The Meaning of Taghoot: Sheikh al-Fawzan

The following question was posed to sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan:

نص السؤال : ما معنى الطاغوت‏؟‏ وهل كل طاغوت كافر‏؟ ـ

Question: What is the meaning of “Taghoot“, and is every taghoot a disbeliever?

‏نص الإجابة : الطاغوت في اللغة مشتق من الطغيان وهو مجاوزة الحد ومجاوزة الحق إلى الباطل ومجاوزة الإيمان إلى الكفر وما أشبه ذلك والطواغيت كثيرون وكل طاغوت فهو كافر بلا شك‏‏  ـ

Response: Linguistically, the word “al-taghoot” comes from “al-tughyaan” which is overstepping the limits, crossing over from truth into falsehood, stepping out of eemaan into disbelief, and so on. There are many taghoots, and every taghoot is a disbeliever. There is no doubt about this.

والطواغيت كثيرون ولكن رءوسهم خمسة كما ذكر ذلك العلامة ابن القيم وغيره‏‏ الأول‏‏ إبليس – لعنة الله – فإنه رأس الطواغيت وهو الذي يدعو إلى الضلال والكفر والإلحاد ويدعو إلى النار فهو رأس الطواغيت‏‏

There are many taghoots but five of them are the main ones, as has been stated by the great scholar ibn al-Qayyim and others.

The first is Iblees, may Allah curse him. He is the head of all the taghoots, and he is the one who calls to misguidance, disbelief, and atheism, and to the hellfire. So he is the head of the taghoots.

والثاني‏‏ من عبد من دون الله وهو راضٍ بذلك فإن من رضي أن يعبده الناس من دون الله فإنه يكون طاغوتًا كما قال تعالى‏‏ ‏( ‏وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ وَعَبَدَ الطَّاغُوتَ ) ‏[‏المائدة : 60‏]‏ فالذي يعبد من دون الله وهو راضٍ بذلك طاغوت أما إذا لم يرض بذلك فليس كذلك‏‏

The second is anyone who is worshiped besides Allah while being pleased with that worship, for whoever is pleased with people worshiping him alongside Allah is a taghoot. This is as Allah said Continue reading

Where Do the Differences in the Qiraa’aat Come From?: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah once received a letter containing a series of questions related to the qiraa’aat [various recitations of the Qur’an]. What follows is part of his response:

وأما قول السائل : ما السبب الذي أوجب الاختلاف بين القراء فيما احتمله خط المصحف ؟ فهذا مرجعه إلى النقل واللغة العربية لتسويغ الشارع لهم القراءة بذلك كله إذ ليس لأحد أن يقرأ قراءة بمجرد رأيه ; بل القراءة سنة متبعة وهم إذا اتفقوا على اتباع القرآن المكتوب في المصحف الإمامي وقد قرأ بعضهم بالياء وبعضهم بالتاء لم يكن واحد منهما خارجا عن المصحف . ـ

Now we turn to the writer’s question, “What is it that causes there to be differences among the reciters within the bounds of the text of the official ‘Uthmani Mushaf?

These differences go back to the transmission of the qiraa’aat and to the Arabic language, for Allah allowed the people to recite the Qur’an in all of these ways as a means of ease for them. And none of these reciters recited the Qur’an merely according to his own opinion. On the contrary, the qiraa’aat are a sunnah of the Prophet to be followed. So then, the reciters are all united in following the Qur’an that is written in the official ‘Uthmani Mushaf, and then some of the reciters recite a word with the letter yaa’ while others recite the same world with the letter taa’, but none of them have gone outside the bounds of the official ‘Uthmani Mushaf.

ومما يوضح ذلك أنهم يتفقون في بعض المواضع على ياء أو تاء ويتنوعون في بعض كما اتفقوا في قوله تعالى { وما الله بغافل عما يعملون } في موضع وتنوعوا في موضعين وقد بينا أن القراءتين كالآيتين فزيادة القراءات كزيادة الآيات ; لكن إذا كان الخط واحدا واللفظ محتملا كان ذلك أخصر في الرسم . ـ

One of the things which clearly shows this is that in certain places all of the reciters recite with a yaa’ or in certain places all of them recite with a taa’, while in other places some will recite it one way while others recite it the other way. For example, all of the reciters are agreed in reciting this statement of Allah as such [i.e. with a yaa’ and not a taa’]: Continue reading

“Ask the Ahl al-Dhikr if You Don’t Know”: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

The following question was posed to sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca:

سؤال: ما التقسيم والمفهوم الصحيح في قول الله تعالى:{فسئلوا أهل الذكر إن كنتم لا تعلمون} النحل ؟ ـ

Question: What is the division of people and correct understanding regarding Allah’s statement:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

So ask the ahl al-dhikr if you do not know [16:43]

جواب : الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين سيدنا محمد وعلى اله وصحبه وسلم. أما بعد: فإن قوله تعالى: {فسئلوا أهل الذكر إن كنتم لاتعلمون}النحل[7] يدل على أمور: ـ

Answer: All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the prophets and messengers, our leader Muhammad, as well as upon his family and companions.

