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Tafsir Surat an-Naazi`aat

Ramadan Series, Volume 7

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

27 June 2015 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Suhbah

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah, nawaytu 'r-riyaada, nawaytu 's-salook, lillahi ta`ala fee hadha 'l-masjid

As-salaam `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.

We continue the tafsir of Surat an-Naazi`aat. I ask Shaykh Sahib to recite:

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَىٰ إِذْ نَادَاهُ رَبُّهُ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى اذْهَبْ إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَىٰ فَقُلْ هَل لَّكَ إِلَىٰ أَن تَزَكَّىٰ وَأَهْدِيَكَ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ فَتَخْشَىٰ فَأَرَاهُ الْآيَةَ الْكُبْرَىٰ فَكَذَّبَ وَعَصَىٰ ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ يَسْعَىٰ فَحَشَرَ فَنَادَىٰ فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَى

فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّـهُ نَكَالَ الْآخِرَةِ وَالْأُولَىٰ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَىٰ أَأَنتُمْ أَشَدُّ خَلْقًا أَمِ السَّمَاءُ ۚ بَنَاهَا رَفَعَ سَمْكَهَا فَسَوَّاهَا وَأَغْطَشَ لَيْلَهَا وَأَخْرَجَ ضُحَاهَا

(Surat al-Naazi`aat, 79:15-29)

As we said before, after Allah revealed Surat an-Naazi`aat, the first part of it, which we have explained, the Prophet (s) was sad and was not happy, afraid of what came in this surah of heavy and severe punishment of the blowing in the Trumpet, where the first time everything will die and the second blowing in the Trumpet where everyone will come back to life to be judged. As it was mentioned in Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan, araada li tasliyati rasoolillahi `an takdheebihi qawmihi, Prophet (s) was not happy with his tribe, the Bani Quraysh, because they did not believe in him, especially his uncles, and were saying harsh words to him, and Allah wanted the Prophet (s) to feel better so He brought for him the matter of Sayyidina Musa (a) with Fir`awn, saying, “Don't worry, you have a problem with your tribe and family, so too did Sayyidina Musa (a) with Fir`awn, so be patient.”

Did You Hear the Story of Moses and Pharaoh?

Today many people have problems with their families, so here Allah wants to make Sayyidina Muhammad (s) happy and to comfort him, so He relates the story, “Did you hear the story of Musa and Fir'awn?” So when we have a problem, we have to remember that Allah tried to make His Prophet (s) happy and comforted and we have to make ourselves happy, not to face the problem and create fitna. That is always within families; every family and every person has problems, so try to make yourself not affected because these problems rise up from fitna, about which the Prophet (s) said:

الفتنة نائمة لعن الله من أيقظها

Fitna is dormant and Allah cursed the one who awoke it. (ar-Rifa`ee in his Amalee)

Allah (swt) mentioned the word “la`na”, which means “curse on him”, and he made that action similar to Iblees, whom Allah cursed: "The one who makes fitna will be cursed like Iblees." So Allah (swt) wants to tell the story to the Prophet (s) and He mentioned that Allah called Sayyidina Musa (a) to the Valley of Toowa, where Allah said to him:

إِنَّكَ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى

Truly you are in the Sacred Valley of Toowa. (Surat Taha, 20:12)

Toowa is a city between Madina and Egypt, in that area. It is said in the interpretive meaning that Toowa is intiwaa’ al-mawjoodaat kulliha min al-ajsaami wa ‘n-nufoosi tahtahaa, similar in form to:

يَوْمَ نَطْوِي السَّمَاءَ كَطَيِّ السِّجِلِّ لِلْكُتُبِ

The Day that We roll up the Heavens like a scroll rolled up for books. (Surat al-Anbiya, 21:104)

When we fold it [Mawlana opens and closes the book]: this is tawayna. Allah is mentioning that He “folds Heavens and Earths like books”, all the knowledge will be inside. Allah (swt) is telling us, “There is coming a Day when I will fold dunya and Heavens together.” He puts Heavens and Earth overlapping, with no thickness, and everything created will be within this Earth and universe, and with all the greatness of these planets, as big as they are, He will fold them into a thickness less than this paper! Look at `Azhamatullah! That is why Allah does not like anyone to come against Him. So Allah (swt) said to His Prophet (s), "Don't worry, there are worse than your uncles, there is Fir`awn, whom I cursed because he claimed lordship:

فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَى

He said, “I am your Lord, Most High!” (Surat al-Naazi`aat, 79:24)

He not only claimed to be Lord, but he said, "I am your most high Lord!" Allah does not like that, Allah does not like anyone to associate with Him or to not accept Him. He likes Tawheed, to say, “Laa ilaaha illa ‘Llah Muhammadun rasoolullah.” That is why:

من قال لا اله الا الله دخل الجنة

Whoever says ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ enters Paradise. (Mustadrak of an-Nisaburi)

Anyone who says "Laa ilaaha illa-Llah" will enter Paradise, even if he says it once in his life, so keep saying, "Laa ilaaha illa-Llah".

Prophet (s) was Tested by His Family and Moses was Tested by Pharaoh

Hal ataشka hadeethu Musa? Did you not hear the story of Sayyidina Musa (a)? Allah is saying, “Go to Fir`awn.” Look at the resemblance between the issue of the Prophet (s) with his family and Sayyidina Musa (a) with Fir`awn: Allah sent Sayyidina Musa (a) to Fir`awn, a lesson for us, for sure, and a lesson for Musa (a), and Allah sent Sayyidina Muhammad (s) to Abu Jahl, who dug a hole for the Prophet (s) to fall in. Fir`awn did the same thing: he was digging a hole for every mu’min to fall in because `Uboodiyya, servanthood, can only be accepted in a truthful way, not to show people you are praying with them and then go home and you don't pray your other prayers, as Allah does not like that.

Allah (swt) said to Sayyidna Musa (a), fa-qul hal laka ila an tazakka, why is Allah (swt) showing so much care for Fir'awn? He is saying to Sayyidina Musa, “Go to him and propose for him that We are ready to bring him up and guide him, wa ahdiyaka ila rabbika fa taghshaa, and I will guide you to your Lord and you will be raised to the level of Khashya.”

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ

From among His servants only the (true) scholars have fear of Allah. (Surat al-Faatir, 35:28)

Those who know Him, ma`rifat Allah, scholars, fear Allah, Who is saying when we reach m`arifat of Allah and then you will fear what Allah what will do with you on Judgment Day. That is why the Prophet (s, with his endless high levels, and all other prophets with their nations, will be fearing Allah on Judgment Day.

He is saying to Fir`awn, “I will purify you and will make you to fear Me,” means to reach that level of ma'rifah, because when we reach it khashya will be open to us, and then we will fear Allah and after that we will not do any ma`siyya. “I will give that to you.” This is a teaching for us to fear Allah (swt) by stopping sins, ma`siyya, which we commit in too many ways and the biggest ma`siyya is to make kufr, which Allah does not like. The other ma`siyya that refer to this dunya is when husband and wife disrespect each other. All problems come today from the disrespect of one another. Now it is very rare to see any family that is not somehow affected, broken, with problems. The Prophet (s) said:

أدبني ربي فأحسن تأديبي

My Lord perfected my good manners and conduct. (Ibn `Asakir)

“Allah perfected me with the best perfection.” When he said ‘fa-ahsana’ it means there is no limit to what Allah taught and how much He raised the Prophet (s) in good manners, and what He opened for him of knowledge we don’t know! So Allah said to Sayyidina Musa (a), “Go to Fir`awn and We will purify you, then you will fear Allah.” When you fear Allah (swt) it means ma`rifah will be opened to you. So for us, as much as we struggle with to eliminate our bad desires and with our fear, Allah (swt) will keep opening more and more. That is why today people don’t understand why this one can speak, because he fears Allah (swt), and why this one is trustworthy, because he fears Allah (swt): in every action he intends, immediately he can see with his mind and heart if this matter is good or bad. Grandshaykh (q) said any action you want to do, balance it with your mind: if you see it is sinful then stop and if you see it is not then you may do it. This is the easiest way to balance our `amal.

What happened to Fir`awn? Allah said to Sayyidina Musa (a), “Speak softly to him, not to speak harshly.” Allah is ordering a prophet from the Five Big Prophets, Oolu ‘l-`Azam, to speak with Fir`awn in a soft way. What you want more than that when Allah says “O my prophet speak with that one softly,” and that one is doing sins.

That is why the Prophet (s) never said no to anyone, because that is harsh. Also, he never brought up an a past issue, he dropped it as it will raise fitna. So Allah (swt) told him to say a very soft message to Fir'awn, la`allahu yadhdhakkaru aw yakhshaa, “Maybe he will remember and then fear Allah, and then I will forgive him.” Allah sent Sayyidina Musa (a) to him, who brought him from Yemen to Egypt, to bring Bani Israel from hegemony of Fir`awn, but in the same time He ordered him to speak with him in a lenient way. That is why mashaykh speak with their followers in a lenient way, and this one of the most important teachings for mureeds, to teach them how to speak in a lenient way, not in a harsh way. Even if there is problem, fitna or a divisive issue, mureeds must speak with each other and with the shaykh in a lenient way, and the shaykh will speak with them in a lenient way.

Ahdiyaka ila rabbika fa takhshaa, “I will guide you to ma`rifat Allah.” People today do meditation for hours in order to reach ma`rifat Allah. Here Allah is saying through Sayyidina Musa (a) to Fir`awn, “Accept Me and I will give you ma`rifat Allah!” That is for Fir`awn, and so many people today doing meditation to get m`arifat, but here Allah (swt) offers to give it to him! So what about for us? Why can’t we also get it just by saying, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah”? We cannot reach it because we have too many sins, but Allah will save it for us in our heart and give it to us on Judgment Day and that noor will appear, as it is said, Qalb al-mu’min bayt ar-rabb, “The heart of the Believer is the house of Allah.”

Allah says to Fir`awn via Sayyidina Musa (a), “I will take you out of shirk, ignorance and kufr if you listen to what I say,” but Fir`awn refused.

فَأَرَاهُ الْآيَةَ الْكُبْرَىٰ

He sent to him great signs. (Surat al-Naazi`aat, 79:20)

Allah sent him different signs like frogs falling from the sky, blood in the river, animals and plagues. He showed him all that, but still Fir`awn insisted in not accepting. He is also speaking about the ego, the self, when Shaytan enters within us to shift us from as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, to deviate us to ma`siyya:

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

He inspired the self of its good and its bad. (Surat ash-Shams, 91:8)

So there is a struggle inside us between good and evil: the good side is asking for evidence to keep building itself up, and He showed signs. Had Fir`awn accepted he would have gone to a high level, but Allah (swt) did not give him this kind of guidance, so we must know that we have to accept what Allah is ordering us through His Prophet (s) and follow it. The main ayah is where Allah said, fa araahu l-ayat al-kubra, when He changed Musa’s staff to a snake and his right hand became white, shining with heavenly light, which is why He gave him his staff in his right hand.

مَا تِلْكَ بِيَمِينِكَ يَا مُوسَىٰ قَالَ هِيَ عَصَايَ أَتَوَكَّأُ عَلَيْهَا وَأَهُشُّ بِهَا عَلَىٰ غَنَمِي وَلِيَ فِيهَا مَآرِبُ أُخْرَىٰ قَالَ أَلْقِهَا يَا مُوسَىٰ فَأَلْقَاهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ حَيَّةٌ تَسْعَىٰ قَالَ خُذْهَا وَلَا تَخَفْ ۖ سَنُعِيدُهَا سِيرَتَهَا الْأُولَىٰ وَاضْمُمْ يَدَكَ إِلَىٰ جَنَاحِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَاءَ مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوءٍ آيَةً أُخْرَىٰ لِنُرِيَكَ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا الْكُبْرَى

"And what is that in the right hand, O Moses?" He said, "It is my cane: on it I lean, with it I beat down fodder for my flocks, and in it I find other uses." (Allah) said, "Throw it, O Moses!" He threw it, and behold! It was a snake, active in motion. (Allah) said, "Seize it, and fear not: We shall return it at once to its former condition. Now draw your hand close to your side, it will come out white (and shining) without harm (or stain) as another Signs that We show you (two) of our Greater Signs. (Surat Taha, 20:16-23)

Allah (swt) asked Sayyidina Musa (a), “What is in your right hand?" and he said, "A cane I use to guide my sheep”, but it was not a cane, it is a snake eating the bad desires within Muslims.Everyone has a snake inside him and if they are on the Right Path, Allah will make that snake eat all the bad desires. Then we will see the hand with noor coming from it: Allah will turn our hearts into noor, shining with heavenly knowledge coming to our heart. However, Fir`awn did not want that. One time Sayyidina Musa (a) was happy that Allah gave him that power, but always he heard from Allah (swt) that Ummat an-Nabi (s) are higher in levels than the Ummah of Musa.

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ

You were the best of Nations evolved for Mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah. (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:110)

Allah (swt) revealed to Prophet (s), “You are the best of nations sent to Mankind.” So it is mentioned that Sayyidina Musa (a) said to Allah, “You are always praising Ummat an-Nabi (s), so show me that level of `ilm to make my heart at ease.”

Then Allah ordered the soul of Imam Ghazali (q) to appear to him in a vision and Musa was surprised to see him and said, “What is your name, O my son?”

Imam Ghazali (q) said, “My name is Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Muhammad Abu Hamid al-Ghazali.”

Sayyidina Musa (a) said to him, “Are you the best one of Ummat an-Nabi?"

He said, “No, I am the beginner one.”

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “It shows your ignorance; when I asked you what is your name you have to say simply, ‘Muhammad bin Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’. Why do you have to say ‘Muhammad’ seven times?”

Imam Ghazali (q) said, “Because you did it before me!”

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “When did I do it?”

Imam Ghazali (q) said, “When Allah asked about your cane, you could have said, ‘It’s just a cane’, but you didn’t, you said, “It is my cane with which I guide my animals, I lean on it, and I have too many other uses for it.”

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “Yaa waladee, O my son, I did that to extend the time in Allah’s Holy Presence!”

Imam Ghazali (q) said, “Yaa Musa, yes, I also want to stretch the time standing with you as you are a prophet and messenger and that will be an honor for me, like you wanted to stretch the time in the Divine Presence. I cannot go high like you, but I like to stretch the time with you.”

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “Yes, you are correct, now I understand why Allah says Ummat an-Nabi is the best, better than Bani Israel.”

What happened to Fir`awn? Fa kadhdhaba wa `asaa thumma adbara yas'aa, he lied and went into bigger m`asiyya and did not agree with what Sayyidina Musa (a) told him and he never accepted, and he became more stubborn and said, “You are only a magician and you made this cane become a snake through magic. I will bring all the magicians in the country,” but Allah turned them all into mu’mins (when they saw the signs) because the work of magicians is Shaytan's work.

Sayyidina al-Hasan (r), son of Sayyidina `Ali (r) and grandson of Sayyidina Muhammad (s), said that Fir`awn was tayyaashan, reckless, who does not think well, whose mind does not grasp the issue, which caused him to deny all the signs Sayyidina Musa (a) showed him, which is tayyaasha, that his mind does not grasp everything. Then Fir`awn went much further and said, “I am your Lord, Most High!”

The Crucial Difference Between Pharaoh and Shaytan

Allah (swt) is the Creator of everything, so in Abu `Ataillah as-Sakandari’s book al-Hikam, he asks, “What is the wisdom that Iblees was cursed although he did not claim lordship, and Fir`awn and those like him claimed lordship but were not cursed?” This question leaves one stunned, astonished! One did not claim lordship and was cursed, and one claimed lordship but wasn’t cursed.

It is said, niyyat iblees sharrun min niyyati haa’ulaa, “The intention of Iblees was to extend evil on Earth.” So He threatened Allah (swt). Iblees knows he cannot claim ruboobiyya, lordship, because he spoke with Allah and knows Allah (swt) the the Lord. We don't know how he spoke with Allah, but we know he asked Allah for longer life and was granted longer life until the blow on the Trumpet in order to spread kufr all over the world. So his intention was evil, and he intentionally causes divisions among people. So although he did not claim to be ‘the Most High Lord’, he made people claim it, then he says, “I’m innocent, I didn’t do anything! Why did you claim lordship? Now you go to Hellfire, we are all going to Hellfire. Don't blame me, blame yourselves! Why did you follow me?” He brought bad gossips and bad intentions to people’s ears and he faced Allah (swt) openly, as mentioned in Holy Qur'an.

Fir`awn and the others did not directly argue with Allah (swt); yes, they argued with prophets, but not with Allah as Iblees did. Therefore, their punishment is less. Sometimes they ask for forgiveness, sometimes they acknowledge their sins to someone else, although not in Allah’s Presence, but Iblees is in Allah’s Divine Presence! Also, Iblees whispered in Fir`awn’s mind, inspiring him, “Don’t accept this offer, you are going to be the highest!"

Grandshaykh `AbdAllah (s) said in his tafsir of this story that Fir`awn highly respected the ni`mah, favors in his life that Allah gave him, especially when he ate, which is the best ni`mah because it gives you life and energy to move, and if you eat healthy food by mentioning the Name “Allah” on it by reciting Shahaadah or Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem, that food is clean. So what did Fir`awn do? All his life, before he met Sayyidina Musa (a), when he ate, he never let one crumb fall on the floor without eating it, respecting ni`matullah, the favors Allah gave him.

Today not only we are not saving the crumbs, we are throwing food away while millions of people starve to death! Because of that, Fir`awn was saved for many, many years until ome day Iblees came to him in the form of a man and said, “O My Lord! How are you eating crumbs? People will disrespect you, you are the Most High. Don't humiliate yourself. Be proud, step on the crumbs.” Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, said from that time onwards Fir`awn stepped on all the crumbs that fell on the floor. Before then, Allah gave him space as he was respecting the food, but after that Allah gave him problems. Fa-akhadhahu ’Llahu nakaala ‘l-akhirati wa ‘l-oolaa, Allah gave him punishment by drowning him in dunya and by fire in Akhirah. So we ask Allah (swt) to forgive us and Yaa Rabbee, don't put us in the worst life, where You take revenge and send on us the worst things; don’t torment us by drowning!

عن أبي هريرة قال : قال رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم - : ( قال الله عز وجل : الكبرياء ردائي ، والعظمة إزاري ، فمن نازعني واحداً منهما قذفته في النار

May Allah forgive us. Allah said, al-`Azhamatu izaaree, “My Grandeur is my sarong.” This is the interpretive form as you cannot really translate it; also, wa ‘l-kibree’aau ridaa’ee, “And pride is My garment, man naaz`anee fee wahidin minhuma lam yakun saadiqan fee da'waah, if anyone claims either of these, pride or grandeur, he is not trustworthy in his claim.” Here it means not only that one is not truthful, but that he is an arrogant scholar who takes pride in his knowledge, because al-`aalim Huwa Allah, “Knowledge is Allah’s”m so don't attribute it to yourself. Such people are not truthful in their teachings; their grandiosity and self-importance makes them upset with how much you pay them, although the Prophet (s) prohibited anyone taking money for teaching Islam and iftadaha fi ‘dunya wa ‘l-akhira, he will be exposed in this life and the Next regarding whatever levels of knowledge he claims to have but does not.

May Allah (swt) forgive us. We are saying, “Yaa Rabbee! We are helpless, we are weak, we cannot be like these big `ulama and mufassireen of Holy Qur'an, but we are trying our best and if we do any small good deed, stretch it in this life and the Next [to grant us more of Your Baraka]. We say here in this jama`ah as witnesses for each other, ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasoolullah `alayhaa nahyaa wa `alayhaa namoot wa `alayhaa nalqa'llah!

Fir'awn died as an unbeliever. It is mentioned in Ibn Arabi’s Futoohaat al-Makiyya that Fir`awn and Nimrood are eternally in Hellfire, there is no forgiveness for them. Also, Sayyidina Muhyiddin ibn `Arabi (q) said two words came from Fir`awn: 1) anaa rabbukum ul-`alaa, “I am your Lord, Most High” and 2) maa `alimtu min ilaahin ghayree, “I don’t know any God but myself”, and the time between these two sayings was 40 years.

May Allah forgive us. We will stop here and continue later.

As-salaam 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.


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