“Do not insult those they invoke other than Allah”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah commands the believers in His Book when He says:

وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّـهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ‌ عِلْمٍ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَ‌بِّهِم مَّرْ‌جِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

“And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.” [6:108]

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

قوله تعالى‏{‏ولا تسبوا الذين يدعون من دون الله‏}‏ نهي‏.‏ {‏فيسبوا الله‏}‏ جواب النهي‏.‏ فنهى سبحانه لمؤمنين أن يسبوا أوثانهم؛ لأنه علم إذا سبوها نفر الكفار وازدادوا كفرا‏.‏ قال ابن عباس‏:‏ قالت كفار قريش لأبي طالب إما أن تنهى محمدا وأصحابه عن سب آلهتنا والغض منها وإما أن إلهه ونهجوه؛ فنزلت الآية‏.‏

His statement, “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah” – a prohibition. “Lest they insult Allah” – the condition for the prohibition. So Allah (Exalted is He) prohibited the believers from insulting their idols, because He knows that insulting them will drive the kuffaar away in aversion and increase them in kufr. Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “The kuffaar of Quraish said to Abu Taalib, ‘why don’t you prohibit Muhammad and his companions from insulting our gods and belittling them, and we will assume a similar attitude towards his god.” So the ayah was revealed.

 قال العلماء‏:‏ حكمها باق في هذه الأمة على كل حال؛ فمتى كان الكافر في منعة وخيف أن يسب الإسلام أو البني عليه السلام أو الله عز وجل، فلا يحل لمسلم أن يسب صلبانهم ولا دينهم ولا كنائسهم، ولا يتعرض إلى ما يؤدي إلى ذلك؛ لأنه بمنزلة البعث على المعصية‏.‏ وعبر عن الأصنام وهي لا تعقل بـ ‏{‏الذين‏}‏ على معتقد الكفرة فيها‏.‏

The scholars said: This ruling remains for this ummah in all conditions, so when the kuffaar are in power and it is feared that they will insult Islam or the Prophet (ﷺ) or Allah, then it is not permitted for the Muslim to insult their crucifixes or their religion or their churches, nor to turn to what leads to that, because that is raised to the same status as disobedience.

 في هذه الآية أيضا ضرب من الموادعة، ودليل على وجوب الحكم بسد الذرائع؛ وفيها دليل على أن المحق قد يكف عن حق له إذا أدى إلى ضرر يكون في الدين‏.‏ ومن هذا المعنى ما روي عن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه أنه قال‏:‏ لا تبتوا الحكم بين ذوي القرابات مخافة القطيعة‏.‏ قال ابن العربي‏:‏ إن كان الحق واجبا فيأخذه بكل حال وإن كان جائزا ففيه يكون هذا القول‏.‏

In this ayah an example of peaceableness is also presented, and the proof for the necessity of blocking the means. And therein is proof for the one in the right to abstain from his right if it leads to damage for the deen. And in a similar vein is what is narrated from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab who said, “Do not decide a ruling by which you fear the estrangement of close ones.” Ibn al-‘Arabi said, “If the right is obligated, then fulfill it in every circumstance, but if it is permissible, then this statement applies.”

قوله تعالى‏{‏كذلك زينا لكل أمة عملهم‏}‏ أي كما زينا لهؤلاء أعمالهم كذلك زينا لكل أمة عملهم‏.‏ قال ابن عباس‏.‏ زينا لأهل الطاعة الطاعة، ولأهل الكفر الكفر؛ وهو كقوله‏{‏كذلك يضل الله من يشاء ويهدي من يشاء‏} [‏المدثر‏:‏ 31‏]‏‏.‏ وفي هذا رد على القدرية‏.‏

His statement, “Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds” – meaning thus we made their deeds pleasing to them just as we have made the deeds of every nation pleasing to them. Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “Obedience is made pleasing to the people of obedience, and kufr is make pleasing to the people of kufr.” And this is like the statement “thus does Allah leave astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills” [74:31]. And in this there is a refutation of the Qadiriyyah.

[Jaami’ li-Ahkaam al-Qur’an 7/56-57]

See also: “Do not insult those they invoke other than Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The command to extol the Prophet, and the punishment for harming him or the believers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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2 thoughts on ““Do not insult those they invoke other than Allah”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

  1. Pingback: The command to extol the Prophet, and the punishment for harming him or the believers: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: “Do not insult those they invoke other than Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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