Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Qur'an
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي أنزل القرءان، أعجز به أهلَ الفصاحة والبلاغة والبيان، وأمر عباده بالتدبر فيه والإمعان، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
Allah has granted this Umma a gift the like of which He has never granted any other, a miracle that stands the test of time, remaining immutable, unchanged and yet changing everything that it comes into contact with: that miracle is the Noble Qur’an, which He sent down in the course of this month, the month of Qur’an. A Book containing His timeless Speech which He revealed to the pinnacle of His creation and imprinted directly upon his heart. A Book every letter and every syllable of which comes directly from the presence of our Lord and Creator, and yet still has been made accessible to all human beings, regardless of where and when they live!
Now, alhamdulillah, we all recite this Book every day of our lives, if only in our prayers; we love to recite it and we love to hear it recited, for Allah, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, has placed tremendous secrets in its melodies and combinations of sounds - even without knowing one word of Arabic, those who hear the recitation of the Qur‘an are often moved to tears. For it is the Words of Allah, the vehicle of worship and the highest form of Dhikr, so it brings tranquility and peace to people’s hearts.
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنَّ الْقُلُوبُ
the translation of which is: ‘Only in the dhikr/remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace’.
So, first, I would like to give you the good news of the tremendous reward that that recitation brings you. Allah says
إن الذين يتلون كتاب الله وأقاموا الصلاة وأنفقوا مما رزقناهم سرا وعلانية يرجون تجارة لن تبور ليوفيهم أجورهم ويزيدهم من فضله إنه غفور شكور.”
the translation of which is, “Those who recite the Book of Allah and establish the prayer and give of what we have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a transaction which will not prove profitless: that He may pay them their wages in full and give them more from His unbounded favour. He is Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Thankful.” And the Messenger of Allah said:
"أفضل عبادة أمتي تلاوة القرآن
“The best type of worship my community can do is reciting Qur’an” For the rewards for reciting it are immense, especially in this month where good actions are magnified many times over. The Messenger of Allah said,
مَنْ قَرَأ حَرْفاً مِنْ كِتَابِ اللهِ فَلَهُ حَسَنَةٌ، وَالحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أمْثَالِهَا، لاَ أقول: ألم حَرفٌ، وَلكِنْ: ألِفٌ حَرْفٌ وَلاَمٌ حَرْفٌ وَمِيمٌ حَرْفٌ
“Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” So, imagine the reward the whole thing in this month. It is one of the only things that will benefit you on that day when you stand alone before your Lord, for the Prophet said:
اقْرَؤُوا القُرْآنَ؛ فَإنَّهُ يَأتِي يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ شَفِيعاً لأَصْحَابِهِ
“Recite the Qur'an, for it will come as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Resurrection.'” It may be that you find its recitation a struggle, because you do not read or pronounce Arabic well, but do not let that stop you. For the fact that struggle with it is the source of an even greater reward, as the Prophet said:
الَّذِي يَقْرَأُ القُرْآنَ وَهُوَ مَاهِرٌ بِهِ مَعَ السَّفَرَةِ الكِرَامِ البَرَرَةِ، وَالَّذِي يَقْرَأُ الْقُرْآنَ وَيَتَتَعْتَعُ فِيهِ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ شَاقٌّ لَهُ أجْرَانِ
“The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur’an will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels), but the one who recites the Qur’an and finds it difficult to recite, trying his to recite it as best as he can, will have a double reward.”
But the real treasures and hidden secrets of the Qur’an can only be unlocked through tadabbur ‘reflection’, for the Qur’an is more than a collection of beautiful sounds, it is Allah’s Eternal Speech containing guidance for mankind and the keys to everything that is knowable to the human being. Allah says in surat al-An’am:
مَا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ
the translation of which is: “We have not omitted anything from the Book.” It is all there, nothing is missed out. And He says in surat Sad:
‘كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آَيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ’
the translation of which is, “It is a Book We have sent down to you, full of blessing, so that people ponder its Signs and those who possess intelligence take heed.”
So one of the main reasons Allah sent down the Book to us was for us to ponder and reflect upon it and upon its Signs. The Arabic word used for reflection here is (tadabbur).
