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Qur’an Recitation: A SeekersGuidance Reader

Qur’an recitation forms the eighth chapter of Imam Al-Ghazali’s seminal work, the Ihya, which is widely regarded as the greatest work on Islamic spirituality in the world.

Here are some of the best SeekersGuidance resources available on the subject of Qur’an recitation. We pray they help you to enliven and to savor your recitation during these blessed days and nights.

 

Ten Ways to Benefit for Menstruating Women in Ramadan

Dread your period during the blessed month of Ramadan? Feel like you’re missing out on all the worship? Nour Merza gives women ten practical ways to spiritually benefit from this blessed month.

Every Ramadan, most women will have about a week in which they are unable to join in the major religious practices of the holy month: fasting and praying. When their menstrual period begins many women find that their level of engagement with the high spiritual atmosphere of the month drops. The same goes for those whose postnatal bleeding coincides with Ramadan. For many of these women, frustration and a sense of lacking spirituality sets in. This, however, shouldn’t be the case.

Menstruation, postnatal bleeding, and other uniquely feminine concerns are all part of Allah’s creation, which He created in perfect wisdom. They are not a punishment for women wanting to draw near their Lord. They are just part of the special package of blessings, opportunities, and challenges that Allaj has given uniquely to women. To refrain from ritual prayer (the salat) and ritual fasting (the sawm) during this time is actually considered a form of worship, and, if done with the intention of obeying Allah, it earns women good deeds.

In order to take full advantage of the blessed month of Ramadan, however, menstruating women and those with postnatal bleeding can do more than refraining from ritual prayer and ritual fasting to draw near Allah. Below are ten ways that women unable to fast can boost their spirituality during this special month.

1. Increase the Remembrance of Allah

In the Hanafi school, it is recommended for menstruating women to make wudu, wear their prayer clothes, and sit on their prayer mat while doing dhikr during the time they would normally be praying. This would be especially good to do in Ramadan, a time of special focus on worship. In addition to the adhkar that are well-known sunnas – such as subhan Allah, alhamdulliLlah and Allahu akbar. If you have a litany from a shaykh and are allowed to repeat it more than once a day, try to do it twice or three times for increased blessings. Dhikr has a special way of touching the heart, and by invoking Allah’s names whenever you can during this unique month you create the space, insha Allah, for beautiful spiritual openings. See: The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

2. Increase Supplication 

Supplication (dua) is something we do very little of these days, but speaking directly to your Lord is one of the most intimate ways to connect with Him. The beauty of supplication is that you can make it in any place or time. Take this opportunity to ask your Lord for all that you need in your life, and to draw near Him through either repeating the beautiful supplications of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, or reaching out to Allah with your own unique words. See: Ten Powerful Duas That Will Change Your Life

3. Feed Others

Whether it be your family, neighbors, community members, or the poor, use the time you are not fasting to make meals that fill the stomachs and souls of those around you. Recite the peace and blessings  (salawat) on the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, while making the food, as this imbues the food with spiritual benefit as well. Consider sponsoring iftar at your local mosque one evening with some other women who are in your situation, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen. 

4. Gain Islamic Knowledge

Use the extra time and energy you have from not fasting and praying to increase your knowledge of the faith. Listen to scholars discussing timely issues on our SeekersGuidance podcasts, form a small circle of non-fasting women who can commit to reading a book on Islam and discuss it together, or take some time to read articles on the religion from trusted online sources, such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s blog or Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s article collection at masud.co.uk. See also: Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge.

5. Increase your Charity

We are surrounded by countless blessings, so make sure to spread those blessings in the month of Ramadan. Give money to a good cause, such as supporting Syrian refugees, helping a local poor family with school fees, or supporting students of Islamic knowledge through SeekersGuidance. In a very busy world, we may have little opportunity to give our time to help others in charity – giving money takes minimal time, but brings great benefit. See: Eligible Zakat Recipients, Giving Locally vs. Abroad, Charity to a Mosque, and Proper Handling of Donations.

6. Make Your Responsibilities a Form of Worship

Sometimes, women are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the home and young children, and cannot make time to do things like study or sponsor an iftar. In these circumstances, renew your intention regarding your role as a mother and a wife. See these demanding and time-consuming roles for what they are: responsibilities that you are fulfilling to please Allah, which makes them a type of worship. Ask Allah to accept all your work as worship, and approach all that you do in this way. This will make even the most mundane of tasks, such as changing another diaper, cleaning up another spilled cup of apple juice, or making yet another dinner a way for you to gain the pleasure of your Lord. See: Balancing Worship and Caring for a New Child.

