Author : Nur Fajri Romadhon


The Expiation of Sins During Two Years


Allah said, “When you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash’ar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray.” [Quran 2:198]


Arafah day (9th Dhulhijjah) is the best day of year according to the vast majority of scholars as Al-Nawawi (d. 1277) said. There is wuquf which is the peak and the most essential ritual of hajj. There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Hellfire than Arafah day referring to a hadith narrated by Muslim. Likewise, the best dua is dua on Arafah day as the Prophet said in a hadith of Al-Tirmidhi.

For those people who do not perform hajj this year, there is a great chance to maximize this golden day. Our beloved Prophet said, “Fasting Arafah day expiates the sins of the past year and the coming year.” [Muslim] Al-Ramli (d.1595), one of the greatest one of our Shafiite scholars, explained that fasting Arafah day is to fast on 9th Dhulhijjah and it is strongly recommended to fast this day for people who are not in hajj.

In the hadith above, “the expiation the sins of the coming year” has two meanings according to Al-Mawardi (d. 1058). Firstly, Allah will forgive if someone commits any sin. Secondly, He will protect who fasts sincerely in this day from commiting major sin. Also remember that these sins which Arafah fasting erases are only minor sins based on what scholars said. However, Arafah fasting is too worth to be neglected.

A question may rise: then when we should fast it if there is difference between Hijri date in Mecca and Hijri date in our countries as happens this year (1439 AH)? European Council of Fatwa and the majority of scholars stated that we should follow moon sighting and Hijri date of each region. In this case, it means we should fast on Tuesday even the wuquf in Arafah is on Monday. This phenomenon occured as well in the time of Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani in 825 and 828 AH and people outside Mecca followed their own Hijri calendar.

Given these points, do not forget to fast on Tuesday 9th Dhulhijjah/21st August because a wife of our Prophet, Hafsah (d. 665), told us that four things the Messenger of Allah never skipped: Observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura, ‘Arafah, three days every month, and offering fajr sunnah prayers early in the morning.” [Muslim]

written by Nur Fajri Romadhon

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The First Day


Allah said,
“A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in.”
[Quran 9:108]

Five years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessing be upon him), in 638 CE, the dating of the Islamic calendar was firstly introduced by the second caliph, Umar ibn Al-Khattab, attempting to solve administrative problems during his period. That was, as Ibn Kathir (d. 1373 CE) narrated, because one Shahabi who was a governor of Iraq, Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari, wrote to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab in distress: “There are letters have reached us from you, o Amirul Mu’minin, but we do not know how to deal with them. We read a document dated the month of Sha’ban, but we do not know which of the Sha’bans is meant: is it the month that has passed, or that which is to come?”

Not like names of days and months, Arabs at that time had not had numbering system of years yet. They only named years by the most significant event or situation occured during those years. For instance, the year of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth called “The Year of Elephants”, named after Aksumite warriors who attempted to attack Kaaba with their war elephants. Al-Biruni (d. 1050 CE) also mentioned that Muslims named the year 10 AH as “The Year of Farewell”.

Receiving Abu Musa’s complaint, Umar call a number of senior Shahabis to discuss this very issue. They all agreed to invent a new calendar system instead adopting both Persian or Roman calendar. Then they began disputed which year should be the first year of this new Islamic Calendar. Some said, “From the year of the Prophet’s birth.” Others proposed, “From the year of thr Prophecy when Quran first revealed.” Ali suggested, “From the year of Hijra to Medina.” Umar agreed with him saying, “We begin from the year of Hijra, because it distiguished between the truth and the falsehood.”

Next, they talked the beginning month over between several suggestions. Umar approved Uthman’s proposal to begin every Islamic year from the month of Muharram, reasoning it by saying “It is the month when people returned from they hajj (pilgrimage).” even the Prophetic hijra was in Rabi’ul Awwal. After this discussion, Umar announced this agreement and spread the using of this Islamic calendar and that year itself was consequently the 16th AH (After Hijra).

Some scholars, like Dr. Yassir Qadhi, stated that the 108th verse of At-Tawbah in Quran may be a sign to this calendar: “A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in.” Note that Allah called the Prophetic Hijra when our Prophet built Quba mosque as “awwali yawm/the first day”. It is somehow like a sign that Islamic Calendar will refer to this historical moment. Allah knows best.

This sunset (Islamic days begin every sunset), 10th September 2018, we are going to enter 1st Muharram 1440 AH the first day of the Islamic new year. For many muslims, Islamic New Year is more of a time for personal reflection than parties and celebrations. It is, therefore, a time when people make new year resolutions, especially those who return home from their hajj (pilgrimage). We should make our resolutions in this new year to make our worldly life and our Hereafter life much better. If our beloved Prophet arranged and designed everything for his hijra very well, why we live our life and spend our time without any planning?

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Was Iblis a Fallen Angel?



Allah stated,
“And when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam!’ and they prostrated, but Iblis (did not). He was of the jinn so he departed from the command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange.”
[Quran 18: 50]


One of interesting issues to talk about, even actually it has no essential effect to our faith, is the question about the origin of Iblis. Was he an angel or a jinn? In some Western literatures, even it is not mentioned literally in Torah, Bible nor Quran, we find the term “fallen angels”, which refers to angels who were expelled from Heaven for showing disobedience and ungratefulness to God. They were originally created to believe in God and serve him, but now they are enemies to both him and humanity. Was Iblis one of those fallen angels?

Honestly, some Islamic scholars believed it. This opinion is actually based on some Israiliyyat (Israelites’ traditions), which mentioned that the name of Iblis was “Azazil” and he used to live on the earth. He was one of the strongest of the angels in terms of knowledge and intelligence. Responding Israiliyyat, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (d. 1449 CE) said that if those known to be true because the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad, we confirm them. And if those not known to be true or false, we may tell them without saying whether they are true or false. But if those known to be false, because the revelation to our Prophet, we must reject them.

Nonetheless we cannot accept this Israiliyyat particularly because in chapter of Al-Kahf verse number 50, Allah clearly stated, “He was a jinn so he departed from the command of his Lord” (kana min al-jinn fa-fasaqa ‘an amri Rabbihi). This is a crystal clear evidence supporting the opinion that Iblis was not an angel. It is just because the conjunction “fa” in the Arabic text is indicative of the reason. Fakhruddin Al-Razi (d. 1210 CE) explained, “The sentence ‘He was of the jinn’ indicates that Iblis’ disobedience to prostrate wasbecause he was a jinn.” On the contrary we saw that angles never disobey Allah’s commands. Allah describes them, “…who disobey not, from executing the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” [Quran 66:6].

Simultaneously, there are a number of differences between Iblis and angels. Our Prophet mentioned them as two different creatures when he said, “The angels were created from light, Iblis was created from smokeless fire, and Adam was created from that which has been described to you.” [Muslim]. Angels also do not have any descendants whereas Jinn have. Allah said: “Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you?” [Quran 18:50]

Furthermore, those Islamic scholars who held the opinion that Iblis was an angel also misinterpreted the sentence “‘So angels prostrated, except Iblis” which appear seven times in Quran, firstly in chapter of Al-Baqarah verse number 34. They said if Iblis was not an angel, then he must not be blamed when he did not prostrate because Allah only asked angels to prostrated when He said, “When we commanded to angels (wa idh qulnaa lil malaaikah)”. Ibn Kathir (d. 1373 CE) answered this understanding by saying, “When Almighty Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, Iblis was regarded to be inclusive in that command. Although he was not of their kind, he was like them and he was performing their deeds. Because of that, Iblis was also regarded as the addressee of that command directed to the angels. And he was condemned since he did not obey that command.”

Additionally, Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami (d. 1566 CE) said, “It is obviously clear that the signification of the sentence ‘He was of the jinn’ is stronger than the sentence ‘So all angels prostrated, except Iblis’, because separated exception comes a lot in Quran and hadiths.” Separated exception is one of two kinds of exception in Arabic grammar. It means “but” rather than “except” because the thing excluded and the things not excluded are two different kinds of beings. For example, “Those workers went but their children (did not go).” Allah said, “They have no knowledge of it but following of assumption (they only have).” [Quran 4: 157]. We all know that following the assumption is not a knowledge at all, yet we see here that Allah excludes it from knowledge. Similarly, Allah said, “So all angels prostrated, except Iblis” should be understood like this: “So all angels prostrated, but Iblis (did not prostrate).”

To sum up, we consider a small dispute between Islamic scholars whether Iblis was an angel or not, but the right opinion belongs to those scholars who says that he was not an angel, instead he was a jinn and the ancestor of jinn. Hasan Al-Basri (d. 642 CE) and other tabi’is said, “Iblis was not one of the angels, not even for a second. He was the origin of the Jinn just as Adam was the origin of mankind.”

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This Worldly Life and Water


Allah said,
“And present to them the example of the life of this world, its being like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it and then it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.”
[Quran 18:45]


The word “Dunyaa” in Arabic morphology is derived from the root word “danaa” which literally means to be near or to be low. This word which has passed to several Asian, European and African languages is often used in Quran to call this “worldly life” that opposes to the Hereafter (Aakhirah). It is called “Dunya” because it has much lower class than Aakhirah as it is also considered nearer to us than the Hereafter life.

Allah mentioned over here the parable of this worldly life. How it is like the water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it. It mingles with the seeds that are in the earth, so they grow and become good, producing bright, fresh flowers, then after that it becomes dry and broken pieces, withered up, which the winds scatter tossing them about right and left. This is the real face of “Dunya” which will eventually cease and come to a halt.

Al-Qurtubi (d. 1273 CE) explained in his Tafsir how compatible this parable is. He said that Allah compared Dunya to water for the following secrets.

Firstly, water does not settle and remain in one place. Equivalently, Dunya does not remain the same upon one state of affairs. Someone may be rich right now, but next month he may lost his wealth, or vice versa.

Secondly, water goes away and does not remain likewise Dunya will eventually come to an end. Some women can be proud of her adorableness when she was young, but three decades later that beauty is absolutely going to fade.

Thirdly, nobody is able to enter water without getting wet. Similarly for Dunya, no one is perfectly safe from its trials and calamities even he tries his best in swimming. We all know what will happen later to those who deeply dive or even sink into Dunya forgetting Aakhirah.

Fourthly, if you have the right amount of water it is a useful nursery, but if it goes beyond the limit it is a harmful destroyer like flood or tsunami. Analogously to Dunya, its subsistence is beneficial while its excess is harmful. Dunya is not forbidden, instead it is important in life. But it will become disaster when somebody takes it more than its proper quantity. Of course, everyone should recognize their own measures. May Allah help us to be proportional in this worldly life and keep it in our hands not inside our hearts.


Written by Nur Fajri Romadhon

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Two Sides of Independence Day

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Allah said,
“And recall when Moses said to His people, ‘Remember the favor of Allah upon you when He saved you from the people of Pharaoh, who were afflicting you with the worst torment and were slaughtering your newborn sons and keeping your females alive. And in that was a great trial from your Lord.'”
[Quran 14:6]


Allah tells that Moses (d. c. 1271 BC) reminded his people about their misery under Pharaoh Ramesses II (d. c. 1280 BC) and Allah’s bless that He bestowed on them. He saved them from Pharaoh and the torment he used to exert on them. Pharaoh and his army used to slaughter whomever they could find among their sons and let their females live. Allah sent Moses to bring Islam to Egyptian and Israelites including Pharaoh himself. At the same time his mission is also to lead Israelites escape from Egypt. He confronted with Pharaoh for years then Allah saved him and Israelites from Pharaoh’s evil in one of greatest event in humankind’s history: the Exodus (c. 1280 BC).

Allah named all of these things “balaa-un ‘adzhim”. Al-Asfahani (d. 1108) explained that the word “balaa'” means both of favor and trial. Hence, the Exodus or let us call it “the Independence Day of Israelites” could be the favor from Allah with this freedom from slavery and tortures, so they must be grateful towards this mercy. On the other hand, it was also a difficul trial to see if they used this independence in noble deeds or sinful ones.

We as Indonesian people today, on 17th August, celebrate our 73th Independence Day. Similarly with Israelite’s exodus, this independence from colonialism has two sides of the same coin: favor and trial. May Allah help us to thank His favor and be success passing His trial. Congratulation and happy independence day, Indonesia!

written by Nur Fajri Romadhon

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Four Sacred Months and Related Issues

Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, said, “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve lunar months in the register of Allah from the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them.” [Quran 9:36]


We are now in the month of Dhul-Qa’dah which its name in Arabic means “sitting”. This month was given this name because it was the month during which pre-Islamic Arabs would sit and stop fighting. Why did they stop fighting each other? It was because this month was one of those four sacred months which they considered too due to the Abarahamic teachings.

In the abovementioned verse, Allah informs us that since He created the universe Allah had set the months to be twelve, and He, Almighty, informed us that He, Almighty, designated four of them to be sacred. Moreover, there are other three months beside Dhul-Qa’dah which belong to the group of sacred months: Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab, as mentioned in Sahih of Al-Bukhari & Muslim.

Dhul-Hijjah which refers to “Hajj” in Arabic was given this name because they performed Hajj (pilgrimage) in this month. Muharram means “forbidden” in Arabic. It was called that because they forbade fighting during it. Rajab which in Arabic means “remove” was labeled with this name because the Arabs used to remove the heads of their spears and refrain from fighting.

Moreover, we should be aware to the following related issues around these four Sacred Months.

  1. It is recommended to fast in these Sacred Months. The Prophet said, “Fast during Sacred Months and omit.” [narrated by Abu Dawud]. Ibn Ruslan (d. 1440) explained that this hadith urges us to fast several days in these months not all days.
  1. Punishment of sins in this period of time is greater as Qatadah (d. 735) and many salafs opined. When a period of time has sacredness more, punishment for disobedience during that period is multiplied accordingly. For example, punishment of the Prophet’s wives if thay commit a sin is heftier since they are more sacred than any other women. Allah said, “O wives of the Prophet, whoever of you should commit a clear immorality, for her the punishment would be doubled two fold, and ever is that, for Allah, easy.” [Quran 33:30] Therefore, Allah said in the verse above, “… so do not wrong yourselves during them.”
  1. Vice versa, the reward of noble deeds in these months will be more enormous as well. Al-Qurtubi (d. 1273) explained this concept clearly in his tafsir. Related to the last example, Allah said, “And whoever of you devoutly obeys Allah and His Messenger and does righteousness, We will give her her reward twice, and We have prepared for her a noble provision.” [Quran 33:31]
  1. It is not allowed to make an offensive jihad in these months according to the stronger opinion as Ibn Qayyim (d. 1350) declared. Some scholars explained that the secret is to help Hajj and ‘Umrah performed comfortably. Dhul-Qa’dah, the month before the Hajj month, was made sacred because they refrained from fighting during that month in order to make Hajj preparation and its journey safe. Dhul-Hijjah, the next month, was made sacred because it is the month of Hajj, during which they performed Hajj rituals. Muharram, which comes immediately next, was made sacred so that they are able to go back to their areas in safety after performing Hajj. Rajab, in the middle of the lunar Hijri year, was made sacred so that those coming from the farthest areas are able to perform ‘Umrah and visit the Kaaba and then go back to their areas safely.

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written by Nur Fajri Romadhon


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A Brief Overview of Surah Al-Fatiha (the Opener)

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This Makki surah,as our Prophet stated, is the best surah amongst all surahs. Since it is placed in the opening of Quran, all scholars said that it is obviously the abstract of Quran as we write an abstract at the first page of our scientific research paper. Al-Fatiha is believed as a summary of Quran because it consists the three aspects what Quran itself generally talks about: beliefs, laws and stories.

To begin with, the first four verses of Surath al-Fatiha clearly rectify the principal beliefs, especially in Allah. The first name of Allah appears in this surah and of course the first one in Quran too is “Allah”, the very unique name of Him and the name which all His names return to it. Then He mentioned Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim which are considered as the two of His primary names twice that also bring one of His attribute: Ar-Rahmah (the mercy). It as well makes a sense in the opening of Quran that Islam is the merciful religion and is the mercy from Allah to the universe. In the fourth verse He declared that the Judgement Day –much less this world- is under His control beside the fact that He is the king of all kings. All of these verses throw light upon the concept of divinity and the Hereafter, since in reality these concepts form the basis of other pillars of faith which are believing in angels, holy scriptures, prophets and destiny. These six pillars of belief will be explained in next surahs.

Furthermore, the next two verses hint at Islamic laws. We will find in next surahs verses about these laws from individual worships like performing Prayers, fasting and making Dua, until social worships as giving charity, doing filial piety and showing noble attitudes, marriage, jihad and penalties.The fifth verse establishes the goal of every single law in Islam and the concept of solidarity in Islamic community. Ibn Qayyim (d. 1350 CE) wrote three volumes of Madarij Salikin merely to explain this verse since Allah mentioned there the main concept of “worships” with its broad meaning. Whereas the sixth verse teaches us to be humble even when we are the straight path because we may deviate outside from it and likewise tells us the most important thing to be asked in our Dua: “Please guide us to the straight path.”

Lastly, we see the very last verse of this surah also alludes to historical sides and stories in Quran when it speaks of people whom Allah has favored and in next surahs we will see that they are like the prophets, angels, Luqman the wise, King Saul, Amram, Anne, Mary, the apostles of the Prophet Jesus, the Seven Sleepers in the Cave until the companions of the Prophet Muhammad. On the other hand it speaks as well of people who took the path of those who evoked Allah’s anger and people who are astray, who later we will see in Quran such as Iblis, King Nimrod II, Pharaoh Ramses  II, Korah, Balaam, Abu Jahal, Al-Walid ibn Al-Mughirah, Abu Lahab with other opponents of the Prophet Muhammad from Quraish, Dajjal, Gog and Magog.

To put it in a nutshell, this seven-verse surah is undoubtedly the succinct synthesis of all following Quranic verses due to its complete elements. Therefore, it is an obligatory to recite this surah in every raka’at of all kinds of prayers. It seems that all muslims are reminded regularly from time to time with the digest of this ultimate guidebook of life. A great Tabi’i, Al-Hasan Al-Basri (d. 728 CE), once said, “Whoever masters the meaning of surah Al-Fatihah is like the one who masters all Allah’s holy scriptures.” [narrated by Al-Bayhaqi].


written by Nur Fajri Romadhon

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Seven Habits of Stephen Covey in Quran

A friend of mine asked me hours ago, “If Quran is complete, why then there is no life guidance similar to those popular seven habits written three decades ago?”

I answer, “Firstly, those habits were only creation of that great man. Other writers could make it five, nine, add things, change others. Those are not the scripture which cannot be changed. Even the author himself add the 8th habit. Writers after him also make another version of these beneficial habits.

Secondly, the seven habits really exist in Quran and it teaches us more than these seven habits. It is impossible that Allah who is the Merciful and who knows everything best then does not guide us to such useful manners. In fact, there are several verses signify these habits and command us to do so as follows.


1st habit: Be proactive

Highly effective people make improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than being reactive to external forces. Change in this world starts from within. Allah said: Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. [Quran 13:11]

2nd habit: Begin with the end in mind

Begin everything you do with a clear picture of your ultimate goal. Allah frequently reminds us about the Hereafter to always remember that everything we do should be oriented towards it. He said: O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow. (Quran 59:18).

3rd habit: Put first things first

We will be asked about our priority list. Choosing to do something before another wrongly could bring us to Hellfire like people who were late to embrace Islam or perform noble deeds until they passed away. Allah said: Everyone will then know what he has put forth and kept back. [Quran 82:5]
4th habit: Think win-win

Be considerate of the feelings of others. Do not always look for our happiness if it makes people suffer. Even when people do awful acts upon us, we should respond them with pious deeds to make all of us gain positive results then we become friends rather than enemies. Allah said: Repel evil by that deed which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity will become as though he was a devoted friend. [Quran 41:34]
5th habit: Seek first to understand, then to be understood

In Islam, you are prohibited to cut others’ talk before they have finished it. You also must listen well to what Allah and the Prophet said firstly then try to understand and learn it, after that you should obey, then Allah will give you His mercy. Allah said: And if they had said, “We hear and obey” and “Wait for us to understand,” it would have been better for them and more suitable. [Quran 4:46]

6th habit: Synergize

Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution that would have been obtained through either person’s own solution. Allah urges this point several times in Quran. For instance, He said: And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.[Quran 5:2]

7th habit: Sharpen the saw

In Quran Allah never commands us to request the addition of anything except daily additional knowledge or skill. Muslims should endlessly develop their quality. Allah said: and say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” [Quran 20:114]

May Allah help us to be those highly effective people. Allah knows best.

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Avoiding Misunderstanding Quran by Reading Tafsir Books

Many Muslims claim that learning tafsir is not part of learning the Qur’an. They think that it is only the duty of scholars. Yet in fact, knowing tafsir is extremely crucial to understanding the Qur’an properly even for people who are not the scholars. Without taking a look at books of tafsir, we could easily misunderstand the Qur’an.

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Iyas ibn Muawiyah, a Tabi’i, said, “The parable of a people who recite the Qur’an and do not know its explanation is like a group of people who have a written message from their king that comes to them during the dark night, and they do not have a lamp. Therefore, they do not know what is in the message. The example of one who knows tafsir is like a person who comes to them with a torch and reads to them what is in the message.”

For instance, Adi bin Hatim, one Shahabi, said, “When the following verse was revealed. ‘Eat and drink until the white thread appears to you, distinct from the black thread’ [Quran 2:187], I took two strings, one black and the other white and kept them under my pillow and went on looking at them throughout the night, but could not make any distinction between the two. So, the next morning I went to Allah’s Messenger and told him the whole story.

The Prophet said jokingly, “Your pillow is very wide if the white and black threads are under it!” Then he explained, “Rather, they are the blackness of the night and the whiteness of the daylight.” Meaning we are allowed to eat and drink until the dawn come.

Another interesting example of misunderstanding a verse based on its simple meaning is the story in the Sunan of Al-Baihaqi and the Mushannaf of Abdurrazzaq between Umar ibn Khattab and Qudamah ibn Mazh’un, the governor of Bahrain beginning from 624 AD. Umar as a Caliph got an information that Qudamah once drank khamr (intoxicant/wine). Umar said, “I will punish you if you drink as they said.”

Qudamah said, “If I drink as they said, then you do not have any authority to punish me because Allah said, “There is not upon those who believe and do righteousness any blame concerning what they have eaten if they fear Allah and believe and do righteous deeds, and then fear Allah and believe, and then fear Allah and do good; and Allah loves the doers of good.” [Quran 5:93]

Umar said, “You misinterpreted this verse. If you fear Allah then you will certainly get away from what is forbidden. Allah sent down this verse only referring what people said when khamr was prohibited, `O Allah’s Messenger, what about our brothers who died while still drinking Khamr before it was forbidden?” Meaning, there is no sin to people drank khamr before its prohibition because they were pious but people who drink it after the prohibition should be punished.

Such information can only be found in tafsir books. Imagine if people understand Quranic verses literally by merely reading their basic translation especially in these days when every people bring verses towards their selfish interpretations in order to legitimate their evil deeds. Therefore, reading tafsir books is necessary to get the precise meaning of verses we recite and prevent misunderstanding.

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Makki and Madani Verses in Qur’an

Have you really know the definition of makki and madani verses in Qur’an?

We find in the Qur’an some surahs labeled as either Makki or Madani, so we must know what is meant by these terms. To begin with, almost all scholars agreed that Makki surah is surah which consists Makki verses as its majority part. On the other hand, the Madani surah is dominated with Madani verses.

Furthermore, Al-Zarkashi (d. 794 A.H.) mentioned that there are three methodologies to define whether a particular surah or verse is Makki or Madani. The first methodology is to define it based on place, the second one is based on the theme and the last one is based on time.

The first method is used by some scholars, one amongst them is Al-Mawardi (d. 450 A.H.). It defines Makki verses as every verse sent down in Makkah or places around it and vice versa. However, the main problem this methodology faces is there are verses revealed above the seventh level of sky like Al-Baqarah: 285-286 and verses revealed between the Earth and the top of the nearest sky like As-Saffat: 164-166 and Az-Zukhruf: 45. How to decide whether such verses are Makki or Madani from this point of view?!

The second procedure is chosen by very few scholars, one of them is Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 A.H.). It says that verses that address the people of Makkah are Makki and those that address the people of Madinah are Madani. Yet, one of the flaws in this definition is that there are many verses in the Qur’an where the addresses are not specifically one of these two groups like verses addresses all creatures.


Therefore most scholars tend to prefer the last approach of defining Makki and Madani. This method stands on the time of revelation, regarding the Prophet’s hijrah (migration) to Madinah as the division point.

Yahya ibn Salam (d. 200 A.H.) quoted, “If a verse was revealed in Makkah and along the way, before the Prophet reached Madinah (meaning before the hijrah), it is considered Makki verse. And if it was revealed after the Prophet had reached Madinah even in his journeys outside (meaning after the hijrah), it is considered Madani verse.”

Thus, those verses revealed at the Conquest of Makkah (8 A.H.) or at the Farewell Pilgrimage (10 A.H.) would be considered Madani by this definition, even though the actual place of the revelation was Makkah. Last but not least, not like the prior two methodologies, verses which did not come down in the Earth or which address people outside Makkah and Madinah also can be grouped properly with this method based on their timeline. Allah knows best.

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