“And who is more unjust than…”: Imam al-Shinqitee

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee authored a valuable work entitled Dafa’ Eehaam al-Idhtiraab ‘an Ayaat al-Kitaab to respond to and dispel supposed conflicts, mistakes or contradictions in the Qur’anic text. What follows is one excerpt taken from his section on surah al-Baqarah:

قوله تعالى: {وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ مَنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ أَنْ يُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ} الآية. الِاسْتِفْهَامُ فِي هَذِهِ الْآيَةِ إِنْكَارِيٌّ وَمَعْنَاهُ النَّفْيُ، فَالْمَعْنَى: لَا أَحَدَ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ مَنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ، وَقَدْ جَاءَتْ آيَاتٌ أُخَرُ يُفْهَمُ مِنْهَا خِلَافُ هَذَا، كَقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا الْآيَةَ [6 \ 144] . وَقَوْلِهِ: فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ كَذَبَ عَلَى اللَّهِ [39] ، وَقَوْلِهِ: وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ. . . . . . الْآيَةَ [18 \ 57] ، إِلَى غَيْرِ ذَلِكَ مِنَ الْآيَاتِ . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن مَّنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّـهِ أَن يُذْكَرَ‌ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ وَسَعَىٰ فِي خَرَ‌ابِهَا

And who are more unjust than those who prevent the name of Allah from being mentioned in His masaajid and strive toward their destruction [2:114]

What is implicitly understood from this ayah is a denial, meaning a negation. And its meaning is: there is no one more unjust than those who prevent others from the masaajid of Allah. But there are other ayaat from which something contrary to this is understood, such as Allah’s statement:

فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَ‌ىٰ عَلَى اللَّـهِ كَذِبًا لِّيُضِلَّ النَّاسَ بِغَيْرِ‌ عِلْمٍ

Then who is more unjust than one who invents a lie about Allah to mislead the people by [something] other than knowledge? [6:144]

And His statement:

فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن كَذَبَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ وَكَذَّبَ بِالصِّدْقِ إِذْ جَاءَهُ

So who is more unjust than one who lies about Allah and denies the truth when it has come to him? [39:32]

And His statement:

وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن ذُكِّرَ‌ بِآيَاتِ رَ‌بِّهِ فَأَعْرَ‌ضَ عَنْهَا وَنَسِيَ مَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاهُ

And who is more unjust than one who is reminded of the verses of his Lord but turns away from them and forgets what his hands have put forth? [18:57]

as well as other ayaat.

 وَلِلْجَمْعِ بَيْنَ هَذِهِ الْآيَاتِ أَوْجُهٌ: ـ

And there are several angles of reconciling between these ayaat:

مِنْهَا تَخْصِيصُ كُلِّ مَوْضِعٍ بِمَعْنَى صِلَتِهِ، أَيْ لَا أَحَدَ مِنَ الْمَانِعِينَ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ مَنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ، وَلَا أَحَدَ مِنَ الْمُفْتَرِينَ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا، وَإِذَا تَخَصَّصَتْ بِصِلَاتِهَا زَالَ الْإِشْكَالُ. ـ

One of these angles is to specify each instance to the meaning of what it is connected to, i.e. there is no one of those who prevent others from something who is more unjust than those who prevent others from the masaajid of Allah, and there is no one who invents fabrications who is more unjust than those who invent false fabrications about Allah. So if you specify them to what they are connected to, then the problem disappears.

وَمِنْهَا أَنَّ التَّخْصِيصَ بِالنِّسْبَةِ إِلَى السَّبْقِ، أَيْ لَمَّا لَمْ يَسْبِقْهُمْ أَحَدٌ إِلَى مِثْلِهِ حُكِمَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِأَنَّهُمْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ جَاءَ بُعْدَهُمْ سَالِكًا طَرِيقَهُمْ، وَهَذَا يَؤُولُ مَعْنَاهُ إِلَى مَا قَبْلَهُ، لِأَنَّ الْمُرَادَ السَّبْقُ إِلَى الْمَانِعِيَّةِ وَالِافْتِرَائِيَّةِ مَثَلًا. ـ

Another of these angles is to specify it as relating to precedence, i.e. since no one had preceded them in doing the likes of what they did, then this pronouncement is placed upon them because they are more unjust than those who came after them who were traversing the path that they had laid. So this interprets the meaning of this phrase to refer to those who came before them, so that the meaning is: having precedence in preventing others or in fabricating lies, for example.

وَمِنْهَا، وَادَّعَى أَبُو حَيَّانَ أَنَّهُ الصَّوَابُ، هُوَ مَا حَاصِلُهُ أَنَّ نَفْيَ التَّفْضِيلِ لَا يَسْتَلْزِمُ نَفْيُ الْمُسَاوَاةِ، فَلَمْ يَكُنْ أَحَدٌ مِمَّنْ وُصِفَ بِذَلِكَ يَزِيدُ عَلَى الْآخَرِ، لِأَنَّهُمْ يَتَسَاوَوْنَ فِي الْأَظْلَمِيَّةِ، فَيَصِيرُ الْمَعْنَى: لَا أَحَدَ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ مَنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ، وَمَنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا، وَمَنْ كَذَّبَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ، وَلَا إِشْكَالَ فِي تَسَاوِي هَؤُلَاءِ فِي الْأَظْلَمِيَّةِ، وَلَا يَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنَّ أَحَدَهُمْ أَظْلَمُ مِنَ الْآخَرِ، كَمَا إِذَا قُلْتَ: لَا أَحَدَ أَفْقَهُ مِنْ فُلَانٍ وَفُلَانٍ مَثَلًا. ذَكَرَ هَذَيْنِ الْوَجْهَيْنِ صَاحِبُ الْإِتْقَانِ. ـ

And another of these angles – and Abu Hayyaan asserted that this was correct – is essentially that a negation of being surpassed does not necessarily entail a negation of equality. So one who has been described with that [i.e. being the most unjust] does not exceed another, because they are all equal in their injustice. So the meaning becomes: There is no one who is more unjust than those who prevent others from the masaajid of Allah or those who fabricate lies about Allah or those who belie the ayaat of Allah. And there is no problem in these all being equal in their injustice. And there is nothing to indicate that any of them are more unjust than another, just as if one were to say, “There is no one more with greater understanding than so-and-so and so-and-so,” for example. And the author of al-Itqaan [i.e. Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti] mentioned these two perspectives.

وَمَا ذَكَرَهُ بَعْضُ الْمُتَأَخِّرِينَ مِنْ أَنَّ الِاسْتِفْهَامَ فِي قَوْلِهِ: ” وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ ” الْمَقْصُودُ مِنْهُ التَّهْوِيلُ وَالتَّفْظِيعُ مِنْ غَيْرِ قَصْدِ إِثْبَاتِ الْأَظْلَمِيَّةِ لِلْمَذْكُورِ حَقِيقَةً وَلَا نَفْيِهَا عَنْ غَيْرِهِ، كَمَا ذَكَرَهُ عَنْهُ صَاحِبُ الْإِتْقَانِ، يَظْهَرُ ضَعْفُهُ لِأَنَّهُ خِلَافُ ظَاهِرِ الْقُرْءَانِ . ـ

And as for what some of the people of latter times mention, that the implicit meaning of Allah’s statement “and who is more unjust” is that the purpose of it is intimidation and strong disavowal – rather than its purpose being to affirm a true meaning of the aforementioned injustice or to negate that level of injustice for any others, as the author of al-Itqaan mentioned regarding this – then the weakness of this is apparent because it is contrary to the outward meaning of the Qur’an.

[Dafa’ Eehaam al-Idhtiraab ‘an Ayaat al-Kitaab pg. 21-22]

See also: The meaning of al-Thulm: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: The Fundamentals of the Prohibited Deeds – Khutbah of Imam al-Sa’di

See also: “the Disbelievers – they are the Thaalimoon”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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

6 thoughts on ““And who is more unjust than…”: Imam al-Shinqitee

  1. Pingback: “The Disbelievers – they are the Thaalimoon”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The meaning of al-thulm : Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The examples and comparisons in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: The Qur’anic Ayaat on Love – Part 3: Those whom Allah does not Love | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it”: ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Speaking About Allah Without Knowledge is the Foundation of All Shrik, Kufr, & Innovation: Ibn al-Qayyim | Tulayhah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.