The Qur’an as a Motivator of Change

September 20th, 2014
by Sufia

The Qur’an has a wondrous impact on those who receive it as a book of guidance and remedy. Its influence on them is great and radical; the Qur’an reforms the character and remolds it into a new form that is loved by Allah. One who doubts this effect has to consider what happened to the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Before Islam, the Companions led a miserable, ignorant life. The change effected by the Qur’an in their life testifies to its power of change and reformation. Those poor, insignificant, barefooted desert dwellers were reshaped into new beings; their ambitions were elevated to sublime goals; and their hearts were raised and attached to Allah.

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Tilawah (Recitation) of the Qur’an Revisited
Their souls were changed and, therefore, Allah’s promise came true:
{Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.} (Ar-Ra`d 13:11)

Thus, within a few years, a fresh force emerged from the desert of Arabia, conquering the strong empires of the time and seizing leadership from them.

How could the Qur’an bring about such dramatic change? Actually, what made the Qur’an so effective is the excellent approach followed by the Prophet’s Companions toward it. They understood the Qur’an and appreciated its value, taking in this regard the Prophet (peace be upon him) as their best example.

The Prophet Muhammad lived the Qur’an and was imbued by its spirit, approving what it approved and rejecting what it rejected. Therefore, it is not strange that his wife `Ai’shah described him as the “Qur’an walking on the earth.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to recite the Qur’an slowly and clearly. Once a night, he would repeat the following verse in his prayer:

{If You should chastise them, then surely they are Your servants; and if You should forgive them, then surely You are the Mighty, the Wise.} (Al-Ma’idah 5:118)

The Companions savored the sweetness of the Qur’an and were touched by it.
The Qur’an had such an overwhelming effect on the Prophet that he said “(Surat) Hud [Surah 11] and its sisters [related surahs] have brought me white hairs before their due time.” So the appalling scenes of the Day of Resurrection and the description of what happened to previous nations, as mentioned in Surat Hud and its likes, affected not only the Prophet’s spirituality, but even extended to his physical being.
The Prophet’s Companions followed in the Prophet’s footsteps. They also savored the sweetness of the Qur’an and were touched by it. In this regard, the story of `Abbad ibn Bishr is very indicative. On their way back from one battle, the Prophet (peace be upon him) appointed `Abbad and `Ammar ibn Yasir to guard the camp at night. `Abbad took the first turn and `Ammar went to sleep.

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The place seemed safe and, therefore, `Abbad spent his time in prayer. However, one polytheist was watching the camp and shot `Abbad with an arrow; `Abbad took the arrow out of his body and continued his prayers. The polytheist shot another arrow at `Abbad, and, once again, `Abbad took out the arrow and continued with his prayers. The polytheist shot `Abbad with a third arrow and it was only then that he stopped his recitation, made ruku` and sujud, and woke up `Ammar. When `Ammar asked why he did not wake him up after he was shot the first time, `Abbad answered,

I was reciting a surah that I didn’t want to interrupt. But when he (the polytheist attacker) kept on shooting me, I awakened you. By Allah, had not I feared that the task (of guarding the camp) assigned to me by the Prophet would be jeopardized, I would not have ceased the recitation of the surah until I had finished it or until he had finished me off. (Abu Dawud; authenticated by Al-Albani)

Studying a small part of the Qur’an with careful reflection is better than large portions without contemplation.
The above example affirms that reciting the Qur’an was not mere lip service practiced by the Prophet and his Companions. Actually, the real value of the Qur’an lies in its meanings and in its ability to effect change in the reader. The Qur’an is meant to revive believers’ hearts and to reform their minds. This in turn would produce people who know Allah and worship Him sincerely. However, such a fruit cannot be attained through thoughtless reading of the Qur’an, even if one were to read the entire Qur’an thousands of times.
The Companions affirmed this point repeatedly. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was told about some people who used to read the whole Qur’an two or three times a night. Her comment was that “they (obviously) read, but as a matter of fact, they did not read.” And she then related how the Prophet would spend the whole night reading in his prayer just the surahs of Al-Baqarah, Aal `Imran, and An-Nisa’. While reading, he would ask Allah for His mercy when he would read a verse that imparted good news, and he would supplicate and seek refuge in Allah when he would read a verse that caused fear.

Abu Jamra once said to Ibn `Abbas, “I am quick in reading the Qur’an and I am used to finishing it in three days.” Ibn `Abbas replied, “As for me, I would prefer to spend a whole night reading (only) Surat Al-Baqarah with due reflection and careful recitation.”

