Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: qur’an

A Believer’s Response

(Download MP3)

Muslims nowadays are easily threatened and enraged when others try to disgrace Islam. Crazy things have happened, from burning stuffs, causing chaos and riots, death threats, to yet another bombs. These are the sort of reactions that we have in response to (among other things) the burning of the Qur’an and/or the Danish cartoon. But is that how we suppose to react?

It is important to mention that these tactics of insulting our Prophet SAW and the Qur’an are not new. These are the continuation of the Quraishi people. The Prophet SAW was insulted and accused of being crazy and insane by them. They did all sorts of psychological attacks to him. Don’t you think it’s familiar? These acts have been mentioned over and over again in the Qur’an. Did the Prophet SAW or any of his followers at that time start to burn things when they insulted him? No. Not really.

The Qur’an has given the Prophet SAW guidance on how to response to these sorts of stupid and ignorant accusations. So be patient with gracious patience [70:5]. That’s exactly how we should response! We should be patient and calm and response them intellectually. We shouldn’t response it the way they want us to response. We shouldn’t pull ourselves into their trap. This is one of their tactics to portray Muslims as barbaric, mindless, and crazy people. They have done every kind of insults that they could ever imagine. Lo and behold, it will keep on coming. We should get used to it by now.

Don’t worry too much about the Qur’an being burnt by these ignorant people. What they (want to) burn is just an ink and paper. The Qur’an is distinct verses [preserved] within the chests of those who have been given knowledge. And none reject Our verses except the wrongdoers [29:49]. If they want to burn the real Qur’an, they have to burn our chests first. Don’t worry about them insulting Allah’s Book, because … the word of Allah is exalted to the heights [9:40]. The world of Allah is supreme and nothing can bring it down. Allah SWT will take care of them later in the Day of Judgment. What we should do right now is to response intellectually and to keep on spreading and representing Islam in a way that the Prophet SAW used to do. We can’t keep on saying “Islam is religion of peace” when our action does not even resemble that of peace! Prove it. Be civil. This is what Allah SWT tells us to do.

The only people who can violate, not do justice to, and be criminals against the Qur’an — more than anyone else — is ironically the Muslims themselves. The Qur’an that is supposedly in the chest of every Muslims has gone from their chests. It has been recited and read over and over again, yet few of us understand what it really means. It has been put and decorated with frames in every house of all Muslims merely as a “protection” or a decoration. We put a big beautiful calligraphy of Surah Al-Asr, which warns us about the limited time we have, yet next to it is a big screen TV in which we use it 8 hours a day. The Qur’an that is supposedly used to remember Allah SWT and to remind us for our actions on this earth is just a piece of decoration that we do not even care about.

Is this how we suppose to treat the Qur’an? Is this how we think about the Qur’an? Is the Qur’an just a piece of decoration that does not have any meanings to us? What about the remembrance to Allah SWT? What about the reminders and the beautiful messages that once moved us? Are they all gone now?

When the Qur’an has been reduced from remembrance to a piece of decoration, this proves to be not only a total disrespect to the Qur’an, but this is also a serious problem for all Muslims — far more serious than those people who tried to burn the copies of the Qur’an. Before we can blame or insult others for disgracing our Book, we first have to look at ourselves. Have we done justice to our very own Qur’an?

Source: A Believer’s Response to the Qur’an Burning Event by Nouman Ali Khan

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 5)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is He born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)


Allahu ash-Shamad
Allah, the Eternal Refuge.

Definitions of ash-Shamad

  • The One who is enough, whom we returned to, and who fulfills our needs and answers all of our questions in times of need. When the word shamad is used as a verb, it implies that you turn to someone to ask him/her to fulfill a need. Al-Masmood is what shamad implies; which is the one to whom people turn to in times of need.
  • The One who is attributed as the ultimate goal. He is our ultimate goal of what we do in life. One of the reasons why this surah is called Al-Ikhlas (sincerity) is because of our sincerity to do things for Allah SWT.
  • The One who is not in need of anyone else and nobody can overpower Him or be above Him in status or any attribute.
  • The One who has no blemishes or faults
  • The One who cannot be overcome. This is also used in Arabic literature as someone who cannot be overcome in battle, business, eloquence, etc.
  • The One who is incredible and great in terms of His glory. The One who is Everlasting.
  • The One who everyone needs and He needs none Himself.

Shamad is also used as an adjective which means something that is solid with no holes or emptiness. Something that is absolute without any flaws.

Allah SWT has many names, but they do not lack in anything. They are perfect and these names are fulfilled perfectly. For example, when we call someone a “noble”. It could be that from the outside, he is a noble person, but from the inside, he is not. But because Allah is ash-Shamad, Allah fulfills his names and attributes in an absolute and perfect sense.

