Monday, 31 December 2012
Story night with brother Nouman Ali Khan
Alhamdulillah I was able to attend the story night on 28th December with my younger sister at Edmonton mosque. The place was packed mashAllah. I have always been a big fan of brother Nouman. I learn a lot from his talks online. That's why I was really excited to go to the talk. First time I heard him live in London was at Twins of Faith event in 2011. Alhamdulillah as usual his talk was full of hikmah (wisdom). May Allah subhana wa ta'ala give us the ability to implement the lessons in our lives, ameen! I took couple of pages of notes. I hope to share some of the notes with you, bi'idnillah.
Stories are very interesting. People love stories or any form of narration. Films, entertainment, education materials are all highly influenced by stories. Allah subhana wa ta'ala knows the importance of stories. But he doesn't tell us stories through the Qur'an to entertain us. He subhana wa ta'ala wants us to know the truth and the main purpose is to have imaan (faith). Story of Musa (AS) is mentioned throughout the Qur'an. Brother Nouman told the story of Musa (AS) just like a film.
Three surahs in the Qur'an pay extra attention to Musa (AS)
1. Surah Ta-HA Chapter 20
2. Surah Shu'ara Chapter 26
3. Surah Kasas Chapter 28
In Surah Kasas there are two stories, one dealing with Musa and Pharaoh; another one about the struggle Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihe wa Sallam) was going through in Makkah.
Brother Nouman talked about the first couple of ayats of Surah Kasas where Allah subhana wa ta’ala talks about Musa AS. The people of Israel (Sons of Yakub AS) were badly oppressed by Pharaoh. They were forced to live in ghettos as slaves. Their homes were surrounded by military stations. At the back was the river which was too deep to cross. They were taken to the city to work for Pharaoh. He had a policy of murder, killing the sons of people of Israel every other year. He didn't want to kill all the kids as he needed the workforce for his kingdom. He wanted to control the population in a way that they never become a threat to his regime.
The people of Israel were so mentally imprisoned that they couldn't even had the courage to save their babies being brutally murdered by Pharaoh and his army. He caused great deal of corruption.
Allah subhana wa ta'ala says in the Qur'an: (Muslim scholars believe that we can never translate the Qur'an in any language. To understand the Qur'an properly we must learn Arabic. You can just get a bit of the taste of real Qur'an through the translations done in English. I usually follow M.A.S. Abdel Haleem's The Qur'an published by Oxford University Press.)
“We recount to you [prophet] part of the story of Moses and Pharaoh. Setting out the truth for people who believe. Pharaoh made himself high and mighty in the land and divided the people into different groups: one group he oppressed, slaughtering their sons and sparing their women - he was one of those who spread corruption- but We wished to favour those who were oppressed in the land, to make them leaders, the ones to survive, to establish them in the land, and through them show Pharaoh, Haman and their armies the very thing they feared." [The Qur'an 28:3-6]
“Now the scene changes…This is going to be sick man!!!” Lol! I love his style mashAllah. I can really relate to him. I think this is one of the best qualities of brother Nouman mashAllah that he can relate to the youth.
He talks about how Allah subhana wa ta’ala inspires Musa AS’s mum to save baby Musa from Pharaoh’s soldiers.
Allah swt says, “We inspired Moses’ mother, saying, ‘Suckle him and then, when you fear for his safety, put him in the river: do not be afraid and do not grieve, for We shall return him to you and make him a messenger.’ [The Qur’an 28:7]
Just imagine how much faith Musa’s mum had to deal with such a difficult trail. Her imaan was very strong. That’s why she had tawakkul, complete trust on Allah subhana wa ta’ala. When Allah swt told her to put her baby in the river, she didn’t hesitate. She was promised that her baby will be returned to her. She didn’t need to think how that’s going to happen but in her heart she knew Allah swt’s promise is true. The people who don’t have imaan, they can never understand this feeling. It doesn’t make sense to them. There is no logical explanation. Imaan is a feeling which no word can explain subhanallah! Musa AS’s mum is a great example for us all to follow bi’idnillah.
Now the screen changes again…
“Pharoah’s household picked him up- later to become an enemy and a source of grief for them : Pharoah, Haman and their armies were wrongdoers and Pharaoh’s wife said, ‘ Here is a joy (coolness of my eyes, Qurratul ‘ayn) to behold for me and for you! Do not kill him: he may be of use to us or we may adopt him as a son.’ They did not realize what they were doing. [The Qur’an 28:8-9]
Now we come across another amazing lady, Aasia (RadiaAllahu anha) Pharoah’s wife. She was not happy with Pharoah but she didn’t have any choice. Who could she complain to when Pharoah owned everything i.e the police, army. She was a believer. She was also a very smart lady. When she picked up baby Musa (Alayhis Salam), her sadness disappeared. Baby Musa (AS) become the coolness of her eyes. She told Pharoah that she would like to look after the baby. As Pharoah was in a good mood and quite softened by baby Musa’s cute look, lady Aasia asked him if they could adopt him and he couldn’t say no. Subhanallah how amazing is Allah swt’s plan! Now Musa (AS) was being raised in Pharoah’s castle! He was raising his own enemy.
