Shariah

Contemplation & Parables in the Quran

Parables in the Quran

Question: Realizing that the whole Quran is guidance, I was wondering if you can recommend some surahs or verses that are better at increasing one’s eemaan that you’ve used or heard from hadeeth and your teachers.

Answer:

Bismillah wal-Hamdulillah was-Salat was-Salam ‘Ala Rasulillah.

Excellent question! May Allah reward you profusely for asking it.

Contemplating upon the Magnificent Quran which Allah has revealed to explain every matter and as a Light to guide whichever of His servants He wishes. There is no doubt that in it is a great cure and medicine as Allah has said,

“And We send down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who have Eemaan.” (17:82)

The cure is contemplation and reflection.

“And We have send to you (O Muhammad) Ruhan of Our command.” (42:52)

One of the scholars explained,

‘What is meant by Ruh over here is the Quran which Allah inspired to His Messenger ﷺ. It is the Ruh for the hearts. The Ruh of the hearts is more special than the soul of the bodies. Allah has called it Ruh because it gives life to the hearts. So, when this Quran mixes with the heart it enlivens it and enlightens it, it learns about its Sustainer, worships Allah upon sure knowledge, fears it and stands in awe of Him, loves Him, glorifies Him, and magnifies Him. This is because this Quran is the Ruh that motivates the heart just like the Ruh motivates the body.’

The Prophet ﷺ used to contemplate upon the Book of Allah and used to repeat certain verses when he stood up in prayer at night. Once, he repeated a single verse for the whole night and did not go beyond that till morning:

“If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily, You, only You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (5:118) (Musnad Ahmad)

Ibn Hibban narrates in his collection of authentic hadith with a reliable chain of narrators on the authority of ‘Ataa who said: I and Ubaid-ullah bin ‘Umair came to ‘Aisha. He said: ‘Narrate to us something that greatly impressed you about the Prophet ﷺ that you saw’.

She started to weep and said: ‘He stood up one of the nights, meaning to offer the night prayer, and said: “O ‘Aisha, let me be alone so I may worship my Sustainer.” I said: ‘By Allah, I love your companionship, and I love what is easy for you.’ So, he stood up, purified himself, and stood up to pray and wept till his stone became wet. He continued to weep till the earth became wet. Bilal came and the call to prayer was made. When he saw the Prophet ﷺ weep, he said: ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, you weep while Allah has forgiven your past and future sins. He said:

Should I not be a thankful slave? These verses were revealed to me at night, so woe be to him who recites them but does not think about them:

“Verily, In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the succession of night and day, there are indeed messages for all who are endowed with insight. Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): ‘O our Sustainer, You have not created this without meaning and purpose, Limitless are You in Your glory! Keep us safe, then, from suffering of the Fire!'” (3:190-191)

This is a proof of the obligation to contemplate upon these verses.

The Quran has Tauheed, promises, threats, rulings, news, stories, manners, morals, and narrations of different kinds. Also there are some Surahs which are more frightening and terrifying than others as the Prophet ﷺ said:

“(Surah) Hud and its sisters have made my hair turn white before old age.’

In another narration he mentioned Surahs Hud, Waqia, Mursalat, Naba, and Takweer (Tirmidhi).

The Prophet’s ﷺ hair turned white from them because these Surahs of the Quran embrace the realities of Eemaan and the burden of great responsibilities which filled the heart of the Prophet ﷺ so its effects became apparent on his hair and body.

“So stand you (Muhammad ﷺ) firm and straight.” (11:112)

The noble Companions of the Prophet ﷺ used to read and contemplate and were greatly affected by it. Abu Bakr used to be sad and soft hearted when he used to pray with people and recited the Words of Allah and could not hold himself from weeping. Umar fell sick from the impact of:

“Verily, the torment of your Lord will surely come to pass,- there is none that can avert it.” (52:8)

His sobbing was heard in the back rows when he recited the aayat in which Allah quotes Jacob,

“It is only to Allah that I complain of my deep grief and my sorrow: for I know, from Allah, something that you do not know.” (12:86)

Uthman said, ‘If our hearts were pure, you would not have enough of the Words of Allah.’ He was killed unjustly and his blood spilt over his copy of the Quran as has been narrated by many Companions. Ayyub says that he heard Sa’eed Ibn Jubair repeat this aayat in prayer some twenty times,

“And be conscious of the Day on which you shall be brought back to Allah.”

this being the last verse to be revealed in the Quran, bringing it to completion,

“…whereupon every human being shall be repaid in full for what he has earned, and none shall be wronged.” (2:281)

Ibrahim bin Bashhar said that Ali bin Fudayl died while reciting the verses:

“Oh, would that we were but sent back (to the world)! then we would not deny the messages of our Lord, and we would be among the believers!” (6:27)

‘At this point he died and I was among those who prayed his funeral prayer, may Allah have mercy upon him.’ (Reported by Imam Dahabi in Seer ‘Aalaam Al-Nubalaa 8/446)

Consider how they viewed the verses of prostration. There is the story of a man, may Allah have mercy upon him, who recited the saying of Allah:

“And they fall down upon their faces, weeping, and it adds to their humility.” (17:109)

He fell down prostrate because it is one of those verses where prostration is recommended. Condemning himself, he said, ‘This was the prostration, where is the weeping?’

One of the greatest ways of contemplation is thinking about the parables in the Quran:

“Are they equal when compared?” (11:24)

“Allah propounds parables unto men, in order that they may remember.” (14:25)

One of the early Muslims was once reflecting upon one of the parables in the Quran. Its meaning did not become clear to him immediately, so he began weeping. When he was asked as to why he wept, he answered:

‘Truly, Allah has said,

“And these similitudes We put forward for mankind, but none will grasp their meaning except those who have knowledge.” (29:43)

Since I did not understand the parable, I am not knowledgeable, so I weep for the knowledge that has departed from me!’

Allah sets forth diverse parables: the parable of kindling a fire, the one who shouts but hears nothing, the corn that grows into seven ears, a dog that pants, a donkey that is carrying books, the house fly, the spider, the deaf and the blind, the one who hears and sees, the ashes on which the wind blows furiously, the good tree, the bad tree, the water that comes from the sky, the niche within it a lamp, a slave who has no ability to do anything, and others.

May Allah open our hearts to His speech.
May Allah make the Quran the spring of our hearts and a comfort to our worries.

Was-Salam

Feature Image Credit: Flickr