The Qur’an and Scientific Findings Through Time

Ustadh Farid Dingle answers questions concerning Qur’anic verses comprising scientific findings that are uncannily similar to scientific findings, and whether verses have been changed over time.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am a Muslim. So one night a thought strikes my mind that “maybe, after the scientists have discovered some particular thing, the Arabs have added those discoveries in the Qur’an by replacing previous ayats.” Please try to understand that I am not saying that the Qur’an is written by humans. Rather my question is that maybe they have done some mixing by adding the scientific ayats and saying that it is already written in the Qur’an?

For example in Sura al-Anbiya 21:30 it says that “the heavens and the earths were joined together and we cleft it asunder.” My question is that maybe, after the Big Bang theory was discovered, the Arabs added this verse to the sura?

I really need evidence about it, so please help as this answer means a lot for me. This answer is like my life, so please don’t just say that there was no addition but please state evidence. It is really necessary to me and sorry because my question will make everyone angry, but this thought is killing me.

Answer:

Wa alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

The Qur’an is too wide spread to allow a mass conspiracy to change its content even in manuscripts that date back over a thousand years.

The Qur’an has not been changed.

That said, we do notice that there is some level of over emphasis on “scientific” verses that don’t necessarily conform in any detailed way with the latest scientific discoveries. This however has nothing to do with changing the text.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

What Is the Umm al-Kitab?

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked about the meaning of the term “Umm al-Kitab” and how it relates to the speech of Allah.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I hope this finds you in the best health.

My question is about the Umm al-Kitab which is mentioned three times in the Holy Qur’an. What is the Umm al-Kitab? Is it the same as the Lawh al-Mahfuz? Is it true that the Holy Qur’an we posses is a portion of the Umm al-Kitab which is a part of the pre-eternal speech of Allah?

Thank You.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Umm al-Kitab

The term Umm al-Kitab is mentioned a few times in the Qurʾan. The first time it is used, in Sura Aal Imran 3:7. It refers to the verses of the Qurʾan which are absolutely clear and decisive. It would be apt to translate this usage as “The Foundation of the Book.” This means that those verses – such as those which state that Allah is unlike anything else (Sura al-Ikhlas 112:4) – are the lens through which other verses are to be understood if one wants an accurate understanding of the meanings and message of the Qurʾan.

Other verses refer to the Protected Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mazfuz) as Umm al-Kitab, such as Sura al-Ra‘d 13:39. This is a creation in which knowledge of all of the events from the beginning of time to the Day of Judgement are recorded.

The Qurʾan is written in the Protected Tablet, and it was from there that it descended to the heart of the Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Allah’s attribute of Speech expresses the infinite knowledge He has in an unfathomable way. There is no beginning, no end, no letters, no words, etc. The Qur’an, which is written in the Preserved Tablet, points to some of what the attribute of Speech expresses, not all of it. (Alusi, Ruh al Maʿani; Sawi, Sharh Jawhara al-Tawhid; Fawda, al-Sharh al-Kabir ʿ ala Aqida al-Tahawiyya).

I hope this clarifies matters for you. May Allah benefit us through His blessed words in the life and the next. Amin.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Losing My Faith over Verses of Abrogation

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat tackles the complex question on the verses of abrogation from a brother who feels he has lost faith in religion.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have much confusion. According to classical scholars, verses 9:5 and 9:29 of Sura al Tawba abrogated peaceful verses like “No compulsion in religion” (Sura al Baqara 2:256) and “Fight those who fight you but do not transgress. indeed Allah does not love transgressors.” (Sura al Baqara 2:190)

I read from this from [link to Islamic internet forum] and they say Muslims can compel people into Islam. Because of this I have lot of pain and I am losing my faith. I wish my confusion goes over and I want to come back to Islam.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

There is no need to worry

My dear brother, you are not the only one who is confused about these verses. There is no need, however, to feel that you are losing your faith. Faith is surrendering yourself to Allah, and what He has commanded us to believe and do.

If you feel that there is something which is causing you doubts, do not let it affect your connection to your faith. We know for certain that Allah is infinitely wise. If something causes doubts within you, in the short term, tell yourself that Allah is wise, and He must have made things this was because this is the best way for them to be. Just because you may not grasp the wisdom at that moment, it does not mean that there is something wrong with Islam. Then seek the answer to your questions from a reliable source.

Sura al Tawba

This sura is misunderstood by many people. The biggest problem is that some people divorce the sura from its historical context. When decontextualized, any text can be twisted.

Firstly, these verses did not abrogate the verses which command patience, tolerance, good dealings, and equity with non-Muslims. Those rulings have a particular time and context, and the situation these verses were revealed in did not match that context.

The Context of the Sura

These verses were revealed after the Muslims has been patient with the harm of Quraysh and other idolaters for many years. They had been attacked, betrayed, blindsided many times – all whilst they maintained the highest standards of honor.

The idolaters had constantly tried to kill them, and the Jews and Christians had betrayed and provoked them on a number of occasions. The final straw was when a number of tribes who had treaties with the Muslims broke their treaties when the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, had lead a military expedition to Tabūk.

These tribes were then told that the treaties were over, and that they had four months before a declaration of war was to come into effect. The verses do not refer to all idolaters – let alone every disbeliever on the planet after them!!!

In verse four there is a clear exception made with regards to tribes who had upheld their treaties. This clearly shows that the sura is speaking in a particular context, and is not a mandate to attack anyone who is not a Muslims at all future times.

What is more, all of those tribes who were threatened actually surrendered and accepted Islam. This was part of the plan of Allah Almighty, which brought about the result most beneficial for all without bloodshed.

We have to remember that the world in which these events took place was very different to the world we live in today. Applying today’s standards to historical events is a mistake which even anthropologists frown upon.

Forcing People to Accept Islam?

No one has the right to force anyone into entering Islam. This is clearly established by Sura al Baqara 2:256, and clearly expounded by those scholars who were master-jurists and expert Qurʾanic-exegetes, like Abu al-Suʿud al-ʿImadi, al-Sayyid Mahmud al-Alusi, and others.

The above verse was not abrogated by Sura al Tawba. All Sura al Tawba did was address a particular historical situation which will not recur due to the absence of various factors.

I hope that helps.

May Allah grant us all complete certainty and firmness of faith. Amin.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Did Sunni Scholars Change the Explanation of a Qur’an Verse to Oppose the Shi’a?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I heard that the Qur’anic ayah (verse), “And [by] ten nights.” (Al-Fajr, 02) intends the ten nights of the month Muharram, and not the the ten nights of Dhu-l-Hijjah. Supposedly, this was Mujahid ibn Jabr’s opinion and also Muqatil ibn Sulayman’s opinion.

But then, because Shi’as “adopted” the month Muharram, Sunni scholars said that, by ten nights, it means the ten nights of Dhu-l-Hijjah.

Is this true?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayran for your question.

There is a difference of opinion among the scholars of Quranic exegesis on what days the verse ‘وليال عشر’ ‘And [by] ten nights’ [89:2] refers to. The reliable opinion is that it refers to the first 10 days of Dhul Hijja.

Ten Nights

In almost all classical texts, three to four opinions are transmitted:

1. It refers to the first 10 days of Dhul Hijja: This is the soundest opinion and supported by the majority of tafsir scholars, and was related from Ibn Abbas

2. It refers to the last 10 days of Ramadan: This is also narrated from Ibn Abbas.

3. It refers to the first 10 days of Muharram: This opinion was held by some scholars.

4. It refers to the ten nights appointed to Sayyidna Musa (peace be upon him): This refers to the words of Allah Most High, ‘We appointed for Moses thirty nights then added another ten—completing his Lord’s term of forty nights. [7:142]. This was related from Masruq.

The Tafsir of Mujahid makes no mention of the opinions. Even if we refer to the ‘tafsir’ of Muqatil bin Sulayman, it explains that the ten days as the days preceding Eid al Adha, meaning the 10 days of Dhul Hijja.

Sunna-Shia

The claim that because Shi’as ‘adopted’ the month of Muharram, the Mufassiruns of the Ahlus-Sunnah said that, by ten nights, it means the ten nights of Dhu-l-Hijjah’ is unfounded.

Classic Quranic exegesis is a rigorous science undertaken by scholars of the highest calibre and God-fearingness because they are explaining the words of God, the final revelation to mankind. Each verse of the Qur’an was revealed in a certain context, with certain meanings and purpose, and they were all revealed during the time of the Prophet ﷺ. The qualified scholars among the early generations, such as Ibn Abbas and Mujahid, only ever explained the Qur’an from a deep understanding of these contexts and meanings.

