Sunday

Tafsir last ten surah - 1 (Surah Al-Fil)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ  

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

أَلَمۡ تَرَ كَيۡفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصۡحَـٰبِ ٱلۡفِيلِ (١

105:1 Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the Owners of the Elephant?

أَلَمۡ يَجۡعَلۡ كَيۡدَهُمۡ فِى تَضۡلِيلٍ۬ (٢

105:2 Did He not make their plot go astray?

وَأَرۡسَلَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ طَيۡرًا أَبَابِيلَ (٣

105:3 And He sent against them birds, in flocks (Ababil).

تَرۡمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ۬ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ۬ (٤

105:4 Striking them with stones of Sijjil.

فَجَعَلَهُمۡ كَعَصۡفٍ۬ مَّأۡڪُولِۭ (٥

105:5 And He made them like `Asf, Ma'kul.

This is one of the favors Allah did for the Quraysh. He saved them from the People of the Elephant who had tried to tear down the Ka`bah and wipe out all traces of its existence. Allah destroyed them, defeated them, thwarted their plans, made their efforts in vain and sent them back routed.

They were people who were Christians, and thus, their religion was closer to the True Religion (Islam) than the idolatry of the Quraysh. However, this was a means of giving a sign and preparing the way for the coming of the Messenger of Allah. For verily, he was born during that same year according to the most popular opinion. So the tongue of destiny was saying, "We will not help you, O people of Quraysh, because of any status you may have over the Ethiopians (Abyssinians). We are only helping you in order to defend the Ancient House (the Ka`bah), which We will honor, magnify, and venerate by sending the unlettered Prophet, Muhammad , the Finality of all Prophets.''


A Summary of the Story of the People of the Elephant

This is the story of the people of the Elephant, in brief, and summarized. It has already been mentioned in the story of the People of the Ditch that Dhu Nuas, the last king of Himyar, a polytheist, was the one who ordered killing the People of the Ditch. They were Christians and their number was approximately twenty thousand. None of them except a man named Daws Dhu Thalaban escaped. He fled to Ash-Sham where he sought protection from Caesar, the emperor of Ash-Sham, who was also a Christian.

Caesar wrote to An-Najashi, the king of Ethiopia (Abyssinia), who was closer to the home of the man. An-Najashi sent two governors with him: Aryat and Abrahah bin As-Sabah Abu Yaksum, along with a great army. The army entered Yemen and began searching the houses and looting in search of the king of Himyar (Dhu Nuwas). Dhu Nuwas was eventually killed by drowning in the sea. Thus, the Ethiopians were free to rule Yemen, with Aryat and Abrahah as its governors.

However, they continually disagreed about matters, attacked each other, fought each other and warred against each other, until one of them said to the other, "There is no need for our two armies to fight. Instead let us fight each other (in a duel) and the one who kills the other will be the ruler of Yemen.''

So the other accepted the challenge and they held a duel. Behind each man was a channel of water (to keep either from fleeing). Aryat gained the upper hand and struck Abrahah with his sword, splitting his nose and mouth, and slashing his face. But Atawdah, Abrahah's guard, attacked Aryat and killed him. Thus, Abrahah returned wounded to Yemen where he was treated for his injuries and recovered. He thus became the commander of the Abyssinian army in Yemen.

Then the king of Abyssinia, An-Najashi wrote to him, blaming him for what had happened (between him and Aryat) and threatened him, saying that he swore to tread on the soil of Yemen and cut off his forelock. Therefore, Abrahah sent a messenger with gifts and precious objects to An-Najashi to appease him and flatter him, and a sack containing soil from Yemen and a piece of hair cut from his forelock. He said in his letter to the king, "Let the king walk upon this soil and thus fulfill his oath, and this is my forelock hair that I send to you.''

When An-Najashi received this, he was pleased with Abrahah and gave him his approval. Then Abrahah wrote to An-Najashi saying that he would build a church for him in Yemen the like of which had never been built before. Thus, he began to build a huge church in San`a', tall and beautifully crafted and decorated on all sides.

