Yesterday, alhamdulillah I got the chance to go to Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan's lecture at the Istiqlal Mosque. It was my time for recharging my spiritual battery. Here I share my notes and understandings, I hope this can help you reconnect to the Quran. If there are any wrong understandings, it is my own fault and may Allah forgive me and accept my niat to do my best to spread His love through the Quran.
*disclaimer: there are 2 sessions of NAK's lecture. The video of the 1st session is already available on Youtube, so I was able to cross check my notes with the video replay. Until now, the video of the 2nd session hasn't been uploaded, so I haven't cross checked my notes with the video replay. InsyaaAllah I'll cross check my notes after the video is available. *
- Reconnecting with Quran starts with Ibrahim AS.
- Ibrahim AS was the only one who accepted the faith in Allah. He stood by his faith. He had to leave his society. As he leaves, he makes a speech/statement/dua to Allah.
- Ibrahim AS is different from other prophets coz you find more dua from him than from any other prophet. This is important because Islam has many names, and 1 of them is "the legacy of Ibrahim AS" and at the heart of that religon is making a lot of dua.
- Part 1 of Ibrahim's dua to Allah as he is leaving his society/home (because he was confronted with what he believed in, so he had to leave):
- (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:78)
"The One who makes me and then Who guides me" -- Allah not only created us but gives us guidance on how to live our lives. At that time, only Ibrahim AS that understood and believed this. (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:79)
- After that, he said that "(Allah) is the One who gave us food and drink", *after* he mentioned about guidance. So guidance from Allah is the 1st thing we need after being created, and after that comes the need for food & drink to survive.
- We don't need food & drink all the time. But Ibrahim AS put guidance as the 1st need after being created by Allah, to imply that we need guidance more regularly/constantly than we need food & drink.
-Ibrahim AS has a sense of gratitude that we don't usually think of, he's thinking constantly Allah is providing food & drink for me. (For example like where food comes from and how extensive the process of putting food on the table actually is ---> from a plant seed to our plate)
- Ibrahim AS was expelled from his home for standing up to his belief in Allah. He had no family, no posessions, no home, no people, no country/citizenship. And he's the one who turns to Allah and says "I'm okay coz I have Allah."
- We often don't realize how powerful Ibrahim AS's words were because we forgot about the situation he was facing when he said those words. That's the legacy of Ibrahim AS.
- We know we are following his legacy when we can rely on Allah's guidance the way Ibrahim AS did.
- Every human being has a chance for guidance in this life. But in the 2nd life, no more guidance. The 1st time Allah created us, our first important need was guidance. The 2nd time when Allah wakes us up (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:81), our most important need is to face Allah with a clean heart "qolbi saliim" (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:89)
- On judgement day, we're not gonna be judging anyone else but ourselves. We're only gonna be worried about ourselves.
- That's why Ibrahim AS asked for Allah to forgive his sins on judgment day (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:82) , instead of asking for justice against people who wronged him.
(All the other prophets are also thinking about their own sins instead of asking for Allah to give revenge for all the injustice they received).
- To this day, when we think about judgment day, we don't think about our own mistakes. We're too focused on everybody else's wrongdoings towards us.
- Ibrahim AS understood that on that judgement day, nothing will matter except his own mistakes.
- What mistakes could Ibrahim AS have made? Why is he worried? Because we human beings don't remember when we make mistakes.
- Guidance is part 1 of Ibrahim AS's dua as he is leaving his home (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:78)
- Part 2 of Ibrahim AS's dua as he is leaving his home:
(QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:83)
Ibrahim AS asks Allah for strong decision making power (hukma).
- The ability to make the right decision when it's very hard.
- We might have gotten guidance (know what we should do), but we might not have the willpower/strength to do it.
- Ibrahim AS got a lot of tests from Allah and had to have strength to do those commands from Allah. (Like jump into the fire, leave his family in the dessert, and slay his son, Ismail AS).
- After asking for hukma, Ibrahim AS then asks Allah to join him with good people. ("...Wa alhiqni bish shoolihiin" ---- QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:83).
- Ibrahim AS knows human beings need other human beings for support. You can't hold on to your iman all alone. You need other people for support.
- We have to ask ourselves, "we are people of the religion of Ibrahim AS and the month of Ramadhan is coming... Who is our company?" Do our friends make us into better people? Do they bring us closer to Allah? When you see them, do they remind you of guidance, or the opposite?
- If Ibrahim AS himself prayed for good company, then we ourselves definitely need it, too!
- Part 3 of Ibrahim AS's dua as he is leaving his home:
(QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:84)
"Waj'al lii lisaana shidqin fil aakhiriin.." "Give me someone who will speak the truth about me in the last generations"
- Ibrahim AS was alone in the desert. He was a nobody (not a scholar nor king, nor someone people will be interested in writing history about).
- Basically he was saying, "Ya Allah, You put me through a lot of tests. And people should learn about those tests because it will make their iman strong. But when I die, alone, no one will know my name and remember the tests You gave me, then they will not be able to get this guidance."
- He asks Allah, "Ya Allah, make me an example that someone in the later time will tell the truth about me." (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:84)
- Thousands of years later, we get Rasulullah SAW + the Quran and Allah puts Ibrahim AS's story in the Quran for everyone to know & learn til the end of time. Allah repeated Ibrahim AS's duas and made it part of the Quran.
- When the Quran tells the story of Ibrahim AS, it is actually answering that dua of Ibrahim AS (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:84)
- And he continues the dua
(QS Asy-syuaro 26:85):
"Waj'alnii miw warotsati jannatinna'iim"
- Inheritance is something you get from your deceased parents. Ibrahim AS didn't want to inherit "syirik" from his parents since it's a crime against Allah. So he asks Allah for inheritance of jannah.
- He also asks Allah to forgive his father (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:86)
- Last part of Ibrahim AS prayer: (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:87): don't humiliate me on judgement day
- Judgment day: the day on which money and children will be no good (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:88)
- ****Only thing of value in front of Allah on judgment day: (QS Asy-Syu'ara 26:89) whoever comes in front of Allah with a clean----safe sound healthy----heart (qolbi saliim)*** important!!!
- This is the only thing Ibrahim AS was worried about
- You have to have your *own* clean heart, not dependent on other's achievements (for example, someone who does whatever they like coz they think their hafidz children are their 'ticket to heaven'.)
- We have to connect to Allah in Ramadhan ---> meaning, we have to get a good heart in ramadhan.
.... Towards the conclusion of 1st session:
- Many years later, Ibrahim had children, When he was building the Kabah with Ismail AS, he made the dua (from QS Al Baqoroh 2:128-129).
- Ayat 128 is a dua for Muslim children, even though he previously said that children don't have any benefit on judgement day. Why the dua, then?
- He made this dua for children coz he needs the kind of children that are of benefit ---> what kind of children that have benefit?
- If you have a good heart and your children also have a good heart, then they will benefit to you.
- How will children have a good heart? Prophet Ibrahim AS prayed (QS Al Baqarah ayat 129) for 1 messenger/rasul from among them to recite the ayat, to teach Allah's book, the wisdom, and will purify them.
- ***The purpose of the ayat: to give us a good heart.***
- Allah describes the Quran as a reminder for people who actually still have a heart.
---> Quran is meant for our hearts!!!
- Thousands of years ago, Ibrahim AS made that dua ---> thousands of years later, Allah sent Jibril AS to Rasulullah SAW --> the answer to Prophet Ibrahim AS's dua.
- The month of Ramadhan: we are celebrating that Allah accepted the dua of Ibrahim AS.
- You can not understand what it means to connect with the Quran if you don't understand what it means to connect with your father, Ibrahim AS.
- We would not have Quran if Ibrahim AS hadn't made the dua.
- Ibrahim AS also gave us the purpose of Qur'an : so our heart would be safe!
- Quran in your eyes, ears, tongue, and mind is easy. (We recite it, read the translation, listen to it, memorize it, do art of the Quran, etc)
- But, the quran is actually meant for your HEART.
- It's possible that someone might know a lot about the Quran in their head and NOT have a connection in their heart.
- Quran in your heart--> very difficult!
- What it means to connect to the Quran is to allow your *heart* to connect to the Quran. It's not easy!
- This dua made by Ibrahim AS was not easy. He made the dua *after* he passed all the tests from Allah (going against his father, leaving his family in the desert, almost slaying his son). He asked for the Quran.
- In our case, it will take a lot of effort to connect the Quran to your heart!
- How can we connect to the Quran the way we are supposed to be connected?
-Everyone has the same problem, whether or not he knows a lot / a little about the Quran: there's a distance between our heart and the Quran!
- We need to put an effort to connect ourselves to the Quran, no matter how much of the Quran we know/don't know.
- Sometimes, someone tells us something we already know (not new information) but it hits us really hard.
- *****Sometimes when we hear some words, they don't go to your head but straight to your heart. And you need to hear those words, even though you already know them. You need them again and again. That is Quran!!! *****
-end of 1st session-
(Note: I haven't double checked my noted with the video replay of the 2nd session, so these are temporary notes that I took directly while listening to the lecture. InsyaaAllah I'll double check my notes when a video of the 2nd session is available on Youtube).
- The Quran can give us the strength if we approach it the right way.
- The 5 pilars of Islam all go back to Ibrahim AS:
1. Syahadat: Ibrahim was the only one to reject believing in anything other than Allah
2. Shalat: He built the Kabah for us to pray to
3. Zakat: Ismail AS taught about doing zakat
4. Fasting: we celebrate ramadhan as the month the Quran came down ---> Ibrahim AS prayed for the Quran (as mentioned in the 1st session)
5. Hajj --> everything goes back to Ibrahim AS.
- Dont forget our connection to Ibrahim AS ---> Our identity comes from our fathers. We should identify our identity also with Ibrahim AS, since we are following his legacy (another name for Islam)
- Connecting with Quran-
- We have to have positive feelings towards something if we want to connect with it.
- We have to connect to the Quran with our heart
- Feelings are not the same as information --- information can be stored for a long time, but as for feelings, we have to refresh them continually
- Allah told us how to feel about the Quran
- Allah describes his love for us with Ar-Rahman
- Allah uses "Ar-Rahman" when teaching Quran (QS Ar-Rahman 55:1-2)
- Ar-Rahman ---> love like the mother's womb. It protects the baby from any harm, takes care of all of the baby's needs, while the baby doesn't realize it).
- Quran is love letters for us from Allah
- But if the Quran is love letters, why in some parts of the Quran, Allah is angry?
- Allah is angry towards the worst of people like firaun, not to us!
- Allah wants to give you rahmah (His love), not punishments!
- The more you learn Quran, the more you will feel Allah's love
- QS Al-Anbiya
- The quran has *our* story in it.
- All of the stories, history, etc applies to us in some way. We have to find out how.
- The Quran is a book. The purpose is for it to be understood (by us).
- If so, for example, how can we understand "alif lam mim"???
- The answer is that there are some things we will never know, only Allah knows. Allah decides what we know and don't know. Allah fixes our attitude.
- We have to come to the Quran with humility. And begging Allah to give us guidance.
- The Quran is light. Without it is darkness. The idea is that we are in darkness and we have to turn on the light again and again.
- QS Yunus
- The Quran is advice that goes into the heart.
- Allah who loves us and understands us is giving us advice.
- Before you seek advice from someone, you have to trust and respect them. we only seek advice from those people that we trust and respect, right? So, we have to trust Allah so we can willingly accept & follow His advice.
- Allah doesn't want to punish us, he wants to lighten our burden.
- Quran is a healing for our heart's problems. Anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, all negative feelings inside our heart.
- Allah tells us to open the Quran and ask for Him to heal our heart.
- Quran has all of these connections that are ready to be made. You have to truly believe and give yourself. Completely believe that Quran will heal you.
- Ramadhan & The Quran
- Allah only talks about Ramadhan in 1 place in the Quran, QS. Al Baqarah.
- Ramadhan is important because of the Quran.
- Allah intends to reintroduce us to the Quran during Ramdahan. We have to approach it as if its the 1st time we are reading it, even though we might have read it many times. Its our chance to reconnect with the Quran!
- Ramadhan is also our chance to connect other people to Quran, through us.
- Share about the Quran to other people little by little, gently, lovingly, smartly. It's the right time to do it since syaithan is chained for the month.
- Learning Quran is for the sake of ourself!!! It's talking about us, so don't mind anyone's matters but ours.
- When we are full with the goodness from the Quran, then share that goodness with others.
**** Don't use the Quran to insult/criticize/judge others. That's disrespect. Allah gave it to us with love (QS Ar-Rahman ayat 1-2) so we should also use the Quran with love. Allah gets to judge, not us! Who are we to judge in place of Allah? The Quran came to heal hearts, not break hearts. If we use the Quran against someone, Allah will ask us at judgement day, "Why did you use My book to push My slave away from My love???" ----> and we do NOT want to be in that situation, do we?
- After we connect to the Quran, something should change in us.
- The best connection to the Quran: dua! We will make a lot more dua in our lives, because..
- *****Dua is us speaking to Allah. Quran is Allah speaking to us. A connection is when 2 sides are speaking to each other!****
- The Quran begins and ends with a dua.(begins with Al Fatihah and ends with An Naas).
- We can look at the whole Quran like a dua. How?
- For example: "Alif lam mim": Ya Allah, You know and I don't know.
- When you read the Quran, think about how can you turn the ayat into a dua for you? What am I gonna ask Allah in the next ayat? You think about it continuously and that is connecting!!!
- How to practice connecting to the Quran:
1. Listen/read an explanation of some part of Quran.
2. Then listen to the recitation all day. Repeat.
3.Think about the meaning of what you are reading/hearing, and how it applies to you, how you can turn it into a dua for you.
- You don't have to finish the Quran or memorize it.
****But you *do* have to CONNECT with it everyday, little by little.****
- You have to come up with some way to connect to the Quran each day, so that little by little that connection is made and strengthened.
- Allah cleans our heart with Quran.
- Allah gives us Quran with love.
- Quran should be positive. Quran should not make us angry. Quran should make us full of hapiness.
- The Quran is better than anything you can collect ----> Coz we need a clean heart before Allah on judgement day.
- The only purpose of knowledge is to help us connect the Quran to our heart!
- Quran is called the rope of Allah. 1 end of it is with us, the other is Allah. The more you hold on to it, the more Allah will elevate us.
- The stronger one (Allah) pulls us up, we just have to hold on tight!
- If yo're holding on to the rope of Allah, you're holding on to Allah. The tighter we hold, the closer we get.
- Hold on to the Quran to save our life.
- The closer the ummah becomes to the Quran, the closer we all are. It's the only way to be united. Everything else you can use to separate ummah (differences in fikh, etc). But not with the Quran!
- When the ummah fights within, that is proof we are *not* connected to the Quran.
- Share good things about the Quran. Share with our family & friends the goodness & positivity that we found.
- Nobody can connect to the Quran except by themselves. We have to make that effort to connect to the Quran and spread that positivity, hoping that others will try to make the connection, too!