Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 130-141: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the fourteenth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 130-141. This passage calls mankind to follow the religion of Ibrahim and to turn away from other paths. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَمَن يَرْغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِلَّا مَن سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ ۚ وَلَقَدِ اصْطَفَيْنَاهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَإِنَّهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ لَمِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

And who would be averse to the religion of Ibrahim except one who makes a fool of himself? We have chosen him in the world, and in the hereafter he is one of the upright ones. [2:130]

ولا أحد يُعرض عن دين إبراهيم- وهو الإسلام- إلا سفيه جاهل، ولقد اخترنا إبراهيم في الدنيا نبيًّا ورسولا وإنه في الآخرة لمن الصالحين الذين لهم أعلى الدرجات.ـ

130. There is no one who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim, which is Islam, except for an ignorant fool. We have chosen Ibrahim as a prophet and messenger in this life, and in the hereafter he will be one of the upright ones who will be at the highest level.

إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ ۖ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

And when his Lord told him, “Submit,” he said, “I have submitted to the Lord of all creation.” [2:131]

وسبب هذا الاختيار مسارعته للإسلام دون تردد، حين قال له ربه: أخلص نفسك لله منقادًا له. فاستجاب إبراهيم وقال: أسلمت لرب العالمين إخلاصًا وتوحيدًا ومحبة وإنابة.ـ

131. The reason that Allah chose him is because of his eagerness to submit without any hesitation when Allah told him, “Make yourself purely for Allah, completely obedient to Him.” So Ibrahim responded by saying, “I have submitted myself entirely to the Lord of all creation, singling Him out for worship, love, and always turning back to Him.

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Is Tajweed Mandatory? And is it Part of the Religion?: Muhammad Bazmool

In part of his explanation of the book al-Itmam al-Dirayah li-Qurra’ al-Niqayah, sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool addressed the question of whether tajweed in reciting the Qur’an is an obligation and whether the science of tajweed has any basis or not, as some assert.

ـ▪من أجل هذا قيل بوجوب ضبط القرآن في حروفه، فيُعطىٰ كل حرف حقّه ومُستحقّه، بما يخرج بقراءته عن اللّحن الجليّ. ـ

… Due to this, some say that it is mandatory to be precise in one’s pronunciation of the Qur’an and that one must give each letter its due rights, so as to avoid falling into obvious major errors when reciting.

أما تجنب اللحن الخفيّ، وهو ما يتعلّق بمخارج الحروف بالضّبط، ومقدار المدود وما يشبه ذلك مما لا يؤثّر في بُنية الكلمة ومعناها؛ فهذا يُستحبّ. وهذا وجه تقرير طلب علم التّجويد؛ فإن القراءة باللّحن الجليِّ لم ينزل القرآن بها، وليست بقرآن. ـ

As for avoiding subtle minor errors – i.e. those related to the exact makharij al-huroof (places of articulation), the length of the mudood (elongated vowels), and other such things which do not have any effect on the form or meaning of a word – then this is virtuous but not obligatory. So this is what the student of tajweed should remember, for reciting the Qur’an with obvious major errors is not how the Qur’an was revealed and is not, in fact, the Qur’an.

فإن قيل: ما الدّليل على أن تجنّب اللّحن الخفي ليس بواجب؟ فالجواب: جاء في الحديث عن عائِشَةَ رضي اللّه عنها، عن النبيِّ ﷺ قال: (مثل الذي يقرأُ القرآنَ وهو حافظٌ له مع السَّفَرَة الكرامِ البررةِ، ومثل الذي يقرأُ، وهو يتعاهَدُهُ، وهو عليه شديدٌ، فلَهُ أجرَانِ)، وفي رواية: (الماهر بالقرآن مع السّفرةِ الكرام البررَةِ، والَّذي يَقْرَاُ القُرآنَ ويَتَعْتَعُ فِيهِ، وَهُوَ عَليهِ شاقٌّ؛ لَهُ أجْرَانِ) أخرجه البخاري في كتاب التفسير. ـ

Now, what if one were to say, “What is the evidence that avoiding subtle minor errors isn’t mandatory?”

One could reply by mentioning what has come in the hadith of A’ishah that they Prophet said:

Whoever recites the Qur’an, having memorized it, is with the righteous and noble messenger angels. And whoever recites the Qur’an, struggling to do so and experiencing difficulty, then he will have two rewards.

And in another narration: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 124-129: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the thirteenth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 124-129. This passage recounts some events from the life of Ibrahim. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ

And when Ibrahim was tested by his Lord with some word and he fulfilled them. He said, “I have certainly made you a leader for mankind.” He said, “And those of my offspring?” He said, “My covenant does not extend to the wrongdoers.” [2:124]

واذكر- أيها النبي- حين اختبر الله إبراهيم بما شرع له من تكاليف، فأدَّاها وقام بها خير قيام. قال الله له: إني جاعلك قدوة للناس. قال إبراهيم: ربِّ اجعل بعض نسلي أئمة فضلا منك، فأجابه الله سبحانه أنه لا تحصل للظالمين الإمامةُ في الدين.ـ

124. And remember – O Prophet – when Allah tested Ibrahim with the legal responsibilities that He had legislated for him. So Ibrahim fulfilled and discharged those responsibilities in the best way. Allah said to him, “I have certainly made you an example for mankind.” Ibrahim said, “Lord, make some of my descendants leaders, out of Your graciousness.” Allah responded to him by saying that the wrongdoers do not attain leadership in the religion.

وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا وَاتَّخِذُوا مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى ۖ وَعَهِدْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ أَن طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

And when We made the House a place of return for mankind and a sanctuary. And take the station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer. And We charged Ibrahim and Ismaa’eel to purify My House for those who make tawaf and i’tikaaf and bow in prostration. [2:125]

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You Will See Them Looking Like One Overcome by Death: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says in surah Muhammad:

وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَتْ سُورَةٌ ۖ فَإِذَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ مُّحْكَمَةٌ وَذُكِرَ فِيهَا الْقِتَالُ ۙ رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَيْكَ نَظَرَ الْمَغْشِيِّ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْمَوْتِ

Those who believe say, “Why hasn’t a surah been sent down? But when a precise surah is revealed and fighting is mentioned therein, you see those in whose hearts is an illness looking at you with a look of one overcome by death. [47:20]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote the following in his commentary on this ayah:

ذكر – جل وعلا – في هذه الآية الكريمة أنه إذا أنزل سورة محكمة ، أي متقنة الألفاظ والمعاني ، واضحة الدلالة ، لا نسخ فيها وذكر فيها وجوب قتال الكفار ، تسبب عن ذلك ، كون الذين في قلوبهم مرض أي شك ونفاق ، ينظرون كنظر الإنسان الذي يغشى عليه ; لأنه في سياق الموت ، لأن نظر من كان كذلك تدور فيه عينه ويزيغ بصره . ـ

In this ayah, Allah mentioned that when He sent down a muhkamah surah – that is, one whose wordings and meanings are perfected, with clear instructions and no instances of abrogation – which includes the obligation to fight against the disbelievers. Then, as a result of that, those people with a disease in their hearts – i.e. doubt and nifaaq – will stare with a look of one who is overcome because he is in the midst of dying, because a person in that situation will have his eyes rolling and his vision distorted.

وهذا إنما وقع لهم من شدة الخوف من بأس الكفار المأمور بقتالهم . ـ

And this only happened to them because of their great fear of how the disbelievers that they have been commanded to fight will harm them.

وقد صرح – جل وعلا – بأن ذلك من الخوف المذكور في قوله : فإذا جاء الخوف رأيتهم ينظرون إليك تدور أعينهم كالذي يغشى عليه من الموت [ 33 \ 19 ] . ـ

And Allah has explicitly stated that this condition is a result of this fear when He said: Continue reading

Attributing the Qiraa’aat to the Seven Reciters: Muhammad Bazmool

As is well known, the qiraa’aat – recitations of the Qur’an – are commonly referred to by the names of certain transmitters and reciters, such as the qiraa’ah of Hafs ‘an ‘Asim or the qiraa’ah of Warsh ‘an Nafi’. However, some people then question why the qiraa’aat are attributed to these transmitters and reciters if they were all recited and taught by the Prophet. In part of a response to some doubts surrounding the qiraa’aat, Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool wrote the following important clarification on this topic:

اعلم أن نسبة القراءة إلى العلماء الذين اشتهرت عنهم إنما هي نسبة أداء ورواية واختيار لا نسبة اختراع وابتداع ؛ فإن القراءة تلقي واتباع لا اختراع وابتداع! ـ

You ought to know that the attribution of a certain qiraa’ah – a recitation of the Qur’an – to those scholars who were known for reciting in that way is merely an attribution that they did recited and transmitted and preferred that qiraa’ah, not attributing it to them as if they invented or created it! The qiraa’aat are something received and followed, not something that people can create or invent themselves! Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 114-123: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twelfth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 114-123. This passage addresses some of the claims and actions of the Jews. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن مَّنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّـهِ أَن يُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ وَسَعَىٰ فِي خَرَابِهَا ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمْ أَن يَدْخُلُوهَا إِلَّا خَائِفِينَ ۚ لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

And who is more unjust than those who prevent the name of Allah from being mentioned in His mosques and strive to destroy them. Those ones should only enter them in fear. In this life, they will have disgrace, and in the hereafter they will have a tremendous punishment. [2:114]

لا أحد أظلم من الذين منعوا ذِكْرَ الله في المساجد من إقام الصلاة، وتلاوة القرآن، ونحو ذلك، وجدُّوا في تخريبها بالهدم أو الإغلاق، أو بمنع المؤمنين منها. أولئك الظالمون ما كان ينبغي لهم أن يدخلوا المساجد إلا على خوف ووجل من العقوبة، لهم بذلك صَغار وفضيحة في الدنيا، ولهم في الآخرة عذاب شديد.ـ

114. No one is more unjust than those who prevent the remembrance of Allah – such as establishing the prayer, reciting the Qur’an, etc. – in the mosques and who strive to destroy them by demolishing them or closing them or by prevent the believers from coming to them. Those wrong-doers should not enter the mosques except in a state of fear and dread of the punishment. Because of this, they will face humiliation and disgrace in this world, and in the hereafter they will face a severe punishment.

وَلِلَّـهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

The east and west belong to Allah. So wherever you turn, there is Allah’s face. Allah is certainly expansive, all-knowing. [1:115]

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Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 104-113: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the eleventh installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 104-113. This passage focuses on provides a series of instructions and clarifications regarding Muslim conduct and certain statements of the disbelievers. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقُولُوا رَاعِنَا وَقُولُوا انظُرْنَا وَاسْمَعُوا ۗ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

O you who believe, do not say, “Pay attention to us!” but say, “Look after us” and listen. And the disbelievers will have a painful punishment. [2:104]

يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تقولوا للرسول محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم: راعنا، أي: راعنا سمعك، فافهم عنا وأفهمنا؛ لأن اليهود كانوا يقولونها للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يلوون ألسنتهم بها، يقصدون سبَّه ونسبته إلى الرعونة، وقولوا- أيها المؤمنون- بدلا منها: انظرنا، أي انظر إلينا وتعهَّدْنا، وهي تؤدي المعنى المطلوب نفسه واسمعوا ما يتلى عليكم من كتاب ربكم وافهموه. وللجاحدين عذاب موجع.ـ

104. O you who believe, do not say, “Pay attention to us!” to the Messenger, which means, “turn your hearing towards us, so that you understand and comprehend us.” That is because the Jews used to say that to the Prophet while twisting it with their tongues, intending to insult him and imply that he was dim-witted. Instead, O believers, say, “Look after us,” which means, “Watch over us and take care of us,” which conveys the intended message. And listen to what he recites to us from your Lord’s Book and understand it. And there is an agonizing punishment for those who refuse.

مَّا يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا الْمُشْرِكِينَ أَن يُنَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَخْتَصُّ بِرَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

Neither the People of the Book who disbelieve nor the pagans would like for any good to be sent down to you from your Lord. But Allah selects whomever He wishes for His mercy. And Allah is the owner of great bounty. [2:105] Continue reading

A Brief Introduction to the Qiraa’aat: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz, the former Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was once asked:

 أرجو أن تعطوني نبذة عن القراءات، ولماذا يوجد عشر قراءات رغم أن القرآن نزل على سبعة أحرف فقط؟  ـ

I hope that you could give me a brief summary of the Qiraa’aat [variant recitations], and why there are ten of them despite the Qur’an having been revealed in only seven dialects.

He responded by saying:

علم القراءات معلوم لدى القراء ولدى أهل العلم، والأصل أن الله جل وعلا أنزل القرآن على سبعة أحرف، وهي أحرف متقاربة، تارةً باختلاف اللفظ وتارة باختلاف المعنى لكن مع التقارب، ولما تنازع الناس في عهد عثمان رأى عثمان -رضي الله عنه- ومن كان في زمانه من الصحابة كعلي -رضي الله عنه- وطلحة والزبير وغيرهم من أعيان الصحابة فرأوا جمع القرآن على حرفٍ واحد، حتى لا تكون هناك منازعات، والقراء الذين اختلفوا في القراءات السبعة والعشرة إنما هي قراءات لا يختلف بها المعنى في الغالب، إلا اختلافاً يسيرا، إما زيادة حرف أو نقص حرف أو اختلاف في الحركات الرفع والنصب، فاختلاف القراءات السبع والعشر اختلاف يسير، لا يخرج عن كونه في حرف واحد مما نزل به القرآن. ـ

The science of the Qiraa’aat is well-known to the reciters and the people of knowledge. Its origin is that Allah revealed the Qur’an in seven dialects, and these dialects were very near to one another – sometimes they would differ in wording and sometimes they would differ in meaning while still being very close to one another.

Then when the people started to differ during the era of ‘Uthman, ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) and the Sahabah who were alive in his era such as ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), Talhah, al-Zubayr and others prominent Sahabah decided to gather the Qur’an according to one single dialect so that there would be no more divisions among the people. Continue reading

How to Distinguish Muhkam from Mutashaabih: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following question and answer:

كل أهل البدع يستدلون بالقرآن والسنة، ويرون أدلتهم محكمة وأدلة مخالفيهم من المتشابه! ما السبيل الذي استطيع أن أميز أن استدلالي بالآية أو الحديث هو استدلال بالمحكم دون المتشابه؟ ـ

[Question] All of the people of innovation use the Qur’an and the Sunnah as evidences to support their positions and consider their own evidences to be muhkam (clear-cut and definitive) while believing that the evidence of those who oppose them are mutashaabih (ambiguous and uncertain). How can I determine if my use of an ayah or hadith to support a position is actually relying on something muhkam rather than something mutashaabih?

هذا السؤال يجول في خاطر بعض الناس ويبحث عن جواب، واسأل الله تبارك وتعالى أن يعين عليه ، فأقول: ـ

[Response] This question deals with a challenge that some people face and for which they are searching for an answer. I ask Allah to aid us in that, and I would respond:

أولاً : لتعلم أنه ليس مجرد الاستدلال بالآية أو بالحديث يجعل استدلالك مبني على حجة صحيحة، حتى يتحقق في الآية التي تستدل بها والحديث أنهما من المحكم وليسا من المتشابه. ولذلك جاء عن عبدالله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنه: “العلم آية محكمة أو سنة ماضية أو فريضة قائمة”؛ فانظر لم يقل العلم الآية و الحديث، حتى قيد الآية بأن تكون محكمة والسنة بأن تكون ماضية . ـ

First, you should know that just because you bring an ayah or a hadith to support your point does not necessarily mean that what you are trying to prove is built of a strong foundation until you verify that the ayah or hadith which you are using as evidence is actually muhkam and not mutashaabih. There is something in this vein from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas where he said,

“Knowledge is a muhkam verses or an established sunnah or a valid derived ruling.”

Notice that he did not say “knowledge is an ayah or a hadith” without stipulating that the ayah had to be muhkam and that the sunnah had to be established. Continue reading

How Do Differences in the Qiraa’aat Affect the Tafsir?

The following Q&A took place with sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, former professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah, on Twitter on February 10th, 2020:

هل اختلاف اللفظ في القراءات يغير تفسير الكلمة في القرآن الكريم

Question: Does a difference in wording among the qiraa’aat change the explanation of that word in the Qur’an?

الاختلاف في القراءات بالنسبة للمعنى نوعان١-ما لا أثر له في التفسير، الاختلاف في وجوه الأداء،كالتسهيل والإمالة والمدود.٢-ما له أثر في التفسير،وأثره نوعان: ـ

Answer: There are two types of differences among the qiraa’aat when it comes to the meaning of a word:

1) Differences which do not have any effect on the explanation of the word. These are differences in the way that a word in articulated, such as lightening, imalah, and the mudood.

2) Differences which do have an effect on the explanation. These effects can be furthered divided into two categories: Continue reading