In his book on the morals of the Qur’an bearers, Al-Aagri said,

Studying a small part of the Qur’an with careful reflection and due contemplation is better than reading large portions of it without such contemplation. This is emphasized by the lucid provisions in the Qur’an, by the Sunnah, and by the sayings of great Muslim scholars.

Mujahid was asked which of two men who spent similar time in prayers was better; the duration of their ruku` and sujud was the same, but one of them recited only Surat Al-Baqarah and the other recited the surahs of Al-Baqarah and Aal `Imran (but they spent the same time in reading). Mujahid said, “The one who reads only Surat Al-Baqarah is better.” He supported his view with the verse: {And it is a Qur’an which We have revealed in portions so that you may read it to the people by slow degrees} (Al-Israa’ 17:106) (Al-Aagri 82-83)

10 Hadiths About Hajj

September 18th, 2014
by Sufia

The season of Hajj is approaching. Millions of Muslims are preparing to gather in Makkah and the sacred places to respond to Allah’s invitation to visit His House; an invitation announced by Prophet Ibrahim and then renewed by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on them).

In the following lines, we explore some of the Prophet’s hadiths related to Hajj that reveal the significance of this great worship and how pilgrims are received and perceived by Allah the Almighty.

A Pillar of Islam

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Hajj: A Model of Human Unity
Among the numerous and diverse rituals of Islam, Hajj is a main component; it is an indispensible pillar of Islam:

1. `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying:

“Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the zakah, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Once in a Lifetime

Despite the great significance of Hajj, it is sufficient to do it only one time in your whole life. Islam is easy and takes into consideration the burdens and difficulties that pilgrims go through:

2. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that one day the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) addressed people saying:

“O people! Allah has prescribed Hajj upon you, so perform it.”

A man asked, ‘Every year, O Messenger of Allah?’

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) kept silent. When the man repeated his question thrice, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Had I answered in the affirmative, it would have become a (yearly) obligation, and this would have been beyond your capacity.”

Then he added:

“Leave me alone so long as I leave you alone (i.e. do not ask questions about things I didn’t mention). What caused the destruction of the people prior to you was that they used to ask so many questions, and disagree with their Prophets.

So when I command you to do something, do it to the extent of your ability, and if I forbid you from doing something, avoid it.” (Muslim)

A Special Rank and Value

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The Companions were keen to know the best deeds so that they can prioritize their good actions according to their value. In the following hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) highlights the special position of Hajj:

3. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet was asked, “Which deed is the best?”

The Prophet said, “Belief in Allah and His Messenger.”

He was asked again, “What is next?”

The Prophet said, “Jihad [striving] in the cause of Allah.”

He was further asked, “And what is next?”

He said, “Hajj mabroor [i.e. Hajj accepted by Almighty Allah]” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Jihad without Conflict

Hajj: Jihad Without Conflict
Going through the difficulties of travel and crowd, the physical effort excerted while doing the different rituals of Hajj, the movement from one place to another and the sacrifice of money and time all make Hajj a form of Jihad. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended it for women and for weak men who are unable to participate in Jihad in the battlefield:

4. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet, “As jihad is the best deed, shouldn’t we [women] make jihad?”

The Prophet replied, “The best jihad for you [women] is a Hajj mabroor.”

`A’ishah later said, “I have been keen to regularly perform Hajj since I heard that from the Messenger of Allah” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

5. Al-Husain ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saying that he is weak and coward. The Prophet told him to participate in a type of Jihad that does not involve any fight, namely, Hajj. (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

Generous Reward for Ethical Pilgrim

The following hadith highlights two things:

a. Hajj is a training course for Muslims on sticking to the highest manners whatever the circumstances are,

b. and Hajj is an effective means to erase your sin records:

6. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) say,

“Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or transgression shall return [free from sins] as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Ultimate Success

In one Qur’anic verse (Aal-`Imran 3:185), Allah tells us that getting protected from hell fire and being admitted to the Jannh is the real success. That is exactly what Hajj earns you:

7. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleaseed with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“The reward for a Hajj mabroor is nothing but Paradise” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

8. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“There is no day on which Allah frees servants of His from Fire more than [those freed on] the Day of `Arafat. And, verily, He draws near and then proudly speaks about them [i.e. the pilgrims] before the angels, saying, ‘What do these seek?'” (Muslim)

The Honorable Delegation

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Pilgrims are the guests of Allah and you can imagine how much Allah will honor His own guests:

9. `Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“The one striving in the cause of Allah and the one performing Hajj and the one performing `Umrah are all the delegation of Allah. He calls them and they respond to His call, and they ask Him and He answers their supplication.” (Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)

Special Days and Precious Opportunities

The days of Hajj are very special. Their blessings are not restricted to those performing Hajj only. It is a season of goodness for everyone:

10. Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.”

The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?”

He said,

“Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause (of Allah), and came back with nothing.” (Al-Bukhari)

Prophet Abraham: The Father of Prophets-2

September 15th, 2014
by Sufia


Steadfast to his belief in the face of his people, soon Abraham, still a young man, found himself on trial, standing all alone in front of a king, most probably King Nimrod.

Even his father was not on his side. But God was, as He always had been.

After God had saved Abraham from the fire, his case was presented to the king, who out of his pompousness, vied with God himself due to his kingdom. He debated with the young man:

{Have you not considered him who had an argument with Abraham about his Lord, because God had given him the kingdom?} (2: 258)

Abraham in Different Religions

– Because of Her a Nation Was Born

– Place of Prophet Ibrahim in God’s Religions

– Bible Doesn’t Say Abraham Built Kabaah!

– Prophet Abraham’s Wives

– Sarah and The King of Egypt

Abraham’s logic was undeniable:

{‘My Lord is He Who gives life and causes death.’ He answered: ‘I give life and cause death.’} (2: 258)

The king brought forth two men sentenced to death. He freed one and condemned the other, a reply which was out of the context and utterly stupid, what made Abraham put forth another, one which would surely silence him:

{Abraham said: ‘Lo! God causes the sun to rise in the east, so you cause it to come up from the west.’ Thus was the disbeliever absolutely defeated. And God guides not wrongdoing folk.} (2: 258)

For the Sake of God

After years of ceaseless calling, faced with the rejection of his people, God commanded Abraham to disassociate from his family and people:

{Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides God, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred forever, until you believe in God Alone.} (60: 4)

At least two persons in his family did, however, accept his exhortation; Lot, his nephew, and Sarah, his wife. Thus, Abraham migrated along with the other believers:

{So Lot believed in him (Abraham). He (Abraham) said: ‘I will emigrate for the sake of my Lord. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.’} (29: 26)

It was here, in this blessed land that God chose to bless Abraham with progeny
They migrated together to a blessed land, the land of Canaan, or Greater Syria:

{And We rescued him and Lot to the land which We have blessed for the worlds.} (21: 71)

It was here, in this blessed land that God chose to bless Abraham with progeny: {…We (God) bestowed upon him Isaac and (a grandson) Jacob. Each one We made righteous.} (21: 72)
{And that was Our Proof which We gave Abraham against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly your Lord is All Wise, All Knowing.

And We bestowed upon him Isaac and Jacob, each of them We guided, and before him, We guided Noah, and among his progeny David, Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, and Aaron. Thus do We reward the good doers.

And Zachariah, and John and Jesus and Elias, each one of them was of the righteous. And Ishmael and Elisha, and Jonah and Lot, and each one of them We preferred above the worlds (of men and jinn). And also some of their fathers and their progeny and their brethren, We chose them, and We guided them to a Straight Path.

This is the Guidance of God with which He guides whomsoever He will of His slaves. But if they had joined in worship others with God, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them. They are those whom We gave the Book, the Understanding, and Prophethood…} (6: 83-87)

His descendents were Prophets, chosen for the guidance of his nation:

{And We made them leaders, guiding (humankind) by Our Command, and We inspired in them the doing of good deeds, performing prayers, and the giving of Zakat and of Us (Alone) they were worshippers.} (21: 73)

In Egypt

a famine forced him and Sarah to migrate to Egypt
In Canaan, Abraham stayed for several years going from city to city preaching and inviting people to God until a famine forced him and Sarah to migrate to Egypt. In Egypt was a despotic Pharaoh who had the passionate desire to take possession of married women.

The Pharaoh took Sarah into his harem and honored Abraham for it, but when his house was stricken with severe plagues, he came to know that she was the wife of Abraham and chastised him for not telling him so, thus banishing him from Egypt.

Abraham had known that Sarah would catch his attention, so he told her that if the Pharaoh asked her, that she should say that she is the sister of Abraham. When they entered his kingdom, as expected, the Pharaoh asked about his relationship with Sarah, and Abraham replied that she was his sister. Although the answer did alleviate some of his passion, Pharaoh still took her captive. But the protection of the Almighty saved her from his evil plot. When Pharaoh summoned Sarah to act on his demented passions, Sarah turned to God in prayer.