Later events, schisms, and politics have nothing to do with the explanation of the words of God revealed to His Prophet ﷺ, and its meanings are never open to change due to such factors. To alter one’s opinion on the meaning of a verse of the Qur’an due to sectarian animosity is a betrayal of one’s own knowledge, and a betrayal to the ummah of Sayyidna Muhammad ﷺ. The Sunni scholars of classical exegesis were far beyond this.

[Tafsirs: al Qurtabi, al Baydawi, al Kabir, al Qushayri, al Sam’ani, Mujahid, Muqatil, al Sawi, Safwatul Tafasir]

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

The Smoke and The Beast: Signs of the Last Hour

Ustadh Salman Younas explains the meaning of the Smoke and the Beast, and how we should view differences of opinion on Signs of the Last Hour.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Could you please explain the meaning of the Smoke and the Beast, which are from among the signs of the last day?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The Smoke and the Beast are among the signs of the Day of Judgment, mentioned in the Qur’an and in rigorously authentic narrations.

The Smoke

Allah Most High states, “So be on the watch for a day when heaven shall bring a manifest smoke covering the people; this is a painful chastisement.” (Sura al Dukhan 44: 10-11) The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The Hour will not rise until you have seen ten signs: the rising of the sun from the west, the smoke, the beast…” (Muslim)

There is a difference of opinion regarding whether the “smoke” mentioned in the verse of the Qur’an refers to the smoke that was foretold as one of the signs of the Hour. Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud was of the opinion that it did not, while Ibn Abbas, Ali, Ibn Umar, and others affirmed that it referred to the same smoke mentioned in the Prophetic narratives. (Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim; Qurtubi, Jami‘ al Ahkam al Qur’an)

Imam Qurtubi mentions that the smoke will cover the earth for a period of forty days, effecting both the believers and disbelievers. The former will be effected as if suffering from a common cold, whereas the latter will suffer harder. (Jami‘ al Ahkam al Qur’an)

The Emergence of the Beast

Allah Most High states, “We shall bring forth for them out of the earth a beast that shall speak unto them.” (Sura al Niml 27: 82) The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The first of the signs [the Hour] to appear will be the rising of the sun from the west and the appearance of the Beast before the people in the forenoon.” (Muslim)

Here scholars differed greatly regarding the details related to the Beast, which, though not important to know, can be mentioned briefly as follows:

  1. Appearance: Some scholars, such as Imam Qurtubi, held that the beast is the she-camel of the Prophet Salih, Allah bless him. Others stated that it was an animal that is a hybrid of many different animals. Another opinion states that it is an actual human being, which is a very weak opinion. (Qurtubi, Tadkhira)
  2. Place of Emergence: Some stated that the Beast will emerge from Makka, basing it on a narration of Hudhayfa, Allah be pleased with him. Others stated that it will emerge from a desert, then disappear, then emerge from a village, then disappear, then finally from the Masjid al Haram in Makka. There is another opinion that states it will emerge from Ta’if. (Qurtubi, Tadkhira; Alusi, Ruh al Ma‘ani)
  3. Its Speech: The Beast will address the people with the words of Allah, “Mankind did not believe in our signs.” (Sura al Niml 27: 82) Others stated, quoting Ibn Abbas, that “speaking” refers to the action of the Beast in differentiating the believers and disbelievers.
  4. Its Role: The Beast will be tasked to differentiate the believers from the disbelievers. Abu Hurayra, Allah be pleased with him, narrates that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The Beast of the earth will emerge and have with it the staff of Moses and the ring of Solomon.” (Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad) It will use these to mark off the believers from the disbelievers. (Qurtubi, Jami‘ al Ahkam al Qur’an)

Differences of Opinion

An important point to note is that many of the opinions regarding the beast may not have sound basis in the texts. As such, believing in these subtle details is not necessary, except that which has come in the authentic narratives of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace.

This includes, first and foremost, believing in the coming of the Beast itself, a point established decisively in the Qur’an, as well as it being a sign of the Last Hour, its speaking to people, and its task of differentiating the believers from the disbelievers.

Details regarding its appearance, where it will arise from, what it will say, and so forth, are matters of secondary importance. The safest route is to consign these modalities and details to Allah, while realizing that ultimately we will all return to Him to be judged for what we did in our worldly life.

Wassalam
Salman

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


Why Did Allah Favor the Children of Israel?

Answered by Shyakh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Asslamu Alaykum

I would like to know why Allah has favoured the Children of Israel over of all other nations. Wouldn’t it be unjust if He only provided the Book to one nation and favoured them? On the contrary, Islam is for all humanity, therefore, the question does not arise. Also, how do we know that the Jews have changed the Torah and are not on the right path?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your question.

