The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah mentioned the following benefits in one of his writings:

السور القصار في أواخر المصحف متناسبة . فسورة ( اقرأ هي أول ما نزل من القرآن ; ولهذا افتتحت بالأمر بالقراءة وختمت بالأمر بالسجود ووسطت بالصلاة التي أفضل أقوالها وأولها بعد التحريم هو القراءة وأفضل أفعالها وآخرها قبل التحليل هو السجود … ـ

The shorter surahs at the end of the mushaf have a certain logic and reasoning to their organization and arrangement. Surah Iqraa’ [96] was the first part of the Qur’an to be revealed, and so it opens with the command to recite and closes with the command to make sujood. And in its middle is the prayer, whose best spoken part and the first of them after the initial takbeer is the recitation of the Qur’an, and whose best physical parts and the last of them before its conclusion is the sujood. …

فلما أمر في هذه السورة بالقراءة ذكر في التي تليها نزول القرآن ليلة القدر وذكر فيها تنزل الملائكة والروح وفي ( المعارج عروج الملائكة والروح وفي ( النبأ قيام الملائكة والروح . فذكر الصعود والنزول والقيام ثم [ ص: 478 ] في التي تليها تلاوته على المنذرين حيث قال : { يتلو صحفا مطهرة } { فيها كتب قيمة } . فهذه السور الثلاث منتظمة للقرآن أمرا به وذكرا لنزوله ولتلاوة الرسول له على المنذرين . ـ

So after Allah commands the recitation of the Qur’an in this surah, in the following surah [97 – surah al-Qadr] He mentions the sending down of the Qur’an on Laylah al-Qadr. And in that surah He also mentioned the descending of the angels and the Rooh. Continue reading

The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

The term Laylah al-Qadr has been translated into English in a number of different ways, leading to some potential confusion as to the correct and intended  meaning of the word “qadr” in this phrase. In part of his explanation of surah al-Qadr, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen brought the following clarification of this issue:

وقوله تعالى: {في ليلة القدر} من العلماء من قال: القدر هو الشرف كما يقال (فلان ذو قدر عظيم، أو ذو قدر كبير) أي ذو شرف كبير، ومن العلماء من قال: المراد بالقدر التقدير، لأنه يقدر فيها ما يكون في السنة لقول الله تعالى: {إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة إنا كنا منذرين. فيها يفرق كل أمر حكيم} [الدخان: 3، 4] . أي يفصل ويبين. ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

… during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

There are some scholars who say that al-qadr means “honor”, just as one might say, “So-and-so has tremendous qadr” or “has considerable qadr” – meaning: considerable honor. Continue reading

“The Best of You are Those Who Learn the Qur’an and Teach it”: Sheikh al-Albani

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami narrated from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ

The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.

[al-Bukhari and elsewhere.]

In his collection of authentic ahaadeeth, sheikh Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albani made the following brief comments on this hadeeth:

وفي هذا الحديث : إشارة إلى تعلم القرآن , وأن خير المعلمين هو معلم القرآن , وأن خير ما تعلم المرء هو تعلم القرآن , فياليت طلاب العلم يعلمون ذلك فإن فيه النفع العظيم , وإنه مما عمت به البلوى في زماننا هذا أنك تجد كثيرا من الدعاة أو المبتدئين في طلب العلم يتصدر للدعوة والفتيا والإجابة على أسئلة الناس وهو لا يحسن قراءة الفاتحة بالمخارج الصحيحة لكل حرف فتراه ينطق السين صادا والطاء تاء والذال زايا والثاء سينا , ويقع في اللحن الجلي فضلا عن اللحن الخفي , والمفروض -بداهة – أن يحسن قراءة القرآن عن حفظه , لكي يحسن استخراج الآيات والإستدلال بها في مواعظه ودروسه ودعوته. ـ

This hadeeth contains direction to learn the Qur’an, and that the best of teachers is the teacher of the Qur’an, and also that the best thing a person can learn is learning the Qur’an. How I wish that the students of knowledge would know this, for this is a tremendous benefit. For there is a terrible condition that has become widespread in this age of ours that you find many of the du’aat and beginning students of knowledge who put themselves forward for da’wah, giving fataawaa and responding to people’s questions when they have not yet become proficient in reciting surah al-Fatihah with the correct pronunciation and articulation of each letter. So sometimes he might pronounce the letter seen as ṣaad, or ṭa as ta, or dhal as zay, or thaa as seen, and they commit gross errors in pronunciation, not to mention less obvious ones. But what is obligatory – obviously – is to become proficient in reciting the Qur’an from memory, such that one is proficient in articulating the ayaat and utilizing them in one’s admonitions, lessons, and da’wah. Continue reading

