Tafseer Taha Ayat 9-12

Link to video on Muslimmatters

  • previously, we completed the first portion of surah Taha whcih is an introduction of the surah that also talks about the thesis of the surah that Islam is a blessing and not a curse
  • and also is a comforting consolation of the Prohet saw preserved in the Quran for us to benefit from that
  • now it contonues but along a different line
  • this is the 2nd major portion that makes up the bulk of the surah
  • this is a very detailed  about many of the experience of Musa a.s.
  • he is the most mentioned prophet in the Quran and history is told more than any other prophets
  • all prophets mentioned in Quran, the wisdom of mentioning those specific prophets is that there is a direct connection, a parallel that can be drawn between Prophet saw and those prophets
  • Musa a.s. more so than the other prophets, there are a lot of parallel that can be drawn
  • Musa a.s. along with Ibrahim a.s., Musa a.s., is someone who has a lot of credibility with the ahlul kitaab (the other people following the heavenly religion)
  • the revelation that prophet saw was devliering to the people about Musaa.s.  establishes a lot of credibility of the Prophet saw in the eyes of those ahlul kitaab
  • makkan revelation such as Taha talk more about Musa a.s. than Madinan does
  • that’s more consoling for Prophet saw and the believers
  • bulk of Musa’s a.s. experience inolve a lot of difficulty and adversitieis at hand ot tyrants
  • automatically there is a lot of comfort in that for believers and Prophet saw, because then you don’t feel alone anymore
  • there is a sense of connection, fraternity then
  • “there were nations before us who also went through adversity in pursuit of this truth.”
  • bul of this surah made up of stories
  • purpose of story telling of Quran is to teach lesson
  • Allah explains in Surah Hud 11:120
  • 11:120
    Sahih International

    And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers.

  • Allah uses word fu2ad[فُؤَاد] = heart when it’s experiencing turbulence, powerful emotion
  • at that point in time this will solidfy your heart by giving you that sens eof belonging and saying there is nothing wrong with you


Ayat 9

Sahih International

And has the story of Moses reached you? –

  • Allah Himself gives an intro to the story of Musa a.s.
  • the wording is very specific here, it’s not “do you know about the story of Musa?”
  • because maybe Prophet saw might know the general story of Musa a.s.
  • but Allah wants to emphasize here that the only way Prophet saw can know about Musa a.s. is if it came to you and from where would knowledge come except from Allah?
  • Allah uses word hadeeth[حَدِيث], which in its root it means something new, new occurence, experience
  • established fact that the Arabs used this word to talk about news/info/story
  • Quranic eloquence demands us to explore concept or idea why Allah uses حَدِيث and not قِصَّه or نَبَاء or خَبر because in other places Allah uses those words

Scholars say:-

  1. either it can means some new [you might know something about Musa, but ALlah is going to tell you something new]
  2. in poetry it’s used to explain “maybe you already knew this, but maybe it has faded away in your memory, so We’re renewing your understanding of this”
  3. yes it’s a story and you already know this story but let Us show you something new about it that you didn’t know before [everytime this story is told there are new reflections realized every single time]
  • that fits right in with miracle of Quran – how many times have you listened to this surah, tafseer etc, you learn a new lesson each time
  • that is beauty and blessing of the Quran

Allah is asking this as a question

  • scholars say this is a rhetorical question
  • why is this asked? it’s to spark the curiosity of the listener/reader
  • it’s called الِستِفهَام لِتَشوِيق



Ayat 10
Sahih International

When he saw a fire and said to his family, “Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance.”

  • إذ = اذكُر (past tense)
  • recall something that has happened in the past
  • when إذ is used, it’s telling us to try to picture what is exactly going on,
  • it creates a real feel and mode to it
  • imagine you’re there watching
  • Musa a.s. sees a fire and he says to his family…[Sheikh will pause here for a while in order to explain background info]

Background information:

