We were honored today with the arrival of our sage and scholar from India Shaykh Yusuf Islahi, may Allah preserve him. Shaykh Islahi has a tradition of delivering nightly lectures during Ramadan that are highly beneficial and inspiring, full of profound insight and reflections from a lifetime of scholarship and devotion. Though they are recorded every year, their reach has been limited since they are in the Urdu language.
It is our intention to present, for the first time in the English language, here at StudentofIslam.com, a summary of the notes of his daily lectures.
Since there are oral lectures and time is limited, it is not possible to provide exact references for the verses and narrations. I will endeavor to post these notes every night, and try to modify these posts as I find references and additional materials. If any reader knows a reference, or sees an error, please post them in the comments. The audio is available here, courtesy of our brother Farrukh Raza: [—–]
DAY 1: ENGROSS YOURSELF IN THE QUR’AN
· One day, a man was fervently supplicating in the Prophet’s Masjid, “O Allah, make me among those who are your select few.” Umar ibn al-Khattab, who was the Khalifah at the time, happened to overhear him and reproached him for making a supplication not found in the Qur’an and Sunnah. The man, who happened to be a Companion, replied to Umar, “You should read the Qur’an O Umar. Haven’t you read the verse, And few indeed are those who are thankful.” I recalled this narration seeing the few people left in the masjid before me.
· Let me remind you that this is the month of the Noble Qur’an. Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed. We should read it, but remember that any book is not considered to be read unless we understand it. We should read the Qur’an in the same spirit we would read a very special and personal letter from a very special person.
· Remember that the Noble Qur’an has 4 rights upon us: reciting it, understanding it, implementing it and propagating it. Anything less than that would not be giving the Qur’an what it deserves.
· There is a beatiful Hadith Qudsi, where the Prophet informed us that Allah the Exalted says, “Whoever from my servants is engrossed in my Book, to the point that he does not find time to supplicate to me for his needs, I will give him more than I would give a person that calls upon me with his needs.”
· So realize that engrossing yourself with the Qur’an (which means to study and ponder over it) will fulfill your needs without your asking.
· The fasting of Ramadan is essentially training to make us into people of the Qur’an.
· There are 2 basic ways that fasting trains us:
- It develops our belief in Allah with a certainty that no other type of worship can do, for one abstains from food and drink for an entire day with the realization that he/she is doing it for Allah and that Allah is watching.
- No human being is complete in his humanity unless he has concern for his fellow man, and the hunger and thrist of fasting in a very concrete way connects us with our fellow human beings who are less fortunate than us.
· The rights of human beings are so great, that Allah will become their spokesman on the Day of Judgement. He will call upon a person and demand, “I was hungry and you didn’t feed me, thirsty and you didn’t provide me water, naked and you didn’t clothe me.” The person will ask, “O Allah how can that be so?” Allah will reply, “Didn’t such and such person come to you and you turned him away?”
· Abu Hurayra narrates from the Prophet that Allah informs us that every deed of a human being will be rewarded 10 to 700 times over, save fasting, for that is exclusively for me (Allah) and I will reward it as I please. [Bukhari, Muslim] According to some commentators, Allah means that the reward for fasting is Himself, meaning that those who fast will get their Lord, and can there be any honor greater than that?
Shaykh Yusuf Islahi,
Muslim Center of Middlesex County, NJ
Sep 9, 2008