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Class: Divine Speech - Literary Chracteristics of the Quran

Logo of Bayyinah Institute(promo for upcoming class -- not written by me)

Asalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah,
As Muslims, we constantly hear the phrase - "The Quran is a miracle." And just as we begin to get excited about our miracle we hear, " can only appreciate it if you know Arabic."
Even as I wrote this, I ended the sentence with an audible sigh.
How many times have you been turned off by really delving into the Quran because you don't know Arabic? Although I am SURE you believe in the Quran as a miracle, the truth of the Quran, the beauty of the Quran, have you had the chance to be stunned by it? Have you had the chance to experience the Quran? To read it, and walk away saying WOW!
AlHamdulillah, we finally have the chance to experience the miracle of the Quran, without having to learn Arabic first, without having to travel overseas, without dedicating years of our life.
So, how can we jump on this opportunity? By taking...
Divine Speech - Literary Characterstics of the Quran
Taught by Br. Nouman Ali Khan
At the University of Michigan Flint
March 27th- 29th
Secure your spot now by registering here:
Br. Nouman has a special message for us:
Because the Quran is a vital aspect of our lives, we REALLY do not want ANYONE to miss out, so we are inviting everyone to join us for the first evening of class, for FREE!
You really don't have any excuses now....

The People of the Cave - A Children's Story

Photo of people at a cave mouth
Chapter 18 of the Quran is a really great chapter. It reads like The Bedtime Story of All Time for children because it includes stories with mystery, suspense, drama, miracles, and yes, A Happy Ending.
En route to work today on the bus I read "The People of the Cave" a beautiful story adapted from Chapter 18 or, Suratul Kahf, within the Quran. It seems to have been written by a husband and wife team (awww) in the late 90's. On the back cover it reads: It [this story] brings into sharp focus the sincere dedication and resolve of the believing youth and their readiness to sacrifice all they had in the cause of faith.

The book gave a much more detailed picture of the one presented in the Quran itself. The reader is prepared for this early on when the author states that there is no harm in utilizing one's imagination in storytelling as long as there's no contradiction to the Quran or Sunnah. The reader was able to experience what the young boys might have felt when they decided to leave their homes instead of surrender to a disbelieving (and cruel!) king and was able to observe the bizarre treatment the boys received when the awoke from a 300 year sleep (although these scenarios were not discussed in the Quranic verses).

According to this book, when the group of boys woke up, they were confused as to why their food was gone and why the landscape looked so different, meaning they were unaware that years had passed them by. After one of them goes to town with money to purchase food and supplies, a store owner becomes suspicious by his ancient coins and olden clothes, and takes him to the King, thinking him to be a grave robber. The (new) King is a righteous man who believes in God and, as such, immediately knows the young man is not lying when he tells his miraculous story. The King says that such great individuals should be visited by their ruler and sets out with the boy to meet the rest of his friends. When they arrive, the young man goes into the cave and does not come out again. The king and his men then enter gingerly only to find the group of boys all dead in the cave.

So, how can this possibly be considered a happy ending? you ask. The answer is that it serves as powerful reminder and demonstration of Allah's power. The group of youth did not wish to live under an oppressive, non-believer and they were not made to; currently they are chilling in Heaven. The King, most prominent man in the land, was able to witness this miracle with his own eyes and will be believed when he relates the story to everyone else. The king also has all the resources to preserve the evidence vital to the story and build a mosque near the cave as a place marker (which is just what he does). Essentially The Righteous King and his subjects were able to strengthen their faith in the existence of God, which, in my experience, is an integral part of living Happily Ever After.

Someone's reflections on At-Taubah verse 54

Photo of real Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem
The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in which Prophet Muhammad met the other prophets and prayed with them

وَمَا مَنَعَهُمْ أَن تُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ نَفَقَاتُهُمْ إِلاَّ أَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُواْ بِاللّهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِ وَلاَ يَأْتُونَ الصَّلاَةَ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ كُسَالَى وَلاَ يُنفِقُونَ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ كَارِهُونَ

And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allâh and in His Messenger (Muhammad SAW); and that they came not to As-Salât (the prayer) except in a lazy state; and that they offer not contributions but unwillingly

Salam Alaikum,
I hope that this reaches you in the best of health and iman, insha'Allah. I was contemplating on today's ayahs, and analyzing the way I think about my own 5 daily prayers, and a strikingly interesting analogy occurred to me. I observed that everytime i need to go pray and I'm with my friends, I say "excuse me guys, I have a meeting with God, so I'll be back in a bit."
"Meeting". Why do I say "meeting" instead of simply "I have to go pray" or even "I have an appointment with God"? I was asking myself this question today. The analogy is actually quite interesting:

1. When I say "I have to go pray", I am implying that I have to go conduct a mechanical task that I see as obligatory on me. I see it as something that needs to be done. So, it's like a chore.

2. If I were to use the word "appointment", then I would be implying that I need to be present at a certain place at a certain time for someone else to do something for me, while I do nothing. It's almost like going to a dentist and having the dentist do everything.

3. Prayers is a proactive engagement. It's more like a meeting. I go in, prepared, physically, in the form of wudu, mentally, with an agenda that has certain compulsory items and other matters that need to be dealt with, and spiritually knowing that this is an Ultimate Meeting with my Creator.

We would never go into a meeting (a) unprepared, (b) dressed improperly, and (c) not knowing what to say when and why.

It's just a thought process, but I thought I'd share it with you.

I think this is a nice way to look at things, and at the same time you aren't a bad person if you say, "Excuse me guys, I have to go pray now". Semantics (the study of the meaning of words) has very little to do with it; it is the intention behind the words and one's personal understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it. This sister uses the term "meeting" because in her mind she already has an opinion about what it means to attend a meeting. The connotation that she has associated with that word is a good and pleasant one, therefore it aids her in her approach to salah.
I think it's important to make our own represenations and associate them with our duties in Islam. It's similar to what Neuro-Linguistic Programming calls "reframing". So cool!
From: Umeimah Bastaki

Learn and review 80 percent of the words used in the Quran
This neat looking website is a quiz application which shows you an Arabic word from the Quran and 4 different meanings in English of which only 1 is true. You get the idea.

You need to know some basic Arabic to benefit from this website.

The website is based off a booklet published by

[Thanks Abu!]
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