Approach things by their proper doors: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ‌ بِأَن تَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِ‌هَا وَلَـٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ‌ مَنِ اتَّقَىٰ ۗ وَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

“And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back, but righteousness is [in] one who has taqwa of Allah. And enter houses from their doors. And have taqwa of Allah that you may succeed.” [2:189]

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

‏{‏وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَنْ تَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهَا‏}‏ وهذا كما كان الأنصار وغيرهم من العرب‏,‏ إذا أحرموا‏,‏ لم يدخلوا البيوت من أبوابها‏,‏ تعبدا بذلك‏,‏ وظنا أنه بر‏.‏ فأخبر الله أنه ليس ببر لأن الله تعالى‏,‏ لم يشرعه لهم، وكل من تعبد بعبادة لم يشرعها الله ولا رسوله‏,‏ فهو متعبد ببدعة، وأمرهم أن يأتوا البيوت من أبوابها لما فيه من السهولة عليهم‏,‏ التي هي قاعدة من قواعد الشرع‏.‏

And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back” and this was the behavior of the Ansaar and others from among the Arabs, when they would be in a state of ihram, they would not enter their houses through their doors, seeking piety through that and thinking that it was righteousness. So Allah informed them that it was not from righteousness because Allah the Exalted had not legislated that for them. And everyone who does as act of of devotion as worship which is not legislated by Allah or His messenger, then he is worshiping upon bid’ah (innovation). So they were ordered to approach the house by its doors, because it that there was ease for them, and that is a fundamental principle from the principle objectives of the sharee’ah.

ويستفاد من إشارة الآية أنه ينبغي في كل أمر من الأمور‏,‏ أن يأتيه الإنسان من الطريق السهل القريب‏,‏ الذي قد جعل له موصلا، فالآمر بالمعروف‏,‏ والناهي عن المنكر‏,‏ ينبغي أن ينظر في حالة المأمور‏,‏ ويستعمل معه الرفق والسياسة‏,‏ التي بها يحصل المقصود أو بعضه، والمتعلم والمعلم‏,‏ ينبغي أن يسلك أقرب طريق وأسهله‏,‏ يحصل به مقصوده، وهكذا كل من حاول أمرا من الأمور وأتاه من أبوابه وثابر عليه‏,‏ فلا بد أن يحصل له المقصود بعون الملك المعبود‏.‏

And one benefit of this ayah is an indication that it should be applied to every affair; that man should approach affairs from the route of ease and facility which has been made for that purpose. For in commanding the good and forbidding evil, one should examine the situation at hand, and utilize rifq (kindness/gentleness) and diplomacy, by which he will achieve his objective or (at least) part thereof. And (also with) the student and the teacher; one should seek the the most easy and facilitated way to carry the student to the objective. And so on with all the affairs, and one should approach a thing by its door and be diligent in doing so, and thereby he should achieve his objectives, by the aid of the Master, Worthy of Worship.

‏{‏وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ‏}‏ هذا هو البر الذي أمر الله به‏,‏ وهو لزوم تقواه على الدوام‏,‏ بامتثال أوامره‏,‏ واجتناب نواهيه‏,‏ فإنه سبب للفلاح‏,‏ الذي هو الفوز بالمطلوب‏,‏ والنجاة من المرهوب، فمن لم يتق الله تعالى‏,‏ لم يكن له سبيل إلى الفلاح‏,‏ ومن اتقاه‏,‏ فاز بالفلاح والنجاح‏.‏

And have taqwa of Allah” – this the Birr (righteousness) which Allah commanded them with. And it is the necessity of taqwa of Him continuously, to comply with His commands, and to avoid His prohibitions, for certainly that is a cause of success (al-Falaah), which is the desired achievement, and salvation (al-Najaah) from the hated things. So whoever does not have taqwa of Allah the Exalted, then there is no path for him to success. And whoever has taqwa of Him, he has achieved success and salvation [from the hell-fire].

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

See also: A Comprehensive Statement regarding Bid’ah: Imam al-Sa’di

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4 thoughts on “Approach things by their proper doors: Tafsir al-Sa’di

    • wa iyyaakum. Imam al-Qurtubi also offered a very beneficial explanation of this ayah highlighting certain other points of benefit in his book of tafsir. InshaAllaah a translation of his explanation will also be posted in the future.

  1. Pingback: A Comprehensive Statement regarding Bid’ah: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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