“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Baqarah, after Allah revealed the command of changing the Qibla and dedicating a number of ayaat from the first part of the second Juz’ [2:142-150], He then moves on to mention:

كَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَ‌سُولًا مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ * فَاذْكُرُ‌ونِي أَذْكُرْ‌كُمْ وَاشْكُرُ‌وا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُ‌ونِ

Just as We have sent among you a messenger from yourselves reciting to you Our ayaat and purifying you and teaching you the Book and wisdom and teaching you that which you did not know. * So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. [2:151-152]
Commenting on these ayaat, Imam al-Sa’di writes:
يقول تعالى‏:‏ إن إنعامنا عليكم باستقبال الكعبة وإتمامها بالشرائع والنعم المتممة‏,‏ ليس ذلك ببدع من إحساننا‏,‏ ولا بأوله‏,‏ بل أنعمنا عليكم بأصول النعم ومتمماتها‏,‏ فأبلغها إرسالنا إليكم هذا الرسول الكريم منكم‏,‏ تعرفون نسبه وصدقه‏,‏ وأمانته وكماله ونصحه‏.‏
ـ
Allah is saying: Verily, We have blessed you with facing the Ka’bah and completing the Divine legislation and other supplemental blessings. That is nothing new of Our Ihsaan, nor is that the beginning of it – rather, We have blessed you with the fundamental blessings and supplementary ones, for I have done this by sending this noble messenger to you from among you, so that you may recognize his lineage and his truthfulness, and his trustworthiness, excellence and sincerity. Continue reading

The reward of an action is of the same category as the action itself: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Ibn Kathīr mentions the following point in the beginning of his tafsīr of surah al-Tūr:

ثبت في الصحيحين أن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قال في حديث الإسراء – بعد مجاوزته إلى السماء السابعة – : ” ثم رفع بي إلى البيت المعمور ، وإذا هو يدخله في كل يوم سبعون ألفا لا يعودون إليه آخر ما عليهم ” يعني : يتعبدون فيه ويطوفون ، كما يطوف أهل الأرض بكعبتهم كذلك ذاك البيت ، هو كعبة أهل السماء السابعة ; ولهذا وجد إبراهيم الخليل عليه السلام مسندا ظهره إلى البيت المعمور ; لأنه باني الكعبة الأرضية ، والجزاء من جنس العمل ، وهو بحيال الكعبة ، وفي كل سماء بيت يتعبد فيه أهلها ، ويصلون إليه ، والذي في السماء الدنيا يقال له : بيت العزة . والله أعلم .

It is firmly establish in the two Ṣaḥeeḥ collections that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said in the adeeth of the Night Journey (al-Isrā’) – after his entrance into the Seventh Heaven – “Then he raised me to the Bait al-Ma’mūr, where every day seventy thousand angels enter and they do not return again” – meaning, for the purpose of worshipping therein and making tawaaf. Just as the inhabitants of the earth make tawaaf of their Ka’bah, so it is also done of that place, which is the Ka’bah of the inhabitants of the Seventh Heaven. And for that reason he found Ibrahim, the Khalīl (‘alaihis salaam), reclining against Bait al-Ma’mūr, and that is because he was the builder of the Ka’bah of the earth, and the reward of an action is of the same category as the action itself, and it corresponds to the Ka’bah. And in each (level) of the heavens there is a house of worship in which it’s inhabitants worship and towards which they face during alaah, and the one which is in the lowest Heaven is called Bait al-‘Izzah, and Allah knows best.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 7/427-428]

Do not make your houses like graves: Sharh al-Nawawi

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrates that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

اجعلوا من صلاتكم في بيوتكم ولا تتخذوها قبوراً

“Observe some of your prayers in your houses and do not make them (like) graves.”

