Dhikr is a Protection from Nifaq: Ibn al-Qayyim

In part of his enumeration of the benefits of dhikr in his book al-Wabil al-Sayyib, Ibn al-Qayyim wrote:

إن كثرة ذكر الله عز وجل أمان من النفاق؛ فإن المنافقين قليلوا الذكر لله عز وجل، قال الله عز وجل في المنافقين: { ولا يذكرون الله إلا قليلا} (النساء:142)، وقال كعب: من أكثر ذكر الله عز وجل برئ من النفاق. ولهذا ـ والله أعلم ـ ختم الله تعالى سورة المنافقين بقوله تعالى:{يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تلهكم أموالكم ولا أولادكم عن ذكر الله ومن يفعل ذلك فأولئك هم الخاسرون} (المنافقون:9)، فإن في ذلك تحذيرا من فتنة المنافقين الذين غفلوا عن ذكر الله عز وجل فوقعوا في النفاق. وسئل بعض الصحابة رضي الله عنهم عن الخوارج: منافقون هم؟ قال: لا، المنافقون لا يذكرون الله إلا قليلا. فهذا من علامة النفاق ، والله عز وجل أكرم من أن يبتلي قلبا ذاكرا بالنفاق، وإنما ذلك لقلوب غفلت عن ذكر الله عز وجل ـ

Being prolific in remembering Allah is a form of protection from nifaq, for the munafiqoon are sparse in remembering Allah. Allah described the munafiqoon by saying:

وَلَا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

… and they only remember Allah a little [4:142]

Ka’b said, “Whoever does a lot of dhikr of Allah is free of nifaq.”

And that is why – and Allah knows best – Allah concluded surah al-Munafiqoon by saying

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah. And whoever does that – then those are the losers. [63:9]

for that contains a warning against the trial of the munafiqoon who have chosen to neglect the remembrance of Allah and as a result have fallen into nifaq.

Continue reading

Learning the Apparent Meanings of the Qur’an Before the Deeper Meanings: al-Zarkashi

In part of his discussion of tafsir in his famous handbook to the Qur’anic sciences, Badr al-Deen al-Zarkashi included the following beautiful words:

 والسماع لا بد منه في ظاهر التفسير ليتقي به مواضع الغلط ، ثم بعد ذلك يتسع الفهم والاستنباط ، والغرائب التي لا تفهم إلا باستماع فنون كثيرة . ولا بد من الإشارة إلى جمل منها ليستدل بها على أمثالها ، ويعلم أنه لا يجوز التهاون بحفظ التفسير الظاهر أولا ، ولا مطمع في الوصول إلى الباطن قبل إحكام الظاهر . ـ

… One must learn the transmitted explanations of the apparent meanings of the Qur’an in order to avoid falling into error, and then follow that up by expanding his understanding of and extrapolation from those ayaat.

And there are a number of unusual matters which one cannot understand without having studied a number of different disciplines. I will mention a group of such instances to illustrate this matter and so that you will understand that one should not dismiss the importance of memorizing the explanations of the Qur’an’s apparent meanings first and foremost, nor should one aspire to understand the deeper meanings before gaining a solid understanding of the base-level meanings. Continue reading

“For You is Your Religion and for Me is My Religion”: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

In a series of lessons on the Mufassal surahs conducted in one of the mosques in Riyadh, sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan concluded his explanation of surah al-Kafiroon [109] with the following words:

وهذه السورة فيها : البراءة التامة من دين المشركين ، وفيها : الإعلان لهذه البراءة ، فينبغي على المسلم أن يعلن أنه بريء من دين المشركين ، كما أن المشركين بريئون من دين الله ، وليس كما يفهم بعض الجهلة ، أو أهل الضلال الذين ينادون بعدم الإنكار على المشركين ، مستشهدين بقوله : [لكم دينكم ولي دين] فلا تنكروا على المشركين ، وينادون بحرية الأديان . ـ

This surah contains a complete disavowal of the religion of the mushrikoon. It also contains an open declaration of this disavowal, so Muslims ought to openly declare that they are free of the religion of the mushirkoon, just as the mushrikoon are not connected to Allah’s religion.

And it is not as some ignorant or misguided people think, those who advocate that we should not criticize or voice disapproval of the mushrikoon, using Allah’s statement:

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ

For you is your religion and for me is my religion [109:6]

as evidence. So they say that you should not criticize the mushrikoon and they call for religious freedom.

فهذا من باب البراءة ، وليس من باب التراضي بيننا وبين الكفار والمشركين ، وليس من باب التسوية ، وإنما هذه الآية براءة من دين المشركين وإن كانوا يعبدون الله ببعض أنواع العبادات ، فهذه العبادات لا تنفع ، ولا تزيدهم شيئا ، لأن العبادة إذا خالطها الشرك بطلت ، كما أن الحدث والنجاسة إذا خالطت الطهارة بطلت . ـ

But this ayah is a statement of disavowal, not a statement of mutual acceptance between the Muslims and the disbelievers and mushrukoon, nor is it a statement of equality between them. This ayah is plainly a disavowal of the religion of the mushrikoon, even if they do direct some acts of worship towards Allah. But these acts of worship do not benefit them, nor do they bring them any good. That is because if worship is mixed with shirk it becomes invalid, just as if filth and uncleanliness is mixed with ritual purity then the purity is spoiled. Continue reading

Prayer and Sacrifice: Ibn Taymiyah

In part of his commentary on surah al-Kawthar, ibn Taymiyah included the following beautiful points:

وقوله‏:‏ ‏{‏فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ‏}‏ ‏[‏الكوثر‏:‏ 2‏]‏، أمره الله أن يجمع بين هاتين العبادتين العظيمتين، وهما الصلاة والنسك الدالتان على القرب والتواضع والافتقار وحسن الظن، وقوة اليقين، وطمأنينة القلب إلى الله، وإلى عدته وأمره، وفضله، وخلفه، عكس حال أهل الكبر والنفرة وأهل الغني عن الله الذين لا حاجة في صلاتهم إلى ربهم يسألونه إياها، والذين لا ينحرون له خوفًا من الفقر، وتركًا لإعانة الفقراء وإعطائهم، وسوء الظن منهم بربهم؛ ولهذا جمع الله بينهما في قوله تعالى‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ‏}‏ ‏[‏الأنعام‏:‏ 162‏]‏،والنسك هي الذبيحة ابتغاء وجهه‏.‏ ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ

So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [108:2]

Allah commanded the Prophet to perform both of these great acts of worship, the salah and ritual sacrifice, both of which indicate drawing closer to Allah, humility towards Allah, need for Allah, good thoughts of Allah, utmost certainty in Allah, and a heart at peace with Allah, His promises, His commands, His bounty, and His creation. This is completely opposite to the state of the arrogant ones, the rejecters, those who do not consider themselves in need of Allah, who do not ask Allah for their needs in their prayers, those who do not sacrifice for Allah out of fear of poverty, those who do not help the poor or give to the needy, who have bad expectations of their Lord.

That is why Allah mentioned these two acts of worship together in His statement:

Continue reading

How to Identify the Theme of a Surah: Sheikh Musa’id al-Tayyar

In part of a larger discussion on the themes of surahs, sheikh Musa’id al-Tayyar (professor of Qur’anic Studies at King Saud University in Riyadh and active researcher, teacher, and author on the Qur’anic sciences) wrote the following pieces of guidance regarding how to identify the themes of a surah:

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته ، أما بعد : فإن هذا الموضوع ( مقاصد السور ) من الموضوعات التي يَرِدُها العقل ، فيستنبط منها ما شاء الله ، ويفتح الله لمن شاء فيه ما شاء . وهو مرتبط بدرجة كبيرة ببعض الموضوعات الأخرى المتعلقة بالسورة ، مثل : ـ

al-Salam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

To proceed: This topic of the “themes of the surahs” is one of those topics which goes back to the intellect, so one derives whatever Allah allows in this topic, and Allah enables whomever He wills to do whatever He wills in this arena. And there is a significant connection between this topic and a number of other topics related to the surah, such as:

ـ 1 ـ اسم السورة ، أو أسماؤها إن كان لها أكثر من اسم ثابت ، ويُحرص على الاسم الوارد عن النبي ، فإنه ـ بلا شكَّ ـ ما سمَّى السورة إلا لحكمة ،وقد تكون هذه الحكمة في التسمية مرتبطة بمقصد السورة . ـ

1. The name of the surah, or names if it has more than one authentically attributed name. We should strive to find the name that the Prophet used for it, for there is no question that he gave it that name for a reason, and the reason for giving it that name may be connected to the theme of the surah.

ـ 2 ـ موضوعات السورة ، وقد حرص بعض المعاصرين على بيانها مثل الطاهر بن عاشور في تفسيره . ـ

2. The contents of the surah. Some contemporary scholars, such as al-Tahir ibn ‘Aashoor in his book of tafsir, have expended considerable effort in elucidating the contents of each surah. Continue reading

Sabab al-Nuzool Study: “And Do Not Wish for …”

What follows is an excerpt from the book al-Muharrar fee Asbaab Nuzool al-Qur’an by Dr. Khalid al-Muzayni, an academic text dealing with the circumstances behind the revelation of certain ayaat:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّـهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything. [4:32]

سبب النزول : أخرج الامام أحمد والترمذي عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ، أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ يا رسول الله يَغْزُو الرِّجَالُ وَلاَ يَغْزُو النِّسَاءُ وَلَنَا نِصْفُ الْمِيرَاثِ ‏.‏ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ : وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

The Circumstance of Revelation: Imam Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi both report from Umm Salamah that she said, “O Messenger of Allah, the men go to battle while the women do not go to battle, and we received half of the inheritance.” So Allah revealed:

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others.

دراسة السبب : هكذ جاء في سبب نزول هذه الاية وقد أورد جمهور المفسرين هذا الحديث عند التفسير الاية الكريمة منهم الطبري والبغوي وابن العربي وابن عطية والقرطبي وابن كثير وابن عاشور. ـ

Study of This Report: This is the sabab al-nuzool – circumstance of revelation – that has been mentioned for this ayah, and the majority of the mufassiroon have mentioned this hadeeth in their tafsir of this ayah, including al-Tabari, al-Baghawi, ibn al-‘Arabi, ibn ‘Atiyyah, al-Qurtubi, ibn Kathir, and ibn ‘Aashoor.

وقد تبين بدراسة السند ضعيف الحديث إلى أم سلمة – وأن الصواب فيه أنه من مراسيل مجاهد ولأجل شهرته ذكره المفسرون قال الطبري : ( وذكر أن ذلك نـزل في نساءٍ تمنين منازلَ الرجال، وأن يكون لهم ما لهم، فنهى الله عباده عن الأماني الباطلة، وأمرهم أن يسألوه من فضله، إذ كانت الأمانيّ تورِث أهلها الحسد والبغي بغير الحق. ) اهـ

Upon examining this report, it becomes clear that its chain of narration connecting it back to Umm Salamah is weak, and that the correct grading is that it is a disconnected narration going back only to Mujahid, but it was still mentioned by the mufassiroon due to how well-known it is. Continue reading

The Foundations of Usool al-Tafsir: Sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji

I posed the following question to Sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, a professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah, via the Qur’anic Consultations account on Twitter:

س ـ السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته . في بريد السابق على هذه قناة قلت : أصول موضوعات علم أصول التفسير : ١) مصادر التفسير ٢) اختلاف المفسيرين (واسبابه وانواعه ووجوهه) واجماعهم ٣) قواعد التفسير . أرجو تفصيل ذلك من فضلك

Question: al-Salaam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuh

In a previous post on this channel, you said:

The foundational topics of the field of Usool al-Tafsir are

      1. The Sources of Tafsir
      2. The Differences of Opinion Among the Mufassiroon (the reasons for this, its types and its ways) and Their Points of Consensus
      3. The Principles of Tafsir

I would like more details on this, please.

ج ـ أصول موضوعات علم أصول التفسير: 1-مصادر التفسير: ١) القرآن. ٢) السنة. ٣) أقوال الصحابة. ٤) أقوال التابعين. ٥) اللغة العربية.٦) الرأي والاجتهاد؛ومنهم من يُدْخِلُ اللغة فيه. ٧)ومنهم من يعد الإِسرائيليَّات مصدراً مستقلا من مصادر التفسير، والصحيح أنها لا تُعَدَّ . ـ

Response: The foundational topics of the field of Usool al-Tafsir are:

1) The Sources of Tafsir Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #39

What follows are the short points of benefit originally posted on our social media channels during December 2019:

♦ Allah Will Enrich Them

While discussing the rulings of marriage in surah al-Nur, Allah says:

وَأَنكِحُوا الْأَيَامَىٰ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ ۚ إِن يَكُونُوا فُقَرَاءَ يُغْنِهِمُ اللَّـهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ

And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty (24:32)

Imam al-Baghawi mentioned the following in the end of his commentary on this ayah:

قوله – عز وجل – : ( إن يكونوا فقراء يغنهم الله من فضله والله واسع عليم ) قيل : الغنى هاهنا : القناعة . وقيل : اجتماع الرزقين ، رزق الزوج ورزق الزوجة . وقال عمر : عجبت لمن ابتغى الغنى بغير النكاح ، والله – عز وجل – يقول : ( إن يكونوا فقراء يغنهم الله من فضله )ـ

Some said the the meaning of “enrichment” here is contentment, while others said that it refers to the joining of two provisions: the provisions of the husband and the provisions of the wife.

‘Umar said, “I am amazed by those who seek wealth but do not get married when Allah says, ‘If they are poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty.'”

[Tafsir al-Baghawi 6/40]


♦ Allah Will Provide For You

Allah says in surah Taha:

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا ۖ لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ ۗ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ

And command your people to pray, and be steadfast in doing so. We do not ask you for provision: We provide for you. And the good outcome is for those with taqwa. (20:132)

al-Haafidh ibn Kathir commented on this ayah by writing: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 204-214: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twenty-first installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 204-214. This passage calls the believers to completely embrace Islam and contrasts their situation with the people who did not completely embrace Islam. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ

And there are some people whose speech amazes you in this worldly life and he calls Allah as a witness to what is in his heart, yet he is the most quarrelsome of opponents [2:204]

وبعض الناس من المنافقين يعجبك- أيها الرسول- كلامه الفصيح الذي يريد به حظًّا من حظوظ الدنيا لا الآخرة، ويحلف مستشهدًا بالله على ما في قلبه من محبة الإسلام، وفي هذا غاية الجرأة على الله، وهو شديد العداوة والخصومة للإسلام والمسلمين. ـ

204. Some of the munafiqoon may amaze you – O Messenger – with the eloquent speech that they use to gain some share of this worldly life, but not for the hereafter. And they will swear, calling Allah as a witness to the love of Islam that is in their hearts. But this is extreme boldness towards Allah, as this person is extreme in their opposition and challenge against Islam and the Muslims.

وَإِذَا تَوَلَّىٰ سَعَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَسَادَ

And when he turns away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption in it and to destroy the crops and animals. And Allah does not love corruption. [2:205]

وإذا خرج من عندك أيها الرسول، جَدَّ ونَشِط في الأرض ليفسد فيها، ويتلف زروع الناس، ويقتل ماشيتهم. والله لا يحب الفساد. ـ

205. And when he departs from your presence – O Messenger -, he works and strives throughout the land to cause corruption in it, destroy the people’s crops, and kill their animals. And Allah does not love corruption.

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ أَخَذَتْهُ الْعِزَّةُ بِالْإِثْمِ ۚ فَحَسْبُهُ جَهَنَّمُ ۚ وَلَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ

And when he is told, “Have taqwa of Allah”, pride in sin takes hold of him. Hell is sufficient for him, and what a horrible end that is. [2:206]

Continue reading

“Whoever Allah Wants to Guide, He Opens his Chest to Islam”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah strikes the following parable in surah al-An’aam:

فَمَن يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَن يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ ۖ وَمَن يُرِدْ أَن يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

So whoever Allah wants to guide, He opens his chest to Islam. And whoever He wants to misguide, He makes his chest tight and constricted as though he were climbing up the sky. Thus does Allah place wrath upon those who do not believe. [6:125]

In his commentary on this parable, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote the following beautiful words:

يقول تعالى -مبينا لعباده علامة سعادة العبد وهدايته، وعلامة شقاوته وضلاله-: إن من انشرح صدره للإسلام، أي: اتسع وانفسح، فاستنار بنور الإيمان، وحيي بضوء اليقين، فاطمأنت بذلك نفسه، وأحب الخير، وطوعت له نفسه فعله، متلذذا به غير مستثقل، فإن هذا علامة على أن الله قد هداه، ومن عليه بالتوفيق، وسلوك أقوم الطريق. ـ

Here, Allah is making it clear to His servants what are the signs of a slave’s ultimate joy and guidance and what are the signs of a slave’s ultimate misery and misguidance. So He says that whoever’s chest has been opened up to Islam – that is, it has been made wide and spacious – then it becomes enlightened with the light of faith and enlivened with the light of certainty. So his heart becomes at peace with that, loves good, and becomes compliant in doing it – taking enjoyment from it, nor at all feeling burdened. So this is a sign that Allah has guided such a person and blessed him to be rightly guided and traversing the most upright path.

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