Remarks on the Contents of Surah Taha: Ibn Taymiyah

In one of his many writings, Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah mentioned the following:

سورة طه وقال شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله فصل ” سورة طه ” مضمونها تخفيف أمر القرآن وما أنزل الله تعالى من كتبه فهي ” سورة كتبه ” – كما أن مريم ” سورة عباده ورسله ” – افتتحها بقوله : { ما أنزلنا عليك القرآن لتشقى } . . إلى قوله : { تنزيلا ممن خلق الأرض والسماوات العلا } . ثم ذكر قصة موسى ونداء الله له ومناجاته إياه وتكليمه له وقصته من أبلغ أمر الرسل فلهذا ثنيت في القرآن ; لأنه حصل له الخطاب والكتاب وأرسل إلى فرعون الجاحد المرتاب المكذب للربوبية والرسالة وهذا أعظم الكافرين عنادا واستوفى القصة في هذه السورة إلى قوله : { رب زدني علما } ثم ذكر قصة آدم ; لأنها أول النبوات . ـ

The contents of Surah Taha include the ease of the Qur’an and what Allah has sent down in His Books, so it is “the Surah of His Books“, just as Surah Maryam was “the Surah of His servants and messengers”.

The surah opens with Allah’s statement:

مَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَىٰ * إِلَّا تَذْكِرَةً لِّمَن يَخْشَىٰ * تَنزِيلًا مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ الْأَرْضَ وَالسَّمَاوَاتِ الْعُلَى

We have not sent the Qur’an down to you to cause you to be distressed * But only as a reminder to those who fear * It is a revelation from the One who created the earth and the high heavens [20:2-4]

Then He mentioned the story of Moosaa and Allah’s call to him, His private discussion with him, and His speaking to him.

The story of Moosaa is one of the most amazing things of any the messengers, which is why it is returned to so frequently throughout the Qur’an. For Moosaa was granted both direct speech from Allah as well as a scripture, and Allah sent him to Fir’awn, the incredulous disbelieving denier of both Allah’s lordship and of the fact that Allah sent messengers. He was the gravest of all the disbelievers in his obstinance. So this story occupies this surah until Allah’s statement:

رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

O Lord, increase me in knowledge [20:114]

Then Allah mentions the story of Adam, as he was the first of the prophets.

وتضمنت السورة ذكر موسى وآدم لما بينهما من المناسبة مما يقتضي [ ص: 238 ] ذكرهما ولما بينهما من المناظرة فإن موسى نظير آدم في الأمر الذي [ صار ] لكل منهما كما أن المسيح نظير آدم في الخلق . ـ

This surah includes mention of both Moosaa and Adam because of a connection between them which necessitates mentioning them together, as well as the parallel between them[1]. Moosaa is a counterpart to Adam in terms of the events that happened to both of them, just as the Messiah was a counterpart to Adam in terms of their respective creations.

وقوله : { فإما يأتينكم مني هدى } الآيات وهذا يشابه ما في القرآن في غير موضع من ذكر نبوة آدم ثم نبوة موسى بعده وأمر بني إسرائيل ثم أمر نبيه بالصلاة التي في القرآن كما جمع بين الأمرين بالقراءة والسجود في أول سورة أنزلت وختمها بالرسول المبلغ لكل ما أمر به كما افتتحها بذكر التنزيل عليه . ـ

Then there is Allah’s statement:

فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى

Then if there comes to you guidance from Me … [20:123]

until the end of the surah.

This surah repeats a similar pattern that occurs in several places throughout the Qur’an, which is mentioning the prophethood of Adam and then following that up by mentioning the prophethood of Moosaa.

Another pattern that occurs throughout the Qur’an is Allah commanding the Banu Israa’eel to pray [20:14] and then commanding His Prophet to pray [20:130].

Yet another pattern is when Allah pairs commands to recite the Qur’an [20:3] and prostrate [30:130], as comes in the first surah which was revealed [c.f. 96:1 and 96:19].

And Allah concludes the surah by mentioning His Messenger who conveyed everything that he had been commanded to convey [20:133], just as He has opened the surah by mentioning the revelation that He revealed to His Messenger [20:2].

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa 15/237-238]

[1] Translator’s Note: Ibn Taymiyah briefly comments on these connections and parallels in his discussion of the themes of surah al-Baqarah, another surah in which both Adam and Moosaa are mentioned, by writing:

فذكر آدم الذي هو أول وموسى الذي هو نظيره وهما اللذان احتجا وموسى قتل نفسا فغفر له وآدم أكل من الشجرة فتاب عليه

… Then Allah mentions Adam who was the first prophet and Moosaa who was his parallel and the two of them disputed. And Moosaa killed a soul and then Allah forgave him, and Adam ate from the tree and Allah turned to him in forgiveness.

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa 14/41]

See also: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

See also: Ibn Kathir’s brief remarks on the contents of Surah al-Fatihah

See also: The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

See also: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi

2 thoughts on “Remarks on the Contents of Surah Taha: Ibn Taymiyah

  1. Pingback: The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Thematic Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh | Tulayhah

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