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1. ALLAH IS TALKING TO US THROUGH THE QUR’ᾹN (1) When we read the Qur’ān, it is actually Allah Who is talking to us. In general, Allah talks to His servants among human or jinn, believers as well as non-believers, directly or indirectly. He had talked to them in the past, He is talking to them in the present, and He will be talking to them in the future. But you may ask, if you have a problem, and you want Allah’s answer. You may have found it in the Qur’ān, just try to find it, as the Qur’ān is guidance and light. Many of our scholars answer your question through citing Qur’ānic verses. If you want Allah talk to you, read the Qur’ān. In particular, Allah talked to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. because he was the receiver of the revelation, through whom He talked to us. We can divide whom Allah addressed to in the Qur’ān: a. to the Prophet; b. to the believers, c. to people in general, d. to the people of the book (Jews and Christians), directly and indirectly. a. To the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. There are thirteen verses starting with ُّ‫“( َيا أَ ُّي َها ال َّن ِبي‬O Prophet”) (Q. 8:64,65,70; 9:73; 33:1, 28, 45, 50, 59; 60:12; 65:1; 66:1, 9), then followed by several verses. The Prophet s.a.w. was also addressed by Allah ‫“( َيا أَ ُّي َها الرَّ سُو ُل‬O Messenger”, Q. 41, 67). In the early period of Islam the Prophet was addressed by Allah ‫“( َيا أَ ُّي َها ْالم َُّز ِّم ُل‬O you wrapped in garments”, Q. 73:1), and ‫“( َيا أَ ُّي َها ْال ُم َّد ِّث ُر‬O you enveloped in garments”, Q. 74:1). They contain Allah directions to him what to do in facing emerging situation, and any other directions. It is totally wrong to think that these verses have nothing to do with us, because the Prophet is our model. For example, the following verses seemed to be directed solely to the Prophet, but actually it is also to his followers: َّ‫ِين إِن‬ َ ‫ين َو ْال ُم َنا ِفق‬ َ ‫ّللا َو َل ُتطِ ِع ْال َكاف ِِر‬ َ َّ ‫َيا أَ ُّي َها ال َّن ِبيُّ ا َّت ِق‬ ‫ك‬ َ ‫ك مِنْ َر ِّب‬ َ ‫ُوحى إِلَ ْي‬ َ ‫ َو ا َّت ِبعْ َما ي‬. ‫ان َعلِيمًا َحكِيمًا‬ َ ‫ّللا َك‬ َ َّ )2-1:‫ون َخ ِبيرً ا (األحزاب‬ َ ُ ‫ان ِب َما َتعْ َمل‬ َ ‫ّللا َك‬ َ َّ َّ‫إِن‬ O Prophet! Keep your duty to Allah and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Verily, Allah is Well-acquainted with what you do (Q. 33:1-2)


The words ‫ون‬ َ ُ‫ ِب َما َتعْ َمل‬in plural number means “with what you (people) do” indicating that Allah is also addressing the Muslims. It is like the advice of the President, or Prime Minister to his general before engaging in the battlefield, “Be patience, be brave and optimistic, do not mutilate the bodies of your enemy, etc….” This advice is not for himself only, but more importantly to every individual in his army. Addressing the Prophet with ‫“( َيا أَ ُّي َها الرُّ ُس ُل‬O Messengers” in plural) in the following verse, َّ ‫َيا أَ ُّي َها الرُّ ُس ُل ُكلُوا م َِن‬ ‫صالِحً ا إِ ِّني‬ ِ ‫الط ِّي َبا‬ َ ‫ت َواعْ َملُوا‬ )51:‫ون َعلِيم (المؤمنون‬ َ ُ‫ِب َما َتعْ َمل‬ O (you) Messengers! Eat of the ṭayyibāt [all kinds of halal food which Allah has made lawful] and do righteous deeds. Verily, I am All-Knower of all what you do. (Q. 23:51) this could also mean, as suggested by the Qur’ān commentator alZajjāj, that previous messengers had also been given such advise as in the above verse. Sometimes revelation seemed to have come late, after the Prophet had waited for Allah’s guidance, and after he had made his decision. There was wisdom behind it. Allah allowed him to make this apparent “mistake” which would be better for him; for example, Allah said, َّ ‫َع َفا‬ َ ‫ك لِ َم أَ ِذ ْن‬ )43:‫ين (التوبة‬ َ ‫ص َدقُوا َو َتعْ لَ َم ْال َكاذ ِِب‬ َ ‫ِين‬ َ ‫ك الَّذ‬ َ َ‫ت َل ُه ْم َح َّتى َي َت َبي ََّن ل‬ َ ‫ّللا ُ َع ْن‬ Allah has forgiven you. Why did you grant them leave until those who told the truth were manifest to you and you had known the liars? (Q. 9:43) This verse was about criticizing the Prophet s.a.w. for allowing the hypocrites to stay behind, and not joining the Muslim army to Tabῡk to face the Roman army. Allah wanted him to investigate whether those who asked permission to stay had valid and genuine excuse or not. Those who had no valid reason to stay were hypocrites, except a few of them. ‘Ibn ‘Abbās said that before


