“And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah…” Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in His Book, in surah Fussilat:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am one of the Muslims.” [41:33]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, in his explanation of this ayah, wrote:

هذا استفهام بمعنى النفي المتقرر أي‏:‏ لا أحد أحسن قولا‏.‏ أي‏:‏ كلامًا وطريقة، وحالة ‏{‏مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ‏}‏ بتعليم الجاهلين، ووعظ الغافلين والمعرضين، ومجادلة المبطلين، بالأمر بعبادة الله، بجميع أنواعها،والحث عليها، وتحسينها مهما أمكن، والزجر عما نهى الله عنه، وتقبيحه بكل طريق يوجب تركه، خصوصًا من هذه الدعوة إلى أصل دين الإسلام وتحسينه، ومجادلة أعدائه بالتي هي أحسن، والنهي عما يضاده من الكفر والشرك، والأمر بالمعروف، والنهي عن المنكر‏.‏

This question is meant as a refutation of any other position, meaning: no one is better in speech – i.e. in both content and manner of delivery.

And the description of

مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ

than one who invites to Allah

is by teaching the ignorant, and admonishing the heedless and those who turn away, and arguing against those upon falsehood, and by enjoining the worship of Allah in all its forms and varieties, and inciting the people towards that, and to better things in whatever ways one can, and to deter against what Allah has prohibited, and to reveal the depravity of every way which must be abandoned, especially doing all this while calling to the foundations of the deen of Islam and its beautification, and arguing against its enemies in the best way, and forbidding what opposes it of kufr and shirk, and enjoining the good, and forbidding evil.

ومن الدعوة إلى الله، تحبيبه إلى عباده، بذكر تفاصيل نعمه، وسعة جوده، وكمال رحمته، وذكر أوصاف كماله، ونعوت جلاله‏.‏

And part of calling to Allah is engendering the love of Him in His slaves, and mentioning the details of His blessings and their great extent, and the completeness of His mercy, and mentioning His perfect attributes and beautiful qualities.

ومن الدعوة إلى الله، الترغيب في اقتباس العلم والهدى من كتاب الله وسنة رسوله، والحث على ذلك، بكل طريق موصل إليه، ومن ذلك، الحث على مكارم الأخلاق، والإحسان إلى عموم الخلق، ومقابلة المسيء بالإحسان، والأمر بصلة الأرحام، وبر الوالدين‏.‏

And part of calling to Allah is longing to acquire ‘ilm and guidance from the Book of Allah and sunnah of His Messenger, and encouraging others to do so as well, by every means which is conducive to that. And one aspect of that is the incitement to develop excellent character and ihsaan towards Allah’s creation generally, and responding to evil with ihsaan, and commanding the maintenance of family ties and goodness towards parents.

ومن ذلك، الوعظ لعموم الناس، في أوقات المواسم، والعوارض، والمصائب، بما يناسب ذلك الحال، إلى غير ذلك، مما لا تنحصر أفراده، مما تشمله الدعوة إلى الخير كله، والترهيب من جميع الشر‏.‏

And part of that is exhorting the people, in all times, seasons, conditions and difficulties, with what is appropriate for each setting. And there are other ways as well; it is not limited to just these things, and it includes calling to all good, and aversion to all evil.

ثم قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ مع دعوته الخلق إلى الله، بادر هو بنفسه، إلى امتثال أمر الله، بالعمل الصالح، الذي يُرْضِي ربه‏.‏ ‏{‏وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ المنقادين لأمره، السالكين في طريقه، وهذه المرتبة، تمامها للصديقين، الذين عملوا على تكميل أنفسهم وتكميل غيرهم، وحصلت لهم الوراثة التامة من الرسل، كما أن من أشر الناس، قولاً، من كان من دعاة الضالين السالكين لسبله‏.‏

Then He said

‏وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا‏

and does righteousness

meaning: along with his calling the creation to Allah, he began with himself, with obedience to the command of Allah with righteous good works which are pleasing to his Lord.

‏وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

And says, “Indeed, I am one of the Muslims.”

meaning: those who fulfill His command, and traverse His path, and this is the completed rank for the siddeeqeen, those who work for the perfection of themselves and the perfection of others, and for them is the full inheritance of the messengers*. Similarly, the most evil of people in speech is the one who calls to the path of misguidance.

وبين هاتين المرتبتين المتباينتين، اللتين ارتفعت إحداهما إلى أعلى عليين، ونزلت الأخرى، إلى أسفل سافلين، مراتب، لا يعلمها إلا الله، وكلها معمورة بالخلق ‏{‏وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَاتٌ مِمَّا عَمِلُوا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ‏}‏

And between these two things there are many clear levels, and one of these two is raised up high and the other one is sent down until its rank is the lowest of the low. And know one knows how low except Allah, and this applies for all of creation:

وَلِكُلٍّ دَرَجَاتٌ مِمَّا عَمِلُوا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا يَعْمَلُونَ

And for all are degrees from what they have done. And your Lord is not unaware of what they do. [6:132]

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 881-882]

*Translator’s Note: Abu al-Darda’ narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

وَإِنَّ الْعُلَمَاءَ وَرَثَةُ الأَنْبِيَاءِ وَإِنَّ الأَنْبِيَاءَ لَمْ يُوَرِّثُوا دِينَارًا وَلاَ دِرْهَمًا وَرَّثُوا الْعِلْمَ فَمَنْ أَخَذَهُ أَخَذَ بِحَظٍّ وَافِرٍ

“The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham, leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion.”

[Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi]

See also: Exerting Oneself and Galvanizing Others – the Best of Conditions: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Consequences of Not Forbidding Wrongdoing: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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2 thoughts on ““And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah…” Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 2/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Consequences of Not Forbidding Wrongdoing: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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