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.

For these things are like plants and vegetation: they become well-developed due to the rain, but they would be nothing but stumps if they were cut off from water. They grow and then reach their final end, becoming dried out, dispersed and blown away by the winds, in complete disrepair while people avert their eyes from them.

Instead, one should work for that which lasts and does not come to an end, that which is eternal and does not perish or change.

[Tafsir al-Tabari 18/30-31]

And this explanation serves as a segue to show the connection between this ayah and the following one:

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

Wealth and children are adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for one’s hope. [18:46]

For more on this parable, see: Allah’s Comparison of the Dunya and Water: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: The Enduring Good Deeds: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: The Seasons of the Year Remind One of the Hereafter: Ibn Rajab

See also: “The entire dunya is a month of fasting for the muttaqeen”

4 thoughts on “The Passing Nature of this Life: Tafsir al-Tabari

  1. Pingback: The Enduring Good Deeds: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: A Parable of What the Disbelievers Spend in This Life: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Introduction to the Parables of the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Allah’s Comparison of the Dunya and Water: Tafsir al-Qurtubi | Tulayhah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.