[Muslim #777]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his explanation of Saheeh Muslim, writes:

باب استحباب صلاة النافلة في بيته وجوازها في المسجد

The chapter on the desirability of optional [nawaafil] prayer in one’s house and the permissibility of it in the masjid

 وسواء في هذا الراتبة وغيرها إلا الشعائر الظاهرة وهي العيد والكسوف والاستسقاء والتراويح وكذا ما لا يتأتى في غير المسجد كتحية المسجد ويندب كونه في المسجد هي ركعتا الطواف . ـ

[And just as this applies to optional (nawaafil) prayers] this also applies routine optional prayers (al-rawaatib) and others, except for those prayers which are the outward rituals, and they are the ‘eid prayer, and al-kusoof (eclipse prayer), and al-istisqaa’ (prayer for rain), and al-taraaweeh (night prayer during Ramadhaan), and others such as those which cannot be done except in the masjid such as tahiyyah al-masjid (prayer for greeting the masjid) and those whose performance is relegated to the masjid such as two raka’aat of Tawaaf. Continue reading

“A Good Word is like a Good Tree”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah Ibrahim, Allah strikes a clear and vivid example for the believers when He says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ‌ كَيْفَ ضَرَ‌بَ اللَّـهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَ‌ةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْ‌عُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ * تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَ‌بِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِ‌بُ اللَّـهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُ‌ونَ * وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَ‌ةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْ‌ضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَ‌ارٍ‌

Have you not considered how Allah presents an example: a good word is like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches in the sky? * It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. * And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. [14:24-26]

Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Naasir al-Sa’di, in his book of tafsir, writes the following explanation of these ayaat:

يقول تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَة‏}‏ ‏‏ وهي شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله، وفروعها ‏{‏كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ‏}‏ وهي النخلة ‏{‏أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ‏}‏ في الأرض ‏{‏وَفَرْعُهَا‏}‏ منتشر ‏{‏فِي السَّمَاءِ‏}‏ وهي كثيرة النفع دائما، ‏{‏تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا‏}‏ أي‏:‏ ثمرتها ‏{‏كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا‏}‏ فكذلك شجرة الإيمان ، أصلها ثابت في قلب المؤمن، علما واعتقادا‏.‏ وفرعها من الكلم الطيب والعمل الصالح والأخلاق المرضية، والآداب الحسنة في السماء دائما يصعد إلى الله منه من الأعمال والأقوال التي تخرجها شجرة الإيمان ما ينتفع به المؤمن وينفع غيره، ‏‏

Allah the Exalted says, “Have you not considered how Allah presents an example: a good word” – and it is the bearing witness that Laa ilaaha illallaah [There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah], and its (associated) subsidiary matters – “is like a good tree” – and this is the date-palm tree – “whose root is firmly fixed” in the ground “and its branches” are widespread “in the sky” and it is prolific in benefit at all times. “It produces its food” – meaning: its fruit – “all the time, by the permission of its Lord” and like this is the tree of al-eemaan. Continue reading

The Names of Allah: al-Ghanī – explanation of Imam al-Sa’di

Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Naasir al-Sa’di, in his work discussing the names and attributes of Allah, writes the following on Allah’s name al-Ghanīالغَنِيّ ) – which is often rendered into English as ‘The One Who is Free of Need’, ‘The Rich’, ‘The Sufficient’, ‘The Self-Sufficient’ and other similar translations:

 قال تعالى : يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيد

Allah said: “O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need (Al-Ghanī), the Praiseworthy (al-Hameed).” [35:15]

فهو الغني بذاته، الذي له الغنى التام المطلق، من جميع الوجوه، والاعتبارات لكماله، وكمال صفاته

So He is The One Who is Free of Need in His essence, who is completely and unequivocally Free of Need in all aspects and completely in all respects, and His attributes are perfectly complete.

فلا يتطرق إليها نقص بوجه من الوجوه، ولا يمكن أن يكون إلا غنياً، لأن غناه من لوازم ذاته، كما لا يكون إلا خالقاً قادراً رازقاً محسناً فلا يحتاج إلى أحد بوجه من الوجوه

So no loss occurs to Him from any angle, and it is not possible for Him to be anything except free of need, because His freedom from need is a intrinsic part of His essence, just as He cannot be anything except the Creator, the Irresistibly Compelling, the Provider, the Excellent. So He does not have need of anyone in any way. Continue reading

“And whoever places their reliance upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him”: Ibn Hajr

In his Saheeh, in the book of heart-softening narrations [baab al-Riqaaq], Imam al-Bukhari entitled one of his chapters:

باب ومن يتوكل على الله فهو حسبه قال الربيع بن خثيم من كل ما ضاق على الناس

The chapter of ‘And whoever places their tawakkal upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him.’ And al-Rabee’ ibn Khuthaim said, ‘[He is sufficient for him] concerning everything which constricts a man.’

This chapter was comprised of the single hadeeth in which ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مِنْ أُمَّتِي سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ هُمْ الَّذِينَ لَا يَسْتَرْقُونَ وَلَا يَتَطَيَّرُونَ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

Seventy thousand people from my ummah will enter into al-Jannah without question, and they are those who do not practice al-ruqya, nor do they consult omens and they place their tawakkal upon Allah [alone].

[Saheeh al-Bukhari #6107]

Commenting on this, ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalaani writes:

قوله باب ومن يتوكل على الله فهو حسبه استعمل لفظ الآية ترجمة لتضمنها الترغيب في التوكل وكأنه أشار إلى تقييد ما أطلق في حديث الباب قبله وأن كلا من الاستغناء والتصبر والتعفف إذا كان مقرونا بالتوكل على الله فهو الذي ينفع وينجع

His statement, “The chapter of ‘And whoever places their tawakkal upon Allah, then He is sufficient for him.’” – he is using the wording of the ayah [65:3] because it contains an exhortation for al-tawakkal. And it is as if he is indicating a specification of what he had generalized in the hadeeth of the previous chapter*, and that being independent/content from asking for the help of others, and sabr and abstaining are all connected to placing one’s al-tawakkal on Allah, for He is the one who benefits you and has a real effect [on your well-being].

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The Story of the Town by the Sea: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-A’araaf, Allah recounts the story of the people of the sea-side village who broke the Sabbath:

وَاسْأَلْهُمْ عَنِ الْقَرْ‌يَةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ حَاضِرَ‌ةَ الْبَحْرِ‌ إِذْ يَعْدُونَ فِي السَّبْتِ إِذْ تَأْتِيهِمْ حِيتَانُهُمْ يَوْمَ سَبْتِهِمْ شُرَّ‌عًا وَيَوْمَ لَا يَسْبِتُونَ ۙ لَا تَأْتِيهِمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَبْلُوهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ * وَإِذْ قَالَتْ أُمَّةٌ مِّنْهُمْ لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا ۙ اللَّـهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا ۖ قَالُوا مَعْذِرَ‌ةً إِلَىٰ رَ‌بِّكُمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ * فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُ‌وا بِهِ أَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ السُّوءِ وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ * فَلَمَّا عَتَوْا عَن مَّا نُهُوا عَنْهُ قُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُوا قِرَ‌دَةً خَاسِئِينَ * وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَ‌بُّكَ لَيَبْعَثَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ مَن يَسُومُهُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ ۗ إِنَّ رَ‌بَّكَ لَسَرِ‌يعُ الْعِقَابِ ۖ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ

And ask them about the town that was by the sea – when they transgressed in [the matter of] the sabbath – when their fish came to them openly on their sabbath day, and the day they had no sabbath they did not come to them. Thus did We give them trial because they were defiantly disobedient. And when a community among them said, “Why do you advise [or warn] a people whom Allah is [about] to destroy or to punish with a severe punishment?” they [the advisors] said, “To be absolved before your Lord and perhaps that they may fear Him.” And when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We saved those who had forbidden evil and seized those who wronged with a wretched punishment, because they were defiantly disobeying. So when they were insolent about that which they had been forbidden, We said to them, “Be apes, despised.” And [mention] when your Lord declared that He would surely [continue to] send upon them until the Day of Resurrection those who would afflict them with the worst torment. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful. [al-Qur’an 7:163-167]

Imam al-Sa’di, in his great book of tafsir, wrote the following on these ayaat:

{‏وَاسْأَلْهُمْ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ اسأل بني إسرائيل ‏{‏عَنِ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ حَاضِرَةَ الْبَحْرِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ على ساحله في حال تعديهم وعقاب اللّه إياهم‏.‏

And ask them” – meaning, ask the Children of Israa’eel – “about the town that was by the sea” – meaning on its banks, which found itself in the circumstance of harm and the punishment of Allah upon them.

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The reward of ṣalaah while sitting: Ibn Taymiyah

In the epic collection of his writings, Ibn Taymiyah addresses the question: Is it true that the prayer of someone sitting is half (in terms reward) of the prayer of someone standing? He replied:

نعم . صحيح عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : { صلاة القاعد على النصف من صلاة القائم } . لكن إذا كان عادته أنه يصلي قائما وإنما قعد لعجزه فإن الله يعطيه أجر القائم . لقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم { إذا مرض العبد أو سافر كتب له من العمل ما كان يعمله وهو صحيح مقيم } فلو عجز عن الصلاة كلها لمرض كان الله يكتب له أجرها كله ; لأجل نيته وفعله بما قدر عليه فكيف إذا عجز عن أفعالها . ـ

Yes. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “the alaah of one who is sitting is half of the alaah of one who is standing.” However if it is one’s norm to pray while standing and he is only sitting due to his inability (at that time), then verily Allah will give him the reward of one who is standing. This is according to his statement (ﷺ), “When a slave of Allah suffers from illness or sets on a journey, he is credited with the equal of whatever good works he used to do when he was healthy or at home” [al-Bukhari #2996]. So if one is unable to perform the alaah completely due to sickness, then Allah writes the complete reward of it for him, according to his niyyah (intention) and his practice while he had the ability to do it, so similarly when he is unable to do that.

  [Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 23/130]

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

See also: The supplication of Istikhaarah – before or after the tasleem: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: Be more concerned about the acceptance of deeds than the deeds themselves: Ibn Rajab

See also: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

The Importance of Pure Intention: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

The muhaddith Ibn Hibbaan brings the following narration in his Saheeh:

 حدثنا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب أنبأ العباس بن الوليد بن مزيد البيروتي أخبرني أبي قال : سمعت الأوزاعي يقول : حدثني أبو كثير الزبيدي عن أبيه قال

 سألت أبا ذر فقلت : دلني على عمل إذا عمل العبد به دخل الجنة قال : سألت عن ذلك رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ، فقال : تؤمن بالله . قال : قلت يا رسول الله إن مع الإيمان عملًا ؟ قال : يرضخ مما رزقه الله . قلت : وإن كان معدما لا شيء له ؟ قال : يقول معروفا بلسانه . قال : قلت فإن كان عيبا لا يبلغ عنه لسانه ؟ قال : فيعين مغلوبا . قلت : فإن كان ضعيفا لا قدرة له؟ قال : فليصنع لأخرق . قلت : وإن كان أخرق ؟ قال : فالتفت إلي وقال : ما تريد أن تدع في صاحبك شيئا من الخير ، فليدع الناس من أذاه . قلت : يا رسول الله إن هذه كلمة تيسير ؟ فقال : والذي نفس بيده ما من عبد يعمل بخصلة منها يريد بها ما عند الله إلا أخذت بيده يوم القيامة حتى تدخله الجنة