The question itself is a very good one, and it highlights the need to understand the Qurʾān in Arabic as the Arabs understood it, and to seek clarification when in doubt.

Allah can do what He wants.

Allah Most High is the absolute Master of all that exists, and therefore He can select and favour anyone He wishes with whatever He wishes. He is dealing with His own property. Yet we must remember that He is wise. Never does He give or withhold without there being some great wisdom behind the matter. Our job is to have this understanding to contextualise everything,

Were the Bani Isrāʾīl preferred over everyone else?

Allah addressed the Jews who were contemporaries of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) with the words ‘O Children of Israel, recall my blessings upon you and that I [once] favoured you above all other beings.’ (al-Baqara, 47) What the masters of Qurʾānic exegesis, such as Abū al-Suʿūd, Maḥmūd al-Alūsī, Burhan al-Dīn al-Biqāʿī and others said regarding this verse is that although Allah was speaking to the contemporaries of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) here, and the people who actually received these blessings were their ancestors. Consequently the people who were preferred over all others were those who lived in time of the prophet Moses (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

Why would Allah do such a thing? Allah was inviting them to believe in the revelation which he sent to the Prophet Muhammad, which was the natural conclusion to what all the other messengers brought. The Jews were people who had a strong sense of racial identity, so reminding them of what Allah had bestowed upon their forefathers was-in their eyes-a reminder of what they themselves had received through their lineage. They were proud of their ancestors, so a reminder of the blessings given to their ancestors should have been sufficient to want to believe in order to show thanks for that blessing.

According the early master of Arabic and authoritative exegete al-Zajjāj, the proof of this is in the very next verse when Allah said to them, ‘And [recall] when we spectacularly rescued you from the forces of Pharaoh…’ (al-Baqara, 48). Those who were rescued were the followers of the prophet Moses, not the people being addressed by the verse.

This brings us to the question ‘who was preferred over all others?’ What was deduced from the above proof was that it was the followers of the prophet Moses who had been given this rank – but it only extended to everyone before their time until them. At the time they were the Muslims who believed in Allah and His Messengers; they had been blessed with two tremendous prophets; and they were given the great Torah, which – as Allah put it – contained tremendous guidance and great light. However, they lost this rank when time after time they rebelled against Allah, and the messengers who were sent to them.

We know from sura Āl ʿImrān that our umma – from the companions and after – is the best umma because we not only believe, but we also perform the functions of the previous prophets: ‘You have always been the best nation who were produced for the service of mankind: [because] you command that good be done, prohibit the bad and believe in Allah.’ (Āl ʿImrān, 110).

This means that Allah knew that-when compared with other nations-the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) was always superior in Allah’s sight; however, up until their point in history, the followers of the Prophet Moses were the best.

Discrepancies in the Old Testament.

This is a matter which has been addressed by non-Muslims academics as well as by Muslims. You should refer to some of the works of Bart Ehrman for specific details. What we can say in brief is that we know that there were many descriptions of the Messenger of Allah in the Torah so that the Jews could recognise him when he did finally come, and we cannot find them in the modern Old Testament (Torah).

There are also historical inaccuracies, such as the ruler at the time of the prophet Joseph being referred to as ‘Pharaoh’ in the Old Testament, whereas historically it has been established that the ruling elite of the Hyksos people referred to their ruler as king – which is in accordance with the Qurʾānic narrative – and it was only the native Egyptians who referred to their ruler as Pharaoh.

Ultimately, the misguidance of the Jews contemporary to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) stemmed from their inability to submit to Allah choosing one of the Arabs as the bearer of His final message, and not a Jew. Safiyya b. Huyayy, the Jewish convert who became the wife of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) narrated that once the Prophet arrived in Madina and her father and uncle – the leading rabbis of her tribe returned home dejected, her uncle asked, ‘Is he a prophet?’ Her father replied in the affirmative, and they they would fight him as long as they lived simply because he was an Arab. In short, they preferred to reject all the great favours Allah had granted them, and to suffer a terrible torment in the afterlife rather than believe in a messenger who was not of their race.

In the words of Imam al-Ṭahāwī, ‘O Allah – ally of Islam and its people – keep us firm on Islam until we meet you with it.’

Allah knows best.

May Allah bless us all with clear understanding and certainty.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Was Life Present on Earth Before Humanity?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

The Quran states: “And when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.’ They said, ‘Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?’ Allah said, ‘Indeed, I know that which you do not know.'”

