Tafseer Taha Ayaat 13-16

Link to video on Muslimmatters


  • Has it come to you the story of Musa? – to excite prophet saw to see what he can learn from story of Musa a.s.
  • Musa a.s. convinced he saw fire and told his family to sit tight while he goes to get the fire
  • Allah addressed Musa a.s., introducing Himself and calming the nerves of Musa a.s. at the same time (that He is Musa’s a.s. Lord and Master, not just anyone)
  • Once Musa a.s. relaxes a little bit, Allah says to him “Take off your shoes.” Allah instills respect, manners to approach this situation
  • Before Allah imparts anything; tauheed, prophethood, of curriculum of prophets is respect, etiquette and manners
  • this is a sacred valley
  • Lesson for us:- always be cognizant and aware of where you’re exactly at, that’s a part of the etiquette and very important for you to remember from now on
  • parallels to Prophet saw :- Prophet saw was called to something (cave of Hira) and the adab, discipline was instilled within Prophet saw in those nights of meditations but it started way before that
  • in childhood of Prophet saw, all the children were running around carrying bricks and stones, and the other children removed their lower garment to pad their shoulders, and someone suggested Prophet saw do the same, it’s a lot easier to cry the bricks that way. Prophet saw very hesitant and when he started to remove his lower garment, in one narration, he said he felt like someone slapped him at the back of the head harder than he ever been slaped before and he fell down to the ground. In another narration, it was said to him “Don’t do this, don’t remove your clothes in public.”
  • when he(saw) was a young shepherd, the other shepherds would spend the night partying, and they told him about it and they invited him to come. Prophet saw talks about how he got someone to cover his shifts and he started going to the party and saw the fire and as he was getting closer he passed out, and in the morning he felt sun on his face. He tried again 2-3 times. Prophet saw was being protected from way  before that.
  • This is part of that dignity, adab , discipline that is necessary for knoweldge
  • adab comes before ilm
  • always be conscious of your surroundings – sign of an intelligent person
  • scholars of old used to say “wisdom is to know who you’re around and where you’re at.”
  • this type of what you can call sensibility, awareness, cognizance is being imparted before the knoweldge is
  • in Ayat 13 the tarbiyyah continues
  • the taleem hasn’t started yet but tarbiyah continues

Ayat 13

Sahih International

And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed [to you].

  • I and only I
  • إختَرتُكَ – I have selected you
  • but the pronoun before this indicates “who has selected’ , puts emphasis on the doer of the selecting
  • not just anyone, but I (Allah) has selected
  • إختِيَار = to select, but comes from same root as the word khayr (all that which is good)
  • خَير is a broad word with far reaching implications
  • anything good falls under the umbrella of khayr
  • إختِيَار – to select someone or something out of a wide spectrum , to select the best
  • Allah is saying “I chose you out of humanity, suitable for this job”
  • this is what Allah frequently  talks about in the Quran
  • when Allah addresses us in the Quran, He says “هُوَ إجتَبَاكُم”
  • إجتِبَى – to select someone and bring them up to the standard that is required more so maybe than the achieved quality of the person already
  • إصطِفَى – to select someone based on their purity, being very deserving of this selection
  • Allah told Maryam “InnaallahaStafaaki” He chose you
  • 3:42
    Sahih International

    And [mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.

  • Ibn Masood says about the sahabah of Propeht saw “Allah chose the companions for the companionship of His Prophet saw”
  • this selection from Allah is a well known thing and something to be overwhelemd, humbled by
  • so Musa a.s. understands at that moment that this is not just some random occurrence or convenient coincidence
  • parale to Prophet saw – he was chosen to
  • in sunnah , a whole chapter in Musnad Imam Ahmad – multiple narrations where Prophet saw “when were you amde a prophet yaa Rasululah?” “When Adam was still not completely formulated.”
  • “Now that you understand you have been chosen, what is your responsiblity, how can you reciprocate this favor of Mine upon you?”
  • above and beyond anything else =>إستِمَاع
  • سَمِعَ = to listen
  • إستِمَاع = to pay attention, to very closely pay attention to something
  • that was what Prophet saw was told, even when he was distracted and very focused on memorizing was being recited to him
  • “You just need to pay full attention and soak it up. The rest of everything, how to convey etc, all that is Allah’s job.”
  • 75:16
    Sahih International

    Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an.

  • 75:17
    Sahih International

    Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation.

    Sahih International

    So when We have recited it [through Gabriel], then follow its recitation.

    Sahih International

    Then upon Us is its clarification [to you].

