Zakah al-Fitr in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In the midst of surah al-‘Aalaa, Allah informs us:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ * وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa * and mentions the name of his Lord and prays [87:14-15]

The word tazakkaa refers to purification, either purification of one’s self (such as in the related term tazkiyyah al-nafs) or purification of one’s wealth (such as in the related term zakah). In his commentary on these ayaat, the famous mufassir Abu Muhammad al-Husayn al-Baghawi wrote:

ـ ( قد أفلح من تزكى ) تطهر من الشرك وقال : لا إله إلا الله . هذا قول عطاء وعكرمة ، ورواية الوالبي وسعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس وقال الحسن : من كان عمله زاكيا . ـ

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa

who purifies himself from al-shirk and says laa ilaaha illallaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. This was the explanation of ‘Ataa’ and ‘Ikrimah, as well as being relayed from ibn ‘Abbaas by way of al-Waalibi and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr.

al-Hasan al-Basri explained it by saying, “Whoever’s actions are pure.”

وقال آخرون : هو صدقة الفطر ، روي عن أبي سعيد الخدري في قوله : ” قد أفلح من تزكى ” قال : أعطى صدقة الفطر . ـ

Meanwhile others say that this is referring to the zakah al-fitr. It is relayed from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri regarding this ayah that he explained it by saying, “[He has certainly succeeded – he who] gives the zakah al-fitr.”

ـ ( وذكر اسم ربه فصلى ) قال خرج إلى العيد فصلى ، فكان ابن مسعود يقول : رحم الله امرءا تصدق ثم صلى ، ثم يقرأ هذه الآية . وروى نافع : كان ابن عمر إذا صلى الغداة – يعني من يوم العيد – قال : يا نافع أخرجت الصدقة ؟ فإن قلت : نعم ، مضى إلى المصلى ، وإن قلت : لا قال : فالآن فأخرج ، فإنما نزلت هذه الآية في هذا قد أفلح من تزكى وذكر اسم ربه فصلى وهو قول أبي العالية وابن سيرين . ـ

وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ

… and mentions the name of his Lord and prays

And Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri explained this by saying, “He goes out to the place of the ‘Eid prayer and prays.”

Ibn Mas’ood used to say, “May Allah have mercy on the person who gives charity and then prays” and then he would recite this ayah.

Naafi’ relayed that after ibn ‘Umar prayed the morning prayer – meaning, on the day of ‘Eid – he said, “O Naafi’, have you distributed your charity [i.e. zakah al-fitr]?” So if I said yes, then he would proceed to the place of the ‘Eid prayer, but if I said no then he would say, “Then go now and distribute it, for this ayah was revealed specifically about this:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ * وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ

He has certainly succeeded – he who tazakkaa * and mentions the name of his Lord and prays”

This was the statement of Abu’l-‘Aaliyah and ibn Sireen.

وقال بعضهم : لا أدري ما وجه هذا التأويل ؟ لأن هذه السورة مكية ، ولم يكن بمكة عيد ولا زكاة فطر . ـ

However some people say, “I don’t know how you can reach that conclusion, because this is a makki surah [i.e. a surah revealed before the hijrah to Madinah] and there was no ‘eid or zakah al-fitr during the Meccan period.”

ـ [ قال الشيخ الإمام محيي السنة رحمه الله ] يجوز أن يكون النزول سابقا على الحكم كما قال : ” وأنت حل بهذا البلد ” فالسورة مكية ، وظهر أثر الحل يوم الفتح حتى قال عليه الصلاة والسلام : ” أحلت لي ساعة من نهار ” وكذلك نزل بمكة : ” سيهزم الجمع ويولون الدبر ” ( القمر – 45 ) قال عمر بن الخطاب : كنت لا أدري أي جمع يهزم ، فلما كان يوم بدر رأيت النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – [ ص: 403 ] يثب ، في الدرع ويقول : سيهزم الجمع ويولون الدبر ” ـ

It is possible that a revelation of something could come before the ruling comes into effect, just as with Allah’s statement:

وَأَنتَ حِلٌّ بِهَـٰذَا الْبَلَدِ

And you [O Muhammad] are given allowance with this city [90:2]

For this was a makki surah but the effect of that allowance only became manifest on the Day of the Conquest of Mecca when the Prophet said, “It has been permitted to me for a single hour of a single day.”

Likewise, the following ayah was also revealed in Mecca:

سَيُهْزَمُ الْجَمْعُ وَيُوَلُّونَ الدُّبُرَ

Their multitude will be put to flight, and they will show their backs. [54:45]

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said, “I did not know which multitude would be put to flight, but then on the Day of Badr I saw the Prophet leaping in his armor saying

سَيُهْزَمُ الْجَمْعُ وَيُوَلُّونَ الدُّبُرَ

Their multitude will be put to flight, and they will show their backs. [54:45]

وذكر اسم ربه فصلى ” أي : وذكر ربه فصلى ، قيل : الذكر : تكبيرات العيد ، والصلاة : صلاة العيد ، وقيل : الصلاة هاهنا الدعاء . ـ

ذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّىٰ

… and mentions the name of his Lord and prays

meaning: He mentions his Lord and prays.

Some say that the “mentioning” here refers to the takbeerat of the ‘Eid and the “prayer” refers to the salah al-‘Eid.

And some say that the “prayer” here means supplication.

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 8/402-403. al-Baghawi’s question and response section above was quoted in both al-Suyooti’s al-Itqan and al-Zarkashi’s al-Burhan in their discussions of Makki and Madani surahs.]

See also: Ibn Kathir on Zakah and Tazkiyyah al-Nafs

See also: The relationship between al-Tawheed and al-istighfaar: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 3/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Khutbah at the Beginning of Shawwaal: Imam al-Sa’di

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5 thoughts on “Zakah al-Fitr in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Baghawi

  1. Pingback: Assorted Qur’an Benefits #4 | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The relationship between al-Tawheed and al-istighfaar: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Ibn Kathir on Zakah and Tazkiyyah al-Nafs | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Qualities of the Successful Believers – Part 3/7: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Khutbah at the Beginning of Shawwaal: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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