The Arabs called it Al-Qullays because of its great height and because if one looked at it, his cap would be in danger of falling off as he tilted his head back. Then Abrahah Al-Ashram decided to force the Arabs to make their pilgrimage to this magnificent church, just as they had performed pilgrimage to the Ka`bah in Makkah.

He announced this in his kingdom (Yemen), but it was rejected by the Arab tribes of Adnan and Qahtan. The Quraysh were infuriated by it, so much so that one of them journeyed to the church and entered it one night. He then relieved himself in the church and ran away (escaping the people). When its custodians saw what he had done, they reported it to their king, Abrahah, saying; "One of the Quraysh has done this in anger over their House in whose place you have appointed this church.''

Upon hearing this, Abrahah swore to march to the House of Makkah (the Ka`bah) and destroy it stone by stone. Muqatil bin Sulayman mentioned that a group of young men from the Quraysh entered the church and started a fire in it on an extremely windy day. So the church caught on fire and collapsed to the ground. Due to this Abrahah prepared himself and set out with a huge and powerful army so that none might prevent him from carrying out his mission.

He took along a great, powerful elephant that had a huge body the like of which had never been seen before. This elephant was called Mahmud and it was sent to Abrahah from An-Najashi, the king of Abyssinia, particularly for this expedition. It has also been said that he had eight other elephants with him; their number was also reported to be twelve, plus the large one, Mahmud. - and Allah knows best-

Their intention was to use this big elephant to demolish the Ka`bah. They planned to do this by fastening chains to the pillars of the Ka`bah and placing the other ends around the neck of the elephant. Then they would make the elephant pull on them in order to tear down the walls of the Ka`bah all at one time.

When the Arabs heard of Abrahah's expedition, they considered it an extremely grave matter. They held it to be an obligation upon them to defend the Sacred House and repel whoever intended a plot against it. Thus, the noblest man of the people of Yemen and the greatest of their chiefs set out to face him (Abrahah). His name was Dhu Nafr.

He called his people, and whoever would respond to his call among the Arabs, to go to war against Abrahah and fight in defense of the Sacred House. He called the people to stop Abrahah's plan to demolish and tear down the Ka`bah. So the people responded to him and they entered into battle with Abrahah, but he defeated them. This was due to Allah's will and His intent to honor and venerate the Ka`bah.

The army continued on its way until it came to the land of Khatham where it was confronted by Nufayl bin Habib Al- Kath`ami along with his people, the Shahran and Nahis tribes. They fought Abrahah but he defeated them and captured Nufayl bin Habib. Initially he wanted to kill him, but he forgave him and took him as his guide to show him the way to Al-Hijaz.

When they approached the area of At-Ta'if, its people (the people of Thaqif) went out to Abrahah. They wanted to appease him because they were fearful for their place of worship, which they called Al-Lat. Abrahah was kind to them and they sent a man named Abu Righal with him as a guide.

When they reached a place known as Al-Mughammas, which is near Makkah, they settled there. Then he sent his troops on a foray to capture the camels and other grazing animals of the Makkans, which they did, including about two hundred camels belonging to Abdul-Muttalib. The leader of this particular expedition was a man named Al-Aswad bin Mafsud.

According to what Ibn Ishaq mentioned, some of the Arabs used to satirize him (because of the part he played in this historical incident). Then Abrahah sent an emissary named Hanatah Al-Himyari to enter Makkah, commanding him to bring the head of the Quraysh to him. He also commanded him to inform him that the king will not fight the people of Makkah unless they try to prevent him from the destruction of the Ka`bah.

Hanatah went to the city and he was directed to Abdul-Muttalib bin Hashim, to whom he relayed Abrahah's message. Abdul-Muttalib replied, "By Allah! We have no wish to fight him, nor are we in any position to do so. This is the Sacred House of Allah, and the house of His Khalil, Ibrahim, and if He wishes to prevent him (Abrahah) from (destroying) it, it is His House and His Sacred Place (to do so). And if He lets him approach it, by Allah, We have no means to defend it from him.''

So Hanatah told him, "Come with me to him (Abrahah).'' And so Abdul-Muttalib went with him.
When Abrahah saw him, he was impressed by him, because Abdul-Muttalib was a large and handsome man. So Abrahah descended from his seat and sat with him on a carpet on the ground.

Then he asked his translator to say to him, "What do you need'' Abdul-Muttalib replied to the translator, "I want the king to return my camels which he has taken from me which are two
hundred in number.'' Abrahah then told his translator to tell him, "I was impressed by you when I first saw you, but now I withdraw from you after you have spoken to me. You are asking me about two hundred camels which I have taken from you and you leave the matter of a house which is (the foundation of) religion and the religion of your fathers, which I have come to destroy and you do not speak to me about it''

Abdul-Muttalib said to him, "Verily, I am the lord of the camels. As for the House, it has its Lord Who will defend it.'' Abrahah said, "I cannot be prevented (from destroying it).'' Abdul-Muttalib answered, "Then do so.'' It is said that a number of the chiefs of the Arabs accompanied Abdul-Muttalib and offered Abrahah a third of the wealth of the tribe of Tihamah if he would withdraw from the House, but he refused and returned Abdul-Muttalib's camels to him.

Abdul-Muttalib then returned to his people and ordered them to leave Makkah and seek shelter at the top of the mountains, fearful of the excesses which might be committed by the army against them. Then he took hold of the metal ring of the door of the Ka`bah, and along with a number of Quraysh, he called upon Allah to give them victory over Abrahah and his army. Abdul-Muttalib said, while hanging on to the ring of the Ka`bah's door, "There is no matter more important to any man right now than the defense of his livestock and property. So, O my Lord! Defend Your property. Their cross and their cunning will not be victorious over your cunning by the time
morning comes.''

According to Ibn Ishaq, then Abdul-Muttalib let go of the metal ring of the door of the Ka`bah, and they left Makkah and ascended to the mountains tops. Muqatil bin Sulayman mentioned that they left one hundred animals (camels) tied near the Ka`bah hoping that some of the army would take some of them without a right to do so, and thus bring about the vengeance of Allah upon
themselves.

When morning came, Abrahah prepared to enter the sacred city of Makkah. He prepared the elephant named Mahmud. He mobilized his army, and they turned the elephant towards the Ka`bah. At that moment Nufayl bin Habib approached it and stood next to it, and taking it by its ear, he said, "Kneel, Mahmud! Then turn around and return directly to whence you came. For verily, you are in the Sacred City of Allah.''

Then he released the elephant's ear and it knelt, after which Nufayl bin Habib left and hastened to the mountains. Abrahah's men beat the elephant in an attempt to make it rise, but it refused. They beat it on its head with axes and used hooked staffs to pull it out of its resistance and make it stand, but it refused. So they turned him towards Yemen, and he rose and walked quickly. Then they turned him towards Ash- Sham and he did likewise. Then they turned him towards the east and he did the same thing. Then they turned him towards Makkah and he knelt down again.

Then Allah sent against them the birds from the sea, like swallows and herons. Each bird carried three stones the size of chickpeas and lentils, one in each claw and one in its beak. Everyone who was hit by them was destroyed, though not all of them were hit. They fled in panic along the road asking about the whereabouts of Nufayl that he might point out to them the way home. Nufayl, however, was at the top of the mountain with the Quraysh and the Arabs of the Hijaz observing the wrath which Allah had caused to descend on the people of the elephant. Nufayl then began to say, "Where will they flee when the One True God is the Pursuer For Al Ashram is defeated and not the victor."

Ibn Ishaq reported that Nufayl said these lines of poetry at that time, "Didn't you live with continued support We favored you all with a revolving eye in the morning (i.e., a guide along the way). If you saw, but you did not see it at the side of the rock covered mountain that which we saw. Then you will excuse me and praise my affair, and do not grieve over what is lost between us. I praised Allah when I saw the birds, and I feared that the stones might be thrown down upon us. So all the people are asking about the whereabouts of Nufayl, as if I have some debt that I owe the Abyssinians.''

Ata' bin Yasar and others have said that all of them were not struck by the torment at this hour of retribution. Rather some of them were destroyed immediately, while others were gradually broken down limb by limb while trying to escape. Abrahah was of those who was broken down limb by limb until he eventually died in the land of Khatham.

Ibn Ishaq said that they left (Makkah) being struck down and destroyed along every path and at every water spring. Abrahah's body was afflicted by the pestilence of the stones and his army carried him away with them as he was falling apart piece by piece, until they arrived back in San`a'. When they arrived there he was but like the baby chick of a bird. And he did not die until his heart fell out of his chest. So they claim.

Ibn Ishaq said that when Allah sent Muhammad with the Prophethood, among the things that he used to recount to the Quraysh as blessings that Allah had favored them with of His bounties, was His defending them from the attack of the Abyssinians. Due to this they (the Quraysh) were allowed to remain (safely in Makkah) for a period of time.

Thus, Allah said,

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
أَلَمۡ تَرَ كَيۡفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِأَصۡحَـٰبِ ٱلۡفِيلِ (١) أَلَمۡ يَجۡعَلۡ كَيۡدَهُمۡ فِى تَضۡلِيلٍ۬ (٢) وَأَرۡسَلَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ طَيۡرًا أَبَابِيلَ (٣) تَرۡمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ۬ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ۬ (٤) فَجَعَلَهُمۡ كَعَصۡفٍ۬ مَّأۡڪُولِۭ (٥)

Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the Owners of the Elephant?
Did He not make their plot go astray? And He sent against them birds, in flocks (Ababil).
Striking them with stones of Sijjil. And He made them like `Asf, Ma'kul. (105:1-5)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
لِإِيلَـٰفِ قُرَيۡشٍ (١) إِۦلَـٰفِهِمۡ رِحۡلَةَ ٱلشِّتَآءِ وَٱلصَّيۡفِ (٢) فَلۡيَعۡبُدُواْ رَبَّ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡبَيۡتِ (٣) ٱلَّذِىٓ أَطۡعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ۬ وَءَامَنَهُم مِّنۡ خَوۡفِۭ (٤)

For the Ilaf of the Quraysh, their Ilaf caravans, in winter and in summer.
So, let them worship the Lord of this House,
Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear. (106:1-4)

  • meaning, that Allah would not alter their situation because Allah wanted good for them if they accepted Him.
Ibn Hisham said, "Al-Ababil are the groups, as the Arabs do not speak of just one (bird).'' He also said, "As for As-Sijjil, Yunus An-Nahwi and Abu Ubaydah have informed me that according to the Arabs, it means something hard and solid.'' He then said, "Some of the commentators have mentioned that it is actually two Persian words that the Arabs have made into one word. The two words are Sanj and Jil, Sanj meaning stones, and Jil meaning clay. The rocks are of these two types: stone and clay.'' He continued saying, "Al-`Asf are the leaves of the crops that are not gathered. One of them is called `Asfah.'' This is the end of what he mentioned.


وَأَرۡسَلَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ طَيۡرًا أَبَابِيلَ
And He sent against them birds, in flocks (Ababil).

Hammad bin Salamah narrated from Asim, who related from Zirr, who related from `Abdullah and Abu Salamah bin `Abdur-Rahman that they said, (birds Ababil) "In groups.'' Ibn `Abbas and Ad-Dahhak both said, "Ababil means some of them following after others.''

Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Qatadah both said, "Ababil means many.'' Mujahid said, "Ababil means in various, successive groups.'' Ibn Zayd said, "Ababil means different, coming from here and there. They came upon them from everywhere.''

Al-Kasa'i said, "I heard some of the grammarians saying, "The singular of Ababil is Ibil.'' Ibn Jarir recorded from Ishaq bin Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Nawfal that he said concerning Allah's statement, "This means in divisions just as camels march in divisions (in their herds).''

It is reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "They had snouts like the beaks of birds and paws like the paws of dogs.'' Ikrimah said commenting on Allah's statement, "They were green birds that came out of the sea and they had heads like the heads of predatory animals.''

It has been reported from `Ubayd bin `Umayr that about he commented: "They were black birds of the sea that had stones in their beaks and claws.'' And the chains of narration (for these statements) are all authentic.

تَرۡمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ۬ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ۬
Striking them with stones of Sijjil.

It is reported from Ubayd bin Umayr that he said, "When Allah wanted to destroy the People of the Elephant, he sent birds upon them that came from sea swallows. Each of the birds was carrying three small stones -- two stones with its feet and one stone in its beak. They came until they gathered in rows over their heads. Then they gave a loud cry and threw what was in their claws and beaks. Thus, no stone fell upon the head of any man except that it came out of his behind (i.e., it went through him), and it did not fall on any part of his body except that it came out from the opposite side. Then Allah sent a severe wind that struck the stones and increased them in force. Thus, they were all destroyed.''

Concerning Allah's statement,

فَجَعَلَهُمۡ كَعَصۡفٍ۬ مَّأۡڪُولِۭ
And He made them like `Asf, Ma'kul.

Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "This means straw, which the common people call Habbur.'' In a report from Sa`id he said, "The leaves of wheat.'' He also said, "Al-`Asf is straw, and Al-Ma'kul refers to the fodder that is cut for animals.'' Al-Hasan Al-Basri said the same thing.

Ibn `Abbas said, "Al-`Asf is the shell of the grain, just like the covering of wheat.'' Ibn Zayd said,
"Al-`Asf are the leaves of vegetation and produce. When the cattle eat it they defecate it out and it becomes dung.'' The meaning of this is that Allah destroyed them, annihilated them and repelled them in their plan and their anger. They did not achieve any good. He made a mass destruction of them, and not one of them returned (to their land) to relate what happened except that he was wounded. This is just like what happened to their king, Abrahah. For indeed he was split open, exposing his heart when he reached his land of San`a'. He informed the people of what happened to them and then he died.

His son Yaksum became the king after him, and then Yaksum's brother, Masruq bin Abrahah succeeded him. Then Sayf bin Dhi Yazan Al-Himyari went to Kisra (the king of Persia) and sought his help against the Abyssinians. Therefore, Kisra dispatched some of his army with Sayf Al Himyari to fight with him against the Abyssinians. Thus, Allah returned their kingdom to them (i.e., the Arabs of Yemen) along with all the sovereignty their fathers possessed. Then large delegations of Arabs came to him (Sayf Al- Himyari) to congratulate him for their victory.

We have mentioned previously in the Tafsir of Surah Al-Fath that when the Messenger of Allah approached the mountain pass that would lead him to the Quraysh on the Day of Al- Hudaybiyyah, his she-camel knelt down. Then the people attempted to make her get up but she refused. So, the people said, "Al-Qaswa' has become stubborn.''

The Prophet replied, "Al-Qaswa' has not become stubborn, for that is not part of her character. Rather, she has been stopped by He Who restrained the Elephant (of Abrahah)." Then he said, "I swear by He in Whose Hand is my soul, they (the Quraysh) will not ask me for any matter (of the treaty) in which the sacred things of Allah are honored except that I will agree with them on it." Then he beckoned the she-camel to rise and she stood up. This Hadith is of those that Al-Bukhari was alone in recording.

It has been recorded in the Two Sahihs that on the Day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah said, "Verily, Allah restrained the Elephant from Makkah, and He has given His Messenger and the believers authority over it. And indeed its sacredness has returned just as it was sacred yesterday. So, let those who are present inform those who are absent.

- This is the end of the Tafsir of Surah Al-Fil, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah. (Tafsir by Ibn Kathir rah.)

Tuesday

Tafsir Al-Fatihah - part 1/2


Al-Fatihah and the Prayer

Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said; ''Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not read Umm Al-Qur'an, then his prayer is incomplete.'' He said it thrice.

Abu Hurayrah was asked, "When we stand behind the Imam!'' He said, "Read it to yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allah say; ''Allah, the Exalted, said, I have divided the prayer (Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Myself and My servant, and My servant shall have what he asks for.''

If he says,

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence)

- Allah says, `My servant has praised Me.'

When the servant says,

ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

(The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)

- Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me.'

When he says,

مَـٰلِكِ يَوۡمِ ٱلدِّينِ

(The Owner of the Day of Recompense)

- Allah says, `My servant has glorified Me,' or `My servant has related all matters to Me.'

When he says,

إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ

(You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help)

- Allah says, `This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he
sought.'

When he says,

ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ

- Guide us to the straight path.

صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

- (The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray)

- Allah says, `This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.'''

These are the words of An-Nasa'i, while both Muslim and An-Nasa'i collected the following wording, "A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.''


Explaining this Hadith

The last Hadith used the word Salah `prayer' in reference to reciting the Qur'an, (Al-Fatihah in this case) just as Allah said in another Ayah; `And offer your Salah (prayer) neither aloud nor in a low voice, but follow a way between.` Meaning, with your recitation of the Qur'an, as the Sahih related from Ibn Abbas.

Also, in the last Hadith, Allah said, "I have divided the prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, a half for Me and a half for My servant. My servant shall have what he asked for.''

Allah next explained the division that involves reciting Al-Fatihah, demonstrating the importance of reciting the Qur'an during the prayer, which is one of the prayer's greatest pillars. Hence, the word `prayer' was used here although only a part of it was actually being referred to, that is, reciting the Qur'an.

Similarly, the word `recite' was used where prayer is meant, as demonstrated by Allah's statement; `And recite the Qur'an in the early dawn. Verily, the recitation of the Qur'an in the early dawn is ever witnessed.` In reference to the Fajr prayer,

The two Sahihs recorded that the angels of the night and the day attend this prayer.


Reciting Al-Fatihah is required in Every Rak`ah of the Prayer

All of these facts testify to the requirement that reciting the Qur'an (Al-Fatihah) in the prayer is required, and there is a consensus between the scholars on this ruling. The Hadith that we mentioned also testifies to this fact, for the Prophet said; "Whoever performs any prayer in which he did not recite Umm Al-Qur'an, his prayer is incomplete."

Also, the Two Sahihs recorded that Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Messenger of Allah said; "There is no prayer for whoever does not recite the Opening of the Book."

Also, the Sahihs of Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibban recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said; " The prayer during which Umm Al-Qur'an is not recited is invalid."

There are many other Hadiths on this subject. Therefore, reciting the Opening of the Book, during the prayer by the Imam and those praying behind him, is required in every prayer, and in every Rak`ah. 

Sunday

Tafsir Al-Fatihah - part 1/1


Surah Al-Fatihah - Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Part 1/1)

This Surah is called - Al-Fatihah- that is, the Opener of the Book, the Surah with which prayers are begun.

- It is also called, Umm Al-Kitab (the Mother of the Book), according to the majority of the
scholars. In an authentic Hadith recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who graded it Sahih, Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin is the Mother of the Qur'an, the Mother of the Book, and the seven repeated Ayat of the Glorious Qur'an.

- It is also called Al-Hamd and As-Salah, because the Prophet said that his Lord said; "The prayer (i.e., Al-Fatihah) is divided into two halves between Me and My servants. When the servant says, `All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of existence,' Allah says, 'My servant has
praised Me."

