From the class “Meaningful Prayer” offered by Bayyinah Institute
Taught by Shiekh AbdulNasir Jangda
April 2010 Darul Islam- Teaneck NJ
Please read these important points before reading the packet.
These notes are meant as a review who have already taken the class
These notes were taken during class and have parts missing and may contain errors. Please keep that in mind when going over the material
This was one of the most amazing classes I have ever taken! I highly recommend you drop what ever is stopping you and take the next available offering for the course! http://bayyinah.com/studentcenter/
This course used a supplemental handout. The notes are in conjunction with the handout. You can get a copy of the hand out here: http://bayyinah.com/courses/study-materials/The name of the file is “class notes”
Day 1: Friday This course is about a topic and subject is people wanting to improve their prayer and their salah. It doesn’t get simpler than that. Salah we all pray and we all want it to be better than it already is, the basic way to achieve that is to understand it in prayer.
This is an effective and efficient method in achieving kushoo in the salah.
What we do in the seminar we start from the beginning and then discuss lingutstic defininton of salah and then we talk about words like kushoo, what does it mean? From a technical viewpoint, what does it mean. What is the importance of salah in islam, what is the importance of praying it with kushoo.
We also will cover things such as qunoot, many people don’t know what it means! These are very powerful and beautiful supplications. If you knew what they meant it would take you 15 minutes just to proerply say it. We even study istekharah. One of the most practical forms of salah is istekhara. You can use it immediately.
It’s a lot of information to try to squeeze into one weekend but since we have done it 13 times that we can do it inshAllah. Friday night is a little different, we reach into the middle of the salah and we learn about something that can be called the ESSENCE of the salah, the CORE of the salah, we pluck that out from the middle of sallah and we study that here on Friday. And that is SURAH FATIAH.
We will study it specifally in the contect of slaah and we will study it using hadith qudsi. We don’t assume any knowledge coming into class. Hadith qudsi means it’s a tradition passed on to us from the prophet said, and qudsi is what Allah has said.
We will study surah Faitha tonight, for a lot of reasons.
The purpose of tonight is to get a feel for the course
Another reason is it’s the right way to get off on the right foot.
A Principle in Arabic Whole vs Portion
We want to first set a couple of ground rules and principles.
These are principles of eloquence, they apply to other languages as well.
First principle in Arabic language is “referring to the whole by mentioning a portion.” An example of this is the Ipad which was released a couple of weeks ago. Somebody comes up to you and says “Steve jobs just released the Ipad.” Was it really Steve Jobs who released the Ipad? No, Its APPLE that released it, the person is talking about Apple. Just by mentioning the Ceo (a portion of it) he is referring to whole thing because he is referring to the most important part of Apple which is the CEO.
Referring to a portion by mentioning the whole “Who are you having dinner with today?” I am having dinner with Nihal. But he say I say “I am having dinner with Darul Islah” In reality, you aren’t having dinner with the entire darul islah but since I only know Nihal, he represents Darul Islah, so only a portion represents the whole. Another example is when your engine gets busted what do you tell people? My “car is broken”. Did the entire car break? NO, the engine died, but you are referring to a portion of the car but that is the MOST IMPORTANT portion of the car! Everything else is fine, the wheels are fine, the body is fine, the inside of the car is fine but when the engine is dead there is no use for everything else therefore the when a portion of it (engine) does not work, the whole thing (car) is broken.
QASAMTU: means to divide something
SALAH TA BAYNI: between me
NISFAYN: double form of the word NISF (meaning half) especially when you use it in conjunction. It becomes a fraction. It means exactly half. The word NISF means half but ESPECIALLY when you use it in the context of dividing something. NISFAYN means TWO EQUAL halves.
Allah says I have divided the prayer into TWO EQUAL HALVES.
WALI ABDI MA SA AL: For my slave is that which he has asked for, meaning my slave will get what ever he has asked for. What is he asking for? – It will make sense at the end of Surah Fatiha
The Quran and Sunnah literature speaks to people according to the NATURE of people how people process information. It’s in the human element, it is more effective when you build something up and then give it versus just giving it.
Look at the entertainment industry. They study humans and craft their entertainment in such a way that is effective. They know who to get our attention and keep it. If you look at movie trailers it develops ANTICIPATION, the cliffhanger, the teaser, it is how we work and how we process information. Similarly Quran also plays on our human nature. It says “something important is coming” which makes us think “what is coming?”
Example ayah in Quran “Do you know what this major event will be?”
“How can You understand this major event!”…
Allah is addressing us, HE KNOWS how we process the information.
So Allah says, “I have divided the prayer into 2 equal halves” it makes you think “What half is Allah talking about? What will I receive?”
SO WHEN THE SLAVE SAYS ALHUMDU LILLAHI RABIL A LAMEEN What does this mean?
THE WORD ALHUMDU
ALHUMDU: this comes from the word HAMD which means PRAISE. It refers to a SPECIFIC type of praise. There are two words for praising someone or something- HAMD and MADH- They both have same letters shuffled around and this is no coincidence,
HAMD: Praising someone or something that is DESERVING OF THAT PRAISE. The praise is appropriate. What ever you are praising is deserving of that praise. It is its RIGHT to get praised.
MADH: You praise someone of something that is not deserving, you may be falsely praising them. For example, some poets would just keep praising kings mindlessly. Or you praise someone for something they didn’t do (for example you praise someone for being tall-they didn’t do anything to make themselves tall! They shouldn’t be praised for it)
ALHUMDU just doesn’t mean praise, it means PRAISE THAT ALLAH IS DESERVING OF!*
Nouns VS. Verbs
Nouns and Verbs in the Arabic language. The thing about Arabic, it has rich and powerful rhetorical functions. Everything has EFFECTS of words. There are special features to using different types of words
Past tense, present tense, future tense ALL have far reaching implications!
When you use the past tense, it has MORE EMPHASIS, more conformity.
Future tense implies it will reappear over and over again.
If I say Zaid ran (when did he do it? He did it in the PAST) it’s limiting his running to the past
Zaid is running- this is present, did he run in past? We don’t know. Will he do it in future? We don’t know.
If you said ZAID IS A RUNNER, this can apply to past, present, and future!
Verbs are limited by time- nouns are not. Nouns are TIMELESS
Verbs also have another limitation.
If I say “RAN”, what’s your next logical question? WHO RAN?
If I said SAT, you would ask WHO SAT?
Verbs require a DOER, they need someone to execute the action, to fulfill the action. A verb can’t speak on its own! You have to say she ran, he ran, I have to tell you who did the action.
But NOUNS DON’T REQUIRE A DOER!
Nouns are stronger than verbs in the Arabic language. They are better at conveying ideas. Nouns pack a bigger punch. Nouns are unrestricted and is a powerful method of conveying thoughts or ideas.
ALHUMDU: Praise someone is deserving of
It’s a noun so not limited by time or doer so TIMELESS PRAISE!
There not even a DOER! It doesn’t say I PRAISE,
Allah IS, WAS, and WILL CONTINUE to be worthy of praise whether someone is doing the act of praising or not!
We can have definitions and translations but we need to actually understand the grammatical implications of each word.
It doesn’t just mean All praise is to Allah! Its means so much more. ALHUMDULLILAH means at ALL TIMES ALLAH IS DESERVING OF PRAISE, WHETHER SOMEONE IS DOING IT OR NOT!
Allah says he has divided salah into 2 equal halves
Then Allah says “this is between me and my slave and my slave will be given what ever he asks for”
Then when a person stands up for prayer and says ALHUMDULLILAHI RABILALAMEEN
We covered Alhamdulillah
Whether someone is praising Allah or not praising Allah, ALLAH STILL DESERVES ALL PRAISE.
Timeless praise is EXCLUSIVELY for Allah.
What is the etymology of word? (it means the ORIGIN of the word, the ROOT of word, where it come from, what did it initially mean, how did it come to the meaning where it is now)
SARF- has etymology and morphology
Modern day Arabic only covers MORPHOLOGY (how a word changes, say when with 2 women or 2 men)
Etymology is ALSO the root, origin, and how it got to where it is now.
Morphology is a TECHNICAL science, you memorize charts and tables
In the Arabic language the word Rab means MASTER (even Lord suffices). The thing about the word Rab is you understand the meaning of the word by looking at the opposite. This is very true for classical Arabic. Like we say someone is decisive, someone who is not decisive is Indecisive. In Arabic we don’t do this.
ABD is slave, the opposite of slave is NOT “ghayr abd”
What is the opposite of ABD (slave)?
The opposite of slave is RAB (Master).
The introduction of Allah in the Quran says RABB, the very FIRST attribute that Allah assigns to himself in the Quran is RABB. When Allah introduced himself to the Ambiya, the prophets, and the messengers, Allah introduced himself as RAB! (IQRA BISMIRABIKALADHI KHALAQ)
YA MUSA IN ANNA RABUKA…
RAB is such a comprehensive word that integrates and incorporates MANY OTHER ATTIRBUTES of ALLAH, This is a VERY LAYERED word.
Rab implies SOMEONE WHO HAS OWNERSHIP (MAALIK- SOMOENE WHO FEEDS OR STUSTAINS (RAAZIQ)
SOMEONE WHO MAINTAINS (QAYIM)
SOMEOE WHO PROTECTS (HAFEEDTH)
SOMEONE WHO GUIDES (HAADI)
All of these meanings are built into the word RABB which is why a lot of times this is first used to describe Allah
ALLHUMDULILLAH I RABIL AALAMEEN
THE WORD AALAMEEN
AL AALAAMEEN (THIS is plural word which comes from AALAM
This word AALAM actually doesn’t just refer to world, but A REALM (a place and time where things exists)
ALAAMEEN is what we call people plural (talking only about people living beings)
The plural that would mean worlds is AWAALIM but Allah doesn’t say this, Allah say ALAMEEN
What it really means is ALLAH LORD AND MASTER OF ALL THE NATIONS. Because it refers to a time and place where people live. Can you imagine someone 1400 years ago coming right now and seeing us sitting in this room? The laptop would freak him out, the lighting would confuse him, the cars, the phones all will seem so different to him. So it’s a DIFFERENT realm of existence for that person! It’s the same dunya, same world, but if a person was to walk into this area, they would feel like they are in a DIFFERENT WORLD! So that’s what ALA MEEN refers to. Different places and times people have lives
Even the realm of the jinns is an example of another realm that is just one of the many realms Allah is Lord and Master of.
When a person says ALHUMDULILLAHIRABILALAMEEN….ALLAH RESPONDS!
This is a HUMBLING MOMENT! THINK ABOUT IT, ALLAH RESPONDS TO YOU! HE IS SPEAKING TO YOU
HE IS HAVING A DIALGUE WITH YOU!
HE IS ADDRESSING YOU PERSONALLY!
ALLAH WAS LISTENING TO YOU WHEN YOU SAID ALHUDULILLAHIRABILALAMEEN
But think about it, say you are sitting with someone important to you, president or ceo, or someone who stands at the top. If you are sitting with that person and you are talking that person. This person in his busy and hard to get schedule, has given you his time , his attention. Say the president sits with you one on one and is talking to you, would you start looking off to the other direction? “Sorry I didn’t hear you- what where you saying again?”
You would be attentive, focused, looking at him, this is the greatest experience in your life, it doesn’t get better! Everyone in the world wants to be in your shoe. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING…someone not even that good!
BUT ALLAH, the CREATOR OF EVERYTHING in the entire Universe! THE SUSTAINER THE PROVIDER OF EVERYTHING, HEEEEE IS SPEAKING TO US! But no, for some reason while you are in salah all of a sudden the hole in the wall intrigues you! That hole would have been so insignificant any other time in your life but only in salah does it become to interesting- so unfortunate!
So Allah responds!!
HA MA Dee ABDI (HE HAS PRASIED ME )
This is Allah ACKNOWLEDGING us, this is Allah accepting our praise, our offering, our words. Despite our flaws, our issues, our inattentiveness, Allah is ACCEPTING our praise.
THE WORDS ARAHMAAN ARAHEEM
WA IDHA QAAL, (THE SLAVE SAYS)
He then presents 2 attributes of Allah,
They both come from root word of MERCY
What do these words means?
The major difference of opinion comes between the scholars of tafseer (engaging in linguistic analysis more so then others) and the scholars of Arabic grammar (who focus on studying the language)
SECOND OPINION (many scholars of tafseer agree) RAHMAAN is general mercy, openly, without bias. Allah has mercy on everyone and everything. This encompasses muslims and nonmuslims, humans and animals, its general mercy and then RAHEEM refers to one who is SPECIFICALLY merciful to the believers.
THIRD OPINION is the opinion of the majority of scholars of language. This seems like the one that makes the most sense. RAHMAAN refers to one who has ABUDNACE of mercy
Notice the sound it creates (the MAAAN sounds)
QurAAN also has this extended ending sound when its said.
Quran comes from the root word “to recite”,
When ever the “AAAAN” sound is added to word, it implies ABUNDANCE
Quran means something that is just read, and QURAAAAN is something that is read a lot
So here RAHMAAAN- someone who is VERY VERY MERCIFUL, Abundance of his mercy knows absolutely NO BOUNDS!
