Story Night Gems – Surah Taha

Last year I attended Story Night by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, we went through Surah Taha to learn and study some of the life of Musa (as) and I came across these gems while looking through my notes, so thought i would share them here. Hope you all benefit from these inshaAllah.

Allah could have given us endless knowledge yet He gave us limited knowledge through the Quran. So how valuable must the knowledge given to us in the Quran be? Everything is so important for us.

Everyone who takes care of us eventually has to stop but Allah never stops taking care of our every need.

We can’t truly comprehend how great Allahs love is. The closest we can see this is through the relationship He made between Himself and the womb of a mother. The child causes the mother pain day by day but she still takes care of its every need. She still loves that child. Allahs love is even greater than that.

Let the Quran and Allahs words be a way of healing against misery.

In surah Taha Allah tells us the story of Musa (as) and in ayah 10 were told that Musa (as) saw a fire in the mountain and left his family in the dessert to go to this fire. We learn so much from this about how a family should be. The husband and wife need to trust and respect each other. They have to have good family support and balanced relationship. We, however, support each other where it serves us but not what won’t benefit us.

Musa (as) was shown a fire in the night as a fire in the night shows you the way an it protects you. In the same way the Quran shows you the way and protects you.

When Musa (as) stood before Allah he was told to take off his shoes. This is normally a sign of informality amd it shows how Allah, who is the greatest of kings, standard is completely different to all other kings

To this day when we take our shoes off to stand before Allah we are continuing the conversation that Musa (as) started.

In surah Taha, ayah 14 Musa (as) is having a direct conversation with Allah. When we meet someone famous we always remember it so we all know that Musa (as) will remember this but Allah tells him that to truly remember Him he must establish the salah. So through this we learn that we can only truly remember Allah through salah.

Establish prayer so you can remember me. Surah Taha, ayah 14.
We learn 3 things:
1. If you’re really praying you will stop getting ill thoughts about Allah
2. Allah will become a dominant discourse in our culture
3. If you want to grow spiritually then pray. You won’t  ever be closer to Allah than in salah.

When we establish salah we will constantly be checking for the hour, when is it fajr etc. In doing this it will create a sense of urgency in us to look for and prepare for the final hour.

Allah doesn’t tell us when the final hour will be so we dont lose motivation in searching and striving towards it.

Allah tells us in Surah Taha, ayah 16 that whoever among us doesn’t give importance to the aakhirah to not let them distract you. Don’t let them create a mountain between you and the aakhirah. Just like Musa (as) climbed the mountain to get to the remembrance of Allah we have to continue to climb mountains and if we follow those people we will also fall off the cliff.

It is Allahs sunnah to calm people down and not to always scare them. It should be balanced with hope and fear.

Allah tells Musa (as) to throw his stick and it becomes a huge, terrifying snake. Then Allah tells him to grab it and says dont be afraid. This is Allah training Musa (as) because he will be faced with a real snake, Firawn, and he must be calm and fearless when standing before him.

The dua that Musa (as) makes shows us that only Allah can make things easy for us no matter what we are trying to do we need to ask Allah to facilitate it for us.

When it comes to asking Allah we should be optimistic and have high hopes. Never be pessimistic.

For us to understand the full message in the Quran we have to read it all and not just parts of it. Otherwise we will only have parts of the message and not the whole picture. We wont be able to properly understand what Allah is telling us.

Allah warns us not to become lazy in remembering him. To do this we need to be moderate. If we over do it then we will burn out and go to the other extreme and not remember Allah at all. We have to maintain a balance.

Allah tells Musa (as) to speak softly and nicely to firawn. From this we learn that even when we engage the enemy and we speak to them about Allah we need to speak nicely. Is this how we speak to each other today? We need to ensure our tone of voice is calm even if the message isnt. Only Allah has the right to be angry.  

Can we come over?

O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded (ie. advised).

And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given to you. And if it is said to you, “go back” then go back; it is purer for you. And God is knowing of what you do.
Quran (24:27-28)

Allah is very clear as to what we should do before entering another persons home yet today the majority of people today have forgotten these etiquettes. Where they are placed in Surah Nur shows us how important these etiquettes before these ayah are the ayah about slandering chaste women and after are the ayah about lowering your gaze. That alone should tell us that these etiquettes are related to guarding chastity and not spreading fitna. Then why is it today people take this so lightly? People will turn up to a persons house unannounced and the host will have no choice but to allow them in. Even within the home people do not feel it is important to knock before entering and fling doors open as they please. When we read these ayahs we learn that this is not acceptable to Allah. So it’s really important we learn, understand and implement these etiquettes in our lives. 

The prophet (saw) said: If any one of you ask permission to enter thrice, and permission is not given, then he should return. (Bukhari)

This means that you should knock three times and if the person does not give you permission to come in then you should leave. Even the ayah states that if the person asks you not to come now then it should be respected and you should not insist that you have to come at that time. This is made even easier for us now as we have technology that enables us to ask even before we leave our home. So we should be mindful that the other person may be busy or not in a position to host guests at that time so we should ask politely and not insist if they ask us not to come at that time.  If it is said to us that, this time is not appropriate then we should not get upset but this is what happens nowadays. People feel offended if they are told that this time is not appropriate for the other person feeling as though it is their right to come whenever they want. This attitude needs to stop. This type of behaviour is described in the Tafsir of ibn Kathir as the behaviour of the people in the time of jahilliyyah. So we need to ensure we are not imitating the behaviour done at the time of jahilliyyah. 

The prophet (saw) said: If a person looks into your house without permission, and you throw a stone at him and it puts his eye out, there is no blame on you. (Muslim)

This Hadith should give us an indication of just how important it is not to invade someone’s privacy of their home. So if even looking into someone’s home is discouraged then how much more important must it be to seek permission before coming into someone’s home. Even husbands are encouraged by the prophet (saw) to announce before coming into their home. This means even within family we should knock before entering even within the house as chastity and privacy needs to be protected. It is also narrated in Muslim that it is not sufficient to say “I” or “me” when you are asked who it is when seeking permission. The prophet (saw) disliked this and taught us that you must be specific when answering. 
When the etiquettes are so clear then why do we fail to follow them? We need to spend more time learning what Allah and the prophet (saw) has taught us and do our best to implement it. In doing this we will save ourselves from many social issues and guard our chastity and privacy and inshaAllah it will cause people to be closer to one another.

Oh my gosh! Did you hear about….

Can you imagine eating dead flesh? Well that’s basically what we do when we backbite or gossip or slander someone.

O you who have believed, avoid much (negative) assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; Indeed Allah is accepting of repentance and merciful. Quran (49:12)
Backbiting, slander, gossipping, spreading rumours, are words that evoke such strong emotions in me, because I have been at the receiving end of this,especially for the last six months, and I have never experienced anything as awful as this. I don’t understand what people get out of gossipping or backbiting about someone. Do people think it’s actually acceptable and it won’t cause any issues? All this does is ruin relationships and tears families and friends apart. But most importantly it is a major sin in Islam and one of the diseases of the heart.
Prophet Muhammad  said :”Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of God  said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.”(Muslim)
So whether you think that it’s true or not doesn’t justify you saying something negative about a person. It is so important for us to ensure we don’t gossip or slander someone as it is a major sin and the punishment for this sin is severe subhanAllah.
The prophet (saw) said: “when I was taken up to heaven I passed by people who had nails of copper and were scratching their faces and their chests.” I said: “Who are these people, Jibreel?” He replied: “They are those who used to backbite and who violated people’s honour.” (Sunna Abu Dawud)

The Prophet (saw) asked one group of his companions, “Do you know who the bankrupt person is?” They said, “A bankrupt person amongst us is the one who has neither money nor property.” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The bankrupt person of my nation is he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer and fast and giving great amounts in charity. And at the same time, he would come having abused this one, and slandered that one, and consumed the wealth of the other unlawfully, and shed the blood of yet others and having beaten others. Then any person whom he has wronged will be given from his good deeds on that Day. And if his good deeds are exhausted until he clears the account concerning all of the people he has oppressed, the sins of those people whom he has wronged will be thrown unto his account and after that, he will be thrown into the hellfire.” (Muslim)
So not only will we be punished like this for slandering someone but we will come on the day of judgement thinking we have many good deeds like fasting, praying, giving sadaqah etc. but it will be taken from us and given to those whom we slandered and gossiped about. Then if we run out of good deeds to give we shall then have to take their sins to compensate for violating their rights. SubhanAllah! This alone should be enough for us to never backbite again. If it our friend why would we want to backbite about them? And if it is a foe then why would we want to give him our good deeds?
Even indirectly saying something is still backbiting, it does not matter whether you explicitly mention which person you are talking about. Even gestures are unacceptable. This is evident In the story of when Aisha (ra) motioned with her hand that a woman was short. The prophet (saw) immediately chastised her saying, you have backbitten!
We are always encouraged in Islam to have the highest of moral character and we are taught how we can achieve complete faith. One of the things that prevents us from truly having emaan in our hearts is if we backbite.
The prophet (saw) said: “A Muslim is one who avoids harming another Muslim with his tongue or hands.” (Bukhari)
The prophet (saw) said: “O my people, who believe with their tongue, but belief has not entered their hearts, do not backbite another Muslim, and do not search for their faults, for if anyone searches for their faults, Allah will search for his fault, and if Allah searches for the fault of anyone, he disgraces them in his house.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
These show that slander, backbite, gossip can decrease your emaan. Instead of doing things that decrease your emaan, we should focus on increasing in doing what increases our emaan. Focus on having beneficial conversations and always keep in mind that just like you would not like it if someone spoke badly of you, neither would the person you are speaking badly of. If we would not like it for ourselves then why do it to someone else? And also keep in mind that if you hear someone gossiping or slandering someone you should defend the person that is being slandered and make excuses for them. It is your job as a Muslim to defend another Muslims honour.
Anyone who believes in Allah and the last day, should speak good words or remain silent. (an-Nawawi)

Rizq is only from Allah 

And there is no creature on earth but that God is its provision, and He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage (before birth and after death). All is in a clear register. Quran (11:6)

We worry so much about how we will be able to afford this and this. We work and work and work trying to earn enough money to pay for all the things we want and need. Yet we forget that our rizq, our sustenance comes from Ar-Razzaq, the Provider. 

And every small and great (thing) is written. Quran (54:53)

 

Our sustenance, everything we will ever get in our lifetime has already been decided. It was decided 50,000 years before the heavens and the earth was created. Just think about that, not 50,000 years before you were born but Allah wrote in His tablet everything that will happen including our sustenance.

Say “Never will we be struck by what God has decreed for us; He is our protector” and upon God let the believers rely. Quran (9:51)

Allah knows exactly what you need and when you need it. He will provide everything for us, but don’t think that means we can just sit there and it will land in our laps, we have to work hard too. But it needs to be a balanced approach, we need to have tawakkul in Allah that He will provide us with what we need but we also know that He tells us that we have to take the first step. One of my favourite examples is when Maryam was under the palm tree alone with no one to help her during her labour, she had faith in Allah that He will help her, yet she still had to shake the palm tree to get the dates. Allah didn’t just make them fall without her having to do anything, she had to shake the tree first then Allah sent the dates. This shows me that no matter what difficulty you are in if you have tawakkul in Allah and you continue to strive hard then Allah will provide for you in ways you couldn’t even imagine.

The prophet (saw) said: Allah has appointed an angel in the womb and the angel says, “O Lord! A drop of discharge (ie. semen), O Lord! A clot, O Lord! A piece of flesh.” Then if Allah wishes to complete the child’s creation, the angel will say, ” O Lord! A male or female? O Lord! Wretched or blessed (in religion)? What will his livelihood be? What will his age be?” The angel writes all this while the child is in the womb of its mother. (Bukhari)

When a child is born it’s provision has already been decided by Allah and then written by the angel. So we should not run after the dunya as only what has already been written for us will come to us and no matter how much we want something and how hard we work to get it, if it is not decreed for us then there’s nothing we can do to get it. We should be grateful for all the blessings Allah has given us, and not compare what we have to other who seem to have more than us. We should remember that we have far more than a lot of people.
One thing we need to remember is that having faith that Allah will provide for us does not mean we can spend our money excessively and live out of our means. We need to be wise in how we use the provision given to us. So if we have an income of £1000 a month we should not spend beyond this. We should distinguish between what we need and what we want. And although Allah has said to enjoy what Allah has provided for us, He does not like people to be extravagant. Living a life within our means and being happy with what Allah has provided for us will mean we are much happier and not so stressed out. 

He’s going to “fix” me…

If you think that by getting married your spouse will be able to fix any and all problems or weaknesses you have think again. They cannot “fix” you. Only Allah can.

