‘Al-Amana’, the Trust

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Ayat 33:72 in Al-Quran mentions a trust (amana). In this post we will see from Al-Quran, what is this trust that is mentioned in this ayat.

33:72 إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنسَانُ ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا

Indeed we offered ‘the trust’ to the heavens and the earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid there-of, but ‘the man’ undertook it;- He was indeed unjust and ignorant.

What was this trust that God entrusted to man which is mentioned in above ayat?

The ayat immediately following 33:72 explains that because of this ‘trust’/’amana’ which was accepted by man, Allah is to take accountability of man i.e rewards of good deeds and penalty for wrong doings. The accountability comes with the ability and responsibility i.e intelligence to judge and free will to act. Therefore this ‘trust’ which is mentioned in ayat 33:72 should be the ‘free will’ which is granted to humans by Allah.

33:73 لِّيُعَذِّبَ اللَّهُ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ وَالْمُشْرِكَاتِ وَيَتُوبَ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

So that Allah punishes the hypocrites, men and women and the associaters, men and women, and Allah turns in mercy to the believing men and women, for Allah is forgiving, merciful.

Life forms in the Universe other than Earth

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Till now we don’t know for sure of life forms existing on any place other than the planet earth in the universe. However, the sheer size of the universe, does not preclude the possibility of finding planets  similar to earth where life can possibly exist. 

42:29  وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَثَّ فِيهِمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ جَمْعِهِمْ إِذَا يَشَاءُ قَدِيرٌ

And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through both of them and He has power to gather them together when He wills.

The above ayat from al-Quran informs us that there are creatures scattered in both the skies and the earth. So, it means that in addition to earth there are life forms existing else-where in the universe. 

55:29 يَسْأَلُهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأْنٍ

Of Him, seeks every creature in the heavens and on earth. He is in a splendor every day.

The above ayat tells us that every one in the heavens and earth ask from their one Lord sustainer.

39:68 وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَن شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۖ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخْرَىٰ فَإِذَا هُمْ قِيَامٌ يَنظُرُونَ

The trumpet will be blown, when all that are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except whom Allah wills (to exempt). Then a second one will be blown, when, behold, they will be standing and looking on!

The above ayat informs of the time when soor/trumpet shall be blown. At that time everyone in the skies and on the earth will transform to a different state.

The blowing of trumpet is a metaphor used in Quran when some-thing transforms to another form. For example, Quran tell us of blowing of ‘Spirit’ into Adam’s body form, which transformed him to a new being. Similarly, when the Soor/trumpet will be blown, the forms of everyone on the earth and skies will be transformed to a different state.

24:41 أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالطَّيْرُ صَافَّاتٍ ۖ كُلٌّ قَدْ عَلِمَ صَلَاتَهُ وَتَسْبِيحَهُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ

Have you not seen that whosoever is in the skies and in the earth, praise for Allah and the birds (pray) in the rows. Everyone knows his salat/prayers and his praise, and Allah knows with what they do.

Those who are in the skies and those on earth praise for Allah by acting on the nature instilled by Allah in them. For the humans and Jinns who are endowed by intellect and free will, they praise Allah by appreciating his Grandeur and the bounties he has provided for them.

42:5 تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِن فَوْقِهِنَّ ۚ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَ لِمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

The heavens to be almost rent asunder from above them and the angels celebrate the praises of their Lord, and pray for forgiveness for (all) beings on earth. Behold! Verily Allah is He, the Forgiving, Merciful.

The angels seek forgiveness for those on earth. Implies the creatures in other parts of the universe don’t carry the free will and responsibility that humans and Jinns have. Asking forgiveness makes sense for those who are responsible for their deeds.

1:2 الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

The praise is for Allah, the Lord/Sustainer of all the worlds.

Allah is the lord and sustainer of all worlds. Worlds is used as plural, implying that in addition to the world that we live in, there should be other worlds inhabited by other creations of God.

Quran says that all living things are created from water. Scientists as well, know that if they are able to find water in any other planet in the universe, chances of finding life there would be very high. So the search is ongoing for finding planets inhabiting water.

21:30 أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنَّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ كَانَتَا رَتْقًا فَفَتَقْنَاهُمَا ۖ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Do not the rejecters see that the skies and the earth were joined together before We split them asunder. We started from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?

Hajj procedure in Al-Quran

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In previous posts we had learned that the first ‘House’ established for man-kind by Allah, is in ‘Bakka’ (Makkah). This House is guidance for all believers. The systems of ‘Salat’ and ‘Tawaf/Hajj’ have been established in this House for all times.  The guidance which mankind is to take from this House of God, is to follow the sunnat/practice of the system of ‘Salat’ and ‘Hajj’ established at this House of the Lord. These systems are already established at the House for those who want to take guidance.

3:96-97  إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ  فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ

Without doubt, the first House appointed for mankind is that at Bakka (Makkah); blessed and of guidance for all worlds. In it are clear ayahs / signs, the standing position of Ibrahim; whoever enters it attains security. And for Allah is pilgrimage of the House on people, those who can afford the journey, but if anyone denies, surely Allah is not in need of any in the worlds.

It is upon mankind to do pilgrimage of the House of Allah, whoever has the capacity to perform Hajj. 

The purpose of Hajj is the training of nafs, i.e self control in difficult situations. People have to exercise restraint and control their anger and impulses, while being out of their comfort zones and showing empathy towards their brethren who are in similar difficult situations. 

The system of Hajj is established in Makkah for all times. The months of Hajj are known to believers. They were known to believers in the past as well. So, anyone who makes an intention of performing Hajj, should align himself to the task with no bickering, fighting and unnecessary argumentation in these months. The goal is to get closer to Allah.

2:197  الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

The months of Hajj/Pilgrimage are known, so whosoever imposes Hajj / Pilgrimage (on himself) in them, he should not commit obscenity nor commit immoralities and no bickering in the Hajj / Pilgrimage. And what you do from goodness, Allah knows it. And take provision, so surely the best of the provisions is to take guard and take guard from Me O’ you who posses the core (of Knowledge/Spirit of the Book)

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) is the Imam/leader for the mankind. He has been ordered to purify the House for the ‘salat’ and ‘tawaf’ around this House (2:125). People who intend for the Hajj would seek many means of transportation to plan their arrival to the sacred place. 

22:27  وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ

“And proclaim the Pilgrimage to mankind. They will come to thee on foot and riding from all remote places.”

When pilgrims actually reach the starting place of Hajj known as ‘Miqat’ they attain the state of ‘ahram/hurum’. Hurum state forbids them killing any animal or even insects within the ‘Haram area’ i.e the places of Hajj. As a large number of pilgrims visit the place every year, this stipulation is necessary in order to preserve the place and its flora and fauna.

5:95  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْتُلُوا الصَّيْدَ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۚ وَمَن قَتَلَهُ مِنكُم مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاءٌ مِّثْلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ النَّعَمِ يَحْكُمُ بِهِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ هَدْيًا بَالِغَ الْكَعْبَةِ أَوْ كَفَّارَةٌ طَعَامُ مَسَاكِينَ أَوْ عَدْلُ ذَٰلِكَ صِيَامًا لِّيَذُوقَ وَبَالَ أَمْرِهِ ۗ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَمَّا سَلَفَ ۚ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَيَنتَقِمُ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انتِقَامٍ

O you people who believe! Do not kill the game/hunt when you are in Ahram/pilgrim state. If any one does so intentionally, the compensation is an offering similar to the animal killed, brought to the Ka’ba, as adjudged by two just honest men among you; or the atonement is the feeding of the indigents; or its equivalent in fasts. That he may taste of the penalty of his deed. Allah forgave what was past. For the one who repeats, Allah will avenge from him and Allah is exalted, Lord of retribution.

For the pilgrims intending Hajj, keeping sanctity of this sacred place and all its symbols such as ‘Safaa’, ‘Marwa’, ‘tawaf’, etc, is important. The people of various groups and sects will come there with a common cause of getting good pleasure of Allah. At Hajj, the pilgrims are not to show acrimony with any group even if they have problems and hatred with that group before Hajj. In all matters of piety and righteousness, pilgrims are ordered to co-operate with one another and not to co-operate in any matter of rancor, hatred and sin.

5:2  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلَا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلَا الْهَدْيَ وَلَا الْقَلَائِدَ وَلَا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا ۚ وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا ۚ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَن تَعْتَدُوا ۘ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

O you people who believe! Do not violate the sanctity of the symbols of Allah, nor of the sacred month, nor of the gift (animals for sacrifice) nor the garlands (crowd formation of garland shape around Kaaba in Tawaf), nor the people resorting to the sacred house, seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you are clear (of the sacred precincts and of pilgrim garb), you may hunt and let not the hatred of some people in preventing of the Sacred Mosque, lead you to transgression. Co-operate in righteousness and piety, but do-not co-operate in sin and rancor. Fear Allah, for Allah is strict in punishment.

Allah has bound everyone’s hands in the valley of Makkah from fighting in the sacred valley. So whoever succeeds in reaching the valley, then he should not fight and argue with those present there.    

48:24  وَهُوَ الَّذِي كَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ عَنْهُم بِبَطْنِ مَكَّةَ مِن بَعْدِ أَنْ أَظْفَرَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرًا

And it is He Who has restrained their hands from you and your hands from them in the belly of Makkah, after that He made you successful over them, and Allah sees well all that you do.

After attainting the condition of ‘Hurum’ i.e abiding by the ‘Ahram’ they need to do ‘tawaf’ of the House. This is the first step of the ‘Hajj’ process.

22:29  ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ

Then they should end their uncleanliness and they should complete their vows, and they should circumambulate the Ancient House.

15:87  وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ سَبْعًا مِّنَ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنَ الْعَظِيمَ

And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven repeated ones and the Grand Al-Qur’an.

During  Hajj and Umra, the 7 circles around the Kaaba are repeated by pilgrims. Pilgrim should recite ‘prayers/duas’ advised by Allah in Quran as practice of messengers and people. 

18:158  إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ ۖ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا ۚ وَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ شَاكِرٌ عَلِيمٌ

Surely! Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah, so if any who goes for Hajj or Umra of the House,  It is no sin on him, that he goes round them and whoever voluntarily does good, so surely Allah is He, who is thankful and knowing

After ‘tawaf’ of ‘Kaaba’, the pilgrims perform ‘tawaf’ of ‘Safa’ and ‘Marwa’ the two raised symbols near Kaaba.

After completing Tawaf, pilgrims move to their camps and from there they present them selves in the plains of ‘Arafat’ on the day of Hajj. This is the second and most important step of ‘Hajj’ called ‘Hajj e Akbar’. During that long day of ‘Hajje Akbar’ pilgrims are advised to get rid of any idols/associates in their psychology by identifying them and symbolically stoning them in coming days of Hajj.  

2:198  لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَبْتَغُوا فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُم مِّنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ عِندَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ ۖ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِن كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّالِّينَ

There is no blame on you if you seek of the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage). Then when you spread from ‘Arafat’, you all remember Allah at the ‘Mash’aril Haram’, and remember Him as He has directed you, even though, before this, you were the strayers.

2:199  ثُمَّ أَفِيضُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Then you shall disperse from where the people dispersed, and seek God’s forgiveness; God is surely Forgiving, Merciful.

From ‘Arafat’ people will move in large numbers towards a place called ‘Muzdalfa’. ‘Muzdalfa’ and ‘Mina’ are two small temporary dwellings close together. In Quran they are referenced as ‘Mash-aril Haram’, i.e sacred place for getting  consciousness of Allah by remembering Him.  In ‘Muzdalfa’, people spend the night under the open sky remembering Allah and also collect pebbles in preparation of ‘Jamrat/ceremonial stoning of so called ‘Satan’.  The staying in Muzdalfa is the 3rd step of Hajj.

It is advisable to do self introspection within oneself for any psychological idols in one’s self and then imagine these idols being broken while stoning them in coming days at ‘Jamrat’. The ‘idols’ residing deep in one’s psyche are mainly emotional attachments named in Quran as ‘Desires’, ‘Longings’, ‘Pride’, ‘Love’ etc.  It is only Allah who can kill the idols in your psychology by His will. The idols mentioned in Quran are detailed in previous post ( https://topicsfromquran.com/2017/08/07/ilahs-false-gods-mentioned-in-al-kitab/)

8:17  فَلَمْ تَقْتُلُوهُمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ قَتَلَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ رَمَىٰ ۚ وَلِيُبْلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْهُ بَلَاءً حَسَنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

It is not you who killed them; but it was Allah who killed them. And you did not throw pebbles when you threw them but Allah did threw the pebbles in order that He might test the believers by a gracious trial. Verily Allah hears and knows (all things).

After spending night in Muzdalfa the pilgrims move to Mina and stone the Jamrat from the pebbles they collected the night before to perform 4th step of Hajj. The symbolic stoning of the three ‘Jamrat’ (commonly known as Satan) is the psychological killing of idols in one’s psyche. The ‘illahs’ and false gods reside in one’s psychology. During Hajj, when one is away from his business activities, there is an opportunity to do self retrospection and identity the idols within oneself. Only by the leave of Allah, the false gods in one’s psyche can be killed. The false gods lives in our psyche and Satan instigates them by playing with our emotions. Pilgrims throw pebbles at Satan as a symbol of casting him away and the false gods he wants us to associate with.

48:25  هُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَالْهَدْيَ مَعْكُوفًا أَن يَبْلُغَ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ وَلَوْلَا رِجَالٌ مُّؤْمِنُونَ وَنِسَاءٌ مُّؤْمِنَاتٌ لَّمْ تَعْلَمُوهُمْ أَن تَطَئُوهُمْ فَتُصِيبَكُم مِّنْهُم مَّعَرَّةٌ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۖ لِّيُدْخِلَ اللَّهُ فِي رَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ لَوْ تَزَيَّلُوا لَعَذَّبْنَا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

They are the ones who rejected and prevented you from the Sacred Mosque and the gifts/sacrificial animals, detained from reaching their place. Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know that you were trampling down and on whose account a crime would have accrued to you without (your) knowledge, that He may admit to His Mercy whom He will. If they had been apart, We should certainly have punished the Unbelievers among them with a grievous Punishment.

The group who dissuades from Hajj as being a ritualistic practice of going to Makkah; they also cut off the connection of the gift of sacrificial animals with the practice of Hajj. Allah would have punished this group, if it were not that some believing men and women are mixed up with this group. Ayas 2:196 and 22:33 establish the connection of gift of sacrificial animals with the practice of Hajj.

2:196  وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And complete the Hajj and Umra for Allah and if you are prevented, then give it what is easy from the hadiya / gift, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its place. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his head, (He should) in compensation either fast, or give sadaqa, or correcting act; and when you are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the ‘umra on to the hajj, He must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, He should fast three days during the hajj and seven days on his return, Making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah, and know that Allah Is strict in punishment.

After presenting the gift of sacrificial animal, the pilgrims shave their heads. After that the pilgrims go to  Makkah and  circulate the Kaaba seven times and perform Saa’y between hills of Safa and Marwa which is the fifth step of Hajj.  They then drink from Zam-zam well and return to Mina.

Those who can not afford to offer a gift of sacrificial animal, they would compensate by fasting 3 days in Hajj and 7 more when they return home. Those who are unable to shave their heads due to some ailment they have to compensate with Sadaqa or with fasting as described above i.e three plus seven fasts. 

48:27  لَّقَدْ صَدَقَ اللَّهُ رَسُولَهُ الرُّؤْيَا بِالْحَقِّ ۖ لَتَدْخُلُنَّ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ آمِنِينَ مُحَلِّقِينَ رُءُوسَكُمْ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لَا تَخَافُونَ ۖ فَعَلِمَ مَا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا فَجَعَلَ مِن دُونِ ذَٰلِكَ فَتْحًا قَرِيبًا

Allah has indeed fulfil the vision of His messenger with truth,  If Allah wills, definitely you shall enter the Sacred/Forbidden Mosque in security without fear, your heads shaved and (Salah/Prayer) curtailed/shortened. For He knows what you know not, and He made besides that, an opening nearby.

Pilgrims then carry on from Makkah to stay in Mina for two to three days and they again stone the ‘Jamrat’ to each of the three pillars on 11th and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, which is the sixth step of Hajj.

2:203  وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلَا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ ۚ لِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

And remember Allah in the appointed days. Thus if any one hastens in two days, there is no blame on him, and if any one delays, there is no blame on him, if he does it for Taqwa. And take guard of Allah, and know that you will surely be gathered towards Him.

