Sunday, September 8, 2013

Nouman Ali Khan: The Final Miracle

I have listened to Nouman Ali Khan's lectures on youtube so many times, I never thought I will be so gobsmacked listening to his live lecture. But I was. I think I am beyond gobsmacked. By the end of his final lecture, I just feel like crying. I am so grateful we made it to all his lectures. The diva in me was cursing the mad crowd in PWTC (no thanks to the MATTA fair). But it suddenly felt so petty and the lecture made it sooooo worth the trouble.

Here is my notes from the lecture; The Final Miracle. The final miracle for mankind is the Quran. You may be wondering, if we are already a Muslim, why should we appreciate the miracle of the Quran? Will it make a difference? The answer is YES. By doing so, your heart will be at peace. And you will be able to taste the greatness of Allah.

Ustaz NAK shared his journey with the Quran. He started studying Arabic language primarily because he was curious to understand the message of the Quran. Then he started listening to a series of lecture from one Arabic guy whom I didn't catch his name. At that time, his Arabic was very basic. But he started taking notes. And as he went on, and discovered more and more about the Quran, he get very overwhelmed with the whole thing. It was too mind boggling that some days, he would be sitting at the corner crying. Or he would try to distract himself doing other stuffs because thinking about his new discovery was just too mind boggling.

There's no Arabic word for miracle. The better word to describe the miracle of Quran is i'jaazul Quran. I'jaazul originates from the word ajaz. Which means to be on your knees. Unable to get up. So you might be wondering, what is it about the Quran that can make you so overwhelmed and down to your knees? Ustaz NAK went on to give some examples on the miracle of Quran from the language perspective.

The intricate word choice.

Example 1; Two different expressions for seven ears of grain.

Sunbulah is the singular form of the word and it means the ear of grain i.e the part of the corn that contains the grain. The plural for sunbulah is sunbulaat. Interestingly, in Arabic, there's also super plural. A stronger plural. And the super plural for sunbulah is sanabil.
In surah Al-Baqarah; 216...to describe seven ears of grain (of corn), the word sanabil was used. Sab'a sanabil....
Pic is taken from here.

In Surah Yusuf, to describe seven ears of grain (of corn), the word sunbulaat was used. Wasab'a sunbulaatin khudrin...
And [subsequently] the king said, "Indeed, I have seen [in a dream] seven 
fat cows being eaten by seven [that were] lean, and seven green spikes [of 
grain] and others [that were] dry. (12: 43)

In English, both words will have an identical translation. But in Arabic, the context of the two word is different. In Al-Baqarah: 216, the context is more powerful as Allah is talking about the increase of good deeds. In Yusuf: 43, Allah is talking about the king's dream. In that context, a weaker plural was used as it's a weaker context in comparison to Al-Baqarah: 216.

Example 2; Two different plurals for ni'mah  (blessings)

The word ni'mah (singular) has 2 plurals. An'um (plural) and ni'am (super plural). Interestingly, these 2 words were only used once in the whole Quran.

16:121 (an'um)

Shaakiral lian'Umih* ijtabaahu wa hadaahu ilaa SiraaTim mustaqiym
Grateful for His blessings; Allah chose him and guided him to the Straight Path.

31:20 (ni'amahu)

Alam taraw an-nal-laaha sakh-khara lakum maa fiys samaawaati wa maa fiyl arDi wa asbaga 'Alaykum ni'Amahuu Zaahirataw wa baaTinah* wa minan naasi may yujaadilu fil-laahi bi gayri 'Ilmiw wa laa hudaw wa laa kitaabim muniyr

Do ye not see that Allah has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made his bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen? Yet there are among men those who dispute about Allah, without knowledge and without guidance, and without a Book to enlighten them!

Both words are roughly translated as blessings (or bounties) in English. However, in Arabic, they are used in a different context. In 16: 121, the verse was talking about Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) being grateful of the blessings of Allah. In  31:20, the verse was talking about Allah unleashing His blessings/bounties to us. The latter is definitely much more superior than the former. Hence the stronger plural was used in describing Allah's blessings.

Think of the precision of how a single word is expressed differently in different context. What do you think??

Example 3: The different word chosen by Moses (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh) to address Bani Israil in surah As-Saff.

In 61: 5, Moses (pbuh) said to his people (Bani Israil): Ya qaumi....which means "O my people!

And remember, Moses said to his people: "O my people! why do ye vex and insult me, though ye know that I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you?" Then when they went wrong, Allah let their hearts go wrong. For Allah guides not those who are rebellious transgressors.
And in 61: 6, Jesus said Ya Bani Israil...which means "O Children of Israel!

And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: "O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, "this is evident sorcery!"

By lineage, our identity follow our father's side. To be from a nation, your father has to be from that nation. Moses can called Bani Israil his people because his father was from Bani Israil. But Jesus has no father. Hence, instead of calling them O my people...Ya qaumi, the word O children of Israel was chosen instead. It's Allah's way of honouring the virgin birth of Jesus and honouring the virginity of Maryam (pbuh).

Isn't that wicked??? This is precision beyond human ability. Same surah, different verse. One after another. Different word was chosen to address the same people. In 2 different context. By this time, it's getting too mind boggling for me already. I was like..whoaaa!! Are you kidding me??

Obviously he didn't. And he went on with more examples of the miracles of the language of the Quran.

The contextualized sequence.

Example 1: Suratul Jumuah; 1-2
Compare the sequence mentioned in verse 1 & 2.
 
