Lessons from the Stories of the Prophets in the Quraan by Mufti Menk – Introduction
This Ramadan 2011 Tafseer series is originally posted by Du’aa a Day on Facebook. – A transcript of Mufti Ismail Menk’s post Taraweeh Series in Cape Town, South Africa
Shared on 1 August 2011 – See original
الحمد لله و كفى و صلى الله و سلّم و بارك على عباده الذين اصطفى و بعد
All praise is due to Allah Subhana Wa ta’aala, Blessings and salutations upon Muhammad SAW
We were all created by Allah the Lord and Sustainer of the Worlds. The One who made us and Created us and He who is in absolute control of everything.
So where did we come to learn about the existence of Jannah and Jahannam and the fact that we shall be raised after death?
From the creator Himself of course. He sent messengers and reminders.
(و إن من أمة إلا خلا فيها نذير)
“No nation passed except a warner came to them.”
When Allah created us He sent to the earth two types of messengers:
Rusul and Ambiyaa’
Rasool has a higher status.
Nabi is a ‘Prophet’ and its status is lower than that of a Rasool.
Rasool is one who comes with a new book and constitution to deliver to the people.
A Nabi on the other hand is one who is a prophet who delivers a message which was previously given to a rasool before him. For e.g., Musa AS was a rasool and his brother Haroon AS was a prophet in his time following and delivering the message granted to Musa AS.
The third type of person is a messenger of the messenger. What does this mean? It refers to every single one of us! It is our duty to learn, practice upon and thereafter deliver the message of Islam to all. Recall when the Prophet PBUH sent Mu’aath ibn Jabal to Yemen he PBUH said:
(الحمد لله الذي وفق رسولَ رسولِ الله لما يرضى رسولُ الله)
“All praise to Allah who guided the messenger of the Messenger of Allah to that which pleases the Messenger of Allah”
So from this we see that every person who conveys the message are also messengers of the messenger. “Convey about me even if it be an aayah.” So as our duty we should pass this message on inshaAllah.
If we take a look at all heavenly scriptures we will find many similarities between them. But because many of the previous scriptures have been altered and changed we only adopt and accept what has been revealed in the Quraan which is still in its pure and pristine form. Allah Almighty revealed this book to us as a gift, we need to submit to it fully and we need to be believers in everything it contains. Allah revealed this Book and has given us Sharul Qur’aan “the month of the Qur’aan” wherein is a night in which the Qur’aan was sent to the preserved tablet:
(إنا أنزلناه في ليلة القدر)
“Verily we have revealed it on the night of power”
We are so fortunate to be from a deen which exhorts us to study ALL the verses of the Qur’aan. Allah Almighty says:
( كتاب أنزلناه إليك ميارك ليتدبروا آياته و ليتذكر أولو الألباب )
“A Book, We have revealed it to you, blessed, so that they may ponder deeply over its verses and so that those with intellect may take a reminder from it.”
How many of us have pondered its verses? We hear the Qur’aan cover to cover. A great effort is put to prepare and stand for the taraweeh prayer. Allah granted this to us as a gift so treat it as a gift! If we do not ponder over its verses we do not know why the Qur’aan had been revealed! We should also try our very best to read the translation of the Qur’aan in a language which we understand. It is of vital importance that we understand the word of the One who made us. When we return to our Creator we will be questioned regarding this, “Did you read it?” and “Did you understand it?” What will our response be? We give preference to novels like ‘Harry Potter’ and so on over the Word of Allah. Astaghfirullah! We need to change this. The Qur’aan will change your entire life positively and will increase your spirituality guaranteed!
Whatever questions you may have in your mind as you study the Qur’aan then refer them to learned, reputable and reliable scholars. Though the bulk of its verses are easily understood. Most of it is regarding stories of the past and that is why we have chosen this topic this year in order to make an effort in understanding some of these stories.
Qualities of the Prophets
When Allah sent messengers he selected the very best of them. He did not select the worse nor the mediocre. They were specially hand-picked and chosen by Allah to carry and deliver His message. Allah says:
( إن الله اصطفى آدم و نوحا و آل إبراهيم و آل عمران على العالمين )
“Verily Allah selected Aadam, Nuh and the family of Ibraheem and the family of Imraan over the worlds.”
And these chosen Ambiyaa’ all had certain qualities in common. Our objective is to recognize these qualities and inculcate them in ourselves because they are qualities that are beloved to Allah Almighty. They are:
1. The Prophets were always truthful even prior to Prophet hood.
2. They were trustworthy.
3. They were trained.
( ما من نبي إلا رعى غنما)
There was no Nabi except that he was a shepherd prior to prophethood, why? Because it is more difficult to deal with animals than to deal with human beings. Though as Allah says, tere are some men who are lower and worse than animals:
(أولائك كالأنعام بل هم أضل)
“They are like cattle, nay, they are even worse!”
4. They were generous. Spend that which you have, share the knowledge you have, spread whatever goodness you may have in your possession. Never be miserlyin this regard. This was a trait of the ambiyaa’. Allah says:
( و أنذر عشيرتك الأقربين )
“And warn your close family members.” So primarily we need to first advise our immediate family members and relatives.
5. All the Prophets were extremely intelligent. For e.g Ibraheem AS Allah granted him wisdom and authority. He is the one who debated the most and the one whos debates are mentioned the most in the Qur’aan. Also, from a very tender age he questioned a lot due to his intelligence. Therefore, we too should be patient with the young when they question because it is a good sign. We should not rebuke them for their questioning even though it may be silly at times. If we do, this may mould in them some negativity which can affect them later on in life.
So questioning is good and is encouraged in the Deen, we try to seek answers and when we find them we have to surrender to them totally. There are some matters which Allah has not revealed the answers to in order to test our faith in the unseen, those we need to accept them and submit to them.
6. They were all good looking. They had no repulsive defect that would drive people away from them. Rather, from their very outward appearance, people would be attracted and drawn towards them like a magnet! Abdullah ibn Salaam says regarding the Prophet PBUH that just by looking at him I knew that this was not the face of a liar.
In other narrations the companions said: ( كأنه قطعة القمر )
‘His face was like a piece of the moon’, so bright and illuminated it was.
It was enough to be just once in his company in the state of imaan to render one the great status of being a sahabi, it was only the likes of Abu Jahal and others who did not look at him even once with the eye of sincerity who deprived themselves of this great fortune.
7. All the Prophets were ma’soom, meaning they were pure, innocent and free from sin.
Merits of the Prophets:
One of their greatest merits is that whatever they spoke was divinely inspired. Allah says:
“و ما ينطق عن الهوى إن هو إلا وحي يوحى”
“He (Muhammed PBUH) does not speak out of his own accord, it is only revelation sent down to him.”
One may ask, “Well, if everything is inspired then what about the incident when the Prophet turned away from the blind sahabi Abdullah ibn Umm Maktoom whilst he was sitting with the leaders of the mushrikeen and subsequently Allah revealed verses reprimanded the Prophet PBUH?”
This was actually a means for us, the ummah, to learn how to deal with others when we make mistakes. What is the correct path to adopt. So this error too, was part of the Prophets perfection so we could have a perfect example to follow.
Another merit of the Prophets is that none of them sought a worldly reward or compensation: Allah reminds us in surah yaseen of a man who came running from the idle of the city warning his people saying:
( اتبعوا من لا يسئلكم أجرا و هم مهتدون )
“Follow those who ask of you no recompense and they are rightly guided.”
Also, the Prophets came with a clear cut message to the people. They directed the issues of the people directly without “beating about the bush” As we see in the case of Lut AS he was very straight forward to his people about the immoral and indecent act his people were engaged in and told them to keep away.
The Prophets always had strong and firm belief in monotheism, Oneness of Allah, they believed in the unseen and always gave preference to the next world over this temporary life.
Why study these stories?
The Creator Himself answers this question for us and says:
( لقد كان في قصصهم عبرة لأولي الألباب )
“Indeed in their stories there are lessons for those who have intellect.”
In these stories are lessons for us. When the nation of Nuh AS transgressed and disobeyed, what was their outcome? They were punished and drowned. We too, need to take a lesson that if we forsake the scripture that has come to us then we can await a similar fate.
Also,we must know that in the battle between what is correct and what is not, the forces of evil will definitely lose and the truth ultimately triumphs and prevails. Allah reminds us in the Surah Al Baqarah:
“Do you think you will enter paradise when you have not been tested like those before you. Trials and tribulations overcame them and they were shaken until the Prophet and those with him said: ‘Where is the help of Allah?’ Behold the Help of Allah is near!”
Imagine! For the Prophet to say “Where is the help of Allah?”, to what extent they must’ve been tested. Life is full of tests. You are tested right to your peak. Its eample is like that of a school. We are obliged to write the examinations every year, we are compelled to follow school rules, to where a certain uniform etc. With each examination that we pass we are promoted to a higher level and earn a better degree. The higher you climb the more difficult the exam. Then, once you graduate you are at liberty to go out and do whatever you want. This is our example in this world. We are tried and tested throughout our lives, we are told to follow and oblige to certain rules and commands. Every test we pass we gain higher stages in the hereafter. Once we leave the testing ground of this world with all A’s inshaAllah and go to the hereafter we can reap our rewards in Jannah, it will be said: ( أدخلواها بسلام )
“Enter therein with peace!” May the Almighty grant us our books in our right hands Aameen.
Lets try and earn Allahs forgiveness during this month.
Lets try and make an effort with the Qur’aan during this month.
Do away with music CD’s. Stop watching useless TV channels which promote obscenity and immorality.
Also, we should try not to feel lazy during this month. Seize every opportunity. A hadeeth says: Seize five before five. Good health before sickness overtakes you. Your youth before your old age. Your wealth before proverty afflicts you. Your free time before occupation and your life before death comes to you!
و صلّى الله و سلّم و بارك على نبيّنا محمّد و آله و أصحابه أجمعين ، سبحان الله و بحمده سبحانك اللهم و بحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا