Diploma in Qur’an and Tafsir Studies II explores the second half of Juz Tabarak from Surah al-Muzzammil to Surah al-Mursalat. This part contains two striking surahs that teach the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam how to prepare and carry out his mission of da`wah. Then the rest of the surah alert us the reality of this world and more importantly the reality of the afterlife. There is such deep meaning and guidance in these surahs for every Muslim society and individual on how to conduct themselves in the face of opposition and hostility.
These surahs of the Qur’an are the ideal places to start as the surahs therein are succinct, yet with very deep and profound meanings that would shake and change the thinking of the people. This course is suitable for every Muslim.
Module 1 – A Detailed Tafsir of Surah Al-Muzammil
Surah Al-Muzzammil – “The Ultimate Da’wah Training Course”
There are so many da’wah training courses and workshops conducted across the UK. Although they may have some benefit, almost all of them focus on very superficial things such as methods, techniques and arguments. Therefore, the results we see are also superficial with no real substance. If these training courses and workshops are of so little use and even harmful, then how does one train to be a da’i or caller to Islam?
“The duty of da`wah is a high and difficult obligation. It should not be undertaken carelessly, but after the most careful preparation. The da`i must be knowledgeable about the religion, be regular and comfortable in the practice of it, and develop a strong relation with God. He or she must make time to be still, as in solitary prayer at night, away from the day’s business (al-Muzzammil), so that he or she can receive and gather the inward strength to believe profoundly and to speak from that profound belief. Stillness is necessary whenever you contemplate any serious, difficult task; it allows you to gather your forces so that you become clear about your resolve to perform that difficult task. After this stillness and being with God and praying to Him, the da`i is better prepared to ‘arise and warn’ (al-Mudaththir).” – Shaykh Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi
Surah Al-Muzzammil teaches us how Allah (SWT) Himself trained His chosen Messenger – Muhammad (SAW) – to be the best da’i the world has ever seen. The focus of this teaching is entirely different – it is deep, profound and highly spiritual. It operates on an entirely different plane such that Allah (SWT) becomes his or her guide in every step that they take.
So have fear (taqwa) of Allah; and Allah will teach you.[Qur’an 2:282]
Surah Al-Muzzammil is one of the earliest Surahs to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in preparation for the great mission that was ahead of him. This is the same preparation that we need to be callers to Islam. Why do we not take the lesson?
Module 2 -A Detailed Tafsir of Surah Al-Muddaththir
The Day That The Prophet (SAW) Became A Messenger – Surah Al-Muddaththir – Its Relevance for Our Lives
“The sharpness of the command, ‘Stand up and warn!’ marks the transition from being informed, a nabi – a prophet to whom the reality of the hereafter has been made certain – to being burdened with a commission, a rasul, a messenger who must convey that reality and all its diverse impacts on individual and collective transactions, and on the inward and outward disposition of human beings to their Creator. These are matters that we know from sound, authenticated tradition. We know therefore the sabab, the situation, to which certain verses are connected. What then? The situation is the anchor-point, the secure reference, from which meaning opens out. Nobody has ever pretended that, since we can never be in that same situation again, the associated verses do not apply to any other. On the contrary, we all know perfectly well that this surah and the whole Qur’an are proclaimed to us, and so we are informed. It remains for us to show that we do not sit wrapped up in this state of being informed, but carry it into our lives and of those nearest us, as God’s Messenger did, with conviction as to its urgency and its universality. It is obvious that the sabab does not limit the way we explain and understand the verses connected to it; it only anchors our tafsir, so that we do not wander off and get lost in our search for meanings.” – Shaykh Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi (From his notes for Surah Al-Muddaththir)
Surah Al-Muddaththir is a surah which had a great impact in the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and hence it should be so in the life of every believer. Therefore, an opportunity to study this surah in depth with a scholar of the calibre of Shaykh Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi is truly a blessing from Allah (SWT). In addition to an explanation of this surah, tomorrow’s seminar will also address some important guidelines for understanding the Qur’an that many are unaware of.
