The Qur’an, the Tawrah and the Injeel: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The great mufassir Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel Ibn Kathir gave brief but clarifying definitions of some of the divinely-revealed scriptures in his famous tafsir when he wrote:

وكثيرا ما يقرن الله بين التوراة والقرآن ، كما في قوله تعالى ( قل من أنزل الكتاب الذي جاء به موسى نورا وهدى للناس ) إلى أن قال : ( وهذا كتاب أنزلناه مبارك ) [ الأنعام : 91 ، 92 ] ، ـ

Often times, Allah pairs (mention of) the Tawrah and the Qur’an, just as in His statement:

قُلْ مَنْ أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَىٰ نُورً‌ا وَهُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ تَجْعَلُونَهُ قَرَ‌اطِيسَ تُبْدُونَهَا وَتُخْفُونَ كَثِيرً‌ا ۖ وَعُلِّمْتُم مَّا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنتُمْ وَلَا آبَاؤُكُمْ ۖ قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْ‌هُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ * وَهَـٰذَا كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مُبَارَ‌كٌ

Say, “Who revealed the Scripture that Moosaa brought as light and guidance to the people? You [Jews] make it into pages, disclosing [some of] it and concealing much. And you were taught that which you knew not – neither you nor your fathers.” Say, “Allah [revealed it].” Then leave them in their [empty] discourse, amusing themselves. * And this is a Book which We have sent down, blessed… [6:91-92] 

وقال في آخر السورة : ( ثم آتينا موسى الكتاب تماما على الذي أحسن ) ، إلى أن قال : ( وهذا كتاب أنزلناه مبارك فاتبعوه واتقوا لعلكم ترحمون ) [ الأنعام : 155 ] ، وقالت الجن : ( إنا سمعنا كتابا أنزل من بعد موسى [ مصدقا لما بين يديه ] ) [ الأحقاف : 30 ] وقال ورقة بن نوفل : هذا الناموس الذي أنزل [ الله ] على موسى . ـ

And in another surah: Continue reading

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The Levels of the Believers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di mentions the following point of benefit in his thematic tafsir:

فائدة: قوله تعالى في المصطفين الذين أورثهم الله الكتاب: { فَمِنْهُمْ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ وَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمِنْهُمْ سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَ‌اتِ } [ فاطر: 32 ].  اشترك هؤلاء الثلاثة في أصل الإيمان، وفي اختيار الله لهم من بين الخليقة، وفي أنه منَّ عليهم بالكتاب، وفي دخول الجنة، وافترقوا في تكميل مراتب الإيمان، وفي مقدار الاصطفاء من الله وميراث الكتاب، وفي منازل الجنة ودرجاتها بحسب أوصافهم. ـ

A point of benefit: The statement of Allah regarding the chosen ones to whom He has bequeathed the Book:

فَمِنْهُمْ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ وَمِنْهُم مُّقْتَصِدٌ وَمِنْهُمْ سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَ‌اتِ

and among them is he who wrongs himself, and among them is he who is moderate, and among them is he who is foremost in good deeds [35:32]

These three groups share in the foundation of al-eemaan and in Allah selecting them from amongst His created beings, and in the fact that He has blessed them with the Book and in their entering al-Jannah. But they differ in the completeness of the level of eemaan and in the measure of their being chosen by Allah and inheriting the Book, and in the dwellings of al-Jannah and its levels – all according to their descriptions.

أما الظالم لنفسه فهو المؤمن الذي خلط عملا صالحا وآخر سيئا، وترك من واجبات الإيمان ما لا يزول معه الإيمان بالكلية، وهذا القسم ينقسم إلى قسمين: ـ

1) As for the one who wrongs himself, then he is the mu’min who mixes righteous deeds and others that are foul, and he leaves off some of the obligations of al-eemaan which do not by themselves eliminate al-eemaan completely. This category is divided into two sub-categories: Continue reading

The Distinction Between a Prophet-King and a Slave-Messenger

Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di devoted a section of his thematic tafsir to Some of the Benefits Derived from the Story of Dawood and Sulaiman. In this chapter, he mentioned the following point:

ومنها: أن سليمان كان ملكا نبيا مباح له أن يفعل ما يريد، ولكنه لكماله لا يريد إلا الخير والعدل، وهذا بخلاف النبي العبد، فإنه لا يكون له إرادة مستقلة، بل إرادته تابعة لمراد الله منه، فلا يفعل ولا يترك إلا تبعا للأمر، كحال نبينا محمد ﷺ . ـ

And from the benefits: That Sulaiman was a Prophet-King, it being permissible for him to do what he wanted. However, due to his excellent completeness, he did not want anything other than good and justice. And this is in contrast to the Slave-Prophet, for that one does not have an independent will – rather his will characteristically follows what Allah wants of him. So he neither does nor leaves off anything except that he is following a command, like the case of our prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 356]

And he mentioned something similar in his well-known tafsir: Continue reading

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

Allah informs us in surah al-Nahl:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ

Indeed, Allah is with those who have taqwa of Him and those who are doers of good. [16:128]

Commenting on this in his tafsir, Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote:

قوله تعالى : إن الله مع الذين اتقوا والذين هم محسنون ، ذكر – جل وعلا – في هذه الآية الكريمة : أنه مع عباده المتقين المحسنين ، وقد تقدم إيضاح معنى التقوى و الإحسان . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ

Indeed, Allah is with those who have taqwa of Him and those who are doers of good.

He mentioned in this noble ayah that He is with His god-fearing and good-doing slaves, and the clarification of the meaning of taqwa and al-ihsaan has already preceded this.

وهذه المعية بعباده المؤمنين ، وهي بالإعانة والنصر والتوفيق . وكرر هذا المعنى في مواضع أخر ; كقوله : إنني معكما أسمع وأرى [ 20 \ 46 ] ، وقوله : إذ يوحي ربك إلى الملائكة أني معكم [ 8 \ 12 ] ، وقوله : لا تحزن إن الله معنا [ 9 \ 40 ] ، وقوله : قال كلا إن معي ربي سيهدين [ 26 \ 62 ] ، إلى غير ذلك من الآيات . ـ

And this “with-ness” with His believing slaves is by means of aid, support and granting success, and this meaning is reiterated in many other places, such as His statement: Continue reading

The Seasons of the Year Remind One of the Hereafter: Ibn Rajab

In part of his chapter discussing the merits of the different seasons of the year, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali brings the following beneficial reminder:

فصول السنة تذكّر بالآخرة : فشدّة حر الصيف يذكّر بحرّ الجهنم ، وهو من سمومها ؛ وشدة برد الشتاء يذكّر بزمهرير جهنم وهو من زمهريرها ، والخريف يكمل في اجتناء الثمرات التي تبقى وتدخّر في البيوت ، فهو منبه على اجتناء الثمرات الأعمال في الآخرة . وأما الربيع فهو أطيب الفصول السنة ، وهو يذكّر بنعيم الجنة و طيب عيشها ، فينبغي أن يحث المؤمن على الاستعداد لطلب الجنة بالأعمال الصالحة . ـ

The seasons of the year remind one of the Hereafter:

For the severity of the summer heat reminds one of the fire of Jahannam, and it comes from its hot wind.

And the severity of the winter’s cold reminds one of the Zamhareer of Jahannam, and it comes from its Zamhareer.

And the Autumn completes the acquisition of produce which is stored up and saved in store-houses, and this is a incitement to acquire the fruits of good deeds in the hereafter.

And as for the Spring, it is the best of the seasons of the year, and it reminds one of the enjoyments of al-Jannah and its good living. So it the believer should feel behooved to prepare himself for seeking al-Jannah by means of righteous good deeds.

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 540-541]

See also: The Sacred Months

See also: Khutbah at the Close of the Year: Imam al-Sa’di

Click Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif to read more from this beneficial work discussing the different months of the Hijri calendar, including the recommended and innovated practices therein, as well as a wealth of beneficial notes and reminders.

Benefits from the Story of the Mother of Moosaa: Imam al-Sa’di

In his discussion of the story of Moosaa and the benefits derived from it, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di introduced first Moosaa and then summarized and clarified some of the issues related to the mother of Moosaa and the events which occurred during his infancy by writing:

قد ذكر الله لموسى بن عمران ومعه أخوه هارون عليهما السلام سيرة طويلة، وساق قصصه في مواضع من كتابه بأساليب متنوعة واختصار أو بسط يليق بذلك المقام، وليس في قصص القرآن أعظم من قصة موسى؛ لأنه عالج فرعون وجنوده، وعالج بني إسرائيل أشد المعالجة، وهو أعظم أنبياء بني إسرائيل، وشريعته وكتابه التوراة هو مرجع أنبياء بني إسرائيل وعلمائهم وأتباعه أكثر أتباع الأنبياء غير أمة محمد وله من القوة العظيمة في إقامة دين الله والدعوة إليه والغيرة العظيمة ما ليس لغيره ـ

Regarding Moosaa ibn ‘Imraan and along with him his brother Haaroon (‘alaihima al-salaam), Allah has mentioned a long biography, and put forth his stories in multiple places in His Book by various means, both summarized and extended according to what was appropriate for that place. And there is not among the stories of the Qur’an any one greater than the story of Moosaa, because it deals with Fir’awn and his troops, and it deals with the Banu Israa’eel in the most comprehensive treatment. He is the greatest of the prophets of Banu Israa’eel, and his sharee’ah and His Book – the Tawrah – is what the prophets and the scholars of Banu Israa’eel referred back to. And his followers are the most numerous among the prophets other than the ummah of Muhammad, and he had great strength in establishing the religion of Allah and calling to it, and he had great protective jealousy over it which no one else had.

وقد ولد في وقت قد اشتد فيه فرعون على بني إسرائيل: فكان يذبح كل مولود ذكر يولد من بني إسرائيل، ويستحيي النساء للخدمة والامتهان، فلما ولدته أمه خافت عليه خوفا شديدا؛ فإن فرعون جعل على بني إسرائيل من يرقب نساءهم ومواليدهم، وكان بيتها على ضفة نهر النيل فألهمها الله أن وضعت له تابوتا إذا خافت أحدا ألقته في اليم، وربطته بحبل لئلا تجري به جرية الماء، ومن لطف الله بها أنه أوحى لها أن لا تخافي ولا تحزني، إنا رادوه إليك، وجاعلوه من المرسلين. ـ

Moosaa was born in a time during which Fir’awn had created severe difficulties for the Banu Israa’eel; he used to slaughter every new-born male that was born to the Banu Israa’eel and let the women live for servitude and as a test for them. So when Moosaa’s mother gave birth to him, she felt extremely scared for his sake, for Fir’awn used to keep a close watch over their women and their newborns. The house of the mother of Moosaa was on the bank of the Nile river, so Allah inspired her to place Moosaa in a chest and to throw it into the water and she tied a rope to it lest it float away with the current of the water. And from the kindness of Allah towards her was that He inspired to her: Continue reading

“And the Jews say ‘Uzair is the son of Allah” – Ibn Taymiyah

In Majmoo’ al-Fataawa of Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah, under the section of tafsir, under the section of the tafsir of surah al-Tawbah, it is recorded:

سئل رحمه الله عن قوله تعالى { وقالت اليهود عزير ابن الله } كلهم قالوا ذلك أم بعضهم ؟ { وقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يؤتى باليهود يوم القيامة فيقال لهم ما كنتم تعبدون ؟ فيقولون العزير } الحديث . هل الخطاب عام أم لا ؟ . ـ

He was asked – may Allah have mercy on him – about the statement of Allah:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ‌ ابْنُ اللَّـهِ

And the Jews say, “‘Uzair is the son of Allah” [9:30]

Do all of them say this, or only some of them?

And the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ), “The Jews will be brought on the Yawm al-Qiyaamah and it will be said to them, ‘what did you used to worship?’ So they will say, ‘al-‘Uzair’.” – Is this a general address [i.e. to all Jews] or not? Continue reading

Disputing about Allah without knowledge: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee mentions in his tafsir:

قوله تعالى : ومن الناس من يجادل في الله بغير علم ويتبع كل شيطان مريد كتب عليه أنه من تولاه فأنه يضله ويهديه إلى عذاب السعير . ذكر جل وعلا في هذه الآية الكريمة : أن من الناس بعضا يجادل في الله بغير علم ؛ أي : يخاصم في الله بأن ينسب إليه ما لا يليق بجلاله وكماله ، كالذي يدعي له الأولاد والشركاء ، ويقول : إن القرآن أساطير الأولين ، ويقول : لا يمكن أن يحيي الله العظام الرميم ، كالنضر بن الحارث ، والعاص بن وائل ، وأبي جهل بن هشام ، وأمثالهم من كفار مكة الذين جادلوا في الله ذلك الجدال الباطل بغير مستند ، من علم عقلي ، ولا نقلي ، ـ

The statement of the Exalted:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّـهِ بِغَيْرِ‌ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّبِعُ كُلَّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّرِ‌يدٍ * كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ مَن تَوَلَّاهُ فَأَنَّهُ يُضِلُّهُ وَيَهْدِيهِ إِلَىٰ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ‌

And of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge and follows every rebellious shaytaan* It has been decreed for every shaytaan that whoever turns to him – he will misguide him and will lead him to the punishment of the Blaze. [22:3-4]

In this noble ayah Allah mentioned that there are some among mankind who argue regarding Allah without knowledge, meaning: they dispute concerning Allah in that they attribute to Him that which is not befitting of His Majesty and Perfection, such as those who claim that He has offspring or partners, and they say, “verily the Qur’an is [just] the tales of old”, and they say, “it is not possible for Allah to give life to disintegrated bones,” as did al-Nadhr ibn al-Haarith and al-‘Aas ibn Waa’il and Abu Jahl ibn Hishaam and their likes from the disbelievers or Mecca who argued regarding Allah with false argumentation without any basis – neither of intellectual nor textual knowledge.

ومع جدالهم في الله ذلك الجدال الباطل يتبعون كل شيطان مريد ؛ أي : عات طاغ من شياطين الإنس والجن كتب عليه [ 22 \ 3 ] ؛ أي : كتب الله عليه كتابة قدر وقضاء أنه من تولاه [ 22 \ 3 ] ؛ أي : كل من صار وليا له ؛ أي : للشيطان المريد المذكور ، فإنه يضله عن طريق الجنة إلى النار ، وعن طريق الإيمان إلى الكفر ، ويهديه إلى عذاب السعير ؛ أي : النار الشديدة الوقود . ـ

And in addition to their disputing with that false argumentation in regards to Allah, they followed every rebellious shaytaan, meaning:  the arrogant and impulsive ones from among the shayaateen of mankind and Jinn. “It has been decreed for them“, meaning: Allah wrote for them a writing of decree and pre-ordainment “that whoever turns to him“, meaning: all those who would all become allies to him, meaning: to the rebellious shaytaan mentioned here, for verily he misguids them from the path of Jannah unto the Hell-Fire, and from the path of al-eemaan unto al-kufr, and he guides them to the punishment of the blaze, meaning: the Hell-Fire of extreme heat. Continue reading

Two Types of Determination: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali commented in one of his monographic works:

والعزم نوعان: ـ

Determination [al-‘azm] is of two types:

أحدهما : عزم المريد على الدخول في الطريق : وهو من البدايات . ـ

The first of them is the determination of the follower to enter upon the path, and this is in regards to the beginnings.

والثاني : العزم على الاستمرار على الطاعات بعد الدخول فيها ، وعلى الانتقال من حال كامل إلى حال أكمل منه ، وهو من النهايات . ـ

And the second is the determination to continue upon acts of obedience after entering into that and to move from an excellent condition to an even more excellent condition than that one. And this is in regards to the conclusions.

ولهذا سمى الله خواص الرسل أولو العزم ـ وهم خمسة ـ وهم أفضل الرسل . ـ

And for this reason Allah named the leading Messengers the “Possessors of Determination” [al-Uloo al-‘Azm] – and there are five of them – and they are the best of the Messengers*.

فالعزم الاول يحصل للعبد به للدخول في كل خير ، والتباعد من كل شر ؛ إذ به يحصل للكافر الخروج من الكفر والدخول في الإسلام ، وبه يحصل للعاصي الخروج من المعصية والدخول في الطاعة ، فإذا كنت العزيمة صادقة ، وصمم عليه صاحبها ، وحمل على هوى نفسه وعلى الشيطان حملة صادقة ، ودخل فيما أمر به من الطاعات فقد فاز . ـ

So the first type of determination allows the slave to thereby attain every good and to distance himself from every evil. And in the case of the disbeliever, then he thereby attains exodus from disbelief and entrance into Islam. And the disobedient one thereby attains leaving from disobedience and entering unto obedience. So if it is true determination and its possessor persists upon it and launches a true offensive against his own desires and against the shaytaan, and he enters into what he has been commanded with of the acts of obedience, then he has achieved success.

[Majmoo’ al-Rasaa’il li-Ibn Rajab 1/344]

*Translator’s Note: Concerning the definition of the Uloo al-‘Azm, Imam al-Shinqitee briefly wrote:

اختلف العلماء في المراد بأولي العزم من الرسل في هذه الآية الكريمة اختلافا كثيرا . وأشهر الأقوال في ذلك أنهم خمسة ، وهم الذين قدمنا ذكرهم في ” الأحزاب ” و ” الشورى ” ، وهم نوح وإبراهيم وموسى وعيسى ومحمد – عليهم الصلاة والسلام – . ـ

The scholars have differed greatly regarding the intended meaning of Uloo al-‘Azm among the messengers in this noble ayah [46:35]. And the most well-known position in that regard is that they are five, and they are those who were previously mentioned in surah al-Ahzab [33:7] and surah al-Shooraa [42:13], and they are Nuh, Ibrahim, Moosaa, ‘Eesaa and Muhammad (‘alaihim al-salaatu wa’l-salaam).

[Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan 7/242. Read the entire discussion here]

See also: “Those of determination among the messengers”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Two types of despairing of Allah’s Mercy: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: You will surely be tested: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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

See also: We have made for every prophet an enemy: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: You will surely hear much abuse: Tafsir al-Sa’di