Ash-Shamad and Ahad

This ayat further explains the previous ayat (the first ayat), i.e. Allah the Absolute (ash-shamad) is the only One (ahad).

The reason why ash-Shamad and Ahad are mentioned is because the Arab polytheists would describe Allah as the Creator and the Merciful, but they would not say He is Ahad or ash-Shamad.

The word ash-Shamad  has “Al” (alif lam in Arabic) which denotes to absolute.

Connection to Surah Al-Masad/Al-Lahab

Surah Al-Masad talks about Abu Lahab whom he thought he had no equals and he needed no one — because he was very rich and everybody needed him. So Surah Al-Ikhlas refutes this by stating that the only One that needs no one (ash-Shamad) and has no equal (ahad) is actually Allah SWT.


Lam yalid wa lam yulad
He neither begets nor is He born (begotten),

The Explanation of “Lam”(Not)

In Arabic language, the word laa is used for a present tense, while the word lam is used for a past tense. In this ayat, the word lam is used. So the correct translation would be: “He did not beget nor did He begotten.”

If it were in a present tense, then Allah SWT could have said: laa yalidu wa laa yuladu. Note that all of the English translations in this website uses present tense rather than past tense.

Why is past tense used in this ayat? Why is lam used instead of laa? Because it removes all forms of birth associated to Allah in the past. The allegations that Allah had a child had been existed before the Islamic period, e.g. Christianity and some Jewish sects. All of these concepts were made in the past, hence the use of the past tense in this ayat.

In addition to addressing the falsehoods of the religion that already occurred, Allah SWT also made a prediction that there would be no other religion after Islam which claimed that God had a child. All of them were created before Islam. This is one of the miracles of the Qur’an in which a future was predicted. There are no religions today except those who were formed in a pre-Islamic period that made a claim about God having a child.

He did not Beget

Having a son means that Allah has an equal and this is impossible as Allah SWT is ahad (the One). He says:

… How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things?

— Al-Qur’an (6:101)

How can Allah has a son when He does not have an associate or a spouse? The Arabic word for a spouse is either sahibah or kufuw (which is used in the next ayat).

Giving birth, having a child, or being born implies that a person has a beginning and an end. This means that the person is not eternal and therefore it is part of a weakness. This is why it is not an attribute of Allah SWT. Lam yalid wa lam yulad.

One of the definitions of ash-Shamad listed above is the One who we turn to. He is the only One who we should turn to. It is absolutely not necessary for us to turn to other things (like His “son”) or anything that is placed between us and Him.


Wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad
Nor is there to Him any equivalent

The Definition of “Kufuw”

This word means a spouse, an associate, or a counterpart and can also mean an enemy that is equally good in battle. So basically a kufuw is someone who is equal or comparable to you in terms of rank, skills, status, etc. This is used to describe a spouse as you would usually marry someone who is compatible with you and has the same level of intellect as you.

The word kufuw is also used in this ayat to emphasize that Allah SWT never had any counterpart or anyone that can be compared to Him. This word is actually used to explain the word ahad as Allah SWT has no one that is equal in His Uniqueness (ahad).

The Grammatical Sequence

Let’s read this ayat again:
Wa lam yakun lahu kufuwan ahad

This is actually not the expected sequence. In Arabic language, the normal grammatical sequence of this ayat is:
Wa lam yakun ahadun kufuwan lahu

So the sequence of this sentence was rearranged: lahu — kufuw — ahad.
The normal sequence should be: ahad — kufuw — lahu.
To recap, the meaning of these words are as follows: ahad is anyOne, kufuw is a counterpart/equivalent, and lahu is to Him (Allah).

The most valuable word in this sentence is lahu (to Him/Allah). We can see here that in the normal sequence, lahu is mentioned at the end, while in the ayat, lahu is mentioned in the beginning. Why? Because lahu is the most important word and Allah SWT mentioned Himself first for emphasis or stress. It is He who never has a counterpart, i.e. every one other than Him will always have a counterpart.


The first ayat of Surah Al-Ikhlas is about Allah’s Oneness and Uniqueness.

The second ayat shows the grace and mercy of Allah SWT upon us. We turn to him in times of need and He fulfills it.

The third ayat shows that Allah SWT is free from any kind of weakness. To say that Allah SWT has children implies that He has a weakness, because this shows that Allah is not Devine and Eternal. For a human being, having children implies strength, because our legacy will be continued, our name will be passed on, etc. But Allah is different. He does not need to worry about His name being passed on. He does not need to worry about these things because He is a perfection. There are different standards applied for the Creator and the Creation — and we need to understand that!

This is the surah where we can learn to completely submit ourselves to Allah SWT. We are weak, we need guidance all the time, and it is only Him to whom we turn. It is only Him that we want to please.

One of the nicknames of this surah is An-Najaat, the surah of rescue. It rescues us from depression, sadness, hardships, and shirk. Most importantly, it protects us from hellfire. May all of us be one of those who will be protected in the hereafter. Amin.

— the end —

Source: Nouman Ali Khan – can be found on YouTube (this part of the post is explained starting in minutes 1:03:00) or on (the second part).

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 4)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)

The Explanation of Ayat 1

Qul huwa Allahu ahad
Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One,

Definition of “Qul” (Say)

This word is the command for the Prophet SAW. It is both the lesson for him and the thing that he must preach to others.

The surah begins with the message of tawheed (the Oneness of Allah) and is connected to the message of da’wah (inviting others to Islam).

Definition of “Huwa” (He)

This word implies that you know who the God that is being talked about. He is not a new God.

It is also an answer to the question asked by the disbelievers to the Prophet SAW about Allah SWT. Man huwa? Ma huwa? (Who is he? What is he?). Hence, Allah SWT answered with Huwa Allahu ahad (He is Allah, the One).

Two sentences are fused into one: “Say, He is Allah. Say, He is One.” which becomes “Say, He is Allah , One.”

Note that the word huwa is not needed in this ayat, because the sentence is complete even without it, i.e. Qul Allahu ahad.

Definition of “Ahad” (One)


Differences between “Wahid” and “Ahad”

Both Wahid and Ahad mean “One”. So what’s the difference? Let’s take a look at these examples:

  • Laysa wahid mawjudan fil masjid — literally: there is not one in the mosque (meaning: there are more than one person in the mosque).
  • Laysa ahad mawjudan fil masjid — literally: there is not one person in the mosque (meaning: there is absolutely no one in the mosque; i.e. the mosque is totally empty).

Ahad is used in the negative sense (negation), while wahid  is used in the positive sense.

But in this surah, the word ahad is not used in the negative sense, but in the positive sense. This shows the uniqueness of this word being used to describe Allah SWT, as it does not normally appear in the Arabic language. The only place in Arabic literature where the word ahad is used in the positive without any further attributions is only in Surah Al-Ikhlas. In other words, it is never used for anyone except for Allah SWT.

The word ahad comes from the word wahd or wahad, which means one who is individual by himself and whose tribe, lineage, or origin is not known. But the word wahad is used as a person. Allah SWT did not use this word to describe Himself because it would make Him similar to other persons. Instead, He used the word ahad which is a unique word for Himself that is not used for any other person.

According to Imam Raghib al Isfahani, ahad is a separate root word from wahad. He argued that ahad is a unique sole entity which has no comparisons, competitors, and affiliations. This makes it ahad different than wahad.

The Concept of “Ahad”

One thing that makes our religion different than others is the unique concept of ahad — the fact that God is One and no attributes of Him can be associated with His creation (including human). He cannot be compared or affiliated with anything else. God does not have a son (as in Christianity), nor can He be found in a tree, rock, or stone (as in Hinduism).

But what about Al-Aleem (The Knowledgable), Al-Hakeem (The Wise), or Ar-Rahim (The Merciful)? These are some of the names or attributes that Allah SWT used to refer Himself. But these names or attributes can be referred to humans as well. A human can be knowledgeable, wise, or merciful. So how do we make sure we do not end up in shirk? How do we make sure we see the difference between these attributes used for Allah SWT and the attributes used for the human beings?

There are three things that we should notice in order to avoid ourselves from committing shirk (Let’s take the word Al-Aleem (The Knowledgeable) as an example):

  • Allah’s knowledge has no beginning or no end. It is infinite and timeless, while our knowledge is not.
  • Allah knowledge has no limit — there is nothing that He doesn’t know. As for our knowledge, it has limits.
  • The knowledge that we have is not something that we own, but rather it is something that is given to us by Allah SWT. But for Allah Himself, the knowledge is not given to Him, but it is something that He owns.

The only attributes that are not used for anyone except Allah SWT are the attributes used in Surah Al-Ikhlas: ahad, As-Shamad, lam yalid, and lam yulad (the last three will be explained later). This affirms the fact that this surah is about Allah SWT that is Unique and One.

Why not “Al-Ahad”?

Why does the second ayat of Surah Al-Ikhlas use Al-Shamad to describe Allah SWT, but the first ayat use the word Ahad (without the Al)?


This grammatical difference has some rhetorical benefits:

  • It puts the exclamation mark or emphasis in ahad. “He is Allah, ONE!!”
  • Putting a tanween  at the end (as can be seen in the above image) is used when someone asks a question and ahad was the response to a question “Who is Allah?”. In order to properly answer the question, we have to put a tanween instead of the Al.

Additional remarks from Brother Nouman

When we study world religions, it seems that most religions believe in one God. They all seem the same. We all seem to share the same faith. But when it comes to studying ahad carefully, we realize that those religions do not share the same thing. Our religion is different than theirs, because the concept of ahad is not agreed by them. It is a unique concept that can only be found in Islam.

As a Muslim, our main and only mission of our life is to do what God asks us to do. Everything from sholat, fasting, sacrifices, life, to death is for Allah SWT. Put it simply, our goal is be a perfect slave for Him. But for people who does not have such a specific goal, they would have to find another goal — they would become the slave to something that is worthless. This can be in the form of obsessing with their body, obsessing with their money, being famous or “worthwhile” in the eyes of others, and so on. What happen when those people fail to meet their goals? They often become suicidal or do something that can harm others, be it corruption or violence.

It is easy to say that Allah is One. But is He the One we dedicate our life to? Is there other thing that we put before ourselves? Does our action in life based on what makes Him pleased and happy? Does it worry us that He might not talk to us on the Day of Judgement? *cries*

What used to be something that burned inside the hearts of men, has now turned into something of abstract, philosophical debate.

Muhammad Iqbal

Today, tawheed has become debates and abstract discussions in theology. It is no longer something that burns inside our heart. We no longer have the strong connection with Allah SWT in which the people long time ago used to have.

Continue to Part 5.

Source: Nouman Ali Khan — can be found on YouTube or on

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 3)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

– Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)

The Love of Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet SAW) for Surah Al-Ikhlas

In the Sahih Al-Bukhari, it was reported that Aishah RA said:

The Prophet SAW sent a man as the commander of a war expedition and he used to lead his companions in prayer with recitation (of the Qur’an), and he would complete his recitation with the recitation of qul huwa Allahu ahad (‘Say: He is Allah, One’).

So when they returned they mentioned that to the Prophet SAW and he (SAW) said, “Ask him why he does that.”

So they asked him and he said, ‘Because it is the description of Ar-Rahman (Allah) and I love to recite it.

So the Prophet SAW said, “Inform him that Allah the Most High loves him.”

Loving Surah Al-Ikhlas only mean one thing: the love of Allah SWT. And if you love Him, He will love you back.

In another narration, it was reported that a man from the Anshar used to lead the prayers by reciting Surah Al-Ikhlas in the beginning, followed by another surah, and he used to do this in every raka’ah. When this man was asked why he did it that way, he said that he loved it. So the Prophet SAW replied, “Your love for it will cause you to enter Paradise.”

The Third of the Qu’ran

There’s a well-known hadith recorded by Bukhari:

The Prophet SAW said to his companions, “Is it difficult for any of you to recite one third of the Qur’an in one night?”

This suggestion was difficult for them, so they said, “Who among us has the power to do so, O Allah’s Apostle?”

Allah’s Apostle SAW replied, “Allah (the) One, the Self-Sufficient Master Whom all creatures need.’ (Surah Al-Ikhlas 112: 1-4) is equal to one third of the Qur’an.”

But why is it a third of the Qur’an? The third of the Qur’an deals with the attributes of Allah SWT. It is what describes who Allah really is and it is the essence of what this deen is supposed to be in terms of imaan (faith). Surah Al-Ikhlas is the most comprehensive summary of it. If you know nothing else from the Qur’an about tauheed but Surah Al-Ikhlas, you are fine and won’t fall into shirk.

Linguistic Explanations of the Word “Allah” (الله)


Ishtiqaq is the Arabic term for “derivation” or etymology. A mushtaq is defined as a word which has an origin from another word.

But there are some words which are original words that are not derived from other words. This is called asmaa al-jamidah. The original word itself is called jamid.

Is the word “Allah” derived from another word (i.e. mushtaq) or is it unique by itself (i.e. jamid)? There is actually a disagreement among linguists about the origin of the word “Allah”.

The argument why it is mushtaq:

The word “Allah” is derived from the word Ilaah إله (for example, in the phrase laa ilaaha illallah). So if we put Al before Ilaah, then it becomes “Allah”:

Al أل + Ilaah إله (hamza, lam, ha) = Allah
[due to hadf, the hamza in Ilaah is removed]

The root letters of Ilaah is hamza, lam, and ha. From these letters, two verbs can be formed:

  • Alaha (to worship), ya’lahu (he worships). So Ilaah is the one who is worshipped.
  • Aliha is used when a child is thirsty and desperately needs his mother for the milk. So the verbal meaning of Ilaah is the one who people desperately turn to.

So the scholars conclude that these are the origins of the word Ilaah, which is the One who is worshipped, obeyed, and who people desperately turn to out of desperation.

The argument why it is jamid:

The word of “Allah” is the universal word for Allah SWT, which is used in every language. It is the proper name for Him which He revealed to all the messengers in every language.

In Arabic language, the word yaa is used to call someone. For example, Yaa Raheem (O Merciful One). Although the word Raheem is originally Al-Raheem, when we call someone, the word Al cannot be used in this context because it is linguistically incorrect. So, saying Yaa Al-Raheem is incorrect.

But when we say Yaa Allah, it can be seen that the word Al is still used. If the word “Allah” was originally from the word Al + Ilaah, then we would not have said Yaa Allah, instead we would have said Yaa Ilaah (removing the Al). This is one of the linguistic evidences why the word “Allah” does not come from another word.

The second linguistic evidence is that the word “Allah” is not used generically anywhere in the Qur’an. Whenever the word “Allah” is used, it’s not used as “the One worthy of worship” but it’s used as “Allah” in its proper form. For example, bismillahirrahmaanirrahim. The words arrahmaanirrahim are the descriptions (adjective) and the word “Allah” (in bismi allah) is the one being described (noun).

The word “Allah” is also unique in the way it is pronounced. When Alif and Lam (= Al) are placed together, it is pronounced in a light sound, i.e. Allah. In contrast, when the word “Allah” is pronounced, it is pronounced with a heavier sound, i.e. Alloh. So we break the norm of the Arabic language for this word. This is the reason why it is considered a universal word.

One may argue that the word “Allah” comes from another foreign language. The general rule is that, when a word comes from another language and enters into an Arabic language, then we cannot put either dammah, kasrah, and fatha on it. But in the Qur’an, we can find the word “Allah” with a kasrah on it, as can be seen in the following ayat (4:122):

wa man asdaqu minAllahi qeela

“Allahi” has the kasrah on it (on the letter ha), so how can it not be an Arabic word?

Continue to Part 4.

Source: Nouman Ali Khan (can be found on YouTube or on

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 2)

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

– Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)


Surah Al-Ikhlas has over 20 nicknames given by the sahabah. These are some of them:

  • Al-Muqashtish — a surah that removes diseases of shirk
  • At-Tafreed (fard means individual) — a surah that explains Allah SWT is one and none is like Him
  • At-Tajreed — a surah that removes all misconceptions about Allah SWT in one shot
  • At-Tauheed — a surah that unifies the attributes of Allah in one and expresses Allah SWT as one and only.
  • Al-Ma’rifah (meaning to know someone) — a surah for one to be acquainted with Allah SWT. If you don’t know the surah, you don’t really know who Allah SWT is.
  • As-Shamad — surah Al-Ikhlas is the only place in the Qur’an where the word shamad is used and no derivatives of this word are used anywhere in the Qur’an, except in this surah. Hence, as-Shamad.
  • Al-Asaas — the surah of essence and core. This surah is the most basic and core mission of the Prophet SAW.

The Surah that Keeps Things Intact

There’s a hadith of the Prophet SAW:

The heavens and the earth are founded upon qul huwa Allahu ahad (Say, He is Allah, [who is] One).

The explanation of this hadith is: as long as there are people on this Earth who still believes in tawheed (the Oneness of Allah), Allah SWT allows the heavens and the earth to continue and exist.

But when people commit shirk or say that He has taken a son, Allah SWT says in the Qur’an (19:90):


The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation

Takaad is used in the verse above which means “almost” — it’s about to happen, but it didn’t. Why doesn’t it occur? Because of the fact that there are people who still follow and believe in tawheed and who worship Him alone. So the only thing to keep things intact is: qul huwa Allahu ahad.


The issue of shirk or the belief of polytheism (multiple Gods) is also mentioned in other parts of the Qur’an (21:22):

Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined…..

So if there were more than one God, there would be conflicts between these Gods — as can be seen in other religion that embraces polytheism. There are many mythological stories in Hinduism and Ancient Greek which show their gods’ fighting with each other for the sake of power.

The Light of the Qur’an

As revealed in the Qur’an 24:35:

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth…

There are two hadiths of the Prophet SAW that are related to the above ayat:

He is the Light of the heavens and the earth and this surah lightens your heart.

For everything there is a light. For the light of the Qur’an is qul huwa Allahu ahad (Say, He is Allah, [who is] One).

So, Surah Al-Ikhlas is the light of the Qur’an. This surah is such an amazing gift, because it is one of the shortest surahs in the Qur’an that can be easily memorized with little effort, yet the power of this surah is so powerful and huge and the lessons are so massive.

The Historical Context

There was a debate whether this surah is Makki (revealed in Mekkah) or a Madani (revealed in Madinah).

As has been discussed previously, in Surah Al-Kafirun, the disbelievers who worshipped idols made of gold and silver, referred their gods with the same name: “Allah”, although they actually committed in shirk. So when the Prophet SAW would describe to them about Allah, they were confused because they believed in “Allah” too. So they said, “Describe to us the attributes of your Lord! Is he made of gold? Is he made of silver? What is his lineage?”

