“Do not say, ‘If only…'”: Imam al-Sa’di

Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

ـ … وَإِنْ أَصَابَكَ شَىْءٌ فَلاَ تَقُلْ لَوْ أَنِّي فَعَلْتُ كَانَ كَذَا وَكَذَا ‏.‏ وَلَكِنْ قُلْ قَدَرُ اللَّهِ وَمَا شَاءَ فَعَلَ فَإِنَّ لَوْ تَفْتَحُ عَمَلَ الشَّيْطَانِ

“If something afflicts you, do not say, ‘If only I had done such-and-such…,’ rather say, ‘Allah decreed this and He does what He wishes.’ For the phrase ‘if only…’ opens up the work of the shaytaan.

[Saheeh Muslim #2664]

Commenting of the content matter of this hadeeth in his concise explanation of Kitaab al-Tawheed, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following points of clarification:

اعلم أن استعمال العبد للفظة: “لو” تقع على قسمين: مذموم ومحمود . ـ

Know that the slave’s use of the phrase “if only…” can fall into one of two categories: blameworthy or praiseworthy.

أما المذموم فأن يقع منه أو عليه أمر لا يحبه فيقول: لو أني فعلت كذا لكان كذا، فهذا من عمل الشيطان؛ لأن فيه محذورين: ـ

As for the blameworthy usage, it is when the slave does something or when something happens to him which he does not like and so he says, “If only I had done such-and-such then such-and-such would have happened” for this is from the work of the shaytaan, because it contains two things which are warned against: Continue reading

Understanding the Ayaat al-Sifaat: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In his tafsir of surah al-‘Aaraaf, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee brings the following clarification on how to properly understand the ayaat al-sifaat – or the verses of the Qur’an which discuss the attributes and descriptions of Allah. Imam al-Shinqitee begins his explanation of this important matter of ‘aqeedah (creed) by writing:

قوله تعالى : ثم استوى على العرش يغشي الليل النهار الآية . ـ

Allah’s statement:

ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْ‌شِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ‌

and He then established Himself above the Throne. He covers the night with the day… [7:54]

هذه الآية الكريمة وأمثالها من آيات الصفات كقوله : يد الله فوق أيديهم [ 48 \ 10 ] ونحو ذلك ; أشكلت على كثير من الناس إشكالا ضل بسببه خلق لا يحصى كثرة ، فصار قوم إلى التعطيل وقوم إلى التشبيه ، سبحانه وتعالى علوا كبيرا عن ذلك كله والله جل وعلا أوضح هذا غاية الإيضاح ، ولم يترك فيه أي لبس ولا إشكال ، وحاصل تحرير ذلك أنه جل وعلا بين أن الحق في آيات الصفات متركب من أمرين : ـ

This noble ayah and those like it from among the ayaat of attributes (sifaat), such as His statement:

يَدُ اللَّـهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ

The hand of Allah is over their hands [48:10]

and the likes of that – these are a difficult ambiguity for many people, thereby misguiding so many of the creation that their great numbers cannot be enumerated. So some people therefore went to committing al-Ta’teel [rejection of Allah’s attributes] and some people went to committing al-Tashbeeh [likening Allah with His creation] – exalted and elevated is He by a great height above all of that. But Allah clarified this with the utmost clarification, and He did not leave any confusion or ambiguity. And the attainment of being freed from that (ambiguity) is that He has clarified that the truth regarding the ayaat of attributes is composed to two issues: Continue reading

al-Thann in the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di

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

فائدة: الظن ورد في القرآن على وجهين: وجه محمود، ووجه مذموم . ـ

A point of benefit: al-Thann (thought/suspicion/assumption) is mentioned in the Qur’an in two ways; from a praiseworthy angle and from a blameworthy angle.

أما المحمود: ففي كل مقام مدح وجزاء بالخير والثواب، فإنه بمعنى العلم واليقين مثل قوله تعالى: { الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَاقُو رَ‌بِّهِمْ } [ البقرة: 46 ] أي: يتيقنون لذلك، ومثل قوله: { إِنِّي ظَنَنتُ أَنِّي مُلَاقٍ حِسَابِيَهْ } [ الحاقة: 20 ]. ـ

As for the praiseworthy angle, then in every situation of commendation, recompense for good, and reward it takes on the meaning of ‘ilm (knowledge) and yaqeen (certainty), such as Allah’s statement:

الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَاقُو رَ‌بِّهِمْ

Those who yathunnoon [lit. think] that they will meet their Lord [2:46]

– meaning: they are certain of that. And similarly His statement: Continue reading

The Difference between a Prophet and a Messenger: Imam al-Shinqitee

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote in part of his tafsir of surah al-Hajj:

 من أن النبي هو من أوحي إليه وحي ، ولم يؤمر بتبليغه ، وأن الرسول هو النبي الذي أوحي إليه ، وأمر بتبليغ ما أوحي إليه غير صحيح ; لأن قوله تعالى وما أرسلنا من قبلك من رسول ولا نبي الآية [ 22 \ 52 ] ، يدل على أن كلا منهما مرسل ، وأنهما مع ذلك بينهما تغاير . ـ

The position that a prophet (al-nabi) is one who is granted inspiration in the form of revelation and is not commanded to convey it, and that a messenger (al-rasool) is a prophet who is granted revelation and commanded to convey what was revealed to him – this is not correct. Because Allah’s statement:

وَمَا أَرْ‌سَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّ‌سُولٍ وَلَا نَبِيٍّ

And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet… [22:52]

– this statement demonstrates that both of them are sent (mursal), and along with that, that there is a distinction between the two of them.

واستظهر بعضهم أن النبي الذي هو رسول أنزل إليه كتاب وشرع مستقل مع المعجزة التي ثبتت بها نبوته ، وأن النبي المرسل الذي هو غير الرسول ، هو من لم ينزل عليه كتاب وإنما أوحي إليه أن يدعو الناس إلى شريعة رسول قبله ، كأنبياء بني إسرائيل الذين كانوا يرسلون ويؤمرون بالعمل بما في التوراة ; كما بينه تعالى بقوله يحكم بها النبيون الذين أسلموا الآية [ 5 \ 44 ]  . ـ

And some have shown that: Continue reading

“If there had been a concession for anyone in leaving off dhikr…”

The Taabi’ and mufassir Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qurathi (d. 108AH) said:

لو رخص لأحد في ترك الذكر، لرخص لزكريا عليه السلام، قال تعالى: { آيَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ إِلَّا رَمْزاً وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ كَثِيراً وَسَبِّحْ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِبْكَارِ } [آل عمران: 41]. ـ

If there had been a rukhsah (concession) for anyone in leaving off dhikr (remembrance of Allah), then there would have been a rukhsah for Zakariyyah (‘alaihi al-salaam). But Allah said:

آيَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ إِلَّا رَمْزاً وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ كَثِيراً وَسَبِّحْ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِبْكَارِ

Your sign [that Allah will give you a son, Yahya] is that you will not [be able to] speak to the people for three days except by gesture. And remember your Lord much and exalt [Him with praise] in the evening and the morning. [3:41]

ولو رخص لأحد في ترك الذكر لرخص للذين يقاتلون في سبيل الله، قال تعالى: { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُوا وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيراً لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ } [الأنفال: 45] . ـ

And if there were to be a rukhsah for anyone in leaving off dhikr, then there would have been a rukhsah for those who fight in the path of Allah. But Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُوا وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيراً لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

O you who have believed, when you meet an (enemy) force, stand firm and remember Allah much in order that you may be successful. [8:45]

[al-Bidayah w’al-Nihayah 9/286. See also Jaami’ li-Ahkaam al-Qur’an 4/78, Tafsir ibn ‘Atiyyah 3/217, Hilyah al-Awliyah 3/215]

See also: Two things for which there are no concessions

See also: “O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Four things for you and Three things against you

See also: Performing the Prayers in their Proper Times: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “The Signs of the Hypocrite are Three” in the Qur’an

Consideration is given to the completeness of the conclusion, not the defects of the beginning

Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di authored a small book entitled Benefits Extracted from the Story of Yusuf (‘alaihi al-salaam). Composed of fifty chapters each detailing a specific benefit, he dedicated chapter six to the following topic:

الفائدة السادسة : العبرة في حال العبد بكمال النهاية

The Sixth Benefit: The Consideration of the slave’s state is according to the completeness of the conclusion

ومنها : أن العبرة في حال العبد بكمال النهاية ، لا بنقص البداية ، وذلك أن إخوة يوسف جرى منهم ما جرى من هذه الجرائم ، لكن في آخر أمرهم ونهاية تابوا إلى الله ، وطلبو السماح من أخيهم يوسف ومن والديهم الاستغفار ، فحصل لهم السماح التام والعفو الكامل فعفا الله عنهم و أوصلهم إلى الكمال اللائق بهم . ـ

And one of the benefits is: that the consideration of the slave’s condition is given to the completeness of his conclusion, not according to the deficiency of his beginning. That is because the brothers of Yusuf did what they did of their crimes, however in the end they repented to Allah, sought forgiveness from their brother Yusuf, and sought for their parents to seek Allah’s forgiveness for them. So he granted them total forgiveness and complete pardon, so then Allah pardoned them and caused them to attain a level of excellence which was appropriate for them.

قيل إن الله جعلهم أنبياء . كما قاله غير واحد من المفسرين في تفسير الأسباط : إنهم إخوة يوسف الاثنا عشر . وقيل بل كانوا قوما صالحين ؛ كما قال آخرون ؛ وهو الظاهر ، لأن المراد بالأسباط قبائل بني إسرائيل ، وهم اسم لعموم القبيلة لأولاد يعقوب الاثنى عشر فهم آباء الأسباط وهم من الأسباط . ـ

It is said that Allah made them prophets. As more than one of the mufassiroon have said concerning the explanation of “al-Asbaat” – that they are the twelve brothers of Yusuf. And it is also said: no (they were not prophets), rather they were a righteous people, as other mufassiroon have said – and this is what is apparent, because the intended meaning of “al-Asbaat” is the tribes of Banu Israa’eel (the Children of Israa’eel), and that is the general name for the tribes of the twelve sons of Ya’qub. So they are the forefathers of al-Asbaat and they are included in al-Asbaat. Continue reading

The wisdom of not disclosing the date of Laylatu’l-Qadr: Imam al-Baghawi

In his tafsir of surah al-Qadr, Imam Abu Muhammad al-Baghawi mentions some of the different opinions regarding the date of Laylatu’l-Qadr and then concludes by writing:

وفي الجملة : أبهم الله هذه الليلة على هذه الأمة ليجتهدوا في العبادة ليالي رمضان طمعا في إدراكها ، كما أخفى ساعة الإجابة في يوم الجمعة ، وأخفى الصلاة الوسطى في الصلوات الخمس ، واسمه الأعظم في الأسماء ، ورضاه في الطاعات ليرغبوا في جميعها ، وسخطه في المعاصي لينتهوا عن جميعها ، وأخفى قيام الساعة ليجتهدوا في الطاعات حذرا من قيامها . ـ

In sum, Allah left the exact date of Laylah al-Qadr uncertain for this ummah in order that they might strive in worship during all the nights of Ramadan in hopes of attaining it. This is just as He concealed which hour of Friday is the hour in which supplications are accepted, and just as He concealed which of the five daily prayers is the middle prayer, or which of His names is the greatest. His pleasure is in acts of obedience, so let the people aspire to do them all, and His displeasure is in acts of disobedience, so let them abstain from all of them. And Allah also concealed the time of the Final Hour in order that the people would exert themselves in acts of obedience in watchfulness of its establishment.

