Chapter 28: Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verse 1 presented on 10/26/14 – Session 1

In this session, Shaykh Amin presents an introduction to Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ. Where the preceding Sūrah, Al-Naml, deals with the affairs of Sulaimān (AS), a Nabī (AS) who was privileged with dominion over man, beast and jinn, Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ deals with the challenges of Mūsā (AS). Mūsā (AS) is the underprivileged Nabī who struggles with leading his tribes, a difficult and irreverent people, out of the clutches of Firʿawn (Pharaoh). The Shaykh reiterates the wisdom behind our lack of understanding of the ‘ḥurūf al-muqaṭṭaʿāt’, the broken letters that begin certain chapters, of which al-Qaṣaṣ is one. Submission to the will of the Divine lies in the paradox of the eloquent Arab who is able to comprehend compound words constructed with letters, yet is confounded by the meanings of the letters themselves when they are placed in Divine order. This is a ‘muʿjizah’ of Allah ﷻ.
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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 7-13 presented on 11/2/14 – Session 2

The session begins with a discussion of the word ‘waḥy’ (revelation) and it’s specific usage for the primordial instinct of a mother to nurse her child. ‘waḥy’ (revelation) may come to certain individuals, but the reception of ‘waḥy’ does not make the recipient a Nabī. The distinction is that a Nabī (AS) is required to reveal the ‘waḥy’ received, while a non-Nabī is required to conceal it. The wisdom behind the inspiration that the mother of Mūsā (AS) received lies in the fact that ordinarily there would be no motivation to suckle a child that is destined to be slain by the police of the Fir’awn. But the mother of Mūsā (AS) was inspired to nurse him. And the rest of her actions that are borne by the ‘waḥy’ she received defy all logic and rationale. ‘Waḥy’ is above all logic and rationale. It comes from a realm where the seemingly contradictory come together in perfect harmony. This verse embodies a universal parenting philosophy with the mother of Mūsā (AS) serving as a role model.
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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 14-21 presented on 11/9/14 – Session 3

The upbringing of Mūsā (AS) is comparable to that of Yūsūf (AS), except that Mūsā (AS) was raised a prince under the very eye of the emperor himself. Consequently, he was privy to the lives of the Egyptian aristocracy and the inner workings of the government machine. He was also well-equipped with the knowledge, skills and sophistication befitting a prince. Three women are included in the reach of the word, ‘Muḥṣinīn’, in this verse: the mother and sister of Mūsā (AS), and the queen who raised him. Their reward lay in Mūsā (AS) becoming the wise, knowledgeable young man that he came to be, prepared to play the role that he was destined for. Shaykh Amin calls out the relevance of this verse to our lives as parents watching over and raising children in our times. Our motives must also be to raise children who do good. We must not pollute our motives with petty and self-serving intentions that for that would only deprive us, as children have a mind of their own. The following verses cover Mūsā’s (AS) act that resulted in the death of a man, his expression of tawbah to Allah ﷻ, and the events that led to his flight from Egypt. Shaykh Amin reminds us that Mūsā (AS) follows the sunnah of Ādam  (AS) in seeing fault within himself and in the influences of Shayṭān. This is the way of the pious. Whereas Yūsūf (AS) was sent to prison (a confined space), Mūsā (AS) was sent into exile. This is a part of Mūsā’s (AS) reflections on ‘tawḥīd’ (monotheism). Prophets (AS) will always choose a place that facilitates their free worship of Allah ﷻ be it within the walls of a prison or the vast openness of the wilderness.
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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 22-28 presented on 11/16/14 – Session 4

Shaykh Amin paints a mental state of Mūsā’s (AS) mental state soon after his flight from Egypt. It is not possible for a Nabī (AS) to be pessimistic, and Mūsā (AS) puts his trust in Allah ﷻ, acknowledging his own strengths and abilities even as he makes his way towards Madyan. His conversation with the two young ladies by the well stems from genuine concern, not from idle curiosity. Mūsā (AS) reflects the ‘adab’ characteristic of a Nabī (AS) in that after he assists people, he turns aside from them and seeks help from Allah ﷻ instead. Prophets (AS) also separate Allah’s ﷻ ‘faḍl’ (grace) from their actions. They do not ascribe any good to themselves, rather they attribute all good to Allah ﷻ alone.
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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 29-35 presented on 11/23/14 – Session 5

