Reflections on Surah Taha – Dr Hadia Mubarak

Dr Hadia Mubarak reflects on Surah Taha and how it can provide us with ease and comfort in these current times of difficulty and confusion.

At times of great distress, I find my heart naturally gravitating to Surat Taha, the twentieth chapter of the Quran. Its emotive energy is powerful, taking its reader through one of the most captivating sagas of prophetic history. It puts on display the spectrum of human emotion, beginning with fear, followed by hope, then a life of privilege and access, followed by one of exile, then a sense of complete vulnerability and destituteness to God, followed by blessing, stability and gratitude. 

One of the chapter’s many appeals to its readers is the realization of converse human experiences: betrayal and loyalty, cunning enmity and trusting affirmation (i.e. the magicians), fear and love, doubt and faith. Its verses capture a depth of love that outrivals the best of human love poetry. As a mother, the words “and we returned you to your mother so that her eyes may find coolness and she may not grieve” play on the strings of my heart like music. God identifies this act of divine grace – returning Moses (peace be upon him) to be nursed by his own biological mother – as a favor to Moses’ mother, an unnamed woman whose status is so high that God wants to console and comfort her grieving heart.

The narrative of Moses’ life, from his birth to the final exodus from Egypt, can be found in many junctures of the Quran. Musa (peace be upon him) is the most mentioned prophetic name in the Quran, appearing 136 times in thirty-three chapters of the Qur’an. Yet it is chapter 20, Surat Taha, that tell us a story of love: God’s divine and tender love for Moses (peace be upon him) and Moses’ loyal and yearning devotion to God.

God proclaims His love for Moses in a literary masterpiece that combines eloquence and etiquette. In the Quran (20:39), God declares, “I have cast my love over you so that you may be reared in My eyes” and in Quran (20:41), “I have fashioned/chosen you for Myself.”

Moses is eager to reciprocate God’s love, to be worthy of this divine favor. When the Israelites have neared Mount Sinai, Moses is overtaken by his longing to hear God and rushes to Mount Sinai, leaving behind the Israelites with his brother Aaron (Harun). At this point in the chapter, God asks, “Moses, what has made you come ahead of your people in such haste?” (20:83). The insertion of Moses’ name here reflects God’s gentle tenderness towards Moses. Moses responds, “They are treading in my footsteps. And I rushed to You, My Lord, to please You.” (20:84).

Muslim exegetes interpreted this verse as a sign of Moses’ longing (شوق) to meet God, his love so intense that he could not help but run to meet His lord. In his response to God, Moses reciprocates a high level of etiquette, addressing God directly as “my Lord” and affirming his devotion to God.

Finally, the Arabic-speaking reader might notice the double appearance of the term “أوحينا” (“We have inspired”) in this chapter, first in (20:38) and then in (20:77). It is in the juxtaposition of these two verses that the saga of Moses, his mother and the Israelites comes full circle. The first time this term is used, God inspires the mother of Moses to cast him in a basket in the Nile; she must muster the courage to do the unspeakable for the sake of saving her infant, who would inevitably be killed by Pharaoh’s men if left at home. The second time the term is used, God inspires Moses to flee with the Israelites and to strike a path in the Red Sea for them. Like his mother, Moses must muster the courage and faith that God will not let him down, that he and his people will not drown, that the waters of the Sea will transform into a sanctuary for them, just as the waters of the river became a sanctuary for Moses as an infant.

The juxtaposition of these two terms  (أوحينا), side by side, reveals a deep connection between the two stories. In the first instance of inspiration, the life of one soul is saved; in the second instance of inspiration, the souls of 620,000 people are saved, according to Muslim traditions. Yet the second rescue is dependent on the first. It is only through Moses that God chooses to release the Israelites from a life of slavery, turmoil and death. The Quran’s use of the phrase, “We inspired,” in these two distinct instances threads together one woman’s courage to rescue her infant son with one man’s courage to save an entire nation.


Dr. Hadia Mubarak is an assistant professor of religious studies at Guilford College. Previously, Mubarak taught at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Davidson College. Mubarak completed her Ph.D. in Islamic studies from Georgetown University, where she specialized in modern and classical Qurʾanic exegesis, Islamic feminism, and gender reform in the modern Muslim world.


 

Invest in Leadership for Our Communities – Imam Siraj Wahhaj

“I’ve come to love this organization and the great work they do in producing our future leaders.” – Imam Siraj Wahaj

An Invitation to Support the Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan 

Imam Siraj Wahhaj discusses the Islamic Scholars Fund and the importance of investing in leadership for communities around the world.

We need your help this Ramadan to support qualified scholars and students of knowledge – our future religious leaders – to learn and to teach within our communities.  

Due to the current global crisis, with many mosques and religious institutions being forced to close, many students and scholars have been left without financial support – we can’t let this prevent the spread of benefit and guidance. Help us prevent a faith pandemic.

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan 

We need your help to raise $1 million in zakat and charity to urgently support scholars in need around the world.

There are many deserving scholars and students struggling to continue to serve their communities, despite great financial challenges.

In this sacred month, give your zakat and charity to sustain the Prophetic legacy. 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”  [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] 

Support the spread of sacred knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund this Ramadan, by giving your zakat and charity to help us raise $1 million for deserving students and scholars in need around the world. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

 

In These Last Days of Ramadan, Support the Spread of the Prophetic Legacy – Imam Yama Niazi

Imam Yama Niazi discusses the Islamic Scholars Fund and the critical importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world.

“This is a fund that helps and supports our teachers, our scholars, our da’ees and those who call to Allah (subhana wa ta’aala) ).” – Imam Yama Niazi

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support scholars in need around the world.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.” 

But in times of crisis, when our mosques and religious institutions are closed down, our scholars are left unsupported and struggling to survive. Taking up odd jobs to provide for their families, leaving our communities bereft of the light and guidance it’s in utter need of.  Therefore there is no better, more important initiative than the spread of knowledge. 

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan 

Give your zakat and charity to the Islamic Scholars Fund in these blessed last days of Ramadan to help deserving religious scholars and students. In these difficult times, knowledge has even greater impact; and your support will help it spread. 

Through your support and contributions of Zakat and Charity – to the Islamic Scholars Fund – you are directly helping deserving qualified scholars and students.  and becoming a part of the Prophetic legacy.

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Quran 2:261]

Donate now to ensure scholars have the support required to continue their priceless service to their communities.

Support the spread of sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund in these last days of  Ramadan, by giving your zakat and charity to help us raise $1 million for deserving students and scholars in need around the world. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

 

In These Last Days of Ramadan, Help Sustain Sacred Knowledge – Dr. Hadia Mubarak

In the current global crisis, many deserving scholars and students have been left unsupported; knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you can help to sustain it’s spread.

Dr. Hadia Mubarak talks about the Islamic Scholars Fund and the importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world.

“Whatever crisis we are facing never eliminates our need for accurate and reliable religious knowledge, so it is absolutely critical that we support religious scholars across the world.”  Dr. Hadia Mubarak

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan.

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support students of knowledge and qualified scholars in need around the world.

Knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you have an opportunity by donating your Zakat and Charity to help sustain it’s spread.

This Ramadan, help people around the world find light and guidance by supporting deserving scholars. Give your zakat and charity to support scholars who need it, when their knowledge is needed most.

Hadith: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”  [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] 

Support the Spread of Sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund this Ramadan, by giving your Zakat and Charity to Help Us Raise $1 Million for Deserving Students and Scholars in Need Around the World. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

Help Empower and Educate Youth with Imam Yama Niazi

In these times of confusion, help us strengthen the future and legacy of the faith by supporting the growth and religious education of our youth. Support this initiative to bring critically important knowledge to empower our youth.

Imam Yama Niazi talks about the Seekers Youth program and the importance of supporting the religious growth and education of our youth.

Spread Clarity in Confusing Times: Support Seekers Spread the Light of Guidance

Help us raise $1 Million this Ramadan to reach one million students through our online courses and programs.

Give to the Seekers Growth Fund in these last days of Ramadan to help ensure the spiritual wellbeing of our future generations.

“Our youth are very important to us, they’re our future, they are the ones that are going to live on this legacy of our deen.” Imam Niazi

No other Islamic Seminary reaches as many people, so consistently, so easily, with such clarity, so imagine how much greater that impact could be if we are able to increase this capacity. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

An Invitation to Support the Islamic Scholars Fund – Imam Khalid Latif

During these times of crisis, many scholars and students have been left without support – and we can’t afford to let this prevent the spread of Prophetic light, guidance and knowledge. 

Imam Khalid Latif explains the Islamic Scholars Fund and the importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world during the pandemic.

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan 

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support scholars in need around the world.

There are so many deserving Students and Scholars in need who are struggling to continue to teach their communities.

We ask you to help and support these inheritors to spread this light and guidance, and enable many individuals to have a deeper connection with our creator.

Give your Zakat and Charity to support the Prophetic legacy, increase people’s faith and spiritual growth during the current pandemic.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.” [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] 

Support the Spread of Sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund this Ramadan, by giving your Zakat and Charity to Help Us Raise $1 Million for Deserving Students and Scholars in Need Around the World. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

The Impact and Fruits of Worship in Ramadan and Beyond – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

Originally Published on 15/06/2017

In this Friday sermon, Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said calls us to make the most of what is left of Ramadan. He provides key advice on how to engage in worship that impacts and reflects on us positively. The impactful and fruitful worship he talks about is one that rectifies our character, and lasts beyond Ramadan. Shaykh Faid gives multiple examples of worship with lasting impact through multiple stories of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him and his folk).

* This Friday sermon was delivered at Jame Masjid Mississauga (Coopers Masjid), on June 9th, 2017. With special thanks to Ustadh Nazim Baksh for providing the recording of the sermon.

On Praise and Celebration – Shaykh Seraj Hendricks

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, a leading and renowned scholar of South Africa, discusses the spiritual and internal dimensions of Eid.

On Praise and Celebration

The two salahs (prayers) – along with the khutbahs (sermons) – of the two Eids are significantly placed at the beginning of the day of these two great Islamic occasions. They act as a singular reminder that no matter how joyous a celebration might be for us, the centrality of the Divine and normative spirituality in our lives ought never to be ignored. Our celebrations, festivities and commemorations are invariably configured within the orbit of that quintessentially Islamic practice of spirituality. Nevertheless, it remains a Sunnah to rejoice – to, in effect, feel and experience that joy – regardless of how bleak and dim matters might appear to be.

Our rejoicing, however, need not be read as a moment of insensitivity towards the suffering of others. On the contrary, our rejoicing is an expression of the Qur’anic verse: “Do not despair of the Mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins.”(39: 53) We have to rejoice at the fact that even if we have nothing other than Islam and Iman (secure faith) that this is enough cause for celebration. “Indeed, the true religion with Allah is Islam.” (Qur’an, 3: 19). Here Islam is not presented as a falsification of other prophets and religions, but as a crystalline distillation of those beliefs, rites and practices that found both their manifestation and actualization – in all their multifarious forms – throughout our sacred history from the time of the Prophet Adam (Peace be upon him) and Hawa (Peace be upon her) to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and salutations upon him). With the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and salutations upon him) the sacred chain of prophets and religions had come full circle and found its perfection in him.

In the latter sense Islam is the ultimate ni’mah (Divine Grace). Within the starkness of this condition we need to remember that in Islam the emphasis is on optimism, not pessimism. This will remain so even though it appears as if we are going through one of our most trying moments in history. There are media and cultural biases against Muslims, religiously bigoted views about Islam and active distortion about the political and social conditions in some parts of the Muslim world. But when we venture below the surface, we encounter another story – that Islam is in fact the fastest growing religion on the planet• despite the best efforts by propagandists to smear and demonize Islam and Muslims. For those in the know in the non-Muslim world, it is not bombs, bullets and the behavior of emotionally disturbed individuals speaking in the name of the ummah that will get Islam and Muslims anywhere, but potentially this demographic fact of the massive conversion rate in the world today – particularly in the Western world. Yet care should be exercised in this regard. Demographics alone is not good enough.

