Zakah al-Fitr in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In the midst of surah al-‘Aalaa, Allah informs us:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ * وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa * and mentions the name of his Lord and prays [87:14-15]

The word tazakkaa refers to purification, either purification of one’s self (such as in the related term tazkiyyah al-nafs) or purification of one’s wealth (such as in the related term zakah). In his commentary on these ayaat, the famous mufassir Abu Muhammad al-Husayn al-Baghawi wrote:

ـ ( قد أفلح من تزكى ) تطهر من الشرك وقال : لا إله إلا الله . هذا قول عطاء وعكرمة ، ورواية الوالبي وسعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس وقال الحسن : من كان عمله زاكيا . ـ

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa

who purifies himself from al-shirk and says laa ilaaha illallaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. This was the explanation of ‘Ataa’ and ‘Ikrimah, as well as being relayed from ibn ‘Abbaas by way of al-Waalibi and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr.

al-Hasan al-Basri explained it by saying, “Whoever’s actions are pure.”

وقال آخرون : هو صدقة الفطر ، روي عن أبي سعيد الخدري في قوله : ” قد أفلح من تزكى ” قال : أعطى صدقة الفطر . ـ

Meanwhile others say that this is referring to the zakah al-fitr. It is relayed from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri regarding this ayah that he explained it by saying, “[He has certainly succeeded – he who] gives the zakah al-fitr.” Continue reading

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The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah describes Laylah al-Qadr in the beginning of surah al-Dukhaan by saying:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ * فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ * أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا

Indeed, We sent it down on a blessed night. Verily, We are ever warning * On that night every hakeem matter is apportioned *  A command from Us … [44:3-5]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee discusses some of the issues related to these ayaat in his famous book of tafsir. We have already translated his explanation of ayah number 3 here, and what follows is his explanation of ayah number 4:

قوله – تعالى – : فيها يفرق كل أمر حكيم أمرا من عندنا . معنى قوله : يفرق ، أي يفصل ويبين ، ويكتب في الليلة المباركة التي هي ليلة القدر – كل أمر حكيم ، أي ذي حكمة بالغة ; لأن كل ما يفعله الله مشتمل على أنواع الحكم الباهرة . وقال بعضهم : حكيم ، أي محكم ، لا تغيير فيه ولا تبديل . [ ص: 173 ] وكلا الأمرين حق ; لأن ما سبق في علم الله لا يتغير ولا يتبدل ، ولأن جميع أفعاله في غاية الحكمة . وهي في الاصطلاح وضع الأمور في مواضعها وإيقاعها في مواقعها . ـ

Allah’s statement:

فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ * أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا

On that night every hakeem matter is apportioned * A command from Us … [44:4-5]

The meaning of Allah’s statement

يُفْرَقُ

… is apportioned …

is that every hakeem matter is determined, made clear, and written during that blessed night which is Laylah al-Qadr.

Continue reading

Better than One Thousand Months: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In surah al-Qadr, Allah describes Laylah al-Qadr by saying:

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Laylah al-Qadr is better than one thousand months [97:3]

Imam al-Baghawi wrote the following in his commentary on this ayah:

قوله – عز وجل – : ( ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر ) قال عطاء عن ابن عباس : ذكر لرسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – رجل من بني إسرائيل حمل السلاح على عاتقه في سبيل الله ألف شهر ، فعجب رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لذلك وتمنى ذلك لأمته ، فقال : يا رب جعلت أمتي أقصر الأمم أعمارا وأقلها أعمالا ؟ فأعطاه الله ليلة القدر ، فقال : ( ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر ) التي حمل فيها الإسرائيلي السلاح في سبيل الله ، لك ولأمتك إلى يوم القيامة . [ ص: 491 ] . ـ

Relaying from ibn ‘Abbaas, ‘Ataa’ said: The Messenger of Allah was told about a man from Banu Israa’eel who carried a sword on his shoulder in the path of Allah for one thousand months. So Allah’s Messenger was amazed by this and wished this for his ummah, saying, “O Lord, You made my ummah the shortest of nations in terms of lifespan and the least of them in terms of deeds?” So then Allah gave him Laylah al-Qadr and said,

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

Laylah al-Qadr is better than one thousand months

in which that man from Banu Israa’eel carried a sword in the path of Allah. It is for you and your ummah until the Day of Resurrection.” Continue reading

Supplication in Ramadan: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In part of his explanation of surah al-Qadr, al-Haafidh ibn Kathir mentioned the following:

والمستحب الإكثار من الدعاء في جميع الأوقات ، وفي شهر رمضان أكثر ، وفي العشر الأخير منه ، ثم في أوتاره أكثر . والمستحب أن يكثر من هذا الدعاء : ” اللهم ، إنك عفو تحب العفو ، فاعف عني ” ; لما رواه الإمام أحمد : حدثنا يزيد – هو ابن هارون – ، حدثنا الجريري – وهو سعيد بن إياس – ، عن عبد الله بن بريدة ، أن عائشة قالت : يا رسول الله ، إن وافقت ليلة القدر فما أدعو ؟ قال : ” قولي : اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو ، فاعف عني ” .ـ

It is encouraged to engage in an abundance of supplication during all times, and to increase beyond that during the month of Ramadan, and then to increase therein during its last ten days, and then to increase even further in the odd-numbered ones.

And it is encouraged to be prolific in making the following supplication:

 اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

Allaahumma innaka ‘Afuwwun

tuhibbu’l-‘afwa

f’afu ‘anee

O Allah, Indeed You are Pardoning and love pardoning, so pardon me! Continue reading

Choosing the Best Over What is Merely Good: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah describes His servants in surah al-Zumar by saying:

الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

Those who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding. [39:18]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee included the following valuable discussion inside his tafsir of surah al-Zumar. We have added section headings inside brackets for the sake of clarity and ease of navigation:

قوله تعالى : الذين يستمعون القول فيتبعون أحسنه . أظهر الأقوال في الآية الكريمة ، أن المراد بالقول ، ما جاء به النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، من وحي الكتاب والسنة ، ومن إطلاق القول على القرآن قوله تعالى : أفلم يدبروا القول الآية [ 23 \ 68 ] . وقوله تعالى : إنه لقول فصل وما هو بالهزل [ 86 \ 13 – 14 ] . وقوله تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة : فيتبعون أحسنه [ 39 \ 18 ] أي : يقدمون الأحسن ، الذي هو أشد حسنا ، على الأحسن الذي هو دونه في الحسن ، ويقدمون الأحسن مطلقا على الحسن . ويدل لهذا آيات من كتاب الله . ـ

[Explanation of Vocabulary and General Meaning]

Allah’s statement:

الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ

Those who listen to speech and follow the best of it [39:18]

Out of the various opinions regarding this noble ayah, the most apparent is that the intended meaning of the word “speech” in it is the divine inspiration of the Qur’an and the Sunnah which the Prophet (ﷺ) brought. One example of the word “speech” being used to refer to the Qur’an is Allah’s statement:

أَفَلَمْ يَدَّبَّرُوا الْقَوْلَ

Then have they not reflected over the speech… [23:86]

or His statement:

إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلٌ فَصْلٌ * وَمَا هُوَ بِالْهَزْلِ

Indeed, it is a decisive speech * And it is not amusement [86:13-14]

As to Allah’s statement in this noble ayah:

 فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ

… and follow the best of it [39:18]

meaning: they give precedence to the best – that which is the greatest good – over other forms of good which are lesser in goodness; they give precedence to the absolute best over just plain good. And there are a number of ayaat in Allah’s book which support this interpretation. Continue reading

Some Benefits Derived from the Prophet’s Annual Review of the Qur’an with Jibril: Sheikh bin Baaz

The following question was posed the the former mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz:

السؤال: هل يمكن أن يستفاد من مدارسة جبرائيل عليه السلام للنبي ﷺ القرآن في رمضان أفضلية ختم القرآن؟ ـ

Question: Can we understand from the reviewing of the Qur’an with Jibril during Ramadan that completing the entire Qur’an during this month is an encouraged action?

الجواب: يستفاد منها المدارسة، وأنه يستحب للمؤمن أن يدارس القرآن من يفيده وينفعه؛ لأن الرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام دارس جبرائيل للاستفادة؛ لأن جبرائيل هو الذي يأتي من عند الله جل وعلا وهو السفير بين الله والرسل، فجبرائيل لابد أن يفيد النبي ﷺ أشياء من جهة الله ، من جهة حروف القرآن، ومن جهة معانيه التي أرادها الله. ـ

Response: From this reviewing, we can understand that it is recommended for the believers to study and review the Qur’an with someone who can benefit them. That is because the Messenger reviewed with Jibril in order to take some benefit, for Jibril was the one who came from Allah as an intermediary between Allah and the messengers. So of course Jibril was going to bring something of benefit from Allah to the Prophet – both in terms of the words of the Qur’an and in terms of the meanings which Allah intended by those words. Continue reading

Speaking About Allah Without Knowledge is the Foundation of All Shrik, Kufr, & Innovation: Ibn al-Qayyim

The great scholar ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah mentioned the following words in his famous Madaarij al-Saalikeen:

فصل القول على الله بغير علم
Speaking About Allah Without Knowledge

وأما القول على الله بلا علم فهو أشد هذه المحرمات تحريما ، وأعظمها إثما ، ولهذا ذكر في المرتبة الرابعة من المحرمات التي اتفقت عليها الشرائع والأديان ، ولا تباح بحال ، بل لا تكون إلا محرمة ، وليست كالميتة والدم ولحم الخنزير ، الذي يباح في حال دون حال . ـ

As for speaking about Allah without knowledge, this is the most strongly forbidden prohibition and the greatest of them in sinfulness. Because of that, it is mentioned in the fourth level of prohibited things, something that all the divine legislations agreed upon. It is not permitted in any situation nor can it take any other ruling than prohibited. This is unlike carrion, blood, or swine, all of which can become permissible in certain situations.

فإن المحرمات نوعان : محرم لذاته لا يباح بحال ، ومحرم تحريما عارضا في وقت دون وقت ، قال الله تعالى في المحرم لذاته قل إنما حرم ربي الفواحش ما ظهر منها وما بطن ثم انتقل منه إلى ما هو أعظم منه فقال والإثم والبغي بغير الحق ثم انتقل منه إلى ما هو أعظم منه ، فقال وأن تشركوا بالله ما لم ينزل به سلطانا ثم انتقل منه إلى ما هو أعظم منه ، فقال وأن تقولوا على الله ما لا تعلمون فهذا أعظم المحرمات عند الله وأشدها إثما ، فإنه يتضمن الكذب على الله ، ونسبته إلى ما لا يليق به ، وتغيير دينه وتبديله ، ونفي ما أثبته وإثبات ما نفاه ، وتحقيق ما أبطله وإبطال ما حققه ، وعداوة من والاه وموالاة من عاداه ، وحب ما أبغضه وبغض ما أحبه ، ووصفه بما لا يليق به في ذاته وصفاته وأقواله وأفعاله . ـ

You see, prohibited things can be classified into two types:

  1. Things which are forbidden due to some intrinsic quality, which are not allowed in any situations
  2. Prohibited things whose prohibition is in effect in certain situations but not others

Allah spoke about those things whose prohibition is intrinsic by saying:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ 

Say: My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed …

then He moved on to those prohibitions which are even greater by saying: Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #6

What follows is a collection of Qur’anic benefits that were originally posted on our Facebook page in January and February of 2015:

♦ Determining the Truth

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di mentioned numerous benefits from the story of Nuh, and among them he included:

وكذلك قولهم: { وَمَا نَرَ‌اكَ اتَّبَعَكَ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ هُمْ أَرَ‌اذِلُنَا } ( هود ٢٧ ) من المعلوم لكل أحد عاقل أن الحق يعرف أنه حق بنفسه لا بمن تبعه، وأن هذا القول الذي قالوه صدر عن كبر وتيه، والكبر أكبر مانع للعبد من معرفة الحق ومن اتباعه. ـ

And similarly Nuh’s people said,

وَمَا نَرَ‌اكَ اتَّبَعَكَ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ هُمْ أَرَ‌اذِلُنَا

and we do not see you followed except by those who are the lowest of us [11:27]

It is well-known to every intelligent person that the truth is known to be the truth by itself and not by who follows it, and that this statement which they said emanates from pride and arrogance. And pride is the greatest thing preventing the slave from recognizing the truth and following it.

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 276]


♦ Recite the Qur’an with Tarteel

al-Haafidh Ibn Kathir wrote in his famous book of tafsir:

وقوله : ( ورتل القرآن ترتيلا ) أي : اقرأه على تمهل ، فإنه يكون عونا على فهم القرآن وتدبره

And His statement,

وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا

And recite the Qur’an with tarteel [73:4] Continue reading

I did not Create the Jinn and Mankind Except to Worship Me: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Near the end of surah al-Dhaariyaat, Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ * مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ * إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me * I do not desire provision from them, nor do I want them to feed me * It is Allah who is the continual provider, the firm possessor of strength. [51-56-58]

Commenting on this in his well-known tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote:

هذه الغاية التي خلق الله الجن والإنس لها، وبعث جميع الرسل يدعون إليها، وهي عبادته، المتضمنة لمعرفته ومحبته، والإنابة إليه والإقبال عليه، والإعراض عما سواه ـ

This is the purpose for which Allah created the Jinn and mankind, and all of the Messengers were sent to call to this: that is, the worship of Allah. Worship of Allah involves knowing Him, loving Him, turning to Him in repentance, dedicating oneself to Him, and turning away from the worship of any others.

وذلك يتضمن معرفة الله تعالى، فإن تمام العبادة متوقف على المعرفة بالله، بل كلما ازداد العبد معرفة بربه، كانت عبادته أكمل، فهذا الذي خلق الله المكلفين لأجله، فما خلقهم لحاجة منه إليهم. ـ

This involves knowing Allah, as complete worship is dependent upon knowing Allah. In fact, the more that a person increases in knowing His Lord, the more complete his worship will be. So it is for this purpose that Allah created these two legally-responsible beings [i.e. Jinn and mankind]; He did not created them out of any need for them. Continue reading

Central Themes of Surah al-Baqarah: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

In a discussion on the connections between different sections of individual surahs, Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool provided an example in this quick outline of the contents of surah al-Baqarah:

مثال آخر: الآيات من آية رقم ( ١)، إلى الآية رقم ( ٢٠ ) من سورة البقرة تعتبر المقدمة بالنسبة لمحتوى السورة، حيث وصف القرآن بما هو أهله، ووصف متبعيه ومخالفيه كلا بما يستحقه. ـ

Another example of the relationships between different groups of ayaat to one another within a surah comes in surah al-Baqarah[1].

Ayaat 1-20 can be considered as an introduction to the contents of this surah as it describes the Qur’an in the way that it deserves and characterizes the followers and violators of the Qur’an in ways appropriate for each of them.

ثم يأت المقصد الأول من آية رقم ( ٢١-٢٥ ) في دعوة الناس كافة إلى الإسلام. ـ

Then we come to the first section, from ayah 21-25, which is inviting all of mankind to Islam.

ثم يأت المقصد الثاني من آية رقم (٤٠ -١٦٢ ) في دعوة أهل الكتاب، دعوة خاصة إلى ترك باطلهم والدخول في هذا الدين الحق. ـ

Then we come to the second section, from ayah 40-162, which is inviting the Ahl al-Kitab. More specifically, it is inviting them to abandon their false beliefs and enter into this religion of truth. Continue reading