15: Seclusion & the Preservation of Faith – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, reviews verses from the Quran that correspond with the chapter on Seclusion and the Preservation of Faith from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya. The verses covered in this lesson are from the 18th chapter of the Quran on the people of the Cave, verses 9-16.

The story of the people of the Cave in the Quran focuses on the points of guidance from this story, that’s why the details of their story are not mentioned in the Quran like other Biblical traditions. The reason that reading this Chapter every Friday is to renew one’s faith. That is why the central message of the chapter is the preciousness and preservation of faith. The preservation of one’s faith is done through seclusion or migration. Here, seclusion is not an ends in itself but it is separate one from evil and its people with one’s heart and action even if one is amongst them. The physical seclusion is to give one the strength for the spiritual seclusion from their action.

أَمْ حَسِبْتَ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيمِ كَانُوا مِنْ آيَاتِنَا عَجَبًا
إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا
Or have you thought that the companions of the cave and the inscription were, among Our signs, a wonder?
[Mention] when the youths retreated to the cave and said, “Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance.” [Quran, 18:9-10]

Here, the verses mention mercy and what is meant by that mercy is faith and guidance. The story itself showcases the high levels of taqwa that the people of the cave had in their attempts to preserve their faith. As such, one should always strive to preserve what they’ve been blessed with from Allah.

هَٰؤُلَاءِ قَوْمُنَا اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً ۖ لَّوْلَا يَأْتُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِسُلْطَانٍ بَيِّنٍ ۖ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا
وَإِذِ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِهِ وَيُهَيِّئْ لَكُم مِّنْ أَمْرِكُم مِّرْفَقًا
These, our people, have taken besides Him deities. Why do they not bring for [worship of] them a clear authority? And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie?”
[The youths said to one another], “And when you have withdrawn from them and that which they worship other than Allah, retreat to the cave. Your Lord will spread out for you of His mercy and will prepare for you from your affair facility.” [Quran, 18:15-16]

Verses 15 and 16 show us that one should be vigilant in what they choose to associate with and what they choose to disassociate with. A believer should be clear about what is the truth, right and good and holds fast to it. In addition, Shaykh Faraz reminds us that we dislike the action and not the person, and disassociate with the action and not people.

Lastly, Shaykh Faraz concludes with a quote from Imam Ibn ‘Ajiba and Imam Ibn ‘Ata’illah that whoever dedicates themselves to Allah, Allah will reward them, protect them and shields there heart. To do this one should take some time for seclusion to reflect, pray, and remember Allah.

For a more detailed description of the entire Chapter on the People of the Cave, check out Shaykh Waleed Mosaad’s podcast: https://seekersguidance.org/show/01-giving-life-surah-kahf-shaykh-walead-mosaad/

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

14: Duties of Brotherhood – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faid Said

In this lesson, we are joined by visiting scholar, Shaykh Faid Said as he gives an overview of the chapter on Duties of Brotherhood from Imam Al-Ghazali’s Ihya and the verses from the Quran that correspond to it.

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy. [Quran, 49:10]
In this ayah Allah tells us that Muslims in all their affairs are brothers and this is exemplified in the way the Prophet, peace be upon him, joined between the companions from Mecca and Madinah. For this reason, Allah tells the Prophet, that it is from Allah’s favor upon him that he brought the hearts of the companions together, such that they were all one heart. The Prophet, peace be upon him, says that the Muslims in their love for one another are like one body, if one part feels pain the rest does.

Shaykh Faid explains that brotherhood is one of the requirements of faith. The Prophet, peace be upon him says, that you cannot believe until you love one another. This brotherhood is a mercy from Allah, exalted is He. This is stressed even in the Fatiha, where we address Allah in the plural, as a reminder that we worship Allah by entering the circles of the righteous.

Shaykh Faid concludes by reminding us that there are levels of paradise that cannot be attained except through brotherhood. Brotherhood is not only about being there for one another, helping them out when in trouble, but to keep an eye out for them and give them advice when they need it.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

13: The Lawful & The Prohibited – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Riad Saloojee

In this lesson, visiting scholar Shaykh Riad Saloojee reviews verses from the Quran that correspond with the chapter on the Lawful and the Prohibited from Imam Ghazali’s Ihya. Shaykh Riad covers verse 51 from Chapter 23, verse 109 from chapter 9 and verse 23 and 24 from Chapter 83.

يَا أَيُّهَا الرُّسُلُ كُلُوا مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَاعْمَلُوا صَالِحًا إِنِّي بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ عَلِيمٌ
[ Allah said], “O messengers, eat from the good foods and work righteousness. Indeed, I, of what you do, am Knowing. [Quran, 23:51]

In this verse, Allah shows that there is a relationship between what I consume and our spiritual state; as well as between our spiritual state and the actions that follow from that. We must know that there is certainly benefit in all the things Allah has allowed for us to consume and there is harm in all the things Allah has not allowed us to consume.

أَفَمَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ تَقْوَىٰ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ خَيْرٌ أَم مَّنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ شَفَا جُرُفٍ هَارٍ فَانْهَارَ بِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
Then is one who laid the foundation of his building on righteousness [with fear] from Allah and [seeking] His approval better or one who laid the foundation of his building on the edge of a bank about to collapse, so it collapsed with him into the fire of Hell? And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. [Quran, 9:109]

Shaykh Riad explains that there is a relationship between the inputs we take in of halal food and earning and the output that they yield in terms of spiritual, emotional and intellectual states. That is why Allah instructs us to be wise and careful in what we choose to consume because of the impact it has on our being.

كلا بل ران على قلوبهم ما كانوا يكسبون
كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ
No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning. No! Indeed, from their Lord, that Day, they will be partitioned. [Quran, 14-15:83]

Those who continually consume that which is unlawful will become spiritually blinded such that they will be no longer able to distinguish between that which is lawful and unlawful. Instead, they will begin to justify it and no longer see it for what it is. Shaykh Riyad warns us, that this then becomes a slippery slope that can lead one very far away from Allah.

Lastly, Shaykh Riad reminds us to continually pray that Allah suffices us with the Halal instead of the Haram and allow our hearts to attain freedom through you without need of anyone or anything else.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

12: Etiquettes of Earning a Livelihood – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faid Said

In this lesson of Renewal by the Book, we are joined by visiting scholar, Shaykh Faid Said. Shaykh Faid reviews verses from the Quran that correspond to the chapter on the Etiquettes of Acquisition and Earning Livelihood by Imam Ghazali.

وَفِي السَّمَاءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ
And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised. [Quran, 51:22]

Allah provides for each their provisions from His generosity and to those whom we may not expect. The sunnah of all Prophets is to share food with people. The story of Prophet Ibrahim, when he invited one of his visitors to believe in God and he refused, Prophet Ibrahim wanted him to leave. However, Allah told Prophet Ibrahim, I have been sustaining him for his whole life, despite his disbelief, and you refuse to feed him. Such is the generosity of Allah.

Shaykh Faid reminds us that one should be careful of how they acquire their livelihood but also how they spend it. It is not enough to eat halal but to collect your money from permissible work and permissible means. You can only seek permissible means if you have utmost faith in Allah.

Shaykh Faid concludes with a reminder, that we should all rely on Allah for our sustenance but also to act to attain. However, one should always know that their sustenance, first and foremost, is from Allah.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: http://seekershub.org/ramadan2017.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

11: Supplication – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Riad Saloojee

In the eleventh lesson of Renewal by the Book we are joined by visiting scholar, Shaykh Riad Saloojee. Shaykh Riad reviews key verses of the Quran that correspond to Imam Al-Ghazali’s chapter on supplication. He covers verse 60 from Surat Ghafir, the 40th chapter of the Quran.

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ
And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.

Shaykh Riad reflects on this verse, indicating that this verse points to one’s relationship with Allah that it is one of neediness. So one should ask Allah for both material and spiritual giving. The verse continues to say that “those who are too proud for My worship…” and worship here refers to supplication. Those who refrain from supplication are thus characterized with arrogance and pride. Thus the scholars say when I find myself refraining from supplication or find it hard to engage in it, then that is an indicator of one’s pride and arrogance.

In order for one to engage in proper supplication one should not do it as a form of ritual. Rather, one should engage in supplication with presence of heart and with sincerity. Indeed, one should make supplication like a drowning person with your reliance solely on Allah. In turn, the greatest prize of supplication that your heart is focused on Allah.

