Gems from Surah Maryam Day 4: Ayahs 7-11 with Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

 

    • What we’ve seen so far is the etiquettes of supplication, Zakariyya is stating his case, and stating his weaknesses
    • Then we see the etiquette of supplication where Zakariyya is recounting the blessings of Allah, that he has never made dua and not been given.
    • Then explains why he is making this case – explaining why he wants a child. Make him soneone who strives to please you Allah and You are pleased with him.
    • In Ayah 7, Allah answers the supplication of Zakariyya alayhis salaam

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Gems from Tafseer of Surah Maryam Day 3 Ayahs 5-6 with Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

  • One of the biggest lessons of the story of Maryam, and one of the wisdoms of why it has such a prominent place within the Qur’an, (the story of Maryam is one that reoccurs in the Qur’an in very, very powerful times from Surah Ali-Imran, to Surah Maryam, to Surah Tahrim) is a very, very powerful valuable lesson. The story of Maryam is something very miraculous, especially the ayat in Ali-Imran. In Ali Imran, it talks about the remarkable parents Maryam had, and it talks about the intention her mother had made. That I have devoted, I have dedicated, I have made the commitment, that whatever I am carrying, it will be free of any expectations, any need, any requirements from me. So please accept this from me, Oh Allah. When the ayat go on, she says, “I have given birth to a daughter, a female.” And then subhanAllah, Allah says, “Allah knows best what she gave birth to. Because the mother was saying it in the tone of “I gave birth to a daughter. I made the intention for my child to be dedicated to the deen, to make these amazing accomplishments and commitments to the deen of Allah, and I gave birth to a daughter, and there’s a little bit of disappointment there.
  • Allah knows best what she gave birth to. Allah says, it’s not to say they are exactly the same, but Allah Knows best what she gave birth to.
  • So there’ s a little bit of hesitation that maybe the child is not going to live up to the expectations that I had, but Allah says, no, Allah knows best what she gave birth to.
  • When we read ahead it talks about the resolve, the commitment, the dedication, the fortitude, the modesty, just the character, the resilence of Maryam. And finally in conclusion, in Surah Tahrim, Allah says Maryam is not just a role model for women.

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Gems from Tafseer of Surah Maryam Day 2 Ayahs 1-4 with Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Continuing with our Ramadan project of the tafsir of Surah Maryam, here are my notes of Shaykh Abdul Nasir’s tafsir of Ayah 1-4. Today’s session was an amazing, amazing class with wonderful reminders about dua, and I’m so excited about learning more about the Surah insha’Allah this month. To watch the lecture in its totality, please see here.

Surah Maryam – Day 2.

  • The last note I’ll make about the layout of the Surah, is that as Imam Qurtubi mentions in his tafsir, the first 3/4ths of the Surah talks about the need of people for children.
  • In a very subtle way, the Surah tells us it is a human need and desire to want to have a child. Starting with Zakariyya and Maryam and Isa,  it goes on with Ibrahim alayhis salaam and his contentious relationship with his father. It talks about Ismael making strong recommendations to his family members. Idris. It talks about that. It mentions Ishaq and Yaqub. This entire chain of father son, father son.
  • So it emphasizes, it’s a very subtle reminder of the human need, the human desire for a child.
  • And the last 4th of the surah, very harshly denies, refutes, the claim that Allah has a child.
  • The first part talks about the fact that it’s human need to have a child, and this is almost an emotional weakness of the human being, and Allah being above and beyond any kind of weakness, it completely refutes this idea that Allah would have a child.
  • This surah begins as do 29 other Surahs do in the Qur’an, and that is with the disjointed letters.

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Gems from Day 1 of Surah Maryam Tafsir with Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

Ramadan Mubarak! I hope wherever you are in the world, Ramadan has begun in a joyous beautiful way, and is a month full of gifts, Divine blessings, acceptance of your duas, and multiplication of your works. One of my goals this month is to insha’Allah go through Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda’s Tafsir of Surah Maryam from the Bayyinah Institute’s 2011 Qur’an Intensive. Below are notes from the first session. To watch the lesson (highly recommended!) you can find the video here. As always, all mistakes in notetaking are my own.