In one narration, there was also a polytheist who came to the Prophet SAW and said: “Everything was created by Allah, then who created Allah?”

Upon hearing that question, the Prophet SAW became extremely furious. So angel Jibril AS calmed him down and revealed this surah. This is why the surah is considered as a Makki surah by the majority.

A similar narration is given to a member of Jewish community in the Madani era of the Prophet SAW — which is the reason why some scholars argue this surah is Madani.

However, the majority of the scholars argued that this surah was used to answer the same question asked to the Prophet in the Madani era. Using this surah to answer such question doesn’t necessarily mean that the surah was revealed at that moment in time.

… Continue to Part 3

Source: Nouman Ali Khan (can be found on YouTube or

First Day of Fasting


O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous

— Al-Qur’an 2:183

Fasting during summer in this part of the world is such a big challenge. Fajr is at 3.22 AM and Maghrib is at 9.30 PM. There is only a six hour difference between ifthar (breaking the fast) and sahur. My stomach cannot eat heavy meals twice in those hours. It’s such a short time span. So what I would usually do is to eat something light for ifthar, eat a heavy meal in the middle of the night (around 12 AM), and then eat a bread or two for sahur.

Another challenge for this year’s Ramadhan is to eat at 12 AM, because that means, I have to heat up the food in the kitchen which can disturb my housemates who are probably already sleeping. This wasn’t a problem last year because I knew my housemate always slept late. But my housemate this time isn’t that easy going when it comes to sleeping (not complaining, just saying… coz some people need quite a bit of time to fall a sleep). So maybe I’d eat a heavy meal for ifthar straight away… I don’t know… this doesn’t sound so good though. But we’ll see!

Although I still want to recite the Qur’an from start to finish during the Ramadhan, my focus for this year’s Ramadhan is more about learning the Qur’an in depth (i.e. the tafseer). This is yet another big challenge for me because I don’t know when I’ll have time for that!!! LOL. But insya Allah, when there’s a will, there’s a way. I wish I can write the things I learn here too so that you can benefit from it as well. But I really can’t promise! Perhaps I’d do that once I become a desperate job-seeker, then I’d have time *chuckles*.

In the mean time, I posted the tafseer of Surah Al-Ikhlas. It was typed months ago, so all I need to do is to change bits and pieces and make it easier for others to understand. There will be 5 parts in total, which will be published twice a week in this blog. This is perhaps one of my favorite talks by Brother Nouman Ali Khan. Not only did he talk about the meaning behind this Surah, but he also explained it in a grammatical sense. It makes me realize that the greatness of the Qur’an does not only lie in the miracles and the messages or stories behind it, but also the words that were chosen, the order of the words in a sentence, and the connection between one surah with the one before or after it.  Subhanallah. It feels absolutely amazing to know and understand the meaning of this surah word by word. It makes me feel so blessed to be born a Muslim. No other words can be described. I just hope the tafseer would be beneficial to you!

May Allah SWT forgive us for all of our sins, make it easy for us to perform this year’s Ramadhan and keep on encouraging and reminding us to do good deeds for Him only. Amin ya rabbal alamin.

Tafseer Surah Al-Ikhlas (Part 1)

As I’m an extremely forgetful person, I have a habit of writing down the things I learn about Islam. I type them into a word document, because otherwise I’d forget. It’s just too easy for me to forget. Every now and then, I’d read what I have typed over and over again so that I’ll keep on remembering them. So, instead of making them a benefit only to myself, I thought I’d post some of them here too, so that some of you can get a benefit from them :). But if you have the time to listen to these recordings (or if you’re more of a listener than a reader), I’d recommend to listen to them. Brother Nouman Ali Khan explains things in a way that is easy to understand and follow (without making me falling a sleep haha) — and that’s why I listen or watch to most of his speeches.

Tafseer of Surah Al Ikhlas: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


Say, “He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas (1-4)

The Connection between Surah Al-Ikhlas & Other Surahs


Surah Al-Ikhlas and Surah Al-Masad

In Surah Al-Masad (one surah before Al-Ikhlas; also called Al-Lahab), all verses/ayat end with an Arabic character of ba (ب), except the last verse which ends with the letter daal (د). In Surah Al-Ikhlas, every verses end with the letter daal (د). So the rhyme pattern from the previous surah continues in this surah. From the stylistic point of view, there is a cohesion and continuity between the two surah.

Shifting the Focus of Attention

Abu Lahab (which is mentioned in Surah Al-Masad) was a known relative of and a neighbor of the Prophet SAW, so he was a great concerned to the Prophet SAW. He continuously became the focus of the Prophet SAW.

In Surah Al-Kafirun (a Surah before Al-Masad), it was the Prophet SAW who was told to talk to the disbelievers. However, this was not case with Abu Lahab. Allah SWT told the Prophet SAW in Surah Al-Masad that He would deal with Abu Lahab alone and gradually destroyed him because of his continuing denial against the message brought by the Prophet SAW. Why was it the case? The answer can be found in the next surah, Surah Al-Ikhlas. Allah SWT wanted the Prophet SAW to remain focus on the Oneness of Allah SWT and teaching this concept to others (which is expressed in Surah Al-Ikhlas).

The Introduction and the Conclusion

In the first ayat of Surah Al-Fatihah alhamdulillahi rabbil ‘alamin (which is at the beginning of the Qur’an), Allah SWT introduces Himself as Allah (from alhamduli allahi) and Lord of the worlds (rabbil ‘alamin). At the end of the Qur’an, we can find these two things that are described in the first Surah. Surah Al-Ikhlas is the answer to the question of who Allah is:ScreenShot004
… while Surah Al-Falaq and Al-Nas are the answers to the question of who the Lord/Rabb is:
So what initiates in the Fatihah is beautifully concluded at the end of the Qur’an.

The Main Agenda Behind the Conflict

Every single surah from Al-Fil to Al-Masad (total: 7 surah) has something to do with the life of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Al-Masad is considered to be the conclusion of his journey, as the victory is guaranteed and Abu Lahab is considered as the enemy of Islam. The conflict between Abu Lahab (as well as the Quraish) and our Prophet SAW had been going on for so long and Surah Al-Ikhlas serves as a reminder that the reason why the conflict between them occurred in the first place was because of tauheed.

Surah Al-Ikhlas and Al-Kafirun

When the Prophet SAW performed sunnah prayers, he would usually recite two surahs that are paired together in the Qur’an, for example Surah Al A’la (87) and Al-Ghashiyah (88). But for sunnah rawatib (prayers done before or after the 5 compulsory prayers), the Prophet SAW specifically chose to recite  Surah Al-Kafirun and Surah Al-Ikhlas. Those two surahs are not placed one after another in the Qur’an, as Surah Al-Masad come between the two. So,  there’s a unique connection that the Prophet SAW made between Surah Al-Kafirun and Surah Al-Ikhlas.

From the literally point of view, the relationship between those surahs are very obvious. Surah Al-Kafirun made a clear distinction between what the Prophet SAW worshipped and what the disbelievers worshipped. Although they both referred their God as “Allah”, the two had a totally different religion (deen). Which deen is the wrong one? The deen of Abu Lahab that is explained in Surah Al Masad, which worshipped the idols. Which one is the righteous one? The deen that is explained in Surah Al-Ikhlas, which is believing in Allah SWT. In other words, we can look at Surah Al Kafirun as the central/main surah that branches to Surah Al Masad and Al Ikhlas.

Surah Al-Ikhlas (which is about tauheed) is also the central surah which branches to Surah Al-Falaq and Al-Nas. These two surahs talk about the evil influences that can break someone’s tauheed.

The two central surahs (Al-Kafirun and Al-Ikhlas) have other things in common too. In Surah Al-Kafirun, the word “Allah” is not mentioned, instead, the Prophet SAW was asked to say “O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship. Nor are you worshippers of what I worship. Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship. Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.” Who did exactly the Prophet SAW worship? The answer can be found in Surah Al-Ikhlas.

Another connection between Surah Al-Kafirun and Al-Ikhlas is that: both of them were given the same nickname Al-Muqashtish by the sahabah (the companions of Prophet SAW). Muqashtish means “that which removes diseases.” Both surah Al-Kafirun and Al-Ikhlas talk about denying the disease of shirk.

continue to Part 2.

Source: Nouman Ali Khan (can be found on YouTube or in which you can download the mp3 of this)

* Note: I use the word surahs instead of suwar (which is the correct plural Arabic form of surah) to avoid confusion 😀

The Coolness of the Eyes


And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort (literally: coolness) to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”

The Qur’an 25:74

This is a pray/du’a that is heard or said very frequently by many Muslims. I especially love the Arabic words for “the coolness to our eyes” in this verse, which is qurrota a’yun. There are a few number of people whose name is “qurrota aini”. I like that name so much because it has such a beautiful meaning: the comfort/joy of my eye. But my knowledge about this expression was limited to that. Little did I know/appreciate this powerful expression!

So, what does it exactly mean for our eyes to become cool?

The phrase “the coolness of the eyes” was actually originated from the pre-Islamic period. The Arabs used to use this expression among each other before the Qur’an was revealed, which was then used in the Qur’an. At that time, one of the worst curses that the Arabs could say against somebody else was by saying: may Allah make his eyes warm. In other words: may he suffer the worst kind of sorrow, sadness, and depression.

There are two meanings associated with “the eyes become cool”. The first meaning is: if your eyes become cool, then that means you shed the tears of joy — you’re so happy that you’re moved to tears. The second one is associated with finding refuge or safety.

So, going back to the context of the verse above, what does it actually imply if we ask God to make our spouse and children a mean for the coolness of our eyes? This implies that we ask Him to make our family a source of happiness and to make them our refuge to get away from the “storm” outside of our house. No matter how many problems we have, no matter how little money we get, our family is the safe havens where we find peace and joy. Our worries suddenly disappear when we see them. They are the coolness of our eyes.

This phrase is also used by the wife of Pharaoh, Asiya (RA). When she found Prophet Musa (AS), she said: “[He will be] a comfort of the eye for me and for you. Do not kill him; perhaps he may benefit us, or we may adopt him as a son.” (Qur’an 28:9). So basically, Prophet Musa (AS) was her escape from the evil Pharaoh. He brought coolness to her eyes. The fact that she said “a comfort of the eye for me and you” (instead of “us”) implies that she didn’t want to associate herself with her husband. She separated herself from him.

The same phrase is again used in the Qur’an in the same story, when Allah SWT reunited Prophet Musa (AS) with his mother for breast feeding. “So we restored him to his mother, that her eye might be comforted and not grieve…” (Qur’an 28:13). Her eyes became warm when she cast him into the river, but they become cool again upon the reunion.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW was often heard saying: “The comfort of my eyes is placed inside shalaat (prayer)”. When he conversed with Allah SWT, his eyes became cool, he shed tears of joy, and regained his strength.This shows his profound love for shalaat — compare that to a mother losing her child and finding it again (in which Allah SWT said her eyes became cool). Prophet Muhammad SAW used the same expression — the same coolness of the eyes he found when he made shalaat. Has our shalaat been the comfort of our eyes?

Isn’t it amazing how we can learn so much from the Qur’an by having a deeper look and trying to understand the real meaning of only one phrase? Subhanallah. It’s such a powerful and beautiful expression!

Source: Nouman Ali Khan’s Khutbah (30 minutes). Yes, he only explained the deepness of this phrase in this khutbah!

Strengthening My Faith

Faith, like shoes, need to be polished each time. For someone like me, who easily gets bored and forgetful, polishing my faith is a must. I do that by attending Islamic study at the mosque or via Skype. Honestly I don’t attend it regularly, but when I do attend, it means that I really want to.

Recently, I have been caught up with a lot of things that I put this as my secondary activity. It’s bad, I can tell you, because I constantly need a fuel and it’s running out. I suddenly remember, "hey, why not start watching YouTube videos?!" I hadn’t watched them for a little while, so I guess it’s the best time to do it again.

So I’ve been watching a lot of videos related to Islam by many people like Hamza Yusuf, Nouman Ali Khan, and Yusha Evans. I can’t be thankful enough, I’ve been learning so many things from them. To be honest, I find it more effective to listen/watch these videos because when I lost my concentration, I could replay again the parts that I missed. Somehow, it’s hard for me to focus when it comes to religious studies, including those that I attend at the mosque. Watching them on YouTube is a much better approach for me. I can listen to them over and over again, take some notes and make some summaries. I can’t be happier :). I should make this a once- or twice-a-week thing for me.

During my self-study (which was not limited to only YouTube videos, but also blogs, for example the one owned by Suhaib Webb), I found this article about English translations of the Qur’an. I was really surprised to learn that there are two variations of the English translations: the Saudi-endorsed & —financed and the non-Saudi-endorsed. It turned out, there were quite a bit of differences in both translations. The former has some political sentiments inserted (anti-Jews and anti-Christians), as can be seen in the following example.

The last two ayats from Surah Al-Fatihah is supposedly translated as:

Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

But in the Saudi-endorsed translation, it is translated as:

Guide us to the Straight Way. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace , not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

There’s NO mention of "such as the Jews" or "such as the Christians" in the original Arabic version!!! So this is misleading!

I wasn’t very happy upon learning it, to be honest. How can the Saudi government do this to the noble Qur’an?! They’re doing it for the sake of their own political agenda!!! I still have to go to the Haram Mosque and see the translation myself and prove that they added something that they shouldn’t have added. But still, I was upset. So I did my own research, exploring different translations, and decided to purchase myself the English translation of the Qur’an by Muhammad Asad, titled The Message of the Qur’an. I just need to make sure I wouldn’t bring this to Saudi Arabia, because this book was banned there hahaha. Yet another reason to put an end to my Saudi residence permit *sigh*.

The Prayer

O Allah, make the Qur’an the spring of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness, and the purger of my anxiety.

Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni

Amin ya Rab.