Hajj is ‘Arafah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kaathir mentioned the following points regarding the Day of ‘Arafah in his tafsir of surah al-Baqarah:

وعرفة : موضع الموقف في الحج ، وهي عمدة أفعال الحج ; ولهذا روى الإمام أحمد ، وأهل السنن ، بإسناد صحيح ، عن الثوري ، عن بكير بن عطاء ، عن عبد الرحمن بن يعمر الديلي ، [ ص: 552 ] قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” الحج عرفات – ثلاثا – فمن أدرك عرفة قبل أن يطلع الفجر ، فقد أدرك . وأيام منى ثلاثة ، فمن تعجل في يومين فلا إثم عليه ، ومن تأخر فلا إثم عليه ” . ـ

‘Arafah is a place of standing during the Hajj, and it is one of the pillars of the rituals of the Hajj. In support of this is the hadeeth with a sound chain of narration that was conveyed by Imam Ahmad and authors of the Sunan collections on the authority of al-Thawri, on the authority on Bukayr ibn ‘Ataa’, on the authority of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Y’amar al-Dayli who said:

I heard Allah’s Messenger say, “Hajj is ‘Arafah” – three times – “so whoever catches ‘Arafah before the rising of dawn, then he has caught the Hajj. And the days of Mina are three, but whoever hastens to leave after two days, then there is no sin upon, and whoever waits, then there is no sin upon him.” Continue reading

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I have been Commanded to Worship the Lord of this City: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah concludes surah al-Naml with the following ayaat:

إِنَّمَا أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبَّ هَـٰذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ الَّذِي حَرَّمَهَا وَلَهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ ۖ وَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ * وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ * وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا ۚ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

I have only been commanded to worship the Lord of this city, who made it sacred, and to whom belongs all things. And I am commanded to be one of the Muslims. * And that I recite the Qur’an. Then whoever is guided is only guided for the good of his own self. And whoever goes astray, then say, “I am only one of warners.” * And say, “All praise is due to Allah. He will show you His signs and you will recognize them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” [27:91-93]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di commented on these ayaat by writing:

أي: قل لهم يا محمد إنما أمرت أن أعبد رب هذه البلدة أي: مكة المكرمة، التي حرمها وأنعم على أهلها، فيجب أن يقابلوا ذلك بالشكر والقبول وله كل شيء من العلويات والسفليات أتى به لئلا يتوهم اختصاص ربوبيته بالبيت وحده، وأمرت لأن أكون من المسلمين أي: أبادر إلى الإسلام، وقد فعل صلى الله عليه وسلم، فإنه أول هذه الأمة إسلاما وأعظمها استسلاما. ـ

Meaning: O Muhammad, say to them:

إِنَّمَا أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَعْبُدَ رَبَّ هَـٰذِهِ الْبَلْدَةِ

I have only been commanded to worship the Lord of this city

i.e. Mecca, which Allah has sanctified, blessing it and its people. So one must respond to that with gratitude and acceptance. And Allah is the owner of all things, from the heights of His creation to its lowest parts. He mentioned this lest anyone wrongly assume that His lordship was restricted to only one place.

And I am commanded Continue reading

Purifying the Ka’bah: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In surah al-Hajj, Allah informs us of his command to Ibrahim to purify the Ka’bah:

 وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

And when We designated for Ibrahim the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate. [22:26]

al-haafidh ibn Kathir commented on this ayah in his tafsir by writing:

( وطهر بيتي ) قال مجاهد وقتادة : من الشرك ، ( للطائفين والقائمين والركع السجود ) أي : اجعله خالصا لهؤلاء الذين يعبدون الله وحده لا شريك له . فالطائف به معروف ، وهو أخص العبادات عند البيت ، فإنه لا يفعل ببقعة من الأرض سواها ، ( والقائمين ) أي : في الصلاة; ولهذا قال : ( والركع السجود ) فقرن الطواف بالصلاة; لأنهما لا يشرعان إلا مختصين بالبيت ، فالطواف عنده ، والصلاة إليه في غالب الأحوال ، إلا ما استثني من الصلاة عند اشتباه القبلة وفي الحرب ، وفي النافلة في السفر ، والله أعلم .ـ

وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ

And purify My House …

Mujahid and Qatadah said this means: purify it from al-Shirk.

لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

… for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand and those who bow and prostrate.

meaning: make this House exclusively for those who worship Allah alone without associating any partners with Him. Continue reading

The Passing Nature of this Life: Tafsir al-Tabari

Allah presents the following comparison in surah al-Kahf :

وَاضْرِ‌بْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْ‌ضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُ‌وهُ الرِّ‌يَاحُ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرً‌ا

And strike an example of the life of this world: It is like water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it. Then it becomes dry remnants, scattered by the winds. And Allah holds power over all things [18:45]

The great mufassir imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari mentioned the following in part of his explanation of this ayah:

يقول : فلا يفخر ذو الأموال بكثرة أمواله ، ولا يستكبر على غيره بها ، ولا يغترن أهل الدنيا بدنياهم ، فإنما مثلها مثل هذا النبات الذي حسن استواؤه بالمطر ، فلم يكن إلا ريث أن انقطع عنه الماء ، فتناهى نهايته ، عاد يابسا تذروه الرياح ، [ ص: 31 ] فاسدا ، تنبو عنه أعين الناظرين ، ولكن ليعمل للباقي الذي لا يفنى ، والدائم الذي لا يبيد ولا يتغير .ـ

Allah is saying: So no one with wealth should exult in the abundance of wealth he has, nor should he feel exalted above others because of it. And those living well in this world should not be deceived by the worldly life they are enjoying. Continue reading

“For that He created them”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Near the end of surah Hud, Allah says

وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَ‌بُّكَ لَجَعَلَ النَّاسَ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً ۖ وَلَا يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ * إِلَّا مَن رَّ‌حِمَ رَ‌بُّكَ ۚ وَلِذَٰلِكَ خَلَقَهُمْ ۗ وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَةُ رَ‌بِّكَ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنَ الْجِنَّةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ

And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ. * Except whom your Lord has given mercy, and for that He created them. But the word of your Lord is to be fulfilled that, “I will surely fill Hell with jinn and men all together.” [11:118-119]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di commented on these ayaat by writing:

يخبر تعالى أنه لو شاء لجعل الناس كلهم أمة واحدة على الدين الإسلامي، فإن مشيئته غير قاصرة، ولا يمتنع عليه شيء، ولكنه اقتضت حكمته، أن لا يزالوا مختلفين، مخالفين للصراط المستقيم‏,‏ متبعين للسبل الموصلة إلى النار، كل يرى الحق، فيما قاله، والضلال في قول غيره‏.‏

Allah informs us that had He wished, He could have made all mankind one nation upon the religion of Islam. For Allah’s will is in no way limited or prevented from doing anything. Rather, His wisdom necessitates that the people would remain differing and going contrary to the Straight Path, following other paths which lead them to the hell-fire, all the while believing the truth to be with them and misguidance to be with others.

‏{‏إِلَّا مَنْ رَحِمَ رَبُّكَ‏}‏ فهداهم إلى العلم بالحق والعمل به، والاتفاق عليه، فهؤلاء سبقت لهم، سابقة السعادة، وتداركتهم العناية الربانية والتوفيق الإلهي‏.‏

إِلَّا مَنْ رَحِمَ رَبُّكَ

Except whom your Lord has given mercy

thus guiding them to know the truth, to act according to it, and to be in agreement on it. For these people, Allah has already decreed that ultimate joy for them, and He gives them extra attention of protection and caring and grants them success. Continue reading

How the Prophet Would Recite the Qur’an

Sheikh Muhammad Moosaa Aal Nasr, one of the salafi scholars of recent times who specialized in the qiraa’aat and Qur’anic sciences, compiled this beneficial discussion of how the Prophet would recite the Qur’an. Sheikh Muhammad Moosaa was also a long-term student of sheikh al-Albani and limited himself to only using authentic hadith narrations throughout this chapter:

صفة قراءة النبي للقرآن الكريم
How the Prophet Would Recite the Qur’an

قال ابن القيم في [ زاد المعاد (١/٣٣٧) ] : وكان صلى الله عليه وسلم يقطع قراءته ، ويقف عند كل آية فيقول : ( الحمد لله رب العالمين ، ويقف ، الرحمن الرحيم ، ويقف : مالك يوم الدين ) وذكر الزهري أن قراءة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كانت آية آية ، وهذا هو الأفضل ، الوقوف على رءوس الآيات وإن تعلقت بما بعدها .  ـ

وذهب بعض القراء إلى تتبع الأغراض والمقاصد ، والوقوف عند انتهائها ، واتباع هدي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وسنته أولى . وممن ذكر ذلك البيهقي في “شعب الإيمان” وغيره ، ورجح الوقوف على رءوس الآي وإن تعلقت بما بعدها . أ.هـــ.

Ibn al-Qayyim wrote in Zaad al-Ma’aad (1/338):

The Prophet used to pause while reciting, stopping at every ayah. So he would say

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

and then pause

الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

and pause

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

al-Zuhri mentioned that the recitation of Allah’s Messenger went one ayah at a time, and this is what is best – pausing before the beginning of each new ayah, even if the meaning of the preceding ayah is linked to it. Continue reading

The Difference Between Usool al-Tafsir and ‘Uloom al-Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, and answered the following question regarding the difference between Usool al-Tafsir (the principles of Qur’anic explanation) and ‘Uloom al-Qur’an (the fields of Qur’anic study):

سؤال : كيف نفرق بين أصول التفسير وعلوم القرآن؟ أو بتعبير آخر كيف أعرف أن هذا المبحث يندرج ضمن علوم القرآن أم أصول التفسير، وهل التفريق بين علوم القران وأصول التفسير عرف عند الأولين أم المتأخرين؟ ـ

Question: How do we distinguish between Usool al-Tafsir and ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, or whatever other terminology may be used? How can be know whether a study falls under the field of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an or Usool al-Tafsir? And was this distinction between ‘Uloom al-Qur’an and Usool al-Tafsir known to the earlier generations of scholars, or only to the later generations?

الجواب : (أصول التفسير ) اسم من أسماء علوم القرآن عند بعضهم توسعاً. والحقيقة أن أصول التفسير من علوم القرآن ، إذ هي قواعد التفسير ، ومنها جملة مندرجة في النوع الموسوم بقواعد يحتاج إليها المفسر. ونوع حروف وكلمات يحتاج إلى معرفتها. هذا غير قواعد تفسير تؤخذ من أنواع أخرى من أنواع علوم القرآن. ـ

Response: Usool al-Tafsir is one of several names that some people use to refer to ‘Uloom al-Qur’an generally. But in fact, Usool al-Tafsir is just a part of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, in which case it refers to the principles of Tafsir. In ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, there are a number of topics which fall under the category of principles which the mufassir needs to know. Then, there is another category involving the particles and words which he must be familiar with which are not the principles of tafsir and are instead taken from other areas within the larger field of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an. Continue reading

The Meanings of Kufr, Thulm, and Fisq: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah al-Maa’idah, Allah repeats a similar phrase three times:

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then they are the kaafiroon (disbelievers) [5:44]

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then they are the thaalimoon (wrong-doers) [5:45]

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then they are the faasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient ones) [5:47]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee devoted extensive space in his book of tafsir to discussing these and the surrounding ayaat in detail. In the last part of his discussion he condensed some of his main points, which we have translated below:

قوله تعالى : ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله فأولئك هم الفاسقون قد قدمنا أن هذه الآية في النصارى ، والتي قبلها في اليهود ، والتي قبل تلك في المسلمين ، كما يقتضيه ظاهر القرآن . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, then they are the faasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient ones) [5:47]

we have already mentioned that this ayah is referring to the Christians, the one before it is referring to the Jews, and the one before that is referring to the Muslims, as follows from the outward meanings of the ayaat. 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