Beware of Opposing the Prophet’s Command: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Near the end of surah al-Nur, Allah says:

لَّا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاءَ الرَّ‌سُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاءِ بَعْضِكُم بَعْضًا ۚ قَدْ يَعْلَمُ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ يَتَسَلَّلُونَ مِنكُمْ لِوَاذًا ۚ فَلْيَحْذَرِ‌ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِ‌هِ أَن تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Do not make the calling of the Messenger among yourselves like the call of one of you to another. Already Allah knows those of you who slip away, concealed by others. So let those who oppose the Prophet’s command beware, lest fitnah strike them or a painful punishment. [24:63]

In his famous book of tafsir, Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote the following regarding this ayah:

قال الضحاك ، عن ابن عباس : كانوا يقولون : يا محمد ، يا أبا القاسم ، فنهاهم الله عز وجل ، عن ذلك ، إعظاما لنبيه ، صلوات الله وسلامه عليه قال : فقالوا : يا رسول الله ، يا نبي الله . وهكذا قال مجاهد ، وسعيد بن جبير . ـ

al-Dhahhaak reported from ibn ‘Abbas: People used to say, “O Muhammad! O Abu’l-Qaasim!”, so Allah forbade them from doing that out of reverence for His prophet (ﷺ). He told them to instead say, “O Messenger of Allah! O Prophet of Allah!”.

Mujaahid and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr reported something similar.

وقال قتادة : أمر الله أن يهاب نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وأن يبجل وأن يعظم وأن يسود . [ ص: 89 ] ـ

Qataadah said: Allah commanded the people to have respect for His prophet (ﷺ), and that they should honor, revere and hold him as a leader.

وقال مقاتل [ بن حيان ] في قوله : ( لا تجعلوا دعاء الرسول بينكم كدعاء بعضكم بعضا ) يقول : لا تسموه إذا دعوتموه : يا محمد ، ولا تقولوا : يا بن عبد الله ، ولكن شرفوه فقولوا : يا نبي الله ، يا رسول الله . ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

لَّا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاءَ الرَّ‌سُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاءِ بَعْضِكُم بَعْضًا

Do not make the calling of the Messenger among yourselves like the call of one of you to another

Muqaatil ibn Hayyaan said: Do not address him by name when you call him, such as saying, “O Muhammad!”, and do not say, “O ibn ‘Abdullah!”; rather, hold him in high regard and say, “O Prophet of Allah! O Messenger of Allah!”

وقال مالك ، عن زيد بن أسلم في قوله : ( لا تجعلوا دعاء الرسول بينكم كدعاء بعضكم بعضا ) قال : أمرهم الله أن يشرفوه . ـ

Maalik reported that Zayd ibn Aslam said about this ayah: Allah has commanded the people to hold him in high regard.

هذا قول . وهو الظاهر من السياق ، كما قال تعالى : ( يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تقولوا راعنا وقولوا انظرنا واسمعوا ) [ البقرة : 104 ] ، وقال ( يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا ترفعوا أصواتكم فوق صوت النبي ولا تجهروا له بالقول كجهر بعضكم لبعض أن تحبط أعمالكم وأنتم لا تشعرون ) إلى قوله : ( إن الذين ينادونك من وراء الحجرات أكثرهم لا يعقلون ولو أنهم صبروا حتى تخرج إليهم لكان خيرا لهم ) [ الحجرات : 2 – 5 ] ـ

This is one opinion, and it is what is outwardly apparent from the context. And in the same vein there is Allah’s statement:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقُولُوا رَاعِنَا وَقُولُوا انْظُرْنَا وَاسْمَعُوا وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

O you who believe! Do not say, “attend to us,” but say, “bear with us,” and listen. And the unbelievers will have a painful punishment. [2:104]

And He said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْ‌فَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُ‌وا لَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ‌ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَن تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُ‌ونَ * إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَغُضُّونَ أَصْوَاتَهُمْ عِندَ رَ‌سُولِ اللَّـهِ أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ امْتَحَنَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۚ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَ‌ةٌ وَأَجْرٌ‌ عَظِيمٌ * إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِن وَرَ‌اءِ الْحُجُرَ‌اتِ أَكْثَرُ‌هُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ * وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ صَبَرُ‌وا حَتَّىٰ تَخْرُ‌جَ إِلَيْهِمْ لَكَانَ خَيْرً‌ا لَّهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ

O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not. * Indeed, those who lower their voices before the Messenger of Allah – they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness. For them is forgiveness and great reward. * Indeed, those who call you, [O Muhammad], from behind the chambers – most of them do not use reason. * And if they had been patient until you [could] come out to them, it would have been better for them. But Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [49:2-5]

فهذا كله من باب الأدب [ في مخاطبة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم والكلام معه وعنده كما أمروا بتقديم الصدقة قبل مناجاته ] ـ

For all of these ayaat fall under the category of good manners when interacting and speaking with the Prophet (ﷺ). And also in this category is the command to pay some charity before privately consulting with him.

والقول الثاني في ذلك أن المعنى في : ( لا تجعلوا دعاء الرسول بينكم كدعاء بعضكم بعضا ) أي : لا تعتقدوا أن دعاءه على غيره كدعاء غيره ، فإن دعاءه مستجاب ، فاحذروا أن يدعو عليكم فتهلكوا . حكاه ابن أبي حاتم ، عن ابن عباس ، والحسن البصري ، وعطية العوفي ، والله أعلم . ـ

And there is a second opinion in this regard, which is that:

لَّا تَجْعَلُوا دُعَاءَ الرَّ‌سُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَاءِ بَعْضِكُم بَعْضًا

Do not make the calling of the Messenger among yourselves like the call of one of you to another

means: do not believe that the Prophet’s supplication against others is like the supplication of anyone else. For his supplication is answered, so beware lest he supplicate against you and you be destroyed. Ibn Abi Haatim transmitted this from ibn ‘Abbas, Hasan al-Basri, and ‘Atiyyah al-‘Awfi. And Allah knows best

وقوله : ( قد يعلم الله الذين يتسللون منكم لواذا ) قال مقاتل بن حيان : هم المنافقون ، كان يثقل عليهم الحديث في يوم الجمعة – ويعني بالحديث الخطبة – فيلوذون ببعض الصحابة – أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم – حتى يخرجوا من المسجد ، وكان لا يصلح للرجل أن يخرج من المسجد إلا بإذن من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في يوم الجمعة ، بعدما يأخذ في الخطبة ، وكان إذا أراد أحدهم الخروج أشار بإصبعه إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فيأذن له من غير أن يتكلم الرجل; لأن الرجل منهم كان إذا تكلم والنبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يخطب ، بطلت جمعته . ـ

And Allah’s statement:

قَدْ يَعْلَمُ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ يَتَسَلَّلُونَ مِنكُمْ لِوَاذًا

Allah already knows those of you who slip away, concealed by others.

Muqaatil ibn Hayyan said: these ones are the munaafiqoon. The speech on the Day of Jumu’ah – i.e. the khutbah – used to weigh heavily on them, so they would hide behind some of the Sahabah – the Companions of Muhammad (ﷺ) – until they could sneak out of the masjid. And it is not appropriate for a man to leave the masjid on Jumu’ah  after the khutbah has begun except if he is given permission by the Prophet (ﷺ). If someone wanted to leave, then he would make a gesture to the Prophet (ﷺ) with his finger and he would grant him permission without the man needing to speak, because if a man were to speak while the Prophet (ﷺ) was delivering the khutbah, then that would invalidate his Jumu’ah prayer.

قال السدي كانوا إذا كانوا معه في جماعة ، لاذ بعضهم ببعض ، حتى يتغيبوا عنه ، فلا يراهم . ـ

al-Suddi said: It was the case that if they were with him for Jumu’ah, some of them would hide behind others, such that they would appear absent to him and thus he would not see them.

وقال قتادة في قوله : ( قد يعلم الله الذين يتسللون منكم لواذا ) ، يعني : لواذا [ عن نبي الله وعن كتابه . ـ

Qataadah said that this ayah means: they were trying to hide themselves from Allah’s Prophet and from His record.

وقال سفيان : ( قد يعلم الله الذين يتسللون منكم لواذا ) قال : من الصف . وقال مجاهد في الآية : ( قد يعلم الله الذين يتسللون منكم لواذا ) ] قال : خلافا . ـ

Sufyan said that this ayah means: slinking away from the row. And Mujaahid said: staying in the back.

وقوله : ( فليحذر الذين يخالفون عن أمره ) أي : عن أمر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وهو سبيله [ ص: 90 ] ومنهاجه وطريقته [ وسنته ] وشريعته ، فتوزن الأقوال والأعمال بأقواله وأعماله ، فما وافق ذلك قبل ، وما خالفه فهو مردود على قائله وفاعله ، كائنا ما كان ، كما ثبت في الصحيحين وغيرهما ، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ” من عمل عملا ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد ” . ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَلْيَحْذَرِ‌ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِ‌هِ

So let those who oppose the Prophet’s command beware

meaning: those who dissent from the command of Allah’s messenger (ﷺ). That refers to his path, his manhaj, his way, his sunnah, and his sharee’ah. For all statements and actions should be weighed against the standard of his statements and actions; whatever is in agreement with them is accepted, and whatever differs from that will be rejected from the one who said or did it, regardless of who that person is. This has been affirmed in the Saheehayn and elsewhere, that Allah’s messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever does an action which is not in agreement with this affair of ours, then it is rejected.”

أي : فليحذر وليخش من خالف شريعة الرسول باطنا أو ظاهرا ( أن تصيبهم فتنة ) أي : في قلوبهم ، من كفر أو نفاق أو بدعة ، ( أو يصيبهم عذاب أليم ) أي : في الدنيا ، بقتل ، أو حد ، أو حبس ، أو نحو ذلك . ـ

meaning: let those who oppose the sharee’ah of the Messenger – whether inwardly or outwardly – beware and be afraid

أَن تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ

lest a fitnah strike them

meaning: in their hearts, such as disbelief, hypocrisy, or innovation

أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

or a painful punishment strike them

meaning: during this worldly life, such as execution, a prescribed punishment, imprisonment, etc.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 6/89-91]

See also: “Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me’”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it…”: Ibn Rajab

See also: “And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: “And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: 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: “If you support Allah, He will support you”: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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8 thoughts on “Beware of Opposing the Prophet’s Command: Tafsir ibn Kathir

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  3. Pingback: “Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it…”: Ibn Rajab | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: “And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: “And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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  8. Pingback: “If it had been good, they would not have preceded us to it”: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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