“And We have not created the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose!” : Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah the Exalted says in His Book in surah saad:

وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاءَ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا بَاطِلًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُ‌وا ۚ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُ‌وا مِنَ النَّارِ‌ * أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ كَالْمُفْسِدِينَ فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ أَمْ نَجْعَلُ الْمُتَّقِينَ كَالْفُجَّارِ‌ * كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَ‌كٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُ‌وا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ‌ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

And We have not created the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the thought of those who disbelieve! So woe to those who disbelieve on account of the Fire! * Shall We treat those who believe and do good works as those who spread corruption in the earth; or shall We treat the pious as the wicked? * [This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. [38:27-29]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, wrote about these ayaat:

يخبر تعالى عن تمام حكمته في خلقه السماوات والأرض، وأنه لم يخلقهما باطلا، أي‏:‏ عبثا ولعبا من غير فائدة ولا مصلحة‏.‏

Allah the Exalted informs us of the completeness of His wisdom in creating the heavens and the earth, and that these were not created without purpose – meaning in vain or as an amusement without any benefit or objective.

‏{‏ذَلِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا‏}‏ بربهم، حيث ظنوا ما لا يليق بجلاله‏.‏ ‏{‏فَوَيْلٌ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنَ النَّارِ‏}‏ فإنها التي تأخذ الحق منهم، وتبلغ منهم كل مبلغ‏.‏

That is the thought of those who disbelieve!” in their Lord, since they think that they will not meet Him. “So woe to those who disbelieve on account of the Fire!” for certainly that will be justified upon them, and each one will be taken to account.

وإنما خلق اللّه السماوات والأرض بالحق وللحق، فخلقهما ليعلم العباد كمال علمه وقدرته وسعة سلطانه، وأنه تعالى وحده المعبود، دون من لم يخلق مثقال ذرة من السماوات والأرض، وأن البعث حق، وسيفصل اللّه بين أهل الخير والشر‏.‏

Allah only created the heavens and the earth in truth and for truth, for He created them in order that the slaves may know the complete perfection of His Actions and His Power and the vast extent of His Authority. For verily He alone is worthy of worship, in exclusion of those who never created a speck of the heavens and earth, and [in order to] raise up the truth, and for Allah to clearly distinguish between the people of good and evil. Continue reading

“The entire dunya is a month of fasting for the muttaqeen”

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, in his beneficial work, Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, wrote the following beautiful words:

الدنيا كلّها شهرُ صيامِ المتقين ، وعيدُ فِطرِهم يوم لقاءِ ربِّهم ، ومعظمُ نهار الصيام قد ذَهَبَ ، وعيدُ اللِّقاء قد اقترَبَ

The entire dunya is a month of fasting for the muttaqeen, and their ‘Eid al-fitr is the day of meeting their Lord. And most of the days of fasting have already passed, and the ‘Eid of meeting is swiftly approaching.

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg 85]

And in another part of the same work, he expanded on this theme by writing:

قال بعض السلف : صم الدنيا واجعل فطرك الموت . الدنيا كلها شهر صيام المتقين ، ويصومون فيه الشهوات المحرمات ، فإذا جاءهم الموت فقد انقضى شهر صيامهم واستهلوا عيد فطرهم.

And some of the Salaf said: Fast this dunya and make your breaking of the fast death. The entire dunya is a month of fasting for the muttaqeen, and they fast from their unlawful desires. So when death comes, it has completed their month of fasting and ushered in their ‘Eid al-Fitr. Continue reading

“Jannah is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by desires”: Sharh al-Nawawi

Imam Muslim begins the chapter of his Saheeh entitled, “The Book of Paradise, its Description, its Bounties and its Inhabitants” with the following hadeeth reported from Anas ibn Maalik and Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

حُفَّتِ الْجَنَّةُ بِالْمَكَارِهِ وَحُفَّتِ النَّارُ بِالشَّهَوَاتِ

“Jannah is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by desires.”

[Muslim #2822, al-Tirmidhi #2559. Al-Bukhari also reported it with a different wording.]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim, wrote the following on this hadeeth:

 قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( حفت الجنة بالمكاره وحفت النار بالشهوات ) هكذا رواه مسلم ( حفت ) ووقع في البخاري ( حفت ) ووقع أيضا ( حجبت ) وكلاهما صحيح  .

His statement (ﷺ) “Jannah is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by desires” – this is the narration of Muslim (with the word) “surrounded“. And ‘surrounded‘ is replaced in the narration of al-Bukhari with ‘veiled‘, and both of these wordings are authentic (saheeh). Continue reading

The great blessing of being a guiding leader: Tafsir al-Sa’di

After mentioning the story of Ibrahim being thrown into the fire by his people, and his subsequent migration with Loot, Allah says in surah al-Anbiyaa’:

وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ نَافِلَةً ۖ وَكُلًّا جَعَلْنَا صَالِحِينَ * وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِ‌نَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَ‌اتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ

And We gave him Ishaaq and Ya’qoob in addition, and all [of them] We made righteous. And We made them leaders guiding by Our command. And We inspired to them the doing of good deeds, establishment of prayer, and giving of zakah; and they were worshippers of Us. [al-Qur’an 21:72-73]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his great book of tafsir, writes about these ayaat by saying:

{‏وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ‏}‏ حين اعتزل قومه ‏{‏إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ‏}‏ ابن إسحاق ‏{‏نَافِلَةً‏}‏ بعدما كبر، وكانت زوجته عاقرا، فبشرته الملائكة بإسحاق، ‏{‏وَمِنْ وَرَاءِ إِسْحَاقَ يَعْقُوبَ‏}‏ ويعقوب، هو إسرائيل، الذي كانت منه الأمة العظيمة، وإسماعيل بن إبراهيم، الذي كانت منه الأمة الفاضلة العربية، ومن ذريته، سيد الأولين والآخرين‏.‏ ‏{‏وَكُلَا‏}‏ من إبراهيم وإسحاق ويعقوب ‏{‏جَعَلْنَا صَالِحِينَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ قائمين بحقوقه، وحقوق عباده، ومن صلاحهم، أنه جعلهم أئمة يهدون بأمره، وهذا من أكبر نعم الله على عبده أن يكون إماما يهتدي به المهتدون، ويمشي خلفه السالكون، وذلك لما صبروا، وكانوا بآيات الله يوقنون‏.‏

And We gave Him” when withdrew from his people “Ishaaq and Ya’qoob” the son of Ishaaq. “In addition” – i.e. after he had become old and his wife was barren, then the angels gave him glad tidings of Ishaaq “and after Ishaaq, Ya’qoob” [11:71]. And Ya’qoob is Israa’eel, from whom there was a great ummah. And there was also Ismaa’eel ibn Ibrahim, from whom there was a blessed Arab ummah, and from whose offspring was the sayyid of the first and the last.

And all of them” – Ibrahim and Ishaaq and Ya’qoobWe made righteous” – meaning: establishing and fulfilling His rights and the rights of His slaves. And because of their righteousness, He made them leaders guiding by His command. This is one of the greatest blessings of Allah upon a slave of His, that he would be a leader by whom the guided ones are guided, and the traversers of the path would follow in his footsteps. And that is because they exercised sabr and had yaqeen in the ayaat of Allah. Continue reading

Balancing between seeking knowledge and softening the heart: Ibn al-Jawzi

Imam abu’l-Faraj ibn a-Jawzi, in his book Sayd al-Khaatir, wrote the following on the importance of softening the heart in the midst of talab al-’ilm (seeking knowledge):

رأيت الاشتغال بالفقه وسماع الحديث لا يكاد يكفي في صلاح القلب إلا أن يمزج بالرقائق والنظر في سير السلف الصالحين‏.‏ لأنهم تناولوا مقصود النقل وخرجوا عن صور الأفعال المأمور بها إلى ذوق معانيها والمراد بها‏.

I feel that occupying oneself with fiqh and acquiring narrations is hardly enough to rectify the heart, unless one mixes with that the study of al-raqaa’iq (heart-softening narrations) and examining the biographies of the salaf al-saaliheen, because they [i.e. the Salaf] realized the intended purpose of those narrations and extracted the commanded actions from them, perceiving their intended meanings and desired understandings thereby.

‏ وما أخبرتك بهذا إلا بعد معالجة وذوق لأني وجدت جمهور المحدثين وطلاب الحديث همة أحدهم في الحديث العالي وتكثير الأجزاء‏.‏ وجمهور الفقهاء في علوم الجدل وما يغالب به الخصم‏.‏ وكيف يرق القلب مع هذه الأشياء‏.‏

And I do not inform you of this except after personal trials and error, because I have found that the majority of the muhadditheen and students of hadeeth are primarily concerned with the shortest chain of narration and increasing the number of narrations. And that the majority of the fuqahaa’ (jurists) are primarily concerned with knowledge of debate, argumentation and how to win an a dispute. And how can hearts by softened with these things?

Continue reading

Do not delve deeply into the affairs of the Unseen: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Abu’l-Faraj Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, in his magnum opus Jaami’ al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam writes the following warning against delving too deeply into the affairs of the Unseen (al-Ghaib):

ومما يدخل في النهي عن التعمق والبحث عنه أمور الغيب الخبرية التي أمر بالإيمان بها ، ولم يبين كيفيتها ، وبعضها قد لا يكون له شاهد في هذا العالم المحسوس ، فالبحث عن كيفية ذلك هو مما لا يعني ، وهو مما ينهى عنه ، وقد يوجب الحيرة والشك ، ويرتقي إلى التكذيب .

And of those things for which it is prohibited to go deeply and investigate are the affairs of the Unseen (umoor al-ghaib) of which we have been informed and which we are commanded to have eemaan in them, and whose ‘how’ has not been made clear, and some of which do not have supporting evidence in this sensory world. So investigating into the ‘how’ of these thing is something which does not concern us, and which we have been prohibited from doing, and it would entail confusion and doubt, and would lead to denial.

وفي ” صحيح مسلم ” عن أبي هريرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، قال : لا يزال الناس يسألون حتى يقال : هذا خلق الله ، فمن خلق الله ؟ فمن وجد من ذلك شيئا ، فليقل آمنت بالله وفي رواية له : لا يزال الناس يسألونكم عن العلم ، حتى يقولوا : هذا الله خلقنا ، فمن خلق الله ؟ وفي رواية له أيضا : ليسألنكم الناس عن كل شيء ، حتى يقولوا : الله خلق كل شيء ، فمن خلقه ؟ وخرجه البخاري ، ولفظه : يأتي الشيطان أحدكم فيقول : من خلق كذا ؟ من خلق كذا ؟ حتى يقول : من خلق ربك ؟ فإذا بلغه فليستعذ بالله ولينته

And there is in Saheeh Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

Man will continue to question to the extent that some one will say, “Allah created all things, but who created Allah?” So whoever experiences any of that, then let him, “I have eemaan in Allah.” [Muslim #134]

And in another narration of his: Continue reading

Whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart in times of trials: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah says in surah al-Taghaabun:

مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

No calamity strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things. [64:10]

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

قوله تعالى : ما أصاب من مصيبة إلا بإذن الله أي بإرادته وقضائه . وقال الفراء : يريد إلا بأمر الله . وقيل : إلا بعلم الله . وقيل : سبب نزولها أن الكفار قالوا : لو كان ما عليه المسلمون حقا لصانهم الله عن المصائب في الدنيا ; فبين الله تعالى أن ما أصاب من مصيبة في نفس أو مال أو قول أو فعل ، يقتضي هما أو يوجب عقابا عاجلا أو آجلا فبعلم الله وقضائه .

His statement, “No calamity strikes except by permission of Allah” – meaning by His will and decree. Al-Firaa’ said: meaning, ‘except by the command of Allah’. And it is said: ‘except by Allah’s knowledge’. And it is said: the reason for the revelation of this ayah is that the kuffaar said, ‘If they Muslims were really upon the truth, then Allah would safeguard them from calamities this dunya‘, so Allah clarified that whatever calamity occurs – whether corporeally or financially, in speech or in deed, whether it is a cause of grief or something which was necessary of punishment in this life or the hereafter – then it is according to the knowledge of Allah and His decree.

قوله تعالى : ومن يؤمن بالله أي يصدق ويعلم أنه لا يصيبه مصيبة إلا بإذن الله .

His statement, “And whoever believes in Allah” – meaning, he affirms and knows that he is not afflicted with a calamity except by the permission of Allah. Continue reading

The Supplication of Istikhaarah – Before or After the Tasleem?: Ibn Taymiyah

In the major collection of Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah‘s works, one of the issues raised is concerning the supplication of istikhaarah: should one perform it after the salaah or before the tasleem? Ibn Taymiyah writes:

فأجاب : يجوز الدعاء في صلاة الاستخارة وغيرها : قبل السلام وبعده والدعاء قبل السلام أفضل ; فإن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أكثر دعائه كان قبل السلام والمصلي قبل السلام لم ينصرف فهذا أحسن والله تعالى أعلم .

The answer: The istikhaarah supplication is permitted both in the salaah and outside of it – both before the tasleem and afterwards, and the du’a before the tasleem is more preferred. For definitely most of the supplications of the Prophet (ﷺ) were before the tasleem, and the person in the midst of salaah prior to the tasleem does not turn his attention away (i.e. from the du’a to some other distraction), so this is best. And Allah the Exalted knows best.

[Majmoo’a al-Fataawa 23/177]

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

See also: The reward of salaah while sitting: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: Supplicating upon Completion of the Qur’an: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Avoid the sins which prevent forgiveness and the acceptance of du’a: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his chapter on the month of Sha’baan in Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali devotes some space to a discussion of the night of the Middle of Sha’baan, the authenticity of various ahaadeeth which mention it, and the appropriate actions to be taken during it. All of this can be read here.

Continuing on that topic, Ibn Rajab gives a discussion of some of the actions mentioned in the ahaadeeth about the middle of Sha’baan which prevent one from receiving the forgiveness of Allah therein. While his writing on the topic is in the context of the night of the Middle of Sha’baan, the benefits are general as these are actions which should be avoided at all times. Below is his discussion:

ويتعيّن على المسلم أن يجتنب الذنوب التي تمنع من المغفرة وقبول الدعاء في تلك اليلة. وقد وري أنّه : الشرك ، وقتل النفس ، والزنا ؛ وهذه الثلاثة أعظم الذنوب عند الله عز وجل ، كما في حديث ابن مسعود المتفق على صحتة ، أنه سأل النبي ﷺ : أي الذنب أعظم؟ قال : أن تجعل الله ندّا وهو خلقك . قال : ثمّ أي؟ قال : أن تقتل ولدك خشية أن يطعم معك . قال : ثمّ أي؟ قال : أن تزاني حليلة جارك . فأنزل الله تعالى تصديق ذلك : وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ‌ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّ‌مَ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ ، الآية .

It behooves the Muslim to avoid the sins which prevent one from forgiveness and from the acceptance of one’s supplications during that night [i.e. the night of the middle of Sha’baan]. And it has been narrated that they are: al-Shirk, killing someone, and al-zina, and these are the three greatest sins in the sight of Allah ‘azza wa jall, as is mentioned in the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood – and al-Bukhari and Muslim concurred on its authenticity – that he asked the Prophet (ﷺ),

“Which sin is greatest?” He replied, “That you would make partners with Allah while it is He who created you.” He said, “Then what?” He replied, “That you would kill your child out of fear that it would eat with you.” He said, “Then what?” He replied, “That you would commit zina with your neighbor’s wife.” And Allah revealed something attesting to that: “And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.” (25:68) [al-Bukhari #6001] Continue reading

“O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In His Book, in surah al-Ahzaab, Allah directs His believing slaves with the following ayaat:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ ذِكْرً‌ا كَثِيرً‌ا * وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَ‌ةً وَأَصِيلًا * هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِ‌جَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ‌ ۚ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَ‌حِيمًا * تَحِيَّتُهُمْ يَوْمَ يَلْقَوْنَهُ سَلَامٌ ۚ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرً‌ا كَرِ‌يمًا

O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance (41) And exalt Him morning and afternoon. (42) It is He who confers blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so] that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And He is Merciful to the believers. (43) Their greeting the Day they meet Him will be, “Peace.” And He has prepared for them a noble reward. (44)

Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, wrote the following about these ayaat:

يأمر تعالى المؤمنين، بذكره ذكرا كثيرًا، من تهليل، وتحميد، وتسبيح، وتكبير وغير ذلك، من كل قول فيه قربة إلى اللّه، وأقل ذلك، أن يلازم الإنسان، أوراد الصباح، والمساء، وأدبار الصلوات الخمس، وعند العوارض والأسباب‏.‏

Allah the Exalted commanded the believers to remember Him with much remembrance —with (the utterance) of Tahleel (لا إله إلا الله); Tahmeed (الحمد لله); Tasbeeh (سبحان الله); Takbeer (الله أكبر) and other than that; and with every speech in which there is drawing close to Allah. And at the bare minimum that a person is constant in performing the supplications of the morning and the evening, after the five obligatory prayers, and at times when one is faced with obstacles and situations. Continue reading