Lecture by Suhaib Webb | Transcribed by Sabirah Reinke
In Sahih al Bukhari, Saad ibn Abi Waqas mentions a story about a bone. He was using the restroom and urinated onto a camel’s bone. He took that bone, washed it, took it home, and made soup out of it – all because of the difficult situation that they were in.
I want you to try to visualize things. When Umar radi allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with him) became Muslim, there were only 41 other men and 11 women who were Muslim.
When the Prophet ﷺ migrated to Medina, there were about 65 muslims. So being a Muslim in Mecca wasn’t like shopping at Old Navy. It wasn’t popular, man! (I don’t know if Old Navy is even popular any more.)
It wasn’t popular and it was very difficult for them, but Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) strengthened them with the Qur’an.
There were two important things that happened in Mecca. Number one is their creed, their tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allah swt); their relationship with Allah (swt) was made pure and strong. Number two was their behavior, the way Allah (swt) trained them. The people that came out of Mecca were really remarkable and excellent examples.
As Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi (ra) said, if the companions of the Prophet ﷺ were his only miracle, the transformation of his companions would be enough to prove that he was a prophet.
The people of the Quraysh sent two people to Medina to ask the Jews of Medina about Muhammad ﷺ. When the people got there and met them, they described the Prophet ﷺ and what he was calling to. The Jews said, ask Muhammad about three things; nobody knows about these things – they are only known to Allah (swt). If he can answer you regarding these three issues, he is a prophet.
1. Ask him about the youth, ashab al-kahf (the people of the cave).
2. Ask him about this king who ruled a large portion of the world who was just and honest and so on.
3. Ask him about the ruh (spirit).
They went back to the Quraysh and told them: “These are the questions they told us to ask him. If he can answer these questions then he is a prophet.” The Quraysh asked the Prophet ﷺ and he said, “Come to me tomorrow and I will answer your questions.”
The next day they came but the Prophet ﷺ didn’t have an answer. The following day, they came, the Prophet ﷺ didn’t have an answer. For around fourteen days, there was no answer, and the Prophet ﷺ started getting upset and saddened because they started to say that the Prophet ﷺ was breaking his promises.
Then Allah (swt) sent Jibril to reveal Surat al Kahf (Qur’an, 18). That’s why in Surat al Kahf Allah (swt) says:
“And never say of anything, ‘Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,’ except [when adding], ‘If Allah wills.’” (Qur’an 18:23-24)
So we learn adab (manners), reliance on Allah (swt), and trust in Allah (swt).
Verse number one has 8 points. Allah (swt) says:
“[All] praise is [due] to Allah, who has sent down upon His Servant the Book and has not made therein any deviance.” (Qur’an 18:1)
This hamd (thankfulness) found in Surat al Kahf is not the same as the hamd in Surat al Fatiha (Qur’an 1). One is called jumlah insha’iya, the other is called jumlah khabariya.
Jumlah khabariya is a declarative sentence, so the sentence in Surat al Kahf is declarative in nature. Allah (swt) is informing you of something! The meaning of al hamd in Surat al Kahf is different. Allah (swt) is telling you “Look! I’m the one who deserves all praise, for a reason.” So it’s different now. He’s informing you, that’s called khabr.
Whereas in Surat al Fatiha, the hamd is insha’iya, or imperative. According to the scholars it means that Allah (swt) is ordering you to say alhamdullillah (all priase is to Allah). “If you want to thank me, if you want to praise me, say alhamdulillah.” This is the meaning in Surat Al Fatiha.
The first sentence in Al Fatiha is like an order: if you want to praise me, Allah (swt) is saying, if you want to magnify me, say alhamdullillah. In Surat al Kahf, this verse is not an order by Allah (swt) to say alhamdullillah. It is a declarative sentence, this means he is informing you, that he is the one who has the sole right to be praised, and for a reason!
What do you think that reason is?
All praise is due to Allah (swt) or what? Who sent the Qur’an? Can you imagine if you had no Qur’an?
Can you imagine if there was no subhanAllah (glory be to Allah) in your life, can you imagine if there was no salah (prayer)?
I go through that; believe me, we are all the same, brothers!
We are all the same, brothers, there is no difference; we are all in the same boat. Even in Al-Azhar! When I’m studying sometimes, I think, man, I’ve gotta pray but I really enjoy this book of tafsir (translation and interpretation of the Qur’an)! See how Shaytan (Satan) works? It’s the same game just a different means!
So all of us struggle, we struggle and sometimes salah feels heavy. Worship Allah (swt), and we might feel some heaviness. That’s all part of our struggle.
One of the ways to combat that is to imagine life without salah. Imagine life without any connection to Allah (swt). Life without the feeling in your heart that you get when you pray fajr (the pre-dawn prayer) in the masjid, or the feeling that you get when you give sadaqah (charity) or the feeling that you get when you do well in school or at work for the sake of Allah (swt).
Then we can value the worship and the wonderful relationship that Allah (swt) has blessed us with.
Ibn al Qayyim (ra) said the charity that Allah (swt) gave us Muslims, nobody can fathom this charity! Such benevolence from Allah (swt)!
Allah (swt) said:
“Has there [not] come upon man a period of time when he was not a thing [even] mentioned?”
“Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing.” (Qur’an, 76:1-2)
You weren’t even known and Allah brought you out of the wombs of your mothers, created you, formed you and gave you sight and hearing!
Today in my hotel room, there was a strange channel. The only thing they do is show people killing others and catching people who kill others. Really, who would watch this hour after hour from 3 to 5? It was all about the secrets of serial killers! Who would watch that? I don’t want to know how serial killers live their life!
I want to know how Ibn al Qayyim lived his life, how Ibn Tamiyyah lived his life, and I want to know how the Prophet ﷺ lived his life!
Then from 5 to 8:30, it was about the history of the Bloods and the Crips. So what’s next? We have to be very careful what we are putting into our minds. And Allah (swt) gave us this Qur’an and our worship as our Norton Antivirus. We use it to clean us out; this is our dialysis!
So Allah (swt) blessed us, and I can tell you, you don’t know how lucky you are to be born Muslim, wallahi (by God)!
You don’t know how thankful you should really feel. Even though you might be young and you’re in high school and you don’t mind being called a Muslim, having to fast for 30 days, and wearing baggy clothes. Clear all that up and think about what it would be like not to have Islam. Then you can really taste how lucky you are!
In Egypt, I lived with people in poverty, but they don’t kill each other. They still invite you for tea and coffee! That faith causes people to transcend the difficulties that they live in and still be decent people. Here, if one economic crisis hits, it has a devastating impact on the people!
So the lesson we can take tonight is Allah (swt) says alhamd (praise) be to the one who sent the Qur’an! How much of a blessing it is to have the Qur’an and Islam. Alhamdulliah rabb alameen (all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds)!