“Do you argue with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord?”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says at the end of the first juz’ in surah al-Baqarah:

قُلْ أَتُحَاجُّونَنَا فِي اللَّـهِ وَهُوَ رَ‌بُّنَا وَرَ‌بُّكُمْ وَلَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُخْلِصُونَ

Say, [O Muhammad], “Do you argue with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord? For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. And we are sincere to Him.” [2:139]

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

المحاجة هي: المجادلة بين اثنين فأكثر, تتعلق بالمسائل الخلافية, حتى يكون كل من الخصمين يريد نصرة قوله, وإبطال قول خصمه، فكل واحد منهما, يجتهد في إقامة الحجة على ذلك، والمطلوب منها, أن تكون بالتي هي أحسن, بأقرب طريق يرد الضال إلى الحق, ويقيم الحجة على المعاند, ويوضح الحق, ويبين الباطل، فإن خرجت عن هذه الأمور, كانت مماراة, ومخاصمة لا خير فيها, وأحدثت من الشر ما أحدثت، فكان أهل الكتاب, يزعمون أنهم أولى بالله من المسلمين, وهذا مجرد دعوى, تفتقر إلى برهان ودليل . ـ

“Arguing” is a dispute between two or more people related to issues of differing where each of the two disputants desires the victory of his position and the invalidation of his opponent’s position. So both of them strives to establish the proofs for that. And what is sought is for this to be done by that which is better, by the nearest path which subjugates the falsehood to the truth and establishes a proof against the stubborn ones, and makes the truth manifest and clarifies the falsehood. So if it goes beyond these affairs, then it merely quarreling and antagonism in which there is no good, and it produces whatever evil it produces. So the Ahl al-Kitaab would assert that they are the awliyaa’ (close ones) of Allah rather than the Muslims, and this is simply a claim which is devoid of any proof or evidence.

فإذا كان رب الجميع واحدا, ليس ربا لكم دوننا, وكل منا ومنكم له عمله, فاستوينا نحن وإياكم بذلك. فهذا لا يوجب أن يكون أحد الفريقين أولى بالله من غيره؛ لأن التفريق مع الاشتراك في الشيء, من غير فرق مؤثر, دعوى باطلة, وتفريق بين متماثلين, ومكابرة ظاهرة. وإنما يحصل التفضيل, بإخلاص الأعمال الصالحة لله وحده، وهذه الحالة وصف المؤمنين وحدهم, فتعين أنهم أولى بالله من غيرهم؛ لأن الإخلاص هو الطريق إلى الخلاص . ـ

For if the Lord of everything is One, then He is not (merely) a Lord to them to the exclusion of us. And every one of us and every one of them has their own deeds, so both us and them will be recompensed for them. So this does not necessitate that one of the two groups holds more right to Allah than the other, for making a distinction while there is a shared-ness in something and without there being any actual significant difference is a false claim, and it is making a (false) distinction between two similar things and it is a clearly unreasonable contention. And attaining a higher position is only achieved through al-ikhlaas (sincerity) of righteous good deeds directed to Allah alone. And that is the case which describes the believers alone, so they are designated as being more entitled to Allah than others. For al-ikhlaas is the route to salvation.

فهذا هو الفرق بين أولياء الرحمن وأولياء الشيطان, بالأوصاف الحقيقية التي يسلمها أهل العقول, ولا ينازع فيها إلا كل مكابر جهول، ففي هذه الآية, إرشاد لطيف لطريق المحاجة, وأن الأمور مبنية على الجمع بين المتماثلين, والفرق بين المختلفين. ـ

So this is the different between the awliyaa’ of al-Rahman and the awliyaa’ of al-Shaytaan, according to their true realities which the people of intellect acknowledge and which none dispute except for every ignorant obstinate one. So in this ayah, there is a subtle instruction for the (correct) path of arguing, and that the issues are built on coming together on similar things, and separating on differences.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 64]

For the tafsir of the ayah immediately preceding this one, see also: The Sibghah of Allah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Disputing about Allah without knowledge: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Describing specific events with general wordings: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Balancing between seeking knowledge and softening the heart: Ibn al-Jawzi

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2 thoughts on ““Do you argue with us about Allah while He is our Lord and your Lord?”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Disputing about Allah without knowledge: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Sibghah of Allah: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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