Pray As You Have Seen Me Pray: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In part of his discussion of surah Hud, Imam al-Qurtubi included the following discussion:

ذكر الله سبحانه في كتابه الصلاة بركوعها وسجودها وقيامها وقراءتها وأسمائها فقال : أقم الصلاة الآية . وقال : أقم الصلاة لدلوك الشمس الآية . وقال : فسبحان الله حين تمسون وحين تصبحون وله الحمد في السماوات والأرض وعشيا وحين تظهرون . وقال : وسبح بحمد ربك قبل طلوع الشمس وقبل غروبها . وقال : اركعوا واسجدوا . وقال : وقوموا لله قانتين . وقال : وإذا قرئ القرآن فاستمعوا له وأنصتوا على ما تقدم . وقال : ولا تجهر بصلاتك ولا تخافت بها أي بقراءتك ; ـ

Throughout His Book, Allah mentions the prayer by referring to its bowing, prostrating, standing, recitation and by their names.

He says:

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ

And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night … [11:114]

أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ ۖ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا

Establish prayer at the decline of the sun until the darkness of the night and the recitation of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. [17:78]

فَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ حِينَ تُمْسُونَ وَحِينَ تُصْبِحُونَ * وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَعَشِيًّا وَحِينَ تُظْهِرُونَ

So exalted is Allah when you reach the evening and when you reach the morning. * And to Him belongs praise throughout the heavens and the earth. And exalted is He at night and when you are at noon. [30:17-18]

وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ قَبْلَ طُلُوعِ الشَّمْسِ وَقَبْلَ غُرُوبِهَا

… and exalt Allah with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting … [20:130]

and He said:

ارْكَعُوا وَاسْجُدُوا

… bow and prostrate … [22:77]

وَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ قَانِتِينَ

… and stand before Allah devoutly obedient [2:238]

وَإِذَا قُرِئَ الْقُرْآنُ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ وَأَنصِتُوا

So when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention … [7:204]

with this being in reference to the prayer, as we have previously discussed

وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا

… and do not be loud in your prayer nor quiet in them … [17:110]

i.e. with your recitation.

وهذا كله مجمل أجمله في كتابه ، وأحال على نبيه في بيانه ; فقال جل ذكره : وأنزلنا إليك الذكر لتبين للناس ما نزل إليهم فبين – صلى الله عليه وسلم – مواقيت الصلاة ، وعدد الركعات والسجدات ، وصفة جميع الصلوات فرضها وسننها ، وما لا تصح الصلاة إلا به من الفرائض وما يستحب فيها من السنن والفضائل ; فقال في صحيح البخاري : صلوا كما رأيتموني أصلي . ونقل ذلك عنه الكافة عن الكافة ، على ما هو معلوم ، ولم يمت النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – حتى بين جميع ما بالناس الحاجة إليه ; فكمل الدين ، وأوضح السبيل ; قال الله تعالى : اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم وأتممت عليكم نعمتي ورضيت لكم الإسلام دينا . ـ

And all of this is mentioned in broad terms in the Qur’an, with the duty to explain it in further detail given to the Prophet, for Allah said:

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ

And We sent down the dhikr to you in order to make clear to the people what has been sent down to them [16:44]

So they Prophet explained the timings of the prayers, the number of bowings and prostrations, the manner of all the mandatory and optional prayers, as well as what things are necessary to make the prayer valid and what optional and virtuous actions ought to be done. For the Prophet said in Saheeh al-Bukhari, “Pray as you have seen me pray.” And how the Prophet prayed has been mass-transmitted from generation to generation, as is well known. And the Prophet did not pass away until he had already explained everything that the people needed, such that the religion was perfected and the correct path was made clear. Allah said:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favor upon you and have approved Islam as the religion for you. [5:3]

[Jaami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an 9/99]

See also: Prayer is the Root of Every Good: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: What to Recite in the Prayers: Sheikh bin Baaz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.