(Tadabbur) implies a comprehensive reflection, whereby one studies something in depth, examining it in all its facets, and tries to understand it as fully as possible. Tadabbur is the key to understanding. And by this, we are not referring to to simply coming across a Qur’anic word and looking it up in a dictionary or reading a translation - that is simply a starting point. My father once related a story to me of something that happened to him in Morocco shortly after he became Muslim that illustrates this point beautifully. A man of great knowledge with whom he was sitting asked him if he had read and understood the Qur’an, so my father replied that he had an English translation and had done his best to match it up with the Arabic. The man said, "No, I don't mean that. Have you really understood the Qur’an." "What do you mean by understand then?" my father asked. The man replied, "If you were truly to understand even a single letter of the Qur’an, you would not eat or sleep for forty days because of the light that is in it. I know this," he continued, "because it happened to me." That is the fruit of sincere reflection.
Reflecting on the Qur’an is of two types: reflecting upon its nature and reflecting upon the meanings of its ayats. The story above is illustrative of the fruits of reflecting upon the meanings of its ayats.
As for reflecting upon its nature, it increases the heart in certainty as it shows you how great a miracle the Quran was, and leaves you in no doubt as to the truthfulness of the Messenger of Allah. It is to this type of reflection that Allah is referring when He says in surat an-Nisa:
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآَنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا
the translation of which is, “Will they not ponder the Quran? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found many inconsistencies in it.”
Let us then reflect on the Quran: it was revealed over the course of 23 years to an unlettered Prophet, a Prophet who could neither read nor write, and yet there is not one inconsistency or contradiction in it. Not one. It has traversed more than fourteen centuries and travelled to all parts of the world on the tongues and in the hearts of myriad peoples speaking myriad languages and yet we find no change to Allah’s Words. Pick up a mushaf in Malaysia or listen to a Qari in Pakistan - you will find no inconsistency between them. Allah has preserved His Book as He promised us.
In it, Allah tells His Prophet of events that had not yet come to pass, such as when He predicted that Abu Lahab would die an unbeliever, or that the Byzantines would defeat the Persians even though they had just suffered a sound beating at their hands. Allah says;
‘الـم . غُلِبَتِ الرُّومُ . فِي أَدْنَى الأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ؛
the translation of which is, “Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated in the land nearby, but after their defeat they will themselves be victorious in a few years’ time”
Or, indeed that the Qur’an would remain unchanged and preserved throughout the ages, something that had never before been witnessed with any book, for Allah says:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحافِظُونَ
the translation of which is, “It is We who have sent down the Reminder and it is We who will preserve it.”
Did not every one of these things and many others happen exactly as predicted.
Let us reflect on the language of the Qur’an: it was sent to a people famed for their knowledge of words and their mastery of language and all its nuances, a people who held the poet in higher regard than the king. And yet, not one of them was able to respond to the challenge the Qur’an laid before them of composing a single sura like those found within its pages. Allah says
“أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ قُلْ فَأْتُواْ بِسُورَةٍ مِثْلِهِ”
“Do they say he has invented it? Say, “Then produce a sura like it...”
And despite the fact that all they had to do was produce a sura the length of surat al-Kawthar - a sura less than two lines long, not one of them even tried, for even the greatest poets amongst them recognised that the composition of the Qur’an was something far beyond their capacity to recreate or even emulate, even if they were to have all worked together to accomplish that aim.
Any one of these factors alone would be enough to demonstrate the miraculous nature of the Qur’an, let alone taken all together. Your heart would have to be locked to not reflect and see that, as Allah Himself says:
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآَنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
the translation of which is, “Will they not then ponder the Qur‘an or are their locks upon their hearts?”
May Allah open our hearts to the Qur‘an and increase us in certainty through reflecting upon it. And He make us of those for whom it will intercede on the Day of Rising.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله العظيم لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو التوّابُ الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله تعالى في كتابه العزيز: كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آَيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ
Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “It is a Book We have sent down to you, full of blessing, so that people ponder its ayats and those who possess intelligence take heed.”
The second type of reflecting upon the Qur’an is to reflect upon the ayats themselves and what meanings they contain. This instruction is directed at all Muslims, regardless of their knowledge and regardless of their grasp of Arabic. Every Muslim must try to have at least some level of understanding of what he is reading. You must treat Allah’s Book with the respect that it is due - Allah did not send it to us to simply be a ritual set of litanies that we recite, despite the tremendous rewards we receive for doing that. No, He sent it to us so that we can benefit from its message and model our lives according to its teachings. The Prophet, the early Muslims and many of the men of Allah used to have such respect for the Words that they were reciting that they would not leave one ayat behind and go to the next one until
their reflections on it had born fruit and they had understood as many of its meanings as Allah opened up to them.
عن أبي ذر قال “قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بنا ليلة فقام بآية يرددها وهي ‘إن تعذبهم فإنهم عبادك وإن تغفر لهم فإنك أنت العزيز الحكيم’ وإنما رددها صلى الله عليه وسلم لتدبره في معانيها”
Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger led them in prayer, one night, and stood (the night) repeating a single ayat of the Qur’an again and again. That ayat was,
“إن تعذبهم فإنهم عبادك وإن تغفر لهم فإنك أنت العزيز الحكيم”, the translation of which is, ‘If You punish them, they are Your slaves. If You forgive them, You are the Almighty, the All-Wise.’ And it was only the fact that he was reflecting upon its meanings that made him repeat it.”
وحكي عن أبي سليمان الداراني أنه قال: إني لأتلو الآية فأقيم فيها أربع ليال أو خمس ليال ولولا أني أقطع الفكر فيها ما جاوزتها إلى غيرها.
Abu Sulayman ad-Darani is narrated as having said, “I recite an ayat and remain with it for four or five nights and do not pass on to another ayat until I have finished reflecting on it.
Reflection on the Qur’an is a constant and ever-evolving process for one never exhausts the meanings that any one ayat has to offer. Every time you read an ayat afresh, some new aspect of its meaning opens up to you. So recite the Qur’an often and set aside time to study it, asking the people of knowledge when you do not know and taking care to protect yourself against false interpretation by using trustworthy tafsirs, such as those of Jalalayn, Qurtubi or Ibn Kathir and translations.
Finally, a word of warning. In the Qur’an, there are ayats of judgement upon which our Deen is based. It is not for us to interpret such ayats according to our personal understanding. By tadabbur, we are not talking about interpretation of that sort, for that is something that you must avoid until you have the necessary tools and the necessary knowledge to do it. Interpretation without knowledge is dangerous even if you keep it to yourself and do not tell others, for you may be ascribing meanings to the Words of Allah that he did not intend, thereby telling lies against Him. For as Allah tells us:
إن الذين يفترون على الله الكذب لا يفلحون
the translation of which is, “People who invent lies against Allah will not be successful.”
So take time in the course of this month and throughout the rest of the year to sit with the Quran and study it, either alone or with others. Then choose times when your heart is tranquil and at ease, unoccupied by matters of the dunya, such as in the small hours of the night or after Fajr, recite the ayats that you studied, reflect upon them and prepare yourself to receive the meanings that Allah will open to you. That short time spent in the quiet contemplation of the meanings of the Book of Allah will be more beneficial to you than a lifetime of worship, for the Prophet said:
“فكرة ساعة خير من عبادة ستين سنة”
“An hour’s reflection is better than sixty years of worship.”
So we ask Allah to fill our times with recitation of His Book, open our hearts to its meanings and deepen our love for it so that it truly becomes a constant companion for us in everything we do. We ask Him to give us the success to absorb its meanings into ourselves so that it turns into the very texture of our lives, and by that increase us in love for Him and His Messenger, he whose character was the Qur’an. We ask Allah to make us all, in the truest and deepest sense, people of the Qur’an.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ.
وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ (3) وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تجْعَلِ الدُّنْيَا أَكْبَرَ هَمِّنَا وَلَا مَبْلَغَ عِلْمِنَا وَلَا تُسَلِّطْ عَلَيْنَا بِذُنُوبِنَا مَن لاَّ يَخَافُكَ وَلَا يَرْحَمُنَا
اللَّهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لَنَا دِينَنَا الذِي هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا دُنْيَانَا التِي فِيهَا مَعَاشُنَا وَأَصْلِحْ لَنَا آخِرَتُنَا التِي إِلَيْهَا مَعَادُنَا وَاجْعَلِ الحَيَاةَ زِيَادَةً لَنَا فِي كُلِّ خَيْرٍ وَاجْعَلِ المَوْتَ رَاحَةً لَنَا مِن كُلِّ شَرٍّ
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.