“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.
 ـ
‏{‏يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا‏}‏ وهذا يعم الآيات القرآنية وغيرها، فهو يتلو عليكم الآيات المبينة للحق من الباطل‏,‏ والهدى من الضلال‏,‏ التي دلتكم أولا‏ على توحيد الله وكماله‏,‏ ثم على صدق رسوله‏,‏ ووجوب الإيمان به‏,‏ ثم على جميع ما أخبر به من المعاد والغيوب‏,‏ حتى حصل لكم الهداية التامة‏,‏ والعلم اليقيني‏.‏
ـ
Reciting to you Our ayaat” – and this is inclusive of the Qur’anic ayaat and other ayaat, for he recites to you the ayaat which clarify the truth from falsehood, guidance from misguidance, which first and foremost direct to tawheed of Allah and His perfection, then to the truthfulness of His messenger and they necessitate eemaan in him, then [they direct] to all of what they communicate concerning both the mundane and the unseen, until he has conveyed to you the full and complete guidance and certain knowledge (‘ilm al-yaqeen).
 ـ
ـ{‏وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ يطهر أخلاقكم ونفوسكم‏,‏ بتربيتها على الأخلاق الجميلة‏,‏ وتنزيهها عن الأخلاق الرذيلة‏,‏ وذلك كتزكيتكم من الشرك‏‏ إلى التوحيد ومن الرياء إلى الإخلاص‏,‏ ومن الكذب إلى الصدق‏,‏ ومن الخيانة إلى الأمانة‏,‏ ومن الكبر إلى التواضع‏,‏ ومن سوء الخلق إلى حسن الخلق‏,‏ ومن التباغض والتهاجر والتقاطع‏,‏ إلى التحاب والتواصل والتوادد‏,‏ وغير ذلك من أنواع التزكية‏.‏
ـ
And purifying you” – meaning: cleansing your characters and inner-selfs with tarbiyyah towards a beautified standard of character and distancing the soul from a reprehensible standard of character. And that is like you purification (tazkiyyah) from al-shirk to al-tawheed, and from al-riyaa’ (doing deeds to be seen by other people) to al-ikhlaas (sincerity and devotion to Allah), and from dishonesty to truthfulness, and from betrayal to trustworthiness, and from pride to humility, and from poor character to good character, and from hatred, separation and divisiveness to love, connection and affection – and so on from the different categories of tazkiyyah.
 ـ
‏{‏وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ القرآن‏,‏ ألفاظه ومعانيه، ‏{‏وَالْحِكْمَةَ‏}‏ قيل‏:‏ هي السنة‏,‏ وقيل‏:‏ الحكمة‏,‏ معرفة أسرار الشريعة والفقه فيها‏,‏ وتنزيل الأمور منازلها‏.‏
ـ
And teaching you the Book” – meaning the Qur’an, both its wordings and its meaning. “And al-hikmah” – it is said: this is the sunnah, and it is said: al-hikmah is knowledge of the secrets of the sharee’ah and the understanding of it.
 ـ
فيكون ـ على هذا ـ تعليم السنة داخلا في تعليم الكتاب‏,‏ لأن السنة‏‏ تبين القرآن وتفسره‏,‏ وتعبر عنه، ‏{‏وَيُعَلِّمُكُمْ مَا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ‏}‏ لأنهم كانوا قبل بعثته‏,‏ في ضلال مبين‏,‏ لا علم ولا عمل، فكل علم أو عمل‏,‏ نالته هذه الأمة فعلى يده ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ وبسببه كان، فهذه النعم هي أصول النعم على الإطلاق‏,‏ ولهي أكبر نعم ينعم بها على عباده، فوظيفتهم شكر الله عليها والقيام بها؛ فلهذا قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ‏}‏ فأمر تعالى بذكره‏,‏ ووعد عليه أفضل جزاء‏,‏ وهو ذكره لمن ذكره‏,‏ كما قال تعالى على لسان رسوله‏:‏ (‏من ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي‏,‏ ومن ذكرني في ملأ ذكرته في ملأ خير منهم‏) . ـ
ـ
So according to this, teaching the sunnah is included in teaching the Book, because the sunnah clarifies the Qur’an and explains it and gives it expression. “And teaching you that which you did not know” because prior to his being sent, you were in clear misguidance, with neither ‘knowledge nor deeds, for all knowledge and deeds which were bestowed upon this ummah were by his hand (ﷺ) and he was the causal agent of them. So this blessing [of being sent a messenger] is the foundation of all the blessings without exception, and it is the greatest blessing bestowed by Allah upon His slaves.
 ـ
Therefore, He admonishes them to have gratitude (shukr) to Allah and to establish that, so concerning this He said, “So remember Me; I will remember you“. So He commanded them with remembrance (dhikr) of Him, and He promised them the most virtuous reward, which is His remembering those who remember Him, as He said upon the tongue of His messenger [i.e. in a hadeeth Qudsi], “Whoever remembers me in himself, I will remember him in Myself. And whoever mentions me in a gathering, I will mention him in a gathering better than that.”
 ـ
وذِكر الله تعالى‏‏ أفضله‏‏ ما تواطأ عليه القلب واللسان‏,‏ وهو الذكر الذي يثمر معرفة الله ومحبته‏,‏ وكثرة ثوابه، والذكر هو رأس الشكر‏,‏ فلهذا أمر به خصوصًا‏,‏ ثم من بعده أمر بالشكر عمومًا فقال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَاشْكُرُوا لِي‏}‏ أي‏:‏ على ما أنعمت عليكم بهذه النعم، ودفعت عنكم صنوف النقم، والشكر يكون بالقلب‏‏ إقرارا بالنعم‏‏ واعترافا‏,‏ وباللسان‏ ذكرا وثناء‏,‏ وبالجوارح‏,‏ طاعة لله وانقيادا لأمره‏,‏ واجتنابا لنهيه‏,‏ فالشكر فيه بقاء النعمة الموجودة‏,‏ وزيادة في النعم المفقودة، قال تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ‏}‏
ـ
And the most virtuous of the  remembrance of Allah the Exalted is what calms and subdues the heart and the tongue, and that is al-dhikr which results in the knowledge of Allah and His love and great rewards. And al-dhikr is the head of al-shukr, for he commanded this specifically, and then afterwards He commanded shukr generally. He said, “And be grateful to Me” – meaning: for what I have blessed you with of these blessings, and what I have protected you from of the various kinds of harms. And al-shukr with the heart is acknowledging the blessing and recognizing it, and with the tongue it is making dhikr and praise [to Allah], and with the limbs it is obedience to Allah, complying with His commands and avoiding His prohibitions. So in al-shukr there is a continuation of the blessing which is already present, and an addition of blessings which are not (already) present, for Allah says, “So if you are grateful, then I will surely increase you” [14:7].
 ـ
وفي الإتيان بالأمر بالشكر بعد النعم الدينية‏,‏ من العلم وتزكية الأخلاق والتوفيق للأعمال‏,‏ بيان أنها أكبر النعم‏,‏ بل هي النعم الحقيقية‏‏ التي تدوم‏‏ إذا زال غيرها وأنه ينبغي لمن وفقوا لعلم أو عمل‏,‏ أن يشكروا الله على ذلك‏,‏ ليزيدهم من فضله‏,‏ وليندفع عنهم الإعجاب‏,‏ فيشتغلوا بالشكر‏.‏
 ـ
And in the command to be grateful coming after the [mentioning of] the blessings concerning the deen such as ‘ilm, tazkiyyah, al-akhlaaq, and being given success in performing good deeds, there is a clarification that it [i.e. the blessing of the deen] is the greatest blessing. Rather, it is the true blessing which last when all else passes away. And it behooves one who has been blessed with ‘ilm or good deeds that he should be grateful to Allah for this, so that He may increase him in favor and protect him from being amazed (with himself), so he should occupy himself with al-shukr.
 ـ
ولما كان الشكر ضده الكفر‏,‏ نهى عن ضده فقال‏:‏ ‏{‏وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ‏}‏ المراد بالكفر ها هنا ما يقابل الشكر‏,‏ فهو كفر النعم وجحدها‏,‏ وعدم القيام بها، ويحتمل أن يكون المعنى عاما‏,‏ فيكون الكفر أنواعا كثيرة‏,‏ أعظمه الكفر بالله‏,‏ ثم أنواع المعاصي‏,‏ على اختلاف أنواعها وأجناسها‏,‏ من الشرك‏,‏ فما دونه‏.‏
ـ
And since the opposite of al-shukr is al-kufr, He forbade itself opposite when He said, “and do not deny Me.” And the meaning of al-kufr here is what dovetails with al-shukr, so it is kufr of the blessings and denying them, and the absence of al-shukr. And it carries a general meaning, for al-kufr is of many varieties, and the greatest of them of kufr (disbelief) in Allah, then the categories of disobedience – according to their varying categories and types – such as al-shirk and what is less than that.
[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 69-70]

 

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

See also: “When My slaves ask you about me, Indeed I am near”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The gratitude of a slave is better than the blessings of this world: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: Allah legislated the religion for His remembrance: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Deen is Built on Two Foundations: Dhikr and Shukr – Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: “Work, O family of Dawood, in gratitude”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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

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

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