A Benefit of General Language in Surah al-Duhaa: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

In part of his explanation of his own book of Usool al-Tafsir, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen mentioned the following point of benefit:

وقد يقال : إنه حذف المفعول من أجل العموم ؛ لأنه أحياناً يُحذف المفعول لإفادة التعميم ، واقرؤوا قول الله تعالى : { أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ } [الضحى 6-8] ، يقول بعض المفسرين في هذه الآيات الثلاث : إنه حذف المفعول من أجل تناسب الآيات ، أي : رؤوسها ، وأن الأصل : <ألم يجدك يتيما فآواك ، ووجدك ضالاً فهدك ، ووجدك عائلاً فأغناك> ، ولكم الصواب أنه حذف المفعول لإفادة العموم ، فالرسول – عليه الصلاة والسلام – آواه اللع وآىى به ، فكان (ﷺ) ملجا لأمته يلجؤون إليه ، هاجروا من بلادهم إلى المدينة ؛ ليكونوا حول رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم – ، {وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا} فهداك وهدى بك أيضاً / كما قرر ذلك النبي – صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم – للأنصار حين قال لهم : كنتم ضلالا فهداكم الله بي . {وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ} أي : أغناك وأغنى بك ، كما قال الرسول (ﷺ) للأنصار حين قال لهم : كنتم عالة فأغناكم الله بي . ـ

One might say that omitting the ism al-maf’ool [direct object] from a sentence is done because the meaning is general [i.e. the action is not limited in its effects to a single direct object], because sometimes the ism al-maf’ool is not mentioned in a sentence to convey a meaning of generality. Consider Allah’s statement:

أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآوَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ * وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ

Did He not find you an orphan and granted refuge? * And He found you lost and guided * And He found you poor and made self-sufficient [93:6-8]

Some of the mufassiroon say that the omission of the ism al-maf’ool in these three ayaat is done so that the ayaat will match – i.e. match the first ayah [in terms of parallel structure]. According to this, the base meaning would be:

ألم يجدك يتيما فآواك ، ووجدك ضالاً فهدك ، ووجدك عائلاً فأغناك

Did He not find you an orphan and granted you refuge? * And He found you lost and guided you * And He found you poor and made you self-sufficient

However, the correct opinion is that the omission of the ism al-maf’ool is done in order to convey a more general meaning. For the Messenger (ﷺ) was granted refuge by Allah and through him Allah granted refuge to others. He (ﷺ) was a source of refuge for his nation who sought refuge with him and migrated from their homelands to al-Madinah in order to be near to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).

وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ

And He found you lost and guided

For Allah guided you and he also guided others through him. This is as the Prophet (ﷺ) emphasized to the Ansar when he said to them, “You were misguided and then Allah guided you through me.”

وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَىٰ

And He found you poor and made self-sufficient

meaning: Allah enriched you and He enriched others through you, as the Messenger (ﷺ) said to the Ansar when he said to them, “You were poor and then Allah enriched you through me.”

[Sharh Usool fee Tafsir by Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, pg. 36-37]

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

See also: Precautionary Language in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: Using the Past Tense to Refer to the Future: Tafsir ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: Technical wordings for Asbaab al-Nuzool: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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6 thoughts on “A Benefit of General Language in Surah al-Duhaa: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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  3. Pingback: A Relationship between Surah al-Ma’oon and Surah al-Kawthar: al-Zarkashi | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Precautionary Language in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: A Point on Numbering in the Qur’an: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Using the Past Tense to Refer to the Future: Tafsir ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

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