Those Who Seek Forgiveness in the Last Part of the Night: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In part of surah Aal ‘Imraan, Allah describes His believing slaves with the following characteristics:

الصَّابِرِينَ وَالصَّادِقِينَ وَالْقَانِتِينَ وَالْمُنفِقِينَ وَالْمُسْتَغْفِرِينَ بِالْأَسْحَارِ

The patient ones, the truthful ones, the devout ones, those who spend, and those who seek forgiveness in the last part of the night. [3:17]

Imam al-Qurtubi began his commentary on this ayah by writing:

الصابرين يعني عن المعاصي والشهوات ، وقيل : على الطاعات . والصادقين أي في الأفعال والأقوال والقانتين الطائعين . والمنفقين يعني في سبيل الله . وقد تقدم في البقرة هذه المعاني على الكمال . ففسر تعالى في هذه الآية أحوال المتقين الموعودين بالجنات .ـ

الصَّابِرِينَ

The patient ones …

i.e. those who steadfastly abstain from acts of disobedience and lusts. And some explained it as those who steadfastly perform acts of obedience.

وَالصَّادِقِينَ

… and the truthful ones …

i.e. those who are truthful in their actions and statements

وَالْقَانِتِينَ

… and the devout ones …

i.e. the obedient ones

وَالْمُنفِقِينَ

… and those who spend…

i.e. in Allah’s path

And we have already explained these terms in detail in surah al-Baqarah. So in this ayah, Allah is explaining the characteristics of those righteous ones who have been promised Jannah.

واختلف في معنى قوله تعالى : والمستغفرين بالأسحار فقال أنس بن مالك : هم السائلون المغفرة . قتادة : المصلون .ـ

The scholars have differed regarding the meaning of

وَالْمُسْتَغْفِرِينَ بِالْأَسْحَارِ

… and those who seek forgiveness in the last part of the night …

Anas ibn Malik explained them to be those who ask for forgiveness, while Qatadah said that they are those who engage in prayer.

قلت : ولا تناقض ، فإنهم يصلون ويستغفرون . وخص السحر بالذكر لأنه مظان القبول ووقت إجابة الدعاء

I [al-Qurtubi] say: There is no conflict between these two explanations, for these ones both engage in prayer and ask for forgiveness.

And the reason why the last part of the night has been specifically mentioned here is because it is the place of acceptance and the time when supplications will receive a response.

[Tafsir al-Qurtubi 4/37]

See also: “We are not able to perform qiyaam al-lail”: Responses from the salaf

See also: The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

See also: “I will seek forgiveness for you from my Lord”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

One thought on “Those Who Seek Forgiveness in the Last Part of the Night: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

  1. Pingback: “We are not able to perform qiyaam al-lail”: Responses from the salaf | Tulayhah

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