Protect yourselves and your families from a fire: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah says in surah al-Tahreem:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ

O you who have eemaan, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones … [66:6]

Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad al-Qurtubi commented on this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

وهي الأمر بوقاية الإنسان نفسه وأهله النار . قال الضحاك : معناه قوا أنفسكم ، وأهلوكم فليقوا أنفسهم نارا . وروى علي بن أبي طلحة عن ابن عباس : قوا أنفسكم وأمروا أهليكم بالذكر والدعاء حتى يقيهم الله بكم . وقال علي رضي الله عنه وقتادة ومجاهد : قوا أنفسكم بأفعالكم وقوا أهليكم بوصيتكم . ـ

This is a command for man to protect himself and his family from the fire.

al-Dhahhaak said: It means – protect yourselves, and also your family members. Protect them from the fire.

And ‘Ali ibn Abi Talhah related that ibn ‘Abbaas said: Protect yourselves, and command your family members to make dhikr and supplication so that Allah will protect them.

‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), Qatadah, and Mujahid said: Protect yourselves through your own actions, and protect your family members through advising them.

 ابن العربي : وهو الصحيح ، والفقه الذي يعطيه العطف الذي يقتضي التشريك بين المعطوف والمعطوف عليه في معنى الفعل ; كقوله : علفتها تبنا وماء باردا . وكقوله : ورأيت زوجك في الوغى متقلدا سيفا ورمحا . فعلى الرجل أن يصلح نفسه بالطاعة ، ويصلح أهله إصلاح الراعي للرعية . ففي صحيح الحديث أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : ” كلكم راع وكلكم مسئول عن رعيته ، فالإمام الذي على الناس راع وهو مسئول عنهم ، والرجل راع على أهل بيته وهو مسئول عنهم ” . وعن هذا عبر الحسن في هذه الآية بقوله : يأمرهم وينهاهم . وقال بعض العلماء لما قال : قوا أنفسكم دخل فيه الأولاد ; لأن الولد بعض منه . كما دخل في قوله تعالى : ولا على أنفسكم أن تأكلوا من بيوتكم [ ص: 180 ] فلم يفردوا بالذكر إفراد سائر القرابات . فيعلمه الحلال والحرام ، ويجنبه المعاصي والآثام ، إلى غير ذلك من الأحكام . وقال عليه السلام : حق الولد على الوالد أن يحسن اسمه ويعلمه الكتابة ويزوجه إذا بلغ . وقال عليه السلام : ” ما نحل والد ولدا أفضل من أدب حسن ” . وقد روى عمرو بن شعيب عن أبيه عن جده عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ” مروا أبناءكم بالصلاة لسبع ، واضربوهم عليها لعشر ، وفرقوا بينهم في المضاجع ” . خرجه جماعة من أهل الحديث . وهذا لفظ أبي داود . وخرج أيضا عن سمرة بن جندب قال : قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” مروا الصبي بالصلاة إذا بلغ سبع سنين ، فإذا بلغ عشر سنين فاضربوه عليها ” . وكذلك يخبر أهله بوقت الصلاة ووجوب الصيام ووجوب الفطر إذا وجب ; مستندا في ذلك إلى رؤية الهلال . وقد روى مسلم أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم كان إذا أوتر يقول : ” قومي فأوتري يا عائشة ” . وروي أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : ” رحم الله امرأ قام من الليل فصلى فأيقظ أهله ، فإن لم تقم رش وجهها بالماء ، رحم الله امرأة قامت من الليل تصلي وأيقظت زوجها ، فإذا لم يقم رشت على وجهه من الماء ” . ومنه قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” أيقظوا صواحب الحجر ” . ويدخل هذا في عموم قوله تعالى : وتعاونوا على البر والتقوى . ـ ـ

ibn al-‘Arabi commented on that last statement to say:

That is the correct understanding. What is understood from this grammatical appendage of a second object after the verb is that the both the first and second object are recipients are connected to that verb. [Some brief grammatical examples from poetry have been omitted from the translation here.]

So it is binding on a man to set himself aright through obedience, and to set his family aright with the care-taking that a shepherd would give to his flock. For the Prophet (ﷺ) said in an authentic hadith,

“Every one of you is a shepherd who is accountable for his flock. So the leader of a people is a shepherd who is accountable for them, and a man is a shepherd over his family members and is accountable for them.”

ِAnd on the basis of this hadith, al-Hasan explained this ayah by saying: Command them and forbid them.

[end quote from ibn al-‘Arabi]

Some scholars have said that when Allah said:

قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ

protect yourselves …

that this also includes one’s children, for one’s child is a piece of oneself. This is similar to how one’s children are included in Allah’s statement:

وَلَا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَن تَأْكُلُوا مِن بُيُوتِكُمْ

there is no restriction on yourselves regarding eating in your houses [24:61]

since Allah did not detail every remaining kind of close relative in this listing.

So one should teach one’s children what is permissible and what is impermissible, and turn him or her away from acts of disobedience and sin, and so on and so forth regarding the various rulings.

And the Prophet said, “A child’s right over his father is that the father select a good name for him, teach him to write, and marry him off once he reaches maturity.”

The Prophet also said, “There is nothing better for a father to give to a son than good manners.”

[al-Qurtubi resumes quoting from ibn al-‘Arabi with what follows]

‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb narrated from his father who narrated from his grandfather that the Prophet said, “Instruct your sons to prayer at age seven, and strike them for not doing so at age ten, and make them sleep in separate beddings.” A number of the major books of hadith mentioned this, and this is the wording of Abu Dawud.

Abu Dawud also recorded that Samurah ibn Jundub said: The Prophet said, “Command a child to prayer once he completes seven years of age, and once he completes ten years, then beat him for not doing so.”

And likewise, one should inform his family members when the time for prayer comes, as well as when fasting becomes obligatory and when it comes to an end, both of which are connected to the sighting of the moon.

And Muslim transmitted that when the Prophet used to make witr he would say, “Get up and make witr, O ‘A’ishah.”

And it has also been relayed that the Prophet said, “May Allah have mercy on the man who gets up in the night to pray and wakes his wife, and if she does not get up, he sprinkles some water on her face. And may Allah have mercy on the woman who gets up in the night to pray and wakes her husband, and if he does not get up, she sprinkles some water on her face.”

And on this same topic, he also said, “Wake up the ladies sleeping in their rooms!

And all of this falls under the general meaning of Allah’s statement:

وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ

assist one another is doing good and avoiding evil [5:3]

[end quote from ibn al-‘Arabi]

وذكر القشيري أن عمر رضي الله عنه قال لما نزلت هذه الآية : [ ص: 181 ] يا رسول الله ، نقي أنفسنا ، فكيف لنا بأهلينا ؟ . فقال : ” تنهونهم عما نهاكم الله وتأمرونهم بما أمر الله ” . وقال مقاتل : ذلك حق عليه في نفسه وولده وأهله وعبيده وإمائه . قال الكيا : فعلينا تعليم أولادنا وأهلينا الدين والخير ، وما لا يستغنى عنه من الأدب . وهو قوله تعالى : وأمر أهلك بالصلاة واصطبر عليها . ونحو قوله تعالى للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : وأنذر عشيرتك الأقربين . . وفي الحديث : ” مروهم بالصلاة وهم أبناء سبع ” . ـ

And al-Qushayri mentioned that when this ayah was revealed, ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “O Messenger of Allah, we protect ourselves, but how can we protect our family members?” So he replied, “Prohibit them from what Allah has forbidden them, and command them with what Allah has ordered them.”

Muqatil said: That is a duty that he owes to himself, his children, his wives, and his male and female slaves.

Ilkiyaa said: It is our duty to teach our children and wives the religion, goodness, and the basic manners that no one should be without.

And this falls under Allah’s statement:

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا

Enjoin your family to observe the prayer, and be consistent in observing it [20:132]

And likewise, there is Allah’s statement to the Prophet:

وَأَنذِرْ عَشِيرَتَكَ الْأَقْرَبِينَ

And warn your nearest relatives [26:214]

as well as the hadith, “Command them to pray when they are age seven.”

وقودها الناس والحجارة تقدم في سورة ” البقرة ” . ـ

وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ

… whose fuel is men and stones.

this phrase has already been explained in surah al-Baqarah.

[Jaami’ li-Ahkaam al-Qur’an 18/179-181]

See also: The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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

See also: Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

4 thoughts on “Protect yourselves and your families from a fire: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

  1. Pingback: Fear the Fire Whose Fuel is Men and Stones: Tafsir al-Baghawi & Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The command to treat parents with ihsaan: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: ‘Ibad al-Rahman Part 7 – Reverence of Allah’s Speech: ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 21-29: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar | Tulayhah

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