This session with Sheikh Sajid Umar, organized by Kalemah, was titled “Tafseer Surah Nuh” but was more of an insight and pondering over its verses, along with many lessons learnt along the way. Sheikh Sajid started the talk with the recitation of Surah Nuh. Alhamdolillah, I tried to jot down as much as I could to share and benefit all of us. Insha Allah.

 Insight into Surah Nuh

Surah Nuh; Makki Surah; Chapter 71; 28 verses

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “…….those persons who assemble in the house among the houses of Allah (masajid) and recite the Book of Allah and they learn and teach the Qur’an (among themselves) there would descend upon them the tranquility, and mercy would cover them, and the angels would surround them, and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him”. (Muslim)

All those who attended the session on the yacht were there not because they didn’t have anything else to do on the weekend, but because Allah chose them to be there.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us to recite the Quran and learn lessons from it. Therefore, we would not want to be of those about whom he (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) complained to Allah: “And the Messenger has said, “O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as [a thing] abandoned.” (Surah Furqan; 25:30)

According Sheikh Ibn Al Qayyim, there are various types of “abandonment” of the Qur’aan:

1) To abandon listening to it and believing in it.

2) To abandon acting upon it, and ignoring it’s lawful and prohibited ordinances (halal and haram), even if one believes in it and recites it.

3) To abandon judging by it, and resorting to it as a judge when there are differences in the essence of the religion or other matters.

4) To abandon pondering over it, and understanding it, and seeking the explanation of it.

5) To abandon using it as a cure in all types of diseases of the heart, and instead to seek to cure these diseases by other means. (*)

The Companions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) never recited more of the Quran until they embodied what they read first and THEN went on to the next verses. So we need to develop a relation of not only reading and listening to the Quran but also pondering on its revelations.

It was a pleasure for the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) to hear Qur’an being recited from the mouth of Ibn Masud (May Allah be Pleased with him). The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) once called on him and said, ‘Recite to me, Abd Allah,’ and Abd Allah said, ‘How can I recite to you when it was revealed to you?’ The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘I like to hear it from others.’ (**)

A believer just doesn’t see things; he also witnesses things and praises Allah for the beauty of His Creation.

Surah Nuh was revealed in Makkah before the Hijrah to Madina hence it is a Makki surah.


General Characteristics of Makki Surahs:

  • Short surahs and verses emphasizing upon Aqeedah, Tawheed and Eemaan
  • Revealed during the first 13 years of Prophethood
  • Free of Jurisprudence or Islamic Laws
  • Dealt with people who were shackled by idolism, who, if a revelation didn’t make sense to them, would reject it


General Characteristics of Madani Surahs:

  • Surahs revealed after the Hijrah
  • Long surahs and verses
  • Comprising of laws and instructions as now the people believed in one Allah and were ready to take further instructions.


This surah describes the struggles of a prophet. It was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) to take inspiration from, at a stage when he himself was going through a tough time.

We are the best of nations. Although we were the last to come, we will be the first ones to enter Jannah. This is due to the fact that we have item with substance i.e., we are the carriers of the legacy of the Prophets transferred from one prophet to the next.  As there is no Prophet after Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), his legacy, the Quran is transferred to us, the Ummah.

Objectives in Surah Nuh:

1) to learn about the difficulties the Prophets went through

2) to learn the Principles of Dawah

3) to learn the Characteristics of Prophethood

4) to learn the situation of mankind at that time early on the earth

This surah makes us think that the challenges we face now was faced by people that time too.

Universal Laws in the Quran: Laws those are consistent across the universe for everyone.

Such laws are also mentioned in many places in the Quran. For eg. :

“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves….” (Surah Ar Ra’d; 13:11)

“…..If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]….” (Surah Ibrahim; 14:7)

Universal Laws in Surah Nuh:

  1. Fruits of Istighfar
  2. Fruits of Eeman
  3. Fruits of Disbelief

Benefits of Local Scholarship:

Prophets and Messengers were sent to people of their own nation. This shows us that we should respect the Local Ulema and frequent their doors and their lessons. Sadly, less importance is given to the local Ulema and more given to the visiting scholars. The local Ulema are more deserving of our ears. THEY are the ones who are accustomed to the cultures and tradition of their society they live in and deal with the issues faced by people like divorce, inheritance etc. It is they who fatigue themselves to tackle vice in the society. Crux of Dawah lies with the local scholars.

In fact, Aadaab and etiquettes demand that as soon as a visiting scholar lands in town he should be taken to meet the local scholar, make dua for him and thank him for the great work he is doing in the society. A visiting scholar only comes to complement the local scholar.

Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) was sent upon people who were idol worshippers for generations. When the good people among them died, shaytaan inspired them to make idols and name them after those good people in order to keep their memories alive. As is mentioned in the verse, And said, ‘Never leave your gods and never leave Wadd or Suwa’ or Yaghuth and Ya’uq and Nasr.” (Surah Nuh; 71:23) As time passed they started to worship those idols. They were not people upon piety as Nuh was sent to them with a warning. Indeed, We sent Noah to his people, [saying], “Warn your people before there comes to them a painful punishment.”. (71:1)  If they were people upon righteousness they would have been given glad tidings.


The element of dawah is, to invite and convey the Message of Allah to the people, not to convert them. We are always looking for the perfect moment to invite and convert them straight away whereas our neeyah should be to convey the message.

We must be sincere in our efforts with persistence and perseverance just like Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) who did dawah for 950 years!! He did not lose heart or hope when people did not listen or understand him unlike us when we become depressed when our dawah doesn’t move hearts in the first instance. Keep on doing dawah like the Prophets and Messengers whose lives was 24/7 dawah. They did not invite people only once expecting them to be converted. We don’t guide hearts, its Allah who does. Our job is to convey not to convert!!

Whomsoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide.” (***)

Soon after verse one, where Allah commands Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) to warn his people, Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) obeys these instructions without ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ to Allah.

He said, “O my people, indeed I am to you a clear warner,”. (Surah Nuh; 71:2)

THIS is the way to respond to Allah’s Commands. The way to success is to grab the Guidance of Allah and act upon it without any questions. Here we learn how not to globalize matters and not to make things big. Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) went to his people with whatever resources he had. Hence, we should convey the Message of Allah and invite people to Islam even if we only know La ilaha illalah.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Convey from me, even if it is a verse.” (Bukhari)

We shouldn’t wait and look for excuses to get a big dawah training and become perfect and then invite people, or wait for the perfect time, or think that people will feel bad if we invite them to Islam. Giving dawah is a way of the Prophets and Messengers and there are huge rewards for anyone who gives dawah. More rewards we get, more beautifully we build our Jannah. Don’t let the shaytaan deceive you with excuses that you don’t know much how to do dawah, you are not ready yet, etc etc.

“[Saying], ‘Worship Allah , fear Him and obey me.” (Surah Nuh; 71:3)

 Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) gives three commands to his people in this verse:

1) Worship Allah; and follow His Commands

2) Fear Him; be away from the don’ts

3) Obey the Messenger of Allah who is conveying Allah’s Message

As mentioned in Surah Al Imran: Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (4:31)

Fruits of Eeman:

“Allah will forgive you of your sins and delay you for a specified term. Indeed, the time [set by] Allah, when it comes, will not be delayed, if you only knew.” (Surah Nuh; 71:4)

  •  If you listen to the Prophet, Allah will forgive you,
  • And increase time; scholars say that it might be that Allah will increase our life span or He might Grant Barakah in life.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever would like his rizq (provision) to be increased and his life to be extended, should uphold the ties of kinship.” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The one who maintains a relationship with his relatives only because they maintain a relationship with him is not truly upholding the ties of kinship. The one who truly upholds those ties is the one who does so even if they break off the relationship.” (Bukhari)

This means that if someone didn’t invite you for a dinner party or their child’s waleemah, you still maintain family relationships rather than adopting the behavior of tit-for-tat!! Fruit of this forgiveness will be that Allah will also forgive you.

Ways of Seeking Forgiveness:

  1. Saying Astaghfirullah
  2. Doing Tauba
  3. Doing good deeds
  4. Being patient
  5. Intercession of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) and those whose intercession Allah will accept.

 “Say Bismillah before starting anything”

“Recite the Morning and Evening Adhkaar daily”

Tips & Etiquettes of Dawah:

1) Be Persistent

Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) gave dawah to his people for 950 years!! and all this time he persevered. He never lost hope even though his people did not respond to him positively, unlike us where we become hopeless, dejected, angry and irritated when we don’t get the expected response from people we give dawah to. And here is Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) doing it for almost 10 Centuries!!!

“He said, “My Lord, indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day. But my invitation increased them not except in flight. And indeed, every time I invited them that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, covered themselves with their garments, persisted, and were arrogant with [great] arrogance.”  (Surah Nuh; 71:5-7)

2) Establish a sense of urgency

“Allah will forgive you of your sins and delay you for a specified term. Indeed, the time [set by] Allah, when it comes, will not be delayed, if you only knew.” (Surah Nuh; 71:4)

Death is inevitable and will come at the exact time which Allah has decreed and it can’t be delayed so come to Allah quickly and seek forgiveness before it’s too late.