“In my lecture I will go through the surah verse by verse. In these notes I go over, in relation to this surah, five general matters that often come up when we are trying to understand the Qur’an, and perhaps learn something of how these matters are connected. A: What is the relevance of reports going back to the Companions that inform us about the situation in connection with which certain verses were revealed? B: Reliable Prophetic hadiths and/or Companion reports teach us the tafsir (the explanation) of many verses and passages of the Qur’an. How can we benefit from them? C: What is the relevance of the sheer force of speech, the sheer literary power, of the Qur’an? D: How are we to deal with words and expressions in the Qur’an which the Qur’an itself tells us will strengthen belief in some people and strengthen unbelief in other people? E: The Qur’an says, in several places in different ways, that it is sent down for those who practise taqwa, for example, hudan li-l-muttaqin guidance for those who practise taqwa. Guidance for those who fear the Fire and hope for the Garden. But what about those who do not, what about unbelievers and misbelievers?” – Shaykh Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi (From his notes for Surah Al-Muddaththir)
Module 3 – A Detailed Tafsir of Surah Al-Qiyaamah
The Resurrection – A Fantasy or A Reality – How Can People Know?
There is no religious belief more disputed in the entire history of mankind than the belief in the resurrection. Even many with religious inclinations completely deny the resurrection or at least take it as a metaphor with no reality. The rise of atheism in modern times has only increased this tendency. Their usual line is
There is nothing except our life on this earth, and never shall we be raised up again [Qur’an 6:29]
The Qur’an tell us that the The Resurrection is clear and obvious and its evidence is within us and all around us. So what is this evidence and why can’t people see it? This is the subject of one of the most powerful early Makkan Surahs of the Qur’an – Surah Al-Qiyamah, which starts with
Does man think We shall not put his bones back together? [75:3]
and ends with
Does He who can do this not have the power to bring the dead back to life? [75:40]
The detailed explanation of Surah Al-Qiyamah would make you wonder how you could have missed such a seminar. This really is a life-saving seminar for Muslims (as well as for non-Muslims) in this day and age where the thinking of the human being has been reduced to what is immediate and apparent as described in the same surah
Nay, but you do love the fleeting Now and neglect the Hereafter [75:20-21]
Module 4 – A Detailed Tafsir of Al-Insaan
Surah Al-Insan is a powerful Makkan surah giving a vivid reminder to man of his weak and humble beginning and his ultimate destiny.
Was there not a period of time when man was nothing to speak of? We created man from a drop of mingled fluid to put him to the test; We gave him hearing and sight; We guided him to the right path, whether he was grateful or not.>[Surah Al-Insan 76:1-3]
While the earlier Surahs of the Qur’an drew man’s attention to the grave danger that awaits him if he chose to be ungrateful, Surah Al-Insan gives the glad tidings of Paradise and all that awaits therein for those who choose the right path, being grateful to their Lord and following His Command until they depart from this world successful. This Surah also directs man to a truth he cannot forget – his success and the endless reward of Paradise is achieved only by the grace and mercy of his Lord, so he must take the way to Him.
This is a reminder. Let whoever wishes, take the way to his Lord. But you will only wish to do so if God wills– God is all knowing, all wise– He admits whoever He will into His Mercy and has prepared a painful torment for the disbelievers. [Surah Al-Insan 76:29-31]
Module 5 – A Detailed Tafsir of Al-Mursalat
“This surah alerts us to the very evident reality that life in this world subsists within a beneficent arrangement that has been put in place and operates independently of human will and agency. Although this reality is obvious everywhere and at all times, human beings have a tendency to ignore it. They tend to forget that, although they are privileged in many ways, as compared to other creatures in the world, they are nevertheless dependent on that world and its arrangement…..
The sheer smallness and weakness of human agency is powerfully evoked in this surah and contrasted against the scale and power of the beneficent arrangement and orderliness of the universe. Later in the surah, we are reminded of the seemingly insignificant beginning from which a human being comes to exist. But the opening of the surah celebrates the power and will of the Creator through the image of winds, the movements of air all around us, over which we know we have no control – even the most arrogant of the unbelievers would not deny this fact. The different functions and forces of winds are mentioned, their destructive as well as creative power, and their being signs, tokens and proofs of the Creator. They are called emissaries or messengers of the Divine Power, and the image naturally flows into the idea of conveying a reminder, and so of the guidance of the revelation itself.” – Shaykh Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi