“Whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer”: Tafsir of Sheikh bin Baaz

In a gathering, the following question was asked to sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz:

 يسأل عن تفسير قول الحق -تبارك وتعالى-: أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم: فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى* وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا (123-124) سورة طـه.تفضلوا سماحة الشيخ بتفسير هذه الآيات جزاكم الله خيرا . ـ

A questioner asks about the explanation of Allah’s statement – (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed shaytaan) – :

فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ * وَمَنْ أَعْرَ‌ضَ عَن ذِكْرِ‌ي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا

whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer. * And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life [20:123-124]

Esteemed sheikh, please provide a tafsir of these ayaat. May Allah reward you with good.

So sheikh bin Baaz gave the following reply:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله, وصلى الله وسلم على رسول الله, وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهداه أما بعد.. فقد ذكر علماء التفسير عند هذه الآية ما يشرح معناها ويوضح معناها قال الله -جل وعلا- في كتابه العظيم في سورة طه: قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَى* وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَى (123-124) سورة طـه. قال ابن عباس -رضي الله تعالى عنهما- في الآية, تكفل الله لمن اتبع هدى الله أن لا يضل في الدنيا ولا يشقى في الآخرة, والمعنى أن من اتبع الهدى واستقام على الحق الذي بعث الله به نبيه محمد -عليه الصلاة والسلام- فإنه لا يضل في الدنيا بل يكون مهتدياً مستقيماً ولا يشقى الآخرة بل له الجنة والكرامة . ـ

I begin with the name of Allah, al-Rahman al-Raheem, and may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah, as well as upon his family, his companions, and whoever adheres to his guidance.

To proceed: Concerning this ayah, the scholars of tafsir have mentioned that which opens up its meaning and clarifies it. In His Glorious Book, in surah Taha, Allah said:

قَالَ اهْبِطَا مِنْهَا جَمِيعًا ۖ بَعْضُكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ ۖ فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلَا يَضِلُّ وَلَا يَشْقَىٰ * وَمَنْ أَعْرَ‌ضَ عَن ذِكْرِ‌ي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُ‌هُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ

Allah said, “Descend from Paradise – all being enemies to one another. And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray nor suffer. * And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” [20:123-124]

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said in regards to his ayah, “Allah promised whoever follows His guidance that He will not misguide him in this worldly life nor will he cause him to suffer in the hereafter.” Meaning that whoever follows the guidance and is firmly upright upon the truth with which Allah sent His prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), then he will not be misguided in this worldly life, rather he will be one who is characterized by guidance and uprightness, and he will not be made to suffer in the hereafter, rather there will be Jannah for him. Continue reading

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The date of Laylatu’l-Qadr being unknown – “Perhaps that is better for you”: Ibn Kathir

Imam al-Bukhari records in his Saheeh:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم خَرَجَ يُخْبِرُ بِلَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ، فَتَلاَحَى رَجُلاَنِ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنِّي خَرَجْتُ لأُخْبِرَكُمْ بِلَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ، وَإِنَّهُ تَلاَحَى فُلاَنٌ وَفُلاَنٌ فَرُفِعَتْ وَعَسَى أَنْ يَكُونَ خَيْرًا لَكُمُ الْتَمِسُوهَا فِي السَّبْعِ وَالتِّسْعِ وَالْخَمْسِ ‏

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went out to inform the people about the (date of the) Laylatu’l-Qadr, but a quarrel took place between two of the Muslim men. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I came out to inform you about (the date of) Laylatu’l-Qadr, but so-and-so and so-and-so quarreled, so its knowledge was taken away. And perhaps that is better for you. Search for it in the 7th, the 9th and the 5th (of the last 10 nights of Ramadan).”

[al-Bukhari #49]

In his famous book of tafsir, al-haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir comments on the phrase, ‘perhaps it was better for you‘ by writing:

 وقوله : ” وعسى أن يكون خيرا لكم ” يعني : عدم تعيينها لكم ، فإنها إذا كانت مبهمة اجتهد طلابها في ابتغائها في جميع محال رجائها ، فكان أكثر للعبادة ، بخلاف ما إذا علموا عينها فإنها كانت الهمم تتقاصر على قيامها فقط . وإنما اقتضت الحكمة إبهامها لتعم العبادة جميع الشهر في ابتغائها ، ويكون الاجتهاد في العشر الأواخر أكثر . ـ

And his statement, ‘perhaps it is better for you‘ – i.e., the lack of it being specified for you. For since it was left uncertain, those who seek it exert themselves, aspiring for it in all places of the month, hopeful of finding it. So there is an increase in worship, in contrast to if its specific time were known, for then its significance would certainly lead to restricting the night prayers to it exclusively. And the wisdom of its being left uncertain results in worship being spread throughout the entire month in pursuit of it, and that effort is increased even more so during the last ten nights. Continue reading

Benefits of Fasting: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di began his book al-Riyaadh al-Naathirah with a series of chapters succinctly describing some of the benefits accrued from each of the five pillars of Islam. What follows is his brief chapter of the benefits of fasting:

فصل الرابع في فوائد الصوم

Chapter Four: On the Benefits of Fasting

قال تعالى : {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} [البقرة 183] . ـ

Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O you who have believed, Fasting has been decreed upon you as it was decreed upon those before you in order that you might exercise al-taqwa [2:183]

فذكر تعالى للصوم هذه الفائدة العظمى المحتوية على فوائد كثيرة ، وهى قوله : {لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} . ـ

So Allah mentioned this tremendous benefit which encompasses many other benefits, which is His statement:

لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

in order that you might exercise al-taqwa [2:183]

أى ليكون الصيام وسيلة لكم إلى حصول التقوى ، ولتكونوا بالصيام من المتقين . وذلك أن التقوى اسم جامع لكل ما يحبه الله ويرضاه من فعل المحبوبات لله ورسوله ، وترك ما يكرهه الله ورسوله . ـ

Meaning: so that the fasting might be a means for you to achieve al-taqwa, and that by means of the fasting you might become among those whose defining characteristic is having al-taqwa. And al-taqwa is a comprehensive term for everything which Allah loves and is pleased with out of the deeds which are beloved to Allah and His Messenger, as well as abandoning what Allah and His Messenger hate. Continue reading

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

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali made the following beneficial points in one of his smaller monographic work:

وكان السلف يوصون بإتقان العمل وتحسينه دون مجرد الإكثار منه ، فإن العمل القليل مع التحسين والإتقان أفضل من الكثير مع عدم الإتقان ، قال بعض السلف : < إن الرجلين ليقومان في الصفّ بين الصلاتيهما كما بين السماء والارض ، كم بين من تصعد صلاته لها نور وبرهان كبرهان الشمس ، وتقول : حفظك الله كما حفظتني ، وبين من تلفّ صلاته كما يلفّ الثوب الخلق ويضرب بها وجه صاحبها ، وتقول : ضيعك الله كما ضيعتني > . ـ

The salaf used to advise one another to perfect their deeds and to beautify them rather than merely performing an abundance of them. For surely a small amount of deeds performed excellently and perfected is more virtuous than a large amount done without excellent performance. One of the salaf said:

Two men might stand to pray in the same row while the difference between their two prayers is as great as the distance between the heavens and the earth, such that one’s prayer will raise him up in honor with light and a proof like the sun for him and it will say, “Allah will preserve you just as you preserved me.” And such that the other’s prayer will envelope him just as a garment envelopes the body and strike him on the face and say, “Allah will neglect you just as you neglected me.”

ولهذا قال ابن عباس وغيره : < صلاة ركعتين في تفكر خير من قيام ليلة والقلب ساه > . ـ

And in this regard, ibn ‘Abbaas and others said, “Two raka’a of prayer with deep thought is better than standing the entire night in prayer with an inattentive heart.” Continue reading

How to benefit from reading the Qur’an during Ramadan: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

The following question was posed to sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool:

سؤال : كيف استفيد من قراءتي للقرآن العظيم في رمضان ؟ ـ

Question: How can we benefit from our reading of the Qur’an during Ramadan?

الجواب : تستفيد إن شاء الله من قراءتك للقرآن الكريم إذا أخلصت النية، وحرصت أن تقرأ القرآن كما كان الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم يقرؤه. ـ

Response: You can benefit – in shaa Allaah – from your reading of the Qur’an if you purify your intention and strive to recite the Qur’an as the Prophet (ﷺ) used to recite it.

ويفتح الله من معانيه وتدبره عليك بالأمور التالية: ـ

And Allah will reveal its meanings and facilitate pondering over it for you through the following means:

أولاً : أن تخلي قلبك من أدران الشرك والمعاصي، فإن القرآن لا يمسه إلا المطهرون، حساً ومعنى، فلا ينال معانيه قلب فيه درن الشرك أو المعصية. وكما لا تدخل الملائكة بيتا فيه كلب أو صورة، كذا لا تدخل معاني القرآن قلبا فيه كلب الهوى وصورة الشهوة. ـ

First: That you empty your heart of the filth of al-shirk and disobedience, for the Qur’an is only to be touched by the pure ones. And this meaning applies both literally and figuratively, for the heart which contains the filth of al-shirk and disobedience will not grasp the meanings of the Qur’an. And just as the angels do not enter a house which contains a dog or an image [of a living thing], similarly the meanings of the Qur’an do not enter a heart which contains the dogs of desires or images of one’s lusts. Continue reading

Ibn Kathir’s brief remarks on the contents of Surah al-Fatihah

After completing his individual explanations of each of the verses of surah al-Fatihah, al-Hafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir made the following brief remarks about the contents of the surah as a whole:

اشتملت هذه السورة الكريمة وهي سبع آيات فضلها ، على حمد الله وتمجيده والثناء عليه ، بذكر أسمائه الحسنى المستلزمة لصفاته العليا ، وعلى ذكر المعاد وهو يوم الدين ، وعلى إرشاده عبيده إلى سؤاله والتضرع إليه ، والتبرؤ من حولهم وقوتهم ، وإلى إخلاص العبادة له وتوحيده بالألوهية تبارك وتعالى ، وتنزيهه أن يكون له شريك أو نظير أو مماثل ، وإلى سؤالهم إياه الهداية إلى الصراط المستقيم ، وهو الدين القويم ، وتثبيتهم عليه حتى يفضي بهم ذلك إلى جواز الصراط الحسي يوم القيامة ، المفضي بهم إلى جنات النعيم في جوار النبيين ، والصديقين ، والشهداء ، والصالحين . واشتملت على الترغيب في الأعمال الصالحة ، ليكونوا مع أهلها يوم القيامة ، والتحذير من مسالك الباطل ؛ لئلا يحشروا مع سالكيها يوم القيامة ، وهم المغضوب عليهم والضالون . ـ

This noble surah – while being only seven ayaat – contains many virtues. These include containing praise, glorification and extolling of Allah by mentioning His beautiful names which necessarily entail His lofty attributes.

And it contains mention of the ultimate destination, which is the Day of Recompense.

And it contains Allah’s guidance to His slaves to ask Him and supplicate to Him, and to disassociate themselves from any claim of possessing might or power.

It contains Allah’s guidance to have sincerity in worshiping Him and singling Him out in deity – exalted is He – , and declaring Him free from having any partners, equals or peers. Continue reading

Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 3: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di divided his chapter on fasting into three parts, using the ayaat of fasting in surah al-Baqarah (2:183-187) as his structure. Click here to read the first section of that chapter, and here for the second section. What follows is the third and final section, discussing the last of these ayaat pertaining to fasting:

ـ {أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَى نِسَائِكُمْ} [البقرة: 187] إلى قوله: {كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ} [البقرة: 187] ـ

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّ‌فَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَائِكُمْ ۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ ۗ عَلِمَ اللَّـهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ ۖ فَالْآنَ بَاشِرُ‌وهُنَّ وَابْتَغُوا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَ‌بُوا حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ الْخَيْطُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْخَيْطِ الْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ الْفَجْرِ‌ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا الصِّيَامَ إِلَى اللَّيْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُبَاشِرُ‌وهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ ۗ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّـهِ فَلَا تَقْرَ‌بُوهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّـهُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not have relations with them as long as you are in isolation in the mosques. These are the limits of Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may become righteous. [2:187]

كان أول ما فرض الصيام منع المسلمون من الأكل والشرب في الليل إذا ناموا، فحصلت المشقة لكثير منهم، فخفف الله ذلك، وأباح في ليالي الصيام كلها الأكل والشرب والجماع، سواء نام أو لم ينم؛ لكونهم يختانون أنفسهم بترك بعض ما أمروا به لو بقي الأمر على ما كان أولا، فتاب الله عليكم بأن وسع لكم أمرا لولا توسعته لكان داعيا إلى الإثم والإقدام على المعاصي . ـ

In the first stage of the obligatory fasting, the Muslims were prohibited from eating and drinking at night after they had slept, which resulted in a great deal of difficulty for them. So Allah eased the situation for them and permitted eating, drinking and sexual intercourse for them during the entire nights of the fast, regardless of whether they had already slept or not. For they would have betrayed themselves by abandoning part of what they had been commanded to do if the situation had continued in that manner as it was in the first stage of fasting. So Allah turned to them in forgiveness by easing the situation for them. And had it not been for that easing of the situation, then they would have been tempted unto sin and emboldened unto disobedience. Continue reading

Three Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Imam al-Shinqitee

In the year 1378 AH (1958 or 1959 CE), the King of Morocco Muhammad the Fifth visited the city of al-Madinah in Saudi Arabia. While he was there, he requested that Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee give a lecture on the subject of the completeness of the Islamic religion. This lecture was comprised of ten points and what follows is an excerpt covering one of those points:

وأما المسألة الثالثة : التي هي الفرق بين العمل الصالح وغيره . ـ

As for the third issue: It is the difference between the actions which are righteous and those which are not.

فقد بيّن القرآن العظيم أنّ العمل الصالح هو استكمل ثلاثة أمور ، ومتى اختلّ واحد منها فلا نفع فيه لصاحبه يوم القيامة . ـ

The Majestic Qur’an has clarified that righteous actions are made complete by three factors, and when any one of them is not in place then the deed contains no benefit for its doer on the Day of Resurrection.

الأول : أن يكون مطابقا لما جاء به النبي ﷺ ، لأن الله تعالى يقول : < وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّ‌سُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا > [الحشر 7] ، ويقول تعالى : < مَّن يُطِعِ الرَّ‌سُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّـهَ > [النساء 80] ، ويقول تعالى : <  قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّـهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي > [آل عمران 31] ، ويقول تعالى : <  أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَ‌كَاءُ شَرَ‌عُوا لَهُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَن بِهِ اللَّـهُ > [الشورى 21] ، ويقول تعالى : < ءَآللَّـهُ أَذِنَ لَكُمْ ۖ أَمْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ تَفْتَرُ‌ونَ > [يونس 59] . ـ

The First: That the action is in accordance with what the Prophet (ﷺ) came with, for Allah says:

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّ‌سُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا

And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain [59:7]

And He says: Continue reading

Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 2: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following in the second part of his discussion on fasting. Although the connection between fasting and the ayah being explained in this section is not immediately apparent, one can note that this ayah falls in the midst of a broader discussion of the rulings of fasting in surah al-Baqarah, with sheikh al-Sa’di having explained the ayaat preceding this one in part one of his discussion, and moving on the explaining the ayaat after it in part three. In this section he wrote:

ـ {وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ} [البقرة: 186] ـ

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِ‌يبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْ‌شُدُونَ

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided. [2:186]

هذا سؤال وجواب، أي: إذا سألك العباد عن ربهم، وبأي طريق يدركون منه مطالبهم، فأجبهم بهذا الجواب الذي يأخذ بمجامع القلوب، ويوجب أن يعلق العبد بربه بكل مطلوب ديني ودنيوي، فأخبرهم أن الله قريب من الداعين، ليس على بابه حجاب ولا بواب، ولا دونه مانع في أي وقت وأي حال، فإذا أتى العبد بالسبب والوسيلة، وهو الدعاء لله المقرون بالاستجابة له بالإيمان به والانقياد لطاعته، فليبشر بالإجابة في دعاء الطلب والمسألة، وبالثواب والأجر والرشد إذا دعا دعاء العبادة . ـ

This is a question and answer – i.e., when the slaves ask about their Lord and by which means their requests can reach Him, then answer them with this reply which appeals to their hearts and which obliges the slaves to attach themselves to their Lord for their every need – both religious and worldly. For this response informs them that Allah is near to those who call; there is no veil or guard at His door, nor is there any thing else keeping one from calling upon Him at any time or in any circumstance. Continue reading