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 8/491]

See also: The date of Laylatu’l-Qadr being unknown – “Perhaps that is better for you”: Ibn Kathir

See also: The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: Allah’s commendations for those who pray during the night

See also: “We are not able to perform qiyaam al-lail”: Responses from the salaf

See also: The Blessed Night is Laylah al-Qadr, not the Middle of Sha’baan

A Khutbah just before the last ten days of Ramadan: Imam al-Sa’di

In a collection of more than 400 sermons which sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote and/or delivered from the minbar of the main masjid of his native city of ‘Unayzah, Saudi Arabia, the following khutbah was written to be delivered on the 19th of Ramadan in the year 1376 A.H. (corresponding to April 19th, 1957 C.E.)*:

خطبة قُبيل العشر الأواخير من رمضان

A Khutbah just before the last ten days of Ramadan

الحمد لله الذي بسط خيره وإحسانه في هذا الشهر الكريم ، وجعله مورداً للعباد يغتنمونه للوصول إلى النعيم المقيم . ـ

All praise belongs to Allah who has extended His goodness and ihsaan during this noble month, and has made it a well-spring for the slaves through which they can attain lasting bliss.

وأشهد أن لا إله إلّا الله وحده لا شريك له ذو الفضل العظيم ، والإحسان الشامل العميم . وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله النبي الكريم . اللهم صلّ على محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه وأتباعهم على الهدى المستقيم ، وسلّم تسليماً . ـ

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allah alone with no partners, the Possessor of great bounty and abundant and encompassing ihsaan. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, a noble prophet. O Allah, bestow Your peace and blessings upon Muhammad and upon his family and companions and upon those who follow them according to the correct guidance.

أمّا بعد : أيها الناس ، اتقوا الله تعالى بفعل مراضيه واجتناب مناهيه ، وتداركوا الأوقات الفاضلة قبل أن يندم المفرط على غفلته عن مصالحه وتماديه . ـ

To proceed: O mankind, have taqwa of Allah by performing what pleases Him and avoiding His prohibitions, and make good use of this meritorious time before you regret wasting it out of heedlessness of its benefits and out of immoderate behavior.

فقد أمدّكم مولاكم في هذا الشهر من موائد جوده بفضائل جمّة ، وتفضّل عليكم يخيرات وكرامات وخصائص مهمّة . ـ

For your Master has allowed you to live until this month out of the bounty of His generosity due to His abundant blessings, and He has favored you with goodness, noble endowments and a great distinction. Continue reading

“Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it…”: Ibn Rajab

In part of his famous collection of comprehensive statements of the Prophet (ﷺ), Imam al-Nawawi mentioned the hadeeth:

مَا نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْهُ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ، وَمَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِهِ فَأْتُوا مِنْهُ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ، فَإِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ كَثْرَةُ مَسَائِلِهِمْ وَاخْتِلَافُهُمْ عَلَى أَنْبِيَائِهِمْ

Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it. And whatever I have commanded you, do as much of it as you can. For verily, it was only their excessive questioning and disagreeing with their Prophets that destroyed [the nations] who were before you.”

[Arba’een al-Nawawi #9. Recorded by both al-Bukhari (#7288) and Muslim (#1337), with the wording of Muslim here.]

In one section of his commentary on this hadeeth, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote:

وقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” إذا نهيتكم عن شيء ، فاجتنبوه ، وإذا أمرتكم بأمر ، فأتوا منه ما استطعتم ” قال بعض العلماء : هذا يؤخذ منه أن النهي أشد من الأمر ، لأن النهي لم يرخص في ارتكاب شيء منه ، والأمر قيد بحسب الاستطاعة ، وروي هذا عن الإمام أحمد . ويشبه هذا قول بعضهم : أعمال البر يعملها البر والفاجر ، وأما المعاصي ، فلا يتركها إلا صديق . ـ

The statement of the Prophet (ﷺ), “Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it. And whatever I have commanded you, do as much of it as you can”.

Some of the scholars have said: It is derived from this that prohibitions are more severe than commands, because the prohibitions offer no concessions for committing them at all while the commands are specified according to one’s ability. And this is narrated from Imam Ahmad, and it resembles the statement of some that, “The deeds of righteousness are done by both the righteous and wicked, but as for the acts of disobedience, then no one abandons them except for a siddeeq (truthful one).” Continue reading