We can all be miracles
Surat al-Qalam was one of the earliest revelations to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). Of course, it wasn’t the whole surah: as with most revelation, the surah was revealed a few verses at a time, the Quran was not revealed surah by surah as we know it now.
The Prophet (peace be on him)’s character was his miracle
In the beginning of Surat al-Qalam, Allah says to the Prophet (peace be on him):
‘You have the best character.’ [68:4]
When you read the mentions of Musa and Isa in the Quran, they are all about the miracles that those prophets were given. But even though Muhammad (peace be on him) also had plenty of miracles, the Quran doesn’t focus on them: instead, it talks about his character.
We can see the connection between character and Quran. Once, when Aisha was asked about the Prophet (peace be on him), she said, ’His character was the Quran.’ She meant, he was the manifestation of the Quran. Some translations say ‘he was a walking Quran’, which also has the same meaning.
We can all be miracles
I always give the example of a magnet and a needle, or piece of iron. When you keep it next to the magnet for long enough, eventually it becomes magnetised itself. Similarly, when you are connected to the Quran, you become a manifestation of it. When you are always rubbing yourself with the Quran, and implementing it in your life, you become a walking Quran. This was the miracle of Muhammad (peace be on him), and it is available through his ummah as well. His miracles did not end with his death, the way Musa and Isa’s did: anybody who reflects and implements the Quran can be a walking miracle, until the Day of Judgement.
In the hadith, the Prophet (peace be on him) said:
وعن عائشة رضي الله عنها، قالت: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: “ إن المؤمن ليدرك بحسن خلقه درجة الصائم القائم” ((رواه أبو داود)).
The example of the believer who reads the Qur’an and applies it is like the utrujjah fruit. It has a nice smell and a sweet taste.’ [Bukhari]
A believer is a reflection of the fragrance and sweetness of the Quran. This hadith was the inspiration for the name of our foundation, Utrujj, which is the plural of utrujjah.
In another narration, ‘Aisha (ay Allah be pleased with her) mentioned the tremendous reward of having good character:
I heard Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: “A believer will attain by his good character the rank of one who prays during the night and observes fasting during the day.” [Abu Dawud]
Books about the character of the Prophet (peace be on him)
In this ayah of Surat al-Qalam, Allah is testifying that Rasul Allah (peace be on him) was the most perfect of His creation. In Surat al-Ahzab, He says:
‘Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have the best role model.’ [33:21]
There are plenty of books about the character of the Prophet (peace be on him). I highly recommend Muhammad ar-Rasul Allah by Abdullah Siraj, which has recently been translated into English. At-Tirmidhi’s Shamail al-Muhammadiyya is the most famous, which Imam Suyuti also summarised beautifully in his book, though unfortunately that has not been translated yet.
The first five revelations
The sequence of the first five revelations to be sent down show us the transition that the people of Makkah went through. The first one was of course Surat al-Alaq, ’Read in the name of your Lord.’ [96:1] This is about the importance of Allah’s name, which is the secret of any locked issues, and can ease your way to many things.
The second revelation was this section from Surat al-Qalam, which talks about character, and moving from Jahiliyyah practices to Quranic character.
The third and fourth revelations were from Surat al-Muddaththir and al-Muzzammil. Both of them start with ‘qum’ , meaning ‘stand up’. One is talking standing in prayer at night, and one is about standing up and warning people. We see the vertical and horizontal dimensions: connection with Allah, and with the community.
It all ties together, because to connect with people, you need good character. It is easy to be good when you are alone, but the real test is when you mix with people. The Prophet (peace be on him) said that ‘The believer who mixes with people and is patient with their harm has a greater reward than the believer who does not mix with people.’ [Ibn Majah]
And the fifth revelation was Surat al-Fatihah, which is all about optimism. It starts with ‘alhamdulillah’, ‘all praise is for Allah’ – it’s about seeing through a lens of gratitude.
Inshallah we can follow in the footsteps of Rasul Allah (peace be on him). We ask Allah to improve our characters, and help us carry on what we have learned in Ramadan. Ameen.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Ramadan Night 29
Transcribed by Hana Khan
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