I’m in KL’s LCCT Starbucks now, a place completely abuzz with activity. Across me sits a fellow female solo traveller, immersed in the contents of her Macbook Pro, probably catching up with the happenings on Facebook or something. I know she’s a fellow kindred spirit cos she shared my table earlier, lovely girl. I ordered a Green Tea Soy Latte – a mistake cos nobody makes it as good as my brother. Oh well, I have about an hour till my connecting flight to my destination so I might as well do something productive with the time. 🙂
I guess it’s about time I start on the talk by Ustaz Nouman in Singapore – Rediscovering the Fatiha.
Rediscovering the Fatiha’s tickets were all grabbed within 2 hours, if I’m not mistaken, so I do believe a lot of people were not able to get it. I was lucky a friend of mine gave me a heads up when he realised the tickets were already available on Bayyinah.com before it was announced on YAD’s facebook page (Thanks Amirul, if you’re reading this!). Must really have been my rizq to get it, alhamdulillah!
So yup, I’ll pass the deed forward and will try my best to share as much as possible! 🙂
This is no easy task, to be very honest. To put into words 3 hours worth of solid gold – I doubt I’ll be able to do justice to it but hey, I’ll do my best!
-Woops, short distraction there for a bit! I’m now at the boarding gate area, waiting to be called in. Hopefully I’ll get through a fair bit today.-
Let’s start at an obvious place, shall we? The surah itself:
The surah is known as the “Ummul Kitab” which means, Mother of the Book.
We read this surah so many times in a day, just in our 5 daily prayers alone, but do we really know the meaning of it? Why it’s called the mother of the Book?
This particular surah contains the message of the Quran, in essence.
In the beginning of the Book of Tafsir, in his Sahih, Al-Bukhari said; “It is called Umm Al-Kitab, because the Qur’an starts with it and because the prayer is started by reciting it.” It was also said that it is called Umm Al-Kitab, because it contains the meanings of the entire Qur’an. Ibn Jarir said, “The Arabs call every comprehensive matter that contains several specific areas an Umm. For instance, they call the skin that surrounds the brain, Umm Ar-Ra’s. They also call the flag that gathers the ranks of the army an Umm.” He also said, “Makkah was called Umm Al-Qura, (the Mother of the Villages) because it is the grandest and the leader of all villages. It was also said that the earth was made starting from Makkah.”
Further, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah narrated about Umm Al-Qur’an that the Prophet said,
«هِيَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي وَهِيَ الْقُرْآنُ الْعَظِيمُ»
(It is Umm Al-Qur’an, the seven repeated (verses) and the Glorious Qur’an.)
Also, Abu Ja`far, Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari recorded Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah said about Al-Fatihah,
«هِيَ أُمُّ الْقُرْآنِ وَهِيَ فَاتِحَةُ الْكِتَابِ وَهِيَ السَّبْعُ الْمَثَانِي»
(It is Umm Al-Qur’an, Al-Fatihah of the Book (the Opener of the Qur’an) and the seven repeated (verses).)
It was this particular understanding of the significance of this surah that drove me to attend this talk (besides it being conducted by Ustaz Nouman, of course). I knew Ustaz Nouman’s style – I knew he was going to uncover things that go beyond what my feeble mind is capable of thinking of in the first place.
Which was absolutely what happened.
Throughout the 3 hours, he shared things that just left me stunned. There were moments when I had to stop taking notes and just take a moment to absorb whatever he just said. He went through every single verse in detail, something which I will try to emulate in this write-up. So here goes:
The word ‘alhamdu’ holds 2 very strong meanings: praise and thanks. These are very different concepts but for this word, it accounts for both. ‘Alhamdu’ (in its noun form) is in the best form when compared with its variations in the Quran. Recall the lessons learnt in the previous talks about the Miracle of the Quran. Right here is another example of a perfect use in the perfect context.
The surah starts of with ‘All thanks and praise be to Allah’. Allah introduces himself in the verse to form the foundation of the Muslim’s understanding.
Now, back to the concept of thanking and praising. You see, we can praise someone but not thank them, and thank someone but not praise them. For example, think about Musa a.s and the Pharaoh. Musa a.s was raised in the Pharaoh’s court. When he came back to the court after being exiled, the Pharaoh asked him why he was not thankful nor praising the Pharaoh for all that he had received. Musa a.s. replied saying that he was indeed thankful to the Pharaoh but in no way was he praising him for all that he’s done. Another simple example is praising a beautiful car: we praise its beauty but we’re not thankful to it! We can also praise something or someone but not be sincere about it. Think about praising that person you don’t quite like and you’ll understand. 😉
Also ‘thanks’ has the connotation that of a reply – you thank someone by means of acknowledging a favour or something good that has been done for you. It is a reaction. But in this context, the noun form is used which implies permanence. It is not dependent on anything – Allah is not in need of our thanks or praise. In other words, we need him!
Besides implying the need for humility, it also shapes the attitude of the Muslim – we are made to be positive thinkers.
We are constantly giving praise and thanks to Allah – there is so much to be thankful for! We are taught to believe that there is good in everything that happens, even if it doesn’t seem obvious at the moment.
Ok, so that’s the starting of the surah. The very first verse! I’ve got to go now, the announcement for my flight’s boarding has been made! Langkawi, here I come!