Exerting Oneself and Galvanizing Others – the Best of Conditions: Imam al-Sa’di

In surah al-Nisaa’, Allah commands the Prophet – and by extension his ummah – with the words:

فَقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ إِلَّا نَفْسَكَ ۚ وَحَرِّ‌ضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ عَسَى اللَّـهُ أَن يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُ‌وا ۚ وَاللَّـهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْسًا وَأَشَدُّ تَنكِيلًا

So fight in the Cause of Allah; you are not held responsible except for yourself. And galvanize the believers; perhaps Allah will restrain the might of those who disbelieve. And Allah is stronger in might and sterner in punishment [4:84]

Commenting on this ayah in his famous book of tafsir, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

هذه الحالة أفضل أحوال العبد، أن يجتهد في نفسه على امتثال أمر الله من الجهاد وغيره، ويحرض غيره عليه، وقد يعدم في العبد الأمران أو أحدهما فلهذا قال لرسوله: { فَقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا تُكَلَّفُ إِلَّا نَفْسَكَ } أي: ليس لك قدرة على غير نفسك، فلن تكلف بفعل غيرك. ـ

This condition is the best of conditions of the slave – that he exerts himself to comply with the command of Allah in the form of jihaad and in other forms than that, and he also incites others to do the same. But if perhaps the slave is found wanting in one of these areas or both of them, then for this reason Allah said to His messenger, “So fight in the Cause of Allah; you are not held responsible except for yourself” – meaning, you do not have power over anyone other than your own self, so you will never be charged with the actions of anyone else.

ـ { وَحَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ } على القتال، وهذا يشمل كل أمر يحصل به نشاط المؤمنين وقوة قلوبهم، من تقويتهم والإخبار بضعف الأعداء وفشلهم، وبما أُعد للمقاتلين من الثواب، وما على المتخلفين من العقاب، فهذا وأمثاله كله يدخل في التحريض على القتال. ـ

And galvanize the believers” towards fighting, however this is inclusive of every affair which is brought about by the physical activities of the believers and the strength of their hearts. And this is done by invigorating them and by informing them of the weakness and inability of their enemies, as well as by way of what the fighters have been promised in terms of reward and what is incumbent in terms of punishment upon those who resist. So these things and the likes of them are all included under galvanization towards fighting.

ـ { عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا } أي: بقتالكم في سبيل الله، وتحريض بعضكم بعضًا. { وَاللَّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْسًا } أي: قوة وعزة { وَأَشَدُّ تَنْكِيلًا } بالمذنب في نفسه، وتنكيلا لغيره، فلو شاء تعالى لانتصر من الكفار بقوته ولم يجعل لهم باقية. ـ

Perhaps Allah will restrain the might of those who disbelieve” – meaning, by way of your fighting them in the Cause of Allah, and by way of some of you galvanizing others. “And Allah is stronger in might” – meaning: power and might – “and sterner in punishment” towards the sinful one himself, and as an example of punishment towards others. For if the Most High were to will it, then He could Himself take out vengeance on the disbelievers with His might (alone) and not even leave anything left for the believers to do.

ولكن من حكمته يبلو بعض عباده ببعض ليقوم سوق الجهاد، ويحصل الإيمان النافع، إيمان الاختيار، لا إيمان الاضطرار والقهر الذي لا يفيد شيئا. ـ

However, it is part of His wisdom that some of His slaves will be tested by others in order that they would establish the venture of jihaad and to bring about beneficial eemaan – i.e. the eemaan of free choice, not the eemaan of compulsion and being overpowered which does not benefit one at all.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 203-204]

See also: Tafsir of Surah al-‘Asr: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Sabr of Choice and the Sabr of Necessity: Imam al-Sa’di

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

See also: The Rewards of Obedience, and the Different Categories of People in Respects to that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: The Means and Objectives of Calling to Allah: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Qur’anic Ayaat on Love – Part 2: Those whom Allah Loves

See also: Those who wish to hasten to affairs before their proper times: Tafsir al-Sa’di

10 thoughts on “Exerting Oneself and Galvanizing Others – the Best of Conditions: Imam al-Sa’di

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