After completing this ritual, pilgrims return to Makkah and perform the final Tawaaf of Kaaba as a ‘Farewell Tawaaf’ in Masjid al-Haram. This marks the end of Hajj.

2:200  فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُم مَّنَاسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ آبَاءَكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا ۗ فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ

So when you have completed your rites, remember Allah, as you remember your ancestors,- even more than their remembrance. There are people who say. “Our Lord! Give us (your bounties) in this world!” but they will have no portion in the Hereafter.

After completing the Hajj rites pilgrim should engage in remembrance of Allah. Allah’s remembrance should not be some repetitive chants, but more like intelligent discourse as some one who takes pride in talking about good deeds of his ancestor. 

It is the usual practice of pilgrims to visit the mosque known as prophet’s (pbuh) mosque in Madinah which is about 400 km from Makkah and people witness the same blessings and atmosphere there as well. The atmosphere and blessings surrounding these two mosques are unique in the world. No other mosque in the world can boast of similar blessings which is divinely bestowed on these two mosques. 

17:1  سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

Glory to He who took His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the ‘far-off Mosque’, whose surroundings We blessed,- to show him some of Our Ayats/Signs. for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things).

Notes:

There are three slight variations of Hajj depending upon if you do Umra and Hajj with one ‘ahram’ or separate and if one is resident of ‘Haram’ area. More information in Hajj booklets.  An example booklet link is given below: https://www.iipccanada.com/english_pdf/hajj_pilgrimage.pdf

7 Easy Steps of Hajj

Imam in Quran

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

‘Imam’ means leader, role model or ‘some one in front’. In this post we will see what Al-Quran says about the stature of ‘Imammat’ and who are the ‘Imams’ made by Allah:

17:71 يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ ۖ فَمَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَقْرَءُونَ كِتَابَهُمْ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلًا

The day, We shall call together all human beings with their Imam, thus those who are given their book in their right, will read it, and they will not be dealt with unjustly.

As Imam is a role model who people follow, therefore on the day of judgement, people will be called with whom they were following in the world. So, whoever you will follow in the world will be called in the hereafter with you to testify.

Allah also has appointed some Imams/role models for people. There are also role models for rejecters of Allah who are called the Imams of fire. The description of both these type of Imams is provided in the book of Allah.

2:124 وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ

And when his Lord put Ibrahim to trial with (Allah’s) words, thus he completed them. He said. “Surely I have made you the Imam for mankind”, he said “and from my offspring?” He said “My covenant shall not reach the oppressors.”

The above ayat informs that Allah has made messenger Ibrahim (a.s) as the Imam/role model for the mankind. Allah made Ibrahim (a.s) the Imam/leader/role model after testing him with His ‘Words’ and when Ibrahim (a.s) was true to the test, then he was made the Imam. The words of Allah are in His book. So humanity, if they are to follow Ibrahim (a.s) as their Imam, they should follow ‘Words of Allah’ and be true to them.

The personality of Ibrahim (a.s) to be followed is from Allah’s book to ensure that we are following the Imam made by Allah. If we follow the personality of Ibrahim (a.s) from other man made books and historical stories, then we will be following the Ibrahim of history.

The sunnat/practice of prophet Ibrahim (a.s) is called the best sunnat practice in below ayat.

60:4 قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَدًا حَتَّىٰ تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ إِلَّا قَوْلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَا أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۖ رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

Indeed there is for you, the most beautiful practice (Uswatun Hasana) in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people: surely , We are clear of you and of whatever you serve besides Allah: We have rejected you, and there has begun, between us and you, enmity and rancor forever, unless you believe in Allah and Him alone, except saying of Ibraheem for his father,  Certainly I will ask forgiveness for you and I have no authority from Allah in anything for you, Our Lord! On you is our trust, and towards you we depute/represent, and towards you is our determination.

The sunnat of Ibrahim (a.s) to be followed as best practice is summarized in above ayat, which is to leave and not to serve any one which your nation serves beside Allah, i.e be primarily focused on Allah alone and don’t befriend those who associate others with Allah. Put your trust and expectations on Allah and always be returning to Him for all matters.

21:71-73 وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ نَافِلَةً ۖ وَكُلًّا جَعَلْنَا صَالِحِينَ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ

We delivered him (Ibrahim) and Lut to the land which We have blessed for all worlds. And We bestowed him with Ishaq and additionally Yaqub, and We made all of them righteous. And We made them the Imams that they guide with Our order and We inspired towards them, the doing of good deeds and establishment of As-salat/the prayer and giving of zakat/justification and to Us they served.

The above ayahs state that, Ibrahim (a.s), Lut (a.s), Ishaq (a.s) and Yaqub (a.s) were made Imams by Allah. They guided with the ‘Order’ of Allah. So, what we learned is that when Allah make Imams he tests with His Words and those who prove to be true to the ‘Words’ of Allah, they bocome Imams. The Imams guide with the ‘order’ of Allah. The Imams which are made by Allah, their message and their deeds are recorded in Allah’s book to become role model for believers. The Imams are always true to the Words/Kalam of Allah and guide with it. The Imamat is on merit and not based on progeny as prophet Lut (a.s) was not direct descendent of prophet Ibrahim (a.s).

For the believers, these prophets are the Imams/leaders and role models as per their deeds and sayings which are recorded in Allah’s book. If some one has a list of different Imams/leaders assumed to be divinely appointed Imams, which they are adhering to, without an authority in the book of Allah, then the below ayat will apply:

53:23 إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى الْأَنفُسُ ۖ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ الْهُدَىٰ

They are but names you have named them, you and your fore-fathers, Allah has sent down with it, no authority. These people follow nothing but conjecture and what their nafs desire; and surely the guidance has come to them from their Lord.

For many people their Imam is just a name on the list of names. They don’t have any guidance or information from Imam to make the Imam their role model in their life. Often times, Imam is a small deity for them. They love and serve the personality of the Imam and not his guidance. While the characteristics of Imams of Allah as described in ayahs are that they guide with Allah’s Words and that their guidance is to be followed not their personality (6:83-90)

Also, Allah has made the Imams of rejecters and described their characteristics traits which should be avoided.

28:4- 6إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ وَنُمَكِّنَ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنُرِيَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا مِنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَحْذَرُونَ

Truly Pharaoh elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections, depressing a group among them,  their sons he slew, but he kept alive their women, for he was indeed from the corrupted. And We intended to be Gracious to those who were being depressed in the land, to make them Imams/leaders and make them inheritors. To establish a firm place for them in the land, and to show Pharaoh, Haman, and their hosts, the very things against which they were taking precautions.

Allah intended to make the Moosa (a.s) and his followers in bani-Israeel who followed prophets Moosa (a.s) despite extreme hardship and opposition from a powerful political and religious enemy, the Imams/role models and inheritors of the wealth left by Pharoah and his associates.

32:23-24 وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ فَلَا تَكُن فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَائِهِ ۖ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ هُدًى لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖ وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ

And without doubt, We gave Moosa the book, so you (the messenger), do not be in doubt from receiving it and We made it a guidance for the children of Israeel. And We appointed, from among them, Imams/leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they persevered with patience and had belief in Our ayahs/signs.

When they persevered in patience and continued to believe in Allah’s ayahs and the book of Allah, Allah made Imams in Bani Israeel.

28:38-39 وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرِي فَأَوْقِدْ لِي يَا هَامَانُ عَلَى الطِّينِ فَاجْعَل لِّي صَرْحًا لَّعَلِّي أَطَّلِعُ إِلَىٰ إِلَٰهِ مُوسَىٰ وَإِنِّي لَأَظُنُّهُ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ هُوَ وَجُنُودُهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا يُرْجَعُونَ

Pharaoh said. “O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself,  therefore, O Haman! light me a (kiln to bake bricks) out of clay, and build me a palace, that I may get information about god of Moosa, although I think he (Moosa) is a liar!”. And he was arrogant in the land, beyond justification,- He and his hosts. they thought that they would not have to return to Us!

Allah has made, the Pharaoh and his cheifs, the Imams inviting to fire. They represent the characteristics of extreme arrogance, combined political and religious leadership, not submitting to Allah’s sovereignty and continued disobedience to Allah’s orders. They are unjust to their subjects, favoring one section of society over others. Any one following these Imams will lead himself to fire.

28:41 وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَدْعُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا يُنصَرُونَ

And we made them (but)Imams/leaders inviting to the Fire; and on the day of judgment no help shall they find.

The imams are made on merit based on the deeds and character. People are not born imams based on birth right. If Allah has made pharoah Imam of fire, it is based on his bad deeds in the world. That does not make him a lieutenant of Allah in anyway. Similar is the case of good Imams made by Allah.

25:7274 وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَمْ يَخِرُّوا عَلَيْهَا صُمًّا وَعُمْيَانًا وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Those who witness no falsehood, and, if they pass by vain and frivolous talk, they pass by it with dignity. And when they are reminded with the ayas / signs of their Lord they do not fall over them, deaf and blind. And those who say, “O’ our Lord, grant for us the cooling of eyes from our pairs and our offspring and make us an Imam / Leader for those who guard.

Those people who don’t witness in vain and unfounded information and don’t fall on Allah’s ayahs like deaf and dumb without pondering with intellect over them, they are the ones who can hope to become Imams/ leaders of the muttaqin/guarded ones.

46:12 وَمِن قَبْلِهِ كِتَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِمَامًا وَرَحْمَةً ۚ وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّسَانًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّيُنذِرَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُحْسِنِينَ

And before him, book of Moosa, an Imam/leader and mercy and this book is confirming the Arabic Language, so as to warn those who are oppressors and a good news for those who are good doers.

The book of Allah is also an Imam. It give guidance, the orders of Allah, description and sayings of messengers as role models for mankind. The book of Moosa from before and this (same) book, are Imam/leaders/guides for mankind as well.

The messenger’s (pbuh) practice is a role model for mankind. The messenger as described in Quran not in history books.

33:21 لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

Without doubt for you, in the Rasool/Messenger of Allah is most beautiful pattern, who has hope in Allah and the last day and frequently remembers Allah.

And the messenger (pbuh) declares that this Al-Quran is his path on which he invites. Therefore inviting towards the Quran is the best practice of the messenger (pbuh) as a role model.

12:107 قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي ۖ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

Say . “This is my way, on which I do invite towards Allah,- with perception,- I and whoever follows me. Glory to Allah! and I am not of the associaters.

Notes:

There is another popular argument for divinity of ‘Imammat’ which is that Allah sent His book and with the book has sent prophets to explain the book to people. Allah never left the book alone, without a guardian and explainer of the book. Therefore a divinely appointed Imam always has to be present in all times with the book in an era in which prophets are not coming.

2:213 كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ فَهَدَى اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent prophets with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the book in truth, to judge between mankind in matters wherein they differed; but the people who were given it (the book) did not differ in it except after the clear signs came to them, to wrong one another (mutual animosity). Allah by His will; guided the believers to the Truth, in matters wherein they differed; For Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path.

The above ayat 2:213 states that Allah sent His book and along with the book he sent prophets to explain the book to people. The prophets that Allah sent were men. Why Allah sent men as prophets, as men interact with people of their kind and can explain the Book to people. The preservation of the Book and its Spirit is the responsibility of Allah.

17:95 قُل لَّوْ كَانَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَلَائِكَةٌ يَمْشُونَ مُطْمَئِنِّينَ لَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ مَلَكًا رَّسُولًا

Say, “If there were on earth, angels walking about in security, We should certainly have sent them down from the heavens an angel for a messenger.”

The above ayat explains why a human messenger is sent on earth, because humans dwell on earth. Had the earth been inhabited by angels, then definitely an angel would have been sent to live among them and convey the message of God. So, going back to the above argument on Imamat, the Imam has to be a bashar/human being, with all the qualities of a human/bashar. A human/bashar cannot be invisible to humans, cannot be living for hundred of years in hiding, does not have supernatural powers to communicate with people in some mysterious ways. This kind of super-natural belief of an Imam would make him not a human but a small deity. The purpose of human prophets was to explain the Book to people. An assumed personality of ‘Imam’ which in hiding and with no evidence of interaction with people, is not a belief which Quran teaches. Inspiration of the Spirit of Allah’s Word on humans in a divine manner is the work of Allah beyond the power of a bashar/human. The burden of proof of a belief which cannot be justified from Quran will be on he who harbors such belief. They will have to bring evidence on the day of judgement, from the book of Allah which will be placed with the prophets giving witness from what they conveyed from the book to people.

39:69 وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

And the Earth will shine with the Light/Glory of its Lord: The book will be placed; the prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and they will not be wronged.

For the believers, a few points are given below to ponder in order to check if their belief in ‘Imamat’ is as per Quran and sayings of the messenger (Al-Haqqa 69:40):

-The Imams for which Quran has provided authority, are they in their list of their Imams?

-The Imams that they include in their list of Imams, has any authority revealed by Allah in His Book?

Do they believe in superhuman Imam, i.e unable to err, having knowledge of the unseen etc. Quran informs that the messengers of Allah do not have superhuman qualities they are like normal bashar/humans, they can err and they don’t have knowledge of the unseen. (18:110, 6:50, 48:2). Then how a bashar/human Imam who is not mentioned in Quran be able to hear supplications, grant wishes to people who would write requests on pieces of paper and throw them in rivers and take guarantee for the safety of travelers. This sort of belief is definitely not of a ‘bashar’ Imam but more like of a ‘deity’ Imam.

Is the belief on divine appointment of Imams, emphasized in ayat 2:285, which summarizes important pillars of belief i.e belief in Allah, His angels, His books and His messengers:

2:285 آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the believers. All of them believe in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between any of His messengers.” And they say. “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the destiny.”

Similar to the appointment of prophet Ibrahim (a.s) as Imam for mankind in ayat 2:124, Al-Quran mentions appointment of prophet Dawood (a.s) as His Khalifa (vicegerent) on earth (38:26). Is the divine appointment of ‘Khalifa’ also part of their belief system?

For those who believe that the book named ‘Nahjal Balagha’ contains sayings and writings of Hazrat Ali (KAW), states in the letter no. 6, that a person who is pronounced ‘Imam’ by the joint consultation of people will have Allah’s good pleasures on his stature.

The Preservation of Al-Quran (Hafs vs Warsh/other recitations)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

This post is about the preservation of the message of Allah to mankind. We will review few frequently asked question such as; how and where, is the message of Allah preserved? In which form is this message sent to mankind? Can there be different versions of this message?

A popular notion is that the message of Allah is in ‘book’ form and the book is preserved by Allah, letter by letter and dot by dot in all versions of this book existing in the world. Another prevalent concept is that Al-Quran was revealed in seven different ‘ahruf’ and 10 different recitations. The 2nd statement is based on a hadith with not much details about what ‘ahruf’ means and not all scholars agreeing on the extent of differences in ‘ahruf’ and recitations.

Before we delve deeper into this topic, please understand that the word ‘Al-Quran’ means ‘The Reading’. When the message of Allah is read, it is ‘Al-Quran’. When it is written, it is ‘Al-Kitab’. Generally a copy of Quran in paper form is called a ‘Mus-haf’ while Al-Quran does not use the word ‘Mushaf’ itself. General public sometimes use the word ‘Quran’ interchangeably for the written book form, which is technically not correct. Another attribute in Arabic of Al-Quran is ‘Az-Zikr’ which means ‘The Remembrance’ or ‘The Admonition’. (List of attributes of the message of Allah is given in previous post of Al-Kitab on this site : https://topicsfromquran.com/2017/03/26/who-are-ahlal-kitab/)

15:9 إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Indeed, We have sent down the Remembrance; and indeed we are the guardians for it.

Al-Quran confirms that ‘Az-Zikr’ (The remembrance/admonition) is revealed by Allah and He is the one who protects it. This means that the message of Allah which He has sent to mankind is preserved by divine means. Therefore for those who seek this message, it will be accessible to them. This statement in Quran lead some people to believe that the Quran in written form whether in book form or digital format, cannot have any dissimilarity with other written copies. However, Allah has clarified in Quran that the paper form is made by people not by Him. So, Allah will preserve the remembrance/admonition, that He has revealed, and not the paper forms which people have copied. In fact the written individual copies of Al-Quran, or individual recitations, may contain dissimilarities with other copies.

Hafs, Warsh and other versions:

We find that there are different recitations of Al-Quran in exitance today, although the differences in them are minor in nature. The two most popularly known versions are called ‘Hafs’ and ‘Warsh’. They have minor differences with each other which varies from changes in words, harakas and numbering of ayahs, although no difference in the spirt of the message conveyed. ‘Hafs’ recitation is the most widely adopted recitation in the Muslim world with about 95% of Muslims adhering to it. The Warsh recitation is adopted by 3% of the Muslim world (mostly in North Africa) and then remaining 2% subscribing to lesser known recitations.

However only one reading/recitation of Al-Quran is the intended one by God which is persevered in the world for those who seek it. In order to know which one is it, we need guidance from Al-Quran. We know from Al-Quran, that Allah has placed His signs’ at Masid Ul Haram and ordered believers to align themselves towards of Masjid ul Haram (2:150). The place of ‘Ibrahim’ is fixed at Masjid ul Haram (22:26). The believers are ordered to take their ‘Mussala’ from the place of Ibrahim in Masjid Ul Haram (2:125). In this Mosque, the system of salat is preserved. In salat, the recitation from Al-Quran is made and then believers bow and prostate to what they have recited. Allah declared that His house is guidance for all words (3:96). So believers who seek guidance, if they are in doubt about which recitation is the true recitation of Al-Quran, they should seek the recitation which is preserved at Masjid ul Haram and recited in the system of salat established there. The reading of Al-Quran at Masjid ul Haram at the place of Ibrahim (a.s) is the preserved one for guidance of man kind, and is what is popularly known as the ‘Hafz’ version.

3:96 إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

The first House appointed for mankind is that at Bakka( Makkah): Full of blessings and of guidance for all worlds.

6:91 وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ إِذْ قَالُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ بَشَرٍ مِّن شَيْءٍ ۗ قُلْ مَنْ أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَىٰ نُورًا وَهُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ تَجْعَلُونَهُ قَرَاطِيسَ تُبْدُونَهَا وَتُخْفُونَ كَثِيرًا ۖ وَعُلِّمْتُم مَّا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنتُمْ وَلَا آبَاؤُكُمْ ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

They did not value Allah as He should be valued, when they said, “Allah did not reveal from anything to a bashar/human.” Say, “Who then sent down the Book which Moosa brought, with light and guidance for the people?” You made it to pieces of paper, you show something while concealing a lot of it. You were taught what you never knew- you nor your fore-fathers. Say, “Allah (revealed it),” then leave them in their heedlessness, playing.

Allah did not reveal the Book in paper form. It is people who transferred ‘the Book’ on papers. There exists no master copy of Quran in printed form against which a new printed copy can be compared. However still the revelation is preserved for those seeking it. Az-Zikr/the remembrance of the message of Allah is preserved by collective remembrance of protectors/huffaz.

6:7 وَلَوْ نَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ كِتَابًا فِي قِرْطَاسٍ فَلَمَسُوهُ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ لَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

Had we sent to you a book in papers, even so that they could touch it with their hands, the unbelievers would have been sure to say. “This is nothing but obvious magic!”

The responsibility of collection of Al-Quran and its recitations is on Allah.

75:17 إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ

It is for Us (Allah) for its (Al-Quran’s) collection and recitation.

Notes:

  1. The changes in different recitations in existence today, are not in accent only, they have difference in some words too. However, even with the difference in words, the spirit of the message conveyed is the same. For example in Hafs version, last word of ayat 2:85 is تَعْمَلُونَ meaning ‘you (people) do’. While in Warsh version this word is يَعْمَلُونَ meaning ‘they do’. Although both words are different, the spirit of the message does not change i.e Allah is aware of what people do. (details of the differences are available on internet (one such site is http://muslimprophets.com/article.php?aid=64)
  2. Easy to distinguish sign in recitation comes early in Al-Quran, i.e in ayat 4 of Sura Fatiha, where Hafs version is ‘مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ’ (Owner of the day of judgment) and Warsh version is مَلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (King of the day of Judgement).
  3. Why early Islamic scholars allowed different readings of Al-Quran. The below article by Mr. Javed Ghamidi (translated by Dr. Shehzad Saleem) sheds some light:http://www.shehzadsaleem.com/variant-readings-of-quran/. Copy of an excerpt from this article is given below:

“The answer to this question is that long before all these scholars, the earliest Muslim authorities had formed the opinion that though it is not essential for the common man to acquire knowledge through the akhbar-i ahad, it is essential for the scholars and the select to accept them and after being satisfied about their isnad, there is no difference in acquiring and adducing the knowledge gained through them and the knowledge that pervades among the common Muslims and which is being transferred from their generations to generations. Imam Shafi’i writes in his celebrated treatise Al-Risalah:

وعلم الخاصة سنة من خبر الخاصة يعرفها العلماء ولم يكلفها غيرهم وهي موجودة فيهم أو في بعضهم بصدق الخاص المخبر عن رَسُوْلَ اللّٰہِ بها وهذا اللازم لأهل العلم أن يصيروا إليه

And the knowledge of the select is the sunnah which is acquired through their reports, which the scholars know and which is not essential for the common man to know. This sunnah is present with all the scholars or with some of them from God’s Messenger (sws) through the information provided by a reliable informant and this is the knowledge which scholars must necessarily turn to.[2]

Thus after the demise of the Prophet (sws), when trustworthy narrators started to state, for example, that while a companion had read the word مَالِك (owner) as مَلِك (king) in verse 2 of Surah Fatihah, and يَكْذِبُوْن in its intensive form as يُكَذِّبُوْن in verse 10 of Surah Baqarah and يُوْصي in its passive form in verse 12 of Surah Nisa’, then this was accepted in scholarly circles in the same way that the reports of his other sayings and deeds were being accepted. The reason for this was evident: if they did not accept these reports regarding the Qur’an, they would also not have any basis to accept reports which depicted the Prophet’s deductions, verdicts, explanations and exemplary character except if they were deemed to be against a Qur’anic verse. The proliferation of variant readings took place because of this opinion of the tabi’un (followers of the companions).” 

The Ant and Prophet Suleiman (a.s)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Prophet Suleiman (a.s) was granted a kingdom, the likes of which had not been seen in the world before. His kingdom is characterized by peace, control, innovations and developments. Quran mentions that he was taught the logic of flyers (مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ/language of the birds or logic of flyers as used in air travel). This ayat lead some to assume that he would also know the language of animals. There is an event mentioned in Al-Quran about ‘ants’ in sura ‘Namal/Ant’. In this post we will review the implication of these ayahs.

In many languages, ‘ant’ is used in allegorical and idiomatic terms to describe an insignificant person vs a powerful person. In every society there exists quite a substantial population of people comprising the lower middle and lower classes which historically had little or no say in matters of the state. Their voice was seldom heard by the upper echelons and ruling class of the society. The general perception of the people in this class is that the ruling/elite class exploits and crushes them under their feet.

27:16-17 وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ ۖ وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۖ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيْمَانَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ

And Suleiman inherited from Dawood. He said. “O people! We have been taught the logic/language of flyers, and we have been given from all things (blessings). This is indeed a manifest grace. And presented to Suleiman were armies of Jinns and Ins/people and fliers, and they were all kept in order.

The kingdom and control of prophet Suleiman (a.s) was blessed and extended over Jinns (the developed nations), all other people and on the flyers (air force). Then they turned their attention towards the dwellings of the lower class of the society referred as the ‘valley of ants’.

27:18 حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَىٰ وَادِ النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

Until, when they reached the valley of ants, one of the ants said. “O you ants, get into your habitations, lest Suleiman and his armies crush you without (even) knowing it.”

A representative of the lower class of the society referred as an ‘ant’, assumed that being insignificant people as they are, they may not have any value in the eyes of the ruler . They (their welfare, rights, freedom) may be crushed by the ruler as historically rulers used to be concerned more with their own plans for grandeur and didn’t care much for the lower classes. Therefore the ‘ant’ advised the fellow ants to get out of sight of the ruler so that he may not get ideas about them and they be persecuted.

27:19 فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ

So he smiled, amused at her speech; and he said. “O my Lord! Direct me that I should be grateful for Your favors, which You bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work righteousness that will please You, and admit me, by Your Grace, to the ranks of your righteous servants.”

Prophet Suleiman (a.s) thanked his Lord, for bestowing the blessings on him and to enable him to hear to the lower classes of the society to be able to do good for them as well. In his Government, there were means established to hear and get opinions from the lower classes of the masses.

Notes:

  1. Animals use different methods of communication however their communication is not by language or ‘words’ as the ‘Nouns’ and words are taught to ‘Adam’ only, by God. Therefore in ayat 27:18, the utterance of ‘Sulieman’ by an actual ant is not possible, indicating that ‘ant’ in the ayat is a reference for some human.

2. A couple of questions may arise such as why in this narration Allah used the example of ants for people and if example of ants is appropriate to use for people. So we see the below ayahs:

17:89 وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ فَأَبَىٰ أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلَّا كُفُورًا

And We have explained for people, in this Quran, every kind of example. yet the greater part of mankind reject them.

From above ayat 17:89 it becomes evident that it is not unusual for Allah to narrate events with the help of examples so that people can relate with them.

2:26 إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ

Allah does not shy away from citing the example of a mosquito, or anything above it. As for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord. As for the rejecters, they Say: ‘What does Allah intend with this example?’ He lets many stray by it, and He guides many, but He only lets stray the fasiqeen/evil-doers.

Ants are wonderful creatures. They built complex structures which can be compared to sky scrappers in an ant scaled city, size wise. The workers ants spend their whole lives doing real hard manual work. Citing of the examples of these wonderous creatures for the hard working low earning classes of humans is not an insult but rather a relatable example.

Other relevant previous posts to this topic are given below:

https://topicsfromquran.com/2018/08/18/prophet-suleimans-invitation-to-queen-of-saba/

https://topicsfromquran.com/2018/06/10/who-are-jinns-as-per-quran/

https://topicsfromquran.com/2018/04/16/age-of-prophet-noah-a-s/

Belief in ‘Hereafter’/Akhirat /Accountability

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

A fundamental concept in Al-Quran is the emphasis on the belief in ‘akhirat’ i.e hereafter. This belief is fundamental in character building of the believers. A gold test to check whether we actually believe in this concept or not will be, in a situation in which we are absolutely certain that we will get away from doing a certain evil thing without any fear of repercussion whatsoever, however, we still refrain from doing that evil thing, with the certainty that we will definitely be held accountable for our deed in the hereafter. If we pass this test, then we do actually have belief in ‘akhirat’.

General observation is that many people when they know that they are not seen by anybody and don’t have fear of being caught, they go ahead in carrying out an evil act, even though they do lip service to their belief in ‘akhirat’.

A very useful tool for the believers in character building is to always be conscious of Allah as if a video of all their actions is being made all the time with the added dimension of what is in their hearts and this video record of their deeds will be on display on the day of hereafter and they will be held accountable for all their deeds. So, if you are able to refrain yourself from doing a bad thing primarily due to absolute belief of your accountability by Allah then you have true belief in ‘akhirat’.

2:62 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Verily, Those people who believe, and those who are Hood (Yahood), and the Nasara and the Sabians,- any who believe with Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

For people belonging to different groups of characteristics, the fundamental requirement of them is to be conscious to the concept of accountability for all their actions they do in the world, and be conscious of an all powerful and cognizant God, who will make them accountable for their deeds.

A society with majority of people believing in accountability will definitely show signs of goodness, well being and people taking care of others. If a society shows signs of depravity, elevated crimes and degradation of humanity then definitely they don’t have belief in ‘akhirat’, no matter what religious label they put on themselves.

Signs associated with Mariam (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Mariam (a.s) the mother of prophet Essa (a.s) has a unique and elevated status in Quran as the only woman mentioned by name in Quran. No other woman is mentioned by personal name in Quran. Allah declares her to be the one chosen over all the women of the world. We will see what Quran says about Mariam (a.s) in this post:

3:35  إِذْ قَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ عِمْرَانَ رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

When woman of  Imran said. “My Lord! verily I dedicate to You, freeing, what is in my belly. Thus accept from me, verily You hear and know all things.”

Mariam (a.s) belonged to a very pious family. Her father’s name was Imran. 

3:36 فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنثَىٰ ۖ وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ وَإِنِّي أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

So when she gave birth to her, she said: “My Lord, I gave birth to a female and Allah knows better with what she gave birth to. “And the male is not like the female and I named her Mariam, and I seek protection from you for her and her descendants, from the Satan the cursed/expelled.

Prophet Zakariaya (a.s) was her guardian. She grew up in purity and blessings endowed from Allah.

3:37 فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا ۖ قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Thus graciously did her Lord accept her. He made her grow in purity and beautiful way. To the care of Zakariya, was she assigned. Every time that Zakarya entered her chamber, he found her supplied with sustenance (food). He asked. “O Mariam! from where this comes to you?” She said. ” this is from Allah, for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.”

Mariam (a.s) is the chosen women by Allah over all the women in all the worlds. 

3:42 وَإِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاكِ وَطَهَّرَكِ وَاصْطَفَاكِ عَلَىٰ نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ

And when the angels said, “O’ Mariam, surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and He has chosen you above the women of all the worlds.”

The below ayat states the legitimacy of women doing congregational prayers.

3:43  يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ

“O Mariam! Be obedient to your Lord devoutly, prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.”

She was given the glad tidings of a Word and a Sign from the Lord, the prophet Essa (a.s).

3:45  إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ

When the angels said ‘O Mariam!Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him, named the Maseeh, Essa, the son of Mariam, honorable/conspicuous in this world and in the hereafter and he shall be of close associates (of Allah)

3:47  قَالَتْ رَبِّ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ ۖ قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ اللَّهُ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ

She said, ‘My Lord, how can there be a son for me, when no human touched me? He (Allah) said, ‘This is how Allah creates what He wills, when He has decreed an order, He says it to , ‘be’ and it is!

The birth of prophet Essa (a.s) is a miraculous birth, intended as a sign for the mankind.

19:21 قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا

He said. “So (it will be)’. Your Lord said, ‘that is easy for Me, and to appoint him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.’

Allah said ‘Kada’lik’, which means ‘like this’ or ‘in this manner’, in response to Mariam (a.s) stating that ‘no man touched her’. Which means, she was going to have a son, without any man touching her. Prophet Essa (a.s) is also called the spirit of Allah, is a sign of the Lord born of a virgin birth. 

21:91  وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

And her who guarded her private parts. We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all the worlds.

There are two main cultures in the wold known as ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ culture. In terms of feminism, Western culture is more liberal and open, while the Eastern culture is more demure and virtues conservative values. Mariam (a.s) segregated herself from her society adopting eastern values and she made a barrier from the societal influences on her. 

19:16-17  وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا  فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا

Remember in the book, Mariam, when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place. Then she took a hijab/veil apart from them, then We sent to her Our Rooh/Spirit. So he was an even example of a human for her.

After she segregated herself from the societal influences and teachings, Allah sent His Spirit i.e the essence/understanding of His Words. The Spirit and essence of the Words of Allah do not come with the worldly teachings, in fact the prevalent teachings only cause distortion in the understanding of Allah’s Book with their association of anecdotes and historical background to Allah’s Book. The spirit of Allah came to her through a bashar/human.

19:20 قَالَتْ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنكَ إِن كُنتَ تَقِيًّا

She said. “I seek refuge from you to (Allah) Most Gracious, if you fear Allah.”

The above is the normal reaction by a person on first encounter with the spirit of Allah. The understanding and spirit of the Words of Allah is so much apart from previous beliefs and societal teachings that it is hard to believe on them and people ask Allah’s refuge. 

19:19-21 قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا  قَالَتْ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا  قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا

He said. “Without doubt, I am a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you a holy son. She said. “How shall I have a son, while no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said. “So (it will be)’. Your Lord said, ‘that is easy for Me, and to appoint him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.’

The virgin birth of prophet Essa (a.s) was explained to her as prophet Essa (a.s) is decreed to be a sign for mankind. 

19:22-23 فَحَمَلَتْهُ فَانتَبَذَتْ بِهِ مَكَانًا قَصِيًّا  فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَىٰ جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَٰذَا وَكُنتُ نَسْيًا مَّنسِيًّا

So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She cried (in her anguish). “Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!”

Mariam (a.s) went to a remote place from her home for the childbirth. The place she went is characterized by  date palm trees so should be a desert/semi desert type of place. 

19:24-25  فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا  وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا

Thus it was cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree). “Grieve not! for your Lord has provided a rivulet beneath you; “And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm-tree. It will let fresh ripe dates fall upon you.”

Allah a created a miraculous spring under her feet in that desert/semi desert land. She was able to eat ripe dates in that land. 

23:50  وَجَعَلْنَا ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ آيَةً وَآوَيْنَاهُمَا إِلَىٰ رَبْوَةٍ ذَاتِ قَرَارٍ وَمَعِينٍ

And We made the son of Mary and his mother, a Sign. We gave them shelter on raised ground of tranquility and springs.

The raised place and miraculous underground spring of water in desert land of dates are associated with Mariam (a.s) and prophet Essa (a.s) in Quran as per above ayahs. However in history books they are associated with a story of prophet Ibraheem (a.s) leaving his wife and son in the desert. 

19:26  فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا

So eat and drink and cool (your) eye. And if you see any person, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day I will not enter into talk with any human.

When the spirit of Allah first comes to a person a new journey of understanding starts which is sometimes 180 degrees apart from the previous beliefs of the person. There could be lot of unanswered questions and confusions at that time. At that time, a saum/roza of speaking is desirable, that one should not communicate the understanding of the signs of Allah in public until the right time i.e when sufficient understanding and strength of belief is achieved.  

19:27-28 فَأَتَتْ بِهِ قَوْمَهَا تَحْمِلُهُ ۖ قَالُوا يَا مَرْيَمُ لَقَدْ جِئْتِ شَيْئًا فَرِيًّا  يَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ امْرَأَ سَوْءٍ وَمَا كَانَتْ أُمُّكِ بَغِيًّا

Then she came with him (Essa) carrying him to her people, they said O’Maryam, without doubt you have come with a fabricated thing. O’sister of Haroon, your father was not a wicked man and nor your mother a wrongdoer/rebellious.

Her people blamed her for bringing a fabrication to them, while they acknowledged the piety and goodness of her family. When she was accused of making fabrication, instead of responding herself, she referred them to the messenger of her times.

Another thing to note is the relationship of Mariam (a.s) with Haroon (a.s) as brother and sister. While history books keep them about six hundered years apart in time line, Quran informs they were in about the same era. 

Outside of biblical scripture and related books derived from these scriptures, there is next to nothing in evidence in the historical record for Moses’s existence. There is no exact time line which confirms in which era prophet Moosa (a.s) lived – with scholarly conjectures spanning more than half a millennium. The only book which gives chronological data is bible. The chronological history that is in most people minds comes from Bible. Quran does not give a chronological timeline however informs the relationship of Mariam (a.s) and prophet Haroon (a.s) emphasizing that general understanding of history mainly coming from Bible is flawed. 

19:29-30  فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ ۖ قَالُوا كَيْفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَن كَانَ فِي الْمَهْدِ صَبِيًّا  قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا

Thus she pointed towards him (baby Essa). They said. “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” (Essa) said, ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me Al-kitab (the book) and made me a prophet’

Prophet Essa (a.s) was a sign of Allah to mankind. He declared his prophet-hood from childhood and told them that he has been given Al-Kitab by Allah, so they better not call her mother a fabricator. Prophet Essa (a.s) is also a prophet by birth (please see earlier post about Nabi Ummi-  topicsfromquran.com/2019/01/05/ummi-prophet-and-ummi-nation/)

66:12 وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ

And Mariam the daughter of Imran, who guarded her private parts; and We breathed in it (private part) from Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His books, and she was of the devout/obedient ones.

Mariam (a.s) testified with the Words of the Lord and His Books. She was devout and she protected her private parts. Prophet Essa’s birth was a  miraculous birth, who was born of a single parent i.e his mother only. 

Later people continued to doubt in prophet Essa’s miraculous birth from a single parent. Any suggestion of birth of prophet Essa (a.s) by coupling, is termed as a grave insinuation (bohtan-e-Azeem) on Mariam. it is not taken lightly by Allah and he warns against such dis-beliefs in very stern language in the book. 

4:156  وَبِكُفْرِهِمْ وَقَوْلِهِمْ عَلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ بُهْتَانًا عَظِيمًا

And with their Kufr/rejection: and what they uttered against Mariam/Mary a grave false charge.

19:88-92 وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَلَدًا  لَّقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئًا إِدًّا  تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا  أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ وَلَدًا  وَمَا يَنبَغِي لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا

They said, Most Gracious has taken a son! Indeed you have put forth a thing most monstrous! The skies would burst and the earth be split asunder, and the mountains are torn to pieces. As they called a son for the Most Gracious. For it is not for the most Gracious that He should take a son.

Messenger (pbuh) asking forgiveness of a sin

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

I had often wondered on below ayahs that why Allah asks the messenger (pbuh) to ask for forgiveness  of a sin. Normally people when they do ‘asthaghfar’, they ask for forgiveness of all their sins. So, mention of ‘sin’ in singular form seemed a bit unusual in these ayahs: 

40:55  فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِبْكَارِ

Thus you (messenger) be patient for the promise of Allah is true and ask forgiveness for your sin, and celebrate the praises of your Lord in the evening and in the morning.

48:2 لِّيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَيَهْدِيَكَ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا

So that Allah may forgive you (the messenger) of what is past of your sin and that to follow; and to fulfill His favor on you ; and guide you to a straight path

47:19  فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَاكُمْ

Thus know that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for your sin (O’ messenger), and for the men and women who believe, for Allah knows of your wandering abouts and destinations.

Then the realization came that what is required  of the believers is to constantly improve their characters by striving to do corrections in themselves. First step for believers is to believe in the message of Allah, leave alternative belief systems and then to recognize wrong doings they had been doing and plan to correct their past wrong doings. Through the messenger and his sunnat (practice) Allah advises the best practices to be followed by believers in correcting themselves. The reason for mentioning ‘sin’ in singular in these three ayahs with the messenger, is that Allah wants one sin to be singled out, recognized and be focused for correction at a time. Once that sin is overcome then a believer can focus on the next sin for correction. This practice is sure to be far more effective then paying lip service and saying ‘God, forgive me of all my sins’ and then doing practically nothing about corrections to be implemented in your life. Long ingrained bad attitudes are difficult to overcome all at once however, they can be targeted and corrected one by one.  You are more likely to over come your sins and your weaknesses by first identifying and prioritizing the corrections and targeting your sins for correction one by one.

The realization and plan to overcome the sins and evils within oneself cannot be procrastinated. The plan should be started as soon as possible as with procrastination they may become part of one’s psyche and then almost impossible to be gotten rid of. 

39:53-54  قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ  وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ

Say. “O my servants who have transgressed against their nafs! Do’not lose hope for the mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins, indeed He is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful, and turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the penalty comes to you, after that ye shall not be helped.

In the above ayat Allah says that He will forgive all sins on the condition that people submit to them and turn in repentance to him before the penalty comes to them  If they delay too much, so much so that the penalty for their sins starts then they will not be helped.  So there is definitely a time limit in the world, before which, if people don’t repent for their sins and turn to Lord with corrections, they will not be helped.

4:17 إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

Verily, the repentance/return on Allah, is only for those who do evil in ignorance and then repent/return soon afterwards; to those people Allah returns/accept repentance  and Allah is knowledgeable, wise.

If people keep on procrastinating implementing corrective actions in themselves, then the evil would becomes part of their psyche and they will not be able to return to righteousness.

4:18  وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

There is no repentance/return for those who do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, “Now  I repent/return indeed;” and nor of those who die being rejecters. For them We have prepared a most grievous punishment.

Example is the case of Pharoh.  He went too deep and late in his sins and evil deeds, that the door of return was closed on him and his repentance was not accepted;

10:90-91  وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ  آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

We took the Bani Israeel across the sea: Pharaoh and his group followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: “I believe that there is no god except Him whom the children of Israel believe in: I am of those who are muslims/submitters. (It was said to him). “Ah now!- But before, you were in rebellion!- and you were maker of violence.

For the people doing repentance and turning to their Lords, they have to make their din/judgement pure for Allah and hold fast to Allah.

4:146  إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِاللَّهِ وَأَخْلَصُوا دِينَهُمْ لِلَّهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَسَوْفَ يُؤْتِ اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

Except for those who repented/returned and did right and held fast to Allah, and made their Din/judgement purely for Allah. These are the people who will be with the believers. And soon will Allah grant to the believers a mighty reward. 

The people are advised in below ayat to listen and follow the best advice in Quran, i.e follow the instructions and do’s and dont’s described in Quran. 

39:18 الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

Those who listen to the Word, and follow the best in it, these are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding.

The believers should feel the benefits of corrections in their life. They are bound to become more tolerant and the typical sectarian hatred in their hearts should be replaced with tolerance and compassion (41:34, 3:103). They don’t blame people for any test they encounter in life and in case of being wronged leave their case to Allah for full compensation (please see previous post on Qasas’). The peace and tranquility thus achieved, in one’s heart is a great blessing indeed. 

89:27:30  يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ  ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً  فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي  وَادْخُلِي جَنَّتِي

“O you the satisfied Nafs/psyche.”Come to your Lord,- well pleased (yourself), and well-pleasing unto Him! “Enter, then, in My servants! “and, enter in My Gardens! “

Notes:

3:103 وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

And hold fast all together to the rope of Allah and do not be divided among yourselves, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love; you became brethren and you were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it. Likewise Allah make His Ayats/Signs clear to you that you may be guided.

41:34 وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

Nor is goodness and Evil equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better. Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate. 

The link to the post of ‘Qasas’

https://topicsfromquran.com/2017/06/04/qasas/

Toor-e-Sineen

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

We know that this world is a place for test of mankind and Allah will recompense fully peoples’ deeds in the hereafter. Satan has been given respite till the day of judgment to destroy people’s beliefs and deeds. To counter Satan’s deceit, people are provided with Allah’s Word, the messengers and an intelligence to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Allah does not force belief on anyone.  In view of above, how do we visualize and interpret the below ayat;

4:154  وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَهُمُ الطُّورَ بِمِيثَاقِهِمْ وَقُلْنَا لَهُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ لَا تَعْدُوا فِي السَّبْتِ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا

And We raised over them At-Toor with their covenant ; and We said to them: “Enter the door/entrance bowing down”; and We said to them: “Do not over exceed in the matter of the Sabbath/Rest.” and We took from them a solemn covenant.

If the above ayat is visualized in a way that Allah forced Bani Israeel to believe in Him by raising a mountain over them and threatening to crush them under it if they didn’t believe. If this is the case then this understanding is not consistent with the message of Quran especially when we consider below ayahs:

10:99  وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

If it had been your Lord’s will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! Will you (the messenger) then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!

27:92  وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ

And that I recite the Quran, and if any one accepts guidance, he does it for the good of his own self, and if anyone goes astray, say “I am only a warner”.

Faith and belief cannot be forced upon any one. The messenger is ordered to convey the message only and do not use force to impose belief on anyone.

50:45  نَّحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ ۖ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِجَبَّارٍ ۖ فَذَكِّرْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَن يَخَافُ وَعِيدِ

We know better what they say; and you are not the one to overawe them by force. So remind (them) with the Qur’an those who fear My warning!

The messengers only convey the message; they don’t force it on people.

64:12  وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَىٰ رَسُولِنَا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

And obey Allah, and obey His messenger, but if you people turn back, the duty of Our messenger is but to proclaim (the message) clearly and openly.

2:256  لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

There is no compulsion in din/judgment. The right way stands out clear from error. Thus whoever rejects taghoot (violent rebellion) and believes in Allah, has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.

In view of the above ayah’s we can see that it is not Allah’s practice to threaten and force belief on anyone. Therefore when the ayat 4:154 states that the mountain was raised above them and in 7:171 people thought that the mountain may fall on them, it would mean that people’s attention is drawn towards a certain mountain. This mountain has a unique status in Quran as Allah has mentioned it several times and it has certain association with messengers.  From the description in Quran it seems that it is a fairly high mountain and it may seem to people that some part of it is not stable therefore may fall down over them. lets review ayahs in Quran about this mountain:

We read in Al-Quran the oath of ‘At-Toor’.

52:1  وَالطُّور

By the Toor

The ‘Toor e Sineen’ has close relation with the city of security (Mecca). The below ayat mentions ‘toor’ with the city of security.

95:2-3  وَطُورِ سِينِينَ  وَهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ

And the Toor e Sineen, and this city of security.

Sineen in dictionary means ‘supported stones’. The stones which support each other to form interlocking. Toor means ‘stage’ and is also a mountain. ‘Toor e Sineen’ is a mountain with stones support structure. Ayahs 95:2-3 point out that this Toor-sineen i.e a mountain with supported stones is in the proximity of the Holy city of Mecca.

If you observe the pictures above, you will observe this mountain in which the famous cave of Hira is located. This cave is characterized by stones which support each other. The shape of this stone structure look like a canopy. This structure in picture is supported by interlocking of stones one over the other and to a casual observer may appear that some jostling may bring the structure down.

28:29  فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ مُوسَى الْأَجَلَ وَسَارَ بِأَهْلِهِ آنَسَ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ نَارًا قَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جَذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُونَ

Thus when Moosa had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he perceived a fire at the side of the ‘Toor’.’He said to his family. “Stay here; I perceive a fire; I hope to bring you from there some information, or a burning firebrand, that ye may warm yourselves.”

This mountain is associated with prophet Moosa (a.s) as well, in addition to its association with messenger Mohammad (pbuh). Many pilgrims visit this mountain in view of its sanctity and association with the messengers.

19:52  وَنَادَيْنَاهُ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنِ وَقَرَّبْنَاهُ نَجِيًّا

And We called him from the right side of Toor, and made him draw near to Us, for talk.

This is the place where prophet Moosa (a.s) received close communication from Allah.

20:80  يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ قَدْ أَنجَيْنَاكُم مِّنْ عَدُوِّكُمْ وَوَاعَدْنَاكُمْ جَانِبَ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنَ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَىٰ

O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a covenant with you on the right side of Toor, and We sent down to you Manna and Salwa.

Bani Israeel, got security from their enemies around this place of safety and security and they were granted many bounties and gifts from Allah.

28:46  وَمَا كُنتَ بِجَانِبِ الطُّورِ إِذْ نَادَيْنَا وَلَٰكِن رَّحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّا أَتَاهُم مِّن نَّذِيرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

You were not at the side of Toor when We called. Yet a mercy from your Lord, so that you give warning to a people to whom no warner had come before you so that they may remember.

The above Ayat states that the messenger was not at the side of the ‘Toor’ when he was called by the Lord to forewarn his nation. It was with Allah’s mercy that the messenger was chosen and called by the Lord to be the messenger to his nation, however, the first revelation event did not happen at At-Toor, as is popularly believed. This stresses the fact that our belief on the messenger should be according to how Allah describes him in His book and not according to man written history books. The incidence of first revelation on prophet (pbuh) is given in detail in Sura Najam 53. Thats why in this ayat 28:46, Allah denied that the incident as popularized in history book of first revelation occurring in the cave of Hira is false. 

Image result for cave hira story

3:20  وَشَجَرَةً تَخْرُجُ مِن طُورِ سَيْنَاءَ تَنبُتُ بِالدُّهْنِ وَصِبْغٍ لِّلْآكِلِينَ

And a tree emerges from Toor e Seena  which grows with the oil and colour to the eaters.

The mention of a tree could be a reference toward the cave portion of the  mountain where longitudinal stones form an interlocking resembling the shape of a bunch of leaves of olive tree.

olives-grece-500x346

7:171 وَإِذْ نَتَقْنَا الْجَبَلَ فَوْقَهُمْ كَأَنَّهُ ظُلَّةٌ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُ وَاقِعٌ بِهِمْ خُذُوا مَا آتَيْنَاكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُوا مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

When We hung the mount over them, as if it had been a canopy, and they thought it was going to fall on them (We said). “Hold firmly to what We have given you, and  remember what is therein; perchance ye may fear Allah.”

In summary the traditional rendering of above ayat is that Allah forced people to accept what revelation was given to them otherwise, they would be crushed under the mountain. However, this does not make sense as Allah very categorically states in Quran that there is no compulsion in Din/judgment. Also, Allah has allowed the people to believe freely in this world so that they can be judged accordingly in the hereafter. Therefore it is evident that Allah would never force people to believe by threatening them to crush under the mountain if they did not do so. So, we saw in this post what actually is meant with the mention of At-Toor in Quran is to make people conscious of a mountain which is associated with messengers. The mountain is in the sacred valley of peace and security i.e Mecca. A portion of it has a support structure of interlocking of stones resembling a bunch of olive tree leaves.

Notes:

Seen PicHira pictureSeen Urdu