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CULTURE OF ISLAM

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab


Imtiaz Muhsin 07-Dec-12

The main objective of these talks (and therefore the scripts of these talks), is to stimulate thinking. Sensible, rational and logical thinking. So, my message, think, think & think! Be sensible, be rational and be logical.

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

Please Note
1. I have had the great privilege, (since Aug 2010), of presenting talks on the weekly Radio Program Culture of Islam [Every Friday 8 to 8.30 pm, Radio Sri Lanka - FM 97.4] 2. Since these are Radio Talks, I refer to, or address the audience as listeners 3. I am well aware that the audience to these talks would consist of people belonging to a variety of faiths. So as to make people of all faiths feel included, I very often use words and names that are common to all religions. 4. For these reasons, I use the name GOD, as well as Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc as well as the names Allah, Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam), Moosa (Alaihis Salaam), Easa (Alaihis Salaam) etc 5. Muslims by habit usually say Sallallahu Alaihiwasallam, when the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, and Alaihis Salaam' when the name of a Prophet is mentioned. However, in these series of talks I have reduced the use of these prayers & sayings to the bare minimum. 6. Muslims, also by habit, use a number of Arabic prayers or sayings, such as Alhamdulillah, Insha Allah and so on. Again, I have reduced the use of these prayers or sayings to the bare minimum. 7. Sometimes I have to write Arabic words in the English script. I have devised my own way of writing Arabic in English, as follows;

th TH

s Ss SW

DHL DHZ

H h

Gh GH

Information on these talks along with all download links can be found on my on my Blog (http://imtiazm.wordpress.com/) The dates or the schedules of these talks can be viewed on the Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/ImtiazMuhsin786) The Scripts of these talks can be downloaded from www.ScribD.com (www.ScribD.com Author Imtiaz Muhsin) The audio files of these talks can be downloaded from YouTube (YouTube Channel Imtiaz Muhsin) The YouTube Link to this talk is at http://youtu.be/qrN42PutljE

All Praise and Thanks is due to Allah and Allah alone Alhamdulillah!

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab


Dear Friends, Assalamu Alaikum, Alhamdulillah! Over the last 2 years I have had this great opportunity of presenting talks on this weekly Radio Program Culture of Islam What excites me is that I have the opportunity of sharing with listeners what I learn from the Quran. Now, you may ask, What is so exciting about that? Surely everyone who speaks on Islam shares with us what he has learnt from the Quran? That is correct, but then what excites me is that I am on an absorbing learning exercise trying to sort out many of the confusions that I have experienced right through my life regarding the teachings of Islam. So again you may ask, What are these points that confuse you? So, let me explain. Most of us Muslims in Sri Lanka do not speak or understand Arabic. At a young age we learn to read and recite the Quran in Arabic and many of us take pride in this beautiful skill. But then, we do not understand Arabic. It surprises many Arabs and even non Muslims that we read the Quran, apparently quite fluently, but then do not understand what we are reading. Many young Muslims are now become Hafiz of the Quran that is they memorize the entire Quran but many of them do not understand Arabic so they do not understand what they are reading or reciting, even from memory. But then also remember, that a good Muslim or a practicing Muslim reads or recites in Arabic his daily 5 times prayers or his daily Salaath. He may even read or recite a portion of the Quran everyday but then he does not understand it. This is not peculiar to Muslims of Sri Lanka only, but is a condition affecting the majority of the Muslims of the world, because the majority of the Muslims of the World today are what we describe as non Arab speaking! So then you may ask, if the majority of Muslims of the World do not speak Arabic, our parents or our family members do not speak Arabic, then how do we learn Islam, because the primary source of learning Islam is from the Quran. Actually it is the only source, everything else is commentary. Now this is the interesting part a few people from the Muslim community attend Madrassahs where they learn Arabic as well as Fiqh which we call Islamic Jurisprudence and it is from these Alims that we learn Islam. The Muslim Community has built-in within its social structure a network of regular programs where these Alims explain Islam to us.

