How the Qur’an Addresses Potential Doubts: Tafsir al-Sa’di

After a long series of ayaat in surah al-Baqarah critical of Banu Israa’eel for their repeated betrayals of the covenant that Allah had taken from them, Allah then says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Those who believe and those who were Jews or Christians or Sabi’oon who believed in Allah and the Last Day and did righteous good deeds – they will have their reward with Allah, and they will not have any fear nor will they grieve. [2:62]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following explanation and beneficial point of Qur’anic style in his commentary on this ayah:

ثم قال تعالى حاكما بين الفرق الكتابية: { إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَى وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ } وهذا الحكم على أهل الكتاب خاصة, لأن الصابئين, الصحيح أنهم من جملة فرق النصارى، فأخبر الله أن المؤمنين من هذه الأمة, واليهود والنصارى, والصابئين من آمن بالله واليوم الآخر, وصدقوا رسلهم, فإن لهم الأجر العظيم والأمن, ولا خوف عليهم ولا هم يحزنون، وأما من كفر منهم بالله ورسله واليوم الآخر, فهو بضد هذه الحال, فعليه الخوف والحزن. ـ

This status is only applicable to the Ahl al-Kitab, for the correct opinion regarding the Sabi’oon is that they are one of the Christian sects.

In this ayah, Allah is informing the believers that the Jews, Christians, and Sabi’oon who believe in Allah and the Last Day and affirm His messengers will have a great reward as well as safety. They will not fear nor will they grieve.

But as for those of those of them that disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and the Last Day, then they will experience the opposite situation: they will fear and they will grieve.

والصحيح أن هذا الحكم بين هذه الطوائف, من حيث هم, لا بالنسبة إلى الإيمان بمحمد, فإن هذا إخبار عنهم قبل بعثة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وأن هذا مضمون أحوالهم، ـ

And the correct understanding of the legal status mentioned in this ayah regarding these different groups is that it refers to them as they were, not in reference to their belief in Muhammad. This statement is speaking about them before the coming of Muhammad and their condition prior to that.

وهذه طريقة القرآن إذا وقع في بعض النفوس عند سياق الآيات بعض الأوهام, فلا بد أن تجد ما يزيل ذلك الوهم, لأنه تنزيل مَنْ يعلم الأشياء قبل وجودها, ومَنْ رحمته وسعت كل شيء. وذلك والله أعلم – أنه لما ذكر بني إسرائيل وذمهم, وذكر معاصيهم وقبائحهم, ربما وقع في بعض النفوس أنهم كلهم يشملهم الذم، فأراد الباري تعالى أن يبين من لم يلحقه الذم منهم بوصفه، ولما كان أيضا ذكر بني إسرائيل خاصة يوهم الاختصاص بهم. ذكر تعالى حكما عاما يشمل الطوائف كلها, ليتضح الحق, ويزول التوهم والإشكال، فسبحان من أودع في كتابه ما يبهر عقول العالمين. ـ

This is a stylistic feature of the Qur’an: when some people experience doubts and mistaken assumptions surrounding a passage, then you will certainly find something to remove these doubts and assumptions [within the same passage], for the Qur’an is a revelation from the One who knows all things before they even happen and Whose mercy encompasses everything.

So – and Allah knows best – the potential doubt here is that after having mentioned Banu Israa’eel, their blameworthy status, sins and bad deeds, one might suppose that this blameworthy status applied to all of them. So the Creator wanted to make it clear that He did not attach this blameworthy status to them simply on account of who they are.

Also, after having mentioned only the Banu Israa’eel, one might suppose that this status was exclusive to them. So Allah mentioned a general statement which includes all of these different groups in order to clarify the truth and remove these incorrect assumptions and any confusion. How perfect is He who has filled His Book what things that stun the intellects of the knowledgeable ones!

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 45-46]

For more examples of this feature, see also: Precautionary Language in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: Treating Doubts in One’s Faith: Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 58-66: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

See also: Meanings of the words Yahood, Nasaara and Saabi’oon: Tafsir al-Baghawi

See also: “You will never attain al-Birr until…” : Tafsir al-Sa’di

4 thoughts on “How the Qur’an Addresses Potential Doubts: Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Precautionary Language in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 58-66: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Meanings of the words Yahood, Nasaara and Saabi’oon: Tafsir al-Baghawi | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Why Does the Qur’an Sometimes Use the Past Tense When Describing Allah?: Sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji | Tulayhah

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