The purpose of Allah’s creation: Imam al-Shinqitee

Allah informs us of a very important matter in surah al-dhaariyaat when He says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.
[al-Qur’an 51:56]
In part of his commentary on this ayah, Imam al-Shinqitee wrote the following lucid clarification:
 قال مقيده عفا الله عنه وغفر له : التحقيق – إن شاء الله – في معنى هذه الآية الكريمة إلا ليعبدون ، أي إلا لآمرهم بعبادتي وأبتليهم أي أختبرهم بالتكاليف ، ثم أجازيهم على أعمالهم ، إن خيرا فخير وإن شرا فشر ، وإنما قلنا إن هذا هو التحقيق في معنى الآية ، لأنه تدل عليه آيات محكمات من كتاب الله ، فقد صرح تعالى في آيات من كتابه أنه خلقهم ليبتليهم أيهم أحسن عملا ، وأنه خلقهم ليجزيهم بأعمالهم . ـ
The writer [i.e. Sheikh Shinqitee] – may Allah pardon and forgive him – says: The true meaning – inshaAllaah – of this noble ayahexcept to worship me” i.e. except that I may command them with My worship and test them, meaning examine them with burdens, and then recompense them according to their deeds; if they are good then good [will be their reward] and if they are bad then bad [will be their reward]. And we only say that this is the true meaning of this ayah because it is supported by the definitive ayaat of the Book of Allah, so He has made it clear in the ayaat of His Book that He created them in order to test which of them is best in deed, and that He created them in order to reward them according to their actions. Continue reading

The perfection of Allah’s generosity and goodness towards His slaves: Ibn Rajab

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his commentary on al-Arba’een al-Nawawi:

 وقال ‏{‏لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنكُمْ‏}‏ الحج‏.‏

Allah says, “Their meat will not reach Allah , nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is taqwa from you.” [22:37]

والمعنى أنه تعالى يحب من عباده أن يتقوه ويطيعوه كما أنه يكره منهم أن يعصوه ولهذا يفرح بتوبة التائبين أشد من فرح من ضلت راحلته التي عليها طعامه وشرابه بفلاة من الأرض وطلبها حتى أعيى وأيس منها واستسلم للموت وأيس من الحياة ثم غلبته عينه فنام واستيقظ وهي قائمة عنده وهذا أعلى ما يتصوره المخلوق من الفرح هذا كله مع غناه عن طاعات عباده وتوباتهم إليه وإنه إنما يعد نفعها إليهم دونه ولكن هذا من كمال جوده وإحسانه إلى عباده ومحبته لنفعهم ودفع الضر عنهم فهو يحب من عباده أن يعرفوه ويحبوه ويخافوه ويتقوه ويطيعوه ويتقربوا إليه ويحب أن يعلموا أنه لا يغفر الذنوب غيره وأنه قادر على مغفرة ذنوب عباده كما في رواية عبدالرحمن بن غنم عن أبي ذر لهذا الحديث من علم منكم أني ذو قدرة على المغفرة ثم استغفرني غفرت له ولا أبالي‏.‏

That means that He, the Exalted, loves for His slaves to have al-taqwa of Him and obey him, just as He dislikes that they disobey Him. For this reason, He rejoices at their the tawbah of the repentant one more strongly than one who has lost his mount which was carrying his food and drink while he is in the barren desert land, and he seeks it until he gives up all hope in despair, and submits to [impending] death and he despairs of life, then his eyes are overwhelmed so he sleeps, and then when he wakes up there it is standing in beside him. This is the highest joy that a human being can imagine. All of this is despite His being rich beyond the need of His slaves’ acts of obedience and their acts of turning in tawbah to Him, and along with the fact that their benefit only returns to them and not to Him, yet this is from the perfection of His liberal generosity and goodness to His slaves, and from His love for that which will be of benefit to them and repel harm from them. He loves for His slaves to recognize Him, love Him, fear Him, have taqwa of Him, obey Him and draw near to Him, and He loves that they should know that no one forgives sins other than Him, and that He is able to forgive the sins of His slaves, as is narrated by ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam from Abu Dharr in this hadeeth, “Whoever of you knows that I have the ability to forgive and then asks Me to forgive, I will forgive him and it does not bother me.”

‏[Jaami’a al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam 2/44-45]

See also: “O Mankind, you are in need of Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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

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

See also: Generosity and Studying the Qur’an during Ramadan: Ibn Hajr

“Indeed to Allah we belong, and indeed to Him we will return”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَ‌اتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ‌ الصَّابِرِ‌ينَ * الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّـهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَ‌اجِعُونَ * أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّ‌بِّهِمْ وَرَ‌حْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided. [2:155-157]
Commenting on these ayaat, Imam al-Sa’di writes in his Tafsir:
أخبر تعالى أنه لا بد أن يبتلي عباده بالمحن‏,‏ ليتبين الصادق من الكاذب‏,‏ والجازع من الصابر‏,‏ وهذه سنته تعالى في عباده؛ لأن السراء لو استمرت لأهل الإيمان‏,‏ ولم يحصل معها محنة‏,‏ لحصل الاختلاط الذي هو فساد‏,‏ وحكمة الله تقتضي تمييز أهل الخير من أهل الشر‏.‏ هذه فائدة المحن‏,‏ لا إزالة ما مع المؤمنين من الإيمان‏,‏ ولا ردهم عن دينهم‏,‏ فما كان الله ليضيع إيمان المؤمنين، فأخبر في هذه الآية أنه سيبتلي عباده ‏{‏بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ‏}‏ من الأعداء ‏{‏وَالْجُوعِ‏}‏ أي‏:‏ بشيء يسير منهما؛ لأنه لو ابتلاهم بالخوف كله‏,‏ أو الجوع‏,‏ لهلكوا‏,‏ والمحن تمحص لا تهلك‏.‏
Allah is informing us that His slaves are going to be tested with hardships in order to clearly distinguish the truthful one from the denier, and the impatient one from the steadfastly patient one. And this in His established way concerning His slaves; for if it were to continually be joyful for the people of al-eemaan and no hardships were to befall them, then mixing which is corruption would occur. Continue reading

“If he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels?”: Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim, while speaking about some of the events of the Battle of Uhud, mentions the following points of great benefit:

ومنها : أن وقعة أحد كانت مقدمة وإرهاصا بين يدي موت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فثبتهم ووبخهم على انقلابهم على أعقابهم إن مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قتل ، بل الواجب له عليهم أن يثبتوا على دينه وتوحيده ويموتوا عليه أو يقتلوا ، فإنهم إنما يعبدون رب محمد ، وهو حي لا يموت ، فلو مات محمد أو قتل لا ينبغي لهم أن يصرفهم ذلك عن دينه ، وما جاء به ، فكل نفس ذائقة الموت ، وما بعث محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ليخلد لا هو ولا هم ، بل ليموتوا على الإسلام والتوحيد ، فإن الموت لا بد منه سواء مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو بقي ،

And from the benefits: That the Battle of Uhud was like a precursor and prelude before their very eyes of the (actual) death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So Allah fortified them (for that eventually), and rebuked them for their having turned back on their heels in the event that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had died or been killed. Rather, it was obligatory upon them to remain firm upon his Deen and his (message of) tawheed and for them to die or be killed upon that. For verily they were only worshipping the Lord of Muhammad, and He is alive and does not die. So if Muhammad died or was killed, it is not appropriate for that to change them from his deen. And he did not come for that, for every soul will taste death, and Muhammad (ﷺ) was not sent to remain alive forever – neither he nor they. Rather, in order that they could die upon al-Islaam and al-Tawheed, for death is inevitable, whether it is the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or anyone else. Continue reading

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

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِ‌يبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْ‌شُدُونَ

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the supplication of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be guided.

[Al-Qur’an 2:186]

Commenting on this ayah, Imam al-Sa’di wrote:

هذا جواب سؤال، سأل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بعض أصحابه فقالوا: يا رسول الله, أقريب ربنا فنناجيه, أم بعيد فنناديه؟ فنزل: { وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ } لأنه تعالى الرقيب الشهيد, المطلع على السر وأخفى, يعلم خائنة الأعين وما تخفي الصدور, فهو قريب أيضا من داعيه, بالإجابة، ولهذا قال: { أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ } ـ

This is an answer to a question that was asked of the Prophet (ﷺ) by some of his companions. They said, “O Messenger of Allah, is our Lord near such that we should converse with Him quietly, or is He far-off such that we should cry out to him aloud?” Continue reading

The story of ‘Aṭāʼ ibn Yasār and the bedouin woman

Ibn al-Jawzi, in his famous work iffah al-afwah, mentions the following story about the taabi’ ‘Aṭāʼ ibn Yasār. ‘Abdur-Rahmān bin Zayd bin Aslam narrated:

 وعن عبد الرحمن بن زيد بن اسلم قال خرج عطاء بن يسار وسليمان بن يسار حاجين من المدينة ومعهما أصحاب لهم حتى إذا كانوا بالأبواء نزلوا منزلا فانطلق سليمان وأصحابه لبعض حاجتهم وبقي عطاء بن يسار قائما في المنزل يصلي  قال فدخلت عليه إمرأة من الأعراب جميلة فلما رآها عطاء ظن أن لها حاجة فأوجز في صلاته ثم قال ألك حاجة قالت نعم قال ماهي قالت قم فأصب مني فإني قد ودقت ولابعل لي فقال إليك عني لاتحرقيني ونفسك بالنار

‘Aṭāʼ and (his brother) Sulayman bin Yasār went to run an errand outside al-Madinah along with some companions of theirs. When they reached the outskirts of the city, they stopped at a house to rest. Sulayman and his companions went to see to some of their needs, and ‘Atāʼ stayed in the house alone, praying. Suddenly, a beautiful bedouin woman entered upon him, so when ‘Aṭāʼ saw her, he assumed that she needed something from him, so he sped up his prayer a little and then asked her, “Is there something you need?” She answered, “Yes.” He said, “And what is that?” She replied, “Come and have your share of me, for I am filled with desire and I am without a spouse.” So, he said to her, “Get away from me, and do not cause me to burn in the Fire along with you!” Continue reading

Eemaan, jihaad and Hajj mabroor: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes the following under the chapter heading, “Concerning the Hajj, it’s virtues and an incitement to perform it”:

في الصحيحين [ عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قال : أفضل الأعمال إيمان بالله و رسوله ثم جهاد في سبيل الله ثم حج مبرور ] هذه الأعمال الثلاثة ترجع في الحقيقة إلى عملين

In the Saheehayn, Abu Huyayrah narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of deeds is eemaan in Allah and His messenger, then jihaad in the path of Allah, then Hajj mabroor.” These three deeds, in reality, return back to being two deeds.

أحدهما : الإيمان بالله و رسوله و هو التصديق الجازم بالله و ملائكته و كتبه و رسله و اليوم الآخر كما فسر النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم الإيمان بذلك في سؤال جبريل و في غيره من الأحاديث و قد ذكر الله تعالى الإيمان بهذه الأصول في مواضع كثيرة من كتابه كأول البقرة و وسطها و آخرها

The first of them is al-eemaan in Allah and His messenger, and that is firm affirmation of Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers and the Last Day as they are explained by the Prophet (ﷺ). Having eemaan in that was in the question of Jibreel and others besides him in various aahaadeeth, and Allah the Almighty has mention al-eemaan with this foundation in numerous places in His book, such as the beginning of surah al-Baqarah and its middle and its end. Continue reading