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

We have weekly Jummah Sermons; non Muslims would refer to it as the Friday sermons or the Friday congregation. Then the Trustees of every Mosque also endeavor to have regular programs in the Mosque, where the congregation could listen to Islamic talks. We also have regular talks on Islam on the Radio, and this is how we learn Islam the beliefs and the practices. Many of these teachings make sense but then inexplicably, these are also accompanied by teachings that contrast in many ways. That is the confusion. Anyway, I tried to follow these teachings anyhow, just telling myself that there is sense in these teachings even though I may not be able to make out that sense. It was confusing, and this confusion was compounded by the fact that I just could not lay my finger on, or point out where the confusion really lay. It is not just my problem only, but this is the problem of all non Arabic speaking Muslims, and this makes up the majority of the Muslims in the world. So to sort out this confusion, I began to read the Quran very slowly. Re-reading each Aayath and then referring to the meanings by reading many accepted English translations. It is this exercise that made me realize how difficult it is to give a translation to the Aayaths of the Quran, because it was not unusual to find verses where all 4 translations were different but then my thinking or reflecting processes got stimulated because there were now 4 different translations conveying 4 different facets to the meanings so how could I recognize or build in my mind, what these Aayaths really mean? With this slow reading I began to mark the Aayaths that seemed to be addressing or referring to the points that confused me. I thus collected a huge amount of material to work with. I then began to sort out these Aayaths, again categorizing them according to the points that were confusing me and now, Alhamdulillah, things are beginning to make sense. These are the points that I wish to share with you in these series of Radio Talks. Let me describe very briefly some of the points that impressed me. I hope all of you would find it as interesting as I do. Believe me. It is a great learning experience. So let me begin. When we open the Quran, or the correct wording would be when we open the printed Quran, the very first Surah or the very first Chapter is Surah Faathiha which consists of 7 Aayaths, it is a very meaningful and powerful opening prayer. The next Surah, that is Surah Baqarah, begins with the words or the letters Alif Laam Meem and the next Aayath begins with the Arabic words, Zaalikal Kithaabu Laa Raiyba FeeHi which means That book, has no doubt in it Zaalikal Kithaabu or That Book obviously refers to the Quran, the one in our hand. The one we are reading. So, I ask the question, Should it not be Haazal Kithaabu meaning This Book? The word Zaalika means That and if I want to say This I would use the word Haazaa

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

In Arabic the words Haazaa and Zaalika themselves are special nouns known as Ismu Ishaara or demonstrative pronouns, used to point to something particular. Haazaa is known as Ismu Ishaara Qareeb i.e. pointing to something that is near, and Zaalika is known as Ismu Ishaara Bagheedh i.e. pointing to something that is distant or far away. Now what I expect to see, are the words Haazal Kithaabu or This Book, but the words are Zaalikal Kithaabu - so obviously I ask the question which book? Now, let me also tell you what the 4 English translations that I regularly refer to, translate these words or this phrase Zaalikal Kithaabu La Raiyba FeeHi, as follows; Mufti Taqi Usman translates it as; This Book has no doubt in it. Marmaduke Pikthall translates it as; This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt. Dr. Mohsin Khan translates it as; This is the Book (the Qur'an), whereof there is no doubt within brackets he gives his commentary saying the Quran Yusuf Ali translates it as; This is the Book; So all these translators use the word This for Zaalika whilst Zaalika means That, In Arabic grammar we would describe it as an Ismu Ishaara Bagheedh or pointing to something that is distant or far away! So now, that is confusing. So what is that book, is it not this book, this book that I am holding in my hand, the Quran that I am reading out of? So this confusion obviously made me start thinking I asked someone who knew Arabic well, and the explanation given was that Zaalika means that but in this case it means this That explanation was one I just could not accept. Maybe it made sense to others; it was not making any sense to me. So then I began to mentally picture how the Prophet and his companions would have read the Quran, and then I realized that for the 23 years in which Prophet Muhammad preached Islam, the Quran was just not available in a form of a book as we know or recognize books. It is a well documented fact of Islamic History that the first written complete Quran was made in the period of the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, who was the 1st Caliph following the demise of Prophet Muhammad. So for 23 years of Prophet-hood, which is the defining period of Islam, the Quran was not available in a written or a printed book form. So then in the time of the Prophet, how did people read or learn from the Quran? Surely the first word revealed from the Quran to Prophet Muhammad himself was the word Iqra which means Read! We all know that the Prophet was unlettered or Ummi he could not read or write, and this fact is confirmed in the Quran In Surah Jummah;

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

(62:2a) He is the One who raised amidst the unlettered people a messenger from amongst themselves who recites to them His Aayaths,

So not only was the Prophet Ummi, but so were his people. So then what was the book they read could it be this book that is being referred to as the Zaalikal Kithaabu That Book.