revelation came in sῡrat al-Tawbah (chapter 9) dealing with hypocrites, the Prophet had not known who they were. Mujāhid said that they were people who said that if they were permitted to stay they would stay, and if they were not permitted, they would stay anyway. َّ ‫ َع َفا‬the verb ‘afā is in the past tense In the expression ‫ّللا ُ َع ْن َك‬ (perfect, preterit) which indicates in Arabic grammar the past or hope. Past tense indicting hope and prayer are used in many times, such as, ‫ َرضِ َي ّللا َع ْن ُه‬meaning "may Allah be pleased with him”, abbreviated with r.a.) added after mentioning the names of ‫“( َر ِح َم ُه ه‬may Allah have mercy on him”) Prophet’s companions; ‫ّللا‬ after mentioning the name of a dead person, and thanking a person ‫ك ه‬ by saying ‫ّللا‬ َ ‫“( َج َزا‬may Allah reward you”), and after mentioning the name of the Prophet we add ‫صلهى ّللا ُ َعلَ ْي ِه َو َسلَّ ْم‬ َ (“may Allah bless him and grant him salvation, abbreviated as s.a.w. or p.b.u.h). Therefore, َّ ‫ َع َفا‬has two meanings: “Allah has forgiven you” the expression ‫ّللا ُ َع ْن َك‬ and “may Allah forgive you.” Since it was Allah who said it, it is most likely to mean “Allah has forgiven you”, rather than “may Allah forgive you” as He is the Forgiver. However, it was not clearly mentioned in classical commentaries of the Qur’ān, which of the two meanings meant in this verse, because it is self-evident to mean that Allah had forgiven him. Before Allah criticized the Prophet, He had forgiven him so that he would not be terrified with the criticism. Pointing to this verse, Ibn Abī Ḥātim reported that ‘Awn ibn ‘Abdullah said, “Have you heard criticism softer than this, starting with forgiveness before criticism?” The verse continues with, ‫اّلل َو ْال َي ْو ِم ْاْلخ ِِر أَنْ ي َُجا ِه ُدوا ِبأَم َْوال ِِه ْم‬ ِ َّ ‫ون ِب‬ َ ‫ِين ي ُْؤ ِم ُن‬ َ ‫ك الَّذ‬ َ ‫َل َيسْ َتأْ ِذ ُن‬ َّ ‫َوأَ ْنفُسِ ِه ْم َو‬ ‫اّلل‬ ِ َّ ‫ون ِب‬ َ ‫ِين َل ي ُْؤ ِم ُن‬ َ ‫ك الَّذ‬ َ ‫ إِ َّن َما َيسْ َتأْ ِذ ُن‬.‫ِين‬ َ ‫ّللا ُ َعلِيم ِب ْال ُم َّتق‬ ْ ‫َو ْال َي ْو ِم ْاْلخ ِِر َوارْ َتا َب‬ )45:‫ون (التوبة‬ َ ‫ت قُلُو ُب ُه ْم َف ُه ْم فِي َري ِْب ِه ْم َي َت َر َّد ُد‬ Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day would not ask your leave to be exempted from fighting with their properties and their lives; and Allah is All-Knower of the pious. It is only those who believe not in Allah


