The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

The term Laylah al-Qadr has been translated into English in a number of different ways, leading to some potential confusion as to the correct and intended  meaning of the word “qadr” in this phrase. In part of his explanation of surah al-Qadr, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen brought the following clarification of this issue:

وقوله تعالى: {في ليلة القدر} من العلماء من قال: القدر هو الشرف كما يقال (فلان ذو قدر عظيم، أو ذو قدر كبير) أي ذو شرف كبير، ومن العلماء من قال: المراد بالقدر التقدير، لأنه يقدر فيها ما يكون في السنة لقول الله تعالى: {إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة إنا كنا منذرين. فيها يفرق كل أمر حكيم} [الدخان: 3، 4] . أي يفصل ويبين. ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

… during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

There are some scholars who say that al-qadr means “honor”, just as one might say, “So-and-so has tremendous qadr” or “has considerable qadr” – meaning: considerable honor. Continue reading

“The Best of You are Those Who Learn the Qur’an and Teach it”: Sheikh al-Albani

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami narrated from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ

The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.

[al-Bukhari and elsewhere.]

In his collection of authentic ahaadeeth, sheikh Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albani made the following brief comments on this hadeeth:

وفي هذا الحديث : إشارة إلى تعلم القرآن , وأن خير المعلمين هو معلم القرآن , وأن خير ما تعلم المرء هو تعلم القرآن , فياليت طلاب العلم يعلمون ذلك فإن فيه النفع العظيم , وإنه مما عمت به البلوى في زماننا هذا أنك تجد كثيرا من الدعاة أو المبتدئين في طلب العلم يتصدر للدعوة والفتيا والإجابة على أسئلة الناس وهو لا يحسن قراءة الفاتحة بالمخارج الصحيحة لكل حرف فتراه ينطق السين صادا والطاء تاء والذال زايا والثاء سينا , ويقع في اللحن الجلي فضلا عن اللحن الخفي , والمفروض -بداهة – أن يحسن قراءة القرآن عن حفظه , لكي يحسن استخراج الآيات والإستدلال بها في مواعظه ودروسه ودعوته. ـ

This hadeeth contains direction to learn the Qur’an, and that the best of teachers is the teacher of the Qur’an, and also that the best thing a person can learn is learning the Qur’an. How I wish that the students of knowledge would know this, for this is a tremendous benefit. For there is a terrible condition that has become widespread in this age of ours that you find many of the du’aat and beginning students of knowledge who put themselves forward for da’wah, giving fataawaa and responding to people’s questions when they have not yet become proficient in reciting surah al-Fatihah with the correct pronunciation and articulation of each letter. So sometimes he might pronounce the letter seen as ṣaad, or ṭa as ta, or dhal as zay, or thaa as seen, and they commit gross errors in pronunciation, not to mention less obvious ones. But what is obligatory – obviously – is to become proficient in reciting the Qur’an from memory, such that one is proficient in articulating the ayaat and utilizing them in one’s admonitions, lessons, and da’wah. Continue reading

What to Recite in the Prayers: Sheikh bin Baaz

In part of a larger description of the various parts of the prayer, sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz made the following remarks on the recitation of the Qur’an during the prayer:

صفة القراءة في الصلاة
Description of Reciting the Qur’an in Prayer

ثم يقول الرجل أو المرأة بعد دعاء الاستفتاح أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ثم يقرأ الفاتحة وهي: بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (1) الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (2) الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (3) مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (4) إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ (5) اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ (6) صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ ، ثم يقول آمين، وآمين ليست من الفاتحة وهي مستحبة، كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقولها بعد الفاتحة في الجهرية والسرية يقول آمين ومعناها اللهم استجب. ـ

Following the opening supplication of the prayer, then a man or woman will say:

أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ * بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

a’oodhu billah min al-Shaytaan al-Rajeem * bismillah al-Rahmaan al-Raheem

I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shayaan * I begin with the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful

And then he recites surah al-Fatihah, which is:

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ * الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ * الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ * مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ * إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ * اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ * صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful * All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation * the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful * Master of the Day of Recompense * You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help * Guide us to the Straight Path * the path of those with whom You are pleased, not those deserving anger nor those who are misguided [1:1-7]

And then you say: Continue reading

The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah devotes a series of ayaat in surah al-Baqarah [2:183-187] to the rulings of fasting. However, in the middle of these ayaat, He mentions the well-known ayah:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) about Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant when he calls Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided. [2:186]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir shed some light on the relationship of this ayah to the surrounding ayaat of fasting by writing:

وفي ذكره تعالى هذه الآية الباعثة على الدعاء ، متخللة بين أحكام الصيام ، إرشاد إلى الاجتهاد في الدعاء عند إكمال العدة ، بل وعند كل فطر . ـ

So Allah’s mention of this ayah encouraging supplication in midst of the rulings of fasting contains a directive to exert oneself in supplication when the entire period of fasting is completed – as well as of course at the breaking of every fast.

 كما رواه الإمام أبو داود الطيالسي في مسنده : حدثنا أبو محمد المليكي ، عن عمرو هو ابن شعيب بن محمد بن عبد الله بن عمرو ، عن أبيه ، عن جده عبد الله بن عمرو ، قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” للصائم عند إفطاره دعوة مستجابة ” . فكان عبد الله بن عمرو إذ أفطر دعا أهله ، وولده ودعا . ـ

This is just as Imam Abu Dawud al-Tayaalisi recorded in his musnad … that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say, “At the time of breaking the fast, the fasting person has a supplication which is accepted.” And so when ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr used to break his fast, he would call the members of his household and supplicate. Continue reading

Taking the Means to Allah’s Forgiveness: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah al-Nisaa’, Allah informs us of the following:

 إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا * وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

The forgiveness on Allah’s part is only for those who do wrong in ignorance and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. * But forgiveness is not for those who do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “Indeed, I repent now,” or of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful punishment. [4:17-18]

Commenting on this in his well-known book of tafsir, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

توبة الله على عباده نوعان: توفيق منه للتوبة، وقبول لها بعد وجودها من العبد، فأخبر هنا -أن التوبة المستحقة على الله حق أحقه على نفسه، كرما منه وجودا، لمن عمل السوء أي: المعاصي { بِجَهَالَةٍ } أي: جهالة منه بعاقبتها وإيجابها لسخط الله وعقابه، وجهل منه بنظر الله ومراقبته له، وجهل منه بما تئول إليه من نقص الإيمان أو إعدامه، فكل عاص لله، فهو جاهل بهذا الاعتبار وإن كان عالما بالتحريم. بل العلم بالتحريم شرط لكونها معصية معاقبا عليها . ـ

Allah’s turning towards His slaves in forgiveness fall into two categories:

  1. Granting them the accord to make repentance, and
  2. Accepting their repentance from them after they have made it.

And here, Allah is informing us that the forgiveness which is incumbent upon Allah is a duty which He has enjoined upon Himself as a form of generosity and munificence from Him to whomever commits an evil deed – meaning an act of disobedience –

بِجَهَالَةٍ

in ignorance

meaning: while being ignorant of the displeasure and punishment of Allah that it entails and necessitates, and while being ignorant of Allah’s watchfulness over him, and while being ignorant of the decrease or obliteration of eemaan which it causes. Every one who disobeys Allah is ignorant of these considerations, even if he knows of the prohibition. In fact, knowledge of the prohibited nature of an act is a condition that must be in place for that act of disobedience to result in punishment.

Continue reading

The Blessed Night is Laylah al-Qadr, not the Middle of Sha’baan

Allah opens surah al-Dukkhaan (44) by mentioning “a blessed night” during which He sent down the Qur’an. The majority of the salaf and prominent interpreters of the Qur’an have indicated that this blessed night is Laylah al-Qadr, while a minority have claimed that it is referring to the night of the middle of the month of Sha’baan. What follows are three detailed clarifications of why the first position is correct and the second opinion is not supported by the textual evidences.

○ Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following clarification at the beginning of his tafsir of surah al-Dhukhaan. al-Shinqitee’s tafsir was focused on the theme of explaining the Qur’an first and foremost by means of the Qur’an itself, and he follows this approach in this explanation as well:

قوله – تعالى – : إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ

Indeed, We sent it [the Qur’an] down during a blessed night [44:3]

أبهم – تعالى – هذه الليلة المباركة هنا ، ولكنه بين أنها هي ليلة القدر في قوله – تعالى – : إنا أنزلناه في ليلة القدر [ 97 \ 1 ] وبين كونها ( مباركة ) المذكورة هنا في قوله – تعالى – : ليلة القدر خير من ألف شهر [ 97 \ 3 ] إلى آخر السورة . ـ

Allah left this blessed night ambiguous here, however He made it clear that it refers to Laylah al-Qadr elsewhere in His statement:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

Indeed, We sent it down during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

And He clarified its aforementioned quality of “blessedness” in His statement: Continue reading

Three Proofs for the Resurrection of the Dead: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee included the following discussion in part of his tafsir of surah al-Baqarah:

قوله تعالى : ( ياأيها الناس اعبدوا ربكم الذي خلقكم والذين من قبلكم لعلكم تتقون ، الذي جعل لكم الأرض فراشا والسماء بناء وأنزل من السماء ماء فأخرج به من الثمرات رزقا لكم ) ـ

Allah’s statement:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ * الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ

O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous – * He who made for you the earth as a bed and the sky as a ceiling and We sent down rain from the sky and thereby brought forth fruits as provision for you … [2:21-22]

أشار في هذه الآية إلى ثلاثة براهين من براهين البعث بعد الموت ، وبينها مفصلة في آيات أخر : الأول : خلق الناس أولا المشار إليه بقوله ( ياأيها الناس اعبدوا ربكم الذي خلقكم والذين من قبلكم ) ; لأن الإيجاد الأول أعظم برهان على الإيجاد الثاني ، وقد أوضح ذلك في آيات كثيرة كقوله : ( وهو الذي يبدأ الخلق ثم يعيده ) الآية [ 30 \ 27 ] ، وقوله : ( كما بدأنا أول خلق نعيده ) [ 21 \ 104 ] ، وكقوله : ( فسيقولون من يعيدنا قل الذي فطركم أول مرة ) [ 36 \ 79 ] ، وقوله : ( قل يحييها الذي أنشأها أول مرة ) ، وقوله : ( أفعيينا بالخلق الأول بل هم في لبس ) الآية [ 50 \ 15 ] ، وكقوله : ( ياأيها الناس إن كنتم في ريب من البعث فإنا خلقناكم من تراب ) [ 22 \ 5 ] ، وكقوله : ( ولقد علمتم النشأة الأولى ) الآية [ 56 \ 62 ] . ـ

This ayah points to three proofs for the resurrection of the dead, and that topic is clarified elsewhere in more detail.

The first proof: The initial creation of mankind points to this, as He said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ

O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you

For the initial act of bringing them into existence is the greatest proof of their being brought back into existence a second time. Allah made this point clear in a number of different ayaat, such as His statement:

وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ

It is He who initiated the creation and then He will repeat it [30:27]

until the end of the ayah. And His statement: Continue reading

Gathering in the Houses of Allah to Recite and Study the Qur’an: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Abu Hurayrah narrates that Allah’s Messenger once said, in part of a longer hadith, that:

وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ، وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ؛ إلَّا نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ السَّكِينَةُ، وَغَشِيَتْهُمْ الرَّحْمَةُ، وَ حَفَّتهُمُ المَلاَئِكَة، وَذَكَرَهُمْ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ

No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that sakeenah descends upon them, and mercy envelops them, and the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them in the midst of those who are with Him.

[Sahih Muslim #2699]

In his explanation of Imam al-Nawawi’s forty ahaadeeth, sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan provides the following commentary on this part of the hadith:

هذا فيه أن طلب العلم ينبغي أن يكون في المساجد ؛ لأنها بيوت الله ، ومأوى الملائكة ، وفيها السكينة والرحمة ، فينبغي أن يكون طلب العلم في المساجد ، لا في المخيمات ولا في الاستراحات – ولا مانع أن يكون هناك مجلس علمي ، أو هناك مدرسة يدرس فيها العلم ، لكن المسجد أفضل ، مهما أمكن أن تكون الدراسة في المسجد فذلك أفضل ، وإذا كان هناك مجلس علمي منضبط فلا بأس ، لكنه أقل أفضلية من المسجد ، (وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ ) يعني : المساجد (يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ) يقرؤونه ويتعلمون قراءته على وجه الصحيح ويحفظونه ؛ لأنه هو أصل العلم ، (وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ) يفهمون معانيه ، وليس المقصود الحفظ فقط وأنك تحفظ القرآن وتتقنه بالقراءات العشر ، لا ، هذا وسيلة وليس هو المقصود ، والمطلوب أنك تتفهم وتفقه معانيه وتعمل به : أولا : تقرؤه  ثانيا : تفهمه   ثالثا : تعمل به . والعمل بالقرآن هو المطلوب ، ولكن حفظه وتجويده وتفهم معانيه وتفسيره على الوجه الصحيح ، هذه وسائل العمل بالقرآن الكريم . ـ

This hadith includes the fact that seeking knowledge ought to take place in the masaajid, for they are the houses of Allah and the place which the angels frequent, and they contain tranquility and mercy. So seeking knowledge ought to be done in the masaajid, not in tents or hotels [as is sometimes done for conferences]. But there is nothing to prevent there being schools of other gathering places for knowledge in which religious knowledge is studied; however the masjid is better; if it is possible to have the lessons in the masjid then that is better. If there is some place established for systematic religious study, then this is not a problem, however this is less virtuous than if it were to take place in the masjid. Continue reading

The Forbidden Foods in Surah al-Nahl: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says towards the end of surah al-Nahl:

فَكُلُوا مِمَّا رَ‌زَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا وَاشْكُرُ‌وا نِعْمَتَ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ * إِنَّمَا حَرَّ‌مَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنزِيرِ‌ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ‌ اللَّـهِ بِهِ ۖ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ‌ غَيْرَ‌ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ‌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ * وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلْسِنَتُكُمُ الْكَذِبَ هَـٰذَا حَلَالٌ وَهَـٰذَا حَرَ‌امٌ لِّتَفْتَرُ‌وا عَلَى اللَّـهِ الْكَذِبَ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَفْتَرُ‌ونَ عَلَى اللَّـهِ الْكَذِبَ لَا يُفْلِحُونَ * مَتَاعٌ قَلِيلٌ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ * وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ هَادُوا حَرَّ‌مْنَا مَا قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ ۖ وَمَا ظَلَمْنَاهُمْ وَلَـٰكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ

So eat of the lawful and good food which Allah has provided for you. And be grateful for the Graces of Allah, if it is He Whom you worship. * He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced, without desire nor trangression – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. * And do not say about what your tongues assert of untruth, “This is lawful and this is unlawful,” to invent falsehood about Allah. Indeed, those who invent falsehood about Allah will not succeed. * A brief enjoyment, and they will have a painful punishment. * And to those who are Jews We have prohibited that which We related to you before. And We did not wrong them [thereby], but they were wronging themselves. [16:114-118]

Commenting on these ayaat in his book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

يأمر تعالى عباده بأكل ما رزقهم الله من الحيوانات والحبوب والثمار وغيرها. { حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا } أي: حالة كونها متصفة بهذين الوصفين بحيث لا تكون مما حرم الله أو أثرا عن غصب ونحوه. فتمتعوا بما خلق الله لكم من غير إسراف ولا تَعَدٍّ. { وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ } بالاعتراف بها بالقلب والثناء على الله بها وصرفها في طاعة الله. { إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ } أي إن كنتم مخلصين له العبادة، فلا تشكروا إلا إياه، ولا تنسوا المنعم. ـ

Allah is commanding His slaves to eat of the animals, produce, and other things which He has provided for them.

حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا

Lawful and good

meaning: in a state characterized by these two attributes, such that they do not fall under what Allah has forbidden nor were obtained by forced coercion or other similar methods. So they enjoy what Allah has created for them without wastefulness or infringing on the rights of others.

وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ

And be grateful for the blessings of Allah

by recognizing them with one’s heart, praising Allah for them, and using them for obedience to Allah.

إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

If it is He Whom you worship.

meaning: if you are really sincerely devoted to Him in worship, then do not thank anyone other than Him and do not forget the Granter of blessings.

 ـ { إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ } الأشياء المضرة تنزيها لكم، وذلك: كـ { الْمَيْتَةَ } ويدخل في ذلك كل ما كان موته على غير ذكاة مشروعة، ويستثنى من ذلك ميتة الجراد والسمك. ـ

إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ

He has only forbidden to you

the things which are harmful, in order to keep you safe from them, and these are the likes of

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Did Fir’awn claim divinity, or worship other gods?: al-Shawkaani, al-Qurtubi, & al-Baghawi

In surah al-A’raaf, Allah says:

وَقَالَ الْمَلَأُ مِن قَوْمِ فِرْعَوْنَ أَتَذَرُ مُوسَىٰ وَقَوْمَهُ لِيُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَيَذَرَكَ وَآلِهَتَكَ ۚ قَالَ سَنُقَتِّلُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَنَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ وَإِنَّا فَوْقَهُمْ قَاهِرُونَ

The chiefs of Fir’awn’s people said: “Will you leave Moosaa and his people to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon you and your gods?” He said: “We will kill their sons, and let live their women, and we have indeed irresistible power over them.” [7:127]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkaani briefly mentioned a question that arises from a careful reading of this ayah in his tafsir where he wrote:

واختلف المفسرون في معنى وآلهتك لكون فرعون كان يدعي الربوبية كما في قوله: ما علمت لكم من إله غيري، وقوله: أنا ربكم فقيل: معنى وآلهتك: وطاعتك، وقيل: معناه: وعبادتك، ويؤيده قراءة علي وابن عباس، والضحاك “وإلهتك” وفي حرف أبي “أتذر موسى وقومه ليفسدوا في الأرض وقد تركوك أن يعبدوك” وقيل: إنه كان يعبد بقرة، وقيل: كان يعبد النجوم، وقيل: كان له أصنام يعبدها قومه تقربا إليه فنسبت إليه ولهذا قال: أنا ربكم الأعلى. قاله الزجاج، وقيل: كان يعبد الشمس . ـ

The scholars of tafsir have differed regarding the meaning of “your gods” due to the fact that Fir’awn used to claim lordship for himself, such as in his statement:

مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرِي

I know of no other god for you besides me [28:38]

as well as his saying:

أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ

I am your lord… [79:24]

Some said the meaning of “aalihatak” [lit. “your gods”] is: obedience to you. And others said its meaning is: worship of you. This understanding is supported by a variant recitation (qiraa’ah) transmitted from ‘Ali, ibn ‘Abbaas and al-Dhahhaak:

وَإِلَهَتَكَ

wa ilaahatak

… and your divinity …

as well as what comes in the variant dialect (harf) recitation of Ubay:

 أَتَذَرُ مُوسَى وَقَوْمَهُ لِيُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَقَدْ تَرَكُوكَ أَنْ يَعْبُدُوكَ

… Will you leave Moosaa and his people to spread mischief in the land while they have abandoned you and worshiping you? … Continue reading