Al-Fatihah was called the Salah, because reciting it is a condition for the correctness of Salah - the prayer.

- Al-Fatihah was also called Ash-Shifa' (the Cure). It is also called Ar-Ruqyah (remedy), since in the Sahih hadith, there is the narration of Abu Sa`id telling the story of the Companion who used Al-Fatihah as a remedy for the tribal chief who was poisoned. Later, the Messenger of
Allah said to a Companion; "How did you know that it is a Ruqyah?"

Al-Fatihah was revealed in Makkah as Ibn Abbas, Qatadah and Abu Al-Aliyah stated.

Allah said; 

وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰكَ سَبۡعً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡمَثَانِى وَٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ ٱلۡعَظِيمَ

"And indeed, We have bestowed upon you the seven Mathani (seven repeatedly recited verses), (i.e. Surah Al-Fatihah)" (15:87).

Allah knows best.


How many Ayat does Al-Fatihah Contain

There is no disagreement over the view that Al-Fatihah contains seven Ayat. According to the majority of the reciters of Al-Kufah, a group of the Companions, the Tabi`in, and a number of
scholars from the successive generations, the Bismillah is a separate Ayah in its beginning.

We will mention this subject again soon, if Allah wills, and in Him we trust. The Number of Words and Letters in Al-Fatihah The scholars say that Al-Fatihah consists of twenty-five
words, and that it contains one hundred and thirteen letters.

The Reason it is called Umm Al-Kitab, In the beginning of the Book of Tafsir, in his Sahih, Al-
Bukhari said; "It is called Umm Al-Kitab, because the Qur'an starts with it and because the prayer is started by reciting it.''

It was also said that it is called Umm Al-Kitab, because it contains the meanings of the entire
Qur'an.

Ibn Jarir said; "The Arabs call every comprehensive matter that contains several specific areas an Umm. For instance, they call the skin that surrounds the brain, Umm Ar-Ra's. They also call the flag that gathers the ranks of the army an Umm.''

He also said; "Makkah was called Umm Al-Quran, (the Mother of the Villages) because it is the grandest and the leader of all villages. It was also said that the earth was made starting from Makkah.''

Further, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated about Umm Al-Qur'an that the Prophet said; "It is Umm Al-Qur'an, the seven repeated (verses) and the Glorious Qur'an."

Also, Abu Jafar, Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah said about Al-Fatihah; "It is Umm Al-Qur'an, Al-Fatihah of the Book (the Opener of the Qur'an) and the seven repeated (verses)."


Virtues of Al-Fatihah

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded in the Musnad that Abu Sa`id bin Al-Mu`alla said; "I was praying when the Prophet called me, so I did not answer him until I finished the prayer. I then
went to him and he said, What prevented you from coming?

I said; 'O Messenger of Allah! I was praying.' He said, Didn't Allah say; "O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life."

He then said; "I will teach you the greatest Surah in the Qur'an before you leave the Masjid (Mosque)." He held my hand and when he was about to leave the Masjid, I said; O Messenger of Allah! You said: I will teach you the greatest Surah in the Qur'an.' He said; "Yes. "

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

"Al-Hamdu lillahi Rabbil-`Alamin, it is the seven repeated (verses) and the Glorious
Qur'an that I was given." (Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah also recorded this Hadith)

Also, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said; "The Messenger of Allah went out while Ubayy bin Ka`b was praying and said, O Ubayy! Ubayy did not answer him. The Prophet said, O Ubayy! Ubayy prayed faster then went to the Messenger of Allah saying, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!'

He said; "Peace be unto you. O Ubayy, what prevented you from answering me when I called you?" He said, "O Messenger of Allah!  I was praying." He said; "Did you not read among what Allah has sent down to me, `Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life." He said; "Yes, O Messenger of Allah! I will not do it again."

