The story of Ilyaas: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Saffaat, Allah tells us the story of His prophet Ilyaas (Elijah):

وَإِنَّ إِلْيَاسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْ‌سَلِينَ ﴿١٢٣﴾ إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ ﴿١٢٤﴾ أَتَدْعُونَ بَعْلًا وَتَذَرُ‌ونَ أَحْسَنَ الْخَالِقِينَ ﴿١٢٥﴾ اللَّـهَ رَ‌بَّكُمْ وَرَ‌بَّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ ﴿١٢٦﴾فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَمُحْضَرُ‌ونَ ﴿١٢٧﴾ إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّـهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ ﴿١٢٨﴾ وَتَرَ‌كْنَا عَلَيْهِ فِي الْآخِرِ‌ينَ ﴿١٢٩﴾ سَلَامٌ عَلَىٰ إِلْ يَاسِينَ ﴿١٣٠﴾ إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴿١٣١﴾ إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿١٣٢﴾ ـ

And indeed, Ilyaas was from among the messengers, (123) When he said to his people, “Will you not fear Allah? (124) Do you call upon Ba’l and leave the best of creators – (125) Allah, your Lord and the Lord of your first forefathers?” (126) So they denied him, so indeed, they will be brought, (127) Except the sincere servants of Allah. (128) And We left for him  among later generations: (129) “Salaam upon Ilyaaseen.” (130) Indeed, like so do we reward the doers of good. (131) Indeed, he was one of Our believing servants. (132)

Imam al-Sa’di brings out some of the salient points of this passage in his tafsir when he writes:

يمدح تعالى عبده ورسوله، إلياس عليه الصلاة والسلام، بالنبوة والرسالة، والدعوة إلى اللّه، وأنه أمر قومه بالتقوى، وعبادة اللّه وحده، ونهاهم عن عبادتهم، صنما لهم يقال له ‏”‏بعل‏”‏ وتركهم عبادة اللّه، الذي خلق الخلق، وأحسن خلقهم، ورباهم فأحسن تربيتهم، وأدرَّ عليهم النعم الظاهرة والباطنة، وأنكم كيف تركتم عبادة من هذا شأنه، إلى عبادة صنم، لا يضر، ولا ينفع، ولا يخلق، ولا يرزق، بل لا يأكل ولا يتكلم‏؟‏‏”‏ وهل هذا إلا من أعظم الضلال والسفه والغي‏؟‏‏”‏

Allah the Exalted is praising His slave and messenger, Ilyaas‘alaihis salaatu was salaam – with prophethood and messengership, and calling to Allah, that he commanded his people with taqwa and the worship of Allah alone, and forbade them from the worship of an idol of their which they called “Ba’l” and (thereby) abandoning the worship of Allah, who created the creation and is the best creator for them, and He nurtured them and is the best nurturer for them, and he provided them with blessings both apparent and hidden. So how could you abandon His worship in light of all this, for the worship of an idol, which neither can harm nor benefit, neither create nor provide or sustain, rather it cannot even eat or speak? And what is this except for the greatest misguidance, foolishness and error?

‏{‏‏”‏فَكَذَّبُوهُ‏”‏‏}‏ فيما دعاهم إليه، فلم ينقادوا له، قال اللّه متوعدا لهم‏:‏ ‏{‏فَإِنَّهُمْ لَمُحْضَرُونَ‏}‏ أي يوم القيامة في العذاب، ولم يذكر لهم عقوبة دنيوية‏.‏

So they denied him” concerning that to which he invited them, so they did not think critically about it. Allah said, promising them, “so indeed, they will be brought” meaning on the Day of Resurrection for punishment, and He did not mention their punishment in this world.

‏{‏إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصِينَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ الذين أخلصهم اللّه، ومنَّ عليهم باتباع نبيهم، فإنهم غير محضرين في العذاب، وإنما لهم من اللّه جزيل الثواب‏.‏

Except the sincere servants of Allah” – meaning: those who are sincere to Allah, and He provides them with the blessing of obediently following their prophet, so they are certainly not those who will be brought for punishment. For them there will certainly be a great reward from Allah.

‏{‏وَتَرَكْنَا عَلَيْهِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ على إلياس ‏{‏فِي الْآخِرِينَ‏}‏ ثناء حسنا‏.‏

And We left for him” – meaning: for Ilyaas – “among later generations” praise and goodness.

‏{‏سَلَامٌ عَلَى إِلْ يَاسِينَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ تحية من اللّه، ومن عباده عليه‏.‏

“‘Salaam upon Ilyaaseen‘” – meaning: greeting from Allah, and from His slaves upon him.*

‏{‏إِنَّا كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ‏}‏ فأثنى اللّه عليه كما أثنى على إخوانه صلوات اللّه وسلامه عليهم أجمعين‏.‏

Indeed, like so do we reward the doers of good. Indeed, he was one of Our believing servants.” Thus Allah praised him just as He praised his brothers – salawaat Allaah was salaamahu ‘alaihim ajma’een.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

*And concerning the rendering of Ilyaas as ‘Ilyaaseen’ in ayah 130, Ibn Kathir wrote:

العرب تلحق النون في أسماء كثيرة، وتبدلها من غيرها، كما قالوا‏:‏ إسماعيل وإسماعين، وإسرائيل واسرائين، وإلياس وإلياسين، ومن قرأ‏:‏ سلام على آل ياسين أي‏:‏ على آل محمد

The Arabs attach the letter ‘noon’ to many names, and it replaces what would be there instead, such as when they say ismaa’eel and ismaa’een, israa’eel and israa’een, ilyaas and ilyaaseen. And one of the recitations is “salaam upon aal yaaseen (the family of Yaaseen)”, meaning upon the family of Muhammad.

[al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 1/397]

See also: The story of the town by the sea: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The story of the two sons of Adam: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The Orator of the Anbiya: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The story of Nuh and his son

See also: Two disbelieving women and two believing women: Tafsir al-Sa’di

The Sharee’ah of Moosaa and the Sharee’ah of Muhammad

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his explanation of Imam al-Nawawi’s Arba’een:

وأما الصبر فإنه ضياء والضياء هو النور الذي يحصل فيه نوع حرارة وإحراق كضياء الشمس بخلاف القمر فإنه نور محض فيه إشراق بغير إحراق قال الله عز وجل ‏{‏هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاء وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا‏}‏ يونس

As for Sabr (steadfastness), it is a radiant light (dhiya’), which is the light which carries in it some type of heat and burning like the radiant light of the sun, as opposed to the moon, because it [the moon] is pure light in which there is illumination without any burning. Allah says, “It is He who appointed to sun to give radiance, and the moon to give light” [10:5].

ومن هنا وصف الله شريعة موسى بأنها ضياء كما قال ‏{‏وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى وَهَارُونَ الْفُرْقَانَ وَضِيَاء وَذِكْرًا لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ‏}‏ الأنبياء وإن كان قد ذكر أن في التوراة نورا كما قال ‏{‏إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ‏}‏ لكن الغالب على شريعتهم الضياء لما فيها من الآصار والأغلال والأثقال

It is from this point of view that Allah describes the sharee’ah of Moosaa as being a radiant light, as He says, “We gave to Moosaa and Haaroon the Criterion and a shining light and a reminder for the muttaqoon” [21:48], even if He also mentions that there is light (noor) in the Tawrah, as He says, “We sent down the Tawrah containing guidance and light” [5:44], however what is the predominant element in their sharee’ah is a radiant light because of the heaviness and burdensome commands, difficult tasks and fatiguing works, and the weighty burdens in it.

ووصف شريعة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم بأنها نور لما فيها من الحنيفية السمحة قال الله تعالى ‏{‏قَدْ جَاءكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ‏}‏ المائدة

And He describes the sharee’ah of Muhammad (ﷺ) as being a light because of the the liberally generous haneefiyyah that is in it. He says, Exalted is He, “A light has come to you from Allah and a clear Book” [5:15]

[Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam 2/24-25 (ch. 23)]

For linguistic insights from Ibn Rajab, please see: The meaning of al-Ma’roof and al-Munkar: Ibn Rajab

See also: The Preservation of the Qur’an and the Preservation of the Tawrah: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: The Virtue of this Ummah over the Previous Nations: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: The Qur’an, the Tawrah and the Injeel: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: We Revealed the Qur’an as a Muhaymin over the previous scriptures: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The Mushirkoon invite to the fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and forgiveness

Allah commands the believers in surah al-Baqarah:

وَلَا تَنكِحُوا الْمُشْرِ‌كَاتِ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنَّ ۚ وَلَأَمَةٌ مُّؤْمِنَةٌ خَيْرٌ‌ مِّن مُّشْرِ‌كَةٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ ۗ وَلَا تُنكِحُوا الْمُشْرِ‌كِينَ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنُوا ۚ وَلَعَبْدٌ مُّؤْمِنٌ خَيْرٌ‌ مِّن مُّشْرِ‌كٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكُمْ ۗ أُولَـٰئِكَ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ‌ ۖ وَاللَّـهُ يَدْعُو إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَ‌ةِ بِإِذْنِهِ ۖ وَيُبَيِّنُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُ‌ونَ

And do not marry mushrikaat women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a mushrikah, even though she might please you. And do not marry mushrik men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a mushrik , even though he might please you. They invite to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes His verses clear to the people in order that they may remember. [2:221]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his tafsir, writes about this ayah:

أي‏:‏ ‏{‏وَلَا تَنْكِحُوا‏}‏ النساء ‏{‏الْمُشْرِكَاتِ‏}‏ ما دمن على شركهن ‏{‏حَتَّى يُؤْمِنَّ‏}‏ لأن المؤمنة ولو بلغت من الدمامة ما بلغت خير من المشركة‏,‏ ولو بلغت من الحسن ما بلغت‏,‏ وهذه عامة في جميع النساء المشركات، وخصصتها آية المائدة‏,‏ في إباحة نساء أهل الكتاب كما قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ‏}‏

And do not marrymushrikaat [disbelievers]” women who are persisting upon their shirkuntil they believe” because the female believer, even if she if is much uglier, is better than the mushrikah, even if she is much more beautiful. And this applies generally to all disbelieving women, and is stipulated by the ayah in surah al-Maa’idah, which gives the permission to marry the women of the People of the Book as Allah said, “and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture”. [5:5]

‏{‏وَلَا تُنْكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّى يُؤْمِنُوا‏}‏ وهذا عام لا تخصيص فيه‏.‏

And do not marry the disbelieving men until they believe” and this is general and there is no stipulation for it.

Continue reading

“Allah loves, when one of you does a thing, that he should do it well.”

‘Aa’ishah narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ إِذَا عَمِلَ أَحَدُكُم عَمَلًا أَن يُتقِنَهُ

“Allah loves, when one of you does a thing, that he should do it well.”

[Abu Ya’la 7/349, and Sheikh al-Albaani graded it as hasan in Silsilah al-Saheehah #1113]

Just Refrain

The Mother of the Believers ‘Aa’ishah bint Abi Bakr said,

أَقِلُّوا الذُّنُوبَ، فَإِنَّكُمْ لَنْ تَلْقَوُا اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِشَيْءٍ خَيْرٍ لَكُمْ مِنْ قِلَّةِ الذُّنُوبِ، فَمَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يَسْبِقَ الدَّائِبَ الْمُجْتَهِدَ، فَلْيَكُفَّ نَفْسَهُ عَنْ كَثْرَةِ الذُّنُوبِ

Lessen your sins, for most definitely you will never meet Allah with anything better for you than having few sins. So whoever wants to surpass those who exert themselves in ‘ibaadah habitually, then let him stop himself from committing numerous sins.

[Sifaat al-Safwah of Imam Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi 1/319; also mentioned by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in al-Zuhd, and Imam ‘Abdullah ibn Mubaarak in al-Zuhd wa al-Raqaa’iq]

O Allah! This is my division in what I have control over…

The Mother of the Believers ‘Aaishah bint al-Siddeeq narrated that:

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَقْسِمُ بَيْنَ نِسَائِهِ فَيَعْدِلُ وَيَقُولُ ‏”‏ اللَّهُمَّ هَذِهِ قِسْمَتِي فِيمَا أَمْلِكُ فَلاَ تَلُمْنِي فِيمَا تَمْلِكُ وَلاَ أَمْلِكُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

The Prophet (ﷺ) would divide (his time) equally between his wives and he said: “O Allah! This is my division in what I have control over, so do not punish me for what You control and over which I do not have control.

[al-Tirmidhi #1140, Saheeh. Abu Dawood #2134. Ibn Maajah #1971. Ibn Hibban declared it to be Saheeh” (#4192), as did al-Haakim (2/187), and al-Dhahabi agreed.]

Abu ‘Eesaa al-Tirmidhi, after mentioning the hadeeth and some discussion of its isnaad, he then commented:

وَمَعْنَى قَوْلِهِ ‏”‏ لاَ تَلُمْنِي فِيمَا تَمْلِكُ وَلاَ أَمْلِكُ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ إِنَّمَا يَعْنِي بِهِ الْحُبَّ وَالْمَوَدَّةَ كَذَا فَسَّرَهُ بَعْضُ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ ‏.‏

And as for his saying, “Do not punish me for what You control and over which I do not have control” – he meant love and affection; this is how it was explained by some of the people of knowledge.

Sheikh al-Mubarakfoori, in his commentary on Jaami’ al-Tirmidhi, wrote:

هن زوجات الرجل ؛ لأن كل واحدة تتضرر بالأخرى بالغيرة والقسم ، كذا في المجمع .

They are the wives of men, because each one is affected by the others and jealous of the division [of the husband’s time, money, affection, etc], and they are as such collectively.

قوله : ( كان يقسم بين نسائه فيعدل ) استدل به من قال أن القسم كان واجبا عليه ، وذهب بعض المفسرين إلى أنه لا يجب عليه ، واستدلوا بقوله تعالى ترجي من تشاء منهن الآية ، وذلك من خصائصه ( ويقول اللهم هذه قسمتي فيما أملك ) أي : أقدر عليه ( فلا تلمني ) أي : لا تعاتبني ، ولا تؤاخذني ( فيما تملك ، ولا أملك ) أي : من زيادة المحبة والميل ، قال ابن الهمام : ظاهره أن ما عداه مما هو داخل تحت ملكه وقدرته يجب التسوية فيه ، ومنه عدد الوطآت والقبلات والتسوية فيهما غير لازمة إجماعا .  .

The statement, “he would divide (his time) equally” – this is cited by those who say that the division [of a husband’s time, money, affection, etc.] is obligatory upon him, and some of the mufassireen [commentators of the Qur’an] say it is not obligatory upon him, and they cite Allah’s statement “You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them…” [33:51], and that is something specific to him. “And he said: “O Allah! This is my division in what I have control over” – meaning: what I have power over – “so do not punish me” – meaning: do not blame me or seize me (in punishment) – “for what You control and over which I do not have control” – meaning: from my excess of love and inclination (towards one over another). Ibn al-Humaam said, “It is clear that everything else which falls under ones power and ability, then he must be equitable therein, and this includes pillow talk and kisses and equity therein is not absolutely necessary.”

After some discussion of the takhreej of the hadeeth, Mubarakfoori continues:

قوله : ( كذا فسره بعض أهل العلم ) أخرج البيهقي من طريق علي بن طلحة عن ابن عباس في قوله : ولن تستطيعوا أن تعدلوا بين النساء قال : في الحب والجماع ، وعند عبيدة بن عمرو السلماني مثله

His statement, “this is how it was explained by some of the people of knowledge” comes from al-Bayhaqi through the route of Talhah from Ibn ‘Abbaas in his explanation of Allah’s statement, “And you will never be able to do perfect justice between wives…” [4:129] – he said, “in terms of affection and sexual intercourse,” and ‘Ubaydah ibn ‘Amr and al-Salmaani gave similar explanations.

[Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi p. 247-248]

“We know best of what they listen to, when they listen to you”: Imam al-Sa’di on 17:45-48

Allah informs us in His Book about certain qualities of the disbelievers and their aversion to even considering the truth which He has sent when He says:

وَإِذَا قَرَ‌أْتَ الْقُرْ‌آنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَ‌ةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورً‌ا ﴿٤٥﴾ وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرً‌ا ۚ وَإِذَا ذَكَرْ‌تَ رَ‌بَّكَ فِي الْقُرْ‌آنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِ‌هِمْ نُفُورً‌ا ﴿٤٦﴾ نَّحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَسْتَمِعُونَ بِهِ إِذْ يَسْتَمِعُونَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِذْ هُمْ نَجْوَىٰ إِذْ يَقُولُ الظَّالِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَ‌جُلًا مَّسْحُورً‌ا ﴿٤٧﴾ انظُرْ‌ كَيْفَ ضَرَ‌بُوا لَكَ الْأَمْثَالَ فَضَلُّوا فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَبِيلًا

And when you recite the Qur’an, We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition. (45) And We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears a heaviness. And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an, they turn back in aversion. (46) We know best of what they listen to, when they listen to you. And when they take secret counsel, when the wrongdoers say “You follow none but a bewitched man.” (47) Look how they strike for you comparisons; but they have strayed, so they cannot [find] a way. [17:45-48]

Imam al-Sa’di writes in his tafsir:

يخبر تعالى عن عقوبته للمكذبين بالحق الذين ردوه وأعرضوا عنه أنه يحول بينهم وبين الإيمان فقال‏:‏

Allah informs us about the punishment of those who deny the truth, those who rebut and turn away from it, that He prevents them from al-eemaan. He said:
{‏وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ‏}‏ الذي فيه الوعظ والتذكير والهدى والإيمان والخير والعلم الكثير‏.‏

And when you recite the Qur’an” in which there is admonition, remembrance, guidance, al-eemaan, goodness and much ‘ilm.

‏{‏جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَسْتُورًا‏}‏ يسترهم عن فهمه حقيقة وعن التحقق بحقائقه والانقياد إلى ما يدعو إليه من الخير‏.‏

We put between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter a concealed partition” concealing from them its true understanding and certainty of its truth and complying with the good to which it calls.

‏{‏وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً‏}‏ أي‏:‏ أغطية وأغشية لا يفقهون معها القرآن بل يسمعونه سماعا تقوم به عليهم الحجة، ‏{‏وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ صمما عن سماعه، ‏{‏وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآن‏}‏ داعيا لتوحيده ناهيا عن الشرك به‏.‏

And We have placed over their hearts coverings” – meaning: enveloping and overwhelming so that their hearts do not understand the Qur’an even though they hear it clearly, so it is established as a hujjah (proof) against them. “And in their ears a heaviness” – meaning: a deafness in their hearing. “And when you mention your Lord alone in the Qur’an” calling them thereby to al-tawheed and prohibiting them from al-shirk.

‏{‏وَلَّوْا عَلَى أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا‏}‏ من شدة بغضهم له ومحبتهم لما هم عليه من الباطل، كما قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ اشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ‏}‏

“They turn back in aversion” from the extremity of their hatred for it and their love for what they follow of falsehood, as Allah said, “And when Allah is mentioned alone, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion, but when those [worshipped] other than Him are mentioned, immediately they rejoice.” [39:35]

‏{‏نَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَسْتَمِعُونَ بِهِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ إنما منعناهم من الانتفاع عند سماع القرآن لأننا نعلم أن مقاصدهم سيئة يريدون أن يعثروا على أقل شيء ليقدحوا به، وليس استماعهم لأجل الاسترشاد وقبول الحق وإنما هم متعمدون على عدم اتباعه، ومن كان بهذه الحالة لم يفده الاستماع شيئا ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏إِذْ يَسْتَمِعُونَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِذْ هُمْ نَجْوَى‏}‏ أي‏:‏ متناجين ‏{‏إِذْ يَقُولُ الظَّالِمُونَ‏}‏ في مناجاتهم‏:‏ ‏{‏إِنْ تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَجُلًا مَسْحُورًا‏}‏ فإذا كانت هذه مناجاتهم الظالمة فيما بينهم وقد بنوها على أنه مسحور فهم جازمون أنهم غير معتبرين لما قال، وأنه يهذي لا يدري ما يقول‏.‏

We know best of what they listen to” – meaning: We only prevented them from benefiting when they hear the Qur’an because We know that their intentions are evil, wanting to find something so that they can at least vilify the Qur’an, and not listening to it for guidance of accepting the truth, but they only intend to not follow it. And whoever is in this condition, he does not benefit at all from hearing it and this is as Allah said, “when they listen to you. And when they take secret counsel” – meaning: those who make secret conversations – “when the wrongdoers say” – in their secret conversations” – “‘You follow none but a bewitched man” so when they have their secret conversations their is wrongdoing amongst them and they predicate these conversations on the idea that he is bewitched, so they assert that claim without even considering what he has said, and they assert that he is just babbling and he does not know what he himself says.

قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏انْظُرْ‏}‏ متعجبا ‏{‏كَيْفَ ضَرَبُوا لَكَ الْأَمْثَالَ‏}‏ التي هي أضل الأمثال وأبعدها عن الصواب ‏{‏فَضَلُّوا‏}‏ في ذلك أو فصارت سببا لضلالهم لأنهم بنوا عليها أمرهم والمبني على فاسد أفسد منه‏.‏

Allah says, “Look” – in astonishment – “how they strike for you comparisons” which are the most misguided of comparisons and the farthest away from being correct. “But they have strayed” in that or it has become a cause of their misguidance because they predicated their affair on that and based it upon the most corrupt of corruptions.

‏{‏فَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَبِيلًا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ لا يهتدون أي اهتداء فنصيبهم الضلال المحض والظلم الصرف‏.‏

“So they cannot [find] a way” – meaning: they are not guided to any sort of guidance, so pure misguidance and sheer wrong-doing is appointed for them.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

Surely either we or you are upon right guidance, or in clear error

Allah سبحانه وتعالى instructs His messenger (ﷺ) to address the disbelievers when He says in surah Saba’:

قُلْ مَن يَرْ‌زُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ ۖ قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَإِنَّا أَوْ إِيَّاكُمْ لَعَلَىٰ هُدًى أَوْ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ

Say, “Who provides for you from the heavens and the earth?” Say, “Allah. And surely, either we or you are upon right guidance, or in clear error.” [34:24]

Imam al-Sa’di writes about this ayah in his book of tafsir, saying:

يأمر تعالى‏,‏ نبيه محمدا ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ أن يقول لمن أشرك باللّه ويسأله عن حجة شركه‏:‏ ‏{‏مَنْ يَرْزُقُكُمْ مِنَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ‏}‏ فإنهم لا بد أن يقروا أنه اللّه، ولئن لم يقروا فـ ‏{‏قُلِ اللَّهُ‏}‏ فإنك لا تجد من يدفع هذا القول، فإذا تبين أن اللّه وحده الذي يرزقكم من السماوات والأرض‏,‏ وينزل ‏لكم‏‏ المطر‏,‏ وينبت لكم النبات‏,‏ ويفجر لكم الأنهار‏,‏ ويطلع لكم من ثمار الأشجار‏,‏ وجعل لكم الحيوانات جميعها‏,‏ لنفعكم ورزقكم‏,‏ فلم تعبدون معه من لا يرزقكم شيئا‏,‏ ولا يفيدكم نفعا‏؟‏‏.‏

He commands His prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to say to those who commit shirk of Allah and to ask them for a proof of their skirk: “Say, ‘Who provides for you from the heavens and the earth?’” for they should surely admit that it is definitely Allah, and if they do not admit it, then “Say, ‘Allah’” for certainly you will not find anyone who can refute this statement. So when you clarify that Allah alone provides for you from the heavens and the earth, and sends rain down for you, and grows your plants for you, and causes you rivers to burst forth for you, and brings fruits from the trees for you, and made all of the animals for you, in order to benefit you and provide for you, and then you worship others alongside him who neither provide anything for you, nor benefit you in any way?

وقوله‏:‏ ‏{‏وَإِنَّا أَوْ إِيَّاكُمْ لَعَلَى هُدًى أَوْ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ إحدى الطائفتين منا ومنكم‏,‏ على الهدى‏,‏ مستعلية عليه‏,‏ أو في ضلال مبين، منغمرة فيه، وهذا الكلام يقوله من تبين له الحق‏,‏ واتضح له الصواب‏,‏ وجزم بالحق الذي هو عليه‏,‏ وبطلان ما عليه خصمه‏.‏

And His statement, “Surely, either we or you are upon right guidance, or in clear error” – meaning: one of the two parties, either us or you, is upon guidance, possessing it, of in clear error, completely engulfed in it, and this speech that you say to them is a clarification of the truth, and explanation of the right way, and an assertion of the truth which you are upon and the falsehood of your disputant.

أي‏:‏ قد شرحنا من الأدلة الواضحة عندنا وعندكم‏,‏ ما به يعلم علما يقينا لا شك فيه‏,‏ من المحق منا‏,‏ ومن المبطل‏,‏ ومن المهتدي ومن الضال‏؟‏ حتى إنه يصير التعيين بعد ذلك‏,‏ لا فائدة فيه، فإنك إذا وازنت بين من يدعو إلى عبادة الخالق‏,‏ لسائر المخلوقات المتصرف فيها‏,‏ بجميع أنواع التصرفات‏,‏ المسدي جميع النعم‏,‏ الذي رزقهم وأوصل إليهم كل نعمة‏,‏ ودفع عنهم كل نقمة‏,‏ الذي له الحمد كله‏,‏ والملك كله‏,‏ وكل أحد من الملائكة فما دونهم‏,‏ خاضعون لهيبته‏,‏ متذللون لعظمته‏,‏ وكل الشفعاء تخافه‏,‏ لا يشفع أحد منهم عنده إلا بإذنه العلي الكبير‏,‏ في ذاته‏,‏ وأوصافه‏,‏ وأفعاله‏,‏ الذي له كل كمال‏,‏ وكل جلال‏,‏ وكل جمال‏,‏ وكل حمد وثناء ومجد، يدعو إلى التقرب لمن هذا شأنه‏,‏ وإخلاص العمل له‏,‏ وينهى عن عبادة من سواه‏,‏ وبين من يتقرب إلى أوثان‏,‏ وأصنام‏,‏ وقبور‏,‏ لا تخلق‏,‏ ولا ترزق‏,‏ ولا تملك لأنفسها‏,‏ ولا لمن عبدها‏,‏ نفعا ولا ضرا‏,‏ ولا موتا ولا حياة‏,‏ ولا نشورا، بل هي جمادات‏,‏ لا تعقل‏,‏ ولا تسمع دعاء عابديها‏,‏ ولو سمعته ما استجابت لهم، ويوم القيامة يكفرون بشركهم‏,‏ ويتبرأون منهم‏,‏ ويتلاعنون بينهم، ليس لهم قسط من الملك‏,‏ ولا شركة فيه‏,‏ ولا إعانة فيه، ولا لهم شفاعة يستقلون بها دون اللّه، فهو يدعو مَنْ هذا وصفه‏,‏ ويتقرب إليه مهما أمكنه‏,‏ ويعادي من أخلص الدين للّه‏,‏ ويحاربه‏,‏ ويكذب رسل اللّه‏,‏ الذين جاءوا بالإخلاص للّه وحده، تبين لك أي الفريقين‏,‏ المهتدي من الضال‏,‏ والشقي من السعيد‏؟‏ ولم يحتج إلى أن يعين لك ذلك‏,‏ لأن وصف الحال‏,‏ أوضح من لسان المقال‏.‏

Meaning: We have explained the clear evidence of what we have and what you have, what it teaches of certain knowledge (‘ilm al-yaqeen) about which there is no doubt, which one of us is correct, and which one of us is false, and which one of us is guided and which one is misguided. (Arguing further) becomes mere quibbling after that, in which there is no benefit. For if you were to compare the one who calls to the worship of al-Khaaliq (The Creator) which the rest of the creation, in all of their created forms, the conferrer of all blessing, which He provides them and originates every blessing which they receive, and prevents every curse, to Him belongs all praise and all ownership. And every one of the angels and those below them are subject to His authority, and overcome by His greatness. And every intercessor is afraid of Him; none of them intercedes with Him without His will, the Most High, the Great, in terms of His essence and His attributes and His actions, all of which are perfect, all of which are magnificent and all of which are wonderful. And praise and exaltation and magnification belong to Him. He calls those whom He wishes to come close, and those who are sincere in their deeds towards Him. And He forbids the worship of other than Him, such as those who draw near to idols, and sacrificial altars, and graves, which neither create nor sustain, nor do they have any power over themselves of those who worship them, they can neither benefit nor harm, nor can they give life, death or resurrection. Rather they are inanimate objects; they neither think nor do they hear the supplications of their worshipers. And if they heard, they would not respond to them, and on the Day of Resurrection they will deny the the shirk of those who worshiped them and declare themselves innocent of them, and they will curse one another. They have no portion from al-Malik, nor any partnership with Him, or backing from Him, and there is no one who can intercede for them without impunity before Allah. So He addresses those with these characteristics, who seek closeness to him by whatever means they can find, and oppose those who have ikhlaas in the deen towards Allah, and they fight them, and deny the messengers who came with ikhlaas to Allah alone, clarifying to you the two groups: either guided or misguided, miserable or joyous. And He does not plead for you to call upon Him for help, because He has described the situation, and clarified it with this contention.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman p. 679-680]

See also: Whoever abandons good will be tested with evil: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: “A Good Word is like a Good Tree”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

“Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.”: Imam al-Qurtubi’s tafsir of 7:55

Allah says in His Book:

ادْعُوا رَ‌بَّكُمْ تَضَرُّ‌عًا وَخُفْيَةً ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

“Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.” [7:55]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his tafsir of this ayah, writes:

قوله تعالى ‏(‏ادعوا ربكم‏)‏ هذا أمر بالدعاء وتعبد به‏.‏ ثم قرن جل وعز بالأمر صفات تحسن معه، وهي الخشوع والاستكانة والتضرع‏.‏ ومعنى (‏خفية‏)‏ أي سرا في النفس ليبعد عن الرياء؛ وبذلك أثنى على نبيه زكريا عليه السلام إذ قال مخبرا عنه‏ (‏إذ نادى ربه نداء خفيا‏) [‏مريم‏:‏ 3‏]‏‏.‏ ونحوه قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ ‏(‏خير الذكر الخفي وخير الرزق ما يكفي‏)‏‏.‏ والشريعة مقررة أن السر فيما لم يعترض من أعمال البر أعظم أجرا من الجهر‏.‏ قال الحسن بن أبي الحسن‏:‏ لقد أدركنا أقواما ما كان على الأرض عمل يقدرون على أن يكون سرا فيكون جهرا أبدا‏.‏ ولقد كان المسلمون يجتهدون في الدعاء فلا يسمع لهم صوت، إن هو إلا الهمس بينهم وبين ربهم‏.‏ وذلك أن الله تعالى يقول‏{‏ادعوا ربكم تضرعا وخفية‏}‏‏.‏ وذكر عبدا صالحا رضي فعله فقال‏ (‏إذ نادى ربه نداء خفيا‏) [‏مريم‏:‏ 3‏]‏‏.‏ وقد استدل أصحاب أبي حنيفة بهذا على أن إخفاء (‏آمين‏)‏ أولى من الجهر بها؛ لأنه دعاء‏.‏ وقد مضى القول فيه في ‏(‏الفاتحة‏)‏‏.‏ وروى مسلم عن أبي موسى قال‏:‏ كنا مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في سفر – وفي رواية في غزاة – فجعل الناس يجهرون بالتكبير – وفي رواية فجعل رجل كلما علا ثنية قال‏:‏ لا إله إلا الله – فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ ‏(‏أيها الناس أربعوا على أنفسكم إنكم لستم تدعون أصم ولا غائبا إنكم تدعون سميعا قريبا وهو معكم‏)‏‏.‏ الحديث‏.‏

Allah’s statement “Call upon your Lord” is a command to supplicate and worship Him. Then Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, combines this command with a description of the characteristics which perfect it, and these are khushoo’, tranquility, and humility. And the meaning of “privately” is to hide it in one’s self in order to stay away from al-riyaa’ (showing off). And Allah commended His prophet Zakariyya (‘alaihis salaam) for that when he informed us, “When he called out his Lord a call in secret” [19:3]. And the companions of Abu Haneefah have used this as evidence to make the “aameen” in surah al-Faatihah silent rather than out loud, since this is a du’a. And this has already been discusses in the tafsir of surah al-Faatihah. And Muslim narrates that Abu Moosaa said,

We accompanied the Prophet (ﷺ) on a journey – in another narration ‘a battle’ – and when we climbed up a height, we proclaimed aloud: “La ilaha illallah” and “Allahu Akbar.” The Prophet (ﷺ) admonished us saying, “O people, take it easy on yourselves. He Whom you are calling is not deaf or absent. He is with you (i.e., by His Knowledge), He is Hearing and He is Near.”

 واختلف العلماء في رفع اليدين في الدعاء؛ فكرهه طائفة منهم جبير بن مطعم وسعيد بن المسيب وسعيد بن جبير‏.‏ ورأى شريح رجلا رافعا يديه فقال‏:‏ من تتناول بهما، لا أم لك‏!‏ وقال مسروق لقوم رفعوا أيديهم‏:‏ قطعها الله‏.‏ واختاروا إذا دعا الله في حاجة أن يشير بأصبعه السبابة‏.‏ ويقولون‏:‏ ذلك الإخلاص‏.‏ وكان قتادة يشير بأصبعه ولا يرفع يديه‏.‏ وكره رفع الأيدي عطاء وطاوس ومجاهد وغيرهم‏.‏ وروى جواز الرفع عن جماعة من الصحابة والتابعين، وروي عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم؛ ذكره البخاري‏.‏ قال أبو موسى الأشعري‏:‏ دعا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ثم رفع يديه ورأيت بياض إبطيه‏.‏ ومثله عن أنس‏.‏ وقال ابن عمر‏:‏ رفع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يديه وقال‏:‏ ‏(‏اللهم إني أبرأ إليك مما صنع خالد‏)‏‏.‏ وفي صحيح مسلم من حديث عمر بن الخطاب قال‏:‏ لما كان يوم بدر نظر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى المشركين، وهم ألف وأصحابه ثلثمائة وسبعة عشر رجلا، فاستقبل نبي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم القبلة مادا يديه، فجعل يهتف بربه؛ وذكر الحديث‏.‏ وروى الترمذي عنه قال‏:‏ كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا رفع يديه لم يحطهما حتى يمسح بهما وجهه‏.‏ قال‏:‏ هذا حديث صحيح غريب‏.‏ وروى ابن ماجة عن سلمان عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏(‏إن ربكم حيي كريم يستحيي من عبده أن يرفع يديه إليه فيردهما صفرا أو قال خائبتين‏)‏‏.‏ احتج الأولون بما رواه مسلم عن عمارة بن رويبة ورأى بشر بن مروان على المنبر رافعا يديه فقال‏:‏ قبح الله هاتين اليدين، لقد رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما يزيد على أن يقول بيده هكذا؛ وأشار بأصبعه المسبحة‏.‏ وبما روى سعيد بن أبي عروبة عن قتادة أن أنس بن مالك حدثه أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان لا يرفع يديه في شيء من الدعاء إلا عند الاستسقاء فإنه كان يرفعهما حتى يرى بياض إبطيه‏.‏ والأول أصح طرقا وأثبت من حديث سعيد بن أبي عروبة؛ فإن سعيدا كان قد تغير عقله في آخر عمره‏.‏ وقد خالفه شعبة في روايته عن قتادة عن أنس بن مالك فقال فيه‏:‏ كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يرفع يديه حتى يرى بياض إبطيه‏.‏ وقد قيل‏:‏ إنه إذا نزلت بالمسلمين نازلة أن الرفع عند ذلك جميل حسن كما فعل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في الاستسقاء ويوم بدر‏.‏

