A Parable of What the Disbelievers Spend in This Life: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah presents the following parable in surah Aal ‘Imran:

مَثَلُ مَا يُنفِقُونَ فِي هَـٰذِهِ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَثَلِ رِيحٍ فِيهَا صِرٌّ أَصَابَتْ حَرْثَ قَوْمٍ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ فَأَهْلَكَتْهُ ۚ وَمَا ظَلَمَهُمُ اللَّـهُ وَلَـٰكِنْ أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

The example of what they spend in this worldly life is like that of a wind containing frost which strikes the harvest of a people who have wronged themselves and destroys it. And Allah has not wronged them, but they wrong themselves. [3:117]

Ibn al-Qayyim remarked on this ayah by writing:

هذا مثل ضربه الله تعالى لمن أتفق ماله في غير طاعته ومرضاته . ـ

Allah struck this parable about those who spend their wealth in other things besides obedience to Allah and seeking His pleasure.

[A’laam al-Mawqi’een 1/173]

Imam al-Qurtubi wrote:

ومعنى الآية : مثل نفقة الكافرين في بطلانها وذهابها وعدم منفعتها كمثل زرع أصابه ريح باردة أو نار فأحرقته وأهلكته ، فلم ينتفع أصحابه بشيء بعدما كانوا يرجون فائدته ونفعه . وما ظلمهم الله بذلك ولكن أنفسهم يظلمون بالكفر والمعصية ومنع حق الله تعالى . ـ

The message of this ayah is that the futility, waste and lack of benefit of the disbelievers’ spending is like a cultivated field which is struck with a frigid wind – or a fire – which scorches and destroys it, leaving its owners unable to benefit from it in any way after they had hoped to receive some fruits and benefit from it. And they did not wrong Allah with their spending; rather it was themselves that they wronged with the disbelief, sins and refusing to give Allah His due rights.

[Tafsir al-Qurtubi 4/169] Continue reading

Being Patient During and After Trials: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah Hud:

وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِنَّا رَحْمَةً ثُمَّ نَزَعْنَاهَا مِنْهُ إِنَّهُ لَيَئُوسٌ كَفُورٌ * وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَاهُ نَعْمَاءَ بَعْدَ ضَرَّاءَ مَسَّتْهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ ذَهَبَ السَّيِّئَاتُ عَنِّي ۚ إِنَّهُ لَفَرِحٌ فَخُورٌ * إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ

And if We give man a taste of mercy from Us and then We withdraw it from him, indeed, he is despairing and ungrateful. * But if We give him a taste of favor after hardship has touched him, he will surely say, “Bad times have left me.” Indeed, he is exultant and boastful – * Except for those who are patient and do righteous deeds; those will have forgiveness and great reward. [11:9-11]

In his famous book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di commented on these ayaat by writing:

يخبر تعالى عن طبيعة الإنسان، أنه جاهل ظالم بأن الله إذا أذاقه منه رحمة كالصحة والرزق، والأولاد، ونحو ذلك، ثم نزعها منه، فإنه يستسلم لليأس، وينقاد للقنوط، فلا يرجو ثواب الله، ولا يخطر بباله أن الله سيردها أو مثلها، أو خيرا منها عليه. ـ

Allah is informing us of the nature of man, that he is ignorant and unjust because when Allah causes him to experience some of His mercy, such as health, provision, offspring, etc., and then later removes it from him, man gives in to hopelessness and lets himself be ruled by despair. He does not feel any hope for Allah’s reward, nor does it cross his mind that Allah might return that blessing to him, or might give him another similar blessing, or might even give him something better that what he had had. Continue reading

How The Qur’an Describes Itself: Tafsir al-Sa’di

After a brief introduction, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di opened his book of thematic tafsir with the following chapter on the descriptions of the Qur’an found within the Qur’an itself:

ـ [مقدمة في ذكر أوصاف القرآن العامة الجامعة] ـ

Introduction: Some of the General Features of the Qur’an

في ذكر أوصاف القرآن العامة الجامعة قد وصف الله كتابه بأوصاف جليلة عظيمة تنطبق على جميعه، وتدل أكبر دلالة على أنه الأصل والأساس لجميع العلوم النافعة، والفنون المرشدة لخير الدنيا والآخرة: ـ

Allah has described His Book with many wonderful and tremendous qualities which apply to it in its entirety and which show with the utmost certainty that it is the foundation and the basis for all beneficial knowledge and all rightly-directed practices that lead to good in both this life and in the hereafter.

وصفه بالهدى والرشد، والفرقان، وأنه مبين وتبيان لكل شيء؛ فهو في نفسه هدى، ويهدي الخلق لجميع ما يحتاجونه من أمور دينهم ودنياهم، ويرشدهم إلى كل طريق نافع، ويفرق لهم بين الحق والباطل، والهدى والضلال، وبين أهل السعادة والشقاوة بذكر أوصاف الفريقين، وفيه بيان الأصول والفروع بذكر أدلتها النقلية والعقلية، فوصفه بهذه الأوصاف المطلقة العامة التي لا يشذ عنها شيء في آيات كثيرة. ـ

He described it as “a guidance”, “right direction,” “a criterion”, and that it is clear and a clarification for everything. So it is in-and-of-itself guidance, and it guides the created beings to everything that they need in terms of both their religion and their worldly lives and it directs them to every beneficial path. It shows them the difference between truth and falsehood, between guidance and misguidance, and between the people of ultimate joy and the people of ultimate sorrow through mentioning the qualities of these two groups.

It contains a explanation of both fundamental principles and secondary matters, mentioning evidences both of textual and intellectual natures for these. So Allah characterized the Qur’an completely and unrestrictedly with these qualities, and none of its many ayaat fall outside of these descriptions. Continue reading

Six Basic Guidelines for Understanding the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di authored books in a number of fields, with his book of tafsir, Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman, becoming especially widespread and well-known. In addition to that work, he once mentioned that a number of people had asked him to write an even more condensed and abridged book of tafsir. Although he began this work, it appears that he did not complete it and it was left in manuscript form until only the first few pages of it were published for the first time in a 35 volume collection of the sheikh’s works. The sections published were limited to a short author’s introduction, two pages on important principles for understanding the Qur’an and the first half of surah al-Fatihah. This amounts to less than 5 pages in total, though perhaps further sections of this work will be found in the future. Below you can read Imam al-Sa’di’s brief words of advice for those who desire to correctly understand the Qur’an, advice that he wrote to go accompany that incomplete condensed tafsir.

مقدمة في ضوابط النافعة
Introduction to Some Beneficial Principles

ـ • ينبغي لمن أراد فهم كلام الله فهما صحيحا أن يتدبرا صادقا ويتفهم ما دل عليه من المعاني ويطبقها على الواقع فلا يراعى خصوص الاسباب التي نزلت الايات بسببها أو قيل : إنها نزلت بسببها ، بل يراعى عموم معنى الكلام ويعلم أن السبب إذا ثبت فإنه جزء وفرد من أفراد ذلك المعنى الذي دل عليه الكلام ، وكذلك الأقوال التي يقولها المفسرين إذا تعددت فإن البصير بإمكانه أن يجعل جميعها داخلة في المعنى ومراده منه حيث احتملها اللفظ ولا ينبغي له أن يحملها على التباين والتخالف فكم ذكر في كثير من الآيات أقوال متعددة ومرجعها في الحقيقة كلها إلى المعني العام . ـ

• Whoever wants to understand the Qur’an correctly should earnestly contemplate it, work to comprehend the messages it presents and implement them in his life. He should not become consumed with the specific circumstances under which or because of which the ayaat were revealed or say, “It was revealed due to such-and-such reason”. Rather, he should focus his attention on the general meaning of the ayah and know that the reason for revelation – even if authentic – is just one piece and one portion of the meaning which this ayah conveys.

Continue reading

Allah is Not Shy to Strike a Parable of a Mosquito: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In the early part of surah al-Baqarah, Allah says:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّـهُ بِهَـٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ * الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّـهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّـهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

Allah is not shy to strike a parable of a mosquito or something even less than that. As for those who have eemaan, they know that it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, then they say, “What does Allah intend by this parable?” He misguides many with it and guides many with it. And He does not misguide any except for the faasiqoon. * Those who break the covenant of Allah after having taken it, and who sever what Allah has commanded to be connected, and who bring about corruption on the earth. It is they who are the losers. [2:26-27]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote the following commentary on these ayaat:

يقول تعالى: إن الله لا يستحيي أن يضرب مثلا ما أي: أي مثل كان بعوضة فما فوقها لاشتمال الأمثال على الحكمة، وإيضاح الحق، والله لا يستحيي من الحق، وكأن في هذا، جوابا لمن أنكر ضرب الأمثال في الأشياء الحقيرة ، واعترض على الله في ذلك. فليس في ذلك محل اعتراض. بل هو من تعليم الله لعباده ورحمته بهم. فيجب أن تتلقى بالقبول والشكر. ولهذا قال: فأما الذين آمنوا فيعلمون أنه الحق من ربهم فيتفهمونها، ويتفكرون فيها. ـ

Allah says:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا

Allah is not shy to strike a parable …

meaning: of any sort, whether

بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا

… of a mosquito or something even less than that

because these parables contain wisdom and provide clarification of the truth, and Allah is not shy of the truth. And it is as if this is a response to whose who disapproved of Allah striking parables of lowly things and objected to Allah having done that. However they had no place to object to that. On the contrary, this is an example of Allah teaching His slaves and showing mercy to them, so it must be received with acceptance and gratitude. That is why Allah said: Continue reading

The Story of Yunus: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di detailed a number of the stories of the Prophets along with mentioning various benefits derived from each of them. He would compile the details as they appeared in various places in the Qur’an to provide a straight-forward narrative of each story, and then list some extracted benefits from the story. What follows is his brief explanation of the story of the Prophet Yunus:

قصة يونس صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو من أنبياء بني إسرائيل العظام، بعثه الله إلى أهل نينوى – من أرض الموصل – فدعاهم إلى الله تعالى فأبوا عليه، ثم كرر عليهم الدعوة فأبوا، فوعدهم العذاب وخرج من بين أظهرهم، ولم يصبر الصبر الذي ينبغي، ولكنه أَبَقَ مغاضبا لهم، وهم لما ذهب نبيهم ألقي في قلوبهم التوبة إلى الله والإنابة بعدما شاهدوا مقدمات العذاب، فكشف الله عنهم العذاب. ـ

This is the story of Yunus (ﷺ), who was one of the great prophets of the Banu Israa’eel. Allah sent him to the people of Nineveh – in the area of Mosul [Iraq] – and he called them to Allah but they refused his call. He then repeated his call to them but they refused, so he promised them an impending punishment and left from their midst, and he did not exercise the steadfast patience which he ought to have exercised. On the contrary, he fled from them while in a state of anger. But after their prophet had left them, repentance and returning to Allah were placed in their hearts after witnessing an approaching punishment, and so Allah removed the punishment from them.

والظاهر أن يونس علم انكشاف العذاب عنهم، واستمر في ذهابه عنهم، ولهذا قال تعالى: {وَذَا النُّونِ إِذْ ذَهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا} [الأنبياء: 87] وقال تعالى: {إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ} [الصافات: 140] ـ

It appears that Yunus knew that the punishment would be lifted from them but still decided to leave them. This is according to Allah’s statement:

وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا

And mention Dhu’l-noon, when he went off in anger… [21:87]

as well as His statement: Continue reading

Introduction to the Thematic Tafsir of Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di (1307-1376AH) was one of the great scholars of Saudi Arabia in the past century. He authored many valuable works in the fields of tafsir, fiqh, hadeeth, ‘aqeedah and usool which remain in wide circulation today due to their great benefit. He combined many of these knowledge areas in his works explaining the Qur’an, both his complete tafsir and later in another two other summarized works of tafsir. What follows is the sheikh’s introduction to his summarized work of thematic tafsir, entitled Taysir al-Lateef al-Mannaan:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ، الحمد لله، نحمده ونستعينه ونستغفره ونتوب إليه، ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا وسيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فلا مضل له، ومن يضلل فلا هادي له، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم تسليما كثيرا. ـ

In the Name of Allah, al-Rahman, al-Raheem.

All praise is due to Allah. We praise him, seek His assistance, ask for His forgiveness and repent to Him. And we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves and the evil of our deeds. Whomever Allah guides, none can misguide him, and whomever Allah leads astray, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone with no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, may Allah’s peace and abundant blessings be upon him.

أما بعد، فقد كنت كتبت كتابا في تفسير القرآن مبسوطا مطولا، يمنع القراء من الاستمرار بقراءته، ويفتر العزم عن نشره، فأشار علي بعض العارفين الناصحين أن أكتب كتابا غير مطول، يحتوي على خلاصة ذلك التفسير، ونقتصر فيه على الكلام على بعض الآيات التي نختارها وننتقيها من جميع مواضيع علوم القرآن ومقاصده، فاستعنت الله على العمل على هذا الرأي الميمون، لأمور كثيرة منها: أنه بذلك يكون متيسرا على المشتغلين، معينا للقارئين، ومنها: أن القرآن العظيم ليس كغيره من الكتب في الترتيب والتبويب، لأنه بلغ في البلاغة نهايتها، وفي الحسن غايته، وفي الأسلوب البديع، والتأثير العجيب ما هو أكبر الأدلة على أنه كلام الله، وتنزيل من حكيم حميد، فتجده في آية واحدة يجمع بين الوسائل والمقاصد، وبين الدليل والمدلول، وبين الترغيب والترهيب، وبين العلوم الأصولية والفروعية، وبين العلوم الدينية والدنيوية والأخروية، وبين الأغراض المتعددة والمقاصد النافعة، ويعيد المعاني النافعة على العباد، ليتم علمهم، وتكمل هدايتهم، ويستقيم سيرهم على الصراط المستقيم، علما وعملا. ـ

To proceed: I had previously authored a lengthy book on the explanations of the Qur’an, one whose length prevented readers from continuing with it and broke their resolve to finish it. Some sincere and insightful people encouraged me to author another book on a smaller scale which would contain a summary of that tafsir, and that I should limit the scope of this work to certain ayaat which I would select to cover the various topics and themes of the contents of the Qur’an. So I sought Allah’s aid to follow through on this valuable advice for a number of reasons, one being that it would make things easier for those who are busy with other pursuits and would facilitate its reading. Continue reading

Explanation of Ayah al-Kursi: Imam al-Sa’di

In addition to his famous complete tafsir of the entire Qur’an, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di also authored a more condensed and thematic work of tafsir entitled Taysir al-Lateef al-Mannaan. Rather than going through the Qur’an ayah by ayah, in this work he selected certain ayaat which could serve to discuss important topics. Although this work is much shorted than his complete tafsir, the ayaat that al-Sa’di does explain are often discussed in greater detail. What follows is the sheikh’s explanation of Ayah al-Kursi from this work:

ـ {اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ} [البقرة: 255] ـ

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

Allah – none has the right be worshiped except Him, al-Hayy al-Qayyoom. Neither tiredness nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is ahead of you and what is behind you, and they grasp nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His foot-stool extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding them. And He is al-‘Alee al-‘Atheem. [2:255]

أخبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أن هذه الآية أعظم آيات القرآن على الإطلاق، وأنها تحفظ قارئها من الشياطين والشرور كلها، لما احتوت عليه من معاني التوحيد والعظمة، وسعة صفات الكمال لله تعالى . ـ

The Prophet informed us that this ayah is absolutely the greatest ayah in the Qur’an and that it protects one who recites it from the shaytaans and all evils. That is due to the messages of al-tawheed, greatness and the great and perfect attributes of Allah that it contains.

فأخبر أنه الله الذي له جميع معاني الألوهية، وأنه لا يستحق الألوهية غيره، فألوهية غيره وعبادة غيره باطلة ضارة في الحال والمآل؛ وعبادته وحده لا شريك له هي الحق الموصلة إلى كل كمال؛ وأنه الحي كامل الحياة . ـ

Allah informs us that He is Allah, the One who possesses all the meanings of divinity and that there are no others who deserve to be deified besides Him. Any deification or worship of others is groundless and harmful both in the short term and in the long run. Worshiping Him alone without any partners is the truth which leads to every type of completeness, and He is al-Hayy – the One with the Utmost Complete Aliveness.

 فمن كمال حياته أنه السميع البصير القدير، المحيط علمه بكل شيء، الكامل من كل وجه ، ف {الْحَيُّ} [البقرة: 255] يتضمن جميع الصفات الذاتية، و {الْقَيُّومُ} [البقرة: 255] الذي قام بنفسه، واستغنى عن جميع المخلوقات، وقام بها فأوجدها وأبقاها، وأمدها بكل ما تحتاج إليه في بقائها . ـ

One part of His Utmost Aliveness is that He is the al-Samee’ – the One who hears -, al-Baseer – the One who sees -, al-Qadeer – the Omnipotent One. His knowledge encompasses everything and He is perfect in every way. So

الْحَيُّ

al-Hayy

encompasses all of the attributes of Allah’s being. Continue reading

Two Types of Allah’s “With-ness” in Context: Imam al-Sa’di

One of the many beneficial books authored by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di is Tanbeehaat al-Lateefah, an explanation of ibn Taymiyah’s famous al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah. The following is a brief excerpt from that work dealing with better understanding the places in the Qur’an where Allah mentions His “with-ness”:

وإذا أردت أن تعرف هل المراد المعية العامة أو الخاصة، فانظر إلى سياق الآيات: فإن كان المقام مقام تخويف ومحاسبة للعباد على أعمالهم، وحث على المراقبة، فإن المعية عامة، مثل قوله: {مَا يَكُونُ مِنْ نَجْوَى ثَلَاثَةٍ} [المجادلة: 7] الآية، وإن كان المقام مقام لطف وعناية من الله بأنبيائه وأصفيائه، وقد رتبت المعية على الاتصاف بالأوصاف الحميدة، فإن المعية معية خاصة، وهو أغلب إطلاقاتها في القرآن، مثل: {أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ} [التوبة: 123] {إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ} [البقرة: 153] {لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا} [التوبة: 40] ونحوها.ـ

If you want to know whether the intended meaning of Allah’s with-ness in an ayah is general or specific, then look at the context of the ayah. If it comes in a place of intimidation and taking the slave to account for his actions or inciting him to take himself to account then it is a general with-ness, such as His statement:

مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَا أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

There is no private conversation of three except that He is the fourth of them, nor of five except that He is the sixth of them – and no less than that nor more except that He is with them wherever they are. Then on the Day of Resurrection He will inform them of what they did. Indeed Allah is all knowing of all things. [58:7]

But if it comes in a place of gentleness and care from Allah towards His prophets and chosen ones and the with-ness is stipulated by some praiseworthy quality, then this is the specific type of with-ness, which is the more commonly-found type in the Qur’an. Examples include: Continue reading

Hajj is During Well-Known Months: Tafsir al-Sa’di

While discussing some of the rulings related to Hajj in surah al-Baqarah, Allah informs us that:

الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّـهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Hajj is during well-known months. So whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein, there is no rafath and no fusooq and no jidal during Hajj. And whatever you do of good good – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is taqwa. So have taqwa, O you of understanding. [2:197]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di explained this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

يخبر تعالى أن { الْحَجَّ } واقع في { أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ } عند المخاطبين, مشهورات, بحيث لا تحتاج إلى تخصيص، كما احتاج الصيام إلى تعيين شهره, وكما بين تعالى أوقات الصلوات الخمس. وأما الحج فقد كان من ملة إبراهيم, التي لم تزل مستمرة في ذريته معروفة بينهم. والمراد بالأشهر المعلومات عند جمهور العلماء: شوال, وذو القعدة, وعشر من ذي الحجة, فهي التي يقع فيها الإحرام بالحج غالبا.ـ

Allah informs us that

الْحَجَّ

Hajj …

takes place during

أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ

… well-known months

i.e. well-known to those to whom this revelation was originally addressed. Well-known such that there was no need to specify it as had been the case which explicitly naming the month of fasting or how Allah had clarified the times of the five daily prayers. But the Hajj had been part of the religion of Ibrahim which had continued to be practiced among his descendants and was known to them. According to the majority of scholars, the intended meaning of the well-known months is Shawwaal, Dhu’l-Qa’dah, and Dhu’l-Hijjah because these are the months in which people enter in a state of ihram for Hajj for the most part.

ـ { فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ } أي: أحرم به, لأن الشروع فيه يصيره فرضا, ولو كان نفلا. واستدل بهذه الآية الشافعي ومن تابعه, على أنه لا يجوز الإحرام بالحج قبل أشهره، قلت لو قيل: إن فيها دلالة لقول الجمهور, بصحة الإحرام [بالحج] قبل أشهره لكان قريبا، فإن قوله: { فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ } دليل على أن الفرض قد يقع في الأشهر المذكورة وقد لا يقع فيها, وإلا لم يقيده. ـ

فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ

So whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein … Continue reading