An Overview of Surah al-Dhariyat (51): Ibn Taymiyah

In the last part of surah al-Dhariyat, Allah says:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [5:56]

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah commented on this ayah in one of his many written works by saying:

إن سياق الآية يقتضي أن هذا ذم وتوبيخ لمن لم يعبد الله منهم لأن الله خلقه لشيء فلم يفعل ما خلق له ولهذا عقبها بقوله ; { ما أريد منهم من رزق وما أريد أن يطعمون } ـ

The context of this ayah necessitates that it is a statement of dispraise and rebuke towards those men and Jinn who do not worship Allah. For Allah created them for one thing but they do not do what they were created for. This is why Allah immediately follows up this ayah by saying:

مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

I do not want any provision from them, nor do I want them to feed Me. [51:57]

فإثبات العبادة ونفي هذا يبين أنه خلقهم للعبادة ولم يرد منهم ما يريده السادة من عبيدهم من الإعانة لهم بالرزق والإطعام ـ

When placed beside this negation, the affirmation of Allah’s sole right to be worshiped makes it clear that He created them to worship Him and that He does not desire what a ruler might desire of his slaves – i.e. their aid in gaining provision and food.

ولهذا قال بعد ذلك : { فإن للذين ظلموا ذنوبا } أي نصيبا { مثل ذنوب أصحابهم } أي المتقدمين من الكفار . أي نصيبا من العذاب ـ

And this is why Allah said after that: Continue reading

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Transmitted Explanations of the Qur’an: al-Zarkashi

In part of his well-known work of Usool al-Tafsiral-Burhan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, sheikh Badr al-Deen Muhammad al-Zarkashi wrote:

واعلم أن القرآن قسمان : أحدهما ورد تفسيره بالنقل عمن يعتبر تفسيره ، وقسم لم يرد . والأول ثلاثة أنواع : إما أن يرد التفسير عن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أو عن الصحابة أو عن رؤوس التابعين ـ

You should know that the Qur’an can be divided into two categories:

1. That for which an explanation has been transmitted regarding what it means.
2. That for which nothing has been transmitted.

The first category has three sub-groups:

1a. Either an explanation has been transmitted from the Prophet himself (ﷺ)
1b. Or from the Sahabah
1c. Or from the leading scholars of the Taabi’oon

فالأول يبحث فيه عن صحة السند ، والثاني ينظر في تفسير الصحابي ، فإن فسره من حيث اللغة فهم أهل اللسان فلا شك في اعتمادهم ، وإن فسره بما شاهده من الأسباب [ ص: 313 ] والقرائن فلا شك فيه ؛ وحينئذ إن تعارضت أقوال جماعة من الصحابة ، فإن أمكن الجمع فذاك ، وإن تعذر قدم ابن عباس ؛ لأن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – بشره بذلك حيث قال : اللهم علمه التأويل ، وقد رجح الشافعي قول زيد في الفرائض ، لقوله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : أفرضكم زيد . فإن تعذر الجمع جاز للمقلد أن يأخذ بأيها شاء ، وأما الثالث وهم رؤوس التابعين إذا لم يرفعوه إلى النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ولا إلى أحد من الصحابة – رضي الله عنهم – فحيث جاز التقليد فيما سبق ، فكذا هنا ، وإلا وجب الاجتهاد . ـ

In the first of these three sub-groups, one should look for the soundness of the chain of transmission. Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #9

What follows is a collection of benefits that were originally posted on our Facebook page during October and November of 2015:

♦ Taqwa and Gratitude

Allah says in surah Aali ‘Imran:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

So have taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful (3:123)

Commenting on this, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote:

قال { فاتقوا الله لعلكم تشكرون } لأن من اتقى ربه فقد شكره، ومن ترك التقوى فلم يشكره

Allah said, “So have taqwa of Allah that you may be grateful” because whoever exercises taqwa of his Lord  has expressed gratitude to Him while whoever leaves off al-taqwa has not been grateful to Him.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 154]


♦ Belief in Allah and the Last Day

Frequently in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, Allah and His messenger pair and emphasize the belief in Allah with the belief in the Day of Judgement when referring to the believers, such as Allah’s statement:

يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ

They believe in Allah and the Last Day … [3:114]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di comments on this occurrence of this phrase in his tafsir by explaining: Continue reading

Hajj is ‘Arafah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kaathir mentioned the following points regarding the Day of ‘Arafah in his tafsir of surah al-Baqarah:

وعرفة : موضع الموقف في الحج ، وهي عمدة أفعال الحج ; ولهذا روى الإمام أحمد ، وأهل السنن ، بإسناد صحيح ، عن الثوري ، عن بكير بن عطاء ، عن عبد الرحمن بن يعمر الديلي ، [ ص: 552 ] قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” الحج عرفات – ثلاثا – فمن أدرك عرفة قبل أن يطلع الفجر ، فقد أدرك . وأيام منى ثلاثة ، فمن تعجل في يومين فلا إثم عليه ، ومن تأخر فلا إثم عليه ” . ـ

‘Arafah is a place of standing during the Hajj, and it is one of the pillars of the rituals of the Hajj. In support of this is the hadeeth with a sound chain of narration that was conveyed by Imam Ahmad and authors of the Sunan collections on the authority of al-Thawri, on the authority on Bukayr ibn ‘Ataa’, on the authority of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Y’amar al-Dayli who said:

I heard Allah’s Messenger say, “Hajj is ‘Arafah” – three times – “so whoever catches ‘Arafah before the rising of dawn, then he has caught the Hajj. And the days of Mina are three, but whoever hastens to leave after two days, then there is no sin upon, and whoever waits, then there is no sin upon him.” Continue reading

I have been Commanded to Worship the Lord of this City: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-Naml with the following ayaat:

إِنَّمَا أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبَّ هَـٰذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ الَّذِي حَرَّمَهَا وَلَهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ ۖ وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ * وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ * وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا ۚ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

I have only been commanded to worship the Lord of this city, who made it sacred, and to whom belongs all things. And I am commanded to be one of the Muslims. * And that I recite the Qur’an. Then whoever is guided is only guided for the good of his own self. And whoever goes astray, then say, “I am only one of warners.” * And say, “All praise is due to Allah. He will show you His signs and you will recognize them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” [27:91-93]

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

أي: قل لهم يا محمد إنما أمرت أن أعبد رب هذه البلدة أي: مكة المكرمة، التي حرمها وأنعم على أهلها، فيجب أن يقابلوا ذلك بالشكر والقبول وله كل شيء من العلويات والسفليات أتى به لئلا يتوهم اختصاص ربوبيته بالبيت وحده، وأمرت لأن أكون من المسلمين أي: أبادر إلى الإسلام، وقد فعل صلى الله عليه وسلم، فإنه أول هذه الأمة إسلاما وأعظمها استسلاما. ـ

Meaning: O Muhammad, say to them:

إِنَّمَا أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبَّ هَـٰذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ

I have only been commanded to worship the Lord of this city

i.e. Mecca, which Allah has sanctified, blessing it and its people. So one must respond to that with gratitude and acceptance. And Allah is the owner of all things, from the heights of His creation to its lowest parts. He mentioned this lest anyone wrongly assume that His lordship was restricted to only one place.

And I am commanded Continue reading

Purifying the Ka’bah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In surah al-Hajj, Allah informs us of his command to Ibrahim to purify the Ka’bah:

 وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

And when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate. [22:26]

al-haafidh ibn Kathir commented on this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

( وطهر بيتي ) قال مجاهد وقتادة : من الشرك ، ( للطائفين والقائمين والركع السجود ) أي : اجعله خالصا لهؤلاء الذين يعبدون الله وحده لا شريك له . فالطائف به معروف ، وهو أخص العبادات عند البيت ، فإنه لا يفعل ببقعة من الأرض سواها ، ( والقائمين ) أي : في الصلاة; ولهذا قال : ( والركع السجود ) فقرن الطواف بالصلاة; لأنهما لا يشرعان إلا مختصين بالبيت ، فالطواف عنده ، والصلاة إليه في غالب الأحوال ، إلا ما استثني من الصلاة عند اشتباه القبلة وفي الحرب ، وفي النافلة في السفر ، والله أعلم .ـ

وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ

And purify My House …

Mujahid and Qatadah said this means: purify it from al-Shirk.

لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

… for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate.

meaning: make this House exclusively for those who worship Allah alone without associating any partners with Him. Continue reading

Why ‘Uthman selected Zayd ibn Thaabit over ibn Mas’ood

When the third Rightly-Guided Khaleefah ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan commissioned the writing of the official mushafs in the dialect of the Quraysh for the entire Ummah, he selected a group of people to carry out this task with Zayd ibn Thaabit at their head. There are a number of reports indicating that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood was displeased with this choice. Some orientalists and missionaries use these reports to their attempts to impugn the reliability and preservation of the Qur’an. What follows are the words of two great scholars clearly addressing the nature of ibn Mas’ood’s concerns and the reasons for ‘Uthman’s decision.

The famous muhaddith, historian, and expert in qiraa’aat Imam Shams al-Deen al-Dhahabi mentioned some of these reports and then commented by explaining:

قلت : إنما شق على ابن مسعود ، لكون عثمان ما قدمه على كتابة المصحف ، وقدم في ذلك من يصلح أن يكون ولده ، وإنما عدل عنه عثمان لغيبته عنه بالكوفة ، ولأن زيدا كان يكتب الوحي لرسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – فهو إمام في الرسم ، وابن مسعود فإمام في الأداء ، ثم إن زيدا هو الذي ندبه الصديق لكتابة المصحف وجمع القرآن ، فهلا عتب على أبي بكر ؟ وقد ورد أن ابن مسعود رضي وتابع عثمان ولله الحمد . ـ

I say: The only reason why this upset ibn Mas’ood was because ‘Uthman had given precedence to someone other than him to write the official mushaf. Moreover, he had given that honor to someone who could have been his own son. But the only reasons why ‘Uthman didn’t select ibn Mas’ood was because he was far away in al-Kufah, and because Zayd used to write the revelation for Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). So Zayd was an expert in writing, while ibn Mas’ood was an expert in reciting.  Continue reading

The Passing Nature of this Life: Tafsir al-Tabari

Allah presents the following comparison in surah al-Kahf :

وَاضْرِ‌بْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْ‌ضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُ‌وهُ الرِّ‌يَاحُ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرً‌ا

And strike an example of the life of this world: It is like water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it. Then it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah holds power over all things [18:45]

The great mufassir imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari mentioned the following in part of his explanation of this ayah:

يقول : فلا يفخر ذو الأموال بكثرة أمواله ، ولا يستكبر على غيره بها ، ولا يغترن أهل الدنيا بدنياهم ، فإنما مثلها مثل هذا النبات الذي حسن استواؤه بالمطر ، فلم يكن إلا ريث أن انقطع عنه الماء ، فتناهى نهايته ، عاد يابسا تذروه الرياح ، [ ص: 31 ] فاسدا ، تنبو عنه أعين الناظرين ، ولكن ليعمل للباقي الذي لا يفنى ، والدائم الذي لا يبيد ولا يتغير .ـ

Allah is saying: So no one with wealth should exult in the abundance of wealth he has, nor should he feel exalted above others because of it. And those living well in this world should not be deceived by the worldly life they are enjoying. Continue reading

“For that He created them”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Near the end of surah Hud, Allah says

وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَ‌بُّكَ لَجَعَلَ النَّاسَ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً ۖ وَلَا يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ * إِلَّا مَن رَّ‌حِمَ رَ‌بُّكَ ۚ وَلِذَٰلِكَ خَلَقَهُمْ ۗ وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَ‌بِّكَ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ

And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ. * Except whom your Lord has given mercy, and for that He created them. But the word of your Lord is to be fulfilled that, “I will surely fill Hell with jinn and men all together.” [11:118-119]

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

يخبر تعالى أنه لو شاء لجعل الناس كلهم أمة واحدة على الدين الإسلامي، فإن مشيئته غير قاصرة، ولا يمتنع عليه شيء، ولكنه اقتضت حكمته، أن لا يزالوا مختلفين، مخالفين للصراط المستقيم‏,‏ متبعين للسبل الموصلة إلى النار، كل يرى الحق، فيما قاله، والضلال في قول غيره‏.‏

Allah informs us that had He wished, He could have made all mankind one nation upon the religion of Islam. For Allah’s will is in no way limited or prevented from doing anything. Rather, His wisdom necessitates that the people would remain differing and going contrary to the Straight Path, following other paths which lead them to the hell-fire, all the while believing the truth to be with them and misguidance to be with others.

‏{‏إِلَّا مَنْ رَحِمَ رَبُّكَ‏}‏ فهداهم إلى العلم بالحق والعمل به، والاتفاق عليه، فهؤلاء سبقت لهم، سابقة السعادة، وتداركتهم العناية الربانية والتوفيق الإلهي‏.‏

إِلَّا مَنْ رَحِمَ رَبُّكَ

Except whom your Lord has given mercy

thus guiding them to know the truth, to act according to it, and to be in agreement on it. For these people, Allah has already decreed that ultimate joy for them, and He gives them extra attention of protection and caring and grants them success. Continue reading