And there is a difference of opinion among the scholars about raising the hands in du’a. There is a group which dislikes it including Jubair ibn Mut’am, Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyid, and Sa’eed ibn Jubair. Shuraih saw a man raising his hands so he rebuked him. And Masrouq said to a group of people who were raising their hands, “May Allah cut them off!” And some choose to point their index finger when they supplicate to Allah in need, and they said, “This is ikhlaas (sincerity or devotion)”. And Qataada pointed with his finger and did not raise his hands. And ‘Ataa’ and Taawoos and Mujaahid and others all disliked raising the hands (in du’a).

And the permissibility of raising the hand is narrated from a group of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een, and it is narrated from the Prophet (ﷺ) , as mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari. Abu Moosaa al-‘Ashari said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) supplicated then raised his hands and I saw the whiteness of his armpits”. And similarly from Anas, “The Prophet (ﷺ) raised his hand and said, “O Allah, verily I am free from Khalid has done”. And in Sahih Muslim in the hadith of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab he said:

When it was the day on which the Battle of Badr was fought, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cast a glance at the mushrikoon, and they were one thousand while his own Companions were three hundred and nineteen. The Prophet (ﷺ) turned (his face) towards the Qibla Then he stretched his hands and began his supplication to his Lord…

And al-Tirmidhi narrated that, “Whenever the Messenger of Allah would raise his hands in supplication, he would not lower them until he had wiped his face with them,” and he said, “This is a sahih gharib hadith. And Ibn Maajah narrates from Salman that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Your Lord is Kind and Most Generous, and is too kind to let His slave, if he raises his hands to Him, bring them back empty,” or he said “frustrated.”

And objections of the early generations have been related by Muslim from ‘Amaara bin Ruwaibah, who narrated that “Bashir bin Marwan was on the minbar and he raised his hands, so Bashir said, ‘May Allah curse these two hands, for I saw the Messenger of Allah do what was better than what you say with your hands’ and he pointed with his finger.” And Sa’eed ibn Abi ‘Aroobah narrated from Qataadah from Anas ibn Maalik that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would not raise his hands for anydu’a except for al-istiqaa’ (praying for rain), and for this he raised his hands until you could see the whiteness of his armpits.

And the most authentic way and most confirmed is the hadith of Sa’eed ibn Abi ‘Aroobah, for Sa’eed had changed his mind latter in life. And there is some slightly different part of his narration from Qataadah from Anas ibn Maalik in which he said, “The Messenger of Allah raised his hands until you could see the whiteness of his armpits.” And it is said, “if the Muslims have narrated an event about the raising of hands, then that is good and fine just as the Prophet (ﷺ) did this while making al-istiqaa’ and on the day of Badr.”

قلت‏:‏ والدعاء حسن كيفما تيسر، وهو المطلوب من الإنسان لإظهار موضع الفقر والحاجة إلى الله عز وجل، والتذلل له والخضوع‏.‏ فإن شاء استقبل القبلة ورفع يديه فحسن، وإن شاء فلا؛ فقد فعل ذلك النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حسبما ورد في الأحاديث‏.‏ وقد قال تعالى‏ (‏ادعوا ربكم تضرعا وخفية) [‏الأعراف‏:‏ 55‏]‏‏.‏ ولم يرد صفة من رفع دين وغيرها‏.‏ وقال (‏الذين يذكرون الله قياما وقعودا) ‏[آل عمران‏:‏ 191‏]‏ فمدحهم ولم يشترط حالة غير ما ذكر‏.‏ وقد دعا النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في خطبته يوم الجمعة وهو غير مستقبل القبلة‏.‏

I [Imam al-Qurtubi] say: The du’a is good in whatever form is made easy, and what is sought from mankind is to demonstrate a position of poverty and need before Allah ‘Azza wa Jal, and to humble oneself in submission to Him. So if one wishes to face the Qiblah and raise the hands, then fine. And if one does not wish to do so, then he has done what is reported of the Prophet (ﷺ) in the ahaadith. And Allah has said, “call upon your Lord in humility and privately“. And raising the hands or other things were not intended by that. And He said, “those who remember Allah standing and sitting” [3:191] – so he commended them and did not stipulate their condition other than what was mentioned. And the Prophet (ﷺ) would make du’a in his khutbah on Fridays and he was not facing the Qiblah.

قوله تعالى‏ (‏إنه لا يحب المعتدين)‏ يريد في الدعاء وإن كان اللفظ عاما إلى هذا هي الإشارة‏.‏ والمعتدي هو المجاوز للحد ومرتكب الحظر‏.‏ وقد يتفاضل بحسب ما اعتدى فيه‏.‏ وروي عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال‏:‏ ‏(‏سيكون قوم يعتدون في الدعاء‏)‏‏.‏ أخرجه ابن ماجة عن أبي بكر بن أبي شيبة‏.‏ حدثنا عفان حدثنا حماد بن سلمة أخبرنا سعيد الجريري عن أبي نعامة أن عبدالله بن مغفل سمع ابنه يقول‏:‏ اللهم إني أسألك القصر الأبيض عن يمين الجنة إذا دخلتها‏.‏ فقال‏:‏ أي بني، سل الله الجنة وعذ به من النار؛ فإني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول‏:‏ ‏(‏سيكون قوم يعتدون في الدعاء‏)‏‏.‏ والاعتداء في الدعاء على وجوه‏:‏ منها الجهر الكثير والصياح؛ كما تقدم‏.‏ ومنها أن يدعو الإنسان في أن تكون له منزلة نبي، أو يدعو في محال؛ ونحو هذا من الشطط‏.‏ ومنها أن يدعو طالبا معصية وغير ذلك‏.‏ ومنها أن يدعو بما ليس في الكتاب والسنة؛ فيتخير ألفاظا مفقرة وكلمات مسجعة قد وجدها في كراريس لا أصل لها ولا معول عليها، فيجعلها شعاره ويترك ما دعا به رسوله عليه السلام‏.‏ وكل هذا يمنع من استجابة الدعاء، كما تقدم بيانه في ‏[‏البقرة‏]‏‏.‏

Allah’s statement “indeed, He does not like transgressors” – meaning in making du’a and if the language here is general in this, then that should be taken as a sign. And the transgressor is the one who exceeds the limits and commits the prohibited actions. And he has gone to excess to the extent that he transgresses therein. And it has been narrated that Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There will be a people who transgress in du’a.” This in Ibn Maajah from Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah:

‘Abdullah bin Mughaffal heard his son say:”O Allah, I ask You for the white palace on the right-hand side of Paradise, when I enter it.” He said: “O my son, ask Allah for Paradise and seek refuge with Him from Hell, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘There will be people who will transgress in supplication.'”

And transgression in du’a includes: broadcasting it loudly or shouting, as has been mentioned above. And it includes a man making du’a to be given the station of a prophet, or place, and this is going to extremes. And included therein is to make du’a seeking disobedience and so on. And included therein is to make du’a which is not in the Qur’an or Sunnah, such that he opts for the poor wordings and rhyming statements which he found in small booklets which have no basis or reliability to them. So he makes those catchy phrases his own and abandons the supplications of his Messenger (ﷺ). And all of these things prevent a response to the supplications, as has been mentioned previously in surah al-Baqarah.

[Jaami’ li-Ahkaam al-Qur’an 7/202-205]

See also: “When My slaves ask you about me, Indeed I am near”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Du’a or Dhikr after Salaah?: Ibn Taymiyah

Imam an-Nawawi on the Fitrah

Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ إِلاَّ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ وَيُنَصِّرَانِهِ وَيُمَجِّسَانِهِ كَمَا تُنْتَجُ الْبَهِيمَةُ بَهِيمَةً جَمْعَاءَ هَلْ تُحِسُّونَ فِيهَا مِنْ جَدْعَاءَ

“No child is born except on the Fitrah and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian. Just as an animal produces a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body amputated?”

Then Abu Hurayrah said, “And recite if you wish:

فِطْرَ‌تَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ‌ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّـهِ

“The fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah.” [30:30]

[Muslim #6423]

Imam al-Nawawi writes in his explanation of Sahih Muslim about this hadith:

قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( ما من مولود إلا يولد على الفطرة ، فأبواه يهودانه وينصرانه ويمجسانه كما تنتج البهيمة بهيمة جمعاء ، هل تحسون فيها من جدعاء ؟ ثم يقول أبو هريرة : اقرءوا إن شئتم : فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها لا تبديل لخلق الله الآية وفي رواية : ما من مولود يولد إلا وهو على الملة وفي رواية ليس من مولود يولد إلا على هذه الفطرة حتى يعبر عنه لسانه قالوا : يا رسول الله ، أفرأيت من يموت صغيرا ؟ قال : الله أعلم بما كانوا عاملين وفي رواية : إن الغلام الذي قتله الخضر طبع كافرا ، ولو عاش لأرهق أبويه طغيانا وكفرا وفي حديث عائشة : توفي صبي من الأنصار ، فقالت : طوبى له ، عصفور من عصافير الجنة ، لم يعمل السوء ، ولم يدركه . قال : أو غير ذلك يا عائشة إن الله خلق للجنة أهلا خلقهم لها وهم في أصلاب آبائهم ، وخلق للنار أهلا خلقهم لها وهم في أصلاب آبائهم . .

His statement (ﷺ), “No child is born except on the Fitrah and then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian, as an animal produces a perfect young animal: do you see any part of its body amputated? Then Abu Hurayrah said, “And recite if you wish:’The fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah.'” And in another narration, “No child is born except upon the millah“, and in another another narration, “Every child is born on this Fitrah so long as he does not express himself with his tongue” They said, “What is your opinion about him who dies in infancy?” He said, “It is Allah alone Who knows best what they would be doing”. And in another narration, “The young man whom Khadir killed was a kaafir by his very nature and had he survived he would have involved his parents in defiance and unbelief.” And in the hadith of ‘Aaishah: A child from the Ansar died, so she said, “Glad tidings for this child who is a bird from amongst the birds of Paradise for it committed no sin nor has he reached the age when one can commit sin” So he (ﷺ) said, “‘Perhaps it may be otherwise, O ‘Aaisha, because Allah created for Paradise those who are fit for it while they were yet in their father’s loins and created for Hell those who are to go to Hell. He created them for Hell while they were yet in their father’s loins.”

أجمع من يعتد به من علماء المسلمين على أن من مات من أطفال المسلمين فهو من أهل الجنة ; لأنه ليس مكلفا . وتوقف فيه بعض من لا يعتد به لحديث عائشة هذا ، وأجاب العلماء بأنه لعله نهاها عن المسارعة إلى القطع من غير أن يكون عندها دليل قاطع ، كما أنكر على سعد بن أبي وقاص في قوله : أعطه إني لأراه مؤمنا ، قال : ” أو مسلما ” الحديث . ويحتمل أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم قال هذا قبل أن يعلم أن أطفال المسلمين في الجنة ، فلما علم قال ذلك في قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ما من مسلم يموت له ثلاثة من الولد لم يبلغوا الحنث إلا أدخله الله الجنة بفضل رحمته إياهم وغير ذلك من الأحاديث . والله أعلم

The majority of Muslim scholars have confirmed that whoever dies from the children of the Muslims, then he is from the people of jannah, because he is not legally responsible. But some of them did not confirm that position because of the hadith of ‘Aaishah, and answer of the scholars is that perhaps he (ﷺ) wanted to prevent her from rushing to a conclusion without having had the evidence for that, just as he corrected Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas when he said, “Verily I see him a mu’min”, so he (ﷺ) said, “or a Muslim.” And perhaps he (ﷺ) said this before he knew that the children of Muslim are in jannah, for it is known that he (ﷺ) said, “Any Muslim who loses three children before they reach the age of maturity, will be granted Jannah by Allah, the Exalted, out of His Mercy for them” and elsewhere in other ahaadith. And Allah knows best.

 وأما أطفال المشركين ففيهم ثلاثة مذاهب . قال الأكثرون : هم في النار تبعا لآبائهم . وتوقفت طائفة فيهم . والثالث ، وهو الصحيح الذي ذهب إليه المحققون أنهم من أهل الجنة ، ويستدل له بأشياء منها حديث إبراهيم الخليل صلى الله عليه وسلم حين رآه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في الجنة ، وحوله أولاد الناس قالوا : يا رسول الله ، وأولاد المشركين ؟ قال : ” وأولاد المشركين ” رواه البخاري في صحيحه . ومنها قوله تعالى : وما كنا معذبين حتى نبعث رسولا ولا يتوجه على المولود التكليف ويلزمه قول الرسول حتى يبلغ ، وهذا متفق عليه . والله أعلم .

But as for the children of the mushrikoon, then there are three opinions. Most say: they are in the fire, following their fore-fathers. A group from amongst them stopped [did not answer]. And third, and this is accurate, is that they are from among the people of jannah, and from the evidences for this is the hadith of Ibrahim al-Khaleel (ﷺ) when he was seen by the Prophet (ﷺ) in jannah, and he was surrounded by children. The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, even the children of the mushrikoon? He said, “And the children of the mushrikoon.” This is narrated by al-Bukhaari in his sahih. And another evidence is the statement of Allah, “And never would we punish until we sent a messenger” [17:15] and this does not apply to the child which is not legally responsible, as according to the statement of the Messenger, until he reaches maturity, and this is agreed upon. And Allah knows best.

 وأما الفطرة المذكورة في هذه الأحاديث فقال المازري : قيل : هي ما أخذ عليه . في أصلاب آبائهم ، وأن الولادة تقع عليها حتى يحصل التغير بالأبوين . وقيل : هي ما قضي عليه من سعادة أو شقاوة يصير إليها . وقيل : هي ما هيئ له هذا كلام المازري . .

And as for the fitrah which is mentioned in these ahaadith, al-Maazari said, “It is said, ‘it is what one clings to, in the loins of their fathers, and what was is born upon until his parents alter that.’ And it is said, ‘It is was has been decreed for him of joy or sorrow which will come to him.’ And it is said, ‘it is was is prepared for him’ and this is the statement of al-Maazari.”

وقال أبو عبيد : سألت محمد بن الحسن عن هذا الحديث ، فقال : كان هذا في أول الإسلام قبل أن تنزل الفرائض ، وقبل الأمر بالجهاد . وقال أبو عبيد كأنه يعني أنه لو كان يولد على الفطرة ، ثم مات قبل أن يهوده أبواه أو ينصرانه لم يرثهما ، ولم يرثاه ، لأنه مسلم ، وهما كافران ، ولما جاز أن يسيء فلما فرضت الفرائض ، وتقررت السنن على خلاف ذلك علم أنه يولد على دينهما

And ibn ‘Ubayd said, “I asked Muhammad ibn al-Hasan about this hadith, and he said, ‘that is in the beginning of Islam before the obligatory duties were sent down, and before the command for jihaad.'” And Abu ‘Ubayd said it is as if it means that if one is born upon the fitrah, then he dies before his father makes him a Jew or a Christian, he doesn’t inherit that from them, nor do they inherit something from him, because he is a Muslim and they are Kuffaar. And when he is able to sin, then I assign the obligatory duties, and I have decided the sunan over what contradicts it that he is born upon his parents religion.

وقال ابن المبارك : يولد على ما يصير إليه من سعادة أو شقاوة فمن علم الله تعالى أنه يصير مسلما ولد على فطرة الإسلام ، ومن علم أنه يصير كافرا ولد على الكفر

And Ibn al-Mubaarak said, “born upon what is destined from him of joy or sorrow, for whoever Allah knows will become a Muslim, he is born upon the fitrah of al-Islam, and whoever He knows will become a kaafir, he is born upon kufr.

وقيل : معناه كل مولود يولد على معرفة الله تعالى والإقرار به ، فليس أحد يولد إلا وهو يقر بأن له صانعا ، وإن سماه بغير اسمه ، أو عبد معه غيره والأصح أن معناه أن كل مولود يولد متهيئا للإسلام ، فمن كان أبواه أو أحدهما مسلما استمر على الإسلام في أحكام الآخرة والدنيا ، وإن كان أبواه كافرين جرى عليه حكمهما في أحكام الدنيا ، وهذا معنى ( يهودانه وينصرانه ويمجسانه ) ، أي يحكم له بحكمهما ما في الدنيا .

And it is said, “It’s meaning is that the child is born having the awareness of Allah and affirmation of Him. So there is no one born except that he admits that Allah is his Maker, and if he called by other than His Name, or worshiped others alongside Him, then the most accurate position is the meaning that every child is born prepared for Islam, so whoever has two or at least one Muslim parents, he will remain upon Islam in the rulings of the aakhira and the dunya, but if his parents are kaafiroon then their ruling becomes his ruling in the dunya, and this is the meaning of “his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Magian” , and he is judged according to their status in the dunya.

. فإن بلغ استمر عليه حكم الكفر ودينهما ، فإن كانت سبقت له سعادة أسلم ، وإلا مات على كفره . وإن مات قبل بلوغه فهل هو من أهل الجنة أم النار أم يتوقف فيه ؟ ففيه المذاهب الثلاثة السابقة قريبا . الأصح أنه من أهل الجنة . والجواب عن حديث الله أعلم بما كانوا عاملين أنه ليس فيه تصريح بأنهم في النار ، وحقيقة لفظه : الله أعلم بما كانوا يعملون لو بلغوا ولم يبلغوا إذ التكليف لا يكون إلا بالبلوغ . وأما غلام الخضر فيجب تأويله قطعا لأن أبويه كانا مؤمنين ، فيكون هو مسلما ، فيتأول على أن معناه أن الله أعلم أنه لو بلغ لكان كافرا ، لا أنه كافر في الحال ، ولا يجري عليه في الحال أحكام الكفار . والله أعلم

And if he attains maturity remaining upon the status of kufr and his parents religion, and unless the joy of submitting was written for him, he would not die except in a state of kufr. And if he died before he reached the age of maturity, is he from the people of jannah or the hell-fire or we do not know? Of the three opinions the last one is the closest. The most accurate position is that he is from the people of jannah. And the response to the hadith “It is Allah alone Who knows best what they would be doing” is that it is not a clear statement that they are in the hell-fire. And the reality of the wording is, “Allah knows best what they would be doing if they had attained maturity, and they did not attain the status of legal responsibility, which only applies to those of mature age.” And as to the boy in the story of al-Khidr, then an explanation is certainly necessary , because his parents were mu’minoon, so he was a Muslim. So this is explained by the meaning that Allah knew best that, had he reached maturity, he would have been a kaafir, and he was not a kaafir inherently, and the condition of the status of a kaafir did not apply to him. And Allah knows best.

 وأما قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( كما تنتج البهيمة بهيمة ) فهو بضم التاء الأولى ، وفتح الثانية ، ورفع البهيمة ، ونصب بهيمة . ومعناه كما تلد البهيمة بهيمة ( جمعاء ) بالمد أي مجتمعة الأعضاء سليمة من نقص ، لا توجد فيها جدعاء بالمد ، وهي مقطوعة الأذن أو غيرها من الأعضاء . ومعناه أن البهيمة تلد البهيمة كاملة الأعضاء لا نقص فيها ، وإنما يحدث فيها الجدع والنقص بعد ولادتها .

And as for his statement (ﷺ) “Just as an animal produces an animal” – meaning just as an animal gives birth to an animal “whole” with all its limbs present, free from detraction, and you will not find in it any alteration, such as a slit in the ears or other than that from its limbs. And the meaning is that the animal gives birth to a whole and complete animal with all its limbs and no parts missing therefrom, and the alterations or amputations only occur after its birth.

[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Muslim #2658]

See also: All of you are astray except whomever I guide: Explanation of Ibn Rajab
See also: The meaning of al-Ma’roof and al-Munkar: Ibn Rajab
See also: “Consult your heart”: Clarification from Ibn Rajab