Tag Archive | Almaghrib

Reflections from Surah Yusuf

 While I am not in the habit of posting other people’s work on my blog, I wanted to make an exception and support a young student of knowledge who wrote some beautiful reflections on some verses from Surah Yusuf. This is exactly the type of work and thought process that is badly needed, and that I have been promoting: for people to read the Book of Allah in a serious and contemplative way and share their reflections and gems with others [click here]. Please support this sister by reading her piece and posting your comments. -Abu Zayd

Our Trials and His Story

By Umber Siddiqi

 

Certain overlapping and distinctly unique messages popped out at me while reading Surah Yusuf one night. Below are my personal reflections on the first few lines. They are based on obvious themes coupled with the coloring of my personal experiences, some social contemporary commentaries I read, and some ‘realities of life’ we all must face.  This is not a concise point by point reflection based on a through verse by verse study, for I did not read a scholar’s word for word analytical work before writing this piece. Rather, below are some personal gems an average Muslim has gathered based on one reading.

 A few themes that are often repeated often mentioned in lectures and are more often forgotten really hit home. I was inspired by Sheikh Yaser Birjas at Durbah’s Heavenly Hues seminar to reengage myself in “the beautiful story of Yusuf”. Thus, they are only personal reflections motivated on the external, brief scholarly insight and advice mentioned by Sheikh Yaser Birjas on this surah, and not based on some progressive, complete study of surah Yusuf.  I ask you to read the first 18 lines of Surah Yusuf before reading the article below.

Go ahead, go get your personal Quran, go to your laptop and link up to Surah Yusuf, chapter 12, verses 1-18, then continue reading below.  It will take you approximately one minute to read these verses.  If you don’t read these verses beforehand, you will not get my personal jems.

 

 

 

Surah Yusuf: Thematic gems :: Verses 1-18

 

 Had Allah Willed it, He would have allowed Prophet Yusuf’s brothers to protect him from any harm.

This surah first starts off with every loving parent’s 1st instinct: to protect their children from any and every harm.  A parent’s worst fear is to have their son or daughter become a victim of crime.  Prophet Ya’coob, by asking his son to not dispel the contents of his dream to his sons, hoped to prevent their plotting, and prevent their temptations, the whisperings Shaytaan from getting the best of them.  One can picture his worries, as we may worry if some new information is dispelled, leaked to the wrong people: ‘What might he or she do, what will they think if someone told them this?’  However, the steps of security Prophet Ya’coob took could not stand in the way of Allah’s ultimate destiny for Ya’coob.  His actions did not stop what was about to occur.  One can picture his worries, as we often worry: ‘What might he or she do, what will they think if someone told them this?’  Can you imagine the trial he experienced knowing his ‘preventative measure’ were not enough to protect his favorite son?  Contemplate what I am telling you.  You can take all the necessary precautions in life and yet, there are some things you just can’t control in life; no one has the power to defeat Divine will.  Allah Azza wa Jal’s countless decisions have infinite wisdom and at times, cause anguish, sadness, hope, and fear.

‘A high rank is awarded to those who prove themselves to be righteous in very hard trails.’

In the chemistry of tears, some doctors have written women cry at least four times as much as men. SubhanAllah, as Sheikh Yaser rightly mentioned a Prophet’s hardship. Can we put into perspective the tears of grief of Prophet Ya’coob cried for his son, hearing the unbelievable news that his closest son was devoured by a wolf, his bloody shirt presented to him by those who took away the object of his greatest affection?  Prophet Ya’coob’s greatest nightmare becam a reality regardless of the precautions he gave his son about revealing his honorable dream. Imagine the utter shock and pain Prophet Ya’coob felt hearing this news.  We should feel humbled, in awe of Allah Azza wa Jal’s Power and Might.  For we plan, but no one, no one can escape Allah’s Plan.  Dear brothers and sisters, I do not think we can internalize this distress completely until we ourselves reread this surah while we are personally in a most befitting situation that tests our sanity, our nerves, that essentially leaves us vulnerable and drained to mental anguish.  Like a diamond in the rough that is fit to be polished, this test is also most befitting for the best of creation. If we ‘pass’ it, our character is refined, and our personalities are molded so we may inshaAllah become more righteous worshippers.  At the same time, we can benefit from reading about Prophet Ya’coob’s trails even if we have never felt this type of pain.  Allah only gives this burden to Whomever He chooses.  Prophet Ya’coob’s response to his burden is absolutely unbelievable. When the ripped, blood soaked shirt is presented to Prophet Ya’coob as a symbol of defeat, what did he say? What were the first words out of his mouth? He states, ‘I shall exercise patience without any complaint, and I shall seek Allah’s assistance against what you have devised.’  

but they never lost heart for that which did befall them In Allâh’s way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. and Allâh loves As-Sâbirin (the patient ones, those who are firm and steadfast).. Surah Imraan:146)\   

Surely the patient will be paid their wages in full without measure Surah Az Zuamr, Chapter 39 verse 10

A Crime Compounded

The trial brought on Prophet Yusuf and Ya’coob may appear above our limits, above our circle of patience.  Now compound this scenario. Imagine this: imagine the crime feared being committed by your own next of kin, your own sons. Imagine the magnanimity of living with those who have caused you the most pain, and forgiving them. So not only do you bare the pain of their actions, but you eat and sleep with them; you provide sustenance for each other.  Can you contemplate what I am telling you?  Living with the one who designated your worst sadness, your worst fear, living with the people who devised your own heart wrenching situation. One father is housed with many sons, all of whom brought about his misery. Your sons were pre-warned concerning your affection towards Yusuf.  They chose the path that delivered some of the worst outcomes a parent can be inflicted with, can bear.  However, let us remember this: just because the pain was maximized did not mean the benefits were overlooked. Rather, the crime was compounded, and the ultimate reward was compounded as well.

SubhanAllah just in the opening verses of Surah Yusuf, we can get a tremendous amount of hikmah (wisdom). Just in the first 18 lines of this surah, much can be derived.  Once we process the enormity of the entire story, we can  extractcan extract the fruits of experiencing extreme hardship coupled with exemplary faith. We will now see a totally different way of viewing things we may not have ever considered before. We can examine our lives according to the role of father and son, king and queen, temptress and victim, prisoner and minister, to see a cause and effect relationship of our actions coupled with motive regardless of the state we are in. All this is seen through a guided lens to benefit the believers.
  

In your daily struggles, find time to compare them to the struggles of the stories of past generations In the Quran.

 

You will not regret it and you will gain insight and thankfulness.  Whether it is a marriage issue (pre or post marriage), mid life crises, work, school, parents or other significant relationships, a dose of Quran will make you feel better, and may even open the doors to the perception of  not only feeling wiser, but actually being wiser.

 

Allah in His Infinite Mercy and Wisdom has given us His ultimate word, the Quran. Surah Yusuf is a mind blowing surah that can be shared as a great dawah tool. Muslims know the story of Joseph and his father Jacob and regardless of its detailed differences, we know only God and one God alone helped Joseph and Jacob get through their trials.  I ask all of you to be mindful of your relationship with this surah and absorb its soothing and calming benefits.

 

This was just a sneak peak of the first 18 lines on Prophet Ya’coob’s perspective. This surah consists of 111 verses; we have not even touched Prophet Yusuf’s trails and the remainder of his father’s trials! This article is not the end as you can see, but only the beginning. I am still trying to internalize this first eighteen lines subhanAllah.  There are numerous lessons to contemplate and write about.  I believe all the bloggers and writers can read this surah and have some amazing things to write about. I believe if we all take ‘in’ even one aspect of sacrifice in this surah, we will build bridges to completing even greater deeds, and this will hopefully inshaAllah increase our patience, our imaan,  and our reliance on only Allah Azza wa Jal. I believe if a person reexamines his life according to the above points, they will see they have much more to give as a Muslim, much more they can sacrifice happily with no sadness in mind. Our minor concerns and troubles no matter how ‘gigantic’ they seem at the moment will seem puny and easily manageable when we reflect on the trials of these two prophets. SubhanAllah.

 

 Brothers and sisters have we contemplated these verses yet?  Some of you may say ‘yes, I have’, while others will say ‘no, I haven’t and I feel helpless. Well, I have given you and a taste here of what to expect.   Sheikh Yaser mentioned in Heavenly Hues that we really must take this surah to heart.  We can find many more benefits from the rest of this surah. The Question is, will you allow it to impact your perception on life? Will you allow it to shape the lens in which you view what happens to you in your life? 

Do they not Then consider the Qur’ân carefully?

 An-Nisa 4.82 

Do you not ponder over the Quran?

 

Sources:

  1. ibn Kathir- Abridged
  2. The Meaning of the Quran- Maududi
  3. Personal reflections

 

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Eid Mubarak to all from Six Flags!

Live from Ilm Summit: Shaykh Bin Baz

In a unique evening session, Shaykh  Waleed Basyouni discussed the life of one of his greatest teachers, the late Shaykh Bin Baz. Personally, I often learn more from the adab and personal lives of scholars and people of knowledge than their books and formal lectures.  And so this session was for me. Lasting well into the night and chock full of personal stories, anecdotes and personal details, Shaykh Waleed gave a perspective of the shaykh that can never be obtained from reading about him nor reading his books and listening to his lectures.

 

My intent here is not to present the notes in there entirety, but I was struck by a number of things about the esteemed late Shaykh. I shall share two here.

 

1. His attachment with the people:

 

Known as “Samaahatul Waalid” (Dear Father) among the people, he was a person who belonged to the common people and treated those around him with great care and concern. He rarely dined alone, and for 30 years of his life he established an open-house policy during lunch time: his door was open to all to dine with him, and so you would find scholars, students of knowledge, government officials  and janitors sitting side by side eating lunch in his house. Ordinary people were known to come up to him and complaint to him, including women. He would receive letters from all over the world from common people as well as dignitaries, and he would try to answer each one, often sending help and monitary assistance.

 

2. His concern for the global Islamic movement and affairs of the ummah:

 

He was truly a global personality and has a significant role and hand in Islamic work and dawah all over the world.  He invited scholars and dignitaries from all over the globe and hosted them, even those he disagreed with. He graciously hosted Shaykh al-Sha’rawi from Egypt in 1972 and introduced him and praised him. He had close, positive interactions with others, including Allamah Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the late Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali , Shaykh Tantawi and others. He was among those who invited the late Syed Maududi to serve on the Advisory Committee which prepared the scheme for the establishment of the Islamic University of Madinah and placed him on its Academic Council ever since the inception of the University in 1962.

 

He once approached one of his students Shaykh Abdullah Gu‘ud with a sealed letter and a plane ticket, telling him “You are going to Pakistan.” He was to deliver this letter to the president of Pakistan, none other than the late general Zia ul-Haque. Shaykh Abdullah, unaware of the contents, arrived in Pakistan, where General Zia was expecting him. The general read the letter and said, “Give our greetings to Shaykh Bin Baz and tell him that inshallah he will hear what he loves.” Shaykh Abdullah came back and informed Bin Baz, who thanked him and said, “Perhaps Allah will bring some good through you.” A few days later, Bin Baz approached him again, this time elated, rejoicing and thanking Allah repeatedly while saying, “Allah has indeed brought immense good through you, Shaykh Abdullah.” He then informed him that the letter was a personal request to General Zia to intercede with the president of Turkey to release Najmuddin Erbakan, the architect of the Islamic movement in Turkey, from prison and impending execution. Erbakan was released.

 

Shaykh Bin Baz had a keen awareness and concern for the affairs of the ummah. He had a great role in assisting the Afghan resistance against the Soviet invasion, helping the people of Bosnia, Kosova, Kashmir, Africa and everywhere else Muslims were suffering. Contrary to what is generally attributed to him, even during the Iran-Iraq War, he personally appealed to the leaders of both countries to end the war. He had a letter drafted for this purpose by none other than Shaykh Taha Jabir Alwani.

 

This was the esteemed Allamah Ibn Baz, a true scholar of and for the ummah. His janazah was performed in the Haram and in absentia throughout the world in every major masjid, making him perhaps the only person in our entire history to have as many people pray for him.

  

Unfortunately, some cultish, sectarian groups have hijacked his name for their narrow, limited agenda, but the life of the Shaykh is too expansive and free from that. He was a man who lived for and left an impression on the entire ummah. In the words of Shaykh Qaradawi : “If I were to change my opinions for any man, it would be for Ibn Baz,” and the late Shaykh al-Albani: “If anyone is a muhaddith, it is Shaykh Ibn Baz.” Shaykh Waleed himself narrated that he heard the late Shaykh Abdurrazak al-‘Afeefy say about him, “This man did not belong to this century!”

 

 

 

Abu Zayd

Live from Houston, Ilm Summit 2008 Day 1