The command to extol the Prophet, and the punishment for harming him or the believers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah mentions the following in surah al-Ahzaab:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ۚ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا * إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَ‌ةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا * وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ بِغَيْرِ‌ مَا اكْتَسَبُوا فَقَدِ احْتَمَلُوا بُهْتَانًا وَإِثْمًا مُّبِينًا

Verily Allah and His angels offer salaah on the Prophet. O you who believe! Send salaah on him , and offer greeting of peace in submission. * Verily, those who trouble Allah and His Messenger, Allah curses them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and prepares for them a humiliating torment. * And those who harm the believing men and believing women undeservedly, they indeed carry a slander and plain sin. [33:56-58]

Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Sa’di wrote:

وهذا فيه تنبيه على كمال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وسلم، ورفعة درجته، وعلو منزلته عند اللّه وعند خلقه، ورفع ذكره. و { إِنَّ اللَّهَ } تعالى {وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ } عليه، أي: يثني اللّه عليه بين الملائكة، وفي الملأ الأعلى، لمحبته تعالى له، وتثني عليه الملائكة المقربون، ويدعون له ويتضرعون. ـ

And this is a notification of the excellence of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and the elevation of his rank and the highness of his status in the sight of Allah and in the sight of the creation, and an elevation of his mention. And “verily Allah” the High “and His angels offer salaah” on him – meaning: Allah extols him among the angels and in the highest of gatherings due to His great love for him. And the close angels extol him and supplicate and beseech (Allah) on his behalf.[1]

 ـ { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا } اقتداء باللّه وملائكته، وجزاء له على بعض حقوقه عليكم، وتكميلاً لإيمانكم، وتعظيمًا له صلى اللّه عليه وسلم، ومحبة وإكرامًا، وزيادة في حسناتكم، وتكفيرًا من سيئاتكم

O you who believe! Send salaah on him , and offer greeting of peace in submission” following the example of Allah and His angels, and give recompense to him according to some of the rights that he has over you. This is a perfection of your eemaan, and a magnification of him (ﷺ) and the love for him and an honor, and an increase in your good deeds, and an expiation of your sins.

وأفضل هيئات الصلاة عليه عليه الصلاة والسلام ما عَلّم به أصحابه: “اللّهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما صليت على آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد، وبارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد كما باركت على آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد” وهذا الأمر بالصلاة والسلام عليه مشروع في جميع الأوقات، وأوجبه كثير من العلماء في الصلاة

And the most preferred way of offering al-salaah on him (ﷺ) is by what he taught his companions:

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ ، وَبَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

O Allah, send salaah on Muhammad and on the family of Muhammad as You have sent salaah on the family of Ibrahim; verily You are Praiseworthy and Glorious. And bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have blessed the family of Ibrahim; verily You are Praiseworthy and Glorious.

And this command to offer al-salaah and al-salaam on him is divinely legislated in all times, and many of the scholars have considered it to be compulsory (waajib) during the salaah.

لما أمر تعالى بتعظيم رسوله صلى اللّه عليه وسلم، والصلاة والسلام عليه، نهى عن أذيته، وتوعد عليها فقال: { إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ } وهذا يشمل كل أذية، قولية أو فعلية، من سب وشتم، أو تنقص له، أو لدينه، أو ما يعود إليه بالأذى. { لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا } أي: أبعدهم وطردهم، ومن لعنهم [في الدنيا] أنه يحتم قتل من شتم الرسول، وآذاه. ـ

And when Allah commanded the magnification of His messenger (ﷺ) and offering al-salaah and al-salaam on him, He (also) forbade harming him and made a threat against that. So He said, “Verily, those who trouble Allah and His Messenger” and this is comprehensive of all harms – whether through speech or action, insulting or vilification, detracting from him or disregarding him, or whatever occurs of harm to him. “Allah curses them in this world” – meaning: He banishes them and expels them. And from their curse in this world is that He prescribes the killing [by the lawful Muslim authorities in a manner in accordance with the sharee’ah][2] of the one who vilifies the Messenger and harms him.

 ـ { وَالْآخِرَةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا } جزاء له على أذاه، أن يؤذى بالعذاب الأليم، فأذية الرسول، ليست كأذية غيره، لأنه -صلى الله عليه وسلم- لا يؤمن العبد باللّه، حتى يؤمن برسوله صلى اللّه عليه وسلم. وله من التعظيم، الذي هو من لوازم الإيمان، ما يقتضي ذلك أن لا يكون مثل غيره. ـ

And in the Hereafter, and prepares for them a humiliating torment” – a recompense for him according to his harm, that [the harmer] should be harmed with a painful punishment. For harming the Messenger is not like harming others. Because verily, a slave does not believe in Allah until he believes in His messenger (ﷺ). And he deserves magnification which is part of parcel of al-eemaan, such that there should not be the likes of that for anyone other than him.

وإن كانت أذية المؤمنين عظيمة، وإثمها عظيمًا، ولهذا قال فيها: { وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ بِغَيْرِ مَا اكْتَسَبُوا } أي: بغير جناية منهم موجبة للأذى { فَقَدِ احْتَمَلُوا } على ظهورهم { بُهْتَانًا } حيث آذوهم بغير سبب { وَإِثْمًا مُبِينًا } حيث تعدوا عليهم، وانتهكوا حرمة أمر اللّه باحترامها. ـ

And if there is a great harm done to the believers and its offense is great, then Allah said concerning that, “And those who harm the believing men and believing women undeservedly” – meaning: in the absence of a crime from them which would necessitate (reciprocal) harm – “they indeed carry” on their backs “a slander” since they harmed them without reason “and plain sin” since they showed enmity towards them, and they transgressed against the inviolability of Allah’s command to hold them [the believers – i.e. their blood, their wealth and their honors][3] as inviolable.

ولهذا كان سب آحاد المؤمنين، موجبًا للتعزير، بحسب حالته وعلو مرتبته، فتعزير من سب الصحابة أبلغ، وتعزير من سب العلماء، وأهل الدين، أعظم من غيرهم. ـ

And for this reason insulting one of the believers necessitates a ta’zeer (discretionary) punishment in accordance with the insulted’s status and the highness of his rank. So the ta’zeer punishment for insulting the sahaabah is more severe. And the ta’zeer punishment for insulting the scholars and the people of the deen is greater than for other than them.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 787-788]

1. Translator’s Note: al-Haafidh ibn Kathir defined the offering of salaah on the Prophet as follows in his tafsir:

قال البخاري : قال أبو العالية : صلاة الله : ثناؤه عليه عند الملائكة ، وصلاة الملائكة : الدعاء . وقال ابن عباس : يصلون : يبركون . هكذا علقه البخاري عنهما . ـ

al-Bukhaari said: Abu’l-‘Aaliyah said, “The salaah of Allah is His extolling him before the angels. And the salaah of the angels if supplication.” And ibn ‘Abbaas said, “‘they offer salaah’ meaning they bless him.” And al-Bukhaari attributed this to them. …

وقال أبو عيسى الترمذي : وروي عن سفيان الثوري وغير واحد من أهل العلم قالوا : صلاة الرب : الرحمة ، وصلاة الملائكة : الاستغفار . ـ

And Abu ‘Eesaa al-Tirmidhi said: It is narrated from Sufyan al-Thawri and more than one of the people of Knowledge that they said, “The salaah of the Lord is al-rahmah (mercy), and the salaah of the angels is al-istighfar (their seeking forgiveness for him).” …

والمقصود من هذه الآية : أن الله سبحانه أخبر عباده بمنزلة عبده ونبيه عنده في الملأ الأعلى ، بأنه يثني عليه عند الملائكة المقربين ، وأن الملائكة تصلي عليه . ثم أمر تعالى أهل العالم السفلي بالصلاة والتسليم عليه ، ليجتمع الثناء عليه من أهل العالمين العلوي والسفلي جميعا . ـ

And the purpose of this ayah is that Allah is informing His slaves of the rank of His slave and prophet in the highest gathering, that He extols Him before the near angels, and that the angels offer salaah on him. Then He commanded the people of the lowest world [i.e. this earth] with offering al-salaah and al-salaam on him in order that the inhabitants of the entire realm of creation – from its bottom to top – would join in extolling him together.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 6/458]

 2. Translator’s note: Imam al-Sa’di identifies the insulting of the Prophet as one of the nullifies of one’s Islam in another work, where he lists the nullifies in poetic form, beginning with:

ويحصل الخروج من إسلام ***** بسب رسل الله والعلَّام

And exit from the fold of Islam is achieved
by insulting the Messengers of Allah or the scholars …

[Majmoo’ al-Kaamilah li-Mu’aalifaat al-Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di 12/411]

However, it is important to note that Imam al-Sa’di also writes in another of his books of fiqh while discussing the subject of hudood (prescribed punisheents), such as the killing of the apostate, that the hudood punishments have certain guidelines which must be observed:

لا حد إلا على مكلف عالم بالتحريم . ولا يقيمه إلا الامام أو تائبه … ـ

There is no hadd (prescribed) punishment except for the one who is legally responsible and knows of the prohibition (that he has broken). And the hadd punishment is not carried out except by the Muslim leader or his appointed representative.

[ibid 12/76]

3. Translator’s Note: The Prophet emphasized the inviolability of one Muslim to another during his famous speech on Yawm al-‘Arafah during his Farewell Pilgrimage when he said:

فَإِنَّ دِمَاءَكُمْ وَأَمْوَالَكُمْ وَأَعْرَاضَكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ حَرَامٌ كَحُرْمَةِ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا فِي بَلَدِكُمْ هَذَا فِي شَهْرِكُمْ هَذَا

“Verily, your blood and your wealths and your honors and inviolable upon you all like the inviolability of this day of yours in this land of yours during this month of yours” [Jaami’ al-Tirmidhi #3087, Hasan]

See also: Five Descriptions of the Prophet in Surah al-Ahzaab

See also: We have sent him in order that you may believe: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The Prophet Muhammad is the fulfillment of Ibrahim’s du’a: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: “Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me,”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: O you who believe, when you wish to privately consult with the Messenger… : Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The Universal Messenger: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Belief in the Messengers in brief: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Do not insult those they invoke other than Allah”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

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13 thoughts on “The command to extol the Prophet, and the punishment for harming him or the believers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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  8. Pingback: A Mercy to All Creation: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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