Fear a trial which will not only strike the wrongdoers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Anfaal, Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّـهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ * وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنكُمْ خَاصَّةً ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered. * And exercise fear and caution of a trial which will not only strike those of you who have done wrong, and know that Allah is severe in penalty. (8:24-25)

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote the following commentary on these verses in his well-known book of tafsir:

يأمر تعالى عباده المؤمنين بما يقتضيه الإيمان منهم وهو الاستجابة لله وللرسول، أي: الانقياد لما أمرا به والمبادرة إلى ذلك والدعوة إليه، والاجتناب لما نهيا عنه، والانكفاف عنه والنهي عنه. ـ

Allah is commanding His believing slaves with what faith requires of them, which is responding to Allah and the Messenger. Meaning: complying with what they command, being eager to do so, and also calling others to that, as well as avoiding what they prohibit, abstaining from it, and also prohibiting others from it.

وقوله: إذا دعاكم لما يحييكم وصف ملازم لكل ما دعا الله ورسوله إليه، وبيان لفائدته وحكمته، فإن حياة القلب والروح بعبودية الله تعالى ولزوم طاعته وطاعة رسوله على الدوام. ـ

And His statement:

إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ

… when he calls you to that which gives you life

Here Allah is describing adherence to everything that Allah and His Messenger call to, and this additional information is provided for a reason and a benefit, for the life of the heart and the soul comes from servitude to Allah and strict adherence to obeying Him and obeying His Messenger at all times.

ثم حذر عن عدم الاستجابة لله وللرسول فقال: واعلموا أن الله يحول بين المرء وقلبه فإياكم أن تردوا أمر الله أول ما يأتيكم، فيحال بينكم وبينه إذا أردتموه بعد ذلك، وتختلف قلوبكم، فإن الله يحول بين المرء وقلبه، يقلب القلوب حيث شاء ويصرفها أنى شاء. ـ

Then He moves to warning against not responding to Allah and the Messenger by saying:

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ

And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart

So beware of turning away from Allah’s command when it first comes to you, for He might place something between you and it even if you wanted to follow that command at a later time, and He would cause your hearts to differ. For Allah can intervene between a person and his heart. He turns the hearts whichever way He wishes and directs them as He pleases.

فليكثر العبد من قول: يا مقلب القلوب ثبت قلبي على دينك، يا مصرف القلوب، اصرف قلبي إلى طاعتك. ـ

Therefore, a slave ought to frequently say, “O turner of hearts, make my heart firm upon Your deen. O director of hearts, direct my heart to Your obedience.”

وأنه إليه تحشرون أي: تجمعون ليوم لا ريب فيه، فيجازي المحسن بإحسانه، والمسيء بعصيانه. ـ

وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

… and know that to Him you will be gathered

meaning: you will be gathered on the day regarding which there is no doubt [i.e. the Day of Judgement]. Then the good-doers will be rewarded for their good, and the evil-doers will be recompensed for their disobedience.

واتقوا فتنة لا تصيبن الذين ظلموا منكم خاصة بل تصيب فاعل الظلم وغيره، وذلك إذا ظهر الظلم فلم يغير، فإن عقوبته تعم الفاعل وغيره، وتقوى هذه الفتنة بالنهي عن المنكر، وقمع أهل الشر والفساد، وأن لا يمكنوا من المعاصي والظلم مهما أمكن. ـ

وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنكُمْ خَاصَّةً

And exercise fear and caution of a trial which will not only strike those of you who have done wrong

Rather, it will afflict both the one who engages in wrongdoing and others as well. That is if wrongdoing has become widespread and prevalent without there being any effort to change that. The punishment for that will encompass both those who engaged in the wrongdoing and others as well. And exercising fear and caution of this trial is done by forbidding wrongdoings, stifling the people of evil and mischief, and that you do not allow for acts of disobedience and wrongdoing to occur, to the extent that one is able.

واعلموا أن الله شديد العقاب لمن تعرض لمساخطه، وجانب رضاه. ـ

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

and know that Allah is severe in penalty

towards those who openly engage in those things which displease Him and avoid those things which please Him.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 362]

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

Read more tafsir of surah al-Anfaal here.

See also: Fear a trial which will not only afflict the wrongdoers: Tafsir al-Qurtubi 

See also: “O you who have believed, look after your own souls”: Tafsir al-Sa’di & al-Shinqitee [forthcoming, inshaAllaah]

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One thought on “Fear a trial which will not only strike the wrongdoers: Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Fear a trial which will not only afflict the wrongdoers: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

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