and the Last Day and those whose hearts are in doubt that ask your leave (Q. 9:44-45) These verses indicated that hypocrites only who asked the Prophet to be exempted from fighting, and therefore they made themselves known to him as hypocrites. Allah explained further that had they intended to join the Prophet in fighting, they would have made some preparation for it. But Allah did not like them to go. So, He made them left behind. Why? Because these hypocrites could have made trouble and sedition among the Muslim army, as some of them would have listened to them for being the masters of their people. Allah said in the Qur’ān: َّ ‫َو َل ْو أَ َرا ُدوا ْال ُخرُو َج َألَ َع ُّدوا َل ُه ُع َّد ًة َو َلكِنْ َك ِر َه‬ َ ‫ّللا ُ ا ْن ِب َعا َث ُه ْم َف َثب‬ ‫َّط ُه ْم َوقِي َل ا ْق ُع ُدوا‬ ‫ضعُوا خ ََِللَ ُك ْم َي ْب ُغو َن ُك ُم‬ َ ‫ لَ ْو َخ َرجُوا فِي ُك ْم َما َزا ُدو ُك ْم إِ َّل َخ َب ًال َو َألَ ْو‬.‫ِين‬ َ ‫َم َع ْال َقاعِ د‬ َّ ‫ّللا ُ َعلِيم ِب‬ َّ ‫ُون لَ ُه ْم َو‬ )47-46:‫ِين (التوبة‬ َ ‫الظالِم‬ َ ‫ْال ِف ْت َن َة َوفِي ُك ْم َسمَّاع‬ And if they had intended to march out, certainly, they would have made some preparation for it; but Allah was averse to their being sent forth, so He made them lag behind, and it was said (to them),”Sit you among those who sit (at home). Had they marched out with you they would have added to you nothing except disorder, and they would have hurried about in your midst (spreading corruption) and sowing sedition among you—and there are some among you who would have listened to them. And Allah is All-Knower of the wrong doers. (Q. 9:46-47) In order to conceal their hypocrisy these hypocrites built a mosque and asked the Prophet to pray in it, but the Prophet said that because he was on his way to Tabῡk, he might do it upon his return from the Tabῡk campaign. On his way back when he reached Dhῡ Awān where people used to stay before reaching Madinah, the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) a.s. told him about this mosque, that it was built to create dissension among Muslims. It was close to Qubā mosque


and was made an outpost for them in fighting against Allah and His Messenger. So, the Prophet asked his companion ‘Ᾱṣim ibn ‘Adī al‘Ajlānī and Mālik ibn al-Dakhsham al-Sālimī to destroy and burn it. It was known as Masjid al-Ḍirār (“Harmful Mosque”). Allah revealed to the Prophet about this mosque as follows: ً‫ِين َوإِرْ صادا‬ َ ‫ِين ا َّت َخ ُذوا َمسْ ِجداً ضِ راراً َو ُك ْفراً َو َت ْف ِريقا ً َبي َْن ْالم ُْؤ ِمن‬ َ ‫َوالَّذ‬ ْ‫لِ َمن‬ ‫ّللا َو َرسُولَ ُه مِنْ َق ْب ُل َولَ َيحْ لِفُنَّ إِنْ أَ َر ْدنا إِلَّ ْالحُسْ نى‬ َ ‫حار‬ َ َ َّ ‫ب‬ َ َّ )108-107(…. ‫ َل َتقُ ْم فِي ِه أ َب ًدا‬.‫ُون‬ َ ‫َوّللا ُ َي ْش َه ُد إِ َّن ُه ْم لَكا ِذب‬ As for those who put up a masjid by way of harm and disbelief to disunite the believers and as an outpost for those who warred against Allah and His Messenger aforetime, they will indeed swear that their intention is nothing but good. Allah bears witness that they are certainly liars. Never stand you therein… (Q. 9:107-108) Back in Madinah, the hypocrites explained to the Prophet the reason for their absence from joining the campaign. He listened to them, without anger, nor resentment, although they had disappointed him. There were three Muslims who were absent from joining the campaign only because of their negligence and indifference. They were: Ka‘b ibn Mālik, Murārah ibn Rabī‘, and Hilāl ibn Umayyah. They asked forgiveness from Allah and the Prophet, and the Prophet asked them to wait for revelation concerning their negligence, whether they would be forgiven or not. In the meantime, the Prophet told the Muslims to excommunicate them, so that no one would talk to them, as punishment. After forty days of suffering, there came another punishment for them. They were not allowed to approach their wives. After fifty days waiting, eventually revelation came to forgive them, and the excommunication ended. The verses run as follows: َّ ‫اب‬ ‫ِين ا َّت َبعُوهُ فِي َسا َع ِة‬ َ ‫ار الَّذ‬ َ ‫ين َو ْاألَ ْن‬ َ ‫ّللا ُ َعلَى ال َّن ِبيِّ َو ْال ُم َها ِج ِر‬ َ ‫لَ َق ْد َت‬ ِ ‫ص‬ ‫اب َعلَي ِْه ْم إِ َّن ُه ِب ِه ْم َرءُوف‬ َ ‫ْالعُسْ َر ِة مِنْ َبعْ ِد َما َكا َد َي ِزي ُغ قُلُوبُ َف ِريق ِم ْن ُه ْم ُث َّم َت‬ َّ ‫ َو َعلَى‬.‫َرحِيم‬ ْ ‫ت َعلَي ِْه ُم ْاألَرْ ضُ ِب َما َر ُح َب‬ ْ ‫ضا َق‬ ‫ت‬ َ ‫ِين ُخلِّفُوا َح َّتى إِ َذا‬ َ ‫الث ََل َث ِة الَّذ‬ ْ ‫ضا َق‬ ‫اب َعلَي ِْه ْم‬ ِ َّ ‫ت َعلَي ِْه ْم أَ ْنفُ ُس ُه ْم َو َظ ُّنوا أَنْ َل َم ْل َجأ َ م َِن‬ َ ‫ّللا إِ َّل إِلَ ْي ِه ُث َّم َت‬ َ ‫َو‬


)118-117:‫ّللا ه َُو ال َّت َّوابُ الرَّ حِي ُم (التوبة‬ َ َّ َّ‫لِ َي ُتوبُوا إِن‬ Allah has forgiven the Prophet, the Muhājirīn (Muslim emigrants who left their homes and came to Madinah) and the Anṣar (Muslims of Madinah) who followed him in the time of distress (Tabῡk expedition), after the hearts of a party of them had nearly deviated (from the Right Path), but He accepted their repentance. Certainly, He is to them full of Kindness, Most Merciful. And (He did forgive also the three who did not join (the Tabῡk expedition whose case was deferred by the Prophet s.a.w. for Allah’s Decision) till for them the earth, vast as it is, was straitened and their ownselves were straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah, and no refuge but with Him. Then, He forgave them (accepted their repentance), that they might begfor His pardon (repent to Him). Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.(Q. 9:117-118) Ka‘b said that when he entered the mosque people congratulated him. When he greeted the Prophet s.a.w. his face was bright with joy, and said: “Be happy with the best day you have ever seen since your mother gave birth to you.” When Ka‘b asked whether this forgiveness came from him or from Allah, he said, it came from Allah. Because of Allah’s acceptance of his repentance he told the Prophet that he would give up all his wealth as alms for the sake of Allah and His Messenger, but the Prophet told him to keep some for himself and his family. It is worthy to remember that the campaign of Tabῡk took place in th 9th year of Hijrah, coincided with the 9th chapter of the Qur’ān, sῡrat al-Tawbah (Repentance), also called sῡrat Barā’ah (Freedom of Obligation) in which many verses of the Qur’ān were revealed dealing with the campaign of Tabῡk. Since then Allah allowed the Prophet s.a.w. to give permission to whom he liked. Condition had changed, and there was no more danger or threat like before, so that the Prophet did not have to wait for revelation to make his decision to give permission to whom he liked. Those who would ask permissions to stay behind were no


longer hypocrites, but believers. As the condition changed the ruling also changed. Allah said in the Qur’ān: َ ‫ض َشأْن ِِه ْم َفأْ َذنْ لِ َمنْ شِ ْئ‬ (62 :‫ت ِم ْن ُه ْم )النور‬ َ ‫) َفإِ َذا اسْ َتأْ َذ ُنو‬ ِ ْ‫ك لِ َبع‬ … So if they ask your permission for some affairs of theirs, give permission to whom you will of them… (Q. 24:62) Some classical commentators of the Qur’an called this new ruling as abrogating the previous one, whereas modern commentators call it ‫“( َت ْخصِ يْصُ ْال َعام‬specification of general concept”) or ‫“( ال َّتدَرُّ ُج ْفي ال َّت ْش ِريْع‬the application of law in stages”).The difference is ْ namely, the only in name )‫(اإلسْ م‬, not in what is named )‫(ال ُم َسمَّى‬, subject matter. After the battle of Badr the Prophet s.a.w. asked his companions what to do with the seventy prisoners. He said: “Allah has made you prevail above them, and only yesterday, they were your brothers.” ‘Umar said that they should be put to death. According to Abῡ Bakr they should be pardoned and freed in return for ransom. As no revelation came to guide him, he pardoned them and set them free in return of ransom. Then revelation came as follows: ‫ون‬ َ ‫ض ُت ِري ُد‬ َ ‫ان ِل َن ِبي أَنْ َي ُك‬ َ ‫َما َك‬ ِ ْ‫ون لَ ُه أَسْ َرى َح َّتى ي ُْثخ َِن فِي ْاألَر‬ َّ ‫ّللا ُ ي ُِري ُد ْاْلخ َِر َة َو‬ َّ ‫ض ال ُّد ْن َيا َو‬ )67:‫ّللا ُ َع ِزيز َحكِيم (األنفال‬ َ ‫َع َر‬ It is not (fitting) for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he has fought (his enemies thoroughly) in the land. You desire the goods of this world, but Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise (Q. 9:67) The Prophet should have accepted ‘Umar’s advice to kill the captives instead of that of Abῡ Bakr to set them free, but Allah did not want it to happen, as revelation came late. This delay saved the lives or seventy Makkan people, including the Prophet’s uncle al‘Abbās who was forced to come with the pagan army. This was a dire warning to the Makkan pagans that this might be the first and the last time they would be safe from execution once they were taken prisoners in the battlefield.


The revelation continued that Allah did not punish them for taking ransoms or spoils or war because it had been made allowed for them, as written in the Preserved Tablet (Q. 8:68). Then Allah concluded this case with the following verse: َ ‫َف ُكلوُ ا ِممَّا َغنِم ُت ْم َح‬ )69:‫ّللا َغ ُفور َرحِيم (األنفال‬ َ َّ َّ‫ّللا إِن‬ َ َّ ‫َللً َط ِّيبًا َوا َّتقُوا‬ So enjoy what you have gotten of booty of war, lawful and good and be afraid of Allah. Certainly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (Q. 8:69) The permission to take booty of war has been misunderstood by some Orientalists as the motive for waging war. We have to remember that in the time of the Prophet every Muslim provided for himself his own war equipment. If he had a horse, he himself had to train it to fight in the battlefield. There was no regular army, no salary, nor pension. All were volunteer soldiers ready to fight for Islam whenever they were called by the Prophet. In such case, Satan kept reminding them of their families they were leaving behind, “who would take care of them if you perished or taken prisoners?” If they died they became martyrs, and if they were alive, at least they could have booty of war, and this was also distributed by the Prophet. They might have better war materials left by the enemy. War is only the last resort for defending Islam. Even if fighting occurs, and taking booty is allowed, the verse continued with “be afraid of Allah” as mentioned above. It is a warning. (CIVIC, 11 April, 2014) :‫المراجع‬ ‫المكتبة الشاملة‬ )‫ هـ‬310 .‫تفسير الطبري (ت‬ )‫ هـ‬671 .‫تفسير القرطبى (ت‬ )‫ هـ‬774 .‫تفسير ابن كثير (ت‬ )‫هـ‬373 .‫بحر العلوم للسمركندي (ت‬ )‫هـ‬1394 .‫زهرة التفاسير للشيخ محمد أبوزهرة (ت‬ Ahmad Hatta, dkk. The Great Story of Muhammad s.a.w. Jakarta: Maghfirah Pustaka, 2013.

1 allah is talking to us through the qur’ᾱn (1)  

1. A Friday khutbah/sermon delivered at CIVIC, Canberra on 11 April, 2014

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