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

Allah commands the believers in surah al-Mujaadilah by saying:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّ‌سُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَةً ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ‌ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ‌ ۚ فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ * أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَن تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَاتٍ ۚ فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَتَابَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَرَ‌سُولَهُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ خَبِيرٌ‌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O you who have believed, when you [wish to] privately consult the Messenger, present before your consultation a charity. That is better for you and purer. But if you find not [the means] – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. * Have you feared to present before your consultation charities? Then when you did not and Allah has forgiven you, then [at least] establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do. [58:12-13]

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

يأمر تعالى المؤمنين بالصدقة، أمام مناجاة رسوله محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم تأديبا لهم وتعليما، وتعظيما للرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم، فإن هذا التعظيم، خير للمؤمنين وأطهر أي: بذلك يكثر خيركم وأجركم، وتحصل لكم الطهارة من الأدناس، التي من جملتها ترك احترام الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم والأدب معه بكثرة المناجاة التي لا ثمرة تحتها، فإنه إذا أمر بالصدقة بين يدي مناجاته صار هذا ميزانا لمن كان حريصا على الخير والعلم، فلا يبالي بالصدقة، ـ

Allah commanded the believers to give sadaqah (charity) before privately consulting His messenger (ﷺ) as an admonition to them and as an instruction. And it is a magnification of the prophet (ﷺ), for verily this magnification is better for the believers and more pure – meaning that through this they would accumulate a great deal of good and reward and achieve purity from the blemishes which ensue from leaving off revering the Messenger (ﷺ) and [leaving off] having good manners with him by engaging in excessive private consultations which bear no benefit. So when He commanded the giving of saqadah prior to privately consulting him, this became a measuring scale of whoever was eager for good and for ‘ilm, for the sadaqah would not bother him.

ومن لم يكن له حرص ولا رغبة في الخير، وإنما مقصوده مجرد كثرة الكلام، فينكف بذلك عن الذي يشق على الرسول، هذا في الواجد للصدقة، ـ

And for those who did not have eagerness or craving for good and whose intention was merely to engage in abundant conversation, then he was stopped by this from bothering the Messenger. This was all in regards to the one who was able to find saqadah [to give].

وأما الذي لا يجد الصدقة، فإن الله لم يضيق عليه الأمر، بل عفا عنه وسامحه، وأباح له المناجاة، بدون تقديم صدقة لا يقدر عليها. ـ

But as for the one who could not find sadaqah, then certainly Allah did not make the affair constricting for him – rather He pardoned him and dealt with him generously and allowed him to make private consultation without having to precede his private consultation with sadaqah which he was not able to produce.

ثم لما رأى تبارك وتعالى شفقة المؤمنين، ومشقة الصدقات عليهم عند كل مناجاة، سهل الأمر عليهم، ولم يؤاخذهم بترك الصدقة بين يدي المناجاة، وبقي التعظيم للرسول والاحترام بحاله لم ينسخ، لأن هذا الحكم من باب المشروع لغيره، ليس مقصودا لنفسه، وإنما المقصود هو الأدب مع الرسول والإكرام له، ـ

Then when Allah saw the concern of the believers and the hardship they faced in having to give sadaqah for every private consultation [with the Messenger], He made the matter easy for them, and He did not take them to task for leaving off giving sadaqah before private consultation. And the magnification of the Messenger and revering him due to his status remained in place and was not abrogated, because this ruling is from the category of divinely legislated for an ulterior purpose; the objective was not this [i.e. the giving of sadaqah prior to every private consultation with the Messenger] in and of itself, the objective was only good etiquette with the Messenger and esteeming him.

وأمرهم تعالى أن يقوموا بالمأمورات الكبار المقصودة بنفسها، فقال: { فَإِذْ لَمْ تَفْعَلُوا } أي: لم يهن عليكم تقديم الصدقة، ولا يكفي هذا، فإنه ليس من شرط الأمر أن يكون هينا على العبد، ولهذا قيده بقوله: { وَتَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ } أي: عفا لكم عن ذلك، ـ

And His commanded to them to fulfill the major commandments was itself the (true) objective, so He said, “Then when you did not” – i.e. you did not trivialize the giving of sadaqah (before private consultation) and did not feel that to be sufficient [1] – for it is not appropriate that a integral condition of a command be something trivial to the slave – then because of this Allah specified it by His statement, “and Allah has forgiven you” – i.e. pardoned you of that.

 ـ { فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ } بأركانها وشروطها، وجميع حدودها ولوازمها، ـ

Then establish the salaah” according to its pillars and conditions, and all of its limits and necessary parts,

 ـ { وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ } المفروضة [في أموالكم] إلى مستحقيها. ـ

And give the zakaah” – i.e. the obligatory zakaah, from your wealth to those who are deserving of it.

وهاتان العبادتان هما أم العبادات البدنية والمالية، فمن قام بهما على الوجه الشرعي، فقد قام بحقوق الله وحقوق عباده، [ولهذا قال بعده:] { وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ } وهذا أشمل ما يكون من الأوامر. ـ

And these two acts of ‘ibaadah are the mother of physical and financial ‘ibaadaat. So whoever fulfills these two in accordance with the sharee’ah, then he has fulfilled the rights of Allah and the rights of His slaves. And because of this He said right after that, “and obey Allah and His messenger” and this includes all of the commands which exist.

ويدخل في ذلك طاعة الله [وطاعة] رسوله، بامتثال أوامرهما واجتناب نواهيهما، وتصديق ما أخبرا به، والوقوف عند حدود الله

And included in this is obedience to Allah and obedience to His messenger through conforming to their commands and avoiding their prohibitions, and affirming what they have informed you of, and halting at the limits set by Allah.

والعبرة في ذلك على الإخلاص والإحسان، ولهذا قال: { وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ } فيعلم تعالى أعمالهم، وعلى أي وجه صدرت، فيجازيهم على حسب علمه بما في صدورهم. ـ

And the lesson of this is [to have] al-ikhlaas (sincerity to Allah) and al-ihsaan (excellent behavior to the people). And concerning this Allah said, “And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do” for Allah knows their actions, regardless where they originate [i.e. what motives or intentions drive them]. So He recompenses them according to His knowledge of what is in their chests.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 998-999]

[1] Translator’s Note: al-Haafidh ibn Kathir mentions the following point of clarification in his tafsir of these ayaat:

 وقال علي بن أبي طلحة ، عن ابن عباس قوله : ( فقدموا بين يدي نجواكم صدقة ) وذلك أن المسلمين أكثروا المسائل على رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – حتى شقوا عليه ، فأراد الله أن يخفف عن نبيه ، عليه السلام . فلما قال ذلك صبر كثير من الناس وكفوا عن المسألة ، فأنزل الله بعد هذا : ( أأشفقتم أن تقدموا بين يدي نجواكم صدقة فإذ لم تفعلوا وتاب الله عليكم فأقيموا الصلاة وآتوا الزكاة ) فوسع الله عليهم ولم يضيق .ـ

‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah related that ibn ‘Abbaas said: “present before your consultation a charity” and that was because the Muslims were engaging in an abundance of questions with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to the extent that they were troubling him, so Allah wanted to lighten the situation for His prophet. So when He said this, many of the people exercised sabr and refrained from asking questions, so Allah revealed after that, “Have you feared to present before your consultation charities? Then when you did not and Allah has forgiven you, then [at least] establish prayer and give zakah“, so Allah was lenient with them and did not constrain them.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 8/52]

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

See also: Referring issues back to their experts – Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Fiqh of Oaths: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Beware of Opposing the Prophet’s Command: Tafsir ibn Kathir

7 thoughts on “O you who believe, when you wish to privately consult with the Messenger… : Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Referring issues back to their experts – Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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

  3. Pingback: The Universal Messenger: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Beware of Opposing the Prophet’s Command: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  5. Assalamualaikum brother,

    May Allah reward you abundantly in both worlds.

    Do you know whether some Sahaba continued to practice the act of giving charity before private consultation even after the ruling was abrogated?

  6. Pingback: A Primer on Abrogation: al-Zarkashi | Tulayhah

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