7. Listen to the Quran

Although the Hanafi school holds that women cannot touch the mushaf or recite the Qur’an while experiencing menses or postpartum bleeding, they are able to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an. Doing so offers much benefit in a month that has such a heavy emphasis on reciting the book. You can take special time out of your day to listen to it, such as while children are napping, or you can listen to it while in the midst of cooking or cleaning the house. See also: Listening to Qur’an While Occupied With Other Tasks

8. Increase Repentance

Ramadan is an excellent time to increase repentance to Allah. Use moments when others are praying or breaking their fast to ask Allah to forgive you and your loved ones and to keep you from returning to sin. All we have is a gift from Allah, so even forgetting that for a moment is a deed worth asking forgiveness from. Know that Allah is the Forgiving, and trust that, as our scholars have said, the moment you ask for forgiveness you are truly forgiven. See also: Damaged Inner State? Imam Ghazali on Repentance

9. Babysit to Help Mothers Worship

Mothers with young children often find it difficult to go to the mosque because they worry that their kids will disturb others who are praying. Since you don’t need to be at the mosque, volunteer a night or two (or more) to babysit the children of a young mother who would love to go pray tarawih. If you have young children of your own, you can tell the mother to bring her kids to your house before the prayer. By helping this woman worship, you will gain the same good deeds she gets from going to that prayer. See: I Love Being A Woman.

10. Spread Love and Light

Use the extra time and energy you have to share the joys of Ramadan and Eid with your non-Muslim friends, peers, and neighbors. Invite a work colleague for an iftar, make a special Ramadan dish and give it to a neighbor, or take time to make special cookies or gift bags for peers at the office or in school to hand out during Eid. By sharing these happy moments with friends and colleagues in the non-Muslim community, you counter the negative narratives about Islam in the media. More than that, however, you become someone who creates bonds in an increasingly isolated world, reflecting the beauty of the Prophetic light to all those around you. See: How Can Muslims Become More Effective Community Members?

 

The Three Degrees of Fasting – Imam al Ghazali

This is a translation of the passage on the three degrees of fasting from the Ihya of Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al Ghazali. Translation by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

It should be known that there are three degrees of fasting: ordinary, extraordinary, and perfect.

Ordinary fasting means abstaining from food, drink, and sexual satisfaction.

Extraordinary Fasting means keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin.

Perfect Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world.

Those versed in the spiritual life of the heart have even said that a sin is recorded against one who concerns himself all day with arrangements for breaking his Fast. Such anxiety stems from lack of trust in the bounty of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and from lack of certain faith in His promised sustenance.

To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true saints, and the intimates of Allah. It does not lend itself to detailed examination in words, as its true nature is better revealed in action. It consists of utmost dedication to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, to the neglect of everything other than Allah, Exalted is He.

It is bound up with the significance of His words:

قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Say: “Allah,” then leave them to their vain play. (Qur’an 6:91)

Inward Requirements

As for Special Fasting, this is the kind practiced by the righteous. It means keeping all one’s organs free from sin and six things are required for its accomplishment.

See Not What Displeases Allah

A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or that distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be Allah’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of Allah will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.”

Jabir relates from Anas that Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Five things break a man’s Fast: lying, backbiting, gossiping, perjury and a lustful gaze.”

Speak Not What Displeases Allah

Guarding one’s tongue against idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing, and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and with the recitation of Qur’an. This is the fasting of the tongue.

Said Sufyan: “Backbiting annuls the Fast.” Layth quotes Mujahid as saying: “Two habits annul Fasting: backbiting and telling lies.”

The Prophet, on him be peace, said: “Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is Fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: ‘I am Fasting, I am Fasting!’”

According to Tradition: “Two women were Fasting during the time of Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him. They were so fatigued towards the end of the day, from hunger and thirst, that they were on the verge of collapsing.

They, therefore, sent a message to Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, requesting permission to break their Fast. In response, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, sent them a bowl and said: “Tell them to vomit into it what they have eaten.”

One of them vomited and half filled the bowl with fresh blood and tender meat, while the other brought up the same so that they filled it between them. The onlookers were astonished. Then the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “These two women have been Fasting from what God made lawful to them, and have broken their Fast on what God, Exalted is He, made unlawful to them. They sat together and indulged in backbiting, and here is the flesh of the people they maligned!”

Hear Not What Displeases Allah

Closing one’s ears to everything reprehensible, for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah, Great and Glorious is He, equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer. In His words, Exalted is He:

سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ

Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gain. (Qur’an 5:42)

Allah, Great and Glorious is He, also said:

لَوْلَا يَنْهَاهُمُ الرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ عَن قَوْلِهِمُ الْإِثْمَ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ

Why do their rabbis and priests not forbid them to utter sin and consume unlawful profit? (Qur’an 5:63)

Silence in the face of backbiting is therefore unlawful. God, Exalted is He, said:

إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِّثْلُهُمْ

You are then just like them. (Qur’an 4:140)

That is why the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “The backbiter and his listener are partners in sin.”

Guarding the Limbs

Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking Fast. It is meaningless to Fast – to abstain from lawful food – only to break one’s Fast on what is unlawful.

A man who fasts like this may be compared to one who builds a castle but demolishes a city. Lawful food is injurious in quantity not in quality. Fasting is to reduce the former. A person might well give up excessive use of medicine, from fear of ill effects, but he would be a fool to switch to taking poison.

The unlawful is a poison deadly to religion, while the lawful is a medicine, beneficial in small doses but harmful in excess. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation.

Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!” This has been taken to mean those who break their Fast on unlawful food. Some say it refers to those who abstain from lawful food, but break their Fast on human flesh through backbiting, which is unlawful. Others consider it an allusion to those who do not guard their organs from sin.

Avoid Overeating

Not to over-indulge in lawful food at the time of breaking Fast, to the point of stuffing one’s belly. There is no receptacle more odious to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, than a belly stuffed full with lawful food.

Of what use is the Fast as a means of conquering Allah’s enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it one not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods?

It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs so that more is consumed during that time than in the course of several other months put together. It is well known that the object of Fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in order to reinforce the soul in piety.

If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening so that its appetite is aroused and its craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions.

The Secret Nature of Fasting

The spirit and secret nature of Fasting is to weaken the forces which are Satan’s means of leading us back to evil. It is therefore essential to cut down one’s intake to what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting.

No benefit is derived from the Fast if one consumes as much as one would usually take during the day and night combined. Moreover, one of the properties consists in taking little sleep during the daytime, so that one feels the hunger and thirst and becomes conscious of the weakening of one’s powers, with the consequent purification of the heart.

One should let a certain degree of weakness carry over into the night, making it easier to perform the (tahajjud) and to recite the praises (awrad). It may then be that Satan will not hover around one’s heart, and that one will behold the Kingdom of Heaven.

Layla al-Qadr

The Night of Destiny represents the night on which something of this Kingdom is revealed. This is what is meant by the words of God, Exalted is He:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

We surely revealed it on the Night of Power. (Qur’an 97:1)

Anyone who puts a bag of food between his heart and his breast becomes blind to this revelation. Nor is keeping the stomach empty sufficient to remove the veil, unless one also empties the mind of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He.

That is the entire matter, and the starting point of it all is cutting down on food.

Look To God With Fear And Hope

After the Fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one’s Fast will be accepted so that one will find favor with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs.

It is related of Al-Hasan ibn Abi al-Hasan al-Basri, that he once passed by a group of people who were laughing merrily. He said: “Allah, Great and Glorious is He, has made the month of Ramadan a racecourse, on which His creatures compete in His worship. Some have come in first and won, while others have lagged behind and lost. It is absolutely amazing to find anybody laughing and playing about on the day when success attends the victors, and failure the wasters. By Allah, if the veil were lifted off, the doer of good would surely be preoccupied with his good works and the evildoer with his evil deeds.”

Rather it is the one whose fast is accepted who should be too full of joy to indulge in idle sport, while one who has suffered rejection laughter should be precluded by remorse.

Of Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: “You are an aged elder. Fasting would enfeeble you.” But he replied: “By this I am making ready for a long journey. Obedience to Allah, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.”


Can I Recite the Qur’an From My Phone During Prayer?

