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.

ولهذا قال: { وَلَقَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ } من جميع الأنبياء. { لَئِنْ أَشْرَكْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ } هذا مفرد مضاف، يعم كل عمل،.ففي نبوة جميع الأنبياء، أن الشرك محبط لجميع الأعمال، كما قال تعالى في سورة الأنعام – لما عدد كثيرا من أنبيائه ورسله قال عنهم: { ذَلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَلَوْ أَشْرَكُوا لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ } ، { وَلَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ } دينك وآخرتك، فبالشرك تحبط الأعمال، ويستحق العقاب والنكال. ـ

So for this reason Allah said:

وَلَقَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ

And it was already revealed to you and to those before you

i.e. to all the prophets before you

لَئِنْ أَشْرَكْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ

that if you should associate anything with Allah, your work would surely become worthless

This is a singular noun with a plural meaning, so it applies to every act of work. For every prophet brought the message that al-shirk is an invalidator of all acts. This is just as Allah said in surah al-An’aam when He listed a great number of His prophets and messengers and then He said about them:

ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّـهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ ۚ وَلَوْ أَشْرَ‌كُوا لَحَبِطَ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

That is the guidance of Allah by which He guides whomever He wills of His servants. But if they had associated others with Allah, then whatever they were doing would be worthless for them. [6:88]

وَلَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

And you would surely be among the losers

in both your deen and in your hereafter. For shirk nullifies one’s deeds and justifies punishment and being made into an example for others.

ثم قال: { بَلِ اللَّهَ فَاعْبُدْ } لما أخبر أن الجاهلين يأمرونه بالشرك، وأخبر عن شناعته، أمره بالإخلاص فقال: { بَلِ اللَّهَ فَاعْبُدْ } أي: أخلص له العبادة وحده لا شريك له، { وَكُنْ مِنَ الشَّاكِرِينَ } للّه على توفيق اللّه تعالى،.فكما أنه تعالى يشكر على النعم الدنيوية، كصحة الجسم وعافيته، وحصول الرزق وغير ذلك،.كذلك يشكر ويثنى عليه بالنعم الدينية، كالتوفيق للإخلاص، والتقوى، بل نعم الدين، هي النعم على الحقيقة، وفي تدبر أنها من اللّه تعالى والشكر للّه عليها، سلامة من آفة العجب التي تعرض لكثير من العاملين، بسبب جهلهم، وإلا، فلو عرف العبد حقيقة الحال، لم يعجب بنعمة تستحق عليه زيادة الشكر. ـ

Then He said:

بَلِ اللَّهَ فَاعْبُدْ

Rather, worship Allah alone …

So after having told us of the ignorant ones commanding the Prophet to commit shirk and informing us of its repulsiveness, Allah then commanded him to have ikhlaas by saying:

بَلِ اللَّهَ فَاعْبُدْ

Rather, worship Allah alone …

meaning: be sincere to Him alone in worship, with no partners.

وَكُنْ مِنَ الشَّاكِرِينَ

… and be among the grateful ones

i.e. be among those who are grateful to Allah for having been guided to the truth, for just as Allah ought to be thanked for the blessings of this worldly life – such as bodily health, well-being, the attainment of provisions, etc. – likewise He ought to be thanked and praised for the blessings of the deen – such as His granting the accord to have ikhlaas and taqwa. In fact, He ought to be thanked and praised for the deen itself, for in reality this is the greatest thing. Through reflecting on how these blessings are from Allah and being grateful to Him for them one gains safety from the vice of self-amazement. That is a vice which afflicts many of the created beings due to their ignorance, and were it not for their ignorance, it would not afflict them. For if a slave knew the reality of his condition, he would not be suffer self-amazement as a result of the blessings which ought be something that would increase him in gratitude.

يقول تعالى: وما قدر هؤلاء المشركون ربهم حق قدره، ولا عظموه حق تعظيمه، بل فعلوا ما يناقض ذلك، من إشراكهم به من هو ناقص في أوصافه وأفعاله، فأوصافه ناقصة من كل وجه، وأفعاله ليس عنده نفع ولا ضر، ولا عطاء ولا منع، ولا يملك من الأمر شيئا. فسووا هذا المخلوق الناقص بالخالق الرب العظيم، الذي من عظمته الباهرة، وقدرته القاهرة، أن جميع الأرض يوم القيامة قبضة للرحمن، وأن السماوات – على سعتها وعظمها – مطويات بيمينه، فلا عظمه حق عظمته من سوَّى به غيره، ولا أظلم منه. { سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ } أي: تنزه وتعاظم عن شركهم به. ـ

وَمَا قَدَرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِ‌هِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضُ جَمِيعًا قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِ‌كُونَ

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.

يقول تعالى: وما قدر هؤلاء المشركون ربهم حق قدره، ولا عظموه حق تعظيمه، بل فعلوا ما يناقض ذلك، من إشراكهم به من هو ناقص في أوصافه وأفعاله، فأوصافه ناقصة من كل وجه، وأفعاله ليس عنده نفع ولا ضر، ولا عطاء ولا منع، ولا يملك من الأمر شيئا. فسووا هذا المخلوق الناقص بالخالق الرب العظيم، الذي من عظمته الباهرة، وقدرته القاهرة، أن جميع الأرض يوم القيامة قبضة للرحمن، وأن السماوات – على سعتها وعظمها – مطويات بيمينه، فلا عظمه حق عظمته من سوَّى به غيره، ولا أظلم منه. { سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ } أي: تنزه وتعاظم عن شركهم به. ـ

Allah is saying that the mushrikoon have not appraised their Lord with His true value, nor have they magnified Him according to His true greatness. Rather, they have done the opposite of that by associating partners with Him in worship, partners whose qualities and actions are all deficient. Their qualities are deficient in every way, and there actions cannot bring about benefit or hand, nor can they grant or withhold anything, not do they possess ownership of anything. Yet they consider this deficient created being to be equal to the Creator, the Lord Almighty, whose granduer is plain to see and whose power is irrestable. On the day of Resurrection, the entire earth will be in the grasp of al-Rahman, and the heavens – despite their breadth and grandeur – will be rolled up in His right hand. So whoever considers anyone or anything to be equal to Allah has not exalted Him and He deserves to be exalted, and there is no one more unjust than such a person.

سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him

meaning: He is free of and magnified above their association of any partners with Him.

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

  1. Pingback: Recognizing the Greatness of the Allah’s Speech: Sheikh Salih al-‘Usaymi | Tulayhah

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