The moment Pharaoh reached for Sarah, his upper body stiffened. He cried to Sarah in distress, promising to release her if she would pray for his cure! She prayed for his release. But only after a failed third attempt did he finally desist. Realizing their special nature, he let her go and returned her to her supposed brother. Sarah returned while Abraham was praying, accompanied by gifts from the Pharaoh, along with Hagar as a handmaiden.

After they had returned to Palestine, Sarah and Abraham continued to be childless, despite divine promises that he would be granted a child. As the gifting of a handmaid by a barren woman to her husband in order to produce offspring seems to be a common practice of that day, Sarah suggested to Abraham to take Hagar as his wife. While in Palestine, Hagar bore him a son, Ishmael.
A Major Test in Makkah

the commandment was enacted to take him to a distant land, one known for its barrenness
When Ishmael was still nursing, God yet again chose to test the faith of his beloved Abraham and commanded him to take Hagar and Ishmael to a barren valley of Bakka, 700 miles southeast of Hebron. In later times it would be called Makkah. A great test indeed; he and his family had longed for such a time for offspring, and when their eyes were filled with the joy of an heir, the commandment was enacted to take him to a distant land, one known for its barrenness and hardship.

So Abraham, after having sojourned with Hagar and Ishmael, left them there with a skin of water and leather bag full of dates. As Abraham began walking away leaving them behind, Hagar became anxious as to what was happening. Abraham did not look back. Hagar-as mentioned in hadith by Al-Bukhari- chased him:

“O Abraham, where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we can enjoy, nor is there anything here?”

Abraham hurried his pace with Hagar asking:

“Has God asked you to do so?”


Abraham suddenly stopped, turned back and answered.

Feeling a degree of comfort in this answer, Hagar asked: “O Abraham, to whom are you leaving us?”

“I am leaving you to God’s care,” Abraham replied.

Submitted to her Lord with relief, Hagar said:

“I am satisfied to be with God!”

While she traced her way back to little Ishmael, without looking back, Abraham proceeded until he reached a narrow pass in the mountain where they would not be able to see him. He stopped there and invoked God in prayer:

{Our Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a valley barren from any cultivation, by your Sacred House, our Lord, so they may establish the prayer. So make the hearts of people yearn towards them, and provide them with all types of fruits that they may be grateful.} (14: 37)

Soon, the water and dates were gone and Hagar’s desperation increased. Unable to quench her thirst or to breastfeed her little baby, Hagar began searching for water. Leaving Ishmael under a tree, she began climbing the rocky incline of a nearby hill. “Maybe there is a caravan passing by,” she thought to herself. She ran between the two hills of Safa and Marwa seven times looking for signs of water or help, later personified by all Muslims in Hajj. Fatigued and distraught, she heard a voice, but could not locate its source.

Then, looking down in the valley, she saw an angel (who is identified as Gabriel in Islamic sources) standing next to Ishmael. The angel dug into the ground with his heel next to the baby, and water came gushing out.

It was a miracle!

This well, called Zamzam, is flowing to this day in the city of Makkah in the Arabian Peninsula.

How black magic started – Harut, Marut, Prophet Sulaiman and the devils

July 10th, 2013


Black magic (sihr) is something that definitely exists and causes harm to people.  The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was also afflicted with black magic.

Harut and Marut (mentioned in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah) were two angels who are known to be behind bringing black magic to this world. (more…)

Dhul-Qarnayn: An Ideal Muslim Leader

July 9th, 2013
by Sufia


The political turmoil engulfing many Muslim-majority countries has left many people wondering, what does the ideal Muslim leader look like? Tyrants like Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Gadhafi have demonstrated the depths of human cruelty, while elected leaders like Mohamed Morsi struggle to maintain their legitimacy in the wake of increasing democratization. (more…)

Yajuj and Majuj and wall of Dhul Qarnayn

July 9th, 2013


Yajuj and Majuj were two two disbelieving  tribes of  Turks, descended from Yafith (Japheth), the father of Turks, one  of the son of Noah. According to the descriptions they have small eyes, small, flat noses and wide faces. Their faces look like hammered-out shields.They were t0o powerful but barbarous tribes causing prejudice and chaos on the Earth , killed God-fearing men and devastated all their provisions and plantation. (more…)


July 8th, 2013


Muslims have been fasting in Ramadan for more than 1430 years since they were ordered by God Almighty through the Glorious Qur’an:

Oh you who believe! Fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you, so that you may learn self-restraint
(2:183). (more…)

King Shaddad -Self Made Paradise

July 8th, 2013


Shaddad was historical king of lost Arabian city of Iram of the Pillars. Various sources suggest Shaddad was the son of Ad. (more…)