Updated: Oct 24
Sharing my notes from Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan's Story Night lecture in Kuala Lumpur, 6 October 2022.
This lecture by Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan (NAK), revolves around the life story of Prophet Yusuf a.s. who at a young age was separated from his beloved father, betrayed by his own brothers, sold into slavery, and thrown in jail over something he didn't do.
Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan (NAK) began by asking the audience to think about “How do we show love in our relationships?”. NAK then talked about the many ways we can show love.
5 WAYS TO SHOW LOVE
1. By using Words of love.
2. By giving Services – doing favours.
3. By giving Gifts – buying gifts to show love for someone.
4. By showing Affection physically – giving hugs or hand holding, etc.
5. By giving "Space" (not the same as attention) = attention + care, genuinely.
Story 1 – GIVING SPACE
· Giving "space" is the most important of all because showing love through items 1 to 4 in the list is not enough if item 5 is not there.
Example: If you get “space” (genuine attention from a speaker at a lecture/training), you will remember what was said after a month or even longer.
· Yusuf a.s. felt safe with his father, so he told his father about the dream he had.
· Is there anyone in your life who can give you your space?
· When we do give “space” to our loved ones, we tend to take it away, we take it back.
· This is why the deen gives us marriage.
· We were not taught the importance of “space”, i.e. full attention.
· There is a danger when you do not have “space” in your life.
Example: When the masses did not give him “space”, Rasulullah SAW got his space from his wife.
· People nowadays get “space” from the internet, but you have to fight for your “space”.
Example: Firaun didn’t get his “space” from his wife. Nuh a.s. didn’t get his “space” from his wife.
· Spousal relationship – you have to be honest, i.e. honesty vs dishonesty. Deception is easy.
· The basis of Surah Yusuf, Yusuf told his dream to his father. His father gave him “space” by not brushing it off as nonsense.
Example: A girl studied to become a doctor. She decides to leave it to form a startup company but didn’t get recognition from her mother. She did not get “space” from her mother.
· We tend to impose our dreams on our kids.
Example: When NAK left his tech background to study the Quran, his father initially didn’t approve. But now his father works for Bayyinah, the organisation founded by NAK.
Story 2 – CHALLENGES
· Yusof’s father said don’t tell your dream to your brothers because they will hurt him. Isn’t that back-biting? So why did his father say that?
· That is sincerity that you need to talk about. You need to have “adult conversations” with your children for their safety.
· But people tend to suppress the truth.
A story that jives between the Bible and the Quran.
Jacob wants to marry Rachel, but he was given the condition that he marries her elder sister first for 1 year. When he later married Rachel, she could not bear children, until 9 years later Rachel got pregnant, and the baby is Joseph. Joseph’s brothers are from another mother, hence sibling rivalry.
· We may have people in our lives that no matter what, don’t like us.
· Allah, the Master, the Lord, will continue to teach us.
· The better the job, the harder it will get.
· What is your hardest experience?
Example: Athletes push themselves harder to break their own record.
· You will never be selected until you have overcome a challenge.
· In a different situation, when you rise, you will learn and continue to another challenge.
· Yaacob tells Yusuf that he will go through what Ibrahim a.s. went through.
· As will we throughout our lives.
· There is a new culture now, where people love being the victim.
· Despite everything that happened to him, Yusuf still says that “Allah has favours me”.
· We have to see ourselves as constantly being challenged, as a favour, because Allah wants us to rise above.
· Yusuf as a boy, was thrown into the well, and sold as a slave, as a youth he was jailed.
· Yusof has risen, from the bottom to prepare himself to be the Finance Minister. He understood that there will be corruption at all levels.
· Syaitan’s problem with man is jealousy.
· So he puts jealousy in man.
· Parents are not helping by comparing siblings.
Example: NAK’s sister, a cardiologist, is favoured by his mother over him, but he has to let go of that frustration.
· Jealousy is everywhere. So Allah gives us the surah to protect us from jealousy.
Al Falaq 113:5
وَمِن شَرِّ حَاسِدٍ إِذَا حَسَدَ
And from the evil of an envier when he envies
· Some level of jealousy is necessary, like comparing to someone doing better which can be a healthier way, to aspire, as an inspiration.
· Aspiration vs constant comparison, which is unhealthy.
· Looks should not be a comparison.
· But nowadays we are fed with jealousy – looks/fashion/houses/cars etc.
· Brothers of Yusuf see themselves as victims, i.e. they are a victim of Yusuf’s existence. Benyamin is Rachel’s 2nd son.
· When Benyamin was accused of stealing, the brothers mentioned that Benyamin used to have a brother, which means that they have not let go of their jealousy of Yusof.
· You have to let go of the comparison because something small can become big.
· Comparison takes up your “space”.
· If you still think of yourself as a victim, you become angry at others. Then you say you have a right to feel what you feel, say, or do anything.
· Story of Adam & Iblis – Iblis sees himself as the victim when Adam was created. So he does bad things.
Story 4 – HOW TO BREAK THE WALL
· When Yusof is the Minister, he didn’t want revenge. He wanted justice.
· But he wants to break the wall. So he told his brothers to return to get Benyamin because he wants them to relive what they did the first time. For them to face their ugly bad actions. So that it will not happen again.
· When Yusof kept Benyamin with him, the elder brothers don’t want to go back to tell their father. But Yusof made them go back and forth until they were completely humbled. They used to be a strong group, their strength was their wealth, but every trip made them weaker. Their wall was their strength. That is how Yusof broke the wall.
· By then Yusof’s mother had died, but Yusof puts both parents on the throne because his mother’s sister is like his mother, and has the right to be respected. You can also break their wall by doing something good for them.
· Yusof’s brothers asked for forgiveness from their father. But Yaacob said later. He loved his sons but he cannot forgive them immediately. Allah can forgive us immediately but humans do not have that ability, even prophets like Yaacob.
· So if you know you have a wall, either you have to break your own wall or Allah will make something happen to break it, through a heavy price.
Have the courage to speak about your dream.
You are not a victim.
Break the wall so you can forgive.
Forgive and forget.
Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan ended this Story Night by mentioning the definition of ummah in Surah Anbiya:92.
إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِۦٓ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةًۭ وَٰحِدَةًۭ وَأَنَا۠ رَبُّكُمْ فَٱعْبُدُون
“Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your lord, so worship me”