“Allah commanded me to recite to you”: Sharh al-Nawawi

It is reported in both al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Qatadah that Anas ibn Malik said:

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لأُبَىٍّ ‏”‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَقْرَأَ عَلَيْكَ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ آللَّهُ سَمَّانِي لَكَ قَالَ ‏”‏ اللَّهُ سَمَّاكَ لِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ فَجَعَلَ أُبَىٌّ يَبْكِي ‏.‏

The Prophet said to Ubay, “Allah has commanded me to recite to you.” Ubay said, “Did Allah mention me by name to you?” The Prophet replied, “Allah mentioned you by name to me.” Anas said: That caused Ubay to cry.

[Muslim #799]

And in the narration of al-Bukhari, there is an addition to the end of the hadith from one of the subnarrators:

قَالَ قَتَادَةُ فَأُنْبِئْتُ أَنَّهُ قَرَأَ عَلَيْهِ ‏{‏لَمْ يَكُنِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ‏}

Qatadah said: I was told that the Prophet recited surah al-Bayyinah (97) to him.

[al-Bukhari #4960]

In his commentary on Saheeh Muslim, Imam Abu Zakariyyah Yahya al-Nawawi mentioned the following commentary on this hadith:

وفي الحديث فوائد كثيرة . منها : استحباب قراءة القرآن على الحذاق فيه وأهل العلم به والفضل ، وإن كان القارئ أفضل من المقروء عليه ، ومنها : المنقبة الشريفة لأبي بقراءة النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – عليه ، ولا يعلم أحد من الناس شاركه في هذا ، ومنها : منقبة أخرى له بذكر الله تعالى له ، ونصه عليه في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ، ومنها : البكاء للسرور والفرح مما يبشر الإنسان به ويعطاه من معالي الأمور . ـ

There are a number of benefits to be found in this hadith.

One benefit is the encouragement to recite the Qur’an to someone who is skilled in it, a person of knowledge and virtue. That is the case even if the one reciting is more virtuous than the one to whom he is reciting. Continue reading

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Assorted Qur’an Benefits #8

The following is a collection of benefits originally posted on our Facebook page in June, July, and August of 2015:

♦ Allah does not guide a wrong-doing people

Allah recounts the story of Ibrahim’s debate with the ruler who claimed to give and take life in surah al-Baqarah (2:258). Commenting on part of this, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di provided the useful clarification of a commonly recurring meaning in the Qur’an:

قال تعالى: { والله لا يهدي القوم الظالمين } بل يبقيهم على كفرهم وضلالهم، وهم الذين اختاروا لأنفسهم ذلك، وإلا فلو كان قصدهم الحق والهداية لهداهم إليه ويسر لهم أسباب الوصول إليه

Allah’s statement:

وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

And Allah does not guide a wrong-doing people [2:258]

rather, He causes them to remain upon their disbelief and misguidance, and they are the ones who choose that for themselves. But otherwise, if their intent were the truth and guidance, then He would guide them to it and facilitate the causes of reaching that for them.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 113]


♦ An Etiquette of Supplication

Allah says in surah Fussilat:

وَإِذَا أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَى الإِنْسَانِ أَعْرَضَ وَنَأَىٰ بِجَانِبِهِ وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ شَرُّ فَذُو دُعَاءٍ عَرِضٍ

And when We bestow favor upon man, he turns away and distances himself. But when evil touches him, then he is full of extensive supplication. [41:51]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, ibn Kathir wrote: Continue reading

The Story of Saalih as explained by Mujahid and Qatadah

In addition to co-authoring Tafsir al-Jalalayn, sheikh Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti also has another book of tafsir to his name, entitled al-Durr al-Manthoor fee Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor. As one might suspect from the title, al-Durr al-Manthoor was dedicated to presenting the explanations of the Qur’an transmitted from the Prophet himself, his companions, and those who followed their way in the early generations.

What follows is an excerpt from his explanation of the story of the Prophet Saalih and his people as it comes in surah al-Nahl [27:45-53]. al-Suyooti collected a number of the statements from the two leading mufassiroon of the tabi’oon, Mujahid ibn Jabr and Qatadah ibn Di’amah, found in the previous books of narration-based tafsir and arranged them to present an explanation of the passage as a whole from each of these great figures.

As mentioned in a previous post, the early generations would often only explain those parts of an ayah which were not immediately clear to their audience. As such, the reader may find it helpful to have a mushaf and/or translation nearby to follow along with the entire passage:

قوله تعالى : ولقد أرسلنا إلى ثمود الآيات . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ

And We sent to Thamud … [27:45]

until the end of this passage [27:45-53].

أخرج الفريابي ، وابن أبي شيبة ، وعبد بن حميد ، وابن جرير ، وابن المنذر ، وابن أبي حاتم ، عن مجاهد في قوله : فإذا هم فريقان يختصمون قال : مؤمن وكافر؛ قولهم : صالح مرسل من ربه . وقولهم : ليس بمرسل . وفي قوله : لم تستعجلون بالسيئة قال : العذاب . قبل الحسنة قال : الرحمة . وفي قوله : قالوا اطيرنا بك قال : تشاءمنا . وفي قوله : وكان في المدينة تسعة رهط قال : من قوم صالح . وفي قوله : تقاسموا بالله قال : تحالفوا على هلاكه، فلم يصلوا إليه حتى هلكوا وقومهم أجمعين . ـ

al-Firyaabi, ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd ibn Humayd, ibn Jarir [al-Tabari], ibn al-Mundhir, and ibn Abi Haatim reported the following from Mujahid:

فَإِذَا هُمْ فَرِيقَانِ يَخْتَصِمُونَ

… and at once they were two parties conflicting.[27:45]

meaning: believers and disbelievers. The first group said, “Saalih is sent from his Lord,” while the other group said, “He was not sent.” Continue reading

Did the Prophet make Tafsir of the Qur’an as it was Being Revealed?: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

At the end of a lecture entitled, “The Themes of the Different Surahs and the Effects of that on Understanding Tafsir“, sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh was asked the following question:

هل نزل القرآن وفسّره الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم. ـ

Question: Did the Messenger (ﷺ) explain the Qur’an as it was being revealed?

النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يفسر القرآن كله، وإنما فسر آيات قليلة، لما؟ لأنّ التفسير يتبع الحاجة، يُفسر بمعنى يبين المعاني، لمن لا يفهم المعاني، والقرآن نزل بلسان عربي مبين، فقهته العرب فهمت الآي، فهمته الصحابة، إلا في بعض الآيات لم تفهم ففسرها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فالمنقول من تفسيره عليه الصلاة والسلام قليل، تفسير الصحابة أكثر من تفسير النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، لما؟ لأنّ الصحابة نقلوا للتابعين، والتابعون أقلّ علما بالقرآن من الصحابة لا من جهة اللغة، ولا من جهة أسباب النزول، ولا من جهة معرفة علوم القرآن، والعلوم المختلفة التي دار عليها القرآن، ولا من جهة السيرة، والتاريخ وأحوال العرب والجاهلية، إلى آخره، ففسروا القرآن أكثر، تفسيرهم أكثر، التابعون تفسيرهم لمن بعدهم أكثر من تفسير الصحابة لشدة الحاجة، هكذا إلى زمن التأليف والتصنيف كثرت التفاسير رغبة في أن يفهم الناس القرآن ويقبلوا عليه. ـ

Response: The Prophet (ﷺ) did not explain the entire Qur’an; he only explained a limited number of ayaat. Why? That is because making tafsir arises from a need to explain the meanings to those who do not understand them. But the Qur’an was revealed in the clear Arabic language, so the Arabs understood it, they understood its ayaat. The Sahabah understood it except in the cases of some ayaat which they did not understand, and so then the Prophet (ﷺ) would explain it. Continue reading

A Discussion of the People of Jannah: Tafsir al-Qurtubi & Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Tur, Allah describes the situation of the believers in Jannah by saying:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ * قَالُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا قَبْلُ فِي أَهْلِنَا مُشْفِقِينَ * فَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ * إِنَّا كُنَّا مِن قَبْلُ نَدْعُوهُ ۖ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيمُ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other. * They will say, “Indeed, we were previously among our people, fearful. * So Allah conferred favor upon us and protected us from the punishment of al-samoom. * Indeed, we used to supplicate Him before. Indeed, it is He who is al-Barr, al-Raheem.” [52:25-28]

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

قوله تعالى : وأقبل بعضهم على بعض يتساءلون قال ابن عباس : إذا بعثوا من قبورهم سأل بعضهم بعضا . وقيل : في الجنة يتساءلون أي يتذاكرون ما كانوا فيه في الدنيا من التعب والخوف من العاقبة ، ويحمدون الله تعالى على زوال الخوف عنهم . وقيل : يقول بعضهم لبعض بم صرت في هذه المنزلة الرفيعة ؟ قالوا إنا كنا قبل في أهلنا مشفقين أي قال كل مسئول منهم لسائله : إنا كنا قبل أي في الدنيا خائفين وجلين من عذاب الله . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ يَتَسَاءَلُونَ

And they will approach one another, inquiring of each other

ibn ‘Abbaas said: when they are raised from their graves they will ask one another.

But others explained it to mean that they will ask one another in Jannah, meaning they will discuss the hard work and fear of the ultimate outcomes that they had during the worldly life and they will praise Allah for removing that fear from them.

Still others said: They will say to one another, “How did you get to this elevated station?” They will say, Continue reading

The First Innovation: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The famous scholar al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir was especially well-known for his skills in the fields of hadeeth, tafsir, and history, with his honorific title of “al-haafidh” indicating his high status in the first of these fields and his two most famous works being in the latter areas. In the following brief excerpt from his tafsir of surah Aal ‘Imran, ibn Kathir combines all three of these knowledge areas:

وقال الإمام أحمد : حدثنا أبو كامل ، حدثنا حماد ، عن أبي غالب قال : سمعت أبا أمامة يحدث ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في قوله : ( فأما الذين في قلوبهم زيغ فيتبعون ما تشابه منه ) قال : ” هم الخوارج ” ، وفي قوله : ( يوم تبيض وجوه وتسود وجوه ) . [ آل عمران : 106 ] قال : ” هم الخوارج ” . وقد رواه ابن مردويه من غير وجه ، عن أبي غالب ، عن أبي أمامة مرفوعا ، فذكره . ـ

Imam Ahmad said: Abu Kaamil told me that Hammaad told him that Abu Ghaalib said: I heard Abu ‘Umamah say that the Prophet (ﷺ) spoke about Allah’s statement:

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ

But as for those in whose hearts is deviation, then they follow those parts of the Qur’an which are ambiguous [3:7]

by saying, “They are the Khawaarij.” And also regarding Allah’s statement:

يَوْمَ تَبْيَضُّ وُجُوهٌ وَتَسْوَدُّ وُجُوهٌ

On the Day when some faces will become white and some faces will become black [3:106]

he said, “they [i.e. the latter group] are the Khawaarij“.

And ibn Mardawayh also transmitted this from more than one route from Abu Umamah by way of Abu Ghaalib as a narration attributed to the Prophet (ﷺ). Continue reading

On Modern Readings of the Qur’an and Sunnah: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following series of posts on his social media page under the title “In Defense of Hadith” [الدفاع عن الحديث]:

Part 1

الشبه التي يقذفها الطاعنون في الحديث، أصبحت مجرد دعاوى، قد استبان كذبها، وكثرت الردود عليها؛ أقصد مثل شبهة : أن السنة لم تدون في زمن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم. وشبهة أن الأحاديث متعارضة ومخالفة للواقع العلمي. والطعن في بعض الصحابة ورواة الحديث. هذه الشبه والحمد لله انتهت، فالردود عليها كثيرة. ـ

A number of doubts which those who disparage the hadeeth have devolved into baseless allegations, with their falsity having been made clear and many numerous refutations having been produced. I am referring to doubts such as that the sunnah was not collected during the time of the Messenger. Or the doubt that there are ahaadith which contradict and go against scientific knowledge. Or their disparagement of some of the Sahabah or the narrators of hadith. But these doubts have been put to rest – alhamdulillaah – for there are many refutations against them.

وقد اتجه اليوم الذين يريدون إبطال السنة إلى اتجاه آخر، عُرف بالقراءة العصرية الجديدة للسنة . فاتجهوا إلى : = الهرمونطوقيا. = الأنسنية أو الألسنية. = التفكيكية . = المقاصدية . ـ

But those who aim to invalidate the Sunnah today take a different approach, an approach known as “new modern readings of the Sunnah“. These people have turned to

  • Hermeneutical readings
  • Humanist or Linguistic readings
  • Deconstruction
  • Recourse to the Maqaasid

فاتجهوا إلى هذه الأساليب في قراءة نصوص الشرع، يحققوا هدفهم. فماذا هو الهدف من القراءة العصرية الجديدة للنصوص؟ ـ

So the have turned to these methods of approaching the texts of the Sharee’ah [i.e. the Qur’an and the Sunnah], thereby achieving their goals. But what is the goal of these new modern readings of the texts?

Part 2 Continue reading

Hasten to the Remembrance of Allah: Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan

Allah addresses the believers in surah al-Jumu’ah by commanding:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

O you who have eemaan, when the call for prayer on the day of al-Jumu’ah is called, then hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business. That is better for you, if you knew [62:9]

Many scholars of tafsir have addressed the command to “hasten” to the prayer, as there are clear hadith narrations that prohibit rushing to the prayer. After the death of the great mufassir sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee, his long-time student sheikh ‘Atiyyah Saalim took on the task of completing the former’s tafsir, Adhwaa’ al-Bayaan, in which he addressed this issue by writing:

قوله تعالى : فاسعوا إلى ذكر الله . قرأ الجمهور : ( فاسعوا ) ، وقرأها عمر : ( فامضوا ) ، روى ابن جرير – رحمه الله – أنه قيل لعمر رضي الله عنه : إن أبيا يقرؤها ( فاسعوا ) ، قال : أما إنه أقرؤنا وأعلمنا بالمنسوخ ، وإنما هي ( فامضوا ) . وروي أيضا عن سالم أنه قال : ما سمعت عمر قط يقرؤها إلا فامضوا . ـ

Allah’s statement:

فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ

… then hasten to the remembrance of Allah [62:9]

the majority of the reciters recite it as:

فَاسْعَوْا

then hasten

while ‘Umar recited it as: Continue reading

Non-Canonical Recitations Can Help Explain the Qur’an: al-Zarkashi

It is well-known to those familiar with the Qur’an that there are multiple canonical recitations (qiraa’aat) which are all authentic based upon meeting certain conditions and which add to the meaning of the Qur’an while not contradicting one another. Following from this, there are also non-canonical (shadh) recitations which do not meet these conditions for acceptance but can still be found within the books of tafsir and the sciences of the Qur’an. Some orientalists and missionaries attempt to use the mere existence of these non-canonical recitations to cast doubt on the authenticity of the Qur’an as a whole. This translated excerpt from the great scholar Imam al-Zarkashi explains one source of these non-canonical recitations and their value in understanding the Qur’an.

Badr al-Deen Muhammad al-Zarkashi, a student of the great mufassir Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir, is most well-known for authoring an extensive handbook for the Qur’anic sciences, al-Burhan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an. What follows is one section from his chapter dealing with the Qiraa’aat [variant Qur’anic recitations]:

الأمر الثامن : قال أبو عبيد في كتاب ” فضائل القرآن ” : إن القصد من القراءة الشاذة تفسير القراءة المشهورة وتبيين معانيها ; وذلك كقراءة عائشة وحفصة : ( حافظوا على الصلوات والصلاة الوسطى صلاة العصر ) ( البقرة : 238 ) . ـ

The eighth issue: In his book Fadhaa’il al-Qur’an, Abu ‘Ubayd wrote:

One point behind a non-canonical recitation of the Qur’an is to act as an explanation of a well-known canonical recitation and to clarify its meaning. That is like the recitation transmitted from ‘A’ishah and Hafsah:

حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ صلاة العصر

Strictly guard the prayers, especially the middle prayer – the ‘asr prayer [compare to 2:238]

وكقراءة ابن مسعود ( والسارق والسارقة فاقطعوا أيمانهما ) ( المائدة : 38 ) . ـ

Or like ibn Mas’ood’s recitation:

وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أيمانهما

and the male and female thief – cut off their right hands [compare to 5:38] Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #7

What follows is a collection of benefits originally posted on our Facebook page during March and April 2015:

♦ The Firm Word

al-Haafidh ibn Kathir records that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said:

 إن المؤمن إذا مات أجلس في قبره، فيقال له: من ربك؟ ما دينك؟ من نبيك؟ فيثبته الله، فيقول: ربي الله، وديني الإسلام، ونبيي محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم. وقرأ عبد الله: {يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخِرَةِ}. ـ

When the believer has died, he is made to sit up in his grave and then it is said to him, “Who is your Lord? What is your deen (religion)? Who is your prophet?” Then Allah will make him firm, so he will say, “My Lord is Allah, My Deen is al-Islaam, and my Prophet is Muhammad (ﷺ).”

Then ‘Abdullah recited the ayah:

يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخِرَةِ

Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. [14:27]

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 4/498]


Surah Maryam – “the surah of gifts”

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah mentions the following point in his discussion of the major themes of surah Maryam where he wrote:

وذكر موسى وموهبته له أخاه هارون نبيا كما وهب يحيى لزكريا وعيسى لمريم وإسحاق لإبراهيم . فهذه السورة ” سورة المواهب ” وهي ما وهبه الله لأنبيائه من الذرية الطيبة والعمل الصالح والعلم النافع

Allah mentioned Moosaa and his gift to his brother Haaroon of prophethood, just as Yahya was given as a gift to Zakariyyah and ‘Eesaa was to Maryam and Ishaaq was to Ibrahim. Continue reading