Learning the Qur’an – Both Wordings and Meanings: ibn Taymiyah

In part of a longer discussion about the qiraa’aat, sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote:

فإن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تلقوا عنه ما أمره الله بتبليغه إليهم من القرآن لفظه ومعناه جميعا كما قال أبو عبد الرحمن السلمي – وهو الذي روى عن عثمان رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ” { خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلمه } ” كما رواه البخاري في صحيحه وكان يقرئ القرآن أربعين سنة . قال – حدثنا الذين كانوا يقرئوننا عثمان بن عفان وعبد الله بن مسعود وغيرهما : أنهم كانوا إذا تعلموا من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عشر آيات لم يجاوزوها حتى [ ص: 403 ] يتعلموا ما فيها من العلم والعمل . قالوا : فتعلمنا القرآن والعلم والعمل جميعا .ـ

The Companions received the Qur’an – both its wordings and its meanings – from the Messenger (ﷺ) as Allah had commanded Him to convey it to them. This is just as Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami described it, and he was the one who relayed from ‘Uthman that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it“, as has been recorded by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh along with the comment that Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami had been a teacher of the Qur’an for forty years.

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami also said, “Those under whom we learned the Qur’an – ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, and others – told us that whenever they had learned ten ayaat from the Prophet (ﷺ), they used to not move forward past that until they learned the knowledge which those ayaat contained and actions which they entailed. They said, ‘We learned the Qur’an along with knowledge and deeds all together.'” Continue reading

What to Recite in the Prayers: Sheikh bin Baaz

In part of a larger description of the various parts of the prayer, sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz made the following remarks on the recitation of the Qur’an during the prayer:

صفة القراءة في الصلاة
Description of Reciting the Qur’an in Prayer

ثم يقول الرجل أو المرأة بعد دعاء الاستفتاح أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ثم يقرأ الفاتحة وهي: بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (1) الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (2) الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (3) مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (4) إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ (5) اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ (6) صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ ، ثم يقول آمين، وآمين ليست من الفاتحة وهي مستحبة، كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقولها بعد الفاتحة في الجهرية والسرية يقول آمين ومعناها اللهم استجب. ـ

Following the opening supplication of the prayer, then a man or woman will say:

أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ * بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

a’oodhu billah min al-Shaytaan al-Rajeem * bismillah al-Rahmaan al-Raheem

I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shayaan * I begin with the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful

And then he recites surah al-Fatihah, which is:

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ * الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ * الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ * مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ * إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ * اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ * صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful * All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation * the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful * Master of the Day of Recompense * You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help * Guide us to the Straight Path * the path of those with whom You are pleased, not those deserving anger nor those who are misguided [1:1-7]

And then you say: Continue reading

The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah devotes a series of ayaat in surah al-Baqarah [2:183-187] to the rulings of fasting. However, in the middle of these ayaat, He mentions the well-known ayah:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) about Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant when he calls Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided. [2:186]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir shed some light on the relationship of this ayah to the surrounding ayaat of fasting by writing:

وفي ذكره تعالى هذه الآية الباعثة على الدعاء ، متخللة بين أحكام الصيام ، إرشاد إلى الاجتهاد في الدعاء عند إكمال العدة ، بل وعند كل فطر . ـ

So Allah’s mention of this ayah encouraging supplication in midst of the rulings of fasting contains a directive to exert oneself in supplication when the entire period of fasting is completed – as well as of course at the breaking of every fast.

 كما رواه الإمام أبو داود الطيالسي في مسنده : حدثنا أبو محمد المليكي ، عن عمرو هو ابن شعيب بن محمد بن عبد الله بن عمرو ، عن أبيه ، عن جده عبد الله بن عمرو ، قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” للصائم عند إفطاره دعوة مستجابة ” . فكان عبد الله بن عمرو إذ أفطر دعا أهله ، وولده ودعا . ـ

This is just as Imam Abu Dawud al-Tayaalisi recorded in his musnad … that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say, “At the time of breaking the fast, the fasting person has a supplication which is accepted.” And so when ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr used to break his fast, he would call the members of his household and supplicate. Continue reading

A Brief History of the Preservation of the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad

In the introduction to a short work on memorizing the Qur’an sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad, one of the senior scholars of al-Madinah, wrote the following brief overview of the Qur’an’s preservation and transmission:

الحمد لله الذي أنزل على عبده الكتاب ولم يجعل له عوجا، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله الذي أكرمه الله فجعل القرآن له خلقا صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله الطيّبين الشرفاء، وأصحابه أولي الفضائل والنهى ومن سلك سبيلهم واهتدى بهديهم إلى يوم الدين. ـ

All praise is due to Allah who sent down the Scripture upon His slave and did not place any crookedness in it. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone with no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, whom Allah ennobled and therefore made the Qur’an his very character – may Allah’s peace, blessings, and salutations be upon him, his good and noble family, his excellent and virtuous companions, and whoever follows along his path and is guided by his guidance until the Day of Judgement.

أما بعد: فإن أهم المهمّات وأولى ما تُعمر به الأوقات، الاشتغال والعناية بكتاب الله حفظاً وتلاوة وتدبّراً وتعلّماً وتعليماً وتأليفاً. ـ

To proceed: Certainly, the most important matter and the thing most deserving of our time is giving care and attention to the Book of Allah – memorizing it, reciting it, contemplating over it, studying it, teaching it, and gathering it together [i.e. in one’s heart, or in written form].

وكتاب الله خير الكلام وأحسن الحديث وأصدق القول، وقد وصفه الله بكونه عظيماً وحكيماً ومجيداً وكريماً وعزيزاً ومبيناً ونوراً وهدى ومباركاً، وغير ذلك من الأوصاف. ـ

The Book of Allah is the best speech, the most excellent discourse, and the most truthful of words. Allah has described it to us as magnificent, completely consistent, glorious, noble, mighty, clear, a light, a guidance, blessed, as well as other such descriptions. Continue reading

Taking the Means to Allah’s Forgiveness: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Nisaa’, Allah informs us of the following:

 إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا * وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

The forgiveness on Allah’s part is only for those who do wrong in ignorance and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. * But forgiveness is not for those who do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “Indeed, I repent now,” or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful punishment. [4:17-18]

Commenting on this in his well-known book of tafsir, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

توبة الله على عباده نوعان: توفيق منه للتوبة، وقبول لها بعد وجودها من العبد، فأخبر هنا -أن التوبة المستحقة على الله حق أحقه على نفسه، كرما منه وجودا، لمن عمل السوء أي: المعاصي { بِجَهَالَةٍ } أي: جهالة منه بعاقبتها وإيجابها لسخط الله وعقابه، وجهل منه بنظر الله ومراقبته له، وجهل منه بما تئول إليه من نقص الإيمان أو إعدامه، فكل عاص لله، فهو جاهل بهذا الاعتبار وإن كان عالما بالتحريم. بل العلم بالتحريم شرط لكونها معصية معاقبا عليها . ـ

Allah’s turning towards His slaves in forgiveness fall into two categories:

  1. Granting them the accord to make repentance, and
  2. Accepting their repentance from them after they have made it.

And here, Allah is informing us that the forgiveness which is incumbent upon Allah is a duty which He has enjoined upon Himself as a form of generosity and munificence from Him to whomever commits an evil deed – meaning an act of disobedience –

بِجَهَالَةٍ

in ignorance

meaning: while being ignorant of the displeasure and punishment of Allah that it entails and necessitates, and while being ignorant of Allah’s watchfulness over him, and while being ignorant of the decrease or obliteration of eemaan which it causes. Every one who disobeys Allah is ignorant of these considerations, even if he knows of the prohibition. In fact, knowledge of the prohibited nature of an act is a condition that must be in place for that act of disobedience to result in punishment.

Continue reading

Etiquette of Reciting and Listening to the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

On the radio program, Fataawaa Noor ‘alaa al-Darb, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked the following question:

السؤال: بارك الله فيكم فضيلة الشيخ ونحن نتحدث عن عظم هذا القرآن العظيم لا شك أن لتلاوة القرآن الكريم آداب يجب أن يتحلى بها القارئ والمستمع حدثونا عن هذا مأجورين؟ ـ

Question: May Allah bless you, respected sheikh. We wanted to talk about the greatness of the marvelous Qur’an. There is no doubt that the the recitation of the noble Qur’an has certain etiquettes which must be observed by both the reciter and listener. Please, can you speak to us about this topic?

