Surah al Kawthar- the shortest Surah in the Quran – a Surah, which most of us are very familiar with because it’s easy to memorize, easy to recite and easy to include in our daily Salah…yeah?
However, have you connected with this Surah? Have you thought about this from an emotional perspective? You see, for most of us, Jannah is a mere imagination. We know it’s real, but we can’t really grasp how real it is. How will eternal happiness feel like? How will it feel to have* whatever* we wish for? We haven’t experienced the “happily ever after” phases or a life filled with happiness and eternal peace. We go through moments of happiness combined with moments of anxiety, sadness, fear and anger. It is what makes this dunya “normal”.
However, this Surah is going to help you understand how amazing and awesome the Quran is. This Surah will remind you that no matter how difficult life gets, Allah has something breathtaking in store. This Surah will remind you that with every hardship you face, you are going to be rewarded beyond measure.
Surah al Kawthar was revealed during a very traumatic time of the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet’s son Abdullah (RA) had just died.
When the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Lahab heard the news of Abdullah’s (RA) death, he not only rejoiced about it but went running around the town, screaming at the top of his voice and letting everyone know that Muhammad’s (SAW) lineage had been cut off, that He (SAW) had no heir, and there was no one to carry His (SAW) name forward.
For a parent, seeing their child fall sick or having to take him/her out for multiple hospital visits is emotionally one of the most traumatic experiences to go through. When a parent loses their beloved child, no amount of words or tears can ever heal their heart permanently.
Imagine the state of the Prophet (SAW). He not only lost his child but now, also had to deal with the taunts of his own uncle, who went around rejoicing at the death of a baby.
In the Arab society, the tribes prided themselves in having sons. The more sons in the family, the more superior the tribe felt. The Prophet (SAW) was obviously heartbroken at the loss of his child, and Allah knew the pain he was experiencing. This is when He SWT revealed Surah al Kawthar.
It is narrated that Anas ibn Malik said, “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was dozing and then he raised his head and smiled, then either he said to them (the Companions), or they said to him: “Why did you laugh?” Then he sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Verily, a Surah has been revealed to me.” Then he recited, “In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, Verily We have given you Al-Kawthar … ” to the end of the Surah. The he asked, “Do you know what Al-Kawthar is?” They replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “It is a river granted to me by my Lord, the Almighty, the All-Powerful in Paradise, in which is great goodness; its drinking vessels are as (limitless as) the heavenly bodies. It refuses to allow one of the slaves to drink, and the Prophet will say: ‘Oh, my Lord! He is one of my community.’ But it will be said to him: ‘You know nothing of the innovations (in religion) that they practiced after you.'”
What is al Kawthar?
“Verily, We have granted you Al-Kauthar,”
Imam Ahmad recorded from Ibn `Umar that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Al-Kawthar is a river in Paradise whose banks are of gold and it runs over pearls. Its water is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey. “ (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir).
Al-Bukhari relates on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that he said Al-Kawthar is the abundant blessings bestowed on the Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by Allah.
“Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice.”
Allah says since He has given such abundant blessings in this world and in the Hereafter, including the river described previously, the Prophet (PBUH) should devote his obligatory and optional prayers to Allah alone.
Similarly, sacrifice of animals and all acts of worship need to be directed to Him Alone, without associating any partners with Him.
Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Ata’, ‘Ikrimah, Mujahid and Al-Hasan are all agreed that the word nahr means halal slaughter – most of the scholars from amongst the pious Salaf agreed with this.
“For he who hates you, he will be cut off.”
The Arabs used to call the one who had no son as ‘abtar’, which means ‘the animal whose tail is cut off’. It means the one whose succession in his seed has ceased, i.e., the one who has none to inherit him.
Those people traditionally considered the male child extraordinarily valuable. They assumed that with the demise of the Prophet (PBUH), his message of Tawheed would cease because he had no son to carry the legacy and message forward.
The revelation of this Surah was, in fact, an answer to the enemies of the Apostle to inform them that Islam and the Quran would continue forever.
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`eed bin Jubayr and Qatadah all said, “This Ayah was revealed about Al-`As bin Wa’il. Whenever the Messenger of Allah would be mentioned (in his presence) he would say, `Leave him, for indeed he is a man who is cut off having no descendants. So when he dies he will not be remembered.’ Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed this Surah.” Al-Bazzar recorded this incident and its chain of narration is authentic.
It has also been reported that `Ata’ said, “This Surah was revealed about Abu Lahab when a son of the Messenger of Allah died. Abu Lahab went to the idolators and said, `Muhammad has been cut off (i.e., from progeny) tonight.’ So concerning this Allah revealed this Surah.
Today, no one knows the descendants of Abu Jahl, Abu Lahab, As bin Wail, `Uqbah bin Abi Mu`ait, or others who despised Islam.
On the contrary, blessings are being invoked on the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam throughout the world; millions and millions of Muslims take pride in bearing relationship to Him. History has proven that the Prophet’s enemies were and are ‘abtar’. [https://versebyversequranstudycircle.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/tafseer-of-surah-al-kauthar/]
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Lessons to be learnt
What are the lessons we can derive from this Surah?
#1 Allah is going to give justice
When people hurt you, taunt you or do things that can scar you on a psychological, emotional and/or physical level, don’t think for once that this is going unnoticed. A lot of times, people look at the oppressors and wonder why and how they are being allowed to live amazing lives filled with richness and glory while those obedient to Allah suffer. You might compare your life events to those who barely pray or read Quran and wonder how they get to live such carefree joyous lives. Note that every second we spend here is being recorded and Allah will give you justice if you have been wronged. He will give you beyond measure as long as you keep turning to Him. Keep doing your Ibadah and focus on improving your relationship with Allah alone. Cut out all the empty noises that are buzzing around you, and your heart will soon begin to recognize and glorify the magnificence of Allah SWT. This will automatically make everyone else’s taunts or harsh words seem insignificant. You won’t be bothered about negativity anymore because your life is filled with positivity due to the remembrance of Allah SWT.
#2 You will be tested
The Prophets were tested, all the righteous people were tested, the Sahabas who sacrificed their lives, families, wealth and property were tested, so there is no way you are going to walk into paradise without being tested. There is no other way to it.
In order to experience something sweet, you must go through the trials and hardships that are placed in front of you. This does not mean that your life is just going to be filled with tears and heartbreaks. You will experience moments of pure bliss…take these moments as golden opportunities to worship Allah more. Thank Him excessively and show your gratitude sincerely.
Similarly, when you go through moments of hardship, hold on to Allah like never before because He is your only source of refuge and comfort. Rush to right the wrongs, assess where you’re slipping and correct yourself by engaging in more isthigfar and dua.
You will find ease sooner rather than later, but most importantly, know that Allah is putting you through these trials to cleanse you, so that you can have a clean book with little to no sins…a book that will act as your ticket to paradise. Allah is not going to harm you because He wants to see you suffer. He wants to cleanse you and make you stronger, and pull you closer to Him with each trial and difficulty.
#3 Hardship will not last forever
If you’re going through hard moments, remember that ease is just around the corner, it may come immediately, it may come a few days from now or even a few months from now, but Allah will not let you live in these painful moments forever because this dunya is only designed to test you, not break you.
#4 Quran has answers to everything
You have heard countless lectures and reminders about how you need to read the Quran in order to find guidance and answers to all your problems. But somehow, you feel the Quran may not have the exact answer to what you are looking for, because your problem is specific and unique to you, right?
This is no ordinary book…when you sit with the Quran on a daily basis, and read it with consistency, understand the verses and read the tafseer of each verse, reflect and ponder over what Allah is saying, you will find answers to every single problem you are dealing with at this very instant.
You will not only find the answers you’ve been searching for, but the words of Allah will also heal you, comfort you and make you feel at peace no matter how difficult your life gets. You can’t just flip the pages one day and say you didn’t get what you were looking for. The Quran reveals its secrets to those who reflect upon the verses and those who are sincerely looking for guidance from Allah SWT through His words.
#5 Jannah is yours …if you strive for it
Just because you are going through hardships does not mean you give up on Salah, give up on Dhikr and stop doing other acts of Ibadah, because you see no point. The bigger the hardship, the more fervent your pleas to Allah should be. You need to ask yourself,
“What do I really want in my life?”
“Do I need jannah or not”
“What should I do to achieve Jannah?”
“What are my life goals?”
Once you have answers to these, you need to start working day and night.
- Rush to do more good deeds.
- Volunteer with your talent to help this ummah.
- Pray the extra nafils…you know…get the drift?
Do whatever you can to please Allah…and Jannah is going to be yours in sha Allah.
So every time you feel down, try reciting this Surah… imagine how the Kawthar, at this point of time, is flowing in Jannah and waiting for you to take a sip from it.
Recite this Surah when your loved ones hurt you. All of us have had to deal with harsh words and taunts from people around us at some point of time in our lives, but it is the words of our own blood that leaves the deepest wounds and scars. No one is immune to these wounds. Everyone experiences it at some point of time in their lives. For some, it is temporary while for others, it is a constant pain they have to live with for the rest of their lives. This Surah should heal your scars and pain.
Recite this Surah knowing that Allah sent it specifically to the Prophet (SAW) to let him know that the one who taunts him does not matter because He has already prepared something extraordinary to comfort and cool him (Prophet) in Jannah.