Day I – An Introduction to Surah Maryam 

  •  There is a necessary introduction to any surah of the Qur’an. It’s important to discuss When was surah revealed? What were the circumstances of the surah? What is the overview of the surah? What is the primary point/objective of the surah?
  • For Surah Maryam, the most important aspect is the time and circumstances of revelation, but there is also something very interesting about its eventual placement in the mushaf. This is surah 19 in the mushaf, and there are observations we can make about where it is placed and the surahs before it and after it.
  • This surah was revealed  immediately before the 1st migration to Abyssinia. Eastern Africa. To give you a brief synopsis of how that transpired, in the  4th year of Prophethood, Dawah went public. (Before that, dawah was through personal networks, private).  And in the 4th year, instruction came from Allah, and permission came from Allah to take the message public. At soon as it went public, the message was met with opposition, cynicism, rejection and denial. That was the immediate response to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, on the public platform.
  • Muslims did not give up their faith and beliefs so Makkans resorted to violence and oppression in order to force people out of their belief system. Muslims were the lower class in the eyes of society at that time. When oppression happened, these people did not have powerful relatives, money to bargain their way out of trouble. They were fighting for their lives at that point in time.
  •  The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, told people to go to Eastern Africa where there was a king who is very accommodating and generous and kind and noble. There were about 11 people who made the migration, 8 men, 3 women. When the leaders of Quraysh heard these people were leaving, they chased after them. A convoy was designated and they were sent after the Muslims to talk to the ruler and try and get these people back. Muslims had started to live peacefully in Abyssinia and more Muslims were on their way to join them.
  • Quraysh came with lots of gifts for the king and for the ministers. The Quraysh eventually came to the king and said there are people who have run away and come here, these are convicted felons, bad people and now they are here. The king says, “I can’t just hand people over to you, need to investigate.” He calls them forward and questions them. They explain that they are simply in Abyssinia to seek refuge. The king refuses the request of the Quraysh and says cannot hand over these people.
  • The reply of the Quraysh is that these people have left the religion of their forefathers and that they speak negatively about Christianity and Isa ibn Maryam. The king asks them about this, and they start to recite verses about Isa ibn Maryam, and the king stops them crying profusely, and says that these are the most beautiful words about Isa alayhis salaam he has ever heard.  He sends the gifts of Quraysh back and tells the Muslims that they are not simply people in his land, but under his personal protection.
  • This occurred sometime in the 5th or 6th year of Prophethood. Commentators of the Qur’an say Surah Maryam was probably revealed in the 4th year of Prophethood. Consensus about this.
  •  Scholars say that one of the objectives of the revelation of Surah Maryam was that it was revealed as a parting gift and as provision for the Muslims that were migrating to Abyssinia because they were migrating to the land of the Christians.
  • And that tells us that the Qur’an is the ultimate provision for people in all situations and circumstances. SubhanAllah, not only is the Qur’an miraculous, but its revelation is miraculous and its time and situation of revelation is equally as miraculous. The surah, with this exact content and subject matter was revealed at the time when the Muslims were migrating to Christian lands to seek refuge and to be safe, and revealed at the perfect time, most opportune time it was revealed.

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On Social Media and Happy Marriages (Day 1 at the ISNA Canada Convention)

This past weekend ISNA Canada held their annual convention at the ISNA Canada Masjid in Mississauga. And despite my full intentions to get there on time, I got lost on the 1st Day of the Convention, and only reached the masjid near the end of Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari’s lecture on Surah Kahf. What I heard was excellent though, and a good reminder to critically evaluate one’s time and energy in virtual spaces, to strive to have consistent behaviour regardless of who you are interacting with, and to have patience with the learning process.

After Shaykh Ahmed Saad spoke, Dr. Altaf Hussain gave a lecture on creating happy marriages and living “happily ever after.” He spoke about the importance of resisting the urge to have an elaborate wedding, and to focus instead on how a couple will live their life together afterwards. Once married he said, we need to focus on stopping “micro-aggressions” before they create major problems in our relationships, and build partnerships where dua and praying together and for each other are at the core of one’s shared life. Finally, he also addressed and you could hear the seriousness, emphasis and frustration in his voice as he spoke, about the importance of remembering that the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him and Khadijah, may Allah be well pleased with her, had an age difference between them. As communities and families he said, we must stop assuming that women past a certain age/are older are unacceptable spouses. I stayed for that lecture as well before heading back downtown.

I was a bit shaken from getting lost and so my notes from the 1st day are very basic, but I’ve included them below. I’m not normally a conference -goer, but was really impressed by the quality of the ISNA Canada Convention. The volunteers were polite, there were so many families and young people in attendance, the bazaar was lovely, the masjid was beautiful, and throughout the whole event, you could tell that several months of planning and careful thought had gone into this weekend. Every lecture in the main hall had a sign language interpreter on stage to make the event more accessible, and the entire conference had a strong sustainability focus. Every registrant was given a refillable water bottle and there were no plastic water bottles sold at the conference alhamdullilah. May God bless and reward in the best of ways all those involved in this conference, and enable us to implement what we learned insha’Allah. It truly was a beneficial, needed weekend.

Accessible gatherings

Accessible gatherings

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Prophetic Love is a Love that Heals (Visiting the SeekersHub)

On Thursday last week my heart was feeling heavy, and so following my mother’s excellent advice that remembrance of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him eases the heart, I went to the SeekersHub Toronto to hear Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari speak and to participate in the weekly mawlid.

Though I’ve been in Toronto for the past couple of months, this was my first visit to the new Hub location, and I’m so, so happy I made the trip finally. (God bless and reward the kind soul that helped make the journey easier by picking me up).  If you haven’t visited the SeekersHub Toronto yet either, I highly recommend the trip. To start with, the space is beautiful.  One wall features a large calligraphy piece by Toronto calligrapher Sehar Shahzad, and seeing this piece in person is worth the trip alone. Her work radiates love, and its wonderful to see local institutions supporting local artists. 

But the Hub is so much more than a beautiful physical space. It almost felt like Eid that night- there were families and people of all ages in the Hub, and everyone was smiling, happy, and truly glad to be there celebrating the beauty of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and so many unknown ones, and to see how much the Hub has grown since I last lived in Toronto alhamdullilah. 

And even though it had been a while since I’ve participated in a mawlid, it was a very accessible gathering. The evening started with a beautiful recitation of the Dua Nasiri, a powerful dua that applies to our world and to our everyday, individual lives. One line in particular that I found moving was the following:

“You are the One on Whom We call to remove our adversities,
and You are the One we hope will dispel our sorrows.”

To you, our Lord, we have stretched out our hands
and from You, our Lord, we hope for kindness.

Be kind to us in what You decree
and let us be pleased with what pleases You.

 

Since the Mawlid I’ve been listening to this dua constantly, and I highly recommend hearing this recitation of this moving, important dua.  After the Dua Nasiri we recited a beautiful dua for rain, and again, hearing the dua and reading its meaning about physical and spiritual rain was a heart-softening experience.

Supplication for Rain

Supplication for Rain

 

Later on in the mawlid, Shaykh Ibrahim Hussain shared a beautiful Urdu naat with us, and though hearing about the Prophet in any language softens the heart and is beautiful, hearing poetry in a language where I can appreciate the subtlety of the poetry without the intermediary of translation was my favourite part of the gathering.  Sidi Nader Khan also shared an Urdu naat with us that was exceptional, and such moments are the ones have the most impact on my heart. Alhamdullilah for the diversity of forms of praise about the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him!

The mawlid closed before Maghrib with Sidi Nader treating us to an bluesy-jazz number in English that was extraordinary, and something we could all participate in through the chorus of “laa ilaha illAllah”. By this point in the gathering, I felt so much joy and happiness, and felt markedly different from when I walked into the door. Alhamdullilah for this deen and the light of faith, alhamdullilah for the beauty and mercy of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and alhamdullilah for the beauty and company of fellow believers! Truly, reflecting on the gifts we’ve been given make external challenges so much easier to deal with, and the Hub facilitates such remembrance.

After Maghrib Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari gave a powerful reminder (I highly recommend listening to it in its entirety!) about how the Qur’an should change our lives (notes below) and people stayed after the lesson for Isha, to drink delicious Moroccan tea (everything about the Hub is sweet) and to catch up and meet new friends and old. All in all, it was a night of tranquility, and I look forward to my next visit insha’Allah! 

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Building a Spiritual Connection With the Qur’an – Gems from Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari

Yesterday I attended Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari’s lecture on “Building a Spiritual Connection to the Qur’an” at the University of Toronto – Mississauga , and I am so grateful to the Muslim Chaplaincy, the SeekersHub and the MSA for making this lecture possible.  It’s been a difficult week, and I came to the class in need of spiritual rain and respite and relief from my own thoughts.

Alhamdullilah, I’m so glad I made the journey! Shaykh Ahmed gave us excellent, practical advice on how to develop a connection to the Qur’an, and his joyful, gentle state, and palpable love for the Book of Allah gave us the encouragement we needed to strive to implement his advice.  The class was a reminder that the Qur’an is the medicine our hearts sorely need, and that developing a relationship with the Qur’an is what will heal our hearts. Happiness and contentment is only through proximity to Allah, His Book, and following the way of His Beloved, peace and blessings be upon him.

My notes from last night are not extensive as I listened more than took notes, but you can hear the lecture in its entirety here through the Muslim Chaplaincy Soundcloud page. (I highly recommend listening to the lecture in its entirety – the stories Shaykh Ahmed told us during the class were so so beautiful!)  If you’re in the Toronto area though, do make sure to check out Shaykh’s Ahmed’s remaining lectures while he is still in town. He speaks tonight (the 15th) at the SeekersHub, and this weekend at the ISNA Canada Convention. Such gatherings of goodness soften the heart and should not be missed.

Notes:

The Miracle of the Qur’an

  • The Qur’an is the biggest ni’ma (blessing)  that Allah has given us. Every Prophet, peace be upon them all, was given a miracle that was enough for people to follow him. Musa peace be upon him, had a stick that turned into a snake. And our Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, told us that what he was given was not a physical miracle, it was the Qur’an. The Qur’an is not time-bound. It proves the message by the content of the message.
  • The Quran is an accessible book. Every book is structured with an audience in mind. A primary school book is not written the same as an academic book. The Qur’an is a book that addresses everyone.
  • The Quran has always been at the centre of the ummah.
  • Allah tells us, “We have made the Qur’an easy for remembering. Is there anyone who wishes to remember?
  • The scholars are particular about every sound of the Qur’an and how it is pronounced. They wouldn’t be particular in the same way about spoken Arabic, but this isn’t just spoken Arabic, it is Qur’anic Arabic. It’s not dialectical variation. The scholars even discuss the validity of the prayer for someone who makes a mistake in recitation.

Stories of people who had a spiritual connection to the Qur’an

  • There was a Companion who was on night duty in Madinah, and was reciting the Qur’an in his prayer, and as he was praying, he heard some noises, and saw some lights. In the morning, he asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him about what he saw. And the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said that those were angels who came down to hear his recitation, and if he had continued till morning, people would have seen the angels on earth.
  • I have always wondered: what was different about his recitation that it brought angels to earth, and our recitation doesn’t hit our hearts? That we don’t even have presence of heart in our recitation?
  • Abdullah ibn Mas’ud – he was asked to recite to the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him and his recitation brought tears to the eyes of the Prophet.  What was unique about his recitation that it invoked the tears of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, the person who actually received the Qur’an? He was reciting the Qur’an to the person who received the Qur’an, the person who already knows everything that is in the Qu’ran. Was it just the sound of his voice?
  • Very few of the Companions were asked by the Prophet to recite the Qur’an to him.
  • There was another companion who had a beautiful voice, and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him would sit for hours outside his tent listening to his prayers. And one day he came out and saw the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him there, and he was surprised. He asked, “Oh Messenger, how long have you been sitting there?” And the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said “You have a beautiful voice like Dawud alayhis salaam”.
  • Why did the Prophet  peace and blessings be upon him mention Dawud alayhis salaam, when all the Prophets had beautiful voices? Allah has mentioned the voice of Dawud alayhis salaam in the Quran, and told us that when he recited, the whole universe was listening and chanting with him. The mountains and birds were chanting with him, the animals were accumulating to listen to him. Allah subjugated the mountains to him, and they would praise Allah.
  • After 40 years of marriage, The father of Imam Jazari did not have kids. And then he went for Hajj, had a lot of ZamZam water and prayed for a child who would be a great scholar. 9 months later, Imam Jazari was born, and he was someone who was separated from his kids, stopped from doing Hajj, went through incredible persecution, and throughout it all, he was writing and teaching texts about the Qur’an. He had an unimaginable connection and devotion to the Qur’an. He even taught his kidnappers, so much saw that they delayed his release in order to get ijaza from him. And Imam Jazari is to the sciences of Qur’an the way Imam Bukhari is to hadith.
  • The best of you is the one that learns and teaches the Qur’an. – Hadith.
  • Why?  The Qur’an has always been central to the ummah. The Qur’an cuts khilaf (difference). When you have a Qur’an teacher, you care about their knowledge of recitation, not about other issues of difference.
  • The Qur’an is the strong rope of Allah that binds us together.

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