Study Guide September 2022
- After Waraqah bin Nawfil’s explanation, the blessed Prophet ﷺ went through a very difficult period of his life. During this time the blessed Prophet ﷺ did not receive any revelation.
- This period of not receiving any revelation is called “Fatrat-ul-Wahi” or the pause of revelation. This time period lasted for 3 years.
- In this time period, the blessed Prophet ﷺ would many times worry that Allah (swt) had abandoned him. Then, Jibraeel a.s. would appear in front of him and fill his heart with awe and contentment.
- The benefit of this time period was that it gave time to the blessed Prophet ﷺ to adjust and get used to seeing the unseen like the angels. This time also allowed him to concentrate and focus and prepare himself for the heavy duty that lied ahead of him.
- We must remember that a part of all Prophets is that they are human beings. Therefore just like how Musa a.s. was shocked when he first threw down his staff and it became a snake the same way the Prophet ﷺ was facing a little feeling of anxiety with this experience, eventually it would fade away.
- Then one day after three years, the blessed Prophet ﷺ went to go visit the cave of Hira. This time when he went to go visit, he descended a mountain and came to a valley where he heard a voice saying, “Muhammad! You are the Prophet of Allah, and I am Jibraeel!”
- He was filled with awe and went home to his beloved wife Khadija r.a. and asked her to wrap him up in a blanket. She did so then the second revelation came of the opening verses of Surah Muddathir, “Oh you who is wrapped in garments! Arise and warn! Magnify your lord!” and then the rest of the revelation.
- Now the dawah (invitation to Islam) begins. This period has three stages.
- The first stage started after the revelation of Surah Muddathir. This is the stage of secret invitation. For three years the Prophet ﷺ only introduced Islam to very close people whom he thought would sincerely accept Islam. He spoke to them individually, these were people very close to him and he knew them well. For example, Abu Bakr (r.a.), Khadijah (r.a.), Ali (r.a.), and other very close companions. These were the very first people to accept Islam, their numbers vary but many scholars say that they were 130 in number.
- The secret stage lasted for about 3 years. During this time period the Muslims would perform their Salahs in hiding. If they were ever caught they would be made fun of or looked at very strangely.
- The next stage was the stage of close family or inner tribal invitation. This was after the revelation of the verse of و انذر عشيرتك الاقربين “and warn your close family members.”
- During this time period the blessed Prophet ﷺ would invite those family members whom he had not invited in the first stage. Many times he would invite them over to his house for food and it was a miracle that a small amount of food would suffice a large group of people. Unfortunately Abu Lahab, despite being the Prophet’s ﷺ uncle, would call the blessed Prophet ﷺ a magician.
- Then came the period of open invitation. This was after the revelation of the verse فاصدع بما تؤمر (So Proclaim that with what you were commanded).
- The blessed Prophet ﷺ went to the mountain of Safa, climbed on the mountain, and called the names of the tribes of Makkah. It was the practice of the Makkans that if there was an announcement which was extremely important, many times even dangerous, one would climb mount Safa and would call all the tribes to the announcement.
- The blessed Prophet ﷺ started by first establishing his credibility with the people of Makkah challenging their trust in him by asking them “If I were to tell you that there is an enemy awaiting behind this mountain wanting to attack you, would you believe me?” All of them unanimously agreed that they would believe him and that they have never heard a lie from the blessed Prophet ﷺ.
- After establishing his trust the blessed Prophet ﷺ warned them about the unseen, that idol worship was against what their ancestors Ibrahim and Ismaeel a.s. used to worship. He continues to explain to them the reality of Allah, Jannah, and Jahanam. In many narrations it describes that their hearts were starting to incline toward the truth. Then the misfortunate Abu Lahab angrily said to the blessed Prophetﷺ “May you be cursed, is this why you have gathered us?!”
- According to many scholars it was at this incident that Surah AL-Lahab was revealed.
- During this stage, everyone now knew of the message of the blessed Prophet ﷺ and the people of Makkah were now divided into two groups; a majority of non-Muslims and a minority of Muslims. This is when the torture and the hardships of the Muslims rapidly increased.
- The general theme of this Surah is to use many logical proofs to bring human beings to realize that they are all in a test so that they may be prepared for their inevitable future which is either Jannah or Jahanam.
- This surah can be understood under five sections.
- The first section is verses 1-14. In these verses, Allah grabs the attention of the readers by emphasizing on the importance of time. Allah takes oath by many articles of time such as…
-Fajr- Wherever the sun is rising the darkness of the night is going away and the light is making everything apparent just like how the guidance of Allah makes everything clear.
– The ten nights- Referring to the first ten nights of Dhul-Hijjah
– Even and odd- There are a lot of details on these words however we will take the easiest meaning. “the even” means the tenth day of Hajj which is also known as Eid-ul-Adha and “the odd” refers to the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah which is the day of Arafah. That is because 10 is an even number and 9 is an odd number.
- Allah then mentions different nations that were much stronger than us in strength and power and how they did not utilize their time in the obedience of Allah instead they chose to disobey Allah that is what led to their destruction. Allah is teaching us not to take this test lightly and not to make the same mistakes they did.
- The second section is verses 15-16. In these verses, Allah then describes to us how He tests us and how we fail. He explains that the test will come in one of two forms. Either Allah will test us with good fortune in the form of good health and wealth, or He will test us by putting us through some difficulty i.e. by reducing our wealth or by getting us sick.
- Allah tells us that we fail the first type of test by saying that my lord has honored me (in a boasting manner). The human being starts to believe that their life should be filled with good fortune and that they deserve it on account of them being a good person. Also, the Human being believes these blessings to be signs of acceptance of Allah. When it comes to the second type of test, the way we fail is that the human being starts to complain and blame Allah by accusing Allah of disgracing him. The human being believes that there is no reason why he or she should deserve this type of hardship and that life is simply not fair. The human being also forgets about all the blessings Allah has blessed him or her with. Ultimately, the human being starts to believe that these hardships are signs of Allah’s rejection of the human being.
- The way we pass the first type of test is by believing every blessing to be purely from Allah (swt) and we sincerely believe we did not deserve that blessing in consideration of our faults and sins. We fulfill the right of that blessing by praising and thanking Allah. We also make sure not to use that blessing in a manner that would displease Allah (swt).
- The way we pass the second type of test is that we are patient during times of difficulty. We do not lose hope in Allah (swt). We turn back to Allah and ask him for help. We never blame Him for anything that happens to us and never complain about him. We think about all the good that He has done for us and ask forgiveness for anything and everything wrong we have done.
-Due to the length of the surah we will continue the Tafseer next month Inshallah.