Do not extend your eyes towards the enjoyment of this world: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of assorted miscellaneous benefits from the Qur’an, Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

قوله تعالى : [ وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَ‌ةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ خَيْرٌ‌ وَأَبْقَىٰ ] <طه 131> تضمنت التزهيد في الدنيا ، وأن غضارتها وحسنها الذي متع به المترفين ليس لكرامتهم عليه ، وإنما ذلك للابتلاء والاختبار ؛ لينظر أيهم أحسن عملا ، وأيهم أكمل عقلا ، فإن العاقل هو الذي يؤثر النفيس الباقي على الدني الفاني ، ولهذا قال : [ وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ ] أي الذي أعده للطائعين الذين لم يذهبوا مع أهل الإتراف في إترافهم ، ولم يغرهم رونق الدنيا وبهجتها الزائلة ، بل نظروا إلى باطن ذلك ، حين نظر الجهال إلى ظاهرها ، وعرفوا المقصود ، ومقدار التفاوت ، ودرجات الأمور فرزق الله لهؤلاء خير وأبقى ، أي أكمل في صنف من أصناف الكمال ، وهو مع ذلك باق لا يزول . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَىٰ مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَ‌ةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ ۚ وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ خَيْرٌ‌ وَأَبْقَىٰ

And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given as enjoyment to some categories of them, it being the splendor this worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring. [20:131]

This ayah highlights being detached regarding this worldly life, and that the luxuries and beautiful things which the affluent ones have been endowed with are not actually a form of honor for them; it is only a trial and a test in order that Allah may see which of them is  best in deeds and which of them is most complete in intellect. For the intelligent one is he who gives priority to the precious things which will last over the lesser things which will pass. That is why He said:

وَرِ‌زْقُ رَ‌بِّكَ

And the provision of your Lord …

– i.e. the provision which He has promised to the obedient ones; those who do no partake in self-indulgence with the indulgent people and who are not deceived by the glamour of this worldly life and its passing pleasures. Rather, they look at the deeper essence of things – while the ignorant ones look at its outward appearances – and they recognize purposes and value of things and how to arrange their priorities. So Allah provides such people with what is Continue reading

The Sources for Determining What Has Been Abrogated: al-Suyooti

Sheikh Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti brought the following topic in the midst of his discussion on the Naasikh and Mansookh verses:

تنبيه : قال ابن الحصار : إنما يرجع في النسخ إلى نقل صريح عن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ، أو عن صحابي يقول : آية كذا نسخت كذا . قال : وقد يحكم به عند وجود التعارض المقطوع به من علم التاريخ ، ليعرف المتقدم والمتأخر . قال : ولا يعتمد في النسخ قول عوام المفسرين ، بل ولا اجتهاد المجتهدين من غير نقل صحيح ، ولا معارضة بينة ; لأن النسخ يتضمن رفع حكم وإثبات حكم تقرر في عهده صلى الله عليه وسلم والمعتمد فيه النقل والتاريخ دون الرأي والاجتهاد . قال : والناس في هذا بين طرفي نقيض ، فمن قائل : لا يقبل في النسخ أخبار الآحاد العدول ; ومن متساهل يكتفي فيه بقول مفسر أو مجتهد . والصواب خلاف قولهما . انتهى . ـ

An important point: ibn al-Hassaar said:

When it comes to abrogation, one should only rely on an explicit statement transmitted from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) or from one of the Sahabah saying, “Such-and-such ayah abrogates such-and-such ayah.”

He also said:

In cases of conflicting texts which cannot be reconciled, one could resort to information about historical events in order to know which text came earlier and which came later to make a judgement of abrogation.

He went on to say: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 104-113: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the eleventh installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 104-113. This passage focuses on provides a series of instructions and clarifications regarding Muslim conduct and certain statements of the disbelievers. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقُولُوا رَاعِنَا وَقُولُوا انظُرْنَا وَاسْمَعُوا ۗ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

O you who believe, do not say, “Pay attention to us!” but say, “Look after us” and listen. And the disbelievers will have a painful punishment. [2:104]

يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تقولوا للرسول محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم: راعنا، أي: راعنا سمعك، فافهم عنا وأفهمنا؛ لأن اليهود كانوا يقولونها للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يلوون ألسنتهم بها، يقصدون سبَّه ونسبته إلى الرعونة، وقولوا- أيها المؤمنون- بدلا منها: انظرنا، أي انظر إلينا وتعهَّدْنا، وهي تؤدي المعنى المطلوب نفسه واسمعوا ما يتلى عليكم من كتاب ربكم وافهموه. وللجاحدين عذاب موجع.ـ

104. O you who believe, do not say, “Pay attention to us!” to the Messenger, which means, “turn your hearing towards us, so that you understand and comprehend us.” That is because the Jews used to say that to the Prophet while twisting it with their tongues, intending to insult him and imply that he was dim-witted. Instead, O believers, say, “Look after us,” which means, “Watch over us and take care of us,” which conveys the intended message. And listen to what he recites to us from your Lord’s Book and understand it. And there is an agonizing punishment for those who refuse.