Many people have this idea that by getting married the spouse will suddenly give them the ability to change them. This is a HUGE myth! If you struggle with your anger control, or struggle to pray or struggle to lower your gaze, you will continue to do so after marriage. Trust me. Although I have of been married long I know that my husband cannot fix any of the weaknesses I have and neither can I fix his. The only thing we can do is advise and encourage each other. 
So if one of us struggles to pray all our salah on time we can encourage each other n try making things easier like praying together and reminding each other. But we won’t be around each other all day and when you’re not with them to remind them they can still miss their salah. Or if one of us finds it difficult to be punctual and get to work or meetings etc. on time we can remind them to  leave on time and advise them to try different ways to have a reminder maybe use a diary etc but we cannot make them get to their appointments and meetings on time. 
We can help our spouse to become a better person and work in their weaknesses but we cannot fix them. 
What I would say though that this shows how important it is to choose a good, righteous spouse, because your spouse can help you and make it easier for you to overcome your weaknesses. 
Only Allah has the ability to fix a weakness of yours, so instead of getting married so your spouse can fix you, instead learn about how you yourself can fix your weakness and ask Allah to make it easy for you to overcome you weakness or what ever it is you struggle in. So if you struggle to pray, learn the importance of prayer and attend classes about salah etc and make sincere dua that Allah gives you the ability to consistently pray on time. 
So don’t expect your spouse to do what only Allah can do for you because if you do get married with this expectation then you will be very disappointed and it can even cause issues between you and your spouse. 

International Women’s Day – My Inspirations 

So it’s international women’s day and to celebrate I wanted to share with you some of the most inspirational women I have learnt about. I mean what better way to celebrate than to learn and use their legacy to improve and better ourselves?

 

So the first woman who I absolutely love is the mother of Imam Bukhari, she as a single mother raised this amazing man who gave us the most authentic book after the Quran, Sahih Bukhari. But you know what makes her so special to me? When Imam Bukhari was a child he became blind and it was his mothers dua that caused him to get his eyesight back. Just wow, seriously, just wow! How amazing must her ibadah and dua have been that Allah restored her sons eyesight for her. So he would not have been able to become the amazing man he became without his mother. InshaAllah when I do become a mother I hope that I can even be half as good of a mother a Imam Bukharis mother.
This next woman is who I want to meet more than anyone else in the world. Her name is Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (ra), the first wife of the Prophet (saw). I can’t even describe how much I love her, her manners, her love, her patience, she was a business woman, a wife, a mother, and how she managed to do all of this to be so successful in all aspects of her life just amazes me. You know that she is such a special and amazing woman because Allah, himself sent her salaams through Jibreel and even Jibreel gave her salaams, what an honour subhanAllah! But what I love most about her is her relationship with her husband. The most amazing relationship, she truly was the coolness of his eyes. Forget Romeo and Juliet, I want what Khadijah and the Prophet (saw) had. I hope that I can be even a little like her as a wife, a mother, a working woman, inshaAllah.
The third I want to tell you about is Nusayba bint Ka’b Al-Ansariyya she was one of the women who became muslim early on in Medina. She is most remembered for taking part in the Battle of Uhud in which she actually carried a sword and shield and fought against the Quraysh. She was the one who shielded the prophet (saw) sustaining injury after injury as she used herself as a shield to protect him (saw). Eventually when she fell unconscious it is reported that once she awoke her first question was if the prophet (saw) had survived. She was this courageous and strong woman who didn’t let the fact that she is “only” a woman stop her from doing what is right in the face of great trial and hardship. She is the type of woman I hope I can be like, strong, courageous and not afraid to stand up for the truth and protect it even if it means that she will be injured in the process.
There are so many more women I could talk about, I could go on forever, there are so many amazing women in our Islamic history and we, especially as muslim women should learn more about them so that we can see what it truly means to be a successful and strong woman that contributes to society and still is able to fulfil all her roles as a daughter, mother, wife, sister etc.