So then, what is that book the Zaalikal Kithaabu which could be read by those who could not read scripts, like you and I read as well as write scripts? Interesting isnt it? Isnt this type of searching or seeking, very interesting? It is a seeking we have to do in our minds, using our faculties of reasoning and logic Maasha Allah, very very interesting! There are some Aayaths in the Quran that describe this just listen; (3:190) Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are Aayaths (signs)for the people of wisdom,

Is this Quran Aayath not clearly pointing out to us that Allahs Aayaths are in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the phenomenon of the alternation of the night and the day isnt there so much to read in those Aayaths this is not reading scripts from a printed book, but reading creation, reading phenomena, reading signs, reading Aayaths and who would be able to read them the Oolil Albaab those who are wise or the people of understanding! Now how could they read these Aayaths or these signs? This is described in the next Aayath. (3:191a) who do the Zikr of Allah whilst standing and whilst sitting, and whilst (lying) on their sides, do Fikr (ponder) on the creation of the heavens and the earth

So that is one of the Aayaths that give us a clear indication as to how the Quran or the Aayaths of the Quran was read not from a written or a published book as you and I are doing, but from the wonders of Gods creation and from the wondrous phenomena involving his creation that are in perpetual motion. There are 2 meaningful words being used here Zikr and Fikr.

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

We should do Zikr of the creator, that is why it is described as Zikrullah, and we should do Fikr of His wondrous creation. So then what does Zikr and Fikr mean? Be that as it may. So that is how we read the Aayaths of the Quran then where is the Quran? (29:47) Thus We have sent down to you the Kithaab (the Book). So those to whom We have given the Kithaab (the Book) believe in it. And from these, there are ones who believe in it, and no one rejects Our Aayaths (signs) except the Kaafiroon (the rejecters). (29:48) You (O Prophet,) have never been reciting any book before this, nor have you been writing it with your right hand; had it been so, the adherents of falsehood would have raised doubts. (29:49) But it is Aayaths clear in the SWudhoor of the Oothul ghilm (those who are given knowledge) and none rejects Our Aayaths except the Dhzaalimoon (the wrongdoers)

Now that is wonderful, isnt it? So ; 1.The Aayaths are in the wondrous creation and in the wondrous phenomena being enacted involving these creations and these are read by the Oolil Albaab 2. Now, who are the Oolil Albaab? They are the people of wisdom or the people of understanding 3. What do the Oolil Albaab do? They do the Zikr of the Creator (ZikruLLaH) and Fikr of the creation 4. The Aayaathun Baiyyinaathun the Aayaths clear or the Aayaths made clear or better still, the explanation to these Aayaths, are in the SWudhoor of the Oothul ghilm those with knowledge. 5. And those who reject the observing of these Aayaths as they should be observed are the Kaafiroon (the rejecters) and 6. Those who do not sort out the explanations in their SWudhoor or in their hearts are the Dhzaalimoon or the wrongdoers. Nice isnt it? Let us try to find out more information on what this SWudhoor really is. In Surah Thaa Haa the Quran describes to us how Prophet Moses or Moosa (AS) is appointed Prophet. God instructs him and then Prophet Moses or Moosa (AS) responds with this prayer.

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

(020:025) (Moses) said: "O my Rabb! expand for me my SWudhoor (often translated as my heart or my chest); (20:26) and make my task easy for me

Earlier I used to be confused when I read the translation Expand for me my chest? Why is he praying that his chest be expanded? There has to be a special meaning, but what is it? Now Alhamdulillah, I find that there is more meaning Oh!, Prophet Moses or Moosa (AS) was beseeching God to expand his faculty of understanding, so that his mission or his task would be made easy. In the Quran this special faculty is referred to as the SWudhoor. Again meanings to other Aayaths too became clearer, I now began to see more meaning to our prayer in the Quran in Surah No 114 or Surah Naas the final Surah in the printed Quran; Where we are instructed to pray as follows; (114:1) Say, I seek refuge with the Rabb of mankind, (114:2) the Malik (King) of mankind, (114:3) the Allah of mankind, (114:4) from the evil of the whisperer who withdraws (114:5) the one who whispers in the SWudhoor (hearts) of people, (114:6) from amongst the Jinn and Mankind. So now we learn many things Maasha Allah! 1.The Aayaths are in the wondrous creation and the wondrous phenomena being enacted with, around and within these creations and these are read by the Oolil Albaab 2. Now, who are the Oolil Albaab? They are the people of wisdom or the people of understanding 3. What do the Oolil Albaab do? They do the Zikr of the Creator (ZikruLLaH) and Fikr of the creation 4. The Aayaathun Baiyyinaathun the Aayaths clear or the Aayaths made clear or better still, the explanation to these Aayaths, are in the SWudhoor of the Oothul ghilm those with knowledge. 5. And those who reject the observing of these Aayaths as they should be observed are the Kaafiroon (the rejecters), and,

