Tafseer Taha: Ayat 43-47

Link to video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • in Ayat 24, Allah gave him a command “go to Firawn because he has completely lost his mind and crossed all boundaries”
  • in Ayat 42, Allah says, ‘Go you and your brother”
  • it’s a form of progression
  • Musa’s a.s. request to Allah was to include Harun his brother
  • Allah told Musa a.s. that his request has been granted
  • we see this natural progression that just as Musa a.s. grew into this role of prophethood, Allah also gave Harun a.s. to grow in a certain amount of time to grow into this role
  • at first, “Go to firawn” was just addressed to Musa a.s. but in Ayat 42 now the address is still primarily to Musa a.s. but his brother is an extension to that address
  • ‘you’ is repeated because in Arabic grammar, if you wish to include anyone else into the command form you have to state the pronoun that addresses the person you’re talking to and then you extend on top of that
  • the command is to both but more direct to Musa a.s. but indirect to Harun a.s.

Ayat 43

20:43
Sahih International

Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed.

  • now Allah addresses both of them (form of verb is address to 2 people)
  • So, Musa a.s. requested for his brother to be included, and Allah granted that request immediately
  • but Allah is also kind of showing us the progression whereby He is giving Harun a.s. the time to come into that role of prophethood through the grammatical structure in these ayaat:- first only to Musa a.s. then directly to Musa a.s. and indirectly to Harun a.s. and now to both of them equally
  • This mission has already been stated previously, so what is the purpose of stating the mission again ?
  • The only difference is that before, only 1 person was addressed and now 2 people are addressed
  • There is a reason why Allah would repeat the phrase “Go to firawn indeed he has transgressed”
  • :- reiterating one’s purpose, niyah, maqsad, goal is very very important
  • even motivational speakers and CEOs and coaches often talk about restating your goals
  • the ulamaa of tazkiyah and tarbiyyah often used to say that one very method of implementing ikhlas…
  • 2 qualities that are prophetic
  • ikhlass
  • istikhlaas – to be focused in terms of your goal to not be distracted
  • like when Ibrahim as said about himself “inni wajjahtu ….haneefan”
  • 1 way to achieve both is to reiterate your goals, intentions, your reason for doing what you’re doing
  • ikhlass is state your intention, ponder on your intention before you start and doing
  • at the end of your activity remind yourself why you did what you did
  • here Allah is imparting that same message to Musa a.s. and Harun a.s.

Ayat 44

20:44
Sahih International

And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [ Allah ].”

  • Allah still speaking to Musa a.s. and Harun a.s.
  • qawlan layyinan :- a word/speech that is very soft
  • layyin -:
  • things are best understood when you look at the opposite
  • opposite if layyin is coarse, rough
  • layyin is a word in Arabic that would be used to describe silk, very gentle, soft
  • “speak to him very kindly, softly, gently”
  • this is something that Allah states again and again throughout the Quran
  • Nahl 16:125
  • 16:125
    ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ
    Sahih International

    Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.

  • الْمَوْعِظَةِ ,wa3dzh – not just a message/lecture to someone but a message that is shared with empathy
  • why is there so much focus on this?
  • people don’t need real talk
  • that’s just bad etiquette, that’s just an excuse for being a rude human being
  • a lot of  times, it’s an indication of arrogance and darkness in one’s own heart
  • the only reason you would talk down to anyone is because you think they are so terrible
  • if you enjoy doing real talk so much, do it in the mirror
  • who gave you license, what put you in the position to know?
  • in surah fussilat (entire curriculum of dawah, especially for Muslims minority, a Makkan surah)
  • it teaches us how to engage in dawah
  • 41:33
    وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
    Sahih International

    And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.”[Fussilat 41:33]

  • whose word is better than the one who calls to Allah and he does good himself he has this attitude of “I’m a normal Muslim” with humility
  • 41:34
     ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ
    Sahih International

    And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. [Fussilat 41:34]

  • وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ :- often it’s translated as “the good and bad are not equal” but this is not right
  • “the people of fire and people of jannah are not equal” – that’s what Allah says in one place
  • right here. Allah is saying that good and excellence are not equal, and bad is not equal, Allah repeats the “Laa” (وَلَا)
  • => not all excellence are equal either, some behavior is more excellent than others and some behavior is worse than others
  • دْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ – repel bad with good
  • that doesn’t just mean that when someone is bad to you you be good to them but it also means when someone is good to you be better to them
  • this is the Quranic paradigm of teaching and preaching and sharing the message
  • in beginning of surah Taha, we see how much Allah loves the Prophet saw, but despite that Allah says in Surah Aali Imran ayat 159
  • 3:159
    فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ ۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
    Sahih International

    So by mercy from Allah , [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].

  • be merciful to those on earth and the ones who are above the heavens will be merciful to you
  • this is the teaching of the book of Allah
  • this has been stated time and time again throughout the Quran and something Prophet saw exemplified through his personal character
  • when Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl came to Prophte saw to accept Islam and profess iman, he (saw) told the sahabah not to insult his father
  • when the Bedouin urinated in the masjid, the Prophet saw spoke to him kindly
  • when the man came to Prophet saw to ask to do zina, he (saw) put his hand on his chest and made dua for him
  • he (saw) gave the man the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t know any better, and he didn’t know any  better but once he understood it, he didn’t do it for the rest of his life
  • we justify being rude and obnoxious to others through Islam, that’s the worst thing to do
  • Islam has nothing to do with a person being a rude human being
  • don’t justify it through Islam. If you’re rude just say you’re rude.
  • The prophet saw said, “Speak the truth even if it’s bitter.” []
  • how do you know something’s bitter? when it’s in your mouth
  • speak the truth even if you have to speak out against yourself
  • Stand for truth even if you have to stand against yourself
  • that’s prophetic in nature and that is Islam
  • speak the truth, but speak gently
  • mentioned in some books of stories of Ulama that some pious person of the past(often times they would be ascetic) was once scolding a Muslim king who had a lot of wealth and ‘bling bling’. He reprimanded him, (the finger wag). When he’s done, the king said to him “Jazakallah khair, I also have a word of advice. No matter how terrible I am, I am not worse than Firawn. I have a lot of respect for you but no matter how amazing you are, you are not better than musa a.s., Allah told Musa a.s. when he was to go to Firawn, to speak to him gently.”
  • the sahabah said that the Prophet saw never pointed his finger to someone, when he did, he would use that person’s own finger
  • we really have to internalize this
  • we see in these ayat that are coming how to put it into practice
  • we need to study life of Prophet saw, it’s necessary, not optional because we will see that too
  • saad ibn abi waqa sis “we wld teach our children the life of Prophet saw like we would teach them the surah of the Quran”
  • husayn ibn ali said “the first thing we would teach our children is the seerah of Prophet saw”
  • لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَىٰ :- it is hopeful/possible that either he will heed the reminder (wake up and understand, remember what he should be remembering [the covenant of Alas, this truth is embedded within each and everyone of us, each child is born on fitrah) or he will be overwhelmed (overcome with cognizant and fear that he will fear punishment of Allah that is on its way, and he will find iman in the One that everything is returning to)
  • scholars explain يَتَذَكَّرُ  as : he will realize all the past blessing he has enjoyed in his life and he will find faith in the One who blesses him constantly without any restriction
  • by speaking gently it’s more like that he will heed the message of have fear in Allah
  • objective is to make him understand the message
  • if that’s the goal, and not the fulfillment of my ego, then what do I care about how I ave to speak, if I have to be a doormat then a doormat it is
  • what is most important is completion of task at hand
  • no  matter how much you have to humble yourself, the Prophet saw gave us a beautiful good news “the one who humbles and lowers himself for Allah, Allah has elevated him”
  • extension of narration says “When someone is arrogant, Allah will humiliated and debase that person”
  • Sheikh’s teacher said about doing dawah “whether to Muslim or non-Muslim , one thing is very important, what is in your heart when you go preach to people, arrogance, enmity, etc, it doesn’t matter how much you recite Quran to them, it will spread further evil. if there is true concern and love and empathy in your heart for people, then no matter how broken or simple your words may be, your words will spread.”
  • we put too much weight on charisma and eloquence
  • this is not what touches people’s heart
  • what touches heart is true concern for humanity
  • people can feel the love and compassion
  • the sahabah didn’t give long speeches like we do
  • they said “Be like us” that’s more than enough

Scholars used to say “When you give advice to someone, it’s easy on you but very heavy on the person you’re giving it to..

  • it’s human nature, you feel superiority when you give advice
  • be conscious of that.When someone listens to you advising and ramble, realize how patient that person is. It takes a really big person to sit and take advice. That’s the bigger person
  • it’s easy to talk, it’s harder to listen. We lack tarbiyyah in our community. In our community, the more someone preaches, the less they take out time to sit and listen
  • someone who is in the khateeb circle, when he’s not giving khutbah, he will sit and attend but he won’t be really listening. he will be critiquing the khutbah
  • that’s the problem – lack of tarbiyyah

“…advice is heavy so don’t it into a mountain on that person…”

  • there is no empathy, love in that

“…Don’t turn it into a confrontation/fight and don’t combine two separate hardships on person who is already taking advice, that you’re trying to take him out of something he’s very attached to by means of something he doesn’t like, but try to take that person out from what they’re involved in with what they would love.”

  • unless you’ve been through that situation that person is in, don’t assume you know what’s going on
  • you have no idea how hard it is for that person to quit whatever it is

Ayat 45

20:45
Sahih International

They said, “Our Lord, indeed we are afraid that he will hasten [punishment] against us or that he will transgress.”

  • So Allah told them to go to Firawn
  • now, Musa a.s and Harun a.s. express their concerns
  • one reaction could be :- “Again?”
  • it shows you that human side
  • it’s ok to feel overwhelmed, when you do feel like that, turn to Allah
  • I do complain it my suffering and grief, but who do I turn to? Allah
  • رَبَّنَا – We are appreciative, You’ve done so much for us
  • إِنَّنَا نَخَافُ أَن يَفْرُطَ عَلَيْنَا – “We are afraid. Knowing how Firawn is, he will attack us”
  • الفَرطُ – one of those words that has both opposite meanings. Includes both إفرَاط and إفرِيط (as Prophet saw used it)
  • إفرَاط – to become too rigid within one’s practice of one’s religion, or even (go too far)
  • تَفرِيط – you become too easy-going, lax in terms of boundaries of religion (do too little)
  • when combined with preposition, (like here, عَلى) it comes into meaning of ‘to impede into someone’s right, to prematurely attack someone)
  • scholars say that what they meant “We won’t even get any chance to get any word out.”
  • أَوْ أَن يَطْغَىٰ – “or even if he does hear us out, he will be infuriated that we had the audacity to come and preach to hm and he will become even more brutal in the persecution of the people
  • scholars say that means, “He will become even more brazen in his speech and attitude towards You oh Allah.”
  • “He already disrespects You Ya Allah”
  • “we have respect for You Ya Allah and we don’t want to hear that and it’s not good for him either, Ya Allah.”
  • there is some adab in dawah
  • part of it is being conscious of sanctity of your own religion. sometimes we become so hyped up that we become confrontational and high-five each other like some frat boys
  • what do you think the retaliation is going to be?
  • they’ll be equally if not even more disrespectful towards what you’re calling towards
  • Allah presents an excuse for those people :-
  • 6:108
    وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِم مَّرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
    Sahih International

    And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah , lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.

  • Allah is practically saying that they don’t know what they’re saying but you started this
  • it takes two to tango
  • the accountability is more on the one who starts
  • look at hoe Allah instills this adab in Musa a.s and Harun a.s.

 

Ayat 46

20:46
Sahih International

[ Allah ] said, “Fear not. Indeed, I am with you both; I hear and I see.

  • Allah tells Musa and Harun a.s. “Both of you don’t be afraid”
  • this is a pattern that will follow on from here on in this surah – for many verbs that would normally demand and object, Allah doesn’t provide the object, it’s to leave it open-ended for purpose of reflection
  • Allah just says “Don’t fear.” fear what? open-ended
  • it’s equivalent to – You have nothing to worry about
  • then Allah justifies the statement (that says a lot)
  • “Here’s the reason why you shouldn’t be afraid”
  • “Most definitely I(“have no doubt about the fact that I”) am with you two”
  • earlier in Taha, Ayat 12 Allah says inni and in ayat 14, Allah says with more emphasis, Innanee
  • so this is to strengthen the resolve of the addressee
  • Allah is presenting a very powerful idea about dawah
  • Prophet saw being told “no mater how alone you feel (it’s 6th year of prophethood, number still small, persecution and violence increasing day by day) you’re not alone.”
  • we also need to realize that – we don’t need to live in a state of fear, we need to understand that Allah is with us and will take care of us
  • this is a message for anyone that is being brought the message(and that can be us), that when someone brings you a message, don’t try to gauge the validity of that message based on what you (coming from a small, soft-spoken, humble human being for example) but understand that this person has Allah with them
  • when you deal with a person who calls you to Allah, you’re dealing with Allah
  • when muazhin calls azhan, who’s here in the masjid often times? No one, especially for fajr, zuhr
  • one small single humble guy, maybe didn’t even turn out the microphone
  • it doesn’t seen very impressive but who is he calling towards and representing
  • the Prophet saw has the back of the muazhin bec the prophetic supplication “Allahumma rabba haazihi da3wati tammaaati …” [this is the best form of calling and preaching to Allah, this is powerful]
  • don’t underestimate this,
  • when we give our long drawn out speeches, shaytann is sitting next to everybody telling them “hey, check your phone, maybe there’s a Facebook emergency” “Hey look at that on the wall, what does his T shirt says today?”
  • that’s the effect of our dawah
  • when muazhin gives azhan shaytaan runs for his life as fast as he cans, so afraid that he ‘breaks his wudhu’ as he runs
  • so Allah is telling Musa and Harun a.s. that they don’t need to worry about Firawn and that Allah is with them both
  • when you are a da3ee you are representing Allah and when you are being given dawah too, respect and understand that the person giving dawah has Allah with them
  • أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَىٰ – I am listening and I am watching and will continue to watch
  • listening to what? – usually it’s followed by object, but here left open-ended
  • listening to what you all are saying
  • this message is meant to empower Musa and harun as. but also to hold them accountable
  • do right by this message
  • dont chicken out when speaking to Firawn and don’t go back and don’t lash out, be mindful, I’m listening to what you’re saying,
  • at same time, Allah is also supporting them saying “I’m also listening to Firawn”
  • same with the watching
  • scholars point out :- why does Allah state listening first and then watching?
  • being able to listen means you are closer than being able to see
  • you can see someone from far away but you won’t necessarily hear them

 

 

Ayat 47

20:47
Sahih International

So go to him and say, ‘Indeed, we are messengers of your Lord, so send with us the Children of Israel and do not torment them. We have come to you with a sign from your Lord. And peace will be upon he who follows the guidance.

  • look at construction here
  • there are 2 إضَافَه here [each one is important]:-
  • رَسُولاَ رَبّ – this إضَافَه is to give honor and dignity to them
  • [“don’t look at the shepherd holding a staff and his brothers who are slaves to you”]
  • رَبِّكَ – YOUR lord
  • that’s not even offensive, that’s affectionate dawah “Look at how blessed you are, Firawn. Who gave you everything yo got? Allah did, and He sent us to you. You should be honored by this that your lord thinks of you and He would send 2 messengers to talk to you.”
  • generally speaking, the ulama classify Harun a.s as a nabi and Musa a.s. as a rasul
  • there is huge discussion on difference between the two

Majority opinion:-

  • Rasul = one who receives new code of law, total update
  • Nabi = only has slighter update from previous shariah
  • so how come here رَسُولاَ?
  • “We are two messengers of your lord”
  • this is a principle , rhetorical function in Arabic when you have 2 entities that even if they are different you can take both and put them under the dual form of one of them and now it represents both of them
  1. like ابَوَين – literally meaning ‘two fathers’,  but it means parents
  2. قَمَرَين – actually mean sun and moon
  3. حَسَنَين – Hasan and Husayn
  4. عُمَرَين – Umar and Abu Bakr
  • interesting example of Quranic eloquence like when Allah uses رَجَع in one place and رَدَّ in another
  • here in this surah Allah says, إِنَّا رَسُولَا رَبِّكَ
  • in another place in the Quran, Shuaara, when Allah talks about the same address, Allah commands them to say, إنَّا رَسُولُ رَبِّك (we are both messenger of your lord)
  • it’s interesting because it starts with plural (إنَّا) and then goes singular (رَسُول)
  • in Surah Zukhruf, When Allah commands Musa a.s. to address Firawn, “إنِّي رَسُولُ رَبِّ العَالَمِين”

3 different places, 3 different address

  1. in surah Zukhruf is singular because the entire surah , it never talks about Harun a.s.
  2. in Surah Shuara , it starts plural and then switches to singular  because it starts off by talking about both Musa and Harun a.s. but by end of the Surah it solely talks about Musa a.s.
  3. in surah Taha, from beginning to end, Allah talks about both Musa and Harun a.s.
  • [إنَّا رَسُولُ رَبِّك]is that grammatically correct though? (
  • when translated it sounds strange but grammatically there is nothing wrong
  • it’s an established construction in classical ancient pre-Islamic Arabic
  • the singular in Arabic can be used not only for one of something but also to represent (it’s called ism jinns/jam3)anything that falls into that category, can be used as a title for a species, or race, or a category
  • found in language and in Quran as well
  • one place , Allah says, when speaking about people :-
  • “ابَشَرَ مِنَّا وَاحِدَ نَتَّبِعُهُ؟(we’re supposed to follow one human being? )”
  • in another place in surah muminoon
  • “قَالُو انُأمِنُ لِبَشرَينِ مِثلِنَا وَقَومُهُمَا لَنَا عَابِدُون(we should follow 2 people who are just like us?)”
  • in another place Allah says,
  • “(بَل انتُم بَشَرُُ مِمَّا خَلَق)rather all of you are one person”
  • one person => human beings
  • so grammatical there is no objection, but it’s beautiful to see these different addresses
  • فَأَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَوَلَا تُعَذِّبْهُمْ  – send Bani Israel with us (stop oppressing them, let them go with us)
  • قَدْ جِئْنَاكَ بِآيَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكَ – we have come to you with a sign
  • a sign = signs
  • but singular used because it’s a whole list/category of signs
  • in surah Araaf when Musa a.s. presents his message he says “قَد جِئتُكُم بِبَيِّنَت مِن رَبِّك(I have to you with a clear proof from your rabb)”
  • a clear proof = multiple proofs
  • we have come to you with signs from YOUR lord (think about how much He cares about you that not only He sent 2 messengers to you but He also send signs to you)
  • وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَىٰ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَىٰ  = May safety be upon whoever has followed the guidance [that could be you bro]
  • this is gentle and also intelligent on part of Musa and Harun a.s.
  • they’re not pandering
  • messengers and prophets are gentle, empathic but they don’t pander
  • they don’t approve of something that can’t be approved of
  • they make it open-ended [safety (implied in dunya and akhirah)]
  • Prophet saw wrote same type of message, when he (saw) wrote to the kings and rulers, he wrote “Accept Islam. You’ll find peace and safety. Allah will give double reward because you will accept Islam and your people will accept Islam. if you turn away from the deen, the sin of everyone that will also leave deen or not come to deen will also be on your shoulders.”
  • that’s how he (saw) would sign off on these letters

 

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