“Those Who Have Divided Their Religion and Become Sects”: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah says in surah al-An’aam:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّـهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ

Those who have divided their religion and become sects – you have nothing to do with them. Their matter is up to Allah, then He will inform them of what they used to do. [6:159]

Imam al-Baghawi wrote the following commentary on this ayah in his book of tafsir:

قوله – عز وجل – : ( إن الذين فرقوا دينهم ) قرأ حمزة والكسائي : ” فارقوا ” ، بالألف هاهنا وفي سورة الروم ، أي : خرجوا من دينهم وتركوه وقرأ الآخرون : ” فرقوا ” مشددا ، أي : جعلوا دين الله وهو واحد – دين إبراهيم عليه السلام الحنيفية – أديانا مختلفة ، فتهود قوم وتنصر قوم ، يدل عليه قوله – عز وجل – : ( وكانوا شيعا ) أي : صاروا فرقا مختلفة وهم اليهود والنصارى في قول مجاهد وقتادة والسدي . ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ

Those who have divided their religion …

Hamzah and al-Kisaa’i recited it as:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَارَقُوا دِينَهُمْ

Those who have departed from their religion …

with an alif, both here an in surah al-Room [c.f. 30:32], meaning: exiting from their religion and leaving it. But the rest of the reciters recited it as: Continue reading

On the Qur’aniyyoon: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr

One of the many valuable books of ‘aqeedah authored by Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhaab is his Kitaab Usool al-Eemaan – “Book of the Fundamentals of Faith”. What follows is the final hadeeth from the chapter on the Rights of the Prophet and the accompanying explanation of the hadeeth from sheikh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Badr:

وعن المقدام بن معديكرِب الكندي رضي لله عنه أن رسول لله صلى لله عليه وسلم قال : ((يوشك الرجل متكئاً على أريكته يحدِّث بحديث فيقول: بيننا وبينكم كتابُ لله عز وجل ، فما وجدنا فيه من حلال استحللناه وما وجدنا فيه من حرام حرَّمْناه ، ألا وإن ما حرَّم رسول لله صلى لله عليه وسلم مثل ما حرَّم لله)) رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه . ـ

It has been narrated on the authority of al-Miqdam ibn Ma’dirakib al-Kindi that the Messenger of Allah said:

Soon will come a time that a man will be reclining on his couch, and when one of my hadeeth is narrated he will say, “Let the Qur’an be a judge between us and you; whatever it states is permissible, we will take as permissible, and whatever it states is forbidden, we will take as forbidden.” Verily, whatever the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has forbidden is like that which Allah has forbidden.

This was recorded by al-Tirmidhi and ibn Majah.

ثم ختم هذه الترجمة بهذا الحديث العظيم في الدلالة على أن من محبته عليه الصلاة والسلام اتباع سنته والأخذ بما جاء به عليه الصلاة والسلام ، وأن اتباع السنة هو من اتباع القرآن . ـ

The sheikh concluded the chapter with this tremendous hadeeth in order to show that part of loving the Prophet is following his sunnah and accepting what he brought, and that following the sunnah is part of following the Qur’an.

وساق رحمه لله هذا الحديث حديث المقدام بن معديكرب الكندي رضي لله عنه أن رسول لله صلى لله عليه وسلم قال : ((يوشك الرجل متكئاً على أريكته)) ؛ وهذا علَم من علامات النبوة ، يخبر عليه الصلاة والسلام عن شيء سيوجد فيما بعد ، وقد وُجد ، هذا الذي حذر منه عليه الصلاة والسلام وبها عنه في هذا الحديث وجد قال: ((يوشك الرجل متكئا على أريكته)) وجاء في بعض الروايات ((يوشك رجل شبعانا متكئا على أريكته)) وقوله <<شبعانا>> أي همه الطعام وملأ البطن ، وليس له اشتغال بالعلم والذهاب إلى العلماء وطلب العلم وتحصيله والتفقه في الدين هذا ليس من اهتماماته ولا من الأمور التي يعتني بها ، ثم مع هذا كله يتكئ على أريكته؛ وهذا أيضا دليل على أنه من أهل الترف والترفه واجتمعت فيه هذه الأمور ثم ماذا يقول؟ ـ

The author brought this hadeeth, the hadeeth of al-Miqdam ibn Ma’dirakib al-Kindi, that the Messenger of Allah said:

