By Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi
Translated by Shaykh Ibrahim Amin al-Kuwaiti
Since the issue of rhetorical grandeur in the Qur’an has in recent times captivated the intrigue of many a critic, it seems appropriate to elaborate on the actual import of Qur’anic eloquence here. Imam Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) writes on this point in Barahin Qasimiyyah: “Balaghah (eloquence) is different from fasahah (articulacy). The former constitutes excellence in congruity and the latter excellence in itself. To elaborate, words are but garments for the meanings they contain, and garments differ in that sometimes they suit the wearer and sometimes they do not. Some of them are made from fine fabric and others from inferior material. Some garments are lavishly decorated and embroidered while others are lacking in such supplementary embellishments.
In the above analogy, appropriateness of words with their underlying meanings is what is meant by excellence in congruity, the refined choice of words used in articulacy by excellence in itself and the embroidery and embellishment that is additionally applied on the garment for decorative purposes should be classified as badi’ (innovativeness).
Amatullah | September 21, 2011 5:00 am
Imagine that you knew the angel of death was coming to you in a few hours. What would your first thought be?
For most of us, it would be: What have I prepared for the next life?!
Doctors today speak of how people are living longer than ever before. In some countries, people live well beyond 90 years of age. Some of us may delay doing good deeds because we think we have a long life ahead of us. But, when Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) speaks of the Day of Judgment, He (swt) tells us that people will feel that they’ve only stayed in the dunya (this life) for a day or part of a day or even an hour. While 90 years is a long time to live, it does not compare to eternity. People will only realize that the next life is truly everlasting when they are standing in front of Allah (swt) and are seeing it with their own eyes. This is why the strongest motivation for a believer to do good deeds and stay away from sins, after seeking the pleasure of Allah (swt), is to remember death and the hereafter. Continue reading
WebbTranslators | September 6, 2011 5:00 am
by Imam Ghazali | Translated and Abridged by Webb Translators
Principle 1: Have a sincere, unwavering intention. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “each person will be rewarded for what he intended” (Muslim). This calls for determination in the heart to continuously act or to abstain from something only for God’s sake. A sign of having sincere intentions is that one does not change his resolve for fleeting reasons; what is done for God, the Truth, should not be forsaken to please His creation. Continue reading
Al-Baydawi’s interpretation of Alif Lam Mim Using the Rules of Tajweed
By Maulana Dr M Mansur Ali | September 10, 2011 2:00am
The Qur’an, that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy, invigorated the barren hearts of camel shepherds and transformed them in to guiding stars for humanity. That eternal and unimpeachable writ, which laid the foundation of a civilization that carried the knowledge of late antiquity in its bosoms and brought Europe out of its darkest hours. It had occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, jurists and politicians of yesteryears. It had informed poetry, grammar, arts, aesthetics and belles-lettre. Umar II’s politics, Al-Rumi’s gazals, Al-Razi’s logic, Al-Ghazali’s ethics, al-Hariri’s prose, al-Attar’s poetry and Ibn Al-Arabi’s metaphysics all find their origins in this heavenly mandate. It had inspired the Sufi’s chanting of the souls, the music of the dervish’s reed, the literalism of the Salafi and the speculation of the rationalist. And yet its ultimate reality lies with Allah blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things hath Power.
Muslims believe that the Qur’an is a literary miracle. An entire body of literature called ‘ijaz al-Qur’an had been developed to understand this miraculous aspect of the Qur’an. It uses eloquent Arabic language of the highest standard as well as a plethora of literary devices, the hallmark of any magnum opus. At times it employs short and fast paced verses resembling the beatings of the heart, whilst other times slow, meticulous and clear instructive verses are used to lay down points of law. Clear, unambiguous words, similes, alliterations, onomatopoeias, hyperboles, rhetorical questions, imageries, allegories, metaphors, aphorisms, euphemisms and ironies are its common features. Continue reading
Yasmin Mogahed | August 22, 2011 1:00 am
Originally posted in August 2010
Imagine for a moment that it’s raining. It is pouring, in fact. And imagine that you are inside your house, watching as it falls. But imagine that there is something very different about this rain. It is unlike any other you’ve ever seen. On this day, it is not raining water. It is raining something much more precious to you. Imagine that on this day it is raining hundred dollar bills.
