A Discussion of the People of Jannah: Tafsir al-Qurtubi & Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Tur, Allah describes the situation of the believers in Jannah by saying:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ * قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ * فَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ * إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other. * They will say, “Indeed, we were previously among our people, fearful. * So Allah conferred favor upon us and protected us from the punishment of al-samoom. * Indeed, we used to supplicate Him before. Indeed, it is He who is al-Barr, al-Raheem.” [52:25-28]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote:

قوله تعالى : وأقبل بعضهم على بعض يتساءلون قال ابن عباس : إذا بعثوا من قبورهم سأل بعضهم بعضا . وقيل : في الجنة يتساءلون أي يتذاكرون ما كانوا فيه في الدنيا من التعب والخوف من العاقبة ، ويحمدون الله تعالى على زوال الخوف عنهم . وقيل : يقول بعضهم لبعض بم صرت في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ؟ قالوا إنا كنا قبل في أهلنا مشفقين أي قال كل مسئول منهم لسائله : إنا كنا قبل أي في الدنيا خائفين وجلين من عذاب الله . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other

ibn ‘Abbaas said: when they are raised from their graves they will ask one another.

But others explained it to mean that they will ask one another in Jannah, meaning they will discuss the hard work and fear of the ultimate outcomes that they had during the worldly life and they will praise Allah for removing that fear from them.

Still others said: They will say to one another, “How did you get to this elevated station?” They will say,

قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ

They will say, “Indeed, we were previously among our people, fearful. 

– meaning: every person that is asked will say to the questioner, “Prior to this” – i.e. during the worldly life – “we use to be fearful and terrified of Allah’s punishment.”

قوله تعالى : وأقبل بعضهم على بعض يتساءلون قال ابن عباس : إذا بعثوا من قبورهم سأل بعضهم بعضا . وقيل : في الجنة يتساءلون أي يتذاكرون ما كانوا فيه في الدنيا من التعب والخوف من العاقبة ، ويحمدون الله تعالى على زوال الخوف عنهم . وقيل : يقول بعضهم لبعض بم صرت في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ؟ قالوا إنا كنا قبل في أهلنا مشفقين أي قال كل مسئول منهم لسائله : إنا كنا قبل أي في الدنيا خائفين وجلين من عذاب الله . ـ

فمن الله علينا بالجنة والمغفرة . وقيل : بالتوفيق والهداية . ـ

فَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْنَا

So Allah conferred favor upon us …

with the favor of Jannah and forgiveness.

And others explain it as: with being granted guidance and then the accord to follow it.

ووقانا عذاب السموم قال الحسن : السموم اسم من أسماء النار وطبقة من طباق جهنم . وقيل : هو النار كما تقول جهنم . … ـ

وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ

… and protected us from the punishment of al-samoom

al-Hasan said: al-Samoom is one of the names of the Hellfire and one of the many level of Jahannam.

Others said: It is the Hellfire itself, just as the hellfire is also called Jahannam.

[Here we have excluded some extended discussion of various opinions and associated linguistic discussion from the translation.]

قوله تعالى : إنا كنا من قبل ندعوه أي في الدنيا بأن يمن علينا بالمغفرة عن تقصيرنا . وقيل : ندعوه أي نعبده . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ

Indeed, we used to supplicate to Him before …

meaning: during the worldly life, that He would favor us with forgiveness for our shortcomings.

And others said that “we used to supplicate to Him” here means “we used to worship Him”

إنه هو البر الرحيم وقرأ نافع والكسائي ” أنه ” بفتح الهمزة ; أي لأنه . الباقون بالكسر على الابتداء . والبر : اللطيف ; قاله ابن عباس . وعنه أيضا : أنه الصادق فيما وعد . وقاله ابن جريج . ـ

 إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

Indeed, it is He who is the al-Barr, al-Raheem.

Naafi’ and al-Kisaa’i recited it as:

 أَنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

with a fathah on the letter hamzah, meaning:

Because it is He who is the al-Barr, al-Raheem.

while the rest of the reciters read it with a kasrah at the beginning.

al-Barr means: the kind one, as ibn ‘Abbaas explained it. And he is also reported to have explained it by saying, “That He is the One who is true to His promises,” according to ibn Jurayj.

[Tafsir al-Qurtubi 17/65-66]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di also commented on these ayaat by writing:

وأقبل بعضهم على بعض يتساءلون عن أمور الدنيا وأحوالها. قالوا في ذكر بيان الذي أوصلهم إلى ما هم فيه من الحبرة والسرور: إنا كنا قبل أي: في دار الدنيا في أهلنا مشفقين أي: خائفين وجلين، فتركنا من خوفه الذنوب، وأصلحنا لذلك العيوب. ـ

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other

asking about the matters of the worldly life and their conditions in them.

قَالُوا

They will say …

as a way of mentioning and explaining what it was that caused them to end up in the safety and enjoyment that they currently inhabit

إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ

… Indeed, we were previously

during the worldly life

فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ

 … among our people, fearful

meaning: fearful and afraid, so we left off sins and rectified our shortcoming and failings because of that fear.

فمن الله علينا بالهداية والتوفيق، ووقانا عذاب السموم أي: العذاب الحار الشديد حره. ـ

فَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْنَا

So Allah conferred favor upon us …

by guiding us and giving us the accord to follow that guidance

وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ

… and protected us from the punishment of al-samoom.

meaning: a punishment of extreme heat.

إنا كنا من قبل ندعوه أن يقينا عذاب السموم، ويوصلنا إلى النعيم، وهذا شامل لدعاء العبادة ودعاء المسألة أي: لم نزل نتقرب إليه بأنواع العبادات وندعوه في سائر الأوقات، إنه هو البر الرحيم فمن بره بنا ورحمته إيانا، أنالنا رضاه والجنة، ووقانا سخطه والنار. ـ

إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ

Indeed, we used to supplicate to Him before

that He would protect us from the punishment of al-samoon and that He would take us to this bliss. This includes both the supplications done as acts of worship and the supplications where one is seeking something from Allah. I.e., we were constantly seeking to draw closer to our Lord through the various acts of worship and calling on Him at all times.

  إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

Indeed, it is He who is al-Barr, al-Raheem

For part of his goodness and mercy towards us is that He allowed us to attain His pleasure and al-Jannah and that He protected us from His displeasure and the Hellfire.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 962]

See also: The Themes of Surah Qaaf and When to Recite it: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: Inheriting al-Jannah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Shaytaan’s address to the disbelievers at the end of time: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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2 thoughts on “A Discussion of the People of Jannah: Tafsir al-Qurtubi & Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Inheriting al-Jannah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Shaytaan’s address to the disbelievers at the end of time: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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