here. The Arabs at the time of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) knew these things very, very well; and when Allah testifies, these things he testifies by–nobody would deny them.

    Muwriyaat (مُورِيَات) are also war-horses–the ones that strike. Strike meaning, when they run, their hooves strike up sparks on the ground. I definitely don’t encourage watching movies, so if you’ve ever read seerah stories, or perhaps Lord of the Rings, or similar books, you might find these kinds of concepts in their battles.

    Mughiyraat (مُغِيرَات) are the raiding horses. In the time of the Prophet, they would have raids; you would see a whole army of horses and riders sweeping into a city, and they’d kill everybody and destroy it. Mughiyraat are those raiding horses that they rode.

  • The Reality of Honour and Life

    What have you packed for the Hereafter?

    Note: this is our 11th post in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma.

    Allah says, in Surah Fajr:

    فَأَمَّا الْإِنسَانُ إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ رَبُّهُ فَأَكْرَمَهُ وَنَعَّمَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَكْرَمَنِ

    وَأَمَّا إِذَا مَا ابْتَلَاهُ فَقَدَرَ عَلَيْهِ رِزْقَهُ فَيَقُولُ رَبِّي أَهَانَنِ

    Translation: And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, “My Lord has honored me.” But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, “My Lord has humiliated me.” [Surah Fajr, verses 15-16]

    You’ll notice here, Allah is commenting on the mentality of the human race. When Allah gives … the human being says: “My Lord has honoured me.”

    Because it’s all about wealth … money … dunya. This is the metric we use. You see the president of a country? You’re very respectful. If the same president was a homeless bum asking you for change? You wouldn’t even look at him. We equate money with respect and honour … as Allah points out.

    And the flip side? When Allah constrains the rizq, the human being says: “My lord has humiliated me.”

  • If Only …

    Bismillah Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says in Suratul Anbiya: لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا حِينَ لَا يَكُفُّونَ عَن وُجُوهِهِمُ النَّارَ وَلَا عَن ظُهُورِهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ Translation: If only those who disbelieved knew when they will not be able to ward off the Fire from their faces, nor from their backs; and they will not be helped. [Surah Suratul Anbiya, verse 39] The word for ward off is “yakuffoona”, “يَكُفُّونَ” and this is from the root word “ka-fa-fa” or “kaff” which means palm/hand.