This article is a summary of takeaways from Ustaz Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram’s Tafsir Lecture at Darul Makmur Mosque FB on 17th May 2020. Summaries of previous lectures on Surah Maryam and Surah Taha can be found here. This lecture is a continuation of last week’s lecture after Surah Al Anbiya’ verses 1 to 4.
Prophet Nuh’s Story
وَنُوحًا إِذْ نَادَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ فَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ
And (remember) Nuh, when he called out (to Us) from before, so We responded to him; Then We safely delivered him and his family from the tremendous agony. [21:76]
The word “naadaa” in this verse refers to Prophet Nuh AS making du’a asking Allah SWT for aid. What did he ask for? He asked for aid in his dawah (calling towards Allah). Prophet Nuh was said to have called his people to Islam for over 900 years. During this period, his people were stubborn in their disbelief. In another verse of the Qur’an, in Surah Nuh, we hear about Prophet Nuh asking Allah SWT,
وَقَالَ نُوحٌ رَّبِّ لَا تَذَرْ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ دَيَّارًا
“O my Lord, let there not be any place on Earth that is inhabited by the disbelieving people.” [71:26]
You can imagine the hint of disappointment and anger in Prophet Nuh’s heart for his people, who despite knowing him as a good person, continuously refused to accept his message.
Prophet Nuh’s du’a is one of the verses of the Qur’an which makes Prophet Muhammad SAW cry. Upon hearing this verse, he SAW would get worried and anxious about his people, about us; he did not want any member of his Ummah to have to face the destruction sent upon the people of Nuh. Prophet Muhammad SAW never once made a supplication against his people. Regardless of how cruel and stubborn the people of his time were against him, he continued to make good du’a for them, asking for their guidance. This was of the kindness and mercy that filled his heart SAW.
This verse tells us that Prophet Nuh AS and his few followers were saved from the floods that destroyed his people. We all know of the story of Prophet Nuh AS and his ark, how he had built it upon a hill far from the water source, against the ridicule of his people. We know of how Prophet Nuh AS had invited his son to board the ark for protection against the rising waters. His son had remained in disbelief, rejecting his offer for aid. Prophet Nuh had made du’a asking Allah SWT for protection for his son but was informed that his son is no longer considered as his family due to his choice of disbelief.
وَنَصَرْنَاهُ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمَ سَوْءٍ فَأَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
and We helped him against the people who rejected Our signs- they were people who committed evil, so We drowned them all. [21:77]
If you remember, we discussed about Prophet Lut and his people last week. Just as how they had been destroyed by their own evil deeds, so did the people of Prophet Nuh get destroyed.
Prophet Lut’s Story
There was an incident in the life of Prophet Lut that we have yet to discuss. Prophet Lut AS lived in Sodum with a people whose men engaged in sexual relations with other men. These homosexual men even preyed on visitors who came to their town. There was an instance in which two angels came to Sodum in the form of two handsome men. Upon seeing these two men, Prophet Lut AS got worried for their safety, fearing what his townsmen would do towards them. He AS housed the guests in his home, hiding them from his people.
His wife, however, showcased her disobedience by spreading the word of these handsome young visitors to the people. This led to hoards of men coming to Prophet Lut’s home demanding to see the guests. Prophet Lut AS tried his best to protect the angels and turn away his people but they remained intent in fulfilling their beastly desires. When the people of Sodum were destroyed by Allah SWT, Prophet Lut AS’s wife was killed along with them.
The Qur’an reports to us in Surah At-Tahrim about her in this verse:
ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا امْرَأَتَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَتَ لُوطٍ ۖ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ
Allah has set forth an example of disbelievers: the wives of Nuh and Lut who married two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them. Their husbands could not help them against God, it was said (to them), “Enter the Fire, both of you, along with those who enter!” [66:10]
Righteousness and Lineage
Before the story of Prophet Lut, we had discussed about Prophet Ibrahim AS and how he was punished to be burnt alive due to his destruction of the idols of his people. There is something in common between the stories of the three prophets: Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Lut and Prophet Nuh AS.
If you take a closer look, you will remember that Prophet Ibrahim AS had a disbelieving father who kicked him out of his house after repeatedly rejecting his message of Islam. Prophet Lut AS had a disbelieving wife who betrayed him. Prophet Nuh AS had a wife, who refused his message and accused him of having lost his mind, and a son who rejected Prophet Nuh’s attempts at rescuing him.
What we can learn from this is that being related to a righteous person does not guarantee a person’s righteousness. Even the family members of the Prophets were not all good people. The inverse is true as well. The child of an evil person is not necessarily evil by default. As human beings, we are all given our own capacity of thought and decision. If we choose to be good, then we will do good and get rewarded with good. Regardless of who our parents, siblings or ancestors are, we are judged independent of them. On the Day of Judgement, nobody’s good deeds can help us when we are being held to account.
Do not ever judge a person by who his family is. Doing this goes against our adab with Allah SWT. For example, do not look down upon a man who visits the mosque regularly just because his child is a drug abuser. The child’s actions have no relevance to the man’s righteousness.
Why I say that this goes against our adab with Allah SWT, is that who the members of a person’s family are and what his family members have done are completely within Allah SWT’s control. He has full power over our hearts. If He SWT has not chosen for a person’s heart to be opened and for guidance to be received, then nothing can be done to help him.
When we criticise a person based on the actions and behaviour of his family members, we are in fact accusing Allah SWT of doing wrong. It is Allah SWT who has not given them guidance. That is what we are doing when we look down upon someone just because of whoever his family members are.
Have you ever heard of people saying, “Look at Prophet Ibrahim! He calls himself a prophet and yet he failed in calling his own father to Islam.” or “How can Prophet Nuh be a righteous man, when his own wife and son were disbelievers?”. No believer would dare to make such audacious statements. We know fully well that a person’s faith is in the Hands of Allah SWT. Yet, we make such statements to people around us all the time.
Of course, we do not deny the importance of calling our family members towards goodness. In Surah At-Tahrim verse 6, Allah SWT says, “O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from a Fire…”. So, we all strive our best to bring our family to do good, we strive to fulfil Allah’s command of us. But at the end of the day, the outcome of our striving is between Allah SWT and our family members – who they become is not for us to decide.
Protect Your Tongues
Let us be a people who have clean tongues. We live in a society where every person who dislikes another person starts backbiting him and talking bad about his family. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. Would you ever say something like, “Look at Prophet Muhammad SAW! He is the best of mankind and yet his own uncle was cursed in the Qur’an!”. No, we would never do that. We know that even though he is a Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad SAW did not have the power to give Hidayah to people.
My dearest brothers and sisters be careful. Do not let Allah SWT gaze upon us disdainfully as a result of our disdainful gaze towards other people. Do not let Allah’s displeasure continuously descend upon us, as a result of our continuous bringing up of the evilness of other people’s family members.
In these final days of Ramadhan, have a look at the sins that you have which are still not forgiven by Allah SWT. Have a look at how your eyes view people, how your tongue speaks of people. Do not concern yourself with the deeds of other people, focus on your own actions. What a joy it must be for someone whose tongue is unable to find time to speak ill of others because it is too busy reflecting on his own faults and weaknesses. Subhan Allah! May Allah grant us all His Guidance and Protection. Ameen.
Prophets Daud and Suleiman’s Story
وَدَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ إِذْ يَحْكُمَانِ فِي الْحَرْثِ إِذْ نَفَشَتْ فِيهِ غَنَمُ الْقَوْمِ وَكُنَّا لِحُكْمِهِمْ شَاهِدِينَ
And remember Daud and Suleiman, when they gave judgement regarding the field into which sheep strayed by night and grazed. We witnessed their judgement [21:78]
فَفَهَّمْنَاهَا سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ
To Suleiman We inspired the (right) understanding of the matter. [21:79]
The story mentioned in this verse relates to Prophet Daud AS when a farmer from his people came to ask for his judgement on a matter concerning sheep. The farmer demanded a compensation, saying that his crops were severely damaged as a result of the grazing sheep of a shepherd. Prophet Daud AS listened to both parties’ story and made his judgement. Seeing that the shepherd had been at fault due to his own carelessness, Prophet Daud AS ruled that all the shepherd’s sheep were to be given to the farmer as compensation.
