Two Factors Which Lead to Jannah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

After describing the some of the punishments of the people of the hellfire in surah al-Haqqah, Allah then mentions the following two reasons for their punishment:

إِنَّهُ كَانَ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّـهِ الْعَظِيمِ * وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ

Indeed, he did not used to believe in Allah, the Most Great, * Nor did he encourage the feeding of the poor. [69:33-34]

Commenting on this, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote:

فإن السبب الذي أوصله إلى هذا المحل: { إِنَّهُ كَانَ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ } بأن كان كافرا بربه معاندا لرسله رادا ما جاءوا به من الحق. { وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ } أي: ليس في قلبه رحمة يرحم بها الفقراء والمساكين فلا يطعمهم [من ماله] ولا يحض غيره على إطعامهم، لعدم الوازع في قلبه، وذلك لأن مدار السعادة ومادتها أمران: الإخلاص لله، الذي أصله الإيمان بالله، والإحسان إلى الخلق بوجوه الإحسان، الذي من أعظمها، دفع ضرورة المحتاجين بإطعامهم ما يتقوتون به، وهؤلاء لا إخلاص ولا إحسان، فلذلك استحقوا ما استحقوا.ـ

The cause which brought this person to this place is that

إِنَّهُ كَانَ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ

Indeed, he did not used to believe in Allah, the Most Great

for he used to disbelieve in his Lord, obstinately oppose His messengers, and reject the truth that the messengers brought to him.

وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَى طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ

Nor did he encourage the feeding of the poor

i.e. he did not have any mercy in his heart to take pity of the poor and the needy, so he didn’t use his money to feed them nor did he encourage others to feed them, for he had no sense of propriety left in his heart.

These two factors are mentioned because attaining everlasting joy revolves around two things: Continue reading

Punishment of the Grave as Mentioned in the Qur’an: Ibn al-Qayyim

Some people promote doubts about the punishment of the grave – ‘adhab al-qabr – by arguing that it is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, addressed this doubt while drawing on the writing of past scholar Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah:

سؤال : هل ذكر عذاب القبر في القرآن الكريم؟ ـ

Question: Is the punishment of the grave mentioned in the Qur’an?

الجواب : نعم ذكر عذاب القبر في القرآن الكريم، بالإشارة إليه بما لا يستقيم المعنى إلا بأنه مقصود، وذكر بدلالة الالتزام ؛ ـ

Response: Yes, the punishment of the grave is mentioned in the Qur’an. This is done through indirect mentions where it is the only plausible meaning, as well by the logical implications of the Qur’an.

أمّا دلالة الالتزام فإن الله أوجب تصديق الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما أخبر، وطاعته فيما أمر. واجتناب ما نهى عنه وزجر، وقد أخبرنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بعذاب القبر، وحذرنا منه، وأمرنا بالاستعاذة منه، والأحاديث بهذا المعنى متواترة تواتراً معنوياً، تكذيبها تكذيب لأمر قطعي يقيني، وعدم تصديق ذلك واتباعه تكذيب لدلالة اللزوم التي دل عليها القرآن.ـ

As for the logical implications, Allah has commanded us to affirm what the Prophet has told us and to obey him in what he has commanded us. He has also commanded us to avoid what the Prophet has forbidden and warned against. And the Prophet has informed us of the punishment of the grave and warned us of it, as well as commanding us to seek refuge from it. The hadith narrations conveying these messages are massively numerous, undeniably affirming these meanings. To deny them is to deny a matter that is certain beyond doubt. Refusing to affirm and follow these narrations effectively means denying the logical implications of the Qur’an. Continue reading

They Have Not Appraised Allah with His True Value: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Zumar, Allah instructs His prophet:

قُلْ أَفَغَيْرَ‌ اللَّـهِ تَأْمُرُ‌ونِّي أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا الْجَاهِلُونَ * وَلَقَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكَ لَئِنْ أَشْرَ‌كْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ وَلَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِ‌ينَ * بَلِ اللَّـهَ فَاعْبُدْ وَكُن مِّنَ الشَّاكِرِ‌ينَ * وَمَا قَدَرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِ‌هِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضُ جَمِيعًا قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِ‌كُونَ

Say, “Is it other than Allah that you order me to worship, O ignorant ones?” * And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate anything with Allah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.” * Rather, worship only Allah and be among the grateful. * They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be within His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him. [39:64-67]

Commenting on these ayaat in his well-known book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

ـ { قُلْ } يا أيها الرسول لهؤلاء الجاهلين، الذين دعوك إلى عبادة غير اللّه: { أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ تَأْمُرُونِّي أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا الْجَاهِلُونَ } أي: هذا الأمر صدر من جهلكم، وإلا فلو كان لكم علم بأن اللّه تعالى الكامل من جميع الوجوه، مسدي جميع النعم، هو المستحق للعبادة، دون من كان ناقصا من كل وجه، لا ينفع ولا يضر، لم تأمروني بذلك. وذلك لأن الشرك باللّه محبط للأعمال، مفسد للأحوال . ـ

قُلْ

Say: …

O Messenger, to these ignorant ones who call you to the worship of others than Allah

أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ تَأْمُرُونِّي أَعْبُدُ أَيُّهَا الْجَاهِلُونَ

…. Is it other than Allah that you order me to worship, O ignorant ones?

meaning: this command issues forth from your ignorance, and otherwise it would not occur. For if you only knew how perfect and complete Allah is from every angle, and that He is provider of all blessings, and that He is the One deserving of worship to the exclusion of those who are deficient in every way, for they do not bring benefit nor do they cause harm – if you only knew these things, then you would not tell me to that! And that is because committing shirk with Allah invalidates one’s deeds and ruins one’s condition. Continue reading

“When My Slaves Ask About Me, I am Near”: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr

In the midst of a class on du’aa and adhkar – supplication and remembrance -, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr highlighted the following beautiful points of benefit:

قال: (وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي) ومن نوع السؤال ما جاء عن بعض الصحابة أنهم قالوا : يا رسول الله! أربنا بعيدٌ فنناديه ؟ يعني : نناديه بصوتٍ عالي؟ أم قريبٌ فنناجيه؟ ولهذا جاء في بعض الروايات أن الآية نزلت في جواب مثل هذا السؤال، (وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ) فذكر قربه من الداعين بالإجابة ، كما أنه قريبٌ من العابدين بالإثابة، من عبد الله فهو قريبٌ منه يثيبه على عبادته أعظم الثواب ، ومن دعا الله فإنه قريبٌ منه ي جيب دعاءه، ويحقق رجاءه، ويعطيه سؤله . ـ

Allah said:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي

And when My slaves ask about Me … [2:186]

One type of question that some of the sahabah mentioned is that they asked, “O Messenger of Allah, is our Lord far away such that we should call out to Him?” – i.e. to call out to him with raised voices – “Or is He near such that we should speak to Him privately?” It has been mentioned in some narrations that the ayah

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ

And when My slaves ask about Me, indeed I am near. I respond to the call of the caller when he calls [2:186]

was sent down in response to this type of question. So He mentions His nearness to those who call on Him is in His answering them, just as He is near to those who worship Him by rewarding them. Whoever worships Allah, then Allah is near to that person by rewarding him with the best of rewards for his worship. And whoever calls upon Allah, then Allah is near to that person by responding to his call, making his hopes come true and giving him what he sought. Continue reading

Responding to Doubts About the Qiraa’aat and Their Chains of Transmission: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following “doubt and response” post surrounding the qiraa’aat – multiple recitations of the Qur’an – and their preservation:

شبهة : بعض القراءات سندها فيه رواة ضعفاء، بل بعض القراء السبعة طعن في ضبطه، فقراءته غير مقبولة لأن سندها من طريقه! ـ

Doubt: Some of the qiraa’aat have weak transmitters in their chains of transmission. What’s more, the precise transmission of some of the seven famous reciters themselves has been questioned. So therefore these qiraa’aat do not meet the level of acceptability since they have been transmitted through these routes!

ردها : القراءة لا تعتمد في ثبوتها على أسانيدها المذكورة في أول كتب القراءات؛ إنما تعتمد على تلقيها كافة عن كافة حتى وصلت إلينا. فكل قراءة من هذه القراءات السبع أو العشر، إنما تعتمد على نقل الكافة عن الكافة طبقة عن طبقة حتى وصلت إلينا…. فهي متواترة لا تحتاج إلى أفراد الأسانيد في ثبوتها. ـ

Response: The authenticity and reliability of a qiraa’ah is not dependent on the chains of transmission found in the beginnings of the books of the qiraa’aat; it depends on the oral transmission from numerous teachers to numerous students over time until it has reached us.

Each one of the seven or ten qiraa’aat is based on mass transmission from one generation to the next until it has been passed down to us. So this transmission is mutawaatir; individual chains of narration are not needed to show the authenticity of these qiraa’aat. Continue reading

The Length of Surah al-Ahzab: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Imam al-Qurtubi began his tafsir of surah al-Ahzab with the following:

سورة الأحزاب
Surah al-Ahzab

مدنية في قول جميعهم . نزلت في المنافقين وإيذائهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وطعنهم فيه وفي مناكحته وغيرها . وهي ثلات وسبعون آية . وكانت هذه السورة تعدل سورة البقرة . وكانت فيها آية الرجم : ( الشيخ والشيخة إذا زنيا فارجموهما البتة نكالا من الله والله عزيز حكيم ) ; ذكره أبو بكر الأنباري عن أبي بن كعب . وهذا يحمله أهل العلم على أن الله تعالى رفع من الأحزاب إليه ما يزيد على ما في أيدينا ، وأن آية الرجم رفع لفظها . وقد حدثنا أحمد بن الهيثم بن خالد قال حدثنا أبو عبيد القاسم بن سلام قال حدثنا ابن أبي مريم عن ابن لهيعة عن أبي الأسود عن عروة عن عائشة قالت : كانت سورة الأحزاب تعدل على عهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مائتي آية ، فلما كتب المصحف لم يقدر منها إلا على ما هي الآن . قال أبو بكر : فمعنى هذا من قول أم المؤمنين عائشة : أن الله تعالى رفع إليه من سورة الأحزاب ما يزيد على ما عندنا . ـ

It is a Madani surah according to consensus. It was revealed regarding the munafiqoon and their harm, abuse and insults, etc. towards Allah’s Messenger.

It is 73 ayaat long, but this surah used to be equal in length to surah al-Baqarah, and it used to contain the Ayah of Stoning. That is

الشيخ والشيخة إذا زنيا فارجموهما البتة نكالا من الله والله عزيز حكيم

And adult man and the adult woman – if they commit adultery, then stone them both completely. This is an edifying punishment from Allah, and Allah is Almighty, All Wise.

Abu Bakr al-Anbari mentioned this on the authority of Ubay ibn Ka’b.

The scholars have taken this to mean that Allah lifted whatever was beyond the amount of surah al-Ahzab that we have today back to Himself and that the wording of the Ayah of Stoning was lifted [i.e. it is no longer part of the Qur’an].

… A’ishah said: Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #34

What follows is a collection of assorted benefits from the books of tafsir originally posted on our social media channels during July, August and September of 2019:

Faces on the Day of Resurrection

Allah informs us of one aspect of the Day of Resurrection in surah Aal ‘Imran when He says:

يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوهٌ

On that Day some faces will become white and some faces will become black. [3:106]

Imam al-Baghawi explained this phrase by writing:

 يريد : تبيضوجوه المؤمنين وتسود وجوه الكافرين وقيل : تبيض وجوه المخلصين وتسود وجوه المنافقين . وعن سعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما أنه قرأ هذه الآية قال تبيض وجوه أهل السنة وتسود وجوه أهل البدعة .ـ

Meaning: the faces of the believers will become white and the faces of the disbelievers will become black.

And some said: The faces of the sincere ones will become white and the faces of the munafiqoon will become black.

And it has been transmitted on the authority of Sa’eed ibn Jubayr that ibn ‘Abbaas recited this ayah and said, “The faces of the people of the Sunnah will become white and the faces of people of innovation will become black.”