There is a beautiful talk by brother Nouman about the ‘coolness of eyes’ phrase. Do listen inshAllah.
Now camera turns again to Musa AS’s mum’s home. She was so sad thinking about her baby. But she didn’t even moved her eyes when the basket was moving in the river as the Paroah’s army may figure it out. She asked her daughter to follow the basket. Musa’s sister carefully followed the basket without being noticed by anyone. Brother Nouman was talking about how wonderful parenting skills we can derive from this particular event. Musa’s mum didn’t really need to say that much, just one tiny phrase “Follow him” was more than enough as an instruction for her daughter. She had confidence in her daughter who might have been 8/9 years old. She knew how vigilant she had to be to follow her baby brother. Just think how hard it is for us, the modern parents, to get our children to listen to us by just uttering the request only once!
Allah Subhan wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
“… Moses’s mother felt a void in her heart- if We had not strengthened it to make her one of those who believe, she would have revealed everything about him- and she said to his sister, “Follow him”. So she watched him from a distance, without them knowing. We had ordained that he would refuse to feed from wet nurses. His sister approached them and said, “Shall I tell you about a household which could bring him up for you and take good care of him?” We restored him to his mother in this way, so that she might be comforted, not grieve and know that God’s promise is true, though most people do not understand. [The Qur’an 28:10-13]
While Pharaoh’s soldiers were looking for new-born babies of children of Israel to kill, Allah subhana wa ta’ala inspired Musa AS’s mum to breastfeed him which made bay Musa stop crying but it also made helped him to know the unique taste of his mum’s milk. That’s why when baby Musa was in the palace of Pharaoh; he rejected all the wet nurses. Babies that young do not have sophisticated eyesight or hearing to recognise their mum but they can remember the distinct taste of their mums’ milk. Never thought about this fascinating fact before subhanallah!
Another interesting point about this particular ayat is the way Musa’s sister introduced her mum to the people of the palace. She didn’t say come to her house as this would have created suspicion. She said “Shall I tell you about a household which could bring him up for you and take good care of him?” What a smart girls she was mashAllah!
The biggest lesson from these couple of ayat in the Qur’an is Allah is the best of planners. Even if it may not make sense to us, He subhanhu wa ta’ala knows how and what to do. We just need to have the imaan (faith) and yakeen (certainty) and tawakkul (complete reliance) on Him.
We had a 10 minutes break. Alhamdulillah unlike quite a lot of Muslim events, this talk did start exactly at 7 pm and he did start just after 10 minutes mashAllah. It also finished 10:15 pm.
Brother Numan talked about baby Musa’s spiritual tarbiyyah. He was raised by two great women, his biological mum and Lady Aasia, Pharoah’s wife. I remember from a hadith that lady Aasia is one of the best women in Islam. He was brought with the values of a proper Muslim. He knew he looked different from the ruling class. His skin colour was like the children of Israel i.e the sons of Yakoob. He couldn’t tolerate injustice. He grew up as a strong man of faith. Unlike today’s youth, he was eager to do good and be a man of God.
“When Moses reached full maturity and manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge: this is how We reward those who do good.” [The Qur’an 28:14]
Again here Allah subhan wa ta’ala mentions wisdom (hikmah) first and the knowledge (‘ilm). Sometimes we see in our ummah, quite a lot of youth, having knowledge of the deen (faith) but showing lack of wisdom. When anything controversial happens for example, any cartoon or films about our beloved prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wa sallam, we witness improper reaction of the Muslim youth. Older people are more likely to have wisdom and we as youth need to value this unique but essential quality. Musa (AS) as a young and strong man was always aware of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. His action was based on taqwa. There is so much to learn for the youth of our ummah from this great prophet.
As the baby Musa is a young man now, his trial started. “He entered the city, unnoticed by its people and found two men fighting: one from his own people, the other an enemy. The one from his own people cried out to him for help against the enemy. Moses struck him with his fist and killed him. He said, ‘This must be Satan’s work: clearly he is a misleading enemy.’ He said. ‘Lord, I have wronged myself. Forgive me,’ so He forgave him; He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful. He said, ‘My Lord, because of the blessings You have bestowed upon me, I shall never support those who do evil.’ [The Qur’an 28: ]
As soon as Musa heard the plea of the man (he was from the Bani Israel) he tried to help by hitting the other guy. The guy died and Musa realized he shouldn’t have struck him. He realized it was Satan’s plan but he took full responsibility and immediately asked for forgiveness from His Lord. He also re-iterated that he would never help the people who commit injustice.
Rushing to judgement is from Satan. He wants us to react without any thought. There is even a hadith where our beloved prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) tell us that rushing comes from Satan. Musa (Alaihis Salam) was aware of that. After asking for forgiveness, he moved on. He did not let himself be slave of the past.