VERBAL IDIOMS PART 3 – TO UNTIE THE KNOT IN ONE’S TONGUE
Musa a.s. made the following du’a before he confronted Fir’aun:
"O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). And ease my task for me. And loose [untie] the knot from my tongue. That they understand my speech.” [Surah Ta-Ha 20:25-28]
Imagine a string that is all jumbled up; we don’t know where it begins or where it ends. There might even be more than one string that got mixed-up together so they become confusing. The only way to make things clear is by untangling them. So “untie the knot from my tongue” in this Ayah mean:
1. To ask for clarity in speech
When we speak, sometimes we get our words mixed up. This is especially true when it comes to public speaking. We get really nervous, trip all over our words, and as a result our audience gets confused. So this du’a teaches us to ask from Allah s.w.t. for clarity in speech, one that has a clear beginning, middle and end like a clear straight line, just like how a string would look like when it’s not tangled. Furthermore, Musa a.s. had a stutter. When someone with a stutter gets nervous or angry, the stutter gets worse. So this beautiful du’a covers in both figuratively and literally sense.
2. To stay on focus
We see numerous times how smart politicians or TV hosts throw their opponents off in debates. Their opponent would be bombarded with questions after questions and attacked from all angles just so that he is thrown off and look really bad in front all of the audience. Similarly, Fir’aun was a very savvy politician and Musa a.s. was commanded to speak to such a tyrant. If we read surah Ash-Shu’ara, we’ll learn that Fir’aun tried to do the same but he was defeated in his own court in front of his generals whereas Musa a.s. remain undeterred and stayed focus on his mission, as a result of this du’a.
This is one of Ustadh Nouman’s favourite du’a – it’s a du'a for confidence! :)
VERBAL IDIOMS PART 4 – TO DOUBLE UP A CHORD & TWIST IT
A building is hold up by its beams or pillars. Back in old times, the beams were held together by a really strong type of rope, where one beam would be literally tied to the other. The people would use this strong rope, then double it and twist it many times so that the bond becomes super strong. In comparison to shoelaces which are only temporary knots, the tied-up ropes in construction must not come undone under any circumstances. They are permanent and the word “Abrama” (أبرم) in the Arabic language literally means to tie something with a knot permanently. We find this word in the following Ayah:
Is it that they have firmly resolved (أَبْرَمُوا) to do something? Then, We have firmlyresolved (مُبۡرِمُونَ). [Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:79]
1. Firm & final decision
Allah s.w.t. asked a rhetorical question to the Quraish who did shirk:
أَمْ أَبْرَمُوا أَمْرًا
Have they tied the knot / made their final decision / completely set with regard to their decision?
The Ayah is not talking about tying knots in a construction, but it’s about tying knots in theirdecision. Allah s.w.t. asked if they’ve made up their mind in rejecting the truth. If they’ve tied up their rope then…
فَإِنَّا مُبْرِ مُو ن
Then We (Allah s.w.t.) have tied the rope too.
The Mushrikin have tied their knot because they refused to accept the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger s.a.w. Because of their refusal, He s.w.t. made them permanent that way. In other words, Allah s.w.t. will never seal anybody’s heart until they have completely made up their mind on their decision to reject the truth, and who knows better the inner depths of our hearts than Allah s.w.t. This Ayah is beautiful because this figure of speech shows the comparison between the Mushrikin’s decision and Allah’s decision. If we refuse to accept the truth, then Allah will let us stay that way. I thought this was scary enough! But there is something MORE SCARY that is being implied in this Ayah.
2. Temporary (Verb) VS Permanent (Noun)
When the Mushrikin tied their rope, the word أَبْرَمُوا is used. This is actually a verb.
But when Allah s.w.t. tied His rope, the word مُبْرِ مُو ن is used. This is a noun.
We learnt in the previous Ustadh Nouman's lecture that verbs are temporary by nature, whereas nouns are PERMANENT.
What does this mean?
Sometimes when we make a decision, we’re not quite sure on what we have decided, so we go back and change it. Then there are times when we think we’ve really made up our mind, that there is no way that we would ever change it. The Mushrikin said that they have completely made up their mind, but rhetorically Allah s.w.t. shows that their decision was still something temporary. When Judgment Day comes and the Mushrikin finally see the reality of what they were denying… Do you think they would want to go back on their decision?
It may be that those who disbelieve wish ardently that they were Muslims.[Surah Al-Hijr 15:2]
Oh how they would wish that they could untie their rope! But when Allah s.w.t. has made up His decision, it is PERMANENT.
May Allah s.w.t. protect and guide us!
- Notes extracted from the Divine Speech Seminar by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. Please let me know of any mistake, jazakumullahu khairan.
Credit: Aida Msr