I posted details about an online course called 'Meaningful Prayer' taught by Sh. Abdul Nasir Jangda of Qalam Institute. Here are some of my notes which I've literally copied and pasted : $ I've shared them before and they were understood but if feel free to ask if anything is confusing you. (the Solskjaer reference is my own as the shaykh referred to some American sport thing. Everything else is pretty much me trying to copy as much as possible because I'm a lame note taker )
Also forgive my transliterations I know they're terrible. And inshaAllah I'll add the rest of my notes later.
The day that changed history – first revelation
He sat in deep thought about the responsibility he has and how to use it
Ya ayuhal mudhatir – what are you doing wrapped in a blanket?! (Allah knows who he is, doesn’t need to refer to him as the one in a blanket)
Kum – stand up
Fa anzir – and warn (doesn’t say who to warn – warn everyone and anyone)
Wa rabaka fa kabir – proclaim the greatness only of your Lord and master
Stand up and go preach to all of humanity – huge task
Most difficult part of a big task – starting it – how do you start, where to start etc. First step’s the hardest
The messenger thought where to start
Allah tells him to start with his family.
So he does
Gathers uncles. Abu Lahab walks out
Presents message to Banu Hashim. Abu Lahab (uncle) reject, ridicules and curses him
When own family do this, it makes it easier for others to do same – makes everything more difficult for the Prophet (Saw) - Sits down in deep thought
Ya ayyuhal muzzamil – what are you doing wrapped in a blanket
Qumil layla – stand up and pray at night,
When someone has a Difficult day – normally we say rest
Allah is saying work more – pray more
This is just the beginning, it will get more demanding. Standing up will make you firm
In the day time you have a long swim ahead of you – metaphor – likens preaching to swimming – long swimming. Not swimming in the swimming pool, - Swimming in the ocean – when you’ve been swimming and swimming and you look up and don’t see the shore in sight, quitting isn’t an option because you’ll drown. Have to keep going.
Today was difficult, but tomorrow will be even more difficult. All the sacrifices are yet to come.
Standing up and praying, conversing, connecting with Allah is the only thing that will get you through it all. That is the function of prayer. Strengthens us, heals our wounds, answers our questions.
If our Salah isn’t effective it lacks the quality, the khushu
Tasmiyah til juz bil ismiya til qulb - When you refer to the whole of something, by referring to a part of it – e.g. a sports player wins for the teams “and Solskjaer has won it!”
Works in reverse too – talk of whole when you mean a part. Transmission of car not working “car is busted” – only a part of car in reality.
Then the conversation between the person and Allah during salaah was explained using a
: Narrated Abu Hurayrah: I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) declare that Allah the Exalted had said:
I have divided the prayer into two halves between Me and My
slave, and My slave will receive what he asks for.
English – words can be singular or plural
Arabic: Singular, dual, plural
‘Misf’- half, turns into a fraction
Misfayn – 2 halves – equal to one another – therefore misfayn= 2 equal halves
and My slave will receive what he asks for.
Guaranteed for my slave is whatever he has asked for. Allah has not told us what the slave has asked for, just alluding to it – whatever asked for, will be guaranteed.
• Salat = Fatihah
When the slave says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds,
Madh – general praise
Hamd – very specific in classical Arabic, praising someone/thing worthy of that praise
Al- the – classical Arabic – emphasis The ultimate praise
Adding Al tells us it is a sign of word being a noun not a verb – why profound – nouns/verbs have distinct features
Verb – bound by tense – past, present, future “teach, taught, will teach”
Noun – no such limitation by time “teacher”
The ultimate praise of Allah is not limited to time
Verb requires a do-er
Noun – independent idea “computer” “desk”
If we had said “I praise” or “we praise” – what happens when we cease to exist? Allah is still worthy of praise. Therefore it is phrased as *the* ultimate praise of Allah is – no need for anyone else – independent of anyone else
Rabb – multilple meanings – Lord, Master, Sustainer... of worlds...alaameen – precisely meaning -people at all times and all places- their Lord, Master, Protecter, Sustainer...
Allah the Most High says: My slave has praised Me.
“Allah says” – literally a Dialogue/conversation with Allah
Sounds obvious but:
Abdi – my slave
Hamadani – he praised Me
Disclaimer: Nothing like Allah
Good way to understand Allah’s response
Kid starts going to school – do arts n crafts – bring it home- doesn’t particularly look like anything – but still appreciate it and love it, proud
As broken as our prayer is, when we praise Allah, He gathers the angels, points to us and says My slave praised Me.
He’s showing us off, He’s proud of us however broken our salaah is
And when he (the slave) says: The Most Compassionate, the
Ar Rahman Ar raheem – both from root word rahma - mercy. Mercy as a means of bringing two things together.
