It is difficult to think of the Quran without remembering the edge-of-your-seat stories of prophets, often recounted more than once, in astoundingly nuanced ways.
Hearing these stories is a Muslim child’s very first contact with the word of Allah. Often, the moral would help shape that child’s ethical foundation.
But the lessons we glean from these stories are not just for children.
In this gripping series about the stories of Prophets in the Quran, Nouman Ali Khan goes far beyond simply storytelling. He dramatizes the stories in such a way as to make them come to life. His engaging style helps you not only visualize the events, but empathize with the characters, understand their motivations and share their emotions.
The series opens with “Story Night: The Father of Two Nations,” a three-part program about Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), the common denominator between the three monotheistic religions. In retelling the story of Ibrahim (PBUH), Ustadh Nouman argues that all five pillars of Islam are directly related to him.
As Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) raises the foundations of the kaaba, he prays to Allah to keep the land of Mecca prosperous and send its people a messenger who will recite the ayat of Allah, teach them His book and purify them. The fulfillment of that prayer is the coming of the Quran. The reason we fast is to celebrate the fulfillment of the dua’a of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) for Allah to reveal the Quran. Prophet Ibrahim’s life continues to inspire a heightened level of obedience and submission to the will of Allah until this day.
In “Story Night: Forging a Hero”, Ustadh Nouman explains that Allah is telling the story of Prophet Musa (PBUH) to people who want to increase our iman. Mentioned over 70 times in the Quran, the story of Musa (PBUH) is often set against the scene of a predatory Pharaoh who tramples the dignity of the Israelites he enslaves them through constant abuse, the sexual violation of their women and the murder of their children.
Yet Allah inspires a simple woman, fearful for her son, to place him in a basket and throw him in the river. Musa, the baby, is saved despite the brutality of Pharaoh and his soldiers because of the sincere faith in the heart of his mother. Though she was not a prophet, we still learn from her example. In our moments of despair, when we feel trapped and helpless, only our iman helps us overcome our troubles and opens our minds to receive divine guidance.
In “Story Night: Fallen,” Ustadh Nouman takes us back to Surah Al-Baqarah and the story of man’s creation and descent to earth. The story of Prophet Adam (PBUH) begins with Allah’s decision to create a khalifa on earth. Allah had planned to put Adam on earth all along; it was never intended to be a punishment, but a gift from Him. Iblis, however, whispers to Adam that the only way he would remain in jannah is by eating from the forbidden tree, even though Allah had stipulated that Adam and his wife should not even go near it.
Iblis is uncontrollably jealous of Adam and feels threatened by his existence. He has so much arrogance, he refuses to make sajda to Adam. In his scheming arrogance, Iblis led both Adam and Hawwa to slip in obeying Allah’s commandments, ultimately causing the great descent to earth. Whereupon all three of them, and humanity alike struggle with hatred and animosity. At times misconduct arises between even man and woman or far worse muslim against muslim.
The motivation to eat from the tree was to avoid being banished to earth, but Adam (PBUH) was predestined to go there anyway. While Adam could have questioned Allah's decision to be banished from jannah, he did not. Instead, he repented for his disobedience, while, on the other hand, Iblis argued and defied his maker. That inappropriate reaction to feeling slighted, was not the path chosen by Adam (PBUH). Even though he was unable to make sense of the situation, he trusted the wisdom of Allah and with modesty and humility, confessed that he was guilty, offered his repentance and took responsibility for his actions.