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.

So if a slave comes with the proper means – which is supplication to Allah combined with responding to Him by having eemaan in Him and obediently complying with His commands – then let him receive glad tidings of a response to his supplication if he supplicated seeking something, and glad tidings of recompense, reward, and guidance if he supplicated with a supplication of worship.

وكل القربات الظاهرة والباطنة تدخل في دعاء العبادة، لأن المتعبد لله طالب بلسان مقاله ولسان حاله من ربه قبول تلك العبادة والإثابة عليها. ـ

Every act of drawing closer to Allah – whether outwardly or inwardly – falls into the category of supplications of worship. This is because the one who is devoted to Allah is seeking the acceptance and reward of his acts of worship by means of both his tongue and his actions.

وفي هذه الآية تنبيه على الأسباب الموجبة لإجابة الدعاء التي مدارها على الإيمان بالله، وتحقيقه بالانقياد لله امتثالا لأمره واجتنابا لنهيه؛ وتنبيه أيضا على أن موانع الإجابة ترك تحقيق الإيمان وترك الانقياد، فأكل الحرام وعمل المعاصي من موانع الإجابة، وهي تنافي الاستجابة لله . ـ

And this ayah contains an announcement that the causes which bring about a response to one’s supplication are those which center around eemaan in Allah, and actualizing that eemaan by submitting to Allah through complying with His commands and avoiding His prohibitions.

And this ayah also contains an announcement that those things which prevent the answer to one’s supplications are giving up the actualization of one’s eemaan and that submission. So consuming what is forbidden and committing acts of disobedience and among the things which prevent the answer to one’s supplications and which negate one’s own responding to Allah.

وفيه تنبيه على أن الإيمان بالله والاستجابة له سبب إلى حصول العلم، لأن الرشد هو الهدى التام علما وعملا، ونظير هذا قوله تعالى: {يا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ فُرْقَانًا} [الأنفال: 29] أي: علما تفرقون به بين الحق والباطل، وبين كل ما يحتاج إلى تفصيله. ـ

And this ayah also contains an announcement that eemaan in Allah and responding to Him are causes for attaining knowledge, for al-rushd [right-guidance] is complete guidance in terms of both knowledge and actions. And the parallel to this is Allah’s statement:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْ‌قَانًا

O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a Furqan [8:29]

meaning: He will grant you knowledge by which you can distinguish between the truth and falsehood and between anything which needs differentiation.

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Manaan pg. 150-151]

Translator’s Note: Sheikh al-Sa’di also explained this ayah in his full tafsir, in which he mentioned a number of separate and different benefits not found in this explanation from his thematic tafsir. To read and compare, see the article: “When My slaves ask you about Me, Indeed I am near”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 1: Imam al-Sa’di

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

See also: The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: “And whoever strives for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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

  1. Pingback: Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 1: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: “When My slaves ask you about Me, Indeed I am near”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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

  4. Pingback: The supplication is granted so long as one does not show impatience: Ibn Hajr | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

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