Upon leaving the court, the two men came across Prophet Suleiman AS, the son of Prophet Daud. He asked them about the father’s decision, to which they explained what had happened. Prophet Suleiman brought them both back to his father and stated that he had a better solution in mind. He proposed that the sheep were to be given to the farmer temporarily so that he may be able to reap benefits from it (e.g. from the wool or milk). During this period, the shepherd will need to work on the farmer’s crop fields until it has been rehabilitated to its former state. This decision was made to enable both parties to earn a livelihood, so as to ensure the shepherd did not end up destitute because of Prophet Daud’s penalty upon him.
وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا ۚ
To each (of them), We gave Hukman and Knowledge; [21:79]
The scholars hold different opinions with regard to the word “Hukman” means. Some say that it means ‘power’ and ‘authority’; they were both made kings because of their wisdom. Others say that it refers to ‘prophethood’. Not only was Daud a Prophet, so too was Suleiman. Both of them were given wealth, power and knowledge but more than that, they were honoured because of their righteousness as Allah SWT’s prophets.
On Birds Chirping and Tasbih
وَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ ۚ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ
And We subjected, along with Daud, the mountains and the birds to make Tasbih. It was We Who did (all these things). [21:79]
We do not know how the Tasbih of the mountains is like, ours is by saying “Subhan Allah”. Allah SWT says that the mountains were subjected along with Daud AS. That means that Prophet Daud did not only rule over the people, he also ruled over the mountains and birds, all of whom made tasbih under the ruling of Prophet Daud AS.
Another thing we know about Prophet Daud AS was that he had a melodious voice. His voice was said to be like that of a flute. Subhan Allah, when Prophet Daud AS used to speak, his voice would evoke tranquillity in the hearts of the listeners. Scholars say that the sounds of birds chirping – all the different types of sounds that they make – are in fact all Tasbih, singing praises of Allah SWT.
As humans, we naturally love to listen to the chirping of birds. We need to remember that the sound we hear is that of the birds making Tasbih. As believers, whenever we hear or see something that amazes us, it should bring us back to Allah SWT. We should say “Subhan Allah!”. In fact, in Surah Ali-Imran, Allah SWT teaches us this du’a:
رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Our Lord! You have not created this in vain. Glory to You! Save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire. [3:191]
So as Muslims, it will be strange if we find believers who hang their pet birds up and listen to the birds’ song while staring into blank space, being lost in their own thoughts so much so that they miss their prayers. Isn’t it strange to act this way? The sound of the birds’ voices are supposed to bring us back to Allah SWT, not to make us forget about Him.
Prophets Daud and Suleiman’s Powers
وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ صَنْعَةَ لَبُوسٍ لَّكُمْ لِتُحْصِنَكُم مِّن بَأْسِكُمْ ۖ فَهَلْ أَنتُمْ شَاكِرُونَ
We taught him how to make coats of mail for the benefit of you (people), to protect you in your wars, but are you grateful for this? [21:80]
The first person in the history of mankind to create metal armour as a shield was Prophet Daud AS. It was Allah SWT who gave Prophet Daud AS the wisdom to make such a thing. Since then, we have inherited this knowledge from Prophet Daud AS. Today, even vehicles and weapons are made of metal. Despite metal being hard and heavy, Allah SWT gifted Prophet Daud with the knowledge to be able to shape it into something light and wearable. Today, this same knowledge enables us to make tonnes of metal float in air and on water and take us to distant places. Are we grateful for this knowledge?
وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ عَاصِفَةً تَجْرِي بِأَمْرِهِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا ۚ وَكُنَّا بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَالِمِينَ
And to Solomon (We subjected) the wind, blowing forcefully, proceeding by his command toward the land which We had blessed. And We are ever, of all things, Knowing. [21:81]
Prophet Daud was gifted the control of the mountains. Prophet Suleiman AS, on the other hand, could control the winds – not just the gentle breezes, but also the violent winds of storms. This meant that he had command of the clouds and could determine where rain falls. The land that he rules over would never suffer from drought or famine.
