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4. ALLAH IS TALKING TO US THROUGH THE QUR’ᾹN (4) As Allah is talking to the whole mankind, we can divide it as follows: a. to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., and we have a chapter in the Qur’an bearing his name, called sūrat Muhammad (chapter 47); b. to people in general, and we have a chapter called sūrat al-Nās (People, chap. 14); it includes the jinn, and we have a chapter called sūrat al-Jinn (chapter 72); and to mankind we have a chapter called sūrat al-Insān (Mankind, chapter 76); c. to the Children of Israel, and we have a chapter called sūrat Banī Isrā’īl (also called sūrat al-Isrā’, Night Journey, chapter 17); d. to the believers, and we have chapter called sūrat al-Mu’minūn (Believers, chapter 23); e. to previous prophets, and we have a chapter called sūrat al-Anbiyā’ (Prophets, chapter 21). There are twenty-five prophets mentioned in the Qur’an, and five of them bear the names of chapters of the Qur’an beside Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., namely, sūrat Yūnus (Jonah, chap. 10), sῡrat Hūd (chap. 11), sūrat Yūsuf (Joseph, chap. 12), sūrat Ibrāhīm (Abraham, chap. 14), and sūrat Nῡh (Noah, chap. 71); f. to disbelievers, although indirectly, we have also a chapter called sūrat al-Kāfirūn (Disbelievers, chap. 109). This does not mean that every chapter limits itself with the topic that bears its name, but it generally covers various topics. For example, Sūrat al-Baqarah which means “cow” mentions about it in 7 verses only (verse 67 – 73) out of 286 verses.1

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Some names of sūrah are also taken from pious people, such as sūrat Ᾱl ‘Imrān (Family of ‘Imrān, ch. 3), sūrat Maryam (Mary, ch. 19), and sūrat Luqmān (ch. 31). Allah purified and chose Mary above the women of the mankind and jinn (Q. 3:42). Others taken from the names of insects, such as sūrat al-Naḥl (the Bee, ch. 16), sūrah al-Naml (the Ant, ch. 27), sūrat al‘Ankabūt (the Spider, ch. 29); of celestial bodies, such as, sūrat al-Shams (the Sun, ch. 91), sūrat al-Qamar (the Moon, ch. 54), sūrat al-Najm (the Star, ch. 53), sūrat al-Ṭāriq (the Morning Star, ch. 86); of the natural phenomena, such as, sūrat al-Ra‘d (the Thunder, ch. 13), sūrat al-Zalzalah (the Earthquake, ch. 99); etc.


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With regard to disbelievers, Allah does not talk to them directly in this world, but in the Hereafter only, where they could not make any excuse for disbelieving, as the following verse: )7:‫ون (التحريم‬ َ ُ ‫ِين َك َفرُوا َل َتعْ َت ِذرُوا ْال َي ْو َم إِ َّن َما ُتجْ َز ْو َن َما ُك ْن ُت ْم َتعْ َمل‬ َ ‫َيا أَ ُّي َها الَّذ‬ (It will be said in the Hereafter) “O you who disbelieve! Make no excuse this Day! You are being requited only for what you used to do.” (Q. 66:7) Otherwise, they would say, “O Allah, why do you call me disbelievers, when You can make me right now believers and guide me?” Allah talked to disbelievers indirectly through the Prophet s.a.w. who talked to them directly, as follows: )21:‫س ْال ِم َها ُد (آل عمران‬ َ ‫ُون إِلَى َج َه َّن َم َو ِب ْئ‬ َ ‫ُون َو ُتحْ َشر‬ َ ‫ِين َك َفرُوا َس ُت ْغلَب‬ َ ‫قُ ْل لِلَّذ‬ Say (O Muhammad), “You will be defeated and gathered together to Hell, and worst indeed is that place of rest.”(Q. 3:12) Upon his return from the Battle of Badr victoriously, the Prophet s.a.w. gathered the Jews at the market of Banī Qaynuqā‘ Jewish community and said: “O Jewish people! I am warning you of Allah’s punishment like the one inflicted to the Quraysh. Embrace Islam, as you know well that I am a prophet sent by Allah whom you find in your Book and promised by Allah to you.” They replied: “O Muhammad! You think we are like your people! Do not be arrogant at all. You have been victorious against people who do not know how to fight! By Allah, if we fight you verily you would know that we are the men.” So, Allah revealed the above verse addressing them not as “People of the Scripture”, but as “disbeliever”, for they had rejected the Prophet’s invitation to Islam. They also hated the Prophet more for his victory in the Battle of Badr. The defeat of the Jews of Qaynuqā‘ took place at the same year (2 AH). What happened was that a Muslim woman came to their market to sell some jewelry and sat beside a Jewish jeweler of the Bani Qaynuqa’ tribe. He went behind her and tied the edge of her


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garment to her back, so that when she stood up later her private area became exposed. People laughed, but she screamed. A Muslim who was nearby jumped and attacked the jeweler, and a group of Jews killed him. Then the Prophet and his companions surrounded their fortress, waiting them to come out. They besieged them for 15 nights until the surrendered. Instead of being punished, they were expelled from Madinah. This Jewish tribe was the first who broke the pact that they had made with the Prophet. In another verse Allah talked to them indirectly through the Prophet who also talked to them indirectly, as follows: ْ‫ف َوإِن‬ َ َ‫ِين َك َفرُوا إِنْ َي ْن َتهُوا ي ُْغ َفرْ لَ ُه ْم َما َق ْد َسل‬ َ ‫قُ ْل لِلَّذ‬ ْ ‫ض‬ ُ ‫ت ُس َّن‬ )83:‫ِين (اْلنفال‬ َ ‫ت ْاْلَ َّول‬ َ ‫َيعُو ُدوا َف َق ْد َم‬ Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief), their past will be forgiven. But if they return (thereto), then the example of those (punished) before them have already preceded (as a warning) (Q. 8:38) When a group of pagan Quraysh, namely, al-Walīd ibn alMughīrah, al-‘Ᾱṣ ibn Wā’il, al-Aswad ibn al-Muṭṭalib, and, came to the Prophet offering him to worship their idols for a year, and they would in turn worship his God for a year. Allah revealed the sūrat alKāfirūn (chap. 209), to disavow himself from their religion completely, as follows: ‫ َو َل أَ َنا َع ِابد‬.‫ون َما أَعْ ُب ُد‬ َ ‫ َو َل أَ ْن ُت ْم َع ِاب ُد‬.‫ون‬ َ ‫ َل أَعْ ُب ُد َما َتعْ ُب ُد‬.‫ُون‬ َ ‫قُ ْل َيا أَ ُّي َها ْال َكا ِفر‬ )6-2:‫ِين (الكافرون‬ َ ‫ َو َل أَ ْن ُت ْم َع ِاب ُد‬.‫َما َع َب ْد ُت ْم‬ ِ ‫ لَ ُك ْم دِي ُن ُك ْم َول َِي د‬.‫ون َما أَعْ ُب ُد‬ Say: “O disbelievers [of the Quraysh]! I worship not that which you worship [i.e., statues, rival gods]. Nor will you worship whom I worship. And I shall not worship that which you are worshiping [i.e. I do not worship according to the way you worship].Nor will you worship whom I worship [i.e., the manner in which Allah loves and pleased with]. To you your religion, and to me my religion.”(Q. 109:1-6) These verses are Allah’s verdict to them that they all would die as disbelievers. Al-Walīd ibn al-Mughīrah and Umayyah ibn al-Khalaf,


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were killed in the battle of Badr in 2/624; al-‘Ᾱṣ ibn Wā’il who had planned to kill the Prophet died from the wound from a stone that hit his bottom while he was relieving himself; al-Aswad ibn alMuṭṭalib was blinded by the angel Gabriel with a thorny leaf hitting his eyes while he was resting under a tree. He lost two sons in the battle of Badr. He died from his illness at old age while the Quraysh pagans were preparing for the battle of Uḥud in 3/6225. Allah never talked to hypocrites, yet we have a chapter in the Qur’an bearing this name, sūrat al-Munāfiqūn (chapter 68), to indicate its importance, as they are the enemy in disguise, and more dangerous than open enemy. C. There are two ways Allah talked to the Jews and the Christians in the Qur’an, either directly or indirectly. 1. As ‫“ َبنِي إِسْ َرائِي َل‬Children of Israel”. They are mostly found in sūrat al-Baqarah, the second chapter of the Qur’an. Allah talked directly to them, saying ‫“ َيا َبنِي إِسْ َرائِي َل‬O Children of Israel!” (as in Q. 2:40, 47, 122; 20:80). Allah reminded them of His favour and blessings to them, as in the following verse: ُ ‫َيا َبنِي إِسْ َرائِي َل ْاذ ُكرُوا نِعْ َمت َِي الَّتِي أَ ْن َعم‬ ‫ْت َعلَ ْي ُك ْم َوأَ ْوفُوا‬ )00:‫ُون (البقرة‬ َ ‫ِب َع ْهدِي أُوفِ ِب َع ْه ِد ُك ْم َوإِي‬ ِ ‫َّاي َفارْ َهب‬ O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil (your obligations to) My Covenant (with you, so that I fulfil (My Obligations to) your covenant (with Me) and fear none but Me. (Q. 2:40) Among Allah’s blessings upon them are: Allah sent down to them manna and quails when they were in the desert of Sinai, made water gush from stones, He release from Pharaoh’s bondage, He sent messengers from among them, and revealing books to them. These messengers are used to be called “biblical prophets”. Their covenant with Allah is to obey Him, and Allah’s covenant to them is that Allah would reward them and admit them the Paradise. It includes following Prophet Muhammad


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s.a.w. mentioned in their Torah and the Gospel. Allah invited them to believe in the Qur’an revealed to him, as follows: ُ ‫َوآ ِم ُنوا ِب َما أَ ْن َز ْل‬ ‫ص ِّد ًقا ِل َما َم َع ُك ْم َو َل َت ُكو ُنوا أَ َّو َل َكافِر ِب ِه‬ َ ‫ت ُم‬ ً ‫َو َل َت ْش َترُوا ِبآ َياتِي َث َم ًنا َقل‬ )41‫ون (البقرة‬ َ ‫ِيل َوإِي‬ ِ ُ‫َّاي َفا َّتق‬ And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you, [i.e., the Torah and the Gospel], and be not the first to disbelieve therein, and buy [get] not with My Verses [i.e., the Torah and the Gospel] a small price (i.e., getting a small gain by selling My Verses), and fear Me and Me Alone. (Q. 2:41) Ibn Kathīr’s commentary of this verse is as follows: Allah commanded the Children of Israel to embrace Islam and to follow Muhammad s.a.w. He also reminded them with the example of their father Israel, Allah’s Prophet Ya‘qūb, as if saying, “O children of the pious, righteous servant of Allah who obeyed Allah! Be like your father, following the truth.” Besides inviting the Children of Israel into Islam, to believe in the Qur’an, He also warned them not to be the first one among the Children of Israel who denies it and the Prophet, who brought it, and not to manipulate their Torah and their Gospel for worldly gain, and to fear Him Alone. Allah reminded them again in the Qur’an of His blessings and that they were preferred above other nations are mentioned in two verses, as follows: ُ ‫َيا َبنِي إِسْ َرائِي َل ْاذ ُكرُوا نِعْ َمت َِي الَّتِي أَ ْن َعم‬ ‫ْت َعلَ ْي ُك ْم َوأَ ِّني‬ )211 ،07:‫ِين (البقرة‬ َ ‫َفض َّْل ُت ُك ْم َعلَى ْال َعالَم‬ O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you and that I preferred you to the mankind (and jinn) (Q. 2:47, 122) This preference of Allah was given to them in their time, to their fore-fathers. Each of these two verses is followed with two almost identical verses, as follows:


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‫َوا َّتقُوا َي ْومًا َل َتجْ ِزي َن ْفس َعنْ َن ْفس َش ْي ًئا َو َل ُي ْق َب ُل ِم ْن َها َش َفا َعة‬ )03 :‫ُون (البقرة‬ َ ‫صر‬ َ ‫َو َل ي ُْؤ َخ ُذ ِم ْن َها َع ْدل َو َل ُه ْم ُي ْن‬ And fear a Day (of Judgment) when a person shall not avail another, no will intercession be accepted from him, nor will compensation be taken from him, nor will they be helped.(Q. 2:48) ‫َوا َّتقُوا َي ْومًا َل َتجْ ِزي َن ْفس َعنْ َن ْفس َش ْي ًئا َو َل ُي ْق َب ُل ِم ْن َها‬ )218:‫ُون (البقرة‬ َ ‫صر‬ َ ‫َع ْدل َو َل َت ْن َف ُع َها َش َفا َعة َو َل ُه ْم ُي ْن‬ And fear a Day (of Judgment) when a person shall not avail another, nor shall compensation be accepted from him, nor shall intercession be of use to him, nor shall they be helped (Q. 2:123) On the Day of Resurrection no person shall be of any help to another. This is supported with other Qur’anic verses, namely: )23:‫از َرة ِو ْز َر أ ُ ْخ َرى (فاطر‬ ِ ‫َو َل َت ِز ُر َو‬ And no bearer of burdens shall bear another’s burden.” (Q. 35:18). )03:‫ِين (المدثر‬ َ ‫َف َما َت ْن َف ُع ُه ْم َش َفا َع ُة ال َّشا ِفع‬ So no intercession of intercessors will be of any use to them.” (Q. 74:48). ‫ض َذ َهبًا َو َل ِو‬ َ ‫إِنَّ الَّذ‬ ِ ْ‫ِين َك َفرُوا َو َما ُتوا َو ُه ْم ُك َّفار َفلَنْ ُي ْق َب َل مِنْ أَ َح ِد ِه ْم ِم ْل ُء ْاْلَر‬ )92:‫ين (آل عمران‬ َ ‫ك لَ ُه ْم َع َذاب أَلِيم َو َما لَ ُه ْم مِنْ َناصِ ِر‬ َ ‫ا ْف َتدَى ِب ِه أُولَ ِئ‬ Verily, those who disbelieved, and died while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not be accepted from anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. (Q. 3:91)


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Starting from verse 40 chapter 2 (Q. 2:40) above Allah talked to the Children of Israel; sometimes the verses start with ‫“ َوإِ ْذ‬And (remember) when…”, as in verse 09, 50, 52, 58, 50, 55, 58, 60, 61, 63, 67, 72, 83, 84, and in 124, 125, 126, 127, 131 about Prophet Ibahim a.s. There are about a quarter of the whole chapter 1 of the Qur’an where Allah talked to the People of the Scripture, about themselves, and about their prophets, especially Prophet Abraham (Ibrāhīm) a.s. Allah talked to the Children of Israel indirectly when He said, “Ask the Children of Israel,” as follows: ‫ّللا‬ ِ َّ ‫َس ْل َبنِي إِسْ َرائِي َل َك ْم آ َت ْي َنا ُه ْم مِنْ آ َية َب ِّي َنة َو َمنْ ُي َب ِّد ْل نِعْ َم َة‬ (122:‫ب (البقرة‬ ِ ‫ّللا َشدِي ُد ْال ِع َقا‬ َ َّ َّ‫مِنْ َبعْ ِد َما َجا َء ْت ُه َفإِن‬ Ask the Chjildren of Israel how many clear ayats (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) We gave them. And whoever changes allah’s Favour after it had come to him, then surely, Allah is Severe in punishment. (Q. 2:211) ‫ُوسى تِسْ َع آ َيات َب ِّي َنات َفاسْ أ َ ْل َبنِي إِسْ َرائِي َل إِ ْذ َجا َء ُه ْم‬ َ ‫َولَ َق ْد آ َت ْي َنا م‬ ُ َ‫َف َقا َل لَ ُه فِرْ َع ْونُ إِ ِّني َْل‬ )202:‫ك َيا مُو َسى َمسْ حُورً ا (اإلسراء‬ َ ‫ظ ُّن‬ And indeed We gave Musa (Moses) nine clear signs. Ask then the Children of Israel, when he came to them, then Fir’awn (Pharaoh) said to him: O Musa! I think you are indeed bewitched.” (Q. 17:101) 2. As ‫اب‬ َ ‫ِين أُو ُتوا ْال ِك َت‬ َ ‫“ الَّذ‬those who have given the Scripture”, Allah talked to the Jews and the Christians directly and indirectly. He talked to them directly, as follows: ‫ص ِّد ًقا لِ َما َم َع ُك ْم‬ َ ‫اب آ ِم ُنوا ِب َما َن َّز ْل َنا ُم‬ َ ‫ِين أُو ُتوا ْال ِك َت‬ َ ‫َيا أَ ُّي َها الَّذ‬ َ ‫ار َها أَ ْو َن ْل َع َن ُه ْم َك َما‬ َ ‫مِنْ َقب ِْل أَنْ َن ْطم‬ ِ ‫ِس وُ جُوهًا َف َن ُر َّد َها َعلَى أ ْد َب‬ ً ‫ّللا َم ْفع‬ (07: ‫ُول (النساء‬ ِ ‫اب ال َّس ْب‬ ِ َّ ‫ان أَ ْم ُر‬ َ ‫ت َو َك‬ َ ‫لَ َع َّنا أَصْ َح‬


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O you who have given the Scripture! Believe in what We have revealed (to Muhammad s.a.w.) confirming what is (already) with you, before We efface faces (by making them like the back of necks; without nose, mouth, eyes) and turn them hindwards, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers. And the commandment of Allah is always executed. (Q. 4:47) Allah talked to them indirectly when He said: ‫ِّين أَأَسْ لَ ْم ُت ْم َفإِنْ أَسْ لَمُوا َف َق ِد اهْ َتد َْوا‬ َ ‫اب َو ْاْل ُ ِّمي‬ َ ‫ِين أُو ُتوا ْال ِك َت‬ َ ‫ َوقُ ْل لِلَّذ‬... َّ ‫ك ْال َب َل ُغ َو‬ (10:‫ّللا ُ بَصِ ير ِب ْال ِع َبا ِد (أل عمران‬ َ ‫َوإِنْ َت َولَّ ْوا َفإِ َّن َما َعلَ ْي‬ …And say (Muhammad) to those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and those who are illiterates (Arab pagans): “Do you (also) submit yourselves (to Allah in Islam)?” If they do, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message; and Allah is all-Seer of (His) slaves. (Q. 3:20) 3. As ‫“ أَهْ َل ْال ِك َتاب‬the People of the Scripture”, mostly found in the third chapter of the Qur’an, sūrat al-Nisā’, where Allah talked to the Jews and the Christians directly and indirectly. Ahl al-Kitāb meant in the Qur’ān are the followers of Prophet Mūsá (Moses) a.s. whose scripture is called al-Tawrāt (the Torah), in the Qur’ānic term al-Yahūd (the Jews), and the followers of Prophet ‘Īsá (Jesus) a.s. whose scripture is called al-Injīl (the Gospel), in the Qur’ānic term al-Naṣārá (the Christians). The Torah and the Gospel meant here are revelations sent down to Prophet Jesus a.s. and Prophet Moses a.s. respectively, not those we are having today, because they were not purely revelations from Allah. Allah talks to them directly by saying, ‫“ َيا أَهْ َل ْال ِك َتاب‬O people of the Scripture!” (as in Q. 3: 65, 70, 71; 4, 171; 5:15, 19, 19). He talks to them indirectly when He says: ‫“ قُ ْل َيا أَهْ َل ْال ِك َتاب‬Say (O Muhammad), ‘O people of the Scripture!’” (as in Q. 3: 64, 98, 99; 5:59, 68, 77) 4. As ‫“ الَّ ِذي َْن َها ُدوا‬those who are Jews”, where Allah talked to them indirectly, as in the following verse,


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‫ون‬ ِ َّ ِ ‫ِين َها ُدوا إِنْ َز َع ْم ُت ْم أَ َّن ُك ْم أَ ْولِ َيا ُء‬ َ ‫قُ ْل َيا أَ ُّي َها الَّذ‬ ِ ‫لِل مِنْ ُد‬ َ ‫اس َف َت َم َّنوُ ا ْال َم ْو‬ ‫ َو َل َي َت َم َّن ْو َن ُه أَ َب ًدا‬.‫ِين‬ َ ‫صا ِدق‬ َ ‫ت إِنْ ُك ْن ُت ْم‬ ِ ‫ال َّن‬ َّ ‫ّللا ُ َعلِيم ِب‬ َّ ‫ِيه ْم َو‬ ْ ‫ِب َما َق َّد َم‬ )7-6:‫ِين (الجمعة‬ َ ‫الظا ِلم‬ ِ ‫ت أَ ْيد‬ Say (O Muhammad) “O you Jews! If you pretend that you are friends of Allah, to the exclusion of (all) other mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.” But they will never long for it, because of what their hands have sent before the! And Allah knows well the wrongdoers.(Q. 62:6-7) Ibn Kathir’s commentary to these verses is as follows: If you claim that you are on the correct guidance and that Muhammad and his Companions are being led astray, then invoke Allah to bring death to the misguided group among the two, if you are truthful in your claim. Allah said that they will never long for it because of the disbelief, injustice and sins that they commit. This is called mubāhalah (lit. “invocation of the curse of Allah upon one another”). Allah told the Prophet to the Jews of Madinah who claimed to be “chosen people” who solely deserved to enter Heaven to long for death if they were truthful, but they would never do so because of their disbelief, injustice and sin. They even wished to live long (Q. 2:94-96). When a delegation from the Christians of Najrān came to Madinah to argue and claimed that ‘Īsá a.s. was divine and the son of Allah, Allah revealed to the Prophet to make mubahalah with them, saying: “… Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves - then we pray and invoke the curse of Allah upon those who lie.” (Q. 8:62) Ibn ‘Abbas said that Abū Jahl said, “If I see Muhammad praying at the Ka‘bah, I will step on his neck.” On hearing this, the Prophet said:


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Had he done so, the angels would have snatched him away in public. Had the Jews wished for death, they would all have perished and saw hey seats in Hellfire. Had those accepted for invoking the curse of Allah with Allah’s Messenger, they would not have found families or property when they returned him. (Reported by Bukhari, Tirmidhi, and Nasa’i) It literally means “mutual cursing”. When two contenders cannot come to a conclusion through arguments, each side prays to Allah to reveal the truth by cursing the wrong side, the liar. Ibn Hajar says that one can resort to mubāhalah if insists after losing the argument that he is right and telling the truth whereas his opponent is wrong and lying. In modern time we have mubāhalah between the Sunnī and the Shī‘ī scholars, such as between the Sunni Muhammad al-Kūs and the Shi’ī Yāsir al-Ḥabib, and between the Sunnī Dr. Muhammad al-Barrāk and the Shi’ī ‘Alī Ᾱl Muḥsin. This is the consequence of the failure of both sides in settling their differences, or at least tolerates each other. (ANUMA, 23 May, 2014) :‫المراجع‬: ‫المكتبة الشاملة‬ (‫ هـ‬820 .‫تفسير الطبري (ت‬ (‫ هـ‬672 .‫تفسير القرطبى (ت‬ (‫ هـ‬770 .‫تفسير ابن كثير (ت‬ Abu Khalil, Dr. Shauqi . Atlas of the Qur’an. Riyadh, Darussalam, 2003 Hatta, Ahmad, dkk. The Great Story of Muhammad s.a.w. Jakarta: Maghfirah Pustaka, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mubahala http://library.islamweb.net/hadith/display_hbook.php?bk_no=196& pid=124519

4 allah is talking to us through the qur’ᾱn (4)  

A Friday khutbah/sermon delivered at CIVIC, Canberra on 23 May, 2014