Soon will come a time that a man will be reclining on his couch …

and this is one of the signs of the Messenger’s prophethood, that he informed us of something that was going to happen before it happened and then it did come to pass. This thing which the Prophet warned us about in this hadeeth has come to pass. He said:

Soon will come a time that a man will be reclining on his couch …

and in some narrations it comes as: Continue reading

Benefits to Take from the Stories of the Qur’an: Sheikh Khalid al-Batili

In part of his explanation of sheikh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymeen’s primer of the fundamentals of tafsir, sheikh Khalid al-Batili (professor at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh) included the following points related to benefiting from the stories of the Qur’an:

الحكمة في القصص القرآني
The Reasons for the Qur’anic Stories

أولا: الجانب التربوي الأخلاقي: مثل: الصبر من أيوب، والعفة من يوسف، والكرم من إبراهيم. وفي المقابل: التكبر من إبليس وفرعون، والغرور والعجب من قارون، والحسد من إخوة يوسف. ـ

First: There is the aspect of cultivating good character. For example, learning steadfast patience from Ayyub, chastity from Yusuf, or generosity from Ibrahim. And conversely, avoiding the arrogance of Iblis and Fir’awn, the self-delusion and self-amazement of Qarun, or the envy of Yusuf’s brothers.

ثانيا: تأصيل منهج الدعوة إلى االله: ببيان أهميتها وفضلها والصبر عليها والمنهج الصحيح فيها؛ فالأبياء رؤوس الدعاة. فإذا داخل َ الداعية يأس وإحباط فليقرأ قصة نوح، وكيف بذل للدعوة ﴿ فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمْ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمْسِينَ عَامًا ﴾[العنكبوت: ١٤ ] ودعاهم ليلا ونهارا، وسرا وجهارا. ـ

Second: Becoming grounded in the methods of calling others to Allah. The stories clearly show its importance, its virtue, how to be steadfast in it, and the correct approach to take, for the prophets are the foremost callers. So if a caller finds himself feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, then he should read the story of Nooh and how hard he worked in calling others

فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمْ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمْسِينَ عَامًا

And he remained with them for one thousand years, minus fifty [29:31]

and he called them night and day, in private and in public. Continue reading

What is Meant by “The Themes of the Qur’an”: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following brief discussion related to the topic of maqasid al-Qur’an or “themes of the Qur’an”:

مقاصد القرآن يراد بها

What is Meant by “The Themes of the Qur’an”

تارة المقاصد الكلية للقرآن، وهي ترجع إلى ثلاثة محاور وهي الآتية: = تقرير معرفة الله بتوحيد الربوبية والألوهية والأسماء والصفات. = تقرير الأوامر والنوهي والأحكام الشرعية. = بيان حال الناس من دعوة الأنبياء في الأمم السابقة وأمة نبينا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم. ويشير إلى هذا حديث : “قل هو الله أحد تعدل ثلث القرآن”. وبعض أهل العلم يذكر عشرة مقاصد عامة كما صنع ابن القيم، وبعضهم خمسة كما صنع ولي الله الدهلوي وبعضهم ثمانية كما صنع ابن عاشور، رحم الله الجميع، وكلها ترجع إلى هذه المحاور. ـ

Sometimes people use this term to refer to the overarching themes of the entire Qur’an, which go back to pivotal topics, which are:

Instilling knowledge of Allah through knowing His exclusive Lordship, His exclusive right to be worshiped, and His Names and Attributes

Setting forth the commands, prohibitions and legal rulings

Clearly communicating the people’s stances towards the call of the prophets of the previous nations and in Muhammad’s nation.

This is indicated by the hadeeth:

“Say: He is Allah, One” is equal to one third of the Qur’an.

And some of the scholars such as ibn al-Qayyim mention 10 overarching themes, while others such as Waliullah al-Dehlawi mention 5, and still others such as ibn ‘Aashoor mention 8 – may Allah have mercy on all of them. And all of these go back to these three topics. Continue reading

How the Believers Respond to the Qur’an: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah al-Zumar:

اللَّـهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُدَى اللَّـهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُضْلِلِ اللَّـهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

Allah has sent down the best speech: a consistent and reiterating Book. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it, then their skins and hearts soften to the remembrance of Allah. That is Allah’s guidance, through which He guides whom He wills. And whomever Allah leads astray, then there is no one to guide him. [39:23]

In part of his commentary on this ayah, al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote:

وقوله : { تقشعر منه جلود الذين يخشون ربهم ثم تلين جلودهم وقلوبهم إلى ذكر الله } أي هذه صفة الأبرار ، عند سماع كلام الجبار ، المهيمن العزيز الغفار ، لما يفهمون منه من الوعد والوعيد . والتخويف والتهديد ، تقشعر منه جلودهم من الخشية والخوف ، { ثم تلين جلودهم وقلوبهم إلى ذكر الله } لما يرجون ويؤملون من رحمته ولطفه ، فهم مخالفون لغيرهم من الكفار من وجوه : ـ

Allah’s statement:

تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ

The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it, then their skins and hearts soften to the remembrance of Allah.

this is a characteristic of the righteous ones upon hearing the words of the Almighty, the Preserver, the All-Powerful, Oft-Forgiving. As a result of the promises, threats, and intimidation that they find in the Qur’an, their skins shiver over out reverence and fear.

ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ

then their skins and hearts soften to the remembrance of Allah

due to the mercy and kindness of Allah that they hope and wish for. So they are distinct from from the disbelievers in a number of ways:

أحدها : أن سماع هؤلاء هو تلاوة الآيات ، وسماع أولئك نغمات لأبيات ، من أصوات القينات . ـ

Firstly: The believers listen to the recitation of these ayaat, while those disbelievers listen to the tunes of poetry by female singers. Continue reading

What Makes the Qur’an Miraculous?: Ibn Hajr

In his famous explanation of Saheeh al-Bukhari, al-haafidh ibn Hajr included the following words regarding some of the ways in which the Qur’an is miraculous:

وَقَدْ جَمَعَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِعْجَازَ الْقُرْآنِ فِي أَرْبَعَةِ أَشْيَاءَ : [ ص: 624 ] أَحَدُهَا : حُسْنُ تَأْلِيفِهِ وَالْتِئَامُ كَلِمِهِ مَعَ الْإِيجَازِ وَالْبَلَاغَةِ . ثَانِيهَا : صُورَةُ سِيَاقِهِ وَأُسْلُوبِهِ الْمُخَالِفِ لِأَسَالِيبِ كَلَامِ أَهْلِ الْبَلَاغَةِ مِنَ الْعَرَبِ نَظْمًا وَنَثْرًا حَتَّى حَارَتْ فِيهِ عُقُولُهُمْ وَلَمْ يَهْتَدُوا إِلَى الْإِتْيَانِ بِشَيْءٍ مِثْلِهِ مَعَ تَوَفُّرِ دَوَاعِيهِمْ عَلَى تَحْصِيلِ ذَلِكَ وَتَقْرِيعِهِ لَهُمْ عَلَى الْعَجْزِ عَنْهُ . ثَالِثُهَا : مَا اشْتَمَلَ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْإِخْبَارِ عَمَّا مَضَى مِنْ أَحْوَالِ الْأُمَمِ السَّالِفَةِ وَالشَّرَائِعِ الدَّاثِرَةِ مِمَّا كَانَ لَا يَعْلَمُ مِنْهُ بَعْضَهُ إِلَّا النَّادِرُ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ . رَابِعُهَا : الْإِخْبَارُ بِمَا سَيَأْتِي مِنَ الْكَوَائِنِ الَّتِي وَقَعَ بَعْضُهَا فِي الْعَصْرِ النَّبَوِيِّ وَبَعْضُهَا بَعْدَهُ . وَمِنْ غَيْرِ هَذِهِ الْأَرْبَعَةِ آيَاتٌ وَرَدَتْ بِتَعْجِيزِ قَوْمٍ فِي قَضَايَا أَنَّهُمْ لَا يَفْعَلُونَهَا فَعَجَزُوا عَنْهَا مَعَ تَوَفُّرِ دَوَاعِيهِمْ عَلَى تَكْذِيبِهِ ، كَتَمَنِّي الْيَهُودِ الْمَوْتَ ، وَمِنْهَا الرَّوْعَةُ الَّتِي تَحْصُلُ لِسَامِعِهِ ، وَمِنْهَا أَنَّ قَارِئَهُ لَا يَمَلُّ مِنْ تَرْدَادِهِ وَسَامِعَهُ لَا يَمُجُّهُ وَلَا يَزْدَادُ بِكَثْرَةِ التَّكْرَارِ إِلَّا طَرَاوَةً وَلَذَاذَةً . وَمِنْهَا أَنَّهُ آيَةٌ بَاقِيَةٌ لَا تُعْدَمُ مَا بَقِيَتِ الدُّنْيَا ، وَمِنْهَا جَمْعُهُ لِعُلُومٍ وَمَعَارِفَ لَا تَنْقَضِي عَجَائِبُهَا وَلَا تَنْتَهِي فَوَائِدُهَا . اهـ مُلَخَّصًا مِنْ كَلَامِ عِيَاضٍ ، وَغَيْرِهِ . ـ

Some scholars have said that the Qur’an’s miraculous inimitability is made up of four things:

First: Its beautiful composition and arrangement of its words along with its conciseness and eloquence.

Second: The way that its style and manner of expression is distinct from the literary style – whether poetry or prose – of the most eloquent Arabs. It was so distinct that it befuddled their minds and they were not able to produce anything like it despite the abundant motivations they had to do so and the criticism directed at them for not being able to do so. Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #38

What follows are the short points of benefit originally posted on the Tulayhah social media channels in the second half of November 2019:

♦ Your Record of Deeds

Allah describes some of the events of the Day of Resurrection in surah al-Israa’, including what will be said to the people when their records are presented to them:

اقْرَأْ كِتَابَكَ كَفَىٰ بِنَفْسِكَ الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكَ حَسِيبًا

Read your book. You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against yourself this Day [17:14]

Imam al-Qurtubi included the following in his brief commentary on this ayah:

وقال بعض الصلحاء : هذا كتاب ، لسانك قلمه ، وريقك مداده ، وأعضاؤك قرطاسه . ، أنت كنت المملي على حفظتك ، ما زيد فيه ولا نقص منه ، ومتى أنكرت منه شيئا يكون فيه الشاهد منك عليك .ـ

One of the righteous people said: This is the book – your tongue is its pen, your saliva is its ink, your limbs are its pages, and you are the one dictating it to your scribe. There are no extra additions nor any parts missing from it, and if you were to take issue with any part of what is recorded, there would be an evidence within it from your own self against you.”

[Tafsir al-Qurtubi 10/230] Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 196-203: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twentieth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 196-203. This passage focuses on Hajj and sincerity in worship. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then offer what sacrificial animals can be easily attained. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place. Then whoever of you is sick or has an injury on his head, then his ransom is fasting or charity or sacrifice. Then when you are safe, whoever performs ‘Umrah followed by Hajj, then he should offer what sacrificial animal can be easily attained. But whoever cannot find one, then he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven once he goes back. That is a full ten days. That is for anyone whose family does not live around al-Masjid al-Haram. And have taqwa of Allah, and know that Allah is severe in punishment. [2:196]

وأدُّوا الحج والعمرة تامَّيْنِ، خالصين لوجه الله تعالى. فإن منعكم عن الذهاب لإتمامهما بعد الإحرام بهما مانع كالعدو والمرض، فالواجب عليكم ذَبْحُ ما تيسر لكم من الإبل أو البقر أو الغنم تقربًا إلى الله تعالى؛ لكي تَخْرُجوا من إحرامكم بحلق شعر الرأس أو تقصيره، ولا تحلقوا رؤوسكم إذا كنتم محصرين حتى ينحر المحصر هديه في الموضع الذي حُصر فيه ثم يحل من إحرامه، كما نحر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في الحديبية ثم حلق رأسه، وغير المحصر لا ينحر الهدي إلا في الحرم، الذي هو محله في يوم العيد، اليوم العاشر وما بعده من أيام التشريق. فمن كان منكم مريضًا، أو به أذى من رأسه يحتاج معه إلى الحلق- وهو مُحْرِم- حَلَق، وعليه فدية: بأن يصوم ثلاثة أيام، أو يتصدق على ستة مساكين لكل مسكين نصف صاع من طعام، أو يذبح شاة لفقراء الحرم. فإذا كنتم في أمن وصحَّة: فمن استمتع بالعمرة إلى الحج وذلك باستباحة ما حُرِّم عليه بسبب الإحرام بعد انتهاء عمرته، فعليه ذبح ما تيسر من الهدي، فمن لم يجد هَدْيًا يذبحه فعليه صيام ثلاثة أيام في أشهر الحج، وسبعة إذا فرغتم من أعمال الحج ورجعتم إلى أهليكم، تلك عشرة كاملة لا بد من صيامها. ذلك الهَدْيُ وما ترتب عليه من الصيام لمن لم يكن أهله من ساكني أرض الحرم، وخافوا الله تعالى وحافظوا على امتثال أوامره واجتناب نواهيه، واعلموا أن الله شديد العقاب لمن خالف أمره، وارتكب ما عنه زجر. ـ

196. Perform Hajj and ‘Umrah in times of safety sincerely for the sake of Allah. If you are prevented from completing either of these rituals by some factor such as an enemy or illness after entering the state of ihram for them, then you must sacrifice whatever animal such as a camel, cow, or sheep is easy for you to attain as an act of drawing close to Allah. This is so that you may exit from your state of ihram by shaving or cutting the hair on your head. But do not shave your heads when you have been detained until the detained person has sacrificed his sacrificial animal in the place where he has been detained; then he can exit his state of ihram. This is just as the Prophet made his sacrifice at al-Hudaybiyyah and then shaved his head. But those who are not prevented from completing the Hajj or ‘Umrah can only sacrifice their sacrificial animal in the Haram, which is the place for sacrifice on the day of ‘Eid, the tenth day, and the following days of Tashreeq. Then if any of you are sick or has an injury on his head which would require him to shave his head while in a state of ihram, then he should shave it and he will have to pay a ransom: fasting for three days, or giving charity to six poor people with each of them receiving half a sa’a of food, or sacrificing a sheep to give to the poor people of the Haram. But if you are in a state of security and health, then whoever would like to perform a tamatta’u ‘Umrah leading up to Hajj, and that involves being able to partake of the things that had been forbidden because of his state of ihram after completing his ‘Umrah, then he must sacrifice whatever kind of sacrificial animal is easy for him. But whoever cannot find a sacrificial animal to sacrifice, then he must fast three days during the months of Hajj and seven more days after completing the Hajj rituals and returning to his people. That is a full ten days that he must fast. That sacrificial animal and the fasting related to it are for those whose families are not residents of the Haram area. And fear Allah and be consistent in fulfilling His commands and avoiding His prohibitions, and know that Allah is severe in punishing those who go against His command and commit acts which they have been forbidden from doing.

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“Thus Does Allah Strike a Parable of Truth and Falsehood”: al-Qurtubi, ibn Taymiyah, and ibn al-Qayyim

Allah strikes the following two parables in one ayah in surah al-Ra’d:

أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌ بِقَدَرِهَا فَاحْتَمَلَ السَّيْلُ زَبَدًا رَّابِيًا ۚ وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيْهِ فِي النَّارِ ابْتِغَاءَ حِلْيَةٍ أَوْ مَتَاعٍ زَبَدٌ مِّثْلُهُ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّـهُ الْحَقَّ وَالْبَاطِلَ ۚ فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَاءً ۖ وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّـهُ الْأَمْثَالَ

Allah sends down rain from the sky and the valleys flow according to their capacity, and a torrent carries the rising foam. And out of that which they heat in the fire, seeking adornments and tools, is a similar foam. Thus does Allah strike a parable of the truth and falsehood. As for the foam, it vanishes, being cast off. But as for they which benefits people, then it remains on the earth. Thus does Allah strike parables. [13:17]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, al-Qurtubi wrote:

وهو أن المثلين ضربهما الله للحق في ثباته ، والباطل في اضمحلاله ، فالباطل وإن علا في بعض الأحوال فإنه يضمحل كاضمحلال الزبد والخبث . وقيل : المراد مثل ضربه الله للقرآن وما يدخل منه القلوب ; فشبه القرآن بالمطر لعموم خيره وبقاء نفعه ، وشبه القلوب بالأودية ، يدخل فيها من القرآن مثل ما يدخل في الأودية بحسب سعتها وضيقها . ـ

Allah struck these two parables about the truth and its firmness and falsehood and its transience. For even if falsehood may be ascendant at certain times and situations, it will pass away just as foam and filth pass away.

Some have said that the intended meaning of this parable is about the Qur’an and how it enters into the hearts. Allah likened the Qur’an to water due to how much good it brings and its enduring benefit, and He likened the hearts to river valleys. So the Qur’an enters the heart just as water enters the river valleys – that is, an amount matching with their width or narrowness. Continue reading