  • surah Qasas and a few other places in Quran tells us what happened before and even surah Taha reflects back
  • Quran is the epitome of story-telling and tells a story better than you can imagine
  • Quran’s stories are to teach lesson  and not just for sake of story telling
  • look at style of Quran, it has flash backs
  • Musa a.s. was born into a family of Bani Israel, when firawn is killing thw sons of Bani israel
  • mother of Musa a.s. is very concerned and she was inspired to put him inside a box (literally) and put that box into the river and let it carry it
  • Firawn finds him and takes him in and Musa was raised in his house
  • Musa, being with Bani Israel sympathizes with his people but raised in house of Firawn, he has a bit of a status
  • he ran into a bit of a situation told in surah Qasas, and Taha will refer to it and have a flash back
  • he confronts a man and the man dies
  • he was told to run away from the city, lest he be killed by the authorities
  • he arrives in Madyan, he is  a stranger, he doesn’t have any job, family etc
  • Allah made the arrangements : he gets a job, gets married, everything’s taken care of and he gets a mentor
  • mufassiron says that the quranic language says he stays there for about a decade
  • now he wants to resettle himself and figure out what he wants to do with his life and he is traveling with his family
  • based on the language of the ayat, we come to realize it’s night time and possibly even cold
  • while you’re camping out, because it’s dark and cold, you need heat and light
  • for us it means a hotel
  • at the time of Musa a.s., that meant a fire; he needs to find a fire
  • it’s like us looking on the highway for a billboard hotel sign that says ‘vacancy’
  • all of a sudden he sees it in the distace, he stops, (immediately slams on the brake and turn on indicator and your wife looks over at you and says “What are you doing? What are you doing, why are you pulling over?”
  • Musa a.s. says امكُثُو – you all stay here
  • and you step out and tell your family, “Stay inside, lock the doors, let me go ask if there is any room available and what their rates are.”
  • this is very real
  • Musa a.s. tells his familyامكُثُو (you all stay here) because he has kind of seen this place and scoped it out, you sit tight right here….
  • انَستُ نَارَا – i saw something
  • the language used is انَسَ
  • إنَاس in Arabic is a very interesting word
  • mufasiroon says it’s to notice, feel something that there is no doubt you did see something, you’re convinced you saw something but at the same time it’s not to actually physically see something, it’s like you know
  • so Musa a.s. is kind of like saying to his family  “no doubt, I am fairly convinced there is a fire here”
  • why this usage of the language?
  • some mufassiroon say, that he saw the fire but now it’s invisible, either it was a flash and then he doesn’t see it anymore or he saw it but his family didn’t
  • “I know it’s over there, just trust me.”

This tells us 2 things:-

1. he didn’t just see it with his eyes but he felt it in his heart, because Allah is calling him

  • it’s to get his attention
  • Musa a.s. is a nabi and rasul, he is salimun fitrah but he hasn’t received revealtion yet at that time
  • this is where we make connection between Musa a.s. and Prophet saw
  • Prophet saw, before revelation, would see dreams that come true and he would spend days in the cave and have a feeling that there is something “I know there is something” but at same time it’s not apparent..because this person isn’t ready yet, it’s a step by step process
  • narrations mentions that true dreams, this is sunnah of Allah that all prophets and messengers, this is something that occurs with all of them, generally to prepare all of them

