Cutting Off Shirk at its Very Roots: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah Saba’:

قُلِ ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ ۖ لَا يَمْلِكُونَ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا لَهُمْ فِيهِمَا مِن شِرْكٍ وَمَا لَهُ مِنْهُم مِّن ظَهِيرٍ * وَلَا تَنفَعُ الشَّفَاعَةُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا لِمَنْ أَذِنَ لَهُ ۚ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فُزِّعَ عَن قُلُوبِهِمْ قَالُوا مَاذَا قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا الْحَقَّ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْكَبِيرُ

Say, “Invoke those you claim as deities besides Allah.” They do not possess an ant’s weight in the heavens or on the earth, nor do they have any share in ownership of either realm, nor are any of them an assistant to Him. * And intercession does not hold any avail with Him except from those whom He permits. When terror is removed from their hearts, they will say, “What has your Lord said?” They will say, “The truth.” And He is the Most High, the Grand. [34:22-23]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di explained these ayaat by saying:

أي: قل يا أيها الرسول للمشركين بالله غيره من المخلوقات، التي لا تنفع ولا تضر، ملزما لهم بعجزها، ومبينا بطلان عبادتها: ادعوا الذين زعمتم من دون الله أي: زعمتموهم شركاء لله، إن كان دعاؤكم ينفع، فإنهم قد توفرت فيهم أسباب العجز، وعدم إجابة الدعاء من كل وجه، فإنهم ليس لهم أدنى ملك فلا يملكون مثقال ذرة في السماوات والأرض على وجه الاستقلال، ولا على [ ص: 1415 ] وجه الاشتراك، ولهذا قال: وما لهم أي: لتلك الآلهة الذين زعمتم فيهما أي: في السماوات والأرض، من شرك أي: لا شرك قليل ولا كثير، فليس لهم ملك، ولا شركة ملك. ـ

Meaning:

قُلِ

Say …

O Messenger, address those who hold that some of the created beings who can neither bring about benefit nor harm are partners with Allah. Tell them this message which clearly and plainly demonstrates the complete lack of power of these things and the futility of worshiping them.

ادْعُوا الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ

… “Invoke those you claim as deities besides Allah.”

meaning: those who you claim to be partners with Allah, if your supplications to them will bring about any benefit. For these “partners” are completely devoid of any power and cannot respond to your supplications in any way. That is because they do not possess even the smallest portion of control over anything, for they do not have ownership of even a speck of dust in the heavens or the earth that they could say is exclusively theirs nor that they could claim to even share ownership over. That is why Allah said: Continue reading

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The Prophet is Closer to the Believers than Their Own Selves: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah informs us of the following in the beginning of surah al-Ahzab:

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَاجُهُ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers [33:6]

Imam al-Qurtubi opens his discussion of this ayah by writing:

قوله تعالى : النبي أولى بالمؤمنين من أنفسهم هذه الآية أزال الله تعالى بها أحكاما كانت في صدر الإسلام ; منها : أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم كان لا يصلي على ميت عليه دين ، فلما فتح الله عليه الفتوح قال : أنا أولى بالمؤمنين من أنفسهم ; فمن توفي وعليه دين فعلي قضاؤه ، ومن ترك مالا فلورثته أخرجه الصحيحان . وفيهما أيضا فأيكم ترك دينا أو ضياعا فأنا مولاه . قال ابن العربي : فانقلبت الآن الحال بالذنوب ، فإن تركوا مالا ضويق العصبة فيه ، وإن تركوا ضياعا أسلموا إليه ; فهذا تفسير الولاية المذكورة في هذه الآية بتفسير النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وتنبيهه ; ولا عطر بعد عروس . قال ابن عطية : وقال بعض العلماء العارفين : هو أولى بهم من أنفسهم ; لأن أنفسهم تدعوهم إلى الهلاك ، وهو يدعوهم إلى النجاة . قال ابن عطية : ويؤيد هذا قوله عليه الصلاة والسلام : أنا آخذ بحجزكم عن النار وأنتم تقتحمون فيها تقحم الفراش . ـ

Allah’s statement:

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves …

Allah eliminated some rulings that had been in place at the beginning of Islam with this ayah. One of those earlier rulings was that the Prophet used to not offer the funeral prayer for someone who died while still owing a debt.

… But then when Allah gave the Prophet some victories on his expeditions he said, “I am closer to the believers than their own selves. So whoever dies while still owing a debt, then the debt is on me and I will pay it. And whoever leaves any wealth, then that is for his inheritors.”

al-Bukhari and Muslim both reported this hadith, as well as the hadith:

Any one of you who dies and leaves behind a debt or a needy dependent, then I am his close one.

Ibn al-‘Arabi said, “Due to sins, the situation today is the complete opposite. If someone leaves behind wealth, then his people come after it, but if he leaves a needy dependent behind they wash their hands of him.”

So the explanation of the “closeness” mentioned in this ayah is the explanation that the Prophet gave and alerted us to, and there is nothing that can come later to surpass this. That being said, ibn ‘Atiyyah mentioned the following: Continue reading

Ibn al-Qayyim’s Model for Contemplating the Qur’an

One of the many written works of ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah is his Risalah al-Tabookiyyah which centers Allah’s command at the beginning of surah al-Ma’idah for the believers to help one another in al-birr and al-taqwa [5:3]. After describing many aspects of this ayah and its implications, ibn al-Qayyim then wrote:

ورأس الأمر وعموده في ذلك إنما هو دوام التفكر وتدبر آيات الله حيث تستولي على الفكر وتشغل القلب فإذا صارت معاني القرآن مكان الخواطر من قلبه وجلس على كرسيه، وصار له التصرف، وصار هو الأمير المطاع أمره، فحينئذ يستقيم له سيره ويتضح له الطريق وتراه ساكنا وهو يباري الريح {وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ} . ـ

At the head of all of this and its very foundation is for one to always contemplate and reflect on the ayaat of the Qur’an, so much so that it overpowers one’s other thoughts and becomes the central concern of one’s heart. When the messages of the Qur’an take the place that mere passing thoughts previously held in his heart and begin to rule over it, being what turns his heart and the ruler that it obeys, then his journey becomes smooth and his course becomes clear. So even if it appeared that he was standing still he is in fact moving forward towards Allah fast as the wind.

وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ

And you see the mountains, thinking them rigid, while they will pass as the passing of clouds. It is the work of Allah, who perfected all things. Indeed, He is Acquainted with that which you do. [27:88]

فان قلت: إنك قد أشرت إلى مقام عظيم فافتح لي بابه، واكشف لي حجابه، وكيف تدبر القرآن وتفهمه والإشراف على عجائبه وكنوزه؟ وهذه تفاسير الأئمة بأيدينا، فهل في البيان غير ما ذكروه؟ ـ

Now if you were to say, “You have just described a great station, so open up its door for me and remove its veil for me – how does one contemplate and understand the the Qur’an grasp its amazements and great treasures? We have the explanations of the great scholars of tafsir with us, is there anything else to understand the Qur’an beyond what they have already done?”

[See also: Narration-based Tafsir before Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh]

قلت: سأضرب لك أمثالاً تحتذي عليها وتجعلها إماماً لك في هذا المقصد، قال الله تعالى: {هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ ضَيْفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ إِذْ دَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالُوا سَلاماً قَالَ سَلامٌ قَوْمٌ مُنْكَرُونَ فَرَاغَ إِلَى أَهْلِهِ فَجَاءَ بِعِجْلٍ سَمِينٍ، فَقَرَّبَهُ إِلَيْهِمْ قَالَ أَلا تَأْكُلُونَ فَأَوْجَسَ مِنْهُمْ خِيفَةً قَالُوا لا تَخَفْ وَبَشَّرُوهُ بِغُلامٍ عَلِيمٍ فَأَقْبَلَتِ امْرَأَتُهُ فِي صَرَّةٍ فَصَكَّتْ وَجْهَهَا وَقَالَتْ عَجُوزٌ عَقِيمٌ قَالُوا كَذَلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْحَكِيمُ الْعَلِيمُ} . ـ

My response would be: Let me give you some things that you can take as an example and a model to follow for this goal.

Allah says: Continue reading

Taking Ayaat out of Context: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr

Towards the beginning of surah Aal ‘Imran Allah says:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

It is He who revealed the Scripture to you. In it there are muhkam (clear) verses which are the foundation of the Book and others which are mutashabih (ambiguous). As for those in whose hearts is deviation, they follow the ambiguous parts of it, seeking fitnah and seeking distortion. But none knows its interpretation except Allah and those whose are firmly-grounded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord.” And none will be reminded except for those of understanding. [3:7]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr, one of the contemporary scholars of al-Madinahdelivered the following important words while discussing this ayah in the midst of his explanation of the book Kashf al-Shubuhat:

ـ [وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ ] أي الراسخون في العلم يعلمون معناه. وطريقة الراسخين في العلم تجاه المتشابه أنهم يؤمنون به أنه من عند لله، ويردونه إلى المحكَم، على خلاف طريقة أهل الزيغ. ـ

وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ

… and those firmly grounded in knowledge [3:7]

meaning: those who are firmly grounded in knowledge also know its meaning. And the approach that those who are firmly grounded in knowledge take with respect to the mutashabih (ambiguous) verses is that they believe in them as being from Allah and they refer these verses back to the muhkam (clear and unambiguous) verses. This is in contrast to how the deviated people approach these verses.

قال : [وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا] [كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا] كله حق، وكله من لله، وليس في القرآن تناقض ولا اضطراب، [وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّـهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا ] ولا يستقيم الأمر للإنسان في هذا الباب إلا إذا كان على هذا النهج ؛ يرَُد المتشابه من آيِّ القرآن إلى المحكَم. أما إذا كان بمعزل عن آيات القرآم ودلالاته ، ويجتزئ من النصوص أشياء يشبه بها على الناس فهذه طريقة أهل الزيغ، مثل طريقة الجهمية الذين يقولون لله في كل مكان، يقرأون مستدلين على قولهم “إن لله في كل مكان”، بقوله تعالى: وهو معكم أين ما كنتم [الحديد: ٤]. وابن القيم رحمه لله يقول: ـ
يا قومنا ولله إنا لقولنا ألفاً تدلُّ عليه ؛ بل ألفان

Allah said:

وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا

And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord.” [3:7]

All of it is from our Lord” – all of it is the truth and all of it is from Allah. There is no contradiction or disorder in the Qur’an.

وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّـهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا

Had it been from anyone other than Allah they would have found much contradiction within it. [4:82] Continue reading

The Qur’anic Methods of Calling People to Tawheed: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

In one of Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan‘s written works in the field of ‘aqeedah, the sheikh devoted a section to listing a number of methods that Allah uses throughout the Qur’an to invite people to worship Him alone. He mentions a total of eleven different methods, providing examples for each type:

أساليب القرآن في الدعوة إلى توحيد الإلهية
The Methods Used in the Qur’an to Call People to the Sole Worship of Allah

لما كان توحيد الربوبية قد أقر به الناس بموجب فطرهم ونظرهم في الكون، وكان الإقرار به وحده لا يكفي للإيمان بالله ولا ينجي صاحبه من العذاب، ركزت دعوات الرسل على توحيد الإلهية، خصوصا دعوة خاتم الرسل نبينا محمد عليه وعليهم أفضل السلام، فكان يطالب الناس بقول‏:‏ لا إله إلا الله، المتضمنة لعبادة الله، وترك عبادة ما سواه، فكانوا ينفرون منه ويقولون‏:‏ ‏{‏أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ‏}‏ ‏.‏ ـ

Since al-Tawheed al-Rububiyyah – Allah’s exclusive role as Lord of all creation – is something which people accept, as is necessitated by their innate disposition towards it and their observation of this universe, and because the mere acceptance of it is not equivalent to eemaan in Allah nor does it alone save anyone from eternal punishment, then the calls of the messengers were centered around and concentrated on al-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – Allah’s exclusive right to be worshiped by His created beings. This was all the more emphasized in the call of the seal of the messengers, our Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), for he sought for the people to profess Laa ilaaha illallaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah -, a phrase that entails worshiping Allah and leaving off the worship of anything besides Him. But the people were averse to this, saying

‏أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ‏

Has he made the gods all into one God? Indeed, this is something astounding! [38:5]

وحاولوا مع الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يترك هذه الدعوة ويخلي بينهم وبين عبادة الأصنام، وبذلوا في ذلك معه كل الوسائل؛ بالترغيب تارة وبالترهيب تارة، وهو عليه الصلاة والسلام يقول‏:‏ ‏”‏والله، لو وضعوا الشمس بيميني، والقمر بشمالي، على أن أترك هذا الأمر؛ لا أتركه حتى يظهره الله أو أهلك دونه‏”‏‏.‏ ـ

The people made every effort to make the Messenger give up this call and leave them to worship their idols. They took every means at their disposal to reach this end, sometimes offering enticements and other times with threats and intimidation. But the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I swear by Allah, if they were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on the condition that I abandon this cause, I would not leave it until Allah grants it victory or I perish therein.”

وكانت آيات الله تتنزل عليه بالدعوة إلى هذا التوحيد، والرد على شبهات المشركين، وإقامة البراهين على بطلان ما هم عليه‏.‏ ـ

Allah’s verses would be sent to him in order to call the people of al-Tawheed, to rebut the doubts of the mushrikoon, and to firmly establish proofs of the futility and falsehood of what they were following.

وقد تنوعت أساليب القرآن في الدعوة إلى توحيد الإلهية، وها نحن نذكر جملة منها؛ فمن ذلك‏:‏ ـ

The Qur’an uses a variety of methods to call people to al-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – Allah’s exclusive right to be worshiped – and here we will mention a number of them. These methods include:

Continue reading

The Forerunners in Faith: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Towards the end of surah al-Tawbah, Allah says:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

And the first forerunners among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment. [9:100]

In his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Baghawi wrote the following commentary on this ayah:

واختلفوا في السابقين الأولين ، قال سعيد بن المسيب ، وقتادة ، وابن سيرين وجماعة : هم الذين صلوا إلى القبلتين . وقال عطاء بن أبي رباح : هم أهل بدر . وقال الشعبي : هم الذين شهدوا بيعة الرضوان ، وكانت بيعة الرضوان بالحديبية . ـ

The salaf differed as to who was intended by the “first forerunners”.

Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, Qatadah, ibn Sireen and a group of others said: They were those who prayed toward both qiblahs.

‘Ataa’ ibn Abi Rabaah said: They were the people who fought at Badr.

al-Sha’bi said: They were those who were present for the pledge of al-Ridwan, which took place at al-Hudaybiyah. Continue reading

The Meaning and Goal of Beautifying the Qur’an with Your Voice: Ibn Kathir

In addition to his valuable explanation of the Qur’an itself, the Tafsir of al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir also offers up a significant introduction that discusses many important areas of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an. One of those discussions is presented below – Ibn Kathir’s discussion of the hadith narrations which encourage us to beatify our voices when reciting the Qur’an. Some mistranslate or misconstrue these narrations to encourage “singing” the Qur’an, but ibn Kathir’s explanation provides clarity about how to understand and implement these Prophetic instructions in the desired way:

 وقال أبو داود : حدثنا عبد الأعلى بن حماد ، حدثنا عبد الجبار بن الورد ، سمعت ابن أبي مليكة ، يقول : قال عبيد الله بن أبي يزيد : مر بنا أبو لبابة فاتبعناه حتى دخل بيته فدخلنا عليه ، فإذا رجل رث البيت ، رث الهيئة ، فانتسبنا له ، فقال : تجار كسبة ، فسمعته يقول : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ليس منا من لم يتغن بالقرآن . قال : فقلت لابن أبي مليكة : يا أبا محمد ، أرأيت إذا لم يكن حسن الصوت قال : يحسنه ما استطاع . تفرد به أبو داود . ـ

Abu Dawud said …’Abd al-Jabbar ibn al-Ward said: I heard ibn Abi Mulaykah saying: ‘Ubaydullah ibn Abi Yazeed said: Abu Lubabah passed by us so we followed him until he went into his home and so we went in to visit him. He was a man with run-down house and with an unkempt appearance. We spent some time with him and learned that he was a fruit merchant. I heard him say,

“I heard Allah’s Messenger say, ‘Whoever does not recite the Qur’an in a melodious voice is not one of us.” I [‘Abd al-Jabbar] said to ibn Abi Mulaykah, “O Abu Muhammad, what if someone doesn’t have a nice voice?” He replied, “He should make it as pleasant as he can.”

Abu Dawud was alone in reporting this narration.

فقد فهم من هذا أن السلف ، رضي الله عنهم ، إنما فهموا من التغني بالقرآن : إنما هو تحسين الصوت به ، وتحزينه ، كما قاله الأئمة – رحمهم الله – ويدل على ذلك – أيضا – ما رواه أبو داود حيث قال : حدثنا عثمان بن أبي شيبة ، حدثنا جرير ، عن الأعمش ، عن طلحة ، عن عبد الرحمن بن عوسجة ، عن البراء بن عازب قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : زينوا القرآن بأصواتكم . وأخرجه النسائي وابن ماجه من حديث شعبة ، عن طلحة وهو ابن مصرف به . وأخرجه النسائي من طرق أخر عن طلحة وهذا إسناد جيد . وقد وثق النسائي ، وابن حبان عبد الرحمن بن عوسجة هذا ، ونقل الأزدي عن يحيى بن سعيد القطان أنه قال : سألت عنه بالمدينة ، فلم أرهم يحمدونه . [ ص: 63 ] ـ

So it is understood from this narration that what the Salaf (may Allah be pleased with them) understood from “reciting the Qur’an in a melodic voice” was only to beautify one’s voice while reciting it and to recite it in a melancholy way. This is as the leading scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) said, and also as is indicated by what Abu Dawud relayed when he said … that al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib said:

Allah’s Messenger said, “Beautify the Qur’an with your voices.”

al-Nasaa’i and ibn Majah also reported this from one route … and al-Nasaa’i also reported it via another route with a good chain of transmission. Continue reading

Reciting the Qur’an without Understanding: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz, former Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, received and answered the following question:

 إنها تقرأ القرآن الكريم لكنها لا تفهم بعض الآيات، هل تكون آثمة حينئذ؟ ـ

Question: A person recites the Qur’an, however she doesn’t understand some of the ayaat – is she sinful in this circumstance?

لا حرج في ذلك، الذي يقرأ القرآن يتفهم يتدبر يتعقل، فإن فهم فالحمد لله، وإلا فلا حرج عليه ولو ما فهم، يقرأ ويكثر القراءة والله -سبحانه وتعالى- يفتح عليه، إذا أكثر القراءة يفتح الله عليه، ويراجع كتب التفسير إذا كان يقرأ، إذا كان يستطيع يطالع، يسأل أهل العلم عما أشكل عليه حتى يزداد علمه بكتاب الله. والمقصود أن التلاوة عبادة قربة وطاعة وإن لم يفهم، عبادة وقربة، كل حرف بحسنة والحسنة بعشر أمثالها، لكن يشرع للمؤمن والمؤمنة العناية والتدبر والتعقل حتى يستفيد، وحتى يفهم كلام الله؛ لأن الله أنزله للعمل والفهم، قال الله تعالى: كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ[ص: 29]، وقال سبحانه: إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ[الإسراء: 9]، فلا بد من التدبر والتعقل حتى تفهم وحتى تستفيد، وإذا قرأت آيات لم تفهمها فلا حرج عليك، وأنت مأجور، ولك بكل حرف حسنة، والحسنة بعشر أمثالها، لكن يشرع لك التدبر والتعقل والتفهم دائماً، وراجع في التفسير مثل البغوي، مثل تفسير ابن كثير، مثل ابن جرير تستفيد من هذه التفاسير، وتنتفع وتعرف المعنى. ـ

Response: There is nothing wrong with that. If one recites the Qur’an while trying to understand it, contemplating it and engaging with it, then if he understands – alhamdulillaah! But if not, then this person has not incurred any sin despite not understanding. Such a person should continue to recite and increase in his recitation and Allah will facilitate things for him. If he increases in reciting and recites a lot, Allah will open up the Qur’an to him. And if he is able to access them, he should refer to the books of tafsir while reciting. He should ask the people of knowledge about those things which are difficult for him to understand so that he can increase his knowledge of the Qur’an. Continue reading

The Arrangement of the First Five Surahs of the Qur’an: al-Suyooti

In part of his discussion the munasabat – the connections between ayaat and surahs – in his famous handbook on the Qur’anic sciences, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti included the following passage. It mentions the links between the first five surahs of the Qur’an as well as some of the main themes found in each:

ـ [ ص: 226 ] قال بعض الأئمة : وسورة الفاتحة تضمنت الإقرار بالربوبية والالتجاء إليه في دين الإسلام ، والصيانة عن دين اليهودية والنصرانية . ـ

○ Some scholars have said: Surah al-Fatihah is comprised of 1) affirming Allah’s lordship, 2) seeking refuge with Him in the religion of Islam, and 3) protection against the Jewish and Christian religions.*

وسورة البقرة : تضمنت قواعد الدين . ـ

Surah al-Baqarah is comprised of the foundations of this religion.

وآل عمران : مكملة لمقصودها ، فالبقرة بمنزلة إقامة الدليل على الحكم وآل عمران بمنزلة الجواب عن شبهات الخصوم ، ولهذا ورد فيها ذكر المتشابه لما تمسك به النصارى ، وأوجب الحج في آل عمران ، وأما في البقرة فذكر أنه مشروع وأمر بإتمامه بعد الشروع فيه . ـ

○ Aal ‘Imran is the completion of al-Baqarah‘s aim. al-Baqarah was like the a presentation of the evidence for a ruling while Aal ‘Imran is like a response to the doubts brought up by a contentious listener. It is for this reason that Aal ‘Imran mentioned many doubtful matters that the Christians cling to. Also, the Hajj was made mandatory in Aal ‘Imran [c.f. 3:97] while in al-Baqarah it was only mentioned as being legislated. So He commanded them to perform it in a complete way after they had embarked upon it. Continue reading