Decided to do some tafseer (interpretation) of the Qur’an with my 3 eldest children (Hamza, Hiba and Ibrahim) during the month of Ramadan, using the ‘Abridged Tafsir Ibn Kathir’ and ‘Methodical Interpretation of the Noble Qur’an’ published by Dar Us Salam. So I’ve included on this page material I used to teach them, so that other parents can benefit from when they wish to do the same with their kids. I have also tried my best to use simple English, so that it could also be easily read by children (10-years and above) and non-native speakers of English. I’ve included my own translation of the verses whenever possible, so that it can be read with and without the additional supplementary words found in brackets. Each surah (chapter) starts with an introduction, followed by the translation, and sometimes concluding with some notes. Furthermore, I have used various translations and tafseers as references, like Yusuf Ali, Tafsir Al Jalalayn, Tafseer As-Sa‘dee and Numan Ali Khan (audio/text).
Note: This is draft number 2
Surah al-Ma‘oon (The Small Kindness) 
This chapter is focused on hypocrites and the characteristics they will have. They will be the ones who deny their judgment and the Hereafter, as well as not treating Allah and His creation well. They will not do things for Allah pleasure, as they will pray as if they are not praying (little or no remembrance of Allaah, not thinking about the meaning of the verses, always praying late or in the incorrect time, praying in an incorrect manner, only doing so to be seen by others) and only doing good deeds for the sake of being noticed by others. Their hard hearts will make them unable to treat Allah’s creation with compassion, as they will be unkind to orphans (not giving them their rights), greedy with their wealth to help the poor (not feeding them and discouraging others to do so) and stingy in their refusal to lend their belongings (axe, pot, bucket, etc) to help others.
Have you seen the one who denies the Hereafter (and its judgement)?  He is the one who turns away the orphan,  And does not encourage the feeding of the poor  So be warned, those (hypocrites) who are praying,  Those who are neglectful of their prayer (as if it had little importance),  Those who do good only to be seen (by others)  And they refuse (to lend items of) assistance.
Note: This is draft number 2
Surah al-Kawthar (The Abundance) 
In this chapter Allah discusses the great favours that He has granted onto His Prophet (SAW) called al-Kawthar – the abundance of good in this world and the hereafter. This abundance of good includes a river of the same name (al-Kawthar) in Paradise, which has been promised to the Prophet (SAW) and his followers. So with this abundance, Allah instructs the Prophet (SAW) and his followers to be regular in their prayers and to thank Allah alone by pronouncing His name when they sacrifice animals. And Allah informs the Prophet (SAW) that all those who think that he will not be remembered because his sons died and can’t pass on his name (cut off from lineage), they will be the ones who will be cut off from the al-Kawthar and the Prophet (SAW) will be remembered until the Day of Judgment.
We have certainly granted you (Muhammad with) the abundance of good.  So pray (only) to your Lord and sacrifice (only in His name).  Certainly he who hates you, he will be (the one that is) cut off (from all good).
Notes: This surah was revealed to the Prophet (SAW) while he had dozed off in the masjid. During his nap, he travelled to the heavens, where Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) informed him of the name of the river and who it was for. The Prophet saw the al-Kawthar river when he entered the heavens and described it as being whiter than milk, sweeter than honey, musky smelling, and containing [long-necked birds/birds with long necks]. After the Prophet’s (SAW) sons al-Qaasim and Abdullah die, Abu Lahab and al-‘Asy bin Waa’il began to called the Prophet (SAW) ‘the severed one’, as people’s names are normally passed down through their sons.
Note: This is draft number 2
Surah al-Kaafiroon (The Disbelievers) 
This chapter was revealed as a response to the idol-worshipping leaders of the Quraysh that came to the Prophet (SAW) with the proposal that he worship their idols for a year, and in return, they would worship his God for a year. The surah came near the end of the Prophet’s (SAW) journey of du‘a (calling people to Islam) and as such, the surah refers to the Quraysh as kaafiroon (disbelievers), as they have heard the call to Islam for many years and will never change their beliefs. So the Prophet tells them that they will not be swapping the worship of gods and that their committing of shikr (associate partners with Allah) will have consequences on the day of Judgement.
(Muhammad) Say, “O you disbelievers!”  “I don’t worship (those rival gods) that you worship.”  “And you don’t worship (Allaah alone) which I worship.”  “And I won’t (ever) worship (in the manner) that you are worshipping.”  “And you won’t (ever) worship whom I worship (in the way He should be worshipped).”  “(So, ) You have your religion (and its consequences), and I have mine.” 
Notes: The Prophet (SAW) recited Surah al-Kafiroon and Surah al-Ikhlos during the sunnah (voluntary) prayers before the Fajr salah (prayer) and during the sunnah prayers after the Mughrib salah.
Note: This is draft number 2
Surat an-Nusr (The Help) 
This chapter was the last surah to be revealed of the Quran informing the Prophet (SAW) that his duty of spreading Islam would soon be complete. It would be completed when Makkah was conquered, along with the Ka‘ba (House of Allah) being cleared of idols, and people begin to convert to Islam in large numbers. Once these happen, the Prophet (SAW) should remember and praise Allah for His help and seek His forgiveness for himself and his Um-ma (nation). The Prophet (SAW) also understood from the chapter that his death was approaching, as with the completion of his duty of spreading Islam, he would then be going to meet Allah.
When the help of Allaah comes (to you Muhammad against your enemies) and the (clear) conquest (of Makkah is achieved),  And you see the people enter Allaah’s religion (of Islaam) in crowds (from all around),  Then glorify the praises of your Lord and ask for His forgiveness. (As) He is the (only) One who has (constantly) been accepting repentance. 
Notes: When Makkah was conquered, it was done without military force, bloodshed or violence because the Prophet’s power and influence in the region was so great. One of the reasons that people began converting to Islam was because they knew that God protects Makkah, as He did against the army of the elephants in Surah al-Feel, and only with His permission would Makkah be conquered. The Prophet (SAW) has said that reading Surah an-Nusr is equivalent to reading one-fourth of the Qur’an.
This is draft number 2
Surah al-Masad (Palm Fiber) or Tab-bat (Curse) or al-Lahab (The Flame) 
This chapter was revealed as Allah’s response to the Prophet’s (SAW) uncle Abu Lahab (Associate of Red Flame – this was his nickname as he had red cheeks and a short temper, while his real name was ‘Abdul ‘Uzza bin Abdul Muttalib), who used to curse and lie about the Prophet (SAW) when the Prophet would preach to people. It focuses on the punishment of Abu Lahab and his wife Umm Jameel (Associate of Beauty – this was her nickname because she was very beautiful, while her real name was ‘Arwa bint Harb) on the Day of Judgement, because of their hatred and harmful actions against the Prophet (SAW). It starts with Abu Lahab’s punishment, wherein he will enter Hell and his wealth, children and possessions will not be able to help him – as he used to say that he would buy his way out of hell. It ends with his wife’s punishment, wherein she will also be in Hell, being pulled by a tightly fastened thorny rope or chain around her neck, carrying wood to be used as fuel in the punishment of herself and her husband – as she used to wrap thorns in palm-leaf fibre and place it in the path of the Prophet (SAW) during the night.
Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and (certainly) he will perish!  His wealth (, children) and earnings will not (be able to) help him (at all)!  He will (soon be thrown to) burn in a Fire of blazing flames!  And (so will) his wife, (the) carrier of wood.  Around her neck is a twisted rope of palm(-tree) fiber. 
Notes: Allah’s promise to slowly destroy Abu Lahab came as Abu Lahab died from a skin disease wherein his family members would not come near him, even after his death as they were scared that they may catch it.
Surah al-Ikhlos (The Sincerity) or at-Tawheed (Oneness of God) 
This chapter was revealed as a reply to the idol worshippers of Makkah who asked about the ancestry of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) god, as well as a reply to those who worshipped the “son of god” (Christians and Jews) or the sun and moon (Zoroastrians). It focuses on tawheed (the Oneness of Allah), wherein it states that He is One (unique in all His attributes), He is Self-Sufficient (does not need anyone, but everyone depends upon Him), He has no parents or children (as those that come into existence will eventually die and those that die will leave behind inheritance), and that none are equal to Him (no one can rival Him and He has no spouse).
Say (Muhammad): “He is Allaah, the One (and only god),”  “Allaah is the Self-Sufficient (needed by all),”  “Nothing was born by Him and He was not born,”  “And there is none like (or equal to) Him.” 
Note: The Prophet (SAW) has stated that reading this chapter is equivalent to reading one-third of the Qur’an and the one who loves to recite it will be admitted into Paradise. The Prophet (SAW) has encouraged the recitation of Surah al-Naas, al-Faluq and al-Ikhlos three times before and after sleep, as a protection from everything. During the night, the Prophet (SAW) would blow into his hands and then recite the three Quls and then wipe over his body with his palms.
Surah al-Faluq (The Daybreak) 
This chapter tells us to seek Allah’s protection from all the evil that is present in our world, but more specifically the evil that can cause us physical harm. This harm can come from many sources, but the greatest sources will be (1) from the darkness of the night, (2) from magic spells (sorcery) and (3) from within people’s hearts. So we seek Allah’s protection from the darkness until it retreats at daybreak (sunrise) and from the bad things done by His creation.
The evil during the night can come from people that attempt to kill or steal from us, which is why the Prophet (SAW) encouraged us not to send our children outside after Mughrib. [Saheeh Al Bukhari] The evil during the night can also come from animals that attempt to harm us, like a mosquito or snake that may bite us and like a bear or wolf that may kill us. The evil of magic spells cast by male or female sorcerers can harm us internally or externally, similar to the spell put on the Prophet (SAW) wherein he began to forget things. The Prophet was informed by Allah in a dream that he was bewitched by a Muslim hypocrite who placed the Prophet’s comb (containing some of the Prophet’s hair) under a rock in a well. [Saheeh Al Bukhari] The evil within people’s hearts can cause bad thoughts and deeds, similar to Satan’s pride and envy of Adam (when Allah asked the angels and jinn to bow before Adam) [Surah al-A‘raf], and Adam’s son Qabeel’s (Cain’s) murders his brother Habeel (Abel) due to jealousy (after Qabeel’s sacrifice to Allah was not accepted but Habeel’s was). [Surah al-Ma’ida]
Say (Reciter): “I seek protection with (Allaah,) the Lord of the daybreak,”  “From the evil of what He has created,”  “And from the evil of the (night and its) advancing darkness,”  “And from the evil of witches who blow into knots (as they cast spells),”  “And from the evil of the one who envies, when they are envious.” 
Surah an-Naas (The Humankind) 
This chapter tells us that we should seek Allah’s protection from the spiritual world, primarily from the source of all evil, the Devil (Satan). We seek His protection from the evil deeds that we may do because of the repeated thoughts that are whispered into our hearts and minds by jinn (spiritual beings made of fire) and people. These thoughts cause us to have bad feelings such as envy, jealousy, greed, pride, anger, etc, which become sinful if we act on them. It also emphasizes that protection from this type of evil can only be gotten from Allah, who has the attributes of lord (creator), king (owner), and god (one to be worshipped and obeyed).
Say (Reciter): “I seek protection with (Allaah,) the Lord of humankind,”  “The King of humankind,”  “The God of humankind,”  “From the evil of the (constant) whisperer who retreats (when I remember Allaah),”  “Who whispers in the chests (and hearts) of humankind,”  “(That are) Among the jinn and humans.” 
Note: Surah an-Naas and al-Faluq are collectively known as Al Mu‘aw-widhatain. The Prophet (SAW) told us to recite these two surahs before we sleep and after we get up and referred to them as the best two surahs, especially when seeking protection. The Prophet (SAW) was known to recite the two surahs, followed by blowing into his palms and then running his hand over his body, when he was feeling ill.
This page is a work in progress and I hope to continue modifying it as time goes by.
The tafseer work on this page is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC).