Issue 152 » January 11, 2002 -
Surah al-Nahl (The Bee)
Chapter 16: Verses 98
"When you read the Quran, seek Allah's protection from Satan (Shaytan), the rejected one."
Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullah) has given the wisdom behind seeking refuge in Allah from Satan (by reciting "A'uzu Billahi min-ash-Shaytan ar-Rajeem") before reading the Quran:
- The Quran is a healing for whatever is in the heart; it removes whatever comes from Satan, be it his evil whisperings, lusts or evil desires. So first the person is asked to reject whatever is in his heart from acts of Satan. Therefore, the medicine (the Quran itself) will find the heart free and can take its proper place and have its proper effect. Then this healthy medicine comes to the heart and cleanses it from what can damage it.
- The Quran is the source of guidance, knowledge, and good in the heart of the reader, in the same way that water is the source that brings forth plants. Satan is a fire that burns down the plants, one by one. For every good plant that springs in the heart, Satan attempts to destroy it and burn it down. And Allah orders us to seek refuge in Him in order for Him to ruin what Satan is attempting to do. The first point stated above deals with the benefits of the Quran, while this one actually deals with the preservation and remaining of the Quran and its guidance in the heart.
- The angels descends upon the one who reads the Quran and listens to its recitation. This has been related in a Hadith in which Usaid ibn Hudhair (May Allah be pleased with him) was reciting the Quran and he saw a canopy with lamps in it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told him that those were angels. And the devils are the opposite of the angels. By taking refuge in Allah from Satan, one is left in the midst of only angels.
- Satan tries to disturb the one who reads the Quran with his steeds and feet until the reader is void of the meanings of the Quran. Satan comes in between his heart and the powerful meaning of the Quran. This is why the reader sometimes makes mistakes and his mind becomes confused. Thus the reader is not able to benefit from Quran.
- The reader of the Quran is engaged in a private conversation with Allah. And Allah listens closer to His words when recited in a pleasant way than a singer listens to her song. The song of Satan is poetry and music. The reader has been ordered to seek refuge from Satan so that Satan will be removed from the private conversation and Allah will listen to the person's recital.
- Whenever a person contemplates the doing of a good deed, Satan becomes even more zealous in his attempts to come between the person and the good action. Therefore, by asking Allah's refuge from Satan we prevent Satan from stopping this noble action.Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahimahullah) elaborated on the last point and said that the one who prayers has to face more of Satan's whispering than one who does not pray. The same is true for those who are students of knowledge. Therefore, just imagine, how difficult would Satan make it for you to take initiative of reading, understanding, studying and implementing this revolutionary message of God? (Majmoo Fatawa ibn Taymiyyah, vol. 7, p. 282.)
Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullah) notes that when seeking refuge in Allah from Satan-- in general, not only upon reading the Quran-- one recognizes his own inability to defeat that hostile but hidden enemy. That enemy cannot be repelled like evil humans by behaving kindly toward him. Instead, one must only turn to Allah to repel this arrogant enemy of humanity, and allow the person to freely read and benefit from the Quran. (Tafseer al-Quran al-Adheem, p. 21.)
[compiled from "How to Approach and Understand the Quran" by Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp.113-115]
UNDERSTANDING OUR TEENS
This series seeks to analyze some of the negative aspects of the 'teen culture', which go against our Islamic values and traditions. Every Muslim parent and teacher needs to recognize that not actively participating in your teen's lifestyle is not an option.
[Enjoyment & Fun: "Check it out Yourself!"]
The teenage years are seen as the time to party, make mistakes, and have "all the fun you can have before you have to grow up and act your age". They are seen as the time to experiment with different lifestyles, including drugs and drinking, and see where one fits in. It is practically unheard of to learn from somebody else's mistakes, and even more unheard of is to stay at home on a Friday night instead of going out to a party. Anyone who stays home "has no life, or no friends, or both". The majority of my friends see every movie in the theatre the same week it comes out. They go out for dinner or to mall, or just to hang out downtown, to pass their time. Many people will give me funny looks if I say I have work to do and I can't go. The teenage years are seen as the years you spend entertaining yourself. In some crowds, there isn't even room for school work. [Narrated by two teenagers from Ottawa: Sr. Hoda Beshir and Sr. Noha Beshir]
As Muslim youth, we must recognize we can always find and develop alternate or Halal means of entertaining ourselves. Life doesn't have to be boring or dull. In fact, even the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take a break and entertain themselves with games and modest jokes once in a while. However, what makes our form of entertainment different as Muslim teenagers is that we know that "fun and temporary pleasures are not the ultimate goals of life." We know we have higher objectives to achieve in this life and in the life Hereafter.
Another feature of our entertainment as Muslim youth is constant self-evaluation and making sure no harm is caused to others (for example, drugs, drinking, and dangerous driving should all be out of question for conscious and law-abiding Muslims). If you remember the supplication (Dua) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when you leave your home in the morning, you understand how important it is to set our youth in the right mode and prepare them to have the right attitude during the day.
Rather than saying to your teenager, before leaving home in the morning "Go have fun", may be if you send her out with this beautiful Dua, their lives may change: "O Allah, I seek refuge in you not to misguide anybody or to be misguided; not to humiliate anybody or to be humiliated; not to oppress anybody or be oppressed; and not to mistreat anybody or to be mistreated." What a wonderful Dua! When a young boy or girl remembers, understands and repeats this Dua everyday when leaving home, he or she will naturally behave in a responsible way towards themselves and others. He or she will realize that they are created on this earth for a noble role to play and honorable objectives to achieve, not just to fulfill any desires whenever they like.
[compiled from "Muslim Teens: Today's Worry, Tomorrow's Hope" by Dr. Ekram & Mohamed R. Beshir, pp. 14, 15, 22.]
22 SYMPTOMS OF WEAK FAITH
Series continued from YMFN Issue #151
Following are some of the signs and symptoms of weak faith that one can use to assess whether he or she suffers from spiritual death or disease:
22-Looking at matters in black-or-white terms of whether they are sinful or not, and taking the matter of Makrooh (actions that are discouraged but not Haram) lightly. Some people, when they want to do something wrong, do not ask about what good deeds they could do, instead they ask, “Will this be counted as a sin, or is it ‘only’ Makrooh?” This kind of mentality leads them into the trap of issues that are not clear-cut and deeds that are Makrooh, and eventually ensnares them in forbidden areas. The person who thinks like this has nothing to stop him from committing Makrooh or doubtful deeds so long as they are not actually Haram.
This is exactly what the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was talking about when he said, “Whoever falls into doubtful matters (eventually) falls into Haram, like a shepherd who grazes his flock around a place where he is not allowed – he will soon enter it…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim). When some people ask for a Fatwa (or ruling) about something and are told that it is wrong or Haram, they ask, “Is it very Haram or not? How much sin is involved?” People like this have no interest in avoiding bad deeds; indeed, they are prepared to commit the first level of Haram and they take small sins lightly, with the results that they have the guts to transgress even further and violate the limits set by Allah.
For this reason, Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) described the attitude of the believer and of the hypocrite as follows: “The believer sees his sins as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he fears will fall on him, whilst the sinner sees his sins as if it were a fly passing his nose and he says such-and-such to it” – i.e., he shoos it away with his hand. (Reported by al-Bukhaari).
[from "Weakness of Faith: Causes and Cures"
by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid]
[Note: This long and much-anticipated series has finally come to an end. If you like to further benefit from the message of this book and read "Cures of Weak Faith", you may do so on-line @ http://www.islaam.com/books/iman6.doc]
- Literally: Any action or thing 'Well-known' to human nature and having an affinity for it;
- As technical term of the Quran and Islamic Shariah (law), it comprises of the acts, attitudes and behaviors that the normal people, with pure natures have approved in every age, regardless of their faith;
- Truth, keeping one's word, justice, peace, equity, and kindness, to name a few, have always been regarded as desirable and laudable;
- No wonder, Quran has made "inviting people to Ma'roof" as a part of Muslim's mission in this world.
[from "How to Attain True Piety and Righteousness in Islam" by Amin Ahsan Islahi, p. 95]