When One Plans to Sin but then Does Not: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In surah al-An’aam, Allah describes the Day of Judgement by saying:

مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا ۖ وَمَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجْزَىٰ إِلَّا مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof, and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be wronged. [6:160]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir gave a thorough and beneficial explanation of this ayah in part of his famous book of tafsir. He began by linking it to another related ayah, and then proceeded to mention several slightly different and seemingly contradictory hadith narrations on the same subject before explaining how these differences could be reconciled and understood properly:

وهذه الآية الكريمة مفصلة لما أجمل في الآية الأخرى ، وهي قوله : ( من جاء بالحسنة فله خير منها ) [ النمل : 89 ] ، وقد وردت الأحاديث مطابقة لهذه الآية ، كما قال الإمام أحمد بن حنبل ، رحمه الله : حدثنا عفان ، حدثنا جعفر بن سليمان ، حدثنا الجعد أبو عثمان ، عن أبي رجاء العطاردي ، عن ابن عباس ، رضي الله عنهما ، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فيما يروي عن ربه ، عز وجل قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” إن ربكم عز وجل رحيم ، من هم بحسنة فلم يعملها كتبت له حسنة ، فإن عملها كتبت له عشرا إلى سبعمائة ، إلى أضعاف كثيرة . ومن هم بسيئة فلم يعملها كتبت له حسنة ، فإن عملها كتبت له واحدة ، أو يمحوها الله ، عز وجل ، ولا يهلك على الله إلا هالك ” ورواه البخاري ، ومسلم ، والنسائي ، من حديث الجعد بن أبي عثمان ، به . ـ

This great ayah serves to clarify what was previously only mentioned in a general sense in another ayah, that ayah being Allah’s statement:

مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهَا

Whoever comes with a good deed with have something better than that … [27:89]

and a number of hadith narrations have been transmitted which fall in the same vein as this ayah, such as what Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said … that ibn ‘Abbaas relayed something of what Allah’s Messenger conveyed from his Lord. He said: Allah’s Messenger said:

Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, is merciful to the believers. Whoever intends to do a good deed but then does not actually do it will have one good deed recorded for him. But if he does do that good deed, he will have ten up to seven hundred or even higher multiples of good deeds recorded for him. And whoever intends to do a sin but then does not actually do it will have one good deed recorded for him. But if he does do that sin, it will be recorded as a single sin for him. Or Allah may even wipe that sin out. And Allah does not subject anyone to destruction except those who persist in sinfulness.

This was recorded by al-Bukari, Muslim, and al-Nasaa’i from the hadith of Ja’d ibn Abi ‘Uthman. Continue reading

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Two Causes for Our Deficiencies: Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di mentioned the following point in a collection of miscellaneous benefits:

والنقص إنما يصيب العبد من أحد أمرين : إما من عدم عزمه على الرشد ، الذي هو الخير ، وإما من عدم ثباته واستمراره على عزمه ؛ ولهذا كان دعاء النبي ﷺ { اللهم إني أسألك الثبات في الأمر ، والعزيمة على الرشد } من أنفع أدعية وأجمعها للخيرات ، فمن أعانه الله على نية الرشد والعزيمة عليها والثبات والاستمرار ؛ فقد حصل له أكبر أسباب السعادة ، والناس في هذا المقام درجات بحسب قيامهم بهذين الأمرين . ـ

A slave only experiences deficiencies in himself due to two issues:

○ It is either due to the lack of resolve to follow the right path, i.e. the path of goodness,

○ or it is due to the lack of firmness and persistence in that resolve.

So in light of this, the Prophet’s supplication

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الثَّبَاتَ فِي الأَمْرِ وَالْعَزِيمَةِ عَلَى الرُّشْدِ

O Allah, I ask you for firmness in the religion, and for the resolve to follow the right path Continue reading

The Last Parts of the Qur’an to be Revealed: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Imam al-Qurtubi concludes his explanation of surah al-Nasr [110] with the following narration:

وقال ابن عمر : نزلت هذه السورة بمنى في حجة الوداع ؛ ثم نزلت اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم وأتممت عليكم نعمتي [ ص: 208 ] فعاش بعدهما النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ثمانين يوما . ثم نزلت آية الكلالة ، فعاش بعدها خمسين يوما . ثم نزل لقد جاءكم رسول من أنفسكم فعاش بعدها خمسة وثلاثين يوما . ثم نزل واتقوا يوما ترجعون فيه إلى الله فعاش بعدها أحدا وعشرين يوما . وقال مقاتل سبعة أيام . وقيل غير هذا مما تقدم في ( البقرة ) بيانه والحمد لله . ـ

Ibn ‘Umar said:

This surah [surah al-Nasr – 110] was revealed at Mina during the Farewell Pilgrimage, and then

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي

your religion and completed My favor upon you … [5:3]

The Prophet lived for 80 days after that. The ayah of al-Kalalah [4:176] was revealed next and the Prophet remained alive for fifty days after that. The ayah

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; he is concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful. [9:128]

was the next to be revealed and he remained alive for 35 days after that. Then Continue reading

A Primer on Abrogation: al-Zarkashi

In his landmark manual of the Qur’anic sciences, sheikh Badr al-Deen al-Zarkashi mentioned the following important discussion in his chapter on naasikh and mansookh – abrogated and abrogating – verses:

قسم بعضهم النسخ من وجه آخر إلى ثلاثة أضرب

Some scholars have taken another approach to categorizing abrogation, resulting in three categories:

الأول : نسخ المأمور به قبل امتثاله ، وهذا الضرب هو النسخ على الحقيقة ، كأمر الخليل بذبح ولده ، وكقوله تعالى : إذا ناجيتم الرسول فقدموا بين يدي نجواكم صدقة ( المجادلة : 12 ) ثم نسخه سبحانه بقوله : أأشفقتم ( المجادلة : 13 ) الآية . ـ

One: Abrogation of a command before it could be carried out, which is indeed abrogation. An example of this would be the command for Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, or Allah’s statement:

إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَةً

When you [wish to] privately consult the Messenger, present before your consultation a charity. [58:12]

which Allah then abrogated by saying:

أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ

Have you feared … [58:13]

until the end of the ayah.

الثاني : ويسمى نسخا تجوزا ، وهو ما أوجبه الله على من قبلنا كحتم القصاص ولذلك قال عقب تشريع الدية : ذلك تخفيف من ربكم ورحمة ( البقرة : 178 ) وكذلك ما أمرنا الله به أمرا إجماليا ثم نسخ ، كنسخه التوجه إلى بيت الله المقدس بالكعبة ، فإن ذلك كان واجبا علينا من قضية أمره باتباع الأنبياء قبله ، وكنسخ صوم يوم عاشوراء برمضان . ـ

Two – which can only be loosely called “abrogation” – is what Allah had mandated on those before us, such as the decree of legal retribution. It was in this vein that immediately after the legislation of blood-money Allah said:

ذَٰلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ

This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. [2:178]

And likewise what Allah commanded in general terms and then abrogated, such as His abrogation of facing towards Allah’s Sacred House in Jerusalem by facing instead towards the Ka’bah, for that had been something binding on us under His commandment to follow the previous prophets. Another example of this is the abrogation of fasting the Day of ‘Aashooraa’ by fasting Ramadan. Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #17

What follows is a collection of various benefits originally posted on our Facebook page during November and December of 2016:

♦ The People of the Hellfire Will Wish for Death

In surah al-Haqqah, Allah describes the situation of the disbelievers on the Day of Judgement, including that they would say:

 وَأَمَّا مَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِشِمَالِهِ فَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُوتَ كِتَابِيَهْ * وَلَمْ أَدْرِ مَا حِسَابِيَهْ * يَا لَيْتَهَا كَانَتِ الْقَاضِيَةَ

But as for the one who is given his record in his left hand, he will say, “Oh I wish I had not been given my record * And had not known what my account is * Oh, I wish that my death had been the end of it all.” (69:25-27)

The famous taabi’ee Qatadah explained this last ayah by saying:

 وقال قتادة : تمنى الموت ، ولم يكن شيء في الدنيا أكره إليه منه . ـ

He will wish for death, while in this worldly life there is nothing which he dislikes more than death.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 8/216. Also found in Tafsir al-Tabari 28/588 and Tafsir al-Baghawi 8/213]


♦ The Importance of Safety and Security

Towards the end of surah Ibrahim, Allah informs us of a long supplication that Ibrahim made concerning his family members whom he had left in Mecca. Ibrahim began his supplication by saying:

رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَـٰذَا الْبَلَدَ آمِنًا وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ

My Lord, make this city secure and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols (14:35)

Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkaani commented on this by writing:

وقدم طلب الأمن على سائر المطالب المذكورة بعده ، لأنه إذا انتفى الأمن لم يفرغ الإنسان لشيء آخر من أمور الدين والدنيا

Ibrahim placed requesting safety and security before all the other requests that followed it because if safety and security are lost then people won’t be able to do anything else, neither religious matters nor worldly affairs.

[Fath al-Qadeer pg. 751] Continue reading

‘Ibad al-Rahman – Conclusion: ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr, one of the contemporary scholars of al-Madinah, wrote a small booklet on the qualities of the ‘Ibad al-Rahman – servants of the Most Merciful – mentioned in the end of Surah al-Furqan. We have translated this booklet in a series of posts. He concluded the booklet with the following:

خاتمة
Conclusion

ثم ختم الله هذا السياق المبارك بذكر جزاء من اتصف بالصفات السابقة، وعظيم ثوابه، فقال عز وجل : [أُولَـٰئِكَ يُجْزَوْنَ الْغُرْفَةَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيُلَقَّوْنَ فِيهَا تَحِيَّةً وَسَلَامًا ﴿٧٥﴾ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ حَسُنَتْ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَمُقَامًا] فكان الجزاء من جنس العمل؛ فلما كانت أوصافهم رفيعةً عاليةً كافأهم رب العالمين بالغرْفة العالية جزاءً لهم. ـ

Allah then concludes this blessed passage by mentioning the recompense of those who are characterized by these aforementioned qualities and the greatness of His reward for them. He says:

أُولَـٰئِكَ يُجْزَوْنَ الْغُرْفَةَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيُلَقَّوْنَ فِيهَا تَحِيَّةً وَسَلَامًا * خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ حَسُنَتْ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَمُقَامًا

Those will be awarded with a dwelling for what they patiently endured, and they will be received therein with greetings and words of peace. * Abiding therein; excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to dwell. [25:75-76]

For the rewards of deeds are of the same nature as the deeds themselves. So since their qualities are so lofty and elevated then the Lord of all creation will compensate them with this elevated dwelling place as a reward. Continue reading

The Jews Say the Christians Have Nothing to Stand on …: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote the following in his tafsir of surah al-Baqarah:

وقوله تعالى : ( وقالت اليهود ليست النصارى على شيء وقالت النصارى ليست اليهود على شيء وهم يتلون الكتاب ) يبين به تعالى تناقضهم وتباغضهم وتعاديهم وتعاندهم . كما قال محمد بن إسحاق : حدثني محمد بن أبي محمد ، عن عكرمة أو سعيد بن جبير ، عن ابن عباس ، قال : لما قدم أهل نجران من النصارى على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، أتتهم أحبار يهود ، فتنازعوا عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فقال رافع بن حريملة ما أنتم على شيء ، وكفر بعيسى وبالإنجيل . وقال رجل من أهل نجران من النصارى لليهود : ما أنتم على شيء . وجحد نبوة موسى وكفر بالتوراة . فأنزل الله في ذلك من قولهما ( وقالت اليهود ليست النصارى على شيء وقالت النصارى ليست اليهود على شيء وهم يتلون الكتاب ) قال : إن كلا يتلو في كتابه تصديق من كفر به ، أي : يكفر اليهود بعيسى وعندهم التوراة ، فيها ما أخذ الله عليهم على لسان موسى بالتصديق بعيسى ، وفي الإنجيل ما جاء به عيسى بتصديق موسى ، وما جاء من التوراة من عند الله ، وكل يكفر بما في يد صاحبه . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ لَيْسَتِ النَّصَارَىٰ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَىٰ لَيْسَتِ الْيَهُودُ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ وَهُمْ يَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ قَالَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ مِثْلَ قَوْلِهِمْ ۚ فَاللَّـهُ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ

The Jews say “The Christians have nothing to stand on,” and the Christians say, “The Jews have nothing to stand on,” although they both recite the Scripture. Likewise is what those who do not know said. So Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that over which they used to differ. [2:113]

Allah is clearly putting their contradictions, their mutual enmity and hatred, and their opposition to one another on display. This is just as Muhammad ibn Ishaaq said: that Muhammad ibn Abi Muhammad told me on the authority of ‘Ikrimah or Sa’eed ibn Jubayr, that ibn ‘Abbas said:

When the Christians of Najran came to see Allah’s Messenger, the Jewish Rabbis [of al-Madinah] came to them and the two groups argued in front of Allah’s Messenger. Raafi’ ibn Huraymilah said, “You all have nothing to stand on!” and he expressed his disbelief in ‘Eesaa and the Injeel. A man from the Christians of Najran said to the Jews, “You all have nothing to stand on!” and rejected the Prophethood of Moosaa and expressed his disbelief in the Tawrah. So then Allah revealed the following about these statements of theirs:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ لَيْسَتِ النَّصَارَىٰ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَىٰ لَيْسَتِ الْيَهُودُ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ وَهُمْ يَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ

The Jews say “The Christians have nothing to stand on,” and the Christians say, “The Jews have nothing to stand on,” although they both recite the Scripture.

Ibn ‘Abbaas went on to say: Continue reading

‘Ibad al-Rahman Part 8 – Attention to Supplication: ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr, one of the contemporary scholars of al-Madinah, wrote a small booklet on the qualities of the ‘Ibad al-Rahman – servants of the Most Merciful – mentioned in the end of Surah al-Furqan. We have translated this booklet in a series of posts. This is the eighth and final quality mentioned before the conclusion:

الصفة الثامنة : عنايتهم بالدعاء والتَّضرع لله
The Eighth Characteristic: Their Attention to Supplication and Humility Towards Allah

قال عز وجل : [وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا] ـ

Allah said:

وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” [25:74]

فمنْ صفات عباد الرحمن الكمل: عنايتهم بالدعاء، فهم مفتقرون إلى الله ملْتجئون إليه، مقْبلون عليه، وجميع حاجاتهم ومصالحهم الدينية والدنيوية يرجونها منه وحده لا شريك له. ـ

One of the characteristics of the complete ‘Ibad al-Rahman – slaves of the Most Merciful – is their attention to supplication, for they are completely in need of Allah and seek refuge in Him and turn to Him. For every single need and benefit – whether in this life or the next – they place their hopes in Him alone, making no partner with Him.

ثم هم في دعائهم يحرصون على جوامع الدعاء وأنفعه، فقولهم: [وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا] هذا الدعاء من أجمع الدعاء وأنفعه، ففيه أولًا دعاء المرء بأنْ تقر عينه، ويسعد قلبه بصلاح أهله وأولاده؛ في تعبدهم، وأخلاقهم، وتعاملاتهم، وعيْشهم، وبرِّهم بوالديهم، وغير ذلك. ـ

But more than that, when it comes to their supplications they stick to those supplications which are comprehensive in meaning and especially beneficial. For example, their statement: Continue reading

Some Background on the Field of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr

In the introduction to his explanation of Manthoomah al-Zamzami – an introduction to the Qur’anic sciences in poem form -, sheikh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr included the following remarks which include important background information regarding the field of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an:

التأليف في علوم القرآن يندر أن تجد متنا يناسب شرحه في دورة مثلا كما يوجد في العلوم الأخرى، العلوم الأخرى ألف فيها للمبتدئين، كتب كثيرة للمبتدئين؛ في الفقه، في العقائد، في الحديث، في كذا..، كتب كثيرة تناسب المبتدئين، كتب ألفت للمتوسطين، كتب ألفت للمنتهين. ـ

When it comes to the field of the Qur’anic sciences it is rare to find a primer suitable to be explained in a conference setting like the primers that you can find for other fields. In other sciences there are works that have been written for the beginning level, many books suitable for beginners. This is the case in fiqh, in ‘aqeedah, in hadeeth, and so on. There are plenty of books suitable for beginners, books written for intermediate students, and books written for advanced students.

تعال يا أخي إلى علوم القرآن، ما الذي يناسب المبتدئين من هذه العلوم؟ نجد في الدورات عناية بمقدمة شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية مقدمة التفسير ، شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله إمام من أئمة المسلمين، يكفي أن هذا الكتاب لشيخ الإسلام، لكن هل هو على طريقة المتون التي تعنى بالحدود والأمثلة والتعاريف وضبط الفن وضبط أنواع الفن كالعلوم الأخرى؟ يعني: هل نجد متنا في علوم القرآن مثل ما نجد النخبة مثلا ، أو الكتب التي ألفت للتدرج في تلقي العقيدة الصحيحة؟ ما نجد، يعني على سبيل الاستقلال للعلماء الذين يؤلفون على الجادة لطلاب العلم ما تجد إلا ما ندر. ـ

Let’s look, my brother, at the Qur’anic sciences – what would be a suitable work in this field for the beginning student? We find conferences generally giving attention to the Muqaddimah al-Tafsir of Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah, the sheikh of Islam (may Allah have mercy on him) and one of the leading figures of the Muslims. It is enough to know that this book was written by this Sheikh al-Islam, but is this work written in the typical mold of a primer that focuses on delimiting the subject, providing examples, giving definitions, precisely defining the field and the various sub-fields within it as we find in the primers of other sciences? In other words, do we find source texts for the Qur’anic sciences like al-Nukhbah al-Fikr, for example or like the books written to help the student gradually progress in acquiring the correct ‘aqeedah? We do not find these, meaning not as their own independent works written by the scholars as part of a progression of knowledge for students of knowledge. Except for the rare exception, we do not find such works. Continue reading