“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:

فَرَّقُوا

… divided …

with a shaddah, meaning: they make Allah’s religion – which is one, the religion of Ibrahim, monotheism – into many different religion, turning some people into Jews and others into Christians. This is supported by Allah’s next statement:

وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا

… and become sects …

meaning: they became different groups. And those groups were the Jews and the Christians according to the explanation of Mujahid, Qatadah and al-Suddi.

وقيل : هم أصحاب البدع والشبهات من هذه الأمة . وروي عن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قال لعائشة : ” يا عائشة إن الذين فارقوا دينهم وكانوا شيعا هم أصحاب البدع والشبهات من هذه الأمة ” . ـ

Others said: these different groups are the members of this ummah who practice innovations and follow lowly desires. It has been transmitted from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab that Allah’s Messenger said to ‘A’ishah:

‘A’ishah, those who have departed from the religion and become sects are the members of this ummah who practice innovations and follow lowly desires.

حدثنا أبو الفضل زياد بن محمد بن زياد الحنفي أنا أبو محمد عبد الرحمن بن أحمد بن محمد الأنصاري أنا أبو عبد الله محمد بن عقيل بن الأزهري بن عقيل الفقيه البلخي أنا الرمادي أحمد بن منصور أنا الضحاك بن مخلد أنا ثور بن يزيد أنا خالد بن معدان عن عبد الرحمن بن عمرو السلمي عن العرباض بن سارية قال : ” صلى بنا رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – الصبح فوعظنا موعظة بليغة ذرفت منها العيون ، ووجلت منها القلوب ، وقال قائل : يا رسول الله كأنها موعظة مودع فأوصنا : فقال : ” أوصيكم بتقوى الله والسمع والطاعة وإن كان عبدا حبشيا ، فإن من يعش منكم فسيرى اختلافا كثيرا ، فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين ، عضوا عليها بالنواجذ وإياكم ومحدثات الأمور ، فإن كل بدعة ضلالة ” . ـ

… al-Irbad ibn Sariyah said:

Allah’s Messenger led us in the Fajr prayer and those gave us a tremendous admonition which caused the eyes to shed tears and shook the hearts, so someone said, “Messenger of Allah, it’s as if this is a farewell admonition, so advise us! He replied, “I advise you to have taqwa of Allah, and to listen and obey [the Muslim ruler] even if he is an Abyssinian slave. For whoever of you lives for a long time will see many issues of differing. Therefore, you must follow my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided khulafaa’; hold tight to it with your molar teeth. And beware of newly-invented matters for every innovation is misguidance.”

وروي عن عبد الله بن عمر قال : قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : ” إن بني إسرائيل تفرقت على اثنين وسبعين فرقة ، وتفرقت أمتي على ثلاث وسبعين ملة ، كلهم في النار إلا واحدة ” ، قالوا : من هي يا رسول الله؟ قال : ” ما أنا عليه وأصحابي ” . ـ

It has been narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar that he said:

Allah’s Messenger said, “Banu Israa’eel split into 72 sects, and my ummah will split into 73 groups; all of them in the fire except one.” The people said, “Who is that, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “What I and my companions are upon.”

قال عبد الله بن مسعود : ” فإن أحسن الحديث كتاب الله ، وأحسن الهدي هدي محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وشر الأمور محدثاتها ” . ورواه جابر مرفوعا إلى رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – . ـ

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said:

The best speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. And the worst things are the newly-invented ones.

And Jabir transmitted this same statement as a statement of the Prophet himself.

قوله – عز وجل – : ( لست منهم في شيء ) قيل : لست من قتالهم في شيء ، نسختها آية القتال وهذا على قول من يقول : المراد في الآية اليهود والنصارى ، ومن قال : أراد بالآية أهل الأهواء قال : المراد من قوله : ” لست منهم في شيء ” أي أنت منهم بريء وهم منك برآء ، تقول العرب : إن فعلت كذا فلست مني ولست منك أي : كل واحد منا بريء من صاحبه ، ( إنما أمرهم إلى الله ) يعني : في الجزاء والمكافآت ، ( ثم ينبئهم بما كانوا يفعلون ) إذا وردوا للقيامة . ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ

 you have nothing to do with them

Some explained this to mean: “You have nothing to do with killing them”, with that having been abrogated by the ayah of fighting. That is according to those who say that the people being referred to in this ayah are the Jews and Christians.

Then, according to those who say that the people being referred to in this ayah are the people of desires, they say that the intended meaning of

لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ

 you have nothing to do with them

is: you are free of them and they are free of you. The Arabs say, “If you do such-and-such, then you have nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with you.” In other words, each one of us is free of the other.

إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّـهِ

Their matter is up to Allah …

meaning: in terms of recompense and fitting repayment.

ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ

… then He will inform them of what they used to do

when they arrive at the Standing before their Lord.

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 3/209-211]

See also: Speaking About Allah Without Knowledge is the Foundation of All Shrik, Kufr, & Innovation: Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: The First Innovation: Tafsir ibn Kathir

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

  1. Pingback: The First Innovation: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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