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 2/87]


Those Who Turn Away From the Qur’an

Allah offers a threat to the disbelievers in surah al-Zukhruf when He says:

وَمَن يَعْشُ عَن ذِكْرِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ نُقَيِّضْ لَهُ شَيْطَانًا فَهُوَ لَهُ قَرِينٌ

And whoever becomes dim-sighted to remembrance of al-Rahman, We appoint a shaytan for him, and he will be his companion. [43:36]

Imam al-Baghawi included the following narration in his tafsir of this ayah: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 142-157: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the fifteenth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 142-157. This passage centers around the changing of the qiblah and submitting to Allah’s commands and decrees. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

سَيَقُولُ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَا وَلَّاهُمْ عَن قِبْلَتِهِمُ الَّتِي كَانُوا عَلَيْهَا ۚ قُل لِّلَّـهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

The foolish ones of the people will say, “What has turned them away from their qiblah which they were on?” Say, “The East and the West belong to Allah.” He guides whom He wishes to the straight path. [2:142]

سيقول الجهال وضعاف العقول من اليهود وأمثالهم، في سخرية واعتراض: ما الذي صرف هؤلاء المسلمين عن قبلتهم التي كانوا يُصَلُّون إلى جهتها أول الإسلام؛ وهي بيت المقدس قل لهم- أيها الرسول-: المشرق والمغرب وما بينهما ملك لله، فليست جهة من الجهات خارجة عن ملكه، يهدي مَن يشاء من عباده إلى طريق الهداية القويم. وفي هذا إشعار بأن الشأن كله لله في امتثال أوامره، فحيثما وَجَّهَنا تَوَجَّهْنا. ـ

142. The ignorant and weak-minded ones from the Jews and others like them will say out of ridicule and opposition, “What has turned these Muslims away from their qiblah which they used to face in prayer at the beginning of Islam?” And that qiblah was Jerusalem. Tell them – O Messenger -, “The East and the West and all that is in between are Allah’s kingdom.” So there isn’t any direction outside of His ownership. He guides whichever slaves of His He wishes to the straight path of guidance.

And this ayah contains an indication that the most important issue to Allah is obeying His commands, so whichever direction He turns us towards is the direction that we face.

وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ ۚ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّـهُ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And thus We have made made you a middle nation so that you may be witnesses over mankind, and the Messenger is a witness over you. And We only made the qiblah which you were on in order to know those who follow the Messenger from those who turn back on their heels. That is certainly difficult, except for those whom Allah has guided. And Allah would not let their faith be wasted. Allah is certainly kind and merciful to the people. [2:143] Continue reading

A Living Heart and a Light to Walk by: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah strikes the following parable in part of surah al-An’aam:

أَوَمَن كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ كَمَن مَّثَلُهُ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ لَيْسَ بِخَارِجٍ مِّنْهَا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made a light for him by which to walk among the people like one who is in darknesses, never to emerge from them? Thus what they have been doing has been made pleasing to the disbelievers. [6:122]

In part of his explanation of this ayah, al-haafidh ibn Kathir wrote:

هذا مثل ضربه الله تعالى للمؤمن الذي كان ميتا ، أي : في الضلالة ، هالكا حائرا ، فأحياه الله ، أي : أحيا قلبه بالإيمان ، وهداه له ووفقه لاتباع رسله . ( وجعلنا له نورا يمشي به في الناس ) أي : يهتدي به كيف يسلك ، وكيف يتصرف به . والنور هو : القرآن ، كما رواه العوفي وابن أبي طلحة ، عن ابن عباس . وقال السدي : الإسلام . والكل صحيح . ـ

This is a parable that Allah struck regarding a believer who had been dead – that is, in a state of misguidance, lost and confused – and then Allah gave him life – that is, gave life to his heart through eemaan and guided him and enabled him to follow His messengers.

وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ

… and made a light for him by which to walk among the people …

i.e. that he is guided by it in terms of how he should act and conduct himself.

The “light” here is the Qur’an, as has been transmitted from ibn ‘Abbaas by way of al-‘Awfi and ibn Abi Talhah, while al-Suddi says it refers to Islam. And both of these explanations are correct. Continue reading