Contemplating the Qur’an: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdillah bin Baaz, the former mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, once mentioned the following words on the subject of contemplating the Qur’an:

 التدبر مشروع كما بينه الله عز وجل، وهو المقصود، المقصود من التلاوة التدبر والتعقل والفهم ثم العمل، قال عز وجل: كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ فهو أنزل للتدبر قال تعالى: أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا فالمشروع للمؤمن عند التلاوة وهكذا المؤمنة التدبر والتعقل والتفهم، فمعناه تعقل الآية، يتدبرها يتعقلها ما هو المراد؟ يعني يتعقل ويتفهم ما هو المراد من قوله: وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ من قوله: حافظوا على الصلوات والصلاة الوسطى من قوله: فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ من قوله: وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ وغير ذلك  ـ

Contemplating the Qur’an is a legislated action as Allah has made clear, and it is what is actually desired. The objective of reciting the Qur’an is to contemplate, to engage with it and understand it, and then to act according to it. Allah said:

 كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ

A blessed Book which We have revealed to you that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. [38:29]

 So He revealed it for it to be contemplated. And He said:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon their hearts? [47:24]

So what is legislated for the believer when he is reciting the Qur’an – and this is true for both males and females alike – is to contemplate it, to engage with it, and to understand it. The meaning of this is to engage with the ayah, reflect on it and engage with it – what is the intended meaning? Meaning, engage with the text and understand what is the intended meaning of Allah’s statement:

وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ

and establish the prayer and pay the zakah

What is the intended meaning of His statement:

حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّـهِ قَانِتِينَ

guard the prayers, and especially the middle prayer, stand devoutly obedient before Allah [2:238]

What is the intended meaning of His statement:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ

So have taqwa of Allah as much as you are able [64:16]

And what is the intended meaning of His statement:

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

And establish prayer and give zakah and obey the Messenger – that you may receive mercy. [24:56]

and so on.

يعني يتدبر المعنى ما هو المعنى، يتفهم حتى يعمل به، وحتى يوصي الناس به، فالمؤمن إذا تدبر يتحفظ ولو بالكتابة، يتحفظ ما ظهر له حتى يعمل به، حتى ينصح إخوانه بذلك إذا كان عنده علم وفهم، يعمل بذلك ويوصي إخوانه بذلك، وأهل بيته، هكذا ينبغي للمؤمن أن تكون عنده عناية إذا قرأ القرآن يتعقل ويتدبر حتى يستفيد، وحتى يعمل. جزاكم الله خيراً ـ

In other words, one should reflect on the meaning – what is the meaning? – and comprehend it such that he acts upon it and such that he encourages others to do so as well. For when the believer contemplates the Qur’an, he takes it to heart even if he has not memorized it by heart. He carefully attends to what he understood from it such that he acts upon it and such that he advises his brothers to do so as well if he has some knowledge and understanding. He acts according to what he learned and also encourages his brothers to do so, as well as the members of his household. This is what the believer ought to do, that when he is reciting the Qur’an he should give importance to engaging with what he is reading and contemplating it such that he can get something out of it and such that he can act according to it. May Allah reward you all with good.

[Taken from the sheikh’s website here.]

See also: Which is more virtuous: reading a small amount of the Qur’an with tarteel and contemplation, or a large amount quickly? – Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: Understanding the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: How to Contemplate the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: Ibn al-Qayyim’s Model for Contemplating the Qur’an

See also: The Virtue of Memorizing the Qur’an: Sheikh Muqbil

See also: Naseehah to the Qur’an: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

See also: Etiquette of Reciting and Listening to the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: Reciting the Qur’an in English?: Sheikh bin Baaz

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

Allah says in surah al-Anfaal:

وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنكُمْ خَاصَّةً ۖ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

And exercise fear and caution of a trial which will not only afflict those of you who have done wrong, and know that Allah is severe in penalty. (8:25)

In his book of tafsir, Imam ِAbu ‘Abdullah Muhammad al-Qurtubi mentioned the following points:

قال ابن عباس : أمر الله المؤمنين ألا يقروا المنكر بين أظهرهم فيعمهم العذاب . وكذلك تأول فيها الزبير بن العوام فإنه قال يوم الجمل ، وكان سنة ست وثلاثين : ما علمت أنا أردنا بهذه الآية إلا اليوم ، وما كنت أظنها إلا فيمن خوطب ذلك الوقت . وكذلك تأول الحسن البصري والسدي وغيرهما . قال السدي : نزلت الآية في أهل بدر خاصة ; فأصابتهم الفتنة يوم الجمل فاقتتلوا . وقال ابن عباس رضي الله عنه : نزلت هذه الآية في أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : وقال : أمر الله المؤمنين ألا يقروا المنكر فيما بينهم فيعمهم الله بالعذاب . وعن حذيفة بن اليمان قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : يكون بين ناس من أصحابي فتنة يغفرها الله لهم بصحبتهم إياي يستن بهم فيها ناس بعدهم يدخلهم الله بها النار . ـ

Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “Allah commanded the believers not to accept for wrongdoing to become widespread among them, for then He would encompass them all with punishment.”

Al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam interpreted this ayah in a similar manner, for on the day of the Battle of al-Jamal – which was in the 36th year after the Hijrah – he said, “I never knew that I was the subject of this ayah until today. I thought it was only referring to those who were being addressed at the time of its initial revelation [i.e. the Battle of Badr].” al-Hasan al-Basri, al-Suddi, and others also interpreted it this way. al-Suddi said, “This ayah was revealed specifically regarding the people of the Battle of Badr, then they were afflicted with that fitnah on the Day of al-Jamal and they fell into fighting one another.”

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “This ayah was revealed regarding the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ)”, and he also said, “Allah commanded the believers not to allow wrongdoing to become accepted among them, for then Allah would subsume them all in punishment.” Continue reading

Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The famous mufassir al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following point in the midst of his explanation of surah al-Furqaan:

وقوله تعالى : ( وقدمنا إلى ما عملوا من عمل فجعلناه هباء منثورا ) ، وهذا يوم القيامة ، حين يحاسب الله العباد على ما عملوه من خير وشر ، فأخبر أنه لا يتحصل لهؤلاء المشركين من الأعمال – التي ظنوا أنها منجاة لهم – شيء; وذلك لأنها فقدت الشرط الشرعي ، إما الإخلاص فيها ، وإما المتابعة لشرع الله . فكل عمل لا يكون خالصا وعلى الشريعة المرضية ، فهو باطل . فأعمال الكفار لا تخلو من واحد من هذين ، وقد تجمعهما معا ، فتكون أبعد من القبول حينئذ; ولهذا قال تعالى : ( وقدمنا إلى ما عملوا من عمل فجعلناه هباء منثورا ) . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَّنثُورًا

And when We come to the deeds they have done, then We shall make them into dust particles, scattered. [25:23]

This is on the Day of Judgement when Allah will take His slaves to account for the good and the bad which they used to do. So here He is informing us that these mushrikoon will not obtain any benefit at all from these deeds of theirs which they thought were going to be a source of good and protection for them. Continue reading

“If We had decreed upon them, ‘kill yourselves’…”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Nisaa’, Allah addresses the believers by saying:

وَلَوْ أَنَّا كَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَنِ اقْتُلُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ أَوِ اخْرُ‌جُوا مِن دِيَارِ‌كُم مَّا فَعَلُوهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ مِّنْهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ فَعَلُوا مَا يُوعَظُونَ بِهِ لَكَانَ خَيْرً‌ا لَّهُمْ وَأَشَدَّ تَثْبِيتًا * وَإِذًا لَّآتَيْنَاهُم مِّن لَّدُنَّا أَجْرً‌ا عَظِيمًا * وَلَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ صِرَ‌اطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا

And if We had decreed upon them, “Kill yourselves” or “Leave your homes,” they would not have done it, except for a few of them. But if they had done what they were instructed, it would have been good for them and a firm position. * And then We would have given them a great reward from Us. * And We would have guided them to a Straight Path. [4:66-68]

In his famous book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following commentary on these ayaat:

يخبر تعالى أنه لو كتب على عباده الأوامر الشاقة على النفوس من قتل النفوس والخروج من الديار لم يفعله إلا القليل منهم والنادر، فليحمدوا ربهم وليشكروه على تيسير ما أمرهم به من الأوامر التي تسهل على كل أحد، ولا يشق فعلها . ـ

Allah informs them that had He decreed commands for His slaves which were difficult for their souls, such as killing themselves or leaving their homes, then none of them would not have done that except for a few rare individuals. So they should praise their Lord and be grateful to Him for making those things which He has commanded them to do easy for every single individual to carry out and which do not bring about difficulty in their performance.

وفي هذا إشارة إلى أنه ينبغي أن يلحظ العبد ضد ما هو فيه من المكروهات، لتخف عليه العبادات، ويزداد حمدًا وشكرًا لربه. ـ

This indicates that the slave should think about the bad circumstances that he could be in, for this would lighten the acts of worship for him and increase him in praise and gratitude to his Lord. Continue reading

The Enduring Good Deeds: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says in surah al-Kahf:

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But al-baaqiyaat al-saalihaat (the enduring good deeds) are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope. [18:46]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote:

ذكر جل وعلا في هذه الآية الكريمة أن المال والبنين زينة الحياة الدنيا ، وأن الباقيات الصالحات خير عند الله ثوابا وخير أملا . ـ

In this noble ayah, Allah mentions that wealth and children are the beautification of this worldly life, and that al-baaqiyaat al-saalihaat (the enduring good deeds) are better with Allah for rewards and better for one’s hopes.

والمراد من الآية الكريمة تنبيه الناس للعمل الصالح ; لئلا يشتغلوا بزينة الحياة الدنيا [ ص: 281 ] من المال والبنين عما ينفعهم في الآخرة عند الله من الأعمال الباقيات الصالحات ، وهذا المعنى الذي أشار له هنا جاء مبينا في آيات أخر ، كقوله تعالى : زين للناس حب الشهوات من النساء والبنين والقناطير المقنطرة من الذهب والفضة والخيل المسومة والأنعام والحرث ذلك متاع الحياة الدنيا والله عنده حسن المآب قل أؤنبئكم بخير من ذلكم للذين اتقوا عند ربهم جنات تجري من تحتها الأنهار خالدين فيها وأزواج مطهرة الآية [ 3 \ 14 – 15 ] ، وقولـه : ياأيها الذين آمنوا لا تلهكم أموالكم ولا أولادكم عن ذكر الله ومن يفعل ذلك فأولئك هم الخاسرون [ 63 \ 9 ] ، وقولـه : إنما أموالكم وأولادكم فتنة والله عنده أجر عظيم [ 64 \ 15 ] ، وقولـه : وما أموالكم ولا أولادكم بالتي تقربكم عندنا زلفى إلا من آمن وعمل صالحا الآية [ 34 \ 37 ] ، وقولـه : يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون إلا من أتى الله بقلب سليم [ 26 \ 88 ] ، إلى غير ذلك من الآيات الدالة على أن الإنسان لا ينبغي له الاشتغال بزينة الحياة الدنيا عما ينفعه في آخرته ، وأقوال العلماء في الباقيات الصالحات كلها راجعة إلى شيء واحد ، وهو الأعمال التي ترضي الله ، سواء قلنا : إنها الصلوات الخمس ، كما هو مروي عن جماعة من السلف : منهم ابن عباس ، وسعيد بن جبير ، وأبو ميسرة ، وعمرو بن شرحبيل ، أو أنها : سبحان الله والحمد لله ولا إله إلا الله والله أكبر ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم ، وعلى هذا القول جمهور العلماء ، وجاءت دالة عليه أحاديث مرفوعة عن أبي سعيد الخدري ، وأبي الدرداء ، وأبي هريرة ، والنعمان بن بشير ، وعائشة رضي الله عنهم . ـ

The intended meaning of this noble ayah is to draw people’s attention to righteous deeds so that they are not busied with the adornments of the life of this world such as wealth and children, distracted and diverted away from the enduring good deeds which will benefit them in the hereafter with Allah.

This meaning which has been indicated here has also come clearly in a number of other ayaat, such as Allah’s statement: Continue reading

Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah began a long discussion of the different parts of surah al-Insaan [76] by providing this general overview of the surah‘s contents:

اعلم أن سورة هل أتى على الإنسان سورة عجيبة الشأن من سور القرآن على اختصارها فإن الله سبحانه ابتدأها بذكر كيفية خلق الإنسان من النطفة ذات الأمشاج والأخلاط التي لم يزل بقدرته ولطفه وحكمته يصرفه عليها أطوارا وينقله من حال إلى حال إلى أن تمت خلقته وكملت صورته فأخرجه إنسانا سويا سميعا بصيرا . ـ

You should know that surah al-Insaan is one of the amazing surahs of the Qur’an despite its brevity. For Allah the Exalted begins this surah by mentioning how He creates the human being from a mixed sperm drop which, by His Might, Benevolence and Wisdom, He takes through a number of stages of development, moving from one condition to the next until its creation is finished and it is fully formed. Then He brings it forth as a well-formed, hearing, seeing, human being.

ثم لما تكامل تمييزه وإدراكه هداه طريقي الخير والشر والهدى والضلال وأنه بعد هذه الهداية إما أن يشكر ربه وإما أن يكفره . ـ

Then when man’s discernment and understanding have fully developed, Allah guides him to the two paths of either good or evil, guidance or misguidance. After this guidance, man is either grateful to his Lord or ungrateful towards Him. Continue reading

Regarding New Explanations of the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One of the valuable works of sheikh Muhammad Bazmool is entitled “Misleading Phrases”, in which the sheikh clarifies a series of wordings which are either frequently misused, misunderstood, or simply incorrect. What follows is an excerpt from that work:

ومن هذه العبارات الموهمة: قول بعضهم: “القرآن العظيم له تفسير في كل زمان بما يناسبه”. ـ

And another one of these misleading phrases is what some people say, that “There is an appropriate explanation of the Qur’an for each era.”

إطلاق هذه الكلمة لا يجوز، فإن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم هو أعلم الخلق بكلام الله ومعانيه، وما مات إلا وقد فسر القرآن جميعه، وأخذ عنه هذا التفسير صحابته رضوان الله عليهم، وعنهم التابعون، فمن فسر القرآن بتفسير يخرج عن تفسير الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم وصحابته، خرج عن الصراط المستقيم في تفسير القرآن العظيم، وشاق الله ورسوله، (وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيراً)(النساء:115). ـ

Taken on its own, this statement is not acceptable. For the Messenger (ﷺ) was the most knowledgeable member of the creation regarding the speech of Allah and its meanings, and he did not die until after he had already explained the entire Qur’an. And his Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) took this explanation from him, and the Taabi’oon took it from them. So whoever explains the Qur’an with an explanation which departs from the tafsir of the Messenger (ﷺ) and his Sahabah, then he has departed from the Straight Path in relation to the tafsir of the Qur’an, and he has opposed Allah and His messenger: Continue reading

Ten Important Commandments from the End of Surah al-An’aam: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-An’aam, Allah provides a number of important commands in His statement:

قُلْ تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ ۖ أَلَّا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا ۖ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُم مِّنْ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ ۖ وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ * وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ أَشُدَّهُ ۖ وَأَوْفُوا الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ لَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۖ وَإِذَا قُلْتُمْ فَاعْدِلُوا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَىٰ ۖ وَبِعَهْدِ اللَّـهِ أَوْفُوا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ * وَأَنَّ هَـٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

Say: Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited for you. That you not associate anything with Him. And to parents, good treatment. And do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and for them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you in order that you may understand.

And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except according to its capacity. And when you speak, be just, even if concerning a near relative. And fulfill the covenant of Allah. This has He instructed you that you may remember.

And this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow other ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous. [6:151-153]

Commenting on this in his well-known tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

قول تعالى لنبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم: قل لهؤلاء الذين حرموا ما أحل الله. تعالوا أتل ما حرم ربكم عليكم تحريما عاما شاملا لكل أحد، محتويا على سائر المحرمات، من المآكل والمشارب والأقوال والأفعال. ألا تشركوا به شيئا أي: لا قليلا ولا كثيرا. ـ

Allah is saying to His Prophet (ﷺ):

قُلْ

Say: …

to these people who consider what Allah has made permissible to be impermissible

تَعَالَوْا أَتْلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ

… Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you

with a broad prohibition which encompasses and applies to all, inclusive of all the prohibitions not explicitly mentioned in it, whether they be foods, drinks, statements or actions. Continue reading