الجواب الشيخ: نعم من آداب قراءة القرآن أن يخلص الإنسان نيته لله تعالى بتلاوته، فينوي بذلك التقرب إلى الله سبحانه وتعالى، حتى لو أراد مع ذلك أن يثبت حفظه إذا كان حافظاً، فإن هذه نيةٌ صالحة لا سيما في الإخلاص لله عز وجل . ـ

Response: Yes, one of the etiquettes for reciting the Qur’an is for a person to make their intention purely for the sake of Allah in reciting, and to intend to become closer to Allah through that act. This applies even if, alongside that intention, he also desires to review what he has memorized if he has memorized the Qur’an, for this is a good intention, especially if it is done out of sincere devotion to Allah.

ومن الآداب أن يستحضر الثواب الذي رتب على تلاوة القرآن؛ ليكون محتسباً بذلك على ربه عز وجل، راجياً ثوابه، مؤملاً مرضاته . ـ

○ Another etiquette is to think of the reward which comes from reciting the Qur’an, so that one can expect that reward from his Lord, hoping for it and aiming for His pleasure.

ومن الآداب أيضاً أن يكون متطهراً؛ وذلك لأن القرآن من أشرف الذكر، وقد قال النبي عليه الصلاة والسلام في رجلٍ سلم عليه فلم يرد عليه السلام حتى توضأ قال: إني لست على وضوء أحببت ألا أذكر الله إلا على طهارة؛ ولكن إن كان الإنسان جنباً، فإنه لا يجوز أن يقرأ القرآن إلا إذا قرأ شيئاً يريد به الذكر، وهو من القرآن؛ فلا بأس أو يريد به الدعاء، وهو من القرآن؛ فلا بأس؛ فإذا قال: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم يريد بذلك البسملة والتبرك بذكر اسم الله لا يريد التلاوة؛ فلا بأس بهذا، ولو قال: ربنا لا تزغ قلوبنا بعد إذ هديتنا، وهب لنا من لدنك رحمةً إنك أنت الوهاب؛ يريد بذلك الدعاء لا القراءة؛ فلا بأس أما إذا كان يريد القراءة، فإن القرآن لا يحل أو لا تحل قراءته للجنب، وأما من بحدثٍ أصغر فيجوز أن يقرأ القرآن؛ لكن لا يمس المصحف؛ لأن المصحف لا يمسه إلا طاهر؛ لقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم في الكتاب الذي كتبه إلى عمرو بن حزم ألا يمس القرآن إلا طاهر، والمراد بالطاهر الطاهر من الحدثين الأصغر والأكبر، ولقول الله تعالى حين ذكر الوضوء والغسل والتيمم قال: ﴿ما يريد الله ليجعل عليكم من حرج ولكن يريد ليطهركم﴾ فدل هذا على أن الإنسان قبل الوضوء والغسل والتيمم غير طاهر . ـ

○ Another etiquette is to be in a state of ritual purity. That is because the Qur’an is one of the most honorable forms of al-dhikr (remembrance). The Prophet (ﷺ) said about a man who greeted him with the salaam but then he did not respond to him until he had made wudhoo’, “I was not in a state of wudhoo’ and I don’t like to mention Allah unless I am in a state of ritual purity.” However, if a person is in a state of major ritual impurity, he is not allowed to recite the Qur’an. That is, unless he recites something which he intends as dhikr which in fact comes from the Qur’an – that is not problem if he is using it as a du’aa which happens to come from the Qur’an. That is not a problem So if he says: Continue reading

What is the minimum amount of time to complete reciting the Qur’an: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdillah bin Baaz, the former mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was once asked the following question:

سؤال : ما أقل مدة يختم فيها القرآن؟

Question: What is the least amount of time in which one can complete his reading of the Qur’an?

جواب : ليس فيه حد محدود إلا أن الأفضل أن لا يقرأه في أقل من ثلاث كما في حديث عبد الله بن عمرو: ((لا يفقه من قرأه في أقل من ثلاث))، فالأفضل أن يتحرى في قراءته الخشوع والترتيل والتدبر، وليس المقصود العجلة، بل المقصود أن يستفيد . ـ

Response: There is no bottom limit for this except that what is best is to not recite the Qur’an in less than three days, as had come in the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, “Whoever recites the Qur’an in less than three days does not understand it.” So what is best is to aim to have khushoo’, measured recitation, and contemplation during one’s reading of the Qur’an. The goal is not to be speedy. Rather, the goal is to get something out of it. Continue reading