In conclusion, Shaykh Riad reminds us that the most important part of supplication is reminding ourselves that there are no means other than Allah and that requires work, especially at a time when there may be many other superficial means that one thinks they can rely on, but our true reliance should always be on Allah.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: https://seekersguidance.org/ramadan.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

10: Spiritual Routines – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Riad Saloojee

In the tenth lesson of Renewal by the Book we are joined by visiting scholar, Shaykh Riad Saloojee. Shaykh Riad reviews key verses of the Quran that correspond to Imam Al-Ghazali’s chapter on spiritual routines. He covers verse 28 from Surat Al-Kahf, the 18th chapter of the Quran.

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا
“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.”

It is difficult for the nafs to focus on Allah and continue in its remembrance of Allah and so to be able to do so one needs to find the company that will push us to do so and so we can imbibe their characteristics. Allah then warns us of following those who are not righteous because the consequence of that is that your heart will be affected by your lower self. Instead of following Allah’s commands you make your own lower self your idol.

Shaykh Riyad reminds us that even if one is doing community work or advocating on behalf the community, their work should not be devoid of remembrance of Allah. The lack of remembrance can me one more prone to mistake and to following our base self over doing what is right or most pleasing to Allah.

Shaykh Riyad concludes with council to the listener to always prioritize the remembrance of Allah because it gives one a balanced perspective and makes one less prone to extremes of action.

In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: https://seekersguidance.org/ramadan.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

09: Remembrance & Supplication – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz looks at the key verses in the Quran corresponding to the ninth chapter of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya: Remembrance and Supplication. He highlights the verses 151-153 from Surah Al-Baqarah, which detail the importance and virtue of the remembrance of Allah.

كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولاً مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُواْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“Just as We have sent among you a messenger of your own who recites to you Our revelations, purify you, and teach you the Scripture and Wisdom; and to teach you what you did not know”

This verse outlines the gift that Allah has bestowed upon us and that is the gift of guidance.

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلاةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

“So remember me and I will remember you; be thankful to Me and never ungrateful. You who believe, seek help through steadfastness and prayer, for God is with the steadfast.”

The consequence of the gift that Allah has bestowed upon us is that we must engage in His remembrance and in thankfulness of Him. The sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is balanced on two pillars that are the foundation of it: to remember Allah and to be thankful.

In addition, Shaykh Faraz highlights the role of the Prophet, peace be upon him, as mentioned in verse 151: to convey revelation, to purify you (and that is the purpose of revelation), explains to you the revelation and teaches you wisdom (and that is the sunnah).

Shaykh Faraz explains that true remembrance is for your heart to be conscious of Allah without being attached to anything else and the reward for that is that Allah will grant you spiritual openings. Ultimately, this remembrance should stem from your love for Him.

In summary, Shaykh Faraz reminds us to keep our tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah. If you would like to read more on this topic you can read the Imam Ibn Rajab’s: The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom.

Resource: Tafsir al-Qushayri
http://www.greattafsirs.com/Books/lataif.pdf

In this series Shaykh Faraz will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: https://seekersguidance.org/ramadan.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

08: Recitation of the Quran – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz looks at the key verses in the Quran corresponding to the eighth chapter of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya: Etiquettes of Reciting the Quran. He highlights the verses 29-34 from Surah Fatir, which detail the merits of the people of the Quran. These verses were referred to by the early Muslims as the verses of the Quran reciters.

Those who recite the book of Allah and act upon it, they pray, give in charity and fulfill the commands of Allah so Allah promises them a tremendous reward. Allah rewards those who recite the Quran and live it and Allah will give an increase of His from His bounty. Scholars say that that increase in bounty is that Allah allows them to gaze upon Him when they enter paradise; and they are not given a greater reward than that one.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلاةَ وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ
لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّهُ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
“Those who recite God’s scripture, keep up the prayer, give secretly and openly from what We have provided for them, may hope for a trade that will never decline; He will repay them in full, and give them extra from His bounty. He is most forgiving and most appreciative” [35. 29-30]

Any act that one engages for the sake of Allah is rewarded, at least, in 10 fold and Allah gives extra from His bounty. In this ayah Recitation does not only refer to reading the Quran but also implementing what you have read from requirements, state of being and virtues. Lastly, this ayah calls on believers to seek Allah’s forgiveness and expect His generous reward.

وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ هُوَ الْحَقُّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِعِبَادِهِ لَخَبِيرٌ بَصِيرٌ
ثُمَّ أَوْرَثْنَا الْكِتَابَ الَّذِينَ اصْطَفَيْنَا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا فَمِنْهُمْ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ وَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمِنْهُمْ سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَاتِ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْكَبِيرُ
“The scripture We have revealed to you [Prophet] is the Truth and confirms the scripture that preceded it. God is well informed about His servants. He sees everything. We gave the blessing of scripture as a heritage to Our chosen servants, some of them wronged their own souls, some stayed between [right and wrong] and some by God’s leave were foremost in Good deeds. That is the greatest favour…”

These verses tell us about what matters in this life and what doesn’t. God is greater and more worthy of your concern than anything else and the next life is better for you than this one; these two are important truths. If one falls short of the above are instructed by Allah to continually repent for Allah is the all forgiving.

جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ يَدْخُلُونَهَا يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍ وَلُؤْلُؤًا وَلِبَاسُهُمْ فِيهَا حَرِيرٌ
وَقَالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَنَ إِنَّ رَبَّنَا لَغَفُورٌ شَكُور
“They will enter lasting Gardens where they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, where they will wear silk garments. They will say ‘Praise be to God, who has separated us from all sorrow! Our Lord is truly most forgiving, most appreciative.”

These verses remind us of the vastness of the next life that is open to the ones of faith. They also remind us to prioritize the next life over this one and to act accordingly. Lastly, the Quran calls us to be content with our Lord fully in this life, have gratitude to Allah and to praise Him. Reciting the Quran with reflection allows one to reach all of this.

Resources:

[1] [Video Lecture] Becoming People of the Qur’an – Shaykh Abdullah el-Haddad (https://youtu.be/2kLYcRzjXQY)

[2] [On-Demand Course] Living the Quran: Ghazali’s Manners of Qur’an Recital with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (#/)

[3] [Podcast Show] Qur’an Tafsir: Understanding the Word of Allah (https://seekersguidance.org/names/quran-tafsir-understanding-the-word-of-allah/)

In this series Shaykh Faraz will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: https://seekersguidance.org/ramadan.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

07: Hajj – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz looks at the key verses in the Quran related to Hajj, corresponding to the seventh chapter of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya. He highlights the verses 27-32 from Surah Al-Hajj, which outline the meaning and purpose of Hajj.

وَأَذِّن فِى ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ

لِّيَشْهَدُوا۟ مَنَٰفِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا۟ ٱسْمَ ٱللَّهِ فِىٓ أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَٰتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّنۢ بَهِيمَةِ ٱلْأَنْعَٰمِ ۖ فَكُلُوا۟ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا۟ ٱلْبَآئِسَ ٱلْفَقِيرَ

“Proclaim the pilgrimage to all people, they will come to you on foot and they’ll come on all kind of mount emerging from every deep mountain pass. In order to witness all kinds of benefits for them and in order to remember the name of Allah for a known number of days for what Allah has provided for them. So feed yourself of that livestock and give to feed the destitute and the unfortunate… “ [Quran 22, 27-28]

In these verses Allah tells us some of the spiritual aims of Hajj. The Pilgrimage has many acts of worship each of which has its own benefits. Each act is done out of submission to Allah and to the extent to which it is done with that intention you will find benefit in it.

People with respect to Hajj are of 3 types:

[1] Those who go to Hajj unprepared and that is foolishness, they gain some benefit but miss out on a lot.

[2] Those who prepare outwardly only for the Hajj, and that is important.

[3] Those who prepare outwardly but also understand why they are doing it. One should prepare well advance to Hajj.

One of the highly recommended resources for this is Imam Ghazali’s Chapter on Hajj (or as translated in the book Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship) that details the spiritual benefits of Hajj.

Imam Al-Ghazali describes Hajj as a reenactment of resurrection and the Hereafter or as a reenactment of the various challenges of life. The metaphor of tawaf is a metaphor of love so throughout our day we keep turning towards the One we love through prayer. However, the believer wants to express more fully the nature of their love to Allah and the Hajj expresses that.

ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا۟ تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا۟ نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا۟ بِٱلْبَيْتِ ٱلْعَتِيقِ

ذَٰلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ حُرُمَٰتِ ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُۥ عِندَ رَبِّهِۦ ۗ وَأُحِلَّتْ لَكُمُ ٱلْأَنْعَٰمُ إِلَّا مَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ فَٱجْتَنِبُوا۟ ٱلرِّجْسَ مِنَ ٱلْأَوْثَٰنِ وَٱجْتَنِبُوا۟ قَوْلَ ٱلزُّورِ

“so let the pilgrims perform their acts of cleansing, fulfil their vows, and circle around the Ancient House.”

“All this [is ordained by God]: anyone who honors the sacred ordinances of God will have good rewards from His Lord…” [Quran 22, 29-30]

In these verses Allah reminds us that this is a devotional act and that we are servants to Allah as such we carry out the acts of devotion in the way He ordained not in the ways we prefer.

حُنَفَآءَ لِلَّهِ غَيْرَ مُشْرِكِينَ بِهِۦ ۚ وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِٱللَّهِ فَكَأَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ فَتَخْطَفُهُ ٱلطَّيْرُ أَوْ تَهْوِى بِهِ ٱلرِّيحُ فِى مَكَانٍ سَحِيقٍ

ذَٰلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَٰٓئِرَ ٱللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى ٱلْقُلُوبِ

“Steadfastly upright for Allah, not associating any with Him. And he who associates with Allah – it is as though he had fallen from the sky and was snatched by birds or the wind carried him down into a remote place. That [is so]. And whoever honors the signs of Allah – indeed it is from the piety of the hearts.” [Quran 22, 31-32]

In closing, verses 31 and 32 are a description of what is at the heart of partaking in Hajj embodied by the one who built the Ka’ba, Prophet Ibrahim. He was upright in his devotion to Allah. The Haneef is the one who seeks Allah in all that they do. The lesson of Hajj is to make your whole life revolve around Allah. The requirement of that is outlined in the last verse: to have taqwa of Allah through considering everything that has a relation to Allah to be great and in particular the manifest signs of Allah.

For a more detailed explanation of the actions of Hajj by Imam Al-Junaid and how to attain a ‘True Hajj’ please visit this blog post: https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/true-hajj/

In this series Shaykh Faraz will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: https://seekersguidance.org/ramadan.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/

06: Fasting & Ramadan – Renewal by the Book: Quran Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz highlights the verses 183-186 of Surat al-Baqara, which are the verses on fasting and Ramadan. They correspond to the sixth chapter of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya on fasting. He tells us about the aims of fasting through these verses, and gives some key meanings of those aims and tips on how to attain them.

In verse 183 of Surat al-Baqara, Allah tells us that “Believers! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God.” (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ). First, Shaykh Faraz explains the balance and significance of corresponding with the people of book and faith before Islam. He clarifies the difference between corresponding and following, and how correspondence gives a sense of continuity of guidance.

Shaykh Faraz then explains the concept of taqwa (mindfulness of Allah). He defines it as guarding oneself from the displeasure of Allah. He then gives some key guidance of how to attain that taqwa.

Then in verse 185 of Surat al-Baqara, Allah tells us that “Ramadan is the month that the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind,clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong…God wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful.” (شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ… يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ). Shaykh Faraz explains that the verses highlight that the significance of the month of Ramadan is that it is the month the Quran was revealed in, and not the month of fasting. He also highlights that it is an opportunity to recognize Divine mercy, ease and have gratitude.

Finally, in verse 186 of Surat al-Baqara Allah tells us: “[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.” (وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ). Shaykh Faraz tells us that this verse expresses the reality of Allah’s immediate closeness without mediation, and what that means. He also highlights the saying of one of the early imams of Islam, Imam Sahl al-Tustari, on the first of the stations of closeness to Allah. He says that it is to feel shyness and shame before Allah of how heedless one is, and how little one is putting forth for the sake of Allah.

In this series Shaykh Faraz will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Knowledges). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.

Join our Ramadan 2017 program: #RamadanRenewal, in-person at SeekersGuidance Toronto or online through the SeekersGuidance Global platform. For more details, visit: https://seekersguidance.org/ramadan.

Checkout all of the SeekersGuidance podcasts by visiting https://seekersguidance.org/podcasts/