Before you read the notes, please keep in mind that these are key points and lessons from the summaries of various Juz’/Surahs of the Qur’an. They are not in-depth descriptions of each verse. If there’s anything that you disagree with or believe is wrongly stated, please forgive me. The goal is to help us learn about the Qur’an, learn about Allah s.w.t., and in’sha’Allah gain more Taqwa. I hope this benefits you in some way or another in’sha’Allah!
Ustadh Amjad Tarsin: Attaining Taqwa (God Consciousness) in Ramadan
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed on you as it was prescribed on those before you, so that you may attain taqwa, consciousness of God.”
The point of fasting is something far deeper than simply refraining from eating and drinking. In fact, refraining from eating, drinking and sexual relations with your spouse is the lowest level of fasting.
Imam Al-Ghazali offers six ways to gain a high level of taqwa and achieve the deeper purpose and level of fasting/Ramadan:1) Lowering one’s gaze. Fasting of the EYES. Try to prevent yourself from looking at things that distract you from the remembrance of Allah. “A lust-full glance is dangerous.” And Allah will grant a sweetness of faith if we avoid that lust. Be aware of what you shouldn’t look at and be conscious of Allah. Things that nullify your fasting: lying, backbiting, swearing by Allah, looking at things with lust, fowl speech.2) Protect your tongue from lying, argumentation, debate, useless conversations, fowl speech. “Fasting of the Tongue.” Keep silence as your companion and remember Allah. Backbiting is very common so be careful and have a heightened degree of awareness before Allah as you will be held accountable for every thing you say and do.3) If something is haram for you to say, it’s probably haram for you to listen to. Try to avoid listening to backbiting or lying or fowl speech or putting yourself in those environments because if you listen to it, you are a part of it and you become an accomplice.4) Protect your hands, feet, stomach (limbs) from anything that is doubtful. The point of Saum is not just hardship, Allah wants it to be easy for us, we have to be more aware of Allah in everything we do.How many people fast and all they get from it is hunger and thirst.5) Don’t be excessive when indulging in food. Have enough so you can stand up straight. Don’t fill up your stomachs excessively, that’s not necessarily the point. Secret to success of fasting is weakening your desires.6) Have hope in Allah. Fear your own shortcomings. Always pray that Allah accepts your fasts and intentions. Have the determination to improve. Set realistic goals for yourself. Hope Allah accepts your fasts and intentions, fear Allah might reject it because of our shortcomings.Saying: “Let go and let God.” – Put your trust in Allah because you don’t have control over everything even though it’s a human being’s tendency to think they have control, at the end of the day, Allah is our Master, He is in control. When you engage in an act of worship, you need to come out at the end of it stronger and better.“The most beloved acts for Allah are those that are most consistent.” Set goals you can achieve. A person reading 2 Rakah nafl sincerely or reading 2 pages of Qur’an consistently everyday with reflection and thought can be better and more impactful than a person doing 20 rakah and not really being there mentally or getting anything from it.Definition of backbiting: Speaking about the qualities of a person without their presence, in a way that if they were there, they would not like it. -> common.Speaking about others permissible only when there is a clear benefit such as in a business matter or when someone is trying to secure a relationship (didn’t hear the whole thing).Choose acts of worship that are sustainable, beyond Ramadan, but also challenge yourself.
JUZ 7-8: Surah Al-An’am and Surah Al-A’raf
Unfortunately, I didn’t take the best notes from the beginning of the 30 For 30 Video Series, but we’ll work with what we have!
Juz 7 ends with and Juz 8 begins with Surah Al-An’am, and it focuses on various aspects such as making the distinction between the “Believers” and the “Disbelievers.”
- Surah Al-An’am is a Makkan Surah, that emphasizes the Oneness of Allah. When this surah was revealed to Prophet Muhammad S.A.W., his companion Ibn Masud memorized the Surah right away. The verses of this Surah were revealed all at once.
- It emphasizes that the people whom the Prophet S.A.W. was trying to deliver the message to wanted to see a miracle, but Allah s.w.t. says that even if a miracle was sent to the people of the Prophet S.A.W., they still would have rejected the message because their hearts had a disease of pride and desire. Even if an angel was sent, they would have thought that it was magic.
