“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah commands His slaves in surah al-Hashr:

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّ‌سُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily Allah is severe in punishment.” [59:7]

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

 فقال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا‏}‏ وهذا شامل لأصول الدين وفروعه، ظاهره وباطنه، وأن ما جاء به الرسول يتعين على العباد الأخذ به واتباعه، ولا تحل مخالفته، وأن نص الرسول على حكم الشيء كنص الله تعالى، لا رخصة لأحد ولا عذر له في تركه، ولا يجوز تقديم قول أحد على قوله،

So He said, “And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain” and this encompasses both the fundamentals of the deen and its secondary matters, both what is apparent and what is hidden, and what the Messenger came with is compulsory upon the slaves to take it and to obey it, and to not differ from it. For the text of the Messenger about the ruling of a thing is like the text of Allah the Exalted. There is no exception for anyone nor is there any excuse for the the one who abandons it, and it is not permissible to elevate anyone’s speech above his speech.

ثم أمر بتقواه التي بها عمارة القلوب والأرواح ‏[‏والدنيا والآخرة‏]‏، وبها السعادة الدائمة والفوز العظيم، وبإضاعتها الشقاء الأبدي والعذاب السرمدي، فقال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ‏}‏ على من ترك التقوى، وآثر اتباع الهوى‏

Then He commanded al-taqwa of Him, which consists of the hearts and the limbs, and concerning the dunya and the aakhirah, and by which is attained the perpetual joy and a great success, and by which one may avoid everlasting misery and eternal punishment. So He said, “And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily Allah is severe in punishment” for those who abandon having al-taqwa, and (instead) chose to follow desires.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman p. 1003]

For Imam al-Qurtubi’s tafsir of the same ayah, please see: “And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: “Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it…”: Ibn Rajab

See also: The outcomes of Taqwa and truthful speech: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Indeed the patient will be given their reward without measure”

See also: Beware of Opposing the Prophet’s Command: Tafsir ibn Kathir

“I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allah”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

While recounting the story of His prophet Yusuf, Allah mentions the statement of his father Ya’qub. When his sons informed Ya’qub that another of his sons had been lost to him, Allah tells us his response:

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

He said: “I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you know not.” [12:86]

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

قوله تعالى‏{‏قال إنما أشكو بثي‏}‏ حقيقة البث في اللغة ما يرد على الإنسان من الأشياء المهلكة التي لا يتهيأ له أن يخفيها؛ وهو من بثثته أي فرقته، فسميت المصيبة بثا مجازا

The statement of Allah, “He said: I only complain of my grief” the reality of al-bath [used here to mean grief] linguistically is what is broadcast among the people about those acts of destruction which are not able to be concealed, so calamities became termed as bath metaphorically.

وقال ابن عباس‏{‏بثي‏}‏ همي‏.‏ الحسن‏:‏ حاجتي‏.‏ وقيل‏:‏ أشد الحزن، وحقيقة ما ذكرناه‏.‏ ‏{‏وحزني إلى الله‏}‏ معطوف عليه، أعاده بغير لفظه‏.‏

Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “bathaa is affliction or grief”. Al-Hasan [al-Basri] said “[it means] need”. And it is said [that it means] the most severe sorrow. And the reality is what He mentioned to us, “and sorrow to Allah” covering him, leaving him speechless. Continue reading

Sitting with the Sahaabah and Taabi’een

It was once said to ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubaarak:

إذا صليت معنا لم تجلس معنا قال أذهب أجلس مع الصحابة و التابعين قلنا له ومن أين الصحابة والتابعون قال أذهب أنظر في علمي فأدرك آثارهم وأعمالهم ما أصنع معكم أنتم تغتابون الناس

“After you have prayed with us, you don’t sit with us?” He replied, “I go and sit with the Sahaabah and the taabi’een” We said to him, “And where are the sahaabah and the taabi’een (since they have all passed away)?” He replied, “I go and look in the knowledge I have collected, so I find their narrations and deeds. And what would I do with you? You sit around backbiting people!”

[Sifah al-Safwah 4/137]

“To Him ascends good speech, and righteous works raise it”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-Faatir:

مَن كَانَ يُرِ‌يدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّـهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْ‌فَعُهُ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ يَمْكُرُ‌ونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ ۖ وَمَكْرُ‌ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُوَ يَبُورُ‌

“Whoever desires honor – then to Allah belongs all honor. To Him ascends good speech, and righteous works raises it. But those who plot evil deeds will have a severe punishment, and the plotting of those – it will perish.” [35:10]

Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Naasir al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, wrote the following in explanation:

أي‏:‏ يا من يريد العزة، اطلبها ممن هي بيده، فإن العزة بيد اللّه، ولا تنال إلا بطاعته، وقد ذكرها بقوله‏:‏ ‏{‏إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ‏}‏ من قراءة وتسبيح وتحميد وتهليل وكل كلام حسن طيب، فيرفع إلى اللّه ويعرض عليه ويثني اللّه على صاحبه بين الملأ الأعلى ‏{‏وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ‏}‏ من أعمال القلوب وأعمال الجوارح ‏{‏يَرْفَعُهُ‏}‏ اللّه تعالى إليه أيضا، كالكلم الطيب‏.‏

Meaning: O those who want honor! Seek it from He who holds it in His Hand, for verily honor is in the Hand of Allah. And you will not win it except through His obedience. And He has mentioned that in His statement, “To Him ascends good speech” such as recitation (of the Qur’an), saying SubhanAllaahAlhamdulillaah, La ilaaha illallaah, and good excellent word. So it is raised to Allah and presented to Him, and Allah commends its owner before the heavenly assembly. “And righteous works” from the deeds of the heart and the deeds of the limbs “raises it” to Allah the Exalted also, like the good word.

وقيل‏:‏ والعمل الصالح يرفع الكلم الطيب، فيكون رفع الكلم الطيب بحسب أعمال العبد الصالحة، فهي التي ترفع كلمه الطيب، فإذا لم يكن له عمل صالح، لم يرفع له قول إلى اللّه تعالى، فهذه الأعمال التي ترفع إلى اللّه تعالى، ويرفع اللّه صاحبها ويعزه‏.‏

And it is said: the righteous deed elevates the good word. So the good word is raised according to the deeds of the righteous slave, and it is that which raises his good speech. So if he does not have righteous deeds, then his speech is not raised to Allah the Exalted, for it is good deeds which raise it to Allah the Exalted, and Allah elevates their owner and honors him.

وأما السيئات فإنها بالعكس، يريد صاحبها الرفعة بها، ويمكر ويكيد ويعود ذلك عليه، ولا يزداد إلا إهانة ونزولا، ولهذا قال‏:‏ ‏{‏والعمل الصالح يرفعه وَالَّذِينَ يَمْكُرُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ‏}‏ يهانون فيه غاية الإهانة‏.‏ ‏{‏وَمَكْرُ أُولَئِكَ هُوَ يَبُورُ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ يهلك ويضمحل، ولا يفيدهم شيئا، لأنه مكر بالباطل، لأجل الباطل‏.‏

And as for the sins, then verily they are the opposite. Their owner wants elevation by them, and he plots and plans and that returns upon him [i.e. he will be punished for that]. And he will not be increased except in dishonor and degradation, and He said about this, “and righteous works raises it. But those who plot evil deeds will have a severe punishment” – humiliated with an extreme humiliation in that – “and the plotting of those – it will perish” – meaning: destroyed and eradicated, and it does not benefit them at all, because it is a futile plan for a futile purpose.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

‘Umar and valuing human resources over material resources

al-Haakim collects in his book of hadeeth, al-Mustadrak ‘alaa Saheehayn:

حدثنا أبو بكر بن إسحاق أنا بشر بن موسى ثنا عبد الله بن يزيد المقري ثنا حيوة بن شريح أخبرني أبو صخر أن زيد بن أسلم حدثه عن أبيه عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه قال لأصحابه تمنوا فقال بعضهم أتمنى لو أن هذه الدار مملوءة ذهبا أنفقه في سبيل الله وأتصدق وقال رجل أتمنى لو أنها مملوءة زبرجدا وجوهرا فأنفقه في سبيل الله وأتصدق ثم قال عمر تمنوا فقالوا ما ندري يا أمير المؤمنين فقال عمر أتمنى لو أنها مملوءة رجالا مثل أبي عبيدة بن الجراح ومعاذ بن جبل وسالم مولى أبي حذيفة وحذيفة بن اليمان.

‘Umar said to his companions, “Make a wish”. So one of them said, “I wish that this house would be filled with gold so that I could spend it in the path of Allah and give in charity.” And another man said, “I wish that it would be filled with precious stones so that I could spend it in the path of Allah and give in charity.”

Then ‘Umar [again] said, “Make a wish”. So they said, “We don’t know, O Commander of the Believers.”

So ‘Umar said, “I wish that this (house) would be filled with men the likes of Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, Saalim the mawla of Abu Hudhaifah, and Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan.”

[al-Mustadrak ‘alaa Saheehayn #5005, 3/252; Ismaa’eel al-Asbahaani also recorded the same wording through a different chain in his book, Siyaar al-Salaf al-Saaliheen 2/650; Ibn Sa’d (3/220), Abu Na’eem (Hilyah 1/102), and Ibn Abi al-Dunya (1/89) recorded similar incidents in which ‘Umar only mentioned Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah]

Imam al-Bukhari records a similar hadeeth in his book of history, al-Taareekh al-Awsat, with the following addition:

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو سَعِيدٍ الْمَدِينِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ الْمَخْزُومِيُّ، حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ دِينَارٍ، حَدَّثَنِي عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، وَزَيْدِ بْنِ أَسْلَمَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ: قَالَ عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، يَوْمًا، ” تَمَنَّوْا ! ” فَجَعَلُوا يَتَمَنَّوْنُ، فقَالُوا: تَمَنَّ أَنْتَ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، قَالَ: ” أَتَمَنَّى أَنْ يَكُونَ مِثْلُ هَذِهِ الدَّارِ رِجَالا مِثْلَ أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ بْنِ الْجَرَّاحِ ”
فَقَالَ: مَا تَمَنَّيْنَا بَعْدَ هَذَا قَالَ عُمَرُ: لَكِنِّي أَتَمَنَّى أَنْ يَكُونَ مِلْءُ هَذَا الْبَيْتِ رِجَالا، مِثْلَ أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ بْنِ الْجَرَّاحِ، وَمُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ، وَحُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ الْيَمَانِ، فَأَسْتَعْمِلَهُمْ فِي طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ.
قَالَ: ثُمَّ بَعَثَ بِمَالٍ إِلَى حُذَيْفَةَ قَالَ: انْظُرْ مَا يَصْنَعُ قَالَ: فَلَمَّا أَتَاهُ قَسَمَهُ ثُمَّ بَعَثَ بِمَالٍ إِلَى مُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ فَقَسَمَهُ، ثُمَّ بَعَثَ بِمَالٍ يَعْنِي إِلَى أَبِي عُبَيْدَةَ قَالَ: انْظُرْ مَا يَصْنَعُ، فَقَالَ عُمَرُ: قَدْ قُلْتُ لَكُمْ أَوْ كَمَا قَالَ.

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said on day, “Make a wish,” so they made wishes. Then they said, “Now you make a wish, O Commander of the Believers.” He said, “I wish to have a house like this (full) of men the likes of Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah.”

So they said, “That is what we would have wished for after this [i.e. after wishing to gold and fine stones to spend in the cause of Allah].”

‘Umar replied, “No, rather I wish that the wealth of this house would be men, the likes of Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah, Mu’adh ibn Jabal, and Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan, so that I could employ them in obedient service to Allah.”

So ‘Umar sent some money to Hudhaifah and said [to his messenger], “Look to see what he does with it.” So when it reached him, he distributed it [in charity]. Then he sent some money to Mu’adh bin Jabal, and he also distributed it [in charity]. Then he sent some money to Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarraah and said [to his messenger], “Look to see what he does with it.” [And he also distributed it in charity]. So ‘Umar said to his companions, “Is it as I told you, or as you said?”

[al-Taareekh al-Awsat 173]

The definition of Sabr: Imam al-Sa’di

Allah provides the most excellent examples for His slaves to imitate in His Book. Among them, He mentions the following specifically in surah al-Anbiyaa’ when He says:

وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِدْرِ‌يسَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ ۖ كُلٌّ مِّنَ الصَّابِرِ‌ينَ  وَأَدْخَلْنَاهُمْ فِي رَ‌حْمَتِنَا ۖ إِنَّهُم مِّنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

“And [mention] Ismaa’eel and Idrees and Dhu’l-Kifl; all of whom were from the saabireen. And We admitted them into Our mercy. Indeed, they were of the righteous.” [21:85-86]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, offers the followin points of benefit from these ayaat:

أي‏:‏ واذكر عبادنا المصطفين، وأنبياءنا المرسلين بأحسن الذكر، وأثن عليهم أبلغ الثناء، إسماعيل بن إبراهيم، وإدريس، وذا الكفل، نبيين من أنبياء بني إسرائيل ‏{‏كُلٌّ‏}‏ من هؤلاء المذكورين ‏{‏مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ‏}‏ والصبر‏:‏ هو حبس النفس ومنعها، مما تميل بطبعها إليه، وهذا يشمل أنواع الصبر الثلاثة‏:‏ الصبر على طاعة الله والصبر عن معصية الله، والصبر على أقدار الله المؤلمة، فلا يستحق العبد اسم الصبر التام، حتى يوفي هذه الثلاثة حقها‏.‏

Meaning: And mention Our chosen slaves and Our sent prophets with the best of remembrance, and praise them with the most eloquent commendation; Ismaa’eel bin Ibrahim, and Idrees, and Dhu’l-Kifl – Prophets from the prophets of Bani Israa’eel, “all” from those who are mentioned “from the saabireen“. And al-Sabr: it is withholding the nafs and prohibiting it from that towards which it is inclined by its natural inclinations. And this includes three types of sabr: Continue reading

Imam al-Shawkani on the Gospels

Allah says in surah al-Nisaa’:

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْ‌يَمَ رَ‌سُولُ اللَّـهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْ‌يَمَ وَرُ‌وحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرُ‌سُلِهِ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ ۚ انتَهُوا خَيْرً‌ا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا اللَّـهُ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّـهِ وَكِيلًا

“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion and do not say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, ‘Eesaa (Jesus) , the son of Maryam, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Maryam and a ruh from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, ‘Three’; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” [4:171]

Imam al-Shawkani, in his book tafsir, writes the following in part of his explanation for this ayah, :

قوله: {يأَهْلَ الكتاب لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِى دِينِكُمْ} الغلو: هو التجاوز في الحدّ، ومنه غلا السعر يغلو غلاء، وغلا الرجل في الأمر غلواً، وغلا بالجارية لحمها وعظمها إذا أسرعت الشباب فجاوزت لداتها. والمراد بالآية: النهي لهم عن الإفراط تارة والتفريط أخرى، فمن الإفراط غلوّ النصارى في عيسى حتى جعلوه ربا، ومن التفريط غلو اليهود فيه عليه السلام حتى جعلوه لغير رشدة، وما أحسن قول الشاعر

ولا تغل في شيء من الأمر واقتصد *** كلا طرفي قصد الأمور ذميم

His statement, “O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion” – ‘Excess’ is exceeding the limits. … And the meaning of the ayah: a prohibition to them from exaggeration on the one hand and negligence on the other, for from the excess of exaggeration are the Christians concerning’ Eesaa (Jesus) to the extent that they made him a lord, and from the excess of negligence are the Jews concerning him (‘alaihis salaam) to the extent that they made him other than rightly guided. And what is better that the speech of the poet:

Do not go to extremes in any affairs, nor be negligent,

Both of these groups have achieved lowly affairs

{وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى الله إِلاَّ الحق} وهو ما وصف به نفسه ووصفته به رسله، ولا تقولوا الباطل كقول اليهود عزير ابن الله، وقول النصارى المسيح ابن الله . ـ

And do not say about Allah except the truth” and [the truth] is that with which He has described Himself and what His messengers have described Him with. And do not say falsehood, such as the statement of the Jews that ‘Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, or the statement of the Christians that ‘Eesaa is the son of Allah.

Continue reading

An incitement towards steadfastness: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his book, Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali gives a succinct and powerful reminder on the importance of steadfastness. He writes:

علامة قبول الطاعة أن تُوصل بطاعة بعدها, وعلامة ردِّها أن تُوصل بمعصية. ما أحسن الحسنة بعد الحسنة, وأقبح السيئة بعد الحسنة!! ذنب بعد التوبة أقبح من سيعين قبلها. النكسة أصعب من المرض الأوّل. ما أوحش ذلَ المعصية بعد عزّ الطاعة! ارحموا عزيز قومٍ بالمعصية ذلَ, وغني قومٍ بالذنب افنقر. سلوا الله ثبات إلى الممات, وتعوّذوا من  الحَوْرِ بعد الكَوْرِ. كان إمام أحماد يدعو يقول : اللهم أعِزَّنِي بطاعتك ولا تذلَّني بمعصيتك.

A sign of the acceptance of obedience is following it with obedience after that, and a sign of its rejection is following it with disobedience. What is better than a good deed after a good deed, and what is more disgraceful than a sin after a good deed?! One sin after repentance is more shameful than 70 sins before it. A relapse is more difficult than the initial illness. What is more distressing than the humiliation of disobedience after the honor of obedience? … We ask Allah for steadfastness until death, and we seek refuge from loss after plenty*. This was the supplication of Imam Ahmad when he said, “O Allah! Honor me with obedience [to you] and do not disgrace me with disobedience [to you]!”

      و كان من عامة دعاء إبراهيم بن أدهم رحمه الله :  ” اللهم انقلني من ذل المعصية إلى عز الطاعة “. وفي بعض الآثار إلهية : يقول الله تبارك وتعالى : أنا العزيز, فمن أراد العزّ فليُطِع العزيز.

And from the common supplications of Ibrahim ibn Adhham (rahimahullaah) was “O Allah! Take me from the disgrace of disobedience to the honor of obedience!” And in part of the divine narration: Allah tabaarak wa ta’aala said, “I am al-‘Azeez, so whoever desires honor (al-‘izz) then let him obey al-‘Azeez.”

ألا إنَّمـا التَّقـوَى هي العـزُّ و الكَـرَمْ          وحبُّــكَ الدُّنيـــا هـــو الــذُّلُّ والسَّـقَمْ
ولــيسَ على عَـبْــدٍ تـقـيٍّ نَـقِـيـصَــةٌ          إذا حقَّقَ التَّقْــوَى وإنْ حاكَ أو حَجَمْ

Verily taqwa is only an honor and nobility
and one’s love of the dunya is a humiliation and illness

And there is no defect for the pious slave
when he has attained taqwa, even if he has a lowly profession.**

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 128-129]

*The editor makes a note here saying:

في الحديث : (نعوذ بالله من الحَوْرِ بعد الكَوْرِ) , أي الرجوع بعد الاستقامة

In the hadeeth: (We seek refuge in Allah from loss after plenty) – meaning turning back after uprightness

**literally: even if he weaves or performs hijaamah

“And the supplication of the disbelievers is not but in error”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in His Book, in surah al-Ra’d:

لَهُ دَعْوَةُ الْحَقِّ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ لَا يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُم بِشَيْءٍ إِلَّا كَبَاسِطِ كَفَّيْهِ إِلَى الْمَاءِ لِيَبْلُغَ فَاهُ وَمَا هُوَ بِبَالِغِهِ ۚ وَمَا دُعَاءُ الْكَافِرِ‌ينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ

To Him is the supplication of truth. And those they call upon besides Him do not respond to them with anything, except as one who stretches his hands toward water in order to reach his mouth, but it will not reach it. And the supplication of the disbelievers is not but in error. [13:14]

Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Naasir al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following about this ayah:

‏‏ أي‏:‏ لله وحده ‏{‏دَعْوَةُ الْحَقِّ‏}‏ وهي‏:‏ عبادته وحده لا شريك له، وإخلاص دعاء العبادة ودعاء المسألة له تعالى، أي‏:‏ هو الذي ينبغي أن يصرف له الدعاء، والخوف، والرجاء، والحب، والرغبة، والرهبة، والإنابة؛ لأن ألوهيته هي الحق، وألوهية غيره باطلة ‏{‏وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ‏}‏ من الأوثان والأنداد التي جعلوها شركاء لله‏.‏

Meaning: to Allah alone “is the supplication of truth“. And that is: Worship of Him alone without ascribing any partners to Him, and sincere supplication of worship and supplications of asking Him, the Most High. Meaning: He is the One to Whom supplication should be made, and fear and hope, and love and desire, and awe and entrusting your affairs to Him, because His divinity is true, and the divinity of other than Him is falsehood. “And those they call upon besides Him” from their idols and partners which they have made as partners with Allah.

‏{‏لَا يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُمْ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ لمن يدعوها ويعبدها بشيء قليل ولا كثير لا من أمور الدنيا ولا من أمور الآخرة ‏{‏إِلَّا كَبَاسِطِ كَفَّيْهِ إِلَى الْمَاءِ‏}‏ الذي لا تناله كفاه لبعده، ‏{‏لِيَبْلُغَ‏}‏ ببسط كفيه إلى الماء ‏{‏فَاهُ‏}‏ فإنه عطشان ومن شدة عطشه يتناول بيده، ويبسطها إلى الماء الممتنع وصولها إليه، فلا يصل إليه‏.‏

Do not respond to them” – meaning: those to whom they supplicate and worship, [do not respond] with anything, neither small nor abundant, neither concerning the matters of this life nor concerning the matters of the hereafter. “Except as one who stretches his hands toward water” which his hand cannot reach due to its distance, “in order to reach” – extending his hands towards the water – “his mouth” because he is thirsty, and the severity of his thirst affects his hand, and he reaches it out towards water which he is prevented from reaching, so he does not reach it.

كذلك الكفار الذين يدعون معه آلهة لا يستجيبون لهم بشيء ولا ينفعونهم في أشد الأوقات إليهم حاجة لأنهم فقراء كما أن من دعوهم فقراء، لا يملكون مثقال ذرة في الأرض ولا في السماء، وما لهم فيهما من شرك وما له منهم من ظهير‏.‏

Like this are the kuffaar who supplicate, alongside Allah, to gods do not respond to them with anything and do not benefit them in the times when their needs are most severe, for they [i.e. the false gods] are impoverished, just as those who supplicate to them are impoverished. They do not own the likeness of an atom on the earth or in the sky, and there is no partnership [in ownership or control] in these things, nor is there anything for them.

‏{‏وَمَا دُعَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ‏}‏ لبطلان ما يدعون من دون الله، فبطلت عباداتهم ودعاؤهم؛ لأن الوسيلة تبطل ببطلان غايتها، ولما كان الله تعالى هو الملك الحق المبين، كانت عبادته حقًّا متصلة النفع لصاحبها في الدنيا والآخرة‏.‏

And the supplication of the disbelievers is not but in error” – of futility is their supplicating to other than Allah, so their worship and their supplication was rendered void, because the method was invalidated so (also) the objective was futile, for Allah the Exalted is the True and Clear Master. Worship of Him is true (i.e. valid), conducive to benefiting the one who does it (both) in this life and in the hereafter.

وتشبيه دعاء الكافرين لغير الله بالذي يبسط كفيه إلى الماء ليبلغ فاه من أحسن الأمثلة؛ فإن ذلك تشبيه بأمر محال، فكما أن هذا محال، فالمشبه به محال، والتعليق على المحال من أبلغ ما يكون في نفي الشيء كما قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏إن الذين كذبوا بآياتنا واستكبروا عنها لا تفتح لهم أبواب السماء ولا يدخلون الجنة حتى يلج الجمل في سم الخياط‏}‏

And the analogy of the supplication of the disbelievers to other than Allah with the one who stretched out his hands towards water in order to reach (it) to his mouth is one of the excellent comparisons, for certainly that is the analogy of an impossible matter, and so since that is impossible, then its counterpart in the analogy is (also) impossible, and the relation of impossibility is part of the rhetoric of denying a thing, just as Allah said, “Indeed, those who deny Our verses and are arrogant toward them – the gates of Heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter Paradise until a camel enters into the eye of a needle. And thus do We recompense the criminals.” [7:40]

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 479-480]

Good character and being good to your women

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

أَكْمَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِيمَانًا أَحْسَنُهُمْ خُلُقًا وَخِيَارُكُمْ خِيَارُكُمْ لِنِسَائِهِمْ خُلُقًا

The most complete of the believers in terms of eemaan is the one with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.

[al-Tirmidhi #1162 hasan]

Sheikh Mubarakfoori writes in his explanation of Jaami’ al-Tirmidhi

قوله‏:‏ ‏(‏أكمل المؤمنين إيماناً أحسنهم خلقاً‏)‏ بضم اللام ويسكن لأن كمال الإيمان يوجب حسن الخلق والإحسان إلى كافة الإنسان ‏(‏وخياركم خياركم لنسائه‏)‏ لأنهن محل الرحمة لضعفهن‏.‏ قوله‏:‏ ‏(‏وفي الباب عن عائشة‏)‏ أخرجه الترمذي ‏(‏وابن عباس‏)‏ أخرجه ابن ماجه مرفوعاً‏:‏ خيركم خيركم لأهله وأنا خيركم لأهلي

His statement, “The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character among them” because the completeness of al-eemaan requires good character and al-ihsaan towards all of mankind. “And the best of you are those who are best to your women” because it is proper to be merciful to them in their weakness. And his [i.e. al-Tirmidhi’s] statement, “and from ‘Aa’ishah” as it came in al-Tirmidhi, “and from Ibn ‘Abbaas” as it came from Ibn Maajah with a chain going directly back to the Prophet, “The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.”

[Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi]