Session Six: The Miraculous Ayah
May Allah ta’ala make us companions of the Qur’an. Ameen.
I’ve been realizing how true the statement “the more you learn, the less you know” is. SubhanAllah as many Qur’an classes you or myself have taken, the bottom line is that we can never finish studying the Qur’an; there is always something to learn.
On Wednesday night we learned about the Miraculous Ayah, Qur’anic gem # six:
The word “ayah” (آية) is commonly translated as “verse” in English, yet this definition is not proper because it does not capture the true meaning of Ayah. When you mention “verse” to an English speaking person, it reminds them of three things: the Bible, poetry or a song. The problem is that the Qur’an denies being similar to any of these things, so “verse” does not give the correct connotation of “ayah”.
Another definition of ayah is “sentence”, yet an ayah is not a sentence. For example, the first three ayaat (plural of ayah) from Faatihah are a sentence, but three separate ayaat. Also, ayatad dayn is one page long, yet it’s only one ayah. Multiple ayaat can make one sentence, and one ayah could be a paragraph. The best translation (according to brother Nouman) is: a miraculous sign.
One example from the Qur’an how ayah cannot be translated in from Surah Fath (48).
هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
“He it is Who sent down As-Sakinah (calmness and tranquility) into the hearts of the believers, that they may grow more in Faith (emaan) along with their (present) Faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.” (48:4)
This surah was revealed after the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah (article here), a treaty that was enacted between the Muslims of Madinah and the Quraysh when the Muslims traveled with the intention to perform ‘umrah. Allah azza wa jal says that He sent down Sakinah (tranquility) into the hearts of the believers. Why? So that they put their trust in Allah ta’ala even though they cannot make ‘umrah, there is good in it.
He says in the above ayah: وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ and to Allah belongs the soldiers of the heavens and the earth. This statement appears twice when Allah ta’ala mentions the believers in ayah four, and in ayah seven, after He mentions the hypocrites.
In ayah six, Allah ta’ala mention the hypocrites and their punishment:
وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ وَالْمُشْرِكَاتِ الظَّانِّينَ بِاللَّهِ ظَنَّ السَّوْءِ ۚ عَلَيْهِمْ دَائِرَةُ السَّوْءِ ۖ وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَنَهُمْ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا
“And that He may punish the Munafiqoon (hypocrites), men and women, and also the Mushrikoon men and women, who think evil thoughts about Allah, for them is a disgraceful torment, and the Anger of Allah is upon them, and He has cursed them and prepared Hell for them, and worst indeed is that destination.” (48:6)
Take a deeper look at this arrangement:
When Allah ta’ala mentions the believers, He mentions in the SAME ayah that He owns the soldiers of the heavens and the earth…because the believers belong to the armies of Allah!
Yet when Allah ta’ala describes the hypocrites, He mentions that He owns the soldiers of the heavens and the earth in the next ayah. Allah ta’ala SEPARATES them by separating the ayah. They do not belong in the armies of Allah, yet they claim to be amongst the believers.
At the end of ayah 4, Allah says He is: عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا All Knowing, All Wise, and in ayah 7 He says He is: عَزِيزًا حَكِيمًا All Mighty, All Wise. ‘Aleema appears with the believers, and ‘Azeeza appears with the hypocrites.
‘Aleeman is mentioned with the believers because the believers were in a frustrating position with this Treaty and having been stopped from performing ‘umrah, yet the only one who knew it was a victory was Allah azza wa jal. He gave the believers tranquility because He is Hakeem–All Wise. Out of His Ultimate Wisdom, He knew this situation was good for them, whether they knew it or not.
‘Azeezan is mentioned with the hypocrites because they did not go with the believers to perform ‘umrah. Reason being that they did not want to encounter the mushriks for the second time–after they surrounded Madinah during the Battle of Ahzaab (or Khandaq/ditch) for weeks a few months prior. This battle was the only time that the soldiers of the opposing side were more in number than the actual inhabitants of the city! Allah azza wa jal gave victory to the believers; Allah ta’ala sent a wind (mentioned in 33:9) to help them. The hypocrites did not travel with the believers after the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam received the dream to go for ‘umrah because they thought this meeting was too early, having just met the mushriks at Ahzaab–they saw it as going straight into the mouth of the wolf and that the believers would be killed. They thought:
أَنْ لَنْ يَنْقَلِبَ الرَّسُولُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِيهِمْ أَبَدًا
“that the Messenger and the believers would never return to their families” (48:12) So what did they do? They began planning who would take authority of Madinah, but Allah ta’ala is ‘Azeez: Authority belongs to Him. They had confidence in their authority, as Allah says: وَزُيِّنَ ذَٰلِكَ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ “and that was made fair-seeming in their hearts” (48:12) The only reason that Allah ta’ala hasn’t shown them His Authority is because He is Hakeem: it is all part of a plan that He Knows.
May Allah ta’ala make us among the true believers, Ameen!