Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir


Episode - 16


Ramadhaan - The Month of the Qur’an

[Part – 2]


 (Duration –  52 minutes)


Yusuf Chambers: Dear Brothers and sisters in Islam and Humanity, Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu, may the peace, mercy and the blessings of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) be on all of you. Welcome to the show Ramadhaan - A date with Dr Zakir. I am your host Yusuf Chambers and today we are discussing the topic

‘Ramadhaan – The Month of the Qur’an Part 2’


Dr. Zakir, Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!


Dr. Zakir: Walaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu


Yusuf Chambers: Part 2 of the Programme such a…an informative and wonderful session we hade last time out, we got so many question we decided lets go for a second round. Alhumdulillah. First question I’d like to pose to you today, can you inform the viewers about any particular Ayaats, verses or Surahs of the Qur’an which will be beneficial for them to recite during the holy month of Ramadhaan.


Dr. Zakir: There are many verses infact the whole of the Qur’an we recite any verse and InshaAllah you’ll get sawaab but there are a few verses and some Surah that have been pointed out by our beloved Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) in which there are more benefits. 


For e.g. it’s mentioned in Sahih Muslim, Vol. No. 2, in the Book of Salaah, Hadith No. 1769 where the beloved Prophet said that 


“Is there any of you who cannot recite 1/3rd of the Qur’an in the night, the sahaaba said: how is it possible to recite, 1/3rd of the Qur’an in one night so the Prophet said: “Read Qul Huwallahu Ahad” that is Surah Ikhlaas Ch. No. 112 for it is one third of the Qur’an.”


So if you recite Surah Ikhlaas Ch. No. 112 verses 1-4 which are only 4 verses it is as though you have recited 1/3rd of the Qur’an.

It’s further mentioned in Musnad Ahmad Vol. No. 3, Page no. 437 which is also classified as Sahih by Sheikh Albaani in his Silsilah Al Sahihah [Vol. 2] Hadith No. 589 where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that 


“Anyone who recites Surah Ikhlaas ten times he build form himself a house in the Paradise”


If anyone who recites Surah Ikhlaas “Qul Huwallahu Ahad” ten times, he gets a house in Paradise.


It’s further mentioned in a Sahih Hadith of Tirmidhi, [Book of Medicine] Hadith No. 2058 which says that 


“The two Surahs, Surah Falaq and Surah Naas they were revealed which will protect you from evil and it’s a cure”


That means the Mu’wadathain the last two Surahs of the Qur’an Ch. No 113 that is Surah Falaq and Ch. No. 114 Surah Naas they were revealed to protect a person from evil and it’s called as the cure.


It’s further mentioned in the Sahih Hadith of Tabrani, Vol. No. 8 in the Book of Virtues of the Qur’an, Hadith No. 7532 


which is also mentioned in 


Silsilah Al Sahihah [Vol. 2] Hadith no. 972 where it’s mentioned that 


“Anyone who recites the Aayatal Kursi after all the compulsory Salaah, he will not be forbidden entrance in Paradise”


Means if you recite Surah Baqara Ch. 2 Verse 255… after all your obligatory Salaah, all the five compulsory Salaah, then InshaAllah you will not be forbidden you will not be prohibited from entering Jannah.


And it’s further mentioned in Mustadrak Al Haakim [Vol. 1 Book of Virtues] Hadith no. 2072 that


“Anyone who recites Surah Kahf on Friday he will get a light which will remain with him till next Friday”


There are many such Ahadtih in which the Prophet has mentioned certain verses which has got superiority I’ll just mention one more.


The beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said it’s mentioned in 


Sahih Muslim, Vol. No. 2, in the Book of Salaah, Hadith No. 1757 that 


“If you recite the two Surahs, Surah Baqara and Surah Ale Imran, you will have two clouds or two canopies or two flocks of birds who will intercede for you on the day of resurrection”


These are just some of the verses and Surahs which the Prophet has mentioned the benefits and the virtues


Yusuf Chambers: In order to maximize the benefit…during this holy month of Ramadhaan. Alhumdulillah that’s Excellent Thank you. Now it’s a certain fact and unfortunate certain fact, there are many Muslims who have very superficial respect for the Qur’an in term of touching it placing it in the right place etc. covering it, but unfortunately when it comes to actually adhering to the principals of the Qur’an and implementation of those principals there seems to be a lacking, tell me which is more important? The undue care and love and attention to the Qur’an or the implementation of the virtues of the Qur’an.


As far as giving respect to the Qur’an, mainly the outward respect is that more important or reading and implementing on the guidance is important? Both are important A Muslim respect the Qur’an as much as he can and at the same time we should read it with understanding and implement on the message which Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has given us. But unfortunately there are some Muslims who only give outward respect that means superficially you see the respect but they don’t implement on the guidance for which the Qur’an was revealed so it defeats the very purpose. 


For e.g. Many Muslims the keep the Qur’an on top of the shelf it’s the top most book and they keep it so much on top that it catches dust and if a person has to read the Qur’an, he will think so one will think ten times that O it’s so High you know it’s difficult to read. 