Question:

Can I recite the Qur’an from my phone during prayer?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Reading the Qur’an from your phone would invalidate the prayer in the Hanafi school. You should learn some Qur’an. That is better for you in the long term. [Shurunbulali, Nur al-Idah]

Initially, all you need to know is one verse from the Fatiha. This can be learned in a few minutes. Then work up to learning the entire Fatiha.

One you know it, learn three short verses, such as the first three of Sura al-Rahman [Qur’an, 55:1-3] They contain familiar words and can be learned easily in one sitting. This amount is sufficient for the prayer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD2m3tIjkYE

https://seekersguidance.org/tag/reciting-from-mushaf/

Get a friend to help. It might be a struggle, but those who struggle for Allah are guided to the ways that lead to a closeness to Him. It is worth it.

May Allah make us of the People of the Qur’an.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

What Is the Ruling of Reciting the Suras in Order?

Question:

What is the ruling of reciting the Suras in order in the various types of prayer? What should one do, if they accidentally began reciting from Sura al-Nas in the first rak’a?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

 

Reciting Qur’an in Order

It is prohibitively disliked to intentionally recite in a backwards order in the obligatory and/or necessary prayers. This does not apply to voluntary prayers. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

If one accidentally recited in a backwards order, it is not disliked. In such a case it is best for them to continue and not disrupt the recitation. [Ibid.]

 

Sura al-Nas in the First Rak’a

If one recites, in the first unit from Sura al-Nas, it is best for them to recite the Fatiha and some part of Sura al-Baqara in the second – if possible. There is no dislike in this as the order has not been changed. [Ibid.]

Likewise, due to the praise of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who was asked, “What action is most beloved to Allah?” He replied, “The one who finishes (reciting the Qur’an) then starts anew.” [Tirmidhi]

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

The Path to Piety: The Virtues of Taqwa in the Qur’an

Tariqa Muhammadiyya (One): The Virtues of Taqwa in the Qur’an

Taqwa is the concern within one to refrain from what is displeasing to Allah and preserve what is pleasing to Him. It manifests itself upon our limbs, but it begins from the heart.

This article series—based upon Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s course The Path of Muhammad: Birgivi’s Manual of Taqwa Explained—provides an overview of what Muslims must concern themselves when seeking the attainment of taqwa. This article will focus on the verses of the Qur’an which relate to the virtues of taqwa. 

There are over one hundred fifty verses of the Qur’an that relate to taqwa and over forty verses that have explicit commands that call to taqwa. This article will cover ten of these verses, arranged thematically by Imam Birgivi. Some of these verses are accompanied with a brief commentary and advice for you to follow.

 

One.

Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an: 

“The most noble of you in the sight of Allah [in station, closeness, reward, and virtue] are the most mindful.” (Qur’an 49:13)

“And Allah is the Guarding Friend [and Patron, and Supporter, and Carer] of the mindful.” (Qur’an 45:19)

“Do not [falsely] deem yourself good, for it is Allah alone Who truly knows who is mindful [of Him].” (Qur’an 53:32)

Look inward, for taqwa can only be found in your heart! Always question the sincerity of your actions and ask yourself, “Am I truly mindful of Allah when I do good acts?” Perhaps it is a facade you put up when other people are around, and once they leave, your good action goes with them.

Two.

“And the mindful people will certainly have a good return.” (Qur’an 38:49)

Remind yourself that there is something after the insanity of this world—something to yearn for and look forward to.

Three.

“And rush towards forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden vaster than the heavens and the earth, prepared for those mindful [of Allah].” (Qur’an 3:133)

Allah has invited you, so come! If you miss this opportunity—despite constant spiritual and existential reminders—you are the one who declined the invitation. You’d have nobody to blame but yourself, for paradise is already prepared and waiting for you.

Four.

“And those who were mindful of their caring Lord will be taken to paradise in groups until they arrive at its [already] open gates. And the guardians of the gate greet them with “Peace be upon you! You have done so well, so come in, to stay forever.” (Qur’an 39:73) 

True taqwa is not merely doing ritual action because you’re “supposed to”, because this would entail being mindful of a worldly thing (your action), but not to Whom it’s for.

True taqwa is recognizing the Omnipotence, Mercy, Care, Beauty, and Awesomeness of your Lord! It is having careful restraint in this world because you’re perpetually aware of your Creator and Sustainer. 

The reason it is mentioned that we enter Paradise “in groups” is because this is an emphasis on the importance of keeping good company. Cultivate taqwa by spending time with, emulating, and serving righteous people. 

Five.

“And truly the [eternal] abode is far better for those who are mindful [of Allah]. Will you not then understand?” (Qur’an 12:102)

Which do you prefer: a fleeting, whimsical pleasure or an eternal abode of ease? Pause and reflect that your desires are fleeting and refraining from them has eternal consequences. Be clear about the reality of this world.

The honored servant of Allah is one who considered the consequences of matters. If a person doesn’t pause to reflect, they’re no different than an animal.

Six.

“…And Allah shielded them (the people of taqwa) from the punishment of Hellfire—As a complete bounty from your lord. That is [truly] the ultimate triumph.” (Qur’an 44:51–57)

The word shield has the same Arabic root as the word taqwa. You are shielded from Hell in the afterlife because you shielded yourself from the displeasure of Allah in this world.

Seven.

…And be mindful of me, O people of reason!” (Qur’an 2:197)

Reflect and reason with yourself: Allah is telling us that He is the One Who created everything from nothingness. You didn’t have to exist! The fact that He took you out of absolute nothingness into existence is a gift.

Someone remaining in Hell is better than non-existence in the first place (in an existential sense)! The One Who took you out from nothing and then sustained you, is calling and warning you. So reflect O you who have a reason! 

Eight.

“The best garment is mindfulness.” (Qur’an 7:26) 

In a time when many are worried about their appearances and outfits, we forget that we’re meant to be cloaked with the garment of taqwa. The garment of taqwa is the best and there is no goodness outside of its protection. If you beautify yourself with the garment of something outside the standard of taqwa, you won’t find any good in it. 

Nine.

“Whoever venerates the distinguishing signs of Allah, that is indeed from mindfulness that is in hearts.” (Qur’an 22:32)

Respect for any symbol of our religion is respect for Allah due to its relationship with Him. Scholars have the guidance of Allah. The Prophet is the emissary of Allah. The Qur’an is the book of Allah. The Ka’ba is the house of Allah. Increase and cultivate your mindfulness of Allah through the veneration of these symbols.

Ten.

“My Mercy encompasses all things… 

All of creation is an expression of Divine Mercy. Our mere existence is mercy, life is mercy, being human is mercy, and every moment we live in is a mercy. And there’s the potential for attaining even more mercy. How do we get it? The remainder of the verse tells us.

…And I shall write it for those who remain mindful.” (Qur’an 7:156)

Make mindful choices, even in the seemingly trivial things. And even if you mess up, Allah’s mercy encompasses it if you respond with mindfulness. From sin, repent. From temptation, turn away. From heedlessness, return to consciousness. From whims, refrain. From folly, desist.

The Path to Piety: Birgivi’s Tariqa Muhammadiya

 

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Is It True That the Various Chapters of the Qur’an Are Effective in Averting Harm?

Question:

Is it true that the various chapters of the Qur’an are effective in averting associating partners with Allah, hypocrisy, and mental or material harm?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

Regarding the merits of specific chapters (suras) of the Qur’an, they can be divided into two types: the first are those that are textually established and the second are those that are experiential.

 

Textually Established Merits

There are many Prophetic narrations explicitly mentioning various virtues and merits for reciting certain chapters/verses of the Qur’an. Below are some of the examples referred to in your question.

 

Sura al-Kafirun:

It is narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) passed by a person, while travelling, who was reciting Sura al-Kafirun, and He said, “As for this person, he is free from associating partners with Allah (shirk). He passed by another who was reciting Sura al-Ikhlas and said, “Paradise is obligatory for him.” In another narration, “His sins are forgiven.” [Ahmad]

It is narrated that the brother of Zaid bin Haritha (Allah be pleased with him) said to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), “O Messenger of Allah! Teach me something that I can say when I go to sleep.” He said, ‘When you take to your bed at night, recite Sura al-Kafirun all the way to the end. For indeed it is an absolution from shirk.'” [Ahmad; Tabarani]

 

Sura al-Falaq and Sura al-Nas

These two sura are known as the chapters of refuge. It is established in many  Hadiths that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) sought refuge in Allah Most High from many harms and ailments by reciting these two chapters, blowing into His hands, and then wiping his body with them. [Bayhaqi]

 

Experientially Established Merits

There are many examples in which righteous scholars have encouraged the reading of specific verses, chapters, remembrances, etc. for the specific benefits.

These benefits or merits, although not textually established, were either from an inspiration they received from Allah Most High or from experience where they recited for a specific reason, and that reason was realized.

Acting on such encouragements or recommendations is permissible. Our beloved teacher, Habib Hashim bin Sahl, mentioned that the constant recitation of Sura al-Ikhlas is an effective method of achieving Ikhlas (sincerity), the opposite of hypocrisy.

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

 

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

Is It Permissible To Switch Suras During Prayer?

Question:
Is it permissible to recite a different sura after already beginning a sura during prayer?
Answer:
Dear questioner,
Thank you for your important question.
May Allah, Most High reward you for your desire to increase in knowledge.
When you begin the recitation of a sura in prayer, you should continue to recite that sura and not switch to another sura.
It is only permissible to specify a sura before prayer when:
It is the only sura you know at the time
It is in following the way of the Messenger Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Ex. Reciting Sura Alif Lam Mim Sajda’ in Fajr prayer based on this Hadith:
“The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to recite the following in the Fajr Prayer of Friday, “Alif, Lam, Mim, Tanzil” [Qur’an, 32:1] and “Hal ata ala al-insani.” [Qur’an 76:1] [Bukhari, al-Sahih]

Specifying a sura for other than these reasons is disliked. [Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Razi, Tuhfat al-Muluk]

Please See:
And Allah alone knows best,
[Ustadh] Omar Popal
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Do I Properly Pronounce the Letter ‘Ayn?

Question: Can you offer any advice regarding the proper pronunciation of the letter ‘ayn in the prayer?

Question:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

May Allah reward you for your effort trying to properly recite His blessed book.

There are two important issues that should be addressed:

 

1. The Merit Of Striving Recite Properly

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The expert reciter of the Qur’an is with the noble angels and the one who recites it and stammers in its recitation, while it is burdensome for them – has two rewards.” [Muslim]

In this narration, we see that not everyone will be able to perfectly recite the Qur’an. We also see that what is sought is that one strives sincerely and their efforts are rewarded greatly.

 

2. Reciting In Prayer

The difficulty that you experience when reciting is normal. You are not obliged to repeat the verse until you feel you’ve recited it properly. Mispronouncing a letter will not affect the validity of the prayer.

Furthermore, it is more congruous to the stillness and focuses due in the prayer not to repeat the verses over and over again due to pronunciation.

Your prayers remain valid despite a mispronounced letter. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

 

Advice
 
As a person not native to the Arabic languages, I know wholeheartedly the difficulty involved in learning proper pronunciation (tajwid). One thing that greatly helped me was learning the science of Tajwid, specifically the description of each letter’s exit point.

Once you learn the exit point of the letters as theoretically expressed in the books of tajwid, it becomes easier to practice the letters. The letter ‘ayn is indeed difficult and listening to a good reciter may help.

The best advice, however, is to find a teacher who can listen to your pronunciation. Experienced Tajwid teachers not only teach you how to pronounce but also teach you why what you are doing is not producing the desired sound.

Remember that difficulty does not mean you are not achieving great reward and nearness to Allah. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said every equals 1,000 rewards. Thus each time you pronounce the ‘ayn or any other letter – remind yourself of this generous gift from Allah.

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

Does Verse 9:5 Abrogate Other Verses That Encourage Patience?

Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum, is verse 16:126 abrogated by sura 9:5? Is the narration regarding Ibn Abbas’ opinion sahih? Can we forgive the non-believer for any wrongdoing whether Muslims are the in majority or minority?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

No, verse 16:126 is not abrogated by 9:5. They have very different contexts. The verse in Sura al-Tawba refers to specific tribes of the Arab pagans who treacherously broke their treaties with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), so a declaration of war was made. The ruling was specific to that scenario. [Alusi, Ruh al-Ma’ani]

I could not find a narration from Ibn ‘Abbas stating this in the tafsir works I consulted. There are a number of differences of opinion regarding this verse, just not what you mentioned.

Yes, it is permissible to forgive non-Muslims, especially in personal dealings. As for political matters, there are rulings which pertain to the ruler of the Muslims, but that is a longer discussion for another context.

Please refer to this answer for more details.
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.