Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Madrassa is the Fortress of Islam


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتقين

The socio-political trajectory of Muslims in North America is worrying from my purist and apocalypticist perspective. The danger of assimilation cannot be overstated. Muslim organizations in this part of the world have largely embraced participation in the system and within local communities. They tend to argue that if Muslims do not become more involved an in the affairs of the ‘host society’ they will be vulnerable. It is true that right-wing forces pose a serious threat to us, but their aggression has the unintended consequence of a returning back to identity on our part. Identity is critical for us, otherwise no matter how personally pious a Muslim is, his offspring will inevitably have no connection to Islam whatsoever. The public school system has thoroughly engineered the ‘millenials’ into having a secular and perhaps even Eurocentric worldview. Agnosticism and a negative view of religion prevails among this corrupt generation. Millions of young Muslims are on the verge of apostasy because our community made the devastating mistake of trying a carve a place for themselves in the host society. I draw your attention to isolationist communities like the Old Order Amish and Haredi Jews who have, to a large extent, maintained their identity and cohesion of their respective communities precisely because they reject integration into the secular world. At this juncture, our community has to decide whether they want ‘progress’ or ‘identity’. The former, understood in Eurocentric terms of course, cannot possibly go hand and hand with the latter. The religious revival of the late 20th century has by now suffered ‘burnout’. A large portion of the blame for this lies squarely on the shoulders of violent extremists and those groups which expended efforts to spread the toxic ideology which motivated them. They drove nominal Muslims toward greater irreligiosity and loss of attachment to their Muslim identity out of embarrasment or genuine skepticism of Islam. It is no secret that the leadership of the Muslim community in North America was, and to still extent is, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. In Europe, the now disgraced Tariq Ramadan, was largely responsible for promoting greater socio-political participation and was the most ferocious opponent of traditionalism and isolationism. Like Tariq Ramadan, the reputation and credibility of other major, mainstream religious leaders within the community have been irreparably damaged by allegations of sexual misconduct and corruption. This too is a factor in driving the youth toward suspicion of religion. It is obvious to me, then, that we are heading toward a phase of extreme irreligiosity. Allah says:يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا  “O you who have believed! Save your souls and your families from a Fire” (Sura 66:6). As soon as an individual has rectified himself and latched on strongly to his Muslim identity, he has to start expending effort to ensure his family, including his seed, are also rectified and set upon the Straight Path leading to deliverance from fire. I say it is absolutely imperative Muslims not register their children into the secular public school system. At present, the Madrassa is not simply an institution to produce Ulama – now it has become vital for protecting the next generation from apostasy. Yes, the traditionalist Madrassa is the fortress of faith in this era, but only so long as it maintains its traditionalism and fundamentalism. It is true that the majority of these Madaris may be affiliated with and actively teach the heresies and innovations associated with the Deobandi – Hayati sect. As dedicated Muwahhidin we have to patronise our own network of religious schools and mosques, but some of us may not always have the priviledge of living in a locality with easy access to our own institutions. I of course encourage Hijra to such localities where monotheistic Islam is vibrant. But for those who are unable to do so due to various circumstances, they have to cling to whatever they can to reinforce religiosity otherwise they will become like lost sheep.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Smoke from the Sky (Sura 44:10)


بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتّقين

Smoke from the Sky

Allah Most High says:

فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ۞

So watch for the Day when the sky will bring a visible smoke

(Sura 44:10)

In a previous entry I cited the interpretation of the Prophet’s eminent companion, Abd Allah b. Mas’udRA regarding this Ayah. Just to recap, he stated that the punishment of the visible smoke was fulfilled during the seven years of famine that the people of Mecca had to endure for their rejection and persecution of the Prophet . Due to extreme hunger, weakness and fatigue they would hallucinate and see smoke coming down from the sky as a result of hallucination. While Ibn Mas’udRA was certainly correct in his interpretation, the Quranic passage hints at a double manifestation of this punishment of ‘Smoke’ (Sura 44:11-16), because the first punishment will be suspended after the disbelievers beg for it to be removed. The Prophet warned his Umma that the ‘Smoke’ is yet to come and is one of the ten major Signs of Judgment Day. Know that ‘Smoke’ is associated with the burning glory and presence of Allah, something which is repeatedly mentioned in the Torah: “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.” (Exodus 19:18) Some manuscripts state “all the people trembled violently”, as it is stated in Exodus 20:18. It is written in the Psalms: “Part your heavens, Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.” (Psalm 144:5) “Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy.” (Isaiah 4:5) In Isaiah’s vision: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” (Isaiah 6:1-4) “Before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, I will set portents in the sky and on earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke” (Joel 3:3-4, Jewish Study Bible)

The Holy Quran states that Allah Most High shall Himself come on Judgment Day (Sura 89:22), and so we conclude that the visible smoke in the sky shall be as a result of His burning glory as He comes accompanied by hosts of Angels. This is also reinforced by Allah saying He shall come with clouds (Sura 2:210) and that He shaded the Israelites with clouds (Sura 2:57), a reference to the clouds that are associated with the divine presence as mentioned in Exodus 40:34-38.

The Jabriya Sect


بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتّقين

The Jabriya are among the worst, misguided sects that appeared from the Umma of Prophet Muhammad , i.e., from among the Muslims. They essentially ascribe all acts to Allah Himself, and deny any free will or choice for the creation, i.e., human beings. At times one may hear preachers of the Jama’at-ut-Tabligh (Kandhelwi – Deobandi sect) in the mosque make irresponsible statements such as “Allah is the Doer of everything” or “Allah is doing everything”. These are statements characterized by the Bid’a of Jabr. The more hardcore Jabrite was the severe heretic Jahm b. Safwan (d. 745 CE). He denied the fact that humans possess power, that they can be agents or create, or that they have the capability to act. He also denied will and choice for humans, who to him were nothing but inanimate objects. He argued that deeds and actions are only attributed to the human being figuratively, like how it is said that a “tree bears fruit”.

Know that the blasphemy of the Jabriya lies in the fact that they attribute evil and unworthy deeds to Allah Most High, since they believe that all deeds are committed by Him and only attributed to the human figuratively.

The Ashari sect, who manufactured the absurd idea of occasionalism, deny secondary causation. This doctrine was pushed by al-Ghazzali: “God’s central role in everyday events is clearly seen in al Ghazali’s idea of continuous creation, or, in other words, that everything in the universe is created every moment. In order for an object to continue to exist, God must create it anew each moment. Objects, then, have nothing in their own nature that causes them to endure over time” (Harding, Karen. Causality Then and Now: Al Ghazali and Quantum Theory). The Asharis therefore have something of the innovation of ‘Jabr’ within their theology and can be characterized as a neo-Jabrite sect.

Mutazilite Sects (Part 2)


بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتّقين

Continuing from a previous entry regarding the sects of the Mu’tazila:

Sect
Founder
Doctrine
 
1. Khayyâtiya
Abûl-Hussain al-Khayyât
Affirmed  non-existent is a ‘thing’
 
2. Ka’biya
Abûl-Qâsim al-Ka’bî
Deny attribute of ‘will’ for God.
 
3. Jubbâ’iya
Abû Alî al-Jubbâ’î
Believe Allah is obedient to his servant if He does what His servants wills
 
4. Bahshamiya
Abû Hâshim Abd-as-Salâm
God is knowing: ‘knowing’ expresses the ha1 (mode) of God's essence
 
5. Thumâmiya
Thumâma b. Ashras al-Numairi
Generated acts are acts without an author
 
6. Shahhâmiya
Abû Ya’qûb al-Shahhâm
Possible for one thing to be determined by two determiners
 
7. Iskâfiya
Muhammad b. Abdullâh al-Iskâfi
Claim God has power to act unjustly only to those who don’t have full senses
 
8. Ja’fariya
Ja’far b. Harb and Ja’far b. al-Mubashshir
A part of the whole is different from the whole

Quran is not the Only Revelation to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ


بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتّقين

Among the greatest tribulations facing the Muslim Umma today are modernism and reductionism which have pushed certain people toward a tendency of rejecting Hadith. Some of these so-called Muslims refer to themselves as ‘Ahl-al-Quran’, ‘Quraniyun’ or ‘Quranists’, claiming that they are following nothing but the Quran while rejecting the ‘manmade’ traditions of Sunna, Hadith, Fiqh, etc. The truth is, of course, that these extremely misguided individuals are rejecters of the Prophet Muhammad himself and bear a hidden enmity toward him, or otherwise are woefully unaware of his lofty rank. They claim to follow the Book that was revealed to the Prophet while neglecting the actual person of that Prophet. The Holy Quran itself says that it is not sufficient to simply believe in the divinely-revealed Scriptures but one must believe in the Apostles too:

آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

The Apostle believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and the Believers (too). All believed in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. “We make no distinction between any of His Messengers”, and they said: “We heard and we obeyed. (Grant) us your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return.”

(Sura 2:285)

Hence, belief in the Apostle is in addition to belief in the Scripture that was revealed to him. If the Apostle’s function was only to convey the Scripture like how a mail carrier delivers a letter (God forbid), then why would Allah Most High enjoin the Believers to believe in His Apostle as an independent belief? In fact, it is belief in the Risala and Nubuwwa of the Apostle Muhammad which must necessarily precede belief in what is revealed to him (Quran). This explains why the Prophet first invited his people to believe in him as a Prophet of God, in the well known episode of Da’wat al-Ashira, before inviting them to believe in the Quran. The so-called ‘Quranists’ and Hadith-rejecters are in fact individuals who have disbelieved in the Risala of Prophet Muhammad while feigning belief in the Quran. That is quite ironic since the Quran itself repeatedly and emphatically invites all of humanity to believe in the Prophet Muhammad as an Apostle of God.

Now one of the baseless objections of the Hadith-rejecters is that Believers have only been enjoined to believe in and act upon divine revelation, which the Hadith are not divinely revealed, but only sayings that are allegedly attributed to the Prophet . They claim that if, hypothetically, it was accepted that the authentic Hadith contain teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad , they still do not possess the authority of divine revelation but should only be considered his personal opinion that is not binding upon anyone. This is because the Hadith-rejecters claim that the Quran was the only revelation that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad . This is in fact the foundation they have built as the basis upon which to reject Sunna and Hadith. Therefore I shall, with Allah’s help and permission, shatter this extremely fragile foundation of the Hadith-rejecters with arguments from the Holy Quran itself.

The first point is that there is not a single passage in the Holy Quran which explicitly states that the Quran itself is the only revelation that is revealed to Prophet Muhammad . The onus is upon the Hadith-rejecters to cite a single Ayah of the Quran to that effect, otherwise their claim that the Quran is the only revelation that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad must be dismissed out of hand as, ironically, un-Quranic. The truth is, whatever revelation or inspiration, Quranic or ortherwise, that is authentically established to the Prophet Muhammad must necessarily be accepted prima facie for any Believer in the Risala and Nubuwwa of Muhammad . Always remember, our belief in the Quran as divine revelation and Words of Allah derives from a basic assent and recognition of the person of Muhammad as God’s Prophet and Apostle.

But the final nail in the coffin for the ‘Quranist’ argument that the Quran is the only revelation that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad is explicit evidence within the Quran itself that it isn’t the only revelation to him. In this entry I shall present several such examples from the Holy Quran itself:

إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ ۞ فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ ۞ ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ ۞

Indeed, upon Us is its collection and its recitation. So when We have recited it, then follow its recitation. Then indeed, upon Us is its explanation.

(Sura 75:17-19)

In this passage, Allah Most High has stated that He himself is responsible for the Bayan or ‘explanation’ of the Quran. Hence, the Bayan of the Quran, which is obviously distinct from the actual Quran itself, is, like the Quran, from Allah. And that which is from Allah as a Bayan is obviously something divinely-revealed hence carrying divine authority. Elsewhere, Allah says that the Quran itself is a Bayan (Sura 3:138). Therefore, just as the Quran, which is a Bayan, is recognized as divine-revelation having divine authority because it is from God, therefore, the Bayan of the Quran must necessarily be divine-revelation too as it also comes from God. In other words, whatever ‘Bayan’ comes from God is divinely-revealed, whether that Bayan is the Quran itself (3:138) or a Bayan of the Quran (75:19).

In another passage, Allah says to His beloved Prophet :

وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الرُّؤْيَا الَّتِي أَرَيْنَاكَ إِلَّا فِتْنَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَالشَّجَرَةَ الْمَلْعُونَةَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ

And We did not make the vision which We showed you except as a trial for mankind, and (likewise) the cursed tree (mentioned) in the Quran

(Sura 17:60)

Here, in the Quran itself, Allah reminds the Prophet about a vision that He showed him. Now that vision must have obviously been seen before the revelation of this Verse of the Prophet . It is also obvious that the vision which the Prophet saw was not a verse of the Quran that was revealed to him. Hence, it is an example of an extra-Quranic divine experience or form of revelation. Regarding an event before the watershed Battle of Badr, Allah says to His beloved Prophet :

إِذْ يُرِيكَهُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي مَنَامِكَ قَلِيلًا

When you were shown them by Allah in your dream as few

(Sura 8:43)

This is another example of an extra-Quranic inspiration to the Prophet in the form of a dream.

In the Quran, Allah reveals the command to the Prophet and by extension the Believers to turn their faces toward the Sacred Mosque in Mecca as a Qibla (Sura 2:144). It is well known that before this Quranic revelation, the Prophet and his Companions prayed facing in the direction of Jerusalem. The ‘Quranists’ have to admit that there is no verse in the Quran in which Allah revealed to the Prophet to face Jerusalem as a Qibla. But Allah says to his beloved Prophet :

وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ

And We did not make the Qibla which you were upon except that We make evident he who follows the Messenger from he who turns back on his heels.

(Sura 2:143)

Here, Allah is mentioning the fact that He was the One who gave the first Qibla (to Jerusalem) to the Prophet and his companions. But He is making mention of the fact that the first Qibla was from Him, and not the Prophet’s own opinion. Since we have no explicit mention of Allah giving the first Qibla of Jerusalem to the Prophet anywhere in the Quran, it has to be admitted that the revelation of that Qibla was an extra-Quranic revelation.

Throughout the Holy Quran, Allah speaks of the incidents when He revealed and inspired various things to His Prophets and other righteous individuals which are obvious examples of non-scriptural revelations. For example, when the pharaonic magicians performed a great feat of magic with their ropes and sticks, the Prophet Moses conceived a fear, but Allah inspired to him:

لَا تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْأَعْلَىٰ

and that he should throw down the staff in his right hand which would immediately swallow up their bogus magic (Sura 20:68-69). Now obviously, this is an example of a revelation to Moses before Allah gave him the Torah. It is strange that the so-called ‘Quranists’ deny that Allah never revealed anything or spoke to the Prophet Muhammad outside of what is contained in the text of the Quran, but Allah would speak to and spontaneously inspire other Prophets before him with inspirations that preceded or were separate from the Scriptures they were given.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Prohibition of Fat of Cattle, Sheep, Goats for Jews (Sura 6:146)


بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتّقين

Fat Forbidden for Jews

Allah Most High says:

وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّمْنَا كُلَّ ذِي ظُفُرٍ ۖ وَمِنَ الْبَقَرِ وَالْغَنَمِ حَرَّمْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ شُحُومَهُمَا إِلَّا مَا حَمَلَتْ ظُهُورُهُمَا أَوِ الْحَوَايَا أَوْ مَا اخْتَلَطَ بِعَظْمٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُم بِبَغْيِهِمْ ۖ وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ۞

And to those who are Jews We forbade every (animal) with claws, and of the cows and the Ghanam (sheep and goats) We forbade to them their fat except what their backs carry or the intestines or what is joined with the bone. That is their recompense for their rebellion. And indeed We are truthful.

(Sura 6:146)

Some exegetes interpret the term Dhee Zufur as referring to anything that doesn’t have cloven hooves, such as the camel. This corresponds to what is written in the Torah (Leviticus 11:4, 26). But the Holy Quran asserts that the Jews were also forbidden from eating the fat of cows (cattle) and Ghanam, referring to sheep and goats. Furthermore, this Verse states that the reason the Jews are forbidden from eating the fat of cattle, sheep and goats is as a penalty for their rebelliousness.

Firstly, the Quran is alluding to what is written in the Torah: “Say to the Israelites: Do not eat any of the fat of cattle, sheep or goats.” (Leviticus 7:23) “This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood” (Leviticus 3:17) “All the fat is the Lord’s” (Leviticus 3:16) According to the Torah, the fat of sacrificial animals (animals which may be sacrificed) is forbidden but the fat of non-sacrificial animals, such as deer, is not forbidden in Halacha (Jewish law). Hence the fat of all cattle, sheep and goats is forbidden for the Jews, even after the end of the sacrificial system, as a permanent commandment. The Holy Quran reinforces this prohibition upon the Jews, but explains the reason as being due to their rebelliousness. Unlike the other dietary prohibitions in the Torah, the prohibition of the fat of the sacrificial animals is not because of it being unclean. In fact, it is the choicest part of the animal, which is why it is burnt on the altar as an “aroma pleasing to the Lord” (Leviticus 3:5). This is an answer to a Jewish objection that why has the Holy Quran declared the prohibition of fat from cattle, sheep and goats upon the Jews as a recompense for their rebelliousness. They should answer why else have they been prohibited from eating the fat of those animals when they are not used as an offering or sacrifice. The Torah says it is a “lasting ordinance” that applies to them “wherever they live” (Leviticus 3:17) and not only restricted to sacrifices at the Temple.  The Verse of the Holy Quran also states that the fat carried on the ‘back’, ‘small intestines’ and joined to the bones is permitted. Though this may not be explicitly stated in the written Torah (it is implied in Leviticus 3:3-4), it was explained in the Oral Torah. For example, in the Mishneh Torah compiled by Maimonides in the 12th century CE:

שלשה חלבים הן שחייבין עליהן כרת:

חלב שעל הקרב ושעל שתי הכליות ושעל הכסלים אבל האליה מותרת באכילה לא נקראת חלב אלא לענין קרבן בלבד כמו

There are three types of forbidden fat for which one is liable for kerat: the fat on the digestive organs, on both kidneys, and on the flanks. The fat-tail, by contrast, is permitted to be eaten. It is called fat only with regard to the sacrifices (Ma’achalot Assurot 7:5)

חלב שהבשר חופה אותו מותר שעל הכסלים אסר הכתוב לא שבתוך הכסלים וכן חלב שעל הכליות נאסר ולא שבתוך הכליות

“Fat which is covered by meat is permitted. Scripture forbids ‘fat on the flanks,’ but not within the flanks. Similarly, ‘fat on the kidneys’ is forbidden, but not fat within the kidneys.” (Ma’achalot Assurot 7:7)

חלב הלב וחלב המעים הן הדקין המלופפין כולן מותרין והרי הם כשומן שהוא מותר חוץ

“The fat of the heart and the fat of all of the small intestines are permitted. They are considered like shuman which is permitted fat” (Ma’achalot Assurot 7:9)

Hence this distinction between Chelev and Shuman is what is being referred to in Surah 6:146. Some Jews, who do not accept the ‘Oral Torah’, such as the Karaites, forbid alyah (the ‘fat-tail’) while Rabbinic Jews who follow the ‘Oral Torah’ consider it permitted. The Holy Quran has endorsed the position of the Rabbinic Jews in this issue by stating that the fat on the “backs” and mixed with the “bone” referring to the tailbone, is permitted to them. In this way, the Holy Quran has endorsed the idea of an ‘Oral Torah’ that was revealed to Prophet Moses at Mount Sinai along with a ‘Written Torah’. The Prophet Muhammad , being the similitude of Moses, stated:

أَلاَ إِنِّي أُوتِيتُ الْكِتَابَ وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ

“I have been given the Book (Quran) and its Similitude with it” (Sunan Abi Dawud #4604)

Hence the inspired sayings and deeds from the Sunna of the Prophet are the Mithl-al-Quran, granted to him along with the text of the Quran. It is only astray sects of Judaism like the Sadducees and now Karaites who rejected the ‘Oral Torah’ that was revealed to Prophet Moses at Mount Sinai, and likewise, from among this Umma, the misguided sects of Hadith-rejecters and so-called “Quraniyun” who reject the Mithl-al-Quran (Sunna). Jabir b. Abdullah (RA) narrates that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about the utilization of the fat of Mayta (dead animals, carrion), such as for greasing boats or as oil to burn for lights, he prohibited that, and furthermore stated: May Allah curse the Jews, for Allah made the fat (of sacrificial animals) illegal for them, yet they melted the fat, sold it, and ate its price. (Bukhari). Likewise, Ibn Abbas (RA) narrates that once Umar b. al-Khattab (RA) was informed of a man named Samura who sold wine, so Umar cursed him and narrated the same Hadith from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Incidentally, the Hadith is a proof for the impurity of the fat of Mayta from animals which are otherwise Halal to eat if slaughtered properly. Their skins are also impure, but become pure through the process of tanning.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Huruf al Muqattaat (Disjointed Letters)

بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم
والعاقبة للمتّقين
Huruf-al-Muqattaat (Disjointed Letters)

A unique feature of the Holy Quran is the occurrence of ‘disjointed letters’ at the beginning of 29 chapters, for example:
الٓمّٓ۞
Alif. Laam. Meem.
which specifically occurs at the beginning of six separate chapters. There is considerable debate surrounding the meaning of these disjointed letters, but through my own research and inspiration I believe that they have some relation to numerology. Gematria, known as Abjad in Arabic, assigns a value to each letter of the alphabet. The Hebrew alphabet consists of twenty-two letters, and so the last letter of that alphabet has a value of 400. Arabic, however, has an additional six letters, which its last letter being assigned a value of 1000. Nevertheless, the disjoined letters which appear at the beginning of chapters of the Holy Quran all correspond to letters in the Hebrew alphabet and none of the additional six letters are used. I believe this isn’t coincidental and a strong indication that the disjointed letters have something to do with gematria. Another indication of this is a Hadith:
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ رِئَابٍ ، قَالَ : " مَرَّ أَبُو يَاسِرِ بْنُ أَخْطَبَ بِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، وَهُوَ يَتْلُو فَاتِحَةَ سُورَةِ الْبَقَرَةِ : الم { 1 } ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لا رَيْبَ فِيهِ سورة البقرة آية 1-2 ، فَأَتَى أَخَاهُ حُيَيَّ بْنَ أَخْطَبَ فِي رِجَالٍ مِنْ يَهُودَ ، فَقَالَ : تَعْلَمُونَ وَاللَّهِ ، لَقَدْ سَمِعْتُ مُحَمَّدًا يَتْلُو فِيمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ : الم { 1 } ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ سورة البقرة آية 1-2 ، فَقَالُوا : أَنْتَ سَمِعْتَهُ ؟ قَالَ : نَعَمْ ، فَمَشَى حُيَيُّ بْنُ أَخْطَبَ فِي أُولَئِكَ النَّفْرِ مِنْ يَهُودَ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَقَالُوا : يَا مُحَمَّدُ ، أَلَمْ يُذْكَرْ لَنَا أَنَّكَ تَتْلُو فِيمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْكَ : الم { 1 } ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ سورة البقرة آية 1-2 ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " بَلَى " ، قَالُوا : أَجَاءَكَ بِهَذَا جِبْرِيلُ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : " نَعَمْ " ، قَالُوا : لَقَدْ بَعَثَ اللَّهُ قَبْلَكَ أَنْبِيَاءَ مَا نَعْلَمُهُ بَيَّنَ لِنَبِيٍّ مِنْهُمْ مَا مُدَّةُ مُلْكِهِ ، وَمَا أُكْلُ أُمَّتِهِ غَيْرَكَ ، فَقَالَ حُيَيُّ بْنُ أَخْطَبَ : وَأَقْبَلَ عَلَى مَنْ كَانَ مَعَهُ ، فَقَالَ لَهُمُ : الأَلِفُ وَاحِدَةٌ ، وَاللامُ ثَلاثُونَ ، وَالْمِيمُ أَرْبَعُونَ ، فَهَذِهِ إِحْدَى وَسَبْعُونَ سَنَةً ، أَفَتَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ نَبِيٍّ إِنَّمَا مُدَّةُ مُلْكِهِ وَأُكْلُ أُمَّتِهِ إِحْدَى وَسَبْعُونَ سَنَةً ؟ قَالَ : ثُمَّ أَقْبَلَ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَقَالَ : يَا مُحَمَّدُ ، هَلْ مَعَ هَذَا غَيْرُهُ ؟ قَالَ : " نَعَمْ " ، قَالَ : مَاذَا ؟ قَالَ : ( المص ) ، قَالَ : هَذِهِ أَثْقَلُ وَأَطْوَلُ ؛ الأَلِفُ وَاحِدَةٌ ، وَاللامُ ثَلاثُونَ ، وَالْمِيمُ أَرْبَعُونَ ، وَالصَّادُ تِسْعَوْنَ ، فَهَذِهِ إِحْدَى وَسِتُّونَ وَمِائَةٌ سَنَةً ، هَلْ مَعَ هَذَا يَا مُحَمَّدُ غَيْرُهُ ؟ قَالَ : " نَعَمْ " ، قَالَ : مَاذَا ؟ قَالَ : ( الر ) ، قَالَ : هَذِهِ أَثْقَلُ وَأَطْوَلُ ؛ الأَلِفُ وَاحِدَةٌ ، وَاللامُ ثَلاثُونَ ، وَالرَّاءُ مِائَتَانِ ، فَهَذِهِ إِحْدَى وَثَلاثُونَ وَمِائَتَا سَنَةٍ ، فَقَالَ : فَهَلْ مَعَ هَذَا غَيْرُهُ يَا مُحَمَّدُ ؟ قَالَ : " نَعَمْ ، ( المر ) " ، قَالَ : فَهَذِهِ أَثْقَلُ وَأَطْوَلُ ؛ الأَلِفُ وَاحِدَةٌ ، وَاللامُ ثَلاثُونَ ، وَالْمِيمُ أَرْبَعُونَ ، وَالرَّاءُ مِائَتَانِ ، فَهَذِهِ إِحْدَى وَسَبْعُونَ وَمِائَتَا سَنَةٍ ، ثُمَّ قَالَ : لَقَدْ لُبِّسَ عَلَيْنَا أَمْرُكَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ ، حَتَّى مَا نَدْرِي أَقَلِيلا أُعْطِيتَ أَمْ كَثِيرًا ، ثُمَّ قَامُوا عَنْهُ ، فَقَالَ أَبُو يَاسِرٍ لأَخِيهِ حُيَيِّ بْنِ أَخْطَبَ ، وَلِمَنْ مَعَهُ مِنَ الأَحْبَارِ : مَا يُدْرِيكُمْ ، لَعَلَّهُ قَدْ جُمِعَ هَذَا كُلُّهُ لِمُحَمَّدٍ ؛ إِحْدَى وَسَبْعُونَ ، وَإِحْدَى وَسِتُّونَ وَمِائَةٌ ، وَإِحْدَى وَثَلاثُونَ وَمِائَتَانِ ، وَإِحْدَى وَسَبْعُونَ وَمِائَتَانِ ، فَذَلِكَ سَبْعُ مِائَةٍ وَأَرْبَعٌ وَثَلاثُونَ ، فَقَالُوا : لَقَدْ تَشَابَهَ عَلَيْنَا أَمْرُهُ . فَيَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّ هَؤُلاءِ الآيَاتِ نَزَلَتْ فِيهِمْ : هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ سورة آل عمران آية 7

Ibn AbbasRA narrates from Jabir b. Abd Allah b. Ri’abRA, who said: Abu Yasir b. Akhtab passed by Allah’s Apostle who was reciting the opening of the Sura of the Cow: Alif – Lam – Mim. This is the Book wherein is no doubt. He came to his brother, Huyaiy b. Akhtab, among some Jews, and said: “By God, do you know that I heard Muhammad recite from what God has sent down to him: Alif – Lam – Mim. This is the Book, wherein is no doubt?” They said: “You heard him say that?” He said: “Yes.” Then Huyaiy b. Akhtab went to Allah’s Apostle with that group of Jews, and they said: “O Muhammad, has it not been mentioned to us that you recite Alif – Lam – Mim. This is the Book wherein is no doubt, in what has been sent down to you?” Then Allah’s Apostle said: “Yes, indeed,” so they said: “Did Gabriel bring you this from God?” He said: “Yes.” Then they said: “God sent prophets before you, but we are not aware that He explained to any of them the duration of his authority and how long his community would be sustained except to you.” Then Huyaiy b. Akhtab turned to those who were with him and said to them: “The Alif is ‘one’, the Lam ‘thirty’, and the Mim ‘forty’. This makes 71 years. Will you enter the religion of a prophet the duration of whose authority and the life of whose community is only 71 years?” Then he turned to Allah’s Apostle and said: “O Muhammad, were there any more letters with these?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “What were they?” He said: “Alif – Lam – Mim – Sad.” He said: “This is more important and longer: The Alif is ‘one’, the Lam ‘thirty’, the Mim ‘forty’, and the Sad ‘ninety’. This makes 161 years. Are there more than this, O Muhammad?” He said: “Yes.” He said: “What are they?” He said: “Alif – Lam – Ra.” He said: “This is more important and longer: The Alif is ‘one’, the Lam ‘thirty’, and the Ra ‘two-hundred’. This makes 231 years. Are there any more than this, O Muhammad?” He said: “Yes. Alif – Lam -Mim – Ra.” He said: “This is more important and longer: The Alif is ‘one’, the Lam ‘thirty’, the Mim ‘forty’, and the Ra ‘two-hundred’. This makes 271 years.” Then he said: “Your affair has become obscure for us, O Muhammad, for we do not know whether you have been given a little time or a lot.” Then they left him. But Abu Yasir said to his brother, Huyaiy b. Akhtab, and to the rabbis who were with him: “What do you know? Perhaps all of these numbers are summed up in the case of Muhammad: 71, 161, 231, and 271. That makes 734.” They said: “His affair still appears ambiguous to us.” It is claimed that these verses were revealed about them: “It is He Who sent down upon you the Book, wherein are verses clear that the Essence of the Book, and others ambiguous. (Sura 3:7)” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir)

This Hadith is weak, in part due to the rejected narrator Ibn Sa’ib al-Kalbi. Nevertheless, there may be some truth to the idea that these disjointed letters are not only meant to be understood in the light of numerology or gematria, but that they also contain news of the unseen. And Allah knows best.

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