The Prophet Muhammad was Sent to All Mankind: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah Aal ‘Imran:

فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّـهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ ۗ وَقُل لِّلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْأُمِّيِّينَ أَأَسْلَمْتُمْ ۚ فَإِنْ أَسْلَمُوا فَقَدِ اهْتَدَوا ۖ وَّإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

So if they argue with you, say, “I have submitted myself to Allah, and so have those who follow me.” And say to those who were given the Scripture and to the unlearned, “Have you submitted yourselves?” And if they submit, they are rightly guided; but if they turn away – then only notification is required of you. And Allah is Seeing of His servants. [3:20]

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, al-haafidh ibn Kathir wrote:

قال تعالى : ( فإن حاجوك ) أي : جادلوك في التوحيد ( فقل أسلمت وجهي لله ومن اتبعن ) أي : فقل أخلصت عبادتي لله وحده ، لا شريك له ولا ند [ له ] ولا ولد ولا صاحبة له ( ومن اتبعن ) على ديني ، يقول كمقالتي ، كما قال تعالى : ( قل هذه سبيلي أدعو إلى الله على بصيرة أنا ومن اتبعني [ وسبحان الله وما أنا من المشركين ] ) [ يوسف : 108 ] . ـ

Allah said:

فَإِنْ حَاجُّوكَ

So if they argue with you …

i.e. if they argue with you regarding Allah’s sole right to be worshiped

فَقُلْ أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّـهِ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ

… then say, “I have submitted myself to Allah, and so have those who follow me.”

i.e. then say, “I have made my worship exclusively for Allah alone, without making any partner, counterpart, offspring, or spouse for Him

وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِ

“… and so have those who follow me.”

i.e. follow me in my religion – they will also say the same thing. Continue reading

Links Between Surah Yunus and Surah Hud: Sheikh Muhammad al-Rabee’ah

Sheikh Muhammad al-Rabee’ah, a professor in the College of Shree’ah at al-Qasim University, devoted one of his books to the study of themes of surahs. In one section on the link between a surah‘s name and its theme, the sheikh gave the following example:

وفي سورة يونس تركيز على الموعظة والدعوة بالترغيب ولذلك افتتحت بالتذكير بآيات الله تعالى وحال المكذبين بها، وتخلل ذلك عرض للطف الله تعالى بأوليائه، وعباده المؤمنين والتائبين، وتضمنت الموعظة بالقرآن كما قال تعالى (يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ) ]يونس: 57 [، ولذلك تضمنت قصة قوم يونس الذين آمنوا بعد ما دعاهم يونس وهددهم بالعذاب فكشف الله عنهم العذاب، فهذه القصة هي النموذج الإيجابي للغرض الذي تركز عليه السورة. ـ

Surah Yunus contains a focus on exhortations and calling the people to Islam through glad tidings and inspiring hope. That is why it begins with a reminder of Allah’s signs and how those who deny them respond to them. This is interspersed with mentions of Allah’s kindness towards His close ones and repentant believing slaves. And exhortations are a part of the Qur’an, as Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

O mankind, an exhortation has come to you from your Lord, and a healing for what it is the chests, and a guidance and a mercy for the believers. [10:57]

That is why this surah includes the story of the people of Yunus who believed after Yunus had supplicated for their punishment and informed them of it, and then Allah lifted the punishment from them. So this story is a positive example of the central theme of this surah. Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 228-233: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twenty-fourth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 228-233. This section continues to discuss legal rulings related to marriage, divorce and parenting. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَالْمُطَلَّقَاتُ يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنفُسِهِنَّ ثَلَاثَةَ قُرُوءٍ ۚ وَلَا يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَن يَكْتُمْنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِي أَرْحَامِهِنَّ إِن كُنَّ يُؤْمِنَّ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ إِنْ أَرَادُوا إِصْلَاحًا ۚ وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

Divorced women remain in waiting for three periods, and it is not permissible for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have more right to take them back during this if they want reconciliation. And the women have rights similar to those over them according to what is reasonable, but men have a degree over them. And Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. [2:228]

والمطلقات ذوات الحيض، يجب أن ينتظرن دون نكاح بعد الطلاق مدة ثلاثة أطهار أو ثلاث حيضات على سبيل العدة؛ ليتأكدن من فراغ الرحم من الحمل. ولا يجوز لهن تزوج رجل آخر في أثناء هذه العدة حتى تنتهي. ولا يحل لهن أن يخفين ما خلق الله في أرحامهن من الحمل أو الحيض، إن كانت المطلقات مؤمنات حقًا بالله واليوم الآخر. وأزواج المطلقات أحق بمراجعتهن في العدة. وينبغي أن يكون ذلك بقصد الإصلاح والخير، وليس بقصد الإضرار تعذيبًا لهن بتطويل العدة. وللنساء حقوق على الأزواج، مثل التي عليهن، على الوجه المعروف، وللرجال على النساء منزلة زائدة من حسن الصحبة والعشرة بالمعروف والقِوامة على البيت وملك الطلاق. والله عزيز له العزة القاهرة، حكيم يضع كل شيء في موضعه المناسب.ـ

228. Divorced women who still menstruate must wait for three periods of cleanliness or three menstrual cycles after divorce before a new marriage. This is her waiting period, so that she can be sure that her womb is not pregnant. It is not permissible for her to marry another man during this waiting period; only after the waiting period ends. Nor is it permissible for her to conceal what Allah has created in her womb – whether that be a pregnancy of menstruation – if the divorced women really believe in Allah and the Last Day. And the husbands of the divorced women have the right to take them back during the waiting period, but that must be done with the intention of reconciliation and goodness, not for the purpose of harming or punishing her by prolonging the waiting period. And women have rights over their husbands, just as the husbands have rights over them, according to what is reasonable. But men have a higher position over women due to their role in treating them well, providing for them reasonably, managing the house and being able to initiate divorce. And Allah is Almighty, having overwhelming power, and All-Wise, placing every thing in their proper places. Continue reading

Becoming Deceived by This Life: Ibn al-Qayyim

Allah strikes the follow parable in surah Yunus:

إِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْضِ مِمَّا يَأْكُلُ النَّاسُ وَالْأَنْعَامُ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَخَذَتِ الْأَرْضُ زُخْرُفَهَا وَازَّيَّنَتْ وَظَنَّ أَهْلُهَا أَنَّهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَيْهَا أَتَاهَا أَمْرُنَا لَيْلًا أَوْ نَهَارًا فَجَعَلْنَاهَا حَصِيدًا كَأَن لَّمْ تَغْنَ بِالْأَمْسِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

The example of this worldly life is like water which We have sent down from the sky which then mixed with the earth’s vegetation, which people and beasts of burden then eat. Then, when the earth has taken on its adornment and become beautiful and its people think that they have control over it, Our command comes by night or by day and We make it barren, as if it had not been there yesterday. In this way do We explain the signs for people who reflect. [10:24]

Commenting on this in a longer discussion on the parables of the Qur’an, the great scholar ibn al-Qayyim wrote:

شبه سبحانه الحياة الدنيا في أنها تتزين في عين الناظر فتروقه بزينتها وتعجبه فيميل إليها ويهواها اغترارا منه بها حتى إذا ظن أنه مالك لها قادر عليها سلبها بغتة أحوج ما كان إليها وحيل بينه وبينها

Allah has made this comparison to the life of this world in that this worldly life appears beautiful to the eye of the beholder and he is pleased and impressed with its beauty and thus finds himself inclined to it and captivated by it, so much so that he becomes deceived by it. Then once he thinks that he has control and ownership over it, suddenly it is taken away from him just he needs it the most and he cannot get it back.

فشبهها بالأرض الذي ينزل الغيث عليها فتعشب ويحسن نباتها ويروق منظرها للناظر فيغتر به ويظن أنه قادر عليها مالك لها فيأتيها أمر الله فتدرك نباتها الآفة بغتة فتصبح كأن لم تكن قبل فيخيب ظنه وتصبح يداه صفرا منهما فهكذا حال الدنيا والواثق بها سواءوهذا من أبلغ التشبيه والقياس. ـ

So Allah compared this to the earth upon which the rain falls and then grows vegetation which becomes beautiful and pleasing to look at until the beholder becomes deceived into thinking that he has power and ownership over it. Then the command of Allah comes and the plants are suddenly struck with disease and it becomes as if they were never there. So his thinking had betrayed him and he winds up empty-handed.

Continue reading

The Qur’anic Arguments Against the Mushrikoon

In his book of Usool al-Tafsir, sheikh Shah Waliullah al-Dehlawi included the following brief discussion:

الجدل القرآني مع المشتركين: ـ
The Qur’anic Arguments Against the Mushrikoon

لقد رد الله – تعالى – على المشركين ومعتقداتهم الباطلة بشتى الطرق، وبيانها كما يلي: ـ

Allah has refuted the Mushrikoon and their false beliefs through a number of different methods, as we shall illustrate presently:

أولا : مطالبتهم بالدليل على ما يزعمون، ونقض تمسكهم بتقليد آبائهم. ـ

First: Demanding that they produce some proof for their claims and denouncing how they cling to blindly-following their forefathers.

ثانيا : إثبات أن لا تساوي بين الرب والعباد وأن الرب تعالى مختص باستحقاق العبادة أقصى غاية التعظيم ، بخلاف جميع عباده وجميع مخلوقاته . ـ

Second: Making it clear that there is no similarity between the Lord and the slaves, and that it is only the Lord who deserves to be worshiped with the utmost level of veneration, in contrast to all of His slaves and creations who do not have any right to that. Continue reading

“O Mankind, a Proof Has Come to You From Your Lord”: Tafsir al-Tabari

In the last part of surah al-Nisaa’, Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكُمْ نُورًا مُّبِينًا

O mankind, a proof has come to you from your Lord and We have sent down a clear light to you. [4:174]

Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari began his tafsir of this ayah by summarizing the meaning as follows:

قال أبو جعفر : يعني جل ثناؤه بقوله : ” يا أيها الناس قد جاءكم برهان من ربكم ” ، يا أيها الناس من جميع أصناف الملل ، يهودها ونصاراها ومشركيها ، الذين قص الله جل ثناؤه قصصهم في هذه السورة” قد جاءكم برهان من ربكم ” ، يقول : قد جاءتكم حجة من الله تبرهن لكم بطول ما أنتم عليه مقيمون من أديانكم ومللكم ، وهو محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، الذي جعله الله عليكم حجة قطع بها [ ص: 428 ] عذركم ، وأبلغ إليكم في المعذرة بإرساله إليكم ، مع تعريفه إياكم صحة نبوته ، وتحقيق رسالته” وأنزلنا إليكم نورا مبينا ” ، يقول : وأنزلنا إليكم معه”نورا مبينا” ، يعني : يبين لكم المحجة الواضحة ، والسبل الهادية إلى ما فيه لكم النجاة من عذاب الله وأليم عقابه ، إن سلكتموها واستنرتم بضوئه . وذلك”النور المبين” ، هو القرآن الذي أنزله الله على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم .ـ

I, Abu Ja’far, say: What Allah means by:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ

O mankind, a proof has come to you from your Lord

is: O people of every different kind of religion – Jewish, Christian, polytheist – whose stories Allah has mentioned in this surah

قَدْ جَاءَكُم بُرْهَانٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ

… a proof has come to you from your Lord … Continue reading

A Central Theme of Surah al-An’aam: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

After discussing a number of statements from the salaf regarding the revelation and themes of surah al-An’aam, Imam al-Qurtubi then wrote:

تنبيه : قال العلماء : هذه السورة أصل في محاجة المشركين وغيرهم من المبتدعين ومن كذب بالبعث والنشور وهذا يقتضي إنزالها جملة واحدة لأنها في معنى واحد من الحجة وإن تصرف ذلك بوجوه كثيرة . ـ

A Note: the scholars have said that this surah is the foundation for arguing against the Mushrikoon, as well as others such as innovators and anyone who denies the resurrection and gathering of the dead. That is why this surah was revealed all at once, because it all centers around one message of making an argument, even if the surah pursues that goal in a number of different ways. Continue reading

A Point on Promises in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shawkaani, al-Qurtubi & al-Baghawi

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُم بِالْفَحْشَاءِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَّغْفِرَةً مِّنْهُ وَفَضْلًا ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

The shaytaan promises you poverty and commands you to commit immoralities, while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is rich and all-knowing. [2:268]

In part of his commentary on this ayah, Imam al-Shawkaani wrote:

الوعد في كلام العرب إذا أطلق فهو في الخير ، وإذا قيد فقد يقيد تارة بالخير وتارة بالشر . ومنه قوله تعالى : النار وعدها الله الذين كفروا [ الحج : 72 ] ومنه أيضا ما في هذه الآية من تقييد وعد الشيطان بالفقروتقييد وعد الله سبحانه بالمغفرة ، والفضل . ـ

In the Arabic language, al-Wa’d – a promise – on its own is only used to refer to something good, but if what has been promised is specified in some way then the specification could sometimes be something good and other times be something bad.

An example of the this is Allah’s statement:

النَّارُ وَعَدَهَا اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا

It is the fire which Allah has promised for those who disbelieve [22:72]

This is also the case in this ayah [i.e. 2:268] as it has specified that the shaytaan’s promise is for poverty and it has specified that Allah’s promise is for forgiveness and bounty. Continue reading

Regarding Scientific Miracles in the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji

The follow was posed to sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, a former professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah:

س/ هل يوجد الإعجاز العلمي في القرآن الكريم (كما زعم بعض الناس)؟ أليس هذا يخالف فهم الصحابة للقرآن لأن العلوم والتكنولوجيا غير معروفة عندهم؟ ـ

Question: Are there scientific miracles in the Qur’an as some people claim? Doesn’t this go against the Sahabah’s understanding of the Qur’an since the physical sciences and technology weren’t known to them?

ج/ تفسير القرآن بغير علم محرم، لقوله تعالى ﴿قل إنما حرم ربي الفواحش ما ظهر منها وما بطن والإثم والبغي بغير الحق وأن تشركوا بالله ما لم ينزل به سلطانا وأن تقولوا على الله ما لا تعلمون﴾ وقوله ﴿ولاتقف ما ليس لك به علم إن السمع والبصر والفؤاد كل أولئك كان عنه مسئولا﴾ ـ

Response: Explaining the Qur’an without knowledge is forbidden according to Allah’s statement:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [7:33]

and His statement:

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا

And do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Certainly the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those you will be questioned. [17:36]

وقد روي حديثان ضعيفان في الترهيب من القول في تفسير القرآن بلا علم: ١-حديثُ ابن عباس قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “من قال في القرآن بغير علم، فليتبوأ مقعده من النار”. ٢-حديث جُنْدُب قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “من قال في القرآن برأيه فأصاب فقد أخطأ”. ـ

And there are two weak hadith narrations that have been passed down which warn against explaining the Qur’an without knowledge: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 221-227: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twenty-third installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 221-227. This section continues with a series of legal rulings, specifically concerning marriage and oaths. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَلَا تَنكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكَاتِ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنَّ ۚ وَلَأَمَةٌ مُّؤْمِنَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن مُّشْرِكَةٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ ۗ وَلَا تُنكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنُوا ۚ وَلَعَبْدٌ مُّؤْمِنٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن مُّشْرِكٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكُمْ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ بِإِذْنِهِ ۖ وَيُبَيِّنُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

And do not marry the polytheist women until they believe. A believing slave woman is better than a polytheist woman, even though she might amaze you. And do not wed to the polytheist men until they believe. A believing slave is better than a polytheist, even those he might amaze you. Those ones invite to the fire, while Allah invites to Paradise and forgiveness, by His permission. And He clarifies His verses to the people so that they might remember. [2:221]

ولا تتزوجوا- أيها المسلمون- المشركات عابدات الأوثان، حتى يدخلن في الإسلام. واعلموا أن امرأة مملوكة لا مال لها ولا حسب، مؤمنةً بالله، خير من امرأة مشركة، وإن أعجبتكم المشركة الحرة. ولا تُزَوِّجوا نساءكم المؤمنات- إماء أو حرائر- للمشركين حتى يؤمنوا بالله ورسوله. واعلموا أن عبدًا مؤمنًا مع فقره، خير من مشرك، وإن أعجبكم المشرك. أولئك المتصفون بالشرك رجالا ونساءً يدعون كل مَن يعاشرهم إلى ما يؤدي به إلى النار، والله سبحانه يدعو عباده إلى دينه الحق المؤدي بهم إلى الجنة ومغفرة ذنوبهم بإذنه، ويبين آياته وأحكامه للناس؛ لكي يتذكروا، فيعتبروا. ـ

221. O Muslims, do not marry the polytheist women who worship idols until they enter Islam. Be aware that a slave women without any wealth or status who believes in Allah is better than a polytheist woman, even if the free polytheist woman might amaze you. And do not marry your believing women – neither slave women or free women – to a polytheist man until he believes in Allah and His Messenger. Be aware that, despite his poverty, a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even if the polytheist man might amaze you. Those men and women who are characterized with polytheism call anyone that they keep company with to things which would lead to the Hellfire. But Allah calls His servants to His true religion which will lead them to Paradise and forgiveness of their sins, by His permission. And He makes His verses and rulings clear to the people so that they would remember and take a lesson.

Continue reading