  • this is a huge blessing of Allah, enormous honor from Allah
  • how do we reciprocate this? Allah told us in Quran
  • when Quran is recited listen attentively and be quiet

There is fiqh of listening to recitation of Quran:- (going on a tangent)

  • we understand that when Quran is being recited and explained that it’d be rude to start a personal conversation with each other
  • what we have to understand that we have to focus on what Allah is saying to us and take part of this conversation with Alah
  • in current day setting, if we are texting, tweeting, putting message on Facebook, that is the exact same thing
  • here is Allah speaking to me and what am I doing in response to that?
  • that’s from the manners of the Quran
  • many times there is something beneficial that we want to share with somebody, that can be done later, just like the Prophet saw has been told

fastami3 limaa yu7aa – listen attentively to what has been sent down

  • we have been chosen by Allah, it’s a huge favor so how do we recipropcate
  • so for us, be quiet and absorb when Quran is recited, so we can be bestowed mercy
  • Surah Hashr :- what messenger gave you, snatch it, grab it, take a hold of it, and when he told you ‘dont do something’ back away
  • now that this tarbiyyah has been done, wisdom has been imparted, now that Musa a.s. is ready, has been trained by Allah, tarbiyyah process is complete,now Allah imparts knowledge and now the taleem part begins


Ayat 14
Sahih International

Indeed, I am Allah . There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.

  • Innanee Ana Allahu – this is one of most comprehensive and powerful ways that Allah talks about Himself in the Quuran
  • إنَّ – for emphasis, no doubt
  • then Allah uses the attached pronoun for the first person singular
  • look at ayat 12
  • 20:12
    Sahih International

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

  • you have إنِّي – most definitely I [here there is also that pronoun that refers to oneself]
  • here in this ayat 14, it has an extra noon, it’s not innee like in most places in the Quran, but it’s innanee
  • this is called noon al-wiqaayah (noon of protection) – this is added when there is tashweesh (possibility of confusion of losing the pronoun and not being aware of the presence of the pronoun)
  • that’s why when you have a verb and the object of a very, a maf3ool bihi, that is a dhameer muttasil on top of a fi3l, that’s why you have the noon here, because if you didn’t have the noon,
  • it could resemble the first person mudhaari3
  • you can hear an extra noon innee versus innanee
  • the extra noon is only used when it’s needed
  • here it’s not necessarily needed
  • if you said إنِّي, it would be understood that you’re talking about yourself but here it’s emphasized more
  • increasing letters in speech creates more emphasis
  • to put an extra letter in is a possibility in emphasizing the message more
  • double emphasis here
  • so in إنَّنِي, Allah speaks about Himself using the attached pronoun (weakest most ambiguous form to speak about oneself)
  • it’s clear that you’re talking about yourslef but it’s very sublty, the most sublte way to speak about yourself
  • then Allah says انَا which is much more prominent
  • you see the increase in tone and impact
  • then Allah says His name, the most powerful word in the world and that is Allah
  • إنَّنِي ana Allahu – that is the most powerful way to introduce oneself, with one’s name
  • you see a gradual increase which is reflective in the gradual increase in the realization of Musa a.s. in who Allah is
  • recognitioN OF Allah in Musa’s a.s. heart is increasing as this conversation goes on
  • the most important need of humanity is iman and the first step is iman in Alah, to solidify one’s own iman in Allah
  • if you got that everything else will follow
  • but if you don’t have this figured out, everything else is on shaky foundation
  • because everything is build and solidified by your faith in Allah
  • without that, there are no legs to stand on
  • not only do you believe in Allah, the mushrikoon of Makkah believe in Allah
  • completion of iman in Allah is realizing the implication of tauheed, the oneness of Allah
  • laa ilaaha illa ana – there is nothing worthy of worship except ME
  • this is exclusive to Allah
  • you believe in Allah and ONLY Allah
  • then Allah tells Musa a.s. about the implcaitions of that
  • what should be the outcome of that, how do you back this up, what does this require you to do?
  • فَعبُدنِيwhich comes from ibadah often translated as worship Me
  • which is mostly correct, BUT….we have to understand it a little differently
  • most times when we hear worship we think of prayer
  • the next address given to Musa a.s. is establish salat, so it would be redundant to take this as ‘worship Me (as in prayer etc)’
  • it’s about a life of ibadah, living in existence of ibadah which is a completely different thing
  • it means being in servitude to Allah, being obedient to Allah
  • saying you believe in Allah and only Allah and you pray to Allah but in between those, you live your life based on a completely different set of lives, that is contradictory and doesn’t make any sense
  • the supreme law and what will dictate to you how you will live your life is Allah
  • you will be completely obedient and subservient to Allah
  • first and foremost be a slave for Allah
  • that will set a tone for everything in your life
  • what is the first and strongest way you can gauge whether you are living up to that or not?
  • what will keep you on track in this mission yuo will undertake?

wa aqimi salati li zhikri

  • اقِمِ – to stand, establish
  • establish the prayer, not pray, but establish prayer
  • establishment of prayer as understood from Prophet saw and sahabah includes everything from preparing to observing etiquettes of prayer, watching out for times of prayer and performing in to best of ability and after that prayer is done, being aware and cognizant on how to improve prayer and working towards the next following prayer
  • establish the prayer لِذِكرِي
  • what is purpose behind establishing prayer? to remember Me (lizhikri)
  • primary objective of salah is to remember Allah
  • think about the quality of our prayer
  • لِذِكرِي is demanding khushu in our prayer
  • if in my prayer, the last thing I think about is Allah, but I’m concerned about everything else, to the carpet, person next to me, how hot it is in the room, then I didn’t fulfill the objective and benefit, I fulfilled only the ritual aspects of that salah
  • at same time, scholars explained in depths of what Allah is saying here
  • there is connection between salah and zhikr
  • not only is salah contains and is a form of zhikr, but salah shares quality of zhikr of Allah
  • one of unique feature of remembrance of Allah is Aali Imran
  • 3:191
    Sahih International

    Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.

  • you can remember Allah in all situations of life, sitting, standing, lying down
  • similarly salah is applicable in all situations of life, if you’re sick you pray sitting down, if you’re not able to sit up, then you pray lying down, prayer doesn’t stop
  • salah in all aspects and situations of life
  • in Surah Maryam, in the beginning, the same issue mentioned – Isa a.s. saying :-
    • 19:31
      Sahih International

      And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive

  • Prophet saw lived that example , he lived by the prayer, stayed connected to this salah, never let go of it
  • at end of life of Prophet saw, he felt very ill, extremely weak and in that situation for the first few days he didn’t stop going to the masjid
  • the hadith, the sahabah described what they saw “he couldn’t walk on his own, so he would call for two people and put his arms on their shoulder and they would carry him to the prayer”
  • prophet saw was a litlle taller than the average person, so when they’re carrying him, one of narrations says his feet were literally dragging behind him but he still went to salah
  • that was the commitment to salah
  • Umar Ibn Al Khattab was stabbed while leading salah, and he died at end of that day, as he was lying and fading in and out, he was barely conscious, he hears azan and tried to physically get up
  • everybody around was shocked and asked “where do you think you’re going?! You’re dying!!”
  • he said, “I’m going for salah, I heard the Prophet saw saying there is no deen without salah.”
  • that’s the commitment to salah we must have
  • something interesting about salah :- important for us to understand importance of salah in our lives, how it impacts us spiritually and our relationship with Allah, salah is the refueling of our iman
  • scholars talk about why salah is distributed throughout the day – so you can continue to refuel
  • we can’t survive without it, we desperately need it
  • this is not something that has just been emphasized to us or Prophet saw but it was taught and emphasized to and BY all the prophets
  • Ibrahim a.s. in surah Ibrahim when he makes dua to Allah, Rabbij3alni muqeema salah (My lord, make me someone who constantly establishes the prayer)
  • Ismail a.s. in surah Maryam, Allah tells him “wa kaana ya2muru ahalahu bisalah (he constantly tells his family to pray)
  • 19:55
    Sahih International

    And he used to enjoin on his people prayer and zakah and was to his Lord pleasing.

  • here in this surah, Allah tells Musa a.s. to establish prayer
  • you’re being given this prophethood, knowledge and you know who Allah is and about to go on a great mission, the most difficult task given to any human being, establish salah, you’re going to need it, that’s how you’ll stay connected to Me
  • when Maryam was told by angel that Allah ad chosen her and that she’ll be a means of a manifestation of a great miracle that mankind will remember for millennia to come, how will she survive this situation? waqnuti …
  • 3:43
    Sahih International

    O Mary, be devoutly obedient to your Lord and prostrate and bow with those who bow [in prayer].”

  • Isa a.s. in surah Maryam “wa awSaani bisalah (My lord commanded me to stick to prayer)
  • 19:31
    Sahih International

    And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive

  • we have to understand that this is proof of our claim that we are slaves of Allah
  • it’s very easy to put that in your FB status, About section of your Twitter, but what backs it up
  • when you hear the call to prayer, you present yourself to Allah -> Allahu Akbar
  • the message to Prophet saw is that salah, zhikr will get him through the most arduous moments of the journey
  • as believers, those salah will also help us through the most difficult parts of our lives, those difficult choices that we cry, think about, those moments that we go counseling for, stress about etc
  • you can go for counseling to thousands of people, and if you don’t actually assume the primary means of dealing with difficulty in your life  which is talking and seeking help and comfort from Allah, and you just go around talking to people all the time, Sheikh is talking to himself that there comes a point where he becomes just a whiner, he just wants people to show him sympathy
  • everyone has her own personal journey
  • there are situations where we need help of people and we should feel confident seeking help from people but we need to think to ourselves, am I asking help from Allah? no one can help me more than Allah, no one can solve our problems more than Allah? everybody else is just a means to that end
  • scholars say that seeking counsel from others is a sunnah of Prophet saw
  • when we do that, it’s because it’s a sunnah of Prophet saw
  • sahahah in hadith of Tirmidhi says that Prophet saw tells us to seek medication
  • we have understand that and go back and ask if we are asking help from Allah
  • that is what will get us through life
  • for those of us in the community who ar trying to make an effort to answer the call of serving the deen whether we’re talking about being a worker in community or being active or trying to facilitate something in community, activism, preaching or teaching in community, we also have to understand the first and foremost thing that we have to go back and what will keep us strong and sincere in our task is this relationship with Allah
  • Allah is telling the messengers ‘this is what you gotta do, stick to the prayer,” in the command form with the imperative
  • this is the education of Musa a.s.
Ayat 15
Sahih International

Indeed, the Hour is coming – I almost conceal it – so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives.

  • Allah goes on to continue that education
  • there are 2 major aspects of iman, pillars of iman (not takling about article of faith), but what in iman what is that the foundation that drives that person?
  • it’s tauheed, iman in Allah and Iman in the hereafter
  • that’s why these are 3 of the primary themes in the Quran
  • belief in Allah, belief in hereafter, belief in prophethood
  • Allah tells Musa a.s. in this ayah
  • سَعَة- the hour, fixed ,appropriate time, the designated hour
  • اَتِيَتة – it is coming, arriving
  • Allah uses the active participle, noun, ism faa3il which doesn’t just mean it will come but it’s already in act of coming
  • one of rhetorical implications in this form of noun is that it implies a sense of urgnecy, it’s immediately happening, arriving
  • test of human is naturally when you talk about hereafter because of nafs and shaytaan and circumstances that surround him, he likes to put thought of something like this off, any type of accountability, deadline, you try to push it back as far as you can
  • this is a weakness of the human being which the human has to learn to overcome
  • In Surah Maarij –
    Sahih International

    Indeed, they see it [as] distant,

    – they like to think that it’s really far away

  • 70:7
    Sahih International

    But We see it [as] near.

    – we’re here to tell you it’s extremely close

  • إقتَرَب لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُم
  • إقتِرَاب – for something to have reached extremely close ,right in front of your nose, knocking at your door
  • that hour that awaits, that everything hinges on, when the boks are done, closed, finished, ..aatiyatun -it’s enroute, the destination is approaching
  • one of the subtle implication of this :- in previous ayah even the transition from topic to topic is very beautfiful
  • in taleem of Musa a.s. Allah says establish prayer, then right away Allah says ‘the hour is fast approaching’ to create a sense of urgency, which is subtle reminder to not put off prayer
  • to quickly go towards prayer, not to pray quickly
  • then take time in your prayer
  • Prophet saw when asked by sahabi “which of the deeds is te most rewarding? ” Prophet saw said “the prayer in its first initial time”
  • don’t put it off
  • in Talbees Iblees, a book written about the tricks of shaytaan, one of the thing that is very clearly mentioned  and given priority in its mention, shaytaan doesn’t outright tells you (at least not initially) “Don’t pray”
  • because you woudl reject an idea like that
  • the thought won;t cross yuor mind “I think it’d be a GREAT idea to not pray”
  • but the thought is “let me take care of this first, do this first and that” until it reaches that breaking point of not praying at all
  • the hour is coming, life of hereafter is fast approaching
  • اكَادُ اخفِيهَا – I was very close to concealing it
  • هَا it = the hour
  • Allah is saying that “I wasn’t going to inform humanity about it.”
  • because of what has been said so far
  • for humanity, it should have been motivation enough that everything Allah has done for them, and then He asks them something to do something that they do it
  • but Allah in His infinite mercy and generosity and wisdom, He doesn’t withhold that info completely from humanity and let them us know a litle bit about it
  • He let us know a bit about it, some parts of it weren’t disclosed (the time)
  • other than that, we’re told everything that will occur once it arrives
  • Allah says “why did I decide to let human being know about it?”
  • السَّعيُ –
  • ل explains the reason of why
  • so that human being could be rewarded, recompensed base don what it had rushed towards
  • السَّعيُ – to move quickly towards an object and target
  • in this ayah Allah didn’t say ‘bima hasalat or bimaa tah7sul’ (that every single soul will be rewarded based on what it achieved) but based on what it was working towards
  • the intention and effort was there, whether or not desired outcome achieved or not is different issue because it’s not in hands of human being
  • as long as right intention and motivation and effort was put it, that’s all that is asked for
  • outcomes are in hand of Allah
  • but intention and effort are what we are obligated to do
  • the verb mentioned here is present/future tense
  • implies => when human being still in pursuit of his goals => to strive till our very last moments
Ayat 16
Sahih International

So do not let one avert you from it who does not believe in it and follows his desire, for you [then] would perish.

  • here Allah concludes lesson 1
  • or if we call Adab as lesson 1 then this is lesson 2 (foundations of faith)
  • The manifestation of iman of that person in the world that surrounds that person is lesson 3
  • but conclusion of lesson 2 here is in this ayah
  • this is the himmah (motivation, drive, convictions) of the believer
  • that you shouldn’t be stopped/prevented
  • اصَدُّ – when something obstructs your path and forces you to go around it, to change your route
  • don’t you let anything change your course or route
  • when something positions itself in front of you you run or climb over it
  • when you’re driving on a road and you see a pothole or speed bump, slow down a little bit, you prepare yourself for it, you deal with it the best you can
  • if it’s a bit of an incline then speed up
  • either way you prepare and deal with it and keep going down this road
  • if you turn you don’t know where it will take you, you can’t afford a detour
  • عَنهَا = from that
  • that =

1. some says it goes back to talking about the sa3ah (the hour that awaits)

  • that even if life of this work comes with a bit of difficulty, you’re working for the hereafter so keep working for it and don’t be diverted from your goals

2. some schoalrs say that it means salah -> don’t ever be obstructed from salah

  • both have their own benefits
  • Who can obstruct you from this goal?
  • لاَ يُؤمِنُو بِهَا :-the one who doesn’t believe in it (life of hereafter)
  • stick to the route you’re supposed to stay on, and if someone doesn’t believe, that’s enough reason to not be diverted by them
  • وَتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ – he follows his or her own desires
  • rather, have mercy on that person
  • because that person doesn’t believe, look at how he lives his life
  • that person is guided by his desires and you are guided by Allah
  • that’s how an animal live its life (follows desires)
  • فَتَردَى –
  • and if by chance you were to be disrtacted, diverted, derailed y someone who doesn’ tbelieve in akhirah and live life acording to his own desires, what could happen to you?
  • that’s a slippery slope
  • رَدِي – to be lowest of the low
  • فَتَردَى – classically used to be falling from above, like someone falling from a cliff into a canyon or a ditch, come crashing down, falling from grace
  • that’s what will happen to you
  • you don’t want that to happen
  • to throw yourslef from height is foolishness
  • so don’t do it
  • stay on the course and stick to what you’re supposed to stick to
  • this was something that was talked about in other places in Quran as well
  • even sticking to salah requires that belief in Allah, hereafter
  • Al Baqarah 45-46
  • 2:45
    Sahih International

    And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]

  • 2:46
    Sahih International

    Who are certain that they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him.

  • Maryam 59 – this was one of primary topics
  • 19:59
    Sahih International

    But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil –

  • what made these people so terrible was that they were negligent of their prayer and they they followed their desires and very soon they will fall into the pit of hell
  • they’re falling and dragging you down with them
  • belief in hereafter is something amazing and powerful and adds dignity and grace to a human’s existence because a human lives with a certain sense of awareness and accountability and srtive to make something better of himself/herself
  • Abu Alaa al Mua3araa in a couplet says, “the fortune teller/scientist both say that people won’t be resurrected and I say why don’t you keep your foolish notions to yourself because if what you say is true then hey, nothing bad can happen to me, but what if I say is true, then you are ruined
  • Musa a.s. here told to stick to path and not to be derailed
  • parallel to Prophet saw here :- in beginning days of Prophethood, days of Makkah, stick to what you’re doing, yes, it seems like everyday the struggle is going, don’t be derailed by these godless, beliefless people
  • everything else will work itself out, leave it to Allah
  • Lesson for us :- we need to stick to it too, challenges and difficulties will come and many will tell us that we are the foolish people but we need to just stick to it and everything will work itself out
  • in next passage, Allah will show us how help will manifest itself and come from most unexpected places







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