2. This is meant only for Musa a.s., an invitation from Allah to Musa a.s., so no one else could see it

  • إنِّي انَستُ نَارَا
  • that’s why he says it with emphasis => إنِّي
  • “I sense, I’m sure that I sense a fire”
  • لَعَلِّي اَتِيكُم مِنهَا بِقَبَس
  • لَعَلَّ in Arabic =>لِلتَّرَجِّي (I’m very hopeful)
  • hope manifesting – this is  preparation of the heart and spiritual condition of Musa a.s.
  • I’m very hopeful that I will come to you (family) from it (that fire) بِقَبَس
  • قَبسِِ – a general word for taking something
  • قَبَس, specifically referring to fire, means to bring back some fire
  • in the Quran, in different places where Allah tells story, Allah uses more specific wording
  • here it’s a general word
  • in surah Qasas and Naml, Allah uses more specific language
  • in 1 place in Quran, in surah Naml Allah says بِشِهَابِِ قَبَسِِ
  • شِهَاب in Arabic = a fire that is blazing, actual flames [not only will I come back with fire, I will light a torch and bring it back from there]
  • in another place, in surah Qasas, Allah says او جَذوَةِ مِنَ النَّار
  • جَذوَ – to bring back a burning coal or amber from fire, something that is red and lit up
  • in surah Taha it’s just the general version
  • why does Allah use general word here?
  • because surah Taha is the most detailed long version telling of story of Musa
  • in Surah Naml, Alah talks about actual flame because the tone of this surah is very strong, it’s a reflection of the tone of the surah
  • surah Naml is heavy in its tone overall
  • surah Qasas uses a lighter word
  • جَذوَ = little piece of the fire
  • مِن => refer to it being a small piece of the fire
  • surah Qasas is very humble in its tone
  • so, going back to the story ;- Musa a.s. says that he saw a fire, and he turns to his family and tells them to sit tight and that he is pretty sure he saw a fire and he is pretty sure he will come back with a piece of that fire at the very least
  • the more he reflects on what he saw he becomes more hopeful
  • the iman, heart become more and more prepared, iman continue to grow the more he reflects on what he saw
  • “or I will find upon that fire”
  • عَلى نَار :-
  • this is a figure of speech in Arabic
  • in classical Arabic, they would even say نِمتُ عَلى نَار = I slept on fire
  • doesn’t mean literally slept on fire, but it means “I slept near a fire”
  • “I would find near that fire that I saw, guidance.”
  • literally speaking, what he meant by guidance in that particularr context was “I will find someone to tell us a better route, eat, sleep etc”
  • the words of the Quran and words of Musa a.s. through the Quran are very interesting because it’s very general language that alludes to, points towards something that subtly sends a message
  • it was Allah who was calling him there, and sending him His speech and that was what Musa a.s. broought back with him
  • of course he will find the ultimate guidance near where he saw that fire
  • one thing that needs to be mentioned here is that in musnad of Imam Ahmad, when Musa a.s. went there, was there a fire there or not? was it just something to call his attention?
  • even Prophet saw, his heart was heavy with what was going on with the people and he needed space and time to think and reflect and walked outside Makkah and found the cave of hira, described of more like a small recess than an actual cave
  • he could see Kaabah from the opening of that cave, wind would blow through a little hole and it was cool and comforting
  • it was like he was called there
  • when he got comfortable, Jibril came down and then divine revelation came [IQRA]
  • simialrly Musa a.s. was a traveler and he was with his family, and he needed to make arrangements for them, and so a was fire shown to him to kind of draw him in to something he was already looking for so he would be comfortable approaching it
  • when he got there was an actual fire really there or not? Allah knows best
  • Quran doesn’t really elaborate on that
  • there are a couple of places that allude to and talk about that and there is a haidth in Musnad Imam Ahmad in which there was a flame and there was a lote tree that is often talked about, and there was a flame rising from that tree but it wasn’t like any other flame
  • some naration said about Musa a.s. trying to interact with that flame because it looked different
  • some narration say it was a green-colored flame
  • very possibly it could have been a fire there
  • aside from Musa’s circumstances, why was the fire an approapriate means and symbolic of calling Musa a.s. to divine revelation?
  • if we take these narrations (such as in Musnad Imam Ahmad) why woudl that fire be there?
  • this was alluded to in even a hadith in sahih Muslim
  • Abu Musa Ashaari narrates from Prophet saw talking about Allah “The barrier and curtain separating creation from Allah is a hijab of nur but it’s like fire, it’s bright and blazing. That if Allah was to open this curtain, literally the nuur emanating from the face of Allah wld be so powerful and overwhelming to the creation that as far as Allah’s vision into everything, it would literally incinerate everything to ashes.”
  • that hijab that protects us from this overwhelming noor that in this dunya we are not ready for, but of the gifts of ahlul jannah is that they will be able to look at face of Allah
  • so the fire is symbolic and related
  • noor and naar come from same root too
  • while we perceive naar to be something negative because punishment is fire, we have to understand that naar in itself is resembling and symbolic of noor and that is that illumniating force and light of Allah


Ayat 11
Sahih International

And when he came to it, he was called, “O Moses,

  • فَلَمَّا اتَاهَا = so when Musa a.s. came to it (fire)
  • that is one of the places where the language is alluding to fact that there was an actual fire that he came to
  • we’ll leave the specifics of the fire alone. Alah Knows best
  • when he arrived at the fire => نُودِيَ يَا مُسَى
  • he was called out to
  • the language of the Quran is very specific
  • this conversation of Allah with Musa details to us the entire journey of developing iman in Allah
  • formalizing, formulating, solidifying in heart of human, this iman
  • نُودِيَ – passive verb
  • he was called out to
  • why didn’t Allah say ‘Allah caled out to him’?
  • at this point in time, Musa a.s. didn’t know Allah yet not at a personal level (we have utmost respect for prophets and messengers even before revelation)
  • later on in another place, once that iman is realized, Allah says, “then Allah spoke to Musa.”
  • but right now, he “was called out to”
  • he heard a voice
  • it said “Ya Musa (Oh musa)
  • there is a certain etiquette being taught here => addressing someone with their name
  • imagine the shock, to hear a voice and the voice knows your name
  • that initial shock is consistent throughout all revelation of the prophets
  • Prophet saw was squeezed by Jibril
  • that traumatic experience was consistent in all first revelation to all the prophets
  • subtly what we realize from this is that ‘نُودِيَ’ is Musa’s a.s. perspective, he doesn’t know Allah, but Allah is letting him know “But I know exactly you who are even though you may not know Me.”
  • when someone calls on you it almost show anticipation [oh Musa, We’ve been waiting for you, We’re prepared for you]
Ayat 12
Sahih International

Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals. Indeed, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.

  • now to calm Musa a.s., Allah starts to introduce Himself to Musa a.s.
  • إنِّي – most definitely I [ He uses emphasis and the extra يَا is the attached pronoun of first person singular]
  • إنَا = I [then Allah uses the independent pronoun for first person singular] (This is ME)
  • => Most definiltey I and only I
  • the direction Allah takes it in, He emphasizes that ‘This is Me, I am the one talking to you. I am your lord (the one who created you, feeds you, sustains you, protected you, protected you when you were a baby, who put the  directions and intructions into the heart of your mother, who raised you in the house of your eventual enemy, the one who sends to you someone who say you will be killed, the one who sent everything to you on a silver platter, job, wife, family, mentor, the one who has called you here now and one who will give you something that you never could have seen coming, the one who is about to make you someone who will for generations, for millennia, people will look up to you, read up about you, and the one who will bestow upon you a blessing that is the greatest that can ever be bestowed upon any human. I am the one who took care of you til now and will take you of from now on.”
  • that’s the introduction to Allah
  • that’s how iman develops
  • in surah Taha, before saying Allahu…He said, “the One who created the ground that you walk on and the sky you look up at”
  • Iman 101 is to realize the blessings of Allah in our lives and  to marvel at it and learn from it
  • we can learn a lot about this, abuot dawah dan about teaching iman, we should never take this for granted
  • there is a serious need for education of iman within Muslim community, not because the community is so terrible now that we have to teach iman, but because Allah instructed us to do this regardless of state of the community
  • it might have been the generation of sahabah, the best of times, but even then, iman had to be continued to be taught
  • ya ayyuhallazheena amanoo, aaminoo [oh you who believe, believe!]
  • mentioned in sahih that  Abdullah Ibn Rawaahah was a great sahabi and man of great faith and iman, eventualy lost his life in Battle of Mut3ah, he used to come to masjid and approach sahabah whoever he could find and would say, “sit with us, let’s renew our iman [let’s learn iman]”
  • Prophet saw told sahabah in authentic narration “refresh your iman.” “How should we renew our iman oh Rasulullah ?” “say Laa ilaaha ila Allah”
  • relfect on the meaning of la ilaaha illa Allah, think about what that means
  • when we talk about education of iman which is desperately needed in Muslim community, which is an obligation for the non Muslims in our community and even when talking about educating our children, the way to teach iman is through this natural means
  • Allah taught iman to the anbiyaa the way Allah taught us iman in the Quran
  • look in your lives, appreciate the blessings in your lives, look at the creation around you and think one thing, “Who created it?”
  • here Allah taught us how to teach iman
  • it’s a practical way to teach iman
  • Sheikh took his children to the zoo, afterwards when they were leaving, he asked them, “What did you see here today?” “I saw peacock, bear, lion, tiger and a bear, two polar bears, etc” at the end of did, one simple question, “Who created all of this?” Allah
  • that’s how you teach iman
  • last week, Sheikh was in Southern California and took his children to the beach and they were running around playing, and he pointed out to the ocean and the sand and he asked them who created all of this? Allah
  • that is how Alah is teaching iman to Musa even though it’s an expedited, VIP, AP class process
  • despite that, this is not bypassed
  • إنِّي انَا رَبُّكَ
  • first is to realize that you havent lost your mind, this is Me your Lord who is speaking to you
  • now that that is understod, before actual knoweldge of propethood is imparted, the first thing Allah tells him to do is
  • فَخلَع نَعلَيك

Process of teaching:

  • credibility is established => I’m not just nobody, I’m your Lord.
  • now that the trust and credibility is there, Musa a.s. is ready to learn, before Allah teaches him, Allah says فَخلَع نَعلَيك
  • خَلَعَ = to remove
  • نَعلَيك = your shoes
  • take off your shoes
  • take a step back (he’s receiving prophethood, receiving revelation, being given permission)
  • on the surface if we look at it with a simple-minded approach, itdoesn’t fit in the context here anywhere
  • in Ayat 9 Allah says, “I chose you..so listen carefully to what is about to be revealed and ayat after that ALlah introduces Himself to him” so taking off shoes doesn’t seem to mean anything
  • superficially it doesn’t but when you sit and think about it, it’s very important
  • purpose and reason for this :before you can learn, you got to be ready to learn
  • adab (manners) before ilm (knowledge)
  • ibn Masood , the most learned of the sahabah said “we learned iman, then we learned the Quran, then when we learned the Quran, our iman increased as we learned the Quran.”
  • we right now overall as an ummah are going through this beginning stages of revival if you will, we realize that there is so much for us to learn
  • now knowledge is demanded, people are seeking out knowledge, forums, programs, situations, where can this knowledge be leaened and imparted – a beautiful thing
  • but in this, we can lose of one thing
  • the test and trial, fitnah of this phase and mode will be to remember to first learn the manners that will make the knowledge beneficial for us
  • when Prophet saw asked for ilm he didn’t just ask for knowledge but he (saw) asked for beneficial knowledge
  • dua :- Allahumma inni a3oozhbika min ilmin la yanfa3u….{Oh Allah, Indeed I seek refuge with you from knowledge that is not beneficial..]
  • we are in a very interesting paradox now where there is this revival for knowledge but we ourselves many times (Sheikh talking as an insider of the United States) we are a product of a culture and society that lacks manners and being put in a situation where we have to learn manner, it breaks our ego
  • when we are told “Walk straight,” we say “YOU walk straight!”
  • when you go to somebody and you say “I want to learn tafser of this”, you’re told “first you have to learn how to sit, then you have to learn how to talk, then you have to learn how to walk and then you have to learn how to ask a question.”
  • you might say “Alright listen bro, are you going to teach me or not, because I can google this, I really don’t got time for this nonsense, you are more than welcome to go back to your cave, tree in the desert, and you can go do your old school traditional middle of desert Bedouin learning there, I ain’t interested. I just want the information, knowledge, that’s all I need.”
  • we have to realize and understand that the manner comes before the knowledge
  • when Allah speaks to His messengers and gives him divine revelation and prophethood and set him out on a mission to confront one of the worst tyrants in the history of mankind, to free thousands of people who are under the shackle of his oppression, to establish deen of Allah on face of the earth. there is no time to waste here, but even in this situation Allah says “you take off your shoes”
  • you have to learn how to learn, how to be a student
  • otherwise you won’t know what to do with this ilm, when it comes to you
  • it’s like someone taking a smartphone and uses it for a door stop
  • if you find that person you’ll slap him “what are you doing?!!”
  • that’s what happens when the manner is not there
  • that’s why manner is very important
  • Sheikh is referring to overzealous student-of knoweldge mentality
  • there is this self righteous attitude to confront this demand of etiquette
  • what’s the evidence for this?
  • Allah is telling Musa to take off his shoes
  • when Jibril came to Prophet saw in the famous hadith where we learn Iman, Islam and Ihsan, Jibril sat close to Prophet saw, in front of him, the style we sit in tashahhud and he put his hands on Prophet saw’s thighs, he didn’t scratch his head, or check his text messages and go “uhuh…yeah..uhuh…”, he didn’t sit back with arms behind his head and go, “yo bro what’s up?” he sat attentively and looked the Prophet saw in the eye and he asked him the questions and he would respond to every single question whenever Prophet saw gave him a response. At the end of that hadith Prophet said rhe beautiful prophetic words “this is Jibril, he came to you to teach you YOUR deen”
  • this entire situation was teaching you about your deen, this is how you learn your deen


  • إنَّكَ بِلوَادِي مُقَدَّسِ طُوَى
  • why he needed to take of his shoes ? because he was in a very sacred valley
  • quds – for something to be sacred, very pure
  • muqaddas – that which has been sanctified, purified
  • qudoos – the only one who is sacred and declare anything to be sacred is Allah
  • any house of Allah, because Prophet saw told us “the masaajid are the house of Alah on the face of this earth” is by decree and command of Allah and only He can bestow that sacredness upon anything
  • name of this valley of Tuwa which is at the foot of Mount Tur or mufasiroon mention it was in area of Sinai
  • we learn further etiquette from that that any place that has sanctity requires our respect and adab (manners)
  • issue of masajid itself:-
  • when we talk about fiqh of salah, is it permissible to pray with your shoes on? yes, there is an allowance and even Prophet saw did it in his lifetime
  • but if you look at life of Prophet saw, he didn’t wear shoes inside the masjid
  • 99.9% of the salawaat, he didn’t pray with his shoes on
  • he prayed with shoes on once or twice, depending on diferences of narrations
  • on one of those situations, while Prophet saw was praying, Jibril came to him and said there was some impurity on his shoes so he took his shoes off during prayer
  • basically if you are outdoors and in one of those situations where it requires you to wear it, there is some permissibility to wear it
  • in taking off shoes there is humility and humbling of oneself
  • it’s cleanliness, if you were in someone else’s home, out of minimal respect for that  person, you wouldn’t climb on their bed with your shoes on
  • how about with Allah?
  • it’s part of adab and even fiqh of the salat and part of fiqh and adab of the masjid

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