The Qur’an should be a book which is a guide for your day to day life ,it should be kept handy like a guide a text book which is referred daily, it should be kept on the shelf which is easy approach so that you can have it at any opportunity that you require it that’s the way we should read the Qur’an as a guide for everyday.


Furthermore some people, they tie the Qur’an securely in a silk cloth and keep it on top and if a person has a few minutes maybe ten minutes time he would not bother to read the Qur’an, the thought of him getting the Qur’an down and untying it and again tying it securely in the silk cloth that itself will take 10-15 minutes so he says what’s the use of spending the time in reading the Qur’an. So it should be handy and whenever a person feels he should be able to approach it.


Many of the Muslims they have a thousand question before touching the Qur’an as though the Qur’an is an RDX bomb it will explode they have a thousand questions. Are you in Wudu, is it alright can I touch the Qur’an…you know can I read the Qur’an while standing? can I read while traveling? Having the shoes and reading the Qur’an it is Haraam! 


Now where do they get this from which hadith or which Qur’anic verse where it says that you can’t read the Qur’an with your shoes on? So it defeats the very purpose it should be a daily guide for the Muslims and it should be handy and at every opportunity that he have, he should read the Qur’an.


And we find this very often if we go to the mosque in gulf countries that if a person who comes to pray in the mosque if he has a few minutes he doesn’t waste time he picks up the Qur’an open the Qur’an and he reads. And we find that most of the people that come early they read the Qur’an. But in the mosque in the sub-continent that’s India and Pakistan, you may see a few people reading the Qur’an maybe in the first row and if someone in the second row reads the Qur’an they will immediately stop him. The back…your back is facing the Qur’an it is Haraam. So these things are all superficial respect outward respect it’s not really what the Qur’an has been revealed for, it’s revealed as a guidance for the humankind. You should read it whenever you have an opportunity.


And that reminds me of an incidence that in the gulf country once an Indian Qaari he had gone to Saudi Arabia to visit the country and because he was a very good Qaari they allowed him to lead the Magrib Salaah so the Qaari recited in the Salaah Surah Fatiha then Surah Yusuf and with very good voice with melodious voice with Tajweed Alhumdulillah. After he finished the salaah there was an Arab who was smiling so the Indian Qaari he asked him that why didn’t you like my Qiraat, so he said no your Qiraat was wonderful but I was wondering that in the salaah you put Yusuf (alaihe salaam) inside the well but why didn’t you get him out? Before the Salaah was over 


Yusuf Chambers: Ha..ha…


Dr. Zakir: The joke is that he read the Qur’an Surah Yusuf but didn’t understand what he was reading, so he put Yusuf (alaihe salaam) in the well but before salaah he should have brought him out of the well. 


So it’s very important that besides giving respect which is important…you should give respect but the main thing is read the Qur’an with understanding and implement it’s guidance in your life daily that’s the best.


Yusuf Chambers: Definitely wonderful advice there thank you very much Doctor. Dr. Zakir though it is true that Islam is a Universal Religion, religion of mankind, many Muslims it seems and non-Muslims consider the Qur’an is a message only for the Muslims. Can you just clarify; is it only for the Muslims?


Dr. Zakir: Many people do have a misunderstanding as you rightly mentioned, many Muslims as well as many non-Muslims they have a misunderstanding that Qur’an was revealed only for the Muslim infact no where does the Qur’an says that it was only for the Muslims infact the Qur’an says in 


Surah Ibraheem Ch. No. 14 verse no. 1 


“Alim Laam Raa”


“This is a Book which was given to Thee Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) so that Thou may leadest the mankind from darkness to light”    


It doesn’t say that this book will only lead the Muslims from darkness to light but lead the human kind from darkness to light


It’s further mentioned in Surah Ibraheem Ch. No 14 verse No. 52


“Here is a message for Mankind, let them take warning there from, let them know that there is only one God, let the men of understanding take heed”


It says here is a message for the human kind not only for the Muslims or the Arabs.


And it’s further mentioned in Surah Baqara Ch. No 2 verse No. 185

“Ramadhaan was the month in which the Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for human kind clear signs of guidance and judgement, Criteria to judge right from wrong”


And it’s further mentioned in Surah Al Zumar Ch. No. 39 Verse No. 41 that 


“We have revealed the Qur’an; We have given the Qur’an to Thee Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) so that Thou may instruct human kind”


It doesn’t say that Thou may instruct only the Muslim or the Arabs but the whole of human kind  


And Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was not sent only for the Muslims or for the Arabs.


The Qur’an says in Surah Ambiya Ch. No. 21 Verse No. 107


“Wa Maa Arsalnaaka illa Rahmatal lil Aalameen”




“We have sent Thee not but as a mercy to the whole of human kind as a mercy to all the worlds as a mercy to all the creatures”


A similar message is repeated in Surah Saba Ch. No. 34 Verse No. 28


“Wa Maa Arsalnaaka illa Kaaffa tal Lin Naas Bashirau wa Nazeerau”


“We have sent Thee not but as a Universal Messenger giving glad tidings and warning against sins but most of them human beings they do not know”


So the Qur’an, last and final revelation and the last and final Messenger Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) they were not sent only for the Muslims or the Arabs, they were sent for the whole of human kind. 