RAHEEM implies CONSTANCY- Someone who is CONSTANTLY MERCIFUL.
Comes from root word STHANAA (its root means TO FOLD SOMETHING)
There is a reason for this-when you fold something what do you basically do? You not only folded it up but you also DOUBLED the layer. It goes from a single layer and becomes double, when you fold again it becomes four layers, when you do it again, it becomes EIGHT! This is what THSANAA means
In Surah HUD “They used to fold their arms over their chests, they used to layer their chests “ when they past the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) reciting Quran, they tried to ARM PROOF VEST their hearts so Quran wouldn’t affect them.
STHANAA- means when you praise someone, not just once, you keep doing it AGAIN AND AGAIN you keep stacking on more. You keep folding the layer. Allah says “My slave keeps stacking praise upon praise upon praise on Me”
MAALIK- this refers to someone who has OWNERSHIP of something. He OWNS it and has COMPLETE CONTROL AND AUTONOMY of it. He is the one with COMPLETE OWNERSHIP.
YAWM- means THE DAY OF.
Some have translations of “the owner of the day of” this doesn’t give you the full understanding!
Arabic grammar is CONCISE and brief but it is STRONG. Just the SEQUENCE of the words adds meaning.
There is no word for OF in Arabic.
The Quran can ONLY be properly studied when we study and understand the Arabic and its intricacies.
MAALIK- the one with complete ownership
YAWM ADEEN- We normally translate “the day of judgment”
ADEEN does NOT mean judgment! (the word for judgment is HISAAB)
ADEEN does NOT mean resurrection! (the word for resurrection is QIYAAMA)
This word DEEN refers to RETRIBUTION. When you GET what you have coming to you
HISAAB- is accounting/judgment
DEEN- is retribution; it’s a step above that!
He Is The MASTER OF and has COMPLETE OWNERSHIP of the day of retribution.
There will come a day, without a doubt, that you will have to face the consequences of your actions!!!!
Surah Fatiha is very CONCISE. It captures the PRIMARY THEMES OF THE QURAN because it sets the tone for what is to come afterwards. We started off by the praise of Allah, we ACKNOWLEDGED that fact He created us, He feeds us, He maintains us, He protects us, He guides us…We said he is our RABB
RAHMAAN - we are invoking mercy from Allah
Because mercy is something we NEED.
That’s why Allah defines marriage as rahma, we NEED IT
NOW we acknowledge accountability
The theme of accountability
We realize that “LOOK, it is not just this life we are concerned with, there WILL be that day of resurrection when we will all have to answer TO ALLAH and face the consequences of our deeds.
This is a powerful concept of accountability we as Muslims must remember.*
ALLAH ONCE AGAIN REPSONDS TO US
The dialogue continues
Allah then responds
MAJDA DA NEE ABDI (MY SLAVE HAS GLORIFIED ME)
Comes from root word GLORY
Means MY SLAVE HAS GLROIFED ME (why glory? Because my slave is not just acknowledging his need for me in the life of this world but is ALSO attributing the fact that I will be the one solely in control of the day of judgment.
HELP implies you were NOT able to do it by yourself. Example could be like in an emergency
AWN means ASSISTANCE. Not like above. If there is water on the table, he is able to get it himself, But while he was getting water the brother gets up and “assists” him to get him water that is AWN.
AWN means to ASSIST, NASR (help) means doing something the person can’t do
NASTAEEN (only you we seek ASSISTANCE FROM!)
Meaning we should not turn to Allah only in emergency situations, but turn to Allah for EVERYTHING!!!!
Before you go to the bathroom, before you eat, before you sleep, before applying for a job, when getting married etc.
EVERTYTHING you do you start by saying BISMILLAH
The word nastaeen makes us understand that we turn to Allah and seek his assistance not just when we are in emergency, but for all things. No matter how capable we are, no matter how confident we are, we seek assistance from Allah
Lets look at the STRUCTURE of the ayah.
If someone was to say that you take away the repetition.
IYAKA repeats itself. If someone was to say just use the first iyaaka, it would make sense. The repetition of the IYAKA is not really necessary but it IS DONE none the less
Why is the word nabudu mentioned before seeking assistance? Why worship first and then seek assistance. Because the BEST WAY TO SEEK ASSITANCE FROM ALLAH IS THROUGH WORSHIP
You presented worship now seek what you need
At the end of the prayer, supplications are accepted
When breaking your fast, supplications are accepted