62:1 yusab-biHu lil-laahi maa fiys samaawaati wa maa fiyl arDil malikil qud-duusil ‘Aziyzil Hakiym

Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare the Praises and Glory of Allah,- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

In this verse, Allah mentions 4 of His attributes - Al-Malik (king-sovereign) - Al-Quddus (Holy, Pure) - Al-Aziz (Mighty, authority) - Al-Hakim (Wise)

62:2 huwal-ladhiy ba’Atha fiyl um-miy-yiyna rasuulam minhum yatluu ‘Alayhim aayaatihii wa yuzak-kiyhim wa yu’Al-limuhumul kitaaba wal Hikmata wa in kaanuu min qablu lafiy Dalaalim mubiyn

It is He Who has sent among the unlettered people a Noble Messenger from themselves, who recites His verses to them and purifies them, and bestows them the knowledge of the Book and wisdom; and indeed before this, they were in open error.

The next verse, Allah explained the 4 things Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did; (Note how the 4 activities in the 2nd verse correlates with the 4 attributes of Allah mentioned in the 1st verse??)
  • recites His verses to them (Al-Malik - Allah is the king - a king is known by his sign - and one of Allah's sign is the Quran)
  • and purifies them (Al-Quddus - pure)
  • and bestows them the knowledge of the Book and (Al-Aziz - authority - the Book i,e the Quran as the sign of authority and the book of law)
  • wisdom (Al-Hakim)
Do you think this is coincidence??

Read on.

Relationship between beginning and ending.

Let's look at Ayatul Kursi. 
Ayatul Kursi, or The Throne Verse is the 255th verse of the second chapter, surah Al Baqarah. It is the most famous verse of the Quran and is widely memorized by Muslims due to its emphatic description of God's power over the entire universe. Everybody is familiar with this verse right? Do you notice any pattern in this verse?

Let's look at the verse part by part. There are 9 parts altogether in the verse. Ustaz NAK explained the correlation between the beginning and the end in this verse. Note the similarities between part 1& 9, 2&8, 3&7, 4&6, and finally part 5 on its own.

1. Allahu la ilaha illa Huwal Haiyul-Qaiyum = Allah - there is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining.
9. Wa Huwal 'Aliyul-Adheem = and He is the Most High. The Supreme (in glory).
Both parts have 2 names of Allah.

2. La ta'khudhuhu sinatun wa la nawm = Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep --> Here Allah talks about sina-drowsy - and naum-sleep - it's human's limitation - the need to sleep - but Allah does not have that limitaton
8. wa la ya'uduhu hifdhuhuma = and the care of them burdens Him not; --> Here Allah talks about similar attribute - guarding the earth and the sky does not exhaust Him.

3. lahu ma fis-samawati wa ma fil-'ard = To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth.
7. Wasi'a kursiyuhus-samawati wal ard = His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth;
Boths parts are talking about Allah being the owner of heavens and earth

4. Man dhal-ladhi yashfa'u 'indahu illa bi-idhnih = Who is he that will intercede with Him except by His permission?
6. wa la yuhituna bi shai'im-min 'ilmihi illa bima sha'a = and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases.
Both parts are talking about Allah's authority - He gives what  he pleases - either during intercession or any other matters.

5. Ya'lamu ma baina aidihim wa ma khalfahum = He knows what is before them and what is behind them;
Befittingly, this middle part says it all. Before and after.

By this time, I am too gobsmacked already. I mean, all these verses were revealed years apart. Not one verse after another. Not all at one go. The fact that they are connected to each other in such manner is beyond human's capability. It can never happen by chance. Also bear in mind Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was an illiterate. He could never made this up by himself. And the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a spoken word. NOT written. All of us know that there are higher chances of error when the message is passed on spoken instead of written. Instead, the Quran is so perfect. All these just prove one thing. The Quran is not the work of men. It's a gift from above. 

After listening to Ustaz NAK talking about the intricacities of the Arabic language in the Quran, I finally get it. It finally dawns on me why it's so important for us to learn Arabic. To really discover the Quran and get connected to it. I finally understand why it's not the same when you read the English translation. Each word choice, each verse, each passage - there are so much depth. And you will never discover this through a translation.

So I have made the first step. We have subscribed to Bayyinah TV :-) 
Err..well...keying in my credit card details was not that hard :-P I guess the harder part is to really be consistent and make learning Quran & Arabic our family mission. I pray Allah makes it easier for us. And I sincerely pray Allah will bless Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan and his Bayyinah team for the awesome work they are doing for the ummah. Amin.

11 comments:

  1. Salam,

    Allow me to share this notes in FB.. subhanallah excellent notes shared by you..May Allah bless you :)

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  2. well narrated (y). thank you :)

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  3. JazakAllahu khairan my dear sister.. I wasn't able to take down all that Ustadh NAK said because I was way too overwhelmed. Happy that you have subscribed to Bayyinah TV, may you benefit it as much as I do and I'm sure Allah will make it easy for you and your family In sha Allah.

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  4. Barakallahu feek, sister!

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  5. subhanallah,i am so so impressed with the way you take notes of everything and summarized it back again. may Allah rewards u with goodness sister. and please allow me to share this on FB. :)

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  6. I miss the lecture at PWTC but was able to listen to Ustadh Nouman on youtube a few days later. Subhanallah..thank you for sharing your notes, may Allah bless you and your family.

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  7. Assalamualaikum sister, jazakallahkhaira for this great overview. I wonder how did you memorized everything when there's such an extensive explanation on the Ayats and Signs. Too awesome

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  8. Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan was listening the lectures of this Skhaykh at the beginning of Arabic learning:-
    Dr. Tareq Mohammed Al-Suwaidan (Arabic: طارق محمد السويدان)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tareq_Al-Suwaidan

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Emdad for the info. Jazakallahukhairan kathira.

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    2. MashaAllah. this was it. never thought this curiosity will one day be appearing right in front of my eyes. jazakallah ya emdad.

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