Category Archives: Tafseer

Dhu al-Qarnayn — man with two horns-ponytails


I am a student studying the Middle-East and Arabic at BYU. I am doing a paper on Dhu al-Qarnayn mentioned in the Qur’an. In my research I discovered that many Islamic scholars believe this figure to be a prophet or a believer and that he was the figure known in the West as “Alexander the Great”. From what I have been taught about Alexander the Great it seems interesting that some Muslims would connect him with a prophetic figure in the Qur’an. I was wondering:
1. Do you consider Dhu al-Qarnayn to be Alexander the Great?
2. How does this fit with the Western understanding of Alexander?
3. Do you consider Dhu al-Qarnayn (Alexander) to be a prophet?
If you could help in any way, it would be very much appreciated.
Many Thanks! Continue reading

Please forgive me. I am sorry. (How hard is that? its hard!)


Assalamu Alaykum,

Imaam you talk about forgiveness but sometimes asking for forgiveness is not an easy thing to do. How can a person put aside their pride and ask for forgiveness? A person is afraid to be ridiculed. And you also said that if the person does not want to forgive you, give them whatever they want. What if the person does not want to accept anything? Are we suppose to live in a state of guilt for the rest of our lives?


وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

  • Allah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala) mentions the significance of  forgiveness, Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) outlines its methods, so did other prophets (Peace be upon them all). Forgiveness lightens the heart and gains closeness to Allah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala)
  • It is not easy to forgive for we sometimes become arrogant regarding our position. We refuse to see the other side of the matter. It becomes a control issue for many. Once we let go of this unhealthy part of our ego, it becomes easy to forgive
  • We should not expect others to forgive us. This mentality would keep us vigilant of our actions Continue reading

Is ‘Global Moonsighting, a Modern Bid‘ah

Q. Can you give me your opinion on the following articles? Mainly Global Moonsighting, a Modern Bid‘ah. Are you in agreement with Salman Zafar Shaik, Sheik Memom, Hamza Yusuf’s zaytuna,  isna, or icna?

A. The articles convey their messages in a very articulate and precise manner. Their clarity is obvious to every rational non-emotional individual. What opinion do you really want us to share?

We are with all those whose data remains to be linked the Quran and Hadith. Support would be given accordingly. Emotions are kept away in exchange of religiously.

You are thanked sharing this article with us. May Allah (SWT) reward you, Ameen

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

مِن شَرِّ ٱلْوَسْوَاسِ ٱلْخَنَّاسِ

Question: Assalamu Alaykum rahmutullahi wabarakatu,

So I was reading the tafsir of Surah An-Nas and on the 4th ayat “From the evil of the whispers who withdraws”

From what I read basically is it saying that the shaytan whispers evil in us at any moment, but when we remember Allah (swt) it withdraws, correct?
but where the confusion comes in is that I heard shaytan attacks us even more when we remember Allah (swt) like distracting us from prayer, reading quran, and doing good deeds; like taking two steps forward shaytan tries to push us four steps back.
If my first thought is correct then could you please elaborate more on it, but if its not then could you explain exactly when the shaytan withdraws, and for how long exactly does it withdrawal?
I’m sorry that is like four questions in one, but your answer is very much needed!

jazakallahu khair

Time sent: Wednesday June 3, 2009

Answer: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

Regarding the phrase, مِن شَرِّ ٱلْوَسْوَاسِ ٱلْخَنَّاسِ

The following points must be observed:

Maximized meaning derived for this phrase in question are best understood in examining the context and ayaat which precede and antecede it.

Workings of shaytan:

Three times prior to coming to the ayah of مِن شَرِّ ٱلْوَسْوَاسِ ٱلْخَنَّاسِ, Allah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala) places an attack on shaytan. Allamah Qurtubi outlines that the word ٱلْوَسْوَاسِ (wasawas) refers to not just a whisper, rather a breath like occurrence that is finer than a whisper that is shared between shaytan and his intended target. It is passionate gesture, so much so that the recipient of the message feels as if he has become one with the evil attempts of shaytan and thus sometimes act accordingly. This passionate whisper is placed into the heart/mind of a person to the extent of it having the affect of polluting remote positive thoughts a person may have of  Allah and His Commands.

Allah(Subhanahu Wata’Ala) is making a significant point to us: shaytan does not avail himself in a transparent manner at all times regarding his deviant plots against the believer.  As we do good, shaytan breathes his whisper into a believers heart. Sometimes it is manifested in the people we meet, books we read, ideas that fester and let cultivate within ourselves and families, emails we send out, etc. Continue reading

Yusuf (Alai His Salam)


Yousif Alihsalam’s story is one of my favorite story. But i am confused on Zalikha’s role in that story. I know that she fell in love with him and accused him and sent him to prison but what happens after that? i have read in different books different story. I heard that it is not mentioned in the Quraan if she married him or not but in a different book that i read a while ago and do not exactly remember what it was called mentioned that she had asked for her beauty of the other world and was living with Yousif. Please Clarify. Jazakallah


وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

  1. As we had mentioned as part of our ramadaan Tafseer program, in the case of Yusuf (AS) your question focuses on a category that falls under what the uluma call ‘Israli riwayat.’ Simply stated: we do not necessarily accept nor reject certain claims. It is best not to do so unless we can substantiate our claims with legitimate proofs. To make an issue of its acceptance or rejection would not be recommended either.
  2. When stories of Prophets are discussed, it is best to stay focused on that which derived from Quran and Authentic Hadith, and accepted Tafseer works. However, sometimes commentators do add ‘flavor’ that is viewed as credible. Amongst them being the portion you have inquired about pertaining to the story of Yusuf (AS). The israli riwayat states: Once Yusuf (AS) was traveling with his entourage. He was gracefully  aging and never lost his beauty. He (AS) was graceful to look at, like all other prophets and remained focused on the worship of Allah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala) which enhanced the Noor of Allah upon himself. A woman remained on the side (possibly on the road), and as He (AS) passed her by. She looked up and saw it was Yusuf (AS). She could not miss the fanfare that was passing by. She requested to approached and greet the leader of the people. “Oh Yusuf (AS) do you remember me?’ He responded: ‘No.’ Therein she claimed: ‘I am Zulaikha.’ She asked him to make duaa for her so she could regain her beauty. His (AS) duaa was accepted and Zulaika was given her beauty in this world in exchange of attaining it in the hereafter.  They got married… Thus, some even refer to her as Zulaika Alayhers-salam (which means, upon her is Allah blessings!)
  3. To our (student) audience, what was the lesson of having her beauty being exchanged for the hereafter? What was the purpose of Yusuf (AS) marring her? Why do some award her the title of Alyhers-salam? These are few easy questions. Kindly answer them for us, so we know that our audience is not shortsighted in their reasoning….

(Correct answers attain an award of a candy bar… sorry, you’ll have to award it to yourself)

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

Say No to a musical Quran


Asalaamalaikum Imam,

Many egyptian Qari’s use Maqam (melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music) in their Quran recital.  They would use a musical instrument such as a Oud (chordal musical instrument) to correct or enhance their melodic vocal tones.  Is it permissible to use musical instruments, or knowledge from musical melodies and tones to improve ones Quran recitation so they may sound more beautiful? Also if one can use musical instruments to perfect or enhance their voice, what instruments would be permissible in Islam?

Answerوعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته

Who must one recite like?

It has been appropriately stated: recite in the ‘ledger’ (style) of the (traditional) Arab. This phrase signifies the need to emulate the Arab form of intonation whilst observing the traditional rules of Qirat. The ‘Arab’ style refers to following that Qari who has his roots of Quranic recitation linked to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). It is not intended that one followers just any Arab or individual! (Definition: Qari is a specialist in reciting the Quran as close to perfection without salvaging the rules of Tajweed. A true Qari refrains from fancy intonations or emulations to mesmerize an audience, avoids animated facial gestures, does not request funds to recite the Quran, etc.)

What is the Quran in relation to Maqam and melody?

The Quran is a Pure Book with roots of purity. To interpolate ‘melody’ into the Quran would be a violation of the Hadith that calls for its prohibition. Usage of instruments function offensively towards the Quran, in that, by ascribing to ‘musical’ methods the user of instruments alludes (knowingly or unknowingly) that the Quran needs a musical touch to enhance its beauty; or that in order to derive maximum benefit and joy from the Quran, the reciter must succumb to the satanic imbibed talents of musical instruments. To those that ascribe to such methods, it disparaging towards the Quran!

Melody (partial definition)

We must note, melody and good voice remain separate matters. Melody refers to creating notes that call for a reciter to be inconsistent to the rules of tajweed. People using ‘melody’ do so to create an enhanced effect upon the audience. Prohibited melody could also be inclusive of following the rules of Tajweed whilst incorporating non-Muslim singing patterns and intonations to ones recital.  Such a person may also place inappropriate notes (intonations, stress syllables, etc) within the recital, thus creating a ‘musical’ of the Quran. This is against proper Quranic recital methods, it is worthy of sin due to its mockery – being it intentional or otherwise. The key to the Quran is not the voice or melody as much as it is proper sincere recitation whilst following Quranic laws of pronunciation.

Having any feature that resembles music or musical instruments creates a resemblance to the workings of shaytan. Shaytan wants to turn Quranic recitation into an amusement and not a source of reflection. Quranic recitation must be inclusive of a pace and tone that has a positive influence on the recietor and audience. Sincere recitals would also share a sense of responsibility towards the Greatness of Allah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala). After all, our Quaran remains the word of Allah. When one is sincere, the beauty of ones recital accentuates itself without much effort. The idea is not merely to perform out beautiful recital as much as it is correct recitation coupled with sincerity.

Benefits of Maqaam, if used as intended

Pertaining to Maqaam, there is a portion of Maqaam that deals purely with helping people improve their pronunciation. Students ascribing to this method are required to be in company of a professional Qari hours on end to perfect elements of tajweed – which is inclusive of voice projection, pace, etc. Maqam also helps the student improve or gain a style of recital that is best suited towards that student. (However, this original function of Maqaam has changed in the modern era for the worst.)

The classical view

All great religious scholars whose lives have been linked to the Quran refute the usage of musical instruments or methods that resemble it. Such thinking is also shared by the traditional Egyptian Quraa as well. The inclusiveness of instruments is a modern day concept that has no religious bases. It has functioned to remove the purity of a clear hearted recitation. It has turned the Quran into an entertainment business. It has commercialized the Quran as a trade to be exported in exchange of great sums of money.

It’s not all about voice

Lot of youth focus on their voice. They get despondent when they cannot match up to those they hear on the airwaves. Voice is form Allah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala). He can make the simplest voice seem pleasant if sincerity is attached to it. (I have met Quraa that have shared to me that they have utilized technological equipment to enhance their voices! So do not be fooled with a voice)

Musical instruments and melodious (as defined above) recitals function contrary to the method of the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), the sahaba and those that wish emulate them.

To be the best, listen to the best

We recommend our audience to listen to sheik Khalil Khusri, Sheik Manshawi (the student of Sheik Khusri) to improve their tajweed and recital. Perfection takes time. (Spelling of names would differ — a true students would always find these gems of great people!)

May Allah (Subhanahu Wata’Ala) give us the ability to not only do justice with beautiful Quranic recitation, but also give us the true understanding of the Quran, as well as the ability to follow the Quran as it commands us, Ameen.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

Kindly also see:

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meaning of ayah

Question 1:

Assalamu Alaikum Imam Muhammed Shoayb,
Here are the verses that I need help finding tafsir for: Al-Imran, Verse (85)

وَمَن يَبۡتَغِ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمِ دِينً۬ا فَلَن يُقۡبَلَ مِنۡهُ وَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ

And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to Allah) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter. (85)

How would one explain the above ayah?

Answer: Islam is a moderate religion. Upon examining its laws and regulations, one would notice that clarity exists in all matters pertaining to sharia. There is not a single matter within Islam that has not been addressed. Thus, to deny oneself the right to Islam is to inevitably deny oneself the luxury of being awarded the best, be it  this transitory life, or the life of the hereafter.

Rejection of Islam or minor rejection of its principals would mean that a person has chosen to live a life in accordance to their wishers. Any person who wishes to live a life based on their whims is merely creating a state of personal innovation. Such innovation is rejected by the Almighty.

Under the commentary of the above ayah, the following Hadith is also often used to make matters clear. The following applies to Muslims and non-muslims:

حديث عائشة رضي الله عنها أنها قالت : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد

رواه البخاري ومسلم

Question 2: How would one explain the ayah:

Al-Noor, Verse (1)

سُورَةٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهَا وَفَرَضۡنَـٰهَا وَأَنزَلۡنَا فِيہَآ ءَايَـٰتِۭ بَيِّنَـٰتٍ۬ لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُونَ 

(Here is) a surah which We have revealed and enjoined, and wherein We have revealed plain tokens, that haply ye may take heed. (1)

According to Ibn Abbas: when Allah (Suhanahu Wa Ta’Ala) states the above, it could very well mean: We sent Jibreal (AS) with the Quran and helped enjoin Quranic injunctions upon people. The portion, We made clear in the Quran the lawful and the unlawful, makes clear that it is only upon the accepted guidance and assistance we take from Allah regarding the Quran that can truly help us remove unwanted doubts within the self and the Ummah!

And when Allah (Suhanahu Wa Ta’Ala) continues by saying: ‘And wherein We have revealed plain tokens’ is mentioned, it refers to continuing with righteous commands and letting go of prohibitions, fulfilling obligations and carrying out legal sanctions within the confinements of the law one is part off. The final phrase, ‘that haply ye may take heed’ refers to humanity taking admonition in the commands and prohibitions, never postponing the function of legal rights (without just cause).

Allah Certainly Knows Best.