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.

واختلفوا في أول من آمن برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بعد امرأته خديجة ، مع اتفاقهم على أنها أول من آمن برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم . فقال بعضهم : أول من آمن وصلى علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه ، وهو قول جابر ، وبه قال مجاهد وابن إسحاق ، أسلم وهو ابن عشر سنين . وقال بعضهم : أول من آمن بعد خديجة أبو بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه ، وهو قول ابن عباس وإبراهيم النخعي والشعبي . وقال بعضهم : أول من أسلم زيد بن حارثة ، وهو قول الزهري وعروة بن الزبير . وكان إسحاق بن إبراهيم الحنظلي يجمع بين هذه الأقوال فيقول : أول من أسلم من الرجال أبو بكر [ ص: 88 ] رضي الله عنه ، ومن النساء خديجة ، ومن الصبيان علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه ، ومن العبيد زيد بن حارثة . ـ

And they also differed as to who was the first person to believe in the Messenger of Allah after his wife, Khadijah, while there is unanimous agreement that Khadijah was in fact the first person who believed in him.

Some said that the first person to believe and offer the salah was ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib. This was the position of Jaabir, and it was also voiced by Mujahid and ibn Ishaaq. ‘Ali entered into Islam when he was only ten years old.

Others said that the first person after Khadijah to believe was Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq. This was the position of ibn ‘Abbaas, as well as Ibrahim al-Nakha’ee and al-Sha’bi.

Still others said that the first person to enter Islam was Zayd ibn Haarithah. This was the position of al-Zuhri and ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr.

Ishaaq ibn Ibrahim al-Hanthali managed to reconcile these different position by saying: The first man to enter Islam was Abu Bakr, and the first woman was Khadijah, and the first child was ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, and the first slave was Zayd ibn Haarithah.

قال ابن إسحاق : فلما أسلم أبو بكر رضي الله عنه أظهر إسلامه ودعا إلى الله وإلى رسوله ، وكان رجلا محببا سهلا وكان أنسب قريش وأعلمها بما كان فيها ، وكان تاجرا ذا خلق ومعروف ، وكان رجال قومه يأتونه ويألفونه لغير واحد من الأمر ؛ لعلمه وحسن مجالسته ، فجعل يدعو إلى الإسلام من وثق به من قومه ، فأسلم على يديه – فيما بلغني – : عثمان بن عفان ، والزبير بن العوام ، وعبد الرحمن بن عوف ، وسعد بن أبي وقاص ، وطلحة بن عبيد الله ، فجاء بهم إلى رسول صلى الله عليه وسلم حين استجابوا له فأسلموا وصلوا ، فكان هؤلاء الثمانية النفر الذين سبقوا إلى الإسلام . ثم تتابع الناس في الدخول في الإسلام ، أما السابقون من الأنصار : فهم الذين بايعوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ليلة العقبة ، وكانوا ستة في العقبة الأولى ، وسبعين في الثانية ، والذين آمنوا حين قدم عليهم مصعب بن عمير يعلمهم القرآن ، فأسلم معه خلق كثير وجماعة من النساء والصبيان . ـ

Ibn Ishaaq said:

When Abu Bakr became a Muslim, he did not hide his Islam but instead he called others to Allah and His Messenger. He was a well-liked and easy-going man, and out of the Quraish he had the most noble lineage and was the most well-acquainted with their genealogy. He was a merchant with good character who was well-known, so people would come to him and befriend him for various reasons, due to his knowledge and his good company. So he began inviting those with whom he had close connections to Islam. Those who accepted Islam at his hands – according to what has reached us – include: ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan, al-Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwaam, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas, and Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydullaah. So he went to the Prophet with them after they had accepted his invitation, and so they accepted Islam and prayed. So these eight were the group who were the forerunners to Islam, and later others came and entered Islam.

As for the forerunners of the Ansaar, they were those who gave the pledge of loyalty to the Prophet on the night of al-‘Aqabah. There were six at the first pledge of al-‘Aqabah, and seventy at the second pledge. The forerunners of the Ansaar also includes those who believed when Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr came to them to teach them the Qur’an, for a large number of people as well as a group of women and children entered Islam at that time.

قوله عز وجل : ( والسابقون الأولون من المهاجرين ) الذين هاجروا قومهم وعشيرتهم وفارقوا أوطانهم . ( والأنصار ) أي : ومن الأنصار ، وهم الذين نصروا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على أعدائه من أهل المدينة وآووا أصحابه ، ( والذين اتبعوهم بإحسان ) قيل : هم بقية المهاجرين والأنصار سوى السابقين الأولين . وقيل : هم الذين سلكوا سبيلهم في الإيمان والهجرة أو النصرة إلى يوم القيامة . وقال عطاء : هم الذين يذكرون المهاجرين والأنصار بالترحم والدعاء . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ

And the first forerunners among the Muhajireen …

these are those who migrated from their people and relative, leaving their homelands

وَالْأَنصَارِ

… and the Ansaar …

meaning: and among the Ansaar. And these are the people of al-Madinah who supported Allah’s Messenger against his enemies and gave refuge to his companions.

وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ

… and those who followed them with good conduct

Some say that these are the rest of the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar besides the first forerunners.

Others say that these are those who follow their path in terms of eemaan, and making hijrah or providing aid from now until the Day of Judgement.

‘Ataa’ said, “They are those who mention the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar while asking Allah to grant them mercy and making supplications for their good.”

وقال أبو صخر حميد بن زياد : أتيت محمد بن كعب القرظي فقلت له : ما قولك في أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ فقال : جميع أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في الجنة محسنهم ومسيئهم ، فقلت من أين تقول هذا؟ فقال : يا هذا اقرأ قول الله تعالى : ( والسابقون الأولون من المهاجرين والأنصار ) إلى أن قال : ( رضي الله عنهم ورضوا عنه ) وقال : ( والذين اتبعوهم بإحسان ) شرط في التابعين شريطة وهي أن يتبعوهم في أفعالهم الحسنة دون السيئة . قال أبو صخر : فكأني لم أقرأ هذه الآية قط . ـ

Abu Sakhr Humayd ibn Ziyad said:

I went to Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qurathi and said to him, “What do you say about the Companions of Allah’s Messenger?” He said, “All of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger are in al-Jannah, both the good and the bad.” I said, “How do you figure that?” He replied, “Really? Read Allah’s statement:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ

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 also said: “And Allah stipulated a condition regarding those who followed them, which is that they would follow them in their good deeds, not in their bad deeds.”

Abu Sakhr said, “It was as if I had never read that ayah before.”

روينا أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : ” لا تسبوا أصحابي فوالذي نفسي بيده لو أن أحدكم أنفق مثل أحد ذهبا [ ص: 89 ] ما أدرك مد أحدهم ولا نصيفه ” . ـ

And it has been relayed to us that the Prophet said:

Do not insult my companions. For I swear by the One who hold my soul in His hand, if any one of you were to give the likes of Uhud in gold as charity he would not reach the equivalent of a mudd or even a half of what one of them had.

ثم جمعهم الله عز وجل في الثواب فقال : ( رضي الله عنهم ورضوا عنه وأعد لهم جنات تجري تحتها الأنهار ) قرأ ابن كثير : ( من تحتها الأنهار ) ، وكذلك هو في مصاحف أهل مكة ، ( خالدين فيها أبدا ذلك الفوز العظيم ) . ـ

And then Allah mentioned them all together in terms of the reward, saying:

رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ

Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow …

and ibn Kathir recited it as:

مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ

from beneath which rivers flow …

as it is written in the mushafs of the people of Mecca.

خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 4/87-89]

See also: Why Study the Sayings of the Salaf?: Muhammad Bazmool

For more on this same ayah, see also: Loving or Hating Abu Bakr: Tafsir ibn Kathir

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One thought on “The Forerunners in Faith: Tafsir al-Baghawi

  1. Pingback: Loving or Hating Abu Bakr: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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