- Think about your own life: don’t be deceived by this world and your desires
- The people who wanted the pleasures of this world were granted those pleasures, but while the doors of Dunya were open for them, Allah s.w.t. was punishing them by letting them dwell in the ease of this Dunya only.
- It is not worth rejecting the Akhira for the pleasures of this Dunya.
- Do not insult other people, do not insult those who invoke something other than Allah because what will happen is that they will come back and insult you, insult your religion, insult Islam and insult Allah s.w.t. and our Messenger. Prevent this from happening, instead, respect others and be respected.
- In this Surah, Allah s.w.t.’s will and the concept of Predestination is also introduced.
- If a person’s heart is unlocked, and they are willing to believe in Allah s.w.t. and Islam, even if they haven’t believed before, then Allah s.w.t. may will for them to be guided. If you believe, you believe in the unseen.
- In life, you will have people who will challenge your faith, but Allah s.w.t. does not stop a person from finding guidance. It’s a matter of how we respond to Allah s.w.t.’s Guidance. Often times, being challenged in our faith is an opportunity for us to become more firm in our beliefs and stronger in our faith.
- Don’t always follow the majority. During the revelation of the Qur’an, the majority of the cities disbelieved, while only a minority, a small number of people believed in and accepted Islam. There was a very small group of believers in Makkah. Sometimes, you don’t have to follow the majority, because Guidance is within the minority. Just because you’re in a minority, don’t think that Guidance is not with you. Stay firm and don’t buckle to social pressure around you.
- Whoever Allah wishes to guide, Allah will expand his heart to accept Islam. Allah will open the hearts of those Allah wills to guide, others’ hearts will be constricted.
- Allah s.w.t. is free of need and full of mercy. Allah s.w.t.’s mercy is expansive. You can always come back to Him, He will not neglect your repentance and your efforts.
- Everything is for your Lord. Your sacrifice, your living, your dying, your prayer are all for Allah and you have to submit to that, even if it’s not the “common.”
- This Surah works together with Surah Al An’am. This surah focuses more particularly on the consequences of people using different paths (i.e. the believers/the oppressors)
- The first 10 verses focus on the regret of the people once they have been punished, the regret of people who insisted on disbelieving.
- According to Br. Omar Suleiman, the real reason some people disbelieved was not because they rejected the message, but simply because the Messenger of Allah S.A.W., was not from their tribe and was of a different community. It wasn’t because the Qur’an was unconvincing but simply because of the differences between the tribes, economic factors, etc.
- This is when the story of Adam is introduced. In the story of Adam (May Peace and Blessings be upon him), Iblis, rejected to bow down in Sajda because Iblis believed he was better than Adam, because he was made from Fire and Adam was made from Clay. The difference is one of the reasons he refused to bow down. According to Br. Omar Suleiman, this was the first case of racism, from the Shaytan himself. This also reflects the situation between the believers and those who rejected the message of the Prophet S.A.W. as they were discriminating based on tribal, nationalistic, economic factors, etc.
- Allah s.w.t. gave us the ability to recognize guidance and accept it or reject it –> Predestination.
- The way that Shaytan leads us astray is by trying to make us ungrateful, and that’s exactly what he tried to do with Adam and Eve. In this Surah, there is mention of how Shaytan said that he will come and try to distract people from all directions by making them ungrateful and leading them away with desires. Shaytan’s end goal is to make people ungrateful. Ingratitude = focusing on what we don’t have.
- When Shaytan distracted Adam and Eve, he was trying to make them ungrateful, as they had already had paradise, and everything in it, but they didn’t have the one tree that Allah s.w.t. forbade them from approaching. Shaytan, however, tried to make them ungrateful by desiring the tree and what the tree had, which is a sign of what Shaytan does and tries to do. Try to avoid being ungrateful. When Adam and Eve “slipped,” they called upon Allah to forgive them and the du’a they were given, was an inspiration from Allah.
- Lessons: Don’t let Shaytan misguide you. Instead, maintain gratitude to Allah and hold on to the rope of Allah. We only find Allah through His guidance. This Surah focuses on the conversations between the people of Jannah and the people of Hellfire.