Taking up Partners: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah describes the disbelievers in surah al-Baqarah by saying:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَندَادًا

And there are some people who take up partners besides Allah… [2:165]

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

وفي قوله: { اتخذوا } دليل على أنه ليس لله ند وإنما المشركون جعلوا بعض المخلوقات أندادا له, تسمية مجردة, ولفظا فارغا من المعنى، كما قال تعالى: { وَجَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ قُلْ سَمُّوهُمْ أَمْ تُنَبِّئُونَهُ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ بِظَاهِرٍ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ } { إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنْتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ } ـ

Allah’s referring to them as “taking up partners” is proof that Allah does not actually have any equals and that the mushrikoon merely treat some of created beings like equals to Him, but those are nothing more than titles and words devoid of any real substance. That is like how they say:

وَجَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ قُلْ سَمُّوهُمْ أَمْ تُنَبِّئُونَهُ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَمْ بِظَاهِرٍ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ

Yet they ascribe partners to Allah. Say: “Name them! Is it that you will inform Him of something in the earth that He does not know, or is it just a show of false words?” [13:33]

and:

إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنْتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ

They are but names which you have named, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow but a guess [53:23]

فالمخلوق ليس ندا لله لأن الله هو الخالق, وغيره مخلوق, والرب الرازق ومن عداه مرزوق, والله هو الغني وأنتم الفقراء، وهو الكامل من كل الوجوه, والعبيد ناقصون من جميع الوجوه، والله هو النافع الضار, والمخلوق ليس له من النفع والضر والأمر شيء، فعلم علما يقينا, بطلان قول من اتخذ من دون الله آلهة وأندادا، سواء كان ملكا أو نبيا, أو صالحا, صنما, أو غير ذلك، وأن الله هو المستحق للمحبة الكاملة, والذل التام ـ

For the created beings are not equals to Allah. Allah is the Creator and everyone else is created. He is the Lord and Provider, and everything else is dependent upon outside provision. Allah is free of need, while they are needy. He is perfect and complete in every way, while the slaves are deficient from every angle. Allah is the One who brings about benefit and harm, while the created beings do not have any control over benefit, harm or anything else. So there can be no doubt as to the falsehood of the position of anyone who takes up others as gods or partners with Allah, regardless of whether those partners be angels, prophets, righteous people, idols or anything else. And there is no doubt that Allah is the One who deserving complete love and total veneration.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 76]

See also: Cutting Off Shirk at its Very Roots: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Allah does not forgive shirk but he forgives what is less than that: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

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