Were the Commands to Pardon and Excuse Abrogated?: Tafsir al-Tabari

In surah al-Ma’aarij, one of the Makki surahs, Allah commands His Prophet by saying:

فَاصْبِرْ صَبْرًا جَمِيلًا

So exercise beautiful patience [70:5]

The great mufassir Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari wrote the following in regards to this ayah:

وقوله : ( فاصبر صبرا جميلا ) يقول تعالى ذكره : ( فاصبر صبرا جميلا ) يعني : صبرا لا جزع فيه . يقول له : اصبر على أذى هؤلاء المشركين لك ، ولا يثنيك ما تلقى منهم من المكروه عن تبليغ ما أمرك ربك أن تبلغهم من الرسالة . ـ

Allah’ statement:

فَاصْبِرْ صَبْرًا جَمِيلًا

So exercise beautiful patience [70:5]

meaning: steadfastness free of any impatience. Allah is saying to the Prophet: Be steadfast in the face of the harm that these mushrikoon do towards you and do not let the unpleasant things you encounter from them dissuade you from conveying the message that your Lord has commanded you to convey.

وكان ابن زيد يقول في ذلك ما حدثني به يونس ، قال : أخبرنا ابن وهب ، قال : قال ابن زيد ، في قوله : ( فاصبر صبرا جميلا ) قال : هذا حين كان يأمره بالعفو عنهم لا يكافئهم ، فلما أمر بالجهاد والغلظة عليهم أمر بالشدة والقتل حتى يتركوا ، ونسخ هذا ، وهذا الذي قاله ابن زيد أنه كان أمر بالعفو بهذه الآية ثم نسخ ذلك ، قول لا وجه له ، لأنه لا دلالة على صحة ما قال من بعض الأوجه التي تصح منها الدعاوى ، وليس في أمر الله نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم في الصبر الجميل على أذى المشركين ما يوجب أن يكون ذلك أمرا منه له به في بعض الأحوال; بل كان ذلك أمرا من الله له به في كل الأحوال ، لأنه لم يزل صلى الله عليه وسلم من لدن بعثه الله إلى أن اخترمه في أذى منهم ، وهو في كل ذلك صابر على ما يلقى منهم من أذى قبل أن يأذن الله له بحربهم ، وبعد إذنه له بذلك . ـ

But ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd used to say something about this ayah which Yunus narrated to me. Yunus said that ibn Wahab told him that ibn Zayd commented on this ayah by saying:

This was while Allah was commanding the Prophet to be pardoning towards the disbelievers and not to reciprocate their behavior, but then once He gave the command for jihad and harshness towards them He commanded them to be stern and engage in battle until they were left alone. So this ayah was abrogated.

In other words, ibn Zayd is saying that the Prophet had been commanded to pardon and forgive in this ayah but then that command was later abrogated. But there is no way that this can be true because none of the avenues through which such a claim could be validated can support his position. There is nothing in Allah’s command for His Prophet to exercise this beautiful patience in the face of the mushrikoon’s harm that would entail that this command is only applicable to certain times or situations to the exclusion of others. On the contrary, this command from Allah to the Prophet is applicable in all times and circumstances. From practically the time that Allah sent him as a prophet until his demise, the Prophet did not cease to encounter harm from the mushrikoon. But he remained  steadfastly patient throughout it all regardless of whatever harm he faced. This was the case both before and after Allah granted him permission to fight them.

[Tafsir al-Tabari 23/603]

See also: What the Salaf Meant by “Abrogation”: Ibn al-Qayyim

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

See also: A Primer on Abrogation: al-Zarkashi

See also: Supposed Contradictions in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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2 thoughts on “Were the Commands to Pardon and Excuse Abrogated?: Tafsir al-Tabari

  1. Pingback: What the Salaf Meant by “Abrogation”: Ibn al-Qayyim | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: If They Incline Towards Peace, then Incline Towards it: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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