3) Be diverse in your approach without ordering and instructing.

Don’t be predictable, yet, be yourself and original.

 “Then I invited them publicly. Then I announced to them and [also] confided to them secretly.” (Surah Nuh; 71:8-9)

 4) Engage with people’s intellect

“Allah will forgive you of your sins and delay you for a specified term. Indeed, the time [set by] Allah, when it comes, will not be delayed, if you only knew.” (Surah Nuh; 71:4)

5) Mention solutions to the different and varied problems people in the audience might be experiencing

Show them physical as well as spiritual benefits.

“And said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” (Surah Nuh; 71:10-12)

Benefits mentioned in the above verses are some of the things people need and ask for: Forgiveness, Rain, Wealth, Children, Gardens and Rivers (as promised to us in Jannah, in sha Allah).

6) Address people with kind words

“O [my] two companions of prison…” (Surah Yusuf; 12:39)

“He said, “O my people……..”. (Surah Nuh; 71:2)

We do not need an eeman boost from a particular speaker due to his style of speech when we have brains and the Quran and Sunnah in front of us. If we used them correctly it would boost our eeman!! It is not suitable for us, for a speaker to come and to give us eeman boost. It’s a bonus for us to have him in our midst but the main thing is to be boosted with something sustainable like our intellect, Quran and Sunnah.

Sheikh. Sajid Umar addressing Celebrity Fan Culture:

Celebrity Sheikhs & Fan Culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8evap-VTgI

Beware the celebrity/fan culture in seeking knowledge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGKoVjfmMz0

Principles and Characteristics of Dawah

Best person to learn dawah from is Prophet Nuh (Peace be upon him) as he had 950 years of experience!!

Dawah styles he adopted were: Day and night; Loud and soft; Open and private sessions.

“He said, “My Lord, indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day….. Then I invited them publicly…..Then I announced to them and [also] confided to them secretly.” (Surah Nuh; 71:5-9)

Even with parents, spouse, children and anyone in front of you, respect the person, esp. with children, respect them and be kind to them.

There can be two extremes:

1) Thinking of you to be better than them if they have no beard/hijab or wearing the pants lower than the ankle. Judging is with Allah.

2) The other extreme is the feeling of not being able to give dawah just because you feel you are not perfect or people will feel bad or because its bad manners.  Hence, don’t over simplify things in this way. Be apt and appropriate to give dawah.

Raising children is also dawah. Respect them. Duaat (those who give dawah) nurture people. Tell your child WHY he shouldn’t be doing a certain thing than just plain ordering, although 10 more ‘whys’ will follow but that’s the time to bond with them and not shooing them off.

Depression never settles unless forgiveness is asked from Allah.

“And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?”. [Allah] will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten.” (Surah Taha; 20:124-126)

In retrospect, Allah says: Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” (Surah Nahl; 16:97)

“This is another Universal Law, that u do good and only Good will be done to you.”

 Istighfaar is our chisel and hammer. It chisels away all our sins.  If we knew its importance we would never leave it: During exams, going to work, want your food to come out well, stuck in traffic, want a righteous spouse/child.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.”  (Abu Dawud)

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Allah says: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you and I would not mind. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.” (Tirmidhi) (****)

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, that Allah says: “… O My slaves, you commit sin night and day, and I forgive all sins, so ask Me for forgiveness …”. (Muslim)

Subhan Allah such beautiful words of hope for us.  Allah doesn’t say in it that you ask for forgiveness and then doubt whether He has forgiven you or not. In fact, He says when you ask forgiveness from Him consider yourself forgiven for He forgives all sins.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “O people! Repent to Allaah and seek for His forgiveness. I repent to Him in a day 100 times.” (Muslim)


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7 Replies to “Insight into Surah Nuh by Sheikh Sajid Umar”

  1. Assalaamu alaykum, great summary mashaAllah! This was a timely reminder for me. I loved how you mentioned that the Prophet (saw) drew support from this, and so can we when giving da’wah. Everyone who works to spread the deen faces this opposition. Sometimes it’s enough just to know we’re not alone. 🙂

  2. Ma sha Allah. What a beautiful post. I learned a lot today. Jazakillah. I really need to fix myself and get back to reciting and understanding the quran again. T_T Really, thank you.

  3. Thanks for pointing out the difference between Surahs revealed before after Hijrah (learn something new everyday)
    In regards to reciting dua I recently created a personalised dua book an article was published about it here you may be interested in reading http://www.hijabimag.com/dua-book/ Since creating it I found my family members make use of it also. Just a reminder that Dawah can be performed within the privacy of your home.

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