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Tafseer of Surah Az-Zumar

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

4 July 2015 Feltham, London, UK

Fajr Suhbah at Centre for Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (CSCA)

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani r`-rajeem. Bismillahi `r-Rahmani `r-Raheem. Alhamdulillahi rabbi ‘l-`alameen wa ‘s-salaatu wa ‘s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi ‘l-mursaleen Sayyidina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma `een. Dastoor yaa Sayyidee, yaa Sultan al-Awliya, madad. Madad yaa RijaalAllah. Laa hawla wa laa quwatta illa billahi ’l-`Aliyyu ‘l-`Azheem.

Mashaa-Allah we started with 315 (names of martyrs of Badr) and we kept going. It is Allah’s blessing, and favor on us that He gave us the power to endure and continue with worship. Allah (swt) gives our example in the Holy Qur'an. What we did now, the night prayer before Fajr, and then continuing up to sahr, when the sun is rising and the darkness is going away.

We are blessed to have followed our teachers; not everybody gets that chance to follow true guides and do what they did and to practice how they practice. Alhamdulillah they showed us how to practice this way and we followed them. Allah (swt) is describing such people in the Holy Qur'an:

أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاء اللَّيْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا يَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ

Is he who payeth adoration in the watches of the night, prostrate and standing, bewaring of the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, (to be accounted equal with a disbeliever)? Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed. (Surat az-Zumar, 39:9)

Do you see the one who is qaanita, obedient to Allah, saajidan wa qaa’iman, prostrating himself, making sujood, standing in prayer during the hours of the night, fearing Akhirah, the Hereafter and hoping for his Lord's mercy?

We started prayer; some people did not sleep tonight. We started at Maghrib and continued until `Isha, then we prayed Taraweeh and some people kept on going with Tahajjud, then later on with Salaat an-Najaat, Salaat ash-Shukr, Salaat at-Tasbeeh, Salaat al-Fajr, so basically we have been awake the whole night until sunrise in worship. What bigger favor is there than this? In which other month can we do this? Subhaan-Allah, Allah (swt) described the fasting to help us worship at night, because when we eat, lots of times we get the heaviness of the food, so we don’t worship as powerfully and as strongly, but when fasting comes, in Ramadan we have power to worship. That’s what we did tonight, from Maghrib until Fajr time mashaa-Allah, and now it’s sunrise.

So by following our guides, our teachers, we learned how to obey Allah (swt), how to spend the hours of the night prostrating and standing in prayer. Those who have not followed such guides, they don't do that, very rarely, but the people that are following the teachings of our guides, they are standing in prayer at night and prostrating, and they are obedient to their Lord. Allah (swt) is describing them and alhamdulillah we are among them! That's why Allah (swt) says, “We have brought down the book that has your mention in it, feehee dhikrullah.” All of us, all humankind is mentioned, which means we fit into a category in the Holy Qur'an.

We ask Allah (swt) to keep us among His people that are always prostrating and worshipping during the hours of the night and by doing so yadharu al-akhirah wa yarjoo rahmat rabbih, fearing the Hereafter, fearing the bad consequences in case Allah is not happy, and asking for Allah's Mercy!

Allah’s Mercy Saves Us

The mercy of our Lord is mentioned in multiple verses of the Qur'an, described as the mercy with which Allah (swt) saved the Nations of the Prophets.

وَلَمَّا جَاء أَمْرُنَا نَجَّيْنَا هُودًا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَعَهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِّنَّا وَنَجَّيْنَاهُم مِّنْ عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٍ

When our commandment came, we saved the Prophet Hud and those who believed with him by a mercy from Us. (Surah Hud, 11:58)

The mercy is there, especially for the Nations of the Prophets; those whom believed in their Prophets were saved by the mercy of Allah (swt), and He also mentions Sayyidina Salih (s):

فَلَمَّا جَاء أَمْرُنَا نَجَّيْنَا صَالِحًا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مَعَهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِّنَّا وَمِنْ خِزْيِ يَوْمِئِذٍ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ الْقَوِيُّ الْعَزِيزُ

So when our commandment came we saved Salih and those with him who believed by a mercy from Us.

(Surah Hud, 11:66)

So Sayyidina Hud (a), Sayyidina Salih (a) and their Nations were both saved by a mercy of Allah (swt). The people who are praying during the hours of the night, Allah (swt) is saying that they are hoping for the mercy of the Lord to be saved. That's why this prayer is called Salaat an-Najaat, the Prayer of Salvation, the prayer of asking to be saved. Because we are praying, as Allah is describing us in the Holy Qur'an, inshaa-Allah we will be among those who are praying during the hours of the night, fearing the hereafter, fearing their Lord's punishment, and asking for their Lord's mercy which saved Sayyidina Hud (s) and his Nation, and Sayyidina Salih (s) and his Nation, and Sayyidina Lut (s) and his Nation! Allah (swt) has given us the time of that saving. When did that saving or that salvation come to them?

كَذَّبَتْ قَوْمُ لُوطٍ بِالنُّذُرِ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ حَاصِبًا إِلَّا آلَ لُوطٍ نَّجَّيْنَاهُم بِسَحَرٍ نِعْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي مَن شَكَرَ

The People of Lut denied the warnings. Verily, We sent them a violent storm of stones, except the family of Lut. Then We saved them in the last hour of the night, najjaynahum bi sahar As grace from Us. Thus We reward he who gives thanks. (Surat al-Qamar, 54: 33-35)

This is the sahr, salvation: the saving of Sayyidina Lut and his family came during the last hour of the night before Fajr, when we pray Najaat and Shukr. Not a lot of people know about these prayers except who have found the right guides, the true guides who are guiding them on how to be saved because they know the Prophets were saved: Sayyidina Hud (s), Sayyidina Salih (s) and Sayyidina Lut (s), and they are telling us the way that they were saved is through the Allah's Mercy, and Allah (swt) is saying the people that are praying during the hours of the night asking for that mercy, “And we saved Sayyidina Lut (s) in the last hour of the night, and in such a way we reward the ones that give thanks.”

We don’t know about this [it isn’t from us], we follow our shuyookh, our saints. Then some say, “Where is this practice in Qur’an?” It happened a few months ago, some questioned, “Where does this practice of yours come from? It’s not there (in Qur’an) it’s bida`, innovation, you made it up!” People have become so ignorant that if they don’t know something, they deny its existence, which is the worst ignorance as they think they know everything. Their thinking is, “If I don’t know it, it doesn’t exist!” Mashaa-Allah, when did you know everything or when were you God, to know everything? Because Allah (swt) says:

هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

He is The First and The Last, The Manifest and The Hidden, and He has full knowledge of all things!

(Surat al-Hadid, 57:3)

Those who deny our practices, when did you become the first and the last and the manifest and the hidden, to know everything, and if you don’t find it, how do you deny it? People have become so ignorant that now they are denying things they don’t know, and by denying such things they are denying verses of Holy Qur'an, then they go out of belief. So when we don’t know something, instead of denying it we either research or we keep quiet, because nobody knows everything.

I heard from Shaykh `Abdus Salam, Grandshaykh `AbdAllah’s helper and translator, that Grandshaykh (q) said, “There are so many people nowadays saying, ‘Where is this in Qur'an and Hadith?’ You are in the masjid because you are in the knowledge area, but you are down and asking about something that you must be up in the minaret to know.” So someone who is outside of the mosque is asking from someone who is already up in the minaret, who is seeing and knowing all around, but we are still down. That is the example that Grandshaykh (q) gave of such people that they deny what they don’t know.

Allah (swt) is saying, “We have saved the family of Lut (s) in the last hour of the night as a favor from Us. Thus We reward him who gives thanks.” We have been doing this, following our guide, without knowing what we are doing, but we have trust in them. When we trust them they lead us to the right way,. and, without our knowing, they are taking us through their route and the practice of the prophets before us, to reach that salvation. because Allah (swt) said: “That servant of Mine who is worshipping Me during the hours of the night is hoping for My mercy and fears the Hereafter.”