Yusuf Chambers: I’m glad you’ve confirmed that now, now it’s out on record everybody has a chance  


Dr Zakir: And there’s no excuse 


Yusuf Chambers: Absolutely! Put it to bed now Alhumdulillah! Which of the English translations… meanings of the Arabic Qur’an would you recommend the viewers as being the best?


Dr Zakir: There are many English translations of the Qur’an as I mentioned earlier Qur’an is translated in most of the major languages of the world. As far as English is concerned, in our Foundation, Islamic Research Foundation, we have more than 50 different translations of the Qur’an only in English language. The best overall amongst all the English translation there are a few one of them is the Saheeh International. 


This is the copy, The Saheeh International, it is translated just a few years ago it was translated by 3 American ladies these 3 accepted Islam and Alhumdulillah they have referred various previous translations and this is an authentic translation, but one thing I would like to mention that no translation of the Qur’an is exactly as the original word of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) because the translation is a human handy work. So no translation would be free from errors. No translation, it can come closer to the meaning of the Qur’an but because the translation is a work of a human being it can come no where exactly the same as the Arabic Qur’an.


But amongst the one we have in English language Saheeh International is one of the good ones the translation is authentic Alhumdulillah but natural as I mentioned there is bound to be a few errors. 


The other one which is overall good and which I recommend is the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Abdullah Yusuf Ali spent more than 40 years only in translating the Qur’an and overall I say that if you want to give to a non Muslim the translation overall is good, it has commentary it has got foot notes and the English is a bit Archaic you know the old English ‘Thee’ ‘Thou’ ‘Ye’ which most of the people don’t like but actually it’s closer to Arabic because Arabic is a language in which you have two Genders Male and Female and numbers you have three, singular, plural and dual. So in English language if I have to say ‘You’ whether it’s a male or a female I use ‘You’ whether it’s a single person or two persons or more than two I used the same ‘You’. For six different people whether single dual or plural whether male or female I use the same ‘You’. But in Arabic for a male single person is a different you ‘anta’ for a female single person ‘anti’ similarly dual for male female is separate plural more than two male female is separate. There are six different ‘You’s’

So this Archaic English instead of you it has ‘Ye’ ‘Thee’ ‘Thou’ which is closer to the Arabic but its difficult for those who are not used to this English, difficult but there are people who have simplified this translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali and they have taken out this ‘Ye’ and ‘Thou’ and made it into ‘You’ etc. but overall this translation is very good but again it has some errors which are gross errors you should be aware of it, there errors are gross, but baring these errors which are there as I mentioned that this is one of the old translations and it is one of the most popular translation there have been tens or maybe hundreds of millions of copies of Abdullah Yusuf Ali which has been distributed through out the world because it’s a popular translation there are books written against this Qur’an also maximum but Alhumdulillah it is a good handiwork we have to be careful of the errors.    


The other translation is The Noble Qur’an by Taqiud Din Hilaali and Muhsin Khan this translation I specially recommended for the Muslims I don’t recommend for he non-Muslims because it has too many brackets and it’s good for the Muslims because in the foot notes very often they give references from Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, so it’s helpful for the Muslims to understand the Qur’an better. But for the non-Muslims because the brackets and too many explanations it may not be very much feasible for Da’wah work according to me.


The other translation which is good is by Abdul Majeed Dariyabaadi it’s in 4 volumes it’s main specialty is, it’s good for comparative religion and it gives quotations from the Bible and the other scriptures besides the Islamic scriptures.


Another English translation which is good is by Mohammad Asad, it is a very logical translation he very often quotes Zamakshari Al Kashaaf but we have to careful sometimes he goes overboard, he tries to prove everything logically even the miracles etc. so we have to be careful, other wise it’s argument is very sound but you have to be careful, as I said no translation is free from error.


Then the other translation that we have is by Marmaduke Pickthal he is a Britisher but in his translation there’s no commentary there’s no foot notes.


There is a translation of T.B. Irving which is an American translation, If you want American English that’s a good translation T.B. Irving


If you want a poetic translation then Arthur Arberry is there, he is a non-Muslim but it’s a poetic translation.


These are mainly the translations which are translated directly form Arabic to English and they are famous ones, there are many other several.


There are some translations which have been translated from Arabic to another language Urdu and then to English. For e.g. the translation by Maulana Abul A’la Maududi and that’s called as Tehfeemul Qur’an that’s a good translation it’s in 6 volumes, the news one is in more volumes and specially the new translation from Urdu to English by Zafar Ishaaq Ansari is far better in English and it’s a different view. You know it’s it gives a different view a different angle of the Qur’an.


I’d like to mention one more, the other one which is translated from Arabic to Urdu to English is by Maulana Shams Peerzada it’s in 3 Volumes, Daawatul Qur’an.


So these were some of the important translations I think it’s approximately ten that I have mentioned, there are more than 50 that are available and in the market maybe more, just a sample for the viewers if they want they can refer to these translations.


Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah we’ve had a book review as well in this show, that’s excellent. One suggestion Dr. Zakir can you give to the viewers in order to help them read the Qur’an with understanding.


Dr. Zakir: The arguments I gave earlier that’s sufficient to prove to a viewer that he should read the Qur’an with understanding but normally when we read the Qur’an there are two types of reading.