Arabic for Womb – rahim – means of establishing the closest, most merciful relationship for people
Arabic is a language of patterns - Cut some red Playdoh using shape cutters – square, circle, triangle – different shapes & sizes but still remains red – similarly every word has a root – it turns into different shapes and patterns – develops different meanings
Rahman and Raheem are patterns of Rahma
Rahman = implies *abundance* of mercy i.e. The One who is abundantly merciful
Raheem = continuously merciful - One who is continuously, constantly, always, merciful
The conversation continues:
Allah the Most High says: My slave has lauded Me.
Athna alaya abdi
Athna – comes from ‘Thana’ which means praise – root of the word means ‘to fold’ – when you fold – it multiplies the layer – similarly here used when you repeatedly praise
I.e. Allah is saying My slave has multiplied the praise upon me
He doesn’t need our praise but He acknowledges our praise
When he (the slave) says: Master of the Day of Judgment,
Malik – owner (milk – ownership) yawm – day ad din- retribution – get what you deserve
Surah Fatiha is like the table of contents for the entire Qur’an. Briefly touches on the major themes in the rest of the Qur’an .
Maliki yawmdin has a couple of those themes :-
1)Says Allah is the owner of the day of retribution – Allah reminds us of the afterlife, that we also have to be concerned about and just like we are the mercy of Allah in this life we will be in the next life too.
2) When talking about D.O.J doesn’t call it D.O.J but day of retribution – alludes to another theme in the Qur’an – the idea of accountability. We are accountable to Allah.
He remarks: My slave has glorified Me,
and in a narration He says: My slave entrusted (his affairs) to
Majadani – from Tamjid – to glorify – (comes from majd – glory) to separate it from everything else, rising above everything else
Majadani abdi – i.e. My slave has glorified Me, separated me from creation
Fawada – from tafwid – to hand something over, to surrender
Fawada ilaya abdi – i.e. My slave has surrendered to me, realised they are at my mercy.
Iyyaka – only you – exclusivity
Na’budu – we worship
Ibada comes from same root as abd – slave
Relationship – worship is a demonstration of one’s’ slavery
Proof of slavery
I can say I’m a slave of Allah, but if we don’t pray it’s an empty claim
“we worship” – plural – even though we usually pray by ourselves
Plural all the time– Allah (swt) in the salah, in surah fatiha, in this conversation with Allah (swt), He is emphasising the importance and concept of unity. Even when praying alone, speaking on behalf of the ummah.
Emphasising unity on *worship* - shows the ultimate way of establishing unity is through praying together. ‘family/community that prays together sticks together’ - Foundation
Doing everything else together is extra
Wa iyyaka nast’in –
2 words for help in Arabic – nasr – has more of an urgency to – “help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”
Awm – assistance - “I need that ball” – someone assists – something smaller n smaller
Nast’in – seeking assistance – daily tasks, little things
Why the distinction in the type of help? Surah Yusuf talks about the people on a ship who asked Allah to save them but went straight back to disbelieving. A believer should constantly ask for assistance, for every little thing. E.g. how the Prophet made dua when waking up, going out, going toilet etc etc
“Only you” – Talking *to* Allah – switched from 3rd person to 2nd person – conversation has become more intimate – worshipping to Allah – closest one gets to Allah
Sequence: Worship is mentioned before seeking assistance – best way to seeking assistance is by asking after worshiping .
(The prophet said about Abdullah bin masud – anything that came fom him, know that it came from me.)
Abdullah bin Mas’ud said save your necessities for the fardh prayer – whenever you need something, dealing with something etc seek assistance after praying.
Repetition – Iyyaka – grammatically speaking if the 2nd wasn’t there it would still make sense but Allah repeated it – there’s a divine purpose – makes the na’badu and nasteen independent of each other. Some people may lose their way and stop praying but shows that Allah is saying you can still ask me for help. E.g. when people become desperate and turn to Allah, and He is merciful, it can be something which changes them and gets them practicing again.
The conversation continues, Allah says
Hadha bayni wa bayna abdi
This is between me and my slave – implies privacy, closeness – you are close to me
Wa li abdi ma sahl – guaranteed for my slave is what he asks for
Then when the slave says
Ihdinasiratul mustaqeem – hidaya – literally means hold someone by the hand and walk them along – that’s why in classical arabic the walking stick of blind person is called hadiya
Show/guide us the way (plural again, sometimes it’s just not enough to be guided by yourself – they can strengthen you, help you when you fall. ‘A person is on the religion of his friend’, ‘A friend is like a perfumer’ – you may not have/make the perfume but you’ll end up smelling like it. If you have a friend who works at dunkin donuts, you’ll be fat – whatever friends do , they rub on you. ‘A bad friend is like a blacksmith’ e.g. like having a mechanic as a friend, wearing white clothes – they get all greasy and dirty. You may try to avoid it but you’re likely to get your clothes dirty. Like that, a bad friend has an affect.
Sirat + sabeel – difference – sirat has no plural
Sirat – Allah predominantly uses it when talking about faith
Sabeel – usually used re: giving charity
Al mustaqeem -come from word qiyam – means straight
Allah defines the path instead of letting us figure it out
Siratala dhina – the path of those people – explaining through people, not specific acts
Role models are an Innate humane need – that’s why there’s such an emphasis on knowing the Prophet and for us to be strong, positive role models for others – otherwise people will end up with wrong models – celebs etc
An amta alayhim – who you have showered your blessings on – prophets, martyrs, righteous people etc etc
Allah tells us how to tell if we’re off the path
Ghayril maghdu bi alayhim – not the path of those people who have brought the anger on themselves
Wa ladhaaleen – and not the path of those people who are wandering about lost, wandering through life aimlessly,
Evil is essentially the absence of guidance
Misguidance shows in two ways –1) rebelliousness towards Allah 2) lose all purpose and aim in life
When it talks about being lost –it says they
Ha dha li abdi – this is what is guaranteed for my slave – guidance
The dua for guidance is accepted as asked. (as opposed to other duas which may be answered in a number of ways)
3x it is said this is what is guaranteed for my slave – first few times we don’t know what He’s referring to.
When HE talks to us, does so in a way that has an effect on us. First there is curiosity etc – what is the guaranteed dua, then reveals at the end.
At the beginning Allah said I have divided the prayer but the hadith goes on to only mention surah fatiha. Allah calls surah fatiha the whole prayer – referring to a part as a whole – the essence of the prayer – if you figure out surah faitiha, you’ll figure out your prayer, if you can feel surah fatiha you can feel your prayer, you have quality in your prayer – that’s why it’s referred to as that
Hadith – there is no prayer for the one that does not read surah ul fatiha – fiqh implications, but also saying that without it you have not experienced salah – no point in it – no conversation with Allah
Misfayn – 2 equal halves
Surah ul fatiha can be divided into 2 according to what it’s talking about
1st – devote and dedicate everything to Allah- offer
2nd – Us. Ask Allah. Take/request
Alif in Alhamdulillah to n of nasteen – 63 letters
63 letters in second half too. Symmetry.
Sobering realisation – perfect gift from Allah, read it all the time – did we ever enjoy it, feel it?
-The more influential/famous a person gets, the less accessible – but Allah is accessible whenever we want
-If someone doesn’t pray – such a tragedy – don’t get to experience a conversation with Allah
Moving on to explaining terms...
Arabic has a number of sciences
Grammar – ilm al nahw – syntax –science of word order – how to put words together
Ilm as sarf – conjugation – morphology
Ilm ul ishtiqaaq – etymology – what we’re going to be focussing on
Origins of salah – some difference of opinion on the root of the word
1) It means to pray for mercy – therefore when we pray we pray for mercy – opinion of many tafseer scholars
2) Comes from the root sila – connection – salah – is a connection b/w God and us. Majority of Arabic scholars
3) Root word tasliya ‘to burn something’ – idea that our salah humbles us – minority opinion
4) Extreme minority opinion. Roots are foreign, in foreign roots, it also meant prayer. Fascinating because some things our taught to all mankind e.g. oneness of Allah, family values...and prayer. Ibrahim (as) makes dua mentions - salah, Ismail (as), surah Maryam, used to tell his family to regularly to pray, Musa (as) Surah Taha, Allah told him to establish prayer. Specific positions of prayer are also universal; Maryam (ra) told to sujood. All prophets practiced and commanded salaah – and also called it
No right or wrong answer, necessarily – element of truth to all 4 explanations
Shows the depth and richness and representation of the word salaah – why this word was shown for such an act
Technical/fiqh explanation of ‘salaah’ – to worship Allah by means of certain known and prescribed actions and sayings at very specific times
Salaah used in different contexts in the Quran
Verb form – there’s a doer of salaah – how it’s used will change the meaning
When Allah is the doer –He sends mercy upon us
Sometimes Angels are doers – they pray on behalf of someone else
Human being is the doer – it means to pray/worship
Surah tawbah – Allah uses the word salaah when talking about the mushrikun of Makah, before Islam, worshipping – it was nothing but whistling and clapping. Shows the linguistic meaning of salah is to worship.
Salaah is the first thing that will be asked about of DOJ (hadith) – it is our foundation in our LIVES
Foundation getting damaged shows in other places
If salah falls – everything else will fall apart