A Blessing in Disguise 

“Good health is a crown only the sick can see” Imam Shafi’i

Ever since I can remember I have almost always had some sort of illness, whether it’s a cold, chest infection, anaemia or more recently a back problem. I am ill so often that I sometimes forget what it feels like to be fit and healthy. This has come with its many challenges, I’ve had to take time off school and when I was at university it became even harder. Trying to study when you’re ill is no easy job, along with the long hours of commuting to university and trying to help out at home, well, that can totally drain you by the end of the day. You just feel like you have no energy to do anything. 
During my final year of university, I truly understood what it meant to be healthy. During that summer I had been ill, having recurring chest infections which lasted about 4months but the effects as a result of these infections continued well into the new year. I didn’t start feeling like myself again until about 8/9 months later. It was at that time I was also diagnosed with having prolapsed discs, something which will affect me for the rest of my life. During the long months of illness I had to take time off university and move a placement to the summer as I couldn’t work in the hospital with chest infections. Walking up the stairs was like running a marathon and my whole body ached. This along with my ongoing back problem really made me feel useless. I became really sad and withdrawn from my family and friends. But it was during this time that I truly understood the word “Alhamdulillah”. When I was unable to do even the simplest things I then realised just how blessed I was. I was finally able to improve the quality of my salah, something I had been struggling with for a while. I felt truly connected to Allah. It was my illness that brought me closer to Allah in a way that no success in my life ever could. Yes, at first when I became ill I couldn’t function like normal it made me very upset and frustrated. I was irritable and had very little tolerance for anything. I didn’t want to speak to anyone and felt like I was worthless. But when I finally realised that if I continued like this I would become very depressed and it would make me worse not better I finally started to pull myself out of this downward spiral. 
Instead of lying in bed doing nothing or just watching some TV I changed that with reading, making dhikr and watching lectures. I would do my absolute best to pray all 5 salah and read the Quran with translation. I attended courses at my local masjid which gave me weekly imaan boosts. 
These things helped me so much during my illness I wasn’t so angry anymore but the most important thing that truly helped me was that I just accepted that whatever had happened to me was because Allah knew that this was best for me. Once I accepted this I was actually able to do so much more than I expected. I still am limited to what I can do but comparing myself to when I was just angry and irritable I am able to do a lot more in my day now. There are still times when I find it harder to cope with my illness and I feel frustrated and irritable but I don’t allow it to consume me and those moments do pass. 
I know that there are so many people who are suffering from illnesses many much worse than mine but I just wanted to share my experience because I know how difficult it can be. When you are ill it is easy to just give up and feel helpless but we should remember that this was decreed for us for a reason. Allah always knows what is best for us and He is the best of planners. 
Remembering these hadiths and ayahs always helped me to get through the times when I felt down:
  • “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” (Qur’an, 29:2) 
  • “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (Quran, 2:286).
  • The Prophet (saw) said: “There is no calamity that befalls a Muslim but Allah expiates (sin) thereby, even a thorn that pricks him.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5640; Muslim, 2572.
  • “They plan and Allah plans and Allah is the best of planners” (Quran 8:30)
  • “Verily, with hardship there is ease” (Quran 94:6)
When we really reflect on what they are telling us we realise a few things. That every single one of us will be tested in some way and that it may be that Allah is testing us through this illness. So just like we would work hard for our school exams we should strive to not only pass but excel in this test. Allah tells us that whatever test he sends our way we will be able to bear it, even if we think at that time we cannot make it through this difficulty. So with the right mindset and we will get through it no matter how hard things may become. The hadith of the Prophet (saw) always makes me feel better as I think about how many sins I may have committed knowingly and unknowingly and that through my illness it is being wiped away. This shows just how merciful Allah is, subhanallah. This last ayah I share with you is truly profound, many people think, just as I did, that this means we will have times of hardship followed by times of ease. But I recently read an article which helped me see this ayah in a new perspective. It says WITH hardship there is ease so even in times of hardship there will be ease as well. The two come together not one after the other. Now thinking about it this way gives a person so much more hope. This time may be hardship but it won’t be all bad. You will have plenty of good moments even if you are ill for a long time. Something I only really noticed after really understanding this ayah.
I still have bad days when I feel upset or frustrated about how much my health condition limits me in things I want to do, this feeling is natural but it shouldn’t consume me and I know that Allah is the best of planners and whatever He has planned for me through his infinite wisdom will be so much better for me than anything that i could imagine, I just need to trust Allah. I know there is a reason for Him giving me this health condition. 
I truly hope that what I have shared with you will be of benefit to you and that it may help you through your illness or hardship you are going through.