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

6. Those who do not sort out the explanations in their SWudhoor or in their hearts are the Dhzaalimoon or the wrongdoers. 7. When God instructs Prophet Moses or Moosa (AS) about his mission, Prophet Moses or Moosa (AS) prays for Gods help and in his prayers he seeks that his SWudhoor be expanded. 8. Now in Surah 114we are told about an evil this evil quality can be found in both Jinn and in Mankind that is the quality of whispering in to the SWudhoor of Man. Now again, what is the SWudhoor? It is the place in the people of knowledge, where the Aayaths are clear or explained. So what would be the evil that people or Jinns would whisper. The word waswaas is translated as whisper, but there is a common perception that the word Oswaas refers to whispering doubts In which case we can ask what doubts? Doubts about the Aayaths, doubts about the wisdom or the knowledge of the Quran, remember we began this talk by reading from the 1st Aayaths of Surah Baqara; (2:2) This Book has no doubt in it - a guidance for the MutthaQeen (The God-fearing)

So the evil would be to cast doubts about the Aayaths that are being cleared in the SWudhoor itself. What an attack! So Surah Naas or Surah 114 is actually a prayer seeking refuge with God against these evil whisperings of both the Jinns and Mankind. Now another meaningful Aayath, from Surah Inshirah Surah No 94 it contains just 8 very short Aayaths. The first Aayath is; (94:1) Have We not expanded for you your SWudhoor?

The Surah itself is known as Surah Inshirah, meaning The Expansion The expansion of what? The SWudhoor And then the final Aayath of this very short Surah; (94:8) and towards your Rabb turn your attention.

So as things become clearer, we find ourselves beginning to ask many new questions, now we are seeking clarification we may even call it enlightenment. So let us go step by step.

107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

1. When we open the Quran we read Zaalikal Kithaabu Laa Raiba FeeHi meaning In that book, there is no doubt 2. So, what is that book? Is it not this book, the printed Quran that I am reading from? 3. Then we come to the question, how did the companions of the Prophet read the Quran when there was no printed or published Quran in the form of a book for those entire 23 years? 4. What we read from the Quran are the Aayaths or the Signs of God in English we commonly refer to the Aayaths as the verses of the Quran. 5. Then we read from Aayath Nos 190 & 191 of Surah Aal E Imraan, the 3rd surah in the Quran, that in the creations of the heavens and the earth and in the phenomena of the alternation of the night and day, that there are Aayaths or signs for the Oolil Albaab the people of understanding. 6. What would these Oolil Albaab do? They would do Zikr of the Creator (God) and Fikr of His creation, all the time. 7. Then we read from the Quran that the Aayaathun Baiyyinaathun (the clear or the explained Aayaths) are in the SWudhoor of the Oothul ghilm the learned people. So, in brief, the Aayaths are in the creation and in the phenomena involving the creation. We have to recognize them, read them, understand them and then take them in to our SWudhoor, so that these Aayaths would become clear. This process is called Zikr. In the Quran itself God tells us that the specialty of the Human being is that he has been provided with the faculties to do this Zikr - I read to you Aayath No 78 from Surah No 16 Surah Nahl (016:078) It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when ye knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections: that ye may do Shukur (Give thanks to God). Isnt that really really enlightening!! Maasha Allah! I hope that all of you enjoyed listening to this program as much as I enjoyed preparing for it and then presenting it to you. May Allah Taaalah guide us all and accept us all. Jazza Kallah Khairan Assalamu Alaikum

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107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab

Imtiaz Muhsin Colombo Sri Lanka crescent786@hotmail.com

You Tube Channel - HaneefanMusliman

The YouTube Link to this talk is at http://youtu.be/qrN42PutljE

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107 The Word Zaalika in Zaalikal Kithaab