Submission to Your Lord Brings Salvation

Now another meaning of that verse: some scholars said that al-layl, “the darkness”, can signify that we are all in the area of ignorance and to get out of ignorance Allah (swt) is saying “Obey Me.” When we obey Allah, we get out of ignorance. Allah (swt) is saying:“This servant of Mine that is obeying me during the Time of Ignorance, saajidan, prostrating.”

To prostrate means you are submitting to your Lord, you don’t see anything anymore, because in sajda you go down to the ground and you don’t see your surroundings, so then you are in full submission to Allah (swt) and whatever comes on you, you don't see it, you are trusting in your Lord. That is sajda, wa qaa’iman, and standing up means you are going in the Way of your Lord, you are advancing. When we are submitting to and advancing towards our Lord, then we can get the mercy of our Lord, which leads to what the green saint, Sayyidina Khidr (a) had. Sayyidina Musa (s) wanted to learn from Sayyidina Khidr (r) and Allah (swt) is saying:

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

So they found one of Our Servants on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our Own Presence. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:65)

“We gave Khidr mercy and then we taught him the Hidden Knowledge.” So our example is: first, we have to get the mercy of our Lord and so we physically pray during the hours of the night; second, spiritually we submit to our Lord and we advance in the Way of our Lord so we can receive that mercy; third, when we receive that mercy we are taught the Hidden Knowledge and that means you reach sainthood. We are asking Allah to make us among the saints. Why not? That is one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, among the 124,000, so ten is not many; surely, Allah (swt) can squeeze us in among these thousands of saints, why not?

O our Lord, we ask you that you make us among the saints! It is easy for You, easy for You! O our Lord, we ask you that you admit us with them into, Yoiur Divine Presence with Sayyidina Muhammad (s) and the rest of the Prophets! Ameen, ameen, ameen! Bi hurmati`l habeeb, bi hurmati`l Fatihah. Ten is not a lot!

Sayyidina Musa and His Nation Were Saved at Sunrise

Now the sunrise is coming; do you know who was saved at sunrise? Sayyidina Musa (a) and his Nation. Allah (swt) told Sayyidina Musa (s), “Take your people and walk at night.” This is the night, the prayer, we are praying at night. He said, “Advance with your people in My Way,” because Sayyidina Musa (s) was going in the Way of Allah (swt). “Go at night with My servants, because you are being followed.” Fir`awn (Pharoah) is Shaytaan, so evil was following Sayyidina Musa (s). Allah (swt) said, “Take My servants with you at night,” and that’s what our guides are doing: they take us with them at night for salvation.

فَأَتْبَعُوهُم مُّشْرِقِينَ

Fa atba`oohu mushriqeen, ishraaq,

they followed them at sunrise! (Surat ash-Shu`ara, 26:60)

So Fir`awn followed Sayyidina Musa (s) at sunrise and Allah (swt) spread the sea, Fir`awn and his army were drowned and Musa (s) was saved at sunrise. See how everything falls in place?

That’s why Mawlana Shaykh says “Wait until sunrise (Ishraaq) and pray two rak`ats so you can get what Sayyidina Hud (s) and his Nation got, what Salih (s) and his Nation got, what Sayyidina Lut (s) and his family got, and, what Sayyidina Musa (s) and his Nation got, by following a guide.” Without knowing any of this. fa atba`oohu mushriqeen. Sayyidina Musa (s) is explaining to his Nation, “Don’t worry! My Lord is with me, He is going to guide me to the Right Way.” So they were saved at sunrise and alhamdulillah we have reached sunrise, so now we will pray two rak`ats and then sleep and inshaa-Allah our Prophet (s) will take us with him into Paradise!

Bi hurmati ’l-habeeb, bi hurmati ’l-Fatihah.


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