Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 1/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah begins surah al-Mu’minoon with 11 ayaat describing the qualities of the successful believers and their ultimate reward. Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee broke his tafsir of these ayaat into seven sections, which we have translated and will publish as a series over the coming weeks. al-Shinqitee started his explanation of this passage by discussing the first two ayaat, as follows:

قوله تعالى : قد أفلح المؤمنون الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون ، ذكر – جل وعلا – في هذه الآيات التي ابتدأ بها أول هذه السورة علامات المؤمنين المفلحين فقال قد أفلح المؤمنون [ 23 \ 1 ] أي : فازوا وظفروا بخير الدنيا والآخرة . وفلاح المؤمنين مذكور ذكرا كثيرا في القرآن ; كقوله وبشر المؤمنين بأن لهم من الله فضلا كبيرا [ 33 \ 47 ]  ـ

Allah’s statement:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ * الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

Indeed the believers have succeeded * Those who are characterized by khushoo’ in their salaah [23:1-2]

In these ayaat which begin this surah, Allah mentioned the signs of the successful believers, for He said:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

Indeed the believers have succeeded

meaning: they have succeeded and achieved good in both this life and in the hereafter. And the success of the believers mentioned here is mentioned frequently throughout the Qur’an, such as Allah’s statement:

وَبَشِّرِ‌ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّـهِ فَضْلًا كَبِيرً‌ا

And give good tidings to the believers that they will have a great bounty from Allah. [33:47]

 وقوله الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون [ 23 \ 2 ] أصل الخشوع : السكون ، والطمأنينة ، والانخفاض ومنه قول نابغة ذبيان : ـ
رماد ككحل العين لأيا أبينه ونؤى كجذم الحوض أثلم خاشع
وهو في الشرع : خشية من الله تكون في القلب ، فتظهر آثارها على الجوارح . ـ

And Allah’s statement:

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

those who are characterized by khushoo’ in their salaah

The root (linguistic) meaning of al-Khushoo’ is: stillness, tranquility and lowering. …

And its meaning in the Sharee’ah is: reverential fear of Allah in the heart, the effects of which manifest themselves on the limbs.

وقد عد الله الخشوع من صفات الذين أعد لهم مغفرة وأجرا عظيما في قوله في الأحزاب والخاشعين والخاشعات إلى قوله أعد الله لهم مغفرة وأجرا عظيما [ 33 \ 35 ] . وقد عد الخشوع في الصلاة هنا من صفات المؤمنين المفلحين الذين يرثون الفردوس ، وبين أن من لم يتصف بهذا الخشوع تصعب عليه الصلاة في قوله وإنها لكبيرة إلا على الخاشعين [ 2 \ 45 ] ـ

And Allah has listed al-Khushoo’ among the characteristics of those to whom He has promised forgiveness and great reward in His statement in surah al-Ahzaab:

وَالْخَاشِعِينَ وَالْخَاشِعَاتِ

… and those characterized by khushoo’ – both male and female – …

until His statement:

أَعَدَّ اللَّـهُ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَ‌ةً وَأَجْرً‌ا عَظِيمًا

for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. [33:35]

And here He has listed al-Khushoo’ during the salaah as being among the qualities of the successful believers who will inherit al-Firdaws. And He also clarified that salaah is difficulty for whoever is not characterized with having khushoo’, as comes in His statement:

وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَ‌ةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ

indeed, it is difficult except for those who are characterized with al-khushoo’ [2:45]

وقد استدل جماعة من أهل العلم بقوله الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون على أن من خشوع المصلي : أن يكون نظره في صلاته إلى موضع سجوده ، قالوا : كان النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ينظر إلى السماء في الصلاة ، فأنزل الله الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون فجعل رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ينظر حيث يسجد . ـ

A group of the people of knowledge have used Allah’s statement:

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

those who are characterized by khushoo’ in their salaah

as a proof that one aspect of khushoo’ for the person who is prayer is that his gaze while praying should be directed towards the place of his sujood. They said: The Prophet (ﷺ) used to look towards the sky while praying, but then Allah revealed:

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

those who are characterized by khushoo’ in their salaah

so then Allah’s messenger (ﷺ) made his gaze towards where he would prostrate.

وقال صاحب الدر المنثور : وأخرج ابن مردويه ، والحاكم وصححه ، والبيهقي في سننه ، عن محمد بن سيرين ، عن أبي هريرة ” أن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – كان إذا صلى رفع بصره إلى [ ص: 306 ] السماء فنزلت الذين هم في صلاتهم خاشعون [ 23 \ 2 ] فطأطأ رأسه ” اهـ منه . ـ

And the author of al-Durr al-Manthoor [i.e. Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti] said: Ibn Mardawayh and al-Bayhaqi recorded – and al-Haakim declared it authentic – on the authority of Muhammad ibn Sireen from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (ﷺ) used to lift his gaze to the sky when he was praying, so they Allah revealed:

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

those who are characterized by khushoo’ in their salaah

so then he hung his head forward. [End of quote].

وأكثر أهل العلم على أن المصلي ينظر إلى موضع سجوده ، ولا يرفع بصره ، وخالف المالكية الجمهور ، فقالوا : إن المصلي ينظر أمامه لا إلى موضع سجوده ، واستدلوا لذلك بقوله تعالى فول وجهك شطر المسجد الحرام [ 2 \ 144 ] قالوا : فلو نظر إلى موضع سجوده لاحتاج أن يتكلف ذلك بنوع من الانحناء ، وذلك ينافي كمال القيام ، وظاهر قوله تعالى : فول وجهك شطر المسجد الحرام ; لأن المنحني بوجهه إلى موضع سجوده ، ليس بمول وجهه شطر المسجد الحرام ، والجمهور على خلافهم كما ذكرنا . ـ

And most of the people of knowledge hold the position that the one praying should look towards the place of his sujood and not lift his gaze. However the Maalikis differ from the majority, for they say that the one in prayer should look in front of him, nor at the place of his sujood, and they support this position with Allah’s statement:

فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ‌ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَ‌امِ

So turn your face toward the direction of al-Masjid al-Haram [2:144]

So they say that if one were to look at the place of his sujood then that would entail him being burdened with some form of bending, which would conflict with a complete form of standing. And they say that that is what is apparent is Allah’s statement:

فَوَلِّ وَجْهَكَ شَطْرَ‌ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَ‌امِ

So turn your face toward the direction of al-Masjid al-Haram [2:144]

because inclining one’s face down towards the place of sujood is not turning one’s face towards the direction of al-Masjid al-Haram. However the majority of the people of knowledge hold a position contrary to this one, as we said before.

واعلم أن معنى أفلح : نال الفلاح ، والفلاح يطلق في لغة العرب على معنيين : ـ
الأول : الفوز بالمطلوب الأكبر ، ومنه قول لبيد : ـ
فاعقلي إن كنت لما تعقلي     ولقد أفلح من كان عقل
أي فاز من رزق العقل بالمطلوب الأكبر . ـ

You should know that the meaning of “succeeded” is “they achieved falaah“. And in Arabic, the word falaah can take two meanings:

First: It can mean attaining the greatest objective. …

والثاني : هو إطلاق الفلاح على البقاء السرمدي في النعيم ، ومنه قول لبيد أيضا في رجز له : ـ
لو أن حيا مدرك الفلاح     لناله ملاعب الرماح
يعني : مدرك البقاء ، ومنه بهذا المعنى قول كعب بن زهير ، أو الأضبط بن قريع : ـ
لكل هم من الهموم سعه     والمسى والصبح لا فلاح معه .
أي لا بقاء معه ، ولا شك أن من اتصف بهذه الصفات التي ذكرها الله في أول هذه السورة الكريمة دخل الجنة كما هو مصرح به في الآيات المذكورة ، وأن من دخل الجنة نال الفلاح بمعنييه المذكورين ، والمعنيان اللذان ذكرنا للفلاح بكل واحد منهما ، فسر بعض العلماء حديث الأذان والإقامة في لفظة : حي على الفلاح .  ـ

Second: The word falaah can be used to refer to an eternal stay in gardens of bliss. …

And there is no doubt that whoever is characterized by the qualities which Allah has mentioned in the beginning of this noble surah will enter al-Jannah, as is explicitly mentioned in these same ayaat. And there is no doubt that whoever enters al-Jannah has achieved al-Falaah in both senses of the word mentioned here. And some of the scholars use each of there aforementioned meanings of the word al-Falaah to explain the wording “hayyaa ‘alaa al-falaah” used in the adhaan and iqaamah.

[Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan 5/305-306]

Translator’s Note: The lines of poetry and al-Shinqitee’s remarks on them have been omitted from the English translation due to their linguistic benefits not carrying over in English translation. These brief omissions are marked in the English translation by ellipses […]. However, the original Arabic has been included in full for whoever would like to benefit from these points.

To continue exploring this series, see Qualities of the Successful Believers Series Guide

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

See also: The Rewards of Obedience, and the Different Categories of People in Respects to that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: “Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The first deed to be reckoned

See also: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.”: Imam al-Qurtubi’s tafsir of 7:55

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3 thoughts on “Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 1/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

  1. Pingback: Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 2/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 3/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Inheriting al-Jannah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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