Four things for you and Three things against you

Imam al-Qurtubi mentioned the following statement of the taabi’ and scholar of al-Shaam Makḥool[1] (d. 112 or 133AH) in his tafsir of surah al-Nisaa’ (4:147):

وقال مكحول: أربع من كن فيه كن له، وثلاث من كن فيه كن عليه، فالأربع اللاتي له: فالشكر والايمان والدعاء والاستغفار، قال الله تعالى: {ما يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذابِكُمْ إِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ} وقال الله تعالى: {وَما كانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ وَما كانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ} وقال تعالى: {قُلْ ما يَعْبَؤُا بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلا دُعاؤُكُمْ}. .ـ

There are four things that whoever has them has them in his favor, and there are three things that whoever has them has them against him.

The four things which are in his favor are: 1) gratitude, 2) eemaan, 3) supplication and 4) seeking forgiveness.

Allah said (1 & 2):

 مَا يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنْتُمْ

Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him? [4:147].

And Allah said (4):

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَأَنْتَ فِيهِمْ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

and Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness [8:33].

And He said (3): Continue reading

“When he reached the setting place of the sun…” : Tafsir ibn Kathir, al-Shinqitee & al-Qurtubi

Allah mentions the story of Dhu’l-Qarnain in surah al-Kahf and brings the following ayah therein:

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِ‌بَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُ‌بُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ

Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a murky spring. [18:86]

al-Haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel Ibn Kathir (d. 774 AH) commented on this ayah by writing:

وقوله : ( وجدها تغرب في عين حمئة ) أي : رأى الشمس في منظره تغرب في البحر المحيط ، وهذا شأن كل من انتهى إلى ساحله ، يراها كأنها تغرب فيه ، وهي لا تفارق الفلك الرابع الذي هي مثبتة فيه لا تفارقه

His statement “and he found it setting in a murky spring” meaning, he saw the sun from his viewpoint setting in the expansive ocean. This is something which everyone who goes to the coast can see; it looks as if the sun is setting into it [the ocean] but it never leaves its path in which it is fixed.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 5/192]

Imam Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee (d. 1393 AH) quoted this statement from ibn Kathir in his own tafsir on this ayah and then went on to explain: Continue reading

“And for that He created them…”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah says in His Book in surah Hud:

وَمَا كَانَ رَ‌بُّكَ لِيُهْلِكَ الْقُرَ‌ىٰ بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا مُصْلِحُونَ * 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 your Lord would not have destroyed the cities for injustice while their people were reformers. * 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.” [11:117-119]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, wrote about these ayaat:

قوله تعالى‏{‏وما كان ربك ليهلك القرى‏}‏ أي أهل القرى‏.‏ ‏}‏بظلم‏}‏ أي بشرك وكفر‏.‏ ‏}‏وأهلها مصلحون‏}‏ أي فيما بينهم في تعاطي الحقوق؛ أي لم يكن ليهلكهم بالكفر وحده حتى ينضاف إليه الفساد، كما أهلك قوم شعيب ببخس المكيال والميزان، وقوم لوط باللواط؛ ودل هذا على أن المعاصي أقرب إلى عذاب الاستئصال في الدنيا من الشرك، وإن كان عذاب الشرك في الآخرة أصعب‏.‏

And Allah’s statement,

وَمَا كَانَ رَ‌بُّكَ لِيُهْلِكَ الْقُرَ‌ىٰ

And your Lord would not have destroyed the cities

meaning: the people of the cities

بِظُلْمٍ

for injustice

meaning: for shirk and kufr

وَأَهْلُهَا مُصْلِحُونَ

while their people were reformers

meaning that among them there were some gave each other their rights. Meaning that He would did not destroy them for kufr alone until they add corruption to that, such as the people of Shu’aib when they undervalued the weight and measure [in their financial transactions], or the people of Lut for their sodomy. And this shows that disobedience is more conducive to an eradicating punishment in the life of this world than al-shirk, even though the punishment of al-shirk is more severe in the hereafter. 

Continue reading

“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other- except for the muttaqoon”

Allah informs us about one of the features of the Day of Recompense in surah al-Zukhruf when He says:

الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ

Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other – except for the muttaqoon

[al-Qur’an 43:67]

In his tafsir of this ayah, Imam al-Baghawi brings a statement from ‘Ali (raadiAllaahu ‘anhu) concerning this ayah where he said: Continue reading

A Runaway Slave: Tafsir al-Shawkani & al-Qurtubi

Allah mentions some aspects of the story of His slave and prophet Yunus in surah al-Saffaat when He says:

وَإِنَّ يُونُسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْ‌سَلِينَ * إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ

And indeed, Yunus was among the messengers.[Mention] when he ran away [ar. abaqa] to the laden ship. [37:139-140]

Imam al-Shawkani, in his book of tafsir mentions the following point on benefit concerning the choice of words employed here:

 قال المفسرون: وكان يونس قد وعد قومه العذاب، فلما تأخر عنهم العذاب خرج عنهم، وقصد البحر، وركب السفينة، فكان بذهابه إلى البحر كالفار من مولاه، فوصف بالإباق، وهو معنى قوله: {إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الفلك المشحون} وأصل الإباق: الهرب من السيد، لكن لما كان هربه من قومه بغير إذن ربه وصف به.

The mufassiroon say: Yunus has promised his people of a punishment, then when the punishment was delayed, he left them, and he arrived at the ocean and boarded a ship. So by going to the ocean he was like a fugitive fleeing from his master, so he was described as a runaway slave [ar. al-ibaaq, taken from the same root as the verb abaqa under discussion here]. And that is the meaning of His statement, “when he ran away [abaqa] to the laden ship“. And the origin of al-ibaaq is to escape or flee from one’s master, however here he was fleeing from his people without the permission of his Lord, so he was described with this.

وقال المبرد: تأويل أبق بباعد، أي: ذهب إليه، ومن ذلك قولهم: عبد آبق.

And al-Mubarrid said, abaqa (to flee) is interpreted as creating a separation between two things – meaning to go away. And thus the phrase, ‘a runaway slave’ (‘abdun aabiqoon)

[Fath al-Qadeer pg. 1250]

Imam al-Qurtubi also mentions this point briefly in his tafsir when he wrote:

قوله تعالى: { إذ أبق} قال المبرد : أصل أبق تباعد؛ ومنه غلام آبق. وقال غيره : إنما قيل ليونس أبق؛ لأنه خرج بغير أمر الله عز وجل مستترا من الناس.

Allah’s statement, “when he ran away“. al-Mubarrid said, the root meaning of ‘abaqa‘ (to run away) is to separate or to go away, and from this is the phrase runaway servant boy (ghulaamun aabiqoon). And others said: the word abaqa is only said of Yunus (i.e. this word does not occur anywhere else in the Qur’an), because he took leave (of his people) without the command of Allah – the Mighty and Majestic -, while he was hiding from the people.

[Jaami’ li-Ahkaam al-Qur’an 15/110]

See also: “Remind them of the Days of Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

See also: “I entrust my affair to Allah”: Tafsir al-Shawkaani

See also: The Story of Yunus: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Blessed are those who read the Book of Allah and act accordingly

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, reports that Qataadah said:

ذكر لنا أن عيسى – عليه السلام – رأته امرأة يحيي الموتى ، ويبرئ الأكمه والأبرص في سائر آياته فقالت : طوبى للبطن الذي حملك ، والثدي الذي أرضعك ؛ فقال لها عيسى – عليه السلام – : طوبى لمن تلا كتاب الله تعالى واتبع ما فيه وعمل به

“It has reached us that a woman saw ‘Eesaa (Jesus – ‘alaihis salaam) restoring life to the dead and healing the blind and the leper and the rest of his miracles, so she said, “Blessed be the womb which bore you, and the breast which suckled you!” So ‘Eesaa said to her, “Blessed be the one who reads the Book of Allah and follows what is in it, and acts in accordance with it.”

[Jaami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an 11/32]

Ibn Abi Shaybah recorded a similar narration from Khaithamah saying:

 مرت بعيسى امرأة فقالت : طوبى لبطن حملك ، ولثدي أرضعك ، فقال عيسى : بل طوبى لمن قرأ القرآن واتبع ما فيه .

Once a woman said to ‘Eesaa, “Blessed be the womb that bore you, and the breast that suckled you!” So ‘Eesaa replied, “Rather, Blessed be the one who reads the revelation and follows what is in it.”

[Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah 7/463]

Ibn Manthoor brings a similar narration from Khaithamah with the wording: Continue reading

Whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart in times of trials: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah says in surah al-Taghaabun:

مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

No calamity strikes except by permission of Allah. And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things. [64:10]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his work of tafsir, writes about this ayah:

قوله تعالى : ما أصاب من مصيبة إلا بإذن الله أي بإرادته وقضائه . وقال الفراء : يريد إلا بأمر الله . وقيل : إلا بعلم الله . وقيل : سبب نزولها أن الكفار قالوا : لو كان ما عليه المسلمون حقا لصانهم الله عن المصائب في الدنيا ; فبين الله تعالى أن ما أصاب من مصيبة في نفس أو مال أو قول أو فعل ، يقتضي هما أو يوجب عقابا عاجلا أو آجلا فبعلم الله وقضائه .

His statement, “No calamity strikes except by permission of Allah” – meaning by His will and decree. Al-Firaa’ said: meaning, ‘except by the command of Allah’. And it is said: ‘except by Allah’s knowledge’. And it is said: the reason for the revelation of this ayah is that the kuffaar said, ‘If they Muslims were really upon the truth, then Allah would safeguard them from calamities this dunya‘, so Allah clarified that whatever calamity occurs – whether corporeally or financially, in speech or in deed, whether it is a cause of grief or something which was necessary of punishment in this life or the hereafter – then it is according to the knowledge of Allah and His decree.

قوله تعالى : ومن يؤمن بالله أي يصدق ويعلم أنه لا يصيبه مصيبة إلا بإذن الله .

His statement, “And whoever believes in Allah” – meaning, he affirms and knows that he is not afflicted with a calamity except by the permission of Allah. Continue reading

“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

Allah commands His slaves in surah al-Hashr:

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّ‌سُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا

“And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain.” [59:7]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, mentions this ayah and writes:

وقال ابن جريج‏:‏ ما آتاكم من طاعتي فافعلوه، وما نهاكم عنه من معصيتي فاجتنبوه‏.‏ الماوردي‏:‏ وقيل إنه محمول على العموم في جميع أوامره ونواهيه؛ لا يأمر إلا بصلاح ولا ينهى إلا عن فساد‏.‏ قلت‏:‏ هذا هو معنى القول الذي قبله‏.‏ فهي ثلاثة أقوال‏.‏

Ibn Juraij said, “Whatever he gives you of obedience, then do it, and whatever he forbids you of disobedience, then avoid it.” al-Maawardi said, “And it is said that this statement is applied generally to all of his [the Messenger’s] commands and prohibitions. He does not command anything except what brings good and he does not prohibit anything except for what is corrupt.” I [Imam al-Qurtubi] say, “What has preceded is the meaning of this statement, and there are three statements [about this which will follow].”

 قال المهدوي‏:‏ قوله تعالى‏{‏وما آتاكم الرسول فخذوة وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا‏}‏ هذا يوجب أن كل ما أمر به النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أمر من الله تعالى‏.‏ والآية وإن كانت في الغنائم فجميع أوامره صلى الله عليه وسلم ونواهيه دخل فيها‏.‏ وقال الحكم بن عمير – وكانت له صحبة – قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ ‏(‏إن هذا القرآن صعب مستصعب عسير على من تركه يسير على من اتبعه وطلبه‏.‏ وحديثي صعب مستصعب وهو الحكم فمن استمسك بحديثي وحفظه نجا مع القرآن‏.‏ ومن تهاون بالقرآن وحديثي خسر الدنيا والآخرة‏.‏ وأمرتم أن تأخذوا بقولي وتكتنفوا أمري وتتبعوا سنتي فمن رضي بقولي فقد رضي بالقرآن ومن استهزأ بقولي فقد استهزأ بالقرآن قال الله تعالى‏{‏وما آتاكم الرسول فخذوة وما نهاكم عنه فانتهوا‏}‏‏)‏

Al-Mahdoui said, “Allah’s statement, ‘And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, abstain,‘ this necessitates that everything that the Prophet (ﷺ) commanded is a command from Allah the Exalted. And the ayah, even though it is about the spoils of war, applies to all commands of the Prophet (ﷺ) and his prohibitions.”… Continue reading

Is the reward for good anything except good?: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In surah al-Rahman, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ

Is the reward for good anything except good?

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, writes:

قوله تعالى‏ {‏هل جزاء الإحسان إلا الإحسان‏}‏ ‏{‏هل‏}‏ في الكلام على أربعة أوجه‏:‏ تكون بمعنى قد كقوله تعالى ‏{‏هل أتى على الإنسان حين من الدهر‏}‏، وبمعنى الاستفهام كقوله تعالى‏{‏فهل وجدتم ما وعد ربكم حقا‏} ، وبمعنى الأمر كقوله تعالى ‏{‏فهل أنتم منتهون‏} ‏، وبمعنى ما في الجحد كقوله تعالى‏ {‏فهل على الرسل إلا البلاغ‏}‏ ‏، و‏{‏هل جزاء الإحسان إلا الإحسان‏}‏‏.‏

His statement – Exalted is He – “Is the reward for good anything except good?“, “Is” can be interpreted in four ways: (1) With a meaning like the statement of Allah, “Has there not been over man a period of time…?” [76:1], and (2) with a meaning of comprehension such as His statement, “Have you found what your Lord promised to be true?” [7:44], and (3) with a meaning of command such as His statement, “So will you not desist?” [5:91], and (4) with a meaning of repudiation such as His statement, “Then are the Messengers charged with anything but to convey clearly the Message?” [16:35], and “Is the reward for good anything except good?“.

قال عكرمة‏:‏ أي هل جزاء من قال لا إله إلا الله إلا الجنة‏.‏ ابن عباس‏:‏ ما جزاء من قال لا إله إلا اله وعمل بما جاء به محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم إلا الجنة‏.‏ وقيل‏:‏ هل جزاء من أحسن في الدنيا إلا أن يحسن إليه في الآخرة، قال ابن زيد‏.‏

‘Ikrimah said, “Meaning, is the reward for whoever says la ilaaha illallaah anything except Jannah?” Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “What is the reward for whoever says la ilaaha illallaah and works according to what Muhammad (ﷺ) came with except for Jannah?” And it is said, “Is the reward for whoever does good in the dunya anything other than to be better than that in the aakhirah,” and ibn Zaid said that.

وروى أنس أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قرأ ‏{‏هل جزاء الإحسان إلا الإحسان‏}‏ ثم قال‏{‏هل تدرون ماذا قال ربكم‏}‏ قالوا الله ورسوله أعلم، قال‏{‏يقول ما جزاء من أنعمت عليه بالتوحيد إلا الجنة‏}‏‏.‏

And it is narrated from Anas that the Prophet (ﷺ) recited, “Is the reward for good anything except good?“, then he said, “Do you know what your Lord has said?” He replied, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said, “He said, ‘there is no reward bestowed upon him for Tawheed except Jannah.'”

وروى ابن عباس أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قرأ هذه الآية فقال‏{‏يقول الله هل جزاء من أنعمت عليه بمعرفتي وتوحيدي إلا أن أسكنه جنتي وحظيرة قدسي برحمتي‏}‏

And Ibn ‘Abbaas narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) recited this ayah and then said, “Allah said, ‘is the reward which I bestow upon him for his knowing Me and singling Me out for worship anything other than that I cause him to dwell in My Jannah and My Holy realm by My Mercy?”

وقال الصادق‏:‏ هل جزاء من أحسنت عليه في الأزل إلا حفظ الإحسان عليه في الأبد‏.‏ وقال محمد ابن الحنيفة والحسن‏:‏ هي مسجلة للبر والفاجر، أي مرسلة على الفاجر في الدنيا والبر في الآخرة‏.‏

And al-Saadiq said, “Is the reward in eternity for the one who did good anything other than preserving his goodness eternally?” And Muhammad ibn al-Haneefiyyah and al-Hasan said, “It [i.e. the good recompense] is registered for the righteous and for the wicked – meaning it is conferred upon the wicked one in the dunya and upon the righteous one in the aakhirah.

[Jaami’a li-Ahkaam al-Qur’an]

See also: “Indeed the patient will be given their reward without measure”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

“I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allah”: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

While recounting the story of His prophet Yusuf, Allah mentions the statement of his father Ya’qub. When his sons informed Ya’qub that another of his sons had been lost to him, Allah tells us his response:

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

He said: “I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you know not.” [12:86]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his book of tafsir, writes about this ayah:

قوله تعالى‏{‏قال إنما أشكو بثي‏}‏ حقيقة البث في اللغة ما يرد على الإنسان من الأشياء المهلكة التي لا يتهيأ له أن يخفيها؛ وهو من بثثته أي فرقته، فسميت المصيبة بثا مجازا

The statement of Allah, “He said: I only complain of my grief” the reality of al-bath [used here to mean grief] linguistically is what is broadcast among the people about those acts of destruction which are not able to be concealed, so calamities became termed as bath metaphorically.

وقال ابن عباس‏{‏بثي‏}‏ همي‏.‏ الحسن‏:‏ حاجتي‏.‏ وقيل‏:‏ أشد الحزن، وحقيقة ما ذكرناه‏.‏ ‏{‏وحزني إلى الله‏}‏ معطوف عليه، أعاده بغير لفظه‏.‏

Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “bathaa is affliction or grief”. Al-Hasan [al-Basri] said “[it means] need”. And it is said [that it means] the most severe sorrow. And the reality is what He mentioned to us, “and sorrow to Allah” covering him, leaving him speechless. Continue reading