In the last piece we touched on a beautiful verse of Surah Hajj and spoke about the structure and the amazing arrangement of it. The Quran is full of such examples and it is also is full of similarities, verses with similar endings and others with similar beginnings. Those who are on this holy Hifdh journey surely understand the difficulties faced in correctly remembering them.
As we started with Surah Hajj, we will touch on a few more tips in that Surah. It was in this beautiful Surah that my journey with the “Mutashaabihat” (Similarities) started, hence this genre. Alhamdulillah!
The name of the Surah almost always denotes a major topic of the Surah itself and Surah Hajj is no different. Allah speaks about how Ibrahim عليه السلام was ordered to proclaim Hajj and His Promise that people will come on foot, on every lean camel, and from every distant pass. It is important to remember that when Ibrahim عليه السلام set foot in Makkah the place was deserted and when he was ordained to proclaim Hajj it was still a place scarce of people and life. But Allah’s Promise is True and He has Power over all things. Is there any place in this world more crowded every second of the today? Is there any other event than Hajj that people gather from such distant places? Glory Be to Him, the Most Great!
The verse that speaks about this Command of Allah is Ayah 26 of Surah Hajj:
وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ
And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate.
Those who have memorized Surah Hajj and Surah Baqarah, will remember a very similar verse in Surah Baqarah, Ayah 125 with a small difference:
وَعَهِدْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ أَن طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ
And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].
The bold denotes the similarities in both verses and the underlined shows the minor difference. In Surah Hajj Allah mentions the House to be purified for those who do Tawaf, those who stand in prayer قائمين
and those who prostrate. Whereas in Surah al Baqarah, He mentions those who do Tawaf, those who stay in the masjid عاكفين and those who prostrate.
It is not uncommon for one to get confused and “travel” to the other Surah in this verse. I often myself at times am unsure whether to recite قائمين or عاكفين.
Our teacher mentioned a very useful tip from an Arabic book to remember the correct word in each Surah. “A person who does Hajj, does not do I’tikaaf in the masjid al Haram” Meaning, Surah Hajj does not speak about those who stay in the masjid- عاكفين. So – عاكفين must be in Surah Baqarah automatically sorting out any confusion. May Allah Preserve the Qur’aan in our hearts.
We then proceeded further in the Surah and reached Ayah 41 where Allah says:
لَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلِلَّـهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
[And they are] those who, if We give them authority in the land, establish prayer and give zakah and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. And to Allah belongs the outcome of [all] matters.
Allah mentions qualities of the Believers in many places as those who “establish the prayer and give zakah”. The examples are numerous in the Quran and knowing all the places is too difficult and wouldn’t serve much purpose. However, an interesting point our teacher brought to notice is that the verb used for giving zakah in this verse is slightly different than most commonly used. وَآتَوُا not وَآتُوا. The letter و has a vowel extra in this verse, notice above the و. While this minor difference may seem mind boggling if one hasn’t yet memorized, it is something very useful to those who have. وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةُ appears in four places in the Quran.
- Surah Baqarah – Ayah 277
- Surah Taubah – Ayah 5
- Surah Taubah – Ayah 11
- Surah Hajj – Ayah 41
It would be helpful to remember that every other place is وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ.
As we read further along we came to the verse:
فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ
And those who have believed and done righteous deeds – for them is forgiveness and noble provision.
“How many times does لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ appear in the Quran” asks the teacher? And to my greatest surprise (this was still my first day) the students list the Surahs. “Yes”, she says “ Allah has mentioned different rewards for those who do good, but forgiveness and a noble provision is mentioned in four Surahs, five different ayat:
- Surah Al Anfal – Ayah 4
- Surah al Anfal – Ayah 74
- Surah Hajj – Ayah 50
- Surah Nur – Ayah 26
- Surah Saba – Ayah 4
No one would be expected to remember ayah numbers but knowing which Surahs they appear in help remembering the different endings. It’s also less likely that you’ll accidentally end a ayah in a Surah other than the above ones with this ending.
May Allah make us of those who give the Quran its right and may it be our companion for what better is there a companion!
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