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.

Compare this to the condition of the believing Muslim whose heart is purely for Allah and who, on top of that, strives in his efforts to follow the Divine Legislation, for he is holding tight to the trustworthy handhold with no break in it due to its strength and stability.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 6/279]

Explore more Qur’anic Parable here

Explore more explanations of surah al-‘Ankaboot here

2 thoughts on “Like the House of a Spider: Tafsir ibn Kathir

  1. Pingback: Introduction to the Parables of the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Purpose of Parables in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shinqitee | Tulayhah

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