So, what is the position of Muslims vis-à-vis all of this? The Qur’an tells us, “When the help of Allah comes and victory; and you see people entering the religion in droves, then hymn the praises of Allah, be then grateful and seek forgiveness.” (110: 1-3). The message is clear: Islam is not the property or possession of any particular person. It does not belong to “me” to boast about when there is an increase in fortune and capital. It is not a self-aggrandizing condition that entitles cradle Muslims to sport and parade their newly acquired wares. What indeed are required are gestures of humility and thanksgiving that speak of hearts that are fully aware of the fact that Islam requires change founded in a sacred and transcendent order that seeks to spiritually liberate the human condition from the most blameworthy qualities that blight that condition. Qualities such as malicious envy, rancor, belligerence, bigotry and both internecine hatred and hatred of the “other”. In other words, celebrating the entrance of droves of humanity into Islam is meant and designed to celebrate the great qualitative changes that may precipitate from those who adopted Islam as their new faith, on the basis of choice and free will. Choices that may well contribute to elevating those cradle Muslims fossilized in an arrogance and self-righteousness that serve to undermine rather than proclaim the universal message of Islam.

The social importance of events such as Eid, however, should also not be overlooked. These are times during which thousands of Muslims fill our mosques to capacity in a collective moment of elevated togetherness. They are also times of unconditional giving and sharing – moments that know no borders, whether personal, individual, or organizational. Those who fail to participate in this unity of experience can hardly claim to be of the ‘Ai’din (participants in the celebration of Eid).

The very fact too, that it is a sunnah for women to attend the salah of the two Eids underscores the importance of a border-free participation in these two events. Like Hajj and ‘Umrah, they are designed to represent the ultimate in human togetherness. But this “human togetherness” we experience in our mosques – as Muslims proud of our religion, proud to be the bearers of the message of Islam – needs to be transferred into the broader arena of our social living.

As part of our own contribution to this togetherness my brother, Shaykh Ahmad, and I have long ago decided to join hands with those who are both firmly rooted in and creatively linked to our classical legacy and, more specifically, to that great normative Tradition of Islam that finds its expression in the voices of the likes of Hujjat al-Islam Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, al-Shaykh al-Akbar Muhyi l-Din ibn al-‘Arabi, Shykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani, Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhuli, al-Faqih al-Muqaddam, Shaykh Junayd al-Baghdadi, Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi and others far too numerous to mention. It is a Tradition, too, that has never failed to recognize and acknowledge that the Qur’an and the Sunnah form the twin sources of spirituality and Divine Grace (barakah) – a spirituality and a grace that have found their infinite space and flow upon the shores of those hearts receptive to the perennial rhythms of Divine Providence.
Upon these shores, and across the ages, stand these gladiators of Islamic Spirituality who wield those radiant staves – enlightened and enlightening – of Sufism.

In these representatives, we find an Islam that combines fearlessness with wisdom, methodology with sanity and a state of being imbued with confidence and dignity. It is an Islam that tells us when we invite to the Way of Allah that we do so with hikmah (wisdom) and maw’idht al-hasanah (beautiful exhortations). It is an Islam that tells us that representative Muslims are those who “are guided unto good speech and are guided unto the path of the Praiseworthy.” (Qur’an, 22:24). It is an Islam that teaches us that while it is permissible to requite a wrong, that it is yet better to forgive. It is an Islam that teaches us that if we are oppressed and removed from our homes that we are entitled to fight for the restoration of our natural rights. It is an Islam, moreover, that teaches that if our enemies stop their hostilities with offerings of peace that we, in turn, reciprocate with peace and get on with our lives.

In short, it is an Islam the essence of which is taught in the madrasah of Ramadan. Here we are taught the virtues of taqwa (God-consciousness), the virtues of disciplining the will and aligning it with the Will of Allah, the virtues of purifying the heart and the soul, and the virtues of sabr (patience and endurance), namely, that extraordinary and richly rewarding capacity to live with fortitude in the long term.