One is Tazakkur-e-Qur’an and One is Tadabbur-e-Qur’an. 


Tazakkur-e-Qur’an is superficial reading of the Qur’an which can be easily done by reading the translation of any Qur’an whether it’s in Arabic or any translation. 


Other is Tadabbur-e-Qur’an, pondering over the meaning of the Qur’an


As Allah says in the Qur’an in Surah Nisa Ch. 4 verse No. 82


“Afala yatadabbaroona alqur-ana walaw kana min indi ghayrillah lawajadoo feehi ikhtilafan kaseeran” 

Do they not consider the Qur’an with care, had it been from any one besides Allah, there would have been many contradictions”


So here the Qur’an says “Afala yatadabbaroona alqur-ana” Do they not ponder over the meaning of the Qur’an”


So one is Tazakkur-e-Qur’an that is superficial reading of the Qur’an which you can take any translation of the Qur’an and read and understand the concept of the Qur’an but one is Tadabbur-e-Qur’an which if you read the translation of the Qur’an you can do only to certain level knowing Arabic is important for doing indept pondering over the Qur’an. 


A person can say that I have done 100% Tazakkur-e-Qur’an I have read the Qur’an fine he can say it. But no one can say that I’ve pondered over the complete meanings of the Qur’an, no one can say that because the Qur’an is a book as many times as you read you’ll never get tired any other normal book if it is a good book you may like reading it maybe twice maybe thrice maybe 4,5,10 not more than that.


But Qur’an even if you read a thousand times if you read it the thousand and first time yet you will get knowledge, it’s an ocean of knowledge you get different views, different angles and you’ll try and understand it better. 


This copy of the Qur’an should be in the house of every Muslim, if he doesn’t understand Arabic as a language, he should have the translation of the copy of the Qur’an in the language he understand the best if he understand English he should have the English translation of the Qur’an, if he understand French he should have French translation of the Qur’an, if he understand German he should have German translation of the Qur’an, if he understand Urdu, Urdu translation, the language he understands the best, every Muslim home should have the translation of the Qur’an in that language.


This book the Glorious Qur’an is the best gift you can give to anyone, whether if be your friends whether it be your relatives whether it’s a gift for marriage whether it’s a gift you are going to meet someone whether it’s a housewarming ceremony it’s the best you can give. It’s the best gift even to a non-Muslim you can give the copy of the Qur’an to a non-Muslim it will be the best gift. And it will be a guide for his life.


The best gift that a parent can give to his child is the copy of the Qur’an, not only give that he should make him understand that and its very important that if the parents can see to it that they teach their children Arabic language so that they can understand the Qur’an directly it’s the best gift they can give to the children. 


Our parents didn’t think it important that we should learn Arabic as a language that’s the reason we are here today. Otherwise you know to learn Arabic as a language is very important.


And for that purpose you know we opened a school Islamic International School where we teach Arabic to the children from the age of three. We teach English and Arabic. When we teach A for Apple, B for Ball, A for Allah, B for Bismillah along with that we teach -“Min alif asadun.. Min Ba baitun.. Min Ta tufahun” so that they learn Arabic and English together.


And Alhumdulillah by the time they reach 3rd 4th 5th standard Alhumdulillah they can understand Qur’an directly, they learn Lugha Fus’ha and all my three children, I have a son whose about 12 and a half years old, daughter 10 and a half years old and another daughter about 8 years old. Alhumdulillah all can speak Lugha Fus’ha and you can read or recite any Qur’anic verse Alhumdulillah and they can immediately translate the Qur’anic verse. Alhumdulillah. And my son he has almost completed the Qur’an Alhumdulillah and his Qiraat is better much better than the position that we are, the best gift a parent can give to the child is the Qur’an and they teach, Arabic as a language that you can understand the last and final guidance of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) directly.


And we should make it a practice in the offices that whenever our employee when they come to the office they should recite the Qur’an in all our foundation, Islamic Research Foundation, in our School it’s compulsory that all the employees the moment they come in first they have to swipe their time chip card so the attendance is taken immediately they have to read atleast 15 minutes the Qur’an along with the translation. People may think you know we have a few hundred employees….few hundreds employees, everyday 15 minutes a loss of thousands of dollars but actually it’s a benefit whether it’s a business whether it’s an organization your staff learns to be honest and it’s preferable it’s better he will give better output Alhumdulillah! All the Muslims should see to it that at the work place they should make it compulsory. 


In the family we should see to it that we read the Qur’an daily whether it be after Fajr Salaah whether it be after Isha whichever is convenient time the family the father the mother the children get together and one of them can recite the Qur’an and one of them and one can read the translation so that it’s a family reading the Qur’an this way it will encourage all of them to understand the Qur’an better and come closer to Qur’an and the relationship with Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) it will increase Alhumdulillah! And you’ll come closer to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).


Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Dr. Zakir. Well we’ll now move on to the second part of the show which is to answer the question of the viewers relating to the topic Ramadhaan the month of Qur’an ofcourse this is part 2. 


Dr. Zakir the first questions from our viewers is, what about those people who are not fluent in reciting the Qur’an in Arabic and struggle to recite the Qur’an as it should be recited with all the Tajweed and Makhraj etc. could you give some advice on that to us.


Dr. Zakir: As far as whose struggles to recite the Qur’an and doesn’t have proper Tajweed and he has difficulties, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said it’s mentioned in 


Sahih Muslim, Vol. No. 1, in the Book of Salaah, Hadith No. 1745

The beloved Prophet said that 


“Anyone who recites the Qur’an fluently proper Tajweed etc. the angels they’ll be with him but a person who falters and struggles to recite the Qur’an he will get double reward”


And the explanation is given in that, one is for reciting the Qur’an and second is for struggling. So a person who cannot recite the Qur’an correctly and yet he continues and struggles and reads InshaAllah he will get double reward. So this is Islam MashaAllah. The more he struggles the more reward he will get InshaAllah.


Yusuf Chambers: InshaAllah, the next question some Muslims are continuously engaged in reciting the Qur’an in the month of Ramadhaan and they do ‘Khatmal Qur’an’ they complete the Qur’an many times, how many times is a Muslim supposed to, you know finish the Qur’an?


Dr. Zakir: Reading as much as the Qur’an specially in the month of Ramadhaan is good Alhumdulillah, the Prophet has recommended but each thing has it’s limitations, doing more is good but they cant do excess and there’s a hadith of Our beloved Prophet in 


Sahih Bukhari Vol. No. 6, [Book of Virtues], Hadith No. 5054  

Where Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said



“When a person asked one of the Sahabaas that how many Qur’an should I read, so the Prophet said that “Read the Qur’an once in a month” the sahaaba said “I can do much more than that”, so the Prophet replied that “read the Qur’an once in seven days” and that was a common practice amongst the sahbaas that they used to read the Qur’an once every seven days and that’s the reason the Qur’an is divided into seven manzils…you know each manzil is a little bit more than four Juz, four parts and the Qur’an is also divided in thirty parts. So if you recite one part, one Juz everyday in one month you can complete the Qur’an that’s what is normally recommended, if you can do better then every week if you complete the Qur’an that’s Alhumdulillah. 


But the Prophet also warned it’s mentioned in Tirmidhi in the hadith of 


Tirmidhi [Book of Recitation] Hadith No. 2949 that the Prophet said that 


“Anyone who completes the Qur’an in less than three days, he has not understood the Qur’an”


That’s means If you complete the Qur’an in less than three days, if you read it so fast then you’ll not understand the Qur’an its just like you know as you said like parade fashion very fast.. very fast….it’s useless even though you understand Arabic you wont be able to understand the Qur’an reading so fast, so it’s important that when you read the Qur’an you should understand the Qur’an. 


So this hadith again of Tirmidhi [Book of Recitation] Hadith No. 2949 which says that if you have read the Qur’an in less than three days it is as though you have not read the Qur’an besides mentioning the time span that it should be three days or more cant be less than that, it also gives another indicating that only reading is not sufficient, understanding is also important. So therefore I always recommend that besides reading in Arabic, also read the translation instead of doing Khatm-e-Qur’an twice in the month of Ramadhaan, read once in Arabic and once the translation. If you don’t understand Arabic instead of doing four times, read twice in Arabic and twice the translation in the language you understand the best. So atleast besides reading you are understanding what our Creator has asked us to do and you can implement the message of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). 


So the best is that as the Prophet said that “if you want to read the maximum it should be and the minimum time period required is three days” so you cannot complete more than 10 times the Qur’an in the whole month of Ramadhaan but the normal practice was seven days they used to complete the Qur’an once that’s about little bit more than four times or once atleast in the month it’s preferable. Hope that answers the questions.


Yusuf Chambers: Thank you very much Dr. Zakir for that. We’ve got another question here from one of our viewers. Questions is which is the best Arabic Tafseer of the Qur’an available that is being translated into English.


Dr. Zakir Naik: As far as the Arabic Tafaseers are concerned, there are many Tafaseers in Arabic. The two most well known amongst all the Arabic Tafaseers is of Tabari and the other is Ibn Kathir. There are many other Tafaseers for e.g. Kurtubi then Zamkshari Al Kashaaf there are many. But the two most famous are Tabari and Ibn Kathir. Only Ibn Kathir has been translated into English by many other publishers including Darussalam from Riyadh. The name of the commentator of the Qur’an of Tabari, his full name is Imaam Mohammad Ibn Jarir at Tabari and he was born in 224 A.H. after Hijri and died in 310 A.H. after Hijri at the age of 86 and according to Ibn Khuzaima he says that he has read the book from the start to the end and he does not know of any person more knowledgeable than Ibn Jarir in the full world as far as knowledge of the Qur’an is concerned.


There are many comments by various scholars on commentary of At-Tabari and a famous person Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taiymiya he says regarding this commentary he says that “Amongst the commentaries available now…at his time he’s talking amongst the commentaries available his time the best commentary is of Ibn Jarir of At-Tabari because he gives the views of the Salafs of the predecessors - the Salafu Saliheen and he also quotes from authentic Sanad..the sanad is authentic he does not quote sources which are dubious which are doubtful neither does he quote bid’a that is innovation that’s the reason Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taiymiya preferred his commentary is the best.


