“No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah mentions in surah al-An’aam:

لَّا تُدْرِ‌كُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ‌ وَهُوَ يُدْرِ‌كُ الْأَبْصَارَ‌ ۖ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ‌

No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. And He is the Subtle, the Intimately-Acquainted. [6:103]

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

 ـ { لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ } لعظمته، وجلاله وكماله، أي: لا تحيط به الأبصار، وإن كانت تراه، وتفرح بالنظر إلى وجهه الكريم، فنفي الإدراك لا ينفي الرؤية، بل يثبتها بالمفهوم. فإنه إذا نفى الإدراك، الذي هو أخص أوصاف الرؤية، دل على أن الرؤية ثابتة . ـ

No vision can grasp Him” due to His Grandeur and Perfection – meaning, He is not encompassed by any vision, and if you were to see Him you would rejoice at looking at His Noble Face. So the negation of encompassment does not negate seeing; rather it affirms it by implication. For indeed if encompassment is negated – which is a more specific type of seeing – then this proves that seeing is affirmed.

فإنه لو أراد نفي الرؤية، لقال “لا تراه الأبصار” ونحو ذلك، فعلم أنه ليس في الآية حجة لمذهب المعطلة، الذين ينفون رؤية ربهم في الآخرة، بل فيها ما يدل على نقيض قولهم . ـ

For if He had wanted to negate seeing, He would have said, “no vision can see Him” or the likes of that. So it is known that this ayah does not contain a proof text in support of the school of negating Allah’s attributes – those who negate seeing their Lord in the Hereafter. Rather, in this ayah there is that which proves the opposite of their position.

ـ { وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ } أي: هو الذي أحاط علمه بالظواهر والبواطن، وسمعه بجميع الأصوات الظاهرة، والخفية، وبصره بجميع المبصرات، صغارها، وكبارها، ولهذا قال: { وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ } الذي لطف علمه وخبرته، ودق حتى أدرك السرائر والخفايا، والخبايا والبواطن. ـ

But His Grasp is over all vision” – meaning, it is He whose knowledge encompasses both the apparent things and the hidden things, and He hears all voices – both open and concealed -, and He sees all things that are seen – both the minuscule and grand of them. So for this reason He said, “And He is the Subtle, the Intimately-Acquainted” – Whose knowledge and intimate acquaintance penetrates and seeps down until it reaches the hidden things and concealed matters, the buried caches and the innermost affairs.

ومن لطفه، أنه يسوق عبده إلى مصالح دينه، ويوصلها إليه بالطرق التي لا يشعر بها العبد، ولا يسعى فيها، ويوصله إلى السعادة الأبدية، والفلاح السرمدي، من حيث لا يحتسب، حتى أنه يقدر عليه الأمور، التي يكرهها العبد، ويتألم منها، ويدعو الله أن يزيلها، لعلمه أن دينه أصلح، وأن كماله متوقف عليها، فسبحان اللطيف لما يشاء، الرحيم بالمؤمنين. ـ

And from His Subtlety is that He steers His slave unto the beneficial matters for his deen, and conducts him unto them by routes which the slave is not aware of and would not pursue. And He conducts him unto eternal happiness and everlasting success from directions which he does not expect, such that He decrees affairs for him which the slave dislikes and feels anguish due to them, so He then calls to Allah to remove them – [all of this is done] in order that He may teach the slave that His deen is the most excellent and that its perfection is due to Him. So exalted is al-Lateef (the Subtle) in what He wills, the Most Merciful to the believers.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 299. For more on the explanation of this ayah, see Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee’s Daf’ Eehaam pg. 130-132]

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

See also: Understanding the Ayaat al-Sifaat: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Does the Qur’an use metaphorical language? – Tafsir al-Shinqitee


3 thoughts on ““No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: The two types of ‘with-ness’ of Allah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Three Categories of Tawheed according to the Qur’an: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Does the Qur’an use metaphorical language? – Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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