“So Turn Away From Them”: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan mentioned the following in a part of a series of classes he gave on the explanation of the mufassal surahs:

ثم قال لنبيه محمد : (فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ) ، أي : لا تلتفت إلى أقوالهم ، واعتراضاتهم ، ولا تعبأ بها أبداً ، ولا تهمك ؛ لأنه كان يحزن على قومه ، أنهم يدخلون النار ، وأنهم يكفرون بالله ، (فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ) (لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ) ، أي : مهلك نفسك ، فالرسول كان حريصا ، وكان يحزنه ما عليه قومه ، لأنه يريد لهم السلامة ، والنصيحة ، ويريد لهم النجاة ، فإذا رآهم على ما هم عليه من العناد فإنه يحزن . ـ

Then Allah said to His Prophet Muhammad:

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ

So turn away from them [51:54]

meaning: don’t pay heed to what they say and their opposition, don’t ever let it bother you or concern you. That is because the Prophet used to grieve for his people [i.e. the Quraish], worrying that they would enter the Hellfire and because they disbelieved in Allah.

فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ

Perhaps you would kill yourself in grief because of them [18:6]

لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

Perhaps you would kill yourself with grief that they will not be believers. [26:3]

meaning: that you would destroy yourself. For the Messenger desired their guidance very much, and used to grieve for his people, because he wanted good for them and to advise them, and he wanted their salvation. So when he would see them in their state of obstinate refusal he would be saddened.

قال تعالى : (وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ) ، (قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ ۖ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ يَجْحَدُونَ) ، فهذه تسلية للرسول . ـ

Allah said:

وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ

Indeed, We know that your breast is straitened at what they say. [15:97]

قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ ۖ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ يَجْحَدُونَ

We certainly know the grief which their words cause you: it is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses of Allah that the wrong-doers deny. [6:33]

So this is a consolation for the Messenger.

ـ (فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ) ، أي أعرض عنهم ، وليس معنى ذلك أن يتركهم ، لا ، يذكرهم ، وإنما يعرض عن أذاهم ، ولا يلتفت إليه ـ ولا يحزنه أيضاً ؛ لأن حسابهم على الله ، (إِنْ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ) ، (فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ) ، (ذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ * لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُصَيْطِرٍ) ، وهذه الآية وأمثالها نزلت في مكة ، يوم كان الرسول منهيا عن القتال ؛ لأن المسلمين لا يستطيعونه ، فأمر بالإعراض عنهم والاستمرار في الدعوة إلى الله . ـ

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ

So turn away from them [51:54]

meaning: turn away from them. And the meaning is not that you would abandon them. No; remind them. It is only that you would turn away from their harms and not pay that any mind, nor grieve over that. Because their reckoning will be from Allah.

إِنْ عَلَيْكَ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ

You are only responsible for conveying [42:48]

فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ

You are only responsible for conveying, and We are responsible for the reckoning [13:40]

ذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ * لَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُصَيْطِرٍ

Remind: you are only one who reminds * You are not a dictator over them [88:21-22]

For this ayah and others like it were revealed in Mecca during the period when the Messenger was prohibited from fighting since the Muslims did not have the ability to do that. So he was commanded to turn away from them but to continue calling them to Allah.

ولهذا قال : (وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ) مع إعراضهم عن أذاهم لا تيأس ، واستمر على التذكير ، وعلى الدعوة إلى الله ، فإن هناك من يقبل منك ، ويتبعك ، (فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ) ، فالموعظة تنفع أهل الإيمان ، وترقق قلوبهم ، وتقربهم إلى الحق ، وأما الكفار الذين أصروا على كفرهم ، وعنادهم ، فلا ينفع فيهم التذكير ، لكن يكون حجة عليهم يوم القيامة ؛ بأن الرسول ذكرهم ، وبلغهم ، فتمردوا ، وعصوا . ـ

So that is why Allah said:

وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And remind; for remembrance benefits the believers [51:55]

while turning away from their harms. Do not give up hope and continue reminding and calling people to Allah. For there are those who will accept what you are saying and follow you

فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

 for remembrance benefits the believers [51:55]

For exhortations benefit those who have eemaan and they soften their hearts. But as for the disbelievers who persist in their disbelief and obstinancy, they will not benefit from any reminder, however it will act as a proof against them on the Day of Resurrection – the fact that the Messenger reminded them but they rebelled and disobeyed.

ودلت هذه الآية على أن الذي يتأثر بالتذكير ، ويتعظ أنه مؤمن ، وتدل بمفهومها على أن الذي لا يقبل التذكير ليس بمؤمن ، فالإيمان يقتضي قبول التذكير ، والموعظة ، وأما الكافر فلا يقبلها ، لكن تقوم عليه الحجة ؛ ولهذا قال قوم عاد لهود : (قَالُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْنَا أَوَعَظْتَ أَمْ لَمْ تَكُن مِّنَ الْوَاعِظِينَ) ، فلا تنفع فيهم ، وفي الآية الأخرى (فَذَكِّرْ إِن نَّفَعَتِ الذِّكْرَىٰ * سَيَذَّكَّرُ مَن يَخْشَىٰ * وَيَتَجَنَّبُهَا الْأَشْقَى * الَّذِي يَصْلَى النَّارَ الْكُبْرَىٰ) ، فأنت أيها الداعية ، وأيها الواعظ ، وأيها المذكر لا تيأس ، فإن الذكرى تنفع المؤمنين ، وتنفع من يخشى الله ، ولن يعدم في العباد من يكونون كذلك ولو كانوا قليلين ، فالذكرى لها فائدة ، ولها أثر عظيم ، فلا ييأس الدعوة ، والمذكرون ، والوعاظ من تذكير الناس ، فإن الذكرى تنفع المؤمنين ، وأما المعرضون فقد أمره الله بالإعراض عنهم ، والاستمرار على التذكير ، فليس معنى الإعراض أنهم يتركون ، ولا يذكرون ، ولا يقال : لا يقبلون ، بل يستمر الداعية ، ويصبر على التذكير ، وعلى الموعظة ، والدعوة إلى الله . ونحن نسمع من بعض الصفحين الآن تقليلاً من شأن الوعظ وهذا لجهلهم وقسوة قلوبهم . ـ

This ayah shows that the person who it affected and moved by reminders is a mu’min – a believer -, and it also indicates by implication that whoever does not accept the reminder is not a mu’min. For eemaan necessitates accepting reminders and exhortations. But as for the disbelievers, they do not accept them; instead the reminders will act as a proof against them. That is why the people of ‘Aad said to Hud:

قَالُوا سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْنَا أَوَعَظْتَ أَمْ لَمْ تَكُن مِّنَ الْوَاعِظِينَ

They said: “It is the same to us whether you preach or be not of those who preach.” [26:136]

So it does not benefit them. And in another ayah:

فَذَكِّرْ إِن نَّفَعَتِ الذِّكْرَىٰ * سَيَذَّكَّرُ مَن يَخْشَىٰ * وَيَتَجَنَّبُهَا الْأَشْقَى * الَّذِي يَصْلَى النَّارَ الْكُبْرَىٰ

So remind, if the reminder should benefit; * He who fears [Allah] will be reminded. * But the wretched one will avoid it – * [He] who will [enter and] burn in the greatest Fire [87:9-12]

So, O you caller, O you preacher, O you who reminds the people – do not give up hope! For reminders benefit the believers. They benefit those who fear Allah. And there will never be a complete absence of those servants who are like that, even if they are few in number. For reminders do have a benefit, and they have tremendous effect. So don’t let the callers and preachers and those who remind others give up hope of reminding the people. Reminders benefit the believers. But as for those who reject the reminders, then Allah commanded us to turn away from them and to continue reminding. For turning away does not mean that you abandon them and stop reminding or that you say, “they will not accept it.” No, on the contrary, continue calling and be steadfast in reminding, exhorting, and calling others to Allah. And we have heard that some newspaper have now reduced their preaching and exhortations, but this is because of their ignorance and the hardness of their hearts.

[Ma Tayassar wa Tahassal min Duroos al-Qur’an fee Hizb al-Mufassal 1/176-178]

See also: A Clarification on Warnings in the Qur’an: Imam al-Shinqitee

See also: “Except the people of Yunus”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The Consequences of Not Forbidding Wrongdoing: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: If They Incline Towards Peace, then Incline Towards it: Tafsir ibn Kathir

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3 thoughts on ““So Turn Away From Them”: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

  1. Pingback: A Clarification on Warnings in the Qur’an: Imam al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Assorted Qur’an Benefits #14 | Tulayhah

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