Does it mean that there was life before humans on earth?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

There is nothing clear and decisive on this matter.

Some of the major Quranic commentaries mention that the Jinn were present on earth prior to human beings. This is narrated by al-Tabari from Ibn Abbas who states, “The first to reside on earth were the Jinn. They spread corruption and bloodshed in it and killed one another. So, God sent Iblis with an army of angels and he fought them until they were forced to settle on islands and mountain tops. God then created Adam and placed him on earth. Thus, God said, ‘I will place upon earth a successor.’

There are a few other narrations in this regard. At the same time, some narrations mention that there was no creation present on earth prior to Adam.

Ultimately, the existence of beings before Adam is a possibility but its knowledge is known only to God.

[al-Tabari, Jami al-Bayan (2:455-56)]

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Who Is a Sahabi? Who Is Referred to When Allah Says “Allah Is Pleased With Them?”

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

1) Who is a Sahabi?

2) Who is referred to when Allah Says ‘Allah is pleased with them?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your questions. I pray this finds you in the best of states.

Definition of a Sahabi (Companion)

The scholars consider a Sahabi as someone who fulfils the following conditions:

1. That they met (came into physical proximity) of the Prophet ﷺ in this world
2. That they were Muslim when they met the Prophet ﷺ
3. That the meeting was after the Prophet ﷺ received Prophethood
4. That they died upon Islam

The following are not conditions for the person to be deemed a Sahabi:

1. That they spoke with the Prophet ﷺ when they met
2. That they saw the Prophet with their eyes

From the above, we can know that Companions who were blind, such as Ibn Umm Maktum (may Allah be pleased with him), are considered Companions even if they did not see the blessed Prophet ﷺ with their eyes. It also includes the Angels who met the Prophet on earth, such as Jibril and Mika’il (May Allah be pleased with them both).

It excludes those individuals who initially kept the company of the Prophet ﷺ, but ultimately did not die upon Islam, such as Abdullah bin Khatl, though if the person left Islam but then returned to it and died upon Islam, then they are still considered a Companion, such as Abdullah bin Abi Sarh.

[Hashiyat al Bajuri ‘ala Jawhara al Tawhid, Sharh al Mandhuma al Bayquniyya]

‘Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him’

The various verses that Allah Most High says, ‘Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him’ is general and refers to those truthful and obedient Muslims until the Day of Judgement.

For example, in Surah al Ma’idah [5:119], it refers to the ‘truthful’ ones (Sadiqin) that Allah is pleased with, with the preceding verses mentioning the truthfulness of Sayyidna Isa, as an exemplar of those who are truthful. Thus anyone who follows the example in upholding the truth, is included in those Allah is pleased with.

In Surah al Tawba [9:100], Allah the Exalted first mentions the ‘forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar’ as those Allah is pleased with. This has been taken to mean those who fought at Badr or meaning all the Sahaba, while it has also been held that it refers to those who took the allegiance of Ridwan, or those who fought at Uhud, or anyone who became Muslim before the opening of Mecca.

Irrespective of the difference of opinion, those Quranic words are then immediately followed by the words, ‘and those who followed them in goodness’ meaning those Muslims who follow the virtuous conduct of the Salaf, and this refers to any righteous Muslim who follow the way of the Salaf in their faith and works until the Day of Judgement, as stated in the books of tafsir.

[Tafsir al Sawi]

In summary, the words of Allah Most High, ‘Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him’ refers to both specific people, such as Sayyidna ‘Isa and the Early Muslims, including Companions who had little contact with the Prophet ﷺ, as well as generally to any righteous and truthful Muslim who strives to follow the conduct of our pious predecessors.

May Allah grant you every good and make you and us of those who Allah is pleased with and who are pleased with Him.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Are the Words “Siraj” And “Munir” Specific to the Sun and the Moon?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I have a question about the verse number 46 from Surah al Ahzab.

Why does Allah use the word “siraj” or “wasirajan muniran” in that ayat. Isn’t “siraj” only meant for the sun which gives off light? Doesn’t “munir” mean reflected light ?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah for your question. I pray that this finds you in the best of states.

The verses you mention are, ‘O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner, and one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp. [33:45-46]

It is clear from the verse, and as stated in the books of the tafsir, that the object being described as an illuminating lamp (sirajan muniran) is the blessed Prophet ﷺ. [Tafsir al Sawi]

Concept of Light in the Qur’an

The concept of light is abounding in the Qur’an, and indeed both the Quran and the Holy Prophet ﷺ are described as light, ‘O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light’. [4:174]. In many places in the Qur’an the word nur is used to describe the Prophet, as well as the word Allah Most High uses to describe Himself.

Other words are used in the Qur’an to refer to light or associated meanings, such siraj, munir, diyaa’, nur, all having different meanings or shades of meanings. While Allah Most High uses siraj and dyaa’ for the sun and uses munir and nur for the moon, the two words are not restricted as exclusive adjectives for the sun and the moon.

A correct translation for the word munir is, ‘Illuminating’, ‘Shining’, Luminous’ or ‘Light-giving’, The translation of ‘reflected light’ is not found in any of the main Qur’an translations or well-known Arabic Dictionaries [Pickthall, Arberry, Yusuf Ali, Taj al Arus, al Wasit]

The Prophet ﷺ as an Illuminating Lamp

In the above verse in question, the Prophet ﷺ is described with the words, siraj and munir combined. Siraj carries the meaning of a light of a lamp, which as we mentioned is the word used to describe the sun elsewhere in the Quran. The light of the sun diffuses everywhere and in the physical world, all other lights pale compared to it. Such was the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and the Message he brought.

Munir, as we mentioned, conveys the meaning of light-giving, luminous and illuminating. Both the Message and the Messenger ﷺ were a light for mankind, illuminating not only the hearts and souls of those present, but who’s light still reaches us today and through which we are guided.

The various metaphors and synonyms for light, the sun, and the moon, are also apt to describe the Prophet, for the Companions and lovers of the Prophet ﷺ have often used the sun and the moon to describe the Prophet ﷺ. Al Rubayyi` bint Mu`awwadh, describing the Prophet, ﷺ said ‘If you saw him you would say, ‘The sun is rising,’ [Dala’il al Nubuwwa], while Ka`b ibn Malik said, ‘His face would be illuminated as if it were a piece of the moon.’ [al Bukhari, Muslim].

In summary then, the words siraj and munir have different shades of meanings and are not exclusive to the sun or the moon. Rather, they can be applied literally or metaphorically to any object, person, though they are only completely realised in the essence, person, and appearance of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the Message he came with.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

I Feel That Women Are Not Part of the Qur’Anic Narrative. What Do They Get in Paradise?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I feel that women are not part of the Qur’anic narrative besides descriptions of “wide-eyed virgins” for male believers. What do women get in Paradise?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out clarity on this matter.

Quranic Narrative

“Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” [Qur’an, 33:35]

Allah speaks to both men and women in the Qur’an. This very Qur’anic verse was revealed in response to Umm Salamah’s (may Allah be pleased with her) question to the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace): “Why are we women never mentioned in the Qur’an as men are?”

Be careful not to apply present-day biases to your reading of the Qur’an. This is why it is so important for you to study Qur’anic exegesis with a scholar who has an authentic chain to the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).

Paradise

“Circulated among them will be plates and vessels of gold. And therein is whatever the souls desire and [what] delights the eyes, and you will abide therein eternally.” [Qur’an, 43:71]

Paradisal delights are there for both women and men. In Paradise, you will receive whatever you wish, in whatever form you desire. Trust in the Mercy and Love of your Creator.

To answer your specific concern:

Although the Qur’an mentions hur al-ain for men, or “wide-eyed virgins,” this does not necessarily preclude the existence of handsome male companions for female believers. (Excerpt from What Will Be the Reward of Women in Paradise? by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari)

Gender roles

I encourage you and your female friends to read this brilliant article by Dr Fareeha Khan: Allah Has Heard the Arguing Woman.

I urge you, dear sister, to study your deen. Be part of the revival of female scholarship. Websites such as SeekersHub as well as Rabata are there for you to benefit from. Learn and master classical Arabic alongside studying Qur’an with trustworthy scholars. Our spiritual tradition is vast and deep, so do not shortchange yourself with the myopic lens of postmodernity.

Strive towards Allah, have a good opinion of Him, and pray that He places contentment in your heart.

(Anse Tamara Gray’s visit helped me a lot with this question.)

May Allah make easy your path to Jannahtul Firdaus, and may He reunite you with your loved ones in everlasting bliss.

Please see:

How Does the Reward of Women in Paradise Compare to the Reward of Men?
Qualities of True Believers, Male & Female, in the Noble Qur’an – Surat al-Ahzab 33.35
Why Must Women Pray Behind Men?

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.