“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?” So He revealed, “And when My servants ask you concerning Me – indeed I am near” – for He is al-Raqeeb (the Responsive) al-Shaheed (the Witness), familiar with what is secretly hidden and concealed, He knows the treachery of the eye and what is concealed in the breasts. So is also near to the one who supplicates to Him with a response, and so He said, “I respond to the supplication of the supplicant when he calls upon Me“.

والدعاء نوعان: دعاء عبادة, ودعاء مسألة. والقرب نوعان: قرب بعلمه من كل خلقه, وقرب من عابديه وداعيه بالإجابة والمعونة والتوفيق. ـ

And supplication is of two kinds: 1) supplication of worship, and 2) supplication of request.

And nearness is of two kinds: 1) the nearness of His knowledge to every one of His creations, and 2) the nearness of His response, aid and granting of success to His devoted slaves and those who call upon Him.

فمن دعا ربه بقلب حاضر, ودعاء مشروع, ولم يمنع مانع من إجابة الدعاء, كأكل الحرام ونحوه, فإن الله قد وعده بالإجابة، وخصوصا إذا أتى بأسباب إجابة الدعاء, وهي الاستجابة لله تعالى بالانقياد لأوامره ونواهيه القولية والفعلية, والإيمان به الموجب للاستجابة، فلهذا قال: { فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ } أي: يحصل لهم الرشد الذي هو الهداية للإيمان والأعمال الصالحة, ويزول عنهم الغي المنافي للإيمان والأعمال الصالحة. ولأن الإيمان بالله والاستجابة لأمره سبب لحصول العلم كما قال تعالى: { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ فُرْقَانًا }. ـ

So whoever supplicates to His Lord with an attentive heart and a legislated supplication, and there is no preventing force impeding the response of the supplication – such as the consumption of unlawful substances and the like -, then certainly Allah had promised him a response. This is especially so when he brings the causes of responding to a supplication, which are responding to Allah with compliance to His commands and prohibitions – both in terms of speech and action -, eemaan in Him in the necessity of the response. For this reason He said, “So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be guided,” – meaning, they will receive al-rushd which is guidance to al-eemaan and righteous actions, and preclusion and straying from al-eemaan and righteous actions will be taken away from them. And that is because al-eemaan in Allah and responding to His commands are causes for obtaining al-‘ilm, just as Allah said, “O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion” [8:29].

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 84]

Translator’s Notes: Sheikh al-Sa’di also explained this ayah in his thematic tafsir in part of his larger chapter on the ayaat of fasting. In that explanation, he included a number of different and unique benefits not found in this explanation from his full tafsir. To read and compare, see the article: Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 2: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

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

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

See also: The two types of ‘with-ness’ of Allah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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

  1. Pingback: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.”: Imam al-Qurtubi’s tafsir of 7:55 | Tulayhah

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

  3. Pingback: The two types of ‘with-ness’ of Allah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 2: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: The supplication is granted so long as one does not show impatience: Ibn Hajr | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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