And in another book he has given his comments again Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taiymiya he says that Tabari he quotes from the Sahabaas from the Taba’een and the Tabe-Taba’een the followers of the Taba’een and he even gives the exact Sanad mentioning each name so those who are scholars it’s good for them they can go and check each ‘Raawi’ each ‘Narrater’ and check his authenticity which may not be useful for a lay man.. common man like you and me, you know he says Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taiymiya that a common man is only interested in knowing whether the hadith is Sahih or Da’if or Ma’udhu he may not be interested in the Sanad, so therefore this commentary is very good for the scholars and the seekers of knowledge.


The other Arabic Tafseer which is very good and very famous it is Ibn Kathir and the name of the commentator of this Tafseer full name is Abul Fida Ismail Ibn Kathir Al Damakshari. His commentary according to Suyooti he says there has not been a common commentary written similar to Ibn Kathir’s commentary. And if you read Ibn Kathir’s commentary he gives cross references and he quotes other verses of the Qur’an he gives a commentary of the Qur’an from the Qur’an itself. He quotes the other hadith, Sahih hadith and many a times he even gives the Sanad, specially if it’s a Musnad Ahmad because he was a person who had memorized the full of Musnad Ahmad. So it becomes helful for a person to check whether it’s right or wrong so Ibn Kathir itself MashaAllah, hi commentary is very good so these two commentaries Tabari and Ibn Kathir are the best in short as far as these two best commentaries are concerned At-Tabari is more famous and better but it’s specially for the scholars and the seekers of knowledge, it may not be good for a lay man or an ordinary person but as far as Ibn Kathir is concerned it’s good for the scholars as well as the seekers of knowledge as well as an ordinary Muslim. These two commentaries in Arabic are the two best one according to my knowledge. Alhumdulillah… and Allahu Aalam. But only Ibn Kathir has been translated into English by many other publishers including Darussalam from Riyadh.


Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Khair Dr. Zakir. Just one little point on that which is earlier? 


Dr. Zakir: Tabari


Yusuf Chambers: Tabari is earlier 

Dr. Zakir: Ibn Kathir he died in 774 A.H. After Hijri. He came about four and a half centuries after Tabari.


Yusuf Chambers: Ok. Thank you very much for that clarification.


Is it compulsory to listen to the Qur’an attentively if we are sitting in a large gathering where the Qur’an is being recited?


Dr. Zakir: As far as the views are concerned amongst the scholars, there are two groups of scholars, one group of scholars says that it is Fard when the Qur’an is being recited you have to listen to it attentively and they quote the Qur’anic verse of 


Surah Araaf Ch. 7 verse No. 204 which says that


“When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it attentively and be at peace. So that mercy and blessings is bestowed on you”

So one group of scholars, the first group which says it’s Fard, they are again divided into 2 groups, one group says it is individual Fard, that means whenever the Qur’an is recited, every individual Muslim should listen to it attentively while the other group says it is Farde Kifaayaa, that means if someone is listening to it…the other it’s not Fard for them like for example they give. That if someone wishes Salaam to a group of Muslims, even if one reply, the others need not reply ‘Walaikum Assalam’ So similarly the first group the second part of the scholars they say that it is Farde Kifaaya, the other group says that it is not Fard to listen to the Qur’an when it is recited but it is Mustahab and they say that this verse of the Qur’an of 


Surah A’raaf Ch. 7 verse No. 204 which says that  


“When the Qur’an is recited, listen to it attentively and be at peace. So that mercy and blessings is bestowed on you”


They this verse was specifically revealed only for hearing the Qur’an during Salaah. Its not a general commandment when its recited, its only during the Salaah. And this is the view of Ibn Katheer even Ibn Ibn Jareer and they quote..they mention the Salafus Saliheen, they say that when 2 were talking the third one said that the Qur’an is being recited so listen to it. So they again continued talking. There was a story teller and they were talking among themselves, second time they are reminded; the Qur’an is recited, listen to it. Again they don’t pay heed and they again start talking. Third time when they are said, they say it’s only in Salaah. 

That means they knew this verse of the Qur’an was specifically revealed only for Salaah and the majority of the scholars, they believe in this view that its only in Salaah that its compulsory when the Qur’an is being recited, you have to listen to it attentively. 


And Ibn Jareer, he further goers on to say that it is when the Imam is reciting. So he says besides the Salaah, even when the Imam is giving the Khutba, giving the Jum’ua Khutbah and when he recites the Qur’an even that time it becomes compulsory you have to listen to it attentively. 


And when one Shaikh was asked this question that if there are a few people in the car and if one person wants to listen to the Qur’an and puts on the tape or the recitation of the Qur’an and the other people aren’t interested so is it fine that the other people are talking and if one person is hearing the Qur’an. 


So he says that he agrees with the view of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal (may Allah be pleased with him) who says that listening to the Qur’an is only compulsory during Salaah, at other times, it’s Mustab, its encouraged. But he says that if someone is playing the recitation of the Qur’an in the car and if some people are talking, the person who wants to listen, it’s preferable that he puts a headphone and listens to it. And the other people who are talking, can continue talking because you should respect the Qur’an though it’s not a Fard to listen to the Qur’an if its on the audiotape but its preferable. This is his suggestion. 



