Tafseer Taha : Ayat 25-29


Link to the video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • previously we talked about conversation of Musa a.s. with Allah
  • Allah not only speaking to Musa a.s. and imparting wisdom, but Allah taught a practical lesson to Musa a.s. utilizing something that is familiar
  • Allah taught him lesson in iman through his staff and his own hand
  • once it was complete and imparted, Allah said that the reason why this was all conducted was so that We could show you even greater signs of Ours
  • and that the crux of Musa a.s.’s job is to go to Firawn and deliver the message

Ayat 25

20:25
Sahih International

[Moses] said, “My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance]

  • now Musa a.s. fully comprehends what has been imparted to him and why it has been imparted to him
  • that burden and weight of leadership he feels on his shoulders weighs very heavy on him
  • Musa a.s.speaks to Allah and presents certain requests to Allah asking Allah to ease this burden to him in very specific ways
  • it’s something to really think about
  • before we even read the ayat, process this idea of how do we handle responsibility, position of prominence?
  • to us leadership is a privilege, means status, prestige, honor, stripes, stars on the shoulders, superiority
  • this is not just to pick on politicians, companies. Islamically it’s the same “Oh he didn’t ask me to lead the prayer. I have an issue, I have a problem with that.”
  • “Why did they ask him to give khutbah, why not me?”
  • we gauge, measure ourselves, we compete with each other based on these leadership
  • the things that we squabble over is nothing compared to the responsibilities of the prophets
  • how does he reflect on this responsibility being put on his shoulders?
  • “You will go and deliver this message to thousands of people, your legacy will live on and people will name their sons after you!”
  • our response ? we’d probably want to high-five somebody
  • “Oh Allah give me someone to high-five!”
  • What is Musa a.s.’s concern ?
  • Rabb – the One who creates, sustains, provides
  • Quranic supplications begin with rabb
  • There is a reason for that
  • before we ask Allah anything we first acknowledge all the blessings He has given us up to this point right now
  • Oh Allah, there are innumerable blessings of your that has brought me to this point here right now
  • so here Musa a.s.; is doing this
  • شَرح – literally to clarify, open up something
  • لِي – for me
  • صَدرِي – my chest
  • شَرح صَدر => a figure of speech in Arabic, not to be taken literally
  • it means to give someone contentment, to settle someone’s fears, remove anxiety, calm the nerves
  • to expand, remove the haziness
  • when it’s hazy it’s actually confusing and disturbing
  • like driving through fog
  • it can be scary because you don’t know what’s head
  • it can be nerve wrecking
  • it doesn’t say to clear the heart though, but it’s to clear the chest more than the heart
  • not just emotions but anything that is in periphery, anything that brings me this anxiety
  • not just to clarify the heart but the container of the heart => clear everything up
  • it’s very expressive and emphatic
  • So Musa a.s. is saying “Oh Allah remove my anxieties”

 

Ayat 26

20:26
وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي
Sahih International

And ease for me my task

 

  • he asks for the 2nd thing in his dua here
  • tayseer – literally means to facilitate something
  • comes from root that means simple/easy
  • it’s more than simplification but it’s to facilitate
  • it wasn’t completely simple, there were times when it got a little tough
  • facilitate for me my task
  • here there is something very interesting => Musa a.s. knowing exactly what’s at stake
  • the moment he hears the name of Firawn, all memories came back, he knew exactly what that man was capable of and at same time he knew he was wanted by that man who wanted to catch and kill him
  • it brought a whole flurry of emotions, so he asks Allah to remove this anxiety
  • but he didn’t make excuses, he’s not trying to back away
  • not “Oh, I need this and that and if those things are not going to be there, I might not do it..”
  • but he’s saying ‘My task” => he’s taking full responsibility for it by calling it MY task
  • remove any difficulties that might come along, facilitate the most ease and easiest way to execute this task regardless of what the situation might be
  • there are many beautiful duas from Prophet saw  -> to make dua for facilitation of tasks
  • life is life and are going to come with challenges
  • Prophet saw taught us duas to say in these situations to make things easy for us
  • اللهُمَّ التُفبِنَا فِي تَيسِيرِ وَ فِي كُلِّ عسِير
  • Oh Allah be gentle with us, be kind to us, [by facilitating any and all difficult task because the facilitation of any task is very very easy for You]
  • الّلهُمَّ لاَ سَهلاَ إلاَّ مَا جَعَلتَهُ سَهلاَ وَ انتَ تَجعَلُ الحَزنَ إذَا شِئتَ سَهلاَ
  • Oh Allah there is nothing easy except for that for which You have facilitated, and You can make the most difficult task in the world very easy if You decree it to be so
  • Musa a.s. similarly following that prophetic pattern
  • to ask for facilitation for Allah is prophetic in nature

 

Ayat 27

20:27
وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي
Sahih International

And untie the knot from my tongue

  • 3rd part of the dua
  • وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي
  • احلُل – to unknot, release, open up, untie
  • عُقدَة – literally refers to a knot
  • مِن لِسَانِي – from my tongue
  • release the knot from my tongue
  • what does that refer to?
  • one of principles of tafseer:- appreciation of an ayah should be based on the wording of ayah first and foremost, and then we get into historical facts and tidbits
  • the first thing we understand that this can be understood as an expression in Arabic
  • we are kind of familiar and in different languages there are expressions that mean “allow me to speak freely, clearly”
  • that’s what Musa a.s. is saying
  • imagine the weight he has on his shoulders
  • he’s being entrusted with the life, safety, spirituality, iman of tens of thousands of people
  • he has to stand in front of a tyrant  whom the world has never seen, who is very capable of killing him a decade ago, who was out to execute him a decade ago
  • understandably, he’s nervous, it’s natural to feel pressure
  • “oh Allah, allow me to speak the truth, to do right by the truth”
  • if we take it just at that -:
  • look at what Musa a.s. has been asking Allah for:

1. to make him comfortable with the task at hand (first step with dealing with anything, especially a responsibility of this nature)

  • you need to come to terms with reality, and need to be willing to deal with task at hand “I’m going to do this!”

2. the circumstances

  • practical example -: let’s say you want to go for hajj, first you have to make that intention and convince yourself, “inshaaAllah can go for 10 years”you  have to sit down, come to terms with it and do it “this is happening, now”
  • there is a list of things that has to go right from now on till october for this to happen
  • have to save up, book a spot, bills all paid up, what to do with your kids if you’re leaving them behind
  • all circumstances surrounding that task has to be right

3. executing the task

  • sometimes people so focused and concerned about first couple of steps ;booking, financial, etc
  • everything is good to go, and a lot of people end up overlooking is the performance of task itself
  • they get there and they “what do I do?”
  • even the physical performance of the rites, a lot of walking at hajj, and now they’re crying and saying “I can’t do this, sheikh can I do the wheelchair thing?”😀
  • So:-
  • 1st part of dua:- Oh Allah I’m dealing with the task at hand, I am motivating myself, but You help me with that
  • 2nd part of dua:- from now to actually delivering the message there is a whole situation of things that can go terribly wrong, make sure oh Allah that I can be standing there right day right time on time ready to do what I gotta do
  • 3rd part of dua:- Oh Allah, let me speak freely, say what needs to be said, let me make it happen, I gotta there and drop it on him
  • drawing parallel to Prophet saw :-
  • it’s about delivering the message to mankind
  • we have a similar responsibility
  • a very necessary part of delivering that message is verbally delivering that message
  • or now,  publishing, writing etc
  • there comes a point in time where the message must be communicated
  • communication is an important part of this equation
  • we balance that off by saying that is not the only way to help, contribute
  • true, but it IS part of the equation
  • when you come to the Friday prayer, not everybody can be a khateeb
  • who would actually listen to the khutbah then?
  • not everyone can lead the prayer
  • but that doesn’t change the fact that someone has to deliver the message
  • Musa a.s. understands the necessity of that and asks Allah ti grant him the ability to be able to communicate the message
  • we also have to understand that the message must be communicated
  • our problem is we have a lack of people who can communicate the message effective;y
  • it’s not the only way to deliver the deen but it’s a very important way to do it nevertheless
  • the types of works that needs to be expanded – training and teaching khateeb to deliver message and bring community higher every week, raise the bar, it’s very important
  • understanding the necessity of effectively delivering message
  • that’s what language of the ayah allows us to understand
  • now to go more in depths
  • classical tafaseer books and stories of the prophets will often talk about the stutter of Musa a.s. and that this is alluding to the fact that Musa .a.s. used to stutter and asking Allah to help him with that
  • Is there any validity to this fact?
  • imam qurtubi mentions in his tafseer a story about how Musa a.s. developed his stutter. Musa when he was a baby and taken into house of Firawn, Firawn was uncomfortable with taking this baby in general. Musa a.s. did a few things that irritated Firawn as a child
  • when he was sitting in Firawn’s lap, he pulled his beard and slapped him in the face etc
  • Firawn didn’t appreciate it
  • FIrawn said “I don’t trust this child. I want to test this child, something’s different here.”
  • He brought out some shiny stuff and on the other hand, he brought a burning ember, a piece of coal tat was hot, and they were put in front of Musa a.s. as a child
  • children always go for the shiny stuff
  • when they see fire, they sense it’s hot
  • Firawn set up the test in his favor: if he takes the money, “”He’s disrespecting me.” No, he’s a baby.” “No, he peed in my lap, he did it on purpose.”
  • if he takes the fire “Oh okay, he’s a baby, he’s dumb. I don’t mind now.”
  • Musa, being a child will go for the shiny stuff but on top of that he’s a nabi and rasul, there’s a certain intelligence there
  • so automatically he went for the shiny stuff, in narration of Imam Qurtubi, Jibril came and pushed Musa a.s.’s hand to the burning coal and put in his hand and stuck it in his mouth to make it look like Musa was just a dumb baby to save his life
  • that’s how he got his stutter
  • some other scholars have doubted the authenticity of this narration
  • a god work of research done that talks about a lot of different stories that might have come from previous scriptures and how they made their way into tafseer – so, as to how Musa a.s. got the stutter, Allah knows best
  • Prophet saw did talk about in authentic narration about Musa a.s. having a stutter
  • beautiful narration :- Hussain bin Ali used to stutter very severely. Hassan was very eloquent. Their dad is Ali and grandfather is Prophet saw and mother is Fatima. Think about the type of pressure for Hussain.
  • think about how difficult that must have been emotionally
  • the stutter was so severe that at times it would take him forever just to finish the sentence
  • a lot of times when someone stutters, the kids, your peers can be ruthless and tease you to no end, especially little boys
  • you’re constantly being made fun of
  • people who stutter tend to regress a bit, they invert i, don’t express themselves, don’t talk in front of people anymore
  • even family members even if they don’t tease, they don’t understand the effect on the psyche of the child [they might complete the sentence for the child, or they go “Uhuh, ok go leave me alone”
  • so it’s very detrimental
  • Prophet saw was very close, affectionate and love being in company of his family members
  • he always wanted to spend time with his family
  • he would pray his faraidh at the masjid and pray the sunnah at home
  • very frequently couple times a week, he’d go to house of his uncle Abbas, he’d eat, lie down, take a nap and talk with his family
  • Hussain and Hasan used to be with him (saw) a lot of time
  • it was noted by Prophet saw that when Hussain was sitting with Prophet saw and they were having a conversation and Hussain is growing up into a man and naturally what happens, he starts to interject in conversations
  • Hussain would start to talk at times or when Prophet saw was talking to other people, he would ask Hussain’s opinion
  • when Hussain would share his own thoughts, he would stutter so severely that he could barely complete one sentence
  • narrations say how it would be very awkward, the conversation just died and this boy would stutter his way through 1 sentence and they all got very awkward “what do we do?”
  • they would look at Prophet saw and the narration says “he would look towards Hussain and listen to him as he was stuttering and he would be smiling and just listen to him.”
  • he (saw) wouldnt interrupt him or finish his sentence
  • finally when Hussain is done (everybody else was just waiting), and Hussain now probably feel embarrassed
  • Prphet saw woudl diffise the situation and say ” he inherited that stutter from his uncle Musa.” [whats’ everybody awkwarded out by? You’re weirded out by his stuttering? You got a problem with that?]
  • so it’s to put everybody back in their places and for them to look at themselves first before looking down on someone else
  • even if you’re doing the whole sympathy thing – “Oh poor kid, I feel bad for him.”
  • feel bad for yourself, that all you can see is the fact that this child stutters, the faults of people
  • if you want to feel so bad for him then why don’t you feel bad for Musa too because he used to stutter
  • think about how empowered Hussain is “Oh my name is Hussain and I stutter.” (and that he is connected to Musa a.s.)
  • Prophet saw connected Hussain to Musa a.s. by the word “inherit’
  • inheritance is a gift and honor
  • everyone knows that Musa a.s. is a prophet and messenger, but Prophet saw referred to Musa a.s. as “the uncle of Hussain”
  • he is using the word uncle figuratively, but he’s saying that Hussain’s uncle is a messenger of Allah and messengers of Allah are brothers to one another
  • so it’s technically like his distant uncle
  • from that narration we establish the fact that the Prophet saw mentioned Musa a.s. having a stutter
  • so the dua of Musa a.s. can be understood to mean both asking for help with his stutter or asking for help generally speaking (if with a stutter then let it be with a stutter)
  • even Firawn mentioned in zukhruf 52
  • 43:52
    Sahih International

    Or am I [not] better than this one who is insignificant and hardly makes himself clear?

  • he was trying to undermine credibility of Musa a.s.
  • he is saying “this guy can barely talk straight! You’re going to listen to him?!”

 

Ayat 28

20:28
Sahih International

That they may understand my speech.

  • can be understood in 2 ways:-
  • ayat 28 is connected to ayat 27
  • this is very common in Quran
  • in Quran, ayaat are not sentences but are points of reflections
  • an ayat can be 1 word, or half a sentence or 3 sentences, it’s just a place where you pause and reflect
  • they’re ‘time outs’ – figure out what;s going on
  • some scholars who have done grammatical analysis of the Quran says this is a full sentence
  • yafqahu comes from fiqh which means to internalize, completely understand something, it’s much deeper than fahm
  • qawlii – my words
  • some scholars say this is  a conditional statement “oh Allah allow me to speak freely/clearly..so they can fully comprehend what I’m saying”
  • other scholars say this is the 4th portion of the dua
  • oh Allah allow me speak clearly and then he is saying “Oh Allah allow them to understand”
  • it can be looked at in both ways
  • majority say they are connected
  • in either case, the 4th and final stage of completing task at hand then is :- final outcome of that task
  • the desired outcome is that they understand, grasp what was delivered
  • this is that basic dua of Musa a.s. but he doesn’t end here

 

Ayat 29

20:29
وَاجْعَل لِّي وَزِيرًا
Sahih International

And appoint for me a minister from my family –

  • translates to a minister but it means someone who carries part of the burden, eases the task, someone who can be there for you and help you complete this task
  • this is delegating responsibilities
  • “Make for me a deputy, a VP”
  • you have to process this by understanding who is asking for what
  • Musa a.s. a prophet and messenger of Allah is asking Allah for help, not just for Allah’s help, but he’s asking Allah for Allah’s help by means of another human being to finish the job he’s been given
  • in our situation we equate that to incompetence
  • “You’re not fit fo the job? you can’t handle this by yourself?”
  • it becomes an ego thing
  • look at the humility of Musa a.s., he obviously realizes how special he is, Allah is sending him on a huge task so he knows Allah has confidence in him and yet he said “I’m going to need a little bit of help”
  • he’s putting his ego aside and focuses on the task
  • he’s not worried about bruise on his ego, he’s just worried about the completion of the task
  • that’s something that we can learn a lot from
  • there are multiple of narrations where prophet saw endorses the same idea, in hadith from sunan of imam nasai, “Whoever amongst you is given the responsibility of completing a task and Allah wants good for that person then Allah appoints for that person a wazeer who is righteous. if he forgets he will remind him. but if he remembers he will aid him and support him in the completion of task
  • from sahih Bukhari, “Allah has never sent a prophet pr messenger or a leader upon the people except that he had 2 companions, one companion is a companion that enjoins him to do good and motivates him to do that good and another companion that commands him to do bad and pushes him to do that bad. and the one that is protected is the one that Allah protected.”
  • another narration “the best of kings is the king that Allah gave him a helper, assistant that if he forgets he will remind him and if he makes the intention to do good he will help him see that good through, and if he makes the intention to do something bad, he will hold him back from that bad”
  • even prophets and messenger needed help
  • Allah divinely appoints help for them
  • The prophet saw talked about having 2 wazeers on earth(Abu Bakr and Omar) and in heavens (Jibril and Mikail)
  • even business strategists when talking about being a good boss, part of that is about being able to delegate and have a good team
  • if you look at community of sahabah, the Prophet saw prepared people to be able to carry the ummah
  • there are people who would lead the prayer when Prophet saw was alive
  • in his lifetime he appointed Abu Bakr to lead the prayer
  • there were sahabah who would lead prayers in other communities, masajid being established around cities of Madinah
  • masjid popularly called Qiblatayn was originally called masjid of banu Salimah, and that masjid was established during lifetime of Prophet saw and he appointed Muazh Ibn Jabal to lead prayer there
  • see the realistic mentality of Musa a.s. and at the same time, his intelligence “I am going to need a team for this task”
  • now he specifies in terms of the help :- مِّنْ أَهْلِي = from my family
  • it’s like he gradually works his way there , this is humility, it’s not like “uhuh, if i”m going to do this, this is what it’s going to take.”
  • he’s humbled by the responsibility, opportunity, obligation, very humbly he says, “I would like to request the help from an assistance. I would be more comfortable if that assistance was from my family”
  • classical mufasiroon this is how they explore the nuances and understanding and profound wisdom of words of Allah is by asking question even if the question makes you a little uncomfortable but if we are sincerely asking and able to understand the answer there is no harm in that
  • when Musa a.s. asks for help to be from his family, is this nepotism?
  • when we study it, no, not at all
  • biggest reflection from this dua Musa a.s. is making is that he’s a human being
  • “Oh Allah, I’m freaking out, you gotta help me here. This is big, please set it up for me. I need to be able to express, fulfill the task, I can’t make those people understand, You’re the only One who can. I need help.”
  • as a human being, family is just more familiar, you feel like you can relax, be yourself
  • I’m looking for someone I can confide it, someone whose shoulder I can cry on, someone i know, trust
  • importance of making sure you include your family in whatever task, endeavor situation you’re involved in no matter how noble the deed is
  • the more noble it is the more concerned you should be about including your family
  • don’t leave them behind
  • especially between siblings
  • “I want my brother to be a part of this blessing. So let it be my family Ya Allah..I want my family to be a part of this great khayr, legacy.”

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