Abu Kathir narrates from his father that: I asked Abu Dharr (raadi Allaahu ‘anhu), “Show me an action which if the slave does it he will enter al-Jannah.” He said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about that and he said, ‘That he has eemaan in Allah.'” So I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Isn’t there action along with the eemaan? He said, “Let him give a little of what with which Allah provides him.” I said, “What if he is destitute, not owning anything?” He said, “Let him say what is good with his tongue.” I said, “Then what if he is incapable and his tongue will not express what he intends?” He said, “Then let him help someone who has been overcome.” I said, “Then what if he himself is weak and has no power?” He said, “Then let him make something for a clumsy, unhandy person.” I said, “Then what if he himself is clumsy and unhandy?” Then he turned to me and said, “You don’t want to leave your friend with anything good, do you? Then let him protect people from his own mischief.” I said, “O Messenger of Allah! All of this is easy.” So he said, “By who One in Whose Hand is my soul! There is no slave who does any one of these practices, seeking thereby that which is with Allah, except that I will take him by his hand on Yawm al-Qiyaamah until he enters al-Jannah.”

[Saheeh ibn Hibbaan #373, and he declared it saheeh. Sheikh al-Albaani graded it as saheeh li-ghairi in al-Saheehah #2668. al-Haakim reported it with a different wording in Mustadrak al-Haakim #212, and he considered it saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim. Sheikh al-Albaani graded it as Saheeh li-ghairi in al-Saheehah #2668. Al-Tabarani also reported a different wording of the hadeeth in al-Kabeer, which al-Albaani graded as hasan li-ghairi.]

Ibn Rajab mentioned this narration in Jaam’i al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam, after which he mentions:

فاشترط في هذا الحديث لهذه الأعمال كلها إخلاص النية كما في حديث عبدالله بن عمرو الذي فيه ذكر الأربعين خصلة وهذا كما في قوله عز وجل ‏{‏لاَّ خَيْرَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّن نَّجْوَاهُمْ إِلاَّ مَنْ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوْ مَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ إِصْلاَحٍ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ ابْتَغَاء مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا‏}‏ النساء‏.‏

A stipulation is this hadeeth is that all of these actions must have purity of intention, as is mentioned in [a previously mentioned] hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr discussing the forty characteristics. And this is like Allah’s saying, “There is no good in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or reconciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking the pleasure of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward” [4:114].

[Jaami’ al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam 2/90]

See also: Ask that his eemaan be preserved!

See also: Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: Notes on Perfecting One’s Deeds and their Acceptance: ibn Rajab

See also: Three Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Imam al-Shinqitee

Whoever abandons good will be tested with evil: Imam al-Sa’di

Imam al-Sa’di mentions in his tafsir of the story of the people of Babylon in surah al-Baqarah:

ولما كان من العوائد القدرية والحكمة الإلهية أن من ترك ما ينفعه، وأمكنه الانتفاع به فلم ينتفع ، ابتلي بالاشتغال بما يضره ، فمن ترك عبادة الرحمن ، ابتلي بعبادة الأوثان ، ومن ترك محبة الله وخوفه ورجاءه ، ابتلي بمحبة غير الله وخوفه ورجائه ، ومن لم ينفق ماله في طاعة الله أنفقه في طاعة الشيطان ، ومن ترك الذل لربه ، ابتلي بالذل للعبيد ، ومن ترك الحق ابتلي بالباطل. ـ

“So it is from the ordained consequences and divine wisdom that whoever abandons what benefits him – while he is able to take benefit from it but does not – will be tested with being distracted and busied with what harms him.

So whoever abandons the worship of the Most Merciful and Compassionate (al-Rahman, i.e. Allah), he will be tested with the worship of idols.

And whoever abandons the love of Allah and directing one’s fear and hope towards Him, he will be tested with the love of other than Allah and placing his fear and hope in other than Him.

And whoever does not spend his wealth in obedience to Allah, he will spend it in obedience to the Shaytaan.

And whoever abandons humility towards his Lord, he will be tested with humiliation towards the slaves [of Allah].

And whoever abandons the truth, he will be tested with falsehood.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 54]

See also: Surely either we or you are upon right guidance, or in clear error

See also: “A Good Word is like a Good Tree”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “There is no good in much of their private conversation, except…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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