مَّا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

Neither the People of the Book who disbelieve nor the pagans would like for any good to be sent down to you from your Lord. But Allah selects whomever He wishes for His mercy. And Allah is the owner of great bounty. [2:105] Continue reading

Responding to Doubts About the End of the Hellfire: Imam al-Shinqitee

The great mufassir sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee devoted one of his books, Daf’u Eehaam, entirely to addressing supposed contradictions in the Qur’an. In part of his chapter on surah al-An’aam, Imam al-Shinqitee discussed the apparent contradiction between certain ayaat that could be understood to indicate an end to the punishment of the Hellfire and the many other ayaat which indicate the opposite. The general outline of his discussion proceeded as such:

    1. Presenting the apparent contradiction
    2. Response
      1. Specific response regarding the ayah in surah al-An’aam
      2. General response to the claims that the Hellfire or its inhabitants will come to an end
        1. Five Possible scenarios
          1. Scenario #1 that the Hellfire will come to an end, and response
          2. Scenario #2 that the inhabitants of the Hellfire will die, and response
          3. Scenario #3 that the inhabitants of the Hellfire will be removed from it, and response
          4. Scenario #4 that the punishment of the Hellfire will be decreased, and response
          5. Claim that Allah may choose to not enact His threats of punishment, and response
          6. Scenario #5 that the Hellfire and its punishment will continue forever
          7. Claim that eternal punishment for one lifetime of sins in unfair, and response

For the sake of clarity and reference, we have inserted section headings into the text in brackets.

What follows is the complete text of sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee’s discussion:

[Presenting the apparent contradiction]

قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: قَالَ النَّارُ مَثْوَاكُمْ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ الْآيَةَ

Allah’s statement:

قَالَ النَّارُ مَثْوَاكُمْ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّـهُ

He will say, “The Fire is your residence, wherein you will abide eternally, except for what Allah wills.” [6:128]

هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ الْكَرِيمَةُ يُفْهَمُ مِنْهَا كَوْنُ عَذَابِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ غَيْرَ بَاقٍ بَقَاءً لَا انْقِطَاعَ لَهُ أَبَدًا وَنَظِيرُهَا قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ شَقُوا فَفِي النَّارِ لَهُمْ فِيهَا زَفِيرٌ وَشَهِيقٌ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ رَبُّكَ [11 106 – 107] ، وَقَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: لَابِثِينَ فِيهَا أَحْقَابًا [78 23] . ـ

Some have understood from this ayah that the punishment of the people of the Hellfire will not continue eternally without any end. Another ayah to this is Allah’s statement:

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ شَقُوا فَفِي النَّارِ لَهُمْ فِيهَا زَفِيرٌ وَشَهِيقٌ * خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا مَا دَامَتِ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ رَبُّكَ

As for those who were wretched, they will be in the Fire. For them therein is exhaling and inhaling. * Abiding therein as long as the heavens and the earth endure, except what your Lord should will. [11:106-107]

as well as: Continue reading

A Brief Introduction to the Qiraa’aat: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz, the former Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was once asked:

 أرجو أن تعطوني نبذة عن القراءات، ولماذا يوجد عشر قراءات رغم أن القرآن نزل على سبعة أحرف فقط؟  ـ

I hope that you could give me a brief summary of the Qiraa’aat [variant recitations], and why there are ten of them despite the Qur’an having been revealed in only seven dialects.

He responded by saying:

علم القراءات معلوم لدى القراء ولدى أهل العلم، والأصل أن الله جل وعلا أنزل القرآن على سبعة أحرف، وهي أحرف متقاربة، تارةً باختلاف اللفظ وتارة باختلاف المعنى لكن مع التقارب، ولما تنازع الناس في عهد عثمان رأى عثمان -رضي الله عنه- ومن كان في زمانه من الصحابة كعلي -رضي الله عنه- وطلحة والزبير وغيرهم من أعيان الصحابة فرأوا جمع القرآن على حرفٍ واحد، حتى لا تكون هناك منازعات، والقراء الذين اختلفوا في القراءات السبعة والعشرة إنما هي قراءات لا يختلف بها المعنى في الغالب، إلا اختلافاً يسيرا، إما زيادة حرف أو نقص حرف أو اختلاف في الحركات الرفع والنصب، فاختلاف القراءات السبع والعشر اختلاف يسير، لا يخرج عن كونه في حرف واحد مما نزل به القرآن. ـ

The science of the Qiraa’aat is well-known to the reciters and the people of knowledge. Its origin is that Allah revealed the Qur’an in seven dialects, and these dialects were very near to one another – sometimes they would differ in wording and sometimes they would differ in meaning while still being very close to one another.

Then when the people started to differ during the era of ‘Uthman, ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) and the Sahabah who were alive in his era such as ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), Talhah, al-Zubayr and others prominent Sahabah decided to gather the Qur’an according to one single dialect so that there would be no more divisions among the people. Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #31

What follows is a collection of assorted Qur’an benefits originally posted on our social media channels in February 2019:

Hope and Fear

In his explanation of surah al-Israa’, al-haafidh ibn Kathir wrote:

 وقوله ( ويرجون رحمته ويخافون عذابه ) : لا تتم العبادة إلا بالخوف والرجاء فبالخوف ينكف عن المناهي وبالرجاء ينبعث على الطاعات

Allah’s statement:

وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَافُونَ عَذَابَهُ

“… they hope for Allah’s mercy and fear His punishment …” [17:57]

Worship cannot be made complete without both fear and hope, for fear restrains one from the forbidden matters while hope motivates him to perform acts of obedience.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 5/89]

The Day of Nooh and the Day of ‘Aad

The great mufassir Imam ibn Jarir al-Tabari mentioned the following narration in his explanation of surah al-Haqqah: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 97-103: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the tenth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 97-103. This passage focuses on the pattern of the Children of Israa’eel breaking their covenants and refusing to believe. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Say, “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril, it is he who brought down the Qur’an to your heart by Allah’s permission, affirming what you had with you, and as a guidance and glad tiding to the believers.” [2:97]

قل- أيها الرسول- لليهود حين قالوا: إن جبريل هو عدونا من الملائكة: من كان عدوًا لجبريل فإنه نزَّل القرآن على قلبك بإذن الله تعالى مصدِّقًا لما سبقه من كتب الله، وهاديًا إلى الحق، ومبشرًا للمصدِّقين به بكل خير في الدنيا والآخرة.ـ

97. O Messenger, when the Jews say, “Jibril is our enemy angel,” tell them, “Whoever is an enemy to Jibril, he brought down the Qur’an to your heart by Allah’s permission, affirming the previous scriptures from Allah and serving as a guidance to the truth and offering the promise of every good in this life and the next life for those who believe in it.” Continue reading

Like the House of a Spider: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah presents the following parable in surah al-‘Ankaboot:

مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ كَمَثَلِ الْعَنكَبُوتِ اتَّخَذَتْ بَيْتًا ۖ وَإِنَّ أَوْهَنَ الْبُيُوتِ لَبَيْتُ الْعَنكَبُوتِ ۖ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ

The example of those who take allies other than Allah is like that of the spider who makes a home. And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew. [29:41]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote the following his commentary on this ayah:

هذا مثل ضربه الله تعالى للمشركين في اتخاذهم آلهة من دون الله ، يرجون نصرهم ورزقهم ، ويتمسكون بهم في الشدائد ، فهم في ذلك كبيت العنكبوت في ضعفه ووهنه فليس في أيدي هؤلاء من آلهتهم إلا كمن يتمسك ببيت العنكبوت ، فإنه لا يجدي عنه شيئا ، فلو علموا هذا الحال لما اتخذوا من دون الله أولياء ، وهذا بخلاف المسلم المؤمن قلبه لله ، وهو مع ذلك يحسن العمل في اتباع الشرع فإنه مستمسك بالعروة الوثقى لا انفصام لها ، لقوتها وثباتها

This is a parable that Allah has made regarding how the mushrikoon take gods to worship other than Allah, hoping for their aid and provision and clinging to them in times of difficulty. In doing so, they are like the house of a spider in terms of its weakness and frailty, for these “gods” of theirs are no more able to provide these things than a spider’s house can provide protection to one who clings to it – he will not get anything out of that. If only they knew this condition of theirs, then they would not take others besides Allah as protectors. Continue reading