And further it’s asked that a woman, if she is cooking, and if she is cooking food in the kitchen so can she play the Qur’an on the audiotape or on a CD and listen to it.


Again the view of most of the scholars, yes she can. You know, and because she can pay as much attention as possible, there is no problem, its not compulsory that she has to give full attention at least the Qur’an she is hearing the Qur’an, its going in her head, she may memorize certain part of it. So if she is cooking and she is hearing there is no problem at all, its not a Fard that she should leave everything and listen to it, that’s only a view of only some of the scholars, but the majority of the scholars agree that they need not leave everything of their work and listen to it attentively, its preferable, its Mustahab. 


Yusuf Chambers: Okay thank you very much Dr. Zakir. The next question. Is Wudu compulsory before touching the Qur’an? 


Dr. Zakir: Many Muslims consider that Wudu is compulsory before touching the Qur’an or before reading the Qur’an  and this is the view of majority of the Muslims but the scholars are divided whether it is Fard or not. There is a verse of the Qur’an in 


Surah Waaqi’ah ch. 56 verse no. 77 to 80 where it says that 


“Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has reveled the Qur’an in a tablet well preserved and none shall touch it except the ones which are pure.”


So based on this verse of the Qur’an many of the Muslims think, it is Fard that Wudu should be there before touching the Qur’an. But if you read the Nuzul-e-Qur’an and if you read the commentary of Ibn Kathir, it says that this verse was revealed when people alleged that Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam), he got the revelation from the Satan. So this verse actually says that none shall touch the Qur’an, its talking about the Qur’an in Lawh-e-Mehfuz, its not talking about the Mus’haf of the Qur’an. This copy of the Qur’an, anyone can purchase for 4 dollars, 5 dollars, 100 Rupees, 150 Rupees easily and touch it. What it’s talking about that none will be able to touch that Qur’an in Lawh-e-Mehfuz except those who are ‘Mutatah’hareen’. So the ‘Kitaabe Maknoon’ is the book in the Lawh-e-Mehfus and Mutatah’hareen doesn’t only mean bodily cleanness, a person should do Wudu, it means a person who is not only clean in body but even in mind and soul, a person who is sinless, referring to the angels that the Satans cannot come close to the Qur’an, they cannot touch it, it is only the angels who can do it. So this verse doesn’t refer to the Mus’huf of the Qur’an so if you know the Nuzul-e-Qur’an when it was first reveled so most of the scholars say that based on this, the scholars who know the Nuzul-e-Qur’an, they say that therefore Wudu from this verse you can’t conclude that Wudu is Fard but most of the scholars agree, it is Mustahab, it’s encouraged, its preferable that a person should be in Wudu when he reads or touches the Qur’an. 


Yusuf Chambers: Thank you Doctor. Next question , can a person give the Qur’an to a non-Muslim…can a Muslim give the Qur’an to a non-Muslim? 


Dr. Zakir: Many of the Muslims consider that being in Wudu is compulsory before touching the Qur’an that’s the reason they say you can’t give the Qur’an to the non-Muslim. I already told you earlier that it’s not a Fard and furthermore some Muslims say, okay fine if you want to give the Qur’an don’t give the Arabic version only give the translation. Give only English, French or German. I said fine if someone wants to that, I’ve got no problem. But I prefer giving the translation along with the Arabic text because if the translator, who is a human being, has made a mistake you can go back to the original text.


The person should not misunderstand that Allah has made a mistake, Na’uzubillah. I prefer Arabic along with the translation. And If Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) holds me responsible for giving the Arabic Qur’an to a non-Muslim, I will be in the good company, I’ll be in the company of the Prophet because our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam)


Yusuf Chambers: Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam


Dr. Zakir: He dictated letters to the non-Muslims kings. He dictated letters to the Negus of Abyssinia to Emperor Hercules, Emperor of Persia, King of Yemen, King of Egypt, he dictated letters in which he even dictated the verse of the Qur’an of 


Surah Ale Imran Ch.3 verse 64 which says


“Qul Ya 'Ahlal-Kitaab”,

“Say O people of the Book”


“Ta`alaw 'Ilá Kalimatin Sawa'in Baynana Wa Baynakum”

“Come to common terms as between us and you”


Which is the first term? 


“Allah Na`buda 'Illallah”

“That we worship none but Allah, Almighty God”


“Wa La Nushrika Bihi Shay'an”                                                              “That we associate no partners with him”


“Wa La Yattakhidha Ba`duna Ba`dan 'Arbaban Min Dunillahi”          

“That we erect not among ourselves Lords and Patrons other than Allah.”


“Fa'in Tawallaw” 

“If they turn back”

“Faqulush hadu” 

“Say ye bear witness” 


“Bi'anna Muslimun” 

“That we are Muslims bowing our will to Allah, Almighty God.”


So this verse of the Qur’an was dictated by Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) when he sent letters to the non-Muslins kings, some of them, after reading the letter, they accepted Islam, some of them tore the letter, some of them even trampled it beneath the feet. 


So if the Prophet could give verses of the Qur’an to non-Muslims, why cant we?  


And furthermore I would like to ask a question there are 14 million Arabs who are Coptic Christians which translation of the Qur’an will you give to these Arab Christians. Will you translate the Qur’an into Arabic so the best is the word of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).


So I feel there is no problem infact you should give the Qur’an along with the translation to the non-Muslim. 


Yusuf Chambers: Thank you Doctor. Last question, what is the meaning of Alif, Laam, Meem?


Dr. Zakir: As far as the meaning of the words Alif Laam Meem etc. is concerned, these words are known as ‘Muqat-ta’at’, they are known as broken letters. And they occur in several Surahs of the Qur’an sometimes they occour in single like Saad in Surah Saad ch. 38 as Qaaf in Surah Qaaf ch. 50 as Nun in Surah Qalam ch. 68.


 Sometimes it occurs in twos, in pairs like Ta Ha, Surah Taa Haa ch. No. 20 


Taa Seen in Surah Naml ch. no. 27 


As Yaa Seen, Surah Yaa seen ch. no. 36 


Sometimes it occurs in combination of 3 and the 3 combination mentioned in the Qur’an one occurs 6 times, 5 times, the other twice, 13 times it occurs in combination of 3.


One combination is Alif Laam Meem it is there in Surah Baqarah ch. 2, Surah Imran ch. no. 3 and Surah no. 29, 30, 31, 32 

It occurs in the combination of ‘Alif Laam Raa’ from Surah Yunus ch. no. 10 to Surah Hijr ch. no. 15, 5 times.


It even occurs as ‘Taa Seen Meem’ in Surah Shooraa ch. no. 26 as well as Surah no. 28, it occurs in the combination of 4 letters ‘Alif Laam Meem Raa’ and other combinations. 


It even occurs twice in combination of 5, so in short there are 5 combinations, single double three letters, four letters, five letters totally there are 29 times that it occurs in the Qur’an equal to the Arabic letters. Alif Baa Taa 29 times counting even Humzah .


There are various reasons that people have said why do these broken letters occur several reasons and many books have been written. Volumes have been written Some say these are the symbols of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), some say that they are abbreviation like Nun is for Noor i.e. light. Some say they are signatures of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) Some say that they are used for rhyming, some say that they have got numerical values, some say that they have been used for calling the attention, attracting the attention of the Prophet and Prophet used it for the other human beings. various reasons.   


But the best amongst them, I feel is the view which is also of Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) for example we know what the body is made up of, whatever components the body has the same elements and components are present in the earth in lesser or greater quantity. We know the constituents of the human being, you can buy it from the market, you can put water but you can’t give life that is the secret.


Similarly Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) uses these letters and tells to the Arabs, the Arabs at that time, they were proud of that language and Arabic was at its peak. So Allah says Alif Laam Meem, Yaa Seen, Qaaf, Nun these are your letters, with your letters I have produced the Qur’an. He challenges them to produce somewhat similar to the Qur’an and this challenge is given ion several places in 


Surah Toor Ch no. 52 verse no. 34 that 


“Produce a book like the Qur’an” 


Allah repeats the message in Surah Isra ch. no. 17 verse no. 88 Allah says 


“Produce a recital like the Qur’an” 


Then Allah makes the challenge a bit easier and says in 

Surah Hud ch. no. 11 verse no. 13 that  Allah challenges that


“Can you produce 10 Surahs like the Qur’an”


Allah further simplifies the challenge in 


Surah Yunus ch. no. 10 verse no. 38 that 


“Produce a Single Surah like the Qur’an” 


Allah makes it simplified further in Surah Baqarah   ch. 2 verse no. 23 and 24 where Allah says 

Wa-in kuntum fee raybin mimma nazzalna ala abdina fa’too bisooratin min mislihi


“That if you are in doubt that what We have reveled to our servant, Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam), then produce a Surah somewhat similar to it.”


wad’oo shuhadaakum min dooni Allahi in kuntum sadiqeen


“And call forth your helpers and witnesses if there are any besides Allah if your doubts are but true” 


Fa-in lam tafAAaloo


“But if you cannot do it” 


walan taf’aloo


“And of a surety you cannot do it” 


faittaqoo alnnara allatee waqooduha alnnasu waalhijaratu o’iddat lilkafireen


“Then fear the fire whose fuel shall be men and stones which is prepared for those who reject faith.”


So this is a challenge Allah says to the Arabs who were proud of their language. 


This is your letters Alif Laam Meem, A B C D, from your letters I have created the Qur’an, He challenges try and produce a Surah somewhat similar to the Qur’an. So this is the closest explanation that a I feel is right. It’s a challenge Allah is giving and that’s the reason, moment these broken letters are mentioned in the Qur’an immediately after that there is some attribute of the Qur’an mentioned after that. 


So I feel this explanation, I feel is the closest to the meanings of the broken letters and Allahu Alam. 


Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir, Thank you very much, JazakAllahu Khairan. May Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) reward you double and multiplied, especially in this month of Ramadhaan.


Brothers and sisters I hope you have enjoyed and you have taken great benefits, do continue to take benefits from all of our shows   Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir we will back the same time tomorrow when we will be discussing the topic ‘Zakaat – Part 1’


Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu!