Allusions to the Battle of Badr in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

The main discussion of the Battle of Badr in the Qur’an occurs throughout surah al-Anfal, to the extent that al-Suyooti mentioned:

وأخرج سعيد بن منصور والبخاري ، وابن المنذر وأبو الشيخ ، وابن مرديه عن سعيد بن جبير قال : قلت لابن عباس : سورة “الأنفال” قال : نزلت في بدر، وفي لفظ : تلك سورة بدر . ـ

Sa’eed ibn Mansoor, al-Bukhari, ibn al-Mundhir, Abu al-Sheikh, and ibn Mardawayh all reported that Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said:

I said to ibn ‘Abbaas, “Surah al-Anfal,” and he said, “It was revealed about the Battle of Badr.”

and in the wording of one narration, he said, “That is the surah of Badr.”

[al-Durr al-Manthoor 7/5]

However, there are a number of places outside of surah al-Anfal that some of the mufassiroon say that this seminal battle has also been mentioned. In a short aside in an excellent discussion of the last ayah in surah al-Furqan, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee discussed the topic by writing:

وقال جماعة من أهل العلم : إن المراد بالعذاب اللازم لهم المعبر عن لزومه لهم ، بقوله : فسوف يكون لزاما ، أنه ما وقع من العذاب يوم بدر ، لأنهم قتل منهم سبعون وأسر سبعون ، والذين قتلوا منهم أصابهم عذاب القتل ، واتصل به عذاب البرزخ والآخرة فهو ملازم لا يفارقهم بحال ، وكون اللزام المذكور في هذه الآية العذاب الواقع يوم بدر ، نقله ابن كثير عن عبد الله بن مسعود ، وأبي بن كعب ، ومحمد بن كعب القرظي ، ومجاهد ، والضحاك ، وقتادة ، والسدي ، وغيرهم ، ثم قال : وقال الحسن البصري : فسوف يكون لزاما ، أي : يوم القيامة ولا منافاة بينهما ، انتهى من ابن كثير ، ونقله صاحب ” الدر المنثور ” عن أكثر المذكورين وغيرهم . ـ

A number of scholars have said that the punishment attached to the disbelievers – meaning the punishment which has been latched on to them – mentioned in His statement Continue reading

The Need for Safety and Security: Tafsir al-Shawkani

Allah recounts the following incident from the life of Ibrahim in surah al-Baqarah:

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَـٰذَا بَلَدًا آمِنًا وَارْزُقْ أَهْلَهُ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ مَنْ آمَنَ مِنْهُم بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۖ قَالَ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَأُمَتِّعُهُ قَلِيلًا ثُمَّ أَضْطَرُّهُ إِلَىٰ عَذَابِ النَّارِ ۖ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ

And when Ibrahim said, “O Lord make this city safe and secure, and provide its people with fruits – those of them who believe in Allah and the Last Day.” Allah said, “And those who disbelieve. I will grant him enjoyment for a short time and then I will force Him to the punishment of the Hellfire. What an awful end destination that it.” [2:126]

In his book of tafsir, Imam Muhammad al-Shawkaani commented on the first part of Ibrahim’s supplication by saying:

الْمُرَادُ بِالْبَلَدِ هُنَا مَكَّةُ : دَعَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبَّهُ أَنْ يَجْعَلَهُ آمِنًا : أَيْ ذَا أَمْنٍ ، وَقَدَّمَ طَلَبَ الْأَمْنِ عَلَى سَائِرِ الْمَطَالِبِ الْمَذْكُورَةِ بَعْدَهُ ، لِأَنَّهُ إِذَا انْتَفَى الْأَمْنُ لَمْ يَفْرَغِ الْإِنْسَانُ لِشَيْءٍ آخَرَ مِنْ أُمُورِ الدِّينِ وَالدُّنْيَا

The city being referred to here is Mecca. Ibrahim supplicated to his Lord to make it safe and secure – meaning that it would have safety.

Ibrahim prioritized requesting this safety and security before all the other requests that he went on to make. That is because if there is no safety, people will not be able to attend to any other issues, neither religious nor worldly. Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 40-46: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the fourth installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 40-46. This passage is comprised of an address to Banu Israa’eel – the Children of Israel. See the series guide here for more information.

يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِي أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ وَإِيَّايَ فَارْهَبُونِ

O Children of Israel, remember My blessing which I bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant so that I fulfill your covenant and fear none but Me [2:40]

يا ذرية يعقوب اذكروا نعمي الكثيرة عليكم، واشكروا لي، وأتموا وصيتي لكم: بأن تؤمنوا بكتبي ورسلي جميعًا، وتعملوا بشرائعي. فإن فعلتم ذلك أُتمم لكم ما وعدتكم به من الرحمة في الدنيا، والنجاة في الآخرة. وإيَّايَ- وحدي- فخافوني، واحذروا نقمتي إن نقضتم العهد، وكفرتم بي. ـ

40. O offspring of Ya’cub, remember My many blessings upon you, be grateful to Me, and fulfill My commandment to you: that you would believe in all of My scriptures and messengers and act according to My divine laws. Then, if you do that, I will fulfill the promise that I made to you of mercy in this life and salvation in the next. And it is only Me alone that you should fear. And beware of my punishment if you should break the covenant and disbelieve in Me. Continue reading

More Astray Than Cattle: Ibn al-Qayyim

Allah presents the following description of the disbelievers by way of comparison in surah al-Furqan:

أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ ۚ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ ۖ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا

Or do you think that most of them hear or reason? They are nothing more than like cattle. In fact, they are even more astray from the path. [25:44]

Commenting on this ayah, the great scholar ibn al-Qayyim wrote:

فشبه أكثر الناس بالأنعام والجامع بين النوعين التساوي في عدم قبول الهدى والانقياد له

Allah has compared most of mankind to cattle here, and the characteristic that both groups have in common is their lack of accepting the truth and conforming to it.

وجعل الأكثرين أضل سبيلا من الأنعام لأن البهيمة يهديها سائقها فتهتدي وتتبع الطريق فلا تحيد عنها يمينا ولا شمالا والأكثرون يدعوهم الرسل ويهدونهم السبيل فلا يستجيبون ولا يهتدون ولا يفرقون بين ما يضرهم وبين ما ينفعهم والأنعام تفرق بين ما يضرها من النبات والطريق فتتجنبه وما ينفعها فتؤثره

And He stated that most people are even more astray from the path than cattle. That is because a herder drives the livestock, resulting in them being guided and following the path without deviating to the right or left. However, for most people, despite the messengers calling them and guiding them, they do not respond to the call nor do they adopt their guidance, nor do they even distinguish between what is harmful or beneficial to them. Meanwhile cattle do distinguish between what harms them, such as certain plants and paths which they thus avoid, and what benefits them, which they then take an interest in. Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 30-39: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the third installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 30-39, which focuses on the story of Adam. See the series guide here for more information.

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

And when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to make an authority on the earth.” They said, “Will you place someone who corrupts it and spills blood in it while we exalt Your praises and sanctify You?” He said, “I certainly know what you do not know.” [2:30]

واذكر- أيها الرسول- للناس حين قال ربك للملائكة: إني جاعل في الأرض قومًا يخلف بعضهم بعضًا لعمارتها. قالت: يا ربَّنا علِّمْنا وأَرْشِدْنا ما الحكمة في خلق هؤلاء، مع أنَّ من شأنهم الإفساد في الأرض وإراقة الدماء ظلما وعدوانًا ونحن طوع أمرك، ننزِّهك التنزيه اللائق بحمدك وجلالك، ونمجِّدك بكل صفات الكمال والجلال؟ قال الله لهم: إني أعلم ما لا تعلمون من الحكمة البالغة في خلقهم.ـ

30. And mention to the people, O Messenger, when your Lord said to the angels, “I am going to place a people on the earth who will follow one after the other in maintaining it.” They said, “O our Lord! Teach and guide us to the wisdom behind creating these people when part of their lot is to corrupt the earth and shed blood out of oppression and enmity. Meanwhile we obey Your command and exalt You above having any shortcomings, as fits with Your praiseworthiness and majesty. And we praise You for every perfect and majestic attribute of Yours. Allah said to them, “I certainly know a profound wisdom for creating them that you do not know.”

وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

And He taught Adam the names, all of them. Then He presented them to the angels and said, “Tell me the names of these things if you are truthful.” [2:31] Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 21-29: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the second installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 21-29. See the series guide here for more information and previous installments.

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O mankind! Worship your Lord who created you and those before you in order that you might exercise taqwa (2:21)

نداء من الله للبشر جميعًا: أن اعبدوا الله الذي ربَّاكم بنعمه، وخافوه ولا تخالفوا دينه؛ فقد أوجدكم من العدم، وأوجد الذين من قبلكم؛ لتكونوا من المتقين الذين رضي الله عنهم ورضوا عنه. ـ

21) This is a call from Allah to mankind as a whole telling them to worship Allah who has nurtured and raised them up with His blessings and to fear Him and not go against His religion. For Allah brought you into existence out of nothing, and He brought those who were before into existence as well. This is so that you would be among those who exercise taqwa, those with whom Allah is pleased and who are pleased with Allah.

الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّـهِ أَندَادًا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

He who made the earth a bed for you and the sky a canopy, and He sent rain down from the sky. With it, He brought forth fruits as provision for you. So do not make any equals with Allah while you know. (2:22) Continue reading

Take the Book with Determination: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah says in surah Mayam:

يَا يَحْيَىٰ خُذِ الْكِتَابَ بِقُوَّةٍ

“O Yahya, take the Scripture with determination!” [19:12]

Commenting on this, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee wrote:

أي : وقلنا له يايحيى خذ الكتاب بقوة ، والكتاب : التوراة ، أي : خذ التوراة بقوة ، أي : بجد واجتهاد ، وذلك بتفهم المعنى أولا حتى يفهمه على الوجه الصحيح ، ثم يعمل به من جميع الجهات ، فيعتقد عقائده ، ويحل حلاله ، ويحرم حرامه ، ويتأدب بآدابه ، ويتعظ بمواعظه ، إلى غير ذلك من جهات العمل به

Meaning: We said to him, “O Yahya, take the Scripture with determination!”, and the Scripture is the Tawrah. So it means, ‘take the Tawrah with determination’ – meaning: with seriousness and striving.

This is done firstly by understanding the meanings such that one understands them in the correct way, then acting based on it from every angle; so one believes in its creed and considers halaal what it makes halaal and haraam what it makes haraam, and is molded by its etiquettes and moved by its admonitions, and so on and so forth with the various ways that one acts in accordance with the scripture. Continue reading

The Story of Yunus: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di detailed a number of the stories of the Prophets along with mentioning various benefits derived from each of them. He would compile the details as they appeared in various places in the Qur’an to provide a straight-forward narrative of each story, and then list some extracted benefits from the story. What follows is his brief explanation of the story of the Prophet Yunus:

قصة يونس صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو من أنبياء بني إسرائيل العظام، بعثه الله إلى أهل نينوى – من أرض الموصل – فدعاهم إلى الله تعالى فأبوا عليه، ثم كرر عليهم الدعوة فأبوا، فوعدهم العذاب وخرج من بين أظهرهم، ولم يصبر الصبر الذي ينبغي، ولكنه أَبَقَ مغاضبا لهم، وهم لما ذهب نبيهم ألقي في قلوبهم التوبة إلى الله والإنابة بعدما شاهدوا مقدمات العذاب، فكشف الله عنهم العذاب. ـ

This is the story of Yunus (ﷺ), who was one of the great prophets of the Banu Israa’eel. Allah sent him to the people of Nineveh – in the area of Mosul [Iraq] – and he called them to Allah but they refused his call. He then repeated his call to them but they refused, so he promised them an impending punishment and left from their midst, and he did not exercise the steadfast patience which he ought to have exercised. On the contrary, he fled from them while in a state of anger. But after their prophet had left them, repentance and returning to Allah were placed in their hearts after witnessing an approaching punishment, and so Allah removed the punishment from them.

والظاهر أن يونس علم انكشاف العذاب عنهم، واستمر في ذهابه عنهم، ولهذا قال تعالى: {وَذَا النُّونِ إِذْ ذَهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا} [الأنبياء: 87] وقال تعالى: {إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ} [الصافات: 140] ـ

It appears that Yunus knew that the punishment would be lifted from them but still decided to leave them. This is according to Allah’s statement:

وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا

And mention Dhu’l-noon, when he went off in anger… [21:87]

as well as His statement: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 1-20: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the first installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 1-20. See the series guide here for more information about the series, or click here for more information about the book itself.

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الم

Alif Lam Meem (2:1)

هذه الحروف وغيرها من الحروف المقطَّعة في أوائل السور فيها إشارة إلى إعجاز القرآن؛ فقد وقع به تحدي المشركين، فعجزوا عن معارضته، وهو مركَّب من هذه الحروف التي تتكون منها لغة العرب. فدَلَّ عجز العرب عن الإتيان بمثله- مع أنهم أفصح الناس- على أن القرآن وحي من الله.ـ

1) These letters and the other disconnected letters at the beginnings of surahs point to the miraculous inimitable nature of the Qur’an, for the Qur’an presented a challenge to the mushrikoon which they could not respond to, despite the fact that the Qur’an is built from the very same letters which make up the Arabic language. So the Arab’s inability to produce anything similar to the Qur’an, despite them being the most eloquent of people, shows that the Qur’an is revelation from Allah.

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

That is the Book about which there is no doubt. It is a guidance for the muttaqoon (2:2) Continue reading

The Light of Eeman in the Heart of the Believer: Tafsir al-Tabari

Allah says in surah al-Nur:

اللَّـهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ ۖ الْمِصْبَاحُ فِي زُجَاجَةٍ ۖ الزُّجَاجَةُ كَأَنَّهَا كَوْكَبٌ دُرِّيٌّ يُوقَدُ مِن شَجَرَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ زَيْتُونَةٍ لَّا شَرْقِيَّةٍ وَلَا غَرْبِيَّةٍ يَكَادُ زَيْتُهَا يُضِيءُ وَلَوْ لَمْ تَمْسَسْهُ نَارٌ ۚ نُّورٌ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ ۗ يَهْدِي اللَّـهُ لِنُورِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّـهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. The likeness of his light is like a niche inside of which is a lamp. The lamp is inside of glass. The glass is like a bright star lit by a blessed olive tree which is neither of the east nor of the west. Its oil practically gives off light even though it has not been touched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides with His light whomever He wishes. And Allah strikes parables for mankind. And Allah is completely knowing of all things. [24:35]

The great mufassir Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari mentioned several different explanations of this ayah in his famous tafsir, including the following from some of the great scholars of the Qur’an among the Sahabah:

وقال  آخرون عنى بالمشكاة : صدر المؤمن ، وبالمصباح : القرآن والإيمان ، وبالزجاجة : قلبه . ذكر من قال ذلك : ـ

Others said that the niche is the chest of the believer, and that the lamp is the Qur’an and eemaan, and that the glass is his heart.

Among those who said that are:

حدثني عبد الأعلى بن واصل ، قال : ثنا عبيد الله بن موسى ، قال : أخبرنا أبو جعفر الرازي ، عن الربيع بن أنس ، عن أبي العالية ، عن أبي بن كعب ( مثل نوره كمشكاة فيها مصباح ) قال : مثل المؤمن ، قد جعل الإيمان والقرآن في صدره كمشكاة قال : المشكاة : صدره ( فيها مصباح ) قال : والمصباح القرآن والإيمان الذي جعل في صدره ( المصباح في زجاجة ) قال : والزجاجة : قلبه ( الزجاجة كأنها كوكب دري يوقد ) قال : فمثله مما استنار فيه القرآن والإيمان كأنه كوكب دري ، يقول : مضيء ( يوقد من شجرة مباركة ) والشجرة المباركة أصله المباركة الإخلاص لله وحده وعبادته ، لا شريك له ( لا شرقية ولا غربية ) قال : فمثله مثل شجرة التف بها الشجر ، فهي خضراء ناعمة ، لا تصيبها الشمس على أي حال كانت ، لا إذا طلعت ولا إذا غربت ، وكذلك هذا المؤمن قد أجير من أن يصيبه شيء من الغير ، وقد ابتلي بها فثبته الله فيها ، فهو بين أربع خلال : إن أعطي شكر ، وإن ابتلي صبر ، وإن حكم عدل ، وإن قال صدق ، فهو في سائر الناس كالرجل الحي يمشي في قبور الأموات ، قال : ( نور على نور ) فهو يتقلب في خمسة من النور : فكلامه نور ، وعمله نور ، ومدخله نور ، ومخرجه نور ، ومصيره إلى النور يوم القيامة في الجنة . ـ

Ubay ibn Ka’b said:

مَثَلُ نُورِهِ كَمِشْكَاةٍ فِيهَا مِصْبَاحٌ

The likeness of his light is that of a niche inside of which is a lamp …

the likeness of a believer. Allah has made emaan and the Qur’an in his chest like a niche. The niche is his chest Continue reading