Introduction to the Thematic Tafsir of Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di (1307-1376AH) was one of the great scholars of Saudi Arabia in the past century. He authored many valuable works in the fields of tafsir, fiqh, hadeeth, ‘aqeedah and usool which remain in wide circulation today due to their great benefit. He combined many of these knowledge areas in his works explaining the Qur’an, both his complete tafsir and later in another two other summarized works of tafsir. What follows is the sheikh’s introduction to his summarized work of thematic tafsir, entitled Taysir al-Lateef al-Mannaan:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ، الحمد لله، نحمده ونستعينه ونستغفره ونتوب إليه، ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا وسيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فلا مضل له، ومن يضلل فلا هادي له، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم تسليما كثيرا. ـ

In the Name of Allah, al-Rahman, al-Raheem.

All praise is due to Allah. We praise him, seek His assistance, ask for His forgiveness and repent to Him. And we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves and the evil of our deeds. Whomever Allah guides, none can misguide him, and whomever Allah leads astray, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone with no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, may Allah’s peace and abundant blessings be upon him.

أما بعد، فقد كنت كتبت كتابا في تفسير القرآن مبسوطا مطولا، يمنع القراء من الاستمرار بقراءته، ويفتر العزم عن نشره، فأشار علي بعض العارفين الناصحين أن أكتب كتابا غير مطول، يحتوي على خلاصة ذلك التفسير، ونقتصر فيه على الكلام على بعض الآيات التي نختارها وننتقيها من جميع مواضيع علوم القرآن ومقاصده، فاستعنت الله على العمل على هذا الرأي الميمون، لأمور كثيرة منها: أنه بذلك يكون متيسرا على المشتغلين، معينا للقارئين، ومنها: أن القرآن العظيم ليس كغيره من الكتب في الترتيب والتبويب، لأنه بلغ في البلاغة نهايتها، وفي الحسن غايته، وفي الأسلوب البديع، والتأثير العجيب ما هو أكبر الأدلة على أنه كلام الله، وتنزيل من حكيم حميد، فتجده في آية واحدة يجمع بين الوسائل والمقاصد، وبين الدليل والمدلول، وبين الترغيب والترهيب، وبين العلوم الأصولية والفروعية، وبين العلوم الدينية والدنيوية والأخروية، وبين الأغراض المتعددة والمقاصد النافعة، ويعيد المعاني النافعة على العباد، ليتم علمهم، وتكمل هدايتهم، ويستقيم سيرهم على الصراط المستقيم، علما وعملا. ـ

To proceed: I had previously authored a lengthy book on the explanations of the Qur’an, one whose length prevented readers from continuing with it and broke their resolve to finish it. Some sincere and insightful people encouraged me to author another book on a smaller scale which would contain a summary of that tafsir, and that I should limit the scope of this work to certain ayaat which I would select to cover the various topics and themes of the contents of the Qur’an. So I sought Allah’s aid to follow through on this valuable advice for a number of reasons, one being that it would make things easier for those who are busy with other pursuits and would facilitate its reading.

Another reason is that the Qur’an is not like other books when it comes to its arrangement and organization, as it is the apex of linguistic eloquence and noble purpose, as well as marvelous means of communication and the truly amazing impact that it has on readers, which is the greatest proof that it is Allah’s speech and a revelation from the All-Wise and Most-Praiseworthy.

For in a single ayah, one could find both the means and the ends; both the evidence and the conclusion that it leads to; both encouragement and intimidation; both knowledge of core principles and secondary implications; knowledge of the religion, the worldly life, and the hereafter all together; both numerous goals and beneficial objectives. And these meanings bring about something beneficial for the slaves, for they complete one’s knowledge and perfect his guidance; they enable him to traverse the Straight Path in an upright manner both in terms of his knowledge and his actions.

فالوقوف على تفسير بعض القرآن يعين أعظم عون على معرفة باقيه، والله جعله مثاني تثنى فيه العلوم النافعة، والمعاني الجليلة الكاملة، وهذا من تيسيره تعالى لكتابه، قال تعالى: {وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِنْ مُدَّكِرٍ} [القمر: 17] ومما يدعو إلى هذا ما تحتوي عليه هذه المقدمة المذكورة بقولنا. ـ

So the decision to limit this book to explaining only certain parts of the Qur’an should serve as a great aid in understanding the remainder of the Qur’an. Allah made this Qur’an something oft-repeating, such that it frequently reiterates its beneficial information and its complete and perfect messages, and this is something that Allah has done to make His Book easy for us. Allah says:

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ

And Allah has made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember it? [54:17]

So these reasons which I have mentioned here in this introduction were some of the factors which prompted me to write this work.

[Taysir al-Lateef al-Mannaan pg. 21-22]

If Allah allows, it is a long-term goal to translate this entire work. Significant portions have already been translated and published on this website at the time of this article’s publication, which you can explore here. We ask for Allah’s assistance to complete the book.

For more similar content, see our Thematic Tafsir Article Index

See also: Thematic Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

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