Qur'an With the Divine

Tafsir of Surat al-Kahf (Part 3)

Transcribed by Sabirah Reinke

Part I | Part II | Part III

Praising Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) is one of the easiest things to do; say “Alhamdullillah! (All praise is due to Allah.)”

When I landed in the States a week ago, after I was given the one-hour royal interception—alhamdullillah, I was in New Jersey—I found out that while I was in England they cancelled all my debit cards. So I needed $120 and nothing worked. I kept calling and calling, trying to find out how I could get my cards back.

Then they said—brothers don’t do this—your wife has sole control of the account and you have to call Malaysia to get the information to turn your cards back on.

I have no credit card, how can I call Malaysia? Well, tough luck kid!

So I’m in north New Jersey—I’m from the hood but New Jersey is the hood squared!

I keep checking my account, did someone steal something from my account? I’m worried someone stole a credit card in Malaysia! What happened?

I started thinking about my account. My concern is my account. Then I started thinking: do I think about my account with Allah (swt)?

Wa’inallahi told Umar radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with him): We are going back to Allah (swt), but do we thank Him on a daily basis? One day we are going back to Allah! Did you prepare? What have you prepared?

And Shaytan will come to you like he used to come to me when I was 16, 17 … 78, 89, saying, “Take some more time!” You got none, man! When you are 79 you need to get on that train, brother!

So let’s ask ourselves here. The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said, “Alhamdulillah tamla’ulmiizaan.” The Prophet ﷺ said in a sound hadith (record of his words or actions) that saying alhamdullillah is a way to face your scares!

On your way to school, say alhamdullillah; when walking into class, say alhamdullillah. Allah (swt) will put noor (light) around you insha’Allah, God willing. You will have barakah (mercy) in your life!

On your way to work, instead of listening to Mike Savage: Alhamdullillah! Listen to the news, find out what’s going on. Listen to the financial analysis, what happened? Ok, but before or after that, alhamdullillah!

Just a few times—it’s not hard! When you deal with the religion, you are overcome with complexes. If you are a sinner, the last place you should come to is the masjid (mosque). So that’s why Muslims are going to Joel Osteen or running to Dr Phil; because they don’t feel that there is anything uplifting in their community. This is a disaster!

I’m telling you right now, I’ve been hard on some of the young brothers and sisters. I have to be honest with you. Forgive me. But I’m going to let you know, I’ve got your back, if you need help, and I’m not going to call your mum or your dad right in the khutbah (sermon). But we need to help you out! Even our older brothers and sisters, we have to create that vibe in the community!

You are not separated from the community because you are a sinner. I’m a sinner, you are a sinner, we are all sinners! Everybody is making mistakes!

But when it comes to our communities we are indicters, we are indicting folks!  That woman that told me that she went to Joel Osteen, she said that in our community if I go, I’m going to get indicted. People will be happy in my mistakes. They talk about me! They get mad at me for this and that. I say subhan’Allah, glory be to God.  We have to change that vibe. Young people are not going to come around here if they feel all I am going to do is accuse them of bad things.

They are going to make mistakes, they are young, and in high school, everybody looks like Beyonce! No cheapskate, man. It’s not easy being young in high school nowadays, so we should make dua`a’ (supplication) for our young brothers and sisters.

And we should ask Allah (swt) to help us to be better parents.

Imam Ibn Ashir (ra) says: the revelation of the Qur’an represents the greatest blessing of Allah to His servants since it is the cause for success for them in this life and their felicity in the next.

It was a blessing also to the Prophet ﷺ because it made him the means by which the Qur’an was conveyed, spreading its message and clarifying it for others. For this, he says, Allah (swt) is worthy of all praise!

Number three, we take from this verse the honor of being a slave of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) said:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا ۜ

[All] praise is [due] to Allah, who has sent down upon His Servant the Book, and has not made therein any deviance. (Qur’an 18:1)

He didn’t say to Muhammad ﷺ, He didn’t say to His Messenger, He didn’t say to His Prophet. He said to His servant. Subhan’Allah. For when Allah (swt) wants to make tashreef, honoring the Prophet (saw), you will find that He refers to him as His servant.

In Paradise, Allah (swt) will still calls the people who enter His servants. “Ya ibad – oh my servants.”

It is a great honor to try and struggle to be the servant of Allah (swt). Allah says al kitab, the book—and this alif and lam, which is the definite article in the Arabic language means it’s complete: Al Kitab!

This is THE book, man. There is nothing like this book. And then Allah (swt) says, what’s roughly translated as: “and He did not make in it any crookedness.”

In the Arabic language there is something going on which really has to move your kufi and that is that Allah (swt) says Al Kitab—The Book! And He describes the book by saying Al Kitab meaning in the Arabic language that this is the perfect book, there is nothing like this book! It has no deficiencies, no mistakes: وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا. Why did he say that? He already said Al Kitab, it is the perfect book.

If I said, “That’s The Man!” For example if we are playing basketball, me and the young homies right there and I’m dunkin’ on all of them, and after I dunk on them and Jewie throws to me and Ali opened and I catch it and pow! on Shaykh Mohammed’s son, right? After that if they said: “That’s The Man!” In slang, “That’s The Man” carries the same meaning like perfect or masha Allah (what God wills).

But if they said, “That’s the man, he got mad hops.” That means he can jump really high, in English, he can violate the principles of basic physics. Thats what it means with “he got hops”, ok?

“That’s the man, he got hops” emphasizes how I slammed it on Shaykh Mohammad’s son, giving you the picture!

Also, الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا, “This is the perfect book and there is no crookedness in it”—Allah (swt) didn’t make any crookedness in it!  This is called the tawqeed, the sentence is used to emphasize that this book has no issues! Got it?

There is something going on. The Qur’an is building on the power of the narrative, as if I said to you, “Suhaib, he’s tall, he’s blonde, he’s handsome, he’s strong!” So I’m building as if Allah is saying, “This is The Book, there is no doubt in it! Guidance for those who fear Allah (swt)!”

Do you get the feeling now for the language?

Here it’s also a bit different as it is broken into two: The Book, AND He did not make any crookedness in it. He made a conjunction here to show you that this book is perfect!

You’ve got it? This is the beauty of it, subhaanAllah, the Qur’an.

I knew a shaykh (scholar) who read Surat al Infitar (82) and he fainted! He read a chapter about the Day of Judgement and he fainted! The power and the beauty of this book! We are still teaching Arabic grammar, right? Because that’s going to get you closer to understanding the Qur’an!

Tayyib (okay)! That was the fifth point! The sixth—عِوَجًا—what does it mean? It means crookedness, the absence of being straight.

(Suhaib now proceeds to the second verse which will be the next part insha’ Allah).

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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