Allah Knows what the Chests Contain: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In the beginning of surah al-Maa’idah, Allah addresses the believers by saying:

وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّـهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمِيثَاقَهُ الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُم بِهِ إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

And remember the favor of Allah upon you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said, “We hear and we obey”; and have taqwa of Allah. Indeed, Allah is the All-Knower of what is within the chests. [5:7]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following in his commentary of this ayah:

يأمر تعالى عباده بذكر نعمه الدينية والدنيوية، بقلوبهم وألسنتهم. فإن في استدامة ذكرها داعيا لشكر الله تعالى ومحبته، وامتلاء القلب من إحسانه. ـ

Allah commands His slaves to remember His blessings – both those related to the deen and those related to this worldly life – with their hearts and with their tongues, for being continuously in remembrance of them leads one to be grateful to Allah and to love Him and to have a heart filled with His goodness.

وفيه زوال للعجب من النفس بالنعم الدينية، وزيادة لفضل الله وإحسانه. و { مِيثَاقَهُْ} أي: واذكروا ميثاقه { الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُمْ بِهِ ْ} أي: عهده الذي أخذه عليكم. ـ

This would also lead to a removal of self-amazement at the blessings of this worldly life, and an increase of the bounties of goodness of Allah.

And

مِيثَاقَهُ

His covenant

meaning: remember His covenant

الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُم بِهِ

with which He bound you

meaning: His compact which He took from you.

وليس المراد بذلك أنهم لفظوا ونطقوا بالعهد والميثاق، وإنما المراد بذلك أنهم بإيمانهم بالله ورسوله قد التزموا طاعتهما، ولهذا قال: { إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ْ} أي: سمعنا ما دعوتنا به من آياتك القرآنية والكونية، سمع فهم وإذعان وانقياد. وأطعنا ما أمرتنا به بالامتثال، وما نهيتنا عنه بالاجتناب. وهذا شامل لجميع شرائع الدين الظاهرة والباطنة. ـ

And the intended meaning of this is not that they would articulate and utter this compact and oath. Rather, the intended meaning of this is that, out of their eemaan in Allah and His Messenger, they would adhere to obedience towards them. And so He said:

إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا

when you said, “We hear and we obey”

meaning: we hear what You are calling us towards, both of the Qur’anic verses and the signs of creation, with a hearing of comprehension, obedience and submission, and we obey, complying with what we have been commanded to do and avoiding what he have been forbidden from doing. This is comprehensive of all aspects of the divine legislation, both outwardly and inwardly.

وأن المؤمنين يذكرون في ذلك عهد الله وميثاقه عليهم، وتكون منهم على بال، ويحرصون على أداء ما أُمِرُوا به كاملا غير ناقص. ـ

And it also means that by doing so the believers remember the covenant and agreement that they are in with Allah and that they are mindful of this, and they are eager to fulfill what they have been charged with in a full and complete way without any deficiencies.

ـ { وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ْ} في جميع أحوالكم { إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ ْ} أي: بما تنطوي عليه من الأفكار والأسرار والخواطر. فاحذروا أن يطلع من قلوبكم على أمر لا يرضاه، أو يصدر منكم ما يكرهه، واعمروا قلوبكم بمعرفته ومحبته والنصح لعباده. فإنكم -إن كنتم كذلك- غفر لكم السيئات، وضاعف لكم الحسنات، لعلمه بصلاح قلوبكم. ـ

وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ

and have taqwa of Allah.

in every circumstance you find yourself in

إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

Indeed, Allah is the All-Knower of what is within the chests.

meaning: of all the thoughts, secrets, and ideas that they hold. So beware of letting your hearts get accustomed to anything which is not pleasing to Allah, or letting something which He hates emanate from you. Fill your heart with knowledge of Him, love for Him, and sincerity towards His slaves, for if you do that you will be forgiven of your sins and your good deeds will be multiplied, all as a result of His knowing the goodness of your hearts.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 245-246]

See also: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The Multiplication of Rewards and its Causes: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The Deen is Built on Two Foundations: Dhikr and Shukr – Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: The Consequences of Not Forbidding Wrongdoing: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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