Month: November 2015

Words of Wisdom.

The year has officially begun here at Bayyinah and things are already in full swing, Alhamdulillah. On Day 2, Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda came to visit us at Bayyinah and gave us incredible words of advice from scholars of the past and from his own experiences.

“In regards to knowledge, Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an: “Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees.” [58:11] Being a student of knowledge is an incredible opportunity because knowledge, especially knowledge of the Qur’an is irreplaceable. It’s incredibly valuable because the Qur’an is the fixture. The opportunity to study the book of Allah is a blessed opportunity, it’s a gift. Do right by this gift by valuing it and giving it your all.

The scholars of the past would quote a set of advice frequently to students seeking sacred knowledge:

You will not acquire knowledge until you implement six things:

1. Be focused. Bring yourself totally and completely to the table. Make this your primary objective; seeking knowledge requires undivided attention. Bring focus.

2. Desire this more than anything else. This has to be #1.

3. Be committed and apply yourself.

4. See things through till the end. Finish what you started. Often times, in the course of seeking knowledge, different tests and trials will come, negative influences will arise, or half way, you may just want to give up. But Commit yourself, finish what you started.

5. Take the instruction of a teacher. No one has ever learned beneficial knowledge without the instruction of a teacher. Our scholars of the past always had a teacher, a mentor. It is absolutely critical in the pursuit of sacred knowledge.

6. Time is essential. Commit Time in the accordance to the benefit that you want and want to give to others. Sometimes we are always seeking a fast, quicker, better solution but when it comes to knowledge, there is no quick solution. In order to achieve something, you have to work hard. Because has anything worthwhile ever been achieved without putting some work in?

You are here for an objective. You are here to learn the book of Allah. Be focused. Based on your sincerity, Allah will bless you with even more opportunities. Based on your focus and ihsan, Allah will grant you more. Value the knowledge. Value your teachers. You are blessed to be here. You have been chosen.”

I saw vs. I see

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The Quran is incredibly precise in its choice of words. Contrary to average composition, it doesn’t randomly toss words around to convey only a general sense of the intended meaning. Rather, each word meaningfully conveys specific detail and suits its context perfectly.

The Quran’s references to the dreams of Ibrahim AS and Yusuf AS serve as prime examples of this specificity. Allah narrates Yusuf speaking to his father:

يَاأَبَتِإِنِّيرَأَيْتُأَحَدَعَشَرَكَوْكَبًاوَالشَّمْسَوَالْقَمَرَرَأَيْتُهُمْلِيسَاجِدِينَ

O my dear father! I saw in a dream eleven stars, as well as the sun and the moon prostrating to me

12:4

The choice of the past tense “saw” or “رَأَيْتُ” is appropriate here because Yusuf AS only had the dream once, and was simply telling his father about that one time.

Ibrahim AS speaks about his dream in a slightly different way when sharing it with his son, Ismael:

قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ

O my dear son! I see in a dream that I should sacrifice you: consider, then, what you think of this

37:102

He says “أَرَىٰ” meaning that he “sees” in his dream, using the present tense. This subtle utilization of the present tense conveys the meaning of repetition, and persistence. When Ibrahim AS says he “sees” in his dream, it suggests that he’s had the dream multiple times, and that it has continuously haunted him to the point where it has actually become his current state of reality.

This usage lines up with what we know of Ibrahim AS’s story. He saw the dream to kill his son, and at first, the horror caused him to delay its realization. Because of this, Allah  continued to show him the dream over and over.

This continuous witnessing of the dream led him to eventually fulfill Allah’s command, and thus raised him to the status of a leader amongst all people.

We ask Allah to allow us to appreciate the beauty of his book and raise us by his obedience as he raised Ibrahim AS. Ameen.

Packing.

In the process of leaving my hometown and preparing to settle into Dallas for the Bayyinah Dream Program, the past month in a half has consisted of decluttering, boxes stacked up, bags piled into corners, stuffing this here and stuffing that there. I never thought packing and then unpacking could be so labor intensive not to mention picking up the pieces, saying goodbyes, leaving home was much more difficult than I expected. I have never been away from home for more than 30 days and this was definitely my first time experiencing what traveling and resettling felt like, though its relatively temporary.

This process of packing and unpacking and resettling made me reflect on some very powerful advice that my shaykh told us once in a halaqah. He said that every single one of us are travelers, though sometimes in our homes, in our cities and in the familiar, we get very comfortable, we feel like we “permanently reside” and though in a sense it may be a fact, in the grand scheme of things, we are travelers, we are all on this journey through the dunya, through this life and we came from Him, and we are all on a journey trying to return back to Him, our Master, our Lord, the One who Created us, the One who sustains us, the Most Generous and the Most Merciful.

We are all travelers and even though majority of our life isn’t spent physically packing boxes and suitcases, in a sense we are always packing- we are packing our metaphorical suitcase as we pass through as travelers. In this suitcase, we can either put in things that will benefit us in our journey- good deeds, salah, du’a, seeking knowledge, trying to have ihsan in all our affairs, trying our best to live like the Prophet (sws), trying to pack our suitcase full of good that will bring us benefit in the Hereafter. Or, we can put in things in our suitcase that would be of no use, that simply take up empty weight to an extent where it even becomes a burden. It may hinder the travel and pose no benefit at all to us and those things are sins, the bad deeds. Whether we realize it or not, every day we are packing and traveling- either we are packing good deeds and getting closer to Allah, or we are packing sins, and perhaps potentially taking us away from Allah.

We are all travelers, trying and struggling to make it back Home. May Allah allow us to constantly fill our suitcases of life with good deeds and protect us from packing in sins and allow us to return back to Him in a state that He is pleased with. Ameen.

Week 1.

Today is Saturday and I still can’t believe that a week has already passed. We are slowly getting into the routine of always being on the go, slowly trying to pick up and establish habits of students of knowledge, trying. One of my personal goals when coming here was to start my day at Fajr and so far in the rush of mornings to get to class on time, it has been pretty successful. Our day starts at Fajr followed by some time for Qur’an and then scrambling around to eat breakfast, get lunch packed, grab all notebooks, and racing out the door as soon as possible to make sure that we are able to get good seats.

We start off the day with a little bit of review after which Ustadh Adam teaches us grammar till 11:00am. I am always humbled by his patience and dedication in making sure we understand the concepts. In just a week, we have heard so many stories from him about his own personal studies and the journey he took and subhanAllah it always amazes me how much our teachers have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for the sake of Allah and His religion. May Allah accept from all of them and elevate them.

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Iblis vs. Jews & Christians

iblisa

In the middle of the Quran are two sisters, Kahf and Isra. These surahs have well documented similarities and complement each other amazingly.

Surah Isra is mainly directed at Bani Israel, the Jews. It begins by recalling part of their story, closes by doing the same, and is even known as Surah Bani Israel by some.

Sarah Kahf, on the other hand, is directed at the Christians. It begins by rejecting the idea that God has a son and continues by correcting the distorted Christian narrative of the people of the cave, filling it in with more accurate detail and making it relevant to those seeking guidance.

We find nuances in the ayahs of these surahs, which demonstrate how perfectly each is catered to its intended audience.

An example of this targeted nuance can be found near the middle of both surahs where Allah talks about the creation of Adam. In Surah Isra, directed at the Jews, we find the ayah:

“And remember when We said to the angles, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblis. He said, “Should I prostrate to one You created from clay?’”

17:61

And in Surah Kahf, which is directed towards the Christians, we find the ayah:

“And remember when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblis. He was of the jinn and transgressed from the command of his Lord. Will you you take him and his descendants as friends and protectors other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange.”

18:50

Both of these ayahs mention the same story, but the manner in which they do so is contextually correlated to their audiences.

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Jinn

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The Arabic Language utilizes an intricate root system to classify its vocabulary which enables it to express interrelated concepts with beautiful imagery.

We’ll take a look at the usage of the word “jinn” in the 50th ayah of Surah Kahf to get an idea of this.

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ

And when we said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam,” so they all prostrated themselves except Iblis, who was one of the Jinns and disobeyed the command of his Lord…

18:50

Allah says that Iblis was one of the “jinn,” which of course carries the standard definition that he was a creature created from fire who was given free will, but a closer look reveals even deeper meaning.

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