In this madrasah we are taught to be truly human. And we can only be truly human, in Islamic terms, if we live up to the highest standards demanded by Islamic Spirituality. It is in the context of realizing the greatness of spirit within each and every human being that we come to recognize the greatness of Allah. Moreover, we need to live up to the greatness of that spirit within each and every one of us in order to realize, not only the meaning of the takbir (magnifying Allah) on both Eids, but also to rediscover that spiritual umbilical cord that connects us to Allah:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar…La ilaha ill Allah wa l-Llahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar wa lillahi l-hamd – Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no deity other than Allah, for He, indeed, is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest and to Him belongs all praise.

Ultimate Praise is for Allah alone for it is nothing other than an echo that found its first articulation when the children of Adam (Peace be upon him) and Hawwa (Peace be upon her) were asked to bear witness to their Lord in their original state of primordial nativity: “Am I not your Lord?” They proclaimed: “Verily, we bear witness!” (Qur’an, 7: 172).

But we should not forget our praise and thanks for those upon whom and within whom the imprints of that Lordship have found their resonance and expression. They are those prophets, saints and savants who have been touched – in varying degrees – with the radiance of Divine Grace. As living symbols of all that constitutes the sacred, these are the people, too, we should never forget in our commemorations and celebrations. They form as much a part of sacred history and memory; as sacred, – if not more on occasion – as those divinely selected and sanctified moments of space and time.

 

Shaykh Seraj Hendricks

Azzavia Institute 2020

Spread Clarity in Confusing Times: Support Seekers Spread The Light of Guidance

For a number of years, SeekersGuidance has been supporting displaced Syrian scholars based in Istanbul (Turkey) through the Islamic Scholars Fund. 

This support has enabled them to dedicate themselves to teaching and spreading balanced, mainstream Islamic knowledge and guidance in a dignified manner.

However, our senior scholars felt there was still a clear gap: these scholars were dispersed across Istanbul and neighbouring areas—and it was difficult for students of knowledge to access them, and to have a clear program of traditional Islamic studies.

Dar al-Fuqaha Islamic Seminary was launched in January 2020 in a partnership with the Sultan Mehmet Waqf University (Istanbul). Our intention is to train future leaders and safeguard authentic scholarship in order to serve the global community and preserve sacred knowledge.

Support Seekers in Istanbul this Ramadan to continue this great work in providing clear learning paths with clarity, convenience and mentorship to hundreds, if not thousands of students.

Dar al-Fuqaha in Arabic

Visit Seekers Arabic Youtube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQQgpOuQZbaYz005k6hO1WA

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

SeekersGuidance is 501(c)(3) registered Not for Profit. Donations are tax-deductible in the USA.

Ramadan 2020 Reminders | Episode 9: Never Lose Hope | Shaykh Edris Khamissa

Ustadth Edris Khamissa reminds us that we should never lose hope in the mercy and blessings of Allah. However, if we wish to be recipients of Allah’s mercy and bounties, we need to ensure that we are manifesting mercy to our fellow human beings. Let us take the opportunity this Ramadan to strengthen our bonds with family, friends and strangers.

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary offers structured learning and inspiring religious guidance, completely free. We also offer over a dozen classes with scholars from around the world streamed live this Ramadan. View the full schedule and tune in daily at https://www.seekersguidance.org/live.

We offer FREE courses, with clear learning streams for Islamic studies, Youth Islamic Studies, and Learning Arabic as well as a range of topics. To Register Visit https://www.seekersguidance.org/courses.

During this current crisis, we need your help in spreading clarity in these confusing times. We are in a time when scholars and students are left without support due to the closing of religious institutions and we can’t afford to let this hurt people’s faith. Help us to raise $1 million with your zakat and charity and support the Islamic Scholars Fund.

You can also assist SeekersGuidance in spreading the light of guidance through our at https://www.seekersguidance.org/donate