Not everyone can be your friend…

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

A chapter I took from one of my books… very insightful.

“… Know that not everyone is suited to be your friend. The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “A person is upon the Deen of his friend, so let each of you look to whom you befriend.” [Abu Dawud, 4833]

One must consider a number of characteristics (when choosing a friend):

He must be intelligent and sound of mind (astute) and generous among the people and he should not be an immoral person or an innovator or someone who desires and covets this world.

As for astuteness, then that is the capital. As ‘Ali (radhi’Allahu `anhu) said:

“Do not accompany the ignorant,
Beware of him, beware of him!
For how many of an ignorant one has destroyed,
A forbearing one when he goes to him.
A person is only weighed against another,
When he sides and walks with him.
And for everything there are indeed,
Similarities and a comparison.
Just like there is between two hearts,
A sign and an indication, when they do meet.”

So how will the matter be (for you) when the foolish ends up harming you although he intends to benefit you! For this reason, the poet said:

“I feel safe from an enemy who’s endowed with sound intellect ,
But I fear a friend who has been seized with mental illness.
For soundness of mind is of one type; I know its ways
But insanity manifests itself in so many numerous ways.”

For this reason, it is said: ‘Severing ties with the foolish means to draw closer to Allah, the Most High.’ Likewise, there is no good in the companionship of an immoral person because the one who fears Allah will never persist in a major sin, but as for him who does not fear Allah, then nobody is safe from the havoc he causes.

Allah Ta’ala said,

“… And do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” [al-Kahf: 28]

As for good character, then ‘Alqamah ibn Qays (rahimahullah) summed it up in his final advice to his son as he was on his deathbed:

“O my son, if you ever feel the need to befriend and accompany men, then accompany the one who protects you when you help him, adorns you if you walk with him, and supplies you when your provisions run out. Accompany the one who when you stretch forth your hands in goodness, he stretches his hand too, if he sees merit from you, he remembers it, and if he sees bad from you, he remedies it. Accompany the one who gives you when you ask, who steps up when you are silent, and who consoles you when calamity overtakes you. Accompany the one who believes you when you speak, entrusts you when you engage in work, and if you fall out, he prefers you to the fallout.”

In such cases, it is said:

‘Your real brother is he who stays with you
Who harms himself in order to help you
When hard times break you and scatter you
He becomes dispersed just so he can fix you’

But before all that, he must be knowledgeable after having attained wara’ (piety), so that you can benefit from his knowledge too. Luqman said to his son, “O my son, sit with the scholars, crowd them with your knees! For indeed, hearts come to life with words of wisdom just like the dead earth comes back to life with the downpour of rain.””

- Mukhtasar Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, by Imam al-Ghazali.

Qur’anic Gems for the Aspiring Hafidh

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Below are 15 Qur’anic gems which you might find useful during the course of your Hifdh al-Qur’an. Most of these were passed down to me from previous teachers (may Allah bestow upon them much goodness, ameen), while some were picked up along the way (and others were contributed by fellow students).

Insha’Allah, more will be added in the future. If you wish to mention some gems of your own so we can benefit each other, please feel free to comment below!

1.

وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَاناً فَتُقُبِّلَ مِن أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الآخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
“And recite to them the story of the two sons of Adam in truth; when each offered a sacrifice, it was accepted from one but not from the other. The latter said to the former: “I will surely kill you.” The former said: “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun.” [Al-Ma'idah: 27]

لَّقَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَقِيرٌ وَنَحْنُ أَغْنِيَاءُ ۘ سَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَالُوا وَقَتْلَهُمُ الْأَنبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَنَقُولُ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ
“Allah has certainly heard the statement of those [Jews] who said, “Indeed, Allah is poor, while we are rich.” We will record what they said and their killing of the prophets without right and will say, “Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire.” [Aal-'Imran: 181]

These two verses are the only ones in the Qur’an which contain 10 Qafs (the letter ق)! (yes, yes, go ahead and count them).

- So if you have a problem pronouncing your qaf, maybe it’ll help reciting these ayat over and over again!

2.

وَهِيَ تَجْرِي بِهِمْ فِي مَوْجٍ كَالْجِبَالِ وَنَادَى نُوحٌ ابْنَهُ وَكَانَ فِي مَعْزِلٍ يَا بُنَيَّ ارْكَب مَّعَنَا وَلاَ تَكُن مَّعَ الْكَافِرِينَ
“So it (the ship) sailed with them amidst the waves like mountains, and Nuh called out to his son, who had separated himself, “O my son! Embark with us and do not be with the disbelievers.” [Hud: 42]

- اركب معنا is the only place in the Qur’an where the letter ba (ب) is mudgham with a meem (م).

Shaykh Muhammad Husayn Ya’qub mentions something interesting about this in one of his books:

هذه أقدار, وأحكام التجويد فيها أسرار

اركمّعنا – إدغام الباء في الميم كأنها تقول: التصق بنا لنصبح شيئا واحدا
اركمّعنا – حذف الحرف إشارة إلى السرعة! ء
اركمّعنا – صرنا نحن والركوب شيئا واحدا, فكن معنا

والإدغام مع الغنة فيها معنى التماسك بعد التلاسق, فكأنه يتمسك به بشدة ولا يفلت يده من يده ولا يدعه لحظة واحدة لأنها النجاة … نجاة نفس من النار… إرادة نجاة من قلب مشفق على من يحب

Summary: There is Idgham of ‘ba‘ and ‘meem‘ and it is as if Nuh (`alayhisalam) is saying ‘Come and hold fast to us so that we can be one body.’ (This is based on the knowledge that Idgham by definition is ‘inclusion of one letter into the other such that they become one letter mushaddad’). Also, there is omission of a letter (ba) and this suggests rapidity and fast momentum (you can picture the scene here).

3.

قِيلَ يَا نُوحُ اهْبِطْ بِسَلاَمٍ مِّنَّا وَبَركَاتٍ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى أُمَمٍ مِّمَّن مَّعَكَ وَأُمَمٌ سَنُمَتِّعُهُمْ ثُمَّ يَمَسُّهُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
“It was said: “O Nuh! Come down (from the ship) with peace from Us and blessings on you and on the people who are with you but (there will be) people to whom We shall grant pleasures (for a time), but in the end a painful torment will reach them from Us.” [Hud: 48]

Sticking with Surah Hud… this ayah which comes up later in the story of Nuh (`alayhisalam) is the only ayah to contain the biggest number of ghunna’s in the Qur’an due to the abundant occurence of nun and meem mushaddadah (نّ – مّ).

4.

You’ll only ever find 3 places in the Qur’an where there is a direct repetition of a word/letter without any breaks:

 

a. In al-An’am:

وَإِذَا جَاءتْهُمْ آيَةٌ قَالُواْ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ حَتَّى نُؤْتَى مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ رُسُلُ اللّهِ اللّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ سَيُصِيبُ الَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُواْ صَغَارٌ عِندَ اللّهِ وَعَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَمْكُرُونَ
“And when there comes to them a sign they say: “We shall not believe until we receive the like which was received by the Messengers of Allah.” Allah knows best with whom to place His Message. Humiliation and disgrace from Allah and a severe torment will overtake the criminals for that which they used to plot.’ [al-An'am: 124]

- The name of Allah is repeated twice without any fasil. In one case it’s majrur (due to it being in an idhafah construction) and the next it’s marfu’ which indicates a new sentence/meaning, hence waqf is preferred prior to it (i.e. one should stop after saying Rusulullah).

 

b. In al-Tawbah:

لاَ تَقُمْ فِيهِ أَبَداً لَّمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَى مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَن تَقُومَ فِيهِ فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَن يَتَطَهَّرُواْ وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ
“Never stand you therein. Verily, the mosque whose foundation was laid from the first day on piety is more worthy that you stand therein. In it are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.” [al-Tawbah: 108]

- Repetition of the word فيه x2.

 

c. In al-Jathiyah:

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَى عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَى سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَى بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
“Have you seen him who takes his own lust as his god, and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?’ [al-Jathiya: 23]

- Repetition of the letter ha (ها) x3. One letter is part of the word ‘ilah’, the 2nd is a dhamir (pronoun) and the 3rd is the first letter of the word ‘hawa.’

5.

Remembering taqdim and ta’khir?

Sometimes in the Qur’an when two are mentioned together, one will precede the other in one place and vice versa in another place. It can get slightly confusing so here are some tips:

Throughout the Qur’an the word لعب comes before لهو except in two Surahs: Al-A’raf and Al-’Ankabut where لهو precedes لعب.

In Surah Yunus the terms ضر and نفع are repeated 3 times, in the beginning (v. 18), middle (v.49) and end (v.106). Quick way to remember, in the first two times, ضر comes before نفع and it’s only in the end that نفع is mentioned first.

لكل أمة أجل فإذا جاء أجلهم فلا يستأخرون ساعة ولا يستقدمون – this ayah at times begins with a letter waw and at times, it contains a letter fa in the jawab al-shart. Tip: If it begins with a waw, then the fa is not present. If it does not begin with a waw, then the fa will be there. These two letters (waw and fa) never come together in such sentence structures.

6.

وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنَاهُ بِهَا وَلَـكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الأَرْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث ذَّلِكَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And if We had willed, we could have elevated him thereby, but he adhered [instead] to the earth and followed his own desire. So his example is like that of the dog: if you chase him, he pants, or if you leave him, he [still] pants. That is the example of the people who denied Our signs. So relate the stories that perhaps they will give thought.” [7:176]

- يَلْهَث ذَّلِكَ - This is the only place in the Qur’aan (riwaayah of Hafs ‘an ‘Aasim), where the letter tha (ث) is mudgham with the letter dhaal (ذَّ)

7.

الَّذِي خَلَقَنِي فَهُوَ يَهْدِينِ
وَالَّذِي هُوَ يُطْعِمُنِي وَيَسْقِينِ
وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ
وَالَّذِي يُمِيتُنِي ثُمَّ يُحْيِينِ
وَالَّذِي أَطْمَعُ أَن يَغْفِرَ لِي خَطِيئَتِي يَوْمَ الدِّينِ

“Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me; And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me. And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life (again); And Who, I hope will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense.” [al-Shu'ara: 78-82]

- In the above passage, sometimes the word ‘هو’ is mentioned and other times it’s not. I remember one of my teachers saying that if you notice, the ‘هو’ only comes up before the mention of actions which human beings can also claim to do (the giving of food/drink, curing, guiding etc) whereas in the acts which only Allah `azza wa jall has the power to do, the ‘هو’ is absent (e.g. the power to create, give life/death, forgive sins etc).

This is because when there is a seemingly joint power to do an act, Ibrahim (`alayhisalam) reiterates by saying ‘هو’ in order to emphasis that really, only Allah `azza wa jall has the full power to do even these things.

A small point of benefit: ‘هو’ does not precede the act of falling ill (وإذا مرضت) and this gives ground to a person’s belief that harm will never befall a person without the permission of Allah. See here for more on the beautiful subtlety behind such sentence structures (in the du’as of the Prophets).

8.

The word يزيدهم appears throughout the Qur’an as being marfu‘ (i.e. with a dhamma on the letter daal) – يزيدُهم (yaziduhum) – except in two places: Surah al-Nur and Surah al-Fatir – here, it appears in a nasb state (with a fat-ha) يزيدَهم (yazidahum) :

لِيَجْزِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
“That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.” [al-Nur: 38]

لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدَهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
“That He may pay them their wages in full, and give them (even) more, out of His Grace. Verily! He is OftForgiving, Most Ready to appreciate.” [al-Fatir: 30]

[For you grammar fans, the reason behind this is due to the lam al-ta'lil at the beginning of the ayah (li-yajziyahum & li-yuwaffihim) and hence the verb yazeed is ma3tuf `alayh)]

9.

The word كلا is not present anywhere in the 1st half of the Qur’an (first 15 Juz). It makes it’s first appearance in Surat Maryam, Juz 16.

Interesting incident concerning this:

Hajjaj ibn Yusuf was once approached by a woman who cried, ‘O Ameer! Forgive and release my son for he is innocent. I ask you by the One who ommited كلّا from the top half!’ [الذي حذف كلا من نصف الأعلى]

Hajjaj ibn Yusuf despite all his tyranny was well-versed in the words & structure of the Qur’aan and realised the depth and extent to which this woman went in her plea. As a result he ordered the release of her son.

Explanation: The term كلّا (kallaa) is not present in the Qur’aan anywhere in the first 15 juz – the first place it’s used is in Soorah Maryam (كَلَّا سَنَكْتُبُ مَا يَقُولُ وَنَمُدُّ لَهُ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ مَدّاً ) in Juz 16 and thereafter is repeated all the way through to the end.

This incident begs the question, how well versed and in touch are we with the Qur’aan?

10.

In every verse of Surah al-Mujadalah there is mentioned the name of ‘Allah’. No other Surah has this. Check it out!

11.

Usually in the Qur’an, the term يَومئذٍ appears with a fat-ha on the meem. But there 2 exceptions to this (in Surah Hud and al-Ma’arij) where the meem has a kasra on it (i.e. يومِئذ).

The exceptions:

جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا نَجَّيْنَا صَالِحًا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِّنَّا وَمِنْ خِزْيِ يَوْمِئِذٍ
“So when Our command came, We saved Salih and those who believed with him, by mercy from Us, and saved them from the disgrace of that day…” [Hud: 66]

يُبَصَّرُونَهُمْ ۚ يَوَدُّ الْمُجْرِمُ لَوْ يَفْتَدِي مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِئِذٍ بِبَنِيهِ
“They will be shown each other. The criminal will wish that he could be ransomed from the punishment of that Day by his children” [al-Ma'arij: 11]

12.

For you grammar lovers out there:

In Surah Yunus, it says:

وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَائِمًا فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَن لَّمْ يَدْعُنَا إِلَىٰ ضُرٍّ مَّسَّهُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“And when affliction touches man, he calls upon Us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but when We remove from him his affliction, he continues as if he had never called upon Us to remove an affliction that touched him! Thus is made pleasing to the transgressors that which they have been doing.” [Yunus: 12]

The word ضُر (harm/affliction) is repeated 3 times in this verse, and each time it appears in a different grammatical state (i’rab). In the first instance, it’s marfu‘ (hence it ends in a dhammah), in the second, it’s mansub (fatha), and in the third, it’s majrur (kasra).

So, if ever you get stuck, just remember the order… marfu’, mansub, majrur!

13.

Aal ‘Imran: 154 and Surah al-Fath: 29, are the only verses in the Qur’an that have in them all the letters of the arabic alphabet. Check it out!

14.

Three places in the Qur’an have the verse: نِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ (“And excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers) but in each there is a slight difference – mainly in the addition or lack of a particle (harf al-’atf):

- Surah Aal ‘Imran, it has a و (waw) at the beginning:
وَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ
v. 136

- Surah al-’Ankabut, it has nothing preceding it:
نِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ
v. 58

- And finally in Surah al-Zumar, there is the letter ف (fa) attached:
فَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ
v. 74

15.

Usually in the Qur’an (and elsewhere), the word شجرة which means ‘tree‘ is spelt with a ta al-marbutah (ة) at the end.

But verse 43 of Surah al-Dukhan is the only place where ‘shajarah‘ is spelt with an open taa (ت) at the end.

إِنَّ شَجَرَتَ الزَّقُّومِ
“Indeed, the tree of zaqqum…” [al-Dukhan: 43]

The implications of this come to light if and when a person decides to stop on that word (i.e. one would have to stop on a taa sound as opposed to a haa sound which is what would happen in the case of a ta al-marbutah).

… and much much more! :)

Of course, we are all human and prone to mistakes, so if I’ve made a mistake, may Allah forgive, ameen.