In addition, the wind could be used as a weapon. Even with the advanced technology of today, there is no weapon that may defeat a massive typhoon. We have heard of the vast amounts of land being wiped out by raging forest fires. The fire merely burns, but what causes mass destruction is the wind that allows it to spread at high speeds in vast distances.
Prophet Suleiman AS had full control of the wind that can bring both growth and destruction. Despite the power in his hands, Prophet Suleiman knew that Allah SWT knows all things. He never misused his powers for his own worldly gain.
وَمِنَ الشَّيَاطِينِ مَن يَغُوصُونَ لَهُ وَيَعْمَلُونَ عَمَلًا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ ۖ وَكُنَّا لَهُمْ حَافِظِينَ
And of the devils were those who dived for him and did work other than that. And We were of them a guardian. [21:82]
Israeliyat Stories of These Prophets
There are many varied stories that are linked to these verses. As previously mentioned, many of these stories are not supported by sahih sources. There are stories which we call ‘Israeliyat’ stories, they are derived from books written by the Ahli Kitab (People of the Book). We cannot believe these stories because they have no basis in our religion. I share some of these stories as examples. Please do not be quick to share and spread the stories that you find in Tafsir books. A portion of them are written as a means to warn us to be cautious so that we may reject them.
Israeliyat Story of Prophet Daud
Earlier on, when we mentioned the story of Prophet Lut AS, his story ended with the destruction of his people. One of the stories found in some Israeliyat books, narrates that upon leaving Sodum, Lut AS migrated to a cave with his two daughters. It is claimed that his daughters made wine out of grapes and served it to him, he then drank until he was intoxicated. They claim that while intoxicated, he impregnated both his daughters. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah. How could such a thing be said about a Messenger of Allah?
When we hear of stories such as this, we know that what is to be done is to immediately reject them. Imagine the harm you could cause if you read a tafsir book with this story and immediately regarded it as the truth. Imagine what could happen if you were to take this story and spread it on social media, saying “sharing is caring”. Na’uzhu billah! This is why it is crucial for Muslims to seek knowledge from a reliable teacher. Be careful of what knowledge you hold onto.
When it comes to Prophets Daud and Suleiman, including for verse 82 above, the same thing applies. Be cautious of the stories you hear about it. Scholars have discussed this verse and say that you should only accept whatever is evident from it; Prophet Suleiman AS had the power to control the devils to dive for him and do other work.
Some say that this meant that Satan could be instructed to dive to the depths of the ocean to pull out pearls for Prophet Suleiman AS to use as currency. Others say that this verse is metaphorical. Satan is made of fire; the last thing that he would want to do is to go into water. Yet, Prophet Suleiman was able to command Satan to do whatever he intended them to do. Allah knows best; what is important is that we know that Prophet Suleiman AS had authority over human beings and over Satan.
It is Allah SWT who is guardian over all things and over all people. Allah SWT honours whomsoever He wishes, just as how He had honoured His prophets AS. Allah SWT chooses what power He wants to give to His creations. Allah SWT chooses who receives His Guidance and Hidayah. He has full Power over all things and it is not our job to busy ourselves with whatever is out of our control. Focus on yourself and do not concern yourself with the affairs of other people.
May Allah SWT strengthen our faith and understanding. May the connection we have built with the Qur’an this Ramadhan stay with us as we move on from this month. May our thoughts, speech, actions, sight and character be guided by the Qur’an. When that happens, you will find peace in your hearts. May Allah SWT grant us success from this month, letting us leave the month in a state of happiness, having fought and defeated our desires and having our sins completely forgiven.
Summary by: Arina Adom
Arina Adom is a lover of learning who takes on the world with an open mind. Resourceful and adaptable, always ready to take on new challenges. Comfortable working with diverse groups of people, yet able to work independently. Thrives under pressure. Currently seeking a meaningful career that enables her to impact lives directly and bring about positive changes in the lives of others in the community.
Arina graduated with a degree in Science ( Hons ), Life Science from NUS. She is currently taking a diploma in Quran and Sunnah Studies from Al Zuhri.
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