The Prophet said; "Would you like me to teach you a Surah the likes of which nothing has been revealed in the Tawrah, the Injil, the Zabur (Psalms) or the Furqan (the Qur'an)?"

He said; "Yes, O Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger of Allah said; "I hope that I will not leave through this door until you have learned it. He (Ka`b) said, `The Messenger of Allah held my hand while speaking to me. Meanwhile I was slowing down fearing that he might reach the door before he finished his conversation. When we came close to the door, I said: "O Messenger of Allah! What is the Surah that you have promised to teach me?"

He said; "What do you read in the prayer." Ubayy said, `So I recited Umm Al-Qur'an to him.' He said; "By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Allah has never revealed in the Tawrah, the Injil, the Zabur or the Furqan a Surah like it. It is the seven repeated verses that I was given.''

Also, At-Tirmidhi recorded this Hadith and in his narration, the Prophet said; "It is the seven repeated verses and the Glorious Qur'an that I was given. " (At-Tirmidhi then commented that this Hadith is Hasan Sahih)

There is a similar Hadith on this subject narrated from Anas bin Malik. Further, Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad, recorded this Hadith from Abu Hurayrah from Ubayy bin Ka`b, and he mentioned a longer but similar wording for the above Hadith.

In addition, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i recorded this Hadith from Abu Hurayrah from Ubayy bin Ka`b who said that the Messenger of Allah said; "Allah has never revealed in the Tawrah or the Injil anything similar to Umm Al-Qur'an. It is the seven repeated verses and it is divided into two halves between Allah and His servant."

This is the wording reported by An-Nasa'i. At-Tirmidhi said that this Hadith is Hasan Gharib.
Also, Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Jabir said, "I went to the Messenger of Allah after he had poured water (for purification) and said, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!'

He did not answer me. So I said again, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!' Again, he did not answer me, so I said again, `Peace be unto you, O Messenger of Allah!' Still he did not answer me.

The Messenger of Allah went while I was following him, until he arrived at his residence. I went to the Masjid and sat there sad and depressed. The Messenger of Allah came out after he performed his purification and said; "Peace and Allah's mercy be unto you, peace and Allah's mercy be unto you, peace and Allah's mercy be unto you."

He then said; "O Abdullah bin Jabir! Should I inform you of the best Surah in the Qur'an!"
I said, `Yes, O Messenger of Allah!'

He said; "Read, `All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the existence,' until you finish it.'' This Hadith has a good chain of narrators.

Some scholars relied on this Hadith as evidence that some Ayat and Surahs have more virtues than others. Furthermore, in the chapter about the virtues of the Qur'an, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri said, "Once, we were on a journey when a female servant
came and said, `The leader of this area has been poisoned and our people are away. Is there a healer among you?'

Then a man whose healing expertise did not interest us stood for her, he read a Ruqyah for him, and he was healed. The chief gave him thirty sheep as a gift and some milk. When he came back to us we said to him, `You know of a (new) Ruqyah, or did you do this
before?'

He said, `I only used Umm Al-Kitab as Ruqyah.' We said, `Do not do anything further until we ask the Messenger of Allah.' When we went back to Al-Madinah we mentioned what had happened to the Prophet. The Prophet said; "Who told him that it is a Ruqyah. Divide (the sheep) and reserve a share for me.'' 

Also, Muslim recorded in his Sahih, and An-Nasa'i in his Sunan that Ibn Abbas said; "While Jibril (Gabriel) was with the Messenger of Allah, he heard a noise from above. Jibril lifted his sight to the sky and said, `This is a door in heaven being open, and it has never been opened before now.' An angel descended from that door and came to the Prophet and said, `Receive the glad tidings of two lights that you have been given, which no other Prophet before you was given, - the Opening of the Book and the last (three) Ayat of Surah Al-Baqarah. You will not read a letter of them, but will gain its benefit.''' (This is the wording collected by An-Nasa'i, Al-Kubra 5:12 and Muslim recorded similar wording ,1:554)



To be contineud..

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