Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In surah al-Shu’araa’, the prophet Ibrahim made a du’aa in which he described the Day of Judgement by saying:

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ * إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail, * Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem [pure heart] (26:88-89)

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون ( يوم ) بدل من ( يوم ) الأول . أي يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون أحدا . والمراد بقوله : ” ولا بنون ” الأعوان ; لأن الابن إذا لم ينفع فغيره متى ينفع ؟ وقيل : ذكر البنين لأنه جرى ذكر والد إبراهيم ، أي لم ينفعه إبراهيم . ـ

Allah’s statement:

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ

The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail

– meaning, a day on which neither wealth nor sons will benefit anyone. And the intended meaning of his statement, “nor sons” is helpers, because if sons do not help you, then who else will? And some say, “he mentioned sons here because it comes along with mentioning Ibrahim’s father” – i.e. Ibrahim will not benefit him.

 إلا من أتى الله بقلب سليم هو استثناء من الكافرين ; أي لا ينفعه ماله ولا بنوه . وقيل : هو استثناء من غير الجنس ، أي لكن من أتى الله بقلب سليم ينفعه لسلامة قلبه . ـ

إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem [pure heart]

This is an exclusion of the disbelievers, i.e. their wealth and sons will not benefit them. But others say it is an exclusion without any exception, i.e. (on that day neither wealth nor sons will benefit) however whoever comes to Allah with a qalb saleem [pure heart] will benefit from the purity of his heart.

وخص القلب بالذكر ; لأنه الذي إذا سلم سلمت الجوارح ، وإذا فسد فسدت سائر الجوارح . وقد تقدم في أول ( البقرة ) . ـ

And the heart is mentioned specifically here because it is that which, if it is pure then one’s limbs are pure, but if it is corrupted then the rest of one’s limbs are corrupted. And this has already been mentioned in the beginning of surah al-Baqarah.

 واختلف في القلب السليم فقيل : من الشك والشرك ، فأما الذنوب فليس يسلم منها أحد ; قاله قتادة وابن زيد وأكثر المفسرين . وقال سعيد بن المسيب : القلب السليم الصحيح هو قلب المؤمن ; لأن قلب الكافر والمنافق مريض ; قال الله تعالى : في قلوبهم مرض وقال أبو عثمان السياري : هو القلب الخالي عن البدعة المطمئن إلى السنة . وقال الحسن : سليم من آفة المال والبنين . وقال الجنيد : السليم – في اللغة – اللديغ ; فمعناه أنه قلب كاللديغ من خوف الله . ـ

And there have been different opinions as to the meaning of qalb saleem [pure heart].

Some say: pure from doubts and from al-shirk, but as for sin then there is no one who is safe from that. This is as Qatadah, ibn Zaid and the majority of the mufasiroon said.

Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib said: a heart which is saleem – meaning healthy – is the heart of the believer, for the hearts of the disbelievers and the hypocrites are ill. Allah said:

فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ مَرَضٌ

In their hearts is a disease [2:10]

Abu ‘Uthamn al-Sayyaari said: it is a heart free from al-bid’ah (religious innovation), content with the sunnah.

al-Hasan said: pure from the diseases of wealth and children.

Junaid said: linguistically, saleem means “bitten”, so the meaning is that the heart is like one who has been bitten by the fear of Allah.

وقال الضحاك : السليم : الخالص . قلت : وهذا القول يجمع شتات الأقوال بعمومه وهو حسن ، أي الخالص من الأوصاف الذميمة ، والمتصف بالأوصاف الجميلة ; والله أعلم .ـ

And al-Dhahhaak said: al-saleem, meaning pure.

And I say: This statement [of al-Dhahhaak] combines all these various opinions by means of its inclusiveness, and it is a good statement. By it he meant: pure from all forms of blame, and characterized by all forms of beauty. And Allah knows best

 وقد روي عن عروة أنه قال : يا بني لا [ ص: 108 ] تكونوا لعانين فإن إبراهيم لم يلعن شيئا قط ، قال الله تعالى : إذ جاء ربه بقلب سليم . ـ

And it has been narrated from ‘Urwah that he said: O my son, don’t be one of those who curse, for Ibrahim never cursed anything at all. Allah said:

إِذْ جَاءَ رَ‌بَّهُ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

When he came to his Lord with a pure heart [37:84]

 وقال محمد بن سيرين : القلب السليم أن يعلم أن الله حق ، وأن الساعة قائمة ، وأن الله يبعث من في القبور . ـ

Muhammad ibn Seereen said: al-qalb al-saleem is that one knows that Allah is the truth, and that the Hour is coming, and that Allah will raise him from the grave.

وفي صحيح مسلم من حديث أبي هريرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : يدخل الجنة أقوام أفئدتهم مثل أفئدة الطير يريد – والله أعلم – أنها مثلها في أنها خالية من كل ذنب ، سليمة من كل عيب ، لا خبرة لهم بأمور الدنيا ; كما روى أنس بن مالك قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : أكثر أهل الجنة البله وهو حديث صحيح . أي البله عن معاصي الله . قال الأزهري : الأبله هنا هو الذي طبع على الخير وهو غافل عن الشر لا يعرفه . وقال القتبي : البله هم الذين غلبت عليهم سلامة الصدور وحسن الظن بالناس . ـ

And in Saheeh Muslim there is the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There will enter Paradise people whose hearts will be like the hearts of birds“, meaning – and Allah knows best – that they are similar in that they are free from every sin, pure from every unbecoming thing, not savvy in the ways of the world. This is similar to what Anas ibn Maalik narrated, that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The majority of the people of Paradise are simple-minded”*, and this is an authentic hadeeth. Meaning: not savvy when it comes to disobedience towards Allah. al-Azhari said, “Here, the simple-minded one is he who is naturally upon goodness and oblivious towards evil and does not know it.” And al-Qutabi said, “The simple-minded ones are those whose purity of heart and good thoughts regarding the people are the overriding norm.”

[Jaami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an 13/108-109]

*Translator’s note: Sheikh al-Albani declared this hadeeth to be weak in his book al-Dha’eefah (#6154)

See also: “People whose hearts are like the hearts of birds”: Sharh al-Nawawi

See also: Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: The Importance of Pure Intention: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: Notes on Perfecting One’s Deeds and their Acceptance: ibn Rajab

See also: Be More Concerned about the Actions of the Heart than the Actions of the Limbs: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: The Most Hope-Inspiring Ayah in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

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7 thoughts on “Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

  1. Pingback: “People whose hearts are like the hearts of birds”: Sharh al-Nawawi | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Importance of Pure Intention: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Notes on Perfecting One’s Deeds and their Acceptance: ibn Rajab | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: “And do not be like those who say, ‘We have heard,’ while they do not hear”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Be More Concerned about the Actions of the Heart than the Actions of the Limbs: ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

  7. Pingback: The Most Hope-Inspiring Ayah in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

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