To proceed: Allah’s statement:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

So ask the ahl al-dhikr if you do not know [16:43]

points to a number of things:

الأمر الأول : أن المسلمين ينقسموا إلى قسمين قسم هم أهل العلم ،وقسم هم ليس من أهل العلم وهم الذين يسمون بالعوام. ـ

Point #1: That Muslims can be divided into two categories. One category is the people of knowledge, and the other category are those who are not the people of knowledge, those who are referred to as the laypeople. Continue reading

Birr and Ihsan towards Non-Muslims: Ibn al-Qayyim

Allah says in surah al-Mumtahinah:

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّـهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ * إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّـهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَىٰ إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal justly. * It is only those who fought against you on account of religion and drove you out of your homes, and helped to drive you out that Allah forbids you to take as friends and allies. And whosoever will befriend them, then such are the wrongdoers. [60:8-9]

The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned the following point regarding these ayaat:

فإن الله سبحانه لما نهى في أول السورة عن اتخاذ المسلمين الكفار أولياء وقطع المودة بينهم وبينهم ، توهم بعضهم أن برهم والإحسان إليهم من الموالاة والمودة ، فبين الله سبحانه أن ذلك ليس من الموالاة المنهي عنها ، وأنه لم ينه عن ذلك بل هو من الإحسان الذي يحبه ويرضاه ، وكتبه على كل شيء ، وإنما المنهي عنه تولي الكفار والإلقاء إليهم بالمودة

When Allah prohibited the Muslims from taking the disbelievers as close friends and allies and cut off the affection between them at the beginning of this surah [60:1], some might think that birr and ihsan – good behavior and excellent treatment – towards them would fall under those prohibited categories of close friendship and affection.

So Allah clarified that these things are not part of the close relationships that He had prohibited, and that He does not prohibit the believers from them. On the contrary, birr and ihsan towards them falls within the excellent behavior which Allah loves and is pleased with, and which He has ordained for everything. What is prohibited is only taking the disbelievers as close friends and allies and meeting them with love and affection.

[Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah 1/301] Continue reading

Explanation of Ayah al-Kursi: Imam al-Sa’di

In addition to his famous complete tafsir of the entire Qur’an, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di also authored a more condensed and thematic work of tafsir entitled Taysir al-Lateed al-Mannaan. Rather than going through the Qur’an ayah by ayah, in this work he selected certain ayaat which could serve to discuss important topics. Although this work is much shorted than his complete tafsir, the ayaat that al-Sa’di does explain are often discussed in greater detail. What follows is the sheikh’s explanation of Ayah al-Kursi from this work:

ـ {اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ} [البقرة: 255] ـ

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

Allah – none has the right be worshiped except Him, al-Hayy al-Qayyoom. Neither tiredness nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is ahead of you and what is behind you, and they grasp nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His foot-stool extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding them. And He is al-‘Alee al-‘Atheem. [2:255]

أخبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أن هذه الآية أعظم آيات القرآن على الإطلاق، وأنها تحفظ قارئها من الشياطين والشرور كلها، لما احتوت عليه من معاني التوحيد والعظمة، وسعة صفات الكمال لله تعالى . ـ

The Prophet informed us that this ayah is absolutely the greatest ayah in the Qur’an and that it protects one who recites it from the shaytaans and all evils. That is due to the messages of al-tawheed, greatness and the great and perfect attributes of Allah that it contains.

فأخبر أنه الله الذي له جميع معاني الألوهية، وأنه لا يستحق الألوهية غيره، فألوهية غيره وعبادة غيره باطلة ضارة في الحال والمآل؛ وعبادته وحده لا شريك له هي الحق الموصلة إلى كل كمال؛ وأنه الحي كامل الحياة . ـ

Allah informs us that He is Allah, the One who possesses all the meanings of divinity and that there are no others who deserve to be deified besides Him. Any deification or worship of others is groundless and harmful both in the short term and in the long run. Worshiping Him alone without any partners is the truth which leads to every type of completeness, and He is al-Hayy – the One with the Utmost Complete Aliveness.

 فمن كمال حياته أنه السميع البصير القدير، المحيط علمه بكل شيء، الكامل من كل وجه ، ف {الْحَيُّ} [البقرة: 255] يتضمن جميع الصفات الذاتية، و {الْقَيُّومُ} [البقرة: 255] الذي قام بنفسه، واستغنى عن جميع المخلوقات، وقام بها فأوجدها وأبقاها، وأمدها بكل ما تحتاج إليه في بقائها . ـ

One part of His Utmost Aliveness is that He is the al-Samee’ – the One who hears -, al-Baseer – the One who sees -, al-Qadeer – the Omnipotent One. His knowledge encompasses everything and He is perfect in every way. So

الْحَيُّ

al-Hayy

encompasses all of the attributes of Allah’s being. Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #22

What follows is a collection of benefits originally posted on our Facebook page and Telegram Channel in the latter part of December 2017:

♦ Allah does not Charge a Soul Beyond its Ability

Imam ibn Jarir al-Tabari mentioned the following narration in part of his famous tafsir:

 6502 – حَدَّثَنِي الْمُثَنَّى قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي مُعَاوِيَةُ عَنْ عَلِيٍّ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَوْلَهُ : ” لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ” قَالَ : هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ، وَسَّعَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَمْرَ دِينِهِمْ ، فَقَالَ اللَّهُ – جَلَّ ثَنَاؤُهُ – : ( وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ) [ سُورَةُ الْحَجِّ : 78 ] ، وَقَالَ : ( يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ ) [ سُورَةُ الْبَقَرَةِ : 185 ] ، وَقَالَ : ( فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ ) [ سُورَةُ التَّغَابُنِ : 16 ] .ـ

… Regarding the ayah:

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا

Allah does not charge a soul beyond its ability [2:286]

ibn ‘Abbaas said: This is referring to the believers – Allah has made the matter of their religion easy for them. For Allah said:

وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ

and He has not placed any difficulty upon you in the religion [22:78]

and He said:

يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ

Allah wants ease for you and He does not want hardship for you [2:185]

and He said:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ

Have taqwa of Allah as much as you are able [64:16]

[Tafsir al-Tabari 6/131]


A Description of the Munafiqoon Continue reading

The Importance of Learning Where to Pause and Start While Reciting the Qur’an: Abu ‘Amr al-Dani

Reciting the Qur’an correctly is a subject of great importance, and the scholars of Islam have authored many works in service of this topic. One area within this topic is the science of al-Waqf wa’l-Ibtidaa’, or the science of where to pause and restart while reciting the Qur’an. The great scholar of the Qur’anic recitation and related Qur’anic sciences Abu ‘Amr al-Dani wrote the following words in his introduction to al-Muktafaa fee al-Waqf wa’l-Ibtidaa, a book dedicated to this very topic:

 باب في الحض على تعليم التمام
The Great Importance of Learning Where to Pause at the End of a Passage

من ذلك ما حدثناه أبو الفتح فارس بن أحمد بن موسى المقرئ، قال: حدثنا أحمد بن محمد وعبيد الله بن محمد قالا: حدثنا علي بن الحسين القاضي قال: حدثنا يوسف بن موسى القطان قال: حدثنا عفان بن مسلم قال: حدثنا حماد بن سلمة وسمعته منه قال: أخبرنا علي بن زيد عن عبد الرحمن بن أبي بكرة عن أبيه أن جبريل عليه السلام، أتى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: ((اقرأ القرآن على حرف. فقال ميكائيل استزده، حتى بلغ سبعة أحرف، كل حرف منها شاف كاف ما لم يختم آية عذاب بآية رحمة أو آية رحمة بآية عذاب)) . ـ

One example of that is what the famous reciter Abu al-Fath Faaris ibn Ahmad ibn Moosaa narrated to us … from Abu Bakrah that:

Jibreel came to the Prophet and said, “Recite the Qur’an in one harf“, but then Mikaa’eel said, “ask for more”, and this continued until he reached seven ahruf, with each one of them being completely sufficient and complete on its on own so long as one does not end an ayah of punishment with an ayah of mercy or an ayah or mercy with an ayah of punishment.

حدثنا خلف بن أحمد القاضي قال: حدثنا زياد بن عبد الرحمن قال: حدثنا محمد بن يحيى بن حميد قال: حدثنا محمد بن يحيى بن سلام عن أبيه عن حماد بن سلمة عن علي بن زيد عن عبد الرحمن بن أبي بكرة عن أبيه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم مثله إلا أنه قال: ((ما لم يختم آية رحمة بآية عذاب أو آية عذاب بمغفرة)) . ـ

The judge Khalf ibn Ahmad narrated to us … that Abu Bakrah narrated a similar report from the Prophet, except that he said:

… so long as one does not end an ayah or mercy with an ayah of punishment or an ayah of punishment with seeking forgiveness.

حدثنا فارس بن أحمد المقرئ قال: حدثنا أحمد بن محمد وعبيد الله بن محمد قالا: حدثنا علي بن الحسين قال: حدثنا يوسف بن موسى قال: حدثنا هشام بن عبد الملك الطيالسي قال: حدثنا همام قال: حدثنا قتادة عن يحيى بن يعمر عن سليمان بن صرد الخزاعي عن أبي ابن كعب قال: أتينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إن الملك كان معي فقال: ((اقرأ القرآن، فعد حتى بلغ سبعة أحرف. فقال: ليس منها إلا شافٍ كافٍ ما لم يختم آية عذاب برحمة أو يختم رحمة بعذاب)) . ـ

The reciter Faaris ibn Ahmad narrated to us … that Ubay ibn Ka’b said: Continue reading

“His Character was the Qur’an”: Ibn Kathir

In part of his work dedicated to the seerah of the Prophet (ﷺ), the famous historian, mufassir, and muhaddith al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir included the following at the beginning of one chapter:

فصل ـ أخلاقه الطاهرة

Chapter: His Purified Character

وأما أخلاقه الطاهرة، فقد قال الله سبحانه: {ن والقلم وما يسطرون * ما أنت بنعمة ربك بمجنون * وإن لك لأجرا غير ممنون * وإنك لعلى خلق عظيم} ، وفي الصحيح عن عائشة رضي الله عنها أنها قالت: كان خلق رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم القرآن. ـ

As for his purified character, Allah said:

ن ۚ وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ * مَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ * وَإِنَّ لَكَ لَأَجْرًا غَيْرَ مَمْنُونٍ * وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

Noon. By the pen and what they write * By the favor of your Lord you are not a madman * and indeed there will be an uninterrupted reward for you * and you are indeed of great moral character [68:1-4]

And in an authentic hadith, ‘A’ishah said:

The character of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was the Qur’an. Continue reading

The Different Meanings of al-Thann in the Qur’an

The following question was posed to sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, a professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah:

روى ابن جرير وابن كثير عن مجاهد أنه قال : كل ظن في القرآن يقين . ماذا نفهم من هذا القول مع أن كلمة الظن وردت في القرآن بمعان أخر؟

Both ibn Jarir and ibn Kathir relate a narration from Mujahid in which he said, “Every instance of the word al-Thann [literally: thought, doubt, assumption, conjecture] in the Qur’an means Yaqeen [certainty].”*

How should we understand this statement in light of the fact that the word al-thann is used elsewhere in the Qur’an with other meanings?

The sheikh responded by writing:

عن الضحاك:كل ظن في القرآن من المؤمن فهو يقين،ومن الكافر فهو شك. وعن مجاهد:كل ظن في القرآن فهو يقين. وقول الضحاك أقرب وقد يحمل قول مجاهد على أن الذي يفيد اليقين:ما كان متعلقاً بأمور الآخرة،أما ما كان متعلقاً بأمور الدنيا فيفيد الشك وقد رويت رواية ثانية عن مجاهد تدل على هذا المعنى،وفيها:ظن الآخرة يقين، وظن الدنيا شك؛ ونحو هذا قول قتادة :ما كان من ظن الآخرة فهو علم . ـ

al-Dhahhaak said: Every time the word thann is used in the Qur’an in relation to the believers, it means yaqeen, and every time it is used for the disbelievers, it means “doubt”.

Mujahid said: Every time the word thann is used in the Qur’an, it means yaqeen.

However al-Dhahhaak’s statement is more accurate.

And Mujahid’s statement could also be interpreted to mean that thann takes the meaning of yaqeen when it is connected to matters of the Hereafter, but when it is related to matters of this worldly life it takes the meaning of “doubt”. Continue reading