What would you do? What would happen in your neighborhood on that day? What would happen in the world? Would we not run outside, falling all over ourselves, competing to gain as much of the raining money as we can? Would we not stand outside all night to gather as much as possible? Continue reading
Yahya Ederer (Abu Majeed) | May 28, 2010 4:56 am
The world we live in today has brought many tests to the Muslims. Undoubtedly, it has also brought many blessings to us. One new reality—the fact that the knowledge of our religion has become readily available through mass media—can be either a test or a blessing depending upon the scholar you speak to. As a result, we find two extremes. Some who declare that everyone must follow one juristic school or preferred scholar to be the authority without exception. Others declare that they may follow whatever opinion they like and therefore spend much of their time searching for opinions which suit their desires. In this article we beseech the support and ultimate success only granted by Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala(exalted is He) to bring the proper attitude to the availability of knowledge and scholarship in the modern world. Continue reading
WebbTranslators | December 21, 2010 1:00 am
By Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi1 | Translated, with slight modifications, by Muslema Purmul
Between Absolutism and Negligence
Linguistic definition: Arabic linguists say that taqlīd is derived from the root word qalāda, which is a necklace that is fastened around the neck. From it comes the taqlīd of a road; it is as though the follower fastens the ruling around the neck of the mujtahid, like a necklace.
Technical definition: Taqlīd is what Imam Ash-Shaukani describes in Sayl Al-Jarrār as acting upon another’s words without evidence. Continue reading
Zeyshaan Rafiq | March 5, 2011
To define poetry is not as simple and straight forward a task as one would initially assume. Indeed, particularly in the west, its definition has been the subject of augmentation over many years. It has evolved from uses of speech in rhetoric, song, drama and comedy (as in Aristotle’s Poetics), to focusing on the formation of verses, repetition and rhyme (so as to separate from other literary works, e.g. essays and novels), and to being loosely defined as creative writing in the current ambience (retrieved 18/02/2011, ‘Poetry’, Wikipedia). What is apparent is that poetry is readily distinguished from more prosaic and essentially informative language. It is literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities, to evoke emotional and sensual responses, to supplant its meaning. It is an eloquent form of artistic expression, a testification of feelings, inherent emotions, and deep seated affections, articulated (although not exclusively) through prose, rhyme, measure and semantical choices – all of which come together to inculcate and evoke an emotional response from the consumer. Poetry was a particularly developed, honed and cherished entity in pre-Islamic Arabia to such a degree that they recognised the world as ‘ajam, or ‘inarticulate’ in comparison to the level of eloquence the felt they had achieved. Indeed, even a prophetic tradition lauds eloquence “inna min alBayaani laSihran” (pg.14, Mufti ‘Aashiq Ilaahi (eds)). Throughout the history of Islam, poetry has played a significant role, noteworthy mentions going to Mowlana Jalal alDin Rumi’s the Mathnawi and Imam Busayri’s Qaseedah Burdah, just to mention a few. The Quraan and ahaadeeth make several mentions in favour of and in vilification of this form of language and those who indulge in it. This essay will look at elucidating the perception of poetry in Islam, with particular attention to the primary texts of Islam, the Noble Quraan and ahaadeeth. Continue reading
Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi | June 10, 2011 5:00 am
There was a bus blocking the right turn lane and its emergency lights were flashing. “I need a quick detour!,” thought the woman driving. She turned into a parking lot to cross through to the adjacent street. As she made the turn, she felt her car heave forward heavily and realized she had not seen the curb. Embarrassed, she continued to the street and felt her car was driving differently. She swung into a side road to check on it. Continue reading