After fulfilling his appointed term, Mūsā (AS) travels with his ahl (his wife) towards Egypt when he perceives a fire in the distance. Shaykh Amin dwells on the reference to the “right side” and Mūsā’s (AS) etiquette in his approach to the fire, among other things.Part of the symbolism in throwing down his staff lay in discarding any object or idea that Mūsā (AS) deemed a source of protection for himself. There is no other protector when in the presence of Allah ﷻ. The reaction of Mūsā (AS) at the sight of the serpent is in line with the ‘adab’ (appropriate etiquette) of being human. When a danger is perceived, then precautions must be taken, which is evident from Mūsā’s (AS) immediate attempt to flee from the reach of the serpent. A dub made without due preparation is futile. But when the command is explicit, the Nabī (AS) obeys without fear or reservation, as manifested in Mūsā’s (AS) behavior when Allah (S) commands him to grab hold of the serpent, as described in a different ayah.
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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 36-42 presented on 12/07/14 – Session 6

The signs of Mūsā (AS) are ‘muʿjizāt’ (miracles) that truly disarm his opponents as they reflect the very nature of the message he bore for Fir’awn.

In this lecture:

  • the limited authority of Fir’awn contrasted with the unlimited authority of Allah ﷻ
  • Nubuwwah‘ (prophethood) further elevates the supreme intellect of a Nabī (AS)
  • Fir’awn’s rationale behind the tower, and the relevance of Hāmān
  • the Divine order in creation, and the consequences of disturbing it
  • the fate of those who lead astray and the dangers of seeking leadership for the ‘dunyā’ (wordly life)
  • insights into Islamic Political Science, and the need to include the Hereafter in such discourse

The Prophet ﷺ said, “The best form of ‘jihād’ is to speak the truth in the face of a tyrant”.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 43-49 presented on 12/14/14 – Session 7

Allah’s ‘Raḥmah’ (Mercy) is ubiquitous, but it takes a discerning eye to recognize instances of it.

In this lecture:

  • The story of Mūsā (AS) as a backdrop to the mission of Muhammad ﷺ.
  • Guidance as a consequence of correct observation
  • Story-telling as an effective tool of the oral tradition
  • Time-shift into the story of Shuʿaīb (AS), contrasting the economically-challenged Madyan that Mūsā (AS) encountered with its past glory
  • The daunting mission of Mūsā (AS) as a source of comfort for the last Messenger ﷺ

Prophets (AS) are highly intellectual human beings and their intelligence was further enhanced by prophethood.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 51-56 presented on 1/11/15 – Session 8

Shaykh Amin discusses several practical ramifications of these verses applicable in our times of free speech and expression.

In this lecture:

  • the mindset of a believer, submitting to the ‘rubūbiyyah’ (Divine Nurturing) of Allah ﷻ
  • rejection by the world not reason enough to reject the truth
  • the twofold reward of sincere believers: firstly for their belief, and secondly, for their resilient persistence in it
  • repelling evil with good from a position of strength
  • acknowledging you have a ‘Rabb’ is a prerequisite to believing
  • refrain from vain discourse as an attribute of steadfast believers
  • example in Mūsā (AS) engaging Fir’awn in debate from a position of strength

The passion of the believer is to honor the prophet ﷺ, follow his example, and hold true to the believer’s code of conduct. The greatest insult one can levy against the prophet ﷺ is to deny he is the last Messenger ﷺ.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 57-61 presented on 1/18/15 – Session 9

It is only through the institution of prophethood that mankind still exists on this planet. In this lecture:

  • Allah ﷻ being in total control of provisions for all creatures
  • the Kaʿbah as a source of security and economic prosperity for the Quraysh
  • the consequences of igniting the fire of shirk and rebellion against Allah’s ﷻ authority
  • Divine rules that govern the destruction of a people
  • faith and good deeds as the currency of the Hereafter
  • remembrance in the ‘dunyā’ (wordly life)yields fruits in Paradise

Allah’s ‘Raḥmah’ (Mercy) overrides the angelic assessment of mankind’s ineligibility for mercy.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 62-70 presented on 1/25/15 – Session 10

Human prerogatives are very limited while Allah’s prerogatives are supreme.
In this lecture:

  • Allah’s ﷻ ‘rubūbiyyah’ (Divine Nurturing) extends to all creation, even the rebellious
  • Firʿawn was granted ample opportunity for repentance
  • Human will, although free, is limited by what Allah ﷻ has ordained, this is embodied in the word Rabb
  • Allah ﷻ has a personal affiliation with every individual in the capacity of being one’s Rabb
  • Allah ﷻ alleviates the intense sense of loss felt by the prophet ﷺ at Abu Talib’s demise through the verses of this Sūrah that present the many tribulations of Mūsā (AS)
  • The Prophet’s ﷺ love for Allah ﷻ increased in times of tribulation

True worship is independent of what the worshipped does, therein lies ‘tawḥīd’ (monotheism) whereby the sources of good and bad are one and the same. Fluctuating in our love for Allah ﷻ subject to our times of ease and difficulty is a sign of shirk, i.e. perceiving separation in the source of all things.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 71-80 presented on 2/8/15 – Session 11

Allah ﷻ is the Lord and Guardian of all who are subordinate to Him ﷻ as well as those who are insubordinate to Him ﷻ. In this lecture: Divine mercy in the alternation of day and night; using sensory perception to exercise ‘shukr‘ (gratefulness) as the basis for loving Allah ﷻ; the result of ‘shukr‘ and the result of arrogance; the wealth bestowed on Qārūn and his arrogance on account of it; the implicit command to speak out against social vices; the authority of prophets over their people; nobility in speech as the way of Allah ﷻ and the way he recommended to his prophets (AS). If you have authority, then make sure you don’t let your authority bring you disgrace.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 78-82 presented on 2/15/15 – Session 12

This session contrasts the example of Qārūn as a hoarder of wealth with that of Mūsā (AS) as a custodian of knowledge. In this lecture:

  • Qārūn’s false claim to knowledge as the source of his good fortune
  • The staggering amount of Qārūn’s wealth is little compared with those who perished before him
  • Limited wealth and lasting knowledge
  • Wealth as a means for knowledge; the impact of a Nabī upon the mindset of a disenfranchised people; the short-sighted beliefs of the disbeliever
  • The distribution of wealth as a Divine prerogative

Our wealth does not make us, rather we make our wealth. If we are good, then our wealth will be good. If we are consumed by our pursuits, then we will be drowned in them (much as Qārūn was swallowed up). We must strive to be free men and women, worshiping Allah ﷻ free from the weight of our worldly pursuits.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 83-86 presented on 2/22/15 – Session 13

These verses sum up everything Muslims need to understand about political authority. Authority comes from Allah ﷻ and cannot be assumed by force. In this lecture:

  • The fallacy of Islamic rule being essential to Islamic practice
  • The accessibility to ‘taqwā‘ (piety) with or without Islamic rule
  • The incomparable vastness of Jannah contrasted with this limited world
  • Fanaticism and fundamentalism as consequences of attempting to render divine justice on earth
  • The indispensable message in al-Qaṣaṣ for those who strive to make sense of the grave crisis Muslims face today
  • The mission of the prophet ﷺ was guided by ‘waḥy’ (revelation), not human emotion
  • The authority of the prophet ﷺ over Makkah was purely for the fulfillment of the five pillars, political dominion was just a side effect

If you seek supremacy on earth, Allah ﷻ will deprive you of any authority in Jannah.

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Sūrat al-Qaṣaṣ, Chapter 28 Verses 86-88 presented on 3/01/15 – Session 14

Conclusion and conclusory comments. ‘waḥy’ (revelation) is delivered to a Nabī with no effort on the part of the recipient towards such Divine attraction. ‘waḥy’ (revelation) is from the grace and predestination of Allah ﷻ, it is all about ‘raḥmah’ (mercy) and has nothing to do in essence with social and moral standing or otherwise. In this lecture:

  • A prophet’s (AS) supremacy over human beings is by virtue of the intellectual abilities given to him by Allah ﷻ
  • Only a prophet can plan for eternity
  • The minor signs of Allah’s ﷻ creativity,‘raḥmah’ (mercy) and compassion that are accessible to all human beings, and the greater signs that are revealed only to His Anbiyāʾ (Prophets; AS) (such as the ‘Miʿrāj’ (ascension)
  • The similarities between Mūsā (AS) and Muhammad ﷺ, and al-Qaṣaṣ as a vehicle of Divine ‘kalām’ (speech) that bridges one story with the other
  • The universal code of ‘tawḥīd’ (monotheism) and the path to Allah ﷻ
  • The preservation of man and his good deeds in Jannah
  • The deficiencies of poetry in contrast with the perfection in ‘Kalām Allah’ (the words of Allah ﷻ)

The moral of the The Story is ‘Lahū al-Ḥukmu’- that all authority belongs to Allah ﷻ.
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