Hasten to the Remembrance of Allah: Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan

Allah addresses the believers in surah al-Jumu’ah by commanding:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

O you who have eemaan, when the call for prayer on the day of al-Jumu’ah is called, then hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business. That is better for you, if you knew [62:9]

Many scholars of tafsir have addressed the command to “hasten” to the prayer, as there are clear hadith narrations that prohibit rushing to the prayer. After the death of the great mufassir sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee, his long-time student sheikh ‘Atiyyah Saalim took on the task of completing the former’s tafsir, Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan, in which he addressed this issue by writing:

قوله تعالى : فاسعوا إلى ذكر الله . قرأ الجمهور : ( فاسعوا ) ، وقرأها عمر : ( فامضوا ) ، روى ابن جرير – رحمه الله – أنه قيل لعمر رضي الله عنه : إن أبيا يقرؤها ( فاسعوا ) ، قال : أما إنه أقرؤنا وأعلمنا بالمنسوخ ، وإنما هي ( فامضوا ) . وروي أيضا عن سالم أنه قال : ما سمعت عمر قط يقرؤها إلا فامضوا . ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ

… then hasten to the remembrance of Allah [62:9]

the majority of the reciters recite it as:

فَاسْعَوْا

then hasten

while ‘Umar recited it as:

فَامْضُوا

then proceed

Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him) transmitted that it was once said to ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him): Ubay recites it as

فَاسْعَوْا

then hasten

So ‘Umar replied: He is the most well-versed in the Qur’an among us and the most knowledgeable of what has been abrogated, but it is:

فَامْضُوا

then proceed

[end quote].

Ibn Jarir also relayed that Saalim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, “I only ever heard ‘Umar recite it as

فَامْضُوا

then proceed

وبوب له البخاري قال باب قوله : وآخرين منهم لما يلحقوا بهم [ 62 \ 3 ] ، وقرأ عمر : فامضوا ، وذكر القرطبي عن عبد الله بن مسعود أنه قرأه : فامضوا إلى ذكر الله ، وقال : لو كانت ( فاسعوا ) لسعيت حتى يسقط ردائي . اهـ . ـ

al-Bukhari used this in one of his chapter headings, entitled,

وَآخَرِينَ مِنْهُمْ لَمَّا يَلْحَقُوا بِهِمْ

and to others of them who have not yet joined them [62:3]

and ‘Umar recited:

فَامْضُوا

then proceed

al-Qurtubi mentioned that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood recited it as:

فَامْضُوا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ

then proceed to the remembrance of Allah

and he (ibn Mas’ood) then said, “If it were ‘then hasten’, then I would go so quickly that my shawl would fly off.”

وبالنظر فيما ذكره القرطبي نجد الصحيح قراءة الجمهور لأمرين ، الأول : لشهادة عمر نفسه – رضي الله عنه – أن أبيا أقرؤهم وأعلمهم بالمنسوخ ، وإذا كان كذلك فالقول قوله ; لأنه أعلمهم وأقرؤهم . أما قراءة ابن مسعود فقال القرطبي : إن سنده غير متصل ; لأنه عن إبراهيم النخعي عن ابن مسعود ، وإبراهيم لم يسمع من ابن مسعود شيئا . اهـ . ـ

If we look at what al-Qurtubi mentioned, then we find that the correct recitation is that of the majority. This is for two reasons:

First, due to ‘Umar’s own affirmation that Ubay was the most well-versed of the sahabah in the Qur’an and the most knowledgeable of what had been abrogated. So if that is the case, then the position of Ubay is the correct position, as he was the most knowledgeable and well-versed in the Qur’an among them.

Then, as for the recitation of ibn Mas’ood, al-Qurtubi said, “The chain of transmission is not connected, for it contains Ibrahim al-Nakha’i transmitting from ibn Mas’ood, but Ibrahim did not actually hear anything directly from ibn Mas’ood.”

وقد اختلف في معنى السعي هنا ، وحاصل أقوال المفسرين فيه على ثلاثة أقوال لا يعارض بعضها بعضا : الأول : العمل لها ، والتهيؤ من أجلها . الثاني : القصد والنية على إتيانها . الثالث : السعي على الأقدام دون الركوب . ـ

And there is some differing as to the meaning of the word

السعي

al-Sa’yi

[translated as “hastening” in this ayah]

in this ayah, and the statements of the mufassiroon on this point boil down to three positions which do not contradict one another.

  1. To act on it, and to get ready for it
  2. To aim and intend to go to it
  3. to hasten with one’s feet, but not to the extent of taking a mount

واستدلوا لذلك بأن السعي يطلق في القرآن على العمل ، قاله الفخر الرازي . وقال : هو مذهب مالك والشافعي ، قال تعالى : وإذا تولى سعى في الأرض [ 2 \ 205 ] ، وقال : [ ص: 166 ] إن سعيكم لشتى [ 92 \ 4 ] ، أي العمل . ـ

The first explanation is supported by the fact that the word

السعي

al-Sa’yi

[translated as “hastening” in this ayah]

is used to refer to “action” in the Qur’an, as al-Fakhr al-Razi mentions. And he said, “This is the understanding of Maalik and al-Shaafi’. Allah said:

وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ

and when he turns away, he strives in the land … [2:205]

إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّىٰ

Indeed, your efforts are diverse [92:4]

i.e. actions.”

واستدلوا للثاني بقول الحسن : والله ما هو بسعي على الأقدام ، ولكن سعي القلوب والنية . ـ

And the second explanation is supported by al-Hasan al-Basri’s statement, “I swear by Allah, this is not the hastening of one’s feet; it is the hastening of one’s heart and intention.”

واستدلوا للثالث بما في البخاري عن أبي عبس بن جبر واسمه عبد الرحمن ، وكان من كبار الصحابة مشى إلى الجمعة راجلا ، وقال سمعت رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يقول : ” من اغبرت قدماه في سبيل الله حرمه الله على النار ” . ذكره القرطبي ، ولم يذكره البخاري في التفسير . ـ

And the third explanation is supported by what comes in Saheeh al-Bukhari from Abu ‘Abs ibn Jabr – whose name was ‘Abd al-Rahman, and he was one of the senior sahabah – that he was walking to salah al-Jumu’ah and he said that he heard Allah’s Messenger say:

Whoever gets his feet dusty in the path of Allah, Allah has forbidden them from the Hell-fire.

al-Qurtubi also mentioned this, though al-Bukhari did not mention this narration in his tafsir section.

وبالتأمل في هذه الأقوال الثلاثة نجدها متلازمة لأن العمل أعم من السعي ، والسعي أخص ، فلا تعارض بين أعم وأخص ، والنية شرط في العمل ، وأولى هذه الأقوال كلها ما جاء في قراءة عمر – رضي الله عنه – الصحيحة : ( فامضوا ) ، فهي بمنزلة التفسير للسعي . ـ

By giving some thought to these three positions, we find that they are all in agreement, for “action” is more general than “hastening” while “hastening” is something more specific. So there is no conflict between these different levels of specificity. And also, one’s intention is a prerequisite for the validity of action. And the most deserving of all of these explanations to be considered as correct is what has come in the recitation of ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him):

فَامْضُوا

then proceed

for this recitation takes the role of explaining the word “hastening”.

وروي عن الفراء : أن المضي والسعي والذهاب في معنى واحد ، والصحيح أن السعي يتضمن معنى زائدا وهو الجد والحرص على التحصيل ، كما في قوله تعالى : والذين سعوا في آياتنا معاجزين [ 22 \ 51 ] ، بأنهم حريصون على ذلك : وهو أكثر استعمالات القرآن . ـ

It has been transmitted from al-Farraa’ that:

المضي والسعي والذهاب

al-Madhi — al-Sa’yi — al-Dhihaab

“proceeding”, “hastening” and “going”

all have the same meaning, and what is correct is that al-Sa’yi – “hastening” – involves a further implication of earnestness and eagerness to achieve a goal, as comes in Allah’s statement:

وَالَّذِينَ سَعَوْا فِي آيَاتِنَا مُعَاجِزِينَ أُولَـٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ

but those who strove against Our ayaat, seeking to cause failure … [22:51]

for they were eager to achieve that goal. And this most common usage of this term in the Qur’an.

قال الراغب الأصفهاني : السعي المشي السريع ، وهو دون العدو ، ويستعمل للجد في الأمر خيرا كان أو شرا ، قال تعالى : وسعى في خرابها [ 2 \ 114 ] . وإذا تولى سعى في الأرض [ 2 \ 205 ] ، ومن أراد الآخرة وسعى لها سعيها [ 17 \ 19 ] ، وجمع الأمرين الخير والشر : وأن ليس للإنسان إلا ما سعى وأن سعيه سوف يرى [ 53 \ 39 – 40 ] ، وهو ما تشهد له اللغة ، كما في قول زهير بن أبي سلمى : سعى ساعيا غيظ ابن مرة بعدما تبزل ما بين العشيرة بالدم . وكقول الآخر : إن أجز علقمة بن سعد سعيه لا أجزه ببلاء يوم واحد ـ

al-Raghib al-Isfahani said: al-Sa’yi is walking quickly but less than running. It is also used to indicate eagerness – regardless of whether that eagerness is for good or evil. Allah said:

وَسَعَىٰ فِي خَرَابِهَا

and who strive for the destruction of the mosques [2:114]

وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ

and when he turns away, he strives in the land … [2:205]

وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الْآخِرَةَ وَسَعَىٰ لَهَا سَعْيَهَا 

But whoever desires the Hereafter and exerts the effort due to it … [17:19]

And Allah refers to both good and evil in His statement:

وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ * وَأَنَّ سَعْيَهُ سَوْفَ يُرَىٰ

and for man, there is only what he strives for * and his striving will soon be seen [53:39-40]

And this is also what linguistics attests to. [a few examples of this meaning from Arabic poetry have been omitted from the translation here.]

ـ [ ص: 167 ] تنبيه من هذا كله يظهر أن السعي هو المضي مع مراعاة ما جاء في السنة من الحث على السكينة والوقار لحديث أبي هريرة – رضي الله عنه – في الصحيحين عن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أنه قال : ” إذا سمعتم الإقامة فامشوا إلى الصلاة وعليكم السكينة والوقار ، ولا تسرعوا ، فما أدركتم فصلوا ، وما فاتكم فأتموا ” . ـ

A Note: It becomes clear from all of this discussion that al-sa’yi means “proceeding” in light of the encouragement to have composure and dignity that comes in the Sunnah from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) in both al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet said:

“When you hear the iqamah, then walk to the salah, and you should do so with composure and dignity. Do not rush. Then, whatever you catch, pray it, and whatever you miss, make it up.

وهذا أمر عام لكل آت إلى كل صلاة ولو كان الإمام في الصلاة لحديث أبي قتادة عند البخاري قال : بينما نحن نصلي مع النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – إذ سمع جلبة رجال فلما صلى قال : ما شأنكم ؟ قالوا : استعجلنا إلى الصلاة ، قال : ” فلا تفعلوا إذا أتيتم الصلاة فامشوا وعليكم السكينة فما أدركتم فصلوا ، وما فاتكم فأتموا ” . ا هـ . ـ

And this is a general commandment for every person who goes to any prayer, even if he is the imam for that prayer. This is according to the hadith of Abu Qatadah in al-Bukhari where he said:

We were praying with the Prophet when we heard some commotion from some people. So after finishing the prayer, the Prophet said, “What happened?” They said, “We were hurrying to the prayer.” He said, “Don’t do that. When you come to the prayer, walk, and you should do so with calmness. Then whatever you catch, pray it, and whatever you miss, make it up.”

وكذلك حديث أبي بكرة – رضي الله عنه – لما ركع خلف الصف ودب حتى دخل في الصف وهو راكع ، فقال له صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” زادك الله حرصا ، ولا تعد ” على رواية تعد من العود . ـ

And likewise with the hadith of Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him) when he made rukoo’ before joining the line and then shuffled over while in that posture until he joined the row, so the Prophet said to him, “May Allah increase you in earnestness, but do not do that again.”

[Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan 8/166-167]

See also: Non-Canonical Recitations Can Help Explain the Qur’an: al-Zarkashi

See also: Benefits of the Multiple Qiraa’aat: al-Suyooti

Sheikh ‘Atiyyah Saalim mentioned and quoted from a number of previous scholars of tafsir. For anyone who would like to learn more about these different scholars, please visit our Mufassir Profiles.

2 thoughts on “Hasten to the Remembrance of Allah: Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan

  1. Pingback: Non-Canonical Recitations Can Help Explain the Qur’an: al-Zarkashi | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Benefits of the Multiple Qiraa’aat: al-Suyooti | Tulayhah

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